Archive | July, 2020

Words on Wednesday

29 Jul

Not much in the way of amazing happening on my side of the globe. Awesome Jar moments are few now that our adventures became limited. I mean other than the Dodgers beating the Asstros in Houston as baseball returned.

Well, that one just made me smile.

Hard to get hits when no one is telling you what pitch is coming. I know, I know. Some people neeeeeeed those trash cans to succeed.

So taking in what little sports we get before they shut it down again, is something that fills me with joy.

But magic happens outside sports nowadays. I mean we were supposed to be watching The Olympics and cheering for people on the track and court, in addition to the pool.

Now we cheer for ourselves and our little victories, and catch the moments when we can, outdoors.

And sometimes you catch a good one. Something you haven’t seen in a while.

I remember the first time seeing one was probably at Sea World when I was a kid. You member Sea World? We’d pack in the tan station wagon and make the trek to check out Shamu.

Road trips back in the day, during my Kevin Arnold moments when sitting in the back without seat belts was fine, you know because we were invincible.

But while we were out exploring the aquatic park, my favorites had to be the dolphins. Something about their very nature that intrigued me. I’d seen a few in the ocean after that, every now and then, but it would only be a few and they’d be far away. This week I caught a pod of 10-15 dolphins swimming alongside a paddle boarder, jumping high enough that people noticed. With all that magic, I thought Aquaman himself was gonna come splashing out.

I got up from my chair to take a closer look.

Not many cool things happening that aren’t artificial or produced. But this one was genuine. Pleasant. So much so that I forgot to snap a shot. I just watched them. That paddle boarder had one of the best encounters ever. He stayed the course and kept going, with his posse passing him.

It was a small moment, something to be appreciated.

I enjoyed the early morning when there was no crowd and the spot was quiet, just the sound of the waves on shore. People started trickling in and I was grateful that parking was a hassle, as it was extremely limited. Kept the number of people low.

So with a semi–private space and my toes in the warm sand I welcomed a new day.

Buen Camino my Friends!

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Feel Good Friday on a Saturday … 5 Before 45

25 Jul

I made an appointment with myself this morning.

I mean, I make doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, coach’s meetings, practice sessions, camping arrangements. That was all prior to Covid-19. Now I make virtual meetings, virtual campouts, virtual summer camps, virtual book club, virtual everything. I make the everything appointments.

Everything but myself.

Haven’t done too many of those when we’re all supposed to be hunkered down. There’s little room here.

But needed a moment to think.

So I found some space. Something big was happening and I needed to clear my head. I needed a moment with myself to do something without the kids. So I woke up just at the same time the sun did, laced up my Saucony running shoes for the last time as a 44-year old.

I try to make time stop, slow it down on the last day. I try to get just one moment that day, do something fun, something Zen, something that makes me laugh, something that makes me feel good, like waking-up-early-to-watch-Saturday-morning-cartoons-when-I-was-a-kid good. Something with that vibe. Gives me perspective on the day before I turn one year older. I like to pause.

Early is the way to go when you’re trying to avoid people. Not too many feel the need to rise on up on Saturday morning. Not even myself. But today I did. And it was a good thing.

After I sprinted the last 200 yards with my heart pounding, trying to catch my breath, I felt it. I crossed my imaginary finish line marked by the parking sign and the sweat falling underneath my Cal Bears cap.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. And there it was, between the heartbeats. Brief. But it was there for me, a moment to be present, a moment of gratitude, a moment of pause. I enjoyed looking up at the sky and feeling the sun. 44 was leaving. But the mixed tape that went with it was worth it.

I don’t know what year 45 around the sun looks like, I know it will include Ben & Jerry’s that’s for sure. I’m celebrating the ending of year 44 with pint. But if year 45 is better than year 44, then I’m doing a good job. Moment by moment. Step by step.

 

Katrina and the Waves — Walking on Sunshine

 

La Sonora Dinamita — Se Me Perdio La Cadenita

UB40 — The Way You do The Things You Do

 

Los Tucanes de Tijuana — La Chona

 

Phil Collins — That’s All

 

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Buen Camino my friends!

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Weekend Moments on Wednesday

22 Jul

When I saw the crowds I thought this was a terrible mistake. We should have woken up earlier, we should have gone to some remote beach at daybreak.

But we wanted something different, something a little special. Nowadays little special somethings go a long way. The Great Outdoors has always afforded me an opportunity to do that, but because of the current pandemic situation, life has been limited.

Crowds are something that isn’t, unfortunately.

When you’re at a concert or game they’re great! You feel the vibe and energy. But when I was trying to find peace. Not so much. Even before the pandemic. Crowds burned me out. The beach. The Park. Morning runs. Lakes. I avoided them. Or at least tried.

