And it's not even Valentine's day yet!

I'm not one of those women who needs her man to buy her lots of stuff to know that she is loved. Even if you're not familiar with The Five Love Languages, when I say that I am a total quality time person, you get what I'm saying. What else would a child of divorce be? It is desired above jewelry, flowers, chocolates and lavish gifts. When Michael gives me his full attention, my love tank is full.

But I will admit, when he does give me a gift, I am delighted. Not so much what he buys me, but the thought behind it. He knows that I am a frustrated interior designer and that decorating my home is alot of fun for me. So anything that I can decorate my walls with, I like.

So imagine my excitement when he came home with this really cool magnet board, created by our artist friends at Marchen Studios. The funny thing is, I was just over there to visit their new studio space and I mentioned to Michael how cool the boards were. You have to understand, Michael isn't the type to remember those things I "mention" cuz I happen to "mention" lots of things all day and to be frank, I think he tunes me out alot of the time. When he walked in with gift, I was totally surprised.

I will admit that my first response was, "Oh! The one with the red frame....I liked the other one with the dark green frame..." because I am so not a red person but when I saw his face fall--aaarrggghh I just wanted to slap my own mouth shut. After all, he went out and bought this beautiful gift for me...something he doesn't do that often...and then I say this...smart move, Denise!

I just thought the red frame would look wierd against my green walls...but after we hung it up, it went well with some of my red-orange Bauer and Fiesta pottery...and I realized how beautiful it was. Not only because of the craftsmanship, but because my love took the time to go out and buy it for me--complete with really cool magnets!

Frida. Yay!

I kept looking at it all night. I realized how much I loved it because he picked it out for me. The dark green frame wouldn't have stood out so nicely. I am always amazed when I find that if I keep my thoughts to myself (because I don't have to say everything and I don't always have to have my own way) and I let myself submit...I am always blessed by my husband's gentleness and thoughtfulness toward me.

My cool magnet board. Isn't it nice?

My love note! Long or short, I love his love notes!

My two favorite magnets...love and Frida.


Good read

So I was hungering for a new book to read. Something meatier than those vampire books that were casting a freakin' spell on me. I kinda cheated and read reviews of the other three books and I have to say, it sorta quelled my desire to keep reading. Not that I'm not going to read them eventually. I'm just sayin'.

My little bro recommended The Kite Runner, a story about two young boys growing up in Afghanistan right before the Taliban moved in and destroyed everything in it's wake. Not a book I would normally pick up, but my brother said it was good. Alright...I give this a chance, I thought. I will admit, it was challenging to really grasp the completely foreign Middle Eastern culture. Just the language barrier, the geographical locations which the author kept referring to...I had never heard of them so it make it hard to visualize it in my mind.

But once I started to read it, I couldn't put it down. The first few chapters are so ominous sounding, I was waiting on the edge of my seat for something bad to happen. When it did, I was like, nooooooo Josh! Why did you recommend a book like this too me? I can't handle it! It was very moving, sad, heartbreaking and hopeful. It is beautifully written, too.

I highly recommend it.

The book was made into a movie and although I would like to see it, I don't think my heart can take it. Its one of those stories that take you on alot of emotional highs and lows. But get the book...it's a really good read. I'm glad I decided to try something different. If you've read it, tell me what you thought about it. If you haven't, get to reading!


Why you so frilly?

I want my girls to be as cool as The Phi. Cuz The Phi is a comedian. The Phi is a photographer like her mama. And The Phi always wears cool chucks and camo shorts and band tees. I wish Maya and Xixi would let me dress them that way. But noooo, it's princess dresses, fake bling, sparkly shoes and purses. All the time.

I was so not like that as a little girl. My mom wanted me to be but I was such a little butch that it was practically impossible. Pretty much the only time I wore dresses was on Easter and Christmas. Even then, I wore shorts underneath so I could still feel like a tomboy amidst all that frilly stuff.

So a couple of weeks ago when we had this unusually warm weather for January, I begged Xixi to wear this cool, sleeveless Tony Hawk tee with a calavera on the front of it. In my mom's zealousness over buying something on clearance, she didn't realize it was a boy's shirt, in navy blue--but it was too small to fit any of my boys. So I tried to get my girls to wear it.


I basically had to beg Xixi to wear it."Noooooooo. I don't waaannnnnnnnna wear dat. It's ugleeeeeeeeeeee!"

"Come on, Xixi! It's cool. Look, its cute! It's like mama's paintings!"


"Xixi, you're gonna wear it!"


"Ok. I'll give you a piece of gum if you wear it." Pathetic.


"Yes, gum."

