Tag Archives: bucket list

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.



Celebrate Because Milestones Rock

18 Apr




I saw this and realized yeah … I used to do this. Probably still do sometimes, but not as much. Now that I’m a Meditation-Zen Seeker and Happiness Project Explorer I’m all about giving myself gold stars whenever I get anything accomplished. I celebrate because milestones rock.


Sandbox Adventure List IX: I’m Glad I Didn’t Push The Snooze Button This Time

19 Mar

Just because I’m awake at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean I like it. I know some parents might think that waking up before 7 a.m. is awesome. But I fall under the category of snooze-button advocate.

When my son has a day off from preschool I really don’t feel the need to get up and go. I’m all for the “give me five more minutes” routine, which eventually turns into an hour of PBS Kids, The Sprout Channel, or Nickelodeon.

Don’t judge me.

But this weekend, the morning routine was a little different. And I have to say that the blame wasn’t on Curious George this time. It happened to be children’s author Laura Numeroff and her partner in crime Felicia Bond.  After reading If You Give a Pig Party and a few others from that series he decided that some of those adventures were pretty cool. I mean he always thought they were cool. We’ve read them hundreds of times, so I don’t know what it is that sparked the inspiration, but the fuse was lit.

What adventure? What specials tools or props on this one?  Pillows. This one happened to involve pillows.

Now normally I only use pillows to rest my weary head, or bury my head in an attempt for deep uninterrupted sleep. But my son thought differently. At 7:03 on Sunday morning … he thought differently.

I didn’t see it flying high above the bed, and I sure didn’t hear it, but I felt it. Smack! The red Angry Bird pillow happened to hit my face. Normally pillows are soft in nature, but when they’re thrown at you at 7:03 in the morning? Not so much. I think they’re made of hard cotton, or something. Waking me at this hour in that manner would usually get the Incredible Hulk in me all riled up. But as I looked up I saw both of them with their morning hair and sneaky smiles.

Then I heard it … PILLOW FIGHT!


My son heading for cover.

My son heading for cover.


Dude it was on.  For the next twenty minutes pillows of all sizes were flying high. As you all know I’m not the greatest morning person, but I made the exception that day. Groggy, tired, and exhausted. But I cowboy-ed up and went with the flow. Going with the flow … it’s something that I’ve been constantly reminded of during my recent meditation challenge. It was the first time I hadn’t hit the snooze button … it proved to be a good decision.


Little sister surveying the situation, trying to grab the Angry Bird pillow before her brother.

Little sister surveying the situation, trying to grab the Angry Bird pillow before her brother.


I tackled the Angry Bird pillows and flung them over. Sometimes his little Flintstone Vitamin body would withstand the blow, but other times he’d wobble and fall into the covers, only to be bombarded with more pillows and victory screams from his sister. It was one of the loudest and most fun mornings we’ve had. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t done this before, definitely a good addition to the Sandbox Adventure List. I’m glad I didn’t push the snooze button this time. I would’ve missed out.




Silver Linings Playbook

30 Dec
Image via quotablecards.com

Image via quotablecards.com

With the year coming to a close and some people thinking about upcoming resolutions, bucket lists, Happiness Projects, or strategies, I began to do the same and wonder if I had accomplished some of the adventures on my list.

I wasn’t sure I’d finish a triathlon, but a finished two. I wasn’t sure I’d get through the unknown Warrior Dash, but I made it through the mud, muscles burning, but I made it. I wasn’t sure I’d survive the minimal to no work accompanied by the stay-at-home mom adventure, but I’m still here, more gray hair yes, but still here.

The list goes on … not everything completed. But it wasn’t my 2012 list, it was my Bucket List and I’m not dead yet. It was my Happiness Project, and I’m still under construction. I’ve got time. The Bucket List continues. The Happiness Project is in the works. My strategy is still in the works. Resolutions? My only resolutions are to keep The Bucket List and Happiness Project going. Brick by brick.

I wasn’t sure what I was doing in the beginning. I wasn’t sure of my starting point. I knew I’d probably fail a few times, but no worries. I began anyway. I began anywhere.

The point is I started and I’m not done yet.

2013 … it’s just another “365 day journey around the sun” … another 365 days to add to the Happiness Projects and to The Bucket Lists and to the strategies — all of it in search to find the silver linings. All I had to do was to begin … somewhere. And in 2013 I will begin again with all the plans, projects, adventures, and failures– all of them tucked into my silver linings playbook in hopes for a better something … a better version … a 2.0 … but still with a lot of chocolate.

Where It All Began

11 Oct

Why not … it all started with these two little words. Why not?

