Tag Archives: The Wish Factor

I Hate Elections Part II, But Hockey Rocks

26 Sep

“I needed to know that regardless of all the mistakes I had made or how lost I was, I was loved.” Lesley Carter from Bucket List Publications.

 

I know that this isn’t always the case with people, especially with some families, where instead of being supportive all they do is use your mistakes, failures, or setbacks to tear you down. They look for any opportunity to push you down, instead of lift you up.

I get that not everybody has a family that’s got their back. I get it. The gossiping and behind-your-back plots that come straight out of a telenovela. I understand. It happens. So it was vitally important for me to lift my son’s spirit when he got word of his Student Council results.

To recap … Pajama Day/No Homework Week, and Pick Up Trash candidates seemed to clinch the two spots. He was heavily on a downer because of it, disappointed and definitely feeling beat down.

And while I was trying to find the right words to let him down easy, I found out there weren’t any. I saw it in his face and felt it in his chest when I hugged him.

So I had an after-school-special moment with him on Saturday about how courageous he was to put himself out there and read his speech. Not many adults can stand in front of a group and read a speech. Not everybody can do that. Not everybody is brave enough to put their ideas out there and it might not feel like it, but he was still awesome.

The fact that he cared enough about his school to try and make a difference was pretty cool. I admired that. I appreciated that he genuinely cared. It wasn’t for popularity. It was because he thought his ideas could help the school.

“Well, I guess there’s always next year,” he said.

“Yup, there’s always next year,” I replied.

And then I gave him all the love I had in that big hug in the parking lot. I wasn’t aware at the time, but I was doing exactly what Lesley Carter had said she needed … to feel loved regardless of the circumstances, just that you would feel loved no matter what happened.

I was worried that love wouldn’t be enough to help him bounce back, this weekend. But after his amazing defensive performance in his first back-to-back hockey game, I’d say he was definitely back.

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He didn’t let the bad news of yesterday effect his moment of today. He had left the Student Council elections in his rear view mirror, and when he got on the ice, he had a clear-eyes-full-hearts moment that lasted the entire weekend. The fact that his sister got him a chocolate doughnut with sprinkles also seemed to help.

 

 

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Signs … They’re Everywhere …

3 Jun

Just when you’re feeling tired …

Just when you’re feeling emotionally exhausted …

Just when you’re all out of grace …

You walk into the frozen yogurt place you don’t want to walk into, but you do it anyway because promised your kids you would and then bam! The universe gives you a little sign, a little help, a little wink to let you know … to remind you of the little things that can make people happy. Little things that can make you smile. Little things that can make you chuckle. Little things that can create a happiness spark that will eventually snowball into something bigger.

Signs. They’re everywhere. Just got to remember to print this one out and post it on my own door.

 

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🙂

 

 

 

 

The Guat Makes It To 40 … Smiling

27 Jul

I knew I’d be scared. I knew I’d be nervous.

But it was going to happen anyway.

Regardless.

It had to, there was no turning back. My life had taken a step forward and I had to follow, whether I was ready to or not. Just had to be done. So I thought I’d do something scarier than turning 40 on my 40th birthday. Something to start off this decade in a way that would change my perspective on life moving forward.

You see I wasn’t having a big party, and I wasn’t taking a great vacation somewhere. I wasn’t doing any of the awesome things that people do when they turn 40. I wasn’t able to, but I told myself I still needed to do something, something just for me, something to make me forget that I had a really tough month. Something that was bigger than 40, but something I’d always remember doing when I turned 40. Something I’d be grateful for and something that would change me. Something off The Bucket List.

And so … I went skydiving.

I didn’t tell too many people my plans, wasn’t sure if things were going to pan out, considering the personal drama I was undergoing that week and the fact that I had a vacancy in the best friend department that left me having many conversations with myself in an attempt to make sense of it all. And even though the week, or the month, didn’t go as I imagined it to be, this day did.

This day turned out exactly the way it was supposed to … and that made me smile, that made my heart feel good, the kind of good you get when someone who loves you gives you a strong hug, and holds you a little bit longer. That’s the kind of feeling I got. I had a moment that lasted the whole day. I had a Super Soul Sunday moment myself and it happened at 10,000 feet.

