Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday

Paula liked the pumpkin pie. Gabe has not tried it yet. I had some and it's alright, but I have made better pies in the past. I think the pastry was too thick and I may have added too much brown sugar to it. It just wasn't flaky enough. Next time I will add less sugar and I will make sure I roll the pastry very thin before putting it on the dish.

Isabel is watching TV in the living room. Paula is reading in her bedroom. I am not feeling well. I have had a persistent headache since yesterday and my stomach is queasy. So I am taking it easy, reveling in the fact that for the next two weeks there are no deadlines or demands from the office.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baking


I baked a pie last night. I was restless and sad, and I felt an urge to make something concrete with my hands, to show that I can create something that exists in the world outside the computer screen, beyond the spreadsheet.

I had a small pumpkin that I bought around Halloween. I cleaned it and cut it, then baked it. Once it was ready I scooped the flesh off the skin and pureed it in a glass bowl. In another bowl I mixed 1 cup of flour, 1 stick of butter, a pinch of salt and a little brown sugar, enough to give the pastry a sweet taste. After rolling the pastry dough and putting it into a pie dish, I combined two cups of the pumpkin puree with a can of condensed milk and two eggs, and poured the mix onto the dish. Into the oven it went. Once it was ready I let it cool down at room temperature and showed it to my oldest daughter before covering it and sticking in the refrigerator.

I would have eaten a slide of pie already, but I have not been feeling well today. All day I have been afflicted by a splitting headache, and that has made my stomach upset too. When Gabe and Paula come home I will serve them some and try a bite, although there are times when I don't want to try the final product of my cooking efforts for fear it will not taste as good as it tastes in my mind. Last week I made a cream of mushroom soup from scratch for the first time, with butter, onions, chicken broth, heavy whipping cream and wine. I was afraid it would be bad, but it turned out wonderfully. Hopefully the pie will also be a success.

You are a valued member...

This has been a week of disappointment. I feel used, invisible. A victim of politics. Tired. Naive and jaded at the same time. Is such a thing possible?

I will never be as important to anybody else as I am to my family. I should pay them back in kind, yet I am not the best person I can be with them. I am short on patience and long on snark. I am cranky, irascible. I let stress get the best of me when I am with them, or I am always too tired to give much of me. I am not a fun person around them. Yet they love me, while the big blue monster squeezes me dry without care or concern.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Chance of snow

The weather forecast for today says:

Winter Storm Warning in effect from 10 am this morning to 8 PM CST this evening...
Freeze warning in effect from noon today to 9 am CST Saturday...

A chance of snow early in the morning. Rain likely in the morning. Snow in the late morning and afternoon. Snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches. Colder. Highs 42 to 44 this morning with temperatures falling into the upper 30s by noon then steady or slowly falling in the afternoon. North winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent in the morning increasing to near 100 percent in the afternoon.

Yikes! SNOW, f-ing snow! Gabe and the girls are excited, I am dreading it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Signs we live in a house full of nerds

Just now, Gabe said: "our new dishwasher sounds like the Tardis." Not only did Paula (my 11 year-old) and I know what he meant, we emphatically agreed with him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Summer 2003

It was the last days of July 2003. My 5 year-old daughter was spending the summer in Puerto Rico with her father. I was out with the old man on a Friday night, sitting at the bar at PF Chang's, having a drink as we waited for our table.

Out of the blue, the old man laughed and said to me "you are going to leave me in the dust." Those words, uttered seemingly in jest, have stayed with me years after we parted ways, the only salient memory of an otherwise ordinary evening. At the time I thought it was absurd. I wanted him so much I would walk through fire for him. Turns out he was right. He saw our relationship for exactly what it was, a May/December summer fling.

Average Day

It's Tuesday. I am working from home. Next week we will get market share results and it is my job to ensure everybody across my region will have access to the data they need. It sounds easier than it actually is in practice.

The house is still relatively clean, but already there's dust/hair clumps in corners. It's a good thing the cleaning lady is coming tomorrow.

I have not made up my mind yet about whether to keep my blog public or switch it to private.

