Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Faith

“Hello, my name is Monica, and I am unemployed.  It has been six months since I held my last job…” 
I cannot believe it has been that long.

Not that I have been idle, far from it.  Going to school, applying for work, taking care of my kids and my health has all taken a toll.

The picture could not be painted more clearly: Yes, the economy DOES suck.

However, life could not be better.

When I was little, my mom used to always say, “God does not give you more than you can handle.”  I don’t think that is necessarily true.  I believe God hands you the tools to endure life’s tribulations.  But as with everything, we have a choice as to what decision we will make. 

I am not going to lie.  When I discovered my unemployment compensation ran out this past weekend, I was incredibly worried.  How were we going to pay rent? Eat? Have enough gas to get to where we needed to be? Pay electricity?  Afford prescriptions?  WHY ME???  I wallowed in self-pity.

Then, I snapped out of it.  I started making a plan.  Our family had survived on one income in the past, even less than now, so I knew we could do it again.  Sacrifices needed to be made, but starvation and homelessness would not be the end result.

I do spend an incredible chunk of my time with my children, and since they are my most precious gifts, I am content.  The time will soon come when their friends will seem to know everything, so now is the time for me to impart all my wisdom.  They seem to be asking a lot of me lately, so perhaps staying home is a good idea for now. 

I have accepted where I am, but that does not mean I have settled.  I am thankful for the opportunities time off has afforded me.  While schoolwork (and housework – BARF) rule my life, and I have not received as many call backs for jobs as I am accustomed to, I figure it is all in God’s plan.  And I am okay with that.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Anchor Baby EStories: Board Games: Do They Cause Sarcasm?

Anchor Baby EStories: Board Games: Do They Cause Sarcasm?: Harry Potter Clue Playing a board game as a family is not like in the movies. It is not all fun and games. Well, not in my house anyway...

Board Games: Do They Cause Sarcasm?

Harry Potter Clue
Playing a board game as a family is not like in the movies.  It is not all fun and games.  Well, not in my house anyway.  Guess what I am doing right now?  I am ignoring my children as they argue with each other over a game of Harry Potter Clue.

"Ignoring children?  What a horrible parent!"  I can hear the reproach from here.  I figure my kids need to learn to argue effectively to be in good relationships in the future.  It's not like they are toddlers, so no tantrums are allowed (unless they are mine).

To my chagrin, they ARE using their words...unfortunately, it's in a loud and sarcastic way.  I have only myself to blame for that one.  Still, pretty soon I will lose my patience (or my hearing, not sure which will go first) and I will have to end the "fun" the way only this mom knows how: time to put the game away.  And then I will get, "But Mommy..." as if I haven't heard all their excuses already.

Sometimes, it is a struggle to get my almost-middle-schoolers to treat each other with respect.  Then again, I wasn't exactly a princess towards my brothers.  Maybe my plan IS working.  They just finished their first game, and are starting their second.  Let's see how many insults I hear this time!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Been Gone Long Time

It has been FOREVER since I have posted anything.  I am actually quite ashamed to not have kept up with my personal posts.  Have I just lost interest and no longer want to write?  No, it is just life that has ruled my little universe.

Number one: Football season.  This was my son's 4th year and he has become a little beast.  He has a stocky build and is not afraid to use it.  Fearless.  His adrenaline pumps as he smashes through the line and tackles someone down.  With practices being held three days a week and games on Sunday, I had no time for anything else.

Number two: College.  I upped the ante and hit the books.  Three classes to the start of a new working career.  The end is near for the semester, and I am so happy to have made the decision to return to school.   

Number three: Elementary School.  I have always been room mom for one of my kids classes, but this year, I got the privilege to be host to TWO classrooms.  Not as many parents are able to donate their time or money due to finances, and I was not going to leave those kids hanging.  I just helped out yesterday with the book fair, and let me tell you, it is so much fun helping the kids pick out books!

Number four: Family and Friends.  I had the pleasure of meeting my nephew, Rylie, for the first time.  The little bundle of 6-year-old energy was a blast to hang around with in Pennsylvania.  I cannot remember the last time I had played with Transformers or Legos.  Fun times.  Many friends were also having babies, so visiting them held my baby urges at bay :)

And finally, number five: Reading and Writing.  I have been trying to catch up on my reading.  I have a HUGE stack of TBR books, and it has only gotten bigger as I find new books to read.  The writing has taken form as a book review and an article for the school paper.  Might as well throw myself in there, right?

Okay, enough excuses.  I promise to write on a more consistent basis.  At least post once a week, if only to keep my sanity.  I have so many drafts saved of events I was going to post, I just need to step it up and finish the darn things.  Until next time...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Kids Are All Right

There's so much hate in the world, sometimes you wonder if you're children are going to turn out all right.

