Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dude, She's Living My Dream

What's better than blogging? Blogging in Maui, of course. And that's just what Kuanyin over at Who's Yo Mama? does.

Can you imagine? Living in Maui, blogging your little heart away as you watch the waves pound the sand.... actually, there's hope. According to this post, there's a shortage of employees in Maui. Sign me up, please. I've never been, but you know when you just get a feeling about a place? I get that feeling about Hawaii, like me and the islands would get along wonderfully.

Anyway, it's interesting to note that there's a surplus of jobs in Maui, because from my understanding, there's high unemployment in the big island, and unemployment rates aren't exactly at an all-time low on the mainland, either. I have to say, if my life were different, I would seriously consider taking a leap this big and leaving the mainland for a more relaxed life.

Ah, maybe someday...

Posted by Tere @ 8/31/2006   | | | links to this post

002/365 Solen

My neighbor and playmate. Quirky, pitiful, imaginative and kind. His family constantly insulted and belittled him. Hung himself in his bedroom at age 20, despondent over a failed love affair.

Posted by Tere @ 8/31/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Year Ago Today

Between my super anonymous website and this blog, I had an online journal that was a mix of the two. I ditched that journal to make a clean start, but I saved everything I wrote in it. A year ago today, in the aftermath of Katrina, I wrote these two posts:

Damn shit of a hurricane left us w/out electricity until late yesterday. That meant rotted food (A LOT of it); hot, sticky home; freezing water; and NO FUCKING AIR CONDITIONING. If I didn't have this luscious belly on me, I'm sure I would've done o.k. But it's hard enough to move and be comfy on a regular basis, so when you're trapped in a house that feels like 110 degrees, it sucks a little more. Blah.

I got work done on the baby's room and made progress with getting just about everything in there, and the new cleaning lady's coming tomorrow, so perhaps things are on the upswing. I just need to tie up a few loose ends, and then my darling boy can come join us. Let's hope he holds out!


And later on:

This devastation in New Orleans and Miss. has me heartsick. Especially New Orleans, a city I love so very much. I can't stand to look at the pictures anymore; I can't stand thinking about all those people who have lost EVERYTHING. This is terrible. It's like Andrew all over again, but worse. I have no idea how they're going to get through this, how they will rebuild an entire city.

I feel so sad about this; I get goosebumps when I look at the pics or stop too long to think about it. God bless them and help them.



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Posted by Tere @ 8/30/2006   | | | links to this post

001/365 Jason L.

He was one of my first friends. Had sweet little memories of our kindergarten days. Saw him once as a teenager. He remembered me, but wasn’t excited like I was.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/30/2006   | | | links to this post

He Walks!

It's all over, folks. The boy walks. WALKS. Alone.

Actually, he's only taken a few steps on his own, and always when he's distracted by something else - he seems very hesitant to do it otherwise, which is fine with me. (I don't know whether to be embarassed or proud, but after tracking the most basic ones like head movement and eye moment and such, I have no notion of milestones - I don't care about 'em and don't track them. I figure he'll get to them when he's ready to. And I HATE being asked, "does he walk yet" "is he talking a lot?").

The best part of the morning, however, was when he threw his first full-on tantrum. Sprawled out on the floor, head buried in his arms, yelling for all his life. It was awesome.

That said, it's been a looooong morning. An extremely long morning. Keep me in your thoughts today, because I'm stuck in this house all alone with a cranky bug who just won't be pleased with anything. Actually, this is a total interruption to his daily routine, so I get it. The weather's still blah, though, and I don't know what's open, so I don't want to take him out. He seems to be settling down, though, so we'll just make the best of it.




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Posted by Tere @ 8/30/2006   | | | links to this post

30x365

In honor of my 30th birthday next year, I've decided to join the *x365 project. Basically, you write a set number of words about people you've met throughout your life who've left some kind of impression, one person each day for a year.

I heard about this cool project from Yvette, who's blog I found on Rick's blogroll.

I'll get started later on today.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/30/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, August 28, 2006

Oh Lawd, My Boy's All Growed Up

Max was home from the birth center a full two days before I finally cried over him, before the weight of what I'd just been through and what lay ahead finally hit me.

I've noticed this thing about myself: in times of pressure, stress, or intense excitement, I lose all connection to myself and my feelings. I just act or react and do whatever has to be done. It is only after everything is over, sometimes days later, that I finally become aware of my emotions and thoughts about the matter and let myself feel and think again.

This was true with the birth of my son. When we were sitting on the couch in a moment of quiet - no visitors, no phone calls - it all hit me at once. He was so tiny. He was so vulnerable. He was mine for life. And as I stared into that funny-looking little face, I thought of all the wonderful things - him talking, making new discoveries, growing in intellect, joy and peace - and of all the horrible things - which I can't even bring myself to write - that may touch his life.

I just couldn't handle it. I cried every single day for those first few weeks whenever I held him and stared at him a little too long. He was so tiny, so sweet... and it would start all over again.

The memory of these early days flooded me tonight as I lay holding my sleeping boy in my arms. Our ritual is to snuggle down in our "night-night chair," where he nurses and plays quietly in the dark as sleep overtakes him. He was really tired today and fell asleep nursing. There was something about his facial expression and the way the shadows fell on his face that made him look like a little boy, and I felt like I was getting a glimpse of the boy who will remain when his baby features change. And it hit me then that we're reaching a new chapter in our life together. With his turning a year old in a couple of weeks, I lose my baby and will begin mothering a toddler.

My baby won't technically be a baby anymore. I got my first taste of this when I caught myself (twice) heading right for the newborn clothing section, only to realize nothing there fit him. I was thinking then how I would miss picking out cute, babyish onesies with little animals and cute sayings on them. From here on out, it's big-boy clothes.

And tonight, looking at this almost-one-year-old, the tears started again. Because that incredible first year is over; because those first couple of months were so hard but so amazing; because my baby is not a baby anymore. I wanted for one instant to have it all back again. To feel him as a newborn resting on me, to see his first smile, to hear his first laugh - to relive all those days when it was just me and him sitting on the couch together all day long. I did think, too, about all the bad stuff that can happen - those thoughts are never far from me, unfortunately.

But mostly, I was crying just because it hit me how quickly these years are going to fly by, and soon enough, my baby will be a man. And yet, even then he'll remain my baby in my heart.



Posted by Tere @ 8/28/2006   | | | links to this post

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cross Bloggination

I'm all over the web, baby! Check out my neat post about Essential Oils and Natural Remedies over at greenerMIAMI.


-- thanks to the lovely Rebecca for letting me contribute.


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Posted by Tere @ 8/26/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Making a List, Checking it... Probably Never

Hey, so that last post was very, very long, but you should read it because it's good, o.k.? Because I sweat blood and tears to string all those thoughts together, and what more do you want from me, more blood and tears?

Whew, sorry 'bout that. So I've discovered a new mommy blogger site that actually has fun, useful information! I know, after reading this drivel, you didn't think that existed, did ya?

