Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I walked 2 days in a row! I'm back on track! Plan is to go tomorrow and Friday too.

Off to bathe Seth again. Babysitter bathed him but I got his hair cut while Miranda started her first ballet class today.

No news from Mandi yet. Day 4.

New Orleans Disaster

My husband is beside himself with worry. He hasn't spoken to his daughter in New Orleans since Saturday, when she told him she was going to a hotel with her mother and sister. He keeps trying to stay upbeat and positive but I know he's worried sick until he hears from her again. My heart goes out to him. I also don't want for Miranda to know there's any cause to worry about her big sister. If anything were to happen to Mandi Rey and Miranda would be heartbroken.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Little Luxuries in Life

There are some things you don't realize you miss until you don't have them. Like a radio in your car. My radio and CD player has been out for a few weeks and I didn't realize I missed it so much until now that Rey fixed it. I sure missed NPR! I didn't realize how much I missed that station either. I would listen to the radio sometimes in the morning as I got dressed, but the radio is meant to be listened to in the car.

Another thing I know I would miss, and I don't understand how my husband survived without his, is air condition in the car. I would go insane in the Houston summer without a/c. That's almost suicidal! Well my husband's air was out in his car for a while and I have no idea how he survived. He just got it fixed last week and he is so happy now. I'm even happier than him because now he'll be able to pick up the kids from the sitter's which means that I'll be home 30-45 min earlier each day!!

Alice in Wonderland

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
'Which road do I take?' she asked.
His response was a question: 'Where do you want to go?'
'I don't know,' Alice answered.
'Then,' said the cat, 'it doesn't matter.' -Lewis Carroll

I love this quote from "Alice in Wonderland." I've always wanted to read the original book by Lewis Carroll. I saw the movie years ago when I was a little girl. I saw it on the other day so I recorded it and Miranda loves it. Even Seth watches it sometimes.

My 16 year old niece was visiting recently and she told me she loves that movie too and that she recently read the book. She told me I'd really like the book. It makes me want to sit and watch the movie again and then I'll read the book. The illustrations in the movie are also so beautiful.

Sometimes I feel like Alice. Here's another favorite from that book.

“There is no use trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen, “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Sometimes I feel like all I do is believe impossible things.

Other thoughts:

I finally read my cousin's essay today. It made me so sad... I thought about his father who is 91, my other uncle who is 86 and had to move to live with his daughter in San Diego because he keeps wandering off and falling down, and my dad who is 81. They are the last 3 brothers left out of 12 siblings.

Monday, August 29, 2005

OK I'm Done!

The crazy week is over and now I hope to get back on schedule. Mainly I hope to get back on track with my exercise and Weight Watchers routine.

I now officially only have SEVEN (did you read that? SEVEN!!) weeks left until my cruise. I have only lost 10 lbs and that's it! Why though? Because I haven't really made a hard core effort to lose more. Today I am. I'm going to start the Oprah Challenge today!

What's the Oprah Challenge? Basically, no white stuff at all. No bread, sugar, you know, the good stuff. No eating three hours before you go to bed. And you need to work out 6 days a week- 30 min of aerobics and 20 minutes of weights. On one day you do 1 hour of aerobics. That's it in a nutshell but a lot easier to say than to do.

Let's see what kind of results I get in 7 weeks. I'm starting the work out tomorrow because I have meeting tonight. I'm going to walk/jog for the aerobics and I bought some small weights to do the arm exercises after aerobics. I'm also going to do stomach crunches. YIKES!

I got a call from the babysitter this morning. Miranda heard the news about the hurricane and got really worried when she heard that it hit Louisiana. The sitter called me to ask about Mandi, my step-daughter and I told her we assume she's doing OK because they were going to evacuate. She asked me to tell Miranda because she was worried.

"I can't believe how smart this girl is!" she said before handing Miranda the phone.

Miranda gets on the phone.

"Mommy, a tornado hit Lousiana. Where's my sister?!"

"She's OK. Her mommy took her somewhere safe where the hurricane couldn't hurt her."

"But the weatherman on TV says a big tornado hit!"

"Yes I know, but she's okay."

"Okay Mommy. Bye!" and she goes back to watching the news.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go..." T.S. Eliot

What a week! I'm almost exhausted just talking about it. I feel like I've been going full speed ahead since last Sunday.

Last Sunday after my meeting I had dinner with a friend from my meeting.

