Saturday, December 31, 2011
This time I am taking a new approach. I will just be. I will just breathe. This doesn't mean I will do nothing and have the world pass me by. What it does mean is that I won't be crazy with the lists. I will slow down to smell the flowers and enjoy what I have.
We are all blessed. Let's honor ourselves and each other. My request to the Universe is that you receive many blessings in 2012, that you be happy and feel peace in your heart.
I look forward to 2012. Prospero Ano Nuevo.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Aquarium of the Pacific is one of twenty participating Learning Centers that is part of the Coastal American network. Their mission is to preserve, restore and protect the nation’s coasts. This organization realizes the importance of teaching and encouraging young minds about the ocean. With this in mind, they invite students (from Kindergarten to full time university and college students) to submit artwork that expresses their connection to the ocean. The student must choose one of the Seven Ocean Principles as their theme.
Winning artwork for each category will move on to the national level of the competition. The national winners will have a chance to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Coastal America Ceremony.
The deadline is less than a week away, December 20, 2011. Submissions can be mailed to Aquarium of the Pacific or it can also be dropped off.
For more information, guidelines and reading about the Seven Ocean Principles please visit Coastal America Ocean Art Contest
I know the deadline is close but get your little artists to participate!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I just believe in great opportunities to benefit the Universe.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Seeing my abuelito taking shallow breaths of air through the oxygen mask, his body struggling to stay alive while his mind was on a trip of floating through clouds with the help of the morphine they gave him every few hours. Physically he struggled, where was he mentally and emotionally? Was he reliving his life? Was he being greeted by those who passed before him? Did he feel us all in the room. Generations of Alamillo's sitting around him, praying that he wasn't in pain and screaming for help from within, praying for comfort from the Universe, praying that he felt us in the room, praying forever praying.
This is not the last memory I will store in my heart. This is not how I wish to remember him. As a child, we know our abuelitos as those who gives us the coins for the ice cream, the trips to the park and our defenders for justice against our parents.
My abuelito was the last of my grandparents to be alive. Antonio lived to the age of 97. I was fortunate to know all 4 of my grandparents and have special memories with each. My children got to know their great grandfather.
One of my favorite memories was recent. I came to visit my parents and abuelito and decided to surprise them with pan dulce. My abuelito who was on a strict diet rarely had sweets but I asked my mom if I could give him a piece of bread. She said yes, so I put the pan on a plate and slid it across the counter in front of him. He was looking down and saw the plate, looked up at me and had the biggest smile on his face. He picked up the pan, laughed and then proceeded to wolf it down before anyone could take it away from him.
Abuelito querido. Rest in peace.
What is your favorite abuelito memory?
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
One of my abuelita's dichos is perfect for Dia De Los Muertos. She would say:
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I am depressed and angry. My husband, the Oracle tells me "Stop fighting it. Everything that is happening is supposed to be happening. There is a reason." I want to throw my sponge at his forehead.
We face Mr. Smith on Monday. What will he tell us? When Mr. Smith states that he cares about the students and is making the decisions in their best interest. Is this the point I yell "there is no spoon!"
I am not sure if The One will make it but I will be there. I will put on my emotional armour and listen to the words that are being spoken before I react and I will be wearing a cool pair of dark sunglasses.
Neo, I need I you!
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
My daughter the tween had been asking to shave her legs in 6th grade and I would respond "Is it something you want to do right now or can it wait until summer?" She said she could wait. That was until a week ago. She reminded me and again asked if she could shave her legs. A part of me wanted to keep her my little girl. The baby we called "wolfie" when she was born because she had a full head of hear and hair on her earlobes (which has since disappeared).
She asked me as I was washing dishes. I am always washing dishes. I asked her to wait until I was finished. As she walked away, she said under her breath "I hate the boys teasing me about my hairy legs." Damn those boys! How can one comment from the male species make you start feeling insecure. Needless to say, I put my sponge down and asked her to follow me to the bathroom.
I opened my drawer and pulled out a new razor, grabbed the shaving cream and looked her straight in the eye. "Are you sure you want to do this? Once you start, you can never go back." "I'm ready mom." I took a deep breath and began to put the shaving cream on her legs. I told her I would shave one leg and she would have to do the other. "Take your time because if you nick yourself, it hurts. Are you sure?" "Yes mom."
I don't remember my mom showing me but I was glad to share this moment with my "wolfie." I want her to tell her friends "I love my mom, she is cool." (who am I kidding?)
She did it. Her legs are smooth and a piece of me cried inside.
And so it begins...these changes of life.
