Tag Archives: feel good songs

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

21 Aug

Sometimes seeing old friends helps you remember who you used to be.

And the music that blasted through with The Weekend Top 40 with Casey Kasem hits you with a kaleidoscope of memories filled with your Nike Cortez days and TrapperKeepers in that JanSport backpack. As is with everyone these days, it’s been difficult to see people and old friends. But sometimes you find moments where it can happen. You make every effort to be cautious, get outdoors, and you get some sense of good vibes that can carry you.  

Visiting with someone that knew you way back when brings out your highlight reel and you start to think back of where you were in your life and who you used to be back then. Sometimes those are good memories, other times they may not be, depends. But this particular meetup made me think about how this person contributed to my growth as a person and that meant a lot, especially if you just want to go and say thank you to someone for making such a positive impact. She knew me during both difficult and positive times, and made life better.

I hoped she would remember all those times, but it may have been difficult considering she was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It was sad to hear that happened to my old coach, my mentor. I know she was looking forward to retirement and traveling with her family, enjoying the rewards of all her hard work. But this major curve ball got sent her way and it hit me in the pit of my stomach. 

Don’t know if she’d remember all the pieces of advice she gave me on and off the court, the lessons in leadership, the lessons during a loss, during season-ending injuries, during wins, during championships and of course beyond school and into the “real world”. She wouldn’t remember coaching us and everything she contributed. That’s the part that made me sad. She was such a big part in everyone’s life and here she was sitting a few feet away unsure of what the future would bring now that she’d have to live with this new life, different from what she imagined.

I don’t know how fast it will progress but I hoped for the best, I hoped for her memories to last a little bit longer. That’s what I wished for her as a sat there looking across at her and I reintroduced myself. I wanted to talk to her but didn’t want to overwhelm her with too many memories. Too much too soon. We all took a beat to slow it down. 

I stopped thinking of what she might lose and just tried to talk to her and make her smile. Enjoyed the conversation that everyone was having, picked up on the bits and pieces of their lives, and found comfort in taking a trip back to the past. Talking about old times and cracking up at our old ways and old game stories. Thanked her for being able to come, just to see her and get a chance to talk to her. I know she probably changed the lives of many girls, girls who grew up to be leaders, teachers, mothers, CEO’s, coaches, or writers.  I drove off hoping that she’d remember today and even if she didn’t remember all the details of the conversation, maybe at least she’d remember the feeling of being there and the comfort of knowing that she inspired so many people to become better versions of themselves. And being there reminded me of who I used to be and who I wanted to be. It was a good feeling. A good flashback, followed by a good soundtrack. 

Buen Camino …

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The Romantics — What I Like About You

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Technotronic — Move This

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Los Hermanos Flores — La Bala

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Rob Base — It Takes Two

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UB40 — Here I Come Baby

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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 … on a Saturday Night that turned to Sunday

6 Jun

Cherry Garcia.

I can’t believe I had never tried it until yesterday.

Sometimes you go into the freezer to grab a celebratory treat, satisfy a sweet tooth, or comfort after a bad day. Motivation behind the freezer-reach is different but the result is the same.

Feeling good.

Sometimes it’s a great run. Sometimes is a funny show. Sometimes the sweet tunes of a mixed tape. Sometimes Ben & Jerry’s.

As I mentioned before, I was only introduced to Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead in college, freshman year. Music setting a feel-good vibe. And today’s discovery of this sweet, creamy ice cream flavor, tagged with music, was definitely my jam.

Sometimes choices and options are so popular you avoid them because everybody does it and that turns you off. You like to set your path. Other times you just never get around to it, until you do.

Has that ever happened? You just never tried something, even in the midst of popular opinion, just never got around to it? A friend of mine had never seen I Love Lucy. Someone else had never done a 5k. Another friend said she’d never gone to the snow, which made me think that many people had never gone to a beach or a desert. Someone else had never baked a cake, not even the Betty Crocker kind. Another friend had never tried to play a musical instrument, which made me think that some people may never have tried dancing. Made me curious as to why people just don’t get around to trying something new that almost everyone has already gotten to experience. Doesn’t have to be any of this stuff, as geography and money can factor into certain experiences. But trying something new probably means paying attention to what your path looks like, and whether new experiences can help enrich your life, or not. Sometimes it’s a risk. Sometimes trying something new is part of the act of self-care. Doesn’t have to be something big, adventurous, popular, or expensive. Just something new.

