Escuela, Familia

Board games and blowouts

The board game crew

I’m slow when it comes to recapping weekends, vacations and fun days with the family. It’s worse if I have to upload and edit pictures. I know some bloggers do this daily and even recap each day of their vacation, but I can’t do that.

After being back at work for a couple of days, I’d like to go back and relive the long weekend — except for that part on Saturday night when the UCLA football team forgot to show up at the Coliseum. Yikes.

Other than Saturday night, the long weekend was filled with good times.

Sean and I kicked it off by watching The Muppets on Wednesday evening. We both loved it as did the rest of the audience in the theater. I plan to see it again soon. I’m pretty sure I missed some cameos and jokes because I was laughing too much (manically, of course). I’d also like to learn some of the original songs and add them to my karaoke go-to song list.

Silly pic #3

After for going for a sunny mid-day run on Thursday, I headed over with Sean to my madrina’s house in East LA. Madrina Chilo always hosts Thanksgiving and other family members bring sides and desserts. By the time Sean and I arrived a little after 3 with our sweet potato casserole, most of the family had already eaten. I’d barely eaten in the morning so, I couldn’t be bothered to photograph my first plate. After scarfing down turkey, ham and lots of carby sides — stuffing! mac and cheese! — we retired to a spare bedroom with the rest of the cousins.

About to send a text message?

We played Imagine If and Last Word, took silly photos, and tried to keep baby Minel from stealing our cell phones. I liked the Last Word. It’s an easy game to set up and play with several people. It also made us laugh a lot as we tried to think up words that went along with the category (e.g. things in a purse) that started with the designate letter. Before everyone went home, we also picked names for the big family Christmas gift exchange.

First Thanksgiving together

I hope Sean enjoyed his first Thanksgiving with my family, even if he didn’t get his usual turkey leg… at least not initially. I luckily was in the kitchen just as Madrina Chilo was carving the second turkey and asked for the turkey leg to take home with my other leftovers. Yes, I brought my own tupperware.

I didn’t do any late night shopping on Thursday or hit the stores for deals on Friday and attempted to make some pumpkin pie. It didn’t work out well, but redeemed ourselves with some brownies. Instead, we ate leftovers, watched movies (Drive and The Muppets Take Manhattan) and were lazy.

Saturday was another chill day. I supported some small businesses (local nail salon for a pedicure, tacos from a local restaurant). I didn’t watch the USC/UCLA game since I don’t have cable. Instead I just got ESPN updates with each scoring play. A 50-0 loss sucks, but I wasn’t terribly disappointed or embarrassed. I’m not the one on the field or sidelines. Nor am I the one hiring and recruiting the coaches and students involved with the football program. There are many other reasons to be embarrassed and ashamed by college football programs and your alma mater than losing in a blowout to your rival.

Destiny's Child "Bugaboo" video

At the end of the game, I thought of the UCLA marching band’s post-game ritual. I was in the band during my first two years, it was fun, but time consuming during football season. After each game, we’d play the alma mater, “Hail to the Hills of Westwood” on the sidelines. If we won the game, we’d play and sing a silly song called “Rover.” Then we’d change out of our uniforms and get back on the bus to Westwood. As our buses traveled the final few blocks in to campus, we’d sing the alma mater a second time. I miss those moments and wanted to sing the alma mater again even if it wouldn’t be followed with “Rover.” Maybe when I finally graduate, I’ll audition to be the singer at the ed school ceremony. That would be cool.


Race and racing

Runners at the start of the 5K/10K

I finally got around to reading an article in December’s Runner’s World entitled Why Is Running So White?.

It’s an interesting question, especially for someone interested in issues of race and ethnicity in all facets of life. However, the author, Jay Jennings, doesn’t really answer the question in the headline. He’s answering another question: why are there so few African Americans in the running community nationwide?

I got through the article, which discussed issues of safe communities for running, a dearth of US-born black distance runners to look up to, high school coaches’ insistence that young black kids interested in running become sprinters and not distance runners, hair, and black running groups.

It’s a good read, but at the end I felt like something was missing. While the article mentions minorities and people of color interchangeably, it’ really only about African Americans. While Latinos are the largest minority group in the US, we’re mentioned a few times in the 6,000 word article. There’s no discussions about issues that might affect Latino participation, which likely overlap a lot with black runners. Instead, the only time we’re mentioned is for statistics about running and health issues (for reference, comparison to blacks and whites, maybe). Examples:

Still, the numbers, compiled between January and May 2011 from nearly 12,000 respondents, are eye-opening: “Core runners” (who tend to enter running events and train year-round) are 90 percent Caucasian, 5.1 percent Hispanic, 3.9 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and, in perhaps the most startling figure, only 1.6 percent African-American. (The sample adds up to more than 100 percent because respondents could mark more than one choice.) Those numbers are consistent with ones from other surveys, such as Runner’s World’s, and have remained low even as the number of runners has grown by 56 percent in the past decade, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. (The overall population, from the 2010 U.S. census, is 72 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic or Latino, 13 percent black or African-American, 5 percent Asian, and 1 percent American Indian or Alaska native.)

