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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

When my kids were in their teens, they became followers of The Princess Bride cult! They discovered the movie and watched it over and over and over again. We bought the VHS tape then the DVD. My daughter now owns it on Blu Ray. It got to the point where they could recite the dialog as the movie played. When they had friends over, they watched the movie. In the hundreds of times they watched it, I never sat down to watch it with them. I would me in ear shot and most of the time I could see them, especially when it was a mixed gender group of friends watching it, but I always gave them room and never sat down to watch it. Every time they watched it, I would remind myself to sit down and watch it some day when they were out of the house but it never happened.

Then this weekend linkup was announced and I figured it was my chance to watch, at least I would have an excuse, and it is on Netflix so no money involved. Yay. So I watched it last week. Did I like it? Well, I kept meaning to watch it again so I could write a good post about it but I guess I didn’t like it enough to watch it a second time. Why? Well, something you don’t know about me is that I don’t find a lot of “humor” funny. I don’t like slapstick. I don’t like the ridiculous being passed as humor. I don’t like “jokes” about bodily functions. Yeah, I’m kind of a dud that way. So I didn’t find a lot of humor in it. Yes, there was some humor that I thought was truly funny. And even though I grew up in the times of the women’s liberation movement and hated it, having been brought up in a very traditional hispanic family and believing that the woman’s place is indeed in the home and all that. Somehow along the way, from the 1970’s to now, I grew up and realized that I was wrong. So it kind of bothered me that it was all men made out to be the heroes and it also bothered me that Buttercup expected everything to be done for her as if she were a fragile flower. I didn’t like the “As you wish” attitude.

What did I like? I loved that it was a grandparent reading to a grandson. The family aspect of it was wonderful. The reading being passed on from one generation to another was very authentic to me. It showed the value of generations of a family interacting with one another and it showed how storytelling and reading are valuable. And even though the grandson was at the age where he did not at first value the reading or the grandfather, by then end, he valued both and looked forward to more visits from the grandfather and, presumably, more storytelling. I love storytelling and I have a lot of stories that I’ve told my kids and students. I love how at first they aren’t too interested but as soon as the story gets going, they are hooked! That part was very real to me. I’ve had it happen.

If I were rewriting it (and I will admit that I have not read the book) I would write it as the grandfather telling/reading the story to both a grandson and a granddaughter. I would write in some kind of dialog about the gender roles and maybe, by the end of the story, each of the grandchildren might see some valid points in the other one’s views. Oh, and I would clean up the language so it would be more understandable, a little more modern. I think that would add to the story.

Will I watch it again? Yeah. I will. Not sure when but maybe the next time we have a cold, rainy weekend and I don’t have grandchild duty, I’ll put it on and give it another look. Then maybe I will write about it once again.

Do I recommend it? Yup! I hear the book is absolutely wonderful, too. Maybe I’ll pick up the book one day.

If you’d like to read more blog posts about The Princess Bride (book and movie), check out the linkup!

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This started out as a good week. Then Tuesday came along.

First, my writing class went well even though the grades 5 to 7 turned out to be 4 to 8 which is a much tougher group. Some of the kids have trouble writing a sentence, let alone a paragraph. And then there are the kids that can write three or four coherent pages in ten minutes. I’ll find a way.

Anderson was to be at a P.E. class in the gym while I had my writing class but on Monday night, my daughter read the requirements which include closed toe shoes which he doesn’t have. He’s been in sandals or flip flops all summer and doesn’t have closed shoes yet. So he stayed home while I went to the writing class. When I got home, I picked him up and we went to the Library to look for some books on clouds, rain, and why the leaves change color on trees (all questions he has been asking about). When we arrived at the library, it was closed until noon because it was the day they open late and close late, which we didn’t know. There is a park across the street from the Library so I asked Anderson if he wanted to make up for missing P.E. by playing at the park. It’s a park he has been going to since he was four (he’s now six) and we call it the Climbing Park because they have a variety of climbing structures. He was happy to have a half hour of play time so we went across the street. He played for about ten minutes then I noticed that he wasn’t playing but sitting and it looked like he was trying to spit something out and then he’d look at his hand. I started walking over to him and called out to see if he was okay. He started walking toward me and said he was okay but I could see blood all over his face. I asked if he hit his mouth and he said yes. I asked if he knocked his tooth out and he said no, it was still there. I looked. Nope. It wasn’t there. He had knocked out the top front tooth on his right side and the one on the left was dangling. Ouch. Blood ALL OVER. I didn’t want to upset him so I tried to keep my cool and tried to remember if these were his baby teeth or the permanent ones. I couldn’t remember so I took a picture of the missing tooth and the one that was dangling and texted it to my daughter who was dropping Spencer off for his first day of preschool. She said they were both baby teeth. That was good. Anderson wanted to come home. He didn’t want to play any more or wait for the library to open. He didn’t want to come to my house. I could hear him almost hyperventilating as we walked to my car. I brought him to his house to wait for my daughter to arrive. Poor Anderson was really upset but he didn’t cry or complain.