Seriously, at Rookie Moms, Whitney and Heather have hundreds of ideas and projects for mom and baby. The idea was born when they were on maternity leave and realized how boring maternity leave is. And they're right. Once you get the hang of caring for the baby, it's boredomville. When I was writing the last post, I had written and erased a few sentences about how mindnumbingly boring maternity leave was. How I struggled to fill the days with activities and new things. I wish I'd known about this site then!

They have one idea I really like: Make a list of 50 things you like to do. I was drawn to the activity because I'm a total list maker. I write lists every single day. Grocery lists, Target lists, gift lists, to do lists, work assignments list, writing ideas lists, etc. But you know, I've never really done a list of things I like to do, and I like their spin on the idea.

It's a simple list, really, like getting pedicures or taking daily walks, not the "things to do before I die" kind of list. What I like about this idea is the challenge to then try to actually do those things. I think that'll be the real challenge for me: to keep the list up and to check it periodically to see if I'm doing the things I like to do. But I'm hoping I'll be able to do it. Plus, as a working mom with a long list of things to do - things that have nothing to do with fun or me or fun things for me - this is a great way for me to be aware of the little things that make my day.

And you know, you don't have to be a mom to do this activity. If you're super busy, stressed, bored or out of touch with yourself, try this out. Give yourself 15 minutes to write your list out - I'm willing to bet you'll feel a lot better when you're done!

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Posted by Tere @ 8/23/2006   | | | links to this post

Either I Can't Learn my Lesson, or I'm a Total Masochist

Perhaps the problem was that I'd never ventured to think about what life would be like with a newborn baby. Since I assumed I was infertile and that we would adopt, I never found the need to imagine life with a newborn. We weren’t interested in adopting a newborn; we wanted a child of seven or eight months or older. For me personally, I saw no appeal in newborns – I was terrified of hurting him or her with my inexperience and clumsiness, and after watching my sister and cousins live through those first months, I felt like I wanted no part in it.

Of course, I found out I was pregnant and was thrilled. As my pregnancy progressed, I grew more excited at the thought of meeting my boy. Through it all, though, I avoided thinking about those first months. I knew they’d be rough, I knew I’d have to be flexible, and that was as far as I was willing to go with it. Had I sat there and obsessed about how completely every single aspect of my life was going to be thrown into upheaval, I might never have gone through with it.

And so Max was born and I can remember very clearly how the first thing to devastate me was the sudden, absolute lack of sleep – it shocked the shit out of me. In hindsight, the problem was that the labor had exhausted the life out of me, and I did not get a chance to rest up and recharge before I took him home and started this new chapter in my life. Max was born at 1:40 a.m., and he was just as exhausted as I was, and I think he would have happily slept through that first night (waking only to nurse, maybe), had that been an option. But his birth weight was so low that they had to monitor his glucose and temperature all night long, so we had to be woken up every hour to test him. Just as we’d doze off (he was in my arms that whole first night, with the exception of when they weighed and measured him), we’d have to wake up all over again. Had he been born in a hospital, he would have been transported to the NICU, where he would have had to stay for the two weeks it took him to gain half a pound (babies who weigh less than five pounds are not allowed to leave hospitals - one day I'll write about how thankful I am that he wasn't born in a hospital and that he had very smart, conscientious, and thoroughly cautious midwives who used their expertise and common sense to work with his pediatrician to determine he was not in any danger and could safely go home with us).

From there, it all went downhill fast. I had an incredible amount of support, but no one could do anything to relieve me when Max wanted to nurse. And Max wanted to nurse all the time, or so it seemed, but of course, his behavior was completely normal and I did not want to be one of those moms who instantly puts her newborn on a feeding schedule when that goes completely against what his body and well-being want and need. So Max asketh, and Max receiveth.

Next, there was the thrush and mastitis problem. I got both infections about five days after Max was born. The pain, itchiness and discomfort were awful, awful, awful. I was so miserable I literally wanted to die. They took close to two weeks to clear up, and I kept nursing through it all, which added sore nipples to the equation. Still, I don’t regret that decision. I was full of milk, and if I hadn’t nursed Max, I still would have had to pump it out, which I tried, to at least relieve my boobs and give it to him in a bottle, and that was far worse than nursing. Point is, the milk had to come out somehow, so it made no sense to stop nursing. Also, I was going to be damned if I let an infection ruin my chances at establishing that kind of incredible bond with my son.

By then it became apparent that Max had a reflux problem. He was never diagnosed with reflux, nor colic, but he had something in that vicinity that made him spit up a lot. And to first-time parents, it’s a very disturbing thing. Considering that he was so tiny, we felt like every drop mattered, and there he was spitting up after every meal. The worst of it was at night – you could literally hear the milk coming up, and he would make this sound like he was clearing his throat as the milk came up and kinda gagged him. As a result of the constant reflux, he barely slept. The discomfort kept waking him up, and I think that basically set the stage for his anti-sleep campaign, one that is only now beginning to subside.

I didn’t sleep those first six weeks. I would stay up all night just looking at him, making sure he didn’t choke to death, or that SIDS didn’t creep up on him. Actually, I still wake up a few times a night to make sure he’s breathing – I suspect I’ll be doing this throughout the next 18 years, at least.

Compounding all this was the tiny factor. For someone who was scared of a regular-sized newborn, I sure as hell was shocked when I delivered a four-pound 18-incher. We knew after that first worrisome night that his health was fine, but having a baby that small is an amazing experience. I couldn’t give him his first baths, the fear of inadvertently hurting or dropping him was that powerful. My mom taught Ben how to bathe him, and together they gave him his first couple of baths. I wouldn’t hold him until he was tightly wrapped in a towel. During those first seven or so weeks, he slept in between us on top of a pillow – we had to keep him inclined and we both felt the best thing was to have him as close to us as possible. When I look at him now, sprawled out horizontally between us, hogging up as much room as he possibly can, I can’t even believe it’s the same baby who once slept on a pillow, and even that seemed too big for him.

So, all these things combined to make my first two and a half months of motherhood pretty stressful. (And hello, it was all cake compared to what mothers with sick or disabled babies go through. I mean seriously? I have no right whatsoever to complain). Between just being new at this mothering thing, plus my original ambivalence to newborns, plus all these issues I had to confront from the start, I was just dying to get it all over with. It felt like a never-ending nightmare. I felt so hopelessly trapped. Now, I know I was not alone. I had/have an incredibly supportive husband who takes his role as a father very seriously and is as responsible for our son’s care and well-being as I am; a mother who took weeks off of work to help me out, so that my son was almost a month old by the time I was left completely alone with him, and who is always available to watch him if we have errands to run or just need a break; a sister who was there from the start, helping me get off to a good breastfeeding relationship with my son, who called every single day to check on me, and who rushed over when I got sick with thrush; and another sister and friends who visited and helped out and checked on us regularly. I had more than anyone could’ve hoped for. And yet for all this, I couldn’t shake that horrible feeling of entrapment. I felt like I had been cut off from the life I knew, like every habit, routine and interest was gone forever.

