Tag Archives: postaday challenge

An Interesting Mix on the 4th

4 Jul





Classic cars.

Drag racing cars.

15 jumpers in the Kid Zone.

Massive amounts of kids with dirty feet.

My kid wore socks.

Two Hot Dogs.

One green cowboy balloon.

One Chocolate Fudge Brownie — just one.

One glow-in-the-dark wand.

A tribute band to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.

One really enthusiastic fan dancing to his own beat.

One green cowboy balloon pops.

Buy one more green cowboy balloon.

One white bucket hat — lost.

The Star Spangled Banner.

Sad about the lost white bucket hat.

Massive amount of fireworks.

Two kids witnessing their first fireworks spectacular. No blinking.


Massive traffic jam in the parking structure. Hostile drivers at a standstill.

Jack Johnson on the radio.

Two kids sound asleep in the back.

Who would’ve thought that celebrating the Fourth of July would include so much diversity.

Happy 4th of July 🙂


Woo-Hoo For Happy Accidents

25 May

Inspiration. It hits you when you least expect it. 

I often find it in many of my rock-bottom moments. I live by the Lero-Lero Factor, so I most definitely find it when people tell me it can’t be done. But the other day, I found it in the simple sentences on the computer screen.

TBM and the 50 Year Project they’re undergoing sort of lit a fire under my ass. I came across the blog this week and that sort of coincided with my Happiness Project Debut. Serendipitous moment indeed.

I’ve always liked that word. Serendipity. The accidental discovery of something pleasant. In my experience accidents are never pleasant, but on the rare occasion that it does happen–that one time, that one percent out of ninety-nine– I think to myself … you need a great word to describe something like this and that’s probably the reason why the word was invented. It’s one of the great ones.

Anyhow as I came across TBM’s About Page I saw it: “… refocus my negative energy into positive thoughts and inspiration.”

I thought yeah! I need me some of that. Everyone in life has got issues, I’ve got plenty, but I don’t really voice them in the blog. I try to find humor in daily blowouts, successes, and unbearable situations. Humor is what gets me through most of the time.  But  sometimes comedy is hard. So I thought I would combine it with my own Happiness Project, and when I read TBM’s blog I thought wow. I need to do this STAT!

So I’m launching it this weekend. The Summer of The Guat.

But let me back track. I know some people are probably thinking: What the hell is a Happiness Project. I wrote about it briefly a couple of weeks ago when I got an email about books on happiness. And I thought to myself: What the hell? Can they see my suck-ass-jump-off-a-cliff days through these fiber optic wires on the Toshiba  computer’s camera-less screen? Is that why I got the list of these books?


Image via Amazon.com

To be fair, I had heard of  Gretchen Rubin, the author of  The Happiness Project, before I got the email. I came across her book while I was hanging at Barnes & Nobles. Yeah I hang at book stores from time to time.

It chronicles a year in her life and her quest at finding happiness or how to be happier in her current life. It’s like Elizabeth Gilbert‘s Eat, Pray, Love without traveling across the world. It’s trying to find happiness in your own everyday crazy hectic life while living in a small apartment in a big city. Although I loved Gilbert’s book, I sure as hell didn’t have money to travel to three countries in one year.

So this week is the “getting started” phase. Just as TBM narrowed her list to thoroughly enjoying: traveling, reading, and watching movies (something I think is truly awesome) I must come up with my own list of what makes me feel good, gives me joy, energy and fun? What makes me feel right?

Although I will be making my own list, TBM’s top three definitely make it to the getting started phase of my Happiness Project. So I’m off in deep thought and in deep comedy to launch the project. Hope you enjoy what’s to come.

Giddy up!

La Vecindad, Duct Tape, and Our Own Water Slide

23 May

The heat. It brings out the humidity in your hair, the sweat from your pores, and the inflatable pool your kid has been asking about. Well, that is unless you have a house with a regular pool and aren’t a starving writer like myself.

In any case it’s pool time, and while I was filling up the pool with hot air I started thinking about my own inflatable pool growing up. Yeah the nonexistent one. My parents believed in the beach or your bathtub. No in between. But luckily I lived in La Vecindad.

Photo via gadgetrivia.com

La Vecindad  was a Latino populated nine unit building in the inner city. A community — an extended family of sorts — where everyone knew everyone, and if you had a family disagreement all the families knew about it. Thin walls. We were joined together through the good, the bad, and the ugly. But we enjoyed our stay there, because when it came to the summer the kid with the giant inflatable pool, which was usually Marisolita, always shared. It was the La Vecindad code.

