Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Damn, This Thing Is Annoying

I started out saying that no child of mine was ever going to have an obscene amount of toys. It's my priority to not have materialistic kids, or kids so swamped with crap that they don't appreciate what they have. As it is, Max got so many toys for X-mas that he's good until the next one - which presents the following quandry: how do I spread the word that I don't want him to get toys for his b-day?

But whatever. I began to feel that despite my edict (born also out of necessity, because our place is too small to hold too much crap), he needs - and I should provide - toys that help him with all the new skils he's learning. Like, I have to be flexible or a grinchy mom, so I've loosened up on the whole toys thing (but I'll always keep his access to only several at a time).

To wit, I decided to get him one of those learning tables, because I realized that the kid needs something he can play with and learn from and also use as an aid to standing and walking. So I did some research, found one that looked entertaining and educational and affordable, and ran off to buy it. He loves it. He stares intently at the various thingys on it, presses buttons, laughs when something happens - I get misty-eyed just watching him learn and finding joy in it. But hello, that damn thing is so annoying. Actually, the music part is very cute - exactly what I wanted. But until I figured out how to access that section (you have to flip a little book in the middle to change the setting from learning to music), it was this horribly annoying female voice saying annoying things like "Uuuuppppp!", "12345678910!", "Grrrrrrrreeeeeeennnnnn!" in this horrible opera-like voice.

But he's so happy, so what's a few annoying hours a day of beeping, buzzing, and annoying voices?



Posted by Tere @ 5/30/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Samples Love Gush

I've just opened an e-mail informing me that The Samples will be performing in Miami on June 29. Allow me a moment to lose my shit:

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD

Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting for this? How many years I've banged my head in frustration when their tours go no further than Tampa - on a weeknight when I'm broke and so I can't go? Miami! In a month!

This is so fucking awesome! I have to go. It sucks that it's on a Thursday, but so what - I must go, or I will be depressed until Ben takes me to another show in another state and puts us up in a pretty hotel and buys me a present and gets me backstage passes and lets me go so I can become an official groupie and I get a movie made about me and how I went from being a working mom to best Samples groupie ever who got to travel all over the place and was loved by all. And I mean LOVED.

Yeah.

So I better go to this show or else.

Posted by Tere @ 5/25/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

He's On To Me



Posted by Tere @ 5/23/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, May 22, 2006

I wore high heels to work and this totally has to do with my giving birth

Or rather, I’ve been wearing heels for about two weeks now, and someone out there surely understands how monumental this is. (A warning to Manola, if you read this: I’m totally going to insult heels all over this post).

I love heels, I really do, but besides the fact that I look completely un-sexy walking in them, they’re a pain in the ass for work. Although I have a run-of-the-mill desk job, if it’s a crazy, busy day, then I have to run around all over the place, between floors (up to nine, and I try to take the stairs as much as possible). And, of course, the cafeteria is located on the last floor, and I have to make my way up there for my morning café con leche. So heels around the office were a big NO for me, unless they were two inches or less (I’m still recovering from my days at MIA, running around the entire airport and on the field in four-inch heels).

But since returning to work, I seem to either have forgotten my tortured shoe past, or am just feeling more adventurous, because I’ve been sporting high heels pretty regularly for a while, and nothing but high heels for almost two-weeks straight. I think part of it is this thing I’ve been feeling since I gave birth, which is basically that I’m now bionic and can do any physical feat I couldn’t do before, such as wear high heels all day long and not be in pain or uncomfortable. I can also do yoga and not suffer through it, work out at the gym and not be in pain the next day, and lift heavy objects without breaking my back. I swear this is true. I can also walk 15 or so blocks without sweating, getting tired or feeling pain in my legs. And then walk back home. It’s the miracle of pregnancy and labor and pushing a human being out of the smallest space imaginable.

During my pregnancy, I viewed the actual birth as a thing I could do but was terrified of, especially since I had decided to do it without medicine, and which seemed to me like the most challenging and difficult thing I’d ever have to do – physically and emotionally speaking. I spent those nine months refusing to actually think about the labor, telling myself I’d figure it out when the time came. I know myself well enough to know that once I start obsessing about and analyzing something, I totally work myself into this frenzy of anxiety and worry, and I was better off not dealing with the inevitable birthing part of this whole deal. I spent the six weeks of my childbirth class doing everything my midwife told us to do, even asking questions about labor (I was obsessed with not being able to identify labor and with my water breaking at the most inopportune moment, like when I was driving or in the middle of Target, and in the end my water never even broke), yet never really registering that I was going to experience it for real in real life with blood and pain and the desire to drop dead rather than go through with it.

