Monday, December 21, 2009
When I was a kid we spent 95% of our Christmas Days at my maternal grandmother's mobile home in Chatsworth, CA. It wasn't a tacky mobile home park like the stereotype would have you think; it was pretty, well-organized and well-preserved, kinda like Grandma, herself, when she was alive, at least. Gosh, she's been dead for almost 12 years! She passed away at the young age of 70, right before my 20th birthday. She didn't deserve to die like that, from Cancer, I mean. Isn't it strange, for lack of a better word, when someone who has lived a healthy, low-salt, low-cholesterol, low-fat life, dies a horrible death like that? I don't understand.
I am thinking of those old Christmasses. I miss them very much. Back then I took it for granted that it would always be that way. The adults had their table and the kids (me, my siblings and cousins) had their table. The adults drank boxed wine and maybe some had whiskey with 7-up. After dinner the kids would retreat to the guest bedroom where grandma kept a few toys for us to play with and we'd laugh up a storm the rest of the day/night. Of course after we opened presents we'd have a lot more to play with and when that was out of the way the adults would gather around the table again for all kinds of card games and more drinking, which made for lots of funny noises us kids would laugh at from the other room. "Shh--Listen! Our parents are so dumb when they're drunk! HAhahaha....!" When it came time to leave, I'm sure we cried and tried to sneak into each others' cars to go home with our cousins instead of plain-home. And it was always a kind of slap in the face how ready our parents were to get the Hell out of there when the night came to an end--they'd had enough, which I now understand as I have wild children of my own and I, too, am older and less spirited, just like those adults seemed to me back then.
We were Catholic and Scotch-Irish-English. That's how it went down. And we loved it.
Another slap in the face was going home to our dachsunds having gotten their revenge for being left home alone--our new Christmas gifts were sometimes chewed to shreds or at least slightly mangled. Thinking back on this is comedy.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Our friends a few blocks away threw a fantastic Christmas party last night, complete with games for the children, a table full of potluck goodies, craft activities, cookie and cupcake decorating station and even Santa himself paid a visit. Raquel was thrilled to see Santa. Maxine was frightened of him. He gave presents to all the children and eventually made an exit through the sliding glass door at the back of the house.
I made two trays of different open face sandwiches inspired by Smørrebrød or smörgås of Scandinavia and one tray of shortbread topped with cream cheese and sweet things. It took several hours of work and my neck is killing me today because of it!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Usually I'd already be in the swing of the holidays. I would have already asked Jose to bring up the boxes of decor and lights from the basement. I would have already baked and stored 5 different recipes of cookies in my freezer. I would have already planned what presents to give out. I would also be ready to embrace the season and the revival of warm memories of holidays passed. Things are different this year. Who would have thought a little adjustment to my schedule and priorities could have such a dramatic effect on my life?
Of course, I'm talking about COLLEGE. A year ago I had just quit my job as a barista to stay home and raise my kids full-time. I wasn't in school or even thinking about going to school. One year later, here I am with text books, extensive writing assignments, the responsibility of group research with a 20-minute presentation, another presentation on some volunteer work I did, finals to study for, a kid in kindergarten who cannot read her own homework instructions yet and then all the other extra-curricular stuff like a baby, a husband and a house. Oh, and myself! HAhahaha, that's funny.
Last Thursday in my art history class all of us students were asked to participate in an anonymous evaluation of our instructor. I had only good things to say. I am enjoying the class so much. It may be the best course I've ever taken and I wasn't even expecting it to be such. He's not easy. He assumes all 100+ of his students are seasoned. Sometimes I get my assignments back and I re-read what I wrote and wonder, Where did that come from???, in a good way! I take super fast, messy notes and a lot of them. The only one who needs to read my writing is me :)
My other class is giving me a lot of grief. The text was written by the professor. It's terrible. The book, I mean. Oh, but so is the class. This is probably the WORST class I've ever taken. The professor simply reiterates what she has "written" already in the text (I use those quotes because she didn't write anything--she stole it all from other books). Pretty much word-for-cliche-word. It's a 3-hour class and she keeps us the entire time. We have a TON of work due in the next few weeks. This is what weighs on my mind all the time now. I hope we get to evaluate her; I have a lot of suggestions to improve the course structure. One suggestion is: don't make all the big assignments due on the same freaking day, especially when we also have to study for the final.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Jose and I woke up before the girls this morning, strangely enough, and he requested pancakes for breakfast. That was when I realized we hadn't had breakfast together in a long time, I'm talking about several months. How sad?! He made a pot of coffee and I got out my cookbooks to find my little penned notes next to the recipes I had liked in the past. I made this one from an old Country Cookbook (I modified it just a little by adding vanilla):
2 C flour
5 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
3 tblsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
2 C milk
6 tblsp oil
1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla extract (to your liking)
- Combine dry ingredients with a whisk in a large bowl.
- Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to flour mixture. Mix well. It will be kinda lumpy.
- Cook on a greased griddle and flip when bubbles pop open on top, as usual for pancakes.
- While cooking the rest of the batter, keep griddlecakes warm in a 170 degree oven on a cookie sheet, adding butter to each cake on the sheet. This keeps them from drying out while staying warm and of course butter tastes good.
- Serve with your favorite syrup.
Raquel and Maxine have been sick this week. Maxine has been sick for one week now and Raquel just came down with it on Thursday. She is faring much better than Maxine, who seems to really be miserable. To put it frankly, she's pissed off. That girl has a temper. Raquel is just the opposite--very pleasant and sweet, even though she, too, has a fever. My sanity thanks goodness for having at least one child with a calm attitude about being sick. The mad child is driving Mommy a little crazy. I have found that giving Maxine a nice, warm, playful bath helps calm her down significantly. But that's the only trick I have.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
- Raquel said, "Mommy, you go to college. You know EVERYTHING!"
- Maxine had a little turd in her mouth.
- I put a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in my oatmeal.
- Yes, Maxine actually had poop in her mouth for a minute.
- The oatmeal was good.
- Maxine is my gross child. She tried to eat her own puke once, too.
- Raquel still likes hats, jewelry, make-up and other non-gross things.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Friday morning I painted clown makeup on my own face, Jose dressed Maxine in her witch costume (which had been Raquel's 4 years ago) and I packed the truck with diaper bag, makeup case, bag of costume and accessories for Raquel and 3 containers of cupcakes. Jose got caught up with a business associate on the phone and I thought I would be late so I strapped Maxine into the truck and took off to the awards assembly (we were taking separate cars anyways since Jose would be leaving from the school to go to work). Confused yet? It gets worse. So, I'm driving on the 210 freeway hoping not to be late to the assembly when upon exitting the freeway Maxine got carsick all over her pretty costume. Her carseat was a complete mess. And since she hadn't gotten carsick in so long, I didn't bother to bring towels or extra clothing--assuming we were in the clear was a huge mistake. I must have uttered the F-word 20 times while parking the truck and wondering what my next move would be. I carefully took off the witch dress and threw it in the bed of the truck, leaving Maxine in her dampened undershirt and black tights and smelling like vomit. I smelled that good, too. We walked into the assembly and sat with my sister-in-law in the audience. I was in a terrible mood but Maxine was cheerful as could be.
Anywho, Raquel won an award for creativity. She really is the most creative child I have ever known. After the assembly we gathered outside to take pictures of the award winners with their teacher. That's when Jose showed up and boy was he mad. Apparently, he had left the keys to our other vehicle in the truck, which I had driven to school, obviously, leaving him at home without keys. I was so involved in getting to school on time and then cleaning up Maxine's puke that I didn't even notice him calling my cell phone. We were both very unhappy that morning to say the least.
Jose then took Maxine home and changed her into clean clothes and came back to school. In the meantime, I travelled back and forth from my truck to the classroom, dropping off the cupcakes and the Halloween costume bag and makeup case and then I sort of cleaned out whatever I could in the truck. Jose put the other carseat in the truck and I put the yucky one in the bed of the truck. Then Jose left for work and Maxine and I hung out at Raquel's school until we were allowed to enter the classroom to put her costume on. Maxine's bottle was empty by now and she was cranky. I was hurrying to do a decent job on Raquel's clown makeup. The classroom was hot, stuffy and crowded. Raquel's teacher was kind enough to carry Maxine around while I was busy with Raquel (she couldn't bare to hear her cry). I was sweating and anxious for this ordeal to be over. It was supposed to be fun and I wasn't having any fun. The parade seemed to go off without a hitch even though we stood outside a while in the sun and heat waiting for all the classrooms to get lined up. There was even a drum section from the middle school across the street, the drummers being mostly female, which all us mothers thought was so cool. Raquel looked cute and Maxine seemed to be entertained enough to forget she needed a nap and a bottle. She was pretty content in the Bjorn and even feel asleep for a few seconds to the beat of the marching band drums. Everything was OK from then on.
When we got home, I was beat. I don't know how single mothers do this day in and day out.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Here are Maxine, Raquel, Lucas and his mommy (my little sister) Samantha in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard swing. Samantha is pregnant with Olivia and happens to be due on Lucas' birthday, which is also her husband's birthday--wow!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I do not ask this child to make faces for the camera, I swear! She just does it on her own. Jose said when he opened the girls' bedroom door this morning to get Raquel up and ready for her first day of Kindergarten, she was already awake, stood up, smiled, opened her eyes wide and nodded her head like, let's do this!
