Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday Afternoon

Getting out of my car at home this afternoon, I noticed how beautiful the afternoon was. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and while it was hot, it wasn't unbearable. So I got Max and our 300 pounds of crap into the house and headed out to the backyard with him.

It was such a lovely, lovely afternoon. We picked up some mangoes (every day I look out the window at least three times to see if any mangoes have fallen so I can rush out to pick them up), blew bubbles, and relaxed on the grass. I pulled him around in his wagon and chased him around a bit. I sat on the grass, under my mango tree, and watched him run and play and talk to himself. I felt the breeze as the late afternoon sun shone in-between the leaves.

It was perfect. It was the kind of afternoon I've dreamed of sharing with my son - laid-back, relaxing, fun. I felt so perfectly at home there, so in the moment, far removed from any stress or problem.

We spent an hour out there before Max began to ask for his "papa" (dinner). I hope we have more afternoons like that - it was wonderful with just the two of us, but it would be better if Ben could join us, or family, or friends. I'm going to make it a point to enjoy these afternoons as much as possible, to keep Max outside as much as possible, to lure my family and friends out when they visit. I aim to make that peaceful yard of mine the center of our home.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/30/2007   | | | links to this post

Bobby Asshat and Me

Does Bobby Flay make you as sick as he makes me?

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Posted by Tere @ 4/30/2007   | | | links to this post

To All My Betches

I had two of my dearest friends (D & K) over yesterday afternoon. We pigged out on guacamole and chips, chorizo, bagels and donuts (one of us - not me! - is pregnant, so it's o.k. We had to give her moral support). We didn't do much else besides sit at my dining table and talk about the same old shit we always talk about. With both Ben and Max off to the park and the house to ourselves, it was basically a perfect afternoon for me.

After the girls left, I found myself thinking about them, our friendship, and my friendships with other women as well. I've had a very interesting and fruitful year as far as friendships go. I've ended one friendship (really, for the good of both of us), reconnected with a childhood friend, and (hopefully) gotten closer to these two friends. And in starting this blog and becoming part of the local blog scene, I've been getting to know some women who are really just wonderful. When I think about all these individuals (as well as my three lifelong girlfriends), I feel so grateful for their presence in my life.

I think it's hard for women to make and maintain friendships in adulthood. I don't know why - perhaps because of underlying feelings of competitiveness, our own insecurities, trust issues - but at least for me, it just doesn't seem to happen. When I met D and K over three years ago and I saw how well we got along, I was overjoyed. We connected on so many levels and found that we could trust each other with some very personal things. Now that I don't work with them, I miss them all the time and have some great memories of our daily bitch sessions and heart-to-hearts. And as I begin new friendships with the women whom I've found (or found me) through this blog, I feel excited, nervous and hopeful that relationships will develop that are as simple or complex as they need to be, but that whatever they are, are mutually satisfying.

When I think of my own issues that I think make adult female friendships hard, I think it's mainly due to my insecurities. I want to impress; I want to be understood; I want to be related to and considered funny and honest and loyal (more on this last one in another post). And while I generally have a healthy dose of self-confidence, I have to confess that I worry at times that I have nothing important and necessary to offer my girlfriends. On some level I know that's not true, but when I feel like I'm being too opinionated and blunt with them, I wonder...

Either way, whether they are my old girlfriends - with whom I feel so comfortable and safe - or my new blogger friends - whose company and emails I have so enjoyed and whom I'm eager to get to know more - or my old/new friend from childhood - who shares my parenting philosophy and is a kindred spirit in so many ways - or my beloved D and K who always talk me off the ledge and accept me in all my neurotic, temperamental glory - these women have brought so much richness and depth and joy to my life. I thank them for that. They are playing a vital role in helping me be the woman I want to be, and no words can adequately express what that means to me.

My betches, you are fine, fine women and beautiful friends.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/30/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, April 27, 2007

Toyota Should Seriously Consider Getting a New Ad Agency

I'm sure you've seen that commercial for the Toyota minivan (it's about a year old, I think, and airs a helluva lot): the dad is all excited, opening the door to the minivan and telling his kid (and friend?) that the tree house is all ready. He spent like 4 weekends on it, it's got all kinds of cool features - the dad is seriously (and deservedly so) thrilled about it.

And his kid? The snotbag is a totally ungrateful little shit who not only basically ignores his dad as he's talking, but who also is like, "And? Big effen deal." Because he's in the kick-ass Toyota minivan, with the A/C, DVD player and leather seats. Get it? Toyota's minivan is better than dad's tree house!

This is wrong on so many levels. First of all, what a cool dad. He built a friggin tree house for his kids! Dad's first mistake, however, was to build it by himself. That kid should've been right by his side, helping him out - not just bonding with dad, but learning the value of labor and the satisfaction at crafting something with your own hands. Second of all, that kid is rude and ungrateful. Exactly why was dad building a tree house for such an undeserving kid? Dad's second mistake was not yanking that kid right out of that minivan and locking him in his room - without DVD player, TV, computer, video game or any other such crap - until he learned to appreciate his dad and tree house a little more. Also, if my kid considered our minivan the funnest thing on Earth, I'd get rid of the damn thing.

If that was my kid, if Max ever pulled that shit on me, I would be crushed. I would break into tears right there. This commercial speaks of so much that is wrong with our society. What was Toyota hoping to achieve by it? If they were going for humor, they failed. Did they expect parents to run out and buy it - why, when loving parenting has just been mocked and torn to shreds?

I'm not going to get all (Cuban)-crazy and tell you to boycott Toyota. And granted, this is not as bad as those evil Bratz dolls and the awful influence they are on little girls. But this commercial should stop and make us think. This is the shit that influences us, that tells us what we should value; it reflects the society we've become. And that's not good, my friends, not good at all.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/27/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Blogiversary

I wrote it in my desk calendar - in CAPITAL LETTERS, no less, to signify the importance of the day. Then I added exclamation points to illustrate that it was a GOOD! thing! And then, to really emphasize its importance, I circled it multiple times.

