Tuesday, August 30, 2011

But, Do You Really Want To Be Normal?

I like to take my children places and not tell them where we're going.

They call it kidnapping. Tomato, tomahto. They pretend to hate it. I don't think they really do because in the end, it always turns out to be a memory.

Determined to wring the last loveliness out of summer, I blindfolded the three of them and drove to an undisclosed location, I took them to a place where they found themselves waiting to ride a zip-line.

Don't google it - the first thing that comes up is a video called "73 Stitches and What Went Horribly Wrong!!"

Predictably, the sixteen year old was mortified when he realized our destination, "Mom ... look around. Do you see any other moms doing this? Show me where you see some other moms doing this. You won't. Why? Because it's crazy. You're crazy."

"Honey," I asked him in surprise, "Have I EVER said I was normal? Have I EVER been normal? Why are you even wondering why other moms aren't doing this? Have I EVER done anything that other moms do?"

Without having to think too long, the fourteen-year-old and the nine-year-old answered, "She's right, you know."

And so their day of being held without ransom began--and ended--with the nine-year-old summing it up this way, "Just another day of life in a house like ours."

That's right.

Too much time has been spent in my life, trying -- and failing. To be normal. Normal, I am not.

Tonight, I offer you this evidence; as I am sitting here typing, I am snacking on a head of lettuce. Whole, like an apple.

Oh, stop it--it's been washed.

Sometimes my children will come downstairs to find me running in place. Why? Because I like the tingly feeling in my legs when I'm done.

They no longer even notice the sound of my feet pounding on the carpeting at 11 p.m.

But, let's just say, for the sake of looking at all possibilities: let's say if I were given the choice of being NORMAL. Would I take it?

I couldn't say with certainty that I would.

I've got layers like an onion, I know, I know: I think I want to be normal and lament not fitting in; but then, at those moments when I'm being clear blue honest with myself; I'd have to answer "no."

Where would our zip-line moments come from, if I were normal?

Where would the memories of the mom who'd run in place because she liked the feeling, come from?

They'd miss a shopping cart with four heads of lettuce in it for the week.

True enough, there are some days where it's impossible to believe that not fitting in can ever be a good thing. But trust me on this ... stay WHO YOU ARE, you will not be sorry.

Some day, your kids will begin to tell a story about you, and they won't be able to finish that first sentence without a laugh they can't control.

My children ask me at least three times a day, "Are you okay? You're acting weird again." I'm used to their question.

They will ask, but there is no trace of alarm in their voice.

I have thrown in the towel on blending in, I surrender, I know I will never be the one that slips through without a notice.

I will, instead, one day be one-hundred-and-three-years old, sitting in a double diaper that has been soaked through, laughing and talking to myself while I stare out a window in wonder of the life I've had; and if one of my children happen to be there blessing me with their company, I will stifle a laugh with my gnarled fingers and whisper to them, "Remember that time I may have peed a little on that five point harness when the zip-line took off??"

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Best -

What A Poet Will Tell You

Our middle son, Xavier, at SeaWorld, age four.
I hear his coaches shout "get in the game" and "go after the ball"

I cringe knowing the shouts are directed at him

And I sit in silent anger at myself for putting him here

Giving into the pressure of "you've got to push him"

He'd rather show them there's no reason to

"Hustle" and shove, and yell so loud

When there are so many other ways to be

That are easier to be.

When told "get in there and win" he'll ask if it

Matters who wins, if everyone gets a chance to play?

Too soon, he tires of the ball being kicked, and the legs that fly at

You with no warning

Of the elbow that pushes to get at the ball they all want, with shouts of "over here!"

He'll hear someone call his name, barely, but he can't pull away from where his

Attention is drawn

His face looks up to the dandelion wishes that are floating in the morning's soft wind

In scattered circles

Spinning seeds away from the field where they play

He wants them to see what he now sees, how the wisps shimmer in the sunlight, but they won't want to hear, or look. he's learned that slowly,

By trying before

He stands by himself at the end of the field,

And I watch

As they all run past him, in the opposite direction

Away from the weightless feathery puffs that enchant him

My heart aches as I see in his face that he is beginning to know the truth

Already and that

It will be me that has to tell him, year by year,

That he will have to wait for the time when people will want to hear the words that the poet's

Heart want to shout.


