Archive | June, 2012

Good To Know

30 Jun

Image via Quotablecards.com

 

When you’re having a bad day, like the one I’ve had, this is a good thing to know.

It gives you perspective.

I needed perspective today.

But chocolate still helps.

 

 

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Sometimes There’s Too Much Technology

29 Jun

I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It must be this new techno-crazy-iPhone generation.

I woke up early this morning, with purpose. Usually I wake up to the sounds of a crying baby at 6:30 in the morning, with my only purpose being going back to sleep as soon as possible.

But today, it was Maroon 5 that woke me up.

My son likes Adam Levine. He’s a huge fan of his songs. So when I found out they were going to be on the TODAY Show. We woke up and decided to catch the show.

Apparently over 10,000 people showed up to see Maroon 5 perform. They took the stage and began some of their famous tunes. He started with Moves Like Jagger, followed by Payphone, and One More Night.

Image via aceshowbiz.com

As my three-year old son stood on the bed, dancing and jumping up and down, I noticed something. Nobody in the front rows was dancing. Nobody was letting loose. Well, maybe one or two fans, but the majority were standing there. They were smiling, but no one was enjoying the show. Maybe the people way in the back, the ones not shown on television. But everyone else in the front row was standing with their arms up in the air holding their phones and cameras.

I couldn’t believe it. There was no dancing. No jumping with excitement. They were so busy trying to capture the moment with their recording devices that they actually missed the moment.

This dude … this band travels to places like Tai Pei, Buenos Aires, Indonesia, and Australia. Thousands of miles away from the States. Today they were up close and personal at a free concert in New York, that only cost them sleep. And they didn’t go wild with dance moves and enthusiasm, because they needed to hold the camera just right.

They were looking at Maroon 5 through a small camera screen, instead of just looking up at them in person.

I didn’t get it.

I’m all for recording special moments, but sometimes there’s just too much technology.

I turned to look at my son, he was fully enjoying the moment. Dancing away, jumping on the bed and using the remote control as his microphone.

No need for recording devices there, I’m gonna remember that.

I Think I Could Have Been a Chick-Flick Sidekick

28 Jun

I had never met her in person, but I felt like I had known her. So when she passed away I took a holy-crap-I-can’t-believe-that-happened moment.

Cancer is a bastard. Pinche Leukemia.

It takes the lives of some very beloved family members and friends that are close to you. And it takes away lives that have made some sort of impact on your life.

Image via Wikipedia.com

Yesterday I heard that writer and director Nora Ephron passed away at the age of 71, losing her battle to cancer.

She liked Meg Ryan. She made me like her too. When Harry Met Sally. Sleepless in Seattle. You’ve Got Mail. These were awesome chick flicks and I loved the comedy and characters in each one.  I liked their flaws. I have flaws. I thought I could be a character in the movie. The best-friend-supporting-comic-relief kind of character. Yeah … she’d like someone like me.

But one of the most inspiring movies for struggling writers that Ephron wrote and directed had to be Julie & Julia. C’mon now. Blogger turned best-selling author, whose life was then put on the big screen. Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

Meryl Streep. Dude. I bet she met Meryl Streep. And the food in this movie … Ohhh forget about it!

That film was every struggling writer’s dream. You start a blog and someone awesome discovers it. Then you’re published. Then you meet people like Nora Ephron, Amy Adams and Meryl Streep.

But Nora was more than just the movies. When looking at the different television pieces that shared her story, I saw an excerpt from one of her books: I Remember Nothing. It was her two lists. The lists of things she would and would not miss when she passed away. As I saw the lists posted with pictures of her in the background, I thought to myself: How awesome was this chick?

I would have liked to have met her in person. She was funny, true, strong, and smart. I enjoyed these lists. It let me peek into her little world. It occurred to me that I don’t have two lists. I may need to think on that.

Nora Ephron’s Two Lists

What I Won’t Miss:

Dry skin
Bad dinners like the one we went to last night
E-mail
Technology in general
My closet
Washing my hair
Bras
Funerals
Illness everywhere
Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism
Polls
Fox TV
The collapse of the dollar
Bar Mitzvahs
Mammograms
Dead flowers
The sound of the vacuum cleaner
Bills
E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.
Small print
Panels on Women in Film
Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss:

My kids
Nick
Spring
Fall
Waffles
The concept of waffles
Bacon
A walk in the park
The idea of a walk in the park
The park
Shakespeare in the Park
The bed
Reading in bed
Fireworks
Laughs
The view out the window
Twinkle lights
Butter
Dinner at home just the two of us
Dinner with friends
Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
Paris
Next year in Istanbul
Pride and Prejudice
The Christmas tree
Thanksgiving dinner
One for the table
The dogwood
Taking a bath
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
Pie

Happiness Project Update 4: Listening to my GPS and Getting More Branches on the Tree

27 Jun

Mental wellness. This is a hard one. I’ve been searching for this my entire dysfunctional existence. Seeking spiritual and physical wellness seemed to come easy to me this month. But the mental aspect? That required work. And I didn’t have a shrink.

