Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Little Giraffe

Yes, you may die over the extreme cuteness.


Posted by Tere @ 10/31/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 30, 2006

Little Drummer Boy

So, Max is a drummer. At least, he will be. That’s my plan – to turn my son into an accomplished drummer.

All right, lazy mom confession: I have no plans to enroll my kids in any kind of sport. For no other reason than I don’t want to deal with practice twice a week, plus a game every damn Saturday or Sunday that will totally eat up my day. I don’t want to deal with fundraisers, stupid coaches, or all those damn parents who are either total suburban drunks or who take the whole thing way too seriously. No thanks.

Oh, I know: Max can end up being into sports and beg me to let him join some sport or other, and I'll have to eat my words. Bitterly. Seriously, if he wants it that bad, he can do it, but I’ll most likely be a baby about it and only agree to go to either practice or the games, whichever means most to him. The rest, I’ll leave to his father, or grandparents, or whoever else actually cares.

I am, however, crafting a plan to steer him in the completely opposite direction. I’ve chosen the drums. Why drums? Well, Max loves banging on EVERYTHING. ALL THE TIME. THE BANGING WILL NOT STOP. The TV, the walls, door, the floor, his toys – it all gets banged. And since I have no other kids and don't remember this hobby in any of my nieces/nephew, I'm going with the assumption that the kid just. loves. banging. And I must now harness that into a skill for him to develop and be entertained by and passionate about for the rest of his life. Or at least a few years.

Seriously, if he continues to show such joy banging on things (I'm experimenting with some instruments for X-mas), I really do plan on encourgaing him in this direction. And call me a masochist, but I would love the sound of my son banging his life away on drums. I mean, would you deny such fun to a kid who enjoys banging things this much?

Posted by Tere @ 10/30/2006   | | | links to this post

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween Rocks

I’ve tried on many occasions to find the words to express what I am about to express, but there simply are no words to express my absolute adoration of the holiday we call Halloween. I spend all year looking forward to that one day (or days – if it falls on a weekend you can milk it for a few days), and to this day I feel like it brings out the kid in me. Now that I have my own child, this last aspect is very important to me, and I just can’t wait till he’s old enough to really get into the spirit of the day.

I have nothing but happy memories of the Halloweens of my youth. Considering that my memories are full of giant potholes, the fact that Halloween remains almost crystal clear means a lot to me. As far back as I can remember, we dressed up on Halloween and went trick-or-treating. Simple enough, right? For me it held all the magic in the world. The pictures of me on Halloween, starting at age one and pretty much all the way through the present time, show me in beautiful costumes – some made by my aunt, others passed down from relatives, still others a mix of store-bought and homemade creativity. While you’ll see down at the end some great pictures of Halloweens gone by, there are some years that stick out and for which I wish I had pictures to enjoy and share, particularly these two:

At age 10 or 11, I was a mermaid. My aunt made this costume – she found this beautiful green net-like material and made me a fish skirt (with a tulle “fin” at the end!) and bikini top. I felt so incredibly gorgeous and mermaidy in this costume – it’s my favorite from my childhood.

At either nine, 10 or 11, I was a punk witch. This was basically me in a generic witch dress and hat, but I made my face up like a punk rocker and donned a metallic blue wig. I chalk this one up to my quirky imagination. (There are pictures of this Halloween somewhere, I’ve seen them before. It was a good year: big group, LOTS of trick-or-treating and a fantastic mountain of candy).

At age seven I was dressed as Cyndi Lauper in the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video. My aunt made the dress, and one of my cousins played a big role in getting me the orange hairspray and black cut-off gloves. I remember we went to a Catholic goods store for a pair of white gloves that we dyed black and chopped up – it was so sinfully wicked that I still get a little thrill whenever I think about it. At Ana Maria R’s annual Halloween party that year, I took second place in the costume contest. And no wonder:

At my high school, one of the privileges of being a senior was dressing up for Halloween. I was desperate for a particular costume, but when we went to Dixon’s Costumes (great place, total shame they shut down), that costume was too big in the bosom area. At the time, I didn’t even weigh 100 lbs., and it was really hard to find clothes that fit me (and weren’t kids’ sizes). I was heart-broken. There was only one costume in the entire shop that fit me: a Dutch girl get-up complete with pointy hat. It was basically a short lederhosen-type dress with petticoat. It was short, but I honestly didn’t think it was too short and besides, I was too consumed with the fact that I had no other choice but this one. At school on Halloween, I ended up causing a stir, because apparently, it was that short, and a coupe of priests pulled me over in mock horror – they knew me well enough to know that I wasn’t being slutty and understood when I explained how I ended up in that outfit. Still, in hindsight, I can see why this costume may not belong in a Catholic high school:

This last episode highlights one cool thing about my mom on Halloween: she was so damn cool about it. When we went to rent my costume (which we’d never done before), she was shocked at how expensive it was. I had had beautiful, handmade costumes as a child, but the cost of fabric was reasonable and they were made for free, otherwise, I wouldn’t have had them. We had no money for such luxuries, and yet, my mom rented the costume for me anyway. I don’t know if she understood my love for the holiday, or if she was just being nice, or what. But on most Halloweens, she was cool about getting us costumes, taking us out, and letting us eat the candy. She could have just ignored the holiday or told us that we didn’t have enough money for any of it, but she didn’t. In fact, a few times she and my dad dressed up and had a blast with us. I look on those memories with a lot of warmth.

