Big nalgas and garden tools

Sitemeter is a very interesting tool for a blogger to have. Let's me know what kind of traffic crosses my blog, they city where they live, what kind of server they are using. Even shows me referrals and word searches. Veeeeeery interesting. Apparently, someone found their way to my blog by searching for jet black big booty hoes. Daaaaaang.

Poor perv. And what did they find? Stories about Jesus, having all kinds of chil'rens, the size feet they have, pms and me being able to poo in pretty much any location. Cheers.


He was waiting for me...

The year was 1989. Somewhere in a little duplex in Mid City Los Angeles, near La Brea and Pico, was this fine young specimen. He was waiting for me, all poised on that orange, velveteen sofa. He didn't need to wear glasses, those were just for style. So he could woo me.

And where was I? I was out in Moo Mesa (a.k.a Mira Loma). I was just your typical butch softball player, grooving to The Cure and Morrissey, beating up my little sister Jen, hanging out with all my Caucasian bff's in my black Chevy Blazer, kicking my feet on the dusty streets because we didn't have sidewalks. We had horse trails.

We had to go through lots of big and little hardships to find each other. He had trouble with the law because he had a graffiti habit. I had the trauma of working at a video store where the pervs cut the boxes from the porn movies for their own entertainment. He decided to lay down with evil and ended up having a child and all the suffering that comes with having a babymama. I decided I didn't want to go to college in my hometown, so I thought I was muy chingona and applied for school in Long Beach. Suddenly I was a little fish in a huge ocean and I was sad and lonely and I missed everything about home. And he became a father and had to find a way to support his child and be in his life.

No matter how different and bumpy and curved the roads were to get to one another, I am grateful we finally found each other. Oh, what I would give for a romp with him on that orange velveteen sofa. Oh. Wait a minute. His mom had that sofa for over thirteen years. I probably did get to romp on that sofa! Heh.


"Can I get a hit off that?"

I was sitting down and waiting for mid-week study to begin. People are trailing in, greeting everyone and grabbing a seat. I, on the other hand, was struggling with my asthma. Wheeze wheeze wheeze...just call me wheezy. I mean, dang, it's hot, it's cool, it's rainy, it's overcast, then it's hot again. My lungs are having a hard time following along. So I pull out my trusty inhaler, give it a shake and then take a looooong drag.


A couple of dudes are sitting together and Shawn sees me take out my inhaler and take a puff.

"Can I get a hit off that?" He laughs.

"You wish." I laugh.

It got me thinking how I totally don't miss using drugs. In fact, I thank God He took the desire away from me. I used to smoke marijuana on a daily basis for about five years. Herbs, my brotha. I smoked in my little Toyota Tercel on my way to class while I was in college. I felt it helped me cope with having to mingle with all these new and unfamiliar people. But then I was paranoid because I felt like people were looking at me funny because they knew I was high. Then I would get home, go upstairs and sit down on the toilet and smoke a joint through the bathroom window. All while burning some patchouli incense so my grandparents wouldn't get a whiff.

How cliche is that?

Every party was punctuated with a fat doobie. Every time I went to the movies, I were sure that getting high beforehand would make it more interesting. Some of my friends would hate the fact that when they came and picked me to go to a party, I would get in the back seat all slant-eyed and giggly. Not that they were concerned for my health or anything like that. Haters. I used to hallucinate alot probably do to a very overactive imagination, so I would get high to enhance my artistic expression. Me and my artist friends would have to blaze each and every time we got together to paint or draw. And the bong...the bong was my best friend.

So you get the point, right? I got high alot.

Lest you think I am glorifying drug use or rehashing good times, I have to dig deep to remember the not so fun times. All the bad choices I made while I was under the influence. The fact that I would smoke anything that was offered to me, resulting in me smoking cocaine one time. Heeeeey, why is my face going numb? My face feels funny! I sold it, I bought it, I stole it, I grew it. It got to the point where I really couldn't face any sort of social situation unless my mind was altered in some way. I would drive and try to light my pipe at the same time which was why I always had little burn holes on my t-shirts. I would smoke and cough so bad I would spit up twenty different kinds of nasty. One time at a friend's house party, I swore up and down that she had black goats tied up in the corner of her backyard. My friends told me, duuuude, those aren't goats--she has pit bulls! You are sooooo faded! No, no no! I shouted. I know a goat when I see one. I was scared to death because I swore I heard them making funny noises. While I was high, I would get really paranoid. Then really sad. Then I would cry.

