Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year

I can not believe that in an hour and a half 2006 will be behind us and we will have begun a new year. It's hard to believe! I was talking to my sister in San Diego earlier today and she was telling me she was getting ready to take my nephew to the airport to make his annual trip to Las Vegas for New Year's Eve and I told her I felt like it was the other day he was going to Las Vegas. I can't believe it's already been year.

Now here I sit doing research on agents, still shopping for one, and I was listening to my daughter read from Dick & Jane earlier. She's in bed now with the baby watching Pinocchio 3000. Last year she couldn't read and now she can read on her own. The baby is drinking his milk from a sippy cup and not a bottle. Hurray! He still isn't potty trained but all that in due time. He's going back to the sitter in January so she'll help me to get him there. That's one goal for 2007.

Tonight I'm going to continue doing research, then I'm taking a shower and I'm going to bed. Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and I'm going to begin a new year. I have several goals this year but one of the main ones is to have my book published and to begin working on a new book. Another one is to start dropping of my daughter at 7:30 a.m. so she can have breakfast at school and she'll already be there so she won't be late any more. On to a new year!

Major Milestone

I am so proud of my little girl! She knows how to read now!! She has been learning for the past semester in school. They have been teaching her the vowel and consonant sounds, the letter blends, etc. It's been pretty cool hearing her learn to read gradually. This Winter Break she has been trying to read on her own more.

When I saw that she could read most of "The Story of Ferdinand" (the Bull) I suggested that she take down her Dick and Jane book again and give it a try. She had tried to read it before but couldn't get very far. This time she took off!

I may sound like I'm exaggerating but I consider reading one of life's major milestones. Being a big reader myself I consider learning to read a major step in life. She can now read books all on her own and it will take her into other worlds and into the lives of other people.

She just cracked me up. Rey was kidding with her and told her, “Reading is bad!” She answered, “No it isn’t! Reading is good because when I grow up I can write my own book and I can read it.”

That’s my girl! I'm so excited for her!! Life is good!

Colo Vista Again

I posted about Colo Vista a while back with a picture of the rooms/cabins on the golf course. I dreamed that we would go there one day soon but we never did. This and that and money got in the way. My mother-in-law came over to visit last night and she told us that she's taking the kids to spend the night with her one weekend soon. I got super excited and told her that we would love to go away for the weekend. So it looks like finalmente se me va a conceder and I'll get to go to Colo Vista outside of Austin. Rey can play golf all day on a premier golf course and I'll work on my revisions. It's a win-win situation. I'm excited!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Chapter Being Published

The Houston Institute for Culture has agreed to publish one of my chapters in its entirety.(Thanks Mark!) It was previously published as Margarita, the part of the chapter that I read at Nuestra Palabra-Latinos Having Their Say almost three years ago. (Thanks Tony!)

This time I'm going to entitle it Beatrice and Margarita because the actual chapter is Beatrice's. I'll have a note telling readers that it's the complete chapter since it begins exactly the same, so they won’t think it’s the same story. It will be appearing soon so go to http://www.houstonculture.org/ and check it out in the next few weeks.

I may have some other big news soon but I want to keep that under wraps until it's a sure thing. I'll keep you posted when it is.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Let's Go Downtown- Downtown

Downtown, things'll be great when you're
Downtown, no finer place for sure
Downtown, everything's waiting for you(Downtown)
By: Tony Hatch

Yesterday I wanted to do something interesting. I told the children that we were going to do something for Mommy. So I tried to go see the Frontera 450+ exhibit. I thought the recording said that they were only closed through Christmas. They were closed on Tuesday too. So off we went down Alabama and I thought I'd go by the Menil. It was closed too. We found that the Rothko chapel was open so we stopped by there to see the sculptures on the grounds.

The children wanted to go inside but I knew they couldn't be quiet so I hesitated. My daughter insisted so I said OK we would go in for a minute. We went in and there in the middle there was a guy who looked just like Napoleon Dynamite sitting cross legged on a cushion.

My little girl took notice of this immediately and she leaned in and told me, "There's a guy sitting on a cushion."

I whispered back, "I know."

She then proceeded to go to the front of the chapel and I didn't know what she was doing. She had already spied the cushions at the front so she went there and sat on a cushion. By now the baby, who was sitting on my lap, was squirming and he couldn't keep whispering much longer. I got up to leave because I didn't want to be rude when there were people in there meditating. I motioned to my little girl that it was time to leave and she reluctantly joined me.

That is how we ended up Downtown. I didn't know what else to do with them since everything seemed to be closed so I asked them if they wanted to ride the train and they quickly exclaimed that they would. We drove down Alabama near downtown and I found a side street to park so we could catch the Metro Train Rail into downtown. It was an adventure. Something made me decide not to take the stroller. Bad decision and therein started the adventure.

I decided to stop at the Main Street Square close to Macy's, the old Foley's. Going downtown was such an experience. Even though I work downtown part of the time I don’t ever go shopping or sightseeing.

It was so neat to see everything through the eyes of the children. They were just in awe of everything. I was flooded with memories of going downtown with my mother as a child. I looked at a store across the street from Macy’s that used to be Sweeney’s Jewelry store. My mom’s friend used to work there when I was a little girl. The old store that used to be across the street from Foley's. I can't remember the name of that expensive store. I need to ask my sister. That store is a parking garage now! I couldn't believe it! It is such a beautiful architectural design and it's a GARAGE! Crazy!

I hadn’t gone to the Foley’s since it became Macy’s so I got the bright idea of going there. Bad decision again without the stroller. The kids wanted to play with toys and while I tried to find a coat for my daughter my little boy ran around like the wild child that he is. That's why I needed the stroller.

The other mistake was to take the escalator. I should have taken the elevator. Going down the escalator with a 2 1/2 year old was an adventure. Then as we are going down my daughter drops her sweater on the escalator and now I was worried that it's going to get caught up in the escalator at the bottom. The baby is squirming because he wants me to let him step on to the stroller and I know we were loud and disruptive because a little annoying man came around the corner and was trying to insist that I take the elevator. Well I had a sweater down at the bottom of the escalator now so I couldn't leave. It was crazy!!!

Back to the train and the kids looked sadly at the dead pigeon on the train track. At first the baby asked me if it was asleep and I told him that it was dead. He stared at it in awe and asked again, "It's dead?" "Yes," I answered solemnly.

When we got back to the car the baby fell asleep right away but my daughter wanted to go to dinner to Café Express. We went to Barnaby’s instead. Needless to say I was tired at the end of the day.

Wednesday the baby went to school and my daughter and I went to the Mad Potter with our friends from Spain. Then lunch, pick up the baby from school, and grocery shopping. After we got home our friends’ little girl came over to play with the kids for a while. I scrubbed our refrigerator clean before putting the new groceries inside. I was tired!

Today we went to lunch with some of my ex-co-workers and then to the Children's Museum with our Spanish friends again. A lot of activity every day and we're tired at the end of each day. But somehow I still manage to go to bed way too late.

I’ve made a lot of progress on my novel this holiday so far and I hope to make some more progress before I go back on Wednesday. I’m finished with the first draft and now I’m just revising. The time off has definitely been good for me!

Monday, December 25, 2006

My Daughter

My little girl is so much like me and yet different than me. I guess most parents feel that way. Today she is doing something that reminds me so much of me at her age. She just watched Cinderella. She has seen it before but not in a long time. After watching it she dressed up and asked me to put a scarf and a apron on her. I saw her dress up Cinderella dress laid out on the bed. She's playing "Cinderella." She's running around the house singing her own made up Cinderella-like songs.

I used to do exactly the same thing. Whenever I watched something on television or read a book that I really liked I would reenact the story or make up my own and play the characters. My cousins and I used to play "Happy Days" too. My boy cousin who was younger than us always played Fonzie and we would straddle the arm of the sofa and pretend it was our motorcycle.

Even as I grew into a pre-teen I would still play out stories I read. I really think that this vivid imagination contributed to my becoming a writer.

So when I saw her playing "Cinderella" today I cracked up and it brought bad good memories. I helped her get dressed in her outfit. I tied her scarf and her apron strings. I suggested that if the baby is going to play the mouse he should really put on his Mickey Mouse hat.

I'll do whatever I can to support her using her imagination. I would rather see her playing with her imagination than watching television her whole vacation.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

More Clothes


Here I am sharing more cute clothes. When I did my last post I didn't have time to post the other outfits. Here's the bear dress, denim skirt and the barrettes. I couldn't find the black blouse but it's just a regular long sleeved black t-shirt type to match the denim skirt and I got black because it can go with other outfits. See how the cute barrettes go with both the bear dress and the skirt. TOO CUTE!

I went and got her some shoes because she needed new black shoes and I didn't take her with me. I should have. I guessed on her size based on her current shoe size and I guessed too big. So now I have to exchange the shoes.

I never did it today so I told my husband I'd go do it tomorrow morning before our meeting. He laughed at me and asked if I realize that tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I do, but I figured I can go early in the day and it's a shoe store, not a department store. Hopefully it won't be too bad. Wish me well.

I have two goals this vacation since it's a week long. Potty train the baby and make some good progress on my novel revisions. I thought about potty training over Thanksgiving but the timing wasn't really good. I decided to concentrate on the bottle instead. One thing at a time. He did do that. He was still drinking a bottle at night and in the morning and now he's given it up completely. He's drinking from a sippy cup now. I'm so proud of him! My little man!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Some Songs

Some songs just transport me back to the 80s. It's like I can almost feel like I did in that exact time of my life. It's such a strange and familiar feeling. It's almost melancholy too. Sometimes the songs aren't even the typical 80s songs that we heard all the time on the radio.

