The only time my brain works slow...

My mom went out and bought this game to help the boys learn their times tables. I learned multiplication by listening to a record in class. To this day when I am searching the dark recesses of my brain for what is eight times twelve, I will hear that little drum beat in my head and I am in third grade all over again.

If there is one thing I struggle with teaching the chil'rens, its math. That is to be expected when you are a math retard yourself. I've been able to keep my head above water so far because all we've ventured into is addition, subtraction, multiplication and a little division. My butt gets a little quivery when I ponder fractions, decimals and algebra. Anything further than that and we are going to have someone else teach it to them.

Maybe it's because I am so very right-brained, I have always had a very challenging time understanding the concept of math. It all started in the second grade. We used to have little competitions where we'd have timed math quizzes. Whoever won and got them all right won some sort of toy or candy. Food--the ultimate motivator. I really, really wanted to win but I never, never could. My brain just wouldn't work fast enough. It was so frustrating! My problems continued. All through elementary my teachers would have to place me in higher grades when it came to reading and language time. But when it was time for math, I was left with the special kids, the rednecks from the trailer park and the brown kids who no habla ingles.

In high school, I was promptly placed in this remedial math class. When all my friends were learning algebra and geometry, I was "learning" long division, simple fractions and multiplication. It kind of gave me a confidence boost because I was the smartest kid in class. Come on, I was a math retard but not that much of a math retard. But it was easy and I got an A so I didn't complain. I got as far as algebra I. I failed algebra II because it was the last class of the day so I just went home. It was humiliating to be in a class with a bunch of freshman. To further illustrate my ignorance on the subject, I got a 280 on the math portion of my SATs. But my math woes weren't over. When I got to college, I had to take trigonometry twice. Heh. And that is where my math career ended because my major didn't require anything further.

I used to work at a video store where I had to count change back. That used to give me the sweats, being put on the spot like that. But I learned it. But it was a fine line, let me tell you. If I had it all figured out in my head and the customer said, "Oh, here. I have ten cents." It would screw me all up. Then I'd have to start all over again. Sad, I know.

If I learned anything in math, it was because it was practical and I needed to apply it in everyday life. I learned fractions while baking. I learned to convert decimals when I had to cut and mat my illustrations in art class. For everything else, there is the calculator on my cell phone.

I am still the fool who counts on her fingers. Thank God for the abacus. I live and die by the abacus. So does Diego. But Noah, he can count in his head. It trips me out. I sometimes feel like I complicate the whole math lesson because I teach it the way I can understand. But he doesn't need all that stuff. He's good. It amazes me that someone that I actually gave birth to is good at math. Go figure.

So I'm not a numbers person. I'm assuming this is why I'm always broke and pay all my bills late.



All you have to do is bribe him with the promise of a bag of hot cheetos and he'll let you do this to him. The catch: he had to walk into the store like this to get the hot cheetos. Oh, and when a box says washable makers, take it with a grain of salt. It took almost three days to completely wash off!

easter eggs and underwear

Easter has come and gone and I've enjoying reading other blog's with pictures of their cute children dressed in flowery dresses, hats, gloves, sandals, sweater vests and all that good stuff. Looking for brightly colored eggs and candy.

This year we celebrated at Mom's house and it was an intimate gathering of 29 people, 14 of those were children under the age of 10. After we got home from church, I had to scramble around and make the food I was contributing to our potluck. Then I had to get on the chil'rens so they wouldn't get dirty and funk up their outfits before I was able to take pictures of them. It was also almost 90 degrees outside. Needless to say, I felt like I was functioning on slow motion. Hot, sweaty slow motion. I was the last one to arrive at Mom's house. I hate when that happens.

As we pull in the driveway, we are bombarded by wet little beaners running around in their underwear. What in the world? It's chaos. Out of the corner of my eye, I can already see the chil'rens motioning to take off their clothes in excitement.

"What are you doing? Noooooo! You are not going to take off your clothes until we get inside and say hello to everyone!"

