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Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday

21 Aug

Sometimes seeing old friends helps you remember who you used to be.

And the music that blasted through with The Weekend Top 40 with Casey Kasem hits you with a kaleidoscope of memories filled with your Nike Cortez days and TrapperKeepers in that JanSport backpack. As is with everyone these days, it’s been difficult to see people and old friends. But sometimes you find moments where it can happen. You make every effort to be cautious, get outdoors, and you get some sense of good vibes that can carry you.  

Visiting with someone that knew you way back when brings out your highlight reel and you start to think back of where you were in your life and who you used to be back then. Sometimes those are good memories, other times they may not be, depends. But this particular meetup made me think about how this person contributed to my growth as a person and that meant a lot, especially if you just want to go and say thank you to someone for making such a positive impact. She knew me during both difficult and positive times, and made life better.

I hoped she would remember all those times, but it may have been difficult considering she was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was sad to hear that happened to my old coach, my mentor. I know she was looking forward to retirement and traveling with her family, enjoying the rewards of all her hard work. But this major curve ball got sent her way and it hit me in the pit of my stomach. 

Don’t know if she’d remember all the pieces of advice she gave me on and off the court, the lessons in leadership, the lessons during a loss, during season-ending injuries, during wins, during championships and of course beyond school and into the “real world”. She wouldn’t remember coaching us and everything she contributed. That’s the part that made me sad. She was such a big part in everyone’s life and here she was sitting a few feet away unsure of what the future would bring now that she’d have to live with this new life, different from what she imagined.

I don’t know how fast it will progress but I hoped for the best, I hoped for her memories to last a little bit longer. That’s what I wished for her as a sat there looking across at her and I reintroduced myself. I wanted to talk to her but didn’t want to overwhelm her with too many memories. Too much too soon. We all took a beat to slow it down. 

I stopped thinking of what she might lose and just tried to talk to her and make her smile. Enjoyed the conversation that everyone was having, picked up on the bits and pieces of their lives, and found comfort in taking a trip back to the past. Talking about old times and cracking up at our old ways and old game stories. Thanked her for being able to come, just to see her and get a chance to talk to her. I know she probably changed the lives of many girls, girls who grew up to be leaders, teachers, mothers, CEO’s, coaches, or writers.  I drove off hoping that she’d remember today and even if she didn’t remember all the details of the conversation, maybe at least she’d remember the feeling of being there and the comfort of knowing that she inspired so many people to become better versions of themselves. And being there reminded me of who I used to be and who I wanted to be. It was a good feeling. A good flashback, followed by a good soundtrack. 

Buen Camino …

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The Romantics — What I Like About You

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Technotronic — Move This

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Los Hermanos Flores — La Bala

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Rob Base — It Takes Two

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UB40 — Here I Come Baby

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Feel Good 5 Friday … Cut-and-Paste

2 Apr

I know that people do that with emails when sending out resumes, your cover letter is the same, but you just tweak it a little bit to make it more detailed to the company. The cut-and-paste. It’s the most convenient tool. Saves you time when you just need to get that letter out.

And sometimes I get that general text message at Christmas time from people … Hey Merry Christmas hope you’re having a great holiday season, from Janette. That’s normal. She wants to wish everyone on her phone and Merry Christmas without typing out every message. Mass text. I get it. People smile.

But what’s up with an I miss you text like that?

My friend recently asked me if I had gotten one of those before, if someone had cut and pasted me via text. I said yeah, probably, most of them for funny pictures, links to Youtube or stuff like that. She mentioned that her friend, she hadn’t seen for over a year, had sent her a, I was thinking about you, hope the girls are doing well, we miss hanging out with you guys, especially our trips to Wine Country where our families got close, so many laughs, you’re one of our closest friends hope you’re doing well.

I asked her since when did she have two girls? She said since never. Just always the one boy. She said the beginning of the message was addressed to her with specifics about her hospital work but the body of this text didn’t apply to her. Apparently they had never gone to Wine Country together and she didn’t know how to respond. 

Cut-and-paste.

