Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Whole Lot of Nothing and a Whole Lot of Stuff

Design by Anne Taintor. My sister just gave me napkins with this phrase on them. Love em!

Last week I went to the Book & Author Dinner here in Houston and I totally enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed meeting Julie Powell of Julie & Julie fame and Charlaine Harris, the original creator of the True Blood characters. I'm not a vampire show fan but the writer herself was so inspiring.

An added bonus to the night was meeting Alison Cook, the restaurant critic, in person. She is SO COOL! I can't wait to go on a tour of Houston's chicharrones with her.

I wasn't planning on a quiet calm night tonight but it ended up working out that way. My friend was going to come over with her girls and her nephew and she canceled on me. Her kids were tired from their Fall Festival. We had ours today too but my little one napped so he was ready to play.

So we're just hanging out instead. Just relaxing and sipping on a Bloody Mary.

Recently I think I talked about taking the Strengths Finder test. It was either here or on my skirt! blog.

I took it for work and then I bought the book for my husband and he took the test too. I think it's a great barometer to help you become aware of your strengths.

I found out that they have the same book for kids. It's called Strengths Explorer. It's for children ages 10-14, but I think my daughter can handle the test. Once she takes the test and I take a look at it I can see how I can apply it or tailor it to my five year old boy.

I think that lately I've been going about things the wrong way. Instead of focusing on his weaknesses I'm going to start focusing on his strengths. He's such a smart little boy, but he's full of energy and he doesn't make the right decisions many times. I know he has it in him to make the right ones. So that's my goal. I ordered the StrengthExplorer book today.

My daughter is a born winner in life. She's self-motivated. She's the kind of person that's a self-starter. I hardly have to tell her to do her homework. She takes out her books when she gets home and starts working. She goes on the computer to the different sites she has to go to and does the extra work. She's just a doer. I know that if she keeps on the same path she will be successful.

My friend Lizbeth Ortiz had a phenomenal art show at Bohemeo's on Tuesday. I want to buy something from her. I bought a tiny heart in a box that is too cute, but I'd like to buy one of her larger pieces.

Next week my high school celebrates FIFTY YEARS! They are having a all alumni reunion anniversary. It should be a great event. I'm looking forward to that. It will be held at the high school and we'll be able to visit our old stomping grounds.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Some of Houston's Best Kept Secrets

Sculpturworx- David Adickes Studio
2500 Summer Street

I've known for a long time that local artist David Adickes had his studio on Summer Street near the Heights, but I had no idea that I had driven past it so many times in my life. It's right up the street from the new Target off of I-1o. The studio is up Sawyer from Target and to the right on Summer Street.

The coolest thing about the studio is that the yard is full of sculptures. Most of them are behind a tall fence but a couple are out in the open, like Obama. It's like going to a museum or art gallery exhibit.

For those of you who aren't familiar with David Adickes he is the sculptor of the famous tall Sam Houston in Huntsville and the man with the cello downtown in front of the Lyric Center. He's also created the president's heads on I-10 & 45 and the big Beatles statues.

My sister visited this weekend and we went to Sculpturworx as well as Casa Ramirez in the Heights. We had a wonderful time on 19th Street walking through some of the shops.

My sister came bearing gifts. She brought the kids a really cute and old book "Millions of Cats" by Wanda Gag. They loved it.

She also brought me the cutest little blue apron with shoes all over it and she got me a 2010 Anne Taintor calendar.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back to Restriction and Eating Healthy

Magnet by Anne Taintor

I guess I've posted this image before because it was in my files. Today it's appropriate because I'm going to get a fill tomorrow.

Almost four weeks ago I got really tight, like abnormally tight. I couldn't get anything down. I had been sick and I'd had a lot of sinus drainage. It was affecting my lap band too. So I went in to have some fluid taken out of the band. When I got there I realized that I hadn't been there in 6 months and I hardly even lost any weight. What a waste of time!

The crazier part is that I was so tight most of the time. It doesn't even make sense. The only think I can attribute it to is that since I couldn't eat most of the day my body thought it was starving. So when I could finally eat late in the evening I ate too much and my body held on to all my fat.

On top of that I had the umbilical surgery at the beginning of August and I couldn't really work out for four weeks. Four weeks turned into eight and then twelve. That can happen so easily.

So I had them take out .7 cc from the band and I was able to eat for a change. It was a nice break. I still haven't eaten breakfast or even tried. I only have coffee and a protein shake. I've been having a more "normal" lunch and dinner. Not every day, but it's been nice to have some flexibility in my diet. Some days I still only have soup for lunch and a small dinner.

Tomorrow I go back in to get tightened up again. It's time! I had a good break. I ate some things I had missed, like Kim Son Vietnamese and Sawadee Thai. Now it's time to get back on the wagon. I'm going to get a fill tomorrow, but I'm going to tell them to only put .3 cc back. I think it's a good half way point. I'm going to see how that works.

This whole process has been an interesting journey. I've actually learned a lot about myself and my addictions. I have addictive behavior. I've pretty much recognized that about myself. I transferred some of my addiction to food to other things. I recognize that what I need to work on is my addiction instead of what I'm addicted to. I believe that recognizing this about myself has been the most valuable benefit of the lap band. I also believe that realizing this and admitting it is very healthy of me. It is one of the things that I want to change about myself as I enter forty.

Every time I think about this I think about what my lap band doctor told me the day before my surgery. He said, "Some people get a lap band here (pointed at his stomach) but they don't get a lap band here (pointed at his head)." That has stayed with me every since.

I know I have been less than perfect. I could have lost more weight, and I still can. I just need to find my groove again and I will get there. I need to get back to the gym. I know what I need to do. Get off my butt and exercise!

My husband has been following a vegetarian diet with fish and it's working really well for him. I need to support him in his endeavor and in the process I too will feel healthier. I've already cut all bread and rice from my diet. I can cut meat now too. Fish is so good for you!

So that's my plan. To cut all red meat and chicken out of my diet and to start exercising on a regular basis again. I'm putting it out there so I can be more accountable.

The next 3 days will be my kick in the butt. After a fill I have to stay on liquids for two days and then soft foods for the third day. That's always tough but it's what I have to do when the lapband and therefore my stomach has been moved. It's also a good launching pad into increased restriction. So we shall see!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reflections and Updates on Life

I wish I had something really deep and meaningful to share with all of you, but I don't really. At least nothing that hasn't already been said before or recently.

