Saturday, June 30, 2007

Two

Another studio portrait. Mainly, because it's hard to figure out my exact age in most of the pictures, and these are dated. Also, I love that dress.




(Part of the 30 Years in 30 Days countdown to my 30th birthday.)

Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/30/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 29, 2007

One

Studio portrait. Handmade dress. Bejeweled. I am, without doubt, a Cubanita.





(Part of the 30 Years in 30 Days countdown to my 30th birthday.)

Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/29/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mea Culpa

I feel like lately I've been a really shitty blogger. While I'm trying to keep posting regular and interesting and funny and balanced between letting you know who I really am but not overloading you with my self-centered bullshit, the truth is that I've been struggling lately. Not just here, but everywhere: I'm behind on my reading; and I'm not commenting as frequently I normally do, mainly because I read other blogs and can't focus or feel like the proper words don't come.

The problem, guys, is that I have a problem. It isn't anything tragic, but it's big enough to occupy a lot of space in my brain. When I focus on said problem, I'm a mess of gooey, crappy feelings; why I try to focus on the rest of my life, the extreme stress and anxiety remains. And unfortunately, I can't blog about it and try to make it better that way, because this is one of those situations where making it public could actually make everything worse.

I'd like to think that a resolution might be at hand in the next month or so; but if my "solution" fails, this is going to become a longterm problem, and then I'm really going to have to come to grips with this shit and deal. (Seriously, not a health issue; I'm not splitting up with Ben; and Max is fine). So for now, if you could cross your fingers for me and pray that what I'm hoping resolves all this really does resolve all this, it would really, really help.

So if my hunch is right and I've been totally off and not myself in this blog, and anywhere else on the Interweb, my apologies. In dealing with this problem, I've realized that I'm acting like a parent with you people: keep a smile on, act normal, let's not make the kids worry. And that's not my intent. I don't want to be one of those bloggers who holds back.

This is the tricky part of this gig, I guess. I left anonymous blogging behind knowing that I would self-censor. I knew this blog wasn't going to be a confessional about my fucked-up childhood or the dirty details of my marriage. I don't have any axes to grind. But I figured I could protect that which I felt needed to be protected and still reveal a great chunk of myself, my real self, in all my navel-gazing, ranting, weirdly funny glory. I'm questioning right now if I've been successful, or if there's no real way to be the kind of blogger I want to be.

Either way, I will continue as is - protecting my personal relationships aside, I pretty much just sit and write whatever I want to write about. But I need to communicate to you all that I don't want to be the kind of blogger who creates a facade of "my life is so great!" when it isn't always; nor do I want to be Stepford-ish in the way that I never really write about the crappier aspects of being Tere and living her life. If it ever comes across that way, know and be assured that my intention or motivation is not to create an illusion that my life is this fantastic, problem-free, perfect thing; rather, I'm just trying to be smart and careful and respectful about how I navigate between my private and "public" life.

Anyway - I hope to get back to normal soon (and I'm already loving my 30 Years in 30 Days countdown thingy) - but please keep your fingers crossed for me.



p.s. Happy 400th post to me. And you, for reading this far.

Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/28/2007   | | | links to this post

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!)

Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/28/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nothing and Everything at the Same Time

I want to give you a picture of what my life is like when I get home every weeknight, after I’ve left work and have either picked up my son or I get home to find him and my husband already there.

It is a simple, probably boring, routine that we have.

Read the rest of this post here.

Labels: , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/27/2007   | | | links to this post

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.

But!

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.

Love,

Tere

Posted by Tere @ 6/27/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hello, I Rock



But you already knew that.

Now, however, it's official! As deemed by the fickle Internet gods, I am a Rockin' Girl Blogger!

See the badge up there? That's what makes it official. We must all heartily thank Dayngr, who bequeathed me the title.

As I accept this honor, let me assure you, my beloved readers, that I take this title very seriously, and will bust my ass to live up to the responsibilities of this title.

So, now I get to spread the love! The "rule" is to pick five other blogger chicks who rock. I hate this part. I'm not good at it. I don't want to exclude anyone. Can I just declare all the girls I know and love to be Rockin' Girl Bloggers?

As a Rockin' Girl Blogger myself, I do believe I can!

And thus, it is declared: as a girl blogger whom I know and whose blog I read and enjoy, I do hereby name you a Rockin' Girl Blogger!

Proceed with pride.