But I never thought I had any sort of habit. I just thought I was having fun. It's natural and it's from the ground, I used to tell myself. It's not like a real drug, like speed or heroin or cocaine. My Dad smokes it, for crying out loud!

I was very fortunate that when I got pregnant with my first child, any and all desire to smoke a joint left me. Ewwww. Gross. That is what I think when I remember living everyday in a cloud of smoke, with a foggy mind and a fat tongue, stinky hands that reeked of resin, cotton mouth, puffy red eyes and the munchies. I should've bought stock in Jack in the Box. To this day if I eat their .99 tacos, I start looking over my shoulder for some popo's! I haven't touched the stuff since. It's been eleven years. I like to think of it as a phase, one of those stupid things you do in college. I was lucky...it didn't lead to anything else and I was able to stop without having to do rehab or anything like that.

These days I am a mama and it doesn't take a joint for me to get all paranoid about everything. You want to hear something freaky? I once heard this on a radio program...people who smoked alot of pot store a concentration of THC in the fat tissues of their body, resulting in flashbacks. Fatty tissues, eh? Over the years, I've had my share of flashbacks. My head gets all tingly, like my head is falling asleep or I am on a rollercoaster. It's the craziest thing.

And oh, it may have been eleven years but you can't tell me those weren't live goats! I guess that is just something I will take with me to the grave.

I may be poor but I am rich in friends!

So what is the first thing to go when you are on a extremely tight, throat-clenching, you-will-never-have-any-fun-again-in-this-lifetime budget?

Your personal upkeep and luxury toiletry items, of course.

Well, that is the way it is for me, anyway. All of this means that I can no longer go to a department store to buy any sort of cosmetics like my beloved Clinique loose powder or Lancome under eye concealer. Forget pedicures...I have to make do with crusty heels, crooked toenails and handpainted polish that always seems to get smudged right before I walk out the door. Haircuts have to be stretched out to every four months and then I have to color it myself--stained t-shirt, sink, scalp and gloves be damned. Say goodbye to the cute little tubs of eyeshadow from MAC...these days I am scraping my little Sonia Kashuk from Target eyeshadow palette for all its worth.

That is just the way it is sometimes. You learn to deal with it.

My skincare regimen also took a few blows. I was making do with my Cetaphil. Then when that ran out, I added water to extend it's life...until I realized I was basically washing my face with water. What to do, what to do. Then I just grabbed the old bar of soap. I mean, it's doing it's job, right? So what if my face is a little dry and squeaky tight. After a while I got too lazy to grab the bar of soap from the shower so I just started pumping some antibacterial soap from the sink and started washing away. My face was so clean you could have ate off of it.

Apparently this is a big no-no in the beauty world.

So when my brown sister Raquel found out I was using antibacterial soap to singe my off eyelashes as well as makeup from the day, she was understandably scandalized. So she took it upon herself to make a little trip to Target for me. It was the sweetest thing she could have done for me. I am always blown away when a person does something like this for someone else. I know she could have done a million other things than go to Target and spend her hard-earned money on me.

She bought several beauty products that I really needed. The coolest thing, some Kiehl's Foaming Cleanser and a little tub of Kiehl's Abyssine Cream. I feel very InStyle Magazine right about now. She could have got me a $2.89 bottle of Oil of Olay cleanser, you know? But she got me the good stuff.

And I am very thankful.

Just another way that God smiles down on us from Heaven. He just uses His people here on Earth.

Thanks, girl! You're not so bad after all.


