Tag Archives: feel good 5 Friday

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 for a New Year on a Saturday …

1 Jan

In fuzzy pajamas waking up to the Rose Parade, followed by a run and blueberry pancakes.

I’m off to a good start … after a rocky ending. I mean with an old friend passing away and then Betty White, the year definitely did not end on a high note.

But the new day started with a new vibe.

And I was feeling the good vibrations of a New Year and the whispers of my inner ‘Yes You Can’ to gain strength from the bumpy roads of last year. Filled with gratitude to be out and walking on sunshine set the tone this morning for a positive outlook and an excelsior kind of feeling.

That morning song that sets you in the right direction, with its beats, and ability to travel through time and help you remember how to get your groove back, or just add that extra sauce to your strut, yeah … that helped today. That was the key. Just rode that vibe to another sporty adventure.

Pickleball.

I know, right? I had not heard of this pickleball, but apparently it is big and taking over tennis courts here and there. The sport is getting close to Gatorade levels.

Totally mixed-tape worthy.

We try something new every first day of the year … something outdoors if it’s possible and after a week-and-a-half of rain the sun was like time out. You’re up.

And so we ventured outside to the pickleball courts in the neighborhood with our borrowed racquets and took a shot.

This is totally our game.

And my son and I found it by chance. We happened to drop off my daughter at a soccer camp right before the storm hit us last week and hung out for a bit at the park. We discovered a full-on league of AARP posse engaged in this thing called pickleball. We stood there staring long enough that the team captain came over and asked if we had ever played and if we were interested he could show us the basics.

Between ping pong and tennis … we found that’s our sweeeeet spot.

They let us borrow some racquets to take home and hit balls against the wall and practice some basics. Today, however, the kids were like let’s hit the courts. We went to a nearby court and learned that keeping it in play proved to be more fun than smashing it down the line. So much so that when we got back from the courts, we ordered our own racquets and they played in the driveway.

Day One was good and that was a good start. Thinking of resolutions and words of the year and promises to help improve life, that’s still in progress. Forward is still my direction. Day One was filled with cool jams, fun times, smiles, me-time, and breathing moments. Deep breathing in the pockets of sunshine.

Buen Camino …

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I’m Coming Out — Diana Ross

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El Año Viejo — Tony Camargo

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Hot Stuff — Donna Summer

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Taking It To The Streets — The Doobie Brothers

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Here I Go Again — Whitesnake

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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 Night..

3 Jul

Rebounding.

It takes a lot of out of you.  The energy of getting back up when you’ve been knocked down takes some extra umph.

Back in the day when Showtime ruled the hardwood floors, Chick Hearn crushed the airwaves. The game was in the refrigerator, the door was closed, the lights were out, eggs cooling, butter was getting hard, and the Jello was jiggling … and there was AC Green. Magic was well …  Magic with no look passes, and clutch shots he helped ignite a comeback when they were down by 5 with 10 seconds to go. Worthy was the finish man, catching those no-look passes and taking them to the basket. Kareem was the Skyhook champ, couldn’t beat him. Michael Cooper wore the long socks and nailed three-pointers from anywhere around the perimeter. Anywhere. He was money. And then there was AC Green.

The Rebound Man.

Sure. Kareem had plenty. He was the Big Man. But AC was a forward and he was still battling.

Up in the air fighting elbows, and over the shoulder fouls, there he was grabbing the rebound, boxing out, putting it up for two on the offense, or sending the outlet pass for a fast break or an offense about to storm the other side. He battled in the paint, he battled outside of it. He rebounded.

He was not the biggest on the team but he fought on the boards.

I remembered AC and the work he put in just recently. Rebounding takes a lot out of you and sometimes you don’t even know if you have anything left in the tank. The patience and grace you got may have run out by 11 a.m. on some days and then you realize you still have a long ways to go. You’ve given up on the day. That’s it. You want to just lie down on the couch for 24 hours until time resets the day for you. Sometimes I feel like that. Just sitting there with some dark chocolate Kit Kats and taking deep breaths and hoping for a miracle.

But most of the time you have to make your own magic happen. Just the way it is and resetting is step one. But that’s hard when you’re feeling dejected, and just not feeling an ounce of gratitude, can’t find nothing in that reserve. Giving up on the day feels necessary. Just logical.

But sometimes breaking your day up in quarters might help. Morning, Lunch Time, Afternoon, and Night.  Just because one quarter went bad doesn’t mean the entire game is lost, it may in some instances, but you still have three quarters to bounce back, to rebound.

