Saturday, June 30, 2007

(Dis)illusion of control

In the late 1970s, Abramson and Alloy (1980) demonstrated that depressed individuals hold a more accurate view of their control of the social environment than do non-depressed individuals. This finding holds true even when the depression is manipulated experimentally.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusion_of_control


How very interesting. Are we realistic because we are depressed, or are we depressed because we are realistic?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Flickr

I have digital pictures everywhere. In the past I used Yahoo Photos the most. I had lots of pictures of Paula's early years there. When I joined BabyCenter and subsequently the private boards I belong to, I started using Photobucket so I could show my pictures on the boards. I also have some pictures on Snapfish and on the Kodak Gallery (from back when it was called Ofoto), even on the Walgreens site. And who knows if there's more somewhere else I don't remember.

I love Flickr the most. It is the one I want to be my main album. Since Yahoo recently bought Flickr, they are phasing out Yahoo Photos and gave users the option to move their images to various services. I selected Flickr.

Here's sample of the pictures that I moved from Yahoo Photos.

Paula, Halloween 2002


Paula's Fourth Birthday


Paula and I on the night before Gabe and I got married.

Surprisingly uninspired Friday

It's Friday. It's payday. I should be ecstatic. I could not feel more blah.

I woke up early this morning, around 5:30 AM. I did not have to get up so early, I could have hit the snooze button a few more times. But I like the quiet house in the mornings. I made myself some coffee and sat down to read a few pages from the book I am currently reading.

Afterwards I woke up Gabe and gave him coffee, and woke up Isa and got her ready. She used the potty for the second time this week. As silly as it may sound, I was very excited about that and praised her greatly.

By now it was sometime after 7:00 AM and I had an 8:00 AM appointment with James, the Fitness Specialist at the gym on campus, so I needed to hurry. I quickly packed my clothes and toiletries so I could shower at the gym, kissed Gabe goodbye and took Isa to daycare. I forgot to pack a towel, as I would later discover.

I was really looking forward to my consultation this morning. We were going to take measurements and go over the first of three strength training workouts on my plan. I got to the gym at 7:55 AM. James was not there yet. I figured he was be on his way, so I hopped on a treadmill and started walking as a warm-up. Thirty-five minutes later, upset that James never showed up, I stopped the treadmill and took to the showers. That's when I discovered I neglected to pack a towel. Sweet! So I showered, used my t-shirt to dry my hair and used paper towels to dry myself. When I left the gym on my way to my office, James still had not shown up. At this point I am concerned that something may have happened to him, but also mad as hell. He stood me up once before, on my very first appointment. He left early that day because he wasn't feeling well, and forgot to e-mail me or call me to cancel, so I showed up and waited for him like an idiot.

So, I am in a pissy mood right now.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I don't know what the deal is

I use Google Reader to keep track of my friend's blogs and other blogs of interest. Well, I posted earlier today and my post still hasn't shown up on Google Reader. It is not the first time it's happened to me and I have noticed it's happened with other people's blogs. What is up with that, Google?

An exercise in futility

I have said before that sometimes we learn more about ourselves from our mistakes than from our triumphs. Nothing original, I know, but it is something I firmly believe. Setbacks have helped me grow as a person and move forward in my life.

Today's post is about one of those mistakes. Once upon a time, over six years ago, I was duped/pressured into getting into a timeshare.

I should have known better, but I was naive and back then I had a hard time saying no. Plus, these people are very effective in their hard sell techniques. Because I could not afford much, I ended up with a blue-period timeshare that I can only use on even years. The blue period is the worst ever, with a very short window to use, and in the middle of winter. Bum deal, right?

Every month for the last six years I have been paying about 91 dollars for the financing of said hellish timeshare, and about 30 dollars for their dues ("owners" need to pay dues and taxes). I can't wait to get out of it, but I don't know how to unload it. The timeshare company will do nothing to help me sell it. There are companies that are dedicated to sell timeshares, but usually they charge owners a fee in advance in order to list for one year, with no guarantee that they will sell it. So I have been biding my time and waiting for the moment when it's all paid for, so I can figure out my next move.

