Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Lazy Blog

Since it looks like I will never blog again I've decided to bring back an old meme from 2006. Wow! That's almost six years ago. Of course I updated it to what's currently going on in my life today.

I AM: Woman, hear me roar.

I WANT: A lot. I want to travel again.

I WISH: I could get myself organized.

I HATE: mean girls, unless they are really funny too.

I MISS: being a kid with no responsibilities and my mom. Always my mom.

I HEAR: Adele singing “Someone like You.”

I WONDER: what kind of adults my kids will be.

I REGRET: not sticking to Creative Writing or Journalism.

I AM NOT: as crazy as some people think. I’m actually quite normal with just a lot of passion.

I DANCE: like nobody’s watching.

I SING: terrible! One time my step-daughter told me that I sang like I was talking. That bad!

I CRY: at every sad movie and some not so sad ones but touching ones. I cry every time I watch You’ve Got Mail and I see that scene where she remembers her mother twirling her.

I AM NOT ALWAYS: a calm nice person.

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: Not much. I’m not a crafty person any more.

I WRITE: stories, blog essays, memes, emails, work proposals, and too much other crap besides my book.

I CONFUSE: cars. I never know what car someone drives unless it’s a red Porshe Carrera.

I NEED: to get busy renovating my home.

I SHOULD: Finish editing my book so I can self-publish.

I START: to do things I need to do, but then I’m easily distracted.

I FINISH: Work stuff all the time. I do better with deadlines and pressure.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Failing Miserably at Blogging Daily

So here we are November 7 and I haven't been blogging daily. In fact I've been failing miserably. So today I'm going to use the writing prompt on BlogHer. "How do I balance my family, work and blogging??"

Magnet design by annetaintor.com

Hmm... I don't. That's the most honest answer I can give. I am terrible at balancing anything. That's why I either don't eat or I exercise. Can't do both. That's why I can't blog, write, clean my house and do all the things I have to do on a daily basis all at the same time. I can either blog, take care of kid stuff, work on my book, exercise after work, or clean my house. Pick one.

That would be too ambitious of me if I did it all. Then everyone would be totally jealous of me and you wouldn't want to be my friend. So instead I just write totally honest blogs like this one. I think people think I'm just joking but I'm not.

Half the time I'm too exhausted to do anything. Some days are pretty calm at work but then I have out of the ordinary stuff happen and it's all kinds of crazy. Here is a good example. Last Friday I so needed a drink by the end of the day.

Before that, on Thursday my daughter told me that she had made enough points to try out for the all city band. Surprise! The only problem was that all the parents had to find their own transportation to the tryouts. I forgot to call a mom to ask her that night and the next day, Friday, I was emailing the group of stay at home moms who I knew would know someone. I received a reply from a mom in the early afternoon that she would take her to the band competition. In the meanwhile I was having a crisis with a customer at work.

So my Friday went like this: Found a ride for M to the band tryouts, worked, handled a problem with a customer, went to a meeting, signed divorce papers in front of notary, delivered papers to attorney, went to see upset customer from earlier call, found someone to pick up son, went to meet daughter at band tryouts (thank goodness it was close to the unhappy customer), got son from my sister, took the kids to ice cream, and went home. I was exhausted by the time it was all done but I still managed to meet my niece out for drinks that night. Priorities!

The thing is that the Tuesday prior to that was equally exhausting and I was at UH recruiting until 8 p.m. The next day, Wednesday, I had to make a presentation at work to a group of customers. I was tired. Thank goodness my daughter didn't have Odyssey of the Mind after school that day because I just wanted to rest.  That is what my life has been like lately.

So now you know why when I get home the last thing I want to do is clean or exercise. So the question remains, "How do I balance my family, work and blogging??"  I don't. I just take one day at a time.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

November is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)

So here we are. It's time to blog every day. National Blog Posting Month challenges us to blog once a day for the entire month of November. It's a daunting challenge because as many of you know, I don't blog every day. I already got started off on the wrong foot by not blogging on the 1st. I'm more of a 1-2 time a week blogger. Now the big question is, on which blog do I blog every day for the month of November? Part of me says skirt! just because of the community of writers. The other side of me says to do it here because of the crazy traffic that I've been getting lately.

Image from colleenspiro.blogspot.com
BlogHer will even be helping us along by giving us a writing prompt each day. So today I don't have a particular topic except that it's NaBloPoMo, so now you know. More interesting blogs to come hopefully.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"Love and Other Disasters" in My Life

This has been a pretty crazy week. Crazy in that unexpected things have happened and I've had to think fast.

Magnet by annetaintor.com

We had some changes at work that have made me have to step up to the plate and to take on some responsibilities I didn't have before. I thought I was being proactive and trying to think ahead, but I wasn't thinking far enough apparently. There was more for me to do.

On the home front, I'm working on my restroom remodeling and when the tile man came to start tiling my bathroom last Saturday morning I found out that I only had maybe a fourth of the tile I needed. I had to travel around Houston Saturday and Sunday visiting four different Home Depots to find enough tile. Lovely.

Then, I'm having challenges with my son and school. I'm afraid that on top of his challenging personality he's now being labeled and they are jumping on him for just looking at them cross-eyed. That can be emotionally challenging for him and also for me as the mom.

Finally, the divorce is final in the next week or so. Despite all of our differences, it is so sad to see fourteen years of work and our lives as a family changing. Life is such a series of struggles and challenges. It's how we handle them that makes all the difference.

"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment & making the best of it..."- Gilda Radner

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Miss My Funny Blogs

I've been looking over my blog lately at old posts. It's amazing that I've been blogging for almost seven years. I started when Seth was just a baby. Some of my blogs from 2008 had me laughing. Even the titles are funny. Like Wasp 1, Me 0 (zero)A Black Cloud With a Side of Rotten Meat, Vodka, Kids and check me out on skirt.com and I'm Full of Strep.

It made me wonder what happened to all my funny blogs. Why aren't my titles funny any more and why don't I blog about the funny things that happen to me? I know that I still have funny things happen now and then.

Magnet by Anne Taintor

Like today, I was walking with my son while my daughter was in her Odyssey of the Mind meeting. We were walking along and he looks me up and down and says with a straight face, "You know, you're not really fat. It's just your boobs that make you look fat."

Out of the mouth of babes! I guess I should take that as a compliment because children are honest and he was telling me that he doesn't think I'm fat. He was cracking me up. I love reading back on my blog at some of the other crazy things he has said to me over the years. He's such a boy!

I need to get back to posting funny blogs or at least funny titles to my blogs. I've been busy writing about goals, moving forward, exercise and even some sad pitiful ones like this one.

I feel like I'm past that sadness or whatever melancholiness (is that even a word?) that I've been feeling. Like I said yesterday (actually it was Monday but this blog counted it as Tuesday because it must have been past midnight) Fall is almost here and it's a time for new beginnings. I can't wait to wear fall clothes this Friday when it's cool. And maybe now my blogs will be funny again.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Come Back Fall & Go Away Mosquitos!!

