old friends...

An old friend came by my house unexpectedly last night. He usually does, without calling and out of the blue. Normally, I don't like unannounced drop-ins because I don't like to be caught with my butt showing....but since he is a good friend and we've always been real with one another, I didn't really mind. It was good to see him.

When he walks in the door, you can see the wildness in his eyes. Like a man who doesn't have a place to rest his head at night. No peace in his life. He is always hungry so I usually make him something to eat and then watch him wolf it down. He never sits down when he eats, he just stoops over the butcher block counter. He receives the hugs from my children and he smiles at them. I ask him how he is doing. I ask him if he's been working. And then the conversation takes an inevitable turn and I ask about his family.

He has a beautiful wife and five beautiful children. Nice home. Two cool cars. A good job. Close friends. Connected at his church. All the normal trappings of a happy person. But then a year or so ago, he decided to give that all up to go back to a life on the streets...drugs, gangs, violence and all that that life brings you. In the process, he lost everything.

Being close with his wife and family and being a witness to their suffering, it really hurts to see him roaming the streets. But what I think hurts the most is...he turned his back on God. Its situations like these that make me even question if his faith was real or not. Granted, I don't know everything that has gone on in his life, or what has shaped him into the person he is today. But if your faith wasn't real, then you wasted your time doing the church routine and you have profited nothing. If it was...at what point do you decide that you want to willfully rebel and do your own thing? If gang-banging and prison and drugs and women brought you nothing but death and destruction in your life...why would you consciously choose to return to it? An exceptionally harsh (but real)scripture comes to mind.

"As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11

I guess I will just never understand.

But for whatever reason, I can't seem to be upset with him. Frustrated, yes. Exasperated, yes. But hateful and unwelcoming, never. He will always be welcome in my home, even if it's just to stop in and eat a good meal. He never stays long enough to make himself a nuisance. There have been many occasions where he has left my home in tears. I don't know exactly why, but I think just to see my children happy and smiling and loving on him just makes him think of his own children and what their lives have become because of his choices.

I don't know what it is, but I see alot of my husband in him. They have similar temperaments and have made alot of the same decisions in their lives. So when I see him, I think of my own husband who makes the conscious decision to wake up everyday in our bed, to lift his gratitude to the Almighty, to love and respect me and his children and to be a man of God. He strives to make himself a better man and a better father. And I am deeply grateful for that.

It's fine line we walk on, all of us. And we must make a conscious choice, each and every day. I want to choose life because I have seen the alternative.

Kiss my grits!

Today while I was making breakfast, I called up Angie to see what she was doing. Come to find out that while I was making my family the humble meal of scrambled eggs and turkey bacon, in a grand departure from our usual maple yogurt, granola and frozen blueberries....she was making pancakes, eggs, bacon, potatoes and grits.

Mmmmmm, grits. Mmmmmmm. Oohhhhh. Grits. Mmmmmmmm.

*Pearmama shakes head out of reverie*

I haven't had grits in ages. Sure enough, I had a unopened box in the pantry. I have my sister-in-law to thank for introducing me to grits in the first place. I had just gotten married, had a baby, was a ripe old twenty-five years old and I had never tasted grits before. Seems kinda strange, doesn't it? It certainly isn't the most exotic food out there.

But grits? Nah.

I know whats up with chorizo, tripas, nopales, tacos de lengua, chicharrones...pork butt. But grits? I'm not from the south and I'm not black, sooo.....grits were never on the menu in my house growing up.

But I have since rectified the error of my ways. Grits are the shiznit. Kinda like cream of wheat, but more chewy. I put a little bit of milk in mine, some sugar and enough butter to make it illegal is fifteen states.

And it's good...really, really good.

All you beaners out there should broaden your horizon. Skip the tortillas, weenies con huevo and try some grits. You'll be glad you did.


Sushi celebration

I went out with the sibs last Friday for some sushi, in honor of Josh's 18th birthday, which is on the second. His prom happens to land on the same day as his special day, but he really wanted us to go out for some all you can eat sushi. He really had to twist my arm. My little brother's only request was that we go without the spouses. Too funny. It reminds me when he was six years old and I was dating Michael. I would speak to him on the phone and tell him I was coming home for the weekend to see him. He would tell me, "Come home, but don't bring him."

Quite a possessive little bugger, isn't he?

After so many years of having me all to his little self, he was not happy the day I brought this tall, skinny dude with dookie braids who was taking all of my attention. I will never forget the day of my wedding when I was exchanging vows with my dear, sweet man. I could hear my little brother crying hysterically about three pews behind us. And not little quiet teardrops. Like convulsive, loud sobs. Poor baby! My stepdad was sitting beside him, trying to console him. Josh is going to turn eighteen soon, but he still looks at Michael the same way when he was six years old, Oh, you brought him with you.


So with all the spouses home with the chil'rens, we made our way to Joe's Sushi. As usual, it was loud and rowdy. But the sushi was still tasty as ever. And with the sibs, it was good times. I don't know what is exactly the magic formula, but I hope that the chil'rens can be as close with each other as I am to my sibs. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather hang out with.

Me, in a brown brotha sandwich. Eric could pass for my daddy, huh? Ahahahahaha!

