Oops, she did it again...

Xiomara. Xixi!

This girl.

This is the little girl who says exactly what's on her mind, much to her mama's embarrassment. Sometimes I have to distract her, so she won't follow through on the thought she has brewing. I know this girl. I know because she is 100% her mother's child.

Just last Saturday, as we were having a little garage sale, she focused on his short, chubby woman walking into our driveway. She had a little belly, but it was clear she wasn't pregnant. She was too old. But I saw the look of intent on Xixi's face.

"Look, mama! That lady has a baby in her tummy!"

I almost choked on my saliva.

I tried my best to divert her attention, because she was on her way over to pat the woman's stomach. "Xixi! Xixi. Please go inside and wash your face! It's dirty!"

My sister sat there snickering, like, that's your daughter!

She does not possess any sort of filter on her thoughts.

I have no idea where she gets it from.

*cough* *cough*

Today, we had the pleasure of spending time with my little brown Nana, who is well into her 80's. Xixi was sitting there cuddling with her great-Nana, when she stood up and patted Nana's butt.

Xixi: Are you wearing a diaper?
Nana: No! Why?
Xixi: Betuz old ladies have to wear diapers.

Ahahahahahaha! Thank God my Nana has a good sense of humor.


Could you spare some change, brother?

If you haven't seen it already, may I direct your attention to the left, right under my art blog link?

It's a donate button.

Well, I feel sheepish.

But shoot. Shoot. I've read blogs where people have tried to raise funds for a new iphone, a weekend to get some booty, etc.

Since I "outted" him by this whole bucket post, Michael felt like I threw him under the bus.

Him: It sounds like I don't take care of our vehicles.
Me: *cough cough*
Him: I take care of our vehicles!
Me: I did not implicate you in any way...I just said the van was systematically breaking down and we didn't have the money to fix it. Ok, I did say you didn't take care of the a/c and I wanted to plot your slow, painful death but that's it!
Him: Hmmph.

So he went ahead and put the donate button up there.

Think of it as...

Alms for the poor.

So disadvantaged, brown chil'rens can get around in comfort.

So I can get rid of my sweat mustache.

So I can throw away the aluminum bar and roll down the window when I get my .59 tacos.

So I can drive 50 mph.

It's either this or I take the chil'rens to Venice beach and have them entertain the crowds with my monkey grinder.


Why poor people drive buckets.

I used to think that those poor souls who drove around town in crappy buckets for cars just didn't care about being seen by other people, they just didn't care about nice, stylish automobiles...they just drove it around because it got them from point A to point B.

It never occurred to me that maybe those poor souls were just too poor to either fix up the bucket or get a new one. But now I know.

Cuz I have become one of those poor souls.

I drive a 2000 Chevy Astro Van. That's not too bad, its only nine years old, you must be thinking. True dat. But a 2000 Chevy Astro Van that has to drive around eight people all the time is a whole 'nother story. You could say it's gotten some wear and tear. I've just trained myself to not mind the car. Who cares what it looks like. It runs. It's paid for. The chil'rens can fit in it. It's paid for. Amen. I realize that many of the problems are cosmetic and to be totally honest, we just haven't gotten around to fixing certain things.

So why not fix it, then?

Well, when you have a thousand other things that are screaming at you to be bought (food, water, clothes) and to be paid (electricity, gas, roof over head)...fixing the broken grill on your car just doesn't seem like a big priority. It's one of those, we'll get around to it someday things. But that someday...it just ain't coming. Not anytime soon.

But in addition to the broken grill....the whole left side looks shaved because it slammed into the center divider on the 91 last two years ago...so the driver side door won't open and close right and it creaks like a 90 year old lady's knees and I fear it might fall off in the parking lot of Trader Joe's....some of the dashboard is cracking off...one of the seats can't adjust...armrests are broken...the new stereo got jacked in '07 and its never been replaced so now there a hole covered with black tape...the volume nob is lost...the seat belt stem broke so now it's held together by duct tape...my automatic window motor decided to die so when I drive up to Starbucks and/or Del Taco, I have to open my door and hand over my money (thus, showing the piece of cracked dashboard--fabulous, I know)...and there is a wide assortment of deflated juice pouches, dried hamburgers and fries, boogers and church crafts scattered on the floor.


