Archive | June, 2013

Strong Words To Live By

29 Jun

Many of seem to dwell on the past, to the point where it almost consumes us entirely.  A weekly dose of these strong words may help in remembering to let go of the past and look to the future!

Inspiration

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Cars Do Not Like Me

27 Jun

car

So this past week has been like hell, seriously.  Not only is it about 110 degrees every single day here in the beautiful deep south, but I have had the worst luck with cars.  Yes, I did lose my van a few weeks ago in an unforgettable car wreck, however, I was fortunate enough to have a really good friend let me borrow her car, a Mustang, until I got myself situated.  Mind you, a Mustang is NOT comfortable at all for someone my size and for a mother of 3 kids, one in which is almost resembling a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys (I’m biased here 😀 ).  But I am grateful and not complaining, that is, until her car decided to kick in the Anti-theft system and refused to start.  Yep, I stepped out to turn the car on and nothing except a clicking noise was coming from under the dashboard.  So I called my friend, heart pounding wildly thinking that I may have screwed something up, and I asked her if there was any reason her car would not start.  She said no of course and proceeded to come to my house to see what the issue was, well I knew the issue, IT WOULDN’T START! Ok, ok, calm down.  She brought jumper cables and after pushing her car (and scalding our hands) to get it aligned with her truck we tried them and nothing.  So what did we do?  We called our mechanics at our work and asked for help.  They came to our aid and unfortunately the car had to be towed to the shop.  It ended up being nothing but a fried battery terminal wire.

By that time I had already been in contact with a sales guy at a different shop and informed him of the situation.  He generously brought me a beautiful blue Ford Expedition, I’m not a fan of gas guzzlers but I am a fan of big SUVs with Dallas Cowboy colors.  This is the vehicle I decided to buy and I went home happy that night.  My kids and I even made an unnecessary trip clear across town just to test drive our new car.  It drove smoothly the entire way with an awesome A/C to cool us off in this horrid Texas heat and a nice sound system to drown out all the excess noises of the outside world.

Well it couldn’t be that easy could it?  The very next day I was leaving for lunch and when I went to turn the key it made a horrible grinding noise and the vehicle did NOT start! Are you freaking kidding me??? This is precisely what I walked in damn near screaming to my co-workers.  Am I doomed to not drive for the rest of my life?  Do I have some sort of disease that is causing these vehicles to NOT be operable for me?  So my friend and I went to check it out and of course it started for her right away! No screeching, no grinding noise whatsoever, it was almost mocking me, making me look like a fool, as if I had made the entire thing up.   Whatever, I told her I would keep an eye on it for now and if anything I would bring it to the shop.

So for now I am driving something beautiful and roomy that my kids and I both love but I’m biding my time until the next malfunction occurs.  The good thing is that now I have full coverage so if any idiot wants to “fall asleep” at the wheel while driving behind me, I dare you!

Nostalgia

22 Jun

la bamba

I am sitting in my cozy living room on a beautiful Saturday morning, my front door is open allowing the gorgeous sun-kissed rays shine through my screen door, my front lawn is getting watered by a spinning sprinkler, all the while I am watching the movie La Bamba, the story of aspiring star Ritchie Valens and his untimely death in a horrific plane crash.  This movie signifies so many things for me, some sad, some happy, but they all have one thing in common, nostalgia.  Watching this movie does something to me in a sense that it triggers feelings I have deep in my beating heart, memories that I have kept hidden within my soul, away from outsiders.

