Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What a bully...

Growing up, on of my bestest friends in the world was Sheron Lupita Garcia.  Sheron lived across the alley and cati-corner to my house.  She moved into that house when we were in the 3rd grade and wasted no time getting to know what kids lived in the neighborhood.

We were not directly related, but her family was related to someone on my mom's side of the family so we just preferred to consider ourselves cousins to spare explaination of how we knew each other.

Sheron was an only child and spent a lot of time at my house because her parents were often out leaving her alone in the house.   So many times she would call late in the evening and say my mom and dad aren't here, can I come over.  Of course my parents always agreed that she should so I'd walk out the front door to the curb to wait and see Sheron running down the alley, her long lanky legs carrying her as quickly as they could.  As this was pre-cell phone, she'd always leave a note for her parents so they'd know where she was when they came home. 

Sheron was used to doing things her way because she didn't have any siblings to consider.  And because I was always the push over, we often did what she wanted to do, even if it wasn't what I wanted to do.  I guess you could say I let her push me around.  Go on, say it.

One summer my parents bought a small pool for my sister and I.  Michele is 7 years younger than I so when Sheron and I would ask if we could walk to Ed's Liquor, at the end of the street, my dad would say "you can go, but you have to take your sister with you".  We hated that! Not because I didn't like my sister, but you know, when you're 11 and your sister is 4, it just doesn't seem fair.  So, for me it was a drag but for Sheron, well, my sister was just a nusance.  So back to the pool....Sheron comes over one day and we're walking in the back yard when my sister comes running in our direction.  Well, I guess Sheron was just not in the mood for my sister so she picks her up and throws her in the pool.  Oh no you di'int!

Granted the pool was small, but hoooooold on just . a . minute!  I was not happy. I was never overprotective of my sister and in my family we had to learn to stand up for ourselves but come on now, it was so uncalled for I wanted to punch Sheron right in the face.  No, she isn't one of the three people I've punched in my lifetime.  I just remember fuming at the thought that she would do such a thing.

My sister was one of the cutest little kids I have ever seen.  She had this cute little round face with big beautiful eyes and she was, as still is, so well tempered.  As her older sister there were times she got on my nerves because that's what little sisters do to big sisters.  But for someone to come into our domain and do something like that was just uncalled for. 

I don't remember how it worked out but of course after a while Sheron and I went back to being friends and she'd call late at night and come running down the alley like a crazy kid.  She'd talk me into walking to Mr. Ed's Liquor when I didn't want to go and of course she'd help me convince my parents that we needed to go to Skateland on Saturday afternoons.  She was an influence of sorts in my life.  Sometimes she could get me to do things that no one else would have been able to get me to do.  She'd get me to talk about boys, or more often list to her talk to boys because she was boy crazy.

After middle school Sheron's parents divorced and she moved in with her dad.  We lost touch for a short while and then after we graduated from high school she would stop by the house now and then until one day when she moved back into the house her mother still owned and had rented for years.  It was great to have her back and she'd still call me in the evenings but now she'd ask if I wanted to come over while her husband was out playing drums somewhere.  We picked right back up where we were except that, I didn't feel like I had to do everything she said anymore. 

Sheron has been a great friend through the years.  She calls or sends me a birthday card every year without fail.  And not too long ago we met at her cousins house for an evening of rememberence.  It's so great to know that after all these years and time apart we can still pick up as if we'd never lived far from each other.

That's what real friendship is.  Calls late at night when you need to talk to someone.  Phone calls that may come only once a year at birthday time.  Old ragged pictures of Sheron and I playing the piano with our toes that bring back the best memories of our youth, even if they do include your little sister looking waterlogged.

Thanks for being a friend Sheron (I'd add our piano picture but my computers arent working at the moment).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The kid that got the best of me

As a kid I was shy and mellow.  So shy that sometimes I'd go to my own cousins house and not warm up to them enough to play until right before we went home.  Now that I think about it, it was kind of sad. 

My next door neighbors to the left of us, had two girls about my age.  Teresa, being the oldest (we called her Tatsi) and Ana, my age.  Later on there were two other sibilings that came along but before then , it was just the 3 of us.  Teresa (Tatsi), was sick from the time she was born.  I'm not sure what she had but she was always frail.  She had little scars on her hands from surgeries she'd gone through and often times she couldn't play because she wasn't feeling well.

