12.31.2007

The hazards of having five brothers...



Last night my three youngest and I were cuddling on my bed, watching TV. Or rather, the chil'rens were watching TV and I was just pretending to, so I could catch a little snooze. Of course, the minute mama falls asleep, they take license to jump on me and my bed, like we are some sort of jungle gym. In the process, Xixi got tackled and apparently, got bumped in her little lady parts.

Out from under the blankets comes her tiny voice, "Ow! You hit my huevitos!"

Tee hee. Poor baby girl, with all those brothers around...it's causing a sexual identity crisis. I was laughing so hard, I didn't bother explaining to her that she was, in fact, a girl and didn't own a pair of testicles. At least she didn't call them her balls, which one of my boys said he could now officially call his "privates" because he grew some fur down there and earned the right.

These kids.

12.29.2007

Te agrada a ti...

I have to admit that I've been in a state of funk with my relationship with the Almighty. I, of course, love Him and haven't walked away from Him...but we haven't been on that intimate level that I've grown accustomed to these days. I don't know what it is exactly that has caused this distance...I think maybe it stems from the frustrations of my own shortcomings, bad decisions and a really rough year financially. Everything has been such a struggle. The only consolation for my heart and mind is that I've been on this walk with God for almost twelve years now and so I understand the road has dips and valleys and seasons, both good and bad.

I feel lonely. I miss Him. Like when you and your lover have been too busy to spend time alone and that tenderness for the one closest to your heart is missing. All of sudden you are ready to freak out when you find a pair of funky socks on the floor. It's not the socks you are mad at, it's the fact that you haven't made time for one another.

He's not the first thing on my mind when I wake up...I haven't talked to Him throughout the day...I haven't shared Him with others I've come across...I haven't pondered what His words mean for my day to day living. I don't like feeling like this. I want to please Him. And what pleases God? When you come to Him...when you lay down your burden...when you return to your first love.

Perhaps it is the season. Ironically, the time of Jesus' birth but with so many things to do, He is the last person I've been thinking about. It's been an endless round of visitors, errands, cooking, baking, cleaning and that cycle continues over and over until after the first of the year.

I just had dinner with my Dad and the rest of my family, and I had a good time. Yet, the Person who I care about most, the Person who loves me more than anything...He was missing. I hear Him calling my name. That still small voice. I just had to stop what I was doing and listen.

I can't wait for Sunday. Moi is playing at Sunday service. Wish you were here.


12.21.2007

My kid's hair is cuter than yours


I am a fierce mama bear. But I try my best to let the chil'rens fight their own battles so they learn their place in this world. I let them discover the pecking order so they can learn how to function with other males.

But.

What do you say to them when it's the girls who are picking on them and teasing them? I can't very well advise them to aim for the nuts, as I have in the past. I don't want to raise a bunch of wife-beaters. So when you can't use your fists, what do you do? You use your brain and you use your wit. Make those fools feel really small. That has always been my philosophy. Well, that doesn't seem like very loving, christian advice, I can hear you say in your most holy voice. Yes, you are right, I am a wretched creature. That's why I need Jesus, yo!

I enrolled Diego in a theater class so he could torture some other woman for an hour a week. This week he's had several days of practice in preparation for a play in January. He came home one day a little quiet and contemplative which is very, very strange for any male in my household.

"What's wrong, baby?" I asked him. I promised myself I wouldn't call the chil'rens baby like my grandfather who calls all of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren baby. He says, "Baby!" and we all turn around. Even my forty-something tias. Now look at me.

"Can you cut my hair?"
"Why? Your hair is beautiful!"
Sigh. "Moooom. I just want you to cut it! Like right here, to my ears!"
"Mijo, your hair is what makes you stand out. It's what makes you unique. It's what makes you cute! Why do you want to cut it?"
"I just do!"
"Ok, then. We will give you a trim. And that's it. Why are you desperate for a haircut? Your long hair never bothered you before."
"Mooooom! The girls were teasing me about my hair."
"What girls?" Grrrrrr.
"Makayla and a couple of other girls. She always teases me about my hair cause it's long and sometimes it gets in my eyes. She kept saying,'When are you gonna cut it? When are you gonna cut it?'"