Josh and Jennifer. Remember, she is the skinny, beautiful sister.

Me and my other little bro Eric, my mud-pie makin' partner from the beginning.

The green mussels didn't go down quite as smooth as Cabin Sushi's. But it was still good times.

"Jen, do you like the green mussels?" Yeh, not so much.

Down the hatch.

A birthday gift from the owner. Um, yeh thanks(?). Josh always did have a thing for Asian girls.

The massacre after. I am the messy one with soy sauce all over the place. We practically had to be rolled out of that joint. I think I swore off sushi for exactly 24 hours after this night! I'm good now, though.

April 29, 1992

I remember coming home from school (that's community college to you, fool) and sitting down to have lunch with my grandma. She was all in a tizzy because of what was happening on the news...hadn't I heard? People were rioting in the streets in protest to the Rodney King verdict. She put down her dishtowel and stepped away from her eternal position at the stove. She sat down and heaved a gusty sigh, then closed her eyes and prayed to herself, "Aye Dios mio..."

Watching it on her TV in her little trailer...it was unbelievable that what I was seeing with my own eyes was actually happening just an hour from my home. The chaos, the fires, the looting, the violence. It was scary. And I can't believe it was sixteen years ago.


under the cherry moon

I'm so discombobulated right now!! I want to slap myself. Seriously. I hate the feeling of missing out on something. I was reading a Coachella review and...and...and checking out Prince's set list to see if he went beyond the obvious choices. Ya'll know how much I ♥ Prince.




Thank you, Mickey and Wanda

The other night, in the middle of mama and daddy time, Maya woke up and kept pestering us with questions.

"Just go to sleep, Maya!"
Silence. For about thirty seconds.
"What are you doing?"
"Go to sleep!"
"I'm thirsty. Can you get me some water?"
"Maya, please!"
"What are you doing? What is that noise? It sounds like sheeee sheeee sheeee sheeee!"

It was hilarious. Straight out of Forrest Gump.

Which got me thinking about what it's going to be like when I have a house full of teenagers that know what we are doing behind a locked door. It's not going to be that easy to shush them back to sleep. How am I going to show my face the next morning, you know?

We have this saying around our house, and it's hella funny. About eight years ago, a woman named Wanda commissioned Michael to do a portrait as a gift for her daughter. She was a tall, thin, outspoken woman from Louisiana, so she had this really cool Cajun accent. She would come over to our humble little home, stand with her hands on her hips and tell Michael just what kind of painting she wanted. She was really funny, always telling us stories about her just-married daughters. After Michael painted the portrait, she commissioned him to paint the nursery of her new grandchild.

One night, she was telling us what it was like to be an older, happy married couple and how she and her husband Mickey had to come up with ingenious schemes to get some alone time. When her daughters were old enough to date, they gave them the standard lecture about having boys over. I remember it clear as day. And she said this, with some serious sassiness.

"Ain't no one havin' sex in this house 'cept Mickey and Wanda!"

Omg. We about died laughing! It was the funniest thing ever. I tried to keep a straight face because she was totally serious but I couldn't help myself. So to this day we still follow that simple rule that Mickey and Wanda laid it down, with all dignity and seriousness.

What are we going to do? I asked Michael just last night. We are going to have to get busy at like, two in the morning! On the floor. And in total silence. Aaggghhh. How embarrassing!

And Michael just shrugged his shoulders. "Shoot! I don't care. Ain't no one havin' sex in this house 'cept Michael and Denise!"


Quality television for your mind...

Why must all chil'rens programs be so nauseating? And why must the chil'rens enjoy them so much? The only cartoon I can stand to watch is Spongebob. Homeboy is good times. But the programs for the little ones...ugh. The girls (and Diego) like to watch The Doodlebops. It's highly questionable. I'm still wondering if they put some homo eroticism in that mug. It's a little iffy. I wonder how those actors can stand themselves everyday. Makes me want to climb in and smack them with my chankla. Hopefully they make alot of money. If you have chil'rens, then you might be familiar with the song:

We're the Doodlebops
We're the Doodlebops
We're the Doodlebops, oh yeah!

Around my house, it's:

We're the doo-doo butts
We're the doo-doo butts
We're the doo-doo butts, oh yeah!

You get it.

Whatever happened to the good old live action children's programs? From the 70's and 80's. When it looked like they went shopping at the local Goodwill for their costumes and set design. Remember Krofft Super Stars? Awww, that show was the shiznit. My memory of it has this vague, dreamlike quality...Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Land of the Lost (the real Chaka--not the tagger!), Electra Woman & Dyna Girl, The Bugaloos and H.R Pufnstuf.

If that's not quality children's television, I don't know what is. Heh. I once bought an H.R. Pufnstuf at Hot Topic, years ago. I got so many props wearing that shirt!

That was some groovy stuff. It makes me wish I was still a kid. Look at the alternatives today...giant red dogs, aliens, sponges and Dora and her backpack. I mean, come on. Where is the fantasy? The creativity? Granted, those programs from the 70's were like a huge acid trip for kids but it was fun.

. You can't get that with the Doodlebops singing about sharing, being a good friend and taking care of your pets.

