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The Battle Between Writer vs. Fan Strikes Again

20 May

I stayed away from the internet until I had seen it all and digested it. I was at an emotional standstill. I always need more time when things end like that.

I’d been addicted to it just like I was with Breaking Bad, LOST, 24, The Wire, and Sons of Anarchy. Yeah. I’m talking about the Thrones.

Game of Thrones.

Every good show leaves a bit of longing for the characters. I’m saddened to see them go. Apparently people were pretty angry about the ending and how things unfolded. And if you didn’t see it and went online … forget it! The story was ruined.

I find that logging onto Facebook is a horrible idea. I can’t do that to myself after season finales. I can’t do that to myself in general. It’s bad for morale.

People’s opinions running rampant and how they would have named this person King or this person Queen, or how this person should or should not have died.

Someone always has to die in the end. It’s part of the story. If it makes for a heart-wrenching moment that crushes you, well then the writers did a GOOD job. That means you were invested in this character and in their life. You were drawn into the world they created and you were enjoying the ride. The writers made something from nothing and made you care so much about it that you got angry or sad (I mean, granted it was based on a book) but the writers helped create a story that mattered.

Now don’t get me wrong … I’m all for closure and not leaving things up in the air. Everybody hates that, it just cheapens the story and you feel like you were cheated out of something real.

But I’ve got to say, other than feeling a little rushed this season, I really enjoyed and sympathized with the characters. I’d always loved Jon Snow and Arya, and followed Danny’s story closely. These characters, along with Ned Stark, were my favorites. I rooted for them, and hoped for them. I’d gotten attached.

And while watching this amazingness of Game of Thrones, I was just reminded of how important the story is … story matters. Storytellers are important and being one is a good thing. I just have to keep going … and not get discouraged. Not everyone will appreciate your story or its ending, but that’s all right not everyone enjoyed the ending of GOT and it was one of the best shows ever.

The writers felt this was the best way to end it for these characters and as a fan I always struggle with those choices if I love the show and its characters. The battle between fan and writer. It strikes again. They battle between these two is fierce especially if there is a death at the end … and it’s someone I truly rooted for the entire journey. But in the end the writer in me edged out the fan because it was for the good of the story.

So? How was your season finale?

Burn Camino my friends!!

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The Morning After Pill

14 May

The laundry still needed to be folded, the dishes washed, and the kids carpooled.

It was one 24-hour day to be appreciated or at least take a moment and pause to appreciate myself. Stop and think … I’m doing the best that I can at every moment, and sometimes there’s nothing left in reserve. So I fizzle out and then fill up the tank when I can.

I was grateful to have gotten a Mother’s Day photo with everyone smiling. I was thankful to have spent it my way … watching my Boys in Blue win a game and to witness a grand slam. I didn’t let the small moments pass me by, I took a minute to enjoy them. All the little ones added up to something.

It wasn’t filled with amazing jaw-dropping glitter and glam, just good-time-and-noodle-salad moments that kept my heart full until the stars came out.

And then the sun rose and Monday showed up with all its Monday Madness. The whining of kids not wanting to wake up, the failure to listen when I ask them to do things the first time, and the rush-rush-rush of being on the go and getting where we need to get to on time.

It’s parenthood chaos that sometimes leads to migraines, which is then followed my the Mother’s Day morning-after pill … Advil.

Because migraines suck any time you get them.

But … I was O.K.

I didn’t feel beaten down. The wave of my awesome moments still sat with me and I continued to remember even 24 hours later, when the Mother’s Day spell is usually broken.

But I woke up with peace in my heart and purpose for the day. Today was Monday and I was good with that … no Advil today.

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.

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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!

 

 

He’s My Driving Force, Even When I Run Out of Gas

17 Apr

Every year I feel like I can’t do it, but then I remember my purpose, and it gives me strength to keep going. I find that as I get older, purpose becomes the driving force that sustains me through challenges. The stronger the purpose pulls at my heart the greater the force that drives me.

Success, wins, or goals feel empty if the purpose lacks substance.

I find that obstacle races and running breathe fresh air into my life and help return me back to center. Peace is my driving force, but this one race, every year, this one is for something bigger than myself.

The 63 stories, 1,393 steps I climbed at the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb was for my Dad, for what he represents to me, to my life, and to my kids. He was my purpose.

The thoughts of him holding my hand and walking with me out in the patio in our bell-bottoms when I was little, gave me strength to keep taking those steps. The thought of him giving me rides to school at 7 a.m. after he had finished his night shift, kept me going. The thought of seeing him clap for me as the basketball swooshed through the net at one of my games pushed me further. The thought of him being there for me even though he had his own dreams, and troubles, gave me strength to move forward when my body felt like breaking down. The thought of us being friends when I was older helped me reach the top when all my muscles just wanted me to stop. The thought of holding his hand in the hospital room and being the last one to talk to him, to see him alive, that made me teary-eyed as I caught my breath, kissed my fingertips and pointed to the sky. He was there when I reached the finish line.

