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Saturday Thoughts … Traces and Happy Birthdays

29 Jan

I know very little about him, but he’s important. He has answers to questions I’d like to know, but now I’m just filling in blanks the best I can.

He was born on a coffee plantation in Guatemala to a mother of Mayan decent. He was taken from his mother by the owners and sailed off to Spain where he was raised.

My grandfather.

I don’t even know his mother’s name or what she looked like, or whether she spoke Kaqchikel or Quiché. Don’t know the color of the textiles she wore, or whether she was born in The Highlands, or Coban. That’d be my great-grandmother. Most people search the internet and find answers on a dot-com site. But there are no records or traces for that side of my ancestry.

This family tree questionnaire quest was brought to me by my son who asked about my dad’s family. He’s known stories of Papa for some time as I continue talking about his life and try to fill his heart with memories of good times, hard times, silly times, and adventurous times. Storytelling keeps my family alive.

I’d share about his never give up attitude and dislike for fast food money spending. I’d tell him about the time I told Papa I wanted the crunchy popcorn shrimp from the Sizzler and he was like you don’t want none of that. Then he’d make a giant mess in the kitchen with hot oil, smoke, and flour everywhere. He’d emerge, hair disheveled, holding a plate of fried shrimp and dipping sauce that looked nothing like the commercial but still nodding his head with pride … See, eh? See eh? Yeah …

And he was right … it was good. Then I’d have to wash all dishes before my mom came. Or else.

The kids know everyday stories of him dropping me off to school if I slept in late, or of his MacGyver ability of fixing the VCR-DVD-TV-Cable-Box connection with three separate remote controls. But they didn’t know much beyond that … of their great grandfather or great-great grandmother, or even beyond that.

I remember doing a family tree back in the day, but who knows where that circa 1980 Crayola crayon masterpiece ended up.

I knew my grandfather grew up in different parts of Spain but probably met my grandmother in Extremadura. I knew he died when my dad was 10, and my pops had a hard life after that, as did his siblings.

I know my great grandfather looked stylish in his black and white wedding photo, and he probably had many stories about his life, my grandma, and my dad. Stories I’d like to hear now that my dad’s birthday is coming up. Stories that celebrate his life that go best with birthday cake and coffee that he doesn’t get enjoy because he’s passed on, but we think of him as we blow out the candles.

And sometimes you don’t get answers after the smoke is gone. You have faded pictures of people that don’t look like you but they lived their life and you’re here because of their choices.

And sometimes you get partials, like pictures of your dad when he was 10, the empty bottle of his aftershave you keep in your drawer, the Parker pens he used for work inside his Samsonite briefcase, or the last message he left on your answering machine. And on days like his birthday you hold on tight to the memories you got. You keep telling stories so you remember the details, you sing happy birthday to a papa that would have been alive, and try to fill in the blanks of a grandfather you never knew. And you still search for clues because his story can tell you more about your own dad …

Happy Birthday to my pops. He would have been 74 …

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My Old Man — Zac Brown Band

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Feel Better 5 Friday on a Saturday Night … Curbing My Enthusiasm

22 Jan

It started with a phone call.

It’s not like I forgot how to drive. I’ve been driving for over 25+ years. I know how to do it. I know.

But it happened … and someone broke their foot.

You see when my mom called asking me to do her a favor and stop by the bank, I didn’t think anything of it. I was on the way to pick up the kids. I had about 30 minutes before school was out. Of course, I could go to the bank. There was one up the street from the junior high. No big deal.

I’ve turned that corner many times. But it’s critical to mention that the mirror does not lie, objects are in fact closer than appear. It’s true. Not that it matter because I didn’t look at the mirror I was looking ahead at the bank.

So, as I turned passed the giant busy intersection, two blocks away from the high school, and five blocks away from the junior high I didn’t think anything of it. Bank on the corner. I’ll stop by there. But just as I passed that dip in the driveway, I felt a big push at the front of the car and I heard it …

Boom! Creeeeeeeeeeck. Crshhhhhhh!

I couldn’t turn my steering wheel. I was blocking the entire driveway going in and coming out of the bank and I had barely cleared the intersection, still around the corner, on a narrow road where no one could get passed me if on-coming traffic was flowing. I had essentially created a one-lane road.

It was epic.

I had no idea what happened.

I tried to start the car again and turn the wheel.

Nope.

I turned on my emergency lights and got out to see what happened.

The curb. That’s what happened. I had managed to miss the driveway entrance to the bank and turned too early as the curb rejected my attempt with extreme prejudice. It had pushed the tire so hard that it wedged itself into the frame/bumper area and got stuck. After the light turned from red to green, I had a lot of hostile drivers honking their horn at me, yelling at me to move the car, shaking their fists, or holding up their hands in exasperated sighs. I had to keep telling them to go around, I had a flat tire. About 80% of people sucked. They were awful, just added to my stress level on an already hot sweaty day. Was about 94 degrees, no one could really see my emergency lights as the sun was very bright and angled onto the back lights, and there was no air-conditioning.

