Monthly Archives: April 2013

Spoon Me

Spoon Me

Ugh. Tomorrow is Monday – another week jammed with deadlines, responsibilities, pressure, meetings, and emails. Don’t get me wrong – I am grateful for having a job I love.  But working full time inevitably takes me away from the person I adore most in this world – Mr. ShuGar.

When I think of the amount of time spent at work versus the amount of time spent at home, it makes me miss Mr. ShuGar, even on this Sunday when he is steps away from me in the other room. Yet, I rarely think of this during the week because my job doesn’t give me much time to reflect.

Marriage is comprised of mundane events – washing and folding the clothes, cooking a quick, easy meal, taking out the trash every night, paying the bills, sweeping the kitchen, cleaning the countertops, food shopping for the week.  The beauty in marriage is cherishing these every day events that you share with your love. They are the moments you are together – only me and him. It’s our universe and I value it above all else.

Among the weekly routine, there is a time at the end of my day that trumps all others.  Gone are all the obligations from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. What is left is Mr. ShuGar and I in bed with no noise from the outside world but our souls lying side by side. And then it happens  – Mr. ShuGar tells me he loves me and spoons me. Heaven on earth.

No matter how stressful my day is, I always have the night carved out for Mr. ShuGar and I. Nothing soothes me more than feeling the warmth of his embrace under the covers. I am his; he is mine. The world is ours.

So, actually, my marriage is comprised of a series of daily spooning nights that get me through the work day.  I would cross the ocean just to be spooned by Mr. ShuGar. I do daily and I forever will.

Scary Good: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

Scary Good: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

Movie Poster website: geektyrant.com; Movie Poster Art: Viktor Hertz

I don’t like violence; I don’t like gore. I don’t run out to see the next scary movie out in theaters. But, I do watch Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining every Halloween and every time I catch it playing on TV. To me, The Shining supersedes any horror movie because it’s infused with Kubrick’s quirky genius. Nothing has and, for me, nothing will ever come close to this suspenseful masterpiece. Stanley Kubrick also happens to be Mr. ShuGar’s favorite director of all time.

The Shining tells the story of Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, who is hired to serve as the caretaker of the spooky Overlook Hotel during its offseason. He, along with his family, moves into the resort during the winter and experience a series of supernatural events, which ultimately lead to murder. Even though the movie is based on Stephen King’s novel, Kubrick makes it his own and succeeds in thrilling us in every scene.

A few months ago, Mr. ShuGar and I, along with some friends, explored the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art’s Stanley Kubrick exhibition. We were in Kubrick heaven! They even had Jack Torrance’s typewriter – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Mr. ShuGar was especially impressed with all the camera lenses Kubrick had in his collection. Kubrick started his career as a photographer before he pursued filmmaking. You can see his photographic eye in every meticulous scene in The Shining.

I love that LA has art exhibits like these. One of the many reasons why I heart LA. Below are some of my favorite pics from the exhibit.

As soon as I heard there would be a documentary coming out about uber-Shining fans, I got so excited. I have so many unanswered questions in the movie that I was looking forward to finally getting some answers. Room 237 interviews several Shining fans and gives them a platform to share their theories behind the hidden meaning(s) of the film.  From claiming The Shining is about the Holocaust to proclaiming it tells the story of Man landing on the moon, the documentary features a range of far-fetched explanations of Kubrick’s chilling film.

I was disappointed, to say the least. Instead of solving The Shining mysteries, I left the documentary more confused about the film. I wanted, and expected more.

I would like to share with you  some of my favorite scenes in The Shining and some questions that continue to gnaw at me.

What is happening to Jack Torrance?

Is he being possessed or is the true Jack Torrance coming out? Up until this scene, you see Jack transforming into a psychopath slowly and subtly. However, in this scene there is no doubt he’s gone to the dark side. The way he snaps at his wife, Wendy (played by Shelley Duvall), sends chills down my spine every time. I feel like Wendy should have taken the hint and taken her son, Danny (played by Danny Lloyd) far, far away from The Overlook Hotel after that confrontation.

Who opens the pantry?

Was it Grady? How? The preceding “bat” scene is actually one of my favorites. I love to see Jack lose it and Wendy finally stand up to him. She takes him to the pantry and clearly locks the room. In this scene, Jack, now confined to the pantry, has a conversation with the old caretaker, Grady, about Jack’s responsibility to “correct” his wife and child. The door somehow mysteriously becomes unlocked and allows Jack to wreak terror to his family.

Why the animal costume?

