30 Years in 30 Days
Here's what I'm doing to commemorate my 30th birthday: over the next 30 days, leading up to the big day, I'll be posting a picture of me from each year of my life.
People, you're going to see me grow up before your very eyes!
So, let's get started with Tere the Infant. This is from the day I was baptized, and I was between five and six months old. What I love about this picture is that my pose and smile are kinda saying "Hey dude, I'm just chillin' in my crib."
(Thanks to Dayngr for her help with this idea!)
Dear Readers, Please Excuse Tere from her Blog Today
I've been pretty busy with a work-related conference since yesterday. I've also been extremely exhausted in the evenings. Between those two things, I don't have enough brain power or sense of humor to write.
I'll pause while you come to grips with that.
There, there, kitties, I'll be back tomorrow with something really nice and long and depressing.
Tomorrow also begins the official 30-day countdown to my 30th birthday! Huzzah! I'm going to do a fun little thing to celebrate the occasion over the next 30 days - and
you better like it, damnit I really hope you guys enjoy it.
We'll talk soon, o.k.? So K.I.T, stay sweet and don't change.
Labels: fun stuff
It Won't Always Be This Sweet
After we left my niece's birthday party yesterday afternoon, Max zonked out in the car. He no longer does afternoon naps; just one in the late morning, which he'd had prior to the party.
Still, I wasn't surprised that he fell asleep. He'd had a very exciting afternoon (running around like a lunatic while I frantically tried to follow all the instructions for building
my very own his bear monkey), so the zonking out was inevitable.
What was weird, though, was that he didn't wake up when we got home. Usually, these naps end abruptly the second he's pulled out of his car seat. But yesterday, he didn't wake up, and I took him from Ben and settled down with him on the couch, where he napped for another 40 minutes.
People, it was the most delicious thing ever. He hasn't slept on me like that (so deeply and comfortably) since before he was a year old. I can't describe how it felt to have that sweaty little body on me, to feel his heartbeat and his deep breaths. It hit home how REAL he is (I know, going on two and I still haven't gotten that yet?).
But it also made me think about how in a few years, he'll be a "child". Then, a "teenager". And finally, a "man". And all I could think was, "I didn't sign up for this."
And I didn't. I signed up for a baby and a toddler. That's it. No child, no teen, and certainly, no man. Not only am I not prepared to parent a creature who will be able to talk back and question me and push away from me and hate me and lie to me and - UGH - patronize me; but I also just can't handle it emotionally. I can't. My heart is going to explode any moment now.
I want my baby to stay a baby forever. I want that sweet trusting nature, that insatiable curiosity, that joy and affection - I want it all to remain. What am I going to do with a child? How am I going to communicate with a teenager? How will I handle the heartbreak of being mother to a man?
This sucks, man. I mean, I've got a great son, who will hopefully thrive and grow up safely and all that, but shit. He's gonna grow up and be shitty for a while (and I may not be able to knock sense into him, but that's a whole other topic). And he's gonna leave me.
And mainly, he won't cuddle with me and run to me with hugs and kisses and nap - so sweetly - on me. This isn't going to last. He's slipping even as I hold him.
Labels: fun stuff
Visit to the Museum
I'm having a word drought. Actually, more like an idea drought. Got no clue what the hell to write about. Soooo... pictures! Max! At the Children's Museum! With Gabriel and Sebastian!
We spent Saturday morning at the Miami Children's Museum (or, as we kept referring to it, the Museum that Corporate America Built). We did pretty well till Max hit "the limit" and started melting into a puddle of exhaustion and crankiness. Ah, good times.
An attempt to fish:
I love his facial expression here:
Max in a tunnel:
Gabriel spent a good while playing with this toy - I have a feeling he could've spent the entire morning there had we let him:
They shared the car without any tears, pushing or tantrums:
My son kept walking right onto the puzzle this lady and kid were putting together. She doesn't look too pleased, does she?
Pretending to be doggies:
Behind Every Great Blog There is a Great Woman
I love blogging. I do. I love the inherent navel-gazing that comes with it; I love the people I've met through it; I love how it challenges me as a writer; I love how it serves as a type of therapy for my overly anxious self.
But I also love it because it's given me a sense of empowerment that I haven't quite known before.
I was not lacking in "empowerment" before I began blogging. My parents raised us to be strong and independent. My father is not your typical Cubano in that he never played into a lot the norms that I see around me on a daily basis, where the man is the man and the woman takes a secondary role. He was never above cleaning the house, making dinner or getting us ready for school - things that in a traditional Cuban home, the woman does. In that regard, my parents were partners. At least, to the extent that my sisters and I have all married men who view and treat us as true partners, and who, like our dad, do not have antiquated (ridiculous) notions about "a woman's place".
