Thursday’s Reflection

I am trying to spend more time living in the moment. However, reflections still occur. Only now, I will schedule a time for them. Thursdays just seemed right.

I want to thank my followers and all the other bloggers on WordPress. Without you guys I don’t know if I would have made it. You reading my words means a lot to me and I have seriously enjoyed my first year of blogging, even with the ups and downs.

Writing has always been a big part of who I am and I am happy to have found some great creators on this platform. I have been inspired by you often.

Again, thank you. Gracias. Have a great Thursday.

Sundays Are For Spanish: My Favorite Book

I love to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Es mi libro favorito. It’s my favorite book.

I bought this edition many years ago, on vacation. I was already familiar with the story after having watched a movie version of it and finding this edition was thrilling.

I love this book like Cathy loved Heathcliff.

Published in 1847 under the name Ellis Bell, Wuthering Heights was found quite strange, as Lucasta Miller writes in her Preface. Indeed, it is a strange story and very difficult to describe, though many have tried, according to Miller.

So as not to give any spoilers I will say only this: Wuthering Heights is about love, betrayal, taboo, death, and misery.

I dare you to give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Te reto leerlo, y dime que piensas.

Sundays Are For Spanish: Lovely Lamb’s Ear

Me encanta esta planta: la oreja del cordero. Por sus hojas y sus flores pequeñas. A las abejas les gusta tambien.

I love this plant: lamb’s ear. For its leaves and its little flowers. The bees like it too.

Sus hojas son muy suaves y no necesita mucha agua.

Its leaves are very soft and it doesn’t need much water.

¿Cual es tu planta favorita?

What’s your favorite plant?

Sundays Are For Spanish: Texas Two-Step

I don’t know about you, but I can’t dance. However, my husband wants us to be able to. So, we practice that damned Texas two-step whenever we have some cervezas. I usually step on his feet and run into him several times. Alas, what can you do but practice?

This is one of my favorite songs to stumble around to. This version is by Los Pitufos and is called La Abeja Miope (The Near-sighted Bee).

Chorus lyrics are as follows:

Esta es la abeja miope

Miope miope miope miope

Novia del sancudo loco

Loco loco loco loco

This is the near-sighted bee

Girlfriend of the crazy mosquito.

Disfruten. Enjoy.

Sundays Are For Spanish: What’s Up, Buttercup?

Just kidding. This is spiderwort. We know it as a prairie flower and, according to Wikipedia, is native from Southern Canada to Argentina. She only blooms in the morning when its cooler.

¿Que bonita, no?

How beautiful, no?

I Have a Counselor!

And its okay if you have one too.

I used to think that I didn’t need counseling, that my mental health was… what? I never talked about mental health. I didn’t know what it was. Welcome to the club, right?

Well, now that I am suffering from the aftermath of postpartum psychosis, bipolar affect, shock, and the trauma of losing my children for three months I am acutely aware of how important mental health is, how difficult it is to maintain, and how being open about it with a counselor can help.

So, if you have a counselor (that you see via the internet these days) know that you are not alone and that its a good thing to seek help for your mental health. Its step one, in fact, and arguably the most important step.

Stay safe out there. And thank your counselor.

Sundays Are For Spanish: Snakes in the Kitchen

So, let me start with a somewhat personal question or two. When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge? Do you clean it often? If you were to ask my husband the same questions of me he would answer “Two months ago,” and “Never,” respectively.

I would have to jump in with “Mentiras! Lies!” because his answers would not be true. “I just cleaned it!” I would probably reply, though in reality its been two weeks.

My husband and I have been married four years now and the chore that I hate the most is often a sore subject around here.

El matrimonio (marriage) is difficult and we’ve had some rough patches. The argument that I’m about to tell you about happened in the first year, while I was pregnant with Sergito.

The fridge, el refrigerador, was a mess: full of leftovers, some old meat, many rotting vegetables. This was before I began composting, so there was plenty of green material in the fridge.

Alejandra,” began my husband, standing in front of the open fridge and staring at me unbelieving. “What did you do all week?” he said, as usual.

“S., I’m not talking about this right now,” I answered, trying to evade any conversation requiring work, as usual when it comes to the fridge.

That’s how this argument started and continued until he said this.

