My Year’s End post.

It is that time of the year again, when our home smells of Maple for weeks -due to the dozen or so batches of Blondies I bake-, when red, silver and gold ornaments fill the house, when the kids are (mostly) in a great mood because of Winter School break, when I start thinking of gifts, gifts and then some more gifts even though the previous Christmas I promised myself to spend less this time of year.


A time when I reflect on these last 12 months, when I slow down a little bit at a time, as if the countdown to the Years’ End is supposed to mark a final moment of meditation. A moment to STOP and think. To freeze time and peek into the highs and lows of the year.

Did I accomplish my goals, or even remembered my resolutions?  Did I surprise myself by exceeding them? Will I remember this year when I am 70? Or 80 if God allows me so many years?

It is not December 31st yet, but today, December 30th, I have mixed feelings: pride, disappointment, happiness, and absolute sadness and sorrow too. Melancholy and regret, and a feeling of total bliss too.

This year, my children grew more than a year’s worth intellectually and in terms of maturity too. They figured out more about themselves than they think. They learned how babies are made, they understood more about home economics than most kids their age. My son completed a difficult school year in June after having one of the hardest, toughest teachers I have met.  Some weeks after school was over, while chatting about this Military-style teacher and his “suffering”, he said to me:  ”Mom, he was very strict, but our group is better than the rest of the 4th graders because he was so hard on us, so let’s not criticize him”.  So my son learned, to see the good in the bad…and I with him. I just hope he extends this sentiment to other day to day life experiences. He learned about Dinosaurs more than I can describe in this blog, because of I don’t have the right words and concepts; Actually, I can’t even pronounce most the names. He learned empathy and patience, and the most important one for me: he learned to be affectionate, to not be afraid of showing his feelings. To hug and let himself be hugged and kissed.

My daughter experienced the loss of a best friend that moved to Texas. The loneliness, the challenge of “fitting in” again and finding a new group of friends. It is easier said than done at 9, so she made me real proud as she tried hard these first months of the school year –today has good new friends. She overcame her fear of the stove! She now makes her quesadillas all by herself, and has been a wonderful helper when I bake. She transferred her Math concepts of Fractions, into the kitchen by using measuring cups and it all makes more sense to her now.


She learned more gymnastics skills by watching You Tube videos than in 3 years taking lessons. She earned a spot in a competitive dance team, and even though the competitions will not take place for another 3 months, she has learned to work hard, to dance her heart out when it is not all fun and games, to live up to the expectations of her teacher. She might learn what it feels to loose next year, or to win. Both will teach her a life lesson in 2016.

She has watched her body change, just enough so to make her proud and a bit embarrassed at the same time.

My husband went through one of the toughest years at work, for several reasons. And with it, I learned some of what many wives go through, emotionally supporting super stressed out husbands that work many long, long hours, bringing the work to the home, and often sleep deprivation due to the work load too. Fortunately this did not last more than some months (or so it seemed to me). I learned to be content in his absence, even if all I wanted was to be with him, watching one of those Science Fiction movies he likes and I find funny.

I learned that I am capable of learning brand new concepts and skills at work that I thought were too complex for me. That I can still create and keep an organized mind with more processes to supervise. That I can make new friends and make them feel welcome in my home soon after.

I learned that my children have more to teach me than I thought. The first weekend of December, I found myself overwhelmed one Saturday afternoon, with a mental list of a dozen things to do, while I yearned for a nap and a quiet afternoon with my kids.  My son noticed my absent mindedness and asked what was in my head, when I explained my inner thoughts to him, he said to me in total seriousness “Mom, don’t worry about doing it all. Choose one or two things that really need to be done today, and leave the rest for tomorrow. Don’t stress out.”  Such a simple concept, yet invisible (or forgettable) sometimes to any busy mom/housekeeper/wife.

My daughter taught me some cool Hip Hop moves because she realized that she has surpassed my Hip Hop knowledge and experience (by far), so I taught her some Tap steps as a good trade off. So we both learned new moves, and we danced together many afternoons in our kitchen, while pancakes cooked, while blondies baked, while eggs boiled…or after dinner just for fun.

I started the year attending a whole weekend workshop about Co-Dependency. I learned much about addiction; about an addict’s challenges and difficulties. About how our childhood carries so much weight in our adult life. About forgiving and letting go. About taking ownership over our actions, and also about self-awareness and good will to take corrective measures.

Even though the year did not go as planned for several of my loved ones in the matters of addiction and co-dependency , I want to believe that the workshop we all took part on, taught us how to live as emotionally healthy as possible- NO MATTER WHAT.