So I was grateful for the long hike up the mountain, even though I wasn’t a fan of hiking, it proved to be a good step back, for a positive forward move. You see, not many people managed that. Most of the crowd walked a couple yards and stayed close to the road or parking. Half a football field, I guess. Their lack of exercise was my gain. As most people didn’t want to hike up the mountain and venture further up. The fact that they weren’t socially distancing or wearing masks was concerning. I thought this outing was going to be a disaster. But turns out the more we hiked the less people we found. The hidden nature escape appeared.

The Outdoors became the Kodak moment that made the day better. A recharging station for when your depleted spirit needed it most.

Something about nature turned it around. Especially when we discovered a surprise…

Waterfalls bring smiles. Especially on a 12th birthday.

The entire adventure helped bring about some wonderful firsts, like first time fishing in a river, first time losing the fishing pole and swimming against the current in the cold deep to retrieve it, first time hiking to a waterfall, and first time cooling off underneath it.

First time bucket list adventures with the kids stayed with me and granted us moments of gratitude that still linger.

Buen Camino, friends!

Feel Good 5 Friday

17 Jul

Sometimes you just need soothing comfort of the cool side of the pillow. When you’ve hit a rocky patch and you’re trying to bounce back sometimes you need to slowly groove your way out.

In steps.

Not all at once.

But let the soul of their voices pick you up after you stumbled. Sometimes it’s the softness of it that makes you stronger, sometimes the sadness of it makes you feel like someone can relate and you nod your head in recognition.

Sometimes they just take you back in time and reliving that moment makes the one you’re going through more bearable. You know you can get through it, whatever moment you feel stuck in, you can get out of it.

I heard these tunes and they gave me comfort to get through and smile on the other side of it. They were definitely something to feel good about on Friday.

Buen Camino …

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Ooh Child — The Five Stairsteps

Bob Marley — Three Little Birds

Lean on Me — Bill Withers

Ana Gabriel– Simplemente Amigos

Whitney Houston — Exhale

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Too Many Words on Wednesday

15 Jul

I felt the weight of it.

Took 18 weeks, but I felt it.

The weariness of it.

After managing through distance learning with two kids and one computer, summer and the beginnings of a heat wave with no weekend beach trips, and the worst was yet to come. I felt the weight of it.

Coronavirus.

I’m not sick. I’m one of the lucky ones, but going through this finally got to me.

I was strong for about 18 weeks and just the foul mood of it all got to me and the day ended on a crappy note. I think it’s a matter of space. Being quarantined with your mother while trying to raise your kids and keep them on the positive tip, taxes every part of your being by dinner time. I have found that space is of the utmost importance.

Crucial.

Night time has become a welcomed friend to gather my thoughts or just rest from the anxiety of being with someone that’s not on the same page as you.

Yoga and meditation provide some needed Zen Moments when the goodness of the morning runs has worn off. But today it all got to me and I snapped. The headache came and my patience was lost as I yelled what all moms yell after a long day.

Go to bed!

And then some …

And so …

It was quiet and the guilt of yelling before bed hit me and of course I realized I needed more patience but had spent it all dealing with my mother and her ways.

So I remembered to breathe and allowed myself a little grace.

It was a rough beginning of the week, and it caught up with me on hump day.

Celebrating my daughter’s birthday, trying to find that special moment for her and all the vibrancy, creativeness, joy, and strength in her, while at the same time mourning my dad on the anniversary of his death makes for an epic emotional roller coaster weekend.

The mix of emotions spiraled.

And I knew it. I felt it.

I realized how fast my daughter was growing one day, trying to slow it down as I saw her smiling and how much I missed my father at the cemetery the next. Celebrating with S’mores Icebox cake, tide pool discoveries, unwrapping paints, canvases, sketch pads and a new bicycle with welcomed happiness and laughter one day, and then tears, heartbreak, and childhood memories the next.

Missing him on days like that weaken my spirit.

And then I realized why I snapped …

I know the days are one after the other. They’ve always been that way and I prepare myself but it just hit extra harder this year.

Having no space of my own makes an impact on emotional well-being.

But I was able to revisit a place that helped me find some Zen, some place to breathe.

Gonna be able to reset and do better tomorrow. Hope you do too.

Buen Camino my friends!

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Feel Good 5 Friday

10 Jul

He owned a dark blue Camero and rocked to songs of the 70s . I knew him my whole life. Since I was in pampers… there he was with bell bottoms. Uncle Erick.

It wasn’t easy growing up the way I did and where I did. But having Uncle Erick there made a difference. He was the brother I never had, and he died when he was 44 years old. Rare form of cancer.

His daughter was 10.

Damn cancer.

Heartbreaking when I think about the circumstances. Could happen to anyone and it sucks. I’m 44, and my son is 10.

It hardened me, as it was the first time someone in my inner circle had died so young. Not at 98 after a long and well-lived life. His was unfinished.