Sigh. It was a losing battle. The chil'rens greeted everyone as they were pulling down their shorts in random piles around the house. I asked my mom why she didn't tell me they were setting up the pool so I could have at least brought their swimsuits. Well, you were already running late and I forgot to call you. Geez, mom! Why do I even bother to make the chil'rens appear bathed and stylishly dressed like normal children?

So because everyone didn't want to ruin their "Easter clothes", they were all in their underwear. Except for my oldest Noah, who is apparently developing a sense of propriety and refused to be seen walking around in his underwear. And this, my friends, is exactly why beaners are different than your average race. Heh. This is why you see beaners wearing cut-off Dickies at the beach. They don't want to ruin their "good clothes".


Separated at birth?

The chil'rens like to watch Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. We crack up everytime we see Mac because he looks like an animated version of Sol. Heh.


Missing you, loving you...

It was at this time last year, Mikey came and lived with us. The BM admitted she couldn't control him anymore and he was getting out of hand at school and at home, so in her mind the most logical thing to do was send him to live with his father. Afraid that she would change her mind at any moment, we quietly said yes to all of her demands and prepared for Mikey to stay in our home.

I have to admit, I never thought I would see the day.

I never thought she would willingly let Michael actually have physical custody of his son since she had been actively interfering in their relationship since Mikey was born. But again, we thanked God and made room in our home and in our lives to have Mikey here on a daily basis.

We were so happy to have him here. It was exciting. And rough. We had to jump through hoops to keep the BM at bay. I still need you to pay me my money every month, she snarled the night she brought Mikey over with all his stuff and school papers. Even though I wanted to throw the turkey sandwich I was making at the back of her hollow head (I was preparing lunch for our co-op the next morning) when the words came out of her mouth, I willed my tongue to stay silent. But if looks could kill.


I half expected Michael to just agree with her, but he stood his ground. "No, that is not what we agreed. Why would I pay you child support if I am supporting him everyday and he is living in my house? That doesn't make sense!" And he was calm, steady. Me, I was nervous, fidgety, my stomach was in a knot.  

Basically, I was freaking out inside.

I looked over at my kids piled onto the sofa, watching a movie, totally oblivious that Mikey's mom was standing in our kitchen. They were laughing, running around, showing Mikey's little sister their toys. Mikey was the only one that seemed tense, just as he always did whenever the three of us were in a room together. I just didn't want her to cause a scene with the chil'rens right there. It would appear very unchristian-like of me to send her sailing out the front door with my foot up her butt.

Despite threats, tears, demands, cursing and a few visits from the police, he got to stay. But it was still very tense and we had to deal with the BM trying to dictate our every move or else she threatened to take him back. Cut his hair, it's too long. He wants his own bed. He says his brothers have new shoes, buy him some. Why don't you spend more time with him? Why can't you take him to work with you so he isn't home with your wife all day? He needs new school clothes. I want to see him every weekend. He sounds sad. I need money for gas. Can you meet me halfway?

This, after years of her refusing to meet us at the halfway point in the long, 127-mile (round trip) journey to her home that we had driven every other Friday (in traffic) for the past seven years. Arrrggggh.

And then six weeks later, he was gone. The BM had an overwhelming sense she was losing control of the situation and the only way she knew how to remedy that was to swoop back in and bring her son back home with her where all the problems they had were still there, waiting for them.

It was a tough blow for our family. The children were sad but still hopeful he would return. Michael was numb...is still numb. Me, all the fears I had tucked in my heart were coming to fruition, almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. But the chil'rens...their hope gives me hope. Even though we've only been allowed to see Mikey once in almost a year, they have so many fond memories of their brother it's like they just saw him yesterday. They laugh, tell funny stories, save toys for him, they speak of video game battles they will have. And they pray, they pray so diligently that it amazes me.

Their all-consuming love for their big brother makes me remember the scripture in 1 Peter 4:8:

Above all keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.


Me gusta bailar

I think I was a Soul Train dancer in my former life. Cuz I love me some dance shows. I never missed So You Think You Can Dance. And I've been a fan of America's Best Dance Crew since the season started. Curiously enough, I can't stand Dancing with the Stars. I've only caught a few episodes and they are so incredibly boring. I guess it's because I have absolutely no desire to see a bunch of old has-beens trying to dance. I want to see young people who actually can dance. It inspires me to see people doing what they love.