But lo and behold, I forgot about it anyway. I tossed some papers over that part of my calendar, and that was that.

And that was how April 21 came and went without my stopping to note that this dear, dear blog is now a year old. Wow. One year. One whole year.

Don't I get some kind of prize for this?

So, what better way to celebrate but to look back at the post that started it all? And then, how about you blow off whatever responsibilities you have and read the entire thing? Oh, and you should definitely tell your friends and loved ones about this site, because why would you be so selfish and keep such a wonderful thing away from them??

Or, you could just tell me how much you adore me and how lost and empty and boring your life would be without your daily Tere fix. That would be perfectly acceptable and not at all creepy.

Well, only today because it's my blogiversary. At any other time, I'd freak the hell out.

*****************************************************************************

Seriously, my readers, thank you for the support and encouragement you've given me this last year. For reading, commenting, and emailing me. I really do hope you enjoy your visits here and that you keep coming back for more. xoxoxoxo and all that sappy stuff.



Posted by Tere @ 4/26/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Always on the Go...





... or making a mess...





Posted by Tere @ 4/25/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'll Get to These Some Day

Slouching Mom (on whom I have a serious mommy crush) tagged me to write a post about five goals I've ignored. Two things instantly stuck out to me: 1) She is a list-maker, much like me. Although I think her list-making days are behind her, and mind have slowed down a bit, she still understands the satisfaction of listing everything and then crossing each item off; and 2) She took an interesting spin on the assignment and shared five goals for her kids that she didn't get around to achieving.

I loved that angle, but I don't think I can use it for Max. The truth is, I have no goals for him beyond "stay alive". I'm still not very savvy on what things my child should be accomplishing, and given my predisposition for worrying about everything, I admit that sometimes I choose to stay ignorant about these things just so I won't drive myself (or Max, or Ben) crazy. I don't ignore important things like health and basic development; but if he knows 3 words vs. 13? If he can bathe himself? Those kinds of things just don't concern me. And the truth is, I have to work a lot to quell a lot of large-scale worries (a lot of it based on paying too much attention to the news and watching too many movies of the week and a somewhat fatalist attitude on my part) to deal with what I consider smaller matters. Also, I don't think I'm a competitive mom - Max will develop at his own pace, and my job is to teach and encourage him every step of the way, not pressure him to do/be more or to saddle him with my own expectations. So basically, right now, there are no goals for Max beyond his continued survival.

So, that leaves me. What goals have I neglected? What's fallen by the wayside?

The first one that comes to mind is my writing career. By now, I should have about three poetry books published. The complete manuscripts are sitting right there (although given the amount of time that's passed, I'd probably re-edit them), and I had planned to get each one out as soon as the final editing was done. So what happened? On the surface, lack of resources. There's no real demand for poetry, and unknown writers can really only get published if they do it themselves, which, I wasn't able to afford at the height of my poetry writing. Major publishers, and even smaller presses, really don't work with complete unknowns. When printing-on-demand came out, I explored that option, and have never really scratched it off. Right now it's really more a matter of the time it would take to re-edit everything to my level of satisfaction and then putting each final product completely together again. But if I had to go a little deeper, I think I never really pursued this goal because of the inherent vulnerability that my poetry gives me. I couldn't handle the thought of putting my soul out there and having any critic who stumbled upon it trash it. I have no clue if I write "good poetry", and I don't think I want to really know. At this point, I think if I ever build enough presence/following as a writer, I would release my poems then. I feel like if people ever know me as a good writer, then my poems would be received differently, perhaps more positively and within better context.

Next, there's the goal about being more crafty. I love sewing, decoupage, cross-stitching, etc., but can't ever seem to devote any real time or energy to any of it. I do a few projects, something comes up in my life, and I abandon it all. The end result is that I don't develop any competent skills in any area. At the same time, I can argue that my lack of skills is what leads me to abandoning something in the first place. I enjoy having creative outlets, but when I see my crappy, crooked, not-pretty final product, I let it defeat me instead of letting it push me to do better. I think my impatience also plays a role, in that good craft projects take time, and many times I feel like I'm too busy to for it. Now with motherhood, forget it. Even when I have time for my own pursuits, I don't have the energy or focus I need. So maybe one day, when these early years have passed, I'll be able to pick some hobbies back up...

There's also my goal of wanting to get back in touch with my spiritual self. That sounds kinda New Age flaky, but I really do want to be as spiritual as I once was. While I started off being "religious", a good Catholic and all, at some point it shifted from "religious" to "spiritual". I navigated (and survived) the roughest parts of my life with an unshakable belief in God and His guidance and protection. It wasn't really about the technical aspects of the religion for me; it was about the sense of peace and oneness I felt with the higher power. And especially as I began to learn more about other religions, my view on spirituality began to widen. I had a positive experience in my Catholic high school - with the exception of one teacher (who was fired), the emphasis was always on the spirit of the law, not the letter; and while we had to know doctrine and all that, I felt like the focus was more on the spirit (I can't recall any "you'll go to hell if" speeches). So while I have a ton of issues with the church itself, and I don't practice like I used to, I feel like I had a good foundation, one that gave me a sense of strength and peace and that was exponentially enriched when I began to learn about other religions and see the interconnectedness among the major ones. At some point, though, a lot of it fell away from me - not so much my beliefs or feelings, but my ability to find peace and comfort in my spirituality, or to feel connected to a higher power, or to maintain that feeling that things work out as they should in the end. It's been hard to feel what I once felt - either because of the way my life has turned out, or because of whatever growth I've gone through and how it's affected who I used to be, or because of a combination of these and other factors. And yet, I need spirituality in my life. I need to feel the peace, connectedness and overall sense of calm it brings me. I just don't know how to find it again, or how to have it like I once did, or better, coupled with whatever knowledge and growth I've attained. But sadly, it's something that takes a lot of time and dedication, and I can't help but feel like I can't devote either one in the amount that I would have to to really attain the goal. And this, unlike other goals, is of a very deep nature, and requires some things from me that I can't control or force.

