I own all the content and pictures on this site, except where noted. If you steal anything from me, and
especially if you do anything mean or inappropriate with them, I will find you. Then I'll sue you for
theft, slander, libel and any other law that applies. Then I'll ridicule you in humiliating ways
here and everywhere else I contribute to. If you fuck with me, I'll get get all Gladiator on your ass
and unleash hell. Think I'm kidding? So did my a couple of my exes, my old neighbors, as well as
some assholes who ripped me off on Ebay, and last I heard, they were all still trying to undo the
damage I caused.
I was in the elevator at work today, secretly pleased with how smart and professional I looked in my very cute outfit, when a guy who was riding with me - not anyone who seemed familiar, so perhaps he was a client for one of the businesses in the building - pointed at my finger and said, "aw, how cute; were you out of Barbie band-aids?"
I'm sure the douche bag thought he was being funny, but he failed.
What he was pointing at was a Spiderman band-aid I have wrapped around my middle finger, a not-altogether-successful attempt at protecting a nail that's broken below the line and threatens to hurt like hell if it rips off and takes with it the soft flesh.
So while I rolled my eyes at the guy and shook my head at him, inside I acknowledged the incongruity of a nicely dressed professional woman with a blue and red Spiderman band-aid.
What I couldn't tell the man - what I wouldn't tell him even he hadn't been such an ass - is that what he saw pretty much sums up what I am today: a woman struggling to be professional and together and "on top of it" but also marked in every way by the boy who's stolen her heart.
The only band-aids in the house (aside from the big ones for those more serious cuts) are of Spiderman and pirates. Much like there are wipes and snacks and emergency pacifier in all my purses; like my work notes are punctuated by reminders to make a doctor's appointment or talk to the nanny or look into getting a Curious George DVD; like I put on my jacket only to find stickers pasted on it; like I can't sit at my desk and stare out and see the Metro Rail without hearing a squeaky, high-pitched voice shouting, "Mami, look! Choo-choo train!"
My life is touched in every way by this boy of mine, so that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, he is there. It is not just the clutter of books, dolphins, sharks, whales, dinosaurs, trucks, cars, and trains that are constantly underfoot and in my tub and in my car; nor is it the yelling and jumping and throwing. It is simply that the "boyness" is in everything. I am now living a boy's life - and coming from a home that was all girls, this is new, unchartered territory for me.
That man in the elevator didn't know that I would wear my Spiderman band-aid any day over any other kind. He couldn't even guess that I manage to do my job well and do the best I can with my life, all while keeping an image in my mind of a little boy shouting and jumping excitedly over a new discovery or rushing into my arms for a quick, hard, chummy hug. He has no clue what it means to be Max's mother and that it is Max and only Max who keeps me going and trying and believing.
This is indeed unchartered territory for me - in so, so many ways. But damn, what a journey this is turning out to be: joyful, hilarious and heartbreakingly fleeting.
Does not care that Mami likes wearing nice professional clothes and sitting in an office.
I hate being pitied. You can dislike me, hate me, have no use for me, but you can't pity me. There is something about pity that reeks of humiliation to me; and I, well, I feel humiliated well enough on my own, and don't need anyone else to add to that.
I suppose I have such strong feelings about "pity" because I know what I feel like when I pity someone - a mixture of sadness and heartbreak - and worse, I know what it's like to have pity be the emotion that moves me to do and be things I don't really want to be or do.
So I suppose I should find it a bit humorous (and I do) to find myself wallowing in self-pity lately. Oh sure, it comes and goes and hasn't yet come on strong enough for me to feel too badly yet, but that's just around the corner. I see many days of self-pity stretching before me, and frankly, I'm annoyed at myself. I hate feeling this; I hate allowing myself to feel this; I hate writing about this; I hate that I'm powerless against the feeling and have no choice but to ride it out as best as I can.
And that's the thing with me: in life, there is much for which we have no choice, and it's hard for me to accept that. It's hard for me to feel emotions I simply don't want to feel. And just like we can banish unwanted thoughts, I wish I could banish unwanted feelings.
Like self-pity. Like self-doubt. Like worthlessness. Like fear.
While Max was playing in the living room this afternoon, I was in my bedroom getting ready, putting the finishing touches by dabbing perfume and slipping a bracelet on. He wandered in, calling, "Mami, what you doing?", to which I responded that I was getting ready.
When he came up to me, I looked down at him and smiled.
I have this ongoing private joke with myself that I am much like Sisyphus, forever pushing my own kind of boulder up a hill, and forever watching it roll right back down, so that I must start over. And over. And over.
The thing is, I'm kinda tired of the whole thing. I'm tired of my boulder(s), or at least, of the never-ending task of rolling it up, only to have it roll right down again.
Looking back over the last year or so - possibly more - I feel the weight of everything, of these metaphorical boulders and the toll this task has taken on me.