Flipping through the channels I saw it … flying high, legs hanging out in the wind, and parachute catching air. The Travel Channel. I saw it, briefly. It was on one of those top beaches shows. They managed to catch somebody parasailing in the background. And it took me back … Labor Day Weekend circa 1993.

On a spur of the moment decision my Dad hijacked Labor Day and decided that the Guat Family should head north to Santa Barbara. I don’t remember why my sister didn’t share this blessed two-hour traffic jammed hostile back-seat driver journey up north, but for some reason she was absent.

In any case we made it without pushing anyone out of the car while it was moving. Once we got there the relaxed laid-back atmosphere sort of washed over us and we forgot about the dysfunctional relationships linking us together. Our stay-cation had begun.

We strolled through town checking out the botanical gardens, churches, and cool artists’ festival they had that weekend. Before this I had no idea how awesome chalk on sidewalk could be, but it was pretty amazing to see all the colorful portraits and landscapes.

And then we headed to the beach … and that’s where we saw it. I had never seen anything like it. I had seen jet skiing , water skiing, and surfing. But I had never seen parasailing. We didn’t have the Travel Channel back then and if we did I wasn’t aware of it.

In any case I was in awe by the whole experience. When my dad asked me what I was looking at I pointed at the person flying high above the water and the boat pulling him away.

And then that’s when it started … my premature bucket list. I had no idea it was a bucket list at the time. It was more of the I-Wish-I-Could-Do-That-One-Day List. The list that remained unwritten, mostly a bunch of adventures and thoughts in my head, but this …this was the first one to be crossed off and I didn’t even know it at the time.

Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 20...

 Photo credit: Wikipedia


“That looks cool. I think I’d like to do that one day.”

“Are you crazy?” My Dad asked.

“Yes. Yes I am.”

“Then I think we should do it,” my Dad said.


“Why not?”

And then there it was … the why not. This is where it all began.

Now it surprised me that he said “we.” Reason 1) He did not know how to swim, neither did I at the time.  Reason 2) He was scared of heights, not deathly scared but pretty much freaking him out kind of scared.

But that didn’t stop him. He was an adventurer that day and so was I. My mom even came along for the ride, just to witness our crazy adventure, see our expressions and join in on the laughter.

For this adventure my Dad went first. He was eager to check this off the list. I think if he would have waited he might not have gone through with it. So when they asked, who’s first, he jumped up and strapped on that harness. When he was high up in the sky, he seemed to be enjoying the view. However when he was being pulled down into the boat he appeared to have a little anxiety and nervousness going on. It might have been the Pacific Ocean hanging out beneath him. But he smiled and laughed his way through it.


I did the whole woo-hoo! on the way up and on the way down. And even though this happened almost twenty years ago I can still remember saying ‘holy crap!’ when I was way up high.

Blue skies and white sandy beaches. We had plenty of those down in Southern California but from this perspective everything looked different.

After that stay-cation I had a lot more ideas rumbling around in my head … in my I-Wish-I-Could-Do-That-One-Day thoughts.




Weekly Image of Life: Inspiration

29 Sep

Uluru, Australia


I have never been a morning person in my life.


But waking up knowing that I’d be spending the entire day here … that was definitely an inspiration.

It was almost five in the morning. It was about thirty degrees. And all I had on a long sleeve hooded cotton shirt. The thin kind.  I was freezing so much that my nose was running and I couldn’t stop shivering.

But I didn’t care.

Most definitely an inspiring adventure.








Host of Weekly Image of Life Challenge: This Man’s Journey




Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

4 Sep

The Guat Bungy Jumping in Cairns, Australia


Free Spirit.

Not thinking about work.

Not thinking about money.

Not thinking about paying taxes.

Not thinking about bills.

Not thinking about dysfunctional relationships that give me wrinkles, stress, and gray hair.

Not thinking about jackasses.

Not thinking about age.

Not thinking about time.

Not thinking at all … because I’m free.

I’m free-falling.

Free Spirit.


The Big C Gives Me a Reminder … One Adventure at a Time, One Penny at a Time

30 Aug

Why is it that I constantly have revelations and aha! moments after seeing one of these cancer movies or shows? Why can’t I have this live every day like it’s your last mantra without having death all up in the Kool-Aid?

Film poster for The Bucket List - Copyright 20...

Film poster for The Bucket List – Copyright 2007, Warner Bros. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first kick in the ass was over a week ago when I saw a re-run of The Bucket List with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Freeman and Nicholson, ey? It lit a fire under me. So I began the Bucket List Installment and whipped out my mighty Bic pen and began to write down the tiny adventures that would bring excitement to my life. Life to my life.

