Wednesday, December 28, 2011

One day at a time

I often wonder what I would be like today if my world hadn’t crumbled from beneath my feet.  Would I be a nicer person, maybe more patient and understanding of the people that are around me?  Would I have sympathy for some of the people who currently make me angry when they whine about how they hate their job and no one appreciates them?  I’m sorry if your glorious career at Subway doesn’t satisfy you, but if you don’t get off your ass and do something about it nothing will ever change.  I often wonder if we would’ve been happy, but in reality there is no point in wondering.  I am who I am today because of the pain I survived yesterday.  I had no choice but to survive and to tell myself that everything will be ok.  I have to believe that everything will be ok just so I can get out of bed in the morning.  I need to stand tall and be strong for all of us.

I feel old and cantankerous today.  There is no one thing that set me off, just a string of small nothings that merged into a big something.  Christmas is the season of hope, love, and family whereas I feel like I’m missing all of the above.  Alberto always was the center of my world since about 6 months into our relationship when I realized that I loved him.  This month marks the 4th anniversary of our marriage.  I don’t know how I managed to forget about our anniversary last week but I suspect it has something to do with the fact I have never been able to celebrate with Alberto.  There was never a celebration when we get married; it was a secret only because I was too devastated to share with anyone.  I think people found out I was pregnant before they discovered I was now a Mendez.  Maybe I regret not including my family or my in-laws in the affair, but maybe it was for the best.  Someday we’ll have a party and only God knows where it will take place.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family:

During this season of family and celebrations, I wanted to send this short letter to let everyone know what is happening in my family.  Ashley, who turned 3 this August, started Preschool in the fall and loves every minute she gets to spend with her teachers.  We enjoy hearing about school and her tales are highly entertaining.  It is fulfilling to know she enjoys school, although she sometimes complains on the weekends that she would rather be there than at home.  She is developing into quite a feisty preschooler.

In regards to our home situation, I have an encouraging update.  In effort to correct past mistakes and secure our future as a family, Alberto has complied with the many requests of immigration in order to gain permission to reside lawfully in the United States.  These requests included leaving the United States of his own volition and returning to Mexico, a country he had not seen in 10 years.

During his stay in Mexico, Alberto had the opportunity to visit the city he was born in and see distant family members he had not seen since he was a young boy.  With the help of one of our Minnesota Senators, we finally saw some progress in our case this past year.  Only last month one of the final barriers holding us back from proceeding with our case was finally removed; giving us the opportunity to begin work on the last and most labor intensive portion of this grueling process.  I understand that immigration policies are confusing because I myself have been very confused at times, and for that reason I wanted to take the time to briefly explain our situation.  We anticipate that 2012 will be the year that all our hopes and dreams come true.

We hope that everything goes well during these last crucial steps and we will soon be united as a family here in the United States.  Thank you for your understanding and support during this difficult period in our lives.

Merry Christmas and God Bless,

The Mendez Family

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wait... What?!

Ok, so today I’m a little upset, although I believe that I am entitled this time around.  I emailed Lance yesterday to see what his thoughts were about the outcome of the hearing and this is what I get back from him:  “I will review the charging document.   The question I am trying to resolve is whether he can apply for residency here at all, regardless of whether the court or USCIS has the power to do it.”  Wait a minute, what the hell is that supposed to mean?

I guess I’m waiting, albeit impatiently at this point, to see what will happen next.  I really hate immigration policy.


(I'll update as I get more information...)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another continuance…

So Monday was my first dental checkup in about 4 years or more and it was not as bad as I expected.  It took much longer than I would’ve expected because it was the first time I’d been to that office so they had to do the x-rays and everything.  The worst thing for me about getting my teeth cleaned is that food is disgusting for the rest of the day.  At least I only have three small cavities which will be filled next month.  I’m hoping I can wear my ear buds because the sound of the drill is like nails on a chalkboard for me.  Who knows, I might get lucky if I ask really nicely…

I also got a phone call from one of the assistants at Lance’s office this morning.  I was amused when the woman spoke to me in Spanish, totally ignoring my English greeting.  She was talking so fast that I couldn’t get a word in edgewise, and her news was grim: the hearing was cancelled.  She admitted that is was most likely postponed, but either way I should wait for her to call me by 4:00 for more information.  To my surprise it was Lance that called me, and the first words out of his mouth were, “I don’t know what she was smoking but I NEVER said the hearing was cancelled.”  The moved the immigration hearing from 10 am to 1 pm, but everything else would be the same and he said he would see me there.

