Category Archives: Life

Life Goes On in 2016

The past year has been quite a roller coaster of emotions.

Last year we were informed that my sister-in-law had major surgery the week of Christmas. What was suppose to be a three hour surgery turned in to a marathon eight hour surgery.

The year before we were told my sister-in-law had cervical cancer. She was informed while she was pregnant and decided to go through with the pregnancy and had a beautiful baby girl. After the birth she began her radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

In January of 2016 we had a tumultuous New Year’s when our old car broke down on the freeway and we finally called in our family favor and got a new car thanks to my brother-in-law who works for a car dealership. It was his wife who was sick. We had hardly spoken to him or his wife about her illness. It wasn’t until we spoke with some of his colleagues that we were reassured that he had people who he could talk to about what he and their family were going through. We had always been concerned and attempted to talk to them both about what was going on with them but they were always very private and guarded.

I never blamed them for not wanting to talk to us about it. What did we know? How could we even begin to understand what they were going through? We don’t have children. They both have kids from previous relationships and new baby girl together. We lived in the city and they lived in the suburbs. We lived very different lives beyond those small things and it felt like this made the divide even wider. My sister-in-law and I were similar in some ways, but very different people and saw the world very differently. We were cordial to each other but not very close. My husband and his brothers were close, but the wives were a different story. We tried. We attempted. We just never seemed to find anything in common except for loving our husbands and our families.

My sister-in-law had always been a little vain. I remember the first time we met at a Mother’s Day brunch for my mother-in-law and she complained about the one grey hair she found and was trying to hide it. She was always well dressed for any occasion, whereas I had reused the same black dress for over a dozen family weddings. She always bought thoughtful gifts and we tried to figure who we could afford to get gifts for every Christmas. We may not have always gotten along but I respected her for always doing her best for her children and family and making my brother-in-law happy.

Then the news got worse. Multiple hospital visits. Emergency surgeries. Wheelchairs. Hair wraps and wigs. A colostomy bag.

She was in the hospital for almost a week when Mother’s Day came along. The entire family visited her in the hospital for the holiday. That was when I finally realized things were not going to get better. She could no longer walk on her own. She couldn’t hug or hold her daughter without assistance. I finally saw how much hair she had lost.

The day after she was released from the hospital we celebrated their daughter’s second birthday party at their home with immediate family. If things weren’t already heart breaking that was the day I wanted to scream. I don’t know how she did it but she walked. She stood in front of that birthday cake and had us sing “Happy Birthday” several times in a row. She must have been on a giant cocktail of drugs and had the iron will of a giant to push through all the pain she must have been experiencing and do everything she could for her daughter. We all realized this would be the last birthday party she would be able to attend for any or her children.

The rest of the summer we spent every spare minute visiting and bringing groceries for the family. Every weekend. Every summer holiday. We spent every moment with our family knowing that every moment counted. August was the hardest month. There were a few days when she wouldn’t wake up because she was in so much pain. The family gathered in vigil fearing the worst.

Then she suddenly had a burst of energy and was requesting her favorite foods. One day I came by after work bringing groceries that included artichokes. They were her favorite and she began to tell me how she made a dipping sauce for them. She asked if I could make them for her. I had never successfully made artichokes in my life. I did my best to not fuck it up. She called out to me while I was over and we talked about foods we both liked and how to cook them. It was the best conversation I’d ever had with her. When I got home I broke down in tears.

They had a hospice nurse helping them for a few weeks, but then the nurse said there was nothing else they could do to help and they stopped coming by. I was fearful of the kids being home alone should something happen. I started to go by the house everyday. Cleaning. Playing with the two year-old. Talking to the boys. Talking to her.

The day she passed away she was surrounded by family in her home. We got a phone call at  4 am that it happened. We rushed over to be with the family. We were all there when the coroners came to take her. We spent the next week together in mourning. Some preparing for the funeral. Others just coming to terms living in world without her.

After the funeral and after the reception we ended the night at their home with all of our family singing karaoke. That night my two year-old niece learned how to sing Prince’s “Purple Rain” all by herself. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and the most heart breaking moment realizing her mother didn’t get to witness it. Some people mourn in silence. That evening we mourned singing together at the top of our lungs following my niece’s lead.

Singing. Loving. Making new memories. Reliving old memories.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I haven’t thought about her. Remembered her. My niece is the living embodiment of her mother. Her memory lives on in her.


 

After the election these memories are even more important to me. Hearing how people are being treated and how words of hate are being used more and more against the people they are suppose to love makes it harder to stay silent.

Love each other. Cherish each other. This holiday season every memory counts.