Tatsi was kind of spoiled.  No! she was very spoiled.  She had the last say, no matter what.  If she said we're gonna play house, we played house.  If she said "go home", you'd better believe I went home.  She was mean and no one ever fought her.  She called the shots and if you coldn't handle that, there was no place for you.

I can remember begging my mom to let me go next door to play with the girls.  She'd say, okay but don't come home crying.  I'd walk out the back, through our fence, around the corner through their fence and we'd get started with whatever it was Tatsi wanted to do.  If her cousins showed up, you'd better believe I was no longer wanted and there I'd go off to mama crying cause I was chased home.  My mom would get so mad, she'd say "don't ask me to go over there then!".

Well, one day I'm out in the back playing in my playhouse, all by myself setting up store.  I don't know if you did this when you were young but we used to save milk cartons, corn cans, soup cans, juice cartons...well, anything we bought at the store that could be emptied out, washed and used in the "store" was a valuble item.  Mom would let me keep anything for the playhouse store as long as I made sure to put it all away.  My playhouse, by the way, was one of the best ever.  It had a functioning door, windows with curtins, table and chairs, a porch and of course plastic dishes and cups.  Dad bought it before I was born; he was so sure I'd be a girl.

So back to the store....I've got my store set up and there were no customers because...I don't know why.  I guess the girls were in the house and my other girlfriends weren't around so I was playing store all alone.  For a while anyway.  After a period Tatsi shows up looking through the wooden fence where one of the planks had fallen out.  I dont' recall if I was happy to see her or not but there she was.  I'm busy doing storely things when she sticks her arm over and grabs one of my items.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she stole something from my store.  No exchange of the green whatsoever.  Just a swoosh, as the item goes from my store to her yard.  I admit I was a push over but I was not happy with little miss sick, always get my way girl. So I says to her "Hey!  That's my stuff you can't take it.  Give it back".  No item returned, she must have been in one of her moods because she stuck her skinny little arm right through the fence again and this time she took a milk carton.  Milk cartons are a valuble asset to a front porch store and no one, but no one should think you can just reach in and take one because you never get punished for anything and mommy let's you have your way.  I give a second warning and can feel the steam coming out of my ears but you know, some people just don't know when to stop and apparently they have no fear of the unknown.

Just so you know, in my life time, outside of spanking my kids, I've only hit another individual 3 times.  One, a bully at school who just wouldn't let up on me and 3 a guy who....well, let's just say he deserved it.

Did I leave out 2?  Hmmmm, I think I did.  Well, number 2....
I see that arm coming in for what looks like the 3rd and final time because all buttons being pushed I'm good and tired and ready to have at it.  All I can say is, girlfriend didn't see it coming.  I must have really given her the one, two punch because there it was....one tooth less to brush.  Yep!  I knocked her tooth out.
More than likely it was lose already but regardless, little miss let me boss you around was ready for Halloween or looking forward to Christmas and getting her front tooth.

I don't remember what happened next; if we played together or not.  All I know is, for once I stood up to a bully who may never have hit me physically but her mean mouthed, sky high attitude finally got a feel for what it was like to be on the other end. 

Wow!  Was I mean?  I mean, she was sick...................Naw!  I wonder if, when my time comes and I see my life flash before me, that'll be one of the quick frames I'll see: Tatsi, tooth flailing through the air, covering her mouth and running inside "Marie hit me!".  Pray for me people.

I could just pinch him!

I'm talking about my nephew Christopher; he's the cutest thing.

Today being the 2nd Saturday of the month was breakfast club.  It was Stars turn to host and she was in top form.  We had Chorizo y Huevo burritos with bacon and potatos as additional fillers.  There were biscuts, juice, coffee and more juice.

My brother Rusty celebrated his 62nd birthday April 7th so I stopped by and bought him a nice cake to add to the mix.  I really wanted to make him a cake so that it would be a little more personal but ran into a little trouble.  First, I opened a yellow cake mix and found that the bloody moths had gotten to the box before I could.  I was just a little mad.....okay, I was stinking mad!  I wanted to throw it on the floor, stomp all over the package and then take a chainsaw to it....slightly dramatic, I know, so I changed my mind and walked it over to the trash can and dumped it.