In the meantime, sucky Silverleaf Resorts calls me all the time. Every year they call me and invite me to come over for a free weekend stay, provided I sit down to an update meeting which is really an attempt to get me to upgrade to a more expensive timeshare. I have been to a few of these yearly meetings. One year my parents stayed with me and Paula at a cabin and one morning we saw a body lying underneath the stairs of our building. Needless to say that scared the crap out of me. Was it someone passed out drunk or was it someone dead? I called security and never knew what became of that. No one had the decency to tell us. I skipped several yearly meetings after that.

Last year when they called I decided to take the free weekend. I had Gabriel this time around for support, and I also wanted him, my in-laws and the girls to enjoy the property. It's in a wooded area by Lake Conroe, so it can charming. Overall it was a good weekend, except for two things. One, we took a horse-drawn wagon ride on the property and it was obvious to us that the wagon was too large and heavy for one of the horses to pull. This horse looked tired and skinny, and had an abcess in its leg. At one point there was a steep incline and the horses struggled. I honestly thought the skinny one was going to collapse. Gabe got out of the wagon to lighten the load. I had Isa and did not dare jump out, but I would have if I had been alone. No one else cared, and there was like 8 more people on the wagon. I was furious and when the time for my meeting came, I spent the first ten minutes complaining to the Piney Shores person about the treatment to their horse. I also told them in a very clear way, that there was no way in hell I was upgrading to a more expensive timeshare, that in fact I could not wait to unload it. They were not pleased by that. In fact, the stupid and cynical sales manager told me "good luck selling that". What an asshole. And he expected me to upgrade after such comments? Animal-abusing scumbags is what they are.

After we got home I reported them to the SPCA. It was the least I could do.

Months later, someone from Silverleaf called asking me to refer friends and family so they could contact them. I told them I cared about my family and friends and would definitely not send them over to be screwed by them. That did not go down well.

Last week they called offering me a free weekend so I could go to the yearly update meeting. After talking to Gabe, I accepted. I already know I will not upgrade, and there is nothing they can say to convince me otherwise. Once the meeting is out of the way, I will have time to enjoy the facilities and the cabin. I also want to go check up on the horse, if it's still there.




Monday, June 25, 2007

Hack job, a trite dialogue

Below is my first attempt at writing a story where the dialogue comes from song lyrics:



SHE: So much for your promises. They died the day you let me go.

HE: Will you listen to my story? It'll just be a minute. How can I explain?

SHE: Mmm, what you say? Mm, that you only meant well? Well, of course you did.

HE: You caught me in a lie, I have no alibi

SHE: How stupid could I be? A simpleton could see that you’re no good for me.

HE: I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

SHE: You said you’d die for me

HE: Let's start over.

SHE: There's no excuse. No explanation.

HE: I wish you'd unclench your fists and unpack your suitcase

SHE: Caught up in a web of lies.

HE: I never really wanted you to see the screwed up side of me that I keep locked inside of me so deep

SHE: Excuse me, too busy you're writing a tragedy

HE: (I was doing so well) Can we just be friends?

SHE: Give me something to believe in, cause I don't believe in you anymore, anymore…

HE: Lately there's been too much of this, but don't think it's too late

SHE: I wonder if it even makes a difference to try.

HE: Is this the way it's really going down? Is this how we say goodbye?

SHE: I can’t make you love me if you don’t.

HE: Believe me, if I could undo what I did wrong I'd give away all that I own

SHE: You don't care a bit. You don't care a bit. You don't care a bit. You don't care a bit. You don't care a bit.

HE: All the words that I come up with, they're like gasoline on flames

SHE: The words you say don't have a meaning

HE: I’ll try to do it right this time around.

SHE: Forgive sounds good. Forget, I’m not sure I could.

HE: It's not the time to break up this love. Keep it together now. It's not the time to break.

SHE: How the hell did we wind up like this?

HE: Someday, somehow I'm gonna make it all right but not right now.

SHE: So this is goodbye.

HE: Oh, no!







