Thursday, December 29, 2011

December Freak Out

Why is everything in December?

My daughter's birthday (that's my fault, I could have planned better) and I threw her first big birthday party.  Why did I choose to do that?  She was turning 3 and she won't remember it.  It was fun.  It was a breakfast party and it was over by 12:30.  We tried to catch the Muppets at the theatre because Baby Sagittarius loves muppets; at least I thought she did.  The Toy Story short film "Small Fry" threw her off.  She was expecting more Toy Story and instead she got the first 10 minutes of people singing and dancing.  I understand, she wanted a lot more muppet action.  Instead of testing how long she'd "be cool" we decided to get a refund and go out to an early dinner.  I was totally wiped by the time we got home.  Not a bad day.

Tamales.  I love to eat them but not necessarily make them.  It's a lot of work.  If someone is so kind as to gift them to you, they must really, really love you.  7am - 7pm.....12 hours of work and no, I didn't want to eat a tamale when they were done.  I didn't want to look at them or smell them.  Nope, no, niet.  Mechanic Hubby brought me a whopper and it was a Christmas miracle.

Post office. This I didn't mind so much.  The day I went to the post office was actually a very great day spent with my sister.  It didn't start that way.  I have a crazy imagination.  When someone sets a time to meet and they don't show up (I give about 1/2 leeway) I start to worry.  I called my sister and she didn't answer.  So instead of just thinking, "She must be asleep," because that's pretty much her favorite hobby, I think she's in some horrific crash and is unable to answer her phone.  Needless to say, the worrying was unnecessary and yes, she was sleeping in.  Silly me.  We had a great lunch, went and finished up our Christmas shopping and went to the post office the Thursday before Christmas and my package got there on time. 

Christmas Eve. First off, my Gramma said I was dressed very nicely.  She felt under-dressed because she was lounging in her sweats.  I assured her that I wished I was wearing sweats.  Why did I dress up?  Anyway, I made chicken alfredo and penne in tomato meat sauce.  My sister made a salad and we ate...and ate.  We had a cookie decorating contest and we quickly found out that we stink at cookie decorating.  We decided to forgo the whole staying up until midnight tradition because we had to be at church early the next morning.  We all received some great gifts and the night was wrapped up by 9:30.  Pretty sweet.

Christmas Day.  Got up early, got ready, went to church.  It was only an hour long and I'm so glad we went.  One of the members of our congregation sang a song called, "Mary Let Me Hold Her Baby."  It's basically about a woman who can't have children but she was allowed to hold the Savior a short time.  The blind lady who sang isn't particularly the best singer, but the lyrics were moving; as she identifies with the woman in the song.  It was a treasure to hear.  This particular verse was so true: 
Those like me 
who can't have children 
Still can be mothers
Something in His eyes 
convinced me
I could serve so many others

We had everyone over, opened gifts and ate a great Christmas supper.  As much as I enjoy the holiday season, it's definitely more for kids because if I had to wrap one more gift (which I think is counter productive because you're basically wrapping future garbage around the nice gift) I think I'd go crazy!

And yet, there's still one more holiday.  New Year's Eve.  We're going to make pizza in the beehive oven outside, exchange white elephant gifts (darn it, one more thing to wrap), maybe hook up the XBOX Kinect outside, release some floating lanterns (like in Tangled!) and stay up to ring in the new year.  It's going to be so fun!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pirate Reunion

 Anticipation is nerve racking and delightful.

Red Boot Pearl is in my city.

Not only is she amazing and lovely, she's one of my best friends.

I met her at church over two years ago.  She looked in my direction and introduced herself.  Since then we had pretty much did not a week go by without hanging out at least once.  We'd call each other and vent our issues. There was the person who vented and then the person who listened.  Sometimes we'd just acknowledge that whatever horrible things happened to happen that day did indeed suck.  We didn't want each other to fix our issues, just agree with one another when things suck. 

Even though we're 1,000 miles away, we still call each other at least once a week to vent.  I moved away from her back in June and it's been 5 months since I've seen her.   I get to have one whole day with her and I think I've got some fun things planned.  Honestly, I think we'd have a great time just hanging out in my living room, eating ice cream and painting our nails. 

I wish Monday was tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CAPTCHA! - Just Being Silly

“The term CAPTCHA (for Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart) was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas Hopper and John Langford of Carnegie Mellon University. “Source:

What if the CAPTCHA words were real and had definitions?  I made a list of the last 20 words I’ve had to type to verify that I’m a human and these are the definitions I came up with.

jocurie - (zho-ker-ee) this is when a lot of joking is going on in France.

bingeste - its the word bing used for the most searched word of the month.

fainm - happy fame

coushl - easy, this is a cousin council. (When my cousins and I were kids we had many a coushl.  We made big plans that we would all live together as adults and do whatever we wanted.  We were 11, 9, and 8).

unterc - it’s when you take the stubborn out of someone (Terco is Spanish for stubborn).

baryopon - its playing ping pong in the barrio.

ratrum - this one is easy, it’s rat flavored rum.

quali - a lot of qualifying tests people need to take to get a job these days.

farcie - a fairy that spreads lies.

killigm - people that kill pilgrims

stshar - the sound you make when pretending that you know karate.

comerb - magical herbs that put themselves in your cooking whether you want them or not.

chedes - its when you have too much cheddar and your stomach gets upset.  You’ve got a case of the chedes my friend.

ovelyi - Another word for average.  Not lovely, not ugly, just ovelyi.

couriont - a fancy courier, you know, for when someone needs to deliver your tea and crumpets.

scearl - it’s a snarl and a squeal or a seal that produces pearls.

ovenwom - another name for a uterus.

forkedu - an educated fork, duh.

lanigan - an extremely large cardigan, or a blanket.

efuura - (shh, its a curse word with a lion roar at the end).

