10.30.2008

Happy birthday, my dear.

My vato celebrated his 36th birthday today. So we went out for sushi, of course! We ate an obscene amount of albacore tuna. Mmmmmmm. We will take every opportunity to eat some good sushi.

They made him stand on a stool so the entire restaurant could sing him happy birthday. He is a good sport. If they had asked me to get up on a stool in front of everyone, I would have been like, hell to the no. Then they gave him a big bottle of Asahi so I could have my way with him later on. And I did, thank you very much.

Happy birthday, my love. May we spend many more together.




Out of the closet.


Well, I'm not focusing so much on what comes out of the closet but now that I have your attention, let's discuss closets.

The closet....sigh. The place where we are supposed to hang our belongings, but it's so, so much more. If you are a woman (or metrosexual...or gay), then the closet is a very important feature in your home. For some it is a great big bone of contention...this is your half of the closet and this is all miiiiiiiine.

I hate my closet. Really and truly hate it. It's dark. It's small. I have to share it with my husband and all of his roughneck, thug Southpole jeans that weigh a ton and bow the hangers. But that's not the worst of it. We used to have sliding doors on the closet but since my house was built in the 50's, they aren't the nice smooth sliding doors that you are probably envisioning. They would always fall off the track and Michael would get all pissed when he'd have to adjust them constantly. Finally he just took them down and said, "This is ridiculous! I'm buying new closet doors!" But if you knew my husband and his ADD...this could literally mean years without closet doors.

And it has been, my friends.


Defeated, I asked him to just put the old doors back up. But he can't because he either cut one of the doors in half or he painted on it, he can't remember which. And the other one is floating around the back yard somewhere. Sigh. My other alternative is to hang some curtains...now I'm just waiting for the rod to get put up.

Ahem.

This whole no-closet door business really chaps my butt. And I gotta say, without any prior knowledge of feng shui...it's totally messing up my feng shui. To walk in the room and have to see all the contents of your closet....ugh. It makes everything look so messy and ghetto. I remember the days when I could just shut the closet door on all the funk.

I hate to see dust bunnies, shoe piles, pants that you can't fit into anymore that have a layer of dust on the hanger, purses that you try to hide from your husband so he won't know how many you bought, dirty socks, yesterday's jeans, belts, ties, about a hundred pairs of flip flops and more dust bunnies. Seriously, it defeats me. It's totally impossible to have a clean-looking bedroom now.

In my next life I have decided to come back as Kimora Lee Simmons. Ahhhh, to be six foot tall, thin, amazingly beautiful and married to a filthy rich black man. I've seen her closets and chiiiiiiild, it's probably the size of my entire house. To think, little cubbies for all your shoes, shelves for your purses so you don't forget which ones you have in the dusty pile, nice hangers, enough room for all of your things and bright lights, so you can freakin' see. Oh, if only I could have leopard print chaise lounges like Kimora. Oh, and legs from here to eternity. Now that she is divorced from Russell Simmons (smiling and sayin' "HALF!!" just like Eddie Murphy's Uhmfufu in Raw), she is with another successful black man. Djimon Hounsou. That brother looks like an Adonis that's been dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. And that ain't a bad thing.

And so now I wait. I wait for the curtain rod. Or until we move into another house. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I have ruined it for myself by mentioning Djimon Hounsou and the semi-sweet chocolate.

Dang.

10.28.2008

Know thyself. Whose bright idea was that?


After reading a post over at Whittaker Woman, I started thinking about her question...am I a person who likes to shine or am I a person who hides their true feelings?

I have to say that I am definitely a hide type of person. It's not that I am cold (far from it), disinterested or snooty, although I have appeared this way to some. No, it is just a simple difficulty in expressing my emotions. Oh sure, I put alot out here on this blog but if you really think about it, it is a reality that I perpetuate. I have a sense of control in what I put out there. When you show your emotions, you don't really have any sort of control, do you?

I don't know how I became this way, really I don't. It's slightly alarming. I see myself taking after one of my parents...and I don't know how I feel about that.

I am the person who hates to cry in front of people. I don't know exactly why, but I get incredibly frustrated with myself if I cry in front of others. I guess you could say I feel it's a sign of weakness. Now, if someone else cries in front of me, I am touched, sympathetic, understanding of their pain. But if I cry...then I have shown them how much something really means to me, how much it hurts me, how much it affects me, how much it makes me feel...and I don't like that.

The last time I cried and was upset with myself for blubbering like a crazy lady was when we went to the marriage retreat a couple of months ago. As we discussed marital struggles and whatnot, I confessed my extreme frustration with the fact that my husband isn't always reliable with his time. He can say he'll be home "in half an hour" and in reality, walk in the door two hours later. And while I don't doubt that he was out taking care of business, it would still get me in a tizzy and I would walk around the house stomping my feet and slamming doors and rueing the day.

And then the lightbulb went off.


I remembered being a little girl, waking up on Saturday morning and waiting for my Dad to pick us up for his weekend visit. Nine a.m would pass--the time he said he would be there to pick us up--then ten would roll around, then eleven...then noon. And meanwhile there I was, breakfast eaten, dressed, braids done and backpack ready to go...waiting, waiting, waiting. And still no dad. It got the point where I no longer got showered and dressed and anticipated his arrival. I just lounged around in my p.j's defiantly, watching cartoons. Then when he showed up, he'd be exasperated with me and say, why on earth aren't you ready to go?

Because I never know when you are going to feel like showing up
, Dad! I would fume in my mind. But of course, I never actually said it.