Songs quoted:

1- Hide and seek, Imogen Heap
2- Shattered dreams, Johnny Hates Jazz
3- It’s not over, Daughtry
4- Makes me wonder, Maroon 5
5- Stupid, Sarah McLachlan
6- Southern Central Rain (I'm Sorry), R.E.M.
7- Someday, Nickelback
8- Cold, Crossfade
9- The Walk, Imogen Heap
10- I can’t make you love me, Bonnie Raitt
11- I’m not ready to make nice, The Dixie Chicks
12- Breakdown, Daughtry

Three things I want my kids to...

Through Corey's blog I found out about Mamablogga's group writing project for June. I have never participated before. But hey, the prize is an Amazon.com gift certificate. How could I not compete?

Here's the rules, quoting from Mamablogga's website:

The theme for the June Group Writing Project is “Three things I want my kids to . . .” You can finish that infinitive with whatever verb you like (do, say, be, wear, have, get away with), and add any qualifiers you like (today, this summer, before they drive me crazy).

Here's my entry:

I want my kids to:

1- Be compassionate and forgiving. May their hearts never be poisoned by hate.

2- Never lose the sense of wonder. To be alive, to walk this earth is such a wonderful blessing, no matter how hard it may be sometimes. I hope they keep the ability to be amazed by the simplest things.

3- Live with no regrets. Life is a journey of self-discovery, and sometimes we learn more about ourselves from our mistakes and bad moments than we do from our triumphs.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Komen Fundraiser update

I am $15 away from my modest goal of $100 in my Komen Houston Race for the Cure fundraising efforts.

Gabe forwarded my web page link to a few friends and business contacts, and one of them pledged $50, the other $5.00. Thank you!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Persistence of vision

Last summer we took a road trip from Houston to Las Vegas. While we were in Vegas, we had the opportunity to see The Blue Man Group live at the Venetian Hotel. It was truly an amazing experience. The videos posted below can not compare to the live show, but at least give a glimpse into their act.

I would love for Paula to see their show. They came to Houston sometime in late 2006, but I wasn't able to take her then. I think it was during one of our financially lean periods.

Now that Paula is going to Orlando, I am campaigning with my parents to get them to take her to see the Blue Man Group show at the Universal Orlando Resort. For a kid Paula's age, that is the type of experience that leaves a mark all her life. But my mom is so fickle, and if she is not interested she is incapable of going for the benefit of someone else. So I very much hope she would get interested, but I fear she might not.

Blue Man Group in concert:




Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oh to be a work of art

I spent a couple of hours tonight looking for song lyrics online, and listening to songs on my iTunes so I could pick which ones to use in my story project. And then a song starts playing, a song I got as an iTunes free download of the week, one that was maybe played once and totally forgotten.

And suddenly I was sitting at my computer, writing with tears in my eyes. Isabel came to me and started wiping them with her hand, giving me hugs and telling me to stop crying. My sweet angel. I obliged, and took her to bed.

Satisfied that she is sound asleep, I return to my blank screen. I play the song again. I put the song on my blog as well.

What exactly makes me cry? It's so hard to explain all the emotions this song and its lyrics evoke in me. The short version would be to say it took me back to the worst years of my life, and gave word, like no other song before, to a story of unfulfilled promise, inner turmoil and loss.

Perhaps I should stop the music, right? But I can't.

My father died in January of 1990. A major anchor of my life disappeared. I was on my last semester of college, and had been dreading the next stage, not really sure what I wanted to do with my life after graduation, not quite ready to grow up yet. All I wanted to do was write short stories and hang out with my friends from the Honors Program, attending their poetry readings and acting in scenes for a friend's theater direction class. I had applied to law school because I did not know what else to do, and it seemed like the logical thing to do at the time. One of the last things my dad said to me was how proud he was I had been accepted to the UPR Law School. That comment came back to haunt me many times when I dropped from law school after only one semester.

After my dad's death, my mother fell apart and I had to step in and take care of her. She did not even know how to drive, so I had to take her everywhere. She tried to get me to take charge of her finances, to balance her checkbook. She was just as lost as I was.

It feels so far away now, yet there's a part of me that will forever be frozen in that time.