 

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Newsflash: I didn’t change my name when I got married, and I probably never will.

Hola from marriedville! Don’t tell any one, but it’s just like regular life except people (mainly family, some friends) seemed to be freaked about me keeping my name.

I know it’s been almost a year since I updated anything on here. Besides my laptop sucking and trying to plan parties, packing all of my belongings, working a couple of jobs, and moving, its safe to say I’ve been preoccupied. 🙂

So what’s the big deal? We’ll, I’m not sure. I have however found 3 reasons to help people cope with my choice.

1) It’s my name. I’m keeping it.

I am not saying my family name is special, BUT it is how I see myself. I had always planned on keeping my name, it wasn’t a a secret. I’m not upset if people call me Mrs. Awesome. I just let it slide. I love that my husbands family calls me Mrs. because they want to see me as part of the family. Not having the same name does NOT make me not family. I LOVE my husbands family and they are always going to ask, “When do you think you’ll change your last name?” And I love them for it.

He is my lover and best friend and I will love him no matter what. Having the same name doesn’t mean I love him more, and having a different name doesn’t mean I love him less.

2) I am still married even if our names are different.

A lot of people think I want to go by Miss or Ms because I kept my name therefore am not allowed to be called Mrs. I. Don’t. Care. I’m not a grammar- nazi like some friends, but I did try to use proper name listings on our wedding invitations for other peoples sake. Even if I did spell one of my bridesmaids name wrong…don’t judge me.

3) IF/When we have kid(s) they will still know I’m their Mother..

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

I’m sure they’ll be fine. My husband’s family have a tradition of adding the mothers maiden name as a middle name or a second middle name. I think it’s a great way to trace family heritage and keep a connection to your next of kin and it can be listed on their birth certificate. Kids and adults hate hyphenated names, and this way they can choose which names they want to use in the future. Choice sounds beautiful doesn’t it?

Plus, legally changing your name is a LOT of work. For our future possible progeny it will be easier to pick a last name kids want, like they sometimes do when they chose to go by their middle name instead of their legal first name, or when they sometimes go by nicknames.

I love thinking about the options my hypothetical progeny will have when we discuses this possibility! I know it makes some people squirm and uncomfortable with my choices. Guess what? Don’t. Give. One. Fuck. It’s our life, and our choice to live it that way.

Go live your own life people!

Now that I have that out of the way everyone can start asking me other silly married life questions. 🙂

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Miracle’s Are Possible – #EricFest! #WeHeartEric

Check out the article I was interviewed for about our fundraising event for our friend Eric! It brought me to tears (of happiness) and has reassured all of us involved that Eric will get at least some of the help he needs to get back on his feet once he is out of the hospital.

4th Street Community Bands Together to Turn One Man’s Health Crisis into Hope.

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Inspiration Moment

The end of September is upon us and we have hardly had the time to realize what an impact some people have had on our lives.

Shortly after returning from our Honeymoon we were informed that a local friend had fallen ill and was in the hospital. He had been sick when we saw him the day before our wedding and we gave him our love and a hug before we left town. Within a few days after seeing him in the hospital a small group of friends started planning ways to help him and his family with medical costs. What first was a small barbecue quickly became a collaborative effort of friends and local businesses pulling their resources and manpower to pitch in.

In just over a week we have received almost 100 people who have promised to donate, contribute, and most of all, help our friend Eric when he needs us the most. I’m excited and overwhelmed by the love and responses from people willing to come together and make our city feel like a small town.

My husband and I have lived, worked, and loved being part of Long Beach for almost 10 years. We haven’t known him as long as others, but I can’t imagine a life, or a world, without him in it.

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Epic Journey: Musical Chairs

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As any one who has had to plan a wedding of any size knows the first thing everyone freaks out about is the guest list. The cost, venue, or any other small number of things that can make you break out in hives. The guest list selection is one of the most humbling and nerve racking experiences every couple must face. It’s like a choice between cake or death* (see footnote).

When my fiance and I sat down and made a rough draft list it was daunting. We purposely had a long engagement so we could make a lot of decisions over time, and tried not to make snap decisions based on emotional knee jerk reactions. We both have large Catholic families…with lots of kids and other extended family. We had a hard time trying to figure out how to negotiate the scope of our list.

When we tell people how large our guest list is (only if they ask) their eyes get big. Then people begin to say, “Just elope!” Then we have to do a little dance and explanation of how that isn’t possible** (see below for short answer). Long answer: his family and our friends love to party and dance and they will make it feel like an awesome party. My personal reasons for not wanting, or ever imagining a large wedding, is due to my own family bringing drama to the table. Like our wedding favors, we had to adjust our settings every time we addressed the count of the guest list. Every few months the number and names changed, parents gave extended family members names, and we realized we left someone off the list by accident that we hadn’t seen in a while. Having a long engagement helped us deal with these small surprises over time.