Monday was my meeting night again so I was busy all day. I worked all day, then rushed home to go to the meeting.

Tuesday was my 8 year anniversary. I worked all day then rushed home to go to dinner with my hubby. We went to Cavatore then went to get ice cream.

Wednesday I had promised a friend I would help her with a project and I had already canceled with her Saturday so I didn't want to cancel on her again.

Thursday I had to go shopping for a baby gift for my friend, ballet and tap shoes for Miranda, and groceries. I was out until 11 p.m.

Friday my sister and niece flew in from California so we went to dinner with them. I was so exhausted when I got home that I crashed after taking a shower.

Saturday (today) was the baby shower I had been planning for my best friend. I woke up fairly early and got started cooking because I wanted to take meatballs for the party. I already had my gifts, drinks, and decorations ready to go. I stopped to rent Rey an SUV to go to San Antonio for the weekend. Then went back to making my meatballs. I cooked until it was time to get dressed to go. I had to get to the house where we were having the party by 3 p.m. so I could decorate. I didn't get there til 3:30. But I did and everything turned out lovely.

Now here I am at 10 p.m. exhausted from a week of too much activity. Tomorrow we're going to try to do something fun and interesting before my sister and niece need to go back to Cali.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


now is the time to live your ideal life. - cousineau

I'm going to try and post a different quote that I like every day or when I remember.

I get a phone call today at 4:30 p.m. from the baby sitter.

"Miranda wants to talk to you," she says.

"OK, put it her on," I say.

"Mommy are you stuck in traffic?"

"No. Why?"

"Why aren't you here? You're late picking me up!"

"No I'm not. It's work time still."

"No, you should already be here."

"No sweetie. I'll be there in a little while. When I come get you we're going to the store with Aunt Becky to buy Vicki a baby gift and then we're going to buy your ballet and tap shoes."

"OH! OK. I'm watching 'Totally Spies'. Bye Mommy!"

And that's it. The conversation is finished and she's off to watch that disturbingly grown up cartoon.

The baby sitter and I talk a little bit. She tell me that it's been a long afternoon for Miranda and I tell her it's really strange that I have been feeling the same way! I had an early lunch and the afternoon has just dragged on....

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Check it Out

Check out the September issue of Texas Monthly. My cousin has an essay in there. "Tall In the Saddle -My father’s not-so-brief, happy career on horseback." by Oscar Casares.

This is his third essay in Texas Monthly. I haven't read this one yet but knowing my cousin I'm sure it's great like the other two. I'll have to run by Kroger or a book store tomorrow to pick up a copy.

If I've never plugged my cousin on here before here's my plug. He's written a collection of short stories entitled "Brownsville." This was his first book and I'm sure we'll be seeing many more from him.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Turning Over a New Leaf

I'm writing this at 6:20 a.m. to prep myself to work on my novel. I am not a morning person but I need to become one. I am definitely a night owl. I don't go to bed until 12 a.m. on average because I do so much. On the days I'm exhausted I'll fall asleep early but then I'm awake again at 12 a.m. Then I usually don't wake up until 7 or 7:30 and then I'm running to get ready for work because I go in at 9. I know you morning people are saying, "WHAT?!"

Today I'm turning over a new leaf. I woke up 5 til 6 and I started on my daily routine early. My new goal is to try and get to bed somewhere before 12 and to wake up at 6 a.m. I can live on 6-7 hours of sleep a night easily.

Rey, my husband, has been telling me forever to wake up early and write. He's actually talking about 5 a.m. early and I tried that a few times but it killed me. I was so tired by the end of the day I didn't have the energy to exercise or do much. The more I thought about it I decided that if I want to finish this book I am going to need one solid hour of writing a day. What is one hour less of sleep??

Mornings are really great because the kids are still asleep and I have complete quiet, except for any soft music I may want to play. I've tried writing for one hour during lunch a few times but to tell you the truth carrying my heavy laptop to work is a hassle. I'll do it If I have to. And even though I'm writing in my blog right now it's still part of my daily writing, even if I do this for 20 min and work on my novel the rest of the time.

I set the alarm for 5:55 with the plan to snooze 5 min but when the alarm went of this morning I told myself, "You need to finish this book to do what you want in life." That will be my daily mantra. I need to remind myself daily that this is the job that makes me truly happy.

So here I am. It's 6:27. I'm set to write for the day. I decided I can write until 7:15 because I'll already have all the morning rituals and breakfast done so I can afford the extra 15 min of writing. Then I don't have to rush to get ready each morning and I'll be at work on time each day and then I gain two things.