You’re still AC Green.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. I know. Believe me. Two kids, distance learning done, Summer Break in full effect, tight budget so you’re job hunting while working on an independent project, in addition to having family that isn’t really supportive or uplifting. This type of negative environment could be difficult to survive. The everyday stresses compounding with personal setbacks make it difficult to find the daily gratitude. Some people turn to different outlets to survive. Alcohol. Smoking. Those are popular. But because my uncle died of cancer, and he didn’t smoke, and my Dad passed away of lung disease, brought on by second-hand smoke, asbestos, or who knows what, that’s not a cool option for me. Alcoholism runs in my family so I don’t turn to it in troubled times. I got random bouts of profanity in the solitude of my locked car, exercise, nature, and music. That’s what’s in my tank. 

Then sometimes I think of AC Green. Still rebounding in the 4th quarter because the game isn’t over.

I got one quarter left in me. That’s what comes to mind and then soon enough I find bits and pieces of gratitude moments. Blueberry pancakes.  30-minute Pearl Jam yoga with Denis Morton in the morning.  Strength workout where I find a faint sculpting of my arms in effect. Dark Chocolate. Gas in the car. Giving a ride to my neighbor. 80’s music on the way there. 70’s on the way back. Entering a contest. My team winning tonight after nine innings. Clean sheets and the cool side of the pillow.

And sometimes that’s just enough to cross the finish line.

Buen Camino, my friends …

 

 

 

 

The Police – De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

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Carlos Vives and Ricky Martin — Cancion Bonita

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CCR – Have You Ever Seen The Rain

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Electric Light Orchestra — Mr. Blue Sky

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Donna Summer — Last Dance

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Feel Good 5 Friday

11 Jun

I found myself at the bottom of a Famous Amos Chocolate Chip bag.

It was the necessary and required amount of comfort needed.

Sometimes things go your way, and other times they just don’t. A job offer you were expecting to come in, comes back with, we decided to go in a different direction, a promotion you thought you were going to get goes to the nephew of the guy in charge, a test result you thought would be favorable comes back as a reality check, a grant you were hoping would help catapult your project into the next phase is instead welcomed with a letter that starts off with … unfortunately. There could be more scenarios out there causing a massive downers on everyone’s day.

You feel like crap and totally want to reach for another bag.

You sit there contemplating your next move, wondering what’s it going to be.

You feel like you just struck out at the bottom of the ninth, with runner in scoring position on a 3-2 count, or maybe like missing that crucial buzzer beater with your team down by one point.

So where do you go from there?

After going through the different stages of sadness and disappointment because I got to get them all out. I needed to put one foot in front of the other and find something … something that I was grateful for, some potential, some pint-size of positivity I could cling to during a not-so positive moment. It’s hard finding something you’re grateful for when you feel like you’re in a pretty crappy stage. But even if it’s small, like going for a swim, run, bike ride, or dance. Eating great food. Beach therapy day. Trying a new adventure. Reading a good story. A friend. A cool sunset.

Something positive is out there.

When I’m driving and I’ve got the bad news, the music is my savior. Changing the stations I end up listening to a tune I hadn’t heard in months, sometimes years. But just in case the radio doesn’t have it, I’ve got that go-to playlist. The one you listen to when you’re running and you want to feel powerful, or the one you listen to when you want to celebrate something good in your life, or the one you listen to while you’re driving, the one that gets you dancing at every stop light, or the ones where you just want to feel sad and the soulful sounds help you because someone has been where you are and feels what you fell.

Go-to songs have a way of turning the corner when you need something to push you in the right direction. That lift. You have some for different circumstances in your life.

I always got a couple that make it happen for me … but that one song … the one that makes me smile and just feel good is Katrina … Katrina and her Waves. That song just makes me smile and feel good. Makes the morning better. Makes the run stronger. Makes the care ride better. Walking on Sunshine is a feeling I’d like to take with me. It’s been on my Feel Good 5 Friday before and maybe even in my mixed-tape series. But that’s the song … that’s the one that does it for me. That and probably the Jefferson’s Theme Song. But since we’re not talking about theme songs, I’d have to go with my girl Katrina 🙂 Everyone has got one.

So I pressed play and tried to get the tunes to change the state of mind. For some reason if I’m outdoors or in the car it seems to work a lot better.

And so my journey began.

In the music I found gratitude bits and pieces and slowly started to get out of the funk. Feeling the rhythm and the beat. Singing at full volume in the car. Found parking and still left the music on, jamming and starting to feel different. And then I received a text message.

