Monday, April 24, 2006

Domestic Things & New Look

I decided to change my "look." I like this new design. The dots were getting to me again. I wish I knew how to customize my blog. I'm sure I can learn if I take the time to.

This past weekend was busy crazy. I feel so bad that I didn't get to go by the Houston Institute for Culture Open House but I was so tired. Saturday I went out in the ministry early in the morning and then I went to JC Penney to pick up the kids' pictures. I'll post those later. They came out super cute!!

On the way there I asked Miranda if she wanted to visit my mom and sister's graves and she said she did so we stopped and checked on them. I like to check on them periodically to make sure they're not overgrown. One time a while back I went by and my sister's stone was completely covered with grass. They were fine this time and we visited other stones. Miranda is intrigued with cemeteries like I am. We found out some really interesting history this time.

We found out that the original owner of the land was a Texan by the name of James Berry. He buried his 3rd wife there in a family cemetery. Later after he died his kids buried him there and then they sold the land to this guy who established a cemetery. The chapel next to my mom and sister's stones dates back to the 1800s. There are some really old head stones all around the chapel.

We also drove by the houses at Fall Creek and I contemplated whether I could possibly move away from the city into the closest suburb. Nah...

Finally we made it to JC Penney and Miranda felt like we'd been driving forever. After JC Penney we stopped at Home Depot and we bought a bunch of flowers for the yard.

By the time we made it back home and ate dinner Rey was home so she and I went outside and planted a bunch of the flowers around our two tree trunks in the front yard. It was a lot of fun and Miranda enjoys it. We got a lot done!

Sunday I planted more flowers in some terra cotta planters that I bought a year ago at IKEA and I finally bought some flowers to plant in them. I was so proud of myself. To appreciate this you should know that I'm not a domestic planting gardens kind of person. That's why this is such a big deal.

Today I did something very non-domestic but it had to be done and I hadn't done it in a long time. I took all of my laundry to the laundromat to be washed and dried by someone else. I figured that since my cleaning lady wasn't coming this week, because she's sick, that I'd use the money to do something to make my life easier. And it felt good! I'm so glad I did. You can't imagine the satisfaction of dropping off my laundry in the morning and picking it up in the evening all clean and fresh smelling. Now all I have to do is put it all up. :)

Good night all. Tomorrow is salsa dance exercise class, Wednesday is Pilates so I'll talk to y'all later this week.

My Love Affair with Ink & Paper

I've written about this before but I was reminded of this since I started using the soda machine next to the presses. I have a sick sick sick love for the smell of newspaper and ink. Not in a "get high" kind of way. No, not that way. It's just something about the smell of the ink on the paper. It's something about the smell of the paper reels when they are on the belt that carries them alongside the press. The other day when I went to the soda machine I sniffed the roll of paper as it passed by me.

It all started when I was in college. No, I think my love for paper started in 1st grade the first time I opened a Big Chief tablet. I remember loving the smell and feel of the paper. I loved to write on the paper with a pen and to watch the way the paper absorbed the ink.

Fast forward thirteen years to my first job as an ad rep for the Daily Cougar, my college paper. I would walk over to the printer's across the street from the Communication building and when I walked in I loved the way the smell of the ink hit me in the face as soon as I opened the door. I watched in awe as they showed me the presses and the whole printing process.

Now I work for a much larger newspaper and I work right here in the building where we have the larger presses. I can smell the ink and paper when I come into work every day. I can go over and watch the presses run any time I want, provided they're running. I love to watch the big presses run the pages of the newspaper fast and all the pictures and words are just a blur of color.

That’s the reason I know that I'll probably always work for a newspaper in some capacity, as long as they’ll have me, even after I become a successful published writer. Because I love ink and paper.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Back on Track with Exercise

This week I got back in the saddle. Worked out on the elliptical machine and other torture devices on Tuesday and Pilates on Wednesday. I'm going walking this weekend. So that was a good thing but I'm super sore. I feel like I lifted weights when all I did was lift my own weight. Pilates is something else! We did push ups too so my arms are pretty sore. But it feels good because it tells me I did something.

