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Final Friday …

18 Sep

It was her Final Friday and a tough one to hear about.

One of the strongest women giving others hope.

It’s an unfortunate loss that many are grieving.

Rest In Peace.

Notorious RBG

Neighborhood Watch 2.0

16 Sep

It’s the MacGyver of door peepholes. The caller-ID of doors. You’ll never miss the Prize Patrol from Publisher’s Clearinghouse ever.

Supposed to help you answer the door in case you’re in your backyard, in the garage, in the bathroom, or just out and about.

Ring.

Image result for ring doorbell

One of the best doorbells on Earth for people who don’t want to answer the door. You don’t even have to get up from you Netflix binge watching session to check who’s at the door or what they want.

A lot of places put them on their front door steps to make sure no one tries anything funny. Although the backyard, or alley way is something they like scoped out too. A whole security system.

But people still try funny things.

Amazon packages are still being taken in mad dashes, now you just have a picture of the hoodie suspect and the police still won’t do anything for you. Just file a report. Nothing much else. Unless you have one of those awesome pop-up glitter explosions with a camera so you can see the thief’s face as they unwrap the trap you sent them.

But other than watching people steal packages from your doorstep, or see how many people park outside your house, or visit your neighbor across the street, it also provides the most intense neighborhood watch program I’ve seen ever.

My friend says that there are multiple crime bulletins posted, people put their captures, pictures, or videos of thieves stealing their packages, shoes, bikes, mail and mailboxes. Warnings posted of car break-ins or stealing catalytic converters, which apparently is a popular item. Sometimes just random people trying to open their doors at 4 a.m.

Who does that? Who’s awake at 4 a.m. trying to unlock doors?

People who aren’t afraid of getting punched in the face or confronted with a hostile encounter if they wake anyone up at 4 a.m.

But Neighborhood Watch 2.0 Steroids Edition has got your mug shot and description. They’re taking notes and passing it along. People see you in daytime and nighttime hours. Got your stats and they’re posting it everywhere. So if you haven’t been caught it’s only a matter of time, unless you’re Batman.

They got it all on camera, just in case. But don’t ever know if the case is ever solved. But Ring Neighbors are onnnnnnnnn it. They report crimes, speak to the police, get incident maps alerting them of new crimes, get alerts of suspicious activity within a five-mile radius perimeter, post announcements. Lost pet? They probably have his mug shot posted within seconds.

A friend of mine has had one for over a year and I’ve seen them popping up everywhere in neighborhood and city. There’s an app that’s attached to your phone and you have instant viewing. Everything is recorded.

See the source image

So if you think you’re alone walking the streets, think again. The neighborhood is watching. And the community is getting larger, and I imagine more intense. Don’t think you can steal someone’s 30-day supply Metamucil and special order diabetic socks and not have someone stop you at the 7-11 and say hey I saw you stealing someone’s packages the other day. What the hell?

In the time of coronavirus, I guess it’s still important to feel a sense of community and help your neighbor out. People trying to look out for each other, even if it’s digitally. I mean who doesn’t want the Amazon package theft to go down? You’ve become the best nosy neighbor ever and you didn’t even have to look out the window. Ring has elevated your status.

Buen Camino my friends!

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Feel Good 5 Friday … on Sunday

6 Sep

121 degrees was not fun.

And it wasn’t even the hottest day yet.

The weekend was yet to come and the heat was on. But I didn’t let it break my stride I got tunes, a virtual birthday hangout with a good friend joining the 45-Club and a little field trip.

So we escaped to the mountains and the hidden cool river waterfall lagoon paradise. This time early. This time we didn’t see anyone. Just the path. Although I was a little bit slower as I was on the mend. But my walking stick and back brace provided the support I needed to make the trek.

Sounds of the cool river flowing passed the rocks soothed me. Kids enjoyed jumping in the water, dog paddling their way around, and fishing a bit. Sometimes all you need is a bit of nature set you right.

I was missing the beach. Still am. But you see our annual Labor Day Weekend beach trip wasn’t gonna happen. Just the thought of the masses getting to the beach by 10 a.m. would only give us two hours of peace. I needed a little more.

Feeling disconnected from everyone and everything for a little bit gives some peace. I found that by the river, under the shade of the trees, by the waterfall, or with the cool water on my toes. I was missing some of that before. As I’ve gotten older it’s one of my top priorities. Peace and Laughter. They make me happy. And luckily I had both this weekend.