I can say it did help me, more than I ever thought it would. I learned many things about why I behave like I do with my husband and children (mostly bad habits of course), and why it is important to take action and improve my quality of life and hence, theirs.

Sometimes it is very hard, sometimes it hurts, but in the end, I have seen positive outcome which makes it worth the effort, the time and the painful self-analysis.

One of my resolutions for 2015 was to read more Non-Fiction books. And I did.  My favorite one so far is called Super Brain.

I could fill many pages with my favorite quotes by the highly acclaimed Physician Deepak Choprah, a prominent alternative-medicine advocate.

This is one of those books that you read and along the chapters you think of many friends and relatives that could get so much out of it.  My sister was sold on it as soon as I told her about it, she now owns a paper copy and is loving it too.

In a nutshell, is describes all that our brain encompasses, all that it is responsible for, and yet, it states repeatedly throughout the book that we should never let our brain be “the boss”. It is a part of our body that we control. It explains the difference between mind and brain, and how the latter should always be subordinate to the first.

It gives much useful and relevant information about the research done that proves how there is energy and bodily reactions to this energy between one human and another, without physical contact.  It touches upon religion, forgiveness, emotional well-being, about the importance of exercising our brain just like we exercise the body.

Nutrition as a key in mental health also plays an important part of this book. And throughout its chapters, it mentions the importance of Meditation, which is mostly forgotten or ignored in this fast paced lifestyle of the Western Culture. By the way, is one of my 2016 resolutions: learn to meditate and practice it… frequently.

This year, I also learned that despite my doctor’s efforts to encourage a healthier lifestyle by lowering my sugar intake and exercising more, I lack will power to make a change and have found myself very slow to react to a sugar level that leaves a lot to desire. Every time I find myself eating chocolate, (or a cookie, brownie, blondie, cake, etc.) I think of addiction; I think of a body that screams for more, a bottomless pit, and mostly, I think about one of the people I love most in this world and his struggle to stay sober.

Having said this, I have to include in my resolutions a healthier lifestyle. I can’t give up on a resolution that was not resolved.

During 2015, together as a family, we did our annual Camping Trip with friends, and we did several hiking trips that reminded us of the beauty that nature  has to offer. This time with no wires or electricity seems priceless.

Hiking @ Mount Palomar Park
Hiking @ Mount Palomar Park
Meadow at Mt. Palomar Park
Meadow at Palomar Mountains State Park


San JuanTrails Ortega Hwy, east of Lake Elsinore
San JuanTrails
Ortega Hwy, east of Lake Elsinore

This year, was worse than 2014 (I think) in terms of World Peace. The situation in North East Africa as well as in Libya and its surrounding countries was horrendous. It was painful to watch the news (nothing new there). The number of refugees fleeing their countries to northern Europe was in the millions. Germany (due to their decrease in population of young people) has taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees from many countries, hoping to strengthen their workforce, improve their skills and hence, their economy.

Many other European countries took refugees as well, that came on flimsy life boats, crossing dangerous waters from North Africa to Italy, Greece and Turkey. Thousand have died in the attempt, and will keep dying as the migration continues.

Terrorist attacks jumped from suicide bombers killing a dozen or two, to skillfully planned attacks in largely populated areas and venues in Paris, killing over 100 innocent people that were enjoying a meal at a restaurant or music at a concert hall.  In this regard, the year culminated with a terrorist attack in US soil, just 100 miles from where we live. A random shooting by two Isis Supporters killing just over a dozen people (San Bernardino shooting).

I lost count of the number of massive shootings in the U.S. , most of them at schools. Equally, the number of victims (most of them black) who died due to abuse (excessive use of force) from law enforcement employees, was alarming.

Added to my resolutions: stay away from the news shows and try to keep my kids away to. All they have done this year is cause (more) anxiety.

A piece of news I heard on the radio that made me smile: on August 2015, Saudi Arabia allowed women to vote, for the first time in history. The news, which truly made me feel happy for all the women that fight for their rights (actively or in secret), was overshadowed by the next pieces of information on the news show:  thousands of women who had registered to vote, did not make it to the voting posts. Why? Because women are not allowed to drive. Also, they can only participate in Municipal elections.

The header of my blog states that my views here are expressed “as a Mom, woman, daughter and sometimes an extraterrestrial”.

Here I put on my E.T. hat and look down from space at these human beings, living Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and many other African countries and wonder. How can it be that women are not worthy to talk, to attend school, to show their faces (where burkas and other head scarfs are mandatory), to travel and see the world. To have a say in the political arena!

