Friday, August 31, 2007

Some people at work annoy the hell out of me


Earlier this week a colleague from work was pissing me off big time. This picture reminded me of that. I won't go into details because someone from my company might just happen to stumble upon this blog, but suffice it to say UGH!!!!

Aug 31st- Blog Day

Blog Day 2007

I just found out that today is Blog Day. The objective is to write a post recommending 5 blogs so other readers can discover them.

Below are my recommendations:

1- Papaya Mom- The author of Papaya Mom and I are fellow January 2005 mothers. We met on a baby board and keep tabs on each other through our blogs. She's smart, she's a great mom and we have some political views in common.

2- Gazing into the Abyss- Midlife Crisis has never been described so eloquently. Plus, Wolfgang has awesome taste in music.

3- Just Eat your Cupcake- Maria is the kind of mom that I hope to be, non-nonsense and caring.

4- Write Stuff- A blog about writing and the home of the Fiction Friday Meme. I credit this blog and its weekly challenges with helping me escape the jaws of writer's block. Now I just have to keep at it.

5- secret... secret... i've got a secret- a blog created by paisley, where people can submit their secrets anonymously for publication.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Feeling the blog love

I feel very fortunate that this week I have received awards from two fellow bloggers. I just found out that Josie has given me an "I love your blog" award. Thanks, Josie! If you have never visited Josie's blog, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and pay her a visit. She writes from the heart, and is a very thoughtful person. She is the kind of person who attracts a circle of friends, and through her blog I discovered others that I enjoy very much.

Google Reader is acting up again, though, because I had not seen Josie's blog updated in the Reader since Aug 22nd. That just goes to show, folks, when you care about someone's blog, don't rely 100% on whatever blog reader you use. Always pay them a direct visit.

Now I have two kinds of awards to pass on. Stay tuned for when I figure out who to give them to.

Fiction Friday- It's all about the water

Pick a famous fictional character (for our purposes here it can be any character from fiction, mythology, legend, comic books...whatever) and give them a secret vice---at the very least it should be distateful if not outright illegal. Now give the character's rationale in their own words.

Below is my entry.

Her cell phone rang. It was D. Why could not she leave her alone? Ugh, she was so needy, so annoying. Why can't a girl have fun without her control freak of a mother wanting to know her every move?

"Who's that, my sweet P? Is there another guy in the picture I should worry about?"

"No, H. You know you're the only one. It's just my mom. She's always trying to keep tabs on me. It drives me nuts."

"Are you sure I am the only one? You come here once every six months, then you just vanish and I don't hear from you in ages. What do you do when you stay at your mom's? How do I know you're not seeing someone else? Maybe I should answer your phone the next time it rings…"

"Oh, come on. Are you gonna get on my case like her? What is up with you people? If I'm not with you, I'm with her. Story of my life. You'd think someone would cut me some slack. And we see each other more often than that. You know I'm always putting my ass on the line for you. If she found out I was sneaking down here to see you, she would hang me out to dry. Remember she still thinks I don't like you."

"I'm not convinced you do like me. It seems to me like you only come here to drink from Mnemosyne. How do I know you're not playing me, P? I've seen you, how you go straight for the river as soon as you get here. Sometimes it takes ten minutes before you come to me. And you're always buzzed when you finally make it. I think you're hooked on the memory water."

Persephone got serious, and for a moment dropped her sullen teenager facade. "So what if I am, Hades? Does it matter to you why I'm here or just that I am? I am stuck here with you six months out of the year, I might as well have some fun while I am at it. Besides, you're the one who turned me into that stuff..."

Her tirade was interrupted by the cell phone ring. It was Demeter, again.

"Hello? Sweetie, where are you? I've been looking like crazy for you and I can't find you anywhere! Pretty soon you'll have to go back to that scoundrel and I am missing you already."

"Hi, mom. Don't worry so much. It's not good for the crops. I'm on my way. I just was hanging out with Diana. We went swimming."

"I just worry that Hades will try to take you early again. I shudder to think of that horrible place. Why did you have to eat those damn seeds, Persephone?"

[So I could get a break from you every now and then.] "Oh, mom, you know me. I'm spacey, I just forgot I was not supposed to eat anything. Anyway, there's nothing we can do now. It's my burden and I'll bear it with pride."

"Alright, sweetie. Hurry up and come home. Love you. Bye!"

Persephone turned to face Hades. He was stroking his three-headed pet dog while looking at her intently.

"I have to go. It's harvest season and everything will be ruined if she finds out I'm here."

"It's alright. I'm sorry we fought. Would you like something to drink before you leave?", he said as he reached for the glass bottle labeled "Lethe", sitting on the table behind him.

Careful online, not so much in person

I just read an article in the Houston Chronicle that quotes a study done in UT about women's behavior when meeting men through online dating websites. The report finds that women are very careful and selective during the screening process, but once they meet someone in person, all caution is thrown to the wind, with nearly a third of women having sex in the first date and many of those without any protection at all. Why am I not surprised?

It's easy to be sensible when you are not engaged emotionally. It's not as easy to be careful when chemistry comes into play. Sometimes people forge bonds online and share very intimate stuff. When they meet in person, it's pretty hard to discard all that, go back to square one and treat the date as a total stranger.

Somewhere between Old Redneck Man and Gabe, I had a one-night stand with this dude I met online on eHarmony. Going into it I knew it was a bad idea, and it ended up being odd and unsatisfying. At least I was no dummy and used protection. Afterwards I felt duped, not by the guy, but by fucking eHarmony and their promise of helping you find your soul mate. 29 dimensions of compatibility my ass.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thank you Corey!

My friend and fellow January 2005 Mama, Corey, has bestowed upon me a Creative Blogger Award. Thank you, Corey! Corey is a very dedicated mother to her sweet and beautiful daughter, Makenna. She also dabbles in photography. If you have not visited her blog yet, pay her a visit.

The rules of the award can be seen here. I have some thinking to do regarding whom I will choose for the 5 awards I am supposed to give out now.