I told her not to worry about it. I had friendships come and go, super close for a few years and then they’d move jobs, get boyfriends, or have kids of their own and I’d hardly see them. Growing apart and then just saying final goodbyes. She said the cut and paste was crappy and hadn’t expected it. I told her she probably cut and pasted me and who knows maybe I had no idea. But sometimes people surprise you and you realize maybe you weren’t as close as you thought, or just maybe call her on it and say hey you know I still just have the one kid, appreciate you saying hello but what was up with your text. 

I don’t know, maybe it’s because we’ve all been in isolation and that’s why it had a bigger impact on her and I wasn’t seeing it. But I said maybe the universe is making room on your plate for something better, something different and you sit with it for a minute, deal with it, and then brush it off. The isolation and quarantine has served some purpose, and that’s just clearing out your plate from unnecessary time wasters. Surround yourself with people who prop you up, people who encourage you and make you laugh. People who write a text message just for you.

Sometimes the cut-and-paste is great, like on a mixed tape, or the DJ’s scratching a record back in the day. That cut-and-paste was great for my dancing spirit.

Don’t know how the advice panned out, but I felt like I imagine I’ll be more mindful of the cut-and-paste. I mean dude, if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend and they cut and paste you … c’mon now, easy decision. But the rest of us take it on a case by case basis because everyone has a bad day. Until then, buen camino.

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Stars on 45

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Banda Zeta — Nina Fresa

Gigolo Tony — Smurf Rock

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Madness — Our House

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Karyn White — The Way You Love Me

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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

We’re In This Together … Sort Of

18 May

So finishing week five and six of distance learning with the kids and I’ve come to understand one thing … we’re all in this, but not together.

I’ve learned that acquaintances are not that great during a pandemic.

There’s nothing wrong with that, acquaintances serve a different purpose in your life. Sometimes company while you’re waiting for a ride, sometimes chatting about the downfalls of your home team, sometimes moaning about the daily parenthood grind, sometimes high-fiving each other when your kids hit a double, or score a goal, or sometimes they serve up interesting stories to pass the time. Everything remains on the surface.

But it doesn’t go beyond that.

Once school finishes, once the season is over, once you move onto another job, the acquaintanceship is done no hard feelings. You expect it to run its course. And sometimes through these acquaintances a true friendship forms, and you get to know each other better. Things develop and a genuine bond forms that lasts more than the school year, or work schedule.

Now prior to this Covid-19 I had a set of friends and a set of acquaintances. I thought I knew where each one stood in this Venn Diagram of life. But apparently pandemics seem to shed light on a lot of matters. They highlight what was already there. One-sided relationships, good friendships, and acquaintances. It was there you must not have been paying attention. Your focus was off.

During this pandemic I knew the acquaintances would disappear. In crises you count on friends. That was expected. I thought one or two might cross over to the other side, but wasn’t surprised when it didn’t happen. Like if I had a flat tire and didn’t have AAA, I probably wouldn’t call any of them for help.

But what did surprise me was that a few of the people that were in the friends column ended up going over to the acquaintance file.

Apparently I had served my purpose of comic relief.

I was surprised.

I thought since I had known them for over 10 years and that we shared moments, family stories, and drama I thought we were under the friendship column. I had gone way passed superficial chatter.

I know everyone handles crises differently and everyone is concerned with work, family, and loved ones. There’s stress and strain affecting every relationship. But friendships matters. They keep you sane, and give you an outlet, give you someone to lean on and lets someone lean on you.

I’ve learned that I’m a really good friend and that sometimes people’s plates are at capacity no matter how good of a friend you are … they’re just not that into you. They’ve got what they’ve got. Their plate is full.

And so you let go, just like you did with others.

They’ve got friends that provide something that they need and that’s okay. It happens in phases. From college, to the workforce, to marriage, to parenthood. Each stage a couple come with you, a couple leave, and then you gain a few new ones.

Hakuna Matada.

And now a new phase. The pandemic.

People focus on what is essential … things that make them happy, keep them going, give them a smile, make them laugh, and keep them strong. Sometimes that’s family. Sometimes that’s your kids. Sometimes it’s a good book. Sometimes it’s a favorite show. Sometimes it’s music. Sometimes it’s art. Sometimes it’s your writing buddies on WordPress. Sometimes it’s exercise that keeps you sane.

