Wednesday, December 31, 2008

For a Happy New Year Chilean* style…

… do the following at midnight:

  • wear yellow underwear—you will find love in the new year (in other countries you wear different colors (i.e. red) and inside out and/or backwards—which can’t be comfortable.)

  • carry a suitcase around the block—you will travel (here you will look like a fruitcake, but no matter--no public embarrassment--no exotic travel destinations [lady luck is strict that way])

  • eat lentils—for good luck

  • eat 12 grapes—for good luck

  • do something or other with money—for economic prosperity. (I can’t remember what to do with it—you don’t eat it, this I know… you put it in your shoe or under your bed or something—I’ll let you choose.)

Whatever you eat, whatever you wear, may you have a lovely 2009 full of good love, good luck, and good fortune (travel is optional).

*Disclaimer: Most of these traditions do not originate in Chile, and similar versions are practiced in other Spanish-speaking countries.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


In a recent conversation with my husband, he (jokingly) implied that he had been duped into thinking it would only take me 5 years to complete my Ph.D. (MA included) and then we could talk about going back to Chile. Here we are, 7.5 years later.

Believe me when I say that I feel the pressure. I want to finish and get on with "life"--whatever that means. It sucks to be a perpetual student. I have so often, especially now with kids, thought about just dropping it and remaining ABD forever (that's not so bad right? What is so great about a dissertation?) But I am so close, that it would be a travesty of colossal proportions (ok maybe not colossal) to quit.

My own internal pressure is compounded by the constant (ok, maybe not constant, but it feels that way sometimes) questions: When are you going to finish? How long do you have left? When are you going to finish? When are you going to finish? When are you going to finish? ....... ad nauseam.

Oh, and please don't tell me that your neighbor's son or your friend's husband completed a Ph.D. in under three years. If his Ph.D. does not require a minimum of 3 years of coursework and then an 8-hour written comprehensive exam with a 2-hour oral follow-up before even being considered for candidacy which then allows you the pleasure of beginning the dissertation, don't even talk to me about it.

It is not like it has been an easy road. I was sick for a year. I had two pregnancies, two c-sections, two newborns, and now two little kiddos that require constant attention. I also have a husband and a house. I do NOT have money for a nanny, a housekeeper, or a personal chef.

In the midst of this conversation with hubby, I realized exactly what I need to finish my Ph.D.: I need a wife.
It reminded me of an essay that I read in college (UG) written in 1971 by Judith Sayers. You can read it here.

On a much much much sweeter, nicer, juicier note, baby boy turned 10 months this weekend.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lazy Holidays

You may think that I have been neglecting my blog because I have been busy entertaining visiting family members or cooking a gourmet seven-course meal.

But, no. I am just plain lazy. I have hardly touched the computer. Plus I caught a nasty cold (or I have allergies--or both) so it took all I had to even get out of my jammies today.

I have been so lazy about Christmas this year, we didn't send Christmas cards or even a Christmas email--nothing. If I didn't feel like such a slug, I might even feel ashamed about it. But it never helps to beat yourself up, right?

Besides, we are pretty much holiday orphans--hubby's family lives in Chile. My family is crazy and I refuse to ruin one more holiday with them. So we are pretty much home alone... but nothing like the movie. (I don't know why I said that. Note to self: please control stupid references to lame kids' movies.)

We did talk to my husband's family on Christmas Eve though, as they prepared for the festivities. In Chile they have the big family dinner on Christmas Eve, usually around 10:00 pm. And Santa (el Viejito Pascuero) comes at midnight. I guess it makes sense--it is another part of the world; Santa obviously visits different countries at different times. But all the kids stay up waiting for him. That's craziness!

As a youngin' when my husband and I were dating in Chile, that was fine. However, as a mother, I honestly can't even imagine that horror of watching that "meltdown til midnight." I really like MY version of Santa who only comes if you are sleeping and leaves presents for you to open in the morning.

I kind of dread the first time we spend Christmas there with the kids--for that reason alone.

On a somewhat random note: I went to my first Catholic Mass the first Christmas I spent with hubby and fam. Mass on Christmas Eve there is called "Misa del Gallo" (Rooster Mass). We call it Midnight Mass in English--I think Rooster Mass sounds much more fun. For those of you who don't know: Mass is a lot of standing up and sitting down, crossing yourself (genuflecting?) and then at the end you hug your neighbors and say something about "Peace."

That's it... that's all I got...

...oh and Tropic Thunder is the stupidest movie of all time. I think it was meant to be clever and controversial. But I know clever and controversial, and that is not it.

ok, that is definitely all

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sweet Anticipation

This year we are poor. Which is kind of sad around Christmas--because it means you have to have the "we can't spend a lot of money so don't get me anything" talk.

We got small gifts for the kids, though--luckily they are young enough that they don't have any demands and will be thrilled with any new toy.

Of course, it almost goes without saying, that I got my husband a little gift anyway, but he doesn't know.

So last night, cleaning up in the kitchen and talking about Christmas, my husband turns to me and says: "You know I haven't done any shopping, right? You know, so you aren't disappointed on Christmas."

Me: "Well, when you say it like THAT it sounds kind of sucky. Now I will be disappointed. In fact, I am going to start feeling disappointed right now. You know how I like to get a head start on things."

Really? Nothing? not even my favorite coffee creamer? not even a creative coupon book? a love letter?

Maybe someone can send him a memo, for future reference, that "don't get me anything" NEVER REALLY means "get me (absolutely-freaking) NOTHING." There must be a slight semantic difference there, right?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday spirit

I'm just going to come out and say it... I detest crowds, I abhor standing in line unless absolutely necessary, and I hate shopping during the holidays... because it inevitably involves lots of crowds and endless standing in line.

(It should go without saying, then, that I never even dream of getting in on the discount action on Black Friday or the day after Christmas--waking up--or not even going to sleep at all--to stand in line for hours in order to trample the poor doorman and scratch and scramble to get the last Play Station--I'd rather break my own knee-caps, thankyouverykindly.)

Needless to say, you may have guessed that I have never taken my daughter to the mall to get her picture with Santa. Actually, the mere idea of taking her to the mall, standing in line, paying some exorbitant fee, and then trying to coax her onto Santa's lap sounds like one of my numerous definitions of Hell.

Yet, tonight, there we were... not at the mall, but a nearby shopping center. I had to buy some things at Target and I had promised her we could go see the light show at the plaza-playground-amphitheater of sorts.

And there he was, SANTA!

G: "I wanna see Santa!"

Me: "OK" (What the hell... let's do it for posterity's sake... and no line--bonus!)

So we approached the set and got ready to pay for the $8 photo. I overheard the woman in front of me asking what payments they accepted. Cash or check. Naturally, I hardly ever carry cash, because you hardly ever need it anymore. And when in the name of all that is holy was the last time anyone carried around a checkbook, for crying out loud! So I turned sadly to G and said: "I am sorry G, we'll have to catch Santa later, we can't see him today."

