Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween! (UPDATED)

Max pics will be up later; for now, you'll have to settle for me.



I'm kinda disappointed. I thought it was so obvious who I am today, but everyone at work has had a hard time figuring it out.

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I left work early to attend Max's Halloween party at his Mimi's house. I was the only parent dressed up (and I figured I would be), but you can't imagine how it felt to be around a bunch of Cuban abuelas and the other kids' parents dressed like the above photo.

So, what was Max this year?

A bat!


A very chill bat, apparently:


Showing his grandparents his wings:


We didn't do anything after his daycare party. Between the crappy weather and being alone and his being 2 and clueless about the whole thing, it just wasn't worth it. He did wear his costume without any fuss, though, and had a blast flapping around and acting batty!


Well, till next Halloween!



p.s. If you're visiting via Mom's Daily Dose, welcome! Enjoy your visit!

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Posted by Tere @ 10/31/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Now Review Things, Too (Plus a Speech I Wasn't Planning on Giving)

Behold: My new review and recommendations blog, Haz lo que Mami Dice... Porque Sí.*

Because I know, you were just dying to know my opinions on all manner of products, goods and services (snort).

No, really, here's the deal. Lately, there's been a marked increase in the amount of requests I receive for reviews, free PR, etc. (you know, from 0 to 3). As one with a past in PR, I get it. I'm happy to oblige as best as I can as long as I have a legitimate interest in a product or service. What's more, I may very well recommend things I currently use and love without anyone asking me to do so. But I didn't want to mix that with my personal stuff here. Each thing in it's own place, and all that.

But there's more! As a Hispanic woman, I feel there's a void in the blogosphere when it comes to review blogs by minorities (for further reference, please refer to my rant on BlogRhet). Minorities have billions of dollars in spending power; we are educated; we make up a growing number of the population in this U.S.A. We are people who have learned to navigate between the home culture and general "American" culture.

In other words, we're here and we matter.

And I intend to have my reviews reflect the fact that I am a Hispanic woman, with knowledge of and access to two vibrant cultures.

So! Let's get to it, shall we?

My first review is up! Go read it! Now! Yes! Please?


* -- loosely translated, it means "Do as Mommy Says... Just Because" (or, "Because I Said So").

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Posted by Tere @ 10/30/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Family That Sleeps Together - Wakes Up With Lots of Bruises

I'm really torn about the fact that Max sleeps with us in our bed. One moment I think it's the greatest thing ever; and the next, I hate it and would give anything for him to stay put in his room all night.

(I have never had a strong position neither for nor against co-sleeping. That's one of those "controversial parenting topics" that I have no interest in debating, because ultimately, each family should do what works best for them. Granted, I get irritated with people who prattle on a bunch of "facts" that are anything but: "he'll never want to leave your bed!", "you're going to roll on top of him" (well, this one's true if you're drunk or drugged up), "you won't ever have sex again!", etc., etc; but I get irritated not over what they say, but because they're talking out of their asses, repeating the same lines someone else fed them - and it's that that gets on my nerves.)

Anywho, we started parenthood out with no sleeping plan. How I failed to do something without a plan, I still don't know, but we just figured he'd be fine in a bassinet right next to me.

And then, our boy was born weighing four-and-a-half pounds. And he was tiny. So tiny it was actually a bit scary. Such a tiny baby just did not belong in a bassinet, all by his tiny little self. For the first two weeks, Max slept on us, balanced perfectly on either mine or Ben's chest, our arms wrapped around him, no sleep ever really happening, what with the fear of having a new tiny life to care for, a tiny life that wanted milk from my very infected (thrush and mastitis) breasts every hour-and-a-half.

By the time Max was a month old and weighing about five-and-a-half pounds, we decided to try the bassinet. But nope, it just didn't work for us. He still seemed much too tiny and vulnerable to be in there all alone; and with breastfeeding, it was a pain to pull him out and put him back in and settle him down all over again. So we tried to put him in our bed, but again, it just seemed too big for him. So we put a pillow between us, and gingerly laid him on top of it. And - bingo! He was within arm's reach but safe on a pillow that held him securely (it did, I promise).

Eventually, though, as I learned to nurse him lying down and as he grew a bit more, he began to sleep in our bed like a regular ol' person. Even at 7, 8, or 9 lbs., he was a bed hog, and one who loved to push up against me so that I spent night after achy night contorted into all kinds of uncomfortable positions lest I move and BLARGH! awaken the child who would then not sleep for the rest of the night!

And then he turned 10 months old and decided he was done with our bed. DONE. Wanted nothing to do with it. Would spend hours tossing and turning and fussing and jodiendo. So one night, in desperation, we dumped in his crib all the way in his room next door and walked out (and used our monitor for the first time). Our thought was that he'd chill out, and then he'd eagerly come back to bed and just. fall. asleep.

We were wrong. He cried for exactly 1.5 minutes, and then it was eerily quiet. We could hear him breathe through the magical monitor, so we knew he was alive, but not much else. So in we went, and he was asleep. In his crib. Alone.

From that point forward, we had a lovely routine: we'd plop him in his crib, hand him some milk, turn on his aquarium musical thingy, and he'd be asleep within 10 minutes. Then we'd walk in, take the bottle, cover him, look at him lovingly, and get the hell out to enjoy the rest of our evening, and later, our baby-free bed.

Oh, but we missed him. To be sure, we missed that warm little body that liked to cuddle; we missed those little arms that would be thrown across our chests; we missed those sweet little sighs that regularly escaped his lips. But still, we were pleased at the new sleeping arrangements.

And then. The boy was about 20 months old when he suddenly wanted nothing more to do with his crib. From one night to the next, the crib became, like, hell to him. He would shriek when we put him in, and wail and wail and wail so heartbreakingly if we proceeded as usual. So we had to adjust once again and go back to carrying/rocking/singing him to sleep. Basically, leaving him on his own to do it was no longer happening, and we had to step in and, you know, parent him to sleep.

So, before this goes any longer, the point is that we're back to co-sleeping, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. We put him to sleep in his bed, and at some point in the night, he comes into our room and climbs in bed (or, he hollers at us from his bed to go get him, and we do.) On one hand, I really did miss having that sweet boy of mine in bed with us, and I know Ben did, too. This part of me that loves having him in bed feels like this is a natural part of the growth and development he's going through, and that it's o.k. to allow it because as he phases out of this clinginess, we'll be able to get him to stay in bed all night. Plus, he's just so soft and yummy!

But the part of me that's not too happy with this situation really just wants her space back and worries that this will never pass. Max being in our bed means that Max is wedged up against me, and that at some point in the night, he'll be in a horizontal position, with his head pressed into my ribs and his feet kicking Ben. And night after night, this becomes painful and bothersome and just plain annoying. I want to sleep comfortably, period.

And of course, there is the underlying fear that in not marching him back to his bed and getting him to stay there all night, we're messing up and making this a problem that will take forever to go away. While I have no philosophical problem with him sharing our bed, I can't say I want it to always be like this.