So no. I didn't enter into this land o' blogs in search of some kind of freedom from my suppressive life or as someone who needed this space because she felt voiceless in her real life.
In the process of finding my voice as a writer, particularly one who is living out the experiences of being a new mom, a working mom, and a partner in a what she hopes is a happy, fulfilling marriage, I have found a sense of empowerment I didn't know I needed. A lot of it, I've realized, has to do with you, the reader. The act of writing for a public (both known and unknown) like this has given me a newfound sense of strength. I may never get any writing gigs that pay; my words may never land me a book deal; important blog-world pundits may never name me the second coming of Erma Bombeck - but you are here. And your presence makes me believe that I have something to offer you, that you have something to give back, that we can - even if it's in some small way - positively affect each other's lives. The notion that my thoughts and my words may inspire, convince or console you, that they may make you laugh or cry - it is a possibility that fills a hidden part of me, that is inspiring in and of itself.
More still, I am finding this empowerment in all the other great women I have met thanks to this medium; women who, mothers or not, are staking their claim and taking risks and discovering, exploring and - most importantly - redefining what it is to be a woman in today's world. The inspiration and strength I find here gives me a unique sense of hope that was lacking in my life.
I'm feeling grateful today. I'm normally too much of a realist (a cynic, too, in some cases) for my own good. But it's important every now and then to step back and survey the landscape. And in the landscape that is the female blogosphere, as imperfect and fractured as it can be at times, it is nonetheless inspiring. And breathtaking.
Women across the blogosphere today are discussing how (and if) blogging empowers women. If you want to participate or know more, please click here.
Kiwi: A Love-Hate Relationship
First he tries to push poor kiwi on me, making me kiss it and give it some love. But of course, my being affectionate with any other creature that is not him just won't do. At all.
Labels: fun stuff
Max is smack in the middle of the hitting and biting stage. And it’s killing me.Keep reading...
The Meme of Five That for Whatever Reason Starts with Ten
I was tagged by Dayngr to do this thingy-do here. I usually leave these kinds of memes (surveys, to me) for my MySpace blog. But every now and then, I'm so inclined to post it here. Today, I'm inclined. Enjoy this peek inside the girl behind the blog.
What were you doing 10 years ago?
In June of 1997, I was still in college, already in journalism school. I was also working as an assistant to a rich doctor's wife who ran an Amway business. To her credit, she never tried to "convert" me; then again, I think in her eyes, I was a poor "Latin" girl who really wouldn't be much of an asset to Amway. Her dog, Dapper Dan, was the sweetest Dobbie ever.
It was a very dark period in my life. I was (unbeknownst to me at the time) a few weeks from ending an abusive relationship. I had been looking for a way out for a while, but like every Lifetime TV movie cliche, I was scared shitless and trapped. That was an incredibly difficult spring and summer for me. He broke up with me in a bid to "teach me a lesson", and sure enough, when I refused further contact, the stalking and threats began. It was a long summer.
(and with that, I've dragged the entire room down with me... and we abruptly move on...)
Five Snacks You Enjoy:
1. Guacamole and chips (my new favorite)
2. Ritz Chips
3. Cuban crackers with cream cheese and guava paste
5. Donuts (though I don't eat them often)
Five Songs That You Know All The Lyrics To:
I know the lyrics to way too MANY songs - this is a random sampling
1. Fight Test - Flaming Lips
2. Sea of Broken Hearts - The Samples
3. Funky Ceílí - Black 47
4. Against All Odds - Phil Collins
5. Missing You - John Waite
Five Things You Would Do If You Were a Millionaire:
1. Devote myself to my favorite causes
2. Travel extensively
3. Use my newly found influence (courtesy of the money) to land a book deal
4. Set my immediate family up comfortably
5. Get the purse
Five Bad Habits:
1. I'm lazy/indifferent about housework
2. I hold on to all manner of crap that quickly turns into clutter
3. I'm impatient
4. If I'm excited about or very into a conversation, I interrupt
5. Despite all my hard work, I still have quite a temper on me
Five Things You Like To Do:
4. Go out dancing
5. Have a great meal with great company
(oh hell, that was so boring. That's the truth right there: I'm boring)
Five Things You Would Never Wear Again:
1. Bangs in my hair
2. Tapered-leg pants/jeans
3. Cuffed pants/jeans
4. High-waist pants/jeans/shorts/etc.
5. Over-sized t-shirts
Five Favorite Toys:
1. My camera
2. My kick-ass hammock
3. My iPod
4. My quesadilla maker
5. My child
Five people to tag:
I hate this part - how about you, you, you, you and you?
Wow. Seriously? I'm now freaked-out over how boring I really am.
