Tag Archives: going to the beach

Dig Your Own Awesome Hole

2 Sep

Dear Space Invaders,

I knew you might be a problem. I was hoping you wouldn’t be. I was hoping I wouldn’t run into you, but whenever you hope for something like this not to happen, it usually does.

It wasn’t Labor Day, it was Day of the Space Invaders.

I tried to prepare myself and avoid contact with you at all costs. I marked our territory with sand toys, Tommy Bahama Costco beach chairs, towels, boogie board, and a Radio Flyer wagon. I even dug our regular giant hole in the sand, deep enough for cannonballs and construction-building action for both my five-year old and two year-old. I thought it would be enough.

But you are who you are.

I should have bought that yellow crime scene caution tape and surrounded the perimeter. Maybe that would have worked.


The scene at 11 a.m.

The scene at 11 a.m., before the sun decided to join us. After that, it got a little more crowded.


But with all these people there I doubt that even CSI tape would have helped.

Now even though I had mentally prepared myself for your presence and the many cult followers of your ideology, I did not take into consideration that you would take it to another level. I did not think you would drop off your kids at my beach site.

The digging of an awesome hole does not give you or any other parent the right to drop off your kids, while you and your posse relax, talk to your friends, read magazines, send text messages, or sleep. I’d like to do those things too, but when you go to the beach with kids there’s no down time. You should know that already.

So this is just a reminder that the digging of an awesome hole does not mean I am running a day care.

I mean I don’t mind our kids hanging out, splashing around, playing in the hole, or playing baseball with each other. I don’t. I like having fun with kids. I like having fun with my kids. It would be good if you had fun with your kids too. And it would be great if you were present so that you could check your kid so he didn’t eat sand or drown in the ocean. Drowning sucks.

And your whole my-kids-can-play-with-your-kids’-toys-it’s-O.K.-let’s-all-share fake speech is a load crap. I’m calling you out. It’s crap. You know it. I know it. I know you know that I know it. You’re just trying to lure my kids into a false sense of beach play so that you can bail. You’re gonna bail.

You’ve done it before.

I’m onto you now, mastermind. There will be no sharing of any kind.

I mean for crying out lout, I could be some kind of pedophile. You don’t know me, but there you are leaving your kids in my care and walking away. You think that just because I’ve got a nice face that I’m not crazy. Well … I’m not, but I could be. That’s the point, I could be. You know who else had a nice face … Ted Bundy. Apparently chicks thought he was hot, and we all know what happened there.

So for everyone’s safety you should really dig your own hole. Awesome holes can be dug by almost anybody. So man up, grab your Target shovel, and get to work.

The Guat



Sandbox List Adventure 14: Dynamic Duo, Plus One, Riding The Waves

6 Jul

I guess I’m on a roll. I hadn’t been on a roll in a while … a couple of months. But I’m on it. It felt good to be on a roll … to be rollin … to be keeping the momentum. It makes me think my life is less crappy. It makes me feel less weathered. It lowers my blood pressure. It stops the gray hairs from popping out … at least just for the day. I’ve come to realize that rolls are important and I need to make sure I stay on them as long as possible.

So I was thankful for the beach … again. It provided for another opportunity of growth, another opportunity of life, another stress reliever, another Dynamic Duo Bucket List and Sandbox List Adventure. Another opportunity for my son and I to cross off items from our wish list. And this time … my daughter joined in on the adventure.

In truth I couldn’t believe I hadn’t done it. All this time hanging out like Gidget at the beach and I hadn’t tried it. I couldn’t believe it. It’s really a kid thing, I guess. All you see are these Nickelodeon-XBox loving kids hit the waves. But it’s never too late for an AMC-FX-HBO loving kid to represent the Pippi Longstock Generation on the waves.

So my Body Glove board shorts actually hit the board. The Boogie Board.