Van a estar los serpientes en todas partes!” S. said, gesturing towards the countertops (“There’s going to be snakes everywhere”). As if I would allow snakes to lay coiled in my kitchen for anyone to see. As if the dirty fridge was a beacon to them.

“Snakes?!” said I with laughter in my mouth. It was ridiculous! I’d never had a snake in my house and didn’t have plans to!

“Yes, snakes,” S. replied, sheepishly trying to hide a grin.

Piensa en lo que dices S. No vamos a tener los serpientes en la cocina,” I said with a hand on my hip. (“Think about what you’re saying S. We’re not going to have snakes in the kitchen.”)

Pero sí es posible,” S. said, though I was already laughing and moving forward to clean out the fridge.

I believe that confrontation can bring people together, or drive them apart. Shared laughter can sometimes help, too. Fortunately, we were both able to laugh it off in that moment.

Now the inside joke is part of our family lore, something to tell los niños one day.

Fish Lake

I recently found an old piece of writing of mine, scribbled on the inside of the front cover of a book that I carried with me everywhere during the summer of 2013. The book is The Intellectual Devotional and is a book of lessons in history, religion, visual arts, and other topics. For awhile, I was consistent in reading its pages. But then I put it away, and forgot about it. Here’s the inscription: a description of a place and day that apparently I really wanted to save.

7-17-13 Fish Lake

Tall, lush reeds created a barrier near the shore of the entire lake. A bright, lively green, they stood stiff and strong, partnered with wide, flat-open lily pads that were accompanied by white or yellow flowers. Trees of every color, in the shades of green only summer can provide, protected the cool, clean lake on almost all sides. To the Northeast the trees thinned to reveal softly rolling hills. Phone lines stretched between the crests of these and the sky was a heated, pale blue. Thick, happy clouds floated gently by, above a healthy cornfield hugging one of the far off slopes. A lone dead tree, which was sun-bleached and bare like a bone, stretched its boughs over the water. It sang the land a silent song of ancient wisdom, long forgotten by the buzzing horseflies and oblivious sunfish. Silver-backed leaves rustled loudly when a dainty, playful breeze skipped through the forest.

We had been fishing in a small boat on a still lake, the sun beating over us. I had tired of fishing and reclined to write this description of what I was seeing.

Have you ever done the same? How does it feel to look back on your own writing?

I Did Something Controversial

This post contains links to websites where I bought products. They are not affiliate links and I gain nothing from any purchases.

Controversy is part of my life, as an atheist woman married to a Mexican immigrant with two bi-racial children (which I hate to label any child as such).

If I talk about my lack of belief, I’m trying to be controversial. If I do/say/dress the wrong way, as a woman, I’m acting controversially.

Some people in Walmart find my husband and I to be controversial, standing there talking about peppers in Spanish. We see their looks.

However, I really did something controversial this time, at least, in the eyes of my gringo family. However, my husband’s side of the family has been pestering him with questions on when it will be done.

I’m talking about piercing the ears of a baby girl. (I have known white girls who’d had their ears pierced shortly after birth. Not trying to make any generalizations about the Latino community). I just have noticed a cultural trend. My grandmother especially finds it to be barbaric and my own ears weren’t pierced until I was 12.

That piercing was a failure because I didn’t take care of them properly. I had them re-pierced later on. I always wished that I’d had earrings since infancy.

Reality struck when I had Marisol

I could not take that tiny baby to Claire’s and let them punch holes in her ears. I just couldn’t. So I waited and waited until about a week ago, after my husband asked me again when we would pierce her ears.

With the COVID-19 pandemic there was no way to have them professionally pierced. My husband said he would do it. I ordered a kit of two pre-loaded, sterile ear piercing guns from Sally Beauty and they quickly arrived in the mail.

Well, my husband wasn’t home that day. I was sure I could do it myself. So, I washed her ear lobes with alcohol (front and back), marked the natural dimples that she has in her lobes and removed one gun from the package.

One snap, two snaps, and Marisol had earrings in her ears. She didn’t cry and she barely messes with them. I clean them twice a day with Claire’s Ear Cleaning Solution and the lobes appear white and not swollen.

My grandmother was not happy when she saw the pierced ears, but the girl is so cute with them that how could one be mad? Also, she’s one year old and some change – not a newborn.

