100 things… updated

side effects on Flickr”>Cindylu and Her Birthday

I went through my 100 facts and realized some of the facts are no longer relevant or just plain false.

3. I don’t drink coffee.
As I write this, cheap I’m sipping on an iced coffee. I haven’t developed a daily habit, ailment but I enjoy coffee maybe once or twice a week. I blame a friend for making my first really delicious cup of coffee a few years ago. It changed my life. [Photo of my favorite teacup by Oso.]

6. I rarely drink soda.
A couple of years ago, I developed a taste for Diet Coke. It’s the caffeine and aspartame. Yummy.

8. I eat Altoids Tangerine Sours like candy.
I haven’t had these in a while.

11. My favorite types of apples are Golden Delicious #4120.
I’ve switched to organic Gala apples.

12. I have a complex about being too pale.
I get a lot of sun these days (yay, vitamin D) and haven’t worried about being pale in a while. I worry more about the funny tan lines I get when I’m out running. It’s hard to celebrate a spring of no pants when you have a tan line from your running pants mid-shin. Don’t worry, I wear sunblock.

15. I’ve seen Café Tacuba live 10 times.
Make that 13. I had pit tickets for their shows at the Greek Theater (August ’08) and Universal Amphitheater (June ’09), which was part of the 20:20 tour. I won tickets via The Scenestar for another show in November ’09 at the Fox Theater in Pomona. I haven’t seen them since. That needs to change.

20. I finished paying off my car in September [2007]. I thought that was cool.
I might have jinxed myself with that. The next fall, I was in a car accident. My car was totaled. I was fine save for some minor scars from my seat belt and airbag. I bought a new car with the insurance money and with it came a new car payment. I like my new-ish car, a Mazda 3, but I miss some key details from the Stratus (auto locking and unlocking doors!).

21. I still sleep in a twin bed (my room is kinda small).
I switched rooms in my apartment last year and moved in to the largest room. I also bought a new queen bed.

27. I’ve only said “I love you” once in a relationship.
Not true anymore either.

58. I’ve been in three car accidents. One involved a professional cheerleader and a red light. I didn’t cause that accident.
Make that four. See #20. I didn’t cause the accident in November ’08, but it was definitely the scariest and had me shaken up for a while. I’m still thankful I was one mile away from family’s home when it happened as they, and my cousin who is an LAPD officer, were on the scene in minutes.

64. I don’t cook.
This was probably one of the reasons I was overweight. I ate out too much. I learned to cook and I’m not so horrible at it. [Photo by Sean.]

69. I think I was most attractive when I was 22/23 years old.
I was cute then, but I’m pretty happy with my appearance in my late 20s, early 30s.

Camera Shootout

70. That was before I started getting a lot of canas (gray hair).
I don’t mind the canas so much anymore. They look like natural highlights, especially since it’s been 6 months since the last time I dyed my hair. [Photo by Sean.]

83. I made one of these lists a few years ago and posted it on the super-secret blog. A lot of the facts are no longer relevant.
It’s funny how quickly things change.

93. It’s impossible for me to lie to my roommate, Isa.
Still true, but Isa is no longer my roommate. I see her much less these days but we’re still close and she can still read me like few other people.

100. I generally feel weird when I don’t have a crush.
I don’t crush at all anymore. Nope. I’m betrothed and stuff.

Old school

order on Flickr”>My grandma only compliments my looks when I wear an apron Sometime in the late 80s, treatment Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni sold their Boyle Heights home. My family’s Hacienda Heights home became their default residence while they were in LA, away from their homes in Tijuana and El Cargadero, Zacatecas.

As one might expect, our three bedroom, 1.5 bathroom house felt crowded with eight people spanning three generations sharing the space. The physical aspect wasn’t ever that big of a deal except when the grandparents went to bed early on the living room sofa bed and we had to be quiet in the kitchen. No, what took more time to adjust to mom and Mamá Toni’s often clashing opinions on how the house should be run.

Mom has always had all four kids help out with chores both in and outside the house. I had to help in the kitchen more often than my brothers, and they had to rake the leaves of mow the lawn more often than I did. There were times when the roles would be mixed and Danny would be doing the laundry or ironing. And we all had to help trim la mora and clean up the huge mess (the mulberry tree in the front yard).

Mamá Toni was quick to express her disapproval of this set-up. She scolded Mom for letting Danny iron his own pants and called me and Lori lazy. Once when she saw dad washing dishes and helping mom clean up after dinner, she told mom she was embarrassed.

My grandma’s old school attitudes stressed out mom who saw talking back to one’s parents as taboo. Mom had to find a respectful way to tell her own mother that in her household it was okay for her husband to help wash dishes and her sons to wash their own dirty socks.

After living with my mom for 20+ years and nearing 90, Mamá Toni has calmed down a bit in her strict division of labor. After she got sick and was hospitalized in 2004, she even let Papá Chepe wash his own dishes after lunch. I was flabbergasted when I saw this as I’d never seen him even take his dish to the sink or warm up his own tortilla. I’ve seen him do this a few times since, and it’s still strange for me.

Every once in a while, Mamá Toni will still speak up when she sees something that conforms to her view of the way things should be. On Sunday most of the women in my family complimented me on my cute new dress. Mamá Toni said nothing about the dress and only complimented me when I put on my apron so I could make a green salad and protect my white dress.

“Que bonita te ves con tu pechera,” she said. [Translation: You look so pretty with your apron.]

The only time she ever compliments my looks is when I’m wearing an apron. I’m okay with that. The apron is pretty cool.