"Ok. I'll wear it."

That little...

And she wore it. She looked so cute. Even though she insisted she wear it with her pink capris and sparkly shoes.

Sigh. She and her sissy are just too girly for their own good. They are cute, though. I'll give them that.



Its time for another fat girl musing.

I heard this on TV last weekend, and the minute it was said, I shivered for a millisecond and then I laughed out loud.

What are the two most dreaded words in the English language?

Pool party!

Shiver. Yep, I will be the first to say, that phrase strikes terror in my fat, little heart. Ever since I was a little girl, I've struggled with the concept of pool parties and basically the whole idea of having fun in a swimsuit in general. My earliest memory was in the fourth grade. The end of our school year brought a day at Lake Perris with Mrs. Gregory's entire class attending. Yes, the same lake where sh!t diapers and dead bodies and algae scum mingle on the surface. But woooo!...time to get into our bathing suits and swim and have fun and enjoy the idea of summer vacation.


I agonized over that stupid party for months. I contemplated faking a stomachache to get out of it. Maybe my mom wouldn't let me go and I could just avoid the entire, stupid idea of mingling with other slim, tiny girls who hadn't gotten their periods yet, had no cellulite to speak of and whose breasts resembled tiny mosquito bumps. And all of this...wearing a bathing suit...exposing parts of your body that had, up until this point, been decently and thankfully covered in overalls, board shorts, jeans and tees...it could be over and done with.

But I went. And the two skinniest, snootiest girls in school, Hope and Shelly, came out in french-cut bikinis. In the fourth grade. The rest of us stayed safely in our one-piece bathing suits with a baggy t-shirt over it that we absolutely did not take off. And we had fun.

But over the years, there were more pool parties. And I never could get past the sheer mental terror of it. It was like a knee-jerk reaction. First of all, I was always bigger than the other girls. And I don't just mean weight-wise. I had hips. I had a booty. I wore a bra. I was as tall as the teacher. I used to attract grown men. Ew. That was the scariest part of it all. So to stand next to classmates who were still shopping in the little girls department when I had already grew larger than my mom (a size 8)...in a bathing suit of all things...it used to keep me up at night.

Once, when I was about 19 and on vacation in La Jolla with my dad and stepmom, we relaxed in the jacuzzi at the condo where we were staying. One by one, these college-age boys joined us in the steaming, bubbling hot water. They joked and laughed with one another and they included my dad and I into their conversation. But the entire time, I was wondering how in the world am I going to get out of this freakin' jacuzzi without exposing the full glory of my fat butt and thighs? My Dad kept hinting that he wanted to go upstairs and I was like noooooooooo. What in the world am I going to do? I remember eventually standing up, holding my breath and walking out of the jacuzzi. All those college-boys stopped joking and laughing--and I don't know if they were staring at me or not but I wanted to die from embarrassment as I dove for the nearest towel.

Over the years, I've learned to accept my body in many ways. It's never going to be perfect but I've realized that this body attracted my husband who I love dearly and who loves me dearly...it has also lovingly carried each of my six chil'rens...and it birthed them in a powerful squat into the warm water. So this body, with it's many imperfections, and I do mean many...it has been good to me.

I thought I had gotten past my fat girl fears. Then last August happened.

We went to that marriage retreat in Palm Springs. And I knew--I just knew that at some point we would be near a pool...where other people I knew would be there, swimming and having fun.

In their swimsuits. In broad daylight.

And I realized no amount of photoshopping...body shapers...tight camis...or feminist swagger would save me from the embarrassment of having to stand there and take off my cover-up and jump in the water. So I cheated. I walked around the pool, found a spot where the people swimming weren't people I knew, frolicking in their bikinis without a care in the world...and I got in. Then, I swam over to where my husband and friends were. Stupid, right? Tis the truth, though.

I wish I would've threw caution to the wind, stood there and just took off my cover-up like yeh, so I got cottage cheese in my thighs, cankles and a mom stomach...what of it? But nope, I caved just like a fourth grade fatty. So maybe I haven't dealt with my body image yet. I'm turning 37 next month (gasp!), so I'm hoping this happens soon before I am too old and wrinkly to appreciate it.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to eat less and get in some exercise. The irony of the fact that it would just be easier to just lose weight and not trip over my skewed body image is not lost on me. But if this journey was easy...then there wouldn't be so many obese people in this world, right?

Until then, do not plan to have any pool parties...do not invite me to any pool parties...but if you really, really must...make it a nighttime pool party...and then just push me in so I'll have an excuse for not removing my cover-up.


Boys just wanna frolic in the wind.

