The little brown tooth neighbor

He is six. This is his first tooth. He was so excited. I was excited too. But I was really hoping he would lose the tooth next to it first. That's the one he banged on the floor and it got chipped and then it turned brown. A lovely brown tooth.

All I need to do is give the kid a box of chicklets by the border and send him on his way.

Am I a horrible parent because I don't really give the chil'rens money from "the tooth fairy"? No Santa, no easter bunny, no halloween and now this? Heh. I mean, we just haven't done it. And he's survived thus far so it can't be all that bad.

He said, "Caucasian auntie said I should put the tooth under my pillow and then the tooth fairy will leave me some money."

And he was awfully dubious when he told me. Like he just knew he wasn't gettin' any money for that raggedy little tooth. And no, he didn't call her Caucasian auntie. But Cyan knows whats up. He didn't get any money. But he did get high fives from his bros all around and big juicy kiss from me. That's gotta be better than a few coins, no?

And now we wait. We wait for that little brown tooth to fall. Yesssssss.

This Saturday night...come on out!

frida show


My So-Called Life

I was a huge fan of the TV show, My So-Called Life. It was all teenage angst and unrequited love and parents that didn't understand you and gay boyfriends and alcoholic friends. And awkwardness, total awkwardness.

I think that's why I liked it so much. I identified with the show. And I loved that Angela Chase wore Doc Martens and dyed her hair burgundy and her mom was really uptight.

Awwwww, good times.

For some stupid reason, the show was cancelled way too soon. When I saw this shirt, it made me think of the times I used to lay in bed like a sloth and watch the show, hoping Angela and Jordan would hook up. Jordan Catalano was totally hot. I was sad when he got disfigured in Fight Club. I was like, "Noooooo, Jordan!"

This show conjures up some pleasant memories for me. I would totally rock this shirt.


whole lotta shakin' going on.

I hate earthquakes. But then again, doesn't everyone? We had a 5.8 earthquake about an hour ago. My stomach is still feeling kinda funky. And my legs are jelly-like. This sucks.

I was in my bedroom folding laundry. The boys were crowded around the computer, watching Noah dominate the video game. The girls were waaaaaay in the back room playing with their doll house.

I heard it. Sounded like a freight train coming right at you.

I jumped up and saw all the boys run past me to the kitchen. As I made my way around the corner, I looked like one of those dogs who tries to run but their paws are sliding all over the wood floor. I called out to the girls. They came rushing out of the backroom. You should have seen the look on their faces. Terror. Absolute terror. My poor babies!

Maya was scared and confused ("Mama, why is the house shaking?") and Xixi was crying and trembling. By that time it was over. I tried to console and comfort the chil'rens. Which is very challenging to appear calm. Diego confessed that his legs were shaky. And his armpits were really itchy. I told him the earthquake caused him to break into a sweat.

"Now go and put some deodorant on!" Or else it would be reeking of onions in a minute.

I remember the night of the Northridge earthquake. I was living in L.A. at the time, but I with my parents in Riverside on winter break. We all got out of bed and stood in our doorways. Then we spent the rest of the night snoozing in the livingroom, watching the news in disbelief at the devastation. It was a scary night and I don't think I got any sleep.

When I went back to L.A., I couldn't believe all the damage. In my room alone, things were tossed off the shelves, picture frames flew off the wall, my antique colored glass all fell from the windowsill, shattered glass everywhere, magazines spilled all over the floor. Everyone had their "what I was doing when the earthquake happened" stories to share.

Living in So Cal my entire life, you'd think I'd become accustomed to earthquakes. But one never does. My heart always goes to my throat, and as I'm standing there shaking with the earth, I'm waiting for the shaking to get worse, for things to start crumbling around me. Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet. When they happen in the middle of the night, I lay there frozen, praying it will stop and the chil'rens won't wake up. Michael will call out, like an old black man in a baptist church, "Oh Lord, Lord, Jesus...protect us Lord...Help us Jesus...Hallelujah! Ooooohh Laaaaaaaaawd! Thank you Jesus!"

Then he just falls back to sleep.

So far, there have been tons of little aftershocks. But I don't dare say a word to the chil'rens. I'm still trying to extract them from my butt.


I'm in bloom.

I've had this book, Design Motifs of Ancient Mexico for ages. It has provided an endless source of inspiration for me. The book itself is dog-eared and the pages are falling out. I keep forgetting to tape it up. But it is precious to me.

Inside is a lovely design for the earth in bloom. I've been feeling very much in bloom lately in terms of my creative expression these past few months. I want to remember that feeling whenever I feel so consumed by this life that I can't do the very thing that makes me feel alive...painting.