My fourth goal that's been ignored is to get my crap organized. Ben is always bitching at me for being such a pack rat, and while I don't think I'm as bad as I've seen elsewhere, I definitely have a lot of stuff I should probably toss. And if not toss, then at least organize it into something orderly and easily accessible. I just never get around to it. I get too easily overwhelmed, or tackle one tiny part and feel done. But I'll get to it, I promise...

My final goal is one that has not been fulfilled due to circumstances beyond my control, but for which I haven't fought as hard as I should. I always said I'd have my first million by age 30. Considering that my 30th birthday is 3 months away, I'd say it's not gonna happen. Then again, I set this goal when I was on the road to a Broadway career, but still. Surely, if I wanted it bad enough, I could have done something about it. As my passion for writing far outshone my passion for the stage, I could have devoted myself solely to producing a bestseller of Harry Potter proportions. I also could have been a faithful lotto player. But I didn't.

And then I realized that 30 was not that far away. And I started this blog. Now I'm just sitting back and waiting for the millions to rain down on me.

********************************************************************************

I believe I'm supposed to tag some people to do this, but I'm not so good at that. So if you want to do this, have at it, then leave a link to your post here.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/24/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, April 23, 2007

If You Can't Handle Poop, You Won't be Able to Handle This Post (all puns intended)

So that potty training thing? I'm not doing it. After hearing way too many nightmare stories and seeing my sister, cousins and assorted others (thanks, internets!) struggling with getting their kids to pee and poop on the toilet, I've decided it's just not for me. Between the possibility of traumatizing my child with my pleas, tears and shrieks that he pee and poop on the potty because OH LORD HE HAS TO, HE JUST HAS TO, and the knowledge that before successfully using the toilet he will be peeing and pooping up my house, car, clothes, furniture, toys, rugs, other people, etc., I think it's just best to leave him the hell alone. He'll figure it out at some point, whether he's 2 or 12. Why should I care how long it takes? They make diapers in big sizes nowadays, so I think we're good.

Honestly, people, I really don't plan on potty training this kid, and I don't think I need to: he's already on his way to figuring it out himself. Remember when I wrote about how my child does not allow me to pee? Well, there was a truth there I was too embarrassed to get into, but which I've since gotten over: if I really have to go, I go, and so does Max. And this has been the case since he was a newborn, when he and his baby papasan would join me in the bathroom so I could shower. At first I felt weird about it, but what was I supposed to do? I'd rather have my kid all up in my face while I try to go to the bathroom instead of leaving him alone and unsupervised (because I live in fear of tragedy striking the minute I turn my back).

After he turned one, he naturally became more aware of his surroundings and could verbalize his curiosity. He would look at me and go, "Mommy?" And I would reply, "Mommy pee-pee" or "Mommy caca" or "Mommy bath time". At the same time, when he has a diaper that needs changing, we play around and say things like, "Max made pee-pee!" or "Fo! Stinky caca!"

And the ugly, poopy truth, people, is that my son can totally identify pee and poop now, mainly poop, though. Worse even, he currently identifies poop with me. We're at point where, I just enter the bathroom, and Max, ever right behind me, says, "Mommy caca?" - even when I'm just washing my hands or cleaning. And in the last couple of days, he's pooped in his diaper and then turned right to me and said "caca".

To me, he's making connections about what pee and poop are and is aware that when Mommy sits on the toilet, it's related to pee and poop (even when I sit on the toilet to watch him play in the tub - and am not using it - he still persistently asks, "Mommy caca? Mommy caca?").

So can't I assume that as he gets older, he'll just get the whole picture and walk himself to the toilet? Or that at least he'll understand, but if he refuses to go, it'll be a control thing, and so I can focus on that issue and not on forcing my kid onto the toilet?

I just get a sense sometimes that parents obsess too much about potty training, and the consequences of that obsessing end up being worse than if they had just chilled out with the potty thing. That's a generalization, I know. And I also know that since Max is just 1 1/2, I have a ways to go before this is even an issue in my life, but as you may already know, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't worrying about everything possible just to make sure all my bases are covered.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/23/2007   | | | links to this post

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Tere Needs

Saw this over at Searching for Normalcy and thought it was really funny. Problem is, the results generated by "Tere needs" all seem to be misspellings of "THERE needs", and so none of them make sense. So I decided to use "Teresa" - even though that's not technically my given name, it's the most common variant of it, so it'll have to do. I love the results:

1. Teresa Needs To Lay Off The Sauce! (oh brother, you have NO idea!)
2. Teresa Needs You' to Del.icio.us (hhmm, perhaps I need you to BE delicious?)
3. Teresa needs to be "more than a woman" in order to fulfill the multiple erotic roles in which the poet imagines her (I can't be any more of a woman than I already am, poet or no poet)
4. Teresa needs to buy 4 new tires for her car. She found the prices at 3 different tire stores. What is the best buy for the 4 tires? (probably Tire Kingdom; they gave me a nice deal last time)
5. Teresa needs help (an understatement if I ever saw one)
6. Teresa needs to step aside and let Kelley and Jr. have control (Never! Kelley and Jr. will never have control! Do you hear me? Never!)
7. TERESA NEEDS TO SUCK IT UP AND GIVE IN (OVER MY COLD, DEAD BODY!!!)
8. Teresa needs to make hard business decisions to keep the cash flowing (running my empire is no easy task)
9. Teresa needs to take care of the foundation and let the kids take care of the racing end of the business. (and you can get acquainted with the business end of this stick!)
10. Teresa needs to accept this fact and gracefully back out of the management role. (I'll never back out, bitches!)