There’s just so much drama. I’m like the chick on a telenovela on Univision. However, I realized that during this phase of my happiness project, mental wellness was critical to being happier. It was critical to other wellness components (physical and spiritual) that I was working on this month.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

Then it hit me. Physical wellness helps my mental state of being. They are sort of intertwined. Case in point: The TinMan Triathlon. Finishing my second triathlon, put my mental state in a great place among the chaos that surrounded me. I didn’t care that some guy cut me off on the freeway and nearly ran me off a mountain. I didn’t get that crazy road rage. I just brushed it off, turned up the volume on Maroon 5, and kept driving. I felt great the entire day, no setback, not even a writer rejection got me down that day.

But I can’t run a triathlon everyday. What happens when I don’t have exercise or sports as an outlet? Where’s my mental state of wellness then? Probably at some supermarket parking lot in the middle of the night, listening to Journey,  and drowning in rocky road ice cream or Claim Jumpers Chocolate Silk Pie with a plastic spoon I bought at the store, because I couldn’t wait until I got home. Besides, no one judges you at the supermarket parking lot.

But how did I avoid these moments of low this week? Because you know I had low moments. There’s never a week that goes by where I can say everything was spectacular for seven days. It may happen to other people, but not on my planet.

What tends to set it off?

The Usual Suspects: Family.

But whose family doesn’t make them crazy, right?

Blood is blood. You’ve got to learn to live with them. GPS makes this possible. I learned that you gotta have a Family Global Positioning System.  I’ve learned to work my own personal navigation system and listen to the alerts, flashing lights, and voice telling me to turn left or right and warning me of the dangers and drama up ahead.

Being able to navigate has been key to mental wellness this week. Whether it was my mother, sister, or dude flipping out for things that they really shouldn’t be flipping out about, I turned to my GPS and listened. It tells you when to pick your battles. Sometimes when you walk away things get better. Sometimes when you blow up, getting things off your chest helps you weigh less, mentally. You’re not carrying around all that negative crap and the “what ifs” don’t get you because you laid it all out.

But what about yourself? What happens when you’re the problem?

Sometimes you just wake up and feel like crap. Nothing is going your way. Nothing. And then you get in the shower and things get worse. The shower. A place where things are supposed to be predictable, right? You reach for the soap and realize there’s a measly wad of mush hanging out in some cloudy water. So you think I may not need soap today.

You reach for the shampoo and there’s none. Not a drop. Not even any residue inside the bottle you can use to mix with water to make fake shampoo. They just left the TRESamme bottle there … staring and laughing at your naked body. So you get out of the tub, get a new bottle from the cabinet, nearly slip and kill yourself coming back in the tub. You take a minute wash your head, and then take another minute to stand under the running water. You have so much going on in your head, you don’t even remember whether you washed your hair. You have to look down at the tub to see bubbles to confirm it. Yeah. If you can’t even remember shampooing your head a minute ago, you got issues.

So where’s my mental wellness kick? How do I get rid of this funk that just accosted me in the morning?

I found most of the stuff that was related to my lack of mental wellness had to do with where I was in life as opposed to where I wanted to be. Career. Family. Future. That was it. I was here at the bottom, and I wanted to be there at the top. Real simple.

This was my mental wellness speed bump.

But two things helped me out. My mantra and the new quote.

Mantra: “You’re so money and you don’t even know it.” — Trent from the movie Swingers.

Something I tell myself to set me straight mentally and emotionally, every now and then.

The new quote?

”  … Research shows that the more elements make up your identity the less threatening it is when any one element is threatened.” — Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project.

I had to broaden my self-identity definition. My soul continues to be a writer. This was the trunk of my tree, but my trunk was currently getting festered by termites. I just needed more branches. More creative challenges. Not that I don’t have enough challenges with two kids. But challenges in way that help my mental wellness goals.

