Friday, July 28, 2006

A Pirate Looks at 29

In these last days leading up to my birthday, I’ve been trying to be appropriately introspective and deep, but due to a certain 10-and-a-half-month-old who’s walking – OH. MY. GOD. WALKING – and teething – oh! the pain of teething! it makes little monkeys nurse all night long! – and due to an onslaught of personal problems I don’t care to get into, I’m a little too exhausted and numbed out to bother with depth and introspection.

But, a birthday calls for some extra navel-gazing, so I’ve been using my drive time the last couple of days and trying to unearth some pearls of wisdom to share with you.

I’m drawing a blank.

This last year has been defined by my becoming a mother, and the experience of having an infant to care for. In many ways, I feel very fulfilled, but I’m not all, “OMG, all my dreams have come true, this is what I was made for,” because that’s not true. I’ve always wanted kids, and my struggles with infertility-related problems really put me in a position where I basically obsessed about it, but it takes many things to fulfill me.

The truth, though, is that my son has completed me. My son – who he is and what he’s brought into my life – not the title “mother,” especially since I’m still trying to figure out what the hell to do with that new title. Having this kid was an enormous deal for me, and now that he’s been here for almost a year (a year! my boy’s almost a year old! Sob!), I’m finding that what is filling my heart and my soul is all the little things about him that make him so charming: his personality, his smile, his every single facial expression. He gets a certain look in his eyes sometimes that convinces me he’s inherited my sense of humor. And if that’s the case, I’ve gotten what I wished for and can rest a little easier knowing that that sense of humor will save his life as the years go by and life does ugly things to him.

If anything has made this whole experience so completely transforming, it is the immense, overwhelming love I feel for this kid. Basically, I just never thought I was capable of it. And truthfully, I’ve never allowed myself to love anyone as freely as I love him. When they say that love is freedom, they have to mean this. During my pregnancy, I worried A LOT that I’d pull my typical bullshit and hold back from my child. That I’d go into self-preservation mode and not completely love this kid because one day he’d break my heart. But no – he just drew it out of me. He keeps making me find the strength to be open and vulnerable and to allow myself to feel that love and revel in it. And yeah, he will break my heart one day. But I can’t let that stop me from feeling what I feel and letting that love guide my actions and my words.

Motherhood aside, I feel right now what I feel every birthday: nothing. What I mean is, I don't feel a change in time, or in my face or body or thought process. It is the same as the day before - which, I know, is normal, but seems to go against my notion of turning a year older. And even though every aspect of my life is consummed with responsibility, with having to make big decisions and choices, etc., and I am, in fact, a "grownup," I still feel like I did 10, 11, 12 years ago. It's a feeling that's hard to explain, but it's there. I'll have moments where I'm suddenly aware that, holy shit, I have to pay the insurance policy and get the tires rotated (how adult is that!), and then I look in the mirror and it's same old me - as if I half expect my dad to show up and take care of that stuff for me (and no, he doesn't). I feel like I still straddle the line between teenage and adulthood, and I can't figure out why.

I also have to stop and acknowledge the people who enrich my life. I'm thankful for my husband, a man who has kept his word and made his family his priority, who never stops trying to "get" me, who works damn hard and has taken his role as a father the way I always wished a man would: wholeheartedly and devotedly. I'm grateful for my family, for the way they adore Max and love spending time with him. My friends - women with whom I've shared adventures, secrets, fights, and lifetimes of growth.

This post is has now become something between an Academy Award acceptance speech and a eulogy, so it's best to cut it short and get on with the celebrating.

Here I am, 29 and in a place that had always seemed so far away. And you know, it's not so bad over here.

Posted by Tere @ 7/28/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Go On, Spoil Me

Want to get me the perfect birthday present, you say? Well, here it is:



You can order it here.

But I'm not picky, you know. I'll happily settle for this:



Which you can get here.

Posted by Tere @ 7/26/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Last July

We got a real glimpse of the little bug we'd be meeting in a few weeks:



(We didn't plan to do one of these 3D ultrasounds, but we got a hook-up for a free one, so we went for it)

Posted by Tere @ 7/25/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pause

Max takes a break from his playtime for some mama comfort.



Posted by Tere @ 7/24/2006   | | | links to this post

Friday, July 21, 2006

This One Goes Out To The One I Love

I blame Casey Kasem. When he’d do his Top Ten program and get to the long-distance dedication, I swear I’d get goose bumps all over because of it. I loved listening to the dramatic, touching stories that made people reach out across the miles and express their feelings with music.

So when I was a sappy preteen with my head full of nothing but fairytales, I longed for the day when I boy would dedicate a song to me. A nice romantic ballad that expressed all the love and admiration he had in his heart for me (Edit: Ideally, that song would have been "Nothing's Gonna Change my Love for You" by Glenn Medeiros). I would picture the scene: sitting next to him, holding his hand, and then a song would come on the radio. And he’d look into my eyes, smile, and tell me how the song was for me, how it said all that needed to be said about his feelings for me. And then he’d hold my face in his hands and give me a soft, long kiss.

