Archive | February, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

13 Feb




Lived in many places, but home?

Home was laughter.

Home was a place that always smelled like baked chicken.

Home was the one-bedroom apartment in the barrio where we lived most of my childhood.

Home was family … through killer plaid bell-bottoms, MC Hammer parachute pants, Levis jeans, Dockers and Dickies workpants.


Good Times, Good Food, Good Friends, and Underwear

12 Feb

Normally I would hyperventilate in a place like this. I mean it is so far off The Guat grid that I feel like a lost and confused tourist in environments like these.

I mean in all honesty, I shouldn’t have been in that store in the first place. I mean I wasn’t properly dressed. There I was in jeans, a t-shirt and a backpack, while everyone else was all Cover-Girled up with their dresses, slacks, and fancy handbags. The fact that I was sick probably didn’t help matters. I mean crappy looking people on NyQuil just don’t go walking into Victoria Secret, but I did. I had to. There was a bridal shower at stake and a good friend on my mind. I had to buy the appropriate gift. So I cowboy-ed up and entered the Pink section.

Now normally I don’t think much about the underwear I’m wearing, but among all the pink lace, fancy satin, leopard prints, and G-strings I couldn’t help but think of my comfy Hanes Hipster Cotton six pack undies from Target. I felt like my underwear and I didn’t really belong, but it was all good. There was a cotton section, and luckily there was more than just pink stuff and I was able to find a nice blue satin number for my friend.

But there was another underwear assignment handed out. There would be games at this bridal shower, and I was to buy a pair of underwear, in the bride’s size, that would best represent my personality. I looked around … this was not the store for me. So I ventured off in search of the undies that said “The Guat”.

It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for, I saw them hanging there at the other store … and I knew. I knew, this was the winner. As I purchased my pair I couldn’t help but wonder what the other girls were buying. I mean I knew all their personalities. I was just very curious as to how the game would pan out, and who would be the winner, because when it comes to bridal shower games … we all get very competitive. I know it’s all supposed to be for fun, but it happens at every shower. We get crazed to win. When they say “pencils down,” you better believe that someone’s aunt or mom is going to be regulating you if you took an extra second jotting names down. And if there is a battle between two ladies in a risqué game, you know it’s going to be cause for some awesome comic relief. And let me tell you there was plenty of comedy. We had a tie, a tie. And in our circle of trust there was only one way to settle this matter. A battle. A dance battle. I hadn’t laughed that hard in such a long time. I might have pee in my pants a little.

But I don’t think the competitive drive in us has anything to do with the prizes. But more with the victory — the fact that you’ve won. That woo-hoo! moment. You reach your arms up in the air and say yes! Yes! I won! A-ha! It’s that moment that drives us.

So needless to say I was definitely looking forward to this celebration. Was it because of the crazy amount of delicious food? Definitely. Was it the awesome time that awaited me because of great friends? No doubt. Was it the games? Probably. Did I win? Did I get a woo-hoo moment? Yes. Yes I did. And it wasn’t on the “How Well Do You Know The Bride” 20 questions game. I completely failed on that one. In fact, after that game I felt like a terrible friend. Most of us did. I felt like I didn’t really know her at all. I mean where the hell have I been for like fifteen years, and how come I didn’t know she would have ordered oatmeal as her go-to meal at a brunch? I don’t know, I was probably too busy stuffing my face with bacon to notice. But I rebounded and made up for it with a win in the underwear game. Good times, good food, good friends and underwear. Definitely a great way to spend the afternoon.

The underwear game ... challenging but I ended up the victor.

The underwear game … challenging but I ended up the victor. Did you guess which one was mine?

I’m Gonna Need a Strong Dose of This

8 Feb



Considering that I am currently under the influence of DayQuil and NyQuil, I still feel pretty crappy.

Everybody knows the flu blues. Your head hurts, like Wild E. Coyote smashed it with an anvil. Your chest hurts like if you did 100 push-ups. Your eyeballs hurt, like if you had glaucoma. Your body aches like if you’re a senior citizen, but you’re only in your late 30s. I mean even your hair hurts and being a mom, just finishing a 14-hour shift with two kids I got no blanket, no soup, or no cup of tea waiting for me. Just a sink full of dishes that my crazy OCD mind will just have to let go of. They’ll have to wait until tomorrow just like everything on the to-do list.

