No Fun Zone

May 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm (Parenting 101: Tips from the Nanny) (, , , , , , )

Okay so I have been a nanny for the last nine years and helped raise fourteen kids in that period of time. I currently have two charges, JT who is seven and his sister JO who is two. He is in first grade and she is home with me all day. This week in particular, JT has soccer games in the evening Monday and Tuesday, Karate Wednesday, and a birthday party Friday. I assumed he would be pretty tired each morning when I woke him up for school. Just as I suspected, he was a zombie Tuesday morning. When he came home from school yesterday, I asked him to read some books on his bed for about 30 minutes just to give his body some rest since he has such a busy week. Now, normally he falls asleep but yesterday he didn’t. When the timer went off after 30 minutes I went up and told him he could go play…I found this note on his bed.

JT's Note

I thought it was very honest and hilarious. This is a kid who spends his weekends planted in front of a tv or a video game and is rarely asked to do much else. So with me, he reads and plays outside and spends no time in front of a tv unless its a rainy day (even then it’s one movie a day). Here is what I wrote back to him…

Nanny's Response


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gLeeks, freaks and “the others”

May 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm (Thoughts on Life, Weight Loss Journey) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I’m a gLeek. If you for some reason reside under a rock and don’t know what that is…it’s a person who likes is obsessed with the TV show “gLee”.  Tonight’s episode hit some really hard topics and I wanted to share a bit about this.

Rachel (Lea Michele) found her birth mother (Idina Menzel) and learned that connecting with her is easier said than done and wasn’t going to fix that hole in her heart. Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Finn (Cory Monteith) move in together because their parents have been dating. Kurt redecorates their bedroom to ease Finn’s homophobia. The climactic moment comes when Kurt’s father (Mike O’Malley) walks in right when Finn calls a blanket “faggy”. He tells Finn that that kind of ignorance will not be tolerated under his roof and that being gay is not some punishable offense. By the end of the episode, Finn defends Kurt when he is being bullied by the jocks as a way of telling Kurt he accepts him.

I have done theatre productions for years and have many gay friends. I also have African-American friends, short friends, tall friends, fat friends, skinny friends, goth friends and friends from different religions. Does that make me any better than them? No. The world is made up of all walks of life. Everyone is raised differently and comes from different backgrounds.

In a way, I’m very lucky. I lived the first twenty-five years of my life being “the fat girl”. Living with the daily remarks from my peers, the stares and the loneliness. Now, I’m learning to live on the other side. I have a total understanding of what overweight people go through and how hard life can be when you aren’t a cute size four. Every day, it’s getting easier to be me. It’s easy for me to say I am who I am…that’s okay…so take me as I am or move on!

When you are twelve sizes above “normal”, people do overlook you and yes, you are invisible. You can’t easily say, “I’m me–deal with it”. You learn to change your personality in some way so people have a reason to look beyond the double chin and big ass. You learn to laugh at yourself before they do…you buy people’s love little by little, treating them to lunch when you can’t afford it so they will hang out with you.

I wish that we could all come to the understanding that everyone is who they are and that should be okay…but somehow, I don’t think we as humans will ever stop separating each other and naming one group “better” than another.

Dare to Be Different

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You Know Those Blogs…?

May 24, 2010 at 7:58 pm (Thoughts on Life)

Late Night BloggerYou know those really popular blogs that are witty and hysterical…or the ones where the person writes a novel like every day and it begins to feel like you are there with them living their life even though the writer in thousands of miles away. I’ve always wanted to be that blogger. I’ve always dreamed of what it would be like to draw in hundreds of readers with my alter-ego, Jessica Kingsley. Writing about my experiences as a nanny (Nanny Diaries style complete with my boss starring as Mrs. X), about my passionate love affairs (see I have imagination!) and my “Ah-ha” moments as Oprah calls them. I’d love to see comments on how my ramblings had affected someone else or perhaps given them their own “ah-ha” moment. I want to be Carrie fricken Bradshaw damnit! 🙂

This is the third blog that I’ve started. Every time I promise myself that I’m going to write x times per week or month. Every time, I fall short of that…way short. Then I get mad at myself and give up.

I’ve come to realize that this pattern is common throughout many areas of my life. I get a gym membership because the gym is having a special and is down the street from my job. After three or four weeks, I start coming up with every excuse in the free world not to go and spend the next 11 months paying “just $19.99” every month to drive by the building and feel horrible about myself. I see an animal cruelty video and instantly become a vegetarian. I buy vegetarian recipe books and hunt for yummy replacements that cost twice the price of meat at the health food store. I was a strict vegetarian…for two and a half weeks.

So I have decided that enough is enough. I am keeping this blog going but I’m not creating deadline that will set myself up for failure. I will blog when the mood strikes and have a mini-celebration in my head when I do. haha.

