Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Working on something

Please excuse my dust, but I'm working on something. That something should be available to you in the beginning of February. But, because of it, I have to put the blog on hold for a few weeks. Believe me, it's so worth it! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at mixedandhappy at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Microwave meltdown

I'm sick so my writing is all off. I'll forgive you if you leave now. This is going to be a short one because I feel so awful. I woke up to a flaming sore throat this morning, but a deadline at work forced me out of bed.

I stood in front of the mirror just after my shower and refused the makeup. No, it hurts to put you on today. I am just going to look how I feel. I went to reach for my toothbrush when I heard BANG. And then some yelling. "Get back!"

Well, somehow, the microwave had just exploded. I just stood there, thinking that maybe the cold medicine was messing with me. I dropped my toothbrush and scurried over to the kitchen. "There's a hole in the microwave," hubby says to me.

You know, at that point, I didn't even want to ask. We still don't know why it happened. But the 3-year-old, Mr. E, was pouting about his oatmeal, so he figured he'd start the microwave himself. That's all we know. There was a small fire and a boom and a hole. That's what we know.


Just before I made it to work, I realized that in the middle of the microwave meltdown, I had never picked my toothbrush back up. I never brushed my teeth -- and you know, I'm sick. So ick.

"Here," hubby said. "Chew a piece of gum." (Doesn't he know me by now?)

"I will not," I said. And so we stopped at Walgreen's and picked up a little cheap toothbrush and a small tube of paste. I bolted to the bathroom to brush my teeth. So glad no one stopped me.

I had to push through three hours of editing, compiling, finding art. It hurt to even look at the computer screen, but I just couldn't hand it over to someone else. That would take lots of explaining to do, and at that point, I might as well just get her done. After 11, I was headed home to crawl into my warm bed. I am going to do the same now. Sorry, I just can't last another sentence. Be back Friday.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The 30-day challenge

Oh, my voice. It's almost completely gone. (Ouch).

Just like hubby. Completely gone. (Ouch). I'm just learning the ropes of being a firefighter's wife. So far, I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the gig. On one hand, I love it. I remember the day hubby and I and the kids were driving home from church one day. We turned the corner and saw an accident that had just happened. The woman was sitting in her car, hysterically crying.

I watched as he walked over there and said to her "It's OK. I'm a firefighter. I'm here to help." Those words quieted the screams. Those two words, Fire Fighter, and she felt safe. I almost cried that day, watching him. I thought, "So, this is what being married to a firefighter is like."

That was the honeymoon phase, though. Now that we're getting into the everyday routine of it all, the job is what takes him away from me for 24 hours straight. Now, when I don't see him for 24 hours straight and then he calls to tell me that he has mandatory overtime, I think "So, this is what it's like to be a firefighter's wife." I hate when he leaves. But, when he leaves for a full day, I miss him like crazy. Right now, I miss him like crazy.

The other day, I drove him to work and the kids to school. We had the heat on full blast in the mom van. As we were leaving our driveway, I could feel the crunch of the ice beneath the tires. I kept saying, "Look! Ice!" Finally, after like the fourth time, I gave up. "Am I the only one in this car who is amazed by the ice?"

The kids actually said yes. They had been hoping for a Florida snow day, so the ice was rather unimpressive. After we dropped off the multiple kids at their multiple locations, we had about 10 minutes. I love and hate those 10 minutes because it's like the countdown until he's gone. I hate that part, but I love being able to sit with him in a quiet car -- no crying children.

"I have a challenge for you," he said as we drove. "A 30-day challenge."

Now he knows that I love a challenge. It's who I am. But, I was a little hesitant. Was this going to be some kind of cooking or cleaning challenge? "Are you game?" he asked.

"It depends." Of course, it depends.

He paused, as if bracing himself for the moment. And then he unveiled the amazing 30-day challenge that I would not be able to turn down. In fact, this is so what I have needed in my life. It feels good to have a man who can challenge me the way he does.

OK, if you didn't catch it, that was a teensy bit of sarcasm. You know, the kind smothered in love.

"So, tell me, what's the challenge?" I ask him as we are pulling up to the firehouse -- the final destination.

"It's a 30-day s*x challenge." (My face: blank stare.)