I try not to comment here about my in-laws and their financial/health/life woes. There are plenty. Unfortunately, they seem to be magnets for chaos, tough breaks, bad decisions and drama. Events in their life are starting to threaten life as we know it and the stability of my household. They may lose their house. They want to know if we can "merge households." I cringe at the thought, honestly. I am stressing out.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Clean house

Hopefully, a year from now I will look upon this week as the time when I reclaimed my house from the mess.

Gabriel had been on my case for months (months!) to hire a maid, someone to come once a week and clean the house for us. I resisted. My house was so incredibly cluttered and messy, and we did not have the time or the energy to tackle the whole thing and getting it fixed without help. Everywhere I looked there was a mess, and I had just given up. I felt like a failure and was ashamed to bring anybody here, and felt I had to clean the house a little before hiring a maid. Gabe thought that was ridiculous, and could not understand my guilt and anxiety over the whole thing. Things were tense.

I finally broke down out of desperation and hired someone recommended by a friend. Now I can't imagine why I did not do it sooner. She worked hard for three days and deep cleaned the whole house. She helped me tame the mountain of laundry, load after load after load. It is not perfect, as there are many things left to do (too many toys and stuff I need to get rid of), but I now have a house that I am not ashamed to let other people enter.

I confess that I am a little cautious about claiming victory. I am careful not to be overjoyed, not to celebrate too much this development. What if it all goes wrong? What if six months from now we are back to where we were last week? To avoid that, we plan on hiring the cleaning lady to come once a week, for as long as we can afford it. For our happiness and well being, I hope it's a long time.

Monday, November 02, 2009

If a tree falls in a forest...

Increasingly I have started questioning the wisdom of keeping this as a public blog. There are certain disclosures that I am no longer feeling so comfortable about sharing openly. It has been quite a long time since I have participated in any writing prompts or memes that require me to share links. I don't feel there's much incentive to keep it public.

Lately, when I have felt the need to get something off my chest, I have hesitated before blogging. The feelings/thoughts I want to unload are of a sort that could get me in trouble at work or invite trolls to heap abuse. The truth is, I no longer see my blog as my safe, quasi-anonymous, below the radar space. I even worry about perverts grabbing family pictures for seedy purposes. Perhaps I am being neurotic now. Perhaps I was way overconfident in the past about the lack of buzz keeping me relatively safe.

Despite my recent neglect, I have a lot of affection for this blog and what it represents. And I would benefit from a place where I can go back to speaking my mind freely when I need it, without worrying about the consequences. Thus, I am seriously considering making my blog private/by invitation only in the future. If you are one of my online or offline friends and you want to keep on reading, please leave a comment or send me a message and I will grant you access when I make the blog private.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

RIP Mercedes Sosa

The amazing Mercedes Sosa passed away today at 74.




Saturday, October 03, 2009

Awesome clip

Pneumonia

That's what my doctor said. I have pneumonia.

This year I have battled bronchitis three times, and now I am battling pneumonia. Will it ever get better? What comes after this?

Today was the Race for the Cure in Houston. I signed up for it, months ago. I missed it. I am not happy about it.

I am achy and jumpy, and I can't stand being confined. Ugh.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday, Oct 2, 2009

Sick again. Hurts to breathe, like I am being stabbed in my right lung. Going to the doctor today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New day

It's a better morning so far. I woke up to copious rain. We needed it. The last few days had been a bit too hot for this time of the year.

My mood is improved too. I am feeling calmer. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I did not have a surge of anger when I was called a liar by my daughter after reminding her that last night I had asked her to wash her hair in the morning.

It's hard parenting a passive-aggressive, argumentative preteen...

Monday, September 21, 2009

A chronicle of self-loathing

Maybe that's what I need to turn this blog into. I probably would post more often, since I have a lot to say in that area.

It's hard, though. While I do not have many readers, this is not an anonymous blog. Old friends, people I work with could easily find it if they wanted to. Perhaps it's better to keep the lid closed on Pandora's box.

Anger

What do I do with all this anger inside me?

It has been said to me that depression is anger turned inward. I am not so sure about that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday morning

It's been a while since I focus on my blog. The last posts have been published on autopilot, just so I would not feel guilty about completely abandoning the thing.

I have an aversion to pontificating, so I avoid commenting on political or current events. I have not been taking much pictures lately. And there's only so much exploration of feelings and moods one person can do. Thus, the quiet.

[...]