One of those is "Souvenir" by OMD. Whenever I hear it on Yahoo Music I'm transported back to a time when I was carefree without responsibility and so innocent. I wonder exactly what chord or memory it strikes. I can't figure it out.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I Wish I Was a Little Girl Again







Here is just one of the super cute outfits I bought my little girl today during lunch. The striped shirt goes under the dress of course. I also got her a cute dress with a bear, a denim skirt and a black blouse. She also got the matching bear and flower barrettes to match those outfits. Accessorize! She needed a couple more winter dresses.

Four Calendars

I think I have an obsession with calendars. I have 4 calendars hanging in front of me in my office. Is that weird?

Monks with crowbars

This was under the News Bizarre (I love that word) on chron.com today.
http://chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/4417280.html

What a crazy story! What happened to love and peace and all that?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One Last Post for the Night

I am so excited. My good friend is visiting from Spain and I haven't seen her in a couple of years. She's from Houston but she married a guy from Spain and moved there. She's lived there six years and she has two little girls. The last time I was in Europe was for their wedding. It will be SEVEN years this Spring! I can't believe that many years have gone by. Anyhow, they are here for 2 weeks so we are going to try and spend some time together next week so our kids can play. We're actually going on a double date with the parents this Friday night. We're going to go out and have drinks.

I was just telling my sister it's been seven years since I've been to my mom's home town in Mexico. I would like to go back, especially since part of my book is set in El Cercado, Nuevo Leon, the town where my family lives. It would be good research.

I don't travel the same way any more since I had children. That's just a fact of life. It's one of the things you learn to accept when you decide to become a parent. I love this quote from Lisa Kogan in O Magazine, "I will be a mother every day for the rest of my natural life."

We want to go on another cruise but we can't until the baby is completely potty trained, which is when he's at least 4. That's the age he has to be to stay in the Kid's club.

Europe is out of the question until they are older too. There's no way we can fly for 8 hours across the ocean with a toddler. We're waiting til he's at least 7 and my daughter will be 10. I can't wait to show her Paris! She will love it!

I'm not going to count the years and wish that they were older because I know that inevitably they will be before I know it. And seven more years will have passed and they will be 9 and 12 and I will be looking back and saying, "Where did the years go?" They will be old enough to travel with me in due time and hopefully by then I'll be in a position where I will be able to afford the 4 tickets to Europe without having to rely on buddy passes from my sister like I have so far! All in due time!

Nacho Libre

I finally got around to watching Nacho Libre. I thought I was going to find it ridiculous and offensive but I must admit I laughed my butt off. I love the explanation as to why Jack Black (Nacho) is White. His mother was a Scandinavian Methodist missionary. He ended up as an orphan in the monastery with the monks in Mexico. I think his father was a former Catholic priest. He said that his parents got married and kept trying to convert each other.

Jack Black was insane and Esqueleto (Hector Jimenez) had me cracking up. This movie is full of funny one-liners.

No, this isn't an intellectual movie that makes you think, but it has some really sweet moments. Like the first time Nacho gets paid to lose a fight and he uses the money to buy the orphans food to make beautiful salads (something one of the boys had asked for). It was sweet! And the actress who plays his love interest, Sister Encarnacion (Ana de la Reguera) is beautiful!

If you feel like laughing at a really silly but funny movie check it out.

Kids Say the Darnest Things

Me (checking the bath water with my hand): Why is this water so cold?!
My daughter: I don't know.
Me: Why didn't you call me to tell me it was cold?
My daughter: I tried to but I couldn't. My lips were sealed with ice!

Another one. In the car driving home.

My Daughter (in a whining and nagging voice): Baby, don't you touch my doll!
My daughter (in a whining and nagging voice): Baby, don't you touch my doll! (yes, again. she said it at least three times)
My Son (in a exasperated voice): Sissy, I don't even care about your doll!

They are so hilarious! I'm so glad I got two kids with a great sense of humor and personality.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mean People- Revised

One of my sisters says that people are inherently evil. My other sister recently told me I remind her of "Rebeca of Sunnybrook Farm" all naive about how mean people really are. I'm no saint believe me, and I know I can be really mean sometimes too, but usually only towards mean people.

But in general I know what she means. I like to believe that people are good first and I do tend to trust too much. I think that partly I am a nice person or a naive person but I think it's mainly by choice. I think I choose to ignore the evil in people because they are, well just too mean and ugly.

I've read other writer's blogs and I see where people post really mean comments or think that the writer meant something in a mean way. One famous author even has someone who does a parody of her blog entries. Imagine the time this person has on his or her hands! (The tone sounds like a guy or a masculine girl.) That takes time! Which proves what I've believed all along. It takes more energy to be mean or evil.

I've had a mean person cloud following me around lately. And that's considering I'm not superstitious!

Last week I had a run in with a crazy woman. One of those really paranoid ones who thinks the whole world is out to get her and usually they are rightfully paranoid because they are up to no good. She left me a long mean voicemail which I actually chose to ignore. No, I didn't ignore it. I left her a really sweet message back telling her, "no sweat!" and then I played it for two of my friends and we laughed at her. Thus one of the times I was mean back to someone mean. But even then I realized how much energy it took to laugh at her and tell the story so I only mentioned it for about 2 days and forgot about it.

This week I found out that someone who I thought didn't like me in fact does not like me. Well now I know and once again it took more energy to tell the story. I talked about it for one day but I'm done now.

The comment on my last post triggered this post. The brave comment from "anonymous." That's the other thing I've noticed about mean comments. They are always hidden behind "anonymous" or some fake alias.

There's a slight meanness to it, don't you think? Hmmm... Lisa Kogan has a great commentary on the opinion some people have regarding working moms in the January issue of "O Magazine." Or check out this great essay on having two jobs! http://www.oprah.com/relationships/relationships_content.jhtml?contentId=con_200404_mommytime.xml§ion=Family&subsection=Parenting

I like the suggestion to sell my kids to the circus. That part IS funny. People are weird, mean, and funny. All rolled into one sometimes!

Enough! It'll just take too much energy to think about it. I'm much happier being nice most of the time and thinking that people are inherently good. Aren't you?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Musings

Why is it that my five friends who are work at home moms aren't writers? And neither is my cousin who I just heard is working from home now. And I, who would love to work at home so I can write, can't afford to quit to write full time? Isn't life weird??

I Had to Go to the Principal's Office

My blog has definitely taken a turn and has become a blog about the challenges of a working-outside-the-home mother. I struggle every day with getting up and getting the kids ready for school on my own because Rey is already at work. It's a struggle, especially for a non-morning person like myself. I've joked about how many times I've gotten my daughter to school late and that she's going to get kicked out of the Vanguard program because of me. I know it's totally me and I take complete responsibility for my actions. :)

It all came to a head yesterday when the Assistant Principal called me at work.

Apparently my daughter's very strict (and rightfully so) teacher asked him to call me. Or so he said in what, I know I wasn't imagining, was an apologetic tone. I almost felt sorry for him! He told me about the importance of establishing good habits early on in kindergarten. He said that although it didn't seem important now in Kinder it really does make a difference later in the higher grades. In other words he told me everything that I already know but don't follow.

But THE BEST PART of all was when he asked me, "What can we do to help you get her to school on time?" Isn't that the most hilarious thing to ask someone??? I came up with several answers but I couldn't bring myself to say any of them. I don't think it would have gone over well with him. But then again, he may have laughed.

1. Which direction do you come from? Do you think you can pick her up on your way in?
2. Can you call to wake me up in the morning?
3. Can you come over and help me get the kids ready and out the door?
4. Can you move the school closer to me?

Okay I know these are silly but it was funny to imagine myself saying any of these. Rey thinks that buying an automatic coffee maker with an alarm might help. I think they should fine me $2 per minute for every day that I'm late like they do if I'm late picking her up in the evening. I can donate the money to her class and they can buy something or have pizza one day.

Any ideas? And don't say, "Just get your lazy butt up early enough to get her there!" That's a given and I have to do that anyway. Plus if you answer that you're not being fun. Life is hard. It should be fun too!

My Crazy Antics

Okay I've been holding out on y'all. I haven't told you my cement story because, well, first because I was embarrassed but then I thought, "What the heck! What do I have to be embarrassed about? If I can't laugh at myself then.." How does that saying go? Anyway, I've shared the story with a couple of my friends and they have laughed so hard that I know it's just not fair that I haven't shared it with all of you, my dear readers and friends.

It happened like this. I was meeting two of my friends for lunch. We tried going to an Indian restaurant we all liked but when we got there we found out it had closed down. So we went in search of another good Indian restaurant and ended up at India's on Richmond. When we got there we had to go around some cones and city street workers to get to the parking lot but I didn't pay that much attention to what they were doing. There was the problem.

After a wonderful lunch of conversation and watching them juggle eating and keeping their baby boys entertained, we left. I drove out of the parking lot and I know I saw the cones because I turned to the right to go around them.

