Monday, October 31, 2011

A Healthy Fear Of Death

I know that everything that lives must die. I know this. I was a pretty good biology student (listen- you repeat a class twice you get DARN GOOD at it!). It doesn't mean I have to be present for the dying process.

I don't like visiting sick and/or dying people in hospitals. The elderly creep me out. People with certain mental (or other) challenges make me uncomfortable. And funerals? Yeah, don't even bother inviting me. Anything that can be construed as or even hints of "death" needs to stay far away from me.

Today I heard that someone I know, who previously found cancer in their lungs, now has it in their brain. This is, of course, horrible news. I KNOW THIS. But the minute Mami said, "So are they still in the hospital? When are you going to visit?" My knee-jerk response is "Who said I was going to the hospital?" And that was followed by a lecture on how I need to get over it and visit because nothing helps a person heal faster than people showing they care. And I get this, too. It helps to lift people's spirits.

But Mami also forced me to visit my uncle/godfather Angelo in the hospital when he was dying of AIDS and that was horrifying for me. I was just a kid! (OK, maybe I was 18 but still. A KID!) And you can ask anyone present at my grandmother's funeral I DON'T DO WELL WITH DEATH.

Honestly, I don't want to look into the eyes of someone who knows their time is up. I don't have anything to offer except my fear and discomfort. And I know this part is stupid and not possible because, again, I was a pretty good biology student, but I DON'T WANT TO CATCH IT! I don't want to breath death's air! OH MY GOD I'm sorry to say it but it's how I feel! I don't want that chill up my spine. I don't want to hear a deathbed confession. I don't want to see what the cancer is going to do to them and frankly, I shouldn't have to!

My grandmother, YES OF COURSE I took the next flight out to see her entombed because that woman raised me and I loved her like no other. That funeral I HAD TO attend. But you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of my immediate family to get me near a grave again.

It sounds selfish, I know, and I should get over it because everyone dies and I cannot avoid funerals forever. And I'm truly sorry that this person is really ill right now, but... man, when Mami drags me to that hospital it's all I'll be able to do to not have a full-blown anxiety attack.

*smooches...hoping the treatments work*
then I'd have nothing to worry about because they'll be home. Selfish, I know...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Understanding Life

I might have mentioned before that every Friday I get an inspirational email from Brian Delmenico of Circuit of Change and besides the transformation stories on Mark's Daily Apple (and the fact that the weekends begin at 5PM!) it's why Friday brings me much joy.

This morning's email did not disappoint.

I have a bunch of things I'm trying to accomplish at the same time before the New Year that I won't go into but it's keeping me pretty busy. And whenever I get to the point where I'm like UGH FUCK THIS WHOLE SHIT! I'LL JUST BE A BUM! something always brings me back. Brian's email was that 'something' today:

When I was 5 years old, my
mom always told me that
happiness was the key to life.
When I went to school, they
asked me what I wanted to be
when I grew up.
I wrote down "Happy."
They told me that I didn't
understand the assignment.
I told them they didn't
understand life. - author unknown

I won't be giving up. I, too, want to grow up to be happy.

*smooches...wishing you much progress on your dreams*
you know I can't be fully happy unless y'all are happy, too! Here- HAPPINESS FOR EVERYONE!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sometimes I Miss...

...being pregnant. Something about having that massive, solid belly upon which I could rest things (plates, books, etc) was so comforting. I mean, up until the eighth month when all you want is to reach in and rip that rumbly-tumbly child out yourself.

...having long hair. It wasn't too long ago but I miss having it hang down my back. I miss whipping it around on the dance floor during heavy metal sets at a dive bar.

...that day. That age. That close-knit family that saw each other all the time and spent every summer and school holiday together. And that woman, especially.

...these wittle baby fwaces!

...Dominican house parties: too much food, music busting out your eardrums, half-drunk Heineken bottles everywhere and inappropriate dancing with grabby dudes (well, maybe not that last part).

*smooches...reminiscing on a rainy day*
what do you miss?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Yesterday, Twitter featured a "Dominican Problems" trending topic that was supposed to feature some funny/true issues unique to Dominican people. There were silly ones, ignorant ones and some that served as social commentary, and it was the latter that made me write this post.

When there are funny TTs on Twitter and they're harmless enough, I share them with K because we have a similar sense of humor. When I told her about "Dominican Problems" (which was probably fashioned after the "Meatball Problems" list from the reality TV show "Jersey Shore") she quickly retorted, "Oh, you mean like: I don't have enough money to support my three families?"