Labels:



Posted by Tere @ 6/25/2007   | | | links to this post

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: , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/25/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 22, 2007

I Want a C-O-O-L R-I-D-E-R

I'm totally celebrating the return of Michelle Pfeiffer to the big screen (as Velma Von Tussle in Hairspray). I've been a big fan of hers since I was a little girl. In fact, I had the biggest crush on her, I wanted to be her, all through the 80's. I thought (still do) she was so beautiful - her beauty practically freaked me out.

My crush began with one of most favorite movies ever: Grease 2. What an awesome movie! The plot; the songs (all of which I know by heart); the hot lead stars.

O.k., yes, the movie is cheesetastic. As an adult, I can see how totally corny this movie is. So what, people, so what? It also rocks! I mean, biker heaven? Adrian Zmed? Come on!

And yeah, there was also that dreamy Maxwell Caulfield as Michael. Oh my hell. What a gorgeous man. I may have wanted to be Stephanie Zinone, but I wanted to be worshiped by a cool rider as hot and smart and sweet as Michael. Too bad he didn't age so well...

So before I leave you with a great clip from the movie, confess: what's your most favorite cheesy movie?




(Thanks to all the people who's pics I'm linking to. If there's a problem, please email me).

Labels: , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/22/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Words that I Own

This is so neat! Over at Pretty Good on Paper, caveblogem has been doing a series on vocabulary use on the Internet. When I saw his analysis of words over at Dayngr's blog, I knew I had to sign up!

My turn came up a few days ago. You can read the whole analysis here. Basically, though, he sampled the words in my blog between April 2 and June 6. Based on his findings, he creates diagrams and even a haiku!

So, this diagram shows words I've used more than twice but have not been used at all by any of the other blogs he's already sampled (click to enlarge):


I think "disloyal" is so big based on frequency of use, and I'm sure it has to do with my two posts on friendship and loyalty (or disloyalty) last month.

Next up is a Venn diagram. The left side shows words that nobody else (of those sampled) has used. The middle shows words that everybody sampled has used so far; and the right side shows words that everyone else sampled has used, but that I did not.



Pretty cool, huh?

And finally, caveblogem has a Haiku-generating algorithm, which came up with this little ditty (using words in my blog, natch):

Cheesecake on the odes,
dears of a year-and-a-half
re-edit mangoes.

Love it!!

My thanks to caveblogem for using me as part of his series. I really enjoyed this!

Labels: , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/21/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Round-Up

Haven't you always wondered what restaurants deliver or have take-out? As far as Coral Gables goes, I've got the answer (rather, a link to the answer)!

Are you crushing on Duff from Ace of Cakes? We are!

And don't you need to know what cute kitchen things are on clearance at Target? Come on, you know you want the goods! And how about a cute idea for a home office?

Oh my hell - Raspberry Key Lime Pie!

Labels:



Posted by Tere @ 6/20/2007   | | | links to this post

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:


Thing 1!


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:


Oh my...

Labels: , , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/20/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 18, 2007

Here We Go Again

Dear South Florida Summer,

Hello, there you are again. Just when I'd forgotten how abysmally horrible you are, June comes along, and yeah, I remember.

Mainly, it's what you do to my hair that I hate the most. Summer, I haven't got much skills as it is in the hair-styling department. So when you come along and bring all that humidity, that awful humidity that hits you right in the face the nanosecond you walk out the door, I have big problems on my hands. Literally. My hair frizzes and poofs out to Bozo the Clown levels.

There is also, of course, the way your humidity drenches me in the time it takes to walk from my door to my car; then again when I walk from my car into work/store/someone else's house. Seriously, we spend at least four months walking around like big soggy messes. And I know, I know - it's not just me. It happens to all 5.5 million of us. That, to me, is the irony.

In the land of the shallow and superficial, where looks reign supreme, you, Summer, makes us all one sweaty, sloppy mess.

Still, it's funny how I forget. I forget just how bad the humidity is. Just how infernal the heat is. Just how wet and squishy the near-constant June rain makes every damn thing. Ah, and I forget the nightmares the hurricanes bring on.

Never mind that I lived through Andrew; or that I was 37 weeks pregnant when Katrina hit and had to spend 8 days with no A/C, big, swollen and tired, barely able to move, and keeping my belly cool with cold washcloths, convinced my boy was going to boil in my belly and suffer horribly. Oh yeah, and Wilma, which slammed us worse than Katrina and left us with another 8 electricity-less days, while I had my one-month-old, 5-lb. baby to worry about. We've come out all right each time. The damages and inconveniences we've undergone are nothing in comparison to the utter devastation others have suffered. But they could be. (And I won't get into the yearly near-misses that nonetheless leave us with a lot of crap to deal with, or the flooding, or - dare I say it - the no-name storm of October 2000).