Google puts Teresa in too submissive a role for my taste. (BTW, 6 - 10 all referred to Teresa Earnhardt, whose existence I was completely unaware of).




Posted by Tere @ 4/21/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, April 20, 2007

Vote for Me!!!

A bunch of the blogs I read have been touting their nominations for a Blogger's Choice Award, to which I've (secretly) reacted with a mix of amusement and a tiny bit of "why does no one love meeeee??"-ness.

But now I get to brag and beg for votes, too! Bless his heart, my sweet husband has nominated me for some categories. Honestly, "Best Blog of all Time"? A nomination only a man blindly in love could give me. But "Hottest Mommy Blogger"? Oh hell, YES! Have you seen me lately? I'm hot as hell.

So, vote for me! Give me a prize I can proudly display! Or I'll whine about what an ugly loser I am. Your choice.

My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

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Posted by Tere @ 4/20/2007   | | | links to this post

Would You Like a Little Jesus with Your EKG?

I spent the better part of yesterday morning with Max at his cardiologist's, waiting - first, for him to get an EKG *, and then for the doctor to see him.

We got there very early, apparently, because they told us the doctor wouldn't be back from rounds for another hour and a half. To which I thought, so why was I scheduled for an 8:45 appointment when he wouldn't even be here till 9:30? But whatever, who am I to complain because the doctor has no regard for my time?

Very soon after we arrive, an elderly lady calls us in - she's our EKG tech. She's totally a Cuban grandmother type, which is actually surprising to me because these techs usually tend to be pretty young. So I find myself thinking that it's great that en elderly person is so gainfully employed, and, since she was a total abuela, as is wont to happen when you live straddling two cultures, I felt instantly at ease and comforted.

Seeing that Max was kinda antsy, abuela-tech was all soothing, an expert, really, telling me not to worry, that this would be quick, that she'd get him to calm down, etc. So we get to the room, and basically, she has to stick a bunch of pads on him - on his arms, chest and legs. Max is normally very cooperative at doctors' offices, but he was a bit off yesterday, so he was squirming and whining, and so she told me she was going to sing as she worked to calm him down.

And that's when abuela-tech really turned it on. She began to deftly maneuver the machine and sing to my child; but not just sing, people, but sing songs about Jesus and God! There was no Los Pollitos Dicen, or Itsy, Bitsy Spider. There was Mi Dios Esta Vivo, among others. On a loop, over and over again.

I was surprised, but not offended. I don't get offended over those kinds of things unless someone is trying to shove their religion in my face or trying to convince me that my multi-cultural, multi-religious approach is wrong and damaging to my child, and, you know, sure to bring me some hellfire. Still, there was a Hasidic Jew with his daughter across the hall in the Echo room, and I did wonder if the Jesus singing was for all the patients? Or did she just figure me for the Cubanita that I am and assumed I'd be down with the church music?

Max, I'll have you know, calmed down and began chattering once the Jesus songs began. We were in and out in less than 15 minutes.




* He's fine.



Posted by Tere @ 4/20/2007   | | | links to this post

The Fruits of My Labor *


So hey, look at that! The Miami Herald picked up a story the Associated Press did on my company! We even landed the front page of the business section, with my boss all happy and boss-like in our studio!

What are you waiting for, my dears, go read the article!


* Not really. Our PR agency busted their ass on this one.


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Posted by Tere @ 4/20/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Confidential to my Reader in Marietta/Alpharetta, GA

Yes, it's safe to eat a Cuban sandwich during pregnancy.

Unless you're allergic to any of the ingredients. Then no, don't do it. Otherwise, go for it! Toss in some mariquitas for good measure, and finish off with a flan.

Your baby will thank you for it.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/18/2007   | | | links to this post

Behind the Blog: A Peek into Our Household

Transcript of two actual recent conversations.

The scene: Our dining table, Sunday-morning breakfast

Ben (looking extremely serious): I need to talk to you about something, and you're not going to like it.

(This guy has not yet learned the subtle art of initiating a delicate conversation; and also, what the hell does he know if I'm going to like it or not?)

Tere: *Thinks* He cheated and is going to confess; he pissed our money away on crap; he's about to issue some "important" order that I'm going to find ridiculous. *Says* Oooookaaaayyyyyyyy... go for it.

Ben (stares at me, says nothing for many tense seconds): I want a boxer (pause) - but a puppy boxer, not an adult.

Tere: *Thinks* THAT'S IT??? A dog??? All this drama for a dog?? We need some communication coaching around here... *Says* O.k., but I thought we agreed to take a break from the physical responsibility and emotional attachment dogs require?

Ben: I know, but I've been thinking about it, and I really want one. I know it's going to be expensive, so I'm telling you now so we can plan for it.

Tere: *Thinks* And I want a Gucci purse, what's your point? *Says* Well, you know how I feel about puppies right now (I don't want one). And you know boxers are a nightmare for the first two years. I think we should wait a bit, give ourselves more time and save money specifically for that (he nods in what I assume is agreement). So how about this: I'll agree to a puppy, and a boxer, but you have to 1) Promise to be the primary caretaker as far as training goes, and 2) Actually train her. For real.

Ben (looks like he doesn't care for this deal, but says): O.k.

**** End of conversation ****

The scene: Our couch, two days later

Ben: So James is going to give me the books he has on boxers so we can read up and get ready.

Tere: I thought we were waiting to get a dog?

Ben: Yes, but just to be prepared.

Tere: I'm really not ready for this.

Ben: *Puts on a sad little boy face, the one he uses to guilt people into giving him what he wants*

Tere: *Falls for that face, as always* Well, how about another deal -

Ben: Oh no, we're not doing that thing were you agree to the puppy if I agree to another pregnancy.

