Something Good

One of the things I like most about sign-offs from weekly podcasts is when hosts share something they can’t let go, recommend, share a tip, etc. It’s Been A Minute with Sam Sanders has listeners call in to share something good that happened to them. It’s a nice reminder that even with everything going on in the world, good stuff still happens and joy and hope continue.

And it always makes me think of my good thing for that week. So, here’s my good thing, albeit a couple of weeks late.

I won the Super Bowl squares pool!

For several years now, my parents have been part of a fundraiser to support an orphanage in Tijuana, HOCATI. The organization and the children they serve holds a special place for my extended family. In the late 2000s Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni made the decision to donate their home in Tijuana to HOCATI. When I interviewed Papá Chepe in a StoryCorps booth in 2009, he told me it was his life’s proudest achievement.

This year was the first I bought a few squares for myself. Usually, my parents just buy them in the name of the grandkids. My dad is one of the coordinators and I gave him three lucky and favorite numbers. I thought I’d get one, but got all three. Once the numbers were picked, I forgot to check them.

During the game, my mom texted me that I was close to winning during the second half.

I had a 3 for the Rams and a 0 for the Bengals. Those numbers won me $250 at the half and $500 at the end. Bonus, my dad was happy to see his beloved Rams win the Super Bowl.

I’ve won some pretty cool things over the years. This one ranks up there with winning plane tickets to LA and a hotel stay through an Instagram contest.

Have you won anything cool? Have any good things to share?

Blog/tech, Randomness

Without Prompting

Yesterday, my Facebook memories reminded me that three years ago I announced that I’d return to regular blogging. Reader, it did not happen. The last post here was on my 40th birthday nearly 18 months ago and these days I mostly use WordPress for work. But I’m still a blogger, just like I’m still an LA girl, and a runner on a 9-year hiatus. I still find a lot of value in recording the mundane and the special. The relationships I made at the height of my mid-20s blogging career are still important. I still value the conversation and inspiration that can come from sharing my own words. I still love stories.

Smiling woman standing in front of a gallery wall holding a Becoming journal with Michelle Obama on the cover.

Last year, I received a Becoming journal which features quotes and prompts from Michelle Obama. It was Galentine’s Day gift from a colleague at work. I didn’t use it in earnest until a month ago when I tried to do about one prompt a night. As I responded to the prompts, I realized that I’d already written on many of the topics here. I can go through my archive and find a number of posts about my childhood, what it was like growing up in Hacienda Heights, the many activities I started and didn’t continue as a child but still formative, my family both immediate and extended. But those were all written from a different lens. Home was only a 30-minute drive away — without traffic. I wasn’t a mother. I could reconnect more easily to those places that made me. My maternal grandparents were still alive. The time and distance has altered my perception and how I want to tell stories.

It made me realize that one of of my biggest obstacles to returning to regular blogging — I’ve already written about everything I want to share in this medium — doesn’t really apply. Of course, time is still there and plain old ganas.


Fifteen things you probably knew about me

And an excuse to post old photos and link back to previous entries.

Marie tagged me in this questionnaire. Her answers made me laugh so I decided to answer the questions too, albeit after Christmas. I was a little behind on my blog reading.

1) What is my current health related goal?

Exercise more and eat more veggies.

2) What is my biggest irrational fear?

Mice and rats really freak me out. I don’t even like fake versions that look realistic. I’m not scared of Fievel or Mickey though.

3) Do I enjoy wrapping presents?

No. I didn’t wrap any this Christmas. I did place a couple in bags. Sean did all the wrapping.

4) What is my favorite cross training activity?

Strength training and stairs, but not a stair climber. Basically a BHIP class (workouts are a mix of strength and conditioning, cardio tends to be Tabata/interval style).

5) If you came to visit me, what would we do?

I can't remember what this was called, but it was good

If Marie visited I’d imagine there would be some running (if she doesn’t mind slowing down for me), a play date with my boy and her girls, beer at Father’s Office and really delicious Mexican food. Maybe we’d go to “shoppertainment” center like the Grove for the snark value.

6) I have two weeks off work and two round trip plane tickets to anywhere. Where would I go and who would I take?

Jamaica or Mexico with Sean. We postponed our honeymoon and then never got around to it because I got pregnant and Sean had a new job. All our vacation time was saved up for maternity/paternity leave.

Xavi can come along too since he doesn’t actually need a plane ticket. And we could get babysitting in Mexico with family members. Maybe.

7) What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to me during a run or a race?

