Thursday, May 31, 2007

That song from the iPOD commercial

Yep, it's in my player now. I could not resist. Ever since I saw that ad I found myself swinging to it every time it came on. And then last night when it came on again I noticed that the singer said "es de Borinquen", and I jumped up and down and told Gabe "that song in from Puerto Rico"! So today I searched until I found who it was and there you have it. I love the song, it's the perfect thing to put on whenever my mood goes down. How can you be depressed and morose with a ritmo tropical going full blast? I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

From the Miami Herald

Every Puerto Rican is, in one way or another, obsessed with our identity. Who are we, what are we? What does it mean to be a Puerto Rican?

A new deal for Puerto Rico is on table
Supporters of statehood for Puerto Rico believe they are nearing a big victory in the U.S. House of Representatives.

WASHINGTON -- For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. House seems likely to pass a bill that would put Puerto Rico on a path to statehood or independence.
The latest of many efforts to definitively settle the four million islanders' ambiguous relationship with the United States comes as Congress struggles with an immigration overhaul to deal with 12 million illegal migrants, most of them Hispanics.
Sponsored by Reps. José Serrano, D-N.Y., and Luis Fortuño, R-Puerto Rico, The Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2007 faces tough scrutiny in the Senate. But its backers have the support of President Bush and are optimistic that they can prevail, possibly securing a House floor vote as soon as next month.
''There's a good chance,'' said Fortuño, a statehood supporter and nonvoting member of Congress who is preparing a run at the governorship of Puerto Rico next year. ``I've been talking to the leadership of both sides, and I truly believe that it is very doable.''
The initiative, based on a White House task-force report on Puerto Rico's status issued in late 2005, establishes a two-stage plebiscite process. Islanders would first choose between maintaining their current status -- officially a U.S. territory but broadly known as a commonwealth -- or opting for a different and permanent arrangement.
If they choose the current status, Puerto Ricans would be asked to repeat the process every eight years until a definitive result is reached. If they want a permanent deal -- the most likely outcome, according to observers -- then islanders would vote again between statehood and some form of independence, which could be full sovereignty or a middle-of-the-road option known as ``free association.''
Congress, which has the power to decide Puerto Rico's status, has never mandated a plebiscite for the island.
Opponents of the Serrano-Fortuño bill say it is constructed to eliminate from the ballot one major option -- an enhancement of the current commonwealth arrangement.
''This is the first time I have seen a process in which the runoff election would be held between the second and third place,'' said Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, governor of Puerto Rico and a proponent of enhanced commonwealth.

