Thursday, December 25, 2014

Another Year Passes Us By

As we get closer to the end of December I think about how this month is always my wake-up call month. It's the end of a year and a reminder that I have a birthday coming up. The thing about this birthday is that I'm turning 45.... FORTY-FIVE.... as in 4 decades and a half. As in 5 years to 50. When did this happen?


Me at 34 in 2004

Me at 44 in 2014

What a difference 10 years makes on a face and hair! I love when kind friends have commented that I can use the 1st picture of me at 34 as a profile picture on Facebook. I laugh because I know they're just being nice. Sure, you can still tell it's me and it looks like me in general but the age difference is obvious when you look at it side by side with this more recent picture of me.

December is always a stark reminder that I'll be having another birthday because it's so close to the beginning of the year- February 11- and also because one of my best friends is only two months older than me. So when she has a birthday, especially a significant one like this one, I know that mine is next.

So New Year's will be a time to review 2014 but also my 44th year of life. I'm at such a different place in my life now from where I was just a few years ago. I'm re-thinking so many things, like my spirituality and what I really want to do with the rest of my life. Reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz really got me thinking about life and the choices I make.

I'm also more aware than ever of my mortality. My friends hated to hear me say that I was half way done with my life when I turned 35 but now at 45 they can't deny that all of us are. Very few people live until 90 like my father and I do not have his genes. My sister has those genes and she's built a lot like him. I have my mother's body frame and more than likely won't live very long past 70. Her mom died in her 50s. My mom died in her 60s and I will be doing good if I can hold it together into my 70s.

What does all this mean? That now more than ever life is actually too short. And I have to ask myself what I am doing with these last precious moments... "Live like you are leaving," as my friend Anh Nguyen's friend said. So true!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Houston Never Ceases to Amaze Me

I have driven up and down 45 hundreds of times, maybe thousands of times. I always see the very large building as I cross over I-10. I was told many years ago that it was some kind of hospital, maybe even a mental hospital. For some very odd reason I never went by to look at it until today and I found a rare hidden jewel at 2015 Thomas St. This is a must-see for anyone who loves old architecture. The building was built as a hospital for the Southern Pacific railway in 1910!!


According to the very little research I've done, and the tiny bit of information about it on the web, it seems that the Southern Pacific was called the Galveston Harrisburg and San Antonio RY Co. at the time. Unfortunately the only information I could really find is that it's thought to be haunted.

The building now belongs to the Harris Health System. It's called the Thomas Street Health Center and according to Wikipedia it "was the first freestanding HIV/AIDS clinic in the United States, and today treats nearly a third of all HIV/AIDS patients in Harris County."

Here is a view of the doorway.


Behind the building there is this really interesting boarded up building. It would be amazing if they could renovate it to use it. It kind of reminds me of shape of the Alamo building with that little curved front center.


I love it when I find new buildings like this. It just reminds me that I haven't seen all of Houston and that there's so much more to see in this amazing city of ours.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Vanguard and Magnet School Applications Round 3

Vanguard/Magnet application time Round 3 for me. On April 11, 2006 I wrote about Miranda being accepted into the Vanguard program at Oak Forest in Kindergarten. Then on April 1, 2012 I blogged about middle school. Now here we are almost three years later and we're applying to four different high schools.


Miranda's medal, 3rd Place UIL with Lanier Theatre Group

This past October I wrote about Seth and what an amazing year we're having in the 5th grade. We had a good 3rd grade but then in 4th grade his school went through a terrible ordeal Seth had a really tough year. He lost half of his teachers and he had a whole new administration. This year he had new teachers but it has been a completely different experience. He just made a 360 and I couldn't be happier.

His teachers, especially his science teacher have recommended that he apply for Vanguard. I'm not limiting him to just Vanguard. We're also applying to Magnet programs like STEM, a science/Montessori school and foreign languages. Miranda is applying at DeBakey for health professions, Carnegie Vanguard, Lamar and Bellaire IB. If she goes to Bellaire she wants to pursue her love of languages like German and Japanese and she can learn Russian.

It's amazing that I'm doing this for the third and final time with Miranda. This is it. Next we'll be applying for colleges. Wow! Just wow!

After this I will be a pro in the whole application process. I hope that parents come across my blog when they Google Vanguard in HISD or Magnet Schools and that I can offer up some advice or direction. I should write a blog on best tips and I can get input from other Vanguard/Magnet experienced parents. There's an idea for a future blog post.

For now, I need to finish Seth's applications. I still have one more document to upload. HISD has really impressed me with the online application process. It has made everything so much easier, especially when applying to multiple schools. New parents will never know the joy of paper applications and making copies of all the paperwork that us pioneers experienced.

Miranda's applications are done but she needs to take an admissions test for Debakey. Now we wait on decisions until Spring Break or shortly after.

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Life and My Proposal to Myself

My life is insane. It's crazy busy and I'm always going 100 miles an hour, especially during the week. That's why on the weekends that I don't have the kids I just want to sleep late and not do anything. Of course it doesn't always work out that way because inevitably things come up even on my kid-free weekends.

My kids and my dad keep me really busy. My daughter with her drama rehearsals and lacrosse. My dad with my repetitive trips to and from the little restaurant where he likes to hang out and everything else in between that I do. Even my son is going to get busy now with the school newspaper. And I like to do things for myself too.

I like to go to book readings and art shows when I can. Sometimes I drag the kids along with me. Then there's my career of course, especially now with the long commute that I have to and from Tomball. I'm home in the dark with no time to exercise like I should. I need to make accommodations for this new schedule so that I can exercise and take care of myself. I also need time for my writing, my blogging and my video project with my dad #dichoaday.

Mama with her Kids

I can't even imagine adding another person to the mix at this point in my life and having to worry about his needs. As harsh as it may sound, I'm so glad I don't have that added stress in my life and I don't know if I'll be ready for that any time soon. I'm so busy I don't have time to feel lonely or bored. I don't even know the meaning of the word bored. If anything I wish I had more time.

It's been three years since my divorce and it doesn't even feel like it's been that long. The time has gone by so fast and there's still so much I want to do. I want to be married to myself now. I want to do what makes me happy, despite all that I have to do taking care of everyone else.

That's why Gwendolyn Zepeda's poem "Proposal" resonates with me. I think that's what I'll do. I'm going to propose marriage to myself and I'm going to propose that I live the life I've always wanted doing the things that matter to me. Maybe I'll even buy myself a wedding dress and get myself a cake.

I love the last stanza of this poem. "I've finally captured the girl I deserve." I am ready to be my own bride.

Proposal

I'm ready to be my own bride
and lie in my wedding dress in my own bed.
I'll lock the rest of the world outside.

It won't be you at my side.
It won't be Jesus, it won't be the sea.
I'm ready to be my own bride.

