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Wednesday Storytellers

12 Jun

It’s not only the fact that it was an incredible story to begin with, it’s the fact that they were finally able to share it, and then tell it in a way where it made people care.

Bobby, Eddie, and David.

Three Identical Strangers.

I felt like this story could have been an episode of Law & Order. But unfortunately it was real.

Now I’m not giving anything away when I say it’s about triplets, who were separated at birth and then miraculously reunited by chance. That you see in the preview. But that’s not the most incredulous part of the story.

It’s the why?

Why did this happen?

The documentary uncovers the sick motives and reveals bit by bit how this impacted their lives and changed their trajectory, for good and for bad. It’s such a powerful story about abuses of power and harm that can come from separating families.

Documentaries, like this, catapult stories onto a stage so that truths can be revealed and action becomes a possibility. Change becomes a possibility.

I wasn’t big on documentaries growing up, and it wasn’t until college, when I took history that I discovered the power of this kind of storyteller. Documentary film makers find a piece of humanity and tap into it so that others can see, feel, and hear, the story. Then questions arise.

I’m not one of those people that celebrates the thousands of channels on television, because it only creates a massive amount of bad reality TV or just bad TV in general. But the one positive of all this expansiveness is that documentaries are more readily available. Streaming stories that I might not have been able to see in the theaters, helps broaden perspective, engage in community activism and gain empathy for struggles, and happiness for triumphs.

I’d had Three Identical Strangers on my watch list for some time. I vaguely remember them in the 80s even though they were on all the news channels and talk shows. I had no idea this was their story. But the sad part was that it wasn’t just them … this happens to so many siblings that it wrecks your heart at the damage that is done when separating kids. It’s not only emotionally damaging, it’s psychological as well.

Separating kids is a huge issue now, but the fact that there was something sinister behind all this makes it even more sickening.

I’m so glad this story exists. I’m glad the producers and director fought hard against the powerful to uncover the truth. The “what if” sickens me, which is why I salute all the documentary storytellers. It’s not always glamorous and filled with Sundance Festival awards. Sometimes the recognition doesn’t exist at all. But the fact that the film was made and the story was told, that’s an achievement right there.

Documentary film makers struggle to find ways to make it happen, but some of them find a way to make it down the yellow-brick road and succeed in shedding light on the human condition. This is such a good story, so if you have streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, or Hulu and I hope you get a chance to watch it.

Buen Camino, my friends

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I Was Grateful For The Whale … and For Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia

31 May

I walked in feeling like Jim Carrey in that movie Yes, Man.

Completely out there, saying yes to new adventures that I’d normally pass on just to hang out at home, relax, and catch up on my Netflix binge-worthy shows.

I like the comfort of hanging out at home.

But in an effort to keep my word, and continue creating my own momentum, ignite opportunities, and make life more interesting, this month’s new adventure involved the artistic side. The one I don’t tap into: Drawing and coloring.

I saw the workshop posted and channeled my inner Jim Carrey Yes Man and “yessed” myself into the class.

I rolled into the creative space and there they were the Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, Sophia and the rest of their crew … The Golden Girls.

This Adult Art Workshop wasn’t at all what I expected. In truth I didn’t know what to expect as I’d never taken an art class before. But I didn’t think I’d be hanging out with AARP members for an afternoon. See, I know some of those folks from my complex and neighborhood, and some of them aren’t very friendly. They get upset over the weather or wind chimes. They get burned out when you’re cheering for your team during the playoffs. They get antsy when the postman isn’t punctual. They give you the stink eye when you tell them to pick up their dog poop. They’re living their life and they’re not about to hear any sass.

So when I walked in, I thought it was going to be a complaining session and I would regret it sitting down.

However it proved to be a pretty interesting motley crew of stories about grandkids, sons, daughters, ex-husbands, cruise ship travel and Uber rides. I knew about Barbara’s kids not calling enough, about Sarah’s kids calling too much, about ex-husband Bob liking fried liver once a week for dinner, about grandkids being jackasses, about love escapades on cruise ships that would steam up any romance novel, and of Uber rides to the cardiologist office.

I’ve never been to a beauty salon or barber shop, but I imagine these ladies would be rocking that scene, like Steel Magnolias.

I mean they did not care who heard their business. They were having their Ya-Ya Sisterhood moment regardless of who else was in the room. It was pretty freeing. I went there expecting colored pencils, art, and that’s it. But it was surprisingly relaxing and calming to be hanging with these women and hear their stories while I colored my whale.

I didn’t say much the entire session, just chose my colors, nodded, smiled and kept listening. I liked the calmness of being surrounded by women who didn’t care what people thought. They were living their life, creating art, telling stories, and having a good time doing it. They didn’t look like they needed resolutions or to be on a Yes Man quest. That was how they rolled, regardless.

And I liked that vibe.

I walked out of there grateful I had shown up and appreciative of the reminders, the lessons, their presence and way of being taught me. I was grateful for my whale.

I think that sort of strength and comfort comes with age. Maybe from saying Yes to a lot of new experiences along the way, maybe when they were younger 🙂

Buen Camino My Friends!

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!!

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!

 

 

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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https://heavyeditorial.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/serial-cover.jpg?quality=65&strip=all                  See the source image

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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 …