Perspective, passion, happiness, gratitude, inner peace, strength, vitality, amazement, and reaching Zen happens all at once.

It doesn’t hit you when you’re approaching the Pacific Coast Skydiving hanger, or when they’re strapping on the harness and belts. It doesn’t hit you when you get into the plane, or when you’re flying over the California coast and can see the Pacific Ocean. No. It happens after you face the scariest part.

The door opens and he says scoot over.

Dude.

I felt my heart drop.

There I was, my legs dangling over the edge and an inch of my butt barely touching the door frame of the plane.

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There I am the most scared I’d ever been in a long time and there’s Tom, skydiving master extraordinaire … smiling.

Holy crap.

This is it. I mean I know it’s it. That’s why I flew up here. For the “it” moment. My heart started beating faster, and the nervousness was building into anxiety and fear.

This is it.

This is really it.

“Ready? I’m gonna say one, two, three,” Tom said smiling.

One … I closed my eyes.

Two … I took a deep breath.

Thr–You know, I don’t remember him saying three, I just remember opening my eyes as he pushed us forward and out of the plane.

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I hate taking selfies and usually want no part in them, but having Tom take one at this point in the adventure was an awesome exception.

I screamed.

I laughed.

And then I screamed and laughed some more.

I couldn’t believe I was actually doing it.

The feeling made me forget about everything crappy that happened during the week. It made me forget about cold feet before 40, made me forget about losing a friend, made me forget about my writer’s block, made me forget gray hairs and anti-aging creams, made me forget the stress in my life and the wrongs that were in it.

It made me present in the moment, the most present I’d probably ever been.

I don’t know how long I was free-falling, I just remember how it made me feel and how glad I was for feeling it.

Then the parachute deployed, the straps tightened, and I eased my way down to the field below, but not before Tom, my skydiving partner who was keeping me alive, did some stuntman swirlee-twirlee tricks reminding me why I don’t get on the Scrambler Zero Gravity carnival rides. I laughed and screamed through that and then we landed safely.

I high-fived Tom and smiled.

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I made it. I had done it and it was an awesome way to start the morning of my 40th Birthday.

40 felt good then.

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40 Accidentally on Purpose Random Acts of Kindness Before 40 … No.15, No.16, No.17 …

1 Jul

Father’s Day Weekend seemed to kick off a series of Guat flashbacks where I owned every color of Levi jeans possible and Boy George was on the radio. I was reminded of the time when I had no kids and I was actually I kid myself, with a curfew and chores to accomplish.

During these flashbacks I was reminded of bits and pieces of what my Dad seemed to enjoy. A good cup of coffee. A good movie on TV or the Big Screen. I remembered how both of these things stirred up some good conversation, how we’d both laugh and argue, and be blown away by something that we saw in the movie, or something that we said about our lives.

During these coffee and movie flashbacks, I also remembered all the ball caps he wore. SuperBowl. Baseball. Football. Golf. Souvenir touristy caps. He had them all. For some reason he’d always take off his hat when drinking coffee. I don’t know if it made him hot, but he seemed to relax more without it. He’d put it on the table or couch, or hang it off the chair and take a deep breath, trying to exhale all the bad vibes of the day. Or just exhale all the weariness.

I remember those three favorites specifically. Coffee. Movies. Ball caps. They’re not really the sum of his life, just the simple things I see everyday that remind me of him.

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🙂

So in honor of some of my dad’s favorites things, I decided to give a few lucky people some unexpected kindness. The first on my list was something he always enjoyed in the morning and after dinner. Apparently some people just can’t live without it. They can’t function. Me, I just have it once a year, on his birthday. Have a cup of coffee and talk about life. But it seems that for others it’s an everyday occurrence. Yup. Coffee. A cup of coffee.

It’s simple but it seems to make people happy, although the lady with the Lady of Guadalupe picture on her dashboard could have used the Starbucks card I gave her for some tea. I’d understand that. Tea I can do. In any case I know that something small like that would have made someone’s day, especially in the morning.

Now the afternoon, well that’s another story. Seeing how the summer has kicked in full blast in my neck of the woods and the heat has been bringing it on a daily basis, I figured someone would have enjoyed a little shade. So I got someone a nice home team ball cap. Don’t know if they were die-hard Dodgers fans, but I figured the little decal on the back windshield was a good clue. Personal shade is extremely important in 90+ degree heat. I’m sure my Dad would have agreed.