Once married, there's no need to hide
myself from my spouse, there's no need for shame.
I'll lock the rest of the world outside.

I gave myself a merry ride
but the chase is finally over.
I'm ready to be my own bride.
I used to feel lonely inside
but I figured out the cure for that.
I'll lock the rest of the world outside.

The day has come and I swell with pride.
I've finally captured the girl I deserve.
I'm ready to be my own bride.
I'll lock the rest of the world outside.

By Gwendolyn Zepeda from her book of poetry, "Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners."
Reprinted with the author's permission.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Forgetful Father

My father is forgetting. It started a couple of years ago, gradually, but now it happens more times than I like.  


One day a couple of years ago we were at a funeral service for my great uncle. We saw a woman we knew and her son and daughter in law. We said hello to her and when we got in the car to drive to the repass my sister and I started talking about the woman and her family. My father told us he didn’t know that woman. We were surprised. We didn’t think it could be possible that my dad could forget this woman and her late husband.

“Daddy, don’t you remember Jesse’s sister married Ester’s brother?” we asked.

“No,” he answered.

“But Daddy surely you remember David and Gilbert,” we insisted.

“Kind of,” he answered.

“Do you remember David and Sandra?”
For some reason he did remember them, probably because Sandra was a good friend of our older sister for many years and he had seen them as recently as the baby showers for my kids 8 and 11 years earlier.

However no matter how many different ways we asked him if he remembered David’s parents he did not. He even became irritated by our questions until my sister signaled to me that we should stop asking.
The same thing continued to happen and I started noticing a pattern. My father was forgetting people he didn’t really like in the first place.  My sister and I marveled at this. How cool is that? To get old and forget people you never even liked. It takes out all the stress of not liking people now if you’re not even going to remember them later. Everyone I’ve told about it also think that it’s the best thing to look forward to in our old age.

Unfortunately there’s also a bad side to forgetting. He also forgets to take his medicine sometimes. It’s gotten to the point that I can’t leave him the pill box with the entire week’s worth of pills because he will take the wrong day, or take the night ones in the morning or he’ll take them twice. So now I only leave him the medicine he needs to take. If I’m home I can give him the medicine and watch him take it. If there isn’t any more medicine on the kitchen table he doesn’t take anything twice.
Sometimes he forgets that he has a key to the dead bolt and sits outside until I get home. He’ll insist that he came up to the door and the door was locked and he couldn’t open it. Or I get home and his key is in the door. Other times I’m at home and he comes home from his restaurant and sits outside because he’ll say that no one was home to open the door, even though he has a key, even if he didn’t knock on the door or ring the doorbell or even if my car is obviously parked in the driveway.

Those are the scary times. The times when I worry. When I worry that one day something will happen to him because he forgot to do something. Especially now that I’m working full time. I know that it’s time to either hire a care-giver to come to the house or he needs to go to an adult day care facility but he’s still independent-thinking enough to not agree with that arrangement. He doesn’t want someone else caring for him and he sees an adult day care as one step away from a nursing home. So I struggle. I struggle with making him happy and keeping him safe.
Then we have days and weeks where everything works out fine. There are no mistakes with his medication. He comes and goes freely without any problems or confusion with the door. And I fall into a comfort thinking everything is okay.

It used to be that he was forgetting everything recent but could still remember stories from long ago. Now it’s getting to where he’ll tell me a story he’s told me before but he changes something in the story. He told me a story about a man who lost both arms in an accident with a train and he said that years later his brother saw the man and that he also lost both legs. I ask how and he says he has no idea and that he never asked his brother. But I know that he did and I know that he told me this story a long time ago but now I can’t remember how the man lost his legs either.
I asked him one day if he found it sad that he couldn’t remember people and he says no because he doesn’t know that he doesn’t remember them. He just thinks he doesn’t know them. I ask him, “But what if I tell you that for sure you knew that person. Does it make you sad then that you don’t remember.”

“No,” he answers, “Because I don’t really believe you.”
I find that comforting somehow. To think that at least it doesn’t bother him and it doesn’t make him sad. I find it comforting to think that maybe that’s what happens when we get old. We just forget and we aren’t sad because we don’t think there’s anything to be sad about.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

It Gets Crisp in the Fall

Fall has begun in Houston and I couldn't be happier. Fall, Winter and Spring are my three favorite seasons in Houston because they all kind of merge together to make one big season that isn't Summer.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.


 I totally agree. That's how I feel about Fall. It's a new beginning, with school and football season starting and all.  This fall there's a marked change in the air. One is my new job and my new beginning. I'm starting a brand new chapter in my life working for Houston Community Newspapers and the other is the change that has occurred with my son Seth this year.

So far this school year Seth has gone through such a change. It all started a few weeks before school started when he completed 4 weeks of math tutoring at Sylvan. I noticed a marked change in his concentration and on how seriously he took his studies. He was very concerned about completing a math summer school class before going back to 5th grade. I'm so glad I made the investment in Sylvan. I don't know if it was what they taught him or just an all over change in his attitude or both but he started 5th grade with a completely different attitude.

You all probably remember all my posts about the challenges that I have been through with Seth. Last school year things took a turn for the worse and it was so bad I didn't even blog about it. Seth's school was one of the schools being investigated for cheating on the STAAR test. He lost 2 of his 3 teachers last year and had a tumultuous year. He also found out at the end of the school year that he was losing his new principal who had just completed her first year there.

This year he started 5th grade with a new principal and 3 new teachers. When I attended his Open House I could see right away that these teachers got him and his sense of humor. I think that they genuinely like him and enjoy teaching him and Seth feels that. So it's a wonderful and rare combination of Seth going to school with a better attitude and having great teachers. I feel like I've won the teacher lotto this year.

He brought home the science homework above and I was all "What?" Then he brought home his progress report and I almost fell out. He had all 90s/As and a 100 in Language Arts. I felt so much joy and he was so proud of himself. I loved how happy he was. It made me happier.

So far so good! It's been a good Fall. I started my new job 2 weeks ago and it's been a good start. I can't wait to really start selling and making a bonus. That's when I will feel like I'm really doing a good job and truly working.  On to a better Fall and starting over and finding Seth a great middle school.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back in the Saddle Again

This has been a busy month for me so far. I've gotten back in the saddle again in two different ways.

Nine months ago I purchased what I think is one of the most beautiful bikes. I was so excited to ride it and when I did I rode it with enthusiasm and a little bit of fear. I hadn't been on a bike in twenty years, except for that one time when I was at a conference at a ranch with a bunch of hospital HR people and I almost killed myself on a bike that was too tall for me.

