12.31.2009

Dance Par-tay!

One of the distinct memories I have growing up were the grown folks parties.

I mean, c'mon...gather a group of beaners, all their chil'rens, the food, the music...doesn't take much to tip in the direction of a party, know what I'm sayin'? Of course, the adults (aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends) in the family were not to be hindered by the fact that they all averaged about 4 children apiece. They would carry on with their plans and their cocktails and we (the chil'rens) would run around outside, play tag, hide and seek, hot lava, basketball, baseball, ride bikes, etc. etc. whilst the adults in the family got their party on. My uncle was a DJ, so once the music started blaring, we knew what was going down that night.

Of course, we were always well taken care of, fed, had sweaters on when it got chillly, they brought us in to play when it got too dark outside etc. etc. but I think it would have been alot of fun if we were invited in to share in the party.

Right?

Now that I'm an old married woman, this is what we do. When the family gets together, we don't shoo the chil'rens outside while we entertain ourselves.

We have a dance par-tay.

They love it. My mama loves it. It's hilariously funny. A good time is had by all.

Last year, my sister bought the chil'rens a tiny strobe light, a disco ball and a cd with lots of dance music--they loved it. So we've carried on the tradition again this year.

As you watch this video, pardon the sound of my man voice as I roll call all of the chil'rens names to get their attention. Heh. And Xixi. Oh, Xixi. You'll see what I'm talking about.

Enjoy. Hope you had a very merry Christmas.

And tomorrow? New Year's Eve. The holidays are flying right past us.

12.28.2009

Sh!t happens.


I've been meaning to post with all kinds of entertaining pics and video clips about the holidays but alas...I cannot find the usb cord to Noah's camera. I can't use my camera because I can't find the cord for that one either, so it's deader than a doornail. This is what technology has gotten me. A pile of cords that don't work.

Anyhooo.

Oh right, the reason for this post.

Sh!t happens. Literally. When I took a shower on Saturday night (after putting every single Christmas decoration away all day), I noticed the water wasn't going down. I thought, oh shoot, Michael is gonna have a fit because my hair is clogging up the drain again. When he got home, he began to investigate. He discovered that if we flushed the toilets, poo and stuff was coming back up into the showers.

Shiver.

"This is serious!" he said. I spared myself the sight of it all, taking him at his word. Immediately, I began to worry--its my specialty. This just can't be good. Two toilets servicing eight buttholes day in and day out cannot end well. We live in a house that was built in 1953 and I'm pretty sure the pipes have never been replaced.

We are living on a wing and prayer here, people.

Ever notice how the minute your toilet is out of order, you gotta go really bad??

I really hate when that happens.

All this went down on a Saturday night, so the chil'rens were sent to bed unbathed. We told them if they needed to use the bathroom they could only use the master bathroom...and if it was yellow, let it mellow. If it was brown...ya'll better hold it until we take you to Grandma's house tomorrow.

Sol, being the most earthy of the bunch, quickly piped up, "All I need is a shovel and hole in the backyard, Mom!"

Good ole Sol. Gotta love this boy for two things, his dimple and his ingenuity.

The rest of us weren't up to popping a squat in the backyard. We needed to get this fixed, STAT. But two days after Christmas? On a Sunday?

Sigh.

Michael and my stepdad worked for several hours, taking out the toilet and trying to get it all unclogged with a rented snake. I shifted in and out of denial and desperation and pity. Two things can get me in a really depressed state. Expensive household repairs and expensive car repairs. In my mind, I'm ready to pack us all up to live in a shanty town down by the riverbed.

But thank God for family. Family that doesn't want to see us pooping in holes in the backyard, unbathed after two days. They called in a plumber. He came in with an even bigger snake and got the job in done in oh, fifteen minutes. Around ten last night.

But yep, unbathed after two days. The chil'rens took baths on Christmas day. I think. Might have been Christmas Eve. It's not like they were rolling around in mud or anything. No, I'm pretty sure it was Christmas day. Heh. Anyhow, they weren't able to shower again until this morning.

And not a moment too soon. People's were starting to stink. I washed everyone's sheets because I got a whiff of stinky head.

Stinky head is gross.

And now, the house is clean. Our bodies are clean. Poop is going down, down, down where it belongs. I don't have to worry about moving into the shanty town just yet.

Waking up to the sound of a toilet flushing is a very sweet, sweet sound. You don't realize how good you have it until it's gone.

12.20.2009

Togetherness.

