"I am just a worthless liar, I am just an imbecile..."

Oh, Maynard. You are such a freak. In this video he looks like he has palsy...or he's a paralytic or something. Dude. I saw Tool many times over the years, but I don't ever remember him being that strange. If I didn't know better, I'd say he was smokin' them rocks. But he's just...Maynard.

But then again, I wasn't always in the most sober mind state. Oh, pun intended. I don't get many opportunities to listen to Tool these days because my children are weird enough, thank you very much. They certainly don't need the influence of Maynard. I just thought I'd put this clip up because the dude is so totally strange.

And he's wearing long johns or something like that. Nice. This is for you, Eric.

Apparently I need to broaden my friendship horizens..if for nothing else, for the food, yo.

We went to a birthday party for one of Michael's co-workers today. Let me just say, I rate my parties on how good the food is going to be. Bam. Just like that. I ain't gonna lie...that is how I roll. The more appetizing the food, the bigger my motivation to attend your party.

Note to self: always attend a party thrown by Filipinos. They throw down with the food. I walked into the kitchen and heard the angels singing. Pancit, beef kabobs, steamed rice, lumpia, orange chicken, three other beef and chicken dishes, a broccoli salad and macaroni AND about five different desserts. There could have been more but my eyes were completely glazed over.

That's what I'm talkin' about.

Absolutely didn't mind that I didn't know a soul other than my husband and children. Was happy. Eatin' lumpia, rice, kabobs, pancit. I kept thinking to myself, I gotta make friends with more culturally diverse people, yo. This is good times! I can only have so much of the hotdogs/hamburgers and carne asada/salsa/beans/rice combo.


So I'm on the lookout for some Thai friends, some Japaness friends...shoot, some Greek friends too cuz I've really been craving some feta fatoush salad and baba ganoush.

Let a sister know. Holler.


"You're so cool, that I'ma call you a culo..."

This is classic. If you don't know, you better ask somebody.

Top Ramen flashback

Since we were on the subject...I don't eat the stuff. Top Ramen, I mean. It's plain nasty. Not only is it nutritionally bereft...it smells like an unholy ascension. Ugh. I mean, it really disgusts me. And ya'll know me and my relationship with food...that's big.

What makes it worse is when people try to add stuff to it to make it appear more appetizing. How can you dress up a plastic package of noodles and a packet filled with sodium and msg? I'll tell you how.

When I was a little girl, around four or five, something bad happened to me that has forever altered my perception on that little package of soup that is beloved by all poor people and college students.

So one day while we were living in a tiny apartment in San Diego, my mom was sick and unable to feed and care for my little brother and I. I have this distinct memory of Eric and I huddling over her bed, trying to wake her up, moaning, "Mama! Mama, wake up. We're hungry!" So my dad, who I don't ever recall preparing food for us, had to step up to the plate. If you look at Top Ramen packages now, it looks deceptively yummy with some slices of medium rare london broil slices on it. The beef flavor package does, anyway. Well, I guess in the 70's, the Top Ramen packages had the noodles decorated with some hard boiled egg slices. So that's what Dad did, he hooked it up with some hard-boiled egg and sliced it all creatively.

Hook it up, Pops.

Me and Eric must have been starving, because I remember scarfing that stuff down. Here is where it gets fuzzy in my memory. I got really sick but I don't remember if I just got what my mom had or it was from gorging on that nasty Top Ramen with hard-boiled eggs.


Either way, it sufficiently trained my mind and my palette to despise the soup in a square package. I cringe inside when I see that Michael has bought some at the store and spent an entire $1 for like, a hundred packages. Then he either puts Tapatio or Buffalo Wing Sauce on it. Oh dear gawd. And if that wasn't bad enough, he has the chil'rens hooked on it. Not that I ever buy the stuff. But Michael will occasionally try to buck the system and has his private stash and then the chil'rens will want some of it.

It just makes me sad....and sort of like a second-rate mother.

I understand every family has their poor people food when money is tight. For Michael it was Top Ramen. For me, it was potato cheese soup. I guess my mom just disguised our poor people food pretty well. So well that I never thought it was poor people food, I just thought it was some grub. And you can best believe we knew when she tried to slip in some of the gov'ment cheese in that mug. If I make the potato cheese soup, the chil'rens will eat it up. Michael, on the other hand, will turn his nose up at it.

The audacity.


The story of my unrest: unmade beds, being luststruck and taco meat

Despite how much my dear husband drives me nuts because of our intrinsic, biological differences, I adore the man. I couldn't see myself waking up beside anyone else.

Wait. Will Smith. Vin Diesel. And Brad.

No, seriously, though. There are just those mundane things that come up in everyday life that I just have to learn to deal with. One of those things is the unmade bed.

I have to make it. Like everyday. Or else I feel....unclean.

Cuz to me, there is nothing more delicious than opening up your neat and tidy bed and sliding into some soft, cool, crisp sheets. And the only way you are going to achieve that is making your bed first thing in the morning.

This is something my mama always taught me. Good, clean sheets (both fitted and flat unless you are a heathen). Your big, soft blanket with a tiger on it that you bought in Ensenada. Your quilt and/or duvet...shams...bed skirts....the assortment of pillows. It's all good. A lady always has a nice, clean bed with proper linens.

So I have tried to adhere to her rule for as long as I can remember.

But my dear one. Oh, my dear one. When we first started dating, his bed consisted of the mattress and all of his clean laundry piled on top of it. I don't know if he had pillows or sheets because of that mountainous laundry pile. But at the time I was lovestruck...luststruck. And I clearly remember thinking, at least it's clean.

So to him, it doesn't really matter if the bed is made or not. It's not a priority. He will make it to humor me but not because he feels it should be made, for sanitary purposes.

"Ooooh, the bed looks so good right now!" He will say on Sundays, usually the only day the bed doesn't get made.