Ah, Summer. You suck so badly in these parts. To survive you we must play psychological tricks with ourselves and forget you the minute mid-to-late October rolls in. From there, it's generally blissful weather. Until we enter June, and the cycle starts all over again.

Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/18/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 15, 2007

Item of Note

I hate Houston's Restaurant. The one in Coral Gables is staffed by a bunch of snobby, rude, condescending assholes, and although I like some of their dishes, I just refuse to eat there.

So it's no surprise to me that a Houston's Restaurant (this one in Boca Raton) would be the place where a breastfeeding mother was kicked out because she had the nerve to nurse her child. There. At her table. Where other people could see her.

This happened back in April. It's on the news again because the woman decided to sue them. I have some mixed feelings about this move. On one hand, they did the right thing and apologized, as well as reimburse the check. So, you know, she doesn't need thousands of dollars now, and the whole money thing make take away from the legitimacy of the cause.

However, her rights were violated. In Florida, women have the right to breastfeed in public - it's one of the smartest laws we have here (now, if the Legislature would only enact a law about requiring companies to support mothers who pump their milk without there being negative repercussions!). Also, I believe in sending a message. People here in So Fla are - on the whole - way too critical and nonsupporting (not to mention ignorant) of breastfeeding and nursing mothers. That needs to change.

And if this lawsuit helps call attention to the matter, if it helps drive the point home that breastfeeding is a natural, wonderful, important gift from mother to child, then yeah, Simone Bertucci, sue your heart away. Otherwise, channel that energy into more positive ways to promote breastfeeding. Maybe if you win that lawsuit, you should donate the money to organizations that work to educate about breastfeeding and offering nursing mothers support.



(thumbs up to Amanda for reminding me about this)

Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/15/2007   | | | links to this post

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.

And yet.

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.

Labels: , , , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/15/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Movement

My life changed the moment I first felt Max move inside me. I was around 20 weeks along, and I clearly remember sitting at my desk when I felt a little squiggle inside me. The best way to describe it - like a small fish swimming in my belly. I wasn't even sure that I had felt him move, or that I had even felt anything, period. But a while later, I felt it again. And again. And again.

That movement inside me changed everything. From that day forward, there was no other purpose in my life than to feel my son move. Nothing else mattered. It's not just that I lived for the thrill I felt when he moved; it was that I could not bear anything else until I felt that first movement of the day - the confirmation that he was still there, alive and growing.

There was one day - one awful, awful day - where he didn't move in the morning. Nor in the afternoon. It was nighttime - and I was nearly hysterical - when he finally gave me a good kick. I had spent that day alternately praying; talking to Max, trying to reason with him and finally begging him to fucking kick me already; and poking my belly to see if I could make him move myself.

It was that day that I realized that nothing would ever matter to me more than my son and the family we were creating; that a lot of things that had mattered up until that moment no longer mattered; that the course and meaning of my life had been irrevocably changed.

At the time, I tried to capture what I was feeling. Below is what I wrote and posted on my first website.


The Movements That Move Me
2005

My life now is all about your movements inside me -- feeling you kick, move, jab, poke -- anything that will show me you're alive and well and thriving. I wake up each day in anticipation, wondering what will prompt you to move, at what time, and for how long. If you take too long to make your presence known, I start worry, fearing the worst has happened. And when you finally greet me with a swift kick to my stomach, I count each jab, my smile growing wider with each successive one.

Nothing matters as much as those kicks. They are how I measure the hours, the days, the moments until you arrive and make me fall in love with life all over again. Nothing thrills me like feeling you move; there is nothing more important than you, your existence having by now overtaken my own.

Every little sensation makes me hold my breath, makes me stop in my tracks so I can just enjoy the moment and bask in your strength, your determination to grow and come into this world. Every little jab is miraculous -- and when you start to hiccup, my heart swells and I start to laugh -- because those hiccups drive home the undeniable fact that you are real. REAL. You are real and mine and wondrous in ways I never imagined you could be.

I haven't even held you yet and already you've made me a new, different, better woman. You've been the missing piece. And once I hold you in my arms, I will be a complete woman.