And now, now it’s my turn to show my son the magic of Halloween. We did not get off to a good start. Max was about six weeks old last Halloween, and still so skinny and small that NO costume fit him. My sister had gotten him one of those cute “Baby’s First Halloween” onesies and some funky socks, and I insisted he wear that, and as you can see, he was swimming in it. And so far this year, no visits to pumpkin patches (but there will be one on Sunday), no festive decorations – shit, I don’t even have a costume yet. Between his being sick and my indecisiveness, nothing’s happened, nothing’s gotten done. I have to get my game on.

I’ve given up on doing a theme for costumes for all of us, because due to some crap I don't want to get into, my Halloween plans have been reduced to nothing (or rather, me sitting on the couch eating candy and weeping over what I loser I am on Halloween). But Max still has a chance, so what should I dress him as?


Posted by Tere @ 10/28/2006   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 27, 2006

Friday Silliness

I have to say, the outfit you are about to rate seemed like a burst of creativity and funkiness (but total cuteness) on my part. Note the fabulous shoes, the smart use of black to be chic yet warm, the bright green (but ignore my f'ed up expression, I was being silly when the picture was taken).

And yet, my co-workers all referred to it as the "elf outfit" all day Wednesday and a little bit yesterday.

Now, it's up to you to decide:

Rate my outfit:
Wow Tere, you're so stylish!
Wow Tere, you're so tacky!
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Posted by Tere @ 10/27/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Blogger's Identity

A few e-mail conversations I’ve been having with a friend, along with another discussion taking place at another blog, have had me thinking about blogging and identity over the last few days.

Back in 2000 when there was really no such thing as blogging, I had a website where I would rant about every damn thing that crossed my mind. I remained anonymous to protect my job and for the freedom of being as mean and bitchy as I wanted to be (I ended up writing some sentimental stuff, too, but in the beginning, there was a lot of anger I had to work through). The funny thing is that I wanted readers, and to get readers, I had to advertise. So my sisters, cousins, friends, etc. all knew about the site and knew it was me. I didn’t really care, because I only really cared that neither my boss nor my stalker exes could trace it to me.

But then, shit happened in my life and that site became a pain, mainly because people whom I disliked and people with whom I no longer had relationships with were reading it, and so I left it alone to die. Then I kept a blog on another site, and that was fine, and it too was a combination of alias and me (more me since now I posted pictures). And then, I got to the point where I no longer felt like hiding behind anonymity or an alias anymore. I was tried of sugarcoating and watching my words. It’s my own piece of the Internet, damnit, and I just want to be me. So I ditched that and started fresh with this blog. And yet, for reasons I cannot explain, I haven’t really told anyone about this blog. I think some people know because I have a link as my e-mail signature, but I usually delete it before I send e-mails to family/friends. And based on the lack of commentary and feedback, I’m more inclined to believe that no one from my real life (except a couple of friends and my sisters), are reading. I haven’t gone out of my way to discuss it, share it, anything. And while I don’t care to do any of that, I also don’t care if friends and relatives read it.

Which brings me to the present day. I’ve been thinking for a few days now about why I have chosen to be pretty public about my identity on this blog and why I reveal so much about myself. In truth, while I am honest and open in this blog, I know my limits. There are certain things about my life that I just won’t touch. It has nothing to do with who may or may not be reading, but with that fact that some feelings (related to motherhood and my son) are so incredible and precious that I just don’t want to share them (and I’m not convinced that I’d be able to make these feelings into a good read); and also, the fact that some things about my life, both the past and present, as well as many of my feelings, are so fucked up that I just don’t want to go there. I can only go so far with those things, share just enough, before I feel too vulnerable and close up. It’s been a lifelong problem with me, and while part of me feels some catharsis in getting some things out, another part is all about self-preservation.

So then, as I thought about why I have shared as much as I already have, a few things became clear. First, I may be “me,” but I’m also a version of me. Without any intent or plan to do it, I think I’ve taken parts of myself and kinda made a character out of them. In many ways it’s a caricature, or what I’m like in heightened states of anxiety, silliness or excitement. It’s mainly the writer in me trying to create some character definition, especially in light of the fact that because I don’t put everything out there, readers might need something else to compensate for plot holes and lack of information.

Another thing that’s clear: I’m not doing this to figure out who I am. I know who I am. I’m honest and realistic enough with myself to be sufficiently aware of the good and bad in me.

