May this be the best month of summer thus far. Here’s to a wonderful August!
You hear me August?
May this be the best month of summer thus far. Here’s to a wonderful August!
You hear me August?
Cosas que sólo me pasan a mí y bueno, también al pato Donald. Hace unas semanas atrás iba caminando al lago, a hacer un poco de ejercicio, y me garró la luz roja del semáforo. Mientras esperaba a que cambiara la luz, en la esquina de Sheridan y Touhy, se me acercó un señor. Al principio pensé que estaba parado esperando a que cambiara la luz, igual que yo, pero luego me dijo algo. Yo, como de costumbre, iba enchufada, escuchando música, y no lo escuché. Tuve que quitarme los audífonos, para poder escuchar lo que decía. El señor me mira y dice:
“You know, if you get your tubes tied, you won’t have to pay for birth control anymore.”
Yo le veo, e inmeditamente pienso, este debe estar mal de la cabeza, no puede ser que una persona en sus cabales sea tan imprudente… y le respondo:
“I don’t have any children and I won’t have any children because I cannot have them. I don’t take birth control and I don’t plan on getting my tubes tied, not that it is any of your business anyway.”
El señor inmediatamente se empieza a disculpar, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Yo le digo, “It’s ok.” Cambia la luz del semáforo y yo continúo trotando, pensado “Pedazo de loco imprudente! Esto me pasa sólo a mí y al Pato Donald!
It’s been a month since Tata’s passing. They are holding a mass for her in Miami later tonight. I’m here, in Chicago, so I can’t go. Plus, I teach tonight, so I’ll be in class while the mass is going on. More often that I would care for, these past years, it’s been abruptly brought to my attention the constraints work has on personal lives. Especially when work is located so far away from family.
Living abroad, living away, being separated from those dearest and loved seems to transfer into reorganizing priorities in a way in which the urgent tends to take precedence over the truly important. I’ve had to think about this often these past two years, first when my mom was ill, and I was able to fly to Miami and be there with my parents, but then had to fly back because I had work responsibilities and classes to teach, while she was still hospitalized.
Now with Tata’s passing, this has become once again evident to me. I was too far to just grab a plane be there for the funeral and then back in time to teach my weekly classes. It simply wasn’t possible, timewise, to be in both places at the same time. It also didn’t seem possible to be both physically present here and fully engrossed in the emotions that would be palpable there. I said before Tata’s death hadn’t hit me yet, and I think more than not haven hit me, I didn’t let it hit me. The timing was not right.
I am a very calm, cool, collected type of personal, some would say rational. I am in touch with my emotions and don’t think I come across as a callous, uncaring, insensitive person, which I know I am not, but I can often be more rational than emotional. Perhaps not more practical or functional than form or aesthetically driven, but I am definitely more of a thinker, an intellectual if you will, than driven uncontrollably by emotions and feelings. I’m not very impulsive. I prefer to think things through and make decisions when I am calm, as to not regret any action. Although, I can feel emotions like sadness, happiness, and angry as fully as the next person, I can probably control them and keep them in check better than your average Joe.
But today, it’s been a month since Tata passed away and the sadness is more palpable, less controllable, a little more real. I miss her. I miss living close to her. I miss visiting her, talking to her, learning from her. She would say “you learn something new every day”, and she was right. I was always and still am, on the lookout for what I could learn today. I know she is in a better place. I just wish I could visit her now and then, as I used to when I was back home.
May tends to be a busy month for me. We are smack in the middle of the Spring quarter and there is a lot to do before even beginning to see the light at the end of the academic year tunnel. But it also means that June is right around the corner and that means summer break is upon us. I am literally counting the weeks until summer break. This has been a quite difficult academic year. I don’t mean to be cryptic, but when the time comes, I’ll share why. Anyway, the sun is shining today and the temperature is getting warmer, that means more strolls around the neighborhood and long walks alongside the lake. There is something to be said for being out in the sun, collecting vitamin D. The endorphins surely activate themselves and we begin feeling happy even if we don’t want to. I miss the carefree feeling of summer as a child, perhaps this summer I’ll recover a bit it. I know I am very much looking forward to it. For now, though, Happy May, let’s enjoy it as it comes.
I’ve been listening to S-Town this past week. It’s a podcast I discovered through a recommendation made by a YourTuber I occasionally watch. It’s a production of This American Life and Serial, which I was hooked on in 2015.