What are they doing when Wendy sees these two men? Is that a blow job? This is classic Kubrick – weirdly weird. Once Jack is released from the food storage room, all the ghosts of The Overlook are exposed and out in the open. Wendy, in her frantic attempt to find her son Danny somewhere in the hotel, encounters these “ghosts” and a series of other unexplainable events that leave you feeling terrified.

Was Jack always the caretaker?

At the end of the movie, you see a picture of Jack among other hotel guests in the year 1921. How is that possible? Was Jack reincarnated? Was he a ghost? I love that Kubrick ends with this scene – the ultimate unanswered question.

I wish we had more horror movies like The Shining. Kubrick doesn’t feed you everything, but, instead, relies on the audience’s imagination. It’s refreshing to watch a film with so many layers that leaves you with more questions unanswered every time.

I will watch The Shining forever and ever and ever and ever….

“Why is patience…

“Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.” ~ Paulo Coelho

If I could pick 100 words to describe me, “patience” wouldn’t even make the list at #99.  It would, however, make the top of my list for the words that describe my weaknesses.

Excuse:

I don’t have time to be patient.  We are living in a world where we want instant answers (because our phone notifies us every time anyone wants anything from us).  We are plugged in at all times. Work bleeds into our personal time because we are expected to provide immediate responses. As a result, we feel more stressed which, in turn, causes even more impatience.  It’s a vicious cycle and I just can’t seem stop.

Truth:

I am not naturally patient. Although I try consistently to be so, my attempts seem to backfire more frequently than succeed. I have gotten into many fights, made my far share of mistakes and lost friendships because of my inability to be patient. Paulo Coelho’s quote above makes me wonder if I should look at my patience deficiency in a different light – as an opportunity to (date I say it) grow . I am getting too old to continually say, “I’m sorry,” and then commit the same blunder in less than 24 hours. Now is the time to improve. And I don’t think I have to wait until I have children to acquire patience. I would like to think I have the willpower already somewhere buried in me.

Excuse:

Only I know how to do things right. I can’t rely on anyone else to get the job done.

Truth:

Sometimes we like to think we are this self-important, but maybe the lesson lies in taking the time to breathe, let someone figure things out so that in the future there can be more collaboration. This is especially challenging at work when it comes to delegating. I find that because of my impatience I tend to do it all, overwork and then feel overwhelmed with stress. It’s astonishing what you can accomplish if you trust in people. Contrary to popular belief, we are not super human and no technological device can make us work at warp speed.

Excuse:

I give up. This is never going to get done or this is never going to happen. I might as well call it quits.

Truth:

That’s the easy way out. True strength is comprised of patience and never losing hope. True strength is also not being pessimistic and infecting those around us with this negativity. Many of us wish we could have our dreams fulfilled now (like, right  this moment), but is that really the point? Maybe there is beauty in sitting in that waiting room and looking around you. Did you know that the person next to you is also going through similar struggles like you? We are not alone. We can teach ourselves to step away from today’s rat race and just be. We might realize that we are already lucky in what we have.  We may never quench this insatiable desire to want more. What if happiness is already inside of you and patience is the key to uncovering it?

I need to reevaluate my outlook on life’s challenges. It’s not a simple undertaking, but it is certainly something worth paying attention to before the years pass us by. If not now, when?

All you Need is ShuGar Love

All you Need is ShuGar Love

Photo credit: Ashley Rose Photography

How have I been blogging for this long and have not mentioned The Beatles yet, I do not know. When I think of The Beatles, I immediately think of love. Love for my dad and now love for Mr. ShuGar. After all, I grew up listening to the Beatles on my dad’s records and Mr. ShuGar and I had a Beatles-inspired engagement photo session and a Beatles-themed wedding. Our theme was All You Need is ShuGar Love.

I don’t remember hearing a lot of music in English as a child, but I do remember my dad playing his Beatles records. He would put them onto the record player, take a seat on the sofa and explain the genius of his favorite band. I consider this my American education.

Mr. ShuGar, as I have said many times, has his Ph.D. in The Beatles. I am blown away by the amount of facts he knows about the Beatles, but also his deep appreciation for their musical talent. When Mr. ShuGar and I were first dating, we would listen to tons of Beatles CDs and he would explain Beatles history and describe the magic of their harmonies.

It’s hard to pick my favorite Beatles songs; there are just too many – and there are the solo years too.  Nevertheless, I do have certain songs that speak to my heart and they can be explained in relation to my love for Mr. ShuGar.