From day one, I've been a fan of JabbaWockeez. I knew they would make it to the finals. I just didn't think they would be competing against a crew other than Kaba Modern. I thought for sure this would be an all-California battle. But alas, Kaba Modern was robbed. Status Quo? Come on, people. I really don't think they belong in the finals. But anyhoo, that just my .02.

I loved the evolution of hip-hop. New Jack Swing! Whew. It took me back! I just hope that one of the chil'rens grows out to be a b-boy. It would make mama so very happy!


Get your nails did...

I love the look of pretty hands and feet just like the next girl. But getting regular manicures and pedicures isn't really in the budget, and I've noticed that I only get them done on special occasions. For me, that's weddings, marriage retreats and parties. In the summer I can rationalize getting regular pedicures because I don't want to look like I've been kicking a sack of flour. I don't know what it is, but getting old and having lots of babies jacks up your heels. Seriously. I love to be barefoot...so you throw in the pregnant part and I am a walking cliche. But I can say with all honesty that my feet didn't start looking funky until I was pregnant with my first child. I never needed that pumice stone or sandpaper thingie. They were smooth and cute. Now....oooh, scaaaary.

So last week, in preparation for my birthday party (which I still have to blog about but I am waiting on pictures), my sister and Raquel kicked me out of the house to get my nails done. As I sat down in the spa chair and the random Asian ladies were talking smack in their native tongue, I found myself really anxious. Like I just wanted to get this over with so I could get back to the huge list of stuff I still had to get done. Then it hit me. I can never sit back and relax like all the ladies around me because I am always in the nail salon getting my nails done under duress. It is always something that is last on my list to do, so I am usually in a hurry and wanting to get out of there. For once I wish I could just sit there, enjoy the steaming hot towels. For once I want my nails to dry properly. I want to be like the other women in the spa whose eyes are closed in utter relaxation, getting their calves massaged. The Asian lady that did my pedicure..she was very vigorous. Homegirl was tearing up my calves...she was little but she was deceptively strong. She was kneading them like nobody's business. But like I said, I couldn't enjoy it because I kept wishing it was over and done with so I could get back to my life.

This time I got a manicure, too. This was even more stressful for me because I couldn't sit still long enough for them to dry all the way. I sat under that dryer thingie like, cooooome on, let's move this along! While all the other ladies were getting glitter and flowers painstakingly painted on their nails, I was sitting there like it was absolute torture.

Of course, I messed up my nails like ten minutes after they were done, while I was piling cases of soda in my cart at Albertson's. Then I was digging in my purse to find my wallet and keys. Smudge city. Then when I got home, I moved some plants around outside. Oh, I almost forgot when I had to scrub the toilets and load the washer a thousand times. So there you go, my life in a nutshell. It's hopeless. This is why I can't do mani/pedis. It just kills me to have to be all girly-like because I am so totally butch. To get them done on a regular basis would be a huge waste of money. Truth be told, the only things my long nails were good for was to entice my husband (apparently I'm very alluring when they are painted) and to scratch my butt.

But I am going to work on trying to enjoy the pedicures. I think I should experiment and get a pedi "just cause" and not because I have some sort of event. Maybe then I will be able to sit there and enjoy it.


More art by the chil'rens...

My poor kid. Sol is not accustomed to normal-looking chi chi's, just saggy ones that have seen better days. Breastfeeding veterans, if you will.

As he was showing his latest series, a Star Wars-themed Veggie Tales, I couldn't help but notice Junior Asparagus' mother and her droopy ta-ta's. Dang.

"Who is that, Solly?"
"Oh. That's Junior's mom. Can't you tell, she has...um...chi chis. She's a lady."
Giggles from all the males in the room.
"Yes, I can see that." Then I start getting the giggles.
"What are you laughing at, Mom?"
"Oh, um, nothing. I just thought of something funny."
Then, from Diego. "Her chi chi's look like cow chi chis! No--like goat chi chis! Ahhahahahahahahahaha!"



