Tag Archives: personal

I Don’t Wear A CatWoman Suit But I Was Inspired

5 Jun

When you see a friend reaching for it, you really hope they hit their mark.

You’ve seen their hard work and witnessed their dedication and you know they deserve it, so as one of their fans you’re pulling for them. You’re hoping that opportunity meets luck and the universe rewards them.

Sometimes it ends up being a learning experience, other times it’s a stepping stone closer to the bigger dream, and sometimes it’s a homerun and you leave feeling inspired. One of my friends received an award for her awesome duties as principal, another for providing medical services to young children, and another for her volunteer work with kids and bringing arts programs to school. They got their plaque and sort of reached a peak, or mini-milestone, in their career, and I was happy for them. High-five happy.

But something recently happened that not only left me high-five happy but also inspired. As a creative person I constantly root for other artists to make it out there. I love the underdog stories of how luck and hard work meet and then the universe sprinkles out an opportunity that changes lives.

I root for artists in a different way just because I know the struggle first hand, so when there was an opening on the road to success and dreams coming true, I was happy to have been in the audience witnessing it happen.

You see, I recently attended one of my friend’s debuts at a small venue, where she filled the place with her magnitude and rockstar attitude. She had a presence about her, so I knew she had it in her, but I was still wowed by her performance.

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My buddy Lo Thompson setting up for the next song

It was a well-deserved night out, but more than that, it was an opportunity to be inspired by a buddy chasing her dreams and leaving it all out on the stage. We were all consumed with her energy and left feeling … who wassssssssssss that?! We all knew her … she was one of the moms at school, picking up her kid and just running around trying to keep it together, just like the rest of us.

But she wasn’t like the rest of us … She was Lo Thompson and she was rocking the stage that night I saw her in her element and it felt good to see someone I knew get a win.

She definitely came out there and made her mark. And as I was seeing her dream unfold I wanted to bottle up that emotion of pride and happiness I felt for her. She was doing it and bringing down the house while it was happening and it felt great to share that experience with her.

While she was living her dream one night at a time, getting closer to the Bigger Picture, and enjoying the moment, I found myself inspired. Creatives inspiring other creatives, that makes me happy, feeling like it can happen. Big or small, it can happen. Now I won’t be wearing an awesome Catwoman type of suit when I hit my mark, but I was inspired and I’ll probably be feeling as badass as Catwoman.

 

Buen Camino my friends. And incidentally if you enjoy rock music you should check her out.

 

 

 

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I Wish I Had Lost My Keys Instead …

4 Mar

It seemed like such a big deal at the time. Anxiety building and blood pressure probably rising, getting mad at a pair of shoes because they happened to be in my line of vision.

I was in a rush. I was frustrated, and irritated, and damning everything, and slamming everything in an effort just to find them.

I was in rush to go somewhere, probably being a taxi service to my kids for some event and the loss of my keys was stressing me out, transforming me into The Hulk. For nine minutes I frantically searched and finally found them underneath the couch cushions of course.

Relief set in just as the anxiety escaped.

It felt like a big deal at the time  — being late– as if it said something bad about me, as if it was a pattern in my life, as if the people we were meeting  or the place I needed to be at wouldn’t have cut me some slack. But the thing is now as I’m thinking about it I can’t even remember what is was for, I can’t remember the importance of it at all.

But it felt big.

Until last week, when I actually lost a friendship, not to sickness or anything tragic like that. Just lost them to the hustle of life.They had caught  me on the blindside and I wasn’t prepared. How could I be? I know I had briefly mentioned it the other day but didn’t go into heavy detail.

I had called to catch up and I was genuinely interested in hanging out, but the reconnect wasn’t there. Felt like I was on an awkward first date on a failed Love Connection. The distance was present which made me a little sad because I valued our closeness, I valued our friendship and loyalty but it just wasn’t there anymore. We had fallen into acquaintanceship. We said our good-byes, gave each other our hugs, mine was whole the other felt like half, and then they said …

“I’ll call you later.”

At that moment I so wished I had lost my keys instead.