And then I will wrinkle up my nose in response, thinking about the leftover eye mocos, feet crust, dust mites, food crumbs, my long hair which I seem to lose at an alarming rate and Michael's taco meat which looks suspiciously like pubes.

Ahhhhh, no. It sooo doesn't good right now.

My bed-making dictatorship stands for the entire household of six beds. The chil'rens are funky enough as it is, and so are their rooms. String cheese wrappers under the bed and dried boogers on the wall, much to my horror. The only three occasions when I relax my stance: illness, Sunday mornings (because I am fighting for dear life to get out the door to go to church before the chil'rens unravel themselves), and childbirth/recovery. And that last one ain't happenin' anytime soon so there are no excuses, really.

So I've just resigned myself and added this onto the list of things that shall forever make my dear one an enigma to me.

1.) He likes Top Ramen.
2.) The fact that he can't remember the gas tank is on E in the middle of the 91 freeway but he knows where the reciept is for the time he bought his first child some diapers at Rite Aid in 1995.
3.) You risk decapitatation if you ask him any questions while he is installing a curtain rod and/or working on the car.
4.) He can fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
5.) Despite my best efforts...loves an unmade bed.

I still love you, dear.

Time waster, thy name is Twitter

I find no humor in this. My tweet is withering away, as we speak. You can't build us up like that and then tear us down and tell us you are over capacity. Don't they realize us tweets need to know every single detail of everyone's life (even people I would not recognize if they were standing right in front of me)?

I like to read...I'm driving in traffic...eating a bowl of soup...in a meeting...can't sleep...why do the old ladies at the YMCA like to walk around the locker room butt nekkid? I guess you could say it just brightens my day.

I need my twitter like a fiend needs his rocks.


"My shoe!"

It really sucks to slip and fall. And you know the old saying, the bigger they are the harder they fall?

It's true, dammit.

So this is the story. I was sweeping my front porch, minding my own business. I just got back from the last day of school and was really annoyed at the leaves and trash and dandelion fuzz (which looks suspiciously like dust bunnies) gathered on my front porch. One of my students gave me a beautiful little topiary, and I couldn't very well sit it down amongst the dandelion bunnies, now could I?

So I'm sweeping. Sweeping away. Talking on the cell phone to my mama. I'm wearing my slippery chanklas (that's what I get for paying $9.99 for them at Big Five as opposed to $2.50 at Old Navy) which I believe was the culprit. My porch has two steps and a brick encased planter on one side. Usually, I will perch myself on the ledge of it and sweep the corners. So I'm standing there on the ledge, when my chanklas slide out from under me. And I fell like a ton of bricks into that planter box.


It wasn't really painful and I didn't hurt myself or anything, but it did bruise my ego a bit because I landed with a hardy thud, with my fat ass right in the dirt. The cell phone went flying out of my hands and so did the broom. For once I didn't scream in distress because Michael had a client out in the garage and I didn't want this man that I did not know to see me like that. So I stifled my cry and I was giggling quietly and trying to figure out how I was going to get my butt out of that planter. I was so hoping I could get out of there before anyone could find me like that. But a couple of seconds later I see Michael's face.

"What in the world...?"
"I fell!"
"Are you okay?"

Then he grabbed my arm and pulled me out, efficiently scraping the heck out of my calf on the brick planter. I reached down to pick up my phone.

"Mija! What happened? Are you okay?" Mama didn't hang up because we can talk for free and not use up our minutes. WooHoo.

"I'm fine!"

Aside from ruining my favorite green sweater and scraping up my cankle, I'm cool. Michael said he heard the thud but was worried when he didn't hear me call out for him. Remember when you were a kid and you fell while doing a cartwheel or you ate it on your bike and you just popped right up?

It ain't like that once you start getting old.

Bummer. That was my humiliating moment for the day. But I'm sure that won't be the last time I hear about it. Michael loves to tease me about my clumsiness. He likes to call me Aunt Bunny...you know, Eddie Murphy's auntie from his Delirious skit that is always falling at the family cookouts.

"Lawd...Lawd Jesus, help me! My shoe!"

This has some f's and b's in it...just thought I should give you a heads up.

What a crock!

Not having grown up with a mama who used a crockpot, I am always fascinated by those families who do. I guess my mom just didn't want to mess with it, and knowing her stubbornness, I guess she figured she could make everything by hand in just as much as time as fooling with the crockpot. To me, the theory of the crock pot sounds wonderful. You throw your ingredients together in the morning and then forget about it...in the evening there will be a delicious meal waiting for you. Is it really possible? And would I have to eat everything doused in cream of mushroom soup?

I have one crock pot, and it's older than the hills, yo. And now it's useless because Sol broke the glass lid. Sigh. Anyhoo, of all the creativity that I boast about, the most creative thing I can make in the crock pot was a roast and veggies.

Woo Hoo.

I know, I know, I'm pathetic, right? I guess my mind just can't translate regular recipes to crockpot ones. Also, I'd be really annoyed if something I made didn't come out right. I'd have seven people sitting at the table staring at me, ready to take my head off.

But then I found this blog called A Year of CrockPotting and it is the shiznit. Seriously. The blog author made a New Year's Resolution to cook for an entire year using her crock pot. Who does that? It's totally cool! The blog is really easy to read, the recipes don't include a thousand weird ingredients like cream of tartar or liquid smoke. And I like how she takes a picture of her ingredients (looks like she is a dedicated Trader Joe's shopper like me) and then the verdict (her kids output is really helpful). Awesome.

So I'm thinking I need to buy a new crockpot so I can try out some of the tastier recipes. Like the crockpot apple dumpling recipe.



It's just a taco shell.

I often wonder if any of the cool Caucasian peeps who read this blog get offended because I, 1.) point out some curious Caucasian idiosyncrasies, 2.) try to find the levels on which I can identify myself with Caucasians and when I find them, I like to point them out and 3.) I call you Caucasian.