Solitude suits me. I have always been a bit of a loner, an outsider. I grew up seeing plenty of examples of life without men. In fact, men were a pain in the ass from what I could see. My family was full of unmarried ladies who lived alone and they were the coolest characters around. They were the ones who had careers. They lived comfortably. They set their own rules. There were no men around messing up their lives. My maternal grandmother had divorced my grandfather when she got fed up with his traveling salesman, womanizing ways. She was a retired math teacher/school principal. She lived on her own and took care of me after school. I miss her greatly. Words fail me when I try to describe the incredible impact she made in my life, how indebted I am to her. Without her example, I would probably be a complete wreck, I may not even be writing this now. She was so awesome and so strong.

Compared to them, the most immediate example of married life I saw growing up may not have been the best. My parents were married for thirty-something years, until my father passed away. But they were not a good match and I don't think either of them was very happy. They had their own demons to fight. My father was an idealist who became disenchanted with human greed and the corruption he saw around him as a career employee in local government. He was also an alcoholic. It was lethal combination. My mom was frustrated. She had married too young, had kids too soon. She lived as if trapped.

When I was a child I was convinced I was going to be the old maid of my generation. I was too tall, not pretty or popular enough. I did not know how to flirt, how to be comfortable around boys. I was a bit leery of them. The ones I liked did not give me the time of day, or ended up confiding in me their love for my girlfriends. My life was a never ending string of crushes. I adored boys from afar; classmates, friends of my older brother. My brother's girlfriend used to tease me mercilessly about my biggest crush, a college buddy of my brother's.

I was resigned to be an old maid. I accepted what I understood to be my destiny, although it made me somewhat sad that I would never get to know real love. In a way it was good to know I had a path.

A few months after my father died, something in me snapped. Maybe mortality scared the hell out of me. Maybe I realized I did not really have to be an old maid. Sometimes the reasons for our impulses, for our decisions are hidden even from ourselves. For whatever reason, I allowed myself to fall in love with someone who reciprocated me. I discovered I was highly sensual, highly sexual even. I had fancied myself shy and demure, but turned out to be quite the opposite. I was floating in the clouds.

Reality yanked me down. A few days ago I wrote about what happened. It was one blow too many. Magical thinking took over. I was convinced the Gods and the Universe were punishing me for abandoning the celibate life, cursing me for dabbling in the pleasures of the flesh. Or maybe it had been a test to see what I was made of. In any case, I had failed miserably.

Halfway through our marriage my ex declared he did not love me anymore. I could not wrap my head around the concept. My life was deeply entrenched in the here and now. I lived in a dense fog, unable to see past my nose. Life without him was simply out of the question.

But why? Why the utter terror? I was not happy back then. I was downright miserable. I was not sure I loved him. But without him, I would have been totally adrift, and that terrified me.

There is so much history that I have forgotten, so many details that escape me now. My memory is a Cliff Notes version of my life. All I have are sketches of my past and old feelings that flare up when I write. Sometimes it's hard to make the connection between the people in my past, the feelings for them that my memories evoke, and their present-day incarnations. My relationship with my mom has evolved considerably. I am no longer her emotional crutch, she who helped her cope with life as the wife of an alcoholic. My relationship with my ex is different than it was. We have a child together and we both want what is best for her. There is no resentment. I look at him the way a soldier may look at a fellow member of his platoon. We are both survivors, the war is long over.

My view of what love is has also changed. What I need is different. I realized that love does not equal losing myself in a man. I don't fear being alone. Gabriel understands this, and gives me my space. And for that I am bonded to him, knowing that I don't need to be, I just want to.


I woke up sometime around 3:30 AM. It's 5:25 now, maybe I'll try to go back to bed for at least one hour.

I wished Puerto Rico had won this game.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Song lyric of the day

I'm numb, a shell of empty thoughts
But you glow, you stretch and pull me out
Does that trouble you?
Do I trouble you?

Live again, Better than Ezra


res·pite (rĕs'pĭt) n.
A usually short interval of rest or relief. See synonyms at pause.
Law. Temporary suspension of a death sentence; a reprieve

It's 12:50 PM. I had crispy tacos for lunch, from the Commons cafeteria. A couple of hours ago I finished my slides for a presentation on market share I am giving at 2:45 PM this afternoon, during a meeting of the US Volume Sales team. This will be the first time I do a presentation since I moved to my current position. I am a little nervous, but the good thing is the presentation is via conference call/virtual classroom, so it takes some of the pressure off.

I am much calmer today than I was yesterday. I finished one of the most stressful tasks I had. I met someone this morning on another issue and we both have more clarity on the matter and the possible next steps to take.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cuando el cuarto se llena de agua

There is an expression in my native Puerto Rico, which translates as "when the room fills with water". It is roughly the equivalent of saying that you are up to your neck in water.

I like the Spanish expression better, because saying that our room is filling up with water evokes much better the sense of invasion one feels when troubles assault our inner sanctum. Also, the idea of a room, which has finite dimensions, accomodates better my sense of self than the more vague "water up to my neck" image. I'd rather have my room, my life, my mental space filling up with water, than be somewhere vast and unknown with water up to my neck. At least in my room I can grab a bucket and start throwing the water out.

So what happens when the room fills up completely? We open a window, of course.
It's something I need to do this week. Stuff is coming at me from all directions. I have realized my emotions are too all over the place for me to not address them. I am quick to cry and even quicker to anger. I am constantly worried about money and about my family. Blogging and reclaiming the craft of writing have been good, but at the same time have made me feel even more precarious. Most of what I have written lately has roots in my personal history, and in the process of drafting my short vignettes, I have tapped into feelings that were dormant and now are on the prowl.

I am extremely stressed out. If I do not do something, my work will be affected, and that is something I never ever allow. I don't mess with the source of my livelihood. I have kids, I simply can't afford to have a breakdown. So today I called my employer's employee assistance program. They refer employees to a counselor and give us a set number of free sessions per year. The lady who spoke to me even offered to schedule a session for this afternoon. I must have sounded really desperate. But I can't make it today, or tomorrow. There is too much to do, too many deadlines at work and I am trying to keep up, so it will have to be Wednesday. I do long to sit in front of someone and let it all out. I don't want advice, I just want to be able to open the windows and let the water spill out of the room.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sunday Scribblings

I just discovered Sunday Scribblings, again through paisley's blog (thank you, paisley!). The rules are simple: a writing prompt is published around Saturday, and bloggers can write whatever the prompt triggers.