My Nina is Better than Yours!

Cheech sang this song in Cheech & Chong's Next Movie. Do you remember it?

Mexican Americans don't like to just get into gang fights,
they like flowers and music and white girls named Debbie too.

Mexican Americans are named Chata and Chella and Chemma
and have a son-in-law named Jeff.

Mexican Americans don't like to get up early in the morning
but they have to so they do it real slow.

Mexican Americans love education so they go to night school
and take spanish and get a B.

Mexican Americans love their Nana's and their Nono's and their
Nina's and their Nino's........ Nano Nano Nina Nono!

My brother and sister and I have this running joke about our godparents. I got the good ones. They got the shaft. I guess being the first born, my mom had the pick of the litter, so she chose her big sister. My nina has always been an awesome godmother, in the form of homemade strawberry shortcakes for my birthday parties, gifts (christmas, birthdays and just cuz), my wedding cake, toys for my chil'rens, camp money for the chil'rens, cards, phone calls and love. Her love didn't end after childhood and adolescence, when most godparents retire their godparent responsibilities. Even my nino, who after all these years pretends to be mad at me if I don't give him a kiss on the cheek in greeting.

My nina came down to celebrate my belated birthday this weekend but the snow held her back. I was sad. Sadder still that she had made me a homemade strawberry shortcake. That didn't stop her from coming the next day, my beautiful and delicious strawberry shortcake still intact. She also bought me my L.A.M.B perfume! The bottle is big enough to carry me through middle age and beyond. Yesss.


What's in your freezer?

There is one strange fact about me--besides having a tribe of chil'rens--that I love to toss out to people so they can get all freaked out.

I have my daughter's placenta in the freezer.

It's 100% true. I also have a couple placentas under some trees in our yard. Why? Why does she have such things in her fridge and in her yard? This is why. When you have a nice and neat medicalized birth at the hospital, you would swear that a stork drove down to Kaiser and dropped it off. That deceivingly warm and cozy hospital room with wallpaper and normal-looking bed can be broken down to a sterilized operating room in a second. Any kind of blood, amniotic fluid, vomit, caca...whoosh, in two seconds they will wipe up that bad boy with a chux pad and you'd never know it was there. Same with the placenta...while you are oohing and aahing over your cute little baby with a squished face and jacked up head, they are doing away with your placenta and sewing you up like a patchwork quilt at the county fair. And everything gets tossed in one of those biohazardous waste trashcans. Gone. Where it goes after that, your guess is as good as mine.

Earthy and bohemian and natural are three words that come to mind when having a homebirth. You don't have nurses around cleaning up after you. It can get messy, funky, and bloody in a hurry. That is the first lesson I learned when I had my first homebirth in 2000.

Dang, I just ruined all my new towels!

What the heck are we going to do with all this murky water?

Geez, how much blood can I lose without actually dying?

And then there is the placenta. It's not like you can just throw it away. In all honesty, I don't think I could do that. It housed my child for ten months--it served a mighty purpose, yo! I couldn't just unceremoniously dump it in the trash. And it's illegal, to boot. Since it is biohazardous waste, you need to pay to have it disposed of. After the midwives examine the big old bloody thing and make sure everything is intact, they put the placenta in a ziplock bag and store in your freezer. And they do this as breezily as you can imagine.

So a few weeks later, foraging for something to make for dinner, I will stumble upon the bag of frozen placenta. And let me answer the question that is always joked about when people know what is in my freezer. No, I can't mistake it for a tri-tip sirloin roast. It's clearly visible that it's not a piece of meat. But if you ever come to my house and the meat is a little chewy...

What we usually do is buy a tree and put the placenta in the ground and put the tree on top of it. That is where the earthy comes in. Not too many people want to mess with a placenta. But it's great fertilizer for the tree. Normally we try to get rid of the placenta right away. The one in the freezer belongs to Xixi. Um. She is two and a half. You could say we are a little behind on the burying process. But fear not, we got our free tree coming to us, and then I will remember to dispose of the placenta.

