Monthly Archives: September 2008

Happy Birthday, Spouse!

You say it’s your birthday!
It’s my birthday, too. Yeah!

Happy bday, Spouse! I could write one of those mushy posts declaring my undying love for you, but you know that’s not my style. I rub your feet whenever you ask, so I think that says it all, right? Oh, and I make you cookies. There are other things as well, but this is a family blog, and he has family who is reading it, even though they say they don’t. 🙂

So, to commemorate the completion of four decades, I will complete this meme about you, so that my reader can get to know you a little better. Enjoy!

The Husband Meme

1. He’s sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?
Speed Channel, a Bond-a-thon, or a video game.

2. You’re out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
Bleu Cheese

3. What’s one food he doesn’t like?
Pasta. To my great annoyance.

4. You go out to the bar. What does he order?

5. Where did he go to high school?
Houston, TX

6. What size shoe does he wear?

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be?

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?
This changes periodically. And he doesn’t eat “sandwiches”, he eats “wraps”. Whatever. But he does like tuna quite a little bit.

9. What would this person eat every day if he could?
Mexican food

10. What is his favorite cereal?
Doesn’t really have one. Although he’ll scarf MY mini-wheats. Straight of the box, too. And forget to tell me that I’m running low.

11. What would he never wear?
A brown sportcoat or a white short sleeved buttondown shirt.

12. What is his favorite sports team?
Ferrari F1. Yes, that’s a sport.

13. Who will he vote for?
You know, I’m not entirely sure. I know he used to like McCain, but now that he’s picked that wacko moose woman, he’ll probably go the other way.

14. Who is his best friend?

Jarrod, John, and Jim. And me.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn’t do?
Not put things away when I’m done with them. Oh, and take on too much.

16. How many states has he lived in?
Two. NY and TX

17. What is his heritage?
Good ol’ American mutt.

18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake?
Chocolate. Although this year I outsourced the cake. Is that wrong? 🙂

19. Did he play sports in high school?
Nope. Although with his low center of gravity, he totally missed his calling as a running back.

20. What could he spend hours doing?
Video games (usually strategy based like Civilization) or working on the car.

So, that’s a little bit about my spouse! Now it’s time to go off an celebrate with the family and friends. Catch up with you guys later!


Back to the shallow end…


One of my little treats is SOBE diet green tea. I really like this stuff, but it can be hard to find here for some reason. The regular? Not a problem, but the diet? Anyway…

So I’m enjoying my tasty beverage and I happen to notice that something is printed on outside of the cap. I’m used to silly sayings on the inside of the cap, but today there is something written on the outside…

“Shake the lizard”.

I haven’t been able to drink one since….

Why do I let this bother me? Part 2

Or, the one where Mel sounds like one of those people who take offense to everything, even if she really isn’t.

As alluded to in yesterday’s post, I have a few hot button issues. A few of them revolve around Hispanics and issues related to immigration and assimilation. My other big hot button is stereotyping. The only time I don’t mind it is when it is taken way over the top, like the Simpson’s or Carlos Mencia or something like that. But you have to be careful, because stereotyping can be insidious.

What started it off was poor little Handy Manny, a (mostly) innocent little show about an Hispanic handyman. Actually, it was the commercial for the new Transforming Truck that got my attention. Thing 1 came home from school early* and was watching TV. When he saw the commercial, he asked me if all laborers were Mexican.


And this sent me back to another conversation I had recently where a friend of mine confided to me that whenever she ran into a Hispanic laborer, she immediately questioned whether or not they were a citizen or even here legally.


Ok, Mel, so what’s your point? What does this have to do with the Pledge being in Spanish?


I believe that the immigrant experience has fundamentally changed over the past forty years. Before then, when someone immigrated here, it was pretty final. There was no internet, no way to send money home easily, no easy way to pop home for a quick visit. You were HERE and you were going to have to make the best of it. But because of our modern conveniences, those ties don’t have to be cut, giving some no real reason to become “Americans”. That doesn’t mean giving up cultural identity. What I’m talking about is having a vested interest in the success of your community HERE. And if your community is still in another country, that won’t happen.

And here is where the stereotyping comes in.

Too many people see Hispanic immigrants not as people who come here to make a new life for themselves, but as people who are going to leech off our society by “taking” jobs (the laborers) and not becoming part of the community. When these are reinforced by our cultural institutions (although Manny is a small business owner, which is cool) it just fuels that fire for debate. Having the pledge in both languages seems like a good idea from a certain perspective, but in the long run, it isn’t. It keeps people from having a vested interest in learning English. This causes two things. First, it keeps them in the types of jobs that create that stereotype in the first place. Second, it keeps them from becoming part of the larger community of “Americans” by learning English. If the schools themselves aren’t encouraging students to learn enough to even say and understand the Pledge in English, why should they try on their own?

