Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

5 Oct


Breaking through boundaries is fun sometimes …



Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post.


Failure Happens More Than Once But You Still Recover … Just Ask Meg Ryan

2 Oct

I’ve always been scared of it, but realized now that I’m 40, I’ve reached the top level. Yup I’m close to Jedi Status on this one, but seeing how I still have blow ups and meltdowns, I can’t say I’ve reached the elite Zen level.

But I’m close.

I’ve become really close with it, my twenties and thirties were definitely times where failure and I became bosom buddies. And the truth is I hated failing. I didn’t look forward to that experience, or toward searching through the pain and heartache to learn the lesson that was hiding. No one does, really.

Failure is a hard thing to come back from, but I’ve realized I do a good job of it.

Relationships, family bonds, friendships, job interviews, career breaks, story writing, novel writing, article writing … I’ve had failure on every level, the most epic being parent failure as I feel that no matter how hard I try I seem to always fall short to some degree. There’s always some variation of failure staring at me by Friday night.

But the thing is I’ve learned to always get up and I don’t know if it stems from all the experience, or if it’s an inherent quality in my underdog mentality, but I first noticed it back in college when I saw a Meg Ryan flick.

Now, I don’t know if most of you are aware of Meg Ryan, but she was my 90s girl with films like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and City of Angels. She took over where Molly Ringwald left off

She was my go-to chick flick, and it was because of her that I first realized … anything can go wrong. Anything and everything. It can, and there’s nothing you can do to prepare for something like that.

I was reminded of this just recently when I saw my favorite Meg Ryan movie for like the thousandth time. French Kiss.

The thing is, I don’t think it was a blockbuster or made millions, in fact some people probably hated it. But for me it was such a great movie. It highlighted the fact that failure happens, even when you do everything right, it will happen to you. It will. Somewhere on your timeline failure will hit you and it’ll feel like you can’t breathe, that you can’t get up because the air has been knocked out of you, that the humiliation, embarrassment, anger, hurt, or sadness of it all won’t let you. The weight will be heavy.

Sometimes failure won’t hit you all at once, it’s peppered throughout a decade, other times it will all hit you in a week.

No matter how great a person you are, you will have a relationship that will fail and leave you listening to 80s love songs. You will break your straight A streak with a C+ in statistics and find yourself eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s just to get through it. You will be replaceable in a job where you thought you would never be forgotten. You will not get the job after that kickass interview. You will fall down, even when someone is not trying to trip you.

Yup I think Meg’s the reason why I realized I could get back up. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the story is about a woman who has her white-picket fence dream fall apart when her fiance leaves her, and she ends up flying to France to confront him. The story follows the physical and emotional adventure that happens because of this choice.

But best of all the film shows you someone whose world falls apart, the big things come crashing down, and then on top of that, the little things follow that same route. Failure rains down. It did on her and it does on us.

But she doesn’t give up.

Failure happened, it tore her apart and left her crying in some strange country but she kept going. She woke up and she kept going. Failure didn’t kill her, although it might have felt that way, but it didn’t. She got up and she kept trying.

I love watching this movie just to get that feeling, that sense that … dude you can get up after failure. You can and you should, because it’s probably going to happen again and you need to be standing when it does. The recovery is easier.  But you still recover if you’re on the floor, just takes a little bit longer.




Mixed Tape Monday

28 Sep

So I was able to go back in time and tap into my days of Levis Jeans, Lucky Charms, and yellow neon attire in order to create another awesome 80s mix tape for a friend who celebrated the big 4-0 milestone this weekend.

I actually love making these for my comadres as I can’t remember ever getting one myself back in the day. I remember getting tapes, and I was grateful for those, but no one seemed to give me enough thought back then to take the time to make one of these for me.

But I get it … it took a while to listen to the radio for that one song to come out, to hear it in the privacy of the late night so that no one would interrupt your kick-ass mix by yelling at you for not picking something up, and then you had to hit the red record button at just the right moment so that you didn’t get the DJ calling out “THIS IS LOVE SONGS ON POWER 106!” Sometimes this was a two-man kind of job.

You had to reeeeeeaaaally love someone to go through all that.

I get it.

It wasn’t easy in those days, but plenty of people got them. I’d see them in the front pocket of their Jansport backpacks with some awesome artwork attached to the cover. I’d seen it! So I knew they existed. I knew it. They were out there … those 60 minutes of undying teenage love, and if you were lucky enough to get one … duuuuuuude.

So thinking back on how awesome it would have felt to get me one of those, I thought I’d make my own mix tapes for each of my comadres on their 40th birthdays to show them how special they were to me and how important their friendship has been throughout the years. Maybe they’d get that awesome I’m-special-to-someone-teenage feeling that escaped me during Marty McFly days.

