Tag Archives: the guat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

30 Apr

 

Growing up … this was My Guat Culture.

 

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Mission Impossible … Yes. But Mission Accomplished. Tun-Tun-Tun-Tun-Tun-Tun-Tun-Tun-Tun …

15 Jan

This was it. Today was the day. 365 days.

I’ve never done 365 days of anything consecutively other than breathing and being a parent. I didn’t think I’d be able to, with all the drama and chaos that surrounds my existence on a weekly if not daily basis. Everyone has it. It’s called life. But there I was, every night when everyone was asleep, in the quiet. In the good quiet of the night, because there’s all kinds of quiet, the night-time quiet was the best for me. It rocks. And there I was all the way until 11:59 p.m. on some nights, the television on, but the sound the off. All I heard were my thoughts and the tap-tap-click-clack of the keys on my laptop.

365 consecutive days of writing, of posting, of sharing, of creating Saturday Night Live skits of my crappiest moments so that I could come out on the other side with smile instead of bitterness. You never know what funny can do, so you gotta love what it does for you in a year — a year in the life of Guat. And I thank the 300+ followers who joined me on this Mission Impossible adventure and made it better than I expected. Technically my Blogoversary was on January 1st of 2013.

Celebrating with a happy dance.

Celebrating with a happy dance.

Yeah that’s right.

It all started with a resolution, a hope, a goal, a concept on New Year’s Day 2012, but then I got the crazy idea of doing it everyday. A challenge, an additional one to the already existing challenges of motherhood and dysfunctional family drama that defines my current existence. But I did it and I’ve been patting myself on the back all day. I almost did a cartwheel, but stuck to the happy dance instead.

When the idea first came to me I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea that people outside of California, let alone the U.S. would check me out. But there they were the peeps of Canada, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, India, the Philippines, Germany, Greece and Sri Lanka. Dude those were the top ten international stops of my blog. But I even made it to places like Madagascar, Iceland, Aruba, Egypt and of course the motherland Guatemala.

Over 20,000 views. I’m sure some of you have more, but it seemed like a ginormous number for me. That’s like half a football stadium doing the wave for me. I had no idea the adventures of the Guat crossed the Atlantic Ocean. I’m jealous of my blog, it has more stamps on its passport, than I do. But I’ve got to love the fact that people in other countries read my stories, enjoy my sense of humor, my little attempts at inspirations, my weekly photo challenges brought to you by my five-year old beat up Canon PowerShot, and my journey to be a better something … Guat 2.0.

I’ve always flown my freak flag, loud and proud, sometimes prouder with a little Framboise or tequila, but blogging encouraged me to be more adventurous on a day-to-day basis. Once I put it out there and hit the “publish” button … dude … it was on. There was no taking it back. I said it, now I got to do it. Cowboy up. So blogging inspired three triathlons, a Warrior Dash, baking a pie from scratch, undergoing a Happiness Project, writing down a Bucket/To-Do List, going out on urban adventures with my kids, enjoying festivals, appreciating the moment, reflecting, living like it’s Shark Week, and trying to find the funny at times when I couldn’t even get a ha-ha.

But what did I get most of all?

I got support. I got another “Circle of Trust”.

I found support in complete strangers, who at the end of the year weren’t really strangers anymore. They turned into people who I’d probably go see a game with, hang out, eat dinner. I found lessons, inspiration, comic relief, supporters and advocates. I found  Drinks Well With Others, Lame Adventures, The Hook and The Struggler’s Handbook bringing me comedy every week and reminding me that cracking up is a great therapy. I found inspiration from Bucket List Adventures and The Landy to create to-do lists of adventures so that life keeps improving. I found culture, food, wine, photography and awesome adventures to Italy from Blissful Adventurer. I found my TV, movie and music soul mates in The Hand-Written Life and Unabashedly Poetic. I found my comadre over at La Chica Writes. I found more inspiration to improve on life and seek out traveling the world through Another Day in Paradise and The 50 Year Project. I found spiritual and kick-ass uplifting messages through Mirth & Motivation. I found inspiration to always try to look for the silver lining and to continue my personal journey to be a better something after reading This Man’s Journey. I found a constant reminder to always enjoy the ride from wild rider Susie Lindau, who constantly brings the fresh back into my perspective. I found the courage to go on after my first follower Thoughts of the Wandering Kind posted the first like.