Getting together with girls refills my cup. To the brim. Sharing stories with tears or with laughter both provided comfort and friendship. And even though there weren’t any hugs that was a definite good-time-noodle-salad moment. So I wished my friend Gisela a Happy Birthday and hoped for blessings and good vibes her way.

The tunes setting the mood for this week were all about dancing and fun. The universe was trying to push me in the right direction. Feeling the rhythm and letting loose. Grooving is the best part. Started loud and rocking Working for the Weekend and La Gozadera. Plus who doesn’t love B-52’s and Pump Up The Jam. Gets that head bopping. But then George Benson ties it together with his smooth sound. The first ten seconds and you just feel good. George and his sound makes that happen. A playlist to match my week.

Buen Camino Friends!!

Everybody Working for the Weekend — Loverboy

Rock Lobster — B52’s

La Gozadera — Gente de Zona

Pump up the Jam — Technotronic

Give Me the Night — George Benson

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Words on Wednesday …

26 Aug

Needing to escape the funk and keeping my vision board promise to myself I filled up the gas tank, packed the car, and went off on a RainMan road trip adventure with the kids.

Never been there before, but it was on the list, see this majestic being. And I stood there and soaked it in. From all angles I took my time to just sit there and appreciate it.

The Great Outdoors

The air. We just took a little extra that day and it filled me with peace.

But I guess a lot of people were looking for the same kind of wonder because for a middle-of-the-week escape there were quite a few people. Everyone was tying to get a nature makeover and Sequoia National Park was the place to make that happen.

We still enjoyed ourselves, masks and all. It was good to escape the city and make it all the way to the sequoias. Something about being in that giant tree forest helped me forget about all the excess, even if it was for a brief moment.

I was in it, I was present and I felt that reset button hitting itself. I was even more grateful that it happened for the kids too.

I was grateful I could give them the escape and views that helped rejuvenate their spirits. Being restricted by Covid has minimized our summer adventures but I was so appreciative for this one. Glad we got to see General Sherman and all of his awesome giantness. It was definitely worth the drive.

My jar of awesome got another note and our family spirit got that boost we needed before school started. Hoping you find yours …

Buen Camino!

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Feel Good 5 Friday … On A Saturday Night

22 Aug

Sometimes the week’s or day’s events harden you a little bit more and even with a weary heart you go on and you find the softness in moments where you can find them, the kind that take you back and you can see yourself in the mirror again.

Sometimes it’s life during a pandemic, sometimes it happens even if the pandemic didn’t exist. Jobs you don’t like, moments you have to endure, or toxic people that still try to poison your well with their words or actions

Bit by bit, pieces chipped away and all you’re trying to do is get them back.

But you find moments of strength that help you endure. The ocean serves as a great salvation, as do morning hugs and laughter from my kids, early morning runs, or punching sessions with the MuayThai gloves. Laughter because of a good comedian makes you feeeeeeeeel yourself again. The smile that you saw in pictures way back, makes an appearance and a sigh of relief fills your chest.

But when I can’t get any of that and I’m feeling off, I put on the playlist. Sometimes it’s the slower tunes with deeper lyrics that get me to turn the corner.

They build.

And that helps reconstruct some of the pieces in you that felt broken. Zac Brown Band is always a go-to for me and never lets me down, with all the albums I own, he gets his feel good tunes any time of day. And the Brothers Osborne have that deep soothing voice and cool melody, I fell for this song and it caught my heart. Love the build. I flashed back to Los Angeles Azuuuuuuuuuules because they jam with other artists to make better sounds. My Blue-Eyed souls, the ones that bring it every time, my Hall & Oates, whose concert rocked epically, always get me with this song. And it’s a sad song, but it makes me feel better. Makes me feel. Just the sound of their voices. Bob Dylan’s son with his Wallflowers, when I hear this tune I need to stop and let it sink in. That opening and that vibe they got going, it reverberates and changes my frequency.

And that’s what needed.

These songs make me feel something different. Sometimes it’s a time machine sending me back to a moment or place that made me smile or feel good, sometimes it’s the they-probably-wrote-this-for-me reflection, and sometimes it’s the wishing part of the song, the one in the pocket between the chords, after the bridge that makes you feel connected.

I was in the midst of all that and it helped me breathe a little deeper. Feel-good vibes tingling my heart and building the part of me that’s important. Growing.