 
I did okay at first but pretty soon my fear got the best of me and I had a bad fall that I could have avoided. I landed on my right foot and I had to have my foot x-rayed. I thought I had broken my big toe, but thank goodness I didn't. I ended up going to therapy for a few weeks. It took a lot longer to heal than I thought it would and that, coupled with fear, kept me off of the bike for quite a few months.
 
Last month I decided to bite the bullet and get in the saddle again. I started off with a short ride to get my bearings again but then I stopped. On September 2 I made it a point to ride as many days as I can leading up to September 20 when there will be a Tour de Northside bike ride. I've been training ever since and I can say that I could easily do 6 miles at this point. I would like to do the 10 mile ride but my daughter has lacrosse later that day so I may have to do the 4 mile ride with her.
 
I'm also getting back in the saddle again by going back to work. I'm going back to the newspaper business. It's what I know. It's what I do best. And as my father said in his last Dicho a Day, "Stick to the path you know." So there you go. I am.
 
I've accepted a position with Houston Community News handling major accounts. I'm pretty excited about what that will entail and calling on the accounts that they've outlined for me.
 
This is my last week of being self-employed and I have to tie up a bunch of loose ends with my client. I can't sell for her any more starting on the 22nd so I have to make sure that all her records are updated and people are in her Salesforce. It will be a busy last week and then on the 22nd I'll have to report to work.
 
I'm excited to get back to working for a corporation. I've pulled out my Lean In book that I bought and never read. I think I should read it now that I'm going back into the corporate world. I need to be reminded of what it's like to work in a corporation and to get assimilated again into the politics of being a woman. That's always intriguing.
 
Last week! I better make it count. More than anything I need to get things done that I won't be able to do when I'm working. Let the count down begin!
 
 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Labor Day Musings & I Survived the First Week of School

I think the first week of school is hardest on the parents. Especially if you work from home and you're used to rolling out of bed and starting work in your pajamas if you want to. When school starts you are definitely up earlier, you are required to get dressed, (well not required, but if you drive them to school in your pajamas you will inevitably have to get out of your car for something), and you get to start your day early.

First Day of School 2014

I found that I was exhausted at the end of every day. To add on top of that I had three interviews back to back. Then to add on top of that I received news that a cousin who only comes to visit every 10 years was going to stop through town overnight and I needed to clean up at least a little.

It was definitely a tough first week but we survived and made it through that first week just in time for our first holiday and long weekend.

Saturday I had a wild night, which is very rare for someone of my age. It started with some fantastic sushi at Azuma for dinner and then we ended up at Red Ox Bar & Grill for an event. We had a really great time, too many margaritas to count, shots and a guy even demonstrated a lap dance for us. Not on me but on a couple of friends and it was all very entertaining.

With all that said, I did not want to do any of the regular Labor Day festivities of barbecues or the beach. I just want to rest, do laundry, do the grocery shopping for the week, all at a leisurely pace. I relaxed most of yesterday and watched a movie with the kids and their dad in the evening. We watched "Blended". Very sweet movie! I'm not that crazy about Adam Sandler but I love him with Drew Barrymore. After the kids cleared out I watched "Masters of Sex." Love that show!

Today I'm washing uniforms and I'm about to go grocery shopping. I'm saving all my energy for the second week of school and to start my bike training.  I'm going to do the Tour de Northside bike ride on September 20 and I want to start riding my bike every day up until then. The tour has either a 6 mile or 9 mile option, but I haven't even done 3 miles since my bike accident months ago. I've already downloaded the "Map my Ride" app on my phone to get ready.  Let the training begin!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Day of School Tomorrow, A New Year, Another Milestone for Kids

Tomorrow is the first day of school. Both my kids are crossing milestones. My daughter will be in 8th grade, the last year of middle school and my son will be in 5th grade, the last year of elementary school. This fall we will be visiting high schools and middle schools!


It seems like just yesterday they were this young. Here is a photo of them on the first day of 4th grade and 1st grade. Unbelievable that they are as old as they are now! They were 6 ad 9 in this picture and they are 10 and 13 now.

I was having a conversation with my dad today about how time flies and I said, "You, if anyone, should know that at 90." He said, "By the time I knew it I was an old man and I didn't even feel it. Time doesn't wait for you." What an important lesson to us all to get things done now!

By the way, Daddy is back on a roll with his Dicho a Day on my YouTube channel. He shares his nuggets of wisdom in Spanish and I provide a translation/explanation.


So tomorrow is the start of a new school year, a good time to revise resolutions I made in January and to see where I am at so far this year. It's also an opportunity to set new goals for the school year  New things are on the horizon and I'm excited to get started.

Have a great first day tomorrow everyone, parents with kids returning to school and teachers. To quote one of my favorite movies, "You've Got Mail." "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

End of Summer, Looking for a Job or More Clients and Life's Adventures

I was looking back at some old posts on FB and I was talking about looking for a full time job or new clients in March! March people! It is now August. Where did the time go?


The summer is almost over. The kids are going back to school in 23 days. I am counting down the days because that is also my target day to either have a full time job or another awesome client to add to the client I have now. I work 15 hours a week for her and I want to add another client at 15-20 hours.

It has been a really great year and an extra summer when I think about it. We went to DC, Philly and NY last year. In May we took a quick trip to LA/San Diego and Disneyland.

But the best part was Friday night when I was sitting on the sofa watching "Brave" with my kids. My daughter snuggled up to me and asked if other daughters were as close to their mothers as she is to me. Priceless. That moment alone makes the entire year and 3 months I've been home so worth it hands down.

I didn't set out to take this much time off and I didn't think about what age the kids would be when I started this adventure but as the year went on I realized what a crucial age she was at. She turned into a teenager this year and she completed the most dangerous grade that either makes or breaks a teenager- 7th grade. That is such an important year in the development of a teenager and I was here for hers.


In other news, the fabulous Marisa Treviño, publisher of the online journal Latina Lista contacted me to see if she could feature one of my dad's "Dicho a Day" once a week. I told her that of course she could. I was so touched and surprised when I saw that she actually wrote a story about us as an intro to featuring his dichos.


I changed my Facebook cover photo to a fortune from a cookie that I got at the beginning of the summer. It reads, "Do what you love and the necessary resources will follow." I want to believe that so bad. I want to believe that writing, blogging, doing these videos with my dad and his dichos, and consulting with companies to help them succeed will pay the house note, put food on the table and pay for sports and clothes. I want to believe that.

I have a quote by Crafty Chica, Kathy Cano-Murillo on my lap top where she says that "the only sure way to make your dream come true is to make it a goal, research, take risks, take action etc..." and she reminds us that "the way to NOT make your dreams come true is to wait for it to one day fall in your lap." So true!  So the question I ask myself is, "WHAT am I doing to make my dreams come true?" Because so far I feel like I've wasted a lot of time on things that don't work. I realize that she also says that we have to "accept that rejection/change/adapting is part of the journey" and that we must "be open for alternative paths" but I can't help but feel like I've wasted so much precious time this year on following the wrong path.

