Sometimes at the big parties, I wouldn’t dance. Instead, I’d stick out my arms, place my feet — in cute patent leather Mary Janes — in position and spin. My colitas and dress would fly up.

The dancers would become a blur. Until I bumped into one.

Then I’d be told to stop.

“Ya párale, te vas a marear!”

But that’s exactly what I wanted. So I wouldn’t listen and get back to spinning. Soon, cousins and siblings would join the fun and we’d become a small group of whirling dervishes.

It was all so much fun… until someone got hurt. Someone always got hurt. The eldest kid or ringleader would try to prevent more drama.

“Don’t cry! You’re going to get us in trouble!”

But it was futile. We hadn’t learned yet how to suppress the tears. A parent would rush over, to scold the crier.

“Te dije… that’s what you get.”

The sniffling crier would be taken away or inside to get cleaned up. The rest of us would come up with a new game to entertain us… until someone got hurt.

Photo taken by Alan at LACMA inside a Richard Serra sculpture


Siguiendo la luna

My parents wanted to name me Veronica. Dad liked the idea of calling me Ronny. They passed on the name after a couple close friends chose the name for their newborns.

Cynthia came to them from a baby book. I don’t know what they liked about it, but just know that it met their primary qualification: it sounded good in English and Spanish (to avoid aCameron/camarón) situation).

They rarely use Cynthia, just as they rarely use Daniel and Laura. I’ve always been Cindy, except when it comes to a place like the doctor’s office or the DMV. Or when I got in trouble.

I didn’t think about this much until I read “My Name,” a vignette in Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street in high school. I wrote a short essay and concluded that Cindy fit me better. It was short, bouncy and casual. Conversely, Cynthia was too long, formal and sounded inherently snobby (only in English, I like how it sounds in Spanish).

I didn’t even consider the meaning of my name. After all, this was well before I fully developed my affinity for the moon and came to really appreciate my prominent lunares.

A few weeks ago, after a great run under the full moon, I came to new conclusion about my name. Mom and dad knew what they were doing.

Cynthia really does fit me (or I fit it?).



I love that my friends and family take pictures when they find the elusive 31. My cousin, Vanny, took this photo at the San Diego Zoo.

Today’s karaoke scorecard: Me Voy (Julieta Venegas), Hopelessly Devoted to You (Olivia Newton John, Grease), Tú, Solo Tu (Selena version), Tragos Amargo (Ramón Ayala), I Will Follow You Into the Dark (Death Cab for Cutie), and First of the Gang to Die (Morrissey). [I picked songs to fit the sad song theme. Also, I’m already making a list of songs I need to sing next time I do karaoke.]

The boyfriend shares a birthday with Tiffany. I share one with Debbie Gibson. We were meant to be…

Cindy is is equal parts Marcha de Zacatecas and Camino de Guanajuato.

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