3.30.2009

A new life...

My sister Jen was exactly one week overdue last Saturday. She was like any other tired, swollen mama that is past her due date--she just wanted that little fattie out. I met up with her and her husband at the hospital. I walked into her room just as they were about to give her an epidural at 5 cm. I waited out in the hallway and listened to the other moms who were giving birth just a few feet away from me behind closed doors. There was alot of activity, nurses and OB's running around, so I knew there were lots of women giving birth that day. But what struck me as odd was the fact that it was so quiet. I think I heard one mom grunting a little and then a few seconds later, cries from a baby. One mom.

The hospital is a very sterile, quiet and controlled environment to give birth in. Doctors don't like surprises. What I missed was the primalness of it all. The excitement of the pending birth. The rawness of a mother who is big with child, sweating, groaning, grunting and crying out from the effort of it. There is power in that rawness. I remember feeling like I could conquer the world right in the moments after I had pushed out my child into the warm water. Powerful. Strong. Womanly. Beautiful.

Justin went out to get something to eat and Jen was comfortable after getting her epidural. The funny thing about being there in the hospital with a mom who is dead from the waist down is this...you're pretty useless. There are no breathing exercises to breathe, no need to rub the mom's back because she can't feel anything anyway, no ice chips to administer, no soothing, encouraging words to murmur. You just sit there and watch the movie channel and the fetal heart monitor go up and down. And wonder if you can get in on those ice chips.

So I took a little cat nap. In the middle of a birth, imagine that.

Jen joked that I would rather see her screaming in pain. Heh. There is some truth to that, I suppose. But I was with her for her last two births, and I definitely did not enjoy seeing her in pain. And truth be told, I would get an epidural in a heartbeat if I had a baby in the hospital. I did during my first labor--it was a lifesaver.

The bummer was, I didn't actually get to see Stella Purple Richards born in the early evening on Saturday, March 28th, 2009 because I had to go home briefly. I thought she had a while to go, and I had to wait for Michael to get home so he could stay with the kids. She is my first niece that I didn't get to see make her entrance into the world. I didn't get to hold onto my sister's hamhock thigh. I didn't get to give dirty looks to the nurse who barks out the push count. I didn't get to see Stella's squishy little face the moment they laid her on my little sister's chest. I was a little sad about that.

She is beautiful and fat. 10 lbs. 3 oz.! My sister has them child-bearing hips cuz that is one big baby. And remarkably, Jen is feeling good. Not like she just pushed out a baby heavier than a sack of Idaho potatoes.

See, no moaning, no cool cloths on the forehead, just chillin', watching Hancock and chatting.


Big sister Selah meeting her new baby sister.


Jen got a big kick out of Selah, who thought Stella would want to hear Alladin, which was playing on TV. She put the speaker up to her ear.


From the beginning, Selah said that Stella was going to be her "purple sister". Stella Purple just stuck. We all rubbed Jen's stomach and called her Stella Purple. Now it's on her birth certificate.

Jen looks radiant just after giving birth to this big baby girl. This is her third girl in three years. Woohoo!


Justin and big sister #2 Sophia.

She is the cutest, most chubbiest baby ever. And she smelled like heaven. I love her already!

3.28.2009

"Teenagers suck!"


Those words belong to my dear friend Deanna who is a grandmother at 38 (!) and who is also having a hard time with her 15 year old son (who is not the one who gave her a grandchild, by the way). They were her words, not mine.

But I totally, totally, totally infinity! agree.

I have been entirely too quiet on this subject. The subject of my dear, on-the-verge of-manhood, 15 year old stepson. He's been living with us for the past couple of months. Yeh, I know. I've been pretty tight-lipped on the subject here on my blog. I can still keep a few details up my sleeve, can't I?

Well, I wouldn't inflict a teenage boy on anyone. They eat everything. They stink. They are lazy. They are sneaky. They steal your face scrub. They lie for the stupidest things. They eat all the pickles. They do something wrong and when challenged on their behavior, they give you the deer in the headlights look. And they want everything but you have to beg them a hundred times to pick up their dirty underwear. They lie about having a Myspace account when you've already discovered their profile and monitor it without them knowing it. They are failing all their classes but when asked if they have homework, they say, nope I already did it. Maybe I expect too much, but I'm discovering that the 15 year old is much more frustrating than my 8 year old. I mean, come on.

I'm exhausted.