But you know, I never blamed the baby for any of it (most surprisingly to me). On some level, I knew this was all a normal part of being a first-time parent, that my situation had its own unique challenges, and that it would all pass. Through it all, I was falling madly in love with my boy. Because even though he was very small, even though he refused to nap and fought off all my attempts to get him to fall asleep, and even though there was that whole reflux/colic problem, he was an incredibly good-natured baby. The spitting up and reflux was bad for me, but he never cried or fussed over it. He was frustrating to deal with during nap and bedtime, but otherwise, he was pure joy. He was just so small and cute and frog-like that there was no other option but to fall ridiculously in love with him. There were many difficult moments for me, because I generally found myself thinking, “I love my son more than anything, I love being his mom, but damnit, I hate my life right now.”

And I know Ben felt it, too. He had to work, so he was off the hook during the night, but he would come home to me in tears because the baby just. would. not. fucking. nap. So he’d take over so I could rest and he could get the extremely exhausted baby down. And I think because we’ve made very conscious choices about doing what’s best for Max, regardless of how inconvenient it is to us, we probably made life more difficult for ourselves than others. Yet I wouldn’t do it any other way.

All this verbosity has a point. And that point is, I’ve been feeling a lot lately like I want to get pregnant again. Like, in the next year.

What the fuck is the matter with me? I loved being pregnant. Loved it. I didn’t always feel great, and goodness knows that when my feet began to swell I became incredibly distressed, but I loved the experience nonetheless. I loved watching my belly grow and my body change. I loved feeling my baby move inside me. It got so that I knew all his movements and could predict his daily bout of the hiccups. I loved how I looked, because I think I looked so cute and glowing and mother-goddess-like. I’ve never felt more beautiful or feminine or wonderful than when I was pregnant.

But after the pregnancy’s over, there’s a brand-new baby to contend with. Considering our experience the first time around, and our previous disinterest in newborns, Ben and I are totally turned off to the idea of having another baby. It’s not that we couldn’t handle it, we just don’t want to handle. Really don’t want to handle it.

And yet, I think I could be persuaded. Part of me feels like it really would be easier the second time around because a lot of the stress and uncertainty you have with your first-born is gone. I also think I’m getting pretty good at the whole multitasking while caring for a human life thing. But… But what if I’m wrong? What if we get a baby who’s unhappy and miserable from the minute he comes out? I mean, Max has the best disposition ever. Could we get that lucky a second time, or are we due a difficult baby? Is Max the way he is because we’ve been so affectionate and attentive to him? Or was he hardwired to be like that? I’ve heard so much about kids who were raised the same way, with lots of attention and affection, and one has a great personality and the other kills little animals. I’m really scared of that happening to us.

Another fear is the labor itself. In the great scheme of things, I had an easy labor. It was fast, and I managed to remember all the pain-management techniques I’d learned. But I think there were two important factors that also helped make my labor so easy. For one, having no idea what to expect, I expected nothing. I refused to scare myself and kept telling myself that I was doing what my body was created to do. That helped. Second, it turns out that I was carrying a very small child. I mean, no wonder I pushed for just 15 minutes, the kid was barely four-and-a-half pounds! What would the experience have been like if he weighed five or six pounds, not to even think about eight pounds? Would I have been such a trooper? I never reached that point in my labor where I felt that I just couldn’t go on. Every time I felt more pain and more discomfort, I was also more dilated and closer to the end. What if I felt the intensity increasing but there was no progress? What if three hours later I felt twice as much pain but had not dilated any more? The thought that this kind of labor could happen to me, or that I would have to push a much larger baby out are enough to scare the hell out of me. Now I know what to expect, and I may be too much of a worrywart to handle it.

And yet. I want to be pregnant again. I want to have a little bug to give my love to, to show the world to, to join our family and make it that much richer. It’s just those dreadful first months I want to skip over… I don’t see how I could ever make a decision on this one.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/23/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New Blog Alert!

She just started up, but expect great things from Diva Knows Best. Diva is, hands down, the pop culture maven. From the latest gossip to movies to music to TV, she's got an impressive grasp on it all.

And how do I know? She's a good friend of mine, and I'm constantly astounded (and defeated) by her knowledge.

So, go read and enjoy.

Posted by Tere @ 8/22/2006   | | | links to this post

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mama Needs Boots


It's time I told you, darling readers, about my fashion passion, nay, my fashion obsession.

Boots.

I love them. Love. Them. I live for fall and winter, or whatever it is we get down here, simply so that I can wear my extensive boot collection. They're fabulous. I don't have as much variety as you'd think a boot lover would, mostly because there's a lot of ugly shit out there, and I try to stick to basic and classic pairs, with a couple of quirky ones.

During boot season last year, I'd just had a baby and was busy with those first months of exhaustion, fear, frustration, and when all you wear, if you manage to even get out of your pajamas, is lounge pants and nursing tops that are dirty beyond recognition by 10 a.m. - but damn if I wasn't going to wear boots anyhow! Needless to say, I learned the hard way that walking around the house in 4-inch leather boots just doesn't cut it. Life at that time just didn't lend itself to boot-wearing. And I was so frustrated and loaded with post-partum hormones that I went and got rid of half my collection. Half my precious boots, gone in an instant.

So of course, I have to replenish this year. I'm a bit concerned over the boot trends out there this year. The only possible contender -maybe - is the wedge-heel boot; otherwise, ick. The slouchy boot is quite awful. It looks great in catalogs and standing there on display, but on actual legs, not so much. And the pirate boot? UGH. Now, as a lifelong pirate-lover, this is hard for me to say: but it's true, pirate boots are ugly as sin. Flaps on boots just don't work. Ever. Trust me on this one. Considering the dearth of beautiful, lusty styles this year, my choice item for this year looks something like this. Maybe. I just know I have to get something new this year.

No one's safe in my household, except Ben because he's a party pooper. Thank g-d I've got kids to traumatize with my boot obsession. Until my girl comes along, I'll have to burden my boy with my overwhelming need to put boots on tiny feet. Oh, I may love boots, but nothing beats boots on tiny feet.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/20/2006   | | | links to this post

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Perhaps Tomorrow Will Be Better

Places where Max had meltdowns today:

Toys R Us (just a small one, it was early in the day)
Barnes & Noble
Ann Taylor Loft
JC Penney
Nordstrom

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Posted by Tere @ 8/19/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Ex Files: Post-Breakup Letter


I was cleaning out a box yesterday, and I came across my box of floppy disks. Wow. I hadn’t seen this box in at least two years, when I cleaned out my desktop before I sold it. I also found older disks that date back to 1995.

