Monday, April 16, 2012

Mean Girls
I thought being cruel stopped once you became an adult, but I guess I was wrong. You know that movie Mean Girls? Well, those girls grow up to be Mean Moms.

Since I became a mom, I have attended several sporting events that have given me a front row seat to the atrocious behavior of some parents.
You hear all the time of kids throwing tantrums and such, but it's no wonder considering the way some parents behave!
I attended several baseball games this weekend, all for the kids. While I was delighted to hear encouraging words, I did happen to catch an unpleasant incident.

I was seated on some bleachers with my daughter when a young boy of about 7 came by with a bright red ball.  You could tell he was from the other team because he was wearing their uniform, he was just a younger player.  His pants were on inside-out and he was filthy from playing in the dirt. He was absolutely adorable, with sunny yellow hair and bright blue eyes full of mischief. 

And full of mischief he was.  He was in and out of the bleachers, tossing his ball around and nearly hitting a couple of us.  After being shooed away he was digging in the dumpster, goodness knows what treasures he was looking for.  His enthusiasm made me smile.

He was bored with that pretty soon, and found his way back underneath the rickety bleachers.  He was weaving in and out until some potato chips on the ground caught his eye, and he promptly shoved them in his mouth.

"No honey, it's dirty on the floor." I said, as I simultaneously heard laughter behind me.

"Oh my God, did you see that?!" I heard them say, "That's so gross!"  They continued to comment and giggle as the poor child looked up at them.  You'd think that would shut them up.  If I could hear them, then he definitely could. 

If you could have seen the look in his eyes, you'd know I'm not  just being touchy.  Maybe the kid was just hungry and was eating whatever food was available to him, no need to talk about him like he's not there.

My daughter asked me why those ladies were laughing at the boy, and even that didn't stop them.  Not until a man came over and called for the boy did they shut up. 

I don't know why that touched a nerve so much, I guess because I thought about how awful they might treat a child when no one is around.  Guess some people don't lose the mean gene, huh? 

Opening Day

McNaughton Field

Opening day this year was different than all the other years I have attended.  For one, it was sunny.  Every year my son has played baseball (and T-ball), Opening Day has always been a drizzly, cold mess.  Last year was so bad, it was cancelled.  The sun was a welcome change.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

National Library Week: Importance of Library Resources

So, I have failed horribly at posting all week for National Library Week. Brad Meltzer has already posted 3 videos for the 3 day of the week so far!

Today, he talks about the importance of job seeking resources in our libraries.  There are still a lot of people who are unemployed, and the computers at the library are in high demand to search and apply for jobs.  With little or no money, internet access at home is not a high priority.  Without libraries providing these free services, many people would not have access to fill out online applications.

So, pass the word along.  Some people might not be aware of what is available out there. 

I leave you with author Michael Rosen reading one of my favorite story books (which he wrote), We're Going On A Bear Hunt.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

written for HACC's newspaper The Fourth Estate

Google Images
As a first-generation Mexican-American, I was thrilled to pick up a book that contained the language I speak: Spanglish. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a colorfully-worded novel that follows the life of the de León family, from the Dominican Republic to New Jersey, concentrating on the not-so-typical life of teenage Oscar.

The story of our Dominican Oscar Wilde (Oscar Wao, get it?) is told in parts by his sister, Lola, and his best friend, Yunior.  While the novel has been labeled by some as misogynistic, it follows with the way Rafael Trujillo led the Dominican Republic during his reign.  Each page is peppered with Trujillo political references, Spanish words, footnotes, and sci-fi references.  And, of course, Oscar.

 Everyone can attest to trying to live up to our parents’ expectations, and Oscar’s pitiful attempts to be something he is not touches the heart.  He spends much of his time reading sci-fi and fantasy books, and is not lucky with the ladies.  Being overweight does not help his cause and he is mercilessly teased by his own people.  Even his own two best friends go out and get girlfriends without him!

 It seems that Oscar’s ancestors have been cursed with the fukú, the unmentionable curse that has followed the family through generations.  We hear of the story of Oscar’s grandfather, Abelard, and his troubles with the dictator of the time, Trujillo.  We also learn about Abelard’s daughter, Beli (Oscars’ mother), and her past interactions of prejudice due to her dark skin.  While a cousin did taker her in, was that enough to heal her?  Perhaps all the brutality she endured is the reason that she is so tough on her own children.  We see how Lola’s adolescence is affected by her mother’s dominance, and it’s not pretty.

 Could it be that all of Oscar’s bad luck can be explained by this fukú?  Perhaps.  The whole book is full of examples of life’s unfairness that come down to perception: a beating could be seen as a curse or the survival of said beating as a blessing.  It seems to me that all the family’s trouble come from the love department, where they really do seem cursed!
Junot Diaz
Díaz does a wonderful job in bringing the immigrant life to the forefront.  This is not just a story about Oscar.  No, it is the story of a family and the history of that time.  Díaz does not hide behind the pretty, but shows all the nastiness and ugliness out there.  Amidst all that, there is hope.  After all, who has more hope than a 19-year-old male virgin waiting to get laid?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

National Library Week: April 8-15

One of my favorite things to do in all the spare time I have is read. 

If there is such a thing, I have way too many books in my possession.  Besides 2 bookcases, I also have several piles of TBR (to-be-read) books around our space-challenged apartment, a couple boxes in the garage (which I frequent to rotate the ones in the bookcase), not to mention all the ones I purchase for my children.  