Maybe, I’d take them way back, to a time with great memories and bad hair. Each friend has brought something different to my life and I’m grateful for what I’ve learned from them. Vero, brought me friendship without judgement, support, laughter, mom advice, a shoulder to lean on, and hard truths with a graceful touch.

This weekend she celebrated with a surprise party, and they pulled it off. She was definitely surprised, although I didn’t see it because I had carpooled with someone and we managed to arrive just as she was entering the venue. So we hid behind clear glass and a rubber tree plant.

Good thing she didn’t turn around.

We celebrated the night away with good conversation, laughs, and music. This was her mix tape.

Two Occasions – The Deele

Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore — REO Speedwagon

Love You Down — Ready for the World

I Got You Babe — UB40

One More Night — Phil Collins

Head Over Heals — Tears for Fears

Cool It Now — New Edition

The Way You Make Me Feel — Michael Jackson

More Than a Woman — The Bee Gees

Mas Que Tu Amigo — Marco Antonio Solis



Crisis of Imagination

25 Sep

I need imagination because I can’t see it right now …

Holy crap. That was it.

I had never heard it put that way, but that was it. I had found the right words to try to help my friend understand what was happening. They weren’t mine, but I heard them and I knew why they had come my way. My buddy was stuck in a moment and couldn’t get out of it. Stuck in the hurt. Stuck in the disbelief. Stuck in the ache of their heart. Stuck in the “it is what it is,” situation they thought they’d never find themselves in.

That’s where they were currently residing.

And when I heard these words I knew I had to pass them along. I thought maybe it would bring a sense of comfort, knowing that once they broke through the mind block, they might be able to feel less hurt, and more hope.

You can’t imagine your life like this … You can’t imagine how you’re going to get through it … You can’t imagine life differently. And that’s the point … because you were never supposed to, your future wasn’t supposed to look this way. But now there’s no choice. It’s happening.

Most people go through something like this in their life, whether it’s the loss of a relationship, a dream, or a job. We’re hurting because we’re in the midst a life crisis, suffering a “crisis of imagination.”

We can’t see outside the box and that’s why the hurt lasts so long. That’s why we feel stuck, because we still can’t believe it.

I’m hoping I can help my buddy find some creativity in the unknown future. Help imagination find its way to their doorstep, so they can exhale and begin to heal, begin to realize that they can do it. It’s going to be hard, extremely hard to change their vision, but it’s possible. I’m hoping I can help them out. I’m hoping I can help them imagine that tomorrow’s tomorrow will help them find happiness in the present moment. I’m hoping I can help my friend find the imagination that their not seeing.






Warning: Sometimes Profanity is Involved

21 Sep




Don’t Worry About Whose Got Next, I’ve Got Now

18 Sep

Whenever anyone talks about a 39-year-old guy, they don’t really refer to him as old, unless the person you’re talking to is a teenager, who incidentally thinks anyone over 25 is old.


39 is the new 29, you’re “still young,” unless you’re Peyton Manning.

After getting off to a slow start and throwing an interception, which was returned for a Kansas City touchdown, commentators, analysts, sports journalists and fans alike began their “I don’t know what he’s doing here, he should have already be retired…he ain’t got it anymore, he’s too old to be out there …” speeches. Apparently his demise was already here and Kansas City was there to witness it. They had his AARP card ready to go.


A Kansas City Chiefs fan holds a sign about Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning during the first half ... (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

A Kansas City Chiefs fan holds a sign about Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning during the first half … (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)


But a lot can happen in nine seconds.

A lot.

Even when you are 39.

And especially if you’re name is Peyton Manning.

Despite the doubt and rampant disbelief in his ability to be awesome, I heard it. OMAHA! OMAHA! HUT! HUT!

I saw it.

I bared witness to what I always believed and others doubted.

A comeback.

With everyone in the stadium doubting his ability and skill, Peyton set the record straight. The Broncos set the record straight, with two touchdowns in nine seconds. Yeah … they sent that AARP card back.

You see while everyone was scrutinizing everything about him, because he was what they considered too old, he was out there knowing full well that they knew nothing about him. He believed even though many others didn’t. During crunch time he wanted the ball because he knew he could deliver and he did, 80 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown, with 36 seconds left.


John Rieger -USA Today Sports

John Rieger -USA Today Sports


Yeah, everybody seemed to forget who he was, but he quietly reminded them, with 256 yards for the night.

Don’t Worry About Who’s Got Next, I’ve Got Now. — The Roots

I love it when sports reminds you of a valuable life lesson. Just because everybody’s saying you can’t, doesn’t mean you can’t. They don’t know you, they don’t know what you’re capable of, they just think they do. Don’t let the voices of negativity cloud your mind, affect your judgement, or alter your path. You are a badass, at 39 or at any age. You’re on the runway to success, and nobody can hit the breaks, but you.



