Archive | April, 2021

Feel Good 5 Friday … Playlist for The Climb

30 Apr

Something sets you off or picks you up and then there it is … the mood.

The mood for the week born. You wake up with positive vibes and one more chance, and you start the week right, thinking good vibrations and happy salutations. You’re thinking sunshine and waves.

And sometimes during the week the lightness of being lasts, other times the tornado of unexpected chaos and obstacles present themselves. Everyone has their moments.

This is why my mixed tapes, my Feel Good 5 Friday’s make sense. They record the vibe of the week with song, verse, rhythm and flow. I try to send the feeling out into the universe to whisper into the wind and land on someone who needs to time travel to a moment that makes their heart feel good.

This week is a bit different. The intention is different. My Dad.

This week was meant to carry on, to push, to motivate, to know I can make it, because there’s purpose.

11 years since his passing.

After two years of grieving his loss, I found a yearly cause to help continue honoring his life. This will be the ninth year that I lace up my Saucony’s and climb 1,393 steps in the Fight for Air Climb. It usually takes place in the second tallest building in the city, but it’s gone virtual this year because of the virus. And it makes sense, no need packing the indoor stairwells with hundreds of people huffing and puffing their way to the roof. So I’ve mapped out an alternate route of hidden staircases throughout the city that will take me over the top. But scaling the equivalent of 63+ stories is rough. My calves hate me afterward and the scent of BenGay travels with me days following the race.

But it’s worth it, my dad’s always been worth it. The Remote Control Master and MacGyver fixing extraordinaire. The guy who taught me how to change a tire and drive stick shift, to know what the Thomas Guide was for and how to use it. The guy that used to fill my college fridge and freezer with pounds and pounds of chicken because he was a butcher and he could. Plus he also thought Cup-O-Noodles was not a cool addition to my diet. So, chicken … individually wrapped packages meant he was still helping his youngest even when she was far away. The dad that called me and left messages on my answering machine just to say hi, at least three times a week.

Yup. My pops. These little snapshots of his life make him worth it. He’s worth 63 stories and then some.

What makes the climb a bit easier?

Knowing I’m scaling the heights in honor of my dad keeps me going when my muscles feel like stopping. There’s an extra gallon in the tank, the reserve, that fuels me. He’s definitely my driving force.

But music helps set the pace, the mood. A good playlist makes me feel like I can beat Rocky to the top of those stairs. You get the one song that pumps you up before conquering that mountain, the pre-game mindset hype and then the one you play as soon as you take the first step, get you started right. Then the one that needs to be played at full volume mid-race because you need that extra lightning. That jolt. And then the one where you can see the finish line and you’re on fumes, you might be cramping, you might be exhausted, but the beat drops, you hear those drums and your legs just pick up the pace and you remember that extra gear that was dormant, that Seven Nation Army brings it out.

Feel Good Race Playlist … Definitely needed. But today I only give you 5.

And so this week the playlist was not inspired by multiple events or thoughts of the week, just by one event happening this weekend. So if you’re ever in need of some pump-it-up jams to help you reach the finish line, hope a partial look at my mixed tape playlist helps to get your feet moving a bit faster.

Buen Camino, my friends!

House of Pain — Jump Around

J Belvin — Mi Gente

Avicii — Levels

Pitbull — Back in Time

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The White Stripes — Seven Nation Army

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Sunday Night Thoughts … Yoga NO thank you, and Then The Pandemic Happened…

25 Apr

I think the problem was people. This whole time it was them and their stretchy pants.

I tried going to a studio once. A couple of times actually. Wooden floors, water bottles, rubber tree plants and all that. I tried it and it just didn’t vibe with me. I tried to like it, I wanted to like it, but it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t feeling the benefits at all and I wasn’t feeling good after class. You know the first time you try a new adventure you feel anxious or nervous, or that I-just-don’t-want-to-go feeling, but then you go and you’re grateful you stepped out and made the trip? Yeah … that didn’t happen. I didn’t feel great about it, I thought eh … that was all right. I guess.

Not the feeling you’re supposed to get.