I’ve spent all morning going through the disks, and damn. Old pictures (scanned images of a 3-year-old me with chicken pox, a 5-year-old me dressed as a genie, and a 16-year-old me being slapped with a detention; Ben and me in the early days; and random images like my best birthday cake ever, my rainbow shoes and me in a bikini at the beach); all the resignation letters I’ve ever written; 200 copies of my resume; my entire collection of poems, short stories and essays; and the best thing ever: letters written to past boyfriends.

So it seems I have a pattern: after a break-up, in an effort to get the last word in and leave a recorded document of my thoughts and feelings, I dispatch a letter. In the case of The First Boy I Ever Truly Loved, I dispatched at least three letters in the course of almost two years, which is how long we took to really and truly break things off.

My relationship with TFBIETL was very dramatic, a high-school soap opera that spilled into college and beyond (more details forthcoming in a later post). Significant others notwithstanding, we spent the year and half after our break-up still involved and entangled in an awful mess of tears, lies, pain and anger. Needless to say, there were plenty of opportunities for me to write letters whenever I felt that the actual written words would get my point across, seeing as how whenever we spoke, it was too dysfunctional for any communicating to happen. As I re-read these things, I’m amused that I went to such lengths to drive the freaking point home. It ultimately wasn’t even worth it, but well, here’s some of what I had to say:

You said yesterday you missed me. I should remind you, then, that if you’ve missed me it’s been because, once again, you’ve sat back and done nothing… I’m sorry you think so much about me. I’m sorry you miss me so much… I’m really very sorry, because there is nothing anymore between us.

How about this one?
But just as I have had to accept all these things, you too have to accept them. You made a choice, (TFBIETL), and now you have to live with it… have you ever really thought of all the things you said to me, and how your actions have been direct contradictions of those words?

But this one’s my favorite:
…there is the possibility that you don’t even know that feel this strongly and this terribly about all this. And I want there to be no misunderstanding, no mistake. If you ever doubted that I might feel like pure shit over this, now you know without a doubt that I do… perhaps you can face yourself everyday and not care about how you screwed me over, and perhaps you can fuck your girlfriend and ignore the fact that you have talked plenty of shit about her, and that it was me you turned to when you felt bad, but I can’t stand to be a part of any of that.

Huh. That was an incredibly fucked-up situation, and I was really very hurt and angry for a long time over it. And yet, it also opened my eyes and cured me of any naiveté that still existed in me. That’s not to say I was a victim, just that I had a lot of childish notions about love and relationships, and being lied to and betrayed by someone I thought incapable of such things was ultimately a good slap in the face that I needed.

But now we move on to Good Ex. I have one letter I wrote just after the break-up because he was being so hysterical when we broke up, that I couldn’t get a single word in. In fact, I didn’t even want to break up; I wanted some distance from the relationship because we had reached a crossroads and I need time and space to figure my next steps out. To make a long story short, I felt too involved in the relationship, while Good Ex did all he could to keep me at an emotional distance. I was giving way too much emotionally, and he was not – which was fine if that’s how it had to be, but then I felt the need to step back and be less involved so that we could be on a more equal level, emotionally speaking. The fact that he had recently declared that I was “the one” and that he wanted to spend his life with me, but continued to be distant, did not help matters.

Which, of course, he couldn’t stand. One weekend of me being unavailable was all it took for him to flip out on me, and when I explained that I just couldn’t deal with his pushing me away, then telling me he wanted to spend his life with me, then pushing me away again, and that I needed my own space to figure out what I wanted out of the relationship (there were some other issues, too, but that was the main thing), he decided I was in fact breaking up with him, so that he went off on me and assured me that there’d be no way in hell that we could ever work anything out. In the wake of his tantrum(s), I wrote a letter that gave my side of the situation:

You are so convinced that women are detrimental to every goal you have that you hold back in ways you probably aren’t aware of… did you ever notice that any time things got complicated, or weird, you found a way to make it clear that if things became that way for a prolonged period of time, you were out?

And
…you deal with your inability to either work things out or be supportive by pointing the finger at the woman and saying all this is happening because she’s “crazy.” So basically, even though you are a half of a relationship, you are never responsible for anything going wrong in it. It’s always the woman, and not only that, you de-legitimize her feelings by reducing it all to ‘craziness’.

Also,
…there is also the way you argue… I felt like you were more concerned with absolving yourself and pointing the finger at me instead of focusing on the issue… It’s a real bitch to try to find a resolution with someone and when you talk to them, the first thing they say is, ‘Well, what about you? Do you know how many times you do this?’ etc.

Additionally,
…but up until that point, however much I enjoyed our relationship, I was not thinking about the future. You made it very clear from the very beginning that you were anti-marriage, so I had figured we’d eventually break up, hopefully on good terms… I know that sounds simplistic, but it was easy for me to be in the relationship and love you… and just as consciously know that we had an ending at some point... I didn’t want to withhold my feelings over the inevitable end, as for me one had very little to do with the other… I always figured that if and when I got to the point where I wanted something serious and permanent, I would just share with you my feelings… we would agree to go our separate ways… I appreciated your honesty about this.

Which led to
But then we had the first talk…We seem to have very different views on this (marriage), and one perfect example is how you feel that a woman is someone you have to “fit in” into the rest of your life. As your girlfriend, it’s been hard to be the last thing on your list, the thing you squeeze in between your endless hours at the lab or studying or playing… And that’s all well and good if I’m a girlfriend, but… if I am going to be spending my life with someone, I must be number one on his list, and I and the life we build must be his priority… And the feeling I got from you and all you’ve said about the topic was that a woman would always have to come after everything else. And that’s just not good enough for me… If I want a marriage, it will be because we BOTH feel like it is something that will make us better people and will empower us to achieve all our other goals.

And ended with
I wish we had seen eye to eye on a lot of these big things… it just makes me aware that I can’t keep holding on to what it so good about us and keep ignoring the bad.

What makes Good Ex a good ex is that we parted ways over philosophical differences, not because of fighting, disrespect, or any such drama. In fact, there was no real drama between us – it was the first adult relationship I’d ever had. Considering that we’ve known each other 14 years, I can say that he is a good human being who just has some relationship/women issues to work out. I grieved the end of the relationship because it had genuinely been a good one, but I held no hard feelings because there was no malice or deception to his actions. And also, because he contacted me after this letter to apologize and express his regret over everything. That really helped.

I think it’s safe to say that my letter-writing days are over.

(image courtesy of riotgirl89gc's flickr)
(and thanks to Rick for teaching me how to do that cool quote thing)

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Posted by Tere @ 8/17/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pete's Wasted Life

Pete has a problem: he's sold his soul to reality TV. As a result, he's lost the last year of his life to American Idol, The Contender, So You Think You Can Dance, and Project Runway.

Since he eats ice cream when he watches these shows, he's also gained 20 pounds. Pete's not a happy man right now.