I got my first boyfriend the summer after my dad's death. The timing is suspect, and I have never understood why I had not allowed anyone to get really close to me until then. We wrote each other letters all the time. He was a writer like me. Still is.

I remember vividly the moment I told my mom I had a boyfriend. She sat down on a rocking chair and started crying. Now that I had a boyfriend, she said, I was going to abandon her and she had no more reason for living.

I started law school that fall. I had a really hard time focusing on my courses. I was just there, drifting with no definite plan. My boyfriend, two years younger than me, was still in college. I was always hanging out at my old faculty, instead of at the law school library.

I lost myself in that relationship. Or rather, I clung to that relationship like it was a lifeline. But there was trouble in paradise. I got pregnant by accident in October of 1990. I had an abortion. I was so ashamed I kept it hidden from my mother and siblings, from most of my friends too.

One of my best friends died a few months later, of an embolism just like my dad.

I dropped out of law school and decided to pursue a Masters in Comp. Lit. I had taken only a couple of elective courses on literature, so I needed to do some prerequisites. I was so green, so naive. My first class was on Caribbean Literature. My professor was a rabid postmodernist, who took pleasure on demolishing people's assumptions of what constituted literary analysis. I remember the first time I tried to discuss a novel. She asked me what did I think I was doing talking about the characters as if they were my neighbors. She had no interest in historical context or what the author meant. Who cares? The figure of the author is dead, no one cares what he meant! Text is to be analyzed in accordance to an analytical framework of our choosing. That was the first time ever I was exposed to the concepts of postmodernism and deconstruction. Nothing was real, everything was a construct, a fiction. To be emotionally engaged when reading a text was not something that was accepted. Everything had to have the life drained out of it and stretched to absurd shapes. We really were not studying literary works, we were studying literary theory.

It was a bit more than I could handle. My personal life was in utter chaos, and unlike other people, I did not have a faith to fall back upon. The only things I could rely on had been taken away from me. Now I could not even enjoy a book without feeling like a simpleton. Everything I had been taught all my life up to then was considered crap. Nothing could be assumed. I lost my sense of security, my sense of the absolute. And what should have an intellectual eye opener was instead a push into the ocean with nothing to hold on to.

There's honestly big chunks of my twenties that are missing from my memory banks. I know I went through the motions. I stopped writing and I dropped out of grad school. I had disappointed everybody. I was so unimportant, so inconsequential. I moved in with my boyfriend. I got a job, we got married, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. All those years there was a constant in my life, a very dark and pervasive depression. It wasn't until the year 2000, after I moved to Texas for work and started over as a single mother, that I began to wake up from the slumber.

All that is what this song brought back to me tonight.


Philosophia, by the Guggenheim Grotto

When we’re young we set our hearts upon some beautiful idea
Maybe something from a holy book or French philosophia
Upon the thoughts of better men than us we swear by and decree a
Perfect way to end the war of ways the only way to be a…


Work of art, oh to be a work of art

But in time a thought comes tugging on the sleeve edge of our minds
Perhaps no perfect way exists at all, just many different kinds
Oh but if it’s just a thing of taste then everything unwinds
For without an absolute how can the absolute define…


A work of art, oh to be a work of art.

Writing a post so I don't fall asleep and bump into the flat panel

It’s Thursday afternoon. I am sitting in my office with the door closed, running some reports and debating whether to listen to my iTunes music or attempt to get the camera to work.

I had lunch with my friend Amanda today. Amanda is going to do the Race for the Cure with me. I'm so excited!

I ate a huge plate of BBQ. I still feel so full.

Since yesterday I have been thinking about a possible short story idea. I can’t say that the concept is wholly original, kind of ironic considering what the story is about. What if I were to write a short story where all the lines of dialogue came from lyrics to songs? I would call my story “Hack job”. Maybe if I am able to come of with something beyond the mere idea, I will post something this weekend.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Unfolding

The more I blog, the more comfortable in my own skin I start to feel. I am not there yet, but lately I have been more and more interested in tweaking with the blog and posting random links to web places that are interesting to me.

