Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fun Is Fun

Man, am I smart. First, I put myself on this unprocessed food regiment, and whoa, I'm feeling super fly, in mood and just general, all-around flyness. Secondly, I elbowed my way into having some fun last weekend and that was a wise, wise decision. Thanks to Husband too for his surprise attack of romanticism and caretaking. Believe me, he got all kinds of hook ups for that stunt. I dug up and dusted off and packed a fire red corset that I haven't worn in years. I thought about bringing a fun adult accessory for laughs, but the thought of getting my bag searched at the airport sorta mortified me. I feel fly, not invincible. One time my friend and her girlfriend went to Hawaii with a toy . . .let's just say it was double headed and rhythms with big-ass bildo. On the way back home, when the bag went through the scanner, the customs people started a murmur that had to do with sugar cane. "Excuse ma'am, you know it's illegal to bring sugar cane back from Hawaii? We'll need to search your bag." They were like, "UHH, IT'S NOT SUGAR CANE, BELIEVE US." After another careful look in the scanner, they sent them on their way with winks and giggles.

Husband's tennis team is so fun, and each of them pulled me aside and said they were so glad I was there, and everything was so much more fun because I was there. Yah! They were pumped to have a great time on Saturday night too even though they had to be back on the courts at 7:30 the next morning to, you know, play in the nationals like they had worked so hard for.

We hung out in a suite, had some drinks, laughed a lot, then took our party to the streets. A big mixed martial arts fight was happening that night so we all counted the number of TapOut and Affliction tshirts adorned with elaborate crosses in iron-on foil. There were too many to count. We tried to guess the circumference of men's necks. But I told everyone to keep it down, because these dudes were strutting the casinos high on testosterone. I was worried that seeing the professional fight would inspire a hair-trigger rage. "We are non-violent people!" I told the tennis crew. They nodded and whispered. While waiting for our dinner rezzies at Nobu, a yummy, fancy "asian-fusion" restaurant, I played blackjack for 20 minutes and won $100!

Here's Papi and me, waiting to eat. Couple things: Isn't my hair shiny!? Dudes, I know what Mina's talking about now. When you get a great picture of yourself, you gotta tell somebody. I don't know if I really look like this, but I'll take it! Also, when I get dressed up and wear anything that remotely pushes up my boobs, they look humongous. Seriously, they didn't look this big in the mirror when I dressed. I look at the pictures of the night and I'm like, goddamn in an embarrassed sort of way. It's a little much, if you ask me -- you might already know about my cleavage shyness -- but it was Vegas so boobs away.Rochelle, Page and I waiting for dinner, still sober. Then we got to drinking sake, and it was all good. Page took this unscripted photo of Papi, which came out unintentionally and hilariously coy, as you can see.Then Page made us all pose for our modeling head shot. Here's her most excellent portrait.Here's Ron's, the team's oldest player. 25 years ago, he was the face of the Valentino print ads. No lie. He wishes he hadn't told us that because we brought it up a thousand times.Here's mine with my boobs pelted with edamame. Since I never really show them off in my real life, they couldn't stop talking about them either, or throwing things at them. Here we are up in the club. By this point, Husband left to go sleep for the next day's match because he's sensible like that. We carried on for him.The drunker Clint got, the more his face looked like a chipmunk.How YOU doin'? Time to go home, it looks like. What about tennis you may ask. Our team went to Vegas representing Southern California in 10.0 mixed doubles. This is one level below players just getting off the tour or college players that hold the one or two spot at a divsion one school. Our team is good and this level of play is exciting and competitive. One of the women on our team -- but not in our party crew -- is from France and went four rounds at Wimbleton in her day. She won the Italian Open in singles for god's sake! Page was a top player at Stanford. She's no joke and is one of the best on our team. The best part about mixed doubles is that if you haven't played a team before, you can't guess who the weaker of the two players are. It's stupid to assume the woman is weaker because then a ball is roaring back in your ass after a weak shot is hit to her. Most every woman on the other team on Sunday morning was the power house player. They were treeing off monster forehands and picking off volleys at their shoeslaces in miraculous plays. It was fun to watch Page and her female opponent try to out muscle each other. Husband and his partner won easily, but our other two teams lost in final set tiebreaker/hearbreakers. Here are some tennis pic's.