And I've come to the realization that at this stage of the game...trying to raise a 15 year-old boy is just damage control. When they have been reared in another person's household, when bad habits have been allowed to go unchecked, when a bad example is what they've witnessed on a daily basis--that negative, irresponsible behavior is ingrained. I know that teenagers are difficult, even the ones who've grown up in a strict household...but how much more difficult can the teenager be if they've lived a life of total and complete freedom with no consequences for their behavior? That's what we are dealing with. A huge part of the problem is because Mikey's been raised with an unstable mother. One who has tried to alienate Michael for years. And now I can't help but feel like she has made this huge mess...and she wants us to clean it up for her. Finally, when it's gotten too much for her, now she wants to acknowledge Michael as a father. Hmmph. But you know, we'll do it because we love Mikey.

Sigh.

But I ain't gonna lie when I say I second Deanna's sentiment. Teenagers do suck. I remember one day moaning and groaning because my little ones were driving me insane. My mom said, "Oh, mija. Enjoy them right now. This is the easy part. Wait until they are all teenagers!" And I looked at her like she was crazy. But now, I see the wisdom in her words. What on earth am I going to do when I have a....21 year old...a 17 year old...a 16 year old...a 14 year old....a 12 year old...a 10 year old...and a sassy-pants 9 year old?

I mean, seriously?

I totally should have thought about that before I went ahead and had them, right?

Pray for me.

3.26.2009

Good smellin'...

On a rare trip to the mall last night with my very pregnant, overdue freak show of a sister ( I say freak show not because she is weird but because her big belly attracted alot of attention from people who lacked any sort of subtlety), I had the opportunity to wander through all the aisles of Sephora and covet. What was even more blissful was the fact that I didn't have any of the chil'rens with me, so there was no one bugging me that they needed to pee...that they were starving...that they were bored...that I never want to go into the Game Stop...and why oh why do we have to go into that store with the big lady clothes?

I love makeup as much as the next girl, but after a while, all the bronzers and lip glosses and eye shadows start to look alike. Its like sensory overload or something. I picked out what I needed--Lorac Double Feature concealer so I can spackle and hide my oldness--and then I watched as my sister circled the lip glosses like a vulture over a carcass whilst my eyes glazed over. To entertain myself, I went down the entire row of men's cologne to try and find a new scent I would like.

Not a scent that he would like...but what I would like. Come on.

I am a firm believer that the proper scent can inflame the senses. Remember Michael's bottle of Fahrenheit? Well, its all gone and now wifey wants something new. Jen found me sniffing a bottle of Fahrenheit and she was like, "Ugh!" She knows of my fascination with it. So I plunged ahead. Time to try something new. There were lots of nice smells, lots that reminded me of gay guys but nothing that made me go Mmmmmhmmmmmmm. Finally, I found it.

Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme.

Wooo doggie!

That stuff is delish! I sprayed it on a tester and today, it still smells divine. When I showed it to Michael so he could get a sniff, he didn't like it. He is still stuck on some Abercrombie & Fitch cologne which is fine and dandy for a cute white boy with a 32 inch waist but it doesn't have the oomph this big girl requires.

So I'm thinking I should just buy it and then he'll be forced to wear it. Tell me, what is your favorite men's cologne?

3.24.2009

Diagnosis: Esopha-colon


I was kickin' it at Will's house, enjoying a calm Sunday evening. They were bbqing some steaks and all of my carnivorous senses were in full effect. You see, I don't eat meat all of the time. Well, I do eat meat, in the form of chicken breast and ground turkey--if you can even call that meat. Ok, toss in the occasional tri-tip. But not true meat, sizzling and juicy and hot off the bbq grill. That is reserved for special occasions.

So a handful of us were hovering over the grill, like a bunch of ravenous cavemen. We didn't even bother with plates or utensils. We were just grubbin' the steak which was covered in Worchestire sauce, seasoning salt and chili flakes.

Big, hot chili flakes.

And that is where I should have taken heed.

My stomach felt a bit gurgly after that, but I ignored it and moved on to the Funfetti cake...which, around these parts, is known as Crackfetti because I don't know what's in the stuff, but it's crack pipe worthy! Delicious. Then later that night, I threw back a few antacid pills and went off to bed.

Then I was woken up at 3:30 am to a frightening choking feeling. Steamin' hot bile was rising up my throat and I couldn't get any air, giving me the sensation that I was about to die. I ran to the bathroom and projective vomited onto the (white) carpet and side of the toilet. It was horrible.

