the outsider.

El Cuco (Folklore Demond): “why were you so quick to accept my existence?”

Holly (investigator): “An outsider can always recognize another outsider.”

Last weekend was my sister’s birthday. I asked her many times what she had planned to celebrate and if we [the family] were going to do anything. She was not sure… The day came and went and I never heard from her. A few days later I learned that her boyfriend threw her a surprise birthday party. I was not invited because it was only for “close friends.”

This got me thinking about how I am an outsider. I have friends and I have family (blood relatives) but rarely am I included in life events; weddings, birthdays, holidays, game nights, etc. It’s actually one of the reasons I always wanted kids, because I figured if I wanted to be part of a tribe I had to make it. That’s not to say I don’t have friends that include me – I do. I am lucky to have some close friends who have now become my chosen family, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that even with them I sometimes feel like an outsider. And most of the time, I am fine with it. I have become accustomed to my alone time; I actually prefer and enjoy my alone time (I don’t think people appreciate alone time as much as they could or should). But sometimes, some days, I do stand outside looking in and wonder why I didn’t get to live in a world where I felt like a full fledged member of your life [you: the abstract you].

This disposition as an outsider is my biggest strength and biggest weakness. It gives me such a unique view on life but also exposes an insecurity that many have tried to exploit. Some people have succeeded and some very hard and painful lessons have been learned. Let’s just say I definitely have some scars AND some secret wisdoms to life. This is all to say, Reader, if you ever feel the way I do just know that you are not alone and, to me, you are imperfectly perfect just as you are.

Never be fooled into thinking that you aren’t unique or special just because you are an outsider, like myself. Know yourself and know that even if the whole world doesn’t understand you, it does not mean you are not worthy. I may be an outsider but I know my worth. I know my intelligence and my character. I know I’m not willing to behave unethically because I’m asked to blindly follow the decisions of a bad boss; even if everyone else does. I know I will listen to the same story over and over again just to keep an elderly woman with dementia company. I know that I will always drive with dog food in my car just in case I see a homeless person with a dog because I know that’s their furbaby [their family]. I know that I would wait in line for an hour and then drive seventeen miles to bring a friend a chicken sandwich from Popeyes, just because we share a love of Popeyes. I know that talk to my dogs too much, and I sing to my daughter probably too much too; songs I make up – including a song about playing with her toes. This is me. And for a long time I was made to feel like it was wrong; feel ashamed. But now… if who I am makes me an outsider, then I’m okay with that.

What I’m watching: Netflix cartoons (well, most adult cartoons) are my jam and I’m glad Paradise PD is back. It’s fun and a good distraction from the dramatics of the current state of things going on in the world.

Another show that I’m in love with for it’s serious yet light hearted approach is All Rise on CBS. This show revolves around the life of judge Lola Carmichael, a new judge navigating the world of the law, unique cases, friendships, and professional relationships (which sometimes clash). The cast is filled with diverse characters that provide depth to the story lines. I seriously hope this show sticks around past this first season.

Tech specs: I’m still a huge advocate for the Speck Presidio Grip Case. It’s a sturdy case that provides a low profile so it does not feel bulky while still ensuring drop protection thanks to its unique construction. But the truly best part of this case is the grip part – the lines on the back of the case provide a texture and design that truly create a grip for your hand. This is especially important since smartphones are now both big and delicate. Oh and Not to mention EXPENSIVE! This is a great investment for a secure outfit for your $1k+ smartphone. Best of all, this series of cases is available for most of the leading brand phones – not just Samsung and Apple, but also Motorola and LG, etc.

Random thought: more of a plea – please please please EDUCATE YOURSELF on the COVID-19 coronavirus BEFORE joining the many many people who have flown straight into blind panic and hysteria. I won’t give you statistics and scientific facts because I am not a doctor and therefore would come off as just another opinion, but the cases speak for themselves. People recover from this virus. Only those already compromised are at risk of fatality. You don’t need to stockpile like it’s the apocalypse, just simply WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY AND PROPERLY.

Doggy pic of the day: I’ve been working on my back yard as much as I can lately (you have to work slowly with a busted hip and ribs), and Walter and Charles have been my wonderful assistants!!

Hi, my name is Teddy, and I’m a recovering villain.