Soda is my crack

It's true. Picture me wandering around my hood barefoot, scratching myself and licking my dried out, crusty white lips just like Tyrone Biggums. But instead of rocks, I'd be in search of a can of Coke...or some Wild Cherry Pepsi from the fountain...I'd even settle for some Shasta in my desperation, yo.

Anything for that burning sensation in my throat when I take my first gulp. Gulp...aaahhhhh.....mmmmmm.

I am a carbonated drink fiend. It's like crack to me. Seriously. I try not to have it in my house so I won't be tempted to drink it on a daily basis. I bought about thirteen twelve packs in preparation for a birthday party...and I had six twelve packs left. You don't know the damage I did. I had to get rid of the last three cases because I was going buckwild.

I make do with juice, iced tea, lemonade and water. When I eat out, I usually drink ice tea or water. But if I have friends and family over, liters or cans are usually around and at the end of the night, I am usually begging them to take home any leftover soda so I won't be forced to guzzle it down.

Cuz when I do...it makes me feel dirty. I know how bad it is for me. I know it's like liquid sugar for my body. I understand its not providing any nourishment for my thirsty self. It also makes my teeth feel nasty afterwards. I will drink a couple of glasses of the liquid crack and then berate myself for the entire rest of the day. Like today.

So I try to kick the habit by drinking Hansen's Natural Soda. Or Crystal Geyser Juice Squeeze. It seems to do the trick. My tastebuds are fooled into thinking its good times. And it usually is. But unfortunately, I can't walk into Subway or In-n-Out and get a Hansen's or a flippin' Juice Squeeze. Dang.

I guess you could say it all started in childhood. It seems most of our vices begin at that time, don't they? As expected, moms was fairly strict on soda consumption. It was usually restricted to parties or fast food. But being with my dad was a whole 'nother story. See, my dad is a soda/crack connoisseur too. The drug of choice was Pepsi. Whenever we spent the weekend with good ole dad, we inevitably stayed with my grandparents. So we would wake up at Nana's house, serve ourselves a plate of bacon and eggs and crack open a Pepsi. Yesss. No mom around to nag us or forbid us from having sugar so early in the morning. This was the good life. We could have potatoes or chorizo or waffles or menudo or pancakes and we would always wash it down with a can of Pepsi. The same with lunch. And dinner. And mom was none the wiser.

This just contributed to my life-long addiction to the can of liquid brown crack.

My experience it not unique. My sister and brother have the same addiction. We all blame dad. And my little, brown sweet Nana! Now we need some sort of twelve-step program. Or an anti-soda patch. Somethin'. I have half a liter in my fridge and it's callin' my name!

Denise...Deennnniissssssse...you know you want to drink some of me....you know you want to finish me off!


Handsome man...come to me.

There have been times when I have come across a handsome, well-dressed man in a suit and tie and I think that there is no way I could have ended up with a man like that. Not because I don't find that type attractive. I think the appeal of a clean cut and properly groomed man is universal. It's that I don't think they would be attracted to me.

I've always been described as one of those weird, natural artist types. A savage, if you will. I've never been the type to make myself out to be something I'm not. I've got paint on my hands and nails like, all the time. I don't wear high heels. I'm always pulling on my bra. I don't even own a pair of black pants. Or a watch! Don't all neat, well-groomed people own a watch?

The men I've been interested in all my life have been skaters, artists, musicians, punk rockers with tattoos, or graffiti artists. I'm not talking about Brooks Brothers and Armani but Phat Farm, Lowrider, Fuct, Dickies, South Pole, Joker and Element. Heh. I mean, what would they do with me and my green-lovin', denim-obsessed, Vans-wearin', eternally casual self? Could you imagine taking me to a ritzy restaurant? I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I would have to search the dark recesses of my mind and pull out the etiquette lessons taught in my home ec classes in high school. You are supposed to butter each bite of bread you take. Wait...I can't just slather the piece with butter and call it a day?

See? I told you I'm a savage.

I would feel really out of place with a dude like that. But you know, every so often, it's nice to see if the grass if greener on the other side. I love my husband any way he is, from his paint-stained jeans with a frayed hem to all gussied up in a nice shirt and tie. Either way, it makes me want to investigate him further.

Way further.


Curls, curls curls

I took Cyan on a little birthday date Monday night. Just me and him. We ended up at Borders so we could hang out and look at some books that we have no intention of buying. So while he perused the Star Wars section, I picked up a book called Curly Girl, a book all about girls with curly hair and how to embrace it.

I've always had a life long battle with my hair and it's curls. It is too fine, too frizzy, too nappy, too flat, too puffy, too curly in some sections and too straight in others, or it's just not curly enough. It's like I am never satisfied.

I contemplated my hair over the years and one thing has been a constant: frizz. Frizz is always my enemy. So I have started this hair cycle that I've used for a few years now. When the weather is cool and I don't have to sweat...my hair is usually straight due to my beloved flat iron. Or it's wavy and loose, due to my beloved large barreled curling iron. For some reason, I feel prettier when it's smooth and shiny and laying flat. It's just better this way. I feel neater. More put together. More in control.

