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Daily Post Challenge: Ten

25 Jan

Ten.

Ten of my favorite memories from this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade.

Ten amazing works of arts.

Ten thousand volunteer hours dedicated to the beauty of flowers and creating amazing artistic visions floating down the boulevard.

Ten ways of feeling happiness while looking at this awe inspiring work.

At least ten snacks in my backpack for the kids.

Ten Echoes of Success being the theme this year.

Ten ways of feeling inspired when we left.

Ten hugs for this family adventure.

Ten minutes to the nearest Happy Meal for lunch

And … at least tens of hundreds of smiles remaining in my future when I continue this tradition with my kids.

Ten

 

 

 

Daily Post Challenge courtesy of the Daily Prompt: Ten

Motivation Mondays: The Upside To The Downside

23 Jan

I started off Saturday morning parking five long blocks away from the Metro station and putting my best parallel parking skills to the test — the kind where you have to turn down the music and high-five yourself when you finally turn the engine off.

As I got to the station the sight of the massive crowd made some people turn back, either changing their travel plans or just changing their plans for the day.

train

🙂

 

But I saw an opportunity to move forward. Inch by inch onto the platform, linked arm in arm with women I had just met on my way to meet my Comadres of a lifetime. We started off as strangers on a train and but walked through the sliding doors knowing each other’s names and purpose, and wishing each other luck as we stepped forward into our future.

 

Civic engagement used to come every election, but now the grassroots movement on this side of town continues to be strong, especially around particular issues important to people, whether it be education, women’s rights, health care, or the environment. Everyone was speaking for something that mattered to them.

It  was moving to see so many women come together and peacefully unite for a cause. I was even prouder to be part of a country-wide effort that brought worldwide attention to this cause. Thousands upon thousands of people throughout the country … in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Chicago, multiple cities throughout the world engaged. Everyone is watching.

Those that were apathetic  became more vigilant of their future and the potential dangers out there, and those that are passionate find ways to engage more people and continue inspiring others.

Marching with 750,000 people in favor of women’s rights made me feel certain during uncertain times. I left knowing what Gloria Steinem called “The Upside to the Downside,” and this was just step one.

 

 

My Inner Liam Neeson

4 Jan

Dear Fool Who Stole My Credit Card And Decided to Get An Erotic Massage at The Geisha Spa House in Paris,

You suck.

I mean when I decided to go to the science museum and expand the minds of my kids with the interactive exhibits exploring planetary research stations, Eco Challenges, and the science behind sports I had no idea you were lurking in the shadows of their computer system ready to steal my credit card number.

I’m all for random acts of kindness and picking up the tab every once in a while but I think you’ve misunderstood what generosity means. I totally could have bought you an eclair … a chocolate one at that. But you decided to push the boundaries a little.

I mean someone handling the knots in your deep tissue with elbows and hot stones sounds awesome. I love hot stones but I kind of wanted throw one at your face followed by an elbow. A Muay Thai elbow. That would have been really relaxing for me, actually.

I mean to spend $550 on a massage sounds a little excessive, I mean for fifty bucks you could have gone downtown and had Bertha work the kinks out. But no … you decided to go all out this year. I mean you could have even given a nice tip. But I guess your generosity stopped you there. Didn’t want to steal anymore for a tip, huh? Or perhaps the tip was included. I don’t know. I just know you were really living it up before the New Year got started. I mean it’s 2017 why not go all out, right?

Yeah … you still suck.

And the thing is before I decided to take up meditation and lead a life of Zen and finding happy moments I probably would have gotten all Liam Neeson on you and been like …

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want … other than dirty massages … but what I do know is that I have is a particular set of skills … I will look for you. I will find you and I will kill you.

neeson

Yeah … my inner Liam Neeson would have gotten crazy on you. But the funny thing was I didn’t get crazy. I didn’t freak out about losing all that money. I didn’t curl up in the corner and cry. The credit card people flagged you before you could do any more escargot damage and I imagine the shady places you visit don’t take to kindly to red flags when paying bills. I mean there might be a bruise on your face the size of a hot stone already. A couple stones actually. Who knows?

But having heard this news to start off the New Year could have really sucked for me but it didn’t.  I just shook my head at the thought of you and wished you a painful death as you fell off the Eiffel Tower. I shook my head in disbelief. I shook my head at the inconvenience of your existence.

I shook my head thinking … you suck.

And then I went for a run.

When I came back I thought, this wasn’t a bad experience, this was just good writing material, a story waiting to happen.