When I was about 10 years old my grandmother owned a big, beautiful home in Reynosa, a city located on the border of Mexico and Texas along the Rio Grande River.  I remember sitting in her living room watching this movie on her huge box tv set.  There was no flat screen, no HD tv, no DVR.  This movie was watched using a VCR, our version of a DVD player back then.  My grandmother would be standing behind me ironing some clothes while I watched the movie uttering every single word because I knew it by heart.  The relevance between the characters in this movie and a couple of my family members was significantly synonymous, and we all knew this. Ritchie Valens resembled my uncle H and Bob, Ritchie’s brother, resembled my uncle L, not only by looks but by attitude and persona.  My uncle L was for the most part considered to be the tough one, while my uncle H was more of the mellow type.  Circumstances that I wish to keep confidential for their safety separated these brothers at very young ages.  Due to a mistake made by my uncle H he was not with us at the time and it would be over 20 years before he would be back with us, and my uncle L was in and out of our lives, getting himself into trouble here and there.  Watching this movie until the very end was always heartbreaking for us because we all knew what was going to happen, Ritchie’s death, which affected us deeply since my uncle H wasn’t around.    We would literally sob out loud, especially at the very end when Bob yells out his brother’s name, epic part of the movie.  Why we kept torturing ourselves is unknown, at least to each other, for I’m sure individually we all knew deep down why we watched the movie.

Watching this movie also brings up a time in my childhood in which Mexico was peaceful, beautiful and so serene that we enjoyed spending every moment possible over there.  Thanksgivings, Christmas gatherings, Easter egg hunts and trips to the mountains and beautiful Mexican resorts are memories in the past, memories I wish I could relive for not only myself but for my children.  Border violence right now is making that virtually impossible and it upsets me that I am not able to introduce my children to the beauty that I once knew.  For the moment describing my memories and demonstrating pictures of the pretty, unscathed portions of Mexico is all I can offer them.  But this isn’t enough.  Words and pictures cannot express the beauty that is Mexico, at least parts not affected by all the violence.   The mountains with their picturesque cloud tops, volcanoes, national parks, and beaches are just some of nature’s beauty that I got to experience.  parque nacional

paricutinThe above pictures are of a national park in Michoacán called El Parque Nacional and the other is of a volcano called El Paricutin in the same state in Mexico.  These are only a couple of the locations I visited when I went to Mexico as a child.  The picture below consists of El Cici, a waterpark located on the beaches of Acapulco in Mexico.  This is another beautiful and majestic place that I had the privilege of visiting as a child.  cici-water-park

A ranch high up in the mountains of Mexico, away from civilization, no electricity and no running water also has a place in my heart from my childhood.  I know what you are thinking, no electricity and no running water, how is that a good thing?  It was, to me and other members of my family.  It was simply peaceful out there, lying out in a hammock in the middle of the night, gazing up at the clear sky dotted with diamond-like bright stars.   In the mornings we would walk up the mountain to a small location which had the cows and proceed to milk them.  I kind of struggled with this for a bit but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  We even had a donkey, it actually belonged to my aunt and she loved it so much.  When it came time to shower we would travel down the mountain along a narrow path to a small watering hole with fresh water.  This was our shower and it was by far the most wonderful feeling ever.  It was natural.  It came from the mountains. patas del diablo

This picture is of a mountain side we would drive through every single time we would visit Mexico.  This location is called “las patas del Diablo” translation, “the feet of the devil”.  This was one sure sign that we were nearing our destination and we would always look forward to this mountainside to try and capture some pictures.  These are the days I yearn for and hope to one day be able to expose my children to this beauty.

It is amazing how one movie with an awesome soundtrack can dig up hidden, nostalgic feelings.  Joyful or melancholy, superb or dreadful, I truly appreciate watching a successful movie such as this over and over again so that I may, even if it is for the smallest of moments, relive in my heart the moments I had as an innocent child.

Forced Smiles

20 Jun

Forced Smiles

Forced Smiles

We all have these, especially single moms struggling in this heart-wrenching economy.  Lately it’s as if I have had nothing but forced smiles.  For a while it seemed like so many things were going right in my life, and at the snap of some fingers my life seems to have begun going in the wrong direction.  As much as I am trying not to let this deter me, it has taken all my strength to not only put on this forced smile but to keep it on.  And it’s never ending.  I have to put on a forced smile at work or I could be reprimanded for allowing my personal problems affect my job performance.  I have to put on a forced smile around family members or I face an entourage with their onslaught of never-ending questions.  Forced smiles are automatically required at home simply because my children are too young to be subjected to my personal problems, problems that are only getting worse by the minute.  Car accident, work stress, family issues, money issues and the worst yet, the person responsible for my accident had no insurance, which means he basically totaled my vehicle, left me without a car, left me fending for myself and scraping nickels and dimes to try and buy another vehicle in the near future.  This person altered my life in a huge way and he gets to go on about his merry way, while I, a single mom of three struggles once again meanwhile being set back to square one.  I shouldn’t be selfish for things could have been worse, but I am extremely upset and bitter at the moment, mainly at how something like this can happen and no one is held responsible.  Nevertheless, I am maintaining this forced smile for the time being until I am able to get my life back on track, until this forced smile can become a genuine smile.