And then I was in labor, and I could totally tell, and in a matter of hours I was in extreme pain and birthing a little peanut of a child. And in the aftermath of the Greatest Miracle in Tere's Life, I realized that any physical discomfort I'd felt before as well any physical accomplishment I felt I was too wimpy to do was pure myth in light of what I'd just done.

And in light of what I did, slapping on a pair of 3 1/2 inchers and prancing around all day long seems easy.

So I went out and bought like 5 pairs of heels.

Posted by Tere @ 5/22/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, May 18, 2006

There's a funny story to go along with this pic, but you had to be there

So you just get to enjoy the silliness.


p.s. Photo credit goes to Sue, who finds my Starbucks antics amusing and remembers them all.

Posted by Tere @ 5/18/2006   | | | links to this post

The only thing that relieves my stress is also the thing that makes me look like a total fool

In another life, I would’ve been a singer. A consummate, passionate, singing-is-like-breathing singer. But in this life, I’ve turned out to be a lot like my dad –in both ways that I like and in others that I don’t – and in this case, I inherited his inability to sing (unlike my mom). It’s not just that I can’t sing – I am tone deaf and have no concept of harmony, tempo or pitch. I don’t even know if tempo is an accurate word to use here, and whether the actual music you hear is the beat or the melody or what.

I’ve had to settle for simply loving music – for wondering at and being thrilled by lyrics, for letting it move me to the point of tears. I try to keep music all around me, even if at times I just play the same CD over and over again.

And as it turns out, singing is the only thing that truly relieves stress for me. I totally get why, there’s a whole psychology to this, but do we really have to revisit my crappy childhood right now? Good, thanks, I appreciate it.

And it also turns out that one thing that totally stresses the hell out of me is driving. I hate driving, period, but driving in Miami is pure torture from me. I hate every single person within 50 car lengths ahead or in back of me, next to me, perpendicular to me – all of them. Road rage, thy name is Tere.

So kiddies, have you figured out yet where this is going? The only way I can survive driving around here without completely losing my shit is to sing. In my car. With the windows down. At the top of my lungs. I’m so into the music and singing and dancing that I can forget about every asshole around me who’s out to ruin my drive and endanger my life.

And yes, I look like a complete fool. An idiot. Ridiculous. I’m more self-conscious than I care to be, and believe me, I’m quite aware of my ridiculousness. And if I were 18, I would probably care and be worried because all the cute boys out there might look at me and laugh at me. Thankfully, I’m not 18, and while cute boys (and others) do at times look and laugh at me, my ability to tune out is remarkably developed (just ask Ben). Still. Sometimes, my proud Leo ego feels the sting. All I can say is that I have a tendency to get completely lost in a good song, to the point that I don’t notice where I’m at or what’s going on around me (but I do manage to keep driving quite decently).

So please, if you see me in my little blue car bellowing at the top of my lungs, please keep in mind that it’s either that or my physically assaulting every jerk that crosses my path. Although that might be more bearable than having to hear me sing...

Posted by Tere @ 5/18/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Right to Write / Miami is Killing Me

The book by that same name, which I bought but never read all the way through, caught my eye last night as I was staring up at our bookshelves, lost in thought over how badly I want my own house so I can have a library in it, one that’s crammed top to bottom with books, books, glorious books.

And from there I found myself thinking about how much I just want to write for a living. Wait – let me clarify – how much I want to be a writer who can write about whatever she pleases, that touches and resonates with people and creates a connection among people through words, poetry and stories. I already do a lot of writing in my job, but it’s not in the least bit fulfilling, and press releases, marketing materials and all such crap do not qualify as anything close to what I want to be doing.

There’s a world of people like me out there. All these blogs I’ve discovered and am now a fan of? Most of the writers are like me: full of ideas, words and expression, and needing an outlet for these. We all have a need to put it all out there, to receive feedback and feel a connection with whoever else is out there. Dad Gone Mad just addressed it. And what he wrote resonated with me, because like him, I too decided that it was time to put up or shut up and get something done towards achieving this writing dream. He and I are not on the same road right now – I’m working towards my dream by letting go of my Internet alter ego (and all the great writing I did through her) and writing just as myself first, a move that makes me feel so naked and vulnerable that it hurts. He is on his way to collecting the best of his blog and turning it into a book.