I makes me real mad, even as an ET…  It almost seems like the efforts of a country like Saudi Arabia are just for show, to be relieved of some pressure from the fighters and their advocates.

One step at a time, I guess. I hope my children live to see real change for all those oppressed women.

My son and I read the children’s version of the life of Malala Yousafzai. I believe it is important for our kids to know what other children face when it comes to education.

To end my entry on a happy note, I can say that 2015 is a year that I will remember very dearly, not only because of what I already wrote here, but because my husband and I set the wheels in motion to start our dream come true: building our home.

After months of dealing with the bank, filling out and signing our lives away on endless forms and carefully choosing a contractor, the ground was finally broken this summer.

We personally chopped down trees, chipped them into mulch and cleared as much as we could to give way to the tractor. With the help of some good friends and our kids, it was all done.

I have a separate link on this blog to report on the progress via photos, but I can say I have enjoyed very much every store and website  I visited to see dozens and dozens of tiles, appliances, hardware, paint, fixtures and many more things. Link to House Progress Images here.

I know 2016 will bring some stress and challenges to complete our house, but I will gladly take on anything that comes. I have the BEST teammate. He has entrusted me with many choices and has given all the freedom to pick and choose what I like to make our home beautiful. Can’t ask for more (actually I could: the lottery to pay off the loan!)


I will end my entry thanking all of those who listened to me vent when I went through a rough patch, who helped me with my kids so I could keep my work commitments or just to have a night out with my husband, thank you to all those who still call instead of text, -just to say hello-who like me, enjoy a face to face conversation, much more than any email or whatssap string of words.

I wish all my readers a wonderful and memorable 2016.  Thank you for taking the time to read, for commenting and for passing it on to your friends.

2016, here I come!

The Irony of the Hello Kitty Belt.

Often times I agonize and dwell over the fact that my kids are growing up so fast, too fast. I look deep into their eyes, and for a brief moment I see them as babies holding up their milk bottle while looking back into my eyes; as toddlers inquisitive and curious , their eyes asking questions about the fast paced and loud world  around them.  Then, seconds later, I zoom out of my precious memories and see them today, freckles around their noses, smelling of dirt, sweaty foreheads, big teeth, too big for their little faces.

I am proud to say I have enjoyed each and every moment with them,  growing up, growing smarter, defining those very clear personalities they each have.  Despite the fact that I have never stopped working out of the home, I can say I have been there- so far- every step of the way. That even though I have a ridiculous number of photos in my laptop , with triple online backup, I also have them imprinted in my mind.

But is it also true, I DO want to slow down time, or freeze a moment every now and then, because I know tougher times are coming: Middle School, and before we know it, High School and all that follows-all in a breeze.

My daughter – age 9 now- has been developing all too fast, a sense of sensuality, along with the dreaded Hollywood prototypes with its empty and vain concepts of beauty and female perfection. Who do I blame,? None other than media: music videos, commercials, unnecessarily explicit ads, and sadly, movies. Even animated ones, yes.  This past summer, she came down the stairs one morning ready to go to school – or so she thought- wearing  a T-Shirt that was tied on one side with a hair band, making it look like it was knotted, resulting in an exposed mid-reef. I stared at the whole outfit for a few seconds, debating, struggling on how to approach this situation, which was  not the first one, and most definitely wouldn’t be the last.

How to you tell a 9 year old that exposing her body like that is not acceptable, when she is not yet fully aware of what dirty looks are, about the image she portrays as a girl, about respecting her body. It’s a tough one, at least for me, to make her lose a bit of her innocence and naivety because of how our world is these days, because there are registered predators within blocks of our house, because of the sick and disturbed human nature of some.

Looking at her tiny waist, her half exposed belly (she has a 6-pack already due to her gymnastics!), I observed that she was wearing a Hello Kitty belt, hot pink, metallic, with a Hello Kitty Head as a buckle. Of course!  She is only 9.

I half smiled to myself, and had a little chat with her about appropriate dress code, not only for school, but for her age. Confused a bit, she agreed to take the fake knot off and told me some girls wore T-Shirts like that. She never really understood what age had to do with it.

After this one event, both my husband and I have sent her back to her room  at least half a dozen times to change. One has to stick to it and be consistent, so that is what we are trying to do. However, the “control” somewhat ends there.  Once they are out of the house, other issues come into play that are more of a challenge to have a grip on.

