From Her: Mexican in Maine goes to Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I know it's Saturday and there was no #ChingonaFest Fridays post.

Again. 

Life's been kind of crazy lately and I promise that I tried. All I know is that I'm still figuring out this whole Squarespace business and I gave up after writing the entire post five times only to have it default to the original and unfinished draft each and every time. In the interest of Me and Not Killing Anyone, I opted for Not Going to Prison by drinking wine and saving the headache for next week.

It's all good. Cuz I've got news to share, anyway.

I'm honored to announce my inclusion in the juried 2015 From Her Art Exhibit in Los Angeles! My photograph, Mexican in Maine, will be included in this year's show, running from March 5th through March 22, in honor of Women's History Month -- and I couldn't be prouder. 

Mexican in Maine by Pauline Campos. Pinata by  Mainly Pinatas . 

Mexican in Maine by Pauline Campos. Pinata by Mainly Pinatas

Unfortunately, I can't be at the opening to celebrate because I don't own a Tardis and plane tickets don't grow on trees, but a few LA-based friends have promised to attend the event and take a ton of pictures because they love me. 

So, why this piece? For every item submitted, artists were asked for a statement to explain why we felt it was reflective of the for the Women's History Month focus. My artist statement for Mexican in Maine reads as follows: 

As a mother, I strive to teach my daughter that she can go anywhere...do anything. I want her to know that it's more important to create her own space rather than try to fit in. 
We moved to Maine two years ago and do not blend; our olive tones made more obvious by the white snow covering the ground for most of the year. But we are creating our space. In this photo, my daughter, 7, stands in a barn beneath the princess pinata made by a local woman, also Mexican, for her birthday party. 
She is fierce, focused, and stands tall, daring anyone to question her presence, her choices, her right to wear that crown or the cape she says makes her royalty. In this moment, she has claimed her space.

I think this is where I drop the proverbial mic and saunter off the figurative stage. 

F-Bombs & 51 Things

Watch your back, Cinderella.

