Thursday, November 29, 2007

With this Gun, I shall proceed to shoot my foot

And for my next act-






Our landlord owns a bunch of houses on my street. That’s why all my neighbors are my friends. We recommended each other to her, and now we have a nice little community of houses together. There is one house though, that is not part of our original circle of church friends. The green house next to mine, is the home of a young, newly wed couple who happen to be directly related to our landlord. It’s the landlord’s son, and his cute little wife.

A few days ago, this young couple broke some wonderful news to my husband and I. They are expecting their first child. Isaac and I were thrilled. The more friends with babies, the better. On the following day, our landlord came by to pick up her rent money.

“Congratulations!” I said, slapping her lightly on the shoulder (why did I slap her on the shoulder?! I don’t even do that with her!)

“I just found out,” I said, as she stared at me blankly

“Youre gonna have a grandbaby, huh?” I continued.

“Shes pregnant, isn’t she?” The landlord said as her eyes squinted and her lips tightened. She didn’t look at all pleased.

“um,”

“I knew it.” She said, trying to conceal her anger.

I quickly paid my rent and avoided any further conversation. She seemed in a hurry to go visit her son. Now I’m avoiding my neighbors every time I see them. How do I ALWAYS get myself into these situations?


Hey there, Mr. stranger. Would you care to look at my unmentionables?





It was thanksgiving day and I was going to help my mother in law cook supper. Having a toddler obliges me to multitask, so I lugged my dirty laundry with me. I was going to wash it in her house as I cooked.

Driving over there, I noticed that my gas tank was on empty. It’s a good thing that there is a gas station on the way. I drove up and told the attendant to put two hundred pesos in the tank (its just twenty bucks, don’t freak). Here in mexico, getting gas is full service only. You don’t pump your own like you do in the states. While the gas is pumping, the attendant usually wipes all your windows down.

This guy wiped all my windows in great detail. I paid no attention. I gave him my money and drove off. As I pulled up to my mom-in-law’s house, I blushed angrily at myself. Laying on top of the laundry basket were four or five bra’s of mine. Yes, they were sprawled all over the place for the gas attendant’s enjoyment.


The Bunny from hell





My brother in law, Micah (the whole blog is about inlaws, isn’t it?) lives in San Antonio, but was coming to visit for thanksgiving. He loves my daughter, and always makes special time to come visit her. This time, he was carrying a rabbit in his arms.

“I brought a gift for Katy!” He bursted proudly.

I laughed nervously. Surely this was a joke. I only just got rid of all my pets.

“Im serious!” he insisted “its for Katy. Hes a nice little bunny. This is as big as he will get.” Micah said as he released the creature unto my floor.

A million thoughts raced through my head. Where would I keep him? Would he tear up my furniture? Would he bite Katy? How could I potty train him? Did his poop have protein? Micah kissed Katy goodbye and went on out.

I stared at the rabbit.

He stared at me.

Oh well, I would figure out what to do later. For now, It was Katy’s naptime. I put her in bed, and locked the rabbit in the bathroom. He made a growling noise. It seemed strange. Rabbits don’t have vocal cords.

From that moment on, no one was allowed in the bathroom. The rabbit decided that it was his habitat, and that it must be defended fiercely. As soon as anyone opened the door, the rabbit darted at the “intruder” with growling fury and bit deep into their skin.

He was diabolical.

The next morning, I went to the bathroom to get my hair dryer. I left it on the floor. Cracking the door open, I noticed that the dryer had been peed on. I was slowly creeping in when the beast began to growl and peel its teeth. Just as soon as I reached for my hair dryer, the demon leaped at me and bit my hand with great rage. I screamed in horror. This half pound monster had me cowering in the corner of my own bathroom. I immediately called Micah to pick him up and take him away.

“Exterminator!” he joked as he knocked on my door.

