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Feel Good 5 Friday … on a Saturday Night … Letting It All Out

10 Apr

Misrepresentations. Different Perspective. Not forthcoming. Not accurate. Untrue.

Just call it what it is … A lie. That’s what it is. Lie. When someone says something that’s not true it’s a lie. Doesn’t matter how they saw it play out in their head, if it’s not what actually happened then it’s a lie. Tired of sugarcoating it with the word untruthful.

Lie. Straight up.

You know what happened. I know what happened. Everyone there knows what happened the fact that a hurt ego is involved is no excuse to lie your way out of it.

Just recently I was reminded of how differently people see events unfold. It’s the same sunrise but it’s seen differently on the east side of town, then on the west side. They see it differently but fact is the sun came up. No way to argue with that, or so I thought. Big. Small. Whatever the size. One thing happened and then apparently there are two sides. One from there and one from here. No matter what your baggage is, doesn’t change the fact that the sun still rose in the morning, can’t be angry that the colors are not what you wanted them to be, you can’t change them just because you don’t like them when you retell the story. That’s not how it works.

It burns me out to be misrepresented and bad mouthed just because a person can’t handle facts.

I was lit up earlier in the week when I discovered a backstory going around and it angered me. It was based on a lie they told themselves in order to feel better about who they were as a person, a parent, a human being. They have this lie they hung onto in order to disparage others. What is that? Their old enough to know better, but this ego, this chip on their shoulder sends them into an alternate reality where neither them, nor their family can do no wrong. What is that?!

I mean when I mess up, when my kids mess up, I’m the first one up to bat to take responsibility. Whether it was intentional or unintentional, I actually take responsibility. Whether it’s embarrassing, sad, or troublesome you’ve got to just stand up and say, yeah we were in the wrong. That’s it. But doubling-down and changing the story doesn’t mean you actually changed how things happened. You didn’t. Just playing mind games and drinking poison yourself in hopes the other person gets sick.

But some people, they just don’t learn. They refuse to, just stuck in their victim-mentality when in fact they were the offenders. I don’t get how people can be so old, with lives lived, traveled, married, divorced, kids and still … still remain so obtuse. It’s never about them, always about someone else.

In listening to my playlist and hearing songs from back in the day, I realized people have always had this problem, they’re never at fault. So when someone calls them out, they can’t handle it, they’re so emotionally bankrupt that it doesn’t register and they make up a story, a rumor to make them feel better about behaving like such jerks. And they hold onto that lie, tighter and tighter as time goes on. The lie gets bigger and more engrained in the head. And the cycle begins again.

You keep your distance. You’re done with toxicity. You got the truth and facts on your side. So you feel at peace. And you enjoy the playlist. The Feel Good 5 Friday works even better on Saturday or Sunday. You turn the volume up and belt out those lyrics, feeling stronger and more empowered.

Buen Camino …

Club Nouveau — Rumors

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers — Don’t Do Me Like that

Matchbox Twenty — She’s So Mean

Thompson Twins — Lies Lies Lies

Santana — Oye Como Va

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Feel Good 5 Friday … 10-12 pounders and No Turkey Trots

27 Nov

I’ve mentioned this before.

Turkey trots.

Haven’t participated in one and usually take to the road on my own designing my own race and hearing my footsteps as they rock they track. Only in adulthood years have I found Zen moments involving Saucony running shoes. I hated running when I was younger. Couldn’t stand it. But after college and kids, I realized that swimming, running, and obstacle racing bring out the better parts of me when I can’t make it to the beach.

The freeing sense of getting away, of moving forward, of making that giant push at the end is extremely satisfying. In truth, I don’t always wake up excited feeling like running is the greatest, but I do feel better every time after I’ve finished. Don’t regret it.

But Turkey Trots … I’m not big on them. I’ve done plenty of other races, just not that one. Maybe it’s more of a group event, you do with a whole lot of your people, wearing turkey costumes.

I’m not big on those, but I don’t think anybody was this year. However I still went on my run. 3.5 miles and that little extra was just in case I had to reach deep to tap the reserve. Thanksgiving provides for loads of material for any artist, but this year the dysfunction was at a minimum in part because we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Silver lining.

But even with the run, with the breathing and the sweat trickling down, with feeling tired, that good kind of tired, with being in that zone, the one that feels like a reward, I felt something missing. There was no where to go this week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were busy with grocery shopping, kids school, my side project, and pandemic life. But I was not in a giant walk-in fridge-freezer taking inventory of turkeys as I had done for so many years in a row growing up. There were no index cards with orders for 12-14 free range turkeys. No moving or inventorying hundreds of boxes. No customers. No parking validations. No coffee breaks with my dad.