I wish I could say, at least the motor runs like a champ. Even though it looks like hell, it runs great! Nope. Despite getting a new radiator, transmission and a new motor two and a half years ago, and a myriad of other things I won't bore you with its still a bucket. Whenever I'm driving 50 miles an hour, it starts shaking like I'm driving over a thousand little balls.

So I just never drive 50 mph.

Then, to add insult to injury, one day a few months ago, the air conditioner decided it only wanted to blow out toward my feet. Oh, it blows fine in the back of the van for the chil'rens and my feet have never been frostier...but in my face, under my sweaty eyes and upper lip where I need it most, there is no air. Just sweat. I told Michael, please don't wait to fix this until the weather starts to get hot. I will kill you.

It was over a 100 degrees a few days ago.

I fanned myself. And plotted my husband's slow, painful death.

And. And.

My automatic locks for the entire vehicle decided they don't want to work anymore. That was the final blow, the most cruel. I can't unlock the hatch of my van, not even with the key. So this means that when I shop for groceries, I have to pile everything on the empty car seats and floor. And I always, always seem to forget the gallon of milk that went sliding around when I drove home. If I have the misfortune of shopping with the chil'rens, then they sit in their seats with bags of chicken breasts, granny smith apples and bagels on their lap.

Yeh, its kind of pathetic.

The other day, while getting ready to leave from the chil'rens homeschool co-op, I was getting ready to pile all of my art supplies in the front seat. I was already grouchy because of the heat and the thought of no air conditioning, even though the co-op is about 120 seconds from my home. But it was gonna be a hot 120 seconds, nawmean? I looked around at all the other moms with their nice, clean mom/mini vans and just really started to hate being poor and having bad credit.

Waaaaah, my life sucks.

Then Noah calls out to me, "Mom, its ok! You can put your stuff in the back. It's open." And here I am thinking that thousand pound window is going to slam down on his big, bobble head. But no, there was no danger of that because my son had the hatch propped up...by a big aluminum bar.

So everyone is driving off in their new cars, waving and smiling while I am standing there sweating with all my little brown, hungry chil'rens, in front of the bucket with a bar holding up my back window.

Could I be anymore of a walking stereotype?

All that's missing is a Mexican blanket on the seats, some Santana blasting on my broken stereo and the chil'rens can take off their shoes and start selling chiclets to everyone.


You know, its not that the car isn't cool enough. I truly am one of those people who just want something to get me from point A to point B. I don't care about the latest models, paint jobs, rims, how fast it drives. I've even resigned myself that I may someday soon have to drive one of those ginormous carpool vans. I can deal with that. Its just that the basic amenities of the vehicle I currently drive are breaking down, and its making my life hard. The locks and the air conditioning is the straw that is breaking this camel's back.

I just wanna drive it over a cliff, Thelma and Louise style.

So why not go and get a new car?

And there you have it, my friends. The crux of the matter. Poor souls without any money can't afford to go out and buy a new car. Or a used one for that matter. They drive around in their buckets because they have to. They have no other choice. That is the byproduct of poverty. Sadly, I don't see any new cars in my future.

Should one come down like manna from Heaven, cool.

Until then, don't feel sorry for me. I like to think of it as character development. God has this funny of way of breaking down certain habits I possess. I'm cultivating thankfulness, patience, gratefulness, and long-suffering. Lots and lots of long-suffering.

And there's nothin' like driving around in a beat up old car with six chil'rens spilling out of it the minute you park to teach you some good, old fashioned humility.



I think of my stepson's actions as his way of saying, look Dad--I'm just like you. I wanted to be like you because it makes me feel closer to you. I packed up my backpack with your spray cans and snuck out the back door in the middle of the cool night air while our family slept peacefully. Just like you used to. It was exciting to climb up on buildings, to spray my name on those pristine, white walls. And when they caught me, I knew. I knew I was in deep trouble. But would you still be there for me, Dad?