Thanks for story. But don’t get too crazy … my inner Liam Neeson isn’t that understanding.

Sincerely,

The Guat.

 

 

Everyday Balloons Rockin’ 2017

1 Jan kramer

I saw that number one on my phone calendar after the clock struck midnight.

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Everyone probably saw it on their phones but the impact was different. It wasn’t a massive tsunami of emotion washing over me, more like a rippled water effect felt by skipping stones on a lake. A quiet peaceful a-ha moment in the midst of fireworks and celebrations.

It was a good revelation.

I entered the New Year with hugs and kisses from kids, music in the background, and fireworks from a distant celebration booming through our windows. Found some Big Magic in that space between our arms.

And then I remembered …

I mastered finding the Big Magic that hides in corners even when toxicity surrounded me  like a bad cold. I found the ninja skills it took to get to “The Juice,” that thing that I feel like bottling up after an awesome Gatorade-worthy moment. I found ways to hit the reset button and find peace when it was missing. I found the funny in 2016.

I’m gonna need me some more of that.

And it’s funny because all of that is what I set out to do and I was glad to be able to have done it. Some people don’t bother with lists, 2.0 Versions, or improvement projects. No resolutions and I get it. Lists suck sometimes. But all I’m trying to do, is do better than I did the year before, and I found that every year something new has helped me reach those goals.

This year Muay Thai Boxing helped me wake up like Clark Kent and leave like Superman …  got out of bed with my super strength and cape … ready to go. New energy. New vibe. New perspective.

I was Flawsome and it was awesome. I never knew my uppercut, left hook, and speed could knock someone’s lights out! I mean watch out if you try anything in the Target parking lot because my Marty McFly  appearance will fool you. And I like that. I like that people underestimate me. It’s amusing to see.  I like that 2016 had that surprise in store for me.

I like that I found a new adventure, that I tried something and it enhanced my life.

I like that I had new writing projects. Two this year, and even though they didn’t pan out, as you all know the downfall of my play,  I still found pages in the Silver Lining Playbook to help me out I still found stories. I still found the lesson and the funny, even though it sucked to do so sometimes.

So what’s in store for 2017?

I’d like to find more balloons.

kramer

🙂 I LOVE Kramer. 

 

I like that Kramer embraces his FLAWSOMENESS. I like that he has everyday balloons.

That’s me … that’s what I want for 2017 … everyday balloons. I want to find reasons for the positive side of things when the day sucks, because I imagine stuff on a National scale will suck, but I’m hoping for hope. I’m hoping for a resurgence … like Rogue One.

I’m hoping that I find the gratitude and grace in things so that I can celebrate with stuff like Everyday Balloons.

As a parent I’ve got to have Everyday Balloons because failure and exhaustion hit hard on Friday nights, or any day of the week for that matter. Gray hairs, Vitamin D Supplements, and anti-aging cream should be celebrated. I’ve earned it.

As a member of a family deserving of their on Telemundo Telenovela, I’m distancing myself and removing all toxicity. I’m not standing for it any longer. If you don’t like my peaches … don’t shake my tree. If you’re not on board with Everyday Balloons then this ride is not for you, I’m pulling over and letting you out. I’m a fighter, I’ve remained unbroken no matter the environment, resilient. But I find it’s better when good-times-noodle-salad vibes surround you. My Big Magic pockets are getting bigger.

As a writer I need Everyday Balloons, for those times when I sit there daydreaming and wonder what I’ve been doing for the past 37 minutes, with only a paragraph on the page … I can give myself an Everyday Balloon for getting something written down and enhancing the outline nestled somewhere in my thoughts.

 

Everyday Balloons shouldn’t take away the glitter and shininess of New Year’s Eve balloons, but they should just serve as a reminder that little victories are still accomplishments and a high-five is deserved. With humor and gratitude I’ll be looking for little victories in 2017, in between a new adventure, I’ll be looking for Everyday Balloon moments.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

Happy Festivus!

25 Dec

Happy Festivus people! In a Telemundo version of the Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength, it never occurred to me that I would get sick this holiday season, but what’s Festivus without the added bonus of a migraine followed by nausea and killer stomach aches.

Yup … there I was … scavenging the medicine cabinet for Sal de Uvas–you know my people’s Alka-Seltzer– during the Broncos vs. Chiefs game and praying that I wouldn’t throw up on the floor.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

It’s a terrible feeling when you know you have to but it’s not happening, your whole body is going through an internal battle, and you can feel its losing, and there on the horizon is bed time routine … just waiting to start.