My husband made an interesting observation today. Our son could very well be Asian at heart. He loves fish, egg rolls, and red chicken. I cracked up because it was all true. Our daughter loves Chinese food too, but I just think that's because I ate so much Chinese and Vietnamese food when I was pregnant with them.

Today when I was on the freeway driving between our two offices I saw a big beautiful butterfly up high on the overpass and I thought it was such a funny and uncommon sight. I wondered what the butterfly was doing up so high and over a freeway. It reminded me of the butterfly in You've Got Mail that goes inside the subway.

Tomorrow I'm going to my college Homecoming. It's been years since I've been to one and lately I've been feeling kind of bad for not having better school spirit for my Alma mater, especially when they are doing so well in football. So tomorrow is the day I will revisit my old university stomping grounds. I'm even going to tailgate! I've never done that before. Should be interesting and fun. To do something like that I reached out to my college friends who I know have the most school spirit for instructions. I'll let y'all know how it goes. I may even post pictures of me in my UH t-shirt. But I WON'T be wearing a mum! LOL! Remember those? I used to love mums when I was in high school.

Speaking of Alma maters, I found out yesterday that one of my old high school classmates, and member of the football team, passed away. Apparently he had very serious diabetes and he'd lost an eye and part of his foot. AT THIRTY-NINE!! Amazing! I can't believe people my age are starting to die from diseases. Usually it's a car accident. Makes you think of your life and your health.

And speaking of healthy people, living long and car accidents. Many of you ask me about my dad and wonder how he's doing after that horrible beating that he received almost a year ago. He has recovered really well from his hip replacement surgery and walks almost 100% normal. There is a very slight limp there, but it's almost impossible to detect. He also started driving again. He never stopped driving because someone told him he couldn't drive. It was self-imposed. Many people don't know that so they are always shocked when I tell them that he's driving. Two of my sisters have been brave enough to ride with him and they report that he drives OK. Thank goodness!

Okay. I'm about to make a decision about the house. We are either going to knock it down and rebuild or we're going to seriously remodel. Something has got to happen in 2010. I mean, I want to get something started first thing in January or sooner. (is that a word?) I need to figure out where we'll live if we knock down. I still wish Rey would agree to build a garage apartment or cottage first so we can have somewhere to live. Then later we can either 1. Rent it out, 2. His parents can live behind us or 3. My father can live with us as he gets older. The man will be 86 in March.

Another thing. My weight is standing completely still. It doesn't want to go anywhere. I think it's because I'm going to be forty. It's probably because I drink too much. But I have this terrible fear that if I don't lose more weight soon it will be even more impossible to lose it after forty. I'm tired of saying I'm going to do something about it. I really need to do something soon. Like in the next four months soon! Wow, I've been using the word "soon" a lot today.

I've lost 40-45 lbs since 2007, but I would really like to lose more. Always more! I think the best thing about losing weight is that people are saying I look younger. Thus the dreaded forty doesn't seem so bad if I'm a smaller forty year old.

My son has been doing beautifully in school, I am happy to report. He has his good days and his bad days, but for the most part he is doing really well. He's learning! And that's the most important part. He went on his first ever field trip on Tuesday to the Oil Ranch. I chaperoned. It was a blast and I was tired too.

My daughter is still the big ol'nerd like me but way smarter. She is so self-disciplined. It's beautiful!

Okay, so that's it for me. I have blogged. I need to blog more I know. I need to think of a better topic next time, but it's good to update you all on my life every once in a while. That's why I started this blog five years ago anyway.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Take the Compliment and Run!

Notebook design by Anne Taintor.

Something happened tonight that hadn't happened in a long time. My five year old little boy fell asleep in my arms while watching a movie. I took a moment to enjoy the moment before carrying him to bed. I know that those moments are very short lived and for one, I won't be able to carry him to bed much longer when he gets heavier. I am practicing living in the moment and appreciating what I have before it's gone.

Whenever I talk to friends, and even to my husband, they often say to me, "You have to blog about that."

Of course when the time comes for me to blog I can't remember a any of those topics. I need to make a note in my blackberry each time that happens. So now that I remembered one thing I have to blog about it.

Thursday night at my meeting I complimented a friend like I often do and she did something that I've noticed she always does. So I pointed it out to her. Almost every time I pay her a compliment she says, "Thank you but..." and she goes on to list some imperfection.

"Why do you do that?" I asked her, "Why can't you just accept the compliment and then bask in its greatness?"

"I don't know," she answered honestly. She mentioned that maybe it's because her self esteem is low right now.

We do that. Women that is. We can't just accept the compliment and say, "Thank you!" and then feel fabulous. She agreed and then she suggested that I should blog about it.

This week I am going to practice that. I am going to say, "Thank you!" and I will not follow it up with any type of excuse about my love handles, inner thighs, or double chin. OK, you get the picture. There I go again, admitting "all kinds of things" about myself.

But seriously, take the compliment and run. We all have gifts and talents. We are all unique. We need to celebrate that. We are our own worst critic when we should be our best cheerleader.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Turning 40 Reflections

Design by Anne Taintor

I'm still four months away from turning 40 and yet I find that I have really been reflecting on my life and what I've done thus far. What's scary about that is that I am still four months away and I wonder how I'll react when I finally do hit the big 4-0, technically the half way point of my life. Since my mom died at 69 and my dad is still alive at 85, forty is a good average age of my half way point.

Several of my friends turn forty this year too. My cousin, who was my closest childhood friend, turns 40 in a couple of weeks. My childhood best friend turned 40 in August and my elementary school best friend turns 40 this month. My middle school-college best friend turns 40 in December. Another middle school-college friend is having a big group birthday party with a bunch of friends who all turned 40 in 2009.

Lately I'm really interested in all my friends who are turning 40. I wonder how they are all taking this milestone. I wonder what they are really thinking and feeling. Are they freaked out or are they taking it in stride?

I think that what's freaking me out the most is that I feel like I still have so much I haven't done. I feel selfish saying this sometimes because I have done more than a lot of people and I completely appreciate this. I have two beautiful brilliant children and a husband who loves me. I've traveled a lot. I have an interesting job and I work for an exciting company and other things for which I am thankful. And yes I am thankful, but I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting more.

In the next four months I will be revising my goals and I will be really thinking about what I still want out of life. Writing plays a big part of it and will continue to play a big part of my future until I really give it the time that it deserves. I'm going to revise the timeline attached to each of those goals. The top of the list after writing will be my health and my home. I need to make a decision regarding this house. Will I remodel or rebuild? Once and for all I need to decide.

