Tag Archives: friendship

‘Twas The Night Before …

25 Jul

Only a few hours before midnight and the fourth decade of my life will have started and my head will be resting on the cool side of the pillow, I hope. Not with a wild and crazy party filled with dancing, music or a disco ball, but just with the soft, steady, breathing of my kids fast asleep and the quiet of the night that can only be the special kind of quiet when the moon is out.

Thinking of the big 3-9 that just passed me, the year that went by, the Gatorade-worthy moments that made me feel good all week and the sad moments the took pieces of my heart away where acceptance was my only option. All of this feels 40, the bigness of 40, I feel it.

It weighed on me today, nervous like cold feet before a wedding. I’ve got it. The cold feet.

I wish I had my best friend here, or just a phone call away. But I don’t. Did I tell you I lost my best friend? They didn’t die or anything the friendship just got lost with time, within the 38 and 39 year-old time frame. It got lost and not so much because of me, which is sad when a friend isn’t your friend anymore, and it’s hitting me more now that the Big 4-0 is coming up.

I still have friends though, good friends, circle of trust friends, comadres and compadres, but that best friend the first one you call when something amazing happens, or something just devastating blindsides you, crushes you and you can’t breathe, and you can’t find yourself and your best friend is there and they bring you back to you. They see the you, that you see and that very fact comforts you back into existence.

I lost them, but I’ve found ways to bring The Guat back to Guat. I’ve found moments. Through this 40-Before-40 journey the smallest moments throughout the day have given me something to be grateful for, something to smile about, something to find the pulse back to my heartbeat.

The sunset, taking a deep breath after my morning run, feeling the cool water of an early morning swim, meditating, finding Ben & Jerry’s, hitting the publish button on a new post, talking to my blogging buddies, laughing with Jon Stewart, getting an a-ha moment from a good book, or finding a life lesson where I least expected it.

But today … in today’s moment, I found that my kids’ hugs were tight enough to make me feel loved throughout the whole day. Today I found that my son’s cannonball brought a smile to my face, and that my daughter’s laughter helped me laugh too. Today I found that even though I haven’t had a best friend in a while, I had family.

I was grateful for that.

They reminded me that we drove all the way over here for a big adventure, a weekend vacation that we all deserved for my Big 4-0, and that it was going to be great.

Twas the night before … and I was feeling better.

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It’s That Time Again … Trapper-Keeper-and-L.A.-Gear Flashback

27 Apr

Yeah…It’s that time of year again, when I take you for a ride in my Delorean and cruise back to a time when you chewed Hubba Bubba, dreamed of Jake Ryan, and watched Square Pegs.

Yup, another one of my friends ventured off into the 4-0 club. She has jumped in head first and ready to rock that decade. My comadre, who, I’ve known for 20 years, blew her candles out this weekend surrounded by family in a day filled with love, heart, and laughter.

And again I felt the need to profess my awesome undying loyalty and friendship to my comadre by creating a mixed tape from the days of our youth where we hid our love notes in our Trapper Keepers and laced up our L.A. Gear right before P.E. This is the mixed tape the awesome boyfriend we imagined we had would give to us in between passing periods — the one that would melt our hearts. And, just like my last friend, this comadre also has an amazing hubby who probably rolled out the red carpet for her that night.

So I thought I’d pull out all the stops myself and make an effort to take her back … way back, and blow her musical mind, and get nostalgic for the simple days of lockers, student stores, first loves, nutrition, lunch, and high school dances. I thought I’d travel through time with a mixed tape.

Hope you enjoy this musical journey too.

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Two of Hearts — Stacy Q

Lost in Emotion — Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

Eternal Flame — The Bangles

P.Y.T. — Michael Jackson

I’ll Be There For You — Jon Bon Jovi

Crazy For You — Madonna

Red, Red Wine — UB40

I Want To Know What Love Is — Foreigner

Por Amarte — Enrique Iglesias

Volver, Volver — Vicente Fernandez

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Way Back … Back To The Days of Leg Warmers, Neon Clothing and Aquanet Hairspray

18 Feb

A friend of mine recently celebrated her 40th birthday, but I imagine it didn’t play out the way she anticipated it.

At work with a double ear and throat infection.

I imagined she would have pictured something different for the big 4-0.

I don’t know. You hit 15, 16, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60 … Those are milestones you think about when you’re younger and you imagine certain things transpiring. Relaxing on a beach. A quiet dinner with family. A wild party with friends. A cake with candles. All sorts of things, but feeling crappy and knocking back some pretty intense antibiotics isn’t something high up on your list. I’m sure she’ll celebrate afterward, or maybe she partied during Valentine’s weekend, but either way I felt kind of bad.

