Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's My Life (Part 2)

Well here's the second installment of the series on family history. As you know the original post is over at Julie's blog.. I am really enjoying the process mostly because I am always fascinated by people's stories.. The fact that this is mine is trival.. In reality it is the story of my family and in so many ways I have always been the family historian.. I am the only one who really loves to remember the grandparent's and try to figure out the family tree.. For me this is an opportunity to capture it in writing.. I have lots of oral stories..
Questions for this week.
1) Was yours a religious family? Not in particular.. We did go through a phase during my mom's first marriage where we went to church on Sunday's and said the rosary after dinner at the Cortez house.. We received all our sacrements in the Catholic church. We always knew to how to pray, the order of mass. My grandmother Ramona did not frequent chuches but was a firm believer in God and the ability to connect and pray directly with God.
Were Sunday's spent together as a family? Not for religious reasons.. We didn't have a routine around Sunday's. We usually spent Sunday's at home cleaning, doing homework, cooking extra meals and getting ready for the week.
2) Did your family take vacations? No.. We did not have the luxury of vacations. When I was in high school we took a few camping trips and a road trip to Milwaukee with our step dad. My first real vacation was to Colorado with my mom and brother. We were allowed to go with her since she needed to work while in Colorado..Did you go to the same place every year? Nope..
3) Do you remember any special stories your grandparents told you? Yes, my maternal grandmother, Ramona, would tell me that when it rained on earth it meant God was watering his garden in heaven.. That he was cleaning the earth and providing water to the plants on the earth as well.
Did you sit on a lap when you heard there stories or did you hear them when you and your grandparent walked hand in hand while taking a stroll? Actually, I remember the stories at bed time. When I stayed at my grandmother Ramona's she would brush my hair at night before bed..
Do you tell any of these same stories to your children? Yes, I have also told my daughter that God is watering the garden in heaven.
4) Did your grandparents live near by? My maternal grandparents lived in Tijuana, Mexico about 2 hrs away from us in Los Angeles. My paternal grandparents were divorced but both lived in San Diego.
How often did you visit their home? I spent much of my first 4 years at my maternal grandparents house.. Apparently I also spent some at my paternal grandfather's but I do not remember any of that. When I was a preteen and teenager I spent time with my paternal grandmother, Antonia.. Mostly in the summer time or an odd weekend.
Did the house have any special smells? My maternal grandparents lived in a tiny 2 room house. It always smelled of something cooking. My grandmother, Ramona, was a great cook and the house mostly smelled of cinnamon to me.. On cleaning day I remember Pine sol and bleach.
What did the couch feel like? I don't remember since her dolls sat on the couch. We often sat at the table or directly on the beds. At my grandmother Antonia's I always loved falling asleep on the couch.. It was confortable..
How big was the kitchen? At my grandmother Ramona's it was tiny.. There was barely enough room. The stove and the table took up 80% of the room.. It was cozy.. At my grandmother Antonia the kitchen was newer but still small. We mostly ate out.
Ok, that's it for this week..
Have a great one!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A hero..

My hubby is a lot of things.. a hard worker, a great dad and husband. He's handy with tools, he can fix cars and he's even a really good poker player.. However, today he added a new adjective to the list.. He's a Hero..

Today around 2:00 on a typical drive down the 15 his hawk eyes were on full alert.. He saw a trailer as it lost control and propelled it and the Expedition that is was attached to in to the air.. It was a surreal experience.. I heard him say "No, No, that is not good".. I looked up from my book to see a ball of debris about 2 car lengths ahead.. Martin was breaking hard and trying to keep the car in a safe spot.. I was confused and worried.. I could see cars swerving and breaking all around it us.. The Expedition rolled on the highway and landed in the 2 middle lanes..Next thing I know Martin has stopped the car completely in the fast lane! He puts it in park and says call for help.. In a second he is running out into the road towards the car.. I look at my phone.. I literally stare at it and then my brain kicks in.. 911... It seems to take forever to answer but it was only 3 rings... I can only assume how many others were trying to call in.. Thankfully I got through..

