7.31.2007

Portishead in my head

I stumbled upon this video of Portishead last night. It brought back so many pleasant memories of my youth while in college. I was one of those all-black wearing artist feminists who took themselves way too seriously. You know, black hair that always hung in my face, black eyeliner, black nail polish, black sweatshirt, black concert tees, black Doc Martens. It was reefer madness every day. I had these extreme cultural and political views but not the life experience to back it up. Heh. But this music...it's as beautiful and haunting today as it was thirteen years ago. It's like a soundtrack from my life. So to hear it again, it just made me swoon. Check out the lead singer, Beth Gibbons...when was the last time you saw a singer smoke a cig at the same time she was performing! Enjoy the music.

7.28.2007

American Idol


My little brother Joshua got this idea in his head that he would try out for American Idol. He is cute. He has a great, outgoing personality. He has a really beautiful voice. I think he just may make it through. I mean, damn, if Sanjaya could do it, he can too! I have faith in him, even if he is too embarrassed to sing in front of the family. He is such a nerd, I guess he thinks we will laugh at him or something! But he is in choir and ministry team and has been singing for as long as I can remember. I have this little trick to hear him sing...I try to sit next to him whenever we go to church together. Heh. Then I can clearly hear him belting the songs out.

My mom was about to turn 40 when he was born so there is an eleven year gap between him and my baby sister. What does this mean? He has older parents (read: two incomes). He goes to a private school. He will get a new car when he turns 18 next year. Guess watches, Express jeans, Abercrombie & Fitch clothes, etc. He does not know what it feels like to hear, "Sorry son, but money is tight right now." But the funniest thing of all, he has my mom and my stepdad as a chaffeur. He goes to parties, choir performances, plays, the movies, to hang out...pretty much anywhere he needs to go, my mom and stepdad will drive him. I like to think it keeps the parents young, trying to keep up with a teenage son. So of course, he had to be driven to San Diego today, which is where the AI auditions are taking place this year.

That means they left Riverside at 4 am, then waited in line to register until almost ten in the morning. Then they drove back to Riverside because apparently every single hotel in San Diego was booked up. Wow, what awesome parents. I remember my mom needing oxygen whenever I asked her to drop me off for softball practice. But then again, she was a stressed out single mother back in those days. I tell Josh he just doesn't know how good he has it (and me too--there is no shame in my game!). They are driving back to San Diego on Monday, when the actual auditions start. I'm so excited for him!

7.27.2007

Free flowing

Warning: Content below is about menstrual cycles, periods, the curse, "the monthly visitor", the Rag...whatever you want to call it. If you have testicles and feel faint of heart, go read someone else's blog. If you have fallopian tubes and a cervix, go on girlfriend, get yo blog readin' on.

Sigh. You know when you start a post with a heavy sigh, it ain't good. What is it about the normal female biological function that turns a woman's world upside down for about two weeks a month? It's amazing.

You have to realize, I took a very long sabbatical from having a period. I had six children in nine years. That means I was pregnant ten months out of the year. And then there was the whole breastfeeding adventure, which for me meant another six or seven months of no ovulating and thus, no period. Finally, when I did get a cycle or two back, I would get pregnant all over again! But now that Xiomara is turning two and put an end to our delightful childbearing years, my cycles are back every month. With a vengeance. This means I am ready to rip someone's head off just for asking me if they can make a bag of microwave popcorn. This means my skin erupts with a giant pimple and it's usually right between my eyebrows. It also means that I am mean and vicious and emotional and weepy and sad. It's ridiculous. And the cravings...I made two trays of brownies last night. Yes, in the over hundred degree heat, nappy baby-hair all stuck to the sweat of my forehead and a glazed look on my face. But I made those brownies. I didn't have any vegetable oil so Michael offered to run and buy some. But I was so fiending for the chocolate that I had to make them right now and I didn't want to wait, so I used extra virgin olive oil. Oh, excuse the hell out of me Rachael Ray, EVOO. And they were damn good. But I felt so disgusting afterwards, like a binge eater or something. Then I got mad at myself for eating so much of it. Then I got sad because I will always be a fat ass. Cuckoo.

I can understand why, in some Native American cultures, women had to isolate themselves during their "unclean" time of the month. Isolate me, please. Send me to some remote sweat lodge where I could lay around with wildflowers in my hair on some bear rug and cleanse my uterus. I mean, come on, for the safety of my family. I am such a raging beast during my time of the month. My kids are a little too young to understand the science behind it, but they are smart enough to duck and cover. And oh. It's a full moon with much humid heat and that, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

My poor husband. One minute I am stomping around the house screaming at him for moving my fan from the living room where I fold laundry and the next I am cuddling up to him and telling him how much I love him. Two seconds later I am growling, "Take me to Kmart--I NEED TAMPONS!!!!!" Then, "Hoooooney, come to bed!" Heh. He just looks at me like he doesn't know how to avoid setting off a land mine and getting his leg blown off. He just wants to get out of here alive.

I feel you, homie, I feel you.

7.19.2007

It's been ten lovely years...

Ten years ago today, I married this tall, lanky man with shiny eyes, big smile...arms as long as a monkey's. Our wedding was planned in less than a month. I can't even remember the details of the event...what colors, the flowers, the food, even though I know I was asked my opinion. I just didn't get carried away in the fuss of it all...whatever was nice, the most affordable, the most simple--I was just happy to be getting married. We have our ceremony on video and it is so precious to me because my husband is standing there with a huge smile on his face, like he can barely contain his excitement. And during the actual ceremony there I am, seven months pregnant, all fidgety and nervous. We were so, so young. We had no idea the kind of commitment and love and faithfulness it would take to make this marriage last. We just knew we loved each other and wanted to be on this adventure together.

