Archive | August, 2015

The Power of a Bunch of Nothings

31 Aug

Turning nothing into something seems to be my specialty.

I’ve had my share of nothings in life. Plenty of them. Usually it has to do with sucky life experiences that are supposed to teach you something about yourself. Find perspective in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

Luckily this was not one of those times.

It was actually a good kind of nothing that turned into something pretty cool. The whole experience actually helped remind me that I’ve got my moments. Even when life is tough, there are times when you get a breather and you have a moment, and it can come out of a bunch of little nothings that add up in the end.

One huge cardboard box.

Six rolls of duct tape.

One razor blade.

Three sample cans of paint.

Four trips to the Do-It-Center.

Two trips to Party City

Three trips to Kinko’s FedEx Copy Place.

All of these little nothing moments, standing alone, don’t seem to add up to much. But when you combine them with eight days of Guat labor and multiple conversations with your kids, you end up getting Good-Times-and-Noodle-Salad moments with your family. And hopefully good times they’ll remember having with you.

In the beginning, there was nothing ...

In the beginning, there was nothing …


and then we came up with this :)

… and then we came up with this 🙂


Autobots Roll Out!

Autobots Roll Out!


Jurassic Park made an appearance. This was my son's favorite.

Jurassic Park made an appearance. This was my son’s favorite.


The Party Boat was a crowd pleaser voted everyone's favorite.

The Party Boat was a crowd pleaser voted everyone’s favorite.


This was one of my daughter's favorite.

This was one of my daughter’s favorite.


This one happened to to surprise everyone with it's super fast aquatic ability to speed through its heat.

This one happened to surprise everyone with its super fast aquatic ability to speed through its heat.

Once we finished admiring everyone’s boats and betting on who was probably going to sink, it was off to the races. We prepared. We practiced our fake paddling. We thought we had rhythm. We were ready to rock. With Optimist Prime in full effect how could we lose, right? We thought we had prepared for everything. Everything … but cheaters.

Here we are trying to battle the lady that tried to bring us down while she was sinking. Pushing, grabbing, crashing ... she did it all. Optimist Prime lost a two tires and and exhaust, but we still managed to come out ahead.

Here we are trying our best to battle the lady that tried to bringing us down by any means necessary  Pushing, grabbing, crashing … she did it all. She was sinking and grabbing at whatever she could. Optimist Prime lost a two tires and an exhaust, but we still managed to come out ahead.


Autobots make it to the finish line first :)

Autobots make it to the finish line first 🙂

It was a great day for nothing to turn into something.




I Love His Thoughts On Gluten

26 Aug
Heck yeah I bought it!

Heck yeah I bought it.

Chocolate And Comedy?


I should have bought more than just one.



No Really It’s Only My Second Glass of Champagne, But This Is My Fifth Brownie

24 Aug

I got it again.

I didn’t really know it was missing, until I felt it come back. It was sort of dormant I guess. For about a month. But I got it back. I got my groove back and it felt good, the kind of good you felt when you were a kid, back in the old days when cassette tapes, Op Shirts, Vans sneakers and Jack Tripper existed. Yeah … I had that.

It came back to me at my friend’s 40th birthday party.

I was there to celebrate this milestone, this Big 4-0 that all us are experiencing this year, and I came away feeling grateful for her friendship and for the presence of all my girls, my comadres.

They gave it back to me. They woke it up … my groove. And they didn’t have to do anything, they were just there. They were present … they were the Shirley to my Laverne.

I walked into this Love Boat-Magnum PI-Gilligan’s Island-Fantasy Island-Luau type of party, and even though I walked in without my nautical or luau attire, for some reason it had gone MIA about an hour before I left and nobody knew nothing, there was still a good feeling, an instant smile, a feel-good vibe.

They didn’t care what I was wearing, they didn’t care that I was still the Chapstick type of girl who wore sandals instead of high heels, they just cared that I was there.

The thing is, with this group of ladies, these comadres, they know that there may be a lot wrong with me, but to them there’s a lot more that’s right. That’s what they see.

And that felt good.

My kids see that in me all the time, but it’s good when someone else can see you that way too. Someone who doesn’t watch Doc McStuffins or Star Wars Clone Wars.

So as you might have imagined, we celebrated this festive occasion the only way comadres can. We laughed, we danced, we talked, we remembered, we celebrated we let our freak flags fly and fly high. The DJ played tunes from our college days, and we of course hit the dance floor as if it was our college days. I had a few flip-flop malfunctions from all my Solid Gold dancer moves, but I continued on. And as people trickled off the dance floor, I continued to feel the music and work my groove. Then I noticed a girl at the party, smiling and chuckling as she watched me and my awesome dance moves.