Why that little--

"Moooom!"
"Look, Diego. When a girl teases you about your long hair, or she asks you when you're going to cut it, tell her this: 'Why? Are you jealous because my hair is prettier than yours?'"
"Moooom! I can't remember to say all that!"
"Say it! Repeat after me...why? Are you jealous because my hair...."
"Ok, mom! Why? Are you jealous cuz my hair is prettier than yours? Geez!"

Was that wrong of me? I think not. Well, I never said I was a perfect parent. I remember being those bratty little girls who used to tease the boys because they were cute! I was one of them. That is probably why I tease my husband to this day--because he's cute. I just wanted him to have a little comeback. He needs to use some of that wit that his daddy's always saying he unfortunately inherited from me.

I should have known having hair like this would bring him some unwanted attention. But it's so darn cute and it feathers perfectly. And it's my hair until he turns eighteen.

12.18.2007

Still learning, still striving..

I just might be a failure to my race.

I didn't wake up early enough to make my man breakfast and a lunch to take with him to his new job today.

If there was one thing that I witnessed growing up, it was my dear old mama waking up at the crack of dawn to make my stepdad his coffee and breakfast. Of course she also lovingly made his lunch for the day as well. I used to ask her why not just make it the night before, to save time and energy.

Nah
.

She said it was fresher when she made it that morning.

Oh. Okaaaay.

Lest you think that my mom probably had the luxury of being a stay at home with the possibility of going back to bed, she also had a full-time job. My little brown Nana used to do the same for my grandfather and I remember her fiddling around in the kitchen when it was still dark out when I would stay with her while on summer vacation. Same with my aunties, they were some dedicated wives, let me tell you. And I don't mean they poured some cereal or put a bowl of oatmeal in the microwave either.

I'm talkin' about huevos rancheros, bacon and eggs,beans, chorizo con huevo and homemade tortillas. Seriously.

I have gotten a very stern lecture from my mom about how important it is to take care of your man, to make sure he leaves the house with a full belly and a blissful look on his face because his food was made with love by his woman.

Nevermind that she had dragon breath, crusty eye boogers, mental patient hair, saggy boobs and ghetto house slippers.

Apparently the vision of his faithful and caring wife cracking eggs and putting it in a tortilla without waking up the kids is the look that he will carry in his heart forever. That is going to guarantee a man who will never stray from me.

Sigh.


Okaaaaay, mom. This is a new generation. Have you never heard of women's liberation? He has two arms and two hands. He can feed himself. I'm busy feeding his six children, you know! How come white men don't have any problems feeding themselves? They know how to make themselves a sandwich and be satisfied. They are perfectly happy with their dinner coming from a crockpot! Why are Latinos so spoiled? Why do I gotta slave over a hot stove, making homemade beans, rice, chili, tacos, enchiladas, albondiga soup and tostadas? Dang! Imagine me, saying all this while stomping my feet just like a spoiled child.

Apparently all those reasons aren't good enough excuses.

So I feel guilty.

I've been feeling guilty for the past ten years to be exact.

Michael and I were married for exactly a month and a half before we had children because we got married while I was eight months pregnant, in case you are trying to do the math. So for that month and a half, I dutifully rose with him and made his food, made sure his clothes were laid out for him, including socks and chonies, his wallet and sunglasses and his giant lunch bagged twice in plastic grocery bags.

What? Is there something wrong with that?

I packed him submarine sandwiches with all the fixings, pickled jalapeños, chips (Doritos, not the cheap stuff), bottled water, a couple cans of coke, some fruit and maybe a cookie or two. And that didn't include the burritos I made for him on his way out.

Then I gave birth. And it was all over.

For nine years I was either pregnant, had just given birth or I had a baby hanging off my chichi like a monkey. After being up for hours nursing a newborn, or trying to put all the others down for bed, and trying to tend to the pile of laundry big enough to fill up a studio apartment in downtown L.A., forget it. In my mind, I deserved to stay in bed.