But lately I’ve had to deal a lot with how others perceive me, and what it means when you see yourself one way and others do not. I don’t get it. And I don’t get it in my case because I’ve gone to great lengths (more than necessary, really) to see myself as I really am. I don’t shy away from my darkness, from all the shitty thoughts and feelings, all the things about me that make me a bitch and mean and ugly. But then again, I’m also aware of the good parts of me, and I don’t know, I think I can form an accurate picture of myself by combining the two. So what do you do when you see yourself as someone who, despite a lifetime of crappiness and an awful feeling of aloneness, still fights to let it all go and embrace the joy and simplicity in each day – and others just see one thing? They see “the nasty bitch” or “the non-stop complainer” or “the melodramatic baby.” I feel like the people who should know me best have the least faith in me, like they can’t see the whole picture and instead put me into this box from which I can’t ever escape, regardless of all the fucking work I put into being a better person.

But this blog isn’t for them, nor is it to convince them of anything. It is, however, my way of trying to figure out not just how I fit into this world, but also how I fit into my own life. Because I have to tell you, right now I don’t know how I fit into my life. I don’t know how to reconcile who I am with who others think I am. I don’t know how to be me when others would prefer that I not, nor how to deal with the stress, hurt and alienation brought on by the feeling that whatever I am is just not good or loveable enough. I don’t know how to take all the pieces that make me “Tere” and make it all fit together.

There’s a lot that I don’t know, but I’m trying to figure it out. And you, dear reader, you’re now a part of this journey.

Posted by Tere @ 10/25/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 23, 2006

Little Did I Know...

... that those images from yesterday's breakfast would be the last time my son looked and acted happy and fun.

It's over.

The molars are coming.


Please feel free to review my archives, send me good wishes or e-mail questions you're just burning to have answered while I hide and cower underneath my sheets until the attack of THE MOLARS is over and done with.

I may be in here a couple of weeks.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/23/2006   | | | links to this post

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Morning Breakfast

Posted by Tere @ 10/22/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Time for Change

Can I tell you people - I am so sad and stressed out with my job that I've decided to look for a new one. I am heartsick. I am worried. I am scared.

I've been mulling this over for some time now and feel that I have to at least try to find something. If the job market's crappy and nothing comes of it, fine. But I have to see if I can find a better situation than the one I'm in.

It's not money. It's not lack of promotion (this isn't the kind of place where you want to get promotions). It's the deep, deep level of disorganization that makes it all but completely impossible for me to get my job done, all the while the big (BIG, BIG) boss is demanding that we be 5 steps ahead and immediately ready to anticipate and meet every single possible need or want. It's also the horrible feeling of working for someone (big, big boss again) who has unrealistic expectations because he has no clue what you do but doesn't care because that's not his problem.

And it is, ultimately, the dread that's filling me up as it becomes clearer and clearer that my ability to be available to my son is being totally compromised.

The working mom's classic dilemma is now my own.

I am now one of those professionals who's expected to stay hours late after work, even though I could easily do whatever has to be done during the day and am now expected to stay late simply because those on high haven't gotten their work done. Except that I have a child I have to pick up by a certain time. Except that there's no one else to pick that child up unless it's Ben's day off and there is no advance notice as to the staying late, it's just a given. Except that I have a contract that specifically lists my work hours and states that I must be paid overtime or given comp time and the feeling I'm getting is that I'm supposed to work and not demand the extra money or time.

I should add that all these changes fell abruptly on my head a few days ago - there was no prelude, no warning, no indication. One day I was doing what I always did, the next I was in a meeting until 6:30 p.m. with a new set of directives to live by.

And the problem, the real, big problem, is that I am committed to being there for my son, to spending time with him - and no job on earth is worth not being there.

And if I can no longer get the support and rights I've enjoyed up until now, I have to do what I can to either find a place where I can both do a good job and be available to my son; or I have to prepare for a radical career change that will allow me to honor my commitment to Max. There is nothing more important to me, and I may just end up committing career suicide over it.

Posted by Tere @ 10/19/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Ex Files: Touch Me Frog

As I drove in to work this morning, I heard a song I hadn’t heard in a few years: “Touch Me Fall” by the Indigo Girls. It’s an awesome song, both musically and lyrically. And as the song played on, I found myself laughing, because the song inevitably reminds me of The First Boy I Ever Truly Loved (TFBIETL).

First, a brief history of TFBIETL. We began dating my senior year of high school, and he was younger than me. As in, a freshman. That’s right: as a freshman I dated a senior, and as a senior I dated a freshman. He was absolutely beautiful and looked a good five years older than he really was. Compared to the other guys I’d dated and my male friends, he was light years more worldly and cultured. I guess that’s what happens when you’re Brazilian and the youngest son of an incredibly wealthy and well-known TV mogul/politician and his gorgeous, kind common-law wife.

I had major issues with the age difference. But the fact was, he was incredibly sweet and warm-hearted, and he was so into me that I could barely handle it. I agreed to go on a date with him the night before I was to leave for a weeklong retreat in New York. When our group landed back at MIA a week later, he was waiting for me with a bouquet of flowers. And with that, I got over my age-difference hang up and we became inseparable.

And yeah, our union caused a mini scandal in our little Catholic School. I got bitched out by one nun, and his mom by another during the first Parents’ Night. Whatever. We fell hard and fast and it was that kind of all-consuming love affair that has no option but to burn itself out.