The chil'rens aren't allowed to watch TV by themselves after 8 pm. I'll allow them to watch a movie but no random cartoon watching. So what usually ends up happening is I get all six of them piling into my bed to watch what I'm watching, usually The Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance or Animal Planet. Most days I'm complaining that the chil'rens always want to be in my butt and why can't I ever watch TV in peace? Then there are those days when I love the fact that they just want to be where I am.

Now, I used to have a cal king. Then, last year, we got this bright idea to buy a queen instead. You know, it would take up less room, linens and bedding would cost less, etc. Bad, bad idea. Michael usually sleeps with his ankles dangling off the end of the bed. About 1/3 of my buttcheeks hang off the side of the bed. And there is never enough room when the girls decide to slip into bed with us in the middle of the night.

So this is how it looks when we all pile into the bed. Last people there get stuck in the chair. Or whatever laundry basket is laying around.

Heh.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Please disregard my face fat dangling onto the pillow. Maya is usually behind me because she's as tiny as a bedbug. I have no idea why Xixi is laying there with her mouth open. Yes, me and Noah always watch TV this way--holding hands. Heh.
In reality, he's just keeping me from the remote. And Sol is rocking my robe like a snuggie. This is one of those moments that I wish would be frozen in time.

12.11.2009

Gifted.


There are just some people who are blessed with the gift of many talents.

Don't you just kinda hate those people?


Not really. Not when I am related to one.

My baby brother Josh is one of those people.

It's disgusting, actually.

First of all, he's got this incredible head of curly black hair. He models, oh, in his spare time.

He's an artist, and can paint and draw with ease. He took a couple art classes in college and I was very impressed, considering it was just hobby for him. Some people can work for years to try to draw like that.

He is an amazing cook. He's always trying out new recipes for the old folks. He even plates just like Bobby Flay, yo! We begged him to go to culinary school but nah, he wasn't feelin' it.

Boy can sang, too. Yes, that's right. He has the voice of an angel. He sang in choir all throughout high school. I do believe that inside he is a 300 lb. black woman. He sung a duet for his high school graduation and I thought my entire family was going to cry all of their tear ducts dry. I was so, so proud.

Hold up, I'm tearing up right now. *fanning my eyes*

Darn it. Ok. I'm holding it together.

Another thing he can do....is dance. It never ceases to amaze me how easily certain things can come to him. He started out getting his groove on at parties, then he started taking dance classes. Now he's dancing in shows, night clubs and private gigs (for the likes of Britney Spears).

Scared of you, Josh.

Here is a video of an audition he just had. He is the one just to the left of the choreographer, with the yellow thing on his t-shirt. I asked him, "How many days do you get to learn it all?" He looked at me and laughed. "Um, like fifteen minutes!"



Work it out, boy.

But probably the most special aspect of my this fine, young man is his heart. It's huge. He is always kind. Always loving. He sets a great example for his nieces and nephews. He takes care of me and my sister, all the time. And he always makes me laugh. Always.

I love you, Josh...even though you don't like fat mermaids. I was thinking about you so I had to write this.

Christmas blues.


The more I think of it, the more I believe that I was a very spoiled child growing up. Every Christmas, my mother would bust her hump to provide me and my siblings a wonderful time of baking, gifts, a warmly decorated home, family and food. Now that I'm a mother, surviving off one income, I often wonder how she did it year after year, on a single mother's salary.

I have distinct memories of wondering if this was going to be a "good Christmas"--will I get that Barbie motor home I keep begging for? What about that pink Huffy bike with the moped seat? As a small child, my requests were innocent enough but once I hit teen status, I was demanding bigger and much more expensive things. Eventually it would turn into....I hope they buy me a new Walkman...a CD player...what about those 12-hole green Doc Martens I've been dying for?

To further illustrate my utter rottenness, I lived your typical divorced household life. Meaning, I would spend Christmas Eve with my mom, open up the presents from her side of the family. Then on Christmas day, my Dad would pick us up and we'd drive out to East L.A. where his side of the family were eagerly awaiting us. We were the only grandchildren on that side until I turned 18! You know what that means, right? The entire living room would be filled with presents for me and my siblings. No cousins to share with. Good times.

It was every child's greedy dream.

So it was that vivid childhood memory that kept me up until 3 am this morning. I tossed and turned, trying to stop my brain from scrambling around but it just wouldn't stop. Christmas is going to be really tough this year. Really tough. Thankfully, the chil'rens aren't half as spoiled as I was. They are thankful with the smallest of things.

Which makes me want to bless them with good things even more, because I know they are good kids, loving and kind and helpful. They don't sit here and pout and demand stuff. Thank God for family and church friends, is what I kept thinking.