Tere: Well, that way, you get a puppy, and I get a puppy.

Ben: You have a puppy right there (looks at our beloved boy, who's busy throwing the contents of a drawer all over the floor).

Tere: Maybe we should forget the whole thing.

Ben: Yeah.

(But he's not. I know he's going to push for this boxer puppy until I'm sick to death of the topic, but as long as I'm not ready and feel like we can't handle a puppy, there won't be one.)

**** End of conversation ****

On a completely unrelated note, I was looking at my enormous Cuban thighs this morning and realized that there is no way on Earth that I'm wearing a bathing suit this year. I don't think I can stomach it.

(By the way, I'm no longer seeing a personal trainer. There was some kind of issue between them and the company, and the whole thing seems to be in limbo. Not sure, but either way, Ben's been working a lot of overtime, which means I can't workout since someone has to, you know, parent the child).



Posted by Tere @ 4/18/2007   | | | links to this post

Do Something Good For the Earth

You've got a chance this weekend to be extra-nice to the Earth. Sunday is Earth Day, and here in Miami we'll be celebrating EarthFest. The lovely Rebecca from GreenerMIAMI was kind enough to provide these details:

"EarthFest: WaterFest Gone Green is a full day outdoor celebration of Water and Earth. Come enjoy Earth Day with us in Key Biscayne's Crandon Park through listening to non-stop concerts and performances, browsing through our eco-village of green vendors and organizations, learn how to go green with our simple tips and workshops, have fun with water games and water conservation activities, and munch on delicious sustainable foods."

EarthFest will take place Sunday, April 22, noon - sundown on Key Biscayne (Crandon Park North Beach entrance). It's FREE! Parking is $5.

There will be lots of activities for kids, and a headliner performance by DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars.

Another cool part of EarthFest? The FreeSwap! The concept is simple: bring stuff you no longer want, take what you need. So if you have clothes, toys, household goods (nothing big or heavy!) that you no longer want and are in good condition, bring it with you.

You'll also be able to recycle your used electronics:

"Bring your old, broken, or unwanted electronics items to EarthFest to be recycled, free of charge. Be assured that your waste will not go into a landfill, but will be reused and recycled. Acceptable items include, but are not limited to:

  • Computers
  • Cell Phones
  • Monitors
  • Laptops
  • Audio equipment
  • Small appliances
  • PDAs (Palm Pilots)"
There's really a lot of info on the EarthFest website, so hop to it and check it out.

As a mother who wants her kids to inherit a clean, beautiful world, I urge you to attend or support your local environmental causes (and try to be a little nicer to the environment in your daily lives). As the former president of my high school's environmental club, it is my decree that you go and have a good time.

You wouldn't disobey a mother and former president, would you?

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Posted by Tere @ 4/18/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Public Bathroom Incident as a Metaphor for (Inadequate) Motherhood

I had an incident with Max yesterday that nearly broke my heart. We were in the Macy's in Aventura Mall, when he smelled like he had pooped and needed to be changed. So I picked him up, grabbed the diaper bag, and headed to the family bathroom.

I should add that at this point we had been in the mall a while; it was almost 5 p.m. and he was tired. When I entered the bathroom, I found that they didn't have a traditional changing table; they had a rectangle cut into the marble-like counter top. I quickly wiped it down (feeling like I didn't have the time or patience to carefully clean because we had been waiting like 10 minutes to get in and Max was in full cranky, set-me-free! mode) and plopped him down while I got all the materials I'd need out of his bag. Except that the changing pad wasn't in his bag, and I didn't have anything to put underneath him. I immediately felt SO bad and sorry (and inadequate, of course) that I was going to have to change him on this cold slab in a public restroom (and I was also not adequately prepared to de-germify to my taste and comfort level).

Anyway, I lay him back and removed his shorts, undid his onesie, etc. And either due to tiredness or to the look of sadness/guilt on my face or to the cold marble I was subjecting him to, he grew quiet and he himself looked almost sad. So I'm rushing to change him so as to minimize his discomfort; and as I remove his diaper (no poop, false alarm) and wipe him up, I have the other one ready to go. But I didn't move fast enough, and off he went, peeing all over the place. I wasn't upset at him, but felt very upset for him, because he just seemed so vulnerable lying there on the cold slab, unable to do anything but pee, that pee going everywhere, and he must have felt so cold and tired. I mean, he's usually a ball of energy, even on a changing table, and to have him be so quiet and almost meek was so unlike him that it took on a whole other meaning for me and made him appear so tiny and vulnerable to me. I just saw this small child, half naked on a hard piece of stone, helpless and peeing.

I choked up and had to scramble to clean up and get him changed and dressed through my tears. Looking back now, I don't know why that situation affected me the way that it did. It was almost as if I was outside myself, as if I was observing Max from a whole other perspective, and it made me see him in a different way. Maybe it's because he's really been testing his boundaries lately, which has made me a ball of frustration in dealing with it, as well as a ball of anxiety over my worries that I'm not dealing with it in the right way.

I don't know. I just know that I saw my boy differently yesterday, and that I saw someone I had never seen before. And I felt a guilt I hadn't felt in a long time. I do a lot on a daily basis to stave off the guilt that threatens to consume me (because I work full time; because I can be so lazy sometimes; because I never hesitate to take time off when I have a chance to; because I have no problem leaving him with my mom, sisters, cousin or step-mother-in-law if I need to get errands done or have to go somewhere without him; because sometimes my impatience and frustration win out over all my other good intentions), but yesterday, I just couldn't. I felt so guilty for the fact that my lack of preparedness and planning and having my shit together led to my boy getting his diaper changed on a cold, hard, germy, uncomfortable sorry-ass excuse of a changing table. I felt awful. Awful, awful, awful. Not so much for what it was on the surface (although yes, that too), but because it seemed like a metaphor for my mothering skills: unprepared, head-up-the-ass, and unloving.