Unfortunately for them, and for me, they didn't place the cones on both sides of the cement that they had just finished pouring. I drove right into the wet cement. At first I didn't realize what I had done. I heard the men yell something and for an instant I panicked. I thought I had hit one of the men so I stopped. I stopped right in the middle of the wet cement. Yes, with all four tires. Then when I tried to get out I started spinning. The poor men whose cement I had just ruined had to push my truck out of the cement.

I felt horrible! I kept apologizing to these men and by now they were kind of laughing at the situation. Their foreman wasn't laughing though.

In my defense, one of my girlfriends who left right before me, said that when she pulled out she saw that they had just poured the cement and she also saw that they did not put cones all around it. They only had cones across from it. She said that she thought to herself, "Someone isn't going to see it and they are going to drive right into it." Little did she know that that someone was going to be her own friend!

One of the men sprayed my truck down and I then took it to Bubbles Car Wash so they could wash underneath while the cement was still wet.

The best part about it was telling my husband about it and he reminded me that my SUV is a 4x4 and I could have gotten myself out. I don't know how to use the 4x4!! I've always considered that a "guy" thing and nothing I would have ever gotten if I was buying the SUV by myself. I never learned how to shift the gears. I guess I never thought I'd be stuck in wet cement either!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vacation Is Almost Here Again

Well not vacation like I'm going anywhere but vacation like I have time off from work. My little girl is on vacation from school for THREE WEEKS! What's up with that?? We never got vacation like that when we were kids. Two weeks for Christmas and two days for Thanksgiving. Now they give 3 weeks for Christmas and a whole week for Thanksgiving. Kids have it good!

I'm on vacation the last week of December. We are going to run around and go to the Children's Museum, The Mad Potter, and maybe even the zoo again if it's nice and cool, but not cold.

Some of you have commented on the house prices here. Yes I know. Houston has one of the best housing markets in the nation. That and we're the fourth largest city in the nation. That and we're the fifth largest Hispanic market. AND we are #4 in Hispanic Buying Power. Okay, my Hispanic marketing is kicking in. I better stop. Point of story is that we are one of the BEST cities in the nation to live in and especially for Latinos.

Sorry to rub it in. I can actually spend the $210,000 for that house in the city for a mini-mansion in the burbs. Okay, not a mini-mansion, but a huge house compared to the little Heights house I'm looking at. But I'm not buying it. I can't justify spending that much on a house when I already own a home. There are things that are more important to me in life. Like finishing my book for one!! (husband, kids, life and religion too of course, but those are in a completely different category and don't even compare to material things.)

Now that Miranda has been in school and I have to rush home after the gym to do dinner, homework and bath I totally appreciate the evenings when there was no homework. I am going to take advantage of the next three weeks she's off to write, write, write in the evenings. Even after the gym. If I have been able to do as much as I have in the evenings with her being in school there is no excuse now that she won't be. We'll see how it goes. Let's end the year with a BANG!!

OH! One more thing I'm going to do over the break. Check out this Frontera 450 exhibit about the murders of the women of Juarez. Check it out if you're in Houston. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ent/arts/art/4337199.html

Monday, December 11, 2006

The House

I don't think I'm going to sell after all. We talked about it. We are going to move forward and remodel but we're going to be fully committed to it. More details to follow.

I'm going to Chicago in April!! YEAH! I just found out for sure last week. Rey and I are going to treat it like a get-away. My mother-in-law has already offered to keep the children for us. I'll be in a conference Wed-Fri and Rey will run around town. Then we're going to stay over the weekend until Sunday sightseeing. I haven't been to Chicago in about 9 years and I can't wait to go back. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Art Institute. They have one of the best collections of French Impressionists.

House remodeling, traveling for work, and trying to decide what we are going to do for our 10 year anniversary next year. We thought about a party but now we're thinking a trip somewhere. Those will be our 2 vacations of the year.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Forward On

The really brave thing I was thinking of doing didn't pan out so I'm back to my original plan. Either sell my house and buy a new one OR build a garage apartment, move into it when it's finished, and then remodel my house completely all at once. I'm still leaning towards the first but it's so sad. I feel like the way you would when breaking up with someone. I really love the house and the location but it's never going to change. It makes me sad really! But I have to do what I have to do. I have to do what's best for my sanity.

I went driving around the near Heights yesterday when I missed my exit. I saw a gorgeous house exactly the way I would want my house to look. Unfortunately it also cost $210,000. That's the trade-off for living in the city. Then I think to myself, "But you already live in the city in a great location, close to 3 major freeways and the toll road." I tell you!! It's a hard break up!

Nothing much planned for the weekend. Trying to work out more often again. I've done pretty good the past few weeks but I have really sore arms today. I try to go for a little while after work but it's tough on the kids. They've been in school all day and they're tired too. But I figure it's only 1 hour that I could blow off at home really doing nothing and at least I'm being a really good example to them. I keep telling myself that. I keep telling myself a lot of things.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Super Cute Stuff



I went to get my car washed last week at Bubbles Car Wash and they had the cutest funniest girly stuff like this. I couldn't help myself and I bought a little hanging purse kind of like this one for my office. They are made by Dolly Mama's by Joey Inc. for Silvestri. Check out the website at http://www.dollymamas.com/ for all the cute cute cute stuff.
I have a lot going on right now in my life and I can't write about it all. One thing I can mention is that we're thinking about, operative word is "thinking", selling our house and buying a new one. It all depends on how other things pan out and what decisions I make in another area of my life. I'll keep you all posted!




Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What I'm Reading




Just finished "So Much for My Happy Ending" by Kyra Davis. Very good chick lit. Sad and funny at the same time.

Now I'm reading "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. Beautiful lyrical prose like this.
"Leaning back on my elbows, I slid down till the water sealed over my head. I held my breath and listened to the scratch of river against my ears, skinking as far as I could into that shimmering, dark world. But I was thinking about a suitcase on the floor, about a face I could never quite see, about the sweet smell of cold cream."






Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Vacation!!!

I love vacations! I love being off from work with a plan. Tomorrow we're going to the Children's Museum or the Zoo. Friday we're going to the Fine Arts Museum to see the Norman Rockwell picture of Ruby Bridges. Miranda has been a fan of hers since we heard the Lori McKenna song and I bought her the children's book about Ruby Bridges.

The rest of the time I'm relaxing and making time to write. You all have a great one and I'll check in in a few days.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Isabel Allende Quote

Someone asked me on my comments where I read this quote by Isabel Allende, "My mother is the longest love affair of my life. We have never cut the umbilical cord." It's on her website in her photo album on Picture #31, a photo of Isabel and her mother Panchita.

The Dallas Trip

There really isn't much to say about the trip itself. I had two sales calls scheduled with some ad agencies so I had to get out there to do that. I had originally had this trip scheduled that week that I had that mystery pain but I had to reschedule.

So Friday I had to do the Working Mommy thing and I had to organize my schedule so I could drop the kids off early and still make it to the airport on time. My two calls were back to back because I wanted to get out on a 5 p.m. flight back home by 6 p.m. Of course my flight was delayed getting out but thank goodness for family. My husband was also working late because of the short week this week so he couldn't get the kids. My sister was gracious enough to pick them both up and to keep them until I could pick them up. I was eternally grateful! Which reminds me. My cousin Oscar sent me a really great article from the NY Times on working moms who have to travel. It was really well written and hit on a lot of truths.

There was one funny part to my trip when I arrived at the airport in Houston. I walked up to the gate and looked around for two empty seats. I'm weird like most people and I want a seat in between me and the other person if possible. I saw around 5 White men sitting together. Two across from three others. When I sat down I noticed a pause in the conversation and all of them glanced at me, as is natural in a circumstance as this. They weren't checking me out or anything, just a pause and a once over. I sat down on the seat on the end and went about my business double checking my stuff to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything. (anyone who has traveled with me knows this annoying habit that I have of checking and rechecking my bags)

Almost immediately after I sat down the man 2 seats from me, obviously the ring leader or boss, started talking about some woman who they needed to bring with them next time. It was almost like I reminded him of this woman because I looked like a salesperson to him. He went on about how "well prepared" she always was and how she always had what she needed with her. She always had the "specs" whatever that meant, probably engineering lingo, and that she never told anyone that she had to get back to them with that information. Not like some other poor woman he complained about who was "never prepared" and always told people she had to get back to them.

I almost cracked up listening to him because I couldn't help but wonder if he says the same thing about the men who work for him. Do they always have to be as "prepared" as the women and do they have to have all information needed at their fingertips? I doubt they do. It's just that the standards set for women are completely different that those given to men. I glanced up at the men and most of them were looking at the man go on about training issues, etc. One younger guy around my age looked at me kind of embarrassed like he realized I was totally listening to this guy go on about "women" employees. Who knows, I may have been wrong, but it did seem like he was slightly embarrassed or amused or both.

It reminded me of a manager I once had who I really admired because she really knew her stuff. One thing I found very interesting about her was that whenever she went in to a meeting she took a huge folder of papers. So if we were sitting in a meeting talking about anything "X" and she could pull out a paper to answer any question posed. It was amazing! But her director absolutely LOVED her and she did well.

I'll never forget one time that I went in to meet with that same director and I didn't have the answer to something he asked me and he looked at me with the most obnoxious face and told me in an extremely condescending tone something to the effect that that was the reason why I was the worker bee. My manager, that same woman, looked at me apologetically, but I wasn't mad at her. I was mad at that jerk for his tone and manner. Thank goodness I didn't work for him for long and even better he didn't make it in the company. He pissed off one too many people and was gone shortly after that incident.