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Time for Some Good News

May 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm (Daily Happenings) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have a friend coming to visit from San Diego this weekend for Memorial Day. I haven’t seen her since Christmas and I’m so excited that she is finally able to come to Texas! Every year, when I go home for Christmas, I stay with her and we have a blast. Now I get to show her my turf and hopefully convince her to move here . haha

We are going to do a bunch of exciting things while she’s here, one being a Ghost Tour downtown. I have never done one in San Antonio before but I participated in one in New Orleans a couple of months ago. I hope this one proves to be just as good!

Two stories that really got to be from the Ghost Tour in New Orleans were of the LaLaurie Mansion and the Place D’Armes Hotel.

The LaLaurie Mansion

The Place D'Armes Hotel

The LaLaurie was the site of horrific slavery and the slaves haunt the hotel to this day. Reports of screams and moans coming from the house at night are frequent although the mansion is currently uninhabited. The Place D’Armes was built on the site where a boarding school once stood. A fire destroyed the original building and killed all the students and teachers who lived there. Midian (our tour guide) told a story about when he and some friends of his were staying at the hotel trying to confirm some hauntings. In the wee hours of the morning, the ghost of one of the children lost in the fire appeared to the group. He appeared to be shivering and stumbling around. His eyes were burned out of their sockets so he couldn’t see, hence the stumbling.

I wonder what stories  I will be intrigued by for the hauntings of San Antonio??

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Just Like That, Life Changes

May 2, 2010 at 10:47 pm (Family Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I find it funny how your whole life can change in an instant. Last Friday night I was to get off work at 5:30pm and go to Red Lobster with my mom and step-dad. Then it was party time at my friend’s house. I ended up getting off work about 30 minutes early and was standing around talking to my boss until her phone rang. It was my mom. I thought nothing of this because my boss had backed into my mom’s car two weeks prior and there had been many phone calls back and forth to discuss insurance and such. When she got off the phone, she lightly said, “Hey your mom thinks you are already half way home.” We finished talking and I started my forty minute drive home.

I walked in the door and yelled, “Okay I’m ready for some crab legs!” into an oddly quiet house. Just then my mom appeared in her office doorway and she had been crying. My face dropped with a panicked, “what happened?” She reached out to grab me and uttered the words I have been dreading my entire life… “Grandpa died.”

I heard myself let out the most agonizing scream imaginable. I fell apart on my living room floor holding my mom close trying to remember that this was not just my loss…she had just lost her father too. In the midst of my sobbing, I tried to ask what had happened. My mom said he had had a heart attack at about eight o’ clock that morning. He had gone quickly and in my grandma’s arms. I immediately remembered my grandma. How was she? What would she do now? I tried to calm myself down enough to talk to her on the phone. In twenty-six years, that was the first time I had ever heard my grandma cry. She asked if I was doing okay and if I wanted to know the details of what had transpired that morning. I muttered that I did and tried not to let her hear me crying. She said he woke her up about 4 a.m. complaining that he was very cold and that he felt like his heart was going to beat out of his chest. Grandma said she could see his heart beating through his pajamas. She wrapped him up in an electric blanket and had put him back to bed where his heart began to calm down. At about 8 a.m., he got up and walked into the bathroom and she dampened a washcloth to wipe his face. He sat down and just as she touched his face, he looked up and said, “oh no” and collapsed into her arms. Grandma called 911 and held him until paramedics arrived. She knew he was gone.

In one instant, sixty-four years of marriage was over. The witty, sentimental, big-hearted man we have cherished for decades was gone.

I have always had a very close bond with my grandpa and I had never pictured what life would be like without him. My fun filled Friday night had suddenly become hurried packing so we could get on a plane to California the next day. My step-dad had planned ahead for all of us knowing my mom and I would be in pretty bad shape. He had bereavement flights scheduled for all three of us before we even knew Grandpa had passed. My grandma had a neighbor call him that afternoon and he went home to tell my mom immediately. His support through this week has been nothing less than amazing and selfless.

The first time he held me...

