100% me…or Nothing better to do on a day off.

60%

Me:

No hair straightener
No botox, silicone, tucks or lifts
Cutting MY own hair
Natural feet and hands- no polish
Natural tan
No umbrella needed-rain caresses my skin
No stress once the body hits the bed scented with lavender FullSizeRender
Natural high from endorphins after a great run ( gotta love those opioids)
Natural ability to feel, internalize and be empathic
Greens and fruit are the bulk of nutrition

20%

Artificial ingredients:

The black  hair dye- whichever name brand’s on sale
Listerine -to freshen and decontaminate my mouth
Teeth whitener-because the past years of smoking have done their damage
Mascara-once used to make my tiny lashes longer, but now its sole purpose is the cover the grey on my lashes and eyebrows
Black eyeliner-because the 80’s refuse to dissipate just cause we’re in 2016
Lipstick-to cover MY pink lips which were once dark back in the day when I smoked
Deodorant-actually this should go under organic since it is a stone which lets the sweat come through but not the ordour
Sunscreen-not sure why I bother but hey…

10%

Fillers:

Potato chips
Alcohol-although it is made from natural plants
Chicken nuggets-from Chinese take-out
Andy Capp’s Hot Fries

5%

Organic:

Mi alma (soul)
Mi corazon (heart)
Mi cuerpo
Mi vida
Homemade soap and shampoo made from shea butter and coconut milk

IMG_0941.JPGIMG_0940.JPG

5%

Active ingredients:

Playing piano
Writing
Running
Gardening
Animal nursing
Always learning and not taking knowledge for granted

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Fur Babies medication in the foreground

Mi Tia Peggy or Nicknames and the Mulberry Tree

I miss my cousin.

Echar de menos mí primo.

I miss my aunt who is his mother.

Echar de menos mí Tía Peggy la madre de mí primo.

A tattoo drawing is now ready to be inked into my skin. Yes, another, and the design links the two, my cousin and his mother, both lives embedded in mí alma (soul).

Mom, my mom’s family and their cultures, emotionally and physically have graced many entries to this blog. Truth be known, I know more of mom’s side than of Dad’s which may be a good thing. Mom’s family were in the states, easily accessible, familiar and close by, although not necessarily close (the warmy and feely kinda close) to each other.

My aunt Peggy, mí Tía Peggy was my second mother during my early years at Berkeley Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn, when it was known as ‘the hood’ and hipsters did not exist. She lived on the third floor with my cousins.

When I came into the world, I was named after mí Tía. Her husband, my uncle, mí Tío drove mom to the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital , because, well, Dad was at work. Childbirth back then had the Dads pacing in the maternity waiting room while their wives hemmed and hawed through childbirth in the delivery room.

That, was, the protocol-back to the naming or my aunt.

Mí Tía Peggy went by her nickname of Peggy. Her real name is/was Amada E***a. Since my Dad was not present at my birth, my uncle, mí Tío named me after his wife-the E***a part of the name and not the Amada.

Why no name for the incoming or rather outgoing baby?

Need to ask mom about that one.

But, a name was given and the name became my own.

Names are peculiar on mom’s side of the family for nicknames can take the place of real names and what once was thought of as a name, a real name, becomes the nickname.  At times, it’s hard to remember that the nicknames are not the real names.

Evie becomes Judy, Bernice becomes Nina, Amada becomes Peggy, Noel becomes Teddy…stop.

I’m confusing myself right now and going way off topic. And, not everyone had a nickname and that includes me.

Tracing family roots was once an obsession for me, most especially during my studies toward the BA. Through searching, listening and relying on family oral stories, I was able to get the real names behind the nicknames as well as the towns in Honduras where aunts and uncles were born.

As far as tracing people and connections, I realized mom’s family tree is a broken one. The roots of her tree exist but the branches, stretching long and thick in some areas and dangerously thin in others often led to dead end ends.

Now onto the tree-the Mulberry tree.