I had to take Diego to the ER a few nights ago, because homeboy was breathing like a 70 year-old man with emphesyma. Poor Deg. His inhaler wasn't working for him anymore and his nebulizer had seen better days. We've been surviving by hooking the machine up to Michael's compressor. Hey, it's all about survival. If I had to give the kid mouth-to-mouth just so he could get some air, I would.

Well, it was time to go on out and get a new one. Of course, it was too late in the evening to visit urgent care. So off to the ER we went. Usually, Michael is the one who takes Diego for his doctor visits because he is hard for me to handle. Plus he cries like a little girl...and so does his daddy when he's sick...so I'd rather just pass on that motherly duty. But Michael, he deceived me by saying I should go...get some St.Arbucks...grab an Instyle mag...and enjoy the time.

Hmmmmph. I should have known better.

I must be slippin', ya'll.

In my haste to get my son to the doctor's in the cold night air, I didn't get my coffee...I didn't get my mag. And I was just praying the ER would be empty so I wouldn't get freaked out by emergency room germs. I can take regular old germs but not ER germs. Those are the worst. I walked in with my old black ratty sweater and pulled it up to cover my mouth like an old Mexican woman vampire. And I didn't even care if it seemed rude.

After Diego was sufficiently high off all the meds they gave him, he couldn't even sit for a few moments while we waited for his prescriptions to fill. By this time, it was already after midnight. I was tired. I was cold. I was grouchy because I knew my chance for coffee was out the window. I pleaded with him, "Diego. Please. Sit down. Rest. Here, put your head in my lap so you can try to fall asleep or something."

And he just looked at me like the demented little elf that he is. "No, mom! I want to frolic in the wind...metaphorically speaking!"


Have I confessed how much I love this kid?


Inside the scary mind of a multi-tasker.

A testimony to the craziness of my multi-tasking ability. This is what I was juggling for a couple of hours this afternoon. Literally, I was running from one thing to the next, like a pinball. I gotta know, why am I still such a fat ass?

  • I began cooking some chicken breasts to throw into a salad later on, then I got creative and threw in some garlic and mushrooms...

  • while those were cooking, threw some homemade pizza on whole wheat pita in the oven for lunch,

  • then I started boiling some pasta to make macaroni and cheese for those who didn't want pizza on whole wheat...

  • then I figured, if the oven is on, I might as well cook this batch of brownie mix we got for christmas that's been sitting on my counter in a stocking and getting on my last nerve

  • all the while, popping into the garage to fold towels to get them out of the way

  • because I was washing my son's duvet,

  • in between this, sweeping/mopping...

  • after I folded a few towels, some blogging

  • and composing e-mails

  • then putting away laundry

  • while I yelled at Xixi to get her to wear her black leggings (..."but I don't wanna wear yeggings! I wanna wear my jeeeeeeeans!")

  • running back and forth to the kitchen to watch my chicken/mushrooms/macaroni/pizza/brownie mix

  • refereeing squabbles over my shoulder

  • threatening death or some sort of torturous punishment (!)

  • folding more towels

  • informing Noah, for the tenth time that day, that no he cannot go to his friends house to make YouTube videos so STOP ASKING!

  • oh shoot, my chicken's burning!

  • and finally, contemplating that I either need some Ritalin...or a Xanax..or an appetite suppressant cuz those brownies are done and they are lookin' awfully tasty.

And this pretty much sums up my life...and my brain, on a daily basis.


My Delicious Heart

It feels good to know that this new year brings some fresh prospects for me in the art world. This Love/Hate exhibit at Picture This Gallery is going to be a really cool show. Artists are very inspired by their passions in life, and what could be more inspiring than love and hate? Although I don't think I've ever created something out of hate--frustration maybe, but never hate. I sure have created my share of art inspired by love.

When Michael and I first started dating, I painted and created furiously. All the new emotions, fresh and raw, drove me to express what I was feeling. Some of that nostalgia was what inspired me to create "My Delicious Heart". And the minute I heard about the Love/Hate show, I knew it would be perfect.

As an artist, you have to get accustomed to talking about your art because people are always interested in the background of a piece. This is the narrative I created for "My Delicious Heart":

Everyone, at one time or another, has offered up their heart on a platter to another person. Take it, eat it, it's yours. And we become powerless to stop it. But it just feels so good and so right. Thirteen years ago, I set out my tender, fresh heart on a beautiful blue-green platter for this man. This tall, lanky man with brooding eyes and a goatee with burgundy flecks in it. Against my better judgment...against what my Nana taught me...against what my Mama wanted for me...I went ahead and offered up my heart. And he sat down at the table, picked up his fork and said...it is delicious.