They had good intentions, but I knew they didn’t mean it, it was just something they said.

I know people grow out of friendships and that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. I know,  I just wished there was more sometimes and that people cared as much as I did.  But sometimes life happens and priorities shift and we’re all just trying to find our balance. Not to say that I don’t have friends that I haven’t seen for a while and when we get together the reconnect is instantaneous. I do and I love them, but losing a buddy to acquaintanceship is still hard. I wasn’t devasted but still just a little sad. Burned. Luckily Ben & Jerry’s can always help fix that.

 

 

Bucket List in The Kitchen

4 Jan

I’m not gonna lie. The expectations were big.

I mean having tasted the best of the best while growing up I knew it was going to be a big challenge. I was going up against years and years of Dona Irma’s and Dona Maria’s expertise where measurements and timers weren’t needed. It was all done through smell and taste. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be an epic kitchen fail or a Guat success.

I didn’t have the magic of the senses, not with this dish and I was worried.

But let me tell you … I’m so glad I took on this challenge. My taste buds are still high-fiving me.

Pozole.

It’s my all-time favorite comfort food and I’ve never attempted to make it because the deliciousness contained in that ginormous soup pot seemed to be too big. With the pork shoulder and baby back ribs creating a rich broth, followed by the spicy kick of the Chile Guajillo and Chile Ancho peppers I was making Guat culinary history.

It looked right. It smelled right and as I took the first sip it definitely felt right. I closed my eyes and let the broth and hominy sit in my mouth. I just wanted to taste it, and it took me back to La Vecindad – the old neighborhood – where potlucks and block parties where the norm and where Dona Irma and Dona Maria would create huge pots of this tasty stew.

Now it might not have been of Dona Irma and Dona Maria caliber, but it sure was in the same arena. They would have been proud of me.

The fact that the one spoonful took me back, definitely means it was a success.

And it was right there and then that I realized I had done something else, something other than creating one of my childhood favorite dishes. It occurred to me that I had just checked something off my Bucket List.

 

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This was my prize.

 

That was a win-win for me. I rode that cloud nine for a couple of days. Something I thought was nearly impossible proved to be within my reach and what was even better was that the whole family was there to enjoy it as well.

If there was any doubt to the tastiness of my stew, it was soon dismissed. The pozole was gone in three days. But I still have a smile.

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‘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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Finding Your Definition

23 Jul
:)

🙂

I’ve had a lot nothing in my life, and at first it used to burn me out. But as I got older I learned that in fact I did have some things, not everything. But just enough.

And that just enough, helped push me to try harder and to keep going. Having just enough made me realize that I would be missing things in life at different stages of my life. Bad things would happen and I just happen to be the person they’d be happening to, just the way life panned out. And I don’t know if I had patience, but I did have humor, and even when cried I eventually found a way to make laughter part of my healing process or solution.

As I grew up I kept getting more somethings in life. I never really had everything, but I’ve come to realize that I was given just enough. Health, heart, spirit, college, friendships, jobs, even love somewhere in between. It was never the complete package as sometimes health, family, love, money, and career would have more downs than ups.

But what I might have lacked in certain areas of life, I made up for in others. I was like Rudy that way, he was small and had a lot of obstacles trying to play for Notre Dame, but damn did he have heart and determination. He had that underdog spirit where possibilities didn’t have an expiration date. He just kept going and when he got there, when he got his everything, he was not only happy, but grateful.

That’s the underdog.

That’s Rudy.

I’ve learned that that’s probably me too. That’s my definition. The underdog mentality, it’s based on gratitude. And although it’s hard to find when life is beating the crap out of you, it changes your perspective and definitely makes a difference. So whether you’ve got close to nothing, or everything, I hope gratitude finds its way to you. I hope you’ve found your definition.

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The End of 1st and My Mom Moment

8 Jun

365 days … just like that.

Well not just like that, I felt every one of those days, from 7 a.m to 9 p.m. I felt them. Some were great, others needed to end with Ben & Jerry’s and some deep meditation. But I’ve got to say as the school-year came to a close I was a little sad to see it go.