I wrote this many years ago, as I sat and watched our now thirteen year old naturalist son, Xavier, play his first season of soccer when he was four.

I'm happy to tell you that since this was written, he has gone on to discover his true gifts: writing poetry on nature, a piece that went on to win Grand Prize in our regional area Nature Poetry Contest.

He's also received numerous blue ribbons for placing First with his art entries at our local County Fair. Xavier submitted an original design Christmas tree ornament that was accepted as the official Governor's  Christmas Tree Ornament at the Wisconsin state capitol. He also designed the Christmas Card that was selected as our School District's official Holiday Card.

And the list goes on..... 
Every MONDAY join us… 
Write, Post, Link-Up, share your story and your voice. 
Be part of carrying the weight of confidence, empowerment and share our mission to empower, inspire, and remind 
women, parents and children that the time has come to celebrate ourselves, and our children.

I am working HARD and conscientiously to have Xavier see himself as enough. And for me, also, to see him as enough when the world seems to be telling me he has to be MORE.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Funny

When Will and Grace ran on NBC, for eight seasons, I tried not to miss an episode.

I loved the show, but I watched because of Sean Hayes, known as "Jack."

In this 1 min 45 sec clip, he and Molly Shannon -- playing Jack's stalker-- make me laugh out loud.

Really, this one, one of my favorite episodes.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why I Will Never Quit Trying

August 23rd, 2011

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

In less than two minutes, Ira Glass has given me the words to say to myself, so that I keep on trying; so that I keep on inching--maybe only in centimeters, not inches--toward my goal.

With very special thanks and deep shout outs of gratitude to SanDiegoMomma, for sending this video my way. What I heard here, brought good tears of  hope and possibilities to my eyes.

Thank you for so much, lady.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Childhood Stories

I've written a childhood story on growing up Hispanic in an American culture.

It's being featured at TikiTikiBlog, where I am thrilled to be a contributor.

I hope you'll stop by and learn a bit more about me and my wonderful grandmother, and her answer to all illness: THE BANDANA.

Thank you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Because Life Is Too Short Not To Laugh

Found this "Interview with a one year old," through TheStir.

The footage here is as funny to watch the ninth time, as it is the first time.

Little kids especially love this talking baby.

I'll tell you my fave part: at 1:16--where he spills it on the mom.

Over 100 hilarious interviews with Baby Jose Luis, by his daddy, Arturo Trejo, can be found here.

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Can Tell A Lot About A Person By The SWAG They Keep

Having a blog requires the decision on how much to disclose, post, reveal.

I decide if it doesn't hurt anyone, it's fair to post.

Why pretend to be something you're not, is what I tell myself. So I go ahead, and hit publish.

This past Sunday, while unpacking from BlogHer --  and, yes, I see the eyes popping out of your head as you say, "BlogHer? Wasn't that like two weeks ago??!!" Yes. Yes, it was. Moving on.

As I was unpacking, I began to notice quickly, a pattern in the SWAG I came home with from the fabulous San Diego expo center.

Items like this lay across the top of my suitcase:

Right next to this big red box, we see:

Underneath all of it, we have scattered packets of:

Between the T shirts and underwear, there are:

  • Calcium chews
  • FiberBars
  • Boxes of Quaker Oats cereal

And all that this SWAG tells about me can be summed up with this one item:

Anna Lefler's The Chicktionary FootFile (BEST SWAG ev-ER)

Where was the sexy? Did I come home with the Edenfantasys swagbag containing -- among other things -- the big purple beastie? Did I have languid Skinny Cow glue-on eyelashes? Was there any hot and technical social savvy information from intel, samsung?

No. Because no matter how far we travel from our homes, we're still with ourselves.

And my SWAG proves it.

On the full plane ride home, after munching on the sample boxes of cereal I prided myself on having been practical enough to pack, I reached into my bag o'swag and pulled these out to wipe my hands down:

Edenfantasys AfterGlow moist towelettes, for after those raucous times

Based on the SWAG I brought home, I may think of myself as a dork, but the guy sitting next to me sure didn't.

Monday, August 15, 2011

For Mary

I've had three children, all of which were high risk pregnancies. Because of this, my Doctor ordered strict bed rest from seventeen weeks on. Her goal was to get me to at least 36 weeks gestation.  No physical activity of any kind was allowed, except for the required weekly Doctor's visit.

