Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm dreaming of a New Mexico Christmas

Christmas in New Mexico is something I believe everyone should experience at least once. Some areas get snow and there's a chill in the air, but it's enjoyable and you can get through it pretty well. I'm sure people in Chicago might appreciate at New Mexico winter. Tonight, in Tularosa, is the annual luminaria display, which family tradition dictates as the night we all wear our coats and Santa hats and walk around the village to view the beautiful displays of luminarias on historical homes and the church. The luminaria glow looks like it could warm your bones just from the light of a single candle. Traditional foods will be cooked, turkey and ham, pies and cakes. But in New Mexico we'll also have menudo and tamales and maybe some green chile stew. Most years it is pretty sunny outside and you can let the children play with their new toys, or in some cases just the boxes. Sometimes it snows even in the southern part of the state, a couple of years have been a white Christmas. Because the sense of family spreads so far in New Mexico to include friends and neighbors, we'll be making a couple of local trips to visit with each. This is the only state I've every lived in where people wave at you when you pass down the street just because, even if they don't know you. The sun will set beyond majestic purple mountains with pink and orange glowing clouds reflecting the last rays of sunlight. The fireplace might be lit with bits of wrapping paper used as kindlin. The children will "ooh" and "ahh" all the different colors the paper makes. We'll tuck in sleepy, smiling children who, though tired, will insist they aren't really that sleepy. Then the adults will play cards, drink cider, and head to bed satified in belly and heart at the day's adventures. I think no matter where I've ever lived or ever may live, my parent's home and New Mexico will always be my home for Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do I write it, or don't I?

That's a question that's been plagueing me today. Actually for a few days. I am generally a very upbeat person. But I would never lie and say I have a perfectly sun-shiney life, no one does. I'm just not one to dwell on bad things, my glass is always half-full. My blog is read by few and yet it is, in my opinion, very exposing. That is my own creation and what I wanted a blog for - a place to tell what I couldn't say in person, to admit what I can't admit out-loud, and a forum for my own sometime silly views of the world.
After a few days thought, I believe I can write it: I am tired, depleted, drained and every other likewise word you can find in your everyday thesaurus. But I am also scared and it is the first time I've ever really admited it. I am tired because after another nearly full day of court to keep custody of our Lena, we have to try again to finish on the 31st. And no, this isn't what I'm scared of. We have an excellent case - child has lived with us for over three years, wants to stay with us, is doing better with us (gifted program, band, dance, and attends/participates in church) then she ever did with her mother. Her mother has only attempted and sucessfully completed three visits with her children this entire year. But I'm dreading more 200+ mile round trips to listen to a woman who clearly isn't willing to actually do anything to spend more time with her children except talk about it and shows us her insane side by telling the court that we threatened to kill her/bury her alive so she couldn't be with her children. (And yes, I did about laugh at that but sucessfully covered it with a cough) Our only worries are that our judge retires at the end of the year and our lawyer need to end her time with us because she's been elected district attorney, so we need to hurry to finish fast.
I'm scared because my father's MRI came back with a tumor on his spine. I had an uncle die from spinal cancer. Daddy and I have been having a hard time, very stressed out (obvious reason referenced above) and Daddy hadn't exactly been very honest with me over the last few months leading to my dad being upset with him, so tack more stress on me because here comes more time with the two of them together----the holidays. Also, Daddy hadn't been very understanding about certain cultural traditions (namely endearing terms) and was upset with my dad. He also wasn't listening to me or being his usual open-minded self, which to be honest, was pissing me off. He didn't understand how serious my dad's condition was when I explained it last month and didn't want to spend any more time at my parent's house than was absolutely necessary. When the MRI came back, I put my foot down and declared what days we were going to my parent's house and that there was no way around it. Which then led to the horrible aftermath of two parents not even wanting to be in the same car together, neither one wanting to budge. My husband-to-be has already lost both his parents, dad when he was ten, mom when he was 31, both his parents were in their 70s or 80s. I finally got the brick wall of stubborness in him to fall when I told him, "I'm not going to get 70 year old parents!" My parents are only in their 50s. Mom is told it's lupus, or not; rhumetoid arthritis, or not; neurological disorder, or not - no test is ever conclusive - one marker is possitive the other is negative, everything is a maybe but she's in more pain than she will ever let anyone know and every year she gets worse. And now dad. He's been in pain for so long with VA doctors telling him it's from injuries he sustained doing rescue mission in Special Forces. He's tried over and over to tell them it's something more and the pain is unbearable, but it has fallen on stubborn buracratic ears only seeing the dollar signs it's going to cost them to help another veteran's body and mind heal from what his country needed him to do. I'm scared that I won't have my parents much longer. It seems like we only just got past the point from when they only saw me as their child. I finally have an respectful adult relationship with my parents and can talk with them. But it's only been a few years. I think Daddy finally gets it, "I'm not going to get 70 year old parents." A camper has been rented, I told Daddy he could call it my Christmas gift, to spend a few days at my parent's home and give two of the most important men in my life their own "cave" to retreat into if they need it. But surprisingly, to both me and Daddy, my dad was in great spirits and Daddy enjoyed his company and my dad enjoyed him. If it is my last Christmas with my dad, I want it to be wonderful for him.
On a side note, our wedding may be pushed up depending on what my dad's doctors say the first week of January. We may be getting married next month!

