Monday, July 30, 2007


I am having a Wolfgang moment, as in music has a way of speaking to me at the precise time I need it.

While I was still under the influence of the I am a loser mood manifestation that inspired the previous post, I started playing the Orishas music I previously mentioned. One of the songs is called "Conexión" and it has a great line that spoke to me in such a great in-your-face way:

El destino esta marcado nadie lo puede cambiar
Pero ten siempre presente tu esfuerzo no esta de más
Lo que no sirve de nada sácalo ya de tu mente
A veces vale nadar en contra de la corriente

I am not an expert translator, so I could not reproduce the sense of rythym, but the lyrics could be translated as follows:

Destiny is fixed no one can change it
But always keep in mind that your efforts are not in vain
Get out of your mind that which is useless
Sometimes it's necessary to swim against the current

Well, it's quite late. If I don't try to go to bed I will never sleep.

Just get the big L tattooed to my forehead

When I was young, my mother praised my intelligence so much. She built me up so high, told me I was so intelligent that it was a duty to use my brain to do something big and of importance with my life.

I was fascinated by science books and loved animals, so I was going to be a scientist when I grew up and discover the cure of cancer or something else equally big and important. This was said in all seriousness. My family had very cultured people, and some trailblazers in its ranks, after all. My grandpa's brother, who was my favorite uncle growing up, was a famous painter. My maternal grandmother had been one of the first group to graduate from the Normal School at the University of Puerto Rico. She was a math teacher and eventually became a school director.

Both my mother and father graduated from college and did some graduate work, my father in Stanford and my mother in Berlin on a Fullbright scholarship. So my mother's expectations of me were pretty high. And I am sorry to say I have been a huge disappointment. First of all, I switched majors on my second semester, changing from Biology to History. Then I graduated college with no clue of what to do with my life. I dropped law school after one semester. I remember the day I told my mom I was not going to be a lawyer and that what I really liked to do was write short stories. She looked at me and said "Then you'd better damn be the best writer there is." I think that comment jinxed me. For years I suffered from writer's block. I lost the spark. Eventually I just gave up on that part of my life altogether and focused on making a living.

I started working from the ground up. I did not have any friends in high places to give me a hand, and I had majored in History but had no inclination at all to be a teacher. So my first jobs were clerical in nature (receptionist at a San Juan newspaper, salesclerk at the UW University Bookstore in Madison, WI, office clerk at a clothing manufacturer back in San Juan).

I have been working 10 years for my current employer, and I have moved up the ranks from Administrative Assistant to Business Planning Manager. Fancy title, eh? It's actually pretty generic, it really doesn't convey well what I do. I like my job very much. I truly have a career by accident. I knew nothing about this business when I started. I have learned all I know on the go. Sometimes I think about it, this accumulation of experience and industry knowledge I have. It's hard to gauge it accurately. I fear I know less than I should. I suspect I may not realize how much I actually know. Does that make sense?

I love my daughters, and I want them to be the best they can possibly be. But I do not want to make the mistake my mom made. Her expectations of me were so high that they crushed me.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


triste loco el que ha dejado atras
su sol, su gente, su camisa
sin pensar tan lejos cambia todo
y la nostalgia te hace trizas
Orishas, "Emigrantes"

I discovered Orishas today. I bought their latest release, Antidiotico, on iTunes and it is amazing. The song quoted above and the one on the player below are my favorites.

The video for that song is here:

I wasn't able to find "Emigrantes" on or in You Tube, so I linked to iTunes so you can listen to the 30-second preview, although it really is not enough to grasp it.

Shirts by Providence Handmade

My friend and fellow Mommy Board member, Stephanie, is a great crafter. She does all kinds of things, very tastefully and with meticulous attention to detail, and she is getting ready to open a shop in She made these shirts for my girls. Aren't they cute?

The Mother of Giveaways

Lately I see a lot of giveaways taking place on blogs, especially mothering blogs. I am usually too lazy to enter, but today, through the blogs of my friends Keara and Amanda, I learned about one that I will definitely not miss. The prize for this contest, organized by 5 Minutes for Mom and sponsored by Best Buy, is a 37" Flat Panel LCD HDTV. Awesome!

Click here if you are interested in participating.

Reluctant housework Sunday

As the title indicates, housework is not really my thing. I can just imagine both my ex and my husband reading that comment and saying "Gee, ya think??!!" To say Ingrid hates housework is like saying Puerto Rico is an island, or the sky is blue.

But this weekend I have embarked in one of my frenzied housecleaning episodes. I did several loads of laundry yesterday and finished clearing toys from the floor of Paula's new bedroom. Today I will vacuum the room and it will be finished and waiting for Paula to return. Isabel's new room will still be messy. I will deal with that one with more time.

I am still doing laundry and I have a mountain of clothes to fold and put away. This is sometimes hard, as we have too much stuff and not enough storage. I have to set aside some clothes/towels/bedsheets to give away.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Holy crap, I just realized I used the word feel, or some permutation of it, eight times in my previous post, four of them in the first paragraph. Yikes!

What's my skill?

Lately I have been feeling precarious. This is not to be confused with my "mostly hormonal blues" of the past few days. Once the veil of doom is pulled back, I still feel like my footing is unsure. Part of this is related to work. My post is evolving. But more than work, the blogging world has brought about this feeling. The more blogs I discover, the more I read, the more relationships I build, in short the more I venture into this world, the more I feel like I don't have a freaking clue.

Please understand this is not a poor me statement. I have no reason to feel sorry for myself. Nor am I fishing for sympathy. I am writing to make sense of this feeling, the equivalent of thinking out loud. This is not a a bad thing, especially since it's been brought about by an increase in exposure to people, ideas, opinions and information that I would not normally encounter in the safe bubble of my everyday life. It is not too different from how I first felt when I started college a long time ago. Only this time it feels less like a small-town kid visiting Times Square, more like waking up from a too-long nap on a hot afternoon.