I held out as long as I could, but in the end my son finished reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Both kids went to sleep quickly as they could tell mom was losing the battle, we all managed to fall asleep until my phone rang and it woke me.

I’m still losing the battle but feel that if I lay perfectly still with no sudden movements  it’s not that horrible. Listening to some tunes and watching The Ref helps. Slipper socks … medium. Ha! Dennis Leary cracks me up.

So I thought I’d try to pass along the good cheer … you know, just in case some of you were battling the Festivus nausea this year and needed some Christmas spirit headed your way … you know in case you wanted to feel like Hugh Grant dancing to  The Pointer Sisters in Love Actually.

Hope your Festivus was merry and filled with laughter … not nausea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buen Camino my friends.

It Was Time To Find The Story …

22 Dec

I had to get a jump on it, between folding laundry and ironing clothes for tomorrow, I had to get on it. I had to muster up enough 5-hour energy on my own, the natural kind, the one that comes from heart and will power, not so much the one that came in the bottle. Otherwise I’d have no story this week, and with no story there is no record  …

You gotta have a record. I almost didn’t have one this week … the cool side of the pillow seemed to win most of the battles this week as I fell off the WordPress Wagon. Didn’t mean to of course. I’d like to say it was because of the holiday and all the Christmas spirit that was hanging around here, but no … no spirit. Just exhaustion.

But before the week ended I was able to summon the creative juices of finding the funny … I had to … otherwise the bitterness of the situation would fester into my Festivus celebration and I’d just turn into another angry chick.

But you know what?

Nothing is wrong with being an angry chick.

Absolutely nothing.

You just have to accept that, but I’m not always that angry chick. Most of the time I’m Zen, but anger strikes hard when people cross the line. So you have to hold tight to the things that matter to you … like dignity and self-respect and being able to tell a story before the powers of exhaustion kick in and you fall asleep at the computer.

Take for instance the chick that was suing me … she turned out to be a very angry individual who embellished the story quite a bit as she spoke in front of the judge. However the law happened to be on my side and I didn’t have to go into too much detail when it was my turn. So Judge Wapner dismissed it But I’ve learned that just because it was dismissed, doesn’t mean it’s over. She looks like the kind of person that might appeal … we’ll see. I didn’t get a good vibe from her as she walked out of the courtroom.

Or take for instance when someone flat out accused me of taking something we both knew I’d never touched, however blame was being throw around with profanity and bad attitude because they had an audience. Why not throw me under the bus while they had an audience? Drives things more in your favor. Luckily said object was found. I got no “I’m sorry,” or “thanks for finding it”. Just plain attitude that it was missing because they happen to forget where they put it …

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

People … I get that losing something sucks, but don’t go off blaming people who are standing within a 10-foot radius of you just because you’re frustrated.

So during this edition of Guatemalan Peoples Court, writer-director battles that cancelled my project, and being thrown under the bus for a family member’s lost item, I took it upon myself to remember … to remember that this stuff isn’t really important.. It sucks. Yes. No doubt. It’s not cool what they’re doing. It isn’t … but their opinion of me and what they say isn’t important. It doesn’t matter.

What matters is how you act when the shit hits the fan. And I’m happy to say that my integrity stayed in tact, my ability to do the right thing, to go high when they went low, was in full effect. So when I lay my head on the pillow I have no regrets.

I know what was said about me was exaggerated. I know it wasn’t true and my kids knew it wasn’t and that’s what mattered most. I continually focused on people and things I loved … like my kids, chocolate, friends, Netflix … plus it didn’t hurt that I was able to beat the crap out of pads during a Muay Thai boxing workout.  Beating the crap out of things helps to get it all out, because I realized that sometimes mind over matter doesn’t work out … so you have to use body over mind to get you out of the funk. Working out, getting you body active, tends to help align things mentally for me again.

And for that I was grateful.

I’d put that bitterness in the rear view mirror and was looking ahead. Festivus was around the corner, time to celebrate, time to wake up the next morning and be like … I got this! It was time to find the funny in the the not-so-funny … it was time to find the the story

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Sandbox List Adventures: Guatemalan Wayne Gretzky to The Rescue

16 Dec

So after a tough week and a disappointing business meeting … I’m gonna  take a bit of my own advice in order to turn a corner. I’m gonna have to open up that Blessed Project to change perspective.