I showed him where the rabbit was and let him in. I heard a lot of rustling, and an occasional yelp. After a few minutes Micah came out with the rabbit tucked in his arm. There was a look of bewilderment in his eyes. He carried the spawn from hell out. I don’t know what became of him, nor do I care.


Yes, people of blogland. These things really do happen. But usually to me, so just relax.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's Going to be OK

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” people say and it’s true. I’ve spent way too much time worrying about things that won’t even matter later the same day. Thanksgiving, for instance, I spent panicked and worried. I worried that the turkey would taste bad, that the food would not be ready in time, that there would be too many people to feed or that I would disappoint a crowd with my amateur thanksgiving menu. If only I would have known that I would receive a standing ovation and tears of joy from the Mexicans who felt honored to be included in our American holiday. Then, I would have lightened up and enjoyed the whole preparation process.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, yeah. Many times I wish that I wouldn’t worry about the big stuff either. This morning I was thinking about all those times in my life that I cried and despaired imagining that a present situation was hopeless. I thought it would be nice to travel in time and encourage my younger self.



I would travel to see the ten-year-old Michelle, who struggled to learn English as a second language. She would lock herself in the room and cry, feeling ashamed for being “stupid” around the other American kids. I wish I could dry up her tears and tell her that one day she would grow up to be a writer, English teacher and even the official voice of an English learning software.

I would visit a lonely, insecure and self-critical Jr. Higher and tell her that one day she would have her own radio and television show. I would tell her about how she would write for more than a dozen newspapers. How she would head up a publicity team with more than twenty people. That people would ask for her to speak at public events because she could make a crowd listen and laugh as they learned. I would tell her that she would have more friends than she could ever count, and that there would be people willing to give their lives for her at the drop of a hat.





Then, I would meet an aimless, wondering teenager who kept dating the wrong kind of man. I would tell that her husband would be worth the wait. That he would be tall and handsome. That he would be kind and tender. That he would share her same mixed cultural background. That he would be a smart, generous, and committed man of God who would take her across the globe and show her the wonders that she always dreamed of.





I would talk to a worried college student and tell her that it would all work out. That she would eventually turn into a professional video editor and graphic designer. That many companies would request her work. That she would lead many production teams, even in Europe. I would encourage her to dream, and not be afraid.





Lastly, I would travel to meet a grieving mother who was told that her child would be severely mentally handicapped. I would reassure that despairing Michelle and tell her that in a few months, the worst would be over. She would hear about how her baby’s seizures would inexplicably vanish. That a year later, she would watch her two-year-old shout in glee as she took her first steps. I would tell her that it would all be OK.





That’s just what makes life so special. There is no time travel and we have to enjoy life as it comes to us, without the worries. If I had known what I know now, I’d have skipped the entire journey. I would have never become who I am, and missed out on all that beautiful perspective. I would have nothing to share, teach or write. My life would yield no fruit for others to enjoy. I can only rest assured in one thing, my life is in God’s hands- everything is going to be OK.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ah, the good ol' days of male chauvenism

I was washing dishes when I got an epiphany.  I always get those when I'm in the kitchen, so I spend quite a deal of time there.  Mostly, eating.


I was randomly thinking about the transitions that Disney animation has had, and I realized that the original production team must have been formed entirely out of  sexist pigs. 


 Dont get me wrong, I looooove the original Disney cartoons.  You probably do to.  That's cuz theyre good at suckering us in.  Yes, we the ususpecting, sensitive women, who dont realize that these movies have a manipluative intent-


1). Snow white



the maid of cleanliness.  She is allowed to have refuge from a murderous witch as long as she cooks and cleans for seven little men.


2).  Cinderella



It doesnt get more self explanatory than the picture.  You may argue that she was cleaning for her stepmother and stepsisters who were also women, and you would be right.  Except that you would have missed the subliminal message that has already deposited into your head- she looks and sounds her best as long as she is cleaning.  Oh, and dont forget that key scene.  The one where the mice are making a dress for cinderella. 