I got this confession from Pete tonight as we sat, eyes glazed, watching the infernal elimination episode of Rockstar Supernova. He's not following this show, but I am and so everyone patiently sat through it while I explained what was going on. Really, they could do the whole thing in 10 minutes but choose to drag it out for an hour. And we who watch sit there and take it.

Things only got worse when we switched to the finale of So You Think You Can Dance. Talk about stretching something that was already pretty damn thin. Just when you thought it was almost over, there were just more and more dance routines. Between the unending dance numbers and strategically placed commercial breaks, we all lost an entire evening of our lives for the last 30 seconds when the winner was announced (it was Benji). All this, and I'd never even seen a single episode of this program.

Needless to say, by the time we reached the end, we were all frustrated, tired and feeling like real assholes for the time we waste on reality TV.

The message is clear, isn't it? It's time to turn that damned TV off.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/16/2006   | | | links to this post

Notice a Pattern?

According to the attached evidence, I seem to have a particular hobby when I travel.




Posted by Tere @ 8/16/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Post That Wasn't

I've spent all day working on this deliciously juicy post about one of my past fucked-up relationships, but when I got to the punch line near the end, it just wasn't funny.

Fuck.

Posted by Tere @ 8/15/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, August 14, 2006

South Florida Bloggers Rock

Well, I’m late to the party but still wanted to add my recap/thoughts about the So Fla Blogger Extravaganza.

I’ve spent the weekend in this fuzzy state of “I love everyone” drunkenness, so that’s how good it was. It actually reminded me of the times in high school when we’d go on spiritual retreats, and either you’d meet new people or reconnect with old friends, and so by the end of it all you were high on friendship, or love, or the Holy Spirit, or something, because it was all love and hugs and excitement.

It was very cool to meet the local bloggers – although it was awkward in the beginning, I think we quickly got over it and soon found ourselves having actual conversations. I was so damn nervous that my mouth was going 500 mph, and I was awash in mortification the minute we got into the car to head back home. But well, when I’m nervous and anxious, I just don’t shut up and try to make a joke out of every friggin’ thing. But if I had to take a guess, I’d say most of the people there were nervous and anxious and maybe I’m not the only one feeling like a fool, or loser, or self-conscious. I mean, I would hope so.

I have to say that everyone I spoke to was friendly and personable, and that the only thing I didn’t like was that I didn’t speak to more people. That’s more my fault than anything else, since at first fear, and then a plate of chicken tenders, had me rooted to my seat. I know we don’t all share the same beliefs, but that’s part of what I like about this experience. I want to get to know people who are different from me and who can have rational, engaging conversations about different topics. We all bring different perspectives, but I think we all have some common goals.

On a personal level, I feel like I’ve taken an important step toward making new friends. Just meeting these fine people made me realize that one of my subconscious desires in starting a blog was to meet new, interesting people and hopefully make some friends. And because a lot, if not all, of us agreed that as bloggers we want to make a difference in our community, I echo the sentiment that others across the interweb have expressed that these gatherings become a regular thing. I also have the ulterior motive that I want the chance to get to know people better and hopefully make new friends, enough that I'm wiling to offer my tiny home (but large yard!) for the next one (but not yet - house is a serious mess and a mostly outdoor BBQ would work better after the blazing August/September heat).

After Saturday night's event, I have to say that the Miami blogging landscape is looking pretty damn cool, and it can only get better from here.

Posted by Tere @ 8/14/2006   | | | links to this post

Friday, August 11, 2006

Childhood Redux

I read a post on another blog that posed an interesting question: What television, music, movie or book from your childhood are you excited about sharing with your own children?

It mostly caught my attention because long before I even had Max, I would say things like, “I can’t wait till I have a daughter so I can give her Barbie’s dream house,” or, “When I have kids, I’m going to get them ________,” filling that blank in with some toy, movie or book from my childhood. I guess in some ways, I look at parenting as a way to relive the good parts of my childhood – except that with my kids I’ll get to enjoy it all even more because 1) a lot of shit that existed in my childhood doesn’t anymore, and 2) the joy I’ll feel at watching them discover something new and (hopefully) enjoy it.

There are many books, TV shows, songs, etc. from my childhood that I plan to share with my current child and future kids, but now that I think about it, they’re not all juvenile things. I mean, top of my list is ¿Que Pasa USA? That’s not exactly a kids’ program, but I grew up watching it (I still watch it), and it defined a generation of people (such as me) whose parents left Cuba and settled here. Bad acting and crappy set pieces and all, it’s awesome. I can recite lines from all the episodes, and to this day, my best girlfriends and I insert lines from the show into our regular conversations. And as time passes and the nature of exile changes, this program has become the only chronicle of its kind of what that experience was like in the early days. It is a testament to the experiences and history of my people - and therefore, it's vital to helping my kids understand their past.

But what I really want to share with my kids is the books that have meant so much to me. I think this is going to be hard with Max, because how can I get a boy all excited over Ramona Quimby? Perhaps I stand a better chance with Pippi Longstocking - my ultimate childhood hero. Oh, I lived and breathed Pippi for a long time there. She was pure inspiration - brave, strong and free. From her I got my lifelong love of and fascination with pirates. Perhaps she's appealing to boys, too, and Max will immerse himself in her adventures like I did.

With my daughter, though, I can not - can not - wait to share Anne of Green Gables with her. I love Anne - those stories are so full of charm and sweetness, and they evoked their time and place so poignantly that I yearned to be there, too.

And as my girl comes of age, I hope Judy Blume will be a source of laughter and comfort for her. From Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, to Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself to Forever: my three favorite Judy Blume books are patiently waiting for the day my girl cracks them open and falls in love with them.

I treasure all these symbols of my childhood - they each played a part in making me who I am today. And I will be moved and honored if my kids would one day value them as much as I do.

Posted by Tere @ 8/11/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Holy, Holy, HOLY Lord

Perhaps this all would have gone down more smoothly had I been better organized or more realistic about what it was I was planning. Perhaps. I’ll never know. I just know that it’ll be a long fucking time until I attempt to throw a party of any kind again.

Maybe I should start at the beginning. The beginning here is my explaining that Ben is Jewish, I’m Catholic, and we’ve agreed to raise our kids as both. Both, that is, until they get old enough to start asking the hard questions, at which point we’ll use a lot of sensitivity and open-mindedness to explain to them that blah, blah, blah. We’ll just have to explain the differences and help them figure out what path, if any, they want to follow. (And in case you’re wondering, we were married by both a priest and a rabbi. We did the Catholic preparation and the Jewish preparation – and even that couldn’t save us from falling apart later on down the line. That’s beside the point. So far, we’ve managed to live our lives with a decent balance between the two).

So with the birth of our son, we agreed to do a bris (Max was so tiny – born at 4 ½ lbs. and 18 in. long – that we couldn’t do it on the eighth day. We had to wait two weeks until he weighed 5 lbs.). I get the whole circumcision controversy, but really, I was fine with this. I respect tradition, and doing it this way was a lot faster and gentler than doing it in a hospital. Max didn’t cry during the circumcision – it was when they dressed the wound that the howling began. There were a few torturous minutes, but we’d loaded him with enough Manischewitz (that was part of the ceremony, I swear) that he soon passed out.

