Monday, April 30, 2012

What It Takes To Make A Memory

My grandmother has been gone for over 25 years now, but the small things she did for me I will never forget.

A treasured daily routine of ours lives forever in my heart, and it only took her 15 minutes a day. I reminisce about it on my monthly post, today at TikiTiki Blog: the perfect place for the treasured memories of my grandmother.

I'm Here But Not Really

Hi. It's me, Baby E, and I'm here but not really. But it is my day to blog.

For my mom's and mine Two Year Blogoversary we did a give-a-way. I gave away my time of blogging that I do on Mondays. A lot of people with kids wanted it but only one lady won it for her kids. The lady who won was Kirstin Piccini and she has a blog like my mom and me do. The name of her blog is The Kir Corner and she is the mom of two boys and it was her two boys Giovanni and Jacob that won.

I want to say to the boys that I hope you have a lot of fun here today and don't worry about what you think other people would think just write what you think because that makes the best posts.

If you're still pretty little and new and I want to say that I started out little too. You will get bigger over time so don't worry. Maybe after you do this and a lot of people will like you will go on to do regular posts just like me.

If you have questions please tell me. I will gladly help you. I hope you like blogging and will become a regular at it because it's very fun and you get to make people happy and that makes me the happiest when my mom tells me people came to my blog post today and it just lightened up their day. That makes me very happy.


Oh, and please say hello to Giovanni and Jacob. They are four. They are twins. [I wish I had a twin a lot. That would be fun to look at someone who looks like me and play with them. Either really cool or really weird. And you wouldn't know who is copying who, me to him or him to me. But no doubt, all in all, we would be best friends.]

Hey boys, you won something for the Empress’s blogoversary!
Gio: is it a car (toy)?
No, it’s better!
Jacob: it is Ice Cream?
Nope, you won a day to answer some questions.
Gio: Oh. I wish it was a toy.
Well this is better, because well the Empress is very cool and she is a mommy to all boys like me. You’ll answer your questions on the day her son Baby E normally writes for her.
Gio: Baby E?
Jacob: He’s a baby?
Well no, but he is her son and he’s her baby.
Gio: Like I’m your baby?
Yep, just like that. So will you answer some questions for the Empress and Baby E?
Jacob: I guess so, Mommy.
Ok, 1st Question: if you were making dinner tonight what would you make?
Gio: I don’t know! Maybe something that you’d eat for breakfast. Like Lunch! (o-kay!)
Jacob: Orange Mac & Cheese (which is essentially Hamburger Helper as opposed to Yellow Mac & Cheese which is Velveeta)
2nd question: What is the best way to keep scary things away?
Gio: Dogs! Or Elephants!
Jacob: Lions! Definitely lions!
3rd Question: Who is funnier me (Mommy) or Grandma?
In unison and without blinking an eye: GRANDMA!!!!!! (Gee I wonder if they like her?)
Question 4: Who is faster Buzz Lightyear or Lightening McQueen?
Again in unison and pounding their feet: BUZZ!!! TO INFINITY and BEYOND!!!
Question 5: Favorite Movie?
Gio: CARS 2 with Finn McMissle, I love Finn McMissle Mommy.
Jacob: the Secret Harry Potter (the Chamber of Secrets) but I like the Goblin one too and Dobby.
Question 6: What do you love most about your brother?
Gio: *thinking about it* I like giving Jacob my cars!
Jacob: hey thanks G! I like HUGGING GIO!!!
Question 7: What’s more Fun being Superheroes or Bad Guys?
Jacob: Bad guys!!!! (and he giggled)
Question 8: Does mommy like shoes or books better?
Gio: Books!
Jacob: Shoes. I wear your shoes sometimes Mommy!
Question 9: What’s your favorite bedtime story?
What’s your favorite book?
Gio: I love books, we have lots of books.
Yes, Gio, I know. Which one is your favorite?
Gio: Llama Llama wakes up!
Jacob: Miss Nelson, but I don’t want to hold the book Mommy, ok?
Question 10: What would you do on your perfect day?
Gio: Play!
Jacob: *crickets*
Hey Jakey, what would do on your perfect day? Jake?
Jacob: Mommy stop asking the questions to me. I’m tired of answering you.
And with that our interview concluded.
Boys say “Thank you” to the Empress and Baby E for inviting you over.
Gio: Thank you! Mommy is she a empwess like a princess ?
Yep, exactly like a princess! She’s very cool.
Gio: are we going to her house?
Jacob: are we? Can we go to her house?
Not today, but maybe someday, today it’s just like Magic.
Jacob: Like Harry! I need my wand to get us there!
Boys just say Thank you….
Jacob: thank you Empwess and Baby E!
Gio: can I call her a princess? *I nodded* THANK YOU PRINCESS!!!

