Just-Do-It Character Even With Saucony Shoes

29 Jun

Even though the miles were the same and the landscape didn’t change, running through it, biking through it, and swimming through it made me different every time.

I don’t do it to lose weight, to work on my non-existent six-pack, or to post pictures with you-should-be-doing-this type of headlines in order shame or guilt moms with kids who are barely trying to survive ’till 7 p.m. I do it because it makes me feel good. It’s become part of my lifestyle, part of the routine that makes me feel like me, like that 2.0 version of yourself that’s always been there, the kind that comes out in a Just Do It commercial, the one that you produced.

Although I wish I didn’t have to recover with Alleve and BenGay the next day. But that’s what happens. You can’t fool your bones. They know you’re 39. They know it and they’re passing the message along to your muscles.

But regardless of how much menthol-smelling cream I need for my aches and pains the awesomeness I feel when I cross the finish line at the TinMan Triathlon keeps me going for at least a week or two. Even though I didn’t finish first, second, third, or even in the top 10, I still felt like a champion.

The hills were tough, but I kept going. Biking Devil’s Canyon was brutal, but I kept climbing. It kicked my ass, most definitely but I kept pedaling. And the swimming … well the swimming was so much better this time. Can’t say anything about the swimming, I felt like Michael Phelps. But no matter how challenging the other parts of the race were I kept going. I got the Just Do It vibe in me, even though I was sporting my Saucony running shoes.

And the thing I realized is that I passed that on to my son.

I was super proud of that fact. Proud of the fact that my son kept going after the lady handing out water during the running leg tripped him. Proud of the fact that after he fell hard, really hard on gravely road, he still got up. He scraped up his knee and the elbow was in need of some Neosporin and Band-Aids, but he didn’t give up. He needed a minute, but then he kept going, on to the biking phase, the swimming leg, and finally sprinting, not jogging or walking, but pumping his little arms and sprinting the last 20 yards to the finish line.

And I was there to watch him do it.

He raised his hands up in victory as they gave him his TinMan medal.

I was proud of his athletic accomplishment, but even prouder of his character, because he had Just Do It Character. Gatorade-commercial worthy character.

Yeah, this year the miles and scenery were the same, just like last year, and the year before that. But when we finished the race, we both had something different. I’m holding onto that for a while. I’m hoping he does too.

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Bringing You Some Peace California Style

24 Jun
Bringing some peace to you.

:)

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Mobster Mondays

22 Jun

When it first came out I couldn’t believe it. I was glued to the television set the whole week. But then … it went missing.

Until today.

Well almost.

It used to be called Mob Week, where I tuned in every night for seven nights to see my favorites: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Joe Pesci, Chazz Palminteri and Ray Liotta among others. I’d be glued to the set watching some Martin Scorsese or Francis Ford Coppola movies I had already seen, seen with my Dad, and remembering our conversations about Vito Corleone, Henry Hill, Tommy DeVito, Donnie Brasco, Sam Rothstein and others.

It was awesome. I knew the story, I knew what would happen, I knew the classic lines and I’d remember how my Dad and I would both have A-Ha moments over how great that line was at that very moment, and Mob Week brought some of that back to me.

But the thing is, I’m not a violent person by nature and for some reason I found myself interested in these stories, and intensely watching them over and over again. It was a trip. I wasn’t part of that I want-to-be-a-gangster mentality either. But I guess I was interested in these characters and their stories and how they seemed to rise to power, using both brains and violence to get to where they wanted to be. I was interested in how the concepts of family, honor, and loyalty meshed with murder, racketeering, and violence. I was interested in how Scorsese and Coppola framed the stories and dialogue that would pull me into this world.

Even the small biographies about the original mobsters peaked my interest. So when Mob Week mysteriously disappeared, I was left feeling bummed out.

Fast forward to 2015 and mob madness returns to the Guat household. Thanks to AMC.

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Courtesy of Mob Mondays on AMC

Courtesy of Mob Mondays on AMC

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I saw the promo for Mob Mondays and I was ready to block all calls and set the DVR just in case. For eight Mondays in a row I’d be treated to some of the best mobster movies out there plus a bonus. An original series brought to me by the same people who brought me Mad Men and Breaking Bad would follow.

I was like …yes! Yes AMC! Yes!

On Mob Mondays The Making of the Mob: New York, I’d get the scoop on Charles Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and the rest of his crew. I’d get the rise and fall. I was excited about it and interested in how the their minds worked, how they felt capable of putting it all together, and how eventually death, the IRS, or FBI would eventually catch up to them.