Forget the bank, I needed to get this car towed and out of here before people show up. School lets out soon and if you’ve ever, ever in your life been to an after-school pickup, it’s worse than leaving a stadium, a complete nightmare, and its’ even worse if your car breaks down and causes even more after-school traffic. People are not very forgiving.

I called AAA towing and they said they’d be there in 45 minutes. I was like, I am near a school, do you know what that means?! DO YOU KNOW?! I need to be out of here STAT, before people start throwing rocks at me. I was scrambling to get someone to pick up my daughter who was now getting out in 20 minutes and there was no way I’d be there in time for her or my son.

So, I called their dad.

It is extremely difficult to calmly speak to someone on the phone, when someone else is honking and yelling at you to move. Their dad knew where the schools were, but had no idea when they got out, where they got out, what part of the school they were exiting, where to meet them and at what time they were dismissed. And while someone behind me in a SUV a lady is busy screaming at me. I am giving their dad a detailed description of what time he should leave (like now), where he should park, and what gate he should be standing in front of, all the while AAA Towing is calling me back.

My anxiety level was pretty high. The stress of being there and anticipating it will be worse because AAA towing had not shown up yet raised the anxiety levels to a new height.

The wrong tow truck came and so I had to wait another 15 minutes so the flat bed could arrive. Their dad is calling me because he can’t find the correct gate or our daughter. He’s yelling and frustrated. Drivers are yelling at me. I’m yelling. And my mom tried to call me on the other line as all this was happening.

I full on think I earned at least 10 gray hairs at that moment.

When the flat bed finally got there, at high school dismissal time, the towing guy was able to painfully hoist the van onto it. I suggested that perhaps he try to find a different solution because the more he pulled the car up, the more the wheel turned in the wrong direction. It was hot. He was dripping of sweat and struggling to figure this out. I thought the tire was going to fall off. I heard a lot of metal grinding and pops.

I informed their dad of what was going on. He said he would be able to help me, just have it towed to his place, where he had all his tools, and he would help fix the tire situation. He lives 30 minutes away from me. Worse when there’s traffic. So, he would pick up the kids, drop them off at my place and then drive to his place and meet the tow truck guy. He’d help the guy unload it. It’s a big job.

Now as it turns out the towing guy wanted to get a head start. He thought he knew what he was doing, in fact he might have, as the car was already off the flatbed when my kids’ dad showed up at his house. Tow truck guy was just moving the flatbed back in position. As he finished lowering the flatbed, he hopped along to the driver’s side of the truck. My kid’s dad asked him how come he was hopping was he all right, had he twisted his ankle?

Tow truck guy said the car had fallen on his foot as he was trying to unload it. It slipped or rolled or something. He took his shoe and sock off. It was bloody, swollen, and reddish blue.

When they told me the story I felt awwwwwwful. I asked if he had offered to help. He had but the tow truck driver said no, he was fine, he’d go to the doctor’s office. Said he would be fine. It didn’t look fine. But tow truck driver wasn’t too worried about it at the time, just as long as it was better next week, to which my kids’ dad replied, what’s going on next week? Tow truck guy said he was getting married.

Dude.

Duuuuuuuuude.

Worst. Day. Ever.

Curbs are dangerous. Be careful out there …

Buen Camino, my friends

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Cars — Gary Numan

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Fast Car — Tracy Chapman

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Life is a Highway — Rascal Flatts

Baby You Can Drive My Car — The Beatles

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La Carcacha — Selena

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Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday … The Decade

15 Jan

The last time I got a trophy or ribbon, or some kind of recognition was that standing ovation at festival for my play a few years back. I remember the feeling of accomplishment and feel-good vibes of standing up on stage and being recognized as they introduced the writers. I enjoyed the feeling of my work connecting with people.

Prior to that I think it was an athlete award back in my Aquanet and Levis Jeans days.

Somewhere in between then and now, I’ve tried to celebrate little victories here and there, because you get no trophy or ribbon now, not during parenthood/adulthood. Not unless you’re at the Olympics. So, when I get a chance to high-five myself, I do. I make it a point to celebrate.

Normally I recognize these moments first. I keep an eye out. But this time around my buddy Clay over at Making the Days Count congratulated me before I even patted myself on the back.

Congrats on starting a new decade … he said.

Holy Cheeseballs.

A decade.

The Lion King and Cats lasted more than ten years.

Sesame Street, Happy Days, The Jeffersons, and Law and Order, 10 years easy.

Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks. Ten years plus!

Coach K with the Blue Devils. Pat Summit over with the Lady Vols in Tennessee. Ten classy years most definitely and then some.

Clayton Kershaw and The Dodgers. Ten years most definitely.