Tito, hand me a tissue.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Back to Aquarium of the Pacific. Everyone knows about the sea life and the sea creatures. Here are 4 things you may not have known that we discovered on this trip:
1. We met Sitka, a 3 year old Arctic Fox. We wondered if he missed the snow or was he happy to be soaking up the sun in Long Beach. Either way, he is adorable and he is located by the Lorikeet Forest.
2. Bring paper and crayons (if not, they will provide for you). I never paid attention to the tiles on the floor that display various sea creatures. You can take home your favorite images by placing a piece of paper and rubbing with a crayon. Voila! Image of the Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker to go!
4. Every now and then if you look carefully, you will spot the homosapien in the tank! This was the sea creature that excited the kids the most.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I didn't lose anyone. I wasn't buried alive in sand. The kids were awesome with each other. There were no fights. No crying. Oh wait, just one. Poseidon commanded the waves to flip the boogie board and hit my daughter in the tummy. I shook my fist at him.
The only problem were the seagulls who kept trying to get at our snacks. They pretended they were just cruising through the sand as they made their way towards my Costco bag and when they noticed I wasn't looking, they tried to bust the bag. They are feisty little creatures. I refused to reward their bad behavior and gave them nothing. If I could have given them a time out on the lifeguard station, I would have.
All in all, we are enjoying our last week of a free summer before school starts.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I worked in the music industry for over 15 years and I had the privilege of working with very talented artists. Some of them were well known and others were indie artists that should have been known. I am in awe of those who write and perform for the love of music. It is amazing to me how they write lyrics and put together a melody. I believe that music transcends all boundaries. I say this over and over. I also love music in other languages. You may not know the words that are being sung but the passion in their voice tugs at your heart, the song speaks to your soul.
So I will now have Music Mondays on my blog. It will be my pleasure to remind you of something you have not heard in a while or perhaps introduce you to something new. Viva la musica!
P.S. I know it is Tuesday but I forgot to post yesterday.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
We (meaning me and my many personalities) are counting down the days left before my children start school. This is the first year my son goes to pre-school for 2 1/2 hours a day. I cherish that time to exercise, read, blog or even nap.
Friday, August 12, 2011
I still feel like a newbie because I am not consistent in my posts. I am like a cold sore (herpes virus) that keeps appearing and disappearing. The only difference is that my trusted followers like my posts and aren't trying to get rid of me with a frozen spoon or Abreva. There is always positive support and comments.
I am a mama, so that makes me a mom blogger. I am a woman, so that makes me a female blogger. I am a Latina, so that makes me a Latina blogger. But these aren't boundaries because I am a Latina mother who loves the arts (musicals, museums, plays), movies, music, food and anything else positive that this life has to offer. So I am a member of this big Universe blogger.
I have written on my children, dichos/sayings from my abuela, life lessons, my inner struggles, my outer struggles. My only rule is that whatever I write be from a positive perspective.
Should I downsize on my focus? Should I be more focused? These are the hamsters in my head that continues to turn the wheel. Will my friends who are more seasoned bloggers take me under their wing and mentor me or answer my many questions and then throw me from the nest when I am ready to fly solo? Or aren't I already flying solo but I want to be within a flock?
What should I be when I blog up?
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I fondly remember the days my girls loved to bathe. Playing in the tub until the water got cold, making them look like punk rockers with the shampoo in their hair. I know I am not making this up because I have the photos to prove it. What happens between the age of 8 and 12? Why does my 8 year old smell like an onion after playing all day? I would hate to think that I am the only mom going through this exciting chapter in my life.
My 11 year old daughter has started to use deoderant this year. She hasn't quite hit that peak of puberty yet but the stinky armpits after p.e. in middle school was too much to bear. But what of my 8 year old? Is it too soon for deoderant?
So I find myself playing 20 questions with her. Mija, are you scrubbing everywhere? Yes. Baby girl (I have to keep the affection going), even your feet, your "pompis" (butt) and your armpits?
Yes! Do you want me to go in and scrub you? No!
My fellow mothers, how soon is too soon? Do I move forward? The funny thing is I was introduced to a web-site Don't Fret The Sweat (www.don'tfretthesweat.com) recently. It has expert advice on speaking to your tweens about "smells" and the choices of deoderants. Pretty cool stuff and for the Spanish speaker, they do have an "espanol" section. They are at a vulnerable age and me yelling "girl...what the heck is gong on with those pits?!" I know doesn't help. This whole puberty thing as a mother is new to me. Dios me ampare....
Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Unilever Don't Fret The Sweat campaign but I wouldn't mind a free deoderant (just kidding).