Sunday, November 6, 2011

All Souls Procession

Ever since my lovely father in law passed away three years ago, my little Mormon family have attended the All Souls Procession held the weekend after Halloween. He used to travel to Mexico for the big week long celebration every year so we thought we'd honor his memory by taking part in our local parade.

The first year we made a giant altar with his picture and decorated it with flowers and candles and gaudy glitter. I even whipped up a fake plate of enchiladas, his favorite food. The year after, while I was away, the rest of the family went to the parade with the same float from the previous year and some people said, "Pssh, we saw that float last year." Not only did I think that was completely rude, seeing how everyone was there to remember their loved ones, my family was mortified.

So this year I decided to change it up and build a giant guitar. Dad would play in his younger years and my husband also grew to love playing guitar.

I got a large piece of cardboard (courtesy of a chassis) and painted it. I had some scrap pressed fiberboard and made a neck. I had some Styrofoam and made a head. I went to my trusty dollar store and picked up anything skulls for me to repaint and decorate. On the actual guitar we have Dad's picture and I tried to paint/decorate things that related to his life. Dad's from Veracruz, an ocean front state in Mexico so I painted palm leaves and fish skeletons.

At the actual parade we dress in Mexican garb and paint our faces like skeletons. The gals sometimes wear flowers in their hair. The parade route is long and it's a nice community feeling. 

Cool giant neon skull.

The man featured on this altar actually built this himself, he passed after it's completion.
There was a variety of artwork.  We have no idea how many people attended, in the thousands at least.  It was kind of weird having random people come up and want to take your picture.  Do I smile?  Look somber?  Deer in headlights?  Some people didn't ask and took candid shots.  There was music throughout, hooting and hollering but overall a really great time.  It was a nice family affair and though our feet are a little sore, we'll do it again next year.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Hop

So my amazing friend put this link up on her blog and being a true lover of Halloween, I had to participate. As a kid, Halloween was a time to dress up and be someone completely different, even if it were just for one day.  We usually stayed up a little later, got our costumes the day of and got a ton of free candy.  We usually drove to a nicer neighborhood, teamed up with our cousins and knocked on every door until our legs gave out.  The downside?  Mom collected our candy that night and put it in a plastic tupperware and we were not to eat the candy unless she handed it to us.  Bummer.  It was for our own good I guess. Last year when my baby was "trick or treating" Mechanic Hubby let her have any candy she could open up on her own.  She learned how to open up candy quite quickly. 

I really do love to be scared, even if it means sleeping with the lights on......for a few days.   During my goth years (yes, I was that kid in high school) I was a lot braver and never turned away from the screen.  Now, I get totally freaked.  I don't get it.  One of my favorite "Halloweeny" type movies isn't scary but after I watched it, I wanted to be Winona Ryder.  Only the cool Winona, not the nerdy one.  Ha.


The costume I am most proud of, and was the winner of the company costume contest (tongue twister) is this:
Yup, I was a pregnant skeleton.  I used regular white craft paint for the shirt and I used an old t-shirt for the pants.  I didn't want to ruin my sweats because I pretty much lived in them during my last trimester.  But I won 200 bucks to Circuit City.  Remember Circuit City???

As for my costume for this year?  I've worked hard on it...she's a lovely pink pear shaped television character.  I'm almost done with the entire ensemble.
It'll probably be way to hot out to wear this for very long but my baby will be Brobee so I have to stay dedicated to this bit.  It's only for about an hour so what's the big deal?  It's going to be my interpretation because 1. I have no patience for sewing and 2. I have no patience for sewing. 

Here's my kiddo modeling the Brobee hat I made for her.

Hooray for Halloween!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Art of Domestics

adj \də-ˈmes-tik\
1 living near or about human habitations b : tame, domesticated the domestic cat
2 of, relating to, or originating within a country and especially one's own country domestic politicsdomestic wines
3 of or relating to the household or the family domestic chores, domestic happiness
4  devoted to home duties and pleasures leading a quietly domestic life
verb \də-ˈmes-ti-ˌkāt\  
(one of the definitions)
 : to adapt (an animal or plant) to life in intimate association with and to the advantage of humans

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine expressed some concern because she, who is a fabulous working mom, was able to make a wonderful dinner.  She said she was "becoming domesticated."  

Ugh, "domesticated".  I know she used the term correctly but the first thing I think about when I hear the word "domesticated" are animals.  Cows, dogs, cats, pigs, animals that have been trained to do laborious things.  Okay, well cats don't do a damn thing but think you their slave and hack up horrid things. I've never liked the term.

My Gramma is extremely into domestics.  She is perfectly old school.  My husband gets annoyed when we go over to her house for dinner.  I am directed to immediately get my husband a drink, and make sure he is comfortable. My Gramma serves the men first and the women are second.  Mechanic Hubby challenges this a little.  He will not start eating until I have my own plate and am sitting next to him.  He'll challenge it further by telling my Gramma, "I can serve myself."  What is he trying to do to her, the woman just had heart surgery!  She cleans everything...I mean everything.  Just the other day she was telling me that she was cleaning the back....the BACK of her headboard.  

I had decided last week that I wanted to learn how to crochet.  Luckily there are a TON of youtube videos to show you how to do it.  I started my first hat yesterday and it's a bit of a rumpled mess but at least I'm doing it.  My mother in law chuckled a bit when I told her of my new little goal.  She said, "Does your family (my side) ever think that you getting way to domesticated?"  HISSSSSSSS!  