I Love Houston

I love Houston except for during the Summer. Wednesday I had to walk a few blocks from our downtown office to the courthouse to get something and I was reminded once again, like I have been for the last 36 years of my life in Houston, that I hate Houston in the summer and summer has arrived in our fair city. I was wearing a short sleeved t-shirt and with what I like to call my Houston jacket. It's a thin black jacket. By the time I arrived at the courthouse I was perspiring. Perspiring because you know, girls don't sweat. Okay no, I was sweating. I felt irritated. I was hot and tired and then this rude lady decides to cut me in line. I wanted to say something to her but she was one of those older ladies that pulls around a mini-suitcase as her purse. (I'll say right now that I'm sorry if you do this too) When I saw that I decided I didn't want to get into it with her.

What happened to the beautiful days when the weather is just right in Houston? Which are pretty much from end of September to mid April in Houston. I walked back to the Chronicle garage without my jacket and I looked up at people sitting out on balconies of restaurants having lunch and I wondered what possessed them to sit outside in the heat. It's too hot already!

But I'm a Houstonian through and through and like a true Houstonian I will suck it up and spend as little time as possible outside in the heat for the next five months.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


I joined Sitemeter recently and it's been really interesting to see the different people that read my site. Well not the people exactly, but where they are from. I find that part more interesting. One time I had someone from Dubai come to my site. I've also had visitors from Okanawa, Switzerland and Canada.

It makes me wonder what these people think when they are reading my site. I wonder how they stumble upon it and if they stay and read. Interesting.

Well it's Saturday night and I'm so exciting I'm going to go grocery shopping.

Long Week Over

It was a crazy long week. Rey went back to work on Tuesday and worked 12-14 hour days all week. He was exhausted. Then Wednesday we had our Memorial celebration of the anniversary of Jesus' death. Thursday we had meeting again and Rey gave a talk. Here we are and it's Friday. It seems like it was just the other day that we were spending our last night at the Hyatt in LA and we were going to Disneyland on Saturday.

Work was crazy hectic all week for me too. There were about 3 days that I either didn't take lunch 'til after 2 or I didn't get to eat at all. I still ended the week needing one more ad to make my goal for the month. Our month or period doesn't run exactly with the calendar month so my month is pretty much over. Depressing...

Whenever I write about work now I think about people I've read about who were fired for blogging about work. Most recently I read about Nadine Haobsh in the April issue of Cosmo. I had never heard the whole story but I think I remember hearing something about it because it was a big deal in the publishing industry. Visit her website for some of the story or if you have Cosmo.

Anyway, when I read stories like this one it makes me paranoid about writing about anything that we're doing at work, especially since I work for a newspaper. It's really frustrating too. Sometimes I think I should have blogged under a pseudonym but then that defeats the whole point of promoting myself as a writer. So the safest thing is not to write about anything specific about work. I can't really say what I think about what people say or do. I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm an independent writer like Alisa Valdes Rodriguez to say what I really think.

Which reminds me. All of you Alisa Valdes Rodriguez fans out there. If you are in or near Houston please come out to hear her read from her new book, "Make Him Look Good" at the Edward James Olmos Latino Book & Family Festival. It's going to be at the Houston Community College and she will be reading both Saturday & Sunday, May 6 & 7, from 5-6 p.m. I'm in charge of promoting her reading here locally so I need all the support I can get. Spread the word for me if you can. Who knows, maybe someone from Houston will read it on your blog.

It's really really late and I need to get to bed. I'm up because my in-laws were over and we were playing this fun dice game they showed us and we were having drinks. It's always fun but I stay up way too late.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Great News

Miranda (age 5) was accepted into the Vanguard Program (Gifted & Talented) here in HISD! We received the letter of acceptance today. But best of all she was accepted into our first choice school! I am so excited and happy for her! I told her about it and it didn't mean that much to her but then I reminded her of the test that she took at the end of January.

She asked me, "So I answered it right?!" all excited.

"Yes I told her, you answered everything right!"

