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I Found Norman … or Stan at CVS

20 Oct

I didn’t think I’d find myself there, but after my visit to the doctor’s office, it was my only answer.

You see, this happens.

Getting older.

The gray hairs, I knew about that, I knew about BenGay in the joints, and ice packs on the aching knees, I knew, but dude … I am epically failing the aging process as my doctor mentioned I was severely lacking Calcium, and Vitamin D. In addition I need to beef up my core/ muscle workout and apparently I’m in need of Metamucil because I’m lacking the adequate amounts of fiber.

So there I was … at the CVS. I found myself in the Metamucil aisle and an elderly man, who looked like a Norman or Stan, just nodded at me as I took a moment to contemplate my fiber options.

40’s rock.

It took me a while to choose. I didn’t know fiber was that complicated, especially since I needed Psyllium in my supplement on account of elevated cholesterol levels. Yeah … I got that too. It was funny as we were running through my checklist of ailments when I said it …

“But I exercise five-six times a week. I eat healthy, nothing too excessive.”

I mean I eat egg whites, how is this my lifestyle now? My only problem is dark chocolate, milk chocolate any kind of chocolate really, but it’s not a daily occurrence. But apparently it could have been anyway because my sugar was a little high so I could have been breaking off pieces of it everyday! How is it that I found myself on aisle 6 looking through ingredients of my 4-in-1 supplement like I had any clue to its success.

When did I make a wrong turn?

Healthy is not supposed to have a to-do list at the CVS.

But it’s in the blood, just like my good looks. That cholesterol is in the blood. Both my parents had it. My uncle, aunt, cousin and grandpa all had or currently have diabetes. And everyone that’s retired is taking calcium supplements. It’s a great family tree.

The rest? The losing muscle?

That’s just the aging process. A friend of mine sent me a video she came across as she was conducting some research about bone loss. It happens, usually in 50’s or 60’s so I have something to look forward to along with my AARP membership. Just the Facts if Life, like Mrs. Garrett told Tooty, Joe, and Blair. Facts of Life include supplements.

Buen Camino my friends!

The Day Before …

25 Jul

There are a lot of things I know I’m not …

When I sit by myself at night, I know I’m not going to be as successful as my Dad or uncle. They grew up with absolutely nothing and became something by the time they were my age. They worked hard and reached for what they thought was big. I work hard and have yet to crack the surface.

I know I don’t measure up sometimes, but I’m not a quitter even though life gives me plenty of reasons to do so. I try my best and leave it all out there. I got my America Ninja Warrior grip on it and I’m holding on tight.

I know I’m not as happy as SpongeBob Squarepants but I’m not a bad person. I wake up everyday trying to empty the tank and be kind to people, even to those who are not always kind to me. I breathe and take moments, so I don’t speak out of anger. But I do get angry … at selfishness, deceit, hypocrisy, betrayal, and meanness. I get upset when people lash out, but don’t ask for forgiveness. They just pretend it didn’t happen.

I know I’m not very trusting of people, it takes a while before I can let my guard down. I’m protective. But once you’re in, I’m loyal and true for life.

I know I’m not always enthusiastic to talk to people I’m not familiar with, but I’m not cold. I’m heartfelt and caring. I give hugs and hold tight. I get sad when someone is hurting and try to comfort them with friendship, understanding, and kindness. But I do walk away from people who are jerks and are unkind and think it’s all right.

I know I’m not very forgiving of people who hurt me on purpose, or can’t bring themselves to say I’m sorry for doing something they knew was wrong. I don’t hold onto the anger though. I just let them go. Plus, I’ll always be the first to admit when it’s my fault and apologize if I was wrong or hurt someone.

I know I’m not always at 100, but I’m not a miserable person. I’m sad sometimes and people hurt my feelings, but I’m not spiteful when that happens. I’m just hurt, and I cry. I do my best to get out of the funk and not let it rent more space.

I know I’m not bitter. I have a good heart and it still smiles when things are hard. I still like to laugh. I look for the funny and practice gratitude. I’m a good friend and try to send out positive vibes. I try to pay-it-forward even though I may not have much.