I walked over to the coffee table, finished my drink, headed over to her, smiled and said …

“This is only my second glass of champagne.”

“I don’t believe you,” she said smiling back at me.

“No really, it’s only my second glass of champagne,” I insisted. “I’m running on me. This is all natural right here, baby. But this is my fifth brownie.”

I grabbed the brownie from the table, raised it up and took a bite.

She smiled and I headed back to the dance floor.

I ended up having three glasses of champagne that night, and eight brownies.

It was a good day.

Got my groove back and touched my soul thanks to some of my comadres.

Friday Five … Plus One …

21 Aug

Normally I use humor to help myself and others get through the rough spots. But before that can usually happen perspective has to surface. Sometimes that doesn’t happen right away, the lows hit you in the pit of your stomach and you find yourself on bended knee having a moment of heartbreak.

And sometimes you’ve just got to feel it before you can stand up again.

So I send this love out to my buddy who’s going through a rough patch.

Sometimes music helps to let you know that someone else has been where you’re at, and has felt what you feel. But you’ll stand up again, maybe just not now. But you will, and I’ll be there to hug you when that happens.

She’s Gone Hall & Oates


Wasted Love — Matt McAndrew


Not Gon’ Cry — Mary J Blige


A Little Bit Stronger — Sara Evans


Love Don’t Live Here No More — Lady Antebellum


Ooh Child Things Are Gonna Get Easier — The Five Stairsteps



Today … Joanna Was My Exception Joanna And Her Six

19 Aug

Normally I don’t … I just don’t.

But the title caught my eye.

Six Things I Wish I’d Known About Marriage When I Was …

Dude I was like wait … only six? I would have waaaaaaaaaaayyyyy more.

So I got curious, and it wasn’t so much the information, it was the fact that I thought, dude I could have written this article. I definitely had plenty of lessons. I definitely had plenty I-Wish-I-Would-Have-Known moments. I totally could have had a byline on the front page of a magazine. Totally. Who was this chick and what were these six?

So I went against my instinct and clicked on the link.

I had to, I had to find out if the pretend article in my head would be better than what was posted on this major site. And the thing is I never do. I don’t. I stopped reading stuff like this after my 20s. In fact I bet you did too. I bet you didn’t even click the link I posted.

I bet, and you know why?

The majority of these articles are a load of crap. All these relationship articles out there claiming to know the secrets of marriage, or the top ten things your wife really wants, or ten things to never do in front of a guy, or what your husband is really thinking, or do these four things just like so-so celebrity and your partner will thank you for life.

Dude this was crap. It wasn’t like it was Oprah or anything.

I was already reaching 30 and decided I had to stop. I had too.

None of those articles out there had my life, my dudes, my problems. They knew very little of what my ideal relationship should be, so I just quit all of them because you know what? There is no secret to marriage. It’s work. Hard work, but it’s worth it with the right partner. It’s worth it and if I needed advice I’d probably ask a friend how she made it work. That’s real to me.

So I don’t do it anymore. I had stopped doing it. I made the rule and that was that. No exception. Nope. None. I’m done wasting time with that nonsense. Now I stand there in the grocery store line, waiting to pay, and I ignore the crap out of all those magazines with some hot chick on the cover they think I want to be like and I focus more on whether I brought the right coupons and people watching.

People watching at the market rocks. Makes for good material and characters in stories.

But this time I wasn’t at the store. I opened up my computer, clicked my Firefox 30.0 and waited for my homepage to appear and then there it was staring at me.

Six Things I Wish I’d Know About Marriage When I Was …

I thought yeah I wish I knew some things. I wish.

Six huh? Just six.

And so I clicked.

I read.

I was like Amen sister! Preach! Preach! I’ll testify. I’ll testify tonight.

Yup. For once they got it right. This chic Joanna Schroeder rocked those six lessons, I would have added a few more in my case, but overall I think she covered some ground. I don’t know what else she writes but this one was right on the mark.

Today … Joanna was my exception. Joanna and her six.



I’m Pretty Sure My Kid Has Miss Viola Swamp This Year

17 Aug

3 out of 4

It seemed liked the odds were really in my favor, my son’s favor. It really did. But then I looked at the list and there it was the 25% that bit me on the ass.


I stood there about ten minutes, hoping that I hadn’t read it right. Hoping that for some reason my Jedi mind tricks could magically rework the list. Hoping, no not really, praying that my kid would not have this chick as his teacher.