10 Things...

Thanks to my dear rainbow-lovin', sushi-makin', flower arrangin', record spinnin' homie, DJRickyG...I've been tagged. Hmmm, ten things you don't know about me. I'll try. I'm pretty much an open book but here goes...

1. I have hopelessly, incurably, pancake-thin flat feet.

2. I don't watch horror movies because they grieve my spirit and I have a hard time getting over them.

3. I tried bulimia at few times in college so I could get as skinny as some of my friends but I just never got the hang of it--it was really nasty having to bend over the toilet and I hate to have bad breath, which leads me to #4.

4. I hate to have stank breath. And I don't like to smell stank breath either. So I carry lots of gum or altoids. So should you. And I brush my teeth alot!

5. I like to milk my birthdays for all their worth...take me out to lunch or dinner, get me a gift card, buy me some Starbucks, babysit my kids, buy me some lotion at Bath and Body Works, take me to the movies, etc. etc. I figure, shoot, it only comes once a year!

6. Like Kathy Griffin, I love my gays. I've had gay friends and relatives around me my entire life: some that were in the closet, some that were out, some who didn't know they were gay at the time, some that I played sports with, some who were my very best friends...and I loved them all and I never thought they were weird or going to burn in hell or anything like that.

7. I've never been in a fist fight but I've gotten close (and I've wanted to).

8. I had the body of a 21 year old when I was just 13 and I was very self-conscious about it.

9. I love to fantasy shop online. Even when I don't have a penny to pee on. I fill up my cart with stuff I would like to have then I fantasize robbing a bank and getting some $$$. Or at the very least, a credit card someone dropped out in the parking lot. Come on, help a sista out. Kidding! Ahem.

10. I can poo anywhere...wal-mart, target, el pollo loco, the movie theater, my in-laws house, In-N-Out, various gas stations throughout L.A. and Orange County, the CBU cafeteria, etc. Pretty much anywhere I need to. I've created a system, drop/flush/drop/flush/flush. It virtually eliminates any sort of funk. You're welcome.

There you have it. I'm not as freaky as I may seem. And now, I tag Fayola and Larissa. And don't spare us any of the juicy details. Tag, you're it, chicas!

Big foot sighting

Or a Yeti. And he is living in my home! With this weather all crazy and wet, I had to yell at my kids to put some real shoes on. And Diego kept whining and whining, "My shoes are too tight!" All of his shoes were a size 3.5, so I figured he might have outgrown them over the summer while he was milking those flip flops for all they were worth. So I told him to wear his big brother's shoes. Surely Noah's would fit him. He started crying again, "Those don't fit me either!" And if you don't already know Diego, he is a huge drama queen. He whines and cries if the wind blows on him. So naturally, I didn't believe him. "Then wear some smaller socks but you better have some shoes on!"

So he then comes out wearing Mikey's shoes and they seemed to fit him fine. Now, Mikey is a whole six years older than him and his shoes are a size 5.5, so I thought, he must be swimming in those shoes, that knucklehead! But no, he looked fine.

I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to buy him a new pair of shoes. Sigh. No time or money to buy him a new pair of Vans, so we went over to Payless. Just to make sure we were getting the right size, I had them measure his feet.

Size 6.5! In men's shoes!

So not only is he growing at an alarming rate, he also moved into the higher price bracket. Dang. I really miss that $12.99 toddler price. Seriously.I told him all he needs now is some fur under his armpits, a job and he can move out on his own.


I swear these kids are going to be the death of me.

What's this stuff falling from the sky?

Rain? Are you kidding me? It's raining, ya'll!

Just three weeks ago it was so unbelievably hot it was like living in Satan's buttcrack. So hot that it was a ridiculous waste of time to put makeup on and appear presentable to the outside world when all it did was melt off my face and I ended up looking like a drag queen having an emotional breakdown. You know all the hype about big booties these days? Baby got back and all that. Tip drills, etc. etc. Don't believe none of that 'cuz when you have a fat ass and it is really hot outside, you develop what my friend and I like to call "juicy butt". And it ain't cute. Some sort of pantyliner for a sweaty crack should be invented. Maybe it is already in the works.