My Saturday morning blog writing was just interrupted by Spanish-speaking people brandishing a special booklet from Watch Tower (Por qué usted puede confiar en la Biblia) and intent on recruiting me. Though polite, I was a bit short with them, and they got the message and left promptly.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

This (hormonal) life

This week has flown by quickly. It has been a busy time at work. It has also been weird in terms of my mood. I am anxious, irascible and short on patience. Also, I am not sure when will I start to see the effects of Metformin on my blood sugar levels. So far I have been taking it with dinner, and the only thing that has happened is that my stomach is upset the following morning. Maybe it's the new monitor, but when I measure my glucose levels, they do not look particularly good. Two days ago my fasting blood sugar was 131.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Metformin

This morning I saw my doctor and had my blood sugar tested before and after having food, to complement recent lab results that showed my blood sugar as elevated.

A year ago my doctor prescribed Metformin, and I defied her orders. I decided to prove to her that I could lower my blood sugar with good old diet and exercise. I went to a nutritionist, started exercising and changed the way I ate. It worked, but the behavior modification did not take. It lasted for approximately six to seven months, during which I lost about 35 lbs. and got my blood sugar under control. I felt accomplished too, like I was getting a handle over the chaos. Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon last November, and since then I have lived a sedentary, highly stressful, sweets-laden existence.

Thus, I found myself this morning with tears in my eyes as I drove to my neighborhood pharmacy to pick up the dreaded prescription. This time I don't have the energy to be contrarian. I am all too conscious of my failure to stick to my guns.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Bookmark

The short story I wrote got published yesterday.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Writing

It had been a while, but I just wrote a short story. I mean short, it's only three pages long. It is in Spanish and it is based on the same episode I once covered in this blog post. Like the blog post, it is composed of memory fragments that have been fleshed out and fictionalized. I have submitted the story for publication in an online newspaper in Puerto Rico, and if it gets published I will post the link here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The breatless chronicles, day 205

Well, what do you know? The last couple of days have been great. I have slept well and have not experienced any major issues. I have not been struggling to breathe. There is hope for me yet.

I have been careful not to eat too close to bedtime and not to eat too much at night. I am trying to make breakfast and lunch my biggest meals so I am not too hungry at dinnertime. I am also more mindful of overeating. I am trying to minimize the effects of acid reflux and its effect on my asthma. It seems to be working.

I continue to do breathing treatments, but I need them less. I continue to do the corticosteroid therapy with the nebulizer, but only down to one per day as opposed to two. I have not needed the bronchodilator therapy for two days. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let's just hope it's not a train.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Music and Mood

Often, when I work from home I end up with a tune stuck in my head. Today it is the theme from The Piano, one of my favorite movies.



I had an appointment with the pulmonologist this morning. Since I already have prescriptions for the asthma and the acid reflux, he does not want to rock the boat much. But he prescribed a nasal spray to control the post nasal drip, and he wants me to do a sleep study to detect if I suffer from apnea or not.

I don't like 2009 so far. The first half of my 40th year has sucked badly. I am like a car that starts breaking down once the warranty wears off. I am worn down, tired and a little depressed from so many medical issues this year. I have had several panic attacks related to my struggles to breathe. I worry about being ill and giving an impression of weakness at work during the current economic situation. I find myself working from home more frequently, rather than venture into the office. It is easier to take care of my health if I have my medications and my nebulizer close to me. Plus, what I do can be done just as easily from the home office, and sometimes being home eliminates the distraction of chatty coworkers and unexpected visits, and allows me to focus on my job more fully. But the truth is that lately I am withdrawing more and more from contact with people other than my immediate circle.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dream

It's Monday and it's a holiday in Puerto Rico today. July has several of them. I wish it was a holiday here, so I could get the day off, go lie on a beach and imagine the water is nice and blue.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Highlights of my day

In the morning I had this test done. I hate doing all these kinds of tests. They make me feel old and fragile, and I have to reassure myself that everything going to be alright and it's just a short test.

Then in the afternoon, this came out. And this, and this. Amazing how the same story can be presented in such different terms (judging by the headlines, at least).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Two weeks to go, buddy

For a moment, I thought of changing my name across all platforms (Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, wherever else I'm plugged) to Samantha Bell (as in Sam Bell). It would certainly match my mood.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Outside sources

I guess feeling especially down, anxious and/or desperate in the middle of the week is not such a strange ocurrence, as this blog post from The Awl on suicide rates by day of the week indicates.