And that is when I realized that while I was sitting around for Michael to come home, I was reliving some childhood trauma.

Oh crap, I have daddy issues.

And when the words came out of my mouth, my face got all scrunched up and my lip quivered, my eyes welled up with tears and I cried. Boooo hooooo. All ugly and shtuff. Sigh.

Geez.

Somehow, over the years, I learned how to bottle up my feelings. You could be a relative that I see every other day...you could be a really close friend...shoot, we can sleep in the same bed and I will have a hard time opening up to you. That's just how I am sometimes. Little by little, things are starting to come up and I am being forced to deal. But...when it comes down to it...it just hurts to feel. And I guess over the years as I have traversed these roads, I've discovered that this life is hard...and it hurts.

And I only feel comfortable letting my emotions out in manageable spurts. Is it pride? I don't know. Is it fear? Maybe. I just know that I am content to hide. I will leave the shine to my husband and the chil'rens, who also love to shine. I have one son who is like me. I see the familiar signs. It is too soon to tell with some of the others.

I don't want to sound like I have messed up relationships. I don't. I am close with family and friends. I'm just saying that it takes effort to show my emotions. But once you are in, you're in. I will hold you close to my heart. I just find it amazing how we continually grow as people...and how you learn more and more about yourself as the years go by.

10.27.2008

Moi's "House to House" tour.


I got the pleasure of sitting in front of Moses Navarro on Friday night for one of Moi's "House to House" tours. It was awesome.

The setting was very intimate. If you are like me, then music is a vital part of your life in terms of expression and knowing who a person is. We got the rare opportunity to listen to Moses talk about his music, what he was going through when he wrote the lyrics, how he goes about finishing a song. I asked him what kind of music he was into. That is always something I am interested in, what music musicians are into.

My favorite part of the night was when he sung in Spanish. I was blessed to have my boys there, as they are serious Moi fans. They know all his music. So it was really cool that we got to experience this together. Seriously, I probably could have sat there listening to him sing all night. It was beautiful to be outside, in the warm night air (it's still hot here in Cali), listening to Moi and watching the stars in the sky.

It was a really cool way to spend a Friday night.

10.24.2008

Pressurized, pigmented thoughts.

Besides when he is sleeping peacefully in our bed, laughing together with one of the chil'rens, I have decided that I love my husband the most when he is outside in the cool, night air releasing some of his soul with a can. I remember why I love him and why he loves me.




10.23.2008

Dia de los Muertos

The Day of the Dead festivities are getting ready to jump off for 2008. I'm excited. Come and check it out, I'll have some stuff in the show.

Holla.


Ever heard of a Peppermint Shower?


I'm feeling a bit better. Better enough to eat a little something and yell at the chil'rens about how the house is going to hell in a handbasket. A dirty handbasket, mind you.

But my butt is now as tightly sealed as a genie in a bottle, thank you very much. I now have control over my outgoing messages, if you get what I'm sayin'. I am very happy about that.

So the other night when I was at Target, I began to realize that as parents we tend to put our lovely children before all of our wants and needs. Well, at least that is how it appears. When I am out shopping, I will buy them new socks, shoes and chonies way before I would buy them for myself and Michael...the testimony to that being our stretched out, desecrated and holey chonies.

Take soap, for instance.

Michael has this obsession with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap. He loves that soap. Seriously. He got hooked on it a few years ago when I was really into natural products and I was concocting lotions and creams and shampoos and insect repellent and baby wipes and hemorrhoid cream in my kitchen like a mad scientist. I bought some in Almond to wash the babies in their bath and he liked it for his sensitive skin. But in peppermint. Apparently that is the only soap strong enough to cleanse him of his stinky man-ness.

But it's expensive.

Relatively speaking, it's not that pricey. For $14, I can get a 32 oz. bottle at Target. I've paid more for little tub of MAC eyeshadow--come on, ladies, we are all guilty of that one! I believe Trader Joe's is a bit less. But I guess I justify Dr. Bronner's being too expensive because I know I can pay less than five bucks for a billion bars of Lever 2000 and be done with it. When you are on a budget and you are buying Target brands for mostly everything, that $14 bottle of soap hurts.

But it makes the man so happy.

Personally, I try not to use the stuff. I've already weaned myself off of Dove soap (again, too pricey) which I used for years but I wasn't about to totally break down and use that nasty green soap (Irish Spring, I think it is) that my Mom used to buy. Made your skin all dry and squeaky. Ugh. But the Lever 2000, it is a middle ground that I am comfortable with.

If the Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap is around, I might use it for some spice of life. And if you've ever had a peppermint shower, then you know what I'm sayin'. When they say peppermint they are not kidding. First of all, it is strong. Michael laughed when I told him that it was slightly scary to scrub down the old lady parts with that stuff because it was so minty and strong. It was kinda like putting a peppermint candy...an altoid (the curiously strong mint), perhaps?... up in there. It was that minty.

So I stay away from Dr. Bronner unless I want to start off my day with a tingly, slightly burning, slightly alarming good morning from the old doctor.

So now I feel guilty. Now I have to go back and buy him his Dr. Bronner's soap. Apparently I can brush my teeth, scrub the floors, shampoo my hair and wash the dog with it. Who knew? Considering all that, $14 sounds like a serious bargain! Just don't waste your showering time reading the fanatical writing on the outside of the bottle...talkin' about ALL ONE! and Cleanliness is close to Godliness and all this weird stuff. For a while there, I was wondering if I was allowing some sort of Sparkly Clean Cult doctrine into my shower. You just never know, people. Apparently Dr. Bronner is just some crazy nut. A rich crazy nut who throws down with the soap-making but a crazy nut nonetheless.

