Friday, November 16, 2012

Ding Dong....Hostess Is Dead.

My hometown Wonder/Hostess Bakery Outlet

When I heard the rumors last week that a baker's strike could affect the future of Hostess, I was skeptical.  Airlines go on strike all the time and yet they manage to stay open.  But this was different.  Hostess said that if the strike were to continue, it would be detrimental to its operations and they would have to file for bankruptcy and close.  It seemed like it was a major threat to make the workers give up and cave in.

But it wasn't.

They meant every word and here we are. November 16th and Hostess has moved forward with closing and filing for bankruptcy.  With Hostess Brands closing, this includes Wonder, Dolly Madison, Home Pride and Nature's Pride.  My sister in law posted this news this morning and I honestly got a little sad.  I think I could blame my emotional state due to pregnancy but I think I would have been just as sad if this happened at any other time.

Growing up, we used to live down the street from the Wonder/Hostess outlet.  My dad would give us a few bucks and we would take a walk and pick up some treats.  It always smelled so good even if the product was about to expire or already had.  And by the way, Twinkies have an amazing shelf life.  I think I'm sad because a little piece of my childhood will be gone.  I know, way too over dramatic.  I mean I could blame Hostess for giving me my fabulous figure and the many, many times we'd have to go shopping for bigger sizes  for me as a child.

Granted, it's been a long time since I've actually had any Hostess products and maybe if I purchased more it would have helped a little but it seemed inevitable.  I'm probably not going to go out and stock up on any of their baked goods because it seems to me that I had let them go a long time ago.

Maybe I'll pick up some twinkies......and some donettes......and cupcakes.....but that's it.  Oh and ding dongs.

Hopefully, these links will help you fill the void.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dia De Los Muertos 2012

If it's the first Sunday after Halloween, you will find my family and I in Tuscon for the annual All Souls Procession in honor of my father in law.  You'll know you're in it because everyone's faces are painted up to look like skulls and you'll see altars or shrines big or small.  There parade attendees are in the thousands and the crowds are more than happy to see you.

Last year I designed the float so this time it was my sister in law's turn.

The brick wall represents the hard work Dad did as a mason.  Then there are various pictures of our family, Dad as a young missionary and a picture of the Mesa Temple.  "Hasta Ver Nos Con El Rey" is a line from the LDS hymn, "God Be With You Til We Meet Again." There were little knick knacks like skeletons, a little guitar, and a Book of Mormon in Italian.  I remember my husband and I bought that for him while we were visiting SLC.  Dad was trying to teach himself Italian so we thought he would like it.  He told Mom that if they were ever to serve a mission as couple, he'd want to go to Italy. Looking at the book made me feel a happy, a little sad...or a lot sad.

Dia de los Muertos carries a special meaning to my husband's family.  Every year Dad would go alone to Mexico to week long celebration.  They had never gone with him and when we heard of this parade, everyone thought it would be a good idea to honor him in that way.  The first one we went to took place a few months after he passed away.  It was such a fun time and I'd like to think that he was there with us and that he loved how silly we all looked with our painted faces, trying to maneuver a float in his honor down crowded streets.

It's amazing to see what people can come up with.  We were towards the back of the parade so I'm sure we missed some really cool pieces that were in the front but our float was good as well.  I think my favorite was the cow skeleton bike.

I wish I had video of this in motion.  The guy who made it had set it up so when he rode the bike, all four legs would move as if the cow was running.  Amazing!

There is something about walking with a big giant crowd of people, all there for the same purpose; to honor someone they lost.  There is no race, no religion...yes it does remind me of John Lennon's "Imagine" when we take part.  There is nothing but kindness and smiles.  There's always some kind of music playing, whether it's a school band, a mariachi or even a group of bagpipe players (somehow we always manage to be around them).  There are also groups that have causes such as honoring those who pass away while trying to cross the border, American veterans, nuclear plant workers, and other various causes.  We were surprised/glad that there wasn't any political activists or people with their "push to vote for my candidate."  It was just a big happy group of folks who want to celebrate.

This person dressed up as a bird dancer on stilts.  The way they moved was curious and strange, I had to snap a picture.

The route was full of spectators on both sides and all you see are flashes of light or the glow of cell phones itching to take pictures.  Again, people take candid shots of you, your kids, people around you..I think I might have gotten used to it.  Another thing to expect is the smell of marijuana along spots while walking in the parade.  My niece said, "Ew, something smells like a really strong bug spray or something." I said, "Yes, it's bug spray now walk faster."