The most unlikely sources trigger reflection. A children's movie, one I have seen countless times, for example. I find myself wondering what exactly is it that I am good at and what should I do with my blog. While I am definitely nowhere near being "popular" on the Web, I have more readers now than when I started blogging. I think about this audience, especially the ones that pay me return visits. Why do they come? I know that my Mommy Board friends come because they want to know what's going on with my life and my kids. We share a bond much deeper than this blog. But what about the others? Why do they come back? Do they like what they read here or come because I also visit them?

The never ending stream of questions inside my head goes on. What is my place under the sun? What is my voice? What is this hodgepodge page I keep? Should I focus this blog on my life as a parent? Should I stick to keeping a journal of my mood swings? Should I only talk about what it means to be a Puerto Rican far from the island, married to an American? Why am I blogging in English, by the way? Should I strive for a bilingual blog? Should I talk about work? Should I just dedicate it to posting the pictures I take? Am I as good of a writer as I think I am? Am I getting too old to grow up, trapped in platitudes?

Such are the questions unanswered. There are two things of which I am quite sure, though:
  • What I post is my truth alone. I don't want to impose my views on anybody and have no intention of hurting anyone's feelings.
  • I love to read other people's blogs, and I like to have readers. It invigorates me to be able to have contact with people far removed from my everyday life and circumstance.


Breakfast, originally uploaded by icruzbonilla.

Here is Isabel enjoying her oatmeal this morning.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Here comes the rain again

I woke up to the sound of rain. We had a respite the last couple of days, but it's back. And that's fine by me.

It's not raining hard, and I love hearing the rain's singsong this morning.

I am behind on some projects at work. I have had a hard time figuring out how to do what I need to do. It's part of the learning curve, I guess.

Last night we went to a baseball game, Astros vs. Padres. At the office I was offered a pair of free tickets at the last minute. It was totally meant to be, as Gabe had just told me he had cancelled some Chamber of Commerce commitment he had. He also managed to get my mother-in-law on the phone, and she agreed to pick up Isabel. Yay! She also agreed to pick her up from daycare again today. My friend Amanda and I have been talking about maybe doing Happy Hour together, hopefully we will be able to do it.

It's also my mother-in-law's birthday today, so I have to make sure I bring her birthday gift with me today. We got her two framed pictures of the girls, a t-shirt that says "Home is where my grandkids are" and a pretty figurine of a grandmother and child.

Also, I had forgotten I had been invited for a farewell lunch for one of my former colleagues in the Latin America group. He is not leaving the company, but he is leaving Houston and going back to Colombia to take the Marketing Manager position there. He is a great guy and will be missed.

Lastly, I finished the Harry Potter book last night. I still don't know how I feel about it. It's OK, I guess, but I am oddly empty of feeling towards it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The tide

Sometimes, as quickly as it rises, sadness recedes. The same day and world that seemed so gloomy just a few hours ago become simply ordinary.


It takes a lot of strength to break the powerful hold of circular thinking. Those of you that have been trapped in one of those loops of anguish and self-doubt know what I am talking about.

The last few days I have been battling the blues. I refuse to let them win, but I am not going to pretend it's not happening. My mood is rotten and I continue to feel like I am at the start of a rollercoaster ride that may or may not go off. When people ask me if I am OK I answer yes and I believe it. But I could certainly use a vacation, and I can't wait for my oldest daughter to be back home. Which will be a week from today, yay!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

This made me laugh

If I was a readhead, and lived in NYC, I totally would have been there.

This morning

I feel unsure today, in danger of scattering, as if my head was a fishbowl of marbles, my body was a water balloon and my feet were skates.

Monday, July 23, 2007

La Rogativa

On April 17, 1797, Sr Ralph Abercromby and his troops invaded San Juan, Puerto Rico in what is considered one of the largest invasions to the Spanish colonies in the Americas. For two weeks there was a fierce battle involving artillery and even hand to hand combat. On April 30, the Bishop of San Juan and a group of townswomen organized a rogativa and marched through the streets of the city praying to God for help against the invaders. That night, after almost two weeks of combat and unable to lay claim to the city, Abercromby and his forces withdrew. Legend says that the invaders saw the torches carried by the praying ladies and mistook them for Spanish reinforcements coming to the battle.

The area where the statue of "La Rogativa" sits is one of my favorite places in the world. When I get nostalgic for Puerto Rico, I picture myself sitting at the foot of the statue, just like this.


I woke up this morning feeling like my brain is packed in bubble wrap.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Proof that when you are feeling rotten, chances are someone else's day sucks more

Power Outage Traps 200 in St. Louis Arch
Posted: 2007-07-22 20:04:32
Filed Under: Nation
ST. LOUIS (July 22) - Tourists could travel to the top of the Gateway Arch on Sunday, after a power outage Saturday night trapped roughly 200 people inside the landmark for up to three hours.

Mindy McCready Does it Again
Posted Jul 22nd 2007 8:12PM by TMZ Staff
Filed under: Celebrity Justice, Train Wrecks

Country singer Mindy McCready (and apparent permanent train wreck) was arrested early Saturday morning in Florida and charged with battery and resisting arrest.

McCready, 31, was charged with the two misdemeanors, according to booking information. The Lee County Sheriff's Office would not discuss what happened or what led to her arrest.

McCready, who had a No. 1 hit in 1996 with "Guys Do It All the Time," has struggled in recent years, beginning with a 2004 conviction for fraudulently obtaining prescription painkillers. She was on probation for that offense when she was charged with driving under the influence in 2005.

She was found not guilty of the DUI charge, but guilty of driving on a suspended license.

McCready was released on $1,000 bail Saturday and is scheduled to appear in court August 14.