This week I went ahead and registered my blog in four places: puerto blogs, technorati, blogflux and the mom blogs. Do I want more readers? Maybe. Remember I am a frustrated aspiring writer. In this day and age, if you are a writer without readers it is because you are not seeking them. But I am not looking to recruit a legion of readers. This is a personal blog, not a blog for profit or a blog as a career. This is what I do as a compulsion, the most personal of my daily tasks. This is where I pour my heart out, how I communicate to my friends what goes on in my life.

I have great friends, women who have been with me on a shared journey of pregnancy and motherhood for the last three years. They are kind enough to check what I post and give me words of encouragement when I need them. I love them.

But sometimes I think about all the friends that I have loved and lost, all the people who were once important in my life and with whom I have lost touch. I am putting my blog out there to make it possible for them to find me, whether they are looking or not.

Of course, as an island-born and raised Puerto Rican woman whose native language is Spanish, but who writes primarily in English, putting my blog out there could cause me some grief. I know there are people who frown upon the language issue, as if somehow writing in English is turning our backs on who we are. Because of this, I was slightly hesitant to register my blog at these places. But then I thought, so f_ing what? My blog is what it is. I am not forcing anybody to read it, but I want my friends to be able to. My mancha de plátano (stain of the plantain) does not fade no matter what language I write in.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Evening

Well, I did some more tweaking with the blog. I am not convinced about the colors, so I might play with it a few more times. Please bear with me, all of my four regular readers. ;)

Tuesday afternoon

I don't feel like saying much today. I am in a graphic mood rather than a writing mood, but my webcam is not working so I can't post goofy pictures of myself.

I toyed with the idea of changing the blog background yet again, but settled for posting a video clip that caught my fancy. It was shown at a face-to-face meeting our group had last week.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

On this day

I am copying this from another blog I randomly stumbled into. I believe we did this already at one of my mommy boards, but it's fun to do it again:

On this day meme

Go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday (only the month and day). Choose and write down 3 events, 2 births and 1 holiday. Then tag 5 friends.

3 events

1903 - The Wright Brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. It crashes, and 3 days later, after repairs, they get it to fly.

1911 - Roald Amundsen's team, comprising himself, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first to reach the South Pole.

1972 - Apollo program: Eugene Cernan is the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt complete the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of Apollo 17. This was the last manned mission to the moon of the 20th century.

2 births

1503 - Nostradamus, French astrologer (d. 1566)

1916 - Shirley Jackson, American writer (d. 1965)

1 holiday

R.C. Saints - Memorial of Saint John of the Cross

I am tagging Amanda, Corey, Megan, Lori and Julie. Your turn, girls!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tradiciones

Just yesterday my nine year-old daughter embarked into her own private yearly tradition: spending the summer months in Puerto Rico with her father. I put her on a plane yesterday, direct flight from Houston to San Juan. She cried while she hugged me goodbye, I cried all the way back to the office. Contrary to what I would have thought, it does not get easier with the years. We are very attached to each other, and we still miss each other a lot. But it is a good thing and she has a lot of fun when she goes.
When I was growing up, my favorite tradition ever was picking grass for the camels. You see, where I come from we celebrate Epiphany Day (January 6th). The Three Wise Men leave presents for little kids, much like Santa Claus. The day before, January 5th, my siblings and I, like countless Puerto Rican children, would go out to the yard with a cardboard shoe box, and pick grass for the Three Wise Men’s camels. The boxes with the grass clippings were then placed at the foot of our beds. The next morning, the grass would be gone, save for the occasional stray blade, and in its place would be our presents. I love this tradition so much that I have taught it to my oldest daughter, even though no one else celebrates Epiphany Day where we live now. My daughter absolutely loves to pick grass for the camels, and I enjoy keeping that link to my heritage and passing on the tradition. My youngest daughter was actually born on Epiphany Day, so she is my little gift from the Three Kings. She is only two and half, too young to understand about Los Reyes Magos. But next year we will all pick grass together for the camels, and I will teach her, just as I have taught my oldest, that if you believe in Los Reyes, they will come to you, no matter where you live.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Invisible

I feel invisible tonight, replaceable, and so alone.

