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Feel Good 5 Friday … With Gorilla Tape

2 Oct

Dear Gorilla Tape People,

I’m sad to say this year I didn’t need you. I saved a lot of money and you made less, but it doesn’t make me happy to say that.

I remembered. And I missed it.

I missed the two weeks. Had my measuring tape, ruler, box cutter, and pencil in the hair. I was like the female version of Schneider without the mustache. The kids would come up with the concept and I’d construct it. They’d partially help me with taping and decorating and be proud to say at the competition that they did it all. And I’d laugh.

Driving there and hanging out until sunset. A cool vibe drifting between the palm trees, doing something fun inspired by childhood memories and Saturday morning cartoon inspiration.

It was our own Wacky Races adventure. Cardboard Boat Regattas. I’m sure you’ve probably sponsored some out where people do this type of even in lakes. If not I highly recommend your PR people get on it. If you haven’t done it, you need to hire Don Draper. Stat. He’d know what to do.

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You know, it would have been our seventh year in a row.

Imagine that.

That’s six years of buying Gorilla Tape to help with these masterpieces. People really shouldn’t call duct tape, duct tape anymore. Like facial tissues are called Kleenex, search engines are Google, glass cleaner is called Windex. Duct tape should really be called Gorilla Tape. I mean what’s the deal with that? When is that taking place?

In any case, the month of August your sales would have gone up, at least here in my neck of the woods. And not two or three, I’m talking rolls and rolls.

Right after Shark Week, I start visiting our little hardware store down the street and stock up of Gorilla Tape. You know … “for the toughest jobs n the planet,” I’m a mom. I need these things to work so as not to have any additional parent fails. Gorilla Tape helps me with that. One year the coupon clipping mom in me decided to try something else and didn’t it just didn’t. I wasn’t aware duct tape would shrink and shrivel and melt in the sun. But this tape did. This was not built for the toughest jobs on the planet, not even the easiest one. So I found you and did it over. And there we were, the unsinkable ship.

Architecturally correct, supported by Gorilla Tape.

But competition got cancelled this time around.

Corona virus struck and we got nothing. No box or large cardboard pieces to tape together because people were freaking out about cardboard, not knowing what surfaces this disease was clinging to or for how long. People didn’t know anything really. And I include myself of course. So no duct tape to help with the memories.

Sorry about your sales. With the NHL, NBA, and MLB back in playoff action not many fans of the Cardboard Boat Regatta lobbied for its return. But I don’t blame them. I didn’t want people up in my grill, shaking my hand crowding me during quarantine. We all want to stay alive. So our Wacky Races Adventures will be fondly remembered until next time …

Earth, Wind, and Fire — September

Juan Luis Guerra – Lampara Pa Mies Pies

Blondie — The Tide is High

The Archies — Sugar, Sugar

Jimmy Buffet — Margaritaville

Buen Camino my friends …

Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday

12 Sep

Everybody needs a walk-up song, the one that drops its beat and you feeeeeeel it, The heart. The pit of the stomach. The I-got-this feeling.

We’ve been missing our songs lately. We’ve had morning songs sometimes, our feel good songs, but not our walk-up songs. Personally the Bee Gees and funk from the 70s gives me that vibe. Confidence, be walking like I got purpose.

We’ve been missing that without sports and teammates. Our songs. We came to the realization that my son would have had three games and a tournament by now, and my daughter a scrimmage.

Saw a few people at the park today and it reminded me of how important teammates, comradery, and the game became in our family. Not so much for winning, but for the sake of playing. Being part of a team gives a sense of community, of purpose, of belonging to something bigger than yourself. People counting on you, a sense of responsibility to them. Been playing for years. Been part of our routine.

Now we’re out of sorts. Everyone is really and so we look for communities where we can.