Cuz if you haven't figured it out by now, us brown folks....well, we're different. Sure, there are some American traits that we have in common. But by and large, our daily experiences in life are different due to the prevailing cultural differences.

It can be the simplest things.

Let's examine food, for example. A few weeks ago at our homeschool co-op, we had a "Mexi to the Max" potluck. Yes, I am totally serious, that is what it was called. I signed to bring some shredded chicken and taco shells. I didn't even know where in the grocery store to look for such an item. I had to ask someone for help. A bought several boxes and was on my way. Since they had a overabundance of food that day, my contribution didn't even get touched. So I took it home and that's what we ate for dinner. I didn't put much thought into the taco shells but the chil'rens went wild over them.

"Oooooh! What kind of tacos are these?"
"Oh, mama! These tacos are THE BEST!"
"These are just like Del Taco! Mmmmmmm."
"You should buy these all the time, mama!"

You'd have thought I reinvented the wheel or something. They kept raving over and over again. I think they all ate, like, four tacos a piece. I was amused, to say the least.

You see, we are accustomed to eating tacos this way: you cook and season your lean ground beef, you throw in some fresh garlic and some chopped potato in a huge vat big enough to bathe a small brown child in. The reason you do this is, you will probably have to make enough to feed your family, some aunts and uncles, some cousins, the grandchildren, etc. Then you start your assembly line of spooning the meat into the heated corn tortillas and then sealing them with toothpicks. Then get your oil ready. Once it's hot, you put them big, fat tacos into the oil and fry away. When it is golden brown, you let the oil drain off onto some paper towels. Then you stand guard over the tacos, so no one tries to pick at them or eat one before everything else is finished cooking.

Then you are ready to eat, you have to be careful to pull out the toothpicks and then you can pile on shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, shredded cheese, and some kickin' homemade salsa. And curiously enough, homemade tacos don't need sour cream. Don't forget your spanish rice and your frijoles with lots of melted cheese! Mmmmmmmm.

Now you're good to go.

But these Caucasian-style tacos with the taco-seasoned ground turkey and store bought shells, they were a fun novelty to have. Not to mention easy. I even bought some more boxes when I went back to the store.

I guess you could say this post has more to do with a brown and proud idiosyncrasy than anything. You get so accustomed to doing things a certain way that other methods seem foreign. But come on...we are just talking taco shells here. I'm not having an identity crisis or anything. I'm not turning my back on my people! Get a hold of yourself, Pearmama--they're just taco shells.

Either way, it was tasty. Now...what about hot dogs (in a bun--not a corn tortilla!) and mac 'n cheese? Twinkies and no pan dulce? Just don't ever suggest beans from a can.

That's just sacrilege.

"This is Ike and Tina, baby!"

Whenever What's Love Got to Do With It is playing on TV, Michael and I will watch it. It doesn't matter how many times we've seen it, it never seems to get old. Even though I know when Ike is about to bust a cap on Tina...when they are on a plane and he is trying to use her as a pillow as he sleeps and she tells him, "Go straight to hell, Ike!"...when he smashes cake in her face at the diner...when Ike yells out, "This is Ike and Tina, baby!"...when he smacks her in the back of the head after she tries to leave him...when Ike's ex-wife dumps their two sons on his front porch and takes off ("Oh, so you wanna play family man, huh?!") and he yells, "What I'ma do with two mo' kids?! Two mo' kids!"

I don't know what it is because the story of a woman in an abusive marriage isn't funny or entertaining in the least. What it is, is the mastery of the actors. Angela Basset and Laurence Fishburne or two of my favorite actors. They are very convincing as Ike and Tina to the point where you no longer see them as actors playing a role...they actually become Ike and Tina to me.

I like to mess with Michael and tell him how eerie it is that alot of his personality and mannerisms are like Ike Turner. Ahem.

He always says, "Girl...you just don't know. You just don't know."


So I have coined the phrase, "Less Ike and more Mike." Everytime he gets into one of his Ike moods, I'm gonna say that.

Then I'm going to either duck or run.


That's a loooooong way down, Boo!

So like I mentioned earlier, my errands took me to the mall today. As I perused the rows of cheap shoes at Reflections--which come on, appeal to about 2% of the population (the other 98% that shop there must be strippers or wanna-be strippers), and comfortable to those who only weigh about a buck 'o five--I saw a group of girls with skunk highlights and muffin tops...all wearing the same shoes that must be in the Bro Hoe Manual.

Big black platform sandals...a style indigenous to the I.E.

I'm puzzled. What, exactly, is their appeal? I have a few dear friends who wear them--the bedazzled ones, to boot--but I've never thought to ask why they've taken a shine to them. Apparently they go with everything...capris, bootcut flares, skinny jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, skorts. And wife-beaters! Rain or shine. Formal or casual. They are the shoe of choice out here.

If I am being ruthlessly honest, I don't like them. They are just strange. Chanklas are just not made to be worn eight pairs at a time.

It's unnatural. Not to mention dangerous. I wonder if the County hospital in Murder Valley has a high incident rate of ankle sprains. Fontana Kaiser? Loma Linda? Parkview Community?

Hmmmmm...just wonderin'.

Only in Southern Cali...

Exactly one week ago, it was so hot I wanted to commit some kind of bodily harm to someone. It was bad. I was eee-ville. For whatever reason, my feet were swollen like a pair of softball gloves so I probably couldn't have run after someone and committed bodily harm anyway. But still. I wanted to tear off this fat suit and sit there with in my cool bones. I was like this slow-moving train, sweltering in the 103 degree heat.

Then today I wake up to cloudy skies. As I was getting dressed to run errands, I heard the sprinkles. I called out, to no one in particular, "Is it raining?!"

"Yesssss!" Came some random voices.

What in the world is going on with our weather? How's 'bout some simple spring time weather? Mild sunny skies, cool breezes...and I'm fine. But this extremism shizz, it's making me all pissy.