I also thought including a picture of the actual placenta would be a nice touch for this post. You know, to give it that extra oomph. I don't know what other strange fact I'll be able to toss out at people after the placenta's gone and buried but I'm sure I will think of something.


Racial profiling at Disneyland?

So in our madness to get a few hours of fun before our annual passes shut us out until April, we raced home from our homeschool co-op to get to Disneyland, which has extended hours due to Spring Break. I remembered to bring my drugs for my sciatica. It was a good day at Disneyland for me so far.

At the end of the Monsters Inc. ride at California Adventure, that big snail-lady monster Roz says to me, "Hey lady in the front row...I like your glasses. Next time bring me a churro!"

We were all hysterically laughing, of course, but then I started wondering, Hey, why did she want me to bring her a churro? Is it because I'm a beaner? Why didn't she say to bring her some cotton candy? Or a hot dog? Or some popcorn? That's jacked up. Insulting if you ask me.

I got your churro right here, Roz!


Divine Forces Radio

One of our traditions that Michael and I have done for many years is listen to KPFK on Friday nights during our long drives into L.A. every other Friday to pick up my stepson, Mikey. Unfortunately, since we have only gotten to see him once in eleven months (and that is a whole 'nother post and it's coming soon), we also haven't had our Friday night drives. It might seem crazy that we would enjoy a trip into Los Angeles amid the traffic, smog and crime but ehh, when you have lived there at one point, it gets demystified.

So driving into L.A just becomes an opportunity for us to sit in the van for nearly an hour and a half and talk. The kids are usually giggling in the back seat or playing with their gameboy or sleeping. And if you have a large family you know that having your spouse for an hour and a half to talk...well, that is nothing short of miraculous. We often fantasize about having a soundproof, glass partition between the front seats and the back of the van. Yeh, your lips are moving but we can't hear you, beloved chil'rens.

So the trip there we talk but the trip back home we listen to Divine Forces Radio. Over the years we've heard alot of underground hip hop and some pretty radical views on culture, society, indigenous traditions, our educational system, music, religion and our government. It's nice to get a break from booty poppin' at the club and all the worthless shiznit playing on the radio these days. I most definitely don't agree with everything and every view of Fidel and his guests but I will give the show some props for opening up my mind to lots of different avenues. Sometimes we would be sitting in the car eating our In-N-Out and Fidel would drop some science and we'd both go, "Ooooooooh!"

I miss it.

It is something that just reminds me of my sweetheart and the times we've shared together. If you are ever driving around L.A. (you can get the station as far inland as Pomona, I think) and you want to hear some elevated consciousness, turn your dial to 90.7. And do what Neo did...choose the red pill.


I was a latch key child and look how I turned out...

One of the gifts I would like to give my children is an available parent on a daily basis. It is a gift that we often take for granted. I will be the first one to joke about wanting to fly away when one of the chil'rens starts to shape shift into something evil...about not having a life outside of the four walls of my kitchen...how a highly successful and motivating day for me means no turds on the floor to wipe up.

When my parents divorced I was seven years old, and my mother was forced to enter the ranks of a working single mother. Thankfully, we lived near family so I can always remember being cared for by my aunts, my uncles, my grandmother. On a few occasions when we didn't have anyone to babysit us, my mom would direct us over to Alice's house, who was a family friend and lived around the corner. She was a nice old lady, and she never mistreated us. She would make the most slammin' tuna sandwiches, I remember that much. Her husband had emphysema, and would lay in his hospital bed and watch TV. Unfortunately that was the only TV in the house, so after we finished our tuna sandwiches, we would sit on the floor in front of that hospital bed on the cool linoleum floor and pray that the old man wouldn't hock his loogies on us. I remember getting splashed on a few times. All he would do is cough and cough and spit up stuff into a brown paper bag. I would wince everytime he would strain and cough and spit.