Now I'm out of time and I have to go back to work full time.... That doesn't mean of course that I won't continue to follow my dreams. I will still keep writing and blogging. It just means that I wasn't able to make it happen in this one year that I was off. It's just something that is still meant for the future and I'm okay with that. I have to be.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Dicho a Day





My dad and I have started a little project together called a "Dicho a Day." Years ago my dad wrote down every "dicho" or saying in Spanish that he could remember. Many of them he learned from his father, Nicolas Casares. I've been recording him saying a dicho and then posting them on my YouTube channel. Check them out if you get a chance. You can also subscribe to the channel.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Caring for an Elderly Dad is like Having a Teenager

I keep saying that I will be changing this blog over to strictly a shoe and fashion blog soon and I really want to... At the same time I wonder where I will tell all of my stories. I love this blog because over the last ten years it's given me a place to record all of my life's adventures. I've thought about printing my blog using the Blog2Print program so that I can have a record of it all just in case something were to happen to it. I need to do that...

Daddy, in his early 20s, around 1945

But back to where I will blog my stories.... I don't know. I have another blog that I used to blog at that I retired. I could bring that one back and use that one for strictly stories. Like the stories about my dad and caring for him.

I know I just blogged about sharing a house with him recently. Really there is so much I could say about this man and I could probably blog about him daily.  I love him and he drives me crazy all at the same time. We recently started a project together. I've been recording him saying a Dicho or a saying in Spanish every few days and then I post it on my YouTube channel. We started off pretty consistently then we slacked off. I think we're going to get back on a schedule now. He gets a kick out of doing that.

I am not going to lie. Since my dad moved in with me a year ago my life has completely changed. Having an elderly man like my dad live with me is like having a teenager and a third kid. It reminds me of the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" except that my dad is aging in the right order but mentally he's returning to his youth. I say this because he's an adult man who has led a full life full of a lot of experiences, yet now that he's getting older he's forgetting the most simple things and getting confused easily.

For example, I have had the same cell phone number since 1998. He knows my number by heart and has always called me, even when he didn't live here. But a few weeks ago he completely forgot my phone number. He was supposed to call me to pick him up and he never did because he forgot the number. Yes, I got worried. I wrote my phone number on a small piece of paper and I taped it to the inside of his phone when he got home.

When my dad first moved in with me I felt comfortable giving him a lot of his freedom and I still do.  He'll walk the length of my street to the busy boulevard that runs through our neighborhood and he'll take the bus down to his favorite restaurant on his own. He comes home on his own too and lets himself into the house if I'm not home. If I'm home and I'm not working, or if I can take a break, I take him to his restaurant, but many times he prefers to go on his own and I respect his need for freedom.

Here lately I've been having to keep up with him a lot more and that's where it reminds me of having a teenager. He's old enough and knows enough to take the bus, but now I feel like I need to follow up more. If it's getting dark I call him and ask him where he's at so I can go pick him up. It is an added responsibility to the two young kids I already have.

Two days ago I got home from dinner with a friend fairly early. He was fiddling around the kitchen and I asked him if he had been home long. He replied that he'd been home but he was outside for a while. I asked why and he said it was because he couldn't get the door open. I asked him why and he said he didn't know why but he had eventually unlocked it. There is nothing wrong with our lock. He was just confused because he has a key to the dead bolt and he forgets if the key is for the dead bolt or for the door knob. I learned this recently and apparently even after all the explaining and reminding he still gets confused by the keys and the locks. This worries me...

Then he really freaked me out. He said that he had a scare. I was doing something at the kitchen counter and I turned to him, "What kind of scare??!" I asked.

He went on to tell me how when he got home and couldn't unlock the dead bolt he had decided to go sit on the sidewalk that runs next to my house (I'm on a corner lot.) and while he was sitting there a scrappy looking guy with a black eye came over to him and started talking to him. He asked him for money and my dad gave him a little bit of change that he had in his pocket. Then the guy started asking him if he could give him a glass of water. My dad told him no and the guy proceeded to ask him a couple of more times.

Thank goodness my dad is still alert enough to know that the guy was just trying to gain access into the house. I asked him if he realized that if the guy had gotten into the house with him God only knows what he was capable of doing. He could have beat him and robbed us or worse yet, killed him.

The experience was very scary! I asked him to please refrain from sitting out on the sidewalk next to the street. I have a very big yard, with lawn chairs in an enclosed back yard that is hidden from the street by the garage. There was no reason whatsoever for him to sit on the edge of the street so some bum could come by to harass him.

This also made me realize that I can't let him come home alone any more. I have to either go pick him up or I need to get home when he gets home to make sure he's inside and safe even if that means driving home and then going out again. It is extra work and it takes away even more of my freedom but if I don't do it I take the chance of him sitting out on the sidewalk or something worse.

So yes, it's more work and yes I worry. I especially worry when he forgets simple things because I know that it's leading up to more important things. This morning I woke up after him and found the water running in the bathroom sink for who knows how long while he sat in the kitchen taking a nap. It's not the first time that happens. I've come home and the water has been running.

Later this morning I smelled a real strong smell of bleach and I wasn't sure why. He told me he had just sprayed Shout on the collar of his shirt. I asked him where did he get the Shout bottle and he pointed at the bathroom. He had taken the  Clorox bathroom cleaner and he sprayed his shirt with that, instead of Shout. Even though we had both agreed that we would keep the bottle of Shout behind the hamper so he could spray his shirts with it like he had requested. But he had forgotten already and he grabbed the Clorox spray without even reading the bottle. Just like a kid would do.

He's 90 and I remember that every day. I remember that and I'm grateful that at 90 he can at least do all that he does. I don't have to bathe him. He can walk to the bus stop. He is still stronger than me and can help me change a tire. He can open a jar for me. How many 90 year olds can do that? Not many. I remember this as I read today that the actor James Garner died at 86. He was 4 years younger than my dad. I also remind my dad of this and that God has blessed him with this many years. It isn't something to take for granted either.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Life With My Elderly Father- One Year Later

One year ago on May 3rd  I quit my job of sixteen years, tried to start my own company and my dad came to live with me June 26th. He had been living with my older sister but he was tired of living so far away and I live closer to the places he's familiar with.



Initially I didn't know where I was going to put him. Although I have a 4 bedroom house, one upstairs room is never used. My daughter sleeps in the other upstairs room and eventually I know that I have to clear out that other room to fix it up for my son.

We have two bedrooms downstairs, one was my son's and the other was mine. I chose the easiest route and put my dad in my bedroom and I moved into Seth's room to share with him, thinking that I would eventually switch rooms with him and go back to my own room.