I know I’m best-friend-less. I used to have one … the kind you call right away when something happens to you … the kind you share your hopes, dreams, and broken hearts with … the kind where you have inside jokes … the person that gets you without judgement … I used to have one but lost them, we’re no longer close. But I still have my kids and we share plenty of good-time-noodle-salad moments, and old and not-so old friends, who give me SuperSoul Sunday feelings.

I know I’m not a successful writer, but I’m a good storyteller, who keeps reaching for the stars even though I stand alone.

I know I’m not a morning person, but I still make pancakes and enjoy the peace of the sunrise … even in pajamas. I feel morning starts after the sun wakes up and not before.

I know I’m not who I thought I was going to be when I grew up, but I’m still trying to get there, even when everyone else I know has reached the finish line.

I know I’m not perfect. I’m broken and scarred, chipped and faded. But I put myself together with crazy glue … I’m a work-in-progress and think I’m still flawesome.

I know I’m not a lipstick-high-heels type of girl who gets the double-look when she walks by, or dawns covers of magazines. I’m the Chapstick-under-the-radar type who wears t-shirts and jeans, likes sports and travel, even though most of my travel in recent years have been staycations. I’m the best-friend in a romantic-comedy who people realize ‘she was the one all along’.

So … on the day before my birthday I know these things I’m not. And I try not to listen to those who want to focus on negatives and highlight the things I am not, but I pay attention to the things that I am.

Sending you sunshine and waves … Buen Camino my friends.

Bob Ross Would Have Been Proud

21 Jun

Sometimes it’s a sigh of … am I ever gonna get there? Other times it’s a smile that creeps up because the feel-goods take over and I see the possibilities.

I keep looking at my vision board on a daily basis and see the pictures and hope I had for myself at the beginning of this 2019 journey. I’m reminded, another day, another set of possibilities. And sometimes when the day ends I’m not always a step closer to the goal, and sometimes that’s a real bummer.

But when I get a chance to keep the promises I made to myself, the frustration of not reaching certain goals fizzles out. Knowing that I’m keeping my word and committing to new experiences adds substance to my life and keeps the momentum going. Doing something different, something new once a month  provides me with comfort at the end of the day that I’m doing whatever I can to be better than I was yesterday. I’m trying to keep the Yes, Man on a roll because these are avenues I can control and it finally feels like something is going my way. 12 months. 12 new somethings. And number six was pretty cool.

It comes at a time when I desperately needed a turnaround.

As rejections kept floating in, I enjoyed this new artistic experience that put me in touch with artists and their visions. I’d never been to a chalk festival. It was one of those I’ll-get-around-to-it-one-day adventures … and the day finally came. And I was so glad.

 

I got lost in the color, skill, and imagination of all these murals. My intention was to see them create, see what they came up with, and I left feeling inspired to jolt myself passed the slump and find creative awesomeness. They start with nothing absolutely nothing and they come out with these incredible works that make you pause. The talent made you stop, just to admire the hard work. Feeling the artists’ vibe helped get rid of some of the funk that often comes with the lows of writing when the highs are not really working its magic.

It gave me something to look forward to as an independent artist. It helped to know that alternate platforms can also bring you closer to your goals. People discover your art in unexpected places, just have to keep getting the courage to put it out there. At the end of the day I was glad I kept my word, my resolution promises. This new chalk festival adventure helped align my perspective, and appreciate the mural artist even more than I already do.

I think Bob Ross would have been proud.

Buen Camino, my friends!

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

Recovery Mode

17 Dec

I knew exactly what he meant … it clicked without having to wait that moment that thoughts need to take in order to register.

It was instant.

I had it.

“We recover the person we were intended to be … ” Russel Brand.

Nuggets of enlightenment just headed my way through the airwaves of a random podcast and knowledge being dropped by an unexpected dude. I’m not a huge fan but I thought Forgetting Sarah Marshall was pretty funny. Other than that I didn’t really  know much. I don’t pay much attention to celebrity gossip. That kind of useless stuff irritates me. So when I heard this life quote I stopped and had to listen to the rest. This was going to be about substance, not fluff.

The topic was addiction but the information was about life.

I was glad to have found it.

