Thursday, June 30, 2005

Quick Update

I've lost 7 pounds so far on Weight Watchers.

I'm working on my novel tonight but just taking a quick break to write this. I love writing my novel! Have I ever told you all that? I could just sit and write and write for hours if I had the time. Imagine if I did have the time. I'd already be finished with it. My job is going pretty good and will be even better as soon as I'm done with all this reporting that I'm working on. And by reports I mean revenue reports, not writing reports. I wish I was writing something at work!

Anyway, today I had a meeting with my boss, his boss, and his boss. It was a meeting to give a clear direction to my job and it was really good to get that.

However on the flip side of that, I feel like I'm doing so well at work that I just have to finish my book to do what I really want in life. Isn't that funny? Right when I'm on top of my game at work is when I get an even stronger desire to accomplish my own personal goals. It's like the confidence I feel with my work gives me more confidence to reach for more.

Michelangelo said, “The great danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” On to finish the book!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

A la Ru Ru Baby

Still in College Station. Taking advantage of an opportunity to write a little. Rey went to Sonic with Seth while I bathed Miranda. I thought I’d write a bit.

I never wrote about this and I just saw this entry that I started a while back.

This is such a great hilarious example of how crazy my family is and how they introduced it to me early in life and didn’t even blink about it because the dysfunction was such a part of their every day life.

When they sang this song to me they changed the words to:

“A la ru ru baby. Duermase mi baby.
Porque si no duerme, va venire el cu cu y se la va comer…” etc then they added some parts about the manzanita, “una para ti y una para mi.”

As I sang this song to my kids at the age of 35 I thought that it probably wasn't a nice song for a baby and it also occurred to me that the word Baby couldn’t possibly be in the original song, it just doesn’t go. I also remembered that I had heard my father sing the beginning of the song, “Señora Santana.” I always thought the name of the song was "A la ruru baby."

I got curious so I asked one of my sisters and she looked at me like I was crazy and said, “We just made up those words to the song.”

“What are the real words?”

“I don’t know

I looked for the real song on the Internet and I found this version.

"Señora Santana, porqué llora el niño?
Por una manzana que se le ha perdido.
Vamos a la huerta; cortaremos dos...Una para el niño, y otra para Dios."

I also saw some versions that said the apple was for Jesus or for the Virgin. I can see why my family would have changed the words since it had a religious tone to it, but my sisters chose the boogey man to come and get me.

I found this really pretty version. I forgot to write down the author and now I can't find it anywhere on google.

“Senora Santana
Porque llora el niño?
Por una manzana que se le ha perdido
Manzanita de oro.
Si yo la encontrara
Se la diera al niño
Para que callara
Duermase mi niño
Rayito de sol
Duermase pedazo
De mi corazon
Duermase pedazo de mi Corazon"

Now isn’t that a lot nicer than being told that you’re going to be eaten by the cucui?

The fact that my sisters chose such a negative picture for me as a child is hilarious and sad all at the same time. I do find humor in my family dysfunction like so many of us have to, but it's also interesting to me to see how their way of thinking shaped my way of thinking too.

My sisters were the most influential part of my life, as much or more so than my parents. Their way of thinking was now or never and if you didn't do something early in life it was all over for you and too late.

For example, when I was in fifth grade I LOVED ballet. I wanted to take ballet so bad. My best friend's mother found an affordable summer class so I was finally able to take ballet.

However, my sister would look at me with what seemed like disdain or pity and would tell me I was too fat and that it was too late for me any way. (by the way, I wasn't skinny but I wasn't fat) I should have started ballet when I was four years old. I might as well forget about it.

Later as I grew up I realized how ridiculous this way of thinking was. Who said I was striving to be an award winning ballerina with the New York City Ballet? All I wanted was to take ballet and have fun. If I started at age 11 I could have kept dancing for fun and exercise well into high school, which was still a good 7 more years. I wasn't striving to be a famous ballerina. There are many other examples like this one.

I'm not blaming my sisters. I also realize that their way of thinking had to have been shaped by others, namely my parents and other family. My sisters are so much older than me that they had already been influenced by another generation of people that didn't affect me as much.

Frankly, I think it's a miracle that I did as much as I have in my life and that I learned to set goals. I think what I must have done was grabbed on to one thing, namely my professional life, and I did as well as I could in that one area, because I still felt like there was still enough time.