As we got older, mom wearily allowed us to stay at home by ourselves. But it was always with very strict warnings. Mija, there are lots of weirdos out there and they want to hurt children. Never, never open the door for anyone. Never let anyone come inside. Always have all the doors locked. If you want to go outside to play, stay in the backyard so no one sees you outside alone. If someone calls on the phone, don't let them know that I'm not home. You have to be alert and you have to be very careful. And of course, in those days we didn't have a metal screen door...you know, the ones that a stray bullet couldn't pass through. We just had a set of double doors, a deadbolt and a peep hole. Everytime someone would knock or ring the doorbell, my heart would race and I would be afraid. Most times we wouldn't even answer it and they would get the hint that no one was home. Usually we would just be laying around like sloths watching Richard Blade on Video One and eating frozen pizzas until Mom got home.

I realize now that the method my mom used to keep me safe was to instill a measure of fear. Or should I say terror. Either way, they were highly effective. The only bad thing is, at what point do you stop being afraid? I am now 36years old and I still get fearful when someone is at my door. Strange, isn't it? I immediately assume they want to harm me or my children and I am very, very wary. No, I'm not interested in getting my address painted on the curb, no I don't want to buy your overpriced candy, no I don't care that you are trying to get to camp, and no I don't want a Watchtower pamphlet, thank you. Slam! I guess after all these years, my latchkey child status is still in effect.

I once read an article where the author talked about how an adult can experience an unexplainable excitement whenever they hear a car come up the driveway because they can remember leaping for joy whenever daddy made his triumphant return from work each day. But if a child grew up with an abusive father, he will learn to shudder and be fearful whenever he hears a car coming up the driveway, even unto adulthood. And this really hit home with me. I can really relate to the latter scenario. Not because I had abusive parents, but I was taught to be wary and fearful of strangers coming to the door. So if I hear an unfamiliar car pull up and I am alone, I will still experience a nervous feeling in my stomach.

My saving grace has been this wrought iron gate that encloses the front porch of our home. Everyone said to rip it out and pitch it when we first began renovating. But I was like, heeeeeeck no--that bad boy is staying! Yes, it's a little Boyz N the Hood but come on. It has become my security blanket because I can deadbolt it and people have to rattle the gate to get me to come to the door. But they can't just walk up to my front door and knock and catch me in a vulnerable state. That or my 3 year-old answering the door because my kids are notorious for beating me to the punch. So this wrought iron gate gives me peace of mind. I get the willies when I see those homes whose front door is literally steps from the street. I guess I need that security blanket.

And that's the legacy of being a latch-key child.

Ben & Jerry...Me Love You Long Time

Tonight as I sit by my computer, I am drowning my sorrows. Oh no, is she getting her drink on, you may be wondering in horror. Is it a bottle of Patron? Maybe a bottle of Two Buck Chuck? Perhaps some ghetto fabulous Strawberry Hill? Nah.

More like a pint of Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch. I was slightly annoyed to find small pockets of air in the pint. Which left me feeling kind of cheated. Like, they owe me a couple tablespoons of ice cream, you know? And really, if it was up to me, I would call it Ben & Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch with a Smidge of Vanilla.

But that's just me.


Keep Homeschooling Legal in California!

A court in California just dropped a bomb on all California families this week. They want to make it unlawful to teach your own children in your home. If you want to do so, you have to have a teaching credential for each grade you teach because apparently, only credentialed professionals are fit to teach young people. All because of one family who had some child abuse allegations. They are using a court order from the 50's to back this precedence. The message is loud and clear: parents, you aren't capable of teaching your own children. We want them. We need them and we need the money that we are losing from every child that isn't enrolled in public school.

My head hurts. My stomach is in knots. My heart hurts.

I have passed from disbelief, to fear, to anger and back to fear again. Now I just want to lay in bed and pull the covers over my head. But I can't. If you want to support homeschooling families in California (or all homeschooling families because if California takes this route, then certainly the rest of the states will follow suit), then please go to the HSLDA's site and sign this petition. Thank you, I really appreciate it.

