Family

February, My Own Personal Valentine

 

Mothers of daughters are daughters of mothers and have remained so, in circles joined to circles, since time began.

Signe Hammer

Ah, February, a month that begins with love. This is not because of Valentine’s Day but rather because my daughter was born on February 1st.

I laid on the chilly stainless steel bed in the operating room pissed off that I couldn’t bear my child ‘naturally.’ After hours of labor, I needed a C-section.

“You’ll be awake, at least. Not like the first time,” my husband said.

The memory of the emergency cesarean I had with my son, after twenty-four hours of labor, an epidural and a spinal block, shifted through my body.

I pushed aside my feeling of failure, for that’s what I believed having a c-section meant instead of vaginal birth.

The intake of breath of the doctor and nurse made my heart sink until both of them said,

“Look at that hair!” and my husband yelled “A girl.”

I held my nine-pound bundle of a baby girl with her halo of dark hair and creamy soft skin and breathed easy.

There is an old Mexican tradition of naming a child after the baby’s grandmother but we didn’t need another “Maria,” much to my mother’s chagrin. I gave my daughter a name that is a combination of my mother’s name and my middle name.

Already having a rambunctious son, I wanted a daughter to cuddle for more than a minute but as she grew, she had her rowdy times too as well as her playtime talking with her dolls and the family dog.

Now my daughter’s hair is dyed chrome silver after having been aqua, green, and jet black in earlier years. So hair is a focal point even to this day.

It’s a wonder how a baby shoots up to a kindergartener, a teenager and on to a young adult.

If I could give my daughter…

Sometimes, I forget my daughter is no longer a dependent kid but an independent woman who lived on her own for five years in Denver, bought her own car, pays her own bills, takes good care of her cat, and has managed to travel to Chicago, New York, and Houston on her own dime.

In the years between those two spectrums I hope I’ve given her the three beliefs that are listed in the quote above:

  • The confidence to know her self-worth
  • The strength to chase her dreams
  • The ability to know how truly, deeply loved she is

I am a definite on the last two and I’m reminding myself to speak out on the first one more often.

So, on February first I celebrated my daughter, in the month of love, and with my own personal Valentine.

 

 

 

MLK Day

“You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

We can make Martin Luther King, Jr. Day one of honoring his life and legacy by applying his principles to our actions. Although his famously inspiring speech was fifty-six years ago, we still need his words to inspire us to do better.

Here are two quotes from MLK, Jr. which resonant with me today.

One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized, cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.

 

Nathan Phillips, an Omaha tribe elder, confronted and mocked by Catholic high school students 1-19-19

 

This screenshot from a video is disgusting when one sees the smug look on this teenager’s face who mocks Nathan Phillips, an Omaha tribe elder, and Vietnam Veteran.

The other boy has an open mouth, no doubt yelling in support of his high school buddy and MAGA hat wearer. This group of over 100 students jeered and shouted, “Build that wall.”

The group had been yelling at African American’s representing another group a few minutes before they turned their hate on the indigenous people’s group.

It’s 2019, to far along in the millennium and decades from Martin Luther Kings, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech,” on August 28, 1963.

The hate’s still there. The age is younger, blatant, conceited and entitled.

Nathan Philips continued his drumbeat, his chant for peace.

“It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’ ” Phillips recalled. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”

Phillips kept drumming and singing, thinking about his wife, Shoshana, who died of bone marrow cancer nearly four years ago, and the various threats that face indigenous communities around the world… Washington Post

For decades, Mr. Phillips has gone to the Arlington National Cemetery every Veterans Day with a peace pipe to pay tribute to the soldiers.

“They’re (the boys) just responding to a president that is giving license to racists and bigots who have no place in our society,” he said. “I wouldn’t even wish ill will on those kids,” he said. “My job has always been taking care of the fire, to keep the prayers going.”

This isn’t an isolated incident of hate crimes. You can Google ‘hate crimes’ and see all the conflicts this month: a Sikh man in Oregon attacked, Somalian immigrants in Kansas City targeted with a bomb to their apartment, and the list goes on.

