Tuesday, December 27, 2011


My dad was a farmer/rancher his whole life. He could grow anything, anywhere. He started his ranching career on little ranches near a small town in Arizona named Eloy. My first memory of my dad is his leaving or coming back from work in a white company truck, wearing his cowboy boots and straw cowboy hat. That was his work uniform.

Whenever he got together with my uncles I remember the conversation always revolved around what they were farming and how good the crops were this year, or how bad, just depending on the weather, plague, wind, freeze...all those variables that farmers had to deal with for each season.

When we were in Eloy, Arizona, my dad grew cotton. Beautiful, white, fluffy cotton. We moved around alot and my dad was always learning and growing in his knowledge of products to plant and grow. I remember him planting tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers and lettuce  They called him "King of the Row Crop". Anything that grew in rows my dad became an expert at growing.

When I was a junior in high school, my dad decided that he wanted my sister and me to work in the fields so we would get a taste for hard work, hoping that we would decide it didn't taste that good and we would instead study hard, get a good education and not work as hard as he and my mother had always done. He and my mother met while both picking cotton in Eloy, Arizona.

I remember the day before our first day of work, my dad sat us down and told us that once we were out there, we were representing him, we were reflections of the type of worker he was and that he expected us to work harder, longer and more diligently than anyone else out there. Out there in the fields we were expected to make him proud.

That next morning, we arose before the sun, we put on the clothes my mom had set aside for us as work clothes. Jeans, a t-shirt, a long sleeved cotton shirt to protect us from the sun, a bandanna around our neck and a big straw hat. My mom also went to work with us and she got up earlier than all of us and made burritos that we would eat in the field for breakfast, breaks and lunch. My dad fit us all into his truck and off we went into the fields to pick tomatoes.

In the field, the sun was just barely starting to rise and we went to the crew pusher and got two buckets each and a card that looked like a standard time card but instead had little numbered circles. We wrote our names at the top then headed out into the fields. Our job was to fill each of our two buckets with green tomatoes, we picked them before they ripened on the vine. Once our two buckets were filled we lifted them up, one bucket in each hand and walked out of the row we were in towards a waiting tractor where a man would grab our buckets, empty them into bins on a trailer being pulled by a tractor and then he would pull a little hole punch out of his pocket and punch out two of the holes...and back into the fields we went. This wasn't as easy as it sounds, the rows with the tomatoes were uneven and filled with dirt clods and the vines would trip you, plus it was hot and humid and dirt and flies were everywhere!

We found out right away that I was not good at picking tomatoes. I was too slow. My  mom and sister on the other hand were super fast. Luckily what I was good at was lifting those buckets and hauling them out of the fields to the guy on the tractor and coming back and hauling more buckets to the guy on the tractor, and c'mon...I was in high school, I was cute, I had a beautiful smile so the guys on the tractors would more often than not jump off the tractors and meet me halfway down the rows and carry the buckets for me...it didn't hurt that I was the bosses daughter either.

But in my mind I kept hearing my dads words, I was a reflection on him and I worked my buns off! My mom and my sister worked their buns off! We did this for most of the summer. It was hot, dirty, sweaty work. Sometimes I liked it, sometimes I didn't, but I made my dad proud!

When tomato picking season was over my dad asked me if I wanted to try working on the tomato harvesting machines. These machines ran at night and they harvested the ripened tomatoes. I would have to go to work without my mom and my sister, but my dad would be there all night supervising the whole operation. Of course I said yes, I wanted my dad to be proud of me and I found out early on that I really liked getting a paycheck!

Here's an excellent video showing the process, it even shows a lady on the machine which would have been me.

Now that doesn't look so bad in the daytime, but remember, I was working at night with big flood lights so I could see what I was doing. It was hot and humid, at times cold and wet. The machines felt like you were on a huge boat, they rocked back and forth in the uneven rows, some of the tomatoes were over ripe and squishy and rotten and smelly!

I can remember working until my stomach couldn't take anymore and then I would turn around and vomit into the field. Then I would go back to working and continue until I had to turn around and vomit again. I did this for two nights. On the third night someone told my dad that I shouldn't be there, that I was sick too much and I wasn't eating and that even though I was doing a good job he felt sorry for me. My dad came and rode on the machine with me for a while. I tried to suck it up and not get sick but finally I couldn't take it and I had to turn around and puke over the side of the rail. That was it, my dad said I had to quit, he couldn't allow me to continue. I begged and begged him, telling him I was ok, I could do it. He finally took me in his arms and said, "You proved that you're my daughter and that you work as hard as anyone, I don't want you to do this anymore, you can try again next year, go to my truck and go to sleep." So I did, but I made my dad proud and even better I was a good reflection of the hard-working man he was.