We end the night reconvening at our usual spot to eat sandwiches and chips from home and talk about what we saw or heard from the crowds, our favorite floats and forgetting how chilly it gets in Tuscon at night.  Then we pack up and head out for the hour and a half ride home, extremely sleepy, full of food and new memories of the parade.

I can't wait till next year.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"To Sleep Perchance to Dream"

Lately sleep has been a subconscious adventure of vivid alternative realities that have laid dormant in my head.

Not only have I been waking up at 3am every night fully awake and aware of what just went on in my head, I can't forget the detail of each dream I've had since Monday.  I know that dreams become strange or more realistic during child carrying but this has been some of the most excitingly terrifying series of nights I've ever had.

Monday Night
I am at a large city park with my sister in law, her little 2 year old son, my husband and his brother.  I'm very pregnant and I'm helping my sister in law shoot a video of her son kicking a ball with her.  He kicks the ball and it shoots past me towards my brother in law.  He picks it up and throws it back, over shoots and lands towards a van that has just pulled up to our area of the park.  Two suspicious men walk out as the ball stops near their feet.  I tell him to go get the ball.  As he nears the van, the two men give my brother grief and he comes back empty handed.  Thinking this is totally ridiculous, I walk over and demand the ball; explaining how silly it is to take from a baby.  As I'm explaining, I don't see the left hook coming towards my face.  Everyone that was there at the park with me, are gone, including my husband.  I slide back, trying to catch myself, trying not to fall because there's a tiny person completely unaware of what is happening.  I'm able to steady myself by hanging on to the side view mirror of the van.  And then I start to forget my instinct to run and begin to fight this large man.  It's not about a ball anymore, it's about trying to hurt my baby.  I don't know how I came to know how to fight or even remembering where I learned how to take a blow by angling my body in such a way, that my midsection is protected.  I proceed to punch this man in the throat, but not after I get a few blows, really good ones.  I keep punching him until I hear the crunch of his trachea.  I walk away towards our car.  I see everyone there.  I start to cry and ask, "Why didn't you help me? Why didn't you call the cops, he hit me first!"  My husband says, "Why are you so short-tempered? Why didn't you just let it go? I'm tired of your instigating!"  He then tells me, "I think we're done.  I can't be someone who likes to start trouble."

It's 3am and I wake up and cry.

Tuesday Night
I'm at a doctor's office with my husband for a routine check up.  I meet with a man, who is not my doctor and he does the normal checks, blood pressure and asks for symptoms.  He scribbles some information down, turns to me and says, "Okay so we'll take the baby out, see how it's doing and put it in the oven at 325 for about 40 minutes."  My head begins to spin.  My husband says, "Sounds great doctor."  I look over to him in an incredulous daze.  I ask my husband, "Are you sure about this?"  "Honey, they're doctors, they've done this hundreds of times."  They take me to the O.R. and take out my baby.  In my head I'm fighting every part of it, but my body does nothing. I don't see the baby until the ding of the oven goes off.  I'm led to a nursery/bakery, where they take out the baby from the oven.  It is a full term baby, breathing and surrounded by potatoes and carrots in a roasting pan.  They set it before me and the baby has the face of Jabba the Hutt.  Large slit red eyes, same nose, large mouth with crazy tongue.  They tell me to go back to the waiting room and the doctor would come back with the results. My husband looks happy and I don't know what to think about what I just saw.  I receive a text message from my brother saying the doctor found a mycordial tear but thinks it can be repaired.  Be ready to head to the O.R. to put the baby back in.  When the doctor shows up I ask, "How can you put the baby back in?  You can't!"  He says, "Ms, you're only 19 weeks along, the baby needs 21 more weeks in your oven."

It's 3am and I wake up.

Wednesday Night
My Gramma cleans houses for a living and asked if I could help her with the work.  I agree.  We start cleaning and my Gramma heads out the door to throw the trash.  She calls for me and tells me to bring her the broom but to walk slowly out the door.  Confused, I do what she says and then she tells me, "Go back in the house and close the door."  Before I can object or ask what was going on, she blurts out, "Just do what I say!" So I go back in, close the door and look through the window.  My Gramma has the broom in her hands, raised like she's going to strike something.  Then I see the biggest spider I've ever seen.  It moves down the door over the window, and my Gramma slams the broom on it.  The legs of the spider curl in and I think it's dead.  Then the spider jumps and it turns into a wolf spider.  Not like a regular wolf spider, it's an actual combination of a wolf and a spider and it's charging toward Gramma who is standing unfazed with a broom in her hand ready to strike.  I can't open the door and she gets the wolf-spider in the jaw and with another quick move she slams the broom handle onto the top of its head.  She continues to fight the beast as I try unsuccessfully to open the door.

