Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last stretch

The year 2007 is coming to an end, and like many others I am looking back on the year. I do not want to go into much detail, but I have to say I am grateful because it has been a good year for me and my family. I got a promotion and a raise, and a good end of year review. I traded in my lease and got a new car. The whole family packed the car and drove to South Padre Island for summer vacation. We were able to get new wood floors for the house, a closet system and a new couch. I fixed other things around the house, got a new trash disposal for the kitchen sink and (my favorite) a new digital SLR camera.

Gabriel and I celebrated three years of marriage in June and continue to settle into a married life with kids rythym. We are getting along well. I have been able to see my girls grow up and blossom this year. My oldest keeps getting better at volleyball, and my youngest is very, very advanced in her verbal skills.

In what was one of the most joyous highlights of the year, my parents and my brother spent Christmas with us. So far the only really bad thing I can think of is when I was hospitalized and had my gall bladder taken out, and that was not even that terrible.

Sure, there are things that could be better. I gained weight this year and I am not too happy with my looks. I could be more active (I am not active at all at present). I am often very tired from work and feel like I have no time for myself. Sometimes I am short-tempered and fight with my kids (well, my oldest kid) too much. There is always money concerns in the background. We certainly do not have a perfect life, but there is a lot of love in this family and the good outweighs the bad. By far.

From Sweeney Todd

We saw Sweeney Tood Friday night. I wish Johnny Depp's singing sounded like this version, from the 2005 Broadway Revival.

Here is the Wikipedia entry on Sweeney Todd.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I woke up this morning with this song from my youth stuck to my head. The song is an homage to Salvador Dali. I am not a huge fan of his art, but I like the song.

I do not quite know why, but I am feeling old and a little fuzzy around the edges this morning. I have been reflecting a lot lately on identity and how shifty it can be. I possess not one, but many identities, elements of which may or may not align to each other: family identity, cultural identity, professional identity, national identity even. The presence of my family brought out a dormant side of me and constant use of my native language. Now that they are gone, and as I prepare to get back to work next week, I see the shift back to my usual Houston-dwelling self.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas is not over

At least not for my family. We celebrate Three Kings' Day on January 6. Paula will not be home, but she will still get presents from Los Reyes. January 6 is Isabel's birthday, so she will get extra special presents.

We will celebrate the day by going to a Three Kings' Day party organized by the Sociedad de Puertorriqueños en Houston. There will be typical Puerto Rican food and music. Also, the Three Kings will be there; we can bring a present for Isabel and the they will hand it out to her.

Friday, December 21, 2007

On comments

Lately I have seen several blog posts on the subject of comments. While I have never received any comments as virulent as the one recently posted on Cafe Leone, yesterday afternoon I received my first negative comment, on the post titled Talking about others. The comment, and my response, are reproduced below:

Anonymous said...

I'm impress by the maturity of your 9 years old. Also, I put my self in her shoes and wonder how devastating it is for a 9 years old to hear you talking like that about her. If you refer to her behavior, perhaps you need to make that clear. For example, if you do somethig neurotic, I will not say that you are neurotic, that is labeling you.

Children internalize what we say about them in a deeper way. Also, she should have NO ACCESS to your blog. That is personal and perhaps you need to look at the boundaries in your relationship.

Concerning, very concerning.

Ingrid said...

Anonymous, I would have appreciated it if you had identified yourself. If you really want to get a dialogue going, don't do it anonymously. It strikes me as cowardly.

I was only venting in my post, after an extremely overwhelming week, and I don't think anything in my post was out of line.

I also completely disagree with your dictum that she should have "NO ACCESS" to what I write. My daughter already has very limited Internet access, and hardly ever sees my page. But if my browser is open, and she happens to take a peek into a faily innocuous page, it doesn't send me into a tailspin. In my house we talk a lot and are very open when it comes to expressing our feelings. Paula told me how she felt, we talked about it and she asked me if she could comment on the blog. I helped her do it.

I don't subscribe to a "repress your feelings mentality." Of course, some things are private and not shared with the children, and others are phrased in a way that is age-appropriate. But I definitely do not believe that children need to be kept completely in the dark about what grown-ups are going through. If I am exhausted and stretched too thin, they will know about it. To hide it is just plain stupid, and the denial of something that is obviously going on may confuse and affect them even more.

So, anonymous, while I can't change your mentality that it is "concerning, very concerning" (nice alliteration, did you come up with that all by yourself?), I can disagree with you, and I do.