He’s been gone 10 years, but Thanksgiving is still the week and day that I remember him the most. Owning a poultry shop for years, you get to know what weeks are complete chaos and when the countdown needed to begin. And that was it for us. Thanksgiving. Late nights recording new orders with pops at the dinner table, while he drank his coffee.

Boxes. They weren’t my favorite. At the time I dreaded it. So much work. So many 14-16 pound birds. And now I remember it all the time. I can see his distinctive block printing, he only used Parker pens. His white butcher’s coat and collared shirt. His blue Diestel Farms cap and black Samsonite briefcase. His tired eyes but will to keep going because it needed to be done.

I thought about that all week long, 16-18 turkeys, and more so when I was eating the turkey and mashed potatoes on Thursday. The laziness of the day use to always hit us, more him than me. No waking up at 4 a.m. to drive to the shop and get ready for the rush. He’d sleep in on Thanksgiving. He always slept in on Thanksgiving and I thought about him as I rose to run.

Thought about all those details and it pained me to remember that it had been 10 years. But I kept walking with that hurt in my chest knowing it was there because he was loved and missed. Still. And grateful that I could remember the details and picture the moments in my mind. I’m lucky that way I guess. I tell the stories to the kids. They found the endless boxes of turkeys in the walk-in fridge and me freezing hilarious.

Ten years later, no more index cards, 18-20 pounders haunting me, or white butcher coats. Just green bean casserole, mac-and-cheese, fresh rolls, and pumpkin pie … and of course our own 10-12 pounder.

Buen Camino my friends …

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I’ll Be Your Man — Zac Brown Band

Something Just Like This — The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

Let My Love Open The Door — Peter Townshend

Vivo La Vida — Olga Tanon

Last Dollar — Tim McGraw

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We’re In This Together … Sort Of

18 May

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

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

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

But it doesn’t go beyond that.

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

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

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

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

Apparently I had served my purpose of comic relief.

I was surprised.

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

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

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

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

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

Hakuna Matada.

And now a new phase. The pandemic.

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

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

We’re in this together… sort of.

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

Buen Camino my friends!

Thankful for Pies and Non-Turkey Trot Early Morning Runs

23 Nov

So there I was feeling all the feels as I made my pumpkin pies in the morning. Remembering the early morning run and being grateful for the fresh air after a good night’s rain.

I was one of the few in the city probably not participating in a Turkey Trot that was up that early. And the quietness of the Thanksgiving morning was a peaceful blanket I was happy to wrap around myself.

I felt the feels and tried to keep that moment with me the entire day … when my mother came over and started her normal mothering observations that immediately make your eyes roll and take deep breaths … when the kids  just lost it because the ever so important golden string was pulled out from the ever so important LEGO Palm tree outdoor set and they couldn’t put it back the “right” way and the arguing felt like forever … when I couldn’t find parking on my own street and had to park three blocks away … when there were too many people in the kitchen and opinions were everywhere … when it felt like we were having a Costanza Festivus Thanksgiving Holiday Extravaganza instead of the Hallmark moments I imagined everyone posted on Facebook, which is why I don’t check it often anymore.

I closed my eyes and felt the feels of the early morning and remembered the crisp air filling up my lungs. I remembered feeling good just breathing. I remembered my Dad.

I remembered it being my Dad’s favorite holiday and the day I definitely think about him the most. The Diestel turkey was bought in part because we sold hundreds of them every year at the shop and remembered it being my Dad’s preference. Remembered all those long days at the shop when he was alive and the ginormous refrigerator where I was the inventory champ, but still complaining about why I’d always be the one in the freezing temperatures. He’s just smile and say I was younger and should be able to handle it. I remembered the hard days. The long days. The endless paperwork. The stress. And then the relief of sleeping in on Thanksgiving morning.

I remembered driving in his gray Nissan truck, picking up pies, and listening to jazz on the radio as he tapped the steering wheel.

I remembered the pies, and so when I pulled them out of the oven, I knew.  He would have smiled and asked to taste-test it before everyone … you know … just to be sure. I’d probably argue and reason with him, but eventually taste-testing would be an important reason.

And so on the chaotic day where the good, the bad, and the ugly show up at varying levels and different times during the day, I was grateful for moments remembered, moments with pies, moments of loudness with family, and moments of morning quietness in my Non-Turkey Trot run.