Labels: , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/14/2007   | | | links to this post

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:



Posted by Tere @ 6/14/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Getting Past Hitting And Biting

I continue to bless other websites with my brilliance! Check out my latest post at GNMParents!

It starts like this....

It’s normal. I know it’s normal. It’ll pass (hopefully). But it’s still undesirable, and I still believe that I need to take some kind of action against it.

Max is smack in the middle of the hitting and biting stage. And it’s killing me.

Keep reading...

Labels: , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/13/2007   | | | links to this post

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
4. Mangoes
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:
1. Read
2. Write
3. Cook
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:



Posted by Tere @ 6/13/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Words are Multiplying

It isn't just basic words anymore. Nor is it that the list of words have grown. It's that the boy now strings words together and expresses complete thoughts.

What the hell?

Granted, the words are no more than two or three at a time, but damn, he covers a lot of bases. He lets you know when he wants you to follow him, what he wants to eat and when he wants it, where he wants you to sit, when you should applaud him for whatever cute thing he's done, what item he wants you to hand him, when he wants you to get the hell away from him, when he's ready for bed, when he's pooped, when something is "yucky" - you get the picture.

He's also developed some neat tricks, like the one where he just barely grazes his hand, head or leg with something and grabs it, half-sobs "Ooowwwww" and runs to one of us so we can kiss it; or the one where he jumps on the couch (which he knows he's not supposed to do), and when he sees me coming to get him down, rolls his eyes way in the opposite direction and refuses to make eye contact with me (like, "If I don't see Mami, she won't see me and I won't get scolded for this").

I think what really gets me is how he's saying things that I'm not consciously teaching him. Every other day, he pops up with something new that is both surprising and hilarious. I mean, I'm pretty sure I've never made it a point to teach him that when someone sneezes, the response is "Aaachooooooooo!"; or that when you're trying to get someone's attention, the thing to do is yell "OYE!" in their face.

Obviously, he's picking up a lot of stuff at daycare, and therein lies one of those "fuck me for being a working mom" things: I miss everything that happens in an eight-hour span, day in and day out, and then find myself completely surprised when I realize that my boy is growing and learning at a rate that's almost surreal to me. One moment I'm struggling to get him to tell me if he's hungry; the next, he's singing the Barney song and his ABC's. I can't fully wrap my head around it. I know that kids absorb everything around them, more than we realize, even, but to witness it, to have it so blatantly in your face - it's quite a different matter.

And of course, there's the constant babbling of not-yet-coherent words that only he understands; moments when he points at something and launches into some kind of gibberish and then looks at me expectantly, waiting for my reaction. And I have no clue what the hell he's even referring to, and so can only nod at him and say things like, "Really? Wow, that's so cool!" in an über-enthusiastic tone. Soon enough I'll know what he's talking about and I'll be able to confirm just how cool it really is, how cool the world is through his eyes.

Meanwhile, I'll just be content with the knowledge that I've managed to teach him to look right at his father and say, "Daddy - Jew!" (although, it comes out as, "Daddy - eeeyyuuuuuuuu!") These kids, they really are sponges.

Labels: , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/12/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tere: Defending the Rights of Belly Buttons Everywhere to be Nothing Less Than Perfect

(First, an aside: Oh, Miami, you are so truly a land unto itself. Like so many of us here, you do not belong to the United States, nor do you belong to any other country. You are your own bizarre, never-dull, never-predictable little universe.

If you ever wonder why there are days where I just hate Miami, where I wonder WTF I'm doing here and if I'm destined to stay here forever, this right here is a good reason why.)

Oh, people. To live in a land where you run the risk of being labeled an ugly, undesirable, worthless human being because your belly button doesn't meet a specific (and arbitrary; who determines these things?) criteria is so weird. And depressing. And laughable.

Think of it. Think of all the poor women who have been unable to bare their belly because their belly buttons were not a perfect (non-hooded, non-vertical) innie. They have been discriminated against. They have been marginalized. Consider poor Ayana:

"Ayana Cannon says she never bared her abs because she had an outie. 'I didn't wear a bikini because I thought it was strange.'"

How have we allowed this to happen? How did we become a society that makes women (and men) feel too embarrassed to show their abs in public? Thankfully, here in South Florida, we have collectively decided that NO MORE! We will take you, you poor huddled masses yearning to be hot. We will turn those frownie, upside-down buttons into the little circle of perfection that you need in order to get ahead in life. See how Ayana's life instantly improved after re-doing her belly button:

"She bought a bikini and flaunted her new abs during a vacation to Greece."