 When we arrived late Saturday night to my Grandma’s house we were surprised to find that everyone was doing quite well. My aunt and cousin had driven the two hours from San Diego and had planned almost every detail for the services and were making phone calls. I asked my cousin, who is one year younger than I am, if she planned on speaking at the funeral. She right away said no and that I shouldn’t either because Grandpa would’ve been so ashamed if I got up there and broke down. Yes, she actually said that. This was so hurtful and offensive to me because my cousin didn’t have much of a relationship with my grandparents. She didn’t seem to see the importance of spending time with them; she very rarely called and was embarrassed to be seen with Grandpa during those few months he was in a wheelchair. I was told to do what I needed to do by my mom, step-dad and grandma and whether I decided to speak or not, either way was okay.
Sunday morning, I started going through pictures while my mom rewrote the obituary for the paper. I had decided that I wanted to bury a few small mementos with him. I found a photo of the first time he held me. The look on his face said it all…he was so proud and excited. I made a copy of that and wrote a private goodbye message to him on the back. The viewing was set for Tuesday night and the funeral Wednesday morning. There was also a debate about whether or not he should be buried with his glasses on. No one ever saw him without glasses and my grandma made it clear that she wanted them on him. My aunt sniped, “Mom, why? His eyes are going to be closed and he didn’t sleep with them on.” Let’s just say my aunt has a bit of a control issue and my mom and I were about to deck her.

Earlier that weekend, we had gone to Wal-Mart which happened to be across the street from the mortuary. I was having a really hard time with the fact that he was in there all alone and the rest of the family was down the street. I realized that it was just his body and that his Spirit was in Heaven with his siblings and parents but I still wasn’t even close to okay with that. Tuesday evening came quickly. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to see my grandpa laying there but when we arrived at the chapel, there he was. Dressed in his best suit, hands neatly folded across his big belly that jiggled like Santa Clause when he laughed. An American flag placed over the bottom portion of his casket; he served as a self-taught radioman in the Navy and was extremely proud to be a member of the Greatest Generation. I held my grandma’s arm tightly and asked if she was ready for this…she nodded and handed me his glasses. We slowly approached the casket and we both began to cry as we got a closer glimpse. I put his glasses on and half way collapsed, weeping on my grandma’s shoulder. I didn’t realize my mom and step-dad we coming down the aisle right after me until I heard that same guttural scream coming from my mom as she saw her father for the first time since his passing. My step-dad grabbed her and tried to console her. We sat in the front row for a few minutes and gathered our composure while other people started pouring into the building to pay their respects. I had so many people who meant so much to my grandpa coming up to me to tell stories about him and share their memories. That was simply amazing to hear how much he meant to that community. After talking with ten or so different people, I began to feel uplifted. There was something comforting about being with him. The entire two hours of the viewing, I stayed pretty close to Grandpa. I put the picture I had copied near his hand and tucked a pack of Juicy Fruit gum under his thumb. I held his hand and talked to him for a while. I told him that I was going to speak at his funeral and that I hoped I could make him proud. I told him how much I loved him and that I was sorry I couldn’t say goodbye. I stroked his hair remembering how soft it always was. I noticed that his cheeks were a bit scruffy just like they always had been when he hugged me and our cheeks touched.

Grandpa and I in May of 2009

When we got home from the viewing, I began to brainstorm on what I would share at the funeral the following morning. My head flooded with memories of my twenty-six years with him. The weekends he came to stay with us and slept on my bedroom floor when I was sick. The road trip contests we’d have with each other to see how many sticks of Juicy Fruit we could get in our mouths. The Saturday morning breakfasts together. The days I spent at his shop playing in grease puddles and napping on the leather couch in his office. The way he smelled, the roughness of his voice and the tender way he held me. The list goes on and on.

The pastor who did the funeral was amazing. He told a few stories he had remembered about my grandpa stinking up the lobby of the church with onions he brought for anyone who needed them. How he always brought bags of candy for the children’s church and had taken care of so many military families. More proof of the generous heart he had. I did get up and speak and was able to share some memories with everyone that brought smiles and laughter into the room which made sense because Grandpa was always the center of attention, life of the party storyteller. I thanked everyone for telling their stories and experiences with my grandpa. That was extremely uplifting to hear how much he meant to everyone else.

When I was a baby, my grandparents used to fight over who got to hold me first. One day, I was crying and nothing my mom was doing seemed to help. My grandpa kept insisting that I was crying because I obviously wanted him. After a few more minutes of this struggle, she gave up and handed me over. I immediately shut up and snuggled up close to him. That pretty much set the tone of our bond with each other.

My step-dad, uncle and both of my aunt’s ex-husbands served as pallbearers. Once we were at the cemetery, the pastor said a few more words and we sang “Jesus Loves Me”. My grandfather was given a gun salute for his military service during WWII and they presented my grandma with the American flag from his casket. We all placed a single red rose on his casket and I escorted my grandma back to the car. It was very surreal that that was it…I was never going to see him again.

The next three days were spent going through pictures to make copies of, going through my grandpa’s clothes so my grandma wouldn’t have to after we all left and creating a scrap book of the funeral events for my grandma. I gathered a few precious mementos and a bottle of the cologne he always wore.

My grandfather obviously left a huge footprint on my heart and I will miss him every day. Who do you love the most?

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