Election Eve

mountains

Tomorrow I will bring my daughters with me to vote for the first female president of the United States. Then we’ll make our way around town trying to avoid anything election related. Because who needs that stress all day long? I’ll reserve the nail biting and pacing for after bedtime.

Tonight is ours. We’re going to talk politics. I’m going to show them the ballot. We’re going to look at all the candidates at the state and local level. We’ll look at the issues and what they mean. We’ll talk about the Supreme Court and why who wins matters.  I’m going to tell my girls that a woman like me wasn’t always allowed to vote up until very recently, 1965 to be precise. I want them to walk into our polling place with fierce gratitude and entitled to have a voice, knowing why so many people feel so passionately about this election.

They will probably school me a bit on the election as well. Both have been up to their eyeballs in learning about our government. Hillary already won by a landslide in their classrooms today. They are optimistic. I can see in their faces how this election is very much a girl power moment. They were with her before I was with her.

We don’t own any pantsuits, so we may or may not be making our own Hillary shirts while watching Gilmore Girls. They’re encouraging me to make them “nasty” tees. I’m on the fence.

Tomorrow is another story. Tomorrow will be one for the history books. I’m not sure how we’ll fill our hours but I know years from know we’ll remember everything we did.

How will you spend your night this election eve? How will you pass the hours tomorrow?

Gracias

Today I am grateful for the young girl at the register at CVS who looked at my purchase and let me know which lice treatment worked for her a few years ago.

Today I am grateful to the mom in line behind me who chimed in and let me know her daughter had lice the year before.

Today I’m grateful for the coach who, in response to my email about not making it to the game, let me know his family dealt with lice last year.

Today I’m grateful for my dear friend who told me both her boys had it this summer.

As you can tell, today brought a creepy, crawly surprise. I was freaked the fuck out. Expletives are necessary when dealing with lice, ok? Immediately I felt shame because I had internalized this narrative that lice plagues kids with poor hygiene. I came across so many wonderful people who made me feel lass alone and let me focus on getting the job done (combing and combing and combing, stripping beds, collecting laundry and stuffee animals, visiting the local laundromat).

So thank you, to every last person who spoke up today and made me feel a little less alone.

How To Raise A Bookworm

book

Read
Alone
Together
To yourself
Outloud

Read
Books
Magazines
Quotes
Notes
Signs

Read
In bed
On the beach
On the toilet
At the library
On a plane
On the couch
On the go

Read
By sunlight
Flashlight
Nightlight
Moonlight

Read
Read
Read

The end

Here are some books we’ve loved lately. 

fireboatThe gentlest story about September 11th.

a_wrinkle_in_time_digest_2007It swept us away. abuelaA sweet story about language, culture, and family.

sistersBoth my girls could not put this down and ran to get the authors other books.

thiefKid sister has been in a trance with this one.

true-storiesThey cuddled up together to read this one and couldn’t put it down.

sewing An honest and inspiring story about slavery and the evolution of an artist.

dogRequired reading for my oldest. She still talks about it.

secret-schoolAfter Something Upstairs proved too creepy, this one was a hit.

The Harry Potter series, Isle of the Lost series, and a few Rick Riordan books have made the rounds as well lately. I could write a dozen posts or more on the books we read. I remember the days of stacking picture books onto my lap before bed. Now it’s hard to keep up with all they read. Luckily, they still let me read to them. What books have your kids loved recently?

The Proust Questionnaire

boat-water

As a little girl, you’d often find me talking to myself, pretending to answer interview questions with the likes of Oprah or Arsenio. I imagined one day I”d be a film star, media obsessed kid that I was, so practicing my interview skills seemed like a no-brainer. As much as I aspired to movie stardom, looking back I think I just liked answering questions. Maybe I had a hunch adulthood would be riddled with idle small talk. Maybe I believed my imaginary interviews were the only way I’d ever get to answer big questions. Little did I know I’d end up studying philosophy in college and get to play with all the questions!

In honor of that little girl, and because I still love answering questions, I’m sharing my answers to the Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire below. Indulge me while I pretend I’m lying on my fainting couch while Orpah asks me these, ok?

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A day at the beach that turns into an evening at the beach around a fire

What is your greatest fear?
Getting stuck in routine and losing sight of what I’m capable of.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I often default to being nice at the expense of what I really want or deserve. I’m working on it. Divorce has made me much better at not being nice. 

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Arrogance, showing off, self-centered-ness…they’re kind of in the same family, I suppose. An inability to see beyond yourself might be the category these all fall under. 

Which living person do you most admire?
Michelle Obama

What is your greatest extravagance?
I live a pretty simple life by choice so dinner out or taking the family to the movie is it these days. On an unlimited budget it would be travel.

What is your current state of mind?
Snacky

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being stylish – that counts as a virtue, right? 

On what occasion do you lie?
When my kids lose a tooth and all through December (only in regards to the man in the red suit)

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My nails – I grew up around women who got manicures/pedicures regularly. They’d either go get them done or settle in for the night in front of the TV to do it themselves. And before nail art became a thing, they were doing reverse French manicures. I always loved watching their hands as a kid. They always seemed so elegant. They still do. 

What living person do you most despise?
He who shall not be named and who will no longer be in the spotlight come November 9th. 

What is the quality you most like in a man?
I love when a man has  a balance of both masculine and feminine energy, at the risk of sounding kinky, equal parts hard and soft. Oh, and a deep respect and awe for women…is there a word for that? The complete opposite of a misogynist? Let’s make one up. 