And honestly, Marisol’s pretty lucky that I’ll be doing all of the work for her (cleaning, etc). I hope she appreciates them as an homage to her Latino culture one day.

Piercing baby or toddler ears may be controversial to some, but I’m happy I did it.

Create A Cafe At Home

I was feeling creative when I arranged a glass table and two chairs this way. I can sit and watch the children playing outside while I imagine myself to be in some cute, outdoor cafe.

What’s Needed for Your Cafe at Home

  • A small table. Preferably round.
  • Some strong coffee, which you can make anyway you like.
  • An interesting book. In my case, I’m reading The Power of Thought by John Algeo and Shirley J. Nicholson. It is quite intriguing.
  • Two chairs. I suppose they don’t have to match.
  • Your laptop or notebook if you’re working on something and don’t have time to read.

And that’s it! A space created.

In my cafe there are toddlers running around so I’m off to help a little one. Ciao.

Sundays Are For Spanish

I want to start a little series where I introduce everyone to some Spanish words, hopefully with funny anecdotes or stories.

You don’t have to learn Spanish with me (maybe you’re already fluent for all I know), I just enjoy writing in both languages and sharing some vocab words.

I will be posting my Spanish “lessons” on Sundays because I’m all about alliteration ;). If you didn’t already know.

Buenos dias y que tenga un domingo feliz!

Good morning and have a happy Sunday!

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day! (Feliz dia de las mamas)

Flirt or Flatter a Fan of Your Reader: A How-To

Let me entice you to come on my road trip. I’m sure you are doubting the wisdom of the driver and what direction I’m taking us in, or to (play on dirección – address). But I like a manual transmission, which means I really know how to drive. Sit back, don’t tell me how to use the clutch (do you know how?), and buckle in. We are going to a fancy restaurant. On a date, if you will. Because writing your own and/or reading the thoughts of another is an intimate occasion (sometimes more so than anything lust can dream up). And an intimate occasion deserves some flowery language, a soft light, a calm listener, at the dinner table of communication.

I’m not a bad flirt in real life, and I can definitely do it in writing. But only you decide how bold you want to go (in either realm).

Stay with me now. I’m not trying to splash rainwater from the gutter of your mind (If I want to, I’ve got the wheel and you won’t know when I’m going to veer off that curb). But writing is like seduction: you have to want to, you have to show your assets, and you must have some experience (the cliche write what you know is to be remembered here).

Okay, we’re in the car. I’m driving. We’ve just shifted into third gear. Do you look nice? Are you wearing a cologne? (Don’t wear cologne or perfume like the cloak of an aroma. Make your reader sniff it out).

If you are a writer, than you better know your damn vocabulary, sentence structure, pronunciation, spelling, and have a handle on your grammar (grammar is hard, so I won’t judge you for it. I’m not a Nazi in any of my beliefs). You’ve gotta know all of that before you take to punching the keys.

Got a date with your reader? Dress up! It’s a sign of respect!

When I’m getting ready to go out (hardly ever) I always start with my eyebrows. Mis cejas have always been thick – before anyone called them “bold” or “‘brows” – and the pain of plucking does not bother me one bit. I don’t usually fill ’em in. For what? I’m going outside to the garden to pick jalapeños. The point is this: edit. Edit as much as you can, what you know how. You will miss some (I always miss an eyebrow hair somewhere) but the effort to show your best self is what matters on a date, or in your blog posts.

To edit sucks. It’s not the fun part, I know. Editing (and eyebrows) are the bane of my existence. But, I’m not showin’ up anywhere with a uni-brow, and I don’t let my work take errors to the Reader page (if I can help it). Sometimes you can leave an intentional error – it’s exciting to the reader – just like one might decide to leave a beauty mark, or freckles, uncovered by foundation – also exciting (better be!) to the man or woman sitting next to you in this 5-speed of life (6-speeds are for luxury cars, which I have no use for).

Think it’s all about you? Not if you want a partnership. Dating, loving, marriage all require that you listen to your audience. Be it man, woman, or faceless reader.

Everyone talks about listening to their audience: it’s important – it takes two to tango. Well, then, put the damn phone down, look up at your listener, and say something. Say something for them. Say something that you want them to know about you. Just don’t say too much! No one likes a chatty Kathy, and mystery is the best genre for leading your reader on.