I think we should all take the time at least once a year to review our goals. I usually do mine at the end of the year and then review them again on my birthday in February.

In the past week I have taken two really thought provoking tests. One was the StrenthsFinder 2.0 test, which I was encouraged to take at work. StrengthsFinder 2.0 says my Top 5 Strenghts are: Communication, Learner, Activator, Woo, and Input. Woo means I love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. Activator means I'm impatient for action. Input and Learner both have to do with my love for learning and archiving what I learn. And well, Communication is pretty self explanatory. I am the master communicator. It even says that I am comfortable admitting "all sorts of things" about myself. I guess that's why I'm a blogger and a writer.

A few days ago I also took the life purpose test in the November issue of O Magazine. The test is "Who Are You Meant to Be? Self Assessment Test." My highest score was in Style #3- Striving to be Creative. I was not surprised by that response. What was funny was that FOUR areas all tied for second place. These were: Recognized, Spontaneous, Knowledgeable, and Secure.

Now I'm going to take all these latest finding about myself and I'm going to think about how they fit into my new goals for 40+.

When I was twenty-five my older sister died of cancer. She was only forty-two. Now I am about to be forty and I realize even more how fragile life can be.

Henry David Thoreau said, "Live the life you have imagined." Are you?

So, what are your goals for the coming year? What have you accomplished in your life?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Being a Mother & Surviving

Anne Taintor is SOOOO hilarious!!! She just cracks me up so much! Her phrases on her merchandise just capture life's crazy moments. One reads, "had she really hit Reply to All?!?!?" I wonder if I'm Anne Taintor's biggest fan? Some of my friends on Facebook would probably agree that I am. I'm always referring to one of her sayings or another for different topics.

I just blogged about being a mother and working full time over on skirt! if you want to check that out. It really is a miracle that I can work full time and take care of two children.

I so often think back to when I got married and I decided I wanted children. I was really blessed with a great baby. She was so good! But I always believed that I could not have only one child and I didn't want them years apart. I didn't want them too close together either, but not too far. I think three years was the perfect age difference. They play and they fight, like all siblings.

Now that I'm the mother of two, I must admit that having two children is HARD!! Way harder than I imagined. Maybe if I was at home with them full time and I had them on set schedule I wouldn't feel this way. Maybe...But here I am and I have two extremely hilarious children. I know it's challenging but I also know that they are going to be awesome as long as I do my job of loving and nurturing them.

I am so sick still! My voice is still a little hoarse and I need for it to clear up before tomorrow. If I do have to stand up in front of our ad division I'm going to sound more like Peppermint Patty than ever.

I feel sorry for the kids. We've pretty much been holed up in the house all weekend and I was gone last week. I'm sure they enjoyed just having us home. Plus their cousins came over to play with them yesterday.

Speaking of yesterday, I was so proud of the UH Cougars yesterday for their win over Texas Tech. That was a nail biting game!

The weekend is almost over. Only a few hours left and it's back to the routine tomorrow. I hope I'm well enough this week to start walking again. I want to build up to running. I think the Fall-Spring is the best time to take up running.

You all have a wonderful week until we meet again!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Case of the Missing Blogger

Me on South Beach (Miami) in my Latina Lista t-shirt. Photo by Rey Ruiz.

I've been seriously MIA for too many reasons to even start talking about. Cousin's reading, Open House for Kids' School on two different days, and so on... Then I had to get ready to go to Miami for work. Miami is so nice and the beach was beautiful! It felt like a vacation Saturday when we were at the beach.

I was at the AHAA conference (Association of Hispanic Ad Agencies) Wednesday-Friday and then I stayed over the weekend for fun. Rey played while I worked and then we met up in the evenings for the events.
Wednesday night we got there and they had a nice welcome reception with free drinks. We just had dinner at the hotel bar because we were tired. Thursday Rey ran around town and went down to South Beach while I was in the conference. We had a 5 p.m. reception and then a 9 p.m. one at a cool Rooftop Bar at a hotel down the street.
Friday I was at the conference again and that evening we went out to South Beach and had a really good time. The place was amazing! And crazy!! The architecture of the hotels is just breath taking. Every hotel has a beautiful design.
The women dancing on the streets is crazy!! They are just out there dancing in front of the bars to attract customers. How wild!

Saturday was a little different. We went to the beach during the day, had lunch at an awesome place called Jerry's Deli. It reminded us of a really good New York deli. That night we went back to South Beach and that time we went out to a place called Lincoln Mall that reminded me of Europe. It has a big open plaza area from one street to another with stores, restaurants and clubs on each side.
We really didn't do anything on Sunday because we were coming home. It was a short but nice trip.
Traveling without the children is always a mixture of guilt and happiness. On one hand yes, I feel happy to be away and to be able to have adult conversations with my husband. On the other hand I feel a little guilty that I'm enjoying a really cool city without them. It's a weird mix. But in the end I know that I'm a happier mom because I did have this time away from them and that I get to recharge my batteries.
I was very inspired by this conference in a creative way. There was one really amazing speaker, Don Wieden of Wieden + Kennedy, the ad agency for Nike and all those great quotes I LOVE. Funny, because I so admire the Nike campaigns. He was really an inspiring guy.
One thing I was really motivated to do this trip was to finish a song that Rey and I started a while back. Well really Rey, but I helped along. It's such a great song and it deserves to be finished. So that's my goal this week.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Oscar Casares Reading from Amigoland (possible Oprah book choice)

Photo by Marsha Miller from Oscar's official website.

Only three days from now my cousin Oscar Casares will be reading from his novel, Amigoland, at his sister's (and my cousin too) restaurant, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen. 6401 Woodway Dr, near Voss. He's reading Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. but Sylvia will be serving a $12 buffet starting at 6:30 p.m. The bar will be open too.

I've written several times about Oscar and about his book. His book has been very personal to me, because I recognized the characters in his book, even if the average reader didn't. His two characters are so familiar and the book made me so happy and so sad at the same time. The two main characters are older men. And their personalities are so much a mix of Oscar's dad, my dad and our Uncle Hector.