I held onto those moments as I remembered my Dad, and I took a deep breath because I missed him. I missed him with everything I got. Then I closed my eyes and sent him some light and love.

And pie.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Buen Camino, my friends!

Roberto Duran, Tuesday Night Fights, and Late Night Cup of Coffees on Father’s Day

18 Jun

It’s the day you think about the cool Thrifty’s ice cream cone he bought you on a hot day.  It’s the day you focus on the traffic-congested-day trips to Sea World or Raging Waters he used to take you to during the summer. It’s the day you think about him driving after a long day of work to try catch one of your basketball games. It’s the day you flip through the 1970s photo albums to try and remember the posed Kodak moments that sit behind that clear plastic covers.

As an adult it’s the day you try to hold onto good childhood (and adulthood) memories without crying, but smiling and laughing instead, because they happened and you can remember them.

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day celebrates all the dads and the adventures they led you through to make you the person you are today. It celebrates the stubbornness and adventurous spirit of the dude that sat behind those tired eyes at the end of the day and listened to my stories while stirring his cup of coffee.

 

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I tried to recreate a Father’s Day Weekend he might enjoy by heading to the mecca of golf shops and looking around at things he might want to buy but knowing full well he would probably just use them like twice a year, yet still be very satisfied with his purchase. Went to Fry’s Electronics store and stared at the big screen TVs and other gadgets for a while just thinking of what he’d say.

On Father’s Day Eve I watched a couple of boxing movies he had yet to see, but I guarantee he would have enjoyed them just because they had to do with boxing and the underdog. He liked Robert DeNiro almost as much as I did, so I imagine he would have given Hands of Stone two thumbs up. I imagine in part because it was a true story, and in part because he probably saw one of Duran’s fights on television. He would have told me about the first Sugar Ray Leonard fight, and what an amazing blow by blow battle it was. He liked Sugar Ray, but I think he would have rooted for Duran because of his upbringing and rise from nothing into something. He probably would have told me about the rematch as well, and had something to say about that Don King. He would have talked about it being on the news and how people heard Duran say “No Mas,” but wondering whether Duran really said it. We would have had an all-out-father-daughter discussion over some ice cream on that one.

I imagine him liking Hands of Stone for the same reason he would have really liked The Fighter. He enjoyed true stories about the human condition, the come-back kids worth rooting for.

With boxing it wasn’t so much the punching, although you couldn’t miss the combinations in each round, but it was the stories behind each boxer he enjoyed, it was the story of the fight. He was a fan of the sport, watching HBO cards whenever the big dudes took the ring. But what he really enjoyed watching were the weekly matches on USA Network’s Tuesday Night Fights.

I remember, every Tuesday night, coffee cup in hand and pillows fluffed up in the right position on the floor, because for some reason he enjoyed propping up all the pillows against the bottom of the couch and lying on the floor facing the television. He didn’t enjoy the sideways angle in which the couches were situated. So he made his own comfy space, a make-shift Lazy-Boy, although with all the excitement of the fight he’d put the coffee cup down and stand up in the middle of each round, bobbing and weaving with the boxers. And then smiling and saying … Phewwww!  That was a good round ….

So I tried to recapture some of that for myself yesterday. I tried to catch some of my Dad.

Celebrating someone who has passed on is tough, they’re physically gone and you don’t hear their laughter anymore, but you hold onto to their stories the best you can and focus on the good things they left you with, like their heart,  spirit, Tuesday Night boxing stories, and late-night-cup-of-coffee memories.

Happy Father’s Day …

 

1A

 

 

 

 

Goodbyes …

3 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Gratitude With Diane Lane on Valentine’s Day

15 Feb

You know, I was never one for elaborate celebrations or grand gestures of love on Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked being the highlight of someone’s thoughts and getting some chocolate, or a nice card with hearts on it. I still liked knowing that I was on someone’s mind.

And I never made a huge deal of it so as not to put added pressure on whoever I was with at the time. But a card, a nice meal, some chocolate, some laughs, and a genuine hug that expressed heartfelt connection and intimacy was all I needed.

I look back now and remember times when I was younger and felt lonely, when grandiose productions of others professing their love made the loneliness bigger. I remember the Aquatnet days wanting that candy gram and plastic flower to be presented in class, you know, from that special someone. Now they have it on Facebook or Instagram for the whole world to witness this romanticism. Some people share just to be genuine and open up their book of life, letting us read a small page of it, others do it for showboating-look-at-me reasons, cheapening the heart and romance.

When you’re younger these things seem important.

But I realized how gratitude on Valentine’s Day is just as important as love.