And of course I burst out laughing (because it's true) but then it made me sad that this is Ks impression of her people (because, well, it's true!).

Earlier this year we found out about my mother's grandfather, who had 40+ kids with three different women in La Descubierta. Let me explain this so you'll understand: La Descubierta is a small-ass town. It's the equivalent of a three-block radius in Rhode Island. SMALL. The cojones on this man...

Tie this in with the fact that my paternal grandmother had kids with three different men (and the Penzo dude that gave us our name was married to someone else when he fathered my father, aunts and uncles. Meaning my grandmother was his mistress. FOR SHAME!) and Mami & Titi Gloris have different dads (as do Mari & I) and well, K doesn't think too highly of Dominicans from the island (her words, not mine).

All she sees right now is infidelities and secret families and philandering husbands and single mothers, and I wish I could show her a different reality but those are few and far between (in ANY culture, unfortunately). I want her to be proud of her heritage, and I think on some small level she is, but she has no faith in the Dominican family structure.

It was never my intention to raise a Jaded child, but with ancestors like ours... ::sigh::

*smooches...not loving DRs reputation right now*
it's all a big joke until your child points out your people's ain't-shit-ness

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's Your Point Again?

By now we've all been inundated with reports about protests down on Wall Street (and apparently in other NYC locations and states), but I'm wondering how many of us even know WHY they're protesting?

Personally I have no clue why these random hippies have decided to camp out near my favorite Sephora store and Halal food carts, but rumor has it they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore! They are the 99%, GODDAMMIT, and they will be heard!!! About what? Your guess is as good as mine.

I've been to their website and read what I could but still, all I've learned is that there are lots of unemployed degree-holders in these streets and that corporate America is a mean ol' poopie-faced meanie.

Whatever it is that's got these unemployed Harvard grads' panties in a bunch, it can't help that they appear to be rather disorganized. I even asked around and I got the same answer- they're not doing anything other than sitting in and occupying a public space. How are you protesting for MONTHS and don't have an actual plan of action? Didn't you go to school? ISN'T THAT WHAT YOU KEEP BITCHING ABOUT- your over-priced education that no one forced you to take out loans for and now you don't feel like paying back? Then put something on paper! What are your demands, Blake? What are you going to do if those demands aren't met, Tristan? What exactly do you want Wall Street to do to get you to shower and quit ruining the sacred WTC money machine memorial so that King Bloomberg can continue to pimp us out to tourists from Omaha, Becky?

"...they are as a whole uninformed about things. And not addressing the real issues- racism, sexism, classism- because they are too busy beating on drums." -The F#$k-it List

That's what this protest is missing- a clear plan made up of possible solutions to the real problems affecting our economy. Until there is one I doubt the Wall Street fat cats will take them seriously. You're not hitting them where it hurts, crazy hippies, so they'll continue to step over you after the market closes, down some sushi & beer on John Street, run to catch the PATH train and head home to their fancy NJ estate.

And you will continue to be the butt of every joke.

*smooches...99 percent sure you haven't occupied shit, hippies*
call me when the protest gets real; I have a couple of vacation days I can take & a tambora I can borrow from N.

And shout out to Russell "Blood Diamond" Simmons and Kanye "Imma Let You Finish" West for standing with the hippies in solidarity. For a couple of hours before they flew off in a private jet and feasted on Taiwanese virgins. #sarcasm

Monday, October 24, 2011

How The Penzo Girls (FINALLY!) Met Julia Alvarez

Growing up like I did in my ivory tower, books became one of my only escapes. I read some of your typical kid stuff (Judy Blume and the like) and lots of horror and gore that someone under the age of 13 should ever read (Clive Barker and his kind). In all that time the stories were always about people that didn't resemble me and my family and friends at all, and I was OK with that as a child. Books were fantasy, a place to go when things at home are annoying. The last thing I wanted to read about my mom or cousin in a storybook!

But as I got older and all these books by African American authors became known to me, I got a little defensive and asked "Where are the Latino authors?" And I didn't mean Marquez or all those other European-ish people of Spanish descent. I wanted to read books by brown people who lived a bilingual life like I did.

At that point I was directed towards some really nice Mexican American/Chicano writers and that was cool and all, but I wanted my professors to understand that YES, Mexicans and Dominicans both speak Spanish and we have that in common, but our stories are different. Hell, even our Spanish is different! I had to specify that the brown people I was looking for were Caribbean, not Mayan or Andean or Incan.