So I had a consultation with my homie Joe last night for a tattoo he's gonna do for me. The last time I got an itch for a tattoo, it was about two years ago. For whatever reason...lack of funds, lack of time, desire, fear of the needle...whatever it is was, I shelved my idea and went about my business.

But I still want one. And now I'm gonna get it. In a few days. I'm looking forward to it. I'm still a little leery of the sound the tattoo gun makes, but I'll be just fine. I have to keep remembering...gave birth six times...five times without meds...got stitches on the old va-jay-jay...had baby on my livingroom floor...had scabs on my nipples from breastfeeding. Then the scary needle sound doesn't have the power to frighten me anymore.


The bustle in my hustle.

So we are standing around a parking lot in Huntington Beach, by tower #10 if you really must know. All the tanned, toned and bikinied bodies on beach cruisers have settled by the fire pits.

We are chatting and contemplating doing smores or just going home, which for me entails starting the assembly line of baths. My vote was let's just going home. It's no fun to wake up sleeping but sandy chil'rens and plunging their startled little behinds into the shower. They cry and whine and throw tantrums because they are so tired. Little do they know how close I am from crying, whining, and throwing a tantrum alongside them. So I figure, let's just get it over with already.

As I am leaning against Papa's truck, I feel someone poke me in the butt with their finger. It was my little brother, Josh. I was wearing a cover up over my thong bathing suit. So I was plenty decent. He says,

"Dee, take off your bustle! Who are you trying to impress?"

So we all start giggling. You know...the bustle...big butt that looks like a bustle....hahahaha. Hilarious. Then a conversation begins about how big my booty is, how it's always been big but never this big, how nice I would look if I would drop, say, a hundred pounds or so, etc. etc. All this is being discussed in a very casual and lighthearted manner because it's topic that's been discussed oh, about a thousand times in my lifetime.

That is my mom's crusade, to get me to lose weight...to shrink my butt and hips down somehow. Always has been. Probably always will be. The only person who would combat my mom was my Nana, God rest her beautiful soul. She would say, "Ahhh, Luisa. Leave her alone. She's fine. She will lose weight when she is ready. She gets those big nalgas from her Dad's side."

I have vowed that I would use this booty for good, not evil. And I have! Look, I am happily married to a man who is happy and loves my big booty. The chil'rens love to use my booty as a cushion when they watch TV or when they want to cuddle.

Interestingly enough, I am the first person people call out to whenever booty music is being played.

Edited to add: Those of you that caught my booty picture while it was still up, consider yourselves lucky you got an eyefull. The Man made me take it down. Shoot. Struck down while I was just gettin' started. I could have been the next Buffy the Body or Deelishis.



the tasty trinity...

As in Turkey, Bacon and Holy Avocado.

May a piece be with you. And also with you.

Ooooooh, child.

Today, on the way back from Picture This Gallery in Long Beach to drop off my paintings, which by the way I have to say I got totally showed out. Dude. Seriously. At first I was I am woman hear me roar. The artwork in this show is amazing. Incredible. Talk about a humbling experience. I walked out of that place with a little m e o w.


Anyhow, back to my story. We stopped at a little place for lunch and I ordered the holy trinity of turkey, bacon and avocado sang-weesh. Which got me thinking.

Can these three components ever be wrong?

Whoever developed this combination deserves my first born child. Nine times out of ten, whenever we are eating out, I am so preoccupied with ordering for everyone else and calculating the total ("I could spend this $50 on groceries!") that I get about five seconds to decide what I would like to eat. I will resort to my old faithful...the combination that never lets me down...the combination that just forced me to pop the seam in my Spanx...the turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich trifecta. Truth be told, I really don't need the bacon. But if I don't have to fry it and worry about being popped with grease and having my house smell like swine all day, I might as well partake. If I really want to come into my crisis, it will be served on a croissant or dark sweet wheat.

I took half of my sandwich home with me and swore I would lay a beating down on anyone who put their grubby hands on my holy sandwich.


That sucker was just as tasty at midnight as it was in the sunny L.B.C.


It's kinda like giving birth...

So yeh, they chose my paintings to be in the Frida show. I'm excited. I'm also excited to see the other paintings that made it into the show. This is totally exciting. I'm waiting for the paint to dry on my frames as I type this. Tomorrow we have to drive my paintings into Long Beach so the artwork can be hung. I'm quite excitable right now.

Did I already mention that I was excited? Um. Yeh.