When its hot outside, I switch to curls because it just seems easier that way. The heat, the humidity, the sweat...it's gonna get nappy anyways so why fight it? The thing that bugs me about my curls is, I never know how it's going to turn out. It has a mind of it's own, it seems. Also, when you have grown up with curly hair, you have few styling options. I hate to have the same hair that I had say, during my high school graduation. Or my college graduation. Or my wedding. Ugh. A sister likes to have variation.

Believe me, I've had some miserable haircuts over the years. When I was in elementary school, my mom took me to get a blunt cut right at the shoulders. My head looked like a giant triangle. Then in junior high, I just decided to cut my almost waist length hair all off. Then for a couple of years I sported that poufy, aqua-net bouffant until it grew out. Hideous. I've had perms (to make it more curly) that have practically singed off my eyebrows. I used to dye it an assortment of colors, including the time I used this bleach to remove the color from my hair then I put a bright burgundy on top of it. I ended up looked like Raggedy Ann. One time I got a bob...and all my curls disappeared, but not in a good way. Another time I wanted some highlights to showcase my curls...all I got was a big blond strip above my forehead that looked like a banana strip. So embarrassing. I've had stylists cut so many layers into my curls that I looked almost balding. That resulted in me wearing my hair up in a clip for a few months. I even used to iron my hair with an actual iron. It's a wonder I still even have hair.

I've had people say to me, "I thought your hair was curly?" of "I thought your hair was straight?" And all I have to say is that I'm thankful I have hair that can easily go both ways. But not without some effort. I'm not one of those women who can air dry their hair and be on their way. If I did that, I'd look like I belonged on one of those flower-power VW bus vans, throwing up the peace sign and traveling to the next Grateful Dead show. Total frizzy, 'froey, mess.

The book was interesting because it challenged the self-loathing that many curly-haired girls face. The author encouraged the readers to love their hair, start a regimen to really encourage the curls to form and give yourself three weeks. Three weeks to challenge the conventional way of taking care of curly hair and let them form the way they are meant to be.


It's tough to give up control but summer is coming. A wild, curly Pearmama is coming to a town near you. It's cool though. In all my hairstyle evolutions, my man's favorite is basic and simple: curly. He always loves me with curly hair. I don't know what it is...maybe because it's natural or maybe because I look like a saucy little minx. Heh. Either way, it's good to know that your man is paying attention.


She hit the floor...next thang you know...shawty got low, low, low, low...

Curse the catchiness of the songs on the radio. There is nothing like sitting down and hanging out with your nice christian woman friend and her perfectly holy kids and hear one of your own precious, heathen children--the toddler, no less--waltz in the door and sing:

shawty got them apple bottom jeans
boots with the fur (with the fur)
the whole club was lookin' at her
She hit the floor (she hit the floor)
next thang you know
shawty got low low low low low low low low


That was one of those embarrassing parenting moments. For christmas my sister made the kids a "dance party" basket, complete with a strobe light, disco ball and a cd with booty music. That song from Flo Rida was on it. At first it was cute...all the girls singing, "...boots with the fuuuurrrrrr!"

Then when you listen closely to the lyrics....ugh. Working the pole, she was so sexual, fold her like a pornography poster...yeh, like I really want any of the chil'rens singing that song. But it was too late. They already learned the hook. Everytime the song comes on the radio I am quick to change it. The kids all yell, "Awwww, come on mom! Leave the song on!"



Happy Birthday Cyan

Six years ago today, I gave birth to this chubby little boy (another boy, we all exclaimed) with a whopping head of hair and a fat little nose. The youngest boy answering to four big brothers. Cyan's got a tough spot, really. It seems like he really has to jockey for position sometimes. So it's really amusing that he has cultivated this tough guy persona.

For a while there, it wasn't a persona but a reality. We would have these explosive confrontations unlike I had ever experienced with my other three children and bonus child.

He was off the chain.

Cyan's outbursts are stuff of legend. There was the period of time when he would get so pissed he would turn over furniture...throw things across the room. He also used to try to hit me and he goes down as the only child of mine crazy enough and bold enough to even try. Let's see...there was a time frame where he would be sent to his room and if I didn't shut the door fast enough, I would get shoes, toys, and books thrown at me. Then, he would kick the door. The result, a really beat up door that is barely hanging on by it's hinges. Then there were the times when he would growl at me, I don't want to deal with you right now, mama. or don't even say a word to me, mama.

Oh really?

For a while there, our relationship was so strained that I would just cringe whenever he was displeased because I didn't know what he would do next. Spanking him and sending him to his room only to hear him howl and scream used to really tear me up inside. There were some days where I would just cry and pray, because I just didn't know what else to do.

And finally, the icing on top of the cupcake that is Cyan is the fact that he used to pass out. Seriously. He would get so frustrated and angry, he would cry and then get this big swoop of air in and then...nothing. Blue lips, blue hands, open mouth and then BAM...he would fall on the floor like a ton of bricks and pass out for a few seconds, his little body jerking slightly. Then he would come to, suck in another swoop of air and then....he would start giggling. Like if it was fun or something. Like a little maniac. Freak.