It's 10:30 p.m. and the kids are in bed asleep and I can write a little. I looked at the weather 5 day forecast and I found out that fall is back on Friday. The high is 71 and the low is 47. I am so excited!!! I love fall!! I have said it before and I will say it again. (I know I say this every single Fall) Fall is the best time of year for me. Fall feels like new beginnings. It's the start of a new school year and football games. Exciting things always happen in the fall when it gets cold. Fall reminds me of New York.

Now if I only I could go to NYC!!  "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms." - Joe Fox in "You've Got Mail."

I love that movie. I've been thinking of it a lot lately with fall and all. One because I love the quotes and two, because I love NY. I can't wait to go back for a visit. I was meant to live in NY if I had been born wealthy.

I have a busy week ahead. Before I go to bed I need to wash my blender for my protein shake in the morning, wash and set my coffee pot, pack the kids' lunch, and get my gym bag ready. Tomorrow is my early morning meeting day so I need to leave everything prepared to leave at a decent time. I want to go to Studewood Park after work with the kids or maybe back to the bike trail. It's a great walking trail too. We roller skated on it last week. Fun but scary! I kept thinking I was going to fall. I'm not a spring chicken any more. It's the fear of falling that keeps me from really skating like I did when I was young. I need to let go of that fear!

Speaking of when I was young and football games. Oh Lort! I went to the UH Homecoming game on Saturday and we made the mistake of stopping by someone's (who will remind un-named to protect the innocent) fraternity tent on the student side. They gave us a bunch of jello shots to go. The first one I had at their tent wasn't too bad, but the second one I had at our tailgating tent was super strong.

I immediately texted this person and said, "Are those jello shots made with everclear???"

"IDK, I'll find out." Then a moment later, "Yes, and some have 151."

Me, "Argh!"

"Why? LOL"

I didn't tell him that everclear had not been kind to me at 21 and I guess it's still not kind to me at 41 either. No wonder. According to Wikipedia, "Due to its high alcohol content, Everclear is illegal, unavailable, or difficult to find in many areas."

All I had were 2 jello shots combined with my cranberry vodka mix and I was not feeling well for the rest of the night or into Sunday. Hilarious and sad at the same time. Old woman trying to keep up with the young frat boys. Who was I kidding! Ha ha! Needless to say I didn't drink for the rest of the game. How sad!

November is around the corner and so is the real fall. I can't wait! The cold needs to chase away this swarm of mosquitos in Houston.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random Stuff and I Forgot About Baby Bottle Nipples

So this blog is going to be about random stuff that has something to do with either reading, writing, blogging, newspapers, NPR, traveling, art museums, spirituality, learning, self-discovery, public education, inner-city living, old architecture, fashion, parenting, gifted and magnet school programs, Nike quotes apparently, and cupcakes at some point.

Defensive Driving has been kicking me in the butt and it really shouldn't have been. It was really really easy in retrospect but I made it really really hard on myself because I could save it and go back to it whenever I wanted. So because of that I would save it and I wouldn't go back to it for days. I started it I don't know, like September 6 maybe, and I didn't finish it until this past Sunday, October 16. It was due to the court today and I turned in everything yesterday. I actually felt like I had been set free from the bonds of slavery when I went to the court house to turn it all in. I felt like it was something hanging over my head that I couldn't get past.

Random art from Anne Taintor to go with my random subject. www.annetaintor.com

The funniest part about all that is that not only did I finish on Sunday, I also had to ask them to FedEx the certificate to me. I was expecting the certificate by Tuesday or Wednesday but mainly on Wednesday. On Tuesday I went to check the mail and there on the sidewalk over the side of my gate was a FedEx package. I do not check the mail every day so I'm so glad I happened to go out there and that I saw it. Can you imagine?? After all that I went through procrastinating to finish it that would have been a tragedy and a comedy too I guess.

Now that I'm all done with that I can move ahead in my life. I can tackle the craziness of my house right now. I have a lot of work to do in that department. That should really be my main focus from now on. I need to proceed with the remodeling.

I also need to get on the ball and figure out when these middle schools are having their tours because apparently I've already missed out on some. I still can't believe I'm doing this. Choosing a middle school for my baby girl that is. The baby I just had 10 years ago. Amazing.

Another interesting package that we received this week came with the baby sock monkey I ordered my son from Amazon. Except that these packages come via UPS and that guy is smart and he knows to put my packages inside the breezeway between my kitchen and the garage. There was another big box there with a little box that had baby sock monkey.

I told the kids to open it and they said, "It's a toilet brush." I came back into the kitchen and looked at the brush and what is amazing is that it took me forever to figure out what it was. I actually had to look at it for a while and I had to re-read the description.

It said it was a bottle brush with a nipple brush. It was the nipple brush part that just totally threw me off. I thought nipple as in "nipple" at first, not baby bottle nipple. Apparently it's been a long time since I had a baby and I don't think I ordered that bottle brush. It was an error on the part of Amazon I think. Now I can't find a phone number on the Amazon page to tell them about it. Maybe they sent it to me as a bonus for the baby sock monkey.

So there you go...random stuff.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Is It About Nike Quotes?

What is it about Nike Quotes that intrigues people? So now my two top visited blog entries are the original Nike quotes from 2007 and now my observation that I should just rename my blog Nike Quotes.

So apparently I put together some of the best Nike quotes all in one place. I know because I tried it. If you Google Nike quotes you will either come up with some random blog that has one quote or you will come up with quotes where other people (usually celebrities) are talking about Nike. My blog entries, especially the first one, has an impressive collection of some of the really good ones.

So since most of you came to my blog via the Google search of Nike quotes I am going to try to randomly post great Nike quotes or ads just because I love Nike too.

Here are some ads I found.

Cool Nolan Ryan ad.

Great ad!


Updated: Forgot this one! And it was my favorite too.

















Thursday, October 06, 2011

Getting Organized with OCD & Anorexia

Today's Daily Deal on chron.com was $54 for 3 hours of home organizing services ($135 value). I looked at it for a minute and thought about it. Even IF I bought this deal the organizer would take one look at my mess and would run away. Three hours is not enough time to organize one room in my house. Honestly, I don't understand how people who work full time keep their house clean. I don't. I really don't. (so sad I know)

Emma Pillsbury from Glee

Maybe I missed out on that whole clean gene somewhere along the way. I hate that about myself. It's one of the things I want to change. I've always been kind of messy but here lately it's gotten totally out of hand. Maybe it's the kids. Maybe it's the stress. I don't know but sometimes I wish I could have a little bit of OCD and a little bit of anorexia all wrapped into one. Then maybe I would be skinny and clean, kind of like Emma Pillsbury on Glee. (OK I can see the hate mail now, I know these are serious conditions) Anyway, but I still want them.

Or I wish I could become an obsessive runner. Wish, shoulda, coulda, I need to stop. What I need to do is put on my big girl panties and deal with it. I need to learn how to re-organize my life, I just don't want to pay all that money to do it. And I don't want to put all my junk out on my front lawn like they do on those crazy Oprah shows where people go in to re-organize people's houses.

