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Showing posts from 2011

Marathon Virgin

I finally completed my first marathon in December 4 at the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon. Much has been said about the event, a lot of it is negative, if you Facebook people's comments. I had a great time. I come from a circle of friends that meet on Sundays to run through forestry hills in Orange County. Among them I was the only one whom hadn't completed a marathon while most had several under their belt. It sort of felt like I was back in high school and everyone's comparing locker room stories and I just shrug my shoulders and try to imagine what it must be like.

Vegas wasn't the first marathon I signed up for. Fourteen years ago, I signed up for the LA Marathon. I wasn't running regularly or didn't consider myself a runner but I've always been a bucket list/challenge/adventure type person and I wanted a new goal after obtaining my degree. Probably less than a few months later, before I actually started to train much, I realized I was pregnant and deci…

The Benefits of Empty Space

When my husband and I moved in to our new home over a decade ago. We brought with us one child, our first born son. I quickly filled our three bedroom home with hand me down furniture and clutter without giving it much thought.  I know my mom meant well when they gave me the extra bed, night stands and dresser to decorate the spare room we had so it wouldn't be empty. But I realize now, there is a benefit to the emptiness. In the void of clutter, there was a blank slate where ideas and possibilities lie waiting on the white walls. With a full bed and ugly bedspread, I closed the door on the spare bedroom which I quickly labeled a guestroom without giving it much thought.

Years later, the guest bedroom is filled with my other two sons' beds. It didn't occur to me to claim the spare bedroom for my own til I came across a blog contest a while ago. Women submitted pictures of their "mommy caves" for a chance to win a gift card. I love to browse through some of them f…

Book Giveaway: Café Dulcet By Chiquis Barrón

I had the pleasure of reading Chiquis Barrón's latest novel, Café Dulcet. Set in the backdrop of Nogales, Arizona, Café Dulcet is a blend of rich characters, culture, drama, and community.  
The novel weaves the life of Nena (Ximena Ferrer), a university researcher whose childhood greatly was influenced by the women in the local coffee shop she would frequent, with the lives of the community around her.  Nena's favorite after school hangout was Dona Pilar's Cafe. It was the heart of the community with people coming and going to pick up a cup of jo and learn some new chisme (gossip) or gather new words of wisdom from Dona Pilar as she talked in metaphor's describing people in relation to their respective coffee blends. Mysteries of an unresolved relationship are woven with the drama/tragedy that unfolds within the neighborhood. 
You'll want to grab your favorite cup of your favorite coffee or tea, and sink back into a comfortable chair as you read this intriguing novel…

Up Coming Events

Commit to Pass

One of the lessons learned from driving to El Paso, Texas, with my younger thirty-something brother, Gabriel was learning how to conquer my fear of driving large automobiles.

The car I drive is mid-sized. Over seven years ago, I hydroplaned in a twelve passenger van and spun into an almost 360 degree turn and stopped at a telephone pole in time to not get thrown back into traffic. This incident was the basis of my hesitation for taking the wheel of my brother's Suburban to help him with the long thirteen hour drive. Gabe was tired and hung over from staying up all night with friends. I contemplated. Would we be any safer with me driving? I've always believed in conquering my fears instead of letting myself become limited by them. However, I had slowly been doing the opposite ever since the spin out. I stopped driving our large family van altogether.
It wouldn't be my first time driving back all the way from Texas. At the age of 19, I drove a Toyota Minivan back from El Paso…

Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memories By Sarah Rafael Garcia

I finished reading Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memories by Sarah Rafael Garcia the night before heading out on a short trip to El Paso, Texas, where I would visit my father and tias (aunts). Out of all my unfinished books, I'm glad this is the one I chose. It was the perfect read to get me in the mood for visiting family.
In Las Niñas, Sarah recounts touching girlhood memories shared with her family of three sisters (las niñas), their proud parents, and extended family of cousins, aunts, uncles, and an unconventional abuela (grandma).  Life wasn't all roses for Sarah, especially after her father passed away when she was only 13. Nevertheless, in her memoir, Sarah focuses on what matters most, the life lessons her parents taught her while growing up, and the simple yet beautiful memories they created as a young Mexican-American family with aspiring dreams. The Garcia family's vision of the future is best summed up in a letter Sarah's father, Rafael, wrote to his…

Mujeres De Maiz Live Art Show

On Sunday, March 6, my sister and I attended the 14th Anniversary Mujeres De Maiz Live Art Show: Soldadera de Amor. Mujeres de Maiz is a grassroots women's networking support circle of emerging Xicana and Women of Color artist and activists in Los Angeles who create work concerning women's issues. Throughout the month of March, Mujeres de Maiz puts on various community events honoring International Women's Day and Women's Herstory Month. It was our first time attending one of their events. 
We paid a $10 cover and made our way through the artisans' booths at the Paramount hall. There were plenty of booths selling Frida, Cesar Chavez, and Dia De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead handcrafted decorative memorabilia. Other vendors sold natural medicinal herbs, Chicano books, local art, decorative handbags or jewelery. It was the first time I had ever seen washable feminine pads. The material was soft like receiving blanket material and in various colorful patterns like Hello …

Safari Park Half Marathon

On Sunday, March 13, my husband and I ran the Inaugural Safari Park Half Marathon. Even though we left with plenty of time to park the car and pick up our race packets, event traffic and road closures  caused us to miss the official race start of this sold out event. We had to park a mile away and walk back to the start line. On our way, I took pictures of the runners as they made their way out of the Safari Park parking lot along mile 1. We continued and started the race uneventfully with a handful of runners who were also delayed by traffic. As my husband pointed out, its an inaugural event so they have to iron out the kinks with each successive event.