Now I just rest in the knowledge that my man's pits are getting clean and beautified. And if I want the experience a Peppermint Shower, I know it is mine for the asking.

10.21.2008

What happens to a mom when her kids get sick

Last week we spent time with some friends at Disneyland. They had been struggling with this stomach flu bug. They even left early. In the back of my mind I was praying that we wouldn't get the germs.

Well, two days later Xixi woke us up to projectile vomiting. That night we had some friends over and Xixi walked right over to where I was sitting and threw up all over the floor and kitchen table. Yes. The kitchen table. You should have seen my friend Deanna jump up from her seat.

Normal people might have postponed their evening...perhaps we could reschedule over Panera or something snooty like that. But nah. Michael rushed her to the bathroom, cleaned her up. I was on my hands and knees cleaning up bits of peaches and pears off the floor. Then we just continued our time together like if a child didn't just spew chunks all over the place. And thank God Xixi didn't have any milk so the place didn't reek.

Then Sol got it. Oooooh, mom. My stomach hurts.

Yesterday, I went to Target and realized I locked the keys in the van. Dooood, I haven't done that in years. As I waited for my friend Richie to bring my keys, I sat outside munching on a bag of popcorn and a coke. A bit later my stomach started grumbling. Uh oh. Then my butt started grumbling. Oh noooooo. Please, please, I can't get sick right now.

I was sicker than a dog all night.

I was dying.  
I am still dying
I'm currently dead.

Hours and hours passed and my stomach felt awful. All I could do was lay there and moan and groan. I had some pretty scary stuff coming out of both ends. Sorry, is that TMI? Tis the truth, though. What really scared me was at 6:30 am when my butt couldn't batten down the hatches and I lost all control. Seriously. I was contemplating whether or not I could fashion a little diaper from the ones I have laying around the house.

And what is my thought during all this suffering? Maybe I can lose a couple of pounds in all this. The only thing I have consumed today is water, spearmint tea with honey and a pear. Hey, a girl can try. I have such a busy week this week. So many things to do in preparation for a wedding this weekend and all I can do is sit on my toilet and wait for this to pass.

I feel so nauseous and disgusting and I just wanted to share.

10.19.2008

Good looks + Wit = dangerous combination, so sayeth his Dad


Sometimes it sucks to have a son who has inherited your sarcasm and wit. And Daddy's good looks. It comes back to bite you in the butt during the most unexpected times. Like this morning.

Me, yelling, all shrill-like. "Diego, when you are done drying the dishes, you need to go to the backroom and pick up your blankets and cups and all your other stuff! I'm tired of cleaning up after you."

Diego, deeply sighing and rolling his eyes to the heavens, where they are gonna be when I smack them upside his head
. "Mother...sometimes I am very sad that you gave birth to me."

Me, head cocked to the side, eyes squinting slightly like,
oh no he didn't. "Oh, really? And sometimes I am very sad that I had to give birth to you, you ungrateful little beast."

Diego smiling, with a twinkle in his eye. "Touché, mother, touché."

Heh.

I love this boy.

10.15.2008

A funny.

There is one subject that I do not like to breach on this blog and that is politics. Yeh, I'll talk about Jesus...my anti-immunization stance...fat people...beaners...money (not havin' any)...church. But what I won't get into is politics. Cuz then it gets ugly.

I have no beef with Sarah Palin. I've been watching everything unfold just like a curious onlooker.

But I couldn't pass this up. It's hilarious. I love Diddy. I love his
No B*tchassness policy. But this...this is just pure comedy.

10.14.2008

We aren't your average Morgan or Taylor


Like Three Boys One Mommy, I want to explain the how's and why's of naming my brood of chil'rens...but pervs, stalkers, criminals, and baby stealers beware. I know of certain herbs that can kill you and it will look like you have died from natural causes. And I'm not afraid to shank you just like a chola in East L.A. I will surprise you by hiding my knife in my Aqua-Net feathers. At the very least, I can sit on you....and I'm a big girl so you don't want that.

Trust.

When I started having children, I had no idea I would just keep having them over and over again. I didn't think I would have to choose my children's names wisely. I didn't realize how many times I would have to write their names down on forms. Or how many times I would have to recite them to strangers. Seriously. Or more importantly, how many times I would have to yell it out day after day after day. And I didn't realize that I had inadvertently named three of the chil'rens with an "S' sound, so I would constantly confuse the three and frustrate myself in the process.

When I was pregnant with my first, I remembered this girl I played softball with. She had a little brother named Noah. I thought it was the coolest name ever because at that time, no one was using this name and it was really unique and different. It really had nothing to do with the fact that Noah was the only holy man God could find so he spared his life and told him to build an ark. Although it made for a very cute nursery. I just remember thinking, I will name my baby that, if I ever have a boy.

Oh, to be young and naive again. Little did I know how I would be quite a big producer of testicles in about ten years.

So when Noah was born, there was no confusion. He would be Noah. I love the name, even though there are usually about four other Noah's whenever we go anywhere.

When I became pregnant with another set of testicles, I was sure of his name, as well. Diego. Of course, after Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. It had such a beautiful, cultural ring to it. And it was unlike any name I had heard. Oh, how I despise to hear go, Diego, go! He hates it too. That cartoon came out way after he was born. That name is so powerful that one of my best friends named her son Diego as well. And another one of my oldest homies said if she had another boy, she would name him Diego, too. One thing is for sure, when you meet Diego, you won't forget him.

