Archive | February, 2013

Now That The Flu is Gone, The BenGay Adventures Begin Again

28 Feb

The coughing. The aching. The overall feeling of crappiness that came with two weeks of the flu sidelined my athletic endeavors. No workouts. No biking. No running. No push-ups. No downward dogs. And the only stretching I did was for the remote control. For the most part, it was just a whole lot of nothing and with that I got thrown off the athletic wagon.

But I’m back.


Photo by James Hamilton.

I’ve been DayQuil and NyQuil free for three days, and I think my muscles are ready to attack my fat. It’s been building so this is going to be a battle considering my muscles have been on the bench and my fat became stronger. So I had to come back big. There was really no other way around it. And even though I still have a hatred for running unless there’s a purpose (you know I can’t run just for the sake of running) both of the challenges definitely involve running or at least a running motion. One is on wheels. The other is up stairs.

Now I never thought I would participate in something that would require a mouth guard and wrist guards. I don’t even know what wrist guards are, but I’m sure Sports Authority will … it’s like the mecca of sports equipment. And apparently I need both of them. I’m embarking on my first roller derby adventure this weekend and seeing how gravity is always trying to bring me down and cause chaos, I’m a little concerned about just getting on the track. I haven’t skated since elementary school, but I’m confident that my instructor Suzy Snakeyes will assist me in not being thrown over the rail accidentally or on purpose. I figure since it’s a beginning class that sort of thing happens until the third or fourth session. Stay tuned I’ll let you know how that little adventure panned out.

If I survive this session on wheels, I’ll move on to my other challenge. Something a little more daunting. I normally don’t use words like daunting, but for this it’s required. I won’t need a mouth guard or wrist guard for this one, but maybe I’ll need a Costco-sized amount of Ben Gay when I’m done. It’s called a climb, not so much a mountain or hill but more like 1,391 steps … 63 flights of stairs.

Now when I saw this online, I didn’t quite picture it in my head. All I thought was “sounds like a lot,” but I thought I’d be all right. I have BenGay and IcyHot. I’ve got my New Balance. I also got an iPod with plenty of tunes. I thought I’d be all right with that, but then I saw it. The building . I drove across the downtown skyline and saw it. I thought Holy Crap! This is not a building, it’s a skyscraper. I’m gonna need “Eye of The Tiger” blaring through my headphones if I’m gonna make it to the top of this one. How am I going to prepare for this monstrosity?


Fight For Air Climb

I mean what would posses me to take on such a challenge? Something new? Something different? Yes, and yes. But mainly it’s for my dad. It’s called the Fight for Air Climb and it’s sponsored by The American Lung Association. The climb helps raise funds for lung disease, and many of you know that my dad passed away almost two years ago from Interstitial Lung Disease. I think about him every day and thought this would be a great way to honor him … raising money for  research and helping to find a cure so nobody else’s dad passes away. So far my family and friends have been very supportive and Team Guat is on track to reaching its fundraising goal. I wasn’t aware of this race, but once I knew, I had to get involved. I think I might do this one every year, but stay tuned. It’s a pretty ginormous building, we’ll see how this turns out. I might have to buy more BenGay than anticipated. Do they make anything bigger than Costco size?


Weekly Image of Life: Blessing of Hope

27 Feb


The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption


A lot of people get hope from different places and different sources.


I like to gain hope by watching underdog stories, probably because I’m a 100-t0-1 shot myself.

Andy Dufresne … he’s one of my favorite stories.

He reminds me that “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things …”



Weekly Image of Life challenge courtesy of This Man’s Journey


Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

26 Feb
fast forward


I wish I had one of these for life.

Many people don’t believe in a fast-forward  button … something about hard times giving you character and helping you appreciate the good times.

I don’t need any more character.

I don’t need any more lessons.

I got it.

Fast forward baby …  fast forward through the drama and heartache to reach the peaceful,  the good,  the blissful, and the zen.

I believe in the fast-forward button.

Sandbox List Adventure VII: The Price I Pay for Wearing Flip-Flops and Sunscreen During Winter

25 Feb

Now while most people are suffering through cold rainy weather and snow storms with temperatures in the 20s or 30s, here I was in Southern California with a 70-degree day. Sun shining and just the right amount of poofy clouds. I thought … I really need to get out of the house. I’m taking my sunshine for granted. I could be shoveling snow and using all kinds of Chapstick, but instead I have the opportunity to wear flip-flops and use sunscreen.

