Sunday, January 29, 2006

I Forget I'm a Mama Now!

Yesterday I had one of those weird moments where I felt completely different than I expected I would feel. I took Miranda to take the Vanguard test Saturday. We got there a few minutes early and signed in and we were instructed to go to the cafeteria to wait. They would call her name, take her to take the test, then they would bring her back and we'd go home to wait for the results. They won't mail those until April 10th. Can you believe we have to wait that long? That's when we'll get the test results, find out if she was accepted into Vanguard, and what school she'll be assigned to. I had to list my top three choices in order of preference.

The thing is this. When they called her name I panicked a little. First I thought the lady was leaving with the other child without us and I sprang up and ran quickly up to the front with Miranda. What resulted was that I felt a little frazzled and I felt like I got Miranda a little frazzled too. When I handed her over to the lady, who then handed her over to a little girl who would escort her to her testing room, I felt like it was all happening too fast. I felt scared all of a sudden. Scared for Miranda and nervous for her. I know she's brilliant but it was like for that moment I was afraid that they wouldn't see how brilliant she is. In other words I had a total Mama moment. I actually felt like crying.

I called Rey and I told him how I felt. He replied, "Great! You're also PMSing so I know that you're more emotional than usual. What great timing." His usual matter-of-fact reasoning made me laugh and it was just what I needed at that moment. I couldn't believe I was feeling this way. I couldn't believe I felt like crying.

Forty minutes later Miranda came back and I was calmer. I asked her what kind of questions they asked her and she didn't remember. She said they didn't ask to say her ABCs but they did show her pictures and asked her to point to letters. That's all she's offered so I'll probably never know what the test was like. I'll get the results on a profile sheet showing what different areas were tested and how she did, but that's it. Oh well!

It's Sunday. Meeting in an hour and a half. Kids are bathed and dressed. Seth is taking a nap. Miranda and I are going to eat some lunch before I get dressed. Life goes on. Reading is in ONE WEEK and I don't feel ready... Work is busy. We're getting ready to launch a website in Spanish this year... the usual.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


My radio interview went great! My friend Angie did a really great job interviewing us. Mark from the Houston Institute for Culture was there too. The work that he does with his organization in Houston and in Mexico is awesome. I was really impressed with the research they've done with families in the shantytowns in the trash dumps of the border town of Reynosa.

I was also impressed to find out my information can be found on the Nuestra Palabra website at And from there there's also information on the reading at I was reading the biography for the other writer who is going to read with me. Her name is Rose Mary Salum and she is such an accomplished writer. I feel like a novice next to her! WOW! Read her bio on the Houston Culture website link.

I still haven't written about any of those topics I mentioned a few days ago. One of those subjects was Love's Baby Soft. Do any of you remember those commercials for that perfume in the 1980s? My little girl and I were shopping at Walgreens or some other drug store when we saw that perfume. She wanted it and it brought back such fond memories I agreed to buy it for her. It came with a body spray and a perfume so I gave her the body spray and I kept the perfume. Spraying that perfume on me every morning brings back so many great memories!

Memories of the '80s and wondering if I was going to "wan chung" tonight. What was wan chung anyway? I love the '80s but you all already know that. I'm so grateful that I had such a happy childhood and teen years. I would do them all over again in a heartbeat. Sigh!

OK enough reminiscing. Back to reality! It's almost 11:30 and I still need to take a shower and I need to pack the kids' bags for tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Very Excited

I got an e-mail today asking me if I can be on the Nuestra Palabra radio show tomorrow night. They will interview me and the Director of the Houston Institute for Culture, who is hosting my reading event. Of course I said yes. The show is at 7:30 p.m. and there's information about it on my profile.

I just took a look at my profile and I guess I hadn't looked at it in a while because I have 365 visitors. I've always assumed that that means unique visitors and I think that's really cool. I don't have thousands of readers yet but it's a start.

I have to go work on editing my piece now and then I need to review some analytical points with Miranda. Her Vanguard test is this Saturday and I'm doing short reviews with her each night of alphabet, numbers, adding, and thinking skills.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Update on Hair

My sister tells me that my hair will only get lighter! I don't want to ruin it by dying it right away so I'm going to wait one week and then I'm going to re-dye it. In the meanwhile I'm wearing my hair in a different style this whole week to camouflaged my crazy hair. It is crazy!

After we were out last night we passed by some friends' house and my girlfriend could not believe my hair! She said she was trying really hard not to laugh. I told her to go ahead and laugh because what can we do in situations like this but learn to laugh at the situation and ourselves too. I must say I've always been pretty good about making jokes about my antics.