  1. I hate spiders.
  2. If all the Disney Princesses tried to take out Wonder Woman in a fight, I’d put money on Wonder Woman. Hands down.
  3. Real shredded coconut “tastes” like paper to me. Shut. Up.
  4. When I am out in public here in Maine and make eye contact with another minority, they give me the Nod of Acknowledgment.
  5. I always nod back.
  6.  Strangers can read anything I write. I’m not afraid of you judging me.
  7.  It took me a long time to get comfortable on my own blog to drop an F bomb. And look at you still reading, you naughty, naughty person, you….
  8. It was liberating as hell when it finally happened.
  9. Sometimes I have to pretend temporary amnesia when I write here & my column because now that my family knows what I do, the pressure is on, y’all.
  10.  I swear like a sailor but blush when people say that P word that rhymes with hussy (Hint: smartasses who try leaving comments containing that word will be deleted. Me and my virgin eyes can’t handle it, so don’t try it.)
  11. I'll be starting a podcst/Google Hangout session pretty soon.
  12.   I never got  pregnancy/labor amnesia. So we got a new puppy. Since my ovaries hate me I guess I don’t have to worry, anyway.
  13. Related? Only people without kids can say that raising a puppy is like having a child. We used to say it all the time. Then we had a child. All I’m saying is rubbing your kid’s nose in their pee spot on the carpet might not work out so well for you, so I’d advise against being stupid.
  14. I was 5’1? when I was 8 years old. My mother is 5,1?, which means I was wearing her pants in the third grade. Which also means I have only grown 5-inches in 27 years. Wow, that’s depressing.
  15. My mother brought me home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking.
  16. There’s a reason I prayed for a summer baby, y’all.
  17. I was left standing on my porch, dressed for the senior year Homecoming dance, with mascara-stained tear tracks in my blush, when I realized the high school friends who had invited me to “go stag” with them never showed to pick me up.
  18. I had my first kiss with my first boyfriend at 16 years old.
  19. I speak really good Spanish when I’m drunk.
  20. I never have time to get drunk.
  21. My Spanish usually sucks.
  22. My mother dressed me as a clown for Halloween one year and combed my Mexifro out into an afro and sprayed it to look like a wig. She must have done a really good job. I spent the entire Girl Scout party beating Brownies off my head as they all tried to yank my wig off so they could try it on themselves.
  23. I hate clowns.
  24. I had a reverse boob job when I was 24. The Husband looked like a proud new father when he told his friends that his wife’s former GG’s were now cute and perky DD’s.
  25. Eliana fit in one of my old bikini cups when she was born. (Like you wouldn’t have tried?)
  26.  You know that scene in the original Blade movie where the vampires are in the underground club dancing in wild abandon as the sprinkler system showers them in blood? Yeah…that’s the song The Husband and I were introduced to at our wedding reception.
  27. #26 was my idea. The Husband is still grateful.
  28.  I didn’t know MTV existed until I was 14. i also didn’t realize that our car radio played anything other than Mexican music or oldies stations. My social life? Sucked.
  29. I’m the oldest of five girls. The youngest two are 10 and 11 years younger than me, and Mom used to make me wake with the crying babies at night and still go to school the next morning.
  30. My mother is an evil genius.
  31. I hate it when people refer to how big my daughter is. She’s tall, assholes, not big. Can we talk about how big you are now? Oh right, that’s not polite.
  32. Milk makes me sneeze. A lot. Which makes me miss ice cream.
  33. Bananas also make me sneeze. Which just makes me weird.
  34. This is my third blog. The first two were me trying to write what I thought other people wanted to read.
  35. Are you still reading?
  36. My goal in life is to make it onto Graham Norton’s couch & the Top Gear track. I’ve got a think for BBC.
  37. I typo. A lot. Deal with it.
  38. I have ADHD and wish people knew that the condition doesn’t just mean I’m forgetful.
  39.  I homeschool and wish people didn’t assume that means my child is locked in a closet all day. We at least let her out for five minutes of sunlight every day. Twice on Sundays.
  40. I once yelled at my sister for closing the car windows with my fingers in them after I told her to close the window and left my hand there.
  41. I met The Husband online when online dating was still something to whisper about.
  42. I was the Mexican Princess Searching for her Prince.
  43. Chuck it up, people. Chuck it up.
  44. I queried 45 agents before I got signed.
  45.  My agent never saw my query.
  46. I'm single again and looking for a new agent.
  47. I’m Latina Magazine’s advice columnist only because I didn’t think I was going to get the job. Think about that one.
  48. I write first and think about sharing later.
  49. I never self-censor words that need to be written. I decide if they should be shared after. But I always write them.
  50. I choked on water once. In a cup. Sitting at the kitchen table. Yes, I am that talented.
  51. The End

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Jenni Ruiza

Welcome to WEEK 7 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama! I’m knee-deep in Plan & Ideas for a possible #Chingonafest retreat/workshop and would love any idea you may have. Send ‘em my way at aspiringmama@gmail.com! 

If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purpose, Las Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Jesenia the Comedian and Sugar Jones and were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Today’ featured Chingona is the Other Half of last week’s Chingona Awesome. Jenni Ruiza and Jesenia the Comedian make up The Comedy Girls and I cannot begin to tell you how hilarious these two ladies are. (Fair warning — the link will SING to you so if you’re at work, hit mute first. Also? Jenni? Imma looking at you, lady. We’re totally fixing that. But back to the Chingona thing…)

Jenni is a NYC-based Latina actor and writer. She began her professional career in January of 2011 where she worked on her first comedic short with FunnyorDie.com and ConanorBust.com. That was the same year she signed on as a  writer and featured player for the sketch comedy show “AY QUE FUNNY” created by Jesenia: The Comedic Actress. Now, Jenni is co-writer and producer for BECOMING RICARDO, a hilarious webTV sitcom debuting this year. Jenni also performs musical improv with The LocoMotives around NYC and  co-hosts COMEDY GIRLS, a radio show discussing everything from relationships to comedy on BlogTalkRadio.  She is also a contributor for Alicia Menendez’s Tonight on Fusion (An ABC/Univision joint venture) and can be found as a recurring panelist on the show.

