Sunday, May 31, 2009

Procrastinator Extraordinaire with Girl in a Coma

I'm putting the finishing touches on my Girl in a Coma story for skirt today. The sad thing is that yes, I did the interview on May 2nd when they were here with Joan Jett, and I'm barely now turning in my story.

Awesome concert by the way. They are such a great group. I have never followed a musical group this closely and a local band too. They are a trio of Hispanic women from San Antonio, Texas and that makes them all the more special.

I'm listening to each of their songs from their new CD again, Trio BC, to make sure I'm doing the review justice. The new album releases this Tuesday, June 2. They'll be here at the Best Buy on Richmond & 610 (near the Galleria) on Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m.

If you've never heard this awesome band go to You Tube and listen to them perform one of my favorite songs, Clumsy Sky or check out their myspace page.

I still have to do luandry and it's 8 p.m. I'm afraid it's not going to get done. Well, maybe one load.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Toilet Eye (aka gangrene eye)

If I wake up tomorrow with gangrene of the eye don't ask. One of those things happened to me that only happens to me.

Yeah, it's right up there with the time at work that the toilet seat cover formed a funnel or tunnel and shot my pee back out to my underwear when I sat down to pee. Yeah, that happened to me. I debated whether or not to blog about it and now I'm fessing up. But this time something worse happened.

THIS time I went to the restroom and my face felt extra oily so I took my toilet seat cover and I popped out the center circle and blotted the oil on my face. When I did that I poked myself in the eye with the edge of the tissue. I thought it felt weird but didn't think twice about it and I threw the "tissue" in the toilet.

I then took the toilet seat cover and proceeded to cover the toilet seat, so I could pee. WELL, wasn't I surprised when I realized my eye felt weird for some reason. My contact was stuck to the side of the tissue and inside the toilet. It was actually stuck to the inside of the bowl, on the side, right on the edge of the water. Not quite in the water but still, half on the tissue and half touching the INSIDE of the toilet bowl. I hesitated for one second and considered just leaving it. But then I thought about driving home with one eye and then I also remembered I really needed to go to the gym and I decided to bite the bullet and to pull it out.

Yeah... I pulled my right contact lens out of the TOILET people and then washed it and rubbed it to death, as hard as I could, without ripping it and I PUT IT BACK INSIDE MY EYE!!!

So now you know. I may wake up tomorrow with some insane eye infection and I will not be surprised at all. I just hope my health insurance DOES NOT read my blog because then I'm seriously messed up. They'll never cover my expensive eye surgery for the gangrene because they'll say I knew what I did all along.

I got home and I quickly proceeded to throw away my right contact and to put on my glasses for the evening. I'm playing up the whole sexy librarian thing now, with gangrene of the eye. Good night!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Daddy and His Notes

My daddy in the hospital with a broken hip, but reading his Houston Chronicle religously.

I was gone all day to my one day assembly. I had a missed call from my dad around 6 and I called him back. He told me that he'd been by my house today, but he never called at that time. He waited and called me later of course. He forgot I was going to be gone all day. He said he left me a note at my door.

I get home and the note said this:

Mi hijita Loida:
Aqui estuve y te espere como 2 horas y me fui porque nadie vino.

By by,

P.S. Me fui para la casa. No me pude mover porque llovio mucho.

I read it and I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. It makes me laugh, but it makes me frustrated, because he comes to my house (walking from the bus stop) without calling first and then he waits for TWO hours without calling me. I pay for his cell for a reason.

He's getting older and there's nothing else to it. The man is EIGHTY-FIVE now. Whenever I say or write his age these days I feel like the capitalizing for emphasis. Very few people live to that age I realize. Of course Rey's grandparents are around that old too. And they still stay up all hours of the night and party, and in Vegas too. Yes, they are the exception too.

But my dad is old and he's more of a home-body. He's a lot older than most people. And he's getting older every day and forgetful. I love my daddy.

When I was a kid he always left notes everywhere.

