Saying Goodbye

It’s been my great fortune to be blessed with wonderful, loyal friends. I am truly touched by something magical in their presence. Over the years, I’ve formed deep and abiding friendships with wonderful people, both here in L.A. and much farther afield. Some are scattered round the U.S., still others in Europe and Australia, even more in Latin America and Mexico. No matter the distance, our connection remains strong. I’ve made friends in virtual worlds and in games, and those friendships are no less as connected or deep because of the lack of physical hanging out with each other. Those friends scattered around the world, email, hop on Skype or mosey on over to a virtual world so our collective avatars can sit around sipping virtual coffee and sitting on a virtual couch. It works. It’s not ideal, but it keeps us connected and the friendships are lasting.

Then my world got shaken I received word that one of them had died thousands of miles away. I hadn’t known she was ill.

I was stunned. The death of someone dear to you is never easy and sadly I have been through it more than a few times. The difference with this one was that she was so very far away, suffering from a horribly virulent form of cancer and that I never knew. Knowing my dear friend, I know she very deliberately chose to hide her illness behind happy emails and that she did it to protect me and her other friends. She knew I would have quit my job, somehow found a way to raise the money and taken myself to the land of Oz to be by her side. So would many of us that knew her – she was so good, she had that kind of devotion from her friends. She was always the first to help, the first to be supportive no matter what, the first to send her love. Always the protector, she protected us till the end or so she thought.

Would it have been better to know she was ill? To suffer with her? I don’t know. I do know she was there for me when I was ill and while I respect and honor her decision to hide her illness from those that loved her, I feel more bereft, almost cheated, then guilty for feeling that way because I respect her choice.

Her widower tells me brokenly that she went peacefully and that her last thoughts were of us, her friends whom she considered family. He said that she told him to contact each of us personally and to tell us she loved us and that she left this world happy knowing we were all doing well.

In respect for her wishes and family, I do not give her name in this post. All I can do is share with you what a tremendous person she was and how much I loved her.

Goodbye, dear friend.

Research, Research, Research

I’m writing a novel.  It’s set in the Mexican Revolution.  I thought I knew about the Revolution from family stories, history and my reading of it.  The more I research it, the more I realize I don’t know a damned thing.

It has humbled, enlightened me in powerful ways.  I am walking back in time, crossing borders, climbing mountains and getting my senses filled with the smells of death, fear, courage, dreams and hunger.  I have been amazed and moved by the incredibly resilience of a nation at war.  I am brought to tears by the desperation of mothers sending their young sons to Zapata so that at least they could know where their bodies would lie, and not let the press gangs of the government take them.  I am learning about old men being sent into exile to Vera Cruz, so many miles away.  To the sea when they were mountain people.  Families torn asunder, land stolen, constant uncertainty…I find myself almost unable to go on, but yet I push, I pick up another book, I watch another video, I learn more.  This is my history, my culture, the blood of these stoic, resilient and strong people runs in my veins, my DNA string is intertwined with them.  I must go on, the book is secondary now.  Only the learning matters…only the truth of their stories matters.  I must tell it true.  I must do it with honor.

 

Whether I finish the book or not, I am incredibly grateful for the experience that all this research of years now, (five or six, I’ve lost count) has led me to.  This deep understanding of my family, my people, my heritage.  Humbled and grateful.

There is so much pride too.  It is incredibly what the human spirit can accomplish.

It’s More Than Just a Dress – It’s a Community

When I was a young girl, I dreamed of having a quincieñera,  the Latina girl’s coming-of-age ceremony.  It’s part debutante ball, part Sweet Sixteen, part religious Catholic ceremony. We couldn’t afford it, but I still dreamed about it.  When I broached the subject to my own daughter as she neared the magical age of fifteen, she glared at me and asked for a car instead.  She never was very girly.  Now it’s my granddaughter who dreams of a quince even though we’re not Catholic and she has no idea what it means, except for a big fancy dress, she gets to wear a tiara and long satin gloves…her little girly heart goes pitty-pat every time we walk by the nearby Community Hall where the receptions are often held.