"Dude! Now my hair is going to get all frizzy." I grumbled as I searched for my ratty sweater and Vans.

I know, I know. I am never satisfied. As I made my way to Kaiser, it was pouring rain. So much so that I thought it would be cozy to go to Starbucks and order a chai latte, for once not over ice. It was this surreal thing, drinking this hot drink when just five days before I was at this same Starbucks getting a iced green tea lemonade, and contemplating taking my own life, just so I could be dead. And cold.

I ran into Kaiser because I don't even own an umbrella. In the hour and a half that it took me to get out of that place, I walk out to bright, sunny skies. No water on the ground to speak of. The only way you would have known it rained was if you looked under parked cars or trees. Amazing. Off goes the ratty sweater. Then I go to the mall. Target. Lowe's. Stater Bros.

Now it is pouring rain and thundering and lightening. On goes the ratty sweater. So, so strange. But let me clarify, I am not complaing. Just musing, if you will.

As long as the rain doesn't interfere with the chil'rens camping trip down in San Diego with the grands this weekend (cuz this means I am getting rid of three chil'rens--wooHOO), I am fine. Lawd knows my yard needs the free water.

Only in Southern Cali.


My, how our perception of beauty has changed...

Uhhhhh. Hmmmm. Yeh.
I vividly recall studying this fertility goddess in Art History. The first time I saw it, I immediately thought of one of my beloved aunts, whom I love dearly and would not dare put her on blast and say her name.

But I think it's safe to say that even in prehistoric times, women battled belly fat and saggy titties. Obviously, some cavewoman* had enough chutzpah to stand there butt nekkid and pose for some dirty long-hair so he could sculpt her. Sigh. Perhaps this was the standard of beauty in those times. Why else would they have fashioned them into fertility goddesses?

Clearly, I was born in the wrong era.
*This post was written entirely for entertainment purposes. I don't believe in cavewomen anymore than I do in cocoa butter preventing stretch marks or that the little asian ladies laughing at the nail salon while they are scrubbing my feet aren't talking a world of smack about my jacked up heels.


ice ice baby

Long, long ago...in a world where I found myself pregnant every couple of weeks or so, I had this marvelously fun habit. It kept my mouth busy. It was virtually calorie free. It was cheap. And I absolutely craved it like a madwoman.

Ice. I loved me some ice.

Way before I had an ice maker in my fridge, I would buy bags and bags of ice. Then I'd plop my sweet ass down with a tall cup and munch away. Movies were fun because I had the promise of munching on movie theater ice the entire time. Driving long distance was tolerable because I had Michael go in and get me a big gulp of ice with a little Snapple thrown in for flavoring. I used to drive around to the places where I knew they had good ice. You know, that small, softly crushed ice in the shape of rabbit turd pellets. Oh. Those were the best. Nice rabbit turd ice in a big styromfoam cup. Good times.

I don't know why I craved it so much but I did. It was like this maddening driving force in my head. Must.Have.Ice. It would be the first thing on my mind when I woke up and the last thing as I laid in bed. Michael even went out and bought me a big fridge with an icemaker so I could have it whenever I wanted, cubed or crushed. Oh, it was heaven. But the worst part is, I couldn't chew it like a normal person with some restraint. No, not me. I really had to chomp it down and crunch crunch crunch.

For the first couple of pregnancies, I believe Michael humored me. He enjoyed bringing me home cups of ice like a husband brandishing a blue box from Tiffany's or something. But by the last pregnancy, I guess you could say we were both a little worse from the wear. I would be sitting there in my own little fat pregnant world, balancing a huge cup of ice on my ever-expanding pansa, crunching like a possessed woman.

Crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch.

And Michael would just turn towards me slowly with this strange look in his eye. I believe he would have throttled me, if I wasn't so swollen and helpless and carrying his unborn child. I would look over at him innocently, like what did I do?

"Honey, do you have to chew your ice that way?"
"Well...how else am I supposed to chew it? I like to chew it fast."
"I see that. But it sounds like you have a hollow head. I can hear the echo of your chomping in that big head of yours!"

And then after that, I could no longer chomp with abandon. I would make sure I was either alone, in the car with the radio on so he couldn't hear me, or at home with the kids (who didn't care that mommy had a hollow head). But the luster of the non-stop chomping, it dulled a little that day.

I wish I could say that I still chomped on ice the same way. I don't. It became clear that it was one of those weird pregnancy cravings. I would only want the ice when I was pregnant. The minute I had the baby, the ice didn't appeal to me the same way. It just didn't work. I can't do it now. Sure, I'll try to eat some of the ice in my leftover iced tea, but I can't go to town on it anymore. It bothers my teeth and sorta gives me a headache. Ppbbbfftt.

Sadly, my ice habit has left me. But my hollow head, I'll never get rid of that. Apparently, it resurfaces whenever I eat chips, popcorn, candy, nuts--pretty much anything crunchy. Ask my husband, because he still sits there as if waiting for a chance to throttle me.


Wanna be on top? Nah nah nah nah nah nah...

Whitney is the winner of cycle 10. Finally, a plus size model wins America's Next Top Model! Well, in Tyra's words...full-figure model.

I got your full-figure right here, Tyra.

I read somewhere that Whitney wears between a size 8 or 10. Sorry sister, but that ain't nowhere near a plus size. I want see some thickness...a size 14 pushing a 16 and beyond. That is reality. Here are some clues as to whether or not that girl with a little bit of meat is truly a plus size girl.

If you don't have to venture to the four corners of the freakin' earth to find something cute and stylish to wear that is in your size...then you're not a plus size girl.

If you don't have to coordinate your body shaper with your spanx with your big girl chonies with your minimizing bra...then you're not a plus size girl.

