Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dear, sweet Christmas

Christmas holds a special place in my heart. I feel a cheesy Hallmark movie coming on…but seriously, what a wonderful holiday. It fills me with so many memories (and I find myself watching those movies every year. Guilty!)
My family has always celebrated with large gatherings. The food is always the main attraction. Presents were always a part of the celebration –Of course, try telling a five-year-old Santa Clause is broke. The kid won’t have it! But food, food has always been at the top of the Christmas shopping list.
Typically, our Christmas tradition is to make Cuban food. This is due to my father. But over the years, my mother who is originally from Mexico has added to the menu as well: Tamales de puerco, de Chile rojo, or de pollo; posolle; menudo. One time my grandma and aunts made churros and buñuelos. Sweet fried desserts drizzled with cinnamon and sugar. There is always plenty of café (my mom won’t drink Cuban coffee, but I love it) and Abuelita Chocolate (it has an extra kick of spice that wraps you in warmth).
I can taste it now – Juicy, tender, pit-roasted carne de puerco; the delicate marriage of rice and black beans that is congrí, served with steamy ucar, glazed with sour garlic sauce and a big chunk of pan Cubano. This white bread needs no fancy slicing of a knife. The best way to eat it is to tear it, piece by piece without hesitation, without sharing. It tastes best alone. I’m thankful there’s a local Cuban bread factory 15 minutes from my house. Someone is always assigned the important task of picking some up. Cuban food is nothing without the bread. It would be a sin to eat carne de puerco with anything else.
Since my father’s passing, 11 years ago, I’ve been adamant of keeping this tradition alive. I am the only Cuban left in the household. My younger sister is married and although my brother has always been Cuban by association, sometimes I think I’m the only one who craves it anymore. I’m not sure what’s in store for this year’s menu. My sister is currently pregnant with her third child and cannot stand the dominant spices associated with Cuban cuisine.
I’m excited all the same. This year I’m bring home a special guest, my boyfriend Thom. He’s so wonderful and I’m annoyingly over heels for him. We met at a bookstore where I used to work. We had the opportunity to spend one retail Christmas together. If you’ve never worked retail during the holidays, you haven’t got a clue about human nature. I’m telling you, it’s like shining a light on people’s true personalities.
Talk about madness! Frantic last minute shoppers, crying babies, long lines, no breaks and the employees run amuck! The overhead sings “I’ll be home for Christmas,” and the employees are thinking, “yeah, right, if only in MY dreams. Will someone please turn that *Cheez-Its off?!!”
My General Manager always did a great job of keeping our spirits high. “Wear a Christmas hat” she’d say or “the rush is over; let’s go take pictures on the stairs!” Employees would reluctantly gather on the staircase and forget about our retail worries until someone caught our attention at the register.
Our store had the best steel grand staircase, stretching from the front of the store to the second floor. I don’t understand why a bookstore would include it. What a hazard! Every tile, every foot off the ground, almost beckoned reckless behavior, “Hey you! Yeah, you! Run and jump on me. Don’t worry about falling. I’m only four stories high. There’s a 50 percent chance you’ll live to sue.” The store brought in some interesting characters that “shopped” there. Every time I posed for a picture I thought, yeap, this staircase was built for this very purpose, to showcase its grandeur. We were more than happy to oblige.
This holiday season I’m not working. Christmas has sort of snuck up on me. In retail you start preparing for Christmas mid September, okay, maybe October. It helps to prepare you mentally and plan your own celebration in advance. By Thanksgiving dinner, I would have the whole house decorated, including the tree, lights outside and the secret Santa names ready to be pulled.
School finals took up all my time this year. Thom and I decorated the living room and set the stage for Thanksgiving dinner. When it came time to play secret Santa, no one wanted to participate. During the first week of December, it was my mom who put up the tree and along with my step father, decorated our front entry.
I am not discouraged. Christmas isn’t about presents or lists (sorry Santa, add me to the naughty list). It’s about family and taking the time to reflect on the year’s blessings. Some traditions fade. The food might not be Cuban cuisine this year, but at least there will be a feast and for that I’m grateful. My retail family and I may never stand underneath those stairs, with those silly red, green and leopard trimmed hats, but the laughter stays in our hearts. The important things remain – Each other.
It can be tough to open yourself up with family. They are your biggest critics, but also your biggest supporters. My biggest wish this Christmas is to extend that sense of togetherness, that sense of unity, to Thom, the love of my life. Unfortunately Thom has not been home since he moved to Houston in 2010. I need for him to see me in my natural environment and to know that he is now also a part of my family, like he is a part of me. And yes, the package includes headaches and awkward moments too (at no extra charge).
When preparing for this blog I called Thom’s mom, Peg. Hi Peg! I am so grateful for her. She raised a great man. (Peg, I’m not merely fluffin’ here. He’s wonderful. I promise to smother him with love.) She emailed me a few baby pictures of Thom. I immediate text Thom at work and demanded he marry me on the spot. “Not today love J,” he said. Still, I’m looking forward to future Christmases with my own little Thoms running around. I hope next Christmas Thom and I can spend it with his family too.
I’ll leave you with an introduction I made for my Christmas album on Facebook. It’s about two years old, but the thoughts remain dear to my heart.
Take the time this year to enjoy precious family traditions. Be thankful for all you have. Be mindful that it doesn’t last forever. Embrace love and share it while it's still within your grasp. Merry Christmas, w/  -Annette.”