Jose, who drove her to school today, said he sensed she was a little nervous. I think that shows maturity on her part. She has every right to feel unsure of what's going to happen and I'm kinda proud that she recognized that this was a special day-- the beginning of her new life as a student.
When she got home from school she was full of energy, actually on the hyper side. I made her favorite meal (macaroni & cheese with hotdogs) before I left for class. Then at about 8:30 she asked Daddy if she could go to bed. Her busy day had finally caught up with her. So Daddy put her to bed.
We know it's just kindergarten but we're really proud of her for being such a big girl and I think part of it, also, is that we have a lot of hope that she's gonna do big things in her future. She's a great kid.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
I have prepared/cooked/assembled/portioned-out and stored in the freezer the following:
- spring rolls
- banana coconut muffins
- swirl cookies
- purple satoimo noodle nests with slices of pink fish cake (so girly!)
- brown rice
- fried poached tofu cutlets
Look how cute Raquel looks in bowling shoes! We bowled this afternoon at the fancy 300 Pasadena bowling alley. We had never been there before and will probably not be going back until we're rich. That is the most expensive 2 games of bowling I have ever seen. And the service sucked. I don't think management planned on having such a busy day on this Labor Day (hello?!) and only one server/lane assistant was working the entire 24 occupied lanes while the bartender stood alone behind her bar without a thing to do. Something not right there.
P.S. Raquel bowled better than me.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
In this bento, there is a tuna sandwich on whole wheat, some pickle slices, cheddar cheese slices, homemade swirl cookies you saw in yesterday's post, a hardboiled egg with salt and pepper, and some green "spinach flavour" noodles stirfried with asparagus and teriyaki sauce. I think he's really going to like this. I was just thinking about how much it costed to make this meal. I'm guessing less than a dollar. Wow!
Friday, September 4, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
My least favorite question: "Mommy, can I have a snack?". When I've heard it 4 times in one hour after you didn't finish your lunch, it really extra bugs me.
When I'm busy driving, don't yell, "Uh-oh!!" from the backseat unless something bad has happened, like, you wet your pants or something.
If I have already told you, "No, you're not going to play video games today." Don't ask me again and again to play video games that same day.
Don't follow me around.
Don't make your sister cry.
I'm sorry that you have a kajillion toys and you're still bored.
Everything will be better when school is in session. For me and for the kids.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
I'm older now and I'm a completely different student than I was before...in a good way. This time, it is not just about having fun, floating along in life--this time it's about getting more out of life than just surviving. I'd like to enjoy my time on Earth. That means cutting out the struggling, worrying, fighting and moping.
In January of 2008 I made one little resolution to pray more and worry less. It worked. My blood pressure, which had been "borderline" for a while, even went back to a healthy number. But worrying less only took care of one (major) problem. After I gave birth to Maxine last summer I weighed nearly 200lbs. That's a slow death for a person of my stature. I changed my diet and since then have lost about 45lbs. I'm still not at my goal but I'm damn close. Losing so much weight eventually made me feel worthy. Whether that's right or wrong doesn't matter. That's what happened. I started to feel like I was wasting my life at home washing dishes and changing diapers. I'm fun to be around and I have a lot to offer, I told myself. I should go see what I can get! Yadda yadda yadda, I'm a student again!
This class was a short 6 weeks long, 4 days a week, homework every night, exams and quizzes every week and as a finale, a research paper and related oral presentation. I got a B on the first exam. I wasn't satisfied with that but it served as a gauge for future exams from this professor. I knew exactly what she was looking for at that point. I got an A on the next one and got A+'s on the rest. I also aced the oral presentation, which was a big deal for me because I loathe doing oral presentations. But I warmed up all semester long by contributing to class discussions from my desk and asking lots of questions. Yesterday I took the final exam and I have to say I'm 95% sure I aced that, too. The research paper won't be graded until next week, so we'll see. Even though this is technically a reading class, I earned my A's by writing good essays. I found out writing is my forte as opposed to multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. My teacher said it also helps that I've started reading books instead of watching TV (I stopped watching TV a few months ago when we couldn't afford cable anymore). Reading helps you write better!
Now I'm off for a month before I start the Fall Semester. I'll be taking photography, art history and speech (eeek!). I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully, Jose and I will figure out a way to organize our time as parents and housekeepers. That, I think, is more challenging than working hard for an A+.