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Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday

26 Sep

So after a week of heaviness and hopelessness of a good person’s death the sun still came out, and there were blessings out there for some people. But not everybody.

And it reminded me of that Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie, and it’s funny because I don’t like watching it. In fact it’s on every Christmas but I don’t watch it. I think I only watched it once and that was enough for me. In any case, this whole scenario reminded me of that Potter guy and what an ass he was and how many Potter guys we have out there.

Stewart came out all right in the end, realizing his worth and everyone in his circle showing him so much love he felt rich in that way.

But that’s not enough in this situation. Karma’s slow and I need her to hurry up a bit. Until I can be more patient and funnel all that energy in a more positive direction, distraction is a good thing. Something uplifting and hopeful makes the present bearable.

So I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. Not the most positive step forward. But it was enlightening and I was super grateful that I am probably one of the few parents on Earth that doesn’t let her kid have a phone. My answer is usually, you’re not a doctor or a plumber, you’re not on call. I’m your personal Lyft/Uber driver so you got no use for a phone and if there’s an emergency use the house phone. When school was still in session I informed him he could use the school phone and that shouldn’t be a problem. Phones were intended to call people, but instead they’re a distraction. Pictures and posting.

He was not too thrilled with my response but understood.

The notions that are revealed in this docudrama are something I’ve been aware of, so it didn’t really surprise me. I’m not on social media that much either, so not participating in things of that nature isn’t really difficult for me. But I found it interesting that the kids were so addicted to these devices. But maybe it makes sense, since they were born into it. I mean even adults, there’s not a lot of social interaction, there wasn’t even before coronavirus. Many people were on the Facebook or Instagram, communicating that way, which is why I enjoy team sports or The Outdoors. Connection, live connection, is important and a lot of people are realizing that now.

And even though it was a good film it wasn’t the pep-me-up I was looking for to help turn the corner. But I was able to do a couple things to shake off a little funk.

After weeks of being on the injured list, I finally ventured out on a run this week and I can say that although I wasn’t at 100 percent, it still helped boost the good mood levels. The fact that the air quality was good enough to go outside was a bonus. Wild fires ravaging my neck of the woods provided an apocalyptical environment. But they’re getting through bit by bit. So that was something positive.

I was also able to catch a couple episodes of shows that made me laugh, learn, and feel good this week. I mean other than baseball rocking this unpredictable season, these TV shows provided a silver lining and lightness during a heavy week. Sometimes you need to hear other people’s stories to help you with your own. Food’s got a lot of good stories, from it’s origin all the way to the table. I find the food journey fascinating and delicious. Plus I discovered two comedies I never watched when they originally aired. Finding hidden gems late at night when you can’t really call anybody helps provide smiles that you need for a good night’s sleep. Hope you can find some this week!

Buen Camino, my friends!

Down to Earth with Zac Efron

Club de Cuervos (The Ballad of Hugo Sanchez)

Taco Chronicles

Community

The Chef Show

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Words on Wednesday

29 Jul

Not much in the way of amazing happening on my side of the globe. Awesome Jar moments are few now that our adventures became limited. I mean other than the Dodgers beating the Asstros in Houston as baseball returned.

Well, that one just made me smile.

Hard to get hits when no one is telling you what pitch is coming. I know, I know. Some people neeeeeeed those trash cans to succeed.

So taking in what little sports we get before they shut it down again, is something that fills me with joy.

But magic happens outside sports nowadays. I mean we were supposed to be watching The Olympics and cheering for people on the track and court, in addition to the pool.

Now we cheer for ourselves and our little victories, and catch the moments when we can, outdoors.

And sometimes you catch a good one. Something you haven’t seen in a while.

I remember the first time seeing one was probably at Sea World when I was a kid. You member Sea World? We’d pack in the tan station wagon and make the trek to check out Shamu.

Road trips back in the day, during my Kevin Arnold moments when sitting in the back without seat belts was fine, you know because we were invincible.

But while we were out exploring the aquatic park, my favorites had to be the dolphins. Something about their very nature that intrigued me. I’d seen a few in the ocean after that, every now and then, but it would only be a few and they’d be far away. This week I caught a pod of 10-15 dolphins swimming alongside a paddle boarder, jumping high enough that people noticed. With all that magic, I thought Aquaman himself was gonna come splashing out.