Oh, one thing I am learning about being a working artist is your archives. You know, you create a painting and it either gets put in a show, gets sold, given away, or its stored so one day it could be shown again. I don't always have the time to create new pieces for shows I've been in, so if they are appropriate to the theme of the show, older paintings get submitted. The thing is, I get bored with them. Isn't that wierd? Not really bored, but just over it. I have people who always want to see my Frida pieces...and I love them to death...but sometimes I think, aren't you tired of looking at these yet? I have to work on this. But I guess in a way, it is what you are known for. I can't help but want to move on and create new pieces. So yes, you have seen this painting before. But I can't help to think it was created for this one show, even though I didn't know about it yet.

I am excited. The opening is on February 7, down in Long Beach. Come and check it out.


Love/Hate Art & Poetry Exhibit 2009


The Annual "LOVE/HATE" Art & Poetry Exhibit

Love and hate are two of the most passionate emotions a person can feel. They can both cause strong out comes, sometimes even insanity. Most everyone has felt either the intense hurt or that profound happiness because of love. February, the Valentine month, will be a great time to share these emotions. Through paintings, sculpture, photography, poetry/spoken word or song,
various artists are sharing their feelings through art.

Artists: Abraham Castillo, Abraham Sproul, Alyssandra Nighswonger, Angel Acordagoitia,
Augusto Marin, Brandon Lynch, Bree Suzanne Servoss, Chris Langlais, Cora Ramirez-Vasquez,
Dana Wyss, David Garcia, David A. Martinez, Deborah Griffin, Denise S. Cortes, Fabiola Gamboa, Gabriel Leon, Lupe Flores, Maria Ramirez, Mavis Leahy, Miguel Cuautle, Morgyn Owens-Celli,
Nancy Mendez, Nancy Webber, Pilar Grother, Temoc, Zareh

Reciting Poets: Anotonio Cortez Appling, Azure Antoinette, Belén Ortega, Deborah Griffin,
Leslie Morones, Mary Kay Barton, Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin, Yesenia Pastran

ARTIST RECEPTION: Saturday, February 7th 6pm - 9pm
Poetry Recital @ 7:30pm

Free Event

Hand-made one of a kind items available by:
Liza Theval - LT Creations - handmade jewelry
Lee Janson - Janson's Journeys - silver jewelry & textiles
Jamie Badore - fantaztik creations - gentleman knitter & spinner

Exhibit runs January 31st - February 28th, 2009

Gallery & Custom Framing
4130 Norse Way
Long Beach, CA 90808

For more info, please contact us:
Email: PictureThisGallery@gmail.com
Phone: 562.425.4861
Picture This Gallery



"Fat, black, ugly as ever..."

On Friday night, I went to see Notorious. And if you have ever heard any of Biggie Smalls raps, you would know that was a lyric from "Big Poppa" and not a slam on how homeboy looked.

The year was 1994 and Ready to Die was bumpin' in everyone's car. And sadly, I remember the day he died, too.

So of course, Michael and I had to see the movie. I really hoped it would do him justice and not turn out to be cheesy with really bad acting. I also hoped that they would use a lot of his music. And it would be loud. I wanted to hear Unbelievable, Warning, Gimme The Loot, Suicidal Thoughts, Kick in the Door and of course, Big Poppa, to name a few.

People must have thought we were crazy because every time we heard a beat we knew and loved, we started rapping the lyrics and bobbing our heads like we were straight gangsta.


But the movie turned out to be...meh.

For me, the best part of the movie was seeing his son in real life play him as a little boy. I don't know what was missing, but it felt like it had only skimmed the surface of who he was and the voice he had. So all that said, I should have stayed home...and not paid the special engagement price...or stood in line because the 9:15 show was sold out...eat an entire giant size box of Hot Tamales...and I should have waited until I got my hands on the bootleg.

Then that would've been really gangsta.


I need help.

There must be a twelve-step program for this.

I found someone willing to lend me her Twilight books, bless her sweet little Caucasian heart. All I had to do was just buy the first book and she'd lend me the other three. So I bought it on Thursday night.

And I tried to pace myself.

I admit, I got a little cocky. Nah, it ain't gonna beat me. I ain't gonna be dazzled. I won't get sucked in. I don't know what the fuss everyone is making about this stupid book. But about 147 pages in, I realized that I let my 11 year old make breakfast while I read. I sat on the toilet and my legs fell asleep twice but I kept reading. I put my husband "to bed" and then rolled over while he snored and I read until my eyes were crossing, but I still couldn't put the book down. I sat in a pile of five loads of clean laundry that I told myself I must fold so the chil'rens wouldn't have to run around nekkid for the rest of the weekend but I kept reading. Shoot, I didn't even bathe on Saturday until almost four o'clock that afternoon because the book was glued to my hand.