And now for the interview!

 

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Jenni Ruiza

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or Vanilla? 

Jenni Ruiza: Chocolate all day! (All night!)

PC:  My kind of lady. Favorite book (and why)?

 

JR: ”The Comedy Bible” is my favorite book right now because I’m in the middle of revamping my stand-up set. Actually, when I was in my teens – Joy Schtick by Joy Behar was one of my favorite books, not only because she totally sent it to me with a note, but because it was a story about a woman’s journey into comedy as a means to get out of her everyday life. I felt like I related to that, even at that age.

 

PC: I was reading Stephen King at 12. I think this says more about me than I want to get into right now. So, what’s your favorite quote?

 

JR: “It’s not a bad life, just a bad day”. I seriously have to say that to myself whenever I step on an NYC train. 

 

PC: Can I borrow that? I may tattoo it backwards on my forehead. It’s okay. You can think about it. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

JR: Yes! But not an extreme feminist, which there is absolutely such a thing. I do believe fully in women’s rights and equality between genders. But I’m also an independent woman who is a little old-fashioned. Is that an oxymoron?

 

PC: Nope. Well, not to me. But I refuse to burn my bras. *Points to DDDs* Describe yourself in third person, please.

 

JR: Jenni is really quiet…surprisingly quiet…wait, she’s a performer, right? Oh, okay, there she goes – she’s speaking. Nope, she’s quiet again. Wait a minute here, I’m confused. Maybe she’s hungover.

 

PC:  Oooooohhhh I LOVE mysteries! Maybe it was the maid in the billiard room with the candlestick! No? Okay, then. It was just the 3rd margarita. Tell me who inspires you?

 

JR: – My parents inspire me. They have equally been through rough journeys that I would’ve never imagined anyone to come out with while maintaining a smile. I’ve watched them all of my life grow a love that is stronger and are people who are completely comfortable in themselves. My parents have been through a lot! It’s really kind of crazy – but one moment I’ll always keep with me was the first improv show I had and my mom said at the end, “it’s a special gift when you can take someone away from the everyday and make them laugh.” 

ALSO, Jesenia (my best friend, sister, comedic-partner in crime) inspires me. I look up to her a great deal because she’s an insanely strong woman, an amazing mom, and just an all-around beautiful person. She’s that annoying older sister I’ve always wanted and was lucky enough to choose. She helps me maintain sanity – I get some of my best advice from her and she’s changed my life in a way I can’t even begin to explain. I can’t imagine my life without these three people. 

 

PC: I feel the love. LET’S SINK KUMBAYA IN ROUNDS!!!! What? Why are you looking at me like that? Never mind. Tell me who you hope to inspire.

 

JR: My future daughter. Those shy girls who are too nervous to do what they love. 

 

PC: I like that. Also? Remind me not to tell you about how I cried buckets when the ultrasound tech told me I had a girl in my belly-panza. I don’t wanna freak you out about the lil’ milestone none of the parenting experts bother mentioning in which little girls saol past bratty and right into bitchy. YOU WILL LOVE MOTHERHOOD AND…NEVER MIND. I’m shutting up now. Do you dream in color or black and white?

 

JR:  I dream in movies. Either amazing dreamscapes, action films, or horrors. That kind of says a lot about me!

 

PC:  *blinks* Maybe we are spirit animals! Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

 

JR: Hashtag badass! Seriously, well-behaved women rarely make history. Another favorite quote!

 

PC:  Now you’re just trying to make sure you stay on my good side for when I am actually famous and not just self-inflated and delusional. It’s working. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

 

JR: We’ve got a long way to go. Our growth starts at the beginning; if we can learn how to support one another unconditionally without feeling the need to criticize, then we’ll be well on our way to a natural progression. As far as the actual representation in the media, I really have yet to see someone on TV that I can relate to with my kind of background and upbringing, but I still have hope that it’ll someday be on the big screen for the world to see.