Every day there are newscasts filled with stories of discrimination, abuse, rape and murder. Even at school you hear kids mimic what you can only assume they learned at home.

No matter how much you try to teach your offspring to do what's right, there is temptation out there to go another way. Amidst all this, are any of your lessons getting through?

I'd like to think so. Since I've lost my job, we've had to cut back on certain things, including allowance and things our children are used to getting (like video games). Instead, we split up our change between the children.

My son wanted to know how much he had amassed, so we took his change to the bank and he had a grand total of $15.36. Did he want a video game? Pokemon cards?

"I want to give my money to kids with cancer." I'd say they are turning out all right. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Algebra...Dislike!

I hate math.

It seems like the easiest thing in the world while you watch someone else do it. I leave class pumped, "Yeah *itch! I got this..."

Then I get home - BLANK.

Sigh. I know the solution to my problem: practice, practice, practice.

And a tutor ;) BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Killer Cheese

I think my husband is trying to kill me.

Not the "spike my drink with cyanide" kind, but the "I'm lactose intolerant so I'll give you cheese" kind.

It is not entirely his fault. I could have declined when he offered me pizza and lunch-time cheese fries. I could have taken a lactase to counteract the lactose in all that dairy.

Instead I shoveled all that yummy deliciousness into my mouth without a second thought. Who am I to say no to ooey-gooey queso?

As always, I paid a dear price, but this time it was much higher. Not only did I forget to prepare with a lactaid, in addition to all that cheese, there was spicy BBQ involved.

So if I die before the Tums or Alka-Seltzer kicks in, just make sure you tell the police that my husband chose the last few meals and made me eat them...

And they all contained cheese. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Puzzles With Spongebob

After over a week of sleepless nights, full of nightmares and sleepwalking, my son finally drifted off to dreamland. No nighttime death and destruction. Instead it was a world of rainbows and sunshine...in a pineapple under the sea.

I was psyched to hear I was chillin' with Spongebob. As my son and I were putting puzzles together with Mr. Squarepants, my daughter was off playing with Gary, and my husband was mowing the lawn. What was he mowing, seaweed?

Needless to say, I was just happy to be able to have a night of uninterrupted sleep. Granted, my beast of a son was sandwiched between my husband and I, on what seems to be an ever increasingly shrinking Queen sized bed...

No matter. Discomfort is a small price to pay for 8 hours of sleep. Who cares if my neck hurts this morning? Sacrifice is in the parent manual. I checked. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The End of a Wonderful Era

Today is a heartbreaking day.  It is the end of a wonderful era...to me anyway.  It is the end of my mother's visit to Pennsylvania; she flies back to California today.  Sigh.  It was much too short.

I should be grateful for such a visit.  She stayed here for a month and a half, which is a lot longer than most people get to vacation.  Plus, at least I get to see my mom, some folks parents are no longer living.  Yes, I am blessed.

That does not mean I am not sad.  Seeing as my mother lives cross country, I do not get many chances to see her.  The last time she saw her grandchildren was 5 years ago.  A lot of growing up happens in that time. 



Even though I am a "grown-up", I still wish my mother was here.  I miss her like crazy.  I know my days (and hers) here on earth are limited, so does that make me a little selfish wishing she could be here with me?

Yes, but that doesn’t change my feelings.  Anyone with a wonderful mother can attest to the fact that having your mom around is a blessing.  So while she did a wonderful job raising me to be my own person and I am able to survive on my own, I still wish my mom was here…

Friday, June 24, 2011

Crazy Summer Months

Oh my goodness, what a crazy month June has been! It's been a whirlwind of activity that has finally settled down.

It all began with the countdown to my youngest brother's wedding. Since we're not originally from Pennsylvania, we had some family come in from California and Virginia.

You can never just sit when you have family over that you haven't seen in awhile, so cook-outs to catch up and family outings were required. My husband likes to joke that the vacation he took was actually work!

And it was. Preparations for the wedding were insane! Once again I was reminded of how thankful I am for getting married at the courthouse; much less hassle.

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and the reception a blast. We had so much fun. It's amazing how quick the actual day goes!

Now the newlyweds are off on their honeymoon and I'm in Virginia visiting family. It's a slower pace that is much appreciated.

