Consumers R Us

I know I should be used to it by now, but I'm not.

It still surprises me that my cupboards and refrigerator can be fully stocked one week and then Bwammo! everything seems to be gone the next. Like gone, gone. With nothing but crumbs and cobwebs left behind. *sigh*

I once heard someone say that assembly-line workers were apt to depression because their work was so repetitive and they never felt like they made any progress.

Hell0-0-0-0! What about moms??

Especially us, Cuban mothers, whose self-esteem rises and falls depending on the satisfaction of their family and guests. (And okay, I know that's irrational and wrong, but that's not important right now.)

Today, Self-Portrait Tuesday finds me where you will always usually find me on Tuesdays, and surprisingly also on Thursdays, Saturdays and the odd-Monday afternoon.

I like to call this one:

"Mami in her natural habitat."

My face at the store

It's time for a Costco run now... ;-)

Good Enough

A few short years ago, you would not have found me in many pictures.

In fact, aside from Christmas card photos or group photos, you'd be hard pressed to find me in any of our family events. I have always been more comfortable behind the camera documenting everyone else's lives. Besides, we People Of The Round Face are not the most photogenic, but that's not important right now.

A few short years ago, I would not even be sharing my life so openly or candidly or so...publicly.

My children's first steps, first teeth, first foods, first bath, first days of school - all photographed and catalogued and annotated in albums. My firsts, or any other part of my own life for that matter (as the youngest of six kids from a Cuban refugee family), not so much.

I don't know when it happened exactly. I think it was after my dad passed away and I was looking fondly at old photos of him. My dad was not particularly handsome, but I remember thinking as I looked at photos of him that he had great skin and a pleasant face and I was sad that I did not know more about the details of his life.

I realized then that I had actually been a bit selfish in my self-consciousness. By not including photos of myself and sharing my own story, I was doing my kids a disservice.

And so, in spite of my un-photogenic-ness (<---that should totally be a word), I go ahead and post my photos on my blog for all the cyber-world to see (sometimes too often? =D) and I tell my own stories with a certain amount of abandon. 

So what if I'm not beautiful or particularly photogenic.

Like my dad, I've got great skin and a pleasant face. And that's good enough, don't you think?

Grainy me  

Not my real life

So, we're in beautiful La Jolla. (pronounce like "la hoya" not the Bugs Bunny way, of "la joe-la", but that's not important right now.)

And our hotel is Right. On. The. Sand. (I know. Shut up.)

And the sea is warm.

And we're spending HOURS in the water.

And then we lazily make our way back to the hotel (about twelve whole steps) to take a quick dip in the pool. But we end up staying by the pool for the rest of the afternoon because they have these yummy and cushy chaise-lounges.

And just when I think I can take no more of this lazy luxury, we come in from our day in the sun and I find.... The Robe.

A pristine white-microfibery-awesome-plushness of a robe. With the hotel's logo sweetly embroidered in gold.

And it's at that exact moment that I start to feel super-pampered (and embarrasingly, slightly superior) and I put on this gorgeous symbol of all that is at once decadent and holy about life in Southern California.

And as I ask Lucy to snap a photo of me in the deliciousness of what is Me in The Fabulous Hotel Robe, I think hey! it's Tuesday. As in Self-Portrait Tuesday, and my next immediate thought is,

"Wow. This is sooo not my real life, but I am so going to blog about it anyway."  ;-)

"Yes, of course, I do stay at Fabulous Logo-Robe Resorts with astonishing regularity..."

But my conscience bugs...

The truth? I'm a total ''guajira."  (Guajira is a Cuban term for a simple, country-type person. Think bumpkin. =D)

I am easily amused. And easily amazed. By a simple white robe, for example.


But at least tell me the robe looked good....? *sigh*

The Lake

Today's Self-Portrait Tuesday involves one of my very favorite places in my town.

There's a lake here in Mission Viejo. Cleverly named Lake Mission Viejo by some original city founder. It's man-made and has two beaches.

I have been going to this lake since I was pregnant with Adam (23 years ago!) and to survive the hot Mission Viejo summers, I would take my then 3-year old Amy and park my beach chair directly in the water.  I'd stay cool. Amy would swim around me while I kept an eye on her and occasionally floated around. It was perfect.

The first summer we lived here in this house (without air-conditioning!! What were you thinking, Tract Home Designers of the 70's???), we quickly noticed that the heat was unbearable and we had to be out of the house by 11 AM.

Of course, I am married to Mr. Problem-Solving Guy, who quickly re-insulated the entire house himself, had the South-East facing windows tinted to keep the first smoldering rays of the summer sun from incinerating us into carbon, and for which I'm grateful, but that's not important right now.

And, by Day Two of the Unbearable Heat That Is Summer In Mission Viejo, he had already had a new air-conditioner installed because, well, he probably wanted to stay married. ;-)

The Lake (let's just call it that because, well, that's what we call it) is a short 4 minute drive from door-to-water. When the kids were little, we went there just about everyday.

The water is warm in the summer.
There are no waves.
You can rent sailboats, or party boats or canoes.
On summer weekends there are concerts and fireworks (which we can see from our front door).
It's perfect for soaking, and swimming, and generally splashing about.

