Saturday, April 5, 2014

You have to believe in fortune cookies!

Okay, let's see what happens July 5th!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Excerpt from my memoir

Sometimes reality is better than fiction.  Currently, I am writing about comical situations and how my family members have shaped my life.

Here is an excerpt from my vignette about Dreyfuss and Damon, my pet roosters:

One day, as a junior in high school, I came home to find my mom with a rooster in the backyard.

"He's cute!  Where'd you get him?" I asked.

"Ofelia gave him to me.  I'm going to chop off his head and make chicken soup for dinner," Mom responded.  Ofelia was my mom's cousin; she lived out in the country at the time.

"You're kidding, right?"

"No.  I've been craving some fresh chicken soup like your grandma used to make in Mexico."

"You can't chop a rooster's head off in our backyard!  Poor rooster!  Can I keep him?" 

After watching the Golden Girls that evening, I decided that I liked the name Dreyfuss, so that's what I named my first pet rooster.  His favorite foods were watermelon and French fries.

A few days after I adopted Dreyfuss, there was another rooster in the backyard.

My mom told me, "You wouldn't let me kill Dreyfuss, but I'm going to kill this one!"

"No!  Dreyfuss needs a friend."

So I named my second rooster Damon after Matt Damon.  This rooster also inhaled French fries and watermelon.

My two pet roosters lived for about a year.  While Dreyfuss was a gentle soul, Damon was a feisty little one.  If I tried to pet Damon, he would peck me with his beak.  I thought him to be ungrateful especially after I prevented him from becoming chicken soup.  

Damon outlived Dreyfuss by a few months.

There were no more pet roosters after that.

Life lesson: tour local spots

The Big Texan
I have a Japanese friend who has encouraged me to get in touch with my adventurous side by traveling locally.  By the way, I even tried sushi and liked it at Hayashi Hibachi in Amarillo. 

I admit I have a zest for travel.  This lifelong quest to see the world was ignited in me when I studied in Spain for a semester in college.

Until recently, I have overlooked travel to local spots.  Unfortunately, I convinced myself that local areas were overrated. 

I don't know, for example, how many times I have seen the Big Texan on different travel channels and thought to myself, "What a tourist trap!"  Well, I actually went there a few weeks ago and loved the food, the service, and the rustic atmosphere.  I was born in Perryton, which is located two hours north of Amarillo, and I finally went to this Texan gem at the age of 29.  I had such a fun time.

Furthermore, I went to Cadillac Ranch yesterday, located west of Amarillo, and partook in the tradition of spray-painting my own art on a Cadillac hoisted halfway into the ground.

Cadillac Ranch

I am learning to see the beauty that exists everywhere.  Explore where you are, people!
Cadillac Ranch gift shop

You don't have to spend money to fly overseas in order to have an adventure.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fighting a cold

I'm up at 5:14 a.m. regardless of what the time at the end of this blog entry will lead you to believe.  I need to fix the settings.  My mind is most alert early in the morning.  I used to get up at 4:00 or 5:00 to study in college before my 8:00 Latin class.  I tried to be mindful of my roommate by leaving the dorm room and studying in the hallway

The second day of a cold or whatever this is, I woke up drenched in sweat.  Just thinking about coughing is making me cough.  The mind is amazing.  Wow, I coughed as I typed the word coughed.

I'm letting a throat lozenge dissolve in my mouth while I listen to 90s music.  "Unpretty" by TLC is playing.  I love this song, especially the guitar solo at the end.  I love how the song portrays a positive message about body image.  Regardless of what the media, superficial people, or other influences would have us believe, we are beautiful as we are.

I deviate because I wanted to blog about my cold.  I have been doing the following to keep my symptoms at bay: drinking more water than usual (more than 4 bottles a day), sipping on orange juice, dissolving Emergen-C packets in half a water bottle, taking Mucinex D, throat lozenges, eating chicken soup and yogurt even when I don't feel like eating.  Oh yeah, and Aleve for body aches.  All in all I'm doing fine.

I once heard somebody say that the secret to success is doing what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to be doing it.

Now "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins is playing.
Everything's gonna be all right.
Rockabye, rockabye,
Everything's gonna be all right,
Rockabye, rockabye.

This seems like an appropriate ending for my blog entry.  This song always makes me feel better.  I will add that to my daily regimen until I get over this cold.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Schoolhouse of the Owls

I have yet to see an owl enter or exit this building.  My dad used to tell me that owls attended school here.