Not that it is staying that way for long. Today we go out on the town. Stay tuned for the pictures! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NOT A Morning Person

It is amazing what 12 hours of sleep will do for you. 
My siesta last night was absolutely perfect.  After eating tons of carbs for lunch, and another bout for dinner, my eyes were drooping close to 7:00 pm!
This happens to me every once in a while.  Overextend myself and all that exhaustion catches up to me and…BAM!  I fall into a coma.
So at 6:30 am I woke up refreshed and ready for anything! 
Not really.  I still woke up cranky.  I am just NOT a morning person and I don’t think I ever will be.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chaos Reigns

My mom was here less than a day when she made the observation that I cannot do just one thing.  I must multi-task.  Not because I need to, but because I am used to it. 
This includes eating.  While chowing down on a meal, I am either on the phone or reading a book.  Occasionally I eat on the go, grazing while I do a more “important” task. 
My jefa called bullshit on me.  She told me to stop and smell the roses.  Sit and enjoy your repast.  Taste the food.  This made me stop and think - I couldn’t remember the last time I actually just sat and ate!
Today’s mission: do nothing but eat a meal in peace.  Easier said than done, right?  I prepared myself a bowl of cantaloupe and strawberries plus half a whole grain bagel.  I was at the table expecting something to happen…nothing.
I did not experience food nirvana.  There was not anything special about the meal except that it was not rushed.  I ate at my leisure and tasted every morsel.  No over-eating since I was not shoveling crap in my mouth.  
However, I kept thinking of all the things I could be doing.  The unfinished book was staring me in the face, the remote was calling my name with series still in progress, the computer was begging for my fingers to type away and all that laundry…GRRR.
I resisted the urge to do more than one thing, but my mind was definitely jumping between various thoughts.  Maybe this relaxing stuff will come when I am older, but for now, chaos reigns.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Interruptions

I have tried so many times in the last couple of days to write, with no success.  No writer's block here, just a whole lot of interruptions. 

All my attempts are in vain.  Late nights, we spend them chit-chatting.  Mid day naps? I need one, too.  Early mornings?  8:00 AM is not early enough!

My last failed endeavor at blogging began this morning.  I ate my breakfast and proceeded to type away and I hear, "Mommy, can I have some oatmeal?" followed by, "Can you get me some sweatpants and a T-shirt? I'm cold."

I guess that there are no such things as quiet moments when you have children, and with Abuela visiting?  No chance!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Feeling Old At 30

I never feel old...until I have a hard day of manual labor.  No matter how much I stretch before and after, the next day I definitely feel my aching muscles.  No amount of warm up is enough anymore. 

I spent the day yesterday sanitizing my kitchen.  Not the normal kind of clean up either.  I moved appliances around, scrubbed walls and the floor.  As I found miscellaneous things that DID NOT belong in there, I came to this conclusion: my family can no longer eat.

If you cannot wipe up kool-aid after you have spilled it, and I cannot kick you out of my home, then you are not allowed access to beverages...except water.  Food?  Forget it!  Since you cannot throw garbage in the trashcan, you can dine outside.

I got up this morning with my bones creaking and popping, and I feel every muscle in my body as I move.  This is my reminder of what a thankless job it is to be a stay-at-home mother.  Now I remember why I was so gung-ho to get a job outside the home!

I look around my home at all the unfinished chores and I can almost hear my body weeping…more floors to scrub and carpets to be cleaned.  And that pile of laundry waiting for me? Ugh.  I wonder if I will be able to stand up by weeks’ end.  

I did not have a problem turning 30.  It did not make me feel “old” or any different.  That is, until I started moving.  Now I feel each and every movement my 30-year-old body makes.  I definitely feel “old” now!

Animal Adventure


Wildwood Park
My little family went on an animal adventure on Sunday.  We went through the thick jungle forest in search of the elusive black mamba....


In reality, we were not too far from our backyard at Wildwood Park looking for frogs and turtles.   It was a beautiful day for a walk, and after a week of rain, the walk did not disappoint!





We were all ready and dressed with our gear.  My daughter looked like Dora the Explorer with her backpack! We found numerous frogs, a box turtle, a dragonfly, some fish (mating, I think), snails, squirrels, chipmunks and a couple of bluejays.  There was a family with 3 rambunctious boys behind us, so every time we found something, we had to let them know so they could see.  Everything was, "So cool!" to them.

Originally, the slotted time was to go for a community flower walk, but we found the animals a tad more interesting.  All in all, a pretty good day!  Check out some of our finds below:
Frog

Frog peeking out of the water

Dragonfly


Ducks!

Blue Jay

Fish mating

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unemployment: Week 2

Week 2 of unemployment has come to a close.  I have finished the deed of applying for unemployment benefits and making my first call for a paycheck to sustain my existence.

The man whom I spoke with was really depressing.  Maybe it's just my previous experience with customer service, but I could soooo tell he was reading from a script.  I know it can be really repetitive, but at least try to act like you're having a conversation with me. 