I tell myself that I should be able to do this. I used to wake up at 6:30 every morning to be at work at 7:30 when I used to teach Pre-K. But then I remind myself that I was 25, single, and I didn't have 2 small children under 5. Big difference.

Side note: Tomorrow is my EIGHT year wedding anniversary. I can't believe it! Where have the years gone?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Waiting Place

I'm waiting for a girlfriend to call me. We're going to dinner. Does the title The Waiting Place remind you of Dr. Seus's book, "The Places You'll Go?" I love that book. It is such a great allegory on life.

Speaking of reading. I forgot to mention that I'm almost finished with Amy Tan's "The Opposite of Fate." I've been reading it slowly but surely. I don't have as much time to read like I used to. I love this book! If you are an Amy Tan fan you should definitely read it. All her books have been based loosely on her mother's life but this is her first real biography.

One chapter deals with "other dangerous topics" as she calls it. It discusses her point of view of being called a woman of color, a minority author, being studied in literature classes and so on. She makes some really good points regarding being an American writer, because this is what she considers herself. Some Hispanic authors have talked about the same topic but somehow the way Amy Tan presents it drives her point home. I could understand what she was saying because I didn't learn about her until I read her book "The Joyluck Club" in either my Women in Literature or Minorities in Literature class as an undergrad.

Which reminds me, I recently looked at the requirements and courses at UH for a PhD in Creative Writing-Literature and the classes look so interesting. I would love to have the free time to go back to school but I would rather finish my book first. It's just a thought...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Iris Chang, Inspiration and Girl Crushes

I told you I had a lot to say! First let's start with Iris Chang. I wrote about her a while back on this blog. ( I thought about her again the other day and it made me look up the article once more to read about her and how she always aspired for greatness.

If you want to read the eulogy go here. You'll see what I mean.

I love this eulogy. So much so that I looked up the author Paula Kamen and I e-mailed her a note telling her how much I enjoyed it. I received such a nice note in response. She tells me that she's working on a book about Iris Chang and that my words had inspired her too! Isn't that great? I think this is so important! I think it's so beautiful when we as human beings inspire and encourage one another.

My girlfriend who lives in Spain tells me in an e-mail today that she reads my blog every time she logs on and she missed me the week I didn't post. THANK YOU!! That inspires me! Another girlfriend here in Houston reads me daily and comments. I love to hear that! My cousin writes and tells me that when she reads my words she feels like she's sitting in my kitchen talking to me. THANK YOU! I need to hear those words.

Okay, last but not least. The very interesting topic of Girl Crushes. I just learned this term this week. I was reading Alisa Valdes Rodriguez's blog and I see my beautiful city's skyline. She's writing a new book entitled Girl Crush and it's set in Houston! My Houston! (I love Houston by the way!) I was so excited that she chose Houston but I was also intrigued by this phenomenon called girl crushes.

It's not what it sounds like. It's actually very common and many of us are familiar with this feeling. It's that feeling we get when we meet a really cool girl and we feel this attraction to her like we want to be her friend or we want to get to know her better. It's not a sexual attraction, it's a girl attraction. I thought about it and I have had a very long running girl crush on Sarah Jessica Parker. I just love her, I don't know why.

My friend commented on Alisa's blog and said she had read an article on girl crushes in the New York Times. She sent me the link. Very interesting article. Check it out soon before they take it down completely.

One last last thing. For real now! I was at CVS Pharmacy buying printer paper after walking today and I saw something for the second time that I just love. I saw one of Amy Tan's books being sold in Spanish. It was The Bonesetter's Daughter but it's called La Hija del Curandero in Spanish. Very Cool! CVS is doing their part to encourage literacy among Hispanics.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Too Many Random Thoughts

I have a lot to say today so hold on. First off, this girl who doesn't have e-mail asked me to send out an e-mail to various friends from our congregation (from my religion for those of you who don't know the JW lingo) to see if we could get a walking club going. I did this and 3 people replied. I went today and granted today was the first day, but no one showed up, not even the girl who asked me to organize this group. I hadn't realized that it's getting dark earlier (already!) so I had to stop after only 25 minutes because it was dark at 8:30. That's what I did tonight. I walked alone with the 2 kids. Miranda was upset because she wanted to play in the playground but it was too dark and I got a scared feeling so I followed my instincts. I just hope that the people who expressed an interest in walking can join us next week.