And he was. His Dad was still there for him. Of course he would be there. But what us children of divorce sometimes wonder is...does that parent who left us...does he still love me? Sometimes it can be the smallest seed of doubt. I had a mother who, for the most part, kept her opinion of my father to herself. But sometimes, in her extreme frustration, she would say little things. Little things that my siblings probably didn't notice, but I did. Your father lies all the time. I can never believe a word he says.

Your father lies.

Those three words would continually stab me in my heart whenever I thought of my father, and the words he said to me. Mija, I have to work this weekend. Or mija, I'm going out of town so I won't be able to make it. And of course, he could be busy...or working...or going out of town. But in my mind, I wonder. He is probably lying. It's awful, I know. It's something I've tried to conquer for the last 30 years of my life.

So when I contemplate my stepson, I think of all that he has been told of his father. He loves his other family more than you. He doesn't love you. He doesn't have time for you. He never gives us any money. He hasn't called so he must have forgotten about you. And for the life of me, I wonder, how can he believe that? He knows how much his father loves him. He must know the lengths his father has gone to be in his life.

But sometimes it's the doubting voice that is louder.

Sometimes it hurts to be a parent. Even more so when your hands have been tied by the other parent. Forcefully tied, to the point where the rope is cutting off your circulation and it begins to rub your skin raw and bloody. When you have resigned yourself to the fact that you can only do so much for a child that has been fought over for the past sixteen years of his life. There is a wound so deep, so raw and tender...that I don't know if it can ever heal. By our hands, anyway. But I know that His hands can heal us all.

So he was here and lived with us for almost three months. It wasn't easy. But finally, to be in his life...it was a really good thing. I didn't blog about it because I wanted to respect my husband's privacy. But now that he is gone, swooped up once again by his mother who thinks she is doing the right thing by him, all there are reminders of him. His school books. His empty closet. His cologne. His ipod. His pimple pads.

And it feels like a death.

It's like we are in mourning. That's the best way I can describe it. Some of the chil'rens can talk lightly about him, some of them can't. My husband cannot. It still hurts too much. To finally have his son here, to be a part of his everyday life...and then to have him get into trouble--on our watch, no less--it's been one of the hardest things we've had to face. No one wants to see their child make poor choices. But I can't help but feel like we're part of the reason why he's making these poor choices...because he's crying out that he's hurt.

Two more years until he's eighteen. Two more years until he's eighteen. I say that like it's a mantra.

For now, we go back to calling and hoping he answers. We go back to driving to his home which is eighty miles away, hoping he is home and wants to see us. Then I look to the book of Isaiah, which says but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

And that's all I can do.


Happy Birthday, Ben Diesel!

Today is the day my fourth son came into this world. Right from the start, he proved to be a unique child. He was born in the middle of the kitchen floor, which he doesn't like to tell people. Kitchens are for eating--not having babies, he told me one day.

He came out with a head full of bushy hair and a fat nose. He looks just like his daddy, I remember saying.

On day #3 of his life, he began what would become a six year fascination with his two middle fingers. We had a hard time breastfeeding because he preferred those two fingers. So in the middle of night, exhausted, scraping by on a couple hours sleep, I gave in. He won that battle.

Go ahead, suck your fingers, Cyan.

Every time he went to sleep, you heard that little sucking sound. Sucksucksucksucksucksuck. When he got older, he tried to get undercover about his little finger-sucking habit. So he'd hide in a Spiderman blanket so we couldn't see him. But we could still hear him. Sucksucksucksucksuck. Then, if he was really trying to be sneaky about it, it would sound like this:

suck (pause) suck (pause) suck (pause) suck.