The opening is on August the second. I'll post all the info in a couple of days. Until then, its back to being an attentive mama who is fully in control of dust bunnies, skidmarks on the chonies, three square meals a day, folded laundry and neatly trimmed toenails.

Viva la Frida!


Two fine gentlemen...

Father and son...the two in the family that are the most alike. Diego shares so many of his father's qualities. He is very sensitive. He loves to entertain people. He is very artistic. He loves to exaggerate. He cries alot. He is obnoxious. He loves to hang around girls. He loves to love on people.

That is my husband to a "t".

How did I get so blessed to get not one, but two fine gentlemen of this caliber? They love and adore me. And I love and adore them.

A good read...sorta

To curb my book buying habit that inevitably leaves me unsatisfied, I have turned to the library. I know this isn't a new idea, but until this time I have only checked out books and movies for the chil'rens. I can't say I've had the opportunity to roam around and pick something that I'd like to read...you know, since I am so self-sacrificial and all.

But then about a month ago, I was roaming around the little po-dunk library by my mom's house. They didn't have the most spectacular selection. Still, I decided to check out four books. Non-fiction, easy to read. Then I read them all.

And when does she find time to read? And how, with six heathen chil'rens running around. I hear you wondering. Well, I don't really watch TV. And I am a big advocate of reading on la toilette. You know, the pot. 'Til your legs fall asleep. That's when you know you've read enough.

So last week I checked out four more. One of them was Lady Chatterley's Lover. What can I say...I like some titillation along with my fine literature.

Apparently the book was banned in the UK until 1960 because of its sexual explicitness. So I read it. And it was very clear that I needed some sort of Cliff's Notes because it was really hard to follow along. One of the character's speaks in some native dialect, I forget what it is. But its foreign. Absolutely foreign I tell you. I did, however, understand the good parts.

Wink wink.

Even those, universal as they may be, were hard to decipher. D.H Lawrence kept saying Lady Chatterley "was coming to her crisis". And it took me a while to understand what that meant. Then I was like, "Ooooooh." But it's catchy. So I've begun to use this phrase for my own entertainment.

"Honey, are you going to bed? Its time for me to come to my crisis."


The sad part is how debased our standards have become regarding what is and what isn't explicit. There are no depths to man's depravity. Now I am finishing up How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. So, have you read any good books lately?


the artist mind...

I have always enjoyed figure drawing and painting nudes. There is nothing more artsy than that, right?

On the first day of figure drawing class in college, the teacher asked us to pull out sheet of drawing paper and draw a figure. Then we put it away. On the last day of class, she asked us to pull out a sheet of drawing paper and draw a figure. Then we were instructed to put the two drawings side by side. The difference was amazing.

There is a huge difference between what your mind knows as the human body and what it actually looks like before you. Well, from my perspective the arm looks like a curved stump. But you go with it. I try to remember its not what my mind thinks, its what my eyes see whenever I am drawing something.

It's difficult. It's almost like fighting your own mind.

Better yet, retraining your brain. I try to teach this to my students as well. It's actually very freeing. And exciting because you are letting your imagination pour out, as opposed to listening to the rigid right brain that is telling you, an arm looks like this.

Here is a nude I did last month with black india ink and oil pastel on paper. I'm enjoying the fact that I am loosening up and not worrying so much about how something looks.

If anyone wants to pose butt nekkid for me, let a sister know. Calm down, its just art. Heh.


My mom says I have ruined this one. She is the worst one of the bunch--you have spoiled her rotten.

I don't agree that I have ruined her, but she is definitely spoiled. Her adorableness just grabs me by my heart and stills it. I don't know what it is. Her little face. The way she talks. The way she cuddles her chubby little body next to mine and swirls her toes in the middle of the night.

She has made a name for herself. Lovey. As in, "Mama, I'm your lovey!"

On Saturday she was upset with me for some reason, so she stood there, hands of her hips. Her ponytails shaking with conviction.

"Mommy, I'm not your lovey anymore!" Which sounded like this, Maameeee, I not yo yuveee an'moah!

And I just laughed. Oh really?

After about five seconds she broke out into a big smile and came running over to hug my leg.

"I'm just kidding, mama! I'm still your lovey!"


Love, in color.

I was able to find a picture of that painting Michael did for me. It's really small though. But I thought I would give you an idea of how beautiful it was in color.

Love of my Life.

Eleven years today.

Eleven years of light. Laughter. Tears. Smiles. Kisses. Struggles. Triumphs. Grace. Joy.