Aztlan track club 5K

My most embarrassing running moments didn’t happen while racing. However, it did suck to be so slow during a trail 5K that I was still on the out and back course when the male racers started. The trail wasn’t very wide so I had to scoot to the side and literally was left running through the dust they kicked up.

8) Three best days of my life? Or at least the top three that come to mind.

The day Xavi was born.

The day Sean moved out to LA. We were bicoastal for the better part of the year. His move was delayed due do a snowstorm so it was really happy relieved when his flight was finally scheduled and I picked him up at LAX. Our wedding day was memorable and I was happy, but it was also a bit stressful.

The late March day in 1998 when I got my admittance letter from UCLA. I was so relieved that USC wasn’t my only option.

Cindy finished under four hours!

The 2012 LA Marathon was awesome too. I feel like someone else earned that sub-4 because I can’t see myself getting there again.

9) Okay, so I HAVE to eat a fast food
meal. Which restaurant would I choose and what do I order?

That's what a hamburger's all about

I’m like Marie and don’t have an aversion to fast food. I had In-n-Out less than a week ago. For lunch or dinner I’d go to In-n-Out (cheeseburger with all the toppings plus grilled onions, fries and a diet coke). For breakfast I’d get the sausage egg McMuffin from McDonald’s, hashbrowns and vanilla iced coffee. Damn, now I’m hungry.

10) Have I ever met a celebrity?

Yup, but I’m always super cool about it because that’s how us Angelenos act around celebs. I was in a Destiny’s Child video; you can play the Kevin Bacon game with me and Beyoncé.

Go Lakers!

I’ve met some basketball players (Magic Johnson!), The Simpsons voice actors and my favorite band Café Tacvba.

La Chica Banda

Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite writers

I’ve also met some of my favorite writers (Sherman Alexie and Sandra Cisneros), but I don’t know if book signings really count as meeting or if they are celebrities.

11) Share a pic of myself in non-workout clothes.

Thanksgiving family photo

Thanksgiving family photo. That was the picture that doesn’t look like my kid is trying to grab my breast.

12) If I could choose to have a “do over” and switch careers, what would I choose and why?

I like Marie’s answer:

Whatever job pays the most money for the least amount of work.

In college I had a high degree of contempt for selling out and basing your career on earning power. Now that I’m a mom and thinking of the cost of raising a kid, planning for retirement, etc I’m kicking 20-something year old me.

I’d likely pick something in the biomedical sciences because it’s been drilled in me that with a research background in the sciences so many career doors open up. I could do what I currently do, but at a higher level (with more money!) and still feel like I was making a difference in increasing educational attainment rates for Latinos.

13) If I won an Olympic Gold Medal, how do I think I would react?

Probably like Leo Manzano. I’d do a victory lap with both the US and Mexico flags.

14) What do I want for Christmas?

Christmas want list

Sean and I switched lists of potential items. Mine was above. I got the Girl With Curves t-shirt and sneakers. Sadly they’re too big despite being my size.

15) What skill do I lack?

Just one? I lack a lot of useful skills like applying eyeliner properly and sewing. But I don’t really miss those much. So, I’ll go with getting Xavi to sleep without relying on nursing and sleep training.



Lucky Thirteen

Prince Charming

It’s been a good year. Well, better than good. I’m loathe to exaggerate, but I’d say the year I became a mother has been the best. It’s the year love, family, blessings, husband, partner, work and being grateful took on more complete meanings. It’s the year I met Xavier.

I took your glasses

I look forward to more tender and silly Sean and Xavi moments.

Selfie at daddy's work

And selfies. Always selfies.

Happy new year!


The Baby’s First Noel

Santa's littlest helper

When I was a kid my parents always went all out for Christmas. As a result, I have dozens of memories of large family gatherings, visits from Santa, oohing at the nativity scene and Santa’s village my parents painted and set up (and tried not to break), singing Las Posadas and eating more tamales than one can count.

As an adult I became pretty lazy about the holidays. Some of it had to do with associating the days on/after Christmas with the passing of my grandparents. And some was just being burnt out from finals and a busy fall quarter.

Someone got a new hat.

Now that I have my own little family, I realize I need to step up my game. I want Xavi to look forward to singing carols in English and Spanish while Grandpa Charlie strums the guitar.

How do I get on the good list?

I want him to be excited when Santa Claus shows up to the Christmas Eve party.


I want to see his eyes light up with awe and elaborate light displays and rush to play with the new toys Sean and I picked out.

First Christmas

I can’t wait for those moments, but for now Christmas is just awesome even if he almost sleeps through Santa’s visit.

Our family

Merry Christmas from our family!