When morning time came, I would crack open a crusty eye, dare not move a muscle lest the baby wake up and attack my already traumatized nipple, and whisper, "Bye, honey. I love you. Have a good day. Oh, and have Subway for lunch." Or Jack in the Crack. Or Chinese food. Or Mexican food. Anything to take the heat off me.

To this day, if my mom hears that I don't adequately prepare my man for the day, she shakes her head in disapproval. What can I say? She is old school. But she is also the wisest woman I have ever met, so I best take heed of what she says. Now that I'm not pregnant...or just given birth...or have a monkey hanging off a saggy chichi, I don't have any excuses.

So I have to be that good, self-sacrificing Mexican wife.


Sigh.

But I'm doing it. I've resolved to be that all-consuming brown earth mother that can feed an army of fifty with a tube of ground beef and a sack of potatoes. As stable as the sun rising every morning.

I just might grow my hair really long and let it go gray so I can make a long braid and tie it up in a bun like those ancient ladies shopping at El Tapatio, with shawls on their shoulders, long skirts and nanita shoes. But they are holding it down, every morning of every day for their husbands and children.

And so will I.

12.13.2007

Playdate mania


I'm new to this playdate philosophy. Someone explain it to me. When the chil'rens were really little, I didn't have the time or energy to get together with other moms at the local Burger King or at the park to play and watch our lovely children enjoy each other's company. I stayed home, pregnant and exhausted, and tried to cope with three chil'rens under the age of three. And then later on, five chil'rens under the age of seven. And finally six chil'rens under the age of ten. I'm still coping, yo. So we missed out on the playdate scene, along with the little snack bags in the diaper bag, Chuck E. Cheese birthday parties and M & M rewards for a potty in the toilet. We did, however, have Sesame Street.

We're not complete savages.

So now that we are somewhat social and the boys have made friends at their co-op and at church, I am happy for them. But I'm still figuring out how to deal with friends who want to come over and play...or want my kids to go to their house and play. Uhhhhh. Sometimes it's easier being social misfits.

To the untrained eye, my home is a very loud and chaotic place. There is lots of running around, lots of doors slamming, lots of feet pounding on the wood floors. The kitchen is never closed. Voices are often raised, but not in hostility. Sometimes we have to yell just to be heard. But for a child raised in a very vanilla, one child home where there is always peace and tranquility, my house can be a strange place. Some might say, a scary place. Heh. Today we had the pleasure of having a boy over from the chil'rens co-op. He's a good kid and he exists on the outer circle from the rest of the kids when they are all together. And that is the kid who Noah befriended. I guess my boy is sort of an island himself.

So this boy was quiet, observing the home and people around him, trying to fight off six kids who want him to sit with them, play on the computer with him, read comic books with him, eat a snack with him, show them their toys, play with the dog and ride bikes outside. He was a little overwhelmed, to say the least. And everytime I would call out for one of the kids, he would get startled.

"Diego! Take out the trash!"
"Noah, pick up your socks, please! They are all over the floor."
"Put the laptop away, Solly!"
"No more snacks!"
"Turn down the volume!"

Seriously, he would get startled. I don't know if he thought we were mad or something, so I would have to reassure him that everything was okay. Geez..

Then there is another boy named Brian who lives down the street who likes to come over. This is the type of kid who feels a little too at home. I have to turn him away. On most days of the week, I can find his little brown face peering in through my screen door.

"Can I play with the boys?"
"Nope. The boys can't play today, Brian. They played with you yesterday, dude. And the day before that. Give it a rest!"
"Okaaaay."

He comes over, uninvited, so often that I no longer feel bad turning him away. I laid out the rules for him on day one and he has always been respectful of them. He enjoys being in our home and I don't know if he lacks playmates at home or he enjoys our house with the noise, the love and the food. Yesterday, he dropped by with another boy I've never met.

"Sorry, Brian. The boys can't play today--"
"But I brought my friend with me so we can play..."
"Uh, sorry no. Maybe another time. The boys already have someone from school over and you were here yesterday. Give us a chance to miss you, dude!"

