PB & J + Family = Blog Snack

It has been a trip to see my niece grow over the years and see this personality burst out of this small child. And then I see my younger brother Ronny handling his parenting role with gusto. Funny because even though Ronny is a parent and raising his four year old daughter Elexis, he is still my silly younger brother trying to keep things funny in a moment of seriousness. We trade stories outside late at night if I’m still awake and if he’s up too. Talk about E-girl and what she said or did, always something to remember about.

The night is calm because it surrenders the worries of the day to breath freely and we’re able to dissect the happy times of life and re-live them through stories. It’s always comforting when you can do that with family. Share aspects about life when you’re out on your own. The individual experiences and insights that I can include my people on. Even if it’s just about the taste of the meal.

So I ask about my brother’s day and he had went to a departmental conference, they were doing team building exercises and they had guest speakers. You know being on the road and writing reports about the locations and discussions with clients. The language you use needs to be clear and concise. He had talked about a team-building exercise that had to do with making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. How I understood the activity, it was to point out the need to clearly explain and use language to get exactly what you needed. I mean someone comes to you and says how do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

There are several schools of thought on how to correctly manifest a sandwich of that magnitude. Creamy or crunchy? Strawberry or Grape?

So the presenter calls on my brother to answer the question or at least begin to make some kind understanding of what was truly being asked. My brother says

First you are going to need to find out and see if there is any bread.

Cartoon Soap Opera

As the world occurs.

I get homesick in a sense when at work maybe because my niece is home enjoying the summer without me. Around this time last year I was not working and was the babysitter for my niece Elexis. We would go for bike rides, and watch cartoons. It was a just a fun time not really having a job. I was home.

Of course the time I got to spend with my niece was what I enjoyed the most. I was suddenly out of school and really unsure about how things were going to be. So important that family is always going to have a spot for me and that was what babysitting did. It gave me a clear picture of myself in the family. Being able to bond with my niece who was three at the time just helped me remember being a child and but also still accepting responsibilities that come with being alive in the world. To just be able to anticipate the day and making it neat for my niece to play in. Almost reintroducing myself to the family storyline full-time. I’m no longer stranded on some island sipping martinis in a coconut cup (the college years).

A regular character in the seasons to come is how it felt spending time with E-girl. She is so young and impressionable but all at the same time influential to how I could see myself in her future. Playing the role of the uncle and actually do my own stunts in the scene by being around. Trying to do everything possible and give a good performance. Break a leg. And we had plenty of fun times that summer. The summer she discovered Scooby Doo and took ownership of the house and made it a fun-mystery one.

And it’s all about the snacks and juice. Is there food that will satisfy our soul and is it the kind of flavor I need for the moment. I was the man in charge of making things go smoothly and keeping the calm energy for the episode. Not always working that way if she disagreed with what I had said. Not wanting to take a nap was always a conflict that season. So young Elexis is now really expressing her personality like a comedic light underneath all her serious business.

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This summer she is spending time with her grandma. My Mom is off on her summer break and she is looking after Elexis. So I been sneaking away for lunch to see the two a couple days out of the week to get a quick lunch and visit during the day. I guess when underneath the supervision of my Mom, Elexis does things a certain way. They have their own style.

I went to see what’s going on in the world of E-girl. I thought it was nap time because no one was in the living room or the kitchen. I walked in the back room and they were both watching a movie playing with play-doh like it was ice cream. I get my lunch and talk for a bit before time pulls me away. It’s like a tradition with Elexis when someone leaves the house, she has to give them a hug goodbye. So I announce my departure and Elexis comes running up the hall and I thought she was giving me a hug.

But she just runs right passed me and goes straight to the fridge. Come here uncle! I follow her to the kitchen and she asks me if I could get her a peach. Always make sure I wash the fruit and explain minor details about the food. Remember the seed.

She takes the fruit and runs off and I need to get back to work.

I have my goals in the range and one day at a time I’m trying to reach these milestone. And to have Elexis in my life I can always feel accomplished by helping her understand her day-to-day. Even though I’m working on these big parts of my life and career, the role of uncle motivates me to stay cool in the summer.

As the world occurs.

21 TIPS Part 14

The summer is brewing warm memories and basketball is letting me sweat out the stress. Over the past couple months it has become a muse. I am able to think and not think all at the same time. I guess everyone has issues or situations that need care and with this connection to a game I’m handling my situation with the knowledge of being able to play basketball. It has become a part of my life, but it has always been.

I had mention in a previous post about going to the park with my older cousins and watching them play. My cousins were way older than me I would always be looking up to them. There would be pick-up games and we were living in Tucson at the time so we met all kinds of people at the park. All there to jam ball. Hip-hop and basketball blend well. There is always that one guy that brings a radio. Not a ball. Of course music is key to anything. But I just always remember feeling among geniuses because they could create a fun-competitive scene just by sticking to rules of a game.

I was envious of my cousins, their skill and approach to the game was something I wanted for myself. So I watched how they played as I got older. You know now they have families of their own and I managed to find my own confidence in the game. As I got older there were leagues I played in growing up. Even did play in high school. But even to this day I remember feeling this nervousness about the game time. In practice I was alert and focused. Although when it came down to playing a game with refs and time keepers. I was detached. I wanted to play but I was fine with not playing. Being scared or overthinking it; things are a big deal to you as a kid and I think being the one responsible can overwhelm you to think clearly.