(now, obviously I am thinking to myself: "well, that sucks, the first and only time she is ever going to see Santa and he doesn't accept debit. I guess I'll have to add THAT to my wish list--"Dear Santa, I know you are old and all, but this is the 21st century and cash is so 1900's, so could you invest in the technology of plastic cards?")

Then, the sweetest thing happened. A woman, who had overheard me talking to G as she picked up her picture and saw the look of desperation in G's face as she longed for her turn on Santa's lap, touched my arm and slipped a $10 bill into my hand and said "Merry Christmas."

Of course, I ran to the nearest coffee shop and grabbed myself a latte--Santa-Schmanta!

RELAX!! Not really. What kind of mother would I be if I denied G this once in a lifetime experience, this rite of passage?

So we got her a picture with Santa and we didn't even have to stand in line. HA! (I know that will make some of you envious.)

So here, as proof, that even at the most hectic time of year, in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, kindness and generosity and the Christmas spirit are still to be found in the simplest of good deeds, I offer you, the only picture (probably) the world will ever see of G and Mr. Claus.

Now that G knows she has visitation rights with Santa, what are the chances that I will get out of the Santa visit next year?

P.S. Can you tell she is scared stiff? The best part is that she still has no idea she can actually ASK for things. We ran into our neighbor with a daughter the same age (3) who saw Santa and asked for an IPod. I am so glad G is simple that way: doesn't ask for anything--happy with anything she gets--how long will that last?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dear Santa

All I Want For Christmas... a daughter who doesn't say no... to everything, but who accepts no as an answer to an unreasonable request (where the definition of "unreasonable" is anything I deem so at any given moment).

My daughter is three and don't get me wrong, I love her independence and spunk... to a point. The infamous "terrible-twos?" --were not so terrible. But, the not-so-famous-though-undeservedly-so "attitude-threes" are living up to their name in the worst way (some days).

What could have brought on such an unconventional wish-list?

Listening to G crying and screaming "I want my banana" for the last 15 minutes after I tossed (escorted) her into the dungeon (her room) without the rest of her lunch. What was her crime? Throwing a fit at the dining table when the "wicked witch" (mama) informed her that there would be no more yogurt until she had finished her banana. Upon hearing that, G threw her banana across the table and the tantrum began.

Such crimes at the lunch table are punishable by early onset of the dreaded NAP. I think this is a fair punishment given that shaking her into submission was the only other alternative I could think of, if I had to listen to the screaming one more freaking second.

Naturally, the minute I removed her from the table and shut her door, her desperate pleas for the banished banana began.

So, don't give me chic apparel that will be soon be stained with pureed carrots and French perfume is a waste since it cannot compete with baby vomit. And please, please don't waste your time on stocking stuffers--I still have that life-saver book from last year.

I want SUBMISSION and OBEDIENCE! Is that too much to ask?

So, Santa, Baby

let's see

if you can leave this

under the tree


lil' ol' me

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Note of Appreciation

Thanks, Hon, for bringing your friend home between your two (yes 2) indoor soccer games tonight. I love that sense of panic when I have to look down to see if I am wearing pants. Ah yes, my white yoga pants, the ones I may have been wearing for three days straight (or not, who can remember?) the ones that make my butt look extra jiggly. Now I see that they are splattered with baby food, because baby likes to sneeze while eating purees.

I really appreciated that your friend noticed me: “You look tired.” All I could say was, “Hmm, yeah, well…” Because the rest of that phrase might have sounded hostile (Yeah, well why don’t YOU try staying home ALL day with two tots, one of which has a runny nose and the other a penchant for saying (or screaming) “No” every time she is asked to do something. When (or if) you make it to 8 o’clock, which means, finishing the bath-dinner-bedtime rush, let’s see how refreshed YOU look!)

Next time, you could give me a head’s up so I could at least make myself presentable. Or better yet, you could not bring him at all, because “presentable” actually sounds like a lot of work at that time of evening.

You are lucky, by the way, that I was not crying into a pint (or gallon) of ice cream while I watched the heart-warming transformations in the “Biggest Loser” finale.

Yeah? Who’s the biggest loser now?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I am not your ordinary girl…

… in fact, it might be more appropriate to call me a grrrrl (with lots of grrr).

You don’t believe me? Consider these facts:

You will never see me with a designer purse or ever hear me talk about wanting a designer purse, or any purse. I do not understand women who carry diaper-bag sized purses--WTH do they have in there? I have one (not designer—just a purse.) I bought it over 10 years ago. It is very small. I only carry it when I have to. Actually, this is a small lie. I have 3. The one that I use, mentioned here. One that I bought to carry my gargantuan camera and one that my MIL gave me that reminds me a little of those wiener dogs(without the legs).

You will not hear me talk about shoes. . . and you will not see me wearing stiletto heels (even though maybe I should, because I am quite short.)

I never wear make-up…well, hardly ever. Occasionally I do, if I go out—and by out I do not mean to the grocery store or the park, but maybe to a birthday party or a girls’ night out or if I host a social gathering.

I do not paint my nails or dream of a good mani/pedi.

Don’t give me flowers as a gift. That is a gift that requires virtually no thought… and they die!

(By this time I have lost most women, I am sure you don’t relate… but there is more!)

I do not own or desire expensive jewelry. My wedding ring is just a gold band. I didn’t want a diamond. (I saw a documentary once about 1) how diamonds had been so successfully linked to love and sentiment through aggressive propaganda and 2) how diamond companies have vaults of diamonds so that they can control the price—sorry De Beers (I had sworn it was de Biers), I don’t like to be manipulated by marketing.)

I do not believe in marriage proposals… you know where the girls waits and waits, pretending she doesn’t care… and waits some more, crossing her fingers, hoping the guy will pop the question… and then she bites into the ring that he slipped into her chocolate mousse when she went to powder her nose. Tears spring to her eyes, she can’t believe her luck. She says “yes! yes! a million times yes” and then calls all of her friends and family to share the good news: “He finally proposed!” One word: “GAG.”

I was not a little girl who dreamed of the perfect wedding. In fact, for a long time I didn’t think I wanted to get married. When it finally became clear that, yes, I would be marrying, I had ZERO interest in browsing wedding magazines, choosing wedding colors, floral centerpieces, dinner entrees, bridesmaid dresses, etc. An open bar would have been nice, however. My husband and I got married at the Justice of the Peace and then had lunch at Olive Garden, because my mom thinks that OG is the perfect end to every social event.

My dress? red velvet. I did not want to wear a white dress symbolizing purity.

Who gave me away? Are you freaking kidding me? I will not be “given away”—
passed from one man’s possession to another's.

(These are traditions that should have died with the dowry [no, I did not come with sheep, pigs, cows, or linens of any kind] and the hanging of the sheets after the wedding night as proof to your back-a$$ward neighbors that your beloved son married a virgin.)