Don’t Let Me Down

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpDFeHc5plY]

When I met Mr. ShuGar, I was healing from a heartbreak. I had survived a short-lived marriage, which ended because of his infidelity, as well as so many other issues that were always below the surface. I finally moved on (thanks to the best therapist, Zumba, family and friends) and I learned to be on my own. Then, I met Mr. ShuGar and he changed all the rules. Even though I was ready to be single forever, I fell in love.

It’s unbelievable the side effects of infidelity. As soon as I fell in love, I began to be scared that he, too, would let me down. I was terrified to be heartbroken once again. I love how John Lennon’s voice depicts the desperation and angst in begging that special someone to not let you down. It’s raw and powerful and I can definitely relate to that feeling.

Oh! Darling

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8-29i_Thp8]

 

Paul McCartney’s vocals are similar to John Lennon’s in the previous song – vulnerably strong and dripping with love. I remember Mr. ShuGar promising me again and again that he would never “do me no harm.” He asked me to believe him. It was not easy, because after you have survived infidelity it leaves scars that are deep. But, Mr. ShuGar slowly showed me how to trust once again. Not all men are the same.

Across the Universe

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ5WPXxNzPU]

Across the Universe is a true representation of putting music to poetry. I love this song so much that we chose parts of the lyrics to be featured in our wedding invitations. 

Invitations: Posh Paperie - Photo credit: Ashley Rose Photography

Invitations: Posh Paperie – Photo credit: Ashley Rose Photography

Limitless undying love, which

Shines around me like a million suns,

It calls me on and on across the universe

I chose Fiona Apple’s cover because I think she does the song justice and her voice is alluring.

I adore those moments when you are falling deeply, deeply in love and you know your life will never be the same. My life has never been the same and I am grateful everyday for Mr. ShuGar loving me. Our journey has not been easy, but we have grown together. I remember asking Mr. ShuGar, “How much do you love me?” And he would respond by stretching his arms as far out as he could. I know his love stretches across the universe.

Here, There and Everywhere

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8THouU576WY]

When we began to plan our wedding, I knew I wanted to march down the aisle to this song. It was perfect; My dad introduced it to me (the man of my life) and now Mr. ShuGar was my new Beatles teacher (the new man in my life).

Paul McCartney’s ballad is sweet and so lovely.  The song begins with, “To lead a better life I need my love to be here…” and so I walked down the aisle to the man I would marry so that we could build a better life together. I need him here, there and everywhere always.

Because

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWlLPJG9Cvg]

The harmonies in Because are enchanting. The Beatles together made sweet sounds and this song truly highlights their musicality as a band. No loud instruments; just their voices.

Why do I love Mr. ShuGar? Because he makes me see the world full of endless possibilities. Because he loves me despite my moody moods and my dramatic ways. Because he is gorgeous and gentle, humble and kind. Because he is the embodiment of true, unconditional love and there is no where I would rather be than by his side for the rest of my life.

And so this is a snapshot of my love story told through The Beatles.  All I need is ShuGar Love because “Love is all; Love is You.”

P.S. Eeek!!! Soon after I wrote this post, the New York Times mentioned our wedding in their Sunday Style section here. Dying!

An Ode to Ma

I recently read a beautifully written blog post about a woman describing her mother’s hands. She wrote about the importance of remembering your mom’s hands because one day they would be gone forever and all that would be left is your memory of these hands. I can’t seem to find that original post, but it touched me and inspired me to write about my mom.

I am blessed to have two amazing parents; they are my greatest gifts. Over the past few months, Mr. ShuGar and I have been extremely busy with life and all its demands. As a result, I haven’t seen my family as much as I would like.  I saw my mom a few weeks ago and I saw her a little differently. It’s strange what kind of perspective time will give you.  I know my mom is not 40 years old any more, but I always thought she was ageless. She has to be in my mind; I would die without her. This last time I saw her, she changed. She’s older now; time is creeping up on her.  Please make it stop.

My mom is currently visiting family in Mexico and I probably won’t see her for a while. I miss her. I am a part of her, as much as I try to fight it sometimes. I write this post to stay connected to her and for her to know I carry her in my heart, siempre (always). I want to document my feelings for the woman who gave me life.

My Ma is a petite Mexican woman, but don’t let her size fool you. She’s one tough cookie, filled with immeasurable strength and unconditional love. She has dedicated her entire life to being a mother. The sacrifices she has made are boundless, but she has done them happily for all for us (my dad, my sister and myself).