In one of the last episodes, there are seven of them, one of the secondary characters makes reference to herself as not as bad of a person as others may be perceiving her to be, based on her recent actions. It got me thinking, in how our definitions of ourselves can be so ingrained, that we can’t understand that sometimes not only can we waiver, but also, that being good does not preclude us from occasionally doing wrong. It also, seemed interesting to me the internal struggle of being a Christian, and being called to be good, and how that superposes itself with doing what we believe to be right, which might necessitate doing wrong to others, sometimes a specific person.
Another character, I think in the same episode (chapter 6, I believe), asks the reporter what he thinks of him, in a way that is looking for approval, or perhaps trying to gauge how others perceive him, in order to better define himself. He doesn’t want to be a bad person, I think he doesn’t believe he is, but by asking this it seems as though he needs reassurance through the perception others might have of himself. Maybe even more than a corroboration, but allowing for a glimpse of possibility, that his own perception of himself might be mistaken.
As I navigate the tribulations of this academic year, I find myself remembering the words a colleague shared with me recently, “Don’t let idiots define you”. I tell this to myself everytime I feel I’m losing north, or I’m wavering in the absolute confidence that I am who I believe and know myself to be. But what if those trying to define you are not idiots? What if they are people whom you respect and have even admired at points? Do you let them define you? Do you take their opinions of yourself to heart? Do you revise your definition of yourself to include their offerings? Or do we take a John B. McLemore approach to life and just say “this glass is neither half empty, nor half full, this glass is full of piss”?
Happy New Year! I wanted to post this earlier but time has gotten away from me these past couple weeks. 2016 ended with a boom for me, and even though I usually have time over the Winter break in December to blog and catch up here in this space, this year things were a bit different.
I flew to Miami on the 13th, with Max, to spend three weeks with the Pelos and the rest of the fam. The first week was really good, I got to rest, exercise, spend time with my parents, Nick and then Liz and Sophie, who arrived a few days later. But on the 19th, the day Tata turned 89, she fell and was taken to the hospital. The paramedics were called because she had fallen and they thought she might have broken something. What they found had happened was that she had had a stroke, a hemorrhagic cardiovascular accident (un ACV hemorrágico).
As you can imagine this was all very stressful and emotional for all of us, because we are far away, but especially for my mom because she has been wanting to go home and visit her mother for quite some time now. She has not been able to because of issues with her passport, and the overall difficulties of going back to Venezuela. But quickly after hearing the whole situation, I looked for tickets and booked my parents a flight for the next day.
Los Pelos were in Caracas from the 20th to the 30th and got a chance to not only see Tata and be with her a bit, but also help out and offer support to all the aunts and uncles there. Tata was released from the hospital on the 28th, so los Pelos were able to see her home before they came back.
Currently, Tata is home with a nurse 24/7 by her side, and my uncle Emilio, who lives with her supervising everything. Everyone has pitched in, in one way or another. It really takes a village, and in this case, the village has poured all resources into helping make sure Tata is ok and slowly recovers.
This whole ordeal has been tough. Each of us has dealt with it in her/his own personal way. Some are depressed, some are a bit paralyzed and others like me, are a bit numb. There was one-day sadness really hit me while in Miami, and I felt I just wanted to be in bed all day and do nothing. I was clearly sad. I had been holding it off for too long. Christmas was rough. Not only different because it felt really strange to be at los Pelos’ house without them and celebrating Christmas, doing secret Santa, crackers, pernil, hallacas and pan de jamón, without them. But the whole atmosphere was off.
We had the traditional Christmas dinner, we wanted the kids to have a “normal” Christmas, and I think we accomplished it. I cooked the pernil my mom always makes, following her recipe. Liz made pan de jamón, and brought hallacas she had made in NY. Cas made blinis and Swedish meatballs, traditions from his Swedish family. And we even had the British crackers and Cas’ potatoes al gratin. Sophie set up the Nativity set and we did our secret Santa bit. So it was Christmas as usual, but it was the worst Christmas I have ever had. I was on edge, and didn’t really enjoy it as I usually do.
2016 was a rough year in looking back. My mom got sick and almost died back in February. And then my grandmother gets sick and almost dies in December. Work related issues in the Fall, of which I’m really not going to talk about here, also put a big damper on the final quarter for me. My dad got diagnosed with diabetes, and I with perimenopause. And then to top it all off Trump wins the presidential election. It was one of the worse years I have had in all the 44 I have been alive. So I was not really sad to see it go. I suddenly got it, I now understand what people mean when they say they are eagerly wishing specific years to end.
I’m hoping 2017 will be a better year. In fact, I know it will be, because it already has begun much better than how 2016 ended. Although I still have this bit of lingering sadness, that I think won’t truly go away for some time. Tata is recovering, but let’s face it, she’s 89 and is not getting any younger. So it’s just a matter of time, and I’m here, far away, and it’s hard.
