Later, 2008.

You kinda sucked butt.


This was the year of financial crisis. The year I invented "Bean Week" i.e. the last week of the month where I serve up beans in a 101 different ways. All wants, desires, vacations, plans, repairs, upgrades....a distant memory. I was very scuurrred.

This was the year I discovered that marriage wasn't all starry eyes and love poems. The eleventh year was tough.

Like, dear-Lawd-dear-Lawd-what-did-I-get myself-into tough.

This was the first year I realized some counseling would do me a world of good. This was the year I had to decide whether I was in this marriage for the long haul, despite all the bumps and bruises along the way. It's easy to love someone when everything is going well. Its a true testament to your commitment when all things appear to be in the $hithole...and you've decided to stand your ground and continue loving your spouse.

This was the year of some strained relationships. Ya'll know I'm not good at conflict. Hence, the need for some counseling. Whether it was family or friends, I'd just like to continue burying my head in the sand. It's really comfortable down there.

This was the year of another church upheaval. For whatever reason, I've been through a few of them and they are really traumatic. They make you question your faith in God and His people. Worst of all, it makes you question yourself and your judgment.

It is due to what I have written here and many unsaid things that make me very happy that I don't have to live 2008 again. But it was not without many good moments. Some highlights...

Discovering my art once again. It has been a lifesaver for me. I guess it's no coincidence that one of the hardest years of my life was also the year that I began painting again. That is proof to me that it's something I need to survive, to make this life seem livable.

Going to San Francisco and seeing Frida. I don't know if it was the actual traveling with a good friend or seeing real Frida Kahlo paintings...either way, it was a beautiful adventure that I will cherish for a very long time.

Reconnecting with my stepson. Even though we've only seen him two times this entire year, I'm thankful for it. I'm praying that with this new year, Mikey will mature enough to realize that he has another family that loves him, despite what he is being told. Also, that he would stand up for himself and tell him mother that he wants to see his Dad again.

Health. The chil'rens have been healthy, both mentally and physically. They are strong. They are well-loved.

My marriage. Even though there are days when I just feel like chucking giant-sized lemons at the back of his head--and I got good aim, I used to play baseball with dykes--I really love Michael. A curious thing happens after you have been together with someone for a long time. Despite the fact that your heart and mind cry out at some injustice committed against you...your body--your flesh--it responds to the one you love, who you have committed yourself to in marriage. It happened one afternoon a couple of weeks ago.

I was steamin' mad at Michael for some reason. A couple of hours later, he came to pick me up at my mom's house. The minute he got off the car and I looked at him, my heart just leaped and I wanted to cry...I realized how much I loved the man. That no matter what goes on between us, we will always have this bond, this cleaving to one another. I suppose that is why God says that the two will become one flesh. And I can't hate my own flesh, now can I?

All in all, I can say that 2008 was a year for tremendous growth. And growing pains. I've had enough of them for a while.

Feliz Año Nuevo! Be safe.


"More Ovaltine, please!"

Ever since the endless amount of rain last week, we've been plagued by ants. They have invaded my pantry. Every morning I hear Michael cleaning it out, spraying them dead, wiping it all up. Me, I'm cool with ants. I can peacefully coexist with them. I can smoosh them with my hands, no biggie. They don't gross me out.

As long as they aren't roaches or mice, I'm good.

But these ants have crossed the line. They are starting to invade my food supply. And you don't mess with a large family's food supply.

I thought I would be a nice mama and buy a tub of Ovaltine. A compromise of some sorts between the Nestle Quik and/or whatever chocolate syrup you put in milk. See, Ovaltine has vitamins and minerals mixed with the sugar and chocolate. And since I have a butt load of chil'rens, I had to buy the huge, industrial tub of Ovaltine. Cost me like, eight bills. I wasn't about to have the same thing happen to my .99 box of brown sugar happen to my $8 tub of Ovaltine. Shoot.

These are tough economic times.

I warned the chil'rens that they should put the tub of Ovaltine in the fridge since I knew those crafty little ants would be gunning for the Ovaltine. So it has been safe. Up until Sunday. Solomon routinely chugs cups and cups of milk with Ovaltine when he thinks I am not paying attention. Foolish child...doesn't he know all mama's have eyes in the back of their head? Well, he got sloppy. He left it out in the pantry. So Sunday afternoon, as we all came home from church ready to gnaw our arms off--a very regular occurrence, mind you--he discovered his beloved tub of Ovaltine was crawling with ants.

