Sunday, December 26, 2010

Teena Marie & Venice High

It was 1981, my first year in high school (ayy, so long ago) when I was introduced to Teena Marie. The song was "Square Biz." As we would say back in the day, "that was my jam!"

Growing up in a strict Latino home who also happened to be 7th Day Adventist didn't leave a lot of going to parties and football games. It did leave me in my room listening to the radio. While the music played behind closed doors, I danced, I let the music take me away and Teena Marie's "Square Biz" was one of them (including Gap Band, Lakeside and other R&B groups).

The other fact on Teena Marie that we took pride in was that she was an alumni of Venice High School. We walked the halls that she walked. Did she sing in the bathrooms? Did she also have some of these same teachers? Did she kick it on the front lawn like we did?

Thank you Teena Marie for blessing the Universe with your music, your voice. You will not be forgotten.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Count Your Blessings..."O Veras...."

As I sit here contemplating the midnight sale at Toys R Us tonight because yours truly is "La Reina de Procrastinationlandia," I can't help but ask myself AGAIN, "Why oh Why Guadalupe (because you know its serious when I call myself by my middle name) do you wait until the last minute to go shopping? The answer varies...
1. Financial: I need to wait all the bills are paid and see what I have to spend. That's part of it.
2. No clue for gifts: I asked spouses for ideas and they didn't know. I asked siblings for ideas, "tampoco."
3. I would like the gift to have some sort of special meaning to myself and to them. Wow! What pressure I put on myself. I know! I really don't like giving gift cards because it is so easy but I should learn to embrace easy and go with the flow.

But beyond this gift giving...I realize what they bring into my life. Blessings. Blessings of family, Blessings of friendship. An acknowledgement that I am not alone in this world.

The holiday season began with a get together at the De La Garza home. Tamales and desserts. What more could you want? I saw friends I had not seen in a long time and it was great catching up on each other's lives. Next up....Sushi night!

I gave four massages this week. Nothing wrong with some extra money. Maria Felix eyebrows, here I come!

Maite had play dates twice this week with Oscar and Cayla. Her social calendar is so much busier than mine.

Today was a special day for so many reasons. It began with my neice Luna coming over today and she was in a huggable mood and gave everyone kisses before leaving for Atlanta with her father.

My friend Mary, whom I lovingly call "la pinche chota" brought me tamales dulces and some pan dulce for the kids. I haven't decided if I will tell Chuy that the tamales are in the refrigerator.

We spent the evening catching up with my compadre Tino and his family. The girls made bunuelos and cookies with Nicki-bird and Andivi. Through Tino, I have become friends with La Ashley and Rocky and today I met Nathan. Mucho gusto Nathan. I got to see the Baca family and spend some quality time with Raquel and Ralph. This day was so much more special because they always make bunuelos on the 23rd of December. It is my comadre Ludim's birthday (which I facebooked that she is in the heavens serving cake to angels and welcoming new souls into the "cielo").

This is the true spirit of Christmas. The lasting friendships that touch your life. But I want to make sure that all these people know how much I LOVE them and am BLESSED by them. With this said, I need to get my Happy New Year cards out and the gifts that are a token of my love for them. So when I hit the mall tomorrow, it's this feeling I will keep in my heart as I play tug of war with a stranger for the sweater on sale!

Feliz Navidad to anyone reading this. Actually Feliz Navidad to the Universe! Peace & Blessings for everyone in 2011. Namaste!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What do you leave to this earth?

I was recently with my daughter at Pavillion's. She was with her Girl Scout troop asking customers to purchase non-perishable food to help feed homeless and families in need. A couple of parents and myself would stand off to the side as they approached people coming into the store.

These were the typical responses:
1. They would stop and have a quick conversation with the girls, take the flyer and return to the table with some cans or other supplies. Que bonito.

