And what is the comatose state?

coma

The comatose state.

The state of being incapable of moving a muscle.

Absolute lethargy.

Disconnectedness from people, things, and the environment.

The inability to process information.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that if I’ve entered this state, it can only mean one thing: I’ve made it to Spain.

Land of Don Quixote.
Place where tapas abound, where vino flows freely, and where coffee is known as “cafe con leche.”
A land whose food is so rich, you cannot avoid falling into a coma.

A paella coma.
A churros coma.
A tapas coma.
An Iberian ham coma.

The sky is the limit regarding the variety of food that can suddenly induce one to enter this catatonic state.

Unlike the state of “dolce far niente,” you don’t plan it, you don’t see it coming, you can’t prepare for it. It simply hits you.

You know when you’re at its mercy when your eyes begin to close; when your head dips forward and you look like a bobble doll.
All you want to do is sleep.
This malady doesn’t have an antidote; a prolonged siesta is the only cure.

Don’t fight it.
Don’t try to control it.
Don’t think you can outfox it.

Once it has you in its grip, you’re a goner.

It’s best to simply surrender
To inhale and exhale deeply.
To let it lull you into a state of oblivion.

The effects are temporary but the rewards are many.

Like Sleeping Beauty, you’ll wake up refreshed; ready to incorporate yourself into whatever you were doing before becoming its prey.

The comatose state: one of Spain’s greatest gifts to unsuspecting visitors.

I’ll be here all summer, folks and when I’m not in a food coma, I hope to regale you with tales from this magnificent land.

When was the last time you fell into this kind of state?

Reporting from sunny Spain,

Roxy turns five!

Roxy birthday

Hello Everyone,

Our little Miss turned five this weekend! Our celebration was nothing short of spectacular as Roxy was finally able to return to the dog park. I’ve spent the last six months curbing her little outbursts by rewarding good behavior. Unfortunately, munching on too many homemade peanut butter doggie treats has resulted in a slight weight gain. While the extra pound makes Roxy all that much cuter, she now has to lose it to fly in the cabin when we travel this summer.

On another happy note, the Son graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts in Communication. And with Magna Cum Laude to boot! Like the Grinch, I felt my heart grew three sizes upon seeing my baby’s name on the graduation ceremony program. Indeed, it was the moment that finally allowed me to exhale.

I also want to take this opportunity to offer an apology for my absence. A shout out to Monica and Nan, whose support have helped me through these past ten months. Thank you, ladies! I love you! Much like Lemony Snicket, my life has been a series of unfortunate events, ranging all the way from surgeries to the unexpected death of a family member. It has not been easy, folks, but I’m still standing.

I have missed blogging, writing, and most of all, visiting your blogs. Please forgive my absence. It has not been intentional. However, with so much worry hanging in the air, my muse took to hiding. Nevertheless, things are looking up and guess what? Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means!

Yes, another summer of blogging from sunny Spain! I look forward to getting back in the writing saddle and catching up with your blogs. I have missed you!

XOXO,

Do I have time for a selfie?

New Yorkers love themselves ... who can blame them?

The selfie phenomenon.

All the way from Istanbul, to Buenos Aires, to one horse towns and villages all over the world. It’s here. And it’s here to stay.

From the young to the elderly, from blue-collar workers to the Commander-in-Chief.
The selfie taking practice is being embraced by all. So much in fact, we can’t but wonder if it confirms we’re a narcissistic society.

Looking over my son’s shoulder as he browsed through Facebook this morning, I couldn’t help noticing the dozens of selfies of his young friends. Young women, in an array of poses, ranging all the way from the “head cocked to the side” position, to the “OMG, is this still going on?” duck lips.

Later today, just seconds after I posted my own selfie to Instagram, I pondered the reasons that motivate us to share our mug with, for the most part, strangers.

Do we do it as a way of recruiting external validation, or does vanity propel us to use the selfie to document our beauty?

Were these selfies to be unedited and “au naturel,” perhaps the subject wouldn’t bother me.

Yet, looking at my own Instagram selfie, edited with various filters and a blur effect, I realize we aren’t presenting our “true” selves to the world.

The selfie appears to be another way to conform to society’s definition of beauty; one whose sad message is that you’re only beautiful if you look a certain way.

“Not everything is motivated by the evils of society, mom,” chided the Son when I broached the subject at the dinner table. “Sometimes,” he said, “a selfie is just a selfie.”

But is it? Thinking back to the heavily edited selfies I saw this morning, I’m not so sure.

In all fairness, I’m certain there are those who take selfies for the sake of documenting a bad hair day. Others might take them to evidence what they look like at a certain age.

Yet the fact that so many of us partake in the selfie phenomenon raises the question of, do we need others to tell us we’re beautiful?

And that makes me sad.

Sad because, even words like “You’re beautiful,” aren’t going to help if we don’t believe it ourselves.

Sad because we may always depend on someone to validate us.

Sad because we are placing so much importance on physicality and so little on what truly establishes our worth.

Sad because the majority of selfies aren’t true representations of what we really look like.

