Archive for the family Category

Honoring Mabel + Jeannette

Posted in family, love on November 2, 2011 by Gabbi El Mas Negro

So inspired by the amazing and beautiful altars constructed in Sayulita’s plaza and at CVIS this year – Maxxi & I made our own Dia de los Muertos altar to honor my wonderful Abuelas, Jeannette Stoops and Mabel Bischoff.  Our altar has my favorite framed photo of the two of them – from our wedding reception in Kentuckiana – and some things that they both loved.

Mabel drank sweet black tea, played penny poker with her best pal Irene, and smoked like a chimney.  I hated the cigarettes and would hide them on her – she was not pleased.  We’d watch Wheel of Fortune and Magnum P.I. and eat butterscotch ice cream and have sugar biscuits for breakfast.  One time my cousins Scott & Shannon & I collected a bunch of fire-flies in a mason jar and set them all loose in her bedroom.  Jeez, we sure gave her a hard time.

Jeannette was an avid reader and a marvelous cook.  Her love of cooking and baking passed on to my dad and in turn to me.  My favorite meal of hers was fried chicken, mashed potatoes with milk gravy, and baby peas.  She made the best buckwheat pancakes with homemade syrup for breakfast.  She always used these metal bookmarks that hold your book open for you so you can read with one hand. The Hershey’s Kisses are for her, and the red backdrop is for her mother, my Great-Grandmother, Ma-Maw Stammer, whose favorite was “any color, just so it’s red.”

You amazing ladies are missed every day.  Your spirit, your hearts, your love, and your souls live on in your many children and grandchildren who carry your traditions through our lives and manifest your beings within ourselves.



La Paloma Blanca

Posted in family, Maximo, words on April 12, 2011 by Gabbi El Mas Negro

Maxxi singing with his Nona, abuela-extraordinaire.

Come back soon, Nona, te extrañamos mucho!!

…and now for something completely different, equally awesome:

60 Years of Danger – Billy Stoops, A Retrospective

Posted in family on March 10, 2011 by Gabbi El Mas Negro

Shades of Sunday

Posted in dog, family, Maximo on January 16, 2011 by Gabbi El Mas Negro

Big Haircuts!

Posted in family, milestones, Uncategorized on January 13, 2011 by Gabbi El Mas Negro

It’s been a big week for grooming around the Villarrubia house.  Gab took Maxxi for a haircut on Saturday, which makes him look so BOY-ish, and ever-yet-still more adorable.  Gab had his own hair cut uber-short and is looking uber-hot, and I spent a few hours today with the lovely Kori Walker, who winters in Sayulita and summers in Truckee (she even cuts our bestest friend Jay Heapy’s hair, all the way back there in the heart of the Sierra!).  I love my new haircut and color – she managed to take a little length off and give me a “new feeling” look, without losing the long-haired-lady look that I love, and I even let her put a rooster feather in my hair.  Yes, a rooster feather.  Apparently, they are from happy, humanely farmed California roosters, and only taken from the birds after they have otherwise died from natural causes.  Ironic having an imported rooster feather when there are about 50 roosters in a 50-foot radius from my house.  mmmm, irony.

“Like your feather.”

my dreamy duo

“Like your feather.”

My Boy, My Joy

Posted in family, love, Maximo on January 9, 2011 by Gabbi El Mas Negro

My boy – what joy he brings me each day.  Some days also have their share of frustration (more on this later, and my need/desire/struggle to be more…n…..t.), as he stretches his toddler boy wings and asserts his will oh-so-strongly.  Today (most days, every day) I reflect on the loveliness.  So much loveliness and love coming from that boy, it takes my breath away.  My son, my boy, my no-longer-baby, who speaks in full sentences, recites complete books, sings entire songs… who reasons and questions and weighs his options and is starting to understand consequence.  My boy, who sits quietly playing by himself, talking and imagining, re-playing stories from his books and movies, inserting himself into their imagined world, and bringing the characters back into his.

My boy, who rocks out like a maniac on the drums, singing at top volume, dancing like a rock star owning the stage.

My boy, running on the beach, riding horses and building sandcastles with mommy, walking and playing with daddy, throwing the frisbee with us, washing his hands free of sand again and again and again.

My boy, who loves his bedtime books, and has a new tradition started with daddy of just sitting and talking before going to sleep.  “Daddy, can we talk awhile?”


My boy, mi familia = LOVE

Dia de los Muertos

Posted in family on November 2, 2009 by Gabbi El Mas Negro


-Jeannette Stoops and Mabel Bischoff (l to r), July 3, 2004, at our Kentuckiana Post-Wedding Reception-

Today is Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.  A time for celebrating and remembering those that have left us, and guiding their spirits back to the home with altars bearing offerings of food, gifts, flowers, candles.  Both of my Grandmothers, Mabel and Jeannette, passed away within the last two years, and it is their memory that I honor and celebrate today.  They were both vibrant, strong,  beautiful, loving Southern Women – Mothers to 7 and 5 children, Grandmothers to exponientially more of us, and Great-Grandmothers to the few lucky enough to be born before they passed.

Today I spent some time telling Maxxi the story of his Great-Grandmothers, his Bisabuelas. How Grandma Mabel (Miss Marvelous Mabel Blanche) loved to tell stories, play penny poker with her friends, smoke GPCs, drink sweet tea, and most of all talk about all of her Grandchildren and her love for them.  How she used to make me sugar-toast for breakfast.  How she had the strength to leave a bad marriage and live on her own when it just wasn’t done and it for sure wasn’t easy, but she lived her life on her own terms.  How she always waved goodbye with both hands, because that just sent twice as much love with you on your way. How much she would have loved knowing him, and hearing his laugh.

How his Great-Grandma Jeannette always wanted nothing more for her Children and Grandchildren than to be happy on whatever path they chose.  How she was the best cook, and made everything from scratch, and sewed outfits for my Barbie dolls, and made the best lemon meringue pie and fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and milk gravy.  How she was the eternal optimist to the end of her days, in the best sense of the word – only celebrating what she had left in her life and the love she had for and from her family; never lamenting her losses, the hardships life dealt her, the failings of her body as she aged.  She was full of joy and love and had such a profound affect on all who knew her, and seeing photos of baby Maximo gave her so much happiness in her last months of life.

To my beautiful Grandmothers Jeannette & Mabel, who traveled the long and winding road from Daughter to Mother to Grandmother to Great-Grandmother with grace, strength, love and wisdom – I honor you and I carry your torch into the future so that your Bisnieto Maximo will know you through the many life lessons you taught me, that surely inform my own Mothering in ways too instinctual to notice and too plentiful to count.  I love you and miss you both.