Wednesday

Feeling better in terms of my asthma. I am regularly doing the breathing treatments my allergist prescribed. I am also suspecting that heartburn and its effects are the biggest challenge I have.

Not feeling so good in terms of mood. I was in a positive, hopeful mood on Monday. Tuesday was an OK day, spent working from home. The best way to describe my mood this morning is to say I feel as if someone had rubbed a balloon all over me, quite jumpy.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Beautiful Moon

We had a beautiful moon last night. I tried to capture it as best I could.

Moon

I have the moon on my mind a lot lately. Last Friday I watched the movie "Moon" with Sam Rockwell. It was great, an intelligent, thought-provoking, emotionally wrenching sci-fi movie. If it plays in your area, I recommend it.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

One thing leads to another

This:

http://io9.com/5307512/your-smile-will-be-monitored-to-evaluate-quality-of-service

suggests we may be going down a dangerous path that could someday lead to this:



FYI: I did not come up with this by myself. Credit should be due to the commenter on io9 who made the initial connection.

Still ailing

On Thursday I bit the bullet and went back to my allergist, whom I had not seen since 2006. Of course she was not very happy with me disappearing and letting a regular doctor take charge of my allergy/asthma treatment. She ordered me to stop using three of the medications prescribed by the other doctor, and prescribed two others in their place.

One of the meds she instructed me to stop taking is Singulair, a drug for which the FDA has recently issued a new warning related to neuropsychiatric side effects. I got nervous about this, because I have been taking Singulair for a long time and I have always felt that it works. When I mentioned my concerns, my doctor said "well, it's not working now, is it?" How can I argue with that? I am not doing well lately with my asthma. And I have experienced some of the symptoms included in the FDA list.

Except that I now fear without it things could get even worse. I have not exactly been feeling peachy since I saw my allergist. I know the new breathing treatments she prescribed are having effect, in the sense that I feel my chest opening up. But the cough and congestion are not going anywhere, and my chest and throat feel sore. Also, I notice now that my esophagus feels funny.

I had a horrible night last night, waking up several times during the night and having pretty disturbing dreams, one of which starred my husband as a manipulating, cold and evil sociopath. It scared me greatly and brought me to tears.

I am highly emotional today. I woke up Gabe after my nightmare and subjected him to my list of fears for my well being. Others may consider my fears to be irrational or greatly exaggerated. He patiently listened to it all, then made me breakfast.

It is possible that today's outbursts have been a little hormonally-driven, but at this point I have no way of gauging whether they are sensible concerns or out of proportion terrors. Justified or not, these fears for my well being are very real. I can't stop thinking about death. I am terrified of dying and have cried my eyes out today. Teary-eyed even as I sit writing this, I am on the verge of falling apart, and remain convinced that the only thing keeping me from letting go, from relinquishing my reason and giving in to the siren song of hysteria is the thought of my girls.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

someecards.com picks of the day

I hope no more celebrities die in the immediate future so that we don't miss a coup, war, or potential nuclear strike against the U.S.

Let's hope Michael Jackson left his brothers enough money to prevent a reunion tour

Let's show pro-democracy Iranians what they're fighting for by posting videos of our Independence Day binge drinking

Self-concept

If you have to make a list of your good qualities and a list of your flaws, which list is easiest to write? Which one is longest?

Thursday

Death is on my mind a lot lately. Famous people keep dying. Billy Mays, Karl Malden, Alexis Argüello... I am sure I forget more.

I am not used to admitting weakness. In my mind I am invincible. But my health does not seem to be improving, and this exacerbates my sense of mortality and vulnerability. My respiratory system has never been this bad. I have had three bouts of bronchitis so far this year. I sincerely hope I do not catch the flu or all hell will break loose.
I have told Gabriel we may need to consider leaving Houston, that this city is toxic for me. But where to go? What is a good place to live, one where we can both find gainful employment? Wherever we go he needs to pass the bar exam before being able to practice. And I have twelve years of experience in my current company as a middle manager, plus good salary and benefits may not be so easy to replicate in the current economic climate.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Strange Days

It's been a really strange week. Houston is having record temperatures (heat emergency alert issued today). I have not left the house in two days, and since Tuesday I spend my days alternating between asthma treatments, tending to a sick 4 year-old and working remotely from home.