(Quick side note. Me as a preteen? I can’t even think about it without wanting to vomit. Awful. Awful, awful. There was no way a boy would notice me in that way. I don’t think I looked like a girl – a cute one at that – until I was in high school. And by then? I’d had some awful boy experiences me that set the stage for what has turned out to be a fucked-up romantic life).

So anyway, that fantasy of mine? Never played out. One of the first song dedications I ever received was done over the phone. And it went something like this:

Danny O: O.k., so we’ll meet at Kendall Town and Country at 7.
Me: the Robin Hood movie, right?
Danny O: yes, baby.
Me: (giggle, giggle, giggle)
Danny O: I love you
Me: I love you too. Oh, how funny, listen (put phone to radio speaker). It’s the song from the movie!
Danny O: how funny. I really like that song.
Me: yeah, me too. I love Bryan Adams.
Danny O: I always think of you when I hear that song. It’s how I feel.
Me: Really? Baby, that’s so sweet. I love you so much!

Danny and I broke up two weeks later. And can I just say – Danny was HOT. As HOT as a 14-year-old could possibly be. But I didn’t love him. Nor did he love me. And, as long as I’m being honest, I didn’t love Bryan Adams, either.

The act of dedicating a song as a sign of love has been a big thing in my life. Just as I have loved to have songs dedicated to me, I’ve done my share of dedicating, but they haven’t all been pretty (the one song I’ve dedicated to all my ex’s – not directly, I’ve just declared “This is for ______!” as I crank it up – is "You Suck" by the Murmurs).

I live and breathe music – I’ve got a song for every feeling, every memory, every event. I link songs to people, to situations, to my own state of mind. People who have deeply impacted me live on in my life through all the songs that make me think of them whenever I hear them. With some songs, it’s clear why it would make me think of a particular person; but with others, the connection between the song and the person almost doesn’t make sense – like so many things in relationships and life.

I’ve spent the better part of the day trying to remember the songs that have been dedicated to me, and I have memory gaps here and there. In fact, there’s one song in particular that an ex (come to think of it, it was Good Ex) dedicated to me that I loved and can’t remember its name or the artist. I’m racking my brain, but no dice. I’ve only got snippets of it playing in my head.

So, keeping in mind that there are periods which I can’t remember, here’s a list of songs that have been dedicated to me, by boys who thought they meant it:

Everything I Do, I Do It For You by Bryan Adams (boy I dated for a month)
To Be With You by Mr. Big (ex-boyfriend 1)
Glory of Love by Chicago (ex-boyfriend 1)
When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge (ex-boyfriend 1)
Endless Farewell by Soul Asylum (Canadian boy 1)
Miss You in a Heartbeat by Def Leppard (Canadian boy 1)
We Are the Reason by David Meece (Canadian boy 1, and I can't even begin to explain...)
Dreams by the Cranberries (ex-boyfriend 2)
Lightning Crashes by Live (ex-boyfriend 2, only because it's the first song he heard right after we broke up - the first time)
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses? by U2 (very, very bitter ex)
Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer (Ben)
Doin' Time by Sublime (Ben)

Some parting thoughts: in the span of four or five months, Canadian boy dedicated well over 20 songs to me - he was prolific, which I loved at the time, but in hindsight, it was overkill; Canadian boy 2, whom I adored in ways I cannot explain, sent me a tape seconds after he got home, and I loved him just for that, though there were no specific dedications; there was druggie boy, who also dedicated a couple of songs during the month we dated - I just can't recall any of them; Good Ex dedicated a few songs, but we had a falling out, and it's affected my memory; I'm not even mentioning the Abusive Bastard, because I've spent too much time and energy trying to forget his existence, and even so, I still fear him; and the biggest gap in all this is from a series of boys I dated in high school - I know there were songs here and there, but I can't even remember these guys' names, so remembering the songs is beyond hopeless.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/21/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Started Out Very Excited About this Post, but I've Changed my Mind

I'm super excited. But if I had any brains, I wouldn’t be. Because what have I learned about unbounded excitement? That only shattering heartbreak lies at the end.

But well, fuck it. For now, anyway. The birthday is ever closer, which means my beach getaway (what am I getting away from, exactly, if I have to drag my husband and kid along? Doesn’t sound all that relaxing or getaway-ish to me!) is almost a week away. Actually, now that I stop and read what I just wrote, I’m wondering exactly what makes me think this mini vacation isn’t going to be anything but a pain in the ass. MY ass, to be specific. My idea of the ideal beach vacation goes something like this: wake up and take a nice walk in the sunrise; have a breakfast that includes French toast; hit the beach; run into the a/c when it gets too hot; have a Cuban sandwich, water, and grapes for lunch; read; nap; get back out to the pool/beach; lay about in complete relaxation; head back to the room in the late afternoon; chill out some more; take my time getting ready for dinner; have a nice dinner; head back to the beach to sit in the sand and feel the breeze, hear the ocean, and get all moody and introspective about life.