But he said one thing that I may as well have written it myself, so I’m just going to paste it outright: “The truth is this: I want this writing life so bad that it scares me to pursue it. I’ve played it safe so as not to be disappointed by the result of my pursuit.”

Damn, do I ever understand. A major motivator for me is my son. My pregnancy, and, more significantly, my giving birth to him, as well as watching him grow and develop and thrive, fills me with a courage and sense of “I can do anything” that I’d never experienced before. This is it for me. I want to have a certain kind of life, a certain quality of life. And the arrival of my son has made those dreams and needs all that much more urgent. If I don’t at least try to lay it all out on the line, if I don’t put my heart and soul into this, I feel like I will have failed as a person and mother. Even if I fail, if nothing ever happens beyond this and the Gables blog, even if the truth is that I have no talent, or nothing to say that anyone would want to listen to, I have to teach my son (and myself) the importance of taking risks, of pursuing dreams regardless of fears, of refusing to settle for the status quo when you feel like you won’t be able to live with yourself if you do.

Life here in Miami can undo people. The fast pace, the traffic, the corrupt and crooked officials in every level and form of government, the rudeness and inconsiderateness, the pure shallowness and superficiality of it all can sometimes make you feel like you’re drowning in a pile of bullshit. It can fool people to believe that to not have the latest and best of everything, to not follow the mainstream or latest trends diminishes from who you are as a human being. It is a trap that slowly suffocates the life out of you. And in order to live here and be free of all that, in order to be close to family and live a life that is as simple and happy as you need it to be, you have to do whatever little thing you can to make each day bearable under all these circumstances. You have to find a job you love so much that the bullshit is manageable. You have to find a way to make ends meet so you can be home to raise your children. You have to figure out how you can stand up for yourself and find a way to create a clear distinction between work and your time off. You have to take the risk and leave the safe job and embark on the adventure of making your dream job a reality. You have to find a viable way of being something and doing something that isn’t defined by your designer purse, your SUV, your fucking sunglasses, whether you eat at the trendiest restaurants or know the coolest people.

And for me, the only way to do this is through my writing. Without it, and without the hope that it can free me in the way I need to be freed, my life would be one that is slowly smothered by all that is bad around here. I have to do and be something now before it’s too late. Before my job takes the best of me, before Miami drowns me in its meaninglessness, before I just give up and become just like everyone else I see out there and loathe.

Posted by Tere @ 5/16/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day Re-Cap

Ben had to work, has been working since Thursday night through tonight, so it really sucked that he couldn't be with me for my first Mother's Day.

So early in the morning I headed up to Ana's, where Pablo and Adrian cooked up one hell of a breakfast (Pachi did the Cuban toast, Pete made mango mimosas, and my dad did nothing but get served first - he's really pissing me off lately). Really, they outdid themselves. I was hoping to get in the pool, I wanted Max to experience that, but there wasn't much time and I was just too tired.

It's interesting to be on this side of the Mother's Day thing. A few days before, I was so moved, so lost in my little world where mothers are saints, to be venerated and adored and waited on. I look forward to homemade cards, breakfasts made in my honor, tacky little gifts selected just for me that I'll treasure more than anything else.

For my first Mother's Day, I got the perfect gift. Max has been hit hard by separation anxiety. In him, it manifests itself in his crying and shrieking if I turn and leave the room or am in the room and he can't see me or I won't hold him. So yesterday morning, when Ben got home and was holding him, he'd had enough of that and wanted back with me. So he leaned over, reached for me, and said, "Mamamamamama."

Who could ask for more?

EDIT: Ben was upset that I failed to mention his fabulous gifts. Yes, he gave me gifts, too - a beautiful card and a spa manicure and spa pedicure at Avant Garde. I'm saving it for a special day.

Posted by Tere @ 5/15/2006   | | | links to this post

Weight & Sag

After my doctor's appointment last Thursday, I can officially say that I have lost the baby weight. All of it. It's all gone. I weigh less than I did at the time I got pregnant.

And so, enter the sag. Specifically, the sag of my boobs. Although I'm still breastfeeding (pump during the day, nurse evenings and nights), my supply has leveled off and my breasts are *almost* at their old size. However, they are most definitely not where they once were. I'm too sensitive about this topic to joke and exaggerate and say they're down to my waist, or even considerably sagged, but the fact is, I will never again be able to go bra-less (cry), and whereas it was just an option in the past, now I need underwire bras. My one comfort is that even if I had never breastfed, the result would have been the same.