When my third son Solomon was on his way, I was testing out three names. One of them was Boaz. Yeh, it's biblical but I couldn't help but see him on the playground later on, surrounded by a crowd of kids laughing and calling him "Bo's ass!!". So that one obviously wouldn't work. The other name was Esai. But that didn't fly because Michael knew I always drooled over Esai Morales from La Bamba. Thumbs down. Bummer.

The interesting thing about Solomon was I had the biggest crush on a boy with name all through high school. But that wasn't why I named him that. It was a coincidence, albeit a strange one. I worried that this little baby wouldn't be able to carry a big name like Solomon. But now that he is eight, it suits him perfectly. My little wise king.

When our fifth son rolled around (the oldest is named after Michael so that's not very exciting), I was fresh out of ideas. I had some room to be creative. I wanted to continue on with the theme of naming them after famous artists but I just wasn't feeling Pablo or Vincent or Salvador or Henri or Egon or Gustav or Arshile.

I actually liked the name Sage. What can I say? I was deep into my herbal studies. Sage means "to heal". Sage is what you burn when you want to drive out evil spirits. But Sage didn't catch on. Too granola, perhaps? Everyone thought it sounded like a girl's name. Whatever. Then I started pondering colors and that's when Cyan came up. Cyan is the color aqua, or a blue-green. And that, my friends, is my favorite color. The color of the ocean. What drives me nuts is when people pronounce it like cayenne. No, it sounds just like si-ann. And don't worry, he makes his name sound masculine because he has alot of thug in him. He got it from his daddy.

Then the heavens opened up for me and I was blessed with a female child. Yes! A girl. No more balls to wipe. I was all excited. Until that first sticky, black meconium diaper that I had scrape off my daughter's goodies. Then the balls were looking mighty fine. I had Maya's name picked out for about nine years. I waited and waited to use it. I threatened excommunication with anyone who was ready to have a baby girl and even thought about that name. That was my girl's name. End of story. Pablo Picasso had a daughter named Maya. That is who she is named after. A cool little story...Maya is taking an art class right now and she actually studied that painting. She told the teacher, "Hey, that's Maya. Just like me!"

And last but not least, there is Xiomara. How do you pronounce it? With an "s" sound...if you are feeling particularly indigenous, then use the "sh" sound. But around these parts, she is Xixi (ceecee) or Peaches (that's what her daddy calls her). For this one, I had to consult baby name books, particularly Aztec names. But I just couldn't name my daughter Xochitl or Coyolxauhqui. I considered Noemi (sounded too much like Noah) and Nayeli (I still like that one). But Xiomara sounded beautiful and different and I loved what it meant: ready for battle. Even though no one can pronounce it, I love it. And it mama is happy, then everyone is happy.

I love all my children's names because they represent who they are as people. And they have blossomed into these wonderful little beings. They have inhabited their names. They are all unique enough to carry the weight of them.

Imagine me in a bunk bed


My oldest spent the weekend with one of his tia's this weekend, frolicking away without a care in the world. The first thing he did when he walked in the door was complain.

"Mom! Everything is a mess! Why didn't you clean? I leave and then come home and everything is a mess again!"

I'm like, excuse me?

I don't remember exactly what I said to him, but it was something to the effect of, I did clean the house and if you want it even more clean then do it yourself you ungrateful little beast.

Something like that.

But I feel you, my son.
We are alot alike. I can clean all day and still feel like everything is a mess. Which isn't that difficult when you have six chil'rens running around. Noah's thorn in his side happens to be his brother, Diego, who he has to share a room with. Diego is the most absent-minded, sloppiest child you will ever know. I can always trace Diego's steps because they go something like this...toilet left unflushed...toothpaste spit in the sink...towel on the floor...light on...shoes in the hallway...dirty socks on the dresser...three drawers left open...pj's on the floor...closet doors left open like the Sixth Sense...deodorant with the cap left off...because he lost the cap. Diego sitting in front of the computer with a distant look on his face, oblivious to the fact that you have yelled his name repeatedly.

That is Diego.

Sigh.

So we have come up with a plan. Noah and I joke that we are going to be each other's roommate. Then Daddy and Diego can share a room and be pig-pens together. Noah and I can bask in our neat and tidy room. And Michael and I can have conjugal visits.

Heh.

What? It could happen.

10.13.2008

Disneyland's infamous turkey leg


So we were back at Disneyland again last Friday. What can I say? We are trying to get our money's worth. But never again on a Friday night. There were so many people there, it was like walking in a cow stampede.

A highlight of the day was the "Turkey Leg". Yep, we broke down and decided to sample one of Disneyland's famous turkey legs. It was hilarious. As we are on the Midway at California Adventure, someone passes us by with this ginormous brontosaurus leg. Well, it looks like a brontosaurus leg but in reality it's turkey. But damn, where do they find turkey with such big legs I will never know. So we get an eyeful of the turkey and we're like, "OH! We are so getting one of those."

Since we only have half of our tribe that day, and we still had lunch ahead of us, we thought we would snack on a couple of them. A few bites of turkey to whet our appetites and we would be cool until a bit later. So I get first dibs. You know, being Mama and all.

Ooooooh.