2. They would respectfully respond with "No thank you. I can't today." Again, que bonito that they were polite.

3. They would keep walking never acknowledging that a young girl was speaking to them. Seriously?! It was a good thing that I was not in "La Gata" mode. Dang, wanted to pull out the power of the chancla and beat some sense into some people. The funniest one was of a person looking at the kids like they were aliens, then turned to look at his companion looking for some guidance of "what do I do?" while she continued to walk never acknowledging anyone was talking to them. Again! Que la chintola!

I stood there and watched these young girls not get defeated by group 3 folks and continue on with their mission. I know it is the holidays and every non-profit you can think of is parked in front of the market, mall and other public place. I am not telling you to give to everyone but be a "human" and respond with a "no thank you" or "yes, here you go." Manners go a long way.

Remember, Peace on Earth. Keep it positive and spread the good energy.

Where have I been?

Ay, ay, ay Chihuahua...where have I been and why have I not been blogging? One of my last posts had to do with my abuelita's death and that put me in a black hole. I didn't volunteer at school, I wasn't volunteering in Girl Scouts and I was living day to day trying to get through my class.

As some of you may know, I am in school (IBSP) studying to become a massage therapist. I am in the middle of taking a human energy class which deals with the energy that travels through our body. You know you have it people, because how many times have you given yourself a "toque" (and I don't mean the mind enhancing toque, sin verguenzas) walking across that carpet?

Well this class did an instruction of how our energy/power is taken away from us when we talk bad about ourselves. When we self-criticize we take our strength away. I am guilty of it. I tend to knock myself down with humor (i.e. girl, you know my big butt can't fit in skinny jeans). Our instructor Tracy showed us what happens. We stood up with one arm out to the side. Our goal was to not let the other person push your arm down. The second step dealt with a self-criticism. My sentence: I didn't see myself worthy to put myself on my own priority list. Needless to say, everyone's needs (husband, kids, family) came first. This is why I am still trying to go see Diane so she can wax my brows back to a "Maria Felix shape" and get rid of the "Cantinflas bigotes."
What happened when I repeated this sentence as my fellow classmate pushed down on my arm? She pushed it down. Que triste. The third step was to come up with a mantra to repeat to myself for one week. It is "I will put myself as priority so I can be the best that I can be." How is it working? Not bad. I still haven't made the appointment with Diane but it's financial not time-wise. I feel better and I do make some time for myself everyday (drink coffee work on sudoku, sit on the couch and watch the kids play instead of cleaning)
Another lesson, instead of being angry and thinking of 101 ways you can torture the person who pissed you off, think and say "_____ (fill in name): I am sorry. Thank you and I love you." It really works.

There have been some obstacles this week and I look at it as a shift, a transformation into something better. It's like the juicy catepillar from "Bugs". I will become a beautiful butterfly. I continue to ask for Divine Guidance and must be open to listen and to the changes that it brings.

With this said, I truly do wish to blog more often and always on a positive tip (even when I am venting).

To the mothers reading this: You are number one on your priority list. You are beautiful and you are mama (one of the hardest jobs on this planet).

Monday, November 15, 2010

I got your back girl...

My amiga/homie/sista Mary had posted on Facebook a comment asking people to delete certain documents should she die (all this was done in humor people, don't get depressed). I responded that I had her back, I would burn the whole computer to be safe.

Well...this got me to thinking. What am I hiding that I wouldn't want Chuy, the girls or any other family member to see? I have some word documents on the computer of angry letters I have written to Chuy but he could read and see how articulate I can be in anger. Hmmm, no old love letters from the past(got rid of those long ago), credit card bills (he knows). My journals the girls could read once they were older. I am leaving those under the care of my sister Lucy. The only other thing I asked her to do was to go through my drawer and throw away the "granny" chones. You know everybody has some... I don't need Chuy thinking "Shallow Hal". You know the scene.