Birthdays should come with a little silver lining, no matter how bad the storm. I felt bad about it and didn’t know how to improve her situation. I had sent her a card with all the loving bosom buddy words my Guat heart could muster and she did receive it before the big day, but considering the Debbie Downer that infections can create I thought I’d make her one of my famous mixed tapes … you know the kind you wish your boyfriend would have taken the time to create and put in your locker. Although her husband is a pretty awesome guy too, so I’m sure he found ways to make the birthday better.

But on behalf of the comadre code it was still my duty to spread a little sunshine. We’re all in it this year, every one us is hitting the big 4-0. So, I took her way back … back to the days of leg warmers, neon clothing, and Aquanet Hairspray, in hopes of making her smile.

Music from your childhood always makes you feel better, takes you to your teenage years, dances in the gym, Friday Night Lights moments, first Molly Ringwald experience, yearbook photos, and laugh out loud scenarios with your girlfriends.

So in an effort to brighten your weekday thought I’d share the mixed tape I made for my friend. Hope it takes you back to the days of Marty McFly.

 

This is Side A.

 

Crush on You — The Jets

 

Saving All My Love For You — Whitney Houston

 

Spring Love — Stevie B

 

Lady in Red — Chris DeBurgh

 

Total Eclipse of the Heart — Bonnie Tyler

 

You Are The First, My Last, My Everything — Barry White

 

In Your Eyes — Peter Gabriel

 

If You Were Here — Thompson Twins

 

Querida — Juan Gabriel

 

Quien Como Tu — Ana Gabriel

 

I Think I Still Could Have Been A Great Chapter

10 Nov

It hasn’t happened to me in such a long time, so I wasn’t sure how to take it. I mean I know how I took it, I took it poorly.  In addition to raiding my kids Halloween Candy stash, I emptied the freezer of  two Ben & Jerry’s pints.

It was a crisis or sorts.

I had lost it.

I lost a friend and it wasn’t because of death, health reasons, or an untimely demise. They’re living and breathing just fine, it’s me who was hyperventilating when I realized a couple of months ago that our friendship was over. It was a friendship that was rushed to the relationship ER and then never made it out.

There wasn’t an argument or heated discussion, and nobody had crossed any lines. It just slowly deteriorated. I saw it happening and tried to stop it. But with all my efforts I felt like that chic from He’s Just Not That Into You. The dork that hopelessly and endlessly tries to find the one and then thinks that every guy she’s been with is the one, only to realize that they’ve all been lame dudes that she’s made these excuses for because she was blinded.

 

He's Just Not That Into You

He’s Just Not That Into You

 

Yeah that was me. I was trying to hang on to a friendship that apparently meant more to me than them.

Now I realize that everyone is busy and as we get older there are all kinds of demands coming from work, family, and other friendships. I get it. We’re busy. But there are friends that I haven’t seen in months even years, and when they come into town and we get to talking, it’s like we never left campus and we picked up exactly where we left off. No awkward pauses or talks about the weather. We get down to laughter and real talk. The comfort zone is still there. The inside jokes are still there. The friendship is still there.

But this time around I realized that was gone. And I don’t know if guys really make a big deal out stuff like this, or if it’s just a chick thing, or if it’s just me but losing a friend kind of sucks all the way around. I was making all kinds of effort to maintain this friendship in a non-stalker-non Single White Female kind of way.

But then it dawned on me.

We had already broken up, I just wasn’t aware of it. I didn’t know the ins-and-outs of their lives anymore, I wasn’t part of their growth process. I wasn’t a chapter in their novel anymore, I just ended up being a really good short story. And I guess nothing is wrong with being a short story, great movies and TV shows are based on short stories.

But it’s something I didn’t expect. I think I had more to offer, I think I still could have been a great chapter.

As an adult I thought I was set and my circle of trust was in tact, but was reminded that some relationships don’t last and there’s nothing more that you could have done. Just got to be happy with the fact that you lived with integrity and you always did right by them.

 

 

I Haven’t Had A Coke In Twenty Years But …

27 Aug

 

I saw a sign ...

I was with my best bud when I saw this … It was a sign. I had to. I had to.  She’s Trent, I’m Mike and we’re both money, sooooooooo money  🙂

 

The Power of Tailgating

18 Oct

It worked better than anti-aging cream, better than a weekend at the spa, better than chocolate … well … let’s not get that crazy.

But it was good.

It did rejuvenate me. It did charge my batteries. It did bring Guat back into The Guat. It was powerful. It was tailgating and it was desperately needed.

