Archive | December, 2013

Getting In The Spirit!

23 Dec




Getting in tune with my inner George wanted to make sure I spread the holiday cheer. Happy Festivus people.


El Burrito Sabanero and Christmas Song Power

20 Dec

It takes a while for it to hit me, because my dad’s not walking through the door with the Christmas tree.

But it hits me … eventually.

It hits me when I see Charlie Brown and the rest of The Peanut Gang. It hits me when I see my kids decorating cookies with green and red M&Ms. It smacks me in the face when I’m laughing my ass off at Pete Schwetty, Mary Katherine Gallagher, and Justin Timberlake‘s Junk in The Box skits on Saturday Night Live.

It helps.

It builds.

But the one thing that always kicks it up a notch is the song. The song for my Guat People.

No it’s not I Wanna Wish You a Merry Christmas a.k.a. Feliz Navidad.

Nope. That’s too commercial.

This is Old School.

It’s more powerful than Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, Kelly Clarkson, or Jennifer Nettles Christmas Specials.

This is El Burrito Sabanero.

The Donkey Song.


The Donkey is a powerful thing.

No one would think a donkey song could bring out the ho-ho-ho spirit, but it does. It crushes whatever Grinch-like tendencies I may have had about Christmas trying beat down my beloved Thanksgiving Holiday.

I hear it and the Christmas Spirit is jumping. I hear it and it takes me back to my five-year old self, when I had pigtails and enjoyed waking up in the morning. It takes me back to my Union Elementary Holiday Program Days and wearing red. It takes me back to hanging out with my dysfunctional family, eating tamales, and playing Loteria. It takes me back to drinking that famous Guatemalan Ponche that my mom made every year. It takes me back to opening presents in my pajamas at midnight. It takes me back to La Vecindad — the old neighborhood and its people.

It rocks my Guat world and every year, Christmas doesn’t seem to start unless I blast that tune and do my little dance. I could be in the middle of a George Costanza life episode, and when I hear that tune the frustration, the anxiety, the anger, the whatever-it-is-I’m-feeling-at-that-moment disappears.

I raise the volume. I tap my feet. I nod my head, and it’s on.

The Christmas spirit is upon me. The Donkey is pretty powerful stuff.

Do you have any Christmas song power?

Bring it!

Let it smack you in the face and enjoy the eggnog. Being at the overcrowded mall fighting for parking is so much easier when you got it.



I Wasn’t About to Be Defeated This Morning

18 Dec

All I wanted to do was go running. And I hate running. It’s bad for my knees, my joints, and just all around bad for my Icy-Hot loving body.

But I do it because it’s the only high-impact crazy aerobic exercise I can do in half an hour where I can feel my muscles working their ass off, and apparently I need my body to be working properly for at least another twenty-thirty years. Dying is not something I look forward to, I would hate to die and leave my kids motherless at such a young age. It’d be heartbreaking, and sure I imagine some people would try to step up to the plate and help raise them, but in truth … there’s no one like me and no one that loves my kids the way I do. I feel I bring out the best in them or at least I try to.

I’m pretty sure every parent feels that way. So in an effort to live longer I do a little running during the week. Apparently exercise prolongs your life so I’m all for that. But it also helps keep me in shape for my triathlon experiences, and it’s the only exercise I can do with my toddler. She sits in the stroller eating her Cheerios, checking out the scene, and reading books. If I had a pool I’d totally be swimming in it no doubt. If I had one of those kiddie ride along seats for my bike, we’d be cruising away. But I don’t. I’m broke-ass. So I do the poor-man’s exercise and run … surrounded by nature. It’s free.

This is not what I usually look like, but I imagine I would look this cool.

This is not what I usually look like, but I imagine I would look this cool.

But I really don’t look forward to it. Crazy enough I’d probably enjoy it more if it was attached to a triathlon. I’d be running toward something, not just running for running’s sake. I’m not a fan of that, but you do what you gotta do.

However this morning … it appeared that the odds were against me.

As a mom you try to be on schedule. Everything is on a schedule. If something goes awry in the schedule it creates a ripple effect for all the events the rest of the day. So your job as a mom is to try to keep to the schedule, try to avoid meltdowns, try to keep the dominoes in line. The schedule is your friend and when you betray your friend in any way it comes back to you. So in an effort to stay on schedule I had a small window available for my you-need-to-exercise activity. But like anything with schedules you need to go with the flow, otherwise your crazy will just get the best of you.