Thanks, but no thanks!

I can never decide if all this makes me low maintenance or super-duper high maintenance.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Metablogging (blogging about blogs)

Do you ever feel that blogging has taken over your life?

If you said no, good, me neither (you may now move on to the next blog).

If you said yes, scroll down…


Fwhew! Me too! I am so glad I am not alone.

Three months ago, I had rarely even seen a blog, much less written a blog post on my very own blog.

I really have no idea how it started. Well I do really… it started during a moment of boredom (isn’t that how everything bad (and by bad I mean good) starts.

I was looking at my msn homepage and clicked on a video story about a young couple who had been in an airplane accident and had sustained massive burns. (I am sure you all knew about that story long before I did.) Because of this woman’s well-loved blog, their story had been made famous all over the world. So I thought to my wee self: “Let’s see what all the fuss is about her blog.” And I did. I read it ALL, all 3+ years of it in a few sittings. Then I moved on to her sister’s blog… and then I started looking at the blogs of bloggers who left comments on her blog… and then looking at the blogs on the “blog roll” of some of these bloggers…

… and then I had a minor breakdown, after reading so many posts about bloggers with perfectly decorated homes, time and energy for gourmet cooking and homeschooling, perfect husbands, their absolute delight at staying home with their perfect kids… I couldn’t take it any longer…

… I had to find my way out of mormonmommyblogdom.

Now, I have nothing against mormonmommybloggers, I actually have some of their blogs in my favorites, but I used to be Mormon and I left it… happily, so it is kind of like looking back in time, at a me, in a totally different life.

Anyway, it was time to move on… so I finally found a blogsite about a city slicker-turned cowgirl rancher. I LOVE her! I read her true-love-romance-saga in one sitting and I drooled over her whisky-glazed carrots. If you haven’t read her, you MUST. (Of course you have read her, why would you have seen my blog and not know this legendary blogger?)

Through her page I linked on to lots of other blogs and through their blogs onto other blogs. I found mommybloggers who drink and cuss and occasionally yell at their kids and perhaps more than occasionally at their husbands.

And I thought: “Now THAT is what I’m talking about!”

I now have a long list of blogs that I look at on a regular basis and I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface of the blogging netherworld. It took ALL of my willpower today to make a few changes to my dissertation proposal without taking just the quickest of peeks at my beloved blog list.

It has totally, I mean, like, TOTALLY taken over my life.

Just last night I found some of the most hilarious blogs yet, and by funny I mean LOL, ROTFLMAO funny (and if there is one thing you should know about me, it's that I have an impeccable sense of humor). I stayed up way too late stifling my laughter so as to not wakey-wakey my sleeping husband.

I can’t wait to read the blogs that they read…

(all referenced blogs available upon request... until I finally decide how I feel about linking on to other blogs)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ethics Schmethics

I am writing (and I use the term "writing" very loosely) my dissertation for my Ph.D. (yes, that is generally what dissertations are written for). I am going to be a doctor... but not the kind that helps people* (or is really qualified to do much of anything... many years well spent, methinks).

*Someone's proud mother said this. I heard it somewhere. I can't remember where, but I just wanted to make it clear that I didn't make this phrase up.

I am set to collect data in February of 2009. In order to collect data from human subjects, a researcher must submit a proposal detailing the study, research methods, data collection procedures, and upload consent forms and instruments to be used to an Internal Review Board. This committee reviews said proposal and determines whether it is ethically sound (and that the univ's a$$ will not be sued for any reason).

I did this about 2 weeks ago. I was so proud of myself for finally getting it done. Stumbling over the last hurdle before actually collecting data and beginning what I hope to be the downhill slide to doctoral bliss.

but, alas... there has been a glitch... wouldn't you know it?

**Disclaimer: this scenario is ficticious. My dissertation topic is really quite boring so I have invented an "interesting" (and I use this adjective loosely) topic to illustrate my little problem. This is also the "nutshell" view... it is slightly more complicated than would be tolerated in a blog post.

I am researching my hypothesis that brunettes really have more fun. So I have made a questionnaire to try to... not prove... you can't prove anything really... to support my claim.

But, I am going to administer my questionnaire to people of all hair colors. Rather than give my participants the real title to my study (i.e. Brunettes have more fun) I titled my study "Who has more fun?" on the consent form. I rationalized this by saying that, though I am focusing on the responses of brunettes, I am going to analyze all data, even if only for sake of comparison and I don't want participants to change their responses thinking I am looking for certain answers... if that makes sense.

Well, apparently, it is "deceptive" to withhold the real intentions of the study from participants. So I have several options. The first is to make a few changes, including the title to something more "innocuous." (IRB's word)-- (I think I'll go with this option--innocuous is always good, right?)

Of course, it is suggested that I discuss the issue with my committee... uh the only problem there, is that my committee is always m.i.a. ... can't get an answer to an email to save my life.

To run the study as is, I would have to give my participants a "debriefing" after they turned in the questionnaires to tell them what I am really looking at...

... something about being straighforward and transparent... blah blah blah...

dammit that's irritating!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I've been waiting for you...

Yesterday, the city where I live, dropped this baby off on my curb...

... that's right, a recycling bin the size of a garabage can!

We have been anxiously waiting..... a LONG time for her arrival... and she is beautifully breathtaking... isn't she?

We love recycling... we love that our garbage can is rarely more than half full... we love that it's one of the free things we poor people can do to save the planet.

We take recycling very seriously...

We recycle everything that is recyclable--which is interesting............ because until now, our city did NOT. Our city only has the capacity to recycle one kind of plastic--I, however, recycle all plastics. Our city only has the capacity to recycle certain kinds of paper/cardboard--I, on the other hand, recycle all paper products. I figure that I have to at least do my part--I put everything that is recyclable in the recycling bin. If the city doesn't have capacity to actually recycle it, they can either throw it away (and let it be on their conscience- I CAN NOT DO IT) or they can find another way.

So thanks to me (not really, I can take no credit) the city, so tired of dealing with my recyclables that they cannot recycle, found another way. It has struck a deal with another nearby city, with recycling plants galore, apparently, to send them anything we cannot recycle ourselves. Hence our new bins that can take all recyclables--we don't even have to sort. (aren't you jealous?)

We try to be "green" in other ways too... that we can afford...

We try to buy organic when possible--but always organic milk--after seeing what they give to non-organic cows I can't bear the idea of my kids or me drinking it. I would love to buy more organic fruits and vegetables--knowing that most produce carries up to 40-50+ DIFFERENT pesticides and chemicals (did you know that?... it is mindboggling!)

We can't afford to buy a new hybrid car... but I leave the house as little as possible (and NO, not just because leaving the house with two small children is absolutely exhausting)

We compost...

Here is a before picture...

and here is an after picture... it turns into DIRT... it is amazing!
look there is even an avocado sprout!