And so … here I am reigning in my disappointment with chocolate and thinking about this Bucket List fail that just happened to me. Trying not to think about it and learn the lesson, actually, which is a little difficult during the chocolate-eating stages.

But even though my Bucket List Adventure didn’t pan out, thinking about my son’s brings a sense of pride and warmth to my heart and a smile to my face. Remembering that he got a chance to do something big, helps this defeat.

Looking at pictures and watching video helps me focus on something positive.

You see this one is every sports enthusiast dream.

This one fell under the highlight reel… and it ended up being a great outing. You see, I’ve mentioned this before, but just in case you’ve missed it … This is a House of Sports! We enjoy playing and watching them. And when the Olympics comes every four years … forget about it! All day every day. I guess it stems from the time I towered at 5-foot-3, tallest Guatemalan in the houuuuuse, and I swore I was a baller who was gonna make it big time. Showtime at The Forum. However injuries and reality being what they are and all … my balloon deflated and that never came to pass.

However my son … he made it. Guatemalan Wayne Gretzky got a chance to skate at The Staples Center during a L.A. Kings game and everyone was flipping out. Getting there early to check in our bags, watching the players warm-up, seeing my son walk down the tunnel and hit the ice, seeing him takes his first steps and then find his groove, all of that made everyone’s Bucket List.

I felt so happy that he was able to get this opportunity and even more proud that he didn’t waste it. He appreciated all the pregame routines and when he got on the ice … he went for it. While some kids didn’t even get a chance to touch the puck, my son went all out. Clear eyes, full hearts.

He hustled, took the puck away, then went left,  right then left again. He went around and through a couple of players made it to his goal, slapped that puck with an awesome swing, it skidded through a diving player …

And then …

Then by the hair on the chinny-chin-chin the goalie narrowly blocked that shot. My son put his hands up in the air, he couldn’t believe it. I smiled and gave him a thumbs up. Even though the puck didn’t find the back of the net, watching that move, seeing him go all out made my day, week, month.

That right there … that was a bottle-me-up memory which I uncorked today. Sandbox List Adventures working it’s magic. It brought a smile to my face, when I felt disappointment, warmed my heart when it was feeling cold, made me smile when I was sad, and changed my perspective when I needed to find a new one.

Guatemalan Wayne Gretzky to the rescue on a Friday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blessed Project

12 Dec

Throughout all the dramatic moments that require a Costco-sized portion of chocolate and comedy, I find that gratitude helps change perspective. I can be angry, sad, frustrated, and gutted but if  I can find a moment of gratitude that changes my compass, and after a while I’m able to find the funny in not so funny situations.

I like to live by the Silver Linings Playbook when I can and finding blessings, big or small helps me stay on that page.

A good blogging buddy, Susie Lindau, kicked off The Blessed Project this month, which I thought was such a great way of sending positive vibes out to the universe. Can’t feel too much negativity when you’re thinking of things to be grateful for …

So I’ve found the beginnings of my list. I imagine that by December 31st, I will have added more and will definitely revisit as the year comes to an end and a new one begins.

So what’s on the list …

 

 

Family.

They make me try harder than anyone and anything. I’m lucky to love somebody this much and to have this love  make me a better person. Every morning I get up with purpose, exhausted, but with purpose. They make my half-empty glass look half-full and I’m continually trying to appreciate the present, so that the years don’t feel so short.

I’m blessed with …

you-laugh-because-you-know-that-you-are-screwed1

🙂

Laughter …

I’m blessed to have a sense of humor to get me through the hard times. I feel really blessed that I find strength when others might have broken down by now. My ability to look for the funny helped me persevere through multiple bouts of failure in everyday life, in motherhood, parking wars, writer rejections, customer service reps, supermarket sweeps, and crazy lawsuits by some crazy chick. I’m blessed that I can write about my journey and know that laughter will be a large chapter.

I’m blessed to live in …

California … where the beach is my escape during weekends in the summer, spring, and fall, where the waves can help calm inner turmoil, where we can play soccer, baseball, and volleyball in the sand with my kids, where a boogie and the waves can wash away a bad mood and where nature is so close I can feel her whisper good things to me as the sun warms my face.

I’m blessed  …

 

that my father’s spirit is with me even though he’s passed away. I’m blessed that I remember the lessons he tried to teach me and that in the end I could call myself his friend. I wasn’t only family I was his friend.

I’m blessed that …

 

 

I find moments of inspiration and strength from unlikely places and they stick with me, they change my course and I’m better for it. I’m blessed to have learned lessons.

