Archive | March, 2011

Say what?

31 Mar

When I started this blog, I only told two people about it: sig-o and my sister. My sister has had full access to it from the beginning, whereas sig-o only reads it if I ask him to. They’re still the only ones who know about it.

When thinking of what to name the blog, The Vaca Loca immediately came to mind. Loca? Because I felt like I was absolutely losing it at the time due to the postpartum depression. Vaca? Because sometimes (and sometimes still) I felt like that was all I was and all I was good for — a dairy cow, lactating for little z-baby. The Vaca Loca? Well, it was also a little shout out to Manu Chao (me likey mucho!). I knew my husband got it, and I thought I had told my sister what it meant, too (she doesn’t speak Spanish). But maybe not…

The other day I was talking to my sister on the phone and z-baby came up and wanted me to read him a book in Spanish. There was a picture of a cow so I asked him, “¿Qué dice la vaca?” He responded with a cute little, “Muuuuuuuu.” My sister said, “Wait, what did you just say?” I said, “Vaca. You know, like my blog.” There was a long pause. Turns out she thought my blog was called The Vacay Loca, as in the crazy vacation.. And I get it. It never would have dawned on me, but I get it. And I thought that was cute.

Even cuter though was when she visited for Christmas. Z-baby calls all his aunts tía regardless of whether they speak English or Spanish. So one day my sister finally asks, “Why do you all keep talking about tortillas all the time?” It took me a second but then it hit me… we kept saying things like, “Lleva la bolsa a tu tía… Dale un beso a tu tía… Este vaso es de tu tía…” Said fast enough and enough times and yeah, it sounds like we’re obsessed with tortillas! I had to laugh. (Love ya sis! And rest assured that I’m laughing with you!)

Anyway, it made me laugh, so I thought I’d share it with blogdom. We have bilingual mix-ups and blunders with the family all the time… and with a toddler who is talking more and more every day, we’re sure to have a lot more to come.

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

30 Mar

Yesterday we drove 2 1/2 hours to the closest U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office so that sig-o could get officially fingerprinted for what seems like the 89th time now. Luckily it went smoothly and so now we wait… and study.

The waiting we’re good at. Three years to get a visa to get married in the US and then a lot more waiting to get permanent residency taught us a lot about life. How could it not? We were but wee little things at the time. Looking back on it, I’m amazed at 1) how time flies for real, and 2) how lucky we were… it could have turned out much differently. And a decade’s worth of wisdom has taught me that everything would have been just as fine if he had been denied and we were still living in Mexico. I mean, we’ll probably be living there again in a few years anyways.

While we wait for this interview (for citizenship), sig-o has to get prepared to take the exams. They have recently been overhauled and standardized. The first is reading, writing, and speaking English. Sig-o will have no problem with this. Then there’s the civics test. A possible 100 questions, you get asked 10, and you have to answer 6 correctly to pass. It’s basic stuff, really. But I will admit I didn’t get all of them right. Shame on me, I know. So I couldn’t remember who wrote the Federalist Papers. Or the exact year the constitution was written. I’m not worried… I’m still pretty sure I’m smarter than a 5th grader. And besides, I’m not the one who has to take the test. And luckily, sig-o knows a lot more about US history than I do about Mexican civics. Again, shame on me! So maybe I’m not smarter than a 5th grader after all… at least not in Mexico. 🙂

Study guide

In case you’re wondering, the Federalist Papers were written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and Publius. The constitution was written in 1787.

Happy Monday

28 Mar

You probably don’t know this about me, but by nature I am a sort of grumpy and pessimistic gal. I have found over the past few weeks, though, that writing these Happy Monday posts really steer me in the other direction… make me look for the good all around me. Just one little post a week keeps me on the lookout for what will make me happy next. And that makes me happy.

Other things making me happy today…

  1. Posting from my Android while baby snoozes in the backseat of the car (though I am decidedly slow at it) (no, I’m not driving, Oprah!).
  2. Rain — there’s nothing like snoozing with the sound in the background.
  3. Speaking of background noise for sleeping, I have to share with you how happy my bedside fan makes me. It has been with me since college when I used it to drown out dorm noise. Then in Mexico to drown out radios and roosters (as if). Now even if things are perfectly silent, I still need it. In fact, that’s when I need it most. Sig-o hates it. But he tolerates it and that makes me even happier.
  4. When z-baby asks me to sing “A, B, D.” But he only lets me sing it in “pañol” (Spanish)” His bilingual-isms are the cutest!
  5. Yep, you guessed it. More strawberries. Would you believe that I went back already and picked 10 more pounds? I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. They’re addictive little boogers.
  6. Catching up with an old friend.

More signs of Spring

27 Mar

It’s a lazy, lazy Sunday here today. That’s just the way I like it. Here are a few more sure signs that Spring has arrived.

Azaleas

Azaleas in bloom outside our front door

Pollen

Everything covered in pollen

Clouds

First big storm rolling in

Rain

Rain coming down

Foodie Friday: Strawberry Jam and Fresas con Crema

26 Mar

Foodie Friday… coming to you on Saturday because my mom had an unexpected gallbladder surgery yesterday (she’s feeling better already!).

With all of the strawberry craze this week, did you think I’d make anything without them? No way!

Strawberries!

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La Vaca

24 Mar

I’ve been wanting to update my “about” section ever since I started blogging again. But for some reason it doesn’t come easy. I’m never sure what and just how much to share (but that’s another post), so I’ll start with this and call it a work in progress… Let me know what you think — what do you want to know about the Vaca Loca?