Dry the walls of the shower when you're done. daddy
Shake the handle of the toilet when you finish flushing so it won't stick. daddy
These are fan belts in case yours gets busted. (in a box in the trunk of my car) daddy

And so on. I always knew I could find an entertaining note from my dad somewhere growing up. He is a note writer and he always signs them simply, daddy. Not even a capital "D." That's my daddy.

The day I received that phone call last year that he had been beat by that lunatic my heart stopped. I thought of all the worse things that could happen. When you have a dad that has lived as long as mine you never expect to receive a call that he died in that way. I always think that hopefully it will happen quietly, peacefully, in his sleep, and never in a violent way like that. I couldn't believe that this horrible thing had happened to him.

After I couldn't find him at either hospital my husband suggested that I call his cell phone and maybe the same sheriff who called my sister still had his phone. Imagine my joy when my father answered his own phone and he was able to talk to me. I felt hope that it wasn't as bad as I had imagined it to be. Yes, the lunatic did break his leg, but thank goodness that was the worse of it and thank GOD that my father was strong enough to endure the surgery. He's walking around great now.

So well that he can walk to my house from the corner bus stop and he can wait around for TWO hours. A que daddy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Laughed, I Wanted to Cry

This isn't going to be your traditional book review of Amigoland. You see it can't be. Oscar Casares is my cousin and this book was very personal for me. But as an avid reader and an English minor I can tell you that yes, I would still think that it is a wonderful story even if I wasn't related to the author.

And besides all that, this is my blog so I can get up close and personal about this novel. You see, Oscar's father Everardo was 10 years older than my dad and he just passed away a year and a half ago. My Uncle Hector is 5 years older than my dad and in a nursing home outside of San Diego. He's lost most of his memory now and can't walk around very well at the age of 90. The last time my father really had a good visit and talk with him was 5.5 years ago when my Aunt Celia died in Fresno. My dad drove all the way to California by himself and picked up my uncle in San Diego and they drove together to Fresno. My dad, Nico, is 85 years old and his memory is really starting to go. It's getting harder to have a conversation with him these days because he gets lost. It's really sad.

Keep those facts in mind and think about what it was like for me to read a novel about two older brothers, ages 90 and 70. The older brother has been in a nursing home for a while and he and his brother haven't spoken in a few years, until the younger brother finally decides to go visit after much encouragement from his housekeeper/girlfriend.

The story is bittersweet and written in such a beautiful prose. Oscar's descriptions are vivid and his dialogue is entertaining. I love the dream sequences. In one, my favorite, Don Fidencio dreams that he sees his younger self and that he wants to speak to himself to tell him that he's going to make it and that he'll be okay.

Socorro, the housekeeper/girlfriend is so endearing. You feel for her when you hear the story about her unhappy marriage and how it ended. She is both kind and caring and you wish you can make everything turn out just right for her.

Celestino is a good man, but he doesn't really believe that he deserves the love of such a young woman, so it's hard for him to return her love. He's skeptical about his brother's story about how their grandfather came to Texas but his love for his brother (and some convincing by Socorro) makes him break him out of the nursing home so they can begin their adventure to Mexico.

Fidencio is clearly the main character of the two brothers. He has a very strong personality and he's hilarious in the way that he describes everyone by names he can remember, because he can't remember their actual name. So there's his roommate that's "the one with the hole in his back," another resident of the nursing home, "the one with the ugly finger." And there are the nurses, like the male nurse who he calls, "the one with the big ones." Fidencio is hands down the most entertaining of the brothers and the one I really became attached to. His failings pull at my heart strings, maybe because I see so much of my own father in him.

When I finished reading Amigoland I wrote my cousin and I told him, "It is SO VERY VERY GOOD!! Even better than your short stories, and those were good. You wrote a beautiful novel! Thank you for sharing it with me."