This week's prompt is a phrase: "I get that sinking feeling..."

The Awakening

Though I've tried I've fallen
I have sunk so low
I messed up
Better I should know

Fallen, Sarah McLachlan

I was twenty-one when I got my first boyfriend, six months after my dad passed away. He was younger than me, but I was a virgin in every sense of the word. We both liked to write. I thought we had everything in common back then. Time proved differently.

We met at the little plaza in front of the University clock tower during summer school. We had actually been introduced once before, by a mutual friend, but I had forgotten him on the spot. He remembered me. I was sitting on a bench burning letters I had written to my best friend and unrequited crush. Yes, I have always had a flair for the dramatic.

Some time later he came to me and said he had dreamed about me. In a matter-of-fact tone I asked "what did you have, a wet dream?" I thought I was so witty.

He wrote me letters when he went back to his town for two weeks at the end of summer school. Only they were not really letters, nor were they short stories. It was hybrid text. I was riveted.

I saw him again the first day of the Fall semester. I flat out told him to ask me out for coffee. He was broke, so I ended up asking him out. And so it was spun, this web that held us both for nine years.

The day I lost my virginity I sat on the toilet at the motel and cried.
When I had my first orgasm I laughed uncontrollably.

When Operation Desert Storm came about, there was talk of resurrecting the draft. I was terrified. He said he would escape to Canada before going to war. I crossed my fingers and hoped it did not come to that.

When I told my mom I had a boyfriend, she sat down in our old rocking chair, and cried with her face buried in her hands. She said that now that I had someone I was going to leave her and she had nothing else to live for.

Three months after we started dating, I threw up one night. The next day I had horrible nausea all day. A test confirmed what I knew. I remember opening the envelope with the results while silently repeting the mantra "please let it be negative, please let it be negative." It wasn't. In an instant my world came to a crashing halt. The fairy tale was over.

So what comes next? That was the question. We were both sitting in the car, outside the lab where I had gone for the blood test. In my mind there was no doubt. I could not, would not. He wanted to help me, be with me, show his love and support. He paid for it, with money from his tuition assistance. He took me to the place, called Women's Medical Pavillion. He waited outside for me.

I walked into the place as if in a daze. I glided through the hallways, listening to the nurses, but not quite hearing what they were saying. I remember a plethora of nurses. I don't remember a doctor. I don't remember much, actually. Everything is pretty vague, the stuff of dreams. I was hooked up to what can only be described as a human vacuum cleaner. There was a clear plastic hose, or maybe some kind of clear container. Whatever it was, it turned red when they suctioned off what was inside me. Sometimes I still replay that image in my mind, the sudden explosion of red that signaled my descent into the kingdom of Hades.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Playing with

The men in my life, and my relationships with them can be summed up in song. I had embedded the mini-players, but it takes too long to load the page, so click on the links to listen to the songs.

My first serious relationship:
can you look out the window
without your shadow getting in the way

The first serious relationship I had after my divorce (short-lived, of course):
I believe in you
I'll give up everything just to find you
I have to be with you
To live, to breathe
You're taking over me

If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

Los náufragos

I'm pulled down by the undertow
I never thought I could feel so low
oh darkness I feel like letting go
If all of the strength
And all of the courage
Come and lift me from this place
I know I could love you much better than this
Full of grace
Full of grace
My love

Sarah McLachlan, Full of Grace

What is a lover? Tough question to answer. I know what a lover is not, should not, could not be.

A lover is not the missing piece that completes the puzzle of your soul.
A lover is not a mirror upon whose surface you'll see yourself.
A lover is not a band-aid for your broken heart.
A lover is not a cash register.
A lover is not a trained monkey, ready to jolt you out of boredom.
A lover is not a cause waiting for you to embrace it.

A lover is not a lifeline.
Rather, a lover is lost at sea, like you.
Clinging to the same piece of driftwood.
Hoping you both make it to shore.

Painting: "Los amantes" by Remedios Varo

Fiction Friday - August 24, 2007

This Week’s Challenge : Create a character in a genre you would normally avoid.

I briefly toyed with the idea of writing a story in the style of a romance novel, but I got sick to my stomach after mulling over it for a while. Since I currently am not writing in any genre, I figured I could do whatever I wanted. I feel like this story needs a lot of editing and could use some expanding to give it more coherence, but here it is. Let me know what you think.

The old man and I

I met the old man the summer I decided to stop living like a widow and start living it up like a divorcée. It took four years since the end of my first marriage, but it was finally time to fly towards the light.

I went to a dating website. Five years ago they were not quite the commonplace item they seem to be nowadays, but they were on the cusp of becoming part of mainstream.

I met quite a few people online. A lot of them were weirdoes. There was this guy who liked to chat with me on Yahoo IM. He was married, by his own admission, but his story was that theirs was an open marriage. Sure. It sounded more like his wife was with other guys and he had a hard time dealing with that. He was funny and smart, but he was married and I was not in the mood to walk into a mess. Plus, he always talked about her, so our chats ended up resembling counseling sessions. I got bored after a while.

There was the guy I met in Lavalife, who said he had a 12-inch dick and was coming to my city on business. He wanted us to meet at the bar of a downtown hotel, and if things went well maybe he would “let me play with it”. In reply I asked him what else he would do for a woman, other than having a big dick. He did not like it. Guess no one had ever asked him that question before.

I met a guy who was funny and smart and all around a great guy. We would talk on the phone and exchange single parenthood stories. He would gripe humorously about office politics at the company he worked for. We met in person and went out a few times. I wanted very much to like him. I really did. But it just did not happen.