Enter Julia Alvarez.

I read "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent" and immediately I fell in love. she was Dominican, LIKE ME, and she made a life for herself writing stories, LIKE I WANTED TO DO! It was the role model I had been looking for all my life (which, by the way, I never found in the sciences, either. Where are my Dominican scientists? I really needed y'all in college but I couldn't find you!). Afterward I read "In the Time of the Butterflies" and the sequel to Garcia Girls, "Yo!" and again- love, love, love!

So imagine how ecstatic I was to meet Ms. Alvarez at a reading last week in Washington Heights! She spoke to us about her amazing journey as a writer and the other endeavors she's undertaken as a result of her writing projects, and then read from her book about the heroic Mirabal sisters a.k.a. Las Mariposas (If you don't know who they are it's OK. I didn't either until I read her book. Google them now!).

The entire experience was so informative and enlightening and inspiring, and I especially loved sharing it with K (who is totally in love with the Mirabal Sisters' book), who was shaking- a ball full of nerves- as she spoke with and got her book signed by Ms. Alvarez. (N was there, too, but could give nan one fuck. Too bad, too, because I was going to name her Julia before everyone vetoed my choice.)

When it was my turn, I told Ms. Alvarez how much I admired her work and looked up to her and hoped my own writing would one day be as revered. She wished me luck in my craft and told me I was beautiful, and that my daughters were beautiful, and what a great, creative bunch we were. To say I almost died would not give the moment its props.

This memory will live on with me forever and ever. Guaranteed!

*smooches...because I'm STILL so happy I could just burst*
I've met other authors I admire before (Edwidge Dandicat, Zadie Smith, Walter Mosley, etc) but none made my heart stop like Ms. Alvarez. Not a one.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Real Quick Sorry...

...for all the times I stayed stuck on my Blackberry, ignoring you and what you had to say.

Now that I've gotten rid of my smartphone I see how obnoxious and rude it is to keep heads bowed and thumbs in position. Where have our manners gone? What has happened to our attention spans?

I truly apologize to you, you and you for every time I checked my Twitter timeline or emails while you were in mid-sentence about something that was important to you. All of that could have waited until I got home. And it was unnecessary for my phone to be on the table, between us, at dinner. I would have felt it vibrate from my pocket. I didn't need it within sight like an electronic security blanket.

And I really want to say sorry to myself, for allowing a machine to keep me from enjoying the moment, soaking in real, touchable, tangible life, and depending on faceless transmissions from a tiny screen to validate my existence.

This is not who I set out to be. I want to be the person who digs her bare feet into the dirt and becomes one with the world, and then sits there in the same dirt and writes about it. I want to be front row center at a show and let the music pour over me uninterrupted. I want to sit in my seat with my popcorn and blue raspberry slushee and see a whole movie- previews to closing credits- without having to bring all the world with me.

I want to sit across from my friends, look them in the face and honestly say "Yes. I'm listening to you and I care about what you're saying because I love you," without having a phone between us.

And I can only hope you'd do the same for me.

*smooches...really paying attention now*
and now that I'm here in the moment, anything you care to say?

Why I Write

Because there are words floating around in my head demanding some sort of order, some sort of purpose, and a sweet release from its gray-mattered prison.

Because when I encounter a blank screen or a clean sheet of paper I feel butterflies.

Because my ego likes the compliments it gets when what we've written is shared with others.

Because I can put on paper what I could never say to your face, instead of holding it in like a debilitating cancer that will kill us both.

Because for me writing is the closest thing to being god.

Why do you write?

*smooches...appreciative of my talent*
the grass may always be greener on the other side, but it's also pretty lush on my side, too; I like what I got.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some Sanity Lost, Some Sanity Found

Right before it was decided that Joshua, my old computer, needed to be replaced, I thought it a good idea to backup all my data in preparation for Joshua III. Smart, right? One would think. Except instead of pressing BACKUP I pressed SYNC which, in case you didn't know, like I didn't know, are NOT THE SAME THING.

My absentmindedness cost me the thousands and thousands of songs I had saved on the external hard drive- some bought from Amazon, some from iTunes, some gotten through old zshare links from friends and some I got from borrowing CDs from the public library. None of them saved anywhere else. All of them now gone.

