Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sandwich Dancer

I have a younger brother...I think I'll call him Sandwich Dancer. It makes sense to my family.

As of right now I'm ashamed to say that I don't know where he is or what he's doing. I have an idea that I hope is correct and that idea is that he is with his wife and children and they are just tucked away in a place that has no internet or phone signal. I would like to think that he is playing with his children and loves his wife. I would like to think that he is happy.

This not knowing is unnerving to me. It upsets me that I have been going about my little life with my tiny problems and have gone days without thinking about my brother. I know it sounds weird, who is supposed to be thinking about their brother everyday? I used to.

My brother and I are the two younger siblings of the four children my mother had. Even though we are five years apart, we were best friends. We spent countless summers together, watched a lot of PBS, hung out at the mall, and talked about everything. He's had a slightly difficult childhood and had a few bumps on the road but like all of us, he's not perfect. I know he tries very hard to be the good person I know he is. My brother is always laughing...almost like a tic. The last time we spoke on the phone was too long ago and he told me he called me because he heard a song by the Cure on the radio and thought it was a sign to call me. In retrospect, our phone conversation was too short. If I had known I wouldn't be talking to him for a great while, I would have kept him on the phone longer but he was driving and being the overly protective sister I am, I told him to keep it short and focus on the road. His wife and children had moved to another town and he stayed behind to finish up a contract job. I haven't heard from him and can't get a hold of him. Again, unnerving.

The number I have for him isn't his, he and his wife and children lived on the Navajo Nation reservation and the signal is quite poor there. When I call I get a busy signal. A light of hope dawned on me around New Year's this year. I decided to check the very unpopular myspace account I still had. There on my profile page was a note from my brother's wife. It said that she was so excited that my brother was finally on his way to them. The note was posted December 31st. I replied back on the 5th or so, asking if he made it. I have yet to get a response from his wife. I don't know if she has access to the internet (that I often take for granted) to see my message. I woke with a start a little while ago with my brother on my mind. I burst into tears. My imagination took over but in a scary way. I pictured my little brother upset and alone and no way for me to help him.

I prayed and prayed and prayed like never before and asked for him to be safe and at home with his family. I had a little voice tell me to check the distance from where he was to where his family is and it's only 3 1/2 hours away, so it brought me some comfort and confidence that he's with his family. Times are tough so they might not have internet access or a cell phone but I would do anything to have an indication that he's safe. All I can do is pray for him and his family and I'll have to be okay with that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It is 10:21 pm.

I should take advantage that my husband and daughter are asleep and kick it into high gear.

I need to:
- wash dishes
- wash clothes
- put away surprise groceries (Mechanic Hubby stumbled upon a sale)
- take out the garbage
- clean up the living room again (third time today)
- sweep the kitchen
- maybe spot mop

I want to:
- finish reading The Maze Runner
- take a shower
- eat some chocolate
- catch up on guilty pleasure television (Top Chef)

Most likely I will:
- sleep

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Mother's Tale: Vomit, Poop & Hugs - Oh My!

I felt like I was absolutely needed today.

My day started at the same time it does everyday but I had an inkling that today was going to be a whopper of a day. It was chilly today so hot chocolate was in my future and after I updated my status on Facebook stating that I was making what could have been a supremely rich cup of hot chocolate; my daughter wakes up with the sounds of dry cough so I go pick her up and let her meander to the living room and I noticed that she had some goo on her cheek. She's a drooler so I thought nothing of it. Then I was hit with a smell. I turn on her bedroom light and there it is. She threw up some time in the night and I didn't hear a thing. Dried up vomit was all in her crib and stuffed animals. I rush over to her and there's dried up vomit on her light blue polka-dotted pajamas.

I immediately felt like the worse mother in the world. How did I not hear her puking last night?

I stripped her bedding, threw it in a basket and grabbed a diaper to change her. As I walked to her I heard a blast...a poopy was a sign that today was going to be a crappy day. I let out a sigh and try to mentally prepare myself for whatever today was going to bring.

I change one of the worst diapers in the world, clean her up and change her clothes. She's crying the whole time because the wipes are cold against her skin and she begins to flail all the while I'm trying to contain her, the mess of poop (which was watery and all the way up her back), and my mental state. Once she's cleaned and in a fresh set of clothes, she relaxes...just a little and raises her arms up to me to hold her and I do. She's had a rough morning and I really needed a hug. The moment is short-lived. She starts to squirm in my arms, tossing left and right, then I hear a watery burp....and I'm thankful for laminate floors.

This was the cycle: light diarrhea, changed diaper, hugging, vomit, change clothes.