The next day I was visiting my Gramma and I told her I wanted to learn how to crochet.  She said, "Let me get my needles."  Of course she knows how to crochet.  She said, "Let me see you make a chain."  As soon as I finished making my slipknot, she took it away and said, "You already screwed it up."  Feeling instantly defeated I let out a sigh and Gramma looks at me and smiles.  

I guess there's nothing wrong with keeping it a little old school after all.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Premios de Escritura

Doesn't that title sound fancy? I'm behind in patting myself on the back for some awards I received from amazing people who I miss dearly.

I got the first two from my friend Red Boot Pearl (Book Savvy). She and I share a great love for books and dark, dark chocolate. We know way too much about each other and we're okay with it.

This award I received from my good friend Alyson Peterson (Dirty Green Jello). We share a great love for books and for dark, dark twisted gore and all things creepy. We have a pg-13 Mormon dark side, it does exist. Ha ha.

So I guess what happens now is that I tell everyone a few things about myself. Boy, I know a lot about me.

1. I love, love, love a good Japanese bento for lunch. For instance, Kabuki does up a nice bento box. While you eat it, nothing else matters. Nothing, not even stopping for air. Just kidding, you want to savor it.

(It might be weird, but I think I love you. And now you'll have to die).

2. I rearrange eggs in the carton so that the weight is equal or close to equal. I HATE when I pick up a carton of eggs and it's heavier on one side. It's one of my biggest pet peeves.

(Yes, this is making me seethe with anger).

3. I have anxiety about driving. I know I need to learn how to drive and it would be convenient but all I can think about is crashing, horrific crashing and my baby is in the car. Morbid and I know I need to "get over it" but it really does scare me.

(I could have used something a little more gruesome but I was too afraid to look that up).

4. If I couldn't cook everyday, I would be depressed. I could go on forever about my love for cooking and serving others great food but I'll just leave it at that.

(I think I make amazing salsa).

5. I'm a movie snob. I don't like movies that are full of explosions and shiny things. I don't like movies that are predictable, fluffy or made for the masses. But I will go watch Hunger Games because Suzanne Collins is amazing. Kids fighting to the death and it's televised, sign me up.

(It's a great series, check it out).

Now that I've talked a lot about myself, the courteous thing to do is to turn around and give the awards away to blogs you enjoy.

I'm giving the stylish award to The Fairy and the Pumpkin. "Titania" is wonderfully talented and the letters from the coop section is hilarious. The photos are striking and I feel lazy after reading all that she does.

The versatile award goes to Up To Speed by Suzanne Barker. She and I are in the same book club and I think she has a degree in just about everything. I love her adventures and pictures of all the crafty things she does.

The one lovely blog award goes to Bandanamom Lezlee Hays. I just met Lezlee a few weeks ago and her blog is funny, has great music and really makes you think. Her latest post about Rats is really thought provoking, it really is.

So there it is folks, check these ladies out and leave a comment or two.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Skull Crazy

I think I've been a fan of Halloween for as long as I can remember. My favorite Halloween decoration are skulls. I just love them, all prettied up.

I found a free online photo editor(love free stuff) and I've been going crazy with making myself along with a few others, look like pretty skulls; just like the decorated ones you'd see for Dia De Los Muertos festivals. The photo editor is They make it so easy to manipulate pictures! Here's a few I did this morning. One is of my niece Jessyjess and the other one is of my awesome friend Carrie. The last two are of myself...

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Bit of It

A bit of it
A tiny broken star falls out of my brain
As it tries to rearrange itself on the responsible mode with circles of right.
A five point intellect is not what she needs
A rounded consistency, grows up good, grows up great.
Sameness and lameness not tragic safe, safety and band-aids.
Late night but things don’t come out right.
I can’t chase those stars anymore, not here or in current time.
I’ll let them twinkle about the floor....
Reminding me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whoa, It's Fixed!

So I decided to quickly defrost a whole chicken for dinner tonight.

That's when you fill your sink with cold water and place your desired frozen hard as a rock poultry in the water; completely submerged. If it's not defrosted in a half an hour, drain the water and re-fill it to prevent bacterial growth.

Once the sink was full, I returned to the living room only to be disturbed by the sound of water trickling. Drip, drip, drip. I look under the sink and the water was leaking. I remove the million items underneath the sink and see that the problem is much worse than anticipated. I jiggled the sink strainer and yup, the water that was in the sink came out. I notice that it was corroded and guessed that it had to be replaced. I wanted to be sure that I knew what to do.

I quickly hopped online to my favorite DIY website, and asked for help in the community forums. I got a great reply that confirmed my diagnosis.

I didn't get to make chicken for dinner but I did make some carnitas with rice and salsa. It was good. After dinner, we took a trip to Lowe's and bought all of our parts for $4.00. My husband of course, had to buy a work light, "to help him see better."

All in all it was an easy fix. It was a bad sink strainer and instead of using the plumber's putty, hubby said, "Why don't we just use the other rubber gasket?" GENIUS! It would cut the wait to dry time by 100%. And it worked!!

I like the "fix it" dates my husband and I have. He doesn't ask me to hold a light or to get him a drink, it's more of a open conversation and problem solving/critical thinking kind of thing.

The best part? Not having to do dishes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Stay Sane.....

My sister-in-law has got me hooked on something easy and fun to do.

Nail stamping!

Nail stamping is so fun! I'm still a novice at it but I'll get the hang of it eventually. Here's a youtube video about it and how it's done.

I've been nail stamping once a week for the past two months....I think. I love that it lets you be creative and artsy without too much effort.

Here are some pictures of past weeks.....

I really liked the flowery pattern...kind of like paisley.

Then I thought I'd try co eccentric circles.

These are supposed to be zebra stripes.....

