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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!

I Got Words on Wednesday

24 Jun

You got faded Polaroids of bellbottoms tucked away in albums, collared shirts still hanging in the closet, and his favorite Robert DeNiro DVD’s on your bookshelf. But there’s still a hole and something is still missing.

That never goes away. The “missing them” part. It doesn’t. Sometimes it grips you so strong you want to hug the picture but worry you’ll crumple it. Sometimes you can’t breathe when you cry and other times you crack up in the middle of the day at a memory that tears make their way to the corners of your eye.

Father’s Day.

Got a roller coaster of ups and downs this weekend but I managed through with stories from my childhood and his. This time I found myself at the empty driving range. Something I haven’t done in years, something we enjoyed doing together. Gold balls never making it passed the 200-yard mark but I didn’t care, was just hanging out and swinging away. Sometimes we didn’t have to talk. We were in the friend zone. Smiling in silence, or laughing at the ridiculousness of the shot shanking to the left. We didn’t even like watching golf on TV or cared who won The Masters. It was us. Hanging out.

Then driving home in silver Tacoma, listening to jazz and retelling stories. Sometimes there’d be a stop at 31 Flavors, just because. There were no Ben & Jerry’s. So rocky road was my jam. But he was more of a Haagen Dazs guy. Still he got ice cream. Sometimes he’d pick strawberry. Sometimes chocolate. He’d try something different. He’d say there are 31 but none of them tasted like Haagen Dazs.

And so this month, for my friend, and in his honor, I did the race. Normally I’d be scaling one of the tallest buildings downtown. 63 stories. 1,393 steps. Do it every year for him, raise money for the American Lung Association to help people with lung disease. But with Covid-19, it was postponed, then postponed again, then onto a virtual platform.

So without my racing bib, crowds of fellow climbers, and the claustrophobic staircases I made my way to The Great Outdoors, with an epic playlist and purpose. The gasping for air. The heart pounding. And the legs involuntarily shaking when I got to the tippy top and end of my climb. All of it was still there and so was my reason.

1,831 steps.

1,831 reasons why my dad was worth the effort.

Hope your Father’s Day was blessed with kids, BBQ, and Hallmark cards of dad on couches.

Buen Camino my friends.

Feel Good 5 Friday … on Saturday

20 Jun

Starting to trim it down. The unnecessary. That’s what Covid is doing for some people under quarantine. The stuff you thought was so important matters less. Substance makes its way to the front.

Finding little moments and bringing gratitude into the fold make the days count.

Feel Good 5 Friday wrapped up in music and feel-good vibes. The kind of tunes that get your shoulders grooving and your feet bumping. I got the funk of the 70s making its way back to me and filling my morning runs and walks with the bellbottom vibes I need to keep the spring in my step.

But I also got some Latin flavors from an epic band that remind me of my youth and doing chores to their music. Flashbacks of vacuum cleaners, sponges, and Ajax accompanied this song so as not to make mundane housework so dreadful. And the twist from one music icon honoring another inspired me this week. That kind of music and performance and feeling make you want to do better. To rise.

And those moments were good to listen to and to watch. But I had something extra special to highlight of Feel Good 5 Friday.

Everyone has at least one moment during the week where something, or someone, made them smile. We need some of that at this time and I found an undiscovered wave of goodness a couple of weeks ago but wanted to highlight it today.

Tabitha Brown. Have you heard of her?

She’s what I need during this quarantine She spreads smiles and goodness with her warmth and safe advice, like if I want to add more garlic then I should because as Tabitha says it’s my business.

Now I’m no vegan or vegetarian, but this lady right here, makes me want to double up on my daily 5. She makes the day. She’s the girl you want to hang out with for sure.

And after I’ve done some cooking and gotten my good vibes from Tabitha the tunes that gave me the warm and fuzzies kept me going when I couldn’t find a smile.

Earth Wind and Fire -Let’s Groove

Kool and the Gang -Ladies’ Night

Los Angeles Azules

Sting singing Bruce- Rising

Tabitha Brown

Father’s Day tomorrow … hoping all the Dads have a good one 🙂

Buen Camino my friends!

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

Hibernation and Boosts

1 Apr

You know, when bears awake from hibernation it takes them a minute to get situated. I mean they just don’t jump out of their cave and be like Yogi where are you at?! They have a sleepwalking period where they kind of ease out of it.

And this is where I’ve been … hibernating writer hiatus. I hadn’t planned it of course, I hadn’t planned any of them. Certain life events hit you harder than others and it takes you a minute to rebound from certain setbacks or bouts of depression. Just they way it is sometimes.