He was also the first child that made me wake up Michael in the middle of the night so he could help me with the baby. I just couldn't do it anymore. Help me, I would cry. There were many mornings I woke up to find Michael splayed out on the livingroom sofa in his underwear, mouth hanging open, snoring...with Cyan snuggled in his arms. One night I woke up startled, because I had gotten more than two hours of interrupted sleep and Cyan was not in the bed with me. This is what I found in the livingroom: my husband knocked out on the sofa, his boxer briefs stuffed in his butt to give him a fantastic wedgie...and Cyan, buckled into his carseat....which was swinging back and forth...from a chain...which was hanging from a hook in the ceiling...which was drilled into the ceiling sometime during the night.

Yeh, being an exhausted parent with a screaming child makes you do some crazy things.

I suppose buying a swing from Toys 'R Us would have been ideal. But when its 3 a.m and you need to make a kid shut up before you do something rash, and your wife was going through this crazy, attachment-parenting phase which forbade said parent from buying any "mechanical baby-holders" such as a swing....drilling a hook into the celing and hanging a chain on it and attaching a carseat with a screaming infant inside of it...well, it makes perfect sense to me. He loved that homemade, ghetto swing, too. And it gave us precious, much-needed sleep.

And it was funny.

Another thing that makes Cyan unique is his ability to make himself pass out, which thankfully, he doesn't do anymore. But those I'm-mad-so-let-me-hold-my-breath-til-I-turn-blue were a daily occurence for a while. Then there were the tantrums. I have seen my fair share of shoes, toys, hangers, and books fly past my head as he's experienced one of his he done lost his ever -lovin' mind episodes. I've never seen a boy get his butt whooped as often as this child because let me just say...you don't throw a book at this mama's head and get away with it. You better run first and ask questions later.

I'll give you a head start.

What I love about Cyan is he has alot of heart. Being the youngest of five boys isn't easy. He's the baby, without really being the baby. So he has cultivated this tough guy persona. The way he talks and the way he walks screams, "Don't mess with me!" He's like this little pitbull who loves to terrorize his little sisters and a couple of his big brothers. But in reality, out of all the chil'rens, he is the one that really needs that extra TLC. I have just a couple of those in the family, and they just pull at my heartstrings. Probably because they are most like their daddy, and we all know how much I live their daddy.

And finally, Cyan is a boy with several aliases. Most people don't even know him as Cyan cuz we call him Benny all the time. Benny a.k.a Benny the Jet Rodriguez from The Sandlot. He is his grandma's "Chango Chango" because he looks like a little monkey. And now, he's been christened Ben Diesel because he's got it like that.

I love you, son. Hope you have a happy 7th birthday.

Benny and those fingers. He always looked like he was getting ready to whistle at somebody.

Huh? What? Can I get some juicey?

This is what he looked like for about five years straight. I'm serious!

Happy Birthday, son! You've made this adventure of motherhood anything but dull.


Please don't ever make me talk about sex again

I have just exited the depths of parental torture and hell.

Sex. They made me talk about sex.
Dinner started out innocently enough. Tuesdays we have school at the co-op, so we always have pizza for dinner because it's easy and cheap. But some how, some way...the conversation during the evening meal spun out of control.

And I found myself in the center of The Sex Talk.
Noah asked me a random question about prison and juvenile hall. Why was it scary? Can people hurt you in there? So I began to list the dangers of being incarcerated: drugs, gangs, murders, rape.

Huh? All I got was blank looks on their faces. Shoot! Now I have to explain this to them.

Me: Do you know what rape means?
Them: Um, I think so.
Me:Its when someone forces you to have sex.
Them: You mean, they force you to kiss them and stuff?
Me: No, that is not what sex means...

Then I had to go into logisticals...woodies...vaginas...entries...exits...procreation...fornication...etc. etc.

Needless to say, it wasn't pleasant. They howled with embarrassment and they giggled like a bunch of hyenas. Each time I explained something, it was like the elevator door opening up to some new type of horror.

"Next floor...ejaculation!"

You should have seen the looks on their faces. I could just see things clicking in their minds as they realized why you have sex, who has sex, what happens when you have sex, and so on and so forth.