One year someone got a Slip-N-Slide, but we soon realized that Slip-N-Slides and concrete patios aren’t a good combination. So we stuck with the pool.

It was always a team effort to blow that thing up and make sure there were no holes. If there were we’d find a solution — Vecindad Style. Ahhhh. The magic of duct tape. That swimming pool must’ve had at least four patches, but we loved it. It was our own upscale getaway, and if it happened to leak we always had more tape.

It would get filled with massive gallons of water and we would splash and swim around pretending we were Aquaman, have relay races and swim like we were Michael Phelps, then play volleyball with our makeshift net — duct tape also involved the creation of this sporting equipment. We were resourceful inner city kids.

But one of the best parts was the end — when we let the water out. We’d all position ourselves at the top of the stairs, give someone the signal with our pruney hands and whoosh! Niagara Falls in La Vecindad.  Gallons upon gallons of water creating mini tidal waves that allowed us to “slide” down the 24 steps and race back up for another run. We didn’t care whether there was dirt, insects, gum, or Budweiser residue on the patio floors and steps, we were sliding down those steps. And it was awesome. 

I loved our little Raging Waters experience. 

So as my son was done swimming and splashing around, I tried to replicate the same childhood moment, but seeing how we didn’t have 24 steps,  it wasn’t the same. However he still had a good time slipping and sliding … him and his Batman figurines.

Celebrating 100 Days With a Blast From the Past

13 Apr

 Reaching 100. This is a milestone.


100 posts. Most television shows that reach 100 episodes host a party with a nice catered spread and balloons. Talk shows have people like Madonna or Prince give a performance.


I have Framboise and a great story.

What kind?

The Junior High School love kind … it’s the best kind. It involves notes, lockers, passing bells, hairspray, dances, and love songs like  I Need Love, Spring Love, A Groovy Kind of Love,  Heaven, and In Your Eyes.

In looking through photographs for this week’s photo challenge I thought about the different Jake Ryan’s in my life. I also remembered something a friend asked me a long time ago.

Have you ever loooooooooved someone soooooooo much… I mean so much that it was like too much?

Uh … No.

But then I remembered Virgil Junior High and my first crush.   

So in honor of my 100th post I thought I’d share an excerpt of  a short story I wrote a while back about my first crush. This is the excerpt …

…  I closed the bedroom door and turned the hallway light on. All the family photo albums with the 70s’ covers that were in our so-called library (Uncle Ericks’s old textbooks and reading books, as well as Spanish encyclopedias up to the letter P) were slumped over. No matter how many times I fixed them they’d still fall, with old faded Polaroids and papers sticking out.

image via jpop.com

I turned around and admired the Menudo poster taped to the door of my miniature closet. I looked into Charlie’s eyes and for some reason, knew he was looking back. He was the cutest. He always put a smile on my face, and it wasn’t because he was wearing tight black leather pants and a red sleeveless t-shirt with rhinestones. It was the way he smiled. It was the way he looked at me through the poster, like I was the only one he sang “Subete A Mi Moto,” to.

 I looked for something to wear. I didn’t care, really. It was just school. Jeans, a t-shirt, and Vans. Nothing too fancy. A ponytail or hairclip and a little bit of gel. Got my backpack and was out the door.

I was about halfway to school when I noticed a boy across the street staring at me. I looked up and stared back. He smiled. I smiled back, put my head down, and kept walking. I looked up again and he was still staring at me. He made me nervous. Not like the gangsters-in-the-alley nervous. A different kind – the kind I get when I’m at the top of a roller coaster, at its highest point, right before it comes swooshing down. It was that kind of nervous.

“Aren’t you in orchestra?”

I looked at him, and then looked to my left and right. I pointed at myself with a confused look on my face.

“Yeah, you. You play the violin or something. You’re in strings right?”

“Yeah. The cello.”

“Yeah you come out, while I go in. I’m in winds. I play the trumpet.”


“Don’t you know Gero and Manuel?”

“Yeah. I’ve known them for a long time. They live in my building. It’s just a couple blocks down.”