The one possible solution for the time-being may be this: we're in the process of reconfiguring our bedroom (once I get rid of all the crap and have the garage sale), and once that's done, his bed will fit in our room. We hope to teach him, when he wakes up in the middle of the night, that mami and daddy are right there and he's o.k. in his bed, and that he'll learn to stay in his bed. From there, we'll transition him to his room later on.

The underlying thing in all this for me is that, however much of an inconvenience this is, I can't see myself making him sleep in his room just because. Because it's what everyone else does; or because that's just the way it's supposed to be; or because he has to learn, or some such crap-ass thing like that. I feel like right now, he needs this from us, and we should oblige. I want to believe that if we start taking some steps to transition him (whether to staying in his bed all night in our room or his), but we do it slowly and without being forceful, that he'll be o.k.

And for us - hopefully there'll be other babies to share our bed with down the road.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/29/2007   | | | links to this post

We Haz Punkinz

Behold:


But we don't seem too excited about it.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/29/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 26, 2007

Baby for Sale

We've got a weekend special going on here, folks! Very exclusive, very limited-time offer! Hurry before someone else scoops up this prize!

For Sale: Baby


Bargain-priced for a quick sale!

Condition: Slightly disheveled but charming.

Repairs needed: diaper change, haircut, possible dental work as model gets older.

Accessories: Maxi pads.

Demand is high, people, so act now!

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Posted by Tere @ 10/26/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Thief Among Us

When I was in fifth grade, a great mystery surfaced in my classroom: we had a class thief. Someone was stealing money, pencil cases, toys, etc., from students' bookbags and crates (we stored our books and supplies in crates underneath our desks).

At first, this problem spoke to my inner Nancy Drew. A mystery for me to solve! It was all so unfair! Who did this thief think he/she was, anyway?

What kind of person does this?

Because whatever they were, I was not. They stood for everything I was against.

Then, it got personal. My pick-up sticks - my brand-new pick-up sticks - were stolen.

Before I go any further, I need to explain something to you. The day before the sticks were stolen, my mom had come home from work and given them to me. This was a very big deal to me. For one, random surprise gift toys were non-existent in our home. Money was always tight and gift toys were given only on Christmas and birthdays. Second, it was my mom. My mom who was always so frustrated and cranky; my mom who always said "no" to everything; my mom who lacked in the affection and tenderness department. And here she was, out of the blue, nicely giving me a gift. It blew my mind. I immediately adored those pick-up sticks and valued them in a way that I still find hard to explain - almost like it was a symbol of my mom's rarely-expressed love.

And the very next day, when I stupidly took them to school to share with my friends, they disappeared. To say I was devastated is an understatement. I cried to my friends over how my mom was going to kill me, over how awful it was to lose the one surprise gift my mom had ever given me. My mission to find the class thief was now personal and my efforts intensified. I became completely obsessed with fixing this injustice. This person was now a monster - a mean, heartless, selfish monster, and I poured my heart and soul into finding out who it was just so I could ask: how messed-up do you have to be to repeatedly steal from your own friends?

Finding the class thief mainly centered on figuring out who was behaving strangely. Who avoided the topic? Who wouldn't answer my questions? Who suddenly had a new purse or bracelet or hair bow? Who averted my gaze when they caught me looking at them? Who sits in just the right seat to cause maximum damage? And most importantly, who could I catch red-handed? Every day, I'd go over my suspicions and theories with my closest friends. I'd muse about different people, wondering if there was a pattern between who was getting robbed and my "suspect's" relationship with them. My friends would help out by reporting new robberies or rumors or their own guesses.

Despite all my best efforts, fifth grade ended and the class thief was never found. I never recovered my prized pick-up sticks. The thief stopped thieving, which led me to believe that it was any one of the few classmates who didn't return that school year. Faced with no more robberies and classmates who were gone, I concluded it was all over.

Sixteen years later, the topic of the class thief came up in a conversation with a friend who is no longer my friend, Sue (you may know her as "Eva" from these posts). Reliving that time, while amusing in some ways (I was so mimicking all the literary detectives I'd ever read), was still painful when I thought of the damn pick-up sticks. I got choked-up during that conversation with Sue when I told her how I had never forgotten that incident or the way I hurt over it.

It was at that moment that Sue cracked a smile and asked, "You seriously never figured out who the class thief was?" and as I was shaking my head, her grin broke into this huge laugh that made everything - in that one terrible instant - clear.

"You?" I asked her. "It was you?"

Still laughing, she said, "Of course it was me! And you never suspected!" When I asked her why, she said that she had done it because she was a bored, spoiled brat. It was probably the only real moment of insight into her true self that she's ever had.

Sitting in that chair (ironically, we were at Starbucks during a daytime version of coffee night) and trying to absorb this news (and all the implications it brought with it), I felt so incredibly betrayed, so hurt, and so unable to do a thing about it. My best friend had stolen my prized toy. She had stood by and watched me cry and obsess. She had seen me try to get to the bottom of the thefts - had added her own theories, no less - and all the while, it was her. It was my best friend.

And in this moment, as she confessed after so many years, she was laughing. No remorse, not until I said (and it was all I could manage to say) "losing those silly pick-up sticks hurt me in a way I still carry with me". Only then did she stop cackling and apologize; and within a couple of minutes, she had moved on to another topic, most likely her romantic woes, since that was a favorite topic of hers to dissect.

What kind of person does this?

That day should have been the day that I ended my friendship with Sue. But we had lost touch towards the end of high school and reconnected just a few months before, and in many ways, it was nice to have her back in my life. To end a friendship over the stupidity of youth would be childish on my end. So I let the matter drop then and there.

But I couldn't let it go, not inside. Stealing is one thing, a thing that I'm willing to chalk up to being young and foolish. But standing by as your best friend cries? Watching her become ridiculously obsessed with finding the thief? Accusing other people? Never feeling remorse?

Facing all this sixteen years later, and having it feel so fresh and raw (and bringing with it the insight and understanding adulthood offers), I just kept going back to that one question: what kind of person does this?

The kind that can be your best friend even as she is your enemy.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/25/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm Friggin' Dying Here (or, Weight Watchers Can Kiss my A**)

Oh my jeebus, I'm starving. I'm dying. I'm going to pass the hell out. I'm seriously rethinking my decision to use Weight Watchers to help me lose some weight.

Before I get to that - since we last left off, I've still been fat. And flabby. I've lost a total of 5 lbs. since I first weighed myself sometime last month, which isn't saying much. My tactic has been "don't eat so much", which, I don't know, isn't as fool-proof as I thought it would be. Basically, I play with portions and compensate for pigging out on one meal by eating very little of the next one. I've also been extra mindful of what I'm eating and trying to make better choices.

Obviously, while this is a start, and it's helped me drop some bloat (because I'm avoiding some foods that I know make me bloat up like a dead body), it's a crappy plan. So, at the suggestion and encouragement of my friend, I joined her on Weight Watchers. It's gotten off to a rocky start, to say the least.

