Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I have to write this down

because it is so funny and I want to remember it later. ;o) Later as in - in a few weeks because that seems to be the length of my long-term memory nowadays.

During Christmas my kids have participated in a Christmas choir at our church. During this time they learn Christmas songs that are sung in our church during advent and Christmas. Some of them are songs that the average person might know (Silent Night, Oh, Come All Ye Faithful) and some of them are songs that the average person might not know - Stay Awake, Feliz Navidad.

So, the Stay Awake song is a catchy little tune whose words are very basic: Stay awake (clap, clap)! Be ready (clap, clap)! You do not know the hour that the Lord is coming! Stay awake! Be ready! The Lord is coming soon. Then it goes into a rousing Alleluia, alleluia, THE LORD IS COMING SOON.

Like I said, very catchy, kid-friendly tune. Usually this song is sung year round in my home when various things happen to remind the kids of the words. Well, the other night it is right after dinner and the kids are mulling around the kitchen - putting dishes in the sink, etc. and C says to everyone and no one, "MY FOOT IS ASLEEP!" As if on cue M and S simultaneously broke into a rousing rendition aimed directly at C's foot, "STAY AWAKE! BE READY! YOU DO NOT KNOW THE HOUR THAT THE LORD IS COMING!"

Ed nearly spit out the tea he happened to be swallowing and I laughed pretty dang hard.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Exercise - need I say more?

I think it's high time for a quick list. So, here it goes.

1. Thank God (he-he-he) for Sundays. He said rest and I am gonna do it. No exercise today, folks.

2. I don't like exercise. It does not make my body feel better. It makes my body hurt. And after a certain age (if you don't know the age - you are not there yet) it does not get any easier. I'm on day I Can't Remember and new areas of my body hurt daily. I always think to myself - oh, I've been doing this for a while now - I am going to feel great tomorrow. And, no. I wake up and I am still sore.

3. Exercise has made me consider taking up smoking. I am not joking here, but when I think or type this I do get the giggles.

4. If a genie came out of a bottle and granted me three wishes I have decided (since I started exercising seriously three weeks ago) I would wish for a toned, in-shape body with no exercise. AND the awesome part of that.....................................I'd still have TWO wishes left!!?? THAT'S a no-brainer. Guess when I thought THIS up............running my 45 minutes yesterday.

5. Everyone keeps telling me that eventually my appetite will "even-out." And by everyone I mean people that work-out and like it and are fairly in-shape. So, just by the nature of who this information is coming from - that means it probably won't happen to me. I am still eating like a horse. A horse that has been worked to a near death state.

6. Stepping (this is a type of aerobic exercise that involves a step - hence the name) is not what it used to be for me in high school. I almost killed myself trying to do steps last week. It would have been very, very funny had I not been - again - near death.

That's all I have for today. Six is a multiple of 10 in some countries. Stay fit, my friends. And if you can't stay fit - stay happy. ;o)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Pig Will Die or The Loss of Innocence #1

WARNING: If you are weak at heart or an animal rights activist you may be seriously bothered and otherwise affected by the following post. Read at your own risk. No names or other changes have been made to protect the innocent. And....as any reader of my blog knows I love my mother with all my heart. This is in no way a condemnation of parenting, but rather a celebration of the loss of innocence and how it can come in unexpected bits and pieces along life's journey. ;o)

Location: Some small seemingly insignificant pueblo in Mexico.

Year: Somewhere between 4th and 7th grade. I'd like to think closer to 4th.

My ma asked me if I wanted to stay or go with her and Dona I-Can't-Remember-Which-Dona so we will call her who I know her to be - Dona Lolita's Grandma. I said with precision (a decision I will regret for some time), "Stay." So I watched as Dona Lolita's Grandma and my own ma disappeared in the rear view mirror into the pueblo in search of I believe some kind of rare chocolate.

A few minutes passed in which I watched in the rear view mirror the lazy happenings in this tiny village - quite satisfied (maybe even smug) with my smart decision to "stay." Men and women walking, children running, someone talking loudly, Mexican sun shining. Lots of colorful pretty tienditas with wide open passageways in place of actual doors.

Then I heard the unmistakable noise. A high pitched scream which I initially thought was a child being horribly disciplined? I jerked my head around so that I could see through the window rather than looking through the mirror. No child. Still I could hear the screaming. A few seconds later I witnessed a great commotion of grown men rounding the corner hovered over something that I could not yet see.