The Things I Do For My Kid …

16 Sep

I didn’t really know how to start the conversation.

I didn’t.

I mean I hate this time of year and being put in this position. So I thought I’d draft something to help me out.

What do you guys think?


 Image by © Images.com/Corbis

Image by © Images.com/Corbis


Dear People,

I say people because sometimes this act crosses boundaries and I’m no longer considered to be in the circle of trust. I’m outside of it. Out!

At least for the time being, and I understand. I get it.

I’ve crossed over from regular Guat, to the mom who has to raise funds for her son’s school.


You know the type, the one with two catalogs in her right hand and the clipboard with order form on the left. The one you hope doesn’t walk over to you and asks you to browse the catalog to see if you’re interested in buying something.

That’s me…for the next week that’s who’ve I become and the thing is I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t sign up for this. My son just came home last week with a “special envelope” addressed to the parents of Little Guat. Just like that, no warning, just an open call for you to do your part. Although I felt I already did my part by buying $48 worth of school supplies and sending them with my kid on the first day of school. You know the dreaded classroom list.

I thought I had done my part, but no. No.

There’s more. There’s always more when you’re a parent of a kid in the public school system. I know you know because you’ve been in my shoes and I’ve been in yours.

So let me just get to it. Let me give you my pitch.

I know you’re not Rachel Ray or any of the other Food Network Stars. I know it. I know that you probably don’t need an $18 lime green vegetable spiralizer for zucchini or yellow squash noodles. I know that you could probably grab your 20% coupon from Bed, Bath, & Beyond and get yourself a cheaper set of two-tone mixing bowls for all your baking needs. I know you probably have your free gift with purchase Estee Lauder or Clinique carryall totes and cosmetic bags and don’t need anymore polywoven plastic bags with reinforced bottoms.

I know.

But I have ask.

Things aren’t the way they used to be in the 80s. They’re not. There are no more music or art classes. None. I’m lucky if my kid will get a chance to use watercolors or know what a violin looks like. No room for creativity or the possibility that he’ll blossom into one of the Kennedy Center Honor recipients. I’d probably have to encourage that side of him through private lessons from some cultural center somewhere and shell out some massive bucks.

But they do have a computer center, although no computer teacher.

They do have a librarian on staff, finally. And books. They do have books. But no avenues to express their artistic talents.

And the weird thing is, I used to have these artistic opportunities during my youth, for free. No fundraising required because the schools thought that this was important enough to fund. It was in the budget at the inner city school I attended as a kid. Ms. Levi was my art teacher and Mr. Davidson was my music teacher, I rocked Beethoven on that violin and my calligraphy wasn’t too bad either.

But seeing how my son is in a better neighborhood, I figured he’d have all kinds of opportunities to make bad music on his trumpet, saxophone, guitar, violin, viola or whatever instrument he would decide to choose. I figured he’d be dabbling in all kinds of Picasso and Monet experiments.

I figured it would come included in this Happy Meal of an education, but no. We got no prizes.

So if you’d like to skip your trip to Target and get one of these handy dandy home, kitchen, or personal accessories and be an advocate for The Arts at the same time, duuuuuude you could totally buy something off one of these catalogs.

Thanks for your help.


The Guat.

Oh! And P.S. If you can’t peruse the catalog, feel free to take thirty minutes away from your computer time on Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Twitter and etc. to check the website out I’ve included at the bottom. I totally know you want to check out the wide array of silicone bottle topper sets and fodable duffle bags.


What do you think? Will my family disown me and friends “de-friend” me on Facebook?



Guarantees … You Get The Ones You Don’t Want So Stop Hitting The Snooze Button

14 Sep

They said it. I was listening to a lecture and they said it.

They didn’t know me, but it was like they were talking to me.

… to the mom that’s worried about the future of her kids, worried that something might happen, you’re terrified about all these terrible things that might happen to your kids … You know what, it might … This happens to mothers. The worst might just happen. But you have to realize that you have today. You get a shot. You get to raise this kid and you only have the joy of trying it today …

You’re trying to get a guarantee that your kid won’t end up screwed up. But you don’t get guarantees. Our desperate addiction to certainty and guarantee robs you of the joy of this moment, which is you get to try it now… you get a few years to raise this kid, you don’t get any guarantees, but you do get this moment to enjoy that kid, to give your best shot of being their mom and dad and that’s what you get … –Rob Bell

He said it.

And he was right. I do look for guarantees. I work hard, try hard, leave it all out there, and hope for the best, but in truth I am looking for a guarantee that my kids will be all right in the future. Isn’t that why I’m giving it all I’ve got?