When I started this blog and was in the deepest throes of postpartum depression (and anxiety and OCD), all I could muster to say about myself was this:

The Vaca Loca… a lactating, co-sleeping, attachment parenting new mama who thought she had slipped past the postpartum depression monster unscathed…but boy is this vaca loca.

I couldn’t tell you who I was because I didn’t know anymore. But after a lot of work on me and kicking postpartum to the curb, I remember who I am and am discovering more about who I want to be every day. I’m still pretty much all of the above, and while the postpartum depression/anxiety/OCD isn’t making me so loca these days, there’s still plenty loca left around here.

  • I’m a gringa married to a Mexican for 12 years
  • We used to live in Mexico but we’re in the states now
  • We have one living child, z-baby, who just turned two (we lost p-baby during our first pregnancy)
  • I experienced postpartum depression… but thankfully survived
  • A year after z-baby was born I left my career to be a stay-at-home mom (and I LOVE it)
  • I like cooking, reading (though I rarely get to anymore), traveling, camping, and am a yard-sale junkie (pun intended)
  • Every now and then I have those days where everything just seems to fall into place… I get some cleaning done, the baby eats real food, we happily play at the playground, he cuddles and takes a nap and goes down for the night without a fuss. But more often than not I leave piles of clean laundry in the baby’s bed for folding later, the dishes pile up on the counter, the baby has a meltdown when he has to get out of the bath, the dog vomits unidentifiable matter on the carpet (for the 4th time that week), we can’t get our crap together and miss story time at the library, and by the time sig-o comes home from work I’m mumbling like Rainman. I count myself lucky if most of our days fall somewhere in between!

I just couldn’t stop

23 Mar

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, it was the first day of strawberry season around here. I was so excited for so many reasons.

First, this is just the kind of thing I loved to do as a kid, and I wanted to start the tradition with z-baby. Strawberries, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, watermelon… you name it, I’ll pick it. In Mexico my favorite things to pick were aguacates and liches (yum!). I’ve also been in a cooking mood, and there are so many things you can make with strawberries. Plus, Z-baby loves his outside time, but isn’t such a fan of getting dirty. I thought this would be a good way to get him to play in the dirt. The biggest reason of all, though, is that just thinking about strawberry season really put of lot into perspective for me.

When we moved here last year, I was still really struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD. But I think I had forgotten just how much… Back then it had been on my list of things to do: “Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom and live here, I’m going to go do things like pick strawberries. In the middle of the day. In the middle of the week!” It felt so monumental, so… rebellious even. But I never did it. Strawberry season came and went. Then blackberry. Then blueberry. We didn’t even go cut our own pumpkin in the fall. In fact, there’s a lot of things that I just don’t remember from those first few months here. I was still that depressed. It wasn’t until later in the summer that I started feeling good, starting getting out and doing things, started enjoying myself, my z-baby, my new town. I was happy to get off the meds in later summer, too. But that didn’t mean that everything was miraculously better. I still had some anxiety. Not a lot, but I still had to go through a period of learning how to better manage it on my own. It was slow. But it felt normal. It felt good.

Now I’ve made it through my first winter post- postpartum depression. Winters used to be so hard on me. March, for some reason was the worst. I inevitably hit rock bottom every March. My doc suggested I use a light box this winter. And I was going to do it, had every intention of buying one. But I forgot. I was distracted by the fun I was having with z-baby. I did make it a point to get outside more and try and soak up as much sun as possible. And the climate around these parts is forgiving in that way, so maybe that helped. Are things perfect? Hell no. But I do feel a lot better than I’ve felt in a very, very long time.

Now I say all that to explain what went through my head when I read the simplest of statements in a newsletter Sunday afternoon: “The u-pick strawberry farms may open for the season tomorrow, but you’ll have to call to be sure.” Immediately, I was like, “Yes! Strawberries! That sounds like fun!” And then I remembered last year’s proclamation and the failed follow-through. And that’s why when I woke up Monday morning, the first thing I did was grab my phone and call to see if they were really open. And that’s why I threw on some clothes and took off with z-baby and headed to the fields even before sig-o had left for work that morning. I know I’m a different person now than I was just a few short months ago, and I wasn’t going to put off another strawberry proclamation again.

So how was the event? Z-baby picked three whole strawberries. Then he felt the sandy dirt on his hands and decided this was not the fun he thought it was going to be. He took off his hat and tossed it over a few rows. He carried the buckets. Until he got distracted by two little girls munching on berries as they picked them. He watched them for a long time and then picked one out of his bucket and chomped into it. And then spent the next 5 minutes spitting and wiping his tongue clean. Then he kicked the buckets. Then he dumped all the berries out of them. Then he picked at the leaves. Then he found his real calling. He kicked the dirt. And he loved it. Me? I filled my bucket in an almost delirious trance, talking half to z-baby and half to myself the whole time about how beautiful the berries were, how good they smelled, all the things we could make with them. The sun was hot but the day was cool and berries were perfect and the dirt smelled as good as the berries and the leaves were scratchy in a nostalgic and not too annoying kind of way. And then I filled another bucket. I just couldn’t stop. It was like meditation, the movement, the senses. I finally stopped when berries were falling from both buckets. I thought about getting more buckets, but thought it wiser to stop for the day… if for no other reason, so I can come back again soon and do it all over again.