So what do you have in your drawers besides "drawers"? What secrets line the pages of your journals, what photographs do you have buried in boxes? Make a plan with one of your girls. They always have your back.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Maria Villalobos I Love You

It was either drink or write to free my emotions. I chose to write even though I have a bottle of pomegranite margarita in the refrigerator. Oh well...I need my girls to drink with (and by my girls, I mean amigas not daughters)

When I walked into ICU on Saturday and saw my abuelita in the bed, I wasn't sure if my biggest emotion was grief or shock. Who was this tiny mujer laying in bed with her eyes closed gasping for air? When did she age so much? Was she really that tiny? Was this wonderful mujer in pain? She opened her eyes and gave me a toothless smile. Another shock, I didn't know abuelita had false teeth!

I leaned over kissed her on her forehead and asked her "Como esta abuelita?" Her reply: "acostada". She still had her sense of humor. Ayy caray.

I decided to spend the night on Saturday so my aunts and uncles could get some rest. My mother was preparing for her arrival because everyone agreed to bring her home to her room and make the time she had left comfortable.

As I sat there watching her sleep all I could think was how most of her life (she married at the age of 15) she was dedicated to being a wife and mother. I wondered what she was like at 15? Was she scared that she had to grow up so quickly? With each child that was born, did she gain a better knowledge and experience into raising children? She had 15 children. I have three and I am still trying to figure it out. How did she survive the loss of her children (5) because you can't ever forget.

When she was brought home she had the biggest smile you can imagine. She then told me and my cousin that it would be the last time we take her out of her home. We promised. This abuelita who always welcomed people into her home, her table was always filled with food and loved her children unconditionally was going away. The pain in my heart made it hard to breathe. How must my tias y tios feel?

Mis memorias:

Mi abuelita had a red wide brim hat she would wear as she walked around the patio in the back of the house. My dad would compliment her and tell her to watch out because a young man would steal her from us. She would blush and smile. She would see my dad eating something sweet and would stare at him until he offered "dona Mari, quiere un pedaso?" to which she would respond "pues si tu quieres." Ahh, the power of the jedi mind.
Chuy (my husband) once told her that he was about to call the police because he thought there was a car in the back "quemando llanta" (burrning rubber) to which she laughed at.

I remember the way she would carry some dinero tucked into her bra and hand us a dollar for ice cream when we were kids. I remember when I had Maia and instead of asking me if I pumped the breast milk she asked "hija, y te ordenas?" (Do I milk myself) to which I responded, "Ay abuela, ni que fuera vaca." Esta senora who would sneak candies into her pocket and then wake up in the morning with pieces of candy in her hair not knowing how it got there. "Quisas alguien lo tiro."

Here is what she taught me: You love your children even though they aren't perfect. You love your family and you love life. Thank you Maria Villalobos.

She was born in December of 1917 in Illinois and died November 2, 2010 (Dia de los muertos).
She has 15 children, 42 grand children, 59 great grand children and 8 great, great grand children. As my tia Carmen said, "mira las trabesuras que hiso mama con papa." Alamillo power.

Always loved, never forgotten.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rainy Days a la Mexicana

I love the smell of rain. You can smell the earth. It reminds me of my long, long ago visit to Zacatecas. It also reminds me of how my mom would come to pick us up from school and as we walked home (yes people, she didn't drive yet), we would jump in the puddles and run in the rain with her yelling "Se van enfermar!" The best part of the rain was the treat we had waiting for us. My mama would make hot chocolate (abuelita style) and a piece of pan dulce on the side. Pure heaven…

It is these memories that I want to carry on to my children. Yes, they too love jumping in puddles. They also love their chocolate y pan dulce. Maite likes the sprinkles, Maia likes the concha de chocolate, Gael likes the one with the calabaza filling and mama loves the "cochinitos" (referring to the bread and the kids – lol).

So on this rainy day mi gente, bust out your pot, warm the milk and drop the bar of chocolate (The abuelita comes in instant too).


Friday, September 17, 2010

En memoria de una memoria

This week I received some sad news. A friend from college died from cancer. The crazy thing was that I had just asked about Lauro while we were on vacation. Every now and then he popped into my head and I wondered how he was and what he was up to. With this wonderful technology of Face Book, I looked to see if perhaps he was on there. Who knew there were many Lauros?