I sound like I'm pitying myself, don't I? Maybe I am, just a little bit. Humor me on this one. I'm going through stuff that has me feeling tired and overwhelmed and weighed down. And most importantly, I'm feeling like the role of Sisyphus is one I can no longer play.
The boulders are crushing me, and it's time I save myself.
(Sorry - I don't mean to sound so melodramatic; it's late and I feel like shit. This is the best I can do right now.)
Spring! I'm a total sucker for the newness of nature at this time of year. I'm distracted, starting at trees with new blooms and flowers with tiny buds. I'm dying over the scent of my neighbor's four huge gardenia plants.
So here are my fruit trees/plants as they looked last week.
First, the banana trees. I have four (possibly five). It currently has two huge bushels of bananas. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to eat any yet because they don't seem to ripen. I had another bushel cut off while it was green and they never ripened. I have to study up some on this species and see what the deal is.
Next, the pineapples. I have 10 plants and seven currently have fruit. They're adorable. I love these.
My pride and joy: the mango tree. Here are some itty bitty babies that will soon be luscious mangoes.
Some bigger ones. I've got one that's ripe and ready to drop. It's not yet mango season, but this tree bears some April mangoes and then really bursts in June/July.
Partial view of the tree and part of the backyard.
But I was gone these last couple of days. Gone, as in, I flew. On a plane. Two planes, actually. Both were those tiny puddle jumpers that make you feel like it's the first plane ever built and you're on the test ride.
The flight back was among the worst I've ever been on. The ascent was awful and the descent worse: sudden drops and constant fishtailing. I saw the light a few times.
But I'm back. I was greeted by a yummy boy who once again shrieked when he saw me and chatted nonstop on the drive home. I've already heard about how he played in his grandparents' "park", how he played with a ball, how he ate his dinner and wants night-night. It is, I'm sure, the loveliest kind of homecoming.
Alas, I have four more trips in the next five months. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
You'll have to forgive me, people, but my *real* life has gotten in the way of my blogging (I know - how dare it?!). Work is crazy busy (this is a good thing, I swear), and Max has been, um, a bigger pain in my arse than usual lately (beautifully angsty post about that coming up!) - and the result is that I'm too preoccupied and/or tired to fire the computer (and my brain) up.
By the way, can someone tell me why I'm always so apologetic and eager to share excuses when I slack on my writing? No offense, but I don't owe any - but that Cuban/Catholic guilt is one powerful beast, for as I write this I'm like, "oh crap, I gave my readers some attitude there! Sorry! FORGIVE MEEEEE!"
I hope to dedicate a portion of today to writing up some stuff I've been wanting to get to, but for now, I'm sending you here:
I've been waiting for a book like Healthy Child Healthy World. Granted, something similar may have already existed and I just didn't know about it, but this book practically hit me on the head - and when I got the chance to read and review it, I knew I couldn't pass it up.
I think many parents have been waiting for a reference book like this. Written by Christopher Gavigan, Executive Director/CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, an organization dedicated to protecting children from environmental hazards.
The book is a resource of useful information on a wide variety of topics that affect our health and well-being. It is educational in the facts it provides but uiseful because it tells you what you can do to lead a healthier life. From the water we drink to the products we use to clean to the energy we use - everything is covered here.
The book also features short articles by celebrities on topics close to them (like Tobey Maguire on finding safe, non-toxic interior paint for his house or Vanessa Williams sharing her mission to use chemical-free beauty products). There are also pieces by experts on more specific matters to expand on a point made in a given chapter.
There are a few thoughts about the content in this book I want to share.
You know how you have those moments where you're so wrapped up in what you're doing that you end up talking out loud when you meant to keep it inside, and as a result say something you shouldn't say and end up with some 'splaining to do?
So I'm sitting at the computer, and Ben is next to me, indulging in some video games (we're having a rare, Max-free moment here). I've got four tabs open, all of them different websites dealing with various topics. I'm working all four at the same time.
I suddenly remember that I need to open one more tab to take care of something very important. I open the tab and click back to an email I'm working on. After a few minutes of intense writing, I go back to the blank tab and draw my own blank. Why did I open it again? It was something important, something very important. Oh, yeah!
"I need some shoes," I mutter.
There is dead silence next to me as Ben pauses whatever crap game he's playing. He turns ever-so-slowly towards me and practically shouts: "What?" His face is greenish, and it looks like his heart might've stopped a little.
Oops. He wasn't supposed to hear that.
Now he keeps turning and leaning back, trying to see what I'm doing, trying to see if he can catch me on a shoe website, doing something I shouldn't be doing.
But I do need shoes. Open-toed brown ones, with a heel that's not too high and not too low, for work. I have none. I swear.
I'm taking suggestions if you know of any cute ones that might fit the bill.