Yes, it looks kind of gross at first, but it is immensely satisfying at some primitive level. I love that we compost... (my neighbors might not, though)

We use mostly green cleaning supplies (except for the toilet--call me old-fashioned, but I just think toilets require something really strong).
The only thing I just can't bring myself to give up... is................
(ahhh... the shame!) ............disposable diapers...
Partly because of the tremendous upfront cost--one decent cloth diaper costs about the same as a box of diapers... but you can't get away with buying one diaper a month.
Partly because disposable diapers are just so gosh-darn convenient. (I am so pathetic, I know!)
But mainly because my mom used cloth diapers with 6 of her 7 kids... and since I was one of the oldest, I remember having to clean out the diapers in the toilet... it was so gross as a 7-8 year old that I was traumatized for life as far as cloth diapers are concerned. I am sure they have come a long way since then and I feel such astounding guilt everytime I throw away a bag of dirty diapers... but I just can't make that leap.
I am sorry Earth... I'll find a way to make it up to you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sisters... a rant

I have sisters. Four of them. Generally speaking, I love them, but many times I want to shake them... really really hard (and say "What the hell are you thinking?")

The youngest lives near me. I rarely see her. We talk on the phone every few weeks and inevitably end up arguing. She is probably the second most infuriating human being in my life, right after my mother.

She is so irrational and very little she says makes sense...

One day she'll say: "You were practically my mom, you raised me" (I wasn't, even practically, and I didn't--though I did babysit a lot, and pick her up from daycare)

The next day she'll say: "You weren't even around when I was little, I don't even remember you when I was growing up."

...and she argues with everything I say, even when I am talking about my own life (an area in which I am undeniably an expert).

She: "You always got straight As"

Me: "No, not really"

She: "Yes, you did"

Me: "No, REALLY, I didn't"

She: "Whatever, you SO did."

and on and on, it doesn't matter what it is about...

I talked to her this morning and I am still furious. No one, besides my mom, can push my bottons like that... all of them, all at once, and repeatedly.

I called my husband to vent...

He said: "Man, they have that power over you."

Yes, they do. I hate it. How do I make it stop?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sweet manipulation

My daughter, G, 3 years old, has a funny little imagination. I don't remember when she started this kind of pretend play, about 4 months ago, maybe. I really don't know what goes on in her little head, but it usually involves a lion or a tiger in an imaginary pursuit of her.

Lately, I have started trying to use it to my benefit:

When G is taking FOREVER (literally) to eat half a PB&J sandwich...

G: "Uh-oh, here comes the tiger. He's gonna get you."

Me: (dramatically) "Oh No! He looks hungry, you better eat your sandwich before he eats it."

and we make a little progress with the sandwich...

Or when it is nap time and she is singing to herself (or screetching, what ever you want to call it) ...

G: "Here comes the lion, you better hide"

Me: "You better get in bed under the blanket and be quiet so he can't find you."

Is that cruel? ... am I in the process of creating a real fear of lions and tigers? a fear of something taking her lunch?

The only act I can't really work with is her little doggie act. She now greets people on all fours, with her tongue hanging out, panting like a puppy. She has even started licking me. But she is not an obedient puppy. If I say: "come," she doesn't.

The other day at the park, she crawled up to 2 teenage boys like that... and just sat there panting for a long time, watching them, barking softly... and no amount of fun playground suggestions would move her.

What do I do with that?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lab Rats

I pre-paid my (soon-to-be) debt to the research community today. (This is important because I have to collect data for my dissertation research in February, so I need good Karma).

I took my son to participate in an infant perception study at the Infant Cognition Laboratory. Yes, he became a little guinea pig.

(sorry if this is a little disturbing, it is meant to be funny----- and yes, I realize that there is a fine line between disturbing and funny and I am not sure which side this ends up on--the real problem is that I don't know how to use photoshop..... which makes sense, because I don't have photoshop)


It was a study to determine at what age infants can perceive number. On a screen, they showed a long series of objects in pairs (two red cars, two rabbits, two watches, two boats, two trees) randomly ordered, repeated etc. Then towards the end (it all took about 3 minutes) they showed objects in threes. They videotaped the session to see if he looked longer at three objects than at two objects.

I am no infant cognition specialist, but my own intuition, after watching Nico watch the screen, is that he was much more interested in objects with bright colors (i.e. the red cars) than the watches (YAWN!) or the brown trees (BO---RING!)

I think we can safely say that, as fascinating as numbers are, THREE brown trees are NOT more interesting than TWO brown trees.

They’ll have to shake it up a little more, if you ask me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Should it stay or should it go?

Let me start out by saying that, like most women on the planet, after having a baby, (or two in this case).... I am..... shall we say.... hmmm...... unhappy with my post-partem body (can I still say post-partem, 9 months later? I can, right?).

I think a lot of women who have had kids would be very annoyed with me for complaining, because, I know, from an objective standpoint, I don't have it all that bad--I am small to begin with, I didn't gain that much weight--in fact the "recommended" 30-35 pounds (though you wouldn't have thought that to see me preggers--because I am so small, I looked HUGE--in fact one Mexican acquaintance we have, kept asking me: "WOW, how much have you gained? Were you this big with G?--I kid you not, he said this, or a variation of it, to my face, on more than one occasion--finally I threatened to cry and make him look like the A$$ that he is (cry or go for the jugular with my bare hands)

Anyway... After G, my first one, I looked virtually the same, but the second one has been different. I lost MOST of the weight, except maybe..... the last "few" (that is such a vaguely relative quantity) pounds that have just refused to budge and then for some reason, after the second one, my body is just NOT the same, and it is, to put it lightly, DEPRESSING AS ALL F-ING HELL!

So, I try not to gripe about it too much, because if there is anything I have learned as a petite woman, it's that no one else wants to hear a petite person complain about weight or body issues etc.

So, I was complaining a while back to my sweet sensitive husband who has to listen to me (can you feel what is coming next?) about my disdain for the post-baby body.......

He: You're not fat, but... Have you seen your butt?

(I kid you not, you think I could make this stuff up?
I told you Spanish-speakers were blunt about body stuff)

Me: (grrrrr) ummmm..... YEEEEESSSSS!?!?!?............... yes, as a matter of fact I have. Yes! That's an affirmative!

(he hears the murderous tone in my voice--hard to miss)

He: No, I mean, it's just rounder.

Me: you mean "round" like FAT?

He: No, you're not fat (doesn't hurt to repeat that, right?), it's just rounder... It's cute. I like it.

(hmm, Dilemma: do I still kill him?)

So, should I still try to lose it, or should I keep it--you know, because I am selfless and I want to make him happy? (HaHa! I act like I have even have a choice... can you say DENIAL?)

I could, of course, go ON and ON. . . but no one likes a whiner....