PC: I’m waiting for you and Jesenia to have your own show and Lorne Michaels to admit he should have paid attention earlier. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

JR: Follow the fear in life – it leads you to places unimaginable, and you learn a whole hell of a lot about yourself if you just go and do!

PC: Damn, girl. That’s DEEP. Okay, maybe you ARE cut out to raise a girl. She’ll have one hell of a mommy to lead her on the right path. NEXT! One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

JR: I snuff off to a lot of places…because I was a tinge smothered BUT one epic moment was when I disappeared in an amusement park to ride the tallest ride and by the time my parents found me, I was waiting on the line for the second time. They called me by my government name and all I could say was, “What’d I do?” I wasn’t a very good kid.

PC: *Falls on floor laughing* By your “Government name?’ That is so may kinds of awesome you don’t even know. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

 JR: I think in grammatically incorrect sentences filled with a bunch of euphemisms and words that I like to pretend I know and use in completely incorrect contexts.

PC: *jaw drops* ARE WE THE SAME FUCKING PERSON?? omg! What if we are the Latina Orphan Black only not identical and totally not clones but equally fabulous and…Okay, you can stop begging. It’s embarrassing. The Answer is yes. We can work together so you can ride my coattails. NEXT! What’s your favorite dish? Why?

JR: My favorite dish in the whole wide world is my mom’s eggplant parm. She kills it! Every. Single. Time. Second favorite is Jesenia’s spaghetti. I mean, good grief! THIRD, because I need to have three is my own dish – tilapia francaise. 

 PC: You get a pony for not saying tacos. Do you feel “Latina enough”?

JR: I’m fully Latina although if you heard me speak, I guess you would think otherwise. I’m just a different breed – I really do not know why I sound the way I do. But, you can’t tell me I’m not Latina enough. I’m 100% Puerto Rican, boo!

 

PC: And you’re adorable. Especially when you are playing a hoodrat in an I Feel Pretty parody. New Scenario: You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?

 

JR: Meryl Streep, hands down. I have such an affinity for that woman. We would absolutely binge eat Italian food and gin – Meryl Streep is just an enigma in the acting world. She is who I want to be for the straight person in comedy.

PC: I need to go read a dictionary to feel smarter now. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

JR: I chew it for the pure fear of choking. Because it has happened…several times.

PC: Right. Three Words- Orphan Black. bitches, Gimme one Latina stereotype you despise? 

JR: We are not all angry!!!!!! DAMN IT!

PC:  WHO THE HELL SAYS WE’RE ANGRY? Maria, hold my baby. I’ve got some ass to kick. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

JR: That we’re all exotic. I mean, why the hell not?

PC: I’ll take that. Describe your perfect day.

 JR: Not having to go to a day-job. Natch. But, seriously, my perfect day is filled with comedy and love. I’d wake up, have a gig that I’d go to and then spend the rest of the day with loved ones. And then have a gin and tonic…or two…or three…and NOT have a hangover. Now, that is the perfect day.

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet e with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine and be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

Check out my Zazzle Shop for Sassy Spanglish Digital Quote Prints and sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter (Look at the sidebar, y’all)! Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

I know. You’re *welcome.*

That Time I Referred to Rick Najera as Motivational and Not an Asshole

  ricknajera

And when I say traveled, I mean four hours driving from my home to Portland, Maine, for the hotel that happens to be located right by the Amtrak depot, an overnight stay at said hotel, two hours on a bus the next morning, and then six on a train into Penn Station. Eliana travels with me. Score for Team Crazy Mexican Homeschooling! Kiddo was so excited to see the New York City skyline it made me a bit teary to think about packing up for the Land of Moose and Snow, but turns out we both love living in the Maine tundra as much as we love our little forays into Places Normal People Live. So it all works out in the end.

