Monday, March 11, 2013
What I meant: We do not eat at McDonald’s because it is poison. For the little girls who dressed up like Monster High dolls on Halloween and had encounters with my daughter and were very confused. What I said: Monster High Dolls are too hoochie.
What I meant: Monster High dolls are too provocative for your age group. As toys they should have less make up and more clothing if they are going to marketed to young girls. The hypersexualization of children’s toys is to widely accepted and just because they are ‘monsters’ does not mean that they do not objectify women.
For the woman at Target who recommended the term “special place” and was aghast as my daughter shared an all to common refrain with her brother. What I said: Don’t touch your penis please. (to my son)
What I meant: Don’t touch your penis in public.
As our children grow we must protect them but also embrace the people they become (huge bows and all). Most importantly I remember that the way I love myself projects the capacity my daughter will have for self-love.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Brushing HairMuch to my chagrin my 5-year old daughter Inara has beautiful, thick and very long hair. I complain pretty regularly about styling her hair because I often go a few days without brushing my own. Losing function in my left arm made me realize that losing that extra 20 minutes a day fighting to make the tangled mess in my daughters hair somewhat presentable is a special time we get together. John does a great job with bumpy ponytails accompanied by large hair bows but I miss the time we spend together each day getting through this ritual.
Video GamesMany people know that this blog started as a space to vent about marriage, parenthood and gaming. It is difficult to use a controller with one hand. My 4-year old son was in the hospital for a serious infection. His room at Memorial hospital had an Xbox and as per usual he asked me to jump a platform he was struggling with. Such a small request became a difficult moment for me and I am so glad when he asked to play Castle Crasher this week that I know I will do better (not good but better). Reading Books
It is awkward, uncomfortable and difficult to read a book or nook with only one hand. I took for granted bubble baths and late night reading where I swapped hands and turned pages with ease. I love to read paranormal romance (Patricia Briggs, Laura Hamilton, PC Cast), fun mysteries (Evanovich) and trashy romance novels (any NY times best sellers). Being able to read a book to unwind without being in physical pain is a remarkable improvement in my life.
While I was recovering my daughter did cover my cast in jewels which made me look way more artistic than I really am. I also learned a lot about myself. I discovered I find jazz music incredibly soothing and that as much as I have resisted a housekeeper sometimes its good to ask for help.
There is still numbness, limitations and pain but each day I am getting a bit stronger. I accept that I will not be as I was before but that does not mean I cannot get better.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
When you have kids, you can decorate a “Star Wars” themed room, wear cosplay and buy action figures without any judgment; you can always say “its for the kids.” Deep down, one desire of every geek parent, is that our kids will be indoctrinated with our geekiness. Yesterday, as we drove home from school I was bellowing “Why Does Dad Get So Mad?” It’s a song about the “Star Wars” generational gap, written and recorded by The Board of Education (if you have never heard of this song, you must listen immediately). At the stoplight I realized my 5-year old daughter Inara, & 3-year old son Nathan were singing equally as loud and likely more on key. It seems that my hopes to raise two well-adjusted geek/feminist children is off to a good start.
Parenting is a game in the Cruz-Boone household. Each day our kids complete tasks such as napping or cleaning their room for stickers on their chart. After five stickers they earn a treasure from their boxes. With summer looming we are bracing for a few months without preschool. To help prepare we have re-introduced and emphasized the importance of the chart. The kids are at an age when this reward system has reached a fun arc.
The superhero themed chart is daddy-designed by request and includes characters ranging from Spidey and Buffy to Pinky-Pie and Diego. The treasure box is filled with treasures that are child-chosen and daddy-approved. Other items in the treasure chest are previously owned toys in purgatory for a child’s poor behavior.
The toys that are selected for the box are a learning moment for the kids. On yet another tour of Target, my partner recently helped select figures from the impending Spiderman movie, because he wanted to make sure “he” (which I assume means our son Nathan) did not miss collecting his favorite characters. On the same trip my daughter looked for Merida toys, and she and her father agreed that getting “an itchy dress” is not nearly as awesome as waiting for a toy she can actually do something with. I am proud that my partner did not just give in, and buy my daughter yet another Barbie or dress, which is not to say she does not own any barbies or dresses. It is important to emphasize that only having dress up toys defeats the purpose of a character like Merida, a point that was not lost on my little girl.
This morning my daughter was beaming with pride to show me her new sticker chart that included “Buffy.” I asked if she knew who Buffy actually is, she said that she is “a super-hero that beats up bad-guys.” Her assessment was both accurate and exciting for me as a mother, that my daughter is enthusiastic about a female superhero for the right reasons. She went on to explain that she is not allowed to watch all of Mommy’s Buffy show because it is too grown-up but when she is a kindergartner she plans to “explain to Daddy she is ready for grown up shows.” Part of me cannot wait to read “Hunger Games” and “Harry Potter” and of course watch and read “Buffy” with my kiddos but for now I am relishing in the fact that they are already becoming geeks.