9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

That’s the window.

9 a.m. Changed my kid’s diaper before leaving

9:05 a.m. Packing the Cheerios for our outing.

9:06 a.m.  My kid apparently needing the Cheerios immediately and can’t wait ’till we’re outside in the stroller.

9:07 a.m. Cheerios all over the floor.

9:15 a.m. Cleaned up and finished re-packing Cheerios.

9:17 a.m. Found iPod, missing headphones.

9:25 a.m. Still missing headphones, but found a mini-speaker.

9:30 a.m. Phone rings. I don’t want to get it. I know I can’t get it. The schedule. If it’s important they’ll leave a message.

9:31 a.m. I get a message saying my mom needs me to look something up on the computer.


9:32  a.m. I decide it can wait twenty minutes.

9:33 a.m. Grab my keys, turn to look for my kid, ready to go … unexpected potty situation that went beyond wipes. It called for soap and water.

9:40 a.m. Put my newly diapered kid in the stroller, wiggled the stroller over a couple of rocks, and then Bam! The handle bar broke.

It just broke off. Plastic screwed in by metal shouldn’t break off this easily, especially if it’s a Chicco Stroller. Not a fancy jogging stroller, just a regular one the kind you need at places like the mall. But considering I’ve had it since my first kid, I figure it had a little wear and tear that might have contributed to it’s demise.

So I stood there with the handle bar in my hand debating what to do next. My window of opportunity was closing, the universe seemed to be against the whole running outdoors idea. I wondered whether or not I could steer the stroller without it. Could I just hold it from the cup holder/key area? Did I have any duct tape?


Could I still do this somehow?

I don’t know. Maybe.

9:41 a.m. Determined to go for a run, I popped the handlebar back in on one side. It was still clinging for life on the other side, desperately wanting me to put it out of its misery. However I ignored its pleas and tied it with some rope and forged ahead, holding onto the cup holder area the best I could, because apparently I suck at tying knots.

It was sad sight, but necessary. I made up my mind that I was going running and even though I don’t like running I wasn’t about to be defeated this morning. Not by anything. I’m stubborn that way.

Sandbox Adventure List 23: Guats on Ice

16 Dec

He’d seen Charlie Brown do it.  He’d seen the L.A. Kings do it.

But considering I lived in The Golden State, I didn’t think this one would be possible. But when the Christmas spirit hits Southern California you can find a little bit of Winter Wonderland even in our 80-degree weather. So I took his Charlie Brown dream and made it happen. His sister was too small to remember Charlie Brown, but she’ll remember it this year.

I’d say we were like Kings on ice, but in truth there was a lot of falling and cold butts. We enjoyed every minute. In fact it was such a good Sandbox List Adventure it made me forget about the Parking War I had with this lady and her Chevy Suburban.

Normally I’m all for waiting, parking spots are hard to come by. But there are certain rules you follow when doing so and the number one common-sense-good-driver rule is don’t block traffic. Dude, just don’t do it. Don’t have the ass of your car hanging out onto on-coming traffic. Don’t stop your car in the middle of the lane, where you’re in the perfect position to take up the entire lane and nobody can squeeze by on the left or right of you. Don’t ignore the honking of multiple horns telling you to move your ass because your need for front-row parking may in fact get your tires slashed. Don’t wait more than ten minutes for someone to get into their car. It creates road rage for those trying to get to the parking spot four spaces down.

Yes. I was behind that woman, and it almost soured the entire experience. But eventually I was able to off-road it, go around her, and leave my George-Costanza state of mind in the parking lot.  Once I got to the ticket booth all I could see was the Charlie Brown possibilities.


Mastering the ice one step at a time.

Mastering the ice one step at a time.


His sister getting a feel for the ice on a different level.

His sister was getting a feel for the ice on a different level.



Confident enough to let go of the wall he moves to the next stage … hanging on to the sled and pushing his sister.


She decided to be brave just like her brother and stand behind the seal.

She decided to be brave just like her brother and skate behind the seal.

In the end we had a good time falls and all.

In the end we had a good time falls and all.



It Broke My Heart … And I Forgot to Check My Crazy at The Door

11 Dec


The night was filled with profanity and disbelief. The unexpected happened, but in retrospect I should’ve known he was going to rip my heart out.