I just need to rent a big dumpster and I need to work all weekend from Friday-Sunday dumping crap out. Then I can start working from a clean slate. Maybe that's what I'll do.

I need to do something to get my head and life in order. I haven't blogged in a while because my head is all muddled up. I need to clear it and decide what I want to do and how I'm going to do it.

Here are the important questions I need to ask myself and then I need to move forward. Because these questions are what will motivate me to get those things done.

What makes you happy?
Would you like to be happier?
Whose responsibility is your happiness?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Appreciating Life, My Kindle Will Break Me, and Fall Keeps Teasing Me

The other week I was leaving the building with a co-worker and she asked me how I was doing. I was really stressed out thinking about a number of things but I was also telling myself that I needed to be grateful for the good things I do have in life. So when she asked me how I was doing I told her that I was fine and that I was grateful for many things like my health, my children, a roof over my head. She agreed that we do need to be grateful for the good things.

Then I told her a story about a friend who I didn't know was sick and how I just found out by coincidence on FB. She was so ill in fact that she had an organ transplant. I told my co-worker that I had been thinking about her a lot and what she must be going through. It helped me put things into perspective.

Shortly after that I took a time/life management training class and I was reminded of some really important points in life. One of my favorite quotes I took away was, "You can accomplish some truly incredible things when you have a reason." What is my reason?

All this has led to my really questioning some things in my life.

On another note, I think my Kindle and Amazon are out to get me. They know that when I see a Kindle Daily Deal I won't be able to say no. WHO can say no to a book for $1.99 or worse .99 like the other day?? I can't. If the book sounds just remotely good I will buy it at that price.

Speaking of reading and books, Discovery Green has the coolest Reading Room or Houston Public Library room. It's tiny but it's a library with WiFi and you can check out books or return books. I love it when I see the city promoting reading. It's more than likely the only library branch open on a Sunday. Good to know!

So Fall made a showing for about a week then went away but I have hopes that it's coming back soon. Friday was the first day of fall so the weather is bound to change soon. I am patiently waiting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Renter, Boarder Issues and Defensive Driving is Killing Me

First of all and for the record, I will never finish Defensive Driving by the deadline and I'm going to get sent to jail and I'm going to leave my children destitute. Just kidding! I will finish it eventually. I just don't know when. I'll probably end up having to pay again and I'm going to have to ask for them to FedEx me my certificate so I can make my deadline. I tried! I really did! But I'm just not very good at sitting down still to doing the class.

I was having an interesting conversation with Rey and my best friend about why I don't like having people live with me. They had no idea of my "issue." My sister came to visit this past weekend and I told her about it too and she didn't know my "issue" either. We decided that's what it is. One of my many issues left over from my childhood.

As long as I can remember we had people living with us. When I was really little we took in my aunt's half sister who was pregnant. We also had another woman stay with us for a while, who my sister found at the hospital where she worked as a nurse. We ended up with her at our house with her newborn baby. Later we had cousins, uncles, and a boarder. Not all at the same time but at various times in my life, especially during my childhood.

In between my early teen years and my early twenties I had one of the 3 sisters living with me at different times when they were in college, in between houses or husbands. It stopped in my late teens and early twenties, but I remember telling my parents very clearly that I didn't want anyone living with us any more. I wanted to be left alone and in peace for a while.

When I was in my late twenties and about to get married my mom brought a distant cousin to live with us. I was so upset with her for doing this. It was a disaster just like I imagined. The woman was unbearable. I was convinced. Having someone live in your home leads to disaster and unhappiness. I'm sorry, that may sound crazy but it's true.

I have a close relative, who will remain un-named, who always has renters or boarders in her house. Disaster after disaster. Some of her renters have ended up being the center of her marital problems. Watching her suffer through these experiences just reinforces my belief.

I have two children living with me now that will hopefully live with me at least until they are 18. That's a good 11 more  years of having someone live with me. After that I want to be "a woman of a certain age" living all alone with my cats. I can't wait!!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

I'm Just Going to Rename My Blog "Nike Quotes"

Seriously! I can not believe how many visits I get to this blog via Nike Quotes. It's always been a lot but just lately it seems like even more. Just today out of my 13 visits, 8 came in through that page. Some days I get close to 50 visits and the majority come in that route. So yes, it should be called "Nike Quotes."

I had no idea when I first wrote that blog entry in 2007 that I would get that many click-throughs or that I would move up so high on Google. Now that I know more about how searching works I realize that you move up in relevance based on how much someone searches for those key words and how often they click to your website.

Everyone just loves Nike. I love Nike. I really do absolutely love their quotes. They are so inspiring and I should probably update my blog to include more. Here's another good one.

But I realized something very interesting today. Amelia Earhart was the original author of the "Just Do It" saying. She said, "The best way to do it, is to do it!"  Isn't that interesting?

I have so many things that I need to DO right now. Starting with remodeling the house. Then there's entering a novel writing contest and sticking to a regular work out schedule. I can't say "Later!" like the procrastinator in me wants to do. I have to do it.

Just doing it is always the hardest part. We want to do other things that aren't the one thing we should be doing. We want for everything to come easy when it doesn't. So my goal for the rest of this year is to just do the things I should be doing.

I'm also thinking of revamping my blog. What I'm thinking specifically is that I should stick to a list of subjects that interest me. I don't want for this to be just like any other "mommy" blog. I want it to be a mommy blog with a twist. I've always written about just random things that pop into my head or things I'm passionate about.

I want to write about things of substance too. At the top of my blog I say I'm passionate about reading, writing, blogging, newspapers, NPR, traveling, art museums, spirituality, learning, self-discovery, public education, living in the city, fashion, parenting, and cupcakes. I'm going to make it a point to choose one of those topics each time I write. That will also mean doing a little more research on my theme and I think it will make for a more interesting blog. So watch out for those upcoming changes soon!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Powdered Wig

I was getting my pedicure and manicure yesterday with my best girlfriend and her sister (also my good friend) and a reminder popped up on the calendar on my phone that said, "Powdered Wig."

"What the heck is this?" I asked myself. Then I remembered my conversation with my bff the night before when we were coming back from Oporto, a great wine bar in Houston.

When we were leaving Oporto I saw the M Hair Salon next door and I told her that I've been there before to buy my Bumble & Bumble powder hair spray. I have SUPPPEEEERR oily hair and I can't skip one day without washing my hair.  If I do I have to spray my hair with Bumble & Bumble in brown. Sometimes I need to spray it even if I've washed it but I'm still having an extra oily day.

The spray works a lot like baby powder does. When someone has really oily hair they sprinkle baby powder in their hair and then comb it through. The powder absorbs the oil and then the hair looks less oily and is fuller and more manageable. My friend told me it's called Dry Shampoo, I didn't know that. I just call it my spray powder.

