Question of the week: Telenovelas

When I was growing up, my mom never watched telenovelas. I doubt she had time to sit down with four kids running around. In fact, the only time she watched TV was when she ironed clothes or folded clothes still warm from the dryer. TV was just background noise.

The only people who watched telenovelas at home were Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni. When I was 8, my parents sent me and Danny to their home in el Cargadero, Zacatecas for a few weeks during the summer. I played all day with the kids in el Cargadero. In the evening, I’d settle in front of la tele with los abuelitos, to watch the latest chapter of Rosa Salvaje. Rosa (Verónica Castro) was the perfect heroine. Ricardo, Rosa’s wealthy love-interest, was swoon-worthy. And what’s more scary than evil twin sisters with big ’80s hair and shoulder pads?

I loved it.

But then I came back to the states, third grade and the Disney afternoon. I forgot all about Rosa and her rags to riches story.

In the next ten years, I’d get hooked on only two more telenovelas, Baila Conmigo and Soñadoras.

Since 2000, I haven’t paid much attention to the telenovelas that always confused me as a kid. A blonde person speaking Spanish? Really? Where were all the brown people? It wasn’t all so confusing. After all, I did learn plenty of insults and words like “idiota,” “jamás” and “engañar,” but the acting was bad and the plot lines were predictable. Plus, I had way too much going on to tune in every evening for an hour.

La Pregunta: Are you a novelera/o?


Number 32 and number 34


I’m still sulking. Yes, me the fair weather fan who only pays attention to the Lakers during the playoffs. To be fair, the playoffs do last forever in the NBA. But still, I’m very much a hometown girl and anything that makes LA look bad hurts me.

Anyway, I was trying to do a little writing therapy, but nothing was working. A beer didn’t help either.

And then I remembered the time I met Magic Johnson three years ago after a pick up game at UCLA where he played with a few other NBA players.

It got me laughing and feeling good for the first time all night.

Here’s the story as told to Matt, a friend from New Orleans:
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Question of the week: Los Padres

Dad comes to my rescue whenever I need him. And I need him a lot.

Last week, I called him a bit freaked out because my car was overheating. I was in Northridge about 20 minutes from my apartment with no cell phone. I made it safely to my friend’s apartment and called dad to figure out what to do about my overheating car.

I gave him directions to my friend’s apartment and a few hours later, he and my mom showed up in Northridge. They’d driven out from Hacienda Heights (45 minutes to an hour away) to check up on my car. Of course my dad could have told me how to do some basic checks under the hood. And he could have told me to call the roadside service included in my warranty, but I’m his daughter. He drops everything if I — or Lori, Danny and Adrian — need him.

The whole experience made me realize that I’m not as independent as I thought. I need my dad and his Charlie Services™.

La Pregunta: Why does your dad rock? Amusing anecdotes appreciated.



When I was a kid, I never understood why Mamá Toni called a birthday a “día de tu santo” or “santo” for short.

No one explained to me that Mexicans often chose a name based on feast saint’s days.

Mamá Toni was named Antonia because she was born on San Antonio de Padúa’s feast day.

Feliz día de su santo, Mamá Toni.

Los Angeles

On the record

It was the last day of jury duty. We, the jurors, deliberated for a little over an hour and then called the bailiff to let her know we’d come to a decision. Half an hour later, all attorneys and defendants were ready for us to file out in to the jury box.

As we took our seats, the judge noted, “let the record show that all jurors and alternates are present… and one die hard Laker fan.”

The courtroom broke out into nervous laughter.

“Is that on the record?” juror #3, sitting directly to my right, asked.

“Yes,” the judge responded with a boyish smile.

That was it for the jokes and we got to business.


I sat next to juror #3, a tall, athletic Afro-Panamanian in his 60s, for our nine day stint on jury duty. I never learned his name, but did learn a lot about him. After seeing the Panamanian flag hanging from his rear-view mirror and learning he didn’t need to listen to the court-appointed interpreter to understand the testimony of a Spanish-speaking witness, I figured out he was from Panama. He passed out shiny purple and gold fliers and told the rest of the jury about his tax preparation business. The office doubled as a museum housing his Laker gear. Yes, he gave tours.

Oh yeah, he was diehard Laker fan. It’s on the record!

He distinguished himself from fair-weather fans (*raises hand*) by asserting that he was a Laker fan even during their slump in the 60s. But he didn’t have to say anything. His zealousness was clear.

Every single day he wore Laker gear from head to toe. Yes, even shoes. The cap came off only while in court. He always read the sports section for the latest news and analysis on the Lakers’ playoff run. If he forgot sports section, he’d ask to borrow mine. He had two flags — ubiquitous during the Lakers’ 3-peat in 2000, 2001, and 2002 — on his car. I suspect they never came off during the off-season or even the regular season.


I wonder if juror #3, felt sick after tonight’s game.

I know I did.