It's 3am and I wake up.

I'm trying to piece together what spurned these weird dreams.  Monday's dream I have no idea, maybe the great pictures of my nephew at the same beautiful park, my love of the Bourne movies.  A few months ago I posted a picture of a roasted chicken I had made and my vegetarian girlfriend said, "There's something about a whole chicken that reminds me of a tiny glazed oven baked baby. Is that weird?" And just recently, a friend of mine had written that she had found a large spider, maybe a tarantula on her kitchen counter.

The things our brains decide to store and spring on us in our dreams is so mysterious.

When I sleep tonight I can' t help but feel a little nervous about "what dreams may come."

Friday, August 10, 2012


My daughter has a thing about animals.

She loves them, loves shows about them, has a collection of stuffed versions of them...animals, animals, animals.

Sometime during the day I like to do some kind of school-ish activities whether it be letter sounds, sight words, shapes, colors; all that stuff.  Today, she was not interested in any of it.

I've made my kid animal shadow puppets, paper animal with holes for her to loop yarn through, practice great animal sounds but had never dressed her up as an animal.  So I got a paper plate and crayons and made her a tiger mask.

Once it was done, she transformed.

She immediately started to slink on all fours with exaggerated shoulder movements.  Her breath was growling, then she pounced!

I let out a fake scream and she says, "Run Mommy, I a scary tiger!"  After running away from my little tiger she says, "Okay now close your eyes and go to sweep."  You don't have to tell a pregnant lady twice.  She led me to my room, covered me with a blanket and closed the door.  This is a game she likes to play.  She'll leave then knock on the door, and I basically invite her in to "scare" me.

She comes in and begins to walk on all fours on the floor so I can't see where she'll pop up.  When she does, I pretend to be scared and she giggles and starts all over again.  It went on for about an hour which was nice because I got up way too early and needed a break to rest....until she popped up again.

I noticed she was getting tired herself so I suggest that the scary tiger get a snack.  I love that something as simple as a homemade tiger mask made her so happy.

Tired tiger.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Gestation Period and the Kindness of Strangers

Yes, I'm pregnant.

12 weeks along.

Being a woman of a certain shape, that of a pear, a delicious round pear that would probably taste so good braised in a red wine reduction or caramelized and set over a custard or in a tart; announcing to people in person that you are pregnant, their eyes go directly to your stomach, as if you are due in a matter of weeks.

Then as you notice their eyes refocus on your face, you politely say, "Oh, I'm only X weeks along."


Back in November, I decided I was ready to have another baby.  I thought I would get pregnant as fast as I did with my first and that wasn't the case.  Granted, it's still a blessing to want to be pregnant and then get pregnant because I have so many friends that have tried and couldn't.  Every month I thought I was pregnant, I was let down.  I decided that maybe my body was not healthy enough to be pregnant.  I decided to switch up some eating habits and since I cook a lot at home, I could control my ingredients and my intake (sometimes).  I did my best to not think about getting pregnant, being pregnant and not being upset if I wasn't pregnant. The key was to not think about it.  If it happens, it happens.  I tend to over think...a lot.

I found out on June 9th that I was carrying a second child.  My first thought was, "Holy crap."

I've had three appointments and labs done.  This last appointment was a bit of a bombshell.

I am pre-diabetic....possibly.

Gestational diabetes?


My doctor recommended that I start on a diabetic diet but to make sure I get 2200 healthy calories a day and 8 glasses of water.  2200 calories.  That's a lot.

I'll have to admit once I found out I was with child I threw caution to the wind and heard Gramma's voice in my head, "Whatever baby wants, baby will get."  I did get morning sickness but also craved a certain flame grilled burger from a fast food chain, rhymes with hopper.  But now I had to think about consequences of being unhealthy.  I'm going to be re-tested in 4 months, hopefully with a better result otherwise it's medication and/or insulin.  I don't like pills and I sure as hell don't want to stab myself everyday.  So I made a decision to do better.

We're lucky in the fact that if we need information on anything, the internet provides.  Right when I got home from my appointment I searched and searched.  Today when I went grocery shopping I told myself, "Buying healthier options will be pricey but your health and baby's health and the rest of your family's health is very much worth it.  Plus we'll save from eating out."