If its hot out and your buttcrack doesn't perspire (a.k.a juicy butt) to the point where you feel like your salsa dancing without a partner...then you're not a plus size girl.

If you don't know all your angles in photos to eliminate double (or triple) chins, football player arms, back fat, man neck, chub rolls, fat knees, cankles, and a sweat mustache...then you're not a plus size gal.

If you can walk into a Forever 21 and buy something else besides a purse, a pair of earrings, a headband and a necklace...then you're not a plus size gal.

Whitney...girlfriend...you are hot, I will give you that. Standing beside the stick figures, she does look much bigger. But in reality, she is not big at all. She's healthy. That just goes to show you how screwed up our size perception is.

Although she wasn't my favorite model, I was rooting for her from the beginning just because she was the only plus size gal with the potential to win. Could you imagine Toccara and her huge jugs winning ANTM? Not in a million years. So now I'm hoping Tyra will open up her eyes and do an entire season of plus size gals. That would be really interesting.

What's even more interesting is I've been watching this show for ten flippin' cycles. Dude.

Just call me a life-ruiner...

I didn't think this day would come so quickly. My daughters turning into spiteful little cats, I mean. I was figuring I had about ten more years or so of civility before they dropped the teenage ball on me.

But no...it's already here.

Since it's hotter than the devil's culo out here in the I.E.--and if you don't know what culo means, ya better ask somebody--I let the chil'rens pull out the ole birth tub and swim away. Birth tub? She lets her children swim in a tub that a child was birthed in? What is this world coming to?

I like to think of it as green livin'. Why go out and buy one of those inflatable pools that the chil'rens usually tear up or lose the plugs? And what else am I going to do with a 150-gallon rubbermaid stock tank? I mean, seriously. It is the best kiddie pool ever. They can all practically fit in it and reminisce about how three out of the six were born in that very spot. I'm fostering sibling ties.

Anyhoo, the girls didn't get to play in the water because they were down for their naps. When they woke up and saw the various wet and soggy swimtrunks strewn on the floor, they knew the deal.

"Maaaamaaaa, can I wear my new bathing suit? I want to go swimming!"
"No, baby girl. It's almost time for dinner. Maybe tomorrow."
"Nooooo, I want to swim today. My brothers got to swim."
"No, it's too late. Tomorrow, I said."

Then Maya gave me the most hateful glare I've ever seen handed down by a four year old girl. "You're ruining my life, mama!!"

I laughed out loud. "Oh really? You have no idea how I could ruin your life, little girl!"

Arms folded, bottom lip out, eyebrows puffy. "Hmmmph!"

Then she sent Xixi in to ask, as if her cute little face was going to cause me to change my mind. This time I was on the phone with Michael. When Xixi heard the word no, she stood there and made her chubby little, bad girl face.

"Mama! You wooning my yife!"

It was so hilarious.

But seriously, how does one survive the teenage years? Lawd, Lawd Jesus take me home! I foresee lots of two buck chuck and paxil in my future.


Everyone farts...

In my mind, there are two types of people. Those who like to fart in front of people and those who don't, at any cost, emit any sort of noise from their buttock region. Ever. Unfortunately, there are far more people in the first category than the second.

It all started this morning, when Solomon yelled out, "Mom! Your cooking gave Dad alot of gas!" I guess working in such close quarters as the bathroom, this really drove the point home for poor, little Sol.

Then I yelled out, "It's not my fault! When men get old, they fart all the time! They can't control it anymore!"

"Heeeeeeeyyyyyyy!" Michael calling out from the bathroom, where he was grouting the new tile.

Sol pondered what I said for a moment and then he responded,"No, thats not true. I never hear Papa fart."

Which then made me ponder for a moment. He's right, Papa never farts in front of people. He is of the opinion that it is uncouth to fart unless you are in the bathroom or away from everyone else. I know some other family members that are the same way. Heaven forbid they even admit they pass gas. But then there is family like their Tata, who likes to rips them at any given moment. He farts for sport, just to gross people out.

And that got me thinking about the two types of people.

I'll admit, I like to fart, for comedic affect. I'll fart in front of my friends, my siblings, my sister-in-law, my mom...just to get their disgusted reaction. But, of course, not in front of just any old shmoe in the street. And I never, under any circumstances, fart in front my Man. I just wouldn't want to shatter his image of me...perfect and blameless and unfunky. I'm kidding, of course. Heh. The walls of our bathroom are only so thick and he has walked into unholy fumes on more than one occasion. Such is the stuff of life. But if we are just relaxing and I feel a little bubble coming on, it won't budge. It's like my butt gets stage fright in front of him. Oh sure, I've let out those silent but deadly ones and then tried to blame it on one of the chil'rens...but farting for the sake of farting...I just can't do it.

He, on the other hand, he seems to enjoy grossing me out. His mentor was a man who ran a non-profit arts organization. He is a groovy, old cat. When he had to fart, he would lift his leg and let it rip and not even falter in his conversation. Remember, that is Michael's mentor.

My Nana, God rest her beautiful soul, had this really disgusting habit of farting in the most vile, loud, machine-gun style...in public. We would be perusing the aisles at K-Mart, walking a few paces behind her...and she would rip one. Oooooh. But on her face you could not register that she just farted. She would be picking up laundry detergent or ransacking a pile of clearance dishtowels with the straighest poker face you ever saw. Like nothing ever happened. But me and whoever else was with us at the time would be coughing, sputtering, choking, crying out, "Ugh, Nana!! That is so nasty! That is so embarrassing!" and otherwise calling too much attention to ourselves. So they probably thought we were the ones who farted. Not the little old, chubby lady packing a AK-47 under her house dress.