The thing with TFBIETL is that whenever he pops into my mind, I tend to think about the total fucked-upedness of it all. I think about what a coward he was, what a liar he was, and how glad I am that I was finally able to recognize him and our situation for what it really was (plus a little guilt over my role in all of it). I never think about his good aspects, or the relationship we had before we broke up and entered into our vortex of codependence, betrayal and general bullshit. Actually, our relationship always had a tinge of dysfunction, mainly because we were both too emotional and immature, and that’s just a deadly combination. Still, before the breakup, we were crazy in love and happy and equally consumed with each other. And as memories of our early days resurfaced, I found myself thinking that it was quite nice to actually be able to remember those things and appreciate them for the role they played in my life.

The great thing about TFBIETL was that he was enthusiastic and passionate and up for just about anything. He had a knack for seeing something fun or useful or interesting in everything. However much he teased me about a great many things, if I was enthusiastic about something, he never dismissed it or me. If I was into something, it was automatically interesting and worthy of his attention. (You should also know that he didn’t always have the best command of the English language. He’d studied it in Brazil, but had only been in this country about two years when we started dating – you’ll need this information later on in this post.)

The perfect example is my love of the Indigo Girls. I’m not expecting any guy I’ve ever been with to be a fan, but you just don’t deride my love of the Girls because that’s grounds for dumping. TFBIETL, being both a foreigner and a boy, had absolutely no clue who the hell they were, and I wasted no time in cluing him in. He had absolutely no use for them, and took to calling them the Indigo Boys after he first saw a picture of them and thought they were guys. It was like the funniest thing ever to him. And yet, he sat there and listened whenever I waxed on and on about them and how deep and moving they were. And he managed to not roll his eyes even once.

At the time we were dating, their latest album was Swamp Ophelia, and they were touring to support it. And wouldn’t you know it, they were coming to So Fla for the first time in years. I had never been to one of their concerts, and I had to go. Had to. It was all I talked about in the weeks leading up to the Saturday when the tickets went on sale. I was in line at 10 a.m. that Saturday morning, cash in hand, at some little floral shop in Little Havana that was (is?) a Ticketmaster outlet. And somehow, I managed to get tickets on the LAST ROW OF THE WHOLE THEATER. At one point (I forget how), he realized that I had no intention of taking him to the concert, and he was devastated (it was all emotional highs and lows with him, same as with me – it’s taken me many years to get to this nice zone of indifference that I now live in). I explained that I didn’t want to subject him to it since I knew he didn’t like them. What?? he exclaimed. OF COURSE he wanted to go! I loved them! He loved me! Where else did he belong?! And that settled that – he was going with me.

We’d barely walked into the Sunrise Musical Theater when he made his first of many “I’m such a funny guy” observations: “I’m the only guy here.” And yeah, we were swimming in a sea of lesbians, but I quickly pointed out two other guys. That didn’t really help though, since he played off that observation all night long. So the music starts to play and I’m practically losing my shit over it. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, swaying, laughing – I don’t know, it was all very overwhelming. It was an acoustic concert, and if anything beats an Indigo Girls concert, it’s an acoustic Indigo Girls concert. And he was such a sport about it. He so didn’t care for the music, yet I jumped up, and he jumped up too (flashing the horns and hollering along with me – totally exaggerated but clearly in good spirit).

And then they start playing “Touch Me Fall,” and I’m beside myself. I clutched his arm and said something along the lines of “Oh my God, this is, like, the BEST SONG. The lyrics are so awesome, oh my God, I can’t believe they’re playing it acoustic! Listen, listen to it – it’s so deep.”

Halfway through the song, I look at him, and he’s got the most perplexed look on his face. I look at him with an expression that clearly says “Isn’t this just so moving and cool and awesome?” but he’s not reciprocating. Finally I’m like “What is it?” And he goes, “Who is she calling a frog, and why? And what does Touch Me Frog mean? Is it an American saying?”

Oh, poor boy – he wasn’t even joking this time. I was laughing so hard I could barely explain the mistake. By the time I got around to it, he was cracking up, and was soon teasing me for not even really knowing what the hell the song meant.

And so, from that moment on, “Touch Me Frog” became an inside joke - one that would inevitably come up at random times, and which we were able to laugh about even during our darkest times. Funny how it had all gone away from me until I heard the song again.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/17/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 16, 2006

An Ode to New York, Through Many Pictures of Me

In honor of my upcoming trip to NYC, I give you pictures from my last trip two years ago.

We went to Central Park a lot. Besides the fact that the family's apartment is right across the street, it was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon. It was the middle of spring, and it seemed most New Yorkers were taking advantage of the great weather (except for those damned two days where it rained like crazy and the temperature dropped to the low 50's).

I'm still not sure why I found it necessary to throw so much attitude in pictures of me in a park. Maybe I was pretending to be a model (and aren't those 3 pics perfect examples of why I'd never be a good model?). Or maybe I was trying to be brooding and contemplative as I communed with Nature.

And like I mentioned, there was rain. Cold, cold rain. For an entire day. Nonstop. I was not prepared for the cold or rain. As evidenced here in this shot of me on the USS Intrepid.

And finally, I got to enjoy a nice, gooey (but really too sweet) cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. With milk, of course.

