Thursday, July 31, 2008


There's not many people I'll do these for (I think I burnt out on them when I first joined email groups) but for Jessica? Of course. And I need to put up something new...and I'm just having a real funk when it comes to writing.

1. Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater?

Journey to the Center of the Earth (when did Brandon Frasher get so bloated?)

2. What Book Are You Reading?

Argh this is so embarrassing...a cozy mystery called "Getting Old is Murder." In my defense, I have to start school soon and it's really, really funny.

3. Favorite Board Game?

Not much of a board game cards is a whole other story...Uno, Skippo, Hearts. And U got a bean game from French that I might try...every adult who has played it so far has become addicted.

4. Favorite Magazine?

Harper's and the Atlantic Monthly.

5. Favorite Smells?

Mexico D. F. after the rain, fresh cut watermelon, my kids after bathing, H at anytime, jasmine.

6. Favorite Sounds?

thunder, the kids' laughing, my music.

7. Worst Feeling In The World?


8. First Thing You Think of When You Wake?


9. Favorite Fast Food Place?
Right now it's Five Guys' Burgers.

10. Future Child's Name?

There are totally no children in my future. But if there were Liam Blake.

11. Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money, I'd......

go to Europe, buy an apartment in Mexico City, pay off my bills, buy a very big house in the country.

12. Do You Drive Fast?

If the kids aren't with me? Oh yeah.

13. Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal?

Yes her name is Piper.

14. Storms—Cool or Scary?

Cool unless it's a tornado which is only cool on t.v.

15. What Was Your First Car?

Toyota Camry (which I bet many of my Farmington friends remember....)

16. Favorite Drink?Alcoholic: margaritas, wine nonalcoholic: coffee and Mexican Cokes.

17. Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…... really perfect my knitting.

18. Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli?


19. If You could Dye your Hair Any Other Color, What Would It Be?


20. Name All the Different Cities In Which You Have Lived
This could take forever...I'll just list the big ones:)
Skowhegan, Maine
Waterville, Maine
Rochester, New York
Vienna, Maine
Farmington, Maine
Fayetville, NC
Mexico City
Charlotte, NC

21. Favorite Sport to Watch?
Football (not as in American...)

22. One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You.
Jessica is one of those people you never want to lose contact with.

23. What’s Under Your Bed?
What bed, we're still nomads.

24. Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again?

25. Morning Person or Night Owl?
I have a vampire nature.

26. Over Easy or Sunny Side Up?

27. Favorite Place to Relax?

28. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?
This varies. Right now it's Edy's Ice Cream Sandwich.

29. Of All the People You Have Tagged, Who Is the Most Likely to Respond First?
I'll be stunned in anyone does it all.

I tag: H, E, Lolabola.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good Bye Mexico

Yesterday it hit. We are actually leaving. As we made one final trip to the market, our friend Gabriel in tow, I suddenly felt this panic. There were so many things we didn´t get to see, so many people I didn´t get to meet. I felt this overwelming urge to just sob, there in public, to sob and maybe draw the city into me.

This visit was filled with lots of ambigiuity. On side of the line, I love the D.F. I love the plazas, the springing up of life, the buildings, etc, etc. But then I hate the traffice. I truely loathe being stuck in a car for hours and hours to only go a few miles. I hate how snotty many middle class Mexicans are (H and I were literally harassed the other day at a mall by security guards). I also have a very hard time with the way private life and public life are played out here. Plus I realized that H and I have made a home for ourselves in Charlotte, and I hadn´t realized how strong that home was until we came here. And of course there was just the usual ¨This is not the vacation I imagined!¨

But now as I sit surrounded by our bags, I feel sad that we are leaving this place. I have to keep telling myself, as I tell the kids, ¨You have two homes.¨

Last night, we were surrounded by H´s siblings and their significant others, our friend Gabriel and his girlfriend. We spent the evening eating Happy´s pizza one last time, sharing our photos from memory cards, drinking (of course it´s Mexico!), and chasing the kids around. It was a warm moment, filled with love, and joy... a wonderful send off even if I am a bit blurry eyed this morning.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


A few days ago, we stepped out for a moment to buy candy for the kids (Mexican M & Ms). The sun, for once, was shining. The air was bright, painful after the dark hallway. It was brisk but not cold. Cars sped by us. Horns, people shouting their wares, and the clangs from the garage down the road surrounded us. I stood there, lost for a moment in time. Something about the smell, chorline and pollution, and the feel of that cool air on my bare skin, sent me back into time. For the briefest of seconds, I was once again, 29, with a baby Umberto in his stroller, walking to buy a cigarette from Oscar, and the News from the local newspaper stand. And then just as suddenly, I was 35, with three children, walking to buy Mexican M & Ms.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Travels In Mexico

Sorry for the long silence. We´ve been exploring Mexico City and beyond for the last few weeks. I have many more thoughtful posts about what I see in Mexico, culture, etc but I´m a bti wiped and a little bit sick so they´ll likely have to wait until we return. And when we return there will be lots and lots of pictures to add.