I needed that little push.

You see, these multiple sabbaticals during the last couple of months bring about different perspectives on creativity. I mean after a crazy number of rejections in such a short amount of time a moment of unintended pause takes place. Weariness begins to sit heavy on my mind when thinking about pushing forward on this yellow-brick road and wondering about the journey.

But when I wake up in the morning I think … I have another day, another chance. I just have to find strength to push passed the tiredness. Everyone stumbles, Just have to hit that reset button and remember that I woke up with purpose, and not on accident as Mr. Thomas once said. And then I wake up knowing I’ll recover. I’ll recover.

And so remembering that conversation with Brand and his story about the seed stuck with me the entire day. You see, the seed has an intention and destiny to grow into a tree but it may be impeded by constraints or bad circumstances, whatever they may be, preventing it from becoming what it was intended to be … but that doesn’t have to happen to you.

That reminder came at a most needed time.

And so I held onto it and thought I’d spread the information just in case there was someone else out there stuck in a moment they couldn’t get out of … just stuck.

There’s a way to recover.

There’s a way to return to the person we intended to be … one step at a time.

tree

🙂

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

I Laced Up My Shoes and I Kept Walking … I Hung in There

14 Feb

Having someone point out your flaws and make you feel pretty crappy on a day where love is supposed to be everywhere kind of sucked.

Mornings like that should be reserved for times when you have strength overflowing and your feel good-song constantly replays in your mind.

All this love was going around, everyone exchanging flowers, and balloons and chocolate and someone was pointing out that I yelled at my kids four times to listen and follow directions … It was pointed out to me that it wasn’t a good thing to be that kind of parent, or person.

You know, I know that sometimes my patience runs out and if my life would have turned out the way I imagined maybe there’d be less frustration when things went haywire. But it’s something I’m fully aware of … I’m mindful not to yell at my kids for no reason. I grew up with unecessary yelling and scolding, so I make it a point to not do that. I’m very aware of what that does to a kid. So I know I’m not angry all the time and I didn’t appreciate someone painting me that way.

People see you in a moment of frustration and they know you’re having a bad moment and they use it against you. They lay things out there and judge you when you’re drowning. And the thing is … They know you. They knoooooow you and yet they say something like that, something that just feels like a punch in the stomach.

It was pretty sucky, having that feeling all day.

But then I went to get my kids Valentine’s Day cards and I found something that made me smile.  A valentine I could have gotten for myself, or just an everyday card. Something that my dad might have gotten for me, and I found the grace I needed to move on.

 

 

I laced up my shoes and I kept walking. One foot in front of the other.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

The Mountain Brought Us Cartwheels, Granola Bars, Hugs, and Stopping Time

8 Jan

We explored the hidden nature of our big city and found that there were still pockets of beautiful wilderness we had yet to climb.

It was a great adventure for the kids and a good way to start the New Year, or just start the weekend for that matter. I love it when I can find the nooks and crannies of a city that give peace and breath to people trying to find that kind of space.

I was in search of it and trying to get my kids to enjoy it. And to be honest, once we hit the steeper part of the climb my daughter was just about done with the entire thing. She was ready to turn back and start walking down the path. But with the help of a Nature Valley granola bar bribe, we encouraged her to reach the top … to push herself and try something new, something she hadn’t done before.

And so she did.

 

 

 

 

We didn’t walk up the last 20 yards, we sprinted our way to the top. And it felt good. I was hoping it felt good for them too. I really enjoyed this adventure and wanted them to have the same feel-good vibes I did. My son had his Indiana Jones mentality on and was ready to rock, even when the hike grew longer and steeper. I turned to my daughter. I thought she’d be burned out as it was longer than anticipated, but once we reached the top of the mountain, she did three cartwheels and it was a moment for the Jar of Awesome. It was good to see the cartwheel victory and that smile.

We sat on the grass and had our little picnic along with all the other hikers who wanted to try the Great Outdoors that morning. It felt good to stop time for a bit. My son asked how he could do that. He used to always mention how bad he felt about how fast time was going. He felt his days go by so fast and it made him sad that he couldn’t stop it from speeding up.