First of all, I didn't want to actually join Weight Watchers, I just wanted to follow the program. If I had more than 25 lbs. to lose, I'd join, but for 10-15? No way, not interested in putting my money into it. So, I went on Ebay and bought a starter kit that included all the books and points calculator. While I watched a few auctions to get a good price, and then while I waited for my items to arrive, I was basically winging it. It was imaginary Weight Watchers, because I had only a vague idea of how many points I should be eating each day and was guessing at points and portions and all that. My thought was, eat half of what's on the plate and you'll be fine; serve yourself small, small portions, and you'll be fine; say good-bye to sweets and you'll be fine.

And then I got my materials and was instantly confused. I had no idea how to use the journal or figure out how actual daily points allowance. Something was missing. Something like... instructions.

So for the last two weeks, I've been using all the materials as a guide, but not strictly following it. And then, on a visit to my FIL's house this weekend, I remembered that Ben's step-mom had recently been on WW, so I asked her about it. Turns out my starter kit did not include the guide that explains everything and walks you through the process. Well now. That changed everything. She also answered all my questions and showed me how to use the journal and gave me some tips.

With that little guide, I've been able to really start this program. Dudes, I'm so sorry I got that guide. UGH. In three days that I've been on WW, it has becomes shockingly clear that I didn't know jack about portions. All those portions I thought were so reasonable, that left me satiated but not full? Are like triple the portions listed in the books as a proper portion (and I'm not even talking about meat, pasta and rice, for which I've long known that a "proper portion" is a tiny piece of meat and about 1/3 cup of rice or pasta). It just seems that what I thought was "2 oz." or "1/2 cup" has been way off. The reasonable English muffin and coffee breakfast I've been having strips a chunk of my points. My Lean Cuisine lunch (Lean-friggin'-Cuisine!) is 6 points. 6! And I'm alloted just 18 a day! At this rate, I can't have snacks, not even 1-point snacks, because then I have nothing left for my meals.

This is driving me crazy. I also have an extra 35 points I can use however I want within the week, and I preferred to not use them or save them for the weekend. But I can't manage 3 meals and 2 snacks on 18 points a day. I just can't. If I were more into fruits and veggies, maybe. But just out the gate, I'm a total failure.

One perfect example is my coffee creamer. I cannot have (or more important, enjoy) coffee without my International Delights Fat-Free French Vanilla creamer, and I knew I was going to have to cut back in the amount I used (because I basically have equal parts coffee and creamer). So I started to use less and less until I got to the absolute least I could tolerate. I figured it was a quarter-cup, and that I was willing to dedicate 4 whole points (1 point per tablespoon) to my beloved creamer. And then. OMG. When I actually measured out a quarter-cup this morning and poured it into my mug - it was nothing! Nothing! I may as well have poured a drop into my mug. As a result, my coffee was awful, and I had a miserable breakfast (including this cardboard-like bread that sucks) that left me hungry.

Lunch was no better: more cardboard bread, turkey and cheese. O.k., that's not so bad, but I was so hungry that it was gone in a flash. Plus, I lost a point when I decided to add a drop of mayo (it's just that I couldn't handle just meat, chicken and cheese. I couldn't). I had some applesauce to help with the hunger, but I'm still starving. Starving, I tell you. And I only have 6 miserable points left for the rest of the day.

This is so not going to work. These portions are just too unrealistic for me, and I'm not even one to serve myself large portions! It doesn't help that I chose a bad hormonal week (if you know what I mean) to start this.

I have no idea where to go from here. I know it's not easy to start a structured plan, but I'm really struggling here. In theory, this is a perfect plan for me. But in practice, it's such little food that I've been starving for three days straight.

If you have tips to make this thing easier to adjust to, I'll love you forever.

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I've just found out that I have to dress up for Halloween for work (contest! prize money!). I wasn't planning on dressing up this year because Ben works and we have no real plans. So what can I come up with in a week that's inexpensive but creative? I'm not willing to dish out $50 for a costume for this, but with items I can find at home... what can I be?

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It's the last hours of my auction! Eeeeee! Will anyone else bid? I've been obsessing all day! I mean, it's a ton of clothes, people! Bid, bid, bid!

There. All better now.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/23/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 22, 2007

Digging a Ditch (in my mouth)

I need a root canal. It's going to take between four and five visits from start to finish, and in the end, I'm going have a new crown on my tooth. I'm not exactly thrilled about this, but I'm not freaking out, either. It is what it is, and I have a long history of extensive dental work; so this, for me, is business as usual.

But it marks yet another moment in my life where my teeth have failed me; and as you may know, I take my teeth and their condition seriously.

I remember as an adolescent learning in school about genetics, and one particular lesson focused on how what you pass down to your kids is whatever you were born with, not the finished product after you fixed it. In other words, the crappy teeth I was born with? That's what my kids stand to inherit, and not the beautiful product I now have after years of dental work. It seems totally well, duh, now, but at 12, it was a novel concept, and I've never forgotten that.

You see, my mom has needed extensive dental work; I have needed extensive dental work; so what of my kids? Will Ben's genes win out? Already I see a lot me in Max's mouth: his teeth are slightly bucked and spaced wide apart. So can I expect for him what I went through? And if so, will he just accept the situation and be as nonchalant about it as I am?

I learned at an early age (six, to be exact, when I had eight cavities that needed to be filled) to accept the situation for what it was and just deal with it. There was no opportunity to be scared or whiny: between cavities and bucked, crooked teeth, it felt like I went to the dentist just slightly less often than I went to school or church. I started with my orthodontist at age eight; for many years, I saw him at least once a month, and later on, until I was 23, once a year. I saw him more than I saw a lot of my relatives! It takes a surprisingly few number of visits before you don't even give the dentist (or his needles and drills) a second thought. There was even one cavity - a small one, to be sure - that I had filled without any anesthesia.

I had figured that by now, my teeth were safe, that all the damage was behind me. I mean, they're straight and pretty and I don't have any teeth left that haven't already been drilled or filled or straightened or poked. What more could I possibly need, right? A root canal, for one. And from what the dentist says, the damage is deep into my gum. Yay. So he has to dig deep and get my nerve before rebuilding my tooth, hence the four-or-five visits before I'm good as new. Honestly, I'm nervous about the part where, as he put it, "we leave the hole exposed while I build the crown" because I just can't imagine going about my business with a hole in my tooth. How will I eat? Will it hurt too much? I'm hoping I misunderstood him, but he walked me step-by-step, telling what would happen on each visit, and I'm quite sure there's a part in there where I go home with a hole and exposed nerves and wait till the next visit, when my crown will presumably be ready. It doesn't sound quite right, does it?

And with Max, I foresee a future full of dentists and orthodontists. Thankfully, I know my way around this world quite well and will be able to relate to him and hold my own with the doctors. All that's left to be seen is how he will handle it, and if my boy will also take after me in his attitude about the whole thing.

Here's hoping.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/22/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Link Fest

Meh. I can't handle any deep thinking or navel-gazing today, but I can totally share some cool things with you.

Not About Me

* Finally, a blog about/for Hispanics that isn't pure crap and is actually quite excellent.

* A long time ago, when I had a website on Geocities and was looking for similar sites where people would just rant about whatever the hell they wanted to, I came across The Best Page in the Universe. It's hilarious. I had completely forgotten about it until I saw it linked on Blind Mind's site.

