Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Dad is 82 Today

I was driving home from the gym tonight and the freeway was backed up so I decided to take a big detour. I was sitting at the Crosstimbers light on the Hardy Toll Road feeder when I looked over and I see my father sitting in his car at the same light. Crazy!

I honked and then he looked over and I waved at him. He lifted his hands at me like asking, "Where are you going?" I motioned that I was making a U Turn. He nodded as if saying he'd understood. I went on my way. I kind of kept expecting him to turn around and to come to my house because I was sure that's where he was coming from. He always drives by my house around 9 p.m. I wonder where he was going because he wasn't going in the direction of his house.

Yesterday he came over and told me about his visit to the Veteran's Hospital that day for a thorough check up.

"Me checaron todo y no tengo nada!" But he said it in a way like he's disappointed that there's nothing wrong with him.

I laughed and told him, "So you're not dying any time soon!"

He did his usual "ah humbug!" answer. It was funny. If you knew my dad you'd know he's been dying since he was in his fifties.

I tried that elliptical machine today and I'm sore again! It's a good thing I worked out though because I probably won't be able to work out for 3 days, unless of course I walk on Sunday, which is a possibility.

One More Thing!

I keep forgetting to tell y'all that I'm going to be walking for breast cancer awareness and funding for women with breast cancer on Sunday, May 14. Check out the web page. My team is headed by our team captain, Jena Moreno, and our name is "The Adorables."

I'm really excited about this because I've already met my first $100 goal. I set that as my goal and now my next goal between now and the walk on May 14 is $200.

I''m walking in memory of all the people in my life who have been touched by cancer. My sister Hilda died of Leukemia in 1995. My dad is a prostate cancer survivor. My father-in-law is a Lymphoma survivor. Rey's Aunt Mary has stomach cancer and has been very ill lately.

Visit my page and leave a small donation if you'd like. When you go to the main page above you can click on "sponsor a walk participant" then type in my name- Loida Ruiz and it will take you to my page. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pilates Update & Coke Zero Review

The Pilates class was good. I definitely do not have any stomach muscles left. They are gone! They were all cut away when I had 2 C-sections three years apart from each other. I tried not to get discouraged when I couldn't do some of the moves. I realize that I will have to keep going for a while before I can do them so I did what I could.

For those of you who have never done Pilates you should really try it. I best describe it as all the yoga moves without the meditation. Of course this isn't the real definition, just mine.

Here's the Wikipedia definition: The Pilates Method is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates called the method The Art of Contrology, which refers to the way the method encourages the use of the mind to control the muscles. It is an exercise program that focuses on the core postural muscles that help keep the body balanced and are essential to providing support for the spine.

So there you go. It's not really yoga at all but some of the moves remind me of it.

Have any of you tasted Coke Zero? I had been avoiding it like I have been avoiding Diet Coke with Splenda. I like the Diet Coke taste and I didn't want that bothered. Well one day I decided to try it and I was very pleasantly surprised! It is really good. It doesn't taste exactly like Diet Coke or Regular Coke but it leans towards a Regular Coke taste. It's quite tasty actually. I was sold! I have been drinking Diet Coke since I was 14, when I started having weight issues, and I like the taste so I won't stop drinking it all together. It's just nice to know that I now have another choice in diet sodas.

OK, I'm very tired. My arms are throbbing! As soon as Rey gets out of the shower I'm jumping in and taking a nice hot shower or maybe even a warm soak.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Guess I'm Redeeming Myself

I say I'm redeeming myself because so far these 2 days I've already done way more than I did the whole weekend. Yesterday I went to a Cycle class for the first time during lunch.

I found out I could work out at the gyms close to my job so I found out what classes were offered there. I'll tell you all more about that later. So I actually worked out during lunch! Can you believe that?! That's so unlike me. I'm a woman on a mission. To be healthy! Then in the evening I did a bunch of laundry and stayed up very late folding it all and some other clothes I had washed last week that I still had in the baskets.

Tonight I went to a salsa class at my regular home gym. It is such a fun class! I sweated and really felt like I got a work out. It was an hour long. After that I walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Now I'm blogging and I'm about to prepare for my meeting (JW) Saturday.