When you first get married, you can't conceive of what five years will look like. Or ten. And now, as I look into the future...I can't imagine what twenty will look like. Fifty. Imagine that. I just know that I want to get there, my hand in his and still be able to look into his smiling eyes.

Oh, you know you rock my world...you'll be boy and I'll be girl.

Happy Anniversary, my beloved.


Frida gone wild

My blogging has been sort of sporadic lately because I have been burning the candle at both ends, working on more paintings. Which means my house looks like a cyclone's been up and through the place. Laundry is sitting in piles...the piles to be washed, the piles to be folded and the piles to be put away. My kitchen floor looks like restroom tile at Shakey's Pizza. Gross. You can barely walk through my girls room because there are toys, dolls, clothes, shoes and purses everywhere. I've been to homes that looked like this on a daily basis and I've been astounded that people can peacefully cohabitate with mess. Those of you that know me personally know the mess is a huge stumbling block for me. Not that my house is spotless...I'm just sayin'.

But I know, I know--this homegirl is vibing!

I am vibing on Frida Kahlo. With my trip to San Francisco looming in September, I am gearing myself up for Frida, Frida and more Frida.

So I got this idea one day. Those that are familiar with Frida's work know that she is an icon for the Mexican people. For Chicanos and lesbians, she is a patron saint! I sat back and thought, I've been loving Frida's work for over eighteen years now...wow. It's not a fad or a recent phenomena for me...her paintings have inspired me and affected me and my life.

When people think of Frida they associate her with a fiercely independent spirit. Her stormy relationship with Diego Rivera. The fact that she couldn't bear children. The uni-brow. The dark peach fuzz on her upper lip. And her unique style of dress and jewelry shows she was way ahead of her time.

There are so many interpretations of Frida and her self-portraits. I don't want to give away too much of whats in my bag of tricks, but there is an annual art show that showcases Frida-inspired work. I'm going to submit a few things and I hope they make it in the show, since it is juried.

I will look like a big moron if my paintings aren't chosen and I sat here and told ya'll about it.

But I know in my heart that I'm painting for myself and my creative expression, so even if my paintings aren't chosen...I will still continue to paint. It was something that was lying dormant within me and it was waiting to come out. I had to prove it to myself. And I did. It's just one of those things.

I thought it was would interesting to take Frida out of her own context. And put her in scenes that we would've never seen Frida in. Many of them made me laugh out loud. I have painted three so far but I am realizing that this can be a series that I can work on indefinitely. Just keep adding to the series until I am an old lady with long gray hair in a bun and a dashiki and I have the opportunity to show them all at one time. It's extremely cathartic so be in control of Frida and give her a life she didn't have because she was a woman living in Mexico in the early twentieth century, bound by the constrictions of her gender and physicalities.

I'm almost done with my third piece. I have to submit them tomorrow. I'm excited. I like the way they've turned out so far. I don't know if people will get the concept of what I'm trying to do. Some might be offended because I've tampered with Frida's image and what she stands for. But I'm having a good time. That's what counts right?


"Locks of Hate..."

I have a friend named Richie. He is a strange dude. Strange in a good way, of course. He is always being a wierdo and one is often left wondering if this dude was being serious or was he just pulling your leg. All this with a straight face, mind you. Which makes if even harder to figure him out. I'll give him one thing, though. He keeps you on your toes.

He is having a celebration for his son in a couple of weeks. A coming of age celebration, if you will. His son is entering kindergarten and he is about to get a very drastic haircut.

Ever since I've known Jude, he has had this long braid running down his back like a thick cable. The braid was always freshly washed and neatly combed. Well, Richie said it was time to cut it off and say goodbye to the little boy with the long hair. It was time to usher in Jude the Warrior.

I thought that was very cool.

So as we were sitting down having lunch yesterday, Richie nonchalantly says he is going to donate Jude's hair to Locks of Hate.

Wha??? Huuuuh? Shouldn't it be Locks of Love? Did I hear him wrong or something?

"Locks of Hate...for all the emo and goth kids. Then they can wear Jude's hair all in their face and feel happy again."

Heh. You gotta love strange dudes.


so you think you can dance

I've been trying to get into the new season of So You Think You Can Dance. But I am a creature of habit...I still think of old routines and dancers from previous seasons. The ones that blew me away. The ones that left me with tears in my eyes because it was so beautiful and it spoke to me in a language that I understood.

These new kids...eh. It's taking a minute for me to get used to them. It's one of those shows that I can watch with the chil'rens, which I really enjoy. My girls just spend the entire hour running around and dancing and kicking their legs and calling out to me, "Look at me, mama! Look at me, I'm dancing!"