Ahhh... Life is funny

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In memoriam

Two years ago today my mother-in-law passed away.
I remember her laughing. I remember the expressive way she told stories. I remember her kindness and human decency. I remember how supportive and empathetic she was to me when I was battling cancer. I remember her singing to my daughter when she was a baby and I am so glad I have those songs to sing to her and my baby boy so I can tell them your "lela" taught me those songs.
I know my husband really misses her.
So, here's to Monina: Te queremos y te extrañamos mucho

Saturday, November 29, 2008

G's favorite tune

My daughter's new favorite song has been on my mind. . .

every minute of every day since our discovery of the little ditty

I am far too lame to figure out how to post the actual video here, I have no idea how to do that, so here is a link

She is too young to know that there are so many sticky songs out there that are going to "gum up" her cute little head. . .

Like, for example, this one...

or this one...

or this one...

or anything by Juanes, like this one...

or this one...

So really I just mentioned Juanes so I could post this purely informational (read: gratuitous) photo to introduce you to him and show you what he looks like.

I am nothing if not educational...

...................Well, his songs DO REALLY stay in your head................ like forever..................... but not in a bad way...................................... at least at first.

Friday, November 28, 2008

When does it happen?

So, I was sitting here at the computer this morning, innocently looking at some pictures we took yesterday at the Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's boss, and all of the sudden I was dumbstruck.... with HORROR. When, in the name of all that is sweet and holy, did I start looking so OLD??? (I'm sorry, that needed more than one question mark, that needs some full-on interrogation)

I am glad that the term for the wrinkles around the eye--you know-- "crow's feet" is already plural. Because "Crow's foot" doesn't even come near to describing the masses of lines I have collected over the years--it takes a whole murder of crows for that (did you know that is what a flock of crows is called?) and I would hate to think they had to invent the plural term just for me.

I really thought it was mostly just the crow's feet... and a few age spots... and laugh lines, you know because life is just so darn funny......

..... that is, until I decided to talk to my sweet, considerate, sensitive husband...

I asked him if he thought that too when he looked at himself in photos

He: It's the bags under the eyes...

Me: you mean yours?

He: No, you too...

Me: WHAAAAAT? I never thought mine were that bad, I thought I just had the crow's feet...

He: (shakes head in pity; look on face says "oh yeah you've got bags lady, so big they wouldn't pass as a "carry-on")

Ahh, he's sweet!

(He is Chilean though, Spanish-speakers tend to be brutally blunt about bodily realities--
oh the stories I could tell you--in another post.......)

I'm sure you're thinking by now that I am going to show you one of the pictures that made me have this age-crisis, but I am most assuredly NOT!

But here is one we might call "baby in fall leaves"

Trust me it's best to leave you with the sweet taste of youth (which I'll never get back again-sob sob wail). You'll sleep better!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Confession # 2

I broke down the other night and confessed to my husband...





I do not brush the full two minutes with my sonicare..

You know those sonicare toothbrushes right?

They look like this...

and cost up to $100

They have a built-in timer. My husband's beeps every 30 second so he knows to change quadrants (one of 4 sections of teeth). Mine is a cheaper model and just turns off after 2 minutes after wandering aimlessly around in my mouth with no sense of direction.

(BTW:They are great toothbrushes. . . if you like it a little rough. They don't provide a "traditional" brushing motion, they just vibrate like crazy. They are also not like manual brushes in that you cannot let go at any minute (too heavy) to finish your blog post and you can't open your mouth unless you want to power-wash the entire bathroom. I secretly think that they clean well at first and then your plaque gets smarter and morphs into vibration-resistant plaque and you are back to square one.)

All of you who have brushed your teeth will know that two minutes is a LONG time to brush teeth--even if that is the recommended time allotment. I say: "Who says they aren't clean enough after 1:30 or 1:45?" I am an impatient person. I am also a "git in and gitter done" kind of gal. I could use those extra seconds to do something more exciting than brushing: like flossing or blogging.

This was like blasphemy to my dear hubby's ears. He takes teeth-brushing very seriously. He used to brush his teeth for about 30 minutes--I kid you not!!! It used to drive me nuts--it makes for a very long bedtime ritual. THEN..... he was diagnosed with periodontis--which is a step or two worse then gingivitis. Gingivitis always sounded to me like you had dirty teeth, and may be that is one cause, I don't know, but for my husband it was quite the opposite.

He brushed for so long (and presumably too hard) that his gums had receded in absolute terror from his teeth, leaving his teeth exposed and in danger (no need to be alarmed!!, he had a very fun surgery on all four gum quadrants and is being treated--well not anymore actually, we don't have dental insurance now and have no money for luxuries like teeth-cleaning--but he was improving).

He: "So what do you do?"

Me: "I turn it off when I get bored"

He: (gasp--look of horror--can find no words)

Two minutes is just a lot of committment and I don't like to be tied down. . . well to teeth-brushing anyway.

What is it about a piñata?

What is it about a piñata..........
that just screams PAR-TAY?
Saturday was G's 3rd birthday... I can't believe it baby is three .
G: "I'll turn five later"
M: "Yes, honey, now you are three, you'll turn five later"
So we had a big party (I am exhausted!) three-year-old style. We live in the Southwest and G has already had some experience with Mexican-style parties (the daycare she went to for a while was run by two Mexican señoras). We have a bi-cultural family with "latino" flair (my husband is from Chile (notice the T-shirt with a "chile" on it--haha get it? Chile-chile (though Chilean cuisine is NOT spicy) sadly though , piñatas are not all that common in Chile)))
Anyway..... we had to have a piñata because my daughter LOVES them. She walks around singing the piñata song from time to time, hitting an imaginary one with her imaginary "palo" (stick).
I sent the husband to the Mexican side of town to get a "REAL" piñata--he is the latino, he should do the piñata dealings-don't you agree? He came home with a giant Nemo (and this was the small one!) and 10 pounds of candy (the parents were all SO happy!) and one big bag of confetti that is now all over our back lawn.
To make a short story long, the piñata was a huge success, though it took the kids nearly an hour (not really) to pick up TEN pounds of bite-size candy--chomping happily along the way--well we had to keep them occupied somehow!

more to come later.....

Friday, November 21, 2008

Every day of my life. . .

So another blog I read every once in a while challenged readers to post "A Day in the Life". She promised to post links to all possible participants. . . but (boo-hoo) she didn't post a link to mine. I'll assume that she assumed that it wasn't really going to happen for me (I'll show her-HA!!) and NOT that she thinks I'm some annoying little lurker and doesn't want to encourage me in any way. . . that would make me feel a little sad (I don't know why, I don't even know her).

So for all the non-existent readers to my blog, here is a day in my life...

7:00--Baby Nico wakes up gurgling

I grab a cup of this, so I stop wanting to shoot myself

G: "Mami, I wanna go pee-pee" "I wanna wear the glasses"

G watches a little PBS while mama feeds chubby Nico.

MMmmmm.... cereal .....................................Then G has a little breakfast herself

Mom takes a shower while Nico takes a nap.