Happy, proud, and sad.

It’s a mini milestone for your kid to finish a grade, but as a parent, it also reminds you that your kid is growing up, and this reminds you what everybody over 50 told you about their kids.

“It goes by so fast.”

I kept hearing that over and over in my head as I took my son to his last day of school last week. I didn’t get emotional or anything, it just kind of hit me as I sat there with my kids in the car. So I tried to absorb it the best I could, remembering that Our House by Madness was playing on the radio, remembering that I packed him a peanut butter and banana sandwich along with a Capri Sun, and remembering that I gave him the last pep talk of first grade.

“Everyday and every way, you got this.”

“Yeah I got this!”

“Because what you’ve got…”

“Is enough!”

“Clear eyes, full hearts …”

“Can’t lose.”

My son and his buddy.

My son and his buddy.

I gave him a hug and told him to let his awesome out. He smiled at me and went inside the gate. I stood there a little longer than usual that morning watching him walk across campus with his friend, while all the other moms stood there with their cups of coffee gossiping about some PTA meeting the week before. I just watched and then smiled as he turned around and waved good-bye. I thought … I’m probably gonna need to get him some new shoes. I waited until he got to the oak tree before walking back to the car. I got to the car feeling a little different.

And then I realized.

I was having a mom-moment. A grown-up moment.

It’s just first grade, it’s not high school graduation, but I imagine that’s just around the corner. I think that’s why I paused. I wanted to be able to remember him this way if it was going to go so fast.

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A-HA! … The Stumbler Blew Me Away

8 May

They sneak up on you when you’re not looking. They blow your mind. And I love that!

They’re like power surges that give you the extra boost to make that cosmic shift or they realign your perspective. And the moment stops you and you zone out the chaos of the Nickelodeon population you are in charge of and you sit there and go … A-ha!

Yup.

I had me one of those today.

I had an A-ha moment.

Sometimes I find them in movies, television, books, Super Soul Sunday Moments with my girls or hanging with my kids. They’re random and never planned, but they hit me when I need it. And I share an unlimited amount of gratitude with the universe for placing it in my path.

Today’s mind-blowing thought came from my blogging buddy Jackie Cangro who posted one her awesome Friday Fives posts. Jackie does this from time to time … she puts something up there that’s of particular interest to her and just like that! There’s a power shift and I get all Zen.

Today Jackie introduced me to The Moral Bucket List by David Brooks and I rediscovered the concept of Eulogy Virtues and Resume Virtues. As Brooks explains, eulogy virtues are the qualities people talk about at your funeral, the resume ones are the skills you bring to the work force.

I’d been introduced to them before, but like everyone else things get put on hold while you’re trying to catch up with life. But I was reminded that while I’m chasing my dreams and “external achievements” I’ve got to remember to keep my sense of “unfakeable inner virtue” in this career-driven bubble. I may not be there yet in terms of achievement, but I’ve got “unfakeable inner virute” and that’s a big part of my character and a promising quality to keep cultivating with what Brooks calls moral and spiritual accomplishments … A.K.A. The Moral Bucket List, which he fully described and proceeded to wow me. It was a whole another level. My favorite point, the one that hit home the most, was the stumbler philosophy …

The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be …

Duuuuuuuuuude that’s when my mind was blown. The Stumbler.

Jackie you rock.

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Bring Some Zest To Your Mondays…Or Anyday

4 May
;)

😉

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For The Love of Books

20 Apr

Every year we venture off to explore the multitude of books and literary culture at the Festival of Books, and we come home inspired by the stories of Jedis, Batman, Wonder Woman, Frozen Princesses, and regular toddlers and zoo animals out there to save the world.

It’s a great trip, but also a marathon of events for parents, which can definitely wear you out by noon. Everything that is fun for kids and has a massive crowd tends to wear me out. And if meltdowns happen the adventure proves to be even more challenging.