I answered his questions, and when he heard I was studying computer science...he was instantly bitter.  Apparently, he had lost his job last July to a younger, cheaper version of himself and was forced to take a job on the phone.  Ouch. 

No industry is recession-proof.  Lay-offs will happen wherever you are.  It is a little disheartening when you are laid off twice within 2 years, but you must keep on trucking.  Right now my dilemna lies in whether I should accept a full-time position (if I can find one I want), only work part-time or go full-time to school. 

I have a bit of time to dwell on this fact.  I'm leaning towards school, but it is still a hard decision to make!  Living on one paycheck is hard, but it can be done.  Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Going To The Beat of Your Own Drummer

I'm watching my son splash though puddles and I see how much fun he is having. It's just clothes, who cares if it gets wet? That's what dryers are for.

Well, apparently the school cares. My carefree bundle of joy received a detention point for splashing in puddles.  He didn't get anyone wet except himself, but it was still unacceptable.

Note to boy who follows the beat of his own drummer: wait until you get home to jump for joy into puddles.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Week of Unemployment

A friend of mine brought to my attention that I have not done much writing since I was laid off last week.   Even though I knew better, I figured I would have all the time in the world to write my days away.
Ha!  My existence has been filled with laundry and cleaning out the closets of clothes that no longer fit anyone.  Any free time is spent walking the pooch.  Poor Gryffin, with the numerous walks we have been on, he should be losing weight in no time!
Aside from housework and dog chasing, my time has been spent on that evil villain: TELEVISION.  Yes, I have made use of the boob tube, the small screen, the idiot box…all of the above.  Watching series I have always wanted to but never had the time to enjoy.
So even though I am enthralled by Battlestar Galactica, your tax dollars are not going to waste.  I am allowed to wallow in self-pity for a tad, but soon enough summer will be here. 
Summer = kids home all day + 2 college classes.  BOOM!  There goes my life of leisure.  Let’s not even get into the fact that I still have to find, apply and interview for a new job.  Ugh.
That closes out Week 1 of unemployment.  Moral of the story? Enjoy what you have when you have it, you never know when it will be gone.  Nothing is promised tomorrow. 
iHasta Luego!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Silver Lining

A new phase of life began for me on Tuesday: I once again joined the ranks of the unemployed.  This is the second time in 2 years.  Ouch.  I know the statistics.  Unemployment rates are high.   It looks like the odds are against me.  I have two choices here: I can shrivel up and succumb to depression or look for that silver lining.  I choose door #2.
However, I am human.  I was taken aback to hear of my sudden joblessness.  My first thought was ‘Really?  After all I have contributed?’ But I do have a nifty filter that stops me from blurting the reactionary thoughts, and once I thought about it, you know what?  It really is all right.
I put my all into every job I take, whether it is managing an office or running a cash register.  This job was no different.  I was given the opportunity to make change and create a more efficient way of gathering information.  I think I did too well a job! 
No job is perfect.  I was not always happy and did not agree with all decisions made.  Either way, I don’t regret my decision to take the job so soon after being let go from my previous one. 
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the company.  While all places have their ups and downs, the people I was helping are absolutely amazing.  The amount of time they had to fulfill their duties was never enough and yet they somehow managed.   It was a pleasure working alongside such a wonderful group and I will not forget them. 
I’d like to think I made an impact and left the place better than when I first arrived.  It gave me insight into what I could do in the future, and now I have a new passion to follow. 
Though I have no current prospects into a new paycheck, I do have summer to look forward to with my children and family I haven’t seen in over 10 years.  Plus, summer classes to will keep me busy and then the fall semester to flow into a new career.  Things do not look so bad after all once you look at the silver lining.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank You

I am sure by now you have heard: Osama bin Laden is dead.  Navy Seals and CIA operatives eradicated the elusive man.   There is much joyous celebration going on in America, but should there be?
Sometimes, you must cut off a gangrene limb in order to save what is left of the body.  There is nothing pleasant about it, but you must take action to not lose the whole.  If you let the infection go, you may die.
That is what I feel the military’s mission is: get rid of the bad to conserve the good.  There is nothing pleasant about it.  No one in their right mind wants to kill another human being, but when a person does not value human life, what is the answer?
I feel like we’re in that scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy has squashed the wicked witch and the Munchkins are singing, “Ding, dong the witch is dead.  Which old witch?  The wicked witch!”
And before you know it, another evil witch pops up.
I do not in any way condemn nor approve of the methods used to rid the world of the evil known as Osama, because I sure am not up to making those kinds of decisions, but there is always someone else right behind him to take his place. 
I understand some people feel closure in bin Laden’s death, but instead of rejoicing, let us instead remember those he has hurt, and those others will continue to hurt, in his name. 
There are many service members out there patrolling and protecting our country so that we may feel safe from terrorists like bin Laden.  They sacrifice a lot for us and are there to rid the world of those that do not value life.  They are the ones who will have to deal with any backlash.
Thank a member of the military when you get a chance.  They take the shots so that you do not have to.     