Now seriously, is any of this going to happen with a 10-month-old in tow? Yeah, right. While I look forward to playing on the sand with him and taking him into the water, the fact is, rest, relaxation and Tere will not be seeing each other at all next weekend.

What was I thinking? The longer I sit here writing this post, the more I’m regretting this whole thing and the more I’m slipping into a panic over how stressed out I’m going to be at the end of this “vacation.”

Oh, my boy isn’t really bad at all. He’s curious and energetic and adorable – everything I asked for, and I’m happy I got it. There is only one slight problem with this: I’m constantly exhausted. I’m remembering now our trip to NJ last month, and how wrecked I was at the end of it. Seriously, he was all out of sorts (I think because he felt sick and was away from home and his routine), and I didn’t get to rest for shit. In fact, I came back feeling like hell.

So I need to think about the positives: it’s a short trip; it’s over the weekend, which has its own routine; it’s still the beach, whether I’m passed out on the sand or throwing sand around; and it’s my boy – my yummy, funny boy who’s going to love the experience.

O.k., all better now.

Posted by Tere @ 7/19/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Behind the Weekend

Friday night seemed to have gotten off to a good start. Max was an angel. He played in his little pen while we scrambled to get ready. My mom got there early and relieved us of our parenting duties so we could finish getting ready. I was nice and clean and my makeup looked fabulous.

And then there was the wardrobe disaster. NOTHING LOOKED GOOD ON ME. Nothing. Neither of the two shirts I had in mind to choose from flattered me, and damn it if nothing else seemed to work. What is up with my thighs?? Why does one boob look normal and the other like a mutant version of the good one? So I finally had to settle for a simple black tank that I love very much but wore on Ben’s b-day dinner in May. And I had my heart set on wearing something new.

We finally made it out of the house in good time, and were actually about 10 minutes ahead of schedule when were arrived at Taverna Opa. As we’re getting off the car and the valet guy is getting in, Kevin calls Ben to check on us, and it’s at this point that Kevin tells him that he’s in the Taverna Opa in Ft. Lauderdale. You know, the one a good 15 miles away. Now people, I swear I was there when Kevin first called Ben. I was sitting right there on the couch next to him. And while I didn’t hear what Kevin said, I did hear Ben say, “Taverna Opa? Hollywood? O.k.” And then he hung up and said right to my face, “We’re celebrating Kevin’s b-day next Friday at Taverna Opa in Hollywood.” But there’s Kevin on the phone insisting it’s always been the one in Ft. Lauderdale. So our car hasn’t even been parked yet. The guy is backing into the spot when the attendant waves him back. So the guy pulls up four feet and delivers our car back to us, and – get this shit – won’t give us a refund. And our car was never parked. Fucking assholes.

So by now I’m pissed and frustrated – it’s 9 p.m., I’m hungry, my boobs are quickly refilling, and we’re a good half hour away from the restaurant. So we start debating if we should even go – and I tell Ben the simple facts: 1) We can’t expect my mom to babysit until 2 a.m., since she works the next day; 2) My boobs – the one our monkey didn’t drink enough from before we left the house – are quickly filling and I give us a good 2 hours before I’m in dire pain; 3) I’m fucking hungry and I don’t want to arrive at the restaurant to find out they haven’t even ordered, to then wait another hour for the food to arrive. Ben realizes that 25 people in one dinner party is in fact a total clusterfuck, and calls Kevin back to see what the deal is. No, they haven’t ordered, but people are still showing up. Ben tells him we may not make it.

We decide to head up, however, to see if we can make it. It is, after all, one of his best friends. On the way up we come with plan B: if they haven’t ordered, and the place is packed and they tell us it’s a long wait, we’re leaving and eating somewhere close by that isn’t packed, so we can at least have dinner before having to head home.

Along the way I start a pity party the likes of which I haven’t given myself in ages. I was like, “Fuck me. How did I ever think I could have one fucking night out without a major, stupid clusterfuck? Of course this would happen to me. Why did I even bother to look forward to this fucking evening?” Because yes, it was all about me at that point. Me and my horrible habit of getting super excited about things that only disappoint me in the end. And Kevin, in a move completely unlike any of Ben’s other friends, kept calling to see if we were going to make it. Because he wanted us there. OMG. Cry.

But lo and behold, we made it to the restaurant in decent time. And not only were people already there, but they had ordered bottles of vodka and orange and cranberry juices. And, the food order was in. Kevin had chosen the option of a flat rate per person that includes a bunch of items from the menu. Five minutes after we’d gotten there, the appetizers were being served.

This change in luck had the direct effect of me chilling the fuck out and enjoying myself. It was great to see Kevin and catch up on our lives. We ended up meeting another woman who had also gone to the Taverna in Hollywood, which made us feel way better.