Oh, Edward. I am such a sucker for those handsome, brooding types.



It was nice.

Today, in a very short window of time, I had 5 out of 6 chil'rens sitting in the kitchen working on various drawings and works of art. With some cool beats in the background, courtesy of Cyan's little mp3 player. I looked up from my laptop to find all their heads down, sketching with pencils, markers, and crayons. Some of them were even bobbin' their heads to the beat.

It was quiet. No one was running around. The TV was off.

It was nice.

It took me back to the simple time when Michael and I were good friends. We would spend alot of time being perfectly quiet, enjoying each other's company. We would be together but working separately. He would be drawing in his sketchbook, I would be working on some school project. Always with music playing in the background. Someone would have a random thought and confess it. We would laugh.

I just thought it was cool, to see our kids doing the same things we used to do together. It was for a short time, but it was beautiful while it lasted!

A glass of whine, anyone?

I have to admit, sometimes the chil'rens embarrass me. Which is pretty tough when you have one, found dried boo-boo under your fingernails after you've changed the hundredth dirty diaper of the day and two, you realize all of your t-shirts have bleach stains around the gut area and three, if anyone stops by your house it appears as though you're still unbathed, the children are starving and watch tv all day. When in reality, it's lunchtime and you've let them sit in front of the boob tube for some much-needed peace and quiet for like, five minutes and who cares if you're still unbathed?

So it was Tuesday, after a busy day at our co-op. I realize that I am fully dressed, as are the chil'rens, we are already in the van, I have money and we need some groceries. I brave a trip to the market. With all the chil'rens. Which is not something I relish doing.

My oldest opts to sit in the van and brood and listen to Radio Disney like a cool tween. Everyone else gets off with me and we head for the deli. As I am standing there waiting on my two pounds of turkey breast and two pounds of black forest ham and divvy up the stupid sample the deli lady hands me amongst all the ravenous chil'rens, I see wine. I mean, the wine section. And I start fantasizing that I've had a long day at the co-op...how sophisticated would it be to have a glass of wine at the end of the day?

Never mind that I can't stand wine. Everything tastes too bitter or too strong or too dry or it makes my stomach churn cuz it smells like balsamic vinegar. I'm much more of a cocktail kind of chica. No matter what kind of wine Michael has made me try over the years, I can't seem to get into it. I don't see many vacations in Napa eating cheese and figs and wearing a jaunty scarf while we cruise in a convertible in my future.

But still, I peruse the wine aisle.

With five, count 'em, five chil'rens in tow. Heh. That must have been a sight for sore eyes.

Diego's loud, obnoxious voice wakes me from my wine country reverie. My poor child. He isn't trying to be loud and obnoxious. That is just the way his voice sounds naturally.

"Mom. Mom. Mooooom! Nooooo! You can't buy any wine. Wine is baaaad. That's what Grandma-mom says. I don't want you to get drunk! Please Mom! Pleeeeeeeease! Please don't get drunk!"

The boy is literally begging me not to buy a bottle of wine and not to get drunk. Loudly. As if he has ever witnessed me being drunk. I rarely drink alcohol. Rarer still, in front of the chil'rens. I'm not saying I haven't knocked back a couple in my day. To make matters worse, there was a handful of people nearby just staring me down. Borderline mad-dogging me. Like they were two seconds from calling CPS on me. I felt about an inch big. Like this horrible, alcoholic mother with all the kids about to get her drink on. I could just feel their stares. And I could just feel the heat in my face.

So, so embarrassing.


Hoppin' on the bandwagon.

The Twilight bandwagon, that is.

I think I have resisted long enough. I had the book in my hand at Borders a long, looooong time ago but I didn't buy it. I thought, hmmmmmm what can beat the vampire books that Anne Rice wrote? I read every last one of those dark books while in college.

Then there was the young adult fiction aspect. I haven't read young adult fiction since I was about, oh...12 years old? My mom was just impressed with the fact that I had my nose buried in a book. She didn't always take the time to find out what I was actually reading. Anyone remember Forever by Judy Blume?

Now that was some young adult fiction.


Being as ghetto fabulous as I am, I happened upon a Twilight bootleg a couple of weeks ago. What the heck, let me just watch it. Oh em gee. I was hooked on this Edward dude. And his whole vegetarian vampire mystique. Once I got past the people getting up in the middle of the theater, I got really into the movie.