Here we are a year later and I am yet to make the room switch. Some people would say, "But you work from home, how could you not have enough time?" Good question. I don't know how. One of my excuses has often been that by the time that I'm done cleaning all the main rooms and have time  time to get to the bedrooms I have start all over again because the other rooms get dirty again.

We know that that's just a procrastinator's excuse. Here recently I have been incentivizing the kids to keep the main living quarters clean and it's actually been working fairly well for the past two weeks. That is a record for us! No more excuses that I have to start over cleaning these rooms if we can keep them fairly clean every day.

SO this weekend the kids are at their dad's house and I told myself I was going to work on the two downstairs bedrooms to start the switch. The whole day went by and I got one thing on my list accomplished. ONE. Cleaning some things in the kitchen. Well, at least it was one, and really three because I did three things in the kitchen, but it wasn't in any way close to the bedrooms.

Tomorrow I will try again. Even if I just get one thing done, like clearing out the closet in Seth's room for my dad's things. He now shares with me in my room because I have a closet and an armoire but even then we don't have enough room, thus the reason I have 2 closets for me to begin with.

If keeping the main part of the house this clean feels this good I have to imagine how great it is going to feel to finally get my dad in Seth's room and to get my own bedroom back. I've felt like I'm staying over at someone else's house for over a year because I'm sleeping in another room, in another bed.  All my clothes, shoes, and dresser things are in my room.

I have to get back into my room so I can feel balanced. My life has been out of balance for so long. It's time.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

World Cup Fever! Go USA!

The last World Cup USA vs Ghana game was during the week so we didn't get to enjoy it like we should have. I was working that day so I only caught the tail end of the game. The best part though was that I started watching it right when USA scored the second winning goal. Even my 90 year old dad sat down to watch this game and was impressed with that awesome play.


The next game, USA vs Portugal is tomorrow and this time we're ready! We are getting the house ready for a World Cup watching party! Since World Cup only comes around every 4 years the kids were younger last time and they didn't really get into the excitement or keep up with the games like they are this year. At thirteen and ten they definitely have team spirit!

What are you doing for World Cup? Share your family traditions or what you are doing to make this World Cup experience special.

Orgullosa is celebrating World Cup with a #MyHouseIsMyStadium sweepstakes on their Facebook page, and we know you are definitely going to want to enter! Some lucky fútbol fans will win a TV, XBOX1, sound system and lots of P & G products!

Go to the Orgullosa page now and enter to win!
 
(Sponsored Post)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

20 Days Into Changing My Eating & 20 Questions to Ask

Fifteen days ago I was only five days into what I was calling a "detox" at the time. Twenty days into this I'm calling it a change of lifestyle. Twelve pounds less and I'm a believer. I'm not going to say it's easy but at the same time all I've really cut out of my life is refined sugar, junk food, packaged foods, dairy, and I'm trying to eat organic. I've also gone back to drinking Arbonne protein shakes for breakfast but I've now added extra fiber and a digestion booster this time. Not to sound like a commercial for Arbonne but this is what I was drinking last time I had a big weight loss.


I'm not going to lie. I have cheated a couple of times. My nephew's graduation from law school was last weekend and I had cake. I came home from my trip and having been off of Advil for my back for a couple of days I had a much needed margarita. When I lost 10 pounds I had another margarita. I know that's bad cheating but I was so happy I had to celebrate.

Now here I am 12 pounds down and it's hard to believe. Especially since my back has been out and I haven't exercised. Now I'm sick with this wicked cough and congestion. I keep promising myself that as soon as I am better I will not take my usual good health for granted and I am getting back up on my bike. That combined with my change in eating should make an even bigger difference. Updates to come as soon as I'm better.

I blogged last time about an article that I read in O Magazine that was really great and thought-provoking. It's in the April issue, "20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself." Some of these questions really made me think and self-examine. I used them to reflect on me and my life and they are questions I should re-visit again and again because life brings changes. Definitely an article to keep.

I won't list all of the questions, just my top 11 favorites. I'll assign them the number given in the article so you can reference them and see the commentary written about each one by a different writer.

1. Do I examine my life enough. - Sometimes too much and sometimes not enough.
2. Do I care too much about what people think? - Yes, one of my biggest problems.
4. What's your deal breaker? - A few things I know for sure. Prejudice and bigotry.
5. What do I really want to do all day? - Read, write and self-educate.
6. How do I want to be remembered? - Good person w/ a great sense of humor & good mom.
11. What am I afraid of? - Failing my children.
12. Am I paying enough attention to the incredible things around me? - Not enough.
13. Have I accepted my body?- Yes and no
14. Am I strong enough? - Still need to work on this but I do think I'm strong for my children.
17. Does what I wear reflect who I am? -This is a whole other blog topic & the answer is No.
19. Do I let myself fail enough? - Yes! That's what I've been doing this whole year. It's a re-birthing experience.

So there you go, 11 of the 20 questions. You may have other questions that mean something to you that I didn't list, so go read the O magazine article. It's a really good one. Next blog may just be about #17.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Changing Blogs, Trying to Eat Healthy, Injuries of an Old Woman and Misc Musings

Time flies when you're having fun. I've said that a hundred times at least and it does. Especially after you have kids. It's the secret nobody tells you.

Very soon I'll be changing blogs. Yes, I know... it's been a long time that I've been blogging here about all kinds of miscellaneous things. But that's just it. This blog has so much potential to be so much more. So very soon it will become what it was destined to become all along - a true shoe blog. A blog about all things shoes, shoe reviews, etc...

(My very favorite shoe by Nine West)

So where will my personal musings go? I'm thinking that it's time to resuscitate Hips 'n Salsa. I can't believe it's been almost FOUR years since I blogged there! I said I was going to take a short break but come on! Four years later! I know the layout needs a serious face lift and I'm on it.

But that still hasn't happened so we're here and I have to tell you I am on DAY FIVE of one of the hardest things for me to do. I'm doing a detox!! I've been eating clean all week, no processed foods, nothing out of a bag. I cooked some chicken early in the week that I continued to eat in different ways the rest of the week. What makes it so hard for me is that I don't really cook. This is forcing me to prepare my meals thoughtfully and that's good. I'm also not drinking alcohol and I'm limiting myself on the caffeine. I went a couple of days with no caffeine at all and I didn't slap anyone.

On the 5th day I've already lost 5 lbs and that's considering I haven't been able to exercise because my back is out of wack and other things that usually make a woman weigh more once a month. So considering those things I bet that I lost more than 5 lbs. The other thought is this, if I stick it out the whole 28 days, will I drop 28 lbs? Or at least 25??