I had never tried Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

It’s not a big deal. It was just a thing that surprised me.

I’d always seen in it in the freezer next to my Chunky Monkey and Cookie Dough, but never wanted to try it, really. I like cherries, but not maraschino cherries. Sometimes I worry about the risk of trying something new and then it burning me out because it turns out bad. Wasting money. But then maybe it’s not a waste if it allows you to get to know yourself better. Likes and dislikes.

An awesome moment of hard work led to the freezer section of the Smart&Final. Reward in Aisle 2. But a bad encounter that evening, involving an argument and a putdown, led to pop open that top and try something new.

Excelsior.

Cherry Garcia hit that spot. Blocked the negative and made way for the positive. Sometimes trying something new does that for me. Sometimes it’s exercise. Sometimes it’s laughter. And sometimes it’s good music. Like Feel Good 5 Friday on any day.

Buen Camino …

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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 … Speeches

21 May

I gave a speech.

Most of the time when I talk I got two television-watching adolescents zoning me out as they watch episodes of their newest show on Netflix or DisneyPlus. But this time I had people paying attention for more than just a minute, or at least it looked that way on Zoom.

An old friend asked for a favor, and even though I thought she probably could have gotten a bigger cheese, you know someone with CEO after their name, I stepped up to the plate and gave my advice and thoughts to a few college graduates.

I hadn’t spoken in front of a group in years, I hadn’t been asked to give a speech before. I mean coaching my kids’ teams I give pep talks and all that, but a formal speech was something different. It was a new experience that just landed on my doorstep and even though I was a bit hesitant I gave in to the opportunity. I remembered that Jim Carrey movie, a while back Yes, Man. He wanted to change his life, as it wasn’t going the way he thought it would. Negative and unhappy with his unfulfillment. He sees the power in yes and it sparks change in him and his life.

And so I Yessssssed my way into that speech and inspired a few women along the way. At least I hope. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, perhaps the fact that it was on Zoom, maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t speaking to a crowded stadium. Maybe they all played a role in making the whole production less overwhelming. Speeches can feel that way I guess.

But I felt good about it. I tried to send out those good vibes you need, the kind you feel when you hear a song on the radio you hadn’t heard in a while, and the beat just makes it happen. You feel better. Powerful. Ready. You need those feeling everyday, not just on graduation day. So I tried to get them ready for the “real world” and give them some advice that I hoped would help. I retold a story of my old college days, before computers, where typewriters ruled and white out was your friend. I talked about obstacles and being able to get back up and know that behind every success, failure fueled the engine to reach the top. Personal anecdotes made for funny moments as walking into the dorms for the first time, or meeting a perfect stranger that was about to be your roommate for a year were experiences everyone remembered.

Toward the end, I was glad I had said yes. Sometimes that happens. You’re hesitant about going somewhere, meeting someone, trying something new, committing to an outing. I was glad that Jim Carrey movie popped into my head.

Why not me, right?

And what I learned from writing and giving that speech is that being a motivational speaker is something parents do every day. I mean you wake up in the morning convincing yourself that the alarm clock is your friend, not your foe and that the snooze button is great! But maybe not all the time. After rolling out of bed and doing the million chores, before serving up breakfast, you give morning TedTalks for an audience of two, trying to get them in the right frame of mind to tackle the day, with good intentions and a strong purpose.

You’re a member of the parent world and we have to be ready to talk about life questions, adding and subtracting fractions, prepositional phrases, and SpongeBob Squarepants all in the same day.

Remembered that I didn’t need a CEO title to give someone a little advice, I had plenty of life experience to share. So the “yes” took me to a good place, where I was able to help and pay it forward in some way. Hopefully leaving them with the feel-good feelings you get after you hear the perfect song and it just lifts you up.

The picker-upper. That was me … Buen Camino.

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Matthew Wilder — Break My Stride

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Billie Joe Armstrong Green Day with Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles — Manic Monday

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Kinito Mendez — Cachamba

The B-52’s — Rock Lobster

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Kerris Dorsey — The Show

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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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