But the purpose of this post isn’t to harp on the negative because hate cannot win. Everyday people can make a positive difference, whatever their age, ethnicity or race.

Today, promise yourself that you’ll seek social justice in whatever way you can. Be an inspiration. Find out about other cultures and ethnicities through conversation, reading, and exploring connections with others.

This is something you can do on MLK, Jr. Day:

Take yourself and/or your kids to any of the many MLK celebrations in cities and town throughout the USA. Take your kids, nieces or nephews, grandkids, your favorite kid to the library and have them read any of these children’s books

or the ones found on these sites: Pragmatic Mom, MultiCultural Kids Blog, or ask your friendly librarian for a suggestion.

 

Children’s Book on Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahalia Jackson

 

You can kill the dreamer, but you can’t kill the dream.

Creativity, Inky Girl, New Year intentions, Writing

Make This a Great Year Without Obsessive Resolutions

Happy New Year to all of you!

I’ve spent a little time reading inspiring blog posts this morning and found a few that supported my view of New Year resolutions.

Most of these have to do with writing but I’m sure the advice works in different areas of one’s life.

First, the post from author K.L Krane who writes “New Resolution for 2019: No Resolutions.” She details her exhausting reading and writing goals for 2018 (which left me way tired) and compares this to a new perspective. Check out her blog post.

This drawing from the talented Debbie Ridpath Ohi illustrates what many of us writers do to ourselves. The wisdom given by historical fantasy novelist Juliet Marillier is well said.

From Comics for Writers by Debbie Ohi

In 2018, author K. E. Garland began a new way to create resolutions. She resolved to remember five concepts.

After formulating what she intended to focus on she typed out the ideas on paper and stuck them to her mirror where she’d recite them daily.

Wow, simple, doable, and placed in an area she knew she’d be every morning and evening. I like her idea and am planning to adopt her method and post on my mirror and on my laptop.

Myself? I’m a fan of focus words and intentions. More about that process here.

Whatever you resolve, intend, or conceptualize for yourself this year, believe in your process and I hope you have many happy adventures.

Mexican Holiday food

Tamales, Sugar Cane, and Nuns

Frida Kahlo with poinsettias in her hair and parrot from Champagne Confetti Co. on pinterest.com/champagnecon/
 Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light. Frida Kahlo.
Champagne Confetti Co. on pinterest.com/champagnecon/

I’ve been busy with tamale making for the past three days. We added an extra day for the vegan tamales.

Tamale making (or tamalada) is something my family prepares for days ahead and that I’ve talked about in previous years.

For Christmas, there are ingredients we use for our tamale making session and for Mexican traditional beverages: Champurrado, Ponche, and Rompope. Personally, I don’t make ponche or rompope because I’d be in the kitchen for an additional day.

These ingredients are hard to find unless you live in Southern California. We have several Mexican supermarkets in the city where I live. There is no “Hispanic” aisle in these stores. The whole store stocks Mexican products.

It’s not unusual to see this:

sugarcane, alvaradofrazier.com
Sugarcane used for Ponche Navideño. Tamarind and fruit is also used.

The sugarcane is used to make Ponche. If one wants an alcoholic addition to this beverage, you’d pick up these:

Rompope Santa Clara

Rompope is an eggnog-like drink with eggs, cinnamon, and rum. A couple of these and you’re not fit to make tamales anymore.

I enjoy the family time where we don our aprons, grab our butter knife or spoon to spread masa, and reminisce about Christmas tamalada’s past

Ingredients for vegan tamales: vegan masa, pollo asado vegan, vegan cheese. alvaradofrazier.com
Tamale making for the vegans in the family

After the hours of spreading masa on ojas (corn husks), folding, lifting huge pots with four dozens of tamales within, we sit and relax a bit. This is when I start making the champurrado.

Two hours later, the tamales are ready. We enjoy them with a cup of champurrado, this year doused with a little Irish cream, and enjoy a late evening movie.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and feliz navidad to everyone!

vegan champurrado, Irish style
Vegan Champurrado with vegan Bailey’s Irish Cream