* And then that got me thinking about all the sites I used to visit back then (I'm talking 7 or 8 years ago), and I remembered Bored at Work, which I used to get a kick out of. The site still looks the same as it did back then. It was here that I found one of my favorite online diversions.

* And then I remembered the Jesus Seeks Loving Woman site, which I found ages ago (maybe my bff M sent me the link?) and found bizarre and fascinating. I visited it today, and it looks very different from what it used to. Will have to go back and check it out.

* And all this made me think about websites I used to visit but that no longer exist. I immediately thought of the BeSeen chatrooms, where I wasted many hours. The site, which was owned or operated or something by Looksmart, has been gone for quite some time (although, in doing a search, I found something that look like a clone or reproduction of the site. Seeing the log-in page for "Joe's All-Night Diner" - the name of one of the rooms - gave me a flashback). Either way, that site was its own dramatic universe, full of alliances, gossip and intrigue. A good friend of mine (she was the one who introduced me to the site) and I would actually discuss the goings-on of the site in real life. So sad. The novelty wore off about a year in, and I never went back.


About Me

* I haven't really mentioned it here, but I've been writing at Moms Speak Up, a site for mothers (parents, really) who are "fed up with the 'business as usual' attitude of politicians & greedy corporations" - which is so up my alley! I wrote a post yesterday about the immigration raids and how officials are detaining parents and leaving their kids alone, without information and in the hands of neighbors and advocates for them to handle. Read it here.

* Earlier today I was thinking about my coffee nights, and how very much I miss them. I think I would be a little less stressed if I had my coffee nights back.

* My auction on Ebay? Is still there.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/19/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Binge and Purge

For the last few weeks, I've been in the throes of this feverish frenzy that's pushing me to get rid of all the crap I own but don't use. I mean, it's massive. This is not your run of the mill fall cleaning - it is an all-out purging session that is predicated by an overwhelming desire (need, actually) to just get rid of possessions.

The fact that I have clothes that don't fit in my side of the closet or in any of the 10 drawers I have annoys me. The endless amounts of papers I keep saving "just in case"; the magazines I'll get to "one day when I have time"; the shoes, jewelry, make-up, totchkes - all the damn crap - it annoys me and I want to get rid of it all.

It's a slow process, because before I actually get rid of anything, I have to try on/inspect/read/review it to make sure I'm really, truly done with it. It drives Ben crazy.

This problem could have easily been avoided had I never amassed such a large of amount of stuff, of course. But with a history of depression and with a habit of soothing the pain of that depression by bringing out the Visa or Mastercard (or both) and collecting pretty clothes and shoes you may or may never wear, but most of which you definitely can't afford, since using a credit card by default means you should probably think twice about the whole thing - well, it created a problem that soon enough became too overwhelming and made me want to straighten out. Over the years, as I've made great strides in fixing myself and as my life has markedly improved, this has been less of a problem. And having a child, which really makes you re-prioritize, has all but cured me (also, I just don't use credit cards, except AMEX).

So this problem is not a real problem anymore, but its consequences linger. Because it hasn't just been the buying, it's also been the not throwing away. I'm not a packrat in the sense that I just horde everything. The things I keep - even after it's evident that I'm just not going to use it - I keep out of a sense of anxiety that I may one day need them. I mean, what if one day I do need to know about that great exercise technique that will give a rock-hard butt? Or what if one day I need those bright blue heels? Or something happens to my white t-shirt - then wouldn't it be great that I have 6 more in the drawer? And really, is there ever such a thing as having too many pairs of jeans or black shoes?

It's that "what if" anxiety that has made me hold on to things that in the end I'm just not going to use. Or, if I do actually need them one day, what I currently own will be out of style or outdated or irrelevant, and at that point, I should just buy the newest version or look up the information online.

So, the binging is over, and now I'm purging! Almost every spare moment I've had, I've spent sorting and creating piles and throwing away and saying good-bye forever. I'm being extremely harsh and am dumping every single thing (with few exceptions, like with my nicer jewelry) that I haven't recently used (which is hard in some cases, when I find myself thinking, but when I'm done having babies, will I wear it then?), as well as random items and articles, notes, magazines, pamphlets, etc. that I know I can access online. I'm serious, people, I'm done with clutter and stuff I don't use!

Whenever I do this kind of cleaning, I start off by having a garage sale, which I'll be doing sometime soon. I like having garage sales, and I always feel less guilty for my bad ways when I can recoup some money for these things. Then, whatever doesn't sell, I give to charity.

This time, however, the purging is so great that I'm resorting to other measures. The amount of clothes I've said good-bye to is incredible (and shameful). I have bags upon bags sitting in my garage. But I also have a good number of clothes that are untouched. They still have their tags, or I removed the tags and then never wore them, or I wore them once or twice. And in a garage sale, the most I can hope to make from any of these items is a couple of bucks.

So I collected those that I thought were in best condition and created an auction on Ebay. I've got this pretty big lot of tops up right now, and in the next week will list skirts, pants and shoes.

Want to see what I'm offering? This is it. Check it out, will ya? I really want this stuff to find a good home, so maybe you know a young lady who will enjoy these (send her the link!); or maybe you want them for yourself, in a Single White Female kind-of way (I don't want to know about that!); or maybe you just want to read the long-winded explanation I gave in the hopes of getting at least one bid (and I did!), because apparently, any blank box I can type in is now an open invitation for me to have verbal (written?) diarrhea; or maybe you're just nosy, and I'm o.k. with that.

Whatever it is, just take a look. (Please and thank you.)

And the purging, it will continue.

(Oh, and it's not lost on me that I just did a post about a new pair of shoes. I may not be as irresponsible as I used to be, but I still do indulge every now and then, and I'm o.k. with that. A fantastic pair is really hard to pass up!)

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Posted by Tere @ 10/18/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Terrible is as Terrible Does

I’ve been living with a two-year-old for a month now, and I’m not yet sure what to make of it. I really hate parenting cliches, so “terrible-twos” is something I let in one ear and out the other. I’ve always preferred an explanation I read in a book once: that babies/toddlers/kids go through periods of equilibrium and disequilibrium, and which period they’re in depends on what they’re going through developmentally. This makes much more sense and is way more appealing to me than “terrible twos”.

I honestly don’t know where Max is right now - it seems like one day there’s equilibrium, and the next there isn’t. I admit, though, that for all my reading and researching and asking and observing, I have no clue what to do with this kid when he’s acting all out of sorts and my patience runs out.


You know you want to read about my mad drama as I constantly lock heads with a boy who's as stubborn and willful as I am. So read the rest of this post at GNMParents.

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And if you have a moment and don't mind helping me out, please click on the survey button to the left (or just click here) and answer a few questions about blogging and your preferences. It's anonymous and your privacy will be protected.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/17/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I've Been a Bad, Bad Girl

Dear Everybody,

I'm sorry.

I'm so, so, so very sorry.

I've been trying so hard to be good; to be a responsible and upstanding citizen; to be worthy of your love and friendship; to just be good.

But I guess I just couldn't do it - I am much too weak. I'm only human, bound to fail and screw up. I can only ask that you judge gently and forgive me.