This realization tripped me out today. Even if we’re not on the ice or the field, kids still need to feel that sense. They need to hear their walk-up song. Regardless. They need that feeling, and I need to make it happen. Need to make it better than it was yesterday. That’s the goal. And you can’t get to the goal if you don’t have a good beginning. A good setup. A good walk-up. Just as everyone needs at least one standing ovation in their lifetime, everyone also needs a good walk-up in order to have a good set-up. Even if the fields and rinks are closed, you need to hit that play button.

And so until you find your walk-ups I share with you my kids’ songs. Every time we headed to a game these were part of the playlist … sending you sunshine and waves. Buen Camino!

Rebel Rebel — David Bowie

Dream on — Aerosmith

Levels — Avicii

I’m Still Standing — Elton John

Walk of Life — Dire Straights

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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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!

The Stumbler … That’s Me … But I Laced-Up My Shoes Anyway

1 Jan

A setback is nothing but a comeback in disguise … that gave me a little umph to push it over the hill. Even with a crappy 60 days close to the end of my 365-day tour around the sun  I still managed to have at least one positive moment each month.

It’s difficult to see the positive when the current existence seems so crappy, but in the moments between your breaths you find something that pulls you out. A good-time-noodle-salad moment, an Andy Dufresne moment, a silver-linings playbook moment, a Zen-moment, or a Gatorade-moment.

Looking back on it I was 12 for 12. 12 months 12 new experiences. I was grateful to have tried new adventures. It helped me step out of the box and create new perspectives for growth, change, and hope. But more importantly it didn’t feel forced. It was opportunity. And at the end of it, I was different each time. Not a dramatic shift, because making cake pops for the first time isn’t mind-blowing, but it does give you a better understanding of the show Nailed It and how I too can do that at home.

Trying new adventures created a shift. As I stumbled through life and weaved through the cracks of this cobble-stoned yellow-brick road, which I thought would be smoother, I learned that these new adventures pushed me along the path. Sometimes when you’re at the bottom learning a new skill gives you a sense of pride that’s waning. Now I’m not saying these new adventures were easy and I was picking up all kinds of new skills. Taking a coding class and learning to speak Italian was extremely challenging, still is, but it added stock to my life.

It pushed me to keep taking it one step at a time.

And sometimes that’s what you need because when you feel like you’re failing digging deep helps you stand up again. And what I was reminded of throughout this journey was that I am a Stumbler. And the stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than everybody else, she does it by being better than she used to be. That’s me.

” … courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm … “

Churchill coined that one and I was glad to have heard it on a podcast because I was beginning to lose my giddy-up.

But I found it before it was too late. I had my Andy Dufresne moment. I found gratitude in new adventures. I hung on by finding gratitude in undiscovered talents. I was able to take a step again because I found gratitude in comeback stories.

So turning the corner before starting the new year was a blessing. I laced-up my running shoes after falling off the hurdle again, and again, and again, which incidentally happened in real life back in my youth, but currently unfolding metaphorically in life now.

But my point? I finished strong both times. Out of breath, with my hands on my head, looking at the skies above and a smile on my face. I reached up with my right hand, and there they were, my Dad and Uncle Erick high-fived me from the heavens on finishing the race.

Thank you Beth, Cayman, and Susie for checking in during the fall.

Happy New Year my friends!

And of course Buen Camino …

Felt Like Rainbow Brite Smiled Down On Me

17 Aug

The concept attracted me the most.

To think that someone just thought it would be a good idea, good enough to draw travelers into a two-lane road detour and experience your vision takes guts.

The bravery of an artist … I wanted to see it.

The success of this art installation keeps ticking and gratefully until the year 2021. And I was thankful for that because I had missed the initial viewing.

I had seen some of the Facebook posts, the few times I’d logged on last year, and made it a point to make this a destination. Not so much because people marked it off as a “thing to do,” or “the thing I did,” but more so to appreciate the creation of it, to pause in admiration and witness it in person. Pictures tell a story, the good ones anyway, but being there in person gives you feeling. And I wanted that, so last month it happened… it was my new adventure for the month of July.

Seven Magic Mountains.