According to a 2006–2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control, blacks in the United States had a 51 percent higher prevalence of obesity and Hispanics a 21 percent higher prevalence, compared with whites. As for diabetes, these groups fare even worse: Compared with non-Hispanic white adults, the risk was 77 percent higher among non-Hispanic blacks, 66 percent higher among Hispanics, and 18 percent higher among Asian-Americans.

What gives, Runner’s World? Last time I checked, Latinos were people of color too. It’s 2011, articles about race in ______ or people of color in ______ shouldn’t be so black/white.

I had another issue with the article. There’s little about socioeconomic issues or costs associated with running. Poverty rates are higher amongst blacks and Latinos. The recession hit both groups hard and unemployment rates are higher. As someone who is middle class and employed, running isn’t something I consider expensive. I can afford to buy $100 running shoes every few months, pay for $30-$130 for race fees, and buy new running clothes when needed. If I was one of the many un- or underemployed in the nation, I wouldn’t be so willing to spend what little discretionary income I had on a hobby. A lot of people say running is a relatively inexpensive hobby, but my guess is that the “core running” community is also fairly middle class. I’m pretty sure poor people don’t think it’s inexpensive.


Puente Hills YMCA Turkey Trot 10K

YMCA turkey trot

My aim going in to the Puente Hills Family YMCA Turkey Trot — phew, what a long title — was to finish the 10K in 53 minutes. That would be a 45 second PR and I’d be running at an 8:31 pace.

Goal splits to finish in 53:00

It seemed doable even though I haven’t run anything under 9 minute pace in a long time. I’ve kept most of my recent workouts easy and relaxed. I was banking on adrenaline, running with Lori and a flat, fast course to get me to a PR.

Seems like it worked.

Fast folks at the front

Sean and I arrived at the Puente Hills Mall parking lot to find many more runners than last year. Although rain was in the forecast, there was none and it was perfect running weather. I registered, got a free bib thanks to another runner and waited for my sister. I left Sean and went off for the a quick mile warm-up and returned to find Lori just arriving. We watched the kids 1K fun run and then lined up about 4 people deep.

When the gun went off, I knew I was starting out too fast, but I didn’t want to get caught behind slower runners. The start wasn’t too crowded, so that was easy. I watched the speedy cross country kids go and stayed (far) behind them. I knew I had started too fast, but didn’t bother checking my watch for pace or slowing down even though I knew I couldn’t keep going so fast. I ran the first mile in 7:50. I think that might be my fastest mile. Lori stayed with me through the first loop and we slowed down a little, but still well under my goal 8:31 pace. We ran the first 5K in ~25:25. If I was running a 5K, that would’ve been a PR too.

Team Mosqueda turkey trotting

Once we started the second loop, the course was pretty lonely. The race is pretty small, just over 300 runners. All except 60 or so were doing the 5K. Although I could only see one woman who looked about my age up ahead, I knew I wasn’t likely to win a turkey. Still, I knew I was comfortably within reach of a PR.

During the second loop, I drank more water as I felt side stitches forming. I really need to drink more water. I lost Lori somewhere in the 4th mile. I think her foot was bugging her.

Finishing the 10K

I felt tired as I entered the last half mile which goes through the mall parking lot and past the new Buffalo Wild Wings, department stores and movie theater. The parking lot is on a slight incline which made me want to slow down, but I fought it as I knew I could finish under 52:00.

Actual splits

As I came in to the finish line, I ran through walkers finishing the 5K and saw the clock ticking down to 52 minutes and then crossed. I met my goal and finished in an official 51:32. I don’t know why the official time was slightly faster than the finish line clock and my Garmin. Either way, I’ll take the ~2:15 minute PR.

I got some water and talked to Sean and we waited for Lori. She came in about 30 seconds after me. Then I went off for a quick cool down run and returned for the awards.

Silver again Lori and a new friend

I placed 2nd in my age group (1st finished in 42 minutes… not even close!). Lori placed 3rd, sorta. She used the free bib from the generous runner whose friend didn’t show and went up an age group. She would have been 2nd in her actual age group, 20-29.

After the race, we changed in to jeans and met up with my cousins for brunch. We spent the rest of the day being lazy, napping and avoiding the rain.

I feel a little sore today, but I don’t mind.


Getting along

Oops. I got super lax with posting after reaching my 10 year blog anniversary. I have some half-finished posts about some of the things I’ve learned through blogging and my favorite posts. Remind me not to forget those.

As for what’s been going on these past few weeks:

I got an iPhone 4. (Not the 4S, the local Verizon store didn’t have it in stock. Plus, the 4 was cheaper and I was fine without the 4S’ features.) I resisted getting an iPhone or any other smart phone mainly out of inertia — Verizon didn’t have iPhones until recently — and cost. I liked my relatively low cell phone bill. I finally gave in after having an iPad for a couple of months. I’m happy with the iPad, but as my brother says, I can’t make calls/text on it and I look really dorky trying to take a picture with it. I took advantage of my 2 year upgrade. I feel like I’ve finally joined the dark side… but really, it was a matter of time ’til I caved. That In-N-Out cheeseburger photo up there was the first taken with my new phone. I had to make it special.