Three years ago I read about Bumble & Bumble in Oprah magazine and I decided to try it. LOVE IT! It is so great for those days when I don't wash my hair. I just spray it, comb it through after it sets, and violĂ , I have semi-non-oily hair again.

I was telling my friend that the only part I don't like is the texture of my hair. It gets kind of too dry sometimes or I have a pouffy feeling. She asked if it felt like a powdered wig and that is EXACTLY what I imagine a powdered wig would feel like.

They say that fashion repeats itself so I guess the powdered wig is back in style only this time it's disguised by the dry shampoo look.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vacation Was Good and Now We Prepare for School

Very quick 10 minute blog. Vacation was fabulous with the good, the bad, and the ugly. I fell down twice, don't ask me how. Once I fell all by myself in my kitchen and the second time I fell at Baskin Robbins. Probably a message that I did not need to be eating ice cream.

That makes this Anne Taintor magnetic postcard even funnier now. I used it on my skirt! blog when I was getting ready to go on vacation.

I ran around town with the kids to the doctor, the dentist, the Children's Museum, and the Museum of Natural Science. Then we ended it with a fabulous 3 days at the beach. I absolutely LOOOVED that and will do it again one day. We rented a cute cute cute little hotel called The Breeze on Surfside. It faces the beach and we spent the entire day on Saturday on the beach. I have the tan to prove it.

I came back with a broken a/c in my SUV but that's fixed for now. I also found out that my little one has a bacteria in his tummy. Something we will have to treat for 14 days. FUN!! More on that later!

School shoppng is almost done, at least all the uniforms part. All we need are back packs and lunch kits now. I wonder if they sell lunch kits with a GPS inside for my little one. He is guaranteed to lose his lunch it at least twice in the school year.

This is the last weekend of our summer vacation and our 14th anniversary. Our last anniversary. Bittersweet...We are trying to decide if we should do anything. Maybe dinner with friends on Saturday.

Monday, August 08, 2011

"i carry your heart with me"

I thought of this poem by ee cummings when I was thinking of writing this blog. I thought it said, "I carry you with me" but it actually says, "I carry your heart with me." Same difference.

(Miranda's Lego Hello Kitty House with tiny Hello Kitties & a tiny purse.)

I'm on vacation this week with the kids. I'm a stay at home mom for a week, but I'm not going to do much cleaning and housework, just cooking for the kids. We have plans every day this week.

Today was my relaxation day. I only planned to do two things. I took my son to the doctor and found out he has acid reflux, my poor boy. He's already a picky eater as it is and now he can't have any carbonated drinks, spicy food, or red sauce. We were also going to go to the library but the library we were going to was closed today while they get on their new schedule. So I came home to relax but ended up doing a bunch of other things, like working.

Later I was forced to play with this Hello Kitty doll house with my daughter. Well, not really forced. I played Hello Kitty's twin sister Mimmy. It was fun. I hardly ever play dolls with my daughter, but I was reminded of how much I used to love little dolls and houses like this one above when I was a little girl.

As a working mom I don't get to spend as much time with my kids so weeks like these are precious as well as exhausting. But even when they're not with me during the week while I'm at work they are with me. Almost weekly I can open my purse on any random day and I'll find a toy that hitchhiked a ride with me to work.

Once a few weeks ago I was getting off my SUV for a sales call and I noticed that the kids left their ruler in the back seat. I grabbed it and stuck it in my folder in case I needed it. In the end I didn't need it, but when I went back to my SUV I glanced down and saw a tiny green monkey stuck by his head in one of the holes a the top of the ruler. I laughed at the thought of what would have happened if I DID need the ruler and I pulled it out in the middle of the sales call. I told the kids the story and I told them that the monkey wanted to come to work with me. It was a crazy looking monkey too, with a little pink tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth.

That's not even counting all the little toys that stay in the back seat of my SUV too. I carry them to work with me every day and when I see them I'm reminded of my kiddos. That's why I said, "I carry you with me" because my kids are with me in a way every where I go.

This week is our week or as my daughter is calling it, "Mommy Week." We are going do a variety of things that include the museums and then the beach. I'm really looking forward to the beach part! We'll be there 3 days and I'm planning on just lying on the beach with a drink in one hand and a book in the other. I've never stayed right on the beach before. It's a really small motel and all the rooms face the ocean. I can literally walk out of my room, across their lawn and I'm on the beach. I can't wait!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Remodeling Continues...

It's Sunday night and I feel like I didn't even put a dent in the cleaning or laundry yet I'm exhausted. Yesterday I offered to help shovel some of the dirt back in the holes around my house. They were from the plumbing work that was done. I only did a little narrow trench that went from the city water line to the kitchen. Just that little bit kicked my butt.

Image from theplumbingworksnc.com

This morning I woke up totally sore and tired but I had to do laundry. I'm having someone come help me with the cleaning this week, but I wanted to at least pick up the trash and junk from all the plumbing work. I also wanted to do laundry so she won't feel compelled to help with that too. Let's just say I had lofty goals.

My feet are killing me from being on my feet most of the day for two days in a row and I think I'm even more sore and tired now. My lower back is hurting too. Now would be a good time to cash in the Daily Deal coupon I bought a couple of months ago for a massage. I need to call tomorrow to make an appointment for this week.

Despite all the work that we are doing now, Rey actually doing the work and me helping out where I can and cleaning, I can really envision what it's going to look like when it's all finished. I'm excited about the end result and I can't wait to post pictures.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Very Own "This Old House"

I am finally doing something that I have been wanting to do for a very long time. I'm starting a home-remodeling project. I feel like I'm in the middle of one of those home improvement shows like "This Old House."

Today is currently Day 3 with no restroom but it's also the day that I'm having my toilet installed in a different spot and I'm getting my wonderful six foot Kohler jacuzzi tub. It's a good day! After those two important pieces are installed we're adding the beautiful new Kohler pedestal sink. Then tomorrow or the day after we are going to Home Depot to buy all the beautiful tile for the floor and walls that we'll be adding this week. I can't wait!

After the restroom we will continue with the kitchen. Now that the plumbing is almost all done we can work on the rest. I want a Mexican Frida Kahlo kitchen. We were looking at pictures today and I'm thinking cobalt blue tile, sunflower yellow, and Mexican tile floor. Pictures of that idea to come later when I talk more kitchen.

Other major future projects will include a new roof, a porch, and fixing all the trim on the outside. After the major projects I can proceed to the smaller ones, like painting all the walls and refinishing my hardwood floors. Yes, a lot of work, but I know that when it's all done it will all be worth the wait.

I love looking at books, like one I picked up for free at work, "Restoring a House in the City." Now that my house is being worked on I especially love looking at ideas. It's almost hard to believe I'm finally restoring my own old pre-WW2 house.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

"Keep Moving Forward"

My kids were watching "Meet the Robinsons," by Disney this morning. It reminded me of how much I love the quote "Keep Moving Forward" and how much it applies to me right now.