There was minor hysteria. "Oh, no!! The Ovaltine!!!"
Sigh. "Solomon, I told you this was going to happen."

So I grabbed the tub and surveyed the damage. I saw about five or six or ten ants crawling around the top layer of the chocolate crystals. They didn't quite attack the tub, although they were well on their way. So I had to make one of those quick decisions on my feet. Throw away a 3/4 full tub of eight dollar Ovaltine....or chalk up a handful of harmless ants as protein in our chocolate milk.

Like I said, these are tough economic times. After I swirled the Ovaltine around...it's like the ants disappeared. There. Problem solved.

Anyone want some chocolate milk?


Young grasshopper...

I'm afraid I have been a little too unkind. I have created a little monster, it seems. I didn't think it would get this far. But it did.

There is this ongoing joke between my little bro and I that I would train my girls to hate all of his girlfriends. Being the mature, older sister I obviously couldn't do the hating myself. But I assured him my girls would give his lady friends a hard time. Just cuz. I'm a brat like that.

For years, I have heard my family talk about how I almost ran Caucasian sister-in-law out of town when I found a piece of paper in my brother's room that she wrote him, scrawled with little girl writing, Call me! 555-0283. I'm 18 now! Uh, yeh. No. I tossed it in the trash.

Obviously I must have lost my touch because it's eleven years later and Caucasian sister-in-law is still around.


Once, when I was about seven years old, I was spending time with my favorite aunt. She invited this ugly, red-headed dude to come over and "hang out". They took me for a walk, bought me an ice cream, all the while smootching and holding hands. Disgusting. I just glared at him underneath my bushy eyebrows. In the backyard, I was practicing my around-the-world twirls on a bar near the porch. This was where I performed "gymnastics". He and my aunt were sitting there giggling and talking. I did a twirl and kicked my leg out. Then I told him, in the deadliest tone my little seven-year-old tongue could muster,"Watch out. I might kick you in the face."

I have never heard the end of that one either.

And now this.

Xixi spent the night with her Grandma-mama and Josh had a female friend over. Xixi marched right up to her.

"Aw yooo his doyl-fwend?" She demanded. My Xixi translation book says, are you his girlfriend?

"Yes." The girl answered. I can just tell you right now, this isn't going to end well.

"You're ugleeeee! I'm gonna punch you in da face!!"

My poor little brother was horrified and shocked. And his lady friend was like, oh what a cute little girl.

"You're ugleeeee! You're ugleeeee!"


I take full responsibility. I admit, I laughed at first. I'm not proud of it. But that was something really out of character for Xixi. She isn't mean like this at all. And the way Josh reenacted it for me was hilarious. But then I felt bad. So the next day I took Xixi to the side and talked to her about it.

"Why would you say such mean things to one of Uncle Josh's friends?" I asked her.

"Cuz she was ugleee, mama." She said very simply. Not exactly the remorse I was looking for.

So I had to tell her it was wrong to treat someone that way. How mama was only joking about beating up his girlfriends. How she probably hurt the girl's feelings and embarrassed Uncle Josh. She nodded her little head.

But I have a feeling this won't be first or the last girl my daughter decides she wants to torture. With five older brothers, the possibilities are endless.


The woes of Christmas toys

The spur in my saddle.

The thorn in my side.

The pain in my ass.

The dreaded 1/4-inch princess shoe. Tell me why they don't make these with little heels so they can't be removed? It would save many a mother some sanity. Which I really need right now during this season of P.T.S.G.D..

Told you these stupid high heels were tiny. I'm positive this is another of Walt's schemes to drive us mothers to an early grave (the proof being how all mothers are dead in Disney films).

Look how much smaller they are in my hands. My carpal-tunneled, pre-arthritic artist hands that can't hold chopsticks without getting a hand cramp absolutely despises these little shoes.

But for this darling little chica, I'll grin and bear it.


My Christmas in Numbers...

10899: Number of oatmeal, chocolate chip, pecan supreme and snowball cookies I have eaten.

Number of times I threatened destruction to all Nerf guns.

5293984: Number of times a Nerf gun bullet has sailed past my head.

: Number of times I cursed the person who bought those blasted Nerf guns in the first place.

17: Number of small children under the age of 11 at Grandma-mama’s house on Christmas Eve.

17:11 Ratio of children to adults at Grandma-mama’s house on Christmas Eve. It was kinda loud. Present opening was chaos.

32548847: Number of times I have referred to myself as Jabba the Hutt because of all the holiday "overconsumption".

3: Number of belly rolls I discovered this morning (not counting back fat).