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

As much as I love all things across the pond, especially comedy series on the BBC, I did not watch the royal wedding today.  GASP!  How dare I call myself a lover of all things British? 
Well, like anything else you love, there are things that do not rank very high on the scale.  For instance, while I love my husband, I am not a fan of his snoring.
So while Harry-Potter-land holds my heart, there are things that I adore more than England.  Like sleep.  Since that takes precedence, I was not going to wake up before dawn to watch the coveted nuptials. 
A full 8 hours of sleep is rare in my household, so I treasure each and every snooze I get.  As busy as my week has been, I was NOT going to interrupt my siesta of the dead for a wedding of folks I will never meet.
I am perfectly content to wait for the pictures of the beautiful people splattered all over the newspapers, magazines and the internet.  I am sure there will be no shortage of those!
So while the rest of you haggard Americans struggle with your sleep-deprived selves all day, I will be one chipper Mexicana thanking God because it is Friday! Oh yeah, that’s how I roll.

SCRABBLE

I suppose it is not entirely appropriate when playing scrabble with a 9-year-old to use the word faggot in order to get a triple word score.  How could I resist?  I banked 57 points!  It is in the dictionary, I checked.  It’s not like he hasn’t heard that word before.  Heck, I know he hears worse on that bus he rides! 
I admit, some of my competitiveness leaked out.  I refuse to let my kids win for the sake of winning.  They need to learn that failure is a part of life, we do not always succeed, but we do need to get up and try again.  How are they to learn the lesson if they do not feel the sting of loss?
Don’t worry, I am not a monster.  I do not crush their spirit by giving them a runaway game.  I always make it close.  Then they start looking for ways to win.  My son was poring over a dictionary looking for words that could kick my butt: RAJAH (a king or prince in India), QUIRE (to put sheets in sets of 24), ALIPED (an animal having a membrane connecting the toes), EAU (water).
Of course, we were all trying to memorize those ever-so-important two-letter words.  My favorite happens to be QI, but to be a scrabble MASTER, you must know them all grasshopper.    
Besides, did you know faggot also means a bunch of sticks?  Look it up.  It is amazing what you learn when you actually go through the dictionary.  
WORD OF THE DAY--Osmose:  [oz- MOHS] –verb--to gradually or unconsciously assimilate some principle or object. 
SPANISH WORD OF THE DAY-- Cafetero –noun—coffee grower.
P.S. In case you were wondering, my children did say, “Ooh!  Mommy said a bad word.” 
I have taught them well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Manual to Marriage Happiness...Sort Of

Wouldn’t it be great if at your wedding you received the manual to happiness?  A How-To book with a handy dandy index of all the troubles you may face.  You just flip to the appropriate page and follow steps 1-5 and viola!  Problem solved.
If only it were that easy.  We forget that there are two people in the marriage that are TWO DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS.  Each has their own personalities, their own ideas.  There will be clashes of will and arguments.  What makes and breaks the relationship is how you deal with a crisis. 
On April 20, 2011, I will have been married for 11 years.  I know it sounds like a lifetime, but it really is not that long.  We have overcome a lot in those short years and I think I have it down to a science as to why our marriage has prevailed when others have not: I am always right and my husband acquiesces to my every will. 
Ha, if that were only true!  In reality, it comes down to a handful of rules that I think we all know but sometimes choose to forget: 
1.    Be respectful.  It is easy to lose your cool when the person you love has hurt you, but calling them a jackass is not going to fix anything.  Remember, this is the person you chose to spend your life with.
2.    Communicate.  Contrary to what you may think, no one can read minds.  If something is bothering you, say so. 
3.    Share. Whether it’s your cookies or your feelings, it is about thinking of others and not just yourself. 
4.    Admit if you are wrong, if you can.  If you are wrong, come clean.  I admit, I have trouble with this one, but it is always nice to hear I’m sorry.  Set your ego aside and apologize.
5.    Never take your spouse for granted.  You are not promised tomorrow so always live like it is your last day.  Appreciate what you have and do not desire what is not yours.  
I know there are other good suggestions out there on how to keep your “spark” alive, but really, marriage comes down to common sense.  Don’t be a selfish jerk.  Accept differences.  Don’t hate.  Make love, not war.
Then again, you can just go the easy route and bend to her will.  Happy wife, happy life!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Why do we try to fix things that are not broken?  Why are human beings never satisfied with what we have?  I understand advancement and new ways of making improvement, in theory.  Sometimes, change for the sake of change is not going to get you there.
I am constantly moving furniture around my home.   In my head I get these wild ideas that if I just move this here and that over there, it will flow better.  Or I will have more space. 
Whatever I try, it is all an illusion.  I will be content for a short time, but time and again, adjustments must be made.  The problem is not in the arrangement but the amount of dead weight. 
If you were to prune your bushes, you have a healthier plant that looks and grows better.  If you were to leave all the yuck growing, the plant might die and not produce the following year.
The same concept applies.  If I were to trash the overflow from my home and only allow possessions that fit and work in the area, I would find myself in a much better state.  That shiny bronze statue might look beautiful on paper, but it does not mean it will complement the rest of the collection.  
While I hate to say this, maybe it is time for some spring cleaning.  Or GASP!  Dare I say it?  Perhaps a new place…