I did fine with buying produce but things can be tricky with "whole grains" or things marked as such.  I went down my pasta aisle and saw a very fit woman looking at pasta.  She was holding a whole grain box of penne and reading the label.  She was also wearing work out clothes.  I was unsure of what to buy and being the outgoing person that I am I asked her, "What are you looking for in a healthy pasta?"  This woman was amazing.  She talked about healthy carbs, whole grains, enriched flour, duram wheat flour, servings, pairings, compared regular pasta with whole grain pasta, sugars, folic acid - this woman knew her stuff and I was so glad asked.  I wish I would have made a better effort and said with all dorkiness, "Do you want to be my friend?"

As we parted ways down different aisles of the store, I felt more confident in my choices I was making and reassured that I can do without all of the foods I've loved for a long time.  I can alter my recipes to be healthier and still have it be satisfying.  And as an added bonus, it turned out that I saved $30 on my grocery bill.

People are usually kind to pregnant women and I appreciate it and yet I know that as I get more shapely with this baby, people will feel so moved as to touch my stomach, forgetting that touching anyone without invitation is weird and not welcome.  Just to let you know, it's weird and not welcome. Unless you're my immediate family, they're "touchy" people.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I-10, 405, Detour, 605, 91 = Home

The day at Santa Monica Pier was AMAZING.  Even if all I got on was the ferris wheel but I did play a lot of carnival games which my niece proved to be the master of.  Rigged?  Maybe not.  Lunch was great, beach was sandy and waves constant. Even walking back to the car with damp clothes and feet trudging in the sand was great.  Plus, my legs were exfoliated and I got a great tan.  I love when the sun is out but it's not a reminder of the 9th circle of hell.

We pack up the car and head home.  We planned to leave the beach at 4:30 because my aunt was going to have dinner ready for us and with traffic it would take us an hour and a half to get back to the house.  An hour and a half car ride seems bad but it got worse...much worse.

As we are driving (more like crawling) along the freeway I see a plume of smoke come out from under the hood.  Great.  We pull over and my husband sees that we have a crack in the radiator about 4 inches long and there's coolant leaking everywhere.  My husband is a great mechanic.  Did I freak out?  Yes.  Luckily, my husband is the complete opposite and he hops on the smart phone and looks up an auto repair shop.  It wasn't far and after we park he lifts the hood.  I join him (as if I know what any of it is) and ask, is it an easy fix?  He says, "It's six bolts, long as they have a radiator."  Luckily they had a radiator and my husband went to work.  It was not even a big deal for him.

He makes it look so easy.

Radiator fan, bolts being removed.

I had no idea that this was what a radiator looked like. Oh well, it's in some dumpster in California now.
The next thing we had to figure out was a fast way to get home.  I didn't have my cell phone because I forgot to charge it and my sister's phone was dead.  My husband's phone was fine but he didn't have my cousin's number.  My sister told me a number that sounded right so I tried it.  She's got a great memory, pretty eerie how good it is.  I got a hold of my cousin and there was no way around it, there is going to be traffic and it will suck.  It took us nearly two hours to get home.

During that time the story of how my husband  used his incredible automotive smarts had been spread to my aunt, uncle and cousins and he pretty much got a hero's welcome.  I thought it was fitting that he was wearing a Superman t-shirt because he really did save the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pick Up Where You Left Off.......Part Two

Last Friday was a "can't sleep out of anticipation" night.  We were going to get up at 3:30 am to hit the road at 4am-ish.  I woke up at 3:25, beating out my alarm clock by five minutes....after going to bed at 10:30pm.  I was so ready to go and hit the road, I might have been a little too chipper.  My sister's face as I woke her up pretty much told me that.

About 40 minutes out of town, we hit quite a downpour.  My husband was telling me all the things he did to the car to make sure it was in great condition for a road trip, including installing wipers.  As they swished back and forth, I was asking about costs of repair and joking about how much he charged for labor.  The rain was getting heavier and as he fiddled with the wiper switch the funniest thing happened, the wiper blades got tangled.

We pulled over to the next rest stop, and my husband untangled the wipers.  He ended up switching the wiper blades around, they were working perfectly as we left.  Less than 2 minutes after we left the torrential downpour, the rain stopped.  We all laughed.  The rest of the drive was smooth sailing.  We stopped at IHOP to eat breakfast and got to my aunt's house at noon.

She and the family had since moved from that house I remember but once you walk in, it's that same warm welcoming feeling.  When we would visit as kids, my aunt would make us beds out of blankets and sheets on the floor.  She would ask, "Do you want a queen sized or king sized bed?"