I get out of the car and I see several others in their cars frozen.. some people were on the side of the road but not able to walk closer..Some more men race out.. I hear "we need a knife".. I yell toward the cars behind me and yell out "we need a knife" The dispatcher is talking to me, says stay safe.. I say I am worried about their safety not mine.. she asks for more details.. I give her name, the bridge sign the location and anything else I can think of.. I see other people on their phones, I yell out "I have them on the line.. Hang up!"

An older man walks forward, " I have one, I have a knife." Martin would later tell me that he needed the knife to cut the seatbelt off the driver..

Everyone is working together.. Some of the people start picking up the debris, there are others trying to pull the trailer onto the shoulder.. It literally looked like a tornado blew on the highway.. All four lanes were a mess.. People from the north bound side are pulled over looking. I am still on the phone with the highway patrol describing the scene.

I keep checking on Maya in the car while looking for Martin..I don't see him. I worry about a fire starting but I can't walk to the car since I am still on the line and I am trying to stay within eye shot of Maya.. My heart is racing.. I am listening but still don't hear sirens.. The 15 is a complete parking lot.. I see a man in front of me asking if I got through. I told him I was on and he explained how that was his friend and he was honking at him trying to tell him that the trailer was shaking too much but he couldn't get his attention.. He is shaking his head. He is picking up the debris and walking back and forth to the car..

A few more mins go by... I hear the people near the car saying the person is out.. I am looking for Martin and I don't see him. I look in the back seat, thankfully Maya is still asleep.. We kept the car and music on out of instinct and it served to keep her in the lulled sleep she enjoys so much..

After I hang up I have no choice but to stay near the car.. I keep scanning the scence.. People are taking pictures and just staring.. I want to do something. I feel helpless and useless.. I see a few men urging people to clean up the lanes.. I start directing the cars to the first and 4th lane since now the debris is mostly pushed to the farthest point of the shoulder and cars can pass.. Some cars start to manuever through.. I decide to move the car to the shoulder so that we can make room for the moving cars.. I still don't see Martin.. I know he is on the other side of the car but haven't seen him.. Never has 20 feet felt so distant..

In a few mins I see Martin out in the road in front of me. He is scanning the scene.. He is talking as he walks.. He climbs in the car looking for a rag.. he has blood on his arms.. He doesn't even flinch.. He just says that everything is ok and we should get out of the way.. I am so tahnkful our family is intact.. The person is safe and no one else was hurt.. Martin says he sees the fire department.. Off we go...

He fills in the blanks as we drive.. The adrenaline in my body is making me weak. I want to cry.. I ask him what happened on his end.. He explained how he pulled the person out by crawling in.. He said the man was strapped in and being held by the seatbelt. He said he had asked for the knife to cut him out and how he was upset that he didn't have his swiss army with him when he needed it.. The man was conscious and spoke to him.. He had a cut on his head but other than that he didnt have any outward signs of injury.. He said the man wanted to get up by he told him to lay down until the ambulance arrived.. He says this as casually as he describes a poker hand. I look at his clothes and its just slightly dusty, his shorts have a small splatter of blood.. I try to find some napkins to clean his hands but find only a package of dried out wipes.. He tells me he managed to wipe the blood off his arm with something from the car but he still has some on his hands.. There is a small scrape on his knee.. he dismisses it..

It hits me how amazing it was.. He didn't freak out, he didn't panic or drive away. He just pulled up and did what he had to do..he helped a person who needed help.. He didn't think of the danger or the risk to himself.. As I look in the back seat at a still sleeping Maya I was so relieved.. I was crossing myself and saying silent prayers..I was still in slight shock but mostly grateful.. He saved a child's father, another woman's husband (Martin told me there was a car seat in the back of the car). A little prayer goes out to that family..

Today he was meant to be there to help.. Thank God he was..

Today like every day, I thank God for my husband..



Saturday, June 27, 2009


This glorious Saturday afternoon we are going to the park to meet up with some friends.. These friends share a common history.. we all worked at the now non-exisitent Peregrine.. Some day I will delve back into that whole fiasco.. However, after all these years a few of us are still friends.. While Sharon and I have become even closer..