I smiled when I got out of the car, happy because I’d finally made it to this artistic oasis in the middle of the Nevada desert. And even though others had taken selfies with fish faces, and models in high heels were trying to add clips to their portfolios and check it off their list, this experience was more for me.

My dusted up sneakers carrying the residue of the Nevada desert stopped at the barbed wire and waited. I wanted to stop time as everyone rushed to the rocks, or others expressed their this-is-it looks. I paused to enjoy it … me and my dusted up sneakers and jeans.

It was a peaceful thing.

I wondered where he got the concept of bringing vibrancy to the desert. It said in the notes that it was bringing “human presence to the desert …” It kind of felt like Rainbow Brite smiled down on me, on this spot, just to bring me a moment of Zen. But his name was actually Ugo Rondinone, not Rainbow Brite. The artist behind this vision.

I imagine he took into account sunrises and sunsets and how spectacular it must’ve looked, with the brightness of the colors mixing in with the rays of the sun. I imagine he did. He knew.

I caught it in the late morning, though, and it was still pretty magical. I walked up placed my hands on the giant boulders and took a breath. They were epic in size and looked like they used all the crayons in the Crayola box.

I was thankful that my kids were there with me and they got to see what I saw. Maybe it was better for them, seeing it with their Kaleidoscope eyes, can’t say for sure. But the Seven Magic Mountains changes anyone’s perspective.

I was grateful for the visit. I bet my Dad would have appreciated it. To some it was a detour, or pit stop to stretch out, but for me it was the first destination, the place where creativity and bravery met in a burst of colors.

Buen Camino, my friends!

Motivation Monday: I Got The Compass, Now I Created The Map

6 May

Vision boards. I think Oprah started this. I have no idea. I’d heard so much about them, both positive and negative. Positive being they inspire change and dream chasing. Negative in that they remind you of what you have yet to accomplish and that you’re so far off your mark.

Glass half full, half empty.

Undecided.

You send the vibe out there in the universe in hopes that it boomerangs right back at you and gives you the courage to keep taking steps forward. Manifest your destiny … that’s why you do it. Maybe clarity.

Maybe people do it as a reminder, too.

I was one of the few on Earth that had yet to make a vision board. I had goals. I had dreams. Still have them. I know what they are, didn’t think I needed a reminder. But I spoke to a buddy of mine and she felt so much excitement and energy talking about her vision board and how the dots were connecting, that I gave it a second thought.  And then a third. And then I jumped right in and did it.

Most people take care of this business on January 1st. Ready for the year with their resolutions and their dream map. I didn’t create a map, but I had my eye on the yellow-brick road and a compass in my hand. I knew my dream and my direction. I still do. But I never thought to map it out with pictures on a board, never thought to look at it occasionally or on a daily basis. But you put your kinetic dream energy out there and it re-energizes you.  It clarifies your vision and the universe helps conspire with those who dream. I always enjoyed that bit from the Alchemist. This whole vision board seemed like an Alchemist kind of thing to do.

It was something new. And I made a pact with myself to try something new every month. That was the deal. You can’t be in the same place you were 365 days ago if you try something new every month. And not just try for the sake of trying, I mean really give it some thought and give it 100.

So I did.

Last month, I dove into my try-something-new project, and created my first vision board.  I have to admit it was a little overwhelming narrowing down this inspirational epic masterpiece. But everything is a work in progress and I imagine I’ll keep tweaking it as the year goes along. But I finally have a starting point and it felt good to visualize my dreams. I wasn’t sure it would. I guess it all depends on your head space for the day. Is it going to be a positive uplifting catapult, or a I’m-not-there-yet-look-where-everyone-else-is-feel-crappy scenario?

Now I should have researched and found examples of vision boards before creating my own, but I didn’t. However I did find information on the layout, and maybe this is just one kind of flow. I learned that there’s a Feng-Shui flow to this layout, stuff that supposed to help optimize your energy.  There might be more out there. But this one worked for me and helped me get started.