So I forgot about it and thought, this is not for me, never gonna be for me, and that’s fine. It’s not for everyone.

Fast forward 15 years later in the middle of a world-wide pandemic and here I am with my own yoga mat and blocks. And you know what? I look forward to the Zen vibes it gives me afterward, of the feeling I get when I’m done, like I just did something good for my body.

It took a pandemic to make me friends with yoga.

Everyone looked to different ways to stay healthy or find an outlet during these tough times. Those of you who had home gyms, swimming pools, and all that … good for you. Some of us had to get creative with crack of dawn outdoor schedules so as not to run into anyone, inside strength training or boxing. But then I realized I needed something quiet, something that gave me the same feeling as swimming in the pool. That relaxing vibe, the calming effect of the water on my skin, even though I was working on my muscles at the same time. And since the pool was no longer an option I thought … I’ll try it one more time.

Just one more time.

Needed something additional, an outlet during the lockdowns, or stay-at-home orders. Needed something that was filling up the inner peace tank that was slowly being emptied because of the conditions and circumstances. So I came across a virtual/online opportunity and thought why not? Maybe it’ll be different.

And it was.

Most people don’t like videos or apps, they prefer the live studio classes, but apparently I’m OK with that. That whole entire vibe didn’t make it last time so why not change something around. Try it on my own terms in my own environment. 30 minutes. That’s all I needed to make a change. The same amount of time as a Schitt’s Creek, Community, or Kim’s Convenience episode.

I could do that.

And that’s when I found Denis, Ross, and Aditi.

Warrior 2, Triangle, Sun Salutations, Flow, Savasna. Yup. I was digging it and so were my legs and arms. Each class made me feel better. Started off right and each instructor had their own vibe, their own playlist featuring their personality and style. Yoga is not just happening during the woo-woo New Age music. You can strike that pose to Prince, U2, 80’s or rock. And I appreciated that.

I felt those feel-good vibes after I was done. The peace-in-the-morning feeling after the run and yoga combination, or just the yoga alone. Healing session in effect. I realized it wasn’t the yoga that was bothering me the times I tried it back in the day, it was the group of people, the music, the whole vibe. It didn’t sit right with my spirit. Maybe I wasn’t in the right space to benefit from it. Or maybe the at-home style works best for people like me.

Learning a lot about boundaries, and people, the importance of good relationships and letting go of bad ones. Learning big lessons and small ones, discovering new shows on Netflix, podcasts, and good books. I’m grateful for the time with the kids, and learning to be a better parent. But one of the biggest surprises was yoga. I’m still not into tight stretchy pants, but yoga during the pandemic in sweatpants? That was a good discovery. Surprisingly good.

Buen Camino!

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Feel Good 5 Friday on a Saturday Night with Take-Out …

17 Apr

After 13 months of this new non-permanent way of living hit us all at varying degrees, life lessons from different angels surfaced. Some, brand new, others reminders of lessons that needed to be held front and center. 

There are people out there that you just want to punch in the face. No amount of Zen training with Phil Jackson can help you with a jerk of that size and nature. I mean I thought they were extinct, but they’re coming out from under their sheets on full display, no need to hide anymore. Apparently. 

Then there are those whose level of kindness and empathy make you think, that there is more good out there than bad. For a moment it makes you feel that way. Everyday people stepping up and helping, when those in power were supposed to lead but failed miserably because they were too busy traveling on vacation or embroiled in some other scandal. 

Everyday people. Women. Men. Girls. Boys. Everyone who didn’t need to step up did and that made for feel-good stories about Meals on Wheels, Lemonade Stands, Children’s Hospitals, Books for Foster Care, Carpool Caravan Graduations, Virtual Music Concerts, Chalk Art, Computers and Hotspots for those most in need. The little bits and pieces adding up from your local paper and coming to light. Everyone doing a little something for someone else just to make One day out of the 13 months better.

I thought about that last year and in January. When people are busy making plans and resolutions, taking stock of their life. Small businesses occurred to me. It takes a lot to run a small business. It takes a lot to be successful, to stay afloat, to start that dream. 