My manager on the other hand was a Latina woman who knew that the only way to move up in Corporate America was to go above and beyond and to do a better job than everyone else. She was the poster child for the hard working Latina trying to move ahead and she was kind and encouraging to other women too. She was great to work for and she taught me a lot about project management and communicating effectively with everyone involved in project. She was a mentor in many ways, simply by example. She's a director now at another paper and it was a well deserved promotion.

On to other matters. I'm working on revisions so I probably won't be writing too often these days. I am on vacation Wednesday through Friday and I'm looking forward to that. I'm also potty training my little man since I'll be with him 5 days in a row. Wish me well!

Friday, November 17, 2006

In Dallas

Very tired. Took a really fast trip to Dallas for the day for 2 sales calls. More later!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Alive and Kicking- Vivita y Coleando

Whenever I would call my mom and she would answer I'd ask her how she was doing and she'd reply, “Aqui estoy, vivita y coleando.” Alive and Kicking is the best translation for that one! So even though I haven’t been writing for the past week I’m here.

My sister from San Diego has been visiting this past week so I spent a lot of time with her. She left early this morning so it's back in the saddle again starting tonight, back to my usual schedule. Starting with going back to the gym, after a 2 week absence. First because of my mystery pain and then for my sister’s visit. I also need to get busy writing.

The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least. When I was sick the baby was also really sick and running fever. Then Miranda was sick with a sore throat and an ear ache. Yesterday the baby woke up with pink eye and both his eyes full of gunk. Back to the doctor and we found out his ears also have infection. She prescribed two antibiotics and he needed one of his vaccinations so we took care of that too. Today he woke up with a lot of sleep in his eyes again so I decided to keep him with the sitter one more day until it clears up. NEVER a dull moment when you’re the mother of 2 small children!!

Funny story. This week at the grocery store I bumped into one the little boys from my class the year I taught Pre-K at Browning Elementary. It was so funny! First I saw the mother and I recognized her and we started talking. She told me that her son was there too. He came around the corner and we talked. He’s sixteen now. It was bittersweet. I can’t believe it’s been twelve years since that time and all those kids are almost grown now. How time flies! That will be me with my two kids before you know it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

American Girl

I didn't know what American Girl was until I had my own American Girl, my daughter. When my little girl receives an American Girl catalog in the mail she squeals in delight. (www.americangirl.com) Even I look through the catalog and I remember what it felt like to look through a book like this when I was a little girl. I would longingly look at the dolls and would wish that I could have one with all the beautiful clothes and furniture that came with it.

The only difference now is that I can afford to buy my own daughter a doll and some of the accessories. Not all of them, but some of them, and only one at a time. If I bought all the parts I would be broke!

Miranda owns a Bitty Baby, the baby doll and she proudly tells people that she's the same color as her, her mama. With Bitty Baby and another one of the dolls you can choose a doll that matches your daughter's hair color and skin color.

There isn't an American Girl store in Houston but when I was in New York I visited a store that has a cafe, theater, beauty shop and hospital. Yes, believe it. I bought Miranda a little ballerina outfit for Bitty Baby.

Sunday we had a mother daughter experience when we attended the American Girl Fashion Show here in Houston. (http://www.hitstheatre.org/AGFS/AGFSindex.html) It was such a cute event. There was a breakfast, lunch and tea. We attended the breakfast.

All the models were little girls from the HITS theater group. In addition to the fashion show some parents paid to have their little girl walk the runway while the mistress of ceremonies read a little bio on her and then they gave her a bouquet of flowers and took her picture. I would have loved to have Miranda do it too. Maybe next year.

We had a nice surprise when I saw my dentist and his wife, who are also acquaintances of mine, and we saw their daughters in the show. They’re a part of HITS.

Miranda had a wonderful time and couldn’t wait to tell her friends about it today at school. It was one of those nice moments when I really enjoy having a daughter and doing mother-daughter activities. It’s nice to know that she’ll have memories like this one when she’s older. My baby girl!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A New School Year, A New Mentee

I am so excited! I went to Reagan High School this morning to meet my mentee and I was matched with a great girl again. The best part is that she's a Junior, which means that I'll be able to mentor her for a couple of years if all goes well.

I have really had a great experience mentoring through Project Grad and I would recommend it to any of you looking for a way to reach out to the community and to kids specifically. (www.projectgrad.org) The Chronicle is a big supporter and offers complimentary subscriptions to all the families with a Project Grad student in the house.

From the little I was able to learn today, this young lady is very active in school and is a great student. She's active in volleyball, basketball and soccer and she carries a challenging work load taking Pre-Cal! I'm always impressed by anyone who is really good at math, especially young girls. I think that is so awesome!

I still keep in touch with my mentee from last year too. She's a sweetheart! We're talking about getting together once a week so I can help her with her English. She’s a freshman at UH Downtown.

Bueno chicos & chicas, lunch break is almost over. I have to hit the grindstone again.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Quick Update

Pain is gone. It left as quickly as it arrived. Very weird. Other than that I feel like I've had a black cloud following me for the past week and a half regarding health for me and the kids and other misc. stuff that has been happening.

On a good note! I've sent out a total of 10 queries now and I've received 4 rejections. That's OK. I don't feel bad. Getting rejected means I'm doing something and not standing still. I know I'll receive one good reply eventually.

I bumped into a girl from elementary school, my Kindergarten class to be exact, today in the tunnel downtown. Very weird that I still recognized her but we were in a later grade together too. We think it was fifth grade.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Los Agentes

OK, so I've sent out eight queries to eight agents today. I received one immediate response within 5 minutes of sending it, I'm not kidding you. He said not for him and that was it. Not too bad. Another band-aid I ripped off because if you remember I submitted a query to another local agent a few months ago and she also rejected me. But I don't really count her because she was more like a practice query so I could see what it feels like to be rejected.

I may have 7 more rejections in my box tomorrow. But then again I may have one asking to see more and then what? YIKES!!! I will have to be prepared that's what.

Keep you posted. Sorry I haven't written about anything else more interesting. Maybe I'll post another poem. This beautiful weather this weekend was inspiring.

One last note. A shout-out for my primo. Check out my cousin Oscar Casares' latest article/essay in the November Texas Monthly Magazine. It's really good and thought provoking.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Shopping

I'm shopping for an agent. Somehow it's not as enjoyable as shopping for shoes.

I was reading some tips to writers on Jennifer Weiner's web page at (In Her Shoes)http://www.jenniferweiner.com/ and I was amazed to read that she sent her query out to approximately 30 agents and received 23 rejections. And she was already a published newspaper writer!! Amazing!

Point is this. If a published successful journalist can be rejected this many times that should tell you how hard it is to even get an agent. This means that my cover letter and query have to be better than good. Ay the stress!! But I'm glad for the reality check.

I've been going over the agents who accept "ethnic" and "women" or "chick lit" themes. I've highlighted and tagged several pages of the "Guide to Literary Agents." Now on to do additional research on these agents to see what types of authors they represent and if I know any of their work. I also need to make sure they are still accepting queries before I waste my time sending them something that will end up in the trash. I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few who accept e-mail submissions.

I'll keep you posted. Pain is still there. Light and nagging but a lot less than before.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Update on Health

Emergency room doctor thinks it's my ovary. Primary Care Physician thinks it's either a hernia or something intestinal. Surgeon I saw today said it's not a hernia and that I possibly pulled a muscle. He prescribed Advil and rest.

My OBGYN was in (same building area) so I stopped by and saw him. He said that if the cat scan didn't show any abnormality in my ovaries he doesn't think it's that. His theory is that I had a cyst inside the ovary (which are supposedly normal cysts that are there called functional cysts) burst and that it's causing the pain and that it'll just pass.

Ironically today I haven't had the pain since around 6 p.m., when I went to pick up Seth. I usually have it an hour after I eat and I didn't have anything this evening after dinner. (which is why I thought it's intestinal) At least not so far.

THEN today by total coincidence. One of the mothers from Miranda's school, who I don't even really know, and I were corresponding via e-mail because I had volunteered to sit at our booth for the Fall Festival Saturday. I mentioned that I had a pain on my right side that they can't figure out and she tells me she had the same thing recently and it ended up being a herniated disk! And she didn't even have back pain, just an abdominal pain. Very strange! I asked her for her doctor's name. Worth a try. She said she saw 7 doctors before they figured out what it was.

Some Poems For You

I've been pretty sick and so far an emergency room doctor and my primary doctor can't figure out what's wrong with me. I'm not dying but I have a nagging pain on one side. Of course I've thought the worse with my morbid self. But it's also made me kind of melancholy and thoughtful. Here are some poems I wrote this morning while in line at Starbucks and a little later in the car when I got home. Very rough first draft so excuse the awkwardness.

My Boy Sleeps

He sleeps
That boy of mine
His little mouth open
In the shape of an "o"
As if he fell asleep surprised
His lids heavy, over his big eyes
His cheeks flushed
From the fever he's fighting
His head cocked to one side
The side of his forehead resting
Against the car seat
And I look at him
In my rearview mirror
Enjoying this moment
When I can admire his beauty
Quiet and peaceful for once
He sleeps
This boy of mine

10/24/06 By Loida

We Watch Them Build

Every day
My daughter and I watch
The Starbucks go up
First the dirt lot with a sign
(And we squealed in delight)
Then the pipes
Then the cement
Next the steel frame
The roof
Now the walls
Every day
We drive by
Just to see what's up now
Every day closer to the day
When we can stop by on the way home
A grande sugar free vanilla latte for me
Chocolate milk in a box for her and baby brother.