The skin was all toasty and salty. The meat was so tender it tasted like ham. So I am tearing up that turkey leg like a lioness with her kill. It got so carnivorous and uncivilized that we had find a little spot on the bench and sit down. I couldn't walk and eat that thing...it would have totally broke my concentration. My little cubs were standing there whimpering beside me, waiting for their bite. No one dared get next to the big lion and his turkey leg and can you blame them? They would have pulled back a nub or something. After I got my fill, I passed the carcass over to the cubs, who ate that sucker down to the bone. And there I was, fat and satisfied...greasy hands and meat stuck in my teeth.

Thank goodness for floss, which I always carry in my purse.


So I would have to say after nine hours at both parks and only getting on eight rides...that turkey leg was definitely a highlight.

Modern Art 4 Kids


Since I have all the free-time in the world to do things that I don't get paid for, I decided to start up a new blog called Modern Art 4 Kids.

I'll be sharing all the art lessons and projects that I do in the classroom at our homeschool co-op and/or at home with the chil'rens. What I hear from many parents is that feel inadequate to give their child art instruction or they just don't want to deal with the mess and the added cost of supplies.

But what parents miss out on is the excitement and smiles from their children when you actually sit down and do something creative with them. All the projects I have done have captivated their attention, down to my 3 year old. If your kids are like mine, they absolutely love when they receive your undivided attention. They are incredibly teachable at that moment.

It's a bit easier for me, I know, since I have a ton of supplies on hand and it's a subject that interests me. I also have a mini-classroom in my home, with all these chil'rens to try out the projects. They are my ones who show me if a project is too challenging, too boring, or too complicated. Plus I get to work out all the little kinks of the lesson.

And believe me, they remember the artist's names. They remember the projects. If they see something on TV or in a book, they'll say, "Hey, I know that artist..." And art education is good for the well-rounded individual. They can only do so much writing and math and history in a day.

So I thought I would break down what I do in the classroom and give some samples of the artwork. I was inspired by blogs just like it that have really helped me with fresh ideas and lesson planning. I tweak some of their ideas and then make them my own.

So give a sister some love. And if this is a resource you can use, then that is totally cool and I have done my (unpaid) job. Heh.

Finally, some good music.

I'm really digging Jazmine Sullivan these days. On "Need U Bad", she sounds like Lauryn Hill. And I am a diehard fan of Lauryn Hill, so me likes.

I also like her other track, Bust Your Windows. If you peep the video, she uses her boyfriend's own spray cans on some artwork. Hmmmmmph. Interesting.

Anyhoo, I'm diggin' it.

10.10.2008

Homies


Cyan and his cousin Tristen are best buds. They are like beans and rice. Peanut butter and jelly. Spaghetti and meatballs. Corona and lime.

Homies.

They have their customary beefs, but for the most part, they really get along and they like to spend time with one another. Cyan is the one who usually goes away on his little sabbaticals and spends the weekend with Tristen. He revels in a world where there are only two other children around. Then on Sunday when they are sick of each other, he will come home.

They are very mischevious. So when I see them together, ages 5 and 6, I think of what they will be like when they are 15 and 16. Will they still be close? Will they be there for one another? Will they be into the same things?

Either way, I'm glad for their closeness. I had my kids before my sibs had theirs, so I'm glad my younger ones get to have cousins that they can spend time with and grow up with, like I did.

Until then, they get to hang out and thug the little girls in the family, since they have Little Man Syndrome. They both have five older cousins/brothers that thug on them all the time. So they resort to picking on the girls. Chumps.

They are pretty cute, though.

10.09.2008

More fat-girl fashion education for you.

Another hazard of being a fat ass besides gallstones, chub rub, cellulite, involuntary jiggling and a sweat mustache is...high heel wearing. High heel pumps are of the devil.

High heels hurt. High heels make me feel like I might die at any second. Fall. Or shatter the heel of the shoe like a glass pebble.

I have never been a high heel wearer. Even when I was about fifty pounds less than I am now. I walked like a duck, kinda awkward...almost like I had a stick up my butt. There was just no graceful way for me to walk in them. And they hurt so, so bad.

I wore these hideous red-dyed pumps because I was a bridesmaid when I was 12. Then when I turned 17 and I went to my prom, I wore black suede pumps. But I was so drunk at the time I don't remember them being uncomfortable. And that is it. My 20's were a gloriously comfortable time spent in Vans and Converse. When I was feeling sassy, I wore a chunky platform. Nothing higher than two inches. So you see, high heels have always been the enemy.

As I got older I began to realize that one of the reasons why high heel pumps were so uncomfortable for me was because of my booty. And thighs. All that weight zeroed in on the poor ball of my foot and toes. Ouch. No wonder they screamed in protest. No wonder you see a skinny itty bitty like Sarah Jessica Parker running around Manhattan in them.

Cuz she is a skinny itty bitty.

You will never pair the words skinny itty bitty with my name. Ever.

Now, I have to say, I have seen big black girls, 250 lbs. or more, rocking stilettos. You go girlfriend. Yeh, half of their toes are hanging off the front like a claw but nevermind all that, they are brave enough to rock them. Big booty and ev'rythang. Me, not so much.

I think high heels are gorgeous. They have such beautiful styles. I read InStyle mag, I'm not completely backwards. But they are not beautiful enough to make me want to wear them. So I admire them from afar. Because I know I would barely make it out to the car wearing them.

My friend Maria Guadalupe Josefina has an infinite amount of high heels. I know because for the past two years that I have known her, I haven't seen her repeat a shoe. She is the queen of the inappropriate pump. Everyone can be in flats or flip flops and there she is, rocking a stiletto. But she looks damn good. But even she also carries some flats and/or sandals in her bag. Cuz she ain't no fool.