The Mulberry tree is a peculiarity in the ‘hood. Back in the day, neighbours often complained of these trees and hired tree cutters to remove them for their yards. Mulberry trees produce berries, lots of berries from dark purple to ruby red. These berries stain everything it comes into contact with. From white sneakers, to clothing to concrete sidewalks-if the berry touched, it left its impossible to remove stain behind.

This tree and the berries hold a special place in mi alma because it reminds me of mi tia and my cousins.

When we were young and cooped up indoors, on the third floor, due to rain or too hot to venture outdoors we made jam. Jam from the berries of the Mulberry tree, set on a stove, mixed in with Domino sugar and spread warm and soothing on Wonderbread-white bread before whole wheat, before gluten free, before…the inability to be a kid hanging with your cousins gave way to playing video games in front of a computer.

Mí primos and myself would gather on the third floor fire escape and grab at the branches of the tree from the neighbouring yard plucking the berries bare from the limbs. We even devised a system of wrangling branches out of reach with a rope.

My aunt was amazing with us in that she kept us active and intrigued. Bicycle riding in Ppark when it was Prospect Park, the park one did not venture in at night, visiting the Botanical Gardens before it became “the” Botanical Gardens with its fancy horticultural courses and fine dining.

Anyway, the bottom line is I miss my cousin and the memories I have of his mother, my aunt, most especially in the house we were raised in, the house I am in now, which will always remind me that I come from not a broken family but a family that is strong, creative and alive.

New tattoo of the Mulberry Tree with Berries

New tattoo of the Mulberry Tree with Berries

 

The drawing of the Mulberry Tree

The drawing of the Mulberry Tree

 

Mi Tia Peggy on the left

Mi Tia Peggy on the left

 

On having a bad day…

Not all days are good days

…On a Sunday, working with a vet who thinks you’re incompetent because you can’t place a catheter into the deflated vein of a severely dehydrated dog scheduled for an euthanasia and witnessing the vet, not able to place the catheter as well but yet you’re the one feeling useless and incompetent

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…Waking up on that Sunday and realizing you have 7-8 more hours of neurotic emergency-paced work in a general practice hospital and wishing you could just pull the covers over your head and block out the world

…Going to bed Saturday night stressed because you arrived home at 4:30pm from working at the clinic and the cable/modem decided to go out and did not return until 11pm and you spent two hours working on an online math test only to fail which makes it ‘failed test #2’

bad

…Waking up on a Saturday, knowing it’s a Saturday and dragging your butt off to the clinic after working 12 hours on Friday at the other place which turned out to be a good day at the clinic but since this piece is about not all days being good, this sentence stops…here.

…Working on Friday stuck running patient rooms under the vet who runs at an emergency pace and the day is spent restraining and sticking your thermometer up animal butts because the vet is micromanagement and will not allow you to do anything but work the rooms and stick your thermometer up the animal butts and doing this for twelve hours

…Going to bed Thursday night realizing what the next day entails before it even begins

…Working with a favourite vet on Thursday for twelve hours who is relaxed and let’s me do the job I was hired to do

…Waking up on a Thursday, knowing it is my Monday while everyone I know is winding down looking forward to the weekend but I go into work optimistic because I am working with a favourite vet and the end of the twelve hour day will bring a sense of accomplishment

Not all days are good days

…When the sacrifices made to enter into a new field hits reality and you realize what was sacrificed has irreparable consequences

…Wishing you didn’t give up that $##,###.## a year salary with full medical and dental coverage but not wishing for the job that went along with it

…The clothes you have are from 1999 and 1/3 of them no longer fit, most especially when you need to show up at work sans the scrubs

…The last haircut was in 2012 and you paid ridiculous amounts of money for a trim and shape, which resembled the same style you concocted at home that same morning before going to the salon

…Seeing the dust bunnies in your room take shape and move on their own because you can’t reach them with a dust buster unless you move every bit of furniture, stacks of papers and exercise machines to get at them

SIGH

oftueh-l

Not all days are good days…

 

***all photos taken from the world wide web

 

It’s been a long time…Part 2

It’s been a long time…

Since I swam endless laps in a deep-water pool.
Feeling the cool water massage my muscles as I swim backstroke, breaststroke and struggled through a front crawl. Gliding, swishing, breathing, in rhythm as the strokes are counted on a water resistant watch.