So to make a long story even longer, my purpose for this post is because throughout the years I have worked with people that have hired their kids to work for them. A few I have admired, they had the same work ethic as my dad and their kids were outside washing cars and cleaning gum off the sidewalks, just like everyone else.

But I've worked with the opposite as well. Those bosses that hire their kids and let them get away with murder but turn a blind eye to it. At times it seems to me that they can't even see that their kids are slacking and making their parent look bad. I wonder at times if that isn't part of what's wrong with kids today, their parents want to make everything easy for them, they don't want their kids to struggle or suffer. I wonder at times if those parents don't worry about what will happen if tomorrow they are hit by a bus and their child has to go out into the real world and work for a real boss who will expect real productivity and isn't just going to pat them on the back for doing nothing.

I'm glad that I had the parents that I had. I know that I was truly blessed in life to have them. They have made me who I am today. Anything that is bad in me cannot be blamed on them because they were excellent leaders. I always say "lead by example" and my favorite quote is "integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking". Am I always perfect? Oh gosh no...far, far, far from it! But all that is good in me is due to my parents who didn't worry about being my friends.

BOBBY MESSAGED ME THIS ON FACEBOOK "Perfect description of those early mornings....I still can smell the fragrance of tomatoes lol.....I drove one of those tractors....liked the article.."


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twas the Night Before Christmas - Mexican Style

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,
Not a creature ws stirring -- Caramba! Que pasa?
Los ninos were tucked away in their camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pyjamas,

While hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado
To bring all children, both buenos and malos,
A nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet like a fightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world do you think that it era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero.
And pulling his sleigh instead of venados
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
"Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Berto,
Ay Chato, ay Chopo, Macuco, y Nieto!"

Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea,

Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala,
He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos --
For none of the ninos had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud, seeming very contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.
And I heard him exclaim, and this is verdad,
Merry Christmas to all, and Feliz Navidad!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Iwanna Wednesday - Just a few Items Iwanna!

Last week for Iwanna Wednesday I shared a video showing you 25 ways to wear a scarf in 4.5 minutes. So this week I'm going to show you some cool things that Iwanna ask Santa for this year.

First off, I'm wondering if this little gadget would be acceptable here in California while you are driving since we are a "hands-free" state and we can't hold the cell phone itself up to our ear.  If I were to place it on my shoulder and tilt my head to hold it in place would that constitute "hands-free"? I think it's so cool and it's a bit cheaper than a blue-tooth. Iwanna one of these, they are so cute! You can find this little toy in blue as shown and also available in yellow at http://www.modcloth.com/.

While you're over there at http://www.modcloth.com/, take a look at these adorable tea cups. Now I'm not a tea fan, but I think you could drink coffee out of these. Maybe warm milk? Even some hot chocolate? And how cute would they look on my kitchen counter? Iwanna these, they are just too adorable!

And speaking of tea, earlier this week one of my facebook buddies posted this Christmas Tree made out of books. It's just amazing! Iwanna collect enough books in this coming year to be able to make a Christmas Tree of Books for myself next year. The original site for this photo is HERE.

What does this photo have to do with Tea? Do you see the teapot lamp on the dresser? Iwanna one of those and I found quite a few beautiful ones online. This one is my favorite! It's from mumsaid.co.uk and they have several other ones, but I'm pretty sure I love this one best because for one thing green is my favorite color and I love butterflies!

One thing that I know Santa is bringing me this year is a brand, spanking new LAPTOP!!! How do I know Santa is bringing me one? Well cause I'm my own Santa and I think I've been a very good girl this year so I bought myself one! Yay!

And since I'm getting one Iwanna one of these so I can blog in bed! I love that it has a built-in mouse pad! And it seems to be adjustable.

And so I don't strain my back while blogging Iwanna one of these as well! I just love this color. It looks so comfortable that I may NEVER get out of bed again! I found this one on Amazon.com.

But I'm thinking...if I'm never getting out of bed, then maybe Iwanna this one. This one comes with all the bells and whistles, the only thing missing is Keanu Reeves, but it does have massage so maybe I don't need Keanu? You can find this one HERE.