You’ve seen the dresses…some of them are pretty darned tacky.  They come in every color of the rainbow and have more ruffles than you would think possible to wrap one young woman in.  I think they are darned hideous mostly, but they serve a purpose far deeper than the girl who dreams of the day she can be queen and have all eyes on her (future bride training?).  Those quinces feed the community.  Dresses are bought from small women-owned local businesses.  If someone in the family sews, the money goes to another community shop – for material, beads, lace, thread, all the accoutrements.  Musicians, limos, tuxedos, flowers – all bought locally or in barter with other family members and friends.  The food for the reception, the money to rent a hall to have the dance in – all local, small business.  Of course, the young lady will have her hair, nails and makeup done locally.  A photographer will be hired.  Her maids, those proud friends who walk with the girl on her special day – they all need dresses, hair, makeup, nails, shoes too.  Those quincieñeras feed, strengthen and nurture the communities in which they are held.

Enter Disney who loves the Latino dollar but frankly, couldn’t give a (expletive) about us as a community.  They are now in the quincieñera dress business according to the L.A. Times.  The photo shows a girl proudly posing (is she even Latina?) in a Little Mermaid-inspired dress.  They will market the hell out of this, using their cartoons, their television stations, their radio stations all to turn the heads of both mothers and daughters in such an insidious way, that no one will even think about how badly this is screwing the local economies.  Those seamstresses that make the dresses are going to lose a huge chunk of their annual revenue.  Why have your quince at the local hall and eat your mom’s enchiladas and mole if you can have it at Disneyland?  They are ROBBING small business, STEALING from our communities, and raping our culture for profit.  Not to mention these little poor communities are AMERICAN communities.  I can pretty much bet these Disney dresses are being made in China or someplace else.

I just have one word…HUELGA.

Boycott Disney and don’t buy those dresses.  It’s just the tip of a nasty iceberg.

Conversation with Aiden 5/11/13

6:00 a.m. while I’m sipping coffee, he wakes up this ensues:

Aiden: Grammy, my class is dancing to a lobster song.
Me: Rock Lobster?
Aiden: YES!
Me: Wanna see a video? That’s the B-52′s.
Aiden: Ok
Me:
Aiden: Wow, are those people on drugs?
Me: Probably.
Aiden: Well, do they sing anything else?
Me:
Aiden: Yep, drugs. Drugs are bad.
Me: Well there is this…
Aiden: Definitely drugs. So I need a lobster costume and can you show me how to dance a conga line?
Me:
Conga line into the kitchen to make pancakes.

My New Blackberry Z10

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I very recently got my electronic-grasping hands on the new Blackberry Z10 and was immediately impressed by how light weight it was. My old phone is much smaller, yet seems to weigh a ton in comparison. After first being a little disconcerted by the weightlessness of the phone, I fell in love. The momentary lapse was because it almost felt unreal, it was that light. The love came from the fact that I’m a commuter who travels from Eastern Los Angeles to the Westside via Metro. My daily commute involves two trains and a bus and takes about an hour. I carry a bag full of necessities: smartphone, tablet, paperback in case e-reading isn’t on the agenda that day, lunch, my office shoes, cosmetics, notebooks and pens (yes I still take handwritten notes) and a camera. I know, I know, both smartphone and tablet have cameras…but still, just in case. Needless to say, this stuff weighs on me so a super light phone is a true pleasure.

Once I got past the weightlessness of the phone, I set it up and was truly impressed by the ease of everything. Verizon and Blackberry made it incredibly simple to add my social media accounts and pull in contacts from email accounts. Everything was there. I’m no stranger to new phone setups and this was by far the easiest. Simple is good, especially when you’re a busy and rushed person who hates reading instructions and prefers to figure things out on the fly by doing.

I am loving the Blackberry Hub, wherein all my notifications reside. It pulls together all notifications from email, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, etc. and I am loving have all that in one place. AND I found the overall speed of the phone and browser to be very fast, almost instant. Videos load quickly and the resolution is great. Audio is very clear. In a future post I will share with you all the other features I love but for now, I need to tell you that YOU CAN WIN big WITH this campaign:

Tweet to Win Two 4GLTE BlackBerry Z10 Smartphones

All you have to do is tell us why you must have it using #DameELBBZ10 and you will be automatically entered to win the grand prize WITH FREE SERVICE that includes Share Everything Plan con Mexico!!

http://www.verizoninsider.com/bbz10

So go ahead and enter and Join us THIS WEEK on Wednesday May 1st for a special Twitter Party on #DameELBBZ10 to win a great prize! Party starts at 6pm PST – don’t miss it!

Be sure to check out more info on this fabulous phone check out the device website here and Verizon for more about the promotion here. Also, to get an in-depth, insiders view of this feature-packed phone, don’t miss this link with tons of pics and screenshots.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Wireless Lifestyle Program which gives me free access to mobile technology and other benefits. I was compensated for this post. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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