She Takes the Blame for Passport Mess
Posted: 2007-07-22 20:33:56
Filed Under: Nation
WASHINGTON (July 22) - The current passport mess is rare among government foul-ups: A top federal official has publicly taken the blame and expressed regret.

"Over the past several months, many travelers who applied for a passport did not receive their document in time for their planned travel. I deeply regret that," says Assistant Secretary of State Maura Harty, who is in charge of U.S. passports. "I accept complete responsibility for this."

The government started requiring more Americans to have passports on Jan. 23 in an effort to thwart terrorism. By summer, more than 2 million people were waiting for passports; half a million had waited more than three months since applying for a document that typically was ready in six weeks.

The massive backlog destroyed summer vacations, ruined wedding and honeymoon plans and disrupted business meetings and education plans. People lost work days waiting in lines or thousands of dollars in nonrefundable travel deposits.

I love them, but some of these quizzes are so bogus

According to the quiz I just took, this is me:

You're Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

by Mark Twain

With an affinity for floating down the river, you see things in black
and white. The world is strange and new to you and the more you learn about it, the less
it makes sense. You probably speak with an accent and others have a hard time
understanding you and an even harder time taking you seriously. Nevertheless, your
adventurous spirit is admirable. You really like straw hats.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

If I change just one answer, then it tells me I am this:

You're The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

by Douglas Adams

Considered by many to be one of the funniest people around, you are
quite an entertainer. You've also traveled to the far reaches of what you deem possible,
often confused and unsure of yourself. Life continues to jostle you around like a marble,
but it's shown you so much of the world that you don't care. Wacky adventures continue to
lie ahead. Your favorite number is 42.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I know I liked both books when I read them many years ago, but I see nothing in common here.

This really has been a rotten day

I so wish I had the power to just rewind and start this day again, or skip forward and have it be Monday already.

At the pool we had an okay time, but Isa threw a few fits because she definitely did not want to wear her life vest. My patience level was dangerously low. Then it rained, so we just went home. It wasn't a very long visit.

Also, Gabriel lost his wedding ring. He is pretty upset about it. His ring has been feeling loose for a while, and he really can't remember what happened. All he knows is all of sudden it wasn't on his finger anymore. We both remember he had it on last night. He's looked everywhere with no luck.

To cheer ourselves up, we got two pints of Blue Bell ice cream (chocolate for me, mint chocolate chip for Gabe). I also broke down and bought the Deathly Hallows book.

There's ice cream left. Gabe's at the gym and Isabel is at my in-laws. I was just now watching a documentary on HBO about coma patients. Tough.

Something to pass the time

We are going to the pool. I told Gabe I need some gentle prodding to get going today. Right now Isabel is watching Lazy Town. She was so excited when it came on, shrieking with such delight "It's Lazy Town, Lazy Town Mommy!!!" that I can't tear her away from it.

So until her show is done, I am doing stupid Blogthings quizzes, like this one:

Your Personality Cluster is Extraverted Intuition
You are:
A true wordsmith - a master of wordsOriginal, spontaneous, and a true inspirationHighly energetic, up for any challengeEntertaining and engaging, both to friends and strangers

I wish that one was true, especially the master of words part.

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Cult Classic
Quirky, offbeat, and even a little campy - your life appeals to a select few.But if someone's obsessed with you, look out! Your fans are downright freaky.
Your best movie matches: Office Space, Showgirls, The Big Lebowski

I hated Showgirls. Oh, well.

You Are 28% Obsessive
You tend to have a few obsessive thoughts, but you generally have them under control.Sometimes your worries keep you up at night, though they usually don't interfere with your life.

I think I have been way more obsessive in the past, so I am in a better place now.

Your Attitude is Better than 30% of the Population
You have an average attitude. You take the good and bad in life as they come. Though sometimes you could use a little more good.


My heart is not the only one that is racing. I feel so weird. My mood meter is quite fluctuant this morning. I have been sad, I have been angry, I have been calm, I have been anxious. I want to do something, but I don't know what. I wish to go to the pool, but I find myself unable to get going, as if putting on Isabel's swimsuit and getting myself ready is a monumental task that I can't bring myself to perform. I am veritably scattered this morning.

A couple of steps behind

I woke up at 10:00 AM. I never wake up so late, but last night I could not sleep. I think I finally started drifting off sometime around 4:30 AM this morning. I woke up feeling like someone had turned me on in High. No gradual easing into the day here. I just opened my eyes and boom. My heart is racing a little bit. I hate this.

We went to see the Harry Potter movie last night. It was good, I think the best one so far in terms of having a story that made sense on screen even if you had not read the book.

I have not purchased the new book yet. I toyed with the idea, but on some level I always resist being one of the mass of people that diligently fulfill marketer's expectations and buy highly anticipated items on the very day they come out. Of course, I am sure I am part of some other group they keep track of, as they seem to have a category for everything.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

This is what happens when goofy people try to play artist

Even in Texas I get "La Atalaya"

Let me start by saying that I absolutely do not want to offend anybody. I am fully aware that religion plays an important part in many people's lives. But I just don't like to be "saved". Or asked to believe in downright illogical stuff. I am neither lost nor doomed. I have a functional moral compass, thank you. And I have seen many hypocritical and dishonest religious people in my lifetime to know that belonging to a religion is by no means a guarantee of being in touch with one's spirituality.

When I was growing up in Puerto Rico we were constantly visited by the "Testigos de Jehová" (Jehova's Witnesses). It did not matter that my mom was downright hostile to them every time they showed their faces. Throughout the years she welcomed them with phrases such as these:

THEM: (cheerful) ¡Buenos días! (Good morning!)

THEM: (cheerful) Buenos días. ¡Que Dios la bendiga! (Good morning. God bless you!)
MOM: (annoyed) Váyase. No me interesa. Dios no existe. (Go away. I'm not interested. God doesn't exist.)