When I was giving birth to my first child and we were still starry-eyed newlyweds, I discovered that getting an epidural really does deaden you below the waist. We were sitting there chatting (because I was no longer in pain), with me combing my hair and putting some lipgloss on (because I didn't want to scare my newborn when he came out), and Michael sketching in his notebook (he was preparing to do a big mural in the next few days)....and to my absolute horror, a big, bubbly fart escaped. O.M.G. It was like the ultimate betrayal. By my own butt, nontheless. I was horrified. I was so embarrassed. And what made it more embarrassing was the fact that it made me blush. I hate to blush. Another betrayal, but this time by your skin. I believe that was the first and last time Michael heard me blatantly fart like that. I could be wrong, though. Heh.

So if you fart, I'm cool. I don't mind if people fart, as long as we're not in enclosed spaces or they are sitting beside me. But then again, I've been changing diapers for ten years now, I know how to breathe through my mouth.


Blessed among women...

It may sound cliche, but the mother I've become is a direct influence of my own mother. Nevermind that I find myself doing things that she used to do...but I also sound like her, I cook like her, and I love my kids with everything in me, just like she does. But without her being her...I couldn't be me.

The one thing that my mother taught me was to make my children my first priority. Friends, career, church, chores, luxuries...all those things come second in light of what my children mean to me. She was my cheerleader, my encourager, my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on. She lived her own life and still does, but I have no doubts I am important to her...I am what matters most to her.

I have this memory of my mom...and it's only now as a mother myself that I can understand. When you are a child you don't fully grasp why your parents do what they do. But now, I see. I can clearly see the struggles, the sacrifices, the striving.

Every other Thursday she would bring home a bunch of groceries to make a big pot of green chile and beans. Then she would painstakingly make burrito after burrito, putting them in little plastic baggies. At the time, I took comfort at the thought that tonight was the night mom was making her green chile and we would usually have a full house. My uncles, cousins, sometimes friends...they would all be there to eat dinner with us. But I didn't comprehend why she was making so many...and why she was wrapping them up.

In the morning, I would hear the click click click of her high heels as she walked to her car in the driveway, carrying all those burritos. Then when she came home later that evening, there were no more burritos to speak of. But what we did have was extra money to buy clothes, maybe go to the movies, buy a new baseball glove, or go out to eat.

It wasn't until years later that I realized mom would make those burritos and bring them to work on payday, when everyone was sure to have money. Everyone looked forward to those burritos. They were delicious. Little did they know they helped support this single mother with three children.

And that is my mother...she makes things looks effortless. From her hospitality, to her lavishing of gifts, her business saavy, to the tremendous love for her family. If I could only strive to be half the kind of mother my mama is...my children will stand a chance in this world.

Happy Mother's Day, mama! I love you with all my heart.


Peace and (no) face grease...

Oily skin has been the bane of my existence since I was a preteen. It is one of my pet peeves in life. I despise it.

I don't just despise my own oily skin...I despise it on other people too. Sometimes when I stumble upon a person with a greasy face, my OCD starts kicking in. Every other sentence or glance around the room and I am envisioning myself dabbing the person's face with a tissue or patting their nose and forehead with some pressed powder and making the greasiness disappear. Seriously. It's bad.

So of course it stands to reason that I should come from a long line of oily people. Dang it. What is it about the indigenous brown skin? My dad...ooooh, my dad...homeboy is the oiliest dude I know. He shaves his head bald, but that thing glistens. And he doesn't put any of those fancy balms or lotions on it. It's all naturally manufactured grease. I've got aunts and uncles with similarly shiny skin. That is what we are...shiny, happy people.

So my obsession has always been trying to combat the grease. Loose powders are my best friend. Pressed powders bring me sanity when I am away from home. If for some strange reason it falls out of my purse or makeup bag, I am in a panic. Blotting papers. Tissue. Napkins. Astringents. Oil-free makeup. Oil-free moisturizer.Yessss. Whatever it is, make sure it doesn't contribute to the vat of grease that is my face.

Granted, now that I'm older and my hormones have calmed down a bit, I don't battle oily skin as often. I'd like to think I'd whipped it into subjection. But now I am brave enough to use glow sheer makeup on my face. Some bronzer. Shimmery lip gloss and eyeshadow. Can you believe it? I am actually allowing myself to glisten a little here and there.

I found this skincare line at Bath & Body Works for oily skin by C.O Bigelow. It's awesome. It just dries up any kind of greasiness I have. It makes me feel squeaky clean. All lemony and tingly! And you know how I feel about lemon. It has alot of natural ingredients in it, which I love. I think alot of it is psychological...I really dig the thought of all that witch hazel, lemon and grapefruit extracts and salicylic acid sizzling away the grease.


Juno you like it...

Unlike all the cool people with money who get to actually see movies in a real live movie theater...I wait until they come out on video so I don't have to get a babysitter/freeze in the theater/spend an outrageous amount of money because you know you also have to take me out to dinner and then for coffee at St.Arbucks.

I saw Juno last night. I know...I'm slow to the game. But it was hilarious. Michael kept saying, "That is you! That is so you!" Yes. He loves my witty repartee. Can you feel the love?

What pearl of wisdom did I get out of the movie?

Pork swords.

Squeeze my lemon...

I just finished eating a lime with salt. It was so, sooo good. The tartness, the saltiness, the meatiness of the pulp. Mmmmmmmm. I couldn't resist finishing it off after I had squeezed all the juicy goodness onto my chicken tortilla soup.

But now I feel guilty.

You see, I've had to pay lots of money to repair the damage lemons and limes have done to my teeth over the years. The acid has literally leeched the enamel from my teeth. It got to the point where you could almost see through my front teeth as if they were transparent. Yep, sheer teeth. They were also very sensitive to cold and heat. So my dentist charged me an arm and a leg to put this protective layer over my front teeth. It's been over fourteen years since I had it done, so I can't seem to remember the exact procedure but suffice it to say, I had real teeth again.