And so I showed some appreciation. I dragged myself out of bed and gave in to my kids’ break-of-dawn excitement on Sunday morning. Normally I just want to sleep in, you know every parents dream. Sleep in until 9 a.m. without disturbance. But today was not the day for that dream. I woke up just like every other day  …  at 7 a.m. and instead of rolling over and turning on Sunday morning cartoons — the awesome human snooze button for parents trying to savor another thirty minutes of sleep in the morning — I dragged myself out of bed and declared a beach day.

But this beach day would include an adventure to be crossed off the Sandbox List. And in truth it was an adventure for three. It’s been four years (almost two years for my daughter) of summer beach trips, and I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t done this. I’ve always wanted to do that myself and I know my kids thought the idea was pretty awesome. There was sand flying everywhere and getting everywhere. But I took one for the team and they were ecstatic about it. After completing a pretty awesome sandcastle, our biggest one yet, complete with seashell decorations, I ventured into the all-time parent duty: Letting your kids bury you in the sand. Now no matter how tightly I tucked in my shirt, sand seemed to creep its way into various body cracks and breathing passages. But with my kids giggling, smiling, and laughing the grains of sand didn’t seem to bother me as much. It’s the price I pay for the privilege of wearing flip-flops and sunscreen during “winter”. This adventure might have only lasted fifteen minutes, but it was a quality fifteen-minute span. Something I hope they remember enjoying.


It first started with the castle. They had to practice working with sand and placing it in the right spot. I really didn't want to get too much sand in my face.

It first started with the sandcastle. They had to practice working with sand and placing it in the right spot. I really didn’t want to get too much sand in my face.


After completely destroying the castle Project Bury Mom began. They started at the bottom.

After completely destroying the castle Operation Bury Mom began. They started at the bottom.


This where I thought ... well maybe this might not be a great idea. However my son and daughter disagreed, they continued using their green and blue buckets, in addition to their hands and any other sand toys they could find.

This is where I thought … well maybe this might not be a great idea. However my son and daughter disagreed, they continued using their green and blue buckets, dump truck, bulldozer, hands and any other sand toys they could find.


The final step of Operation Bury Mom complete. My son wanted to add seashells, but I told him my face wasn't a good place for decoration. So he added a little bit more sand.

The final step of Operation Bury Mom complete. My son wanted to add seashells, but I told him my face wasn’t a good place for decoration. So he added a little bit more sand.


Sometimes This Happens And When It Does … It Makes My Day

22 Feb





Happiness Project Update 22: The Food Network Adventure Begins

21 Feb

This is where failure usually happens. You think being 37, I’d be used to it by now and maybe even immune to it, but no. It still stings. Even though there is an abundance of chocolate covering every stumble and fall, it’s not easy “finding the lesson” when things don’t go the way you hoped. But when things work out, it’s definitely a do-a-cartwheel feeling.

“Do what you do.”

Pursuing a passion. I’ve got lots of these, and thanks to The Happiness Project I’ve been able to do many cartwheels this year and last year, most of them involving sports or other adventures requiring BenGay afterward, like the triathlons, and The Warrior Dash. But I think this chapter may be asking me to pursue a passion I haven’t done yet.

Image via

Image via

And I wondered, well other than sports, writing, television, movies and books what else am I passionate about that I haven’t explored? I’ve dedicated parts of my Happiness Project these last couple of months to plenty of athletic adventures that made me feel genuinely happy and not just momentarily, but the whole entire day. It was an emotional high and it had nothing to do with chocolate. It was just the rush of being successful and accomplishing something I set out to do.

That pushed the reset button on my life and I decided … yeah I want that feeling. Pictures are great, but I soooooo want to bottle that up and open it and relive those feelings for when one of those crappy days rolls around and slaps me in the face. So I continued my athletic adventures. I’ve enrolled in a beginners roller derby class and registered for an urban climbing race, which also benefits the American Lung Association. I’m on a mission to do an athletic adventure at least once month and maybe I won’t need that special bottle.

I continue to write as that is one of my biggest passions and I get a great sense of satisfaction every night when hit that “publish” button on my blog. I feel like I did something. Just the other day I reached the 400-posts mark and it felt good to reach that number. I didn’t tell anyone, but I didn’t need to in order to feel fantastic, the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream which involved chocolate was reward enough. Plus I’ve got to admit, I patted myself on the back and gave myself a gold star.

Movies and television I am so on top of that. In fact I may be too on top of that. Some people say it’s not that great to watch a lot of television or movies, but I say why not? Television and movies are awesome. Sometimes they provide escape, comic relief, or inspiration and I’m always for that.

But this chapter inferred I pursue something new, or something I hadn’t done yet.

“What you choose to do on a free Saturday afternoon is an indication of your passion.”