To make things even more exciting... There are rumors flying about what will be Oprah's newest book club choice. On the list of possible suspects is no other than Amigoland! If Oscar's book is chosen this will be an amazing success story for him and for our family name. I hope that if you're in Houston you can come by and hear him. I will be there too and I would love to see as many people as possible there. So spread the word!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Depeche Mode Was Awesome & More

Depeche Mode in Houston, TX, 8/30/09. Photo by Rey Ruiz

Last time I went to see Depeche Mode the Summit had just become the Compaq Center. They put on a great concert then. I don't know if it's that I'm older and I appreciate a good concert more now or if it's that I don't remember the last concert as well. The concert was so totally amazing! I read a great review on The Houston Chronicle's newest entertainment blog, Peep. It was written by no other than Joey Guerra. Read it and get chills.

On to other news. Read my skirt blog and the Peep blog (once again the Peep) about my cousin Oscar's upcoming reading at my other cousin's restaurant, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen. He will be reading from his novel, Amigoland.

As you can tell, I'm up and running again. Kids started school last week and I started work full time. I've been exhausted every day. My son started Kindergarten and he has brought home homework every day since school started. Well, they actually send a pack of five worksheets for him to work each day.

I'm online and blogging way too late as usual so I will say good night now. I need to go make school lunch for tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm Out of Time!

Design by Anne Taintor. Check out their website.

I had such an ambitious To Do list written out for my time at home. I was going to finish my son's baby book and I was going to work on various projects. The only thing I was successful at working on was my writing. Other than that I spent my time playing a game, taking care of the kids, and logging on to work at least once a day. Just those things alone took up the whole day. Although I didn't plan on working while being out sick I was inevitably called at least once a day by my assistant. That took up time too.

Here I am at the tail end of my sick leave. I can drive now, although very limited. I've only done it once and to the store. Now that school is starting in one week exactly I have a few errands I need to run. I need to get school uniforms tomorrow. I need to register the kids for the After School program. Dance and Sports for my daughter again and Sports for my son. I'm thinking of adding a second activity to his schedule but I haven't decided what yet.

These last four days are going to just FLY by! I know they are. At this point I can only try to get the most important things done. We have Ice Cream Socials at the kids' school and they get to meet their teachers, Tuesday for one and Thursday for the other.

My cousin also has a reading Tuesday night at Brazos Bookstore. I'm going to try to swing both the school thing and the reading if I can. I may get to the reading late, but I want to show up for moral support.

Busy week ahead! And then there's my follow up doctor's appointment on Thursday so that I can go back to work on Friday. Fun!

I'm going to miss being a stay at home mom! Other than the housework, I think I'd be really good at it. In between everything else I also need to get my laundry done. It's amazing how much can pile up when you're limited on what you can do.
Back to work, back to reality! Just the thought of it is too much!! Calgon take me away, already!
Oh! And I'm already having crazy nightmares about the whole start of school thing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Being a Stay at Home Mom is Awesome (Minus the Housework & the Pain)

Magnet by Anne TaintorI woke up early to tend to my crops on Farmville. Yes, Farmville. You heard me right. I am a virtual farmer with a farm. At least until I have to go back to work. It's been fun while it lasts and not something I'll have time for when I'm working and the kids are at school. I've said that this is how you know that I'm really sick and recuperating because I'm actually playing an online game.

I'm not going to lie, it's been AWESOME!! Except for the pain part that is. That part wasn't awesome the first few days. But Monday until today have been great because the pain is minimal now and I'm feeling a lot better. It's crazy though that it's abdominal surgery and that although I may be feeling better on the outside the inside still has to stick together. I'm not supposed to really drive for the two weeks that I'm out so I've been good and I haven't gone anywhere.

What's even more awesome and this is probably the reason why I've loved being at home, I haven't been able to do any housework or laundry. I've just washed dishes, lightly swept up, and just stretched the comforter back on the bed. But no hardcore cleaning or washing has been done. Yeah, that's the kind of stay at home mom I want to be!

Last night my wonderful saint mother-in-law called and said she was taking the kids overnight until Thursday. I was beside myself! I started thinking of all the things I would do today.

I decided to start my day early and I woke up when my husband did. But after I checked my farm this morning and harvested my pumpkins I decided I was going to go to bed for another hour. I set my alarm and laid down. I had barely been down a few minutes when the phone rang. It was my 85 year old father calling to tell me somebody stole his cell phone. He thought it might have been the neighbor or maybe the neighbor's worker who came by his house yesterday. He said those were the only strangers who had entered his house.

I asked him if he'd tried calling himself. He hadn't, of course. I told him I'd call him so he could look around for the phone if he heard it ring. He answered it the 2nd time I called him. He said he put it on a different plug to charge overnight and he’d forgotten. To add to that he had placed a towel on top of the phone and he couldn’t see it. My daddy!

While I was talking to him my husband called so I just figured I was up for the day. I made coffee and got settled in and I set up my writing area.

First I wrote my skirt! blog and then I started working on my short story. I started writing the story long hand in June. Now I'm typing it in so I can finish it and submit it to a literary journal. I'm taking a break from that to write here for a bit.

Tonight when my husband comes home we're going out for a romantic tête-à-tête at our favorite local restaurant. Even better, I'm off all the medications so I should be able to have a little drink. Yay!

Later in the evening I'm going to prepare for our meeting (religious) for tomorrow night quietly and uninterrupted by children. BLISS!

On to writing and on to dinner with husband and on to preparing for my meeting tomorrow. The day is almost over! Seize the day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Green Mile Moment

Magnet by Anne TaintorI don't often discuss the nasty side effects of the lap band because you all would just think I was downright gross. But I have to share this story because it's SO GROSS and freaking hilarious all at the same time. So prepare yourself if you aren't into hearing gross stories especially those that have to do with puke.

Okay, one nasty side effect is that food sometimes gets stuck and I either have to wait patiently for it to pass through the small opening that now goes to my stomach or I have to let it back out. I know it sounds gross but it's not like nasty bile vomit. It's more like I skim off the top before it's been digested and gets all gross and stinky. Are you grossed out yet? Well I think I am just describing it to you.

So if you are brave enough to keep reading. A couple of days before my surgery I stopped by Starbucks to get a coffee. I was running late and what's even better to do when you're running late but to just run later, right? After I got my coffee and I took a few sips I started feeling really "tight." That's the sensation that I feel in the morning a lot of times because my lap band is tighter when I wake up. I feel like I can't swallow very much and the coffee goes down slow. Forget drinking anything cold first thing. I usually drink something hot, like coffee, and I'm better.

But this morning in particular it was not getting better. In fact after a few sips I was feeling worse. What was even weirder was the granulous (I know not a word but the only one I can think best describes it) feeling that I was getting in my throat, like sand or something grainy like that. Weird. As I approached work it got even worse so as soon as I got into the building I ran into the restroom to get it out. That's when it happened.