I can't wait to go in a couple of weeks.

Posted by Tere @ 10/16/2006   | | | links to this post

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The End of the (Breastfeeding) Affair

Max is weaned. He hasn’t breastfed in a week now, and there’s no indication that he’s going to change his mind about it.

Relief. Sadness. Joy. I vacillate between these feelings.

I began to earnestly try to wean him in August. By then, he was only nursing at night, and I wanted to start trying to get him ready to go off the boob, albeit very slowly. Most of the advice on weaning suggests removing a feeding every four or so days. I was removing a feeding every week and a half or so. I wasn’t in any particular hurry, and I was scared of traumatizing the kid.

And then, we were down to one feeding, the one right before his bedtime, which he loved. On the nights that he didn't nurse then, he'd nurse just before he woke up at 6 a.m. It was one or the other. I finally got to a point where I was trying to not offer the boob, letting him instead ask for it when he wanted it.

And then last Thursday, he didn't ask for it. And then on Friday, he didn't ask for it. By Sunday I figured THIS MIGHT BE IT. And sure enough, he hasn't given any indication that he'd like to nurse.

Granted, he was down to one feeding, and on the days that there was more than one, it was always at night. And lately, he's sleeping longer periods of the night. Perhaps the weaning has coincided with his new sleep habits (habits which I will never write about because I will then jinx myself and those habits will revert back to THE HORROR OF THE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS, and then what, people, then what???)

So this last week has been a bittersweet one. Last night was the first time I wore one of my old nightgowns since early pregnancy. And it was wonderful to wear that, and not my milk-stained, stretched-out nursing one (I can't be sexy all the time, you know). I've pulled my old bras out, although right now many of them are too small, but I don't know what'll happen when all the milk is gone. I'm wearing tops that were totally wrong and inefficient for nursing but are old favorites. More importantly, I feel happy to have my body be mine again. It's felt so strange these last few days to not stop and think about what I'm eating, or if I should or can take a certain medicine - I've shared my body with this son of mine for almost two years, between pregnancy and nursing.

But it's also this last part that makes me sad. It meant a lot to me to be able to share my body with my son in that way. It made me feel vital to him, and it made me feel all kinds of superhuman, circle of life, connected to all humanity things. And, I miss snuggling and holding him in that way. As it is, he no longer sits still long enough for me to just hold him and savor his yumminess. This whole weaning business means that my baby is growing up and the book is closed on my only link to his early days in this world.

And yeah, I feel enormously proud of myself for making it to a year. Despite my fundamenal belief that breastfeeding and its proven long-term benefits was the best gift I could give him, I got off to an awful start with it, and honestly, I never got over how trapped it sometimes made me feel. Life revolved around it, as did what I ate, drank and wore, and it affected how I structured my days and nights, the places I went to and how I timed those outings to make life easier on all of us. It really isn't as awful as I just made it sound - it's just a major commitment, and the challenge for me was to live up to that commitment. There were plenty of times when I desperately yelled "I'm done!" because it just felt very overwhelming. In the end, I returned to the same place: Max needs this and is depending on me to give it to him. Realistically, there was no way I could just stop, and when I cooled off enough to realize that, I figured that I'd come so far I may as well keep going.

And now there's no more "keep going," at least not in this regard. We now embark on new adventures, and new chances to define and strengthen our bond.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/14/2006   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 13, 2006

Same as it ever was

Me, 2 boy toys, and a hog, circa 1981.

(or more like, me, my 2 cousins, and their sweet motorcycle, circa 1981)

(or, guess who finally connected her scanner?)

Posted by Tere @ 10/13/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don't Say I don't love you

Class picture, 11th grade.

Seriously, I was perfectly happy the day I took this picture.

Posted by Tere @ 10/12/2006   | | | links to this post

I love this damn site

OMG, I've been visiting bebestages the last few days and I'm in love. Liz posts links to the freakin' cutest, most original baby and children's goods! Clothes! Toys! Adorable crafty thingies!

My instant favorite was the information she provided about old-fashioned wooden toys. I don't know why, but I love those toys and want to get them for Max.

Seriously, she's got a bunch of cool stuff and includes instructions for making some neat items for kids. So go say hi and get a kick out of the goods.

Posted by Tere @ 10/12/2006   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The 5

My top 5

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

Hey look at me! I'm ovulating!

That seems to be the message women everywhere are sending the world. According to a new study, women dress flashier and more fashionably when they're most fertile.

“They tend to put on skirts instead of pants, show more skin and generally dress more fashionably,” said Martie Haselton, a communication studies and psychology expert at the University of California Los Angeles who led the study.

It seems to be basic primal instinct: animals all have some way of notifying the opposite sex that they're in prime procreation mode, and humans are no different. It's subtle, so say the folks who did the study, indicating that it's not something a woman does consciously. A little more jewelry, a cute tank top - these may be signs that a lady is at her most fertile. But then again, she could just be up with the latest fashions.

So guys, next time you're out on a date and she looks particularly hot, ask yourselves: is she always this attractive, or is she trying to ensnare me in a twisted plot to sperminate her?

