Wedding Photos

Wedding Photos

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Have to and choose to.

It has been well established that it took me longer than the average person to find the one I would marry.  It is still a shock to me the reactions I get from people who find out it is my FIRST (and hopefully only) marriage!!  I get different looks, but recently I encountered one that made me feel like a "sell out". 

 I was shopping around for ideas of anniversary gifts for my husband that a woman asked how long I had been married.  When I told her how long and that it was my first, the woman gave me a "why bother" look.  As if I had gone thru the trouble of marrying while I have one foot in the grave or something.  A look as if to say "if you hadn't put up with a spouse, why would you want to NOW?"

 Over the years I have been looked upon with pity, the type a homely girl might get from people betting NO ONE would want her.  When I was single, I was told I was lucky, from obviously unhappy wives AND HUSBANDS who love to bitch and moan about their life but continue on staying in their relationships.  I was questioned beyond end by people "trying to help" find what was wrong with me that I had not been married even ONCE!

 I was praised by some who I am sure wondered if I was gay and just had not admitted it.  The only people who understood my not settling were close friends who have been divorced once, twice, even three times.  It wasn't that I didn't fall in love and had relationships; it was that I "stuck to my guns" (hey, I live in Texas) and did not allow time passing me by to push me to settle for less than what in my mind and my heart were non-negotiables.  We all have them, as petty as they may seem to others, and the older I got the more I realized I was happy not to deal with compromising.  The reality was that I just hadn't found the one I would compromise some things for. 

I have heard people vent over little things that they put up from their spouse, and always I have half heard their complaints and mostly half focused on the words they use, "put up".  Immediately my mind goes to thinking, you don't HAVE TO put up  with it.  You choose to, and it isn't putting up its accepting  your partner as is!  Mostly BECAUSE OUR PARTNERS DO US THE SAME COURTESY! 

My husband accepts the fact that more times than not I leave half-empty cans of soda. I open one and walk around the house with it enjoying it.  Most of the time I forget I put it down some place and he usually bumps in to it.  Hey, I like to enjoy my drinks and not just gulp them down on the spot!  I think he has chosen to make a game out of it  and "catch me" on it than to go crazy over it.

My epiphany on free will came to me when I heard my best friend arguing with her ex (after their divorce). "I don't HAVE TO do nothing but breathe and die!!" Then she chose to hang up the phone!

In a world where it's easier to relate to one another in misery and most likely cause envy if you are happy, we shouldn't be hesitant to count our blessings.  Take a minute to reflect on the many little ways we have felt loved and accepted by our partners.  What is the most ridiculous quirk you know drives your significant other insane and you just can't help??  Remember it next time you are about to start nagging/moaning over something about them and let it slide.  You don't have to get irritated and can choose to just smirk.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dia de los Muertos/New tradition in our household

One of my early memories is of the first time I ever stepped foot in a cemetery.  My paternal grandparents took me to one in Mexico City, and I hate not having either one around now to ask whose grave we visited but the colorful memory was implanted and still now very vivid.

I must have been three or four years old and what I recall is crowds of people trying to find parking as if to attend a concert.  Flower vendors with carts full of bright colored flowers and people hauling boxes, bags or some type of containers full of what to me looked like toys because of the eye catching colors. What was going on? Where were they going?  I felt confused and yet at ease in the company of my grandparents.

I have assumed with out giving it much value that we were there to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  A Mexican "holiday" in which those who have passed are remembered.  It is customary to visit the graves of those dear to us who have passed and decorate their graves with candles, flowers, and other things. It is also a custom to find a space in one's home to set up some type of (for lack of a better word) ALTAR.  The altar consists of photographs of those who have passed, sugar skulls with colorful decorations, artful skeletons depicting the profession of those dear being remembered, and a few of their favorites things, the most popular of them being some type of liquor.

Now my immediate family never quite practiced this "custom".  Before my father's death (when I was age nine) the whole DEATH or DYING was never something I gave much thought to.  Sure I had had a pet die by that age, but up to then those pets (hamsters, fish, and birds) weren't around long enough to be just but a novelty. 