The second guessing is around the corner and looking back I see myself being nervous for no reason. Everything is going to be alright. Things were never so bad after all. It’s just a game.

You know after leaving the park we would walk to a nearby grocery store to buy a sports drink. Laughing and calling each other girly names like “precious.” Maybe the closeness was what I enjoyed the most but I look back and they were teaching me how to handle myself on the court. I got my real ideas about the game through them. It’s easy to say I want to be like Mike because he’s the best. Yet I had my cousins to show me what Mike showed them. In person they were playing basketball like I dreamed.

Using the backboard.

21 Tips Part 13

You know when the dust settles and the time determines the victor. Win or lose there is new content to be utilized for next season. The finals are over and the Spurs win the series 4-1. This was pretty much a re-match from last year and it was the Heat celebrating around this time.

Tim Duncan over my basketball timeline he has become this classic example of a true team player. Just a technical guru with his execution on the floor. In the last 15 years Duncan has lead him team to win 5 of those years. Closer to the end of his NBA career he still is holding it down. He really came into the game with all the fundamentals fully aged. Some players you see improve throughout their career but Duncan’s skill level has always been on high. When asked about what motivated the year’s efforts from losing to Miami one year prior. For the love of the game

Tim said a bunch of the stuff but those were the words that stood out the most. That was the line I put in my back pocket to remember this victory. Now to bounce an idea to what Lebron James had to share about the loss. And his approach to the situation was that in the last four years the Heat has made it to the championships and won two of those four. Obviously, you want to win all of them, but that’s just the nature of the game very is the cup half full or half empty with that attitude. You know if the love is strong it can survive that nature which brings loss.

A new season officially begins for everyone. It goes back into the minds; Re-vision the vision. Be working the dream to fit the realities of the now. I still got mad love for you.

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21 TIPS Part 12

“Repetition is the father of learning”

-Lil Wayne

It’s the finals baby. You bet there will be a round table discussion of what’s going on here. The Spurs are up one game and are on the verge of ending the Miami streak. I’m anxious to see if Lebron can get the Heat another ring. It will solidify more of the Jordan comparisons and it puts him in another range of greatness. Although Lebron with the juice on him, he is constantly observed and commented on in the basketball world. Fans. Sports writers. Opponents. The list continues but regardless of the outcome the opinions and comments are free. In the end it is time that will determine any kind of logic for who the true champion is.

Juice was one of my favorite movies when I was a little guy. Tupac was all young and he plays a character named Bishop. The movies is about this group of friends that plan to rob a store. Bishop is a maverick and during the stick up he shoots the store owner. Just to feel power he pulls the trigger and it all goes to his head. The title Juice is referring to this fearful atmosphere Bishop had created around his people and once he had ‘”the juice,” he felt like he was on top of the world. Fate is it taken or handed to you?

Basketball and hip-hop mix well and besides watching I do enjoy listening to famous rappers make their predictions about tonight’s game. And the man Lil’ Wayne shocked me with what he said. Besides who he said was going to win, he made a comment about the Spurs team that made me ponder about the way we view things. Regardless of the victory the team is an engine that is made up of many parts. How well that team works together is pretty much our judgment. But overall the players play the game and the coach is on the sideline. Each with a job. But with the availability of sports news and the truth we find that not all players and coaches respect each other. Someone disagrees with another a person and a sports reporter wants to vocalize an emotion through words about a moment for the world to grow opinions on. So we find out players and coaches don’t always get along.

Now the comment Wayne made was that the Spurs camp was one of the few teams in the league, where all the players got respect for their coach. And to bounce another idea of what Wezzy said is that there is an obvious amount of energy and trust among the whole squad. Including the coach even though he isn’t on the floor playing. The players on the court playing got respect for what that man thinks. That’s beautiful.

Wayne predicted that Heat would take the series in game 7. Which is the most heroic way to earn a ring. He does claim to be the best. So I’ll let this post rest.

21 TIPS Part 11

You know with the blog first being about food and life. Family just naturally comes out of that discussion of the two. However basketball just somehow fits the blog atmosphere. And it may have to do with how the game impacted my life growing up. I just fueled off it in whatever form. Practice. Reading about it. Even if it was just watching my cousins play at the park. That was the time to learn something. Still there is content to pull off the court and I feel the blog can be a food-basketball-one. Why the hell not.

I just passed the 100th marker of posts for the blog. So I will milk this basketball thang for what it’s worth. Easier said than done. You know thinking about all my fondest basketball memories I automatically jump to one of me and my dad shooting around at some park. Where the court was almost an island because all that surrounded it was a grassy pool of space. I never really mention my dad in the blog; it’s always been my mother that has been the main influence in the posts about family. Although I am a combination of both parents so I think that’s why basketball fits nice and snug. My dad and I before he passed away did have our one-on-one time at that court. Shooting around.

I remember too how he was talking about being able to run and shoot would be helpful in a real game. It was difficult growing up without my father not always being there but still for that moment we were just father and son talking about the game.

Standing at the line

Even if I miss

You’ll still get my rebound

Follow through

Be able to run and shoot

Defend the truth

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This game is awesome.