Tag Archives: Life

My Three-Year Old’s Definition of Respect and Golf School

3 May

You’re talking and you wonder do they get it? They hear me, but are they listening? That happens often in my family.

But then I think about my son and smile. Sometimes he gets it, he hears me and listens …

My son continues his preschool sabbatical and is currently enjoying the teachings of Coach Jeff at golf school. Last week’s word of the day was sportsmanship. He seemed to learn that one quickly as he gave Coach Jeff a high-five and said: “Good game, Coach Jeff.”

This week’s word of the day was respect. He got the ten minute speech at the beginning of class. Coach Jeff  defined the word and explained that you should treat others as you would like to be treated.

Then my son whispers to me: “Mom, what’s treated?”

“It’s your behavior with other people. How you act. Your attitude. Remember good attitude. Good behavior to other people and people will have good behavior to you. Be nice to other people and they will be nice to you. Listen to other people and they will listen to you. Good attitude to Coach Jeff and your teammates, and they will show you good attitude.”

“Oh. Yes. Good attitude. Good behavior. Listen. I treat people, and they will treat me. I behave good, they behave good to me too. Respect.”

“Yes. Always show respect.” 

He smiled and we were off to the driving range. Each kid went to their stall and began swinging away.  They were reminded how to properly hold the club and how to follow through on their swing. My son improved his grip  … well at least for a second, and then he went back to a hockey-style swing, and then back to his golf grip again. It’s a learning process and he enjoys class. He’s smacking them pretty good and I was pretty proud of him.

Then after he finished half the bucket of balls he took a quick two-minute-Goldfish-crackers-and-Gatorade break. As he stood there checking out his classmates swing away. He noticed a couple of boys weren’t really into the driving range thing. They are off jumping like frogs, checking out the grass, or rolling around in their stalls. 

Then one of the kids who was hanging out in the grassy knoll, pretending he was a butterfly picked up a ball and threw it at one of the kids attempting to put Coach Jeff’s teachings in effect. Poor Jay. He had the right grip and the right posture, just as he turned his little three-year old body to begin his swing, in came a flying golf ball and hit him on the cheek.

Coach Jeff was on the other side helping out other kids so he didn’t witness the incident. But butterfly boy’s dad was there, and so was Jay’s.  The dad’s had a little pow-wow about the incident and Jay sat out a little bit until the pain subsided.

“That was not nice, mom. He did not treat Jay. That was not respect. I think he will be in timeout.”

I don’t have to wonder whether my son”gets it”. He hears me and listens. Perhaps when he’s in middle school I’ll begin to worry, but for now he continues to learn lessons.

I’ve Gone From Warrior to Tinman

2 May

After much searching I’ve found it. Something to bring me out of my Warrior Dash Withdrawal Funk. I mentioned it last month and now I’ve gone and did it. Another athletic adventure awaits me. I officially signed up. There’s no more thinking about it.

I wasn’t sure what else I could do to top my last adventure, because after all what can top the race with mud, sweat, obstacles, fire, and beer?

But the athlete in me needed a challenge. I couldn’t workout without any motivation, especially if it involved running. As I mentioned before, running without purpose is not for me. You know, running just for running sake? No, I need to be training for something … a race, or running away from a crazy criminal. So in an effort to remain semi-athletic, I searched for anything adventurous out there within the near future. Something out there for my Guat body to build up to, something needing glucosamine … and then I ran across this little triathlon. The Tinman.

Image via Durtbagz.com

I did it about six years ago, but I think I had more than two months back then to train … four months, no kids, and eight hours of sleep a night. Now … well now I’ve got gray hair, stress, and two extra human beings that need constant attention twenty hours a day. Well, my three-year old not so much. He sleeps at night. My ninth-month old, she extends my mom-shift well into the darkness of night and early morning. I work double shifts. I need a raise.