My father (1979)
After my father's passing for us the day of the dead was September 2nd which is the date my father died.  We silently mourned for weeks before and after like most people who have lost a loved one.  It wasn't until my late 20s that I stopped mourning with such sadness and chose to celebrate the memories I still held of my father.

Again, the celebration was made in early September and not November 2nd when the "holiday" is celebrated . It usually consisted of having a drink in my fathers honor on every anniversary, but some times the toast just grew in to a reason to drink and I had to stop that tradition.  It was after the passing of my Great-uncle "Pepe" that death hit close to me again.  I had lost both of my paternal grandparents within a couple of years of my father but living in a different country and not being near to attend the funeral or be around for those first months most tend to visit a grave site made me feel removed from the sorrow I felt with my father. 

Anyways, soon after my Great-uncle passed other family members soon followed.  The Dia de los Muertos custom has recently been something I have wanted to participate in.  Perhaps it's because I am middle aged now that remembering my loved ones may be my way of hoping someday others will remember me. It has been a reason to dig up old pictures and introduce my husband to those that have meant so much to me and am sorry they never got to see me married.  They would certainly approve of my husband, and I am grateful he is willing to listen to stories of who these loved ones were.

This year I didn't drag my feet.  I have my little altar set up and from now until November 2nd I plan to tend to it by adding more items and taking the time to remember what these loved ones who departed thought me and how they shaped my life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

My husband is oblivious to home maintenance.  I don't mean the kind where you bust out the tools and fix something that is falling apart.  I mean regular up keep of a "home".  Washing rugs, painting walls, redecorating a room.  I've been pestering him about painting the inside of our home, but it doesn't register.  He asks what color and I can see him bracing himself for whatever comes out of my mouth. I am willing to keep it the same color just as long as we spruce up the place. Perhaps he is afraid of living through a scene similar to the movie "Fools Rush In" in which Mathew Perry comes home to find his new Latina wife Salma Hayek has had her family paint the entire house in bright colors. (In case you have not noticed I make a lot of movie references!)

Anyway today I replaced the shower curtain in the guest bathroom.  I have no one else at home to comment on or ask an opinion of it so without thinking twice about it I asked my husband to take a look.  Proud of myself having found a "designer" curtain at a bargain price of 65%. off I was awaiting approval.  I got a "very nice", but what followed made me want to bang my head against the wall regretting asking his opinion.

He said.. "May I ask a question?" to which I nodded.  He then asked "What was wrong with the curtain you replaced?".   As a female the question was just insulting!  I answered "because the other curtain (one of two which I rotate every few months) I have had for about eight years and I am just sick and tired of looking at it!". I know my verbal lash out may seem rude, but HE KNEW I had purchased the curtain a few weeks ago.  I came home exited of my find and justified my spending.  No, I did not justify because of him but because I am very frugal and NEED to justify it to myself!!  Why was he asking such a question??

Now I am NOT the dreaded stereo type of a wife that spends "his money" going on shopping sprees.  I am more than frugal, always looking for a deal and like the average responsible adult trying never to make purchases before meeting all my financial responsibilities. 

In all honesty, some of the curtains I've replaced over the last few years have ended up at my mom's or even my grandmother's home. They have been in perfect condition I've just been in need for something different. In the same spirit of letting someone else enjoy something out grown or tired of I have brought home from mom's floor mats, throw pillows and other things.

I have to admit that my husband has never had to tell me to curb my spending, but I guess having had the only say so on money spent and purchases made for so long I might have gotten a bit irritated by his question.

His was a perfectly legitimate question, but it makes me believe he doesn't know the meaning of "making a home".   In his old apartment he had a clear shower curtain, what I call a shower liner.  It was functional and that was about it.  In what I call a home, there is an actual decorative curtain on top of the liner.  There are floor mats, at least one decorative thing on the wall and pump dispensing soap as opposed to one giant bar of soap that travels back and forward from shower to sink!

I love my husband, but some times I wonder if he was raised by wolves!  I know I am a little dramatic here because his parents are lovely people, but the man HAD BEEN married before!  I would think he would be used to a little redecorating. 