Then as with anything  in life … dishes, vacuuming, diaper changing, paying bills, AMC television, and lack of sleep slowed me down.

But like always another life and death situation gave me the extra kick in the ass. Showtime‘s The Big C with Laura Linney. Now in truth I’m not a big Showtime watcher. I’m more of an HBO chick, but it did peak my interest so I’m on season two with Netflix. The Big C. Cancer. It’s about a woman who finds out she has terminal cancer and what she does with her life after she finds out.

So without spoiling it for anybody, in Season Two she fights and lives life.  One of her little life items? She runs a marathon, well walks and runs. But she’s determined to finish. As you know I’m not big on running, but I am big on not giving up … on the stubborn determination that drives people.

Image via Showtime.com

I’m happy that both sets of characters decided to live their lives. But I really don’t want to get to a point where I’m sitting at the doctor’s office with a paper gown covering my naked body, and them telling I have only a few months to live. I mean nobody wants that, but it happens. And it sucks above and beyond anything else. I don’t want to get to that point. I don’t want to have to get to that point in order to live everyday like it’s my last.  So I guess that’s why they make movies and shows like this, just so you won’t have to, so I’m grateful for the random reminders that smack me into living.

So then why? Why does this happen? Why do I become the slacker whose Mighty Bic Pen stays in the drawer? That ink needs to hit paper and I know it.

So, why?

Reason One … it’s probably the money thing. Seeing how I’m having technical difficulties in the financial department sort of puts a cramp in my plans to live it up. Can’t very well take a trip, plan an adventure, or wine and dine myself if my money surplus is low. And I know that people with mad fortunes like Oprah say that money can’t buy you happiness, but I never heard a broke-ass person ever say that. I know it can’t buy you happiness, but it sure as hell can get you a seat on the plane there.

Reason Two … lazy. Every single minute of my twenty-four hour day is accounted for, but some days the schedule needs to stop. I’m so run down from motherhood, Guat-hood, wife-hood, and daughter-hood that sometimes when I am actually ahead of schedule and ready to write down a couple of items on My Bucket List, I just want to be lazy. The dark circles under my eyes demand that I be lazy. There can’t be anything wrong with just being lazy sometimes. I need it when I can get it. So relaxation and laziness can be contributing factors.

Reason Three … setbacks. Everyone in life has setbacks whether they deal with health, family, or mundane things like a flat tire on your Toyota. But these setbacks effect your frame of mind and suck the air out of your balloon. I mean I don’t have Tony Robbins in my back pocket to give me some quick pick-me up life changing wisdom every time that happens. But I know I have to find that pick-me up somewhere.

And so I have found it again in Laura Linney and The Big C.

The Bucket List continues, one adventure at a time, one penny at a time.

Adventure to be added to the bucket list: Be able to eat at all the places in California that Guy Fieri lists on his Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives Show.

Adventure crossed off Bucket List: Whitewater Rafting … Class 4 and 5 rapids in the Colorado River near the Grand Canyon. Amazingly awesome.

I’m Having Warrior Dash Withdrawals

16 Apr

Yeah. I’m suffering from Warrior Dash Syndrome. I’m having withdrawals. I’m craving a challenge. I was left with such an awesome feeling that I want to repeat it.

But I have to admit I don’t like running.

I feel like if I’m not training for anything there shouldn’t be any sprinting involved. I feel like if no one is chasing me, there should not be any running within a five-mile radius. Running should have purpose. I need to find another race. Another challenge.

I’m on the lookout.

made specific for the triathlon wikipedia page...

made specific for the triathlon wikipedia page, made up of licenses images from wikimedia as well as a few of my own photos which I release to public domain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found a race I’ve done before. The Tin Man Triathlon. Not IronMan … TinMan. The lightweight metal on the Periodic Table of Elements. Wait. I don’t even know if it’s on the Periodic Table of Elements. It’s sort of a metal-like substance. Well regardless of its lightweight status, it was one of the proudest athletic moments of my life, other than the Warrior Dash. It was on The Bucket List, and I was so happy to have crossed it out.

Could I do a repeat performance?


Training for the running and biking part was doable. Although while I was training for the biking portion of the race I was zooming along and a parked U-Haul came out of no where and sort of crashed into me while it was sitting there on the corner. I mean I saw it, but for some reason my brain didn’t send the message to my body parts and before you know it I was en route, semi-airborne, and smacked right into the back door of the U-Haul. It was a short trip. My body was up against a picture of some walrus and an interesting Venture-Across-America-Did-You-Know fact, which wasn’t really interesting at the time. 