Number of times Xixi walked over to me, eyebrows knitted in concern, with her miniature princess dolls and asked me, “Mama, tan you do dis?? I tan’t do dis myself!”

688676649: Number of times I have put on ¼ inch-big high heels that belong to Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, Aurora and Princess Jasmine.

450: Number of my mama’s homemade tamales that I’ve eaten (not counting green chile and/or green chile with cheese).

48333985: Number of times I have stepped on a very sharp cookie cutter in the shape of a star and muttered a curse word under my breath.

590384776: Number of times I have fantasized packing up all these Christmas decorations and saying good riddance.

7813: Number of times I heard moaning, groaning, the sucking of teeth and heavy sighs when the chil’rens couldn’t get their new Guitar Hero to work on their PS2.

397: Number of times I have yelled out in exasperation—“No shooting each other in the face!!”

3: Number of Jabba the Hutt naps I took on Christmas day.

83475639903740: Number of times I had to refrain from slapping the taste out of chil’rens mouths who complained that they didn’t get everything on their Christmas list.

4: The number of movies I saw over a four day period...but I only paid for two.

626373: Number of times I have worn black yoga pants and furry boots without washing said black yoga pants.

25958476347994847: Number of times I resolved that I had to reform my Jabba-ish ways….yell less…love my family more…stop sweating the small stuff…be more sweet to my husband...enjoy this Christmas while my the chil’rens are still young and at home…and retire those poor black yoga pants.


Lettin' it grow...

I have always been considered the bohemian type. I think it's just the artist in me. If I could, I would just stop shaving my underarms, like a true bohemian.

Its such a laborious chore for me.

Then I would just be this hairy artist, eating cucumbers and wheatgrass and cultivating wild herbs in my backyard, while I listened to reggae music and painted.

When I was single, I threw caution to the wind and let it all grow out and get real funky. It was kewl. My mama thought I was a freak but at the time I didn't have a man so the only person I had to impress was myself.

And I was plenty impressed.

Not too many people are willing to let their pits grow out. It wasn't even that difficult. It wasn't stinky. It was very earthy and natural. Just like my beloved Frida in this picture. That is one sexy beast.

Not shaving would be a good thing for me. I have sensitive skin and unless I soak with warm water, use sensitive shaving cream and a brand new blade, I will get itchy red bumps. And that is not every earthy and natural, is it?

I wonder why not shaving is such a disgusting thought to Americans? Why do we have to walk this earth masquerading as people without hair follicles? How can being smooth and hairless like a little baby be the acceptable norm?

It just kinda spooks me out.

Wait. Did I go too far? Did I give up a little too much information? Was that TMI? Will you never look at me the same way again?

I don't care. Cuz my armpits are gonna be nice and toasty in about fourteen days.

b o o y a h

Grassy pics

Some of us...not all of us. Some day, I'll get all of us. Until then...

One more random thing...and funeral music!

I did one of those 16 random things you don't know about me on Facebook the other day. Silly things that people don't know about me, really. It's tough when you pretty much put everything about yourself and your idiosyncrasies out there all the time. But one thing I didn't list that is a biggie for me is this...

I am a huge Classic Rock fan.


Like flick your lighters, feather your hair and drive home in your Camaro huge. You gotta understand. I was a little kid in the 70's. My Dad was a pot-smoking long hair. What did you expect?

So I have an intense love for Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Doors, The Eagles, Crosby Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Doobie Brothers, Chicago, Black Sabbath, and The Beatles...I love 'em all.

I am requesting that a Led Zeppelin song should be played at my funeral.

Which one? Which one? Hmmmm, there are so many to choose from.

Since I've Been Loving You. Perhaps before any eulogies.

The Lemon Song. Ode to the fact that I have no enamel on my front teeth from eating too many lemons.

You Shook Me. Living through alot of earthquakes and all.

I Can't Quit You Baby. Or more appropriately, I Can't Quit Having Babies--cuz ya'll know I spent a good ten years of my life pregnant.

How Many More Times. What I always say to the chil'rens when I want to beat them with my shoe.

Houses of the Holy. Assuming we'll be in a church with all the holy rollers (since they are the most entertaining).

Ramble On. What the man tends to do when he talks about Rich Dad, Poor Dad or the 48 Laws of Power. Or Tupac.

Black Dog. Should--heaven forbid--someone mention I wasn't that into pets.

Going to California. Since I was a SoCal lifer.

Moby Dick. To remind everyone about the time Diego was going on and on about the book Moldy Dick and I about died laughing.