And sometimes it’s friends, but not acquaintances. Friends get phone calls, and reply to text messages usually within 20 minutes, unless driving is involved. Acquaintances get text message and reply 24 hours later, maybe. And sometimes no call back at all.

We’re in this together… sort of.

So call your friends 🙂 they might have become someone else’s acquaintance so they’d like to hear from you. They might be going through job loss, family stress, anxiety, health issues, loneliness, or distance learning with kids allllllll day.

Buen Camino my friends!

Not Everyone is Worthy of a Purple Velvet Couch …

6 Jul

I stopped to appreciate the coolness of it all. I’d never seen someone so out of their element look like they were in charge. Confident. They had that Fonzie swagger.

At first I thought they were plastic, decorative statues to bring more funk to this older gentleman’s car, but no … there they were hanging out on the back of a classic Dodge during an American Graffiti Friday Night vibe at the local burger joint. All the classic cars were on full display, but these iguanas were cooler than any 67 ride parked out front.

And the thing is I think they knew they were the new kids on this block, but they were being themselves … relaxing and observing every passerby. These iguanas didn’t need anyone’s approval or love, but they got it. They sat there checking out the seen and keeping their fixed stare on anybody who chose to stare at them back.

I don’t know if their home houses those sweet purple velvet couches or logs with leaves, but I’m sure they lounge on those chairs on a daily basis, chit-chatting about when the Geico lizard will come over go a visit.

The awesomeness these iguanas exuded in an environment that wasn’t their own made me think about my son. You see, he was having a hard time with a friend that wasn’t being very friendly, but my son continued to try to include himself in this boy’s life, assuring me that there was no reason why this kid wouldn’t like him. Maybe I was mistaken, he suggested.

But as group hangouts and play dates increased I felt my son was off the mark. So I had a little chat with him … I explained to him that not everyone was going to be smart enough to know what an amazing, and cool friend he was, but that didn’t mean he had to let himself believe what they believed about him.

“You be yourself,” I said. “People will like you for you, I know you want to hang out with certain kids but sometimes it’s best to take your friendship and walk away. The fact that they don’t want to get hang out with you is their loss. You know you’re an awesome dude. You’re like an iguana.”

That seemed to confuse him. He didn’t know what I was talking about. So I showed him the picture. I explained that they might not have been in their own environment, and were surrounded by people they didn’t know, but they didn’t care. They were themselves, hanging out with their real buddies, they didn’t care that people were watching, to which he answered if they were themselves they’d be in the rainforest. And I don’t think these are iguanas, they’re lizards.

And I laughed.

Maybe they were hanging out this way in the rainforest or desert or wherever. Nobody can make them stay posed that way this long. Maybe they were purple velvet couch lizards and didn’t know it yet.  Maybe this is more comfortable than the branch or cactus that sticks in them in the back. Maybe purple velvet is their jam. They sit there and they don’t care, they know they’re awesome in every way and if you want to hang out with them, take pictures with them, find out more about them then cool, if not then it’s your loss. The lizards don’t care. They hang out regardless.

“Not everyone is worthy of a purple velvet couch. But I think you can definitely own one.”

“I like green.”

“I know. You would rock any color.”

 

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

Comfort in Milk & Pepsi

6 Feb

I wanted just a moment to myself. Most of the time I have to wake up at the crack of dawn or wait until the middle of the night to have these little escapes. I’ve learned that they’re necessary every couple of months. I just need to tag out.

Luckily I had some relatives in from out of town who were willing to babysit, and I was able to recharge my sense of self. Sometimes I have to go back to the time of bell-bottoms and schlamiel and schlamazel my way to Zen.

It was a great renewal moment … and it took me back to a time where I hung out on the fluffy chocolate brown living room couch,  and got lost in a cool friendship with laughter along  way.

It was the first time I had ever thought to try Milk & Pepsi. The combination had never occurred to me before. But I mean if it was Laverne’s favorite drink, I haaaaaaaaad to have it. However, I was disappointed to learn that it wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped because Laverne DeFazio was one of my favorite people growing up but apparently Milk & Pepsi is an acquired taste..