So that's my Christmas Wish List or my Christmas Iwanna List. What's on your list this year? Here's hoping that all your Iwanna wishes come true!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Biscochos...a family tradition. Done for 2011!

Every year in our family we get together and bake Biscochos, a small, crispy cookie flavored with Anise, Cinnamon and Cloves. It's almost like a Mexican version of the Snickerdoodle. And it's very popular. One of my blogging buddies, Paula from Sweet Pea also made some recently. She calls them biscochitos. Her recipe calls for brandy! I never thought about adding Brandy.

We grew up eating these as children. Our Tia Nico would make batches and batches of these and everyone always went home with a big Folgers coffee can full of them. It wouldn't be Christmas to us without this cookie and without Tamales, which we are making next weekend.

Here's my mom, the Head Chef and Baker and her two lovely assistants, me and my sister. My sister had hurt her back a couple of days ago so she was barely able to move. She was mainly there for moral support and entertainment value!

Last year we had the whole family, including my brothers, their spouses and kids in an out throughout the day baking. It was a real family affair and you can see last years pictures HERE if you so desire. But this year because my sister had hurt her back and my mom has been suffering with pneumonia and bronchitis we figured we wouldn't make them this year, but at the last minute we said "What the heck!"

My sister's two boys, Sean and Isaac were there helping for a bit early on. Isaac brought his Ipod and played some wonderful music for us. The boy has great taste in music. Here's a few pictures of the boys with me, with my mom and with their mom.

Sean and me

Me with Isaac, he's my nephew and my Godson.

My mom and her grandson, Sean.

My Mom and her grandson Isaac.

My sister and her boys.

And here's the boys, helping? Brotherly love!

Ok, now we're ready to get busy. I like to get it started with some energy drink...in the form of Agavero Tequila! This is a delicious sipping tequila that my cousin Stella introduced me to. Unfortunately...right after this picture was taken my nephew/godson spilled it :-(

Oh well, no crying over spilt tequila when there's Biscochos to be made! Several years ago my daughter gave me this Pink KitchenAid mixer and I love it! It makes creaming the sugar, shortening and eggs a breeze. You just set it and forget it. Well except for having to scrape the sides now and again.

While this stuff is getting creamed, we sift all the dry ingredients together. Then we mix the dry into the wet slowly and you knead, knead, knead the whole thing. Then we roll softball size balls out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut with a little pizza cutter that has a curly edge, like a crimping edge. That's the little gizmo in the picture.

My daughter April had to work and didn't get to come and help and hang out with us. She always likes to use cookie cutters instead of the little crimpy pizza roller, so I made a special tray of Christmas Cookies just for her.

Then you bake and here's what you end up with!

These little guys are so good right out of the oven but they actually get better as they get cold and age. They get crispy and sweeter. We doubled the recipe and look how many it made! If you would like the recipe, please click HERE.

My mom was kinda dreading making them as they are a lot of work and she wasn't feeling up to Par and my own sis's back is broken. But between the three of us we accomplished another annual Biscochos bakeoff! Doesn't my mom look happy here? All the work was worth it just for this picture!

And so ends another lovely day in my life. Now I just have to get through a week of work and then we get to start all over in the kitchen and make Tamales next week. Tune in for that!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Take a letter Maria, Address it to My Wife. . .

Hey…remember that song, Take a Letter Maria, Address it to my Wife?

Earlier today, I asked my assistant Mary if she had added a trailer to a policy and she said, "What" and came into my office so she could hear me better and I sang, "Add a trailer Maria".  Then she gave me the look I get 100 times a day, the look that says, "Why oh why did I have to be assigned to Alicia?" So I said, haven’t you ever heard that song and I sang,

"Take a letter Maria,
Address it to my wife,
Tell her I won’t be coming home
I’m gonna start a new life."