I had my "Green Mile Moment." You know the moment. When John Coffey (like the drink only not spelled the same) spits out all the evil into tiny little specs. THAT is what I threw up. YES! I threw up all the evil I had inside. It was like I had eaten something (this is even grosser) the day before maybe?? and it was stuck in there in tiny little grains. OR Rey thinks that maybe there was something in my coffee and I didn't realize it. Either one is gross and I don't know which one is worse.

Rey asked me if "I took it back." I laughed so hard when he said that. I told him I'd gotten all the evil out like John Coffey.
I told one of my sisters the story today and she said, "Thanks a lot for telling me this as I eat some peanuts and they are grainy." LOL!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pain is NOT my Friend

By Anne Taintor. Order yours today!

I'm not good with pain. Of course that's hard to believe when you consider the fact that I went twenty-two hours with no pain medication when I was giving birth to my first child. I so desperately wanted to have a natural child birth, void of any drugs. I literally heaved and tried to throw up from the pain.

I got to the 22 hour mark and the doctor said, "No!" I hadn't dilated to 10 and the baby was big. Now they were asking me to hold her in and to wait for the epidural. The anesthesiologist was in shock that I hadn't received an epidural and now he had to administer it in between my hard contractions. I sat on the edge of the bed, my head pressed hard against my husband's chest. My hands gripped his arms even harder. The doctor watched the monitor for my contractions and asked for my input. In between each contraction he steadily stuck the needle into my spine. I thought he was the most talented anesthesiologist ever. He didn't paralyze me for life as I had feared. Having a sister who was an OBGYN nurse and told horror stories since I was a baby didn't help.

I had another c-section after that one and the 2nd one hurt more than the first. I actually felt the epidural going in that time. I say it's because it was scheduled and planned and I knew it was coming. The first time everything happened so fast and I had already gone to that dark place with pain that the epidural was a piece of cake. I also healed slower from the c-section the second time around.

A year and a half ago I had elective surgery and that didn't hurt too bad. So I guess I wasn't really prepared for the pain I experienced from last week's surgery. Not fun!
When I removed the bandage a couple of days later and looked at my stitches I realized that they only went in through my belly button. I thought that he was going to cut around it as well for some reason. I was surprised that the stitches are all inside of my belly button.

No wonder it hurt so much! Our belly button is the center of our soul! Just think about it. When you are in utero you receive all of your nutrients through that cord that connects right into the center of your body. Now poke yourself in the belly button. Clean it out and see how it feels. Don't you feel a weird sensation? Now imagine being cut there... Not a great thought is it?

It's been five days since my surgery now and I'm finally off the strong stuff. I only had to take extra strength Tylenol yesterday. That Vicodin was evil! The side effects were killing me. I have no idea how anyone can become addicted to that horrible drug. What was Chandler thinking??

I'm feeling better but I still ache in my center. I still can only sleep on my back and not on my side like I like to sleep. I don't feel well enough to drive yet. But I can feel my body slowly healing. Our body is amazing, how we patch ourselves up.

A friend of mine experienced something really scary over the weekend that makes my surgery seem like small potatoes. Her leg had been bothering her for about three weeks and she just chalked it up to a pulled muscle. On Friday her leg became so swollen she ended up in the emergency room. It turned out that she had a blood clot in her leg and more in her lungs. She was very very fortunate that the blood clots gave her a warning sign in her leg. It shows us how important it is to pay attention to our body when it sends us a signal. Our body is talking to us every day. It’s our responsibility to listen. I’m glad my friend listened to hers because it saved her life.

Today is also the official debut of my cousin Oscar’s novel. You can read more about that over on my skirt! Blog.

I’m home these next 2 weeks and I’m going to pretend to be a stay at home mom/writer if I don't lose my mind first. I have a lot more to write while I’m here. I’ll keep you all posted.

P.S. Go over to Guanabee and check out this awesome interview with Oscar by my cousin Cindy.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Boxes and More Boxes

What is it with me, boxes and surgery? Why do those two things always come up around the same time? When I had surgery last time, around a year and a half ago, I had to go to my dad's to go through some boxes and to clean out my old apartment. It is too funny that I had to go and do the same exact thing this year before another surgery. Both times were situations where I had to go then and there and it couldn't wait. Both times I was about to have surgery and I had to get it done before then because I wouldn't be able to drive for a week.

The other reason it's funny is because I was sure that the box in his extra room wasn't mine. I was really surprised to find it full of old elementary school notebooks and some books. I'm convinced that it was brought out later, after the day I went through all the other boxes.

On a nice note, I found a couple of old books that I hadn't seen in a long time. I would have loved to have kept all those school notebooks but it would have been too much trash. I glanced at my childish writing and remembered the little girl I used to be. I just took the books and I'm going to tell my dad to dump the rest.

So today is my last day before my surgery. I hate surgery. I try to talk it up so I won't feel nervous but the truth is that I am a little nervous. I hate the thought of pain more than anything. YUCK!

I just swept and mopped my kitchen, living room and dining room. Now I'm going to throw some towels in to wash before I take a shower. I want to get some of those things out of the way before I can't move around for a few days.
Last post with the umbilical hernia. Next post will be post hernia. And if you want to see some really gross video of what a hernia surgery looks like go here. I'm warning you though. It was too gross to watch! I had to stop! Especially the day before my own surgery

Monday, August 03, 2009

Leopard Geckos, Bike Paths and More

See no one would probably believe me if I TOLD THEM that I saw a leopard spotted gecko. This little guy was inside the door of my garage. I had to get a picture of him or her to share. I took some bad pics with my camera phone and then Rey went and got a much better shot with the good camera.

Yesterday we (the family) saw something super cool! We were driving down Link St. between Airline and 45 and we came across a bike path with tiny little stop signs, yield signs and all. We got really curious so we went around the block a couple of times to see where it started and where it ended. Apparently it's part of a new City of Houston bike path project called Houston Bikeway Program.

The path so far only runs between Cavalcade at 45 and Enid St. right where 45 meets the 610 turn. According to something that I read online the paths are supposed to meet up with Metro bus and train lines. Very cool! We're wondering if it's going to eventually follow Little White Oak bayou to meet up with White Oak Bayou at Studewood Park. That would be even more cool!

The whole thing reminded me of Neighbors Project and how this is a really cool inner-city story to tell. So now I need to go over there to tell them about it.