It makes me sad now when I see other people do this with their own lives and the lives of others. I hate when I see kids being given up on in schools because they are a lost case any way. What if Helen Keller had been give up on as child? What if those kids at Garfield High School had been given up on? (the ones in the movie "Stand and Deliver.")

I love it when I hear of sixty year old people going back to college or kids who had been given up for dead rising from the ashes of drugs or poverty and doing something with their life. Like Manny Jimenez who left life on the street to start a talent agency Suspect Entertainment and he helps turn former gang members into Hollywood actors, and offers an alternative to the “thug” life. Also Blak (Yanier Franklin Donald Moore) an African American drug dealer turned writer.

Sadly I also realize that "now or never" attitude affected me in other ways in other aspects of my life that don't have to do with my professional life. That feeling of being doomed anyway so "what the heck." That's a feeling and a way of thinking that I really need to work hard on changing. That's what one of my goals for this year will be. It may take me longer than a year to re-program a whole lifetime of a way of thinking.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Actual Conversation With a 4 Year Old at 7 a.m.

Me- Why do I love you so much?

Miranda- Because I grew in your belly.

How did you grow so much?

I grew.

Yeah, you were a little tiny baby growing inside me then you grew to a little baby, were born, and then you came out and you just kept growing and growing.

(giggles) Yeah, and then I grew big and so did baby brother. He's so big now.

I have 2 kids!

You have three. (whispers) My big sister Mandi.

Oh yeah, we have three kids!

When is Sissy going to be a grown up?

Oh.. in about six years.

Then her mother will be old?

No, her mother's the same age as me. She was just really young when she had Mandi. Her and Daddy were just teenagers.

And you were looking for a husband?

(laughing) NO! I was just a teenager too. I was in college.

But then you bumped into Daddy?

Yes, after he wasn't married to Jeanie any more.

And you wanted to marry him?

Yes, he asked me to marry him.

And then you went to the hospital and had me!

Yes I did!

And then your cut got better and when I was three you went back to the hospital and you had baby brother!

Yes I did!

Now your cut is better again.

Yes and I have 2 beautiful kids!

I love you Mommy!

I love you too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Going to Aggie Land!

I was talking to someone the other day about all the things I do in a day and she said she was exhausted just listening to me. I don’t think I do all that much considering all that I don’t do. Then she said I was an overachiever. I had to give this some thought... I’ve never thought of myself as an overachiever, never. She said that once when she was in grad school her professor told all of them that if they were in grad school they were overachievers. So her point to me was that I went to graduate school, I do very well at my job, so therefore I’m an overachiever. Weird but if that’s what she wants to think, great! I’m usually so hard on myself that it’s nice to think that I really work hard even though I always think I’m a slacker.

At this very moment I’m eating my Skillets dinner (with extra veggies I threw in) at my computer trying to get some form of writing in or I’m going to die! I haven’t written in a while and I haven’t worked on my book in even longer… I know!

Miranda fell asleep on the way home so she’s taking a little nap. (Yes, at 8 p.m.) Seth had a bottle and he’s in his crib watching Dora. Yes! I use TV as a babysitter, don’t criticize and judge until you have kids. Ha! I am a firm believer that kids need their own time too and they need to learn to be alone for a little bit. If he’s not crying he’s OK.

After I eat my 6 point dinner (according to Weightwatchers) I’m going to do the wonderful fun task of folding clothes. MY wonderful husband of almost 8 years went and did laundry for us today. Now it’s my job to fold it all and start packing. We’re going to FUN College Station, home of the Aggies, for the weekend for a JW convention.

Yes, I’m Jehovah’s Witness for those of you who didn’t know it. OK, after you pick up your jaw off the ground if you didn’t know, yes we can be Jehovah’s Witness and normal at the same time. I grew up JW so I know all the stereotypes that are out there. : -)

So we’re going to College Station for our district convention Fri-Sun. I’m excited because not only am I always spiritually recharged but I also see so many friends I haven’t seen in a long time. Lots of good material for future characters!

OK, I will write more this weekend if I get a chance. The motel said they have wireless connection, we’ll see.

Monday, June 20, 2005

First Short Story Published!