Tonight … tonight I’m gonna need a dose of laughter and sleep. A strong one.



Weekly Image of Life Challenge: People

7 Feb
Hanging out with penguins.

Hanging out with penguins.




Sometimes there are too many.

Sometimes they take your parking spots.

Sometimes they annoy you.

Sometimes they surprise you.

Sometimes they amuse you.

Sometimes they make you smile.

And sometimes … sometimes they’re funny and they don’t even know it.





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

The Cup

6 Feb

Most people may call it collecting clutter. I’m sentimental, I call it saving things with character.

Everyone does it at some point, right? Most of the time it’s a t-shirt, maybe your old college sweatpants, sometimes it’s underwear. Old and beat up, but it’s yours. It’s comfortable around the seams and the cotton is worn down just so. Holes? There may be a few. But don’t even think about throwing them away. They’re irreplaceable.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not to the point where I need to come out on A&E’s Hoarders or anything like that, but it’s a quirk. I’ve got a few things here and there. But I guess some people draw the line at my plastic cup. It can get a couple of eyerolls over here in the Guat household. I’ve even uncovered and stopped schemes of getting rid of it.

The Cup

The Cup

Now, normally a plastic cup wouldn’t get a second look. I’m more of tall glass kind of person. But for some reason this tall plastic blue 32 ounce LEGOLAND cup seemed to make its way next to my dinner, lunch, and breakfast plate every day. If I had a fancy La-Z-Boy couch with cup holders, it would’ve probably made it there too. It doesn’t have sentimental value, and it wasn’t expensive. But there’s a certain feel to it. Plus, it being 32 ounces and all, helps keep my daily quota on hydrating myself. I’d become possessive over it, like your special corner on the couch. You don’t like anyone’s butt imprint on that cushion, but yours. It’s a custom fit. Same thing, I don’t like anyone drinking from my cup. I know it gets washed and Dawn dishwashing soap is pretty powerful stuff, it comes in anti-bacterial orange, but it’s my cup. I’m weird that way.

But then the incident happened. And I guess most people would have thrown it away and gotten another one. I mean it’s not like we don’t have dozens of cups and pilsner glasses in the cabinets over here. But I kept it. I’d become a little attached.

In truth I don’t know how it happened. I was probably distracted by some sort of toddler-crisis-Ritz-cracker shortage or something when I left it unattended on the counter. I honestly didn’t think I was that absent-minded, but apparently I am. I mean I know that heat and plastic don’t mix. I’m aware, I took chemistry in high school and I’ve got common sense. But regardless of these factors, the cup became victim to the got-too-close-to-the-frying-pan syndrome. Upon impact it sort of caved in on the side and the plastic sticker got all crunchy. It’s all puckered up on one side. I don’t know if it technically holds 32 ounces anymore, but it’s still my cup.

Most of the time my mom, dude, sister, aunts and cousins look puzzled as they see me drinking from it. What’s the deal? It’s burned up, beat up, and injured. I mean I can probably get a similar one from the 99 cent store or the CVS. I give them all the same answer. It kind of reminds me of me. I’m a little beat up and sometimes I may walk with a limp because my knee acts up when it’s cold, and I probably need to take more vitamins. I’m a little sideways too, but I’m still good. I have a purpose. So the cup stays.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

5 Feb





We visit the zoo at least twice a month.

We see the elephants … mighty.

We see the giraffes … tall.

We see the gazelles … graceful.

We see the gorillas … amazing

But there’s nothing … nothing like animal with a Robert DeNiro you-lookin’-at-me-you-talkin’-to-me personality.

Meerkats … definitely unique.


Happiness Project Update 21: The Lieutenant Dan State of Mind

4 Feb

I’m not big on contemplating The Heavens. I have a hard enough time thinking about my own existence on Earth to go pondering about how I’m going to be handling the next life, or “the next stage”. I’m trying to enjoy this one.

Image via

Image via

Spirituality and faith, they used to be easy. But now, not so much.

Even though Rubin had the stats to prove that spiritual people are relatively happier, this particular chapter of The Happiness Project was a tough sell for me.  I used to be one of those church-going people, the kind that went on a regular basis. It was a weekly thing. I had the stand up-sit-down-stand-up-kneel-down-then-sit-down routine memorized. I knew the prayers by heart,  didn’t even need to open the book. I had it down, packed. I even had my own money envelope. It had my name pre-printed on it and everything. But once my dad passed away that seemed to change matters. I was no longer attending weekly masses. I wasn’t really talking to God much.