My eyes fill with tears just seeing those words. There is hope, people. This is what it's about. This is why I'm proud to be a Miamian.

Lest you think there is no significance to that little button, heed the wise words of Dr. Gerald Pitman: "The belly button is the punctuation point of the abdomen."

Indeed, doctor. Indeed.

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

SoTP and SCG weigh in.

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

For the record, I'm an outie. Pregnancy left it less outie than it used to be, but it's still an outie.

Labels: , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/11/2007   | | | links to this post

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:



Posted by Tere @ 6/11/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hate Me For All the Things...

It can't be easy for Ben. I feel for him; both from the perspective of watching someone I love be in a difficult position and also from the perspective of knowing I am to blame for a lot of it.

Ben's friends hate me. Well, his three closest (formerly now, I guess) and oldest friends do. I mean, they HATE me. I am, in their eyes, a raging bitch who's ruined his life, forever forcing him into a life of submission. Given the fact that all three are emotionally stunted, I should be able to just shrug my shoulders at that, but I can't.

I can't because Ben has chosen me, which means that he basically is not really friends with any of them anymore, and that just sucks. It's not to say that these guys gave him an "us or her" ultimatum, but seriously, how comfortably can your friendship continue with someone once they've made it clear (either directly or indirectly) that your wife is shit and you're an idiot for being with her?

Ben doesn't talk to me about this. I have no clue what goes on behind my back - to the extent of whether or not, the few times they speak, I come up. I don't actually even know if he speaks to at least two of them at all (and no, I wouldn't care; I've never told him whom he shouldn't or shouldn't be friends with. He knows my opinions about them, just as I know his opinions about my friends). And I don't know if he doesn't talk to me to protect me (because what is going to tell me? "Spoke to P, he still hates your guts!") or to protect himself.

Because what if these guys are right? What if the choices he's made have led him to a crappy, stressful life? What if he made a stupid move and now he can't undo it?

And look, I know why they hate me; knowing them like I do (not super well, but they're easy to figure out), I can see why I'm the worst thing that's ever happened to Ben. I broke his heart; I was an angry, mean bitch to him; I'm bossy and I yell when we fight and remain cranky for a while afterwards; I'm moody. I get it. The thing is, my friends also saw how Ben hurt me and broke my heart and treated me like shit. And yet, when we decided to get back together, they didn't give me shit about it, nor did they ever make it clear that he was bad news for me. Beyond the typical "be careful" stuff, there was nothing but support and a willingness to help me put my life together again - for which I will always be grateful.

So I feel for Ben. I don't know how to help him through this, nor what I could do to have everything be o.k. These guys' opinion of me is formed; I have no expectation or hope or even desire to change it. I just don't want him to feel like he's in the middle; I don't want him to resent me for any of this; I don't want him to think they're right and he's fucked.

Labels: , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/08/2007   | | | links to this post

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:



Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/08/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Oldies but Goodies

I was reading some of my older posts and came across some older ones that, honestly, I'd completely forgotten I'd even written. It's funny, sometimes I'll come across something I wrote a long time ago and will be thoroughly impressed with it. Which is weird only because I'm usually so critical of myself, and as I always worry that my writing is too convoluted and incoherent to be "good" or "moving" or "understandable".

So for your Thursday amusement, I give you some older posts that are among my favorites.

I have deep thoughts about Christmas.

I'm terrified of flying, but the fear of dying makes me bare my soul.

"The Housing Market Can Kiss my Ass" - the title says it all.

My swiss-cheese memory lands me a "Perfect Post Award".

A picture of my boob. Plus a rant about breastfeeding.


Rain makes me melancholic.

Sometimes, I'm a lesbian.

Labor and birth.

I don't always like Miami.

My Cuban heritage has defined a great part of who I am.

A public bathroom makes me reevaluate everything.

I love Tyler Florence; but Rachel Ray? Not so much.


UPDATES!


More faves from the latter part of 2007.

It was a bad Monday.

Ask me this question, and I'll smack you.

Metablogging, how geeky of me! (Later in the year: More thoughts on race, ethnicity and the blogosphere.)

I'm pregnant and petting an alligator.


I start out talking about WBW and end up ranting about the dire state of maternity leave in this country.

Motherhood is devastating.

There's my boob again.