I’ve found other wonderful bloggers out here on Word Press that have done some of the same, but these have been my constants throughout the entire year. The encouragement I found where I least expected it. And even though I have never been Freshly Pressed, in the 365 day blogging journey, I’m still pretty badass. I am so money, and I know it.

Woo-hoo for the 365-day challenge accomplished.

Woo-hoo for the 365-day challenge accomplished.

So here at 11:59 p.m. on January 15th I raise my glass to toast … to toast the awesome journey that has made me a better a writer, a better storyteller. A toast to the journey that brought more adventure in my life, a journey that began with chocolate, continued with chocolate and ended with chocolate, a journey where I thanked my DVR for recording all the shows I missed during this creative endeavor.

A journey that has been … to borrow a phrase from my buddy Cayman Thorn  … Guatacular.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

1 Jan

“Man, I ain’t changed, but I know I ain’t the same …”

 

The highlights of Guat 2012.

 

Challenge courtesy of WP Weekly Photo Challenge.

 

Silver Linings Playbook

30 Dec
Image via quotablecards.com

Image via quotablecards.com

With the year coming to a close and some people thinking about upcoming resolutions, bucket lists, Happiness Projects, or strategies, I began to do the same and wonder if I had accomplished some of the adventures on my list.

I wasn’t sure I’d finish a triathlon, but a finished two. I wasn’t sure I’d get through the unknown Warrior Dash, but I made it through the mud, muscles burning, but I made it. I wasn’t sure I’d survive the minimal to no work accompanied by the stay-at-home mom adventure, but I’m still here, more gray hair yes, but still here.

The list goes on … not everything completed. But it wasn’t my 2012 list, it was my Bucket List and I’m not dead yet. It was my Happiness Project, and I’m still under construction. I’ve got time. The Bucket List continues. The Happiness Project is in the works. My strategy is still in the works. Resolutions? My only resolutions are to keep The Bucket List and Happiness Project going. Brick by brick.

I wasn’t sure what I was doing in the beginning. I wasn’t sure of my starting point. I knew I’d probably fail a few times, but no worries. I began anyway. I began anywhere.

The point is I started and I’m not done yet.

2013 … it’s just another “365 day journey around the sun” … another 365 days to add to the Happiness Projects and to The Bucket Lists and to the strategies — all of it in search to find the silver linings. All I had to do was to begin … somewhere. And in 2013 I will begin again with all the plans, projects, adventures, and failures– all of them tucked into my silver linings playbook in hopes for a better something … a better version … a 2.0 … but still with a lot of chocolate.

Weekly Image of Life: Christmas Day

25 Dec

Christmas began early … a little bit before midnight.

As everyone turned in early … weary from too much shopping, from too much wrapping of the presents, from too many tamales, from too much Guat punch, from too much food, from too much family. I sat there energized ready and willing to go out into the 49 degree chill and watch the neighborhood Christmas Light parade.

Did I have any takers?

Just my four-year old son, awake through pure willpower.

Everyone else was sleeping. At 10:30 p.m.! Where was the Christmas spirit? Taking a snooze. I was looking forward to the parade all day. I imagined sitting there on the corner with my scarf and hot chocolate, surrounded by family and waiting in anticipation for Christmas floats and carolers to sing and dance down my little neighborhood streets.

But no … in the end it was just me and my son. However, seeing how excited my son and I were about the parade, my dude decided to join are little Guat party of two. We all enjoyed the midnight Christmas Day parade. And then crashed when we walked in the door.

Christmas Day wake up call … 6:30 a.m. My nephew enters the room …

“IT’S CHRISTMAS! SANTA CAME!”

My son wakes up, lazy eyes, but giant smile.

It’s a race downstairs.

The day begins with pajamas, smiles, and cameras.

It continues with family traditions.

Family stress.

Moments of peace.

Moments of laughter.

Thoughts of my Dad.

Thoughts of my uncle Erick.

Thoughts of Pinta.

Guat tamales.

The famous Guat punch.

The Connect Four Showdown … where I lost in the semifinals to my cousin.

And then a quiet night … again. All ending at 10:30 p.m.

Hugs to my children.

Christmas Day … It’s a day-long journey that’s got everything, including Sal De Uvas antacid for all the food I ate.

Weekly Image of Life Challenge Courtesy of This Man’s Journey.

Unconditional Like

16 Nov

Image via Quotablecards.com

 

… Like when you say you’re hypoglycemic, but in truth you’re just really cranky when you don’t eat.