But either way, you get it. It was hot.

When we woke up on Wednesday morning, it was overcast and the ground was wet. But my kids were still running around without shirts and barefoot. I mean, who sent the memo out? The seasons have changed. Living here in southern Cali, we don't see much in the way of seasons. It is either bright and sunny, hot, hot and windy, sunny and windy or HOOOOOT. That's about it. My kids are out riding bikes and skateboarding on christmas, not building a snowman for goodness sake. The warmest thing I have in my closet is a black hoodie and my fake Uggs. And that's all I need. If it ever does get freakishly cold (like in the low 60's), we might use the fireplace. But that is only after I clear out any toys, balls and books that my kids have thrown in there. And when it is that cold, you can bet we all complain! Heh.

But when the rain starts to come down, we all look outside with a puzzled look on our face. I don't even know where my umbrella-ella-ella is. Or if I even have one--don't they always get lost?

I mean, I guess I should be thankful. And I am, I am. Lawd knows my yard needs a good watering. Ever see Malcolm in the Middle? Yeh, that is pretty much how my yard looks. So this watery stuff falling down from the sky is a good thing.

Just tell this to my hair and my beloved flat-iron.


The Wisdom of Solomon and Homebirth

Time for another birthday in the Cortes household. I know, I know, you are thinking dang, they must celebrate a birthday every month!

We don't, actually. September just happens to be a double birthday month for us. All it means is all that turkey in November makes you want to get busy, not go to sleep. Heh.

Solomon's pregnancy earmarked for me the start of new ideas and new thinking in terms of how we wanted to raise our family. I had resigned myself to another hospital birth, even though Diego's was so fast-paced that I didn't have any time for drugs (beautiful drugs), so it was technically a natural birth. I was still a little disappointed in how it all went down.

I remember watching those birth story shows on TLC practically every day, watching, waiting, wondering. One day I saw this episode of a woman who gave birth at home, on her bed, with her four other children sitting around her watching. Wow! At first it really freaked me out because I had never seen anything like it. On your bed? That couldn't possibly be sanitary! Is it even legal? But the peaceful look that that woman had on her face was inspiring. The absolute satisfaction she showed because she could move and deliver in any position she darn well pleased, she ate and drank when she was thirsty, she wasn't restricted as to who was in the room with her...it spoke volumes to me.

I received an issue of Compleat Mother in the mail, which is essentially a mothering magazine for the radically natural group. I loved it. All these crazy birth stories from freaky, cucumber-eating mamas named Moon who breastfed two kids at a time, who left their newborn babies' umbilical cord attached to the delivered placenta until it dried up and fell off...well, to be perfectly honest, it absolutely fascinated me. After you got past the initial feeling of weirdness because it seemed so unfamiliar, it began to make perfect sense.

I began thinking Hmmmm, I wonder if I could do this? Could I have a homebirth? What would it take to have my baby like this? I was really drawn to the idea of waterbirth and that's what I set my heart on. But, I kept the idea to myself and I started doing some serious research. I bought and read Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper. It was like my homebirth bible. The statistics were amazing and they really opened my eyes.

What really touched my heart and soul was the fact that I could give my unborn baby an unhurried, peaceful entry to this world. No bright lights, no nurses barking orders, no strangers putting their hands on them, no unnecessary drops in their eyes, no needles and heel pricks, no isolation, no plastic bassinet and warm lights. Just a warm mama, soft skin, gentle kisses on their forehead, happy and teary greetings from their loved ones and a warm bath with mama.

So after I had properly educated myself I felt confident enough to bring it up to Michael. He, of course, looked at me like I was crazy. He had all the same concerns I did. But in the end, he agreed that we should seek out a midwife.

So we did. And it was so exciting! Every day I found myself looking forward to giving birth, which for me is very rare. With my other pregnancies I felt like dead man walking. But this, this was an adventure for us!