We took him for a special lunch at Olive Garden where he has the soup and bread sticks but he couldn’t eat either. He didn’t even drink the water. We took him for a special treat (a Lego set) which he picked out but then wanted to leave right away. He turned down ice cream. We went to collect Spencer after school and Anderson played a little bit but then when we got home, he just sat. No talking. No eating. No drinking. He doesn’t want to open his mouth because he doesn’t want anyone to see what it looks like. He still has not eaten and it has been almost 48 hours since his last meal. He won’t drink anything either. We got him to sip a tiny bit of water so he doesn’t get dehydrated. Then today we spent the day at the dental clinic (county services) and because it was a walk in, we ended up waiting over six hours for the dentist who took some x-rays and showed us how the permanent teeth are right under the gums, ready to pop through. My daughter wanted them to pull the tooth so he will eat and drink but the dentist said it would be traumatic for him and didn’t do it. So now we wait for the loose tooth to drop off so he can start eating. He’s afraid to swallow the tooth, that’s why he doesn’t want to eat or drink.

I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll lose that one soon but if he’s not eating or drinking, he won’t be helping the tooth to fall out. Not to mention that he has to eat something and start drinking so he doesn’t get weak and dehydrated.

Life is tough when you’re 6.

And life is tough when you’re the grandma that is hurting for her little one and worried about him.

 

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Today is my cousin Lydia’s birthday. She’s the daughter of my mom’s brother. She has always lived in Texas and I have seen her in person less than twenty times in my entire life yet she is family and I try to keep in touch with her, at least by reading her Face Book posts. I feel both close and distant from her (and my other Texas cousins). I think, from things she has said, she feels the same way.

Why the distant feelings? My mom is the oldest of the three siblings so my brothers and sisters and I were all born before my uncle’s kids. In fact, my youngest sister is the same age as Lydia. We always lived in California (I’m the only one of my siblings to live outside of California and that happened in 2008). My grandmother also lived in Texas all of her life. She used to take the Greyhound bus from Corpus Christi to San Jose every summer to stay with my family. She loved us and bragged about us all the time, which as a grandmother myself I understand. This bragging continued after my uncle’s kids were born. My grandmother raised two of my three cousins after my uncle’s divorce so she was very close to them, yet when the subject of my family came up, she showed her love for us by talking about us in glowing terms. When she came to see us in California she would tell us all about our cousins in Texas. She bragged about them and had a lot of pictures of them that she showed us constantly.

What did this cause? I think that my grandmother inadvertently created a spirit of competition and jealousy. My Texas cousins were jealous of us because she talked about us constantly when she wasn’t with us. She had our pictures all over her walls. Every time one of us did something she was proud of, from school work to a new tooth or winning a contest or a race, she bragged about it. So they were jealous of us. When she came to stay with us, she constantly spoke of our cousins and the day to day things they did together. They got to grow up with her and spend so much more time with her than we did. They got to hear the family stories and learn from her. I won’t speak for my siblings but I will say that I felt cheated. Not my cousins’ fault and not quite jealousy but I did feel like they were so lucky to spend so much more time with her than we did. In a way, my grandmother created a feeling within each of us that made us feel as if we were “less than” the Texas cousins and also made them feel that they were “less than” me and my sibings. Yet, I know I love my cousins and I am pretty sure there are some strong feelings on their side.

I think this has caused us to be even more distant than the physical miles between us. l wish I could fix it. I wish I could spend time with Lydia and my other cousins. I wish I could get to know her better. This has bothered me for so long. I guess it’s upon me to do something about it. Aside from wishing her a happy birthday on her FB wall, I think I’ll make it a point to check in on her at least once a week and start some sort of dialog. The miles are great but I am hoping that the family ties are much stronger than the miles.

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If we were having coffee, we would be indoors. It’s raining here in Seattle. It’s not cold, just wet. You would have to help yourself to a drink before settling in as I have a baby in my arms! I drove up here on Tuesday morning and was handed a baby as soon as I got in the door. The rest of the time has been filled with holding him, feeding him, and lots of burping! Mati is four weeks old. He’s quite alert for four weeks. I think I’m spoiling him. He’s been attached to me almost all day, every day. I got to be his first babysitter, too. His mommy and daddy had tickets to two soccer games this week so they got a couple of nights out and I got this precious little boy to myself.

