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.


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!


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


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…