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hola a todos,

I'm excited to announce that the MONGA is part of a holiday blog tour! 

It's been a while since the Monga has confessed.... and it's time to key you in on all her holiday secrets!

The Holiday Blog Tour 2012 kicks off December 7, 2012! 

Stay tuned and check out other bloggers by clicking on the link above.

You'll hear from me soon!


La Monga

Friday, May 11, 2012

Here's a thought...

What is love?

Love is blind, naive and stupid.
Human nature will prevail.

Someone once described it to me this way.
How much shit are you willing to put up with in order to be happy?
What is the acceptable balance?
What are you willing to give up?

But why? Why does it have to be this way? 
Is this true? How can love be a fairytale?
Why is nothing ever good enough?
Why do people stray?

Eye candy is not just eye candy.
There is a reason it's called candy.
Such a sweet and forbidden taste.
You don't want it all the time.
There's no need to bite, just let it tingle on the tongue.

What is love? 
An excuse for forgiveness? A commitment or seal of approval? 
What is the point of saying it? Are you convinced after the millionth time? 
There has to be some honesty to the word.

"Love is free" Lennon said. 
Why then does love become a hybridity of emotions: 
passion, hate, bliss, jealousy, ecstasy, confusion, clarity...
What does this all mean?
Damn the human complexity of love!

Can there be a happy ending?
What happened to my prince in shining armor?
Did he trade his horse in for an Ipad and cyber sex?

Curse the conniving man!
Perverse and jealous of others' good fortune,
Attributor of great ruins.
You may pray on others' misfortunes, but that won't lead you to fulfillment.
You will forever know the meaning of emptiness and solitude.

Seductress of feeble minds, no one will ever love you.
No one will ever care. 

You will surely be forgotten.
Not even your victims will remain.
They will temporary be hampered, but soon the light will shine on them again.
Because happiness is possible and love is real.
And those of us who truly seek it, will one day feel it's warmth.
And no matter what filth the conniving man evokes,
or what empty promises the feeble seductress brings,
love will always prevail. 

It is stronger than human nature; love has no boundaries, knows no limitations.

Yes, love is giving; love is loyal; love is a two-way street.
It's real. Lift your chest and embrace it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Eight Hundred Forty One Dancing Shadows

Troll thumping in the attic, keep a steady beat.
The man within the shadow sees.
Creaky corner; whickered chair
He’d like to say hello.
Residents come; residents go.
But the man inside the shadow knows.
There’s no need to worry;
He greets the morning sun.
You’ll never be alone.
Grumpy old Rutland;
Land of the rotten;
Oh land of rut.
You are truly special,
Spooks, crooks and all
I never found his story
Just his lingered soul.
So long, farewell decrepit home.

- AS -

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Romancing the tides

Jump into unconsciousness.
Sink past all the lies.
Deep beneath the surface, your demons will subside.

Who needs fresh air when you’re surrounded by bubbles?

Deeper and deeper down
Look up to see no sky.

Leave your courage to the currents.
Feel the water come inside.

Soon, in darkness, you will see the light.

Inhale brave soul; inhale. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Feb. 23, 2012

The Ageless at Heart
P.O. Box May You Never
Turn-The-Other, Cheek.

The smell of coffee, a grandfather clock; His Old Spice is enticing, but what that of his brother’s?