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Ode to Air Conditioning

Nothing makes you appreciate air conditioning more than a hot day in a stuffy office.  It is currently 82˚ outside, while inside my office it is a suffocating 86˚.   No matter how hard my fan is blowing, you feel every sticky degree.
This environment takes me back to my younger days, when my mom was unable to afford the electricity it took to fire up the A/C.  It is not so bad here, but in sunny Southern California, it is deadly. 
At least we had the apartment complex pool to cool off.  Here at work I have a water bottle.  I was able to prance around in a bikini in San Diego.  I would probably get fired if I tried that here. 
I am not complaining, I swear.  I absolutely love when the sun works in Pennsylvania.  I would rather it be a furnace than a freezer in my workplace.
That being said, it is awfully hard to get work done in almost 90˚ weather.  I do not want to make any sudden movements for fear that sweat will start to pour.  
Thankfully, I have air conditioning in my house.  I cannot wait to enter the blissful space of comfortable and strip down to my underwear.  I love you air conditioning!

Emotions

I admit I let my emotions get the best of me sometimes.  In fact, it happens quite often.  I am very reactionary; tell me something that hurts and I instantly fire up.  It is my defense against the pain:  I would much rather feel anger than disappointment.  Why?
There is a quote by one of my favorite people, Maya Angelou that says, “Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
I find this to be very true.  As soon as my emotions have flared up and died down, I can start to think rationally.  Things make more sense. 
That is not to say that I blow up at every little thing.  You may not see the inner struggle going on, but it is there.  The only one that gets to share in that joy is my husband.  He gets the full wrath of this Mexican.
I can be a complete jackwagon sometimes (or always) and my husband has the patience to deal with my moods.  I will apologize occasionally, but whatever it is, it is usually his fault. 
Do not go feeling sorry for him.  He knew what he was getting into when we married.  I made no bones about my being a nutcase.  I did not hide the psycho from him.
Call me crazy, but I find it much healthier to feel the rage, let it die down, and move on.  Hatred and resentment just take too much energy.  After 10 years, my husband has learned to LEAVE ME ALONE while I stew because once it is over, it’s over. 
We all have different ways of coping with our feelings.  Some people laugh it off, some cry, and some get really pissed off.  Some internalize and take it out on loved ones. 
Whatever way you choose to cope, just remember: Karma.  It all comes back to you tenfold. 
As for me, I have offspring that remind me every day why I should be a better example.  While none of us is perfect, I am giving myself (and my spouse) a pat on the back.  When other children tell you your kids are good friends, well, that is enough validation for me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bullies

It is amazing to me the lengths that people go to in order to feel good about themselves.  We all hear about the kid that picks on those smaller and weaker than him and I always tell my children the same thing: ignore the bullies and always stand up for those that are being picked on.  There is a zero tolerance for bullying in many schools, but what happens when that child becomes an adult bully?
Yes, it does happen.  While some children do grow up and realize what they did was wrong, others do not see the error of their ways.  It is an absolute crime when I look into another human’s eye and see joy at the misfortune of a fellow man.
I know there are laws against major infractions such as harassment, stalking and defamation.  However, there are those that toe the line so well as to not get into hot water. 
As an adult dealing with an adult bully, the same rules apply: ignore and defend.  It is absolutely exhausting and I cannot imagine what stress a child goes through when dealing with a bully.  As a minority, I have dealt with ignorance and stereotypes all my life.  It is never easy.
Leading by example is a great way to spearhead the war against bullying.  It is as simple as following the golden rule: treat others as you wish to be treated.  I know that is easier said than done.  It is so easy to hold a grudge against someone who has done you wrong; it takes a much bigger person to not fall to that level of hostility.
You choose whether to be happy or not.  Your smile can make someone’s day.  Your happiness may rub off on others.  Those “others” can continue the cycle.  With just little you, you can change the world.
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”  ~Mother Teresa