After hearing me sing in it my beautiful, melodious voice...well then she thought it was a cool song. Which made me wonder why the man singing it was so cold blooded. Telling his secretary Maria to take a letter and tell his wife he’s done with her. So I pulled up the lyrics…

Last night as I got home about a half past ten
There was the woman I thought I knew
In the arms of another man

I kept my cool, I ain't no fool
Let me tell you what happened then
I packed some clothes and I walked out
And I ain't going back again

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife
Say I won't be coming home, gonna start a new life
So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife
Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

You've been many things but most of all a good secretary to me
And it's times like this I feel you've always been close to me
Was I wrong to work nights to try to build a good life
All work and no play has just cost me a wife

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife

Say I won't be coming home, gonna start a new life
So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife
Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life

When a man loves a woman it's hard to understand
That she would find more pleasure in the arms of another man
I never really noticed how sweet you are to me
It just so happens I'm free tonight
Would you like to have dinner with me

So take a letter Maria, address it to my wife
Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life
This song was written by Ronald Betram Aloysius "R.B." Greaves III in 1969 and was a #2 top hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
1969...hmmmm, that means that I was only around 11 years old when this song came out and I was singing it at the top of my lungs everywhere I went. A song about infidelity, being sung by an 11 year old? What do you think I was thinking when I was singing this? I don't remember anymore. I just remember I loved the song, the words were easy to remember.
It really was a lovely song, if you just don't take into account the infidelity and the sexual harrassment there at the end when the boss hits on poor defenseless Maria. Give it a listen.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pet Peeves

We all have pet peeves right? Things that we can't stand? Some people have a pet peeve about those who snap their chewing gum or crack their knuckles.

There are actually a few website devoted to lists of pet peeves, there's pppeeves.com, you can even check your annoyance level on that one and then there's getannoyed.com. My favorite pet peeve on that site being when famous people give their kids strange names, that bugs the heck out of me too!

One of MY biggest pet peeves is people that stay in the far left lane even when they know that lane is going to end up ahead and then expect everyone to stop and let them merge right into the lane that is now going to become the far left lane. Does that make sense? No? Ok, let me show you a drawing of what I mean.

Ok, so above you see 3 lanes of traffic. Don't you love my cars? Purple, Red and Blue. The long ones are truck-tractors cause they are my 'bread and butta! The cars in purple in the far left lane...I call those people the A-Holes as the label clearly shows. (Pardon my french, but they are A-Holes!) I usually am in the red lane (the middle lane) and it peeves me greatly when those A-Holes in purple in the far left know they have to merge ahead but they gotta get one more car ahead until they can just STOP all traffic in my red lane so they can get in!

As they are passing me, I yell out at them (in my head of course cause I am a proper lady and everyone knows that proper ladies can curse in their heads as long as that filth doesn't come out of our mouths!), "That's right A-Hole! Pass me! I'm sure wherever you are going is a much, much more important and special a place than where I am going, so by all means...............pass me! A-Hole!"  Then I end up having to slam on my brakes cause everyone ahead of me is slamming on their brakes cause all the A-Holes in the far left lane are now merging!!!

So this morning, I'm driving along having my morning chat with my sister and I am telling her how I heard on the news that there will be some construction on the "99" this morning and to avoid the area if possible and I forgot and got on the "99" anyway. She's telling me that she saw that too and meant to remind me but she forgot too! (I think it's all the nachos and tequila that makes us so forgetful. It's definitely not our age!)

So I'm driving for once in the purple lane, the far left because when I get on the freeway I have about 18 miles to go before I get to my destination so I go in the fast lane cause that's how I roll people! I got places I gotta be and I don't want to be held up! Alrighty then, I'm in the fast lane and the traffic starts backing up and I chat with my sis about that and then all of a sudden on the left side of the road, right in front of me, is a BIG sign saying "LEFT 2 LANES CLOSED AHEAD".

It's then that I realize that I am in the far left lane! That lane is going to close ahead and when I move into the right lane that lane is going to close ahead as well and I'm going to have to merge right TWICE! So all of a sudden I realize that I now am the A-Hole!! And I tell my sister, "OMG sis, guess what? My lane is gonna end and I'm going to be that A-Hole I hate that slows up traffic further by having to merge!"

My sis busts up laughing at me! I'm mortified! Not to mention I hate merging in tons of traffic. Luckily truck drivers are the Angels of the Highway because two of them let me in and I merged safely and was only 20 minutes late to work!

And that's my story of how I started this day by being an A-Hole. Unintentionally of course, but I'm sure all those people that had to slam on their brakes so I could merge didn't think it was unintentional...they just thought, "There goes another A-Hole with places to be that are more important than mine!"

Oh, by the way...in the very detailed drawing above...you see the first purple car?...you see that yellow in the bottom right corner of the car? That's the blinker! The blinker I have to stare at! It's like a little blinking light taunting me and saying, "Hahaha, you have to wait for me to merge, Nani nani nani!" Grrr!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Face that is Pleasant and a Face that Apparently is Not!

