Friday, June 23, 2006

let's workshop this, hmmmmmmm?

all of you who say you were awful teenagers... please tell me how *you* define awful. AND how you define normal in the relative sense of a teenager's behavior. I was neither normal nor awful but I'll share more about that later. I think a lot of my problem has to do with the fact that I really have no frame of reference for dealing with this, for dealing with my teen son's attitude and behavior.

I think this could be therapeutic for you too, not just me. So, please share your memories and your definitions.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I have to be brief because I'm exhausted. But I probably won't be able to sleep unless I do at least a partial dump, so here goes...

I sent Hyde to his room on Friday afternoon after he was disrespectful to me. He didn't come out for dinner, and when I went to check on him I found his room empty and the window mesh-screen ripped. No word from him all night, or Saturday morning, so we made a police report. When we got home, there was a message from him, left just a few minutes earlier that he'd been in a car accident while in his "other mother's" company (this is my friend who's in the middle of an ugly divorce). Turns out he'd called her, lied to her and she'd taken him and her kids to lunch. After lunch, she ran a red light (did I mention she's in the middle of a nasty divorce and custody battle?) and t-boned another vehicle. Everyone in her car, including my son, was fine. But it was a mess and the cops were there, so it's a good thing I was home to tell them that it was ok for my son to be in her car. And, since she didn't have enough to deal with, Hyde decided that he didn't want to come home that night so he got to spend it at her house. I spent the whole weekend crying, questioning whether I'm fit to mother anyone, and whether my family wouldn't be better off without me. Lucky for me, Sunday's sermon was dead on and snapped me out of my pity party. And that I have some amazing women friends who inspire and encourage me every time I want to shrivel up and die.

Hyde came home on Sunday night, after he and Mo (God bless my husband) played in a Father/Son Ultimate Frisbee game that some of our friends organized at a nearby park. Mo has been icing his knee since then, because no one was kidding about the ultimate part of the game. Things have been weird at home, to say the least. What's gonna happen the next time I say no to Hyde? And, as part of the whole ordeal, I've been on MySpace waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than I'd ever care to so I can keep track of the adolescent chatter and try to figure out where Hyde's head's at, as well as what his friends are like. It's scary. I'd like my blinders back on please, and bring me a stiff martini while you're at it...

So, today. After two days of relative calm, today I'm in the kitchen fixing lunch and look over to see my almost-15yo son pretending to repeatedly one-two punch his 23mo brother. I've warned Hyde before about the way in which he plays with his little brother, and I have to once again point out that this type of "play" is not acceptable. Fast forward to 7pm, Mo and I are getting ready so we can all go to a benefit concert and I hear a weird sound coming from my bedroom door. I open the door and, to my horror, see Hyde swinging El Niño towards the door like a battering ram... I. lost. it. After I made sure that the baby was ok and left him with Mo in our room, I went completely nuts and yelled at Hyde until I lost my voice.

I'm scared because I don't know how to fix this, because I feel like I've lost my first child. Some commenters asked a while back if Hyde is maybe having issues at being "replaced" by his little brother, and from having "lost" his place as man of the house when I married Mo. It's possible. My friend Vic also pointed out to me a few months ago that he may have anger issues tied to his absent bio-father. That's possible too. There are so many reasons, really, for him to be angry and dysfunctional. And this is what I'm dealing with, this is why I may be on a hiatus from the blog... not sure yet what I'm gonna do about anything.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

fonts... WTF?

ok, can I just say it's royally bugging me that my old posts are all showing up with a thick font that looks awful? I've tried to edit them but it's not working... so now what?

and on a totally unrelated topic, if anyone out there can tell me how I can get some music I have on a children's music tape (that is apparently no longer available for sale) onto a CD, I'd be most grateful.

misty watercolor memories

So, according to Mo I'm acting strange... maybe another funk is coming on (or the last one never left me), maybe it's just PMS. Today I decided to listen with El Niño to some of the music I grew up with, and I found myself getting very choked up. He, of course, was totally dancing all over the place.

My dad loved music, and I've mentioned before that we had a routine on Sunday mornings of listening to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, and then an assortment of other kinds of music -- classical, jazz (Daddy loved Miles Davis and Benny Goodman), the Beatles, and even some amazing recordings of Russian marching bands. While my mother's taste in music stagnated in the rarefied offerings of PuertoRican public radio (the worst most obscure operas anyone could ever dig up), I got to listen to everything else with my dad. He even bought me the Foreigner 4 album, Queen's Greatest Hits, Prince's Purple Rain and Cindy Lauper's She's So Unusual. But my first and somewhat secret love is the nueva trova music that I heard at parties, at the university (where my parents worked), everywhere I went in PR as a child of the late 70's and early 80's. Let me tell you, I have no idea how that 8-track of Haciendo Punto en Otro Son's debut album survived being played over and over and over, until I memorized all the songs and came to believe they were thinking of me while writing them.