I also realized that I haven't blogged here about my impending change. I blogged about it over on skirt! but somehow never managed to mention it here. I know it's because even though I know it's inevitable, and there really isn't anything I can do, I sill feel a certain amount of guilt bestowed upon on me by society. That feeling that I'm a failure, even if I know it's not true. Yes, I'm talking about divorce- that dreaded word that I haven't used until now.

My days are numbered and although we are getting along just fine right now, very soon I won't be married and I'll be Loida Casares again. It's been almost 14 years since I've gone by that name. I wonder if I still know that person.

As self-reliant as I am, and as much as I believe in keeping my identity, I can't take away the fact that I've been married for that long. In those 14 years I've been a wife and a mother. I believe that when we give birth we give away a little of ourselves, both physically and emotionally. We have to give away a part of our body in order to give life to our child. Then as we raise our children we give away part of ourselves emotionally. As a wife we compromise a little or sometimes a lot. It's part of being a mother and a wife, but now I'm only going to be a mother.

I'm going to move forward with the plans that I have for the house and for the kids. I'll be starting a home remodeling project and I'm going to finish editing my novel for self-publishing. I also have to start working on middle school tours and applications this fall for my daughter. Life goes on and I do know who I am for the most part. The parts I don't know I'll have time to figure out in this new chapter of my life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Almost Halfway Done

We are almost halfway done with the year. July 1 will mark that point. A lot has happened to me this year so far. I've only reached a few of my goals, but I'm okay with that. Sometimes I think that we worry so much about the planning that we forget to enjoy the moment. I'm definitely trying to enjoy the moment this summer with the kids.

Image from 215squadron.org.uk

I look back at my Vision Board to see what it is that I've accomplished thus far and one big sentence pops out at me. "HOW TO BECOME THE PERSON YOU WERE MEANT TO BE." If anything, that's the one I've been working on the most. I ask myself this question almost every day. I struggle with what I should do versus the what I want to do.

I've also done a lot of reading and I'm working on my spiritual health as well. There's still a lot of areas to work on, but I'll get there eventually.

In the exercise department I'm trying to do more with my daughter. We've been roller skating and I recently discovered one of our neighborhood pools at Stude Park. I was really impressed with what I found and we are starting weekly swim lessons tomorrow. One of my goals this summer is to teach her to swim properly. Believe it or not, I was on the swim team in middle school. I wasn't great but I enjoyed it. I want to teach her how to do the freestyle, backstroke and breast stroke. I can explain the butterfly to her but it's not a stroke that I can do very well.

Who knows, maybe she can swim on her school team in middle school too. Next year is her last year in elementary school so it would be great if she is swimming really well by the time she starts middle school.

Our exercise routine will fluctuate between walking, roller skating, and swimming this summer. My hope is that I will be a good example to my daughter while getting healthy myself in the process. So then I'm working on my exercise and health goals together with my family goals.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Profile Pictures

I am about to say something that will probably make a lot of people angry, even some of my friends. But I have to say it and I'm sure many of you have noticed it too.

I don't understand why some people have profile pictures on their social networks of them with their spouse. I can understand if it's their anniversary and they want to honor the memory and all, but that's about the only time I think it's appropriate.

One of my many profile pictures. Me in front of the Municipal Bldg in NYC.

Why do I feel this way? I know you're going to ask. Well, I just feel like the social network is your page, not your husband's page, not your child's page, just your page. Sure, you'll talk about your family.  You'll even post pictures of them, so why is it necessary to post a picture of yourself with your spouse? We get it. You're married and you're proud of your family. I do it too. I just don't understand the profile pictures.

Yes, I know it's every person's business what they want to post as a profile picture, so I really shouldn't even be bringing this up, but I wanted to point it out because I wondered if I was the only person who feels this way. Apparently not. I Googled it and I found this article. The couples shot made the list.

I feel like my profile on whatever social site I'm on is about ME, not about anyone else. I feel like as women we lose our identity so often. We become a wife and then a mother so we forget who WE are. We don't live for ourselves anymore, we live for others.

It's admirable and I can understand why it happens, I'm a mother too, but that doesn't mean that I can't have my own profile and my own identity. And I think that's something worth protecting.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Nights

"Summer days driftin' away, to uh-oh those summer nights.." Summer Nights from Grease

Image from clevelandseniors.com

It's summer and I need to get my exercise on! I failed miserably the first week. I had all these grandiose ideas and then I came home and did something else every day instead. So today I am hell-bent on starting back on my running/roller skating schedule. Every day we are either going to roller skate or we are going to go running at Studewood Park.

I'm starting a row of clothes that don't fit me in my closet so I can view them as an incentive. I have a couple of really cute skirts that I love, but they don't fit me. I think ten pounds will make a world of difference. That's my goal by the end of the summer.

So we've started Week 2. I've been very fortunate to have my mom-in-law helping me so far but I have a feeling my days are numbered because she may end up going back to work. It was great while it lasted. She gets here at 7:30 every morning and starts breakfast while I make coffee. The kids have been eating very well. On their first week with her they went to the library and the Children's Museum. This week they're going to spend the night with her on Tuesday and they're super excited about doing that.

I said in another post that the summer is going to fly by. I really do believe that. I need to use my time more wisely and I need to take advantage of the extra time that I have to exercise and to write. My writing calls and I need to finish editing my novel for self-publishing. I can't forget about that.

So here we go. Week 2: Roller skating today for half an hour.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Slave for Fashion

You're probably going to say, "Wait, we thought you were a slave for fashion when you named your blog Shoegirl Corner." Well, regardless of what you think I don't have a thousand pairs of shoes or very expensive ones at that. The most expensive pair are by Ann Roth and they are worth $300, BUT I bought them for $98 in a sample sale.

No, I don't have the most expensive clothes, but I do love clothes. Here lately, after I lost enough weight to fit into them, I became a huge fan of Cabi clothes. I have bought so many Cabi pieces now that I should probably start selling it. I think it was because I was so excited that I could finally fit into them. The sad thing is I've gained some weight back and I'm growing out of the clothes. So sad but a goal worth working for.


I just blogged over on skirt! about the beautiful plus sized models on the cover of Vogue Italia and how much I love clothes, shoes and make up. Fashion is part of feeling good about myself at any size.

So my latest purchase was this really cool skirt (above) that can also be worn as a dress, blouse and halter top. Needless to say I won't be wearing it as a halter. (I can almost hear you sigh in relief.) I will be wearing it as a skirt, dress, and blouse. In fact, I'm really excited to wear it tomorrow to work.

I didn't own a belt and I needed one to belt the skirt to look like a blouse. When I went to Avenue to buy a belt I came out with a really cool pair of shoes too. I bought the natural color below. So now they've become part of my outfit tomorrow too.


The jacket in the photo with the skirt above is on back order, but as soon as it arrives I'll be wearing the Sigourney as a dress just like this. I also have a purple Cabi jacket from last season so I can wear it with that one too or when I wear it as a skirt.

Yes, I have become a slave for fashion in my old age and I like it!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Summer is Here!