The other day my sister Lisa and I went to Denny's for pancakes after a difficult day. Actually we had pancakes and Nachos. Actually Lisa had pancakes and Nachos, I had french toast and Nachos...and decaf coffee. That's right, it's Friday night and the "sistas" are living the dream! Out on the town in the Big City (Bakersfield).

We walked in and decided to go to the bathroom and wash up first before being seated. When we came back the Host/Greeter, the guy at the front behind the register told my sister, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" My sis says, "Well I don't know, have you ever had insurance, buried a loved one, bought a casket or a John Deere tractor or been to Shafter?" (Actually she named all the places she's ever worked and then the tiny little city we live in.)

Mr. Greeter said, "No, I haven't ever been to any of those places or that small town, but I swear you look familiar, maybe it's just cause you have a pleasant face?"

A pleasant face. Hmmm, well yes, my sister does have a very pleasant face, she is always smiling and she does have a lovely smile. She's a good-hearted, caring person that will give you the shirt off her back (as long as she's wearing a t-shirt or camisole underneath) so yeah...I guess you would say she has a pleasant face.

But if I had a dollar for every time someone tells me that my sister and I look the same, or are we twins, I could buy...well I could buy French Toast and Nachos at Dennys! Anyway...it happens a lot.

So I tell Mr. Greeter, "Well what about me? Don't I have a pleasant face?" (In reality...Mr. Greeter hadn't even noticed I existed.) So he turns to me and stares and then mumbles something that sounded like, "Umm...yeah, I guess your face is pleasant too?"

What the heck! My face is pleasant too??? With a question mark at the end? Hesistantly like he didn't know what else to say? Dude! My sister and I are basically the same person! How can her face be pleasant and mine not? And to make matters worse, she fell in love with my glasses and recently she ordered a pair EXACTLY like mine! We have the same glasses!

It was all I could do to suck down my french toast, nachos, eggs, hash browns and bacon (included with the french toast thank you...I didn't order extra!). Then Mr. Greeter has the nerve to come over to our table to make sure all is ok and he starts quizzing my sister again on where he knows her from cause she just has this very pleasant face! Too bad he wasn't our waiter because then at least I could have had my vengeance by not leaving him a tip!


My sister................................

Almost twins right? Ok, well when you put our photos side by side like this I guess we're not exactly the same person, but I think we both have pleasant faces. Don't we?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Iwanna Wednesday - Let's Wrap it Up!

So I used to do this thing called "Iwanna Wednesday". Remember that? I hear it was very popular with many of my readers. Alas, I won the lottery and purchased everything in the world and so now I lack for nothing and there is nothing left to lust for anymore...well except for Keanu Reeves! *sigh* I love that man! But I couldn't buy him, he has to come to me of his own free will!! (Yeah, like that's gonna happen.)

So anyway, back to Iwanna Wednesday and the whole winning the lottery thing. (Spoiler alert...I really didn't win the lottery, that was just to catch your attention!)

Ok, so yeah...I did this Iwanna Wednesday thing because I am one of those people that wants EVERYTHING! I can walk into a store and the very first thing I see I say, "I want one of these!". I can drive down the street and look at someone's front yard and say, "I want one of those in my front yard!" So my sister and my mom say I want everything I see therefore they call me "Iwanna". Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm materialistic, I just find beauty and joy in almost everything I see and then I want it. It's ok to want it if it's beautiful and it brings you joy, it's bad to want when you just want it so someone else will be jealous that you have it. And yes...that is the way my mind works!

So I designated Wednesdays as my day to want any "lil ol thang" I want. I don't necessarily have to have it, but hey...I can want it right?

So the other day, I was stumbling with my favorite little friend on the computer; stumbleupon.com and I saw this nifty youtube video. Watch it, it's short and very cute and educational. And the young girl is just so cute! Watch her laugh and dance, she's just cute as a bug!

I've done an Iwanna post about scarves before. Well scarves and pashminas...you can read that one here, there were some real gems in that post! But I don't think one can ever lust too much when you're lusting after scarfs, pashminas, mufflers, gloves, all those things that help to keep us warm. So Iwanna share some more with you so you too can go out and buy a few and use the handy, dandy video above to tie, knot and wrap them 25 new ways!