OK. It's Sunday. Great talk ahead of me at my meeting today. (church for most of you, but we don't call it that) We have a visiting speaker from New York and I'm looking forward to hearing him speak. We got a sneak peek Thursday night because he did a couple of 15 minute presentations and he was great then.

But first I need to make a quick run to the store to buy my little girl some new shoes. Her old ones are starting to talk to me! I don't even know how that happened! Kids go through shoes so fast.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Date Night

Rey and I have a date tonight. We're going to dinner and an art show opening. I want to go there and Rey was going to pick the place where we'd go for dinner. His parents came over to babysit but they decided to come over early and they're bar-b-qing some steaks. So now I think we may eat here first and then go to the art opening.

I heard about this Houston museum on the Nuestra Palabra radio show from this past Tuesday. It was a great show about art. If you want to check it out you can hear the archives on Go to Archives.

Crazy Hair!

I fell for it again!!! I fell into the hairdresser's trap. The famous line of, "Let me just do this...." YIKES! I ended up with two tone hair.

First let me tell you my hair story. I dye my hair about every 5-10 years. My mother forbade me from dying my hair until I was grown and out of the house. So when I was 19 and in college I went to visit my sister in Palmdale, CA over the summer when my niece was born. I did a bad sun-in job on my hair, tanned every day at the pool, and ended up coming back from California with orange hair and bark brown skin. Yes bark, like a tree.

In my early twenties I did highlights. The hairdresser said she needed to bleach the highlights first and then dye them the color I wanted and I believed her. It looked okay the first couple of days but soon the highlights got lighter and lighter and I ended up with blond highlights. Not a great look for me!

In my late twenties I decided to try highlights again but I was so conservative about it because of the prior experience that the highlights were so subtle they were almost unnoticable.

So fast forward to my mid 30s. I've been getting my hair cut at this same shop for a while. I trust the lady because she's always cut my hair the way I ask her to. I've been seeing grey in my hair for the past few months and my hair is super fine and super oily. My sister told me she also has oily hair but that the oil is controlled because she's always dyes her hair. I thought I'd try the same approach.

I went to my regular shop and I told the lady what I wanted. She said she would dye it a color a little lighter than my color but that she'd also add this other color for effect. I believed her. I thought that the other color would look more like highlights. Wrong!

My hair is dark brown and red. I keep hoping that after a while it will fade out a little and won't be as noticable. I also need to ask my sister, the dye pro, how soon I can dye it again and I'll dye it all one color. We'll see....

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Mortality Stares Me In the Face

Nothing ever goes as planned. Today it was not only cold, but I got off work 30 minutes later than planned and the traffic was terrible. I forgot I had to go by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and so when it was all said and done I was getting home at 8 p.m. Then I made dinner and watched a little bit of the Golden Globes I recorded yesterday. I didn't walk and I didn't edit the piece for my reading. I did spend some time with my husband and even a little bit with my kids, going to the pharmacy together and letting them play on the bed for a little while when we got home.

Today I was faced with my mortality once again. I recently started up Weight Watchers Online again because I know I have to. I know it's my lifestyle from now on if I want to see my kids grow up. I've also accepted that its a better "issue" to have than to have to live with a bigger handicap. At least this issue is controllable.

The point is this. I know a couple of women who are diagnosed diabetics. One is in complete denial of how diabetes works and should be on insulin injections but stopped doing it because she believes she's okay. The other takes her medication and says she follows the regimen however today she tells me that she's lost a certain percentage of bone mass in her mouth/teeth because of the diabetes. I'm shocked and of course I feel bad for her. I think of my own mom who thought she did everything by changing her diet, but never exercised and her best didn't seem to be good enough when she had to go in for minor eye surgery and finally a heart attack and weak heart that lingered on for eight years and finally killed her.

I'm reminded of my genes. Of what I've inherited and how much I'm tempting the diabetes to come back full force (remember I was gestational diabetic with both my pregnancies) unless I get down to my ideal weight and make exercise a natural part of my life.

I'm reminded again and again by the people around me. By my uncle (mother's cousin) who died two weeks ago from a stroke and heart attack after living without a leg for the last 10 years.

This past weekend I was listening to a talk at my meeting and the speaker was talking about the warnings we receive in life. He used the example of a Mt. St. Helens and the various warnings that the people received and how some didn't heed the warnings. I thought about what he was saying and I thought about myself and how the gestational diabetes was like one of those warnings before the eruption.

If I lived near a volcano (and I wouldn't live near one to begin with) I would evacuate completely at the first sign of an impending eruption. I need to see these two instances as my first and second warnings. It's time to flee from the danger of a full out eruption and the loss of my life. I don't want to suffer kidney failure, loss of a limb, loss of eyesight, liver failure, or heart failure. Those are all consequences of letting diabetes take over your life and killing you.