It’s been a long time…

Since I laughed until I cried.
Laughing away at some ridiculous joke or a comedy on HBO such as ‘Me, Myself and Irene’. Laughing till the stomach muscles tighten, taken by surprised at the sudden outburst of muscle spasm.

It’s been a long time…

Since I’ve been in love.
The kind of love that’s reckless, and fills the soul with puffy pink butterflies oozing with cotton candy, like the kind you tried for the first time as a kid.

It’s been a long time…

Since, I cried a good cry.
Actually, no, today I did, as I prepared Pucchi for his trip to the crematorium.
Pucchi, a maltese mix and client at the clinic had undergone 12 months of chemo and succumb to his cancer early this morning. I was there five months ago to meet him during my initial interview for the position I hold now and participated in his chemo treatment numerous times. His owner was heartbroken, as I was, but now Pucchi runs free of treatments on the other side of the rainbow bridge.

It’s been a long time…

Since I had a vacation.
Not the vacation the masses flock to but a vacation that is stimulating, active and engaging and requires allot more effort than lounging on the beach baking to look like a lobster, steamed and floating in butter.

It’s been a long time…

Since, I sat on the couch.
Reading, from my Kindle in the sunlight, all afternoon, listening to classical music on the radio and slowly sipping a glass of cabernet chased down with Godiva chocolates.

It’s been a long time…

Since, I fell asleep to the sounds of crickets chirping.
Under a star lit sky, where you could actually see each individual star, quiet, sleepy, cool night, no ac, no humidifier, silent, sleepy, sleep.

It’s been a long time…

Since, I had Pho.
Vietnamese Pho.
The kind of Pho you get in San Francisco, during a day when the fog takes a little longer than usual to lift away towards oblivion. The Pho served with shrimp and noodles, spicy, hot, comforting, warming like a serious hug,  uplifting. The Pho you can’t get in NYC.

It’s been a long time…

Since, I wore hot pants and platform heels.
Actually, let it remain, a long, long, long, long time I attempt to wear such a pairing again.
No, wait.
If I live to 90, let it be my celebration.
Ninety years old, posing in hot pants and platform shoes!!

Loner

A friend posted this quote on FB.

“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.” ~ Jodi Picoult

Read it once and thought this is not correct; some loners may truly enjoy solitude instead of socialization. Amongst a host of comforting attributes, solitude brings reflection, tranquility, solace and protectiveness. With solitude, there is a deliberation of the self that demands stillness, a meditation on the me, myself and I with no interruption.

Many cannot understand the benefits of or how to fit solitude into their lifestyle.  Still others readily presume solitude is a negative state of being; to be alone- that dreadful word-even the sound of it conjures up a barren desert. Moreover, if you are a loner, then you have done something wrong, there is a reason you don’t fit into society, why you don’t blend in.

How do you blend into the world if you cannot blend into society?

People are disappointing. The ways we deal or chose not to deal with people can be disappointing and the ways people deal with us or chose not to can also be disappointing. I believe expectations placed upon others, based upon our wants and needs are destined to result in disappointments. We cannot expect or change people to our likings. That may be the reason “loners” give up trying. Expectations are set too high and are unattainable. They have not learned how to navigate through the world while remaining objective and accepting with serenity. Lord grant me…

I am a loner (sometimes being alone is the best way to be). Am I a loner because I tried to blend into the world and people disappointed me? It’s a possibility and may be closer to the truth than I care to admit.

At this time, I am in recovery from two year’s worth of medical, physical but not emotional stuff. Being alone right now, is the best way to be, while I write and get myself together so I can jump into the next chapter of life.

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