Friday, December 2, 2011

All I want for Christmas is you

Why is the month of December so much more difficult for me than any other month?  It is the holiday spirit; gift giving, family gatherings, and the pictures of happy families posted everywhere that makes me so blue?  Or is it that I am really pea green with envy at what those pictures show; mom, dad, and child(ren) together and happy?  Why should they have what I have been denied for so many years?  The government took my husband away from me a mere two months before Christmas three years ago and I still feel some bitterness when I think about it.  Ashley has never had a Christmas with her father so at least she doesn’t know what is missing this time of year.  I suppose I prefer that way since this way I have less to make up for.  This year I’m asking Santa Claus to leave Alberto under the Christmas tree for me since that is the only thing I want.  I would love to send out a Christmas card with a picture of the three of us on it.

As I sat here at my faithful computer typing furiously the deluge of thoughts coursing through my head, I looked down at my right hand and smile.  I still wear the ring that Alberto bought me when he was 15.  He gave it to me on our 6th month anniversary back in June of 2002.  It makes me smile to remember when he gave me a choice between two rings that his sister-in-law had in stock while she was selling oro.  I choose the ring with the heart shaped cubic zirconia over the other option; an oval ring with the Virgen de Guadalupe on it.  Ashley likes to try on my ‘pretty’ as she calls it and will parade around the house showing off her ring.  She’s still trying to convince me to buy her a ring, so maybe I’ll find something cheap to give her for Christmas.  I still want to buy her a gold chain like mine for the gold medal of the Virgen de Guadalupe I bought for her in Mexico City last year.  It needs to be a Figaro chain so that she can’t break it, and I would prefer something in the 14-16 inch range so it’s less likely to fall off or get caught on something.  I should call la Madrina and see if she can find me one so I can buy it from Mexico.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What are you thankful for?

Today, on the day after Thanksgiving, has got me thinking about what I am thankful for this year.  I have a new outlook on life and a different set of priorities from years past, and my new perspective might help someone out there discover something that they can be thankful for.

1)    I am thankful for the opportunity to finally see an end to all this misery and heartbreak.  Our future is still currently up in the air and rides on the shoulders of an immigration judge, but even knowing that the end of this journey is near is a blessing.  Whatever the outcome may be, we will face it united, as a family.
2)    I am thankful that Alberto is in Minnesota, even though he has been residing in county jails.  June of this year was the first time we had seen one another face to face in 1 year and 2 months.  Since then Ashley has come to know her father in a way that talking on the phone and looking at pictures never could. 
3)    I am thankful that Alberto has rediscovered his faith in God.  Faith has the power to move mountains and gives us the strength to take whatever life throws at us.  He is well on his way to becoming the man that I knew he could be, someone to admire and be proud of.
4)    I am thankful to be employed.  I work with people that care and support each other in the good time and the bad.  I feel blessed that I was guided to apply at this organization, and only more so to become a full-time employee.
5)    I am thankful for my family; my parents, my siblings, and my extended family.  It is amazing how a family will rally around a member that is in need of support when they need it the most.  There are people in my family who are anti-immigration, but those are the people I have largely learned to ignore from a young age.
6)    I am thankful that my daughter loves me, even though I have not always been the best mother I can be.  It pains me to admit that I cannot remember the first year of Ashley's life and though I may never forgive myself for that, she loves me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rollercoaster of Life

So the sentencing hearing went as expected yesterday, actually better than I was anticipating.  Alberto was sentenced to 1 year plus 1 day just as the probation officer had told me.  Something I didn’t expect was the Probation officer didn’t alter her report to include the correct dates that I had given her last Wednesday, so when Brian let me read the report before the hearing I corrected multiple inaccuracies.  Then Brian stated all of the changes I had made to the report, telling the Judge that ‘his client has never been 110% with dates’.  It was at this point when the prosecutor looked over at me and smirked.  We all know our strengths and weaknesses and dates just happen to be one of Alberto’s weaknesses.  Alberto was ‘released’ at the conclusion of the hearing but of course he didn’t go anywhere because of the immigration hold.

Lance called me on his way back from ICE and told me that immigration has Alberto marked as having been paroled into the United States.  He doesn’t know why they would have done that, but he is certain that Alberto will need another hearing which could be this week, but will be most likely next week.  I had a pounding headache at the time so I don’t remember much of what he said and I asked him to email me the details he discovered.  His plan was to follow up with the person in charge of Alberto’s case at ICE today to get an idea of a timeline for preparation.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Change will commence in…