The first twenty times or so were really scary. Is he damaging his brain? I worried. This can't be healthy. I am a failure as a mother! Then it got to the point where I would just make sure he had a soft place to land and not crack his head and that was that. The chil'rens would express concern and look at me with worried eyes, "Cyan! CYAN BREATHE!!" They would yell at him.

"He'll be okay." As I stood over him, making the sure the nut did, in fact, breathe.

Thankfully, it's been a while since he has done this. And apparently the lack of oxygen to his brain didn't make him any worse for the wear. He has grown into a funny, smart, kind and loving child. But I notice that he needs that little something extra, in terms of my time and my sweetness. There have been so many moments when he has tearfully come to me and said, "Mama. I need you."

He will probably always have that little bad boy swagger. That hey, I'm the baby and my brothers always bully me but you can't mess with me cuz I'm mean!

And that is fine with me because that is him. That is my Cyannie.


Just like her mama

People tell me all the time that Xiomara is my mini-me. No doubt. It took me eight years and five chil'rens to get her. She is absolutely divine, from her smell, her skin, her voice (Xixi's repeated question whenever I am cooking something, "Is it weady?"), to that beautiful little face. To put it simply, I adore her.

Michael's favorite thing to do is attribute all of her goofy qualities to her mama.
"Xixi! You are so clumsy...just like your mama!"
"Don't stomp your feet little girl....just like your mama!"
"Stop eating already! You're not even hungry...just like your mama!"
"Aggggh, quit rubbing your feet on me, Xixi! You are just like your mama!"

It's one thing to have her look like me, but she has also picked up one of my peculiar habits. Yesterday, we were out in the backyard trying to put the chil'rens swingset together. The chil'rens were swarming around us like ants. Xixi was standing a few feet in front of me, watching her daddy work. And what was she doing?

Hand in the back of her shorts, scratching her booty.

Without even thinking, I call out, "Xixi! Get your hands out--" And I couldn't even complete my sentence when I suddenly realized where my own hand was.

Hand in the back of my pants, scratching my booty.

I burst out laughing and so did all the chil'rens. Michael turned to watch us and he just smiled and shook his head.

"Just like her mama!"

You gonna eat that?

I went to Cabin Sushi with my cousin Diana for lunch today. Mmmmmmm. I am still claiming it was my birthday last February so I can be taken out to lunch! I was too busy stuffing my face to stop and take a photo of us. But suffice it to say it was good, good, good! I do not let the fact that there is a sex shoppe next door deter me from some good sushi.

Off the top of my head, we had a volcano roll, a dynamite roll, spicy tuna rolls, mexican rolls, tempura rolls, caterpillar rolls, something with salmon, tuna and yellowtail. And of course your standard california rolls. Oh, then I can't forget the miso soup and vegetable tempura. We practically had to be rolled out of the place.

And I am proud of myself because I tried something new: green mussels. They were delicious! Usually I am sorta weary of chewy, fishy stuff but Diana told me it was good...and it was!

It was nice to get an afternoon away to eat some good food and hang out with a person that knows more things about you than probably anyone else (besides your husband). Even though we don't get to hang out as much as we'd like to, when we do get the chance, it's like old times. Thanks again, Diana!


I am the type of person who needs to feast my eyes upon some beautiful artwork to lift my spirits. It gives me inspiration. It calms me down. It makes me focus. It makes me happy. It feeds my soul.

I get lost in the colors, the lines, the texture, the emotion, the shapes...for a brief moment, I cease to exist in this life and I become an extension of the art. Then one of the chil'rens voices or the phone or the dog barking will knock me out of my sweet reverie.

Until next time...

The creative spirit is a beautiful thing.


Thou shall not steal.

I had an eye exam this morning, and my favorite thing to do is grab some free magazines from the lobby and plant my sweet ass in the waiting room and hope they are running late so I can get through the entire thing. Most people want to get in and out of their appointments but come on, I'm a stay-at-home mom. Appointments and errand running alone is like gold. It's precious. When I get time to myself, I like to milk it for all it's worth.

But I barely had time to leaf through the mags and sip my iced chai latte before they called my name. Dang it. So I just took the magazine with me while the doctor checked my eyes and told me something I already knew. You blind, sister!

After the exam was over and I browsed around for some new glasses, I went on my way...with the magazine still in my purse. But this was no accident. I knew it was in there the whole time. I am notorious for jacking magazines from Kaiser and the dentist's office. The way I have rationalized it in my head, it's not stealing. Aren't they donated? I mean, who wants an issue of Allure from like, two months ago? It's old news, right? Heh.

So tell me, is it okay to take home magazines or am I destined to burn in eternal damnation?

Just wondering.


Dear Mariah

Dear Mariah Carey,

Hello. I don't like you but I thought I would drop you a note since my ears are having to endure Mariah Carey night on American Idol. I'll say it...I'm a hater. Why, you ask? Well. Some people might find your extreme diva attitude cute like the world was created to worship you. No amount of bronzer, fake eyelashes and weaves made out of the finest human hair in the world can cover up a stank attitude. Does your poo smell like a vanilla cupcake?

Just wondering.