I honestly could not imagine what was happening, but something in my gut told me that this would not end well and that someone - possibly me - was about to be transformed. As I was trying to figure out what it could be - I saw the pig. I didn't see him all at once it was more in parts. From what I could figure - about six grown men were simultaneously pushing and pulling him latching on to various body parts to include ears, tail, hair, and legs.

Tears immediately sprung to my eyes as I struggled to figure out why these grown men would be pushing/pulling/torturing this obviously reluctant huge hog. They were forcing this pig somewhere down this busy village street. But, where? And why wasn't anyone else upset or even paying any attention for that matter? Unfortunately for me I was not observant enough to notice that one of these open air "stores" was actually a butcher shop and that things in small town Mexico were a little different from what I was used to.

In a matter of minutes the pig had been forced into the front of the butcher shop and that quickly he was, in fact, butchered. The pig scream sounds had reached a feverish indescribable pitch - like nothing I had heard before or have ever (thankfully) heard again. Then suddenly they stopped. (As my mother would later point out with a flat voice and hardly any expression, "Well, what did you think happened at a butcher shop?") I have blocked the butchering from my mind......mostly. I remember a sharp, huge machete looking knife that was swiftly and masterfully brought to the neck. After that I remember turning back around slowly (now fully in tears and not holding back in anyway from sobbing) and being completely surprised at how quickly the pig had been dismembered and the parts of its body hung from racks.....still bloody.

When Dona Lolita's Grandma and ma returned to the car minutes later I was dissolved in tears in the backseat unable to talk. Ma asked me what had happened in her Upset Voice. Dona LG was talking quickly and excitedly in Spanish. I explained to ma in between my sobs what had just happened. Mom patiently explained to Dona in Spanish what had happened. Dona snorted. Ma turned back to me and in her matter of fact way said, "Did you not see that it was a butcher shop?" As I looked back it was so clear and I felt so naive - how could I have missed all the blood and hanging animal parts??? I mumbled, "Well now I see." Ma calmly said as she started the car, "Well, what did you think happened at a butcher shop? After all, where did you think pork came from?"

Saturday, January 9, 2010


So, I am not sure what grief day I am on. It's got to be somewhere around Day 50. But this post is going to be an official "grief post" and in some ways a note to my sister. If you're sick of the drivel - catch me later.

Let me preface this by saying that usually I HATE to talk on the phone. Usually I consider phone conversations intrusive and a total and complete waste of time. There are several reasons I dislike them that I will not go into now - that is for another post. That being said, one thing I miss most about my ma is how on Tuesdays and Thursdays we would usually talk on the phone. More than a few Tuesdays or Thursdays during December I actually picked up the phone to call her before remembering that she would not be on the other end to talk to me. I would be momentarily sad, but then I would just have the conversation picturing her listening to me in her garden in heaven. And, if by slim chance you've read Alice Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones' this will resonant with you.

What was so great about mom and what I so miss is that something would happen to one of us and we would pick up the phone and call the other person. These were not monumental things. In fact, most times they were trivial - how cold was it there? It was TWENTY here. Is it raining there? It's pouring here (yes, you know old people are obsessed with weather and when an old person is your parent you become obsessed with weather, too). You'll never guess who I saw in HEB. Can you pray for so-and-so they are going through a really tough time. And on and on it went. Days changing to suit our schedules....but weeks upon weeks and years upon years.

When we would start a conversation like this sometimes it led to deeper and richer things - "a new phase in life is the preparation for death." "Reconciliation in the Catholic church has changed over the years." "Sometimes your participation in your child's education can be critical." Or sometimes it just stayed light and ended with a promise to call again later in the week. Either way I would always hang up the phone with an I love you and usually mom would end with a God bless you. It was never intrusive, it was always time well-spent, and it always made my day better no matter how good or bad my day was going.

Since late December one of my sisters has been staying with my dad as a caretaker/roommate. So, January is here and I have spoken to said sister on the phone now (I think) four times. Crazy. I don't think I've talked to her four times in a year in my whole life. Not that we don't get along or there's any bad blood (wow - I should get extra blog points for working that phrase in) - no skeleton in the closet. Just don't talk to her much on the phone. After all - talking on the phone is NOT one of my favorite things to do. ;o)

So, my first official day back to work was last Tuesday. I was furiously doing prints and she called. To be perfectly honest, at first I was a little frustrated (I am always running behind on virtually everything). So, I was a little surprised at how easily the conversation ebbed and flowed around us. It wasn't really effort. I had a lovely chat with her and when we hung up I felt more than a little strange. Throughout the conversation at times I almost couldn't listen because I was too busy picturing her in my dad's house talking to me just like ma used to talk to me. It was just weird. We hung up with me promising to call later on in the week and we talked about unimportant and quite important things. We laughed, we shared a few stories and we said I love you.

