Pulling myself up by my piggy house slippers

piggy house slippers

Dear friends,
First of all, I wanted to apologize for my absence. For the past week and a half, I’ve been battling bronchitis. Many sleepless nights have ensued and I’m afraid it’s time to admit that it has whipped my derriere. Breathing has become so difficult, I’m using an asthma inhaler even though I’m not asthmatic.

But not to fear, friends.
I’m beat but not broken.

(Although something tells me that the surgical mask wearers the Son and the Significant Other would say otherwise.)

Tonight, feeling like I can finally breathe a little better, I decided it was time to pull myself up by the bootstraps, actually, by my piggy house slippers, and tell all of you how much I’ve missed you.

Please forgive my absence to your blogs.
I hope to be get better soon and look forward to reading all your posts.

I also want to express my gratitude to all who have emailed and sent Twitter messages asking how I am. Please know that you are lovely, lovely, lovely and I am very appreciative for your concern.

And now I want to leave you with a post I wrote before bronchitis snared me in its clutches.

It’s been two weeks since then but I think you will still enjoy it.

I’ll be back as soon as I can take a full breath.
Until then, enjoy!


I find it ironic that someone who loves technology and gadgets as much as I do, can’t afford to have any.

I feel cheated.


And let’s face it, in a time where people can instantly post from their cell phones to the net and post photos using cutesy apps like Instagram, I feel deprived.

Yet, not one to cry over what I don’t have (though I find complaining to be the perfect way to channel my frustration), I decided to take matters into my own hands.

The photos you are about to peruse are not “sent from my iPhone.”

Heck, they’re not even sent.
I had to upload them with a USB cable.

Nevertheless, when life gives you lemons, you make a lemon pound cake.

Or a lemon meringue pie.

Or a lemon granita.

You get the picture.

Speaking of pictures…

These sightings took place in the spell of four days.

During this time, we went from cold, to colder, to snow.

All photos taken with my barely alive but still kicking Nokia.



I love the charm of this cafe.
I love the charm of this cafe.


Yes, yes I do!
Yes, yes I do!
Stunning Roxy!
Stunning Roxy!
Wild parrots
Wild parrots
Why yes, there's a swan in the canal, Roxy!
Why yes, there’s a swan in the canal, Roxy!
Thoughts, anyone?
Because this is the only place Barbie needs to be!
Snow day!
Snow day!
European snowmen. You gotta love them!
European snowmen. You gotta love them!

Which is your favorite?


Does coffee induce dreaming?

As I glanced at the alarm clock for the tenth time, I knew I had to admit defeat.

Insomnia had triumphed once again.

The Significant Other, in his forever “fix it” mode, gently suggested, “Maybe some warm milk might help?”

Warm milk, my ass.

The only thing capable of soothing my frayed nerves was coffee; the kind that makes your taste buds go into shock.

Yes, coffee was the cure.

After all, it wasn’t like I had to worry about the caffeine keeping me awake.

Slipping on my robe, I made the descent to the first floor noticing how, as I exhaled, I could literally see my breath.

Entering this part of the house always felt like entering another part of the world.

My tiny space heater, Leroy, turned off for the night, was not producing his usual magic of warming the living room.

I powered Leroy on before stepping into the kitchen.

Five minutes later, inhaling the heavenly aroma of my java, I reentered the room cradling my hot cup.

Amazingly, Leroy had done a fine job and already the space where I usually sit was warm.

I glanced out the window and noticed how everything was still cloaked in a mantle of snow.

The silence was interrupted by a bird’s chirping.

I wondered why it wasn’t asleep like everyone else.

As I took in Leroy’s warmth, I felt myself relaxing and I closed my eyes.

My surroundings were once again shrouded in silence; silence that beckoned me to dream.

I found myself dreaming of…

~The villa in Tuscany I hope to one day own, with its white washed walls, long corridors, and olive trees planted in the garden.

~The Italian espresso I plan to drink as I sit on the deck that overlooks the olive trees planted in the garden.

~The olive oil I plan to press from the thousands of olives I will pick from the olive trees planted in the garden.

~The chunks of crusty bread I plan to dip in olive oil that I will make from the olive trees planted in the garden.

~ The books I hope to read as I sit under the shade of the olive trees planted in the garden.

~The many times I will chase Roxy as she swiftly circles the olive trees planted in the garden.

~The spaghetti all’olio I plan to eat using the olive oil from the olive trees planted in the garden.