Buen Camino, my friends!

 

Brothers Osborne — Stay A Little Longer

(note I couldn’t find the original video for this song but was able to find the audio version)

 

Zac Brown Band – Homegrown

 

Angeles Azules – Acariname

 

Wallflowers — One Headlight

 

Hall & Oates – She’s Gone

 

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Feel Good 5 Friday

7 Aug

Still under lock down stay-at-home orders it’s the one thing that I’m looking forward to …

SHARK WEEK!

Andy Casagrande.

Do you know him?

He’s the man. There are so many biologist and camera people that bring us the awesomeness and beauty of sharks. And we’re all excited to catch what’s gonna happen next week.

Shark Week is my jam. I nerd out and feel like George Costanza, that I too can become a marine biologist. With limited beach access it’s the one open-water thrill that makes me feel closer to the ocean and protecting the life that lives in it.

I’m looking forward to Sharkadelic Summer and Mako Nation. My son is a bigger fan than my daughter, but we all cozy up on the couch and watch. We learn something new every time and it’s been a good family tradition. As long as I can remember we watch this week-long event together, shark cupcakes and all.

The week has got me feeling all the great vibes and in honor of these warm smiley emotions I got my beach mixed tape playing all week. When you’re driving to the market and you hear that beat drop … mannnnnnn!

That irritability hides somewhere else in the background because it can’t share the same space as this music. The feeling dissolves and the smile happens. Just like that, you feel good and the frustrations of the day are on pause. Lightness of being is on play.

These tunes coming out my radio frequency and I imagine heading up PCH to feel the warm sand between my toes, and a bit a fresh air … far away from everyone and everything.

Tunes are magical that way. So is Shark Week.

Wishing you sunshine and waves …

Buen Camino!

Carlos Vives — La Gota Fria

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Los Moonlights — Rosa Maria

Zac Brown Band — Knee Deep

Mungo Jerry — In the Summertime

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Feel Good 5 Friday on a Saturday… The Flip Side

1 Aug

Those butterflies I feel in my heart, it’s the nervousness and anxiety of starting something new. It’s about the fear of failing, the what-the-hell-happens-if-this-is-sucks feeling, the what if this never gets made feeling? It’s part of the dreamer’s disease. Side effects when you’re chasing stars and gravity’s got a hold on you. 

Even in a pandemic these feelings still exist.

But because of the very pandemic, these feelings won’t stop me. They’ll make events and stepping stones a lot more challenging, but not impossible. It’s the vision you gotta keep, the vision and your motivation.

Projects become something to look forward to for everyone, whether it’s planting a garden, learning a new instrument, crocheting a blanket, starting a weight-loss program, a 30-Day Challenge, or writing a new story. Getting jazzed up about it is the first step and I’ve been on fire for a bit, now I get on with the research and storytelling.

I set the goal and I’ve been inching my way, step by step on the broken yellow-brick road. I’m still a ways away, but I do something every day to contribute to the success of this project. Whether I’m researching content online, writing notes, writing story, editing as I go along, getting pictures and notes to help me stay motivated. Every hour helps. Every day. Carve out an appointment with myself to get it done. I’m still worried about not knowing certain technical aspects for the story, but research continues. I’ve even added a side hustle to help me financially. I’m trying to remember, it’s just a way of making it happen.

And just when I hit a bump of discouraging news this week, I thought man, this is gonna suck, don’t know if I got it. Will I get it? I heard the tunes that got me out of some jams. Sitting in my car wondering … and the tunes come out.  I hear the funk, the guitar, and those lyrics jumpstart something in me, the dancing begins and the boost in my confidence. They introduce a different mindset. A positive one. Sitting on the couch thinking, and a feel good song from my childhood occurs to me and it makes me strut, that George Jefferson confidence strut. Makes me feel like I got this! I’m on the flip side. It’s possible. Even if it’s just today, today is the day I need confidence. I’ll deal with tomorrow, tomorrow.

And here I am, continuing that train of thought sending the tunes out in the universe hoping it encourages someone else out there to strut their stuff.

 

The Jeffersons Theme Song — Moving on Up

Oye — Sonora Margarita

Queen — Don’t Stop Me Now

 

Juanes — A Dios le Pido

 

U2 — Beautiful Day

 

Buen Camino my friends …

 

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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

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!