Them: Mom!! So YOU HAVE SEX TOO???
Me: Sigh. Yes.
Them: With daddy?
Me: Yes.
Them: How many times?
Me: Six times.
Them: But sometimes we hear you. The bed makes noise. You do, too.
Me: Oh. Just kill me now. Just kill me and put me out of my misery.
In an effort to get the heat off me, I started naming names.

Me: Grandma-mama has sex. Your tia Fo has sex. Your tio Eric has sex...

I just started droppin' dimes left and right.

Them: WITH PAPA?!?!?!?!? WITH TIO JUSTIN!?!?!?!?! WITH TIA CASSIE!?!?!?!?!
Me: Yup.
Them: What about Uncle Fernie?
Me: Yeh, him too.
Them: So basically all our ancestors of humanity have had sex? [this was Noah's question]
Me: Correct.
Them: Aaaarggghhhhhhh!

Then it was like a domino effect.

Them: Every time you have sex, you have a baby? Because Uncle Fernie doesn't have babies.
Me: No, you don't have babies every time.
Them: Oh, then why do you do it? You have sex because you like it?
Me: Ahem. Yes.
Them: So does that mean you like to have sex, mom?
Me: Please stop asking me these questions.
Them: Wait, so Grandma-mama had sex with Papa? And Tata Ray? OH MY GOSH!!
Me: Yes, because she was married twice.
Them: What about daddy? Did he have sex with Mikey's mom? They were never married! You said you should be married before you have sex!
Me: Yes, I'm aware of that.

Loud gasps around the room.

So I tried to tie up the conversation at that. I refused to answer their questions about the *stuff that comes out* that makes a woman have a baby, since they deduced that a woman doesn't get pregnant each time she has sex. I refuse to discuss sperm 'n semen with my children.

I have to draw the line somewhere.

I had to let my mind go to my happy place when they started talking about how when they are in the shower and their penis gets hard, they try to push it back down--and it just won't go down--and how it kinda tickled.

Oh dear Lord. So then I left.

A few minutes later, Noah bursts into my room.

Noah: Mom, how long does it take?
Me: Playing ignorant. What?
Noah: Come on! The sex!
Me: Uhhhhhhhh. It depends.
Noah: You mean to tell me you have to leave your penis in the vagina for a really long time? Like an hour or something? Does Daddy leave his penis in your vagina for a really long time? I was hoping for about three seconds or something like that.
Me: Uhhhhhh. At this point I was at a loss for words.
Noah: Well...then I think I'd rather adopt because I don't wanna have to stick my thing in anyone's vagina for longer than a few seconds.

Oh em gee. I just wanted to die laughing.



The little monsters I have created.

I have vivid memories of being a little girl and fighting with my mother every morning before school. She would have an outfit laid out for me and I would moan, groan, whine, hiss, cry, plead, and basically rain down terror on anyone in my firing range. Why? All because I hated the clothes she would pick out for me.

I had to be the one who chose the clothes because I was the one who had to wear them all day.

And if I was uncomfortable, then my entire day would suck. So after a while, my mom would just let me pick out my own clothes. And everything was as it should be.

Fast forward about thirty years. I'm now a mother of six chil'rens. Six chil'rens that I have to dress. You know what they say 'bout karma?

Not that I believe in karma or anything, but lets just say I'm using it for theatrical purposes.

I always lay out clothes for my boys. They are cool with it. On occasion they will request to deviate from my "clothing suggestion", and we will negotiate. Some are better at dressing themselves than others. The others will come out wearing that faded pair of Wrangler jeans (a hand-me-down that I couldn't bear to throw out--"You can use these for when...you paint! Mow the lawn! Scrub my floorboards!") in a size 10, belted tightly and pulled all the way up to their armpits. Paired with a giant t-shirt that resembles a girls nightgown. They would so come out looking like that. I've seen it with my own two eyes. They just cannot be trusted to dress themselves yet.

Michael has said, they aren't your own life-size Barbies dolls, you know.

And I usually respond, if they have passed through my aching, quivering loins and I have to be seen with them in public, then I have the right to dress them!!