THEM: ¡Hola! ¿Podemos hablar con usted? (Hi! May we speak with you?)
MOM: (impatient) No. ¿No ve que estoy ocupada? (No. Can't you see I'm busy?)

Rather than scare them away, her comebacks made them more determined to come back another day to try and save us heathens from the fiery pits of hell. It must have been incredibly alluring, the challenge of making these non-believers see the light, bigger than if we practiced another religion. You have to understand that at the time I was growing up, there were not that many people openly displaying their atheism on the island. And I may be totally wrong, but I believe that even nowadays there aren't that many avowed atheists back home. So to "bag the atheists" must have been the equivalent of being drafted to play in the big leagues of religious proselytism. They always kept on trying. Over the years they left their magazine "La Atalaya" (the English version is "The Watchtower") every time they came. Sometimes they left little comic books, obviously targeted at us little kids, full of stories of the horrible fate in store for the people who did not heed the word of the Lord. Some of these were drawn in what can only be described as sadistic glee, and scared the crap out of me.

As a grown up, when they started courting me back on the island (I was living next door to the house I grew up in), I usually resorted to the standard "No thank you, we're Catholic", even though my ex definitely wasn't and the only thing Catholic about me was the fact that I had been baptized. Usually that line got them to lay off me, although for some of them saying you're Catholic is like saying I'm ripe for the taking. Or maybe they still remembered me as one of the Heathen Bunch.

Nowadays I live 4,000 miles away from where I grew up. But they found me. Lately they have been sending the Hispanic contingent to pay me visits in the hopes of breaking down my resistance, and of course leave "La Atalaya" behind when I complain about now not being a good time. Arg! How did they find me? How the hell did they know I spoke Spanish? I guess it's not that hard to figure out. We're in Texas after all, throw a rock and hit a Spanish speaker. Plus, the phone is listed in my name, so all they need is a phone book and a dream.

So as I write this, every now and then I glance at the "Atalaya" sitting on my desk, a memento from this morning's failed attempt at saving me. It's opened to a page where they answer questions submitted by readers. I can't help but chuckle. The question submitted is:

¿Tenía patas la serpiente que habló a Eva? (Did the snake who talked to Eve have legs?)

Unbelievable. Who the f$#@&^ cares! And why is that important?


Good morning. Is it wrong/weird to eat leftover arroz con pollo for breakfast? It was yummy.

One of my new favorite bloggers, Wolgfang at Gazing Into the Abyss, nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award. Check Wolfgang's blog post, where he also talks about one of my favorite movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Thank you, Wolfgang!

This will have to be a short post, as my "ants in his pants" husband wants to run errands today and is trying to get me away from the computer so I can take a shower and make a grocery list. The only thing I want to do today is take Isabel to the pool.

I will be back later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Who says TV is not inspiring?

I made arroz con pollo tonight. I did not follow any specific recipe because it is a dish that I have eaten and cooked many times. It's a huge dish in Puerto Rico. It's been a while since I have made/had some, so I was very much looking forward to the end product.

Watching Top Chef on Wednesday, and seeing Hung fail at his arroz con pollo attempt, made me hungry for the dish and proud that I can cook something better than a very competent chef.

Now it's time for dinner. Yay! I also made some habichuelas to go with it, and bought some avocado to serve as a side. Combined with the rice, it's yummy.

Laughing my ass off, but with a warm feeling inside

Adfreak has a note today about the practice of Rick Rolling. I guess I had not heard of it before because normally I don't click on links I receive via e-mail, especially from people I do not know.

I think it's genius, though. I can just imagine the reaction of the unsuspecting victims when they click on what they think is the latest gamer news or the hottest chicks/dudes, only to encounter this.

I watched the video, one I was very familiar with from my college years. One part of me was laughing out loud at the dorky dance moves, low production values, and questionable fashion choices. Another part of me was in sheer disbelief that I once could not get enough of this song/video. Still another part of me got all misty eyed and reminisced about the good old late 80's.

Rainy Friday morning

I did not sleep well last night. Sometime around 2:00 AM I woke up in a sweat. The house felt warm. I fiddled with the A/C setting and then it got cold. Damn, why is it always one extreme or the other?

Since I could not sleep, I sat at my computer and checked out a few blogs. There has been drama on one blog I recently discovered, one in which I had not left comments before. This blogger is a person who is going through an unbelievably tough time in her life, a time of change. Her blog is her safe place, her vehicle to put out there what's bothering her and making sense of it. Another blogger, who apparently had been friendly in the past, posted something on her own blog about how bloggers have become a bunch of depressed whiners sitting around in their underwear writing. She said that anyone who had "real" problems would not be blogging, unless they allowed blogging in prisons and hospitals. All of this made the first blogger feel like she was being personally attacked, since it was coupled with the link to her blog being removed for the other blogger's page. Drama ensued. A lot of fellow bloggers rallied to the first blogger's side.

Personally, I am not invested in this matter. I do not know either of the bloggers, although I have visited the first blogger's page before and I felt bad that her feelings were hurt, so I left her a comment offering virtual hugs. But the whole exchange has made me think a lot about why we blog and flock to other people's blogs, how blogger communities are formed and breached, and about the ease with which we can be insensitive online, whether deliberate or accidental. Such are the things one does while suffering from insomnia.

My thoughts are still jumbled in my head, and I am going to be late for work, so I do not know if I can put them down in a coherent manner yet. I will try again later.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I could have been on this video

Rockin' Girl Blogger

My dear friend Nichole has bestowed upon me a Rockin' Girl Award. Thanks, Nichole!

According to the rules of the award, now it's my turn to pass the award to 5 Rockin' Girl Bloggers of my choosing. I am choosing the following:

1- Amanda, because she is my friend and an awesome person. And she got me that "Escape Adulthood" sticker. Love you, girl.