Hey y'all! You probably read in an earlier post this month that my first short story was published. It has now been corrected with the tilde sign over the word Doña and it's ON THE FRONT PAGE of the website! I'm so excited! Check it out at The link is on the right hand side under Current Interest- "The Grapefruit". I'm already hearing that people really like it. YEAH!!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I haven’t told all of you but I joined Yeah, very surprising I know. I’ve had a friend tell me before that she didn’t think my weight bothered me because I never act as if it does. She said I seemed very comfortable in my skin. I think that in a lot of ways I am and I have been. The main character in “Real Women Have Curves” reminds me of me. I can relate to one of the last lines where she explains the reason why she’s fat and she says that her fatness tells the world, “Forget you,” in so many words, and that she refuses to give in to the unrealistic expectations people have of what an ideal women should look like. I think that I felt like that for a long time growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be thin too sometimes when I see thin beautiful women but I obviously have never done anything about it so it must not have bothered me that much.

Now the weight loss has become about my health, my future, and my kids. I know I need to lose weight to keep the diabetes at bay and to be healthier all around. As you all have read for the last couple of months I’ve been trying to walk more and to eat better. I’ve been having a hard time in the eating department so I finally decided to do something a little more radical and I joined

My reasoning behind it had a lot to do with my pregnancy and my gestational diabetes. When I was GD I had to follow a point system based on carbs. Every 15 grams of carbs counted for 1 point and I pretty much had to stay within a certain amount of points per meal. It worked really well for me and as many of you know I lost 30 lbs with the last baby. Sadly after 10 months of being back at work I’ve gained most of that weight back. Part of me reasoned that it was probably also the accountability and having to go in to check with the endocrinologist

Let me tell you about It is SO COOL!! I’m paying for a monthly service as if I were going to meetings and I’m given a certain point allowance per day. I also have a weekly bank of points that I can take from when I go over my points for the day but it’s only a certain amount of points.

I log on each morning and I type in what I had for breakfast and it will calculate the points for you. For example, the other morning I went to Whataburger and got 2 breakfast tacos, well when I got into the office and saw that they were 11 points each I quickly opted to eat one, since I only have 28 points for the whole day. I didn’t want to eat my whole day’s points in one sitting so I gave one away. I do that for every meal and snack and it keeps up with my points and I can view my whole week at a glance to see how I did each day compared to the others.

I’ve been on the new plan six days now and so far I only screwed up and went way over my points one day, the day I took Miranda to Chuck E Cheese and gave in to the pizza. I’m learning to make better choices and to limit my portions which is great. I like it because I’m eating normal every day foods. I’m not eating any pre-packaged foods, I’m not on some crazy starvation plan where I need to drink their special drinks and crap, and I’m not on a eat all meat diet. It’s just normal food that I can continue to eat well past when I reach my goal weight. It’s helping me change my eating habits with the every day food choices that I have in my life.

So that all said let’s see how I finish up the week tomorrow and on Monday I weigh in. I am thinking that it would be a good idea to go to a meeting every other week or so for accountability. It’s $11 and I feel like I’m already paying the monthly fee for the internet service. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you all posted on my progress. You are all my endocrinologists now and I’m going to be held accountable for what I write here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Hispanics in Houston

Thursday I was walking up to my office building and I heard Spanish music in the air. I looked up to the roof and it was definitely coming from up there. I smiled at the thought of how those men were playing their music freely while working and going about their business, apparently not bothering anyone else, because more than likely they were all Hispanic and they all enjoyed the same music.

I thought of how different a city Houston is than when my parents moved here in 1952 now that Hispanics are 1 in every 7 Americans. They make up a large part of the work force, especially when it comes to roofers.

Later during lunch I took my lap top to the break room to write a little after eating lunch. A group of three Hispanic women came in speaking Spanish and laughing and talking. They warmed up their yellow Spanish rice, some kind of meat I couldn’t see, and corn tortillas in the microwave. They sat together and chatted as they ate quickly. Another woman was already in the room when I entered and she sat quietly and watched me.

I looked at all of them curiously because I didn’t know where they came from. I’m new in this building and besides my office, the promotional printing department, art department, and press room, I don’t know what other areas are there. They looked like some women I’ve seen working in print shops, when I sold direct mail and printing, who sorted the jobs as they came off the press. I wondered if they worked in the press room area. I'll ask my friend who is a pressman when I see him later this week.

What was also interesting was that they apparently didn’t speak very much English. When a co-worker came in to speak to them it was obvious as he tried to make them understand him by making hand gestures. They smiled and nodded like they understood him but they didn’t say much more.