That whole world interested me, it’s complicated and violent dynamic. I couldn’t really explain why, but it just did. The story did, and for the next eight weeks, I’d be able to catch these attention-grabbing stories, and Mondays would have a new meaning.

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Detour With Dad

20 Jun

You got the backseat drivers. The play-by-play commentators. The Kung-Fu grip holders that grasp to the armrests for dear life even when you’re just driving 20 miles per hour. You have the I-would-have-gone-down-3rd-street instead passengers. The heavy-sighers. The AY! AY! AY! SLOW-DOWN passengers that raise your blood pressure.

You’ve had them all in your car. You sit there, gripping the steering wheel and closing your eyes thinking of your happy place. You’ve come to the realization that driving with your parents is one of the most stressful outings of your life, and it will continue to be.

But I’ve got to say that throughout my entire directionally challenged driving existence, my dad never once got road rage crazy or analytical when I drove the car. I remember every wrong turn, bad parking job, and over-the-speed limit excursion and none of those would burst my Dad’s bubble.

He’d keep a cool head and just look out the window as he listened to his jazz music. Even when there were crazy, inconsiderate, reckless drivers out there igniting road rage along their path, my dad would never honk for hostility’s sake. If he ever used the horn it would always be for the don’t-crash-into-me reason, and as Father’s Day rolls around this weekend I was thinking of one our famous driving adventures. I imagine someone else would have never let me hear the end of it, but not my dad …

:)

:)

I had just graduated college, and the whole family had driven up to help me pack up my stuff. My Dad and I decided to take the ginormous U-haul, while my cousins, aunts, and mom decided to take the giant SUV. As we drove down the freeway, we hit a fork in the road and while my relatives took highway 580, we ended up taking highway 880, which I swore was the right way back home. I mean I would know seeing how I had lived up there for four years. Why wouldn’t I know? But apparently two hours later we found out my internal GPS was not working properly.

After checking out our Rand McNally map, my Dad realized we were in the middle of farm country and at least an hour and half away from the right freeway. We pulled into a farm bought something to eat, and then took our bag of dried apricots on the road for dessert. I was feeling pretty crappy about the whole delay. I had just graduated and I couldn’t even figure out how to get home. And before you get all crazy on me this was before electronic GPS was invented, we were old school. We used maps.

But apparently I was so confident I hadn’t even looked at the map. I was down on myself, feeling pretty anxious and stressed out about the lecture I was gonna get.

Did my Dad freak out? Did he yell at me? Did he storm off in an outburst of profanity? Was he burned out? Did he get upset about all the gas we wasted? Was he freaking out because we weren’t making good time?

“Well,” he said laughing and shaking his head, “looks like we’re out on an adventure!”

I smiled.

He patted me on the shoulder and then smiled back.

“But don’t tell your mother.”

I nodded. It would be an adventure, a very scenic one through farm country and windy roads.

And to this day no one really knew why we were so late. It had always been our secret. When we got home and they asked us what happened, my Dad said he had left his wallet at a Denny’s and we had to drive all the way back to get it.

He took the fall for me, so I wouldn’t get sassed and made fun of by the rest of my family. I was exhausted after the long drive back, but still very grateful that my Dad had been my copilot that day. He was later promoted to head pilot.

Out of all the detours in my life, I always remember that one.

Thanks Dad. I love you and I miss you.

Happy Father’s Day.

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:)

:)

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40 Accidentally on Purpose Random Acts of Kindess Before 40 … No. 12, No. 13, No. 14 Inflating The Happiness Bubble

17 Jun

I realized that the little things add up. I mean throughout the course of the day if you get a couple of nice surprises your way it just fills your happiness bubble and it makes you smile. It’s nice when someone adds to your happiness bubble instead of trying to burst it. Especially when it’s unexpected.

I get a kick out of that. But I realized this week that not everybody enjoys an unexpected surprise.

Not everybody.

:)

:)

Last week I was on a mission to perk up your cars. If you live in California they’re a very big part of getting you anywhere and it’s always nice to find something that helps make that cruise more pleasant. They’re a necessity out here and I thought people always need help with that. So as I came across a couple of opportunities to make someone’s day easier, I thought why not lets add to the 40 Before 40 List.

Now there were a couple of items that I decided to pass along to a few innocent bystanders. On one occasion it was about 90 something degrees where I live, and as I opened my door to my truck, the heat just smacked the smile off my face and I winced. It was so hot in there and the steering wheel burned. I mean I could see the heatwaves rising from it. So I had to give it a couple of minutes to cool off, and as I stood there fanning the inside of my truck, I thought man if I had window shades, opening the car door would probably suck less.