This issue is serious to me and my family that I can't accurately describe what is going on in my head right now. I echo the sentiment of many families who said they would leave California if it came to this. To me, this goes beyond your child's education. I feel like I'm fighting for my child. To be the one who makes their decisions for them. To hold onto that right. I love my children with everything in me. I would die for them. I just never thought I would have to face expensive fines and jail time, as well.


We're all in the same gang...

Now the "Self Destruction" video was something I watched practically everyday on TV after school. But it was kinda alien. Probably because it was East Coast. Dickies, house slippers, black Raiders caps, dookie braids, biker shorts and gang violence...that was a little more familiar to me.


Best verse spittin'...MC Lyte. Best moment of silence...Doug E. Fresh. All the leather, African medalions and fresh Gumby fades. Awww, the memories.


"Mama, I did peepee on da floooooor..."

I know there are people out in the blogging world who feel like you got some weak sauce if you are constantly putting pictures up of your kids ("Here is Sally eating her fish crackers...here is Sally falling asleep at the table....here is Sally just after her bath."), of something cute your dog did ("Tonight we clipped Buster's nails..."), of your numerous trips to Disneylandia ("Here we are having fun on the teacups for the eight hundredth time this year..."), your latest trip to Target ("So I took the chance and bought the Target brand tampons..."). True dat. I mean, I really don't want to read about that stuff all the time either. But if you're blogging about your life, lame subjects are bound to pop up. And if you don't like what you are reading, you can bounce. There are a million other blogs for you to peruse.

Today we will cover the fun and interesting topic of potty-training.

I've had a rough day. And it all has to do with the fact that my youngest daughter apparently has the bladder the size of a pea. I've said this before, I absolutely hate the potty-training stage. If I could pay to send her potty-training school, it would be worth it. It's just one of those rituals of parenting that you have to go through, and you hope to God it is as painless as possible.

But so far, it ain't been painless.

Xixi is the youngest of seven. She has turned from a sweet, lovable, precious little baby into a bossy, petulant, disobedient beast. If she ain't happy, she makes sure no one else is either, especially her big brothers who knock themselves out all day catering to her fat little needs. Don't take it like I'm talking down on my little one, because I love her more than anything. I'm just dropping some science--she has officially become a toddler. They are sort of like the devil's little minions. And Xixi will go potty on the toilet when she feels like it. But, if you wanna wear big girl panties, you gotta start taking a dump in the toilet. Not at the kitchen counter, not outside on the trampoline, not half on the toilet seat and half on the floor, not on the carpet and definitely not in the bathtub. But these are all the wonderful things that come with parenting. There is nothing like seeing your child walking toward you like Frankenstein, with a steaming hot, molten pile waiting for you in the back of their pants.

You'd think this process gets easier. Nope. I've had way more of my fair share of pee puddles, crap stuck under my nails, washing bedding and towels and dozens of underwear. I was praying that maybe Xixi will catch on quickly...uh yeh, don't think so. Remember this massacre? Just when I think she's got it down, I find a caca smear on the wall in the hallway. Or I find soggy wet chonies all over the house funking up to high heaven. And the puddles, they are everywhere. But I know enough now to realize it has to get worse before it gets better.

I'm just so over it.

I'll tell you this much, once this chica starts doing her business in the toilet on the daily...wow, it's gonna be big. We can stop contributing to our overflowing landfills. We can save the $100 odd dollars a month on wipes, diapers, and pull-ups. Most importantly, Michael and I can stop wiping butts as we have done for the past hundred years. Well, it feels like a hundred years. Seriously. Tomorrow is a new day and the Bible says God's mercies are new every morning...so I'm really looking forward to those mercies.



So far, it's been a snooze. What is up with all these slow songs? It's like torture! I don't know what it is, but I just can't seem to get in the groove of this season's American Idol. The girls have been so boring, and is it me or do all the blondes look alike? The only memorable female I can think of is homegirl with the wanna-be Amy Winehouse bouffant, Amanda Overmyer. She's cool. Different. And the only one who doesn't care to sound safe like everyone else.

The guy that I'm rooting for is Jason Castro. Come on now, dreadlocks and blue eyes? He sorta reminds me of Jack Johnson, too. He seems really humble and that is nice. And all the hype over David Archuleta, yawn.