And I really don't want to be any of those things. More importantly, I don't want my son to see me that way. I don't ever want him to think or believe that his mother would willingly and cold-heartedly make him feel uncomfortable, exposed or vulnerable.

Given that he had a power nap in the car on the way home and then spent the rest of the early evening being his usual active, affectionate, adorable self, I think it's safe to say that the bathroom incident did not deeply affect or change him.

I can't say the same is true for me.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/16/2007   | | | links to this post

Mother of the Year

So, guess who had absolutely NO CLUE the temperature had dropped into the mid-50's and dressed her preshus baby in a short-sleeve tee and shorts?

And guess who opened the door with her shorts-and-tee-wearing preshus baby in her arms, where a freezing gust of wind was tearing through? And guess who had to scramble back into the house and re-dress her child? And guess who was already running late for work because she had no strength or energy to drag her ass out of bed until her preshus baby's shrieking for the pacifier he had just hurled out of his crib became too persistent for her to ignore?

Well yes, it would, in fact, be me, in what is clearly an example of how on-top-of-it and prepared and put-together I am.

Fuck it, it's Monday, I'm allowed to mess up. (And yet, such a small thing makes me feel like I've learned nothing in this year-and-a-half....)

In other mother-related news, Jenny has written up a very good, thought-provoking post about motherhood and the loss (or gaining) of power. How a woman with a 2-year-old and a newborn manages to churn out such intelligent, well-thought-out stuff is a mystery to me. But read up and get those wheels in your brain churning. She gives us all a lot to think about.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/16/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ode to Papi

I tried all day yesterday (well, almost) to come up with a proper ode to my father as he celebrated his birthday. But it proved nearly impossible. It was just too hard. Not because we have a bad relationship or anything, just because it's hard for me to write about my parents without having all kinds of feelings (positive and negative, and in varying degrees of intensity) crammed in my head.

Ultimately, nothing I wrote seemed right. Since I became a parent, I've seen my parents differently, in both positive and negative ways. A result of this is that I kind myself almost constantly evaluating how I am like each of them, and how I'm different; how I want to be more like them and not at all like them.

As I was writing yesterday, I drew up a list of some ways in which I am just like him. So I will leave you with that list of some of the things I inherited from him:

  • His nose
  • His inability to sing well or dance gracefully
  • His great love of poetry
  • His sense of fairness (though I get that from my mom, too)
  • His indignation at injustice and desire/need to do something about it
  • His talent for writing
  • His ability to take charge of a situation
  • His talent for public speaking
  • His habit of getting lost in thought to the point of losing all sense of your surroundings
Not much of an ode, I know, but I turned out halfway decently, so figure that my greatest ode to him (and my mom) is being the woman that I've become, thanks in large part to them.


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Posted by Tere @ 4/13/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Give Your Money to a Good Cause

The Castaways Against Cancer are gearing up for their 8th kayak adventure - they paddle off from Virgina Key on June 2 and will arrive in Key West on June 8 - in their mission to raise funds for cancer research and to honor those who have fought (successfully and not) against the disease.

One of the Castaways, Patrick, is my good friend from college. I lurve him. We started out as class partners in our journalism classes and ended up great friends. His wife is awesome, his kid's adorable, and best of all, we have our yearly Dave Matthews Band Concert Tailgating Odyssey, which has, admitedly, become harder (i.e., impossible) to put together since we each had kids and he and his family moved to Central Florida.

But look! See how fun! Rain! Beer!


Anyway, this is a great cause, and you should donate some money (instructions on their website). Consider it your philanthropic deed for 2007. The Castaways are great guys - there is a cancer survivor among them - and they put a lot of work and heart into their mission. And as a beautiful touch, at journey's end, they hold a ceremony for those they're honoring by throwing flowers into the Atlantic and reading aloud the long list of names.

The guys have raised more than $130,000 for the American Cancer Society, with the goal of raising $40,000 this year. Help them in the fight against cancer if you can.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/11/2007   | | | links to this post

300!

Well, I had a nice post all planned out for you guys (no, I didn't. I've been stressing since last night about what the hell to write about because I'm really a horribly boring person who's dangerously close to becoming even more boring, if that's even possible), but as I clicked on to my dashboard I realized that yesterday's post was #299, making this one... #300!

300 posts! WOOT!

Now that it was properly commemorated, I'm off to think about something interesting to write about.




Posted by Tere @ 4/11/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Current Favorites

I know what you're thinking right now: "I really don't know Tere all that well. Sure, I know some of her general characteristics, her challenges, her obsession with Gucci, and some basic facts, but I really don't know much about her likes or dislikes, or the things she has a preference for and that make her giddy with joy."

To that I say: "I am here to demystify. But only a little."

Current Favorite Song Lyrics:
From Easier by Glen Phillips
"And if you thought I could be replaced
I wouldn't just stop with an ear
I would cut off my whole fucking face
Just to make my point clear"

(I tend to have a similar approach to things)

Current Favorite Song(s):
Overkill by Colin Hay
(thanks to that episode of Scrubs)
You're All I Have by Snow Patrol
Olvidare by Fulano

Current Favorite Clothing Item:
These jeans from Hollister that fit me fabulously and claim to be a size 3 but are obviously mislabeled. This is the kind of lie I love.

Current Favorite Thing to Eat When Nothing Else Will Do:
Toasted honey-wheat bagel with cream cheese and strawberry preserves

Current Favorite Relaxing Hobby:
Doing word search puzzles. It makes me feel like my brain is getting a workout, but they're not as strenuous as crosswords, which my brain can't handle right now.

Current Favorite Color:
Yellow. I'm in a springtime, birth and renewal kind of mood.

Current Favorite Fashion Trend:
Anchors. I don't know why. But I have a bitchin' necklace with an anchor charm that looks so cool on me. And I'm very much coveting this.