I hate to throw up.

I hate to feel the spasms. I hate the taste of the vomit. I hate that I pee a little as I am vomiting. The whole act is just disgusting. But this was even worse because all that tasty meat was coming back up, but worse still...all the red chile flakes. My throat and my stomach were on fire. I had to pull out my entire repertoire of breathing techniques (hee hee heeew hee hee heeeew) to keep myself calm, to will myself from vomiting more.

You idiot, you should've known better than to eat all that meat!

I just wanted to roll over and die. So I cleaned up my mess, changed my clothes, reported my illness to my husband for sympathy, chugged more antacid, and then rolled back into bed. I still get a little shiver thinking about it.

The next morning I texted all my meat-eating partners in crime, to see if they too, got sick in the middle of the night.

Nope, I feel grrrrrrrreat!
No, I'm fine.
I'm good.
No, maybe you have the flu.
Do you have gallbladder issues? Maybe you need to be seen by a doctor.

This last comment was from Richie, who is a nurse. A crazy people nurse, but a nurse nonetheless. I texted him back and told him that I got my gallbladder removed about ten years ago. Then he responded with, "Maybe that's why you got sick. Your body can't digest the fat in the meat."

And then ten years of heartburn, stomach cramps and the squirts came flashing before my eyes. The reason why I earned the nickname "Esopha-colon" from my little brother. He says my food goes from my esophagus and then immediately to my colon because the turnaround is so...quick. Well, duh. Maybe that's why I have the issues I have. No one told me I actually needed that stupid gallbladder!

All I know is, after I had my second child, I would have these excruciating pains in my stomach-- pain even worse than childbirth! When the doctor told me my gallbladder was infected, I said take it, take it out now, I don't care how you have to do it, just remove it so I don't have any of those pains ever again!

And now it's gone and all I have left are three buckshot scars on my stomach (Michael likes to say its where I got shot in a drive-by) and bellybutton. Had I known what I know now, I definitely would have searched for a natural way to remedy the situation.

Cuz I don't care what people say--a kidney, a spleen, a gallbladder--if God didn't want you to have it, He wouldn't have given it to you in the first place! So it turns out I needed that dumb gallbladder after all. After doing some research online, I am floored. Floored that so many people suffer from the same side effects and floored that I was so willing to get my gallbladder removed, that I didn't count the costs although I realize that pain was a huge motivating factor. I didn't do any research, I just blindly trusted my doctor when he said I would be fine without my gallbladder.

Some of my research turned up acid reflux, diarrhea, bloating and unexplained weight gain. Geez. And it only took me ten years to figure this out. So tomorrow I am off to buy some homeopathic meds and some enzymes to see if it will help.

I don't wanna be called Esopha-colon anymore!

3.23.2009

I ♥ herbal tea

Does this make me an old lady? The fact that I love me a warm, steamin' cup of herbal tea? And that I have a whole drawer full of different varieties...does that make me an old lady?

You sleepy? I got you.
You frazzled? I got you again.
Do you have cramps?
The sniffles?
How is your throat?
Does your stomach feel kinda yucky...it'll take me just a minute to get you a cup of mint tea.

The chil'rens know if they are complaining of some type of ailment, I will make them some hot tea to drink way before I offer them some nasty-tasting medicine. All those years I was pregnant and couldn't take any pain meds, herbal tea was my saving grace. I would drink red raspberry tea until I couldn't stand the stuff and it tasted like grass to me. Once, I made Michael some St. John's Wort tea...and I kicked in a few dropperfuls of St. John's Wort extract for good measure...and it made him feel really strange and funky and he was mad at me, saying I was trying to poison him.

Heh.

Not yet, buddy. I haven't got my full use out of you.

So now I never underestimate the power of the herbal tea.

Groovy, man.

Paired with some delicious, local orange clover honey from the Farmer's Market mmmmmm I can't think of anything better to drink when all I have is a few moments to gather myself before it's time to teach/clean/cook/discipline/shop etc. which is like all the time.

When people say they don't like tea, I'm like, what? Is you crazy? Tea is delish!

So now you all know that I am a crazy tea bag lady with boxes stuffed in kitchen drawers. What about ya'll? Does anyone out there share my love of tea? What is your favorite kind?

