will you be my valentine?

Growing up I knew a different version of Valentine’s day; I knew it to be: el dia de amor y amistad (the day of love and friendship). Celebrating the day ranged from being with your partner, to spending the day with your family, or the family you made; your friends. It wasn’t necessarily about romance and expensive overthetop corn ball stuff, or needing to have a significant other. I’ve never liked the custom of spending the day either overpaying for dinner and flowers, or being alone crying into a tub of ice cream acting like Bridget Jones (a sad single dumpy spinster).

Needless to say, I prefer my definition of Valentine’s day, and this year I get the best Valentine of all – my baby Peanut! Also, you are all my valentines, and I want you to know that you are special and I appreciate you!

Honestly, I wish the concept of Valentine’s day would become about platonic love and friendship. I remember going out with a group of friends in Mexico, getting milkshakes at a 50’s style diner. No pressure, no sense of inadequacy, no need to impress anyone. Just a day to spend with and remember to say to the ones you care about, “I love and appreciate you. You are important to me.”

What I’m watching: The Outsider on HBO is so interesting! I was skeptical because Stephen King is involved and he tends to fuck up story lines halfway towards the end, but so far I’m really invested in figuring out the inevitable twist. Who else is watching this gem?

I’m also trying really hard to watch Shrill on Hulu. It’s one of those shows that has excellent representation of minorities in lead roles and turns societal expectations on their head, so I really want to show it some love, but I just can’t seem to get into it. Something about it falls flat for me. Do any of you watch it? Does it get better further into the first season?

Tech specs: okay, this is more of a tech complaint – what the hell happened to fingerprint readers on smartphones?? Who decided we didn’t want or need them, and how can I find them to yell at them? I am currently testing a Google Pixel 4, and I personally use an iPhone 11 pro max. Both are brand new devices and the most recent versions available, and BOTH do not have fingerprint readers!! What the fuck tech world?!? Because of this annoying “update” to smartphones (or downgrade, if you ask me), I refuse to get rid of my international Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (dual sim, lightweight, and HAS A FINGERPRINT READER).

Random thought: I want to share the same note I posted on Facebook – I say this with love: this past week I have heard a lot of “not feeling well” from friends… here’s my blanket response to anyone who is feeling even slightly off:

KEEP YOUR CHUPAKABRA BUD LIGHT CHUMBAWUMBA VIRUS AWAY FROM ME!! When your symptoms clear, let me know so I can avoid you for another 4-6 weeks. (Lol!)

But seriously, please be careful out there. There are tons of viruses going around right now that seem to be worse than before. Make sure to take the proper precautions to ensure you and your loved ones can remain healthy during cooties season.

Doggy picture of the week: snuggle session doggy pile up!

Peanuts, poops, and piercings…

This week, in a very clever marketing ploy, Mr. Peanut (a mascot of 104 years) “died.” A new commercial was released by the company showing Mr. Peanut sacrificing himself in order to save his friends after a car accident. The company relied on the mix of nostalgia and social media to humanize Mr. Peanut and create a parasocial relationship where consumers no longer saw this character as a fictional two dimensional immortal character, but instead like an old friend who passed away. Quickly, there were articles discussing this marketing strategy; criticizing it or praising it. To be honest, I was rather amused by this clever marketing strategy. And as Peanut’s namesake, I cross paths with Mr. Peanut in my purchases of domains for her (such as this one), and social media handles, so naturally this crossed my path. It’s just an amusing thing to watch companies use social media to breathe life and personality into their mascots. And when one company does something like this, it gives others the opportunity to piggyback on the wave of attention and advertise their own products by engaging in the marketing strategy within social media (see images of other companies responding to Mr. Peanut’s death).

Yesterday I realized that with Peanut with me I have the power to punish people with poop – Revenge poop! I often carry not only the means to change diapers, but also a way of transporting them in a bag that locks in the odor pretty well. I do this out of curtesy to those around me – I never know when I have to wait to find the proper out-of-the-way waste basket. I’m constantly worried about inconveniencing the olfactory cortex of those around me. But yesterday, I was faced with a different challenge – how to deal with an office cunt at one of my medical appointments. This woman has been extremely unnecessarily unpleasant to me every single fucking time I see her, and yesterday, during my visit to the office this particular cunt works at, Peanut required a change that included a poopy situation. Like the considerate mother that I am, I swiftly stored the stink to save the sanity of those stuck in there with me. As I was leaving, this bitch required I get in line in order to speak with her (there was no one else in line, or even in the room, so she sent me to the door across the room to stand at the beginning of the line so that she could then call my name for me to walk back to her). As I approached her desk I noticed she had a waste basket in front of her out of her sight or reach, so I grabbed the dirty diaper out of the bag under the stroller and put it in the waste basket without her noticing so that throughout the day she could enjoy the random wafts of baby poop. Why didn’t I think of revenge poopy diapers sooner??? This is going to be my new thing! So if you’re mean to me expect to smell baby poop the rest of the day!