Set boundaries. Just as you would on a real first date.

Be funny, smart, honest on your date. Show some class. Show your wit. Just don’t make an ass of yourself. Don’t talk about your ex, or your bad habits. And please, don’t drink too much of that powerful poison that a few thousand followers can get you drunk off of. And don’t forget rule number one: use nice language and always ask for consent. (Also, a safe space requires the explicit instruction that slurs or insults are not to be used).

Not sure what consent is? Or how to give it? Then you need to go read something else. You’re pretty far behind. I’ll stop at the next Road Ranger, and you can call a different ride.

Consent in real life is a must. Consent from your reader is a bit more fluid. You won’t know if they’ve given consent until they’ve read your words, commented, or closed out of your site’s home page completely.

A rape of the mind is committed through writing in the form of propaganda. Consent is not given or asked for by propaganda. Propaganda is a genre that seeks to cheat on you, lie to you, make you feel stupid. But that’s a bit heady. Let me roll the window down for you.

Whew! I can breathe much better with that fresh air comin’ in. What were we talking about? Oh yes, dear, you.

There is a way to ask for consent in writing. It may trigger an un-follow. But guns are always goin’ off in the Wild, Wild West of the internet. So saddle up, cowboy(girl). Or, hold on to the grab-bar. I’m about to downshift.

Be upfront about some of your beliefs. Vagueness creeps into writing of any form – long, or less than 140 characters. Not being truthful will creep out your reader, and then your date. Be yourself, because you can’t be me. Or anyone else that you may admire or adore.

You have to be you, and change your opinions of yourself if it will help. Here’s a cliche I don’t like: love yourself before someone else can. Ah yes, love yourself. It’s a worthy aspiration. But how do you love yourself if no one has ever taught you how? Not all of us have been taught. And that’s why I’m teaching you.

A marriage is difficult if he voted for Trump and she voted for Hilary. A marriage is difficult if one likes la fiesta, and the other wants to stay home. A marriage is difficult if one is a lustful carnivore, when the other is a simple vegetarian. A marriage is difficult if you’re the same, let alone different. (Skin color or differences in appearance do not make a marriage difficult – just want to make that clear. Life gives all people difficulties to bear).

Set those boundaries in your blog, with as much dignity or grace as you can. Don’t get up and leave the table, spilling Merlot all over the white tablecloths. Just don’t forget to mention the things that will always divide you and your reader (or date). Some people are not our perfect match. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s always a “one” (shout out to MTV again and AYTO?. “This year, your perfect match could be anyone.” I love it!).

Don’t mislead people, though (See? Had to edit something that was published. But only because it was an important distinction. Updated). Don’t write something that you don’t actually know. We will be able to tell. Readers can spot red flags, and already know that red flags eventually turn vermilion. Maybe you put up a red flag on purpose. I would. To scare off a stalker or trollish commenter. You can’t sleep with everybody, no matter how much you may want to (anyone remember the Great Tunechi’s Every Girl In The World?). Look out for the flags your readers throw up, too. And don’t ignore el rojo. Red usually means stop. And so does the word “no” – one of the easiest to hear, say, write, or recognize.

Leave your reader with something to think about. Show a little skin, but leave your body to the imagination.

Decide what you want to show. Your assets? Your wit? Your views on the bittersweet world that we live in? They say not to wear short-shorts with a tank-top or a mini-skirt with a halter. Pick one, they say: arms or legs, humorous or grim outlook. Try to keep it consistent, and use some organization. I have messy hair and all, but I put it in a braid if I’m going out to eat.

Oh, the check is coming. Did you have a nice date? Was it fun? Did we learn about each other? No, no. No kisses on the first date. And no, you cannot come home with me.

Remember that reading and writing are chances for connection. I swear, it is intimate. But don’t judge a whole person by one logged blurb of their life. Take some time to read them well, look at their creation, and think about how you might answer that come-on. Only then might you ask for a kiss, to go up to their apartment. Words do affect, so be careful which ones you choose. It’s always nice to ask for that kiss, rather than lean in unannounced.

Okay, boys and girls. Before you leave this sex-ed classroom, can you tell me what you have learned?

I don’t care if you have learned or not. I’m not a real teacher. Understanding is impossible to measure, anyway.