I'm not the only who thinks Amigoland is great! Publisher's Weekly has already given Amigoland a good review and it has been listed on USA Today's Summer Reading List.
If you read Oscar's collection of short stories, Brownsville, brace yourself for an even better read.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And Then I Had To File Bankruptcy

No, not really. But that's how I feel right now. I have had one of the worse weeks I've ever had in a very long time. Career-wise, money-wise, car-wise, etc... My transmission blew out and I had to pay a huge amount of money to get it fixed. Now when I am super tight on money.

I had a very unproductive conversation with someone at work that didn't make me happy. Well, I can't say it was totally unproductive, because it told me a lot about where things stand and where I stand.

I seriously feel like I am at a crossroads in my life and that I need to re-visit my goals in life. Yes, I am one of those people that always writes her goals down.

I always find those studies interesting. The ones on people who wrote down their goals early in life and how successful they are or aren't today. I think success really depends on the person's own definition of success, not the definition of someone else.

I know that early in life I measured my success with my career. Today I wouldn't say I measure it the same way. I remember wanting to have a successful career and there was never any question in my mind that I wouldn't work.

Having children changed all of that. Now I wish I could be a stay at home mom and a writer. If I had chosen that route I would be able to write during the day while they are in school. Summers I would be busy with activities surrounding them. Shoulda, coulda, woulda... Of course I still could, but it would mean a complete lifestyle change.

And that's the hilarious thing. I am having to go without as much money as I used to make because of the economy and other changes at work. If I can survive in this new economy with less money then I can also survive in a different career. Maybe it is time to start thinking about a change.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Clean House, Sad, Glad and Crazy

I am definitely not an overachiever when it comes to a clean house. In fact, some of my OCD friends could probably come to my house right now and they would NOT think that my house is very clean. But it's clean enough for me! And that's all that matters. I just finished mopping my floor and doing the rest of the dishes. That says it all. All I need to do now is fold clothes and I can do that while watching DVR'd Oprah shows. I'm happy.

Things that make you sad: Last Wednesday I stopped by my sister's house to pick up my kids who were visiting her for a little while and I saw my cousin Danny from Mexico. He's a Resident so he comes and goes for work and stays with my sister.

Danny's mom is my sister's half sister who she didn't meet until after the they were adults because my Tia Cuca placed a personal ad in a Mexican magazine. My mom used to go to an old Mexican theater called The Ritz Theater on Preston Street downtown (later the Majestic Theatre) and she used to stop in at a little store next door to the theater, to buy Mexican magazines. One day she was reading a magazine when she saw a personal ad from a woman looking for her family in the U.S. and she responded. That was way before I was born. My mom visited Cuca almost every year after that to make up for lost time. The last trip I made to Mexico was in November of 1999 with my mom so she could visit Cuca. She wanted to go home one last time before she died and she wanted to see her sister.

My Tia Cuca has been really sick lately and she was in the hospital. She was in a drug induced coma and she had not come out. I asked Danny about her because I heard through my sisters that she was doing better, even though the doctors thought at one point that she was going to die. He told me that she was a lot better and was even ready to go home. This was on Wednesday.

On Thursday one of my sisters called me and told me that she had died. It seems that she had a stroke. My heart goes out to her family, my cousins and my uncle.

At the same time that my sister was telling me about Tia Cuca, my other sister sent me an e-mail telling me that our second cousin was very sick, on life support, and that she was being disconnected that very night. Even though I'm not close to that cousin, and she's virtually a stranger to me, it was still sad. She was just a little older than my eldest sister who passed away fourteen years ago. They were from the same Baby Boomer generation who loved the Beatles.

After hanging up the phone with my sister a second time (I had to call her back to tell her about the cousin) I just felt grateful for what I have, regardless of all the bad stuff that happens.

And THEN! My transmission blew... Yes, just broke down. (of course this does not compare to death but I'm just telling ya all the stuff that has been happening lately) It's going to cost us at least $a lot$ to fix. Yes, wonderful! It's already in the shop as of today and about to get worked on. I just can't believe this happened.