There I was in the living room watching Laverne & Shirley and thinking if I was in Milwaukee I’d probably share a slice of pizza and go bowling with them. They make me laugh. And so when I heard that they would be having a Laverne & Shirley marathon at a theater in town in order to celebrate the anniversary of their first show, I jumped at the chance to be a part of something like that.

It’s not a big deal to some people, just a TV show, but back in the day this show was a fun show about the lives of two strong, young women and the strength of their friendship throughout all their adventures. Penny Marshall was something awesome and when she passed away last year I was really heartbroken to hear the news. I’d remember her awesome directing with Big and A League of Their Own, but watching her as Laverne DeFazio was a great memory growing up. I felt a piece of my childhood drift off when she passed.

But I got a chance to relive some of the good-feel vibes when I heard about the Laverne & Shirley marathon. My aunt was visiting and she offered to watch the kids so that I could escape to the theater and catch a couple of episodes. Naturally I couldn’t do the entire 12-hour marathon, but I did catch some classics.

The theater was full of like-minded Laverne & Shirley enthusiasts I had never met before, and I was glad to have made it. There was an unspoken camaraderie among us, as we watched the episodes and laughed. I rekindled moments of funny from my childhood that felt good, moments of laughter during their friendship, moments of myself as a kid, sitting on the chocolate brown couch and thinking I had a friend just like that in my life. I found the moment-of-the-day and tried to hold onto to as much as I could, sitting among a community of people who felt the same connection. And I felt comfort. I felt comfort sitting there within this community. It brought me joy and laughter. Again.

It was a good break … good Zen. Milk & Pepsi recharged my batteries. And I’m sure there are shows out there that people remember and think back on with smiles. Shows that they’d sit through a marathon for … Shows that give you comfort.

Here’s hoping you find them.

 

Buen Camino, my friends!

 

 

 

 

Goodbyes …

3 Apr

It was like the ending of the Breakfast Club, but without the cool music.

Although we deserved it. We deserved all that good 80’s music.

A buddy of mine recently decided to graduate and move onto bigger and better things. Packing up her bags and setting her sites on new adventures, a Guardian of the Galaxy type of quest. The very next week, I find out that an amazing blogging buddy of mine Cayman Thorn over at Drinks Well With Others has decided to close down the bar for a while and live his life to the fullest, blog-free, although he promises to check in from time to time.

This double whammy made me think of all the other buddies I’ve lost to the follow the-yellow-brick road journey. Sometimes it’s slow, losing touch is like that. Some relationships were meant to be novelas in length, others short stories. Both deeply meaningful, both leaving their mark.

But both saying good-byes in different ways. I’ve had buddies say so long with a big dinner, speech, scrapbook maybe even Facebook promises. And then others, like my buddies in the blogging world, some disappearing slowly with less and less posts until there are no more and others leaving you with one last farewell story, the kind that involves a pause … a moment.

Both departures made me think about the positives I got from each encounter. The laughs over corny jokes during traffic on our way to meet friends for Saturday morning brunch, or the boosts in confidence after reading his comments on one of my many stories. Both buddies made me laugh, both made me feel good about being myself, and both of them were just awesome people I was glad to have met. After the bummer-you’re-leaving shock slowly wore off, I was hoping they had some good memories of our conversations and outings as well. I was hoping I gave as much as I received. I was hoping I made them laugh when they needed one, gave them a high-five when they felt like they fell short, and brought them sunshine when it storming down on them.

I was hoping they learned something from my friendship as I had learned from theirs. That’s something they don’t really teach you when you’re growing up. That after a break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or after a friend moves to a new city or new endeavor, it’s still a loss. But one that ended on a positive note. Nothing hateful or worrisome or ugly about losing a friend to something better, something they were looking for, something on their yellow-brick road. You feel a twinge of hurt because they’re leaving but also a warmth in your heart, because they’re on their way. You feel like Red at the end of Shawshank Redemption. At least this was how I felt.

So in honor of their new beginnings I write this post for them and for all the other buddies that have moved on and set their sights on a new city, a new adventure on their way to something different, something bigger, something that gives them purpose. For Lame Adventures, Blissful Adventurer, 50 Year Project, BrickHouse Chica, The Strugglers Handbook, Mikalee Byerman, This Man’s Journey, Chica Writes, Apple Pie & Napalm, Alicia, Monica, Sandy, Lisa, Clara, The Other Lisa, Vicco, Jonathan, Doc, Talia, Rizza, Jarre, Anthony, and Patty

Buen Camino, my friends wishing you luck! I’ll be here if you change your minds and want to hang out.