I know your voice can shatter glass but I ain't impressed. I once saw you on Cribs, showing off your color-coordinated closet with more shoes than I will ever wear in twenty lifetimes. There are some people in this world that walk around barefoot...do you ever contemplate that while you are separating your wedges from your slingbacks? You even climbed in the bathtub as if we really gave an ish. Now that I think about it, you changed into different outfits for each room. I was so over it. This was no sweet, sweet fantasy baby.

And what's up with that Lowrider car show pose you're always doing? All you need is some bleached blonde hair, glass pumps, black liquid eyeliner and a name like Rosario. My final and most important reason I don't like you: my husband does.

It all started in 1996. Yep, that is over ten years ago. No, I'm not bitter, I'm not bitter at all. You were on the April cover of Vibe Magazine. After my then-boyfriend, now-husband left my house, these two words were scrawled on the cover of the magazine. "Bomb Freak". Oh no he didn't. And that is all it took for me to become a life-long Mariah Carey hater.

By no means am I one of those crazy jealous wives. But I have no shame in my game, Mimi. Girlfriend, you know how it is. You got to hold it down in these crazy times. To clarify, its not the ones he thinks are pretty that bug me. Nah. Cuz see, Mimi, I usually agree with him in most cases. In my mind, pretty is harmless and chaste. My mama is pretty. Your mama is pretty. You were once pretty and chaste, talking 'bout I have a vision of love. Now look at you...encouraging total strangers to touch your body severely tanned body. So no, it's not the pretty ones...it's the ones that he thinks are sexy.

They are the ones that make me want to cut them with my shank.

It's not your beauty, it's your booty. Grrrrr. These are the ones that really bug me. So along with you, Mimi, there is Vida Guerra (total butter face), Toccara (I can't fault my girl Tocarra cuz she is fabulous), Sofia Vergara (with her Charo lookin' self) and finally, Kim Kardashian. It just seems really unfair that a woman can have such a beautiful face, a huge set of ta-ta's and a monstrous booty. And unlike you, Mimi, I hear it's all real. That's gotta hurt, doesn't it? Whenever he's watching the E! channel, I need to give him a cup for his drool puddle. I can't forget Deelishus but I'm not even going to go there. A big booty is only going to get you so far in life, believe me. Sooner or later you have to wipe it just like everyone else does.

I suddenly realize that you are the least of my concerns, in terms of a threat. Go back to your closet and keep trying on more outfits. I know, I know, hate the game, not the player. But I just can't help myself. And Mariah, I still don't like you.

Peace and chicken grease,

P.S. They massacred your songs tonight.

Oh Diego

Diego was sitting down to dinner, chattering like a chipmunk and laughing and being his normal obnoxious self when suddenly this really startled look came over his face. He was quiet and still for a moment.

"What's wrong, Deg?"
"I got the strangest feeling, mama...like there was a heartbeat in my butt! Boom boom boom boom!"

I almost choked on the chicken breast I was shoveling in my mouth. Heh.


It's hot and I'm mad.

One of my biggest pet peeves in life besides scandalous baby mama drama, things that aren't on sale and skin tags has to be seasonally inappropriate weather. Ugh. It's like my mind prepares my body for the excessive heat when it's say, July or August because everyone knows it's hotter than Satan's buttcrack in July and August. You just have to deal with it.

But when it's April...nope...my mind has not accurately prepared my body. Or I should I say that my body has not prepared my mind. Cuz I'm really hot and irritated. I really worry about premature wrinkles and the deep groove that forms everytime I make a mean face. Michael calls it my "puffy brow".

"Uh-oh, babe. What's up with the puffy brow?"

On Saturday I had to go to a birthday party in East L.A. and maaaaaan, it was hot. And I was wearing black with dark rinse jeans. Chillin' like a villian. Only I wasn't chillin'. I was sweating. A lot. It really sucks to be a fat ass when it's hot because you are that much more hot. My jeans were literally stuck to my thighs. I was mindfully absent during the party because I was fantasizing about ripping my stifling clothes off and sitting down in my chonies.


It's been in the 90's for three days now. What is up with that? I want my Spring! I wanted to be gently nudged into sundresses, sandals, capris. I hate when the heat is thrust upon me like this. I hate to wear makeup when all it's going to do is slide off my face in my sweat. I hate to style my hair when all it's going to do is nap up. I hate to wear clothes when all it's going to do is stick to my chub. See how full of hate I am because of the weather!?! I'm really hoping the weather changes back to a more humane temperature. Because I'm really unpleasant to be around. Just ask my husband.


YO! MTV Raps

Did you know it is the 20 year anniversary of YO! MTV Raps? Damn, I am old. This show used to be the joint. Back in those days, it wasn't just about cars, bling, video hoes with greased up, dimpled behinds, and dancing at the club. It was actually about hip hop and rap. I have many fond memories of that show.

So I got to thinking who were my most favorite rappers of all time. It was tough. There are so many. But these are the heads that stuck out the most in my mind.

Pearmama's Top Ten Favorite MC's

1. Rakim. The original microphone fiend. Just because he spit these lyrics and I will always remember them. Thinkin' of a master plan, cuz there ain't nothin' but sweat inside my hand.