Even after we made a final A and B guest list I had a few extra blank envelopes set aside just in case we had a few seats open up. Which they did, and not from friends or family we expected. Having a long engagement also opened up seats due to break-ups, travel arrangement issues for family and friends coming from out of town, and some life events in general. Sad to hear some are not able to attend, and happy I have the ability to strategically replace those empty seats with other people we love.

The dance of musical chairs has been an interesting aspect of wedding planning that I was afraid to tackle from the beginning. It was (literally) my worst nightmare. It is now over a year after our engagement and only two months away from the wedding. Planning and writing about this whole experience has been enlightening and an educational process. I would never wish this kind of societal torture on any of my friends, but maybe a few “frenemies.”

The latest development has been all the in-fighting happening in both our families. It’s gotten so dramatic we have a little over 3 tables worth of family, on both sides, who are requesting to be seated with their own group of people. To add to the complications I’ve also been instructed to seat them across the hall from each other for fear they will walk out and leave the reception. Drama.

I will say I am greatly disappointed to be given these types of requests and restrictions for what is suppose to be a day “about us,” and be made to feel like we’re the ones making it difficult for them to be able to attend in peace. You would think these “adults” would put their personal and petty feelings aside for one day to let us enjoy ourselves but I guess that was asking for too much.

*Eddie Izzard joke reference from Dressed to Kill

**Short Answer: His family and Mother would kill us.

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Don’t forget to watch me freak out on twitter and pretend I can accomplish all my Pinterests!

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Epic Journey: HAIR-ible Decision

I ran into some technical difficulties attempting to post this entry earlier this week. 😦 What I thought was a finished piece with no photos ended up not being saved. Technology fail. It took me a little extra time to get all the kinks worked out and show everyone all the awesome pictures of me…with crazy hair! Enjoy!! 😉

Long, long ago, in the land of East L.A. there was a girl who was constantly ridiculed about her hair. Her hair was thick, wavy, and had volume most women would kill for. It was the bane of my existence.

Evolution of Hair (Not the Musical)
In middle school my choir nickname was Puffy. Long before Puffy Daddy existed. Puff ball. Afro puff. There are more lovely nicknames I went by, but they’re mostly lame. I have an Uncle who was more like an older brother to me growing up, and he once drew a picture of me. With an afro. After swimming my hair looked a little flat, and then turned into a giant Chia Pet.

As a wee babe I had a lot of hair. In retrospect I look adorable!

As a wee babe I had a lot of hair. In retrospect I look adorable!

After years of trying to tame, tie down, and mangle my hair I tried one thing at the start of high school that I finally felt comfortable with: braids. Since my follicles were surprisingly thick and perfect for being twisted and tied in to over a hundred little braids. They were all done by my Mother, for FREE. Cause let’s face it, I’m a tomboy and I ain’t paying to get my hair did. I kept my hair braided all through high school, and even dyed some of them red. I loved not having to style my hair, or really do anything other then try to keep it out of my face. Even when I had short hair during my Junior year of High School, it was still braided.

Circa 1995 my hair in the early years of being braided. Check out my hip style and funny faces.

Circa 1995 my hair in the early years of being braided. Check out my hip style and funny faces.

Once I started college I felt I needed a look. A new me. Plus, I didn’t want to have to explain my parents are of Mexican heritage, and no, sadly I am not of mixed race. However, I did rock those braids for four years. Sadly, my lazy ass couldn’t be bothered with styling my hair so I revisited the pony-tail and felt annoyed at having to figure something out. It continued to grow, despite me tying it up all the time, and eventually my hair was long enough for me to rock a hairstyle dubbed “Punk Rock Leia” by some of my fellow college newspaper peeps. I wore a bandanna with two buns at the back of my head because I decided it was easier than styling it. It took me at least half an hour to do. Everyday. Hair style irony.

Circa 1999-2000 in my Punk Rock Leia phase of hair styles.

Circa 1999-2000 in my Punk Rock Leia phase of hair styles.