I often wonder what kind of parents just let their kid wander down the block and stay for hours. They have never attempted to come over and meet us--I don't even know which house he lives in. When it's time for him to come home, they will send his little sister over. They don't know what he does during all this time, they don't know what kind of people we are. And mealtimes...sigh. He doesn't get the hint when I call the kids to wash their hands and sit down for dinner and bid him farewell. He just washes his hands along with them and then sits down at my counter. I let this slide the first few times but when I realized he would drop in right at dinnertime, I got hip to his game. "No, Brian. The boys can't play. Go home." About five minutes after I told him this and he went home, I saw the same little brown face at my screen door.

"My mom said I could eat dinner with you guys." Uh, okay. I chuckled to myself because it wasn't like I sent him home to ask. But I welcomed him to our dinner table anyway. Last night he came over and sat there watching me make a homemade pizza.

"Why don't you just make one pizza with pepperoni and the other with the vegetables?"
"Because I want them to eat vegetables on both of the pizza's."
"But at my house we always get one pepperoni and one with other stuff on it."
"Well, here, we eat vegetables on both pizza's and we are thankful."
"Oh. I like just pepperoni pizza."

Sigh.

Today, yet another friend from the co-op came over to "play". That is code for sitting down side by side one another and not speaking, just playing various video games. I was moving throughout the house and cleaning up, so I wouldn't get sleepy and want to take a nap.

Little brown face at the screen door. Again. Only this time, two little brown faces and one of them was female.

"What's up, Brian? Is this your little sister? Hello!"

"Can we come inside and play?"

"Not today, Brian. The boys have another friend over and it's already a full house inside."

Sucks teeth. "Well, uh, can I, uh, come inside and see the PS2? I haven't seen it in a while."

Come on, brother, I ain't no sucker. "Why do you need to see the PS2? Nevermind that. Next time you come over, you can see it then, okay?"

Sucks teeth some more. Looks up at the ceiling, grasps at straws. "Can we just play out in the back yard then?"

"No, Brian. Goodbye."

I laughed to myself. He's a pretty tenacious little kid. I'm not mad at him for trying to exhaust all his avenues. It just got me thinking about what my home is going to look like when the boys are older and taller and stinkier and sweatier and eat more and all the friends that will be stopping by. I've decided I'll be okay if we have the "hang out" house.

I just hope by that time I'll have learned some playdate etiquette.

12.12.2007

The second generation of graff heads...


Many, many moons ago, in the bowels of a hot, dirty visual merchandising company in L.A., I met this cat named Mandoe.

He had hair as long as Anthony Keidis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was long and black and luxurious and it gained him a lot of attention. I got to know him as we worked alongside each other taping and spraying and painting and finishing racks upon racks of stuff that the factory pushed out to us in the slave mill. The only fond memories that exist of that place were the friendships I made.

Mandoe was one of them. He was a cool dude, a graff writer, and a dad. He wasn't with his baby mama, but he took care of his son and he loved him.

A few weeks ago, I found him on that ubiquitous peoplefinder and I asked him to be my Friend. Do you remember me? And he did. Then he replied, Hell yeah... Whatup with that n!gg@ Jimer? That put a smile on my face. Jimer of the legendary LTS Crew a.k.a Michael, a.k.a the Man, a.k.a my baby daddy, a.k.a my husband.

Mandoe had this video on his page of him and his son (who was only five or so when I met him!) so I wanted to share it. I thought it was really touching because he represents the new wave of graffiti artists. The second generation. All the cats that Michael painted alongside with back in day are now old enough to have their own sons painting with them and that is what this video portrays.

It got me thinking about my stepson and my own sons. They, too, have grown up watching their dad do graffiti. I know one or more of them will pick up the torch their father has passed to them. But it's bittersweet. I want them to explore their creative expressions with a can like their father...but I don't want to see them go down the road that is illegal or dangerous. Unfortunately, that is impossible. That is the nature of the beast. And what makes it alluring, I hear. Apparently providing them with enough graffiti games and computer games and wall space in our driveway and yard isn't going to be enough.

But this video, it's important. It beautifully illustrates the strong tie between father and son and the love of art and graffiti.

