Saturday, June 25, 2016

You Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eggs

Chickens lay eggs, people lie down.

I remember learning this, but then what about, “Now I lay me down to sleep…?”

Because I'm trying to get through a scene in this story I'm writing and I just need someone to be in a bed to rest, but what about chickens and eggs. And people needing to lie down. 

Wait! Never mind, I just looked something up, "In the case of  'Every afternoon we lay down and rest for an hour,' it is acceptable to use 'lay' as in 'laying' because it’s in the past.

But that would make us chickens. And I'm pretty sure that that no one wants my half-century-old eggs lain anywhere.

Stop thinking so much and get the scene down! Hold on hold on hold on, I think I found something: "The past participle of the verb to lie is lain. The eggs were lain."

But I remember this egg farmer that delivered eggs to my grandmother and he would say that his chickens just laid eggs.

Shuttup, brain! Memorize this now: Lie, lay, lain, is an intransitive verb that does not need an object.

Do you have any water? I feel like I need to be lain in some water. Or lay down in water. Whatever, I am light-headed and I just want to write a story about lying in bed and I need to say I laid down, or I lay down. And to show the action of  'lay down.' I mean, lie down. I mean, someone lay me down.

Ok, it's almost Saturday night already, we got to fix this, get this story at least in first draft. Repeat after me: lie is generally used to refer to things, but may be used to refer to a group or class of people.

Can we open a window, y’all? I seriously need to lay-lie my head down in a fresh breeze.

We're not done yet. People lie, but you don’t lie people, but you can lay people. Or you can lay people, I can't, I'm in a closed relationship. 

For a number of reasons, could you repeat that? Because first of all, are we 'not done' or 'not finished,' we're not bread. And second of all, sorry, but I didn’t hear you, I was on the phone with my therapist who just told me to lay down.

All you have to remember, is lie, lay, lain, lay, laid, laid. Let's get this chapter started.

I will, but someone needs to call my high school English teacher. After I apologize to her for not being more in awe of what she so readily knew, I need her at my side, because I am done-finished for the day and she's the only one who knows how to properly ask someone to place my body in a reclining position.

 * * *

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Call on That Love

This isn't the post I had scheduled for today when I filled out my blogging calendar. But two weeks ago, I didn't expect to attend a funeral for an 18-year-old-child.

The most important thing I can share with you today, is this:

I just returned home from a funeral service for a child who passed away Saturday night. He graduated with my son from high school less than two weeks ago. The details of his passing aren't mine to share, but the reason for this post is the service that was held for him.

It truly was that: a service. The church was filled, upper and lower levels, for a bright and always smiling child. He was a gorgeous child, and had his mother's blue eyes and his father's easy laugh.

 I need to share the beautiful words spoken tonight by the priest, because I know, there is someone who one day may need to hear them:

"Never doubt your worth. The thoughts that tell you that you don't matter aren't true. Call someone, reach out to someone, when the darkness becomes too much, when the burden becomes too heavy to carry alone, when what you hear yourself saying becomes dangerous, reach out. No one is alone. The thoughts tell us we are, but they're wrong. Because there isn't a person who is here tonight who would not jump at the chance to help who we've lost. Feel the love in this room for him right now, that love isn't just here overnight, suddenly because of his passing. This love for him was always here. It's always been here. That love is here for us too. Believe in that love. Call on that love."

Rest in peace, sweet child. We love you so.


Monday, June 20, 2016

There's a Few Things in This House

So many square feet, and a few of them are used wisely. The house we live in is still standing ten+ years after we first inhabited it, and all that we've transported here from where we once were, there, isn't used much anymore.

Over a decade of family life within our home, and the thought of the days spent here brings me to spasmodic cries and hiccups against Father Time as he whacks away at the hourglass, reducing my days of my favorite thing to do: nothing but sit at the kitchen table with Play-Dough and magic markers all day.

But there are a few things in this house, that will always be in this house. And yes they do add to the clutter and diminish the ability to walk freely through without having to side step, but these items are going nowhere until I take them with me in my request to be buried with them.

Let's begin with my computer glasses. These are a thing, people. I learned about them at BlogHer and they reduce glare from the screen and cut down on blue light glare and have minimized my migraines from too much (Ha as if too much online time can even be) Now I don't have to get off the keyboard until I want to get off. So, get thee behind me, eyestrain!