My parents shook their heads and sighed, like, what is this girl getting into now? But they were there and they supported us. My Dad must have smoked about two packs that night. My mom, who swore she would just be in the other room and watch my two little ones and pray, she was right there to welcome her third grandson into the world. My sister Jen was there to pat my big naked butt. I say this because she was the photographer that day, and there is a picture of her half-heartedly rubbing my back during a contraction, and all it looks like is she is patting my big naked butt. The amazing thing about Solomon's birthday was that he came a whole three and a half weeks "late". The midwives were a little leery to let me go so far, but since everything looked good, they let me be.

Solomon was born perfect and whole. And on the floor. It wasn't planned that way, of course! He was supposed to be born in the water but I got out for some reason and perhaps the shift of the elements stimulated him to be born quickly. So I didn't have a chance to get back in the birth tub. He was so beautiful. And big. 9lbs. 4 oz.! He was so peaceful and quiet. Right then and there, I knew we had made the right choice. With a twinge of sadness and regret, I remembered my two hospital births...my babies cried and cried right after they were born. My four homebirthed babies were content and at peace as they tried to open their eyes and get a good look at their mama and daddy. It seemed as though they really did get their peaceful entry to this world.

Have you ever heard that people become their names? Or is it that the name influences the kind of person they are? King Solomon was a very wise king. And Solomon has always been a very peaceful and knowing child. Every night he would cling to my nightgown as he nursed and he would stare up at me with these big brown eyes partially hidden behind absurdly long, black eyelashes. I was so happy that I gave him the opportunity to be born at home, with all his loved ones around, with his daddy's hands being the first to touch him.

Solly is now seven years old. He is very affectionate, and is the first to come and give you a hug or sit on your lap. We laugh because he is one who is going to have a big girl for a wife because he is a very touchy-feely person. I am always yelling at him to give me some space. Heh. He also loves to work hard. I've never seen a child work as much as he does! If his papa or his dad are out working on something, he is right there on his hands and knees, helping. He is also very inquisitive and creative and he loves to skate. He likes to bring his skateboard everywhere we go. He brings so much love and sweetness and laughter to our home.

He is my little King! Happy birthday, Solly.

If I were...

If I were a color, I’d be…green because I strive to be serene.

If I were an animal, I'd be...a fish because there would be no limit to my color and shape and where I lived, and I could swim all day.

If I were a landscape, I’d be...cliffs with the surf crashing below.

If I were a plant, I’d be...a succulent cactus because they are shapely, beautiful, tough and don't need much to survive.

If I were a vehicle, I’d be…a low rider with a black cherry metallic flake.

If I were a type of music, I’d be…a perfect blend of funk, hip-hop and punk.

If I were a food item, I’d be…an Asian stir-fry with lots of fresh ginger and sesame seeds.

If I were an article of clothing, I’d be…a black hoodie.

If I were a household appliance, I’d be…a toaster oven because I'd always have little crumbs to munch on.
If I were a celestial object, I’d be…a constellation.

If I were a tool, I'd be...a Hula hoe (!) because I would break up your fallow ground, yo.

If I were a time of day, I’d be…the middle of the night, with my husband's warm body next to mine.

If I were a spice or herb, I’d be…chamomile, because I would bring peace to anyone I came across.

If I were a piece of jewelry, I’d be…a chunky turquoise bracelet.

If I were a toy, I’d be…a Star Wars action figure because I would never be far from my sons.

If I were a shape, I’d be...a circle...infinity.


Poor Britney

I am not a big reader of celebrity blogs, although much props to Perez Hilton for whoring himself all over MTV. That's right, homie, get that fifteen minutes of fame and all the cash that comes with it. I ain't mad at you, Perez.

That said, the night of the snoozefest that was the VMA's, I stumbled upon a highly entertaining celebrity blog called the Evil Beet. They did this play by play of the sad Britney Spears performance. One-two-one-two and rub boobs. five-six-seven-eight, grind against male dancer. And one-two-one-two, gyrate and look sexy. And step-ball-chain, fluff bad hair weave.

