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Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

8 Jan
Laemmle Theaters

Laemmle Theatres

 

Some people call them resolutions … they resolve.

Resolve to lose weight.

Resolve to quit drinking.

Resolve to stop smoking.

I don’t have resolve.

I have plans, promises, thoughts, guidelines, projects … hope. I had hope.

Hope for sanity.

Hope for quiet.

Hope for peace.

Hope for humor.

Hope for rejuvenation.

Hope for recognizing yourself again.

What does this all add up to?

Hope for me time.

And in week one of 2013 … hope was granted.

Ticket for one please.

One.

One is awesome when you’re a mother of two, working 14-hour shifts, being a chef, a laundry folder, a dishwasher, a bathroom cleaner, a taxi driver, Lego truck builder, fun maker, Great Outdoors adventurer, diaper changer, bubble bath maker, and story reader.

That’s me. All day, every day.

Laemmle Theatres represent me time. Two hours of me time.

Ticket for one please.

One.

Me time … the great hope in 2013.

 

Flipping The Switch

7 Jan

“Live every week, like it’s Shark Week.” — Tracy Jordan 30 Rock.

 

30 Rock

30 Rock

 

I had never heard this before, but as I was browsing the Internet, I found this quote. And it blew me away. I gave it a double-take. You know like when a really good-looking dude or chick passes by you and you just have to look twice. It’s not even intentional or in a perverted pedophile way, you just do it because they are just so beautiful. You’re in awe of their beauty. So you do the double-take.

Well that was me … I was like wow. What a good mantra. I’m gonna have to steal it and add it to my list.

Discovery Channel's Shark Week

Discovery Channel‘s Shark Week

And it was even more awesome that I saw it today.

Yeah. Today.

It flipped my switch. Shark Week.

Every year you start off with great intentions, you’re on a roll, you’re ready to jump off cliffs, climb mountains, conquer the world, or go out on urban adventures. And then someone comes and just sucks the air out of your balloon. They just come with their sour comments and aura of negativity and suck it right out. And there you are … feeling crappy. I mean you love these people, you do. But sometimes, you just don’t like them. It happens.

And in most cases it’s family. And yes if you’re married or in love, it’s your dude or chick. And if you’re married with children? Dude this definitely happens at least twice a month. However, sometimes it’s work that sucks it out of you. It happens. And you go to your chocolate drawer and bust out the KitKats or Hawaiian chocolates and try to escape the moment. Sometimes it works, other times … you just need a bigger supply in the drawer.

Yeah I had one of those crappy days. Twice … back-to-back. And I was feeling the funk. Not all day, every minute of the day, just the minutes I spent with the balloon-popper.

So as I was trying to “escape” I logged onto the computer and found this quote. It was a nice surprise — an unexpected push in the right direction.

I thought … yeah. I need to snap out of this funk. One day of crappiness was bad enough, but two? Dude. I can only afford one crappy day during the week. Swim in it, absorb it, soak in it for 24 hours, but that’s it. If it’s not a death related issue, I need to squash it.

I need to live like it’s Shark Week … the highlight of the year for the Discovery Channel, where they devote an entire week to the shark, featuring everything and anything with sharks including interesting scientific facts and awesome footage of survival stories. It’s the neat stuff. It’s their best week of the year. I need to have that. I need to have a highlight-of-the-year week, or at least aim for that. I need a get psyched-for-the-week moment. I need it to be Shark Week in the Guat household, or at least on my part of  the couch.

I wasted a day, no two already. I need to snap out of it. I need to be awakened with a jolt of excitement and anticipation for a new 24 hour period, for a new week. A Shark Week. I can’t be held back by the memory of a deflated balloon. I need a new memory in the morning. A positive trigger. So as I went searching for a reminder, and I found it in my son’s toy chest. It was an old mechanical shark toy we had bought at the aquarium last year. I had thought about throwing it away a while back, because they don’t play with it as much as they used to, but I’m so glad I kept it.