He’s my driving force, even when I run out of gas.

It was tough this year. I say that a lot, but my aching knees definitely think that this year, the seventh year, was testing the limits. I mean before I even start, I always imagine the previous year and how difficult it was for me to reach the top, and I think it can’t be more difficult than that, but then I start the race and it is … it is more difficult, because I feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel every single year of my life in those bones and muscles of mine when I climb. It hit me when I saw the 20th floor sign, and I tried my best not to look at the signs as I ran up the claustrophobic stairwells, but sometimes there was no where else to look, but up.

My calves were burning, my legs felt weak and my chest heavy as I tried to breathe.

And then I grew even more exhausted because it was only 20. I had 43 more floors to go. And so I went, passing people sitting on steps, clinging onto the walls, and holding onto to handrails just trying to regulate their breath, trying just to make it. Getting to the halfway mark made me feel better I thought I was almost there, but my legs disagreed with me in the most volatile voice.

But I dug deep because it was for the one man that’d seen all my flaws and shine and loved me through it all the best way he could. I dug deep because so many friends, old and new, read his story and donated to the cause to help someone else’s Dad, someone else’s mom, brother, sister, son, or daughter. They made a difference in the lives of someone searching for a cure, someone trying to raise awareness, someone trying to breathe a better breath.

I made it to the stop and took a moment to hold onto that feeling, a moment to remember my purpose as I looked out at the city.

He was worth it. Every step. Every ice pack. Every rock of lavender Epsom salt that my muscles needed. Every bit of that Ben-Gay. It was Gatorade-Worthy.

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!

 

Podcasts … Making Dishwashing So Much Better

20 Mar

I’ve been washing dishes since the sixth grade … and it’s the chore that I hate the most. Gloves. No gloves. Lavender fragrant soap. Nothing has made this experience pleasant. The only thing that would have rocked would have been getting an actual dishwasher. But no space. So every day I wash. I didn’t think anything could make it better.

But then … Podcasts.

Some started ten years ago but just in the last couple of years I have uncovered these hidden bits of awesomeness that make washing dishes, scrubbing toilets, mopping floors, and driving in traffic so much easier.

I’m almost at the point where I’m out of control, but not quite. It’s still not at the writing-reviews-phase for every episode. I’m just a quiet fan who thanks the creators of these stories for making the mundane bearable. I mean I still hate washing dishes, with a passion, but at least I’m not completely miserable when I’m doing them and anything that makes this kind of improvement needs some form of recognition.

I enjoy podcasts so much I thought about starting a Podcast Club with some friends … like a book club, but for podcasts. People say and do things on podcasts that I immediately want to discuss because it’s made me crazy, but there are so many out there and people listen to series at their own pace that the idea might not work. But you never know … I’m thinking about it. Some people just stick to book clubs, podcasts might be a fad.

I mean, it’s not a new idea. This is what radio was back in the day, you know before television hit the scene. I mean podcasts are talk radio … 2.0.

But nevertheless they bring something new. Anyone can start one, and usually does. But the good ones create a space where I’m completely committed to the story that’s unraveling, and I can’t wait to hear what happens next. I’m hooked. And if you haven’t tried one yet because you’re not sure where to start no worries, with podcasts there is absolutely no guilt. You can turn it off in five minutes if it’s not for you. It’s not like a bad book, where you feel like, I started this and I have to finish it. You think it’s probably going to get better, and then it doesn’t, but you keep going because it’s a book and you’ve got the guilt and you have to finish it. Nope. Not here. You can switch it and move on.

The trick is picking something you’ll enjoy, something that’ll grip you. And they have something for everyone.

Me.

I’ve got a little podcast sampler set. I listen to a variety and I enjoy it.

I enjoy the fact that another avenue of storytelling opened up and people are discovering narratives that they would’ve never known. Compelling stories that need to be heard and finally someone putting it out there, someone taking a risk. These series effect change, at least the good ones do. You get to listen to multiple perspectives and voices, some that don’t have a platform that are finally being heard. Everyone listening. You get inspired. You get news. You get advice. You get stories.

You get pieces of peoples lives that may help you with your own puzzle and I think that’s what I enjoy the best.

So what are my top ten?

They change every couple of months as I discover new ones out there, but these series had me at hello …

 

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I have plenty that are on my list that I have yet to listen to, but there will always be dishes in the sink waiting for me, bathtubs to be scrubbed, and laundry to be folded so I’m sure I’ll be clearing my podcast list soon.

What about you? … Which do you recommend? Let me know as I’m always looking for some new ones to add to my imaginary podcast club.