I honestly don't know where the time has gone. Almost twelve years of being together, ten years of marriage and six children later, we are still here, loving each other, trying to balance our relationship, our children and a business. It hasn't been easy. But nothing of great worth never is, is it? I read something Dr. Dobson wrote, and he said that making a marriage last takes a dogged, iron-fisted determination and commitment. Romantic love will pass away, sexual love will pass away but the true, unconditional love the way God intended, you have to fight for it. Our basic natures rally against it. Depreciation starts the minute you drive away from the church your wedding took place. But only if you let it. It's been rough, not really having any solid marriages around that we could emulate. I have divorced (twice) parents, Michael's parents were never even married. When you've never seen it lived out before you, you have to be really creative and pave your own road that hopefully one day your children will hope to follow. I really want my children to say, "My Mom was always sweet to my Dad...she really loved him." and I want them to also say,"My Dad adored my mom...I hope my marriage will be like that."

I don't know if this is something you experience, but the minute we have something planned to do like celebrate holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. we usually have a spat leading up to it. And it just makes me so sour that I can't even enjoy the actual event. So as I was in the shower this morning, thinking back at all the things we have said to one another, crying, praying...this came to mind: Let us not grow weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up. Galatians 6:9 I won't give up being a loving wife or mother because I know God is good (can I get an AMEN!?!?), and He wants me to reap from this marriage.

I will strive to enjoy my husband today. We are co-heirs, co-laborers in this life. It is here on earth that we can be lovers. It is here on earth that we can be parents to our children. When the day comes and we are sitting Heaven, we will no longer share in those things as we once did. The nature of our relationship will change. Jesus said the institution of human marriage would end, having fulfilled its purpose to anticipate and reflect the marriage of Christ and His bride (Ephesians 5:23-32). So what does that mean to me? The time I have with Michael is precious.

I love you, sweetie. Happy anniversary. Here is to ten more beautiful and exciting years.

7.16.2007

"What happens when big brother is gone?"

Now that Noah and Diego are back from camp, order has been restored to the home. First of all, it can cease to be this spotlessly clean living area. I can go back to my daily ritual of bleaching the toilet. Markers and drawing paper and books can be strewn all over the place once again. The trash can be dumped out on a regular basis. And Solomon can go back to being little brother because, as he said, "It's rough being the oldest." He is free to go back to his welcomed state of uselessness.

Sadly, the worst part about having my boys away at camp was this irrational fear it gave the rest of my kids who were left at home. It was something I never expected. They had this scary realization that they might not ever see their big brothers again. Now, that may seem over the top to you. A quick "brothers are just away at camp and will be home soon" explanation should suffice. Well, that won't work in my home.

You see, my children have gone through the trauma of having one of their siblings taken away from them, their big brother Mikey. It has been a long three months since we have been able to see him or even speak to him. That is a long time for us. We are accustomed to seeing him at least every other weekend. We are used to our weekly phone calls. We have been cut off from all that. Every attempt we have made to speak to Mikey has been met with much hostility. His cell phone got shut off (after his mom had a fit that his brother's were calling and leaving him messages). They won't answer their home number. We are not allowed to go and pick him up until we "pay" his mother because apparently she feels she is entitled to some money. Fourteen long years of taking care of your only son...you are entitled to a fat payoff from his father, right? You deserve it.

After Mikey lived with us for nearly two months, his mother got a wild hair up her butt and demanded that he come back home. After much fighting, gnashing of teeth and two visits from the sheriff's department, Mikey was abruptly taken back home. This really hurt my children. They were there every time the police came to our door, questioning their father. They were here when the phone would ring nonstop and the hateful messages were left. They were here when their big brother tearfully packed up his bags and left. They gave him a hug and said goodbye, but I don't think they realized how long it would be before they would see him again.

I've had to field many, many questions from my children. And sometimes, I don't have any answer to satisfy them! That is what I hate the most. Mama, are we going to pick up Mikey this weekend? Mama, how come we can't see Mikey? Mama, does Mikey still love us? Will we ever get to see Mikey again? and Mama, why does Mikey's mom hate us so much? So my only response to their questions is to pray. That is our only recourse. So the children are faithful to pray for their brother on a daily basis. They are also faithful to pray for Mikey's mom, that God would touch her heart. But what really scares me the most is when my children feel that their prayers have been futile. They have prayed and prayed, and still, no Mikey.

This from my five year old son, on a trip to Trader Joe's:

Cyan: Mom, what is Mikey doing right now?

Me: I don't know, baby boy. He's probably riding his skateboard.

Cyan: Do you think he's okay?

Me: I'm sure he is okay.

Cyan: Do you think he misses us?

Me: Of course.


Cyan: How come his mom won't let him come to our house?

Me: I don't know...all we can do is continue to pray for him.

Cyan: What for? We pray and pray and God doesn't answer our prayers, mama.

I was stunned after his comment. How do I adequately explain to a five year old that God isn't some Sugar Daddy up in the sky, waiting to answer all of our prayers? I told him that God is faithful to answer our prayers, but in His own timing. And that He is making us stronger because we are leaning on Him more. But I just don't think he grasped it. I mean, he's only five years old.

It's so much easier to see that we have been praying and not seeing any results. It's tough, this whole parenting thing. The only way I can clearly express my faith to my children is to live it. I try to speak of only good things about their brother and his mother. I try to console them that their big brother is blessed to have a home full of siblings that love him and that are lifting him up in prayer every single day. I try to fill that big gap in their heart by letting them look at his pictures, by telling funny stories about Mikey and the silly things he does. I also try to show them how to live like they might see their brother today... to have hope.
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