So this means that I must read the book because we all know the book is always better than the movie. But I don't want to torture myself and just buy the first book because I have been known to burn through them in one night, if it really piques my interest. And unless I bust into the chil'rens banks, I can't buy the entire set of books.

So, my next question is...those of you who have read the books...does anyone want to let me borrow their set? Or the books that you have already read? I promise, I will take good care of them. Help a sister out. I need some entertainment.

My blogging homie Fayola says its like literary crack. So here I am, stepping in with my glass pipe and crusted lips, just like Pookie a.k.a Chris Rock in New Jack City.

The Xixi sandwich.

I have to admit, my youngest baby girl is simply delicious. I love that little doll. The other night my girls and I were cuddling together, watching something on TV. Xixi was in the middle.

I began tickling her and she was laughing the most raspy little laugh she could muster.

"Mama is da bwead. Maya is da other bwead. And Xixi is da meat in the sandwich! Don't eat me. Don't eat me!" She kept saying.

"Mmmmmm! This is some chunky meat! This is yummy! Mama wants some more Xixi cuz she tastes gooooood!" And she laughed and laughed as I tickled her and snuggled her neck.

Later on that night, after the girls were bed, I heard some rustling around. I peeked my head their bedroom and I hear her little voice.

"Mama. Eat me."

Oh, I just about died laughing!


Mints and pee.

I've long been a fan of Altoids. But dipped in dark chocolate? Hello, lover. I just bought some of these today because I thought they would quench my desire for something sweet late at night. I'm trying not to just swallow the tin whole.

They are totally yum.

An aside, as I was posting this, one of my younger boys came stumbling out of his bedroom. Then he proceeded to walk into the kitchen, whipped out the anteater and peed in my trashcan.

I was like, duuude!

But he was totally asleep. Too funny.

But now...who gets to dump out a trashcan filled with trash and pee?

Not me.

Bald is good.

Very good. I don't know what it is about a smooth, shiny bald head. It's sexy. It's clean. It's thug. Mmmmmm-mmm-mmm. And it's sexy--but I already said that, right? Everytime I look at him, I openly lust the bald head. He gives me this look, which is not unlike the oblivious look my boys' give me all the time, like, "What? Huh?"

It's cuz I just wanna. I wanna. That's it. We'll leave it at that.

A couple of weeks ago, we had to say goodbye to what our homie JRocka called his, "Latin curl". And I couldn't of been happier. I was standing there watching him buzz it all off with this gleeful look on my face, licking my chops like a lioness ready to pounce.


Wait, wait, wait. Not every dude with a bald head is sexy. First of all, you must have a nice shaped head, free of lumps, bumps, scars and what I like to call the pack of weiners.

You know, head fat.

And it can't be overly greasy. A nice glisten is good. But enough grease to fry my taquitos in is not good. But the key is, the face. If a man is truly handsome, whether or not he has hair won't really matter. His face can carry it off.

This is what's unfair about losing hair. Men can just shave it off and look hot. So what are all these men crying about male pattern baldness? Embrace the bald, baby. All's you gotta worry about for the rest of your days is buying super expensive blades. Why are men's blades so dang expensive? I often imagine how many bottles of Pantene and Cetaphil I can buy in exchange for one package of Michael's blades and his sensitive skin shaving cream. Geez. Or maybe it's just my husband's manly ability to grow hair. You could strike a match on homeboy's head by like, noon and start a forest fire.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I hear some Ludacris playing somewhere.



For all my ranting and raving about how I like to monitor what the chil'rens say/eat/do/watch/play with/listen to/wear/snack on in their day to day lives, I am guilty of not fully knowing what kind of cartoons they watch.

So I listen. I listen to their conversations. I listen to their laughter. I listen to the cartoons in the background. Some are stupid. Some are entertaining. Some are dark. Some are questionable. Some are clever. Some are downright hysterical. When I actually sit down with the chil'rens and not fall asleep, the chil'rens love it.

One of my favorites right now is Chowder. Chowder is a chef apprentice. He has a pet named Kimchi that lives in a cage. Kimchi is a little green cloud of gas.

Kimchi is basically a pet fart in a cage.

When Kimchi talks, it comes out sounding like a poot. It's like his own fart language. The first time I heard it, I about died laughing. So did the chil'rens. They laughed because it made me laugh.


In our house, whenever someone poots, their name is Kimchi.

"Ew, Dad! You sound like Kimchi!"


"Ugh! Quit being a Kimchi!"


"Moooooom! You smell just like Kimchi!"


Wifey is on the job.