Somehow I have survived fashion-wise. But sometimes, outfits and occasions demand that you wear a heel. Shooooot. At the end of this month I have a wedding to go to. Which is going to necessitate some high heel wearing. Come on, I'm not that much of a butch that I would wear flats to a wedding. I figure I'll be sitting alot...sitting there looking cute. So I won't be on my feet that much. So I just might survive in a pair of pumps. But if I get up to dance to pee or they have a buffet, I'm screwed.

So I went out tonight to find a basic black shoe. And scored on a kitten heel. I was being realistic, of course. I can only tolerate a kitten heel. Nothing flashy, just a basic black so I could float under the radar. None of that, Oooooh, honey, look at that big girl. She is awfully brave! Ahahahahaha.

Um, no.

So because of my extreme meatiness, I will not ever be able to wear a shoe like this except in my fantasies.


Instead, it appears I am destined to wear shoes like these below. And don't bag, these are the actual Madden Girl shoes I bought tonight. I am grateful for that kitten heel, fo sho.


Bam. How you like me now?

It was kinda happening...


Horror flicks. I don't watch 'em. Don't like 'em. Not even the hottest eye candy can make me want to sit down and watch blood, gore and torture. My mind can't escape to a happy place in this instance.

I am the biggest baby when it comes to horror flicks. My old heart can't take them anymore. Sure, I used to watch them when I was a kid. I remember A Nightmare on Elm Street...Halloween...Friday the 13th, all the oldies but goodies. I also remember being scared out of mind while everyone watched The Hills Have Eyes. Oh, and The Exorcist. Shiver. I don't think I have ever been able to sit down and watch that movie in it's entirety.

I guess my fear for all horror flicks started when I was about five or six years old, when my Dad thought it would be a good idea to scar his children for life and make them watch Night of the Living Dead. A film in black and white with practically no special effects and it was terrifying. That movie kept me from sleeping peacefully for months. Not to mention a huge fear of cemeteries. To this day when I drive past the cemetary on Palm, I feel a tiny bit of anxiety. Even though I know that nothing there can hurt me....childhood scars, ain't it somethin'.

They just don't make me feel good in my spirit. They grieve me. They make me feel sick for humanity. And they scare the living ish out of me. So the policy is...we don't watch horror flicks in our house. There will be no watching of The Grudge, Saw, Hostel or The Ring in my crib. Oh, no no no noooooo.

To me, scary movies are M. Night Shyamalan movies. Just the right amount of suspense, fantasy, no blood or gore, no one torturing another human being. But I can still be a little excited and squirm in my seat. Signs is one of my all-time favorite movies. I hear some of you laughing.

His movies suck. Those movies aren't even scary.


That may be true, and in the case of Lady in the Water, it was definitely true. But you have to realize they are scary to me cuz I don't watch all those other hard-core movies. My palate for horror flicks is pure, if you will. So when Michael rented The Happening, I didn't really want to see it. Not that I don't watch R rated movies...do ya'll think I'm that much of a holy roller? No. It's just that I've seen his other movies and they were just the right amount of scary. What would he put in there that pushed it to an R?

Hmmmmm.


Ok, so I watched it. Of course, after all the chil'rens are in bed. With all the lights out. It starts going down right away, when homegirl stabs her own neck with her hair stick thingie. Even with that, Michael couldn't stay awake. So I was watching it essentially alone, in the dark. I was a little bit scuuuuuurrred. It's kinda freaky to watch people harm themelves. And that old lady in the end that bashes her own head against the glass....that was disturbing. Seriously.

Don't laugh!


That night, I didn't feel comfortable sleeping with the window wide open, like I usually do. All that freakin' wind. I felt kinda vulnerable. And my husband is a sadist and he loves to tease me.

Overall, it was an okay movie. Not as good as The Sixth Sense or Signs but not as cheesy as Lady in the Water. Just a little bit of terror to make things exciting. An old lady needs some excitement every now and then.

So alright sickos, what is your favorite horror movie?

Goodbye little brown tooth....

The brown tooth has finally fallen out.

Yesssssss.

You just don't know how long I've been waiting for this. Probably ever since it turned this ugly shade of doo-doo brown when he was about three years old. The dentist said it could have been caused by anything, something that happened in the womb, vitamin deficiency, the trauma of banging his tooth on the floor...whatever it was, it cause my baby boy's grill to turn ghetto. So I've been waiting. And that ugly thing is finally gone.

The little brown tooth neighbor is no longer.

Hooray!

10.07.2008

Art created with oil pastels on paper

Every week I have to come up with a new and exciting art projects for my students at our local homeschool co-op. Since I have several returning students, I have to come up with something new each semester. It's challenging, but I am realizing that I give them projects that I love to do myself. This is now my third year teaching art, and I have to say, I have grown to love it.

I never thought I would get excited watching what the kids come up with, but I do. I never considered myself an art teacher, or a teacher period. But something comes alive inside of me when I share about something I love. And I definitely love art and the creative spirit. And as much as I like to complain in the planning stages, it's fun thinking up something exciting to create.

It is the last class of the day, so the kids are usually loosened up enough to let their creativity soar. Since my art class has doubled in size, I have to come up with projects that we can do in under an hour, on a budget--and it has to be fun!

In the past we have done lots of painting projects but with a big class, it seems a bit too daunting for me. So we have worked mainly with collage, color pencils, tissue paper and oil pastels. I've never been a fan of pastels, but oil pastels are totally different. It has the consistency of a fat, waxy crayon, but the colors are rich and deep and amazing!