There have been many routines that have touched me and that have been really entertaining. But these three were the ones that stand out because of their simple beauty and creativity.


Chicken skin.

I ate some of it today. It was the strangest thing. If you're like me, you're livin' in a sea of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Far, far removed from the actual chicken and it's legs, wings and skin. I mean, doesn't all chicken come in frozen cutlets out of a bag?

A long, long time ago, people ate chicken skin. When you cooked it, it was crispy and yummy. Then one day the Chicken Skin Nazi deemed the skin fattening and bad for you. Very, very bad. So off went the skin. Relegated to some nasty trash can. I can hear it now...

Off with their skin!


There was this ridiculous sale last week on split chicken breasts with the ribs attached. Like .97 a pound. That's dirt cheap. That makes a poor person's heart good. So I went and bought all they had, about seven packages. Then I sent Michael the next day so I wouldn't be recognized as Greedy Chicken Lady. He said he had to fight off some ladies for the last five packages.

So today I decided to cook some of the chicken in my roaster with some bbq sauce. And this foreign lining was covering the chicken. What in the world? Oooooooooh...it's skin. So I threw caution to the wind and left it on.

Oh em gee.

It tasted just like I remembered. Toasted with all the bbq sauce. Good stuff. Aaahhhh, the 80's were fun and exciting times. The chil'rens, however, having never seen chicken skin unless they are having .99 KFC Snackers with their daddy, or El Pollo Loco with mama, were slightly perturbed and questioned me about it.

"It's chicken skin! Geez, just eat it!" I yelled after the fourth inquiry.

And they were mystified by it. I ended up throwing away a bunch of crispy, bbq'd chicken skin. Sad. They thought it was gross. And no, I didn't eat it. It was funny, though. It was like this foreign entity.


My love beads

One night, when Noah was on his way to bed, he screamed out, "OH NO!!! Mom! Dad! I need your help! I melted something!"

Of course we all go running over there like he just chopped off a toe or something.

Turns out the little nerd melted my fertility beads. Apparently, they glow in the dark so when you wanted to get busy, you could pull the beads out of your nightstand, and in total darkness, confirm whether you were "safe" to have relations or you needed to wrap that sausage.

I'm just sayin'.

I can't speak very highly of those stupid beads. Obviously, they didn't work very well for me. I have a crazy cycle and I never ovulate on schedule like the rest of the civilized world. I think I had my last three chil'rens because of those blasted beads. Not that I regret having them, of course, lovely children that they are.

I just thought it was sort of ironic that they were totally useless for me and Noah melted them because he placed them on his lamp, so they could "heat up" and then "glow more". Really, I don't know where he got that idea from. And where in the world did I get the idea that something as simple as beads would be a form of family planning?


To be totally honest, for the bulk of our eleven year marriage, we used little to no birth control. Yeh, we're savage like that. It made for some very passionate nights. We would laugh at the sight of our sleeping baby (or toddler) who still slept in our bed, bouncing up and down on the mattress. No wonder they never wake up, its like a mini trampoline, I would think. But pills, creams, latex, IUD, patches...it all seemed so unappealing to me. However, the idea of my vagina having to stretch enough to accommodate a nine pound baby was just fine and dandy.

I'm funny like that.

Michael and I loved each other and we loved our children and we loved having them, so we were at peace with the fact that if God wanted to send us another child, we would accept it with open arms. And for the most part, we did. We got into this rhythm of having a new baby every eighteen to nineteen months. Wash and bring out the newborn clothes, the car seat, the high chair....wash and put away the newborn clothes, buy a bigger carseat, start actually using the high chair.

We seemed to find our niche. The couple with all the babies.

"Wow...you guys sure are brave!" Was the common refrain.

Either we are brave or just plain crazy. Most nights when I lay in bed contemplating how the utility bill is going to get paid...how I plan to feed the family with a block of cheddar cheese, tortillas and a few cans of corn...how I am going to teach six children at different levels everyday...then I know we are just plain crazy.

But as each of my beloved children's faces flashed in my mind's eye...and I contemplate at what point would it have made sense for me to use some sort of birth control...so my life would be easier...I realize that is just not possible. My life wouldn't be my life and my happiness and my purpose would be different. And these children have all been born and called according to God's purpose. There is no denying that.

Sure, there were times when I felt that if I got pregnant again I would surely go insane. Hence, the beads. Actually, Caucasian sister-in-law gave them to me, perhaps as a veiled attempt to disguise her horror at our unbridled procreation. Who knows. But the simple thought that I could follow some beads and perhaps give myself a few months rest in between babies was nice.

