The Saddest Day

I can't sleep.  My heart is too heavy, even though it feels like it has shattered into a million little pieces.

My grandmother passed away this morning.  She would have been 95 next month.

It hurts so much.

My grandmother was so much more to me than just a grandma.  She was my mother.  She raised me off and on until I was about 7 or 8 years old.  Then full time just months before my 11th birthday.

She was my best friend.  My confidante.  She was the one to sing to me when I couldn't sleep.  She was the one who made me teas when my tummy hurt.  And with her magic words, she healed all of my scrapes and bruises.  Sana, sana, colita de rana...

Part of me wishes she were here now to heal my broken heart.  But this is a wound that only time can heal.

Right now, I'm in stunned silence.  I don't think I've spoken more than a dozen words all day since I learned of her passing.  It's not that I don't want to speak, I just can't.

When I was about 15, my grandmother purchased a funeral plan.  For weeks, she planned her funeral,  picked out a casket, even going so far as to trying them out.  I in turn, was mortified and didn't understand how she could talk about death and her funeral like it something so completely normal.

"Don't be sad, mija.  When I die, it will be because I've gone home to be with the Lord.  I'm going to be so happy when that day comes.  So, don't cry.  Don't wear black.  Be happy for me.  Be happy for you.  And continue to live your life.  Don't stop just because I'm no longer here."

Easier said than done.

Even knowing Gramm's wishes, I ache.  Everything reminds me of her.   And I remember every single thing about her, down to her favorite flower: carnations.

I realize how incredibly lucky and blessed I was to have been raised by my grandmother.  She was a remarkable woman.  And her memory will always live on.

I love you, Gramm.

Anita B. Enriquez
January 12, 1917 - December 9, 2011
Descanse en Paz


How Not to Write a Blog Post

Photo credit
You are a blogger and you love to write.  But you're also a full-time wife and mom and you've been so busy lately that you haven't had any time to dedicate to your beloved blog.  The only thing you've written this week is an absence excuse note and a grocery list.

You are having serious withdrawals.

You complain to your Hubby and kiddies, who in turn, fear for your sanity feel guilty for keeping you from doing something that brings you so much joy.  To make it up to you, they have promised to leave you alone to write for one full hour.  Sixty uninterrupted minutes.  Plenty of time to write one of the genius blog posts you've written in your head the past week.

A blogger's dream come true.

This is the story of how you spend that hour.

•  Grab a cup of coffee and head to your office/bedroom. 
•  Turn on your computer and go directly to your blog's dashboard.  Do not pass go and don't even think about Facebook or Twitter.
•  Stare at the blank screen and spend the first 5 minutes thinking of the perfect SEO-friendly, attention grabbing title. 
•  Unable to think of a title for what could possibly be the best blog post you've ever written, you head to Facebook hoping to find a little inspiration.

•  You glance down at the little clock down in the corner of your computer screen and see that you've already wasted 10 minutes.   You return to your unwritten blog post and focus on writing.   
•  That lasts all of 2 minutes.  Your mind is reeling with thoughts of the day's events and all of the things you have to do before your daughter's birthday this weekend. You can't concentrate like this!  Maybe you'll feel better after you've focused on a smaller task, like answering a couple of emails from earlier this week. 
•  Another 10 minutes have passed and you start feeling guilty because you still haven't started writing that blog post. 
•  You force yourself to buckle down and get to work.  This time you actually start writing. But 5 minutes into your story, you remember that tomorrow is your Hubby's grandmother's birthday, so.... 
• head to Pinterest for what you promise yourself will be a quick search for the perfect birthday cake to bake tomorrow.   
•  Hubby walks in on you and sees your computer screen covered with images of birthday cakes, inspirational quotes and angel costumes and asks, "What happened to 'I HAVE to write'?" 
•  You look like a cross between a deer caught in the headlights and a prepubescent boy caught looking at naughty pictures online, but you still manage to counterattack with "What happened to 'uninterrupted'?" 
•  Hubby scurries out of the room, but as he closes the door behind him, he reminds you that you only have 20 minutes left.    
•  You close the dozen or so tabs that keep distracting you and return to your half-written blog post.  Reading through it, you realize that it's going to take a lot longer than 20 minutes to finish, so you decide to save it for another day.  (When you have more time to write.)
•  You wonder what other half-written posts you have hiding in your drafts folder and check to see if there's one you could finish in the next 17 minutes. 
•  You discover a draft with a list of distractions that keep you from writing and realize that not much has changed in the last year since you wrote it. 
•  Inspired, you find yourself typing like crazy.
•  20 minutes later you hit "Publish" and hope it serves as a daily reminder of How Not to Write a Blog Post.  