To a certain extent, I can't help but think that there is a cultural issue at sake here. In my culture, this would not be seen as concerning at all. I did not see an issue with boundaries here. I just posted about being overwhelmed and being challenged by my kids, as kids tend to do.

While the comment is not that terrible, it has made me wonder if I should share anything at all about my family in the blog. I don't need random idiots from the web telling me how concerned they are about my child rearing. Yes, you read right, random, cowardly idiots.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I got mad skillz

My dear friend, fellow mommy board dweller and hyper-cool mom Lori, gave this award for my "mad writing skillz." Thanks, Lori!

I love this award, and I am immediately passing it forward to these bloggers, who are all madly skilled in their respective realms:

Greg (blogworld domination), Olga, the Traveling Bra (globetrotting with humor), MPJ (self-awareness and honesty), Maria (vivid writing), Corey (engaging storytelling through photos), Paisley (raw, uncompromising writing).

Saturday, December 15, 2007





Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crazy 8's

Both Olga, the Traveling Bra, and Meleah tagged me for the Crazy 8's meme. Great minds think alike, right? So here I go.

8 Things I’m Passionate About:
My family
Cultural Identity
Freedom of Choice

8 Things I Say Often:
I love you
I'm here
I'm tired
I'm hungry

8 Books I’ve Read Recently:
Lately, I have started many books, and not finished any of them. The last books I remember reading from cover to cover were the first five novels in The Dresden Files series, The Tipping Point and Stumbling on Happiness. And I am halfway through The Dew Breaker.

8 Things I want To Do Before I Die:
Visit the ruins of Pompeii
Travel to Buenos Aires
Write a book of short stories
Go back to school for fun
Do pottery
Take a road trip across the continental US
Learn Catalan

8 Songs I can listen to over and over again:
Ten Years Go By
Beast of Burden
Boricua en la luna
Ahora me despido
Plany al Mar
Periodico de ayer

8 things that attract me to my friends:
A dry sense of humor
An open mind
A sense of adventure

8 things I learned in the last year:
I am fickle, and that's OK
I like blogging
There is a lot of pervs out there
When in doubt, it's better to take a risk than do nothing at all
Home improvement projects are a colossal source of stress
I really, really hate wall-to-wall carpets
I am not invincible (go ahead, laugh)
My move to Texas, seven and a half years ago, has changed me. I sometimes don't know if I fit anywhere.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


At work they love me. I am so efficient, so quick, so supportive. I always, always have a good attitude. I get things done. I take "ownership" of projects, instead of merely doing tasks. I strive to be firm, but conciliatory, and to not get too personal. I have earned the flexibility to work from home when I need to, because my bosses know it is quite easy to reach me if they have to.

Lately it has been a harder struggle than usual to be the model employee that I am. I am juggling multiple projects with conflicting deadlines. I have been managing crucial projects and it has been quite complex to coordinate deliverables with such a large group of people who need to be involved. People come out of the woodwork asking for things, and I often find it hard to say no, because what they are asking for is part of the services I am supposed to provide, and they need them now. My boss told me yesterday to send all my internal clients an e-mail letting them know what my priorities are this week, so they know where they stand. In the past I have found it easier to just do what they want, but I may have to do as he suggests, because the requests keep growing in number. It is an understatement to say that my stress levels at work have gone up. When the work day is over, I feel spent and mentally depleted.

Throw in a screaming toddler, a fickle and defiant nine year-old girl, a house in disarray, and sleep deprivation into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster. If my parents were not here, I am sure Gabriel and I would have been at each other's throats during this whole flooring project. Lately all Paula and I do is fight. She is in a very challenging stage right now, and is relentlessly pushing me to the limit.

I really need my two weeks vacation. I don't want to be this stressed out, angry and melodramatic person that I become when I am home. I can't wait to have some time to regroup and spend quality time with my family.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bragging rights?

I saw this first on MPJ's blog (who got the same rating I did, deservedly so in her case) and decided to test my blog's readability level.

cash advance

Fancy that. English is not even my native language. I guess reading all those books has really paid off. While I enjoy an ego stroke every bit as much as the next person, I am curious as to what are their parameters to assign reading levels. I tested several of my favorite blogs, and the responses surprised me. I am not sure how accurate a representation this is.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Two of my favorite bloggers have given me awards lately, and I want to give them thanks, if a little late, and send them a virtual hug.

First, the fabulous Meleah of Momma Mia, Mea Culpa gave me this Friendship Badge. Thanks, Meleah! You are an awesome blogosphere buddy too!

Also, Olga, the Traveling Bra, gave me the Winning Attitude Award, mainly because of my Tetas de Cayey picture, published both on my blog and hers. Thanks, Olga, for being so supportive! ;)

Thanks to my friends for considering me worthy of these awards.

