He Sure Ain’t No George Washington

It was too quiet upstairs.


“Yeah, Ma?” 

I sighed, inwardly.  I hated it when he called me “Ma”.  It made me feel like I should weigh about 270 pounds, dress in rough homespun, and be driving a team of mules with my large, work-reddened hands.

“What are you doing?”

“I be good.”

Hmmm.  Doubtful.  Being good was never that quiet, so I left the dishes where they were and dried my hands on a towel as I made the journey up the stairs to the playroom.

When I arrived he was kneeling on the train table, his back to me.  At the sound of my steps  he turned around and held up a puzzle piece with a gigantic, toothy smile.  “See, Ma?  Good.  Be good.”

Huh, whattya know.  He was being good.

“You doing a puzzle, Squid?”

His smile grew even wider, his blue eyes innocent.  “Yeah, Ma!”

“Yes, Mama,” I corrected.

“Yeah, Ma!” he repeated.


“Alright, you keep being good then.”  I went backstairs to finish cleaning up the oatmeal they’d splattered everywhere during breakfast.  Five or ten minutes passed, with him still silently doing puzzles upstairs.   I called up occasionally, to make sure he was still alive.

“Are you being good, Squid?”

“Be good!” he’d chirp back, in a happy tone.

Was it possible my almost two year old was some kind of child genius who could entertain himself quietly for 20 minutes straight, without moving, playing with a puzzle that was designed for 5 year olds?


My mom-senses tingling, I made my way to the playroom again.  Squid turned around at my approach, and held up the puzzle piece.

“See, Ma?  Be good.”  Smiling, he waved the puzzle piece at me…. in an attempt to distract me as he hunched his body forward, hiding something.  I took a few steps to the side… and saw the 5 pound bag of brown sugar he’d stolen from the countertop.

“SQUID!  DID YOU GET INTO THE SUGAR AGAIN?”  I stared down at him, at his sugar-encrusted face and hands, and at the open bag between his knees. 

He looked back up at me, blue eyes large, and shook his head.

“No, Ma.  No.  DagonMokey di’ it.”

Awesome.  Not even two years old and he already knows the fine art of lying. 

Whoever says they like little kids because they’re “so honest and forthright” sure hasn’t spent a lot of time hanging around them.

(I snapped this picture yesterday because according to the Squid,
“No.  No, Ma.  I no peacup buttah.  No eat.  Nope.”)


Qué difícil es hablar el español

This may not be as funny to the rest of you as it was to me.

Then again, most you haven’t visited family in Mexico, sat down at a crowded dinner party, and made an absolute fool of yourself, like I have.

The problem is that despite being half Mexican, I am not fluent in Spanish. 

I’m close.  People who learned Spanish as a second language probably wouldn’t notice the difference right away, not until I got hung up searching for a word in the middle of conversation.

But a native speaker notices in a heartbeat.

What’s worse, I haven’t used my Spanish regularly in almost ten years, so to be honest, it would take at least a week before my tongue would loosen up and the words would flow again. 

When I get to talking, it’s easy to make mistakes.

“Fabrica” does not mean “fabric”.  It means factory.  If you walk into the local version of “Joanne’s Fabric” and start asking them for a nice, smooth, non-wrinkling factory, you’ll get strange looks.


“Estaba embarasada!” does not mean “I was so embarrassed!”

It means, “I WAS PREGNANT!”

I recommend not confusing the two when you’re trying to hurry up and share the punchline to a funny story.  It can make your aunt’s eyebrows fly up to her hairline.

Another thing I learned is that if you are curious about a word, it is probably best to quietly approach someone and ask the definition.

Do not – and I repeat, DO NOT holler it out across the aisle at a crowded outdoor market.


(Aunt!  What does “nipple” mean?)


Anyways, you may or may not enjoy this Youtube video I found as much as I did. I’ve watched it at least five times today, and laughed each time.

Also, in case you can’t tell – the singers are doing a really good job of mimicking the different accents from each country.  A Texan doesn’t sound like a New Yorker who doesn’t sound like a Canadian, who sounds nothing like someone from Ireland, despite them all speaking the same language…. the same holds true for spanish-speaking Latin American countries.  (Personally, I can’t understand a single world that people from El Salvador say.)

Note:  Yes, they do sound like they are speaking with a grinto accent in the beginning – that’s what it sounds like when someone who speaks Spanish mocks an American accent.  I don’t know why it amuses me so much to hear it, but it does. 

Happy New Year!

Why didn’t I say this on, oh, the actual New Year?  Or at least New Year’s eve?

Because New Year’s eve, this happened:

And then I promptly ran around for the next two days squealing like a Guinea Pig on crack.


I noticed the first few flakes when I happened to glance out our living room window.

“BEAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!”  I screeched.

“What?  What’s wrong?”


“What’s wrong? I’m on the pot, pooping busy doing intelligent, sexy accountant stuff.”


Only he didn’t.

And that’s how it came to happen that I nearly broke our bathroom door, slamming it open and startling The Bean as he, uh… “shuffled papers”in the bathroom before he took his morning shower.

He was happy to hear it was snowing, but nearly as excited as I was. 

Not only did he refrain from immediately jumping up and down for joy, he asked me to leave, so he could finish up his, err — stuff.


While he finished his shower and calmly dressed,  I ran about the house driving the children into an absolute frenzy, trying to find all the various pieces of never-been-used,  second-hand winter equipment we’d dragged from California.

Twenty minutes later the four of us managed to spill outside.  The Squid toddled behind us in too-large rainboots that managed to stay on his feet mainly because of the extra pair of socks we’d stuffed down into them.

The DragonMonkey dashed about in his nicely fitting boots, scratching at the slowly accumulating snow with his bare hands. 

Two minutes later he was near tears from the cold on his hands so we improvised with one glove and one slightly dirty-looking woman’s sock.

Becky Bean:  bringing the classy all the way to Oregon.

Hey, at least he was able to “make snowfight balls” to his little heart’s content.

We expected the snow – which had not even been in the forecast – to die down after a few minutes, but it just kept coming… and coming…. and coming.

By late afternoon we had two inches coating the ground.

I can’t think of a better way to have started 2013, can you?

(Less than 30 seconds after I snapped these pictures he tried to throw that snow boulder on me.  
I was less than amused.)

Also, for the record – my dog is awesome.

And beautiful.

She’s also borderline more intelligent than my children.

Also, shes really, really big for barely turning four months old – she’s probably going to be close to 80 pounds when she’s done filling out.