(Sidenote: I never spell out certain words, and that's to keep certain traffic away. You understand.)


"Apparently -- and I saw this on the news -- having s*x once is like jogging seven miles. So, I thought, imagine if we had s*x every day for 30 days? It would be like jogging 210 miles! Isn't that awesome?"

Again. Blank stare.

Wow. I mean, I don't even know what to say about that one. By the time I made it to work, I realized that I never even answered his question -- just told him to have a great day, while laughing. "You're so silly," I said. "Have a good day. Text me later."

Again, wow. And now that I can barely speak and the kids are asking me a bazillion questions, I have to sign off. I'll be back Wednesday. I have lots of Mixed and Happy stuff to discuss Wednesday, so I hope you'll swing by.

Friday, January 8, 2010

There's a food fairy out there, and he's stalking me.

So, I started my three-week fast on Monday. It's supposed to go something like this:

--Week one: Fruit and vegetables
--Week two: Fruit, vegetables and chicken
--Week three: Fruit, vegetables and fish

The fast is supposed to be cleansing -- both physically and spiritually. So far, so good. I've been like, praying and (mostly) not eating. But, if anyone else decides to brave this, I wanted to let you all know exactly what happens when you go on a fast and the universe knows.

1. The vending machine man will have leftovers. And when does that ever happen? So around noon, I walked over to the break area to get a fork for my salad -- my very dry, bland salad. I must have just missed the vending machine guy, who was apparently in a very jolly, giving mood. He was giving out the honeybuns he couldn't sell. He also took the time to write a very kind note explaining the sweet, sticky freebies. Behind the note, the honeybuns stared at me. Out-of-date honeybuns never looked so good.

2. Record-breaking temperatures will cause your job (in Florida) to have a snow day. Again -- when does that ever happen? At my job, snow day morphed into Tempt Suzy day. We all received a mass email with promises of ooey-gooey marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. Yes, it was horrible, horrible S'mores day. I ventured down with my co-worker and snapped these shots. But, I did not touch. My co-worker ruined it for me by answering me incorrectly. "A marshmallow is a vegetable, right?" "No, Suzy, a marshmallow is like, sugar on top of sugar." Well, shoot. By the way, it never did snow -- just rained S'mores.

Isn't it pretty? This heaping bowl of chocolate. This was sitting on the table when I arrived downstairs for the Tempt Suzy fest. So welcoming. So warm. Sucks me in every time. But not today.

3. All of the normal kid-related semi-emergencies (scream fests) will involve food of some sort. So, the other day, I had a handful of candy canes, which I distributed to the children. One for each child. Half-way home, the baby starts screaming. He lost his candy cane. So, while everyone else was gnawing on their candy canes, baby was throwing a fit. I looked everywhere I could until finally, I gave up, thinking that the lonely candy cane had somehow slipped through his chubby fingers and between the seat cushions never to be seen again. I was wrong -- as you can see in this picture.

Not that this tempted me. Icky. But, the recurring theme was obvious: Food. Food everywhere.

4. Moe's will lure you with promises of cups and cups of totally free queso dip. Right around 12:03 p.m., my phone buzzed. An email from Moe's promised that if I became a Facebook friend, they'd give me the hard-to-resist goodness that is Moe's queso dip. And again, at 12:15 p.m., they sought my FB friendship. But, my fast and I agreed that Moe's was no real friend.

5. A food fairy will follow you. And he will sprinkle little packages of Reese's and M&M's on random counter tops. I swear, I keep finding random little cute packages of candy just waiting for me to fall and take them back.

6. But, you'll resist all of the above -- to a degree. Don't look too closely at the picture below, mkay? Today, by the end of my week, I sat down -- having weathered the not-snow and the S'mores and the invisible food fairy -- and I enjoyed a big fat salad. (P.S. You do not see chicken strips in this salad. Those are, um, veggie sticks. OK?) This week, I give myself a 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Don't get it wrong

Time to exhale.

I needed that. Today started at 5:30 a.m. when I got the call. Hubby had to work overtime, he told me. That meant the morning was all mine. That meant getting two sets of kids to two different schools was -- all mine. Along with the lunches and the diaper bag and the socks and the shoes and my own shower and makeup. It was all mine. But, today was also the day our new kitty, Cole, had to be dropped off at the vet by 8. Before the sun was up, I was already rolling my eyes at the day before me.