And the sag has spread - to my arms and my ass. Ay. My cute little Cuban ass. I mourn this the most.

I'm clinging to the hope that all of it (except the boobs, probably) can be toned and tightened with yoga (or weights or pilates or wrapping myself in Saran wrap). And as for when I'll be able to dedicate myself consistently to any of these endeavors - well, I said I had a solution, not necessarily the time or energy to comit to it! I want to, I really do, but not more than I want to spend time with my monkey.

So unless I can de-sag while I carry, bounce, placate, dance with, and crawl with a baby, or unless he can chill out for 20 minutes so I can work out a bit (which I doubt, since, if I'm in the same room as him, he has to be in my arms), I see myself a bit saggy for the next few years.

ACK.

Posted by Tere @ 5/15/2006   | | | links to this post

Friday, May 12, 2006

Olympia

The Olympia. Our stays at this hotel were the hihlight of my summer, and, in retrospect, my childhood.

We usually stayed over 4th of July weekend, but I'm not sure. I don't even think we stayed every year, but rather, would go spend time with all the rest of our relatives and family friends who would stay there. We would take over the place, and it seemed like every room was rented to one of us.

My memories of the details are fuzzy. I remember the huge pool with the diving board, the shuffle board located just beyond and to the right of the pool, the little restaurant that made killer grilled cheese sanwiches. In the office were a couple of video games, the kind that were flat tables and you sat on a chair to play. The pool could have been small for all I know, but in my mind it was deep and vast and the most exciting pool in the world.

What I remember best and treasure most is that during these vacations, my mom was never my mom. She chilled out and laughed a lot. She didn't harp on us and pretty much let us do whatever we wanted. We would head out of the room early in the morning and wouldn't return until sundown. I could go back and forth between the pool and the beach as much as I wanted, checking in periodically, and even then I don't think she cared much.

I wonder if she felt as free as I did. If the act of driving 20 miles to the beach and checking in for a few days was in itself an act of checking out of her life - out of the factory, marriage and her 3 kids.

In the end, the beach has become my solace and my freedom. I make it a point to take a long weekend every summer (preferrably around my b-day), just so I can get away and forget everything. It's the single most freeing thing in my life. The ocean. The wind. The happiest memories of my childhood, and of my mother.

Posted by Tere @ 5/12/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Yoga and Me- They Should've Let Me Stay For a Nap

I went back to yoga today. I did it regularly for weeks during my pregnancy, and sporadically prior to that. But since I have to commit to some form of physical activity, yoga's it. To ease my out-of-shape ass back in, Ben bought me a place in a 4-week "intro to yoga" workshop. I missed the first session last week due to the fact that my head was shoved quite deeply into my toilet and all I'd ever eaten was in the process of spewing out.

So I headed over today and totally loved the teacher. Here's the thing with yoga and me: it intrigues me, it makes total sense and seems like the ideal way to be in shape and at peace with oneself and also be able to relax. But - it's so damn hard! It's like, I can either do the poses and focus on them and get them right, or I can focus on my breathing and do that right - but not both. I can't do or focus on both at the same time. I also have no ability to smoothly move through the poses; I have to stop and reposition myself, catch my breath, make sure my arms and legs and chest are right; and by the time I do all that, I've forgotten the whole damn sequence and am lost.

But this teacher was great. She encouraged us to ask questions and was very attentive to individual problems. By the time we did the final relaxation, I was so ready for it. I was achy and tired and lying down on the mat was heaven. She turned the lights off and we just lay there. And damn if I didn't fall asleep. When we had to wake up a few minutes later, I was like, NO, NO, THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE WHERE I CAN SLEEP UNDISTURBED. 30 MORE MINUTES, I BEG YOU!

But no. They had the nerve to wrap it up and close the class. And I had no choice but to trudge my sad little way home, where sleep is nothing but an old, nearly forgotten memory.

Posted by Tere @ 5/09/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, May 08, 2006

The baby ate my blog post!

I was all prepared to do a non-baby post - I mean, I wasn't going to mention the kid at all (the whole "life in-between" part of this blog) - when Max himself took over and gave his mamma a whatfor!