Its all good in our hood.

But the female offspring...its not that easy.

I remember my mom--and my dad--telling me this often as a child, "I can't wait until you have kids--then they will come out just like you!"

And I couldn't understand what they meant. Who wouldn't want a smart, witty, artistic, chubby bookworm for a daughter?! Apparently, that's not what they meant.

Well, either way, I'm paying for it. Paying for it big time with these female offspring. Once, while my sister-in-law was babysitting the chil'rens, she said she was amused that Xixi sat with her for an hour on the sofa, flipping through an Instyle magazine. "Oh, I yike that dwess. That's bootifuuul. Ew. That's ugleee. Oh, that's bootifuul." And she also made her aunt choose from four different pairs of pj's before she agreed to the pair she liked.

Oops. My bad.
Here is a little sample of what getting dressed in my home sounds like:

Me: Here. Put this on.
Them: Nooo! That's ugly! I don't want to wear long pants. I want to wear shorts.
Me: Its cold out. Put the pants on.
Them: Ugh! I'm gonna look ugly in that.
Them: They make me feel all itchy and scratchy!
Them: They make me feel all sweaty and stuff!
Them: I'm gonna look so ugly!
Them: People are going to laugh at me.
Them: Pleeeeease! Pleeeeeeasssse Mommy!
Them: Mommy! Why can't I just wear the shorts??
Me: Are you kidding me? PUT IT ON.
Them: Nooooooooo!! waaaaaaaaaah! I can't wear this! I can't!
Me: Sigh. Ok. What about this dress? This dress is beautiful! You will look so pretty in this. Your cousin [resident fashion diva Selah] has a dress like this and she always looks pretty! Do you want to wear this dress?
Them: No. I want to wear these shorts.
Me: Ok. Put the shorts on. Freeze your butt off then.
Them: Yay! Shorts!

And they win. Just like that. I like to tell myself that I stand firm and force them to wear what I tell them but when it comes down to brass tacks, I don't. I totally cave. Partly because I remember being that kid who wanted to wear what I wanted. And partly because I want to puncture my own eardrums so I won't have to continue hearing whiny girl voices.

So my mom says, "They are horrible! You have created little monsters! They are just like you. I can't believe they battle you on what they will wear! They are 3 and 5 years old, Denise!"

Yes, I am aware of that, mother.

I also discovered that I totally have to present their "clothing suggestions" in a certain manner, to sell them on the idea. "Oh, look at this cute dress I just bought for you! And look, matching flip flops! Aren't they cute? Oh, oh and here is a matching barrette you can wear. And if it's cold out, you can wear your jean jacket until the sun comes out. See, you will look totally cute!" All that said with a super sweet, upbeat voice.

This was totally the conversation we had when presenting their Easter dresses to them.

I hyped them outfits just like Flava Flav hyped Public Enemy back in the day.

Occasionally, I would take out the dresses so they could ooh and aaah over them cuz mama didn't want no problems on Easter morning. So on Sunday, they were more than happy to wear the clothes I laid out for them.

But where do I go from here? Right now it's shorts and long pants. Pretty soon its gonna be thong chonies, miniskirts and booty shorts. Oh dear Lord baby Jesus. I just have to resign myself. I have, in fact, created little monsters.

But those are some cute little monsters!


Peace and bacon grease

I was at a gathering of friends last night to celebrate Good Friday. A chica that I love with all my heart (she does good hairrrr) was sitting there all by her vegetarian self, a pathetic little plate of beans and rice in front of her. The rest of us, we were scarfing down on carne asada tacos, pastas, salads, sandwiches, chips, dips, you name it. And I was thinking...it must really suck to be a vegetarian sometimes. Only because you have to mingle with us carnivores and our carnivorous pot lucks.

So I thought of something that alarmed me. Most Mexican restaurants/markets sell beans that they make with...lard.

Yes. Lard.

Surely a vegetarian would not want to consume something with animal fat.