I put it on the nightstand, next to the alarm clock and books. I’m hoping it’ll activate my “Live like Shark Week,” mantra. I’m hoping it’ll help flip my switch in the morning.

 

Weekly Image of Life: Wish List for 2013

5 Jan
Image via Nike

Image via Nike

A stronger what?

Person

Spirit

Mother

Friend

Triathlete

Writer

Warrior

A stronger sense of balance. Most definitely.

But most of all, just hoping to be a stronger human being who can continue to find humor in life so that I can get through all the crappiness that finds it’s way to my door.

In 2013 … Strength in humor … it’s the way to go.

Weekly Image of Life Challenge courtesy of This Man’s Journey

A Little Encouragement …

3 Jan

NewYearsRes

 

On day three of the New Year some people may have already fallen off the plans, goals, resolutions, and self-improvement wagon.

No worries. It’s all good. You still got time.

 

10yearsfromnow

 

Giddy up!

 

Ready or Not Self-Improvement Projects, Bucket Lists, Yearly Goals, Plans, and Guidelines A.K.A. Resolutions … Here We Come

2 Jan

Deep thoughts, late nights, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cheesecake, bags of Pirate Booty Popcorn, and Hawaiian chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

What brought on this onslaught of high fat, high calorie salty and sweet food no-nos?

Resolutions.

I’m not a big fan of that word. Too much pressure. I like to call them plans, goals, life guidelines, hopes, self-improvements projects, or lists.

 

“I have now spent fifty-five years in resolving; having, from the earliest time almost that I can remember, been forming schemes of a better life. I have done nothing. The need of doing, therefore, is pressing, since the time of doing is short…” –Samuel Johnson

 

I was scanning the Word Press world and a lot of bloggers out there were talking about resolutions or plans for the new year. The thing is I already made plans, life guidelines, hopes, goals, self-improvements projects, and lists in the middle of the year and I’m rolling them over. I’m sticking to the completion of my Happiness Project and trying to scratch adventures off my Bucket List. But I can say that I am adding a few new goals and self-improvement projects in the hopes of continuing to add “life” to my life.

Time is short and although I can’t avoid all the crappiness that life throws at me, I want to be able to squeeze the juice out of all the lemons it throws my way. So I may have added a couple of other goals and life guidelines for 2013 … Plans to finish writing my second book, plans to continue participating in triathlons, and plans to participate in roller derby classes are among a few of them.

But making all these new 2013 guidelines, made me reflect on the two that I made last year. I didn’t announce them to the world, just to myself and two other friends. One: Start a blog. Write everyday. Two: Be happy for one day. All day. Not just bits and pieces  … but all day. Dusk ’til dawn. And I’m happy to say that both of these two resolutions were completed successfully. Well technically, I have a couple more days to go on one of the “resolutions,” but overall I’ve done well.

They sound pretty simple, but with all the craziness that comes with life it wasn’t that easy. But a couple of pieces of advice helped me out.

 

SofAWhatYouDoEveryDay1[1]

Image via happiness-project.com

 

apt_one_12_12_124716[1]

Image via happiness-project.com

Small steps. Small steps everyday toward a big goal was the way to go for me, maybe not for everyone, but yes for me. And expectations … fun is better than stressing out over perfect outcome. I’m hoping I remember the same advice this year.

But in all this resolution, goal setting, self-improvement me, me, me talk I failed to think of my kids and what if any experiences or goals they might want in 2013. I mean I plan all kinds of adventures and activities for them, but hadn’t really asked what do you want? Other than LEGOLAND, of course. So I’ve added a 2013 “Sandbox List” for my kids this year. I’m sure my four-year old will speak for both of them. And although my daughter can’t really speak clearly and tell me what she wants,  considering that she’s only one, her smiles and laughter tell me she enjoys the ride.

So the Guats are off … Ready or not self-improvement projects, bucket lists, yearly goals, plans, or guidelines A.K.A. resolutions … 2013 here we come.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

1 Jan

“Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same …”

 

The highlights of Guat 2012.

 

Challenge courtesy of WP Weekly Photo Challenge.