I met another guy who was recovering from a divorce, taking his first tentative steps into the world of dating. I bonded with him quickly because he was cultured and witty. We met at the Museum of Natural History, and then took a drive to Galveston on his convertible with the top down. The day was beautiful and the air against my skin made me feel so alive. We had a beer on a bar at the Strand, and talked about life. I was not attracted to him, but that was one of the best dates I have ever had. I was honest with him, but kind. He appreciated my honesty. We got along great and continued to be in touch as friends.

Right around this time is when I met the old man. I wasn’t even that keen on meeting him in person. There had been nothing really remarkable about our first exchanges, but he invited me to dinner at The Spindletop restaurant, so I went.

He presented me with a rose when we met. And old school trick, but still nice. He was older than me by ten years, and he came across as someone who was very much in the driver’s seat. He was ordinary looking, not much taller than me and he had a redneck air about him, but I was very much attracted to him.

I was obsessed with the old man. I could not get enough of him. The first time he kissed me I wanted to sign myself over to him. He was skilled in love, and I came out of my celibacy with a vengeance. We made love all the time. He introduced me to ice cubes. He chased me around his apartment. He tied me up and I loved it. He took me to fancy restaurants. He cooked for me. We took weekend trips together. On one of these trips we both mentioned love, and it felt wonderful and sad, as if someone had opened a door into a room that had long been forgotten.

My whole life revolved around the old man. If we had a minor disagreement, I would replay the whole thing in my head for hours; rehash the scene so my friends could give me advice. He traveled on business and we would talk at night for hours. Sometimes there was nothing to say, but we did not let go. I loved him with fierce urgency, knowing in the back of my mind that things would change when my daughter came home from her summer stay at her dad’s.

Eventually cracks began showing. Once we were having dinner and he told me “you are going to leave me in the dust”. He had a daughter and he did not even pretend to be interested in introducing me to her. We did not have the same taste in music. He did not read books. On one of his business trips, while drunk, he sent an e-mail professing his love for me, and instead of reveling in the feeling I found myself counting the grammar and spelling errors.

Once I mentioned to him that I had a bad habit of picking at my nails and cuticles, and that I wore solar nails because that was the only thing that stopped me from doing it. He looked at me in horror, as if I was some kind of freak. I realized then that he had also put me on a pedestal and was just coming to the realization that I was not the perfect being he thought I was.

I could not help but notice that he relied heavily on alcohol to deal with stress at work. Liquid therapy, he called it. Great. I was dating my father. This is bullshit.

A friend from work was moving to California, so I decided to throw her a farewell get together at my house. We had a good crowd. I decided to invite Bruce (convertible guy) because he was a nice guy and maybe he would hit it off with one of my girlfriends. In the spirit of having everything straight out in the open, I made the mistake of telling the old man I was inviting him and how I had met him.

He did not like it one bit. Old man had trust issues, and he assumed I had been two-timing him the whole time with this other guy. He got very drunk and proceeded to treat me like dirt, screaming at me in front of my friends, in my own home. Then he left in his truck and I never saw him again. My friends rallied around me. One of them was particularly pissed that he had treated me so badly. Bruce just wondered why had I chosen that guy instead of him.

When I managed to reach the old man late the next day he said he did not want to talk to me then, that he was doing a lot of thinking and would call me the next day.

The next day he broke up with me via e-mail. What a bastard. I was a wreck for a couple of days. One of my coworkers caught me crying in a conference room. I walked around in a daze for a while. The third day I decided that it wasn’t worth it. I was done crying. I saw our relationship for what it was, a summer fling between a drunk and fool. It was nothing more, nothing less.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Park and Ride

Saturday we are going to Galveston with our friends John and Stephanie, and little Michael. Stephanie mentioned that they like to go to the state park there. John mentioned that we could take the ferry. I was surprised. I have been to Galveston several times since I moved to Texas, but I had no idea there was a State Park in Galveston, much less a ferry.

It should be an interesting day. Stephanie and John are great people, we always have a great time with them. I love finding out new places to visit, and every time I am near the ocean a sense of calm descends upon me. Even if it's the Gulf of Yoohoo, as Amanda calls it.

Just because

I love this song. A few minutes ago I had an irresistible urge to listen to it. It's peppy, sad and numb at the same time and I love it. Plus it reminds me of Gabe because he loves D.C., where he went to college.

3:08 PM

Fiction Friday is tomorrow. This week's challenge was published today, and I have been trying to figure out what to write. The one thing that my mood will prove useful for is as writer's fuel.

On the other hand, I am stuck at work. I have to deliver a SWOT analysis for a business plan and I am struggling. It's been hard to find what I need. There are plenty of sources of information out there, but not necessarily with the particular focus the team wants to see. I have a stack of reports to review, and I am hoping to be able to get some concrete points from those. My mind wanders off this afternoon, as it tends to do whenever I am faced with certain challenges. My old therapist would say that is a clear sign of ADD, but I still have a hard time even accepting that diagnosis.

When cliches make sense

Sometimes I think hard about how to write in this blog, how to convey feelings or ideas in a way that isn't trite. Maybe I am not imaginative enough, but there are times when I inevitably find myself resorting to cliches.

My brain is overloaded? Check.

I wake up on a Thursday morning and wonder where the hell the week went and how is it that life is passing me by? Check check.

I feel like if I lower my guard and open the floodgates I am going to cry myself out? Check check.

I tell myself to hang on, that tomorrow is another day and that life is what I make of it? Check times three.

I am writing a meta-post about the trappings of blog writing? Check ad infinitum.

I suppose I could try to come up with less tired ways of putting into words what I want to say, but frankly I am too tired and too stressed lately to attempt any kind of writing finesse in my everyday efforts. At this stage, I am just trying to keep active. I desperately need it. Nine months after I started a blog, I still see this as my personal journal. I write to find my way out of the fog (check).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

When it's hard to put it into words, music always steps in

If you want to know how I am feeling lately, listen to the song on the link below. It's not so much the lyrics (although parts of it definitely apply) as much as the haunting melody and the cadence of the singing.

I feel pretty rotten, actually. Also guilty. Compared to the people that just went through the horrifying experience of Dean, what the hell do I have to feel blue about? My world has not fallen apart around me. It feels that way, but I have to remind me it's not real. I am far from complete chaos.