We left a couple of hours later, and by that time my boobs were killing me. We were home by midnight, which was still too early for my taste, but let’s face it, I was exhausted and wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway.

Saturday was THE wedding my family’s been looking forward to since… my wedding? No, since my sister’s last year. My cousin married his girlfriend of 11 years – they’ve been together since high school, and so while 11 years sounds like a ridiculous amount of time to be dating someone, the truth is they’ve been too busy finishing school and starting careers to worry about little things like marriage. And honestly, I’m a firm believer that high school sweethearts do not good spouses make. I don’t think people who began dating as kids can have a life together as adults. But that’s just me (mainly since I could barely last three years with my high school sweetheart, but also based on what I’ve seen around me). But with these two, I get a different vibe. They’ve grown together, and it’s my hope that they’re happy and successful together.

So the wedding was a much grander affair that I thought it would be, mostly because I’ve been too preoccupied with new motherhood to ask questions about flowers, favors and live bands. I had decided many months ago that I was going to go all out and spend a couple hundred bucks on a new dress. But as May/June approached, I realized that finding a stylish, pretty dress that would also allow me to breastfeed comfortably and discretely was impossible to find (note to fashion designers: pretty nursing dresses are in order!). I was completely discouraged by what I was finding. There was one potential BCBG dress, a lovely yellow flowy thing, but it was so ridiculously sheer, that – no, no way.

So I went with an old standby, a summery white dress with a cool floral print. I’ve worn it many times, but since it is the only pretty dress I own that would allow for proper breastfeeding, I had no choice. The only problem with the dress was that my boobs kept threatening to pop out. And as more time passed and more milk was produced, the probability of this happening was increasing. So midway through the ceremony, I lean over and tell Ben we have to stop at the house before heading to the reception. I remembered that I have a blue pashmina I can use, and I also wanted to pin the bodice close together. We head home and do just that, and we’re five blocks away when I lean back to hand the baby his toy. And suddenly – snap! There goes the strap of my dress.

So we head back home so I can put something else on. Except that I still have the same problem I had before – I have no formal dress that allows me to breastfeed comfortably or discretely. Except this old black thing. That’s boring. And frumpy. And – ICK.

But what choice do I have, right? So on goes the black dress and in due time we’re at the reception. And I was miserable the whole night, or practically so.

And the thing is, I really wanted to look pretty and stylish that night. My life the last year has been about wearing whatever’s most comfortable or most practical, which is fine in and of itself, but I like to be pretty sometimes. I like pretty clothes that flatter my body, my face, my hair color, etc. I spent the five months of my maternity leave wearing nothing but lounge pants, tank tops, too-big jeans, and horrible nightgowns that were perfect for nursing. I’ve had no real opportunities to dress in a way that makes me feel pretty and special and feminine. So a big wedding comes around, and for me it’s the perfect chance to feel like me again. And instead? I’m at a beautiful event, surrounded by family members who look wonderful, and I’m the old frump in a horrible dress.

Despite this, I had a good time joking with my cousins and sisters and nieces and nephew. Max looked adorable in his little outfit. But, he spent the majority of the time trying to nurse, more for comfort than anything else, since big crowds overwhelm him, and that was not at all fun for me. When he gets like this, he wants to nurse, but the minute he’s on me, his curiosity gets the best of him and he sits up to look around. The incessant back and forth of nurse, look up, nurse, look up, really wears me out. And considering that I felt like a total loser that day, that shit didn’t help. At one point, I was just like, get this kid away from me and let me forget I’m a mother for 20 fucking minutes.

Seriously – when I became a parent I made the choice to put my child first, to put his needs ahead of mine, to totally inconvenience myself if it honestly was for his good. I’m denying myself a lot of small and big things – alone time, pursuit of hobbies and interests, shoes – in order to give him my undivided attention and some good, old-fashioned quality time, as well as to provide for his needs (and cute outfits!). Some would call the choices I’ve made a sacrifice (necessary to some, unnecessary to others), but to me it’s not sacrifice – it’s what needs to be done if I’m to show my son that I’m available and trustworthy. It’s my hope that these choices are what will help us create a true sense of trust, closeness and comfort in our family. And right now, it sucks sometimes to feel like I’m no longer my own person, to find that in order to have two hours to myself on Saturday, I have to plan it out weeks ahead of time. I think that as he gets older it’ll be easier to balance all this out, but right now is not the time for that. And overall, I’m o.k. with that.

But sometimes, I really just miss the days when it was all about me.

Posted by Tere @ 7/18/2006   | | | links to this post

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Weekend Highlights

Friday Night:

Jewelry! (and some sauciness)




















Eyeshadow!

















Table dancing!















So exhausted by the end of the night!






Saturday Night:

My big sister danced!





















Coffee was great!














At the church:





















At the reception:














And why?