Here we are again on the precipice of change only this time I don’t know exactly what to expect and that scares me.  Alberto’s probation officer called me on Wednesday to talk to me about him.  I didn’t expect her to have so many questions and I hope I was able to create a picture of my husband clearly in her mind.  The probation officer was personable and soft-spoken and I definitely hadn’t expected that so I suppose I told her more than she expected.  I talked about our relationship and how like any normal couple we’ve had our disagreements, but we always talk it through.  I’ve never been afraid of Alberto nor do I believe him to be capable of violence.  I acknowledged that my brother-in-law Caña is a volatile, violent man and I had never signs of the same behaviors in Alberto.  We discussed his use of alcohol and I described Alberto as a social drinker who knows his limit.  She asked about his temperament, if he had any mental illnesses, would I trust him with our daughter and other questions along the same line.  Then at the end of all this, she wanted to know why Alberto left the country in 2008.  I gave her the full story, with nothing omitted, though I could hear the pain in my own voice.  I spoke of the race to keep Alberto here to face the charges, his compliance with the orders of the immigration judge, and the painful kick in the gut when we received that approval a day too late.  I spoke of the battle to get our case processed by the USCIS and the invocation of my *favorite* Senator that finally gave us results.  I spoke of the anticipation of the visa appointment, and the gut wrenching pain when he was denied the second appointment.  I offered to bring in the documentation for her review to which she replied it wasn’t necessary, but this information was extremely important to her and his case.

The probation officer told me to expect Alberto to receive a stayed sentenced for the minimum possible; one year plus 1 day.  He would have 5 years of probation with no conditions imposed because this charge, though a felony, was still minor in nature.  She stated that any time he was still in jail for on the immigration hold would count towards his criminal sentence and if he served 2/3 of his sentence by the time we were able to obtain his release from immigration’s grasp, his obligation to Hennepin County would have been fulfilled. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Interesting Questionnaire

Another interesting questionnaire going around!  Since these are a good way to get to know each other better, I would like to invite anyone else who wants to join in. I first found this questionnaire with Lisa over at From One Country To Another. Check out her fun answers, and I hope to see yours!

What was the first thing I noticed of my husband's when I met him?
His deep brown eyes, and cute butt! (I'd never seen corduroys look so good!)

Where would I like to go on a honeymoon?
Spain would be an awesome destination, but as long as mi bizcochito was with me the destination wouldn’t matter.

Do I consider myself an adventurous person?
I guess so, at least more so than my husband.  I like to travel and try new things.

Beach or pool?
It’s all about location.  Typically pool though

Do you have a secret you've never shared with anybody?
I imagine I do, however it’s so secret I forgot what it was!

Summer or winter?

Kisses or hugs?

Sweet or salty?

Strawberry or chocolate?

Black or white?

Favorite color?
Purple, Green, or Blue  (I’m adventurous and indecisive)

Your favorite table game?
Monopoly  (Favorite game memory was the night I taught Alberto found to play…  I still maintain that he cheated!)

What's your favorite drink?
Crystal Light; Wild Strawberry!

What is your favorite [alcoholic] beverage?
I have never drank without getting violently ill on numerous occaisions, so I stopped trying.  Less than a swallow should not make someone that sick...

What is your favorite movie?
Robin Hood: Men in Tights ftw!

Your favorite month?

What's the first thing you think about when you wake up?
Oh good God it’s morning already?!  I just got to sleep two hours ago…

Would you forgive infidelity on the part of your spouse?
Love forgives all things, however I honestly don’t know if I could forgive that particular offense.  Let’s hope I never have to find out…

How many rings before you answer the phone?
Depends on how long it takes me to decide if I want to talk to you.

Do you know how to keep secrets?
Yes, but apparently I spill the beans when I talk in my sleep…

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Do you tell your honest age?
What is the point in lying?  If you don’t lie, you don’t have to remember what you’ve said.

What's under your bed?
Dust and possibly a refugee camp of spiders that I haven’t located yet.

Have you missed school or work due to the weather?
Minnesota + Winter = Yes

How long have you had this blog?
May of 2011, so about 6 months


Friday, November 11, 2011

Interpersonal Relationships

Dear readers, I have to admit I’m a little apprehensive of what the future holds for us.  Above and beyond the legal and immigration issues, I’m experiencing a whole different type of anxiety I hadn’t anticipated.  How am I going to make the transition back to an intimate relationship with my husband?  Will I acclimate to his snoring easily or will I want to smother him with a pillow after the first few nights?  I also remember him being a cover hog and a restless sleeper when over tired.  I know it shouldn’t be an issue but I’m still the same weight as I was after Ashley was born.  It makes me uncomfortable knowing that although I haven’t gotten any worse, I definitely have not gotten any better.  Alberto says that how we look outside doesn’t matter because it’s what we have in our hearts that makes us truly beautiful, which is utterly amazing coming from him because he has never talked like that before. 