Sensual Seduction

There is just something wrong with this entire concept. What happened to gangsta rap? Is Snoop Dogg fallin' off? I shudder to think.

Whatever happened to G's up, hoes down? Or it ain't no fun if the homies can't have none? And what about, I don't love them hoes, I'm out the door? Please take this with a humongous, glacier-size grain of salt. But there is just something wrong in the gangsta rap universe if this is somethin' Snoop is bumping. It's...bad. It's taking me back to places I don't want to be. Someone wake me from this bad dream.

I miss the Snoop who used to floss a Pendleton and house slippers. I miss the blue rag. I miss the LBC. I miss poppin', stoppin', hoppin' like a rabbit, I miss the gin and juice. I miss laying back in the cut with the nina Ross, talkin' about murder was the case that they gave me. Someone please right this wrong.

Heh
.

12.08.2007

This homeschooling bag is rough sometimes...



Sometimes I feel like I've been deceived into thinking that public education is actually an automation factory. That it's the worst place for my children to receive instruction on a daily basis. That I am perfectly qualified, fortified, energized and well-suited for this homeschooling gig.

Sigh. That is what I keep telling myself. I try to pump myself up every day. I try not think of all the blissful hours my kids could be spending away from home only if I sent them to a "normal school". That is what my Dad calls it, a normal school. Because apparently the little table in my bonus room where we attempt some sort of education is not a normal school by any stretch of the imagination.

I feel like the chil'rens have so many needs that it is nearly impossible for one person to attend to them all. Even a mother who loves them more than her own self, who has given up sleep, firm skin, a clean house and a life outside of these walls. Everytime I feel slightly okay with my children's progress, one of them does something to make me fret and worry that they will become social misfits.

I will readily admit that we do not run the tightest ship when it comes to homeschooling. We don't do unit studies. We don't go on lots of field trips. My kids aren't bookworms or junior scientists, they are not the best spellers. A huge accomplishment is just getting their minds calmed down enough to practice their writing or to memorize a bible verse. I don't do half as much stuff as other homeschooling families do. Why? Well, because life gets in the way. I always told myself that I would let my children develop at their own pace intellectually. I wanted their little minds to unfold like flowers, in their own time and at their own pace. This comes at a price. This means disregarding other people's opinions and advice. Believe me, I know what the kids are learning in public school these days and if it really bothers you that I am not choking my seven year old to learn what a five year old is pressed to learn...then I'm sorry. Carry one of these bad boys for 43 weeks until they cause all the veins below your waist to swell up, give birth on the floor of your livingroom without drugs and then we can talk.

I've spent the last ten years trying to figure out who my kids are. And then decide from there what we should focus on, in terms of their education. Anytime they show some interest in a subject, I am like a mad woman, trying to supply them with all the information and encouragement that they need.

But dude, it's exhausting.

The chil'rens belong to a homeschool co-op and we are gearing up for Open House so we can go on three blissful weeks of vacation. Yes, we only go "to school" for one day a week but can I say thank Gawd? It is alot of organizing, alot of lugging, alot of packing, alot of running around and alot of fun for the chil'rens. Fun for mama, not so much. I don't think I could survive if I had to do this for five days a week. Seriously. Aside from working on four of my kid's projects, I also have to balance the two art classes that I teach and their projects, assorted pot lucks, secret sister, etc. etc. When I get home I am a immobile, drooling fool. Nap time for mama. Chil'rens, have a snack, watch some cartoons that don't include any sexual innuendo, cursing or violence and keep the front door shut. And don't bother me until 5pm!

This Open House has got me running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Displays to do, projects to finish, props to create, lines to memorize, "nice" clothes to buy so the chil'rens can appear civilized. So I am really looking forward to the 11th 'cause that's when this is all over and I get my shackles removed and I am free, free as a bird! Until the 8th, anyway. But if I really ponder it, I still have sixteen years of this homeschooling venture. Lord, help me.

12.07.2007

The look of today is: PJ's


It's 3:12 in the afternoon, and I'm still wearing my pajamas. Yes, I took a shower and washed all the necessary parts and attempted to comb the hair and dazzle with the face, but then I just put my pj's and slippers right back on. Shoot, it's cold outside.