I spent the entire Mass freaking out because my boobs were thisclose to popping out over the dress (boobs grow as more milk is produced, and this is a pre-baby dress), so after the ceremony we stopped at the house so I could pin the bodice close together.

We were in the car, five blocks away, when I leaned back to hand something to the baby and - SNAP! The strap broke off.

We had to turn back around, and I had to change into this boring old dress, since it was the only one that would allow me to breastfeed without getting half naked.

Sadly, none of this captures half of what went on these last two days...

Posted by Tere @ 7/16/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mama Gets a Night Out

We’ve got an actual, real social outing tomorrow. Adults! At night! With alcohol! And music!

We’re joining Kevin (friend of Ben and really, I like him) in his b-day celebration at Taverna Opa in Hollywood. My mom is staying with Max, though it won’t be much fun for her since he’ll be asleep.

And I have to say, for not being close to Kevin and for not knowing a single other person who’s going to be there, I’m way too excited about this. It’s Greek food! I get to dress up! And wear jewelry! And use eye shadow! Wheeeee!

This is the first time we go out for a social night since Max was born. The only other night outings we’ve had have been to celebrate the anniversary and Ben’s b-day, and we were home by 9:30 (despite our best efforts to stay out later – it was a matter of principal you know).

And now? We’re not even meeting up till 9, which, at this point in my life, is so bizarre and so reminiscent of my lost youth and pre-baby days that I’m quite giddy about it.

I swear, if this party gets canceled, or if it doesn’t dazzle me with all the expectations and hopes I’ve built up around it, I’m going to sit in a corner and bawl my eyes out. Inconsolably. With mascara running down my face.

It’s o.k. if you’re thinking I’m a total loser right about now. I understand.

Posted by Tere @ 7/13/2006   | | | links to this post

My Ex is Most Probably, But I’m Not 100% Sure, Gay

In homage to SoFi, who has a great series about her gay ex, my homage to my own possibly gay ex. (note: edited after she moved to a new blog address.)

I’m pretty sure one of my ex's is gay. And in deep, deep, abysmally deep denial about it. I met this ex, we’ll call him “Cold Dead Fish” - since that aptly describes his personality - in high school (I was in 9th and he in 12th). We dated back then and again in the late 90’s for a few months (I have - or had - this very nasty habit of recycling my men, as if I keep hoping that time and age have somehow made them better human beings or more tolerable – only to be proven horribly wrong a few months down the line). So, I think I’ve known the guy long enough to assess his sexuality. And even though it’s been years since I’ve known a thing about him, I’m willing to take a stab at this.

Reasons why he might be gay:

1. There was always something slightly effeminate about him. I don’t know if it was the way he crossed his legs or held his mug, or his slight build and the way he carried himself, but I always got this vibe… of gayness.

2. He seemed to be weirdly obsessed with hetero porn, and not in the typical guy way. First off, I’m totally down with porn. And I’m cool with a guy who dabbles every now and then. But Cold Dead Fish was so obvious about it, was so adamant that I (or anyone) know how fabulous enormous tits were to him, that it basically seemed like he did protest too much. I think he porned out, subconsciously forcing himself to be into it, in an effort to reinforce his non-gayness. Thing is, I’ve known a number of guys (and a girl or two, actually), who have done the same thing: constantly announce to the world how hot and sexy the opposite sex is, how awesome “tits” or “dicks” are, when in fact they were gay and in total denial about it. And seriously, unless you’re 13, who the hell – in the middle of a normal conversation in a social setting – says “Damn, that woman is hot. I love tits!” every time someone makes a comment or compliment about someone? Again, protesting too much. And methinks that makes you gay.

3. You know when you just have a gut instinct about someone? That’s my gut feeling about him.

In fairness, I actually think he could be bi. But since he’s in denial about the whole thing, we’ll never know. My guess is that he’s now married to a big-breasted woman. And still amassing a vast collection of hetero porn.

And why this post at this time? Honestly, I’m not trying to be malicious, I swear. Someone brought up Cold Dead Fish to me a few days ago, and they mentioned how anti-social he was and how uncomfortable they always felt around him. And that got me thinking about him, and that old "I think he's gay" feeling came right up. In hindsight, I thought that about him all the time. And as the female dating the potentially gay guy, it plagued me quite a bit. And I can't help but believe that this thought wouldn't persist if there wasn't something to it. And I don't even think this is a bad thing, because gayness? Whatever.

I honestly do believe that if he really is gay, his denial is real, and I don't think he dated me in a conscious effort to suppress his true inclinations. I'll give the poor Cold Dead Fish that much. And yeah, he might not at all be gay. But the vibe was there. At least, the vibe that something was, well, fishy, was there.

I hope CDF finds or has found his true happiness, wherever it may lie.