P.S. I'll write about those other things I said I'd write about later.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Future Blog Entries to Look For

Love's Baby Soft
"The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada", Tommy Lee Jones

SUV vs. Car

I haven't written in a long time. It's been a crazy busy week and I've walked three times this week. As usual, if I'm exercising or writing I can't blog. I've worked on my novel a little bit this week during lunch. I made a lot of progress deciding which part I'm going to read at my reading in three weeks. This week my plan is to write during lunch all week because I'm so tired in the evenings after walking, but I have to do both.

I've had two really interesting weeks driving my husband's Honda Civic. He had knee surgery 2 weeks ago and he's been at home and taking the kids to the sitter, so I've been driving his car so he can drive the truck. I don't usually call the truck an SUV because it's not one of those super sized SUVs. It's one of those more moderately sized ones and it drives a lot like a car. OK, a big car, but not a Honda Civic.

The interesting part is that when we got the SUV 5 years ago I never thought I could drive it. I started driving it when I got pregnant with Miranda and I quickly found out that I could definitely get used to it. In fact, I loved it! I've been driving the SUV for 5 years.

So now five years later whenever I drive Rey's car I feel the difference immediately. I feel like I'm driving down low to the ground and more than that, I feel like people just don't give me the same respect when I drive the car. I feel like other drivers, especially SUVs, let me into their lanes when I have my blinker on. When I drive the car I feel like they ignore me and my blinker and I have to wait until the last possible moment and bogart my way into the lane. I wonder if it's because the car is so small or is it me. Am I less confident when I drive the car, therefore I'm less aggressive and don't get any respect?

Or do I get less respect because I'm driving an older looking car? In this superficial world that we live in, people judge other people by the car that they drive. When I drive up to places, especially around the West U area where I work, I see people give me funny looks in the older car. I don't feel like I get those looks when I drive the SUV. Or maybe it's me? Maybe I'm feeling self-conscious because I'm driving an older car or maybe I'm the one thinking superficially....

Nah, it's not me. Most people are superficial and they do look at what kind of car you drive. If that wasn't the case then cops wouldn't pull over minority men in old cars all the time.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Going Home

Hello all! We're driving home after our weekend trip to the Valley. We were there for a funeral but I also made time to visit my 91 yo uncle. We also drove into Matamoros for some bottles of liquor.

Today we bought 2 more bottles duty free at the border, before leaving, then U turned in Reynosa.

Funny thing happened coming into US. The border agent got stern w/me because I was on my cell phone IMing. I forgot I was supposed to turn it off because I was so excited to be IMing my girlfriend in Spain on my Blackberry! Then she asked if the kids were ours. I wanted to laugh but I didn't want to get in trouble by making a joke.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Blogging on the Road

This is the first time I blog using my Blackberry. This is pretty cool! The keyboard is similar to a typewriter with the letters in the same place. Except that I have to type w/my thumbs. We're driving to McAllen to the funeral of an uncle. I love technology! What did we do before this?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Reading Old Books

Now that I've been working so diligently on finishing this book besides promising that I won't blog until I've written something, I'm also not reading. I love to read so much that I get addicted and can't put the book down. So instead of reading a novel I'm reading a collection of essays. That way I'll only read an essay here and there. It's called Border-Line Personalities- A New Generation of Latinas Dish on Sex, Sass, & Cultural Shifting.

I've had this book for over a year. In fact, the copy I have is signed by the two editors. I went to hear them read from the book at Barnes and Noble for a Nuestra Palabra event. I decided to look at the book to read a few essays that caught my eye. It surprised me that I hadn't made the time to read the book because I found a few authors that I know. Well I've only met one personally, e-mailed another, and I listen to the other on the radio but still, three authors to whom I felt a connection.

One was Cecilia Bali who writes for Texas Monthly magazine. She wrote the great article on my cousin Oscar Casares a couple of years ago and I met her at his Nuestra Palabra reading here in Houston. The second is the actress Jackie Guerra who played Selena's sister in the movie and I e-mailed her a random comment on her website once and she replied. The third is Maria Hinojosa from Latino USA who I don't know at all but I feel like I do because I've listened to her radio show so many times.

I've read two already. The one by Cecilia Bali entitled, "I Get Up to Work" is really touching. She deals with the challenge of writing about your family, especially your parents, and how hard that can be. Jackie Guerra's "J's True Hollywood Story" is very inspiring! I love something she says in the last paragraph, "I've learned that hard work does not always ensure success, but not working hard almost always ensures failure."

It's funny how a book can sit on your shelf for so long and you don't know what treasures lie inside if you don't pick it up and read it. I'm sure I have a lot like those on my bookshelf.