Brave enough to tackle the Foam Monster Pit … he survived.
Brave enough to tackle the Foam Monster Pit … he survived.
Yeah…It’s that time of year again, when I take you for a ride in my Delorean and cruise back to a time when you chewed Hubba Bubba, dreamed of Jake Ryan, and watched Square Pegs.
Yup, another one of my friends ventured off into the 4-0 club. She has jumped in head first and ready to rock that decade. My comadre, who, I’ve known for 20 years, blew her candles out this weekend surrounded by family in a day filled with love, heart, and laughter.
And again I felt the need to profess my awesome undying loyalty and friendship to my comadre by creating a mixed tape from the days of our youth where we hid our love notes in our Trapper Keepers and laced up our L.A. Gear right before P.E. This is the mixed tape the awesome boyfriend we imagined we had would give to us in between passing periods — the one that would melt our hearts. And, just like my last friend, this comadre also has an amazing hubby who probably rolled out the red carpet for her that night.
So I thought I’d pull out all the stops myself and make an effort to take her back … way back, and blow her musical mind, and get nostalgic for the simple days of lockers, student stores, first loves, nutrition, lunch, and high school dances. I thought I’d travel through time with a mixed tape.
Hope you enjoy this musical journey too.
Two of Hearts — Stacy Q
Lost in Emotion — Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
Eternal Flame — The Bangles
P.Y.T. — Michael Jackson
I’ll Be There For You — Jon Bon Jovi
Crazy For You — Madonna
Red, Red Wine — UB40
I Want To Know What Love Is — Foreigner
Por Amarte — Enrique Iglesias
Volver, Volver — Vicente Fernandez
This place changes your outlook any time of day. Even at 4 a.m. when you’re waiting for the sun to rise at 5 a.m.
Every year we venture off to explore the multitude of books and literary culture at the Festival of Books, and we come home inspired by the stories of Jedis, Batman, Wonder Woman, Frozen Princesses, and regular toddlers and zoo animals out there to save the world.
It’s a great trip, but also a marathon of events for parents, which can definitely wear you out by noon. Everything that is fun for kids and has a massive crowd tends to wear me out. And if meltdowns happen the adventure proves to be even more challenging.
Every year I wish for no meltdowns and I come prepared with Go-Gurt … you know one for snack time and lunch, and plenty of Ritz crackers, sandwiches, granola bars, pretzels, cheese sticks, and juice boxes. But for some reason some inciting incident happens and it burns somebody out.
However I’m happy to report that this weekend was meltdown free!
Oh! For the love of books! Having a smooth day felt pretty great. I felt like a successful parent.
Here’s our adventure.
It all started two years ago.
I was just surfing the channels and I came across something that would change my son’s life.
American Ninja Warrior.
He was mesmerized by the challenge of the obstacles and the will of the contestants, just regular non-steroid looking type of people, who worked in an office during the day and sort of turned into Batman at night and conquered these ridiculous muscle crushing obstacles.
He loved it.
He started making his own obstacles, out of cones, hula hoops, jump rope, and mats. Both of my kids began their mini-American-Ninja-Warrior obstacle course sessions on a weekly basis. Sometimes they’d take it out to the playground at the park and we’d have our own race among the slides and monkey bars.
But it didn’t quite feel the same. It felt like training, and not the “real” race. He’d always ask me when he would participate in a “real one,” and no matter how many fun runs or color runs we did, they were not American Ninja Warrior caliber. Not until we found …
The Down and Dirty Obstacle Race sponsored by Suburu. The Adventure Kids Series.
Suburu you rock.
Both my son and daughter got a chance to test their mini muscles and grit against the Down and Dirty course. This was where he got a chance to cross the balance beam, jump through some tires, go under a cargo net, over a mini wall, dash through some mud, and race up an incline to cross the finish line. Although if you want to know the truth there wasn’t much dashing going on through the mud. And I was doing so much cheering that I forgot to save some of those Kodak moments for our Sandbox List Adventure memory book. I loved watching it live too much. But I did snap a few, and I was grateful I captured some of that.
I was grateful for another successful attempt at crossing things off my son’s list.
My son loved the fact that he was conquering all the obstacles and his sister wasn’t too far behind. He loved the fact that he was letting his American Ninja Warrior shine through, and we were there cheering him on. I loved the fact that I was able to give that to him and to my daughter. The smiles at the finish line were definitely worth all the mud.
