Dominican Cereal

It was the summer of 1986; my brother and I were spending the entire summer in the Dominican Republic between relatives, in particular with great-grandma. Our first morning was the start of our humbleness. We had asked great-grandma to give us cereal for breakfast. Of course all Spanish people call every brand, and make of cereal, cereal.

Our uncle had not returned from milking the cows, because of this great-grandma decided to let us feed the hens and roosters. A while later from a far distance we see our uncle coming with the milk pales. We could hardly contain ourselves, and after feeding the hens and roosters, she called us into the dining area. It was the biggest bowl of cereal I had ever seen in my life. I thought I was going to be eating the whole dinner salad by myself, but wait! The bowl had smoke coming out of it.

Once she placed the bowl down my brother and I looked at each other with the biggest blank look known to man kind. We had just seen the breakfast ghost. What happened to our honey combs? We felt so betrayed, especially by the cereal company. How could they let this happen?

The bowl consisted of hot smoking white milk and wheels of yellow plantains. As much as we wanted to leave this nightmare of a breakfast behind us, we did not dare get up or question the idea. Instead we prepared our selves and eat every single bite. First by blowing the white hot milk and then scoping up a spice of steroid induced, wannabe honey combs, guiding the spoon to mymouth as I held my breath and every time there after.

The next morning we planned to awaken earlier, but to no avail she beat us to the kitchen and had already prepared breakfast for us. With her smile from ear to ear she tells us that my mother had informed her that we loved cereal for breakfast, and being we eat all of her special cereal she would now be preparing it for us for breakfast. Great, now we are taking place in an episode of the Twilight Zone, but who’s going to rewrite the script to this horrible cereal ordeal.

Two weeks later and probably 10lbs heavier from all that protein and fiber, we finally left great-grandma’s house. We felt such a relief; there was no way we could continue to have Dominican cereal as she called it. We could not wait to have something different at our aunt’s home in the City.  The next morning we decided to sleep in later, now that we did not have feed any animals or wait for the milk to be fetched and boiled. Finally our aunt calls us for breakfast. As we sat in our respectable chairs, we could not believe our eyes.

The Dominican cereal made its way from the country side to the city in the matter of a sun rise.  My brother’s eyes looked as if they belonged to an owl, while my expressions were not hard to miss. We were in so much disbelief that, I decided to ask my aunt what was this? Her reply was so simple, as if she had rehearsed it, replying great- grandma told her and the rest of our relatives that this happens to be our favorite cereal.

Breakfast after breakfasts we started to believe that there must have been a conspiracy against us, or we were just crazy. The only consolation prize was the fact it did not taste horrible it actually tasted great. Though it was just wrong; cereal should be enjoyed with cold milk and has that crunchy noise indicating the authenticity of this American cereal.

After a summer vacation that turned into a three year hiatus, we could no longer remember what American cereal was like. We were so hooked or brain washed that we only wanted Dominican cereal. For the first week after we arrived back to the US, we continued our great- grandma’s breakfast trend setting, until the second week. We accidentally rediscovered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; needless to say it was all over.

Today as adults we love reminiscing about that 1986 summer that turned into a hiatus. Our first thought has always been the Dominican cereal that followed us from the country side to the city and the rest of our time spent in the Dominican Republic.


Ethan’s Visit

Its 6:30 am outside the air is thin, crisp, pure and faithful to its winter morning. The evening past has brought upon more snow, which now travels lightly through the sky giving the illusion that it may still be snowing. The City seems so pure full of white flakes that have vanquished all wrong doings and has given it a new canvas for tourist to dream upon.

After looking out the window for hours Ethan decided to get dressed and brave this new and exciting place. He looked at himself in the mirror with his eye’s peeking out from under his bluish hat.  On his way out he looked into the mirror towards the left of the door; it was if Spider-man was standing in front of him. Taking a second look underneath all the wrapping Ethan could only see his ocean blue eyes. He barely recognized the image reflecting back at him. Out he went trenching through the snow he could not believe how beautiful it all seemed.

So many people filled the sidewalks, laughter sidewalks laughter, screaming, beeping; cars and people alike everything and everyone seemed to be part of the Indy 500 going at the same pace … fast.  Ethan on the other hand wanted to enjoy the scene.Following in the footsteps of the typical tourist that visits New York City; Ethan took pictures of every major attraction in hopes of keeping this memorable visit vividly in the present. Block by block snap by snap he admired and recorded his new memories. His mouth began to salivate as he slightly inhaled the aroma of fresh brewed coffee. D & D lured him.