As a parent sometimes you need an escape from your NickelodeonLego-building-filled life. You need to play and hang out with people your own age. You love your kids, you really do. You’d take a bullet for them, but sometimes you need a time-out and that’s when the power of the tailgate comes into effect. Granted I still took my kids with me because there was no babysitter available, again, but the fact that I still got a chance to hang out with friends and let loose was enough medicine to cure me of the I’ve-been-cooped-up-and-haven’t-seen-anyone-in-weeks-I’m-going-crazy blues.

How was I able to do that?

Nap time. Even my older kid who never sleeps during the day, took a nap.

The fact that we started our festivities at the beginning of nap time was awesome. I was happy that my kids were so exhausted that they slept through the hustle and bustle of setting up for the tailgate and the tunes our DJ was spinning from the Pandora sound experience.

I was kid-free for about two hours during the day. Something that rarely happens when the sun is out. I ate in peace. I had a conversation. I sat. I danced. I laughed. And then I ate some more. When my kids woke up there was no more sitting for me, but there was still plenty of laughter and dancing. All The Guats had a good time until the actual game began and we realized that our team got trounced.

But regardless of the loss, the tailgate festivities made up for the state of play.

For those of you who haven’t experienced this awesome American tradition, I strongly encourage you to put it on your Bucket List.  The power of tailgating … it’s a party filled with Food Network cuisine on the grill, music that makes you dance, friends that recharge you life battery, conversations that crack you up, laughter that fills your soul, and sports. It’s the type of situation that makes you forget that you have a few gray hairs.

Yeah … tailgating … it’s that powerful.

 

The place where it all happens.

The place where it all happened.

 

As soon as we got there, we ran into people with spirit.

As soon as we got there, we ran into people with spirit.

 

We also ran into people with a little too much spirit.

We also ran into people with a little too much spirit.

 

Before the big meal we snacked on a classic tailgate staple.

Before the big meal we snacked on a classic tailgate staple.

 

Then someone brought a classic thirst quencher we often sipped during our college days.

Then someone brought a classic thirst quencher we often sipped during our college days.

 

The people who help me forget that I have gray hair.

Then the party continued and I was able to hang out with the people who help me forget that I have gray hair.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

24 Jul
:)

🙂

 

 

Fresh

Hanging out with college friends on a 90+ degree day.

A friend sees the waterfall.

She decides to jump in.

“Give me your best sexy pose,” I say cracking up.

We see the picture.

“Yeah … you look more fresh than sexy.”

Fresh.

 

Good Times, Good Food, Good Friends, and Underwear

12 Feb

Normally I would hyperventilate in a place like this. I mean it is so far off The Guat grid that I feel like a lost and confused tourist in environments like these.

I mean in all honesty, I shouldn’t have been in that store in the first place. I mean I wasn’t properly dressed. There I was in jeans, a t-shirt and a backpack, while everyone else was all Cover-Girled up with their dresses, slacks, and fancy handbags. The fact that I was sick probably didn’t help matters. I mean crappy looking people on NyQuil just don’t go walking into Victoria Secret, but I did. I had to. There was a bridal shower at stake and a good friend on my mind. I had to buy the appropriate gift. So I cowboy-ed up and entered the Pink section.

Now normally I don’t think much about the underwear I’m wearing, but among all the pink lace, fancy satin, leopard prints, and G-strings I couldn’t help but think of my comfy Hanes Hipster Cotton six pack undies from Target. I felt like my underwear and I didn’t really belong, but it was all good. There was a cotton section, and luckily there was more than just pink stuff and I was able to find a nice blue satin number for my friend.

But there was another underwear assignment handed out. There would be games at this bridal shower, and I was to buy a pair of underwear, in the bride’s size, that would best represent my personality. I looked around … this was not the store for me. So I ventured off in search of the undies that said “The Guat”.

It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for, I saw them hanging there at the other store … and I knew. I knew, this was the winner. As I purchased my pair I couldn’t help but wonder what the other girls were buying. I mean I knew all their personalities. I was just very curious as to how the game would pan out, and who would be the winner, because when it comes to bridal shower games … we all get very competitive. I know it’s all supposed to be for fun, but it happens at every shower. We get crazed to win. When they say “pencils down,” you better believe that someone’s aunt or mom is going to be regulating you if you took an extra second jotting names down. And if there is a battle between two ladies in a risqué game, you know it’s going to be cause for some awesome comic relief. And let me tell you there was plenty of comedy. We had a tie, a tie. And in our circle of trust there was only one way to settle this matter. A battle. A dance battle. I hadn’t laughed that hard in such a long time. I might have pee in my pants a little.

But I don’t think the competitive drive in us has anything to do with the prizes. But more with the victory — the fact that you’ve won. That woo-hoo! moment. You reach your arms up in the air and say yes! Yes! I won! A-ha! It’s that moment that drives us.