2- bea n. random, whom I am so glad I found through Word Imperfect. I love your attitude in life. And you come up with some fun word definitions too.

3- Shannon, because you always have the coolest quizzes on your blog, plus reading your blog makes me reconnect with a part of myself that has been dormant for so long.

4- somegirl, because you remind me of myself. I'm rooting for you, girl. You do some great writing on your blog.

5- Rochelle, because even though we are on opposite sides of the religious spectrum, somehow I feel we definitely have something in common.

Hugs to you all!

A turn on the road

I did not post again last night. After we had dinner I spent some time reading blogs and then went to watch my TV show.

Just now, on my way back from daycare after dropping off Isabel, I was thinking of how crappy I am feeling emotionally. I was ready to come here and post about all the feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing that bubble up to the surface on days like this. But after I got home (it's a really, really short drive) I opened Google Reader, and after reading a few blogs, my sadness has somehow abated. These are the things that made me feel better:

Raelha navigated the waters of Spanish bureaucracy and prevailed.

All is well in the world of Somegirl's 7 year-old girl. Smart little kid, that one.

Somehow, the ridiculously cute cat pics with captions at I can has cheezburger made me smile.

So I am grateful for the smiles these have brought me this morning.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Getting ready to go home

It has been a melancholic day. I have not been able to shake this sadness. Sad news have affected me more than would be normal. Some of the fellow bloggers I like to read are going through challenging times, and today that has touched me strongly. I read one post that brought tears to my eyes. I have walked in the same shoes as that blogger before, years ago.

Is my depression resurfacing? Is this a chemical sadness? I will have to watch myself carefully the next few days.

Or maybe I have reasons to be sad and just don't make the connection. Amanda said at lunch that it could be Paula's absence affecting. It's been a little over a month already. I miss her so.

I am going home. I will probably post again later tonight. Top Chef is on today, so I am looking forward to that at least.

This is really sad

Latin America News

189 killed in Brazilian air crash
AP - 12 minutes ago
SAO PAULO, Brazil - The pilot of an airliner that burst into flames after trying to land on a short, rain-slicked runway apparently tried to take off again, barely clearing rush-hour traffic on a major highway. The death toll rose Wednesday to 189 and could climb higher.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Texas sausage, it's what's for dinner

Pork and beef sausage for Gabo, chicken jalapeño for Ingrid.

Somebody stop me, please!

Megan and Stephanie were right. Etsy can be addictive. I did some more browsing today and ended up at this store, where I had no other choice but to buy this print (without the watermark, of course). Isn't it pretty? It made me think of my girls.

Five questions MeMe


1. Tell me a random fact about you in the comments section of this post.
2. I will then ask you five questions
3. You propagate the meme when you post your answers in your own blog and invite others to tell you a random fact about themselves.

Shannon's questions for me:

1. Tell us about the process of learning English as a second language.

My family has a flair for languages, which was passed down to me. My mom is a polyglot. Besides English, she learned German and French, and studied in Berlin for a year. I grew up in a home where it was commonplace to have books and newspapers in Spanish and English, and where my family listened to The Beatles and Led Zep alongside Héctor Lavoe and Camilo Sesto. We got cable TV when I was 13 and that helped me learn a lot. I also was lucky enough to attend a small private grade school whose founder/director specialized in teaching English as a second language. You may or may not know that in Puerto Rico we are taught English from grade school through high school, and also in college. Still, a large number of Puerto Ricans do not speak it, for multiple reasons that range from communication apprehension and cultural resistance to a mediocre instruction by the public school system. The Puerto Rican identity can be a slippery construct. For some island Puerto Ricans, holding on to the Spanish language, sometimes to the deliberate exclusion of English, is one of its tenets. I do not subscribe to this for the same reason I do not subscribe to the English-only camp here in the States. The more languages one knows, the more doors open in life. I do not mean to brag, but I am very proud to speak Spanish and English, and to know French, Italian and Portuguese with varying degrees of proficiency. It really has enriched my life.

2. What is your favorite book written in Spanish, and what is your favorite book written in English?

It is always hard to answer when I am asked what is my favorite book, in any language. I always struggle to narrow it down. It changes so much over the years too. But I will do my best.

Tie between Las armas secretas, by Julio Cortazar and Cien años de soledad, by Gabriel García Marquez

Tie between Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood and In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez

3. Between your big girl and your little girl, what has been your favorite age?

If my memory doesn't fail me, I would say when Paula was 5 to 6 years old. I do not know if it will be the same for Isabel, but Paula was more mellow and there was also all the excitement of starting school.

4. Describe the outfit you feel you look best in.

My favorite outfit would be jeans and a black shirt, with sandals or clogs.

5. Where would your dream vacation be?

I would very much love to go to Australia.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pretty prints

Aren't these beautiful? I found them on Etsy. I had never been to Etsy and was not particularly planning to purchase anything. But my friend Stephanie posted on our mommy board about her new storefront in Etsy (she will stock the store sometime next week), and once I was there I just started browsing.

When I saw these prints I fell in love, so I ordered them. I honestly don't know what am I going to do with them or where I will display them. I just liked them and knew I wanted to have them.

The artist's name is Yumi Yumi (Aline) and besides her store at Etsy, she keeps a blog, where she posts her newest creations. So now I have one more place to check out.

Meme en dos lenguas

Mi compañero bloguero boricua Wilfredo me pasó una meme. Tengo que escribir ocho cosas sobre mí. En honor a mis compañeros blogueros que escriben en español, voy a escribir esta entrada en mi blog en dos idiomas, español e inglés.

My fellow boricua blogger Wilfredo has tagged me for a meme. I have to write eight things about myself. In honor of my Spanish-writing fellow bloggers, I will do this post in Spanish and English.