But regardless of my domestic engineering-motherly duties I’ve said it. It’s out in the open. Now that it’s out there in the blogosphere I must commit. The countdown is on. I got the bike out of storage, I washed my New Balance shoes, and I’m on a mission to find a urine free pool.

No obstacles this time, but there’s still a chance I could fall. It happens even when I walk. My only concern now, other than gravity working its magic, is velocity. How hard and fast can I fall from a bike? Fast enough that it would probably require an ambulance I imagine. But even with a helmet? Yeah, I’m sure it’ll hurt. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I just need to be careful when going downhill. Maybe I’ll watch footage of the Tour de France or maybe I’ll watch Breaking Away again. Maybe I just need to get my ass on the bike and practice going down hills. Gotta cowboy up!

Either way The Guat is in training now. I’ve gone from Warrior to Tinman. I think Warrior sounds better. Nevertheless here I come. Giddy up!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

1 May

Together

 

Together … Drinking and driving suck.

Together the drunk driver and his car crashed into my car and plowed me into the center divider.

Together the glass, the steering wheel, and the walnut dash made an impact on my face, arms, and knees.

Keeping it together was pretty difficult as my blood oozed everywhere and the other driver walked out of his car unscathed.

Together the ideas swirling in my head said I should get out of the car and smash the bottle over his drunk-driving head, but the paramedics didn’t think it was a good idea.

Crushed together were all the parts of my 1967 white Mercedes Benz 300 SE.

Together both of my parents freaked out as they drove home from the airport and recognized what was left of my car being hauled away.

However, thanks to the awesome German Mercedes Benz engineers and makers of my car, all my body parts remained together and still functioned as a unit.

Together.

Happy Belated Birthday

30 Apr

So you leave a message and they don’t call you back.

After months and months of unanswered messages you finally get the hint … you get the He’s-Just-Not-That-Into-You vibe. But it’s not your dude. It’s your long-time friend. The one that knew you when you were obsessed with Enrique Iglesias and the one who helped you get dressed on your wedding day.

You think it’s o.k. … they’re busy, they have a life outside the home. You get it. You don’t want to be a Single White Female stalker friend, so your calling frequency lessens.

Then her birthday comes up. You don’t leave her an artificial Happy Birthday message on Facebook along with 300 other friends. You don’t text her “Happy Bday”, because she deserves all the letters to be spelled out in that phrase. You don’t send an email, because she’s better than a type-written message sent in cyberspace. She’s worth real space. So you actually call  to talk to her.

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have her number programmed in your cell phone, so all you do is scroll down the list and press send. The phone does it for you. No need to hand dial.

It rings, but you get the machine. So you leave a heartfelt message.

It’s been so long since you spoke that she changed her outgoing message. It’s no longer her voice, but the standard-robotic-chick-answering machine voice.

You wait for the beep.

You leave a heartfelt message about how you know you haven’t talked in a while, but that you often think of her and miss your friendship. You hope she is doing well at work and with her family. You hope that she has a fantastic night with her new awesome fiance and you’re excited that she’s celebrating with a dude that loves and appreciates her. You’re glad that her birthday wish came early and hope that she had a blast in whatever she did that day. You hope to see her soon and wish her well at work, at school, and with her dude.

You think maybe she’ll call you back. At least she’ll send you an email letting you know that she got your message.

But after a couple of days you don’t hear from her. You think, she must be on vacation. Probably whisked away to Paris in a romantic week to celebrate her birthday. You hope she brings you some cheese.

But no … no trip to Europe. She’s been at home, probably busy with work, with her dissertation, and with her dude. 

Sigh … it’s happened. She broke up with me and I didn’t even know it.

This has happened to me before. Once my close friends get girlfriends or boyfriends I usually get dumped. No more chick-flick dates to see Nicholas Sparks‘s books that have become movies, and no more phone calls just to say hi.

So that was it … until I got the phone call.

Another friend had called me. She wanted to say hi and see how I was doing and we chatted up a bit. And then she laughed.