Husband and Clint waiting for first round matches on Saturday morning, before I came out.
Husband warming up on Saturday. He's hot.Papi serving it up on Sunday. More hotness.
After his win. Yay, team! Anyway, though the food changes have been monumental, the fun prescription was really just as important. Because fun is fun, y'all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Whined My Way To Vegas and Use Skills for Good, Y'all

I told you that my husband has gone to Mexico for work three times in the past three weeks. Well, now this weekend just happens to be when his tennis team was scheduled to go to Las Vegas because they made it to nationals. So he was leaving, again, and while I was excited and proud that he made nationals, I was having a hard time suppressing bitterness. I was tired of holding it all down, plus work has taken such a serious upswing that I can hardly see straight. Not to mention that I was jealous that he was going to Vegas to yuck it while I'd be holding it down, again. So, being the mature and understanding and loving partner that I am, I text him, in short, "What am I? The help?" I mentioned other things that translated to me feeling like the frumpy caretaker while he jet sets, which is hardly the cast, but you know, hyperbole is my friend. Whatever. So, I crossed my arms in a HHMPF and waited for his text to tell me to chill or to say, sorry, out of my control, Mami, but he text, "Look under your mouse pad." And under the my mouse pad there was some cash and a note that read, "Please come to Vegas tomorrow. I miss you! I love you!"

Ok, so I felt a little stupid and ridiculous, but those feelings certainly didn't trump my feeling of Yipppeeeee! I'm gonna have some fun! And I need some grown up fun right now. A sister needs balance, y'know? Balance seems so fleeting though, but still, the entire weight of my world eased up off me the second I knew I had some spontaneous fun coming up. I leave this afternoon. Yippeee!

Mina and I had some fun last weekend. I took her and her BFF to see the junior division of the LA Derby Dolls and I gotta say it was the best time I've had in a long time. I had been a fan of roller derby as a kid in the 70's, when Skinny Minnie Miller was a star and the games were scripted like the WWF. Women's roller derby has made a big surge in the last couple years and now it's treated like a true sport where points are scored legitimately. The camp factor aside, these women are athletes and I got oddly teary-eyed when the intro music was blaring and the skaters were rolling around the rink in a warm-up pack, crouched and bouncing. Man, any kind of empowerment chokes me up every time. The skater's names were hilarious: Anya Handsanneez. Cherrylicious. O. Hellno. Eat-It Piaf. If it was raunchy or violent, it was incorporated into a name. Of course I spent most of the game coming up with my own name when I become a derby star. Here it is: Celia Cruzinforabrusin. Best name ever, right? Don't lie. I shouldn't have posted this! Don't steal it! Anyway, Mina and I were screaming at the skaters by the end, and she was begging me to join the little girl league, which starts at age 8. I'm seriously thinking about letting her do it, but dang if that's not one more thing on our plates. We got this terrible picture of her and her favorite skater, Slammin Amazon from the Hells Belles.
Speaking of Mina, I had her parent-teacher conference this week. I got good and bad news. The good news is that she's doing pretty well in school! She's learning how to juggle more and more balls and all in all, she's doing well. Tests scores are average, but again I got a comment regarding her thought process. Like, she was the only kid that mentioned the overall message of the book in their big book report project; she didn't just summarize facts. I do influence her to think like that, but she still processed it and put it in her report by herself. When making her auto biographical poster, she was one of three kids only, when asked what they'd do with a million dollars, who said they'd be charitable with it. She said she'd give half to the schools and spend the other half traveling the world, helping kids. Gulp. So proud. So, the bad news? Mina decided to get in a good amount of trouble on the playground the day before my conference. Demerits and all, which demerits really don't mean shit compared to the trouble from me when I heard the news. Mina is drawn to a particular girl who is doing poorly in school, but has the sharp, mean wit of a 30 year old. Who doesn't love that type? She's hilarious, but I told Mina that if this girl influenced her in a negative way, it would be lights out on the friendship. They had been doing well. We had even taught the friend a few manners when she was up at our house; she seemed new to those. But last week the friend decided during lunch that she didn't want another girl to be on the handball court and she instructed Mina to throw a ball at the girl to drive her off. There are not many kids in school, girl or boy, who can hit a kid with a ball on command, but Mina can. Her arm is laser-like in precision and impact. So Mina does it and the friend then demands that Mina throw it again, but harder. The victim tries to duck and hits her head on the handball court while doing so. The teacher told me she knew that this is not Mina's nature and that when Mina got caught, she welled up immediately, but still my jaw dropped a little and all I heard for the rest of our meeting was: My child has used her powers for evil, not good. She was a follower-pawn of evil. That and, ooo I'm gonna whoop her tiny ass when we get home.