Caribbean clear eyes; youthful rouge cheeks. You are much too young for me. I can’t share my age with you.

You are the wiser, but my youth is piddling. Let it be.

Silently sorry,


Monday, February 20, 2012


"Time is our frenemy. It loves us as we grow, but we grow too fast. From the seed in the ground to the roots that latch down; we rise up from whence we're found." -AS-

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bouncing in my head

Let my ear drums thump with new sounds. Rhythms; beats, inspire, transform me. Sweeter than the whistle as it softy blows, the wind sings. Music is the river of creativity. Let it flow throw my veins.

 - AS -

Friday, February 17, 2012


I pour my coffee from the pot; take a moment to savor the french toast.
It's 9 a.m.; classical music fills the air
And conversations are all around.
As I sit in my new favorite hole in the wall
I think, this feels good;
Sitting solo with my notebook.
And i think of you.
I dare not contact you and be rejected;
You made it clear there would be no friendship.
But I think, perhaps things have changed;
Time has aired our differences.
You look good and I'm doing fine.
Maybe we could have a conversation?
You'd really like this new coffee shop of mine. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wistful travels

Hello old foe.
I see you've just unpacked.
Care to stay long this time? Or have you more trains to ride.

I received the letters you placed neatly in my dreams.
Did you find mine?
I left them hidden beneath your wishes between regrets and new affairs, where I hoped you'd see them.

Come, you must be tired.
Rest your head upon my chair; forget all worries.
Call this home now.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

On news watching...

There was a time when I stopped watching TV, or listening to the radio and believe it or not, stopped going online and checking my emails.  I always joked about living in my own world. 

Truth is I found it easier than keeping up with current events.  I can't do that anymore. 

It's ridiculous really; what I was doing was pretending, more like lying to myself. 

If I don't watch the news and stay out of serious conversations maybe my world would remain unaffected. 

I can't just pop my head out when the weather looks safe and promising.  No, I can't live in my bubble anymore. 

Yes, the world we live in is ugly, full of violence and crime.  It seems senseless that innocent people are dying daily.

I vow to acknowledge the darkness we reside in by becoming a solider of light.

Let me educate myself with its ugly ways and use that power to help clean it up. 

Running away from my responsibilities is no longer an option.  What counts now is this moment on.

The more time I spend reading the newspaper, checking newsfeed updates and listening to NPR, I realize surviving these hard times means tuning in and staying aware.  

I must gather my tools, take to heart the lessons of my professors, keep myself surround with young ambitious peers and pull from everyone I encounter.  

We are the generation that matter because we are the here and now.   Let us too pay tribute to those who paved our way. 

No one is perfect, but I WANT TO TRY.

I want to stop judging others for their differences and spend more time treating people with respect and show the world more love.

I didn't set any New Year resolutions.  Why should I, I thought, 2012 and the end of time, so childish.

Well here's one now:  I will wake up every morning more thankful and see the glass half full. 

I will not procrastinate because I know now that I am a part of a bigger picture and that my delay affects those around me too.

I will not put others down or speak ill of my neighbors, nor will I listen to others bash each other.

I will try to be more helpful and understanding because someone else along the way has and will continue to show me the courtesy of patience.

I could go on and on, but simplistically put, I will strive to be a better person and just.

I don't know where I get my arrogance, or why I feel so self-entitled.  The truth is I am the person I am today (my good qualities) because someone else took time out of their life to help mold me.

I am a direct result of teachers, family members, friends, co-workers, religious beliefs etc. 

We've all heard the cliché, life is short.  Yeah so, then maybe every second should count.

I want to thank those who keep me in-check and continue to positively affect my life and hope that one day 
I too may be a person of influence to someone.

And why the sudden thought?  Because I NOW watch the news, because I can no longer live in my own world or stay ignorant in the dark.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sleep is awake somewhere, isn't she? 
Why else would we wait for her?
Come find me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lazy kittens never pounce

Hello sweet dreamer. Have you rested well? Or have unclaimed triumphs come to haunt you? Be weary not of successful peers, but of missed opportunities and let those serve as fuel to your own endeavors. The best is yet to come. Keep your eyes peeled, even in dreamland. Sleep tight tiger.

No time for greetings

Hello old beau, so good to see your face.  Friends and family gather round me and you glance as you pass.  I am all smiles, but notice when you scurry.  Bye bye wickless flame.  I wish you well.