Now once things cooled down at night I thought someone would have enjoyed a pair of tickets to see an action or drama flick. A lot films coming out this summer that take you away from your life for just a couple of hours. My Dad always enjoyed an escape especially if Robert DeNiro was involved, or if there was a car chase or dramatic A-Ha! moment that made you think duuuuude I didn’t even see that coming. Those were my dad favorites, so I thought I would give someone that movie magic experience too.

I was able to remain anonymous this time, which helped me imagine the recipients better. I always picture  them smiling, never sassy, and always with this confused happy look when they read my notes. Always hoping that I’ve made their day better. I think my Dad would have enjoyed these bits and pieces of kindness, hope they did too.

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Detour With Dad

20 Jun

You got the backseat drivers. The play-by-play commentators. The Kung-Fu grip holders that grasp to the armrests for dear life even when you’re just driving 20 miles per hour. You have the I-would-have-gone-down-3rd-street instead passengers. The heavy-sighers. The AY! AY! AY! SLOW-DOWN passengers that raise your blood pressure.

You’ve had them all in your car. You sit there, gripping the steering wheel and closing your eyes thinking of your happy place. You’ve come to the realization that driving with your parents is one of the most stressful outings of your life, and it will continue to be.

But I’ve got to say that throughout my entire directionally challenged driving existence, my dad never once got road rage crazy or analytical when I drove the car. I remember every wrong turn, bad parking job, and over-the-speed limit excursion and none of those would burst my Dad’s bubble.

He’d keep a cool head and just look out the window as he listened to his jazz music. Even when there were crazy, inconsiderate, reckless drivers out there igniting road rage along their path, my dad would never honk for hostility’s sake. If he ever used the horn it would always be for the don’t-crash-into-me reason, and as Father’s Day rolls around this weekend I was thinking of one our famous driving adventures. I imagine someone else would have never let me hear the end of it, but not my dad …

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🙂

I had just graduated college, and the whole family had driven up to help me pack up my stuff. My Dad and I decided to take the ginormous U-haul, while my cousins, aunts, and mom decided to take the giant SUV. As we drove down the freeway, we hit a fork in the road and while my relatives took highway 580, we ended up taking highway 880, which I swore was the right way back home. I mean I would know seeing how I had lived up there for four years. Why wouldn’t I know? But apparently two hours later we found out my internal GPS was not working properly.

After checking out our Rand McNally map, my Dad realized we were in the middle of farm country and at least an hour and half away from the right freeway. We pulled into a farm bought something to eat, and then took our bag of dried apricots on the road for dessert. I was feeling pretty crappy about the whole delay. I had just graduated and I couldn’t even figure out how to get home. And before you get all crazy on me this was before electronic GPS was invented, we were old school. We used maps.

But apparently I was so confident I hadn’t even looked at the map. I was down on myself, feeling pretty anxious and stressed out about the lecture I was gonna get.

Did my Dad freak out? Did he yell at me? Did he storm off in an outburst of profanity? Was he burned out? Did he get upset about all the gas we wasted? Was he freaking out because we weren’t making good time?

“Well,” he said laughing and shaking his head, “looks like we’re out on an adventure!”

I smiled.

He patted me on the shoulder and then smiled back.

“But don’t tell your mother.”

I nodded. It would be an adventure, a very scenic one through farm country and windy roads.

And to this day no one really knew why we were so late. It had always been our secret. When we got home and they asked us what happened, my Dad said he had left his wallet at a Denny’s and we had to drive all the way back to get it.

He took the fall for me, so I wouldn’t get sassed and made fun of by the rest of my family. I was exhausted after the long drive back, but still very grateful that my Dad had been my copilot that day. He was later promoted to head pilot.

Out of all the detours in my life, I always remember that one.

Thanks Dad. I love you and I miss you.

Happy Father’s Day.