 

 

Awkward and Messy Isn’t For Everybody

2 Jul

I was in the middle of a conversation with someone I considered to be my friend when it occurred to me … well … maybe they’re not that close of a friend.

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Maybe they’re not worthy of the awkward and messy parts of me, because when I gave it to them they judged me … and it was a turn off. I think I’m a pretty open person, private about some things, but pretty open about failures, obstacles, and successes. The longer I know somebody, the more I let them in. I think some of my writing buddies here got to know different parts of me if they’ve stuck around for a while, conversations and comments being exchanged and all builds a camaraderie. You get to find out what we have in common and we make a connection.

And we build from there. I build trust. I thought I had.

It’s good to have a friend that tells you the truth, you need a friend like that during hard times and good times. But you also need a friend you can trust, someone that sees the awkward and messy and broken down parts of you and doesn’t judge you.

It’s the tone in their voice and the words that they use, it’s when they place you in a category that’s not you, and you think to yourself … how weird that after all this time they don’t know you … they’ve been around you and you hung out for the last decade, you’ve shown them all of you, and when you needed an ear, it turned out they weren’t listening but projecting their own issues on you and judging you at the same time.

It was weird … in the middle of the conversation I found out that we weren’t that close to begin with, and I guess that’s all right. I finished my salad and sandwich and didn’t speak much about my concerns or current issues. I just listened to hers and then ended the lunch with a good-bye wave.

Sometimes people are on the acquaintance level and never move up, even when you’re brave enough to show your imperfect parts and are in need of a friend to lean on … sometimes they’re not the right listener and you find out the hard way.

And that’s all right, that just means you narrowed down your circle of trust and they’re not in it. But the people that are … they get you. And most of all you get you.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Partners

30 Jun

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🙂

 

Sometimes you have to consult your partners to find the perfect Lego.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post

 

 

I Wish I Had Lost My Keys Instead …

4 Mar

It seemed like such a big deal at the time. Anxiety building and blood pressure probably rising, getting mad at a pair of shoes because they happened to be in my line of vision.

I was in a rush. I was frustrated, and irritated, and damning everything, and slamming everything in an effort just to find them.

I was in rush to go somewhere, probably being a taxi service to my kids for some event and the loss of my keys was stressing me out, transforming me into The Hulk. For nine minutes I frantically searched and finally found them underneath the couch cushions of course.

Relief set in just as the anxiety escaped.

It felt like a big deal at the time  — being late– as if it said something bad about me, as if it was a pattern in my life, as if the people we were meeting  or the place I needed to be at wouldn’t have cut me some slack. But the thing is now as I’m thinking about it I can’t even remember what is was for, I can’t remember the importance of it at all.

But it felt big.

Until last week, when I actually lost a friendship, not to sickness or anything tragic like that. Just lost them to the hustle of life.They had caught  me on the blindside and I wasn’t prepared. How could I be? I know I had briefly mentioned it the other day but didn’t go into heavy detail.

I had called to catch up and I was genuinely interested in hanging out, but the reconnect wasn’t there. Felt like I was on an awkward first date on a failed Love Connection. The distance was present which made me a little sad because I valued our closeness, I valued our friendship and loyalty but it just wasn’t there anymore. We had fallen into acquaintanceship. We said our good-byes, gave each other our hugs, mine was whole the other felt like half, and then they said …

“I’ll call you later.”

At that moment I so wished I had lost my keys instead.

They had good intentions, but I knew they didn’t mean it, it was just something they said.

I know people grow out of friendships and that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. I know,  I just wished there was more sometimes and that people cared as much as I did.  But sometimes life happens and priorities shift and we’re all just trying to find our balance. Not to say that I don’t have friends that I haven’t seen for a while and when we get together the reconnect is instantaneous. I do and I love them, but losing a buddy to acquaintanceship is still hard. I wasn’t devasted but still just a little sad. Burned. Luckily Ben & Jerry’s can always help fix that.