The Guat, The Wish Factor, and Word Press. Ten years.

491,403 words.

That’s something. That’s definitely something and I’m grateful for the reminder.

I joined the ranks of ten and I have yet to celebrate. It hasn’t fully sat with me yet. It’s sinking in, though. 1,154 posts. All those stories. It took me a minute there; I had to sit and take a knee and digest the 10 years. All the experiences and stories, they add up to a multitude of pieces making up my existence. A small peek into the window, to see what’s behind the curtain.

It started off as a personal project, get my writer mind flowing, fine-tune my voice and get that Random House publishing book deal in the works 🙂 It started off as a personal goal to put some of my stories out there. Just click “publish” and see what happens. Then it turned into a collection of pieces that could be read by my kids when I’m no longer around. A treasure chest of anecdotes giving them an insight on how their mom used to be, what adventures we took, memories of their grandpa and great uncle. Pieces of our lives they could look back on when they don’t have pictures or photo albums to look at.

And it was during all these stories that I found support from the community of creators. I was able to give a voice to stories from my childhood, remembered life in the people I had lost, connected and laughed with stories others had written, escaped through beautiful photography, and learned lessons from others and their lives. There haven’t been many people that stuck around this long, but I appreciate the few who got on the ride with me and experienced the ups and downs of adulting, parenthood, 70’s and 80’s music, coaching, and a writer’s life. THANK YOU. Thanks for the kind words, support, and encouragement. Thanks to the regulars who pulled up a stool and sat down. The Wish Factor decade gets a high-five. A high-five and some dark chocolate.

That’s totally about to happen.

So, cartwheels and high-fives to me. I got the feel-good songs to celebrate 10 years of learning, curiosity, and growth. Hoping the stories, music, and photographs that come next continue to be Schlemiel Schlimazel Hasenpfeffer Incorporated good-time-noodle-salad-sunshine-and-Katrina-and-The-Waves moments, worthy of a Kodak capture.

Buen Camino …

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The Oogum Boogum Song — Brenton Wood

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Life’s Been Good — Joe Walsh Live From Daryl’s House

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America — Los Tigres del Norte

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And She Was — Talking Heads

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The Joker — Steve Miller Band

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Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday

11 Dec

The mood in a rebounding situation varies on a daily basis as recharging my Duracell capacity requires a combination of multiple variables. Most of the time you’ve got to do it yourself. 

I heard someone say … we woke up today, might as well be badasses.

And I was like … yeah … Totally.

I mean hanging out at the Metamucil aisle at the CVS, after getting your cholesterol tested doesn’t seem badass, but you may hear that Bee Gee soundtrack when the results come out with positive numbers and you’re crushing it. Or you may hear Seven Nation Army blaring as you tell yourself you’re gonna kick some ass and get those numbers down because it’s what you got to do.

Running. Outdoors. Music. Creativity. Girls Day/Night Out.

These are the outlets contributing to recharging the battery, and this week proved to be better than most, as I had on as my music jams, meditation, and running providing the needed soul therapy required to operate. There are indeed some factors that were out of my control but focusing on that, I’ve learned, just brings the average vibe down.  I woke up a badass, remember?  Got to concentrate on what can be done bit by bit. And since I had to hit pause on my previous project, I picked up my Canon this week to see if I could continue improving on my beginner skills.

I realized the weather and sunshine were super helpful on my continued quest to find perspective this week. I have to get used to the camera and telling stories visually, instead of with words, at least for a little bit, until this break is over. Probably will help with storytelling and settings. Angles. Perspective. I’ve found that the soundtrack I play on my headphones also helps see the morning differently. The beat and the words pulse through altering my rhythmic vibrations. Don’t think that it’s making me a better picture taker, but the vibes are better.

Since we’ve been indoors most of the time, taking snapshots outdoors is my first focus. The light is better, and apparently, I have to pay attention to light a lot more now. Depending on where it lands, the light, the story says something different. Just that one aspect of a scene, changes the direction of your visual storytelling. Where the sun hits it, how it’s reflecting off the surface, what kind of colors or glow is it enhancing. Light … what a trip.

Happens with everything else in life too, just one shift makes the day different. I think that’s why I currently enjoy running, when in fact I hated running as a kid. I mean it was … ugh … dreaded. But I realize the power of the shift running can have in my mornings, the power to help frame the day into a badass state of mind and as the lady said you woke up, might as well be a badass.

So, I’m a badass … a badass with a playlist, wearing Saucony’s, sweatpants, and a baseball cap, with a fairly new Canon camera, still figuring out.

Buen Camino, my friends …

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Celso Pina – Cumbia Sobre el Rio Suena

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Vicki Sue Robinson — Turn The Beat Around

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Jon Bon Jovi — Living on a Prayer

Kool and The Gang — Get Down On It

 

Joe Cocker — With A Little Help From My Friends

 

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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!!