At first I thought it was a joke. But daaang. It was pretty bad. What were you thinking, Brit? I actually felt embarrassed for her! When the camera panned to Rihanna and she was laughing with the person sitting beside her, ouch. When they showed 50 with his mouth hanging open, you can't get more candid than that. She shocked 50 and homeboy's been shot in the face!

And I found Sarah Silverman's bit on Britney to be in very bad taste. But from what I understand, that is her shtick. Wow, it is amazing what people will do when MTV waves some money and fame in their face. Still...if I was Brit, I would have walked off that stage, pulled back my jacked-up hair weave in a ponytail, threw on my Nike Cortez, took off my earrings, put my big rings on and I would've broken off somethin' for homegirl. Callin' my kids mistakes!

But that's just me.


Baby boy!

I refuse to believe that my baby boy Noah is ten years old. I also refuse to believe that I am old enough to be the mother of a ten year old boy!

Where has the time gone?

Ten years ago today I was a fresh-faced, bright-eyed newlywed. Yes, Michael and I had exactly a month and a half of wedded bliss without children. Wow. I remember it fondly.

I did all the things a young mother does to prepare herself for the birth of her first child. I read so many books that Michael thought I was going to damage my eyes because I read so late into the night. I ate right, I took my prenatal vitamins, went to all my appointments, oiled myself with cocoa butter and I dutifully listened to every word of wisdom my ob/gyn had to offer. I spent hours fantasizing what my labor would feel like, what Noah would look like, how he would change our lives.

Sitting there in the cold hospital, I remember this intense feeling of loneliness and fear. Yes, Michael and I had shared in the act of creating this child, my mother and my husband (and aunts, uncles, grandparents, father, stepdad, siblings, best friend and cousins) were there to support me. But when it came down to brass tacks, I was the only one would had to go through this, to experience this pain everyone warned me about. I was the one who had this funny stuff leaking out of my lady parts. I was the only one who had feet the size of softball gloves. I was the one who felt like her vagina and uterus had been kicked repeatedly by a gang of midgets. I was the one who could barely roll out of bed to pee. And now, I was going to have to give birth to this child. Me, little old me.

And yet, I just couldn't wait for my baby boy to be born. I couldn't wait to hold Noah in my arms. I couldn't wait to bury my face in his neck and inhale his delicious baby smell.

His labor was your standard labor and delivery of an ignorant young mother who believes her doctor knows what's best for her--induction, limited to no mobility during labor, no food (for 48 hours!), catheter, rupture of membranes, internal fetal monitor, pain meds (which were good times) and finally, the epidural (verrry good times). Before the epidural, I would roll my head around on the pillow during a contraction like a possessed woman.

When Noah was born, it felt like I pushed out a marshmallow. It was the craziest feeling--and one I would never feel again since the rest of my births were natural. But finally, he was born.

I have this very surreal memory right after the birth which will stay with me until I am an old woman. After the baby was wheeled to the nursery and all my loved ones followed so they could oohh and ahhh through the windows...I sat there all alone, eating a turkey sandwich from a triangle carton while the epidural wore off. I can't explain it, but after having 10-15 family members in your labor and delivery room waiting intently for this baby to be born...the nursing staff barking at me to push...my mom crying...Michael encouraging me in my ear...the sound of a baby crying....then moments later, a complete and utter stillness. No one in the room except me waiting for the epidural to wear off and the random nurses walking in and out, cleaning the room and writing in my chart. It was really strange. And really funny. Either that or I was positively delirious from being fed by an IV for two days. I inhaled that turkey sandwich like a ravenous coyote.

And it was the best turkey sandwich I have ever eaten, to this day.

Then there was this beautiful little baby boy I got to take home with me. A mother will always remember what it felt like to be with her baby day and night for the first time, without any other children around. You become partners, best friends. You learn all about one another. You take naps together. You eat while the baby hangs from your boob and nurses. You take one- minute showers, peeking out the shower curtain about twenty times to make sure the baby is crying, sleeping and still breathing. He was my world.