To be truthful he has never been one to declare his feelings verbally, so you could say I went through most of our relationship guessing how he felt.  I can count on my fingers and toes the number of times I can remember him saying “Te amo” before he left for Mexico and still have digits to spare!  Alberto is the reason I always said ‘Mexican men are emotionally constipated’ which I usually follow up with some quip about how alcohol is a natural laxative for this affliction.  The only time I can remember Alberto committing a spontaneous PDA was when he’d been drinking and grabbed my posterior in front of his brother.  Considering I had just saved him from getting carted off to jail for being a moron, it was the least of my worries. This time he has spent in jail has been good for him because he’s learning to express what he would never say before.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


An amazing thing happened to me on Wednesday morning.  It all started my alarm went off as usual at the ghastly hour of 6 o’clock in the morning.  I got up, walked a few steps to my alarm, hit the snooze, and dived back under the covers.  As I settled back into my warm bed, a strange sensation came over me.  My mind was calm, my thoughts were clear, and I felt as light as a feather.  The immense weight on my shoulders that had been my constant companion these last 4 years was gone.  So, this is what it felt like before my world came crashing down around me?  It’s amazing the ability we have to adapt to our surroundings and adjust our expectations accordingly.

Alberto called me last night to talk about what will happen next.  I told him I had sent an email out to Lance to find out when we will be engaging immigration yet again, although I suspect it will not be until after the sentencing in November.  I also let him know that Brian had stated that he didn’t believe that Alberto would be serving the full 240 days.  Most people only serve about 2/3 of their actual sentence, which means Alberto could be out as soon as the day of the sentencing hearing.  If you do the math, 2/3 of the 240 days is only 160 days.  As of today 155 days have passed since his arrest at the border, and if you add the three days he had in custody from the original arrest, Alberto has served a total of 158 days to date, which means he ‘could’ be released on Friday.  However, since he has not been formally sentenced Alberto will remain in custody until that time.  At least that is my understanding of the legalities.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It’s done

There will be no trial, the battle is over.  This afternoon Alberto plead guilty to the lesser charge against him: Riot in the Second Degree.  This is still a felony-level conviction, which means we have to submit a criminal waiver as well as the waiver of inadmissibility.  As Lance is out of the country, the attorney at his office that was helping us today told me that the chances of getting the criminal waiver approved are about 35%.  I tell myself that 35% is better than 0%, but the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach says that we are watching our chances blow away in the cold October wind.  This conviction comes with a sentence of 240 days in the workhouse, credit for time served, and Brian says he may not have to serve the full amount.  We have a sentencing hearing in November, which should be interesting if nothing else.  At the time of that hearing he will have been locked up for about 184 days, with 56 days left to go on his sentence.  God willing we could have him home on parole in time for Christmas this year, our first Christmas in 3 years and his first ever with Ashley.  This nightmare is over, and a new one will come forward to take its place.

I’m feeling ok considering I have been plagued with a series of tension headaches since Friday when the negotiations began.  As long as Alberto is still at the county jail I will be able to see him tonight although I am not bringing Ashley with me.  Every once and a while I need a break from the routine, and then there’s the fact that my sweet little Ashley never allows me to have a conversation with her Papí.  I wonder what the attorney told Alberto during this negotiation that I don’t know about yet.  I hope they didn’t use any underhanded tactics to get Alberto to agree to plead guilty.  Alberto is smart and can handle himself, but the language barrier concerns me at times.  I know there was a court certified interpreter available for the proceedings, but I guess I would have felt better if I was there and witnessed everything. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I was going to write yesterday, but the massive tension headache made that impossible.  I felt as though my brain had been divided and the halves were at war with one another.  The Prosecutor received notice of our defenses and expressed an interest in settling outside of court in order to avoid trial. The offers were all bleak.  They served as stark reminders that the Prosecutor believes my husband to be guilty of all charges.  The only reduction we saw was in regards to the sentence, all of the deals were for felony-level convictions.  We countered with reduction of the severity of the crime, but the prosecutor is unwilling to consider a lesser conviction level. 

He wants Alberto to plead guilty and be handed the maximum sentence with a condition that he will not serve more than 1 year and have 5 years of probation.  I would say 1 year instead of 7 years would be a good deal, but if we accept then our immigration case loses most of its strength.  Lance even said that although an approved waiver is still possible, the chance of that happening with a felony conviction is less than 30%.  My opinion is that I am scared as hell.  The best Brian can tell us is a jury trial is always 50-50 and that if Alberto is convicted he will likely suffer the same fate as his brother.  Dios mío ¿que hagamos ahora?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I could really use a wish right now…

So on Tuesday morning I received an email from the attorney that the Judge rescheduled our court date.  We’ve been pushed back a week because the prosecutor is mired in a murder trial right now that they expect to spill over into next week.  It was a relief really because now we have more time to prepare for the trial, meaning more time for Brian to get his shit together.  The witness interviews took place on Tuesday evening at 5 pm, though they did not go as I had expected.  David, my brother-in-law, asked me to be there for the interviews so that ‘esos güeys’ would actually show up for the interviews.  So I emailed Brian to let him know I would be there which prompted him to cancel the interpreter since I could provide the service for him.  I said that I wasn’t really comfortable with this and stated why, to which he responded “I just need a mouth piece.”  Seriously Brian, what the hell? 

