Archive | June, 2021

Sunday Morning … Remembering Your Pops…

20 Jun

Most of the time he would not take the day off. My dad used to work seven days a week for months on end. Then years later he realized that was bad for his health.

Workaholic. Part of the working-class mentality is having that drive, that work ethic to do the hard labor, to show up and take pride in what you do, and provide for your family.

But every once in a while he’d take a vacation though. Day trip, road trip here and there. Take a plane to Guate to visit his mom. He’d call her all the time but didn’t make a regular yearly trip to see her until I was in college. After years and years of hard work he learned that taking a day off was good for his mental well-being.

Monday’s and holidays. Those were his days off, the days he’d sleep in, maybe go to the driving range and hit a few. Go to the movies with my cousin, call to hang out with me, visit my uncle at the cemetery. Eat fried fish at the Marisco place down the street, the one that unfortunately is no longer there. I think the owner sold it a few years back and now it’s just something called a bistro, and the last time I heard of one of those was when Jack Tripper opened up one of his own after working at Angelino’s.

He’d still work on Sunday’s though, even if it was Father’s Day. So if I wasn’t working, I’d make the drive just to hang for a bit at the shop. Told him I’d buy him a cup of coffee. Talk about life. He’d laugh at the thought of his daughter talking about life over a cup of coffee, seeing how I did t drink coffee. But I’d do it anyway.

I’d tell him I’d see him later for dinner, which usually involved a steak, sometimes Italian food, but most of the time steak followed by Lakers game, Dodgers game or HBO.

Today’s the day to think of that. To think about the conversations I had but can’t quite remember, but knew I had them. Time to remember his smile and the feeling of hanging out, to remember his laughter, the smell of his musk aftershave, white collared shirts, and butcher’s coat. Time to remember the times he didn’t wear white, like when we used to go to plays and talk during the intermission, to remember the hard times and the good times, because there were both. Time to remember that 11 years ago, Father’s Day was the last time I had a conversation with my friend in a hospital room, that last time he’d talk back. I remember leaving the television on and telling the nurses not to change the channel because the World Cup was on and he loved watching it. He might not have been able to see it, but maybe he’d be able to hear the famous GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! GOOOOOOOOOL QUE GOLAZO!

Most definitely.

It’s the day to celebrate and remember your dads. The ones that you were born with, the ones that saw you in diapers, and the ones who acted like your dad, encouraged you and supported you even if you weren’t related, they were still family. To brothers and uncles that had your back, to teachers and coaches that helped you when you needed it.

It’s tough being a good dad. Pressures weigh heavily on the shoulders of a family man, and not everyone is strong enough to fill that role. Not everyone can handle that. Now with raising my own family, I realize that. So it’s important to highlight the ones that do. To the ones that pay the bills and show up to soccer practice, and basketball games before beer with the guys, to the ones that are there for Saturday morning cartoons, even if they’re just sleeping next to you on the couch, to the ones who read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other bedtime stories, to the ones who teach you how to drive and change a flat tire, to the MacGyver’s and the remote control masters who cross wires and eventually fix the DVD-VCR-Cable connection, to the ones that high-five you when you succeed or pat you on the back when you don’t, to the ones who snore so loud they can inhale the wallpaper if you had any, to the ones that tell you to chase your dreams, to the ones who have a cup of coffee with their daughter and talk about life … today’s your day.

Happy Father’s Day

Buen Camino …

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Feel Good 5 Friday

11 Jun

I found myself at the bottom of a Famous Amos Chocolate Chip bag.

It was the necessary and required amount of comfort needed.

Sometimes things go your way, and other times they just don’t. A job offer you were expecting to come in, comes back with, we decided to go in a different direction, a promotion you thought you were going to get goes to the nephew of the guy in charge, a test result you thought would be favorable comes back as a reality check, a grant you were hoping would help catapult your project into the next phase is instead welcomed with a letter that starts off with … unfortunately. There could be more scenarios out there causing a massive downers on everyone’s day.

You feel like crap and totally want to reach for another bag.

You sit there contemplating your next move, wondering what’s it going to be.

You feel like you just struck out at the bottom of the ninth, with runner in scoring position on a 3-2 count, or maybe like missing that crucial buzzer beater with your team down by one point.

So where do you go from there?

After going through the different stages of sadness and disappointment because I got to get them all out. I needed to put one foot in front of the other and find something … something that I was grateful for, some potential, some pint-size of positivity I could cling to during a not-so positive moment. It’s hard finding something you’re grateful for when you feel like you’re in a pretty crappy stage. But even if it’s small, like going for a swim, run, bike ride, or dance. Eating great food. Beach therapy day. Trying a new adventure. Reading a good story. A friend. A cool sunset.

Something positive is out there.