So now it was time to baptize him. I don’t want to get into all my issues with the Catholic Church, but I should say that despite those issues, I did have some positive experiences with my religion, and I treasure those. The decision to baptize my son had a lot to do with tradition and my belief in properly welcoming someone into a religion. Despite my current status as a lapsed Catholic, I still consider myself one. And so it seemed fitting to welcome my son into my religion.

Forget for a minute planning this baptism. Just deciding on the godparents was one of the most agonizing things I’ve ever had to go through. Mainly, this was because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I’ve been stressing that not picking someone would automatically send the message that I didn’t value them, their role in my life, or that I didn’t recognize their love for my child. So in the end, I had to do a process of elimination based on specific criteria. I didn’t choose my sisters because they’re already his aunts. They hold a special place in his life regardless of anything else. I wanted to give to a friend, and I really have only four girlfriends whom I would seriously consider. So then, I realized I wanted someone who actually practiced Catholicism, because Lord knows we’re going to need support, and it just made sense to pick someone who went to church. So that eliminated two friends who have either moved on to other religions or are just not Catholic anymore, and I hoped that since they were no longer Catholic, that my not picking them would not be an issue for them. And then I was really in a quandary, because how do you pick between two awesome friends whom you love dearly, both of whom would make great godmothers? In the end, I made my choice for various reasons. Both friends had been incredibly supportive throughout my pregnancy. They had been excited for me, loving my son before I was even 20 weeks along. But one friend was more present, calling just about every day, offering her help on every little thing, checking on my health. I think she was even keeping track of my weeks. This is not to say that my other friend wasn’t around – her life is just more complicated, she didn’t live in Miami, and between all her obligations, I didn’t expect her to focus on me at all. But I did/do have the feeling that her life is way too packed with obligations to add another one. So on the balance, I decided to ask the friend that I felt had the room and time in her life to take this on.

So that agony was over, and it was on to planning the actual baptism. I took forever to do it, mostly because I just couldn't get my shit together. When I realized that summer was approaching and I'd soon have to deal with his b-day and my friend's bridal shower and wedding, I knew I had to get to it before it was too late. By the time I was done coordinating with the church, the bishop, the godparents and ourselves, it had to be August 5th. A little over a month before his first b-day and all the wedding activity. Oh well, it would have to do.

Now, in my mind, this was going to be a simple affair. I was inviting the family, some friends, and we would do the ceremony and then a simple party afterwards. As in, Cuban pastries and cake. The godparents wanted to host it at their house, and I was fine with that. Then we started talking about decorations. And the invitation list grew. And the cake became Edda's uber-expensive confection, because godmother wanted to give that as a gift. And what about food? We had to provide a meal! And favors? Because we had to give something out! Now, my idea of a baptism favor was the little card that commemorates the day with all the pertinent details. But once I went out to try to find these, I found that things had changed and now it was common practice to give a little gift out like they do in weddings. Have I mentioned that I had budgeted about $150 for all this? HA! Silly, silly girl.

So I'm completely stressed because I don't have the money to make this a grand affair; meanwhile, I keep spending more and more money. Add to this the fact that the majority of my family never bothered to RSVP, even though the invite specifically asked for an RSVP, and a few days out from the event, I'm seething at the sheer rudeness of this.

And then it's the big day, and I'm running around since 8 a.m., helping the godparents set up their patio. Then I have to go to Publix for last-minute supplies and drinks. The plan has three of us going in different directions after the ceremony to pick up the cake, the pastries and the food. By the way, it's 117 degrees. By the time the ceremony starts, there are 70 people in the church, 35 of which never RSVP'd. You know what this means? There wasn't going to be enough food or drinks because I bought for 40.

So we get on with the ceremony in the church in which the a/c had been turned on approximately two minutes before we began. It was a lovely ceremony. My son looked so adorable and sweet and was his usual charming self. Until hunger hit, and then I had to stuff a bottle in his mouth, because nursing in front of my loved ones, the bishop, St. John Bosco and Jesus Christ? Not an option. The bottle pleased him, cheered him up, and all was well until the actual baptism, when he freaked out as the water hit his head. Some hugging and kissing later, all is well again.

We finish up the ceremony, take a shitload of pictures, and it's time to scramble to get food. Luckily, godparents' house is all the way down south close to hell, so we figure we have time. Except that when I show up to pick up the food, it's not ready. Fuck. An hour and 15 minutes later, I show up. On the way there, godmother calls me to inform me all the soda and almost all the water were gone, so I had to stop to get more. But since I took so long godfather and Ben went and got some. When I get there, all the pastries are gone. Except for like 4 pastelitos. If you'll remember I thought I was feeding the 40 people who RSVP'd, not the extra 20 (some of the extras at the church didn't go to the party) who showed up.

So I spend the next two hours running around, making sure everyone's fed, trying to keep track of my son, just generally being a hostess. At the end of it all, I was exhausted, had a headache and achy feet and felt mildly depressed. All that planning, stressing, money, food, and running around, and I didn't even enjoy myself. I was happy with the baptism itself, it was everything else that brought me down.

I can tell you one thing, though. There won't be a party for his b-day next month. No fucking way. Not that I was planning one, but now I know for sure. There'll be dinner and cake with our parents and sisters and that's it. Because all I've ever wanted is to have everyone come together and celebrate Max. And that's exactly what we'll do.

The bris:













































The baptism:









































That's just my side of the family...

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Posted by Tere @ 8/09/2006   | | | links to this post

The Beginning

The recent posts on Hidden City got me thinking about when I first started blogging, albeit anonymously, in 2000. Actually, I never considered what I did “blogging,” since I didn’t even know the term until last year, but in hindsight, I guess my first website was a primitive type of blog.

Back in 2000, I worked for a dot com. One that pissed though millions of dollars in about eight months, so that by the time I was hired, it was, unknown to me, the beginning of the end. They laid off 2/3 of the staff three weeks after I started as a producer. So that I suddenly became a producer, writer and editor. It was through that experience that I first learned about HTML and web design, although it wasn’t much. Either way, in that environment, I realized that I could easily throw up my own site and do whatever I wanted with it. And so I did.

I launched that site in the summer of 2000. It was mostly me ranting about everything that annoyed me, and back then, I was much more of a ranter than I am now. The process was a pain in the ass: I was on geocities, and I used the Yahoo Pagebuilder program, since it was damn easy. I’d have to upload the text, format it as well as the background and images, and then publish it all. It’d take a couple of hours to get some articles up, so it wasn’t like I wrote daily or updated daily. I’d compile some rants, then post them all up at once.