The End.

 Post inspired by Mama Kat's World Famous Writer's Workshop.  I chose prompt #4: Blast from the Past: What were you writing about last year at this time? Tell us what has changed (if anything) since then.

A Christmas wish....

You know that song sung by little, rosy-cheeked kids who have started to lose their baby teeth, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth"?  Well, for me it's no longer just a cute Christmas song.  It's more of a reality and a Christmas wish, except I've had to change the words slightly to, "All I want for Christmas is to keep my two front teeth and the few teeth I have left."

Yes, you guessed it!  My tooth telenovela has yet another chapter.

It all started a couple of nights ago when I dreamed that two of my molars suddenly crumbled into hundreds of little pieces and that it took me forever to spit them all out.  Well aware of my past tooth troubles and my history of psychic dreams, I feared that my dream meant more tooth troubles were in my immediate future.  I was mortified.

To help ease my fears, I turned to my friends on Facebook and asked them to help interpret my dream.  The general consensus was that it was a common nightmare that meant I was either stressed or self conscious or that maybe I wasn't saying what was on my mind.  All of the interpretations made perfect sense to me, because life has been extremely hectic the last couple of weeks with the increased workload in Hubby's shop, Nick's recurring problems with his asthma, which resulted in me getting only 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night if I was lucky, all while trying to keep up with my responsibilities as a stay-at-home wife and mom.

I continued to look for interpretations of my dream online and discovered that in Greek culture, dreaming of falling teeth means that a close friend or relative has fallen ill.  This also made sense to me, because I had just learned that one of my favorite aunts is very sick.

Then came Tuesday morning.  I was busy warming up for my Cardio Mop workout when all of a sudden I felt that familiar sharp, tingling pain shooting through my mouth.  As always, it came without warning and it came full force.  While I waited for the over-the-counter pain medication to work its magic, I screamed and cried out in pain.  Why? What did I do to deserve such pain and suffering?  Someone, please shoot me and put me out of my misery!

Just when I was contemplating which of Hubby's tools to use to pull out all of my teeth, the pain subsided and I was thinking clearly once again and I knew just what I had to do.

I can take a hint.  And completely ignore it.  Like when this tooth first started giving me trouble back in September.

I can take a second hint and completely ignore that one too.  In my defense, I was busy getting things ready for Nick's birthday party and really didn't have time for a root canal.

But this third hint?  It's true what they say...a la tercera es la vencida (third time's a charm).  I give up!  There is no way I want to go through all of this pain and suffering again.  So I went to my dentist that afternoon and had the first phase of my root canal done.  (I go back on Monday for more!)

I really hope I don't have to change the name of this blog to "Toothless in Mexico".


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I tried to resist.

I really did.

I even tried to wait until after Thanksgiving, because I'm a firm believer in one holiday at a time.

But the holiday spirit was too strong and I couldn't fight it much longer.

Truth be told, I've never been able to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for as long as I've lived in Mexico.   (I blame it on the fact that Thanksgiving isn't a Mexican holiday. )

Thank goodness Revolution Day is celebrated on November 20th, or I might have put up my Christmas decorations the day after Dia de Muertos.


Mi Mexico Monday: Revolution Day Parade

Yesterday was Revolution Day here in Mexico and as usual, there was a big parade to celebrate.

There were lots of little Revolucionarios and Adelitas,


and pretty girls dancing.

And being that it was also Physical Fitness Day, there were little cheerleaders

and athletes doing pyramides and tablas ritmicas (sincronized fitness routines).

But my favorite part of the parade was watching Ashley and her classmates singing and dancing as cheerleading clowns.

How was your weekend?


Spanish Friday: Q & A

Linking up with my friend, Latinaish, for Spanish Friday.  Don't speak or read Spanish?  No problem!  Scroll down for the English version. 