Labels: fun stuff
Giving the People What They Want
I am but at your service, people. You speak, I listen. You request, I give. Behold:
All for you, my lovies. All for you.
Labels: fun stuff
Confessions of a Shoe-Crazy Mind
I used to be a shoe whore. I had pairs and pairs and pairs of heels, sandals, boots, sneakers - most of them in black. In fact, one of the games played at my bridal shower was, "Guess how many pairs of shoes Tere owns" (the official answer was 58 or so, but my mom had missed the 12 other pairs I had under the bed). Not Imelda Marcos territory, but for a recent college grad with a small salary and lots of debt, it was a lot.
My love of shoes goes back to my childhood. I remember these kick-ass clog-like shoes that strapped at the ankle that both my sister and I had. Oh, how I loved those. And my jelly shoes; how I adored my multiple pairs of jelly shoes. And even boots - I had this incredibly cool pair of denim boots when I was about 9 years old that I just about wore down to nothing. They were made to look like the top portion of jeans complete with coin pocket (boots! with coin pockets!) There's even a story about a very young me (around 4 years old, I think?) wanting a (very impractical, expensive) pair of patent-leather black shoes with colorful ribbons (or bows) on them, and the fit I threw until my dad caved and got them. Our parents used to buy us a couple of good-quality shoes each spring and fall, something practical (Buster Browns) and also a "fancy" pair (white patent in spring, black patent in fall - and oh, how I hate patent shoes now!). The impractical black pair I wanted was apparently too pricey (and impractical!), and my mom was all "Hell NO" about it. But I refused to take the pair off, and my dad finally just got them for me (if there's any more proof that pouting and stubbornness work, I don't know what it is).
My careless shoe collecting went unchecked until... you guessed it: pregnancy. By the time I was 24 weeks along, my feet swelled up something ugly and none of my shoes fit anymore. I bought two sensible, comfortable (boring) sandals, and wore nothing else for the rest of my pregnancy (except for flip-flops and, for my shower, my killer silver heels). Between pregnancy, post-partum baby care, and trying to be a fiscally responsible adult, my shoe days were over.
At the same time, I just lost interest in shoes. (wow, I can't believe I just wrote that). Nothing got my attention; nothing screamed at me, "You need us, Tere!"; nothing moved me. It's easy to not buy shoes when none of them appeal to you. So I just took advantage of the situation and declared, "I'm cured! No more shoe addiction!"
I lied. Or rather, I had no clue what I was talking about. I was a fool, naive in my belief that I could be cured of something as insidious as a shoe addiction.
For lo, that shoe addiction, she is back. And back with a vengeance.
The good news: I'm not going crazy buying shoes. The bad: It's not gonna last. I've already bought three pairs in the last two weeks. I have nowhere to go but hell.
But look! What pretty shoes!
And these, these beauties that just screamed at my inner drag queen:
How could I resist? HOW?
The way I see it (warning: rationalization ahead), I haven't bought anything besides $3 flip-flops in two years. And while I'm pleased by the bounty of shoes that suddenly appeal to me again, I've noticed that I've definitely become more discriminate - not just in my tastes, but in assessing my true shoe needs as well. One impractical pair (see above) is o.k., but I can no longer stomach buying pairs and pairs of shoes that don't match my outfits or lifestyle. So I can get a few pairs now and then lay low again for a while. Right? I can indulge a bit now (for my birthday! These are all early birthday presents!) and then slip back to the good habits I've developed over the last two years.
Oh hell, people, I'm being tested. The only thing I really have going for myself is the fact that I still find the majority of shoes out there to be either ugly or completely impractical. Had I never gotten so picky about it, I'd be up to my neck in sandals, boots, work heels, sneakers, flats, etc.
I'm just gonna force myself to get over it and be good. Right after I buy these:
Curse of the Overly Active Mind
I give up, people. I have - no exaggeration - five different posts in draft mode that I've been trying to finish up and publish here.
My mind is all over the place - ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. - and I just can't finish a damn thing! The (sad? funny? interesting? unfortunate?) thing is that my mind is all over the place, but none of those "places" are particularly fascinating or deep. It just seems like unrelated things - a series of weird dreams, some existential "where is my life going" navel-gazing shit, some things from my past that feel like they're haunting me, and some work-related stuff - have all collided into an endless, surreal loop in my head. Quite frankly, I'm confused.
I had a wonderful weekend, full of activities with friends. And I realized - oh wow, how I miss that, how I miss both going out and having a laid-back evening out and also just relaxing at home with others. I might expand on this later if I get any enlightening thoughts about it.
Meanwhile, I'll be dealing with this atmospheric weirdness with as much humor and level-headedness as I can muster.
p.s. Max told me yesterday, for the first time ever, to get the hell out of his way. Not in those terms, exactly, but he did push me away and say, "Mami, quita!" And anyone who speaks a lick of Spanish will confirm that that does, in fact, translate to, "Mommy, you're bugging me; now get the hell away from me".