2. Ice Cube The nigga you love to hate. He has come a long way from his jheri curl and house slippers. But even though Cube is a movie star now, he still likes to keep it gangsta.

3. Notorious B.I.G Heart throb, never, black and ugly as ever.

4. Lauryn Hill She has to be one of the dopest female rappers out there. No one else compares to her voice and lyrical skill.

5. Big Daddy Kane What is that saying? The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice? I started listening to Big Daddy Kane when he was on the Colors soundtrack. Track #4, baby!

6. Run D.M.C "Peter Piper" will always be my jam. Always.

7. Mos Def Michael's favorite Mos Def song is Ms. Fat Booty. Show you right.

8.B. Real I saw B Real at a Jimmy Page/Robert Plant concert once. He was with Carmen Electra at the time. He was trying to be really low profile but I was all loud and obnoxious, "B Real!!" He looked over at me like, "Woman, can you please just leave me alone?" Poor dude. We ended up sitting in the same row as his whole crew. I enjoyed the concert but I kept on looking over at him, thinking to myself,there is B Real! That is my stalker moment.

10. Zach De La Rocha I don't think most people would consider Zach a traditional M.C, but I really think he is. He certainly doesn't sing. What he does is paint a picture with words, which is what I feel all these artists too. And he loves hip hop and rap because he has covered some of the artists on my list. Whatever you want to call him, the brother is dope. I will always manage to have Rage on my list of my favorite anything.


Get your sock on!

Being the junior feminist that I was, I was always striving for equality between my brother and I. If he was allowed to play sports (which entailed lots of time away from home to practice and hang out with friends, pizza parties and trophies) then so should I. Nevermind for the love of sports. If he could ride his bike down the street to the corner market for some candy, then I wanted to go too. A huge bone of contention for me was the fact that he was allowed to spend the night at his friends house. But I couldn't! When I questioned why--and you know I did, relentlessly--my mom would just say, because I said so. That frustrated me to no end. Oh, the injustices of life.

And then the day came when he put up a Cindy Crawford calendar that included a picture of her in a thong. Hmmmmm, really? Apparently this was acceptable to my mother and she didn't say a word about it. Who knows what kind of sick teenage boy activities went on underneath that poor, unsuspecting mole on her upper lip.

Naturally, in my mind this meant I could hang a poster of my beloved Red Hot Chili Peppers without a hassle. The classic socks on cocks poster. I bought it at the Electric Chair. It was good times.

At first she expressed her disgust over the poster. I pointed out the obvious, "You can't even see anything! A sock is covering their weinie!" She very calmly told me that I had to remove it because it was inappropriate. Socks on cocks inappropriate for a sixteen year old girl? But you can't even see anything! Then she told my Nana, who called me a cochina. She lectured me on having posters of naked cochinos on my wall. I rolled my eyes like a teenager is supposed to do. But you can't even see anything! A few days passed. I got a few more warnings. Mom was still calm. Then she laid down the law...if I didn't remove the poster, she would remove it for me. And I took that to mean she wasn't going to take it down and roll it up nice and tight. Then I decided to bring out the big guns.

"Why should I take my poster down if you let Eric keep his up? You haven't even said anything about it! It is a picture of a girl's BUTT! Is that okay? Why is that okay but my poster isn't okay?? Make him take his calendar down, too! It's not fair. You can't even see anything!"

Me protesting from my soapbox didn't make an smidge of difference. It was all in vain. All those women burned their bras for nothin'. Just put me in a chastity belt, too, mom. Or better yet, arrange my marriage. Order me to walk ten paces behind my man. Mom might as well of sentenced me to a lifetime of standing in a hot, sweltering kitchen with ten chil'rens hanging from my chichi's while I roll out dozens after dozens of tortillas.

Okay, so it's six chil'rens not ten but did you get the irony? This is all your fault, Mom! All you had to do was let me bask in the glory of socks on cocks on my bedroom wall.

After so many days of me stubbornly refusing to remove the poster, she marched in and tore it down from the wall. I mean, tore it down. It was in pieces and totally unsalvageable. That really sucked. But it's okay, I'm not bitter. Now that I am a mother, I understand where she was coming from. A little. But there are days like today when I remember. And I will occasionally rail against the injustice committed against me. So unless you want to get me in a bad mood, keep any and all tube socks away out of sight.


The Ghetto Pass

My character seems to be in question. Michael and I joke around about me having a ghetto pass because I am married to him. Granted, I didn't grow up in the most ritzy neighborhood but then again I didn't live in a community where you had to watch what color you wore, where five kids had to share a room and where crackheads roamed the street like the mail man. I'm ghetto...but not real street, gritty ghetto. I know gov'ment cheese but not drive-by's. And it's for that reason why I need a ghetto pass from Michael.

He will regularly quiz me on my ghettoness so I can fulfill the prerequisites of my pass.

"Who are those rappers that came out in the We're All In The Same Gang video? Come on baby, come on, you can do it!"
"Uhhhh, I don't--"
"Wrong! It's Above the Law! I'm so disappointed in you."