Polka dots are one of my favorite patterns.

My nephew said my nails looked like they were from the future....

So I did up these nails on Sunday...some of my worst work ever. I washed dishes soon after and the nail polish decided it hated hot water and peeled itself away from my nails. My sister in law was very kind to leave her nail art supply so I could give it another go.

I like them!

It takes me a little while from start to finish and as much as I like shortcuts, for pretty nails you have to use a base clear coat, then the first color, then a top coat for that, then the stamp goes on then you have to use a pretty shiny clear top coat for that. It sounds like a lot but it's worth it to have totally rad nails. This little bit of time to myself helps me stay sane. I can just focus on getting them done and feel a little artsy when they're finished.

The nails get noticed! Get ready for compliments!

Monday, August 29, 2011

She Was Determined

So my daughter has been sick for a few days. She's got a runny nose and a cough. She hasn't been too cranky during the day but once in a while you can tell she feels miserable.

Today was a lot of ups and downs. During what I thought was a "down" moment; she was on my lap, dozing in and out of sleep, she shot right up. She hopped off my lap and motioned me to follow her. She walked right up to the front door and waited for me to open it. I put on her shoes and we went outside.

We walked out together and as I followed her to the sidewalk, she put out her hand for me to take and we started walking down our street. I let her take the lead and we walked to the end of the street so I turned around to go back home but that wasn't what she wanted. I wasn't prepared to take an urban trek so I quickly went back home with her, grabbed our backpack and set out again.

Again, she walked me to the end of our street, turned the corner and kept on going. We passed by various houses and she told me things like, "Look, tree." "Look, car." She sang some Yo Gabba Gabba songs and let her hand run across people's fences. She would hop over some of the sidewalk lines and inspect things on the ground. All of this at 5:30 pm, with a temperature of 105 outside. She led me around the block, so about half a mile altogether. When we turned back into our neighborhood she got a little tired so I carried her. We walked in, had a drink and she was happy.

We used to take walks all the time before we moved and I think being cooped up all summer because of the dreaded heat finally got to her. She just needed a short walk outside. The heat wasn't too bad and her little cheeks were flushed but it was nice.

I wonder where she'll take me next time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What Color Was It?

It Was Blue

a bubble pop,
my loud laugh
the night of no sleep.

the nth ruined shirt,
a Mexican painted flower,
a rain cloud that hung o'er my head.

my nails that week,
the striped socks,
the feeling I get when I miss home.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Check It Kids!

Check out what I got today? Can I get a "what, what?"

I got this from a pretty cool blogosphere inhabitant who's a writer/illustrator. I guess she dug my notes! Her name is Deirdra Eden-Coppel and this is what she had to say about my blog:

"LOVE IT! You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: Powerful Woman Writer Award for all the hard work you do!"

Pretty cool.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lovely Lunch Songs....

Yes, I said lovely "lunch" songs.

My husband has been on an arduous journey trying to figure out how many songs he can parody (insert Weird Al joke here) so that the main subject is focused on lunch or food. It's been funny because he actually is pretty creative. Here's just a few he's come up with.....

- Power of Love (Huey Lewis & the News) is now Power of Lunch
- Live and Let Die (Wings) is now Chicken Pot Pie
- There Goes My Hero (Foo Fighters) incidentally is still There Goes My Hero but the next line is instead of "watch him as he goes" is now "hold the onions please."
- One Love (U2) is now One Lunch....the next line is the same for each song "got to share it."

The funnier thing is, now that this little secret joy of his has been exposed to the family...they are also thinking of songs to parody.

This is the man I married....the food inspired rock star.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yeah, I'll Do It

So my sister in law posted an interesting idea/event in our family group page.

Salsa Flash Mob anyone???

Yup, apparently this Saturday, July 30th is National Dance Day and there will be a flash mob performing a salsa routine courtesy of "So You Think You Can Dance." It's a flash mob that will happen all over the country and I started practicing the routine tonight. Below is the link. I'm doing the beginner's video and if I mess up I can gracefully dance out of the crowd. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Last Day as 29

Last year I wrote up a premature bucket list. This is what I accomplished.

  • Show an original art piece in a gallery (doesn't even have to be a fancy-schmancy gallery either). I kind of did this. My niece had a birthday party and the theme was art gallery and yes I had a crayon art piece hanging in her backyard "gallery." I'll take it.
  • Get published. (short story, critique, narrative, instructions..anything!) I did this, with the help of I also submitted some stuff to Edmond Top-Picks, they might publish what I submitted. I know one of the editors so that might help.
  • Learn how to drive (maybe I'll put that at the bottom). Nope, not even close.
  • Teach a cooking class to more than 5 people all at once. Check!
  • Lose 20 pounds (I need to lose more but I'm being realistic....better make it 10). Ha!
  • Lose 10 pounds. See above. I lost 7 pounds...I'll take it.
  • See Japan (not on television). Nope, not unless teleportation is invented in 2 hours.
  • Open 5 biscuit cans in a row without flinching. I've opened two in a row. I don't need 50 biscuits.
  • Spend less time on the internet. Yeah right.
  • Write more hand written letters like they used to. I'm actually quite proud of this. I wrote about 10 letters, it doesn't sound like much and I didn't get letters back (most people just called or emailed back) it felt good to write on paper.
  • Make stationary. Yup!
  • Perfect penmanship. No way, I always got poor marks in penmanship.
  • Buy stamps. Check!
  • Daydream more. Just kidding. I actually do let my imagination runaway with me sometimes.
  • Learn how to create, not just cook. When you're on a strict budget but you refuse to eat ramen noodles or cereal, you must get creative. Check!
  • Smile more often. I'm not sure if I accomplished this or not.
  • Learn stupid bar chords. Bar chords are still stupid.
  • Keep being happy where I am and not depend on happiness based on a future I created in my head...again daydream less. I struggle with seeing the big picture sometimes, I have to love the small portrait in front of me.
  • Learn to drive. Nope, I'll wait for that teleportation machine.
  • Remain confident in the abilities I was given and be willing to share the knowledge...if I gained any. I'm still learning.