While shopping at grocery stores fully masked and socially distant, I knew a lot of small businesses, particularly restaurants were hurting. Nobody knew what this was and people were worried about eating out, so restaurants sold ingredients and cook-at-home meals just to stay open. Now I love to eat, it’s my favorite. Good food, really good, tasty, and savory food. That makes you close your eyes and think C’MON NOW. C’MON NOWWWW! And then you just start dancing because that food is so good, you become a professional back-up dancer that minute. That’s what really good food does, it fills your spirit with happy. Good music. Good friends. Good food. That’s an awesome combination. 

And so while everyone was doing something little or something big, just to help make someone else’s day better. I thought I could do more than just be an advocate for voting rights, provide books for foster care youth, a little something extra to help someone out once a month. Now I got my favorite hot spots around town that I love, my go-to’s that I’ve been ordering from when I’m too exhausted to cook, but I found that if I also add a new restaurant, a new small business I can help them out at least one day. 

So that’s what we’ve been doing, picking a new small business once a month and letting a couple friends in the neighborhood know about it too.  Most people, I guess do that all the time with pictures of their food on social media, but sometimes I think it’s more about them then the actual food and chef behind the amazingness. So I try not to do it that way.

Since we’re homebodies, we enjoy home-cooked meals. But trying to help your neighborhood, your community thrive is also important. Not many people can, with job loss and loss of hours, it’s been hard for some to manage financially for the last 13 months. But we try to help someone new once a month, and so far the meals and desserts have been savory and sweet, so much so that some of these places will become my new regulars. Pho. Bavarian Chocolate Pie, Sausage and Peppers. These have been welcomed with smiles. And we look forward to new diners, drive-ins, and dives.

So for the next eight months we’ll continue helping our regular spots, but also add a brand new place in hopes that we can help them a little. I encourage you to visit any small business and help make a positive impact on their day. Spreading the good vibes, helps everyone during difficult times. It’s like playing the right song, at just the right moment. Helps you time travel and get you to a place where smiling is easy for you, happiness, good-times-noodle-salad moments, sunshine, and waves. 

Feel good vibes, keeping it better. Paying it forward

Buen Camino …

Kano — I’m Ready

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Philip Bailey & Phil Collins — Easy Lover

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Chente — Volver, Volver

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Tina Turner — Shake a Tailfeather

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King Harvest — Dancing in the Moonlight

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Feel Good 5 Friday … on a Saturday Night … Letting It All Out

10 Apr

Misrepresentations. Different Perspective. Not forthcoming. Not accurate. Untrue.

Just call it what it is … A lie. That’s what it is. Lie. When someone says something that’s not true it’s a lie. Doesn’t matter how they saw it play out in their head, if it’s not what actually happened then it’s a lie. Tired of sugarcoating it with the word untruthful.

Lie. Straight up.

You know what happened. I know what happened. Everyone there knows what happened the fact that a hurt ego is involved is no excuse to lie your way out of it.

Just recently I was reminded of how differently people see events unfold. It’s the same sunrise but it’s seen differently on the east side of town, then on the west side. They see it differently but fact is the sun came up. No way to argue with that, or so I thought. Big. Small. Whatever the size. One thing happened and then apparently there are two sides. One from there and one from here. No matter what your baggage is, doesn’t change the fact that the sun still rose in the morning, can’t be angry that the colors are not what you wanted them to be, you can’t change them just because you don’t like them when you retell the story. That’s not how it works.

It burns me out to be misrepresented and bad mouthed just because a person can’t handle facts.

I was lit up earlier in the week when I discovered a backstory going around and it angered me. It was based on a lie they told themselves in order to feel better about who they were as a person, a parent, a human being. They have this lie they hung onto in order to disparage others. What is that? Their old enough to know better, but this ego, this chip on their shoulder sends them into an alternate reality where neither them, nor their family can do no wrong. What is that?!

I mean when I mess up, when my kids mess up, I’m the first one up to bat to take responsibility. Whether it was intentional or unintentional, I actually take responsibility. Whether it’s embarrassing, sad, or troublesome you’ve got to just stand up and say, yeah we were in the wrong. That’s it. But doubling-down and changing the story doesn’t mean you actually changed how things happened. You didn’t. Just playing mind games and drinking poison yourself in hopes the other person gets sick.