Tomorrow I'm going to check out the Pilates class at my home gym after work if all goes as planned. There are some other classes offered around lunch that I may check out some other days. And Yes I did work at my regular job both yesterday and today.

But now let me tell you the hilarious story of the Cycle class. I really thought that the class was one of those spinning classes where you cycle and you exercise your arms. I was kind of nervous and thought it would be tough but little did I know. It turned out to be a cycling class on a 10-speed type bike. It was a hard class where you had to pedal really fast, then stand up, sit down etc... Just so you can get a good picture of this class, imagine, 90% of the people in there were skinny and fit!

There was one guy in particular, across the room from me, that was young and fit and I swear he kept looking at me. First when I walked in, like he was wondering if I had walked into the wrong class. Then after that he kept looking over at me like he expected me to either fall off my bike or give up any minute. Me, being the competitive person that I am, had to show him and I actually stuck to it for 30 minutes. That's HUGE! You have to do the class to know what I mean.

Of course I'm probably just exaggerating and being uncharacteristically (ahem) paranoid, BUT it sure felt like he kept looking at me. Maybe I have to create these nemesis in my head so that I can show that person and thus show myself. Hmm... Interesting theory.

I'm on a mission to become healthy both spiritually and physically. I feel that when those two areas are balanced in my life everything else will fall into place.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


That's what I did today. Way worse than yesterday. I mean nothing! Not one thing. We stayed inside the house the whole day. I felt kind of guilty for a little while but then I got over it. I need to do this once in a while to recharge my batteries. We can only do so much in a given week!

Okay I did do a couple of things besides take a shower. I found the sweater that goes with Miranda's dress online. They were out at the store but I coincidentally received an e-mail from the store via Amazon and they had the sweater so I ordered it. I also changed my phone plan. I cut down my minutes since now I have my dad on my phone. AND I also read blogs and blogged (like right now). And I played with the kids too or rather the kids played with me. They jumped all over me on the bed.

Like the new picture? I finally figured out how to change it. I had to resize it but now it looks tiny. That's OK, if you want to look at the larger version go in and view the profile. I look so old!! I look every bit of my 36 years!

This past week was really busy with trying out the new gym, going to my meetings, and attending the LBFF volunteer meeting. This coming week will be busy too except that I'm not having any of my meetings in the evenings. We had a change in our JW meeting schedule this week so I'm free every evening to go work out and I'm also taking the kids to take their pictures one day.

Friday Rey and I have the Hispanic Media Professionals Annual Gala to attend. I always like attending functions like that where I get to hear successful inspiring Latinos speak. The keynote speaker will be John QuiƱones of ABC Primetime. We'll see how he is. Hopefully he won't disappoint and be boring.

I'm going to be adventurous and I'm going to try to start working out some lunch hours. There's a 24 Hour Fitness right around the corner from me and they have a noon cycle class I'm going to try on my meeting days when I can't go in the evening.

I'm going to be getting off of my reading hiatus soon. Two new books are coming out this month that I need to read. One is Alisa Valdes Rodriguez's book and since I'm going to see her at the LBFF in May I need to read her new book, "Make Him Look Good" Kyra Davis' new book is also out soon, "Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights"

One last thing before I forget. I had my last Project Grad meeting with my mentee Friday. It wasn't sad at all because it's actually the beginning of a friendship that we hope to grow. Under the Project Grad rules I can't pick her up in my car and take her anywhere because of liabilities, etc. Now that the program is over I'm going to go by her house to meet her mom so I can get to see her some other times out of school. I want to take my good friend Jena Moreno (Chronicle Business Writer) to meet her one day for either coffee or dinner. Rosy is interested in going into Communications so I'm trying to expose her to people who work in that field.

I'm outta here. I have to wash gym clothes before I go to bed. Love y'all!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

This I Believe

Have you heard the great radio show, "This I Believe" on NPR? It is such a touching and inspiring show with words from people from all walks of life. I've really enjoyed hearing the essays. I also logged on and read several of them. So many of them made me cry. I especially loved the one by Isabel Allende.