Too bad they didn't work. I'm sure they did for others. But I like to think that God's plan is much greater than some colored beads.

But I will forever feel like a paradox in this regard. Part of me loves the idea of having a large family and I feel God's peace over it all...and other part of me is scared beyond all reason that I will fail at it...that we have taken on something that is much too big for two people to bear.

But finally...the end of the beads. I'm kinda glad Noah melted them. I didn't have the heart to throw them away. They will always remind me of how my fertility was this great double-edged sword.


More art...more memories.

About ten years ago, Michael had about five of these huge five by five foot canvases. He created these beautiful abstract pieces. One I used to have hanging in the little house we used to live in. I would sit and nurse the babies and stare at it for what seemed like forever. It practically took up the entire living room. I loved it.

When we moved here, we didn't have room to store all those paintings so he just propped them up the side of the house. I could slap him for doing that. Of course, they all got ruined. If you ask him about them today, he will just shrug his shoulders...as if it's just the easiest thing in the world to just paint beautiful abstracts on a five foot canvas.

I guess for him it is.

A couple of them managed to stay together a bit longer. I'm thankful we have pictures of the artwork. When Cyan was a baby, he would suck his two middle fingers like a maniac. And he never learned to crawl on his knees like a normal child...he would scoot on his butt across the floor like a little spider.

But that's a whole 'nother post.

We had taken this picture of three of the boys so we would remember how Cyan used to suck his fingers and it was so precious. Nevermind that he continued to suck his fingers like this until he was five years old so that would give me ample time to remember how "cute" it was.

Everytime I look at this, I can't believe how much the boys have grown...how long and bushy I've let their hair grow...and how we totally suck as artists because we don't archive our work properly.


In over my head...

You know you are in over your head in this blogging world when you begin to hear comments like this from friends and family members.

When something funny happens. "Oh, you know this will end up on her blog!"

When taking photos. "Suck in the gut! Let me dab my grease. You know she is going to put this up on her blog. Dee, don't forget to photoshop me!"

When something interesting goes down. "Oh, I'll just read about it on your blog."

As a warning. "Oh, no! I can see it now...you better not mention this on your blog!" and, "You better not talk any smack about me on your blog."


Then there are the people that you meet from your blog. People you would not recognize on the street but can recognize you. You begin to know these people by their usernames, not the names their mama gave them. Your conversations start with, "Oh, Loteria Chicana had this funny post yesterday..." and "Did you read Dirty Pirate Hooker today? Homegirl is a freak." or "Did you see that Snoop video on Ragamuffin soul? His wife was a video ho! It was hilarious!"

And people look at you like you have lost your mind.

And finally. My mother. Who has not appreciated the amount of information I give up on this blog...and has been very vocal about it...because she thinks everyone is a potential child pornographer. Just ask the investigators that she works with. That and she thinks I should get paid to blog or else I am wasting my time. I could be cleaning or teaching the kids calculus.

True dat.

Her birthday was on the 5th. Today she called me up to thank me for the lovely gift of pajamas (what do you buy a woman who has everything and what she doesn't have, she'll just go out and buy herself?) and a sweet card. Then she said, "I checked your blog and where is the post for my birthday? I looked and expected some sort of commemoration and there was nothing!"

"I just wrote you a long, sappy post on Mother's Day!" I said.

"Oh yeh. You're right."

See, now they're just getting spoiled.

Rest in Peace, Punk Rock Mommy

If you have time, please go and read the archives of Andrea Collins Smith, Punk Rock Mommy. She passed away on July 5th from Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She was a wife and mother of six. She chronicled her journey with aggressive breast cancer for an entire year before she died.

As I sat here and read through the posts, some written by her, some by her husband, friends and children...it just made me so angry. Why, God? Why would You allow something like this to happen? Why would You allow these children to be without their mother? Why did she have to suffer so much?

I just sat here with a knot in my stomach and tears rolling down my cheeks. It just made me so sad. But in the midst of all the trials and pain and suffering, Andrea wrote these words:

I am sure that some of you are profoundly saddened by my passing. Death is far more about the living than the dead. But I believe in my whole heart that this is what was meant to be for us all. My friends rallied around us and supported us in every way imaginable. What an incredible gift. That was a lesson in selflessness for them. And in acceptance for my family. My children have many wonderful people to rely on. Their father, step father, grandparents, and friends. I have no doubt that they will be devastated. But in time these wounds will heal and reveal themselves to be battle scars that serve as a testimony to their inner fortitude. My children will move mountains.