Friday, December 5, 2008


I love the holidays. Sure there's the family and friends gathering, all the love in the air. But my favorite thing is the food. I am a food person, it's a miracle that I don't weigh 300lbs. Then again, it's probably the running after 4 kids that makes it so I don't gain 300 lbs. (On a side note, I've actually lost over 10 lbs, hooray!!!) Seriously, I AM a food person. I love to cook (someone else does the dishes), I love to taste, I love to tweak recipes. But the holidays bring so many of my favorite foods and the opportunity to try new recipes on my unsuspecting guinea pigs, I mean - coworkers and family. Today, however, I enjoyed two of my holiday favorites: ribbon candy and shortbread cookies! I picked up the perfect peppermint ribbon candy, thin, super minty, awesome. Then my boss left a tin of those Danish Butter cookies, yum! You may think they're a cheap last resort gift for the old curmudgeon down the street, but I LOVE these cookies. They melt in your mouth like a fresh snowball but without the annoying brain freeze. Milk, cocoa, eggnog, wine, everything goes great with these cookies (I'm not sure about beer since I don't drink it, someone will have to let me know). My next food quest: TAMALES!!! My mother called me the other day with the number to Mrs. Flores (name changed to protect my tamale supply, don't want y'all ordering them all up). I am, however, tempted to try my own hand at making tamales. I learned how to roll them last year for a fundraiser, but I believe, and afterall isn't Christmas about having faith, that with the help of friends on the internet, I can find a great recipe for tamales that my family will love. Of course, I'll still order some from Mrs. Flores just in case!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Accidents that only seem to happen to me

I am truely starting to believe in two things: my mother has mis-named me, and a lack of sleep will cause panic and/or laughter.
My first name, which I no longer go by except with old friends and family, means "grace." I am named after Nancy Sinatra because of her song, "These boots were made for walking" which is appropriate since that is exactly what I have done on numerous occasions most notably with The Ex. But "grace"? I believe I have stumbled on nothing, tripped over my own feet, and walked right into too many posts to be considered as having grace. Then again, it may be the fact that I continue with a smile, somewhat turn the other cheek, maintain a ladylike presence during adverse situations type of meaning of grace. I hope that's the case. Either way, I'm learning to laugh at myself, for instance.
After a long trip to my parents' hometown to visit an ailing grandmother who was thought to have broken her hip, my return was even longer. We woke at 4am on Monday and I did not drive up to my driveway until 5:15 am on Tuesday! Then slept for an hour and woke to get ready for work at 8am. By the time I picked up B-Boy from daycare and took him to Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries, I was a zombie. B-boy had to "potty" so I took him to the restrooms in the front of the store, which I have never done since we moved here. As most people know, one Wal-Mart is pretty much like another. The one back in my hometown and this one in Roswell are nearly exact opposites, where the groceries are in one (the left side) it's the opposite in the other (right side). But I guess I never realized just how far the opposites went. As I walked into the restroom, hurrying as B-boy has only recently potty-trained, I noticed a pair of rather large, dumpy and dirty looking tennis shoes at the bottom of one of the stalls. I figured they belonged to some young woman who was dressed in the "I really don't care what I look like so I wear men's clothing and combat sneakers" thing. I took Brandon into the next stall, carried on a toddler conversation, flushed and left the stall heading for the sinks to wash our hands. And then......I noticed the very unusual sinks and realized they were urinals and we were in the MENS ROOM!!! I rushed out of there in a hurry telling B-boy we'd just use mommy's germ-ex gel.
Moral: I will make myself get more sleep and if I can't be graceful on my feet, I'll be graceful of character.