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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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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

26 Jun

It’s the one thing that can rid you of irritability when you need it the most. Sometimes it’s planned because you’re trying to get rid of the funk. Other times the universe conspires to get you on a better path.

There I was at the stop light, feeling the crankiness of running into stupid people at the market with the added frustration of a bad phone call and the morning frustration of yet yet another rejection email during quarantine.

Never answer while driving, unless it’s your kids of course. Having a hands-free system still doesn’t prevent bad conversations.

But then I broke my mood and silenced my inner dialogue when I turned the dial.

I mean you think you got James Brown moves when the beat drops, because your shoulders feel the funk, but you don’t. But it’s those rhythms that renew your spirit and make you smile. You’re feeling different.

The music magic twirled its baton and I danced my way back to myself. The Spinners saved the day and I was grateful for whomever selected that song to put out on the airwaves.

There’s just something about the vibes you feel when you hear your song. I can’t even play these songs when I’m running or I’ll have to stop and dance. Glad I was close to home because the playlist continued with El Puma and company, and the feel good vibes made it possible to hit the reset button.

Hoping you find yours when you need it.

The Spinners- Working My Way Back

El Puma- Pavo Real

Le Chic – Le Freak

Yaz- Situation

Frankie Smith – Double Dutch Bus

Buen Camino my friends 🙂

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Life Full of Wordless Wednesday’s

10 Jun

Stories coming to front pages begin to shed light on facts a lot of communities of color already knew. They lived it. It had been there tirelessly. N.W.A. and other artists made albums speaking on these practices. The only difference back then was not many of these were being recorded and released. Not until Rodney King.

Pictures and images give more weight to words. Especially when no one believed your words at face value.

A friend of mine from back in the newspaper days was recently featured in a National Geographic spread and I was so proud to have known someone whose storytelling needs no words. His life is full of Wordless Wednesdays, capturing moments in time that reveal emotion and journey. Zoom lenses. Shutter speed. Focus. All to get the right shot.

Sometimes pictures are so good they inspire others to tell the story.

And so during this time of social unrest, protest, and pandemic emergency it’s important to differentiate between pictures and stories that sensationalize without context and those with substance that sit with you and make you think. I wasn’t surprised to hear that my friend was highlighted as one with depth and contribution.

For photography.

But good writers, painters, composers, musicians, singers, and actors do that … Artists do that. Anyone can have a moment like that if they’re present enough. It can come in the middle of a conversation and you find it. Storytelling.

It’s been of critical importance now to hear people’s stories. It’s good that they’re being documented because the voiceless need to be heard especially when people are intentionally drowning them out and trying to cover up, manipulate, or erase what’s happening. But luckily you can still find truthful words and pictures during abuse of power. Whether it’s silent and subversive at work, home, or school, or on the streets with tear gas and rubber bullets, stories continue to be captured.

Don’t stop telling your Wordless Wednesday stories …

Buen Camino my friends

Until Next Time Feel Good 5 Friday …

5 Jun

Considering recent events the need for Feel Good 5 Friday seemed important, seemed like people needed a lift in their spirit after so much violence and turmoil. But it’s a time for reflection so it returns next week

During these moments of retrospective thoughts on what we can do to help improve matters in social justice I took a look at leaders who’s courage and commitment impacted life beyond what they imagined. And change happened. Some lived to see it, others looked down from the heavens to bare witness.

Going beyond. It takes that extra step, the one somebody else couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take to help someone that’s been forgotten and made to feel less when in fact there is always something meaningful there. Taking that step to shine a light on something that’s trying to hide.

That’s what a lot of great leaders had in common.

This one was new to me.

Bryan Stevenson

I didn’t know that name. But I knew someone like him existed. A story of a young lawyer who traveled down to Alabama to try and help the wrongly convicted and unjustly imprisoned. All this happened when I first entered college and I had no idea.

I was glad he wrote a book, that he told his story and that of the birth of the Equal Justice Initiative. It’s a powerful educational story. And the movie with Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx make it available to those who didn’t read it and wish to see it played out so they could connect.

And because of recent events, Just Mercy is streaming for free on multiple online platforms. I hope you can catch the film and experience a different perspective on matters, because today is all about perspective and hearing someone else’s story.

https://justmercy.eji.org/responsive/#about

Buen Camino my friends

Feel Good 5 Friday

29 May

Everyone looking for something to lift them up during these times and I’ve been feeling the feel good vibes with tunes from my childhood.

These were so good I be two-stepping in my car and shimmying my shoulders. I mean these were silky smooth. Fun. Soulful. And giving me the vibes so much so I had to wait for the songs to finish before I got out of the car. Has that ever happened to you? The song is so good you can’t leave the car even if you have somewhere to go? I mean you just need a minute because you’re feeling it?

Yup.

That happened to me all week. My eclectic mix of Spanish and English tunes took me back to a happy place even if it was a heartfelt rock love ballad. I was singing in the car because these guys were sanging.

So today was Feel Good Friday and I wanted to pass along those vibes in case you needed some sunshine on a dark day. But of course I have to thank my Uncle Erick, my brother, for introducing me to The Bee Gees and Player back in the day when he wore his bell bottoms, and then later the Doobie Brothers. Rest In Peace brother. The music still brings memories of him playing his records and talking to his girlfriend and me teasing him about being “in looooooove”. I still actually have his Bee Gees albums and it rocks to own something so cool from my uncle. Even though the songs are just pulling at your heart they still make me smile because … well it’s The Bee Gees with their awesome hair.

And Michael McDonnald. Do you know how silky soulful this dude is? So good he’s got me feeling again. Trust that his voice hangs on to you for an extra minute. Definitely makes you want to groove out.

JuanGa and Pedrito just got me dancing to the beat. It was saucy. They filled the moments with awesome voices and good dance vibes. Even some smiles. And nowadays if you can get something that makes you smile, hold onto it for a beat. Enjoy. Pass it along.

Taking it to the Streets -Doobie Brothers

Yo No Fui – Pedro Fernandez

Baby Come Back – Player

Too Much Heaven — Bee Gees

Hasta Que Te Conoci – Juan Gabriel

Buen Camino my friends!

Peace and Love to The Heartbroken …

25 May

Feeling a little Bangles today.

A little Manic Monday.

People excited about the 3-day weekend but didn’t really feel like one since we’ve been on hiatus for about two months. The Outdoors packed with crowds because apparently everyone is a Bear Grylls Adventurer on the trails. But we never hit hiking on weekends, even before Covid. In fact we seldom go hiking and enjoy the beach or sports in the park more. But we did neither.

No hockey, baseball, or softball tournaments at all this weekend. And it did throw us off a bit. First time in about four years. But this weekend we still had a BBQ and feel good songs hanging in our tiny little space out back. A family affair, the mini version.

But in between the sunshine and good food I still thought about many who have recently sacrificed their lives so others could live. So I could hang out in the hot sun and take deep breaths as I looked up at the clouds.

So I took a moment this weekend and paused. Paused for gratitude. Grateful for life even if it’s restricted I still have it and not many can say that. Over 100,000 in my neck of the woods cannot. Some giving theirs in a fight.

And with all this ugliness out there these people gave someone else a chance, or at least they tried to. They were the positive in someone else’s most negative moment. So I paused for them. Reflecting.

And I pass this along as I saw it online. Made an impression on me. It is not a complete list of course, but was gathered by a guy who cared enough to go through different portals and compile a list with the information that was available. I’m humbled by their selflessness and saddened for their families. Sending peace and love to the heartbroken.

Stay on the Buen Camino friends!