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Path of Life

I am incredibly lucky.  I have a wonderful family that loves and supports me in every way.  I have my date nights with my husband and the days out with friends or happy hour with the girls (plus my sassy).  On those rare occasions when I am all alone sipping tea, reading a book and relaxing, I find myself pondering my life and where it has taken me.
It is quite amusing that we all start out with plans.  They never work out quite the way we think, do they?  After my Kindergarten dream of becoming a green-haired nurse was crushed (read that here), I was adamant of becoming a child psychologist.  I was going to go to school forever and find myself a man in my 30’s to marry.  We would have 2.5 children within 5 years and he would stay home to raise them and keep house.
Not quite.  I did not feel ready to take on so many loans right out of high school to attend college and I did not know at the time about the help low income students get (good job school counselor), so I did what I thought was the best decision for me and I signed up with Uncle Sam and his Army.
If I had to do it all over again, I would still join the military.  It was a wonderful opportunity that I did not consider until my senior year in high school.  You sign a contract for a couple of years, which is the same commitment you make to a university, and you are trained not only in the classroom, but for life skills, too.
I met so many wonderful people and received a lot of important life lessons.  As an 18-year-old, I thought I knew all there was to know about the world.  After all, I was bilingual and knew the ways of life in two countries.  Ha!  My deployments were some of the best experiences and they taught me much.  I had a lot of growing up to do.   
I do not regret any of the life decisions I have made.  I am in my 30’s now and no, I am not a child psychologist and my husband does not stay home with our 2 children (but he gladly would if I only made enough to support us).  My life has been a whirlwind of here, there, everywhere!  Now that I am more settled, I can continue my education and one day become whatever I want to be.  Who knows what comes next?  That is what is great about life.  While I do have plans of what I want to come next, there are always forks in the road and different paths to take.  Revisit in 5 years and we will see where I am…

Thursday, March 31, 2011

iHasta Mañana!

My best thoughts come in the morning.  I find that odd since I consider myself a night owl.  Getting out of bed is such an ordeal if it is before 8:00 a.m., yet if I am mysteriously up at 3:00 a.m. I am raring to go.  I consider that night time because it is dark, but technically it is AM, so maybe I am a morning person????
Perhaps it is not really the time that matters, but more the atmosphere.  Whether it is 3:00 a.m. or 11:00 p.m. it is most likely quiet.  No one is bothering you and it is such a peaceful time.  As a mom, you cherish each and every quiet moment you get as you do not get much alone time!
My head is a whirlwind of ideas that I must get organized.  This is probably why I adore writing so much.  It puts the little sticky notes in my brain in neat little folders that I can file.  I am on autopilot in the morning, so perhaps that is why my thoughts flow so easy.  Nothing has tainted my words with their negativity and no stress has touched my soul.
Ahhhh.  Don’t tell anyone, but my favorite time of day is when you are up right before the sun rises and you get to see the world waking up.  I do not get to see that often, I am usually too tired, but when I do it is a refreshing sight. 
Let us toast to the sun which rises every day to greet us.  Sigh.  I am off to pollute my brain with coffee and stress.  iHasta mañana!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Child Abuse Prevention Month

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.”
Pablo Casals (Spanish cellist)
Does that not speak to your heart?  This completely sums up the way I feel about children.  While all kids have a lot of the same mannerisms that make them endearing to me, they are all so extremely unique.  Each child goes to the beat of his own drummer; once you find the beat it’s like seeing the world through A different pair of eyes.  Why anyone would want to kill that light in a child’s eyes is beyond me.
Watch a child for a couple of minutes and you will see the enthusiasm they have for life.  Their absolute thirst for knowledge, they never stop!  They are so excited to learn and to pass along that one little tidbit.  A 1st grader asked me if I knew what a bargain was, because if I didn’t, he sure could tell me! 
Have you ever been around a toddler?  I wish I had 1/3 of their energy!  Imagine the amount of work you could get done with their liveliness.  As tiring as those buggers are, they are beyond cute!  Who else would laugh at the word pantalones for days on end? 
I look at my two elementary school offspring and how incredibly different they are, even though they are both brought up the same way.  The experiences they have shape them into the children they are today.  I have a little perfectionist who stresses at the thought of B on her report card and a more care-free child who is more concerned with the laughter in life.
After all the amusement with the various children in my life, it is very distressing to see the affect of abuse in children.  There wasn’t a news report that brought this post on or a newspaper article, it just hurts to see the light in a child’s eyes extinguished.  Just because you don’t hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.  Check out the troubling statistics below:
  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
  • Almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse
There are many more statistics regarding the types of abuse and their consequences, including the correlation between child abuse and criminal behavior and substance abuse.  While they are all discouraging, the most heart wrenching things to read are the words of the abused children.  Take a moment to read them here. 
There are many ways to help keep the light alive in a child.  You could be an advocate for children’s rights, whether as a career or a volunteer.  Tell a friend to get involved.  Share your story.  Nothing gives more hope than hearing about someone overcoming child abuse.  Be an inspiration.  Give monetarily to a program that helps families and children.  Volunteer at a site that provides assistance.  Become a foster parent and/or adopt a child that is in need of a loving home.  Above all else, if you suspect ANY child abuse report it immediately.
As you can see, there are always ways to make a difference.  Even the smallest thing can change a whole perspective.  The most important thing to remember is that children mimic adult actions and the best way to change the future is to do what Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
For more information on what you can do to help, visit the links below.  Look out for National Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 6th and pass it along.  If you are in need of help, please don’t hesitate to call 1-800-4-A-CHILD or use any of your local resources.