Perhaps it's because for the last couple of years we've been living very frugal making sure we put a dent on student loans and having lived on "saving mode" to pay for our wedding that he hasn't seen too much redecorating.  

I will have to brace myself for more comments, because there is a minor overhaul coming before we host Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Honey.. hold on to something!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The gift that says "I Love YOU"

I love it when my husband puts thought in to my gifts.  I told him early on that I didn't ever want him to feel obligated to be traditional and buy me flowers just because (for example) every wife gets them for Valentine's day or birthdays.  He surprises me every now and then with them when I least expect it and it makes me love him even more!

This anniversary he really gets points for a great gift.  He is giving me additional drumming lessons.  I had been taking lessons before we met and one of his first acts of chivalry when we were dating was to carry my new set of drums up to my third floor apartment.

I lost my instructor a while back and I am famous for having a short attention span, so I let other things/hobbies take up my free time . It's been ages since I banged on my drums and I have been talking about getting back in to that groove again for a few weeks so my anniversary gift was perfect!

My drum set used to live in the bedroom of our ONE bedroom apartment before moving in to the house we live in now.  It was crammed in with more furniture than you would think a room could hold!  I would bang on my drums often because they were right in front of my nose. Now they sit in our office and for a long time were buried behind boxes and boxes of my husband's gaming supplies and miniatures.  (He has tons of them!)
The black surfaces are mufflers to avoid neighbor complaints.

I appreciate that my husband listens to my desires and tries to encourage my hobbies.  Being the smart ass that he is when I thanked him for the gift he quickly joked that after having carried those drums up and down a third floor apartment he might as well encourage me to use them.

I told him that he probably misses having a drum beat accompany his shedding of clothes in the bedroom and that I credit the drums for convincing him he should marry me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wedding Anniversary..

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary.  I hate to say it but I fell short on the celebration.  We had intended to take a long four day weekend to relax and just spend time with each other, but I am working towards a small promotion and the last couple of weeks I've been working long days at the office.  Even thru this our anniversary weekend.

My husband is a gem. He's been more than understanding and supportive. We still managed to keep our date for a meal at a preferred restaurant in town.  It is our little tradition that we hope to carry on for many years.

To my loving husband, thank you for another year of wonderful memories!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Party/Mexican Style

It was my grandmother's 82nd birthday last weekend and we made the trek down to Laredo for the celebration.  It has become difficult for my grandma Socorro to travel, so the last 3 years many in the family have made it a point to attend her birthday parties.  This year my uncle's new wife was sweet enough to try to make it more memorable and suggested a spin from prior years; it was a theme party.  Now despite some negativity from poor sports (you can't ever please everyone) the theme was "Mexican Party".  Wear something "Mexican" or wear green, white & red (colors of the Mexican flag).

So it all began..  What to wear?  My brother playfully said he was planning on dressing like a Lowrider.  One uncle said he would be wearing his "Botas Vaqueras" (cowboy boots).  My mom and 3 of her sisters (who flew from Indiana especially for the celebrations) drove to down town San Antonio & shopped at La Villita; a market popular with tourists where you can find just about everything Mexican that you would buy in border towns (on the Mexican side). My sister said she wasn't dressing up because she didn't own anything "Mexican". 

The real question is what would be considered "Mexican".  There are Chicanos, Lowriders, Tex-Mex and a few others that would be considered "Mexican" by the average Caucasian, but none who would be recognized as Mexican across the border (in Mexico).  These subcultures if you would forgive the use of the word have Mexico as a root of their heritage, but they are AMERICAN!  I could drift off on to a different conversation here, but I will save it for another time.