Buen Camino, my friends.

 

Alive … Alive in Wet Sweatpants

13 Mar

From what I can remember … it’s only the third time I’ve peed in my pants.

Laughing and jumping rope sort of get things started. But it’s not a full-blown-change-your-pants-kind-of situation. Although it happens to a lot of moms. But near-death experiences seem to result in the change-of-clothes situation for me.

I blame it on coconut shavings from the Pinkberry toppings counter and baby carrots, and the fact that it’s dangerous for me to eat these things when I’m alone. Apparently it’s not safe for me to do so, and I certainly can’t do it while I’m walking upstairs either.

Life lessons. They’re important. Chewing is important.

It’s been proven as I had my life replay in slow motion because I’ve lacked perfecting this skill still.  Kodak snapshots coming into focus like Polaroids ran through my mind today as I gasped for air. I busted down the bedroom door like the leader of a S.W.A.T. Team gesturing for my napping mother to smack my back. I didn’t mean to scare the crap out of her, but I did. I tried to assure her that I was all right, I just needed her to smack me because gasping for air is no joke.

Carrots, like the coconut shavings on top of Pinkberry frozen yogurt, can go down the wrong way and block your windpipe or whatever tube allows you to breathe. Thus leaving you pondering about your life while someone is slapping you on the back.

After a couple of minutes, which felt like the longest minutes in this time-space continuum, I spit, I coughed, I peed, and then I spit some more until the airway cleared up.

It was scary for a minute there, and it was something that had people concerned. But once I caught my breath, a huge wave of relief filled me up.

I wasn’t dying.

Not today anyway.

Just needed to change my pants.

The force of my coughs was so powerful, the will for me to get air was so strong that it overpowered my bladder and just emptied it out. And I laughed, because it was funny. And because I could breathe.

I was alive.

Alive in wet sweatpants and that’s all that mattered.

I wasn’t looking for the meaning of life afterward, or anything like that, but I was in a deep state of gratitude for being able to get through that one. I was grateful to have hugged my kids that day, grateful that my mother was hear to smack my back, grateful that I have a strong will to survive, grateful that I remembered pieces of happiness in my life and knowing full well that I wanted more of them, grateful that I was grateful.

I remembered my most recent moment of zen and I took a deep breath. It was a good image to remember, has a funny adventure attached to that picture but that’s a story for another day … today … today I share the picture that brought me zen in my wet sweatpants, so I share it with you and hope it brings you good vibes.

 

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Hiking brings you Zen moments sometimes.

 

Buen camino my friends!

Letting Go

6 Mar

30 Days.

What the hell?

It was a completely unintentional a 3-hour-tour-Gilligan’s-Island disappearance on my behalf. I had no idea where my motivation fell off the ship, but with the help of The Professor and MaryAnn and rest of the S.S. Minnow Crew I’m able to tap away at the keys again.

It might have been the fact that our family kept up our New Year’s Resolution and tried something completely new that inspired this post and sent me on the most anxiety-mom-crazed-roller-coaster ever. Feelings like that tend to spur inspirational writing moments.

Growth is what people call it. Parenthood, I guess.

Our new adventure last month?

Away From Home.

Letting go.

Normally my people don’t do sleepovers. It’s something that I hear other families talk about and moms share stories over the preparations, fun times, and lack of sleep. But us?

Nope.

Unless it’s family, my kids have never slept over anyone else’s house. Aunts’. Grandma’s. Cousins’.  If you’re not a blood relative my kids were not sleeping over your place. Their Dad and I are both on the same page with this. And I don’t know what it is, but for some reason we’re just like this and we’re O.K. with it.

That was until the annual Fifth Grade Outdoor Science School field trip where everyone in the fifth grade goes away for three nights and four days, accompanied by teachers and parent chaperones. My son was excited to go. Looking forward to this all year. All. Year. And then neither their Dad, nor I got selected to be chaperones.

Duuuuuuuuuuude.

Huge dilemma for me. BIG.

For most people this was an easy decision. But I struggled with it for weeks. Now I didn’t want to be that crazy parent … the one… that didn’t let her kid go on this trip. I didn’t want to be that one, where the kid is on lockdown and never experiences anything because the overprotective parent is watching them like a hawk and protecting them like SuperMan everyday. I didn’t want to be that parent. Even though every fiber of my being was like nope, you just CAN’T let him go. You can’t. You can’t!  

But I didn’t want to be that parent. I know that with the best intention they have sometimes this kind of parenting does more damage than good. I know this. I do.

His Dad and I discussed it.

And I opened the gates.

It’s been the hardest thing I had to do as a parent so far. First time ever.

Let go.