We had just arrived at Penn Station. How warm is it, she wanted to know. So I told her. 50 degrees. Back home it was was 27 and look like the tundra. After looking around a bit, maybe weighing her options, she made up her mind. Mom, she says, do you mind if I take off my fuzzy sweater? I answered by taking off my own.  While we exchanged sly smiles at the New Yorkers rushing by bundled in their winter layers, because we left winter in the back of my Yukon which was parked in the hotel lot back in Portland. All we brought with us? A fleece pullover and a spring rain trench.  'Cuz we're hard core, that's why.

The only SNAFU occurred when my original babysitting plan went out the window because that's just how shit works. Instead of a relatively easy drop-off in the Bronx, Eliana and I ended up taking a train to upstate NY to meet a Wendy DelMonte, my forever friend whom I now owe a pony, who drove an hour and a half south from Connecticut to pick up Eliana for the night. My child had the time of her life because Wendy and her kids are fabulous and that two-minutes I had on the platform before jumping in the return train for the hour-and-a-half ride back so I could haul ass yet again to my hotel to drop off my Too Much Luggage, shower off the travel stink, and change just in time to get lost on the way to the venue and show up an hour late?  Yeah...those two minutes may be the only time I actually breathed that day.

Meet Dennis Sanchez, the genius behind MVM Events. He's the lucky guy smack in the middle between me and the only white chick in the room. That's Sarah Fader and I think it's important to note we became friends because I saw an update about Three Year Olds being Assholes and was all It's Like you KNOW Me and this is probably also a good time to mention that she'll tell you she's Jewish and that isn't the same thing as white.  I'm not disagreeing. I'm only stating that it wasn't the Not White chick's face I had to work my ass off to make visible while editing this photo.  Also? You can step away from the tanning bed now, Dennis.  You're *welcome*.

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This girl is hereby nominated as President of Any Fan Club Ever Created in My Honor Should I Become Important Enough for One. Her name is Joyce and you should follow her on twitter and instagram (@hvnlee) because I just made her important.  And yes, thanks, my therapist says I'm making major strides on that self-confidence thing.

I spoke. Dennis spoke. Rick spoke. And after calling Rick a motivational asshole and only stuttering three times, there was much merriment at the after party (I drank water because allergies suck), and then I went back to the Hotel from Hell to not sleep because security couldn't figure out the door I was pointing to was actually mine when I called about my key not working. I woke up at 2 p.m. after going to bef at 5 a.m. and suddenly it was time to drag my Too Much Luggage back to the subway and the train for the hour-and-a-half ride to upstate NY to meet Wendy and pick up Eliana just in time to go back the way we came, hop another bazillion subway trains once in the city, and make our way to the Bronx to meet up with another friend for the rest of our stay.

So many subway stops. So many flights of stairs to drag my Too Much Luggage up to catch the next train. My Jawbone Up band tells me I clocked an average of 23k steps per day while in NC. But this?

And these guys? They all made me want to plan a trip devoted to interviewing the subway artists and performers. There are so many stories to tell.

Eventually we made it to the Bronx. My friend Heiddi was worried I'd be worried because Bronx and Perception. I smiled. Then I reminded her I might *live* in Maine but I'm *from* Detroit.

A surprise planned for the next day meant pulling out the stick on nails I had brought home from BlogHer 13 and Eliana had saved for a special occasion. Girlfriend was all kinds of proud of these nails -- which, by the way -- she made sure every person on every train *knew* she was wearing fake nails because she was fancy.

We hustled from train to train to take our kids to a surprise involving The Story Pirates and were delayed when these guys swarmed my kid. So I took a picture. Then the minion pointed to his necklace which says "Tips".  Heiddi said this is why she doesn't stop for these idiots. The minion stopped pointing to his necklace after I pointed out they may wanna reconsider baiting the impressionable children of bitchy mothers until they've collected the requisite cash from said bitch mom.  Heiddi nodded. Detroit, right?  Detroit, born and bred.

This is, obviously, a first-grader. At least, that's what they script says. The Story Pirates were worth the throwdown with Strawberry Shortcake. We will be returning.