It's amazing how we are able to jump into conversation as if no time had passed.  There is never any awkward moments.  We quickly catch up in the kitchen about what's been happening since we last saw each other, start eating and laughing...seems almost instantly.  Then my aunt suggests, "Do you want to go in the pool?"  The weather is a cool 75 degrees and the pool water is even colder but we jump in anyway.  When someone's backyard is so lush and green with a crystal clear pool in the back, how can you say no?

The next day was a trip to Corona Del Mar (near Newport Beach) for some light beach fun.  My kiddo had a blast with destroying sand castles and getting splashed by the waves.  

Looks like my kiddo is only getting her feet wet right?  I'm so glad we brought another outfit.

On Monday we headed out to Santa Monica Pier which was a bit of a drive but we left early hit up the rides and carnival games.  

From the view of the ferris wheel.

My three year old is in there!
 You can't hit up the pier and not hit up the beach.  We did exactly that.

Taking a break from being splashed by the waves.

This was a perfect day.....the evening was.....adventurous? There was maps, superheroes and my sister's amazing memory.

More to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pick Up Where You Left Off.....Part One

When I was a kid, my Dad would take us on an annual summer vacation to my aunt and uncle's house.  It was a 7 hour car ride that he would drive overnight so we could sleep then wake up at our destination.  I would try to stay up really late, thinking I could beat sleep by think child like existential thoughts like, "Are we moving or is someone turning a crank and the road is moving underneath us?"  "Are there dinosaurs under those mountains?"  "Who turned on the cloud machine?"  I used to make my own seismographs by holding my pen lightly and letting the bumps of the drive make lines on my paper.  I never could stay awake for the whole drive.  

We usually got into town at about 6:30 am, sometimes earlier.  I remember waking up as we pulled into the Donut Hole.  Sometimes we'd have donuts and milk or hot chocolate in the parking lot because Dad thought it was too early to pull up to my aunt's house.  I would be so excited, bouncing around in my seat because I knew we were minutes away from seeing some of the most wonderfully kind and fun people. 

During our week long trip, we usually went to the happiest place on earth which is kind of no fun when you're too afraid to ride anything and who wants to stand in line all day?  The best part was spending time with my family.  My uncle made sure we had fun while we were there. We played games, ran around, heard scary stories, ate happily, all things kids needed.  I remember my uncle gathered all of us kids and we played hide and go seek in the outside in the dark.  He jumped out and scared almost peed my pants scared.....crying scared.  He instantly stopped being "scary" and hugged me...with a little chuckle.

In a few years after that experience, my parents got divorced and our annual trip had been cancelled indefinitely during my remaining childhood.  

I'm so happy/sad to say that I've just made it back home from visiting my lovely SoCal family.  I had seen them before a few years back but not for long periods of time, not for 5 days in a row.  This vacation was very much needed.  My husband needed a break and we needed to get out to cooler temperatures.  

More to come tomorrow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Drive In Movie

It was a very long Saturday.

It did not pick up until about 5pm.

Dinner was made.
Chicken Enchiladas
Tummies were made happy and yet there was something missing from our day.

We needed to get out and about.

While I was picking up some summer clothes for my daughter, my husband had a brilliant idea.

Why don't we hit up the drive in?

Hmm.  The idea was simple.  Why hadn't we thought of this earlier?  The cost is low and entertainment value is high! little is "4 & under" so she gets in for free!  We looked up show times and wouldn't you know it, they were still showing The Pirates: Band of Misfits, something my kiddo would enjoy.  I've made her plenty of pirate hats and swords, been apart of her crew and often repeated AAARRRR!

I couldn't take a real picture because it was so dark.  I had to make one so you can visualize it.
I was excited to go.  I remember the last time I went to the drive in, I was very pregnant and we went to catch some family films with the whole family (in-laws and nieces and nephews).  They always show a double feature and that night they were showing Madagascar 2 and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.  I fell asleep in the car as soon as the credits started.  There went 6.50 down the drain.

But this time was much more fun.  We sat in our little car with a little someone in my lap.  We made up a song about sitting in the front seat called, "Sitting In The Front Seat."  She really liked it.

The movie started at 8:55 (it would have been 8:30 but people were still coming in).  It was hilarious and I loved the soundtrack.  I think any movie that uses music from Flight of the Conchords is a winner.

She fell asleep by 10pm, drooled on my shirt, didn't move a muscle while putting her back in her car seat, went to bed easily.  She'll probably wonder how she got in her bed in the morning.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


So I posed a question on facebook saying:

Do homemade gifts still trump expensive gifts when the person who makes it is 30? I hope my mom likes my macaroni necklace I made her.