:(

Thursday, June 14, 2007

If you read this blog through Google Reader

Please know that for some reason, several older posts are showing up on Google Reader as new.

I was tweaking with the the blog and my archives, adding labels to some older posts. Apparently that triggered many posts to reappear as new. Weird.

This is what I am doing instead of focusing on work

I got my old Logitech webcam out of a drawer and decided to document my procrastination.


Forgive the size, I don't have the Logitech software on my new work computer and I can't adjust the picture size.





Texarican?

This week I saw the official coining of a new term, at least on the Internet that is accessible by search engine: DisneyRican, by my compatriotas at the Corillo Gainesviliano blog.

What is a DisneyRican? It is term used to identify the contingent of Puerto Ricans that have migrated from the island to the Orlando, Florida area, and their descendants. In recent years, Florida has increasingly become the main destination for Puerto Ricans leaving the island. I don't know how long it will take for DisneyRican to become a common term (as Nuyorican before it), but if you ask me I think the time is now.

The DisneyRican term got me thinking. How many Texaricans are out there? I would love to know. And for the record, the term Texarican is not of my own invention. I have seen it out there, which makes me think that there are probably more of us than I imagine.

New links

Yesterday I added a few blogs of note to my list of random URLs on the lower right side. My favorite new blog of note is called Word Imperfect. Check it out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

OK, so some exercise might in order

I am starting to realize that, just as my body needs a good jumpstart, my mind does too.

I thought my only area of opportunity (business term for flaw) was my astonishing lack of muscular tone. But it turns out that my brain is getting sluggish too. The fact that this did not dawn on me until today is unequivocal proof of my rapidly decreasing brain capacity for anything unrelated to PC market dynamics or toddler-appropriate cartoons.

When it comes to my body, it goes without saying that I am tired of being this, for lack of a better word, blob. I am sick of the dreaded "so how far along are you" question. She's two and a half years old, people! I'm not pregnant, I just have a belly, damn it!

But I am too lazy, too unmotivated, or too tired to get myself in physical shape. Every year I start going to the Y for a few months, and every year I stop. When the hell is the habit going to stick? Bad habits never have trouble sticking around. I bet you if I pick up a cigarrette right now, by tomorrow I'll be right back where I was two years ago when I quit. Why can't I hop on a treadmill and be back where I was when I did the Race for the Cure last year?

It might be easier to exercise my brain. But it is also infinitely trickier. By the time I get home every evening, I am mentally exhausted and incapable of any witty banter, so any intelligent conversation on current events is out. And what exactly entails to exercise my brain? Should I start doing crossword puzzles, like the AARP crowd? I have never been a fan and I am not worried about Alzheimer's (yet). So I pass. Should I load up on Omega 3? It could not hurt. I read frequently, as much as my family and schedule allow. A few books a month, some magazines. I suppose I could try to increase my reading, or tweak with the mix between uplifting content and mindless crap in my reading material. You know, more National Geographic, less Star Magazine. More Los Pasos Perdidos, less Dresden Files.

Should I swear off the Internet entirely? No, I think that the Internet is my ally in this process. I have a known and familiar territory that I roam constantly. I just need to venture out of my borders more often.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Love this song

Sword of Damocles

I am so very tired. Everywhere I look, I see trend lines, I see tables with numbers and percentages dancing before my blurred vision.

Deadlines, deadlines, delays. Ugh!

Alphabet soup

One of my fellow mommy board friends posted the following questions the other day on our board:

What was your maiden name?
What is your married name?
Do you hyphenate (sp? you know, this thing - ) and use both last names?
Do you like your married name better/worse/indifferent?
Did you/will you use your maiden name for your kids in some way (middle name etc?)

I swallowed hard and proceeded to reply, knowing full well I would elicit multiple "what the f..." responses.

You see, in Puerto Rico, like in many Latin American countries, people carry two family names (one from the father and one from the mother). To simplify matters, outside of legal documents, one may or may not drop the second of them. And some of us who move to the US and want to continue using both names, tend to hyphenate them so people use them in the right order. To Americans, who only have one last name, this can be highly confusing. I have also noticed that I am in the minority in my group in that I have kept my maiden names.