Thank you Empress and Baby E for sharing your space today, the boys and I were so honored to be able to visit you today.


*Thank you, Gio and Jacob! Your mom is so very lucky to have you. Sounds like you have a good future in blogging. We're glad you won and we hope today was as much fun for you as it was for us!

Friday, April 27, 2012

So Why Can't I Run Away and Join The Circus?

Dear Circus Director:

Let me begin by thanking you for a most enjoyable family night out this past November when your Circus Show came to our city. My husband and I took our three children and had a fabulous time.You do a fantastic job of keeping the acts in all three rings going and I love the look of your stretchy white pants against the pressed red coattails of your frock coat; formal yet whimsical. Way to go!

With all the people I saw under your direction that night, I can tell you are a busy man. Let me get right to the point of this letter and tell you that I have decided to run away and join the circus. Your circus, as a matter of fact, as it's the only circus I'm familiar with. You also keep your travels confined to the United States, that's good. While I enjoy travel abroad as much as the next guy, I prefer to begin any circus internship on this side of the pond.

If you're shaking your head already making a premature decision thinking that this is a case of wanderlust, you would be wrong. But if you bat around the idea of mid-life crisis as a reason, you might be on to something.

You see, lately, I've been having these wonderful dreams of flying, on a trapeze, where I swing from room to room and the feeling of sailing and changing across trapeze bar to trapeze bar is so real I can hear and feel the whoosh of the wind rushing past me. After my fifth night of dreaming like this, I knew I had to contact you.

I can touch my toes, and weigh in at a trim 120 pounds. I can't even think about a trapeze bar without a shiver of excitement catching in my breath. I want to sail over the huge net below. I want to leap from bar to bar, heart pounding, adrenaline surging and fly until someone calls for me to let go; and I fall through the air, landing on the strong net, bouncing twice back up into the air first.

Before you tell me that there is little demand for clumsy middle aged women, let me assure you that I am turnkey talent. I could fill many roles for you. I have worked as a fortune teller, warning others that they will fall and break their necks if they don't stop jumping off that kitchen table now. I have performed magic tricks, feeding five from two chicken breasts. (slice and dice anything and you've got yourself a stir-fry)

Though not flexible, I am reliable. I can set up and tear down with the burliest of the bunch. You should have seen me at the outdoor graduation party last June when the tornado sirens went off. I have taught my sixteen year old son how to drive on the freeway, proving that I laugh in the face of danger.

I make twenty-one hour days look like a walk in the park, and am no stranger to cleaning up poop and sweeping out cages.

Am I too old for this? 

Please let me be the one to answer that.

I can understand why you'd be hesitant, Sir, but all I'm asking for is a night on a low flying trapeze. I want to hang, dangle, fly, float, glide, like the woman in the Residence Inn Commercial.

If it's a matter of salary, please don't let that play into your decision: my life already consists of non paid performances throughout my day, so anything you offer will be an improvement.

I also supply my own Spandex (well, technically, it's Spanx, but who's gonna look.)

 Just 30 seconds, Sir, to feel the wind through my hair. That's all I ask for.

Thank you.

Video: Residence Inn

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

How to get your little brother to behave when you're his teenage babysitter.

With this picture, of course.