The moment I realized what I had done (weeks later) AND that the few songs recovered on the external hard drive weren't transferring over correctly because the drive caught the same virus Joshua had or something, I sat perfectly still, staring at Joshua III and trying not to fall apart. Trying not to do bodily harm to myself for being so stupid. Trying not to take it out on the beautiful new computer Mari gifted me. "This is a live and learn moment, Raquel. Please do not lose your shit," I told myself out loud. "You can get them all back little by little. Please get up from this chair, throw some water on your face and take a nap."

(Yes, sometimes I have to have conversations with myself out loud or else...)

The next day, after I vegged out in front of the computer with some old "30 Rock" episodes, I began to comb my Gmail account for the links to albums friends had sent me in the past. Some of them were dead (the links, not the friends!) but some of them still worked. I calmly uploaded the songs I could and made note of the ones I needed to get. Then I remembered- I had a stack of CDs I had burned prior to 2006 that Marcin was holding for me (YES, since 2006) after I abruptly left the magazine where we both worked. Those CDs made up the bulk of the music I had saved on ol' Joshua and all of a sudden they were the most important things in the world to me!

When I finally got them back OH THE JOY I FELT IN MY HEART! There were songs on there I didn't even remember having! And today- this rainy, running-late, forgot-to-eat-breakfast-and-pack-lunch, left-my-debit-card-in-my-bag-when-I-went-to-Old-Navy-to-shop-for-N, day, I found a smaller stack of CDs that were labeled "Rocky's Tunes" and "Travel Mix" from 2008 and 2009. On "Travel Mix, Vol. 1" were the most awesome and ratchet rap & reggae songs that I love love love and it amazed me how this dusty find could take my frown and LITERALLY turn it upside down:

I don't even know where I got these songs from but THANK GOD FOR THEM ALL.

Now no one has to die.

*smooches...grooving inappropriately all day*
listen, whatever it takes to get through the day...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Truth About Motherhood

Most days you will not like your children. You will look them in the face and ask yourself what kind of fool were you to have birthed such creatures. You will fantasize about something that will suddenly leave you childless, and then you will feel guilty about it because you're not supposed to have those feelings and "they didn't ask to be born."

Most days you will find yourself packing a bag to just up and leave and say FUCK THEM and just start over where no one knows you and having kids is against the law.

Most days you will understand that true human nature is violent and beastly, and can relate to the mothers on death row.

And every day you hope that in the end the suppression of your desire to leave or kill them pays off, knowing that there's only a 50-50 chance your wish will come true. But peer pressure and public scrutiny is a bitch, so you trudge on, play the role of mom and wait to see what happens. Because you're told you're supposed to love these little people for the simple fact that they're yours. Sometimes, though, and other parents might be afraid to tell you this but I'm not, you just don't. You tolerate them because that's your job, and if you do anything other than be a mother to your children you become persona non grata on the planet.

Once in a while something nice happens and you're all rainbows and unicorns and over the moon about your kids, but if you tally up the good and bad times you'll realize what a horrible investment you've made. Horrible, terrible, no damn good.

If I were you, oh childless one, I'd tie my tubes today. TWICE.

This is my fault for trying to live forever...

*smooches...trapped in a hell of my own design*
and warning you to not end up like me! I'm officially cured of my baby fever; of that you can be sure.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Jaded Confessions, October 2011

1- I don't miss Twitter as much as I thought I would. In fact, I'm feeling at peace with my decision to get rid of my smartphone. Now when I'm out and about, I'm enjoying my surroundings and the experience, instead of tweeting about it every two seconds.

2- Sometimes, especially now that I've lost weight, I miss the days when I could wear skimpy clothes and get away with it. But alas, I'm a 36-year-old mother of two impressionable girls; the days of wearing an "Annie Hall" vest as a shirt, Daisy Dukes and combat boots are long gone!

3- I fantasize about running into people I don't like (exes, my father, etc) and snubbing them. Just walking past, nose in the air and looking fabulous as I ignore their existence.

4- Ummm...I kinda like Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass". A lot. As in I've kinda memorized the choreography in my head.

5- I still want more babies. My logical brain is saying "you're too old, loca!" but The Voices are all, "Fuck you mean, 'too old'? If we want babies we SHALL HAVE BABIES. WE SHALL HAVE ALLLLLLLLL THE BABIES!!!"

*smooches...warning you to hide ya babies*
I can't be held responsible for what I snatch out of your stroller while you're buying a half-caf-latte at Starbucks...