So each week when I had to prepare samples, I found myself getting carried away with the whole process. Normally, I do a quick sample, so the children can have an idea of what the project should look like. But I will admit, I take my time. I get into it. It's like therapy for me.

And ya'll know how much I need therapy.


It all started out with Modigliani elongated portraits. I started fooling around to create a sample and ended up really liking the effect on black paper.


Then of course Michael had to get involved and do his own self-portrait. I hate it when he blows me out of the water, with barely even trying!


So I got to thinking, why not do a series for Dia de los Muertos? Freehand, no sketch, primitive looking, on the black paper. I like how they turned out. So I just kept going.

Of course, I couldn't leave out Frida. She has a nopal on her forehead!


The third in the set of four...this one is a little off-centered but it's still cool. I'm working on the fourth.

The chil'rens became interested in what I was doing, so they asked if they could do one of their own. I really like the way Noah's turned out. He was very proud of himself. Art is your blood, baby!

This is today's project. We studied Gustav Klimt and his "Golden Phase". Of course I neglected to say that underneath all of his beautiful decorative nudes and gold ornamentation, he drew pornography and that is why he never got public commissions. He was a perv. But I digress. This is one of those samples that I really got into. We used magazine cut-outs of women (head and arms only) and thank goodness for my collection of Instyle mag! We glued them down and then used oil pastel, prismacolor pencils, and gold tissue paper. I love mixed media projects. This one turned out so well I think I may try a couple in this style.


10.05.2008

The Sabbath


Today is Sunday. Sunday mornings are the hardest for me.

If anyone out there is a church-goer, than you will agree with me that there are huge obstacles set before you on Sunday the minute you wake up. Almost like there is this unseen force that wants you to stay home and be bitter all day long. Some of those obstacles for me...someone has wet the bed, spilled a big bowl of cereal, crying and fighting squabbles, someone can't find a pair of socks or we have run out of toothpaste. Maybe the tires on the van are flat, or the stupid thing just won't start. The dog got out of the fence and is wandering the neighborhood. My hair dryer decides it wants to stop working. I can't find the car keys. Or I can't find my white cami...the only decent white cami I own...the one that's not stretched out...the one that doesn't have the italian dressing stain on the front...the one without the pit stains...the one that sucks in my gut. That cami.

And I know that sounds like just everyday living and for me it certainly is. But Sunday mornings pose a hardship for me because my husband is usually up and gone before 7:30 am. He has to be at the church for prayer, going over his notes, meeting families, setting up, etc. That leaves me with the task of getting six chil'rens dressed and decent for church. And on time.

This is no small task.

No matter how much I try to prepare the night before, it's still rough. Everyone bathes the night before, outfits are laid out, socks and shoes and belts are found. All that is left to do is tend to the heads lined up to be combed, a hundred reminders to brush teeth/put on deodorant is yelled out, big brothers make toast or set out bowls of cereal...times six. Despite my best efforts, the morning is still chaotic.

And in the midst of all that, there I am trying to shade in my eyebrows, spackling my face, looking for that stupid white cami, and wondering what would be the quickest hairstyle to fix and what other shortcuts I could make for myself.

It's always a mad dash.

There have been days when we are getting off the van at church and I discover that one of the boys is wearing flip flops that are too small for him so his heel is hanging off the back...or one of the girls has unraveled her hair...or someone decided to deviate from my strict policy of wearing the clothes and shoes that I have laid out (yeh, I know, control freak) and now looks like a ragamuffin. But at that point, what can be done?

Sigh.

But looking back, it was definitely worse when they were smaller. My mornings (or pretty much anytime I had to leave the house) revolved around when I had to breastfeed. And nine times out of ten the babies would decide they wanted to take a huge dump the minute we were buckling them up in their carseats.

At that time we attended a very small church where my husband did announcements. That was crazy. I would be sitting at the back of the church, trying to keep three little boys under the age of three quiet so we wouldn't cause a huge disruption, all with a newborn hanging from my boob. It wasn't fun. I would come to church every Sunday with a humongous headache and a strained smile on my face. Meanwhile, there is my beloved husband with a blissful smile on his face, greeting everyone and happy it was Sunday.

Grrrrrr.

So yeh, it's definitely gotten easier. But I have found that the churches I attend aren't far enough away to give me enough time to compose myself. I need at least a few blocks to breathe in and breathe out. Put some lipgloss on. Wipe off my sweat mustache. Switch from yelling at the chil'rens to the sing-song "I love you!" as I drop them off in Sunday school. And then once I see my beloved husband with the blissful smile...not want to chop his sweet head off.

'Tis the truth.

Apparently I am not the only mom who feels this way. When you have a husband who serves in ministry, it's just a job hazard. But it's complicated. I want to be excited when Sunday rolls around. I really do feel God working on my heart in this area. But it's slow going because I am such a sinner. And I'm good at it.

Until then, I drive very slowly on the way to church...to get all the kinks out...I pray even though my nature rallies against it...so I won't feel like a huge hypocrite as I walk in and smile piously at all the other church members when just two minutes before I was contemplating decapitating my husband.

See...I told you I was good at sinning.

10.04.2008

Hello, Shia.


I'm not a chick that really digs action movies.

I've been known to fall asleep. Yes, asleep amidst the gun shots, screaming and car chases. Or I go to my happy place, and start searching for certain colors, lighting, the color of women's eyeshadow, what the extras are wearing, furniture in the background. Whatever keeps me occupied during the 90 minutes of husband-inflicted torture.

