And I thought Phoenix was hot …

We send our children off to school to learn how to read and to write, but where do they learn how to blend their reading and writing with whom they are?

I believe it’s blended through a whole lot of trust, a coat of confidence and a mix of life experiences –

This morning I received a text,

“idk how i want to write [my blog] it, i might do it more like informative and less like a story because I don’t write that creatively you know” – senoritasloane

my response:

“you are so creative – do this —just start talking, in your voice, with your thoughts – be true to YOUR voice and it will be a masterpiece. A blog is actually for you – don’t worry about others’ critiques – just express yourself with your humor and wit. This is your life – it’s your story to tell”

And she did just that – – – (this mama is crying)

This being my first post, I will preface it with the fact that if you know me well, you know that I am brutally honest, always saying the first thing that comes to my mind, typically with some sort…

Source: And I thought Phoenix was hot …

So-n-so

In 1971, on my parents’ 9th wedding anniversary, my mother readied for a celebratory dinner with my father.  In the front hallway closet, I was peacefully playing dress-up in my older brother’s winter coats.

Needing to shower, my mother peeked her head into the closet, telling me she was headed upstairs to shower and instructing me to not play with a particular older girl from our neighborhood,

“If s0-n-so should come by, do not play with her.”

Well, sure enough, while the shower sounded from upstairs, So-n-so showed up at our front door. I can vaguely remember So-n-so’s face, but I distinctly remember she was always taunting me.

I cracked the front door and peeked outside. There she stood, her “grown-up” self,  waiting for me to answer.  She summoned me with a plastic baggie,

look what I’ve got

I still remember the sight of that plastic baggie – a sandwich-sized bag full of bright red, gum ball sized red hots.

My mother’s words filled my head –

don’t play with so-n-so, she’s trouble

but those red hots were just that – red hot – and boy, did I want some.

So-n-so opened up the baggie and in went my hand – Pop! into my mouth went one of those glorious gum ball sized red hots and instantly, I choked, gasping for air!

My mother came running downstairs, dripping wet in a towel – her bare skin still wet from the shower – she picked me up, turned me upside down and shook me until the red hot dislodged from my throat. She scolded the girl, telling her to leave and not to come back!

Boy, who’d think after all these years, with memories of such a dramatic scene, I wouldn’t have learned that when someone hurts me, I shouldn’t open the door and allow them inside to repeat the abuse.

– Avoid temptation – no matter how fun-loving, adventurous or red hot a person may seem – if we allow dark, shady, negative people into our lives, they will feed us with toxicity , pain, and torment.

Fact.

Listen to the warnings, and at every age, stay away from red hot So-n-so and gum balls – they cut and suffocate you.

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“Red Hot”

Cascarón

Street vendors lined State Street in Santa Barbara for Fiesta! weekend, but the vending wasn’t like anything I’d seen earlier this month in Mexico City.

In Mexico City, the streets vendors primarily sell food and drink. Vendors set up mini-taco shops with grills on the curb – scooping corn tortilla mix out of a 5 gallon paint bucket with a sand shovel – jalapeño, chorizo, cilantro, cotija cheese, carne asada, pollo fundido, taquitos – you name it, they sell it – most often with an orange soda or a bottle of Coca-Cola.

But in Santa Barbara, California, where food licenses and food handling permits are required, the vendors sell mostly cascarones, which I, before now, knew nothing about.

A cascarón is a confetti egg.  With either a pin or a knife, an opening is made in the bottom of an egg, so the egg may be poured out.  The inside of the shell is then cleaned and dried, and the outside of the shell is decorated with paint or markers.  Then, the inside of the egg is filled with confetti or a small toy, and the hole is sealed with glue and tissue paper.  The cascarones are crushed over people’s heads to shower them with confetti.  It’s considered good luck to have a cascarón broken over one’s head.

During Fiesta weekend, the downtown Santa Barbara sidewalks are covered with confetti – multi-colored specks of tissue are strewn everywhere – many shops have window signs prohibiting the breaking of confetti eggs inside the businesses, yet somehow it seems no space is without a confetti dusting.

On Saturday morning, we waited on State Street for the Salt Caves to open. The Annual El Desfile de Los Niños (Children’s Parade) was scheduled to begin in a hour, and parade goers were setting up their chairs along the route. The cascarones vendors were open, busy readying for a day of selling their cascarones.

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Pink Panthers, Ernies, Berts, emoji faces, Winnie the Poohs, Pirates, Mexican wrestlers, Diamante Azuls, Buzz Lightyears, Chicks, Tony the Tigers, American, Mexican and British flags, flowers, initials – you name it, it’s a confetti egg.

The cascarones vendor who was selling in front of the Salt Caves spoke to us in Spanish.  She asked if we were looking for a particular style of cascarón. What do you like, I may have it? I couldn’t answer, so I asked LCP to translate.

“She says it takes 4 families a full year to make the cascarones they sell.  She says, they expect their children to work for the project, since they believe in discipline.  They don’t want their children in the streets or watching TV or playing video games.  Making Cascarones keeps them busy and out of trouble.”

After hearing her story, I reached into my backpack, pulling out a J⁴ Angel.  LCP gave the angel to the cascarón vendor, explaining we love her story and we want her to have an angel for the good she is doing in the world.

The vendor took the angel in her hand and lifted it to her lips.  She kissed the angel, held it to the sky and then held it to her heart. Gracias, gracias.

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The beauty of humanity –

showering down on us like confetti

from a cascarón.