Every year I wish for no meltdowns and I come prepared with Go-Gurt … you know one for snack time and lunch, and plenty of Ritz crackers, sandwiches, granola bars, pretzels, cheese sticks, and juice boxes. But for some reason some inciting incident happens and it burns somebody out.

However I’m happy to report that this weekend was meltdown free!

Oh! For the love of books! Having a smooth day felt pretty great. I felt like a successful parent.

Here’s our adventure.

We scoped out the scene and the kids took the lead. They scouted for the children book tents and found them right away.

We scoped out the scene and the kids took the lead. They scouted for the children book tents and found them right away.

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As we walked passed a few tents we noticed the WriteBrain tents, where storytelling is born.

As we walked passed a few tents we noticed the WriteBrain tents, where storytelling is born.

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My son found his creative side.

My son found his creative side.

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After writing his story, he was called on to read his masterpiece. I loved the ending when the evil jellyfish drowned.

After writing his story, he was called on to read his masterpiece. I loved the ending when the evil jellyfish drowned. My daughter’s story involved a SuperGirl who saved the day from a bully who threw paper airplanes on the school bus.

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Then we headed off to the dreamer section where my kids decided to write down their favorite travel destination, my daughter chose the moon.

Then we headed off to the dreamer section where my kids decided to write down their favorite travel destination, my daughter chose the moon.

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We then headed to the main event, where Batman read Skyscraper Showdown.

We then headed to the main event, where Batman read Skyscraper Showdown.

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At the end he was able to meet the author and gave me his best Justice League pose.

At the end he was able to meet the author and practice his best Justice League pose for the picture.

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While waiting for the next reading, we were treated to some awesome Ballet Folklorico dance moves.

While waiting for the next reading, we were treated to some awesome Ballet Folklorico dance moves. I was inspired to let me inner La Chona out.

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After all the Batman action and dancing, we raced back to the children's area to see if we could still catch the person responsible for one of my son's favorite series...Captain Underpants. It was the longest line ever, but it was worth the wait as Dav Pilkey signed and created a sketch in his book.

After all the Batman action and dancing, we raced back to the children’s area to see if we could still catch the person responsible for one of my son’s favorite series…Captain Underpants. It was the longest line ever, but it was worth the wait as Dav Pilkey signed and created a sketch for my son’s book.

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At the end of the day we picked up some free swag and I've got to say out of all the highlights of the day, getting a bag with this written on it was great. I was reminded to be better.

At the end of the day we bought some exciting books and picked up some free swag, and I’ve got to say out of all the highlights of the day, getting a bag with this written on it was high on the list. I was reminded to be better. Hanging out with books all day will do that to you.

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Coming Off The Bench

6 Apr

I forgot … I had completely forgot … but the Duke Freshmen made me remember.

After watching the intensity of the Duke Blue Devils and Wisconsin Badgers battle it out during the Championship Game I was reminded of something. I was reminded of The Madness!

Yes the Blue Devils were crowned kings of The Big Dance, yes they earned it, yes Coach K — a basketball genius — won his fifth title, yes that all happened. Yes. But there was something else.

The Blue Devils were in trouble, down by nine, their big man on the bench,the loss of momentum continuing to go down the drain, I had no idea if my team would make it. Didn’t know how it would turn out. Felt it slipping.

And then that’s when it happened.

Freshmen Allen and Jones, came off the bench and had Gatorade-Commercial worthy moments.

They didn’t come in just to fill time.

They came in to make a difference. They came in with hustle. They came in with heart. They came with guts. They came in  fearless. They came in to contribute and make things better. They came in with 100%.

And that’s what you do when you come off the bench.

And it hit me.

Dude I need to have some come-off-the-bench moments.

Sometimes during the month I let things get to me. I forget about my Deepak-Chopra-Zen-like status. I let the distance of my quest bog me down a bit. I let pint-size people affect my gallon-size heart. I let time escape me. I forget about the importance of it. I forget my place.

Sometimes I forget that I need to come off the bench.

So watching Duke’s Allen and Jones reminded me of that. March Madness gave me something a little extra this year.

Come off the bench people … the rewards are worth it.