1- Cuando estaba en la universidad, escribía cuentos y quería ser escritora. Tuve la suerte de que dos de mis cuentos fueron publicados en una antología llamada El rostro y la máscara. Luego uno de esos cuentos fue utilizado en dos ediciones de un libro de texto para escuela superior.

1- When I was in college I used to write short stories and I wanted to be a writer. I was lucky enough to have two of my short stories published in an anthology called El rostro y la máscara. One of the stories was later featured in two editions of a high school text book.

2- Siempre echo de menos a Puerto Rico, y como todo inmigrante tengo sueños de volver a mi tierra. Sin embargo, no estoy segura de que en realidad quiera regresar.

2- I always miss Puerto Rico, and like most immigrants I dream of one day going back home. However, in reality I am not sure I want to.

3- Cuando estoy sola en el carro tiendo a conducir sobre el límite de velocidad. Las carreteras en la parte de Texas donde vivo son tan amplias que es un gusto, y la gente por costumbre conduce mucho más rápido que el límite. Sé que esto no es nada original, pero es que de veras me encanta conducir rápido.

3- When I am in the car by myself, I tend to drive above the speed limit. The roads in the part of Texas I live in are so wide that it is a delight, and people drive much faster than the speed limit on a regular basis. I realize this is not original by any means, but I just wanted to highlight the fact that I loove to drive fast.

4- Últimamente estoy adicta a bloguear y leer blogs.

4- Lately I am addicted to blogging and reading blogs.

5- Uno de estos días le voy a poner una trampa a Gabo y lo voy a hacer comer cuajito. Cuajito o cuajo, para los que no sepan, es el estómago del cerdo. Suena horrible, pero es una de las cosas más ricas que he comido en mi vida. Hace tiempo que no lo como y me hace falta.

5- One of these days I am going to trick my husband Gabo into eating some cuajito. Cuajito or cuajo, for those that do not know, is pork stomach. I know it can sound horrible, but it is actually one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. It's been a while since I have had some and I miss it.

6- Como estudiante de historia que soy, me encanta leer recuentos verídicos. Parece que tengo una inclinación muy específica hacia leer historias en las cuales se destaca la lucha del hombre contra la naturaleza, y la supremacía de esta última por sobre nuestras ilusiones de control. Creo que todo comenzó cuando leí Into Thin Air de John Krakauer. Entre los libros que he leído se encuentran varios sobre expediciones exploratorias al polo norte y polo sur, el huracán de Galveston del 1900, la verdadera historia en la cual se basa la novela Moby Dick, y varios libros sobre tormentas marinas.

6- As a history major, I love to read non-fiction books. It seems I have a very specific inclination towards stories that highlight man's fight against nature, and nature's ultimate supremacy over our illusions of control. I think I can trace it back to when I read Into Thin Air by John Krakauer. Among the books I have read you will find several on Artic/Antartic expeditions, the Galveston hurricane of 1900, the true story on which Moby Dick is based, and various books on sea storms.

7- Como ya he indicado antes, mi blog es una forma de disciplinarme y escribir diariamente. Pero todavía sueño con escribir ficciones, cuentos. Siempre digo que es difícil sacar el tiempo para escribir literatura, pero en el fondo tengo miedo de escribir algo y que sea una porquería.

7- As I have said before, keeping my blog is a way for me to acquire discipline and write on a daily basis. But I still dream of writing fiction, short stories. I always say it is hard to take the time to write literature, but the truth is I am scared of sucking at it.

8- Antes de conocer a mi marido, había jurado que nunca jamás me volvería a casar, mucho menos tener más hijos. Conocí a Gabo y él tenía otros planes. Ahora estoy casada y tengo una segunda hija, y Gabo ha comenzado a hablar muy seriamente sobre tener otro bebé. Adoro a mi familia, me traen una gran felicidad. Pero a mi edad y en la condición física en que estoy, no estoy segura de que quiero volver a pasar por un embarazo.

8- Before I met my husband, I had vowed that I would never again get married, much less have kids. I met Gabo he had other designs. Now I am married and have a second child, and Gabo has started talking in earnest about another child. I love my family, they bring me such happiness. But I'm not sure I want to go through another pregnancy, not at my age and in the shape I am in.

I need some time to figure out who I will tag for this meme. I will post the names later.

The wounded

I have an affinity for survivors, for people who were once lost and found their way back. I also have an affinity for people who are trying to find themselves, trying to figure out their place in life. I like people who acknowledge that life can be a struggle.

At this particular moment in time, I am happy. And I do my best to enjoy it and not take it for granted or get greedy for more. Life can change in a matter or seconds.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The aforementioned pork chop

Dinner was great! I am always so pleased when something I cook turns out good and pleases people. Gabe loved it.

Then we went to the movies

Transformers was kind of mediocre, as I expected. It's so obviously a movie built around the specific special effect scenes that the director had in mind. It had good actors in it, especially Shia LaBeouf. But the character development is meager, there were lines of plot that were never fully explored (why even include them?) and the robots were so underutilized, especially the good guy robots. Plus, I don't know if I am getting old or what, but some of the action scenes and battles were pretty confusing.

Wow, I just realized yesterday was a pretty packed day for us.

I don't know how today will be. I am planning to grill the pork chop I bought yesterday, so right now I am making my own croutons and broiling some apples in butter in order to make the stuffing for the pork chop. We only bought one because it's big enough for Gabe and I.

I am undecided as to what to serve the meat with. We have a salad lined up. I bought some baby spinach and we will serve that with walnuts and an orange raspberry chipotle dressing. But I am stumped as to what else we could serve.

The second part of yesterday? Not so amusing

After my post yesterday, I sat down to pay my bills. It was depressing to go through 75% of my paycheck on bills. I am still paying charges from when I was in the hospital in April.