Inspiration for Nature Lovers!

20 Jun

ducks

This is a very sweet and inspirational read for all you nature lovers.  I used to live in this city many years ago and am thrilled that someone took the time to help these little ones and a momma in distress!  Please read. You will love it!  They filmed the rescue too!

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/ducklings-rescued-storm-drain-reunited-mama-140653821.html?vp=1

Car Shopping Like Grocery Shopping?

20 Jun

car shopping

See that car in the basket, I wish it was that simple.  Why can’t buying a car be like choosing milk and eggs at a grocery store?  I mean seriously.  Because of this irresponsible driver that rammed into my van and totaled it last week I have been in the market for a new or used car, no preferences whatsoever.  However, it seems that I have a better chance at becoming the next playboy bunny at Hugh Hefner’s mansion, and let me just say, I do NOT have the body of a playboy bunny.  For the last week I have been searching online, filling out applications, speaking to salesman who promise me the best deal only to receive no return phone call.  I do have money for a down payment, maybe not enough in their eyes for it seems like nowadays unless you are a millionaire they expect you to handover your next two month’s worth of paychecks to qualify for even a semi decent vehicle.  I’m not picky at all.  All I want is something a little roomy to accommodate myself and my three children.  Is that so much to ask?  I work in the car business and it is nowhere near as difficult to finance with us.  However, for reasons I am keeping confidential, I choose to forego purchasing at the dealership I work at.  Today I was able to test drive two vehicles but it was late in the afternoon, so unfortunately I will have to go through another restless night and wait until tomorrow to hear a decision.  This has been one of the toughest weeks at work and I foresee a bottle of some sort of hard liquor in the near future to recuperate.  Not only have I had to borrow a friend’s car for the past week, but we are undergoing an audit at work all the while having to attend physical therapy in the afternoons every day.  I only hope a great weekend is to come and that I may have a vehicle of my own once again.  Nevertheless, I have remained strong through it all not only for myself, but for my children whom I am doing my best to keep out of all the stresses going on in my life right now. They are after all my innocent babies.

Uprooting Your Kids May Not Always Be A Good Thing

18 Jun

faith

I know I had promised to write about my struggles as a single mom and it seems as though I haven’t been doing that all.  In fact, I have been doing quite the opposite in writing poems and sharing some photography instead.  But I divert to writing my first blog about a rather recent struggle I had as a single mom and I hope to inspire other women (men) who have gone or are currently going through a situation similar to mine.

So about 3 long years ago I was blessed to have been offered the job I currently have.  I was hired as an AP Clerk at a medium sized car dealership with limited accounting experience, but the person who hired me did so with the intentions of training me into becoming her, a Financial Controller.  During those 3 years there were many ups and down, some write ups for doing a few things incorrectly, some scolding and lectures, and last year leading into the early part of this year was in all honesty the worst.  In November of 2012, after several months of being bashed by my boss and having made a huge mistake at work I decided to quit.  I gave my two week notice, however, because of cash handling I was let go that same day.  Several days later right before Thanksgiving I decided to email my ex-boss and let her know the reason I quit.  Not even a few minutes later my phone rang and my heart literally stopped beating, at least it felt like it did.  It was my boss.  I reluctantly answered the phone and she proceeded to ask me why I quit and if I had thought my decision through.  Well after a few minutes she asked me to go in and meet with her the following day to see about getting my job back.  The following day I went in and was offered my job back, hoping that my boss’s attitude had changed as others had informed me it had.  This was short-lived, for she became her old self within a month and in January 2013 I quit again.  This time there was no two week notice.  I just walked out and never looked back…until a month later, but we will get to that in a bit.