I did something the other night that I hadn't done in ages. I spent the night at my in-laws house. Well, technically it's my brother-in-law's house, but being that they live there and contribute to the house in a big way I consider it their house too. My mother-in-law, the saint, is helping him raise his two children. The thing is that we went to a class reunion for Rey's classmates and rather than drive all the way home we just crashed at their house. The kids got a huge kick out of it and they got to have breakfast with their grandma and cousins in the morning. It was a nice treat.

So Wednesday is the day I go under the knife! I only have one more day of work and then I have a two week break. It will be nice to take a break and hang out at home for a few days and to be forced to take it easy. Even if I am going to be in all kinds of pain. Abdominal surgery is not fun. I've had it 3 times now. Two c-sections and a lap band.

So last but not least, I want to buy a swing set for my kids. Like one of those Rainbow swing sets. I checked on Craig's List and I saw one but I won't be ready to buy until September. So I will keep looking until then. But if anyone knows of someone selling one let me know.

OK that's all. Nothing too exciting to report here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Umbilical Hernias, Fear of Pain, and Death (it's fear of pain, not fear of death)

I wanted to post a picture of an umbilical hernia but they were just way too gross and I thought this picture of a little kid wearing a harness to hold in his umbilical hernia was better.

Every time I have to say I'm having surgery on my umbilical hernia I just cringe. I hate the way it sounds! I wish I was saying something a lot more exciting like I'm having a tummy tuck or something. But unfortunately I'm not. I'm going under the knife and anaesthesia next Wednesday to have this annoying thing fixed.

What else? Why is it that when you have a deadline like this over your head the days just fly back way faster than any other time ever? I am trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends at work and I need to make sure that I leave everything prepared for when I'm gone. The days are thus flying by like crazy.

And whenever I'm going under the knife and anaesthesia I get this little prick of fear that I'm either going to 1. wake up during surgery and that I'll feel everything or 2. that I won't wake up at all. I don't even know why I have that fear. I went completely under when I had my tonsils taken out when I was in 2nd grade, when I had all my wisdom teeth taken out when I was 16 and most recently when I had my lap band put in. Every time I've reacted well to the anaesthesia and I've woken right up like I was in a deep yummy sleep. So I don't know why I worry.

So Wednesday is the day. If I die know this. I didn't do everything I wanted to do in life but I got a bunch of good stuff done. I can't complain. (my friends hate when I talk about dying) I still didn't take my trip around the world.

But I CAN'T DIE because I'm hopefully going to MIAMI when I get back. YEAH! I have to go for work but I'm going to stay over the weekend like I often do when I'm going for work. I'm totally going to relax. I want to go to a spa so I can have a great massage and I'm going to go to South Beach. Can't wait!

Oh and on one last note my mother-in-law the saint took my kids overnight yesterday and Rey and I had the chance to go get margaritas at the little Mexican restaurant by our house and to be silly together. It was a great feeling. That's all.

P.S. Oh yeah, and Glow in the dark Mars Mud that we bought at the Children's Museum is awesome! It reminds me of that old Slime toy that was around when we were kids.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interesting Things This Week

I went to the lab to have some blood work done and it always amazes me how people dress out in public. My favorite was when the elevator doors opened at one point and there was a lady in big black rollers standing in front waiting for the elevator to go the opposite direction. She didn't even have a scarf on her head to cover or attempt to hide the rollers. Another lady was wearing house shoes. Like fluffy house shoes! Wow! Why do people do that? When I get old if I start doing either one of those things please lock me up!

Then I had a wonderful experience at the lab. The young girl phlebotomist almost killed me! She stabbed me in the left arm and then kept moving the needle around to the point that she made me scream from the pain! After all the torture she didn't even get any blood out.

So then she said she was going to take it from my hand and I told her, "NO! Please try my right arm first! I would rather you stick me in the arm again." It hurts really bad in the hand! When I had one of the kids I had to have the IV stuck in my hand and I cried from the pain, it was that bad. Thank goodness she was able to draw what she needed from my right arm. Now I'm sporting a little purple bruise on the inside of my arm.

I received the August issue of Texas Monthly and I'm calling it a Trifecta. There are three great things about this issue.

1. There's an excerpt from my cousin Oscar Casares' new novel Amigoland.
2. There's a review on Nina Diaz from Girl in a Coma,
3. In the cover story, "The 50 Best Burgers in Texas" Speedy Burger's Mexican Burger is listed as #48. Speedy Burger is down the street from my house on Irvington and I LOVE their Mexican burger. YUM! I'm so glad it got the recognition it deserves.

So it's official. I'm having surgery in early August. I have to have a hernia repaired. Yes, yuck, I know. On a bad note, yes it will be painful the first couple of days and yes, I have to be absolutely still for like a week.

But on a good note, I will be at home for two weeks and I have a list of things I'm going to do while I'm having to stay at home. Like finally finishing Seth's baby book. Yes, he's 5 and I'm just now finishing it. I also have a couple of other projects I need to get started and this will be a good opportunity to get them done.

The first week I can't drive and I have to be pretty still. The second week I think I can drive but I can't do anything strenuous. So the first week, after the initial pain wears off, I can get some of my projects started.

I know I encountered a lot of other interesting things this week but I can't remember them now. I'm getting old. Oh yeah! Which reminds me. It's now going to be 29 weeks to 40! The count down begins!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Daughter is Addicted to Astro Boy

My husband introduced my daughter to Astro Boy. It's a cartoon he used to watch in the 80s when he was a kid. My daughter fell in love and now she's been watching every show that's available on the Watch Instantly feature of Netflix.

I wikipedied him to see what it says about him and I was surprised to learn that the show ran from 1963-1966 in Japan and that it was actually the first anime cartoon. Rey thought that Speed Racer was first but I guess it was the first one we saw here in the U.S.

I think his red boots are hilarious and I told my daughter so. She said that he got those when he was in the robot circus. I'm worried. I also saw that there are 193 episodes and I'm afraid she's made it her goal to watch all 193.

I asked her and she told me only one season is available to view. Woo! Good! I'll have to monitor that.

It's Sunday and I brought a bunch of work home with me. But I also need to go grocery shopping and I need to work on my laundry.

I wanted to take the kids to the Children's Museum. I bought a membership for the kids and I'm yet to take them again. Why does that always happen? I think memberships are great for stay-at-home moms. Too much to do and never enough time!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Can Mexicans Dress?