Friday, October 14, 2011

What It's Like To Be A Violent Pacifist

I know what you're thinking- "Jaded, Violent Pacifist is a blatant contradiction!" But let me explain.

Deep inside of me is an anger so fierce I'm almost certain that, if left unchecked, I could murder someone with my bare hands and go on about my day as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. I know that this anger resides here, so I enlist the help of The Voices to suppress it. It's actually the only thing all of us agree on: The Anger must never be unleashed!

I do things like exercise (boxing is AWESOME for quelling The Anger, as are the martial arts) or dive into a funny show or movie or read a good Stephen King novel in order to stay on the right side of the law and it always works. Want me to not kill you? Hand me a copy of "'Salem's Lot" and we'll be cool.

This revelation stems from a quick conversation I had with a co-worker in which I admitted that I don't argue. Ever. If someone raises their voice to me I always STFU and walk away. My standard answer as to why I don't argue used to be "Because it's pointless." The truth is, yelling awakens The Anger, and The Anger will fashion a weapon out of whatever is nearby and slit your throat. Plain and simple.

If I've ever hung up on you or given you the silent treatment or simply removed you from my life, you should be thanking me. I did it because had I not, The Anger would have taken your life. Your entire life. And then sat down to a plate of Pop Tarts to watch old episodes of "Calliou" on Netflix.

See, I don't like violence. Really I don't. Gory scenes in movies repulse me, I loathe watching a boxing match (I enjoy the class for the sake of exercise, but the sport is quite unsavory to me) and those 'girl fight' videos running wild in these internets make me so sad. I hate that we need a military and that said military is all over the place having to shoot at people. I hate that my family in DR has to employ any number of security measures, including sitting on the porch with a shotgun, in order to prevent home invasions. I hate that this country is OK with condemning someone to die - DIE - at the hands of the state and using my tax dollars to do it. I loathe every minute of all that shit!

So I suppose I became a pacifist in response to The Anger. It's everything I never want to be yet there it is, inside of me. Waiting for you to push the wrong motherfucking button.

*smooches...preferring cotton candy to corpses*
and I don't even LIKE cotton candy, but whatever it takes to avoid that orange jumpsuit, right?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unfocused: A Call For Help From The Village

People- we've got a MAN DOWN CODE 10 situation! All hands on deck PRONTO!

N is fucking up at school, y'all. Believe it or not a child of mine is missing assignments and not performing at her best, and this situation has to be nipped in the bud ASAP.

This morning she and I (and her dad...1 hour LATE, but that's another topic for another day) met with her dean to discuss what N's teachers have reported to date: She's not focusing or listening in class, the homework is missing or incomplete and in general she's half-assing it. When asked, N either gives the dead stare or says she forgot or didn't hear the teacher [insert Jaded side-eye here] or is distracted by her classmates [way to pass the buck *smh*].

While I understand there may be an emotional or hormonal component to this problem, what I'm looking for right now are tips on how to get her to stay on task. Maybe you have a kid who's unfocused, too, or you've known or taught someone like N who is incredibly smart but rather scatterbrained, or maybe I'm describing YOU as a 6th grader- whatever the case, any temporary solutions we can enact while we get to the root of the problem and fix it, would be so appreciated!

Please feel free to email me or leave it in the comments :)

*smooches...fresh out of ideas with this child*
because every time I get a "N is missing an assignment" letter all I want to do is beat her ass. I haven't yet, but my belt is oh-so-close to connecting with her ass... Won't you help save an 11-year-old's life today?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today is one of those days where I fucked it up for myself by going to bed too late watching some ol' bullshit on Netflix, didn't do my morning meditation, skimped on my morning pages, woke up too late to make K a good breakfast before her PSATs, had to cancel my evening workout to take N to the doctor, found out the Dominican place on Flatbush doesn't serve sancocho on Wednesdays, REALIZED IT WAS WEDNESDAY and was zonked out at my desk from pure exhaustion.

I am exploding in slow motion; can you see it?

But on the bright side, I finally found some affordable lettuce and cauliflower. In fact, my entire early-morning shopping spree at 3 Guys From Brooklyn (on Fort Hamilton Parkway) came to a measly $10.18. And that includes nearly 3lbs of bananas (what? we like bananas!). So all is not lost.

Hopefully this crazy headache that appeared on Saturday and is still here will go away soon. SOON. HOPEFULLY.