The interviews went well and the witnesses are in sync with one another without having the same story (which would be the case if they were lying).  Alberto on the other hand, will not be allowed to testify during the trial because his story is too different from what the 3 amigos had to say.  I chalk this up to someone telling Alberto a couple of times how they think everything happened until he believed that’s what he witnessed; it’s actually an interrogation tactic that is proven to coerce false confessions from innocent people.  Alberto is very susceptible to suggestion and he can have a difficult time remembering facts which were pointed out during his psychologist evaluation that was required before his first visa appointment because he had an arrest record.  The psychologist asked him for dates and details of his arrests that Alberto doesn’t remember, so the psychologist asked if he should mark Alberto down as a retraso mental.  Alberto said that the psychologist was joking, and apparently he guy was very nice and actually friendly.

Monday, October 10, 2011

T minus 6 days and counting…

I can do this…  I can survive these last few days of anxiety and pain.  I will do whatever needs to be done.  I just need to relax and keep breathing.  Breathe in – hold – and breathe out.  Now that I think about it, this is an excellent time to research meditation and relaxation techniques, so if any of my readers out there have some tips to share I would love to hear them! 

I am averaging around 4 hours of sleep each night when I’m not tossing and turning.  Last night I stayed up until 1 am sorting clothes and packing boxes for whichever organization contacts us regarding donations first.  I’m up to 3 full boxes of clothes, with a fourth box of miscellaneous items.  I can’t believe how much clothing I have that doesn’t fit me even though it’s supposedly the correct size.  During these times I bemoan my large frame and above average height since getting clothing that fits properly is a rare or very expensive.  Thus the reason why retail therapy sessions never go well for me; I always wake up the next morning wondering what happened and why there is a bunch of ugly clothing on the floor.  It’s only a small comfort knowing that 90% of what I put into the boxes was purchased 3 or more years ago.  Just another good reason for me to avoid the mall when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but then again I do the same thing at JoAnn ECT, amassing a collection of miscellaneous crafting supplies for no conceivable reason.  At this point in time new clothing is a luxury item, and the only crafting I’m interested in is making my own clothes.  One of these days I will get brave enough to try something on my sewing machine…

Monday, October 3, 2011

Act of Kindness

I admit that I get irritated when Alberto asks me to make phone calls on behalf of the people he’s in jail with.  Call this guy’s sister because he needs more money in his commissary account, call this guy’s wife because the phone has calls blocked from the jail, and the reasons go on and on.  I really don’t mind helping people, what I mind is that these people end up with my phone number when I call them.  The latest call for assistance takes the cake for sure.

Alberto warned me that he had given my phone number to a woman named Nelia so that I could help her.  You see, Alberto had told his friend about how I made it so he could call Mexico and this friend wanted to do the same.  Nelia called me a scant 45 minutes later and I began to explain how to set up the accounts.  I was shocked to learn that she did not have an email address!  Since she described herself as computer illiterate, I took it upon myself to set up the system for her.  This process I discovered involves forwarding calls through Google Voice to a long distance provider called Localphone which then connects you to the number currently listed on their system.  The reason I agreed to set this up is because the phone calls between the boyfriend and Nelia were costing them a fortune as she was in the next state.  The telecom provider for the jail is one of those companies that loves to bleed people dry with fee upon fee upon fee.  I made sure all the settings matched what I had in place since the system worked for Alberto last week.  I told her what she needed to do to change the phone number the chain would link to in the end, but I have a feeling I’ll be changing the settings for her.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anger Management