Now we have to get ready for school and for the orientation, making sure she's up to date with all her shots, etc. Goodness! I feel like I'm going to school for the first time. I'm so happy for her.

You know that as a parent you know that your child is the smartest child in the world, but when someone else validates it, it feels great. I've always thought that she's very good at analytical problems when I've worked with her on her workbooks but this test confirmed it. She scored really high on that part. Actually higher than her verbal. And those of you who know her verbal ability know what that means. She actually scored just above average on the verbal and reading and not so great on the math.

I've been bad about the math. I'm not very math inclined myself so I haven't spent that much time on the math with her. This is something I promise to work harder on with her from now on.

OK my friends and readers. I'm off to shower and get ready for bed.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Back from LA

Well I'm back. I have a sore throat, all kinds of weird things happened on the trip, and Rey and the kids got stuck in Cali and I had to come home without them. Terrible feeling! On a good note Miranda got to see Disneyland. She rode Mr. Toad, It's a Small World, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, Winnie the Pooh, the Teacups, climbed Tarzan's tree house, saw the parade, the fireworks, and watched the bird show in the Tiki Room.

She had an overall good time, even though she didn't get to ride too many rides because of the crowds. Once she and Rey were standing in line and right before they got on the ride closed.

We also got to go to the La Brea tar pits on Friday and that was really interesting for her because she loves scientific things like that. We had dinner in Chinatown too.

All in all a fun time with a lot of not so fun things mixed in. Rey and the kids were flying on my sister's tickets and that wasn't a good thing. They got stuck in LA and had to fly to San Diego. At least they got to see the cousins and they left there this early afternoon. They should be home this evening.

When I was at Disney I saw the Tiki Room and it brought back so many memories. I remembered being there with my mom when I was 11 and how she would tell the story about the Tiki Room for years to come. I remembered really enjoying the show with her and when she talked about it I knew that she had really enjoyed it too. So when I saw the Tiki Room was still there I got excited and I wanted to share it with Rey and the kids.

It was so funny sitting there watching those birds sing because I realized that there was really nothing spectacular about that show. I kept thinking about my mom as I sat there trying to figure out what she had found so entertaining about this show. When it was finished I mentioned this to Rey and his answer made sense. He said my mother came from a generation who considered this very advanced. Mechanical birds singing! My mother came from a generation who still went to the theater and watched news reels because there was no such thing as TVs.

I think that when you live in the society that we do, where it really is the information age, you take that for granted. Now that I saw this show again, with all the technology that I've been exposed to in my life, it didn't seem as entertaining. Interesting...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Is My Blog a Waste of My Time??

I was at an event last night, the Houston Hispanic Media Professionals gala. By the way, the speaker John QuiƱones was entertaining, inspiring, and touching. He reminisced about his friend Sylvan Rodriguez, for whom the gala is named.

Anyway, I was sitting next to a published writer who writes full time and I told him how envious I am of him. He was telling me that the most important thing for a writer to do is to write every day. I agree with him wholeheartedly and I told him that I have a blog. He told me something that Rey is always telling me too. He said that my blog is a waste of my time. He said it's for pure entertainment and not real writing.

I agree to a certain point with him but I would never go as far as saying that my blogging is a complete waste of my time. I agree that I should be doing constructive writing every day. I should be working on my novel, finishing my first draft, then moving on to the editing process.

However, with all that I have going on in my life right now, trying to achieve physical and spiritual balance, I haven't really had the time to do constructive writing. I know I need to, and I plan on going back to it, but I need do this right now. Blogging gives me the opportunity to write something. To practice with my words in some way, even if it's not in a great literary way. Am I making any sense?

Therefore I don't consider blogging a waste of my time. Not if I'm aware that it doesn't' take the place of real writing. I want to finish what I'm working on now because I want to move on to work on a young adult piece I've often thought about writing.

For now I need to work on my laundry and I need to start packing! I'm going to LA next week for an advertising conference and Rey and the kids are coming too. We're taking Miranda to Disneyland on Saturday. More about that later!