… Like when you constantly have challenges with gravity even though you’ve been walking for 36 years now.

… Like how you’re not a morning person. Like … not at all.

… Like how you’re a television addict and don’t answer the phone when Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Justified, or Person of Interest is on TV.

… Like how you can go to 31 Flavors and always order rocky road.

… Like how you don’t really use Facebook or text messages, but prefer real conversations.

… Like how you iron your jeans and consider your black Levis the fancy ones.

… Like how you think buying things at Sportsmart is considered “shopping.”

… Like how you wear sneakers with everything.

… Like how sometimes you dated a jackass, but they still stood by you because sometimes love makes you stupid.

… Like how you sing along with the car radio at the top of your lungs even though you may not really have the voice or know the words.

… Yeah friends … real friends … like you no matter what. They like you with unconditional like.

Daily Prompt Challenge Part II: The 57-Year-Old Guat

5 Nov

Dear 57-year-old Guat,

I don’t know what to tell you …

Thirty-seven wasn’t a great year, it could’ve been better. Mid-thirties … a lot of lessons. Too many. I should be a genius at your age. Genius. I’m hoping all the lessons are done and you’re enjoying whatever adventures are left on your bucket list.

At 57, I’m hoping there’s got to be something more. I remind you of the Sugarland lyrics that woke you up — that gave you a Thelma-and-Louise a-ha moment without driving off a Grand Canyon cliff.

“I ain’t settlin’, for just getting by.
I’ve had enough so-so, for the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low, so raise the bar high
‘Just enough,’ ain’t enough this time
I ain’t settlin’ for anything less than everything”

I’m hoping you remembered the lyrics and kept them close. I’m hoping they continued to inspire you. I’m hoping that you lived by those rules. I know things don’t always turn out the way you planned — something I kept being reminded of in my 30s, but I’m hoping some things did work out for you.

I’m hoping you still have that picture of yourself — the one that reminds you of “you” and you look it every time you feel lost. I’m hoping that most of your gray hair and wrinkles are badges of honor — badges of adventure, excitement, and fun — and not so much of despair, worry, and sadness.

I hope you returned to Australia, but with your kids this time. It was the best trip of your life — a transformation. I hope they enjoyed it as much as you did. I hope you went bungy jumping again.

I hope you became that older gray-haired chick who still runs triathlons — the Ironman kind of older lady who whooshed by the 37 year-olds and made them want to run faster.

I hope you were a good parent — the kind you always thought you’d be. If not … you’re 57 … get on it. Let your kids read your old blog posts on Word Press, they’ll probably enjoy seeing what you were like when you were younger.

Some of the best lessons learned came from reading The Alchemist and Eat, Pray, Love. Reread them and refresh your memory.

You’re three years away from the big 6-0. Throw yourself a party. A big party. Invite family and friends. Indulge in food and enjoy the music, let your inner 37 year-old Guat hit the dance floor.

Enjoy the party. Enjoy your life. Keep your sense of humor. And always be kind.

Love,
Your Younger Self

Daily Prompt Challenge: The 14-Year-Old Guat

4 Nov

Dear 14-year-old Guat,

“Be O.K. with having a bad hair day. The ‘bad hair’ is usually not about the hair, but about the way we look or the way we feel.”

You were smart and strong at this age. You didn’t worry so much about bad hair days. You were sort of ahead of your time and I don’t know where you got it from, but it’s awesome that you had it.

Keep listening to that little voice inside you, the one that tells you that bad hair days can be fixed with Aquanet hairspray or baseball caps. You’re absolutely right, it’s not the end of the world.

And, if you run into someone who likes you even when you’re having a bad hair day, like Rafa, definitely hang out with him. He doesn’t care that you’re a tomboy. He doesn’t care that you don’t wear make-up. He doesn’t care that you don’t wear pink. He thinks it’s cool that you like The Lakers and The Dodgers. He thinks it’s cool that you play sports. He’ll laugh at your jokes. He thinks you’re funny. He likes your sense of humor. He gets who you are and likes you as is.

Say yes when he asks to walk you to the bus stop. I know you’ll be nervous, but don’t look down, smile when he holds your hand. The butterflies mean you like him. Say yes when he asks to take you to the dance. Don’t say you’ll think about it, just say yes, right away. Time is important. You know you want to go.