So I've trained myself to not eat them straight up, because that is what caused the damage to my front teeth in the first place. Years of eating lemons with saladitos stuffed inside, lemons with chili powder on them, lemons with watermelon, lemons with Doritos, lemons with tortilla chips, lemons with jicama, lemons with pepinos. Mmmmmmm. When my mind remembers my mouth automatically salivates and my jaw tightens.

Sure, I'll suck on a lime quarter, after I've squeezed it onto my fish, my ceviche or my pozole. But cutting open a big, fat juicy lemon and plopping myself down with a saltshaker...I haven't done that in years.


Good times at the Lost show...

So, we were able to make it out to Hollywood for the Lost show at the Meltdown Gallery. It was good to see old friends. We took Solomon and Diego with us, and they were amazed to see people creating artwork that looked similar to the drawings they do at home. Hopefully, it was an inspiration to them.

I am always slightly nervous whenever we go to an opening and we decide to bring some of the chil'rens. Sometimes the atmosphere is child friendly, other times it's not. We took a gamble and took them. I was so relieved to see other children there. Also, the storefront is a comic book shop, so the boys had a blast looking through magazines and collectibles for sale.

We ended the night at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles off Sunset. Blech. It is so not how I remembered it. That joint used to be off the chain. Maybe it was the difference of location. We used to eat at the one off La Brea. Hood always tastes better. I paid $8.50 for two scrambled eggs, two little chicken sausage patties and a waffle that looked like they cooked it in the toaster. The Denney's around the corner was looking awfully good at that moment. I was just happy to be out with three good-looking dudes on a Friday night in Hollywood. It's been a while! Heh.

The man's work is never done...

When we bought our house in 2001, it took four months to become livable. We tore down walls, scraped off popcorn ceilings, ripped out a shower stall and sink, built a pantry, refaced the cabinets and counter tops, ceiling fans, ripped out carpets and refinished the wood floors. It was alot of work. But lack of time and finances won out in the end and as every homeowner can attest, your house will never be done. There is always something that needs to be tweaked or replaced.

Michael finished the master bath almost three years ago, right before I had Xixi and I begged him to finish it. Living with one shower for eight people just wasn't cutting it. That left the main bathroom. The last room in the house that needed to be renovated. We were just going to have to live with it and wait. We've been waiting for manna from heaven ever since. And the manna came in the form of the rebate checks...which we haven't physically gotten in the mail...but its been spent nevertheless.

Let me try to describe this particular bathroom. Our house was built in the 50's, so it still had it original pink tile, sinks and tub. All pink. When we moved in it had a giant chandelier and frosted-grey sliding mirrors. The previous owners decided to spice it up with some hunter-green sponged walls. It was hideous. We did what we could to make it functionable. I romanticized the pink tile, calling it vintage and retro. But now--seven years of living in this house--I will call it what it is.

Nasty. Just plain nasty.

Apparently Michael had enough. It all started with a damaged wall. Saturday, he had to cut it open to find the source of the water leak. Then he just got his sledgehammer and started tearing up the place. Meanwhile, I am trying to clean up the rest of the house like I usually do on Saturday mornings and wondering how we are going to L.A. in few hours when I now have a hole in my wall, no sinks, no counter and a hole in the floor where the toilet was.


But I willed myself to be quiet because a sister just can't estimate when her man will get the wild hair up his behind to embark on such a project. Far be it from me to stand in the way of progress. So I just tried to be encouraging, I didn't complain about the mess and the noise. I just kept thinking, now we have to work on this bathroom. We don't have a choice!

I guess in those days they didn't have cement board...so Michael had to break up cement counters that were three or four inches thick. Goodbye nasty pink sinks. Goodbye nasty pink tile. And the gross, torn linoleum floor was covered with mold from all the bath overflow. That was the nastiest thing of all.

The boys were of invaluable help, especially Solomon. He is always at his Dad's side whenever there is construction to be done. They hauled trash, pulled nails, cracked up the tile. They were awesome helpers.

So now, three days later I have...an empty bathroom. All of our stuff is in boxes waiting for installation. You know those brown guys hanging around your local Home Depot? Border brothers, I've heard them called? Well, my border brother works two jobs as it is...so we're waiting on my dear husband to find the time and energy to finish it. Soon, soon, soon I hope!

One can only live with a hole in the ground where the toilet should be for a short time. It's all very third world country. For now I am having to share my bathroom with the chil'rens and I don't like it one bit. I'll put up some pics when we finally get it done!


Happy birthday Josh

My baby brother turns eighteen today. I just can't wrap my mind around it. Just the other day he was a little baby and I was changing his diaper, laughing at all the funny things he used to do and marveling at his intelligence. And now, he is this tall, slim, handsome, articulate, polite, friendly and talented young man. That drives. Cringe. With a new car. Yep, the parents went out and bought him a new car.

I guess I just figured he would stay a little boy forever. Being a late-in-life baby for my mom, he has brought us more joy than any of us could have expected. When mom found out she was pregnant, she cried. Having two children in their teens, just about ready to graduate high school and one in elementary school, about to enter adolescence...it was just too much for mom. But we quickly embraced the idea of a new baby.

I've said this before, Josh was my baby before I had my babies. I would come home from class and while my stepdad left to work swing shift, I would take care of him. He was always a good boy, always entertaining. At the young age of eighteen months, he had to wear glasses. So here was this cute little boy with a mullet, wearing glasses. He got attention everywhere we went.

When I moved back to Riverside and was ready to have my first baby, Josh and I resumed our caretaker relationship again. I would take care of him after school and all day during the summer. Everyday would find me laying on my side like a beached whale, sweltering in the heat...and Josh would be sitting in the little space on the sofa behind my legs. He would watch cartoons and take care of me, sometimes putting cool towels on my forehead, or on my fat, swollen feet. He was with me every summer, with each of my children, helping me while I was pregnant. Until he began to actually help me care for mine. He would cook for us, entertain the chil'rens outside, he'd let me take a nap. When I realized that last summer was going to be our last together...it made me sad. No naps, no cooked meals, none of his motivational speeches...no really, I was sad that we would not be together doing nothing but roast in the heat and talk and laugh just like we've done for the past eleven years.