So needless to say I was definitely looking forward to this celebration. Was it because of the crazy amount of delicious food? Definitely. Was it the awesome time that awaited me because of great friends? No doubt. Was it the games? Probably. Did I win? Did I get a woo-hoo moment? Yes. Yes I did. And it wasn’t on the “How Well Do You Know The Bride” 20 questions game. I completely failed on that one. In fact, after that game I felt like a terrible friend. Most of us did. I felt like I didn’t really know her at all. I mean where the hell have I been for like fifteen years, and how come I didn’t know she would have ordered oatmeal as her go-to meal at a brunch? I don’t know, I was probably too busy stuffing my face with bacon to notice. But I rebounded and made up for it with a win in the underwear game. Good times, good food, good friends and underwear. Definitely a great way to spend the afternoon.

The underwear game ... challenging but I ended up the victor.

The underwear game … challenging but I ended up the victor. Did you guess which one was mine?

Happiness Project Update 18: Table For One? Dude. No. Party of Two and Tag-Teams.

13 Dec

Show up.

I mean other than remembering birthdays, being generous in your own way, cutting people some slack, being the go-to call when you need bail money or when you have a flat tire and need a ride in the middle of the night, being present is an essential concept for a stronger friendship. This includes post marriage, post cloud-nine boyfriends, and post kids.

But this is not always the case.  I know. I’ve been the victim and perpetrator of this phenomenon. But I imagine it all has to do with energy level. You got none. You’re tired, you’re overworked, you’re underpaid and you realized that you have three more gray hairs that week. When this happens you usually get stuck in a rut and consider buying yourself some Nice N’ Easy. This is the time when you’re caught eating chocolate, drinking wine, and listening to the blues, when you should really be going out.

You get an invite to go somewhere, but you would so rather take a nap or watch HBO. You got no energy to put on your make-up or face traffic. You got the no feeling and it has nothing to do with the person who invited you, instead it’s your sleep deprivation status. However, you know you should go because of the once-you-get-there-you’ll enjoy-yourself mentality. The you’ll-feel-like-your-old-self-if-you-go thought process. Well at least for me, there may be others out there that just don’t like you and opt to not see you. But for the most part, there’s always something that keeps you too busy to see your friend.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

Image via Happiness-Project.com

However I’ve come to realize if they want to see you, they’ll make it happen. If you want to see them, you’ll make it happen. Gretchen Rubin strongly suggest to make it happen because maintaining strong friendships creates a happier existence. So forget the dishes, forget folding the laundry, forget appointments, forget work for a minute. If you don’t forget, you’ll end up going to Claim Jumper’s all by yourself. Table for one. You don’t want to do that … have you seen their portions? They’re for sharing. You need party of two, or three, or four. However many you got, make it happen.

Show up. Not all the time, because stuff happens, but as much as you can. You gotta show up.

 “Unless you make consistent efforts your friendships aren’t going to survive.” –Gretchen Rubin.

I’d like to think that I’m a survivor. So I do show up, I like to be present, but sometimes with two kids and no babysitter it can be difficult to plan your escape. But I’ve done it, and I’ve been so grateful because of the effort. But even with kids I’ve managed to go out and hang. People call it “play dates,” but that word totally annoys me. It reminds me of the Mommy & Me Mafia. So we hang.

After reading the friendship chapter in Rubin’s book, I began reaching out in attempt to get closer to some of my friends — helping in my own way, making them laugh, sending emails, and cutting people some slack. I increased my trying to make it happen efforts. And they paid off. Seeing how it was the apocalyptic 12-12-12 just yesterday, I decided I’d take advantage of this awesome day and spend it with some good friends. The old-school friends. The ones that knew me before kids, before marriage, before gray hairs. They knew me back then and they see the same person and that makes me feel energized. My newspaper reporter friends: Sigma and Pat.

Reconnecting was always easy with them, we just needed time. Kids, busy careers, and crazy schedules make it difficult. But Italian food, wine, laughter, and back-in-the-day stories … so good … so good for my Guat soul.

So while the kids got crazy in the back yard with the toys, camping equipment, baseballs, and trampoline we were able to monitor them while simultaneously snacking, drinking, chatting, and laughing.

It was such a good afternoon/night that we were hoping to repeat the process and have it become a regular game night. Such an awesome idea considering that this game night starts around 4:30 afternoon — a time when I’m running low on gasoline and patience — a time when I’ve hit the wall, but I’ve gotta keep going or the kids will kill me. So hanging out with my Sigma and Pat during crunch time on 12-12-12 definitely helped me get through the 4:30 lull in the day. We decided that since game night helped us and our kids, we’d get together again. We’d form a Tag Team. Tag Team … Back again.

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.