Last week, we all went for an easy hike, together, as a family. These outdoor activities  have turned out to be some the best to spend quality time moments with our kids. There are no phones, no videogames, no dancing and jumping and tumbling. No Noise. Just us, walking, climbing, having a small picnic or snack, talking. Every now and then, we split in pairs for a while. Walking only with 10 yr old son, he asked me how he could get his “crush” to like him. Again, I paused, thought and many, many things came to mind. The very first one:  HOW AWESOME that he is asking me this, not a friend, not even his Dad ( he has always had the girls talks with me).  Next I wondered, isn’t it too soon? But I immediately recalled my first crush, I was probably younger than him. So, to soon? No. Then, a question to myself was: how do I give him advice on being likable to a girl, while at the same time discourage him from thinking too much about girls?

Concluding that I could not control his thoughts anymore that I can control my need for Dark Chocolate, I took his question with an open heart and a smile and so started the chat about girls.

Because I have tried to participate in as many school activities as my job allows me to, I happen to know not only his “crush”, but this adorable girl’s Mom too. Just briefly, during a field trip to one of California’s Missions, I met them both. So I can understand why my son has been secretly admiring this girl for over a year. A year? Yes. My son told me he looked up on the internet how to make a girl like you, and the advice he found was “Let time do its work”. But he said “Mom, I have given time a whole year and nothing happened, so it is time I do something . This is how I found out his crush is that old. I was glad the advice he found was all good and clean. God knows he could have found the worst and nastiest advice at the tap of his fingers.

Later, than same day, my daughter , still 9, made a confession too. She was so uncomfortable and embarrassed, she waited until bedtime to talk. The precious time when I tuck her in, lay with her, in her tiny twin size bed (with my butt and one leg hanging off the edge at times),  with lights off to start winding down we chat about the day, about life, about my childhood, about her grandparents, then pray, then I leave. So she chose this moment to tell me that some boys she has been hanging out with at recess, were having inappropriate conversations with her: it had been going on for days and she felt so dirty and guilty so couldn’t hold it in any longer. She provided me with details which made my head numb, she talked and I listed but my mind was going in slow motion, I couldn’t fathom  the whole scene, the conversations that 9 or 10 year old boys were having. What is going on with people? Should I have seen this coming this soon?

Thankfully, over the last weeks of summer, my husband and I already talked to both kids about sex: from  the reproductive system, how it all happens, how babies come to this world, briefly touching upon sexual relations. The focus was more on body changes and how babies are made. It was all very science-focused, a lot of drawings on our kitchen whiteboard (yes, next to the shopping list was a drawing of the female uterus and the menstruation  sequence).

Despite my efforts to use mating and animals and keep it all serious, my kids and I ended up laughing hard because my drawing skills are TERRIBLE to put it lightly, so the penis and scrotum outlines fell into the humorous category. Oh well, some humor actually helped break the nervousness and embarrassment.

Because of this talk (and common sense), my daughter knew that the conversations these boys were trying to have with her, were out of line. I was -again- grateful she came to me and got it off her chest. Her heart was racing the whole time we chatted. After telling her several times she was not  in trouble, she calmed down and went to sleep.

Me ? I was in bed, wide awake, thinking about the day’s events. My son had a 1 year old crush and wanted to be likeable. My daughter was told she is sexy and a boy wants to “do it” with her. Age came to mind. I felt 60 years old that night.  A scary vision of High School came to mind, driving, alcohol, partying, drugs and all the chaos that usually comes with those years.

To top it off, that same afternoon my husband made a ship for the kids to play with, using leftover cardboard from a huge box we had in the garage. The illusion of them playing with it quickly dissipated. Apparently (I wasn’t there) they both went back to their games after briefly acknowledging it.

These are the subtle signs that come bite you (‘cuz it hurts) of how they are growing up fast, and they are no longer our “babies”.

Tired of looking at the soft blue glowing light from my night stand clock, I left my room at 1:30 am directly to where I now sit. I furiously typed an email to the school principal, detailing as much as possible. I (kindly) demanded she talked not only to the boys but to their parents as well.  Only after that, I slept.

I am currently reading a book about a Helicopter mom, (mom’s that hover over their kids and take away their breathing space). I don’t believe I have ever been intrusive or overprotective, otherwise I wouldn’t have the honor of being my kids listening ear and soundboard when they are angry at the world.

However it doesn’t hurt to read about other moms’ mistakes (according to the author, that is why she wrote this novel about helicopter moms). While I promise myself to give them space, freedom of choice, and support when they need us parents there, I also intend to keep being involved -as much as they allow me- in their lives. Being there, is the difference sometimes between  a happy child and a depressed child; between self confidence and feelings of inferiority; between feeling ignored and feeling loved and needed. 

Like the cliche says: Time flies.  So, let’s fly with it instead of watching it pass us by.