*smooches...missing the summer season*
it all seemed so simple then...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Face To Face With My Bottom Line

Yesterday I sat down with my Jaded Empire financial planner to go over my money and how I can have more of it to myself while getting these creditors off my back. After crunching the numbers and talking it out, the outlook is not horrible but it's not awesome, either.

Taking into account all my bills (but not what I spend in food) I'm left with an amount that is supposed to cover my groceries and paying back student loans. "Supposed to" being the operative phrase here.

I mean listen, the amount is not super low but it will mean a tightening of the belt and learning to shop like those people on that super coupon show (I don't watch it but according to Twitter there is such a thing). It will mean less trips to DC and Boston for now and no Pilates classes at the studio I love in Park Slope OR Socacize classes, either. I just don't have the money for it right now and it isn't a necessity, given all the fitness vouchers I've bought and still not used.

It will mean less dinners out (and I really wanted to go to Le Cirque with the babies this winter) and becoming familiar with the likes of Costco and BJs Wholesale. It will also mean that N might have to forgo after school this semester, too.

This is not a dire situation. We can live without dinners out and soca classes and after school. My First World Lifestyle is no longer working out for me so cuts have to be made. Esteban has already been dismissed. Netflix was reduced to online streaming only (no DVD rentals for us anymore) and I've seriously looked into some freelance work to bring in more money (if you know anyone who's PAYING REAL MONEY for a writer or editor, let me know).

I do not want to be working until I fall over dead. It's about that time that I make my money work for me, and that requires that I do what I must right this minute and get out of debt.

Of course, now all I can think about is all the fur coats and red-bottom shoes I can't buy...

*smooches...counting down towards a debt-free life*
if the motherfucking Duggars can live debt-free with a trillion kids, then so can I!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Where I Won't Find My Future Husband

1- At "industry" events. Not that I'm a big time, hobnobbing, networking superstar of NYC, but I usually find myself at events hosted or frequented by people who think they fit this category. And let me tell you- a lot of the men that run in this circle are either gay, already boo'd up or so full of themselves that I get turned off. And the available ones? Yeah, they're ugly.

2- At work. First of all, never shit where you eat. That's the golden rule, son, and after last year's hard knock life I'm not trying to jeopardize my paycheck at all. Secondly, the people who frequent my job... well, to put it kindly, if they're there in the middle of the day chances are they are unemployed or poor college students. Ummm, I already know how to be broke so, yeah...

3- Working out. Every class I take is estrogen heavy and I have no intentions of switching sides anytime soon. Besides, if you saw what I looked like in an exercise class you'd back away slowly from the Latina hot mess.

4- In my neighborhood. This demographic is about 65% Muslim/Bengali/Indian, 25% varieties of Caucasian (old and new) and 10% Mexican. [insert side eye here] Need I say more?

5- In my apartment on the couch. Which is where I spend 75% of my time. And if I did find a man in my apartment chances are he'd be dead before he could propose because HOW THEEE FUCK did he get in and wasn't he aware of the knives I keep around?!

So I suppose if I just place myself anyplace other than these five places I might have a chance at finding a mate before gravity completely takes over my, *ahem* body.

*smooches...not really looking anyway*
since I decided to give up on the baby dream I'm in no rush whatsoever to meet anyone. no rush at all.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Making Concessions To Avoid The Excuses: A Healthy Jaded Update

When I started working out in the spring I had the ideal conditions in which to do so. I could go to an early morning class and be back in time to see my girls off and then get ready for work knowing my workout for the day was done! The summer proved to be even more accommodating, especially with Mari here to keep me on track food-wise. It's been a very productive six months for Healthy Jaded.

Now I've hit some snags that threaten to undo everything I've worked for so far:

1- N goes to a school that's rather far away (for a pedestrian) and in the opposite direction of my job and Ks school, and she has to be there by 7:30am if she wants breakfast or 8am to not be considered late.

2- K got a crazy 1-9 schedule this year (Tech alums will recall that schedule being the longest and most undesirable school day known to teens everywhere) and cannot afford to screw up; this year counts heavily for college admissions.

3- The sun is not up until almost 7am (as opposed to this summer when it was shining by 5:30am), which means in order to work out at the times I have been, I need to travel to these gyms in pitch-black Brooklyn. With a rapist loose in Park Slope. Ummmm...

4- I need to meditate for 20 minutes every morning upon waking.

5- I need to write my morning pages everyday upon waking, too.