First...since it's football season and my favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys (and aren't they doing great by the way?) check out this one. The reason Iwanna this one is because even though I know it represents my team, during non-football wearings it's just beautiful, feathery shades of blue and silver. Perfect for those cold, gloomy, foggy days here in Kern County! This one can be found at www.artfire.com and it's $26.96, but if you're good at knitting or crocheting (Lisa) you could probably make this lickety-split! I love things that are wispy and feather, or lacy or sheer and feminine.

I've seen this next scarf quite a bit in the stores this winter. It's a squiggly scarf, this one is Cashmere and it's from bluefly.com and even on sale it's a bit pricey for me, it's $77.60 on sale. But they are so amazingly soft, even the ones that aren't cashmere and they hug you when you wrap them around you as they are springy, like a slinky...remember the SLINKY? My mother would love this one, red is her color!

My sister came home from a conference in Santa Barbara a few months ago with a scarf knitted with ladder or trellis yarn, which looks like this. We have searched high and low for this yarn in all of Bakersfield and we can't find it, but I did find it online at creativefiberarts.com, this one is Ice Ladder Yarn and it's $3.25 for the ball and I believe you can make the whole scarf with just one ball, so that's a bargain compared to the other two scarves above!

I wish I had a picture of the one my sister has, but it's something very similar to the one below. If you're listening Lisa...Iwanna one the exact same color as in this picture. It reminds me of the tail of a mermaid :-)

On Black Friday, my sister and I went to Big Lots! Iwanna wanted to buy an artificial White Christmas Tree that was going to be on sale. Unfortunately, it was too small for Iwanna, but she is Iwanna after all and can find beauty and joy in EVERYTHING so she came home with the scarf pictured below for $5! (She's such a bargain shopper!)

Pardon the photo, but the only light available in my house at night is on my kitchen table. Isn't this gorgeous? Now the only reason I can think of why it was being sold at Big Lots and for only $5 is that if you will notice, it only has fringe on two sides opposite each other. The other two sides are plain. Why does that make a difference? Well imagine folding this scarf in half to create a triangle? One side would be fringy and the other would not and then on the opposite side you would have the mirrored version. But it's so beautiful and warm and I know no one will notice anyway!

There is only one other scarf Iwanna today on Iwanna Wednesday...it's gray, it's wool and it's wrapped around the neck of that other little item Iwanna. . . *sigh*

Happy Iwanna Wednesday and may all your Iwanna wishes come true!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cough, Cough, Cough

I went to Las Vegas almost two week ago and unfortunately the things you catch in Vegas...they don't stay in Vegas...sometimes they come home with you!

On the drive home my throat was feeling scratchy and I was really tired. I figured maybe my throat hurt because of all the cigarette smoke in the Casinos and I was sure I was tired because I had stayed out until 2am dancing and having fun with my little posse of cousins (more about that later).

But by Monday it was a full-fledged sore throat with coughing and scratchy eyes and just general "blah".

Tuesday I had to call in sick and I slept most of the day. Wednesday I tried to tough it out but ended up going home half day. Wednesday night I took a tiny little teaspoonful of cough medicine with Codeine and it knocked me on my butt and I wasn't even able to drag myself out of bed on Thursday. I vaguely remember texting in to work that I wasn't going that day. Friday I toughed it out the whole day but I doubt I was of much use...who knows what I might have screwed up that day!

This past week I've been coughing up my lungs! (Hence the picture above, pretty darned accurate to how I feel!). I went home early one day but pretty much I'm just been trying to do the best I can.

I haven't gotten sick since my surgery to remove my thyroid in 2008. So I guess I was about due, but I'm so miserable!!! So anyway, that's why I haven't been blogging. I have lots to share about our adventures in Vegas and some other stuff. Hopefully I can get some rest this weekend and be back to normal soon. Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?? Oh gosh...I have to drag myself to the store to get stocked up for it too.

I move that we move Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years to April and May...it's much warmer then and people are less likely to get sick, plus it's right after most of us receive our tax refunds so we'd have much more money to spend! Who's with me? Show of hands!

Cough, cough, cough!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Expecting Adam

Being pregnant while in graduate school is no piece of cake and even more stressful to learn your unborn child has Down Syndrome. In her memoir "Expecting Adam", Martha Beck battled almost everyone over her decision to continue her pregnancy. Join From Left to Write on November 10 as we discuss "Expecting Adam". We'll also be chatting live with Martha Beck at 1pm Eastern on November 10 on From Left to Write.