What else will I have clutched in my hand until I'm physically removed from this house? My Jessica Simpson slippers. I don't have the budget for anything from Jessica Simpson which surprisingly is costy costly cost-y, but I have a sister who knows this, and splurges on my behalf. My Jessica Simpson fur lined slippers are on my Dress Me In This For My Funeral list (like you don't have one.)

I will cling to my childhood Golden Encyclopedia of Knowledge books. Googling has spoiled us with its Insta-Answer, but googling has also taken away one of my favorite childhood nerdom activities: being belly down on the living room carpet while turning pages of information on anything you didn't even know that you wanted to know about. From Nefertiri to Fort Knox, it was all there on a weekend afternoon. Google can't get you that. Well, it can, but you need my computer glasses for the hours you need to achieve my childhood nerdom status.

 Little Bear on VHS. My friends Owl, Emily, Hen, Lucy, kind Mother Bear and Father Bear. And my favorite, Duck.  I loved this Nick series more than, Ok, as much as, my kids did. The sweetest cartoon ever made and Mother Bear was the one who gave me my agenda for the day when I had no idea had run out of ideas was desperate for ideas, on what to do with three under seven. When Mother Bear made Birthday Soup, we made birthday soup. When Father Bear decided to hang treats from trees, we hung treats from trees. I needed no brain when Little Bear's family did all my thinking for me, which was perfect because there was a stretch in my life there where I didn't sleep for eight years.

My abuela's wooden spoon set, wooden cutting board, and wooden mortar and pestle. I don't feel lonely in the kitchen when my hands are upon where her hands were.

All three of their baby books. Dates of their well baby visits along with my notes on the doctor's exam, their tiny bitty height and weight recorded with a photo of them on the scale. These books help me ignore Father Time for awhile. Open to any page, and you'll see their first words, their first steps, their first tooth. It was there once, the days I thought would be there forever.

The shoebox of my grandmother's poetry . I see her writing, shaky but still clear though she was in her 80s, and I read the intimacy of her words, I think about how much there is in us that others never know. We are complex, with depth, we share our lives and still remain so much our own. I read her poetry and each time, it means something different.

My one and only Barbie Doll. When my children were little, one of them asked me if I missed playing with Barbies because all the toys we had in our house were cars, fire trucks, Legos, trains. I said no, since I never had a Barbie. That Christmas, with three children hanging around my neck so close I could hear them breathe, I unwrapped my first Barbie.

I hope she's not afraid of the dark and crowded spaces, because she's coming along into that pine box with me. 

* * *

Thursday, June 16, 2016

You Can Sweep: Motivating Quotations for Housekeeping

You were made to keep things in place and within findability range. Deep down, you may doubt that are you able to accomplish much when the people you live with neither show nor share interest in your desire to stop losing shoes and house keys. But with some mindful reassurance and encouraging motivation, you will be that housekeeping winner you know is hidden within.

Here, let us together boldly go toward the lemon-scented path that is our domestic destiny, with a handful of motivational quotations for housekeeping:

Remember who you want to keep order for and why. Answer: for me. Why: tired of losing sh8t.

With some sexy music playing subliminally while you peruse Containers R Us sites, you can switch your brain to be turned on by everything in its place and a place for everything. Rowr, just saying that, is it hot in here or just me? 

Cleaning is fun! Look at me! Putting all like items together in the same place. I mean, matchy matchy matchy! Kids? Come join mama in some fun!

 Repeat 100 times a day until you start to consider that maybe it could be. You must fight the temptation to answer back with probably not.

This is my house. MY house. I say where things go, when they go, how they go, with who they go.  My house.

Don't even consider that you won't spend some part of every day of the rest of your life, not accomplishing one small thing to bring order to your home. It can be anything - so set yourself up for success. Make a to-do list that says "remove empty water bottles from family room." Then pick up bottles, empty them, and you are so amazing.

And first and last because NO ONE can clean or maybe not clean, like you. Put your special stamp on the way to unload a dishwasher. Others try, but few can come close to stacking away plates in the way that you do.

Who's a good cleaner? YOU'RE a good cleaner. Dream it, be it: the one who gets that laundry d-o-n-e DONE.

 I am happy I have a home to clean. I am happy I have dishes that have had food on them to now clean. I am happy that I have indoor plumbing toilets that need to be swished. I am dripping with 409 gratitude for the house that I will clean.