Livin' Lovin' Maid. Pretty much sums up my life, don't you agree?

Dancing Days. Since I plan on dancing in Heaven.

The Ocean. Because of my absolute love of the sea.

Kashmir. Cuz I loved that part in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Mark played this song on his date with that loose girl with a pool.

In My Time of Dying. Apropos for the occasion, I suppose.

All of My Love. No explanation needed.


Testify Tattoo

Check out my homie Joe's new blog over at Testify Tattoo. Even though he hasn't put a picture up of the tattoo he did for me, I ain't mad at you, Joe. Maybe he is annoyed with me cuz I haven't finished his painting yet.

My bad.

I still got love for this brother as an artist and a brother in Christ.

If you want a tattoo, he will hook you up.


"Heeeeeeere's Pearmama!"

It's safe to say that I've been suffering from cabin fever. I don't know how people in the Great Northwest deal with a rainy, grey climate day in and day out.


Waking up to the sun shrouded in clouds. Cold. Windy. Rainy. I mean, what is the purpose of getting dressed on days like this? Where is the motivation to groom yourself? I am blessed that I don't have to wake up early and go to work. Then for sure I would need some medicinal assistance.

Fo sho.

Since I am home all day without a car, I'm finding it a struggle to buckle down with the chil'rens and do their schoolwork. On Tuesday I didn't even bother telling them to get dressed--they stayed in their pajamas all day. All day. Why not just bundle in blankets, watch movies, stare at the Christmas lights on our little Charlie Brown tree, take naps and play concentration (which the boys whipped my tail at--my mind is already faltering!).

To combat the total lack of motivation to do anything (like wash my hair, put on a bra, etc.), I baked cookies.

Like, alot.

I baked double chocolate chip, chocolate chip and then some pecan supremes. I ended up with eight big bags of cookies. Am I planning on giving them away as gifts on Christmas? Not especially. I just felt like baking so I could give my home that warm, yummy smell. And believe me, we'll eat all of those cookies. After five hours, a backache and four 800 mg. Motrin, I threw in the towel.

And I've never eaten so much cookie dough in my life.

I still plan on making some bizcochitos (which almost made me faint because I paid $8.99 for a minute amount of anise seeds). And Snickerdoodles have also been requested. But I don't have any cream of tartar so those have been put on the back burner.

The next day I made albondigas soup.

The day after that I made rice pudding.

Today I am contemplating homemade tortillas and chile verde.


Did you hear that?

That was the poor little wicker chair that my ever-widening boo-tay is spread on.

I say contemplating because I totally cut my finger on a very sturdy piece of cinnamon bark that used in the rice pudding. I sliced it pretty good. Didn't know the cinnamon bark was capable of it. So the idea of kneading tortilla masa isn't very appealing right now. Also, tortillas are a venture that is best undertaken with other people around to help. And enjoy the tortillas alongside you.

To be totally honest, I think I have baked all these cookies and cooked all this soup and stirred all this rice pudding because if I didn't, my hands would be free to strangle all of my sweet, beloved chil'rens.

Strangle, I tell you.

But today I woke up to a little sunshine peeking out. There is some hope after all. I might not have to get all Jack Nicholson on their a$$es.



Excuse the way my spot looks...we are currently under construction here. Trying to make things a bit more personalized and fresh. My struggle is, I'm married to my webmaster so....things take a bit longer to get done than if I paid someone to do it.

But I have my methods. I ain't gonna lie...I use my feminine wiles.

My humps...my humps...my humps...my humps...check it out

Changes are comin' soon.


Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East Los Angeles

Did anyone catch this documentary, Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East Los Angeles, last night on PBS? I'm so glad I was able to see it.

To grow up in this Latino culture and then one day have it recognized as influential in the lives of people who make music is a very powerful thing. Validation. Watching this was like seeing a time line of my own family. And I began to better understand my roots and why certain types of music touch my soul.

My maternal grandfather was a Zoot-suiter.

My paternal grandparents followed the crops in Northern California before settling in East L.A.

My parents were born and raised in East L.A. during the 60's and 70's.

I grew up listening to Tierra, Thee Midniters, El Chicano, Santana, Malo, WAR, and Los Lobos because that is what my parents always listened to. I could never relate when my Latino friends spoke of listening to musica en español...of watching Spanish TV shows and movies because this is what was playing in my home. This beautiful hybrid.

Those were truly the sounds of East L.A...wafting out of kitchen windows...during weddings...quinceañeras...birthday parties...baptisms...Sunday afternoons...on the 4th of July, whenever there was a gathering of family and friends there was laughter, feasting and music. This music.