Compact By Anne Taintor

I went to a Latina event and I was a little uncomfortable with the topic. I wondered if I was the only person who was embarrassed and the woman next to me confirmed that yes, she too wasn't too crazy about the topic. Maybe she had different reasons for feeling the way I did.

FIRST of all, it was in a public setting with non-Hispanic people around us. It was in a restaurant and people were eating nearby within earshot. We weren't in a private room. Then second, the topic was all about appropriate dress. I couldn't help but think that the non-Hispanic people around us who were hearing us were thinking, "HOW sweet! They're teaching the Latinas how to dress because they don't know better!" I wonder if I was the only one who had her intelligence insulted? Besides my neighbor of course.

Good grief! That was too hilarious! I almost wished I could have filmed it. It would have been priceless on Guanabee. My cousin would have cracked up over it.

Then I wonder, what makes people so snobby and what makes them think they are better than other people? It's an interesting social question. Growing up I went to a high school that was a really even mix of different races and social classes. I went to school with girls that acted like they were better than everyone else. Very likely their mothers raised them to think this way.
I was in the group of friends who were middle of the road, most of us were in nerds, but we were the kind of kids that were friends with everyone.

I find it very interesting that my daughter goes to elementary school with a lot of the kind of girls who seem to be the daughters of the girls I went to high school with. I have personally witnessed my daughter saying hi to a little girl in the hall and the little girl just continued to ignore her, with me walking alongside her. I couldn't help myself.

I had to say, "'Jane' doesn't seem to hear you. Either that or she hasn't been taught that it's RUDE not to say hello back when someone is saying hello to you." The little snot looked straight at me with a serious face and didn't say a word. And no, she was not deaf or blind.

All I can say is that this kind of training starts at home. I love my daughter's open personality. She says HI to everyone and tries to hug everyone at school. I'm sure she has her moments of rudeness too, don't get me wrong.

OK. Time to get in the shower and get my clothes ready for tomorrow. I need to make sure it's office "appropriate" for White Corporate America.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I've Been Missing For Several Reasons

(Drawing by Miranda of Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. Drawn while we were in New Orleans.)

My life has been as hectic as it will ever be. There was New Orleans, there was my district convention, work, and life in general as we see it today. I was also finding myself too wrapped up in Facebook.

Yes, Facebook. The cat is out of the bag. Even though I was set up on super private and you probably couldn't even view me, I somehow ended up with 188 friends. I was inviting all the friends.

I realized that Facebook was consuming my life. I was spending way too much time on there reading updates, sending friends gifts, drinks and taking silly tests. I took a look at both my blogs and also saw that I wasn't even writing any more!

A few years ago a published writer told me that I shouldn't wast time blogging. I was kind of annoyed when he told me that, but then I reasoned that it was his opinion and he only meant well for me, offering advise from a writer. I wrote about it here on this blog and received a lot of comments from friends encouraging me to keep blogging. I see it as a writing exercise.

THEN came Facebook. It became too time consuming! It was way worse than blogging any day. So I decided to take a look at my friends list and limit it to mainly family and "family." I cut out all other friends, including high school friends and professional contacts.

I didn't think anything of it at first but apparently it is a big deal. It prompted me to send out an e-mail to all my friends explaining my decision. I've caused conversations, e-mails have been sent to me and one sister called the other and told her she couldn't believe that I had done such a thing. She considered it terribly rude. Another sister, who get this, wasn't even on Facebook and has no idea why I did what I did, didn't even talk to me about it, said of course I had done that because it was a good example of how selfish I am. Good grief!

It's really weird to me that Facebook is taken so very personally. I can't believe that someone would think that I am removing them from my LIFE just because I removed them from my Facebook. It prompted me to create a someecard especially for that topic and with that line. How did Facebook become a substitute for life? How did it become a substitute for networking?

I'm also going to write a better more thought out blog for skirt! about this topic. I find it so sad and hilarious all at the same time. So keep an eye out for it.

P.S. I sent a follow-up e-mail to friends that I removed and told them I'm on Twitter. (For some reason Twitter isn't as addictive as FB) No one has requested to follow me so I take that to mean that 1. they're not on Twitter or 2. They said, "Forget you, forgot you! Never thought about you."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hello from New Orleans

Hello from New Orleans! This is my first mobile blog. I'm in New Orleans visiting my step-daughter who was just in a really bad car accident. She had some head trauma & her leg is bruised & hurt. Surprisingly she's doing OK. We are here for moral support & her dad wanted to make sure his baby was OK. It's late and time to sleep.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lust Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis

Maybe it's the book titles that do it. First there was Sex Murder and a Double Latte. Next came Passion, Betrayal, and Killer Highlights and then there was Obsession, Deceit, and Really Dark Chocolate. All wonderful titles! Now finally there is Kyra Davis' fourth Sophie Katz novel, Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss.

Sophie Katz is the creation of Kyra Davis and my favorite mystery heroine since Nancy Drew. She is smart, cute, silly, adventurous and more than a little addicted to Starbucks and chocolate. In this latest novel she is equally obsessed with a beautiful Victorian home that must be hers. But then, keeping with tradition, people start to die, Sophie finds the dead bodies, and she finds herself completely involved in a mystery.

The owner of the house is a little eccentric and has some really strange requirements in her contract, but Sophie is hell bent on getting the house. She meets an odd string of characters and the story gets even more complicated.

Kyra Davis proves once again what a talented writer she is with this fourth Sophie novel. Just know this. Sophie Katz is always the hero and somehow she always gets herself out of a sticky situation.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Second Child Syndrome

My poor little boy. He's the second child. His baby book is half the size of my daughter's. I promise myself I will catch up before he's old enough to realize it. I did move one step closer a few months ago when I ordered all the pictures I'll be using from Shutterfly in preparation.

He was two years old when my daughter started kindergarten and I must confess I have been more engrossed in her education than I have in his. I half joked that he will naturally have a head start by virtue of being a boy. Sadly I followed through on that joke and I feel guilty that I didn't as much time preparing him for the Vanguard test as I did my daughter.

Now I find myself at a precarious point in their lives. She starts third grade next year; she's half way through elementary school! She's also been blessed with an amazing intelligence that has her making straight As in a gifted and talented program. But I don't want to take that intelligence for granted next year. I still need to pay as much attention to her.