A friend of mine had won a Pulitzer.

Dude.

Duuuuuuuuuude.

Have you ever heard some spectacular news, I mean something that didn’t even have to do with you, but something for someone else, and it made you so happy. I mean genuinely happy.

I was so happy for them that I completely forgot about my own troubles, my own day and smiled because something good happened to a friend of mine. Hard worker, filled with determination and grit. I was proud to have known them. Good things happen to good people. They do. And that right there made me happy.

Buen Camino …

Walking on Sunshine — Katrina & The Waves

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Homegrown — Zac Brown Band

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No Tengo Dinero — Juan Gabriel

Livin’ on a Prayer — Jon Bon Jovi

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Never Know — Jack Johnson

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Feel Good 5 Friday… Jalapeño Cornbread and Timeouts

28 May

Jalapeño Corn Bread.

That right there did it for me.

The week of frustration, headaches, couple migraines, Friday looked good to me. Crossed that finish line.

There I was winding down the week high-fiving myself as I managed both a 4th and 7th grade curriculum. Distance learning done! And we move on! Kids were happy, I was happy. Feeling like the strut of a Bee Gees music video.

After all the Zoom Meetings, attendance records, and extra everything going on this year I was so glad to have conquered it.

Check.

That’s when the Jalapeño Corn Bread just came into my life and made for such an amazing feeling. You know when the food is so good, that you pause, you just close your eyes and take a breath. You’re about to take a knee it’s so good but then you just dance with your stank face on. Just bust a move. It’s in your spirt.

That was me and the warm, crumbly, soft Jalapeño Cornbread.

First time I’ve ever tasted it and guaranteed it won’t be the last. I am on it. This southern comfort food place in the neighborhood that I’d never tried and the cornbread made me a fan.

Nothing like sitting in the peace and quiet of your car, picking up the food and peeking in the bag just for a minute to discover a warm goodness in its steamy container. This is the moment that you remember… hey the airplane people always say put your mask on first and then … THEN … put your child’s mask on. That’s what they say and so I did.

I stayed in that parking lot and took some time. I smelled the sweet aroma, took a bite of that top edge and instantly knew this was gonna be a good evening. I sat back in the driver’s seat.

C’mon now, you better eat, girl. I turned up that Hall and Oates jam on the radio and the next six minutes of jams and tastiness made for an epic soundtrack of self-care. A timeout. Sometimes you just need a timeout, you need to tag someone in, but sometimes there is no someone, so you need a timeout, a brief moment to get back to Zen, to restore. Timeouts are important.

If you haven’t tried corn bread yet, jalapeño cornbread, I highly encourage it. Changes your good Friday into a great Friday! Reminds you to take a minute for yourself, a minute, and just enjoy something, you deserve it.

Buen Camino my friends!

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.Hall and Oates — You Make My Dreams

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Fania All Stars with Oscar De Leon, El Canario, Milly Quezada — Quitate Tu

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Chic — Good Times

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Billy Idol — Mony, Mony

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Glenn Frey — The Heat is On

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Feel Good 5 Friday … Playlist for The Climb

30 Apr

Something sets you off or picks you up and then there it is … the mood.

The mood for the week born. You wake up with positive vibes and one more chance, and you start the week right, thinking good vibrations and happy salutations. You’re thinking sunshine and waves.

And sometimes during the week the lightness of being lasts, other times the tornado of unexpected chaos and obstacles present themselves. Everyone has their moments.

This is why my mixed tapes, my Feel Good 5 Friday’s make sense. They record the vibe of the week with song, verse, rhythm and flow. I try to send the feeling out into the universe to whisper into the wind and land on someone who needs to time travel to a moment that makes their heart feel good.

This week is a bit different. The intention is different. My Dad.

This week was meant to carry on, to push, to motivate, to know I can make it, because there’s purpose.

11 years since his passing.

After two years of grieving his loss, I found a yearly cause to help continue honoring his life. This will be the ninth year that I lace up my Saucony’s and climb 1,393 steps in the Fight for Air Climb. It usually takes place in the second tallest building in the city, but it’s gone virtual this year because of the virus. And it makes sense, no need packing the indoor stairwells with hundreds of people huffing and puffing their way to the roof. So I’ve mapped out an alternate route of hidden staircases throughout the city that will take me over the top. But scaling the equivalent of 63+ stories is rough. My calves hate me afterward and the scent of BenGay travels with me days following the race.