MORE UPDATES! (March 2009)

In 2008, after 7 years of marriage and almost 10 together, my marriage fell apart. Everything ended. It was painful and ugly and horrible. I tried to keep the worst of it out of this public forum, but it was impossible not to write about it. Here are the highlights.

I break the news.

But prior to that, there were a couple of hints that all was not right.

Early on, I was able to articulate a whole bunch of what I was feeling.

My husband's gone, life is painful and weird, but I win a prize.

I go back to zero, and it's not such a bad thing. I also banish an awful word from my vocabulary. Both things still apply today.

An explanation for those pictures I take of myself.

My first thoughts on being single again.

Setting the stage for the only kind of man that will do for me.

On being strong and vulnerability.


Really, I just want someone to take care of me.

Despite everything I'm going through, it is beyond evident that I am way more qualified to be VP than Sarah Palin.

On loss.

Everything changes with this post. Though I said nothing publicly then, I was suffering through some crazy shit my ex was putting me through. That one thing snowballed into months of misery. But it was the misery I needed to get myself to the next level of recovery.

I have a naughty, crazy side, and she worries me.

When everything is really nothing.

Still trying to accept how obvious it was that he had stopped giving a crap about the relationship, but I couldn't put it all together.

Trying to get past the horrible nightmare that is my life and into a better place.

And as the year ends, trying to capture it all in as precise and honest a way as possible. My favorite post of this entire ordeal.

Meanwhile, I am still a mother to my wonderful boy. Becoming a single mother and navigating this new, scary life while trying to keep him protected from my pain becomes my mission, one that I worry about and agonize over a great deal.

About being mother to a boy.

About the fear I feel in all this.


He turns three, and I remember the first time I held him.

General agony about the whole situation and how it could affect my son.

He starts school and it kills me.

As 2009 gets off to a start, I begin to move past the awfulness of everything and into actually living and enjoying my new life.

But it's not always easy.

And sometimes I just ramble on and on about my self-esteem and the support everyone's given me and other things that don't really belong together in one post.

Things finally begin to feel normal, and I have the smile to prove it.

Some issues linger.

But overall, I maintain hope for better days ahead.

NEW UPDATE (May 2010):

To say it's been an eventful year since my last update is an understatement. So much has happened, more than I could have imagined, so much of it so surprising and sweet. Last March, I had moved to a better place, but it was tenuous. All I was trying to do at that point was leave the sadness and grief and intense feelings of failure and pain and anger behind. In fact, let's start there:

On what would've been my 8th wedding anniversary, I try to explain these feelings.

I take my son to The Fair, and it's a wonderful break from all this crapitude.

Acknowledging my willingness to let my old life go and accept whatever's before me.

My son is so free with his emotions that it both baffles me and tears me to pieces.

My ex and ex-good friend are suddenly buddy-buddy, and while not my business or my problem, it is such an unexpected and surprising move on his part - and so revealing of a side of him I did not know existed - that it completely floors me. I thought at the time, now I finally understand exactly the kind of person he really is, but I wondered if the feeling would last. It has. I link to this now because it was indeed the moment where everything changed for me in a very deep and important way. I've never been able to look at him the same way since this.

Bad car crash
.

I'm hooked on milestone dates. A year ago from the date of this post, I broke the news of my marriage's ending; so naturally, I have to do a post about it.

The blog vs. my real life, plus lots of over-analyzing.

My boob pops out at a water park. Thanks to this post, I've discovered just how many people troll the internet looking for "boobs pop out" or "boobs water park" or "boobs pop out at water park" (answer: too many).

Sharing custody of my son, while good in many ways, is extremely hard for me. I wonder all the time about how the back-and-forth affects him, and I feel like I live two lives. Some thoughts about it here. I'll write about this a few more times, and I know as I write this that there's more to come. These two things -- the back-and-forth and how fractured I feel -- are two huge issues in my life.

I dump Dave Matthews. And his band, too.

One positive thing? I start getting back to that place where I'm totally comfortable with myself. This, this is good; and I'm happy.

On anger. There is still some truth to this post, the way I react to things now out of fear of what consequences my anger will bring. I catch myself doing it but don't know how to fix it; it's like I've been reprogrammed to feel shame at expressing anger. This, I'm not too happy about.

Like millions of Americans, I lose my job. It's both bad and good, as the situation at work had become nightmarish. At the same time, there's other stuff brewing in my life, and it's really pretty neat.

BOOM! A (figurative) bomb goes off in my life, and everything - every. single. thing. - changes. That bomb? Was the explosion between Jevo and me. One moment we were friends - good friends who really cared about each other - and the next, wow.