My post today, at Aiming Low, When Big Brother's In Charge.

Aiming Low, where mediocre is what we shoot for.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tricks To Beating The Shy Monster

Is it being shy? Is it being too focused on the words we use? Is it taking self consciousness and scrutinization to a level others never even think of?

I have felt shy ever since I can remember. Some studies that I've read link shyness to a source of shame or attention called to self as a child, like an over-correcting adult presence in your life. It could have been a teacher, sibling, parent, aunt, grandparent, a ridiculing childhood friend.

Being shy isn't fun. It makes you miss out on a lot of wonderful moments in life that could be created simply by extending yourself. Shyness can lead to being misread as a person. We're often judged as arrogant, aloof, disinterested, self involved, unfriendly. Boring. Not good stuff.

There are mounds of manuals and online groups, even live support groups, created for shy people. Don't laugh, even though it is funny to go to one of those meetups ... I mean, you know, no one talks there, right? I like to think of my type of people as "overly polite" and ultra concerned for others. You first. No - you first. No, after you...

In these groups and forums and online exercises, we're instructed to use a lot of positive self talk and to mentally walk right up to the edge of  that potential conversation cliff and leap out into the land of the verbal.

Sounds Nike-good, right? I mean, Just do it! or, in our case, Just say it! (*note to self: order Just say it! T shirts from Zazzle - make a mint at the next Introverts R Us Conference)

Sound, good advice but still not motivating enough for me. It's much easier to keep quiet. Shy is not quiet. Quiet likes it that way. I'm an extrovert wanna-be. I wish there was an operation in Sweden I could save up my money for so I could correctly be assigned the personality I was meant to be. I searched the DSM, Fourth Ed., no such entry for Trans-personality disorder: when you feel you were born the wrong personality type.

Being a closet extrovert, you think I'd jump on all this how-to and just go for it, damn it. But, no, I stay quiet. The tried and true tricks of the trade don't do a thing to change my behavior. What has worked for me is the painful lesson of missed chances.

There was an author who spoke at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop in Dayton, Ohio this weekend. I heard her address, and she left my eyes sparkling with tears; her message was so moving. I had seen her getting on an elevator in our hotel lobby earlier that day, having recognized her from the program descriptions. I wanted to tell her how her books moved me, but I didn't.

I didn't tell her anything. I watched her enter the elevator and the doors close behind her. I had talked myself out of approaching her, convincing myself with I'm a nobody, why would she want to talk to me.

Why did I think this? Easy. I had been brushed off at conferences by people I admire before. Taking it personally, always. I never thought beyond my hurt feelings that perhaps the author was going to be late for a train, plane, car, whatever. Or that maybe they were peopled out, tired, hungry, fatigued, up to here with strangers.

I listened to this woman's talk and promised myself I'd speak with her afterward. I waited in line to get my copy of her book signed and told her how much I enjoyed her writing and how her message today would sit warm in my heart forever. I also told her how I had seen her earlier but was too shy to speak to her. As we talked, I found out we had much in common; she was raised by her grandmother, the same as I was. 

She handed me her card and writing her personal email on it, she asked, "Email me, would you? I want to know what you especially liked about my books."

I promised I would email her, and hugged her.

This memory, this new one right here, of an almost missed opportunity, is the one that from now on will be playing louder in my mind and drowning out the one that played before it; the one telling me to not risk rejection and just stay quiet.

Playing it safe gets you just that: safe.

And nothing more.

*with love to all my shy people everywhere. Go Fight Win. I love you. 
Image via Flickr cc

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Most Handsome Man in Milwaukee

Remembering the 80's.

It wasn't just about neon cut off sweatshirts, rolled down ribbed socks, or lace up granny boots ...don't be so shallow.

There was l.o.v.e. in the air ... and never was there more of an asymmetrical haircut couple more truly meant for each other than me, and the most handsome man in Milwaukee.

A true story, for 80's week at the fabulous FunnynotSlutty: where we make you laugh.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What To Tell Your Seventeen Year Old Son

Today is my oldest son's, my first baby's, birthday.