10/24/06 By Loida

Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm On A Break

This is for all my regular readers that come by and check in on me on a regular basis. I think I know who some of you are and THANKS! I love that you all read this madness on a regular basis. I won't be writing for about a week.

I will say one thing. I saw "Akeelah and the Bee" this weekend and I LOVED IT! I love feel good movies, especially if they have to do with education, kids seeing their worth, and entire communities coming together to see that kid succeed. The actress, Keke Palmer, did such a wonderful job, as did her friend and little love interest Javier, played by JR Villareal. Cute cute cute!! And of course I LOVE Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, two of my favorite actors.

I'm working on getting my synopsis and first chapter out so I'll be spending all my energies there for the rest of the week. You all have a wonderful week!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weird Things About Me

These are the rules (says Gwen):

"Each player of this game starts with 6 "weird things/habits" about yourself. people who get tagged must blog their own 6 "weird things/habits" and state this rule clearly for the others. choose 6 other people and leave them a comment, tagging them to read your blog. it kinda sucks but it was kinda fun, too."

1. I had perfect attendance all of 8th grade just so I could go to Astroworld at the end of the year. I found it so easy to do that I decided to make it a goal to have perfect attendance all four years of high school and I did it. My husband thinks that's really weird. Five years of perfect attendance!


2. I hate to eat tomatoes raw, like in salads or hamburgers, but I can eat them cooked, stewed, sun dried and in catsup.


3. I hate commercials with talking babies or animals. They freak me out. BUT I really like that movie, "Look Who's Talking." I think it's because the baby didn't really move his mouth that much.

4. (This one is according to my friend Vicki) I can sleep anywhere at all. I can sleep on a hard cold stone bench in a train station with strangers walking by, with just a bag for a pillow. I can sleep on trains, buses, and airplanes, even while sitting in the middle seat with people on either side.

5. When I'm finished eating food I don't like for something else to touch my plate, like dessert or a piece of bread. I need to get a clean plate or I get grossed out. But I can serve myself seconds on the same plate if it's the same food.

6. I hate to wash silverware. I will wash all the dishes and I'll leave the silverware til the very end even though they are really the easiest thing to wash. Sometimes I even leave the silverware in the sink and don't wash it at all. Don't know why...

Feel free to share your own!

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Synopsis

I am in the middle of the synopsis. I am so close to finishing my novel but I need a swift kick in the butt to bring it all together to my grand finale. I have the entire skeleton and some meat there. I just need to go back and fill in all the details. (I think I've written about this before.) I’m lighting a fire under myself to push me to finish by sending out my synopsis and my first chapter to some agents. Once it's "out there" I will be pressured to finish. I work better under pressure! I'm giving myself a deadline of the end of this month to have the synopsis and first chapter ready to send out.

So I am in the middle of synopsis he--! How can it be so hard to write a synopsis when you've written a whole book? I wrote one and it sucked. But I felt better when an author I correspond with sometimes told me she hates writing synopses. She shared some examples of something she wrote and another author I know gave me her format outline. Between those two and the example on the internet I should figure out how to write something that grabs an agent. AY A YAY!!

Going to an art show tonight with my sister. Maybe that will get my creative juices flowing. An artist I know that used to work at the Chronicle, as an accountant of all things, is showing some art. Go here to see some of the art that’s been shown in the past and at this show. http://www.lovettinngallery.com/ The gallery opens at 6:30 tonight but there will be a fashion show at 7:30.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Walk the Line

I have become obsessed with the movie Walk the Line. I have HBO on Demand so I keep watching it and now I'm fastforwarding to my favorite parts. That movie has so many great lines! I think the main reason I'm so obsessed with it is because unlike all of America, I never knew the Johnny and June Cash story. I find it so romantic, especially since it's a true story. Plus I think Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon do such an incredible job.

It reminds me of what my mom used to say about a movie when it was based on a true story. For example, when we saw Out of Africa we fell in love with the movie, but when she found out that it was based on Isak Dennison's true stories she liked it even more.

I like watching Walk the Line over and over again because I catch different points I didn't catch the first time I saw it at the movies. There was so much passion in Johnny and June's relationship and they really really loved each other. I guess that explains why they only died a few months from each other.

I love it when Johnny tells her that it's the last time he's going to ask her to marry him and June answers, "Good, I hate reruns!"

Another favorite of mine is when June tells him, "You can't walk no line!"

After that when you listen to the lyrics of the song,"Walk the Line," you realize his intense love for her.

Same thing when you listen to the words to "Ring of Fire," that June wrote. When you look at when she wrote the song in relation to when they finally got together it makes you realize how much she loved him, even before she married him, but she couldn't have him because he was either married to his wife or drugs or both.

Yet through it all and when he's finally clean from drugs, she stands by him through it all. Even with all the demons of his past that haunt him she believes in him and sees the good in him. It's such an incredibly romantic story.

Lyrics from "Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash

As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves that it's right
Because you're mine, I walk the line


"Ring of Fire" by June Carter-Cash

Love is a burning thing
and it makes a firery ring
bound by wild desire
I fell in to a ring of fire...

I fell in to a burning ring of fire
I went down,down,down
and the flames went higher.
And it burns,burns,burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire.

The taste of love is sweet
when hearts like our's meet
I fell for you like a child
oh, but the fire went wild..

My Crazy Dreams

I have a reoccurring dream every so often. I'm in college and I have to take a test for a class I never went to all semester. When I check my schedule I was supposed to have taken the class but for some reason, unexplained to me, I never went to class. In the dream I'm always having an anxiety attack and I'm asking myself first of all, why didn't I go to class? I realize that somehow I forgot to go all semester long.

Next I'm trying to figure out if I can go ahead and take the test and just guess at the answers or should I just forget it all together? And the best part is this. This is my last semester and if I fail this class I'm going to have to go back to school for one more semester just to take this class. Not the end of the world, but in my dream I feel like it is.

I always wonder what this dream means. I don't mean in some psychic sense, because I don't believe in that. I mean in a psychological sense. I know that I must be feeling inadequate in some area of my life.

Last night I had an interesting twist to this dream. I was in Miranda's class and they were having a test, maybe a spelling test, that I knew nothing about. I was walking Miranda into her class room, which I never do, we drop the kids off in front of school. I panicked when I realized they were having a test. I hadn’t even had time to study the words with her. It changed and it was me taking the test instead of her and it was her teacher administering the test.

This time the dream is crystal clear to me and maybe it explains my own dream too. I feel out of control. For the first time in Miranda's life I feel like I'm somewhat out of control of the situation. By out of control I mean that I'm not there with her in school watching what she says and does. She is now on her own as far as her behavior. I'm also out of control as to whether she listens to the teacher and learns. She has to do it on her own. It's my job to build on that when she comes home, but I’m really not in control of what happens while she's in school.

And what about the part about me taking the test instead of her? I think I must feel responsible for her success or failure. I feel like I too am being graded as a parent. I’m terrible about getting her to school on time! That’s something that I struggle with every day. I have to get her to school by 7:55 because they bell rings by 8 and instead I always slide into the driveway by 8:05, right before the tardy bell, but still late none-the-less. I beat myself up about it every day, but I still continue to run late.

Isn’t that crazy? I guess it’s part of the craziness of being a parent. The funny thing is that it answers the question about my own dream too. I guess I am a control freak after all! :) As if we didn't all know this.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New Photo

How do you like the new picture of me? Lapel badge and all! Hey! Does anyone know where that picture in the top right corner of the page is? I just chose this new template but I'm wondering what that's a picture of. Is it in NYC? If anyone knows post a comment or send me an e-mail. There's a link to my e-mail on my profile page. Thanks for reading and come back soon!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Look

I was getting bored with the same 'ol same 'ol. I'm trying to change the picture on my profile too. That's next.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Procrastination 101

I have always been a procrastinator, but ever since the children started school I have taken it to the next level. I got a ticket going to Austin a few weeks ago. Yes, I know I know. I tend to be a speed demon when I'm in the car by myself. Anyway, I was speeding down Hwy 71 and there behind some trees was our friendly local law enforcement agent. He was actually very polite and to the point.

I kept telling myself I needed to take care of that ticket but of course I never did. Then I went to Miami and I was really running out of time.

So here we were the last week of the month and I decide to look at the ticket. I find out that if I want to take defensive driving I need to have the form notarized! Have you ever heard of such a thing? Then I need to pay the fee online by the next day and it has to be postmarked on the 27th too.

It was 11 o’clock at night on the 26th and I called my cousin. I forgot she’s not a notary any more. Next morning I called my friend and she’s not a notary any more either, but her father-in-law is. So the next day I had a sales call in Cleveland, Texas and on my drive back in I stopped at her husband’s insurance office because her father-in-law works there.

I had the paper notarized, I continued to work for the day, picked up the kids from school and went to the gym. I figured I’d pay the fee for the ticket when I got home and then get to the post office before midnight, so that it could be postmarked by the 27th.

First off, my Internet decided not to work. I could not get to the official payment website to pay the fee. Of course it didn’t. That’s what happens to you when you procrastinate. I had to wait for my husband to get home and then of course he got home later than usual. He couldn’t get the Internet to work, but it did work on my laptop. He hooked my laptop up to the printer and I went ahead and paid it there. I needed to have a print out showing that I’d paid the ticket to include in the mailing with my notarized form. By now it’s 11 p.m.