But it’s worth it, my dad’s always been worth it. The Remote Control Master and MacGyver fixing extraordinaire. The guy who taught me how to change a tire and drive stick shift, to know what the Thomas Guide was for and how to use it. The guy that used to fill my college fridge and freezer with pounds and pounds of chicken because he was a butcher and he could. Plus he also thought Cup-O-Noodles was not a cool addition to my diet. So, chicken … individually wrapped packages meant he was still helping his youngest even when she was far away. The dad that called me and left messages on my answering machine just to say hi, at least three times a week.

Yup. My pops. These little snapshots of his life make him worth it. He’s worth 63 stories and then some.

What makes the climb a bit easier?

Knowing I’m scaling the heights in honor of my dad keeps me going when my muscles feel like stopping. There’s an extra gallon in the tank, the reserve, that fuels me. He’s definitely my driving force.

But music helps set the pace, the mood. A good playlist makes me feel like I can beat Rocky to the top of those stairs. You get the one song that pumps you up before conquering that mountain, the pre-game mindset hype and then the one you play as soon as you take the first step, get you started right. Then the one that needs to be played at full volume mid-race because you need that extra lightning. That jolt. And then the one where you can see the finish line and you’re on fumes, you might be cramping, you might be exhausted, but the beat drops, you hear those drums and your legs just pick up the pace and you remember that extra gear that was dormant, that Seven Nation Army brings it out.

Feel Good Race Playlist … Definitely needed. But today I only give you 5.

And so this week the playlist was not inspired by multiple events or thoughts of the week, just by one event happening this weekend. So if you’re ever in need of some pump-it-up jams to help you reach the finish line, hope a partial look at my mixed tape playlist helps to get your feet moving a bit faster.

Buen Camino, my friends!

House of Pain — Jump Around

J Belvin — Mi Gente

Avicii — Levels

Pitbull — Back in Time

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The White Stripes — Seven Nation Army

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Feel Good 5 Friday on a Saturday Night with Take-Out …

17 Apr

After 13 months of this new non-permanent way of living hit us all at varying degrees, life lessons from different angels surfaced. Some, brand new, others reminders of lessons that needed to be held front and center. 

There are people out there that you just want to punch in the face. No amount of Zen training with Phil Jackson can help you with a jerk of that size and nature. I mean I thought they were extinct, but they’re coming out from under their sheets on full display, no need to hide anymore. Apparently. 

Then there are those whose level of kindness and empathy make you think, that there is more good out there than bad. For a moment it makes you feel that way. Everyday people stepping up and helping, when those in power were supposed to lead but failed miserably because they were too busy traveling on vacation or embroiled in some other scandal. 

Everyday people. Women. Men. Girls. Boys. Everyone who didn’t need to step up did and that made for feel-good stories about Meals on Wheels, Lemonade Stands, Children’s Hospitals, Books for Foster Care, Carpool Caravan Graduations, Virtual Music Concerts, Chalk Art, Computers and Hotspots for those most in need. The little bits and pieces adding up from your local paper and coming to light. Everyone doing a little something for someone else just to make One day out of the 13 months better.

I thought about that last year and in January. When people are busy making plans and resolutions, taking stock of their life. Small businesses occurred to me. It takes a lot to run a small business. It takes a lot to be successful, to stay afloat, to start that dream. 

While shopping at grocery stores fully masked and socially distant, I knew a lot of small businesses, particularly restaurants were hurting. Nobody knew what this was and people were worried about eating out, so restaurants sold ingredients and cook-at-home meals just to stay open. Now I love to eat, it’s my favorite. Good food, really good, tasty, and savory food. That makes you close your eyes and think C’MON NOW. C’MON NOWWWW! And then you just start dancing because that food is so good, you become a professional back-up dancer that minute. That’s what really good food does, it fills your spirit with happy. Good music. Good friends. Good food. That’s an awesome combination. 

And so while everyone was doing something little or something big, just to help make someone else’s day better. I thought I could do more than just be an advocate for voting rights, provide books for foster care youth, a little something extra to help someone out once a month. Now I got my favorite hot spots around town that I love, my go-to’s that I’ve been ordering from when I’m too exhausted to cook, but I found that if I also add a new restaurant, a new small business I can help them out at least one day. 

So that’s what we’ve been doing, picking a new small business once a month and letting a couple friends in the neighborhood know about it too.  Most people, I guess do that all the time with pictures of their food on social media, but sometimes I think it’s more about them then the actual food and chef behind the amazingness. So I try not to do it that way.