The best performance of tonight has to be David Cook. He turned an incredibly annoying Lionel Richie song into something beautiful! I was impressed. Usually I am falling asleep during AI, but tonight I was actually alert. Go me. Is this what my blogging has been reduced to? AI?!


More favorite music...

Driving back and forth from Cal State Long Beach to Riverside on the grid-locked 91 freeway every other Thursday afternoon, I would listen to music to ease some of the loneliness I felt being in a new school. I had just transferred from a very comfortable community college, it was my first time living away from home, I was having a hard time enrolling in the classes I needed to graduate and I didn't know anyone except my cousin Diana. She'd already been going to school there for a few years and had a solid group of friends. But they weren't mine. Even all these years later, this time holds a bittersweet quality for me in my memories.

One band I can remember listening to over and over again on that long drive home was Pearl Jam. That might seem an unlikely choice for a hardcore funk/punk listener like me. But there is something haunting and passionate about Eddie Vedder's voice and his lyrics. It's hard to pick which one of their albums I like the best. My favorite song has always been "Black", off their debut Ten album. But I think I have to say my favorite album of is Vs.

That music will always make me remember what it felt like to drive to something that I loved, that was familiar and safe.


A blog to check out...

I found this blog, Stuff White People Like, courtesy of Chicana Skies. Basically, it's a satire about white culture. Some of the things I read made me laugh so hard I spit my pretzels onto the computer screen.

Do I think that making fun of white people and white culture is appropriate? No more than making fun of Latino culture, African-American culture or Asian culture. I'm so sick of people tip-toeing around the issue of race and the intrinsic differences between us all. Come on already. This blog was refreshing. And hilarious, if I do say so myself.

The Assimilated Negro did an interview with Christian Lander, the writer of Stuff White People Like. His phrase was genius...he wanted to talk to the man behind deconstructing The Man. Very interesting stuff. Lander says that he is poking fun at himself, and all the crazy stuff he does. He went on to say that his blog was not meant to demean white people, but to share common experiences. It is not written with any malice or hatred. Either way, it is good times. My favorites being: #17 Hating Your Parents, #73 Gentrification, #69 Mos Def, #53 Dogs, #51 Living By The Water and finally #48, Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops. Tee-heee!

So check it out. My favorites are the comments from all the politically-correct peeps who get their chonies in a bunch. Sigh. Some people. But, it's worth scanning through the 200-plus comments people leave. Finally, a blog I can sink my teeth into!


Just a theory...

Sometimes my mind comes up with these theories. My mom always said I had an overactive imagination. I don't know, I just always had this uncanny knack to entertain myself with my mind. Mom would know--it really used to concern her when I would talk to my imaginary friend Billy and then blame him for bad things "he" did. Truth be told, I have no recollection of Billy except for one incident when "we" were playing under the kitchen table. I am happy to say I never saw an actual boy...again, he was just something my mind made up to entertain myself.

And all these years later, I am still at it.

Which leads to my theorizing...what happens when a husband and wife have been too ill to engage in ahem, marital activity? You know, knock boots. Getting yo freak on. Makin' bacon. Or as Granny Klump would say, havin' relations. All that good stuff.

You just don't engage. I mean, who would want to when you are burning up with a fever, dripping snot, you have the chills, your breath smells and tastes like death and you haven't washed your ass in two days? One week, ten days, two weeks...that is a long time to go without sex for a married person. Sex keeps a smile on your spouse's face. Sex keeps you close when you are busy and running in different directions. Sex keeps the peace.

So my theory is that men are like volcanoes. If they don't get their regular eruption...they will terrorize the villagers and threaten to kill them by spewing hot lava down their dirt roads. Seriously.

If for some reason Michael and I go that long without communing with one another, I walk around the house feeling like a gazelle being hunted in the Serengeti. After being married for almost eleven years, you learn a few things. That is one thing I have learned...a man who isn't getting any is just plain mean. And I don't know about you, but I want my man sweet, happy and satisfied. I feel as though I'm doing my part for humanity. Are you?
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