Sharon and I have been through thick and thin.. We are sister-friends..We sign our notes to eachother with Lylas (Love ya like a sister).. As 80s as that is.. We were meant to be friends and have become family.. We were just becoming friends when I married Martin.. We quilted together before kids..We took entire days to go shopping and get our hair done by Alfred.. We survived the last 10 or so years and our friendship is one of the few I know will last.. We now can only dream of the day when our girls are sewing together..It will be sooner than we expect I am sure..Maya and Sophia get along great.. The already love each other like sisters.. Maya told me that Sophia was like a litter sister only different after their last playdate.
This picture taken last month of them is my favorite and I had to share it..

Can't wait to play in the sun..It's time for "hee hee girl time" as Sharon calls it..

Scraps for sale?

Designer scraps at that.. Who knew that people sold their scraps? This designer is one of my new favorites, Anna Maria Horner. I love how vibrant her colors are.. When I see her fabrics I want to make dresses or flouncy skirts with lots of layers for Maya. You can tell my fantasy hat in on as I have yet to sew her one clothing item, but I am determined.. I can just see her glowing as she plays in a dress made from these hues.. Not to mention, I have some certified easy patterns for patchwork skirts that I think will help me transition into clothing..
Anyhow- back to the tip.. This particular designer sells her scraps..Who wouldn't want them?? I have always horded my scraps because some day I will need them. I will use them to make those darned Mini quilts that I have avoided.. I will surely decopage something or use them in a great bit quilt or a quilt backing.. It they are bigger than 2x2 they are part of the stash..The possibilities are endless. There are yo-yos to make.. Maya could surely learn to sew with those iddy bitty pieces. My quilting classmate may need another batch for her pin cushions.. People please scraps are not for tossing.. If you are now properly convinced check out her website and look for "scrap bags". I wouldn't dare send you stairght to the scrap bags page, that would deprive you of seeing her other goodies..
Scraps for sale.. Who knew?

Work in progress

This week the floors are getting a make over. After 7 years in the house we have finally saved up enough to install tile and laminate.. Bye bye to trying to bleach out the stains on the vinyl. No more vacuuming the carpets and trying to avoid spills for fear of stains.. The new materials are sturdy and easier to clean..
Here are some shots of the work in progress.. Don't look too close as you can imagine what it means to have the entire first floor of the house ripped out..

This is the family room..

The front living room also got laminate...

The bulk of the first floor is now this large tile.. Don't you love the staggered pattern? It was inspired by the cobblestone quilt pattern I love..

I was truly surprised to see how much different the house looks in the new flooring. I am glad that the "consulation with my pillow'' worked out.. I stressed out about the money for so long. I drove my husband and the flooring man crazy with calculations and sceanarios.. In the end taking on just the first floor was the perfect solution.. We can wait another year to tackle the second floor. In the mean time we can enjoy these floors and the decorating process. A little touch up of the paint and a few new additions here and there. We will have a new and improved house to enjoy and entertain in..As soon as I get some time to clean.. the disaster that is my house has me wringing my hands.. We need to clean out the non-essentials.. I am thinking garage sale time.

Have a great one!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's my life...

My dear friend Miss Julie Isa of Tattered Threads has started a very neat thing.. A weekly entry on family.. A way for us to get some history into our blogs. I love the idea of turning all these stories into a book for my family.. So here goes...
This weeks questions:
1. What was your mother's name? Maria Dolores but goes by Lola
Your Father's name? Sergio
Your grandmother's names? Ramona (maternal) & Antonia (paternal)
Your grandfather's names? Francisco (maternal) & Sergio (paternal)
What did you call them? Abuelita and abuelito (Spanish)
2. Do you have brother's and sisters? yes, one brother
What are their names? Arthur
How old were you when they were born? I was six.
Do you remember the first time you saw them? No but I do remember him as a baby.
3. What about your aunts and uncles?I had 7 uncles on my mom's side and 2 aunts. Uncles are as follows: Francisco (Pancho), Carlos (Chivo), Antonio (Seco), Ricardo (Ricas), Lorenzo (Lencho), Jose (Chepe), and Guadalupe (Lupe). Aunts: Josefina and Consuelo (Chelo). On my father's side I have one aunt and one uncle. Uncles Luis Alfredo (Alfredo) and Maria del Carmen (Pame). My grandfather remarried and I have another aunt and uncle. Suzanna (Suzi) and Alejandro (Alex).
Did they play an important part in your growing up? My mother's side plaed a huge role. All my uncles spent time in my life. We lived near most of them until I was about 10. I have memories of bi gfamily gatherings with my cousins. My uncle Pancho is my Godfather. I have lovely memoreis of most of my uncles since they were all very different..The following uncles have passed away in my life time.. Carlos, Ricardo and Antonio. My aunt Josefina was like another mother although time has made us grow apart. My aunt Chelo was in my life when I was a preteen and I remember listening to music at her house in Tijuana on the beach..
Did your family get together much casualy or did you have to travel to spend time together? We always spent time together prior to my grandmother passing. She was truly the glue. After she passed most of the families drifted apart. Now we only see eachother on rare occasions..
On my Father's side of the family we didn't see each other that often since my parents never married. I was lucky to know my grandmother whom I visited fairly often. She would let me watch Spanish black and White movies with her and take me to eat at her favorite Chinese restaurant, The Arizona. My Uncle Alfredo and My Aunt Hilda were my constant link to that side of the family. I would often spend the night, go to the desert or just visit with them. Even now we are close.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Today was picture day for Dance.. It was a glimpse into the future.. It was Missy in 10 yrs.. I was in shock.. She looked like a teenager. I am still trying to find my little baby in those grown up eyes..