I know it's not officially the first day of summer (June 21) but it sure feels like summer. It is HOT out there- 98 degrees already! Plus the kids are out of school! That's the best part.

Image from thebearcottage.com

I can hardly believe that I don't have to wake up early and run around stressing while trying to get them to school early. I can take my time, enjoy a coffee, while I get ready, and then drive 10 minutes into downtown. Yes, I live that close, but I never get to enjoy the short drive because I have to take the kids to school first.

Hence, summer is a vacation of sorts for me too. I have so many plans for the summer, namely getting back in shape roller skating and running with the kids. I want to get an inner loop running club started for moms with kids. I'd like for the kids to start running so they're ready to run in a kids' run by this fall. My daughter wants to join the track team in middle school so I think this will be a good taste of what it will be like. My son needs an activity that will help him burn energy.

There's also summer reading to do. We do the HISD Millionaire Club every summer to encourage them to read. I'm trying to get them to use the library more so I got them both their own libary card.

I'm also thinking about summer vacation, like a lot of parents I'm sure. I'm trying to decide when is the best time to take vacation around my work schedule and before the kids go back to school. I'm also trying to decide what to do and where to go. When I look at the calendar I know the summer is just going to fly by! Let me just savor this moment of the first day before I start thinking about the end already.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Skating and All Kinds of Crazy

I've been thinking a lot about craziness and specifically the crazy in my life. I blogged about it over on my skirt! blog when I talked about Emma on Glee, my new favorite show and my new favorite girl crush. I figured out that what fuels my girl crushes is the clothes. I am in love with Emma's wardrobe the way I was in love with Carrie Bradshaw's.

I want her clothes! I realize that I can't have the real ones, but I can always search for similar outifits. This website that I found will make it easier! If nothing else I can always mimic the look with other similar pieces. I love the way she wears very bright colors and mixes two colors you wouldn't expect together.

On another crazy note, I took up skating again! Yes, like the old fashioned four wheel roller skating. My first day out, last Tuesday was very strange. I expected to just go out there and to start skating like before. Forget that it had been about twenty years since the last time I really went roller skating. I was actually shocked when I couldn't. I refused to believe it.

I even posted about it on Facebook.  "I refuse to believe that I don't remember how to skate any more!" I know that sounds crazy and unrealistic, but I guess I thought it was like riding a bike. I thought I could jump right into it again. Wrong. I had to take it very slow at first.
The second time out I did a lot better. I told myself to let go of the fear. It was the fear that was holding me back. At the same time I couldn't get too confident because I didn't want to fall. I had to strike a delicate balance between those two.

I headed off the sidewalk next to my house and on to the street and I found that I could skate. The sidewalk is built in sections and each block is separated by a little wooden line or ridge, so it was actually harder to skate there, because my skates would hit the ridge and slow me down or I'd lose my flow and then my balance. When I got out on the street it was a lot smoother. It was such a great feeling to remember how to skate with the wind in my hair.

When I first posted that I had to let go of the fear in order to skate a friend of mine reminded me that she never learned to skate after she fell when we were kids and broke her wrist. I pondered on that. I also fell and broke my arm skating when I was in first grade. Yet I never let that hold me back from getting back on skates and learning.

Skating is a lot like life. I know the falling down and getting up cliche has been used so many times, but I as I thought about it, I realized that I really have had that "when you fall down, get up and keep going" attitude since I was a kid. I fell down and broke my arm, but I didn't let that scare me. I went right back to roller skating. And my parents never told me not to either. I don't remember them ever telling me that I shouldn't skate again because I had broken my arm. It was just considered part of the deal, part of life.

I feel that way now with my own kids and with me. I'm scared when I watch them skate, but I know that I can't be. This is part of letting go and letting them fly. They are wearing their helmets and pads, not like when we were kids, so I've protected them as best I can. Actually I can't wait for them to be ready so I can take them to the park where we can skate faster and better than we can on the sidewalk next to our house or on the rough street.

I want to be active so that I'm a good example. I love going to they gym while they are taken care of in the Kids' Club, but when I really thought about it, they aren't getting the same physcial exercise that I am when we're there. I want to be out there with them, showing them that I can skate or run with them too. Hopefully when this summer is all said and done I'll look even better in my new Emma Pillsbury look.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Will Eventually Blog Again

I haven't had the time, energy, or desire to blog in a while. I can't get any words out. I will blog again one day soon. I just need to find my words again after the storm has passed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After

Once upon a time I believed in complete happiness and happily ever after. Then I grew up. I learned that relationships take a lot, a lot of work and life is not always as simple as we think it will be.

Image: Snow White by Disney

I also learned that marriages sometimes happen because people were meant to be. I really feel that way about these two children who I call mine.

To say I'm a good mom would be a flat out lie. I consider myself a terrible mom. I know that as compared to a crack addict who neglects her children I am a stellar mom, but I'm not the mom I wish I was. I can never live up to my own expectations in that department. I struggle daily with my own impatience and my temper. I struggle with my tardiness and getting my kids to school on time.

I am not a stay at home mom or even a PTA mom. I'm the mom who forgets to read the flyers sent home or the spelling word schedule and who missed the note that says that the spelling test will be on Thursday because Friday is a holiday. Yeah teachers, I'm that mom you hate.

Yet, every day I get up and I try. I try to be the mom who gets her kids to school on time. I try to keep in regular contact with the teachers, although I'm yet to log on to that system that lets me view my kids' grades online. I try not to lose my temper with my son when he won't get dressed and he makes us fall behind. I try to remember to say positive things to my kids before they go off to school and I try to remember to look in their backpacks at night.

I'm reminded of this as my husband and I help my son work on his project on the owlfly. We want for him to have a great project that he's proud of in hopes that we can motivate him to do more on his own as he gets older. We want to show him that we care about him and his education.

Thank goodness our daughter is self-motivated, but even she needs reminders to work hard sometimes.

I have so many other things that I need to worry about with them too. Their education is just part of a lot more. I ask myself if I can be enough mama for them when it matters most. Most of all, I want for them to believe in complete happiness and happily ever after too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wildly Improbable Goals and Helping Women

I am excited! I am setting wildy improbable goals for myself and I can't wait.  First of all I'm setting a definite goal (in writing) to finish editing my novel in the next few months.
Kindle by Amazon.com

This is it. I am self-publishing and then promoting the heck out of it. No more talking about it. Next time you hear me say anything about it will be because it's already published and ready to promote. And my wildly improbable goal is that I'm going to become a successful published novelist. That is on my vision board.

Next I'm looking at making some other big changes in the near future in the house department, but I'm not going to talk about that until I finalize some other details first. More to come on that subject.

I re-read this great article on Wildly Improbable Goals by Martha Beck on Oprah.com and I was reminded of some great points. It's not enough to hope that these WIGS find you. You also need to help them along by writing down what you want. There are some exercises you can do to help you find out what you really want.