There I was six years ago minding my own business, when a friend calls me and says you should really watch this new show. I’m totally into it. They’re doing a marathon on account of the season finale.

And there it was … that’s where it began. I blame Michelle for this state I’m in. She turned me into a Sons of Anarchy junkie, where apparently no one is ever safe in the city of Charming.

Image via

Image via

It’s been six years and I can’t stop the surprises from blowing my mind.

Usually I can see things coming, but this totally broke my heart and left me in my I-can’t-believe-this-just-happened state of mind. I couldn’t even sleep thinking about it.

He killed her. He totally killed her off and he broke my heart in the process.

In one of the best season finales I’ve seen, Son’s of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter kills off Doctor Tara Knowles: Jax Teller‘s wife, his old lady, the love of his life, the mother of his two kids, and the moral compass to his being.

Image via

Who does that? Who kills off someone so important to the main character?

Who leaves two little boys alone with the possibility of a junkie ex-girlfriend or murdering grandma vying for guardianship?


Who makes you believe that Jax will own up and protect his family at all costs, only to be betrayed by his own mother?



You bastard.

I used to think he was a writing genius, but now I think he’s just a crazy madman toying with my emotions and breaking my heart at the end of every season. First it was Opie, Jax’s best friend and right-hand man, who was literally beaten to death in front of his eyes. I thought dude … did that just happen? How the hell is Jax going to recover from that? It took me a while to mourn that loss. And now this?

Dude I am heavily wrapped in Sons of Anarchy drama. Complete geek.  Although, I don’t even know if I can say geek when referring to an outlaw motorcycle club show, but in essence, that’s who I am … I’ve turned into one of those Star Trek Super Crazed Fans that know the Spock language and is completely obsessed with the Enterprise. That’s me … however instead of polyester space suits and pointy ears my obsession revolves around motorcycles, black leather, and murder.

There have only been a few shows that get me to a state of craziness like this … LOST, 24, The X-Files, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos. They consume me and  I get so emotionally involved that if I saw one the actors out in the open I would totally jaywalk across congested life-and-death traffic and scale a 20-foot fence just to say how much I love them, but I’d do my best not to come off stalker like.

Realistically it doesn’t make sense for me to get all crazy hostile over Tara’s unexpected departure, but I loved this character. She was a strong woman with flaws and depth. I loved watching her and Jax on-screen.

Poor Tara, she was trying to do the right thing and ended up getting stabbed to death by Jax’s manipulative and controlling mother, Gemma, who escapes without Jax knowing. But of course Tara had to die, she knew all the secrets, including the fact that Gemma also had a hand in killing Jax’s real father, John.  However at least she got to speak her truth about their relationship and Jax spoke his, and they reconnected. At least Jax stepped up and chose her over the club, something I thought would not happen.

“You’re a husband … and a father … and a man before all of this. Own your place.”

Image via

Image via

And Jax did. He did. He listened to prosecutor Patterson. And I was left hopeful … but I should have known. Hope gets shot in Charming.

I was left stunned. In the end, Jax was left finding Tara’s body on the kitchen floor, next to the dead sheriff who was trying to protect her.

Dude I don’t know if I can handle much more, Sutter.

Can I see Karma catching up to Gemma in Season 7?


Can I?

Can I see Jax fulfill Tara’s wishes and get his family out of Charming and away from crazy Gemma?

Image via

Image via

Can I?

Considering that Opie’s wife was also killed because of SOA Club drama, can I see Jax’s fate or path being different from Opie’s?

Can I?

You’re killing me, Sutter. Killing me.

For six seasons I’ve been loyal, totally sucked into this biker world with plenty of Holy-Crap moments. However, this one tops the list. I mean if I had a support system, maybe I wouldn’t have been so devastated. But there I was, freaking out on the couch, by myself with no Sons of Anarchy after-the-show-I’ll-comfort-you-this-actually-didn’t-happen group. Just me and some chocolate.

And the show’s message boards.

Yeah … it got so crazy that I went online to the social media world I dislike so much and hit the message boards.

Has that ever happened to you? Where you’re a normal person but turned into a crazed fan?

Yeah that’s what broken hearts do. We forget to check our crazy at the door.


No Need For Counting Calories … Really … No Need. It’s The Holidays.

9 Dec

I don’t understand why diets and holidays tend to come together. It’s really the worst time to watch what you’re eating.