I needed a minute.
I actually needed a minute, when it was over. And that’s never really happened.
You know the minute right after your Rocky Balboa moment when you raise your hands in the air victoriously, right after step 1,393, right after your picture gets taken, right after the you-can-do-it adrenaline wears off and the volunteer guy hands you a bottle of water that you so desperately require and it feels so heavy, reminding you that your superpowers to climb stairs in claustrophobic spaces was only temporary.
Yeah … I needed a minute.
I needed a couple, actually.
And the reason why?
The 58th floor … followed by the 59th.
They seemed so close to 60, which seemed even closer to 63, and that seemed to fuel the fire. I began pushing even though my gas tank was clearly on empty and my calves were burning up. They were on fire and suffering from I’m-getting-close-to-40 syndrome, but all I could see was the finish line.
Then I hit the deadly 61st floor, and I thought I was about to pass out and just crawl my way up the stairs, because at that point you’re thinking there’s no shame in crawling really.
But no … I decided to do it the badass way … the Gatorade-Commerical worthy way. I raised the volume on the iPod, and I thought of my Dad and said you can do it!
The deadly 61st floor ignited something in me, something that should have just stayed dormant that late in the race, something that would eventually take out the ice packs from the freezer and empty out the BenGay jar later that evening. The I’m-almost-done-I’m-almost-there feeling bubbled inside, the-I’m-doing-this-for-my-Dad feeling kicked in, and then it was on.
There was no stopping me or my weary broken-down knees.
It was on.
The 73-year-old IronMan Champion looking dude, whose name I later found out to be Aaron Asher, was pushing his way up the stairs and gaining on me like some kind of Terminator.
I thought Holy Crap … it’s definitely on.
I pushed my way to the top and raised my arms to the sky …
And then I took my minute, several of them. Something that hadn’t happened in previous races. But something quite necessary and I didn’t want to be the only one to pass out on the rooftop, so I slowly drank my water and appreciated the view of Downtown L.A.
I thought … even Superman needed a minute.
I clocked in at 16:54.
63 stories in less than 17 minutes to honor my father, the man who thought I’d be somebody, the man who supported me and my dreams, the man who was a good grandfather, the man who had untold adventures, the man who struggled with depression but still managed to fight his way through and find the lightness in being, the man who enjoyed laughing, the man who was my friend, the man who was my family, the man who had a big heart and who passed away too early.
I made my way toward the helicopter landing pad, thinking of this man, thinking of my dad, and I did my best Hulk Hogan-Randy-Macho-Man-Savage victory pose. I had stormed the Fight For Air Climb and it was a Guatacular moment.
Exhausting, but Guatacular.
Special thanks to Peter, Erdmann, Gisela, Estela, Alissa, Karina, and Sandra for their generous support.
There was just one member on Team Guat this weekend for my big race … me … I barely survived …
I could have used him on Saturday.
Tune in on Wednesday for the play by play.
Trying to catch the magic and awesomeness of her performance but her moves were too fast.
I forgot … I had completely forgot … but the Duke Freshmen made me remember.
After watching the intensity of the Duke Blue Devils and Wisconsin Badgers battle it out during the Championship Game I was reminded of something. I was reminded of The Madness!
Yes the Blue Devils were crowned kings of The Big Dance, yes they earned it, yes Coach K — a basketball genius — won his fifth title, yes that all happened. Yes. But there was something else.
The Blue Devils were in trouble, down by nine, their big man on the bench,the loss of momentum continuing to go down the drain, I had no idea if my team would make it. Didn’t know how it would turn out. Felt it slipping.
And then that’s when it happened.
Freshmen Allen and Jones, came off the bench and had Gatorade-Commercial worthy moments.
They didn’t come in just to fill time.
They came in to make a difference. They came in with hustle. They came in with heart. They came with guts. They came in fearless. They came in to contribute and make things better. They came in with 100%.
And that’s what you do when you come off the bench.
And it hit me.
Dude I need to have some come-off-the-bench moments.
Sometimes during the month I let things get to me. I forget about my Deepak-Chopra-Zen-like status. I let the distance of my quest bog me down a bit. I let pint-size people affect my gallon-size heart. I let time escape me. I forget about the importance of it. I forget my place.
Sometimes I forget that I need to come off the bench.
So watching Duke’s Allen and Jones reminded me of that. March Madness gave me something a little extra this year.
Come off the bench people … the rewards are worth it.