I just have to somehow figure out a way to pull her out, but she's there. Hard to see in this polka-dotted toothpaste-spotted bathroom mirror. But she is there, and she CAN and she WILL get one thing done today so that there is a corner of this house that brings visual peace when my eyes hit upon it.

But wait, it's summer, isn't it? So, yeah, just going to clear a spot here on this sofa from today's laundry and dream of how I will be all I was created to be, come September.

* * *

Monday, June 13, 2016

In the Pursuit of Happiness

I can't climb out of the heaviness of this weekend's mass shooting in Orlando. The LGBTQ community was specifically targeted and bulls-eyed for being who they are, for living as we all have been told we have the right to live: in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Or is this America's lip service?

Pursuit of individual happiness. Instead, when this community gathered to celebrate Pride, they were killed over this very act. But it isn't just one man's hatred, pay attention, because I know that I myself have heard, seen, read, and been where this is a hatred for the gay community. 

Why is my life different from the life of the killer's? I read of his stated revulsion toward the LGBTQ community. I can tell you for certain that there is no one reason that separates us, but I do remember moments in my life that I am sure he would never experienced. I remember being four years old and walking with my Spanish grandmother in a hospital's hallway as we went to visit a family friend. In front of us walked a man, loose-hipped and swaying down the corridor. I watched, too young and unaware to attach any significance to his movements, but when this man passed a group of two older boys, they hissed at him when he went past and lisped "Hello there," giggling as they shouted to him.
My grandmother tugged my hand and pulled me ahead, she moved to catch up to the boys, "No! That is enough! He leaves you be, you leave him be! Enough!" Her shouts were in Spanish but her anger was unmistakable, and the boys turned and hid back in the patient's room, where they were visiting.
That lesson stayed with me. Children watch, children learn. Children remember. 


With the horrific deaths from this weekend, it is surreal that I am here, on this day, packing a lunch for summer camp and listening to my oldest get ready for work, all with the murmuring of my husband on a conference call. This is our pursuit of what makes us happy. And no one shoots us
My family is left to be who we are, no one seeks to harm us our spot us out. Other than a comment years ago, when someone questioned my husband, “You seem like a nice guy, why would you marry a Mexican?" we are able to move and do without worry of someone finding us to make us disappear.

I'm walking in my sundress and flip flops, ready to run errands, only one day later after reading headlines that made me shake my head and swallow away a lump in my throat. The news of 50 people killed for being LGBTQ and 53 injured, red-circled because of a murderer's rage against this community.

I cannot speak for the loss on a personal level, and it's not mine to crown myself knowing what it feels like to be part of something that people attempt to smother out of existence. But I feel the pain in my friends' posts and I know that I have many people in my life whom I love deeply who have been cut to their hearts with this mass shooting.

I have read every heartbreaking post that has been shared, and I have shared so that the voices that need to be heard, I can help with that in a small way. I know that while my world goes on, for the ones who lost the unimaginable this weekend, it doesn't. My eyes this morning opened to a day ahead filled with caring for the ones I love, while someone else's eyes stared into darkness, hearts frozen with the realization that their nightmare has no escape: today brings reality.

I don't know what to do, other than to stop everyone I know and grab their arm to listen to me. Teach your children to love! It sounds minimalistic, but we have to. Not that I think this will be a cure-all or the one thing to fix everything, but along the way, if we ourselves remember to do the same, we can maybe make things safer for everyone. If you hear someone belittle, mock, whisper or speak in any manner that ridicules or reduces – or hear and see the ugly, spitting hate – to our LGBTQ family, stop them. Teach your children to say something, help them by giving them the words to stand for what you stand for.

Teach your children. From the earliest days of their lives, be clear about what is not allowed when speaking about other human beings. And I don't mean with the use of 'comfortable' words of “tolerance” and “co-exist.” We tolerate those who are annoying, and we co-exist with a bossy co-worker, but we don't tolerate people we love and share lives with.

Toss out the words like 'tolerance' and gather everyone in who is already pushed to the sides and made to fight for being who they are. We are free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, aren't we? But this weekend shows that's not true for everyone. So we can work to help in our own small way, make it possible with our own acts, because nowhere is it written “only if people are like you.”

Your children see what you do and to whom you do it to. Don't think they don't watch, and absolutely don't think that they don't listen. They learn at home. Don't let them leave until you're sure they'll do this world right. 
I love you all. I love my friends who are LGBTQ, and are my family. My heart breaks with how this must feel for you and how this strikes at who you are.

I love you, and I hear and see you.
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