So in my house, my husband and youngest daughter have one last name. My oldest, who was born and registered in Puerto Rico, carries her father's and mine. And I use both my maiden names, hyphenated so people don't drop one of them. It must be mind boggling for some, but I like it just fine.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tug of war

On the subject of blasts from the past, I was looking at Pancho's (Paula's dad) new blog, Legión Miope. His blog, and the links featured in it, also brought back memories. Memories of who I was a long time ago, and the Puerto Rico literary scene. You see, when Pancho and I met we both were "young writers". The difference is he kept on doing it, and I have continued other pursuits.

I never felt too comfortable in the island literary scene, of which I was only a very minor footnote years ago, in the early nineties, when two short stories I wrote were published in an anthology called El Rostro y la Máscara. Those years of my life were part of my existential fog phase; my "I'm in the middle of a breakdown but damned if I'll admit it" years.

I never fit in with the young, Puerto Rican writers. It's not like there was an official group or anything, more like a certain personality profile. I wasn't very defiant. Or I was, but not about the right things. I don't particularly like elaborate prose and I did not particularly want to make a stand or stick it to the man. I just wanted to write about things that came from a very personal place, as a way to help me figure things out. Writers in Puerto Rico are expected to have strong opinions on our island and the status of its relationship with the US. My opinions were not the kind they would have liked to hear. Bottom line, I always felt inadequate, not measuring up. That says something about me if I could not even fit in with the misfits.

So Pancho's blog got me thinking of all that again, stirred up some of those old feelings. I looked at the links he's got, which includes my blog alongside several literary blogs. I'm pretty sure that when people go checking out his links and find my blog they are going to go what the fuck, who let this one in????

But why the hell am I worrying about what this other, hypothetical people think? Aren't I the one who preaches live and let live, be true to yourself and all that other crap? Why am I suddenly feeling guilty for not being edgy enough, for not continuing to write feverishly over the years?

Oh, well.

Mi gente

Thursday I received a visit that brought back memories.

When I started working for Big Computer in 1997, I was at the Puerto Rico office. This was prior to the big merger, and we were a small, seven people team in an office in Hato Rey. The person who interviewed me and recommended they hire me was the Service Manager. His name is Wilfredo.

Wilfredo and I are the only two people left at Big Computer from those original Puerto Rico seven. We both had relocated to Texas from Puerto Rico to work at the Latin America regional headquarters. Wilfredo then relocated to South Florida a few years later. Last week he was in Houston for meetings, and we met to say hi and chat for a bit. That was nice. I had not seen him in at least 5 years and we updated each other on our families. I asked him about the move to South Florida (he does not like it) and we also talked about some of our mutual friends, and about the politics of our old Latin America group.

The visit made me reconnect with myself, with a part of my past, and I was grateful for that.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tweaking again

I just changed my background color again. I wish this palette had turquoise blue or sea green available. This is the closest I got to that. Not too close.

I have an overwhelming urge to see the ocean today. The nearest beach is in Galveston, which is the color of milky coffee, as a friend said to me. Not exactly what I have in mind.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Clutter

Ugh. I feel like my life is full of clutter.

My house is clutter central. I don't enjoy having so much crap lying around. Really. I have dreams of living in a minimalist environment. But there is all this... stuff. All over my house. Out of place. Books, toys toys and more toys, shoes, an overload of papers (letters, daycare daily reports, piles of school papers, catalogs, magazines, receipts, bills, important papers). Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never been a housecleaning enthusiast (well, that's an understatement). I get easily overwhelmed, I don't know how or where to start, I am usually feeling too tired after work, I get discouraged easily, only looming deadlines move me to action, yada yada yada. Last time I cleaned in full force it was for Paula's birthday party. I was wiped out after that. I need to do some intensive cleaning this Sunday. I am dreading it already.