I had met her once before at the Open-House-Meet-Greet-Show-Off-Your-Kids-Work Conference. She was next door and they had encouraged all the parents to stop by all the classrooms to meet the possible future teachers for the following year.

I usually like everyone. It’s rare when people rub me the wrong way, but this chick with her negative attitude, dismissive nature, and non-welcoming personality burned me out. I would have understood if it was the end of the evening, but it was just an hour into it. I know a lot of teachers too, I know they put on their best face when parents come in, but this chick apparently forgot. This chick was Miss Viola Swamp. I left the room thinking, dude I hope my kid doesn’t even pass her in the hallway.


Miss Viola Swamp

And then there he was on the list. Room 29.


I shook my head in defeat, he would be at the mercy of Miss Viola Swamp. After a couple of hours, and some chocolate, something came over me. I got a little parent crazy for a minute. For some reason I found the need to investigate. Yup. If this chick, was going to be hanging out with my kid for seven hours a day, I figured I get some information on her. Maybe she was having an off day, when we met. Maybe she was hormonal. I don’t know. I was thinking of all kinds of excuses as to why someone would give off such a negative vibe.

Have you met this teacher? Do you know the type?

I was curious. The crazy overprotective parent in me wanted to find out more. But I wouldn’t say I went into stalker mode, more of an unlicensed private detective in search of answers.

There’s a lot you can find out about a teacher on the Internet, people put a lot of unnecessary information on Facebook, but nothing to excuse someone of jackass behavior. And you know she probably doesn’t even remember being a jackass, but I do. Meeting people matters.

I was never a huge fan of first impressions, I always tried to give people the benefit of the doubt, but they do seem to form 80% of my opinion. It’s like if you meet your all-time favorite actor, singer, player, author, or musician, and you’re so jazzed to have the opportunity to meet (although to be clear I wasn’t jazzed about this meeting, I was more just meeting someone and checking out the scene) and you have this picture of them in your head and then when you meet them, they just suck. Whether it had anything to do with you or not, that meeting taints your whole outlook on them from that point forward, and it takes a lot of work to change your perception.

So here I am, tainted and burned out by the fact that my kid ended up with the one teacher I wish he didn’t have.

I was so not looking forward to the beginning of the school year, although I had to hide that from my son. Didn’t want him going in with negative thoughts, so I just told him I didn’t know much about his new teacher, but that I’m sure he would get to know more about her on the first day of school, and that it would be a great day.

The day was done and my kid survived his first day without incident.

However, next week is Back To School Night, I don’t know if I’ll be able to say the same thing. Stay tuned.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Beneath Your Feet

12 Aug



Discovering geological finds beneath our feet.



Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post.


How Do You Wake Up In The Mornings?

10 Aug



I learned that if I’m going to make it through the day, whether I know it’s going to be a crappy one or a great one, it all depends on how I roll out bed. Now mind you I’ve never been a morning person, never woke up with that bolt of lightning at 5 a.m. and was ready to rock.


I’ve got to get myself ready to rock. It doesn’t seem to happen naturally for someone like myself, or for anyone that isn’t a morning person really.

And if you’ve got kids … forget about it.

You see, I’ve got kids and those of you without them can usually sleep in until maybe 9 a.m. on weekends, have a great lazy morning and enjoy the quiet of the day before it really begins.

You see when you’ve got kids you forget what it felt like to sleep in, although I imagine it gets better when they get older. But by that time in your life you’ve become a serious night owl waiting up for them making sure they made it home safely. But for now I’m still in the they-wake-me-up-way-too-early phase. Are you parent? Does this happen to you?


They usually wake me up all on their own at 6 a.m. whether we have to be somewhere or not. They’re the ever so reliable solar powered alarm clock with no snooze button.

So I’ve learned, sleep deprivation is just part of early parenthood. Maybe it continues I don’t know. But I’m in full swing right now.

I’ve learned how to bring The Guat back to Guat so early in the morning.

I’ve made some adjustments. Coffee would be a great pick-me-up and I know people who can’t live without it, but I’m not a big coffee drinker. I’m probably the only person on Earth that isn’t a morning coffee drinker, a parent non-coffee drinker. Who ever heard of such a thing?

But I’ve learned to function without coffee. I’ve learned that I need a moment of Zen before my kids wake up. I hate waking up at sunrise, but I hate it even more when I can’t get it together, when I’m going through the motions, or when I’m feeling off. It’s ugly.

Everything depends on how you wake up in the morning.