The baby I wanted since I was five years old, no exaggeration.

When he was born, he looked up at me and his eyes were so blue that I heard myself gasp out loud.

As the nurse handed him to me, I couldn't see his face because my eyes filled with tears faster than they've ever filled before. I tried to look at him, but it was impossible; so many fat drops fell on his face that when I bent to kiss him, all I could taste was salt.

Well, he's seventeen today. His golden birthday, too. And I want to write him a letter while I still have him within five feet of me, there whenever I want him, to tell him what he means to me.

But as I try to write down something on paper for him to have from me forever, I can't see. Because, just as they did seventeen years ago, my eyes are filling with tears faster than they ever have before.

And all I can keep writing over and over is I'm so happy I still have you. 

Happy Birthday, my wonderful boy. Just know that I love you. xo

Monday, April 16, 2012

True Tales of Suburban Living

The perfectly maintained lawns, the crisp cut of a cared for juniper bush, a variegated garden timed so that something is always in bloom.

This is the idyllic that we see of suburban living.

But, and there's always a but, there's also the seamy underside to the pastoral setting:

That of LandScape Wars.

My post up today, at Aiming Low, where mediocre is what we strive for.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Birthday Post

Baby E is posting today, and it's a special one because it's his birthday!

If you're new to
Baby E's Posts, he usually posts on Mondays. You can go here to read his first post.

Thank you, as always, for listening. He is so lucky to have a place to go and all of you have made his life a bigger place, which is so important for a little guy to know. Thank you for that.
Hi, Everyone. I haven't been here in awhile. Even though this isn't really a place, I'm still here.

I am going to have a really cool Angry Bird birthday party today. Because it's my birthday!

I am one day older than I was yesterday but I'm TEN.

I'm ten.

Two numbers now instead of just one.

I am literally itchy because I have this GIGANTIC present and it's HEAVY and so I don't know what I'm supposed to do. Luckily my birthday party is like in five minutes.

And then I have some little presents that I can obviously tell what they are.

How can you tell, Baby E?

Well, this is a secret: but by the shape and feel. Like if it's square and thin then it's probably a Nintendo game. Then if it's like round, it's a ball. Like a soccer ball. If it's circular and then flat in the back it's a Skylander. If it's small and square and tiny it's a gift card. For Starbucks! (just kidding, mom!) You can use weight as a clue, too. Seriously, mom, you have got to get better at wrapping. I can guess everything. I can see one now that I know is my 39 Clues book I wanted.

Baby E!!

When I was littler I used to want to know what my presents are but now I like not knowing. I'm different now than when I was little.

How else are you different now than when you were little, Baby E?

Well, because I'm older. And more mature because I'm older. I'm not greedy because I'm older. I'm nicer because I'm older, and not as bratty.  Most of it's maturity stuff.

That's it. I like my birthday a lot.

Wait, Wait. Baby E, why do kids like their birthdays so much?

They do because of the presents and the attention especially if you have not only kids. That's why birthdays are a really good thing.

Okay, last question, Baby E: why do you think happy birthdays change when you get older?

Um ... seriously, I'm seriously done. One question, then no more. This is my answer: I think, but I already know this, you change when you get older because what you want gets more expensive like cars and stuff and then you can't have what you want. It's easy to get a kid what he wants. Just go to Target.

Also, I say I love you to my mom and dad and brothers when they get me my presents, and it sounds like I'm saying it because of getting the present but I really do love them without the present.

Bye! (Mom! I'm DONE!)

I like to pretend to be a Pirate-Dragon
P.S Even though it's my birthday, I still can't say the word stupid. So I'm going to say, "Mom, you'd have to be really not smartliness to not figure out the presents you wrapped on the table."


P.P.S. And now my dad's making fun of me telling me that the phone call now from the Weed Man is him calling me to wish me Happy Birthday.