I got up from my chair to take a closer look.

Not many cool things happening that aren’t artificial or produced. But this one was genuine. Pleasant. So much so that I forgot to snap a shot. I just watched them. That paddle boarder had one of the best encounters ever. He stayed the course and kept going, with his posse passing him.

It was a small moment, something to be appreciated.

I enjoyed the early morning when there was no crowd and the spot was quiet, just the sound of the waves on shore. People started trickling in and I was grateful that parking was a hassle, as it was extremely limited. Kept the number of people low.

So with a semi–private space and my toes in the warm sand I welcomed a new day.

Buen Camino my Friends!

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Until Next Time Feel Good 5 Friday …

5 Jun

Considering recent events the need for Feel Good 5 Friday seemed important, seemed like people needed a lift in their spirit after so much violence and turmoil. But it’s a time for reflection so it returns next week

During these moments of retrospective thoughts on what we can do to help improve matters in social justice I took a look at leaders who’s courage and commitment impacted life beyond what they imagined. And change happened. Some lived to see it, others looked down from the heavens to bare witness.

Going beyond. It takes that extra step, the one somebody else couldn’t, or wouldn’t, take to help someone that’s been forgotten and made to feel less when in fact there is always something meaningful there. Taking that step to shine a light on something that’s trying to hide.

That’s what a lot of great leaders had in common.

This one was new to me.

Bryan Stevenson

I didn’t know that name. But I knew someone like him existed. A story of a young lawyer who traveled down to Alabama to try and help the wrongly convicted and unjustly imprisoned. All this happened when I first entered college and I had no idea.

I was glad he wrote a book, that he told his story and that of the birth of the Equal Justice Initiative. It’s a powerful educational story. And the movie with Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx make it available to those who didn’t read it and wish to see it played out so they could connect.

And because of recent events, Just Mercy is streaming for free on multiple online platforms. I hope you can catch the film and experience a different perspective on matters, because today is all about perspective and hearing someone else’s story.

https://justmercy.eji.org/responsive/#about

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.

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

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!!

I Don’t Have a Red Leather Jumpsuit …

30 Mar

I know what kind of storyteller I am, the behind-the-scenes kind. I like watching the reactions of people as they hear my words on stage, or as their eyes scan the page. I like the undercover nature of being a writer. No one sees you, but they hear your voice, and feel emotion.

But in this quest for keeping up with resolutions and being the better-best me that I can possibly be that Oprah continually encourages me to be, I’ve once again tried something new this year. For the month of March I’ve gone and done it. Something that would require me to take a deep breath.

Most of the pieces I submit are for magazines, online publications, or collection of short stories. I get rejected from all kinds of people. But I’ve never gotten rejected for the stage. It’s something I always thought about doing ever since I saw a buddy of mine perform on stage and totally kill it. She just owned that staged and rocked the house in that red leather jumpsuit with black trim and rhinestones. Red leather, it’s pretty powerful. People change their names when they wear stuff like that.

I don’t own a red leather jumpsuit, though. But that didn’t stop me. I saw the open call for stories and wondered about it for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t sure. I’m not dynamic on stage, although I can’t say for sure because I’ve never been on stage. But I thought … it might make me a better storyteller. It may bring out something new. So I went outside my comfort zone and put my name inside that big giant hat so the The Universe could pick me at random.

Microphone-Whealans1

🙂

I’m not sure if I’ll get chosen or not, but I put myself out there. I recorded a demo and hit send. They heard my storytelling ways and inflections. That makes me nervous. My voice sounds odd. I don’t think I can do the Top 40 Countdown, but I’d be fine doing a local podcast. I don’t have that cool-pleasant-sounding-DJ-sweet-Barry-White tone that makes the listener just melt. I have that Downtown, East Side sound. But it’s got personality and maybe that’s all right for storytelling. Maybe I’m better at print.

I like how my stories unfold and how people hear their own voice with my words and they turn the pages. However, there’s something about telling your own story and people hearing your voice and emphasis. I wasn’t sure. But I still took a chance on me, on being a stage storyteller for once, and right now my voice is being listened to by Big Cheeses and they’re thinking about it.

