If You’re Bored, You Can Clean

As the kids get older, I find myself sounding more and more like my parents. Thing I have said or wanted to say:

If you’re bored, you can clean.
I learned quickly as a kid that if I said I was bored, one of my parents would respond with “hay está la escoba, ponte a barrer”. It used to frustrate me, but now I get it. I didn’t have nearly the same amount of toys, books and other entertainment options as my kids — so many streaming options! But still, it must’ve been frustrating for my tired parents to hear that after they’d been working all day int he home and outside the home.

Church is only about an hour a week.
Before the pandemic, we went to Mass most weeks. That stopped two years ago with the pandemic when everything moved online. With Lent beginning a few weeks ago, I wanted to incorporate that into our family routine once again. The kids have a lot of complaints. I find myself using the same approach my mom did when I was a kid by rationalizing that we spent about an hour in church out of a whole week.

No one is in here, why is the light on?
This bugs me and I’m constantly turning off lights around our home. I can hear my dad’s voice. I’m also the one who opens all the blinds and curtains to allow the most natural light. I’m like my mom in that way.

Either comb your hair or you’ll have to cut it.
This is the phrase that inspired this post. I overheard Archie whining as Sean detangled his hair and added leave-in conditioner. He’s never had a haircut and also prefers for it to be loose, which means lots of tangles and occasional surprises (see: coming home with a nasty bur trapped in his hair). That would be okay if he didn’t complain about washing, detangling, etc. When I was 6 or 7 my mom made me get a haircut because I no longer wanted her to put it into braids or pigtails.

Felt like my mom once again right now when I just told one of the kids, “if I go and look and find your Batman, then I’m keeping it!”

— cindy mosqueda (@cindylu) December 23, 2021

If I go in there and find ___________, then I’m keeping it.
I’ve heard from friends with teens that the constantly losing things and not being able to find them phase continues well after early childhood years.

I guess we have a ghost.
There are times when I notice something like a scribble on the wall. I’ll ask both kids but neither one will ‘fess up to it. They stay silent and shake their heads just like my own parents used to do when something similar happened. Many years later, I still don’t think any one ever admitted to breaking a glass figurine on my mom’s dresser.

You think I like spending Saturday morning cleaning?
Sometimes the kids grumble when it’s to clean up.

Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sana hoy, sanará mañana.
I still use this gem with the kids and offer arnica for bruises and bumps. I also use my mom’s “cure” for hiccups.

Te calmas o te calmo.
I have wanted to say this so many times, but usually stop myself. For me, it implies using some kind of corporal punishment and we decided to use other methods of discipline. Plus, neither kid is bilingual so it wouldn’t mean anything to them.

Hay comida en la casa.
Okay, I say this more to myself or Sean than the kids.


Can’t Let Go

I listen to several daily news podcasts in an effort to keep up with everything going on. One of those is the NPR Politics podcast. The hosts sign off with something they can’t let go of, which is usually a pop culture or human interest story from that week.

So, what can’t I let go of? Well, my Wordle streak.

I started playing in early January and quickly got hooked. After a couple of days I switched from playing on my work laptop to my phone. Like many others, I played religiously. Sometimes I’d share my score on Twitter or instagram. Almost daily I’d share it with Sean in a friendly competition.

I also started playing more games inspired by the original Wordle. So that a daily habit of a few minutes got much longer. This is my current list:

  • Nerdle – you have to figure out the math equation
  • Worldle – guess a country by its shape
  • Quordle – guess 4 words in 9 tries
  • Octordle – guess 8 words in 13 tries
  • Antiwordle – avoid guessing the word
  • Absurdle – adversarial version
  • Wordle en español (I’m new to this one)

As I played longer, I started getting really invested in keeping my win streak going. Then the NYT bought the game and people on social media swore it got harder. I mean, suddenly words like ultra and ulcer came up back to back.

But I had a problem. My almost 5 year old iPhone was starting to have problems and the battery was dying quickly. Sean kept telling me I should go to the Verizon store for my upgrade.

But I didn’t want to give up my Wordle streak by playing on a new device. I even thought I’d upgrade but not trade in the old phone so I could keep playing Wordle on the old phone. When I went to the store I mentioned this to the salesperson helping me and he doubled the trade-in value.

It turns out I can let go of the official streak for the right amount. At least I have my screenshot.

Do you play Wordle? Are you into the spin-off games?


Something Good

One of the things I like most about sign-offs from weekly podcasts is when hosts share something they can’t let go, recommend, share a tip, etc. It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders has listeners call in to share something good that happened to them. It’s a nice reminder that even with everything going on in the world, good stuff still happens and joy and hope continue.

And it always makes me think of my good thing for that week. So, here’s my good thing, albeit a couple of weeks late.

I won the Super Bowl squares pool!

For several years now, my parents have been part of a fundraiser to support an orphanage in Tijuana, HOCATI. The organization and the children they serve holds a special place for my extended family. In the late 2000s Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni made the decision to donate their home in Tijuana to HOCATI. When I interviewed Papá Chepe in a StoryCorps booth in 2009, he told me it was his life’s proudest achievement.

This year was the first I bought a few squares for myself. Usually, my parents just buy them in the name of the grandkids. My dad is one of the coordinators and I gave him three lucky and favorite numbers. I thought I’d get one, but got all three. Once the numbers were picked, I forgot to check them.

During the game, my mom texted me that I was close to winning during the second half.

I had a 3 for the Rams and a 0 for the Bengals. Those numbers won me $250 at the half and $500 at the end. Bonus, my dad was happy to see his beloved Rams win the Super Bowl.