And I guess that’s what set me off. We’re never going to get anywhere in this debate until we agree that these people are HERE and we’re all going to have to make the best of it. We have to include them in our community, not exclude them. We have to give them a vested interest in their lives HERE. And keeping them separate, by not encouraging them to join the community in something as simple as our Pledge, isn’t helping.

*He’s fine now. It was just a case of Nocturnal DSitis. But now that the DS has been removed, I don’t expect a relapse.

Why do I let this bother me? Part 1

So you guys know I always keep my trusty camera phone close at hand to snap shots of things I find particularly absurd, odd, silly, or what-have-you. And I generally keep things lighthearted because, let’s be honest here, you don’t come here for the political commentary. But I have a few topics that will send me into, if not a lather, then at least a state of high annoyance.

I tried to come up with a coherent post on this one, but it just wasn’t happening. My thoughts on this subject are very complex and could probably be the subject of an entire blog. Suffice it to say, I’m bugged by this on many levels. And it probably wouldn’t have bugged me so much if I hadn’t seen what I had seen earlier (tomorrows post) to already set me on edge.

So this is what I saw in the band hall we were borrowing for orchestra practice last night:

Ok, so it’s the Pledge and the Texas Pledge. What of it? Ok, then. A close up…

Hmmm….en Espanol*.

Why do I let this bother me? Again, it is very complex. I’m Hispanic for goodness sakes. And yet this gets me on a level that is pretty hard to explain. I see stuff like this and it’s all I can do not to grab someone by the lapels and say “YOU AREN’T HELPING!” This not only encourages people not to learn English, but also gives ammunition to the wing-nuts out there who will say “Look! Now they say the Pledge in a foreign language!”


And tomorrow? Something even (in my opinion anyway) worse.

* Sorry, still don’t know how to do foreign characters in HTML. Sue me.

Grocery Store Layout Fail

Mmmmm….candy. On sale! Chocolate and Nerds and all kinds of stuff. But what’s in that locked cabinet behind the candy display?

Diabetic supplies.


Tales From Stepford: Attack of the Landscape Vigilantes

As I have alluded to many times on this blog, I live in Stepford. I may jest, but it really isn’t that bad of a place to live. I’ve made some really good friends that counteract the craziness that abounds. But occasionally, well, keep reading…

There is a house just up the street from me that is into xeriscaping. For those who don’t know, xeriscaping is all about using local plants and other things to help use less water. Some people don’t like it, but I don’t have a problem with it because it can be a nice change from the cookie cutter lawns. Unless his yard starts looking nasty, which it started to a few weeks ago.

This guy actually takes his eco-friendliness a bit further. He won’t use a lawn service that uses gas powered equipment. And for reasons that I still don’t understand, he won’t buy “acceptable” equipment for himself. But that didn’t matter until a few weeks ago, when the only lawn service this guy would use told him that they weren’t going to come out here any more because he’s their only customer in this area. They still have to put gas in their trucks, ya know.

Anyway, so the yard starts looking really bad. It’s been more than a month since it’s been mowed. Enter my friend, Penelope. She’s a bit, shall we say, obsessive. Her house and yard are beyond tidy. It borders on freakish, like she could put her house on the market this afternoon and not have it be a problem. There are days where I wonder if they actually have a second house they really live in and this one is just for show. So she starts whining about this place to me. And after about a week, she goes to the HOA to complain. But the HOA has to give him about 10 days to rectify this situation and there is no way that she can let this go for another 10 days.

So she goes up to the guy’s house and asks him if he’d be offended if she mowed his lawn.

Oh, yes she did.

Don’t you think that any self respecting guy would say “No, I’ll take care of it this afternoon” instead of allowing this princess looking character (did I leave that part out? MAJOR princess) to schlep around and mow his yard for him? Well, there you would be wrong, because he agreed. And not wanting to drag her lawn mower down the street to this place, she borrowed his next door neighbor’s mower and took care of it. The gas powered lawn mower.

Now the story is getting around the neighborhood about Penelope and her landscaping vigilantism. People are running scared, mowing their lawns with greater frequency, afraid that Princess Penelope will come by and shame them by mowing their lawns for them. She’s earned a bit of a rep now, as you can imagine.

I love her to death, but I think she needs a job. You know, to keep her sane. I’m sure there’s a lawn service hiring.

One Hundred Word Challenge: Twist

100 Words

“Can you hand me that?”

“Sure, Dad. Here ya go.”

“Man, my hands are too big. Do you want to give it a go?”


“Yeah, you.”

“Really? Ok!”

He scampered under the car, ready to work. He couldn’t believe that his Dad was letting him work on the car. He was so proud to be part of this adult world for the first time.

“Where does the screw go?”

“See that bracket?”

“I see”

“Just twist it until it’s tight. Got it?”

“Yeah, I got it.”

“Ok, let me see…..that’s perfect! Good job!”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“No. Thank you.”