I may not have gotten the red-carpet treatment, but I was able to share moments of life with people I loved. Babysitting for a friend over the weekend so that they could have some kid-less alone time and feel like normal people again made me smile. Getting a card with the best kindergarten spelling and Crayola Crayons masterpiece from my daughter filled my heart. Playing Valentine’s Bingo, cupid’s arrow, making kids at school smile and being helpful in my kids’ classroom hit the spot. Eating a steak dinner, I didn’t have to cook for myself brought a smile to my face. Finishing the night with a small band, playing some good tunes, while sipping a margarita felt nice. Ending the night with Haagen-Daasz chocolate ice cream and watching Netflix a definite plus.

A day and night filled with non-Facebook worthy moments, but special nevertheless.

During all this, I was reminded of Diane Lane in that movie Under The Tuscan Sun. I love Diane Lane. In the movie she talks about how she wanted a house, a home, dinner parties with family, being with people she loved, kids running around, laughter … that would have made her happy. Fast forward to the end of the movie when someone asks her if she remembered what she wanted when she first moved to Italy. Does she remember? She smiles as it hits her. She had a house, a home, dinner parties with people who had become her family, people she loved and that loved her, kids running around, not her kids but kids that brought her joy anyway, and laughter. She realized she had it. Happiness. They both smiled.

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🙂

Valentine’s became a day of gratitude, grateful for all the small acts of kindness and love that gave the sun more shine. It could have been a regular Tuesday for anybody, but it was my Valentine’s Day adventure, and I felt love from those that mattered most.

 

 

You Still Make The Cake …

30 Jan

I woke up knowing he’d be the first thing on my mind.

Brown eyes, black and silver wavy hair, usually covered by a hat. The very same blue Dodgers hat I wore all day today. Go Blue.

Tired and exhausted from the night before, the night of thinking of tomorrows and tomorrow already here, as evidenced by the sun peeking through the blinds. Staring at the ceiling, knowing that the closest I’d ever get to him today was just a memory or two. Pictures, left over voicemails, hats hanging on hooks, shirts folded in the closet, and half a bottle of Jovan Musk  in the cabinet. They were all waiting for me this morning, like every morning.

But today was different.

Today was his 69th birthday and the cologne smelled a little different. I think it was losing its strength, but I could still smell that aftershave scent. It still lingers in the air, reminding me of how I wished I had more memories.

It’s always a tough day, knowing someone isn’t going to blow out the candles anymore. But you still make the cake, you make it anyway. Today I made it with my daughter, who’s named after him. Listening to jazz as we measured and stirred the flour and sugar, dancing to his favorite tunes in our aprons as the smell of chocolate filled our small kitchen, I smiled. I thought he’d be watching and smiling as we twirled around to his favorite trumpet and piano tunes.

Jazz was on all day today. Running through the park this morning. At the stoplight. In the kitchen. And as I write this piece. His calming happy music surrounded me as I remembered him driving his silver Toyota Tacoma, with the station tuned into KJAZZ and him strumming his fingers on the steering wheel.

Yup. It was on all day. Reminding me, giving  this purpose, making the baking experience a little better.

And for some reason, during the taste-testing process perhaps, we didn’t have enough frosting to cover the entire cake this year, and that was O.K. It wasn’t a disaster. We made a head pastry chef decision and thought layers upon layers of frosting would be just fine. Like a chic bakery.

He’d probably get a kick out of it, and we’d make our own story about it. In fact we probably already did. I’ll probably think back , when all my hair has that silvery fox color, and remember how we baked the chocolaty chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and chopped almonds, how we danced in the kitchen thinking about my Dad turning 69 and how he’d enjoy a piece of cake, or two, along with a cup of coffee.

We took our picnic and visited him. I told stories as my daughter had one piece and my son two. Large cups of milk, and one cup of coffee for pops. Sitting there talking about life and wishing he was there to blow out the candles and make one more wish.

My Dad … the Dreamer, the Adventure Seeker, my HBO-Watching-Buddy, the Owner of Over 70 Baseball Caps, the Jazz-Listening-Beep-Bopper, Pay-It-Forward-Patron, Awesome-Date-to-Opening-Plays at the local theater, Spirit of My Spirit, Heart of my Heart, Laugher of My Jokes, and friend … turned 69 today. I wish him well, send him light, love, and laughter.

And I miss him.

 

Dad

My Dad … talking about dreams … me trying to listen.

 

 

 

Better Late Than Never … Ummmm No.