But the bill's supporters say this is the only acceptable formula to settle a question that dates back to 1898, when U.S. troops seized the island from Spain. Its people have been U.S. citizens since 1917. Residents do not vote in U.S. presidential elections and have one nonvoting member in the House, although those living on the mainland can vote in federal elections.
This limbo has its upsides. Island residents do not pay federal taxes and get federal transfers to the tune of $7 billion a year for programs like No Child Left Behind. Puerto Rico is home to a thriving drug manufacturing industry, and it has more trade with the U.S. than Brazil or Italy.
But Puerto Rico is poor by U.S. standards, with two of every five citizens falling below the federal poverty line. If it became a state, it would rank 25th in population and field two senators and seven House members.
Jeffrey Farrow, a former co-chair of an interagency task force on Puerto Rico in the Clinton administration, says rich Puerto Ricans would lose because they would pay federal taxes while most poor islanders would get more money from Washington.
But many islanders worry that becoming a U.S. state would compromise their identity.
''Puerto Rico is a Latin American nation,'' said Eduardo Bhatia, the governor's representative in Washington. ``There's no question about it.''
Pulled and pushed by those considerations, Puerto Ricans have long struggled to make up their minds about their island's status.
Since 1967, they have held four nonbinding status plebiscites. An undefined form of commonwealth prevailed each time by a tiny margin over statehood. Independence came in a distant third.
The deadlock has carried over into Congress, which has seen 66 House and 27 Senate bills or resolutions, often dueling proposals from each side of the issue.
Acevedo-Vilá prefers to have islanders elect a constitutional assembly that in turn would present to Congress a status proposal. His pitch: a permanent, ''enhanced commonwealth'' status that would allow Puerto Ricans to enter into trade and tax agreements with third countries. Islanders also would be allowed to waive federal laws they did not like.
Bhatia says that is the necessary middle road between statehooders and backers of independence. ''It keeps the island in a very stable democracy,'' he said.
Still, Bhatia recognizes that statehood supporters have gained the advantage in the U.S. Congress. ''They have learned the Washington ways,'' he said.
One problem for backers of enhanced commonwealth is that few believe it would pass either political or constitutional muster. Rep. Serrano has called it a ``letter to Santa Claus.''
''It's the best of all worlds,'' allowing the island to conduct an independent foreign policy and veto U.S. laws, said Dick Thornburgh, a former U.S. attorney general who has written a book on Puerto Rico's status. ``It's what any state would wish to have. . . . It's totally unrealistic.''
The Serrano-Fortuño bill faces stiffer opposition in the Senate, where powerful lawmakers such as Mississippi Republican Sen. Trent Lott and Massachusetts Democrat Edward M. Kennedy oppose it.
But the initiative has influential supporters. A bill similar to Serrano-Fortuño, introduced last year by Florida Republican Sen. Mel Martinez and Colorado Democrat Ken Salazar, had 15 sponsors.
''I remain committed to ensuring the people of Puerto Rico have an opportunity to choose their future,'' Martínez said. ``The recent House action is definitely positive momentum.''
Then there's the question of how keen lawmakers are to give island residents the right to vote in federal elections at a time when Latino assimilation is an undercurrent in the ongoing debate over an immigration-policy overhaul.
As Acevedo-Vilá put it during a recent House hearing: ``Are we planning to entitle the 51st state to keep forever the Spanish language as its principal language in public schools, in the local courts and in everyday business?''

Hello, hello

We had so much fun at the game last night. We had Diamond Club tickets, so after a buffet meal inside the club, we were sitting right behind home plate, on the third row, behind the Astros owner. It was awesome. We saw bad calls (the ump's strike zone was pretty inconsistent) and great plays. Overall it was a pretty good game. Too bad we lost. Oh well.

I have to get Paula's package now in the morning. Her dad mailed her something for her birthday and it's been stuck in the post office. They tried to deliver when I wasn't here, and because it was Express Mail, they did not leave it outside.

I have several pending things at work that take time to do. I need to organize myself, because I worry I may not have enough time to do them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A short one

Sunday night I found myself watching Kill Bill, part 1 on Telemundo, dubbed into Spanish of course. If you knew me well and knew how snobbish I am about reading books and watching movies in the original language, you would suspect I am gripped with nostalgia or in dire need of some Spanish-speaking interaction.

Well, I am. That is the downside of my new job. I miss speaking Spanish more often. It makes me a bit sad, although not enough to want to go back where I was. No siree!

Take me out to the ball game

Astros versus Cincinnati Reds, tonight at 7:05 PM.

The Astros are kinda sucking lately. They have an 8-game losing streak going on now. Hopefully my presence at the game tonight will serve as a good luck charm and take them out of their funk.

We have awesome seats, right behind home plate. I think they are our Senior VP seats. I don't know how my boss got them, but he invited me to come along with him and three other coworkers. I'm so excited!

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's Friday. What is my mood?

Has it ever happened to you that you wake up one morning and you don't quite know how you feel? I am at a crossroads today. I feel like the day could go either way: happy happy joy joy, or down in the dumps. Anxiety is lurking somewhere, waiting to be unleashed.

On the one hand, I am happy it's Friday. I have a long weekend ahead of me. But I think I will be busier than ever. As always, I put things off until the last minute. Last weekend I cleaned and dealt with piles of laundry, but most of the housecleaning is still pending. And Paula's party is tomorrow. I have been so tired during the week that I have not done much to improve that.

Also, I need to figure out what to do during Paula's party, if I need to come up with games or buy stuff to amuse the girls invited. Thankfully, the cake is being taken care of by the mom of one of Paula's friends, who makes custom cakes for a living. She is making a meerkat-themed cake for Paula.