I met Lauro at Cal State Northridge in a history class. How could I not notice the fact that there was another Latino in the class and he was hella good looking. Lauro was not only "guapo" but a genuinely, super nice guy. We became friends and for a while he, Lizette and I hung out and went to the CSUN parties together. I had a secret crush but never said anything because the crushes I had never worked out, they didn't crush back but that's another story.

I don't know why we didn't stay in touch after graduation. Why is that? How many times have we formed these great friendships in high school, college and/or work and once that chapter closes, not everyone moves on to the next journey. You get busy with life and so focused on the now, until you hear a song, smell a scent or see something that brings that person vividly into your mind. For the most part, it is always a fond memory because what good does it do anybody to hold onto the heartbreak, the anger. That energy doesn't suit you.

I will never have the chance to touch base again with Lauro in this lifetime. Maybe the next...I pray for God to give his family strength and I write this as a way of lighting a candle to Lauro. As I have said in other posts, let us praise all that is positive into this universe, let us hold high all that is special even if we temporarily forgot about it. I want to put Lauro's name into the heavens and let anyone who reads this know what a special person he was. Rest in peace...

To eat or not to eat...damn...Gael ate all the garbanzo beans in my salad

For everyone that has "esquinkles" (pip squeaks, rug rats, crumb snatchers, you know), getting ready to go out to a restaurant is not only a long process but an obstacle course of changing diapers, brushing hair, making sure they are not ashy, clean clothes and then figuring out if you should wear the "good" sweat jacket or a different jacket --only to realize that you haven't bought yourself a jacket and rainy season is coming up. Oh crap! FYI, I took the rebozo to cover the fact that I need a better bra....this could go on people! But the eyeliner was in place my ladies.

As we sat in the restaurant, my 3 year old is climbing up and down my lap as I am trying to eat and my sister is trying to get her 3 year old to sit down and eat. I look across the table and my husband is sitting there calmly enjoying his meal. How do I channel his calm way of being? If going to a restaurant is a luxury, why did we bring the kids? Why is there always a beverage spilt on the table, why am I always eating my food cold...

I mention to my sister that next year to celebrate her birthday we invest in a babysitter and the adults can enjoy a meal and an actual conversation with complete sentences and if I should get food on my clothes it is because of my own doing. But who am I kidding? If the kids were not there, I would want them to be there. They do make life a little more interesting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dichos De Mi Abuela

The Celestial Committee has put me in charge of raising 3 children.

How do I not screw this up? Is it trial and error? When I was pregnant with Maia, I would cry hysterically in the shower asking myself "What did you get yourself into? Pendeja!!" I felt like I had made so many mistakes in life, how could I possibly be in charge of someone else? Well, 3 children later, I still ask myself the same questions but I am alot nicer to myself.

There are no "real" mistakes and or accidents. Everything that happens is for a reason. The lesson may not hit us right away but it does eventually come.

With these 3 wonderful beings, I find myself sounding more and more like my mother. Especially with the questions, Why? and How Come? Where I resented the sayings my mother used to come out with, I now embrace them and they have become part of my life.

So, I hope to post a weekly "dicho" passed on to me by my mother or abuelitas. God Bless them. It is part of our culture and tradition.

The first dicho is "Los ninos son como los dedos de las manos. No son iguales." Translation: Children are like the fingers on your hand. None of them are the same.

So true! All 3 of mine are different. Is it middle child syndrome or is it the fact that we nicknamed her the viking. Does the baby get away with everything or is it that by the time we have the 3rd child, we are not as uptight about minor things? Don't sweat the small stuff, right?

For those that are scratching their head and mumbling all religions and politics....everyone has their own interpretation of these words. Whose to say that it is wrong? It is just for your reading pleasure and for those that don't agree or like it, hit delete.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Father's Day Toast

I was watching the movie "Julie & Julia" (or is it Julia & Julie?) with a friend and I was blown away by how much Julia's husband was in love with her. It was a toast over dinner when he stood up and said "You are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life." Like a knuckle head, I teared up, looked over at my friend Ana and said "Really? Movies like these set us up! No man in real life would say this, would he?" We laughed, not the men we know. But then again, Linda's husband is a romantic. Yay Linda!!