Either way my story will be heard. And it’s the kind of story that deserves a red leather jumpsuit, but I still don’t own one. I’ll wear my outfit, the one that may make me look like a college basketball coach. I’m comfortable in cotton blends, and black-and-white converse. But if I don’t get selected my story will still be out there. If not on stage, then in print, right here at The Wish Factor. Stay tuned …

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Podcasts … Making Dishwashing So Much Better

20 Mar

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

But then … Podcasts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me.

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

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

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

So what are my top ten?

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

 

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

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

Buen Camino, my friends.

 

Nature’s Hideouts

13 Oct

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During a hike I had to take a minute and appreciate nature’s hideouts.

The rejuvenating powers of nature work its magic when you’re hiking, biking, or running the trails. Probably why I’m a big fan of Bear Grylls and his adventures. They inspire the exploration of the Great Outdoors.

Granted you don’t have to jump out of helicopters or rappel down cliffs as Grylls does to appreciate the beauty and magnitudal effect nature can have on you.

Living in the city, I’m still able to find nature’s hideouts and be wowed by its effect.

Sometimes the experience is so great that I end up in the moment and forget to snap the shot. Other times I catch up and I’m lucky enough to remember.

Photographer Louie Schwartzberg’s short Tedx Talk Gratitude speaks about his project Gratitude Revealed. He captures these breathtaking shots of nature as well as the connection and gratitude he feels being surrounded by it. These time lapse captures took time and patience. When he put them together in the film with the older gentleman’s narrative  the reaction, including my own, was a collective appreciation of the day and its possibilities.

It connected you with parts of the world that made you mindful that you’re part of something much bigger. Reminding you of the blessings that come with the day was the backdrop of the landscape.

Living in a big city, it’s important to find nature’s hideouts and escape in the early morning before I tackle the day. Watching Schwartzberg’s talk reminds me of the importance of mindfulness and the place that helps me get to that frame of mind faster is within nature and any of its hideouts within the city.

 

Buen Camino, my friends.

 

 

Writer Wednesday’s: Storytellers at Their Best

10 Oct

The good ones are found in the nooks and crannies if you look hard enough, and I found one today. A good one.

You see most people think they can tell a story, and some can. But only a few are really good storytellers, the kind you get curious about, the kind you want to get to know. Chris Stapleton for instance. He hit the country scene a few years ago and people were wowed with his songs and ability to tell it with heart and soul. Paulo Cohelo and Laura Esquivel weaved journeys into epic stories that captured my attention and inspired. Kurt Sutter with his Sons of Anarchy and Vince Gillian with Breaking Bad imagined worlds with deep, complex, strong and flawed characters in powerful stories that humbled me as a writer.

You get stories in songs, books, TV shows, and movies every one of them requires a special something. I like it when I discover or remember one. I see them and it inspires me to get off my ass and be better.

And that’s what happened today.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I recently was gifted a Hulu subscription, and found a new treasure chest of stories. Some good, others not really my style. And in this search to find the good I rediscovered my interest in documentaries. I watched a couple great ones, but the one that stood out today was Page One: Inside the The New York Times. I imagine it may be similar to the one I have yet to see, The Fourth Estate, but focuses on different parts of the journalistic world.

PageOne_

Page One: Inside the New York Times

In this story I found the great storyteller I had forgotten about I had lost. David Carr is a gritty, humble, and staunch defender of journalistic integrity and the freedom of the press. But beyond that he was a great storyteller, based in truth, and I was reminded of that after watching the film, and inspired to continue my journey no matter how difficult it may be at times.

It’s a difficult period for the press, especially when it’s being attacked by people who don’t like being called out on their lies and who fail to take responsibility for their actions in addition to those complicit in their behavior or cover-up. The press, when it’s at its best, acts as a mirror and uncovers the truth behind the dark corners of what people are hiding. Some people confuse news stories with columnists and that at times is the problem. There is a difference. One is news, one is opinion. People forget. The press itself  is a good check and balance for those in power. And I’m glad that this documentary reveals the hard work that goes into being a reporter.

I especially admired Carr, who at one point in his life hit the ultimate low personally and professionally, but was able to turn the corner and find something he was passionate about: storytelling. He not only asked questions, but he asked the right questions. And that’s when you know you have a good one, because not only are they passionately curious and smart, but they’re in this invested in this quest for truth.

When you witness someone bring that sense of integrity and honesty to storytelling, it gut-checks you and makes you wonder, where’s your story?

And so I find myself getting back to it.

 

Buen Camino, my friends!