I’ll spell it out for you, then, my poor, sweet thing. As a writer or a reader, of books or of blogs, you should always dress it up, discuss consent and boundaries, lead ’em on a little, and pay attention to bright red flags.

You just might get a second date. And then a third or fourth. One of those dates just might lead you up a flight of stairs, into a private place, to one of the best reads you’ve ever had in your life. Writing and reading are fun, just like that three-letter word is supposed to be. That one little word that I have just referenced oh, so sexily.

Easter Eggs

So, I’ve been looking at my writing (who doesn’t read their own stuff?) and finding that I’ve got some puns and/or plays on words that I didn’t notice upon first draft, or even final edit, which never catches all of my errors (but who can pay an editor that knows their grammar well?). I’m not here to brag; some of ’em might not make sense and I might come off as estúpida (new non-native speakers of Spanish: don’t use this word. Not one native-speaker that I know has ever used it (around me) because it’s connotation is that much stronger than ours [como me han dicho]). I’ve also missed a few witty word combinations, but I hate to edit an original work. Alas, what can be done?

Well, it got me thinkin’ on post topics. Most of which I scratched. I scrap a lot of stuff. I’m always cleaning something. Easter egg. Why do they call it that? Isn’t it mostly the Swifties? Don’t put words in my mouth; I can jam to T. Swift any day, but Drake, you’ve always had me in my feelings. Ever since Best I Ever Had. (No innuendos there, I just love that man’s music). I simply don’t understand why they applaud Taylor Swift (or anyone else they apply this reference to) for leaving “Easter eggs” when it’s something that all good writers do: leave a little to the imagination, tell a suspenseful story, create some drama.

I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I watch what the celebrities do, but they live their own lives (in the same world as mine) and theirs are not something I should judge, or worry about. I just find a lot (not all) of celebrities shallow.

Sure, celebs write catchy songs, dance like hell, act better than I ever could, or know a lot about make-up, but I just want ’em all to stop arguing. Quit engaging on Twitter (the only way to beat a troll) and focus on the big problems that are only beginning to surface (like icebergs. Because no, I don’t care where you’re flying to in your private jet, or what kind of flooring you have). We’ve got a White House full of chuckle-heads, shooters at festivals, concerts, malls, schools from Florida to California, Ohio to Texas. There are people questioning other people on their whereabouts, with skin color as the only probable cause. The LGBTQ community aren’t allowed to decide who they want to like or love, and there are others that think sticking to one language is better than knowing two (or more).

You might think but Alex, you don’t know any of the answers. I don’t know ’em all but I know how to research on Google (and what makes one source fake, and another legit). You need more sources of information if you don’t believe in climate change. You need more sources of information if you aren’t aware of patriarchy and all of it’s dangers. You need more information if you think there’s only one religion, one god.

I’m disabling comments on this one, because I’m not asking for an argument. If you want a conversation, go outside and listen to the trees. Because they’re all starting to fall.

If you really want to talk about this, don’t go trash my other posts’ comment sections (I know what the trolls do). Post a response and tag me in it. #inventmyplace. I’ll read it. I have no qualms with listening to the opinions of others. And that way, you just might contribute to the discussion that’s happening all around us, rather than be stuck at home in awe and fear, confusion or rage, like I usually am. Celebrities have much louder voices than everyone else, and those of us that don’t speak make even less sound.

Trying to Hear the Tulips

This is an example post for the first challenge to flower talk. See rules here. Genre style is this: narrative (include your genre if you wish). I also hope to offer an introduction of some kind as well.

This was our first duplex. The rain always puddled here, in this space between my porch and my neighbor’s. We made a garden of it.
A pink Gerbera adds a pop of color to this shot. My favorite, lamb’s ear, puts forth its flowers in the background (the purple and pale green thing that looks kinda like a weed from a distance)
Tulips were later planted in this make-shift garden (no, the landlord did not help, nor seem to care. But that’s not why we did it). You cannot see them (they hadn’t bloomed). I doubt that they are still there.

Quiero platicar con los tulipanes (dígame si tulipanes no es la palabra correcta). Pero están durmiendo en sus camas de tierra.

I want to chat with the tulips. But they are sleeping in their beds of dirt.