To report child abuse in any state: Abuse Reporting or 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

To become a foster parent in Harrisburg, PA, read the job description at Northwestern Human Services: Employment Opportunities1 and contact Tesia Emerson at 717.236.7357 x119.

To become a foster parent in the U.S. or adopt: How Do I Become A Foster Parent? | AdoptUsKids

Other resources:
For Children PA Department of Public Welfare
For Families PA Department of Public Welfare

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dr. Seuss

As a fan of the written language, I am ashamed to not have posted something yesterday.  As exciting as children’s books are to me, I am almost embarrassed to not have mentioned Theodor Geisel’s birthday.  Almost.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”  How can you not celebrate the man who wrote that?  March 2, 1904 was the day Theodor Geisel was born.  We know him better as Dr. Seuss.  His books are so full of silliness and insight; they are all fun reads with a message.
 
The celebration of his life was the big reason I did not write anything.  I was too busy being silly with my kids.  We read Dr. Seuss books and made up silly rhymes of our own.  We even went to the bookstore and got new books to read, in honor of Read Across America, the program celebrated on his birthday.  And while I can’t write all the words in his 44 children’s books, I can tell you 10 of my favorite Seussisms, aside from the one above, that speak the most to me, and the books they are from:

1.   “It’s awfully awfully awful when you can’t make up your mind!” --Hunches in Bunches.  I am terrible with making up my mind.  My husband cannot stand it when we go to a drive-thru and I do not know what I want.  “Their menu hasn’t changed – pick something!”  This is a great book if you need a kick in the rear to get your sorry butt in gear. Ha! Ha!  I made a rhyme.

2.   “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”  --Oh, The Places You'll Go!  Wonderful message.  It is up to you what you do.  No one can make that decision but you.  Wow, I am on a roll!  The message is simple: You have the tools to succeed, use them.

3.   “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” --The Lorax.  It all starts with you.  Ghandi said Be the change you want to see in the world.  It is the same principle.  Whenever I feel like giving up on something because others do not care, I think of this.

4.   “This was no time for play. This no time for fun. This was no time for games. There was work to be done.” --The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.  There is a time and place for everything.  We all do things we do not want to do to be able to do the things we do want to do.  Like laundry so we can have clean underwear.

5.   "You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut."  --I Can Read With My Eyes Shut.  Duh.  Do not hide because things are unpleasant.  Keep going.  We all fall down, it is how many times we get up that shows our true character.

6.   "I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights." --Yertle the Turtle.  Child/Adult, Peon/Boss.  We are all people and have the same basic rights.  Like respect.  Treat others how you want to be treated.  Do not think you are better than anyone else, because you are not.  We all wipe our butts the same way.

7.   "Be grateful you’re not in the forest in France where the average young person just hasn’t a chance to escape from the perilous pants eating plants. But your pants are safe, you’re a fortunate guy you ought to be shouting how lucky am I!"  --Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?  Moral of the story?  Someone always has it worse than you.  Life is a good percentage mental, you choose to be happy or not.  I am not saying that bad shit does not happen, it does.  It is all in how you deal with it.

8.   "If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”  -- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.   Try before you say you do not like something.  How do you know you do not like fried possum guts if you have never tried fried possum guts?  They may be delicious!

9.   “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." –Happy Birthday To You!  Why bother trying to be someone you are not?  It is best to be YOU because we are all unique.  If someone does not like you? Oh well, not worth your time. 

10.   And now I leave with the big finale.  Great advice for writing , speaking and just getting your point across: 

It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That's why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader's relief is.

And that's why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)

Happy reading!  Visit http://www.seussville.com/ for more fun stuff!