I maintained that site until 2005, when I became too preoccupied with my pregnancy to rant about anything. And even before then, the site had already taken a gentler turn. I think I just got to the point where I just didn’t care about that site anymore. It had some history that made me uncomfortable, and there were many people who read it and who knew who I was, and I didn’t like these people and didn’t want them knowing about my life. By then I had also started to learn about blogging and was exploring that.

Anyway, I looked up the old site – it’s still floating there in cyberspace – and decided to share with you the first two pieces I ever posted up. I haven’t read these in ages, and in italics are my current comments about it. Enjoy.

Why Jennifer Lopez Sucks / Summer 2000
Where do I start? Let me for once be PC and state that as a Hispanic woman, I feel fully justified in doing what I am about to do. I say this because the powers that be have decreed that Jennifer Lopez is THE Latina star, and I am compelled to correct
that terrible mistake.

Why is this so? I personally feel that just because she has a Hispanic last name, it does not follow that she should be made out to be a representative of the entire Hispanic/Latin American community.

Let's start with the fact that she barely speaks Spanish. I mean, have you seen her L'Oreal commercials in Spanish? She sounds like she learned the language 5 minutes before the cameras started rolling. And I am most likely not that faroff with that comment.

What really gets me is that before she made it big, she couldn't give a shit about her roots... it's her damn attitude that incites me to write this piece. And it bothers me a great deal that people look at her and associate the Latino/Hispanic culture with her. That's bogus; the Lopez last name does not automatically make her a Latina. And if by chance she and her family share some common Latino customs, as far as I'm concerned, that is still not enough to bill her as THE Latina star. As a Hispanic, I am so offended that such a poor example is held up to represent us (let's not even get into the argument that Latinos/Hispanics cannot be clumped into one group, each nationality is too diverse for that). You want real Latino/Hispanic stars? Look at Gloria Estefan, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz or Antonio Banderas. They're the real thing.

And while we're on the "real thing," can we address the issue of her "talent"? The truth is, there is very little of it. She is one of those people who just happened to be at the right place at the right time, that's all. When you really take a look at her acting or singing, you'll see that she is, at best, mediocre. She is mostly nothing but hype.

And finally, I hate to sound like a prude, but just like any other Hollywood bimbette, J Ho seems to be afflicted with a condition I will crudely call the "itchy pussy," as evidenced by her inability to stay with one man for very long. Not that I want to be judgmental, just that there's something in the way that she goes about it that makes her seem so trashy, so used. Any other woman could make man-jumping look free-spirited, but she makes herself look like such a piece of garbage, and really, I hate it when a woman is so low that it's impossible to respect her. (Wow, that was particularly cruel)

It's ridiculous shit like this that pisses the hell out of me. Jennifer Lopez can kiss my ass (which, for the record, is way more spectacular than hers).

(WTF? Why am I even talking about my ass??)

I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch / Summer 2000
I pray everyday that this store goes bankrupt. I hate them. I hate their white-bread, all-American models, who do not represent the awesome diversity of the people who live in this country, not to mention this planet. I hate their ridiculously priced clothes. I hate how they have the nerve to charge $60 for a pair of pants that are wrinkled and frayed and look like they came out of the Army-Navy store.

You know, we tend to like or dislike things and places by our experiences with them. So it's no surprise that a major reason I hate this store is because of its sales staff. In Dadeland Mall down here, the store is staffed by, if you can imagine it, snobby idiots. You know the kind: they are there to help, they need your money to make sales and therefore earn their minimum-wage salary, yet they treat you like you are not worth their time of day, and even asking them a simple question is enough to make them roll their eyes and treat you like a big fat dumb-ass.

I recently learned about an A&F policy that cemented my hatred of them and made me swear to never shop there again. I walked in because I saw a sign that said sweaters were on sale. I see one I like, and I figure that with the reduction, it's actually a decent price. However, the last size small is on the mannequin. So I do what I have done a million other times in hundreds of stores across Miami: I ask the girl to remove it from the mannequin so I can buy it. She looks at me like I just suggested she go kill her mother and says, "That's just visual," and expects me to know exactly what she means. But I don't, so I approach a friendlier-looking girl and
ask her what the deal is. She explains that they are not allowed to remove clothing from the mannequins, not even for paying customers. Items on mannequins get sent back to "headquarters." I ask her if she is aware that they are the only store who does that, and she looks truly surprised. I explain, "If a store only has one size left, they normally take it down and sell it to the person." And she looks at me with a look of incredulity and asks, "But if we did that, can you imagine what would happen to our mannequins?"

God, make it swift and make it painful.
(I still hate A&F and refuse to shop there)

I can’t believe it’s only been six years – it feels like a lifetime ago.

Posted by Tere @ 8/09/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Pump No More

It's time to share the big news: I'm done pumping! FOREVER!

I started the transition a couple of weeks ago, and after days of adjusting the time and duration of the pumping, my supply's diminished significantly so that I no longer have to pump. And, since I passed my pump on to a relative this weekend, there is definitely no going back.

It's over. Part of me is happy and excited to have reached this point - like, I made it, I did this. Another part of me is a bit sad, since this also signifies that my baby is getting older, and in the next months we'll be working on weaning completely, and when that happens, there will be a lot of sadness over the loss of that special bonding. But the majority of me is relieved that this is over, because I had physically just had enough with the pumping.

So, good-bye little faithful Medela Pump In Style Advanced. You have served me well, and now you go on to ensure that another little boy can continue getting his mama's milk. And so I say to you: God speed, old friend.



Posted by Tere @ 8/08/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, August 07, 2006

Oh Yeah, that Birthday Post

Well, at this point, not even I care about my b-day anymore, but there is much catching up to be done.

My actual b-day was awesome. I didn’t get to sleep in, but once I got the baby off to his Mimi, I was able to – do nothing! Before we dumped his butt off, though, my two boys greeted me with gifts. And this was where I remembered why I married this guy named Ben in the first place: because he indulges my awful taste in music and then goes all out about it. As seen here:


He then treated me to breakfast, which was a little like getting a bowling ball with “Homer” engraved on it, since he was craving Chuck Wagon and that’s where we went.

That evening, we went to dinner at my parents’. My mom’s best friend and her kids were in town from New Jersey, so we had a big dinner with them and my sisters and their families. It was great. I loved it. There’s something about the chaos of 12 adults and a bunch of kids running around and coming together at the dinner table that comforts me, and so it was a great way to end my day.

Um, the cake is missing from the this pic, but we're laughing, which is cool.



So that was also the beach weekend, and here are the pictorial highlights:



Maxi playing on the sand:



Maxi and his mommy lookin' cute just before heading out to dinner:


Maxi tasting hummus for the first time:


Maxi and his daddy:


By Sunday morning, we were so hot and sweaty that we were dying and worried about having Max out in the sun. Our little tent and umbrella just weren’t cutting it, so Ben decided to go to the nearby K-Mart to see if he found something “better.” And that’s how we became those assholes - Ben went and bought this huge outdoor panoramic tent/gazebo thing. It was awesome - our own little hut on the sand, but definitely quite obnoxious since it was just so huge and quite an exaggeration on our part. By 2 p.m., in the blistering heat, a questionable-looking group a few feet away were stalking us to see if we would abandon the tent.