People tend to restrict themselves and cut back because they’re watching their figure. I’ve seen the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig commercials, as well as those gym commercials. People constantly wanting you to lose weight. Now I’m not saying some people don’t need to, I’m sure they do. But the majority of us fit in the “normal” category where love handles are accepted and we really shouldn’t be pressured to feel bad about it.

I mean these new “moms” posting pictures of themselves with abs of steel days after giving birth?

Dude cut it out.

I’m glad you think you look good. That’s great, but really … normal moms everywhere don’t need to see that. That does not fuel inspiration that fuels a are-you-fucking-kidding-me moment? I think I speak for most parents when I say that sleep usually overrides any workout plan, when you have a newborn that wakes you up every two hours.

But I digress.

Food and holidays go together. It’s a must, you can’t go depriving yourself around such a food extravaganza. Come January, February, March and the rest of the months of the year, with the exception of November, you can totally cut back. Count as many points and calories as you want. But feasting on Christmas should be mandatory. It’s not going to kill you. Really regardless of what WebMD might insinuate. It won’t. So splurge people, celebrate the love of food!





Don’t take a little bit of this and not too much of that. Take what you want, it’s Festivus for crying out loud. I’ve never been fond of that “Less is More” mentality. I think less is less. More should be more, especially around the holidays. That’s when the great cooking comes out.

And if you live in a family like mine, it only happens once a year. People in my neighborhood stock up on Maizena and Farmer John’s Manteca. It’s a feast down here in Whoville with tamales galore. Some cooking geniuses even whip up pozole. 


I don’t see tamales or pozole for another 364 days of the year so if I feast on three tamales or two bowls of pozole with a pound of bread I’m good. I’m content. I don’t feel bad. I don’t feel guilty. I feel awesome. And if I want to work out, it’s not so much because I feel bad about the food I ate, it’s because it’s already in my routine. It’s also probably the escape I need from the crazy that is my family holiday.

Now before all you health people start getting crazy on me let me just say, I’m not hating on health nut body building Jillian Michaels type of people or encouraging obesity, but I am in favor of enjoyment. You know, swimming in it. I am a food lover. And I look forward to things that I can only get once a year. No need for counting calories. Really. No need. It’s the holidays, people.

So women I encourage you, feel free to let loose on your holiday celebration. Loosen the belt, people. One or two feast nights won’t kill you. It really won’t. In fact I recently found out that it’s not diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, or heart disease that kills us. According to the genius Louis CK it’s men. Men are the number cause of death for women. So if you want to avoid anything out there, you should really avoid the dude hanging out by the eggnog.


If You Believe You Can, Then Guess What Happens …

8 Dec

When someone can focus and harness that Tony Robbins energy and passion every week until their dream is fulfilled … dude … that is definitely chocolate worthy. But not just any kind of chocolate … Hawaiian-chocolate.

It’s a big thing.

It’s inspiring.

So what do you say to a friend who’s done it twice?

Bad Ass. You’re a Bad Ass. Totally.

And as a friend, and fellow blogger, I feel it’s my duty to help her out in any way I can. So today I’m here to introduce you to T.B. Markinson author of A Woman Lost and writer at Making My Mark and The 50 Year Project.  She’s such a superwoman that her second novel, Marionette, debuted in early November. So in honoring her writing awesomeness I’m giving her rule of The Wish Factor for a day to talk about Marionette and her journey to make it happen. I know that after reading it, you’ll be sure to visit one of her sites and to get your copy.

Everybody … this is T.B. Markinson.


Many of you know that The Guat (TG) is not afraid of opening up. She pours her heart out and tells it how it is. I often find myself laughing out loud when I read her posts. Sometimes she brings tears to my eyes. Her observations about life, love, family, kids, and weird dudes on trains help me keep things in perspective. And she may not know this, but I’ve always found her to be quite an inspiration. You see, she’s not afraid to push herself when it comes to exercise.

Last April I read her post about The Fight for Air Climb. At the time I was training for my own adventure: climbing Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia. I’m not in the best of shape, but not in the worst of shape either. I’ve climbed a volcano in Guatemala, I’ve hiked in the Grand Tetons and the Rocky Mountains. But with each year (I’m almost 40) it keeps getting tougher.