Monday, June 13, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
I have all these ideas for stories in my head but have not put down into writing. Basically people, at the age of 45 (almost 46) I feel like I have been in transition this whole year. Mid-life crisis? Maybe...But I like to think I am making changes for a better me. If I am a better me, than it will make me a better mom, friend, sister, wife and person you run into the street. I won't be the person yelling profanities in my car because you just cut me off and I had to slam on the brakes.
So transitions taking place...
1. I am studying for a new career as a massage therapist. I am going to IBSP in Culver City and I love it. I am facing things about myself and getting rid of fears (like getting naked on the massage table under the sheets--talk about taking deep breaths). This also includes taking tai chi with instructor Jordan Allen. I find when I start my morning with a sense of calm, there isn't a whole lot that can rattle me through the day. Truly I love this journey and will be writing about it because I am now ready to share.
2. I decided to take the Whole Foods 28 day Challenge with fellow mom & blogger extrodanaire (is that spelled right?) Sarah Auerswald. I just completed the first week and I will definitely be writing about that! You can also read Sarah's daily post of the challenge.
3. I am purging my home of STUFF. Remember George Carlin? He talked about this. Well, I am going through it, getting rid of it, giving it away and taking deep breaths through it all.
4. I am getting my sexy back. After looking in the mirror and realizing I was way overdue in covering the grays (because I thought I could just go gray and love it--not so much), was tired of wearing "estrechy" pants and no make up, settling into "what the heck, I won't run into anyone today" or "please don't let me run into anyone today"....I have decided to rip these chains off and get my sexy back. I have all this great jewelry that is sitting in boxes...no more! Next mission: Buy a red lipstick!
With these things alone, I have lots of material so priorities back in order! Life back in order! Deep breaths definitely in order! I'm back.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
You think that by the third child I would have learned the lesson of being careful what I say in front of the children? Not so much.
Maite was about 3 years old and we were driving back from the store when a car cut me off on the road. I yelled "Hey idiot, thanks a lot!" Two seconds later Maite asks me "mom, how do you know her?" I responded –How do I know who? Your friend. What friend? That girl. Which girl? Idiot.
Ooooh, that girl. (think quick Maria) I have known her for a while mija. When do you see her? (think quicker Maria)—Umm, I usually just see her when I am driving on the street.
To this she responded "oh."
My daughter Maia entered a writing competition put on by the City of Los Angeles. It was part of African-American History and the theme was "From Civil Wars to Civil Rights" and the students from middle school and high school could write poetry, essays that should be one page long. I convinced her to enter it and interview her nina (godmother) Karen. Her nina grew up on the east coast and has some amazing stories which should be a book. Maia kept asking if we had heard anything yet and yesterday I told her that she probably didn't win because we had not heard anything from them via phone or email. (wow that sounds really cold in writing…I was really careful choosing my words mi gente, I swear)
I told her I was proud of her and the mere fact that she went for it, she was a winner. The experience was great and in doing this, she learned some new things about her nina Karen. Though winning is great, the experience is far much more. I told her to continue to learn, write and enter as many contests as she wants and each would hold a different lesson. Her response? "yeah mom…it was cool learning something new about nina…but it would have been cool to win." Maybe next time? Absolutely!
So as the proud mother hen…here is her story to share:
It was a hot summer's morning. Birds were chirping, the sun was shining and it was a special day for one particular little girl. Her name was Karen Lee. Karen lived in New Jersey with her mother. Karen had long brown hair, a perfectly curved smile and beautiful brown eyes. She was nine and it was about the time with ever so much racism. Karen never really knew about racism or the problems in the south. On that particular morning, Karen's aunt Helen was taking her to her grandparents house in North Carolina for their 50th wedding anniversary.
On that morning, Karen wore her best dress. It was blue with a white lace at the bottom. Karen was helping her mother prepare a shoe box with tender and juicy fried chicken, scrumptious macaroni salad and sweet lemonade. A couple of minutes later, Karen's aunt was at the door saying it was time to go. As they entered Virginia they noticed a billboard that said "You are now entering Klan country" and with it was a picture of a Klan member dressed in white who was holding a black man tied to a noose. Everyone in the car was silent. Karen could feel that the atmosphere in the car was very awkward. She had no idea what the Klan was but by the way everyone was silent, she could tell it was something wrong. The rest of the drive was in total silence.