It made my heart feel good in a totally unexpected way. I have thought a lot about her this past week. I felt myself anticipating the next time we would talk on the phone. Will we talk on the phone every week? Will it be like mom and me? Will I want to call her with a random: How cold is it there? Raining? Can you pray for me? Probably not, and if not - I won't be disappointed. But, still I think I like where this is going. ;o)

Postscript: She called me again this morning......just as I was pressing "Play" on the work-out DVD. That in and of itself made me giggle and sigh in relief. But I also had to giggle at something she did that was SO mom. I think she may have had a written list of things to discuss with me. If not, she definitely had a mental list. Even thinking of it now I cannot wipe the smile from my face. It's something ma and I used to do because we both had/have terrible memories. We'd write down what we wanted to ask each other!

So........Yay! Now, I see in addition to possibly being my Mom Phone Stand In she has impeccable timing. ;o) love you LOTS, sissy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Resolutions Shmesolutions

Well, just checking back in - three days into the New Year's resolutions. You may want to read my previous post as it is referenced in this post (or just muddle through confused which is basically my motto for life). I have learned a few things these past few days that I would like to share with you in the hopes that they will help you lead a less painful life and also help you keep your resolutions (if you were crazy enough to make any). So, here it goes:

I don't know what to call this list - will get back to that later.

1. When you ask "Santa" for an exercise video make sure you have all the equipment necessary to implement that video.
2. An in-shape, flexible, balanced body is one of those necessary things.
3. There are apparently several advantages to having a strong "core." And I am not talking apples, here baby.
4. When you do an exercise video for abs, sides, and butt prepare to not be able to shampoo your hair, put on deodorant, or sit for a while.
5. Food is a necessary evil.
6. Exercise gives you an appetite for all of the things that were taken off your diet due to the fact that you need exercise. This is a vicious circle which can only be broken by an eclipse of the moon.
7. Hummus although low in fat is high in yuck compared to artichoke jalapeno dip from Costco.
8. There are still Christmas cookies and ice cream in the freezer and they will find you when you are ravenous from your exercise video.
9. Your to-do list will be much longer in January than your to-be list (whoever wanted one of those in the first place???) because you have sat on your bum for two full weeks.
10. Don't be discouraged. After all I am ending on 10 and that is one of my resolutions! Yay me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions 2010

1. I resolve not to resolve. End of post. He-he-he.

I actually do have some resolutions this year. I have decided to post a few just for fun. Some are for real. Some are just jokes. But, if you can't tell which are which........welcome to my world. ;o) So...here it goes. And what I like most about New Year's Resolutions is that just by their nature they are a list!

1. I resolve to start each day with a list....or at least a loose plan.
2. I resolve to at least finish one thing on said list.
3. I resolve to find the time to smell the roses each day and to be thankful each day.
4. I resolve to concentrate on my to-be list more than or at least as much as my to-do list.
5. I resolve to watch what I eat. Knowing full well that this may mean watching fat go directly from my fork to my mouth. ;o)
6. I resolve to pay my bills on time.
7. I resolve to be kind, patient, and respectful with my husband and kids. And I resolve to go away when I cannot be kind, patient, and respectful. I know what you are thinking.........I'm going to be gone a lot in 2010. ;o)
8. I resolve to at least use the exercise DVD I got for Christmas enough to know what I should be doing on a regular basis.
9. I resolve to end my lists in multiples of 10.
10. I resolve to begin my resolutions during the month of January, or at least before December.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Can only go up from here, right? It has truly been a blessed Christmas season. Strange, eh? It started with the death of my mom and somehow ended (well, at least the 2009 of it) last night with a hopeful (albeit slightly tipsy ;o) feeling of great things ahead. :o) For reasons that will remain uncovered (in this blog anyway) Christmas has always been incredibly painful and tough for me. So, because mom died right before Thanksgiving I fully predicted that this Christmas would go down in my personal history as the worst. Surprisingly it may go down as the best that I can remember for a long time.

I have been at a true loss for words (not "write" - because I have been doing lots of that and then promptly either deleting or saving it for later) since right before Christmas. Because none of my thoughts seem to be coming together I have decided to do what I do best (and fall back on most)......................A LIST. Oh joy! I knew you were waiting with baited breath. So, here goes. Had trouble coming up with a title for my list, so forgive me.