Yes, this is MY shower. . . toddler with dinosaur accessories, not wanted, but free of charge ............................ ooooops watch your step!

Nico wakes up......................................... while........................... G paints (our little Van Gogh)

Time to get some fresh air........ don't feel like running today................let's take a walk

To the park (which we LOVE love love) find "caracoles."

...and go to the river...... transfer rocks from one end of the park...

to the bottom of the river (PARD secretly thanks us)

This is actually what lunch and dinner look like for Nico

I skip some steps in pictures, but they include poopy diapers, crying , time-outs, lunch, nap, dishes, maybe some sweeping and laundry (so you don't think I don't clean) afternoon play something or other

Bathtime. . . not always together--due to the look of Terror on Nico's face

Nico plays on the floor--sucking all the paint off some toys from China

While G runs laps around the house (just winding down)

G is eating dinner. "Tastes good mama! But didn't we have this last night too?"

M: "Yeah, so what? Leftovers rock!"

Now papi comes home............... ahhh sweet relief (we ALL love seeing a fresh face!)............. and mama escapes off to a "Girls' Night Out while hubby does dinner dishes and takes over bedtime duty (yay!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Does he tickle your fancy?

Did you see the new sexiest man alive on the cover of People magazine?

What do you think?

I don't really care who they choose, none of them get my engine going much. . . just never been all that into celebrities.

Buuuuuuut.................. if it were a matter of life and death and I had to choose someone ........................ It would be this guy every year

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grammar quiz... and proof of my nerdness

First, let me preface by saying that I pride myself on my proper Queen's English--no just kidding, I don't speak the Queen's English. I did teach English, however, for several years. I more recently teach Spanish, and as you know, in order to really learn a language well, it is helpful to have a good grip on the workings of your first language. Now, I am not a grammar nazi, mind you, but.................I have to admit that when I hear people speak, in my head I am thinking, "oh he just used a double negative: you can't do that in English" or "did my sister really just say: 'I seen'? Doesn't she know that "seen" is NOT, I repeat, NOT the past tense of see?" But I never correct anyone and I am not judgmental about it (except that one with my sister, some errors bug me a teeny-tiny bit). In fact, I take a rather linguistic viewpoint, that languages change and evolve (just think that Shakespearean English used to be all the rage) and that, though there are prescriptive rules (how you should speak), anything a native speaker says is "acceptable."

(is everyone asleep by now?--can you believe this is the stuff I think about? ............... My husband can't either!)

I should also add, that there are some "rules" of English that I just don't believe in. Some rules were borrowed from Latin grammar (how much sense does that make?) That is where you get rules like "don't split infinitives" and "don't end a sentence with a preposition" which frankly just don't jive with spoken English, though they are rules you are essentially forced to comply with in academic settings, especially in writing.

So, everyone makes little mistakes when they speak, including me, but writing is different because you have much more control. I will admit, humbly, that I am a good writer (grammar-wise). I am not always clever and interesting, I make typos sometimes, and I don't always follow punctuation rules, I kind of make up my own, and when I write informally, I don't pay as much attention.......................... but, usually, most of the time, when I have time and patience to think and to edit, my grammar is purtty durn good.

No one likes grammar, so this isn't really a grammar quiz (are you secretly relieved?) It is an admission of an error that I made that was (gulp) caught by my (gulp) Dissertation Supervisor (gasp... the horror.......) and in effect, inspired this whole grammar-rambling post.

This was my sentence: "What is your principle reason for studying Spanish?"

Do you know what is wrong with that sentence? (now that I have told you there is something wrong with it, you probably got it and you are now patting yourself on the back, thinking that I am such a moron for getting it wrong and that you could teach me a lesson or two)

If you don't know ..........................scroll down and I'll tell you







Ok, here it is: I should have written "principal" reason (principal, as in primary; not principle as in "it's a matter of principle). It hadn't so much as crossed my mind when I wrote it.

I was flabbergasted, to say the least, that I would make such an elementary mistake. I thought I had all of the heterographic homonyms pegged (you know, like to, too, and two)

It's principal not principle.................. who'dda thunk?

Confession # 1

In the spirit of coming clean I am going to confess, in this very public (internet--free access to all) yet very private (read by none) forum, that my almost three year old daughter still drinks from a bottle. . .

I would never tell her pediatrician, and don't you dare either

but you know what? I really don't care anymore. . .

To clarify a little, she really only drinks her morning and night milk in a bottle. She'll drink anything else (water, juice, the occasional cocktail--not really) from anything else (cup, sippy cup, straw, and the occasional water bowl for some animal at a house we are visiting--really), but her milk in the wee hours of the morning and her milk at dusk before bed, HAS to be in the bottle.

To be fair, her bottle was her "comfort item". No silky blanket, no cute little stuffed wabbit, she hugged an empty bottle(d'ya think I was going to give her one with milk--that is a no-no!!) at night for a long time (not unlike at least one of her parents............... not really). In fact she still sleeps with her arms lovingly wrapped around a sippy cup--I kid you not! at least we graduated her comfort item.

All new parents who have not lived through the bottle (or boob) to cup transition will probably be judging me rather harshly by now, but they have no clue. (Stop thinking badly of me!--just wait until you have a five-year-old with a pacifier)

I fought to get her to drop the bottle, believe me I fought. I tried all kinds of sippy-cups and she just sobbed inconsolably and refused to drink milk (and really wouldn't you rather have a child who drinks milk?) and when I gave her back her "ba-ba" she caressed it lovingly closing her eyes in absolute ecstasy.

And then I was struck with the realization that sippy cups are REALLY, REALLY, really not all that much different from a bottle, as far as the sucking goes (and that is one of the reasons "they" say to quit the bottle--that and teeth--well, she doesn't take it to bed with her).

In my daughter's other country of origin, CHILE (viva Chile, mierda!!!), children often drink from bottles, well beyond the recommended cut-off age in the U.S. (1 year). My husband says his mom brought him milk in the morning in a bottle until he was 12. . . and if you knew my husband like I do, you would know that it is probably not an exaggeration. And look at him. . . . he turned out (mostly) ok.
Really, bottles are practical. And I don't feel AT ALL (really, not at all, not a bit, not even a teensy-weensy bit) that I am prolonging her babyness (for my sake--trust me, I already have another baby-- or to her detriment).

I might feel different if she wanted to take her bottle to the playground, playgroup, or the mall (wait. . . I don't go to the mall), and I am sure she'll grow out of it at some point. . . right??? So I am not THAT worried about it, but let's be frank, it's not something to brag about either.

oh. . . and while we are being honest, now, thanks to the husband, her milk has to have chocolate in it.

oh. . . and the morning milk we give to her still half-sleeping because that way she'll drink it and go back to sleep until 8:30.

oh. . . and she was born before the latest BPA panic (at least the full-blown public scandal). . . so? yes............ her bottles are chock-full of the nasty hormone-altering chemical.