I am also the proud owner of a Nook Tablet, a Christmas present from my husband.  I believe his hope was that my book hoarding would dwindle.  His plan has been unsuccessful thus far.  I frequent way too many secondhand bookstores to not take advantage of their steep discounts.  Even with the bookstore discount card, I find that I can get ADDITIONAL books digitally without taking up too much space.  Score!

I have loved books ever since I was able to escape to their dream worlds.  I was not always as lucky as I am now; I did not have the means to amass books as a youngster.  I scoured as many yard sales as I could to get my Sweet Valley High and Baby-Sitters Club series.  That was never enough.  My local library, however, had unlimited reading material for me to peruse.

I was there every Tuesday and Thursday without fail after my discovery.  Whether it was to study or just read, the place held many wonders for me.  Why not take a moment to visit your local library? There are many resources besides "just books" housed there.  Go out and sign up for a library card.  This coming week is a good time to start if you haven't visited your local library. 

April 8-14, 2011 is National Library Week.  I am going to try my best to post something library/book related every single day next week.  Tall order, I know.  But what better way to pay homage to a library that gave me so much?  I can't think of anything better.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pearl 07/14/11-02/21/12

This beautiful little girl was our Pearl.   

She passed away unexpectedly on February 21, 2012.  She was 8 months old.


That was Griffin, our dog.  he misses her too, but he does not know his alphabet, so he ca cant write it, he can only tap on her picture.

We first met our sweet kitty when my daughter spent the night at a friend's house back in July 2011.  The family told me of the little homeless kitten they had been feeding.  They named "him" Hobo-Meow-Meow and "he" was the cutest thing ever!  Then again, which kitten isn't cute?

We were still struggling from losing our first cat, Diego, after he ran away from our move to a new place.  I guess after 8 years of living in the same place, the move was too stressful for Diego to take.  We also adopted a puppy, so perhaps all that was too overwhelming.  That loss of a pet is a painful thing to go through, so we were not looking to adopt a new kitten so soon.  It had only happened 4 months earlier, so the wounds were still fresh.  But how could we resist?  We decided to take Hobo home and make her a part of our family.
Pearl & dangly things
Apparently, Hobo missed the memo and hid out under a bed for a couple of weeks.  Once we figured out he was a she, we renamed her Pearl.  Little by little she came out of her shell, though she still ran if we made any sudden movements.  She was so skittish!  We enticed her with toys and socks, the dangly things she seemed to like most.  Her reluctance made her loving moments more endearing.   It took her about two months to come close enough to lay down on us, and purr when we pet her, but eventually that's all she wanted. 

Pearl & Griffin
She could not sleep without the dog either.  She would curl up next to Griffin and they would sleep all morning, just to run havoc in the night time.  Jerks.  I think they planned that one together.  No one could sleep if those two were awake!

Pearl would stay up long enough to see me make my cup of coffee groggily.  She would stick her whole head into the machine trying to figure out where that magic water came from.  I would have to shoo her so she would not get burnt with the hot coffee coming out.  She would do the same thing with anything she could not figure out.  Like the printer.  She heard the whirr of the parts turning, she would stick her head in the compartment to see what was coming out.  She was so curious! 

What is that?
The computer and television were other things that threw her for a loop.   She would stare at them trying her darnedest to figure them out.  Her sudden fearlessness in our home was amusing to see considering her flight reflex to stay alive. She was clearly comfortable in our presence. 

I think you can figure out that we miss her terribly.  When people go in for a routine procedure, we do not expect them to die.  Same situation here, we did not expect Pearl to die from spaying.  Her sweetness was only 5lbs and her heart could not take the stress of the surgery.  We do not hold our vet responsible, as they have always been good to us. 

Life is full of surprises.  You never know what is going to happen and you have to treat each day like it is your last.  You do not want to have any regrets. So right now, hug those you love and tell them so.  I can guarantee that no human (or pet) can hear those words enough. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Long Time No See

Yeah, it has been a while since I have posted.  No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth or fallen into any deep depression.  Thankfully, my life has gone in the opposite direction - my days have been chockful of...STUFF.

I have been attending this place called college, volunteering in my children's classrooms, packing and unpacking my household for a move, and writing for my college newspaper.  Not to mention ferrying my kid's to their friend's houses, sports practices and games, and extra-curricular activities - in a nutshell, I have been living life.

My youngins are at a point where they are still young enough to enjoy spending time with me, but awfully close to thinking that I am uncool.  I am spending as much time as I can imparting all my wisdom (while they are still listening) and attempting to not lose my patience (and sanity) at the same time.  The patience needed to raise children is INTENSE. 

And my marriage? My goodness, I have never worked harder in anything in my life!  Celebrating twelve years in a couple of days, and I deserve every piece of silk (or whatever traditional gift it is) coming my way.  Not that it's a struggle, but in this world we live in, any day over one that you stay married deserves a medal. 

So, since I have been neglecting my beautiful blog of moments in my life as a Mexican-American, I have decided to get back on track.  I can bust out a couple minutes of writing a day and post at least once a week. 

However, until I get used to that again, I will post things I have written but not posted.  It's always nice to have things on the back burner. Until then, hope everyone has a wonderful spring break and Easter holiday.  Celebrate whatever it is that makes you happy!!!