Now, I'm a person that doesn't like conflict. But if the conflict has to do with something I have bought and paid for with my husband's hard-earned money, I'm a hard a$$. Straight up. You could even say, I can be a tad bit ghetto.

It is very difficult for a customer service rep to say no to me. I don't know if it's because I do all my dealings with a calm, sweet smile on my face and six chil'rens holding onto the cart. Maybe they could sense my nostrils slightly flaring. Or maybe it's cuz I'm a big girl and they know I could sit on them and cut off all oxygen. Easily.


I have been known to return shoes the chil'rens have already worn, bras with broken straps, hairdryers past their prime...the joke around here is I could get away with returning some chonies that I've already worn. That's right. And I'm not talking shady business here...I'm talking legit returns.


Back in August, I bought Michael some Southpole jeans. You 'member, that whole bald head mecca deal. I'd say he has worn them about a handful of times. Well, the zipper broke on a dark blue denim pair. Michael told me about the jeans because he knew I would handle it. That's right. He knows wifey is on the job.

I'm the type of consumer that likes to see every single cent of my money utilized. Around these parts, we like to ride it 'til the wheels fall off. In everything. You should see my car. So if these were old pants with frayed cuffs and paint stains that we had gotten our use out of, I'd be cool. I could accept that.

But this, no. I most certainly did not get my money's worth.

So what did I do? I marched my butt over to Sears with a pair of already worn and washed jeans without a receipt or a set of tags in sight. Ballsy, ain't it? It was even in a plastic Target bag. Yup, that is how I roll.

My rationale is simple. Always smile. Stand up straight. Look them in the eye. Assume the position of, the customer is always right. Live and die by that saying, homie. Never phrase your requests as questions. Make them sound like demands. Sweet demands. Like there is no way they can change your mind. Cuz they ain't.

Hello, I bought these jeans at your store. I seem to have a little problem. You see, the zipper is broken. This is a very reputable brand and I've never had any problems before. This is how you can help me. I would like to get another pair of the same brand of jeans. If you don't have any, I would like a comparable pair. If that's not possible, a gift card for the amount I paid, which was $24.99 on sale. I understand that I don't have the tags or a receipt, but I am not asking for my money back. I just want an exchange for something that is obviously damaged. Thank you for your help.

The girl at the cashier explained she couldn't return them without tags. When I didn't move from my spot and repeated my request like I didn't even hear what she said, she just stood there and stared at me. Seriously, our eyes locked without words being exchanged for like 7 seconds. Then she called her supervisor. The supervisor told me the same thing the cashier girl did. I was still immovable.

I'm not asking for my money back. So there is no need for a receipt or tags. Please look and see if this style is still in stock. If it is, I want an even exchange. If it isn't, I'd like something comparable.

The supervisor just stood there and stared at me like the cashier. This time, for like 6 seconds. Then she looked behind me at the long line of people with returns to make. Her next move, call the chubby dude that ran the men's department to see if he knew if these jeans were still in stock. So they left, my jeans in hand, to search for those elusive Southpole jeans.

Then she came back. "I'm sorry. We can't help you. We no longer carry this style. And I can't issue you a gift card if I don't know what was the amount you paid, since you don't have any tags or a receipt. Sorry. I can help the next person in line!"

But I was not to be dismissed. I simply gathered up my jeans with the broken zipper and walked over to the Southpole section. And what did my eyes behold? On a display table...right in front of the aisle...neatly folded and in dark blue denim and black...invisible to all supervisors and chubby men's department runners...and on sale?

Those freakin' Southpole jeans. The exact same pair.

Chubby dude that ran the men's department must have been blind...the supervisor must have thought I was some hood rat trying to come up from something she bought at the indoor swapmeet. Uh, no. Maybe they just didn't feel like helping me. Whatever.

So I found a pair of jeans in Michael's size, matched the style, matched the numbers on the inside of the jeans and walked to a different register. So when they called the supervisor again, she tried to cut me off right away.

"Excuse me ma'am, I told you that we couldn't exchange these pants because you didn't have any tags or a receipt and we needed a upc number."

Nostrils flaring. "No, you said you couldn't help me because you no longer had these pants in stock. These are the exact same pants. I want to exchange these damaged pants for these, please. Now. Thank you."

"But these aren't the same pants."
"Yes, they are. Match the numbers for yourself."

And might I add...they didn't appear to be the same pants because my pair had been--ahem--washed a few times and the dark rinse had faded slightly. But they were still the same pair and they were what I came for. Then the supervisor called her supervisor. And this skinny black lady came over and spoke to me in a slightly louder than necessary tone, like I was slow-minded or something.

And ya'll know it's all about tone.