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Posted by Tere @ 7/13/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Mid-Year Review: The Coffee Diaries

At the start of 2006, I took on the self-imposed challenge of becoming an expert at something new by year’s end. At that time, I was in the middle of my maternity leave. I was mind-numbingly bored half the time, and completely panicked the other. Panicked because by that time, Max flat out refused to nap longer than 10 minutes at a time, and whenever I tried to get anything done – groceries, housework, Target runs – he would completely freak out and cry inconsolably. Half my nerves were shattered and the other half were dead.

So I decided to take something new on. Something I was very curious, but ignorant, about. And I chose coffee. My addiction to it had been growing steadily, and the birth my child pretty much did me in. Oh, I was super freakishly careful not to drink copious amounts so that my milk would not be poisoned by the stuff (thank goodness it takes a lot of coffee for caffeine to pass through). I would drink my one daily cup right after he nursed, and it was only on the really rough days that I indulged in more. But if I didn’t have that one cup – which, ideally, I would’ve had at 8 when we woke up but would never get to it till like 11 because Max would finally chill out by then for like two seconds – I would have been a nasty, nasty mess.

So coffee it was. Because all I knew (through experience) about it was Cuban coffee, and I figured there was more out there to love (but really? There’s nothing greater than the Cuban cocaine. Nothing.). In typical fashion, I had no plan. I figured I get books on the topic and start experimenting, so that through a combination of research and experience, I’d be able to talk coffee in expert fashion by year’s end.

So halfway through the year, where am I? Not too far along. But not at the starting line, either. All those books I got? They’re fine, thank you, sitting on a shelf. Because I’ve had no time to read on technique and history, and besides, I have an addiction to tend to. So I just jumped right into buying different coffees and making them in different ways. From Ben’s wonderful aunt Jordana I picked up the method where you grind the beans (so far, I buy only whole beans then grind them in various levels of coarseness – that’s part of the fun), toss them in a small pot with water and let it boil. Then my co-worker Romulus (my nickname for him) told me all about the French press, and I ran out and got that too. I don’t own a regular coffeemaker and don’t plan to.

So far I’ve discovered that I like bold coffees best. That whole Maxwell House thing just isn’t for me. I mostly drink my coffee with milk, as I haven’t yet developed a taste for it otherwise. I don’t like it when it’s too watery (hence the reason why I don’t like regular coffeemakers). However, I’ve learned to adapt at work, and I’ve found that if it’s bold coffee in the coffeemaker, I can add milk and sugar and it tastes pretty damn good.

At this point I do need to read up on techniques and varieties, and I hope to get started soon enough.

And that’s my report from the field. By the end of 06, I’ll be a bonafide coffee connoisseur. Or incredibly ravaged by this raging addiction.

Posted by Tere @ 7/12/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Melancholy of the Rain

We're on our second night of rain, and I find that I like this. I like watching the sky darken and the wind pick up, all from the safety of my home. Yesterday I stood outside alone and felt the wind sweep over me, and I marveled at the way the trees would compress with each gust. Zoe's ears were flapping in the wind in the most endearing way. The gusts were strong, reminding me of those ominous hours before a hurricane hits.

I hope that the rain continues well into the night, that it lulls me to sleep, a sleep I hope the baby won't interrupt too much. Some nights are better than others, and on those nights, sleep is easy and nearly complete.

It's in this mood that I find myself contemplating the nature of relationships, a thought that's been on my mind a lot lately. I've always thought of myself as a very intelligent girl who's incredibly stupid about her relationships. I've made some godawful choices, and even though I can comfort myself with the fact that I ended my destructive ways many years ago, it seems to me that nothing will ever help me be normal when it comes to love.

There are so many stories I could tell, and perhaps in due time I will. Right now, though, I just keep thinking that I wish I were better at this relationship game, that I possessed the characteristics you need to be a good partner to someone, that being "happy in love" was a concept I could understand or believe in.

I'd like to find the right place to lay the blame - my place as baby of the family, the fact that I'm a Leo, the horrible early experiences that completely traumatized me and basically destroyed my belief in love as redemption, my overly dramatic ways. Maybe it's all this or none of it. Maybe I will it because to be happy and in peace is just too frightening.

What I do know is that whenever I get introspective like this I end up feeling like a failure. Every relationship has its bullshit, each partner is always responsible for it, and you somehow learn to live with it or fix it. The longer you are with someone, the easier it is to fall into a plateau of sameness and boredom. And you can make this as pleasant or as miserable as you want it to be. I'm aware of all this and I'm not referring to any of it - I mean this thing I have in me that makes me feel that regardless of whom my partner is, regardless of our history and feelings for each other, I will never be at peace. I will never not feel disappointed. I will never feel completely understood, completely able to just be me. It isn't anything a man does or doesn't do. It's my perception of the relationship and my role in it. It's my changing attitude about marriage and committment and how these affect the way I see myself, my life and my future.

I think that in the end I'm trapped in my own mind, in my past, in my fear of letting go and giving in. But right now we sit next to each other in silence, and the rain outside beats mercilessly against the windows.