Regarding the injury. I have NO IDEA what happened to my back. The only thing I can think may have happened is that I was at a lacrosse tournament all day Saturday and the chairs I sat in or the way I stood up. It could have also been when I lifted the ice chest out of my car. Maybe I did it wrong. No idea, but my back has been KILLING me all week. It's been extreme pain at some points, especially at night or early in the morning.

First I had a hurt Achilles heel and I had therapy on that. Next I had a bike accident and I smashed my foot with my bike.  I had therapy on that foot. Right when I was feeling better from my foot and thinking that maybe now I could get back up on my bike, my back went out. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting old.

I've made some notes when I think of some really good blog ideas but I haven't had a chance to write any of them.

So coming up: O Magazine had a great article recently entitled, "20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself." I want to write about that.

There's also the question my son asked me one night regarding how many years do I have left to live and my attitude about death. Also about my dad being there now and seeing the Red Moon eclipse with him recently.

And finally a blog about clothes and why I don't wear clothes I really like, the same way I don't blog as openly as I'd like. I wish I was a true free agent, self-employed writer that said whatever she wanted to say and dressed as wacky as she wanted. But I'm not.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Claiming Ownership of that Freed Self

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” -Toni Morrison
 
I am working so hard to claim ownership of my freed self in so many areas of my life. I still don't feel completely free, but last week I took one step I really needed to take.
Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons
One of my biggest pet peeves are unsolicited visits. I do not like to be caught off guard. I do not subscribe to the belief that your house should always be clean and ready for any spontaneous visitor. I think that belief is rude, antiquated and it enslaves us to live our lives for other people. Something I am working very hard on not doing any more.
I've been receiving periodic visits, phone messages and sometimes text messages from a certain group of people, but last week they went overboard.
The kids were at their dad's and I was struggling with getting sick so I was sleeping in. Suddenly I was startled awake by some loud knocking on my wall. It literally scared me awake and in turn made me angry. The person who had knocked on my wall left me a note slipped in my back door so I knew exactly who it was. It wasn't one of the usual visitors. I don't think one of them would have over-stepped my boundaries in this way.
It's one thing for someone to knock on my door like a normal person, but for someone to walk into my back yard and knock on my bedroom wall was way more intrusive than I could take. I felt like I had to take drastic measures and most importantly, I had to put my foot down and let them know how I felt.
I sent a text asking one of the representatives of this group to please ask everyone to please refrain from visiting me without an invitation. Just a nice, short note to make my point. She didn't reply to acknowledge that she had received my message but I really hope she did. I didn't call because I didn't want for her to try to engage me in any conversation and that would have definitely led to more drama.
Up to this point I was like Billy Crystal's character Harry in "When Harry Met Sally." I was being NICE! I wasn't being rude and I was trying to avoid any drama. This group means well. They want to know that I'm doing okay and the genuinely believe that they need to "save me." The thing is, I have learned in these two years away from them that I don't want that. I want to be free of their visits and their concern.
Sending that text message told them that and however small it may seem, it was huge. It was setting my foot down and telling them, "Please don't visit me any more. Please don't knock on my door."
The same day that this all happened I was listening to The Moth radio hour on NPR and I heard a piece by Jen Lee, "a publisher, producer and a performer in New York City's storytelling scene." She spoke about her experience going home to visit her religious family and her daughter's experience with Sunday School. You have to listen to this piece to truly appreciate the story, but I could completely relate to it and it was funny that it was playing on this particular day.
I knew what she meant when she said that her daughter had felt singled out by the kids because she didn't go to church back home. And I could understand the struggle that Jen Lee was referring to when she said that when she was comforting and reassuring her daughter, she was also comforting her child self. I could relate because it's also part of the reason why I am still being vague while I write this and I question myself as to why I can't be completely open.
I'm still working on freeing myself and claiming ownership of that freed self. I realize I have a long way to go, but I'm trying.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Cat Dress that Led Me to the Shoes

A few weeks ago I was minding my own business and one of those little ads on my Facebook page caught my attention. It was for this very cool site called ModCloth. The dresses are inspired by vintage designs and they're very cute. I got really excited when I saw a dress with a newspaper print design all over it, since newspapers are kind of my thing. I bought it on the spot!


When I first saw it I thought it said "Spreading the News."  THEN when I received my confirmation email I realized that it actually said "Start spreading the MEWS." I zoomed in closer to the picture and that's when I found out it was full of CATS. Yes, as in a cat lady dress.

I had such a good laugh at myself and when the dress arrived I posted a picture of it on Facebook and tagged all my Houston Chronicle friends. What was funny was how many people actually loved it and asked me to keep it!

I went back to look at the dresses for an exchange but I couldn't find one that I really liked. I did find one but then I saw the warning that it ran small in "some areas" and when I saw the pics of real women wearing it I saw that one woman who was busty like me had it open and was wearing a tank top underneath. Story of my life. So then I knew exactly where the dress runs small and I wasn't so sure that I wanted to wear it unbuttoned.

I always think that I want really unique and artsy looking clothes and then when it comes down to it I don't. That's something very weird about me and I wonder what it says about my personality and my struggle to be my own true self. (Okay, that's a topic for another blog!)

This is how I came across the shoe area. Oh my goodness! No one told me that ModCloth carried such beautiful shoes, and for such affordable prices! There are too many amazing shoes that I couldn't possibly post them all so I will just post a couple of pairs and you will have to trust me and go see for yourself.

Worth It Wedge

I was only looking at the wedges and I saw shoe after shoe that I would totally buy. I ended up buying a really cute pair of black wedge sandals because I don't have any so of course I need a pair.

Step Out in the City Sandal
Also from ModCloth.com
 
So the lesson learned here is that even a cat lady dress can lead you to great shoes. If it hadn't been for me buying that dress from ModCloth I would have never discovered these fabulous shoes. You will definitely be hearing more about them on here as I launch this into a full blown shoe blog about great affordable shoes for real women.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Why Would a 40+ Woman Watch GIRLS and Like It?

I'm just going to say it. I like the show GIRLS. Yes, I am a 40+ year old woman who likes this show about 20 something spoiled rich girls in Brooklyn, NY. And no, it's not because it reminds me of Sex and the City, because it does not. It's not even close to Sex and the City with the exception that it deals with four girlfriends and that Miranda had to move to Brooklyn in the last season. And no, it's not because I am living vicariously through these 20 year old girls and wishing I was 20 again. Well, maybe a little... but not for the reasons that you may think.

Photo from HBO.com

I enjoy GIRLS for the story line, the humor and for some of the very real moments that it deals with. I recently read an article by a woman who so clearly didn't get GIRLS or just didn't like it. That's fine. If she didn't like it it's clearly a matter of taste. It's just like some people LOVE Family Guy and love the off-the-wall inappropriate sense of humor in it, and others do not. That's exactly what's happening here.