I'm kidding. The ones with the twisted plots tend to be a little more obvious.

I do find this report interesting, but not very earth-shattering. I mean, we're just highly evolved animals, of course we want to propegate the species. It makes sense that we'd have some instinct to send signals that we're fertile. That we may do it through fashion or flashy jewelry may be akin to another species' display of feathers or changing skin tone.

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

Mama Wants a New Life: An After-School Special

I’m feeling all out of sorts lately. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this, but I’m probably on my third or fourth round of dealing with this feeling – it’s when you feel like you’ve been caught in a spiral of words, actions and emotions, and it’s all about to come to a head.

It seems that the harder I try to simplify my life, the more shit that falls into it. Maybe it’s a case of trying too hard. Maybe it’s that I want too many incompatible things out of my life. Maybe, like I’m regularly told, there’s just no making me happy. Maybe I really just don’t know what I want, although I don’t really believe this, because I do way too much introspecting to realistically not know what I want.

I guess I’m just feeling like forces bigger than myself are conspiring to fuck with me – on the work front, on the home front, on every damn front. I’m wondering why I feel so dissatisfied, so unfulfilled, so invisible; and I’m pissed that when I try to find solutions, I feel even more alone and frustrated than I did before.

Something is fundamentally wrong with me. Normal, well-adjusted people don’t do this to themselves, they don’t make choices after a lot of thinking and soul searching and then find themselves thinking they made the wrong choices. I mean seriously, how much more effort and time do I need to put into figuring out what I want before I can actually be pleased with my choices?

If there’s any one thing I want to spare my son from, it’s this: my awful inability to make choices for the right, true reasons. In an effort to please others or do what’s right, I usually find myself empty and unsatisfied. It’s not to say that I’m some selfless martyr, because I don’t see myself that way. It’s just that I’m ruled by this sense of doing what’s right and smart, and sometimes, the price for that is that I don’t get or do all the things I truly want. But if I were to make it about me, I think it would upset the balance of my life too much, and maybe I just don’t want to deal with that.

Damn, my angst levels are way high today. I need a release. Or a vacation. Or a new identity.

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

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's a small, small Miami

I'm always amazed at just how small a place Miami really is. For an area of over two million people, it sure seems like we're all separated by a few degrees.

Saturday night we hung out with Amanda from Brandon's Puppy. The story of how we ended up at a gallery and then at dinner at Bangkok Bangkok is classic Miami, as far as I'm concerned.

A few months ago, Ben was featured in an article by the Herald's James Burnett (sorry, have no link to it). Amanda read the article and realized that she and her husband had been friends with Ben in high school. Having just discovered the stalkerlicious MySpace, she found his page and contacted him. When she found out who Ben was married to, she realized that she was friends with people with whom I had gone to high school. So she and I get in touch, commiserate over motherhood, blogging and in the process figure out that we like each other.

So went hung out Saturday night, and it was fun. Now that I think about it, I didn't really look around the gallery, but we sure as hell talked a lot! I tried to keep my yapping to a minimum, but who knows - my idea of not talking too much might still be a lot by normal people's standards. Amanda, Eric (her husband) and Ben did a lot of catching up, which was fun to witness, since I've never had that experience before with Ben. I mean, whenever I get together with any one of my four best friends, we get on the nonstop "remember when" train. He's heard all the stories a million times now, so I liked watching him go through it.

You know, they were great - I had a fun time. But we're all parents, we all work fulltime, and it was refreshing to have a night out with people who get that and don't fight it. We were all yawning by 10:30 p.m. There's a part of me that still rebels against this new aspect of my life - I still want to believe that, if I wanted to, I could stay out past midnight and still wake up early the next morning (I've never been one to sleep in) and not be affected. But it's just not happening anymore. I'm usually exhausted by the end of the day, and if I do end up out late, I'm physically unable to get out of bed the next morning. So to be out with people who didn't even pretend was awesome.

I believe that next up is a meal at their house (and Amanda, take out is fine!).

Posted by Tere @ 10/09/2006   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 06, 2006

Working my Nerves

I can't stand to see Food Network chefs when they attempt to cook Cuban food - because they're so fucking clueless. I know, I know, they're cooking for an audience of Americans who most likely think Cuban food is a regional cuisine of Mexico, so I should be happy they even bother, but for the cook in me, it's insulting.

Now I know how other ethnic groups when they see these chefs trying to cook their foods. The only one who ever did it the right way was Tyler Florence when he went to visit actual Cubans to see how they do it. By the way, Tyler is the hottest chef I've ever seen (and I've seen him up close) - and unless he's putting on an act, so down-to-earth. Yummy hot + super friendly = my eternal lust.

There, I feel all better now.

No, I don't, because Rachel Ray works my damn nerves. Stop smiling so much! Stop saying "chapping" when you mean "chopping"! Stop being such a cheap tipper on $40 a Day! Stop tucking your shirts in, it's not flattering!


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Posted by Tere @ 10/06/2006   | | | links to this post

I be a Scurvy Dog, Mateys

So you know that I love pirates and all things piracy, but do you know why? (And do you care? No? Too bad, you're gonna read it anyway.)