Posted by Tere @ 7/11/2006   | | | links to this post

Dream the Bloggers

Becomming a blogging junkie is taking a toll on me - or my dreams, at least. I'm now dreaming of bloggers! Meeting them, having coffee, a BBQ, gathering for drinks, even a full-out blogger's conference.

I can point to a few things to explain this.

First, I found out about BlogHer. A bunch of mom/women bloggers getting together to discuss "how are your blogs changing your world?" The conference is so popular that the only way to get tickets (for a couple of months now) is through the generosity of bloggers who have extras to give away or sell. I won't be there - quite frankly, it sounds intimidating as hell, since some of these women are famous in the mom blogs community and most of them are way wittier, smarter and better writers than me, and although I'd love to meet them and learn from them, I'm too insecure right now to take on a whole conference of them. But how cool that all these women are doing this, for a second year, no less.

Then, I actually met a fellow blogger. And he was super cool and his wife was lovely and so were their firends. And I was happy. Then, in e-mails with one or two local bloggers, we've chatted about meeting up for coffee. And I want to do it. But am I crazy for worrying that real me will be a letdown from blogger me? I hate the insecurity that this heaps on me. I'll snap out of it soon enough, but still. It's there and it's socially handicapping me at a time when I have a chance to meet great new people whose work I admire.

Anyway, I went on to read this post on Critical Miami, and the commenters have been all, "I love that place," "I haven't eaten there in ages," and I got this flash in my head: Miami Blogger Conference 06 at the S&S. I almost added a comment about it but didn't, since it seemed like one of those geek thoughts that randomly pop into my head every few minutes.

But when all these people whose blogs I'm reading start popping into my dreams? I'd say I'm OD'ing on the stuff.

(a quick comment about the blogs I read: between the Gables blogroll and the one here, I've linked to the blogs I read, give or take a couple that no longer update. There are some other mom blogs I read, but there are way too many of them and I have yet to sit down and link up. I tend to do mutual blogrolling, since it's just developed that way, and I'm not sure what the actual linking etiquette is.)

Posted by Tere @ 7/11/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, July 10, 2006

And Now, I Will Require All Your Mangos for the Sacrifice

Mango Season! MANGO SEASON! Man-go Sea-son. MANGOS.

The anticipation of mango season is one of those things that brings out the little girl in me. Probably because I learned to love mangos as a tiny child (the first mango season of my life came just as I was turning one, and from then it's been true love), and so even now I look forward to this time of year as I did back then.

As a child, my Mami (the lady who raised me) would sit me on the floor or couch, take my shirt off, slap a paper towel to my chest, and hand me a plateful of the heavenly goodness. Her son had mango trees in his backyard, and from June to August (give or take), I ate mangos every single day. I obviously couldn't understand the concept of "seasonal fruit" and so I couldn't understand why all of a sudden the mangos would be gone. The wait till the next mango season would seem interminable.

My Mami quickly wised up and began freezing mangos, so I could eat them every now and then throughout the year. When I started school and left my Mami's care, I lost my easy access to mangos and had to settle once again for the season. Her son never failed to send mangos my way, and I still enjoyed her care in the summers, and so for many years I was able to cling a little to the joy of eating those delicious mangos with my Mami.

One thing I love about mango season is the social network it creates. So many people have trees, and most trees tend to produce abundantly, so people are always giving them away. Over the years, I've been lucky enough to know family and friends who generously give their mangos. At my mom's job, I've got a reputation as a mango-crazy girl, so her co-workers are a major souce of goodies. My dad has planted a mango tree in every house we've owned, but we've never been in any one long enough to have the tree bloom. So I have to depend on people we know or those who sell their goods by the side of the road (I'm sorry, but if you live in Miami, it's inexcusable to buy mangos at the grocery store. They're not as fresh or delicious). I think Ben hates driving with me during this time of the year because if I see someone selling them, I start screeching for him to stop so I can get down and buy some. And you know, by the third time I've done this in one day, I think he's done with me.

I'm at a point where I request mangos flat out. I meet you, I find out about your tree, I offer money, gratitude and favors for them. I've lost all sense of shame because my addiction is that bad. At least, this became true during my pregnancy last year, when I was like some wild beast left stranded on an island - an island without mangos and I had to find them or DIE.

The mangos, they are like a cult to me. I believe. I follow unquestioningly. I will offer my soul to the one who can provide me with the most mangos at any given point.

The Season is here. Let us rejoice in the holy goodness that is the Mango.

Posted by Tere @ 7/10/2006   | | | links to this post

Friday, July 07, 2006

This Site is in Dire Need of Some Yummy Baby

I had captions for each one, but they were just too cheesy. Just "ooh" and "ahh" over the cute baby, o.k.?













Posted by Tere @ 7/07/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Six Degrees of LibraryThing

So, MKH over at Hidden City wrote this post about LibraryThing. And I checked it out and loved it. So I commented on his post: "OMG, LibraryThing - I'm having multiple bookgasms rightnow."