Men, is that bad?

I kind of have the feeling that seeing your woman in the same crusty ass pj's she was wearing the night before doesn't really inspire much lust in a man. Hmmm, I wonder why that is? It's overcast outside, it's cold and rainy, the christmas lights are on and all the kids are watching cartoons snuggled underneath blankets. It just seems unnatural for me to be all dressed up.

Michael will usually find me, at the end of each day, back in my yoga pants or pj bottoms with a sweatshirt on top (to disguise the fact that I'm not wearing a bra) and some hoodrat slippers. Hair wrapped up in a ponytail. Bangs covering an oily t-zone and bushy brows. But I will have a smile on my face. Just as any good wife should. He'll give me a sterile kiss hello and then hit the toilet. Dang. But if I am freshly showered, smelling nice, with my hair looking good, just enough to makeup to make me look human and wearing anything not resembling sleeping clothes, he is all over me like white on rice. I mean, I have to keep dodging him to keep him from getting me to walk down the hallway. Which is right near our bedroom. Which has a lock on the door. But if I am funky, he will pretend I am invisible, and I turn into Mama Maria Socorro Conchita, that sexless lady who feeds the kids, folds laundry and drags her saggy slippers and noisy boobs around. Oh wait, that doesn't sound right.

When the tables are turned, I'm the same way. When I come out to the studio a.ka. the garage, I will most likely find him wearing a dirty Ghettoish t-shirt. Saggy jeans with paint splotched on them. Socks that look like they can stand up by themselves they're so crusty. Armpits. Ooh. Armpits that smell like a transient. Matted hair. About two days worth of ashy man stubble on his face. And some radioactive fumes seeping out of his piehole....uhmm, yeh. Hi honey, I'll wave from a distance. From a distance. 'Cause I ain't getting anywhere near that. But when he is getting ready to meet with clients or for a night out and he is fresh from the shower. Oh. If he has the presence of mind to put deodorant on. When his hair is in effect. When he is wearing his jeans saggin' just enough . When his face is smooth and shaven and gorgeous. When I catch a delicious whiff of mouthwash that he just gargled....mmmmm. I'll admit, I'm like a feral cat in heat.

Meow.

I wonder why it has to be that way? When you are dating, you will take your man or your lady any way you can get them. You would lay there together, just so happy to be together, to get some time with one another. Now we have to get our checklists out before we negotiate any sort of touching. Brushed teeth? Check. Did you cleanse the genitalia? Check. Shaved those stumps? Check. Is it too cold outside? Check. Is there something good on TV? Check. Can you stay awake long enough? Check. Are you on your period? Oops, snap. Let's try this again next week.

That really sucks, but that's how it seems to be sometimes. Married life is funny that way. Even after proof-reading all this, I'm still not motivated enough to take my pj's off. I'm deluded enough to believe that the Man still thinks I'm cute when I'm wearing 'em. I still love him crusty and I'm confident he feels the same. Lust is so overrated.

12.06.2007

Get my Vitamin Water or die tryin'


As you read this post about my beloved water, you should have a dope 50 Cent beat supplied by Dr. Dre as the background music in your head.

I am somewhat of a beverage ho. I like any and all beverages--except soda cuz that stuff is like crack to me--that are new and tasty. When everyone was on Snapple's jock, I loved me some Snapple...Grapeade, Kiwi Strawberry, Watermelon, Snapple Apple, Mango Madness, all that good stuff. The same with Crystal Geyser, Starbucks, Arizona, SoBe, it's all love. I have to watch myself when I am grocery shopping because when I get home, I discover that I put alot of drinks in the cart. Maybe my love of beverages stems from the subconscious, which feels like it's ingesting less calories because it's a liquid. Like I care. Ahem.

But for the past few months, my favorite drink has been Vitamin Water. That stuff is the shiznit. It's enhanced water, but it has all these cool things like vitamins and herbs in it. And who doesn't need some enhancement these days? Love it. So there was a sale this week 10/$10, so of course I stocked up. I like to freeze them a little so that it's slushy, then I nurse it all day like a 50's housewife and her gin and tonic.