The highlight of my pregnant life was when I'd finally get to leave my house, once a week, for the drive to my Doctor's office. With my husband at the wheel, I'd roll down the car window, even though it was December, and breathe in the fresh outdoor air till my lungs couldn't hold any more.

As I spent month after pregnant month, laying on the sofa on my left side, I promised myself I would never take physical movement and health for granted.  I knew I'd never complain again about having things to do, because I'd be so grateful that I'd be physically capable of it.

Friends and family would stop by during this time, and visitors would joke, "I wish I had orders to just lay around!" I'd give them a half smile, not wanting to use any energy to explain how very difficult it is to just lay. To be at everyone's mercy for anything you need done. There would be no way possible, to explain in words, how it felt as if the world were passing you by, while you lay - forgotten - and no longer contributing to it.

I think of all my husband had to do while I was on bed rest. Besides the physical duties that fell to him, he also had to become my live-in psychologist. He'd cheer me on, reminding me I was doing that which only could be done by me.

I'd try to listen, and would hope to feel differently; but the loss of mobility is one that messes with your mind.

My bed rest days are long behind me now, but the sting of dependency occupies a permanent corner in my psyche. I will never take my working body for granted.

I give thanks for my hands that were able to clean and caress my babies when they were little, my legs that now carry me outside for a walk in the sunrise, my arms that are strong enough to lift a fallen child, my body that can dance in joyful celebration with a friend.

Today, as I move about my morning, running up and down the stairs carrying laundry with nothing to stop me, washing my floors with the energy that comes with the gratefulness of being able to move, I am more than humbled at my good fortune and health.

What makes my appreciation even deeper is the memory of the time that I prayed for a return to just the mundane.

I will never take the daily for granted. And I am deeply appreciative of it.

This past Saturday morning, my friend's sister, Mary, was hit from the front by a car that never saw her. She was out for her daily 9:30 a.m. walk. Mary has multiple fractures of both arms. She won't be able to use either of her arms for two or more months. 

I'm sure she can't wait to get back to what her life was, one that she may have not thought of before: that of being able to do whatever it is she needs to.

Mary, I am sending love and good thoughts your way. I know that your bones will heal. I also know that when you're back to being able to care for yourself, and your family, that you'll see your wonderfully able body in a thankful light.

In the same way that I've come to see mine.

Get well soon, M.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back To Life, Back To Reality

What??? No parties tonight?

My children save me, every day.

I've just come back from an amazing conference in a beautiful city, where I was able to talk non stop with those who understand about my passion: blogging.

But, now we're all back home. And even though I wander around Target, hopefully, wishing upon a star to see someone with a BlogHer badge hanging around their lovely neck...I know it's not going to happen.

We're all back to life.

As always, my children, save me with their view of life, and reports of what went down in chinatown, while mom was gone.

I came back to this: a sheetful, in a notebook, of things Dad did that were wrong, wrong, wrong:


  • We actually had to tell him to do the dishes. He said, "Why can't you do it?" in a crabby voice.
  •  He made us go to bed at 11:00. And yelled at us for the slumber parties.
  •  He slept until like 12:00.
  •  We had fries and chicken nuggets for like the whole week. 
  •  There was mold inside my water bottle. From not washing the dishes.
  • And luckily I was smart enough to not take the mold infested water one to my soccer game.
  •  On the two last days, he made us do everything that was free to do.
  • We only went to the pool, and the park and a free bike ride. And, besides, I don't like family bike rides.
  •  He only let us go on one ride apiece at the fair. 

  • He stayed on the computer all day and we had to be quiet the whole time.
  • He said we woke up too early, and made us be quiet when we were up and said we ate our breakfast too loud and it was only cereal.  Even pouring Cheerios was too loud.
  •  He only let me have one sour ice pop a day and he took all the green ones for himself.
  • All he did was take us places and that's it and we had to do everything else ourselves: like feed the fish.
  •  And like he doesn't even know how to feed fish: he dumped so much fish food in there and the fish were smart enough to not explode from it.
  •  And, thankfully, he did the dishes but like only an hour before you came home.
  •  And he didn't wash the clothes at all and the laundry room was piled up with clothes and I had nothing to wear.
  •  When we were at the fair he ate good stuff in front of us and he wouldn't take us home until he finished the delicious hamburger we couldn't have.