After my sophomore or junior year of college (I can’t remember which, I was probably stoned at the time) I finally had enough and decided to chop it off. My Mother, being the talented Barber that she is (she owns one of the two the Professional Barber Shop’s in East L.A. on Cesar E. Chavez) helped me chop off most of my hair, in our kitchen. We had a large basin sink in our kitchen which I used to rinse out my hair after having it cut short in to what I like to call a tomboy pixie (see definition for Lesbian haircut). I lifted my head back up and almost fell on my ass because I wasn’t accustomed to having this (literal) weight lifted from my neck and shoulders. I felt light as a feather and excited for my hair style adventures. Of course, history repeated itself and I began to get a lot of Lesbian jokes from my family and a few friends who weren’t too pleased by my dramatic shift in style. In their defense I did own a patch on my backup that had a pink and rainbow women’s symbol which I thought was a symbol of women empowerment at the time and coincidentally made everyone in college think I was a lesbian. Oh well.

My College Rebellion of purple hair, punk rock band t-shirt, coffee, and henna tattoos. While making a funny face.

My College Rebellion of purple hair, punk rock band t-shirt, coffee, and henna tattoos. While making a funny face.

I kept my hair short for quite some time and attempted at growing it out only to freak out and go running to my Mom to chop it all off again. The main reasons for keeping it so short are simple:

  1. No more heat rash.
  2. Less hair product to use.
  3. (Almost) No brushing needed.
  4. Don’t have to pay for expensive haircuts.
  5. I’m Lazy!

Obviously number 5 is a big factor. I still don’t own very much makeup or hair care products. I usually make an emergency run to the local drug store to buy beauty essentials if I have to attend a Wedding, Bridal Shower, or some other girl-centric event in my life. I still don’t feel 100% wearing dresses or skirts because I’m always afraid I’ll accidentally flash someone because I don’t sit like a lady should. I DO own a ton of shoes, cause I try to be comfortable when I’m on my feet all the time, even if it’s in heels.

When my fiance and I started dating I had been growing out my hair because I was, again, lazy and too poor to go get a haircut. I’ve since realized boys love longer hair. Know why? They love crazy after-sex bed hair! 😉 Which I can get behind, until it’s Summer. Then I have to go get an emergency haircut because the heat rash and sweaty neck are not sexy. Ever. Suffice it to say that my fiance was not as excited as I was when I showed up with short hair once the heat wave started.

College circa 2001 of me trying to study while a friend gets my attention and captures this amazing photo. This stare continues to put fear in many friends and family.

College circa 2001 of me trying to study while a friend gets my attention and captures this amazing photo. This stare continues to put fear in many friends and family.

Trying to figure out how I want to style my hair for the wedding is another BIG decision that I’m having trouble with, and it’s obviously due to my own hangups about my self-image tied to my hair. I’ve always admitted to friends over the years that I have a Love/Hate relationship with my hair. I love that I can easily style it into a Mohawk or braids because it has the volume to sustain crazy styles. I hate that I have to shampoo it 2-3 more times than everyone else to get rid of all the crappy hair product I have to use. Last Fall I begrudgingly started growing my hair out to help give me some perspective, and more options, on how I could style my hair for the Big Day. Every month I threw a giant fit about how much I hated growing out my hair because I didn’t like wearing it down, or I was having trouble getting my hair to cooperate that day. Eventually my fiance gave in and said, “Look, you can chop it off if you really want. I don’t care how you wear your hair for the wedding. Just know that I love your hair no matter how it looks.” Awwwww. Isn’t he the best?

Sticking my tongue out for the camera while I rock the blond short hair.

Sticking my tongue out for the camera while I rock the blond short hair.

Since then he’s shown me a lot of pixie cuts and other hair styles in magazines to encourage me to do what I want. He has always been loving and encouraging when it’s comes to me and my hair issues. At the end of the Big Day I know that how my hair looks will only matter when I look back at all the pictures, and I have to learn how to live and love my hair for what it is, and who I am. I’ve still been growing it out, and have started to wear it down, without a headband or hair clips. Which is…kind of a big deal, for me. And my hair. However, chances are good that it will be cut shorter for the Wedding because….SUMMER IS COMING and I ain’t gonna be dealing with heat rash. Ever.

A recent photo of me posing for the camera.

A recent photo of me posing for the camera.

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#IGGPPC – Manila Envelopes

I love stationary. I’ve recently become a fan of the online retailer Knock Knock. When I received their latest email with a new line of envelopes I knew I had to splurge on this delightful item and share it with my friends from IGGPPC! 😉

 

Paper Envelopes | Contents Manila Not Vanilla Envelopes | KNOCK KNOCK.

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Introspective: 4:20 No More

Most of my good friends know that I am a bit of a pot lover (meaning Marijuana). I love a good smoke like most love a good stiff drink. I’d rather smoke in the privacy of my home than sit in a bar and be ignored by hipsters. Alas, as of this month my Medical Marijuana card will expire and I will no longer have easy access to one of my favorite past times. Trying to save up for a wedding is…a bit costly. In hopes of trying to act like a better adult I’ve decided to let go of one of my vices. Mostly because I can’t afford it any more.