And then there is work. So much to do! Many deliverables, many conference calls to schedule, many discussions to be had. Next week is going to be killer! My boss and several other people need me to prepare charts, slides, projections, provide answers. I have only been here for a little over a month and I felt like, other than my period in the hospital, I have hit the ground running. This is definitely a higher stakes job than my previous one. I only hope I am performing up to speed. My boss seems to be happy with me, and he has commended me a few times, but I need to keep on my toes.

So I guess my mood is anxious. But hopefully it will get better once I start accomplishing things.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If tomorrow you wake up with amnesia

Lori posted this on her blog and encouraged us to answer these questions if we so desired.

If tomorrow you woke up with amnesia:

What do you think you’d do firstly? Probably panic. I hate not knowing things, and not knowing your identity has got to be frightening.

Would you trust the first person who tells you about you (like a family member)?
Depends. I tend to be open and give people a chance. But I would trust my gut; even with amnesia I am sure I could tell if someone was bullshitting me.

You found out about a bad past.. would you still want to know who you really are? Yes, I would. Maybe the amnesia would help eradicate visceral emotional reactions and would allow me to see my life as an outsider would.

You fell in love with a foreigner from another country. would you take off with him/her and move on with your new life? Only if I had no existing ties (kids, husbands, sick relatives).

Your memory’s back! would you go back to old habits, or start your life afresh? I don't think I could completely go back to how I was before, but I would certainly go back to my family.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


It's a very rainy morning. It's gray and ugly, very wet. I feel cranky and moody right now, for no particular reason. I can't blame the weather, although it is so easy to make the connection.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Game night

Today was Astros Day, and as Big Computer employees we got to buy tickets at half price, so Gabe and I left the girls with Nanna and went to see the Astros play the S.F. Giants. We sat in the bullpen area, they were good seats. It was a nice night out, the sky was pretty and it wasn't too hot. People got goofy and started doing the wave and soon the whole place was doing it. Every time Barry Bonds came at bat, you could hear the loud booing. It was fun being at the game. In the bottom of the ninth they were tied and we were tired, so we left early to avoid the big crowd. We drove back home and listened to the rest of the game on the radio. Astros lost. Oh well. I'm still happy.

This has been a very busy week at work. I had time to meet Amanda for lunch on Wednesday, though. That was good. We went to the usual hangout, Hickory Hollow. Amanda had just had a root canal done the day before, but she still wanted to come and have lunch. I was touched. And she was doing pretty well too, you would not know unless she told you.

My weekend will be pretty busy with housework. Paula's birthday is coming up on the 28th, and to celebrate she's inviting some friends for a sleepover on Saturday, May 26th. So I have to spend the weekend cleaning as much as I can to get the house in shape for the kids coming.

That's it for now. Tomorrow I have lunch with my friends from work, ex-coworkers from the Latin America group. We keep in touch and are trying to have lunch once in a while.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

7 Weird Things

Turns out my friend Keara had also tagged me and I had not realized it. So I will share with you seven weird things about me:

1- Never, never in a window seat- I am claustrophobic. I am not kidding about it. I really am. It's not a mild "cramped places inconvenience me" claustrophobia. It's a "put me in a window seat on a plane by accident and I will absolutely freak out" brand of phobia. When I was at the hospital I had to be heavily sedated before they did the HIDA testing, because it entailed me being stuck in the same position for over an hour, with a ginormous nuclear medicine testing machine hovering just inches above my body (too close to my head for comfort). And that was not going to happen if I was awake and in full possession of my senses. I mean, if I had to get an MRI I don't know what I would do.

2- I like to eat raw spaghetti. Need I say more?

3- I wear size 11 shoes.

4- Sometimes I have a hard time opening up to people. If you know me in person, you would not think it. In social situations I am generally pretty friendly, I like to engage people in conversation and make them feel welcome. But left to my own devices I tend to keep to myself. I have old friends who are pissed off at me because I never call, and new friends, especially from the mommie boards, who may not know how much I care about them for the same reason. It's not that I don't care. It's that I am spacey often. I had not even realized that Amanda P had a blog and she is not only an online friend but a real life one!