I guess I did okay. My 20's will be dead tomorrow.....but my 30's will be born and I've been told it's way better. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Walk on 59th

Anxious cries from a two year old as I slip on her metallic sandals.
Creaking from the white patio door. Faint hum from heat on the sidewalk.

Stroller traveling over loose gravel.

Light shimmers from the ground, the beer bottle glass looks like a mosaic.

Dusty alley with an orphaned over stuffed chair.

Subtle bass sounds grow louder, from a passing car in need of new speakers.

Black wrought iron fence makes a home look like a prison.

A novelty horn is honking with promises of elote y raspados.

The shade from the car port is welcoming, so are the colorful jars above the mailbox.

I'm home.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Homeward Bound

The past few days have been exhausting.

Last Wednesday night I had to throw away any remaining food in my house because the electricity was going to be shut off and it would not be a nice gesture for the new tenant to smell a rotting stench. I felt bad as I threw away each item, knowing my Gramma must have been tossing and turning in her sleep. I think the worst was throwing the fresh garlic cloves away. I guess I could have taken them but if I had to pack one more thing, my mind was going to explode. Adieu ajo, adieu.

Thursday - The big day. We had cleverly decided to just sleep in our empty house, on our laminate floor complete with 1 queen sized comforter. I think Baby Sagittarius was the only one who caught some real z's and I was glad. I think it was the worst night ever; we went to bed at 10pm and woke up at 3. Even if it was the worst, it was only for 5 hours. After loading the very last item into our U-haul, I wanted to scan the house and look for any remaining items. In reality though, I think I wanted to stall so I decided not to. My little house, how I miss you and your faulty foundation.

We hit the road in high spirits. We drove past the halfway mark and stayed the night in a tiny town which would make the next day's travel loads easier. By day two, Baby Sagittarius hated the car seat. Poor girl. I am very happy that I convinced Mechanic Hubby to buy the portable DVD player. Yup, we can watch Tangled again and again as long as baby is happy and not screaming her head off. Once we got to the hotel, we ordered a pizza and it was lights out. Other than the screaming drunk lady convincing her friends that she was okay to drive; demanding her license, it was a restful night. I hope that poor drunk girl slept it off in her car.

Friday - We were up by 4am and left the hotel by 5. We made a quick stop for breakfast and then we made it to our destination by 10:30 am. I found myself making suggestions on how to improve our trip back home, my mind had not wrapped around the fact that this trip was one way only.

It's been nice to see my in-laws but its been so busy, I haven't seen my side of the family yet. I'm sure it'll be a series of late nights and laughter. Can't wait.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

True Nerd, Even In My Dreams

So last night I had a cool dream that turned into a nightmare.

I guess I'm pretty excited about the last Harry Potter film, or my subconscious is anyway. I dreamed that I was at a modern day high school and there were flyers everywhere warning us about the return of Lord Voldemort. The pictures on the flyers moved, just like they would in the movie. I thought myself super awesome once I realized I was a witch with a super cool wand.

Then it turned dark. Literally, the clouds came in and hung over the school.

I felt a strong sense of fear. Then chaos hit. Buildings were exploding and people were running around injured and screaming. There were muggles, witches, wizards, squibs, and even goblins running for their lives. There was a guy dressed up as Voldermort but then I saw the real him in disguise. I wanted to take him out but I couldn't think of a single spell. It's like when you're in a dream and you want to run but you can't.

I was suddenly at my tiny house and my husband is boarding up the windows and I brace myself as I see Voldemort appear after the last nail goes in to board up the last window.

Then I wake up.

I had to laugh because as silly as the dream was, I remember being scared of this fictional wizard as my dream progressed.

As I go to bed tonight, I wonder "what dreams may come."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Labor of Love

As most of you who read my blog know, I love to cook. I wish I had more time to experiment with flavors and new ingredients but I would also like to refine what I know. I've tinkered with the idea of going to school for it but its too pricey for something I don't want as a career. I just want to pick up skills.

Within the last month, I've been given the opportunity to provide a dinner for some of the families at church. I'm pretty sure all of the dinners I made were Mexican-esque dishes with slow simmering sauces or fresh fried tostadas or homemade salsas. Each of them were a little different but mostly using the same ingredients. After we came home from delivering the meals, I could smell rich flavors wafting in the air, coming from my kitchen. Sometimes I feel like I'm under pressure (great song) because once I contact the family, letting them know I'll be making them dinner, they express how excited they are. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, I get stressed out and start over-thinking and over-tasting every single element. Is the salsa too hot? Maybe I should have used just one jalapeno (it's hard to tell if one is super spicy until it's used). I guess I'll have to whip that avocado with sour cream using the stick blender because its not ripe yet. Oh yes, avocado cream with cilantro and lime juice and a dash of salt. Why doesn't my grocery store carry tomatillos all the time?!? Did I strain the sauce enough? How did the rice not cook? How is that possible? I hope they're not allergic to chorizo for some reason.

Once it's all done and I take the dinner to a smiling face though, the stress is gone. Mechanic Hubby notices the hard work and says, "Let's pick up dinner tonight." I relax, leave the dishes for the next day and enjoy watching a kid movie. These opportunities help me grow as a home cook. It helps me test my cooking ability and look for improvement. I have to say though, when cooking for someone else, it always comes out the best.