I am working real hard on keeping the walls up, so I can continue functioning normally and be productive at work. A tear sneaks out now and then, though.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Busy bee

Yesterday was an unbelievably busy day at work. Today is shaping up to be the same. In fact, the next 3 weeks are going to be hectic. Ugh.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Keeping the Greater Antilles in my thoughts

Below is a quote from the most recent Public Advisory from the National Hurricane Center:

WTNT34 KNHC 181745
200 PM AST SAT AUG 18 2007




My heart goes out to my Caribbean brothers in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. Puerto Rico was spared, but the hurricane, a Category 4 by now, is headed straight to Jamaica. The Yucatan pensinsula may also be in danger if the hurricane follows the projected path.

In the Houston area, they have already started talking about taking precautions, as there is a chance the hurricane path may take it to these parts, which are already saturated with the rainfall we are still experiencing from Tropical Depression Erin. NASA cut short the Endeavour crew's spacewalk and will make the shuttle come back home one day earlier than planned.

It's quite early in the hurricane season and we already are dealing with such a destroyer. I shudder to think what else is in store for the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico area.

Que Dios nos coja confesados.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Million Dollar Dreams

Wolfang wants to know what I would do with a million dollars. Who hasn't dreamed of this at one point or another? Who has not spent many a drive home from work plotting how to spend every single dollar that the IRS doesn't take away? Come on, admit it, you have done it too.

Anyway, the rules are simple:

1- Describe what would you do if you had a million dollars
2- Tag 5 people
3- Reproduce the list of bloggers who have already done this challenge and add your name at the end.

If I had a million dollars... the first thing I would do is ask if that is net of taxes. Because it makes a big difference if I have to give uncle Sam a big chunk of moola, you know. I would have to factor that into my plans. What, you had not thought of that?

Anyway, let's say that it's a million dollars, all for me. The first thing I would do is pay off my mortgage and our car loans. The second thing I would do is pay off Gabriel's monumental student loan debt. Next I would hire a reputable financial planner, set up a college fund for each of my girls, and an investment portfolio for Gabe and I, so we can retire someday. There goes three quarters of a million.

Once all the sensible plans are fulfilled, I would ask for a leave of absence from work, make a travel budget and go everywhere I am able to, see all the wonderful things I have been reading about since I am a little girl. I would take my husband and children with me, and maybe my parents and my in-law's too. I would seek to inmerse myself as much as I could into the culture of each place I visit.

So there you have it. Not the most original plan in the world, I know. But oh, how I wish it could come to fruition.

For this Meme I am tagging:

bea n. random

What They Do With Their $1 Million.

1. SYH will spend for Family

2. Miche will give to the needy

3. Montessorimum will keepsake

4. Lovely Mummy will spend & save

5. MummyInVain will fully utilise

6. Babyfiona will buy house and open business

7. MonkeyWong will go for a long vacation

8. Emila Yusof will realise her dream

9. Mariuca will open a Perfume Gallery

10.Janice Ng will upgrade house and go for long vacation

11.Hin will blog to donate for charity

12.Bobo will invest in property and let her parents go on a holiday.

13. Adrian will spend it all!

14. Brad will spend all of his money on foolish gadgets

15.Danielle will buy a cottage in the woods and never look back

16. Brown Baron will hold a $17,500 blog contest.

17. Bobby will be on a World vacation forever.

18. Wolfgang will try to live, fix the things that can be fixed with what money can buy, and (hopefully) live happily ever after (feel free to shorten to include only the linked part when you repost please).

19. Ingrid would do the sensible thing financially, then take her family with her and become a globetrotter for six months.

The exchange

It's 5:30 AM Central, and this is my third post. Can you tell that I have been having trouble sleeping? I woke up around 3:00 AM with a headache, a tight chest and the feeling of being a failure. Why, you ask? Well, I guess I am full of shit. The other day I said I had no regrets other than my smoking habit. I guess I should have qualified that. I do not have regrets for the things I have done. It's the things I did not get to do that haunt me. I am starting to realize I may never get a chance to do them, and that is painful.

I found my niece on Facebook yesterday and I was very excited to ask her all about her exchange semester at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. She had a blast, took some wonderul courses, traveled all over Europe, walked everywhere and learned to be self-reliant, as she was alone for long periods of time. She broke free from the island-centric mentality we have so ingrained when we are born and raised in Puerto Rico. She learned a lot and is clearly excited about putting some plans in motion. It was truly a formative experience. I was very happy for her and extremely proud to be her aunt. But I also felt sad for myself. When I was at the UPR I had two friends who did the same exchange semester, but I never got to go. I did not think my parents would send me, so I never asked. Recently I mentioned this to my mom and she said they would have if I had just asked. I wish I had known that back then. Ugh.

I remember that my mom had a summer school trip to Italy when she was in college, an experience I heard so much about when I was growing up. Then I remembered that Gabe had the opportunity to bum around Europe for about 10 months after he got out of college. I may have had a chance, but I blew it because I did not even dare ask. So I felt bad about my missed chance. Gabe said we should make plans to travel to Europe. But come on, let's face it, we can't afford it. It sucks, because we are supposed to be people who are doing fairly well financially, but we have no savings and basically live from paycheck to paycheck. I may not even get a company bonus this year, something that I used to almost take for granted.

Paula saw I was upset and got upset herself. I told her that if she ever has the chance to go on a student exchange, she should take without thinking twice, that I would make the effort to send her. She said she would not go because she did not want to make me sad like this. That, of course, made me feel like a colossal ass. I don't want my daughter to deprive herself in a show of solidarity.

I am proud of and happy for my niece. And I would absolutely love it for my daughter to have the same mind-expanding experience she had this past semester. I get sad and angry at myself because I missed an opportunity. When we are younger, we don't realize that life is not always going to be there for the taking. Not in the same way at least. So we slack off. And that is not always a good idea.

Here comes Dean

The latest Public Advisory from the National Hurrican Center says:


Hurricane Dean, a Category 2 at present, is the first hurricane of the season. According to the island's main newspaper, Dean is expected to pass about 150 miles South of Puerto Rico. That is great news for Puerto Rico, although they are still under a Tropical Storm warning. It is expected that the island will get between 4 and 6 inches of rain today. My mom had been concerned about the hurricane disrupting her surgery scheduled for today, but it looks like it will not be an issue.