“Oh yeah … I also got your message the other day. But it wasn’t my birthday. My birthday is not until October. And I didn’t get engaged.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You left me a really nice happy birthday message on my answering machine, but it wasn’t my birthday.”

Dude.

Apparently I have to look more closely when scrolling down my cell phone contact list. 

So in honor of my friend I wanted to wish her a Happy Belated Birthday.  Not actually belated because I remembered and called her and left her a great message, but yes belated because I called the wrong person.

 

 

Color Cash and Dad, Jalopy Junction and Son

29 Apr

It produces both laughter and screaming: The Kamikaze, The Sand Blaster, The Mega Wheel, The Spinning Cups, and The Water Gun Game.

Church Carnival

Every year the Catholic folk down at my church organize a big spring carnival with kiddy rides, adult rides, and games. Popcorn, cotton candy, live entertainment, food booths, alcoholic beverages, and throwing ping-pong balls into bowls of water. This is what we looked forward to every year.

It was tradition in our family to attend the festival. My parents, uncles and cousins always attended the little fair. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the family gathering.

But since my dad’s passing and the kids getting older, the family crowd has gotten smaller and smaller.  Party of four today. It got me thinking about my dad and the entire family celebrating. I remember my dad coming home, cash in his pocket and ready for us to hang out. But it wasn’t so much the carnival rides. He wasn’t big on rickety pieces of metal spinning you in circles at high speeds. His favorite part was the games.

Roll-A-Ball Game

There’s nothing like the rush of a water pistol in your hand ready to squirt the clown face in hopes that your cartoon character makes it to the top first, or the small ball in your hand during the Roll-A-Ball game where your train or horse tries to get to the finish line first every time you roll the ball.

You want to hear the DINGGGGGGG! You want to look up and see your number light up. That’s what made him smile.

Color Cash

But his favorite game happen to be Color Cash. As I walked passed it, I remembered my dad laughing in excitement as he tried to will the spinning soccer ball to land on the color he bet to win. The whole family tried to will the ball. It unleashed excitement. He would spend most of the night on this game of chance. Losing forty, maybe fifty bucks. Winning fifteen or twenty. He said it evened out in the end. He helped the church and had a good time in the process. The whole family did.

Color Cash drew out all kinds to the betting table: fathers, teachers, single moms, rocker chicks, grandmothers, biker dudes, nuns, and baseball-cap- wearing-sports enthusiasts. They would eventually high-five each other during wins. Complete strangers bonded by a soccer ball and colors. It was good to see my dad smile.

So in between the popcorn smell and barbecue aroma of the food booths, I got a little sad thinking about my dad. I wished he was there, playing Color Cash and betting five dollars on green, or red, or white, or yellow.

Jalopy Junction

Then I looked at my son.

Nothing like the Jalopy Junction, merry-go-rounds, and a squirt gun race to make your day, and your son’s.

Sometimes It’s Better When Someone Else Does It

28 Apr

So there I was … one-hundred and thirty-two hours later and a sandwich in my hand.

As a parent, the end of the week hits hard, and by dinner time on Saturday night I’m exhausted. People with two full-time jobs understand what I’m talking about. The week sucked up my patience and my awesome culinary skills. When I was single it was take-out night. Thai food. When I was in college it was Cup-O-Noodles night. But seeing how I have a three-year old Pad Prik King, Pad Thai, or Cup-O-Noodles may not be great ideas.

So it was pasta for my three-year old kid, sweet potatoes for the baby … and for me … well I had to wait until after their bed time to eat. At nine o’clock at night I didn’t much feel like cooking up a storm and leftovers, well I wasn’t feeling them. So I turned to my deli meats.

Club Sandwich @ The Sandwich Box

Club Sandwich (Photo credit: SocialMediarts.com)

I sat there on the couch eating a sandwich. I always pride myself in what ever I make. Even my sandwiches are pretty tasty. Got the turkey, mortadella, ham, havarti cheese, avocado, deli mustard, etc… But something was missing.