"What gang was Ice Cube from?"
"Uhhh, was he a Blood?"
"Nah! He was a Crip. Rollin' 60's."
"Oh." Now that's information I'm really going to need in the future.

"Did you ever have a bus pass?"
"No, my mom always gave us a ride."
He shakes his head. "You're so boojie."

"What was the spot to go shopping in L.A?"
"Oh, I know this one! The Alley."
"Nah, girl. The Slauson Swapmeet!"

"Whatchu know 'bout the original KDAY?"
"We didn't really get that station out in the I.E. But I got Power 106!"
He rolls his eyes.

"What was the party line in L.A. back in the day?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know, you called a number and you found out where all the parties were going down..."
"I've never heard of it."
Sighs. "976-7070! Recognize, baby!"

Then this week when mother-in-love was here, they were talking about Michael's dad and how he always used a cake cutter in his 'fro. Now, I know what buckshots are, I know what kitchen means, I know what it means when your track is showing...but a cake cutter? What in the world is that?

It's some sort of pick to handle those big, giant froes of the 70's. Hmmmm, never knew that. Both Michael and mother-in-love expressed their astonishment at my ignorance of the subject. I was appropriately sheepish.

"I can't believe you don't know what a cake cutter is!" And as soon as Michael wants to give me a ghetto pass, he wants to snatch it away from me. "I can't believe I'm married to a woman who doesn't know what a cake cutter is!"

Whatever. I still got my ghetto pass, though.

On the cusp of manhood...

I must confess, I was always a sucker for those really handsome, tortured, brooding type of guys. They were usually artists, too. This must be totally obvious to some, considering who I married. I was just drawn to them like a fat moth to a flame.

I was boy crazy from as early as I can recall, so it is poetic justice that I would live in a house with five of them. They are all so very handsome, yet very unique from one another. But this one...my oldest...he's going to break many hearts one day. One of them being mine, I'm sure.

My little ladybug

Maya is your typical little girl with typical little girl fears. She hates all creepy crawly things to the extent that you think an ax murderer is in her bedroom if there is a moth or a fly or a mosquito buzzing around her window. She is also terrified of beach sand. Well, at least she was last summer. While we were camping in Mexico, she witnessed some fishermen with their catch and she saw some fish corpses laying on the sand. Well, she must of got it in her head that the dead fish come from the sand. So after that, she would scream bloody murder whenever she had to walk from the beach back to our campsite. Not a whining, spoiled cry either but a full-on scream of sheer terror. She would tremble and everything. We would have to carry her across the sand so she wouldn't get hysterical. Poor kid. So I was really happy and relieved when I saw her playing with a ladybug. She was so excited and she let it crawl wherever it wanted. That's serious progress!


Goodnight, sleeptight

When I put the chil'rens to sleep, the last thing I want to do is read a complicated book to them. I mean come on, I'm exhausted and I am welcoming the moment their eyes close and their mouths cease to make noise. Tonight I read a few books to the girls, and I found myself becoming slightly annoyed with Dr. Seuss. Come on, brother, cut us parents some slack.

We took a look.
We saw a Nook.
On his head
he had a hook.
On his hook
he had a book.
On his book
was "How to Cook."
We saw him sit
and try to cook.
He took a look at the book on the hook.
But a Nook can't read,
so a Nook can't cook.
what good to a Nook
is a hook cook book?

And this...

Who is this pet?
He is wet.
You never yet
met a pet
I bet,
as wet as they let
this wet pet get.

And finally...

Did you ever ride a Wump?
We have a Wump
with just one hump.
we know a man
called Mr. Gump.
Mr. Gump has a seven hump Wump.
if you like to go Bump! Bump!
just jump on the hump of the Wump of Gump.

Now I have a headache. Goodnight!

Baby got snacks

If there are three things that the chil'rens can depend on, they would be this: the drink of choice around here will be apple juice...beans will be eaten at least once a week (bean and cheese burritos, tostadas with beans and cheese, beans with scrambled eggs, bean soup, "bean nachos"--you get it, they don't call us beaners for nothing)...and there will always, always be carrots in the fridge. We've had some jokes made about us because of our idea of what a snack is. Once, Noah offered his tia Angie "a snack" and she was all excited, expecting some chips or cookies and milk. When he came back with some carrots, she laughed out loud. "You call this a snack?"

Grocery shopping is kind of an ordeal for me, so I have discovered that keeping it simple and cheap is best. You won't find the chil'rens eating fruit roll-ups or potato chips or bagel bites or twinkies. Along with whatever fruit is in season (and on sale!), what you will find is a huge sack of carrots. If I don't get the big sack that would last most people into eternity from Costco, I buy several of the 5 lb. packages. And that is what they snack on all day. I constantly find carrot butts on the counter and an assortment of knives. They don't even bother to peel them anymore.

If I feel like getting fancy, I'll buy string cheese. Maybe some goldfish crackers. My standard chile mangoes from Trader Joe's. And the carrots. Lots and lots of carrots.

Mmmmmm, want some?

Look mama, see my chewed up carrot?

"Xixi, that's not nice!" Huh? Why are you on my case, mama?

You're mean, mama! I don't want this carrot anymore!

Just kidding, mama! I still love you. I love my carrots, too!
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