I just want to cuddle her in my arms an pretend that she will stay little forever.. Of course life has more in store and I can only thank God for blessing me with a happy and healthy girl..

Take a look at the little Star in full makeup..

Wish me luck fighting back the years,


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Fantastic Father

I can't say enough about what a great dad Martin is.. Maya is one lucky girl.. She is the apple of his eye and from the moment Maya entered the world I knew Martin was committed to her and her future adventures..
I am grateful for the husband and father he is.. He makes a daily effort to say "I love you" to both of us. We are his girls..we are a family. He shows us through both his actions and words how much he cares for us and that gives me the strength to put more into our family..
I could list off a hundred little things and even more big things that he does day in and day out.. It's everything from throwing out the trash, brushing Maya's teeth, working on house projects, driving when its dark because my night vision is bad, working long days, singing Kids songs in the car, checking all the doors at night, taking Maya to Disneyland for the day on his own, video taping soccer games, packing lunches, holding Maya for naps and everything in between.. He is a provider, a protector and a silly dad all in one..

I thank God for a wonderful Husband and a Great dad for Maya.. We are so blessed.
To all the Dad's out there.. Hope you have a great one..

$5 find!

I have been wanting to post about this for 2 weeks.. It was my new "honey do" project.. Martin has taken to sanding and painting like a fish to water.. As a matter of fact, he took to this project so fast I have no "before" picture.. Look at this cutie..

I was out for my morning stroll, I was feeling guilty because I didn'g get up at my O'dark thirty on that particular Sat.. The universe had something better in store for me.. I had no clue.. As I passed a corner street pole I noticed a "garage sale" sign.. I usually ignore them as I don't usually find anything good. I don't have the gift that my aunt Hilda does.. Anyhow..for some reason I noticed the sign and felt like I needed to check it out. Again, this was odd. I had no money with me and the sale was off my path and away from home.. Something was tugging at me.. So I figured I'd extend my walk and make up for the late stroll.. As the sale came into sight I noticed an old school desk. The kind I remember sitting in during my elementary years..

I walked faster and straight to it. It was covered in stickers but in great condition. There was a $5 yellow sticker on it.. I thought surely it was not the price tag just one of the many stickers.. But with confidence I asked if it was really selling for 5 bucks.. The owner smiled and said yup..we just need to clean things out.. I quickly explained that I was walking and had no money with me but if she would hold the desk for me I would be back to buy it in less than 15 mins.. she agreed.. I literally ran home. I don't run but I did that day.. Afterall, there were two older ladies there asking about the desk ( I accidentaly walked in the wrong direction to a dead end and had to pass the sale by on my way home.. I raced by saying.."it's mine, I will be right back".. )

Once home I grabbed car keys and asked Martin for cash- how he always has cash is beyond me.. All on my own I figured out how it get it to fit in the back of the PT.
Martin finished it last night after about 2 weeks of working on it.. Today Maya sat at it to color and then throughout the day just to sit.. Before I sent her to bed she was coloring and she started chanting "I love my desk"... I couldn't agree more.. What a find!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who knew?