5- I have an unusual aversion to skirts, much to the chagrin of both my mother and my husband, who think I should just get over pants already and show off some leg once in a while.

6- I hate mayo with a passion. I can't even smell it. It makes me want to throw up. Nothing I eat can touch mayo or I will simply not eat it.

7- If I tweeze my eyebrows I start sneezing uncontrollably, which is why (among other things) I would much rather shave them.

So am I a weirdo or what?

Warm and fuzzy

My friend Julie tagged me, and I have to write about ten things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Here it goes:

1- Old salsa music from the 70's. I know, it probably doesn't make sense to you. But every time I catch some old salsa tune by Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades or Fania All-Stars, it takes me back to my childhood, and makes me feel so alive and so, I don't know, Puerto Rican.

2- Waking up and seeing baby Isa in bed, all snuggly and warm in the mornings.

3- The times when Paula and I have fun together and do not fight.

4- My cat Lola when she is all loving and purry, trying to rub against you or meowing for you to pet her.

5- Hugging my mom and catching her scent, which is so familiar and comfortable.

6- Getting a hug from Gabe and feeling his arms enveloping me and keeping me safe.

7- Warm, sunny, breezy days remind me of home and make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

8- Getting my hair brushed.

9- The sound and smell of the ocean.

10- My girls' laughter.

OK, so now I am asking the following friends to write about the 5 things they find most funny.


So consider yourselves tagged, ladies!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Life is sweet

To steal the title of one of my favorite songs, life is sweet.

I am happy today. I feel good. I am enjoying my work a lot these days. And I am about to go home to see my family.

It's been a good day.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

In love with this song

I know it's not the newest song, but I guess I am hopelessly anachronistic.

Telling Stories, by Tracy Chapman

There is fiction in the space between
The lines on your page of memories
Write it down but it doesn't mean
You're not just telling stories

There is fiction in the space between
You and reality
You will do and say anything
To make your everyday life
Seem less mundane
There is fiction in the space between
You and me

Theres a science fiction in the space between
You and me
A fabrication of a grand scheme
Where I am the scary monster
I eat the city and as I leave the scene
In my spaceship I am laughing
In your remembrance of your bad dream
There's no one but you standing

Leave the pity and the blame
For the ones who do not speak
You write the words to get respect and compassion
And for posterity
You write the words and make believe
There is truth in the space between

There is fiction in the space between
You and everybody
Give us all what we need
Give us one more sad sordid story
But in the fiction of the space between
Sometimes a lie is the best thing
Sometimes a lie is the best thing

Monday, May 07, 2007

Lotto Jackpot Dreams

My dear friend Julie, who suffers from insomnia, sometimes lulls herself to sleep by thinking about everything she would do if she won the lottery.

I also have my Jackpot Dreams. Who doesn't? And my dreams and Julie's are pretty similar. They start off with college or trust funds for our kids and investing for growth and security.

Where Julie and I differ is regarding family. She would definitely have more kids. I am not so sure I would. I am 38, and my last pregnancy took a huge toll on my body. I would think twice before going down that road.

What I do in my Lotto dreams is become a sort of venture capitalist, investing in small businesses by women and minorities. Sometimes I create a non-profit organization dedicated to providing school and college scholarships for Latino students of low-income families. Sometimes I move back home to Puerto Rico and invest in eco-tourism. Sometimes I just become a stay-at-home mom, writing about whatever catches my fancy, and taking care of my children.

One thing I consistently do in my Lotto dreams is travel. Travel everywhere. Go to Europe, which I have not done yet. Visit Pompeii, which always caught my attention as a kid. Travel all over South America. Visit Easter Island and the Galapagos. Go stand on the Great Wall. Buy an RV and spend a summer on a cross-country trip through the Continental US, really get to know the country I live in. Then pick the place I like the most, and move my family there.

So there you have it, my Jackpot fantasies. What are yours?