Ten for ’10 assessment

It’s time to assess how I did on ten things I planned to do more in 2010.

I’ll rate myself the way my elementary school teachers did on the citizenship portion of my report card:
Needs improvement

Running: Outstanding
Running continued to be my favorite method of exercise. I didn’t slack off with all my travel and took my running shoes with me to Michigan, Chicago and NY. I became more committed to running in the latter half of the year. In August, I joined the PostBourgie running challenge. The friendly competition, encouragement, tips and camaraderie pushed me to meet my monthly goals (between 75 and 100 miles). I also to signed up for a half marathon. I trained for a couple of months and in October I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon. I had a great race experience and did better than I expected. I ran some 10Ks and got a little bit faster. I’m currently training for the LA Marathon next March and have run more in the past month than ever before.

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The Snow

I decided a few minutes in to my long run on Sunday afternoon to go north so that I could begin the “out” portion of my out-and-back with the mountains in view. Due to all the rain in the last week, the mountains are capped with snow.

As I ran north along Azusa Boulevard and then west along Temple, I kept wanting to stop and take a crappy cell phone photo of one of my favorite views in LA. But I didn’t. I just stared at the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains and zoned out.

I used to go up to Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains often. As a kid, I just called it The Snow as if it was a place. My parents would get together with their siblings or compadres and split the cost of a large cabin for the weekend. A whole bola of Mexicans would get cozy for the weekend. I loved it as it meant there were plenty of kids to play with and each night was like a slumber party. My family went once or twice a year, enough to warrant buying snow boots, ski suits (we didn’t ski) and sleds. I loved playing in the snow, especially sledding down a big hill. I was never as adventurous as Danny, who quickly earned the nickname Evel Knievel. We continued going to The Snow often as I got older. My parents had friends who owned cabins and would let us borrow them. Those trips were usually just immediate family, but still fun. In high school, I’d go to Lake Arrowhead for weekend retreats with the St John Vianney youth group. Most of those trips were in the spring or summer, but occasionally we’d go in the winter. If there was snow, we’d still make time to sled, snowboard and build snowmen.

I went up in college too, usually on MEChA retreats. On one retreat during winter quarter, it started to snow outside. My friends ran out to play in the snow, but I refused to go out. I was warm and comfortable inside and not dressed for snow. My friends didn’t care if they were in jeans and Chucks. They were too excited to play in the snow for the first time. I stayed on the couch and watched them played. They made snowballs and tossed them at each other just as I had when my parents first took me to The Snow as a little girl.

It’s been six years since my last trip to The Snow with extended family. There was no snow on the ground and rain kept us indoors. It was a great trip with lots of delicious food and laughter as we played games and watched movies.

I’m still waiting for a do over of that trip. With snow, of course.

Familia, Fotos

Christmas Past: Boys and their toys (1984)

¡Feliz Navidad!

I spent Nochebuena at home with my family. We ate delicious food then attempted to burn it off with playing Just Dance 2. There was lots of laughter, singing, adoration of the baby Jesus, and of course a visit from Santa.


I love this photo of Danny and our cousin, Agustin, for two reasons. First, they’re just cute and exuberant boys enjoying their new toys. It makes me miss the days when there were lots of kids tearing apart presents on Christmas eve. These days we’re all grown up and there are just a few small children.

Second, I can’t help but look at the photo and think politically. I can’t turn off being a Chicana even on Christmas. I think of it as a play on the concept of a reconquista. I bet the image of two small brown boys holding guns (one pointed at the photographer) is the kind that strikes fear in the hearts of those who favor SB 1070, oppose the DREAM Act, build walls along the US-Mexico border and deport us all.

Música, Sentimientos

Lejos de ti

For the past six weeks, I’ve been obsessed with Carla Morrison’s “Compartir” thanks to NPR’s Alt.Latino podcast.

The night before Thanksgiving, I couldn’t sleep. I listened to Alt.Latino once again. This was the second show in a few weeks that the hosts had mentioned Morrison and played her music. Her previous songs hadn’t struck me like “Compartir.” I immediately got out of bed and downloaded the album, Mientras Tu Dormías.

For the next few days, I listened to “Compartir” at least five times a day and translated the lyrics so I could share the song with Sean. She was singing to me. She was singing about our bicoastal relationship.


I left New York just a few hours ago. Sean rented a ZipCar and drove me out to JFK as usual. We kissed, hugged and he wished me a safe trip. This goodbye was different, as we both know that in just a short week, Sean will be at JFK boarding a flight for LAX himself. He won’t be coming back to NY on Sunday night as usual and our bicoastal relationship will be over.

We’ll finally be together in the same time zone, same city… just a few miles away from each other.


No es tan fácil estar tan lejos de ti

That part of “Compartir” will no longer apply, but the rest will still be perfect.


Re-imagining Guadalupe

Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe (1978)

I’ve always loved imagery of La Virgen de Guadalupe, both traditional and non-traditional.

It’s no wonder that I was drawn to Yolanda López’s art when I was introduced to her in college. I instantly loved Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe (1978) one of the pieces in her Virgen de Guadalupe series. At the same time, I was also introduced to other artwork by Chicana/o artists featuring la Virgen de Guadalupe. I liked those pieces too, but they didn’t pull me in like Portrait did.

That was over ten years ago. I look at the painting differently now. I can see myself as López grinning as I take a long stride and try to be just as amazing.