But....and that is a big butt here....my morals and ideals take a karate chop in the gut. 50 Cent made a grip of millions off the sale of Glacéau to Coca-Cola. So everytime I take a thirsty swig off my Vitamin Water, I think of 50 Cent and his big, shiny, chocolate biceps, a gunshot wound to the face and those big white teeth, laughing all the way to bank with his biatches and his hoes. Ew. I try not to ponder all the misogyny that goes on in his videos. And don't get me started on the lyrics. Sigh.

At the same time, I can't hate on a brother with some serious business skills. So you can say I have gotten over myself as I crack open my bottle of B-Relaxed - Jackfruit-Guava - (Vitamin B + Theanine). Ahhh, I feel relaxed already.

12.04.2007

Being blind sucks.


It really does. I wish I could say I wear my glasses because they make me look smart. Or stylish. Or that I just need them for reading. But, oh no. I need them to survive. I am so blind, it's scary. If I didn't have my glasses, I would be sitting in the corner, dirty and crying, waiting for some love and attention just like ole Helen Keller in the Miracle Worker. Ya'll would be coming by the cage to see the blind chick with the big booty and the chil'rens running around.

I started wearing glasses when I was in kindergarten, when my opthamologist said I had an astigmatism. That was code for You blind, girlfriend! I remember my first day of school, and my mom was talking to my new teacher and she said that she didn't think the other students would tease me and apparently there was another glasses-wearin' fool so at least there would be two of us being teased relentlessly.

Around junior high, I discovered that boys didn't really like girls with glasses. So I would keep them in the case until I really needed them, while in class where I excelled in both reading, literature and english just like any self-respecting four-eyed nerd would. At that time I could get away with not wearing glasses all the time. I would squint alot, but I could still see the hand in front of my face. Then one day while I was at softball practice my coach pulled me to the side and told me that I needed to wear my glasses while at practice and during games. Then maybe I would hit the ball every once and a while.

And when I did put my glasses on...wow, it was like another world. I could see fine detail, the bright colors, the boy I thought was cute and my jacked-up eyeliner. Actually seeing the world won out over looking cute. After that, I wore my glasses every single day.

But the sobering thought is, I had the choice to wear them before. Now they are an absolute necessity. My glasses are the first thing I reach for in the morning and they are the last thing I put down at night. I've had some embarrassing things happen to me when I didn't have my glasses on. Once I was sitting in my bedroom and looking right outside the door down the hall, I could see my son's bed. I saw a figure wearing something dark so I thought he was sitting on his bed so I called out for him, "Solomon. Solomon! Solomon! Hey, aren't you listening to me?" And when I got up to scold him, I discovered I was yelling at a pair of his pajamas that were spread out on the bed. Um, oops. How sad is that?

I have to say that basically every single child I've had has destroyed a pair of my glasses. They have either stepped on them, scratched them while they scraped them all over the floor, twisted the frame until I couldn't put them on my face, or they just broke off one of the arms like a potato chip. Sigh. And I've cried. I've cried like a baby after my glasses have broken. Because like I said, they are the portal. Just to illustrate my desperation, I've duck-taped, glued, hot-glued, and gorilla-glued my glasses together. Shoot, Michael even fashioned a pair with some thin wire for me before. 'Cause that is how we roll. And no, I don't have an extra pair just lying around for such an occasion--I'm not crapping money here. I've had my current pair for two years now. That, in itself, is a miracle. You would think I'd have enough sense to go out and buy a new pair before these break, since they are on their last leg. But no, I like living on the edge.