Hace unas semanas que mi amiga Ezzy publico unas preguntas en su blog y me hizo "tag" para que yo tambien las contestara.  Me gusta hacer este tipo de ejercicios porque muchas veces las preguntas tratan de cosas que a lo mejor no mencionaria aqui en el blog.   Espero que aprendan algo nuevo de mi. 

¿Qué fue lo primero que le viste a tu pareja cuando se conocieron?
Sus ojos, su sonrisa y sus manos. (Suspiro!) 
¿A dónde te gustaría ir de luna de miel?
No tuvimos luna de miel, asi que mi marido me debe una. Me encantaria ir a Cancun, a Paris o cualquier parte de Italia .

¿Te consideras una persona aventurera?
Para nada me considero una persona aventurera. Pero...despues de escribir sobre este platillo que comimos en El Rancho este fin de semana pasado, empiezo a pensar que a lo mejor si tengo algo de espiritu aventurera. 

¿Tienes algún secreto tuyo que nunca le hayas contado a nadie?
Todos tenemos nuestros secretos, o no?

¿Playa o piscina?

¿Verano o invierno?
Verano. Ya saben que yo y el frio no nos llevamos bien.

¿Besos of abrazos?
Las dos cosas, por favor! Y con muchos apapachos!

¿Dulce o salado?
Depende de mi humor. Pero casi siempre prefiero lo salado.

¿Fresa o chocolate?
Fresa yo? O sea, para nada! Pero al chocolate si le entro! :)

¿Blanco o negro?
Yo se que todo el mundo le gusta el color negro y que siempre esta muy de moda, pero me gusta mas el color blanco. Combina con mi consiencia. Jajaja!

¿Color favorito?
Azul turquesa.

¿Cuál es tu película favorita?
Que Bello Es Vivir y Amor Sin Barreras.

¿Juego de mesa favorito?
La Loteria.

¿Cuál es tu bebida favorita?

¿Cual es tu bebida alcoholica favorito?
Tequila con Sangrita.

¿Cuál es tu mes favorito?
El mejor mes del año...Septiembre!

¿Qué es lo primero que piensas al despertar?
"A poco ya son las seis?" Y "Seguro que hoy no es sabado?"

¿Perdonarías una infidelidad de tu pareja?
Ni madres!  (Sin ofender.  Solo estoy siendo honesta.)

¿Cuántos timbrazos antes de contestar el telefono?
Minimo tres timbres. Si de verdad quieren hablar conmigo, esperaran hasta que conteste.

¿Sabes guardar secretos?

¿Dices tu edad verdadera?
Casi siempre.  Quien sabe por que mi hijo menor cree que tengo quince años.

¿Te consideras timida o extrovertida?
Creanlo o no, pero soy super timida.

¿Que hay debajo de tu cama?
Absolutamente nada! Barrer y trapear debajo de mi cama son parte de mis ejercicios diarios de "Cardio Mop".

¿Has faltado a clases/al trabajo sólo por el clima?

¿Cuánto tiempo tienes con este blog?
Dos años y medio!

Ahora te toca a ti contestar estas preguntas.


A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ezzy posted a list of questions on her blog.  I like these kinds of memes because sometimes the questions are about things I might not otherwise mention here on the blog.  

What was the first thing you noticed about your husband when you met?
His eyes, his smile and his hands!  (Sigh!)

Where would you like to go on a honeymoon?
We didn't get to go on a honeymoon, so Hubby definitely owes me one.  I'd love to go to Cancun, or Paris, or anywhere in Italy.

Do you consider yourself to be an adventurous person?
Not at all!  But after posting about this dish that we ate El Rancho last weekend, I'm starting to think that maybe I'm more adventurous than I thought.

Do you have a secret you've never shared with anybody?
Don't we all???

Beach or pool?

Summer or Winter?
Summer!  You all know that me and cold weather don't get along.

Kisses or hugs?
Both, please! 

Sweet or salty?

Strawberry or chocolate?

Black or white?
I know that the color black is always very 'in' and stylish, but I prefer the color white.  It matches perfectly with my conscience.  

Favorite color?

Favorite movie?
It's a Wonderful Life and West Side Story.

Favorite board game?
Mexican bingo!