A stop at Jennifer Esposito's gluten-free bakery was in order. I bought what I can't eat because I'm allergic to ALL the Things, but even the non-gluten free were impressed. Also? Thank you to Victoria for hiding my iPhone until I frantically returned in search of my sanity. Jennifer? Victoria totally gets a raise.  Victoria? *You're Welcome*.

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Leaving New York for upstate for our final stop and New York wins. She gave up naps at 15 months. I may have to move. Or at least visit regularly.

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Because my life is a sitcom without the laugh track.  11:00 p.m. and still 100 miles from home after various stops for eating and car sickness and more eating because throwing up left her hungry but eating made her car sick again.  Then of course, there was Starbucks two hours ago because Obviously and me not making her go potty and the child with the bladder of a camel decides she must pee and she must pee NOW. She told me to pull over. In the middle of a deserted freeway where moose and Random Wildlife live, because she wasn't kidding.  I'll squat, she said. She didn't, I observed.  We changed her, bagged up her wet clothes, and as settled back in to drive. Just as my own bladder reminded me that I'd knocked back two trenta green teas and maybe I should consider squatting.  I opted for getting the hell out of whatever scene Stephen King was writing before the evil clowns showed up and held it until we got to the only rest stop between nowhere and home.

And now we are home and slowly getting back on track and there is much snow and no subways and I'm firing my dogs for not noticing the herd of deer leaping through the backyard as they circled for a spot to do their thing. Also, stick around if you're new. That #mexicaninmaine hashtag will start to make a lot more sense.

The End.

***

UPDATE!!!

I forgot to mention that Rick sent me home with three copies of his book, Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood. One is mine, so step off and we can still be friends.

The second I gave to Ana Roca-Castro because I know Latism stands for all that Rick discusses in his book. I can't wait to hear what she thinks.

The last, y'all, I saved for you. Or...well, one of you, at least.

Picture Proof that I actually HAVE the book in my possession. The line for My New Best Friend forms *here*.

Rick Najera's autograph. Related: My favorite things are Starbucks Iced Green Teas, ponies, and MAC Russian red lipstick. Priority consideration will be focused on those who try to buy my love. *Nods head*

To enter for your chance at the book, here's the not-so-fine-print:

* First let's make sure everyone knows I am incapable of kissing ass so a free book isn't going to buy anyone a flowing review. If I don't like it, I'm simply not going to mention it. End. Of. Story.

* The rules:

**Leave a comment on this post. It can be anything as long as anything includes your email so I can contact you if you win. Bonus points if your comment actually pertains to the discussion at hand. Giving a damn is always nice.

** Share the following on your social media channels and leave me a separate comment for each share with the URL:

Check out this post by @pauline_campos: Enter to win an autographed copy of  by  

** Deadline is midnight, EST, April 22.

And that's it. I'm excited to share this book with all of you and am live-tweeting quotes as I read a chapter each night. Which means that yes, I love #AlmostWhite.

So...who's in?

 

Tacos & Other Firsts

It's midnight. Technically, it's tomorrow, but I've always preferred to separate the todays from the tomorrows with dreams. Since I'm still awake, I'm going to carpe the hell out of this diem right now because stopping my truck halfway up my driveway to take a picture of pine trees heavy with the day's snow that is still coming down is my version of stopping to smell the roses.

It's been snowing all day. The slow, fat snowflakes that make it seem like we live in a snow globe. The roads are shit and visibility is nonexistent, but we have 6-8 inches of soft powder for snowshoeing and snowman building and snow angels and snowball fights. This is the kind of snow we've been waiting for since winter arrived here in northern Maine this year. It's the kind that just feels like it's happy. Dorothy fell asleep in the field of poppies and I was smiling it's this kind of snow that has me thinking that maybe that snow globe idea isn't really crazy and I wonder if we are turned upside down, for just a moment, and shaken gently while we sleep.

 

***

My Weather Channel app tells me it's 33 degrees outside right now and Eliana didn't wear her gloves on the way into the house. I didn't bother to zip my jacket. Cold is subjective, but I'm pretty sure even the Midwest -- after having dealt with unthinkably bitter temperatures and polar vortexes and requisite references to The Day After Tomorrow --  will agree with me that anything above 0 degrees is practically sunbathing weather.