This past week has been filled with shock and sadness in the world. Being here with this tiny, innocent little boy has helped me both empathize with that grief and sadness and also get through it without totally falling apart.

As Mati sleeps in my arms, I’m reminded of holding his daddy in my arms when he was this age. I’m reminded of how much simpler the world was; how much less hate, fear, and danger we faced. I am also filled with hope and dreams that Mati’s world will be a better place; that he won’t have to know the hate and intolerance; that he will be in less danger when he grows; that he will live in a world that embraces all mankind.

I’ll be driving home to Portland tomorrow. I’m already missing this little one and wondering when I’ll be back to see him. I’m lucky that he’s only a three hour drive away from me. Hopefully that will translate into frequent visits.

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 #WeekendCoffeeShare is a weekly blog linkup hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Come join us!

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Wacky Wednesday

Anderson spent the night on Tuesday. He woke up at 1:30 in the morning upset because he didn’t have his blankie so Tina brought it over. By then he was in my bed. We got the blanket and turned everything low and I cuddled with him but he still had a lot of trouble getting back to bed. I think it was 4 when I fell asleep and and he was still awake. Needless to say, he slept til after eleven on Wednesday morning.

He didn’t want to go home so we hung out at my house. In the late afternoon we went on some errands with his mom and little  brother. When we got back, they both wanted to stay with me so they did. For a couple of hours. Then Spencer asked for “hum” and got his blankie and walked to the door. Tina came and got him. Anderson stayed.

So it looks like of the past twenty-four hours, I have had one or two little boys for the whole twenty-four hours. Anderson will stay at least til noon tomorrow. Crazy boys! They must be making up for last week when I didn’t see them from Thursday til Tuesday! Of course they picked the days that I need to go get a few things for their Easter baskets! I think I will have to insist on Anderson going home tomorrow so I can go do that before everything is gone.

Hopefully I will get a chance to blog a bit.

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My dad died last May. Today would have been his 86th birthday. The past few weeks have been difficult leading up to this occasion. I’ve been dreading it. I’ve been sad. I’ve been pensive.

Today, I am choosing to smile when I think about my dad. I’m thinking about how our Christmas tree always stayed up until January 6 each year, both for my dad’s birthday as well as for dia de los reyes (Kings Day). I’m thinking about how he used to say that we were both born on different Christmases. One of us on December 25 and the other on January 6, bookending the season with what he used to call Mexican Christmas.

Today I am smiling thinking about how I learned to dance by standing on his feet as he waltzed around the room. I’m smiling because we shared so much. I’m smiling because deep, deep down, he was a good man, a good father, a good person. He just didn’t know how to deal with the challenges life through at him.

In the end, he had daughters that mourned him; grandchildren and great grandchildren that mourned him; and so many others. And after 85 years of life, mistakes, and challenges, to be mourned and missed by so many, is truly something to smile about.

Happy birthday, Dad!

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Share a smile with the world…visit Trent’s blog for more info!

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Makes Me Smile

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Sunrise seen from the top of Haleakala crater, Maui, Hawaii

Trent over at Trent’s World has been posting “smile” posts. Today’s prompted a long comment that, upon consideration, was just what I was looking to write for today’s post. Stop by and see Trent and read the comment I left for him, which I have copy/pasted below.

I thought about it for a long time. A private space that makes me smile? Maybe not private but every time I am with my family, it makes me smile. Even when there is nothing to smile about, there is. It doesn’t matter where we are, as long as we’re together.

In August of 2004, my three kids and I joined another family in Maui. I had been there quite a few times and one of the things I had really wanted to do was to go up to the top of Haleakala Crater to watch the sun rise. My ex didn’t like doing things like that so we had never gone. This time, I was in good company that appreciated some of the same things I did, including watching the sun rise over Haleakala, even though it was 5:00 in the morning and about 10 degrees with gusting winds! And I had all three of my kids with me to share it. It was worth getting up at an ungodly hour and driving up the steep winding road and standing in complete darkness, shivering. That sunrise was magnificent. When I need that memory…that inspiration…I pull that out of my past and set it right in front of me to remind me of the beauty, the perfection, the serenity, and the promise that the moment held. Then, all things are possible, including smiles.

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I seem to be very emotional today. I’m not sure why. We had a very good trip. We spent the day in Tacoma with the boys’ other grandparents before heading home. All is fine here. The kitty missed me and is letting me know I should not leave her alone again.