So I went off and bought a window shade for myself and one for someone else. As I drove through various parts of the city getting my kids to different summer events, I stopped at one of the parking lots and spotted the sandal-brown Nissan Xterra that seemed to be melting in the sun. I took out the jumbo car shade, placed it on the windshield, left one of my 40 Before 40 notes, and went on my way feeling good.

But that feeling didn’t last the whole week as I decided to buy someone a car wash. I thought it would be something nice to do. I mean with the drought and everything, people are waiting for their cars to be pretty dirty before washing them. So I thought, why not help out at one of those drive-thru car washing operations by taping one of my notes and the car wash code I’d purchased on the keypad that people use before entering the car wash.

But apparently the chic wearing sunglasses in the brown Prius objected as she rolled down the window and asked me what I was doing, and why I was doing that, and saying how she didn’t want anything. I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to be undercover and go unnoticed but she pulled up just in the middle of my good deed. After her hostile mood passed I explained that I was trying to give someone a free car wash, she was more than welcome to take it, but if she didn’t want it, she didn’t have to.

I walked away from that one not feeling the great feeling I usually get when I do these things. She was poking at my bubble.

But I didn’t let that discourage me from helping someone else. I thought I had to end on a good note. I had to believe that there were others out there that would smile, and feel good about random acts of kindness landing on them. I wanted to believe that. So earlier this week, I purchased a gift card from Costco and made my way toward their gas station area. I put in a few gallons for myself, then I  taped the gift card onto my note and stuck it on the pump. I quickly got into the truck and drove off before the cars behind could notice.

Pulling away made me hopeful. Made me think that the dude or chic would get out of the car and see this opportunity for free gas and smile. They’d look around for my truck, trying to figure out where I had gone, or what had just happened. And then smile because it would finally hit them … ‘Something nice just happened to me,’ and their happiness bubble would inflate just a little bit more.

I want to believe that.

I want to hope that happened, because that’s what this is all about, spreading kindness and having it touch somebody.

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Bits and Pieces of Color … Well … A Lot of Color

15 Jun ColorRun15de

I tried to slow down to take it all in, but they just wanted to go, go, go!

They wanted to get their shine on, they wanted to get the fun going, while I was trying to relive an awesome moment from last year. I was trying to slow the process down, trying to have them enjoy it a little more. Savor it maybe. But kids don’t savor much. They devour stuff. Good stuff. Oreo cookies. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Doritos. So it was no wonder they wanted to get to the action as quickly as possible. They wanted that awesome feeling, so it was no surprise that they ran like The Flash during the Color Run just to get to it.

So after the first ten minutes I just let them go.

I let go of my expectations and I let my kids run wild among colors, and things turned out just fine. With the help of some uphill climbs we were able to meet somewhere in the middle, and that was pretty cool too. The middle is cool. I was still able to capture some pretty awesome Kodak moments, and absorb the energy, the feeling, and the happiness of our moments, and for that I was grateful.

Everyone, including myself, tries for the big moments in life. They seem the most rewarding, but sometimes life is made up of little accomplishments that end up becoming bits and pieces of who you are as a person, parent, or family. I was grateful to have added more of these pieces to my life and to that of my kids. Bits and pieces of color … well a lot of color.

The beginning ... a crowded one. But still a good one full of music, bubbles, and good vibes.

The beginning … a crowded one. But still a good one full of music, bubbles, and good vibes.

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Ready to rock!

Ready to rock!

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Feeling blue.

Feeling blue.

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Took a spin through the orange.

Took a spin through the orange.

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The Guats letting our awesome out.

The Guats letting our awesome out.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

10 Jun
Color Run :)

Color Run :)

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Oh…it’s that time of year again, where vivid colors are everywhere and The Guats take on The Color Run. It’s on!

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Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post.

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The End of 1st and My Mom Moment

8 Jun

365 days … just like that.

Well not just like that, I felt every one of those days, from 7 a.m to 9 p.m. I felt them. Some were great, others needed to end with Ben & Jerry’s and some deep meditation. But I’ve got to say as the school-year came to a close I was a little sad to see it go.

Happy, proud, and sad.

It’s a mini milestone for your kid to finish a grade, but as a parent, it also reminds you that your kid is growing up, and this reminds you what everybody over 50 told you about their kids.

“It goes by so fast.”

I kept hearing that over and over in my head as I took my son to his last day of school last week. I didn’t get emotional or anything, it just kind of hit me as I sat there with my kids in the car. So I tried to absorb it the best I could, remembering that Our House by Madness was playing on the radio, remembering that I packed him a peanut butter and banana sandwich along with a Capri Sun, and remembering that I gave him the last pep talk of first grade.

“Everyday and every way, you got this.”