~The stars I hope to gaze upon as I peer through the branches of the olive trees planted in the garden.

~The grandchildren I hope to rock to sleep as the breeze ruffles the leaves of the olive trees planted in the garden.

The Significant Other nudges my shoulder and awakens me from my reverie.

“Coffee? You have insomnia and you’re drinking coffee? I said warm milk, not coffee.”

“Does warm milk allow me to dream of the olive trees planted in the garden?”

Brushing off his confused stare, I march up the stairs.

This time, determined to get some sleep.

Dear reader, what are you dreaming of today?

Today I’m linking up with Heidi’s Black and White Wednesday.

Black and White Wednesday

What does snow have to do with telenovelas?

This afternoon, while writing a comment on Monica’s blog, I underwent a brain zap.

You know, when blood rushes to your head, you start to feel lightheaded, and zap!

You go back in time.

It happened rather suddenly.

One minute I was telling Monica how I also wanted to be a Girl Scout and suddenly, my brain zap revealed that this never happened thanks to something called “telenovelas.”

Growing up, telenovelas, or soap operas in Spanish, were big in our house.

They started in the early afternoon and lasted until the early evening hours.

During this time, no one was allowed to speak.

Silence was pivotal if any of the spectators were to understand the complicated lives of the protagonists.

One telenovela after another, my mother sat glued to the television, quieting anyone who dared to speak with a sharp, “Shh!”

Nana, in the meantime, carried on in the kitchen, mumbling what a waste of time it was to watch fictional accounts of people’s problems.

“Hija,” she would say, “don’t you have enough problems of your own that you have to become an audience to these people’s crisis and drama?”

“Mama,” my mother would reply, “My problems hardly resemble anything as interesting and intriguing as the ones these characters have.”

And she wasn’t kidding.

During commercials, everyone was treated to a blow-by-blow description of Marianita, one of the few living virgins, who was in love with Padre Juan, the priest, who was in love with Sarita, the Venezuelan expat, who was married to Pablo, the blind welder.

Even worse, my mother didn’t think listening to her scream, “Marianita, keep your virginity until you’re married!” was enough.

She turned every situation in the telenovela into a teaching moment.

Hence, we were reminded of the importance of not engaging in premarital sex, coveting our neighbor’s wealth, and more importantly, of not falling in love with the village priest.

Not that we lived in a village.
But to hear my mother speak, anyone would think my sisters and I had a hidden agenda for attending catechism.

Furthermore, my mother did not discriminate.

Everyone was invited into our home.

Characters from Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Puerto Rico; they all made their way into our living room and quickly became part of the family.

We dined with them, studied in spite of them, and relied on their troubles to lessen our own.

Maria, Pedrito, Alberto, Adela, Victoria, Claudio, and Miguelito.

They were like extended family, with the exception that we only saw our “real” relatives once a year, and we saw our telenovela relatives three and four times a day.

To this day, I’m convinced telenovelas are one of the reasons I moved out.

The competition was too fierce and frankly, I didn’t have the physical or mental energy to battle the likes of Marianita and Juan.

As far as I was concerned, these people were in a league of their own and they’d lured my mother to the dark side.

However, in all fairness, I have to admit that it was thanks to Marianita, that I learned how to feign being sick, how to faint at will, and how to bat my eyelashes in that special “come hither” manner.

Marianita is also the reason I probably won’t make it through the pearly gates of heaven.

Taking the Daughter to Sunday school one morning, I met Father Salvador, a real priest, who was so handsome, I was “forced” to incur in impure thoughts.

Marianita had been my role model and the way I saw it, if she could fall in love with a priest, I could damn well wonder what Father Salvador hid beneath his tunic.

Yes, telenovelas.
The downfall of propriety as I knew it.

And all thanks to my mother and her addiction.

To this day, my mother still invests a great part of her day watching the newer Spanish soap operas.

Yet, she tells me they’re not the same.

The characters are too superficial and lack passion.

Luckily, the story line is still the same.

Nowadays, she’s able to witness how Pilar, who’s originally from Brazil but moved to Argentina to get to know her dying father, is secretly in love with her dentist, Marco, who’s really her brother, the son her mother gave up for adoption when she was fifteen, who’s secretly using his dental practice to launder money for the mob, who’ve threatened to kill him if he doesn’t do what they say.

So what does snow have to do with telenovelas?


I just wanted to share shots of today’s snow day with all of you!


Have you ever watched a telenovela or soap opera?