If you've ever driven from Pampa to Perryton on Highway 83, you have seen this shed.  Having lived the first five years of my life on a ranch, I passed this building regularly on my bus ride to and from school.  Also, if my parents and I ever went into town, I would always anxiously await to see the schoolhouse of the owls.

Dad also told me that he purchased me at Waterhole 83, a gas station in Perryton.  Out of three babies for sale on the shelf, he chose me.  Hmm.

I still look for owls when I drive by La Escuela de los Tecolotes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My formula for happiness is complicated

Life is a series of choices we make day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and second by second.

Sometimes I make choices that I know will result in negative consequences.  I wish I weren’t human.

Happiness used to be an elusive concept for me.  I didn’t understand how people could just choose to be happy.  For me, choosing to be happy entails my making a series of choices that contribute to my well-being.  Just being happy is still somewhat complicated, and when I’m tired, it’s easy to make poor choices that will guarantee me moments of agony.
Last night, for example, I ate a mountain of sugar knowing that while it would make me momentarily happy, it would also make me feel miserable the next day. 

I knew I shouldn’t have eaten two bowls of sugar-laden butter pecan ice cream last night covered with sugar-laden chocolate syrup from Braum’s.  I went to bed and awoke after two hours to find myself drenched in sweat.  I changed into different pajamas and went to bed.
This morning when I awoke, my whole body ached.  I have an endocrine disorder that requires me to be vigilant of what I eat and to exercise.  Doctor, if you ever read this, know that I don’t normally give into my cravings for unhealthy food.

My mother has diabetes, and I hope the same fate does not await me.  I want to at least be able to say that I tried to stave off diabetes by eating healthily and making good choices in my youth.
In order for me to feel all right,

I have to choose to drink tons of water.
I have to choose to listen to positive music and to positive messages (Ted talks, anyone?  Thanks, Jorge).

I have to choose to pray and read positive literature.
I have to choose to eat fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, etc.

I have to choose to limit my intake of ice cream, cake, brownies, and other sweets.

I have to choose to change my distorted thinking if I can identify it in the first place.

I once heard a health guru say that you have to have enough self-love to make good choices.

I have to choose to exercise, get exposure to sunlight, breathe deeply, let things go, get adequate amounts of sleep, alleviate stress in healthy ways, enjoy the everyday beauty around me, cultivate my relationships, and take my fish oil, probiotics, vitamins, and meds. 

Also, I have a tendency to over-analyze.  Sometimes I just have to tell my brain to stop analyzing.  Of course it usually doesn’t.

My favorite song by the Beatles is “Let it Be.”  What a good message when I can’t let things go.

So be happy?  Okay, I’ll try.  Let me just make the choices I have listed above.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mi familia

I am the youngest of four.

I turned 29 on the 10th of January.  Being a year closer to 30 has made me think about what matters in life and what doesn't.   What matters?  My health, my family, being a responsible employee (I want to pay my bills, don't I?), living each day as if it were my last, never giving up on my dreams, and helping others.

As a wise soon-to-be trigenarian, I realize the role my family has played in my formation.  I have learned to love my family no matter what.  I wondered why we weren't like the Brady Bunch or the Tanners on Full House when I was growing up.  Life has taught me that no family is like the Brady Bunch or the Tanners on Full House - seemingly perfect.  I wouldn't want that anyway.

These are just a few lessons I have learned from my immediate family members:

My father taught me to pay my bills on time and to stay away from credit card debt.  He has always reminded me to keep my cool.  He likes to say,  "El que se enoja pierde."  He who gets angry loses.

My mother taught me the importance of faith and unconditional love.  She was forgiven me time and time
again even though I haven't deserved it.

I have three siblings.

Jorge, my eldest brother, taught me the importance of patience and living by the serenity prayer.  Sometimes I worry about things I cannot control; I attribute this to my perfectionistic tendencies.

Blanca, my sister, taught me the importance of serving others.  She would do anything for me and for other people.  She also taught me specific ways of being my own advocate.  For example, she recommended I read Buying a Car for Dummies before I bought my first car, which I did.  I became well-versed in ways a car salesman might try to swindle me.

Leroy, my other brother, taught me the importance of working hard and perseverance.  He taught me that knowledge is power.  He defended me in elementary school against bullies before I realized that I had the power to defend myself.