As a member of From Left to Write we don't do book reviews, we write a post, drawing inspiration from the book. I debated over what to write about in this post as the book inspired so many different thoughts and feelings.

Finally I decided that I wanted to write about abortion. In the book Martha faces abortion as one of the options in dealing with finding out the child she is carrying has Down Syndrome. There was a paragraph in the book that bothered me.

Martha and her husband John, at this point still don't know that the baby has Down Syndrome and they are dining in a restaurant and the conversation comes up what would happen if this baby was less than perfect. Her husband John says, "The worst-case scenario is that you might have to have an abortion, and that's a long shot. Everything is going to be fine." What she replies is what bothers me, "I might have to have an abortion? Since when do you decide what I have to do with my body?" Then she says, "What we've talked about is that I am pro-choice. That means I decide whether or not I'd abort a baby with a birth defect. You steer clear of this one, John-boy. It is not your call!"

Two things bother me:

1. She invited this man into her body to plant his seed and when the baby is born she expects this man to make decisions that involve this baby 50/50. Yet he has no choice, no call in deciding if the baby should be aborted simply because she is the one carrying it? It is her body that is housing the baby for 9 months so he has no say until the baby is born? He has no say in whether or not he wants HIS child's life to be taken?

2. Why do women want to allow a man the chance to "wash his hands" of a child that is to be aborted? If the child is born you can bet the woman will move Heaven and Earth to try to get this man to help support the child financially. Yet when a women gets pregnant, the awful choice of taking a life is left solely up to her? The man is not involved? The man is absolved of all guilt? Seems to me the man gets off pretty easy!

I'm not pro-choice, but to me the argument that women have used about how it's their body and their right to make a choice about what they do with their body ends when you invite a man into your body and you create a child together. Now I'm not talking about situations of rape or incest or any other situation that is not consensual, that's a whole different ball of wax. I'm talking about two people, a man and a woman having sex, making a baby, on purpose or not. They both have a right to decide what happens to that baby; both before and after the birth.

Martha and John chose to have their baby regardless and are richer and happier for it. Would everyone be able to handle a child that had Down Syndrome? No. I don't know if I could have handled it. I'm glad I never had to make that decision, but if it had come to my deciding that, I don't believe that it would have been fair to tell the father to "steer clear, it's not your call."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Matter of Control

Picture a young bride. Hopeful, happy, looking towards the future and picturing a beautiful life filled with challenges and knowing that it's she and her groom against the world. Picturing herself building a life, a home, raising children together. Picturing herself growing old with this man standing by her side and knowing that someday they would sit together at soccer games, dance recitals, school plays, holding hands while they watched their grandchildren. Hands aged and weathered by time, hands that had healed and loved, caressed and protected.

All young brides see that picture from the minute they say "I do" to the moment they are walking down the aisle towards that perfect man. The one. The love of their life. Their rock, their witness to their life. Imagine if someone at that moment tells you you have to give it up. Would you? Could you?

That's what makes it so hard for someone who is in an abusive relationship to leave. You keep remembering that picture, playing those moments in your head. This is still that handsome young groom and you can't understand why he's doing the hurtful things he's doing to you. You didn't sign on for this but you think if you just try a little harder, give a little bit more, make sure that you do everything the way he likes it done then eventually the dream will come to life and you'll have it all. It's hard to reconcile yourself to the fact that things are never going to get better, he will always hurt you, he will always try to control you. But the dream is the reason you stay in it, probably way longer than you should have.

I can remember early on in our marriage my handsome, young husband, saying to me as we're heading out to dinner, "Where do you feel like eating?" And me saying, "Let's go to Woolgrowers." (One of his favorite restaurants.) And he says, "Are you kidding me? Woolgrowers? Why would you choose that place of all places on the day that I feel like eating Mexican food? You always want Mexican food, but nooooo, today you gotta say Woolgrowers!!!" So I say hesitantly, "You wanted Mexican food? Well that's fine with me, let's get Mexican food, that sounds good too." And he says, "No, now we're gonna go to Woolgrowers because you already messed it up and now I don't want Mexican."

The next week comes around and again we're heading out for dinner and my handsome, young husband says to me, "Where do you feel like eating?" My mind races...what do I say, what's the right answer? I want to enjoy this evening, I want to please him. So I say, "Oh, anywhere you want Honey. I'm just hungry, anything is fine." My husband, the love of my life says, "Great...so you can't even pick a restaurant? Why do I have to make all the decisions? Here I am being a nice guy and taking you out so you don't have to cook and I have to decide where! Great!" Another evening ruined.