Earlier today I had a hilarious time because I went to take pictures of the kids and I didn't take my own advice. I recently advised someone with a new 2nd baby for her not to try and take photos of both kids together and then separately on the same day. I told her to do one or the other. I, being the procrastinator that I am, never took the kids for their pictures when Miranda turned 4 and Seth 1. He's 15 months now and I barely took them today.

I did baby boy first because these are his 1 year old pictures and he's already been shafted like the second child and hasn't had as many pictures taken of him. His pictures came out great and he was in a great picture taking mood. Miranda on the other hand, took some great photos when it was just her but when it came time to take the one of both of them, forget it! She was so unruly and did not want to cooperate. There were a couple of times that we could have gotten some wonderful shots of him kissing her and all she had to do was smile and instead she was making faces and the whole thing. I ended up so frustrated and we never got any photos of the 2 of them together. We'll have to leave those to another date and sitting. Maybe next month...

The good thing was I took a semi-half day off because I worked until 2:30 but I got a lot done at work today.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

New O Mag

This is by no means an ad for O Magazine, although that's not a bad idea. I should start collecting ad revenue from Target and Oprah. I love Oprah! I just do. And I love her magazine.

The September issue deals with "Getting Unstuck." Oh how I can relate to that topic! Oprah is asking on the cover, "What's Next for You?"

I read the article already knowing the answers and knowing that I need to do what I need to do to do what truly makes me happy. I read about a neurosurgeon who really wanted to be a portrait photographer! How hilarious is that!? So at 40 she took the pay cut, as did her family, so that she could be truly happy.

I brought my laptop to work today and I wrote during lunch. I know I can’t quit my job but I sure can write a book and get published while I still have a job. Back to work!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Week Without Words

Okay, I'm being melodramatic. I may have not posted here in over a week but I haven't had a week without words. I had a "Private Book Preview" for some friends on Saturday. It was really nice to read some of my material from my novel to them to get feedback and a sense for if I'm on the right path. I like to know if my stories are "sellable."

A few months ago when I read at the Nuestra Palabra showcase there was an author that doesn't like that approach. She prefers to write in solitude and she doesn't let anyone read her words while she writes. In fact, she advised us all not to read our works in progress. I used to think I would feel this way too. Actually, I did in the early days of writing, but not now.

I take pleasure in reading my words to others and watching their faces while I read. I look at them to see if they look interested or bored. Reading aloud gives me a feel for the words and how they flow.

I've read in public a few times now and I like the feedback I get. However I can't really see the people's faces from a stage. In this smaller setting, like my dining room table, I could really see their expressions and their interest.

I appreciated the friends who made the time to come and hear my words and encourage me to keep writing. They said that I was definitely on the right path to writing a book that would be interesting, but specifically to women. Of course I knew that.

One more note! Two months to the day until the CRUISE!!!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I Love Target

First of all, I love Target but Target is a dangerous place. Everytime I would pick up something new and I'd throw it in my stroller I'd tell Miranda, "Let's get out of here before I get in trouble." She was puzzled by why I would say this and I had to explain to her that I'd get in trouble with myself for spending too much money. I still don't think she understood but she was a really good sport about putting up 2 things she really didn't need for 2 things she really wanted. She ended up with a sleeping bag she's been wanting and a ballet outfit for the ballet classes she's starting this fall. (Which reminds me! I need to find the application form and I need to go by the school to check them out.) I found a really cute light blue workout outfit in my size and my size I mean length too. I'm so short that most pants are too long. I got the pants with the matching hoodie for the fall. Very cute. Rey asked me if I want to look like Oprah.

I'm actually up early. I've been up since 8. I was reading some stuff online and now I'm making Chorizo con Huevo for breakfast. It's Sunday, the one day a week I eat a bad breakfast. I'm not eating until after I come back from walking. After breakfast I'm off to get a pedicure that I really need and then home to write a talk (speech kinda) for tomorrow's meeting. Busy morning because I have a meeting today at 4 too.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

One More Thing

Miranda told me and Rey that the Chupacabra was going to come get us. When we asked, "What? Where did you hear that?" She said that when Scooby and the gang went to Mexico they saw the Chupacabra! Thank goodness for good ol'fashioned TV and Scooby is still keeping up with good scary stories. Turns out the chupacabra was really just a robot. Of course! Did we expect any less from Scooby Doo?