The news outlets reported that Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson have died today. There was some confusion in the media for a while over whether Michael was dead or in a coma, which will no doubt be the starting point of myriad conspiracy theories, another Elvis in the making.

They always die in threes... I found myself wondering who the next one will be. Until I realized I had totally forgotten that Ed McMahon died two days ago. A old college friend replied to my Facebook comment: "Poor Ed, he died like he lived, in the shadow of bigger stars." Very true, poor guy.

I spend some time reading reviews and blog posts about the stupid Transformers movie in Movieline, Gawker, io9 and The Awl. They are good for a chuckle, especially the vitriol coming from the peanut gallery, but after a while the posts and the websites all blur together and I forget where I read what.

The swine flu is still around. Since it did not prove to be the next bubonic plague, the media has moved to more salacious matters. And yet, those of us with asthma and other respiratory diseases still need to be careful. This is the third or fourth bout of bronchitis I have this year, so I am a bit concerned.

I got a jury summons today, for mid-July. I have never served in a jury. I can't get out of it. It says clearly that business reasons are not lawful excuses. So it does not matter that my summons falls smack in the middle of a very busy period at work. I will have to go. And I am interested, I have always wanted to serve in a jury. I know I will be dismissed if it's a capital case, though. I live in Texas and I do not believe in the death penalty, so go figure.

Above all this, the situation in Iran and the North Korean nuke threats loom large.

Inspired by my previous post...


Taking It All Too Hard (2007 Remastered Album Version) - Genesis

Health matters

We have been sick for a few days now, my 4 year-old and I. This has not been a good year for me in terms of respiratory ailments. I have been through at least 3 episodes of bronchitis so far.

More heartbreaking is that my poor Isabel has had to take breathing treatments with albuterol for the first time in her life. She had been coughing for a few days, and the Mucinex was not making it better, but I was quite shocked when the doctor said she was wheezing and needed a treatment. Now she has to do one every four hours for a few days, and take oral steroids too. My poor baby. I asked the doctor if this meant she was asthmatic, and he said "once is an incident, twice it's a trend." So there is no label for now, thankfully. But I will have to watch her closely and learn to tell the symptoms. The doctor also cracked a joke: Welcome to Houston, would you like some air with your smog? Don't I know it well.

Taking Isabel to the doctor was easy. Trying to see my own family doctor was a bust. I like my doctor very much. She is close to me in age, and as a woman I think she has empathy for the things her female patients experience. Plus, she listens to her patients and values their opinions. She had been in practice with another doctor and left to establish her own practice. I followed her and was one of the first batch of patients she saw in her new office. I have seen things evolve as her practice grows, and that is a good thing. But on Tuesday I had a bad experience with one of her employees. I called to say I was sick and ask if it was possible to be seen that day. In the past, when I called I was always able to get in, no matter what time and how long I had to wait.

This time, the lady who answered the phone did not even give me that chance. She put me on hold several times, said they were booked through July 6th, could not care less that I am asthmatic and said I should go to the hospital if I needed attention immediately. I was so offended. WTF? Isn't the whole point of a family doctor that you can come in to see them when you are sick? If I want to be ignored and wait for months to get an appointment, I go to a specialist. Now I need to make plans in advance to catch a cold? And WTF is this about telling me to go to an emergency room? Emergency rooms should be a last recourse for people bleeding, with broken bones, suffering from a heart attack. You know, a real emergency. I am not going to go to an emergency room and pay a high insurance deductible for the kind of ailment that my family doctor should treat.

Before I hung up on the indifferent idiot on the other end of the line, I told her I wanted the doctor to call me. The doctor is usually very good at calling back. She never did, so I guess the idiot never gave her the message. I ended up going to a doctor I have seen before who takes walk-ins. I only go to him when I am pretty sure I know what I have and I want a prescription. Sure enough, he took a listen to my lungs, said it was pretty bad and gave me a prescription for oral steroids.