He stopped walking. I stopped walking. He crossed the street and stood there in front of me. I got more roller-coaster butterflies. He had nice big brown eyes and smooth skin. His lips looked soft. They didn’t have those dry lines that parted other guys’ lips. His hair was brown and combed to the right side. It was short in the back and long in front almost touching his long eyelashes. He wore white Nikes with the blue swoosh and jeans with a green LaTigre shirt.

“I’m Rafael. But everyone calls me Lito.”

“Hey. My name is—”

“Yeah. I know who you are …”

We looked at each other and smiled. We began walking. For some reason, the walk to school was a lot faster that morning. We talked all the way there. He had no brothers or sisters, liked Funyuns, Cheetos and Dr. Pepper, played Atari with his cousin, went to Beverly Elementary, liked baseball, liked Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers, hated the Atlanta Braves, liked Magic Johnson and had Mr. Bass for 5thperiod P.E.

I wanted to keep talking, but we had already gotten to school.

“All right. Maybe I’ll see you in between third and fourth period.”

“Yeah. That’d be nice.” He said. “Maybe. See ya.”

“Yeah. See ya.”

I walked to class, not really thinking about learning anything. The whole day was like that. I wanted to get to third period and have it finish so I could run into him. I wanted to feel nervous again.

Third period came and went. I packed up my cello and walked out of the auditorium. I searched the faces of those coming in and saw him. I slicked my hair back and walked in his direction. He saw me. He almost tripped and bumped into somebody. His face turned red. I smiled. He smiled. We locked eyes and said hello without saying anything. He took out a folded piece of paper from his front pocket and handed it to me. He smiled and went inside the auditorium with the rest of the crowd. I put the paper in my pocket and rushed to class before the tardy bell rang.

Once I got to fourth period I unfolded the note and this is what it said:

 It was nice walking to school with you. I’ll be walking to school at 7:20 tomorrow morning.


I put the note in my pocket and daydreamed the rest of the period.

I woke up at 6:45 a.m. and got right out of bed. I heard Chumpis through our bedroom window singing “Lala Means I Love You.” I stumbled out of the bottom bunk bed and walked to the bathroom. It was locked. My sister was in the bathroom.

“Leila! Leila! C’mon I gotta pee.”

“Do you wanna kill me, because you almost did. Why do you knock like that? I almost poked my eye out, stupid!”

“Don’t call me stupid. You’re stupid, stupid!”

 “You’re stupid.”


 “Shut up.”

 “No, you shut up.”

 “A la gran puchica! Both of you shut up!”

 “Dad! She almost poked my eye out.”

 “Do you still have both eyeballs?”


 “All right, then.”

 “You heard that Leila. Shut up and let me in.”

“Five minutes.”

“All right. Five minutes!”

I closed the bedroom door and sat on the green carpet in front of my miniature closet, looking at my Menudo poster. Charlie seemed different that morning. He was still smiling, but he wasn’t as cute.

I opened the closet door and tried to decide what to wear. I looked at all my clothes for a moment, and then decided on the burgundy corduroy pants and navy blue blouse.

“Leila. C’mon I don’t want to be late. Leila!”

She opened the door.

“I was gonna open the door already. You didn’t have to pound on it. I was already done.”

“What’s that miracle?”

“Shut up.”

“All right, let me through. I gotta take a shower. I can’t be late.”

Leila walked out of the bathroom and left. I quickly took a shower and got dressed. I was combing my hair when there was a knock on the door.


“Gero and Manuel are outside waiting.” Dad said.

“Oh … Um … what time is it?”

 “About 7:15.”

 “Is it 7:15 exactly?”

“Something like that.”

“I need to know.”

“It’s 7:13.”

“Oh … um … I’m not ready yet.”

“Well go tell them. I’m going back to sleep.”

I walked to the living room window and pulled back the beige curtains. I told them I wasn’t ready, to go ahead without me. They left and I went back into the bathroom.

I finished fixing my hair and added a little gel and Aquanet. Leila’s Wet-N-Wild Frosty Chocolate lipstick was on top of the hamper. I picked it up and put some on, smacking my lips together a couple of times like I’d seen some models do in the commercials. I looked at myself to make sure there were no Crest or Lady Speedstick stains on my clothes and walked out of the bathroom. Our Sanyo digital clock read 7:18 a.m. I picked up my bag and left.

I walked up the street feeling the roller-coaster butterflies. I walked three blocks and there he was on the corner, wearing a red LaTigre shirt and blue jeans, looking like he was waiting for a bus with no bus stop on that corner.