Watching this documentary was like listening to the soundtrack of my childhood. So it was good to see it, really good.

A girl's guide to cooking Mexican food just like her Abuelita

If you love cooking and you especially love cooking Mexican food, then by all means stop over at A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate. I am entranced by all her delicious recipes that take me right back to my Nana's kitchen when I was a little girl.

I'm also entranced by the beautiful writing she creates...stories and recipes and history lessons intertwined together. I find myself continually going back to this blog, to revel in memories, to appreciate my culture and to look at all the beautiful pictures of food!

La Green Lady

Excuse the crappy photo. I found it in a pile of stuff when I was cleaning out my closet. It's amazing what your mind files away and forgets. As I looked at this picture, lots of pleasant memories flooded back to me. I created this painting a long, looooooooooong time ago. Probably about twelve or thirteen years ago.

Yeh, it's a green lady. And she's carrying a heart.

I never got to finish it, as was usually the case when you are an art student and you have several projects juggling in the air. She ended up at Michael's apartment somehow. He lived at the top of the stairs. Anyone who walked up to his door was greeted by the green lady hanging in the window.

I heard she kicked all the hood rats and scandalous baby mama's to the curb.

You go, la green lady. Handle that.

I wish I still had it. I have no idea what happened to it. I would love to finish it. It's a great reminder of this all-consuming, possessive love I had for this tall, skinny dude with dookie braids.


"Mi amor, tu cafe con leche esta listo..."

I can't seem to sustain a coffee maker like a normal person. I break the lid, chip the glass, or lose something that's vital to the machine--either way it just doesn't seem to work out for me. Must be the fact that I am the queen of coffeemaker hand-me-downs. Whenever my mom or mother-in-love upgrade to a new coffeemaker, I get their funky, stained old one. Then I put it in the appliance graveyard, i.e. the cabinet behind my kitchen island. Then when garage sale day comes up, guess whats for sale?

"Hey, isn't that the coffeemaker I gave you?" My mom wonders aloud, eyes squinting. "You're such an ingrate!"

Buying a new, non-stained coffee maker just doesn't seem to be a big priority. What has been really working out for us is instant coffee. I know, I know...I can see you scrunching up your nose in protest, all you St.Arbucks worshippers. Ew, instant coffee?

But this stuff...

...this stuff is good times.

I must not be that big of a coffee connoisseur because it tastes just fine to me. I can't tell the difference between a brewed coffee and instant. A scoop or two into a cup of steaming hot water and I am good to go. No fiddling with the coffee maker, no measuring, no filters, no realizing I forgot to dump out the grinds from the last time I made coffee, etc. etc. And no waste. I don't drink more than one cup. Remember my ideological struggles with Nestlé? Apparently, my laziness and my thriftiness have won over my convictions. Pathetic.

I realize this makes me a Super Beaner. Latinos are known for loving them some instant coffee. I think I just dig the simplicity of it. Time to go to the store. My jar is almost empty.


Marital bliss.

My man got a new job in sales. Naturally, this means he will come in contact with new people every day. So he has gone the extra step of making his appearance a bit more spiffy. And by a bit more spiffy I mean quite a bit different from paint-splattered jeans and work boots. As he walks out the door, I check him out and appreciate the view.

"You look handsome, Love." I flirted, trying to look my best first thing in the morning whilst not wearing a bra and not having my hair flat-ironed and my eyes still puffy and crusty.

He smiled. "I gotta try to increase sales somehow."

As he walked out, I started to hum this. But what I really wanted to hum was this.


Ain't no shame in my game.

Think about that Nelly song..."it's gettin' hot in here..."

Although I am a huge fan of artificial cooling systems and would probably die if I didn't have an a/c in my home in the middle of an I.E heatwave...I hate artificial heat. Yes, I love when a home is warm and cozy. And you bet your buttchecks I love when I have to wake up early and take a shower and I can make the bathroom hot and steamy.

But if I have it on for too long, I get a little buck-wild.

Big girls...we don't need that much to stay warm. We have lots of meat to perpetuate the species and stay toasty.


See, I am content to go to sleep with some warm pj bottoms, a hoodie (with the hood on), socks and a couple of extra blankets. Yes, I know that is very sexy. I'd probably make a really good Eskimo. Nothin' like waking up in the morning and seeing your breath puff out in some white puffs cuz it's so cold. Isn't that refreshing? It's just like if you threw open the windows and let the fresh morning air in.