I didn't want it. "Wednesday: I'm not feeling you. Can you please be Saturday today?" Nope. Wednesday would not budge and so, I pushed through. By the time I made it to work, it was 8:27 a.m. Perfect timing. Kind of. I realized that I had a meeting in, oh, three minutes.

That's how my day started. One big colorful blur of just stuff to do.

By 4 p.m., and after skipping lunch, I was over the day and ready to give it back. "I'm done with this one. I'd like Thursday now."

But, Wednesday was not done with me.

I left work and headed for my daughter's school. I was probably 30 seconds away from pulling into the school parking lot when I saw a white Navigator barreling off the side of the road -- through a series of ditches and then, SMASH full force, head on into a tree.

I slowed and, realizing the severity of what had just happened, pulled the mom van over, parked on the shoulder of the road and ran over to the truck -- while dialing 911. The car was mangled and when I peered into the driver's side, I saw a man, probably in his 50s, with gray hair. But, I couldn't see his face. It was buried in the blood-covered air-bag. And he wasn't moving.

Another man, another passerby, called to the man. "You OK?" Meanwhile, the 911 operator was asking me to stay on the line. "Help is on the way. Stay with us. Someone's coming," the man said.

It was so awful. I thought he was dead. And then he lifted his head and peered up. "They're coming to help you right now, OK?" I said to him. He was wearing dress pants and a button-up shirt. He looked dazed, confused. "What is your name?" I asked him. He muttered something, but I didn't understand. "Do you have children?" I asked him.

"Four," he said. "Four kids."

It hurt me to look at him -- the blood was everywhere and still oozing from his face.

"Do you have a wife?"

"Yes," he said. I asked him her name. "It's Malala ... ."

He was slurring his words. Not making sense. "Let me call her," I said. The numbers didn't make any sense. "352-54-1903," he'd say, missing numbers along the way. Finally, he gave me a number that made sense and when I called it, a woman answered.

"Do you have a family member who drives a white Navigator?" I asked her.

"Excuse me? Um, yes. My husband does."

"He's OK," I said. "But, he's been in a pretty bad accident." She was there within minutes. By the time she arrived, the paramedics were pulling him out of the mangled mess on a stretcher. She ran to be by his side and was told to back up. "That is my husband," she yelled between sobs. "I will not back up."

I placed my hand on her back. "He's OK," I told her. "He was talking to me. But they need to get him out."

The car was completely mangled -- caved in on one side. And as they pulled him out, she melted in tears. "Oh God," she cried. "What happened? What happened?"

By this time, traffic had been completely stopped; there was a slew of onlookers. I stood there shivering, wearing only jeans and a t-shirt when an officer made his way to my side. He asked for my information so they could call me later since I witnessed the accident.

As I walked away, the wife stopped me. "Are you the woman who called me?" she asked. I nodded yes. "And you called 911?"


"Thank you," she said kind of breathlessly. "Thank you so much." I told her that if she needed anything to give me a call and I slipped her my business card. For a few moments, our paths converged and right around 4:30, we went our separate ways again.

As I was pulling away, the emotion of the moment gripped me. All I knew is that someone had been hurt, and I was able to help -- even if it was just by making a phone call. I thought about my own life and said "God, I want to help people. I don't know how. But, give me the people who need help and I promise to help them."

I thought about how I had rolled my eyes at the day earlier. How I wanted to give it back. But now I was seeing a tiny sliver of the bigger picture: that instead of trying to give my days back, I need to be trying to give back during my days. And that it's not all about me. And if I ever think that it is, I'm getting it wrong.

Tomorrow, I am not going to get it wrong. Will you?

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 in the rearview!

Before we go any further: the Mixed and Happy project was a success and I hope that Keith Bardwell's heart has been softened. Here are some things to keep in mind about Mixed and Happy as we move forward -- since we are moving forward!

-- BLOG: I have decided to keep blogging about life as a mom in a mixed-race family. You know, it's really not about race, right? It's about family and love. I'll be right here three times a week with new posts.

