Friday, November 8, 2013


Me:  "Wow, Jojo!  You hit that piƱata hard."

Jojo: "I just tried my best and I hitted it super hard, Mom!"

-Jojo, age 6;1 years
At my school multicultural carnival

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Bye Bye, Birdie

Today our sweet parakeet, Lucas, died.  I came home from class and all the boys were gone.  The past few days the bird had been quiet, but I've been so busy and distracted I hardly noticed.  Today he was on his perch and he fell over.  It was then that I realized something was wrong.  He could hardly keep his eyes open as he tried to eat some seeds and was lethargic.

I told the boys about their pet when they returned home.  Gabriel and Jojo were especially concerned and we took Lucas out to hold him.  A few hours later it was clear he was about to die so we pet him a long while.  He tried to fly and landed on Gabriel's shirt. 

Then we put him back in to his cage.  I turned around and Gabriel was sobbing.  I held him a while.  Pretty soon Mike and I were each holding a sobbing boy.  It really tore my heart out to see them upset. Christian shed about two tears and ran back to watch a game on t.v.  A few moments later he found us all on the couch with his brothers and he said, "It's just a bird. It's not like a family member died."  Oh, but it was close enough. 

That bird gave me such happiness.  He always chirped, and he would show off for guests.  A couple months ago Jeanne, my SIL, noticed Lucas running back and forth in the cage and bobbing his head up and down at her.  It sounded like he was tap dancing in the cage, and he would only do that when guests were there.  Lucas went to bed when we did and never woke us up.  He travelled well, too.

Pets give us so much -- they give us comfort, unconditional love, and peacefulness. Even a little bird like Lucas gave so much.  When I noticed Lucas had stopped breathing Jojo commented, "Let's not tell Gaby.  He'll be sad."  And then Jojo proceeded to draw a picture of Lucas lying on his side in a cage.  We each handle grieving in different ways.  I encouraged the boys to cry -- let it out.  It'll make us feel better to get the sadness out.  I hope my sadness will go away soon.  Tomorrow we'll bury him.

God bless you, Lucas.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Other Thief

Of course I sneered and
and told you to save
yourself since you are
after all famous for
saving others.  So how
dare you not do the

     as a god, no miracle
     as a king, no legion
     as a man, no rebuke

That meek and mild bit
     how naive!
but it seems you finally
learned like I did

the hard way.  I could
have told you things
are tough all over.  Sure,

I'm a bitter man
     have been all my life
and even now at my own
execution I have nothing
                                     to say
     except a curse.

                  You knew better than
      to promise me platitudes

you gave me nothing

     nothing but a look
and now I'm lonely for you

you gave me nothing
     nothing but hope

-Ed Chavez
Chocolate Waters

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Blue, Blue, Blue Christmas

We spent Christmas and New Year's in Tennessee at Nana and Papa's new beautiful home.  Papa has got his speakers system set up in and outside the house to listen to his Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top, Muddy Waters....  We danced (and played air guitar and drums) on New Year's Eve night, and one thing I noticed that I hadn't while I was taping is that Gabriel seems to play for a pretend audience.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Love Note

A couple months ago Christian handed me an envelope that he had found taped to his locker.  It had been placed there the day before when he had stayed home from school.  Thinking it was an invitation to a party, I opened the decorated envelope and read the enclosed:

I said, "Oh, Christian!  This is your first love note!  How sweet; You have a secret admirer! And she's a poet." 

Christian was embarrassed and completely appalled.  He told me not to tell ANYONE about this note, especially DAD because he likes to tease.

Although Christian has never found out who his secret admirer is, someone at school wanted to know what the note was about and who it was from.  Christian told her, "It's none of your business!"

I think it was brave of this girl to write such a note even though she didn't reveal herself.  I remember writing notes to certain boys when I was young.  Oh, I could write stories about that.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

In the Middle

Gabriel and Joseph were fighting over the same toy.  Jojo had brought the toy to the den and had gone outside to play.  While he was outside, Gaby decided to take it apart and play with it his way.  Jojo was not happy and wanted his toy back.  'Finders, keepers' doesn't fly with Jojo.

Gaby:  "You're so bossy, Jojo!"

Jojo: "That means I'm the boss."

Finally, the boys' friend, Jackson, intervened:

Jackson:  "I'm the middle child, too, Gabriel.  Just deal with it. You'll never get your way."

At least they didn't fight over pumpkins yesterday.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


This past weekend we went to Albuquerque to have a reunion with my brothers and our children. But mostly, we went to visit Grandma.

Since last May, Grandma has been in rehab twice.  The first time for breaking a vertebra in her upper back.  She was becoming more forgetful and was unable to recall whether she had fallen in the middle of the night as she made her way to the bathroom. She was in rehab for a couple weeks to develop upper body strength and to learn how to push herself to a standing position.

A couple weeks ago she broke her hip, had hip replacement surgery, and is now back at the rehab.  Only this time her body does not seem to want to cooperate.  She sits with her legs elevated with a wedge between them to prevent another broken bone should she turn her toes inward; Her bones are quite brittle.

She cheered up considerably with the visits from her great-grandchildren in between therapy sessions that would leave her exhausted.

Today, Grandma will be transferred to a transitional nursing/rehab facility for up to three months.  After that, Aunt Patsy says it's in God's hands.  She is taking it one day at a time.

It is good for the children to see our older family members go through the cycle of life.  It may scare them a little, as it did for sweet Simone.

But there have been some funny moments.  Like when Grandma misplaced a container with her urine that Aunt Patsy was supposed to take to the doctor's office this past summer.  She and I searched all over the house, and Grandma searched with us.  And then every five minutes she'd stop and ask, "Patsy, what are we looking for?" Aunt Patsy, who was exasperated, would explain all over again what happened.  "Oh, Patsy.  I'm so sorry!" Grandma would reply.  And then she'd search again with us until her memory inevitably failed.  Aunt Patsy told her, "I'm going to put you on 'America's Got Talent' because you have a talent for hiding things!"  We searched drawers, closets, hampers, all over the bathroom where Grandma had just been before she lost the container.  The only thing we forgot to do was to look above eye level.  A week later, Aunt Patsy found it hanging on the towel holder on the bathroom door. 

My favorite time with her was the early morning visit with Dad after Mass.  The kids went with Jaime and Sergio to the Balloon Fiesta, which gave us some quiet time.  She had just returned to her room and couldn't remember if she'd just had a bath or whether she had just eaten breakfast.  We brought her a sausage muffin, but she only ate a few bites.  She asked us every few minutes, "Why am I here?" Grandma doesn't remember falling, breaking her hip, or how long she has been at the rehab.   A couple months ago she seemed more aware of time, but now she is not so sure.  She is slowly fading before our eyes.

Later that morning we visited with Aunt Patsy at their house and the three of us reminisced, cried a little and laughed a lot.

A few months ago Grandma remarked, "Getting old isn't for sissies."  Loving Grandma, you're no sissy.