The fact that I figured that out this week helped me. It put me at ease among all the chaos. It helped me spring forward and smile, because I knew I had the ability to grow plenty of branches. If one branch got cut off, broken, or crapped on too many times by the birds … no worries. I was still a bad-ass tree because I had more branches coming, some even with flowers.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

26 Jun

Miller Brewing Company

 

Create.

In this factory they create.

Water. Barley. Hops. Yeast.

It only takes these four ingredients to create that frothy something that is thoroughly enjoyed at sporting events.

Water creates the perfect base with its natural minerals.

Barley creates the soul and essence of the beer.

Hops, these green cone-shaped flowers, create aroma and a distinctive taste.

And the yeast … the yeast is the transformer. It is the creator. It’s what makes things happen.

Create.

They create things at this place.

Despite Devil’s Canyon, It Was The Best Hour-and-a-Half I’ve Had This Year. I Am A TinMan.

25 Jun

I couldn’t believe it happened to me again.

When someone says something like that, it’s usually a negative thing. A speeding ticket. Getting stood up. Getting crapped on by a pigeon. Stuff like that.

But not that day.

On Sunday, it happened to me twice. The it? The awesome unshakable feeling of enthusiasm to the tenth power. I was oozing with this great you-did-it feeling. I guess most people call it pride. And it lasted the whole day.

I earned my TinMan Triathlon medal, and I’d like to thank every single muscle in my 36-year-old body for contributing to this accomplishment, because it wasn’t easy.

The day began at 4:30 a.m. and even though I’m not the greatest morning person I made my way through a morning routine and jumped in the truck. As I drove to the race, I was still a little nervous, but as I was changing the radio stations I heard one of my songs …  Give me ho! if you got your funky bus pass, ho! ho! ho! The Double Dutch Bus coming down the street … Then it was followed by Maroon 5 singing Payphone and then the jams kept coming all hour-long.

It was an omen.

I was going to do well. And I was going to finish the race. I was on the positive track and that was the right place to before the race.

I got to registration, set up my bike and little transition stand, then made my way to the starting line. There were no crazy costumes in this race, but everyone seemed to be looking the IronMan part. You know, wearing those biking/swim suits so you need no transition from bicycle to pool. You just get off the bike and go.

The starting line.

And once again, there I was with shorts and a t-shirt. But I still felt good. The fact that I had the number 160 written on my left arm and calf made me feel like I didn’t need IronMan clothing to participate in the race. T-shirt and shorts were just fine for The Guat. No need for a hundred-dollar wetsuit or fancy Tour De France looking bike apparel. I was sporting 160 ink on my body and that was good enough for me.

I heard the countdown, followed by the ding, and I was off.

I hadn’t worried too much about the running part of the race. I felt that my post-Warrior-Dash training  would help me out in this. And it did. I passed many of the triathletes that sprinted the first hundred yards. I started slow, but made my way through the pack and found a good pace. Passing up all the IronMan looking people. I thought I was doing well.  Until I saw him.

Can you see Happy Feet Running Club Kid in the yellow?

There he was running away, not even breathing heavily. In fact he was actually having a conversation with the person next to him, which he eventually passed. There he was … A ten-year old kid with his Happy Feet Running Club shirt passing me by at mile two.

I couldn’t believe it. There he was, Happy Feet Running Club Kid,  running smoothly. Practically no sweat. But he wasn’t running in the triathlon. They had a 5K race for kids, and he was one of the many participating.

So once the running phase was done Happy Feet went one way and I went the other. Even though Happy Feet  finished a little bit ahead of me I was glad I had made it to the end without stopping. A lot of people began walking at mile two as the early sun began beating down on us. You would think early sunshine would not be hot, but it was, I had the sweat to prove it.

The Biking Station

Once I got to the biking part I felt relieved. I thought I would be cruising during this part of the race.

But I was wrong.

They call it Devil’s Canyon for a reason and my quads were in hell.

This was the toughest part of the race.

It started off pretty good. Zooming past the straightaways, but then when the incline began I had to change to lower gears. I passed by the residential areas and kept making my way uphill. Then I came across a security guard who was pedaling without a helmet. He was going up the hill faster than I was and he did not have a 21-speed bike. Apparently he was on his way to work at the nearby university. It was his daily route. I told him he should have entered the race, he would have done well. He laughed and pedaled passed me.

Once I got through the residential areas, I saw it. The hills. The never-ending incline up to the mountain. It was so steep that some Tour De France looking people with professional bike shoes got off their bicycles and began hiking up that monstrosity. But I pressed on and kept changing gears.