Since we’re homebodies, we enjoy home-cooked meals. But trying to help your neighborhood, your community thrive is also important. Not many people can, with job loss and loss of hours, it’s been hard for some to manage financially for the last 13 months. But we try to help someone new once a month, and so far the meals and desserts have been savory and sweet, so much so that some of these places will become my new regulars. Pho. Bavarian Chocolate Pie, Sausage and Peppers. These have been welcomed with smiles. And we look forward to new diners, drive-ins, and dives.

So for the next eight months we’ll continue helping our regular spots, but also add a brand new place in hopes that we can help them a little. I encourage you to visit any small business and help make a positive impact on their day. Spreading the good vibes, helps everyone during difficult times. It’s like playing the right song, at just the right moment. Helps you time travel and get you to a place where smiling is easy for you, happiness, good-times-noodle-salad moments, sunshine, and waves. 

Feel good vibes, keeping it better. Paying it forward

Buen Camino …

Kano — I’m Ready

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Philip Bailey & Phil Collins — Easy Lover

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Chente — Volver, Volver

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Tina Turner — Shake a Tailfeather

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King Harvest — Dancing in the Moonlight

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Feel Good 5 Friday … What’s in Your Wallet?

26 Mar

I’ve been accused of having a Costanza wallet.

jason alexander wallet GIF

 

The kind, where you keep all the receipts … you know, just in case. The beefy kind of wallet where the flap doesn’t quite reach the button and it would never fit in your back pocket unless you’d want to be sitting lopsided. The kind of wallet where you still have baby and preschool pictures of your kid but he’s already going on off to college. The kind that still has your expired zoo membership card just in case.

That’s me.

I’m the keep-it-just-in-case person. I feel there are a lot of things you can tell about a person just from their wallet. Whether they have any pictures or not, says something. Pictures of your kids playing baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball. Spring, Summer, Winter Sports. Their changing faces each year and different uniforms, make you look at the pictures for an extra minute. Maybe the type of credit cards or gift cards to preferred stores. Hidden messages on post-it notes that inspire or push you in the right direction. . Business cards of favorite pastry shops or restaurants give you an insight as to whether they enjoyed pizza or Ramen on Saturday nights. All these little clues add up to pieces of who you are and who you’ve become.

Me. 

I’m the Costanza wallet keeper. I enjoy Pho on cloudy days, pizza thin crust from up the street with mushrooms on days I’m too tired to cook, Pad Prik King and Tom Yum on Friday nights when I want something savory, and fresh Sunday morning buttery flaky croissants from the French bakery down the street.

Restaurant business cards. 

Could drive people bananas, but when I reach in and get that 11th free hair cut card from Marlita, it feels good to have that just-in-case mentality set. And then there’s the coupons. CVS. It’s ridiculous.

I do clean the wallet out from time to time of course, when the receipts and paper seem to wanna bust out. I find an old lottery ticket and remember the story of the older secretary lady who was upset at her boss one day and was cleaning out her purse and found an old lottery ticket that was a Mega Million Jackpot. I think that could be you and this could be that ticket. But no. Never happens. So it eventually goes in the trash.

I find my Dad’s and Uncle Erick’s obituary. I gently unfold the wrinkled paper and look at their picture. I remember that face and that life and a twinge of pain hits my heart, electric static rises through my spine and makes its way to the top. I take a deep breath and stare at it for a minute, before neatly folding it back and tucking it back in its place.

And then I find the mini post-it notes I write to myself or the ones my kids wrote to me and a smile comes over my face. Sometimes you need that kind of advice or pick-me-up just to keep you going that day. I still have a small flyer given to me in 1995, 1996. A kid just passing out Christmas flyers for his church handed me one and it happen to be a day where I was struggling. A small cartoon of a kid and a Christmas tree, smiling. An invitation letting you know you weren’t alone this holiday season, even if you felt alone. The universe, God, Karma, the community, they were there. And so I read it, and it was a little less darker that day. Even though they might have printed hundreds, I felt the message was written especially for me.

I keep that in my Costanza wallet as a reminder. And it makes me feel good, as does the random music lists of songs piled in there. Feel good songs that take me back to tough childhood days of my youth that ended up proving to be some of the best memories. Feel good songs that made up the best mixed tapes. Feel good songs I turn up while doing chores or driving down the street in order to take me way back.

The Costanza Wallet.

Pieces of me and clues that add up to a good story.

So as they say, what’s in your wallet?

Buen Camino my friends …

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Genesis — Invisible Touch

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Cameo — Word Up

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Bando Machos — El Gato y El Raton

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David Bowie — Modern Love

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Nena — 99 Luftballoons

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