I had already made my mom a gift.  I myself am not into spending tons of cash because then next year it has to be bigger and/or better and I don't like to get caught up in that.

I adore homemade anything.  Especially food.  I didn't make my mom food.

I made her an album out of scrapbooking paper, cardboard, glue, pictures and ribbon.

Was I totally worried that she would hate it?


I had this idea to put together pictures of every house I remember living in while growing up in California and then writing a little something about each house.  I touched on when us kids were in a scary car accident with my dad, jotted a tiny something about her divorce from my dad, and pondered the question, "Whatever happened to my sister's cat Samantha?"  My sister forgot that she had a cat altogether.  I took the liberty of making up a short story of the kind of life Samantha had.  It's not our fault, we aren't pet people and the cat was a gift to us from my mom's friend.

I can see it now. Samantha had a life of hard living after we abandoned her at the house on Lake street.  She probably joined a cat gang because she needed a new family.  She gets a tattoo on her paws that says MEOW 4 LIFE.  She didn't receive the love she needed when she was young so she goes from cat to cat hoping to feel that love again.  She has a litter of kittens at 4 and gets on kitty welfare.  Her kids repeat the cycle two years later. 

All together there were 7 houses and stories but I'll spare you.  I presented this little gift to my mom over sushi.   There are a few pictures below.  I think she liked it.

My mom is pretty mysterious like that.  I'm still, after all these little years, am trying to please her.  I'm going to think that she loved it and will cry her eyes out in private.

Maybe she'll let me know after I post this.....maybe not.

And that's okay.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

She Knows What She Wants

I'm writing this post waiting for my roast to cool down a little so I can shred it by hand.  While I was taking the roast out of the crock pot, I look over to the picture I have of my Gramma that I have placed above my stove.  She's kind of an inspiration for me, especially when I don't know what to make.  She's always able to make a feast in times of famine.  With all that I have, I won't let myself cook something boring or plain.

So it's almost my Gramma's birthday again.  I'm very happy to have been able to spend yet another year with her.  She will be 82 on May 5th.  I decided this morning that I was going to invite her to my house for a nice birthday breakfast.  She is extremely picky (which she would deny) so I decided to ask her what she would like for me to prepare.

This is what she said:

Me:  Hi Gramma!
Gramma:  Hi Mija!
Me:  I was wondering if you would like to come to my house on your birthday for breakfast.
Gramma:  Ooh, that sounds nice.  What are you making?
Me:  What do you want me to make?
Gramma:  Oh, nothing fancy.  I know how you like to make fancy food.
Me: What?  I don't make fancy things. (I really don't and I have no idea what she's talking about)....So what can I make you?
Gramma: How about an omelette, but not plain.  Cut up some jalapenos, tomatoes and onions.  Not big pieces, small ones.  And some fresh refried beans...make a pot of beans and refry some.  Smash them well and I like them creamy.  I hate dry beans.  Oh and make some potatoes.  Cut them into small squares.  I like them soft not crispy.  Cover them while you cook them, not crispy.  Make some salsa.  I want you to boil the tomatoes and broil the jalapenos.  Then blend them in the blender but not too much, I want it chunky but not too chunky.  Oh and flour tortillas, the kind with the Mexican flag on them.  I like those the best. (I thought she was going to make me make fresh ones.  I can but she wants store bought and I don't want to disappoint). What time are we having breakfast.  Not too late because it'll turn into lunch.  I think like 8:30 or 9...or 9:30 if you want your aunt and sister to join us.
Me:  Okay.  I can make that.  I was thinking of something different but this works.
Gramma:  What were you thinking?
Me:  I was thinking chicharones con chile (fresh pork rinds with salsa)
Gramma:  Make that too.  Or wait until I get there and then we'll make it.

She's going to be 82....she knows what she wants and I'm happy to oblige.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easy Arts

What I've been creating lately....
Sci-Fi gals.
I wish I would have put more emphasis on the brains but I do like the wires.

I love the orangey tones.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Late Night Dining

Growing up my family and I would visit our cousins in the summer.  It was a 7 hour road trip that my dad preferred to do overnight.  We would pack our things into our 1976 Chevy van, take our blankets and pillows and head out on the road.  I would do my best to try and stay up but I could never manage to stay awake the whole way.

Sometime during the road trip, after I had drifted off to sleep, my sister would shove me awake.  I remember that she would still look kind of groggy herself, like someone else had just woke her before me.

"Put your shoes on, we're at Denny's."