Favorite beverage?
Mexican Coca-Cola

Favorite alcoholic beverage?

Favorite month?
Only the best month of the year...September.

What's the first thing you think about when you wake up?
"Is it six o'clock already?" and  "Are you sure today isn't Saturday?"

Would you forgive an infidelity?
Hell. to. the. no!  (Sorry for the language, just being honest!)

How many rings before you answer the phone?
At least 3.  If the person really wants to talk to me, they'll wait.

Can you keep a secret?

Do you tell your real age?
Most of the time.  But then again, my youngest does think I'm fifteen.

Do you consider yourself shy or an extrovert?
Believe it or not, I'm really, really shy.

What's under your bed?
Absolutely nothing.  Sweeping and mopping under my bed are part of my daily Cardio Mop workout.

Have you missed school or weather due to the weather?

How long have you had your blog?
Two and a half years. 

Okay, that's enough about me.  How would you answer these questions? 


Spanish Word of the Day: Estrenar

One of the great things about being fluent in both English and Spanish is that if I can't find the right word in one language, I can usually find it in the other.

Such is the case with today's Spanish Word of the Day...Estrenar.
Estrenar: (transitive verb) to use/wear for the first time. 
It's one of those words that leaves me thinking, "I wish there was a word for that in English!"

I guess I could say, "I have a new camera."  But I think it sounds so much nicer when I say, "Estoy estrenando camara!"

For those of you that don't follow me on Facebook or read my food blog (shameless plug!), I have been without a camera since Halloween.  But thanks to my very awesome and wonderful Hubby, that disastrous situation didn't last long.

Estoy estrenando camara, and these are the first photos from my new camera.

My littlest princess, Pingui

Mi gato gordo, Junior

Glass Coca-Cola bottles on my table

Before photo of a Ford seat Hubby worked on

After photo of the Ford seat

Before photo of a 1979 Ford pick-up Hubby worked on

After photo of Hubby's work

Have you estrenar anything lately?

. Photobucket

My Least Favorite Thing About Fall

To every thing, there is a season.

And something to love about every season.  (Most of the time.)

Fall was my favorite of all the seasons.  To me, it meant cooler weather, shorter days, leaves on the ground, apples, pumpkins and Thanksgiving.

But then I moved to Mexico.

Don't get me wrong.  There is still much to love about Fall in Mexico.  We too have cooler weather and shorter days, along with the added bonus of corn season and guasanas.

But to me, Fall in Mexico also means allergies and asthma.  For both me and my 12 year old son, Nick.

So far this season, I've been pretty lucky.  (Knock on wood!)  I've only had one big asthma crisis, but nothing a couple of shots of glucocorticoid steroids couldn't cure.

Nick hasn't been so lucky.

His asthma has been acting up on a weekly basis.

He's had his shots.   He's taking his medications.  And he always carries his inhaler.  But he still has his bad days. 

At least once a week.  And it's always worse at night.

The poor kid isn't able to get much sleep on those nights because of the constant coughing and wheezing.  Hubby and I don't get much sleep either, because we take turns to watch over him and keep him company, curled up on the couch and watching late-night cartoons.  We almost lost him once to pneumonia, so bad nights like tonight really worry us.  

When Nick is finally able to fall asleep, he wakes up a couple of hours later feeling ten times better and is able to go on for days, playing and running around like nothing happened.  

Those are my favorite days.

But then it happens all over again.

It's like riding a roller coaster over and over and over again.

And it's the thing I dread the most every Fall and Winter.


And the award goes to....

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being an actress, a singer and Wonder Woman, all rolled into one.  I’d spend hours playing in front of the mirror of my grandmother’s vanity, singing the theme song from The Dukes of Hazard or reciting lines from Little House on the Prairie, The Bionic Woman or Los Ricos Tambien Lloran.   

As I got older, I still dreamed of being an actress.   But instead of reciting lines in front of the bathroom mirror while I got ready for school, I practiced my acceptance speech for the day when I’d win an Academy Award. 
“I’d like to thank God, my grandparents and my gorgeous boyfriend, Johnny Depp...”

Well, if you read the list of Things I’ve Never Done, you know that I never did win an Academy Award.

And I’m perfectly okay with that.  