I had to take a minute to recuperate. Several actually.

So training is not super easy, but it’s not exceptionally difficult either. I made it through the race all right, until I hit the swimming part. I trained in my uncle’s pool, and well seeing how there’s a rift in the family ever since my uncle passed away I’m pool-less.

Can I go to a public pool? Sure. Sure, but I have issues with swimming in urine. It’s just not for me. So this is my predicament.

I’d have to swim at least a couple of times before heading into the race. I mean how can you train for a triathlon and not splash around in a pool? How do you train for swimming when there’s no pool. Maybe I need a giant tub.

I don’t know. I mean I didn’t swim every day, and it showed when I got to the swimming portion as numerous people passed me. It got to the point where I was so tired that I stopped doing the freestyle and started doing the backstroke. For some reason that seemed easier to me and I went zooming along. Well not really zooming, more like Nemo, cruising the waters. I was pretty exhausted.

But I got my medal and I was ecstatic the entire day. My first triathlon. I felt badass.

Maybe doing my second one will feel even better.


Even Without a Cape … Guatemalan Warrior in the House!

1 Apr

My back aches, my shoulders hurt, my muscles feel sore, my feet are tired, my body is worn-out … but I feel good.


I survived the Warrior Dash.

Despite the gloomy and drizzling weather, which doesn’t happen often in Southern California not even in winter, I made the two-hour drive to Warrior Dash Central. I was anxious, nervous, and filled with butterflies in my stomach.

Big Time Warriors

As I made my way from the parking lot to registration, I started to notice a pattern …

The Bear Naked Peeps

Dude. I felt something was missing. Something was not right with my t-shirt and shorts outfit … A superhero costume would have been more appropriate.

The Lumberjack Crew

I felt like the Lone Guat in a sea of costumes. There was a Superman family, Wonder Woman, Xena Princess Warrior Chicks, brightly colored fluorescent people with matching head bands, The Smurfs, Ghostbusters, The Bear Naked people, the barely naked people with matching Speedos, chicks with pink wigs, chicks with pink, green, and blue tutus, dudes with hazmat suits, and even dudes dressed up as chicks. It was like The Justice League reunion with a motley crew of party crashers, and I didn’t get invited.

My dude said … “I don’t think this is the kind of race you do alone … but at least you got a cheering section.”

My kids and dude made the trek.

So with my Guat-Mexican party of four I made my way to the starting line.

“Good luck, mom. Don’t go in the muddy water. Those people look yucky. Win the race!”

All I could think about was don’t fall. Don’t fall and finish.

“You’ll be fine. We’ll be waiting for you at the finish line.”

I walked over to the starting line and began my athletic ritual. Everyone has one before an event, consciously or unconsciously: stuff like, stretching out and counting to seven, but not eight; stretching out your left leg first; and doing your arm thing to loosen up.  Whatever the ritual may be every one was doing it. If you don’t have a ritual, you’re probably not a real athlete.

Ready, Set, Go!

As I stretched and did my routine, I looked around … the chicks and dudes with the 80s fluorescent leotards and matching headbands were in front of me and the Xena Warrior Princesses were next to me.  I was nervous. I felt like I needed a cape. I looked behind me … regular t-shirt and shorts people like myself were among the sea of costumes.

Countdown begins … 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

I did the Sammy Sosa ritual move and took off.

With all that adrenaline I took off faster than usual, but kept my steady pace. As I reached the half-mile mark, I noticed all the costume people trailing off little by little. Xena Warrior Princesses probably fell on their swords or something because I didn’t see them at all.

There were no obstacles until after the half-mile mark and the first one being the Road Rage Tires.

I was like one of those state-champion double-dutch chicks. Dude. It was on! I made it through that obstacle pretty quickly. The only time I slowed down was when they triple stacked the tires.

Then came the Barricade Breakdown where I hurdled over barricades and crawled under barbed wire. I used my Dukes of Hazard jumping-over cars skills to jump the barricades that were chest high.

More running after that, where I continued passing costume after costume. The Justice League and the Smurfs were gone. My T-shirt and shorts people made their way to mile two and saw the rock-climbing wall. I was like Spider-Man as I scaled that thing up and over no problem. Sweet. Once I got to the top, I slid down the pole like a professional firefighter.

After mile two, the challenge hits you …  all the obstacles. They are spread out, but between mile two and the finish line I was huffing and puffing. That was my soundtrack, in surround sound, because everyone else was breathing heavily too.