I told him the only way he could stop time was by looking at his surroundings and taking three deep breaths, and then closing his eyes and taking three more. It helped to take it all in and appreciate the moment, that always helped.

And so we breathed at the top of the mountain, talked about our little adventure, and people watched. Some guy filmed himself flipping and somersaulting and doing his best parkour moves. Others just walked out to the edge and took pictures of the skyline and epic view. Some other dude knelt down, and pulled out a ring … his girl gasped in surprise and covered her mouth. She cried, nodded yes, and then hugged him. Everyone near them clapped and cheered. I smiled at the young couple and sent them good vibes for the new adventure awaiting them.

Everyone was there for some kind of adventure.

Ours was filled with cartwheels, granola bars, hugs, and stopping time.

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

The Last Day … Don’t Forget About The Day

30 Dec

I got one day left in 2017.

One!

How am I gonna spend it? How are you going to spend it?

Lately I’ve placed an important chunk of feeling and expectation and emotion into what happens on the first day of the year. I think about day one, the start of a new adventure, of a new (or old) something that will catapult change into my life. But other than the party- or midnight countdown I don’t really place a huge emphasis on the last day of the year. And you know what? I should. It’s the last day. You’ve got to squeeze the juice out of every lemon.

So what’s the plan?

Am I going to wake up and magically take a trip to an awesome destination, making it the best day of my life? Probably not. Australia is too expensive on my starving-writer budget at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in my future again. So the last day of the year will be an in-house adventure. Something NOT involving laundry … doing it, folding it, putting it away. Laundry in any shape or form. I don’t want to be running errands or scrubbing toilets either. Things like this should be banned on the last day and first day of the year. I’m not saying I’ll be out on a second honeymoon getting waited on and tended to every minute of every hour. But let’s just have a day to do something you want to do and not something you need to do.

But if I’m being honest though, it feels like a let’s-go-down-with-the-ship kind of night. Not a Woo-Hoo-Times-Square-noise-maker extravaganza. But a day of sunshine and something and a night with a good story, something to be grateful for and Cup O’ Noodles. People can hate on Cup O’ Noodles all they want, but sometimes on days like this, or rainy days it’s comforting. It’s terribly bad for you and has like 500,000 grams of sodium but it’s on my agenda for tomorrow night.

And tomorrow day still holds an adventure for me. An outdoor adventure that will make me feel the feel-good-vibes that get me through the day.

I’ll start the day with a run in the natural oasis that sits in the middle of my city, surrounded by the sounds of birds, wind, moving branches and my breath. The sun will warm my face as I steady my breath, and I’ll gain a sense of peace looking at how its golden rays peak through the trees and wake up the leaves. A moment of Zen. I just need one good one, and I’m hoping that’s it tomorrow.

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And while I’m stretching and breathing in the fresh earthy smell of a freshly watered woodsy area, Tim Ferriss along with one of his Tribe of Mentors will be talking to me through my headphones filling the space between my breaths with positivity and the idea that IT is possible.

That’s how the last morning of 2017 will go … the rest of the day is set up for an ocean or water adventure, but that’s always up for grabs because with weather and kids, you always have to be prepared for a change of plans. The unpredictable happens often and go with the flow mentality is always helpful.

So … Buen Camino my friends!!!  I will see you again in 2018. Don’t forget about the last day, the night will be there to party, or sleep in, but don’t forget about the last day!

 

 

 

The Dodger Blues on Dia de Los Muertos

3 Nov

Heartbreaking agony the kind that brings that pang-pang-paning in my chest that only a true fan can feel.

The Blues.

When every fiber of your being is crushed because you dreamed their same dream and wished for them to make it to the top of the mountain, you’ve been wishing for it ever since you watched them take it in 1988, but it looks like you’re gonna have to wait a little bit longer.

Just a little I tell myself.

But through championships and heartbreaks I’m still with My Boys in Blue and remain a fan … always.

A fan who takes at least 24-48 hours to recover from this, a fan who was celebrating Dia de Los Muertos yesterday and feeling the Blues of a dream gone wrong throughout the day.