The beginning of Devil’s Canyon

Then, just when I thought I had reached the top, I hadn’t. It just kept climbing and climbing. Pinche Devil’s Canyon. My quads were burning, and for some reason my lower back felt like someone was stabbing it.

All that strain going up hill must have put a kink back there, and all I could think about was … man I should have brought a radio. I might have been able to groove my way up the mountain.  I even tried singing, trying to remember all the lyrics to the jams I heard in the morning. But it was useless, I messed up the lyrics and got tired of singing the same song four times in a row.

So I got off to drink some water.

My ongoing quest to conquer Devil’s Canyon

But then I couldn’t get back on to pedal, so I became one of the hikers. The sad part was that I only walked for about five minutes, before reaching the top. If I had held out a little longer, I would have made it through without stopping. But I had no idea what was lying behind that curve. I thought it was more mountain. Instead it was two older ladies from the local Rotary Club passing out water and encouragement. Even though I reached the top on foot, that didn’t matter. I just got on the bike and made my way down hill. A fast trip down hill.

I was hesitant once I got to the swimming part, seeing how I only got in the pool once during my training. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. There were lifeguards galore. So I plunged in. Six laps. I started off with freestyle, then turned to the doggie paddle. After four laps I was exhausted, so I just decided to do the backstroke all the way to the finish. No crazy cramp. No need for CPR from the lifeguards. I floated on my back and splashed to the end.

The Finish

Even though they had a be-careful-it’s-slippery sign  right out of the pool, I began jogging to the finish line, barefoot. It was about 100 yards. Once I saw the finish line I smiled. I had never been so happy to see something pink, and for those of you who know me, know that I hate pink, every shade of it.  But today… today was the day I was happy to see pink. I crossed the finish and smiled.

🙂

One hour and thirty-eight minutes. It was the best hour-and-a-half I’ve had this year. I was a TinMan.

Giddy up!

Apparently Someone Thinks The Guat is Lovely … And I Kind of Agree

24 Jun

Lovely.

It seems like a dainty word to describe someone like me, and in truth I’m not very dainty. But when I looked a little closer at the definition, I realized … yeah that’s me.

My awesome award 🙂

I’m delightful. Highly pleasing. Very enjoyable and pleasant. I’m lovely. And they haven’t even seen a picture or met me in person. How awesome is that.

I would like to thank CraftCrazyGran for nominating me for this award. Aside from being a kind and enthusiastic blogger, she creates awesome Martha-Stewart like crafts, she also takes some of the most creative pictures for photo challenges. If you have time, I encourage you to check out her pictures and crafts.

Now, according to the “rules” I am to nominate a few other bloggers that I find “lovely” and share seven facts or fun tidbits about myself. So here we go …

I love chocolate … the cacao bean is one of nature’s best gifts, maybe even better than water. It helps make stuff like Hawaiian Chocolate or Claim Jumpers Chocolate Silk Pie.

I used to be a closet country music fan, but now I wear that label loud and proud. It’s number one on my car’s preset stations.

I’m a sports fanatic … the kind that yells at the television set and thinks the players might hear her.

I’m two belts away from becoming a black belt in Hapkido, but I am currently on hiatus from the dojo since having the baby.

I used to play the flute and the violin growing up, but now I’m on a mission to take up the guitar. I haven’t bought it yet, but I’m in research mode.

I love 80s movies. I wish had met Jake Ryan and Lloyd Dobler in high school.I love the way they love. They’re dreamy.

I’m a dance fanatic. I’m not at Beyonce/Shakira status yet, but I could probably hold my own against their back-up dancers … the ones way in the back.

Now that you know a little bit more about me, here are my nominees. I encourage you to visit their blogs. I find their humor, sensitivity, stories, and photographs lovely. They are delightful, highly pleasing, very enjoyable, and pleasant. Hope you get a chance to visit their blogs.

The Blissful Adventurer

This Man’s Journey

Drinks Well With Others

Domestic Diva M.D.

The Better Man Projects

The Foodimentary Guy

Gaining Some Perspective: I’m Still Bad-Ass

23 Jun

You try to gear yourself up for the big day, and you’re feeling like you’re almost there. You got the tights and the cape and you’re feeling like SuperWoman. But then someone rips your cape and the letter “S” just  looks like squiggly art from a preschooler.

I was trying to get motivated for my big race tomorrow. I was trying to feel less anxious. I was listening to some jamming tunes to pump me up. I was feeling athletic like. I was feeling Bionic Woman like. But then there came Debbie Downer, finding some way to say something negative.