I am very, very disappointed. Stupid employees can ruin a practice and I am now wondering if I shouldn't switch doctors. I sent my family doctor a letter yesterday, who knows if she'll get to read it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Immigrant Tales

Two days ago I had a meeting with a colleague at work. He is someone I have worked with before, who is moving to a new position where he will have more contact with me during the planning cycle. So he paid me a visit at my cubicle, and we both struggled to fit an extra chair into close quarters so I could explain to him my main duties and show him my menagerie of charts and reports.

My coworker is from India, but has been living in the US for 25 years. He went to high school and college here. He has a son whom he has taken back to India to visit. He asked me where I was from and how long I had been here. I explained to him that, even though I was spared from dealing with INS when I moved here nine years ago on account of being born a US citizen, in reality I was very much a first generation immigrant. He had no problem understanding or accepting that. We talked about English language education in India and Puerto Rico. I told him my oldest daughter spends the summer on the island. He said his son doesn't like going to California to spend time with his aunts. It was a pleasant conversation and I think we both felt a sort of kinship forming.

I have been told by people that since Texas has such large numbers of Hispanics, that I should feel right at home here. How do I explain to them (if they do not get it already) that it is not quite the same, that Latin Americans are not some sort of homogeneous mass, that Mexicans, people from Central America and people from the Caribbean are not interchangeable?

When Gabe and I planned to get married, the wife of one of his friends warned him that I may just be marrying him to get a green card. Naturally I was pissed, not just at the assumption of dishonesty on my part, but at the woman's sheer ignorance about Puerto Rico. I teased Gabe that I was ready to walk down the aisle on our wedding day with my US passport pinned to my dress, so everybody would know my intentions were pure. I was only half joking.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So many outlets, so little to say...

I have this blog. I have a Facebook page. I have a Twitter account. I am mostly silent, preferring to post pictures more than anything else.

Presently, I lack a burning desire to communicate heartfelt memories. I have no scintillating confessions to share with the world, no deep thoughts to regale you with.

There's lot going on in the world, as always. Fraudulent elections and popular protests. Rogue nations threatening nuclear war. Thousands upon thousands of people losing their jobs. All of this is discussed in various digital outlets, bypassing established media constrictions and, in the case of Iran, government censorship. All of that is more interesting than whether I had a bagel or an English muffin for breakfast, and what are my plans for the weekend.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gaviota en Galveston


Gaviota en Galveston, originally uploaded by boricuaintexas.

Gliding


Gliding, originally uploaded by boricuaintexas.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Rusty

There may be an opportunity in the near future for me to write some texts in Spanish on a recurrent basis. This is still very preliminary and I have no idea if it will ever come to fruition, but it has stirred all kinds of conflicting feelings inside me. On one hand, I am excited at the possibility of writing on a regular basis. I seem to be the kind of person who needs prompts and deadlines to get something going. It seems ironic, but boundaries of form, content and time seem to fuel creativity rather than stifle it, provided those boundaries can be trespassed.

On the other hand, I am terrified. It has been quite a long time since I have written regularly in Spanish. At work almost everything is written in English, and when I have written exchanges in Spanish with my Latin America counterparts they are conversational and quite short. What if I start writing in Spanish again and it turns out I suck? After years of working in Corporate America and writing mostly in English, my writing style (if it can be called that) is direct, minimalist and devoid of sophisticated flourishes. This works in a business context and in this blog, but it may handicap me.

Friday, May 29, 2009

In the news today

Government Layoffs

The Government of Puerto Rico has announced layoffs, almost eight thousand people affected in this first round. I wonder what my father, who was an economist and a career government employee, would say about this. Would he agree that it's necessary to fix the deficit?

The fact that the local government is the largest employer on the island is seen as a civic duty by some, a necessary evil by others. Still others deplore the bloated bureaucracy and look up to Corporate America and their methods for inspiration. It seems the Governor belongs to that camp.

It used to be that once you became a government employee you were pretty much set for life (unless you were a political appointtee). There must be a lot of people in shock right now.

I do not know what to make of it. I remember when I lived on the island and made fun of how big and inefficient government was. There seemed to be no incentive for excellence. It's probably true that the government can continue to function with less people. But to see the government is taking its cues from profit-driven entities and cutting people off faster than you can update a spreadsheet, is unpalatable. On an island where a large part of the population lives below the poverty line and where unemployment runs high, at least government employees had a job to go to, rather than collecting welfare.