Current Favorite Baby Trick:
When I express obvious disapproval with Max and he responds by smacking his leg and saying, "pow, pow!"

Hope that answers your most pressing questions. If not, let me know what I failed to address.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/10/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, April 09, 2007

Motherhood is Basically a Series of Heavy Sighs

This was a bittersweet weekend for me. This bug I've been fighting has made me incredibly moody; coupled with Max being sick too, I've also been extra paranoid and anxious; coupled with some crap I've been dealing with, I've been sad and frustrated. Basically, people, I feel like hell.

But I use bittersweet because there were moments this past weekend that showed me just how much Max is growing. Every day, he's less a baby and more a boy. Which... hurts, yet is also awesome. With each new thing he learns, my pride and wonder grow. I mean, every mother says this about their child, but he's so smart. I say a new word and he repeats it right back after hearing it once. He imitates with a skill that's almost startling. And the way he so intently observes everything around him is so endearing and, frankly, wonderful, because to me it shows he's interested in and excited about the world around him.

And he's a ham. He knows when he has an audience and turns it on, "it" being, by turns, utter charm or total silliness. I don't know where these things come from, how they are born and become a part of his personality. I mean, exactly how much do kids really inherit from their parents? He displays such a temper when told "no" - does he really get that from me, or was he born that way? Or, what have I or his father done, or what does he see at daycare, that has led to this reaction every friggin' time something is denied?

Yesterday, Ben's family from New Jersey (who passed through on their way to a cruise) came over for breakfast. They brought Max a small tricycle, which he promptly (easily!) climbed on the second it was built. He doesn't reach the pedals yet, but he looked so big in it, and he understood the concept of the trike and asked to be pushed around and around in it. That was heavy sigh-inducing moment number one.

Then at my sister's house, we had all the kids outside and brought out a bunch of stuff for the smaller ones to make bubbles (my sister is hardcore about the bubbles - she has all kinds of contraptions and gifted some high-tech, batteries-required bubble makers to all the little kids). Max took a wand and dunked it right into the soap bowl without hesitating. He really couldn't blow the bubbles, but he would pucker his lips and blow into the general space. He was laughing - cackling, really - at all the bubbles, going crazy at the way they surrounded him and popped in his face. And there was heavy sigh-inducing moment number two.

A little bit later, Max wandered inside to find some cousins drawing on the craft table, and of course he wanted in. I brought him some markers and paper, and for the first time ever, my son drew. It lasted like five seconds, and he actually preferred to eat the marker, but there I was, heavily sighing for the third time that day.

This feeling of pain mingled with joy that I get during moments that show how independent he's becoming are only augmented by the ones when he's more babyish, wanting to cuddle on my lap or sleep snuggled in my arms. And especially because he's been sick, he's been more in need of mama comfort than usual, so that my shrieking, jumping-all-over-the-place toddler suddenly turns back into my sweet, snuggly baby. And I find myself craving those moments with a hunger I didn't know I had. When he climbs into my lap, I hold and squeeze and kiss with all the strength in me. And within minutes, he's back up and running, leaving me to observe and cheer and encourage him along.

I know that this is it, this is motherhood, that my purpose here is to raise him to be independent and confident and all kinds of good things. But to teach him to trust himself and to go forth into the world without fear is also to teach him to grow away from me and one day leave me behind.

And that, I confess, causes the heaviest sighs of all.


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Posted by Tere @ 4/09/2007   | | | links to this post

Introducing... FOODTASTIC!

She's just a wee baby, my dear friends, but I'm happy to present for your consideration and consumption FOODTASTIC!, my new non-foodie food blog.

You'll find a brief intro and back story in the first post, so I won't get into that here. What I do want to share is that I've invited some friends, some whom you know, others whom you don't, along for the ride, and they will be regular (I hope!) contributors to the blog.

I was going to wait till there was more content before introducing her, but I've been pretty sick for over a week now and posting here, there and everywhere has been light, and I don't feel like waiting anymore.

So, pay FOODTASTIC! a visit, and enjoy.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/09/2007   | | | links to this post

We Grow Pineapples Here

We really do. My brother-in-law planted some a while back, and they've been growing ever since with decent success. It's a lovely little patch just outside their terrace.




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Posted by Tere @ 4/09/2007   | | | links to this post

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Purse Love, Despite the Guilt

O.k., I've accepted it. I'm never going to get my dream purse. At least, not any time soon, given that I can think of dozens more important things to spend $1200 on; and given that I think there's something fundamentally wrong with spending that much money on a purse, for chrissake. I mean, if I ever get to a point in life where money is not an issue, or if I make it a point to save my pennies, a little bit here and there, for this express purpose, then hell, the bag's mine.

In the meantime, though, I've found a wonderful substitute:


So here's the story: I had seen the entire line of these bags at Macy's a few months ago. I fell in love with the bag you see up there, except with all the straps in yellow. I was so infatuated with the entire yellow-strap collection that I just stood there and stared. Ben was like, "just get the one you like best, or you'll regret it." But I couldn't bring myself to fork over almost $100 for it. Even though I had a gift certificate, and I would only have to pay $25, I still couldn't bring myself to do it.

It isn't just that I've become a total money worrywart since I became a mother. It's also that I used to spend a lot of money on crap - granted, not on designer shit, but shit nonetheless - and it was a problem. So much so that even though my habits have radically changed, my family still sees me as that person. I'm forever running from my past habits and past self.

And age, maturity and motherhood have sobered me up enough to where I can treat myself occasionally, but anything more brings on more guilt than I can handle. The guilt is so heavy that I agonize even over things I need.

So while I could have bought the purse mostly with a gift certificate, it was still the fact that I was using a gift certificate on such a useless item. I mean, I could use that same certificate towards clothes for work, underwear, or something for my son. So I didn't get the purse, and yes, I regretted it, almost instantly.