And that was that.

Until he e-mailed me that LibraryThing picked up on it and had my quote up on their site.

Hilarious!

It really is a cool-ass site, though I'm still exploring it. I love that I can catalog my books and then post that cute little thingy over on the left that shows random books I own. Nerds the world over are rejoicing over LibraryThing, including this nerd.

Now, on to more cataloging!

Posted by Tere @ 7/06/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

When Celebrities Imitate Real People

So I've been lugging Max around in a sling since he was born, and I guess word got back to Gwen.

Behold, Max last Thanksgiving:




















And here's Gwen sometime in the last few days:




















;-)

p.s. Gwen's picture obtained from x17.

Posted by Tere @ 7/05/2006   | | | links to this post

Max Beyond His Mama

I forget most of the time that Max has a life outside our home and beyond me. When I dropped him off this morning with his Mimi, and she gave me a report of his behavior on Monday, it hit me that this kid has a social life that’s got nothing to do with his mama. And in this life, he’s almost a completely different person. I’m not sure what to make of this.

Max with Mommy
Max with mommy is an interesting little creature. The words clingy and boob-crazy come to mind. Mama comes into the room, and all hell breaks loose if she doesn’t immediately pick him up. Mama wears a v-neck top, snuggles him, or otherwise looks busy with some chore – and it’s a given that he’ll have to nurse every two hours on the dot. Or else. Mama puts him down and leaves the room, and the high-pitch wailing is instant and the tears just flow as if they’ve been lined up all day long, just waiting for this moment.

Max without Mommy
But when Max and his mommy are separated – by a nap, a dad, a Mimi, an abuela, or anything else – a different child emerges. This one is a laid-back little dude who’s perfectly happy to play by himself, who naps with nary a struggle, and waits longer periods to eat and doesn’t wail for food in-between.

Actually, from all I’ve read and been told (by my sister, who’s basically my #1 baby info source), Max’s behavior with me is completely normal and expected of children who breastfeed and have lots of mommy/daddy attention (as this kid does, since life pretty much revolves around him right now). Even though I go through moments where I’m like, “Everyone leave me the fuck alone – forever!”, I’m convinced that the fact that we’ve made Max and his needs come first in our home is what has led to his being so easygoing and easy to care for. Like, I’m giving him something that makes him feel happy and safe enough to keep it together and be laid-back when he’s in a new and different place. I don’t know, I could be totally wrong, but I don’t really feel that I am.

And also, I think I have to give a lot of credit to his Mimi. She really does a great job of caring for him. She’s affectionate, patient, and genuinely loves him. In fact, she is the sole reason I can go to work every day with complete peace of mind. But the fact that he’s around other kids, I think, is something that’s really good for him, too. I know he’s making friends and learning social skills. And I forget when it’s just the two or three of us at home that this little boy of mine has a life outside our walls – a world away from his mommy in which he’s learning important skills and all kinds of neat tricks, and in which he’s managing just fine, observing everything around him and then applying what he learns in his activities.

When he’s howling to be in my arms it's easy to forget that he gets along just fine without me. It’s a fact that makes me very proud of him and at the same time stabs my heart into millions of little pieces.

Posted by Tere @ 7/05/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's the Fame I've Always Dreamed Of

Or close enough. I've never been beautiful (or tall) enough to model, but having a cute baby seems to open all kinds of doors!

That, and having a brother-in-law who's a professional photographer.



Posted by Tere @ 7/03/2006   | | | links to this post

Sunday, July 02, 2006

When Bloggers Collide; or, OMG! I Have New Friends! Eeeeee!

I've lived the last 24 hours as my 8-year-old self. Because - new people in my life! New people who want to meet me! New people whom I've liked from afar and who think I'm good enough to invite for a bbq! Me! In a bbq! With people!

We spent yesterday evening with James from Burnett's Urban Etiquette and his lovely wife - plus two of their lovely friends (I won't give names in case they don't like that). And I had fun. Real fun.

It's really hard as an adult to make new friends. Not even. To find other people you can be social and friendly with. I mean, I'm always complaining about the shallow people who seem to be the majority down here, and one of the things I hate the most about living here is how so many damn people act like they're rich, fabulous and therefore above all the basic social rules. You know, everyone is special and better than the rest of us. So needless to say, I worry whenever I'm going to meet someone new that all they'll be able to talk about is their Hummer and their status as a VIP in Mansion or Prive.

And for me personally, even though I normally have pretty healthy self-esteem, the thought of meeting new people makes me incredibly nervous and makes me feel like a dorky little kid who's got nothing to offer. I'm like, please like me!

So anyway, last night was indeed very cool. I met some very nice, friendly people, and I had a great (babyfree) time. What a wonderful treat.




Posted by Tere @ 7/02/2006   | | | links to this post