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:)

🙂

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40 Accidentally on Purpose Random Acts of Kindess Before 40 … No. 12, No. 13, No. 14 Inflating The Happiness Bubble

17 Jun

I realized that the little things add up. I mean throughout the course of the day if you get a couple of nice surprises your way it just fills your happiness bubble and it makes you smile. It’s nice when someone adds to your happiness bubble instead of trying to burst it. Especially when it’s unexpected.

I get a kick out of that. But I realized this week that not everybody enjoys an unexpected surprise.

Not everybody.

:)

🙂

Last week I was on a mission to perk up your cars. If you live in California they’re a very big part of getting you anywhere and it’s always nice to find something that helps make that cruise more pleasant. They’re a necessity out here and I thought people always need help with that. So as I came across a couple of opportunities to make someone’s day easier, I thought why not lets add to the 40 Before 40 List.

Now there were a couple of items that I decided to pass along to a few innocent bystanders. On one occasion it was about 90 something degrees where I live, and as I opened my door to my truck, the heat just smacked the smile off my face and I winced. It was so hot in there and the steering wheel burned. I mean I could see the heatwaves rising from it. So I had to give it a couple of minutes to cool off, and as I stood there fanning the inside of my truck, I thought man if I had window shades, opening the car door would probably suck less.

So I went off and bought a window shade for myself and one for someone else. As I drove through various parts of the city getting my kids to different summer events, I stopped at one of the parking lots and spotted the sandal-brown Nissan Xterra that seemed to be melting in the sun. I took out the jumbo car shade, placed it on the windshield, left one of my 40 Before 40 notes, and went on my way feeling good.

But that feeling didn’t last the whole week as I decided to buy someone a car wash. I thought it would be something nice to do. I mean with the drought and everything, people are waiting for their cars to be pretty dirty before washing them. So I thought, why not help out at one of those drive-thru car washing operations by taping one of my notes and the car wash code I’d purchased on the keypad that people use before entering the car wash.

But apparently the chic wearing sunglasses in the brown Prius objected as she rolled down the window and asked me what I was doing, and why I was doing that, and saying how she didn’t want anything. I couldn’t believe it. I was trying to be undercover and go unnoticed but she pulled up just in the middle of my good deed. After her hostile mood passed I explained that I was trying to give someone a free car wash, she was more than welcome to take it, but if she didn’t want it, she didn’t have to.

I walked away from that one not feeling the great feeling I usually get when I do these things. She was poking at my bubble.

But I didn’t let that discourage me from helping someone else. I thought I had to end on a good note. I had to believe that there were others out there that would smile, and feel good about random acts of kindness landing on them. I wanted to believe that. So earlier this week, I purchased a gift card from Costco and made my way toward their gas station area. I put in a few gallons for myself, then I  taped the gift card onto my note and stuck it on the pump. I quickly got into the truck and drove off before the cars behind could notice.

Pulling away made me hopeful. Made me think that the dude or chic would get out of the car and see this opportunity for free gas and smile. They’d look around for my truck, trying to figure out where I had gone, or what had just happened. And then smile because it would finally hit them … ‘Something nice just happened to me,’ and their happiness bubble would inflate just a little bit more.

I want to believe that.

I want to hope that happened, because that’s what this is all about, spreading kindness and having it touch somebody.

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Bits and Pieces of Color … Well … A Lot of Color

15 Jun

I tried to slow down to take it all in, but they just wanted to go, go, go!

They wanted to get their shine on, they wanted to get the fun going, while I was trying to relive an awesome moment from last year. I was trying to slow the process down, trying to have them enjoy it a little more. Savor it maybe. But kids don’t savor much. They devour stuff. Good stuff. Oreo cookies. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Doritos. So it was no wonder they wanted to get to the action as quickly as possible. They wanted that awesome feeling, so it was no surprise that they ran like The Flash during the Color Run just to get to it.

So after the first ten minutes I just let them go.

I let go of my expectations and I let my kids run wild among colors, and things turned out just fine. With the help of some uphill climbs we were able to meet somewhere in the middle, and that was pretty cool too. The middle is cool. I was still able to capture some pretty awesome Kodak moments, and absorb the energy, the feeling, and the happiness of our moments, and for that I was grateful.

Everyone, including myself, tries for the big moments in life. They seem the most rewarding, but sometimes life is made up of little accomplishments that end up becoming bits and pieces of who you are as a person, parent, or family. I was grateful to have added more of these pieces to my life and to that of my kids. Bits and pieces of color … well a lot of color.