I get to the post office at 11:15 and when I got to the drop box I see that it says that the last pick up time was 8 p.m. I panic. My mother always told me that if you mail something before 12 a.m. at the main post office it will be postmarked for that same day. I went to the post office with her at night many times, which is what I told the man who came to the window when I rang the doorbell.

I asked him if there was any way he could take my letter and postmark it for the 27th and he told me absolutely not. Apparently they stopped postmarking mail before midnight three years ago. My mom passed away six years ago so she wouldn’t have known that.

Then I told him my predicament. I begged and asked if there was any way at all that he could do it. Finally he said there was a way. He told me to use the machine that they have set up to send packages. You can also buy stamps there and it’s dated the date that you buy it. Since I already had stamps on my envelope he said he’d show me how to get a 1 cent stamp.

He looked like Morgan Freeman with a beard and he had that same impatient attitude with me, like he was half amused and half exasperated. He’d growl at me when I didn’t punch the button fast enough. “I said, ‘Enter’” he said impatiently. It was really funny. I thanked him profusely and told him I would always remember him. He said that at least now they wouldn’t have to send a warrant out for my arrest.

That reminded me. When I was reading the paperwork that they gave me with the ticket, earlier that night, it listed the different options. Option 1- Pay Ticket, Option 2- Take defensive driving, etc.. Option 5 was “Do Nothing.” Then it said that the consequences were that they would send a warrant out. When Rey saw me struggling that night to get the ticket fee paid and mailed off he said, “So you chose Option 5.” That’s our new saying now.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Thank You Fall

Why do I love Fall so much? I love love love the crisp cool morning air. This morning I had to put sweaters on Miranda and Seth. Seth's group is always playing outside early in the morning so he especially needed it.

Fall always reminds me of new beginnings. It reminds me of the start of the school year and football games. I used to love to go to football games in middle school and high school, especially because of the feeling of standing out in the stands in the cool air.

It also reminds me of being in college and going to parties around this time of year.

Exciting things always seemed to happen at this time of year. I don't know why. Maybe it's because everyone feels this same excitement. After a long hot summer we welcome this wonderful cool weather. We all have the idea that something new and exciting is about to happen.

Today during lunch I decided that my short Chapter 1 should be my Introduction and I'm going to write a new Chapter 1.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Note About 9/11

I know this is two weeks late but I never posted my thoughts or where I was when this horrible thing happened 5 years ago.

I was driving to work like so many people were and I heard it on NPR. First I heard that one plane had hit the World Trade Center but that was all anyone knew at the time. By the time I parked and went into work I heard that a second plane had hit and then I knew that it wasn't an accident.

Something that I always remember about that time was how so many of my co-workers said that they were going to think more about life-work balance. Two of the women I worked with at the time started making a conscious effort to stop and take a lunch. A year later I reminded one of the girls of that when she was working like crazy one day. She just laughed.

One really did take it to the next level and when her husband was offered a transfer to another country there was no question about her going with him. She took a leave of absence from our company and she's really enjoyed the time this has allowed her with her daughter.

The thing is most of us did feel that way when that horrible day happened. We thanked God for being alive and we promised that we would spend more time paying attention to the important things in life. I was reminded of that when I was listening to some of the people who lost loved ones that day, on NPR this year.

The question is, did we stick to that promise to have more of a life-work balance? I think about that especially now that I’ve been so swamped with the kids and school and such. It’s almost 9:30 at night and I need to get the kids to go to sleep, I still need to wash a load of laundry and I need to take a shower. After that I need to pack Seth’s lunch. I forgot to buy bread so Miranda’s going to have to buy lunch again so I don’t have to make her lunch but I do need to pack her a snack for the afternoon.

I long for a job that would allow me more quality of life. I dream of a day when I’m a published writer. I don’t know that I’ll ever have it, but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hello From Miami

Hello readers everywhere. Sorry I haven't posted in so long. I had a crazy busy weekend with a wedding reception on Friday, Hispanic Chamber gala on Saturday and then preparing for this trip. This consisted of doing all the laundry so the kids could have clean clothes for school while I came here, doing some grocery shopping, and writing out all the reminders for my sister and Rey.

Wouldn't you know it though, Rey had a guy call in sick this week and his boss is out of town, so he is swamped at work. THEN right as I'm about to leave to the airport Rey calls to tell me that Miranda threw up at school and he has to go pick her up. He took her to work for a little while then took her to the old babysitter who is still our back-up. Amazing! This would have to happen the day I'm leaving, right?

I arrived in Miami this late afternoon, early evening for an AHAA conference. AHAA stands for Association of Hispanic Ad Agencies. I arrived just in time to freshen up for the evening welcome reception and then dinner with one of the ad agencies with whom we do business. It actually ended up being a bonus round because another agency rep joined us so I had dinner with two reps from my agencies in one sitting. It was really interesting hearing how these ladies got into the business.

Tomorrow is a full day of the conference, a short 3 hour break and then an evening reception. Thursday it's another full morning and I go to the airport after lunch to catch my flight home.

So a short trip but I hope to get some writing in while I'm here. I know! Miami is supposed to be this really cool party place but I'm just here for the conference and some time to write. No partying for this old viejita!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Evening WAS going so well...

I left work 10 min too late and I was rushing to get to both kids. I picked up Seth first and I received some great news. Seth was "invited" to the potty today and he accepted. He "attended" to the potty. he he This is all Montessori lingo! In our language he peed in the potty.

The great news about this is that last night at the Open House the teachers told me that he'd been invited before but he declined. So today's news was great! Last night I was also educated about the "Montessori" way while reading the handbook and learned that my, "SAY GOODBYE!" across the room when I leave are considered "inappropriate." We are only to use soft voices and we are only to speak to people who are within arms length of us. It cracked me up! I guess Montessori isn't for loud people like me but at the same time this is good for Seth.

Okay, so I rush to pick up Miranda and my husband calls and says he's on his way there too. We are both pretty close to her so we decide to race to see who will get there first. When I was just a few blocks away Seth unbuckles his seatbelt. Argh! I had to pull off the road and put it back on so I lost. Rey got to her first.

Since I was already on that side of town and near Kroger I decided to go grocery shopping. I told Rey to meet me over at the Kroger parking lot so I could get Miranda. He had to go to play basketball. SO we went grocery shopping and I'm thinking, "OK great I'm getting this out of the way." I saw one of those great rotisserie chickens and it looked really good for dinner. I bought a mesquite flavored one and brought it home.

Of course when I got home Miranda's asleep and Seth is crying for milk. I get them both off and settled. I went back out and got all the groceries. After everything was put up I was looking forward to eating my succulent rotisserie mesquite chicken.

I warmed up some spinach and went to cutting a leg off the chicken, my favorite part. That's when I saw it! The baked dead black fly sitting on my now not-so-wonderful chicken. I was so disappointed!

I put the chicken back in the container, careful not to bother the fly, and threw away the part of the spinach the chicken touched. I called Kroger and told them what happened. I'll have to stop in tomorrow when I drop off Miranda at school. Then I went to find something else to eat for dinner... the evening WAS going so well. The night is still young. Let's see how the rest goes.

New Theme?

I guess the unofficial theme of this blog is about me, a mother, wife and ad woman, trying to make it as a writer. These days I've blogged so much about the challenges as a working mom that I've started to wonder if that should be my official theme. Like I can give myself a subheading under "Shoegirl Corner." Something like, "The rants and raves of a mad mama!" By mad I mean crazy!

Today I got out of work and rushed to pick up Seth, then Miranda, then to Walgreens to pick up all of our prescriptions that I dropped off this morning. While in line my SUV's A/C decided to say goodbye. From there I rushed to the old sitter's house. She agreed to keep them and visit with them while I went to Seth's Open House. She is such a wonderful woman! She bathed them and fed Seth while they were there!

After dropping off the kids with her I rushed to switch cars with Rey. He's going to have to take the SUV into the shop tomorrow. I'm done with it. I told Rey I seriously want to buy a new car in the next week. We are thinking of a Scion. They are really good on gas.

I got out of Open House and picked up something for dinner then raced to pick the kids up. Rey worked late but was already home by now. We ate dinner hurriedly so we could start on Miranda's homework. Rey was a sweetheart and helped a lot! We got them to bed late but it was an unusually busy night, don't you agree?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Comments

Hey! Where did all the comments go? I haven't received one single comment in like 10 days!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Morning Coffee MySpace & Other Musings

Sunday morningish. OK, not really morning. More like noonish. I got up late. I woke up in a real "mama" mood and I made breakfast for everyone. Scrambled egg with cheese and Canadian bacon sandwich for husband, boiled eggs with lemon pepper for Miranda, boiled eggs for baby, and overeasy egg and Canadian bacon sandwich for me.

I have been denying myself of coffee all week. Only at home because I've had coffee at work some days. I haven't been denying myself on purpose. I have actually wanted coffee. The thing is that I forgot to buy creamer last time I went grocery shopping and I just like my vanilla coffee with vanilla creamer.

After a week without coffee I couldn't take it any longer. I made myself some coffee this morning and decided to take it con leche. I reasoned that I drink it like that at luncheons and events anyway. Which reminds me! I'm going to the Hispanic Chamber gala Saturday and I need to figure out what I should wear.