My weekend that started out so good, ended so badly that I am still recovering.  My cousin got married on Saturday and everything was beautiful.  The day was perfect, the location was unique, and the flower girl only slightly cranky.  Saturday morning Ashley was up early so we went to go and visit Alberto at jail.  We talked about nothing in particular and ended with the agreement that I would try this method I devised for Alberto to be able to call Mexico and talk to his family there.  After leaving the jail, we got home for breakfast and then left immediately for Ashley to get a haircut.  Since I’m useless when it comes to styling, I had Fantastic Sam’s create an up do for Ashley and so discovered they had a portable DVD player on hand with Dora movies.  Perfect!  About 45 minutes later we were on our way home again.  I had enough time to get dressed then get Ashley dressed before we had to leave for pictures before the ceremony.  After the ceremony I bought ice cream which was a shameless bribe to keep my 3 year old happy for another round of pictures and poses.  We arrived home and spent 20 minutes doing nothing before we left for the reception.  I made a call to the babysitter’s house to make sure she remembered that I was going to pick her up around 9; there was no answer so I left a voicemail.  I called several times before 9:30 without an answer or a call back from my messages, I even called her mother’s cell phone without any luck.  Ashley had already been asleep about 30 minutes and we were passing her around like a sack of potatoes.  Luckily my cousin agreed to babysit for me since she was able to dance due to a knee injury, and I took them to the house to get settled.  My cousin was asleep when I came home at 11 pm, and I promptly went to bed myself after seeing her off with her mother.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Waiting My Turn

Hello again dear readers.  I must apologize for letting so much time pass between posts, but nothing super exciting or stressful is happening at this time.  I feel a little freedom in being able to say that nothing super stressful is happening, but I also know that in a matter of days (24 to be exact) our world will change yet again.  I am counting the days until the trial takes place knowing that this could be the beginning or it could be the end of everything we have been fighting for.  I imagine this is why I haven’t been sleeping well lately.  Not to say that I have been productive during the time sleep eludes me, I’m simply not motivated to do a damn thing.  I have a bedroom to clean, spiders to slay, and several projects that I have halfway completed.

Ashley is going on her fourth week of Preschool and she loves every minute of it.  The program she is going to is run by the YMCA, and the teachers are absolutely wonderful.  The problem is that she is attending a 3 day per week program because of availability and affordability issues, so the two days of the week she goes to my mother-in-law’s house are pure torture for me.  Just this morning she latched onto my leg crying, “¡Mamí no! ¡Quiero ir a la escuela! ¡Mamí no me dejes!  So right now I am trying to work some financial wizardry to figure out how I can afford 5 days per week at Preschool.  I am already on a financial scholarship offered to families in need by the Y, but my weekly fee would go from $67.20 to $109.20 which is outside of my price point.  If there is availability, I may take the time to speak with the Director of the childcare programs to see if there is any way I can get additional assistance.  I would like to take a moment to ask everyone out there to donate to organizations like the YMCA which are devoted to strengthening communities.  You can donate to the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities at this link (  Another wonderful organization that does an enormous amount of good locally is the Greater Twin Cities United Way and you can make a donation at this link (

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Potty-trained Preschooler on the loose

We managed to get Ashley potty-trained just in time for her to start going to Preschool this Wednesday.  She is enjoying it from what I can tell, and the teachers have mostly good things to say about her.  She loves to help clean up, but she has trouble keeping quiet during ‘rest time’.  She hasn’t had any accidents and doesn’t seem to be scrapping with any of the kids in her class.  This may be just the thing to help Ashley move onto the next step communication wise.  It would be nice if she started using full sentences to tell us what she needs or wants.  I just feel bad that I don’t get off early enough in the day to go and pick her up myself.  Mondays will be different though, if we continue going to visit Alberto as we have in the past.  I really don’t know how this is going to work out though, what I do know is that I’m going to have to think extra hard about where I need to go after work every day.

I received a letter in the mail on Friday from Alberto.  I love it when I get mail from Alberto because I know when he wrote that letter he was thinking of me.  I was just thinking the other day that I should get a nice box to put the letters in so I can keep them safe, although to be honest with myself they end up staying in my purse anyhow.  Alberto is miffed at me because I was supposed to call my mother-in-law this weekend to find out who is going with me to visit on Monday and I forgot as usual.  I happen to forget things all the damn time, usually if it involves something I don’t particularly want to do like call my mother-in-law.  I bet at this very moment I am forgetting something that I was supposed to do which will cause Alberto to become exasperated.  I do remember, since he reminded me tonight, that he requested that I find him a prayer book.  I found what I hope he was looking for on, and I’m somewhat irritated that shipping cost more than the book itself.  I think I’ll keep that little nugget to myself, Lord knows I don’t need to give Alberto any reasons to get annoyed with me since he’s proficient at that all by himself.  I’m also supposed to come up with song lyrics for him, but one of the bands he’s listed doesn’t appear to exist.  We’re already discussed this particular song and band, and he’s stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that he has the name misspelled.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A week that I am glad to be done with…

Ashley’s birthday was a good day, although rather disappointing.  No one who said they were coming actually showed up to Ashley’s birthday party, so it was almost a complete disaster.  The day was saved when my sister-in-law came with Kay, so at least the girls had some fun playing together.  Ashley was clingy by the end of the night, so I let her sleep with me.  I didn’t think too much of it when she woke up at 3 am, whimpering and overly warm.  She asked me to take her up to her bed, which I did and she was back asleep instantly.  She woke up crying at 5 am, and then again at 7 am when it finally computed that she was feverish.  I gave her some Motrin and water in a sippy cup before she fell asleep again.