I’m blessed …

with a handful of friends, college buddies, work-out pals, life long friends that support me and accept me as I am, that don’t curb my enthusiasm and let my Marty McFly freak flag sail high.

I’m blessed …

 

with a love for sports, adventure, and bucket list shenanigans and for the opportunities that make these things happen. I’m blessed with opportunities that help give me peace, awesomeness, rejuvenation, feel-good feelings, confidence, mojo, juice, and that awesome Gatorade-Commercial- worthy-Ninja-Warrior feeling that gives me that Super Soul Sunday moment.

I’m blessed with opportunity … even though I might not see it sometimes, they’re there. Just got to take a closer look.  Everyday there’s a new chance, a new opportunity, for something amazing to happen, a moment of awesomeness that’s all I need.

 

 

Got An Extra High-Five For That One

5 Dec

I remembered no one being on that track other than myself. I remembered that breath I took when it happened. I remembered my face catching the sun as I looked up and smiled.

You know, I know I didn’t need the validation. In fact I knew I had done more … a lot more. I had reached the milestone way before the ticker clocked it in. But for some reason recording it made it more official … made the moment feel more like a-haaaaaaaaaaaaa!

 

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And the thing is I wasn’t even planning it, the 100 just sort of snuck up on me.

I knew I had already run 100 miles in my lifetime, probably multiple times before discovering the app, but the fact that I had done it and done it in such a short amount of time felt empowering. And the weird thing was that I always hated running but as I’ve gotten older I appreciate the quiet moments on the track and feeling like I’m in my own Gatorade-Nike commercial.

I enjoy the pool even more, I know my knees do, but the weather hasn’t been conducive to a dip in the pool, plus I don’t have one. So there’s that too. Driving out to the non-heated pool in the early hours wasn’t something my body was looking forward to, but putting on sweatpants (I think I may be the only one on Earth to still own a pair of those as everyone else has those yoga pants or tight pants, it’s a tight pants nation) sweatshirt, a beanie, and hitting the track, that seemed doable. And free.

Starting off slow saying to myself I’ll just walk, I’m not in the mood really. I’m tired. My mind is tired. My body is tired, the kind of tired that all parents know very well. But as  I walk the loop on the track, I hear the crunching sound my shoes  make as the gravel meets the treads.

I like that gravely sound. It makes me walk faster and then I rethink the whole walking thing. I think maybe I’ll just run a mile and then it turns into two, sometimes three.

And at the end of the run as I’m pumping my arms, out of breath, racing to the imaginary finish line I feel good. I catch a second wind and feel invigorated when I stop. It isn’t about the calories burned it’s the way I feel at the end. It’s the gravely sound I hear, the peace that comes over me as my breath slows down, the quiet that I needed in my heart to start the day right.

It’s an awesome feeling. The bottle-me up kind. And the fact that I clocked in 100 miles during this process … just makes it even better. Felt like I accomplished a little bit more. I gave myself an extra high-five for that one.

 

It’s The Fourth Quarter

1 Dec

I’m just gonna close my eyes for a minute. That’s what I told myself. Just for a minute. That was on Monday and Wednesday night.

Just for a minute.

The power of sleep … it pulls me in like The Force, especially on cold nights when the warmth of the fuzzy blanket and fuzzy socks comforts me and the weight of parenthood makes my eyelids heavy. The click-clacking of my keyboard has been cold this week on the Word Press front, but the ideas are still swirling in my head and I’ve got a whole month before the year is done, so there’s still time.

It’s the fourth quarter, I always did well in the fourth quarter. So time to step it up a notch. One more shot before the buzzer rings. One last effort to put it all out there on the page. But I’m finding that this little philosophy is going to stretch its wings beyond my keyboard. I’m finding inspiration in lectures, speeches, and shows I hadn’t heard and seen before. Words that touched my heart because they were genuinely spoken.

You look to be humble and kind in your quest, and practice gratitude before you rest. You look to give it 100%, whatever 100% looks like that day. You look to rest your head on the pillow when the moon is out, and find that you have no regrets because you were kind and compassionate today.

Those are the kind of insights you need when it’s the fourth quarter, when you’re looking back on your plans or the bucket list adventures that you set out to conquer in January. You find your inner Clark Griswald as the holiday season comes around and you string up those lights because you believe in a better perspective.

It’s the fourth quarter and believe in silver lining playbooks.

Game on.