When I quit in January I realized how selfish it was of me.  I found myself with no job in a struggling economy and 3 kids to support.  I unfortunately did what most adults despise doing, I called my mom who lived a couple of hours away and asked if I could stay with her.  So a few weeks later in late January I moved with my mother.  I uprooted my kids, not paying attention to how they would be affected, and moved them to another school.  This was by far the worst decision I made.  Not because I didn’t want to live with my mom, quite the opposite, I love my mother very much.  Actually, the minute my kids started this new school they began to get into trouble.  My youngest was getting SUSPENDED from school!  How does a 5 year manage to get suspended? Did she attack someone with a crayon or some glue??  Nonetheless, my baby girl was kicked out for a day almost every other day.  My son got into his first scuffle ever with another kid.  I have to biased here and mention that my son has NEVER been the type to fight with anyone.  My 8 year old seemed to show no remorse when they had a couple of lock-down situations at the school.  I would need to borrow your hands and feet to count how many times I received phone calls to go pick up my children.  I was at my wits ends.  I would cry on my way to the school and it became downright embarrassing.  All the while I couldn’t find a job and because of having to go to the school constantly I missed several great job interviews.  I had many great prospects all with the same response, “You seem very qualified we will let you know once we interview the other candidates”, and then, no phone call.  This went on for a whole month and when it seemed like I would never find anything the weirdest thing happened, I was offered a great position in that same city, and I received a phone call from my old boss in which I was offered a position to return.  This was by far one of the most difficult decisions I had to make and I literally had to weigh out the pros and cons.  They both pretty much offered the same starting pay, but what swayed my decision was the fact that my kids were not happy with the move to this new city.  They were not comfortable in this new environment, and although I wanted to stay a bit longer with my mom and siblings I knew right away that my kids came first.  So with a heartbreaking decision, I packed up our stuff and moved myself and my children back to my hometown.  With the help of my boss I was able to find a house to rent and she provided me with a sign on bonus that helped with having some startup cash.  I immediately enrolled my kids in school and daycare, which I knew was difficult because this was already their 3rd school in a couple of months.  But, they finished their school year off with awesome grades and no misbehaviors reported.  We were home.

I was offered a higher title, I was finally offered my title of Financial Controller with a bit more pay with a potential for a raise in 3 months, in which I was reviewed and given another raise.  I feel that I am truly blessed even though I encountered several scary bumps along the way.  This is life though.  It will never be smooth sailing.  We just need to know how to stay strong and “keep on truckin” when the going gets bad.  I have learned a lot about myself.  I have learned to not make hasty decisions that will affect my children.  They are the most important people in my life and I am truly grateful for being given a 3rd opportunity to work for the company I do.  This is just another “trial or tribulation” that I can check off as “conquered”.

P.S. In case you are wondering why I haven’t quit a 3rd time, my boss with the crazy attitude quit about a week after I returned.  We have remained friends outside of work and she has become my confidant in many areas of my life.

The Typewriter

17 Jun

typewriterTypewriter?  Does anyone remember these dinosaurs?  Yesterday I was sitting in my cozy living room watching “My Girl” with my children and the scene in which Dan Akroyd is typing up an obituary and Jamie Lee Curtis walks in popped up.  Out of nowhere my 8 year old yells “what the heck is that”?   I laughed out loud and explained to her that a typewriter is a laptop to her now, and it was our “laptop” back then.  With a stunned look on her face, she turned to me and asked “seriously”?  My 8 year old has a way of making me feel like a 100 year old relic.  So I proceeded to “educate” my daughter and explain to her that the world evolves and we evolve with it.  I explained how there were no cell phones, tablets, ipods, Xboxes,  or internet back then.  Her big, beautiful wide eyes are all I needed to reassure me that I am not getting any younger in this world.  One of these days I will probably introduce my children to the world of black and white box televisions, typewriters, Nintendo and the beeper.   I’m not sure how well that will sit with them, but I think it is important for them to know what was versus what is.  This may or may not teach them a thing or two about valuing what they have for it wasn’t always so advanced.   I think about the future and wonder what else it can possibly evolve into.   What else can technology throw at us?  Whatever it is I know my kids will be glad it’s not the typewriter.