-- ME: Before I jumped into it, I needed you to get a real glimpse into my life. Thus, the post below. If I offend anyone for being real, I'm sorry, but it can't be any other way. I don't write to maintain an audience. I write to tell the lessons that life is teaching me along the way.

-- FACEBOOK PAGE: Mixed and Happy has an amazing facebook group, and it is growing daily. Please join us. I am currently adding Officers to the page. Email me (mixedandhappy at gmail dot com) if interested.

2009 was a beast -- not a blast with fireworks and confetti, but a beast with fangs and a roar. 2009 stood at my doorstep and threatened to destroy me. Today, it sits just inches behind the worst year of my life, which was 2005, the year my little sister quietly slipped away from my life forever.

There was nothing quiet, though, about 2009. It was a year of betrayal on many sides. I wrestled with 2009 almost daily, and he almost won. After the death of my sister in 2005, I grew angry and the unforgiveness of so many people in my life seeped deep into my soul until there was this wall.

That wall allowed me to sit in a counselor's office one Saturday afternoon in April and agree to a divorce. "You are so angry," the woman said. "It might be best for the children." Thanks to the wall, I felt nothing. Instead, I thought it might be better if someone else was feeling the pain -- instead of me.

But something changed in April as my husband, desperate for answers, took one tiny step of faith. He didn't realize it at the time, but that one little step would completely turn the ship in another direction. Actually, that tiny step was like a tiny life-jacket in a giant, chaotic ocean. Though small, its job was magnificent.

Hubby saved me when he could have left me in the midst of an emotional storm. But, he refused to leave. He refused to let the family disintegrate. He became my anchor. I looked to him and realized that while he was acting as my anchor, he too had an anchor. God was his anchor.

I woke up one night, right around 3 a.m., and I heard him crying out. A grown man pleading, begging, praying. He was asking God for answers, for guidance. While I had been sleeping, he had been praying. While I had been crying, he had been praying. While I had been fighting, he had been praying. And so, realizing that he was my anchor, I followed, eventually clinging to my safe place.

It took about four years to almost lose everything, but I made it through the fire. And unbelievably, I can sit here with love in my home, peace in my heart and faith in my life because of it all. Amazing how things work out. Had I walked away, the Mixed and Happy project would have never been a thought in my mind.

I hopped on here tonight to talk about my fast. (Today happens to be day 1 of 21.) But, I know when I am supposed to write something. By this point in my life, I don't write the stories. I simply tell the stories that need to be told for whatever reason. If I don't, they weigh on me until I set them free.

It's so easy, sometimes, to hide behind a mask. But, I write the stories of my life. Please understand that when you come here, you are going to get a glimpse of my life. And today, on Jan. 3, 2010, my life is about being honest about the pieces that have connected to make this colorful, Mixed and Happy puzzle.

Join me if you will. On Wednesday, I'll show you where hubby and I found that candy cane that the baby lost on our ride home tonight. Let's just say there were tears. Oh, it's going to be (mostly) fun.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

BLOG: Merry Christmas, Mixed and Happies!

Hi Mixed and Happies!

I'm thrilled to say that the most colorful Christmas card of the season is on its way to New Orleans and should be in Keith Bardwell's hands by Christmas day. I don't know if he'll even open the package, but it's now out of my hands and into his. I knew you'd all want to see the final result, so I snapped a few shots.

As the project winds down, I want to thank everyone for participating. Our pictures will be traveling all the way to L.A. to debut as one big collage at the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival, which will be held June 12-13, 2010. I am hoping to make it there to present our colorful project.

If you'd like to make it out, we might just make a Mixed and Happy event out of it. If anyone is interested in going, let me know.

If you missed the deadline, you haven't missed out. Every picture I receive will go up here on the blog. They will also be included in the collage. So, let's keep it going.

I am trying to teach my children that one person with one idea can make a difference. But it is only when other people stand behind that one person that real change takes place. So, thank you for standing behind me. In my mind, even if one child gets the message that mixed is beautiful, then I've done my job.

Now, for the goodies!