For some odd reason, writing this post has made me nostalgic. You would think that hurricanes are not the kind of stuff that makes one warm on the inside, but living with this kind of weather was a defining factor when I was growing up. I am sure there are people who would read this post and say "storm warning, OMG!", but to us, if the eye was not passing over the island, it was business as usual.

Fiction Friday

A while ago I learned about Fiction Fridays through paisley's blog. I liked the idea and wanted to start doing the weekly challenges. Today's challenge was a good starting point, as it was simple enough: to write a scene where an adult character demonstrates a child-like habit. There is a list of eight of these, we are to pick one and write about it. So, here's my piece:

Driving home from work, Ana remembered there was no milk in the house. So she swung by the neighborhood Walgreen's prior to picking up Carla and Ileana at daycare. It was almost 6:00 PM, so she did not have much time to linger in the tabloid magazine display, although it was tempting to thumb through the latest young Hollywood trainwreck issues. Anything that made Ana feel better about herself that day would be welcome, but she had to rush before the daycare closed.

Once home, she had to muster all her strength not to drop everything and sit down in front of the computer to check out her favorite blogs. Daniel was not home yet and she was exhausted. There had been a business review at work that day, and Ana had been on call, generating trends charts on demand. Mr. Banks had been particularly nitpicky that day, and Ana had to resist the urge to tell him where he could stick his numbers. But that was over now, her second shift was just starting. Carla was hungry for chicken nuggets and Ileana wanted some milk. Ana got out a glass from the cabinet and reached for the milk and the powdered chocolate.

Mmmm, nothing like a glass of cold chocolate milk to make everything go away. She was one with the milk, revelling in the sweetness and silkiness of it. Maybe she would read a nice book tonight, or start that scrapbook project she had been putting off, maybe she would go to the butcher and get some nice pork chops for dinner, or make baked ziti or…

She felt a tug on her pants leg. "Mami, is that my chocolate milk? I waaaaaaant iiiit!", said Ileana. "What? Oh, sure baby, here you go", said Ana. As she wiped her milk moustache away, Ana noticed the oven was warm already. Time to get the chicken nuggets in.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Those crazy truckers

In true Ingrid form, I recently discovered and become obsessed with something that is not brand new. It happens all the time, I am always hopelessly behind on things. I discover bands that have been around for years, or fall in love with books from a few years ago.

My newest fancy is the show Ice Road Truckers. I saw it for the first time last weekend, and now I am addicted. Of course, I discover the show when it's almost over. The season finale is next Sunday. At least I'll have a chance to watch more episodes. On Sundy they are running all the episodes back to back, leading up to the finale.

Now you may wonder what the hell is the appeal of this show to me. I know it sounds weird for a Caribbean woman to be so into a show about truckers using a frozen lake as a shortcut and hoping the ice doesn't crack and take them under. Basically, this is a show about a world that could not be further from mine. Yet, it is so appealing to me. And maybe this is because it gives me a chance to get a glimpse of what I would never be able to experience otherwise.

Then again, as I have stated before, I am fascinated by stories that highlight man's fight against nature, and nature's ultimate supremacy over our illusions of control. I am also partial to stories about the Artic. This show hits both spots.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I need a pat in the back, y'all

I just signed up for a 12-week challenge at the Fitness Center at work. It runs from August 20th through November 11th. I have 12 weeks to try to get a fitness habit going. Participants contribute 5 dollars to a pot. At the end of the 12 weeks, whoever has the highest score wins the pot. I figured money and a little competition may be just what a girl needs to get her butt in shape.

I have set modest short-term goals so I don't get discouraged and quit altogether. We get points for logging our workouts and fulfilling the goals we set for ourselves. In my case, my goals are to work out at least twice a week, for 30 minutes. There have been times when I have done more than that, but not lately. When my heel started hurting I stopped doing the treadmill altogether. I want to get back to walking. I do have the Race for the Cure in October to look forward to, but even that was not motivation enough.

I also have a goal of doing 15 to 20 push-ups daily (believe me, I am so out of shape and have such weak arms that I can only do 5 to 8 right now).

My biggest problem is eating habits. I do not know what to do. I did not set any goals regarding this, but my long-term goal is to lower my waist-to-hip ratio, and that will not happen if I continue eating the way I do now. I don't want to diet. I hate the idea of dieting. But I need to find a way to make better choices and learn portion control.

I could certainly use some suggestions and good luck wishes from all.

I've been doing more reading than writing lately

I have a lot on my plate at work, so the blogging has suffered. But I have also been in one of those periods where my internal voice has been quiet, reveling in the writings of others.

Monday, August 13, 2007

From "My Rearview Mirror"

I visited Micki's blog earlier today, and was very moved by this post. This quote stayed with me all day:

We made a commitment. He wanted to be with me and I wanted to be with him. The commitment wasn’t to stay married. The commitment was to always talk it out.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Second Life?

Are any of my readers familiar with Second Life? I was reading this WSJ article about Second Life that I found through the blog murketing and I got curious. I have heard of Second Life before, at work. But I don't know anyone who plays there (is it even considered playing?). Do any of the four or five readers I have frequent Second Life? From the little I have seen, it's like the Sims on steroids, although my reference is already quite dated (Sims who? would say some). And what about the subject of the article? Would you consider what this guy was doing "cheating"? I don't quite know what to make of it. I guess if it was me and Gabe, and he would be marrying chicks on virtual worlds, I would be awfully pissed. I can be pretty territorial.