Can't wait to go home and cook for my family back home, I've learned a lot!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kind Of Like Dark Chocolate

I have to admit I feel kind of silly about writing this post now.

Back in January I wrote a post about how the only constant was change and that I hated change and then nothing happened. Nothing changed at all. Didn't I feel like a dork.

So now there are changes but not really. My little family and I relocated 1,000 miles away from our immediate families a little over 2 years ago. I told myself before we left that I would not make friends and I would hate this place because we're only going to be here for two years anyway. I pretty much reprized my role from my early teen years called, "Raven's going to hate anyone her mother dates because no one can replace her father." I was a bratty little snot.

What I did not factor in my "I hate everyone and this place" campaign was that the people here made it really hard to hate them. People smile, wave, genuinely care about how you are and invite you over for dinner. Middle America, who knew? Middle Americans probably. My crusade of hate ended as soon as we got here. If I had stayed with that mindset it would have made living here miserable and that's not fair for my husband or my daughter.

I let myself make friends.....which turned out to be really good friends. Friends that might know a little too much about yourself. Friends that can sense how you are doing, not needing to ask. Leaving is going to suck.

I'm having mixed emotions about going back "home." We've had a fun adventure being away with a lot of high points and some not so fun low points but we made it okay. Maybe I'm having a hard time because we made our family life out here on our own. I like our early evening strolls down our quiet street, the local farmer's market, hearing the faint sound of jazz occasionally from the jazz bar down the street, and getting to know our neighbors. Okay so maybe living in a metropolitan area will bring more concerts, art walks and other things that interest my husband and I but I have really enjoyed this slower paced lifestyle. I am very happy to have experienced living in a town whose motto is "A great place to grow."

So leaving this magical little place that is full of nature, good people, bugs I've never seen and erratic weather is kind of like dark chocolate - bittersweet.

21 more days to go.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

There Was Sorrow, There Was Dancing

In the time of my life, the title of this entry is true. If there was sorrow in your heart, dancing would cure it.

We didn't have much during our first year in Arizona. We pretty much only had each other, a rocking boom box and music. We gained confidence when we danced salsa, cumbias and merengue. We felt feminine and empowered. My sisters and I weren't the greatest of dancers but my mom sure made us feel like we were. I remember those muggy Arizona nights when we would turn on the music and open up the windows and dance into the wee hours of the night. Have you ever really felt music and get lost in it by dancing? If your answer is no, then I recommend that you try until you do.

The songs we listened and danced to were about life, redemption, loved lost and found strength. I'm sure all people hear are horns and drums but there were some very inspiring words in there too. It took me a long time to realize how sad some of the songs were because they were masked with great melodies. It didn't cost us anything to dance and I appreciate the genuine quality time that we shared as a family. It was a fun thing to do that took our minds off of thinking about the things we didn't have. My mom could be behind on bills but when she dances, its as if nothing affects her. She's untouchable; immortal on the dance floor. She is the best dancer in our family. I bet she's had to dance the most sorrow out of her life.

Shortly after I had my daughter, we were all at my gramma's house just hanging out. My sister drove in from out of town to see the new baby. As the night pressed on the music started and we danced. I was almost brought to tears because the last time we had all danced together was all those years ago, in our too small house, dancing to rid our minds of our trials and tribulations. Yet, here we all were, all grown up and my mom was dancing, now just for the fun of it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reaching Towards the Sunshine

I am not a plant person.

I have what people may call a black thumb; meaning I am the murderer of plants. You know when you have a dying plant and these little white bugs start to fly around the deteriorating plant? My plant doesn't get the chance to live long enough to develop the tiny white flies.

As I perused the dollar section of Target a few weeks ago, I came across a little tomato planting pot. It came with seeds and pellets and it said right on the
package "guaranteed to sprout." It was only a dollar so I bought it because tomatoes are so darn pricey.

Last week I found the little pot I bought as I was clearing space from my craft table. I crushed the pellets and planted the tiny tomato seeds. I gave it water and then forgot about it until Monday. I looked at this tiny pot and there were sprouts! I watered it and pushed it a little closer to the windowsill.

As I cleaned up my kitchen last night, I pulled my curtains closed and before I went to bed I decided to take a picture of my plant so I can chart it's progress.

I noticed that the sprouts were tall and looking very full of life. I am completely pleased.

This morning, I opened up my kitchen window and scooted my little plant as close as I could to the daylight. This afternoon I noticed something about my little plant.

As you can see, the sprouts are reaching towards the sunshine. Now, I took basic biology in junior high and I know that plants will do this to get the most nutrients necessary from the sun for photosynthesis...yadda yadda yadda. So I wasn't blown away by this alone, but for some reason, I came across a deeper understanding of what is needed in life for a long, full life.

I started with a question.

Is there something I'm willing to stretch and grow towards that will give me nutrients for life? How much time do I stretch for? At the end of my day do I stand tall and decide to do it again tomorrow?

There were times which I kind of felt like my faith was like this tiny tomato plant kit. My faith was waiting on a shelf, hoping someone would come along and start to nurture it. My faith was picked up with hopes of planting a seed but then left in some clutter. Then, after a long time, seeds were planted. I fed and watered my faith and slowly my love and testimony grew in small tiny steps. To live my daily life happily, I stretch and reach towards the keeping true to what I believe in. I've known that by following the covenants I made when I was baptized I would be a happier person but to realize that I am a better self by observing this little tomato plant is mind-boggling. I don't know if this little plant is going to sprout beautiful tomatoes but I know that if I nurture it along with nurturing myself, I have nothing to worry about.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mortality On the Brain....

Nope, I don't think the end of the world is going to happen tomorrow.....I just checked, Australia seems to be doing just fine.