 

Happiness Project Update 17: BFFs or Just BFs

27 Nov

When you were younger it happened during recess, nutrition, or lunch. Or most likely during class when you were passing notes … just to keep them updated as to what happened during third period. As you got older it happened over coffee, sporting events, concerts, boys, men, tailgating, or parties. Sometimes it happened because you realized you had the same Alanis Morissette break-up experience.

Friendships … they develop for many reasons.

And according to Rubin living a life of happiness requires maintaining strong bonds of friendship. Not the casual acquaintance kind, but the true kind — the kind of friend you can call if you’re stranded somewhere and you don’t have Triple A, the kind of friend that you can call to be your wing-man at a party, the kind of friend that you can call to hold your hair back while you’re throwing up either because of a Tequila hangover or bad Thai food, the kind of friend that takes your call at midnight because you’re freaking out over a fight you just had with your current flame, the kind of friend that will give you an alibi if CSI came knocking on your door, and the kind of friend that splits their last stick of gum with you. A true friend. A BFF, or just a BF.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

Through all her research, Rubin found that people with strong relationships are more likely to be happier in life. Friendships … they play a big part of your Happiness Project. Family … yes we know there’s a bond. Whether you want it to be there or not you’re linked by blood forever. For better or for worse. But friendships are different. They’re a necessary link outside the nuclear family that support you and let you fly your freak flag whenever.

Making time for friends. A basic premise? Yeah.

But a very necessary reminder, especially for those of us that are so busy and consumed with jobs, school, family, or parenthood. It’s good to be reminded that you’re not just a professional blue-collar or white-collar worker, you’re not just someone’s mother or father. You’re not just someone’s son, daughter, or cousin. You’re someone’s friend and if you’re a good friend, or if you want good ones, you’ll strengthen or deepen your existing friendships.

Rubin suggests a couple of concepts, but the one that seemed to grab me was the simplest one: Be generous.

Generosity can come in many forms. Gifts, kind acts, compliments, showing up to birthday parties, or making the time to buy someone coffee … all types of generosity. Since most of my “circle of trust” friends are busy women with BIG Cheese jobs or mothers on the break of defeat because they’re raising kids alone I thought I’d sent out a compliment.

I mentioned a while back how I found an old picture of myself and I thought … hey I knew her … she was awesome where did she go? No where really,  just buried deep under the hustle and bustle of life. But seeing that picture brought me back … way back. It was a nice reminder of my bad-ass self.

So I thought I would pass on the goodness. I posted a picture for a weekly challenge not too long ago. Renewal. And it was group picture with some of the members of my “circle of trust.”  I thought it would be a good idea to send it out to them with the hopes that they might be reminded of their own bad-ass self. Maybe they were lost and the email helped center them again, maybe they were in an awesome state of mind and this email just heightened the experience. Either way I wanted them to feel badass … feel needed … feel appreciated … feel like their friendship made an impact. They matter.

“Friendship thrives on interconnection, and it’s both energizing and comforting to see that you’re building not just friendships but a social network.”

Gretchen Rubin

I sent that email out to my circle of trust — my social network — and whether they responded or not, it felt good to let them know that their friendship was important, that they were important,  and that they were contributors to a time where I felt like myself.

It was a good chapter — a good reminder that friendships expand your happiness, and I needed to put effort in maintaining them if my own Happiness Project was going to work. Otherwise I could end up like Stockard Channing in the First Wives Club. And you really don’t want to end up there.

Christmas Starts A Little Too Early

25 Nov

I don’t know why it irritated me. It shouldn’t have, I mean it really wasn’t any of my business.  I mean people should get into the spirit, right? But … dude … when your Thanksgiving leftover turkey isn’t even in the fridge? C’mon now. I’d expect this from places like the mall, but not a neighbor’s house. Although I could expect anything from the redhead in 2B.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the Christmas spirit, but what’s up with this holiday interrupting the Thanksgiving spirit. I mean not that I want to savor the dysfunctional family moments of the gobble-gobble feast, but let me enjoy the “what-I’m-thankful-for” moments without hearing jingle bells. I mean sometimes the holiday even infringes on the Halloween spirit. Decorations going up everywhere while Jack-O-Lanterns are still out.

