Regardless of mode, traveling is escaping

By Helena Rodriguez My 14-year-old daughter Laura recently got to fly for the first time. In fact, she traveled by almost every possible mode — land, sea, plane and train — in the course of only a few days. Laura and I accompanied my friend Yolanda to Houston last week for outpatient eye surgery. We […]

Pope remembered for leading by example

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT columnist When we lived in Abilene, Texas, my daughter, Laura, called me from a youth conference at the archdiocese in San Angelo and excitedly exclaimed, “I met The Pope!” I was like “What?” and then I started rolling in laughter. When I told this to my friend, Debra Vasquez, who was […]

Chanclas hold memories, make fashion statements

By Helena Rodriguez This month’s issue of Latina magazine features a short story on chanclas, you know, the old flip-flops or sandals that abuela used to whack you with? Chanclas still make good paddles, but these days, they also make great fashion statements. During my childhood, it was the infamous “pink sandal” that we had […]

When are you too young or old to have children?

By Helena Rodriguez The miniature rubber duckie on the soap dish in my shower always reminds me of Amanda. Dear, sweet Amanda. But here lately, I see the rubber duckie and all I can think is, “Amanda is pregnant! Amanda is pregnant!” Amanda was my daughter Laura’s best friend when we lived in Abilene, Texas. […]

Getting kids to clean room requires creativity

By Helena Rodriguez How clean is your house? That’s a scary question to ask someone, even a good friend, during a casual conversation. “How’s your day?” and “What do you think about the weather?” These are valid conversation topics. But talk about what lies behind someone’s closed doors and inside their closets and you just […]

Sometimes it helps to not understand

By Helena Rodriguez Why do people take it personal if you ask them to repeat themselves? “Huh?” These three letters must be the most detestable sounds in the English language because people flip out when I say them. If you’re feeling particularly suicidal on a given day, I dare you to say “Huh?” not just […]

Back to school coming soon

By Helena Rodriguez I interrupt this long, hot summer for some important breaking news. It’s urgent, more pressing than our current national security code level. It commands your full attention. It’s back-to-school time! Back-to-school time! Back to school! In case you missed it, “School! School! School!” Only 28 shopping days until school starts in Portales […]

Towels part of life’s tapestry

By Helena Rodriguez What kind of teenager have I created? That’s what I asked myself the other day when my daughter did something unexpected. She copied me. You know, it’s the old “Do as I say, but don’t do as I do!” adage. So what hideous act did I catch my 13-year-old daughter doing? She […]

Parents must be proactive in education

By Helena Rodriguez Is the glass half empty or half full? I consider it half empty. My daughter, Laura, my niece, Crystal Diaz, and my cousin, Danielle Madrid, graduated from Portales Junior High School last Friday along with 180 other students. We in the Rodriguez clan made a big deal out of it with a […]

Confusion lingers, as a friend leaves for war

Helena Rodriguez Today our family friend, Tom Venzor, leaves to go help fight the war in Iraq. Today, one day after the second anniversary of that horrific day that continues to haunt us through vivid video footage and images, increased terror alerts and a war that continues on. It’s ironic. We just went to visit […]

How much should parents expect from their kids?

Helena Rodriguez “How come I have to have a mom who cares?” Those were my daughter’s exact words of frustration after I spent several hours tutoring her in algebra one spring night. Of all the cruel things a parent could be accused of by their own offspring. I didn’t know whether it was an insult […]