I'm not one to get mad about many things. The girls can push me around to a certain extent as long as they're not nasty about it. As long as their school work is their priority and they are kind-hearted, good people, I pretty much lay down for anything. If they're slipping in grades or school work, that can be worked out, y'know? But when I hear that they have shown signs of maliciousness and bullying, that unglues me. That upsets me to no end. Fuck some algebra if you can't be a kind and decent person or can't have a mind of their own. If they use a great athletic talent to hurt and scare someone, that's when they see a mami they don't ever want to see. I don't get ragey. That's not my style, but I did spank her, which I haven't done in a long time, and honestly this upsets me enough to make me teary so when I gave her the big-picture, universal talk about thinking for herself, not being a robot and most importantly being a kind person, I was on the verge of crying, and that cut in her like a sniper bullet. Choked up, I told her that she was a great person, that I knew that like no one else did, "So, be great," I told her. She cried and we hugged hard for a while and that was that. She was back to being great. Oh and she can't hang with that friend anymore, which is a bummer because the girl was growing on me.

Here's her 5th grade school picture. When she gave it to me she said, "Aren't I BEAU-ti-ful?" She was beaming over the picture. I said, "You certainly are." She said, "My hair is so shiny and perfect, dang." Man, I laughed. I said, "You have a beautiful smile, Mina." She said, "DON'T I?" I said, "And I dig that necklace you picked out." She said, "I KNOW!" To say that these girls have extra helpings in the confidence department is the understatement of the year.
Here's Maya showing her confidence before her first, high school Homecoming dance!Now, give me a goofy dance move for good measure.
Now, work it out with AW. Off to Vegas, y'all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm Back. Pretty Sure of It.

I'm feeling pretty good. Thank you all for your fantastic comments and support. I felt the love. Thank you.

For seven days, I've eaten only fresh, whole foods; food not processed, purer food like fruits and veggies, obviously, plain brown rice, plain potatoes, raw nuts, plain beans. It's been about 60-70% raw. The only processed items I've eaten has been soy creamer and coffee, a cup in the morning. Breakfast has been dick-like fruit with raw nut butters and berries. Lunch has been huge salads with the homemade flaxoil dressing and beans. Dinner has been more raw veggies, some steamed plain veggies, brown rice. Fresh fruit for dessert, which I've never been able to say with a straight face because fruit as dessert has always seemed like a fantasy standard that I've never been interested in adhering to -- until now. I'm not fucking around.