Then I tried to start picking up the master bedroom. Not because I wanted to, but because Gabe egged me on. He had done his part the night before, getting rid of all his old clothes and making the rest of them fit on his side of the closet. So it was my turn. But it did not go well for two reasons. Reason # 1: I got overwhelmed by the mess, and because I wasn't into it, I could not focus. Reason # 2: I got an allergy attack from the dust in certain areas, and by the time I took something it was too late.

My room very much deserves the label disaster zone. There is so much STUFF. There are so many things that do not have room elsewhere in the house. So they end up there. There are children toys and shoes, books and luggage and boxes with documents. Ugh.

Gabe said he is going to work sometime today. Maybe when he is gone I can focus on the room better.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Big city, small farmer's market

Houston has a farmer's market. I did not know that until two or three months ago. And I did not finally visit it until this morning.

The Saturday farmer's market is in the Heights, on the parking lot of a local cafe called the Onion Creek. I have never eaten there, so I have no clue if it's good or not. In fact, I did not even know it existed until I heard of the farmer's market. It has a nice outside seating area, though. We might visit it someday, when it's not so hot.

Back to the market. I was surprised it was so small, to be honest. Maybe seven stands all told. Of course, it was sorta rainy this morning, so maybe not all vendors showed up. But I suspect there is not much of a difference. The cafe's parking lot is rather small, so it can't fit that many booths. I think Tuesday's farmer's market may be bigger. They meet from 3:30 to 7 PM at a parking lot on Rice University. And apparently it is on Tuesday's when you can buy chicken, beef, lamb and chesses. So I will have to make the trip on a Tuesday afternoon.

Anyway, we bought a few things at the market today:

1- A bunch of fresh basil for $2. It is so fragrant! The smell of basil is one of my favorites.

2- A handful of jalapeño peppers for $1. Because Gabe loves them.

3- A jar of strawberry jam from Gundermann Farms. I will let you know later how we like it.

4- Organic dried seasoning packets from Yaya's Raw Rah. Plus something they called "Jurassic Salt", big salt crystals from a salt mine in Hockley, TX.

On our way from the market, we stopped at a place called McCain's Market. Their slogan is "go fresh, go local", which is why it was hilarious to me that the first thing I saw when I stepped inside was a bag of rice with a gigantic "Product of Honduras" label on it. There were all kinds of non-local items, in fact there was a preponderance of non-local/imported versus fresh local products. In their defense I guess I can say the local stuff was their meats. We bought fresh bread, some nice sausages made in Texas by two different vendors, and a beautiful, thick boneless pork chop, which we plan to stuff with bread stuffing and apples and cook on the grill.

No trip to the downtown/Galleria area would be complete without a stop at Central Market on Westheimer Road. I love, absolutely love Central Market. One of the things I miss about living in the Galleria/Westchase area is being able to do the short, 15 minute drive to visit Central Market frequently. Their cheese selection is amazing. We bought 5 different kinds of new (to us) cheeses to taste this weekend, plus other assorted goodies.

After we got home we put the food away, packed the car with three huge trash bags full of clothes that Gabe no longer uses, and took them to the NAM store on FM 1960 and 249. Some of the stuff is very good quality and hardly used, so someone should benefit from it.

Now Gabe is taking a nap and Isabel is watching Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! on TV. I am catching up on my blogging. When Gabe wakes up we will work a little on our bedroom (a.k.a. Disaster Area) and then cook dinner. It's been a good day so far. Although I miss Paula.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Yesterday's word at Word Imperfect was muniment. My proposed definition was as follows.

Muniment: a statue built entirely out of shell casings.

Today there is a poll on the site. Voters will choose their favorite made-up definition out of three chosen by the Word Imp, keeper of the blog. I made it to the final three. The other definitions chosen for the poll were:

Muniment; A very short moment in time." If you would just hold on. I'll be there in a muniment" (submitted by Pami Sami)

A muniment is a signature characteristic of a city or any municipality. San Francisco's muniment is the Golden Gate Bridge, Sydney's muniment is the Opera House, and Los Angeles' muniment is the traffic. (submitted by Sonnjea B)

If you like my definition, will you vote for me today?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is it possible to have cabin fever in the summer?

I am literally climbing up the walls. I worked from home today by choice. I specifically asked my boss to allow me to work remotely today. He usually works from home two days a week, and on those days I don't have much face interaction with other human beings. I might as well work on my pj's and exchange e-mails and phone calls from the comfort of my own home, right?

Wrong. There is something to be said for getting out fo the house. I am here and I have been glued to the computer working. As the day rolls by I am increasingly on edge. Usually coming home is my respite. Not today. I need to get out of here, at least for a short while, or I'll go crazy.

Brilliant Marketing

This clip made me want to buy that blender so bad. Who knew something as generic as a blender could be so much fun?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blogito, ergo sum

There are so many of us out there. According to Technorati, a new blog is created every second. It is exciting. It is also mindboggling. I am glad that I am a part of this. I have been blogging for eight months now.

The past few weeks I have been actively seeking blogs. All kinds. Personal, literary, technological, mothering, political, humorous, artistic, bratty, or just plain weird. I use Google Reader to keep up with the blogs I am interested in.

I have laughed my ass off reading posts at,, the "blog" of "unnecesary" quotation marks, lowercase L and El Ñame (my favorite; from Puerto Rico, it is similar to The Onion, but with more bite).

I regularly check out Mr Ciuda y sus ficciones (a boricua teacher/writer in Chicago) and Legión Miope (Paula's dad's blog). Once in a while I also read adfreak and Adrants.

Two of my favorite places to visit are Word Imperfect and Postsecret. I always enjoy the pictures at TLLT and Blue mountains journal.

There are many more. I have not even mentioned the blogs of my mommy board friends, which I check every day, and other personal blogs I have discovered and check out often. I will cover those on a separate post. Right now it is late and I need to put Isabel to bed.