We've lived here just over a year now and after four years in the desert with 100 plus degree temps in the shade being the norm, I think my Maine is starting to show. Proof? Here's a snippet of an actual conversation with The Husband this morning --

Him: it's already 17 degrees out.

Me: (incredulous) Really? How warm's it gonna get?

Remember, people. I'm first-generation on both sides. Pretty sure I may have lost my Mexican card.

 

***

Saturdays are our favorite day of the week, I think. For my kid it's heaven because she loves working with the horses more than I think she pretends to hate our dogs. I'm positive she's going to rebel as soon as she gets her own apartment by becoming a crazy cat lady just because she can, Goddammit. But while she cringes at the thought of a dog licking her and touching her skin with the same tongue that just licked its own ass, this girl loves the horses and saw nothing wrong with dropping onto her back in a relatively clear patch of snowy whiteness to make a snow angel. I should probably sanitize the winter jacket but it just makes more sense to make this her Official Farm Winter Coat because it now and forever shall more smell like horseshit.

I couldn't be prouder.

***

Good friends are moving from one house to another in town and today we got to enjoy the first meal cooked in their new house. I drove by the place twice because I couldn't make out any addresses with the snow coming down so thick. When I finally just guessed and pulled into the drive of the home I thought may be theirs behind the vehicle that I hoped was theirs, I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.

I was right.

And the house I had driven by, twice now, was directly across the street from the farm we visit each Saturday. And it had only taken me 20 minutes to find it.

***

Eliana had her first taco tonight.

You guys? She's 6.

Oh, she's had her fair share of black bean quesadillas before we swore of grains and went paleo. But a taco is new and she loved it in the way all children have sworn to hate anything new that we actually want them to eat, like broccoli. My Jewish friend Shosh pointed out that her 2-year-old eats tacos all the time. I pointed out that mine tells me when her sunbutter, full-fat coconut milk, avocado, and kale smoothie is missing something because "More kale please!" is something I will never tire of hearing.

And then I shared the story about the missing Mexican card and Shosh totally said she understood because she's just that kind of friend, you guys.

***

Time always passes to quickly when we laugh, I think. Before we knew it, it was somehow 10 p.m. and our children needed to be in bed and The Husband was rubbing the sleep from his eyes from exhaustion. He helped move the heavy furniture. I helped hang the curtains.

We had a 20-minute drive back to our own house and time must have still been fast-forwarding because now it was 10:30 and The Husband had already left in his Jeep so he could get the fire going again. We'd been gone most of the day, after all. So Eliana and I drove a little slower than usual on our usual route home and it only took us a little bit longer than usual to make it from Point A to Point B and then the headlights illuminated the drive leading to our house, hidden from view by the thick walls of pine, and the usual suddenly looked new. I had to stop midway up the drive to take this picture because it makes me think of wardrobes and magical kingdoms ruled by wise lions with Liam Niesons' voice.

It's the moments like these that, I think, are a test for us put out by The Universe to see how much we appreciate the moment we are in right now. Welcome to Narnia, y'all. This is where I live.

 

A Text Message to My Mother

Hey Mom. Sorry I missed you today on Skype. We were going to call this morning but Eliana had an important hula hooping lesson. It went well. And we really like the instructor.

I figured we'd call later but then we had a surprise day out when a friend called to invite me and Eli to the Potato Festival. Eli got to walk in the doll parade with her Pip, her Bitty Baby, and got to climb inside a tractor, turn on the lights in a state trooper's patrol car, and flip the siren on in a policeman's car.

She ran barefoot in the rain with her friends for hours and stood in line for the homemade piñata a new friend brought with her.

She asked to listen to the country band and ran up to interrupt the singer to request a Toby Keith song and they made her smile when they started the next song.

I got to leave with 2 lobsters for $18 because the rain made for a smaller crowd. I'm not complaining.

Thank you, God and Small Town America.