It is no secret that I used to believe I was meant to be a villain. I was cruel in a way that leaves permanent scars. A lot of my reasoning stemmed from self hatred. Other from being bullied. Classic tale of damaged gay kid. You see, Reader, in the 90’s it was not cool to be LGBTQ+. It was scary and misunderstood. I often imagine how much better off I would be had I not suffered so many concussions growing up (I also wonder if my eye sight would be better if I hadn’t gotten so many black eyes).

Whether you believe in God or not, is not important to me, but I will tell you that I did encounter divine intervention often. Every time I came too close to permanent villain status, something happened to stop me. Not to mention, I should have died a dozen times by now but something always intervened.

On one particular day, villain plan in motion, the salesman at a store pulled me aside and told me the story of how he used to be a pastor, and when his daughter came out of the closet he told her it was a sin and disowned her. She left and he never heard from her again. He left the church because he resented ever turning her away; he regretted it deeply. He told me this as he cried and then said, “now every time the phone rings, every knock on the door, my heart skips a beat hoping it’s her. I don’t know if she’s dead or alive, if she needs help, or if I have grand babies.” I had just been disowned for coming out of the closet the night before. I had not shared that information with him.

Another time, in a hotel room in Los Angeles there was a weird television that turned on by itself. As I sat in the dark room with tears streaming down my face the television turned on to a movie I did not recognize. The scene was a pastor who said, “it’s okay to feel down. It’s okay to be hurt. It’s okay to let your head hang low. But never ever give up.” I was in a dark and angry state of mind at the time.

Those are just a couple of examples of times in my life when the universe stopped me from villainous behavior. The truth is, I thought I was born a villain but in retrospect I was made into one. I believed it so much for so long, that it became my natural state of being; and you’d be surprised what you are okay with doing when you can justify it in your head. I was a selfish asshole who did not give a fuck about anything or anyone. It was liberating, but also lonely as fuck.

Little did I know that I had it in me to be a good person. When my beloved Lori got sick with cancer I didn’t know I would want to be there for her. I always imagined myself a runner from serious situations. Villains don’t stick around! But Lori made me a better person. She was kind and selfless in a way that I didn’t understand. I will never forget when she said to me, “when I first met you I thought to myself, “this girl doesn’t even know how special she is.’” Lori died of cancer, and I didn’t understand how someone so sweet and caring could die; while a cruel and angry villain like myself could still be here. The guilt and loss broke my heart in a way I didn’t know possible. And I couldn’t be a villain anymore.

I have since then worked hard to make amends for my wrongs. I even reached out to those I hurt to personally apologize. It was and has been a rollercoaster. Needless to say, when I found out I had fertility issues and I would likely never get pregnant, I figured it was my punishment; I deserved it and I hated myself for it. Peanut is my miracle baby. And in a way, given me a sense of forgiveness from the universe for my previous life as a villain.

What I’m watching: I’ve been catching up on my network tv with Modern Family (which is in its final season). You can definitely feel the end of this show in every episode this season. There’s a transparent attempt to give a “happily ever after” ending to each character. Nonetheless, it had a good run with some epic episodes throughout the years. If you want some wholesome comedy, I definitely recommend a binge of this show.

I’ve also been catching up on The Conners. Now, my friends know I got into a twitter fight with Rosanne Barr a few years back resulting in her blocking me (one of my favorite life events), but I do think her crazy ass added something to the show. Instead of watching this show with its predecessor, Roseanne, in mind, look at it as it’s own show. Once you give it that fair shake you will see it’s a very clever show that we need in this political climate. It navigates through social issues within a lower class white American family in a way that feels organic.

Tech specs: I was given a Google Pixel 4 to test and play with – so far the interface has not impressed me because of my previous knowledge and love for Motorola phones which also run on a pure version of Android. What really brings the Pixel 4 above the rest is the price point below the other flagship phones combined with great hardware and an extremely impressive camera. Additional side note: I personally think this phone has by far the best haptics I’ve experienced with any handheld device. The feel of holding the phone and the touch response when typing on it is pleasantly and noticeably superior to its competition.

Random thought: I want cake and ice cream. Not sure why. Anyone having a birthday party I can crash? I just want the cake and ice cream. I’ll even bring a gift. Just can’t by a whole ass cake and ice cream for one, so I need one serving of each please.

Dog pic of the week: dog butts.

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)

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

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.