When I’m driving and I’ve got the bad news, the music is my savior. Changing the stations I end up listening to a tune I hadn’t heard in months, sometimes years. But just in case the radio doesn’t have it, I’ve got that go-to playlist. The one you listen to when you’re running and you want to feel powerful, or the one you listen to when you want to celebrate something good in your life, or the one you listen to while you’re driving, the one that gets you dancing at every stop light, or the ones where you just want to feel sad and the soulful sounds help you because someone has been where you are and feels what you fell.

Go-to songs have a way of turning the corner when you need something to push you in the right direction. That lift. You have some for different circumstances in your life.

I always got a couple that make it happen for me … but that one song … the one that makes me smile and just feel good is Katrina … Katrina and her Waves. That song just makes me smile and feel good. Makes the morning better. Makes the run stronger. Makes the care ride better. Walking on Sunshine is a feeling I’d like to take with me. It’s been on my Feel Good 5 Friday before and maybe even in my mixed-tape series. But that’s the song … that’s the one that does it for me. That and probably the Jefferson’s Theme Song. But since we’re not talking about theme songs, I’d have to go with my girl Katrina 🙂 Everyone has got one.

So I pressed play and tried to get the tunes to change the state of mind. For some reason if I’m outdoors or in the car it seems to work a lot better.

And so my journey began.

In the music I found gratitude bits and pieces and slowly started to get out of the funk. Feeling the rhythm and the beat. Singing at full volume in the car. Found parking and still left the music on, jamming and starting to feel different. And then I received a text message.

A friend of mine had won a Pulitzer.

Dude.

Duuuuuuuuuude.

Have you ever heard some spectacular news, I mean something that didn’t even have to do with you, but something for someone else, and it made you so happy. I mean genuinely happy.

I was so happy for them that I completely forgot about my own troubles, my own day and smiled because something good happened to a friend of mine. Hard worker, filled with determination and grit. I was proud to have known them. Good things happen to good people. They do. And that right there made me happy.

Buen Camino …

Walking on Sunshine — Katrina & The Waves

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Homegrown — Zac Brown Band

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No Tengo Dinero — Juan Gabriel

Livin’ on a Prayer — Jon Bon Jovi

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Never Know — Jack Johnson

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Feel Good 5 Friday … on a Saturday Night that turned to Sunday

6 Jun

Cherry Garcia.

I can’t believe I had never tried it until yesterday.

Sometimes you go into the freezer to grab a celebratory treat, satisfy a sweet tooth, or comfort after a bad day. Motivation behind the freezer-reach is different but the result is the same.

Feeling good.

Sometimes it’s a great run. Sometimes is a funny show. Sometimes the sweet tunes of a mixed tape. Sometimes Ben & Jerry’s.

As I mentioned before, I was only introduced to Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead in college, freshman year. Music setting a feel-good vibe. And today’s discovery of this sweet, creamy ice cream flavor, tagged with music, was definitely my jam.

Sometimes choices and options are so popular you avoid them because everybody does it and that turns you off. You like to set your path. Other times you just never get around to it, until you do.

Has that ever happened? You just never tried something, even in the midst of popular opinion, just never got around to it? A friend of mine had never seen I Love Lucy. Someone else had never done a 5k. Another friend said she’d never gone to the snow, which made me think that many people had never gone to a beach or a desert. Someone else had never baked a cake, not even the Betty Crocker kind. Another friend had never tried to play a musical instrument, which made me think that some people may never have tried dancing. Made me curious as to why people just don’t get around to trying something new that almost everyone has already gotten to experience. Doesn’t have to be any of this stuff, as geography and money can factor into certain experiences. But trying something new probably means paying attention to what your path looks like, and whether new experiences can help enrich your life, or not. Sometimes it’s a risk. Sometimes trying something new is part of the act of self-care. Doesn’t have to be something big, adventurous, popular, or expensive. Just something new.

I had never tried Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

It’s not a big deal. It was just a thing that surprised me.

I’d always seen in it in the freezer next to my Chunky Monkey and Cookie Dough, but never wanted to try it, really. I like cherries, but not maraschino cherries. Sometimes I worry about the risk of trying something new and then it burning me out because it turns out bad. Wasting money. But then maybe it’s not a waste if it allows you to get to know yourself better. Likes and dislikes.

An awesome moment of hard work led to the freezer section of the Smart&Final. Reward in Aisle 2. But a bad encounter that evening, involving an argument and a putdown, led to pop open that top and try something new.

Excelsior.

Cherry Garcia hit that spot. Blocked the negative and made way for the positive. Sometimes trying something new does that for me. Sometimes it’s exercise. Sometimes it’s laughter. And sometimes it’s good music. Like Feel Good 5 Friday on any day.

Buen Camino …

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