I don’t want to wrap this up on a negative, sad note. If you know me, you know that I always bounce back. I am a warrior, it runs in my family, and I never give up no matter how hard it gets. So there’s always that. There were good things about 2016, and if we want to see the glass half-full, in 2016 my dad got his BioFeedback certification, Mike got two new jobs, which have been great for him, Nick started college at Carnegie Mellon University, and the freaking Cubbies won the World Series!
So here’s hoping that in 2017 we can continue to count our lucky stars and the balance at the end is more positive than negative. I truly hope your Christmas and New Years were good, and if they weren’t, there’s always another year, and hopefully 2017 will be a good one, once again.
I’ve been extremely busy these past few weeks, so I am very glad to be able to stop a bit tomorrow and take stock of all the things and people I have in my life. I’ve been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to have family, friends and colleagues that support me in ways that consistently surpass my expectations. For them, for you, I am beyond grateful.
I want to take a minute here to say, thank you. A true, deeply felt, and sincere thank you! I would not be where I am or who I have become as a person, without you. Thank you!
I hope as we celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow (in the US), you all also have many things and peopl to be thankful for. Keep safe, keep happy, and keep full. And as I frequently tell my niece and nephew: be good, be kind, be awesome.
This post is for all my girlfriends, to all the ladies out there that I know and care about, young and old. It doesn’t really matter what age you are, if you are a female, this post is for you. From me to you, because I care about you.
I am 43 years old, and as of last Fall, give or take, I started having menopause symptoms. First it was just inconsistent periods, but then all the other stuff started to hit. The diagnosis was confirmed by a blood test prescribed by my gyno, which resulted in high estrogen and low progesterone levels, which are indicative of Peri-Menopause.
The symptoms are nothing I would desire on anyone, unless I really, really disliked them. The over heating sensation, like you are burning up from the inside out, the lack of energy, being tired all the time, hair loss, insomnia, weight gain, and the kicker: acne. All very undesirable symptoms, I have been having on and off since about a year ago. Well, as it turns out every female out there, sooner or later will go through it. Peri-Menopause (the moment any of these symptoms begin) will happen to you all, it’s just a matter of time.
But don’t despair, this is where this post comes in. My gift to you is this YouTube channel I recently discovered, it’s called Menopause Barbie.
Dr. Barbara Taylor, a retired OBGYN, is now dedicating her time to put her book and seminars into YouTube videos in order to reach a broader audience. She is out to spread the Menopause word to all women out there. the videos are somewhat wacky, but they are filled with useful information and clarify a lot, if not every question you might have about menopause. And if you are Pre-Menopausal, meaning you are not having any symptom (the first one is inconsistent periods), you can still benefit about learning about your body and knowing what to expect, because believe you me, it is coming, and when it gets to you, you will want to know what the heck is going on.
Watch the videos. Check out her website. Download the worksheet and the outline. Or buy her book. But don’t let peri-menopause reach you unprepared and uneducated. Believe me, you will be happy you did it. And if you are going through it right now, you will be so thankful you understand what the deal is with your body, and will learn about all the options you have to manage your body’s changes in whichever way you see fit.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You are very welcome!
Thursday was a weird day for me, emotionally. I felt out of sorts all day. I realized I was completely unmotivated and didn’t want to do anything productive. But, I didn’t want to wallow in it either, so I started fake smiling, to see if I could trick my brain into thinking I was happy and have some endorphins released to give me a boost of happiness. It worked. A little bit.
On Friday, I decided I was going to go out. I had planned a visit to IKEA on Saturday, and thought it would be smarter to go Friday, to avoid the weekend crowds. It worked. I mean, leaving the house, going out, seemed to give me an emotional boost. The visit to IKEA was productive in the sense, that I did avoid the crowds and bought the things I needed, but traffic was hell. I drove for over 3 hours yesterday, so today, there was no way I was getting into the car again.
Mike is off to Wisconsin, for a Grateful Dead’s concert, which I passed on, because I don’t really even know who the Grateful Dead are. And I figured I would not be happy surrounded by drunken, high people, while not even being able to sing along. Not that the Grateful Dead’s music is the sing-along type, but you get my drift, right? So today, I’ve been hanging out at home with Charlie and Max doing fun-for-me activities: sleeping, eating, Simming, SnapChatting, catching up on DVRed shows from October (Oprah’s Belief series, interesting), and perusing catalogs and beauty magazines. I also payed bills online, caught up on work emails, and did some laundry. And just now, I figured, let me check on my blog, since it seems like I haven’t been here in ages.