11 Jan

When I saw this … it all made sense.

sweater

🙂

It really did. It hit me, like that a-ha! moment I had when I saw the He’s Just Not That Into You movie and all the stars aligned and I was like yeah. Totally get it now.

But then I started thinking of exigent circumstances. I mean when could you really let it go … that your friend showed up 87 minutes late to a girls night out and you only had two hours because your babysitter holds the key to your life and that’s all you could get.

If you have kids … I get it. Babysitter is late. There’s vomit. There’s not enough Goldfish Crackers to go around. You ran out of wipes. The DVR didn’t record the latest Peppa Pig and you needed to know what happened. I get it. Meltdowns happen and you’re gonna be late. Most parents give themselves a buffer zone because they know this might happen. They just know and there’s a forgiveness clause on that. They’re just happy that they made it out in one piece.

But if that’s not your case, then what the hell is going on?

Just be honest and be like … nah … I kind of don’t want to go. I mean it’ll be a bummer but it’s better than waiting there at the Regal Beagle without Jack or Janet.

But then I thought of intentions. I mean when the idea was brought up to you a couple of days ago you totally wanted to go. You checked your iPhone calendar and knew it was clear and you even did a silent cheer in your head. You were the first one on board.

And then the week hit you hard, work was hard, life was hard, and Friday came  … and you thought … I don’t know.

It just crept into your head.

Doubt.

Is it worth it to leave the house? Is it really? I got Netflix. Cable. HBO. A box of wine. Do I really need to leave?

Then the doubt is fueled.

Traffic. There might be traffic. I think there’s an accident. Exhaustion. I feel pretty exhausted right now, the Friday night exhaustion that hits you in your 40s or late 30s that never seemed to appear in your 20s. Then you feel the love of your Old Navy pajamas and they feel so right. And then you think, do I even have gas in the car? Do I have cash in my wallet? I mean if you have to go to the bank, or put gas in the car, forget it. That might just kill the whole outing all together.

There are just too many hurdles and you begin to bargain with yourself about whether you reeeeeeaaaaally need to go. You say you’ll feel better once you get there, you always do, it’s just the “getting there” part that is sucking right now.

Ultimately guilt sets in and you muster up enough Maybelline and Red Bull to get you out of the house. You stroll on in with some excuse about traffic and grab a drink while your buddies are already into the good part of the conversation. They see you stroll in and you think they bought your traffic excuse, but they know … they know … because they were just on the same freeway and they know you have the speed through traffic app on your phone.

So if you don’t want this sweater as your next gift, think long and hard before committing to your next date, outing, hanging out session, or shenanigan. Or maybe you should just say no from the start, and then when Friday comes around, you change your mind if you want. You can totally show up and surprise them because even if you are late, they’ll be glad to see you.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

Looking Out For Beautiful Minds

10 Oct

Before Russell Crowe, we had never talked about it.

Ever.

It was a big part of his past,  and maybe it contributed to his depression. Maybe he felt like we wouldn’t understand, or maybe he did talk to people and they didn’t hear him. Maybe he thought he could do it himself. Maybe he didn’t know how.

But it wasn’t until Russell Crowe that my Dad started talking about how he felt and what he went through as a young father.

Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

He was glued to the screen, completely engaged in the story and rooting for Nash to come out all right in the end. He bought the book and watched the movie again and again. When it came out on DVD, he bought that too. He wanted to soak up as much information and experiences as he could.

We must have watched it at least fifty times when it aired on HBO. Russell Crowe, let everyone in on the struggle and we became aware of how difficult this could be on anyone and their family.

My Dad found pieces of himself in Russell Crowe that day and was brave enough to share, and granted their stories were different, and their journeys were different, but for the first time in a long time, he saw something out there dealing with mental health, dealing with the realness of it. Consequences and successes.

I rediscovered of bits and pieces of my childhood and moments of my dad’s journey through adulthood and parenthood. I understood why there were times my dad had been so afraid, why he might have drank, and perhaps why he had been dealing with depression for a large part of his life. We didn’t get all our answers that day, but what we were able to do was talk … talk about how he felt, he realized he wasn’t the only one, and that gave him the confidence to speak up. He wasn’t alone in this. Here’s this guy …this genius mathematician that’s living through mental health issues as well.

It wasn’t the same, but at least Russell Crowe gave him an opening and mental health became something he could talk about freely.

And I was grateful for that, because he did get help, and that seemed to help with the depression, for a while.

So seeing how someone informed me that it was World Mental Health Day, I thought I’d spread awareness the only way I knew how … through story.

Spread the word … Mental Health Matters. Talk about it.