But one thing that makes an action movie tolerable is eye candy. Oh, yes, sexy man eye candy. It is what's made me sit through Vin Diesel movies, Brad Pitt movies, Will Smith movies, Mel Gibson movies, Keanu Reeves movies, etc. etc. You get my point.

So on Friday night after dinner at Pietro's Italian food where we reeked of enough garlic to scare off a thousand vampires, I went to the movies with my sister and her husband. Yeh, I totally don't mind intruding on someone's date night. It's family, yo.

This fat hamster was getting off the wheel for the night and wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Seeing as how they invited me...and they paid my way...I certainly wasn't in the position to complain about type of movie. I was down for Burn After Reading or Lakeview Terrace. Shoot, I would have watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua if given the choice. But alas, African/Caucasian brother-in-law wanted to see Eagle Eye.

So Eagle Eye it was.

And let me just say. I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was cool. But I especially love when I discover that an actor I've seen in the past has grown up and gotten some mojo. Seriously. Shia LaBeouf...um, yum.

I remember when he was in Holes. He was a little dork with a 'fro. Then when I saw him in Transformers, I thought, hmmmm, he is growing up. But still, it didn't move any mountains for me. Then I recently saw him on the cover of GQ and I was like, whoa.

Hello, Shia.

What's kinda creepin' me out though is the fact that he was born in 1986. Which makes him a puppy. A 22 year-old puppy. In 1986, I was teasing my hair with Aqua Net and wishing I had a boyfriend that drove a mini-truck. So all this Shia lusting kinda has me feeling a little cougarish. Slightly hey-little-boy-want-some-candy?

It's okay though. Come to mama, Shia.

10.02.2008

Yum yum eeeeeeeeat 'em up!


If you value your health and you enjoy not having a fat, dimpled ass and a gut...then stay away from these Dunkers. I'm telling you. They are the devil's snacks. Chewy oatmeal cranberry dunkers with white chocolate drizzled over them.

Mmmmm.


they see me rollin'...they hatin'...






Darn bike!

So this is what we learned. The bigger you are...the slower the bike. The smaller...the faster. When Noah got on it...after I yelled at him to put on sweats, socks and shoes and his Dad's dirtbike helmet (don't worry his head is big enough)...he was having a hard time taking off slowly. Then in the rush of a fast moving bike, he didn't know how to push the break. So he crashed into the curb. I heard it from down the street. I should say he didn't crash, the bike did. Michael grabbed his shirt and pulled him off the bike after he popped a wheelie and it headed for the curb.

So now the rear bumper thingie is broken.

Muahahahahahahahahhahahaa.

Just a few more pieces and eventually the entire bike will fall apart, right? Hmmmph. Maybe it can take more abuse than that, who knows. I hate that freakin' bike. It's so dangerous.

Send me some fruit.


Everytime I see those Edible Arrangements commercials, I start fantasizing about how crisp and delicious they must taste. Mmmmmm. I am a total fruit fiend. I don't think there is a fruit I don't like, which isn't all that surprising.

Pineapple...honeydew...cantaloupe...strawberries...grapes...ooooh.

And they are cut in all these cool shapes, made to look like flowers. But seriously, who sends these to people? This stuff is expensive--I looked it up! There is no way I would send a $79 bouquet of some cut-up fruit. I don't know, maybe I've been poor for too long. Is it a Caucasian thing? Because if brown people thought up this business then the bouquets would have mango, cucumbers, coconut, watermelon and jicama, drenched in lime juice and dusted with salt and chile. For reals.

And you won't get it delivered to you in some fancy package. The frutero will come cruising past your driveway in his little cart, ringing his bell and making everyone's mouth water like one of Pavlov's dogs. And it sure ain't costing me $79.

Sure, I'd love to get one but I don't think I know anyone who would send it to me. Come on, help a big girl out. We don't need gifts of See's Candies and St.Arbucks...we need some fruit so we can binge and not feel guilty afterwards.

Oh, and hook my bouquet up with some chocolate.

I'm just sayin'.

10.01.2008

Inspired by the artwork of Sylvia Ji

Sigh.

So I found a new artist to jock. And I mean, seriously jock.

I am fond of looking at people's art online from all over the world. Why are there so many talented artists right here in So Cal? It must be in the water or something.

I've been seeing these beautiful, haunting images of beautiful women and when one of them popped up on the cover of L.A. Weekly during the week of September 11th, I was super excited.

Sylvia Ji.

Oh em gee. Everything I love about art...her clean, detailed illustrator's technique...amazing use of color...beautiful, ornate Art Nouveau style in the spirit of Gustav Klimt....beloved Dia de los Muertos iconography...it just speaks to me. I am the type of artist that can work a theme over and over again, and explore it tirelessly--and I never get bored. That is what Sylvia does.

Her work has this arresting quality...it's haunting and sensuous. Something about it really grips me. What really drives me to mental instability is knowing that no matter how many years I spend refining my craft...no matter how hard I try...no matter how much formal training I receive...I will never be that artist.

Why?

Not because one artist is better than the other but because each artist is infused with their own style. Something that pours from their soul and is borne from life experience, culture, influence and that delicate ability to translate what is in the mind...to their hands. We all have our inherent style. We are all unique in our own right. So Sylvia Ji could never be like me...and I could never be like Sylvia Ji.

And that sucks butt.

Cuz she is that good.

Until then...we wait for April of '09, when she shows in L.A. again.







Just kill me now.
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