When it was time to print out all of the cards, I couldn't believe how it translated in tangible form. I picked them up from Walgreens and couldn't believe how thick the package was. Later at home, I laid them all out on my table and fought to keep them from spilling off the edges. What you see here is one small portion.

I asked my co-worker if she had a Christmas card so I could avoid fighting traffic on my lunch break to buy one. She sifted through her drawer and had just one left. But, how perfect was it? It said "Happy Holidays and a New Year of Happiness." How meant to be was that?

So, I started running into Mixed and Happy families everywhere I went once I started the Mixed and Happy project. I found myself scrawling the Web site url on random napkins and gum wrappers. So, for less than $10, I had these little business cards made as a way to tell people about the project. They came in handy, especially when it was time to send the card. Maybe he'll shoot me an email one day?

I didn't even think about what I was going to write on this card, I just started writing. As I was writing, I realized that this project was all about love. So, no judging Keith Bardwell, no throwing stones. Just showing some love. Because, when all is said and done, that's what changes hearts and lives.

How much do you love the Mixed and Happy penguins? Ha ha. Just kidding. I promise I didn't do that on purpose.

In other Mixed and Happy news, where should we go from here? I'd like to keep the blog going, but maybe there's other things we can do together. I'd love (LOVE) to hear your comments. I mean, really love to hear them. So send me a Christmas gift in the form of a comment.

Feel free to comment below or email me:
mixedandhappy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

130: Submitted by Lauren (Final Submission!)

Hey Suzy! We wanted to seal the card! Here are my mixed and happy Blessings!!

These are Mixed and Happy Blessings! Your site and purpose was truly reached by beautiful, amazing families! The children are gorgeous and each and every one shine with charisma! It takes people like us who are able to embrace the heart and love of an another individual despite color! It's this unconditional bonding love that will be instilled in the souls of our children which, in turn, makes them truly Mixed and Happy!

Congratulations, Suzy to a job well done and another goal reached. You are a wonderful and inspiring writer. We all have a purpose in life and you are fulfilling what you were called to do!

Also, congratulations to you and Marquis! Your relationship is a true testament to His Word. Although you had trials and tribulations, you rose above out of love for each other and for your children. I truly admire that!

129: Submitted by Kim B.

Here are photos of my Mixed and Happy Family!

God Bless!

Shannon, Kim, Kaleb, and Madison

128: Submitted by Jeannie R.

My husband and I have been happily married for almost 6 years! I love what you are doing! I think MixedandHappy is a great way to make a change and to show our children they are God's creation and no man can dictate their future!

In the picture is myself, my husband, Lerinezo, our daughter, Hayven and my two step-sons, Jordan and Jaden.

127: Submitted by Marsha

126: Submitted by Adrienne R.

I have so enjoyed your blog and the rainbow of pictures that have been submitted. It is sad that such ignorance still exists in this world, but you have taken the ignorance of one individual and turned it into something beautiful!!! I too would like to send a picture of my mixed and happy family..

125: Submitted by Glenda T.

124: Submitted by Rose G.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

BLOG: On my way

Well, I am on my way to Orlando with the hubby. We are celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary. Wanted to stop by the blog and say thank you to all who have supported Mixed and Happy. And me. Tuesday is the last day for submissions if anyone wants to still send them. I am happy and at peace with the way the project has turned out.

Mixed and Happy kisses to you all!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

BLOG: She deserves yellow roses

I was on my way to work Friday morning, fighting my way through traffic, when my phone rang. It was hubby. "I'm angry, and I don't know what to do with that," he said. He was talking about the thing he struggles with most.

"How do you want to feel?" I asked him about the thing. "Not how do you feel? How do you want to feel?"

"I just want to be happy--about everything."

"Then act how you want to feel," I said. "You want to be happy--about everything. Act happy--about everything. And in doing so, prepare yourself to receive it--so that you're not pretending; you're just preparing."

"What do you want your garden to look like?" I continued. For some reason, a vision of a beautiful garden popped in my mind. A rainbow of colors. And sunlight. A peaceful and happy vision.

"Huh? Garden?"

"If you want roses, you have to prepare for roses," I told him. "But if you want dandelions, you have to prepare for dandelions. Oh, and if you want weeds, prepare for nothing. What do you want your garden to look like?"