Add all this to the fact that N is being sloppy with her school work so far this year (to the point that her dad and I have a meeting with the vice principal on Thursday), meaning I have to supervise Homework Time like a warden, and what you've got is a definite recipe for falling off the wagon and succumbing to the stress by eating my weight in potato chips and Reese's Pieces.

So far in September my fitness priorities have been put on the back burner. It felt as if everything came at me all at once and I've been running on empty without a set plan. It came to a head after getting yet ANOTHER notification that N hadn't done her homework. Shit needed to change (or I was going to snap and kill that little heffa).

I decided that, as unpleasant as it is, I will have to do most of my exercising after work while N begins her homework at the library. I am not willing to give up my meditation practice nor quit my morning pages before I even begin; these are essential to my peace of mind, health and happiness. I also have to put my entire laid back, hippie family on a strict schedule- getting up at 5am, going to bed at 10pm, cooking meals on Sunday for the entire week- until a better solution comes along.

It's important to me to stay on this healthy path I began in April, but it's equally important that my children do well in school and get to live some sort of happy life (all work and no play turns people into republicans). If these changes mean the fun times have to be scheduled down to the minute from Monday through Friday and I run my home like a military school, then so be it. If it means I'm stuck with most of the chores while the girls focus on school work, well, that's just my burden to deal with. I know that a little inconvenience now will yield us some awesome benefits later.

And who knows- in the spring, everything might prove easier to bear.

*smooches...hoping these five months fly by*
the good news is I can capitalize off this forced discipline by finishing a writing project or two and reading all the books I've had on my coffee table all summer!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

¡Viva La Jaded RevoluciĆ³n!

Two years ago I agreed to a new contract with my boss at the PR firm which would allow me to freelance for him and his clients as opposed to being a salaried employee chained to a desk all day. At the time I was severely unhappy at this job and welcomed the opportunity to not have to deal with these people face to face anymore. YES, working from home in my pajamas for [insert hourly rate], Alex!

Immediately after I also signed on for two other paying freelance gigs and figured it was time to do the unthinkable: buy a smartphone. You all remember Phillip (may he rest in peace), yes? Yeah, he was cool, as was his replacement, Esteban, until they weren't.

So I crunched the numbers, analyzed the pros and cons and finally had to make some hard decisions to improve my bottom line. Esteban had to be laid off.

As of Monday, October 10, I will cancel my fourth phone line, shut down my Blackberry smartphone and begin to enjoy life without having the entire internet stuck at my hip 24 hours a day.

Sure I'll miss its convenience and all, but the truth is, I'm not faring too well in this era of extreme accessibility. I like being able to escape, stay under the radar, fall into the background. All of this is hard to do when the whole world has access to you and vice versa.

First of all, the freelance gigs dried up and I found myself using the phone more for fun than for work. Sudoku and Brick Breaker kept me company on long commutes. I became obsessed with checking emails every waking minute. And don't even get me started on how much stuff I missed because I was mobile tweeting or BBMing more than I was living or working!

Then my phone bills started to come in and I almost died of a heart attack. With FOUR phone lines my monthly statements were nearly $230- completely unacceptable for someone who's living paycheck-to-paycheck like me.

And finally, the damn thing proved to be pretty crappy, volatile and prone to bugs and breakage at an alarming rate. I can't even tell you how many times I've had to pull the battery out and reboot the damn phone. I mean, is it too much to ask that a machine that costs me almost $50 a month in fees WORK when I need it to WORK?

In 2006, I decided to not get a television for my new apartment. In 2011, I've decided to not have a smartphone. Some may see this as moving backwards; I see it as taking back my life. When the Robot Invasion takes place, you'll all wish you'd followed my lead...

*smooches...wondering how long before I toss out my computer*
SIKE! as much as I hate to admit it I actually NEED a computer. BOOOOO!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Inappropriate BBMs, Vol. 7

"It's a sad day when you can't eat a girl out without having to worry about cancer."

*smooches...wondering why I keep these friends around*
actually, it's really helping me with blog material so...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Future Babies On A Shelf

Remember when I said I had baby fever and that nothing would please me more to have another squooshy-wooshy baby or two to add to my already awesome pair of babies?

::checks in with biological clock::

Well, it doesn't look like it's going to happen and I'm about 65% okay with it. I can only hope that as the years go on and other babies are born into the family, I'll let go of the dream of another rugrat. Because let's be real here: by the time I meet someone that I'll actually want to spend the rest of my life with, marry him and then decide to have a baby, I'll be well into my 40s. And once you're in your 40s the risks of having a troubled pregnancy are higher than I want to deal with.