1. Okay, so for #1 I am going to digress in a big way and just get it over with. I am one of the dwindling number of people worldwide who still read the newspaper. For you younguns 'the newspaper' is a black and white paper thing that contains the news worthy (and not) of print. You turn it like a book and read it. ;o) One thing I love, love, love reading in November/December are the lists on how to maintain your weight and health during the holiday season. I love them because they are so contrary to everything I try to do and wholeheartedly believe. I have been wanting to write this list (for you all) for many years. I wanted to get it out to you all before Christmas so that you could benefit from it THIS YEAR, but didn't make it. Hopefully it can help you in the future. ;o) So, here is my sublist which I will hold dear for quite some time.

a. Don't eat before any parties. It's almost a sin to do that and quite like opening your presents before Christmas. Instead - Starve yourself for a long time before holiday parties so that you are fully able to take advantage of all the party fanfare and great fattening food.

b. Don't not drink. As they say - Bottoms up! The holidays are a time to enjoy the wonderful beverages that people have at their parties. And I am talking alcoholic and nonalcoholic here. No offense to my non-partaking friends (after all I am married to one and must remain friendly to him). And if you are partaking - don't try to time 'manage' your drinks. Get a driver for heaven's sake and drink it all up if it tastes good!

c. Don't look for the veggies at the table. You can look for them in the new year. In the current year eat what you want. You will soon have approximately 350 days to look for the veggies (and believe me - they will look exactly the same as they did this year).

d. Eat while you are doing other things. Duh. That's a real no-brainer. For example: eat while doing cards, setting up tree, cooking, cleaning, drinking (duh!), laundry. And while you are at eating - don't be afraid to throw your favorite drink in there, too.

e. Forgo exercise for other more important things that need to be done - like eating and drinking.

f. Remember there is always tomorrow and it will be here sooner than you know it.

Okay, back to the list list.

2. I will remember that I had the advent wreath AND the Jesse Tree set up on time. I hope you took note of that, mom. And I love you for always reminding me to do it (except this year when I actually had to remember on my own - miracles do happen).

3. I will remember the feeling I had on Christmas Eve during mass when I thought I would be so sad and strangely I was not. I was sitting in the church completely alone (kids singing in choir) surrounded by other families hugging, kissing, and greeting and even as I type this I am not sad. I felt mom right there with me and it was so great. I will not forget how I pictured her and how I felt her and how at peace I felt. Thank you, mom.

4. I will remember that 2009 was the first year in many, many years that the tree was set-up without a family fight. Now, I am not sure this made me happy. As this has become somewhat of a tradition and a thing to laugh and write about later. ;o) But, this year there were no tantrums, no throwing things (did I mention I have quite a dysfunctional family?), no abrupt turning off of the Christmas music and no breaking of Christmas lights.

5. I will remember that my dear friends offered to host Christmas Eve and I accepted for I think the second year (not quite sure on that). This is a biggie for me. When it comes to holidays I am a stickler for doing what I want. But the great thing is that it was just that.......great. I will remember the happiness of friends for a long time into the New Year.

6. I will remember the joy I felt when I heard the kids run up to tell me and E. that "SANTA CAME!!!"

7. I will remember the Christmas Eve mass sermon when Father told us that Jesus is truly born in our hearts on Christmas and that that is our call to be kind, patient, generous, loving, faithful, peaceful people. Not just Christmas day, but everyday.

8. I will remember the fire pit of last night. Each of our friends bringing their uniqueness to make such a great, funny, kind and just plain great group.

9. I will remember that I was the only one this year that made it to midnight. This may not seem worthy of the list, but I can't remember the last time I made it to midnight. And, this after partaking in the holiday since THE PARK for heaven's sake. I was surrounded by my kids on the floor in sleeping bags and E. sound asleep (after him making it to midnight virtually every other night of the year???).

10. I will remember that with all the chaos having 4 kids brings, Christmas and the New Year still came. Despite the 22 takes on our Christmas card, despite the fact that half of my Christmas cards are still on my desk, despite the fact that there were significantly less presents under the tree this year, despite the fact that we started with mom dying and baby being in the hospital....despite all that....the miracle of Christmas STILL happened.....Jesus was still born in our hearts and it was still fabulous.

Now, just because I can never seem to round out my lists in a multiple of 10 and because I hope that you are not sound asleep at your computer.................

11. I will remember and hold in my heart how I snuck upstairs without waking anyone at around 12:05 last night (after kissing five sleepy heads and wishing them a Happy New Year) and pulled the chair to sit in front of my window and watch the fireworks. I will remember watching them and being at peace and happy. And, last but not least...I will remember going to sleep thinking of mom and again being peaceful and happy.

Happy New Year and MANY, MANY blessings in 2010, my friends and, as always, thanks for the read.