Monday, November 17, 2008

There are no words

I spent all weekend checking in by phone on my sister who lives far away in another state. Her ex-boyfriend died early Saturday morning. They had broken up a few months ago, but were still talking about whether to reconciliate or not. They didn't have the healthiest relationship (who does, really?) but he helped her through some really hard times and was still her shoulder to lean on. It was totally unexpected and she is devastated.

I am so sad for her. I can't even imagine. . . and I don't know what to say.

I immediately forgave my husband for all the silly things I am constantly upset about and made him promise that he will NEVER do that to me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Grief. . . . . .

A moment of silence, please,

for my daughter's loss this morning

What is a mother to do with

sadness like this?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things I have learned this week...

* Going jogging, while pushing two kids in a double jogging stroller is
HAAAA--AARRD! Especially if it is windy.

If you have never had this distinct pleasure you should try it immediately

(Truth be told, it can hardly be called jogging at the pace I go pushing 80 pounds in a sailboat)

** I don't care what kind of puppy the Obamas are bringing to the White House (though I do like the Obamas).....................

***I don't care who bought Palin's wardrobe nor how much it cost (though I was no fan of Palin's)

**** A toddler will throw a crying-screaming-kicking-rock-throwing tantrum when it is time to leave the park if and only if there are other moms and kids around. It's like they have this innate sense that you don't want to be seen as the mother of "one of those kinds of kids" so they think you'll back down. (don't worry I didn't)

oh and Madagascar 2 is not NEARLY as good as the first one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Euphoria. . . part one (maybe)

I am late in posting, so perhaps the "shock and awe" phase of Obama's victory has passed. . . but no matter, ........if you are reading this, it is probably years after the fact anyway.

I am so proud of my country today. I don't know that I can find the words to explain why and don't have the time, so I will post an exerpt from Anna Quindlen's article "What Obama Means to This Nation" in Newsweek:

"I felt I was part of a country that was living its principles. Despite all our prejudices, seen and hidden, millions of citizens managed, in the words of Dr. King, to judge Barack Obama by the content of his character and not the color of his skin. There were many reasons to elect him president, but this was one collateral gift: to be able to watch America look an old evil in the eye and to say, no more. We must be better than that. We can be better than that. We are better than that."

You can read the entire article here

Not everyone voted for Obama, but he won by pretty wide margin. I am sure that many of those who voted for McCain did not count race as a factor, but there are many white Americans, I am convinced, who believe they are racially tolerant enough to vote for a black candidate for president, but found every possible excuse NOT to. I should also add that many of us who voted for Obama did not do so because of his race, but because of his judgment, his temperment, his values, and his ideals.

p.s. If you are wondering (I am sure you are not) why I am not posting pictures with my election posts. . . well, I think you already know what Obama looks like. His handsome face would just distract you from reading a fascinating post)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I already voted! Aren't you jealous (probably not, that doesn't really warrant jealousy) I voted almost two weeks ago. It would be romantic, ideally, to go out on Election Day and stand in line for hours (possibly), but... alas... I have two small children under three and so it would most assuredly be, decidedly NOT romantic for everyone else to watch me wrangle two bored (possibly hungry, probably tired) kids. ("Please hold my place in line while I catch my 3 year-old" "Please hold my place in linewhile I change the baby's poopy diaper".. . yeah, maybe not)

So I exercised my right to vote early.

Some jerks I know aren't even going to vote. WHAT is up with that? What are you going to tell your kids when they are studying the single most important (to this point) election of our time and they ask you who you voted for in the historic election of 2008 and you say...????? What could you possible say to save yourself in their eyes except that you were in a coma...

Some other jerks say: "No matter who you vote for, just get out and vote!" Yeah, ok, I understand the underlying message. . . but it does matter who you vote for. So get out and vote for OBAMA!!!!

What is wrong with the rest of you? (Do you really want to tell your kids that you voted for another old white guy--yeah that's a change we can believe in! whatevah)

I like to think that I don't belong to any particular political party, that I am a rugged independent, but really, if I am to be honest with myself, I am Democrat to the core. You can call me anything you want: flaming liberal, socialist (and I'll just call you a bible-thumpin' redneck or capitalist-tax-evading a$$, right back) but I will always vote for social justice: education and healthcare for all. a more equitable distribution of wealth (ALL existing data has shown that capitalism cannot and will not, do that by itself--SHOCKING!!! yes? trickle-down theory my arse!) and no tax breaks or loopholes for the filthy rich.

Voting strategy: Vote Democrat where possible--when not possible vote for a woman--when not possible, vote anything but Republican

(this strategy should NOT surprise you if you have read any of my previous posts--which of course you haven't, you aren't even reading this one, because no one reads my blog--which is, of course, precisely how I planned it)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

"The Faithful"??? . . . . . . . my arse!

So I saw this headline on my msn home page "The Faithful Hoping for a Miracle" (or something like that) and clicked on it to check it out. Of course it is about the sad Republican conservative right-wingers who can feel defeat in the air. . . but you know what really pissed me off? .....(suspense)...

Hijacking the term "faithful". . . let me tell you, a lot of us faithful have long been hoping for a miracle and it's not the miracle implied in this article. . . it's the miracle of finally seeing something that's not old and white (though granted he's male--that's one strike) in the White House.

The article explained how the religious right was praying for a pro-life advocate / gay-marriage opponent to win the Presidential race.

This is my question: How many minutes of the average day at the office do you think the president, of any persuasion, actually dedicates to abortion and the sanctity of marriage?

My guess is not many...

My advice then, is to put someone in the White House who is going to spend the remaining minutes of the day doing more than protecting big money.

And values. . . what ever happened to that good, old-fashioned "Christian" ethic of helping those in need: the hungry, the sick, the poor.

Why is it that the basic premise of Christianity, the life's work of Jesus, is always so absent from the political platform of the religious right????

just my two cents


Friday, October 31, 2008

You must read this. . .

I found this while reading some comments on Newsvine. Some of the points are more relevant than others, but it certainly makes you think about the role that race plays in this election.

By Anonymous:

It’s a question of perspective : Obama/Biden vs McCain/Palin, what if things were switched around?..... think about it.

Would the country's collective point of view be different?

Ponder the following:

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage, includinga three month old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?
What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once, and Obama was a divorcee?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident, when she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair whilehe was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to painkillers but also acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five?(The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruptionin 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savingsand Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly, on many occasions, a serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

You could easily add to this list.

If these questions reflected reality you might wonder would the election numbers be as close as they now are?