First off, I’m not all pirate-freaky. I don’t collect shit (I leave that for far nerdier things), I don’t live in some la-la fantasy pirate land, nor does it play a significant role in any aspect of my life.

I’m just fascinated with pirates, that’s all. I always have been. It began with my discovery of Pippi Longstocking, with whom I fell deeply and completely in love with. The story, which I don’t remember doing but my parents love repeating, goes that at some point, when I was about nine, I began to ask, and then beg, my dad to sell the house and cars and buy a ship so we could all become pirates. If you knew my dad you’d understand how ludicrous the notion is, but I was apparently very determined to get my family on the high seas.

From there, I’ve just always enjoyed studying the history of piracy – I find it thrilling. Yes, I’m completely suckered in by the romance and adventure of it all. If I had lived in those times, you can best bet that I’d be a galley rat, or the mistress of some captain, so long as that included some pirating privileges.

Pirates of the Caribbean has made pirates all trendy now, which I find annoying. Yeah, I like that it’s easier to get clothes with ships on them, but come on. Don’t get me wrong: I loved both movies and left both with the strongest, most painful desire to find a galleon I could board and stay in forever, but the marketing thing is just crap to me.

So when this trend is long gone, I expect to still be as enamored of pirates as I’ve always been – yo ho, a pirate’s life for me – indeed.


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Posted by Tere @ 10/06/2006   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cyrano de Bergerac for Twisted Minds

Ever since I wrote about my post-breakup letters, I've been getting a lot of hits from google searches of people looking for examples of a breakup letter. I see a new business in my horizon.

Between my work and my personal life, I think I've written tens of thousands of letters - it's something I greatly enjoy doing. When I was little, I had a cousin who moved away to college and who would write me every week. I have to credit Liz for encouraging and nurturing that letter-writing (and imagine a woman in her early 20's who cared enough to write to a seven-year-old just about every week!). From there I lept into the world of poetry and found my passion.

So anyway, I've often thought that I should sell my services as a prolific letter-writer. Actually, I have a few times, writing business letters and immigration-related ones. But how about love letters? Or rather, post breakup ones?

I don't want to write love letters for others because I think that if you really feel it, you should be able to express it. And if words fail you, try actions. But I could really get into post breakup letters. I mean, I know full well how damn good a good post-breakup letter feels, so why not help others release that demon within?


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Posted by Tere @ 10/05/2006   | | | links to this post

The Ex Files: Meringuito

I can’t remember exactly why he began to make meringues from scratch. I think it was because I once mentioned how much I loved them as a child, how my father would buy fresh ones from the bakery that were the perfect combination of crispy edges and a soft center. And so he asked his mom about the process and began to make them every single night. Over a period of a couple of months, he would go into the kitchen after dinner, whip them up, and serve them fresh out of the oven. The first few tries, they came out brunt and hard. But once he perfected the recipe and cooking time and temperature, they were delicious little pieces of heaven. I can still see him with one arm clutching the bowl, the other frenetically beating the egg whites, whipping, whipping, whipping like a madman until the stiffness of the peaks was perfect.

And just as quickly as this whim entered, it went away. One day he just stopped making meringues. By then, our relationship was beyond dysfunctional. It was a mess I was so deeply trapped in that there seemed no way out. Many times, I found myself wondering how I’d ended up there, how I could have possibly, purposely, not listened to my own intuition about this person and the situation as a whole. I wanted to self-destruct, and the fact that I stayed in this abusive, total mind-fuck of a relationship for as long as I did is a testament to that fact.

I don’t really allow myself to revisit that time – it’s still so disturbing that I fear slipping into a depression and darkness that I won’t be able to pull myself out of. I carry with me the lessons I learned from that experience, and I think that should be enough.

But despite the awfulness of my relationship with the Abusive Bastard, there was a very brief time when he was human – when he read books and taught me how to drive. When he would make meringues from scratch for me, and sit back in delight as I savored every last one of them.

(photo via 3 Guys from Miami)


Posted by Tere @ 10/05/2006   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

One is the Magic Number

Max's been a year old for a few weeks now, and it's only now that I feel like I can discuss this.

Where did the year ago? I swear I was pregnant just yesterday - it's all so damn clear and fresh in my mind - me, she who's memory is full of giant gaps and holes.

I have wanted to savor every moment of the last year, even the really crappy ones. I want to create memories that will sustain me throughout my life; I don't want to look back on all this one day when I'm an old lady rocking my days away on a rocking chair on the porch of my house and find that I remember nothing. I've spent every day of the last year having at least one moment a day where I tell myself, "Close your eyes and imprint this into your memory. Savor this moment and store it deep inside you."

My son is now a toddler who's walking, WALKING around the house; who looks me right in the eye and shrieks "Mama!"; who understands phrases and simple comands; and who laughs loudly and often.

How did I get so lucky? What did I ever do to deserve this kind of happiness, to feel this kind of love? Even if every single other aspect of my life should suck, Max's presence alone makes it all o.k. How does that happen? How does one little human being make the unbearable - bearable, the life-sucking bullshit - insignificant, the simplest things - beautiful and wonderous?