When we got home, Eliana got in the tub to wash off the mud and then invited me to a sleepover at my "house" in the basement room. Tomorrow morning I get to go to her place for breakfast and grown up talk about our writing and going to New York because that's what writers do. We might even use the rainbow we saw as inspiration for a story. She says it depends on her mood.

It was a long day. I'm exhausted. The laundry didn't get touched and the sink is full of dishes. But it was amazing. I need more days like this.

Love you and sweet dreams.

 

 

 

In Which We Travel the Solar System

We're finishing up a lesson in social studies and geography for Eliana's Oakmeadow homeschool lesson this week. The idea was to pick a destination on a map and take a roadtrip following the planned route. We've already learned how to use a compass, find our way to and from the neighbor's with it, located our town and county, and made a drawing of the state of Maine, so I wanted to make this one fun. My neighbor, Joan, happens to be a teacher (and the grandmother of Eliana's new BFF, Lucy), so my original idea to drive to the children's museum as scrapped when Joan suggested we make the drive through northern Maine's solar system model. One road. Multiple points on a map. And the girls get to speed through the entire solar system scaled down to a 40-mile long route in one afternoon?

Bring it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan told me the earth rotates at 6,040 miles per hour and orbits at 67,06 miles per hour. At its core, the solar system rotates at 514,000 miles per hour and the Milky Way at 1,340,000 miles per hour. That means that if we could travel as fast as the universe, we could circle Earth on foot in about two minutes.

A half tank of gas. 80 miles round trip just for the solar system route plus the drive home. Two best friends laughing-shrieking-sometimes fighting-sometimes perforating our ear drums with excitement when the next planet came into view. It was incredible. It was exhausting. It was unforgettable.

And also exhausting.

Lack of wine and the inability to drive faster than the car in front of me makes me wish I was the Milky Way.

Mexican Musings from Maine

 

A text to a friend:

 

"Snow shoed. Finger knitted. Watched the plow truck get plowed out of our driveway by a construction plow, the fed ex guy park behind the plow truck while still stuck and jog through 50 yards of foot deep snow carrying packages under one arm like it was a Sunday jog, and grilled salmon on the deck while my kid played in the snow for an hour after snow shoeing. Just your regular winter night in Maine."

 

Her response:

Let me know when your column launches.

 

Okay.

Challenge accepted.

Between the Lines and My Cups Overfloweth

The problem with my brain not automatically transmitting my thoughts and images into blog posts that publish themselves is that I end up so far behind myself that it's usually not worth catching up. But that's only when I haven't lost my mind just a few days shy of my 35th birthday and learned that the local health clinic for general care no longer prescribes ADHD meds to anyone over the age of 18 citing "problems" when they were. In other words, all you assholes too lazy to search out your own community meth lab in Someone's Basement because you didn't need a prescription have now left me scrambling to find anyone who can get me legal speed in a bottle with my name on it before I run out of what I've got. Also, I'm wondering exactly how ADHD is supposed to magically fix itself once the patient turns 19 or if that's the reason Somebody's Basements keep popping up all over the place.

Other highlights from the past week or so include a depressive fog so thick I could make soup out of it and driving two hours to see Santa and showing up three times at the post office for holiday crap after my meds have worn off. I'm pretty sure the staff looks forward to the next time I stop in. Or maybe everyone in Maine is just that nice and I haven't picked up on the "Dammit, the crazy lady's here again" vibe. Either way, you get the rest of the inside of my head in between the lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I run out of steam. It's 2 a.m. and I have words to write for the other site that doesn't pay the bills but means the world to me and my sanity. I have more to share here. Until then, Happy Christmas Eve.

First Snow

I'm going backwards. Before I show you the ride between Tucson and Northern Maine, I'm showing you the first snow fall and how Buttercup was so excited that she insisted in skipping breakfast and suiting up to go play first. She doesn't understand yet that snow is not the rarity here that it was in Tucson. But I doubt it will make a difference when she does. I have never seen her more excited to get out of bed and race out the door.