But life keeps moving even if you’re standing still.

After catching my breath, and as I was revving up to make my comeback, this unexpected series of unfortunate life events of blockbuster proportions landed on us all and we found ourselves in different roles with added workloads and no MacGyver-like gadgets to help save the day.

And I was okay. I mean I had concerns, just like everyone else. But because of the rough patch, a different perspective provides the specs for me on this. The Resilience. I was able to find that special place when community connection seemed to have been put on pause.

There’s comfort in knowing that many selfless people like doctors, nurses, janitors, educators, farm workers, grocery clerks and other community members stepped up to bat for a lot of people. Humanity found in the little crevasses of the cities brings hope to a profoundly troubled time, like when you hear of the college student down the street buying groceries for the elderly lady in the pink apartment building, or the teachers in a small caravan of cars driving through the neighborhood to say hello to their students, whom they hadn’t seen in a couple weeks, or to the multiple chalk artists taking to sidewalks across town trying to brighten someone’s day, or the Italian restaurant owner 15 minutes away giving away free spaghetti and meatballs with breadsticks because he felt the need of his community when there wasn’t much left at the markets.

It’s the small things that can create cataclysmic shifts. And so I find that practicing gratitude creates the little boosts needed for the big take-off.

Boosts.

That’s where I found myself. Returning to my Word of the Year and finding that I had picked the one that was right for the moment … Boost!

Everyone could use one, especially now. A physiological, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual uplifting And you can always get that from the good spirit of people, the grace they show for others, as well as for themselves, and these you can find in the tiny cracks and crevasses of communities. The feel-good stories that don’t always make the front page, but should definitely highlighted.

So keep your eyes open and when you find the feel-goods share them. Their impact could be what someone needs to come out of hibernation.

Buen Camino my friends!

No Shame in Their Game… Apparently

19 Jan

What’s done is done. Now we need to move on.

That’s a load.

You can’t clean up if there is no culpability and just blatant lies on top of lies.

Everybody cheats. Steroids. Sign stealing. Everybody does it. That’s the excuse. Steroids are just wrong. Period. And sign-stealing? Everyone tries to get the upper hand and figure out the pattern. Everyone tries to see what the catcher is trying to communicate to his pitcher. Absolutely.

Not everybody sets up a live feed at their home stadium to decipher the catcher’s signs, then relay them via text message or monitor to the dugout, who then signals batters by Morse code on trash cans while they’re up to bat.

You’ve heard about it by now … Houston Astros. The most hated team in baseball right now, and it’s well-deserved. Boston is a close second until we decipher how much Cora stank is on them. I’d bet a lot seeing how Alex Cora, the main engineer of this lying, cheating, was a coach on both teams.

A little asterisk by the Astros name for their 2017 World Series appearance and they could care less. It’s what happens when you only give them an asterisk. And that’s not even official, I think fans did that. It’s meaningless. The consequences are small or non-existent. One guy got thrown under the bus. One and he deserved it. Alex Cora. But he wasn’t the only one involved in this cheating scandal. Sure a couple others were fired, but they’ll get rehired and how is that gonna teach them anything? Where’s the accountability?

Many people question whether the MLB will do the right thing and ban Cora for life, and hand out player suspensions. Or better yet vacate the title. They do it for steroids, but the MLB are spineless, greedy pimps who think it might hurt the game.

Ironic.

But the fact is this slap on the wrist weak punishment for disgracing the game and then bragging about what a quality team they were all along is disgusting.

The problem is Houston has got no shame. They had Fan Day at their stadium, but I don’t think there was a seminar on “How we cheated our way to the top, and so can you boys and girls.”

They cheated. We know they cheated. They know we know they cheated. And the MLB is just sweeping it under with no formal public apology or acknowledgement. They continue using the word allegedly, like there wasn’t proof.

You can hear the trash cans.

But the MLB doesn’t care. They penalized the Astros two draft picks and a $5 million dollar fine. That’s how much one of the owner’s suits cost. So now the public, mostly a Los Angeles and New York public, is left to deal out justice, because the lack of repercussions have left Astro players over confident and even more shameless if that’s possible . But they should be scared to walk into stadiums this year because if they’re not, they’re stupider than I thought.

Fans have long memories, especially if you cheat them. Ask Pete Rose.

Maybe if cheaters like Altuve actually admitted to wrongdoing people wouldn’t be so infuriated. I think it’s the level of hypocrisy that riles people up. Absolutely no shame. The whole scandal and lack of accountability makes you lose faith in the game and the process.

But I’d say it could still be the cheating. Either way it’s the worst after-school special season finale ever.