And it was awesome, so much so that my son and daughter decided to be awesome too. So we all had our first boogie boarding experience this week and it was better than expected. I had it all: The rush of catching the perfect wave and riding it all the way to shore, the Oh-My-God moment of seeing dolphins swim in the ocean while I was trying to swim too, and the most awesome experience of The Wipeout which allowed me to feel the wrath of the waves.

Sometimes waves don’t like to be ridden, luckily we found a few that didn’t mind it so much. And it didn’t matter that there were only a few … what mattered was that there were some at all and I was able to ride them.

I finally did it. It took me twenty-something years to do it, but I did it, and I was happy to share the moment with my kids. Although they didn’t really enjoy The Wipeouts. They didn’t find them fun at all. Saltwater isn’t too tasty and it burned their eyes. But they still got up and tried again. There we were The Dynamic Duo, plus one, riding the waves.


Testing out the waters before our adventure.

Testing out the waters before our adventure.


A little surprise from the sea just as he starts to paddle off,

A little surprise from the sea just as he starts to paddle off.


His sister learning the ropes.

His sister learning the ropes and definitely enjoying this adventure.

The Mood Changer

27 May

It’s a three-day weekend and for most people this Memorial Day Weekend means a mini-vacation — an escape from yourself and your life. I’m sad to say that I didn’t escape anything or anyone the last three days.

I felt pretty much like a dud stuck in my overcrowded part of the hemisphere. But I couldn’t let myself or my family completely drown in the boredom of staying-in-town–for-the-weekend routine. So I did what any poor writer with financial technical difficulties would do … I had a stay-cation at the beach, appreciated the moments with my kids, and gave thanks to the fallen soldiers from the past. This stay-cation proved to be better than expected.

I have to say, the Pacific Ocean rocked. It’s a total mood changer. But in addition to the beach all activities were accompanied by barbecue.



Touching the Pacific Ocean

Touching the Pacific Ocean. This was the shy beginning … but by the end of the day everyone was jumping waves and needing to use the beach showers to get sand out of everywhere.



A beach trip is not complete without building sandcastles. And everyone was hard at work, but as you can tell I didn't dress my kid. Pink would never have been an option for my daughter. In fact I have no idea how this swimsuit made it. It's a good thing the Pacific Ocean had magical mood changing powers.

A beach trip is not complete without building sandcastles. And everyone was hard at work, but as you can tell I didn’t dress my kid. Pink would never have been an option for my daughter. In fact I have no idea how this swimsuit made it. It’s a good thing the Pacific Ocean had magical mood changing powers.



Snack time was pretty tasty.

Snack time was pretty tasty.



Our tasty side dishes.

Our tasty side dishes.



For the vegetarian side of the family.

Ceviche … for the vegetarian side of the family. I had two helpings with my steak.






Sandbox List Adventure VII: The Price I Pay for Wearing Flip-Flops and Sunscreen During Winter

25 Feb

Now while most people are suffering through cold rainy weather and snow storms with temperatures in the 20s or 30s, here I was in Southern California with a 70-degree day. Sun shining and just the right amount of poofy clouds. I thought … I really need to get out of the house. I’m taking my sunshine for granted. I could be shoveling snow and using all kinds of Chapstick, but instead I have the opportunity to wear flip-flops and use sunscreen.

And so I showed some appreciation. I dragged myself out of bed and gave in to my kids’ break-of-dawn excitement on Sunday morning. Normally I just want to sleep in, you know every parents dream. Sleep in until 9 a.m. without disturbance. But today was not the day for that dream. I woke up just like every other day  …  at 7 a.m. and instead of rolling over and turning on Sunday morning cartoons — the awesome human snooze button for parents trying to savor another thirty minutes of sleep in the morning — I dragged myself out of bed and declared a beach day.