Hang out with him for the next four months. You’ll be sad if you don’t. He’ll send you notes in class. He’ll eat lunch with you everyday. He’ll make you laugh. He’ll be your friend. He’ll tell his cousin Francisco to stop being such a jackass and to leave you alone during sixth period.

He’ll take you to Thrifty’s for an ice cream cone and know that you’ll pick chocolate every time, but he won’t care.

Hang out with him for the next four months, not just two. Hang out and keep talking about sports. Keep talking about your dreams when you grow up. Listen to his Fernando Valenzuela stories. Buy him some Corn Nuts. Let him hug you as many times as he wants to when he says good-bye. Smile every time he holds your hand, even on bad-hair days. It’ll be worth it.

You see, he’ll end up getting sick. Really sick. He’ll get something called Leukemia and you won’t ever see him again. It’ll be your first lesson with cancer. And it’ll suck, because you’ll miss him. So write him as many notes as you want to. He’ll keep them in his sock drawer, next to his baseball cards. They’ll probably make him smile when he’s not feeling very well. He’d like to think that you like him too, even when he’s having bad hair days because he has no hair at all.

Always be kind.

The Guat.

 

Challenge provided by Word Press Daily Prompt.

The Guat’s Halloween-athon

31 Oct

I’m exhausted. If I was a bad mother I’d be full of energy right now, but I consider myself a pretty good Guat parent, so when it comes to Halloween I try to fit in as much fun as possible. From sunlight to moonlight the Halloween-athon was in full effect.

This is why I’m in need of Advil and a good massage.

🙂

It always starts and ends with the pumpkins.

 

Party at school.

We got dressed up and ready for the costume parade at school where Thor, gladiators, superheros, astronauts, cowboys and firefighters strutted their stuff.

 

Checking out the real deal.

After school we headed to the fire station so that my son could show off his costume and ask about a million questions, which he does every time we visit. Except this time it looked more official, considering he was wearing his uniform.

 

The baking begins.

After all that excitement we went home for snack time and began our baking project. Pumpkin pie … from scratch. Oh … yeah … it was on. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and never attempted. Visiting the pumpkin patch the other day got me into the spirit so I decided why not? This of course is how all Bucket List items begin for me.

I began the pumpkin pie baking journey with my son. Step one … making your own pumpkin puree. Step Two … follow Bobby Flay‘s Pumpkin Pie recipe. We got to mixing, whisking, pouring, and baking.

 

Jack-o-Lantern Time

While the pie was baking we decided to carve the pumpkins and baby sister decided to help her four-year old brother remove the seeds. There was pumpkin membranes and pumpkin seeds on every surface, including the dog.

 

Ta-daaaa!

This was our finished product. I know it looks basic, but it was a very creative and skillful effort on the part of my son and his awesome pumpkin carving tools. I was very proud of his cutting skills. Very patient. Very.

 

Ding! Ding! Ding! The Main Event.

Once the pumpkin pie was done and the Jack-O-Lantern was complete we ventured off into the night for some tricks-or-treats…mostly treats. A bucket full.

 

Spooky houses.

 

A different take on the Hollywood sign.

 

Some nice front lawn decor.

 

The best Halloween House I’ve seen.

 

Fountain at Boney Island house.

 

The tree house at Boney Island.

 

The window display at Boney Island house.

 

The porch at Boney Island house.

After all that trick-or-treating and hanging out at amazing Halloween houses, we headed home with a bucket full of Snickers, M&Ms, Twizzlers, Twix, and KitKats. People seemed to enjoy giving away chocolate. I had no problem with that. We plopped ourselves in front of the couch and watched It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. My feet were thankful for the rest, so was my back.

 

My pumpkin pie 🙂

Then after giving the kids a bath, reading bedtime stories, putting them to sleep, putting the roasted pumpkin seeds in Ziploc containers, and washing the dishes, I finally ended my day — my Halloween-athon. One slice, one spoon, and a lot of whipped cream. It was a Guat-sized portion. I got a little carried away. I was proud of myself for making it … from scratch.  Ahhhh, that Bobby Flay … he rocks.

I’d Like to Thank the Creators of Icy Hot for Making This Possible …

22 Oct

Icy Hot … it rocks. This awesome combination of menthol and methyl salicylate allowed my 37-year-old ass to successfully complete my sprint triathlon this weekend.