Most of you know Miranda is 4 years old. Today she brought me a piece of paper she said was a letter to her cousin Emily. She drew a heart and wrote an I and a U then her attempt at writing Emily. She wrote an E, M, and an I, with an L and O. But what a great attempt at writing "I love U Emily!" She's starting to listen to the sound of letters and figuring out how to spell. Isn't she amazing?

When she said she needed a new piece of paper because her letter got wet Rey told her to e-mail her (jokingly of course, Emily is also 4) and Miranda replied, "Okay, show me how to get on," with a completely straight face.

That reminded me of another time when she was 3 she told us that the little computer icon on the Green Giant box that said said, "" TOO funny!


I've gone walking three days in a row. Yesterday Miranda went with me and walked/jogged most of the way. I was out 40 min and she walked 30 of those minutes. She finally got in the stroller for the last round around the block.

I love for her to get exercise so I encourage her to come with me but I also really like for her to get in the stroller too. When she and the baby are in there together I'm pushing roughly 80 lbs. 50 lbs of Miranda, 25 lbs of Seth, and maybe 5 lbs of stroller since it's a double stroller. So it's a great work out to push both of them. When I do I can feel it in my arms and in my back.

Today she didn't want to go with me because my nephew is visiting us and staying overnight. His mom had to go out of town. So she was excited about having a visitor and she stayed in and played.

I also like for her to go with me because I feel like I'm encouraging her to exercise and we're making it a way of life. She loves to run so when I bought her her last pair of tennis shoes I got her running shoes from Stride Rite.

I probably talk about my kids way too much but that's OK. They are part of my life right now. One day they'll be grown and they'll be living their own lives and all I'll have left are my precious memories of them.

My Mother's Face

Every time Miranda makes a certain expression I see my mother's face. She has this one little thing she does where she closes her eyes, raises her eyebrows and purses her lips. I want to hug and kiss her all at the same time and that little girl knows why. I've told her enough times and when I ask her if she knows why I feel the way I do when I look at her she answers, "Because I look like your mom." My sweet little girl! How it tears my heart into little pieces!

I tell my husband how I feel when I look at her and now I realize how my mother must have felt when she looked at me. The difference between my mother and me is that my mother never really told me how she felt when she looked at me. Honestly I probably wouldn't have really understood like I do now that I have my own daughter that looks like my own mother. She wasn't a very affectionate person and wasn't someone to talk about her feelings. She actually became more affectionate as I got older.

All I know is that my mom would say wistfully, "How funny that of all my girls the one who looks the most like my mother, and even has curly hair like her, was born after she died and she never met you."

The same thing happened to me. Miranda was born 1 year and 2 months after my mother died.

I never realized how much I look like my grandmother Mercedes (Meche) until now that I'm older. It was the most obvious when my daughter told me at 3 that the picture of my grandmother at my father's house was me. I told her "no," that it was my grandmother and she insisted that it was me. I made a copy of that picture and it now hangs in my dining room.

My daughter still says it's me, even though she now understands that it's not. And when I look at her and see my mother I laugh at the irony of life. I look like Meche and Miranda looks like Belia. History repeats itself and years ago maybe there was another mother and another daughter that looked like us too. Generation after generation.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Too Early for Me!

I've been up since 3 a.m. with the baby. He just doesn't want to go back to sleep. He's back in his crib now and I think he's finally quieting down. I'm exhausted of course!

Updates. I finally hit the 10 lb loss mark after fluctuating around it for the last 2 weeks. So I've officially lost 10 lbs now! Woo Hoo! Hopefully I'm getting over my plateau now. Question: Why is gaining weight so easy and losing it so hard?

Rey and I discussed Miranda going to school this past evening and we decided there are too many cons to the pros. We're just going to wait for her to go to Kinder.

No, he fooled me! I hear him crying again. Ay a yay! Please tell me I'll make it through the day on 3.5 hrs of sleep!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Writing & My Baby May Go To School

I've been guilty. I haven't written like I should. I'm no good at juggling everything- work, exercise, eating right, spending time with the kids, studying for my meetings and what gets sacrificed? My writing. It gets the back burner every time. Too many things to do and too few hours in our lives. But yesterday during lunch I started writing my most difficult character. The one I feel I know the least. And I did well! I couldn't believe how easy it was once I got started. She's not that hard to get to know...

Great News! Miranda may be able to go to Pre-K after all! I'm so excited by the possibility. I'll tell you more later!