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: 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.

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.

A Second Storm of the Mind

Oh, how I want to write more of my story. How I want to explain. How I want to help others in need. But I am stuck among the trees of the forest, unable to see the grand scheme of things. The storm of words has gained momentum and I’m being swept up by them.

I love to write. However, I am having such difficulty in collecting my thoughts. Writing is my curse. I wish I could let it go. I wish it would let me go. Alas, I know it won’t. The winds will only pick up, whipping my mind into a frenzy of confusion.

It is like a burden. Yet, a form of release. Oh, how I hope the storms pass.

I’m Planning a Road Trip

I’m going to take you on a trip. To literary wonderlands of thought-provoking, question-inducing blurbs of the reality I’ve invented, and am still working on.

My philosophy comes from thoughts that roll, evolve, and rot in the metaphorical compost pile of my mind. I try to make the accidental seedlings grow. I listen to the Master Gardeners, and envy the green thumbs of others. You can always weed the garden. Or, fuck it. What’s wrong with weed(s)?

Don’t let language control you. Fuck is just a word. To be offended is your perception, and never my intention. See what I did there? #teachingmoment.

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.

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.

Ride Your Road Trip, I’ll Be Fine at Home

How I hate a road trip. They all sound fun in theory, but I’ve been on enough adventures by automobile to know that the fun only lasts for a few miles and mostly occurs during the planning stage.

I come from the fly over states (and you can just keep on flyin’ over ’em, in my opinion) where the corn and soybeans grow and “good values” are treasured above all. Good values must be practiced, but that is another discussion that I won’t partake in for now. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Midwest.

I’ve traveled all over it; from the tippy top of Illinois to the tip-toe bottom of it. I have been to the Dells (not as lively as it once was) and lived in Minnesota for a few years (hell yes it’s cold. Why do you think I left?). We lived in Ohio for a short time when I was young but we didn’t fit in there. Indiana is a strange place where, only an hour or two from Chicago, they speak with a Southern accent. Iowans are somewhat ostracized from their neighbors, partly due to a perceived air of authority (don’t “come for me” over this, it’s really not worth arguing about).

There are huge differences in each of the states: what they believe in, what they eat, see, feel. I have traveled the South, too, where I often feel a sense of distrust and a fog of racism or racist ideology that is so thick a knife could cut it (again, don’t come for me. This is my thought process and some of my ideas that I’ve grown after my life experience and listening.) I don’t contend to know any answers. All I’m saying is, I’ve come to find that I’m always good where I’m at (Drake, are you influencing my writing?) and I don’t do road trips for fun anymore.

Illinois has its problems; I’ve read a lot about them. Indeed, I’m a hermit, so it wouldn’t really matter where I was. I try to find beauty in any land, in any people, in any word. Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what Invent a Place might mean, what it means to me anyway. I literally (there’s that white girl in me!) try to see my own place as beautiful, so that I don’t have to hop in the car and road trip to anywhere else.