I wish I knew how to set things up so I could share an online "mix tape" of this music with everyone, just like Dutch did. Oh well, I cannot... this is something else I'll have to learn how to do, right? I hope anyone out there reading this will feel like going through the trouble of discovering the music created by the incredibly talented musicians of the Haciendo Punto ensemble, as well as solo artists Pablo Milanés, Víctor Jara, and Mercedes Sosa. They are my favorites, the ones I listened to when I was a rebellious teen in Puerto Rico, a lonely college student in Manhattan, a melancholy and out-of-my-element single mom in Sacramento, and now... whenever I need to feel my roots, feel my heritage in ways I don't yet know how to explain.

The CD we listened to today was Punto Final, which was recorded live during what was supposed to be the final reunion concert of Haciendo Punto. My then-boyfriend and I stood in line because each person was only allowed to purchase two tickets -- the concert took place in the relatively small venue of the University of Puerto Rico Theater, once home to the Casals Festival -- and we'd promised my grandfather and great-aunt that we'd take them. The experience of being in that theater with them, of watching my Über-conservative great-aunt mouthing the words to every one of their beautiful, patriotic (and liberal, pro-independence, possibly communist!) songs with tears in her eyes while they performed is something I'll treasure forever. When I listen to that CD, I feel like I'm there again. It makes me hope for my country, even as my heart breaks and I'm reminded of how things are now, all these years after those songs were first written. I'm glad I can play it for my sons, so I can give them a taste of Puerto Rico, like when I cook rice & beans for them. Maybe they'll be the future of my beautiful island...


Speaking of music, I finally listened to Pink Martini this weekend, and I liked it. If you're not in the mood for Latin American protest music, this may be a more lighthearted and fun choice for you.

Carry on, then!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


I mentioned a while back that I would soon be receiving a wearable work of art, courtesy of Kelley at Kozy Carrier (and Mo's mom, it was her birthday gift to me). Well, it's been here for about a month and I couldn't love it more! Yah, I know, I took my sweet time to post the promised pictures but it's very hard to capture the beauty of this carrier in pictures, much less indoor pictures (do you *know* what the weather's like around here?). We went to the park today with the camera because it was totally gorgeous outside, and Mo took these pictures so I could share with my blog peeps. StefanieRJ told me this looks like what she'll wear when she finally gets her "Queen of the World" title and I knew exactly what she meant because I feel positively regal whenever I put it on. That, and I get a little bit of a plushie thing going on when I'm near it, all I want to do is pet it!

Okay, in this second picture I'm carrying him way too high... honestly, we were all tired and ready to go home but mamma needed more piccies. The idea is that the child's head should be at a perfect level for one to effortlessly kiss the TOP of their head; anyone can see that I could've effortlessly kissed his neck the way I'm pictured carrying him. *sigh* I wanted to show off that I can carry my two-year old comfortably in this, so I can properly convey why it is that I love these carriers so much.

So, if you're in the PDX Metro, listen up!

there'll be a free babywearing workshop on 6/11 from 2-3 pm at the Wild Oats in Vancouver. Melissa Cole, of Natural Family 101, will be leading this workshop and everyone is welcome. There will be a brief discussion about the benefits of babywearing as well as hands-on practice and one-on-one help with many sample carriers to try out as well as handouts and resource lists.

If you can't make it, join the Portland NINO group and learn about upcoming get-togethers and workshops, as well as the Babywearing Conference at Reed College this August 3-6.

This last is an indoor picture. I decided to throw it in because I love the way my sweetie looks in it. And don't even think about rushing over to the Kozy site to order one of these. The opportunity is past. I sat on a waiting list for six months to be able to get this one-of-a-kind carrier. You'll have to make do with one made out of canvas, which is really not a sacrifice at all (and the little strap pocket they have is very convenient and ingenious, it's the only thing missing from my velveteen & silk beauty). Proudly made in the USA, baby!

Friday, June 02, 2006

wrap me up!

Remember when I said I'd gladly be mummiffied in a wrap? Well, let's make that two, shall we? I *thought* I was passionately in love with Purple Waves (left) but it turns out I'm also in love with Aubergine Waves (right)... they're slightly different in their purple/blue shading, and I'm a sucker for anything in that part of the color spectrum. Many thanks to Lori for allowing me to use her picture. If you visit her site you'll get to enjoy pictures of her incredible collection of Didymos wraps, along with her three adorable kids and many different domesticated critters. I think I may just have to go visit her one day...

