Always riding through the rough waters …
Always in need of a lifesaver …
Always managing to stay afloat …
Always looking out at the horizon …
Always with my “toes in the water, ass in the sand, cold drink in my hand” …
Always enjoying the sunny moments when I can actually ride the wave … always dreaming.
I’m hoping the yoga worked, because The Countdown is on!
I’m already writing my thank you note to the creators of IcyHot.
I’ve got five days. In five days I tackle my yearly challenge: The TinMan Triathlon, not to be confused with the IronMan, but pretty badass nonetheless. I still get black ink finely printed on my awesome calf muscle and tricep. Once I see it, I’m transformed. No longer the mother of two: diaper changer extraordinaire, referee of superhero cape battles, Lego mastermind builder, and Nickelodeon remote control screener. I’m no longer the struggling writer who gets the it’s-not-you-it’s-me rejection letter. No longer a wife or daughter just trying to stay above water. It’s just me … the Guat … TinMan candidate.
I’m looking forward to that feeling. I’m looking forward to the starting line and enjoying my New Balance hit the pavement, my feet staying on the pedals, and my toes splashing in the water. And even though I’ll be sweating, and huffing and puffing, I’ll probably be enjoying every minute of it. Maybe not the Mission Impossible uphill battle of Devil’s Canyon. But once I reach the top, and hopefully not fall and break a valuable appendage while speeding my way down, it’ll be all good.
But this won’t be the best part.
As I mentioned before, the best part will be watching my son run his first triathlon: The Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. I look forward to watching him smile as he crosses the finish line. I look forward to the thumbs up he’s going to give me. I look forward to taking our picture together with our matching medals. It’s cheesy, but it’s been on my Bucket List-Life-to-do list and his Sandbox Adventure List. He wants to be like Wreck It Ralph and get a medal and he’s been training well.
The biking and swimming sessions seem to be going well for him. The running? Well let’s just say he takes after me … he doesn’t thoroughly enjoy it unless he’s chasing a baseball, football or soccer ball. He sort of just trots his way around the track, but if he sees someone else running in front of him he feels the urge to speed up and pass them. So I’m sure when it comes to the race, he’ll be all right.
Me? My training?
It’s going slower than usual and time hasn’t really been on my side. So I had to do some things that I normally would never do.
But I’ve done what I had to do — whatever it takes to make sure I finish the race before my son starts his. So I’ve sacrificed. Sacrificed something valuable.
I wake up at the crack of dawn to work out. I hate dawn. I’m more of a dusk kind of person. Dawn is for sleeping, especially when you’re a night person and go to bed at midnight or 1 a.m. I tried the go-to-bed-earlier routine, but my internal clock doesn’t let that happen. I’m used to decompressing and enjoying the awesome quiet of the night. Meditating. And I’ve realized that I really need my Namaste moments, otherwise I’d probably throw someone off a cliff.
So I sacrifice sleep. I flop out of bed to ride a bike, run, and yes even swim. And I’ve got to say out of all the early-bird routines, the swimming seems to be the most relaxing. Surprisingly I flop out of bed with less hostility when I know I’m hitting the pool. Still cranky though, but not as bad.
However, all of it for a good cause. Finish line. Need to make the finish line so that I can see my son cross his starting line. That’s what I keep telling myself when the alarm rings at 5:30 a.m. That’s what I tell myself again after I hit the snooze button. Finish line baby, finish line.
The “negativity bias” crept in this week, like a tiny parasite sucking the life out of me.
I let the outside effect my mood. I mean who doesn’t right? It happens to everyone, maybe even Gandhi himself, that’s probably why he meditated so much.
Most of the time you feel good when you wake up because you realize you have another 24 hours to make something happen for yourself. 24 hours to do something. 24 hours to find a way to be happy or happier. 24 hours for something different from yesterday. 24 hours to fly your freak flag and be proud. 24 hours closer to reaching you dream. 24 hours … I mean Jack Bauer saved the world in 24 hours the least you can do is have a good day right?
But then you get out of bed and life happens.