It was a beautiful race. The course was scenic, hilly and challenging. And the weather was perfect for a run, cool but with clear skies.We passed green farms and saw cows feeding off moist dewy grass. We ran inside the park and saw wild animals. I don't have pictures of any of that. Once on the run, I didn't take any pictures…

Tour De Palm Springs Bike Ride

Got Quads? That's my unofficial theme for the Tour De Palm Springs. I'm used to running events where elite runners tend to be slender with worn knees. At the Tour De Palm Springs bikers were showcasing their over-sized quads in tight biker shorts.

I went with the advice of a seasoned Tour De Palm Springs cyclist and did the more scenic 55 Mile Course instead of the Century Ride. No regrets. It was an awesome ride and I loved it.

It was a perfect day to ride. The weather was warm with a clear blue sky. A month later, I still need to even out the tan. 

You plan and prepare for an event, before you know it, it’s over. I have only my tan, pictures, and memories as reminders of my adventures along the way.

Hand On Wrist

It feels like lately I'm back in school struggling with long division, essays, projects, and breaking down trinomial equations into binomials with my kid's homework. Consequently, I found I finally put my engineering degree to good use by finding application for the advanced math I once took. It’s hard to believe a few weeks ago, I was making minestrone soup from scratch on a school night with my boys. The new busyness makes me appreciate the evenings we spent playing outside till it got dark. Because of the new soccer season and school project deadlines, I was working with my kids’ homework calling it a day at 7:30-9:30 pm on days when we are out of the house 7 am headed for school. As assignments get turned in and March charges further into the New Year, I can start to see the light at the end of tunnel, and its season is spring.

Read Across America Day

I volunteered to read at my kids' elementary school for Dr. Seuss's Read across America day. I was still running around in the morning when I asked my youngest son to pick out some books for me to take to read. Turns out they all weren't the books I would have chosen. (My favorites tend to be cutesy and sentimental.)  Oh, well, I gathered my kids into the car and we were off. At school, I learned I wouldn't be reading to my sons' classes, another oh well, I couldn't change minutes before the readings. I was hoping my youngest wouldn't be too disappointed. 

The first book I read was Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes. Normally, when I read picture books to my boys at night, they listen quietly while we're huddled together in bed. To my surprise and delight, the third graders in class hung on every word. By a show of hands only two of them had read the book before. They gasped and commented about how mean Lilly was to her baby brother Julius. So…

A Bit About the California Weather

It's windy today. I felt an icy chill on my face in the morning and I buried my hands in my jacket as I walked into work. I live in Southern California so I can't complain about the weather. But I wanted to write about it because it is worth noting that my lover of a state has been moody.

For the last year, the weather in my Inland Empire city has been unpredictable and a lot cooler than normal. I've lived here over a decade and our summer temperatures would used to range from 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. We hated the summers here. We used to not want to leave our air conditioned house in those hot months to drive anywhere because we would get burned by the car when we try to open the car door and then we'd have to sit on a towel to avoid burning our buns on the car seat heat while we wait for the air conditioner to come on. In 2010 towards the end of summer, we had 5 consecutive days of really hot weather like we used to have. Then it got cloudy and cold all of a sudde…

Somewhere In Between

Even better than finding my diaries is reading them to my boys. I enjoy hearing them giggle and seeing them learn about my younger self, before I was their mother.
I signed up for an online writing class at UCLA Extension. I fell in love with the variety of nonfiction classes they offered. It looks like they have enough online writing courses to complete the Certificate Program without ever having to visit the campus. I’m excited and hope it goes well.

I had signed up at other extension courses to smaller schools before only to find the class cancelled after months of anticipating and scheduling it in my calendar. Once I didn’t find out about the cancellation till the morning of the class. I made the best of things by doing a write-in with another lady who had shown up. We talked most of the time.

We had an active weekend with a long bike ride, soccer scrimmage, and run. I missed having weekly writing classes for both the camaraderie and inspiration.

Found My Girlhood Diaries

While putting away our Christmas decorations, my husband lowered my memorabilia containers from the high shelving in our garage. I wanted him to bring down the boxes because one of them contained my childhood diaries.

In the first plastic bin, we found my kid's old baby outfits. They were cute colorful sleepers that brought back memories of chubby cheeks, little hands wrapped around my fingers, and long hours spent nursing and singing them to sleep. I compared the white baby shoes with bells on them to my 13 year old's big shoes as he was lying down reading. We marveled at the changes.

The second box had awards, yearbooks, birthday cards, and the diaries. I wondered if there would be any good to them. Had I written any details I'd since forgotten? And would any of it be worth reading? I raised the silver diary with a red colored rose on it to my nose. That one used to smell like roses. I inhaled. It had lost its scent. I opened the diary and started reading. Streams of te…

A New Year

One year is out and another quickly fills in. I welcome 2011 with open arms. I blogged 33 out of 52 weeks last year. I plan to continue my goal to blog at least once a week in a effort to check in, feel my pulse, recalibrate if I have to.

I don't have an obsessive list of new years resolutions but I do have goals for the new year. In general, I plan to turn my baby steps into leaps and bounds, to be more fearless, and continue to follow my bliss and enjoy each moment.

2010 was the start of many adventures. I met my Sacred Writing Circle, traveled to Alaska with my family and NYC with my sisters and husband, spent many nights reading poetry or science-fiction with my boys and husband in our nest, took long drives with lots of conversations with my sister on our way to writing groups and classes, did a mini writing retreat with my sister, wrote some travel pieces, joined a soccer league, played and ran with my kids and husband, ran several half marathons, read a lot of good books, …