The beginning ... a crowded one. But still a good one full of music, bubbles, and good vibes.

The beginning … a crowded one. But still a good one full of music, bubbles, and good vibes.

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Ready to rock!

Ready to rock!

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Feeling blue.

Feeling blue.

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Took a spin through the orange.

Took a spin through the orange.

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The Guats letting our awesome out.

The Guats letting our awesome out.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

29 Apr
Heading for the pits

Heading for the pits

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Brave enough to tackle the Foam Monster Pit … he survived.

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Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of the Daily Post.

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It’s That Time Again … Trapper-Keeper-and-L.A.-Gear Flashback

27 Apr

Yeah…It’s that time of year again, when I take you for a ride in my Delorean and cruise back to a time when you chewed Hubba Bubba, dreamed of Jake Ryan, and watched Square Pegs.

Yup, another one of my friends ventured off into the 4-0 club. She has jumped in head first and ready to rock that decade. My comadre, who, I’ve known for 20 years, blew her candles out this weekend surrounded by family in a day filled with love, heart, and laughter.

And again I felt the need to profess my awesome undying loyalty and friendship to my comadre by creating a mixed tape from the days of our youth where we hid our love notes in our Trapper Keepers and laced up our L.A. Gear right before P.E. This is the mixed tape the awesome boyfriend we imagined we had would give to us in between passing periods — the one that would melt our hearts. And, just like my last friend, this comadre also has an amazing hubby who probably rolled out the red carpet for her that night.

So I thought I’d pull out all the stops myself and make an effort to take her back … way back, and blow her musical mind, and get nostalgic for the simple days of lockers, student stores, first loves, nutrition, lunch, and high school dances. I thought I’d travel through time with a mixed tape.

Hope you enjoy this musical journey too.

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Two of Hearts — Stacy Q

Lost in Emotion — Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

Eternal Flame — The Bangles

P.Y.T. — Michael Jackson

I’ll Be There For You — Jon Bon Jovi

Crazy For You — Madonna

Red, Red Wine — UB40

I Want To Know What Love Is — Foreigner

Por Amarte — Enrique Iglesias

Volver, Volver — Vicente Fernandez

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40 Accidentally On Purpose Random Acts of Kindess Before 40 … No. 9

1 Apr

People dream of having something like this in their neck of the woods. Some people never even get a chance to see it, which is hard to believe. But it happens.

I do feel lucky having it within driving distance.

Nothing like the beach to set you right.

Peace always seems to find me here. It’s a place of refuge and I enjoy it whenever I can. Every weekend during the summer, and some weekends in The Spring you’ll find The Guat family spraying on the Coppertone 75 and putting on their board shorts, bucket hats, and flip-flops.

We’re beach people. Most definitely.

So it occurred to me that I could spread a little more sunshine down here on the coast. Yup, this was the next stop on my 40 Before 40 Tour and some unsuspecting dude or chick would love going to the beach even more because of me.

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🙂

Because no matter how amazing the sun, sand, and waves can be, fighting traffic to get there and then battling over a parking spot can totally burn you out. It makes you think twice about going there. Luckily for me The Guats leave at the break of dawn to avoid that disastrous Southern California traffic and we always find a spot within walking distance from the waves.

But there are those people who get a late start or for some reason just operate on a different clock where they sleep too long and end up sitting in traffic and going from parking lot to parking lot trying to find a space.

Regardless of the reason I thought I’d cut these people some slack, and brighten their day. So when they found spot #270, pulled on in, set her in park, and unloaded all the plastic buckets, shovels, blankets, and Tommy Bahama beach equipment purchased from Costco and walked on over to the parking kiosk … they found some Guat magic written with a Sharpie marker on the back of an envelope, at the foot of the machine.

FREEEEEE PARKING! YES! FREE!

Duuuuuuuude! Today is your lucky day. If you parked in space #270 parking is on me. All day parking.

Take the ticket and enjoy your day at the beach 🙂

🙂 40 Random Acts of Kindness Before 40

As we drove away I saw her approach the machine, pick up the note, look around confused, and then smile.

Yeah … that felt pretty good.