“Yeah I got this!”

“Because what you’ve got…”

“Is enough!”

“Clear eyes, full hearts …”

“Can’t lose.”

My son and his buddy.

My son and his buddy.

I gave him a hug and told him to let his awesome out. He smiled at me and went inside the gate. I stood there a little longer than usual that morning watching him walk across campus with his friend, while all the other moms stood there with their cups of coffee gossiping about some PTA meeting the week before. I just watched and then smiled as he turned around and waved good-bye. I thought … I’m probably gonna need to get him some new shoes. I waited until he got to the oak tree before walking back to the car. I got to the car feeling a little different.

And then I realized.

I was having a mom-moment. A grown-up moment.

It’s just first grade, it’s not high school graduation, but I imagine that’s just around the corner. I think that’s why I paused. I wanted to be able to remember him this way if it was going to go so fast.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Way

3 Jun
On The Way

On The Way

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Ready for an awesome hike in the beautiful outdoors … uh-oh…but first … potty break before we get on our way.

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Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post.

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The Madness of Summer Signups

1 Jun

Just as I was feeling proud of my son for completing first grade, happy about his accomplishments this year, and surprisingly emotional about this first grade mini-life milestone, I realized summer was here.

The Summer of George! And I happen to be Costanza with two kids.

But that only momentarily stopped me in my tracks. What gave me serious pause was the race for signups.

Have you been a participant in this mad dash to be one of the select few to receive that amazing email that says, “…you have successfully registered your child for our summer program”? Have you gotten a few of these in your lifetime? They save your sanity when trying to entertain your kids during the summer. If I had a big house with a nice back yard, I assume summer would be easier. I’d have space to let my kids roam, and build projects, explore, and go outdoor camping inside our own home. But I don’t. I’m of the apartment people clan, where getting out everyday is a necessity.

Register_Now

So for me things began at 9:30 a.m.

I mean don’t get me wrong, 9:30 was nice. I was grateful that I didn’t have to rush the kids through their wake-up routine just so we could get to school on time. I was thankful I didn’t have to yell at them to get out of bed, to hurry up and brush their teeth, and to get dressed quickly just so they could scarf down their pancakes, Honey Bunches of Oats, or Eggo Waffles before we raced out the door before eight in the morning.

So 9:30 a.m. wasn’t a big deal. What happened to suck this particular morning was the stress I was feeling, the anxiety that was building, the teeny tiny headache that was forming in my brain that would eventually turn into Excedrin-worthy migraine if I wasn’t able to get my kids into any activities during the summer.

SoCal parents are crazy and have their kids in sports, music, acting, cooking and My Gym camps every day all day. I’m a part timer, don’t need to keep my kid busy from 9 to 5. I’m not like those moms you want to tackle because they go off bragging about how they got their kid in every single workshop and class available, because they knew someone, who  knew someone, who knew someone. Bitches.

Me? I’m all for down time, and hanging out with Legos, playing in the park, having our own Foosball tournaments, baking cookies, and tending to our makeshift garden in the small patio. But I can’t do that all day, every day in the summer. They’d get bored. So I was looking for some help from our local library, museums, community centers, aquatic center, zoo, nature center, bowling alley, and local firefighting station.

Summer signups started today, well in truth some of them started three weeks ago, but a lot of activities didn’t have signups until today. I was hoping my Internet connection was fast enough to get something. I just needed to get into two programs during the week. Three would be awesome, but two was good.

Last year I had plenty of parent failures during the summer. Nobody ever told me that summer signups were like buying U2 concert tickets. Things selling out within minutes of opening online. I sure didn’t want a repeat occurrence of my disaster with the AYSO.

So I was ready this time. I researched online, organized my flyers, and prepared my summer timetable of possibilities. I had classes and times highlighted, login and password information readily available, and a credit card ready for those that required payment. You would have thought I was preparing for tax season with all the papers on the table.

The clock struck 9:30 a.m., my timer went off and bam!

Needless to say I wasn’t the only parent in pajamas staring at their computer screen that morning.

No dinosaur outdoor explorer classes, no basketball classes, no guitar classes, no local swimming classes. But I did manage to score swimming classes twice a week at a pool 10-15 minutes away, depending on traffic, and I was able score spots in the Every Hero Has a Story Workshops which featured music and magic once a week for my kids.

Success!

I got something. Something! And that’s success here in the Guat household.

Nobody ever told me about the madness of summer signups. It’s not in any of those what to expect when you’re expecting books, although I never read them. But I’m sure it’s not in there anyway. I would have heard. This is something you learn. So I’m giving you the lesson free of charge.

Hope it helps.

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