I have felt so out of touch with myself lately. I know that this is reality and this is just how it is now but I'm going through an adjustment period. By that I mean a period where I will need to get the routine of being a full time mom down and then figure out how I can incorporate my own life into it. How to fit in my own time and more importantly writing time into my day. I literally washed, folded, and put away clothes all weekend. Even now I have my last load in the dryer. Did I make time to write? No I did not. Did I make time for my microdermabrasion? No I did not. By the time I called to see if I could go in before they closed she was gone for the day.

One thing I did make time for is to sleep. The four of us have this chronic cough that I've had for 2 weeks and Seth has had even longer. He took the required antibiotics and finished them this past weekend but the cough is still there. We're starting to wonder if we have something more serious like bronchitis or walking pneumonia. The crazy part about it that we don't have any fever. Wouldn't we have fever if we were infectious? Weird.

Anywho, I was reading Alisa Valdes Rodriguez' blog a few weeks ago and she decided to move to MySpace in time for the release of her new young adult novel. I thought the idea was brilliant considering the audience she's trying to reach. I joined myspace close to a year ago maybe because it's the only way to communicate with my 17 year old niece, step-daughter and 25 year old nephew. Even our summer intern is on there religiously and if I want to contact her that's the way to do it.

The funny part of Alisa's post that she was moving was the reaction she received from everyone! It was hilarious! So many people are anti-myspace. I don't blame myspace for the kids who are plotting running away with cyber boyfriends and the like. I blame the parents. They are the ones that need to be all up in their kids' koolaid knowing what they are up to. Believe me, if my teenager had a myspace I would be a regular reader and subscriber to her blog. But we are all adults. What does it hurt to have a myspace sign on and to visit other myspace pages?

Now something to ponder. If you had the luxury of never working a 9 to 5 again for the rest of your life. Let's say, if you could write full time, what would you do? What would you enjoy or volunteer for that you don't usually have time for now? And I mean extra things, not counting the ministry, if you would be doing that. That's a given.

Here are my answers. Feel free to post your answers on my comments.

1. Volunteer at my daughter's school, either in the classroom or the library. (I swear I don't know how women go back to work when their kids start school! I would want to take time off instead!)

2. Volunteer with a literary group.

3. Go to more art exhibits and openings.

4. Go to more plays and film screenings.

5. Do arts and crafts!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Languages

I'm completely bilingual. By that I mean that I literally learned English and Spanish at the same time. I mainly spoke Spanish to my parents and English to my older sisters. I always said I would do the same thing with my own children however it didn't quite work out that way. The main reason is that Rey doesn't really speak Spanish so I'm accustomed to speaking English to him all the time. I thought that if a Spanish speaking sitter took care of them and spoke to them in Spanish I would be fine. I was right to a certain extent.

It soon became apparent that Miranda understood every word that came out of her "Mana's" mouth but she chose to speak to her in English. The baby is only 2 & 4 months so he had barely started talking in the last year but he is English dominant, with a really good Spanish pronunciation. Turns out children relate to the language that the mother speaks. So although they understand Spanish perfectly, they prefer to speak English.

Now that the kids have started school and will be hearing only English I feel the need to speak Spanish to them. I don't want them to lose the base that they already built these years with the sitter. It is a lot harder than I ever imagined.

So I decided to make a game of it. I also took 3.5 years of Italian in college so I'm pretty good at a third language. The kids get a kick when I speak to them in Italian.

I told them that we are going to alternate the days that I speak the three languages. So Monday is English, Tuesday is Spanish, Wednesday is Italian and so on. Miranda loved the idea and Seth will go along with whatever his "sissy" says. In this way they will continue hearing Spanish and hopefully hearing me speak it more they will start to connect to the language. And they will also pick up a new language!

Tomorrow is Spanish again. It was really hard to stick to it this week so far but I figure that if I keep doing it, it will become a habit and the children will eventually become accustomed to the 3 languages too. I'll keep you updated on our progress.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Life These Days

Starbucks

I love the design of the new Starbucks that have counters. I like to sit at the counter and pretend I'm sitting at an old fashioned drugstore soda fountain. I love that there's a Starbucks on the corner of I-10 and Shepherd where I can stop on my way into work after dropping off Seth at school.

The Weather

Something amazing has happened and the temperature has dropped in Houston!!! YEAH!!! High today 85 degrees, low 68!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE FALL! It's my favorite time of year! There's always something in the air that promises to be fun and exciting in the fall. It reminds me of the beginning of the school year and football games at Delmar Stadium!

Homework

Oh my! Today was the first day that Miranda brought home homework!!! YIKES! 20 min of reading and then a bunch of other stuff.

I'm Sick

I've had a cough for about a week and this morning I woke up with a sore throat and slowly but surely I started losing my voice throughout the day. I said I was going home early at 3:30 but I didn't leave until 4:30. Typical. I came home and took a 30 min nap only to discover Miranda had also fallen asleep watching cartoons. It was a battle waking her up for dinner, bath and now homework before I put her back to bed around 9:30 now, since she slept. They are in the tub right now and we'll do homework when they get out.

Flowers

I bought Rey flowers today just because he was such a sweetheart all weekend. He was surprised!

Austin

Tomorrow I drive to Austin for a sales call and I'm having lunch with my cousin afterwards. It will be a nice drive with the weather being so beautiful like it is. I want to stop at Rosemary's Vineyard on the way home to get a bottle of red wine.

Traveling

I was going to drive to Cleveland, TX next week but they had to reschedule. Week after next I'm in Miami for 3 days for an ad conference. I'm going to take advantage of the time to write.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I'm a Real Mama Now

For some reason now that the kids are in school I feel like a real mom. I know that sounds crazy but I do! It's weird.

When the kids went to the sitter's I could take them to her asleep and in pajamas. in the morning. She would feed them all day and I didn't have to pack food for them. The only thing I would provide was milk. She would bathe them for me every day and on my meeting nights she would dress them too. Miranda always had these great hairstyles! On ballet days she would make these great buns for her, not just regular buns, but little braids that made up a bun and stuff like that. I was spoiled.

This past Thursday it was a meeting night so I picked up the kids and rushed home to feed them dinner, bathe and dress them to make it to our meeting by 7:30. It was tough!! I was exhausted when it was all done. Other mothers have told me it will get better as I get accustomed to this new crazy schedule.

Now I'm one of those mothers that's wondering, "When do I have time for me?" I will have to make time for myself!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Running Crazy

My apologies to all those who have come by to visit and found that I haven't updated. I am so crazy busy now with the kids in school that I have little time for anything else. I will see you when I can! Miss you too!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Exhausted

Drove to San Antonio. Met with an ad agency for lunch. Good meeting. Took a 30 min nap outside of Starbucks. Bought a lite frapuccino and headed home. Got into town right around 6. Drove like a mad woman to Miranda's Open House. My sister was kind enough to pick up the kids for me and keep them and give them dinner. Went to Miranda's Meet & Greet and learned about what she does each day. Picked up kids. Came home. Miranda finished cleaning her room (something she started SUN) and then in the bath. Now they are getting ready to go to bed. I still haven't eaten anything and I need a shower. Exhausted.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Love This Poem!

EE Cummings - i carry your heart

i carry your heart with me
(i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it
(anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Happy Anniversary to My Love


I should have taken the day off. Had a facial and a massage.

Nine Years

Tomorrow is our nine year wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Seth’s First Day

My poor baby. He starved for breakfast. He wanted a little girl’s cookie and he threw a tantrum and didn’t want his Cheerios and milk. Therefore he didn’t eat until lunch time. The teacher said he ate everything then. My poor little hungry lamb! I guess nursery school is also like boot camp.

He also cried during nap time and when he had a poopy change. They don't change kids laying down. They change them standing up, I guess in preparation for potty training. They make them touch their toes when they wipe him. He had issues with that. Other than that he did OK.

The funniest part was when I went to the toddler house to get his stuff with the teacher. He walked in with us and sat down automatically at his chair. The teacher smiled and turned and looked at him and said, "Thank you for sitting in your chair."

I couldn't believe they had him trained by this afternoon! Pretty impressive! That wild child may still have some hope. He was wearing his Leon, Guanajuato t-shirt with a lion on it that reads, "El leon no es tal como lo pintan."

Thinking of Mama and Hilda

Rey found this live version of "Amor Eterno" on iTunes. It's from Juan Gabriel's "La Historia del Divo" album. These lyrics are just too much and the way he sings them gives me chills. I thought of my mom and my sister like I always do when I hear this song, but this verse just adds a whole other level of feeling.

Ojos
Que
Hallan derramado tantas lagrimas por penas
De dolor
De amor de tantas despedidas y de esperas
Soledad
Eso es todo lo que tengo ahora y tus recuerdos
Que hacen mas
Triste las angustia de vivir pensando como siempre en ti
Ojos
Que te vieron tanto y que no han vuelto a verte hasta el sol de hoy
Tristes
De tanto extrañarte
Y de tanto esperarte desde aquel adios
Soledad
Eso es todo lo que tengo ahora
Ye eso es todo lo que tengo ahora
Y tus recerdos
Que hacen mas
triste las angustia de vivir pensando como siempre
y para siempre y por siempre en ti

lyrics by Juan Gabriel

Friday, August 18, 2006

Here's the School Update

This whole week I'm been thinking about when Miranda was a newborn and how extremely exhausted I was but I still had to wake up and feed her and I had no choice in the matter. I remember being so exhausted I literally had a piercing pain in my back between my shoulder blades from nursing. I would wake up exhausted to nurse her in the middle of the night and many times I would fall asleep with her on my lap.