Educational Background:
Barack Obama: Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

Joseph Biden:University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science.Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)


John McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Maybe we feel that the White House should be the place where "Joe Six-pack" meets the leaders of the world and where the most honored profession on earth is Joe the Plumber who practices plumbing without a license and is an admitted tax-dodger. Admittedly, education isn't everything, but this is about the two highest offices in the land as well as our standing in the world. You make the call as to why you personally think the race is as close as it is. Talk to your conscience and God about it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mother's Day Out

. . . this has been irking me for some time. . . There is no DAY out, as if once a month these moms get a day to deep clean the house, or have a spa treatment, a morning out with the girls that will tide them over until next month

. . . no. . . Mother's Day Out is anywhere from 2-5 days a week for about 4 hours per day. Most of the kids these programs service are young enough that you can't even really call it pre-school. You know what that is people?

It is called part-time daycare for the stay-at-home mom with discretionary funds.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, if I had extra funds I'd do it too (rather than spend every moment of every day in the sheer bliss of mommydom--with no grandparents, aunts or uncles even to babysit every once in a while)

...but let's call it what it is! (and then never badmouth the moms who take their kids to daycare)

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Do you remember Halloween costumes when you were young? I remember I never had a store-bought costume; they were always homemade. One that was popular in my family because it required really very little work was a Hobo. . . have you ever gone as a Hobo? We would don old torn dirty clothing, with maybe a few patches. Then we would take some ash or charcoal from the wood-burning stove and dirty ourselves up a bit. The last step involved putting all of one's worldly possessions in a handkerchief, tying it around a stick and slinging it over one's back.

I was thinking about Hobo's the other day, since Halloween is right around the corner... I have no idea the exact time-frame, but weren't they the vagabonds during the Great Depression, roaming around the country, jumping on and off trains?

Can you imagine going as a modern-day Hobo. . . which is essentially a homeless person and calling it that?

A: What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

B: A homeless person. . . isn't that clever?

Somehow I don't think the reception would be the same...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Musings. . .

Have you ever noticed that when people talk about a female actress (they are all female-right?) who is very good they use the word "actor" as if that somehow connotes a much more serious, much more talented professional being? "Actress" is then reserved, almost as an insult, for the grossly undertalented, those with a tendency for superficial characters and plots, those perhaps chosen for reasons other than acting merit.

The lesson: if you are good enough, you can be called what men are called, if you suck you are stuck with a girly title.

What are male actors called who don't make the "real acting" grade?

I don't think it's fair. . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

15 minutes of Mom's Club fame

There have been a lot of things I have thought of writing about, but haven't found the energy. So, I'll post this: I belong to a MOM's Club. Mostly I am too lame and/or lazy to get out to many of the activities (actually it is because they are always at naptime and I am a nap nazi). I am a lush though, so I usually make it to Mom's Night Out. Anyway, the newsletter editor asked me to be the "scoop of the month" in which I tell my story based on a list of questions. Here are my answers. I hope all of the people who DON'T read this blog enjoy them.

How did you meet your husband? I went to Santiago Chile after college to teach English. He was one of my students. I ended up living there a lot longer than I had planned.

Where were you born and where did you grow up (if different)? I was born in Mesa, AZ. I was raised in Utah and then moved to Oregon for my last year of high school and college.

How long have you lived in Austin? For seven years

What did you do before you became a mother? Traveled more, slept in more, went out more, ran more, read more... Everything else, like teaching and graduate studies I continued after having kids.

What is your favorite thing about being a mom? There are things about the baby phase that I love: toothless grins, the looks of adoration, and incessant drool, but when that phase is over, I am relieved. I love the movement and sense of independence that comes with toddlerhood. My favorite part thus far has been linguistic development. Nothing beats having your child applaud and say “you did it” every time you go pee-pee. It has been especially cool to see Gabi’s bilingual development.

What has been your biggest parenting challenge and how did you handle it? I have had quite a few challenges but the biggest two have been breastfeeding and being a stay-at-home mom for now. I handle all frustrations by having a teeny-tiny breakdown and by being a teeny-tiny bit mean to my husband—thank gawd he has the patience of Jude and absolutely NO memory—he loves me the next day anyway.

What are your hobbies and interests apart from being a mom? Running, wine, baking… I am really into making bread right now. . . do you want some?

Tell us an interesting tidbit about yourself. Tidbits—yes; interesting—hmm? I have 6 brothers and sisters; I ran away from home a lot as a kid; and I love fossils, I look for them everywhere I go (can you say GEEK?).

What are you most proud of (besides being a mom)? I am dangerously close to finishing my Ph.D.

What is your favorite food? I have a pretty versatile palate: Thai, Italian, Greek, Cuban, Mexican etc. But the only real craving I ever have is DQ fries dipped in ranch

What is your favorite restaurant? I love Vespaio and Trattoria Lisina

What is your favorite movie and why? I have always loved foreign movies: Il Postino, Delicatessen, Strawberry and Chocolate, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Amelie are a few favorites that come to mind.

Where is your favorite vacation spot? The Chilean coast: 3000 miles of breathtaking views and the best seafood in the world.

What is your favorite TV show? I really appreciate some of the programs on KLRU (PBS): Frontline, NOW, Washington Week, Nature. In non-nerd TV--I’ll watch almost anything if I am bored or avoiding work but I especially like “The new adventures of old Christine” and “Life.”

What is your favorite reading material? Back in the days when I read for pleasure: Barbara Kingsolver, Jorge Luis Borges, Herman Hesse, Stephen Jay Gould, and any good poetry.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's a GIRL!!!

When we found out our first child was going to be a GIRL my husband was somewhat relieved: "It'll be easier for you" he said (nervously). He knows I have issues with men (in fact he said once that I would probably be more comfortable as a lesbian)

Issues with men? you say, SAY IT AIN'T SO! (try to sound shocked)

I was raised Mormon, and if there is any place to feel the slings and arrows of gender discrimination it is in religion.

My brothers got Father and son camp-out

I got "Daddy-daughter-dinner date"

I was incensed at girl's camp as a teenager that there had to be a priesthood holder (a man!) at the camp with us. I highly doubt there was a motherhood representative at boy's camp.

Mormon young men go on missions at age 19. Women are only encouraged to go at 21 if they are not married by then (can you say old maid?)

As a Mormon young woman you go to college really only to meet your husband. Maybe deep down that is one of the reasons I am going for a Ph.D.--because it was never expected that you would get that far.

You know religions are created by MEN when:

***God is a man.

***God's power is expressed through men.

***and the immaculate conception... a woman gives birth

and is still a virgin--

doesn't that sound like every man's fantasy? (a tad irreverent, I know)

.......and don't even get me started on men and politics/war/business

So YES!!!!!!, I have issues with men

Has it been easy having a girl? That is another story altogether. . .


and every bit as SASSY as her mama

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The world through the blogger's lens

Have you noticed that once you start a blog, you spend A LOT of time thinking of all the clever poignant, funny posts you could post? Then you start reading more blogs and you immediately realize that you have no business even having a blog because you are not remotely clever, poignant or funny enough.

Las cosas que nos gustan:




(que vive en el water meter)


(only found in Texas)