Disgusting, right? I can visualize some of my dear Caucasian readers shrinking back in horror but yes, it's true. Beaners buy thick slabs of lard and put that stuff into the beans because it makes it taste...mmmmmmmm. Now, I have refined my palette fine enough to know when lard is in the beans. So I can taste it. Personally, I don't put lard in my beans, but I do put something that is equally fattening, but way more tastier.

Bacon grease.

Or should I say, bacon fat. That's sound a little less offensive than grease. Here's the deal. We eat turkey bacon around these parts. First of all, its healthier. It's tasty. It's cheaper. It's easier and less messy to make. Most importantly, I don't have to get popped by the hot grease which is something I really, really hate.

But on occasion, I buy a package of real bacon and we all lick our chops like wolves on the prairie.


But this is the real reason why I make swine bacon. Bacon grease, my friend. I need the grease, yo. After I cook the bacon for breakfast, we stand around and howl by the stove and wait for our portion. Then I pour every last drop of hot bacon grease into a ceramic cup, where it is then stored in the refrigerator, waiting to be spooned into my boiling pot of pinto beans.

Mmmmmmm, good stuff.

A ham hock will do in a pinch, but I can only think of two occasions throughout the year when we eat ham, so that option just isn't feasible. My mama is a big bacon maker, so she always has the bacon grease stockpiled. I'll call her up and ask for some.

"Mom! Can you send me some bacon grease?"
"How much you need?"

Imagine my mom standing in an alley, hat tilted to the side, sucking on a toothpick. How much you need? And just like that, I get a small cup of the stuff. Yes. And believe me, I've tried to make beans without bacon grease but it just isn't the same. I've put onion in it, garlic, a jalapeno, cheese but eh, it didn't have that richness in the flavor. It just wouldn't sustain us during Bean Week, ya know what I'm sayin'?

Think about it, the next time you make bacon and you throw all the lovely grease in the trash can.

Noooooooooo! It hurts to think about it.

I leave you with this, my recipe for a delicious pot of beans.

When the time comes at the end of the month and you are broke and need to feed the family somehow, you need to know how to make a pot of beans! But, of course you could eat them any other time during the month for the simple reason that they are delicious.

I can't give you specific measurements because I only know how to cook for a small army, so you'll have to tweak your own recipe. I cook about ten cups of beans at a time and I just realized I should be cooking about twelve, so I can stretch them out further. Lemme just tell you, that's a whole lotta beans.

End Of The Month Beans
  • Bring a pot of water to boil, with the lid on (its faster).
  • Most people will soak beans overnight so it can release some of its poot power, but I always forget. This method works fine. And a little pooting never hurt nobody!
  • Rinse your pinto beans in a colander. Do not forget this step. You will end up with some gritty beans if you don't. There are tons of sandy rocks in beans. Trust me, I know.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, turn it off and take it off the heat. Pour your cleaned beans into the pot and cover it. Let it sit for an hour.
  • After the hour is up, you will notice the beans have doubled in size. They get all swollen like a pregnant mama at a 4th of July picnic.
  • Drain and rinse the beans, give them fresh water and put back on the stove. Set the flame on medium low and cover, but make sure there is a little escape for the steam, or else your beans will overflow and leave your burners caked with burnt bean juice that won't get cleaned for about four days, or until your husband can't take it anymore and he cleans it himself.
  • Throw in a big, fat juicy jalapeno (with the stem cut off). Pretty much any type of chile will do. Its just for flavor.
  • While the beans are cooking, keep checking the water, adding more if necessary. The last thing you want is burned beans. Ew!
  • I'd estimate the beans take a couple of hours to cook. At least, my giant pot does. Those of you making a much smaller pot will probably cut the cooking time in half.
  • While the beans are simmering, take out that ceramic cup of Golden Goodness a.k.a Bacon Grease. Measure out a tablespoon or so and put it in the beans. I have also been sinfully indulgent and put actual pieces of bacon in the beans and holey smokes that is good. Again, I make alot of beans so I put more bacon grease in when I need to.
  • While my beans are softening, that's when I put in salt. Not garlic, just regular old salt. If I'm feeling snooty, I toss in sea salt. Salt to taste. When your beans are soft and mushy, that means those bad boys are ready.
  • Cheese! Let's not forsake the cheese. Shred it. Throw chunks of it in there. It'll melt and be completely yummy.
  • Now, the Bean World is your oyster.
You can either leave the beans whole and eat them as a sort of soup. Spoon some salsa into the bowl and heat up some corn tortillas and you'll be in Bean heaven. Or you can mash them up, add some cheese and use them for a variety of purposes and thus, commence Bean Week. Bean tostadas with cotija cheese, bean and cheese burritos, beans and chile con carne, beans and scrambled eggs, bean soup, mashed beans spread on toasted bolillos, bean tacos, bean nachos, etc. You get the point.