Normally the answer to that involves, sports, working out, television or movies. But there were two things that came to mind. Food and travel. I’m all about food. I love it. I enjoy it. I look forward to it. I savor every bite. Sometimes I even dream about it. And the calories? C’mon now. It’s me The Guat. Calories don’t matter, I just walk it off or buy bigger pants. And travel? If I had any money I would being traveling places at least once a month, but since I’m a poor writer all I do is travel to the supermarket with coupons and dream while I’m in line. But I could make travel possible, even if it’s just for a weekend.

So there it was, I found my answers. But in order for the chapter to work, I’d have to choose just one and seeing how I’m financially challenged, food would probably be the better choice. And what an awesome second choice, right? Who doesn’t love food? And I could probably travel to places through food, right?

So in addition to my other projects I’ve decided to pursue food. Eating it mostly, but cooking it of course. I’ve decided to try a new recipe once a week. I’m really not one for following cookbook recipes since I’m a big Food Network fan, but I’ll take the recipes from wherever I can find them. Julia Childs cookbook, Authentic Guat recipes cookbooks, Tyler Florence, Bobby Flay, Emeril, Paula Dean, or any of the cooks featured on the network. But I’m not going to fool myself into getting a Rachel Ray recipe and thinking I can do it in thirty minutes. Because I’ve learned the hard way. That chick is lying. It takes at least an hour.

But no matter how long it takes I’ll finish. Whether it’s baking or sautéing, I’m on a new adventure. It’s culinary and it will probably involve chocolate. Oooooh. Maybe in every dish. Stay tuned because the Food Network Adventure begins.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

20 Feb



The Godfather II


Don’t ever piss off Michael Corleone, or you’ll get “The Kiss of Death”.



A Gold Star That Helped During Flu Season

19 Feb

I never really thought my perception of reality would be honored in any fashion. Sometimes it’s too real, which is why comedy must happen. I need to laugh or find the funny, otherwise I’d just jump off a cliff. So when my good friend Cayman Thorn over at Drinks Well With Others nominated me for the “Reality Blog Award,” I thought … Holy Crap. My real must definitely resonate.

I thought they were just crappy moments I spun to amuse myself, you know silver lining and all, but little did I know I had a couple of fans who appreciated The Guat reality even when I was a little out of if for about two weeks because of the flu. But regardless of my NyQuil moments I still put it all out there.



I purge. As writers this tends to happen, which might be the very reason why my buddy gave me some props. But in truth the props should be for him. Cayman is badass. He’s one of the funniest writers I know and he doesn’t even have to try that hard. It’s organic, no pesticides or hormones. Just genuine comedy and that is hard find out here in the blogosphere. And even though he writes under a pseudonym he’s more real than any reality show out there. He’d probably get better ratings too. He put the “uuuuuuuuuuu” in “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude.” He talks of sports, life, current events and much more. And he does an awesome job.  He defined this award as “tapping into the world you’re moving through and extracting the flavor through your keyboard …” I mean who comes up with such a great combination of words, the kind of fusion that makes you pause in mid-sentence and say Holy Crap! A badass. That’s who. An awesome badass over at Drinks Well With Others.

And seeing how this great writer thought I was worthy enough of an award, well I guess it means I’m not that bad either.  Some people shy away from awards, no mention of them in posts or comments. But me? I always enjoy getting gold stars, ever since Mrs. Torres’s kindergarten class. They make me feel like I’m on the right track.

So in honor of being on the right track I accept the award and continue this post with the rules: Five questions and my nominees. Sometimes awards have questions to get to the root of you, so here’s my attempt at answering them.

1- If you could change something what would you change?- Living at my parents. I’m a grown-ass woman with two kids. I should have my own place, something with a walk-in closet. But life has been tough this year … for everyone, and I know there are others out in my same predicament. But I’m sure they’d want to change that too.

2) If you could relive one day, when would that be? Going to the baseball game with my dad and son. If I knew it was the last game we’d ever see together, I would’ve brought the camera.

3) What one thing really scares you?  If something terrible were to happen to my kids. (Cayman had this answer and I couldn’t agree with it more. I think I would end up on an episode of Oxygen’s Snapped! if something were to ever happen to my kids and the person responsible would probably be six-feet under).

4) What one dream have you not completed yet and do you think you will be able to complete it?-  Publishing one of my books. And I don’t mean self-publish either, although that’s still considered published, but I’d like the real publish. The kind that gets me a good letter in the mail and not the “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” rejection letter. But I still got time. I’m not dead yet.

5) If you could be someone else for the day, who would you be?-   Probably a writer who’s been published.

And here are my nominees …

I know Cayman gave me the award and I normally don’t give it back to the person who gave it to me, but he’s that good. So if you get a chance definitely check him out over at Drinks Well With Others. His fiction is awesome.