Are we sure the solution to the deficit is to layoff people? Has Fortuño's government already cut all the superfluous spend they can? (Somehow I doubt it.) Where are these people going to find jobs? Will they be strongly encouraged to pick up and leave the island, just like in the days of Manos a la Obra?

Roadside Caymans

I guess there are worse things than finding yourself on the street with no job. You could find yourself out on the street next to two hungry 200-lb. Caymans.

Public Suicide

A man committed suicide in the city of Caguas by hanging himself from a water tank, visible from a busy exit at Toll Road PR-52. It's the 127th suicide this year on the island.

Suicide is no laughing matter. I can only imagine the desperation, the extreme emotions that drive a person to take his own life. I wonder why he chose to do it in such a public manner.

Vocation

Every time my daughter asks me what exactly is it that I do for a living, I breathe deeply before I answer. What exactly do I do? My job is not exactly as clearly defined as being a cop, a teacher, a fireman or a nurse. What the heck do I do for a living?

I finally came up with a definition that is the best I can think of. I am a provider of information. I provide others with information they need to do their jobs and to assess whether they have been doing a good job. That's a simple as it gets.

I sometimes wish I had a more tangible job, something where the results of my hard labor existed in the physical world as opposed to a Powerpoint presentation or an spreadsheet. Is that a middle age cliché?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

At the Houston Museum of Natural Science

We went to the museum yesterday, including the Butterfly exhibit. Here are some pics.

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Prehistoric Armadillo

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunny sky

Gotta love Texas weather extremes. Looks like we might be able to go to the pool after all.

 
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Rain

There goes my plan to spend a lazy Sunday at the pool...

 
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Singing

You know your part-time telecommuting has gone far too long when you forget you're in your cubicle and start singing out loud while listening to music on your earphones.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Cinco de mayo









It's my sweetie's birthday today.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday

The swine flu scare in Houston grows more as the days go by. I am staying calm, but vigilant. I am fighting a cold, and the last thing I want is to catch something worse.

I am working from home today, and decided to make some rice and beans for lunch. The rice cooker is going at it, steam blowing out the small hole on its top. I am filling a cup of water from the water dispenser on my refrigerator door, absent-mindedly looking at the steam and thinking of my mom. This was her rice cooker, she left it here when she sold her house in Houston. I miss her, I miss being a child and not having to be the one in charge of worrying about pandemics or people losing their jobs. I wish it could be as easy as getting in bed and sleeping it off.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obedient Minds, by Dubious Quip


Quantcast

I found this song through a link on Twitter just a couple of hours ago and it's my new favorite.

Rainy day

There's flooding in certain parts of Houston. We are OK up here, but it certainly has rained plenty. And it does not stop. Rain or not, we still hear chirps outside my window from birds flocking around our feeder.

I will be working from home today. Lots of stuff to do, but my mind is a bit scattered.

To those of you who may read this, how is the weather today in your part of the world? I hope it's better than what we have here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday mood (anticlimactic)

Maybe I need to take a step back and chill out. This is not the right day for feeling blue. It's Friday, the weekend is coming. I should be feeling giddy with anticipation, not tumbling down this rabbit hole.

Today is one of those days that serves as proof of why I should never be a full-time telecommuter. I need people today. I need human interaction other than my immediate family. Unfortunately, Friday is a day that most people work from home, so there will not be that many people on campus. Hopefully I can shake off the tunnel vision and go have lunch with a friend.

Break

There are days when I truly wish I could get a break from my self-loathing tendencies. Why can't I be cocky and deluded like the rest?

Woke up tired

I have not been sleeping well lately.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Out of air

I am convinced breathing problems are a key element behind my weekend freakout. I have been struggling to breathe lately, but I tend to forget how bad it gets. Lately I am severely congested, my chest feels tight and I find myself reaching for the albuterol inhaler several times a day.

This morning I almost had a panic attack in the space of time between dropping my oldest daughter at school and taking my youngest to daycare. My vision blurred, I felt dizzy and had difficulty expanding/contracting my lungs. My head felt stuffed and heavy. At the stop sign outside the elementary school, I lowered my car window and took two puffs from the inhaler. My youngest complained about the window, said it would make her cold. All I could say was: "mommy is having trouble breathing, sweetie, and the window down helps her feel better."