My favorite times with Noah, hands down, were in the middle of the night. Sure, you would rather be sleeping but I would take the opportunity to make this time our time. It felt like we were the only two people in the world. In the moon light, in the cool of the night, we would be wide awake, changing diapers, learning how to breastfeed, talking and cooing. I had Noah all to myself. This is something I have continued to do with all six of my babies. Of course, I was tired and sleepy. But when I realized this was a special time that would be over sooner than I cared to believe, it didn't bother me that I was losing much-needed sleep.

Noah is now a hairy, stinky, silly boy who loves midnight bike rides, video games, hiking and pizza. Around the house, he is my right hand man. He washes dishes, takes out the trash, mows the lawn, makes breakfast (if I am "too slow with the food", Diego once told me) and sometimes lunch. If I want something done right, I call Noah. He is also the one who feels whatever his daddy and I are going through very deeply. There have been too many times I care to recall that Noah has cried and felt that he was the reason why we were upset with one another.

"It's tough being a boy..." he cried one night, and I could see the pain on his little tear-streaked face. And the mama in me just welled up. I wanted nothing more but for us to be laying heart to heart, just like when he was a chubby baby and I was a young mama, cooing in the moonlight.

Happy birthday, Noah.


completely asinine!

Is it me? Is it? I mean, is it just me that finds about 99% of all the stuff they play on the radio complete crap? Ugh. I don't ever listen to the radio at home unless I am in a deep cleaning mode and even at that point there has to be some sort of old skool, countdown, 90's alternative or a block party weekend on KROQ. Then I'm cool. But otherwise, I'd rather gouge my eyes out than listen to the caca they call the radio.

Case in point...T-Pain's "Bartender". Mind you, this is the same dude that was in love wit a stripper. We were at the beach on Tuesday, and for some strange reason, his hook was stuck in my mind all day based solely on the fact that the lyrics were so incredibly dumb! While we laid out on the hot sand...nearly killing ourselves in the humongous, scary waves...while we munched on fruit and hot cheetos...while we booty-danced around the bonfire, I just couldn't shake it. And every time I heard it, or my brother sang it to torture me, I'd giggle like an idiot because it.is.so.stupid.

"Oooh she made us drinks, to drink
We drunk 'em, got drunk."

Ahahahahahaha! See, I can't control myself. It's so stupid it's hilarious.


Not bad, just different

I've come to the conclusion that other countries aren't bad, they are just different. It's easy to take on the air of superiority when places we visit aren't as clean or fancy or luxurious as we are accustomed to. I've been visiting Mexico since I was a little girl. Curiously enough, it hasn't been to visit family. I don't know of any family I have living in Mexico. Pretty much everyone is here in the U.S, in California, Arizona or New Mexico. Our trips to Mexico have been solely for recreation.

When you drive through the Tijuana border, the first thing that smacks you in the face is how rundown the homes are. Roofs are fashioned out of plywood, some are without windows, there are many decaying buildings and schools, there is graffiti everywhere. And there is that massive fence, meant to keep the natives in. You used to be able to see groups of people flocking that chain link fence with backpacks in hand, waiting for their chance to cross the border. This time around, however, I did not see one single person near there.

Mexico is such a paradox to me. It can be ridiculously beautiful. It can also be dirty, loud, chaotic and smelly. Driving down the coast to get to Ensenada, there are many vacation homes and resorts near the cliffs. There are some in the process of being built (Donald Trump is building a huge tower as I type this). And then right across the street there are tiny shacks made out of scrap wood that people actually live in. Try building yourself a plywood shack in Malibu. I doubt if you'd get too far. What also stuck me was how there were so many homes and buildings in the state of construction. Places that you know have been sitting there for weeks or months, in a sort of limbo, either waiting for eager hands or finances. It was funny to see. I guess I am just used to construction jobs in the U.S. A new school, movie theater or tract homes seem to mysteriously spring up overnight.

I don't ever remember being nervous or anxious on the many drives down to Mexico. But now that I am an old lady with children, each and every little thing that could go wrong on a trip hundreds of miles away from home in a foreign country just messed with my mind. I jokingly told Michael that I needed some sort of painkiller to help me cope with the drive. Much of the winding roads were spent with my face stuffed in a pillow. But we got there, safe and sound.