While I make some life-changing moves in my life I also want to help someone else make a change in her own life. I'm considering donating to The Girl Effect and giving a loan to a woman trying to start her own business in the U.S. or Mexico through Kiva.

These are some of my plans for the remainder of 2011. It's hard to believe we are a quarter of the way done with the year. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"So, when did you fall in love with Mexican music?"

My headline is a play on a line from the movie Brown Sugar. The main female character Sydney always starts her interviews with, "So, when did you fall in love with hip-hop?" The movie features several real-life hip hop stars telling their story and I thought that was a really good touch. But my question is about a different kind of music genre.

Jose Alfredo Jimenez, from Wikipedia

I want to ask a similar question. "So, when did you fall in love with Mexican music?" If you were born into a first generation Mexican family it was probably early on, as soon as you could talk and understand what you were hearing at family parties.

Now, notice something. I am not asking you when did you fall in love with Spanish music or any other specific Spanish music genre. I am referring specifically to Mexican music, the old classics, the mariachi music, the boracho music of our fathers. Well, not my father specifically, but our ancestors.

You see, when I was a little girl my father didn't seem to appreciate Mexican music. I knew that when our neighbors got to drinking  and listening to music they would be there late into the night singing. They seemed to be having a good time but my father's reaction made me think that it was wrong and indecent. He would walk around with a frown and would peek out the window at them, while all the while making comments. My father was very religious and very conservative and he didn't find any kind of drinking and singing late at night acceptable behavior. (Now I realize they were just having a great time.)

But then I also heard my parents talk about the great Mexican songwriters. Like the Tres Gallos Mexicanos, or 'Three Mexican Roosters' - Jorge Negrete, Javier Solis and Pedro Infante. They also told me about Jose Alfredo Jimenez, one of the greatest Mexican writers in history, and Agustin Lara. I learned that Mexico had some wonderful song writers and I loved to listen to my mother play Javier Solis songs. That's when I can say I first started to fall in love with Mexican music. The funny this is that I didn't make the connection from that music to the music that I heard our neighbors singing.

Fast forward twenty years to my marriage. My husband was raised completely different. For one, his parents are young enough to be my parents' children so they are more liberal, starting with their age.  (Baby Boomer mom) Of course my parents were much much older, but because of that my father was more conservative.

My husband's parents listen to and enjoy all the old Mexican classic music. We often listen to it when we get together at our house. It wasn't until then that I really started to listen to the words of these songs and that I realized how beautiful the lyrics are. True poetry.

Here are some of the words from "Ella" by Jose Alfredo Jimenez.

Me canse de rogarle me canse de decirle, (I got tired of begging her and telling her...)

que yo sin ella de pena muero, (that I would die of grief without her)

ya no quiso escucharme si sus labios se abrieron, (she didn't want to listen to me and when her lips opened)

fue pa' decirme ya no te quiero. (it was only to tell me, "I don't love you anymore)

And that's when I truly fell in love with Mexican music.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

I'm Finally Truly Using My Master's Degree

(Partly borrowed & edited from my Facebook Notes where I updated friends)

I’ve been thinking about work a lot lately and how life works out. Ten years ago I graduated from UH with a Master’s in Communication. I chose the thesis option and I wrote about gender differences among new employees and mentees in an organization. I wrote about their information seeking strategies, supportive communication, and information content. The exact title of my thesis is Gender Differences in Information Seeking Strategies, Supportive Communication and Information Content in Interns' Mentoring Relationships. (yeah, a long title!)

(Image borrowed from gohsep.la.gov)

In other words, when you enter a new organization you seek information from your co-workers and also from your manager. If you’re assigned a mentor you look to your mentor for information about the organization’s culture and acceptable behavior. I wrote about this process and I also took some classes regarding training.

I started back at the Chronicle 12 years ago, (after being gone 4 years) while I was still in graduate school, and I graduated in 2001. But instead of moving into a communication position within the Chronicle, or at another company, I stayed on in sales. I was in an exciting position at the time that I enjoyed and I just went from there.

What's interesting is that after all this time of being back in sales, and 10 years after getting my Master's, I finally get to work specifically in my area of interest. The reason I say truly using my degree and specifically is because I believe that I've been using my communication skills in my career all along, especially working in sales. Now my job is more specifically targeted at a new employee's entrance into the organization.

Six weeks ago I moved over to the training area. I'm working with all the new advertising employees as they come in and I set them up for their training classes. I'm teaching three of the classes for now, but I will probably be teaching four eventually. I'm writing the fourth one on our Hispanic products.

We also have some Hearst Fellows through the sales program at UH and I'll be working with them, going out on sales calls and coaching them. So far I love all six of the girls who are in the program. They are so young and optimistic and they have their whole future ahead of them.

This is such a great combination of my old job as UH ad manager, my ad sales experience at the Chronicle and my education. Working with the students and nurturing them was my favorite part about my job at UH and now I get to do the same thing here for way better pay.

Also, in addition to the training I get to keep one foot in sales by keeping some of the old ethnic ad agencies I’ve worked with for the past six years and some key accounts, so I don’t lose touch with my sales experience. I think it's important to stay in sales too to keep my own sales skills sharp.

So there you go. I’m really excited about my new position and I’m looking forward to working with the sales fellows and new advertising employees. I really feel like it was worth the wait and that this happened at the right time when it was supposed to.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Make an Educated Decision About the HPV Vaccine

Once upon a time there was a state governor who thought that he was doing his state a favor by making the HPV vaccine mandatory for young girls, the same way that other childhood vaccines are required by law. But the state was up in arms about the entire thing and made such a big deal about it that the governor took back the mandate and said that parents could opt out. However, this is what he had to say about the matter in his official press release.

(Genome organization of human papillomavirus type 16, one of the subtypes known to cause cervical cancer.- Wikipedia)

“Providing the HPV vaccine doesn’t promote sexual promiscuity anymore than providing the Hepatitis B vaccine promotes drug use. If the medical community developed a vaccine for lung cancer, would the same critics oppose it claiming it would encourage smoking?"

One of the main reasons that parents were against the vaccination had more to do with sex than any other thing. People argued that giving the girls the vaccine in their pre-teen years would encourage them to become sexually promiscuous. I was perplexed. I knew little about HPV, or so I thought. I wanted to know why parents were saying this, so I did the research.

What I found out was that I was already acquainted with the consequences of HPV. When we were in our  twenties one of my good friends was diagnosed with abnormal pre-cancerous cells on her cervix. Our OBGYN, an older very experienced doctor, was extremely pro-active and aggressive with her treatment. He first froze the cells and when that didn't work he went in to cut them off. He was always very honest along the way and told her about her options and the possible consequences. Even cutting the cervix could affect her future fertility. Thank goodness my friend was cured and she went on to have a child in her thirties.

After that scare I never skipped a well-woman exam. I had witnessed first hand what can happen from one pap smear one year to the next. What if my friend had skipped her well woman exam that year? What could have happened? 