Me 2.0 She hasn’t written in a really long time, but I discovered her late in the game. And she found a way to bring humor into a very real situation. I still read her blog entries from the past and I hope she gets back on the writing wagon, because she is definitely an inspiration at finding the humor when you don’t think there’s any.

Stephen Kelly Creative has opened my eyes to photography and travel. His recent insights on his trip to Australia definitely took me back and helped me find perspective. He puts the personal in his shots and I always appreciate how he showcases that with good writing.

This Man’s Journey encompassing everything this award is supposed to be. His stories are through pictures and all of them are real, energizing, amazing, lovely and inspiring. They do make you say Yipeee! Well they make you want to be a better photographer, family person and human spirit.

Andrea Kelly over at The Hand-Written Life definitely gets real. She talks about everything from books, television and music, to relationships and life moments. I really appreciate her honesty in her relationship posts and enjoy the inspiration she lays out whenever she comes across it in her life. She shares the wisdom she finds and I like being enlightened. The fact that she enjoys chocolate is a definite plus.

Lame Adventures is my go-to for humor. If I’m ever feeling down I know I can get a smile and a laugh from reading her posts. And there is no BS there, just real life and real funny. And anytime anybody can make me laugh that is definitely amazing, energizing and lovely.

Hope you guys get a chance to visit any or all of them.

Sandbox List Adventure VI: Curious George Strikes Again

18 Feb

I never would have thought a monkey would inspire so many adventures. But apparently if it happens on Curious George, chances are that my son is definitely interested in adding that adventure to his Sandbox List. Well in truth anything on PBS and The Sprout Channel tends to get his curiosity going.

Just wish the flu wasn’t so powerful. It’s been tough to kick this one. I’ve battled 12 rounds and it had me down for the count, but I’m back up again, thanks to multiple trips to the CVS in my proper middle-of-the-night sweats and a t-shirt uniform. I may have looked crappy, but I’m doing my best to try to regain my energy so that it meets my son’s everyday standards. I think I need more vitamins. Even though I’m finally turning a corner the crappy-sick feeling continues attacking my immune system, but adventure and a four-year old do not wait for you to be at 100 percent. So I cowboy-ed up and tackled another item on The List. Something requiring worms.

Yeah that’s right … worms. And you know me. I needed a little assistance, because slimy crawly creatures and The Guat … they don’t mix. I mean Curious George didn’t need any help from The Man in the Yellow Hat. But it’s a cartoon. The Guats are living in a little bit more challenging circumstances, but we did all right on our first fishing expedition. We may not have caught any fish that day, and my son may have been a little disappointed, but at least we had no hooking eye-gauging incidents with the fishing pole or falling in the lake accidents, and that’s what really mattered. A successful failure. Well probably not. Catching a fish would have been totally cool, because you know that Curious George caught three of them. But maybe it will happen on our next fishing adventure, you know when there are no suspect teenage characters throwing pinecones in the lake, scaring the fish. Yeah … we definitely need a teenage-free lake environment.


Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.

Hiking up the hill, having our Andy Griffith Show-Opie moment.



Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole ... well at least everything he saw on Curious George.

Teaching his sister the ins and outs of his new fishing pole … well at least everything he saw on Curious George.



My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.

My son practicing the reeling part of catching a fish.



Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.

Getting some pointers from his dad before he gets ready to cast his line.



The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.

The excitement was building and he was ready to do this on his own. I was worried about the sharp hook at the end, but he assured me he was being careful as he checked his fishing equipment one last time.



Fishing 11

His sister was more interested in yelling at the ducks than our fishing adventure.


Fishing 20

The ducks that caused all the commotion.


The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about forty-five minutes. Better luck next time. Definitely.

The Waiting Game. Something that required a lot of Goldfish Crackers and inventive stories on how he would catch all kinds of fish. We lasted about twenty-five minutes before he lost all hope and wanted to play Angry Birds. Better luck next time. Definitely. And there will be a next time. He assured me. “We just need more worms, mom. Curious George had a lot of worms and a bigger lake.”





Weekly Image of Life Challenge: Event

15 Feb



It’s part of our culture.

It’s an all-day event.

It begins early in the morning and ends late at night.

It involves tailgating with  breakfast sandwiches, and orange juice, followed by BBQ wings, nachos, Goldfish Crackers, Capri Sun pouches and plenty of other beverages.

It involves high-fives and smiles, half-time shows and Thomas the Train companions.

It involves a stadium filled with fans cheering and my son enjoying every minute of it.

It involves touchdowns, excitement, and unforgettable woo-hoo moments with my son.

His first college football experience … definitely an event worth remembering.



Weekly Image of Life Challenge courtesy of This Man’s Journey.