There are ridiculous scenes like two girls in the bath tub together with one shaving her legs and the other one eating a cupcake. That is the beauty of this humor. Then there's the very real show about Hannah dealing with her grandmother's death and you see and hear the crazy interaction between her mom and her two aunts. Yes, fights like that DO happen! If you don't think they do then you've lived in a very comfortable, protected, lily white world and I envy you.

One of the main reasons I love watching GIRLS is because of Hannah's character. She is weird, awkward, spoiled, narcissistic, confused and in her early twenties. We were all there once and we didn't even have to be all those things.

GIRLS is such a great reminder that you don't have to love your characters to enjoy a show. Hannah has done some things that really make me dislike her, as have some of the other characters, but I forgive them because I want to see what's going to happen next and because I know that it's just a show. For example, I hated Adam at the beginning and then I really started liking him when he saved Hannah from her OCD. At the end of Season 3 I had mixed emotions about him because I could understand how Hannah's idiosyncrasies could be a distraction but I thought he came across as selfish too.

Some of my favorite story lines around Hannah involve her writing and how she struggles with it for various reasons and interruptions, like her OCD returning, the death of her publisher, and then the publisher keeping the rights to her book for two years. It seems like it is always something. I like this part because I can really relate to it.

A very defining moment in the series happens when Hannah starts to work at GQ. She is introduced to all the free snacks and to her co-workers, the other advertorial writers. Here she is, she finally has a great paying job, but she stops and realizes that all these other writers are "real writers" like her who don't write creatively any more. She tries to console herself, after trying to quit, by telling herself
that she'll write on her free time, which we know is easier said than done.
One of my very favorite scenes is the one when Hannah finally really quits her job. It's done in such a brilliant and awkward way and she shows both her ungratefulness to people who just tried to be her friends to her despair in wishing she could save them all. However wrong or right she was, I think she meant well in her usual way that comes across as selfish. She wanted to make them all run away from the temptation of the money and back to their writing. She's still too young and naïve to realize that what they do isn't any of her business.

The last episode brings the whole GQ story and quitting her job all together very nicely when she receives the letter of acceptance from the Iowa Writer's Workshop. I thought, "Ah! That's where you were going with this Lena Dunham and writers!"

It's in these last two shows of the season that I truly lived vicariously through Hannah. As a 40+ year old woman who has been there and done that I could truly relate to what she was going through, that struggle between wanting to write and having to make a living. I too quit my job when I was 24. and I wish I had thought of applying to a creative writing program at that time, like my cousin did. Instead I didn't really write, I went back to work full time after a year, and the rest is history. So watching Hannah in that pivotal moment gave me hope for her character and in a way it reminded me of being 20 something.

It also really made me think of my situation now. Unlike Hannah I'm 44 and I have two children. I can't act as irresponsibly now. I took this year off but I had a financial plan or I wouldn't have been able to do it. I've had my fun and it's time for me to go back to work full time now, writing or no writing.

Did I get any writing done? Yes and no. All I did was work on editing my first novel that I wrote nine years ago but I still haven't taken the steps to self-publish. I didn't write that great second novel that I had planned since before I even quit my job. Ironically, I find myself doing the exact same thing at 44 that I did at 24, not realizing how quickly the years were passing me by.

I was lying in bed with my 9 year old son recently and he innocently asked me, "How many more years do you think you'll live?"

I thought about it, "Around 26," I answered truthfully.

"NO! That's not enough!" he cried.

I thought about it, "No, it's not." And as we lay there I suddenly felt very sad.

So in other words, if any novels are going to get finished, published and written by this 40+ year old woman I better get started now. GIRLS is a great reminder of how quickly the last 20 years have passed me by and how quickly the next 26 years will go by too.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Why Are So Many Comedians Named Seth?

Ten years ago my husband and I decided to name our future baby boy Seth. At that time the only Seth I had ever heard about was Seth Green from the Austin Powers movies. Soon after Seth was born and named I became introduced to Seth Rogen, Seth Meyers and Seth MacFarlane.

At first it was just a funny coincidence and then as our son started to grow and develop we realized that he had a hilarious sense of humor and a gift for comedic timing. It got me to thinking that it can't be purely coincidence. There must be something in the name Seth, which is a Hebrew name meaning "Anointed; compensation." Seth was the third son of Adam and Eve in the Bible and Eve considered him to be a replacement for her dead son, Abel.

Recently while at the Houston Museum of Natural Science my daughter picked up something with the names of all the Egyptian gods and Seth was the God of Chaos. "Yeah, sounds about right!" we all laughed, including Seth.

The Faces!

(Ages 3-9)

April is Autism Awareness Month and I feel like I still have so much to learn about the Autism spectrum and specifically about Asperger's.

When Seth was first diagnosed with ADHD and Asperger's two years ago I was in denial about the Asperger's. That was before I understood it and realized all the things that Seth had been doing. It wasn't only that he couldn't behave in school. He walked on his tip toes, he flapped his arms like a bird and he would speak in a high pitched voice. All of these are characteristics of a child with Asperger's.

Seth is what some doctors would call a "high functioning" Aspie. He functions well in school and does not need special education per se. He just needs to gt to a place to re-group when things are getting to be too much to handle.

He has a huge personality, a colorful vocabulary and he's a talented artist. He's very smart and doesn't miss a beat.  By the time I tell him something he's already thinking about things I haven't even thought about. At the same time he can be very defiant and there is no reasoning with him when something only makes sense to him in his head.

However, he has so much empathy, which is sometimes missing in children with Asperger's. He's patient and loving with my 90 year old father, while my teenage girl is somewhat indifferent and in her own world.

For example, one day when my father got off the car at the bank I complained that he was always grouchy and impatient. Seth said, "Wouldn't you be if were old, your wife died and you couldn't live in your own house any more?" That told me so much about how he thinks.

One thing that really impresses me is how he picks up on words so quickly and then uses them in context. Like the time he told my sister as he was climbing up the side of the bed that he was "grappling" to get on. When we asked him what that word meant he defined it exactly.

I can't find anything online stating that any of the Seth comedians have Asperger's, but I'm sure at least one of them does. I can almost be sure that either all of them, or some of them, have ADHD, like a lot of comedians do. Think Jim Carey and imagine him as a little boy. That's Seth.  I think that when celebrities are open about their challenges it helps children understand that they too can succeed in a career despite their own obstacles.

I have a friend whose husband has Asperger's and he's a music composer and a professor. I make sure to tell Seth about people like him all the time and I hope that one day he can meet my friend's husband as well as other successful people like him.