Gone are the days when I dreamed of becoming a critically acclaimed actress of stage and screen.  (Unless your name is Brad Pitt and you want me to star in your newest film.  Call me!)  

No, I have a new dream these days.  

I dream of being a world famous blogger, with dozens of people rushing to turn on their computer each day, just to read the poignant, life-changing and often witty things I have written.   

The Blogosphere is where the really cool kids hang out.  

And I think they are finally beginning to notice me, because earlier this week, two of the coolest bloggers, The Truth About Mexico and Cancun Canuck, nominated my blog for The Versatile Blogger Award.  

But before I can take my seat at the cool kids table,  I have to reveal 7 unknown facts about myself and pass on the award to other deserving bloggers.  So, without further ado, here is my list of....

7 Things You Didn't Know About Me:

  1. I traveled with a circus for about 2 months.  (My mom was the owner's chauffeur.) 
  2. I once ate bull testicles.  We call them criadillas.  I didn't care much for them and they taste nothing like chicken. 
  3. I can't write poetry.   The best I can do is a variation of "Roses are red. Violets are blue..."
  4. I cry at the end of almost every movie I watch.  Sometimes I barely make it through half of  the movie before I start to cry.  Like when I watched Bucket List and Toy Story 3.  
  5. My kids are embarrassed by the fact that I cry during movies.
  6. My grandmother made me go to Secretary School.  (That's why I can type like 70 words per minute.  Blogging is my way of putting that skill to work.) 
  7. Hubby was the third man to ask me to marry him.  

And now...


Halloween 2011

This Halloween was hands-down the best Halloween I've ever had here in Mexico.

This year, Jack chose to be the one and only Pumpkin King...Jack Skellington.

Nick wanted to be a zombie, but changed his mind at the very last-minute and chose to dress up as Frankenstein instead.  Not really a big deal, because I had all of the necessary things for his costume. Well, almost everything.  I didn't have any kind of green make-up, so I had to use green gel food coloring.  Pretty darn genius on my part, if you ask me.  (And no need to worry.  The food coloring didn't stain his skin at all!)

Hope did a Halloween/Dia de Muertos mash-up and dressed up as La Catrina.

And little Miss Ashley dressed up as a beautiful gypsy.  The kiddies and neighbors all referred to Ashley as the "weird" one, in a Marilyn Munster sort of way, because she chose a girly, non-scary costume.  I had to keep reminding everyone that Halloween isn't just about scaring people and dressing up like monsters and witches.  

The neighborhood kiddies also wanted to dress up for Halloween this year and asked if I could do their make-up.   The demand was so great, that  I ended up setting up a make-shift face painting booth on my sidewalk and charged 5 pesos per niño/a.

There were vampires.


Masked crusaders and other super villains.

And more vampires.  Lots and lots of vampires.  It was definitely my most requested face.  

I made about 75 pesos that afternoon, which was more than enough to buy candy for all of the trick-or-treaters that knocked on our door this year.

And to think I almost skipped Halloween!

How was your Halloween?


Book Review: The Immigrant Advantage

"Do you have a relative or friend who would wait on you, hand and foot, for a full month after you had a baby?"

Why yes, I do.  My grandfather stayed with me (and waited on me) for La Cuarentena when my first two children were born.   In the Mexican culture, La Cuarentena is the 40-day period after a woman gives birth.  It is believed that during this 40-day period, both mother and child are at their most vulnerable and need to be taken care of.  It's usually another woman who looks after the new mother and baby.  But my grandmother was unable to do so because of her Alzheimer's, so my grandpa gladly stepped in and took care of all of us, including Hubby.  When I moved to Mexico, my suegra and sister-in-laws, were the ones to take care of me when I gave birth to my youngest children.

The Mexican Cuarentena is just one many customs and traditions that are covered in The Immigrant Advantage by Claudia Kolker.  

The Immigrant Advantage takes you all over the globe to places like China, Jamaica, West India and South Asia to examine the very customs and traditions immigrants from those countries still practice even though they now live in the United States and what we can learn from them.   Customs such as:

  • The Vietnamese Money Club
  • South Asian Assisted Marriage
  • Korean and Chinese Afterschools
  • West Indian Multigenerational Housholds
  • Barrio Stoops, Sidewalks and Shops
  • Vietnamese Monthly Rice 
As I read the book, I was delighted to discover the similarities between the customs practiced in other parts of the world and the customs practiced here in Mexico.  Like the Vietnamese Money Club covered in Chapter 2.  In Mexico, we call them tandas or cundinas.  