*Happy Birthday, wonderful Baby E! You make us laugh, and smile, and have a good time. Today, we celebrate that you were born! Happy Birthday, sweet baby. We love you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Avoiding Hoarders

I really don't have it too bad. My kids are pretty funny, listen to me forty percent of the time, and we have plenty to eat.

But it's that last one, the *having plenty to eat* that translates to my husband as me take good care of family.

Read how this well intentioned part of him may just have us up as the next episode of Hoarders.

Avoiding Hoarders, my post up today, at Aiming Low: where we strive for imperfection.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month

Those who have come to know me, know a bit about my life.

I hint at it on my About page.

Details aren't important, but what I've learned in this last half of my life is how sharing your story can save others.

For years, I lived ashamed and kept my story to myself. The rare times I had shared about my life, those who heard it reacted with judgment, lectures, reprimands. Angry that I had gone against some unagreed upon code of silence.

I now tell my story as a way to have others not feel the isolation of secrecy that I had been forced into. Far too long into adulthood.

Believe me, your story will keep knocking and knocking until the day you find yourself almost screaming it from the rooftops.

Life has serendipitously weaved its way into a perfect timeline for me. April is when my guest post at Letters for Lucas was slotted, where Tonya graciously allows an open letter to anyone in your life to be shared on her site.

Today, I write to all of those who were raised in Domestic Chaos. I hope you read, and I hope you never feel alone again.

Thank you, Tonya.

Letters For You

Monday, April 9, 2012

Guide To An At Home Fun Spring Break With Kids

The kids are home for Spring Break this week, and since this is just on the heels of our D.C. trip a month ago with our Ohio trip coming up soon, the kids know we are joyfully staying home.

Sure, they could lament the fact that they and the teacher's kids were the only ones in class last Friday since everyone else hightailed it to Mexico and outta this 34 degree overcast Wisconsin weather with winds that Pooh would describe as making for a "blustery" day. 

The kind of day that makes you feel like Eeyore just paid you a visit.  

But with me at the helm, we will not be thinking of all the bodies we know being warmed by the hot Aztec sun. ::cue ugly Lucy cry:: As they lay on a sizzling sandy beach. A Mai Tai in hand. Served by a tall bronze stranger. (pick your fantasy) No, we will not be thinking about this.

Because the trick to having fun at home is in how you present it.

Monday we will be Treasure Hunting Day. Sure, you can quibble, some of you may call it basement cleaning. But in my mind, it's treasure hunting. You never know what you will find down in the subterranean levels.

Tuesday is Rule The World For A Day day. Yes, absolutely right that's what it is. The kids get to do whatever they want to within the square feet of this house. What could be better? Not much, my friend, I know I'd kill for a day like that.

Wednesday is Get To Know Your Family Really Well Day. Uh-huh. This exhilarating day will be spent in close face to face and highly interactive conversational one on one with each other, as we spend our time indoors today: the day severe storms have been forecast.

Thursday is Get Your Wish Day as all three boys get to play Wii and Nintendo till the cows come home. And it really will be till the cows come home. The farmer across the road from us lost a couple of steers to our backyards only a few weeks ago.  

Friday is Are You Smarter Than A *sputtercough* Year Old Day as each of the three boys here take Mama on in any games of their choice. They're truly looking forward to this one since they know I only have a few more good years left in this sleep deprived brain and the sooner they beat me, the sooner they can move on.

Saturday is Let's See Who Can Sleep In The Longest Day. What a way to bring our exciting best stay at home vacation ever to a close.

Winner gets to sit in front of my S.A.D. box for 20 minutes. 

Image cc

***Wondering what the heck it is that Drake is short of breath about on his new Take Care song with Rihanna? You can't fool me into thinking it's part of the music, I say it's a medical condition.  Weigh in over here, my latest post on Sprocket Ink.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Kitchen Witch

I am always happy when I find a place where I can write about my grandmother.  My abuela is at the very front of all my childhood memories. Always.