Talk about some magical words.  I would put my shoes on and we would make our way out of the van.  Everyone's hair was disheveled and it was perfect.  It was always between the hours of 11 - 2am each time we'd make a stop.  After talking to my mom, she clarified that it was the Denny's in Grapevine.  My dad would grab a plate of pancakes and a couple of cups of coffee.  We got whatever we wanted.  I usually got a hamburger.

My clearest memory of late night Denny's was when I was 11.  We were just about done and the place was dead.  The staff must have been made up of college kids. They lined up the dining chairs and had a race.  It was exciting.  I think I had put the occupation of "waitress" on my list of things I wanted to do at that moment.

Before I had my daughter....late night dining was always on my list of things to do.  My husband and I would meet up with friends, hang out then make our way over to Denny's or to its rival IHOP.  I don't know what it is about late-night dining that I miss.  Maybe the freedom, the way hot food tastes on a late chilly night, laughing about splitting the check...who knows.

My husband told me that his dad would bring hamburgers in the middle of the night and he'd be up at 1am half eating/half sleeping. I can imagine him trying to hold his head up with one hand and trying to eat a burger with the other.

I think when my kid is older, we'll keep up that little tradition.  When I was a kid, it was an adventure.  It was fun yummy spontaneity and I can't wait to start it up again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

When Anticipation Turns Into Anxiety....

I'm not going into detail about how this came about but two weeks ago, I went to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack.

I felt like I did about 2-3 hours or cardio and there was a 300 pound weight on my chest.  I couldn't breathe and my heart rate was at 120.

I had just read an article called "If You're Going to Be Treated For a Heart Attack, Try Not to Be Female."  To sum it up, it basically says that when women go to the hospital complaining of chest pains; they are discriminated against.  It also said not to down play what they're feeling and to be their own advocate.

I had been having chest pains for a week but they generally went away.  The night before I went to the ER, the pain wasn't subsiding and I got nervous.  The next day I decided to go to my friendly neighborhood urgent care (which I now know that if you are experiencing chest pains or abdominal pain, skip the middleman) to get checked out.  They did an EKG and said my heart rate was abnormal and that I should go to the emergency room.  I dropped my kid off with her nana and my husband and I set off to the hospital.

I called my sister to let her know and she kept telling me, "You're not having a heart attack, it's probably anxiety."  I wasn't sure what it was but my chest was hurting something fierce.

I walked into the ER and told the girl up front, "I have chest pains and an abnormal EKG from urgent care." I was immediately taken into their "quick look" area to get my vitals checked and got another EKG.  The nurse was fast and was pumped with energy.  He looked at the EKG I had.  He asked, "Where did you get this from?" I replied, "Urgent care."  With an eye-roll he says, "Ugh, urgent care."  I thought that was so funny.  He yanks the wires off of me and sits me up and says, "Sinus tachycardia yes, heart attack? No.  You should feel better because I just ruled out your heart."  He gave me a quick smile and we went to the waiting room.

In my head I began to mull over what my sister said.  Anxiety.  It was a pretty rough week and it was only Wednesday.  I was looking around and there were people who looked worse off than how I looked.  I started to feel guilty and yet my chest pains weren't going away.

A short time after I was called and they rolled me to triage in the wheelchair which I felt was a bit much but its more of a liability thing.  I got set up in my little area and told several people what happened; I started to feel like a broken record.  They did blood work, a chest x-ray, a cat scan, urine screening.  Once the doctor came in, I thought my heart was going to bust out of my chest.  I see him look beyond me then back at my face.  He says in a calming voice, "Ms. are you an anxious person?"


He said, "I know because as soon as I walked in, your heart rate jumped from 98 to 120," and smiled.  "We're going to get the results back from your blood work but for now how about we get that heart rate down okay?"  He tells the nurse, "How about one milligram of valium."  She nods.

Valium?  The drug of choice for housewives everywhere.  I never thought I'd have to succumb to the powers of it.  They handed me this tiny pill and I take it.  It   Now that I think about it, they could have given me a placebo.

Once all was said and done, I didn't have diabetes or high cholesterol.  I had an anxiety attack....maybe more than one that week.  And telling someone to calm down in the middle of an anxiety attack won't help.  The doctor said to try and figure out ways to handle my stress better.  I really thought I could handle stress fine but my husband said that I often care to much about things that are out of my control.  And instead of getting defensive, I agreed.  I do care too much about things that don't need much caring about.

My sister in law, who is a nurse (which I'm very grateful for) came by the next day, took me to Target to get my prescription for twelve pills of valium.  The bottle says in big, bold letters - TAKE AS NEEDED.   This made me laugh.  We did a little shopping and she picked up pizza for dinner.  She also brought me some yoga DVDs which has helped me stress less.