I would’ve used Ben-Gay on my tweaked knee, but that really didn’t sound athletic enough. It just sounded like I was old and weary. And even though I may feel like that at times there’s no need to perpetuate that train of thought. I’m an athlete damn it — a triathlete. And it was this bad-ass athlete mentality that helped push me through the race — even through the water, which, as predicted, kicked my ass. But I pushed through.

People making their way to the starting line.

The fact that I had a couple of friends in the race made it even more enjoyable. Camaraderie always makes for a better race.

So after a quick morning drive to the coast we unloaded our bikes and made our way to registration and the starting line. Now as I mentioned in my last triathlon piece the starting line is where you get to see everyone’s pre-warm-up routine and athletic attire.

A little too athletic for me.

Sometimes people go too far. But it becomes a good distraction because you’re full of nervous adrenaline.

A little laughter helps. But why was I still a little nervous? Why? The clouds. I was so hoping it wouldn’t rain during the biking leg of the race because I knew I’d probably eat it and need some paramedic assistance. Asphalt is pretty hard stuff. But as I was praying for the rain gods to take a nap, I noticed the starter of the race.

Sugar Ray saying what up, Guat!

Dude.

Sugar Ray Leonard.

I smiled and did my most enthusiastic, what’s-up-hello-holy-crap-you’re-Sugar-Ray-how-you-doing greeting, you know, like we were friends, like if we had brunch the other day, like if he knew me. I held my camera up and he did his what’s-up-hello-I-am-Sugar-Ray good-morning greeting.

I was pumped. I was ready to go. Legendary Sugar Ray Leonard, who won an Olympic Gold Medal and world boxing titles in five weight divisions gave me a thumbs up. Rain or shine. Paramedic or no paramedic it was on.

Three-two-one … Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

We’re off!

Now everything seemed to be going well during the race. The typical fast pace at the beginning where everyone sprints out like they’re Jamaican runners, whizzing right passed me only to die out after the first mile. As I passed most of these sprinters, I couldn’t help but notice the massive amount of elementary-age kids that were chugging along — keeping pace.

The Hill that slowed many down.

I mean when I was in elementary school I was playing green light-red light and watching Thunder Cats or Looney Tunes. I wasn’t racing in triathlons. I mean they didn’t even look tired. Even when we went up the hill, you saw their little legs speeding along. Don’t know what they feed these kids by the beach, but I’m sure when they hit 37 they’re probably not going to need Icy Hot.

Apparently there was this one kid, Jack, who was getting cheers from spectators all around the course. I didn’t see him or hear the chants. I’d like to think it was because he was behind me, but you never know.

One of the nice surprises that I found between mile one and mile two.

In any case, the running and biking portions of the race were not as grueling as I had thought. I felt bionic. A combination of Jamie Sommers and the Six Million Dollar Man: Colonel Steve Austin. A superhero even. I think I even passed Jack. I was zooming it, thanks to the Icy-Hot and my son’s playlist. However, the transition period sucked. It should take you like a minute. Run. Get your helmet. Get the bike. Go.

No, not for the Guat. For some reason it took me over five minutes to get situated. It wasn’t like I changed shoes or anything. I had a mini iPod and there were headphone wires everywhere. At that point I missed my lucky shirt, but I got over it and moved on.

Here’s my friend, Gonzalez passing me.

And when I got to the pool, it was just as I had expected … Kryptonite. Everyone I had passed during the run and bike phase not only caught up to me, but swam right passed me.

No bionic powers at all, just basic Guat tendencies, like pretending I can freestyle swim.

You know, I don’t know why I even try to freestyle swim. I mean who am I kidding? Who am I trying to impress? Michael Phelps wasn’t there. It’s just not my stoke. Freestyle is a stroke for people whose dots in life are connected. Me … I’m an ass-backwards dots-are-no-where-near-each-other kind of person. I’m a backstroke chick. I actually go faster doing the backstroke, so why the hell did I start of with the freestyle? Who knows. Maybe I went with the fake-it-until-you-make-it mentality.

My reward.

Note to self … that does not work in the pool. You just go slow, with the possibility of cramping and drowning. Stick to the backstroke.

However, regardless of my freestyle attempts and doggie paddles, I backstroked the last two legs of the race and powered through to the finish line.

An hour and twenty minutes. WOO-HOO! An awesome hour and twenty minutes, the kind that makes you feel bad-ass all day.

And for this bad-ass feeling, I’d like to thank the makers of Icy Hot, my son’s playlist, and my stubborn Guatemalan blood for making this possible.