I’ve won some pretty cool things over the years. This one ranks up there with winning plane tickets to LA and a hotel stay through an Instagram contest.

Have you won anything cool? Have any good things to share?


January Mini Book Reviews

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angelline Boulley

Angelline Boulley’s debut YA thriller focused on Daunis, a 19-year old non-enrolled Aniishinabe girl who loves hockey, is pre-med, and has a complicated relationship with her indigenous identity. I was quickly drawn into her world in the Michigan upper peninsula and hooked on the action. While there are many tough topics like missing and murdered indigenous women, I found that Boulley handled them with great sensitivity and care. I mostly listened to the audiobook which helped since Boulley uses a lot of indigenous words and I get stuck mentally on words I can’t pronounce. 

Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren romances are a constant in my TBR list. Evie and Carter work at rival talent agencies in LA when they meet at a mutual friends’ Halloween party. Evie’s company merges with Carter’s and soon they’re pitted against each other by a shady boss. I listened to the audiobook which had two actors for Evie and Carter.

The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

I’m a sucker for an enemies to lovers romance and Christina Lauren puts a fun spin on the trope. Jess, a freelance statistician and single mom to a precocious 7-year old, reluctantly joins a dating app that matches people based on their genetic compatibility. She matches with River Peña, the standoffish guy she sees every morning in her neighborhood coffee shop. River is also the chief scientist behind the company. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the book. The premise is a little weird (um, why am I thinking of Gattaca and eugenics), but the authors address it without being pedantic.

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

I didn’t love the final book in Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow trilogy. It was too long and I got bored by the introspective Baz/Simon tortured love story. Simon and crew are back in England after their road trip in the US, but now they’re tackling adventures in duos. I missed the humor and action from the second book, Wayward Son. I also felt the ending was rushed, which didn’t make sense since this was nearly 600 pages. 

A Lot Like Adiós Alexis Daria

Alexis Daria takes us back to New York to the Primas of Power. Michelle, a freelance designer and marketing consultant, has unfinished business with her high school boyfriend, Gabe. They haven’t talked in 12 years but now he’s back in her life as she works on a consulting job for his business’s expansion to New York. Overall, it was okay, but not as enjoyable as the first in the series, You Had Me At Hola. I needed more tension and less of the fan fic Michelle and Gabe wrote as teens. 

Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature by Daniel A. Olivas (Ed.)

It’s been ages since I’ve read an anthology, but I’m glad I finally got to this one which has been on my to-read list for several years. I miss LA a ton and one of the ways I like to go back is through literature. I enjoyed many of the stories and liked the mix of genres. The stories that struck me most were by Daniel Chacón, Estella González, Manuel Muñoz, and Rigoberto González. I enjoyed how these writers explored the inner lives of their protagonists. I now have more writers and books to add to my ever-growing TBR list. 😬

If you want more, find me on StoryGraph or Goodreads. For past mini-reviews, check my Instagram highlights. I’m cindylunares on all those apps.

Cuentos, Familia

The Beginner Zone

I tried skiing. It was fun and I think I want to do it again.

I never thought I’d write those sentences. Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who skied. My experience with snow was limited to sledding during weekend trips to Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead. My siblings got into snowboarding, but I never went because they scared me with their tales of how much it hurt when they fell. Plus, the cost turned me off. I didn’t have much disposable income as a grad student.

Seeing the kids do their never-ever lessons, I was intrigued. Plus, Archie kept asking me to ski with him.

So I signed up for the 90-minute learn to ski program last week. For $59 I got the lesson and equipment rental. While the kids had their lesson, I learned the basics.

My instructor started off by asking me what sports I play in the summer. It’s been a long long time, but I’ve played baseball and was a runner. I also mentioned that I used to roller skate and had been ice skating a couple of times. Both were good as they helped me get the hang of a basic stance and also being familiar with the weird feeling of sliding or gliding. As he assured me, having two long sticks and a bulky boot feels very weird and counterintuitive, but you get used to it.

Once I got the hang of gliding down a very small half pipe in the beginner area, making the pizza wedge, moving around on the skis, and starting to turn we made our way to the first slope, the Magic Carpet. There I’d have a longer slope to practice the turns.

Soon the kids joined me after finishing their lessons. Xavi shared his tips and Archie was excited to hold my hand at the top of the first slope. At one point I kinda crashed into Xavi who had fallen ahead of me. He was fine and getting knocked out of a ski didn’t hurt. My instructor used that as a reminder to point out how to turn in case of an obstacle. Most of all, I didn’t panic and didn’t fall. That came later.

I joined Xavi on the bigger slope in the beginner zone, the Boardwalk. I fell on the lift and had to wait for the lift operator to help me get out of my skis. At the top it looked way more steep and I said a little prayer. It didn’t help that by that time lots of snowboarders were around and they kept falling. I took the route with some gentle curves and made it down okay, but no one saw me. The next time I went down the straight part of the slope after Archie and made it okay.

We left after that since everyone was hungry and kind of tired. I was sore for a few days, but it was worth the rush of trying something new and challenging. It reminded me of the adrenaline rush from zip-lining, climbing the high elements of a ropes course, finishing a run or race and seeing great views, or rafting in the Kern River. They make me feel thankful for my body and what I can do, even as I grow older and my body changes.

The adrenaline was cool and all, but I was way more happy to join an activity with the kids. They were proud to see me try after a few weeks of being their cheerleader. That was the best part.