You stubbed your toe. You can’t find matching socks. Your kids fight over the superhero cape. You realize someone sent in the payment late and you’ve gotten a penalty fee. You wanted orange juice in the morning and just as you reach for the Simply Orange way in the back of the fridge you realize that some jackass left it in there with three drops. You try to shake it off, but then you hear from Debbie Downer and they’re trying to drag you down with the ship. You get criticized for the third time in ten minutes. You check your voicemail and realize that your friends are taking an awesome two-day vacation you desperately need, but you can’t go on because there’s no one to watch your kids. It takes a village to raise one, right? This town is population: 1 Guat.
You need to get out of the house.
So you walk out to the car to get the diapers your dude left in the trunk overnight and $78 parking ticket is hanging out on your windshield for all to see. Street Sweeper. People walking their dogs see it. They give you a sympathetic smile. They feel you. You’re glad, until you walk back home and step in dog poop.
You really need a Namaste moment. You realize the “negativity bias” kicked in.
The bias is defined by Gretchen Rubin as:
“… we react to the bad more strongly and persistently than to the comparable good. I’d learned in February, within a marriage, it takes at least five good acts to repair the damage of one critical or destructive act. With money, the pain of losing a certain sum is greater than the pleasure of gaining that sum. Hitting the best-seller list with Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill thrilled me less than a bad review upset me.”
Yeah … like I said negativity bias. Although I don’t really agree with her on the money one, if I found lost money I’d be doing cartwheels, and forget about how pissed off I was when I lost it. Finding lost items is awesome. But I agree with the rest. So what could I do with all the negative stuff brooding in my system?
She suggests finding a mental “area of refuge” and I agree. Thinking about an escape, something to distract you from the drama, something to occupy your mind and get you through the momentary traffic jam that is your life. So I thought of bungy jumping in Austrailia. I thought of the giant water slide my dad and I ventured on in Guatemala. I thought about the Spider-Man theme song my uncle use to sing randomly. I thought about Trader Joe’s Chocolate Lava Cakes. I thought about Jack Tripper (he always made me laugh). I thought about my son in the swimming pool doing his first starfish float and smiling excitedly. I thought about my daughter’s bouncy toddler run when she “hits” a home run and runs around are makeshift bases. I thought about the fresh smell of wet soil as I rode my bike through the park early Sunday mornings. It smelled liked Earth.
I wasn’t Mary Poppins after that, but I wasn’t festering in the crappy mood or the dog crap.
Things got better, until night time.
Thank God for Netflix. I was able to distract myself with episodes of Arrested Development.
Dude, I didn’t even know him and I’m sad about it.
Truth was when I heard it the first person I thought about was my dad. He would have been seriously bummed out to hear the news. He was a big Sopranos fan. Most people had family dinners on Sundays, we had Sopranos, coffee, and tea. We never missed an episode. Always hanging out on the couch, tripping out on Tony Soprano and his crazy mobster life. Our elaborate discussions of Silvio, Christopher, Tony, Janice, and Carmela after each episode only made hanging out on Sundays even better.
I guess James Gandolfini’s passing was like losing another part of my dad, another connection gone. But at least I have some awesome one-liners with plenty of profanity to remember our HBO nights, but let’s not forget the weird series finale that left us with a wait … what-happened-here moment.
I know he did more than just the Sopranos, but this awesome show is what brought us together every Sunday night. Complex, loving, murdering criminals. Here’s the best of Tony…
“A wrong decision is better than indecision.”
“If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them.”
“What fucking kind of human being am I, if my own mother wants me dead?”
“All due respect, you got no fuckin’ idea what it’s like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fuckin’ thing. It’s too much to deal with almost. And in the end you’re completely alone with it all.”
“He tells me he’s got no purpose.”
“And how did you answer him?”
“I told him that it costs 150 grand to bring him up so far, so if he’s got no purpose I want a fucking refund.”
“Is this a woman thing? You ask me how I’m feeling. I tell you how I’m feeling, and now you’re going to torture me with it.”
“This isn’t painful. Getting shot is painful. Getting stabbed in the ribs is painful. This … isn’t painful. It’s empty. Dead.”
“You’re only religious when it suits you.”
“Pretty dresses aren’t just for skinny girls.”
“This is who we are mama … REAL women.”
Real Women Have Curves.