Seriously.. Who knew that finding Danskin Footed tights in Light Toast would be such an adventure.. What was I thinking when I opted to buy them myself instead of ordering them with the costume?.. Can you tell I am a newbie at this Dance business.. Well lesson learned. Whether I will get to apply that knowledge remains to be seen.. Maya teeters between loving her costume, and bouncing every time she sees the older girls do their routines to hating the fact that she has to practice once a week.. I havent told her that as she gets older they practice even more.. I will save that for a good day..But I digress..
I knew I had to get the tights and just figured they would be available.. I decided to use my lunch hour wisely and avoid the weekend crowds.. Well, let me tell you I was gaining nothing. I was shocked to hear that the tights were sold out and no one in a 40 mile radius has them in stock. To add insult to injury someone at the manufacturing company decided to relocate the entire Danskin factory during the height of dance season.. gee thanks!
I came home and did some quick online searching without not much success.. I called south of the 40 mile radius and again no luck.. I then got a call from the studio reminding me of the pictures during the next class.. In addtion, they wanted me to remember that she must be in full regalia, make up, costume, and hair do.. I then asked her for help on the tight issue. I informed her of my troubles.. I think I heard her laugh under her breath.. She then rescued me and stated that they had a pair in stock..Hellelujiah! I told her I would be down there in the evening and could she please set them a side.. There I went into town, again, because of course, they could not have them at the north studio which is less than 2 miles from my house.. No, it had to be in Temecula proper and a full trek to the other side of town..Just before 8pm I got them. The costume is now complete..
Now on with the show..

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A quick ride

Since we were at my uncle Alfredo's house we had to take a trip to the stables.. Maya has been itching to see Jewel and her new foal. We were lucky enough to get some awesome weather. We all took a quick ride around the corral..

Here is Maya riding on of the older..gentler horses..

The Quincenera

Yesterday was Christy's quincenera.. It was the party we had looked forward to for about 6 months. Maya has been waiting to see Christy in her beautiul gown.. For those of you not of Mexican decent, a quincenera is a coming of age ritual celebrated at 15. Its similar to the American Sweet Sixteen or a debutant ball..I have often explained it to people as a wedding without a groom..

It's an event filled with tradition including a religious blessing at church. The priests sermon consist of asking for God and all present to bestow love and guidence on the girl at this pivotal time in her life. The time marks her transition from being a girl to being a young lady.
Then there is a celebration with some ceremonial dances including a few waltzes and the presentation to society..

It was a beautiful event from start to finish. She had a good sized court which included our other cousin, Amanda..
I can see her quincenera in my mind's eye.. Just the thought makes me well up.. more tissue please..


P.S. For my quilting friends, the blue green quilt was finished Friday night.. I love the alfresco fabric. Christy said she loved the quilt.. Darn, I guess that means its not coming back..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Preschool Graduation

Missy was ready in red today for her "graduation"..

Missy and her friends from school were all dressed up for the special day..

I know it sounds odd that our kids "graduate" from preschool but they do.. I won't ruin the moment with silly babbling about graduating at 5 and all the other "milestones" that get recognized these days..

What I will say is how nice the photo montage of all the kids was, how tear jerking the poem was and most importantly how special is was to hear the kids sing and sign "The world is a rainbow."
Today marked the transition from preschool to Kinder. It was the last hurrah for for kids who will now be expected to perform and earn real grades.. Off they go to "real school" for learning and growing.. Here are some pictures of the sights of 20 something preschools on a stage in front of family, camera's and teachers..

Schools out!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

We Love our Teachers!

Who doesn't love teachers? I know I am a nerd but most people have fond memories of teachers in their lives. Missy has been in preschool for 2 years and has been so lucky to have such bright and kind teachers. I had been thinking for some time how I would like to have Missy's teachers over during the summer for a BBQ or an ice cream social.
I knew I wanted to say Thank you for all they do day in and out..However, when I heard Ms. Kristian was leaving the state, my plans had to be sped up. I had less than a week to plan something.. I decided on a lunch at our house and luckily 2 out of 3 were free this afternoon.. Unfortunately, Ms. Lisa couldnt join us as she had a baseball game to be at this afternoon. Missy will have to take the gifts along to school for her.
Ms. Kristian who is moving back to Louisiana after a 6 yr stint here arrived first. I wasn't quiet ready for her but she was a good sport and watched me spin around for last minute details.. We wish her the best as she finishes her degree to become a teacher..
Miss Pam was right on time and even wearing the colors of the apron I made her. That to me was a good sign that I had picked the right colors..