  • And he really cut down on our computer time.  We only got like half an hour a day.
  • We had to make him go to the store to buy food. And he went only once. Like four hours before you came home.
  •  He didn't make cake or anything. 
  •  And he would walk around without a shirt on. And sit down to eat like that. Yuk.
  • He forgot to tell us to take a shower.
  • He tried to bribe us with extra computer time to not tell you this stuff.
  •  He tried to be cool by saying "lame."
  • And worst of all, mama, he didn't buy us ANYTHING!!

Ahhhhhhhhhh....it's good to be missed. I'm back home, boys. I missed you, too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I Went To BlogHer and Got Some Sexy Healthy Oh!Shoes

I am back from BlogHer '11, and everything you heard about BlogHer conferences is true.

From the SWAG, to the amazing women, to the celebrity sightings, to the feeling of community.

I kept wanting to break into song *My People My People Take me to My People!*

It was just like that.

I had heard about the SWAG. "Was it that good?," I wondered.

Oh, mama, it was that good.

I came home with the sexy shoes you see here.

They are from Oh!shoes.com and I was the lucky winner from the biz card raffle, that Julie of ChubbyMommyRunningClub, arranged. She was at BlogHer working with Oh!shoes.

Why did I fall in love with this pair? They are soft as kidskin, have big, fat cushioned insoles and are dangerously sexy.

The best part? Oh!shoes are cute and comfortable, and are the marriage between athletic shoe technology and Italian fashion design.

Can my shoes be sexy, with me remaining pain free? I was asked to wear them to all three scheduled BlogHer parties on Saturday night.

At 1:30 a.m., my feet looked happier than my face.

Yes.Yes.Yes. These shoes had me sounding like When Harry Met Sally.

Thank you, Julie, for giving this mama a thrill.

I love these shoes. My feet do, too.


You can find Julie tweeting at @juliejulie or at her blog ChubbyMommyRunningClub.

Official business: This post is sponsored by Oh!Shoes, who sent @juliejulie to BlogHer in San Diego, and partnered with the cool people over at Soles 4 Souls to give shoes to people in need all over the world.

Also, if you use the code “juliejulie20″ when ordering from the Oh! Shoes website, you’ll get 20% off!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

And She's Off

I know, I know, how lame to talk about myself in the third person like that.

I'm off to BlogHer, and I couldn't leave without saying good bye to all of you, and THANK YOU.

It's the interaction with you that keeps me working to make this blog one that you feel happy you discovered.

I appreciate you so much, and when I read this Friday, as one of the BlogHer Community Keynote speakers and Voice of the Year/People's Choice, the joy in my voice that you'll hear will be the joy that comes from knowing you.

You are the greatest.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Clean? Clean, I Am Not

I have never spent large amounts of my time being a tidy housekeeper.

Toys end up put back kind of where they belong -- because we spent our time playing instead of picking up. Dishes are put away after they air dry, because we rushed out after dinner for a night time walk, rather than staying in and finishing them. There may be a day or two, or three, where we go without orange juice, or bread...because we had to be up and out for a picnic at the beach, leaving no time for grocery shopping. The kitchen floors here have felt like sticky tape more often than they haven't, because we decided the pool was the more important thing to do that day.

Our laundry has multiplied itself after being left too many days on the bedroom floor, alone...and without adult supervision -- because the weather was just right for a bike ride instead.

After a rainy afternoon spent indoors a few years ago, pulling every game there was to pull out of the game closet and scattering their pieces across the floor, a neighbor popped in. She looked around quietly, though her eyes said everything. I knew she had her hand on her phone, unable to resist reporting to the subdivision about the craziness that lay before her.

Posing it as a question, though it really wasn't, she asked, "Doesn't..."this"...all of "this?" Drive you crazy?"

No, no it doesn't.

Because, "this" -

Alexander, at his first birthday party

Too soon becomes "this" -

Alexander,  leaving  for Encampment

And I spent my time being there for all of it.


Alexander is away at a Military Encampment. This is his dream, and I remind myself of that, as I set the table for only four, not five, and make half of what I usually make for dinner...since the biggest eater and most ardent fan of my cooking is gone.

When you come back, my boy, I am making you that seasoned chicken you're crazy over. The one that's roasted in the oven till it's crispy brown, alright?

Gotta go now, the keys are getting hard to see.

I love you.



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