Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mammaw Update

As of today, Mammaw is doing somewhat good. She says that I must have just gotten scared and called the Ambulance because she most certainly did not have a heart attack. Haha.
As she most certainly did not have a heart attack, they are having a hard time keeping her flat for the 48 hours or whatever after the splint was put in. The doctors tried sedatives but they made no impact. As of last night, she had to have restraints put on as she doesn't know where she is or why she is there but she does NOT like it! She is very disoriented and they were up all night trying to keep her calm..Mikey says this is normal with Alzheimer patients..

Instead of picturing her like that I like to remember when her hands smelled like bleach because she was always cleaning so much...And when I was 14 or 15 and would love to play the Tennessee Waltz on her piano because she loved it and would sing while she was cleaning, cooking, etc..Or when I was little and we loved to share a can of jalapeno cheese dip with a bag of Doritos and she would crush up chips in the last bit of dip so I could eat it with a fork. Or when her and I would rake her leaves up at the double wide and she would tell Mama how good I was at it and it made me want to make her proud.....
I like to picture those times because who she is now isn't really her..

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Today was the longest day ever.

Around 1:00 Mammaw laid down on the couch and started moaning and saying she was dyeing. She told me her chest was hurting and she kept crying and praying out loud so I called the ambulance. By the time they got there she wasn't moaning, crying, or even responding. They took her to UT hospital where they said she had an artery that was 100% blocked and did a splint.

I've never dealt with something like that. It was actually pretty scary because I hate seeing her in a weak position (like with oxygen or anything).. She's always been so strong through everything and it made me feel protective when they had to open her shirt to put monitors on her...I know it's necessary but she was always so modest so it makes me feel bad.. And it's scary not knowing how she would react if she came to her 'right mind' while all the fireman and stuff were in her house..

And this may sound totally nuts, and is a different rant, but I hate when people mispronounce her name...In fact, it bothers me when people do her name but it doesn't really bother me with the kiddos...Because she's worked hard for her name to be a GOOD name! So firemen, ambulance guy, doctor, whoever you may be- Her name is IRENE not Ilene or any other weird variation. Her name is a beautiful name and I don't like people mispronouncing it because it's been with her through thick and thin. Gee. Irene Irene Irene, ok?!

Anyway, thought I would include a sweet picture of a good day when Orlando and Mammaw fell asleep on the couches.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


So I ran into someone yesterday that brought memories of my past and made me truly realize how lucky I am to have ended up where I am.
Yeah, some things may not be exactly how I would like them to be in my life right now (such as being separated from my best friend/husband) but I am proud for exactly who I have become and what I am working to achieve. So overall I would say I am pretty darn content.

I know judgments will come and go but I am NOT ashamed in the very slightest for having two sweet babies and a Mexican husband. (illegal or not!) In fact, I'm so proud of the family Jose and I have made together. I couldn't ask for a better life or anything more.. AND just because I have a family does not mean I can't continue and finish school, live in exotic places, and someday have the job of my dreams.
Anyway, with all these feelings running around I thought I would share a little of a self-exploration paper about my personal culture for my Cultural Anthropology class that I wrote this week:

In explaining my own culture, I would have to say it is southern with a lot of spice. I was born to a mother from the green valleys of East Tennessee and a father born and bred in the open-minded state of California. This made for an interesting combination of values and beliefs that they would find important to instill in their children. One thing I can be very proud of when taking a self-exploration journey of my culture is that I am very aware that I come from a very tolerant family who accepts others for their own eccentricities. I am the last of six children and we were all very lucky to each have our own artistic talents which promised to always keep our family in the company of very diverse individuals. Whether this is based on culture, talents, religious beliefs, or even values, my culture is one that accepts. My culture is very tolerant. My culture loves others for who they are and does not attempt to change those individuals.

My culture that I was raised in and that has remained my own does not care about money. Being the last of six children, I grew up in a lot of hand-me-downs. It wasn’t until high school that I actually started liking clothing items that were different from what everyone else was wearing. It was around this time that I started to realize that my mother was right all along. “It isn’t what someone is wearing that makes them who they are..It is what they are inside that really matters.” It was also around this time that I started dating and attempting to make life-long friendships. Thankfully, with my own growth, I tried to pick individuals for both of these categories that had characteristics that I really and truly loved. Looking back, I also think I was in a mad attempt to pick and fix individuals who were lacking in some emotional or financial category. Though I made many of mistakes in those years, I can look back and see that my intentions really were clean and based on a very non-judgmental perspective. This cultural characteristic of being a non-admirer of material wealth really has protected me from quite a bit the last couple years and even led me into some of the best relationships I could ever ask for.

The culture that makes me who I am remains beautiful and exceptional. I love where I came from and who I have become through self-exploration. I love that growing up I would eat beans and cornbread with my ‘Mammaw’ every Tuesday night but our foreign exchange student from Korea would be there eating with us. I love that my culture is so unique because it is full of men who open doors for women and children who are taught that they should say ‘Yes Sir and Yes Ma’am’. I love that the tolerance I was taught as a child brought me to the place I am today with a wonderful Mexican husband who has a very exciting culture of his own. I love that my culture is so giving and the giving process is so anti-boastful. I love who I have become because of the very culture in which I was raised.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Update on Case!