The next week comes around and again...as usual, heading out to dinner. I'm already dreading that question. I know I can't say the right thing, but I can't just abstain from answering. My stomach is in knots, I have absolutely no appetite, I just want to stay home and not even go out for my weekly gift of not having to cook. Again...the question from my husband, "So where do you want to eat?" Woolgrowers was the wrong answer before, letting him choose was the wrong answer before...but he did say he wanted Mexican food, so I say, "How about Mexicali or El Sombrero?" Again I get that look of disdain as he says to me, "Mexican food? Are you kidding me? You're Mexican! Didn't you get enough of that crap growing up? Great, just when I was in the mood for a good steak you have to go and ruin it by wanting Mexican food!"

I couldn't win. There was no right answer. He didn't want to take me out for a wonderful, happy dinner as a treat to keep me from having to cook one night a week. He wanted to control me, manipulate me, hurt me, confuse me...and it worked. This was just a small example of the many ways that he did this. This man that I had planned to spend my life with, the man in my dreams that stood at the end of that long church aisle.

And this story is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more that no one knows, so much more that I can't share with a public audience like this. It's easy to criticize women in domestic abuse relationships, to say, "I would never put up with it, he lays a hand on me just one time and I'm outta here." Or "he dares to talk down to me and I'm outta here, I don't have to take it!" But remember that dream and the fear this person instills. He takes away your freedom of choice, he takes away your strength, your mind, your thoughts. It's easy to say, "Oh but that would never happen to me." It happens. It happened to me.

If you are in a relationship like this, whether it's physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse; just know that you are stronger that you think. Look deep down into your soul and find that strength and get out. And if today is not the day to get out, then know that it's not you. YOU are not the one that's wrong. YOU are not the one that is doing the wrong thing. YOU are not the one that is stupid, or weak, or dumb, or lazy, or fat, or ugly...whatever horrible things this person says to makes you feel like you deserve it. YOU just aren't ready. But I hope you will be soon, I hope you find someone you can talk to and I hope you find your way out.

This post was inspired by the book "Lost Edens"In Lost Edens, author Jamie Patterson struggles to save her marriage which may or may not be already over. Keeping her attempts a secret from her family, she attempts to mold herself into the wife her husband wants her to be. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review. You can read other members posts inspired by Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson on book club day, October 27 at From Left to Write.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who Do I Love - Mike Rowe

Last night I watched...well I half watched...ok, I one-third watched a new show by Mike Rowe, the man all men want to be and the man all women want to be with! No? You don't want to be or be with Mike? Well I do! Ok, I don't want to be Mike Rowe but I wouldn't mind being with him, he's gorgeous! (My sister wouldn't come near him with a ten-foot pole! Because he's dirty!) But me, I don't mind a little dirt on my man, especially when he looks like Mike! Yowza! The new show he was on last night was the Curiosity Show and his episode was titled World's Dirtiest Man. Go and check it out. Here's what the promo says about the show:

"We shower, we bathe, we apply perfumes and deodorants. We're cleaner and healthier than at any other point in human history. So it may be surprising to learn there are 10 times more things living on you than cells in your body. From the flora of our guts to the fauna on our skin and hair, this episode explores the wildlife park that is the human body in stunning, microscopic detail - combining the creativity of natural history filmmaking with the charisma of Discovery's very own Mike Rowe."

I have to say, the show was a little gross and disgusting. I actually would have watched it all but I had a super busy weekend and no naps on my couch so by 9:15 pm I was falling asleep. If you've never heard of Mike Rowe, then I'm sorry for you. I'm even making a sad face for you right now :-( because he's fabulous. He does a show called Dirty Jobs where he spends a day doing some of our countries dirtiest jobs in order to show us what some people will do and put up with just to give all of us the quality of life we're accustomed to. He spends time in sewers, under houses, on pig farms; you name it, he's done it. So if you get a chance pop over to The Discovery Channel and check out some of his videos.

And just cause I love you all and I want you to drool on you keyboard like I've done just now, here's a short video of someone asking Mike random questions. I don't even know what he said I just sat here drooling and sighing *sigh*.

Hopefully the little link here works and you can see this short video.

Ask Mike « mikeroweWORKS