It felt like the first time he went to preschool or kindergarten and I was that parent peeking through the fence, making sure that one kid didn’t push my kid off the tricycle. That was me. I had flashbacks. But I let go.

Letting Go

🙂

 

He was so excited when we gave him the news that he could go. I got that thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-thank-you-hug-you-so-tight hug. His sister was not that thrilled as they’re pretty close buds. And me? I was wrecked with anxiety and filled with summer camp 80’s movies and wondering if some jackass kid would scar my kid for life. Other moms seemed to have it so together, while I was losing it inside.

When the day came, we walked to the front of the school and waited. All I wished for was positive vibes and good things. I hugged him goodbye, waved as the bus drove off.

I felt the ugliness in the pit of my stomach and hoped for the best.  His sister was having a hard time with it, although I put on my Mom face and told her everything would be fine and he would get the secret letter she put in his sleeping bag and he would love it and be fine.

After she fell asleep, I completely lost it.  I felt like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption the last night Andy Dufrane was there. One of the longest nights of my life.

The next morning I realized I’m completely unprepared for when he leaves for college. I’m gonna be a complete wreck. Sobbing. Weeping. Heartbroken. I can totally imagine it. It’s going to be a disaster and this in no way prepared me. Sure I wasn’t that parent that kept her kid home and deprived him of an awesome learning opportunity, I wasn’t keeping him locked away from the world. I know he has to grow and learn and get beat up by life a little bit. But inside I soooooooo wanted to be that parent.

It was a serious internal struggle.

And in the midst of this internal battle and complete breakdown he came back early. Snowstorm in the mountains. Freak storm closing down the roads forced them to come home earlier than expected. Gone just two days instead of four.

I felt like an idiot afterward, just two days. But the anxiety was real, the worry was real, the stress, the emotions. I was battling my Motherhood worst-scenarios and he came back smiling and full of hugs.

Best hug ever.

He was disappointed that the trip ended early but grateful that he at least got the chance to go.

I ended up being NOT that parent, but I struggled every minute of it. I’m gonna need some advice from the parents out there about letting go, because I know I’m gonna have to do it again and I know I’m not prepared for it. I might be better at it the next time it comes around but I’m for sure not going to be emotionally prepared for it.

The college years will be here before I know it and that part of Parenthood is going to suck. But I guess until then I’m gonna make sure to instill lessons of strength, empathy, kindness, responsibility, resourcefulness, and humor. If I’m missing something I’m probably gonna pick it up along the way, but veteran parents out there feel free to let me know.

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!

 

 

 

 

He Was That Starfish Kid …

30 Jan

I felt a little twinge in my chest as I walked away and got in the car — that sharp pain in the chest that never seems to go away. It gets less debilitating with time, but never really goes away. And there it was … as I looked at the sunset there it was … the pain of losing your Dad. It just sits there.

I know it’s not supposed to be painful anymore, but I have my moments — the kind where you get real quiet because if you start talking about it, you’ll probably break down and lose it on the spot. I still have those. No one told me that I’d still have those. But it happens and then all I can do is be grateful that I had all those moments with him, that he was my Dad, and that I can still remember little bits and pieces of him.

Like how he shaved with old school blue Gillette disposable razors on a daily basis and how the living room smelled of musk aftershave long after he’d gone. Like how he tuned into the local jazz station because he found it relaxing on the drive home. Like how he’d probably be wearing a Los Angeles Rams football hat all week because the SuperBowl is coming up and he remembered when Jim Everett used to be the Rams starting quarterback. Like how he’d grind his own coffee beans at home and brew a fresh pot for himself right after dinner and then have no problem sleeping at night.

Today was a big day of memories. He would have been 71 and I was missing him so much that I fought the tears during the pockets of time throughout the day. Just sitting there and emotions just hit me.

But there was something that made me smile.

Something new I could share with my kids, something to keep coloring in the fading picture of their grandpa.

As I was reading a book to my daughter the other day, I came across this passage about starfish …

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I was like … that’s him. That’s what he was like. That’s what I hope I’m like. That’s what I hope you’re like.

You see, I know I’m my father’s daughter, and I’m hoping to pass some of that awesomeness along to my own kids.

So when they read the story, I waited. And then there it was … I knew what they both thought when their smiles came out. They smiled with their eyes. And I knew they got it.

That’s how papa was, and you know what, I think that’s how you’re gonna be.

Bigger smile.

I was grateful for that moment today. Glad that I found that one to sustain me all day, the one that would help pull out the rest of the memories, because that story right there, that one helped me picture it and picture him. And it helped my heart hurt less. It helped when I mixed up the batter for his chocolate cake. It helped when I whipped up the buttercream frosting. It helped when I sang happy birthday to him and blew out the candle. It helped because he was in my life and he did make difference.

Happy Birthday Pops. I miss you with everything I got.

Buen Camino …