Life at our campsite seemed to settle into a rhythm: wake up at 6 am, make breakfast for the troops and then clean up and get everyone in their swimsuits. The kids were in the ocean by 8:30 am. They would trail in whenever they got sand rashes or wanted a snack. Some of them would just walk in their grandma's tent and collapse for a much-needed nap. After dinner, the kids were back in the water. Then it was shower time, getting everyone warm and clean and then me trying, very much in vain, to keep everyone's feet clean. What a battle! It was me against the dirt and sand and you know who won that one. I just resigned myself to the mess of it all, as long as they didn't get near my inflatable mattress with their feet. Which brings me to nighttime. We were all ready to go to sleep by 8:30pm--even after downing two cups of coffee by the fire. But we were exhausted. By the end of the first day, my back was literally killing me because it was bend over and fold up blankets and tidy up the tent, then it was bend over the table and chop potatoes for breakfast...bend over and get everyone's swimsuits and towels...bend over and put Xixi's sandals on...bend over bend over bend over. Thank God for my sister and her bottomless supply of Motrin 800mg. Then my dear sweet auntie and her supply of Motrin 1200 mg. Whenever my back started aching, I would call out, "It's time for my happy pill!"

One of the really cool things we did on this camping trip was discover the hot springs. Right near our camp site was a place called Agua Caliente. Everyday we would walk down the beach where you could see the steam rising from the ground with our shovels. It was this narrow vein that came all the way down from the neighboring mountain and stretched all the way into the ocean. You could literally feel the heat under your feet when you wanted along the shore. The sea water felt as warm as bathwater.

One day my brother Josh, my brother-in-law Justin and Michael carved out this huge pool. When I walked up to them they were laying like kings, in warm water and steaming mud all around them, the sulphur smell swirling under your nose. What was great about it was that unlike a warm bath, the water never got cold. It just seemed to get hotter and hotter until we had to get out because it was starting to get uncomfortable. Even after we had the kids dump buckets of cool seawater in the pool, it was still too hot.

One scary aspect of our trip was trying to cross the border to come home. As we pulled up to the window, the officer looked like he was not having a good day and we were just adding to it. He had already ordered my parents to pull over for an inspection of their trailer right before us. After he checked us out, all while maintaining an expression of extreme irritation, he started to question us. Then he made us open the sliding door to ask all the children their names, from my oldest all the way down to Xixi. He asked me if I had their birth certificates and I said no, because in all the years of going back and forth, we were never asked for that. So I didn't bring any (!). Then he ripped me a new one, "You are traveling through an international border. You must have proper documentation for your children. Had your children been asleep and unable to answer when I asked for their name, you would have been detained and it would have been at least a three hour wait. Next time, be prepared and bring the necessary documents for your children!"


After they let my parents through, I called my mom and told her what happened.

"Denise, you didn't bring copies of the kids birth certificates?"

"Uh, no. I didn't think I needed to."

"Oh my Lord. Thank God I didn't know this until right now! I would have had a heart attack."

[As I sit back and hide my face in shame--bad mama!] Here are some pics from our vacation.

This was the view from the toll roads. I kept freaking out because Michael was so into the scenery that he was driving awfully close to the edge of the road. At least it seemed that way to me.

This was our view from the campsite.

A cloudy evening shot.

This is what we woke up to every morning.

Some fun playtime with cousin Selah and the dirt!

After the first day, I just let them get as dirty as they wanted!

Michael getting the fire ready.

Lobster and fish taco night.

Sister love.

La Jolla Beach camp.

The whole time I'm yelling, "You're too close! Too close! Get away from the edge!!"

They are hams just like their daddy.

The boys at the Bufadora.

It looks primitive, I know, but at one of these little shacks selling corn was a lady typing away on her laptop!

Got to give props to the Mexican graffiti heads!

Me looking awfully nappy.

If you read it closely it says, "...we will be forced to cancel your myspace." LOL

Mexico is beautiful!

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