All in all, a nice weekend. Not much of a chance to relax, but I knew that going in.

Also, a public thank-you to all my friends and relatives for their lovely wishes and wonderful gifts.

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Posted by Tere @ 8/07/2006   | | | links to this post

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Blogger Party

I've been too busy and exhausted to do any proper blogging since my b-day, but I just saw the evite about the Miami blogger party and am having an anxiety attack over it.

What to make of it? I'd like other bloggers to please comment on this, please. Am I wrong, or is it a corporate thing? It's not like someone's having a bunch of people over to their house... it's in a trendy SoBe spot that I'm not even sure I could get into on a regular day.

Some geeky part of me is like, meet the bloggers in person? How COOL? Another part of me is like, meet the bloggers in person? WTF, where's my Xanax?

Thoughts, please.....

Regular posting to resume this week.

EDIT: Rick posted about this first, so the commenting's been going on over there.

Posted by Tere @ 8/06/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oldie but Goodie




Bwah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Posted by Tere @ 8/03/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cuba, Castro's Death, and Feeling Like a Little Girl All Over Again

I've been trying really hard not to get too caught up with the news coming out of Cuba (or not, considering the absolute silence over there right now). That said, before I get into the reasons why, let me just get my opinion on the matter out: I’m with the conspiracy theorists who say he’s already dead. Why? He wasn’t the one on the air discussing the change in power; he’s never, ever discussed his health with the Cuban people (quite the opposite, he’s always rabidly dismissed any speculation about his Parkinson’s or fainting spells); I would think that a more realistic scenario, were he really going into surgery, would be for him to do the power transfer privately, do his thing, then come back as if nothing – he’s kept the people in the dark all these years, why any honesty or openness now?; I’m thinking the next announcement is that FC “died” during surgery. My belief is that this is just a ruse to either give Raul and his hacks a chance to solidify power and control, or to give themselves a chance to get the F out.

I've never participated in any Cuba-related discussion on any of the local blogs. Actually, I try my best to avoid all the Cuba or CA blogs. Mainly, it's because the topic lies too close to my heart so that when people start deviating away from rational, interesting conversation to melodramatic or insulting nonsense, I lose my shit and want to smash my computer to pieces. It's just not good for my well-being, you know? Also, the truth is that I am not a conservative CA, and I tend to disagree with a lot of the stuff out there. I'm not a liberal, either - I tend to fall somewhere in-between, and that's the problem. I see too much irrationality and melodrama out there, and it gets in the way of the important things. For far too many CA's, if you don't tow the traditional line, something's wrong with you, and your loyalty is questioned. And quite frankly, I look at the people that the "hard-liners" or "right-wingers" defend and stand by (George Bush? Perez-Roura? CA politicians? I'm looking at you), and it's their intentions and actions and bullshit words that I question and am highly suspicious of. So I look at all these blogs and articles and websites, and I just feel too exhausted and disillusioned to get involved. And it's not to say that the problem is any particular blogger, just that blogs, like message boards, are public forums, and I've had my fair share of shit going down in the comments section or after someone posts a first post on a board (oh, Yahoo message boards, how I loathe thee).

And because of my background, because of my dad and his involvement in the Cuba cause, I've seen way too much shit go down to have any faith in anyone at this point (except for the dissidents in Cuba, whom I've been supporting with some projects and money since 2000).

I grew up in a household where Cuba came first. My dad got to this country as a fugitive of the Castro regime at 19 years of age, and from that day until now, he's been involved in countless efforts to either bring change to Cuba, or help the dissidents, or at the very least, not let the issue die down. La Junta Patriotica Cubana building on NW 7 St? I practically grew up there. Yearly masses at La Ermita de la Caridad in honor of my parents' hometown and the people still there who suffer the tyranny? Check. The Municipios en el Exilio fair? Check. And I was also my municipality's princess one year. Long-forgotten patriots like Tony de Varona and Santiago Blanco? They were among my dad's closest friends.

We breathed, ate and slept Cuba in my house. The nightly prayer my dad taught us asked God to protect and bless Cuba. His life has been consummed by Cuba and his devotion to his homeland. All very honorable, I'm sure, but as kids we suffered a great deal over it. Because Cuba always came first. My dad, ever a man of faith, was convinced that God would not let such a beautiful nation suffer for long, that change was imminent, that the latest news out of the island surely signaled the end of Castro. On and on and on, such has been the case all the years.

His passion was contagious, at least to the point that I myself became involved in "the cause." And I believed. I believed that if our intentions were good, that if we put our differences aside and worked together for freedom, that we would win. You know what I found instead? People out to make a name for themselves. People too consummed with their egos to do any real good. People so self-righteous that it was replusing and shameful. People betraying each other, lying, being completely hypocritical, yet ready to crucify you if you dared question them.

My dad is a product of his time, place and circumstances, and to that end he's more conservative than I am. In his work as an "active exile," has always been moderate in comparison to others out there, or become more so as the years have gone by. A man predominantly guided by his faith, he's more dreamer and idealist than egotistic talking head or politician. But when you're someone holding on to ideals in a situation where people don't trust each other or have the right intentions, you've certainly got your work cut out for you. I've seen the way that his experience with all these organizations and people have affected his beliefs and actions, and I would daresay that he's had his moments of disillusionment and sadness. His journey as he's faught for his beliefs has had its share of betrayal and pain and consequences.

And so today I find myself reliving years of a Cuba-centered life. While my friends defined their childhoods by having an abuela who lived at home, café con leche as their breakfast, weekend domino games and the embarassment of having to be chaperoned all over the place, I was dragged to meeting after meeting about Cuba, patriotism and the like; I had picnics, parties, masses and gatherings that served one purpose: to commemorate Cuba in one way or another. I've protested companies like Benetton for opening shops in tourist resorts on the island; I've visited hunger strikers; and I've been present when a fisherman delivered a wet, bloody, shark-bite ridden, empty raft into the hands of Mons. Roman at the Ermita de la Caridad. And I've spoken out against the extreme, hard-line mentality some prominent Cubans have - a mentality that I feel is devisive and detrimental to the true cause - and lost my job over it.

So today, I can't help but feel like a conflicting mess. I want this to be IT. I want the freedom we've all been yearning for. I want my parents to see Cuba free before they die. I want the Cuban community here to let go of the bullshit and join together because we just may be getting the one thing we can all agree we've always wanted. I want to know that the childhood I experienced was indeed for some greater purpose and good. I want all those dissidents I've come to know to see the fruits of their incredibly hard labor. I want my brothers and sisters in Cuba to be free, truly and completely free. I want to be hopeful. I want to believe once again.

Posted by Tere @ 8/01/2006   | | | links to this post