Afternoon ramble

I am tired. I am sleepy. These are not interchangeable terms, no matter what Gabe would say. You can be tired and not be sleepy. You can be sleepy and not necessarily feel tired. Am I making sense? Probably not. I need some coffee, but if I drink it now I will be wound up until midnight or later. What are we doing tonight? i have no plans. I should not say that, I'll sound like a loser. Maybe not, maybe I'll just sound like a mom of two who just came back from vacation and is slightly broke. I should have stayed at the office instead of working from home in the afternoon. I am falling asleep at this desk. I tried to do the Fiction Friday meme from Write Stuff, but I got stuck. And now I am bored, and sleepy, and putting off something I have got to do and have no clue where to begin. Anyway, I am tired. And sleepy.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I like to think of myself as a good person. I pride myself on following the most basic rules of society, on acting with the conscious goal of not hurting others. Yet I know I am not as good, as nice as I would like to be. With that in mind, I started making a list of my transgressions, with the intention of sharing them on this post. I was halfway through number one when I pictured my lawyer husband warning me about the sheer idiocy of what I was doing. Do I really want to have a written record of my peccadilloes for posterity?

I also remembered the stories about companies regularly checking the blogs and MySpace pages of employees and potential recruits, and of people being fired or passed over for jobs because of the contents of their blogs (can you say dooce?). My blog is public, my face is plastered all over it, I sign it in my name. It truly is a risk. So I stopped myself, and now I am left with nothing but disappointment at the fact that I self-censored my blog. I have always had this wonderful, idealized notion that my blog was going to be the one space for true self-expression, so I hate it when grown-up reality intrudes.

And yet, even though I will not share most of my less-than-stellar experiences, I can share the one memory that got me thinking about this subject. It is one of my worst moments, and I am ashamed of it. I have never before shared it with anybody.

When I was growing up, I had a best friend. We went to a small school together, from kindergarten through sixth grade, except for one year when my mom moved me to public school. I loved my friend very much, but once we went to different middle schools, we sort of drifted apart, although I still learned about her life from mutual friends who I ocassionally heard from. And once in a blue moon we would see each other at the mall. We went to different universities, on opposite sides of the island. She became an engineer, as her family wanted to, then put her title aside, got married and worked as an event planner. Or at least that is what I heard.

My shameful memory comes from the time Paula was an infant. Details are sketchy, so I can't remember exactly how old Paula was when I found myself sitting accross the room from my old friend at a pediatrician's packed waiting room. I know she was still in her baby bucket carrier, so she was pretty young. I remember noticing my friend and then deliberately pretending I had not recognized her. She did not make any kind of acknowledgment that she had recognized me either. I wonder what went through her mind.

At the time I was so embarrassed about my life that I dreaded saying hi. What was I going to say, that I was unhappily married, miserable at work and most likely depressed? That I could not even breastfeed my baby full time? That I, the smartest kid in our class, now worked as a receptionist because I did not have the guts to stay in law school? She looked great, and I looked so fat and ugly, I could not face her. Trying to avoid humiliation, I did one of the things that I most despise, acted like a jerk and ignored someone I once cared deeply about.

I never saw my childhood friend again, and now I live in Texas, so there is little chance of running into her again. In hindsight, I wish I could apologize to her for my stupidity.


When it comes to patience, I am definitely impaired. I have never made a secret of it. It's the reason why I never became a teacher, why I could not stick with graduate school, why I am not a better parent.

The other day I wrote about not getting access when a blog I enjoy reading went private. Maybe I should have waited a little longer before bitching and moaning about it. It turns out I have access now. I was never informed, but I checked the link today and it works now, so I guess it's another example of the need to be patient and not jump to conclusions.


I woke up this morning with a feeling of aprehension. Today is my last day of vacation. Tomorrow I go back to the office, but today I will need to connect and do some stuff, and have a conference call with an analyst in the afternoon. So even though it's my last day of vacation, I have to work at least an hour or two. Ugh.

I have been up since around 5 AM. Acid reflux again. I need to get my Protonix prescription filled. I hate taking meds on a regular basis, but it seems I really need it.

I am thinking of my friends Amanda and Shannon this morning, hoping their days go well. Amanda is quitting her job today. After working thirteen years for the same company, she is making a complete career change and going for something she feels passionately about. I admire her so much for it. I hope her talk with her boss today goes well. Shannon is feeling under the weather. She has bronchitis and has been coughing so much that it seems she tore some cartilage in her ribs. She is in pain and I hope it goes away quickly. Send some love their way, please.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

We're home!!! Also, my earliest memories

We got home around 7:00 PM and we're exhausted. It was a loooong drive. I drove all the way back. I love driving, but it was a bit too much. Still, I get restless when I am in the passenger seat.

The girls are spending the night at my in-laws. They want to see the girls and they have a surprise for them, a kitten. That will give Gabe and I a chance to regroup after the holiday. Right now we are bickering a little because we are both so tired. Tomorrow the four of us will spend the day home recovering from the vacation. Thursday both Gabe and I go back to work and Isabel goes to daycare. Paula will come with me to the office.

In other topics, Josie issued a writer's challenge to her fellow bloggers. Between August 4th and the 11th, those who want to participate should write a post about our earliest memories. So here I go.

I have a few memories. Two of them are related to the crib and are from when I was between 2 and 3 years of age. I remember being in my crib, holding the bars and yelling "que me bajen" (get me down!) at the top of my lungs. I also remember the time I fell and got a bump on my forehead. Of course, it is entirely possible that I remember these things because my mother has reminisced about them many times.

The other memory is of a dream I had when I was still living in the duplex at Villa Fontana, so I must have been younger than four years old. I dreamt I was floating up the sky. In a cloud up high there was a presence and even though I could not really see him, I knew it was Jesus and he loved me and was waiting for me. I woke up from that dream with such happiness. And it's funny, because I do not know how I came to dream about ascending. My parents were not religious.

The following people have so far responded to Josie's challenge:

Wolfie at Gazing Into The Abyss
Soul at Soul Survivor
Pen at The Pen Is Mightier...
Loz at Sunrays and Saturdays
Josie at Picking Up Pieces
Frank at Ranting Monkey: LastStand

Monday, August 06, 2007

Awake at night with acid reflux

The title says it all. I am not having a good night's sleep.

Sunday at the beach was great. We all had a lot of fun at Isla Blanca Beach. We did get a little too much sun, though, so today we'll have to be extra careful. Monday is our last full day at South Padre Island. Tuesday we pack and start the drive home.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Vacation, all I ever wanted.