The thing is, they were just too irresistible. I was mesmerized the second I laid eyes on them, but I ignored the feeling. But it was just a few short minutes later that I found myself staring at them again, only this time I reached out and touched them. Before I could stop myself, I had them on me and instantly felt this rush, this incredible feeling that made it clear: this is so wrong, but it's so, so right.

And yet, even then, when I should have made them mine and succumbed to all they joy I knew they could give me, I resisted. I pushed them off me and walked away. I didn't look back.

But I couldn't stop thinking about them. I pictured them over and over again; I dreamed about them; I remembered how they felt on me and yearned. They were like nothing I'd ever known - exotic, not even really my type. But something in me responded to them; something I didn't know I had in me had been waiting for them.

I knew I would forever regret it if I never saw them again, if I didn't make them mine.

So I went back and made them mine.

And I know it's wrong of me, that guilt should be suffocating me. But it's not. Try as I might, I just think about them, or look at them, or touch them, and all I can feel is giddy. Mine. They are all mine:



I know, I know. It's so wrong. But they look so good!

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Posted by Tere @ 10/16/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday is a Good Day for Memes, Apparently

All right, not the most riveting stuff here today, but I could use a distraction,and I bet you can too.

So, my girl Balou sent this out and I thought I'd take a stab at it. Half-way through, I got extremely depressed when it became evident - undeniably evident - that I am a loser. Or maybe boring. Or both.

The Meme of Four that Exposes What a Loser I Am

A) Four Jobs I Have Had
Salesgirl at a uniform shop
Legal secretary
Clothing inspector for a local manufacturer
Reporter for small local paper

B) Four Places I Have Lived
Little Havana
Kendall
Coral Gables
Miami
(so sad, huh?)

C) Four TV Shows I Like To Watch
The Office
Scrubs
Ugly Betty
How Do I Look?

D) Four Places I've Been On Vacation
NYC
Georgia (Smoky Mountains; or maybe it was Blue Ridge. I was on my honeymoon; I had other things on my mind, o.k.?)
Bahamas
Pittsburgh
(talk about exotic travels!)

Name 4 places you would like to go on vacation.
Hawaii
Egypt
Maine
Italy

E) Four Favorite Foods
(I'm unsure if they mean cuisines or individual food items. I'm going with the latter.)
Pad Thai
Gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce
Raspberry Rugelach
White rice, black beans, my mom's picadillo (ground beef cooked Creole style) & sweet plantains - all mushed up together.

F) Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
Curled up in bed, dead asleep
On a comfy lounge chair on the beach, enjoying the breeze and reading
Shopping in a bazaar in Turkey
A spa getting the full royal treatment

G) Four Friends I Think Will Respond
Don't think this really applies here, but feel free to repost and drop me the link in the comments section.

H) Four Places I Like To Shop
Target
Ebay
Loehmann's (which I just now discovered and am madly in love with; more on this later)
La Redoute

I) Four Things you cannot live without (not loved ones, obviously)
A notebook and pen (blue ink, please)
Coffee
E-mail
My Citre Shine Miracle Polisher and Shine Mist

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And then Slouching Mom answered some questions about her man, which I found interesting and made me want to take my own stab at it.

All About "My Man"

1. Who is your man?

Benjamin P. Jewfeller, the poorest Jew in South Florida.

2. How long have you been together?

9 years, give or take a break-up or so.

3. How long did you date?

20 months when we got engaged; almost 3 years when we got married.

4. How old is your man?

31.

5. Who eats more?

He snacks more than I do, but I think we both eat about the same.

6. Who said "I love you" first?

He did - I used to be too proud to say something like that first.

7. Who is taller?

He is - thankfully.

8. Who sings better?

Neither one of us can sing, but I think he'd probably fare better than me!

9. Who is smarter?

I am. Or rather, I am more full of useless information than he is. He is actually an incredibly intelligent man (or else there's no way I could last this long with him), especially when it comes to medicine and the sciences and all that shit that confuses my pretty little head.

10. Whose temper is worse?

Mine. He's a total jerk when he's pissed (actually, he sulks), but I have a pretty bad temper, complete with yelling and item-throwing.

11. Who does the laundry?

He does. It's part of his OCD, wherein laundry has to get done at least 4 times a week.

12. Who takes out the garbage?

He does. I empty out all the ones in the house, and he takes it all out to the huge bin I can barely lug around. Plus, I just don't like to.

13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?

Laying on the bed, I do.

14. Who pays the bills?

I do. We started out with each one of us taking care of our own bills, but once we finally merged accounts, he did. Until my control-freak tendencies took over, and I decided to take this chore so I could be sure we were being responsible.

15. Who is better with the computer?

I think he is. I mean, if there's a problem, I just hand the laptop over to him and it gets fixed. But I think I'm better with teh Internets.

16. Who mows the lawn?

The nice older guy who comes by once a month. So, neither of us. Honestly, I don't think either one of us would enjoy this chore.

17. Who cooks dinner?

We both do, but in the last year he's cooked more. Since he has days off during the week, it's easy for him to get dinner together. And when he works and it's just Max and me, I really see no point in cooking a whole meal for myself (since Max will undoubtedly reject whatever food I make, and if not, will just eat off my plate).

18. Who drives when you are together?

He does, but he hates having me as a passenger. It's true, I can be annoying with my "slow down!" and "stop riding that car's ass!", but if he wasn't such an aggressive driver, there would be no need for me to be so annoying.

19. Who pays when you go out?

Since we share all our accounts, it doesn't really matter. But he usually pulls his card out and handles the bill.

20. Who is most stubborn?

Hard to say - we are both so incredibly stubborn. And so's our son, and quite possibly the dog. So we have a house full of stubborn, stubborn creatures. I think it's fair to say that when it's something one of us really, really wants, we each hold our ground quite firmly. The one who ultimately cares least about a particular thing usually caves and compromises.

21. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?

He is. Because he's usually wrong. And also, it's hard for me to admit that I'm wrong.

22. Whose parents do you see the most?

Mine, but they live right up the street.

23. Who kissed who first?

He did, but I was totally sending him signals that he should.

24. Who asked who out?

He did, but he was trying soooo hard to be casual and nonchalant about it that it bordered on indifferent! I didn't even realize we were on a real date until the bill came and he paid.

25. Who proposed?

He did. I'm not that progressive.

26. Who is more sensitive?

He is. He'll disagree with me, but he is.

27. Who has more friends?

He does.

28. Who has more siblings?

Me.

29. Who wears the pants in the family?

I tend to "run" the house as far as being on top of things and making sure we have everything we need (you know, like toilet paper.). But I don't think that's the same as "wearing the pants" - I think we approach everything as a team and try to figure things out together.

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Oh, and see that cute button over to the left, just under my profile? The one asking you to take a survey? Please do! It's anonymous and it helps the fine ladies at BlogHer determine which ads would be best for this site. Help a mami blogger out - those ads help support my shoe addiction!

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Posted by Tere @ 10/16/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Writer Laments

I've been thinking a lot lately about my ultimate goal of making a living as a writer. I know I'm not the only woman out there who created a blog as a way to work on her writing and find her voice and all that stuff. And I also know that many bloggers are lucky in that they get to make a living from their blogs or various blog-related gigs.