I've had mortality on the brain this past week. My amazing super Gramma had open heart surgery on Tuesday. I talked about it with her this past Sunday, here's how
it went.

(Ring ring ring)

Gramma: Hallo?
Me: Gramma!
Gramma: Hi mija! What are you doing?
Me: I'm washing the dishes (I usually like to talk to people on the phone while I do dishes, it makes this awful process so much easier). What are you doing?
Gramma: Did you hear my news? Who told you?
Me: Yeah, I heard. (I hear shuffling like a broom sweeping a floor). Gramma are you cleaning?
Gramma: Yeah, I'm getting the house ready for when your aunt gets here, so she won't have to do too much. I'll have everything ready and I have my bills in order too.
Me: (That "bills in order" thing freaked me out). Don't you have any doctor's orders to rest?
Gramma: What? It's just a little bit, I'm almost done.
Me: So Gramma, what they're doing is just a test or more?
Gramma: First they're going to put a tube in me and see how blocked the valve is by putting ink in it. If it's bad then they will do open heart. Mija, how are they going to do the surgery on my heart if they have to do that? I hope they don't have to do that, I don't want them to break my ribs.
Me: (Doing my best to keep cool) Well Gramma, they're going to have a machine that will act as your heart and pump the blood for you. They'll have to break your ribs to get to your heart Gram, it's the only way for you to get better. These doctors do open heart surgery all the time and you're only getting one valve done. There have been people who have all of them done and turn out okay. Don't worry, you're going to be fine.
Gramma: Yeah, okay. I better get back so I can finish. Your aunt is taking me to the hospital early. Your sister and your mom will be there, you can call them. Or maybe you can get a tex mex from your sister.
Me: Okay Gramma. Don't worry, God will take care of you.
Gramma: I know. Bye mija!
Me: Bye Gramma.

And yes, I totally cry after I hang up. For the most part, my Gramma is tough as nails. For a split second she sounded worried but brushed it off quickly. And as I stated in the beginning of this, she did end up having to get open heart surgery but she is fine and is recovering quite well.

My sister did an amazing job with updates by text and the wait in between "Gramma is getting ready to go" and "Gram is out. Everything's good" was agonizing. I hoped and prayed for the best but there was this nagging tiny voice in the back of my head saying, "Can you leave in a moment's notice if you had to?" I looked up airfare and rental car pricing. I looked at our budget....even contemplated asking Mechanic Hubby what his company stance was on bereavement leave. Did they count Grandmothers in Law? Did it really matter. I was thinking about the amazing things my Gramma did in her life...kind of preparing for a eulogy. I don't know why I was robotically getting this ready in the outskirts of my mind instead of just sticking to my confident message that I knew that she would be fine and she would be able to put down "heart" on the list of surgeries she's had in her life, 14 including this one. Once I shook out of the downer daze I was in, I have this child like mentality going on in my head like, "My Gramma is going to live forever!" After that, I put the breaks on the "planning."

Thankfully, I won't have to plan for that for a really, really long time; I'd probably be a sobbing mess anyway.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Have To Do Something....

I have a two year old. She's spunky and energetic and I hope she stays that way. I've noticed that since January, she has been pulling on my shirt to get up and play or dance with her. I think she's come to the realization that her mother is a couch potato and does her darndest to get her Mom off the couch.

I'll read with her (on the couch). I'll sing songs and play guitar (on the couch). I'll color with her on the coffee table (while sitting on the couch). I don't think that will cut it for her anymore. We'll go outside sometimes and then I'll be out of breath much sooner than my daughter would like. I'm sure Baby Sagittarius doesn't want her Mom to just watch her run around.

I have a whole lot of "I used to's" floating around in my head. I used to run track, I used to play softball, I used to be a fast runner, I used to, used to, used to has changed. I don't do those things anymore and "I used to" be really, really good at all those things.

I just needed a wake up call. I'm lucky that I don't have anyone being brutally honest about my weight and appearance at home. My friends and family are lovely but I just needed someone to slap me and tell me to do something. It happened in a dream. I know, it's not real but shook me to my core nonetheless. I had a dream that I was in Los Angeles visiting family along with my sisters. My awesome cousins wanted to take us to an art show and I was so excited. My eldest sister in my dream said that I wasn't allowed to go because I would embarrass her and everyone else with my appearance. I know that in real life, my sister is very sweet and very encouraging and would never, ever tell me those things. If anything she might ask me about my knowledge on art. But either way, I woke up and decided I need to do something.

Today, after Sesame Street when my daughter skipped off the couch and pulled on my shirt, I got up and we danced. We ran around the house and sang our favorite songs. She was laughing, bemused at the fact that Mom didn't give her something to entertain herself with. I don't have a goal, I don't have a number to reach, I just want to change my "used to's" to "can do's."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Unplugged Monday Nights

This all started when my sister decided to ask all of her Facebook friends what she should give up for lent.

Lent being the Catholic practice of sacrificing something for 40 days starting on Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday and also cutting out eating meat on Fridays for the same duration, at least when I was Catholic..that's what it was.

Many of her friends suggested things that she wouldn't consider a sacrifice because she doesn't indulge in those actions as frequently. One of her friends suggested to sacrifice Facebook but that was shot down almost instantly; so I suggested (and she did at the same time) to give up coffee. I warned her of the dangers of caffeine leaving her system and she's decided to go on with it anyway. I sensed her worry and instead suggested that she turn off ALL electronics every night at 7pm.

This is what she replied (verbatim) : I have a crackberry! I was emailing, making spaghetti, FBing, watching Biggest Loser and texting my boss at the same time! That's just crazy talk LOL.