I don't know for sure if it was an HPV virus that caused my friend's pre-cancerous cells on her cervix, but it very well could have been, because as I did the research now that I'm older I found that this was one of the most common results from the human papillomavirus. As I talked to other friends I found out that HPV was more common than I knew and they too had been affected in some way.

I also learned that "70% of infections are gone in 1 year and 90% in 2 years. However, when the infection persists—in 5% to 10% of infected women—there is high risk of developing precancerous lesions of the cervix, which can progress to invasive cervical cancer." And here is the part that is really significant when we think of young girls. "This process usually takes 15–20 years, providing many opportunities for detection and treatment of the pre-cancerous lesion." This is the reason why it's important to vaccinate girls, and now we are learning boys, before they start having sexual contact.

I also read an article in The Houston Chronicle that a study found that throat cancer was added to list of diseases caused by HPV. I read another article (that I can't find now) about men who were fighting mouth cancer caused by HPV. One man interviewed in the article was not ashamed to talk about it. He said that he wished he had known more about HPV when he was younger.

Think about it this way. You have your children vaccinated for polio, even if there is no chance that your child will ever come in contact with polio in their life. You also have them vaccinated when they are babies so the medication is already in their system and they are protected. You do the same thing for Hepatitis B, even though this is a common disease of drug users.

What about sex then? Even though we don't want to imagine that our kids will grow up and have sex one day the truth is they will. Even if the abstain from sex and don't have it until they get married they will eventually do it. Can you predict that they are going to marry someone who has never had sex before?

Why are we even saying that it will encourage kids to become promiscuous? That just seems completely irrelevant to me. When I have my kids vaccinated I won't explain it to them any more that I explain their other vaccinations. They are getting a vaccine to protect them from a form of cancer in the future and that's all.

Governor Perry also said this, "The HPV vaccine does not promote sex, it protects women’s health. In the past, young women who have abstained from sex until marriage have contracted HPV from their husbands and faced the difficult task of defeating cervical cancer. This vaccine prevents that from happening."

HPV is real and it's out there. Many of us have had HPV and we may not even know it. I personally want to protect my children from having cancer in the future and I want to have them vaccinated. Others argue that Gardasil only protects them from four of the 200 known types of HPV so why do it. Well, if I can protect them from four of the most common known types then that is better than not protecting them at all.

If you have doubts about HPV and the vaccine I encourage you all to do the research. Read all that you can on HPV. Don't make your decisions based on what I say or what the media says. Talk to your doctor, read scientific articles about it, read the research, and then make an educated decision.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rape is Rape and an Eleven Year Old is an Eleven Year Old

It's made national news. An eleven year old little girl was raped by eighteen men in an abandoned trailer in Cleveland, Texas last November and it was caught on video and photos.  The news appalled me, but not more than the news that followed. Headlines like this one, "Some in Texas town blaming young girl in assault,"  sickened me. I could not believe that even a New York Times article insinuated that it was the young girl's fault that she was gang raped.

Image from ifshecryout.com

The comments from people who saw the young girl around the Quarters, the neighborhood where the rape occurred, were that the young girl dressed older than her years, wore make-up and had been hanging out talking to boys. They also blamed the young girl's mother and asked where she was when her daughter was out.

Whatever the reason as to why the parents of this girl let her dress older or let her hang around with teenage boys, or in this neighborhood, none of this gave these men permission to rape her.

Cleveland is only forty miles from Houston and it surprised me when I heard that a local activist was traveling there to meet with the families of the young men who were arrested. It actually wasn't until then that I realized that the men being accused of the rape were African American and that the young girl was Hispanic. It was never about race in my book. It's about common human decency.

The activist argued that there wasn't any hard evidence against the young men. "What about the video tapes and photos?" I asked. I don't care if the videos and photos didn't show them raping the young girl. Just the fact that they are there in the pictures, present when a crime was being committed against a child, is enough for me. What about the law that says that knowing about a crime and not reporting it is just as serious as committing the crime?

Then the zinger came when the attorney representing some of the young men actually admitted that the men knew the girl was only eleven.  Amazing. So these men knew they were raping an eleven year old little girl. Sorry, but last time someone checked having sex with a minor is still against the law, whether you knew how old she was or not. The fact that they knew makes it even worse.

So once again, rape is rape and an eleven year old is an eleven year old, no matter how much make-up she has on or how she's dressed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Controversy About Magnet Schools in Houston

I've been somewhat following all the talk in the news about the magnet school recommendation. The one that the HISD superintendent decided to hold off on until the 2012-2013 school year. I must admit, I didn't attend the meeting with Houston Independent School District that many parents attended to voice their concern over the cuts and changes. But then I read a Houston Chronicle article about the whole situation and I was appalled by the comments that I read from our readers. I wondered how many of them had actually attended, or had children attending, a magnet school.

Image by jacksonville.com

I've written about magnet schools before and I will talk about it again. I didn't attend the town hall meeting regarding the changes but I will write about magnet schools all day long because I totally believe in the program. A magnet school saved my life.

When I was a little girl in elementary school my parents sent me to my home school like so many parents do in this city, especially Hispanic parents that don't know any better. I quickly excelled in school with high reading and vocabulary scores. I was always at the top of my class and struggled very little. Math wasn't my strength, but I really think that was psychological because now that I use math as much as I do in my adult life I do okay.

When I was in 5th grade we had a new principal who took an interest in all of the kids with high test scores and I was one of them. My friend and I were writing and drawing a comic strip about two young single girls and I showed it to her. She was very impressed and she asked my teacher about me. My teacher shared my test scores with her and she recommended me and a group of other students to take the Vanguard test for middle school. And that is where my life changed.

I went to a Vanguard middle school that fell under the Magnet program in HISD. This is where it gets interesting. When I went to Hamilton Middle School I found out how little I really knew. I had always been the smartest kid in my class and now I knew why. I wasn't learning anything!

That is why I know that these schools in the lower income neighborhoods aren't always the best. The kids that had gone to Vanguard or other Magnet elementary schools knew way more than I did. I was perplexed that I never really learned where the equator, Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn were. All these other kids knew these things and I didn't. I was embarrassed and I had to work twice as hard than most of my friends. I survived middle school as a B-C student, but it was a great learning experience. On my very last semester of 8th grade I finally made the honor roll. I felt so proud because it took me so long to get there.

This is why when my daughter was getting ready to go to Kindergarten five years ago I planned to send her to a Vanguard elementary school. I wanted for her to have a head start in elementary school and I'm so glad that I did. My daughter is learning things in elementary school that I learned in middle and high school. (I attended an International Baccalaureate high school)

When I was reading the comments from different Chronicle readers I read some from people who obviously didn't have first hand experience with the Magnet program. Some of them said that Magnet schools were for rich white people. That isn't exactly accurate. I wasn't a rich white kid. I was a poor Hispanic kid and I knew a lot of other poor minority kids who were in Vanguard. Magnet programs are for everyone, but they can also be a lifesaver for poor minority kids who wouldn't have had an opportunity to have such a great educational experience otherwise.