Hey dada, she actually thought she could get away with a non-baby post! Bwah hahahaha


Posted by Tere @ 5/08/2006   | | | links to this post

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ben Turns 30

We celebrated Ben's 30th birthday tonight. It's actually next Saturday, but he'll be working Thurs-Mon, and we won't be able to celebrate then. He's supposed to switch to the day shift sometime in the next couple of weeks, but he hasn't been given any details yet.

So anyway, I took him to Randazzo's, since he'd never been and really wanted to go, and I haven't gone since they opened. (The Gables blog will be getting a review about it). It was great to have a date - when we were leaving, Max figured it was the perfect time to get pissed, clench his fists and start crying, but we prevailed and got out the door without the guilt killing us.

It's funny - the few times we've left him at night, we've both felt ready and excited to get out for a while, eager for a baby-free night. Then we get wherever we're going and do nothing but talk about him.

Thankfully, we don't do that shit to other people. And yet, however desperate I am to have normal, adult conversations, I feel incapable of doing so. I refuse to watch the news because everything depresses and scares me. I'm 3 years behind on my reading - oh God, can you believe that I haven't read the Da Vinci Code?? And movies? I hate going to the movies now, thanks to all the assholes who ruin the experience by keeping their cell phones on and the teens who spend the entire movie talking and all the jerks who decide to sit right next to me when the whole fucking theater is empty. My one mindless escape is celebrity gossip, and seriously, that can only harm my efforts to be an interesting person.

Oh, but Ben - I wanted to do a huge party for him, but he asked me not to, preferring instead an expensive gift. So whatever, I obliged, but I kinda wish I had done the bash, just for the fun of it. 30 is such a big deal, I think, but Ben doesn't view birthdays the way I do. He's much more low-key than I am, whereas I prefer to celebrate each and every birthday as if it was the biggest deal on earth. Because it is, damnit!

Tomorrow, we're doing a photo shoot for Pete's work - something about advertising one of the parks & recreation programs. I have no clue what I'm getting us into.

I'm 30, and I'm quite sedate about it.


Posted by Tere @ 5/06/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Milk Panic

11:00 a.m.

I’m looking at the clock right now and am in a total panic. Panic, I tell you.

I should be pumping right now, but – there’s nothing to pump! Max was pretty voracious this morning, nursing at 6 and then again at 7, the last time from both breasts. My supply during the day is low enough as it is, and this just puts me over the edge.

I’m looking at probably just one good session today, which will leave me a bottle short for tomorrow. I’ve got 2 stash baggies, which I guard and hoard like it was the last milk on earth. Because… it is. It’s the last of my milk that I have stored. Once those 2 precious bags are gone, I’m screwed, because I no longer produce the overflowing abundance of milk I once did.

So of course, my constant dilemma is – what’s worth the use of the bags? A long-needed (and deserved) nap? A daylong shopping trip? A growth spurt? The answer, I suspect, is probably none of these. I will just hoard them to make myself feel prepared. And then end up discarding them when he’s weaned.

I can't wait to be done with pumping. Only (sheesh) four months to go...

Posted by Tere @ 5/04/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

All this talking and you don't even know me yet

Before things go any farther, I should probably do this post. You know, this is who I am, this is what my life's about right now, blah, blah, blah. But just the basics, o.k.?

Fine. So, I'm a new mom. Max is almost eight months old, and everything I ever dreamed of in a baby. I really wanted this baby, even though he was conceived a good year before I was planning on starting this whole motherhood thing. Max's dad is my husband, Ben. We've known each other 10 years, been together 7 and married 5. We have a cocker spaniel, Zoë, who is very sweet but so hopelessly neurotic and clingy that we're almost ready to ship her ass back to Kentucky (where she came from). Lucky for her, Max loves her, and anything that Max loves.... gets to stick around. Ben's an American Jew, I'm Cuban(American) Catholic. We were both born and raised here, which makes him an honorary Cuban. He's a nurse, I work in public relations.

But in reality (fine, in my head), I'm a writer. Of some sort. This is like the 4th blog I create, except that two of them were/are anonymous, so I can't really reference those here. And since this is my first personal one where I'm not anonymous, I feel really weird and naked and awkward and haven't even really found my voice. So strange. I just don't think I can properly do this without offering some basic info. I mean, how can you love me if you don't even know me?

So, there you have it. Just something to whet your appetite.

Posted by Tere @ 5/03/2006   | | | links to this post