Speaking of poop… my little guy Vinny, the Italian greyhound chihuahua mix, has been struggling lately with anxiety attack/seizures that induce uncontrollable poopies. He had this terribly when he first moved in with me, and it seems the change of Peanut joining the family has triggered these to flare back up. Do any of you with anxious fur babies encounter a nervous tummy/body like my little dude? And what do you use/do to calm your pups down? I’m looking for new ways of helping him relax. It’s really difficult because restricting him to certain areas within the house means the other two have to be restricted as well so he’s not ostracized alone; causing him to be even more anxious. And I prefer letting them roam the house freely, but as long as there a chance of uncontrollable dog poop, I can’t risk my baby and furniture.

In my family, and a part of my culture, having your ears pierced if you are a girl (or for those of you who require gender be referenced about as part of the spectrum of a social construct and want to be a pain in the ass about it – I mean born of the female sex with female reproductive organs) is expected to be done within days of birth. Peanut turns six months soon and she still did not have her ears pierced, so among many other questions, my family members (and I have MANY) have been asking me constantly why Peanut didn’t have her ears pierced yet and when I was going to take her. My grandmother even gave me money to get it done and get her proper earrings because it was bothering her that it had not happened. So I am happy to announce that Peanut got her ears pierced this week! (And if you are against getting baby ears pierced keep it to yourself – I respect your right to live your life based on your truth, culture, norms and beliefs, so please grant me the same courtesy.)

What I’m watching: A new season of the show 60 Days In has begun. In this show, people from all walks of life volunteer to go to prison for 60 days – both for the personal experience and to give the warden an inside look of their facility and what needs improvement. There are a few things I find interesting about this show: what drives someone to voluntarily go to prison for three whole months?? How much insurance or how intense and broad are those liability waivers for the volunteers?? And do the inmates have access to the show – as in, does this potentially create a long term risk for the volunteer if an inmate is motivated enough??

Tech specs: The Ringke brand for phone accessories! This brand is my new obsession. They offer cases for ALL TYPES of smartphones. I was so surprised to find they even have cases for some of the lesser known phone brands and models. I have tested the Ringke Fusion X case (pictured) for the Google Pixel 4, Samsung A50, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max – and this case combined a thin profile with a sturdy and grippy outer bumper. Bonus (if you’re an extreme nerd like me): Ringke cases come with the slots for wrist lanyards and they sell lanyards in all colors including (the one I have) glow-in-the-dark! This brand offers quality products for a bitch in a budget (such as myself). Cases average $10 and lanyards $6. They sell other types of accessories but this is as far as I have ventured into the brand.

Random thought: what the fuck is this? (Image)… what the fuck is the deal with Gwyneth Paltrow? And why is Netflix condoning this pseudoscience foolery?

Doggy pic of the week: snuggle session – Charles, top left; Walter, middle right; and Vinny, bottom left.

let’s talk about nature’s horchata…

I was at dinner with some friends and found myself in a ton of awkward discomfort because of (what my good friend Anthony cleverly referred to as) nature’s horchata. What is that, you ask? Breast milk! I complained about the pain I felt because I hadn’t pumped all day. The general consensus seemed to be that the topic was gross. Later, as I drove home, I wondered: why is the topic of breast milk so taboo? Why do people automatically say “eww” or “gross” about breast milk?

WHY is breast milk something gross I should be ashamed to talk about? I should NOT need to learn the hard way or be ashamed to discuss leaky breasts from breast milk, Engorged discomfort, Painful nipples, etc. I have heard my friends discuss gastrointestinal issues, medical concerns, sexual situations, and gory descriptions with comfort and ease. If blood, bowels, and boners are okay to discuss freely, why is breast milk different? Talking about your BM (bowel movement) is free game, but my BM (breast milk) should be a hidden shame? I can’t help but be offended that Dr Pimple Popper is socially acceptable but breast milk is socially detestable. After all, some of you survived your first year of life off breast milk. It provides sustinance and nutrients. It is not toxic, contagious, or even viscous (unlike some of the other things that come out of the human body!). It baffles me that I should be willing to listen about diarrhea and mucous but my breast milk grosses some out? Guess which one of those three bodily fluids is healthy to consume and clean? Not your shit. Literally.

