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!

why can’t we be friends?

You may often hear me saying, “expectation is the root of heartache”; which is my mantra I repeat to myself when trying to reconcile reasons or rationale for hurtful behavior by my loved ones. I try not to expect much of you, my friends, because I love you enough to know you are flawed (as am I) and therefore just as succeptable to making a mistake as I am. As we grow attached to people, our expectations of them grow as well, based on the assumption that the growth of attachment we feel is reciprocated. If you are important to me, I must be important to you. This is where we set ourselves up for heartache, making assumptions and expectations of others. So what’s the right way to approach love and friendship?

When I was in the hospital about to deliver Peanut I was extremely scared because of the negative experience I was having, and too embarrassed to ask anyone to come be by my side. I got terribly lonely in the middle of it all. I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t trust any of my close friends to be there, my problem was I didn’t think anyone cared about me enough to want to be there with me. Birth is intense and awkward and I didn’t want to put anyone out. I now realize that perhaps there were some people I could and should have called. It’s just hard for me to believe when someone genuinely wants to be involved in my single parenting journey.

It’s been an unexpected journey where people who I thought I would lose, stepped up their support game; and people who I genuinely thought would be interested and involved have gone almost full on ghost status. This has left me to wonder if I’m doing this all wrong. Am I adulting wrong? Friendshipping wrong? All of the above?

Reader, do you keep friends around that you have grown apart (become very different people) out of respect for the length of time you have known each other? Or is there a point where you cut your loses and say, “we no longer talk or have anything in common, and I’m tired of trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t reciprocate the interest in our friendship maintenance?”

I find myself struggling with this – and to be clear, this is not about distance or frequency of interactions. I have friends in other states, other countries even, and sometimes we talk every day, sometimes we don’t get to talk for months, and sometimes we don’t see each other for years – but the quality of each interaction is substantial and real; with depth and closeness. So my struggle is those friends you think you have, whom you’ve had that closeness with in the past, and who now feel like a stranger.

What I’m watching: The Stranger on Netflix really got me hooked. I was skeptical at first, as it took a moment to make connections within the storyline, but once it got going I just couldn’t stop watching. As the story unfolds, plot twist after plot twists comes at you and you are knee deep in it with the characters trying to figure it all out. Highly recommend it!

Tech specs: do you want something that sounds as nice as apple bluetooth earbuds without costing about as much as a car payment? Meet the Monster Clarity 101s. These are nifty little true wireless earbuds that fit extremely comfortably in your ear, sound amazing, and come in a unique twist open charging case (avoiding the easily broken hinge-open charging cases). Best of all, they are often on sale and will cost you no more than $50. I use them and I couldn’t be happier.

Random thoughts: Not so random, RIP Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant. Made my latest renditions of famous paintings in their memory –

Featured pet pic: sleepy Walter looks so sweet (versus his regular old cranky disposition)

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)

Mother of Peanut…

First I want to say, I’m the mother of Peanut and THIS is 2020. LOL. Poor Barbara Walters is going to be hearing it ALL year… Last night, Peanut and I were fast asleep by 7pm. But don’t worry, we woke up right before midnight, so I rang in 2020 with my little girl.

I was asked by a reader if I could break up my blog a little to balance the text with imagery and space – Reader, I have heard your feedback and am gonna try my darn best! I am weary of sharing too many pictures of Peanut, but I realized I have not given you all the full effect and cuteness of my dogs! So I promise to give you more of the three silly dudes that run my house…

So why the picture of fireworks? Because of course, with ringing in the new year, we also had to endure the loud booms of illegal fireworks many neighbors were in possession of. Peanut, being the perfect princess that she is, was not bothered; but my poor boys suffered immensely. Do any of you have pets? What works for you to calm them down? I have tried sedatives, thunder vests, drowning out the noise with music or tv, and creating a little bunker for them, but nothing has worked all that well. Last night was no exception, and I found myself huddled in a corner with three dogs climbing all over me shaking and barking. I need to find a better way to handle these situations since my neighbors set off fireworks every damn holiday!

(left – Walter, center – Charles, right – Vinny)

let me officially introduce my boys

Walter: Is a dachshund I found at the Bradshaw shelter. He was free because they believed he was a senior dog over the age of 10. Imagine my surprise when the vet told me there was no way he was over 7 years old! He was already house trained and knew some tricks. He was so scared to be in the shelter that he wouldn’t eat and just sat in the corner crying. The minute I saw that scared little wiener, I knew I had to give him a home. He is now older and grumpy AF, but sometimes he goes back to those sweet moments of being a total momma’s boy.

Charles: is my little sweet man. I adopted Charles thinking Walter would love a companion – he did not. When I met Charles, I wasn’t all that into him – an awkard fox terrier mix at Front Street Animal Shelter. Truth be told, I was looking for another dachshund… But there he was, this little weird dog making oddly intense eye contact with me. Then it happened… He stood on his hind legs to reveal he only had one testicle. Poor one ball bastard. Right then, I knew he was the one. He still stares at me like he did that first day, in that obnoxiously adoring way. He’s not so secretly my favorite; we have bonded in a way that I’ve only seen on cheesy movies about dogs and their human.

Vinny: was my last and youngest adoption. I did not want another dog, I wanted a baby. After so many failed attempts and a miscarriage, I had 95% given up… I was doing some graphic design work for Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary and saw a picture of this ugly but cute and bizarre dog. An italian greyhound chihuahua mix puppy who had suffered a ton of trauma before ending up at the shelter. Tons of issues – basically, a complete HOT MESS. But at that time, my heart was broken and I wanted to help him so I would feel less useless as a human being, so I adopted him.