My boy turns four. *cry*

I'm so embarrassed to say this, but I love skinny jeans.

Say hello to my boyfriend
. My god, I can't even believe I have one. And he's so wonderful.

Not having my son with me all the time kills me. It's devastating, a pain I carry with me all the time. Everything is shadowed by this reality and how much it hurts me. I don't know if I will ever find any peace with this, if the guilt will ever subside or if I'm hurting my son beyond repair. I just know that this is awful. And then, I explain a little more about it.

I try to share some thoughts about love, but I don't know, this might not make much sense.

Bad, bad night
. Max was sick and my very bad financial situation was worrying me to death. This night, everything just became too much for me.

Bizarrely, and apropos of nothing, I'm hit with some feelings about having more children.

Another big theme in my life: being a mother, and seeing and raising my son, without the divorce as the central theme of it all. This continues to be a challenge, though I definitely feel some progress.

My son and I are too much alike sometimes, to both our detriment.

An ode to Jevo.

Just another typical day for me.

Till next time...

Labels: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/07/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I'm Not Sexy, I'm a Mom

Although I'm a fairly confident person, I have times when my self-esteem takes a hit. And whenever that happens, I'm really thrown for a loop, and I basically devote too much time and energy into figuring out why I feel so low and what I need to do to get over it.

I've been feeling a mix of low self-esteem and insecurity since a few months after Max was born, and it seems to have gotten worse in the last few months. It's not to say that I feel this way all the time or very often, but it's there, beneath the surface, popping up at random times.

I'm really bothered by this. I've briefly mentioned it before, but it's affected me much more deeply than I've cared to admit. I've tried to make sense of it, deconstruct it, talk myself out of it; but nothing seems to work. So, however much this embarrasses me a bit, I'm turning to the blog to figure it out.

The thing is, I've never had "beauty" issues or "body" issues. Whatever I was, it was great, as far as I was concerned. That's not to say that I thought I was hot and gorgeous and a ball of sexy, because I wasn't and I didn't. I'm basically plain, but I'm o.k. with that. I think I've always been able to work with what I've got, and generally, I'm pleased with my overall physical self, down to my questionable sense of style.

So why have I felt downright ugly since I had my child? Why am I so ridiculously obsessed with how my clothes fit?; and specifically, why do I feel awful because nothing fits like it used to? It's true, my body doesn't look how it did pre-baby; but it's not that far off. So what gives?

I'm all but convinced that this has nothing (or very, very little) to do with what I actually look like and everything to do with this effed-up idea I have that now that I'm a mother, I'm not "allowed" to be attractive or, worse, sexy.

(A word on my notion of "sexy": I'm not in any way referring to dressing "sexily" - which, in Miami at least, seems to mean mini-skirts paired with 4-inch heels; nor am I referring to any of the typical, overt senses of the word. I'm referring to a hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it quality that is appealing and, to a degree, desirable).

I'm struggling with these feelings in the middle of a cultural "thing" with MILFs - a phenomenon that I find sad and creepy because of how it fucks with moms' heads. The notion of mothers being "hot" (or attractive) and generally desirable - or rather, that being a mother doesn't knock you down 10 pegs from attractive/desirable to untouchable frump - sounds great. But it's playing it out in sick ways, and in ways that ultimately send confusing, negative messages about women, motherhood, and sex. So the MILF thing, for me, is null and void (as far as my wanting to be one - I don't); it doesn't factor in to my dilemma because as it's currently being marketed depicted (I mean, even the term is offensive!), it's all about having women think that in order to have value outside of motherhood, they basically have to be sluts. So, while I can see the place this issue has in a larger conversation, for my particular problem, it's limited to having to deal with the effects of living in a society that buys into this when I don't and would instead prefer to mock and scorn it.

So I'm back to wondering what's going on (in me, around me) that makes me think that now that I'm a mother, I am defined solely by that. Why am I convinced that (as I wrote a few months ago) "anyone of the opposite sex, once they find out I have a kid, dismisses me as a human being who might at least be an interesting person to know"? And why, when I try to reclaim my sense of sexiness (or appeal or desirability or whathaveyou) do I feel weird about it, almost like I have no right to? This is two-fold, obviously: what I perceive others are thinking about me as well as what I think about myself-as-mother. But I don't care about what societal factors are affecting me - I care about what the F in my head is affecting me.

