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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

Simple Moments and Evacuating The Premises … Immediately

7 Jul

Feeling miserable isn’t one of the things I enjoy talking about, you just wake up and that ugh feeling is staring at you. You try to get your inner Wonder Woman vibe on and you feel it somewhere, you know you’ve got it, it’s just hitting the snooze button I guess.

I mean I was feeling good with that 4th of July fireworks extravaganza and ball game, where my favorite pitcher on Earth rocked it and the fireworks just wowed the kids and myself.  You were toe-tapping to R-O-C-K in the USA by Cougar-Mellencamp and just feeling the vibe with Ray Charles singing that America the Beautiful.

That whole experience made for an awesome holiday, so I couldn’t understand why I woke up flat and just feeling the blah … of the day. That bad mood voodoo took over and funkified my whole outlook. And you know it’s you, when nobody does anything and everything seems to irritate you, like the kind of irritated you get when you’re hangry. 

I had to check myself.

I needed to evacuate the premises immediately.

So I grabbed the Coppertone 1005 SPF and the swimsuits and headed for the pool. The beach was too far and the freeway would have made the irritability worse, so I needed a fast fix and the pool seemed to work it’s magic. Nothing like racing your kids on the blue and red water slides to help bring your inner Wonder Woman mojo out.

The fact that we were not sweating out the 104-degree heat at home brought a smile to my face. I sat on the edge of the pool with my legs feeling the light resistance of the cool water and I looked up. I felt the warmth of smile as I watched my kids enjoy the Willly Wonka-like splish-splash structure. And it was good. A calm feel-good vibe sat with me, and I enjoyed the simplicity of the moment. I forgot about the morning moodiness and that’s always a good thing to put in your rear view mirror. If I had that gratitude journal right there, I’d mark that moment as the highlight of the day, bottle it up for the next time.

It wasn’t anything fancy, rich, or epic. It was just old-school and simple, like the times in the old neighborhood when we’d splash around Marisolita’s giant plastic pool from K-mart. Everyone from Apartment 2 all the way to Apartment 9 would be out there swimming around for hours. And when it was time to go because our fingers and toes pruned up, we’d ask for five more minutes. Just five more. Then we’d empty out all the water on the stairs to create our own make-shift Raging Waters slide adventures.

Simple stuff, but pretty awesome when you’re in the moment. So I’m glad I caught it.

Evacuating the premises appeared to be good idea … that and cannonballs.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

The Countdown Has Begun!

27 Mar

10 Days!

The countdown is on and my Randy Macho Man Savage quads are preparing for this battle. Don’t know if my calves are ready though. But the rest of my body seems to think that I’ve got this.

In 10 days, my vitamin-D-deficient-but-glucosamine-fueled body will be sprinting, running, jogging, walking and then crawling up 63 stories,  along with hundreds of other sweaty and out of breath climbers in claustrophobic conditions to help raise money for the American Lung Association.

But why?!

Why does this insanity take place?

I’m not a morning person.

But I see his smiling face under a Dodgers hat, I hear his hearty laugh, and I smell that Jovan Musk aftershave in the hallways … and I wake up with purpose. I wake up ready to run stairs. And what kind of elevator-loving-stair-hating person does that?! What kind of person with BenGay-Advil-Ice-Pack-loving knees laces up her Saucony running shoes to storm high school bleachers or winding staircases hidden in the hills, instead of hitting the snooze button?

 

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Me … I do it … because he’s worth it.

63 stories.

Yup.

He’s worth the trip to the anti-aging aisle at CVS.

Every year I still bake the cake, even though he’s not gonna blow out the birthday candles. Every year I tell the story of why they call him Chito 7 Pantalones. Every year I replay the messages left on my answering machine just to hear his voice again. Every year I decide to make the excruciatingly difficult journey up 63 stories, painfully possible. Every year I go in believing I’m Lindsey Wagner, putting my bionic knee to the test, climbing over 1,000 steps just for him. Every year I finish knowing full well I have nothing bionic in me.

But every year I do it because I am my father’s daughter and his spirit is still with me.