Or, as my father-in-love always says, saca la peste!!

Which means, for all you Caucasian peeps: get rid of the funk.

The morning funk, that is.

When it's too hot in the house, I start thinking of stale air, morning funk, dust in the vents and uuugghhhh. My cheeks get all red and I am ready to scream. I cannot function if the heat is higher than about 72 degrees. And that is pushing it. If its on for short spurts, I'm good. But to run it continously all day, no way. I much prefer a home warmed by a fire in the fireplace, a busy oven and a stove that's cooking something delicious.

So we have our clashes about it. And this is how I remedy it. I let him believe he is blasting the heat as we go to bed. I have woken up to the house being 80 degrees before and I wanted to wake up that man and skin him alive. But no more. As he drifts off to sleep in our overheated house, I wait. I wait in the wings. Which isn't that hard because homeboy falls asleep in like 2.5 seconds. And I am so jealous about that. I am barely organizing my nightly list of stress points when he starts snoring.


But as soon as he really begins to sing, I just slide out of bed very craftily and turn the heater off.

And he is none the wiser. Until he wakes up and he is freezing his butt off again.


I ♥ John and Kate Plus 8

Not because of their two older twins. They have enough attitude for ten kids. That Mady...she needs a beat down with my chankla.

But the sextuplets, they are so cute. They have really grown on me. This is one of those shows I can sit back and relax and watch with my little ones without fear something innappropriate will pop up on the screen during a commercial or something. I really hate when that happens. Anyhow, we watch John and Kate Plus 8 so much that I am beginning to know which kid is which. My girls they love to watch it with me. "Mama! Let's watch that show with alot of kids!"

Even though they have eight children and they are multiples, I can so totally relate to their life. Everything they do, it has an air of familiarity to me. I was blessed enough to give birth to one baby at a time, but the overall way they function on a day to day basis with a large family, I get that. The packing, the cooking, the cleaning, the loudness, the stress, the organizing, the calamity of too many shoes, the overwhelming tiredness at the end of the day, I get that.

Kate can be bossy, anal, uptight and downright demanding. Check. It's like, sometimes you have to be that way to ensure things get done throughout the day. And I have to give props to sister cuz she runs a tight ship. You gotta do what you gotta do. I feel sorry for her husband sometimes. Then I feel sorry for my husband sometimes because well, I too can be bossy, anal, uptight and downright demanding.

I just wish we could get all the free swag they get. Dang. Free tummy tuck for me and free hair plugs Michael...shweeeeet.

The last episode I saw filled me with an overwhelming sense of dread. The flu season. I felt their pain. Days and days went by with their sick, feverish, puking and booty-squirting little ones. Aaaaaarrgh. The laundry load being doubled because of soiled sheets. Rinsing puke chunks off in the utility sink. Handing out juice and water and meds. Wishing you could multiply yourself so you can be near all your children while they are crying and need a mother's comfort. Irregular sleeping and eating schedules. Trying to keep the infected from the healthy. The constant hand-washing. I picked up some good tips on handling it all during that flu episode. Good looking out, Kate.

And heaven forbid if I get sick. Then it's all over. I am so afraid of it getting as bad as it did last year. I keep saying I am taking a trip to Clark's to get a big bottle of Echinachea, Vitamin C and Ginseng so I can build up my immune system. I am going to do this on Friday. Sure, I'll be out about sixty bucks or so, but it's worth it.

Until then, I fantasize about having my own reality tv show. Ah, making money off your children. Oh, and the free tummy tuck. Ah yes, the free tummy tuck would make it all worthwhile.

OH! If you google it, there are a few John and Kate backlash blogs. Apparently, people are bringing down the hammer on their aggressive "child exploitation", especially good old Aunt Jodi. Fascinating. Child exploitation? I've been trying to find an angle on child exploitation for years. I say, get in where you fit in. These are tough, economic times, especially when you have eight little mouths to feed. Heh.


Watch out for that log!

We have a cardinal rule in our house. In life, really. You never sell out your family to your friends. Family loyalty is pretty big, and when you have a big family, it stands to reason that your loyalty should match it.

Yes, it's all very Godfather.

But yesterday during lunch, Diego was complaining that Noah was making fun of him in front of his friends. Noah was going on and on to his homies about how much Diego whines and cries. As they were laughing at his expense, Diego was really upset. I don't blame him.

That is a big no-no.