I’m running the Puente Hills family YMCA Turkey Trot on Sunday. The 10K is two loops of a flat and boring course through the Puente Hills Mall and adjacent business park. I’ll get great views of the 60 freeway and the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. Rain is in the forecast; this makes me happy. Last year, I think the rain scared off a lot of runners which meant the field of 10K runners was tiny. My sister won her age group and a turkey and I actually placed. I’m not sure I can best my time from last year considering I haven’t done any dedicated speed training. I’ve just been working on building up the miles again. Still, I know I can run strong distance races as I’ve done it a few times this year. Plus, maybe the rain will give me boost as it did at the LA Marathon and Pasadena Half Marathon.

Sean and I went to a screening of Tegan and Sara’s new tour/concert DVD Get Along at the Vista Theater on Tuesday. I’ve seen them once before at the Hollywood Bowl. Even in a huge venue, it was easy to see that they have great rapport with their fans. I loved their in-between song banter. After the screening, they did a lengthy Q&A with the audience. It was refreshing to see just how much they appreciate their fans, even if they can seem a little too, um, earnest.

An almost perfect shot of the cousins

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving. I see my extended family often enough that the only difference with Thanksgiving is that we’re hanging out on a weekday and not eating Mexican food. My favorite part (aside from ham, stuffing and pumpkin pie) is playing board games with the cousins and my godmother’s house. We also like to take silly pictures.

Wedding planning is slowly coming along. I feel like we get something done every two weeks or so and then get lazy. Right after Halloween, we took advantage of sales at costume shops to get props for the photo booth. Earlier this week, we finally came up with a workable concept for our wedding invitation. Sean’s friend, a graphic designer, has agreed to design our invites. I’m excited to see what she comes up with.


My blog is my constant: A decade of blogging

Birthday cake

Ten years ago, I started Lotería Chicana and became a blogger — even though I didn’t use either terms back then. I signed up on Diaryland with the same alias I used for AIM and posted four sentences about applying to graduate school and the World Series:

grad school update
11.07.01 // 11:43 a.m.

I’m gonna leave L.A. and escape to the Bay Area. I’m tired of the smog, traffic and the LA-ness of this place. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I need to get out for a few years... perfect excuse to go to grad school in Berkeley (or San Diego). In other news, the Diamondbacks rock!

Tigres del Norte

At the time, I was a college senior in the middle of fall quarter. It’s clear from subsequent posts that I was avoiding writing papers, reading for class or studying for exams. I didn’t do a good job balancing a full course load with my work-study job, student leadership positions, teacher education program applications and social life. That last part was pretty distracting considering I was going to a few concerts that fall — Los Tigres del Norte (above), the Roots and Res, and Jaguares — and distracted by my crush in San Francisco. Apparently, I had time to watch the World Series and hate on the Yankees. (Sorry about that, Sean). I did okay that quarter. I passed my classes, started dating that guy in SF and abandoned grad school plans temporarily. It was for the best, I didn’t really want to be a K-12 teacher.

Casa de las tiranas does Halloween

I never followed through on that first sentence I wrote 10 years ago. I never left LA nor UCLA even though I almost went to Michigan for grad school. I didn’t even leave the apartment I shared with my then-roommates Pato, Ome and Vane. I’ve been consistently flaky for a while. I still don’t care much for the Yankees even though Sean has tried his best to get me to.

And of course, I’m still blogging. While the platform, name, URL, and look have all changed at least once, my desire to write and interact with other bloggers and readers never waned. Some of my interests have changed. I don’t think I could run a mile without stopping in 2001 and now I write about training for marathons and half marathons. On the other hand, I’ve been writing about access to higher education for undocumented students and telling stories about my family since the beginning.

I’m really glad I’ve kept at it this long. The friendships alone are worth it. If you’ve been reading a few years or just a few months, thanks.


A coincidence
While preparing this post on Saturday, I looked up my Fall ’01 course schedule, just so I could see which classes I was taking and what was keeping me busy then. One of the classes was Ethnomusicology 120A, Development of Jazz with Gerald Wilson, literally a living legend in the jazz world. His lectures were more like story time about the jazz greats he once played with than the origins of jazz itself.

I didn’t think much about Professor Wilson until the next day. I got in my car to run some errands and heard the announcer mention Wilson’s name as he introduced one of his records. The DJ spoke briefly about Wilson’s contributions to jazz and the LA-scene and then mentioned his age. “He’s about 90 years old now.” Wikipedia says he’s 93. Damn. I knew he was old when I took his class, but I wouldn’t have guessed he was 80+.


If I don’t get lazy, I’ll have more for the 10 year anniversary posts including:
– My favorite posts (if you have one, email me citlalli31 AT gmail dot com)
– Things I’ve learned through blogging
– People I’ve met through blogging


Previous anniversary posts:
Four years and counting
Fourth grade blues (9 years)