But I've been thinking about this whole blogging thing, and I'm wondering what role it plays in my big picture (how it helps me achieve my bigger goals), and also how much it has or hasn't done for me as a writer.

I didn't get into blogging to make a living from it. Given that I've been *blogging* in one way or another since 2000, when the whole concept wasn't anything like what it is today, it's always been about the writing and community for me. But in reinventing myself as a non-anonymous, *real* blogger, I've been both lucky and surprised with the opportunities that have come my way. I've considered it an unexpected fringe benefit.

The thing is, when I think of myself as a writer, I think of books. I think of all the essays and poems I've written, all the stories (on paper, in the computer, in my head - started, finished, dropped half-way through) that I want to put together into real, actual books. Books that people would read and enjoy. When I say "I want to make a living as a writer", this is what I mean: I want to be a published author in the traditional sense.

And sure, I think the Internet offers so many opportunities and alternatives (hell, I started writing like this with the sole hope of finding and cultivating an audience without having to rely on publishers who don't have time or interest for a nobody like me); and I want to reap whatever benefits I can from blogging and whatever connections I make through here, but. But. But.

The Internet is also such a wasteland of crap. It is littered with bogus opportunities and dead dreams. And I worry sometimes that I will end up being Tere the Failed Writer because I never figured out the right way to do this.

My main beef with using the Internet to further your writing career is that - based on the very extensive research I've done - people expect amazing writing for shitty pay. I've lost count of all the "job opportunities" I've seen where the demand is excellent writing and editing, creativity and quick-turnaround, and they want it all for... $20 or so.

Are you effing kidding me? It's like everyone wants brilliance to help sell their products, to generate attention, to build a business, to promote, to inform - but no one wants to pay for it. And yet, you're supposed to somehow make a living from taking 10 hours to create a masterpiece and getting a whopping $15 for it.

Another source of frustration is all these websites that promise "valuable information", "funding sources" or any other such seemingly important thing - and all you get is a bunch of crap. Dead ends. Obscure info. Bait and switch. Really, nothing very different than what the Internet offers in every area of life.

It's not that I expect people to pay loads of money for a few articles or something; it's that no one (except writers) factors in one important aspect of producing good work: time. Those perfect piles of words people want take time (to research, to interview people, to put it all together). And when you divide that amount of time by the precious $20, you're basically making $2 an hour. Which, please. In the real world I inhabit, this is ridiculous.

These thoughts are present in my mind because I really want to get somewhere as a writer. And by getting somewhere, I mean that I want one of two things: to find an agent and/or publisher I can work with, or to not have to have a job so I can really put my mind and focus into my writing.

Oh, wishful thinking, I know. Everyone else in my boat wants the same thing. I'm much too small a fish in an enormous pond. And every other appropriate cliche.

Still, it's what I want. I don't want status quo and I don't want to settle. I want to fight for my dreams. I want to make those dreams real.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/15/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 12, 2007

Random Friday: The "We're Not in Kansas Anymore" Edition

You know you're in Miami when....

This is your commute home:


(Shout-out to the boys at Stuck on the Palmetto, for I was stuck on the Palmetto! But this is not usually my daily commute.)

You share the road with chickens:




A trip to the dog park makes the crazy flyaways go insane:



You can tell the world that you're a cute mom who's also candela (feisty):


(Shout-out to The Hen and Manola for hooking it up!)


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Strange Coincidence?

TFBIETL popped into my head yesterday. Someone at work mentioned something about production (TV and such) in Brazil, which is what he does for a living, so I had one of those moments where a person flashes in and out of your head.

Nothing worth noting, right? Except that this morning, when I turned my car on, the radio was blasting the first notes of "our song" - which is about 13 or 14 years old and is not regularly played on the radio.

(cue theme from the Twilight Zone)

What does it all meeeeaaaannnnnnnnnnn?

Nothing. It's just one of those random things.

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Finally, I leave you today with a gift. Behold my musical prodigy:


Already an eccentric genius, my artiste needs special accommodations to work on his craft.

And this. This picture captures for me an essence of who Max is; this is how I see him: quirky, goofy, joyful. (And in my face. Boy is always in my face).

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Posted by Tere @ 10/12/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's Official: I'm a Dork

It's all downhill for me, as far as I can tell. However dorky I've been throughout my life, motherhood has all but guaranteed that I continue sliding down the scale of dork.

Case in point: my mom bought The Jungle Book DVD. Not for anyone in particular, more just to have at home for the grandkids when they visit. But the other day, she told me to borrow it and see if Max liked it. So I did, and we ripped up the shiny cellophane and popped the movie in.

(Quick aside: I've always thought I hated The Jungle Book. Don't know why, but any references to it just turned me off. It turns out that the movie is blessedly short and actually quite charming. Mowgli is not the unbearable snot I thought he was, Baloo is tolerable, and Shere Khan is an interesting villain).

Now, I had hesitated in taking the movie in the first place, because I in no way believed that Max would sit through it. And he didn't. But it did catch his attention on and off, and he really enjoyed the songs.

So anyway, the movie's playing and right from the start, I am obsessed with the character's voices. They all sound so familiar. Kaa, he snake, is freakishly familiar, and in an instant I realize why: it's Winnie the Pooh's voice. Kaa sounds just like Winnie the Pooh! And Mowgli sounds so familiar, too, as does Bagheera.

I couldn't, like, let it go. It was driving me crazy. So off to IMDB I went, and sure enough, Kaa IS Winnie the Pooh! And Mowgli is Christopher Robin! And Bagheera the Winnie the Pooh Narrator! At least, these characters were voiced by the same actors.

It was only after I finished my research that I could enjoy the movie and let it go. And then it occurred to me that I do this - research and look up and make all kinds of connections, obsessively - all the time.

Moreover, I've been so excited about my discovery, because - oh hell, I can't believe I'm admitting this - I now have a weird, random fact to share with people at social events!

And this, my friends, is like the highlight of my week. Sigh.

Although, it's dampened by the fact that I can swear that the voice of King Louis is the same as the one in the Manwhich commercial, the one that sings, "Mama, don't give me no baloney; I want a Manwhich, please". But I cannot, despite all my research, confirm this. And it's driving me crazy!

Posted by Tere @ 10/11/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream - for Boobs!

I've posted this picture before; it is an image of my son Max, around 4 or 5 months old at the time, latched on to my breast, blissfully sucking his little heart away.

It is a picture that means a great deal to me: for one, I don't have a lot of good shots of Max nursing; for another, it is a visual reminder of a time in my life that was challenging and difficult at times, but also wonderful in the way it helped Max and me bond and helped me learn to understand and really know him.

I didn't *care* so much about breastfeeding until I realized how maligned it is and how the negative attitudes that pervade are based in large part on misinformation, ignorance and a general lack of support for women who choose to nurse. It is, to put it simply, unjust - and for that alone I am happy to take the right of women to breastfeed wherever and whenever they need to, as well as to be able to pump their milk when they return to work, as a cause worth fighting for.