This is everything I could have ever hoped it would be. Before I became a mother, I always felt that I wanted kids, but I felt pretty ambivalent as to what exactly that would do to me. And yet even as I battle exhaustion, my awful fears and anxieties and my crazy-ass tendencies, I feel like I'm finally complete. Shit, I feel happy, and in feeling just how deep and complex this happiness is, I realize that happiness and fulfillment were never what I thought they were. And I'd like to think that with these new, foreign feelings, I'm closer to being the person I want to be, and hopefully, that's a better person.

All this I owe to my son. My son, who for all his powers over me is counting on me to guide and protect him. I feel the weight of that charge more and more as the days pass, and never in my life have I wanted to succeed at something like I want to succeed at this. I want to be able to help shape him into a kind, compassionate man. In the end, that's all I want: for Max to be a good human being, one who contributes to the good of his community, one who is kind and gentle and smart and funny and passionate about his interests. And I have to wonder, can I, with all my issues and anxieties and bullshit, do this? Can I give him the best of me but spare him from inheriting all that is bad in me?

I don't know. I can only do my best, keep his best interest in mind, and stop and savor the wonderful moments. And those moments - man, are they plenty... and fleeting... and heartbreaking.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/04/2006   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 02, 2006

Yes, I'm High-Maintenance

That's right, I'm high-maintenance, and I'm not afraid to admit it; in fact, I embrace it. I'm high-maintenance because I totally deserve whatever it is I want from a man or life, and I think that when used wisely, it's what helps ensure that I don't get walked all over by everyone around me.

Let me say this, though: I'm not HM in a materialistic, superficial way. I have no expectations or demands when it comes to money, things, or lifestyle. Actually, I have no interest in any of that. I'm not impressed by money, cars, designer goods, or VIP status. In fact, the simpler and more bohemian my life is, the happier I am. Ben is good enough to spoil me every now and then with random gifts, a gesture I appreciate but never expect or ask for.

When I say I'm HM, I mean I'm emtionally HM, mainly when it comes to my love life. I've devoted a lot of time to analyzing this - how I am and why I'm that way - and here's the gist of it: I want as much enthusiasm and interest invested in me as I am willing to invest in someone else. That's it. I fall in love with someone because I think they're so interesting and unique and so much their own person that it's completely alluring. And that's exactly what I want in return. Yeah, it's great to be considered beautiful and desired, but what I really want is for the man I'm with to think I'm the coolest, funniest woman he's ever known - and to treat me accordingly.

If you haven't picked up on it by now, let me fill you in: I have a host of emotional issues that stem back to my childhood and my first awful experiences with boys. The good news is that I'm completely aware of it and factor it in whenever I get too "Tere" (there's just no way to describe that); the bad news is, I will always be like this and you either have to accept it and act accordingly, or I will get frustrated and move on.

But you know, just as I need to be adored and admired by my partner, I am more than happy to reciprocate. I have a strong need to admire and respect my partner - to think he does something to contribute to humanity or his family or his world - and if that need is met, I feel proud of him. But don't get me wrong: I want these things, but I don't want to be smothered. I can't stand clingy men and don't need or want someone all over me. Ideally, you adore me and I adore you but we keep and respect our individual spaces. Simple enough, huh?

And yes there are moments when I want to be cared for and coddled, but those come in spurts. Mainly though, I just want to be the top of the list and I want my partner to always be conscious of how cool/quirky/smart/funny/creative I am. And to cherish me for it.

And while any person can claim that they feel the same way and want the same things out of a relationship, I tend to see this as high-maintenance mainly because if these needs are not met, if I feel unfulfilled, I walk away.

And I recognize that I'm asking a lot out of someone to see me in this way for a sustained period of time, yet I can't bring myself to feel or believe that I deserve less than that, and I have no inclination to change my ways. So in that regard, yes, I'm high-maintenance and completely at peace with it.

Posted by Tere @ 10/02/2006   | | | links to this post

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Week In Review

1. Baby proofing a house sucks.

2. Just when you think you're finally organized and prepared - you've cleaned your house, put everything away and stocked your fridge - it only takes two days for everything to be a mess again and chaos once again reigns.

3. There's nothing more demoralizing (from a professional perspective) than working in a place where the powers that be shuffle people around like pawns on a chessboard, with no regard to their talents, experience, or skills. I'm done being a pawn.

4. I'm at the tail end of the weaning process, down to one feeding at night - I've taken my time for the baby's sake, and am happy to be nearing the end. It's time to stop nursing and I feel comfortable with this decision, even a bit eager to have my body back to myself. So why can't I bring myself to remove the "nursing" favorite search tag from my Ebay?

5. I'm ready to get moving, get physical, and get back in shape (if I ever was, and I doubt that I ever was) - it's time to do it and I want to do it - but getting off the couch is the damn hardest part.

6. Never underestimate the determination of a woman who has fallen in love with a handbag she has seen on other people but knows nothing about - the brand, store it came from or price. Because she will find it, one way or another. And she will make it hers.

Say hello to my new toy:

The best part: non-designer and cheap!

Posted by Tere @ 10/01/2006   | | | links to this post