There are nine categories or fields that people essentially put out there: Career/Life/Mission; Marriage/Love/Relationships; Family/Community; Prosperity/Wealth; Well-Being/Health; Helpful People/Travel; Children/Creativity; Knowledge/Self-Cultivation; and Social life/Reputation/Fame. Now when laying out my board certain categories had more weight than others, and my definition of some of these terms may be different than someone else’s. For example my board there was no need for fame, it wasn’t something I aspire to, but I do care how my family, my kids see me, what their perspective is on me. So while these categories helped narrow down some pictures, they also helped define terms that work for me and my road. Because I’ve got to remember, everybody has got their own lane, and I’m in mine, so I can’t freak out when someone else is speeding down their road. They got a different destination, and a different motor.

See the source image

So I’m curious … does everyone have a vision board and I’m the last one to have discovered it? What other ways are there to layout your dreams? Do you use a huge bulletin board, or an 8 1/2 by 11 inch notebook, or a shoe box diorama? What other kinds of layouts do people have?

The research continues …

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

I Don’t Have a Red Leather Jumpsuit …

30 Mar

I know what kind of storyteller I am, the behind-the-scenes kind. I like watching the reactions of people as they hear my words on stage, or as their eyes scan the page. I like the undercover nature of being a writer. No one sees you, but they hear your voice, and feel emotion.

But in this quest for keeping up with resolutions and being the better-best me that I can possibly be that Oprah continually encourages me to be, I’ve once again tried something new this year. For the month of March I’ve gone and done it. Something that would require me to take a deep breath.

Most of the pieces I submit are for magazines, online publications, or collection of short stories. I get rejected from all kinds of people. But I’ve never gotten rejected for the stage. It’s something I always thought about doing ever since I saw a buddy of mine perform on stage and totally kill it. She just owned that staged and rocked the house in that red leather jumpsuit with black trim and rhinestones. Red leather, it’s pretty powerful. People change their names when they wear stuff like that.

I don’t own a red leather jumpsuit, though. But that didn’t stop me. I saw the open call for stories and wondered about it for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t sure. I’m not dynamic on stage, although I can’t say for sure because I’ve never been on stage. But I thought … it might make me a better storyteller. It may bring out something new. So I went outside my comfort zone and put my name inside that big giant hat so the The Universe could pick me at random.

Microphone-Whealans1

🙂

I’m not sure if I’ll get chosen or not, but I put myself out there. I recorded a demo and hit send. They heard my storytelling ways and inflections. That makes me nervous. My voice sounds odd. I don’t think I can do the Top 40 Countdown, but I’d be fine doing a local podcast. I don’t have that cool-pleasant-sounding-DJ-sweet-Barry-White tone that makes the listener just melt. I have that Downtown, East Side sound. But it’s got personality and maybe that’s all right for storytelling. Maybe I’m better at print.

I like how my stories unfold and how people hear their own voice with my words and they turn the pages. However, there’s something about telling your own story and people hearing your voice and emphasis. I wasn’t sure. But I still took a chance on me, on being a stage storyteller for once, and right now my voice is being listened to by Big Cheeses and they’re thinking about it.

Either way my story will be heard. And it’s the kind of story that deserves a red leather jumpsuit, but I still don’t own one. I’ll wear my outfit, the one that may make me look like a college basketball coach. I’m comfortable in cotton blends, and black-and-white converse. But if I don’t get selected my story will still be out there. If not on stage, then in print, right here at The Wish Factor. Stay tuned …

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Nature’s Perspective

9 Jan

It just felt like the right place to start something, to catapult the new year. Not a huge dynamic turn of events, but a small shift that helped steer things in a new direction for positive change.

The Great Outdoors brings on a surge of rejuvenation and hope and so I thought climbing the tippiest of the top would be an inspiring goal for our little family. We are usually beach people and head to the warm sand and big waves with our boogie boards. We love how the ocean makes us new again.

But we tried something a little different this time.