Well my people, I have thought about this for a while now. God bless my husband. He is no poet, he can't write me a song or paint me a picture. I still wait for him to set up a date night or make a candle light dinner. This man who got me with his calm nature (the six pack abs, long hair and nipple ring helped too) proposed in a helicopter flying over the coast at sunset. That was my piece of magic that I keep in the pocket of my heart. This is the man who stayed home for 2 weeks when each child was born to help bathe and change them. This is the man who does mechanics on my families cars, on my friends cars, plumbing and any other handy man task you throw his way without a complaint. This is the man who makes me french toast for Mother's Day and makes sure to close the bedroom door so I can sleep in late on weekends (8 a.m. counts for late in the mothers handbook. See Chapter 3, paragraph 4)

So.....I may not get that wonderful toast but I do get so much more. So lover, husband, friend...Happy Fathers Day! I love you "media naranja." You are the beacon that shines bright and steady in the heaviest of storms that leads me safely home.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mama, Mommy, Mami, Mom, Mother, Madre

"She is going to die" are the words spoken by the doctor to my mother at my birth. What a screwed up thing to say to someone. I was born around the 7th month and they stuck me in an incubator. I fought for my life. A month later when my mother took me to my check up the doctor couldn't believe I was the same baby. I was very healthy (translation: a little chunkster). I was born a fighter and kept right on going. Just ask my husband and children, I am still a fighter. I can still give a good argument.

Speaking of arguing, growing up I was the one who argued the most with my mother. I got so good at proving my point she would give up in exhaustion just to shut me up. She would say that I would make a good lawyer. Most of the time I couldn't believe this woman was my mother. I believed we had nothing in common. What I didn't realize until I became a mother is that I was the one most like her.

It is now Maia's turn to give a good argument and I hear myself responding as my mother did. "Because I said so....Porque mientras vivas abajo de este techo (while you live under this roof)...Yo mando y ya (what I say, goes)." Needless to say, I am constantly apologizing to my mother everytime I talk to her on the phone.

Two great mom moments that defined each others love has stood out in my mind. It was during my high school years and I walked home from school and was trying to talk to my mother. She was facing the sink in the kitchen when I arrived. I was talking to her and she wouldn't turn around to talk to me. I touched her shoulder annoyed that she wouldn't look at me. Well, when she finally turned around her face was swollen and bruised. I started to cry asking her what happened. This was the result of a car accident in the nova (which we nicknamed Lazarus because that car kept on raising from the dead...she crashed in it, I crased in it...the person we sold it to crashed in it...). She wasn't supermom. She wasn't invincible. It was then I realized how much I loved this woman and needed her safe and healthy in my life.

When I was in college she would complain that I was out all night and that I was up to no good. In reality, I was in a play and rehearsing late every night. She always thought I was wasting my time in theater and that acting would teach me nothing. She didn't realize the passion I felt to jump on stage and recite lines, be a whole different character other than myself. My sister convinced her to finally come to a performance. I played a mother from El Salvador whose husband had been killed by the government and was being tortured by soldiers. I did a whole lot of crying in this play. After the performance as we were out in the hall greeting the audience my mother came up to me and I was expecting a lecture, but all she said was "ayyy, muchacha llorana." In the manner that she said it I knew it was her way of giving me a compliment. It was this simple statement that oozed lots of love from "mi mama."

It is the simple moments that stand out clearly in my mind. She was always at school performances, there was always a home cooked meal on the table. It is this amazing woman that I honor. She always encouraged and supported and still does. It is this woman who I see reflected in myself.