As they pulled up to the house, there was a warm breeze, the air smelled of tobacco. Her grandparents were farmers and they farmed tobacco, peanuts and cotton. This was different from New Jersey. As Karen stepped into the house, she desperately needed to use the restroom. She told her grandmother and she gave Karen a lantern and pointed to an outhouse . In the outhouse it smelled of boiled eggs and it was dark. Once again Karen thought that this was different from New Jersey. What else was different?
Two days later Karen and her aunt Helen drove into a part of town call Rocky Mountain, North Carolina. Karen's mother had given her fifty dollars to buy the grandparents a gift. As Karen was walking down the street she saw a beautiful magenta stained scale that she wanted to buy. As she walked towards the store she felt her aunt was holding her back. She had seen a sign that Karen did not. It was a sign that said "No coloreds allowed." The owner of the store came out and said in a raspy and grumpy voice, "What do you want!" Aunt Helen explained that Karen wanted to buy the scale and his response was "I don't serve Ni***** here in the front but you can come to the back where no one can see." Aunt Helen immediately refused. As they walked away, Karen had to use the restroom. She saw that there was a restroom for "whites" and a restroom for "Ni*****" As they went inside, there was a pungent odor and there was no toilet paper. That day, Karen learned that she was very lucky to have a clean bathroom and plumbing back in New Jersey and that her home and her neighborhood seemed safer than North Carolina.
Karen Lee is now an adult and she is my "nina," my godmother. She shared a piece of her history which is a piece of African American history with me. History are stories that share so that we can learn lessons from and learn where people come from. I am ever so lucky that she shared a piece of her history with me. I learned that it is wrong to treat others differently because of their color. We all breathe, we all live and we all have a voice.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
She'll never die in her bed
Friday, March 11, 2011
As a mother of two girls and one boy, I am trying very hard to raise confident, secure children. Why you ask? That's why, in the words of Gael. But seriously, in a world where our girls are blasted with what the latest Disney and Nick Jr. stars are wearing, dating, going and using how do we keep our children balanced? To remind them that actions towards others are important and compassion is key. We want to assure them that happiness comes from inside and not the latest smart phones.
I take a deep breath and think about my answers when my 6th grade daughter asks me "Mom, does this outfit look ok? Does it match? Do I look fat?" I answer the question with a question. How do you think it looks? How do you feel when you wear it? In return I get a smile with a nod of approval and then move on to the topic of breakfast.
Well parents, we are not alone. The Junior League of Pasadena is putting on a conference for middle school girls (grades 6-8) on March 26, 2011. The event will take place at Westridge School in Pasadena from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Keynote speaker is Katherine Schwarzenegger, author of "Rock What You've Got." There will be workshops on body image, defense and personal safety. For more information go to www.myjlp.com
This is a never ending topic and I have only scratched the surface. More to come....
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I still had to get up in the morning to make breakfast and lunch for my daughters, get them ready to school and watch two 3 year olds. After picking up the girls from school I realized this illness was my kryptonite and I was out for the count. I put down my mom cape called my sister and asked her to come home quickly from work and watch the kids because I was curled up in the corner of the living room like Gollum/Sneigel with no precious in sight.
This mom may not have the "easy" button but I do have familia you can count on in time of crisis. My sister came early this morning took the girls to school so I could sleep in. I am still coughing up pieces of lung but felt better to sing her praises. I love my "seester".
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
How it was used:
Sunday, February 13, 2011
After being married for 13 years (and dating for 6 before that), I have learned not to get overly excited about gifts for any holiday. I have come to accept that men and women are truly different when it comes to gifts. Men tend to go for the easiest of gifts while my "sistas" tend to personalize gifts or at least most of them do.
My Valentine's gift came early and my husband has not realized it yet. As most marriages, you hit bumps on the road and after a very long time, we had a big freaking boulder on the road. We weren't using our communication skills but our avoidance skills were in tip top shape. I was determined not to be the first one to break out my bucket and spackle (is that right?) to start patching things up.
Friends didn't understand what was going on. How could I be mad at one of the "nice guys?" I know, I began to wonder myself. But back to the gift....right?
In our conversation he acknowledged the fact that with the birth of our 3 child, I stopped working and became a full time mother. He acknowledged (I LOVE THIS WORD) that it was hard to stay at home all day and do what I do. He said "HE COULDN"T DO IT." WOW! I swear I heard angels singing in the heavens. What a beautiful gift. These are the words that I held on to and have stored in the pocket of my heart.
So boyfriends, husbands, lovers...praise your woman for the strong beautiful person that she is. Praise the simple things she does to the way she makes you feel. Give her words that feed the soul and if you can carry a tune, sing her a song of praise (and throw in a foot rub).
Happy Valentines Day Everyone!