As the sky had started to change colors Ethan couldn’t help to simply stop and watch the sky go from orange to red to an orangy-red color, eventually a navy blue color set in to greet the evening. Turning on to 42nd Street was as if he had sketched himself into the brochure the travel agent had given him. All the lights around town shine so bright and so proud; it’s just like the pictures in his brochures. Suddenly Ethan is pushed out the way retracting him from the brochure. He turns around quickly only to be met by a swarm of people rushing to catch the train. Ethan’s heart began to pump faster and faster, his hands felt clammy, while his thoughts were all jumbled up. He could not believe how everyone disappeared so quickly into the tunnel. Back home he could only witness this by watching movies. Moving out of the oncoming pedestrian’s way he lowered his scarf to take a few breaths and quickly covered his mouth. For a brief moment he felt disoriented, until he found Toys“R”Us shifting him back to the brochure. But it was all forgotten as the neon lights began to shine for miles. The yellow cabs were here hailed and full of people traveling up and down the avenue, as Chicago O’Hare’s airport during the holiday seasons. That just doesn’t seem to die down.

In and out the stores he went looking for items to take back home. The streets and sidewalks were still busy; as he turned down a block he noticed people dressed in their Sunday clothes as his mom would say back home, rushing and making lines to enter the theaters. Two blocks down were street vendors painting caricatures for passerby; he decided to have one made to remember his trip.

After hours of walking and sightseeing, Ethan decided to make his way back to his rented room to
unload. He poured himself a glass of red wine, took off his boats, and sat down by the window. Sipping from the glass of wine, he glanced out the window to admire the path that he had traveled. Suddenly small, gentle, light body white flakes begin to take over the City once again. The sidewalks tried to stay uncovered, but to no avail; the cement was no longer a challenge for the snow.  Ethan looks at the clock on the table it’s 10:25 pm. He continues to stare out the window as a new canvas is created for the next tourist to dream upon. Before turning in, he wrote in the guest book, which had been left by his bed side to sign by all guests. In it he wrote: to the City that gives blank canvases for all to dream upon.

BareTrees Adorned with Leafless Twigs

Eerie, dark skies gloom over the desolate forest. With no shelter or alimentation, animals and humans alike have abandoned the trails. All that is left are bare trees adorned with leafless twigs. That evening before the season was due to change; from across the highway the wind could be heard howling through the lifeless forest; while on the opposite side the wind shuffled silently through the open window whisking away the curtains knocking the bouquet of flowers off the coffee table.

Daylight breaks with no significant change in the weather. Across the way the forest continues to visibly fall into a humanist depression. Overnight twigs have evidently fallen without a soul insight to testify its demise. The bare trees adorned with leafless twigs are slowly becoming unknown and unnoticed.

Travelers of the highway no longer slow down to observe the forest; instead they quickly accelerate before welcoming the evening in this area.  Dusk starts to set in; the bare trees adorned with leafless twigs set the tone and scene for the next Jason thriller.  The moon shines through the desolated forest bouncing its lights over the tress, illuminating a glimpse of life.

The next morning curiosity peeked. Across the highway it was and into the trails the investigation started; frantically searching for life. Minutes later there it was, standing all of one inch tall a leaf has begun emerging from its hibernation stage. One lonely green leaf……….

That evening one or two cars slowed down noticing the green leaf growing out one of the bare trees once adorned with leafless twigs. Days later the leaf had disappeared once again leaving the forest with the bare trees adorned with leafless twigs. There was no end in sight the grim reaper had claimed its victory over the last hope of life. Nature had decided to second guess the ground hogs predictions.

Soon after, the rain had overwhelmed the area causing travelers on the highway to decelerate, due to flooding.  On the windowsills puddles would form, while across the highway a constant fog with mist enclosed the forest that presumably continued housing the bare trees adorned with leafless twigs.

A month or so had passed without notice. Breaking through the clouds a shear streak of sunlight doused the newly reinvented forest. The window was opened allowing the breeze to carry a fresh sent filled with the sound of chirping birds reclaiming their home. Travelers were driving slowly admiring the view taking a few extra seconds of relaxation before continuing their journey to work. Squirrels could be seen stretching alongside the grass simultaneously dusting off the winter particles off their coats. And the bare trees adorned with leafless twigs were no more, as the enclosed period had blossomed every leaf, acorn, flower, life into them creating a breath taking tree lined journey.

Neurotic vs’ Toddlers = Balancing Act!

Before having kids, Clorox = a clean home. There was not a spot that did not get sprayed and cleaned throughout the week. Now, I find myself struggling between what
is safe for my girls and what will come close to cleaning the same way?

 I’ve tried the vinegar solution, alcohol wipes and even just plain soap and water with a spray of Lysol, yet at the end of the day I am not convinced it has done the job.

This is just one of the many little things I have had to deal with in the past two years. I was a bit neurotic when it came to making sure everything was done right;
this included the bed being made (this one is still a must every morning), dishes done and stove cleaned before going to bed, sofa throw pillows are fluffed before going to work and everything in its
place before leaving the house.

Lately, I find myself dwelling on what I have energy to complete. Everything has started to take a step back, since the girls have become more active. Not to mention the fact that I have a full time job. Balancing time and finding
what’s a priority since the birth of the girls has been one of the biggest challenges. 

Though, I thank God every night for giving me the most patient and understanding fiancee, that just goes with the flow, instead of demanding more of me.

Would love some feedback on how you the reader balance cleaning, cooking, kids, working and so forth…