As soon as I read that, I thought of a book called, "The Winter of Our Disconnect." A book I haven't read but basically it's about a mother with three "connected" teens who decides to turn everything off. Hmm...I consider myself connected. Connected to what? I don't networking sites, DIY sites, email, global news (hard to find in the news in the Midwest), texting, blogging, YouTube, Hulu,'s sad. It shouldn't suck up a huge chunk of my time but it does.

I got to thinking.....

What if my family started out small? Like maybe just one night, starting at 6pm, we turn everything off. No talking on the phone, no computer, internet, television or blogging. Maybe on a Monday where we like prime-time television? This would be a cinch for my 2 year old. How long could we do this? A month? 3 months? Longer? I like the idea of having to get creative and maybe I could read a book in the early evening instead of at midnight. Maybe I could get back to trying to learn bar chords. Maybe we could enjoy the evenings outside...take a family stroll around the block, read stories, bake, color....this idea of being rid of something worldly, even if it's just for a few hours once a week, sounds very rewarding.

We'll be starting tomorrow night and I hope we can keep it up for more than a month..because that's only four Mondays in a row, I know we can do it.

For the record, I'm not Catholic, I'm Mormon and I do not practice lent. I do however believe that I can better myself and strive to be a better person for my family.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

He'll Definitely Tune Out....

I've noticed that my husband will quickly tune out with basically any conversation that starts with:

"So I was watching (insert shows Mechanic Hubby finds uninteresting) and I thought it was (emotional adjective). What do you think about (highlight of the show he didn't watch)?"

Shows you can insert:
- Top Chef
- American Idol
- Castle
- Oprah (sometimes)
- Biggest Loser
- Being Human
- America's Next Top Model (new season started, I know it's dumb but I can't help myself!!)
- Project Runway

Can I blame him? ....I don't even want to admit that I watch some of these shows....

Monday, February 21, 2011

18 Year Secret....It's Silly.

I have a silly secret that I have kept for about 18 years....

I didn't like my 6th grade class very much. That's not the's coming. I was the new kid (again) at this school and I know the teacher liked me but I couldn't really tell if the kids in my class did. These kids had known each other since kindergarten and had pretty tight knit groups. I mostly hung out in the library at recess and sat alone during lunch in the first month or so of the school year. I ended up being friends with a lot of the kids there, I just needed to say hello. That first month was so long though and I dreaded going to school.

On a night that we had a substantial amount of leftovers...I think it was spaghetti, the plan was formed. I got up about 20 minutes before my mother did and crept to the kitchen. I retrieved a small bowl and a spoon and served up some cold spaghetti. I mixed in some milk and torn bologna pieces to make the concoction look especially chunky. Once I was pleased with the results, I went to the bathroom and slammed the door (to wake my mother up). I made loud groaning sounds, I think I even said, "Ow, my stomach," and proceeded to make puking sounds as a gently poured a cup of water and the remnants of last night's dinner into the toilet. It was perfect, if anyone was listening (like I hoped my mother was) I would be staying home, watching Nickelodeon in my jammies and munching on snacks. The thoughts were racing....I'd have to spread it out across the school year to avoid doctor's visits and suspicions from my mother. It couldn't be spaghetti every time....maybe once a quarter....ooh...maybe on a test eleven year old mind was officially blown.

I moaned and groaned. I turned on the faucet and flushed my mouth out with water and put on my most convincing sick face to alert my mother to the sickness that would keep me home from school that day. I didn't flush the "puke" in case my mother wanted to see the evidence.

I walk out of the bathroom.

I walk down the hallway to my mother's room. (Dang, she didn't get up, she must have heard though because I was "puking" my guts out).

I knock on her door, without waiting for her to say come in, I do.

"I'm sick," I say.

"What's the matter?" Mom says. (She must have been sleeping like a freaking rock!! She didn't hear a thing!).

"I just threw up," I say in my most pathetic sounding voice.

"There's Pepto in the bathroom, take that. Get ready for school," my mother says without a blink of her eye.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Living Birth Control

This evening over dinner, I asked my husband, "Hey, do you remember when we went on dates?" He chuckled and said a short, "Yup." I ask this question over my daughter's very toddler rendition of Le Chic's "Freak Out."

This got me thinking about the dating life my husband and I once had. We didn't go out too much just by ourselves before we were married. After marriage the dates were phenomenal. How is that, one might ask. Easy, my mother was quite over protective (my sisters would say she was lenient with me) and said, "If that boy wants to see you, he can see you here at the house." I thought it was pretty unfair at the time until I thought back to when my sisters started to date......

Again, my mother was very over protective. My sisters are one year apart, and they had boyfriends and they too were restricted to house "dates." They could only stay out in the living room where they could be seen by God and everybody. I remember the boyfriends looked so uncomfortable but they stuck to the rules. Finally, they were allowed to go on dates but the kicker was that I got to go with them. I was my mom's living birth control. I was a perfect mole. I was about 12 years old and I thought it was fun but I'm sure my sisters thought it sucked royally. I would whine and complain and I think I was usually the reason why the dates might have been short. There was one time when my sisters and their boyfriends decided just to ditch school and go on a real date; to the beach. My mom ended up finding out about my sisters' fun day out and they got in trouble.

Compared to what my sisters had to go through, my dating life was much more fun. I rarely had to take my brother on dates and I didn't mind being at home, whether it was my house or Mechanic Hubby's house. Sometimes I do miss going on dates with my husband; eating at some cool restaurant and catching a very snooty independent film, but dates now are good too. They usually involve very old pajamas, a Pixar film, a miniature stuffed Elmo, pizza and three pairs of floppy socks.

Yup, I'd say that's a pretty good date.