But I find pieces of him every now and then. My Dad and Uncle Erick are probably hanging out, drinking a cup of coffee somewhere out there in the universe because coffee was big in my family.

I heard one of his favorite jams and I hadn’t heard it in a while and it made me smile. I knew all the words and I raised the volume. It made me remember his dance moves.

Every time I hear Bill Joel I think of my Uncle Erick. He was a Billy Joel guy and any time this particular song made its way through the airwaves he got his Elvis dance moves twist and shake. He passed his love of 70s music and Billy Joel onto me.

Billy Joel’s got so many awesome tunes, Piano Man being in the top, but these in particular tunes make me think of my Uncle Erick, jamming in his Camero, busting out his dance moves on our brown shag carpet, or watching Bossom Buddies on TV. It makes my heart feel good and we need some of that today.

And while I was jamming to these tunes this week, I also rewatched one of my favorite movies, one I saw with Uncle Erick. This epic parade scene needed to be included in the Feel Good 5, it was a must if you’re an 80’s kid.

Billy Joel

It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me

Billy Joel

You May Be Right

Bill Joel

My Life

Billy Joel

The Longest Time

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Parade Scene

Buen Camino my friends!

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Feel Good 5 Friday

3 Jul

Gratitude filling up my glass this week, but it was topped off on Friday. I got the feels from the mixed tape jams that made their way through the airwaves of my radio and my phone.

I don’t plan the list, it finds its way to me as the universe tries to re-energize my life when I’m down and keep my spirits high when I’m riding the wave of goodness. Different songs every week drop. They make me smile, dance, and feel good. I mean Chayanne c’mon, Supertramp, and Amii Stewart all give anybody feel-good dance vibes. And I know Eddie Floyd sang it first with soul, but I love Stewart. Saucy funk.

And Bill … man, Bill Withers is the man. So smooth. Got the soothing-everything-is-gonna-be-OK vibe.

But sometimes it may not even be a song but a moment, a person, a shared story, or art piece that warms my heart. So I share it with you on a Friday so that I spread the sunshine your way and it hangs on into the weekend.

The songs provide that healing vibe with their time traveling magic of my youth.

However, the one, the one that rocked my world, gave me chills, and had the kids completely engaged was not from the past but from the present originating in the mind of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

I was supposed to see Hamilton this summer as we finally got tickets to the show, but Covid struck it down as all performances got cancelled. But July 3rd marked the day that many waited up until midnight to experience its awesomeness.

We were one of those families, but we waited until our virtual watch party started in the early Friday evening.

This writing, this performance, these songs and rap battles … the talent inspired. Nothing like seeing theatre live, but I was grateful to see it performed, regardless.

Chayanne – Provocame

Supertramp — Goodbye Stranger

Bill Withers — Lovely Day

Amii Stewart — Knock on Wood

Hamilton — Tony Awards

Buen Camino my friends!

Mr. Rogers Would be Proud

1 Jul

I knew I had to go over the top on this one. Tiny little things nowadays help bring people joy. But I wanted to make it rain. The occasion called for it.

A couple weeks ago I recruited the help from a few of my college buddies when our alumni group tried to make graduation special for a few recent college graduates spread throughout the state.

I didn’t realize how much the sense of giving would provide such heartfelt happiness in my soul. I’ve participated in charity drives and good deeds, but this felt different. The surprise factor and expression of joy when she saw the caravan with balloons, and music blasting was epically rewarding.

See, I said I was dropping off a letter in her mailbox.

I’m not a fan of lying but it needed to be done. Chocolate special-ordered cupcakes, flowers, and a gift basket were involved.

To acknowledge someone I hadn’t even met with a random act of kindness of Publisher Clearinghouse proportions gave me such happinesses. An accomplishment that I’m well aware was a great challenge needed to be celebrated, even if it wasn’t in a stadium or auditorium.

My friends and I all chipped in for items in this care package and we made it as special as we could. Who knew cellophane would be hard to find during a pandemic? But details made it all the more special.

None of us knew who she was, all we knew was that she majored in Public Health. But by the end of that masked-socially-distant visit we welcomed her into the alumni world and offered her help beyond what was in the basket.

Being kind doesn’t take much. Mr. Rogers rocked it in his neighborhood. Offering it up without wanting anything in return makes for a better community. If someone is going through a tough time, or you want to help spread some sunshine on someone’s milestone or stepping stone, being genuine and kind is the way to go.

Giving to someone else expands your heart and elevates the good vibrations. I was so happy that we could brighten her day with such a surprise. One of the best Saturday mornings of the year. The laughter, smiles, and teary-eyed joy let us know we did good that day. Mr. Rogers would be proud. And I felt so blessed that I could do that with friends.

Buen Camino my friends!