So Happy Mothers Day, Feliz Dia de las Madres to all the beautiful mamas that I know and to those I have yet to meet. I honor you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Follow the light...Carol Ann

Being the P.T.A. president is not an easy task especially when you are juggling two girl scout schedules, take care of two 2 year olds and still have to cook, clean and do laundry...not to mention homework (I thought I did 5th grade already). It is especially hard when you only have the faithful Mar Vista 7 (the moms who I can always count on) but lack the support of administration and teachers. It is a bummer.

Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, with the lack of support I told myself I would show them and not do anything for teacher appreciation week. Cabrones, why should I volunteer my time serving breakfast to people that didn't appreciate what we were trying to do? The truth is that there is a handful of teachers that are excellent in what they do and are grateful but I wasn't focusing on that...hence, I was Darth Vader. I focused on what is not going right.

For those who don't know...I am going to school to become a massage therapist and it includes a change within myself. The school, IBSP in Culver City is awesome! The instructors are awesome and I went through the first 150 hours with a great group of people. During this journey, we learn to let go of baggage we have been holding onto, let go of emotions buried deep within ourselves, we laughed, cried and breathed and learned how to give super, yummy, delicious massages. I reminded myself "You are not Darth Vader cabrona (this is the term of endearment I call myself when I am lecturing myself). Walk into the light Guadalupe, it's a much better place.

So, with this new attitude that I am constantly working on....PTA will be hosting a continental breakfast for the teachers in honor of their hard work and I will keep reminding myself to stay out of the "dark side" because it's cold and it's not easy to breathe through the helmet...

Friends....How many of us have them?

It seems that recently I have been hit with news of friends "falling out". It just got me to thinking (with the two seconds I had free while I was peeling my son's boiled egg) of the balance of a friendship. Like a marriage or relationship, friendship also has its ups and downs. Sometimes we say things out of anger or the words we say to someone cut deep into their soul never to recover completely. In the words of my beautiful "comadre", sometimes people get busy with life and it's not that you forget, you just keep moving.

I wish I could give the advice to folks as to a hint when a friendship is over. Well a definite clue would be it they tell you to f**k off. That is truly a dead in the water friendship. Other times, you just leave it alone, give people space and examine the friendship. Ask yourself, does the good times out weigh the bad? Are there memories that bust your gut from laughter? Were they that shoulder you cried on, the one you told your secrets to, the one who held your hair back as you puked your guts out from too much bacardi and coke?

In my wise 44 years (damn, did I just confess that....hell yeah...I own it people), I have learned to value each friendship with wonderful lessons to be learned. I have friends that I don't talk to as often but when we do manage to get each other on the phone, it is non-stop laughter of life and love (hell yeah, Julia, Denise, Martha...I mean you). There are friends who I only see at our children's birthday parties, yet it takes us back to our college days (minus the hair holding and bacardi and coke). I even love my friends who I only talk to if I call them because again, life is busy. In essence, I am not ready to let go of these friendships so I cherish the beautiful memories and look forward to our next get togethers or 5 minute conversations on the phone.

So amigas and amigos....don't be too pissed off at what happened because I am sure the good list is far longer than the bad. But if the bad list is longer.... TONTOS...what were you thinking??

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Blogxican is Back!

So much for keep the resolutions. Chingado.

Actually, I have a good reason. Ok, maybe not. Yes, I do. I have been in school studying bodywork since January. I am learning massage through the art of Tai Chi and I love it!

The hours are long twice a week but it's a place I go where folks know me as Maria and not mom. It's my thing. Trust me, Chuy is reaping the benefits. He is my number one to get on the massage table and practice. The anatomy is a lot of work because I must memorize the muscles, bones and their actions.

But...I do miss expressing my thoughts by tapping away at the keyboard. I have all these ideas floating around in my head but I need to share with my faithful 7. I am also learning to let go. I have resigned from some committees at school, I don't say yes to everything (Oprah would smile but say I need some more work) and realizing that some battles aren't worth having.

So I will continue to study anatomy, petrissage, fan and strip the muscles and fan the colon (that deals with tummy rubbing cochinos) but add in a blog more often than not.