Then, as if on cue, my Blackberry starts acting up like crazy today. The back button doesn't work. It keeps typing the letter "H" when I hit the back button. When I start typing an e-mail or a text message it keeps wanting to send the message. The SEND icon just pops up and if I don't stop it it sends it automatically. It's possessed!!

Things that make you laugh: Around a week ago my sister called me to ask if I could give her a ride to the Saturn dealer to pick up her car. It got flooded when we had a lot of rain and it had to have a lot of work done on it. So I told her sure, I'd pick her up after I picked up the kids, who to go to school close to her house. My daughter fell asleep promptly and my son was awake (because he has a nap at school) when we picked up my sister and dropped her off at the Saturn dealership.

While we were there dropping her off my son asked me where her car was and I pointed it out. He asked me a couple of times and I thought it was funny that he didn't recognize her 2007 Saturn Ion. I had to point it out specifically and even told him which car it was next to. I thought he didn't recognize it because there was another 2007 Saturn Ion the same color a couple of cars down. I explained that his aunt was picking up her car because the dealer was fixing it for her.

As we drove away he was very pensive and then he asked me very seriously, "Mommy, so they changed her red racer car into that car?"

It took me a couple of seconds to get what he was asking me but when I did get it I laughed so hard! I realized then that he was thinking of her 1991 Sundance car. For some reason that's the only car he remembers her driving, so he didn't recognize the Saturn. When I told him that they were fixing her car he thought they had given her a car a complete make-over, ala "pimp my ride." I laughed so hard and I explained to him that the Saturn was HER car and that the Sundance was another car that my nephew drives. Kids are so hilarious!

So clean house, at least clean enough for me, and I'm going to watch some Oprah in a little while. My DVR started to work all of a sudden out of the blue. It had stopped recording shows that I set up with the timer and then all of a sudden it decided to start working again the last week of April so I have a bunch of shows to watch now while I fold clothes.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Too Many Writing Projects and Not Enough Time

It is May. Where did the school year go? Last Friday I took my son to tour his new school. Monday I have to go back to the school during my “lunch hour” to look at my daughter’s GT Expo (Gifted & Talented) and to register my son. Friday my daughter has Field Day but I can’t go to that because I’m already taking the following Tuesday off to chaperone her field trip to Space Center Houston.

The days are flying by and school ends the last week of May. Amazing! Which reminds me! I have to get them registered in a summer program.

And in between all of these activities I need to work full time, take care of a house and a family, take care of our spiritual needs, and I need to WRITE! To write, to have glorious uninterrupted hours of writing time. I can only dream of such a thing. But I have to do it. I have to make the time somewhere in between all the other things.

So here are my projects that I need to finish. I’m going to put them out there for the whole world to see. How is that for pressure? How is that for making me feel compelled to do them?

Writing Projects
1. Literary Mama Submission
2. June skirt! Houston Feature on Girl in a Coma
3. Essay about the tortilla route and mom and the dance hall. Maybe for Family Matters on Glimmertrain
4. Finish writing song with Rey
5. Edit my novel. Talk to my friend about editing it.
6. Start working on novel #2. I have an outline.

Realistically I’m not doing all these at the same time. I’m adding deadlines to them. For example, the Literary Mama essay submission is due on the 15th this coming week. The June skirt! Feature is due before the end of the month to give Dusty time to edit it. The story about the tortilla route is due in July, I think, and so on….

So you get the picture. Here I am writing furiously and then I have to get back to cleaning house because I’m taking the kids to a movie matinee. I haven’t taken them to a movie in ages! That is, if they finish cleaning their room. Hey! I have to get some help cleaning somehow. So what if I resort to bribery sometimes? That way when we get back home I can steal away another hour or two of writing time. It’s a plan! For a slightly different version of this blog entry go on over to skirt! I wrote a different ending there.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Maria Trujillo on skirt! Houston

Make sure to visit me at to read the feature on Maria Trujillo, a pretty amazing and passionate woman. She is the Executive Director of the Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition, a 501(c) non-profit organization that raises public awareness about human trafficking and assists in the rescue of victims.