Sad because in hiding behind an edited selfie, we fail to show the world our true beauty, complete with enlarged pores and imperfections.

We may not be able to stop the selfie phenomenon, but we can refuse to play by the rules of peers, society, and our own insecurities.

We can turn the selfie on its head and instead, use it as a tool to affirm, “This is me. This is what I truly look like and I am beautiful.”

Inspired by my sister, who posted a selfie of her beautiful, unedited self on Facebook, I took a selfie tonight.

No make up.
No edits.
Just me.

Join me in the effort to turn this phenomenon into something positive by posting your own beautiful unedited selfie.

Let us effect positive change in how the world defines beauty.

Show the world the beauty that is you!

image_2721

XOXO,

Note: If you post a selfie, please leave a link in the comments section so other readers can see it.

I would love it if you followed me on Instagram. You can do so by clicking on this link or the icon located on the sidebar!

Shall we fight or flee?

lonely playground (ii)

This afternoon, as the Son and I patiently waited to get on the bus, we witnessed two women almost come to blows over who got on first.

I know I should have taken advantage of the situation and turned it into a teaching moment (forget the fact that the Son turns 23 this year) but instead, the words that came out of my mouth were: I was in a fight once.

The year was 1970 something.

It was a time when Mary Jane platforms and bell bottoms were all the rage.

It was also a time when fighting after school was a way of life.

Every day, my sister and I would go to school fearing it would be “our turn.”

Like candidates coming of age in the Hunger Games, we would fearfully approach the playground, all the while praying no one would “call us out.”

Calling out: The act of being singled out to fight.

Tentatively, we would walk toward the monkey bars, careful not to make eye contact with any of the bullies, and climb the metal bars that also filled us with dread.

Nevertheless, the fear of being a “callee,” far exceeded the fear of breaking a limb.

Day after day, a fight would take place after school; the result of someone having been “called out.”

And day after day, we’d quickly walk past the sanguine crowd that gathered to witness the fight.

Like Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, two contenders would duke it out until a victor was crowned.

Participation didn’t involve bravery, skill, or cunning.
It simply involved the will and determination to be the last one standing.

Not an easy feat for a nine-year old, but these were the 70s, a time when these “clandestine” activities were ignored by the administration.

One afternoon, as I made my way to my sister’s classroom, I heard the whispering.

Seeing my sister’s face, I knew she had won the lottery of being called out.

“Who?” I asked her.
“Russell,” she whispered.
I couldn’t stifle my horrified gasp.

Russell was one of the meanest kids in school and his winning record was attributed to his considerable girth.

We slowly made our way to the playground, unable to escape the murmurs of “It’s her. Russell called her out.”

I thought of going to the Principal’s office to alert him of the carnage that would soon take place. But my sister wouldn’t allow it.

“If I don’t do this, I’ll have a target on my back until we finish elementary school.”

Sadly, I knew she spoke the truth.

Timidly approaching the playground, my sister was unprepared for Russell’s formidable pounce.

Like an overweight panther, he leaped out and circled her.
Preparing to come in for the kill, he cracked his knuckles.

His side kick, a scrawny boy with greasy hair named Tim Finch, egged the crowd on.

“Fight, fight, fight!”

As the crowd got larger, I became more nervous.

Russell, unperturbed by the noise, lunged again.

Artfully dodging his punch, my sister ran.

And that’s when I saw Tim Finch do something I’m sure he’s regretted to this day–he pulled my sister’s hair.

I saw her delicate features flinch in pain.

Throwing my book bag on the ground, I rolled up my sleeves.

I quickly approached the fight circle.

Russell and Tim were about to discover the power of team work.

Giving me a “thumbs up,” my sister threw her small body against Russell’s belly.

He quickly recovered and grabbed her head.

She kicked him in the shin.

I kneed Tim Finch in the stomach, and like a rabid monkey, jumped on Russell’s back.

Russell spun wildly, attempting to dislodge my arms which were tightly wound around his thick neck.

In the meantime, my sister took hold of his shirt collar and gave it a hard yank.

Within seconds, Russell’s shirt had ripped top to bottom, leaving him exposed to the crowd of instigators.

Silence filled the playground.

Russell, looking down at his bare torso, attempted to hold his shirt together.

Everyone started to laugh.

Running, he exited the playground, never once looking back.

Amidst the cheering, my sister and I picked up our backpacks and started for home.

We weren’t overjoyed.
We didn’t feel triumphant.
We didn’t feel like winners.

We were just two individuals who had exposed a mean kid for what he was–a bully.

Many decades have passed since the Russell incident, yet now and then, my sister and I will remeniss over what transpired that day and laugh.

Not at what happened to Russell, but at how we successfully pulled off a “David and Goliath.”

Yes, we could have walked away.
We could have tattled.

But at the time, faced with what we believed were life or death circumstances, we had exercised self preservation.

While it is not my intention to condone bullying or fighting, I am still a firm believer that there are times you have to do whatever it takes to survive.

Fighting over who gets on the bus first?
Not one of them.

Happy Thursday, friends!

XOXO,