I was wide awake by the time I had rocked my poor baby to sleep at 7 am, but I still decided to lie down awhile as I figured this was not going to be a great day.  We had a wedding shower for my cousin at 1 pm, and I felt comfortable enough leaving Ashley with my dad since she ate breakfast and had been playing all morning.  Around 3:30 I got the call from my dad.  Ashley was whimpering on the couch and she didn’t want to play, watch her movie, or even get up.  It was about this point when we wished I had driven up separately, but we said our goodbyes and rushed home to my baby girl.  I convinced my mom to drop me off at the house first before taking Carol home because I had a feeling that I was needed as soon as possible.  Upon entering the house, I kicked off my flip flops and ran downstairs to get Ashley and she cried plaintively when she saw me.  I changed her diaper and I brought her upstairs so I could give her some Tylenol.  Just as I was reaching into the cabinet for the bottle, she threw up on me. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Making plans for Saturday!

So my adorable Ashley turns 3 on Saturday and I’m having more fun planning the menu then I will have cooking it!  I’ve decided to do tacos de carnitas de res for tacos, pico de gallo, salsa verde, chocolate cake, and maybe attempt making some arroz.  I’m making a cake without egg because my niece Josie is allergic and I’m glad I found a recipe without butter since that makes her tongue itch.  I’m going to take a moment right now to give thanks that Ashley was born without any food allergies or sensitivities.  I’m hoping I find an easy recipe for arroz mexicano, since I really want to try and make it myself.  I have a cookbook somewhere but I don’t know how much I was trust the recipe.  Veronica says that the recipes are close to what she would do, just cut out the weird ingredients such as the cinnamon they added to almost everything.

I’m excited because I’ll get to see friends that I don’t get together with often enough.  I am not inviting my in-laws because if you invite some then you need to invite all or there will be trouble.  The last count of immediate family still in the United States includes 8 adults and 14 children, which is too many people for me to feed for any reasonable amount of money.  I bought a small piñata that you pull ribbons to break rather than hitting it for safety reasons.  I’m going to do treat bags because they’re fun and cheap to make if you know where to buy the trinkets. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Today I am praying for the strength to get me through what is yet to come.  My very soul is battered and weary of this never ending battle which makes me wonder if I will ever feel whole again.  As of late I have been brusque and short-tempered when it is not normal for me to be this way.  Actually that’s not entirely true since this is an accurate description of my temperament before I met Alberto.  I only have myself to blame for my pessimistic bender this past week, and I have only myself to count on to pull it together again.

Early in the week I was already beginning to get irritable, but I only noticed it on Friday.  Brian was supposed to go to the jail will me to visit Alberto to learn more about the night in question.  This was going to be the first time I had ever physically been in the same room as Alberto within touching distance in over a year.  I was looking forward to being able to actually hold my husband’s hand!  Then about an hour before I was to leave work, I received an email from Brian complaining about his throbbing headache and how we would be better off going on Sunday.  I don’t know how to describe the pain that this simple email inflicted on me, but I wrapped my disillusionment into a tight ball and somehow resisted the urge to be sarcastic or biting in my response.  I suggested that Brian go lie down in a dark quiet room and nap for an hour.  My own migraines, which feel like a rusty hacksaw rendering my brain into minuscule pieces, can only be cured by a complete and total mental shutdown.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Little Bit About Me (Us)

Today after posting on my blog, I went back and read of the posts of the blogs I’m following.  There is another joint blogging effort making the rounds which I found out about from The Real Housewife of Cuidad Juarez.  My other blogging friends are: Medina's Moments, Us, After America, and Corin in ExileSo here goes my post that is a little bit about me:

1.    How long have you been with your husband?

This month we have known each other for 10 years; in December we will have been a couple for 10 years and married for 4 years. 

2.   Can you remember on funny miscommunication because of language barriers?

Well the incident that comes to mind is the time I told Alberto’s sister that I was pregnant.  I had only been starting to learn Spanish for about 6 months prior to this incident, and I think I’d been dating Alberto for a month or two at that point and I was still 16.

Maria had come up to ask me why I was eating so much, mostly because she was concerned for my health as we worked at McDonalds.  I meant to say how embarrassed I was that she would notice that I eat a ton, and that I didn’t usually eat lunch at school.  Instead I said, “Estoy embarazada…” at which point her jaw dropped.  She poked me in the gut and said “bebe”.  I turned several interesting shades of red as it dawned on me what I had actually said. 