Back to the Mexican theme party.  You may be surprised but most Mexicans in the U.S. (by heritage or immigrated) do not own what many would consider "Mexican attire".  It's like living in Texas.  Just because you do it does not mean you automatically own cowboy boots or ride a horse.  This last statement reminds me of my cousin Gabriela asking if we had a horse after my mom moved us from Indiana to Texas in the early '80s. (My cousin was 10)

Table decorations from the party
So not every Mexican in the U.S. owns "Mexican attire", but I do!!  I love embroidered blouses and ruffled skirts, though I never wear them together.  I usually pair the blouses with jeans and flip flops to run around on the weekends.  I don't look like I got off a "burro" this morning.  I live in South Texas and these Mexican-inspired garments are very cool and perfect for our hot climate.  My friends call my style a bit Bohemian, my mother calls it Hippie.  I call it COMFORTABLE!!

 Anyway, my husband wore a Guayabera (one of a few he owns) to play along and the party was a success.  Grandma was pretty happy.  There was good food, and even good entertainment!  My uncle's new wife is a school teacher and she invited a colleague to come and perform with a children's choir she directs.  They sang a number of songs in Spanish and two of the members were singled out.  Ten-year-olds who have just come back from a music school competition where they earned high marks.  A twiggy boy upholstered in a miniature Mariachi suit belted out tunes over his 20 choir mates and his counterpart towering almost by her entire head (also 10 years) that was dressed in braids, bright colored skirt and peasant blouse sang with the sentiment and maturity of a 30 year old.  It was impressive!

There was also entertainment at the end of the evening.  My young cousin Sandy (18 years old) with a sweet voice serenaded the birthday girl with a Mariachi group she is a member of. (In the states of Texas and California a few school districts proudly offer in their music department a Mariachi/Mexican style program)

There was plenty of dancing and drinking in between the entertainment and I give my husband lots of credit for getting up to dance despite his stereotype "white boy" dance skills.  Between me, my mother and my aunts he was given a pretty good workout, and I am glad I forewarned him.  I told him my aunts would most likely try to drag him to dance despite it being their first meeting, and true to form they did!

I am glad we made the trip.  About fifty of us gathered (a bit more than usual), all related somehow (even a few in-laws).  I pray each year that the next we can gather again for another birthday.  I am lucky to still have my grandma; we are very close and she has been my only grandparent for the past 30 years. I am thankful my husband understands how I value these gatherings in her honor and is willing to be part of celebrations..  This was the third of such celebrations he attended and I think after joining in the karaoke singing he will look forward to the next.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death valley in my kitchen..

This was one hot summer in South Texas, and the heat keeps going on.  We've had water restrictions and have been under wild fire warnings for months on end.  I have been proud to have had on past years a little potted garden in our old apartment balcony and even after moving to a house a little flower bed, that truth be told my husband was mostly responsible for keeping alive.  This year, despite my best intentions of putting flowers on the ground and reviving our little garden I totally flaked! 

I spent good money (not too much) on mulch, dirt and plants that never made it on to our yard.  The heat has been unbearable and I've shamefully dodged spending any time outdoors this summer.    I have 1000 excuses; I am good at convincing myself that I haven't had time.  The reality of it all is that I neglected to death about two dozen little seedlings. I managed to somehow keep them alive in two plastic bins in my kitchen by a sunny window with every intention of planting them "next weekend", but the last couple weeks the casualties were heavy and they went fast! 

Our yard is dry and crunchy except for the mutant weeds that still manage to pop up about a foot high overnight and that I end up pulling on my way in the house from work, or on my way out going to work.  Even the lawn mower has seen little action. 

I've had no incentives to work on the yard!  We usually entertain often, but these last months we just haven't.  That old advice of having guests often to keep a clean house also extends for me to keeping a good looking yard. The usual BBQ's/cookouts we manage to throw in the warmer months have become dangerous or just terribly irrational; to stand in the heat and by the heat to grill is crazy! 

So in my kitchen sits "death valley"; dried up little twigs of flowers that never came to be. We've had a few rain showers this week, and the guilt of having a dead garden in my kitchen is almost unbearable.  I know I should have potted the seedlings to at least give them a better chance.  My other house plants are still thriving, though some days I totally ignore them until I see them droopy and fainting with my lack of watering.  I will say; ivy, aloe and African violets are survivals!  I also have two other resilient varieties of plans that have been with me for years!! 

I don't know what my punishment for killing good plans should be; for now I am just thankful that we have no pets or kids to neglect...