I feel an enormous swell of pride everytime I see what an awesome example of a young man he has grown into. A born entertainer, with a beautiful voice and acting chops. Wow, I am amazed. It may seem a little melodramatic to say that he touches the lives of the people he meets, but it's true. I will be overjoyed if any of my sons turn out to be half the young man my little brother has become.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you see a person for who they really are? About a month ago, I was pulling out of my street and Josh was pulling in. We both stopped and rolled down the window to talk. And for a second, I saw him for what he is...not the chubby little boy with glasses but a handsome young man driving a nice car that was able to turn heads. And I felt the hysteria welling up inside, like noooooo, he's all grown up! Where did the years go? It was an eye-opening moment for me, thinking about him turning eighteen, graduating and soon going off to college.

I'm still trying to persuade him to go to school locally. I just don't think the folks would be able to cope without him. Or me, for that matter. Life would be so boring without him. My girls were really missing him when he went to Florida, so if he went away to school they would really be devastated. They really love them some uncle Josh. I've already trained them to be mean to any girl he brings home. Heh.

What can I say? No one will ever be good enough for my little brother. Happy birthday, baby boy! I love you so very much.

This is what I meant by the cute little boy with glasses and a mullet. Business in the front, party in the back! But look at that little face.

On a whale watching trip when he was 6 and I was 24. This was my baby boy before I had four of my own.

Josh, the girls and his new whip. I've already warned him about skanks wanting rides. Heh.

On my birthday...he looked so handsome!

Fishbowl livin'...

My dear husband and I haven't been the sweetest to one another lately...so we decided to spend some time hanging out with the chil'rens' running some errands and going out for a picnic. But for some reason our picnic plans got derailed and we ended up at Hometown Buffet.

I hate Hometown Buffet.

But the chil'rens like it...its cheap...and I wanted to make them happy so we went. Normally, I am very picky about where we eat out because our money is tighter than my ass trying to squeeze into the Space Mountain ride at Disneylandia. So when we do go out I like to make it worth my while. I would have loved to go to Souplantation instead and got my clam chowder and chinese chicken salad on but I digress. The things we do for the love of the chil'rens.

It's been years since I've been to Hometown Buffet. Literally, years. I didn't remember so many old people eating there. They must have a really good senior discount because the old folk were rolling deep in that place.

We set the rules down...no getting up and down, no junk food and we had to start off with fruit/and or salad. The chil'rens were happy as pigs in a pile of mud, smiling and laughing and enjoying the smorgasbord of food.

Then I noticed these people sitting to the left of us. They kept staring at us. At first I thought, okay, maybe we are a little loud and rambunctious. Until I saw about five little brown kids running up and down the aisles squealing and grabbing food off the platters by themselves. Well, that can't be it. We aren't disturbing them. We would take turns getting up and helping the chil'rens with their plates...and they would stare. We would take them to the restroom...and they would stare. We laughed at Noah's version of a salad (croutons and ranch dressing)...and they would stare. Xixi spilled tea all over herself and the booth...and they would stare. It got to the point where we realized...they are just staring for the sake of staring. They didn't converse throughout their entire meal because all they did was stare at us.

And apparently we were the hit of that old folks joint because we were getting lots of stares. It's been a while since we've gotten so much attention, or maybe I've just zoned it out, but obviously a family with six kids is an interesting sight. If that is what interests you--how we function--than by all means strike up a conversation with us but geez, don't stare at us during the entire meal because it's kinda rude. Michael was starting to get a little uncomfortable and a little annoyed. And the funny thing is, we didn't even have all six with us! Diego was with his grandma and he is by far the most loud and obnoxious. I can only imagine what it would have been like had he been there with us. The fish bowl would have definitely been more interesting!

The waitress came by several times to ask us questions about the chil'rens. She was nice though, she didn't just stand there and stalk us. She even paid us the ultimate compliment, one that never ceases to make me cringe inside.

"Wow, you have so many kids and they are so well-behaved!"

Cough cough. Hold on, I'm choking on my salisbury steak and mashed potatoes from a box.

Seriously? I guess I cringe inside because as a mother, you tend to focus on the negative. I am focusing on Noah's obsessive complusive behavior and his fifteen trips to the pizza/french fries/jello counter like he was a starved man on a deserted island and this was his first meal. Or Solomon's goat-like habit of standing during his meal and me giving him the death ray stare so he would sit down. Maya laying down on the booth and eating her watermelon. Xixi using her hands to stuff her face with salad and yelling, "I WANT SOME MORE MAMA!". And Cyan...Cyan walking past the salad section on our way out and him plucking a cucumber and popping it in his mouth.

But I'll take the compliment when I can get it. The waitress also brought us some free meal coupons for the kids and that was really sweet. But I think I'll have to pass...or let Michael take them...because seriously, who eats salisbury steak anymore? And what the heck is it anyway? I looked it up. It's minced meat made to resemble a steak. WTH? That is so nasty!

But I'm still grateful that we got to eat out together...and that the chil'rens had a good time. I just wish my intestines had a good time along with everyone else. That's what I get for trying a minced meat patty.


Things they don't teach you in those flowery parenting books...

Three questions posed to me today, by my oldest, while he was washing dishes.

"Mom...why don't we live in a two story house?"

"Mom...am I of any use to the family?"

And finally, "Mom...where exactly do babies come of out? I mean, the head...how is it born?"

Not how babies are made or where they come from, but exactly how they came out. When I explained, his eyes got as wide as saucers.

"Wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me...I came out of your...vagina?" Then he ran to the trash can and proceeded to pretend to hurl his cream of wheat.

"Yep. You also drank milk from my chichi's so be quiet!"

All this, even before the decent hour of noon.
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