If this were about my weight, I would have blown this off on day one. I woulda had a fair amount of real desserts by now. But dudes, I felt so badly the last 2-3 weeks. I don't want to feel that way again. Every-day stress and a super busy life aside, I feel that food is the the culprit as well as the cure to a great many things. Just like my friend's mom thinks that teatree oil is the cure for everything. Or that movie where Windex was the fix all? Whole food is that for me. When the girls feel badly, I run through this list: What did you eat at school? Have you eaten a fruit or vegetable? Why not? Have you had enough water? Did you sleep well last night? Within these questions, I think I can solve anything. Sprained ankle? Ice it and drink some tea. Heartache? Sleep. Tired? Water and more fruits and vegetables.

The majority of the time, I eat whole and healthy. But now I'm traipsing through purer territory where I believe most everything is too processed. The quality of packaged foods is so poor, but I can't say that I haven't mindlessly eaten vegan shit food. I go through periods where I don't realize how much, like recently.

People I know, but don't know very well, have anointed me their food parole officer some how. When they find out that I'm vegan and that I strive to be a healthy vegan, they like to blurt out what they eat or haven't eaten or how little cheese they consume a day, like I'm reporting back to Vegan Headquarters. I feel badly when they do this because this obviously isn't about me. Maybe it's a justification/defensiveness to decisions they feel might not be so good for them. Or maybe they think that I'm judging every morsel they consume when usually I'm the one that gets the tone and looks like, Great, she thinks she's all better than me with her fucking salad. I gotta say, it's strange. If I'm with a group at dinner, someone around me will tell me why they've ordered what they did or "I never usually eat like this," when I'm thinking, I don't give a shit. The thing is, I don't want to make anybody feel badly for whatever stage they're at with their food awareness or for any choices they make, period. If I positively influence someone, cool. If someone thinks I'm an uppity so-n-so, well, damn, that sucks, but fuck it. The dangerous territory is when I'm asked advice, which I'm hesitant to give. Unless I know the person really well, my advice is very general. One of Husband's friends asked me recently what kind of program he should go on to lose weight? This guy lives a bachelor life, fast food, drinking, not as active as he used to be. I told him to maybe go through the drive thru less and eat more fruits and vegetables. Maybe? Then I flinched for the resentment, but he was cool.

I really don't want to eat the majority of food that's out there in the market or in restaurants. I've felt that way for a long time and my body and psyche are wanting that more now too. But I feel that with this more limited way of eating, I'm taking another step towards being a bigger pain in the ass socially. Ultimately I will do what feels best, but I kinda think, ah man, nobody pay attention to me when I order or don't eat so much.

Seriously though, I'm not fucking around. I can only think about how I felt, and that's such driving motivation. I'm so serious, in fact, that I'm trying to coin a clever word for what I'm becoming. Wholefoodegan? That's lame,right? Help me. Freshian? Wholer? I feel better every day that I'm a simpletarian. I take little slides in my mood here and there, but I understand the detox process. I also understand the mourning process of mindless eating. I'm aware of the comfort in that, and the rebellion. All these things I'm trying to mourn properly. Wish me well in my more radical, pain in the ass step.

* * *

So, Husband had to leave again tonight for Mexico. They told him midday today. He just got home Friday. I'm taking it in stride. He is too. Where TeaCake at? Get the bed warm, buddy.

My sister in law is getting married in late January. In Puerto Rico! We were all so excited when we first heard, but as the weeks have rolled on, the financial burden of a trip for four weighed us down, squeezed out all the fun. I prepared my mind to not go, but last week, Husband got a bonus for working so hard. Out of the blue! And it was about exactly what the trip would cost. Things divine have the most impeccable timing. Thanks so much, Universe! And Papi.

I'm going to Puer-to Ri-co. I'm going to Puer-to Ri-co. In honor, here's a little video for you that plucks at the blood strings of every boricua no matter how faint or faded or mixed. "Hijos de liberdad!" Where Poundpapi at? I need an amen. I don't care what anybody says about Marc Anthony. I love him, and this song gets me every time. Nothing beats singing it at Madison Square Garden either. At 3:12, choked up, by 4:00, full waterworks. If you think this is cheesy, keep it to yo'self!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bringing the Upswing

I can't seem to shake this blasé dissatisfaction. I'm stuck in the in-between of a near upswing and tumbling way down. Something deadened my heart a little, y'all, and ooo I'm trying to shake it out, off, away.