Her children will move mountains. Sigh. She was sure of that. I thought that was so beautiful, so bittersweet. She was a woman full of faith, confident that her family would be able to make it without her.

Well, I'm just a mess right now. Thinking of this family...thinking of my family, my husband, my children. I'm thankful, Lord, for all that you have blessed me with. And I know there is a reason for everything that happens in this life. But there are some things I just don't understand. But I still love You and I will still praise You.



I didn't know I would be spending Saturday night in a cave. That is what it feels like being in the basement at Back to the Grind. A hot, muggy cave. But I coped. I was able to get myself together and finish three paintings. My sister said, "You will probably be driving over there and blowing the painting, making it dry faster."

Close, but not quite.

The event was at 8...we had to be there at 7...and I finished everything at 4.

B o o y a h.

I am the type of person that sets up alot of roadblocks in my mind. But if I use psychology on myself and tell myself I just need to take that first step...then it all of a sudden becomes manageable to me.

Wait. Doesn't everyone use psychology on themselves?

So I kept telling myself, "Self...you can do this. If you try, you can finish at least one. Don't let the night go on, wishing you had contributed something." Because I really hate that. I hate going somewhere and looking at the art and thinking, oh I so could have done this. I've had that happen to me many times over the years.

So I was able to finish three paintings. I am so proud of myself. You have no idea. This was monumental. Huge. For me, anyway. And I didn't have my husband help me in any way. When I was in college and swamped with projects, I will admit to cheating and allowing him to finish some of my paintings. One of them really stung, too. My painting teacher was all on my jock about this one particular project...he kept praising it to the class and he even took a picture of it. It stung because I had nothing to do with the painting. It was all Michael. He got me an A, thank you very much, but it makes me feel kinda crappy having to take credit for something I didn't do.

But whatever. This was all me.

Oh, one really cool aspect of the evening was meeting Punk Rock Mom and her familia. Cool people. It was kinda crazy down below, but we were able to hang out together upstairs and get to know each other beyond our blogs. Xixi was so happy to have a new friend as wild and crazy as she in The Phi.

I'm hoping I will continue riding this wave of creativity. It's kinda nice. I have a little somethin' somethin' coming up, so I am off to explore some ideas I cooked up. Whilst sitting in church, mind you. Where I was supposed to be studying the Bible and being full of the holy ghost...but I digress. Sometimes you can't control it when inspiration strikes.

This is my "Muertita"...this is the one Xixi almost destroyed. I kind of like where this one went. I now want to do a whole series of her.

Doesn't everyone have a picnic and eat a heart? Those that know me know that I collect Fiestaware...so of course my heart had to be chillin' on a Fiesta plate.

This one has to be my favorite. Not only because of what it means, but because I was able to use a figure drawing sketch from over fifteen years ago. And my beloved Loteria images.

Michael, trying to figure out how to hang my stuff onto brick walls.

My fork kept falling off. I know, very professional.

Michael's contribution to the night. He kept saying I took all the juice for the night. Heh. He's handsome. I'm a lucky lady.


You need some culture, yo.

So there's this art show going on Saturday night. If you like those groovy artists types...the ones who know all the indie college bands...are vegan...they paint their nails black...they wear those skinny skinny jeans...their hair is always hanging in their face...and they're really deep and tortured souls--you know those types, right?

We are so not that type.

A bunch of real people have gotten together to reach out to the community using the gifts they are born with in the form of Sandals Art Fusion...some poets, painters, musicians, photographers, sculptors, graffiti artists, live exhibitionists...they are all getting together this Saturday night @ 8 at Back to the Grind in downtown Riverside.

You should come! I'll be there. With whatever paintings I have managed to salvage from my youngest, who struck again today by damaging another painting of mine.


I'm excited. If you want more information, go here.

I think it would be a very cool way to spend Saturday night. You can have some coffee. You can get some culture. And you can meet me.


Support your local Riverside artists.


Eyeballin' and some sweet baby ray

Something very queer happens when you have lived and loved the same person for a long period of time. You become immune to the opposite sex. At least I have. When I am out, like most mothers, my full attention is on the chil'rens. I don't have time to scope out hot dudes. But, more poignantly, is the fact that I have grown incapable of believing that there are men who would find me attractive other than my husband.

I mean, why on earth would they?

I still have remnants of the six chil'rens I birthed--very unattractively...squatting...in a large black birth tub--tied around my gut. And it jiggles. I never wear lipstick. My legs resemble redwood stumps. I have a ton of freckles that make me look like a overripe banana which I refuse to call age spots. Oh. And there are lots of hot women out there with boobs that don't resemble sea cucumbers on the run.