Am I misreading people? Am I just hyper-sensitive about something and am taking it out on others? Or do men really treat mothers (unless they're of the slutty or loose variety) differently (specifically, dismissively?) I can't help but feel that I'm not imagining this. The change in a man's attitude, from friendly and interested (in that social way), to dismissive and indifferent the minute I mention that I have a child, is palpable. I mean, I'm not asking for them to pursue me or proposition me; but seriously, how about some harmless flirting? Better yet, how about conversing with me because I'm interesting and funny? (At the same time, women do it too: when I'm in a social setting, with people I really don't know, and I mention my child, from that moment forward, that's all the women will talk to me about. And I don't mind talking about Max, but come on. Let's talk current events or pop culture, too.)

And then I wonder, is it this very attitude that makes me feel strange and ashamed to want to be considered appealing by the world-at-large? Am I not allowed to feel that? Is it wrong or classless or a failure on my part? Does it make me less of a good, devoted mother?

Prior to becoming a mother, I was a woman who liked being admired for her brains and sense of humor. Making others laugh would give me a high. At the same time, I would get little thrills when a guy complimented me, when Ben would tease me about a "boyfriend" - someone who stared too long or addressed me a touch too flirtatiously. Does all that disappear with motherhood? Why?

And what does it say about me that I'm unhappy about it, that I just want things to be like they used to be?

Labels: , , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/06/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More Max Tuesday

Welcome to the house of Max, where...

... there is never a shortage of creative ways to drink water:


... and the paparazzi follow his every move (an effect, perhaps, of the fame this blog has brought him?):



... and where we really get funky when we dance:


... and sometimes, a little too pooped to keep partying (the tired, it's spilling from his eyes):



Posted by Tere @ 6/05/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ah, Good Times


That's Bella. Sweet, destructive, funny Bella. I heart her. This pic dates back to 2004. We were goofing around with the camera, and I took a rest on the cooler. We ended up taking this pic because Bella got in front of me like that and refused to move. Moreover, she refused to let me move. She's funny that way. I think I'd like to have her visit the house and run around like crazy, for old times' sake.

Posted by Tere @ 6/04/2007   | | | links to this post

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.

But.

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.

But!

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: ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/04/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, June 01, 2007

Odds and Ends

You know, the random things that I like to just lump together in one post - the silly/tired/suffering a general malaise edition.

* My bro-in-law Pete scored big: his picture in USA Today! Woot! (right at the top)

* While I'm discussing Pete, any of you have any weddings, kids, pets, events you want immortalized? 'Cause you can hire him for really reasonable rates.

* And on a totally unrelated note, is my preshus Max becoming a fruitarian?!? (ahahahahahahaha) Seriously, we don't live in the land of fruity delusion around here, but the boy really loves his fruit. He has some after dinner every evening, and watching him scarf the pieces down is a sight to behold. He's a mean little machine, popping piece after piece after piece in. The cute part is how he tells us he wants "fruta" - by taking on an inquisitive tone and going, "cuca?" Oh, so cute. All right, just to to his parents, fine...

* So, remember this? Yup, still want those things. However, I do need some kitchen items (fine, I want them. Because new tongs, a grill pan and a new baking sheets? Would make me a happy cooker) - so, I'm willing to forgo my luxury goods in lieu of gift certificates to anywhere I can get some good kitchen items.

* The impetus for the above item: the big 3-0 is less than two months away now. It hasn't really hit me; in many ways, I still feel like I'm 17 or so. Not in the "Life is all drama and despair; if XX doesn't love me I'd rather die; read my poems of darkness" way; it's more like the, "Me? An adult? With husband and child? Running a whole entire household? NO WAY!" way. Ben is supposedly getting me a verrrrry nice gift, so I decided that to celebrate, we're going to keep it simple and have dinner - uh, somewhere? Somewhere fun? Where is that? HALP, please! We'll let friends/family know, and whoever wants to go is welcome to join us.

* I'm loving this rain, people, but it's hard to run around with a toddler and a big bag o'crap when it's just pouring down. And staying inside all weekend, just the two of us, is asking for big trouble and high drama. So out and about I'll be (oh yes, within reason, I'm not going to be offering the boy to Barry or anything), with a special fun-time play date on Sunday with the North Carolina crew.

Labels:



Posted by Tere @ 6/01/2007   | | | links to this post

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.

EDIT

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).

Labels: , , ,



Posted by Tere @ 6/01/2007   | | | links to this post