Because of blogging, I have met the most wonderful people. People who share my feelings and aspirations about life. I met Dana, the lovely food and life blogger behind The Kitchen Witch, through following one rabbit hole of the internet to another. Dana's blog is beautiful, her recipes appetite satisfying, and her posts food for my soul.

I'm guesting there today, while Dana heals from surgery, where I share a story and one of my favorite childhood recipes from my Spanish grandmother.

I hope to see you at Dana's, and my wishes to all of you for a restful week off while you enjoy the 'energy' of having your little ones home. *wink*

*Feel better soon, Dana. xo

The Kitchen Witch

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chewbacca's Daughter

I'm fortunate enough to be a regular columnist at FunnynotSlutty, the premier women's humor site. I have a lot of fun posting my monthly series there called "Memoirs of My America."  Today, my post is up, on being a hairy little unibrow monkey girl. Mustache and all.

I hope you click over and learn a bit more of why I am the way I am and BONUS: my post there today is tied in to a Scrapbooking software giveaway.

Comment to win.

See you there!

We make women laugh.
Funny not Slutty features comedy for women created by female producers, writers, humorists and comedians. FnS Original Productions have been featured by Funny or Die,, and Internet Video Magazine.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

So Raise Your Glass...

Won't you come on and come on and
Raise your glass for me
Just come on and come and
Raise your glass for me

~from Pink's Raise Your Glass

It's easy for our minds to default to all that we don't get done in our day and all that we never get to check off on our daily lists. Besides all the must do's of the day like the meals, the laundry, the house, the kitchen, the weeding; we also have the most important -- like eye contact and face time with our spouse and kids. We also have to find room for a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, seeing people outside of our family, and spending time doing something that brings us satisfaction and peace.

Makes me want to start laughing maniacally, by myself. When and where and how am I going to get everything done? And so begin the thoughts that remind me of all the ways I come up short.

But you know what? With a more keen eye, I can see all that I do that is way above and beyond the average person. So, today, I am raising a glass, to myself, because the stuff I do would make the heads of Hollywood's stars spin.

oI return home from the grocery store with only one celebrity gossip magazine, even though there is no one there to stop me from buying out the whole rack.

oWhen it comes to anyone's Christmas or birthday gifts in this house, I always hit a home run.

oI have done an amazing job of smoke and mirroring my husband and children into thinking I've got this housekeeping gig down.

oI have always been able to maintain a clear pathway that runs through the house from the front door clear through to the back door.

oMy children love the names we gave them.

oMy kids still think I can kick their butts in any foot race.

oI have heard my husband fall just short of bragging about my ability to keep this family heartily fed.

oIt takes only one hand to count the number of times in seventeen years that my children have run out of clean underwear.

oMy children have no idea I'm unable to help them with their math. I remind them that if only it weren't dinner time, laundry time, toilet cleaning time, that I'd be more than capable of sitting down with them and helping them out with their polynomials (pile of oreos, what?)

oMy youngest has told me that from really far away and across the street, I kind of almost could look like a teenager.

oI have figured out a way to exercise every day, since I have no pride in what it takes or who is around. I climb up and down the house stairs for 40 minutes and ignore what my husband thinks is hilarious documentary style comments about my Andean Mountain DNA coming to surface in my middle age.

oI'm never at a loss as to what to wear since I figured out the secret to being in style is to baffle them with bullsh*t. Few things in life that can't be pulled off with good posture and a good haircut.

oEvery day of their lives, I have had a joke ready to tell my children sometime during the day. Corny, lame, eye rolling, but it's there, every day.

Now, who wouldn't raise a glass to that?

Forget about the perfect meals, gleaming floors, sparkling clean toilet bowls. Raise a glass to all you do that no one else can do. If you look hard enough, it's there.

So if you're too school for cool
And you're treated like a fool
You could choose to let it go
We can always, we can always party on our own

~from Pink's Raise Your Glass 

   Flickr   cc
**Thinking of going to see The Hunger Games? I've got some necessary advice to give you before you go. You'd be wise to check this out. My Hunger Games cautionary post at Sprocket Ink, here.


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