Hands down, my fave is Sleepytime and Honey Vanilla Chamomile. Oh...and Blueberry Breeze green tea...and peppermint tea, and....sigh, you get the picture.

3.20.2009

Some advice to my 21 year old self.


As I was squeezing the death out of my frizzy bangs with my new (new to me, it was a hand-me-down) mini hair straightener, I started think that my bad hair days would have been solved along time ago. Imagine that, twenty years of good hair days.

I could see my sixteen year-old self, standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom of my mama's house, listening to 99.1 KGGI (which, by the way, was the only station we got in the I.E at that time) and hissing about the state of my sometimes-straight-sometimes-curly-always-frizzy hair. There was this blond girl named Linda who rode my bus. She had the nicest, smoothest, straightest hair that hung almost to her butt. When I would catch a glimpse of my reflection in the glass of the bus window, I would be disgusted by all the frizzy baby hairs that fuzzed around my head like a halo gone bad. I wish I could have told that girl in the reflection, Girlfriend, go and find yourself a little flat iron!

But that was back in the dark ages...I don't even know if they made them back then.

So to have this little mini straightener would have been a godsend. All my bad hair days would have been eliminated. But knowing me, I would have found something else about me to obsess about. But then I got to thinking. What other advice would my wizened, crusty 37 year-old self have for my fresh, ignorant, non-saggy, sex-starved, optimistic 21 year-old self?

It goes a little something like this.

Girlfriend, enjoy your body the way it is now. Yes, with all the little "imperfections". Believe me, you look good. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are healthy. Nothing jiggles that's not supposed to. Keep working out. Keep eating healthy. Have some confidence in yourself. Your curves are way before their time.

Keep all of your Vans. They will never go out of style.

Yes, you will need to have good credit to buy a house someday, to buy a new car, to avoid cashing checks at the local Latino market like a vagabond. So stop accepting all those credit cards from Macy's, Target, Best Buy, Discover, Visa, Mastercard, Mervyns, and the National Bank of the Philippines. Just stop. Yes, you will have to pay this back one day. Yes, you will have a life outside of college and yo mama's tit--yes, you will have to make your way in this world alone financially someday. Don't screw it up with a 23% interest rate.

Please stop sweatin' that tall, skinny dude with a baby 'fro so hard. Trust me. Yeh, he is caught up in baby mama drama right now but someday he is going to be all yours. He is even going to want to marry you. And then you will have six of his baybay's.

When your dad tries to teach you how to drive stick, learn! Quit being lazy and saying you will just always drive an automatic car. Learning how to drive stick is definitely a good skill to have. Not to mention butch, and you know how much you like to be butch-y.

Put down your bong and put in 100% of your effort in college. You actually don't know everything.

Enjoy all this free time you have, especially those quiet, "boring" moments. Cherish every morning that you get to wake up at 9am, not having to worry about feeding little people, working on phonics, washing peepee blankets and worrying if the mortgage is going to be paid that month. You think holding down an brainless part-time job and studying for finals is stressful? Heh. You poor, clueless young girl.

Go to church.

Next time your 7 and 8 year old boy cousins come over and terrorize your Nana's house, observe their behavior instead of hiding upstairs in your room. Can you hear them running up and down the stairs, whining, yelling, hyperactive and smelling of puppy? Well, you're gonna have four just like them--perhaps even more loud, more hyper, more whiny and even smellier, if that's possible.

Don't bother washing your hair every.single.day. Think of how much shampoo and conditioner you'll save. Think of how much extra sleep you'll get. Think of how much better your hair will look if you recycle your mousse. And no, it's not stinky. Think about it, you rarely ever sweat.

Instead of planning on which nightclub you're gonna go to, why not visit New York? Italy? Spain? Anywhere but the Florentine Gardens in El Monte.

And don't worry, big booties are going to be in some day, so show me what you're working with.

3.19.2009

'Coon alert!

Towards the end of everyday, our garage door is open as the chil'rens are running in and out, riding bikes in the driveway, wrestling on the trampoline and otherwise wreaking havoc on the quiet neighborhood that is filled with old folks. We also eagerly await Michael's arrival home, where he is always greeted with shrieks of joy.

Tonight, the chil'rens were outside playing, and I was serving Michael dinner since he got home a bit late. All of a sudden, Diego walks in, one hand clutching a half-eaten chicken quesadilla and the other a black sock, his eyes watering and his face horrified. And he was shaking. He starts to whimper and point outside with the hand holding the black sock. And in one second my mind is racing.