I almost lost these babies while on vacation in Mexico this summer. Every night before I went to bed, I would roll over and put my glasses in this little zippered pocket right underneath the tent's window. It was out of harm's way and easy for me to find when I needed to pee in the middle of the night. So on the first morning we woke up there, I rubbed the crust out of my eye and reached for my old faithfuls. And they weren't there. In a panic, I searched the pocket, then the sandy-floor of the tent, underneath the inflatable mattress, I rifled through blankets and basically, broke out into a cold sweat. My vacation flashed before my eyes...I wouldn't be able to see anything so I wouldn't be able to do anything, I wouldn't be able to help at all, I wouldn't be able to tell if my kids were drowning in the ocean, poor poor me, etc. etc. That was it. If I had lost my glasses, then we would have to pack up and go home. Literally, I was in a panic. I hissed at Michael, who had been blissfully asleep up until this point, "Michael! Michael! Get up! I lost my glasses! I lost my glaaaaaaaasessssss! Help me find them!" I sounded just like Sally Field, all dramatic and crazy. I kept thinking that they must have fell out of the pocket and gotten smashed and scratched by all the sand under the mattress. But what happens when you are looking for glasses without actually wearing your glasses? You can't see a damn thing! So I was pretty useless, standing there and crying at 5 o'clock in the morning. Michael calmed me down, asked me of all the other places where I would have put them ("The zippered pocket. I ALWAYS put them in the zippered pocket. Waaaaaaaaaaahhh!!"). We finally found them underneath my sleeping partner, Maya. They were not smashed or broken. Oh thank you God that Maya only weighs 33 lbs. I hope this little story illustrates to you the attachment I have to my glasses. And vision.

My fantasy is to one day be able to afford Lasik. The idea that I could regain some of my sight and not have to rely on glasses so much is very exciting. The only caveat, you have to be awake for the entire surgery. Ugh. Closing my eyes and meditating is how I cope with nervousness and pain. How will I be able to do that with my eyes peeled back and open, open, OPEN!?! Why can't they knock you out and give you some cool drugs? That would be ideal for me.

But if I could see again, amazing. If I could see while I was swimming, at the beach, while I fearlessly wield the shaver in the shower, in the bedroom, at night when I am alone with my husband...wow, it would definitely be worth it.

12.03.2007

A life well lived...


Tonight I celebrated my Dad's belated 57nth birthday with the family. He wanted us to make him your typical beaner dinner: tacos, rice and beans. Simple enough. Over the years we've had our share of gatherings, but the only kids around were mine. Over the years, four more grandchildren have been added to the family. Which equals ten chil'ren running around, all under the age of ten, the majority of them belonging to me. Fabulous. Two babies crying and hanging off the chichi and everything. So we have to eat in shifts. Regulate the chil'rens every two seconds. Ew, someone's got a dirty diaper! There is alot of baby juggling, time outs in the corner, laughter, slobber, bagging sessions, eating, noise, messes, and more laughter. It ain't the most peaceful gathering, but it's family and it was fun.

We decided to make my Dad a little video of old family photos, complete with a seriously 70's soundtrack of Neil Young, Chicago, Tower of Power and Earth Wind and Fire. My sister slaved away until the wee hours of the morning, but we knew it would be a blessing to him. There were pics of my dad when he was door-gunner in Vietnam, hanging out with old friends, on his wedding day to my mother, at Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, countless birthday parties, camping, at each of our weddings, at the births of our children. It's really touching to see a person's life flash before you in stills. I don't know if it's my hormones or what, but I was on the verge of hysterical tears...the kind you just want to bawl your eyes out. I don't know why. I guess because you realize how special this person is to you. And when you are posing for those pictures, you don't grasp that one day they will be cherished images.

Dad was happy and blessed. So were we. Happy birthday, Dad. I love you!

12.02.2007

Honk if you like bald chicks!


A few weeks ago I had my hairstylist cut a fuller set of bangs because now that I am encroaching death and will officially become an old bag at 36 in February, my hair is thinning. It really bugged me that I could still see some forehead through the bangs.

Crap.

I mean, I've never had a full head of horse-hair to begin with, but at least I never had to contemplate that aerosol spray for bald dudes. So we cut more bangs. I never wanted to fully commit to them because the minute I tampered with my bangs, I was already thinking about the hassle of growing them out. But this time, I threw caution to the wind. And it did the trick. It's not a full-on fringe, but now I can brush them to the side, just like Dorothy Hamill. See, you have to be older than dirt to understand that reference. Boo-ya.
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