I explained to Noah that you just don't talk about your family and their idiosyncrasies to your friends. That is strictly family business. And in the end when your friends are long gone, family is what will still be there for you. This was a life lesson my mother always taught us. Family first, friends second. This is probably why my siblings are one of the most important people in my life. Another point I made was the fact that Noah didn't have any room to talk. He has his own issues as well.

But I decided to make this one of those learning moments. I shared with them the verse in Matthew 7:3.

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

They thought this was hilarious until I broke it down for them. Then we had one of those Friends moments, you know the one where Monica shuts up all her friends by naming off all their issues (divorced three times, ran out of your wedding, thought your mom was a cat, etc.)?

"You shouldn't talk because you still play with sticks!" Laughter around the room.
"No, I don't! Okay...yeh I do." He admitted sheepishly

"You shouldn't talk because you do cry and whine alot. He's just telling the truth."
"Mooooooooooom!" But then he laughs too.

"You shouldn't talk because you still wear pull-ups to bed."
He blushes.

"You shouldn't talk because you are six years old and you still sleep with two of your baby blankets."
"Yup!" He smiles big.

"You shouldn't talk because you still suck you thumb." And her eyes go big as she plucks her soggy thumb from her mouth.

"And you shouldn't talk because you don't know how to wipe your own butt and your undies are proof!" She giggles.

That was a good one.

"What about you and Daddy??" They all ask. Hmmmmm.

Apparently, I shouldn't talk because I like to sleep too much. And Daddy snores like a bear. That's fair.

I think they got the message.

All names have been withheld to protect the innocent and embarrassed.

Nosey neighbor

We have a little problem. A little problem in the form of a little eight-year-old girl that lives next door. I mean, I can understand a person's need to be nosey. Michael has always said I'm in the wrong profession...private investigator being the field I would totally excel in. Why? I am nosey. I like to know what's goin' on. I like the inside scoop. Social networking sites are a goldmine for nosey people like me. If I had a real job and sat at a desk in front of a computer all day...whooo boy, I could do some damage.

But alas, I do not have a real job...and I can't plant my sweet @ss in front of the computer all day without the threat of the chil'rens burning down the house.

But I can't recall ever being as nosey as my little neighbor. At first we were entertained to see the top half of a little brown face above the cinder-block wall in our driveway. She was like one of those old school cartoons, Kilroy was here. She can easily walk outside her sliding door to where her washing machine is, peek over the wall and see into my garage, my front door, everything.

And she does. Often.

And the funny thing about it is, she thinks she is being sneaky. But you can clearly see her silhouette. When she thinks we've caught wind of her, she ducks down. So as I am walking out of my house and barking orders ("Diego, put your shoes on!" "Sol, help your sisters with their car seats!" "Noah, take the trash out!" "Cyan, stop fighting with your sisters!"), I see her. When I am pulling up with a van load of groceries, I see her. When we are cleaning the yard, I see her. When we are outside, riding bikes or playing basketball, I see her. When the garage door is open and Michael is working, I see her. When it's light out. When its dark.

I see her. All the time.

She also likes to get on her bike and hover around our mailbox, under the pretense that she is getting ready to ride off somewhere. But all she really does is sit there and watch the shenanigans at my house. Apparently we are very entertaining. I can understand her fascination. She is an only child, so our home must be radically different than hers. There is always a ton of action going on here, it's pretty loud. Plus there is the fact that there are all these cute boys.


I know those moves. I perfected those moves, girlfriend! I was just like this little girl when I was a kid. But, aaaaggghhhh. It's starting already. Little nosey neighbor likes to stare at my boys and giggle and laugh. Noah and Diego don't pay any attention to her. But Sol...Sol likes to do tricks on his skateboard for her, he likes to ride his bike of a ramp. I even caught him doing pull-ups off the sliding door of our van for her.


So it is now at the point where our nosey neighbor is getting on our nerves. I wonder if her parents realize she is hiding behind her wall and spying on the neighbors? It could happen. My boys threw a ton of broken terra-cotta tiles into the neighbor's pool one time and here I thought they were jumping on the trampoline all summer. Geez. I think she irritates Michael more than anything. The other day we were loading into the van and she immediately came out to spy. Michael, being the last one out the door, walked out and saw her hiding. He stood there and crossed his arms over his chest and just waited. She snuck back down and went inside. I felt bad (kinda) but I haven't seen her hiding since.



We don't need no stinkin' gloves!

