I Can Tell You ¿Que Pasa USA?
There is one thing that perfectly encapsulates the Cuban-American exile experience: the masterpiece known as ¿Que Pasa USA?.
A project funded by the Emergency School Assistance Act (through the Office of Education at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare), QPU was a locally produced TV show that shared the experiences of a Cuban family as they struggled to hold on to their heritage and make sense of life in the United States. It was groundbreaking in that it was the first bilingual TV show, and it aired throughout the United States on local public TV stations (back when it was in production, which, what on earth did people in middle America make of the Peña family??).
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable of all things ¿Que Pasa USA?. My fanaticism has been so great that I've pretty much memorized all the episodes. In fact, one of my favorite activities in junior and senior high (as a budding actress) was acting out the scenes for my friends (I'll still do it if you ask really nicely). At some point, lines from the show became part of my vocabulary. I can share with you all manner of trivia about the show and the actors (info I acquired pre-Internet, btw).
The thing is, there isn't much to this show as far as production quality and acting skills go (well, only in the younger actors; the adults were near-genius), but it's so dead on. So very much so. Watching that show as a kid (and even now as an adult) was like being in my own house. In fact, most CA's who grew up in Miami in the 70's and 80's will tell you the same thing. Yes, there were stereotypes and broad generalizations, but the spirit of it all is so very true. To this day, nothing on TV makes me laugh more than QPU (the $106 with shipping for the DVD collection is SO worth it).
Like any great, quirky thing, the more times you see the episodes, the more nuances that jump out at you. This is my favorite thing about QPU. It's one thing on the surface, but on repeated viewings, you notice all these hilarious, subtler lines and facial expressions that are easily missed. And there you find deeper meaning, or you recall your mother's (or father's or grandparent's) words, or you see your own image reflected back at you.
(In this clip, the Peña family has reluctantly agreed to let a local TV crew spend "A Typical Day in the Life of a Cuban-American Family")
For me, though, nothing beats the funeral episode...
I was tagged by Balou. Instructions indicate that I "must answer each question using the first letter of your name. And it must be a "real" answer, nothing you made up. If you don't have an answer, skip it." So here I go:
Your Name: Tere
1. Famous Singer/Band: Tina Turner
2. 4 letter word: Tent
3. Street: Terrace (runs parallel to streets, so good 'nuff)
4. Color: Tan
5. Gifts/Presents: T-shirt
6. Vehicle: (Ferrari) Testarosa
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: Tin cans
8. Boy Name: Tomás
9. Girl Name: Tatiana
10. Movie Title: Thirteen
11. Drink: tequila
12. Occupation: Therapist
13. Flower: Tulip
14. Celebrity: Tyler Florence (or Charlize Theron, depending on if this should be by first or last name)
15. Magazine: Town & Country
16. U.S. City: Tallahassee, FL
17. Pro Sports Teams: Titans (have no clue from where or what sport, but I know they exist)
18. Fruit: Tangerine
19. Reason for Being Late for Work: Traffic
20. Something You Throw Away: Trash
21. Things You Shout: Thanks! (from a distance? in excitement?)
22. Cartoon Character: Tom (of Tom & Jerry)
If you want to play along, consider yourself tagged. Leave a link in the comments section.
Labels: fun stuff
"The Entire Government Has Failed Us"
Keith Olbermann hands everybody their asses, and it freaking rocks!!!
Better than reading his powerful (true) words is watching the video.
Happy Friday and enjoy!
Labels: fun stuff
Page Against the Machine *
One of the things I've been wanting to do to feel more like "old Tere" (or pre-motherhood Tere) is to start reading regularly again. I know, small, simple thing, but between pregnancy and new motherhood, I haven't had the energy, interest or time to read like I used to. Which was voraciously. Like, 3 to 4 books at a time, each a different genre, each one completed within 2 weeks.
So I figured a good place to start would be a book club, since the added bonus would be that I could get out of the house and get all literary and scholarly and maybe a little buzzed with some (hopefully) nice, funny people. One of my sisters was in the process of forming a new book club with her friend J (mad drama at the old club, who would've thunk it?), and invited me to join.
We met last night for the first time to discuss Water for Elephants, and man, it was great. The highlight of my week (take that for what it's worth). Books and Books went all out for us; we had reserved the Antiquarian Room, which to us meant "a table and chairs", but we arrived to find a long table covered with a table cloth (a cloth table cloth), silverware, wine glasses, even flowers in vases. Holy shit, book club meetings are serious business around here.