This is a bean's world, but it wouldn't be nothin' without a cup of bacon grease.

So I asked my dear vegetarian friend if she knew there was probably lard in the beans...which meant her lips were currently touching animal fat. I could think of worse things your lips could touch. Oh, the look of horror on her poor face.

"Why? Why would they do that? Thank God I only ate a little bit!" And she went over and tossed her plate in the trash. And that, my friends, is when I thought of this post.


Burgers 'n booty

This is too funny. But I ain't mad at Sir Mix-A-Lot. He's gotta pay the bills, somehow.


The only reason why I would sit and watch the Nick Kids Choice Awards

Um, yeh. I ain't gonna lie.

The chil'rens were so excited about Kids Choice Awards and they talked about how cool it was gonna be, how cool the slime was gonna be, etc. etc.



"Mom, do you wanna watch it with us?! Come on, mom, it's gonna be so cool!"

"Uuuhhhhhh. I don't know. We'll see." I have to cook dinner/fold laundry/wash dishes/wash the dog/peel off my toenails.

And any kid with some sense knows..."we'll see" is just parental code for...ain't no way in hell kid, so quit asking.

But then I got a glimpse of the host. And that lovely tattoo.

Then, it suddenly became interesting.

Move over, kids, mama is coming to watch TV with you, and she won't fall asleep this time, I promise!


Under the Sea is so not where I want to be

We recently had a field trip with our homeschooling group to Sea World. I've discovered something strange about myself.

I do not like to see sea animals through the glass.

It just creeps me out.

Now, the actual animal isn't what I find creepy because we saw the moray eels and they looked like big, long floating turds. What really gives me the shivers is the thought of these disturbingly large creatures just a few feet away from me, behind a sheet of glass....that thousands of gallons of sea water is right there and it can come crashing though at any moment. It's just unnatural. Ugh. It gives me the chills to think about it. I know, weird.

I didn't mind the manta rays, the seals, the sea otters, the sharks, the polar bears, the penguins were cool. But the giant walrus, the killer whale, this strange white whale--the bugela whale--it just made me want to run out of the exhibit. And forget Shamu--we didn't bother to see his show. Watching those people jumping in the water with the killer whales...aaaaggghhhhh!

And then when I contemplate how deep the tank is. Oh my. It's just not right for humans to be in the water with such large creatures, you know?

And to think, when I was seven years old, I wanted to become a marine biologist.

The chil'rens lookin' all soggy after they rode the rapids ride. I was wet too but I used two of their sweatshirts to protect my hair. Heehee!

My oldest son Noah who informed me that he would not respond to me if I called him, "Baby" in front of his friends. Geez!

The polar bears were big!

Xixi cakes.

Look at the attitude.

Back away from the glass! Back away from the glass!

Sol was really digging the manta rays. They would swim right up to the edge, expecting to be fed. They felt like cold, wet pieces of menudo!

I tell them to pose and this is what I get.

An afternoon in San Diego is incomplete without a trip to the Old Towne Mexican Cafe, where a bunch of Mexican ladies make fresh, homemade tortillas all day, everyday. You would have thought we were a pack of ravenous wolves the way we attacked those bad boys.

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