Some people tend to get closer to God when tragic things like this happen, I sort of went to a Lieutenant Dan-State-of-Mind, the kind of mental state that was happening when he was on the shrimping boat with Forrest Gump and the huge hurricane hit. He was up there on the mast, battling and yelling at God, while the storm was rocking the boat.

This is where I find myself, spiritually. I struggle with faith because of the loss. And I’m sure there are others out there with their own faith struggles, but I guess Rubin brought up a good point. How can you have a Happiness Project, without involving spirituality and faith? Studies and statistics show …

I guess that just depends on your project.

Do I want to be in this Lt. Dan state of mind my whole life? I don’t know. Probably not. I’m not entirely off the grid. I do hold certain spiritual states close to my heart. Things like gratitude, mindfulness, and peace. I learned to appreciate “the glories of the present moments” in my ordinary life, like the creation of chocolate. There had to be some sort of divine intervention on that one, right?

But yeah, I’ve still got some sort of spirituality in there and I guess this chapter might strengthen what I have left, but I don’t know if I’ll be going back to the pre-printed-name-on-the-envelopes stage just yet. I understand that spiritually-rich people may be mentally and physically healthier, deal with stress better, have happy marriages and live longer. I get that Rubin checked all the studies on that one. And yes … yes of course I want that for myself. Of course I’m aware that when things get out of control, extremely chaotic, and catastrophic people tend to reach for something beyond themselves, beyond their own universe in search for some sort of understanding and comfort.  Spirituality and faith in God bring a different dimension into life, but it’s taking me a little while longer to get through this post-traumatic growth phase. I reached out, but didn’t get an answer or any comfort. Thus my Lieutenant Dan state of mind.

But eventually the storm passed, and Lieutenant Dan got off the mast and jumped back in the water for a swim. I guess that may be the whole point of the chapter, to remind me to find a way back. I totally appreciated the effort, but truthfully, it’s gonna take some time.

Sanbox List Adventure V: Checking Out the Stars and The Sun, And Carrying More Quarters

1 Feb

I don’t know why kids always want to check them out. They’re never really clean, probably slathered in germs. They’re always out of focus and for some reason they’re really heavy, probably made out of some 1960s submarine or Master Driver parts. I don’t know, but it’s heavy. And for some reason kids always become explorers whenever they see them. They have to see through it. Just have to.


I’m usually all out of quarters. I never have one. Ever. Or I say that it’s broken. It’s always broken. This is usually followed by disappointment, a sigh, and a shaking of the head.

But today he got his chance. We ventured out to the observatory to check out the moon, stars, planets, galaxies, that weird, cool pendulum thing that still puzzles me even after the very detailed explanation by the tour dude. And telescopes. Many of them. He got a chance to look through as many of them as he wanted, as did his one-year old sister. None of them were broken. And while they were enjoying the wonders of outer space, I found myself enjoying the whole process. I realized … I shouldn’t always be in a rush, I should always carry Purell, and most importantly I should carry more quarters.


He was excited that we didn't have to park a mile away. The parking lot is extremely small and for the first time in history I got front-door parking to something. He ran towards the entrance.

He was excited that we didn’t have to park a mile away. The parking lot is extremely small and for the first time in history I got front-door parking to something. He ran towards the entrance.



Checking out some elements that are found in outer space explosions and other star stuff.

Checking out some elements that are found in outer space explosions and other star stuff.


The pendulum thing.

My daughter was mesmerized by the pendulum thing.


Once we got to the stars ... everyone was in a wow-state of mind.

Once we got to the stars … everyone was in a wow-state of mind.


My daughter thought Saturn was pretty cool.

My daughter thought Saturn was pretty cool.


My son thought Mars was cooler. There was a microscope and scientific data involved.

My son thought Mars was cooler. It was so cool that he took his hat off. There was a microscope and scientific data involved.


And this ... this was the best part for both of them ... exploring through the scopes.

And this … this was the best part for both of them … exploring through the scopes.


And although the best part of the day for my kids were the telescopes and exhibits, my favorite part of the day was watching the sunset with my kids. Our first one together.

And although the best part of the day for my kids were the telescopes and exhibits, my favorite part of the day was watching the sunset with my kids. Our first one together.