He understood. And he started telling me in detail what he wanted this thing to look like. "So, that's what you need to prepare for. Prepare for those details. See them. Feel them."

When I hung up, I knew that it was time. My life is colorful. I'd say if my life were a garden, it is one filled with a magnificent arrangement of flowers growing wildly, but beautifully.

But, there is this one corner and it is filled with weeds. And I haven't dealt with that corner. It's just become the corner of guilt. And I realized, through my own words to hubby that day, that when I remember my sister, it is in that corner of my mind that I remember her.

I remember her in a cold little corner filled with weeds. After hanging up with him that morning, I envisioned her wanting to sit with me in a warm garden filled with flowers and sunlight. And laughter. And yellow roses. That's what she'd want.

So, even though it's hard and it stings, I know it's time to pull out the weeds and prepare the ground of my heart for those yellow roses. That's where she belongs.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

BLOG: Torn

Four years ago, on Dec. 14, 2005, my little sister died. She was 24. She contracted encephalitis, an infection that causes the brain to swell. After being mis-diagnosed several times as having a tension headache, she was finally admitted to the hospital.

By this time, she was having these little seizures that forced them to admit her. Her brain had swollen to a point that her body was seizing. They were more like little monsters creeping up every hour or two and completely taking over her body.

To watch her disappear into her own body as if falling back into a hole for a moment--those moments were like big, scary monsters to me. Because for me, I just wanted to grab her hand and pull her up out of the hole. But, she'd disappear for a few minutes, completely out of my grasp.

She had her first seizure on Thanksgiving day, and three weeks later, she died. I was three months pregnant and living in North Carolina when the tragedy that was December 2005 unfolded. I was sick. Very sick. Too sick to travel, and so I called her every day, multiple times a day.

But one day, she couldn't speak. I was told that the little monsters were happening more frequently and they had been forced to induce a coma through medication. Damn drugs. Damn little monsters. Damn the last time I ever spoke to her.

I said I love you. Those were my last words, and I told her I would see her for Christmas. Instead, I showed up on Dec. 13 and walked into a gray hospital room where she lay, swollen from head to toe, in a hospital bed. The next day, she slipped away, out of my grasp forever.

So, here I am four years later. She never did get to meet my third or fourth child. And that stings. But what stings with a white-hot intensity is my absence during the last few weeks. That has become my monster, and I can't seem to get him off of my back.

At just after 9 a.m. this morning, I walked into my boss's office and completely melted. I couldn't turn off the tears or the pain. I quietly sobbed and told her that I was having a rough morning.

I had been fine all week. Until hubby mentioned something to me last night. "I want to take you away for the weekend," he said. Our wedding anniversary happens to be the day after my sister died, on Dec. 15.

He had to work on Dec. 15, and so he made plans to go away Sunday and spend all day Monday in Orlando. We have these two Disney tickets that are about to expire, and he thought we could get away and have some fun.

But, that's my sister's day, I thought. I can't have fun on that day. I'm too riddled with guilt for not being by her side in the last few weeks. I feel like I let her down. I thought I had more time. I thought, as the nurses told me, the coma would wear off once the drugs did. I thought that once I was well enough, I'd come back to Florida and help take care of her. I thought ...

There you have it. A peak into my mind when I think about those last few weeks. And so now, I'm sitting here, torn. Disney world on my sister's day? I can't. I just can't.

A friend of mine told me to go; to let my hubby take care of me. Another one told me to celebrate her life. And another one told me that she'd want me to have fun. But, you see, there's this monster on my back. And I can't seem to shake him.

I just don't know what to do.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

123: Submitted by Myrna D.

Jess & my niece Krystal

My Godson, Marcus.


My first born,B.S. in Mechanical engineering, M.S. in business, hard working, great son, great brother,great friend. intelligent, kind, funny. He is one Jewel in my crown, a confirmed blessing from the Lord, answered prayer.

122: Submitted by Devan R. (Louisiana)

My husband and I live in Louisiana, and he is Creole, which means his family ranges in color from very light and looking white to very dark. His dad's family originated from the island of Guadalupe in the Caribbean Sea, and those who didn't stay behind moved to New Orleans.