You're it!

I got tagged for memes simultaneously by the wonderful Olga, the Traveling Bra and clever blogger Rich. I will try to comply with both requests in subsequent posts, starting with Rich's.

Rich tagged me for the "7 weird/random things about myself" meme. This is actually the third time I get tagged for this one. The first time I answered; the second time I rehashed my first post. This time around, I gave it some thought and came up with new answers, just because Rich seems like a nice guy and it was lame to recycle the same post again. So here they are, seven random facts about your favorite Boricua in Texas:

1- My grammar pet peeves vary by language. In English, it royally pisses me off to see people confuse affect and effect, both in writing and verbally. It really isn't that hard, people! Go here or here for help sorting it out if you can't do it by yourself.

In Spanish, people who do not follow the rules regarding accents drive me nuts.

2- When I was twenty years old, I voted in my first election. I also worked in that election. As the secretary of my particular area, I helped count votes. Voting college members are trained by and represent one of the three political parties on the island. Each area had one person from each party to ensure all three were represented. We counted paper ballots (which they still use in Puerto Rico) and kept an eye out for errors that would invalidate a vote. Of course, there was always some bickering, and each party's rep tried to get as many of their opponent's votes eliminated as they could. I was an idealist, so I strove for impartiality and tried to look at all votes the same way, no matter what party they were for. Sadly, not everybody behaved in the same way.

3- As a kid, my method of cleaning my room was to shove everything under the bed and make sure the bedspread was long enough to hide it.

4- At age 8 or 9, my parents gave me a tape recorder as a Christmas present. Along with my brother, sister and friends, we used it to record parodies of radio shows. We did soap operas, game shows and mistery hour. What I would give to still have those tapes.

5- I am fickle. Moreover, I am convinced most people are fickle, maybe to varying degrees. It used to bother me that I would fall in love with something, become obsessed with it, then get tired of it. Surely it was my fault that X song, Y website or Z blog no longer interested me. They were still the same I have cherished before, why wasn't I excited anymore? I no longer waste time worrying about this and have come to accept it as normal.

6- I can talk while I burp. My siblings and I used to have competitions to see who could talk the most or the clearest while burping. I beat them often.

7- I am a big believer in massage therapy. Regular massage therapy sessions with a trained and certified professional can help reduce the risk of muscle injuries, lower stress levels and promote a sense of well being. I think these benefits should not be restricted to the people who can afford to pay out of their pocket. Instead, massage therapy should be part of everybody's health maintenance program, covered by health insurance.

And there you have it. Olga's tag requires a longer response, and I need more time to prepare my response.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I am getting old

In a week it will be my birthday, yikes.

Friday Photos

Here are a few pictures taken during Paula's school's Christmas program last night. It was a bit dark, and I do not have a zoom lens, so they are not the best, but you get the idea.

The floors are finished. Now we start the clean-up/organizing process. Craziness will ensue.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Progress Report

This is how our master bedroom looked on Monday, after they tore the carpet out. Gabe and I started painting, and were horrified when we saw our color choice plastered on the walls. It does not look at all like the paint swatch at the store. Called Summer, it was supposed to be a light, peachy color, not the retina-burning hue you see in the picture.
Immediately we started to plan our next visit to the hardware store, and how many shades lighter the color needs to be in order for me to be able to fall asleep in the room. Isabel, on the other hand, loved it. "I like the orange in the bedroom, daddy!"- she screamed delightedly.

This is how the room looks now, with the new wood floor in. I love the floor, it almost makes the color on the walls look normal.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bye bye, carpet

Hallway, carpet out, originally uploaded by icruzbonilla.

Living room mess

Living room mess, originally uploaded by icruzbonilla.

The flooring project is underway!

Monday, December 03, 2007

What number are you

Josie did this test (she's a 4) and I thought it would be fun to check it out.

You Are 5: The Investigator

You're independent - and a logical analytical thinker.
You love learning and ideas... and know things no one else does.

Bored by small talk, you refuse to participate in boring conversations.
You are open minded. A visionary. You understand the world and may change it.

At Your Best: You are sharp, inventive, and creative. You have the skills to lead the world.

At Your Worst: You are reclusive, weird, and a bit paranoid.

Your Fixation: Greed

Your Primary Fear: Being useless or incompetent

Your Primary Desire: Being competent and needed

Other Number 5's: Bill Gates, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Bjork, and Stephen Hawking.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

House in flux

There is so much done, but so much left to do!