But this beach day would include an adventure to be crossed off the Sandbox List. And in truth it was an adventure for three. It’s been four years (almost two years for my daughter) of summer beach trips, and I couldn’t believe that we hadn’t done this. I’ve always wanted to do that myself and I know my kids thought the idea was pretty awesome. There was sand flying everywhere and getting everywhere. But I took one for the team and they were ecstatic about it. After completing a pretty awesome sandcastle, our biggest one yet, complete with seashell decorations, I ventured into the all-time parent duty: Letting your kids bury you in the sand. Now no matter how tightly I tucked in my shirt, sand seemed to creep its way into various body cracks and breathing passages. But with my kids giggling, smiling, and laughing the grains of sand didn’t seem to bother me as much. It’s the price I pay for the privilege of wearing flip-flops and sunscreen during “winter”. This adventure might have only lasted fifteen minutes, but it was a quality fifteen-minute span. Something I hope they remember enjoying.


It first started with the castle. They had to practice working with sand and placing it in the right spot. I really didn't want to get too much sand in my face.

It first started with the sandcastle. They had to practice working with sand and placing it in the right spot. I really didn’t want to get too much sand in my face.


After completely destroying the castle Project Bury Mom began. They started at the bottom.

After completely destroying the castle Operation Bury Mom began. They started at the bottom.


This where I thought ... well maybe this might not be a great idea. However my son and daughter disagreed, they continued using their green and blue buckets, in addition to their hands and any other sand toys they could find.

This is where I thought … well maybe this might not be a great idea. However my son and daughter disagreed, they continued using their green and blue buckets, dump truck, bulldozer, hands and any other sand toys they could find.


The final step of Operation Bury Mom complete. My son wanted to add seashells, but I told him my face wasn't a good place for decoration. So he added a little bit more sand.

The final step of Operation Bury Mom complete. My son wanted to add seashells, but I told him my face wasn’t a good place for decoration. So he added a little bit more sand.


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.




Labor Day Stay-cation

3 Sep

Every year I tell myself I’m going to be one of those vacationers that escapes on Labor Day Weekend. A traveler that takes an airplane ride, or most likely a drive to an adventurous or laid-back destination, which may possibly lead to a Griswold Family type of vacation, but at least that would be an adventure. I’d like any kind of adventure any destination that’s not the inflatable pool in the patio.

Did this happen?

No. No put your seat backs. No put your tray tables in their full upright position. No securely fastening your seat belts and making sure your carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. No, none of that. But at least no hostile customer service agents. No lost luggage. And no angry passengers because they can’t smoke on the plane. No Griswold Family adventure.

So what did I do instead?

A Labor Day Stay-cation.

Something that required unleaded fuel and a twenty mile radius.

Whenever you’re on a budget and need a vacation, you seek a destination that will bring you a little peace, fun, and relaxation at the same time the beach is the destination for you. It’s a cheap date, that shows you a good time.


Unfortunately the masses crowding the beach also felt like having a stay-cation.

However we were able to find a nice spot.



We built sand castles.



We destroyed sand castles.



We played sports.



We forgot our volleyball so we watched other people play sports too.



We people watched … and then I wondered when the last time was that I laid back and relaxed like this chick right here … reading a book in peace. She looks like she has no gray hair.



So I sat there and looked at the sky for a minute, but only one minute as we needed to do some boogie boarding and pretend surfing with my son.



While pretend surfing with my son,  I noticed this dude paddle-boarding. He looked bad-ass. I added this to my bucket list. But then I heard about some great-white shark encounters with paddle-boarders off the coast of California just recently and thought about it again.


But then I got distracted when this dude came out of the water. My dude laughed at me and said why don’t you just take a picture. So I did. Then surfer hottie dude took off his wet suit. I would have taken a picture but in that moment I forgot how to work the camera … in fact I think I forgot my name.



I got inspired for some reason and we went back to “pretend surfing,” but the waves got too big. Falling down with wet sand everywhere as I was trying to keep my son from giant waves was proof enough that pretend surfing time was over.



It was time to pack it up and leave. Luckily, this time I had some help. Usually I’m the one that looks like a crazy garage sale walking down the beach.


Even without the airplane ride or long drive to far away places, it was a good stay-cation.