But he’s right. I’ve got no assurances. And even though this scared the crap out of me, it was also a reminder. Stop hitting the snooze button. Stop! I needed to continue focusing on the present, on the moments between then and now. In life and in parenting, my proactive nature would be for the best in the long run. Don’t hit the snooze.

You wake up in the morning and realize you’ve got another chance to do it right, and at night you go to sleep and hope to put all the mistakes behind you (that piece of advice I just heard recently from Elizabeth Gilbert).

So no matter how well you walk the line, you don’t get guarantees, not the kind you want anyway, especially when it comes to kids or life. Crappy stuff happens. Sometimes it’s stuff that you’ll be able to find humor in right away, and other times it will be stuff that will take longer to recover from because your heart is broken.

But for parents trying to find the humor, here are the Top Seven Guarantees of Parents with kids 7-under …

  1. Just before you’re about to walk out the door, your kid will take a serious poop in their diaper that probably leaks onto their pants.This will require more than just wipes, in fact it will be a complete hose down and you’ll be late to wherever you’re going and for some reason you’ll still smell poop and realize that it’s on your shirt while you’re driving to wherever you’re going and you’ve got no extra shirt.
  2. No matter how hard you try to keep the peace your kids will argue about who had the red Lego first, about who was the first to open the door, about who didn’t want to play with who, about whose turn it was to watch Nick Jr, about which Superhero has the greatest superpower, and about the motion of the Earth … yup they’ll argue at least once a week, or once a day, and that will raise your blood pressure, give you gray hairs, and drain you of every ounce of energy you’ve got. It’ll make you wish you had a chocolate stash in every room of the house but you can’t because those bastard ants are crawling everywhere.
  3. You’ll have to talk to a pretentious prick of a parent the kind you wouldn’t lend your jumper cables to, all because your kid and their kid hang out at school and they’re trying to arrange a play date.
  4. You’ll always have spilled CapriSun, Goldfish Crackers, Wheat Thins, Craisins, Cheerios,  and remnants of a once crispy In-and-Out french fry in every crack and crevasse of your car and you won’t be made aware of them until your kid throws up in the car, which is also an assurance.
  5. You’ll have to go to Chuck E. Cheese  once during your parenthood existence and you’ll vow never to return again to that craziness, but know full well that it’s a lie.
  6. Bedtime doesn’t go according to schedule, between the bubble baths, teeth cleaning, ironing of clothes, reading of books and multiple attempts of trying to sleep in my bed instead of their own, bedtime happens about thirty minutes after you really wanted.
  7. They’ll hug you or smile at you at least once a day. And their laugh will make you feel good.  (This is the one you aim for everyday).

The teenage years bring about a different set of guarantees … more than seven I imagine … I’ll let you know when I get there.



I Love Cheerios, I Really Do, But They’re Right …

10 Sep




In Between Now And Then

8 Sep

I actually took advantage of it.

I didn’t have anything planned really, but I still took advantage.

Another stay-cation on the books for the Guats this Labor Day Weekend. A camping vacation would have been nice, but nevertheless I still found myself being grateful for the extra 24-hour period. Even though I didn’t have the “happening” plan I still found a way to find bring “cool” to our weekend. Cool and gratefulness. You see, the scenery and the peace I felt made up for the lack of traveling this three-day weekend. I figured a lot of people would probably be traveling to a get look at a place just like this …


Appreciating the beach, the surfers and gaining peace at the same time. :)

Appreciating the beach, the surfers and gaining peace at the same time. :)


And the miraculous thing?

I had plenty of personal space. Plenty. And you know how I feel about my personal space and those hijackers who always try to crowd me. This time, at this beach … it didn’t happen.


Discovering personal space exists

Discovering personal space exists


There were people but for some reason they didn’t wander all the way down to my little spot. They hung out by the tidal pools, which we discovered bright and early before anyone arrived. My kids enjoyed checking out this new beach and the anemones, crabby-crabs, and tiny fish that lived in its tidal pool waters.


Exploring tide pools

Exploring tide pools


I rediscovered that my California beaches can make up for nonexistent plans on a three-day weekend, on a free day, a free 24-hour period. You get to spend it anyway you want and instead of feeling bummed about staying in town, I just felt grateful that I had another school-free-don’t-have-to-pack-up-lunches-fight-school-traffic-and-snobby-PTA-moms-for-a-parking-spot kind of day. Labor Day was a beach day, filled with gratitude, boogie boards, sand toys, and plenty of Coppertone 45.

I felt myself being present in the moment, not worrying about the one that just passed, and not rushing to the next. I wasn’t worrying about the future of chicken dinner, or the picking up of Legos, or the fact that the purple Crayola crayon broke in half. I was just in between now and then, and that took place on the beach.




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