Is he hurt? What happened? Did he see something bad? Did the dog get run over? Are the girls ok? Maybe something is wrong with one of the girls. OhmyGod something happened to Xixi. Why the hell is he holding that black sock?

I couldn't stand it. "WHAT IS IT, DIEGO!"
And he couldn't speak because he was crying and shaking.
Michael says, "He's scared. Denise, calm down!"

And after a couple of seconds, Diego calms down enough to speak.

"A big raccoon--outside! It was looking at me! I don't like raccoons!" And then his back slid down the wall he was standing against and he plopped on the floor, crying.

Are you freaking serious? A raccoon? All this drama over a little raccoon! You have got to be kidding me, Diego. I looked down at his crumpled, sweaty body and I just shook my head.

"Calm down, Diego. A raccoon isn't going to do anything to you. It is more afraid of you than you are of him. Come here, give me a hug." And I consoled him, quietly laughing to myself. Only this child could muster up enough drama to cry and shake in distress over a raccoon. It really threw me for a loop. I've never seen him that afraid of something.

After he settled down, he told me what happened. He was happily munching on his chicken quesadilla as he walked outside to the curb, to wait for his Uncle Josh to pick him up. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw something move by the storm drain. Thinking it was--in his words--an old sock, he walked closer. Then the "old sock" turned to look at him with black, beady little eyes and sharp claws. He said he screamed and took off for the house.

But of course he did not drop his chicken quesadilla.

He got everyone else all riled up. They all ran out to see the big, bushy raccoon. He must have been the daddy or something. He just looked at us like he was bored as hell. Half the chil'rens were crying, the other half were chanting, BB gun! BB gun! BB gun! BB gun! Sigh. I think Diego was still inside shivering. The award for Best Dramatic Actor in a Raccoon Drama goes to:

Diego James...a.k.a Deggie....a.k.a Deg-o....a.k.a Diego Doggie...a.k.a D.J.

Then...when I should've been laying down like a sloth and watching ANTM, I was googling raccoons, looking at pictures of their cute little black bandit eye masks, explaining to the chil'rens that they are just foraging for food (near our trashcans), they like damp places (the storm drain), sometimes they nest in your attic and/or chimney (that was just fun fact for me to toss in), and if they encounter another raccoon, they are to yell in a loud voice, stomp their feet and raise their arms.

Aw, wildlife.

3.18.2009

He told me not to put him on blast...

But I digress.

I have to.

Way back in like July, Fayola over at Fodder in Her Wings e-mailed me about my dear old man Michael hooking up a pair of her Chucks.

We said cool. E-mails were exchanged. Design references were discussed, etc. etc. Then she shipped us the Chucks.

And thus began The Saga of Fay's Shoes.

Michael was a bit challenged on what she wanted to have painted on her shoes. In the end, he worked it out. But I know my husband. And at times, he has the attention span of a sweaty seven year-old boy in need of an industrial-sized tub of Ritalin. He burned the midnight oil one night and then he...fizzled out.

He laid the shoes down in search of other stimulation. Signs and graphics, silkscreen shirts, banners, paintings on canvas, graffiti, movies with Seth Rogan in them...you name it, he did it.

And there they still were, sitting in the dusty Converse box in the corner of the kitchen, on top of my art bin.

Fay's shoes.

So it became this game we played.

"You watching a movie? What about Fay's shoes? Why can't you work on them and watch the movie at the same time?"
"What? You're gonna do what for who? What about Fay's shoes!"
"I'm sick of seeing Fay's shoes. Finish them already!"
"The shoes! This is so embarrassing!"
"You are making me look bad! Poor Fay, do her shoes already!"

Everytime I offered to help him along, he refused my help. No, I got it. I don't need your help! And Fay, she has been super understanding. She kept saying everything was okay, there was no rush, she knew we had a crazy life, etc. At one point, she even forgot she sent them to us! How sad is that. I hate feeling like a flake!

So just how long did it take?

Ahem.

Well, that was back in July...and it's March now, so....that's...umm...

Eight months.

Oh em gee. That's a long time. Dude. So it is without further ado, I present you with the finished Chucks.

Fay, girlfriend. I hope you like them and I hope you didn't wait eight months for eh.






P.S. I still haven't shipped them. I'm getting around to printing out the shipping label. I swear! LOL I know, I know....horrible.