But the redhead in 2B waited until Thanksgiving night to put up her decorations. By Friday morning she had her Merry Christmas sign posted on the door, her Christmas tree in the window, her garlands wrapped around the staircase, stockings hanging, and her “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” tune blaring.

Image via christmaswow.com

I blame this on Black Friday. The insanity of the Christmas season is upon us where shoppers go wild and neighbors go to crazy lengths to try to outdo each other on the best decorated house. The redhead in 2B has set the stage. I can’t wait until the mom in 3A sets up her Merry Christmas. It’s an awesome battle of Fa-la-la-la-la spirit where Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD battles Josh Groban’s Christmas collections, and where the Michael’s store makes out the best because both ladies shop there all the time. What happened to simple decorations and ornaments made out of Popsicle sticks that made their appearance on December 1st?

I like to begin my decorating process in December. I feel like October belongs to Halloween, November belongs to Thanksgiving, and Christmas should really stay in December. But that’s just me. Some people … they can’t wait. The spirit comes early and the competition for the best house begins. Redhead in 2B has got a jump on the neighborhood. But I keep myself out of it. I’m not much for Christmas competitions, but I always enjoy the Martha Stewart and Clark Griswold efforts of everyone in the neighborhood. Well … everyone that starts after November.

 

Thank You, Raja … It Was a Great Escape

25 Aug

Finally … a night out.

This is where I met Raja

 

As I waited 15-20 minutes for my table Zack the Waiter passed out the most tasty garlic herb bread bites ever

 

We finally got a table by the fountain … where the best waitress/server ever told us the specials.

 

We scanned the room and there he was … the bread guy. Most people fear carbs but I welcome them. I embrace them!
“People just want me for my rolls,” he said.
“Me, too.” My friend replied. “Me, too.”

 

For starters …

 

We ordered the soup … which according to Raja was @#$%^! good. Anything that inspires that kind of passion had to be @#$%^! good. And it was …

 

My friend, Maria, suggested we have another bottle of wine and being the good friend that I am I was supportive. Very supportive.

 

I felt Italian … The entire restaurant sang “That’s Amore” and we raised our glasses in a toast. Constantly. We get that happy wine feeling. We begin drunk texting.

 

This is Raja and my friend Maria. Raja toasts with us. She laughs with us. She encourages the wine drinking. She is awesome. She had us at hello.

 

I can’t even begin to describe the deliciousness swirling in my bowl. If you care about calories you shouldn’t even look at the picture … luckily I don’t care for calories. I care about flavor. I had a lot of flavor to accompany my wine.

 

You can never have too much bread … NEVER. I know I couldn’t. This was my third plate.

As always I end the meal with chocolate … layers of chocolate.

As we wait for the car, I notice the hoochie-mamas and their six-inch heels freezing and waiting for their ride. I realize that next time I should wear something other than my t-shirt, jeans, and New Balance attire. But then again … Raja thought I was awesome as is … so New Balance it is.

 

I will return again …

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

21 Aug

The Masters of Merge

Merge

For when Friday night traffic hits you on a Sunday afternoon.

For when the jackass at work gets promoted over you.

For when  you say “Let me speak to your manager,” and they say “I’m the manager.”

For when you get another rejection letter and then see Snooki‘s book at Barnes & Noble.

For when you thought you had your first night off from the kids in two months and your dude, chick, or partner never shows up. They forgot and you have no CSI: Crime Scene Investigation skills when they stroll in at midnight.

For these times, you go to The Masters of Merge … Ben & Jerry‘s.

They combine unusual flavors to help ease your mind. They merge ingredients that have no business hanging out together into a sweet deliciousness that makes you forget about the calories. They merge stuff like vanilla bean ice cream with salty caramel swirl and fudge covered potato chips to produce ice cream awesomeness.

Ben & Jerry’s … The Masters of Merge.