Well, ages it has been. The last time I wrote here was in February, and in reading back there are only 6 posts this year. Talk about dropping the blogging ball! Also, I looked at one of January posts, updating you all on my new year’s resolutions/goals progress and realized one of my 2016 goals was to go on a no-buy (!). I completely forgot about that, obviously, because my spending these past 6 months has been out of control, particularly in the beauty department. I recently decided to not buy any more makeup. Period. I have so much there is no way I will be able to use it all before things begin to expire and go bad. But I’ve moved my shopping habits to other areas like facial care products, clothes, bags and most recently been eyeing jewelry I’m drooling over. I need to get a grip. Yesterday!
The meditation goals is still going strong. I meditate every weekday for 10 to 15 minutes, first thing in the morning. And I truly believe that is what has been keeping me sane all these months. Not that life is so crazy I would go mad it left to my own devices, but I can truly see and appreciate the benefits meditation has been having for me since I resumed my practice back in September 2015.
On the weight-loss front, nothing has really improved. I’m still fluctuating between 144 and 148 lbs. Of course, nothing that needs to change in order to help that number go down has changed either. I’m still eating whatever I want, whenever I want. And I only just started going to yoga (irregularly) and walking/jogging a couple weeks ago.
My plan is to continue with the exercising, absolutely continue with the meditation, and definitely go on a no-buy stint, as soon as possible. I also want to be more active here, on the blog. I’m not going to commit to anything in writing, but I will come back soon, this week, to provide an update. There are some posts roaming around in my head, I want to get out. So I’ll be back. Soon. Promise.
I shared before I had some goals for 2016, so I thought since we are coming to the end of the first month in 2016 (can you freaking believe it?!), I’d update here my progress.
Regarding the weight loss: I started out at 149.5 lbs and weigh now 146.5 lbs, which is better, yet not really significant since that number fluctuates daily. The lowest I’ve been this month, was a few days ago, at 144 lbs. Again, nothing mayor, but still improvement. I’ll take it as progress.
Regarding the No-Buy: Well I mega crashed and burned there. I realized one of the work trousers I had bought last year was worn out and had to go, and the other two were way too big on me. Not necessarily because I’v lost all that weight, but more so because since I had gained weight and all my pants were too tight, I had both those last year a little bit lose, so I wouldn’t feel tight. The logic, I know. Well, now I needed new black pants for work. I went out to get just that. Yeah, right. I got 5 pairs of pants, 1 blouse, and 2 vests. And I also got two pairs of jeans for Mike. So there went my no-buy in January.
I also bought a little bit of makeup… 😦 I ran out of deodorant, and the one I use is sold at Sephora. That, I realize now, is very dangerous. Anyhow, I got myself the needed new deodorant (Lavanila the Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Coconut), a not-needed yet wanted eyeshadow palette (UD Naked2 Basics) and a primer (MUFE Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer). I use ebates though, for online shopping, and Sephora had an 8% cash back, so there’s always that.
This month, I’ve also bought a Groupon for a face serum, a lobster roll lunch for two, and yoga classes. The yoga classes though, are also part of the 2016 goals. I need to get back into exercising somehow, and yoga has always been so good for me physical, mentally, and spiritually.
I’ve also bought some toiletries I needed (shampoo, conditioner, body butter lotions, and the sort), but that doesn’t count. As the deodorant from Sephora (only the deodorant), also does not count for the no-buy. Those things are more necessities than wants. The no-buy is really for extras, for those things that are, as we say in Spanish “antojos”.
We went to IKEA this weekend and got a drawer unit (Alex 9-drawer unit). We needed that for the study. To actually free up the study closet, and make more room for Mike’s clothes. Poor Mike had his clothes spread out in 3 rooms. Now, at least they are in just 2. But, I’m guessing that doesn’t count either, because technically, we did need that unit.
Regarding meditation: I’ve been on a roll. Meditating every morning I can, which tends to be 4 out of the 7 days of the week. So, all good there.
I think those were it. I didn’t write down goals, or set deadlines this year. I just kinda said aloud that I wanted to lose 20 lbs and go on a no-buy, to save for a house. The yoga, meditation, and exercise bits, I’ve added to the lose weight goal, which I’m thinking is more of a get healthy goal instead. Overall, I think I’m making progress in some areas, and not so much in others. Hopefully, February, will be on the positive end of the balance for all areas. How are you coming along with your resolutions/goals for 2016? Do you have any?