OK, it's not that bad but it kind of reminds me of the same feeling. The feeling that I have absolutely no choice in the matter. I have to be up and out of bed no later than 6:15 and Miranda has to be up by 6:30 so we can leave the house no later than 7:30. Next week move that up half an hour when Seth starts nursery school. I need to be out of the house no later than 7 in order to drop them both off.

Now I know what all you mothers are thinking. Stop playing your violins! I know many women do this every day and my hat goes off to all of them. I don't know how women do this day after day, year after year until their kids graduate. How exhausting!

So now I'm one of those women. Welcome me into your honored club!

Miranda loves school! She has done really good and has received a lot of WOW and Good Job stickers. On Tuesday though she did get time out for the first time for "accidentally" pulling a boy's hair. Of course I doubt it was really an accident. When she told me we were driving home and I couldn't help it that my heart felt like breaking when she said, "and I cried quietly in the time-out chair."

I imagined how she must have felt and what a humiliating experience that must have been. But she learned what was the consequence of acting up. Unfortunately, as my sister says, "Kindergarten is the boot camp of life." This is where she will learn all the rules of life. I hope she learns them well and I will be there to help her along the way.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My Life is About to Change Forever

I'm about to enter a totally new phase in my life. I am about to become the mother of school age children. Tomorrow my 5 year old daughter begins Kindergarten and the following Monday I'm putting my 2 year old son in a Montessori nursery school.

What this means is that gone are the days when I can roll out of bed later than usual and go into work later because I know I will make up the work time either way. Gone are the days that if I don't feel well I don't have to get up and the kids can just sleep in with me. Gone are a lot of things.

From now on I will have to wake up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and I'll have to get both kids up, fed, and dressed. With a girl that includes doing hair, like pony tails or braids. Add to that getting myself dressed and ready for work too. Then I have to get them to school first around 7:30 so I can get out of work in time to pick them both up by or before 6. Their schools aren't too far from each other, thank goodness.

I will have to do this every day for the next nine months unless Miranda is sick. Seth's schedule will be more flexible so at least if she's sick I can either stay in or take them to the sitter's. She's agreed to be my back-up so we haven't lost her.

My life is about to change forever.

On another note, I haven't written too much because I've been working out on a regular basis for the past 3 weeks. I even drag my butt to the gym on Fridays!! One week I even went during lunch time because I thought I was going to have dinner with a friend that week so I wanted to do a make-up day.

One good thing about the kids being in school is that since I'm going in earlier I'll also get out earlier in order to pick them both up before or by 6. I'll be picking up one at 5:30 and another one at 6. Rey will definitely have to help me out some days. But by being off of work earlier I'll be able to work out earlier, at least for one hour. Then it's home for showers, homework, and bed.

My life is about to change forever.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Microdermabrasion

Like most women I look at my face and I see imperfections I would like to improve. One fast rule I’ve always had is that no matter what, I am I am not going to let the rest of me go. I’ve talked about this on here before. That includes hair, face, clothes and shoes, of course. Always the shoes!

One of the things that bothers me about my face are these little growths or small pimples that have somehow grown over the last ten years. A friend of mine told me she had no idea what I was talking about and that she didn't see anything on my face, but I know she was just being nice. My more truthful friends and sisters see the bumps.

I’d been thinking about getting microdermabrasion for a while now but I never made up my mind to just do it. I spoke to the owner of Caritas about it almost two years ago and she explained to me how the procedure works. She looked at my face and told me that I would need around eight treatments to totally get rid of the unsightly bumps.

Microdermabrasion is (according to Wikipedia) “a cosmetic procedure popular in day spas and medical spas, in which the outermost surface of the skin is partially or completely removed by light abrasion. Different methods include mechanical abrasion from jets of zinc or aluminum oxide crystals, or a roughened surface. Particles and removed material are usually suctioned off using a small vacuum attached to a wand.”

Two weeks ago I finally decided to have it done and I was so excited when I went in for my first session. Caritas uses the crystals and then the vacuum wand. I thought it was going to hurt but I was surprised at how it felt. It doesn’t hurt but I’m not saying it feels good. It’s really more as if someone is scraping your face with the edge of a cardboard or thin plastic. It’s that abrasive irritating feeling, but no pain.

The first session Olga (the owner) set the machine on a milder setting but that was enough. I could tell the difference on the texture of my face immediately afterwards.

At my second session she decided to turn it up a notch and she was a little more aggressive on the larger bumps. She said she was very impressed on how well I was progressing. This time I did have a few red marks where some of the larger bumps used to be, but these will fade quickly. But no bumps! It also helps clear up minor acne scars, which I also have.

I discovered Caritas (6217 Irvington Blvd) a few years ago when one of my best friends went there herself. They do great facials for only $25-$30. They do the microdermabrasion for $50 and $17 extra for a mask afterwards. That's a steal in a city like Houston. Of course if you're looking for elegance and pampering this isn’t where you want to go. It's a very simple place. It's an old house converted into a shop and the owner also cuts hair, dyes and does highlights.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress as I continue on my microdermabrasion journey. I should do before and after photos of my face!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The End of the Canal

You may have to go online to another site to read the end of "The Canal." I may have it published on the Houston Institute for Culture site once it's finished, pending approval of the director of course. So stay tuned and I'll let you know when it's finished and where to go to read it.

You can go there now to read some of my other stories. Follow the links beneath my bio on this page:http://www.houstonculture.org/forums. Also check out some of the other initiatives that this organization has for the community.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Canal Part 2

By Loida Casares Ruiz

It was getting late in the afternoon and the sun had started making its descent to the West. Sofia was starting to worry. She hadn’t heard from her two youngest sons all day.

“Where can those boys be? I hope they aren’t getting into any trouble,” she said to herself as she dried her hands on her apron and looked out her kitchen door. She pushed her light brown hair, streaked with grey behind her ear, pensively.

“You know those boys Mamá, they get tied up playing their games and they loose all track of time,” her eldest daughter Veronica answered wearily as she stirred a pot of stew before sitting down again to a magazine she was reading.

Since she was he eldest she always had to stay at home helping her mother with the wash and the cooking. She longed to be in town with some of her friends, at the picture show or window shopping. She always sounded bored and listless. She hated her life and she wished that she had the life her mother had at her age.

Sofia had a much easier life as a young girl. She was the daughter of a wealthy Spanish merchant in Reynosa who had married outside of the family’s circle of approved families. Now she was married to a poor farm worker with too much Indian blood for her parents’ comfort and her family quickly forgot her.

“Lorenzo, come here!” she called out into the yard.

“Si Mamá,” Lorenzo answered coming out of a shadow where he had been reading a book. He was only two years older than Rudy but he didn’t really play with the boys. He was the bookworm and the intellect of the family. He dreamed of a day when he could leave this small town for a university.

“Lorenzo, please go see if you can find your brothers. It’s getting late and they’ll need to be in for dinner soon.”

Lorenzo had only been gone a couple of minutes when she looked up out of the kitchen window and saw him hurrying down the driveway again with Old Man Lucas. She didn’t like their manner and it seemed that they were coming to tell her something important. Something, she guessed, that had to do with Rudy and Nico.

“Ay Dios mio!” she exclaimed nervously wiping her hands on her apron.

Veronica looked up from her magazine at the table surprised. She could hear the worry in her mother’s voice and she looked out the kitchen screen door to see her brother and Old Man Lucas too.

“Don Lucas,” her mother called out from the doorway, “What can I do for you?” she asked nervously.

Old Man Lucas reached the door out of breath and red in the face. His white hair was stuck to his head and he took of his big straw cowboy hat to fan himself.

Lorenzo was usually very polite and let the adults speak first but he looked at Don Lucas impatiently and burst out, “Mamá, Don Lucas found something at the foot of the old oak tree next to the canal.”

Sofia’s eyes went down to the pair of shoes that Don Lucas was holding in his hands and she immediately recognized them as Nico’s shoes.

“Ay, Madre de Dios,” she exclaimed, “What were they doing there?”

Finally Don Lucas was able to get the words out after breathing heavily for a few moments.

“Earlier today I was walking by the old oak tree next to the canal and I heard your boys playing up there. I heard Rudy challenging Nico to go out on one of the limbs that extends over the water. I told them they should come down but they told me they were fine. I kept on walking but I had a bad feeling about it all afternoon.

Later I decided to walk by again to see if I could see them still there when I found these shoes. I called for them and I looked for them the whole walk here but I never saw them anywhere.”

Sofia started for feel faint but she knew she couldn’t over-react. They had to search for the boys to see if they were anywhere nearby.

“Lorenzo, you go to find your father. Tell him he needs to come home now. Tell him what has happened.”

“Veronica, I need for you to get the word out to all of your brothers’ friends. We need to see if they are at someone’s house first. Let’s get going.”

Sofia took action and she and Don Lucas walked to the canal together to see if they could see the boys any where. He showed her exactly where he had found the shoes.

“You don’t think they fell in do you?” she asked the old man, her green eyes wide.

“Ni que lo mande Dios,” Don Lucas replied, “But I think you should prepare for the worst.”