I got up out of bed and opened up the window, breathing in the cold, wet night air. Somewhere out there was a mother wide awake just like me. Only she wasn't worrying about unpaid bills and no money for Christmas gifts. She was thinking about how she was going to feed her children, how she was going to keep them warm at night, how she was going to protect them from harm.

Knowing that my children were warm in their beds, in a happy home with both their mother and father gave me comfort. Perspective. I prayed to God and then snuggled up to my husband and finally...found some sleep.

12.05.2009

Simply Beautiful.

Every couple has "their song".

Oh honey, they are playing our song.

The song that makes your heart beat a little faster. Makes you feel warm and tingly. Gets you a little light-headed. Floods you with memories of draping yourself on your bed, languishing...when you felt you would die if you weren't with him right this second.

Oh wait.

That was just me.

This song does it for me. Michael was working on a faux-finished fireplace in someone's home back in 1996. I know, the stone ages, right? when he heard this song. He said it made him think of me and our relationship. When he played it for me, my heart just took off with the birds.

I listened to it over and over again. It was so beautiful, it would make me want to cry. Still does. Not just because of the sentiment, or the fact that Michael dedicated it to me. But because Al Green's voice is so heartbreakingly beautiful.

This was the song I really, really wanted to dance to at our wedding. For some reason, we didn't. We will.

Someday.

12.03.2009

Dia de los Muertos 2009

Yeh, I know.

Dia de los Muertos was, like, last month. But it still deserves a mention on my blog. You may not have realized, but brown folks everywhere were celebrating. There was alot of marigold-arranging, pan de muerto was baking, ofrendas were being built.

Growing up, we did not celebrate this holiday. But now I'm a mama and it made me feel warm inside to be able to share this aspect of our people. The chil'rens need to know. Celebrating your culture, the customs that have been handed down for hundreds of years, there is something very powerful and affirming in that.

So after some last minute face-painting, we packed up the chil'rens and headed to downtown Riverside for their annual Dia De Los Muertos festival. Earlier in the day, we contemplated traveling to L.A., to take part in the huge celebration that Self-Help Graphics throws. But the thought of traveling out to L.A. on a Monday night...meh. Why go all that way when there is plenty to do in your own hood?

My face was a work of art, courtesy of Michael.

The bride and groom, together in life and death. P/V

Josh and his friend, posing with an Aztec dancer.

The chil'rens, scoping out the altars. I was slightly concerned that they would try to jack some of the pan dulce.

I was so proud of Maya. She allowed us to paint her face and she didn't complain that it was ugly or scary.

It was cool to educate Josh's friend Lauren on Dia de los Muertos. She had never heard of it before and wanted to know what she was participating in.

Josh's face turned out really nice. His was a bit nontraditional.

He's so talented. The crazy ones always are. Heh.

Kewl.


12.02.2009

Being sick can suck it.

I don't know about you, but when I'm sick, my body just freaks out. My immune system just takes the ball and runs with it.

Well, old girl's already down for the count anyway....lookit her, all shivering and moaning, then sweating like a pig. Might as well completely clog up her sinus cavity and make the right side of her face feel like she got a beatdown and its currently being squeezed in a vise. Oooh, oh oh and let's throw some diarrhea in, every time she eats solid food. Finally, for good measure, let's make her look like the elephant man and blast her bottom lip with a cold sore. Our work here is done.


Yeh, that's what I imagine my body is saying.

I haven't seen the sunshine for nearly seven days. I've just been laying in bed, cradling the remote. I make sure to flip over from side to side lest I acquire any bedsores.

Just like some chicken on a rotisserie.

The Sick has almost made its way through the entire house. The chil'rens each got it for about a day and a half, after that they are up frolicking around like the deer in Bambi. So, if my calculations are correct, it has made it way through the entire house.

Xixi was the last one to get it, which is miraculous since she's spent every single waking minute of her day peeled to my butt cheek skin. She woke up one morning and said, "Mama, my eyes are buuuuuuwning." Aw,shoot.

Michael's been keeping it at bay by pounding Theraflu. He says I'm a horrible patient because I refuse to take medicine. He bought me some sinus meds and when I tried to choke them down, the chil'rens said I sounded like a mama penguin choking up some food for her babies.

Okaaay.

For whatever reason, I become one with the Earth when I'm sick and I prefer to drink cherry bark tea with honey and Echinachea extract and massage my sinus cavities with this herbal oil a friend of mine made for me. That stuff literally blasts your sinuses open, even when you rub it into your temples.

That stuff is good times.

I am staying far, far away from the doctor's office and all them cooties up in that place. Ick.

But tomorrow is a new day. I'm feeling better. I look like a mental patient who has recently escaped but inside, I'm feeling better. That's all I can ask for.
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