But things looked better today, don’t know if it was because of Friday, but the feel-goods were trying to make a comeback. They didn’t quite pierce through, but the agony is gone yet disappointment remains. And there are all kinds of people with their what-if-scenarios blabbering about on social media as if they have MLB coaching skills and experience, but no one can really predict the outcome. You can HOPE, based on what you believe to be true, on past performances. But in baseball, as with other sports, there are all kinds of variables that affect the scoreboard. All you can do is believe and give it everything you got. Grit pulls you through when every other avenue seems to be failing. My boys fell short but they made for an epic World Series run.

And as their season was laid to rest on Nov 1st, the next day came about … the last day of festivities for Dia de Los Muertos and it seemed somewhat fitting, you know … The realization of the death of a dream to fall on the Day of the Dead. And so I made my way to the cemetery, wearing my Dad’s Dodgers cap and settling in for a long talk about our beloved team and the insane ups-and-downs of the series.

I talked about other things of course, how big the kids were getting, how he would have enjoyed my son’s hockey games, or playing catch with my daughter, or the pumpkin patch adventure. He would have smiled at the sound of their laughter and exhaled loudly during their play-with-me-you-never-ever-play-with-me exaggerated arguments between each other.

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The kids bringing their best …

We brought things that might have lifted his spirit after the Dodgers loss. Purple and green jars with the festive nature of this holiday, plants, flowers, surprises, and decorative vibes all in an effort to send him messages of love and reverence. Messages to let him know that we remember him and pray for him during his spiritual journey were something we sent his way and I hope he felt that.

Buen Camino my friends … Buen Camino

 

 

 

 

The Master of The Dig on Motivation Monday

9 Oct

Tell me something good it’s Motivation Monday they said …

I stuck up for myself today, not that I don’t do that if the situation presents itself. I do. It just happened today. It happened with one of The Masters of The Dig.

You know this person. Everyone knows this person. You have one or have witnessed their slimy skills once in your lifetime. It’s the ambitious co-worker, your mother-in-law, your best friend’s sister’s cousin, the girl scout troop leader who wants your kid to join but you don’t want that in your life, the worst bridesmaid ever, your neighbor.

You’ve seen them. The Master of The Dig.

They have this look. This word. This way of delivering news that makes you twinge. They suck out the life during a conversation and you need like 45 minutes to recover from that interaction. It sucks.

Toxic people are bad and you usually have to keep your distance but sometimes you can’t. You see them every day, every week. Like Carol from accounting, or your neighbor Mark, who always parks over the line. They just get to you and know how to do it so you think … give me a little more grace today.

But I didn’t have it in me.

I was in need of the famous DayQuil, NyQuil, and tea regiment. So you know, when you’re sick and fighting inner-cell battles, mucous, and symptoms you have very little tolerance for people that add to that fight. I mean if you’re not gonna help me, great, but don’t think I’m gonna let you make things worse, especially when I’m feeling at my worst, and when there’s no chocolate in the house.

Digs. They’re nasty bits of criticism full of contempt with no constructive or helpful nature behind them. They use something you’ve said to them in confidence or in a moment of sadness and then break your trust by turning it around and zinging you with it. Sometimes it’s nothing that you’ve said, but an observation they have and they keep drilling it over, and over and over again.

It’s a hidden hostility really, to just bring about some flaming response, just to get a rise out of you. In essence it’s just trying to tear you down, bit by bit for whatever motive. Either because they’re insecure, or they’re having a bad day and are lashing out. Either way it’s not you.

So there was no grace for this person. I had no patience for toxicity today. Zero. And I tried to do the nice thing and just ignore it, but they just kept going, continuing the conversation and dug in, so I had to put an end to it.

I sassed my way out of their nastiness, and I found it interesting that they were not happy with my defense. Some people are so used to getting away with all these little attacks, trying to tear you down, but I just couldn’t. These last two years I’ve tried to rid myself of this type of toxicity, and minimize any interaction with people who’s primary focus is the dig.

I’ve tried to Zen Master my way out of things, but sometimes sass works too. In-need-of DayQuil-and-NyQuil kind of sass.

So on Motivation Monday tell me something good that happened …

I stuck up for myself … and the Dodgers won.

Buen Camino my friends.