Missy was so excited to see them at her house, on her turf, at the dining table.. She was a perfect little hostess offering to help and providing random trivia for interesting conversation..

The aprons and fabric books were a hit. My Pencil vases served as both centerpieces and take home gifts..

We ate, we talked, we indulged on cheesecake for dessert.. What could be better?
After running around for the past few days racking my brain on what to serve and how to present it all in the end it was all about sharing time and stories with two lovely ladies who have a special place in Missy's memories and heart..
Have a great day and don't forget to thank all your teachers..

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cleaning, cooking and creating..

I am on a mission. I was up until 1:00am this morning cutting my fabric, washing more fabric and trying to figure out how fast I could complete the teacher gifts/projects. As it currently stands I decided to go with the aprons.. I think this is my year of the apron and plan to make as many as I can.. I also loved the fabric notebook covers that Deanna made and I saw online (however, cheap me refuses to pay 1.99 for the pattern and instructions). I decided to make the notebooks in a cute red and pink apple print. I also found rick rac to go with..wish me luck on that finishing touch.. Its all about the details..
Speaking of which, I need to get a new table cloth and some fresh flowers so I can set a nice table for the teachers. They deserve it after spending all year with kids in playdoh and art land.. we all need small luxuries and non disposable dishes every once in awhile to remind us that we are ladies..
I got one apron done last night during quilting class.. It came out so cute I almost hate to give it away. Afterall its done in PURPLE. My signature color.. Well luckily I found some fat quarters of the last Amy Butler line (the one I used on the Sling bag pattern, the pattern that torchered me and at the same time gave me the confidence to try my hand at sewing.) Sorry for the tangent.. the Butler fabric will be perfect for my apron.. Afterall we can never have too many aprons..
We are heading out to the farmer's market for fresh flowers and produce. I am still debating the menu but there will be food and dessert. Maya has already requested cheese cake. She is willing to take clairatin just to have some dairy.. Cheese cake is too good to pass up..
Tata for now.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Zero calorie cake

Finally a cake that won't go straight to my hips, thighs, stomach..I think you get the picture. In the words of the dear Mrs. Isa.. this paper cake is" Stinkin Cute!" It was a little something I ran across on my mission to find teacher gifts.. I am not a paper crafter but this might make me a neophyte.. Take a look at the tutorial here on the Mrs. Jones site..

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

In Need of ideas for teacher appreciation.. Help!

Ok, people.. I need you.. I need some ideas.. Here's the problem.. I need a cute idea for teacher's gifts. The real problem is that today is Wed and I need it by SUNDAY! I just found out that one of Missy's preschool teachers is moving out of state.. So my original plan to get all her preschool teachers together over the summer was ruined.. Now I am going to try to host them this Sunday.
So what do I give them? I plan to make lunch for them.. Baked brie for starters.. No clue on actual meal, must have some salad and bread but debating between a heavy lasagne or a chicken breast creation.. Again- SO OPEN TO IDEAS HERE.. Dessert is either chocolate cake as in Nigella's quadruple chocolate cake or something from that French Bakery that I keep trying to avoid. Hey as far as I am concerned an appreciation lunch is a great reason to step into that little heavely place and purchase some sweet and deliciously fattening treat...Right?
Julie has some super cute ideas on Tattered Threads but they require time.. which I dont have!
Candles are too generic. But I will resort to them in a crunch as I have some faves that even I wish someone would give me... I am going to see if I can whip out 3 aprons on Friday night..Is that too practical? They are all very different but I don't really know them well enough to know specifically what they would want.. I loathe the idea of gift cards, that means you don't want to try or the receiver is picky (Its ok, there is a 12 step program for that).. I can't do food gifts as I have already made them scones, carmel apples, cookies and other edibles..
Eagerly anticipating your suggestions.