She has the cutest sideburns, which remind me of Elvis Presley – she claims they are still in style. Her shoe size is  4 and I probably weighed more than her starting in junior high.  My mom, although bilingual, only speaks to me in Spanish, except when she is mad. Her raspy voice soothes me like nothing in this world; it takes me back to age 6 when lying in her arms was my respite. Till this day, I still like taking a nap while laying my head on her chest. She lulls me to sleep by reading me a book in Spanish, much like she did when I was younger, and I inevitably doze off. There is absolutely nothing more peaceful than listening to my mom read me stories in Spanish. It’s probably why I love writing.  She taught me from a very young age to love words.

My mom and I have had our disagreements in my adult life.  I am very outspoken and willful; I believe I learned that from her.  It’s funny because sometimes we’ll be talking on the phone and raising our voices at each other and Mr. ShuGar will ask, “Is everything ok?” I respond, “Yeah, it’s how we talk to each other. It’s our normal.” However, I acknowledge I have said some hurtful words and I know they have caused her pain. I wish I could take those words back. Why do we hurt those we love the most?  I am sorry for the past, for the present and for the future.  I am all grown up now and I may do things you don’t agree with, but I still love you.

My Ma is my best traveling buddy. We have had so much fun traveling in South America. She becomes so free and adventurous. I will cherish our traveling memories forever. I know my love of travel started with her and my Abuelito.

And, of course, my mom’s hands are precious.  They too have aged because of all her dish-washing, cooking and the dreaded arthritis. But, her hands are still so beautiful. Even now, I walk hand in hand with her and get stares from people. It must be unusual to see a mother and her grown daughter show this kind of public affection, but, again, it’s my normal.

Her cooking is beyond delicious and I have tried many times to replicate her recipes, but fail. I can never measure up to my Ma. She towers above all women, including myself.

Hopefully, one day, I will be a mother, too. I think then I will understand why you said those things or acted that way. I am scared to not be even remotely as amazing as you. But what terrifies me is to one day lose you. I could not breathe without you.

Ma- you are my angel.

I thank you for showing me what unconditional love feels like and for loving me for who I am.  You feed my soul and define my heart.  Te quiero hoy y siempre ( I love you today and always).

Ma All Smiles

Ma All Smiles

Cheesy Tuesdays: Beverly Hills 90210

You can’t think of tv in the 90s without conjuring up images of Beverly Hills 90210. It was definitely the most famous zip code for my generation. I remember the night the pilot aired – I got hooked right away! The combination of intrigue, drama and cheesiness were a formula for success (in my opinion).

The premise is a family from Minnesota, comprised of a mother, father and a set of twins,  who move to Beverly Hills because of the father’s job offer. The  innocent Minnesotan fraternal twins, Brenda and Brandon Walsh, enroll in Beverly  Hill high school and are quickly immersed in the pretentious and very rich world that is the 90210 zip code.

I am 90210 purist and prefer episodes with the original cast with none other than Shannon Doherty, whose character is the infamous Brenda Walsh.  She is the ultimate teenage diva and I swoon over her thick long black hair and her love affair with the rebellious Dylan McKay (actor Luke Perry). As a teenager myself, Brenda Walsh was my alter ego; Brenda was dramatic, a bit naive and always wanted to get her way. Much like me!

Beverly Hills 90210 defines cheesiness because it is so soap opera-y and the writing is definitely formulaic, but it is still juicy and it keeps me wanting more. In the first few seasons, the storylines center on this innocent Midwestern family struggling to maintain their morals among the corrupt and sinful Beverly Hills community.

As an homage to my youth, I present my three favorite 90210 episodes in no particular order:

(1) Brenda Walsh as Laverne

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZeTNknkcgo]

Brandon Walsh, Brenda’s twin brother, works at the Peach Pit, a local diner where it appears every student from Beverly Hills goes to every day after school. Brandon couldn’t work his shifts so he asks his twin sister to work for him so that Brandon’s boss, Nat, wouldn’t be left looking for extra help. Brenda struggles at first, but then has the genius idea of embracing her role as a waitress and transforms herself to a sassy, New York style waitress who takes no crap from anyone. At some point, she, along with her partners in crime Kelly Taylor and Donna Martin, serenade the entire restaurant with one of my fav oldies, Leslie Gore’s It’s My Party.  So fun!

(2) Kelly Taylor’s Sexy Witch Costume

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB03UYy6J18]

I love 90210 Halloween parties! Every character always wears the most extravagant outfits that you know were ultra expensive. Donna Martin (Tori Spelling) always wears the cookiest costumes, from the puffy red dress to the uncomfortable mermaid. Kelly Taylor makes a splash in this episode with her sexy witch costume.  It causes quite a stir when all the men oogle her provocative outfit, much to Brenda’s dismay. Kelly’s friends try to warn her that she is asking for dangerous attention from men, but she just doesn’t listen. Kelly pays the price when she is attacked by a jerk in a cowboy costume. Not to worry; her friends come to her rescue!