Your Reality Depends on How You Build Your Forms

There are lots of ideas out there in the world. Lots of information, lots of controversy. I have no designs on telling you how to believe. I just want to mention that you can always change your views, outlook, opinions. It takes some analysis of your thoughts, and honesty with yourself. It takes a pinch of humility and a scoop of compassion for others.

As the cliche goes (I love a good cliche. They’re around for a reason: they illustrate a truth) your world (reality) is what you make it.

What is reality? Firstly, reality is not “real.” There is no objective reality, only our subjective ones. Reality is something our brain projects onto the items, people, ideas in our lives. Reality is a contract; one we sign with our global community.

As a child, and now a young woman, I’ve seen a bit of concrete be poured. I’ve seen men build forms. Forms are important to a pour. Forms mold and hold the cement while it dries into the final product. Let me show you something, and you can do with it what you will.

The following is a metaphor, and is not intended to incite the destruction of any concrete or sidewalks. In your town/city, or mine.

Our thoughts are the cement

Our agreement as a whole society is the water

Mix the two together and you’ve got a hard reality.

At the moment, people are “mud-jacking” reality: trying to fix cracks in our ideals/morals by back-filling the old sidewalks with dirt, foam, whatever chemicals those “mud-jackers” use.

Sidewalks are breaking up in every town. And those sidewalks can’t be fixed. Concrete impedes the Earth’s breathing, and no one walks on ’em anymore.

I think a complete “tear out” would do the job; get that concrete off the grass. We will need some jackhammers. We will need some loud voices to break into our reality and dig it out, turn it back into dust, leave space for something new.

Updated to include a credit to my husband, (S.), whose thoughts on how the Earth breathe inspired this post. My husband is an expert in concrete, and it’s how we make our bread. Es mexícano, something that makes me feel persecuted for being proud of. I love my husband because of his culture, not in spite of it. Mexicans don’t steal jobs, they build foundations for them.

P.S. I have tears in my eyes as I write that update and quiero que todos los latino(a)s sepan que estoy con ustedes, y que la única cosa que puedo hacer es tratar de no vivir con miedo. Lo siento por lo que está pasando.

P.P.S. Any and/or all comments including hate speech, threats, forms of racism will be deleted (as they should be). I do not tolerate slurs or disparaging comments, as I’ve said before and will again.

Do I Expect a Follow-Back?

Absolutely not! I’ve got some pretty tough skin (though not quite tough enough for Twitter, yet. And yeah, I quit Facebook years ago, but there’s other reasons for that departure). If you don’t think we vibe, hey, that’s your prerogative. If I shout you out, that does not mean I expect something in return or that we are connected in some way (monetarily or otherwise). I’m a big girl (however small I appear), on my own two feet. I’m just serious about citations, and using your own work.

Follows, re-blogs, likes, clicks – it’s all become some sort of currency. I don’t value money highly in real life because I’m not poor in love (or privilege). I can grow anything from the ground (if not today, I will some day be able to) and a joke is always free.

So, do I expect a follow-back? Absolutely not! I wouldn’t mind a good read of my thoughts and a comment intended to share a laugh with me.

Bear With Me

Everyone is still growing, including this page! Stay tuned for re-blogs, profiles of interesting bloggers, artists, writers, or photographers, guest posts, product reviews or referrals, and the like. Want to be featured? Hit me with the tag #inventmyplace. I don’t use ping or trackbacks (did a few times, but research says no). You could comment also, something witty, and I will peruse your stuff. There’s also a contact page. What am I saying, you know how this stuff works!

I am a new blogger, but have been reading them for years (you guys got me through two pregnancies, so thanks a ton!). I was told to start a blog a few times, but had little will or inspiration (nor the work ethic at the time), to start. Now that I’ve begun, I realize that blogging is an art form (shout out to Christian Mihai over at The Art of Blogging), and a place to create for yourself. It is difficult and requires much more “doing” than the average reader might suspect.

I am having fun writing, but mostly enjoy reading what you have to say. Let’s invent a community. Let’s create a place. Come with me, or be on your merry way. Whatever path you choose, have a lovely day.

P.S. You will notice that I can’t help myself from a rhyme, some alliteration, a pun, or a joke. I think Dr. Seuss has had more of an influence on my writing style than I ever cared to realize. I’m a mom, too, and I love to manipulate a language.