Complaining upsets me. Because my life is a series of choices, right, and I've made all of these choices to be where I am now. And I'm sifting through my choices, thinking where the change needs to come and I like and am grateful for most of it, and I'm frustrated by only a part of it. So, who am I to complain, y'know. Then I settle back into the in-between.

Well, I just cried on the phone to Husband. He's in Mexico, again, for work. This is the second trip in two weeks. Actually we texted. I cried while texting. Don't judge. I express myself better when writing and I’d be close to mortification if I were to complain verbally; I'll gladly, toxically swallow it all away rather than say it out loud. But not when I'm justifiably angry though, or when clear boundaries are crossed or when it comes to the kids -- but this personal, unknown space of beat down and tired and robot-ness and random, unwarranted feelings of failure. These things I can't say out loud. Don't make me. I don't want to. Let me text them.

Husband and I don't often have emotional heart to hearts, just when absolutely needed, which is fine with me. I’m not sentimental in that sense; I want it parceled organically, in extreme moments. This way the talks feel magnified and hugely meaningful. We soften and are all-attentive, all-important, kind, melting. He stops the world for me, and tells me bottom-of-the-soul stuff. I rarely need that, but today I did.

And I feel better. Because the basics make me feel better; a base of love, cherishedness. Back to Maven's vows -- and it really is the base of a rock-solid relationship -- championing each other. He said, to my money worries, "Rich or poor, I don't give a shit. I just need you. We've been piss poor before. I just need you." So, that's the basics. That's all I need. Nothing else matters.

I will say that when I was younger, I wouldn't have allowed myself to feel dissatisfied. Not that that's healthy or better. I do feel that I'm way more in touch with myself, which brings awareness to the good and bad within. I allow that now. I realize this is progression. But, I think back on my young hardness to any bullshit emotions (I believed) and I realize that this is just the way it is for the downtrodden, the ones who have to really pound it out to survive. When I had real stress about a beater car or no car or the rent and gas money or food money, I felt I had no right to complain about a job or two jobs, or how long it took to get there or the hours I put in . That would have jinxed it all for sure. Just hustle and make that rent, and hope it gets better. It was a servant mentality. I asked nothing from my bosses, just tap danced as hard as I could, and hoped for the best. I'd get choked up at good reviews, when given a raise. The trabajadores of the world feel no sense of entitlement. We just hustle. And my life is far from that now. I shop at health food stores most of the time for fuck's sake. I have a buttery apartment in the greatest city, so what with 2 bedrooms and crumbling kitchen cabinets. I have lazy-ass, spoiled dogs! And really, my young self would be embarrassed. I mean, she'd be happy that all that she put in led to my life now, but she would be embarrassed that anything makes me feel failed in any way or sense. I'm sorry, young self. You did so stellarly with your half of life with hardly anything.

God, my husband made me feel better. And my tattoo makes me feel better. And my girls make me feel better no matter how much time they demand. And my cat, TeaCake, when he sleeps in my absent husband's spot on the bed at night, that makes me feel better. And my new favorite breakfast, pictured below makes me feel better. I have to admit that though I felt kinda low for a couple weeks prior, the Halloween baking/testing and pie eating really pushed my head under water more. It must be tiresome to read about my sugar darkness yet again (though they get farther apart), but to be honest, it didn’t occur to me (yet again) until a couple days ago. I have sugar amnesia. Or after the low feelings fade, I convince myself that I’ve hype up the sugar blues more than they are. But god no, I really don’t. Eating it is impossible. Anyway, after kicking myself again, it’s back to the food basics too. Starting with:And this picture makes me laugh.
And this song by Los Tijuana Five makes me feel better (posted by Lisa on her FB)

And you guys make me feel better. Thank you.