My mood today is unspecified anxious. I am not sure why. On the mommy board front, it seems like things are starting to get resolved. It's not over yet, but it looks like we are heading in the right direction. So my mood is not tied to the mommy board affair. For the first time in days I am not upset or bothered by that. Why the general feeling of dread, then? Not sure. Maybe it's biological reasons. Maybe it's work. There are deliverables that I wished we could have finished yesterday, but we could not. We have been pretty tight on money too, so it might be that too. Gabe was waiting on several clients to pay him, and I had to dip into my close to non-existent savings to pay two weeks of daycare. He finally got paid yesterday, so I may get my emergency fund back to normal levels.

Paula leaves for Puerto Rico Thursday of next week. I have to start getting her suitcase ready.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tuesday

Gabe has started going back to the gym since Sunday. I think it's great. Sunday we all went to the YMCA. I took the girls to the outside family pool and he went to use the weights and the treadmill. Then he went again yesterday after work and did the treadmill again.

I am happy and very proud of him. I also am very conscious of the fact that my encouragement is helping him go. This is a tricky area because if I push too much, I get the opposite effect, so I have been careful to be gentle in my support.

As for me, I have not started going to the gym again yet. I lack the motivation. I am not happy with how I look, with how I feel. But I feel like it's an insurmountable task, to try to get in shape. I am hoping that Gabriel's example will help me get going. But I don't want to jeopardize his momemtum by suggesting we do things together. In fact, I have vehemently told him that he does not need to wait for me to be with him at the gym to get in shape. I don't want him to tie his effort to mine because I don't want to jeopardize his success.

I am sad this morning, for other reasons. I am disenchanted about something that was near and dear to me, something in which I have invested a good amount of time. It's like the end of a romance, when you take off the veil and see things from a different perspective.

Monday, June 04, 2007

How far is too far?

This past weekend I have been thinking a lot about friendships, "online" versus "in real life" and the hybrid kind that encompasses both. I have also been thinking a lot about group dynamics and message boards codes of conduct.

When it comes to disagreements between members of message boards, how far is too far? How much are you willing to put up with? Where do we draw the line? What do we do with members who are clearly out of line? Would you be inclined to cut some slack to people you know and love in real life?

Those of you who belong to Mommy Boards, what does the board represent to you? What kind of community do you wish to belong to? How tolerant are you when it comes to conflic in your board

I'll answer for myself. I draw the line at personal attacks, particularly when they are done with the intent to ridicule, dismiss or hurt someone. I want my board to be a place where mature adults meet. Sure there are bound to be differences. And sometimes people say things without thinking. Sometimes feelings are hurt inadvertently. But adults know when to stop, when to take a step back. When people go out of their way to provoke fights or to be rude and mean to others, that is not cool.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Blah (Mood series)

The swing is gone. For now. This music better matches my mood this morning. For the record, it's Nirvana's "Something in the way".

Am I spending too much time on the Internet?

There was drama on my mommy board yesterday. A debate thread on the topic of adoption devolved into nasty name calling and cursing. One of the people involved took offense to someone's opinion. An opinion that may have been stated in better terms than she did, but a general opinion nevertheless, not directed to anyone in particular. The person who got offended is in a sensitive situation right now, because of fertility issues, and her reaction was completely out of proportion. Which is usually a sign that a lot more was going on in her head/heart than what the debate was about. Like someone said to me, it was literally like watching someone have a complete breakdown, post by post.

This whole thing is very unfortunate, and it comes on the heels of another incident between members that happened recently. Our board was founded on the premise that we were all responsible adults who could monitor ourselves, so we are very flexible and don't have strict rules. I feel like this incident has laid bare one of the weak points of that approach. To me the board should be a safe haven for all of us, and yesterday's incident is making me feel skeptical about the longevity of our current group. People are leaving, or taking breaks. Feelings are hurt. Everybody is asking "how do we move on?" I wish I knew, but this morning, right now, I am not very optimistic about the whole thing.

And frankly, I am angry. Angry that our board was highjacked by such ugliness. I don't care what are the reasons why people blew up the way they did. I think after a certain point, people need to wash their dirty laundry through more private methods (private messages, e-mail, phone calls) rather than exposing the complete group to it and threaten the stability of the board. That's my opinion and I am sticking to it!