(3) Brenda & Dylan’s Wicked Game

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DCMFag9tEY]

Oh, the love story of Brenda and Dylan – it is the 90s version of Romeo and Juliet. Brenda is temperamental and spoiled ; Dylan is rebellious and wounded. Together, they have a passionate love affair that had us teenage girls hooked. In this episode, Brenda and Dylan make up after yet another breakup and share a passionate kiss in Dylan’s black Porsche while Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game plalys in the background. Ultimately, their love is doomed because of the back-stabbing Kelly Taylor robbing Dylan from Brenda. Yet, Brenda and Dylan’s love is too strong and they eventually reconnect in Europe years later, though we never actually see it happen.

I am not a big fan of later episodes; they are bad cheesy. I would have wanted to have ended the show with Brenda and Dylan’s wedding, not Donna and David’s. Beverly Hills 90210 is my guilty pleasure and I must admit I watch it every chance I get it, even now! Who can resist such cheesy goodness?

ShuGar Baby

ShuGar Baby

Photo credit: ravelry.com – Suzanne Resaul

No, I am not pregnant. But for the first time in my life, I wish I were. As I mentioned in a previous blog post about my maternal instincts, I have never been the type of gal to say her life long dream was to be a mother. I have always been very career-focused and my only dream was to travel the world.

Something happened when I met Mr. ShuGar.

Before I met him, I had several relationships, but none that ever inspired me to want to be a mother. It was not until I fell in love with Mr. ShuGar that I began to entertain the thought of starting a family. Soon after that, I would catch myself gazing at him and wondering if our ShuGar babies would look just as cute as him.

Life, in its infinite wisdom, is not making it so easy now that we decided to try for baby. It’s almost as if we are being told, “Well, now that you changed your mind, you’re going to have to work for it.” I guess I always thought that once you decide to have a baby – poof! You become pregnant. Nope. It doesn’t work that way.

I can recall the exact day I knew I wanted to have a ShuGar baby. It was just this year and I had made yet another appointment with the infamous OBGYN. I asked my supervisor to leave work early to go to the doctor. Of course, there was traffic at 2:30 p.m. It’s LA after all. I was basically stuck in a parking lot on a semi-major street watching the clock taunt me as the minutes passed by. I couldn’t believe that I left an hour early to go less than ten miles and I was going to be late.

After about 30 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic, my car (and I) were fuming. This was to be my first official pre-conception appointment and I was going to miss it!

And then it happened, a car hit me from behind. Now, I have been in several accidents before so I am well aware of the thoughts that rush into your head the second you are hit. Yet, none of those thoughts popped into my head.

Instead, I thought, “Who cares? I just gotta make this appointment. I’ll just keep on driving.”

That is so-not a Mrs. ShuGar response. After a few more minutes of sitting in my car contemplating what to do, I stepped out and talked to the young lady who rear-ended me. She was clearly upset, tears filling up in her eyes, and immensely apologetic as she explained her excuse.

Me – I was calm and direct. “I need to make it to my doctor’s appointment. We want to have a baby.” That was the first time I uttered those words out loud – to a stranger no less! Something kicked in inside of me as soon as I said that. I quickly instructed her to exchange our information.  I then got into my car, found a side street and began maneuvering my path around the traffic jam. I swirled in and out of all sorts of cars and, in the meantime, called my doctor and told her I would be late, but I WOULD BE THERE.

Driving to the doctor, I began to get really emotional. I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of this appointment. I wanted to be there – I wanted to become a mommy.  Crying at this point, I was thinking that this maybe was a sign that I wasn’t supposed to have a child because I never wanted one before. I felt remorse and guilt for my previous feelings and, by the time I got to the doctor’s office, my face was all puffy and red. Nonetheless, I made it and I was only 45 minutes late.

That was the day my ShuGar baby was born in my heart. On that day, I felt my motherly instincts kick in and I had never really felt that before. Semi – tangent: And so my blog was born out of my desire to chronicle my journey to become a mother.

Turns out, wanting to have a baby and having a baby are two very different goals. The former took me a while and the latter is proving challenging. Yet, we are finally here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Turns out the missing piece was the right person to be the daddy. Now, all we need is our ShuGar baby to make our family complete.