Devan shares pictures of her son and husband. She also included one of she and her best friend on her wedding day. "I included it because I think of her like a sister since we lived together during her first pregnancy," she says. "I helped to raise her first child until we both had to evacuate from our home due to hurricane Katrina."

Thanks, Devan!

121: Submitted by Amy C.

120: Submitted by Ashwi

119: Submitted by Susan B.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

114: Submitted by Christina G.

Part "anglo-American" (mother), part Lebanese, part Yaqui Indian, part Spaniard (Mexican-born father).

All American.

Pictured here with my hubby, Jon.

Christina Salme Ruiz Grantham

113: Submitted by Susan I.

112: Submitted by Tristan C.

BLOG: Because flying pens always help the nerves

So, everyone who knows me knows that I loathe public speaking. I don't just get nervous; I feel ill when I have to speak in front of crowds. Which is why I don't do speaking gigs. Well, sort of.

I agreed to do a phone interview about Mixed and Happy. I was invited to call in to Mixed Chicks Chat, an award-winning podcast out of L.A. that discusses the mixed-race experience.

I was excited, but nervous. It was a phone interview, but the audience was live.

I'd be calling in from a land-line right after work on Wednesday. I rushed home, feeling a bit ill, envisioning that I might fall all over my words and forget what to say.

Hubby was home when I walked in the door. "I'm ready for my interview!" I announced.

I changed out of my business suit and got ready. In tank top and yoga pants, I sat at my desk until the moment was perfect. I picked up the phone and dialed. My heart was pounding. "I'm so awful at this," I said to myself. "I am just not a speaker."

So, I'm with Heidi and Fanshen, the ladies of Mixed Chicks Chat. I think I said the very first line "Thanks for having me on," when hubby walks in the room. I saw him from the corner of my eye, but paid no attention.

The house was completely quiet and the kids were still at school. I had set the perfect atmosphere for my big, scary interview. So, I'm listening to a question when I notice hubby walk in the bathroom, leave the door open and go ... pee!

And you know how loud man-pee is, right? I did the envisioning thing again. In my mind, the listeners are hearing my interview, but in the background, they are hearing man pee. You know, sort of waterfall-ish.

Why is he doing that? Why is he peeing during my interview? I needed to stop him now. Close the door. Walk away. Get out. So, there's this cup filled with pens sitting on my desk.

I take one out and throw it in his direction. I'm hoping he'll get the point. In hindsight, I should have stuck a sticky note to the pen that read "Out."

I could just barely see him from where I was sitting. I watched the pen hit the floor. He turned around as if thinking "Well, that's odd. There are pens falling from the sky."

He doesn't make eye contact, so I throw the next pen. And the last one, I'm almost embarrassed to say, smacked him right in the head. He was, by this time, finished man-peeing.

He finally caught my stare. He flung his hands up in the air and mouthed "What?" I guess he thought I really needed his assistance, because he sat down right in front of me. I motioned with my hands: "Out. Leave. Buh-bye."

But, he's not budging.

So, all of this is going on behind the scenes as I talk about the Mixed and Happy project. Flying pens. Man-pee. You see why I don't do interviews?

The interview had ended and I hung up the phone. "Why did you have to come in here and pee while I was doing the interview!?" I just needed him to know how un-profesh it is to pee in the background while your wife is doing a phone interview.

Instead, he said: "I just came in to support you."

But wait a minute, it was a live podcast and what if I didn't hang up the phone all the way and what if. Oh, God, help me! What if the listeners heard me.

Can you imagine? "Well, they're certainly mixed and happy, aren't they?"

When I finally got up the nerves to listen to the podcast (because you know in my mind, I'm still envisioning flying pens and pee-pee), I sat on the edge of my seat, listening for any hint. But, no flying pens. No pee. No accusations of untimely peeing. Heh.

Just me talking about Mixed and Happy. To hear the interview, go here. Click on episode 130. And this one is a direct link, I think.

You know, even with all of that, I thought it was cute that he ventured in to support me.

Wedding picture from #97

This is one of my favorite wedding pictures. Ever! I already posted Elizabeth's pictures, but when she uploaded this one to the Facebook group, how could I resist?

111: Submitted by Michelle S.