So I decided to enter an essay. I don't know if they'll accept it and I don't know how long it will take to find out if they do. My essay was about my belief that it's our job as parents to teach our children. If I get a letter of decline from them I'll post my essay here.

OK, it's Saturday and I don't feel like doing anything else even though I really do have a lot to do around the house. I went out in the ministry this morning and then we went to lunch at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Kim Son. After that I went and bought new outfits for the kids. They needed a new outfit for their yearly pictures and for our yearly meeting of Jesus' death, called the Memorial. We celebrate the day of his death instead of the day of his resurrection, or instead of Easter. I also went ahead and bought them new shoes while we were at it.

I haven't mentioned that I joined a new gym. Yes I actually broke down and did that. So now we're going to a gym. It's actually very convenient because they have the childcare too and the kids love it. Unfortunately they don't have the childcare on the weekend. I've been twice and it's working out great so far. I haven't yet figured out that elliptical machine. It does remind me of a modern day torture device!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Life Before Cell Phones

Remember those simple times? When I was 23 I worked for the Chronicle for the first time and I was introduced to pagers and cell phones. I had one of those ancient bricks! Anyway, I quit after 2 years (and yes I did go back 4 years later, like an insane woman that I am) and I was so happy to be rid of my cell phone and my pager. I loved not being accessible! It was a new found freedom. I've been back at the Chronicle almost 8 years now so I've forgotten that feeling.

Anyway, my father is turning 82 at the end of this month and he probably remembers when they didn't even have a phone. Funny, I've never asked him if he had a phone when he was little.... I know for sure that he didn't have a TV. So my father turns 82 (YES EIGHTY-TWO!) and he doesn't have a cell. He has had a cell, maybe even 2 cell phones, in the past but we won't go there. Let's just say he "broke" one of them. The one I used to pay for. So for the next couple of years he didn't have a phone and he didn't want one either. But he's getting older and I get really worried about him out alone. He still drives and actually he takes Miranda to ballet on Wednesdays and takes Seth with him too. He and Seth hang out until Miranda gets out of ballet.

I worry about him out and about by himself and when he has my kids with him. I worry about his car breaking down or him having a flat and not having a way to call anyone. So I got him a phone and he accepted it. I think he realized he needed one too. So now I feel better and hopefully he feels safer. Cell phones can be a pain but they can also be a great convenience.

The baby fell asleep early for a change. I've packed their bags for tomorrow and I'm ready to go to bed. I'm just going to set the coffee pot and I'm out for the night. Good night friends everywhere! Thanks for reading me and please post often! I love hearing your comments.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Great NYC Photo

LBFF Festival

Had a volunteer meeting tonight about the Latino Book and Family Festival. It was really interesting and we talked about all the awesome authors that will be there. I'm going to be the facilitator for Alisa Valdes Rodriguez! I'm pretty excited about that. She'll be in town promoting her latest book, "Make Him Look Good."

My co-worker and friend Rosemary will be facilitating for Jackie Guerra. She's promoting her book, "Under Construction. How I've gained and lost millions of dollars and hundreds of pounds."

It's going to be such an awesome event! I can't wait! May 6 & 7 in Houston, Texas at the Houston Community College Campus. I'm honored to be part of an event like this one that promotes literacy and literature in Houston. Thank you Nuestra Palabra!

Sometimes I Feel Like Helga

Monday, March 13, 2006

Some Things Never Change

I'm really posting this on Wednesday, March 15 but since I saved some notes as a draft on Sunday, it's showing as Sunday. Blogger used to give you the option to change the time but it doesn't anymore for some reason. Either that or I can figure it out. Anyway!

About Rosy's counselor not showing her more scholarships.
I e-mailed back and forth with my mentee last week. I reminded her to apply for more scholarships because with her class rank and the fact that she didn't speak English 5 years ago alone, she should qualify for more money. She told me she didn't really know how and that her regular counselor didn't do that for them.