So yeah, we discussed the book: blah, blah, circus life was really rough and dirty yet had an order to it... blahbity, blah, animal cruelty but those who worked directly with the animals weren't abusive... blah, blah, schizophrenia wasn't a diagnosable disease in the 30's... blahbity, poo, poo, pah, great story, but lots of gimmicky crap and plot contrivances... blah, blah, blah, let's eat cotton candy and animal crackers!
One of the girls brought some circus-related decor and treats (as did my sister; I didn't know you could do that), and we had a good time feasting on those and cracking jokes at some of the things the book made us think (and therefore, talk) about.
All in all, a success. Glad I did this. I'll be working on relaxing and not stuttering and feeling so socially awkward for next time. But I've figured that once I feel comfortable and warm up to everyone, there'll be no shutting me up. So this time of quiet and shyness on my part is really a gift to everyone.
Next up: A Thousand Splendid Suns.
* That's the official name of our book club. Registered and everything. I'm sure we could be nerdier than that, but I doubt it.
Immigrants living in Florida are as likely to hold an advanced college degree and more likely to be entrepreneurs than their native-born counterparts
Foreign-born Floridians, who make up nearly a quarter of the state's workforce, also receive less public assistance and government healthcare benefits than their native-born neighbors
Labels: fun stuff
New template! Which looks just like the old one! But better! And prettier!
As you can see, the changes are subtle (except for the title), but since I'm now a "brand", or so I fancy myself, I wanted to stick to what's become my "look".
Much thanks and love to LunaStone Designs for coming to my rescue!
(And to Joke for the recommendation).
Cheesecake is Good
It's been a very dramatic week around here, hasn't it? I thought we all deserved a nice break. Featuring Max, of course.
We celebrated Ben's birthday last week with some key lime cheesecake, which Max tasted for the first time.
I think he liked it.
Labels: fun stuff
Oh Hell (Updated)
It looks like the site that was hosting all the backgrounds and images for my template went caput, and I have no way of contacting the guy who created this design for me.
Thankfully, you can still read the content, but this site really looks like shit.
I have no solution, as I know nothing about creating a custom template. So please bear with me while I have a mini-meltdown and then figure out what the hell to do to fix this.
Looks like everything is back up, which is nice and all, but I'm going through with my new designer. Don't want to risk this happening again.
This Saturday evening, Rebecca from GreenerMIAMI will be doing a presentation (with other local "greenies") at an event called Green Flamingos. Sounds really cool, check it:
So, who's going to babysit Max so I can go?
A Mother's Day Wish
I don't want jewelry (especially none of that heart-shaped stuff), nor do I want a teddy bear (so hate stuffed animals), and I don't want clothes, books, CDs, perfume, or even spa services.
I just want a box of chocolates. A big, 5-pound box of milk chocolate heavenliness. There is no better way to tell me I'm a good, adored mother than to let me stuff my face (and possibly induce a sugar coma) with the utter bliss that is See's Candies.
Better yet, give me a custom mix of nothing but #1 and #37, and I'm set (but #s 3, 8, 16, and 28 would be welcome, too).
O.k., all nonsense aside, I have a confession to make: when I was pregnant, right about this time two years ago, I got a huge, crazy urge for some See's (which is not sold anywhere near me, and for which I blame my friend K, who introduced me to it over three years ago). I was going nuts, fantasizing about this stuff. So I went online and ordered myself like four different items (soft center box, custom box, etc.) - people, I spent like $65 to have chocolate delivered to me from California.
It was the best thing ever.
Speaking of this time two years ago:
Please note how it was obviously time for a new pair of pants.
I Finally Got a Break, Sort-Of
I decided to take it as a challenge. This was not to be a weekend getaway to the Keys to celebrate my FIL's birthday. No. It was a test to see how good I've gotten at this "a mom is always prepared" thing. Because if there's something I can be counted on, it's to never be prepared. There's always that one important thing (diaper, wipes, thermometer, change of clothes, medicine, pacifier) that I always, always, always forget. I don't know if it's because we have two diaper bags and switch between them, or if it's because I forget to replace items, or if it's because I'm a total flake. Although, I know sometimes it's because whenever we're running out "for five minutes" we figure we won't need some of that stuff and leave it behind. (Of course, it will be in those five minutes that Max will develop a fever and make lots of caca, and we'll be screwed.)
So this weekend was a test. We were going to be away from home overnight, busy with family activities, and I needed to have everything we could possibly need. So, clothes? Check, like four outfits, plus PJs. Diapers and wipes? We stopped at Publix and bought a pack of diapers and a tub of wipes specifically for the trip. Medicine? Check; Antibiotic, Tylenol, Motrin and Benadryl were all packed up, as well as his diaper rash medicine. Food? Check; I tossed fruit bars, crackers, Cheerios and emergency food jars into a bag, and we bought a half-gallon of milk in Key Largo, plus some fruit. Extra stuff? Check; I packed his towel, wash cloth, body wash, sun block, bug guard, extra socks, books, and toys. We also took the stroller and playpen.