Yesterday afternoon, Amy came over after her Zumba class all hot and sweaty and in need of cooling off (maybe that was an over-share?)

"Let's go to The Lake," she suggested.

I resisted at first with some tired arguments. Really there was no good reason, besides just being lazy. And I always tell my kids that "Lazy is not an acceptable excuse." (I do. I tell them that. And I mean it.)

So I threw on my suit and made Lucy and Jonathan and his friend, Jonah, who happened to be here, go with us.

I had forgotten how much I loved The Lake.

How could I have forgotten this?

Since the kids are now older and always want to surf or boogie board or something, we have been going to the beach pretty regularly, ignoring our deliciously refreshing Lake (just 4 minutes! from our house).

I love The Lake.


The water is walk-right-into warm. And clear. And beautiful. And soothing for tired bones and nerves. And you don't have to constantly keep looking over your shoulder to see if you're about to get trounced by the next big wave, because of course, there are no waves. So you can just float and actually swim! and relax. Did I mention the relaxing part?

The boys, of course, were off in a flash with snorkels and masks to locate and follow the fish that populate The Lake. (There are fishing tournaments and you can rent party boats and sail. Did I mention that The Lake was a wonderful place to play?)

Lake boys

Lucy, Amy and I just swam around and then, exhausted, sat in our beach chairs and read until the sun went down.

Lake chairs
[ALERT: Yes, that's the Cuban flag on the chair on the left. Can you imagine the headline? Cubans spotted at Lake Mission Viejo! Story at 11.]  =D

All that to say this:

I'm going to be scheduling a lot more Lake Days this summer. Oh, yes...

And here's my Self-Portrait for today:
Lake spt
I call it: "Toes in the Lake."  ;-)

Miles of Smiles.

Self-portrait Tuesday once again...

Some things ALWAYS make me smile (in no particular order)...

1) Cuban food.
2) Disneyland.
3) Clean sheets.
4) When my kids love on each other.
5) Telling a really great story.
6) Cuban music.
7) Connecting with old friends.
8) My mom telling me she loves me.
9) Lucy's laugh.
10) A box from Amazon on my doorstep.

Spt 071409

Today is a good day.  =)

And you?
Can you think of 10 things that make you smile?
Would you share them here with me?

Leave your 10 items in the comment section.

Oh wait - I have one more!

11) Blog comments. (shut up.)

A summer story in three acts

Self-Portrait Tuesday again. (See the category cloud for more information. And you know what? I really need to create a logo for this to make it more official, but that's not important right now.)

Act one:

She gets a Killer Pedicure.

Act two:

She goes down to Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach.

Act three:

She photographs her toes for Self-Portrait Tuesdays and is convinced that, in this case, the picture really is worth a thousand words.

The End.  =D

Self-Portrait Tuesdays. The Real Thing.

What happened to Self-Portrait Tuesdays, you're asking?

Well, I've been Self-Portraiting on Tuesdays over on Facebook. (So, if you're on Facebook, look up and join Self-Portrait Tuesdays.) I know. Sorry. I'm a little A.D.D. and I get easily distracted, but that's not important right now.

The Self-Portrait thing started a few years ago as a way to document what was happening in my life and also because I NEVER, ever allowed myself to be photographed. (My face if just kind of round and flat and I'm not very photogenic, but I finally decided, after lots of self-portraiting, that I have kind of a pleasant face after all.)

But I was always the one behind the camera until I finally decided that that was not okay and it was a hurdle I just had to work through. And so I did.  =D

Most of my self-portraits are contained in an art journal and involve paper and paint and photos and colored pencils, and they were fun and messy and expressive, but hey, it's the age of technology, so there's that.

Here's an old SPT from my art journal.

Spt roles027

My daughter, Amy (Kikita) started the SPT  (short for Self-Portrait Tuesday - how cool is that?) Group on Facebook for everyone to post their self-portraits. But I realized that not everyone is on Facebook, and I hate to exclude anyone from this, so how about....

If you have a blog, post your self-portrait there and link back here in the comment section. (Keep it clean, por favor. =D)

Here's my Self-Portrait today....

The REAL thing. Like Coca-Cola.  ;-)

Fat Tuesday

Another fabulous post by Kikita

A few days ago, a box arrived at my home. And abuela was instantly excited. From the outside of the box, she and I both knew the glorious heaven that lay inside. And she reminded me about the game. About how there is a baby Jesus somewhere in the cake and whoever gets the piece with him in it has to buy the next cake.


BUT . . . there was more than just the "kingly" cake inside!


THERE WERE GOODIES!! Coffee, a cd, a magazine, Mardi Gras beads and a note:

I couldn't wait to see Sheila & her tree again . . . no, really. I couldn't.

In fact, I didn't.

I took the cake to work and had it for breakfast, lunch, tea, or any other time I felt like having it.


So, needless to say, I found the baby . . . and I may consider sending away for another cake (to actually share with Sheila this time).


Today I had 3 pieces (I was determined to find Jesus). And find him I did!

Yes, feeling rather fat now. And it's Tuesday, so I guess it's appropriate. Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. HA!

Well, what can I say?

Laissez le bon temps rouler!!

(Oh yeah, and THANKS BILLY!!)