Fuck the shame. Breast milk isn’t gross. And you know what, I tasted it (as I’m sure most moms do) and it was not gross. And it leaks. Sometimes everywhere. My boobs hurt and feel uncomfortable. And sometimes I pump and sometimes I breast feed and I don’t like either sensation. Sorry not sorry. To all of you who think it’s gross: I guarantee you are much more gross than breast milk.

What I’m watching: on brand with my current “fuck you I will talk about all women’s issues we pretend don’t exist” mood, I am watching Netflix’s Grace & Frankie. If you haven’t seen this show, you are truly missing out! This show is magical because of the strong female leads of a certain age (who happen to be two of the best actors Hollywood is lucky to have grace the small screen), combined with story lines that consist of clever comedy and courageous characters facing challenges of change and chaos later in life. I am currently watching season 6 and like the previous seasons it is highly bingeworthy!

Tech Specs: I was recently at Target and saw the latest and greatest in 4k smart TVs. If you are like me, a bitch on a budget, you don’t have a smart TV because all your older TVs work just fine. If that’s the case, I want to show you my fix for my favorite streaming – the Roku. I’m sure you’ve seen it or heard of it, it’s an easy way to plug into your TV and stream all the popular streaming services. BUT I am adding this nugget of commentary: you do not need the newest and best versions of Roku! I am still running on a second generation Roku and it’s working just fine. I watch all my shows on Hulu and Netflix without a single issue. I mention this because an older model will cost you a third of the cost of the newest versions with minor bells and whistles upgrades. Save your coins, kids! Streaming doesn’t have to break the bank!

Randomness: I’m in this weird (nesting maybe?) mentality where I feel I need all new blankets. I just bought a “sweater style” blanket. I don’t like the super fuzzy ones or the Sherpa lined nonsense. I don’t know what type of blanket I want but I want it to be warm without being too heavy or having an awkward texture. Maybe something knit? I don’t know. But I sure have spent far too many hours looking at blanket descriptions online…

*New section* Doggy pic of the week:

(Vinny refuses to sleep in his own bed and insists Charles should share)

Broken Bones & Baby Blues…

When I was pregnant, I carried Peanut very high and could literally feel her putting tons pressure on my rib cage, making it difficult to breathe or move my upper body. It came to the point where I sneezed and heard a loud POP! – Busted my ribs. I’ve broken ribs before but not being able to take meds or relieve the pressure made the rest of my pregnancy extremely painful.

The last time I broke ribs, I will admit, I relied heavily on opiods. I don’t have an addictive personality so although I did take a lot of pills on a daily basis, I was able to pull myself out of the fog without the unfortunate reprocussions that many others have suffered.

This time around I am in massive upper body pain and pushing through without opioids; instead slowly working on repairing the damage through physical therapy (along with my busted hip injured during delivery). I am not gonna lie, it’s been very difficult. The pain triggers my anxiety and PTSD. Sometimes I can’t even sleep from the pain and anxiety, but I am committed to taking the proper route of recovery for Peanut. She is the motivation that gives me strength to push through.

Does postpartum baby blues by proxy exist? My little guy, Charles the terrier, is really struggling since before the arrival of Peanut. When I went to the hospital to deliver Peanut, Charles did not sleep. The entire time I was gone – over 5 days – he waited anxiously hoping I would return and wondering where I was. When I finally got home his eyes were so heavy from sleep deprivation that he could barely stand. He stayed by my side for days after; getting nervous every time I was getting ready to walk out the door.

Since Peanut’s arrival, everything has been constantly changing to meet the needs of the household. I’ve had to manage keeping her in a separate extra clean environment with the dogs at a bit of a distance for the time being while she is still so small; balanced with ensuring that the dogs aren’t suffering too greatly from all the changes. Walter is stubborn but adapts quickly – though he gives you a dirty look the ENTIRE time. Vinny (bless his heart) is dumb as a bag of rocks and just does what he’s told. But Charles, the sensitive boy, struggles the most. He is sad and cries and I try my best to be there for him while still tending to Peanut’s needs first. Any of you experienced postpartum problems with your pups?