This went on until about 2:45 pm at which she finally fell asleep. I took advantage of the time and threw in the puke load of laundry, and thought I should eat a little something because I was starting to feel light-headed from not eating anything at all. Could you blame me for not having an appetite? I peruse various websites looking for pointers when dealing with vomiting and they all said the same thing - it's a waiting game.

I have to admit during hour two of puke-o-rama I lost my nerve. My daughter, who was feeling like crap, would just look at me and cry. They weren't alligator tears, but real if to ask, "Well, aren't you going to do anything?" I felt helpless and lonely and all of my mothering know-how went out the window. I called my very good friend because I just wanted someone to agree with me that "yes, that does suck and yes it sucks that there's nothing you can do but wait for this bug to pass."

I did the only thing I knew that helped me when I'm sad and I hugged my daughter. That's all I could do. I held her, moved slightly from left to right and just hugged her. I only put her down so she could vomit and as soon as she was done, I cleaned her up and continued to hug her. We watched all of her favorite shows and movies and spent most of the day on the couch. I changed her clothes six times today, my husband gave her a bath shortly after dinner and we proceeded to watch baby-friendly edutainment. She went to bed late tonight only because I wanted to make sure she had puked everything she had.

Reflecting on today, I felt like I was a mother. Not to suggest that I'm not every other day of my life but like the title meant more today. My daughter wanted nothing more than my hugs to soothe her, my mediocre voice to sing her songs and cushion-like body for her to snuggle in. She didn't want toys, special treats or anything else, just her Mom. So puke-o-rama was really hug-o-rama, love-o-rama and test-o-rama. I'd have to say that my night ended on a high note...the friend I complained to brought my daughter some electrolytes and brought me some much needed pick me ups - chocolate chip cookies!!!

I think my day was crappy because I decided it was going to be crappy way too early. By night fall, my day wasn't as bad as I deemed it to be, and I'm thankful.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Food Memory

A smell.

An ingredient.

A technique.

The execution.

Hunger gone.


Swollen heart.

When I cook food, my mind kind of goes into auto mode. I don't know how or why but it does. It's like my hands are on their own and I know the process of what I'm doing but I'm not even aware that I'm doing it. Chopping and prepping are my most favorite things to do, it relaxes me. I gave a cooking demo a while back and chopped cilantro in a chiffonade and got cilantro leaves on my hands. I took my knife and scraped the leaves off my hands and heard some gasps and one "What are you doing?" I was in auto mode and I have been scraping cilantro leaves off my hands that way for as long as I can remember. Foolish way to do that now that I think about it.

Auto mode happens when I make any kind of run of the mill kind of meal unless I'm making something very special. And special means ethnic. The food I grew up on is usually never an automated process. I have been given the awesome opportunity of time to really learn by trial and error how to make my memory food. I don't have a favorite, when I cook these foods a memory comes into my head. It was just tamale season and I caught myself crying over them...I'm not a kid anymore going to Gramma's to spread masa with a too big spoon. I've been wanting to make menudo but I'm the only one who likes it in my tiny house and I only know how to make the giant batch recipe that I would taste so good with this cold weather. Even just plain corn tortillas get me a little mother showed us how to take advantage of our long slender fingers to roll up a corn tortilla. There are foods I miss because of the memories tied with it and the foods I stay away from because I don't want to remember sopes. The first time I met my ex's parents, his mother made sopes so I never learned how to make them...greasy little buggers.

I'm kind of glad that I lost the written menudo recipe I jotted down from my Gramma. That's not how you learn, you have to watch and get your hands in it. You don't measure you, you just know. You go by the smell, the taste and the comfort you feel afterwards. I came to the realization that because I have learned to cook this heavy laden memory food, I'll have to teach it to someone else one day and keep the food cooking forever. Any takers?

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Only Constant Is Change...son of a b*tch

I don't really like the whole concept of a New Year's resolution. I guess it's the day people designate to starting fresh and I get it, new year/new life. I think it might put too much pressure on people and when their resolutions go out the window...then what? For some, they just move on with their lives and think, there's always next year.

To be honest, I fear change. It seems that once I think I've got the whole thing figured out, change comes along and takes the rug out from under me and tells me to use tile or hardwood floors. In a way though, when you're doing the daily motions of life, complacency can become an issue. Along with the changes in my life are challenges and solutions ultimately leading to growth, in all aspects of the word. It's not that I don't want to grow...I just don't want it to touch my stuff or make me do things I don't want to do, would that be so hard? reminds me of that book Who Moved My Cheese?

In retrospect though, I appreciate the changes in my life. If I never changed I would still be some goth kid without direction in life, without my daughter, without my wonderful in-laws, eating crappy food with an everlasting chip on my shoulder...what kind of life is that?