See, the first time around I had an OOPS pregnancy, followed by a DISTRACT MY DEPRESSION pregnancy with a man that I didn't love. As the girls got older I had this desire to do it all again, this time with a partner I cherished. In my mind there was this vision of us in our home with a toddler following K and N around with adoration in its eyes, and them spoiling it rotten, and all of us waiting for the OTHER baby to be born. Two more. That's all I wanted. Little Gracie & Nigel to round out the motley crew of Jaded babies in the world.

But alas, I've had to wave goodbye to that dream. I'm 36. Already my eggs are 36-years-old. I have fibroids and scarring from an ectopic pregnancy. And I hate doctors and chances are no one will OK me having a late-in-life baby with a midwife.

Part of me wishes I hadn't wasted all that time after my divorce fucking around, literally. All that shoulda-woulda-coulda is not good for The Voices, though, so I'm just going to chalk it up to a lesson learned and wait for Mari to start churning out my nieces and nephews. Plural.

However, once I repair this flux capacitor, it's ON!

*smooches...planning mischievous outings for Mari's kids*
oh, they WILL be spoiled. bank on that!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Washed Away

Last week I was trying to shop for produce to feed my family and was utterly disappointed at the prices I had to endure. I mean, $4 for some cauliflower just didn't seem right! And don't even get me started on the price of tomatoes and cucumbers; just appalling!

Color me stupid, however, when I was sent a link to a video about a couple of farms Upstate that had been completely ruined by Hurricane Irene. I had heard that it was bad up there but I was not aware how bad until I saw the videos.

This all tied in to my planned visit Upstate this past weekend; Celia had already warned me that it might take longer to get to her house because the usual roads were gone. GONE. As in the flooding was so bad that it just up and stole the goddamn roads away. Of course you hear stuff like that and your eyes widen with shock and you say things like "Wow!" or "Oh my god that's terrible!" but it isn't real to you, because all that happened on your block during that storm was that a few branches fell on your stairs. OH, THE HUMANITY!

But then you read stories like this and you realize this is a motherfucking DISASTER the likes you've never had to experience. Except now you're experiencing because this is your home state and those farms help feed your lazy, City ass but now they're gone.

Then it all get really real when you drive through Prattsville and you see this:

When I think back to the storm weekend, and how much people complained about the City being shut down and how Bloomberg overreacted and how it was all for nothing I couldn't believe it- did you want something bad to happen? You're mad because our elected officials were trying to avoid a repeat of Snowmaggedon 2010?? And now I want to say to those same people, how dare you moan and whine and complain when that hurricane devastated many whole towns! I saw those uprooted homes with my own eyes. I saw the residents of that town drinking their troubles away at a local bar, and Celia overheard one of them say they plan to rebuild in six months- completely impossible but who's about to squash this man's hopes and dreams? Really, once this all becomes real it's hard to unsee and unhear about the tragedies.

When I think of how lucky we were in the City to not have suffered that fate... and how tragic the situation has become for these small, impoverished towns of Upstate New York, it really put things in perspective. I shop for food with only my wallet in mind, and sometimes, when you live paycheck-to-paycheck like I do you have to shop like that. But I never stop to think where my cauliflower and tomatoes come from, and how hard those farmers work to yield a big enough crop to feed us City folk, who then turn around and complain about the price of tomatoes as we sit upon our fancy digs. I don't think about the people they employ, the animals they have to feed and the myriad of bureaucratic red tape they have to deal with in order to keep their family businesses afloat.

I wish I could do more than donate money to help them out, but if that's the only weapon at my disposal right now, so be it. I'm not the pushy money-asking type, but if it at all moves you, maybe you can donate some money, too?

UPDATE: Just read a post on the Green In BKLYN website that gives you more ways to donate money or food, diapers and other basic necessities to the families who need it. So if you don't have money but you stocked up on non-perishables prior to the storm that you're not using, consider dropping them off at one of the green markets around the City. I'll be your best friend if you do!

*smooches...wishing these families all the best*
if I made even 1% more people aware of this situation and that 1% tells another 1%...

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Jaded Photographs: October 2011 Edition


*smooches...planning for #5*
yes, it's addictive. yes, it hurts. yes, the after-care is annoying.