What I’m watching: I have randomly found myself watching Life with Fran on Hulu (Fran Drescher pictured above). I had never heard of this show but figured it can’t be too bad – I was a Nanny fan. There was only 2 seasons made, and it is essentially Nanny 2.0; Cheesy PG wholesome family comedy. It seems silly but with the current state of politics and crap like overdramatized reality tv and documentaries, this show is a good palette cleanser for the tv viewer soul.

Tech specs: ANY Motorola smartphone! From their budget E series to the mid-range G series, up to the high quality Z and X series. I have one of each series and these have got to be the most underrated underestimated smartphones. They pack a solid aspect ratio even at the budget series level, solid speeds and hardware, and run on the latest Android version. I will have to do a blog devoted to all things Motorola. But if you need a budget or midrange phone, DEFINITELY go to Motorola FIRST. And if you want a high end phone that isn’t exactly like everyone else I recommend the Z and X series, or their new One series. Of note: They are also bringing back the Motorola Razr smart version but I wouldn’t get in on the first go at it – first run is always a buggy mess!

Random thoughts: Not so random – my heart goes out to my fellow Latinos in PR and the struggles they are facing after these natural disasters. Please HELP! Donate to send aid to Puerto Rico:

Hispanic Federation

https://www.hispanicfederationunidos.org/

American Red Cross

https://www.redcross.org/local/puerto-rico.html

the six Ps…

Post partum physical pain and parenting Peanut.

When I became pregnant I had a general idea of the unique obstacles I would face given my medical history. Socially, that’s the part everyone talks about, the stress of being Pregnant; being large, limited, and lugging a little one. What no one discussed with me, and I naively failed to research, was postpartum physical pain while parenting Peanut.

I carried Peanut high, so it was no surprise when I broke and bruised ribs by simply coughing or sneezing. Combine that with a natural child birth, and post partum physical pain was at an all time high. As a single parent with mental health problems, this had to be a very delicate balancing act. I could not let the post partum pain and preexisting problems prevent Peanut’s proper care. I know myself well enough to know what triggers my anxiety and depression, and what can keep it at bay. But when you throw physical pain in the equation along with being a new parent, things get more complicated.

I am not ashamed to admit I enlisted the aid of my primary physician, obgyn, pediatrician, physical therapist, and cognitive therapist to manage this. One thing this experience has reaffirmed for me is: being strong does not mean doing everything on your own, being strong means knowing when you need to ask for help.

Peanut just recently turned 4 months old, and at my most recent doctor’s appointment my doctor pointed out that Peanut was wearing a very color and theme coordinated outfit. As I held Peanut and rocked her back to sleep, my doctor said, earnestly, “you’re a good mom.”

This caught me off guard. She then continued to explain that most people who suffered the trauma I did during pregnancy and especially during my delivery, would have postpartum depression or worse; struggle to bond or connect with their baby. But I seemed connected and comfortable caring for my little cutie.

Now, I know that postpartum depression happens. It is actually pretty common. But it never once occurred to me. Negative thoughts about my Peanut never once crossed my mind. Even though I was certain it would be one of my obstacles.

It seems like there’s something about my preexisting depression and anxiety that helped me. I was so conscious of the possibility of postpartum depression that I made a strong effort to circumvent it in every way possible. I checked in with my doctors, enlisted a therapist for weekly sessions, and adjusted my medications. I was so afraid that it was inevitable, that I made it impossible.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky. And yes, even with all the work I put in, I consider myself lucky. But between the postpartum physical pain and parenting Peanut, I wish I had been told about the recovery problems. The bleeding, the pain, the swelling, the crying… Had I known about the physical pain and recovery as well as I was warned about the postpartum depression, I would have prepared as much as feasibly possible.

So why dont we talk about it? Why dont we openly talk about the bleeding, and the pain, and the tears, and the God damn swelling! We need to be more comfortable and open with discussing the ugly parts of postpartum. Not emotionally ugly, but literally physically disgusting and ugly. We are so bogged down with the stigma of losing our appeal if people see our struggle.

I struggle. I have scars. Emotional and physical scars. I get help. I get depression. I get anxiety. But I get HELP. I’m so tired of the stigma. The taboo of it all. Tell me about your ugly parts. I want to hear it. All of it.