Do I ever wish that and Seth didn't have Asperger's?  I wish that some days weren't so challenging and I worry about him sometimes. I hope that as he grows into an adult he can learn to work with it and still do well in school, like my friend's husband and so many famous composers and inventors.  But no, I can't say I wish my son didn't have Asperger's. I believe that it's part of what makes him such a unique, funny and interesting person. It is a part of him and his personality and I love him through and through.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Waiting on Shoes and Rodeo Fashion

A month ago I announced that this would soon be turning into a true shoe blog. And by that I don't mean just blogs about the awesome Nike quotes and the ad copy writers who created that awesome ad campaign. Yes, you know the one. The one with all the awesome quotes for women, about women, about topics that women could totally connect with. Example:

This is definitely one of my favorites. I still love this even though I'm past 40 now.
 
So my new blog will be ALL about shoes, even Nikes. I feel like I have a lot to say about shoes. I was a the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo today and I was checking out all the different shoes people wear, especially the cowboy boots.
 
The two most popular styles at the Rodeo were: cowboy boots with short shorts, especially denim shorts and cowboy boots with little girly floral or eyelet lace dresses. These were all very cute combinations but am I weird because I found the very short denim shorts with cowboy boots combo inappropriate on little girls? Yeah, it kind of made me uncomfortable to see these little 8-10 year olds in very short denim shorts. Even my daughter said they looked "cute" but too grown up.
 
To give you an update on what is going on with my blog. I'm just waiting on some technical details to get worked out. As soon as all that is worked out I should start my new and improved Shoegirl Corner blog. Hope to see you there.
 
I hope to be in business very soon. So tell me, short shorts on little girls with cowboy boots? Am I being overly conservative? Sometimes it does come out in me.

Friday, March 14, 2014

On Why I Totally Get Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham's character Hannah on "Girls" reminds me of America Ferrera's character Ana on "Real Women Have Curves." Her body is a response to society's message to women, especially young women, that you have to have a tiny thin body to be accepted as beautiful.

(Me at 18 going to my prom with my childhood friends. I thought I was so fat.
I wish I weighed that much now)

I've quoted Ana from "Real Women Have Curves" in past blogs because I can really relate to her character. At the end of the movie Ana takes off all her clothes and stands in front of her mother in her bra and panties and says, “Mama, I do want to lose weight but part of me doesn’t, because my weight says to everybody, ‘Fuck you!’ How dare anyone tell me what I should look like or how I should be, when there’s so much more to me than just my weight?”

I love that part but it takes Ana to the very end of the movie to do that and to really speak up about her mother's criticism of her body. Lena Dunham does that with her character in her show GIRLS almost every single week.

I picked up the April issue of Glamour because Dunham was on the cover. I had already seen the fabulous pictures (untouched or not) of her in Vogue. The photos in Glamour are so beautiful too and the interview with Sheila Heti is great!

I think that this was Dunham's best response to the questions about her "nakedness." She said, "As teenagers our bodies become a signal of how good we are or how much worth we have.....To make my body a prop in my work gave it a value I didn't feel it had before. Life's too short for me to explain why it's OK for me to be naked on the show."

That's it. Period. She has used her body as a prop in her work and has given it value.

I have never made my struggle with weight and with my body size a secret. It's been my life-time struggle. Now that I'm older I'm worried even more about my health and even less about my vanity but I must admit there is a little bit of vanity involved. I can really connect to what Lena Dunham says. I was that teenager who thought she was too fat because she wasn't as thin as her friends. I can also understand Ana's character in "Real Women Have Curves" because for a long time I felt that way. I refused to conform to how society thought I should look rather than to accept me for my mind.


But oh how I wish I could go back to my 18 year old self in the picture above and I would have told myself, "You are just fine the way you are. Love yourself for your health and stay this size, but you ARE NOT fat! You are worth so much."

I have had my ups and downs on being comfortable with my body and with my nudity as I've gotten older. I still have a problem being completely naked in front of someone. I have been known to wear a tank top to hide my middle section. I do wear a bathing suit with a little skirt, but the way I see it at least I wear a bathing suit. I know people who have missed out on the joy of being on a beach in a bathing suit just because they are worried about what other people think of them.


Life is too short! I always remember the topless old ladies in Europe. They didn't need any Lena Dunham to tell them it was okay to love their body. They were happy with themselves and with their life.

So this weekend when I'm on the beach for Spring Break I will be comfortable in my own body and in my bathing suit. I'll walk on the beach with my kids and I'll OWN IT! My body has value! It's mine.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Crack In My Skull and Other Adventures

A few years ago I met a woman from Spain who studied Phrenology or Craniology. I never knew which one exactly. All I know is that she ran her fingers over my skull and she was supposed to learn something about my health. I don't remember anything that she told me except one thing. She ran her fingers over the dent my forehead and asked me about it. I personally had never noticed the dent until I got married and my husband pointed it out. He would always tease me and tell me I had a crack in my skull.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

I told her I didn't know why I had it but that my husband had noticed it. She told me that it was a scar from the forceps when I was born. My older sister was there too and she confirmed that forceps had been used on me because I had the umbilical chord wrapped around my neck. I knew the umbilical chord story but not about the forceps. It was weird to find that out at almost 30 (or maybe I was older) that this was in fact a scar from what must have been a traumatic birth..

It made me wonder about how many things I won't know because my mother died when I was 30. I still had so many questions about so many things. The same way her mother died without telling her who people were in the many pictures that she inherited. Now my sister has those pictures all stacked in boxes and she doesn't really care about them. She's had them in boxes since she got them from my mother's house 14 years ago.

If she dies I fear that we won't ever get those family pictures back. At least not my sister and I who have children and specifically daughters who would care about our family pictures.

Life is weird. I'm not surprised that my father ended up with me in the last years of his life and I really shouldn't be surprised that I ended up being the main one to care for him. I'm not surprised that he's here because when I think about it he's lived with me the second longest time in his life. As odd as that sounds think about it. I lived with him 27 years before I got married, a year after I was married we lived in my back apartment, two years after my mother died we lived with him again to transition him to living alone. All this equals 30 years! He lived with my mom 53 years and 30 years with me. He only lived with his parents and family around 23 years.

So that means he's lived with me the second longest. Of course he's more accustomed to me and more comfortable with me. And honestly, he never had a great relationship with my 2 older sisters. He's always gotten along better with me and my sister who lives in California. California being the operative word here. She doesn't live in Houston so the person who gets to take care of him daily is me.

Thank goodness my sister cares enough about him and that she works for American Airlines that she can come to Houston when I need her to help care for my dad, which she's doing this week. Not everyone who has a sibling living in another state can say that.

Next weekend is the beginning of Spring Break. I'm taking the kids to our usual Surfside hotel on the beach. My sister is coming to stay with my dad so we can do this.

My daughter is inviting a couple of her friends and they're having a sleep over in the room next to ours the first night. It may be too cool to get in the water but we will have a great time sitting on the beach and sipping drinks. It will be a nice little vacation.