But whatever.

So I'm at the grocery store today. With two of the chil'rens in tow (the dynamic duo--Diego and Sol...if I ever ask you to babysit this combination, run). I look like a mom that just took her kids to the dentist in the heat of the day, has to make lunch and is now contemplating whether she should buy chorizo or turkey bacon.

Denise, buy the turkey bacon...chorizo is tasty but disgusting and its manufactured in hell.

As I round out the corner, I pass this rather tall, black dude that looked kinda like 50 Cent with big muscular arms. I pass him, no big deal. So as I am standing there, trying to figure out whether I want to marinade the chicken on skewers with teriyaki for the fourth, this same man walks past me. Only he takes his time, he smiles at me with a little squint in his eye that I recognize from like, a million years ago...and he looks at me from the bottom...pauses at the middle...and then makes his way to the top before he makes eye contact with me.

Meanwhile, I am standing there, mouth open, like I am in the Twilight Zone or something...but still mindful of the boys pulling out all the coupons from those little machines and giggling and being the little heathens that they are. Having been caught off guard, I pull my gaze away to contemplate barbeque sauces. It takes me a full minute or so to realize I am still standing there, looking at the same bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory Brown Sugar. That dude was totally checking me and my butt out! Oh em gee. I look up and then he looks back at me, still smiling.

I think I broke out in a sweat mustache. Seriously.

It just always freaks me out when that happens. I get all flustered and I feel like an idiot. I am just so happy in my one man world that it throws me off kilter for a second.

And no, he wasn't ugly either! Obviously somethin' to blog about. Heh. Maybe this old girl's still got it. If I didn't have my granny nightgown on I would totally pop my collar. Holler.

Now that's funny.

La Llorona and other scary stuff...

I had a discussion on a message board today about things in our childhood that scared the poo out of us. There were lots of scary things that seem silly to me now but when you are a little girl, laying in your bed at night, these are the very same things that keep you from falling asleep peacefully.

Thinking back, my great grandma Amalia's tiny bedroom was a huge source of creepiness for me. She had a big scary picture of bloody, crucified Jesus. A variety of creepy looking saints with vacuous eyes. Herbs floating around in green alcohol. Candles. Instead of being a source of comfort to me, they were very dark and scary. When we spent the night at my grandparents, I refused to sleep in my grandma's room, much preferring to sleep upstairs with my aunties or on the sofa in the livingroom. Anything was better than sleeping in that dark room with the shadows, the bloody Jesus and the little old lady who made weird noises at night.

Ooooooohhweeeeeee, the Exorcist did me in. I absolutely hated that movie. Since it came out just a year after I was born, I was introduced to it not by the film itself, but by the soundtrack. My Dad had this record called "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield. I have no memory of this, but one of my parent's favorite stories to tell was when I was a toddler and we lived in an two-story apartment. My dad started playing his record and soon thereafter they heard my fat little footsteps stomping down the stairs. I walked right over to the record player and scratched the needle right over the record so it would stop playing.

"I don't like this song." I said.

And I don't, to this day. I can't say I've ever watched the movie in its entirety...but the bits and pieces in my memory are enough. The levitating...the vomiting...that scary voice. it's 10:38 at night right now and my kids are in bed and I keep looking over my shoulder, yo.

Then there is La Llorona. No night around the campfire, or walk out in the desert (where some family used to live--blackest of black nights out there, too), or a night of hide and seek could happen without a mention of La Llorona. It used to horrify me that a woman would drown her own children. And then it would horrify me even more to think she roamed the earth, searching for them, heartbroken. And looking for more children...like me. Ooooooooh, it scared me.

This Got Milk? commercial did this old beaner's heart good. And I love that she's eating a big fat piece of pan dulce! Like George Lopez says, save me some!


O mighty lime

My beloved Caucasian sister-in-law came over last night. She was amazed that her son, my youngest nephew, wanted a piece of lime that I was eating...she didn't think he would like the taste. So I gave him a little slice. He was lovin' it. He made the cutest little sour face and everything, but he refused to put it down.

"I just can't believe you are eating that!" She said to Seth.
I told her, "Cass...he is half beaner. Of course he's gonna like to eat limes!"

Heh. You just can't deny them indigenous roots. They run deep, yo.

I know...I'm pretty cute, right?

Mmmmmm, tia...you're right...this is the bomb!

Oooooooooohhh...that is some sour stuff! Now I gotta make my stinky face.

My tia must reeeeally love me cuz she shared some of her lime with me.

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