3.17.2009

Proud Parent of an Artist...where is my bumper sticker?


Can I just take a few moments to brag on my boy? This is Solomon's second semester taking my art class, and I have to say, this little dude blows me away with his creativity.

Yeh, yeh, I guess you could say I am a little biased, but come on. He had no help from me on this Frank Stella project. Well, I actually did help handle the hot glue gun, but other than that, it's all him. And the fact that he is just eight years old is mind-boggling. What kind of art will be be creating when he is a young adult?

It just makes me swell up with pride when I see the chil'rens express themselves creatively. There is no questioning, no doubt, no hesitancy, no presumptions...just their creative energy out for the world to see. Aww, to be a child once again.

3.16.2009

Done.

I finally finished Joe's painting. Since he complained that he was burning in eternal flames of damnation, I had to make up for it and give him a pair of angel wings. This was a fun painting to do because I didn't really have an objective, I didn't have a deadline, I could just let myself be free. I didn't even lay a sketch down, I just attacked it with my brushes and paint.

This is mixed media (acrylic and decoupage) on wood. For some strange reason, I am not much of a canvas person, I would much rather paint on wood. Ever since I took this torturous oil painting class in college, painting on canvas has never been my thing. Canvas has these strange little bumps, unless I gesso it to death. Wood is smooth, I think that's why I like it. Give me a gallon of primer and some wood, and I am good to go.

So whew.

I can rest easy now. Joe can stop sending me those weird, slightly threatening text messages where my acrylics be at? and stuff like that. Heh.

Hey Joe...about my new tattoo...

3.13.2009

Just call me Bumpy Mountains.


With the weather all warm, breezy and whatnot, the cute summer dresses at Old Navy were callin' my name. I am such a sucker for all the cute displays of skirts, colorful flip flops--aaaarrrggghhhh! But I had this handy dandy 30% coupon...and the dresses were $15...so I rationalized...it will be so cheap. Denise, you will be thanking yourself when Spring comes and you have something cute to wear.

Hmmmmmm.

I hate when I listen to my rationalizations.

So off we went. I took Maya with me into the dressing so she could try on a few dresses of her own. She usually swims in anything I buy her because she is so darn slim. So as I am trying on this dress, she is quietly observing me.

That can't be good.

The dress was really cute, it actually fit and didn't look like a muu-muu, it wasn't too long, the old boobs wouldn't be flopping out, etc. But there was one small thing. The liner under the dress was really, really tight. Like body-shaper tight. So as I am standing there, grunting and trying to get the liner down over my hips, wondering why this stupid liner was so much smaller than the rest of the dress, I started to break into a light sheen of sweat. Maya is mildly horrified.

"Um, mom. Your legs look like bumpy mountains."

This girl. I've been called Hamhocks, Thunder Thighs, Cankles, Stumps and Tree Trunks.

But never Bumpy Mountains.

Heh. That was a good one, Maya. For some reason, I don't think she will ever know what having Bumpy Mountain legs feels like. Cuz I don't know how I birthed a skinny female child, but I did. Note to self: Never take Maya into the dressing room with me.

3.12.2009

Off Washington Blvd.

Michael left for L.A. at five in the mo'ning last Saturday. I let him a have a full day of painting, without me bugging him to mow the lawn, fix the sink, change the oil in the van, help me with these chil'rens! We joked that he would find out what his life would have been like as a single, unmarried, no baybay-havin' artist.

He said it was lonely, but I don't know if I believe that.

So Michael got together with some other graffiti artists and they did their thing. What I love about Michael's creativity is that his mind seems to work differently than yours and mine. His piece came out completely different than some of the other pieces that were painted that day. I love my man's style...some people don't get it but I always say he is ahead of his time.

This location got these graffiti artists a lot of interested onlookers, people hitting them up for business, honks, daps and much love.

He started out with this idea of a King with a scepter sitting on his throne.

Still laying out design.

I dig that it looks like plumes of smoke.

Tools of the trade.

Thankfully, the weather was mild because he was in the full sun all day long.

Painting on this scale is very challenging. If I need a ladder, forget it! But Michael is used to it.

He may be used to it, but his knees weren't. Up down up down up down means ouch.

Outline.

He called me throughout the day and told me he wasn't going to use any color and I was like what? Is you crazy? What is graffiti without any color screaming out at you from the wall? But now I can see the genius of it.