"I'll cut with these scissors!
And I can do the sewing!
Leave the sewing to the women (?!)
You go get some trimmin'
And we'll make a lovely dress for
Cinderelly"



3). Peter Pan



Mrs. Darling.  Her sole function is to tend to the husband who orders her to FIND HIS CUFFLINGS!  And dont forget the famous scene where Wendy must stitch Peter Pan's shadow as he tells her that "girls talk too much."


4). Sleeping Beauty.



Doom  by spindle (what's with the sewing obsession?!)


I could go on, but I think youre starting to get the picture.  The one where all a woman could aspire for was to be RESCUED by a handsome prince, then taken to his castle so she can tend to the household duties while looking beautiful. 


Women of today, may we applaud the new heroes of the face of disney-





You go, girls! Set us free!


...now, if we can get a short and chubby princess who doesnt wear makeup, Ill feel even better about myself.


 


Thursday, November 15, 2007

feeling quite accomplished today

I flambeed!!! I actually FLAMBEEEEEED!!!!




I tried it many times and always failed. I just couldnt light my bananas on fire. The first time I hesitated out of fear and the alcohol evaporated. The other three or four, i just couldnt do it. Finally I decided to go take a class on YOUTUBE.

I typed "bananas flambee" and this guy actually showed the tecnique. You simply pour the alcohol on the fried bananas (I used bourbon) and you immediately move the pan so that the side of it touches the flame on the stove. The heat makes it ignite, and its really impressive.




It was so delicious. The bananas caramelized and I topped them with honey, cinnamon and brown sugar. Yeah, I know your drooling. Sux to be you.

Rocks to be me.

Please tell me you've done this too





I loaded the car with stroller, diaper bag, purse, toy box, water bottle and pacifiers. Then, I got the baby and buckled her in. I locked my front door. and my gate. I went to the car and looked for the keys...

I looked for the keys...

the keys...

THERE WERE NO KEYS! I had left them in the house. They were hanging neatly next to the door, where I always keep them. Somehow, an agel from heaven (called maria luisa who is my father in law's secretary) got a locksmith to come to my house late in the evening.

After half an hour of waitong we were back inside. Man! I felt like a dweeb. Please tell me Im not the only one who has done this.


a most priced possesion





Today, Katy fell down and she was really emotional about it. I gave her a hug, and for some reason, this seemed to mean the world to her. I always hug her when she gets hurt, I dont know what made her appreciate it so much today.

When I put her down, she crawled away, but when she was half way down the room, the little rugrat returned to me. She stood up and reached up to me. When I picked her up, she hugged me tightly and rested her chubby cheek on my shoulder. My little girl hummed a little song on my shoulder and then her chubby face propped up right in front of mine. She pulled out the pacifier from her mouth and popped it into mine as she gave me a kiss.

I melted.

Her pacifier. Her most priced possession. She wanted me to have it. There was nothing greater she could give, she gave me all she had. Its moments like those that make a woman feel fullfilled. No job, no friend, no award, no carreer could compete with my baby's pacifier. I felt like the queen of the world. And for that brief moment, I was.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Have the Power!

I am the Master of my Fridge



Ive been roaming around my house, doing pretty much nothing. Thats because Katy is wanting to walk and explore, but she needs ME to do it with her. She doesnt walk by herself yet, but she walks if I hold her little hands.

That's pretty much all we do.

Walk around the house, open a pantry. Walk around the house, bang on a door. Walk around the house, ring the doorbell. Walk around the house, push the buttons on the phone. Walk around the house, open the fridge.

YIKES!

That sucker needed to be cleaned out. It was starting to look like a science project. And it looked like such an undoable task. Well, I did it. Yup. Hold your applause. I did it this moring and I feel totally empowered.





Why I have no friends



I live on a street filled with people from my church. We are all young couples who live literally next door to each other. Back in the day, we used to be swell pals. But all of that has changed over the past few years. I was the first one of the circle to become pregnant. After that, everything changed.