It’s been almost three years since my dad passed away and Father’s Day is still a tough one for me. I usually get through it by watching stuff like Frequency, Juno, October Sky, Little Miss Sunshine, or if I’m feeling emotional My Life with Michael Keaton. But this Father’s Day I hung out with Clint Eastwood, which seemed pretty appropriate seeing how my dad was a huge fan.
HBO made this encounter possible.
I used to be high-rolling it and got HBO regularly, but seeing how I’m a starving writer, I had to cut down with expenses and just get the bare essentials. But this weekend FREE came back into my life and it was pretty sweet. I like free. Me and free get along pretty well when there’s no strings attached. We got the free HBO trial this weekend. It must have been a sign. My dad was working his magic behind the scenes.
So I didn’t argue, I got some Ghirardelli and parked myself on the couch and watched Trouble With The Curve. Now I had to wait until 11 p.m. to watch it, you know, during the real quiet of the night so that I would not get disturbed with questions about food, diapers, parking spots or toys. I wanted to be present — in the moment –hanging out with my dad, in a way. And that usually can’t happen when crazy is happening here. So I waited and it was worth it. I like baseball and I like Eastwood.
All I could think of was what my dad would say during the movie. He was big on color commentating during a film, play-by-play and replays too. I imagine I’d get frustrated with all the questions and pauses but it was our routine. I enjoyed Eastwood’s funny one-liners in his gritty voice. I’d bust out a loud HA-HA crack me up laugh. And my dad would shake his head at my exaggerations and smile. Then he’d probably have a cup of coffee, while I drank some tea.
In truth I wasn’t always a Clint Eastwood fan, wasn’t too thrilled with his whole macho man western type of movie. But my for some reason my dad was like any father, he wanted to share his wisdom with me. My dad began his quest to educate me on Eastwood in 1992. He formally introduced me to Eastwood with Unforgiven. He’d have to bribe me with popcorn, gummy bears, sour patch candy, or chocolate to check out these films. I’d reluctantly go see the movie, but enjoyed the treats.
It wasn’t until my college years that I fully appreciated the Eastwood education and all the times I’d just hang out with my dad in front of the VCR, you know when people had VCRs and memberships to Blockbuster.
So I found it appropriate that I’d see one of his films Sunday and do my best to remember him and our conversations. Thanks HBO for my Eastwood Education Refresher Course.
“Opens June 2013”
“Is it June, yet?”
“Is it June, yet?”
“Is it June, yet?”
“Yes, but it doesn’t open for a couple of days.”
“Is it a couple of days yet?”
“Is it a couple of days yet?”
“YES! YES! It’s been a couple of days, and today is the day. Today.”
It was a year-long countdown for this Sandbox List Adventure to begin and it finally arrived this week. Construction complete, bulldozers no where in sight, and water slides included. My only concern was the fact that we signed up for the A.M. session. As you all know I’m not the greatest morning person on Earth. But this week waking up early didn’t bother me. I woke up with purpose, with excitement. I woke happy to check something off my son’s Sandbox List. He was pretty ecstatic, too, so much so that he didn’t need to watch The Sprout Channel, PBS, or Disney Jr. I didn’t even need to give him the customary multiple reminders to brush his teeth and get dressed. I spoke once and it was done. Magic.
I guess swim trunks do that for you.
Although his sister was not that thrilled, considering she couldn’t participate in this particular adventure she could care less how fast her brother got dressed. She was still wild, running around in her pajamas and throwing Kix everywhere.
But after all the morning routine craziness, I piled them in the car and off we went … to my son’s first swimming lesson at the newly constructed pool down the street. I was really happy to see him having a great time splashing around in the pool. I’m sure he’s going to do well in his Tiny Tots Triathlon. He’s been to swim school every day this week and seems to be getting more confident in the water. I think the SpiderMan goggles definitely help.
All the kids were at the same level, so it didn’t really matter that he was younger. All that mattered was that they all splashed the same way. I was pretty proud of him for not freaking out and containing his excitement long enough to listen to the swim coach. So when the first lesson was done I asked:
“So, how was it?”
“It was great, mom! Great! But next time I need Aquaman powers, instead of SpiderMan powers. They’ll make me swim better.”