Disrupted mood weekend

Saturday was a very strange day for me.  Something was seriously off with my mood.  It's hard trying to recall it, as most of it feels like a distant memory already.  I remember going to the supermarket quite late, almost at closing time, and losing track of that.  I remember crying while I was there.  I can't recall why I cried.  Something stupid, probably.  Sometimes it takes very little to tip the glass over.

Often, the price I pay for being a highly functioning professional is that I am depleted during the weekend.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Houston

I always have a hard time shooting the Houston skyline. It's difficult to try to snap a picture while you are driving 70 mph on I-45. But Gabe was doing the driving yesterday, so I got to snap some pics.

IMGP3703

IMGP3674

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Lonely amid the chatter

I have this blog. I'm on Facebook. As of last week, I am on Twitter too. Yet I feel more isolated than ever. I have friends I have not spoken to in months, years even. I never invite people over, other than my in-laws. The house is too messy for visitors, and I never have the time or energy to fix that. Maybe I would have more time to get my life in order if I quit all these Internet vicarious living platforms.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

LMAO



Thanks to http://twitter.com/JamiMiami/ for posting the link to this pic.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Boricua in Texas

Once upon a time, a long time ago when I thought I would grow up to be someone important, I wrote a few short stories. Two of them got published in a book in the mid nineties. My claim to fame is that one of those stories was picked up to be used on a school text book back home. Not that I got much from it, really. A check for $300 about 4 years ago, I think.

Anyway, around the time that my stories were first published, someone tried to interview me. I can't remember who it was or in what context. Those years of my life are kind of a blur. All I remember is someone asked me a question about my voice and whom I represent. And I said I am not speaking for anybody but myself, a middle class female Puerto Rican of a certain age group and educational background. I would never presume that my voice or my writing is all-encompassing and representative of all Puerto Ricans. I can only write/speak from my circumstance. I can only write as Ingrid and for Ingrid, even when I am writing about the world beyond the tip of my nose.

I recall that interview often, when I think about my blog. Lots of people find their way into my blog by looking for the word "boricua" on the web. Some of them are searching for boricuas in Texas. I often wonder if these visitors are disappointed with what they find. I am not keeping a shrine to all things boricua. I am not selling tchotkes with coquíes or Puerto Rican flags in them. I am not usually talking about the latest celebrity scandal on the island. I am neither idolizing, nor am I bashing Americans. And I deliberately choose not to write about partisan politics. In short, I am very much a boricua female (and damn proud of it), but I may not be what they expect.

I do often allude to my native Puerto Rico and some of the cultural aspects that I miss the most. But overall, this blog is very personal in its scope. I write about my life, about what catches my fancy. I write about my family and the trials and triumphs that we go through. Mostly, I use the blog to chart the evolution of my mood, as someone who is prone to depression. However, lately I have been a bit reticent to open up online. Some things just need to be kept offline.

I hate this weekend

With the exception of Paula's talent show, this weekend has been an absolute failure.

New blog banner

I needed a pick-me-up this morning, so I just updated my blog banner. What do you think?

Suburban morning


Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yucky weather, 3:10 PM

Thursday afternoon staff meeting



Home office from hell



Who can get any work done on this? Ésta que está aquí.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Need more of this to function properly

Hump Day indeed.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday

Not much to say lately. Today it will be a week since we came back from Puerto Rico. Amidst the mess, stress and clutter of my life in Houston, the trip is already starting to feel like a distant memory. I try to keep the memory close by calling my parents and fiddling with my pictures on flickr. Here are a couple of nice ones.

Sunset at Culebra

Soni Beach

Monday, March 16, 2009

Home

After spending nine days in sunny Puerto Rico, with its warm weather, green mountains, blue skies and gorgeous beaches, coming back to a cold and rainy Houston yesterday was a bit of a letdown.

Houston has other things to offer, but the truth is it is not a pretty place in terms of natural beauty. I miss that about the island. I also miss my family. More than anything, I miss being on vacation. It was much too short, and I am not ready to get back to work this morning.

An elderly man in our flight got ill and required medical assistance. For a brief moment, I wished I was him. Then I felt bad about it.

Parque de las Palomas

Paula went to the Parque de las Palomas with her father, who took this picture.

 
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Thursday, March 12, 2009