I was lucky - my husband was beyond supportive: he was my cheerleader and helper and partner; my boss and co-workers respected my decision to pump and provided a lot of support and flexibility so that I could do it without a second thought; my family, long led by the example of my sister (who nursed her 3 kids), never once questioned or criticized my choice; and basically, I could give a shit what people think of me, so I nursed whenever and wherever I needed to without worrying what others might think of me because of it.

So no, I never personally suffered. But too many other women have, in both small and big ways. And the truth is, I may have yet another baby to breastfeed, and I have no way of knowing what kind of support I'll receive from my job when I request a longer leave or announce my intention to pump.

The shameful truth is that this country/society is incredibly backwards when it comes to maternity leave and supporting new moms. And this problem affects a woman's ability to breastfeed with a peaceful heart. Whether you stay at home or go back to work, you may at some point find yourself feeling ashamed or worried or sad or defeated - because your partner does not support you, or your family and friends roll their eyes or make comments when you pop the boob out, or you get kicked out of a restaurant for breastfeeding, or your daycare hassles you for proving pumped milk, or your company makes you feel alienated or unprofessional for pumping (or doesn't allow you to do it, period). I never forget that it might one day be me. It could also be you, or someone you love.

And even if it isn't - there is no good reason why a woman should feel shame or not be allowed to use her breasts to feed her baby. None. And I find it despicable that anyone - especially a loved one - would make a woman feel anything less than great for making that choice.

So today, I join in on the Great Breast Fest and add my voice to the many others who are making a very basic statement: breastfeeding is not gross or obscene, and every woman should have the right to nurse wherever and whenever necessary.

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

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Sponge & The Witch

I know every mom thinks her child is super brilliant and special and unique.

I'm no different.

It isn't so much that I am convinced of Max's brilliance as it is that I am just amazed at how much he picks up on a daily basis; I can't keep up anymore. Whether he is communicating directly with someone or babbling to himself, there is just so much going on, so many words and phrases and concepts spilling out, that I am completely dumbfounded.

And I can't stop talking about it, either. I'm very aware of how I go on and on and on about him to anyone who foolishly asks the simple question: how's Max? And I hate being that mom that thinks her preshus baby-boo is God's gift to humanity; but you know what? My preshus baby-boo is God's gift to humanity!

O.k., maybe not, but I swear my kid is such a trip: dramatic, disobedient ("testing boundaries" if I'm feeling generous; otherwise, disobedient), charming, affectionate and smart. Most definitely, the brain in this child's head is on and working. It makes me think back to how he was born with his eyes wide open, and how, as an infant, he would just look at everything around him with this intense look in his eyes. I don't know if there's a relation between those things and the boy he's becoming, but I do wonder. It does something to me - thrills and warms me - when someone tells me, "That Max is such a character." Because he is. I observe how his personality is developing, and I try every day to navigate the treacherous territory of parenting a toddler with as few tantrums of my own as possible, and I see that what I have on my hands is a boy who is complex and temperamental and joyful and silly.

And this boy, he absorbs everything. If I tell him a new word and ask him to repeat it, he readily parrots it back to me; if I tell him not to spit his milk out, he will keep doing it until I get that awful look on my face, yell and stomp out of the room, and that's his cue that it ain't funny anymore and mami's pissed; and interestingly (and possibly worse) still, he is also picking up phrases he hears me say when I'm upset and frustrated - like yesterday, when he was running around after Mia, who had taken one of his toys, yelling "I said NO!" - much like I yell when I can no longer be calm and rational.

Typical toddler stuff, I'm sure. But this is my toddler, and this is all new to me and affecting me very deeply, mainly because I am royally messing so much of it up. This is the moment where I have to cut the cursing (so effing hard!) and do all that be-on-my-best-behavior shit (triple hard!), because man, he is watching. He is absorbing. He is mimicking.

It is simply amazing to me to watch him and how he relates to the world around him. But more and more every day, I am reminded (and am shamed) that it is my cues he picks up on the most. I am feeling much too keenly the power of being mami, and how my words and actions affect him. Getting a good handle on how to best deal with him when he is at his most challenging (or really, at his most exasperating) has been really hard for me. Given my temperament and what's imprinted in me from my childhood, I wasn't exactly starting on the best foot.

But seeing my son - how he thrives at my praise and affection and laughter and how he cries and is hurt by and reacts to my less-than-stellar behavior - is opening my eyes and giving much to think about and work on. Much to feel guilty and confused and sad and lost about.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/09/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 08, 2007

There Goes Monday

Well. So much for having a day off.

I've been dreaming of this Monday since I got sick a couple of weeks ago: a whole day off from work and child. A day to rest, or run errands, or do whatever I pleased.

You can't begin to understand how badly I needed this day.

But as I write these words, I have a 2-year-old yelling "MAMI!" in my ear, simultaneously tossing his sipping cup in the air... and now snuggling up against a pillow on the couch and calling "night-night, mami"... and now running across the living room, tossing his ball... now singing at the top of his lungs.

Turns out Max's nanny is off today, even though she never communicated that last week. The part I don't get is that everyone I know (except federal employees) have to work today, as Columbus Day is not really viewed as a holiday. So I'm wondering what all the other kids from his daycare are doing. And if their parents knew ahead of time so they were able to make alternate plans. And how come I had no idea I would end up here, my day shot to hell.

Oh well.

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That said, I love you guys for playing along at the delurk post. I appreciate your compliments; but more importantly, I loved meeting you! Thank you for delurking, and thank you for reading my blog.

Posted by Tere @ 10/08/2007   | | | links to this post

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Enough About Me; Who Are You?

The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

I'm glad I read this post. Made me think, all relieved-like, oh, so it's NOT just me.

And that helped. It really did. In my fragile state of mind and all, one more click on my stat counter vs. comments and I was going to snap something ugly.

Now, I don't have to. Hopefully. The Great Mofo Delurk Day passed me by and as usual, I'm late to the party. Whatever.

The point was to get people to delurk and say... something. "Hi" or "You rock" or "Piss off". I really like how fellow Cubanita Miami gal Miguelina did it: by asking for a first name and a fun question. So hey, Miguelina, you mind if I rip you off and do the same? 'K, thanks.

So, let's do this nice and slow and hopefully easily: Why don't you tell me your first name (or nickname, or super secret Internet name that protects your true identity). And you know what else I'd like to know about you? I'd like to know one thing you're really good at, a talent or skill you possess that you're particularly proud of.

I'll go first.

My name is Tere, and I make a mean, mean, wonderful ropa vieja.

Now you go. Be a sport and play along, please?

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Posted by Tere @ 10/06/2007   | | | links to this post

Friday, October 05, 2007

Cuban Mothers

My bff M sent me this, and it really is quite accurate.

Cuban Mothers: The great things my Mom taught me:

My mother taught me about RELIGION -
"Pídele a Dios que yo no te agarre."
(You better pray to God I don't catch you)

My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION -
"Deja que lleguemos a la casa, coño!"
(Just wait till we get home, damn it!)

My Mother taught me about my ROOTS -
"Mal-agradecido, cuando yo era chiquita no tenía nada!"
(You ingrate, when I was little I had nothing!)