I was appalled. I thought to myself, "Nothing has changed!" I so took this personally because I myself graduated 18 years ago #36 out of 337 students (and I had spoken English my whole life!) and yet my counselor didn't let me know about any scholarships, except one tiny $500 one. I was young and ignorant, it was before the Internet, and even though I had older sisters they were all caught up in their own lives. I was so upset that this young girl doesn't know enough to research scholarships. In about 30 minutes I found a bunch of potential scholarships for her to inquire about.

Spring Break = cold fronts and rain
On Monday I took Miranda and Seth to the sitter and I had only packed shorts and short sleeves. When I got off the car I was surprised to find that it had gotten really cool outside. Then I saw her grand-daughter there and I asked what she was doing there and I realized it's Spring Break for a lot of kids this week. As I drove away to go to work I laughed to myself. Of course it's Spring Break! It was overcast and a cold front came in even though last week it was 80 degrees and sunny! I remember so many Spring Breaks growing up that I anticipated and when it finally arrived so did a cold front or rain. I called my friend Vicki and shared my joke with her. She laughed and we reminisced about Spring Breaks gone bad. She told me about one Spring Break with our friend Stephanie at Padre Island on the Corpus side. They packed all shorts and short sleeved shirt and on the second day a cold front came through. I reminded her of the time we went to Rockport and it was overcast and even rained one day. We had a good laugh!

And finally a note on how beautiful Austin is.
Yesterday I had to go to Austin on business and I had forgotten how beautiful Austin is. I mean BEAUTIFUL! The weather was so perfect and I really enjoyed it. I flew in because it was faster than flying, but I rented a car so I got to drive around. I finished a little early so instead of waiting in the airport I sat outside of the Starbucks right on Congress St. just in the shadow of the State Capital building. It is really a beautiful old building.

That's it. All my thoughts for the night. I have a baby standing on my chair behind my back, pulling my hair and then kissing me on my checks and yelling in my ear.

I want to do some other stuff then I want to exercise a bit before I take a shower and go to bed.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Band Meme

Got this meme from

Pick a band/artist. Then answer these questions using only titles from the band/artist’s songs.

1. Name of band/artist: Alanis Morissette
2. Are you male or female?: Princes Familiar
3. Describe yourself: So Pure
4. How do you feel about yourself?: All I Really Want
5. Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend: Can't Not
6. Describe current girlfriend/boyfriend: Heart of the House
7. Describe where you want to be: You Oughta Know
8. Describe how you live: Crazy
9. Describe how you love: Head Over Feet
10. What would you ask for if you had just one wish?: That I Would Be Good
11. Share a few words of wisdom: You Learn
12. Now say goodbye: Thank You

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Interesting Reading

I said that now that I found out how to post pictures I'd post more. So here's one for ya from my last NYC trip. We took a wrong exit on our drive to upstate NY and we ended up next to this beautiful tree with all this snow under it. It has a little sign in front of it that says that the tree has been there since the signing of the Constitution.

I was at Brazos Bookstore Friday. I stopped in to see if I could find a new copy of Literal magazine because I gave my copy away. I started looking at all the different literary books/magazines and I was surprised by their selection. One in particular caught my eye because of the title, "Golden Handcuffs Review."

I laughed when I saw that because I've heard work referred to in that way. We invest so much into the place that we work, professionally, monetarily, and emotionally, that we can't imagine giving it all up. I think this happens more so now with the high cost of healthcare. No one wants to find themselves insurance-less these days. That's the big scary fact of holding on to our jobs in Corporate America.

Anyway, I digress. The book. It's out of Seattle Washington and it's a collection of contemporary work. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I will read a story here and there when I'm done with my collection of essays by Latinas and my collection of essays by writers. Remember I'm not really reading any books right now, only essays.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Schools & Kids- Getting the Short End of the Stick as Usual!

I am so angry right now. I just read this Chronicle article in today's paper. It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant our politicians (because school board members are politicians too) are! Project Grad is the program that I participate in to mentor a high school senior at Reagan.

This young woman is amazing! She's come a long way since she came to this country from Mexico and she' s made a dedicated effort to learn English and move ahead. She's been involved with Project Grad all four years of high school and when she graduates this Spring she's slated to receive a scholarship. She is graduating #49 out of 309 Seniors. This from a girl who came to this country in 8th grade speaking only Spanish.

