Thursday, October 25, 2012

Off to Latism12 in Houston! ... Er, Almost

This girl's got her red boots on with no where to go.

Well, not exactly.

I was supposed to be on a 9:45 a.m. flight that slammed its gates shut 10 minutes early. So, I sit here, anxiously, awaiting the next flight to Houston, where the 2012 Latinos in Social Media Conference, #Latism12, is being held.

I'm super excited and can't wait to get there. Between the inspiring and educational panels, the keynote speakers, Latin-themed entertainment, and generous sponsors, such as Johnson & Johnson and Toyota, #Latism12 will be the chicken soup that my soul needs to replenish and reconnect with all the wonderful blogueras I've had the privilege of getting to know over the last couple of years, women such as Pink Guayoyo, AutismWonderland, Growing Up Blackxican and La Familia Cool.

Even better, several Latino authors will be signing books, like Sabrina Vourvoulias, whose debut INK released last week. I had the opportunity to get to know Sabrina at last year's conference and look forward to interviewing her this weekend about her science fiction book that depicts a grim handling of immigrants in the U.S. Very disturbing and reminiscent of historical events.

If things couldn't get any better, to close the conference on Saturday, Nely Galan's The Adelante Movement, an organization that promotes Latina leadership, will present its program and feature keynote Sandra Cisneros, author of House on Mango Street. Hello!

Yeah, I CAN'T WAIT and they're calling my gate ... nos vemos. :-)


Friday, October 19, 2012

I Love New England

Conservation land in Lincoln, MA

I love fall in New England, with its frosty mornings, bright blue skies and air so crisp and clean it permeates with earth's raw scent. Leaves, once green, turn into reds, oranges and golds so bright, you'd swear trees and bushes were on fire at every turn. Beautiful, or not, they're a promise that winter stretches its long, spindly fingers into October.

Was going through my iPhone and came across some pictures that made me smile, because they represent so much of what I love about New England, from its quirky language, distinctive architecture, to its passionate sports fans.

Would like to share some of what's made me smile with you ...

Cookie Monstah

Interesting cookie truck, wouldn't you say? Bostonians (my husband, especially!) have a distinctive manner of speech. They say "cah," instead of "car," and "dawg," instead of "dog." 

I guess the Cookie Monstah should come as no surprise.

Harvard Book Store, Harvard Square, MA

Harvard Bookstore is a dangerous place to visit. I go solely for the remainders tables that are loaded with an unbelievable selection of hard cover books at a fraction of their original cost. It's amongst the piles of books at these tables that I discovered Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez and Laura Restrepo.

Leaves changing in Harvard Square, MA

I wish I could capture the true colors of these leaves. Doesn't the tree look like it's on fire?

Typical New England home.

If I were a little shorter (and I'm short), would love to live in one of these typical 1800s New England homes. I wonder if people were shorter back then, or if they had to stoop to get around their homes. What a pain.

Dunkin Donuts

Sports ... well, need I say more?

Harvard University

The hallowed gates of Harvard University.

And this, friends, is what Halloween looks like. :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MIERCOLES MUDO: Go, Speed Racer! Go!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

THROWBACK THURSDAY: My Mysterious Abuelita

My abuelita. Mexicali, Mexico (año del caldo)

These last few weeks, my abuelita has been been paying me some unexpected visits. I could be in the middle of cooking or reading, when suddenly she'll slip into my thoughts. As if all she wants to do is say hi. It's been strange, considering I never had the opportunity to meet her, since she'd passed away long before I was born.

For Throwback Thursday, this week, I'd like to share this old photograph of my abuela. It's precious because it's the only one we have of her. It was taken in Mexicali, the small pueblo in Mexico, where my mother and her sisters were born. I know the photo isn't very clear, trust me, I've tried over and over to focus in an attempt to discern her features, but to no avail. What I do know of her, has been passed down from my mom, who swears that my abuela was a tall and beautiful woman, who never wore makeup, smoked like fiend and spoke perfect English. Sounds like a character, no?

My abuela was a hard working woman. When she was married to my grandfather, she cooked for a small restaurant they owned and operated on the main road through town, where truckers and travelers, mainly Americanos stopped to eat. From what I understand, she had to have been a very strong woman to not only spend most of her waking hours working, but also to survive being married to my abuelo, who by all accounts was a tyrant, but that's another story.

If I could spend an afternoon with my abuela, I'd first ask her to cook for me, then I'd chronicle with the painstaking accuracy of a historian her answers to my questions. I'd want to know about her parents, my bisabuelos. What life was like for her during the Mexican Revolution. How she overcame the loss of so many of her children. I'd want to know what my mom was like as a little girl and what she jabbered about before drifting off to sleep. I'd want to know what her reaction would be if she were to meet my sisters and me for the first time on the street. Did her heart break when her youngest, my mother, left her to live her own life? Lastly, I'd want to know what life was like for her when in her old age, she left Mexico to marry a gringo and live her last few years in the States.

These are all question that will unfortunately have to go unanswered. For now it appears I'll have to rely on my imagination and the bits and pieces I collect along the way to piece together my family's history.

Or maybe it will come to me in a dream. Por favor, Abuela.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

High School Reading: For the Birds?

Do you remember what you read in high school? Did you like it? Or did the assigned reading stay in your book bag (like mine did) because the Cliffs Notes were much less painful? You know what I'm talking about. Or maybe you loved it all, in which case, you get a gold star.

I bring this up because I recently came across an interesting article in the HuffPost, suggesting alternate titles to some of what's been the meat and potatoes of our high school English curriculum. Titles that look delicious to me, such as Gabriel García Márquez's 100 Years of Solitude and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake. If you can, take a minute to flip through the slideshow.

The article got me thinking about how little I enjoyed what I read back then (actually hated it). Was it because I was an unsophisticated reader? Or maybe the material didn't resonate, or was too difficult? What would happen if I revisited these titles, today? And lastly, what might my young mind's reaction have been to authors such as Laura Esquivel, Sandra Cisneros, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez and Victor Villaseñor? I can only speculate.

Here are a few of the titles my memory coughed up from those years:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

See any common threads, aside from them being classics? Hello. They're all depressing as all heck. Between the exploitation, murder, injustice and pathological apathy and boredom (Mr. Caulfield), it's no wonder I wasn't a depressed kid. Perhaps twenty plus years of life experience would give me enough of a repository to draw from to help me appreciate them, today? I have to find out.

So I'm curious. Did you love all of what you read in high school? I'd love to know what high school students outside the U.S. are reading.

Please share! :-)