I´ve been able to get out a couple of times for drinks. We went first to a bar where I discovered I possessed the wrong accent. Our friend Gabriel has a new haunt based on an old haunt. H and Gabriel use to frequent a bar called Milan in the Colonia Juarez. A former customer of Milan, a British lad, inspired by Milan created a bar called the Black Horse in Condesa. There many, many Brits and a few Scots so I felt even more outplace with my accent. But it was a good time, loud, good beer, and good company. A few nights later we went out with the kids and found a neat little bar called Mestizo in Colonia Rosa. We ended up there the next with Horacio´s brother and sister. Again, a nice bar but unforuntely H´s dad´s car was vandalized.

Even more exciting is that while at a cafe called Gaby´s in the Zona Rosa, a woman approached us. She knew our names, and for a moment we were puzzled until she introduced herself as the famous Rebeka. We were very excited at this unexpected suprise, and a bit amazed at such a chance encounter in so big a city. We do plan to meet up with her again before we leave the city on Tuesday.

Last weekend was spent in Cuernavaca in an amazing private home that was more like a hotel. H´s parents´friends graciously offered us the use of their famlies summer residence for the weekend. We had a great time swimming, drinking with H´s siblings and Gabriel (who really is like another brother). Camille was thrilled as she has a bit of crush on Gabriel who I think would adobt her if he could. We also got to explore the little plaza in the center of the town. On Monday we went to the town of Tetoztlan hoping to see some of its famous aliens. We didn´t find any much to Umberto´s disappointment.

Today we went to Teotihuacan to see the pyramids. The kids were total awe for only about a few mintues and then they wanted to climb. And climb they did. All of them made it to the top although Piper had some help from H. I´m always in total awe as we walk around this vast city abandoned thousands of years ago. I started to read Jared Diamond´s ¨Collaspe¨(I¨ve resisted his books for awhile) and was struck by the stories he tells of the ¨lost cities¨ as I walked around. What happened to the people who built such vast temples?

Tomorrow it´s back to the market to buy gifts for our loved ones, and maybe a witches´market if I can persudae H to bring me!

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Food, or more precisely compusive eating, has served as an armor for me. Food was, for a long time, the one thing that I felt never let me down. Food comforted me when I was sad, lonely, angry, etc. Food was the one area where I felt that I could let go of the rigid control with which I´ve ruled my life. And when I got fat, I dieted, exerting that rigid control over the food. But I always turned back to food when my emotions got to be too much or when I felt hurt by other people. The last 25 years have been spenting riding a dieting and binging wave.

You see as a child, I didn´t often feel like my needs were meet. As I mentioned, I learned very early that the only one you could count on was yourself. I´ve always been loud, and as a child, I expressed my needs in a loud way. But the repsonses I recieved made me feel selfish. It wasn´t okay to ask for things. One had to wait quietly until they were given. Of course in my life due to poverty, mental illness, and just sheer irresponability, my needs were usually ignored. I´ve spent my life fluxing between feeling selfish and angry. I no longer recognize when a need is reasonable. And I never learned to be that quiet little girl. Instead I became angry and too oftne turned that anger inward on myself.

Food became the easiet way to take care of my self a child. My grandmother could usually be counted on for an ice cream if I was sad. My various aunts and uncles would give me a bit of money which could be used to get a candy bar to satisify various hungers. It´s hard, I think, for a child to express love for themselves. As a child we want the physical feeling of arms around us. But that didn´t often happen in my family, and food became a fine substitute for that affection. Food also provided the additional benefit of numbing me beyond feeling. If you eat enough, you just cease to feel (I stopped eating when I went through a state of cutting myself). And coupled with this compulsion was the very uncertainly that food might not be aviable. Let´s face it, I was a walking eating disorder from about the age of six.

As I grew older, food came to be that which would never let me down as well as the enemy. My teen and young adult years became a rollar coaster ride. I was desperate for love, desperate to be taken care of, despereat to have my feelings and need validated. Relationship after bloody relationship left me bitter and disappointed....and fat. Feelings and needs, even when expressed, are not alwyas validated. There was this little girl inside me who hated this lack of validation--who just wanted someone to hear her and to maybe meet those needs. When this didn´t happen, I feed that little girl sweet, chocolaty things, because it was the only way I knew how care for her pain.

When I was alone I always lost weight. I hated being lonely but there was an element of control in my life that I lost when I was in relationships. When I was alone I was fully responible for meeting my needs. If I failed, there was only me to blame (and I was great at blaming myself). The only one to disappoint me was myself. I didn´t have to turn to food as often.

Despite being in the best, and certainly most healthy relationship of my life, I find myself falling into the same patterns. This weekend a situtation arose which normally would send me into an epic binge. I expressed my needs and feelings in a calm way but the decision made still went against what I wished to happen. I felt angry, hurt, and invalidated. I felt like the little girl I once was crying so loud but not having anyone hear her. I wanted to eat, to withdraw, to leave.