To be honest, I was terrified of Mount Kinabalu. I knew it would push me like no other adventure had. Then I read TG’s post. If you missed it, check it out here. You’ll be amazed …

Now that you’re back, she climbed 1,400 steps—that’s 63 stories. I used to climb nine stories at my old job and got winded by the fifth floor. 63! I found it inspirational. Each morning when I got up to do my training I said, “The Guat did it. So can I!”

Then I arrived at the base of Mount Kinabalu. We planned to reach the summit in two days. I had two days to reach Low’s Peak, which is 13,435ft (4,095 meters) above sea level. I won’t lie. This climb kicked my ass. If you would like to learn more about it, visit these posts: The facts, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


Photo courtesy of TB Markinson

Photo courtesy of TB Markinson


When the going got tough, which was about two hours in, I kept reminding myself that TG climbed 63 flights of stairs. If she could do it, I could do it. I don’t actually know the comparison of Mount Kinabalu and 1,400 steps. But the comparison isn’t important. You see, when embarking on a challenge like TG’s or mine, it’s not the actual challenge that’s important. I know that seems silly to say. But hear me out. It’s your state of mind. If you think you can do, more than likely you will.

My state of mind got me to the top of Mount Kinabalu. The title of The Guat’s post that I found so inspirational is: Keeping  a Badass Frame of Mind.

Now why am I writing this as a way of promoting my newest novel, Marionette? In order to finish any project, such as climbing 63 flights of stairs, a mountain, or writing a book it all comes down to one thing. Belief. If you believe you can do, nothing will stop you from reaching your dreams.

The Guat frequently writes about her challenges and conquering them. She’s truly an inspiration and I’m so glad that I met her. She probably doesn’t realize the impact she has on her readers. I would like to say, “Thank you, dude. We all need friends like you.”


Image via TB Markinson

Image via TB Markinson



Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.

To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?

T B Markinson

Image via TB Markinson

About The Author:

T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel.  A Woman Lost was her debut novel.

Mailing List:

Sign up to TB’s New Release Mailing List here. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.


Twitter        Facebook        Blog        Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Purchase Links:

Amazon (US)

Amazon (UK)


I Can Understand How This Happens

6 Dec


Image via

Image via


Sometimes desperation is a good thing. It creates fuel. It drives you.  It produces great works of art.

Other times … you end up blurring lines and becoming Walter White.

It’s a fine line.

But I can totally understand how this happens.




Sandbox Adventure List 22: Feeling Like Rudy

5 Dec

I felt like Charles S. Dutton watching Rudy sack the quarterback at the end of the movie.

Sports will do that to you … make you feel great because your kid worked hard, made a contribution to the team, and considers himself proud of his accomplishment. I mean you had nothing to do with it, but you still feel good nonetheless. He’s your kid. He’s related to you. You’re proud by association. You feel those weekly batting sessions at the park worked. However, sports will also make you a little too intense, like The Hulk, if you’re one of those crazy parents. It’s a fine line.

But if you’re on the normal side like me, sports brings out good moments and provides Sandbox Adventure List opportunities.

And this … was a big one.

I knew his expression would be priceless. But I think what he was feeling at the moment was even better.

When you enroll your kids in sports, you just hope he picks up some skills, meets new friends, has fun playing the sport, gets exercise, and learns about sportsmanship. You want him to learn all that, you do, but being acknowledged for you effort is also pretty awesome.

It’s something that reinforces all those you-can-do-it speeches I had with him.

And I know that the effort itself and seeing progress is its own reward, but a trophy seemed to personify that better.

He’d seen them in movies or at friends’ houses, but he never had one. He said one day he’d get one too. I mentioned his golfing championships and his TinMan Triathlon Medal, but apparently a trophy was different. A trophy is a trophy.  And on the last day of baseball, at the end of the last game, during our baseball celebration shindig, and before the smashing of the baseball pinata … he saw it.

It was only about five inches tall, but it was the best baseball he’d seen.  It was the best trophy he’d seen. It had his name on it and he had earned it.


His mini-trophy with his game ball.

His mini-trophy with his game ball.


And I think right then and there he felt like Rudy himself, although no one but me carried him off the field. And even though we had cake and pinata candy, it was a chocolate-worthy kind of moment. But not just any kind of chocolate … Rocky-Road-Ice-Cream kind of chocolate.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

3 Dec



I’m exhausted at first light.

It’s freezing at first light.

I usually hate first light. This is what my non-morning person membership card says.

But …

Waking up early for sports.


Waking up early for my son’s little league game to watch him hit a triple.

Let there be light!