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 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 CafĂ© 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 today.

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!§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


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.

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 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!