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
An inclination towards sisterhood, with an eye always on “how can I lift you up “

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Did you hear me?” Because I’m with my daughters all the time.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My daughters and my abuelo…and stories. 

When and where were you happiest?
After the 1st Listen To Your Mother Providence, the cast and their families gathered at a local restaurant. I had the husband of one of the speakers come up to me and thank me (and my co-producer/director) for doing the show. He said his wife had come alive in a way she hadn’t in a long time and it made him so happy. It was beautiful the way I felt in that moment, that something I did had made someone light up and tap into their own magic. I’m still very proud of that moment. 

Which talent would you most like to have?
The ability to sing. I’d like big pipes so I could belt out tunes or a raspy, jazzy voice. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to conjure up good comebacks on the spot. I suck at it now. I always think of the perfect thing to say hours, days, years later. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Raising daughters who are kind and brave. 

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
A female version of Wolverine just so I could heal from anything and live longer.

Where would you most like to live?
By the sea

What is your most treasured possession?
I don’t put a lot of value on things. But it would have to be a toss up between my mom’s ring that has a giant blue stone set in silver that looks like it dripped into place. It reminds me of my childhood and the parties we always went to. The other would be keepsake boxes I have from my own childhood and from my daughters’ early years plus some photo albums of my family when they were young in Cuba.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
A world with no books or movies

What is your favorite occupation?
I found a woman online who is a family historian. She talks to people and captures their family story. Then she creates a book out of their stories. I didn’t even know this was a thing and now I just want to do what she does. That and being a minister who marries people and leads special ceremonies. I have friend who does it and I’m in awe that she gets to do that work. Both seem like the perfect way to marry my love of stories, words, and ritual. 

What is your most marked characteristic?
I’ve been told I have an expressive face, especially my eyebrows. It takes a great deal of self-control to not let my face do the talking. 

What do you most value in your friends?
Their loyalty despite the distance and time that goes by.

Who are your favorite writers?
I don’t tend to stick to authors. I follow the stories. But I did recently notice the books I haven’t been able to put down in recent years were all written by women, in particular women of color. Most recently Brit Bennett, Cynthia Bond, Jung Yun, Anita Diamant. 

Who is your hero of fiction?
Bethsheba Everdine because I’m a romantic. 

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Frida Kahlo, there’s something about her search for depth and her wild spirit that resonates with me. 

Who are your heroes in real life?
I’m still fangirling the Final Five and Leslie Jones

What are your favorite names?
I have a small obsession with names. I keep a running list, I’m not sure for what, but just in case. For boys, Balthazar and Ezra always win me over. And for girls, Allegra and Anais. My list is much longer but these are tops for me. 

What is it that you most dislike?
Complaining without offering solutions

What is your greatest regret?
I used to be one of those people who said I didn’t have regrets, only lessons I’d learned. Call it what you want, today I regret/have learned a lot from my first marriage.

How would you like to die?
Peacefully 

What is your motto?
It’s all love. You either choose love or you don’t. You either step towards it or away from it. 

Special thanks to Lindsey at A Design So Vast for inspiring this post. Her blog is one of my favorites to visit. If you’re a lover of words, you should definitely make your way over there.

NaBloPoMo November 2016

An Invitation

bench

My divorce was brutal. Not because my divorce in particular was so hard; but because divorce in general is a massive clusterfuck.

Divorce and its aftermath have made this space incredibly quiet. Writing has always been my way of gaining clarity and direction. So not writing about it has been stifling. I have an abundance of stories to tell about this experience. However, when you’re living through something rarely talked about and deeply personal, it feels like a huge risk to say the things in public.

I’m fortunate enough to have a wonderful group of women online who are single mothers by divorce; and have provided me with a heart-centered space to talk about this journey. They offer me sisterhood. They are part of the story I tell myself about this experience. These women, and a handful of IRL friends, have been my sounding board.

What I’ve lacked, though, is the space to listen to me. I need to spend more time on the story I tell myself about divorce and single motherhood. In the beginning, with legal proceedings on the horizon, I wasn’t sure what was fair game to share and what wasn’t. Then when all was said and done, I didn’t know how to start writing without pointing fingers. I had to get over some emotional hurdles to get to a place where the story would be entirely my own. And so, here I am.

I’m taking back this space. Too few heart-centered words are written about divorce and single motherhood. Yes, divorce is brutal but what comes after can be as beautiful as I make it. The story I tell myself, the story I write heals the wounds and helps me face the light.

I don’t want to do it alone. Sisterhood and storytelling are powerful medicine. So this is an invitation to join me once a week to be inspired by writing prompts on divorce and single motherhood.

Every Tuesday I’ll share my own post and include a writing prompt for the following week. At the bottom of each post you can link up to your blog post.
Topics will range from the serious to the silly because it’s a roller coaster ride, right?

For November, because of #NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), I’m listing all four writing prompts today in case there are folks out there who are planning out their posts for the month.

11/8 – How do you spend your time while your kids are away? Some moms struggle with being away from their kids, while others relish in the time off. How do you deal with those feelings? How has it changed over time? Go into as much or as little detail as you want.

11/15 – Write an honest dating profile. You don’t ever have to use it but write down what you’re really looking for in a partner. Mine may just include a spooning partner for the winter months.

11/22 – In the spirit of the season, what are the lessons you’re most grateful for from your divorce?

11/29 – It takes a village, right? Have you found your people, online or IRL? How have you built a community of support for yourself? Or are you trying to figure that out?

Get writing!

NaBloPoMo November 2016