My fiance and I have made a lot of sacrifices over the last year in preparation for our big wedding. We no longer buy too many groceries and let them go to waste rotting in our fridge. We’ve started saving a good chunk of money to establish a savings account, and prepare for our honeymoon and wedding expenses. We finally put in a subscription order at our local comic book shop in hopes of not spending frivolously when we happen to stop by once a month. Trust me, that’s an improvement. Last, but not least I am not renewing my Medical Marijuana card.

Since I’ve spent the last few months trying to stay out of the house and writing more consistently (while doing serious wedding planning) I have fewer opportunities to smoke. I’m not complaining, but I have come to realize that I used it as a crutch for a long time. Stressed at work. Smoke. Complaints about family. Smoke. Frustrated with friends. Smoke. I smoked like an alcoholic drank. I was okay with that…for a while. It was my vice. I still paid all my bills on time. Never missed a day of work, and am actually a workaholic. I have never, in my life, gone to work while stoned. Ever. I hid this habit from co-workers and new friends for fear I’d be judged and labeled a “stoner.” I wanted my work to speak for itself. I’d spent the last five years, or more, delving further and further into this closeted existence.

I use to smoke before doing arts and craft projects. I completed this Wine Cork Trivet while stoned!

I use to smoke before doing arts and craft projects. I completed this Wine Cork Trivet while stoned!

Almost a year ago I decided I didn’t want to live like that any more and became (slightly) more open with friends and family about my vice. There was a lot of drama in the headlines regarding Medical Marijuana legislation, the legality of medical cards, collectives, and dispensaries being close to parks and schools in certain neighborhoods. I took it personally. I’m a proponent of personal freedoms like any other common sense American: Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay Marriage, Immigration Reform, and Medical Marijuana. The reason I began smoking was due to my chronic migraines, (WARNING TMI!) severe and crippling menstrual cramps, and being diagnosed with carpal tunnel all at the age of 25. Over the years, and with access to medical insurance, I’ve gained control of my mental and physical health. It took a lot of time and patience to get where I am today, and it was never an easy road to take.

I occasionally get migraines. I still suffer from back-breaking menstrual cramps. I manage my carpal tunnel better than I use to. Medical Marijuana helped me gain control of my health…over time. It wasn’t the only answer to my problems, but it did help me take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy a moment of happiness. I was an over-worked, stressed out, and manic girl riddled with issues. I’m still struggling with some of them to this day. However, sitting down and hitting a joint with a few good friends reminds me that my life could be a lot worse. I’m grateful I experienced those moments in life, and thankful that I found something that allowed me to appreciate what I have in life: love. Once I started smoking marijuana I quit smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and started eating healthier (not all the time, of course) and drinking water instead of soda and other sugary drinks. Marijuana allowed me to reflect on my life without freaking out about it. I still have a lot to learn about life, but one thing I’m always happy about is knowing who I am, how far I’ve come, and how much I have left to live for. I’ll still occasionally treat myself to a smoke here and there, but I’m no longer going to depend on any type of drug to make me feel better about myself.

Here’s to adulthood! For however long it lasts. 🙂

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Epic Journey: Defective Geeks Interlude

Hola!

I’ve been a bit…distracted this last week. Working on a piece for The Defective Geeks, in full wedding planning mode, and trying to work out some business on the side that will hopefully improve my financial prospects. Yay for productivity!

On the flip side, I haven’t had much time with my thoughts to keep the blog going. 😦

I’ve had some guest list drama, family drama, and honeymoon planning drama in just the last week. Bleh. I’ve been venting on the Offbeat Bride Tribe section so I can keep the drama to a minimum and not get people involved in my bullshit. 🙂

HOWEVER, the real reason for this post is to let my lovely followers and fellow bloggers know that last night I was excited to finally record and appear on the next Defective Geeks podcast!! YAY! {insert pic of me dancing up and down} The episode will be up on their website by tomorrow. We talk Vampires, Zombies, vampire fiction/literature, and life lessons while having a few drinks at one of my favorite local places Alex’s Bar.

My evil plans of taking over the podcast are starting to become revealed….MUAHAHAHAHA! *cough* I’m gonna go finish my writing and wedding planning now. 🙂

Until next week!

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It’s Time for a New Adventure!

I’ve started a new adventure!!

On top of my wedding planning I’ve volunteered to be the new Virtual Assistant for The Defective Geeks, as well as a new member to their Lady Geek tribe!! {insert pic if me dancing}

Check out my new post about my current favorite comic books and feel free to say Hi!

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