They mention the fact that the race starts at 7 a.m. SEVEN, which meant I needed to be there around 6:30 a.m. That meant I had to leave the house around 5:00 a.m., which meant I had to wake up around 4:30 a.m.

“You’re not really a morning person, you know.

Maybe you should’ve got a hotel room, close to the race.

You didn’t even tune-up your bike. You could get a flat tire along the way.”

“Yeah … I could get hit by lightning while swimming and then drown.”

I should really pay attention to the Caller ID. Just because the phone rings, doesn’t mean I should answer it. Especially the day before the race. I wish they had some sort of caller ID for person to person conversations too. I don’t know how that would work, but it would be awesome. MIT or Caltech people you should really get on that.

In any case I began feeling more anxious about my abilities. More deflated. I could feel the confidence slipping. I hadn’t trained as much as I would have liked, I could have done better. I wasn’t feeling as confident as My Warrior Dash.

But then I came across this message and it helped me gain some perspective.

Image via quotablecards.com

 

I am bad-ass and extraordinary in my own way.

Giddy up! 4:30 a.m. wake-up call here I come.

 

 

 

 

I Knew She’d Take a Bullet For Me … And a Car

22 Jun

We don’t talk much, but I know she’d take a bullet for me.

I was reminded of her today, when I saw two siblings at the supermarket. One of them grabbed a toy off the shelf and was totally into it. Admiring it. The other one snatched it from her hands and ran down the aisle, passed the Ritz crackers.

My sister, otherwise known as The Queen of the Nile. I call her that, because during her high school reign she won the homecoming and prom queen titles. She was into that kind of stuff. I was not. So it was natural for me as a younger sister to make fun of my older sibling.

When we were children, we were close. I have pictures to that effect so I know it must be true. But during middle school, high school, and college it was the normal dysfunctional relationship. We weren’t really friends, but we weren’t enemies either. We were just acquaintances in the same blood type.

However, there were moments growing up when I knew she wasn’t just my acquaintance.

I can’t remember if I was in fifth or sixth grade, but I know it was around that time when it happened.

As I mentioned before, my parents were extremely strict. They were Latinos. We lived in a rough neighborhood. We were girls. They had reason to be strict. So in this strict Latino fashion, we never went to sleepovers or to places without someone from the family taking us and bringing us back. That’s just how my parents rolled.

So when my sister asked to go to the movies with some friends on her own, they weren’t really warming up to the idea. She was the responsible one, so eventually they caved in, on one condition. She needed to take me. The younger sister who’d probably report on anything and everything, like a good covert spy. My sister needed to be careful. She needed to make sure we got back by curfew. Those were the conditions and she agreed.

She was Richie Cunningham, so they were confident it would happen.

So off we went on our very first trip to the movies. We were careful. We stayed away from the bad alleyways and from suspect characters on our way to her friend’s house. Once they finished putting on their Maybelline mascara, and frosty pink lip gloss we made our way to the bus stop.

We walked up the hill and saw the bus coming in the opposite direction. We raced to catch the light. It was still red and we were hoping the bus driver saw us screaming and waving our hands in the air.

The bus began to pull away from the curb, but the driver stepped on the brakes as the signal light turned red.  We waited. Anxiously. Our signal light finally turned from red to green. We stepped off the curb and began running across the street when it happened.

A green car came racing through the intersection, right at us.

I must have blacked out because the next thing I knew I was face down in the middle of the intersection with my one of Adidas tennis shoes hanging out in the middle of the cross walk. When I got up and looked around, I realized what had happened.

We had gotten hit by a car. But I really shouldn’t say we. My sister’s friend, had gotten hit. My sister for some reason had managed to avoid it, and in the process had managed to push me away from the incident. I didn’t know she was that strong. It must have been all the adrenaline, because I flew pretty far.

In the end her friend was all right. She ended up getting a cast for her arm, and plenty of ice every where else. But no crazy internal damage, which was a miracle. As she was getting treated in the ambulance, she joked around a bit and said that our parents would probably not let us go to the movies again.

But they did.

In the end I realized that even though we weren’t friends and we weren’t close, we had our moments. She’d probably take a bullet for me and definitely a speeding car.

My sister … Queen of the Nile.

Things That Could Have Been Brought To My Attention Yesterday

21 Jun

Image via Quotablecards.com

If I had only known about this earlier my stress and disappointment levels would have been nonexistent.