I haven't posted a picture of my new "fancy" Kozy because I haven't managed to get a nice one taken outside, in natural light. It's very hard to capture the beauty of velveteen and silk indoors... plus, I've been so cranky lately I didn't think I could find the appropriate words to do it justice.

For those who are reading this and are interested in baby carriers but find wraps and MeiTais (like the Kozy) intimidating, there's always the Ergo or the bECOpack. I think if you get a BabyBjorn as a present or hand-me-down (I got one as the latter), it's fine and will do the trick for you, it's just that for the same amount of money you can get one of these other carriers that'll last longer, be more versatile and more comfortable for you and your baby. Just my opinion. And, I like the bECO better because it has a taller body AND it can be customized with different fabric choices. For me, the Ergo is too plain (I realize for some that'd be a bonus). There's a picture on the bECO site of a 4th Gen made out of Marimekko fabric -- look at the "customs" -- that made my jaw hit the floor. I've always been a sucker for Marimekko prints, and still prefer them over the usual Amy Butler and Robert Kaufman offerings. (ok, I know I'm gonna be pelted with tomatoes now!) Hmmmmm, if I could get enough traffic to this blog, I might be able to hook myself up with some ad-revenue goodness and fund babycarriers... would y'all that are reading this tell your friends to come by? We could sure use the cash, thanks!

Just kidding. Actually, I want to thank y'all again for reading and commenting -- those of you who do, I know there're also some regular lurkers who never comment. I've been really low lately (no! really?!?!? none of you had noticed, right?) and it's very encouraging & validating to read your comments. But I won't bore you by getting mushy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

this 'n that

How is it the first day of June already??? I feel so unaccomplished: potty-training is still in progress, weaning hasn't even begun, and I have no job prospects. Oh, and my teenage son actually said in counseling on Tuesday that a) he doesn't believe I *really* love him, and b) I fake migraines to get out of doing stuff. Heh.

The rash I've been struggling with for a week and half is still there, still itchy and annoying and spreading from my chest to my arms and neck. I went to see my doctor about it yesterday and he assured me it wasn't contagious, although he had no idea what it could be among any number of skin rashes, then prescribed a steroid cream (isn't that the medical profession's catchall solution?). Hopefully it won't lead to me growing some chest hair, because I'm not sure I can reasonably handle that too. As it is, shaving the usual parts is a bitch; who has all that time? Of course, I did a Google search and found this, which seems quite plausible as it describes *exactly* what I've experienced so far. I'm supposed to call doc tomorrow if the steroid cream isn't working or my voice has deepened, so we'll see. Mo says the rash looks worse today (thanks, Love!), and the itch is still there although not as bothersome. I wonder if this is the reason why I've had a migraine since Saturday? (or am I faking it?)

I dunno... I feel like I'm failing. Like, if I were going to get graded for how I'm doing with my life right now I'd get a D minus. You know what else is bugging the crap out of me? We have a birdfeeder and two birdhouses that were very popular at the house we used to live in. Now they're hung up on our balcony and I have yet to see ONE bird come near any of them. WTF???

ok, enough with the whining. I have to share some good stuff, and then I need to go answer a gazillion emails from people who actually want to go on playdates and stuff with us. But, I've been keeping myself under quarantine, just in case I had some skin version of the bird flu, ya know.

So, El Niño's belting out a new-word-a-day now. Thanks to BMC, I got the idea last week to teach him "help" (sign and word) for those times when he gets frustrated or I need him to cooperate, and whaddayaknoo it worked! We've had great success with it during toy pickup sessions, clothing changes and pretty much everything else we do around here. Yesterday he surprised me while we were singing Old McDonald by saying "dow" while making the sign for cow. And I found out that he also knows the word "rain", which he'd said to Daddy (who didn't share this news with Mami in a timely manner, the big booger).

The other thing that's really cute is that he's definitely a treehugger. Literally. Ever since he was a few months old, he'd reach out towards a tree if we were walking close to it. We'd always smile and walk him over so he could touch it, and he'd get a huge grin on his face. It's one of the most popular signs for him to make and he can spot a tree in a picture, painting, IRL, anywhere. Now that he walks, he likes to walk over to trees and *touch* them, the way most kids like to walk over and pet dogs or other babies... Ehhh, he could grow up to head the Sierra Club someday!

As for Hyde, I don't know what to do about him. There are times when I wish I could put him in a rocket and send him to outer space for a few years. I worry that I can't get past this emotional divide, this anger of his at me, and my correspondent anger and hurt at the fact that all my efforts at being a good parent have seemingly been for naught. I mean, if after everything we've been through he still doesn't believe I love him!?!?! Maybe it's because I let him watch too much television when he was a toddler...