I opened a second box and scoured it for any sign of insect, be it winged or otherwise, and found nothing.  Feeling relieved and back to normal, if there is such a thing, I poured the mix into a bowl and THEN, went about collecting the rest of the ingredients.  I know you're talking about me, I can feel it, and yes; you are supposed to check for ingredients first, but I knew I had them.  Eggs, water and oil.  No big deal; unless of course you have an antiquated refridgerator that is supposed to be in a small apartment and not in a home where 5 grown people need refridgerated items.  Our refridgerator broke down over a year ago and with things being as they are, we just have not replaced the fridge.  Instead, we moved the little apartment fridge from the studio into the house until we could afford to buy a "normal" sized unit.

So!  With my mix in the mixing bowl ready to be beat, as directed on the box and not my mood, I walk over to the fridge and pull out the Egg thingamajigee.  BEAUTIFUL!  There they sit, 6 frozen eggs.  Yes, FROZEN!  Perfect time to practice those flamenco steps if you ask my angered mood but then I'd have to clean the lousey mess.  So once again I cool myself off and then proceed to repackage the cake mix.  Sorry Rusty, no homemade boxed cake for you.

I could have run to the store and bought unfrozen eggs but due to the fact that we still only have one car (JC had a gig and Jenifer had just left to a party) which means at 8 o'clock at night I really would have had to run, I figured the solution was to
  • A) get up super early, find an open store, run home throw a cake in the oven and then take Karina to the church HUB in Los Alamitos where she was leaving for a day trip to Six Flags, drive back home in hopes that 1) the house had not burnt down 2) the cake hadn't stuck to the pan or 3) I could actually make it on time and throw the frosting on before I showered so that we leave right after my shower to pick up my Aunt Camille and then make it on time ............
  • B) Buy a pretty one.
You know which I opted for, don't you.

It looked just like this except it had peaches instead of kiwi and blackberries.

So, like I was saying...Christopher (my nephew) is so cute, I could just pinch him.  Here he is with his brand new bike.  He can't wait to ride to the beach with mom.

Was I supposed to see that?

Years ago I went out with a girlfriend for a night of dancing Salsa.  We weren't sure where we wanted to go when we left the house and so we ended up at a local spot called the Quiet Canyon.  The Quiet Canyon wasn't necessarily the hottest spot in town for salsa but if you wanted to just hang with the regulars and not drive far from town, it would do in a pinch.

My girlfriend happened to be a fellow Flamenco dancer and to tell the truth I wasn't all that sure she could dance salsa, not that I had any real reason to question her ability, but Salsa and Flamenco really are two worlds apart.

Once we got on the dance floor I saw that Claudina was not bad at all.  She could definitely hold her own.  We danced and danced and then we danced some more, coming up for just short periods to grab a quick drink or glass of water.

During one of our breaks we stood to the right side of the dance floor near the bar and chatted. As we stood watching people dance, I turned to look behind me, just curious to see who was around...possibly a new dance partner.  Just behind us stood one of the band member's girlfriend.  I happened to know her, not well, but I knew her and her boyfriend because not only had I been in a Salsa band with Juan Carlos, but because Juan Carlos frequently introduced me to many of his musician friends.

We waved a quick hello and then I turned back to Claudina to continue on with our conversation.  After a few minutes I'd finally caught my breath and felt like I was ready to hit the floor again.  I glanced back over my shoulder to see if my friend was still there, just to give a little wave that I was moving on.  As I turned I saw something fall out of her mouth and onto the floor.  I wasn't sure but something told me by the look on her face and the rapidity with which she covered her mouth that a tooth may have been on the run.  I turned around quickly so that she wouldn't know I'd seen the mishap.

You should know that I can't stand to lose anything.  I'd rather miss out on a party, a wedding, a dance, a reunion...just about anything than leave the house with a lost or missing item.  When I drop something like a contact or whatever it may be, I find it.  I have the determination of 10 people when it comes to finding lost somethings.

So when I saw this thing fling on the floor, I knew, knew, knew I had to stick my two cents in.  I quickly explained to Claudina what I thought may have happened.  She, of course, did exactly what I didn't want her to do; she started laughing hysterically.  I somehow kept a straight face but I will admit, I was jiggling on the inside.  I was torn knowing that I might embarrass my friend but I knew beyond a doubt I could find IT.