So I was browsing through a bunch of different recipes for Sopa de Lima, or Yucatan Lime Chicken Soup. My Nana (my little brown Nana from East L.A.) used to make it all the time and it was the bomb. I thought I would try something different because I was about to gouge my eyes out if I made another pot of Chicken Tortilla Soup. Seriously. I never thought I would see the day. I already had all the basic ingredients and so I got started.

But one thing made me pause.

This certain recipe said to make sure you wear gloves when you chop up the serrano chiles. Uh. Huh? 'Scuse me? Are you freakin' kidding me? Man, if I ever saw a Latino using gloves while handling chiles, I-I-I would--I would....who am I kidding, I would never ever see Raza using gloves while handling chiles.

It just doesn't happen. It is downright unnatural.

You don't use gloves. You just handle those chiles and seeds. And if it burns...it burns. Take it like a man, yo. Or a wrinkled old Mexican lady with a fat braid, a long skirt and black shoes. Come on. Any brown person knows hot chiles are just that...hot. You just learn over the years to not rub your eyes...or pick your nose...or bite your nails...wipe yourself...cuz it will sting like a mofo.

But to wear gloves...that is just wrong. I won't do it. My Nana (my light-skinned Nana with hazel eyes) didn't use them, and I saw her handling huge bags of dried red chiles and all their seeds every Christmas while she made the red chile pork for her homemade tamales. Her hands burned all night, too.

You can call me stubborn. Ig'nant, sure. But I don't need no stinkin' gloves!

"All the single ladies..."

Hilarious. I love JT!


Wish lists...

I guess I have been kinda hard on Diego the past few months. I can't exactly pin-point--oh shoot, who the heck am I kidding? I can definitely pin point what it is that drives me crazy about this kid. When you have a boy who is growing physically...but still behaves like he is five years old...that is just a recipe for disaster.

The crying, the whining, the supreme inability to focus on anything longer than two seconds, the fact that he refuses to comb his own hair, the way he puts his dirty socks on the kitchen counter, the way he has to perform a dramatic skit to do the simplest tasks, the crying, the whining, the loud voice, the smelly armpits, his hypersensitivity, the crying and the whining. Oh, did I mention the crying and the whining?

Dude, you're gonna be ten years old. Girls don't cry and whine as much as you do!

I'll admit, I've been a little cutthroat lately. My bad. I'll get my ten lashings later. I'm a mama...not superhuman.

So we told the chil'rens to write three things they would like for Christmas. Because if it was up to me, they would get new toothbrushes, socks, shoes (Vans, of course), drawing pads and markers. If it was up to their Dad, he'd buy them guitars, drum sets, a bow and arrow, a pellet gun, an accordion, and some stilts.

As you can see, we need some sort of middle ground.

So the letters came flooding in. They were filled with the usual greed...Star Wars toys, a Wii, an ipod, a laptop, a PSP, Game Stop gift cards, Ben Ten stuff, etc.

But that Diego
. That Diego.

If you didn't really know Diego's heart, you would think he was the ultimate brown-nose. But I know my boy and I think these past few months of discord in our mother-son relationship has got to him. He is such a lover. His #4 hit me right in the heart. A mom and dad's love. My baby! That is one thing on his wish list he is definitely going to get.


A curse on you, Jada!

That's right. Jada Pinkett-Smith, I gotchu girl. If I hear her voice as Gloria one more time, I'm gonna bust a cap in her fat, little hippo @ss. I say, death to all McDonald's Madagascar 2 Happy Meal toys.

"Alllll righty boys!"
"Let's goooooo!"
"I know that's right!"

"Tuuuuuuuuuuurn that toy offffffffffff!"

Ahem. Excuse me while I go insane.


The snake woman.

Have you ever felt like this?

I found this picture of an illustration project that I did about thirteen years ago. At the time, I couldn't believe that I was able to create something so dark and so ugly. It even made me uncomfortable when I was painting it.

It still gives me a little jolt when I look at it. But these days, I've been feeling like this ugly snake-woman, all long venomous tongue and black eyes. It doesn't feel good at all. Especially with Christmas right around the corner. I mean, how can I put up Christmas lights and decorations and all my baby Jesus' if I feel like this.

Try as hard as you can to contain all your dark emotions under a smiling facade for all the world to see and before long, everything comes spilling forth like some hot lava.

And I am so spewing hot lava right now.

Dude, I need some counseling. Heh.


Little artist.

Apparently, this has always been my destiny. I clearly remember this day, too, even though I must be about 3 or 4 years old. There was so much to do around me--play with friends and cousins, ride tricycles--but I was completely drawn to the easel and paintbrush.

And that's how its always been for me.
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