I could no longer live the carefree, do what you feel sort of life. While my friends were busy planning their get togethers I was trying to decide what to do with my four free minutes. Shower? Eat? Laundry? Toilet?

Last night, one of those young couples came over to visit my other neighboors. They brought a cake so they could enjoy it over coffee as they sat on the brand new couch.



Meanwhile, deep in my heart, I laugh at their feeble attempts for being responsible adults. sitting around drinking coffee and eating cake till they get bored...

HA!

Fortunately, another neighboor of mine has recently had a baby of her own. After two long years of displacement, I finally have someone who understands the value of little luxuries- like cleaning, eating and sleeping. She came over last night and we watched a movie "mom style." She breastfed and I peeled garlics. *sigh* momhood...

Bumpin' some tunes to the beat of itsy bitsy spider



Baby einstein music has become a regular part of my day. So much that I can sing and hum every tune. This baby music has become a "must," especially in the car. Why? Because

+ =

I have actually been spotted nodding my head to the beat and even clapping at stop lights. You know you're a mom when you know the entire lyrics to the "Dora the Explorer" (say "swiper don't swipe me!" if you know what Im talking about).

Katy loves the "Disney House of the Mouse" cartoons because of the "hot dog" song at the end. I actually found it on youtube and discovered that the video has been viewed well over a million times. It sounds impressive, but I bet you that its the same 50 kids, who like Katy, watch the song on permanent loop.

But, let me not keep the joy all to myself. Lets all dance together!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I wanna be a chef!

I wanna be a chef



I've always had a thing for cooking. I like to eat and I'm creative. Its a match waiting to happen. Whenever I go out to a restaurant and eat something I like, I try to imitate the dish back at home. I'm weird like that. Recently, Ive been watching this show on Discovery Home and health



Im actually waiting for it to start in half an hour


Curtis.

He's the guy that started it all. He's got this show where he cooks in people's houses and teaches them techniques and principles of cooking. Well, I dig it. I've learned about what flavors go well together and have expanded my cooking horizons. The other day, I made a delicious Mexican Hot Cocoa with a hint of red chili pepper. It was fantastic. For tonight's dinner I had portabello mushrooms marinaded in garlic and herb butter, topped with a cactus dish and covered in melted asadero cheese. It tasted like crap, but the point is- Im trying new stuff. Failing is actually learning, and tonight's crap on a plate will be tomorrow's delectable sucess.

There's also this reality show where chef's live together and have a series of cooking challenges over a given period of time. In each episode, one chef has to pack up his (her) knives and go home, until the reigning champion stands alone.



Here's where it gets creepy.

I stayed up past one in the morning watching the show, absolutely mesmerized. I learned that "Flambe" means pouring wine on food and lighting it on fire. I also learned that red wine wont light up. I learned that this technique is not only good for banana's but shrimp as well.

(I cant wait to try it)

My church gives an international leadership course where students come and live with us for three months (bare with me, this will make sense in a second). All the students live in big houses. Girls with girls and guys with guys. I compare it to the big brother set up.

Well, when I finally went to bed I had a very exciting dream. I dreamed that our students were the contender's for TOP CHEF and that they were all living in my house. I was floored. It was the most exciting thing. Do you remember being a teenager and Idolizing a star to the point where you obsessed? This was me, except with chefs. I dreamed that I was sitting at the table with one of the girls. We were just chatting when she suddenly broke out-

"Im hungry, you want a snack?"

"Sure!" I eagerly replied

"How 'bout some banana's flambe?" She asked

"OOH! Yeah, baby!" I jumped "can I watch?"

"let's go," said my valuable new friend.

She placed a silver pot on the stove and got some bananas out. Then, she walked to my pantry to select the perfect spices, sauces and seasonings. I couldnt wait to see what she would pick. I could only see her back as she fumbled through my stuff.

That's when I woke up.

GRRR!!!


So, there you have it. One more display of my never ending weird obsessions. Oh! I gotta go! TAKE HOME CHEF is on.