I did a quick side glance and could see my friend still had her hand over mouth talking to her friend trying not to look like she was desperately looking for anything.  I couldn't take it, I was sweating for her.  I said to Claudina "that's it, I can't take it, I'm going over there".  I was on a mission.

I walked up and said "Hi.  Ahhh, I don't want to embarass you but I noticed...ok, well, I saw your tooth fly out and I also noticed you haven't been able to find it.  I find everything so if you wouldn't mind; I'd like to find it for you".  Covering her mouth she smiled and said "if you think you can, sure".

I bent over and before she could count 1, 2, 3 I found it, picked it up and put it in her hand.  With her hand still covering her mouth she smiled and said "thank you so much".  I could feel her relief as her boyfriend walked up for a short break. She must have explained to him what had happened because as Claudina and I finally turned to walk away he mouthed a great big "Thank You!" to me.

It was an interesting night.  It's not often you get to go out, dance and save someone's tooth from the dance heel of death.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Last Monday I took Karina to the oral surgeon to have one of her wisdom teeth extracted.  It hadn't been giving her problems, as you might have imagined.  Her orthordontist requested I have it removed as it was laying down and showed possibilities of pushing her teeth once her braces are removed.

Yes, we've been sucked into the "Gotta have a perfect smile if your gonna succeed" way of thinking, as has every other teenager and adult walking the face of the earth.  Isn't that what it's all about anyway?  Excuse my sarcasim but I can remember when even the Movie Stars themselves had crocked, and even yellowed teeth.  Now a days, I don't think you can get onto the silver screen unless you have straight, white, pearlies.  I suppose if you're playing a villan, you might get away with it but if you have any intention of playing a love interest, or just about any other part, you'd better have pearly whites!

So because Karina's tooth was impacted, they had to put her under.  I'm not sure what they gave her in order to knock her out, and I'm sure they told me because they always do; I'm just not very good at remembering names of drugs or mediations.  All I really know is, she was gone.  Knocked out.  Asleep.

About twenty minutes after I left her with the surgeon I got a call to go back with her in recovery to help her wake up.  I walked up and one of the attendants began saying "Karina, wake up! Come on, open your eyes..." He began walking away and told me to talk to her as much as I could so that she could wake up.  She had the strangest look on her face, almost as if she had no idea who I was.  Uhh, Welcome to La, la land.

The dental assistant and I took turns annoying her to try and keep her a wake. As she started to come out from under the anisthesia she had me laughing.  Apparently the big piece of gauze she had in her mouth to absorb the blood must have felt like a piece of gum because I'd say "Karina, don't chew on the gauze, bite down on it", to which she'd reply "oh, sorry" and then continue to chew.  I'd repeat "Karina, don't chew on the gauze, bite down on it" to which she would respond "oh, sorry" and then chew. 

Then she asked me to video tape her so she could remember what she looked like.  I started the video on my camera and within seconds she asked "why are you taping me?"  We carried on this crazy conversation that was composed of her slurring something and my saying "What?", for the longest time.  Her chewing, my saying stop, and her, sorry.

I watched her, thinking, what a terrible thing it is that some kids, after having a surgery, will experience the first of a long affair of drug abuse.  I say this because during the period Karina was being hospitalized regularly for her pancreatitis, she loved the morphine.  Mostly because it eased the pain but being a kid, sometimes she'd say...whoooo, I'm starting to feel good.  It really was scary.  The good part was that they would give her a little "pump" in which she could self medicate if she felt she needed it.  The little gizmo doesn't allow anyone to overmedicate but, I kept an eye on her anyway.

Thankfully Karina is very involved in our church's youth group.  She's starting to sing with the youth worship team and every week makes me a bus for whatever school friends she manages to talk into visiting her youth group.  Last night there were three kids who all live locally.  The youth leaders are very proud of her fearless attitude when it comes to inviting friends to attend and I'm praying that she gets a bigger high out of seeing new friends attend her youth group and learn about Christ, than what she gets out of those crazy drugs that take away all the pain.  After all, isn't that what God does for us if we give him the chance.

If you keep a prayer list, add my daughters name to it that she might continue to seek Christ and the desire to lead others to Him.  Also pray that she not forget this months study of sexual purity where she received a purity ring.

In this day and age where kids are so confused and looking for happiness in all the wrong places, I pray all teens are turned on to the love of God by someone.  Anyone.

Love to you all and Happy Easter!