It looked good. It tasted good. But still something was missing … 

Someone else didn’t make it for me. 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but sandwiches always seem to taste better when someone else makes them for you. I don’t know if it’s because my dad was an awesome sandwich maker, or I enjoyed club sandwiches at delis, but something is always tastier when the sandwich is made for you.

Maybe it’s the way they spread the deli mustard, or cut the tomatoes. Maybe it’s the way they leave the french bread in the toaster oven five minutes instead of four. Maybe it’s the Vlasic pickles. Maybe it’s because it’s accompanied by those awesome deli potato chips — the Kettle Chips and not your kid’s Goldfish Crackers.

I don’t know what it is, but it happens. It’s tastier.

But I was hungry, so I had to make do with my pickle-less sandwich and Goldfish Crackers.  

 

 

Remember … You Survived Lightning

27 Apr

Just when I think things are going well, a setback occurs.

Frustration and anger consume me. But then I remembered a story I read about some tree. I know … a tree, right? But Dale Carnegie wrote it in one of his books or essays and it stuck with me. I often think about it when things don’t turn out the way I planned, which happens often if you want to know the truth.

Oak tree on the top of Ladakalnis

Oak tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The story was about some powerful oak tree, and how year after year of crazy storm weather it remained standing. Through snow storms and practically tornado-like weather, it remained steady… and unmoved. It probably didn’t live in California, it was more like a Midwest tree, I guess. They tend to have tornado-like situations.

In any case, it was tested again when it was struck by lightning. Lightning … not only was it struck by this suck-ass powerful atmospheric electrical discharge, but it probably got the crap scared out of it with the thunder that followed.  It may have lost some leaves and a couple of branches. It was left scarred, making it susceptible to environmental stress. Yeah environments can get stressed out too. But it remained strong and continued to thrive.

But one summer, something smaller than a fingernail got the best of the mighty oak. Termites. Pinche termites. One by one they infested the tree, gnawing at it, picking at it, crawling little by little deep into the trunk. Bit by bit the termite soldiers devoured the tree.

I thought, what the hell kind of crazy tree story is that?

But then Carnegie went off to say that many of us are like the tree, we survive the big blows in life, but it’s the little things that eventually get to us and destroy us. The little things that accumulate and add up and eventually consume us.

So after my little disaster, I thought about the oak tree and its story …  I didn’t want to be the dumbass that survived the lightning strike and then got eaten by termites. Remember you survived lightning! Metaphorically speaking, of course. So I fumigated myself and left the little setback in the past. No need for any more environmental stress.

 

Tarzan’s Wife and Brownies

26 Apr

 I haven’t really had good neighbors since we left “La Vecindad”.

This is the place where I grew up. The apartment building with nine units, nine families and everybody knew everybody. It was a community. Except for the people in apartment #1. That was sort of the transition apartment, where people usually lived about a year and then moved on to different places.

We had parties and everyone came out and celebrated. Some brought pozole, some rice and beans, and others blasted the cumbia music with their Sanyo Speakers. Everyone brought out their vinyl kitchen chairs and we enjoyed the festivities until the late night.

Nowadays, I can’t even ask people for salt.

In the past seven years I’ve moved four times, and nothing has been like La Vecindad family. Everyone keeps to themselves. Some people say hi to you one day and then completely ignore you the next. Others just give you the nod and then there are some who are just stuck up. 

So with my previous experiences, this current little visit from my parents’ neighbor surprised me. As you may know I am temporarily staying at my parents house and they have a couple of neighbors that fit every mold.

They have the dog-walking people who like you because you also have dog, and often strike up conversation about how well your dog looks for her age.

Then you have the older ladies, that often look out their window like they’re the captains of the Neighborhood Watch. They wake up at five o’clock in the morning and sweep their empty drive way, or pick up the one leaf that fell on the floor.

They also have the weed-smoking people who blame the smell on the rocker chick with the two cats, but it’s probably the seventy-year old couple with glaucoma.