He's starting Kindergarten and I feel that this year is crucial because it will very well indicate how well he will do for the rest of his elementary school education. I am going to have to be so balanced next fall with my time. I'm going to have to divide my time equally between the two of them and Rey will also have to be very involved. We will have to divide ourselves up according to our strengths like we did when his daughter lived with us a few years ago when she was in middle school. Rey would tackle subjects like math and science and I helped with English and History.

One thing I've resolved to do is to stop whatever I am doing whenever my sons asks me to read to him. (within reason of course) I think that if he's asking for me to read to him I should take full advantage of that desire before it dies away like a flame on a cold night.

I did that today and then we talked about the sounds of the letters. I typed some short words on my laptop and then family names and he sounded out the first letter and guessed the word or name. So then I decided to test something on him. I got the "Dick and Jane" reader and read the first few pages with him. I was pleasantly surprised that he was able to sound out the first couple of letters and then he would guess the word. A teacher friend told me once that that's the beginning of reading so I welcome anything he can give. He just turned five and he isn't starting kinder until August. I have a good two months to work with him on his letters, phonics, and reading.

Now if I could only get that baby book finished too!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Really Do Love Beaver's, the Restaurant That Is

I had a really funny thing happen to me this week. I was reading Alison Cook's Chronicle blog all about Beaver's making some yummy dish with Spam and I love Beaver's. They have some of the best drinks ever!! Try the Opal Smash. So I commented that I love Beaver's.

The next day I was checking my yahoo e-mail and I thought that my message had been bounced back to me as inappropriate. I was all, "what in the world! (WITW- much cleaner than what other people use) I was cracking up and I told my husband and sister about it. I kept thinking, "That Chron, where is their mind? In the gutter?"

And I thought it was terribly funny but then I went back and decided to check my mail again and then I found out that the message had only bounced back to me because the person who is supposed to be one of the people that checks comments before they are approved apparently doesn't work there any more and that was all. I went and checked Alison's blog again and no, it was there. It was an approved comment. I laughed at myself. I think I preferred my first version of the story better. It was a lot more entertaining.

Speaking of Alison Cook, I forgot to mention in earlier posts that she went and checked out my cousin Sylvia's new restaurant on Woodway, near Voss and gave it a pretty good review. Check it out on I've been there several times and the food is really good. I haven't eaten mole in literally YEARS and she made me a believer again. Her mole chicken enchiladas are to die for!

Well it's Saturday and I'm off to my girlfriend's pool. She is so hospitable and she's letting her sister, mom and all her friends descend upon her pool with all our children. Ten children in all between all of us! It will be quite an adventure today. I'm taking the kids to give them swimming lessons. I haven't enrolled my kids in formal swimming lessons and sometimes I feel bad but then I remember the fact that I learned to swim from my sisters and I did just fine. Just another thing that this new generation of people feels is so necessary yet we did without.
Hello! I'm testing my blogger on my phone out of curiosity. Seems too difficult but maybe good for vacations. That's all!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Am Alive and I Do Know More than Music

OK. I'm not dead. I'm very much alive and very much caught up in all kinds of stuff and not enough of the good stuff. I am trying to juggle summer and too much freedom. Funny how that can be just as challenging as a restrictive schedule. I have too much time in the morning and I end up running like a chicken in the morning. I was really proud of myself this morning. I actually got to work a few minutes early to our 8:30 meeting. Amazing!

I don't want for life to pass me by so fast that I don't really appreciate the moments and make them count! I don't want for the days to speed by and that I miss all of these precious moments with my kids when they are little. But I also don't want to simply exist without any real meaning in life. That is my biggest fear. "Live to the point of tears." (camus)

My little boy was getting his hair cut Sunday and he was so cute having a conversation with the hair stylist. He kept asking her questions and she patiently answered every one. He was adorable! And my husband and I sat there just beaming and feeling so proud that our son is so smart and sociable. That's love!

The funniest question was when he asked the lady, "What happens when you put that bucket on your head?" (in reference to the old fashioned hair dryer) We laughed so hard! Earlier that day we had the joy of hearing him comment at our meeting, in his own words for the first time.

Tomorrow my daughter is modeling for the second time for the Uniform Superstore. She modeled for their mailer and newspaper insert last year and they needed another model again this year. She's really excited about doing it! So excited that she said "no" to a picnic field trip to model again. I knew she would. She's that big of a ham! Yesterday she too answered at our meeting on the fly and last week she answered in her own words and she made us so proud!

Stop and enjoy these moments. They will never be mine again. Regardless of what I believe about eternal life or what happens when we die, these moments, when they are little will never come back to me. This is it. This is the only time that they will be little like this. I must embrace it and rejoice in it. I will never be the mother of an eight and five year old child again...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Girl in a Coma on Houston skirt!

Go on over to the Houston skirt! June issue and check out my feature on Girl in a Coma.

It's really challenging writing for a publication after I've been blogging as long as I have. Especially since I'm so accustomed to writing in the first person and really saying how something spoke to me personally.

I loved interviewing Girl in a Coma for this story, but I couldn't say everything that I wanted to say in 640 words. I touched on the fact that I love the song Simple Man, but the words couldn't really grasp the feeling.

I listen to that song and I feel all of the passion in the words and the poetry. It's amazing to me that Nina Diaz was only 15 when she wrote that song and I told her. I told them that whenever that song comes on I tell the kids to be quiet and I turn the radio up and sing it. The kids already know the words. Maybe not a good thing!

Phanie laughed and said that it reminded her of when they were kids and their mom would turn up a song that she loved and she would tell them, "Listen to the words!"

The words to the song are powerful. Words like, "your eyes were the thrill of my life" and "your words made the poem called our lives."

"Simple man what dirty hands you have
oh the better to leave your greasy mark on
and oh ohhh how i missed you tonight."


Their new album, Trio BC, is just as good, if not better, than their first album. Go on over to to listen to a sample.

Some of my favorites are "El Monte," "Ven Cerca" (their first song in Spanish), "Bb," "Pleasure and Pain," and "Vino." Honestly, I think I like almost all the songs on this CD.

If you are in Houston this week and you'd like to check out their new CD, they'll be at Best Buy on Richmond and 610 on Monday at 7 p.m.

They'll also be at Fitzgerald's on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Fitzegerald's is on the corner of White Oak and Studewood in the Heights.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Procrastinator Extraordinaire with Girl in a Coma

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Toilet Eye (aka gangrene eye)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Daddy and His Notes

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

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

I get home and the note said this:

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

By by,

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

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

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

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

When I was a kid he always left notes everywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Laughed, I Wanted to Cry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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