Saturday morning was the roughest. I felt very raw. I sat at the kitchen tabe with my coffee paralyzed with fear. I didn´t dare eat--afraid that any kind of food in my mouth would lead to a binge. I wrote a list of ways that I could pratice self-care without binging. I called my mom. I wrote bitchy emails to my friends, I blogged here (yes I erased the post). By the afternoon, I felt stable enough to eat, and managed to feed my body without feeing my emotions. But more imporatntly, I came to some important realizations about needs and feelings being validated.

What I came to realize is that feelings and needs do not need to be meet in order to be validated. H recognized, accepted, and acknowledged my feelings but he was also juggling others´feelings and needs. Just because he didn´t give what I wanted didn´t mean that he didn´t hear me or even that he didn´t want to meet my wants. Rather it meant that sometimes others´needs or wants might win out. I´m not gong to say that I am happy about that, or even that I was unresonable in my demands. I wasn´t but I do understand that the choice H made doesn´t meanm that he doesn´t hear me or that he won´t ever meet my needs again.

See, in my past relationships, I hooked up with people who were as dagmaged as I was...scared from the childhoods filled with unmeet needs. When we were together we were so busy crying inside, crying out for recognition that we were unable to hear each other. This time around I´m with someone who meets my needs 98% of the time, and when he can´t he listens to me and validates my feelings. He hears me! And I´m starting to learn that sometimes I need to stop crying long enough to listen as well. Dysfunction often leads to an unintentional selfishness. When no one in youre life has ever meet your needs, it´s very easy to become intensely wrapped up in yourself.

I´m starting to believe, really believe that the little girl inside of me, has found a home, and that maybe just maybe it is not food that will hold her, believe in her, or keep her safte. Maybe it will be okay to let go once in a while and let H hold me up.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


The last time my dad walked out on our family, I was eight. Despite his having left numerous times before, it was still a shock. After he married my mom, I figured he´d stick around. There was lots of evidence that he wouldn´t but I was eight, and at the time didn´t recognize those signs. When he first left, I would wait. Every Friday night for three months, I would pull a kitchen chair up to the big window in the living room and wait. This drove my mom nuts, and she would ususally end up sitting in the rocking chair, wrapped up in a blanket, sobbing, begging me to just stop. By ten, she would forcefully remove from the window and send me to my room. Even then I would wait. Lying in my bed, the room dark, I would wait for the sound of my father´s boots clomping across the kitchen floor. I would wait for my door to creak open, to see the siloutte of his face in the doorway.

During this waiting I would plan what I would I do when he returned. Initally, my plan was to run into his arms and sit on his lap. I would snuggle against him smelling his sweat and the oil from the chiansaws he ran all day. He would smooth down my hair and call me "Pumpkin". But as the weeks turned into months, my fantasies began to reflect my anger. My plans shifted. I would refuse him love. I would yell insults at hin. How dare he abandoned me to this world of despair? I would make him realize how much he needed my love.

Eventually I stopped waiting.

In June, about six months after he left, I learned that I had recieved a scholarship to attend a Girl Scout camp. I was very excited as I had never been to a summer camp. Girl Scouts was new to me, and through it I had a made a few friends. This camp gave us some bonding time as we made lists plotting what we would bring for clothes to what we would do each day. My friend, Cindy, loaned me clothes and my grandmother promised me suitcase (I sometimes think the only suitcase in the family as everyone used it for the rare trips we took). Thoughts of the camp crowded out thoughts of my father but sometimes late at night I felt a familiar longing to hear his boots against the floor.

About a week before camp, my dad called my grandmother. He wanted me to spend the summer with him and his new family. I was overjoyed until I found out he planned to pick me up the night before I was to leave for camp. I felt torn. My mother left the decision up to me but made it clear that she thought camp was a better option. She pointed that my father often did not pick me up when he said. But camp seemed pale in the warm glow of the feeling that my father wanted me. I choice him. I spent the rest of the week in a golden bubble where I was speical, loved and wanted. I stubbornly pushed away all thoughts that he might not come. I felt like a princess in a faity tale waiting for her prince charming. I envisioned a summer where no one existed for my dad but me.

Friday came slowly--slow in the way that anticipated waiting makes time freeze. Finally the time came to go to my grandmother´s house. My mom, my brothers and I walked over, holding grocery bags with my clothes. At my grandmothers, I packed my few clothes into the big blue suitcase. I ate supper with my grandfather, and then pulled a chair up to the window. I watched a slow summer sunset give way to increasing black. Every breath I drew took hours to fill my chest and escape again. Finally my mother walked me home. She refrained from I told you so but even at eight I could feel the words vibrating in her anger.

As I laid awake, I imgained my friends all at Cindy´s house for the night, anxiously awaiting their first week long camp. They would rise early to pile into a van. I would rise early to wait for yet another day.