My next obstacle was the one I feared. The Teetering Traverse. My heart was pounding and all I wanted to do was go fast, but I knew better.

I was causing traffic, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to eat it.

After conquering that bad boy, came the Horizontal Hike. This didn’t scare me when I saw the online description, but once I saw the arching geodome and all the cargo nets and pieces of wood I had to hold onto in order to cross over, I knew why there was a paramedic on standby. I made it through with only a couple of rope burns and scratches.

As I climbed up the ropes of my next obstacle, The Great Warrior Wall, I saw her behind me … struggling. It was Wonder Woman…she was not that wonderful at climbing ropes. So in my sportmanship-way I yelled at her:

“C’mon Wonder Woman…You can do it!!!”

She smiled and grabbed hold of the rope.

She must have done well because at the Chaotic Crossover, a series of tangled nets we had to cross over much like the horizontal hike but lower to the ground and with more opportunities to get snagged and left behind, I saw her causing traffic grabbing hold of the nets. She was spread out like a bad twister game. She lost her amazon bullet proof bracelets and golden tiara.

photo via warriordash.com

But she seemed to make it through, because I saw her again at Deadman’s Drop. I climbed this tall structure with extreme caution. Not one, but two paramedics were on site. The “unhandy hurdle” at the top was a bitch. So as I was moving slowly I saw Wonder Woman down at the bottom. I couldn’t let a chick like that beat me, so I pressed on and slid down the other side with caution. No splinters.

The Cargo Climb was tricky. Not only did I have to control my own balance, but I also I had to be aware of other people’s maneuvers. A foot here, or a hand there changed the way the ropes moved. Grabbing onto the wooden frame was also a bad idea as the rope trapped my fingers and crunched them when people pulled and tugged on the nets with all kinds of body parts. I was pretty tired by this point, but then I saw three 50+ year-old Ironman type of ladies pass me by … just jogging like they were beginning the race. All cool and under control.

Dude. The competitive side of me said, “C’mon now, you can’t let all these ladies pass you by, you’ve got to at least beat one of them.” So I got enough strength from who knows where and kept running to the next obstacle and beyond.

The Petrifying Plunge was a fun slip-n-slide. Most people went head-first. I preferred to go feet first, because I didn’t want my face to plunge into the murky cold waters below.

The Capsized Catamaran awaited me in the freezing waters. This obstacle killed me. It killed everyone. The water was about five-feet deep and you had to pull yourself up and over this plastic structure. Then plop back in the water, swim, or walk if you were tall enough, to the next plastic-up-and-over obstacle. However there was nothing you could push off of … it was pure upper body strength hauling your tired ass out of the water. Catamarans suck. This obstacle took me about fifteen minutes.

The water was so ice-cold and the chick and her dude in front of me were not climbing this thing fast enough. So even though I didn’t know her, I gave her a boost and pushed her up and over, so that I wouldn’t drown while treading water. However by the time I got to the second up and over, I struggled during the “up” part as did everyone else. Some racers gave up and swam to shore, including Wonder Woman, a big body-builder dude with a dragon tattoo, and even one of the Ironman 50+ ladies.

Me. I continued struggling. Then I found some chick wearing a Winnie the Pooh backpack who was struggling too, and said:  “Hey I’ll pull you up, if you push me up.”

Normally the backpack would have thrown me off, but as I was freezing and desperately wanting to finish this obstacle I tagged teamed with the Winnie the Pooh chick and we became the Wonder Twin Powers.

photo via warriordash.com

She pushed…I pulled.  Push and Pull. Repeat. We were a dynamic duo. However, on the last leg of this obstacle I pulled too much and I fell over into the water. But it’s not like I wasn’t wet so it didn’t matter. The wetter the better because The Warrior Roast was next. So I didn’t mind the fall.

As I made my way out of the water and up the hill, I tried to muster enough courage and energy for the fire. I was out of breath and needed to sprint in order to gain enough momentum to jump over these logs. Winnie the Pooh girl saw me hesitating and said “C’mon, you can do it.”

So I busted out my best hurdle-jumping ballerina leap and made it through unscathed. No firefighters or extinguishers needed.

Crawling through Muddy Mayhem

After that came the Muddy Mayhem, where we “scrambled” beneath barbed wire in muddy, rocky waters.

Everyone was dragging and hurting, but made their way to the finish line.

My shirt was wet, shorts drenched, and my New Balance shoes and socks were soaked.

Heading to the finish line

After crawling out of the final pit, I ran toward the archway. Not walked, but ran.

I didn’t need the cape. I was a Warrior.

What did I learn from this Warrior Dash Saga? Tune in tomorrow.