I'm happy to report that at no point did I need something I didn't have. There was enough diapers, wipes, food, clothing and entertainment to keep everyone happy. I had it all together. I didn't forget a thing.
Except for my own asthma/allergy medication, which I take on a daily basis. So when the mold in the creepy room we stayed in began to attack my lungs, I thought I was going to die.
Thankfully, I didn't.
Labels: fun stuff
I Don't Think This is How "Time Out" is Supposed to Work
Over the last few weeks, we've instituted "time out" in our home. Although I've had misgivings, thinking things like, "But Max is a baby! He's just a year-and-a-half", Ben and I felt that if we went on how cute and adorable and tiny he is, we'd never do it; plus, we know he understands us and gets when he's doing something wrong but keeps doing it anyway. So we instituted a rule where we tell him three times to stop (and try to distract him or get him to move along to something else), and if he doesn't, he gets a time-out.
Now, I know he doesn't "get" time out. I know he's not thinking about how he must be safer or listen to mommy and daddy or anything like that. For me, it's more about consistency and getting him used to the concept that when mommy and daddy tell him to stop or not do something, he has to obey, or there will be some consequence. I've noticed a lot lately how he's testing his boundaries, and I'm just trying to set those boundaries and show him what we will and will not allow.
The thing is, the kid loves time out. LOVES it. When we get to the second "scolding", we warn him that next up is a time out if he doesn't obey. To which he replies "Time out??" and runs to the ottoman (where we normally sit him down) and gets all upset if he can't climb up on his own and asks to be put on the ottoman, half sobbing "time out, time out". Once he's on time out, he sits there very obediently, but smiles and grins and makes faces the whole time. It takes a lot of self-control not to crack up in his face. It's almost like he does know what's going on but has decided to have fun with it.
At this point, we're stuck. Ben and I are both big on being consistent, and we can't send the message that not listening to us is acceptable. And while Max is enjoying time out way too much for our taste, the truth is after time's up, he never goes back to doing whatever caused the time out in the first place (until the next day, that is). I'm trying to view time out as a way to get him to chill out and regroup, but I do feel like I'm being too firm at times, and not firm enough at others.
Part of it is that we need to sit down and really formulate a plan for disciplining him beyond what we've been doing up until now, which has basically been getting down to his eye level, getting his attention, and using a few words to convey that what he's doing ain't gonna fly. That method, however, doesn't always work, which is how we ended up with time out. And from here, there has to be something else (perhaps now would be a good time to pick up a book or something).
I know I'm new to this and am bound to mess up, but I so hate messing up. I vacillate between feeling like he does in fact understand what's going on and being convinced that he's too young to really know. At the same time, what I want is for him to understand that I'm not saying "no" or "stop" because I just feel like ruining his fun or because I just feel like it, but because he's hurt someone or is damaging something. And on top of that, I know I need to give him room to explore and be a kid and have accidents and all that.
So am I right in giving time outs at this point? If not this, then what do I do when eye contact/redirecting doesn't work? What should I expect of him at this age?
Fall Classes for Men at
ADULT LEARNING CENTER
REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETED
by Monday, Oct 30, 2007
NOTE: DUE TO THE COMPLEXITY AND DIFFICULTY LEVEL
OF THEIR CONTENTS, CLASS SIZES WILL BE LIMITED TO 8 PARTICIPANTS MAXIMUM ..
How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays--Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.
Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.
The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself?
Round Table Discussion.
Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.
Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?--Group Practice.
Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.
Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor--Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.
Dinner Dishes--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
Examples on Video.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning
at 7:00 PM
Loss Of Identity--Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
Help Line Support and Support Groups.
Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM
Learning How To Find Things--Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
Open Forum .
Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.
Health Watch--Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
Graphics and Audio Tapes.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost--Real Life Testimonials.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.
Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.
Learning to Live--Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
Online Classes and role-playing ..
Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined
How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.
How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.
The Stove/Oven--What It Is and How It Is Used.
Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.
Random Like My Brain
I usually have a running conversation going on in my head. It's like an endless stream of chatter where I discuss (with myself) important things I need to remember, or rehash my current worries, or muse about a large amount of random junk.
It's that random junk I want to share with you. I'm both impressed and horrified by the amount of crap my brain processes in the span of 30 seconds. I wonder if my jumping from topic to topic to topic is a sign of ADD or something worse. I don't know. Maybe it happens to everyone else.
Between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. this morning, I devoted mental energy to the following things:
Labels: random thoughts