My mother taught me about LOGIC -
"Cómo que por qué? Porque Si!"
(What do you mean "Why"? Just because!)

My mother taught me about INSPIRATION -
"Si llegas con malas notas te voy a hacer comer la chancleta"
(If you get bad grades, I'll make you eat my slippers)

My Mother taught me about WISDOM -
"Tú crees que te lo sabes todo y no sabes ni limpiarte el culo!"
(You think you know everything but you don't even know how to wipe your ass)

My Mother taught me about CONFUSION -
"Me cago en la Madre que te parió!"(Wait, isn't that her?)
(This one is hard to translate. It's something like - Fuck the mother who birthed you!)

And yes, my mother told me all these things, in one variation or another.

I'm hoping I won't do the same to Max, but the deck's stacked against me.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/05/2007   | | | links to this post

Thursday, October 04, 2007

One Soldier Falls

It is easy to become numb to news of soldiers who die in the Middle East. It has just become too common; the numbers have become too great to keep count.

But the soldiers continue dying. Every day, they are dying. And one of those soldiers is Sgt. First Class Matthew Blaskowski.

Matt died the weekend before last in Afghanistan - he was the sole American casualty of the weekend.

He is just one troop who has fallen. One of thousands in the last six years. One more beautiful life lost in a senseless war.

Yet to his family and to his town, his death brings all the pain and pride that knowing and loving a soldier carries. Their grief is tangible and achingly sad.

Matt was a hero who gave his life for his country. Please be sure you let his family know that his sacrifice was not in vain.

Posted by Tere @ 10/04/2007   | | | links to this post

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What Were Your Essential Baby Items?

My dear friend, PCD, is expecting her first child, a girl, in January. She’s in the process of putting her gift registry together and has been wondering about which items are “must-haves”.

Continue reading...

You know where this is headed, right? Help a girl out and share your essential baby items (and those not to bother with). Please check out my post at GNMParents and leave your thoughts there!

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Posted by Tere @ 10/03/2007   | | | links to this post

This is What's Wrong With Parents Today

Christ on a bike, I can't believe I've just read what I just read. Alex over at SOTP linked to a post from the parenting blog of one of the local newspapers, and the whole thing is just so utterly ridiculous and hypocritical that it's making my teeth ache.

Actually, the topic is teeth! Please be so kind and go read the post (it's not long), but basically, this mom rips her son a new one because he wants braces. She tries to make some connection between braces and spoiled American brats, calling her son and his friends brats for all having/wanting braces, and that this is all because we live in a plastic, vain society (I won't argue that point!)

Whatever she feels about braces is her problem. What really got me is that she does not believe her son needs braces, yet she is going to get them for him anyway. Because all his friends have them. Her logic defies logic. A whole rant about spoiled American brats, about how wanting braces when you don't need them is "odd, wasteful and vain" - yet she is going to get the braces anyway. (And she apparently went through the same thing with a cell phone).

In my book, that's hypocrisy. Or maybe it's having messed-up values. Or both.

And as someone who desperately needed braces but didn't know it, much less ask for it; and as someone who's parents were poor exiles - yet they managed to sacrifice so their daughter (or daughters, since one of my sisters also had braces) could have healthy, decent teeth - I kinda find her words and tone offensive.

I'm normally not one to single someone out this way, but man, this shit just really got to me. Un-freakin'-believable.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/03/2007   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Wrinkle in Time

People never believe me when I tell them my age. I was recently believed to be as young as 20 and as old as 24, which is the usual range I'm put in.

It's not exactly a bad thing, especially as I age. I have a stock response when someone tells me, "No way! You don't look even close to 30!": Let's hope it's still true at 40.

There is something about turning 30 that has made me think about aging more than I ever really have. I'm dark, depressive and hypochondriac enough to spend much too much time worried over how violently I may die, but that has very little to do with actual aging, with wrinkles appearing and my face not looking as fresh and smooth.

And I've been thinking lately - how am I supposed to feel about this? I mean, I've never cared about what aging would do to me on a physical level, but I've had the luxury to feel that way. Having never been one who looked older (and in fact, looking younger has only exacerbated my life-long feeling of always being treated like a kid), how do I face the physical signs of aging? What will I do when it's no longer a luxury?

I almost feel like this is leading to the endorsement of some beauty product, but I promise that it isn't.

I'm thinking about people who - from an early age - are overly concerned with how old they look (not old as in age, just as in old); people who are on anti-aging creams in their early 20's, or who try the latest anti-aging fads; or people to cling to their youth or their ideas of youth and they really just look so sad and desperate to the rest of us. I can't relate, but will I soon be able to? Will the undeniable signs of my own aging make me behave the same way? In the two whole months I've been 30, the signs have not appeared, but I know that it's hard to age and still feel vital and attractive in our society.

And at this point, I can't do a thing about my own aging process: it'll either go smoothly and I'll be able to pull off looking younger for a good while longer; or the lines and wrinkles are about to spring forth. I'm hoping I'll have a sense of humor about it, but I can just as equally see myself impacted by that first wrinkle. I suspect it will be my mouth - I make a lot of expressions and muecas with my mouth. That, or around my eyes, based on heredity.

But either way, I am wondering a lot lately about how I will be affected by, and how I will change, as it becomes more evident - through my face or health or the way my body moves - that I've entered a new phase in my life. I see myself one way: they way I look now. How will I feel about myself, how will I see myself, when I no longer look like this? How will I relate? How will I react?

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Posted by Tere @ 10/02/2007   | | | links to this post

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'll Fall for You

It's been raining almost non-stop here in sunny South Florida for almost a week now, and according to the forecast, it's more of the same for this week.

It sucks a bit. Traffic is worse than usual, most of the area floods, and really, when it's pouring rain, there's no better place to be than parked on your couch or in bed.

But I have to say, this is my favorite kind of weather, and right now, it's acting as a really noticeable transition from summer to fall here in Miami.

Let me clarify: there is no autumn in Miami, not in any real way. But there are some changes. The temperatures do, in fact, cool off a bit (from highs in the 90's to mid-80's, for example); and some species of trees do undergo some changes and lose leaves. The heat remains, but is more bearable; gray days that bring no rain but remain cloudy become more frequent; and the earlier fading light is a marked contrast to days that seem to last forever. This is our version of fall.

Mainly, for me though, these changes are hard to define. There is just a definite change in the air for me, and usually, in my mood. I tend to be more creative and more at peace during autumn, though also more melancholy.

As I try to work my way through these crappy feelings and gain some perspective on my life and goals and all those big things, I'm thankful for fall. I'm thankful for the cooler afternoons I'll be able to spend outdoors with my son, for the natural urge I get to declutter and purge and organize, for the hope that all this will pass and that a season of joy awaits me in the not-so-distant future.

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On another note, check out Target.com's Red Hot Shop. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, they are carrying some exclusive designs from Hispanic designers. Among them, fellow Cubanita "Mami Hen" from Bilingual in the Boonies and Los Pollitos Dicen, which offers the cutest, wittiest baby/toddlers onesies and T's in Spanish. Trust me, people, your little American children will look awesome in these.

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Posted by Tere @ 10/01/2007   | | | links to this post