They are all pretty neighborly, I guess.

But this neighbor … this one can borrow salt any time.  

I heard a knock at the door and didn’t really know who it was, I mean the UPS chick had already stopped by, and the Sparkletts dude didn’t come by until tomorrow. I just saw some lady with blond hair through the peep-hole.

I opened the door. It was Tarzan‘s wife. Yeah Tarzan. My parents happen to be neighbors with some dude that used to play Tarzan in some of those old movies back in the 60s. He was pretty well-known, I guess. I never knew my parents knew Tarzan.

Anyhow, his wife happen to stop by because she wanted to ask me a question.

Do you like chocolate?

Do I like chocolate! She hasn’t known me that long.

As I smiled and said of course, she showed me the large Ziploc bag that she had at her side. It was filled with bite-sized brownies — The Petite Brownie Bites from Costco.

Image via Sugarbowlbakery.com

Ohhhhhhhh.

Have you ever had these? They are awesome. They are from something called Sugar Bowl Bakery and if you like chocolate you know what I’m talking about.

She bought a Costco-sized box and said that if she didn’t give any away she might eat the whole tub herself.

What’s wrong with that, right?

I mean I’ve done it before. Just walk it off the next day.

But apparently she did not think having the entire tub of brownies in her house was a good idea, so she was wondering if I wanted the dozen that she had in the bag. She tried to encourage me by suggesting that I could give some to my son.

I didn’t need any encouragement. 

I ate the whole bag while watching Person of Interest. It’s an hour-long drama. I was done half-way through the show. I couldn’t help myself.

Tarzan’s wife rocks. She’d be fine in La Vecindad.

Advil to the Rescue

25 Apr

Migraine: Throbbing pain radiating throughout every molecule in my head. I don’t even know if I have molecules there, but if I did they’d be hurting right now.

But I forge on…

Bathtime: Two kids, two plastic boats, one mini scuba diver, three squishy whales, one squishy seahorse, one plastic dolphin, one water blaster, one washcloth, one froggy body scrubber, one bottle of Aveeno bathtime suds, and multiple episodes of splashing.

Aching pain deep down in my skull … down to my cranium and mandible. They’re failing to protect my brain at the moment.

Bedtime: One bottle of milk, two blankets, three pillows, three books, ten “it’s time to go to sleep now,” six “it’s time to relax,” fourteen “keep your eyes closed,” three “take a deep breath”,  two “if you don’t go to sleep right now, no playing with fire trucks tomorrow.”

My eyeballs … my iris, my pupils, my corneas, my lens, and my optic nerves. They are all in pain. They are not helping me see right now.

Clean up time: One pot, three pans, one blender, seven plates, four bowls, four forks, eight spoons, two knives, three spatulas, two baby bottles and all their parts. One bottle of Dawn.

Pain pulsating even to my neck and up to my hair follicles. Hair. It’s so bad my hair hurts.

Image via Advil.com

Night time: One glass of water, one couch, one television remote control that works, relaxing in the dark, and two Advil Migraine Liquid-Filled Capsules  … Priceless.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

24 Apr

The Sun

The Sun

A huge ball of hot, glowing gasses raging at 10,000 degrees Farenheit.

The Sun … awesome for long days at the beach and picnics at the park.

The Sun … sucks because it gives you sunburns, wrinkles, sun spots, and skin cancer.

The Sun … great for tailgates and football games.

The Sun … sucks as the sweat and humidity sticks to your non-cotton shirt and your ice cream melts.

The Sun … great for softball and baseball games at the park.

The Sun … sucks when it blinds you as you miss catching a fly ball in center field.

The Sun … awesome because of the invention of stylish bucket hats, sun glasses and the smell of cocoa butter from Coppertone on your skin.

The Sun … sucks when it’s 103 degrees, your makeup is melting, you’re stuck in grid-lock traffic on the 5 freeway, your air conditioning doesn’t work, and the only window that rolls down is on the passenger’s side.

The Sun.