I was checking out Adrants and they were talking about the new iDEA (a parody of Apple's iPhone). Check out the iDEA website here. I thought it was simply clever.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday morning mood

I missed posting yesterday, it's the first time in quite a while that I do not have at least one daily post.

We got home from Conroe last night around 9:00 PM. Since we were on our way back I have been fighting this feeling of dread. I can't shake it. It must be work-related, as we have one of our most important deliverables coming up. But still, I do not understand the anxiety I feel.

Hopefully, by the time I am actually in the office I will feel better.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


We spent the night up in a cabin at the Conroe timeshare place. It was so nice and cool up there. We slept like babies. It was a wonderful coincidence to have my free weekend come up just as the A/C broke down.

I called the A/C guy as soon as we woke up. Well, the motor on the inside unit is broken and it is not covered by warranty. Yikes! He told me they were looking for the part and finding out how much it costs, and that he would call me back with the details later. Of course, as soon as I hang up I start stressing over the fact that this might cost me an arm and a leg, and I don't have any money to pay for this repair. But what are we going to do, it needs to be done. We can't live in Texas in the middle of summer without a functioning A/C unit, especially my polar bear of a husband.

Well, there was no use sitting around waiting for the next call, so we got dressed and went for breakfast at Crackerbarrel. Isabel ate oatmeal, she loves it.

While we were having breakfast, the A/C guy called again. The part costs about $273, which is a lot less than I feared, and manageable. Charge! We drove down to the house and I am waiting for him to come by and do the repair, so we can go back to the cabin up in Conroe. We are planning to do some grilling tonight, and go to the indoor pool with Isabel. In the meantime, I am surfing the web and checking out my favorite blogs.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Where is my community?

I am a displaced person. There are days when I feel this very strongly. On such days, I miss my island so much it hurts. I sometimes idealize life in Puerto Rico, and forget that I willingly got the hell out of there the first chance I got. I forget that even when I was living there I felt like an outsider at times, as I am sure most people do, no matter who they are or where they come from. It seems that many people suffer from the same misfit complex as I.

I have things in common with several groups, but I don't quite fit in any. And that makes me a little sad. I am always afraid I am going to alienate my mommy board friends if I speak my mind too freely. And I exchange comments and read the blogs of some pretty cool and interesting people, but am careful not to get too friendly because what if they think I'm some kind of needy weirdo?

There are days when I wish I could find that magic group of people who are just like me, who will welcome me with open arms regardless (or because of) my likes and dislikes, my ideals, my beliefs (or lack thereof). The problem is I don't know who those people are or where they are hiding, if they'll deem me worthy of joining their community or if they even exist as a community at all. Where are you, pseudo-intellectual, slightly political but too lazy to get involved people? Where are you cynical, superstitious atheists (or is it agnostics?) who like to read about pop culture?

The timing is so suspicious

If I was a wacky conspiracy-theory fiend, I would say that my A/C unit came rigged to go bad sometime after the warranty runs out.


The plight of the frustrated aspiring writer

It's always the same. The most fantastic ideas come to me when I am driving or otherwise occupied, unable to reach out and write them down. They vanish as fast as they appear, before my inconsistent memory traps them.

The urge to write comes at 8:25 AM when I am late for work and haven't showered yet. But when I have a day off, it never does.

Just another day.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

At the office

I am at the office, but I might as well have stayed home. My boss is not here (he probably is working from home today). All of the people that sit in the offices around mine are not here. A lot of the people I work with are also out until Monday. It is so quiet here, more so than usual. Sometimes I miss cubicleland, the noise, the incessant chatter, the constant interruptions. It made me feel like I was part of something vital. I am not used to so much peace and quiet.

I got a haircut yesterday. I was tired of my hair. My previous haircut was not a good one, and I had been wearing ponytails practically since the day I got it. I went to a different hairstylist, who was very attentive and asked me many questions. I think she got it right and I am quite happy and not reaching out any time soon for the ponytail holders.

Dragging my feet

I am terribly unmotivated this morning. It's raining and I wish I could stay home and crawl back into bed.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hodge podge

Yesterday I took an assortment of disposable cameras and film rolls to Walgreens. Some had been laying around for quite a while, so whatever was in them was basically a mistery.

Below are some of the images I got back.

Paula on the day she turned three years old.

Paula and our cat Lola, soon after we adopted her at the Houston SPCA.

Paula with Mister and Lola. We also adopted Mister at the Houston SPCA.

Paula, Gabriel and I at the Captain Kidd, a sailboat that does short trips out of Kemah. Also on the pic (to our left) are my friends Ingrid and Tonya. This was taken on September 2004 while I was about 5 months pregnant.

Belly picture from around the same time.

Isabel being weighed right after she was born. The little stinker weighed 8 lbs, 15.8 oz.

Isabel, one day old.

Aerial views of Sedona taken from a helicopter last summer during our Houston-Vegas road trip.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Some progress, but still a lot left to do

The shelves in the front room.

Paula's new bedroom. The cats are enjoying the bed greatly.

I still need to clear her desk, and I feel like there is too much stuff on her dresser. We will need to figure out what to keep and what to put away.

I have several trashbags full of trash, bins and bags full of stuffed animals under her bed, and I am nowhere near done. Also, in the future I will have to paint the walls and probably refinish that dresser. You can't see it in the picture, but the paint is chipping off.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Monday at home

This morning I got up at 8:30, which is way late compared to my usual wake-up time. Gabe was up at 6:30 AM working from home on a project. He would be here until he finished it, then he showered, dressed and left sometime after 2:00 PM.

Isabel did not want to go to daycare today, and because we woke up late, breakfast was long over. Gabe convinced me to keep her home, which made my job reorganizing the rooms a tad difficult today. But there has been some progress, and I think by tomorrow I should be done, at least with the major stuff.