It’s with me on skydiving adventurous or beach bum days, it’s there on the passenger seat when I’m hearing that feel-good song, it’s  with me when I’m chasing dreams, and when I’m trying to be a better parent. He’s there in one of his many baseball caps that I wear with a smile, he’s my TV buddy when I’m watching The Walking Dead, Peaky Blinders, or Narcos. He’s there high-fiving me when SC wins, and he’s also a member of my Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy Support Group.

He’s there when I’m climbing stairs.

I got 10 days.

The countdown is on.

 

 

I’m Usually Not a Diet Person But …

6 Jun

 

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Don’t Kill Me … But Purple Rain Wasn’t My Favorite

22 Apr

I know it was probably at the top of everybody’s playlist the last couple of  days … And it’s a great song, but it wasn’t my go-to Prince song.

Let’s Go Crazy.

Yup.

That was my jam.

I mean have you heard the beginning?

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life …

Genius.

That was the anthem to let your freak flag fly and be different, at least that’s how my 12 year old self took it to mean. Sex was no where near my radar at that time. It was just about being different and being O.K. with it. Not letting anyone bring you down or try to take your shine away. Just go crazy …

And Prince defined that … not only by being O.K. with yourself but being O.K. was necessary. This was definitely important to have in this world and even though I didn’t know him, and never met him, I was truly saddened to hear about his passing. His music and originality made an such an impact and I so appreciated his artistry and ability to touch people with his words, make them feel.

He was so different, full of creative energy and funk. If you dared to be different he was the guy who led by example and it was so awesome. I’m proud to say that I was able to experience Prince live in concert and it was my very first one.

Definitely set the bar high.

So looking back, remembering the artist, and recalling his songs, and where I was when the clock struck 12 on December 31, 1999, I think about my favorites. I think about growing up with them, and jamming to cassette tapes back in the day when I wore AquaNet Hairspray, Levis Jeans, and L.A. Gear.

So this weekend I’ll continue celebrating his life by watching Purple Rain and listening to my favorites.

Top Ten Prince Songs … in no particular order.

1999

Let’s Go Crazy

Most Beautiful Girl in the World

When Doves Cry

I Wanna Be Your Lover

Get Off

Kiss

Raspberry Beret

Glamorous Life (Written and Produced by Prince, performed by Sheila E.)

Nothing Compares to You (Written by Prince, performed by Sinead O’Connor)

 

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Buen Camino my friends …

 

 

Morgan Freeman Knew My Name

18 Apr

The smell of Ben-Gay no longer lingers in the air and my left knee is miraculously still in tact.

Wobbly and weary, but still in tact. Like the rest of me.

I felt the same heaviness in my legs. I knew the burning in my calves very well. The tightening in my chest as I tried to catch my breath was something I remembered. I was familiar with these ailments that accosted me on the 27th floor. They couldn’t even wait until I hit the half-way mark of the race. They stalked me all the way to the top of the AON Building.

Bastards.

I was sweating and working as hard as those athletes in a Gatorade commercial, but I sure didn’t feel like one of them. I felt like a 40 year-old mom climbing stairs. I tried listening harder, but couldn’t hear Morgan Freeman narrating my journey. All I heard was the heavy breathers trying to drown out my music.

But among all the breathing and stuffiness and claustrophobic drama of the Fight for Air Climb I remembered my sister’s words.

The old man will be waiting for you at the top.

I got a little choked up as I read the text before I started the race. I was nervous, and I really don’t get too nervous before races. But I did for this one. This one wasn’t for fun or for glory or for Bucket Lists. This one was for him. It meant something more.

She was right. He was watching, probably smiling.

So I had to make it.

No matter what.

I had to.

Nervous. Exhausted. Running out of air. Ready to stop. I was feeling it all. But the stubbornness and Guatemalan will power pushed and dragged my ass to the top of those 63 flights.

I heard the bass and boom, boom, boom of  Tucanes de Tijuana, Mr. World Wide Pitbull, Venga Boys, and the Charlie Daniels Band. The rhythm took over and my body responded. The Gatorade-Commerical-Worthy Athlete was busting out of me and Morgan Freeman knew my name. As I looked up I couldn’t believe it. I saw the 60th floor sign … Dude …

I ran up those last three flights, crossed the finish line, and smiled because I had made it.

16:28.

That was it.

The toughest sixteen minutes this year. But definitely worth it.