But some people, they just don’t learn. They refuse to, just stuck in their victim-mentality when in fact they were the offenders. I don’t get how people can be so old, with lives lived, traveled, married, divorced, kids and still … still remain so obtuse. It’s never about them, always about someone else.

In listening to my playlist and hearing songs from back in the day, I realized people have always had this problem, they’re never at fault. So when someone calls them out, they can’t handle it, they’re so emotionally bankrupt that it doesn’t register and they make up a story, a rumor to make them feel better about behaving like such jerks. And they hold onto that lie, tighter and tighter as time goes on. The lie gets bigger and more engrained in the head. And the cycle begins again.

You keep your distance. You’re done with toxicity. You got the truth and facts on your side. So you feel at peace. And you enjoy the playlist. The Feel Good 5 Friday works even better on Saturday or Sunday. You turn the volume up and belt out those lyrics, feeling stronger and more empowered.

Buen Camino …

Club Nouveau — Rumors

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers — Don’t Do Me Like that

Matchbox Twenty — She’s So Mean

Thompson Twins — Lies Lies Lies

Santana — Oye Como Va

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Feel Good 5 Friday … Cut-and-Paste

2 Apr

I know that people do that with emails when sending out resumes, your cover letter is the same, but you just tweak it a little bit to make it more detailed to the company. The cut-and-paste. It’s the most convenient tool. Saves you time when you just need to get that letter out.

And sometimes I get that general text message at Christmas time from people … Hey Merry Christmas hope you’re having a great holiday season, from Janette. That’s normal. She wants to wish everyone on her phone and Merry Christmas without typing out every message. Mass text. I get it. People smile.

But what’s up with an I miss you text like that?

My friend recently asked me if I had gotten one of those before, if someone had cut and pasted me via text. I said yeah, probably, most of them for funny pictures, links to Youtube or stuff like that. She mentioned that her friend, she hadn’t seen for over a year, had sent her a, I was thinking about you, hope the girls are doing well, we miss hanging out with you guys, especially our trips to Wine Country where our families got close, so many laughs, you’re one of our closest friends hope you’re doing well.

I asked her since when did she have two girls? She said since never. Just always the one boy. She said the beginning of the message was addressed to her with specifics about her hospital work but the body of this text didn’t apply to her. Apparently they had never gone to Wine Country together and she didn’t know how to respond. 

Cut-and-paste.

I told her not to worry about it. I had friendships come and go, super close for a few years and then they’d move jobs, get boyfriends, or have kids of their own and I’d hardly see them. Growing apart and then just saying final goodbyes. She said the cut and paste was crappy and hadn’t expected it. I told her she probably cut and pasted me and who knows maybe I had no idea. But sometimes people surprise you and you realize maybe you weren’t as close as you thought, or just maybe call her on it and say hey you know I still just have the one kid, appreciate you saying hello but what was up with your text. 

I don’t know, maybe it’s because we’ve all been in isolation and that’s why it had a bigger impact on her and I wasn’t seeing it. But I said maybe the universe is making room on your plate for something better, something different and you sit with it for a minute, deal with it, and then brush it off. The isolation and quarantine has served some purpose, and that’s just clearing out your plate from unnecessary time wasters. Surround yourself with people who prop you up, people who encourage you and make you laugh. People who write a text message just for you.

Sometimes the cut-and-paste is great, like on a mixed tape, or the DJ’s scratching a record back in the day. That cut-and-paste was great for my dancing spirit.

Don’t know how the advice panned out, but I felt like I imagine I’ll be more mindful of the cut-and-paste. I mean dude, if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend and they cut and paste you … c’mon now, easy decision. But the rest of us take it on a case by case basis because everyone has a bad day. Until then, buen camino.

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Stars on 45

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Banda Zeta — Nina Fresa

Gigolo Tony — Smurf Rock

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Madness — Our House

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Karyn White — The Way You Love Me

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