And yet, I find myself getting teary with almost everything. A post on FB; song lyrics; a movie I put on to get over my emotional state (White Christmas). Everything. It might be because it is getting to me that I won’t be spending Christmas with two of my kids. It might be because I will be turning 60 in a couple of weeks. It might be because I want the whole world to be a better place. It might be because I’m tired. It might be because of the season. It might be because I miss my sisters and because although my three brothers have been gone for years, this is the first Christmas without my dad and the combination of all of them being gone is getting to me.

It has been a very busy, emotional, scary, and exciting year. Things seem to have happened on someone else’s plan, not mine. There is also so much that is unknown for me personally right now.

I think it has all snowballed from last January when I first started to feel sick to now when I don’t know where I will be this time next year.

I wanted to write a happy post; a positive one; but it just isn’t happening today. I’ll try to turn that around for tomorrow.

Do you get emotional at Christmas time? What do you do to “fix” that?

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Goodbye to NaNoWriMo for another year!  Yay. This was a really tough November.

At the beginning of the month, my attention was captured by a few Facebook posts in the various NaNoWriMo groups. Some were really funny and some were sad. Most were humorous. Some just “uniquely ordinary.” I thought I might make a few posts highlighting each variety. Then stuff started to happen and I was sick and I pretty much bowed out of the FB NaNoWriMo groups til the end of the month.  So those posts never happened. So…fresh fodder!

The first was sad and made me think a lot:

“I’m withdrawing from this year’s NaNoWriMo to work on my marriage.” It made me think about the individual (whom I don’t know) and their life and I figured they had their priorities straight and silently wished them luck.

This next one falls in the category of “excuses, excuses,” not to mention just plain stupidity:

“I was just about to start my NaNoWriMo project when I spilled my coffee all over my laptop. My keyboard is now fried.”

Then came the winner. I read it late at night when I was still up trying to get some writing done because my daughter had needed me for most of the day and night and I had not done any writing. I guess you could say it hit the spot. It had me laughing and depositing Sprite Zero all over my screen (thank goodness not on the keyboard!). It’s written by a great grandmother participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time, Annie Aronson (she said I could use her name and her words):

“Am I the only NaNo writer with rude, insensitive family members who don’t give a rip about the importance of this month? I have two, in particular, that don’t care a fig if I’m successful at this or not, and I’m ready to end the ongoing emotional abuse. Just because they’re younger than I am–hell, who isn’t?–and related to me, they think they can steal my word writing time. I’m going to set them both straight today, just as soon as they wake up from their naps. I don’t care if they bat their big blue eyes or pucker their little pouty lips! Grandma isn’t going to give in this time! I’m going to go and have a stiff drink and prepare myself to put a 3 year old and a 4 year old in their places. I’m gonna kick butt and take no prisoners.”

And with that I bid November 2015 a not so fond farewell! And to NaNoWriMo, same time next year!

 

 

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She had not gone with them one that Sunday. She was sick in bed. They were off to get pizza and play at that mouse pizza place. A couple of hours later, she knew they would be home soon so she got up and got dressed so she wouldn’t be in bed still sick. She knew she should make an effort to look well and get out of bed and join the family. As she washed her face, she caught sight of herself in the mirror and she paused and smiled at her reflection. She thought how lucky she was to be in this marriage and have her three beautiful children and a husband that loved her and that she loved in return. Then the moment was over and she finished getting ready just as they walked in the door.

Her husband went into the kitchen to put the leftovers in the fridge, pausing in the den to turn the TV on for the kids. Then, when he came into the room, he went into his closet and got out his duffle bag and started packing clothes. Confused and thinking maybe he had a business trip she had forgotten about she asked him where he was going.

“Away.”

“Where? Did I forget a trip?”

“No. I’m just leaving.”

She felt a chill down her spine and a thought flashed through her mind: nothing would ever be the same in her life ever again.

“What do you mean? Where are you leaving to?”

“I don’t know. I just have to get out of here.”

“Why?” The rest of the words were stuck inside her head.

“Just because. I’m tired of being here. I’m tired of being married to you.” He kept packing, putting his shaving things in the bag.

“Did I do something wrong? What did I do?” She didn’t want to cry so she said as few words as possible.

“No. I’m just tired of it. I need time and space.” He headed for the door as quickly as he could. She followed as she asked if he was going to say something to the kids. He said he was not. So she did.

“Kids, come here quickly. Come say good bye to your dad. He’s leaving now.” They came running and asked where Daddy was going.

“Away. He isn’t going to live here anymore. He wants to live alone.”

“I’m don’t want to be away from you guys. I just have to leave. I can’t stay here.”

“Give Daddy a hug and a kiss.”

They did. They were confused, more so than she was but they still said good bye and kissed their father.

Then he was gone.

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