What I am watching: I started watching 11.22.63 on Hulu staring James Franco. I’m not a fan of his at all but I am mildly obsessed with the JFK assassination so I thought I would give it a shot. I am only 2 episodes in and like it so far. I recommend this if you are into time travel story lines. Some people I know find them confusing or annoying, so I am warning that it’s basically James Franco traveling back to the 60’s.

Tech Specs: This time I have a sort of weird tech spec highlight – the watch repair tool that comes with most watch straps. I feel like it is worthy of tech spec feature since I use it a ton for customization of my smartwatch collection (which will be featured next time – Samsung vs Apple). This handy little tool has helped more times than I can count – don’t toss it when you get a new watch strap even if it is a quick-release! It comes in quite handy.

Random: I apologize for the extra long post this time, but I realized you were missing out on knowing my dogs! I will be featuring more stories about my nutty little sidekicks… Also, Happy New Year! I wish everyone a wonderful and prosperous 2020.

Christmas… Cookies… & Kings…

This year marked the first ever holiday season for baby Peanut. Being that she is only 4 months old, I was more than reluctant to take her to a family gathering. Holiday season means flu season!

Family gatherings have never been my scene but with Peanut I felt an obligation to comply with a request for attendance to a Christmas Eve gathering. This, however, would not be an appearance without its conditions – I made myself very clear that as a small baby I did not want Peanut to be passed around or held by many of the relatives. And we would only attend for one hour before her bedtime…

Reader, my wishes were in no way respected. My relatives literally ripped Peanut out of my arms repeatedly and would not let me leave. I was livid, disappointed, violated, disrespected… And this all triggered a massive panic attack because of the effect this environment had on Peanut. You see, children sense when there is something wrong and they express themselves when they are unhappy or uncomfortable – even when they can’t speak. Every time someone got in Peanut’s face, she would cry (which was even more alarming given that she rarely cries). The know-better relatives found it funny and kept getting in her face. I did the best I could to stop them while also trying to be polite. I am not ashamed to admit I cried all the way home and the rest of the night.

Despite the way Christmas Eve unfolded, I refused to let anything or anyone ruin my first Christmas with Peanut. The next day Peanut and I made an appearance at two different friends homes; but my friends are respectful and we were places where I felt safe. Peanut and I got home at a decent hour and spent the rest of Christmas snuggling and playing with her feet (her new thing); Christmas lights twinkling in the background, Bobs Burgers on the tv. In that moment, alone in our cozy tiny house, with the dogs sleeping nearby – that’s all I needed for Christmas.

(Not actual cookies mentioned in post, just similar in likeness)

Cookies and treats and foods of all kinds are abundant this time of year. In the family home there was a table covered with many of these items from friends and family, and from all over the place. Some store bought, some home made, but all open and partially eaten – seemingly free game to whoever chooses to partake. SO imagine my surprise when I ate the WRONG cookies! Now, you’re thinking – “what the fuck are the wrong cookies?” Reader, I was confused on that myself! Apparently in a sea of treats and cookies, the three lonely oatmeal cookies in an plain tupperware container were off limits. Now you’re asking, “how did you learn they were off limits?”

Well, it wasn’t until I woke up the next morning to multiple messages that I learned the three lonely oatmeal cookies were off limits. After some confusing messaging (I was real confused because like… who cares?), I was informed that it was the “principle” of the matter. The principle about cookies a friend made (that showed no indication to being special or set apart/saved). The principle regarding the fact that I did not answer my phone (when baby and I were asleep). The principle that I took cookies in a tupperware (which looked identical to others in the house so who would guess it was the long lost twin tupperware that belonged elsewhere?). All this negative energy, assumptions, and accusations over the principle of a simple error… This really made me wonder, how do people choose their battles when they make mountains out of mole hills? What drives a person to say, THIS is the hill I want to die on? Is it nothing better to worry about/no bigger issues in your life? And why is the go-to to assume the worst and self-victimize? Why isn’t the default that it was a simple error? Why the dramatics? Boredom? I’m bored just talking about it…

Baby’s FIRST Sacramento Kings game happened last night! Peanut attended a Sacramento Kings game thanks to her tia Karma – and we got to be in the comfort and privacy of a suite where Peanut was well protected against a sea of strangers and cooties. Peanut was as cool and calm as you would expect from her given what a rockstar she is. She only fussed once when she was hungry, and a second time when she was sleepy – and would you believe it, she straight up took a nap DURING the game! Like, cowbells and cheering be damned! The rest of the time she was all smiles and coos as she cheered on in her ‘Sacramento Kings’ cutest fan’ onesie. Now, the Kings lost but the evening was still a success to us!

(that’s Peanut on the right watching the game)

What I am watching: Rick & Morty season 4! Lets get Rickkety wrecked yall!! This Adult Swim cartoon has a cult following that is more than deserved. It is gross but if you can get past the gross humor, it is also smart and has depth with a wide variety of characters and story lines. Season 1-3 are on Hulu, and season 4 is halfway through on Cartoon Network.

Tech specs: Oddly, nothing to report this time. Still obsessing… I mean… enjoying my replacement Plantronics bluetooth (and may or may not STILL be looking for the lost one… Don’t judge me…

Random: At the Kings game we exited through the stairs with Peanut in my arms I found myself behind a woman also holding a baby who decided to slow down in order to chat with the lady next to her… Naturally, I said out loud: “Less talking more walking, there’s like 100 people trying to get out of here.” The lady then turned around to give me a stern dirty look. People, do you not know me? I doubled down and followed up with, “I don’t take it back! I said what I said. I’m just stating facts!”

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.