I wonder if she remembers that…  Maybe I’ll ask her next time I call her!

3.   What state and/or city have you relocated to?

I haven’t gone anywhere yet.  We are still battling immigration and the legal system here in Minnesota.  I’m positive I’ll post something if we need to make the decision to move.

4.   Do you and your hubby have any children and if so, how old?

Alberto and I have a 3 year old daughter, Ashley Mendez.

5.   What is one thing that your blogger friends don’t know about you?

I think I’m pretty much an open book here on my blog (except for the name thing of course), so I need to think for a minute here.

I have it!  I love a good practical joke, and my senior prank was a dozy.  We had a teacher who was a real life version of ‘Runaway Bride’, but she was fun and made her subject interesting.  So, I had Ms. Carpenter for Sociology and we did an experiment on taboos in regards to illicit drug use.  The drug in our study was Ice Cubez and the users (us) would have to hide the fact that we had to have ice cubes in everything we consumed that was liquid.  We also had on these ugly bracelets as a physical manifestation of the addiction and we could not for any reason explain why we were wearing them.  Ms. Carpenter would tell the hall monitors and campus cop when the experiment was being conducted so that they could confiscate our ‘illegal contraband’.  Seeing how Ms. Carpenter also participated but no one would give her grief about the ice cubes, I hatched a plan.

During the last semester of the year I had a friend in her class who was supposed to tell me when the experiment was to take place.  We were about 3 weeks away from graduation when the sting operation was finally about to swing into motion.  My friend distracted Ms. Carpenter while I placed a cooler full of illicit drugs (ice cubes) under her desk.  Upon leaving her classroom, I tipped off the campus cop that Ms. Carpenter had illegal contraband in her classroom.  It was agreed that the campus cop would be accompanied by the principal and arrest Ms. Carpenter during the class my friend was in so that I would know what went down.  It was a thing of beauty, perfectly executed and shocking to see a teacher led away in handcuffs.  After our graduation ceremony, I thanked Ms. Carpenter for being such a good sport and admitted it was me.

6.   What are some of your favorite hobbies or past times?

I love movies except for horror flicks.  I am one of those people that hates it when someone misquotes a movie, so if I look annoyed you know who you are.

I devour books, especially romance novels by Nora Roberts, Lisa Klepas, or Johanna Lindsey.  I also enjoy cooking when no one is around to bug me, drawing, making miscellaneous crafts, and walking.

Give me a rainy Sunday with a good book and a few movies and that’s as close to heaven as I get.  It would only get better if you threw my husband into the mix.

7.   How did you stumble upon the blogging community?

I had been toying with the idea of blogging for several months because a few of my friends told me I should write a book.  Since writing a book is such a big undertaking, I decided to try blogging first and see if this is a possibility for me.  Then once I got past my second post, blogging turned into a wailing wall, although sometimes I wish people would comment so I would have some feedback.

8.   Have you learned something new about yourself during this whole process that has changed all of our lives?

I am stronger than I thought, and more stubborn than should be humanly possible.  I have a linear and mostly logical mind that indulges in the irrational for time to time.  I have found a renewed faith in God and discovered that there is still hope buried deep in my heart that everything will be ok.

I have learned to think positive because I cannot afford to be negative.  I cannot afford to have doubts, because I am an ‘all or nothing’ type of person.

9.   Something that you love about Mexico and something that you can’t stand or miss living without.

Keep in mind I have never been in Mexico for longer than two weeks.

I loved being able to walk to anything I needed in Mexico City or Cuautla.  I loved that if you missed the bus, a pecera would be by in 5 minutes to take you where you need to go.  I loved the street food with their full flavors and vendors yelling ‘ELOTES’ as they rode past your house on a bicycle.

I didn’t love the heat, and I don’t know if I would survive south of the border long enough to acclimate.  I can handle -20° weather easy, what I can’t handle is being parboiled by the sun in 60 seconds or less.  In less than an hour I got a sunburn bad enough on my arm that random people were offering sun block and aloe gel, and I earned my nickname ‘La Mas Tostada’.

10.Did you know your in-laws before moving and has it been a big adjustment being closer to them?

My feelings towards my in-laws, Gisela in particular, is perfectly clear elsewhere in this blog.  They mostly live here in Minnesota and I get on well with my sister/brother-in-laws.  However the matriarch of the family, Gisela, drives me insane.

11.If you were going back to the states next week, where is the first place you would go after seeing your family?

I’m still here.  Let’s say that Alberto is acquitted and immigration paroles him into the United States for the rest of the process, the rest place I would go with him is to Taquería Los Ocampo with the family.

It is at times like these that it hits me just how much I miss him.

Te amo con todo mi corazon y mi alma Alberto...