We have been in Padre for about 24 hours now. As is bound to happen whenever we go out on vacation, or as Gabe would say, whenever he travels with the "tres diablitas", there has been lots of drama, plus bruises and bumps. But overall it's been great and I am so happy we are away.

South Padre Island reminds me of Puerto Rico so much! There is something about being surrounded by blue seawater that makes me all warm and tingly inside.

We took a Dolphin Watch Tour. It was cool and we got to see some of the dolphins that make the waters of SPI their home.

So far my pictures are less than spectacular. I still have time to redeem myself. In the meantime, here are a couple.

The Face Behind the Blog

Fellow blogger Wolfgang has tagged me for The Face Behind the Blog, so here we go:

Blog Title: Boricua in Texas

Description: the ramblings of a thirty-something Puerto Rican woman who lives in the Houston area.

Why "Ingrid"?: because it's my name. So much for the protection of anonimity, eh?

Name: see above. What can I say? Mom was an Ingrid Bergman fan. A lot of Americans are baffled by the fact that my name is Scandinavian in origin, as if all Latin women should only be called Carmela or María. This may surprise you, but the name Ingrid is actually a lot more common throughout Latin America than it is in the US.

Country: Currently, USA.

Originally from: Puerto Rico, which culturally is very much a country, despite the fact that it is a US territory.

Occupation: Business Planning Analyst for a major computer company.

Email: Should be listed in my profile

Birthday: December 14

Fav Colors: red and purple

Fav Drink: Water. I know, boooooring! Also, beer.

Fav Fruit: Bananas

Fav Desert: Flan

Hobbies: Reading, writing, cooking, photography

Some of the blogs I know that have posted pictures of me: None that I know of.


The Rules, to quote Wolfgang:

The usual rules apply. Post a short article and include your photograph (or more if you want). If you already have a pic online somewhere, then get creative with a new one.

Next, include the link to the others who have displayed their pix, or even include their pix in your post, adding a reference to it.

Bloggers who have shown their face:

Although the chain is quite long, right now I am only linking to Seiche and Wolfgang because I have not read the others' posts yet (I need to). Wolfgang lists them all, so check out his blog in case you are interested.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

In the middle of a packing frenzy (sure)

Isabel is napping. Gabe is watching the end of a movie while his laundry is in the washer. I helped Paula pack her stuff, and I am slacking off on mine.

Something is bothering me more than I would like. I keep telling myself to not take it personally, but of course I do. There's this blog that I had been reading lately. I found it through another blog and I had been visiting for a week or a little over that. It's written by someone who is vastly different from me in terms of life experience, and yet I found some universal truths in what was being written, some touchpoints in terms of lives afflicted by a loved one's dysfunction. On a few ocassions I left comments, mostly friendly ones to try to establish some rapport. They were never acknowledged. Still, I did not think much of it because I don't respond to every comment left on my blog and that does not mean I do not appreciate them.

Well, this blog writer announced recently that there is a change in the blog and going forward it will be by invitation only, and those who wanted access should write the blogger. So I wrote and asked for a password. It's been a couple of days and I received no answer and no access. I thought that maybe the problem was I provided my hotmail e-mail address, as opposed to my gmail address, which is tied to my Blogger account. So I wrote the blogger again and provided the gmail address. Again, no answer and no access.

This blogger doesn't really know who the hell I am, after all, other than a few celebratory comments I had left, so it is not surprising if I don't get access. Still, while I am fully aware that it is the blogger's prerrogative to grant me access or not if they so choose, I have to admit that my feelings are a little hurt. This situation has made me feel pathetic and stupid, the way I felt when I was in school and the cool kids snubbed me. So what is it about me? Why did this blogger not like me enough?

I am pretty friendly, but also very proud. I don't like to be where I am not wanted, and I do not go around whining to people and begging for friendship. If anything, I tend to keep people at arms length for a while until I feel comfortable enough to let my guard down. Which is all the more reason why I am so mortified by this. I mean, I put myself out there not once, but twice and my messages were not even acknowledged by the blogger. I am not as bothered by not being able to read the blog as I am by being left out. Whatever.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

La regla de ocho

I have done the "Eight things about myself" meme before, but I got tagged again by the Myopic Legion, so I must comply. Of course, I have spent some time wondering qué carajo más puedo decir de . My life is not a veritable mine of exciting memories, which is why my plan of writing a brilliant memoir is dead before it even began. But let's start scraping the bottom of the barrel and give it a try:

1- My middle name is Cristina. It's not my favorite name, so I hardly ever use it. It evokes images of bratty self-centered princesses I may or may not have gone to school with.

2- Although to me it is quite obvious that I look like a Puerto Rican, I have been asked if I am Russian, Czech or Middle Eastern, among others. Must be the nose.

3- Years ago I had an episode of automatic writing. Well, more like scribbling. I have never known what to make of it. Some of the people I was hanging out with at the time were into esoteric and New Age stuff (for lack of a better term). I was on a spiritual quest of sorts, and trying hard to suppress my natural skepticism in favor of keeping an open mind. So it's very possible that the power of suggestion was responsible for my scribblings. It never happened again. These days I would be more interested in automatic writing of the surrealist kind.

4- I get obsessed with songs and have to listen to them repeatedly, over and over and over again, until I get them out of my system. As I write this, I am listening obessively to a song by Orishas called "El kilo". Tremendo bla, bla, bla, tremendo guaguancó.

5- My only regret in life is that I smoked. Like a chimney. For years.

6- I am taking my laptop with me on the trip. I don't plan on checking any work stuff and my boss already said he is not going to bother me while I am gone. But I want to be able to read my favorite blogs and maybe post once or twice on mine. I'll probably do it when we retire for the night or early in the morning before we set out to the beach.

7- I don't have any tattoos or piercings, other than my ears (and I hardly wear earrings). I got nothing against people who get them; it's just not my thing. I can understand the appeal of tattoos; I have seen some very cool ones. But for the life of me I do not get the piercings.

8- I collect stamps. How's that for being nerdy and anachronistic?