I have seen with my own eyes how this program works. The Chronicle even participates in this program by providing free subscriptions to the homes of all the students enrolled in the program.

I urge all of you here locally to place a call or write a letter or e-mail to the school board and let them know what your opinion is about this move. Check out the program at and read for yourself what they do for kids and education.

One More Tidbit about LBFF

I forgot to mention something else about this that's important. I'm also coordinating a special preview section that will be a pull-out section inside of La Vibra our weekly entertainment guide. I'm coordinating the section and the design with our ad publicity department. I'm also coordinating the ad sales with our ad division. The section will publish one week prior to the event and will feature the different authors. We already sold our first ad in the section- one of our employment reps sold an ad, so I'm pretty psyched!

So if you live in Houston, pick up La Vibra on Friday, April 28th for the special preview section on the Latino Book and Family Festival, May 6 & 7 at Houston Community College, Main Campus.

Exhausted but Happy

I have to post about the incredible day I had yesterday before I forget any important details I may want to include. It's really late and I really should be in bed but I've been thinking about this all day.

Yesterday I met my mentee, a senior at Reagan High School, at KPFT to observe the Nuestra Palabra radio show. She was so excited to be there that it was infectious. She was in awe that all the DJs, Tony, Angie and Liana, are volunteers. She wanted to know how she could volunteer and was really excited to find out that there's a Summer Youth Program. She got the application information.

I was also really happy to see that Rose Mary Salum, Editor in Chief of Literal Magazine, was there to be interviewed for the show. It was a great coincidence that she was there that very night. She's the author that read with me last month at the Houston Institute for Culture. If you haven't had a chance to check out her magazine go to Subscribe to receive a beautiful upscale magazine or if you're here locally you can pick it up at Brazos Bookstore.

At the end of the show Tony asked me to introduce my mentee and she got to say her name on the radio. That was pretty exciting for her too. If you want to hear Rose Mary Salum's interview and our little intro at the end log on to Go to the Tuesday Nuestra Palabra show. You can listen to the whole thing or you can fast forward the show to any point.

My other great news is that the Edward James Olmos Latino Book and Family Festival is coming to town May 6 & 7 and I'll be volunteering both at the festival with Nuestra Palabra and at our Chronicle booth. Rosy, my mentee, is interested in volunteering at the festival too.

This is the year of the Latina the LBFF! Four great authors will be there and some great local talent, like Gwen Zepeda The four national known authors are Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate), Alisa Valdes Rodriguez (Dirty Girls Social Club), Jackie Guerra (actor, played Selena’s sister in the movie has a book out- Under Construction), and Deborah Santana (as in Santana’s wife). She is also an author. This will be a great festival this year with a lot of energy!! I can’t wait.

Good night and more details later!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday Morning

The weekend has been beautiful in Houston. I'm up early because of my early bird boy. I'm having my coffee and I'm debating whether to write for a little while or to walk. As usual the eternal debate. I think I should walk because the way I see it, if I don't exercise and stay healthy I won't be around to write or enjoy the fruits of my labor anyway.

My early bird Seth is watching Little Bear. He just recently started watching TV and it's amazing to watch him get into the cartoons because what's so amazing is that he can hardly talk yet (22 months old) and yet he is obviously following the story. WiLD! Anyway, he's not watching for too long because he's the one going walking with me. Miranda is still asleep which is good. She didn't take a nap yesterday so she was tired.

Life has been hectic and busy. Work is busy and good sometimes and not good others. I feel really good about it for a while and I enjoy what I'm doing and then I start feeling like I'm spending too much time on my job and not enough on my writing. I feel (know) that time is passing me by. It's amazing how fast time goes and that the kids will be 5 and 2 soon. Miranda starts school in the fall! That is hard to imagine! But it's true.

Right now I want to finish my novel but I also want to submit some short stories to a couple of literary magazines. I feel like getting published more will help me over all when I start sending out my novel to agents.

Bueno, you all have a wonderful Sunday. We have a busy one ahead of us so I will get started with a good walk. I'm back on the WeightWatchers wagon again and I need to stay there.