Happy Father’s Day…..Single Moms Included!

16 Jun

fathers day

Happy Father’s Day!  How many of us take this day for granted?  How many people out in this large, vast world of ours do not have the privilege of saying these three heartfelt words?  Many of us say this with no real meaning behind it.  I for one have been guilty of this in the past for I have repeated these words just because it is the customary thing to do in America.  We have been trained, nurtured to call our fathers’ on this very day to utter these three words and yet we do not take the time to step back and be blessed at the fact that we can say it.  I have several friends who would love the opportunity to see their father at least one more time let alone be able to say these words to him.  Please do not take this day for granted.  When you call or visit your dad, don’t let these be empty words.

Today I took the time to step back and think about my fathers.  Yes, I have been blessed with having two dads, my birth father and my stepfather.  Although we do not see eye to eye on many things, I love them both equally.  Both of these wonderful men have played a huge part in shaping the person who I am today (and I think they did a pretty damn good job).  Unfortunately one lives out of town, so I was not able to spend time with him, but I made sure to call him and let him know that I consider him my father just the same as my birth father and I love him equally.   My birth father unfortunately has a very stressful job so I spent time with him yesterday in order for him to rest in preparation of an upcoming distressing Monday, but that did not stop me from calling and assuring that he knows I love him and was thinking about him today.

fathers day mom

But what else does Happy Father’s Day mean?  Well today I received a text message from my very beautiful and talented younger sister.  It read “Happy Father’s Day sis……love yaaa”!  Yes you can tell by the text that she is a teenager, but a rather smart one at that.  See, I stared at her text for a couple seconds, puzzled at her words, and then it donned on me, I am a single mother and I play the part of father as well as mother.  This is my day too!  Her text brought tears to my eyes, for she remembered and this meant a whole lot to me coming from a 19 year old college student.  So for all you single mothers out there doing double the work, this day is for you too!  Happy Father’s Day single moms!

Enjoy your special day fathers and single moms!  I know I will. 😀

Treasure Your Loved Ones…and Your Life

11 Jun

Life-is-precious

Life is precious but not eternal.  Today I was snapped back into reality for a brief amount of time reminding me that I need to treasure my life and my loved ones.  Earlier today I was involved in a car accident and the fact that it wasn’t minor but it wasn’t major was a rude awakening for me.  So many things went through my mind as I kept replaying the impact over and over again in my head.  What if my kids were with me?  What if the responsible party had been driving a little faster?  What if I would have just driven on the other lane instead of the one I was in?  So many what ifs that will probably haunt me for a while and will remain unanswered forever.  I know that I shouldn’t dwell on this and I will do anything I can to stay away from those thoughts.  For now I can only thank God that I was alone.  This is one “what if” that I know I won’t be able to let go of so soon.  See, we drive (drove) a minivan and my two younger daughters enjoyed sitting in the very back of the van where the groceries are placed.  I know, please scold me here, that my daughters were not supposed to sit back there.  Up until today I was one of those parents who kind of took life for granted and never thought an accident such as this would happen.  Had my girls been with me, there is about an 80% chance that they would have been sitting in the very back where the brunt of the accident occurred.  The rear end of my van was completely caved in and the back windshield had completely shattered.  It sickens me to my stomach to think of what could have transpired had my baby girls been with me today or my precious son who usually sits in the front with me.  He could have sustained whiplash just as bad as I did, or worse.  This is one rude awakening that I welcome with open arms.  It is exactly what I needed to remind me that life is precious but in the blink of an eye it can all come crashing down.   Parents please learn from this and if you happen to be one of those who also take life for granted, don’t.  Several hours after the accident and I am still crying over what happened and what could have happened.  I have learned from my foolish mistakes but I thank God for having kept my children out of harm’s way.

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