However. I had last Saturday "off" and decided to visit the mall. I had (mainly still have) a bunch of gift certificates that I wanted to use. And wandering through Macy's, I found that gem you saw up there. Reduced. With an additional 40% off. Now we were talking; this is my kind of shopping, and it brought me a little high to snatch that bag up. The only problem was there was no yellow, but I this was my favorite style, so I got over it and got the damn purse already.

Story should be over now, right? But it's not. I couldn't get the yellow-strap purse out of my head. I just loved the contrast too much. I loved the bargain price too much. So I drove my ass over to another Macy's and muttered a prayer as I made my way to the purse section.

The bad news? They didn't have the same bag in yellow (yes, when I find something I really, really like, I get it in more than one color). The good news? They had this:



The even better news? I ended up getting two purses for the price of one; plus, I had the gift certificate. YAY!

And look, they get along great:


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Posted by Tere @ 4/07/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dear Miami Beach Traffic Authorities: You Suck

Surely, the fact 6,000 new U.S. citizens were being sworn in yesterday was something Miami Beach authorities knew about. I mean, especially when you consider that it's happened before.

So why, oh God why, was the beach such an awful, utter clusterfuck yesterday? How could they not be prepared? Traffic started to snarl on the MacArthur Causeway and was a dead stop by Alton and 13. It took me AN HOUR to get from midway through the MacArthur to the garage across the street from the Convention Center (I'm an ass - I had no clue it was Citizenship Day and drove right to the belly of the beast when I was just trying to make it to a meeting on Lincoln Road). (Also, you non-South Floridians might benefit from this).

Dude, we're talking about 6,000 people - plus their relatives. With cars traveling on two-lane roads, all competing for parking within a three-block radius. And in that radius, there are like three lots (assuming the one right across from the convention center was open), and ONE parking garage. And yet, not a damn thing to alleviate the situation was being done by the City of Miami Beach.

Seriously, the ONE guy I saw directing traffic was right at the light on 17 St. between the convention center and the parking garage. Oh, and there were some orange cones laid out in random patterns here and there. That's it.

Was there not enough money (or foresight) to put up an electronic sign or two? Something telling people to avoid the area if they could? (There was one on the causeway whose message had nothing to do with the situation at hand). Could they have propped some cop up somewhere along Alton to at least stop all the assholes who insist on making left-hand turns even though you have the right of way, but hey, they have big-ass SUVs and traffic is tied up and they are SO MUCH MORE important than you, and anyway, the rules don't apply to them, so too fucking bad for the rest of us? Something? Anything?

What an awful, awful experience. I mean, I know I'm sick and all (no really, I have some bug in my stomach that's making my life hell right now), and that when I'm sick I tend to be extra-impatient, but this was ridiculous. Inexcusable. Like, bad enough to keep me out of the area for a few months because I need that much time to get over it.

Miami Beach authorities, you did bad on this one.

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Posted by Tere @ 4/05/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Toddler Free-for-All


Oh please, this kid's a total character.

Surely, I CAN stick this piece of cookie in my ear.










We got lots of style in this house!







Posted by Tere @ 4/04/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Warm House is a Happy House

I don't know where I get the notion that no house is truly a home till you've had a big-ass party to break it in. It's not like my parents ever threw one, and I lived in six different houses between birth and age 23. And yet, I've had housewarming parties at every place I've lived in since moving out of my parents' house. Except for the apartment we just moved out of, which, for whatever reason, we kept holding off and finally threw one in November - two years after we'd moved in and two months before we moved out (though we didn't know it at the time).

So with our recent move, here I am again, planning a housewarming party. The funny part to me is that I don't think I'm much of a party planner, nor am I a "party person", yet it's like I can't not do this. And every time, I go through the same mental acrobatics: I don't want to go nuts with this; I'll keep it casual; I need to keep it within budget; this really isn't a big deal. Basically, I convince myself that I can totally plan a simple-but-big party and not stress out in any way. Because if I allow myself to make a big deal of it any way, I'll end up spending way too much money, get wrapped up in inconsequential things like decorations, and end up a stressed-out mess who doesn't enjoy her own friggin' party. Can you tell I've been here before? After about two parties that went down like this, I decided to just chill the hell out, send an email, put some food and drinks out, and that's about it.

O.k., wait, because now it sounds like I just don't give a shit, when the opposite is true. I care too much; I want my home to be clean and cute and an accurate representation of us; I want the food to be delicious and plentiful; I want my guests to drink as much or as little as they want to. But the most important thing is that I just want everyone to have a good time. I want my guests to be comfortable; I want them to have fun; I want them to sit back and relax (which might explain the lengths I go to to stress how much of a "backyard, come-in-shorts-and-chancletas" affair it is); in essence, I want them to feel at home in my home.

So to achieve that, I had to let go of the notion that I could put together a total blow-out - decorations, fancy food, a DJ - without spending money I don't have, without risking coming off like a comemierda who seriously believes that a lack of tables with linens and cute centerpieces makes me an utter failure, and without stressing out to the point that the whole purpose of the party was defeated. I mean, I want to enjoy the party, too, you know.

In other words, when I say "casual" and "simple", I'm not kidding. My party style has basically become "I totally did not prepare for this, but look, tons of yummy food and cold drinks! Plus, chairs! God speed, everyone!"

Seriously, I'm friggin' excited about my party.



Posted by Tere @ 4/03/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, April 02, 2007

Anticipation



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Posted by Tere @ 4/02/2007   | | | links to this post

I Spy

We can't get him to take these slippers off - he loooooooooooves them more than anything. So we basically just let him wear them to sleep.

Can you find the other slipper?


I can't begin to guess how he got it in there so precisely.



Posted by Tere @ 4/02/2007   | | | links to this post