Labels: random thoughts
Tere Gets Thinky On You (EDITED)
Ah, would that I were getting kinky on you! But no, just thinky. Thinky as in, it's time to get navel-gazerish about this thing called blogging and what compels me to do it.
I'm now a (proud) member of a kick-ass blogging round table of sorts called BlogRhet. To paraphrase what the post about this particular "assignment" says, "we're a team of bloggers who are fascinated with what blogging means to each of us. We are prone to navel-gazy "what does it all mean?" posts that reflect on our own processes of blogging, writing, and interacting. And we know we’re not alone."
To get this introspective party started, we've got this meme. Instructions: Give one or more these questions a stab in a post (or series of posts), and then tag three more writers. Please link back to this original entry—we'd LOVE to track the progress of this meme with trackbacks.
With that, we begin:
1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days?
Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?
I didn't really have a sense of audience (not sure if I do even now, over a year later). I was writing, in great part, just for myself. I wanted to try a new voice, something different from what I'd be doing before, first as a completely anonymous "primitive" blogger and then as a less-anonymous blogger. The early posts felt almost surreal, because I was writing "into the void" (knowing someone would soon stumble upon it) as my real self; or at least, not hiding behind an alias. Looking back now, I think it took a few posts for me to feel comfortable enough to show certain aspects of my personality, like my tendency to be really silly. I addressed some of these feelings in this early post.
2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?
My first comment (which was also from a non-real-life friend or relative) came from Chantel in this post, and it floored me. Mainly because Chantel is a real, live published author, and hello? She was reading my blog! And commenting on it! AAAHHH! Regular commenting (mainly from local bloggers) began about a month in, and each one felt great, like I was making small connections with each one. That statement is still true today.
3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?
Probably early on, because I was already reading and commenting on other South Florida-based blogs. It's really to the local community that I've felt most connected to, since in sharing a common geography, we have much to discuss. The mommy community has been harder for me; on one hand, I sometimes have a hard time relating to other writers, feeling a cultural divide between us; on the other, the mom blogs I first began reading were the usual popular ones that have a lot of readership, and I'm convinced it's impossible to create a connection with those bloggers: they simply don't have the time, in my opinion.
If I have to point to an "A-Ha!" moment, where I felt like a true part of a community (any community), it would probably be this post. Something I'd written about motherhood touched two people who aren't even parents. Overall, I think things began to pick up (and I began to feel like I had a little community going on in here) by August.
4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?
Yes and no. Yes, because many times I find myself trying to figure out exactly who is reading this blog (beyond commenters), and what they enjoy most when they visit. But I have no clue who they (you) are or what they (you) want, so ultimately, I just write whatever the hell I want. If I had answers to my questions, I still don't think it would affect the WAY I write, but it might affect the things I write about. I mean, in an effort to please my readers and generate good, interesting comments (because yes, to a degree, I want lots of readers and lots of comments and lots of love from everyone).
I try to be conscious of myself and try to stay true to myself and personality. I don't think I'm "false" or "trying too hard", as I just don't think I possess those traits in any aspect of my life.
So, as this is a meme, and an academic-ish one at that, I must and will tag three others. So, Jenny, Dayngr and Balou, you're it. If you choose to do this, please link to the original post, and please feel free to come back here and leave your link in the comments section.
Her Bad Mother's post on this topic (she answers all the questions so seamlessly, too!), got me thinking about #4. She writes something - "That I had an audience, however small, was key: I was writing for that audience - for my husband and for my mom and for the circle of friends that I'd informed about the blog. I was both self-conscious about my writing and remarkably unself-conscious: I'd ramble on about spit-up and swaddling and breastfeeding and swaddling and swaddling again and it was a way of both showing off my writing and performing my motherhood" - that really stuck with me. I'd have to say that this is true of me, too (I wasn't writing for my mom, though, but definitely for the small audience I was pretty sure I had). Again, I don't think I've ever been fake or not myself, but I've written before about how I realize that I take parts of myself and exaggerate them a bit, or present a Tere here that's a slight caricature of myself. HBM uses a phrase - performative ramble - that I think aptly describes this concept. She further writes, about her posts: "They're rambly because the stories felt rambly, because that's how I would have told those stories to a friend. I would have been breathless and wide-eyed and I would have been cursing a blue streak. That hypothetical delivery made it all the more funny and - to my own mind - accessible. Because that's how I would have performed those stories, in my living room or at the dining table." And I have to say that yes, that's exactly it! Sometimes I write here the way I talk, the way I tell stories in real life (which I describe as exaggeratory).