I also noticed how they looked at me curiously but not too obviously. I’ve noticed that Hispanic working class women look at me like this sometimes. Why, I’m not sure, but I can only guess that they are curious about a Hispanic woman who looks like a professional. They don’t realize that my mother was a cleaning woman, among a few of her jobs in her lifetime, and my father was a city truck driver.

I sneezed a couple of times and one of them said, “bless you” instead of “salud.” They apparently thought I didn’t speak Spanish. Little do they know that I speak it fluently. Since I wanted to finish my task at hand I didn’t say anything to them in Spanish because I was afraid I’d get into a long conversation.

Then I saw a man I’ve worked with before walk in. He’s White and although I know nothing about him and his personal life, he looks the part of someone who isn’t very tolerant of diversity. When he walked into the break room I saw him glance at the group of women with what looked like a look of disdain on his face. I wondered if it was just my imagination but then I also noticed that he never even noticed me sitting there a couple of tables away from them. He knows me and has spoken with me on various ocassions regarding work. I wondered if I just blended in to him. All he saw were Hispanic women and maybe he didn’t like it.

I thought what a funny contrast this was to my point of view. Here I was thinking that I stuck out in my business dress as compared to them in their jeans and work aprons but in his eyes I was just another Mexican woman. How hilarious!

When my parents arrived the only Hispanics were Mexican and now they are from different areas of Latin and South America. Houston is almost as diverse now as other parts of the United States but we will always be more Mexican because of our proximity to the border.

I’m so excited to be Hispanic at this time in history and I love living in Houston with its rich history and culture.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


One of the main things that sucks about being a home owner is that you have to pay to get everything fixed. Thus the reason why I haven't remodeled my house. Rey and I have become quite the grungy couple with the old house.

Seriously, we are getting ready to pay off our cruise and our air-conditioner breaks down. YES! Can you believe that?? We got this great great deal on our cruise and the balance due is not that much but now we have to spend at least $2,500 on a new A/C! I'm very tempted to cancel the cruise because I'm afraid I won't be able to afford to do both.

One side of me, the side that my father drilled into my head, is telling me that the cruise is a luxury that should take the back burner to necessities in life. My other side is telling me to spend the money, it's such a great deal after all, and cross off one of the items off my list of things I want to do in life. I hate having this internal war with myself!

On another exciting note. I'm going to NYC for business for 4 days in September! I'm really excited about that and looking forward to the trip. We're talking about having Rey come with me so he can sight see since work will be paying for the hotel room. He can fly up on one of my sister's tickets for cheap and it really won't cost us much.

When we found out about this business trip we thought about canceling the cruise for sure and doing that instead, but then I think that's not fair to the kids. Then they don't get a family vacation. Decisions decisions!!

I'm sure that whatever I decide will be the right decision.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Funeral for a Loved One

We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. -Madame De Stael, writer (1766-1817)

Wednesday I went to a funeral. It was a memorial service for the father of one of my oldest and dearest friends. While there some memories came back to me. As I watched the younger children laugh and play, despite what we told them beforehand, I thought about our own childhood and how we did the same thing.

I remember going to funerals with my parents as a young child and seeing them as social affairs. It wasn’t that my parents didn’t lecture me beforehand, like I did my own daughter that night, and explained who had died and how the family was sad. They told me all of this but when I got there and saw my friends or other children my age I quickly forgot all of that. I walked in solemnly and I was quiet for a little while but as soon as I made contact with other children off I went. It wasn’t that I was being insensitive it was simply that I was too young to really understand death and how it affected those who loved that person. I, and the other children there, were really innocent and untainted. That’s how I saw the children that night at my friend’s father’s service.

I also thought of how different that all is now. I thought of my own sister’s and mother’s memorial services and how I felt at those. I didn’t even notice if there were children playing or if people were laughing and talking. Honestly if I had taken the time to notice I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Because as Madame De Stael states in the quote above, we really only understand death when it affects you personally. I couldn’t expect others to feel my pain and I know that in some ways funerals are like social events because you see friends you haven't seen in a long time.

Another thing happened that night. The baby started to walk long stretches. He’s been taking small steps lately, but none like that night at the funeral. I was stuck by the irony of life. With one life lost another life is starting, because when a child walks that’s the beginning of a whole new phase of their life.