Even after nearly nine hours of painting, Michael still felt like it wasn't done. I like the way it came out. It's beautiful!


And who is this? Mikey, looking all old and cute with his little mustache. Back in our lives and we're very happy about that.


Some other pieces of the day...




3.09.2009

Oh my achin' back


It is official. I am degenerating before your very eyes. The day after I turned 37, I woke up to the most horrendous back pain of my entire life. I.could.not.get.out.of.bed. Seriously. I didn't strain myself, I didn't lift anything heavy, nothing like that.

I just woke up old.

I've dealt with sciatica for years, ever since I was pregnant with my first child. Nothing like walking through a K-Mart and having a sharp, needle-like pain pierce your butt and almost make you collapse in the towel aisle. That really happened to me. I just came to accept the discomfort as a part of being a wonderful giver of life. And yes, read that with heavy, heavy sarcasm.
Every so often, the back pain would flare up. But it's never been this bad. I could not bend. I could not lift. I could barely walk. So I hobbled around like an old lady for a few days. Put some heat on it. Massaged it. Tried to lay down comfortably but it was practically impossible. I had to have the chil'rens put my socks on. Try wiping your butt when you can barely move without getting a horrible spasm.
It has not been easy.

I am the type of person who despises visiting a doctor. Everyone has been telling me to go but I don't see the point. He'll probably just tell me I need to lose weight and then write me a prescription for pain meds. Which, to be honest, sounds really blissful right about now. But the thing that sucks about pain meds is this: I can't just swallow the pills and go about my business, all numb and carefree. I have to be responsible for six chil'rens. They need a mother who is all there. So for now, I am all here but I am in pain and grouchy as hell.

But that is just me. This is how I process pain. I can tolerate it for only so long. Then I start to assess how long I will be in pain...can I be "cured" of the pain...and when I see no relief in sight I get all emotional and weepy. Then I get mean and grouchy. Don't tell me to put ice on it, put heat on it, go swimming, prop the pillows this way, go to a chiropractor, get on a diet or get some rest. I will bite your head off because I am in pain.

Ask my husband.

Yesterday he said he was very afraid of me. So when I requested a hug from him, he was very cautious, staring at me suspiciously like I was praying mantis or something. And all I wanted was a simple hug, some consolation for the eight loads of clean laundry I have piled on the sofa because I can't even sit there and fold comfortably.

Sigh.

So I am going on week two of this back pain. It is just slightly better. I get windows where the spasms don't paralyze me, and then I go through the house like the Tasmanian devil, cleaning and cooking and yelling and wiping and folding. But then at the end of the day, I am done for. Then I spend the rest of the next day trying to get back on my feet. It's pretty pathetic.

But don't feel sorry for me. I've needed a catalyst to get me off my apathetic fat ass so I can make better choices for myself, health-wise. The chil'rens are going to run me into the ground if I don't start taking care of myself. The straw that broke this camel's back was last weekend when we went to Wal-Mart, and Michael asked me if I wanted to use the little motorized cart.

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

You know which one I'm talking about. The cart those morbidly obese people ride around in, with their boxes of Hamburger Helper and Ding Dongs and bottles of Mountain Dew piled in the little basket...thigh and butt fat spilling out over the sides of the seat.

Ugh.

Sigh.

3.03.2009

The way to a woman's heart...


Who doesn't love decadent dark chocolate?


Louis Vuitton? Heck yes.


Oh honey, you shouldn't have!



Vans!! Awwww yeah. Oh wait. I guess that's just me.

But if you really, really want to impress me, dazzle me, take me to the stars and back....buy me a set of these bad boys.





Now that's what I'm talking about.

I've been working with an inferior washer and dryer set for about two years now. What you don't understand is, with a family of six chil'rens and a husband who likes to put on a pair of sweats to turn on the sprinklers and then put said sweats in the hamper...a functional washer and dryer is vital for sanity. But when my dryer took a dump and I couldn't afford to replace it, I worked with what I had, hanging towels on a clothesline ("Mama! These towels are scratchy!"), and sometimes running the dryer for two cycles or however long it took to get it dry. More often than not, the clothes were still damp and ended up smelling funky. And then I'd have to wash them all over again, not really confident that they would dry properly and not end up smelling funky again. Too make a long story short, it sucked.

But now, I am happy. I am a washin', dryin' fool.
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