Monday, November 7, 2011
The year was 1961, Ted Jiron was working for the Los Angeles County Engineering Department when he decided to join a bowling league with some of his coworkers. Arlene had recently decided to move from Bakersfield to L A with some of her friends, the three of them also decided to join a Bowling League. It just so happened that one of Ted's coworkers had joined his same bowling league along with two of her friends from Bakersfield. Once a week in a smoky room with rented shoes the Jiron romance began.
Arlene was working at an ice plant on Alemeda street and Ted's job for the county was only a few blocks away. Working only blocks apart, bowling dates turned into lunch dates. Tragedy struck as their courtship progressed and Arlene lost her job and confessed to Ted that she would soon be moving back to Bakersfield. Ted realized he could not live another day without her and asked for her hand in marriage. Before Arlene agreed they decided to come to Bakersfield and meet the Cruz Family. Only months after they met, Ted asked Grandpa Carl for Arlene's hand to which he happily agreed and help setup the arrangements. On November 11th 1961 Judge Noriega showed up at the Cruz home and married Ted Jiron and Arlene Cruz inside of her childhood home.
After five decades the Jiron family has grown beyond their 3 children Teddy Jiron, Gina Hertz & Joey Jiron, to include 9 grandchildren (Genine, Chris, Tawny, Nick, Jake, Sydney, Joey, Annette, Molly) and 4 great grand children (Anjel, Inara, Nathan, Jett).
Now retired Ted & Arlene and their cockapoo Taffy recently moved to the Rio Bravo Country Club and stay busy with their grandchildren, church and playing golf. Together they coordinate Eucharistic ministers at St. Josephs Catholic Church and attribute their strong marriage to their faith.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
It has been a busy summer, the zombies on my Ipad proved unworthy adversaries for my plant armies and me. The US Supreme Court upheld video games first amendment protection and I got interviewed by local public radio station about it.
LINK TO THE PODCAST:
My only disappointment was that the interview was defensive rather than a dialogue about games. As James Paul Gee, Jane McGonigal, Henry Jenkins and myself all point out there are many elements that make new media not evil. Yup, I am conceited and I just listed myself with all the authors I am reading right now, but I do agree with them. Though some battles are being won for video games this summer, we need to take a more offensive strategy soon if we want to win the war.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
My sister, Joanne and I were among the precious few who made the team. I would soon discover I did not have the spirit and dedication to be a career cheerleader but I did learn many important lessons and make friends that I still have until this day. Four years later, the day after graduation I forwent joining my sister on a celebratory trip to Disneyland with my peers and instead traveled to Hume Lake Christian camp to begin a summer of manual labor for God.
Isolated from anyone I knew, working at Hume changed my life. This was before everyone owned a cell phone, updated their facebook status or tweeted. On my eighteenth birthday, without a single person wishing me happy birthday, I sat cleaning a clogged bathroom stall thinking that life could only get better. The next morning the most beautiful letter arrived from Joanne, she had no idea about my birthday, but sent me a letter to tell me how inspired she was by my journey to the camp and to keep the faith.
After college and a few jobs later, Joanne and I found ourselves back in Bakersfield. Moving back to your hometown is like cutting off your hair, you run your finger over the ghost of what you knew only to find it changed. Bakersfield and I are both different now but my friendship with Joanne is unchanged. Even though we are only minutes away from one another or she could just post on my facebook wall, Joanne still sends out her beautiful letters.
A friend once remarked that the one thing they miss about Bakersfield is Smith's smiley-face cookies and of course Joanne makes sure they receive one every birthday: because that is what she does, she sends smiles and joy via the US postal service. As we embark on our thirties this year I cannot be more elated to see what life holds in store and what new treasures will arrive in my mailbox.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
My great-grandmother had a full head of gray hair by the time she turned thirty and every month I visit my gifted hairdresser to resist this genetic certainty. This gray haired woman’s name was Virginia Jiron and she was a proud Latina woman who worked her entire life. Committed to her faith, she was a leader in the Catholic Daughters and Rosary societies. I was only seven when she passed but as I have gotten older she has become dear to me because of our shared locks.
As children, we traveled to Los Angeles from Bakersfield to visit my great-grandparents and I was always antsy from the long drive but the Virgin Mary statue in the garden made me enter reverently. My fondest memories are of a magical kitchen filled with collectable spoons and exotic candy; a home filled with squeaky twin beds and pictures from around the world. This place contained the magic of a strong woman.
This year my grandfather gave me a silver bracelet with the Mayan calendar for my birthday. As soon as I opened the box and before anyone told me, I knew the treasure belonged to my great-grandmother Virginia. It emanated the same magic as her home. Every time I need to be brave I wear this bracelet and think of her legacy. Today, to celebrate all mothers I wanted to re-post this message to remind us all to carry with us the legacy our amazing madres and abuelas left behind.
* photo one is my Mom (Gina Hertz) and Grandma Virginia at Honey Cruz's kitchen table
*photo two is our first holy communion with my Pops & Great Grandma Virginia