We explored a different part of nature. It’s nothing we haven’t done before, we’ve been hiking. It’s just a new mountain and a new path.

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I thought it would be best to tackle something with a beautiful view and we could still see the ocean if the air was clear enough. It wasn’t the most excruciating uphill battle but it wasn’t easy either. Still a challenge for my little ones, but they were up for it. I was proud that they made it to the top. Not many kids enjoy climbing long windy roads, but they felt like reaching their goal was an important way to start 2019. They pushed themselves and raced the last 20 yards.

The view put things in perspective … there’s always something out there bigger than yourself, and it’s calming when you’re that far away. You see the beautiful that you can’t focus on when you’re up close.

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I’m not an avid hiker, but I enjoyed this adventure. Being out there and knowing we were starting the new year together felt good. Something to think about and smile when they got older … remember the time we hiked to the sign with mom? I’d like to think they’d call each other when they’re older and talk about it. It was easy hanging out with them. No pressure. No rushing. No arguing. Just hanging out, admiring the view, and appreciating the company.  The calm in-between conversations was a reassuring silence.

Everyone was out there that day, from big group of tourists, to a few friends, to couples, and dog lovers. We all had the same idea for this new 2019 beginning. Perspective from the tippy top to help our own state of mind. Nature is powerful in that way.

Mantras and Momentum on the Yellow Brick Road Journey

2 Jan

And so I saw it there in between the flowers and had a flashback to last year … the mantra written in seeds with a bright sunshine colored petal backdrop. It found me.

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My 2018 mantra

I feel like I started this marathon year with a sprinter mentality. I got tired around mile 19, but then picked it up in the home stretch. I feel like picking it up in the home stretch was important. That’s the kind of athlete I am.

Overall, I feel like my family lived with momentum, created it the best we could.

We took road trips, we explored The Canyon, tried new races, read more books, experimented with culinary adventures, listened to new podcasts, tried to be kinder, and emptied our tanks with whatever fuel we had left.  We had plenty of failures and journeys that went off course. I’ve mentioned this before, but as a parent I fail continually, on a weekly basis, but I still get out of bed. As I writer, I’m constantly failing, although that one takes me a little longer to shake off, but I do. Eventually, I get up.

We inspired ourselves. We didn’t wait for invitations, we made our own momentum and that helped make the year better than last. Ultimately, that’s always the goal, making things a little bit better than before.

So as I was browsing through the artistic displays of flowers on wheels I saw it. Another sign from the universe pushing me in the right direction.

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2019 Mantra

 

I don’t think we ever stopped living … I just think that sometimes we get busy and forget to take a minute. A minute for something joyful. To live life. Whether it’s on a quest for the best piece of pie or banana split, or traveling to explore unknown parts of nature, or reading a good book. Whatever the definition may be … for me trying something new once a month feels good for 2019. It’s something to look forward to, something that will inspire, something that will challenge, something that will bring me peace, something that will make me laugh, something that will teach me, or something that will help me grow, or something when I’m lost … something that will help me recover the person I was intended to be. Big moment, or small quiet one. Just something that feels like I’m spending my life, living it, recovering it, thriving on it.

Now just for a reality check, I’m not gonna go off and explore places I absolutely know I’m not gonna like, just to try something new. Like car shows. They’re great. I’m sure, but I’m not going to wake up at the crack of dawn to check out hot rods at a flea market. It’s just not for me. Eating olives. That’s just not for me. Hanging out at places like Chuck E. Cheese, because some other moms will be there, that’s just not for me. I’m at the point in my life where I pretty much don’t want to waste time on outings that I don’t find interesting in order to please other people, or have people try to like me. I came to that conclusion a long time ago. It was awesome.

So I’ll be looking for adventures to enrich my existence. Big or small.

That’s the mission for this year. That in combination with last year’s theme. You see, this yellow-brick road is hard. Dorothy forgot to mention that. But I’m on it. So anything that helps me thrive will keep being part of the journey.

Buen Camino my friends!