So no matter how painful, I wake up before they do, even if it’s just ten minutes and I get my ten minutes to start the day. In quiet. In peace. In meditative state. If it’s 30 minutes, which it usually is these days I get in work out mode, visualization mode, gratitude mode and Zen mode and it’s all good … because then I can get in The Guat mode.

Hope you get into your mode this morning.



Catching Moments

7 Aug

I catch them more often now.

The moments.

I catch them and they stay with me. Sometimes they’re amazing, spectacular, fireworks type of experiences. Other times they’re quiet. This one was simple. It was a pretty simple moment, something that might not be significant to others, something that might not even be Facebook or Instagram-worthy to others, but it mattered to me.

And the fact that I knew it mattered made me smile.

I didn’t miss it and that made me think of my Dad. He would have been happy that I didn’t miss it. I sat there and held onto it …

Do you see the jaguars? :)

Do you see the jaguars? 🙂

We hiked up hills and walked through sunlit pathways checking out zebras, orangutangs, hippos, silverback gorillas, meerkats, and elephants. We explored all kinds of animal behavior but it wasn’t until we reached a quiet spot in the rainforest area near the jaguar exhibit when it happened. That’s when I caught it.

We decided to sit on the bench, a place we all looked forward to, seems that with all that walking we developed a deep appreciation for the shade. I opened up the Batman lunchbox and passed out the mortadella sandwiches, Goldfishes, and CapriSuns. We talked about the favorite parts of the day and sat still in this man made environment that felt pretty real.

Then in mid conversation my daughter stood up and walked over to the glass for a closer look at a rainforest ambiance and then the Jaguars that everybody had been wanting to see, but couldn’t because they were hiding in their own awesome shade walked on over and stood in front of my daughter. She didn’t take a step back, she took a step forward. She didn’t turn away, she looked closer.

Jaguars are pretty amazing animals, they provide you with the stop-and-stare kind of moments. And just then things went in slow motion and I was grateful for it. Happy that my kids were discovering something that mesmerized them, happy that they had front-row seats (something that rarely happens for us), happy that I was part of that and grateful that I had noticed, I had caught the moment.

Here’s hoping that you keep catching yours.



Dear Jon …

5 Aug

I don’t even know where he came from, somewhere in New Jersey, I’m a Cali girl so I can’t pinpoint the neighborhood but I’m sure glad I found him and went along for the ride.

Because he made me laugh … he made it fun, and I’ve realized that’s one of the most important things in life for me. Laughter and fun, it’s the basis of my existence, of my Buen Camino, of my keep on keeping on.

Sometimes he did it by himself, other times he did it with the guy that brought out the best in him … Stephen Colbert.

He’s been doing it for 16 years, but I’ve only caught the last ten. I’m still grateful though. When times were tough and all I could feel was sadness, anger, anxiety, depression or tears he always made me smile. And the thing is I’ve never even met him and he makes me laugh.

His stories, his news coverage (both fake and real) his expressions, and his delivery were all on point. If I could write a fan letter requesting to meet a handful of people in the entertainment world, he’d be one them, along with Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Jack Bauer, Charlie Hunnam, Tom Hanks, and Jerry Seinfeld. He’d be in that elite circle because he’s just that great at what he does.

Jon Stewart.

He’s my go-to when there’s no chocolate or Ben & Jerry’s and the results end up being the same. A happy Guat. Monday through Thursday a happy Guat. He’s been part of my political climate for so long and I always appreciated his ability to point out hypocrisy and stand firm in his beliefs and all of this was done through comedic genius in collaboration with an excellent group of writers.

He’s the best at what he does, even outside the realm of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, he brings it. Oh…he brings it big time, like when he spoke about Bruce Springsteen at the Kennedy Honors. Dude. He made it rain.

He’s so money and he doesn’t even know it … O.K. sometimes he does. He’s incredibly smart, and razor-sharp and he’s the kind of writer I aspire to be one day, which is why Thursday will be a sad one for me.

This is where he gives me, us, everyone his Dear Jon letter.

But I don’t I want it. I’ve never wanted it but I knew it would come.

It’s time to say good-bye.

This is it.

It’s his last day…the last Daily Show with Jon Stewart happens on Thursday. So if you want to catch a glimpse of comedic genius and heart tune into Comedy Central and watch the very last one.

I’m sure I’ll be able to catch reruns and revisit the times he made me crack up on the show or at other events. I’m sure he’ll have other projects. I’m sure of it, but until then I just want to say …

Dear Jon … I’ll miss you.