Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

What are your holiday plans? My awesome employer has given us the week of Christmas to New Year’s Day off (paid). I plan to take of the 24th, too, since Noche Buena is when Latinos traditionally have our big meal and many families open presents, too.

In celebration of President Obama’s announcement on Cuba, I am planning on preparing a Caribbean feast this Wednesday: Puerto Rican pasteles (our version of tamales), which I plan to buy prepared. I will cook Cuban black beans, yellow rice, an avocado salad and prepare a non-alcoholic coquito, or Puerto Rican egg nog, so that the kids can have some, too. Of course, the rum will be on the table for the adults. lol!

My friend Amy is going to try her hand at Cuban cheesecake and fried plantains. A Caribbean feast with family and friends — what a blessing!

On that note, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! What are your plans?

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Weekend Open Thread

This year, I really, really, really, DON’T WANNA wrap presents. I am procrastinating like crazy!

I need to suck it up, take a moment to be grateful that we can afford to buy gifts, and GET IT DONE.

What’s hanging over your head this weekend? What else is on your mind? Chat away!

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TGIF: All About Cuba

What’s up?

I am still on la-la land regarding Cuba. Following President Obama’s announcement to ease restrictions on U.S.-Cuba relations, I couldn’t stop googling speeches, reactions, and reaching out to family. I emailed a cousin on the island and began looking for photos from my visit to Cuba in 2002. I shared in great and painful detail my father’s immigration story and had my kids watch the President’s speech. Just as Cuba was a big part of my childhood in Miami, it is part of their history, too.

Here are the items that piqued my interest immediately following the President’s historic announcement:

Video of President Obama’s speech
Video of President Raul Castro’s speech (transcript in English)
Video of protesters — divided along generational lines — in front of the historic Versailles Cafe in Miami

Here are two nuanced — and hopeful! — pieces by extraordinary Cuban-American writers:

Sound bites don’t capture maturity of Cuban exiles,” Fabiola Santiago for the Miami Herald

“Cuba has always been a fantasy. Can it ever be something close to normal?” Cristina Garcia for the Guardian

For my family’s part, it is bittersweet. Yet necessary. It is a painful experience to be uprooted from your country when you didn’t want to leave. But we realize that the embargo hasn’t worked the last 56 years. It is time to move on.

The morning following the President’s announcement, I received a response from my cousin on the island. It was warm, inviting and she ended it with, “We are all family and we are all Cuban.” I am getting the itch to return to the island and take the kids.

On that note…Happy TGIF all! What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Thursday Open Thread

It is time to price and eventually install new windows throughout our house.

Also, there is a mushy piece of drywall next to our tub.

Did I mention we are getting a gas insert for our wood burning fireplace which has sat unused since we moved into our house in 2009?

And we’re just waiting for our air conditioner to die. It’s almost 20 years old.

Ah, the joys of homeownership! What’s on your list?

And what else is on your mind today? Chat away!

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Hump Day Open Thread

What’s up?

Glad to see my holiday photos put to good use — including this fundraiser for MomsRising!

It’s that time of year, folks. I am sure I am not the only one approached by friends’ and friends of friends’ non-profit organizations asking for donations. But I do want to share with you why I gave to MomsRising long before I became a staff member here, and why I continue to give annually even though it is nowhere near required of me as an employee.

MomsRising is the one organization that speaks to all of the issues I most care about: healthcare for all, fair pay, food justice and immigration reform, to name a few issues. And our organizing model, both social media campaigns and lobbying in person in in-district offices across the country and on the Hill, is unique and effective. Just check out this list of 26 victories from 2014!

I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of it all. Please do keep us — MomsRising! — in mind at any end-of-the-year charitable giving. We have a donor who has offered to match all donations dollar-for-dollar.

Thank you so much! How are you this morning?

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Tuesday Open Thread

So when DS was 3 years old, he ordered pistachio ice cream because he liked the green color. He LOVED the taste, and started ordering it every chance he got – except he called it “mustache-chio.” “Do they have mustache-chio? I want that flavor!” Oh gawd, the cute!

Last night we went on a boat tour of the Newport Harbor to peep at all the pretty Christmas lights and real estate porn (fun fact I learned: Orange County’s most expensive home is valued at $42 million! Oy). After the tour we stopped at a trendy new ice cream place near our home, which makes fresh ice cream with liquid nitrogen while you wait. We settled in with our treats, and I said, “Alex, do you like the mustache-chio?”

“Mami, it’s not mustache-chio. It’s PUH-stachio,” he said with the slightest tone of condescension.

Waaaaah! This is even sadder than when he stopped calling YouTube “I Yubes.”

Somewhere in my gmail I have a list of “Alex-isms” and “Maya-isms,” and I tried to jot down their malapropisms every time they tripped off their tongue. That way I can print them out some day and put them in their baby books.

What cute things did your kids say? What else is on your mind? Chat away!

 

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Monday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I did it! I was rundown with a cold, but I managed to send out all holiday cards and package gifts to ship to family and friends this morning. Whew!

I can let down my hair and sip some wine — which I did, too! :)

And yet, one more reason Shonda Rhimes is a bad ass. Her speech accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award is available in its entirety at BuzzFeed. Make sure that the tissues are nearby!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Weekend Open Thread

We’re in Sonoma and Napa this weekend for DH’s birthday! And only we would fly to wine country, only to focus on visiting local craft breweries like Russian River. But DH is the birthday boy and if he wants beer, he gets beer!

On a sentimental note, we’re staying at the same bed and breakfast where DH proposed to me back in 1997. We also spent our 7th anniversary there in 2005, which also turned out to be our babymoon as I went into labor the day after we got back. Lots of special memories there!

What are you up to this weekend? Chat away!

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TGIF Open Thread

What’s up?

I’ve got nothing. I laid in bed most of yesterday with a cold. I feel much better and am ready to tackle all awaiting in my inbox.

Oh, and we survived the storm yesterday. Actually, it wasn’t bad for us at all. We kept our power and were able to order food to be delivered to our home. DH wondered why the kids were off school at all.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Thursday Open Thread

It’s STORMWATCH 2014! Everyone in California is abuzz about a major rainstorm. From the breathless local news reports, I am expecting Noah’s Ark to come bobbing by. Some schools in Northern California have canceled school today. Yes, you read that right– a rain day.

We are in the midst of a gnarly drought and the fear is that so much rain so quickly will cause flooding and mudslides. And with our usual impeccable timing, DH and I are flying to Northern California on Friday morning for a romantic weekend getaway. Good times!

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Chat away!

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