"This is a national brand, which means they carry it in alot of stores. We have no way of knowing if you bought them here since you don't have a receipt or the tags. But I'm going to exchange these for you, just this once." And she said this like she was freakin' Condaleeza Rice or something.

"Thank you, I understand. Next time I will be sure to hold onto my receipts." And I smiled very sweetly, denying the urge to smack the woman's taste out of her mouth since she was trying to get loud with me.

Because I was now victorious and my man now has a new pair of thug jeans with a perfectly working zipper.


Beauty is pain.

Hungry Sister in Law is always ready to get her hands on Diego and his hair.

Note: As Hungry Sister in Law was reading my blog, she wondered why she didn't have a special name like Caucasian Sister in Law. So I thought I would oblige. Hence, the new name Hungry Sister in Law.

Back to Diego and his hair. Hungry Sister in Law attempted to make some cornrows on this ghetto child about four years ago and all he did was whine and cry. It made it practically impossible for us to enjoy it. So she gave up after a couple of rows. But he is older now, more pliable with promises of pizza, a movie, some candy, Chuck E. Cheese...you name it, we plied him with it. It started off simple enough.

See, it's all smiles and peace signs.

He looked cute with is Princess Leia buns. He was still smiling after the first row. I thought, maybe he will cooperate this time around.

Ugh. Then the eyes started to water. "Ow! This hurts."

Then the smile was gone. And the pout came out. Ignore the piles of laundry in background.

Hungry Sister in Law kept saying, "I'm almost done, Diego. I'm almost done." But I don't think he believed her after the tenth time she said it. I wouldn't have either.

Then the tears started. "Why? Why? Why does this have to hurt so much? I don't want these braids! I will look stupid! Why are you doing this to me? Owwwww!"

"Quit your crying, Diego! Your sisters get their hair braided everyday and they don't behave this way!"

Hungry Sister in Law replied, "Be quiet and sit still, Diego. I'm almost done! You're lucky I'm not one of those big black ladies doing your braids. I would have already smacked you upside the back of your head for crying!"

"Yeah." I added, for good measure.

Torture, this is pure torture. They are all gonna laugh at me. Whyyyyyyy? Why are they doing this to me?

Doing the braids at the bottom. My bad for not having any more little black rubberbands.

"I'm almost done, Diego!" And she really meant it this time.

Drama! Look, he survived the whole cornrow process. A miracle...

This was his face after I told him how handsome he looked. Mijo, you look like Omarion... Ludacris...Sean Paul..Bow Wow and that nigg@ Snoop--they all sport the cornrows. Yeh, I don't think he cares much.

Awwww, there you go. That handsome Diego face is back. This must have been before Hungry Sister in Law told him she wasn't really going to take him to Chuck E. Cheese.

Work it. Work it!

You go, boy!

So you might be wondering, why torture the poor child and put these braids in his hair that make him look like a miniature thug? For our own amusement, I suppose. Gotta have something fun to do on a Friday afternoon with nine chil'rens running around.


The cake from Aztlan.

We celebrated the beginning of 2009 with many of our closest friends. There was lots of laughter, food, catching up, hugging and love.

And then there was this cake.

My Caucasian friend that made this cake...what can I say? Her heart is in the right place. She could have made a cake from a box, which is probably what I would have done. But no, Caucasian friend made it from scratch, frosting and everything.

It was interesting.

She made this cake a couple of weeks ago, when we all went out to this Italian restaurant to celebrate a friend's birthday. For some reason, I thought the restaurant made it. So I said, to no one in particular, "Oh! This cake looks like a footstool. You know, like the little dog that turns into a footstool on Beauty and the Beast!" Ain't that just like me, opening up my big, fat mouth.

Turns out, Caucasian friend made the cake.

Oops. My bad.

So this time around, when I saw all the towering layers sitting up on the dessert table, I knew better than to comment. I gotta give the Caucasian friend credit. She was being creative. My homie Joe, he was the first to clown.

"Damn, it looks like a Mayan temple."

And that just set it off.

"Look, it's Aztlan!"
"All the beaners are sitting around this cake cuz it reminds us of the motherland."
"Did she make it with cacao?"
"Hold up! Imagine sacrifices and heads rolling down the cake/temple!"
"It's Tenochtitlan!"

And we were laughing hysterically. You had to be there, I guess. All these Mexicans sitting around a cake...shaped like the temples in Mexico....Tenochtitlan...the motherland.

Come on, you know it's funny.

At the end of the night, we had to dispose of the cake because the hostess couldn't bear to do it herself. I mean, that cake could have fed all of Baja California but I wasn't about to be stuck with all those leftovers.
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