All in all, I think I've learned to have more faith that things will work out and that I need to be more carefree.  Things that are going on in my family life are still going on, but truthfully its a brief moment in time.  And anytime I need to get my head on straight I just think about how good I actually have it compared to the terrible things happening in the world and tell myself to shut up about my champagne problems.

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13th, Not A Valentine's Post

What was the worst gift I ever got from my husband?

Any guesses?  A fancy cheese grater?  A bubble machine?  Portable flo-bee?  It sounds like a chainsaw and is helpful for those excessive fuzz on your clothes days - The electronic lint remover. His heart was in the right place....even if every time I used it I thought tiny metal antennae were going to come out of the holes and rip up my guts.

Since then, the gift giving has improved.  My husband has a knack for remembering little things.  I got the lint remover because I said I hate using a lint roller and wished that there was an easier way to remove lint. Since then the little things he's remembered has worked in my favor. Here are some examples:

- There was a glass etching class I kind of wanted to go to, you know the ones that let you etch your last name onto your casserole dishes so that if you leave them there's no reason why it couldn't go back to you?  It reminds me of like a housewife sting operation....anyway, I wanted to go but I didn't have any glassware....until that following Mother's Day.  He listened to me say, "Pssh, it was probably boring anyway" and heard "I wish I had some glassware."

- I said, "Man, I wish I didn't live so far from the library.  I'd probably read more." On my birthday I got a gift basket with all the classics, snacks and drinks.

- "If I had a blow dryer, I'd be ready faster."  On Valentine's Day, I got the hotel room style blow know the kind that mounts to the wall.  I love it!

- The day after I got the last Harry Potter book (which came out right around my birthday) I was given the whole day to read it and my husband brought me food throughout the day so I wouldn't have to stop reading.  It was probably one of the best gifts - time to do what you'd like to do, not what you need to do.  I could go for another one of those free time days.

I never get tired of the "I love you's" but one of my most favorite things my husband had ever said to me happened when he asked me once what I wanted for Christmas.  I said, "How about some nice comfy pajamas?"  I'm a pajama girl.  Not the teeny barely there kind, the sweats and cute top know.  I quickly thought it would be weird for making my husband shop in the ladies section for me and said, "You know what, nevermind.  You don't even know my size and I really don't want you to guess."  He says, "Of course I know your size."  My mortification was short-lived when he said, "You're size pretty."

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And Then I Gave Her Chocolate

Prior to having a child, anytime I witnessed something I considered wrong when it came to parenting, I used to tell myself:

"I'm never going to be the kind of mom that......(fill in "wrong-doing" here)."

Apart from the horrid things a parent can do to a child, I quickly figured out that it was not fair for me to say such things, even if was saying it in my head.  When I see a mother or father do something that might seem a little off, now I think:

"I wonder what kind of day they've had.  Did they sleep well?  Is their kid tired or feeling ill?  What kind of "me time" did they have if any?  Did they get to take a shower? (Isn't it funny how a nice long shower is a luxury?)"

Whenever I had come to realize that I had just done the thing I said I would never do as a mother, I ended up feeling a bit let down at myself.  I had put myself on this crazy standard of parenting that doesn't exist. I had to let those "nevers" go because who knows what kind of day I'll have with my daughter.

Sometimes when you need to get something done and a little one might not be cooperating, and you know of one thing that will help you get through that small moment in time, just do it.  I had to let go of people who might be watching or saying comments under their breath.  Yup, it was my kid scream-singing, crying, who made the mess, who spilled the drink/cheerios, running in a crowd, refusing to walk, and any other thing she was doing. 

Just like every adult human being on the planet, a child has free will.

And I have a stash of chocolate in my purse/backpack/car at all times.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ukelele By Accident

So this past holiday I got my husband a ukelele.  It was on his secret santa list and I didn't think anyone was going to get it for him.  Lo and behold, he ended up with two.  I decided, why not try to learn this cool little instrument?  I've played some guitar here and there, how hard can it be.  There are a ton of youtube videos of kids rocking out on them.

Well, there are four strings, not six.  The strings are nylon so its easier on my phalanges but the chords are totally different.  Plus the tuning is weird.  Barr chords are easier but my long gangly digits are a clumsy mess.  But I'm still doing it and I've learned chords, a few tunes and I'm sure I'll sound a lot better as time goes on or until I find my next thing to get into.

***Update:  Now I attached two videos of my attempt to be musical.  My singing however is not up for discussion. :) *****