Chapter 6 about How to Be a Good Neighbor, could very well have been written in my barrio.  As neighbors, we watch out for each other and offer a helping hand when needed.  We set out chairs on the sidewalk every afternoon to people watch and/or catch up on local chisme (gossip) with our vecinos, while watching the neighborhood kids all play futbol in the street or get their faces painted for Halloween.  Not to mention the multiple trips to La Tiendita.  Like Camila, the 13 year old Mexican girl, la tiendita was one of the things I missed most during my last visit the U.S. 

What I enjoyed most about this book is that it reminded me how important it is to pass on to my kiddies the customs and traditions of both their Mexican and American cultures.   

Have a question for the author? Feel free to ask it in comments as she’ll be by to answer you!

About the author:
Claudia Kolker has reported extensively from Mexico and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, Japan, India and Pakistan. A former Los Angeles Times bureau chief and member of the Houston Chronicle editorial board, she has also written for The Economist, The Washington PostThe Boston GlobeO: The Oprah Magazine,Slate, and Salon. She lives in Houston with her family.  For The Immigrant Advantage, Kolker visited Korean and Chinese afterschools, West Indian multigenerational households in New Jersey, and Chicago’s “Little Village,” among others. 
Book Tour Dates & Locations:
Monday, October 24, 2011: Juan of Words -, October 25, 2011: Voto Latino -, October 26, 2011: Spanglish Baby -, October 27, 2011: Latinaish -  Friday, October 28, 2011: TikiTiki Blog -, November 1, 2011: Chicano Soul -, November 2, 2011: Motherhood in Mexico -, November 3, 2011: Atzlan Reads -, November 4, 2011: Multicultural Familia -

About the book:
The Immigrant Advantage is a fascinating look into the lives of immigrant enclaves in the United States that we so seldom gain access to, and an inspiring exploration about how these customs can enrich our own lives.  You may purchase a copy of this book at 

FTC Disclosure: Motherhood in Mexico received a free copy of the book from the author as part of a Simon & Schuster Book Tour. Motherhood in Mexico was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Bits & Pieces

The past couple of weeks have been a  little hectic in the Limón household.  In between multiple group homework assignments and toothaches, we've had a birthday or anniversary to celebrate every week since the beginning of September.  

The most recent being Nick's 12th birthday, which was yesterday (Friday).  My little boy is twelve years old!  That means that at this time next year, he'll be a teenager.  Where did the time go?  

Speaking of time just flying right by us, the day before Nick's birthday we celebrated another special anniversary.   Our 11th anniversary of living in Mexico.  Eleven years sounds like an incredibly long time.  Somehow it just doesn't feel like it's been that long.

I wanted to write a blog post to commemorate such a special occasion, but my darn tooth hurt like the dickens that day and I wasn't able to do much of anything except writhe in pain.  It's kind of my own fault, I guess.  I mean, I probably should have gone in for the root canal instead of having my wisdom tooth pulled, but I really didn't want to go through all that pain again.  I still don't.  But that tooth isn't giving me much of a choice.  Darn it!

On a happier note, sometime tonight Daylight Savings finally comes to an end (for those of us in Mexico).  Good riddance!  I am looking forward to an extra hour of sleep and seeing that the sun is already out when I wake up.
The only bad thing about the end of Daylight Savings is that cycling season is also coming to a close.  Today, Hubby and his cycling buddies rode all the way from Mascuala (outskirts of Guadalajara) for the last ride of the season.

Hubby's the one in plaid shorts smiling directly at the camera. 

While Hubby was away, the kiddies and I enjoyed a  lazy  relaxed Saturday playing games, eating leftover pizza and watching movies.  But not just any movies, our favorite Halloween movies, which helped lift our Halloween spirits that have been of dragging since the loss of my decorations.

The kiddies have all decided on their costumes.  I'm sworn to secrecy until Halloween, but I will give you a hint.  Hope had me do a practice run on her make-up.  Can you guess what she's going to be?

All in all, today was a good day. 

How was your day?