Here we go…My very first post

After too many years of listening to my thoughts, seriously, just like a movie, hearing my inner voice forming opinions and making all sorts of comments about the people around me, the places I see, the fragrances and sights that my senses capture, the sad look in the eyes of  a total stranger – I could not take it any more, just like an itch I couldn’t scratch.

My head has been spinning wildly for years, with the urgency to put these thoughts on paper, in a word file, on my phone’s notepad (which I yet have to learn to use). After some encouragement from life long friends and relatives I decided to start my own blog today. Knowing that I truly love writing, I have high hopes for it to be my outlet for so many loud thoughts that need an escape. Even though my goal is not particularly to have many readers, it would be nice to know that I am leaving something behind, a footprint on this webpage, a testimony of my experiences that could make others laugh, smile, think and maybe, sometimes cry.

I promised myself to put my most honest thoughts and beliefs on these pages- even if it means making a few enemies along the way- but hopefully not many. Names will be (mostly) avoided, as I am aware that people’s lives are private.

I will start my blog writing about parenthood. Not wanting to feel guilty about venting like a hysterical mom, I will say this with no hesitation: I absolutely adore my 2 children. They love me like no one in this planet does and make me feel the most beautiful person (inside and out) on the face of the earth.

Moving on to the real day to day struggles:  why didn’t anyone (specially my mom) warn me about the tremendously huge job it is to be a parent? The overwhelming exhaustion , endless worry, the daily test in patience and tolerance, the sudden change in role from being a woman, to being a nurse, psychiatrist, crafts teacher, mathematician, dictionary, lullaby singer, cook, cleaning lady, chauffeur  to name a few? I want to believe that no one warns us because all those that became moms before us  -in their own experience- forgot about the tough first years of motherhood, and more importantly, because the many good things that came out of their own children’s hearts outweighed all the headaches, backaches, the tears and the broken hearts.  (I don’t know about you but my son -only 9 now- has broken my heart and made me cry more than once). Maybe no warning came because to watch their children grow up, be strong, be independent and form beautiful families themselves, has made them proud. Tired and wrinkly , but proud. And probably, in the eyes of their grown children, they still are the most beautiful woman in the world.

The truth is, as a working mom, with no one really to call a housekeeper (but myself and the invaluable help of my dear husband), I finish my days more tired and grumpy -on the verge of bitterness- more often that I want to admit. The kids have been “parked” on a stage of constant fighting, arguing and picking at each other, that seems to have no end. I have read advice on the web, I talked to a therapist, I have counted to a million, nothing really works, so every day I try to sit it out, and wait, and wait , and wait. (I am actually still waiting).

Sometimes I go to the store, and as I am standing in line at the checkout, I see an older mom with teenagers, boy and girl, like us, and see them doing exactly the same. What the heck??? Wasn’t this suppose to be  a stage? It looks to me like an endless race called WHO CAN DRIVE MOM CRAZY FASTER!

A friend told me once some siblings just don’t like each other, period. They are incompatible  in different aspects of their personalities, they rub each other the wrong way.  So it might not be a stage. In a way, this could be true. We don’t exactly choose our family (other than our spouse- thank goodness for that). So… to not like your brother, sister, cousin, etc should be absolutely acceptable, right?  So why is it so painful to see siblings -specially your own kids- not get along, not admire and respect each other, love each other?  Is wanting this harmony a learned pattern? An expected accomplishment? Could be. My siblings and I have always been very close. My parents instilled love and respect among us (parents and siblings both) almost as  a survival skill.   I am determined not to loose hope, but boy,  am I tired.

I am trying hard to be an optimistic about this whole motherhood thing when I am in a crisis with them. So I hang on to dear and memorable moments I have shared with them, like when my son, at age 4, asked if he could marry me.

Both my son and daughter, on separate occasions, have asked me “Mom, why is it that when kids feel sad or sick, all they want is their mom?”

So many ways to answer that one. This question brings back endless memories of the delicious warm smell of my own mother, specially in the mornings when I used to snuggle with her in bed, stealing from my fathers side. There is absolutely nothing in this world than can compare to the warm body and scent of a mother. For those of us that are still fortunate enough to have them in our lives….HUG AND KISS YOUR MOMS!  They all need our love, even more so when we grow up and leave the home.  For those of you who don’t, I strongly believe that the loving memories of your mothers about simple moments you shared with them, can do wonders when you dedicate quality time to reminisce and relive them. I do if often when I miss my grandma and I find myself smiling big.

Here I end my first entry. I hope there are many to come, and more often than I was feeding my starving dying diary (every 6 months or so).