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