Senator Alexander received an answer today to an inquiry sent on the 12th to USCIS. This is what it said:

"The case was received by CDJ on November 5, 2010. Additional evidence was received January 2011. The case was flagged to show that your congressman is interested in this case in February 2011. The case is still pending with CDJ. The current processing time is 8 months from the date of receipt."

8 months would make July.

So hopefully I'll have my husband back by this summer!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Snowball Bush

So my Mammaw's interest (and nearly all conversation) the last couple days has centered around this snowball bush in her yard. It has beautiful big blooms and she keeps saying she wants me to get a 'cutting' off of it but she thinks we have to wait until it stops blooming to do it. She may not know if it's December or April, who I am, who she is, where she is, or even how old she is but she does, however, remember her flowers.

I thought I would look more into this snowball bush thing as it would actually be pretty special to take a 'cutting' and plant it somewhere where it could bloom and grow.

These snowballs really are beautiful..

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Extra pair of helping hands

8PM- Lando is attempting to lead me on a doggy-walk by the drawstring on my pajama shorts and I look over to discover my 1-year old is standing at full height inside the Tupperware cabinet. Haha.

It's times like this that I'm wishing Chucho were there to lend an extra pair of hands. (Oh, and a brain since I seem to be losing mine.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Case sent to D.C.

Wednesday after seeing Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr.'s support on the recent immigration issue for the lady/children who are previously citizens of Moldova (see 'Help from Politicians?' post), I contacted Congressman Duncan again and requested a congressional inquiry be sent. I was informed he would not write anything to show any support in passage but she would send an inquiry that day. Today she received a response. Once again, pretty quick for Immigration services!

"...It was indicated the paperwork had been forwarded to Immigration and Naturalization headquarters in Washington DC for a final decision.
..I spoke with INS , Washington and was told that once the receive date is established in Mexico it normally is taking from 8 months to one year for a decision..."

Pat Thompson

Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (Tn 2)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Turtle Sandbox

Today was a wonderful day!

Aunt Jenni and Jean-Marc bought a Turtle sandbox for Orlando for his birthday a couple weeks ago.

Lando, Lady Goo-Goo, and I played in the sand all day. Well...Lando played and Lady tried to eat it by the handfuls. Ha! But it was BEAUTIFUL outside and we had tons of fun!

Mammaw even came out for 2-3 hours. She couldn't understand why we were outside (which presented some interesting conversation) but it was wonderful just to have her outside with us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Help from Politicians?

So while watching WATE 6 Evening News I was very surprised to see a story that was on a lady who had apparantly received un-fathomable help from Congressman Duncan in reference to the lack of care taken by immigration on her childrens' applications for residency.

The gentleman relaying the story states that her waiting issue was handled and solved within four hours after reaching Duncan who apparently handles the same types of issues all the time. Wow. It's wonderful that they can have such an influential politician speak up for them as before they were merely like the rest of us going through tons of immigration stuff..Four hours. That's hard to even imagine something going that fast with USCIS.

With us, Senator Alexander has been more than helpful through all this....I did speak to the immigration representative in his office yesterday when she called to inform me that she sent another Congressional Inquiry yesterday morning for our I-601 backlog. She did state that the response should hopefully include how much longer we have to wait for an answer and more on the Pending Status. I can not even express how thankful I am for the Senator's great support!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Conversation of the day

Mammaw:Where's your husband? Did he kick you out?
Me:No. He's in Mexico. He has to stay until the government tells him he can come back. We're trying to get him residency.
Mammaw: Our government wouldn't do that. Take a man and separate him from his children... I've never heard of them doing something like that.
Me:Yeah, it didn't used to be like that.
Mammaw:Why would they do that...? Mexico is part of the United States.
Me: New Mexico is part of the United States. He's in old Mexico. The country.
Mammaw: Well let me tell you...You'll be lucky if he comes back. He needs to be up here taking care of his children. Where is he?
Me:Mexico. The government wants him to stay there until they look through some papers.
Mammaw:Humph! You don't even have a husband.

Bless her heart.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Biggest Dream

If there is one thing I would tell people coming out of high school-go to school before you have kids!!
As I have to wait until the kids are sleeping to do school work, it really makes things difficult. I keep thinking if I try in the daytime they’ll get used to it but it seems like there’s constantly something needing Mami’s attention.
I know it will be worth the struggle in the long run so maybe the real solution to this stress overload when dealing with homework deadlines is just sitting back and re-visiting the bigger dreams that will be more attainable when I have a degree..So here goes..
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to someday have some land and start/direct a camp for children who are abused/neglected. I want to hire a psychologist and art therapist. Also provided at the camp would be horseback riding lessons, lessons to learn possible work traits (roofing, construction,etc), and instrumental classes. Since I’ve wanted to have this camp for so long, I really think that it’s something I need to keep pushing for rather than seeing it as unobtainable. I want to help change the future possibilities for all these kids out there that have had a rough start and may not have a support group that every child deserves. But let’s face it…as of right now I don’t have the knowledge to even know where to begin to fulfill such a dream…Much less know how to fill out papers for government funding grants or even all the disclosures needed to protect such a program when dealing with high-risk children.
Sooo…time to write my essay for Cultural Anthropology..In other words-Time to push through..Time to keep moving forward..
One day I want to say I feel truly successful and have somehow overcame all the stumbling blocks that could have possibly kept me from any true calling or positive impact I could have on others in the same situation..
Guess it’s time to start on that homework……