A change in plans

Soon after Sean and I got engaged, adiposity we started checking out wedding sites and blogs. We did some initial planning. I wrote a just family guest list for my side. It was over 150 people. We didn’t have anything set just yet, more about but first on the list was to make an appointment to talk to one of the priests at St. John Vianney. I had no doubts that I wanted to get married at SJV. I daydreamed about it last August at my neighbor Jorge’s wedding to his high school sweetheart, Heather.

Heather and her father

I talked about having the wedding at SJV with my mom. We discussed Sean going through RCIA (he has to become Catholic first). She was really happy to hear a Catholic wedding was part of our plans.

Less than ten days later, SJV was burned down by an arsonist. After I processed the news and watched the video of the fire and viewed the photos, I immediately thought of the fall 2012 wedding I wanted. It’s not going to happen in the same church where I made my First Communion, celebrated my quinceañera, and was confirmed.

What it looks like now...

I cried when I saw the burnt doors on the LA Times photo gallery. “Those were the doors I was supposed to stand behind on my wedding day,” I thought. I’m not going to stand nervously in the narthex (foyer, sorta) with my arm hooked through my dad’s arm. He isn’t going to walk me down the aisle. I’m not going to kneel at the sanctuary in front of the altar and say my vows there in front of my family and friends. I’m not going to hear the pianist play Canon in D on the gorgeous pipe organ. My mom and Sean’s mom won’t light the candle in front of the lectern. I won’t take a bouquet to the statue of the Virgin Mary on the left side of the church. Sean and I won’t walk down the aisle together. And we won’t be greeted and congratulated by friends and family outside.

I felt somewhat selfish thinking all this, but couldn’t help it. I never envisioned what my wedding reception would look like except that it would be big and there would be a mariachi, those things were a given since I’m Mexican. But the ceremony? That was a different story.

And now it’s changed

Dodger Stadium survey results: Sneak peek

I received a total of 112 responses to the Dodger Stadium Atmosphere Survey. I’ve gone through and checked the summary of responses Google provides. The above chart comes from that summary. I’ve also read and compiled all the free responses to the questions on experiencing violence or harassment and additional thoughts on the subject. Almost all of the written responses are thoughtful and show that fans care about this issue. There was only one racist comment. I’ll post all of those to view in a later post.

I’ll post the summary as well as breakdowns of how different groups viewed the situation. For instance, buy did more men perceive a safer environment in the stadium than women?

Odd moments in Mass

read more on Flickr”>Spanish language children's choir at St John Vianney

I realized that I have very few digital photos of events in the church or even outside the church, but I have memories. Re-posted below is something I wrote for the old blog about some of the oddest moments I ever experienced at St. John Vianney. Two involved the founding pastor, Msgr. O’Callaghan (RIP), and all occurred during the average Sunday Mass. The photo above is from a Christmas concert with the Spanish language adult and children’s choir around 1988.

weirdness in church
04.19.05 // 9:58 p.m.

Growing up, I never missed Sunday Mass. Even if we were out of town or on vacation, my parents would find a Catholic church in the area and make us go. I saw a lot of interesting and weird things happen during Mass.

Once an altar boy named Eric whom I knew from catechism and high school got sick during the consecration of the host. This is one of those times during the Mass when the assembly (or congregation) is supposed to kneel. The altar servers kneel at uncomfortable kneelers on the wooden steps of the altar. Anyway, Eric stood up to go to the bathroom in the sacristy. He didn’t make it. All I saw was Eric’s breakfast fly out of his mouth in a stream that went remarkably far. Yeah, that was weird and kind of gross.

In another instance, Monsignor O’Callaghan snapped me out of my reverie when he mentioned my favorite band at the time, the Smashing Pumpkins. He railed against the lyrics “Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness / And cleanliness is godliness, and God is empty just like me.” That was weird too.

The third weird occurrence involved Msgr. O once again. This was a few months after the child molestation scandal broke out in Boston. I guess there had been some debate about allowing gay men to be priests. I was really surprised that Msgr. O wasn’t at all opposed to the notion of a gay man serving God in this role because he was rather conservative. He didn’t mention anything at all either about the incorrect notion of gay men being more likely to molest children. In the middle of the homily a woman five rows from the lectern stood up and started loudly proclaiming that homosexuality was a sin. What made me even sadder and more disgusted was that her young son and daughter (about 8-12 years old) stood up and joined in her opposition to gays. I felt like I was in the twilight zone though, because Msgr. O didn’t back down from his position. Instead, he argued with her a little and then the woman left the church.

This was a Sunday Mass. There were plenty of families there. People clapped when she got up and left. Msgr. O asked people to quiet down. He asked the assembly to pray for this woman, and ask God to open her heart. I was with my mom, and later when we got in the car she broke her silence on the outburst, “You know, it’s really sad that people still think like that. You would think that these days they’d be more open minded.”

Needless to say, I was dumbfounded.

Going to Mass almost every Sunday for 24.5 years straight will give you some strange stories to tell. I’ll be back with the weirdest. It has to do with colonization, imperialism and the Church.

Surviving the flames

try on Flickr”>Happy 40th birthday to St. John Vianney Parish

Before I went to sleep last night, viagra 40mg Adrian sent me a message.

“I have bad news, Chunk. St. John [Vianney] is on fire. Danny called right now, said it’s really bad, that they may not be able to save it.”

That was at 12:38 am.

I was shocked, but it didn’t hit me until the next message a minute later.

“[Danny] was crying saying, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’ talking to Dad.”

I went to bed hoping I’d wake up to find out it wasn’t that bad, the LA County firefighters on the scene were able to save it.

St. John Vianney fire (LA Times photo)

I was wrong. The fire tore through the high roof of St. John Vianney. The church was destroyed, but the rectory was saved. The two priests and seminarian who live in the rectory beside the church awoke when they heard a blast (windows popping) and were not harmed.

Thanks to SJV friends on Facebook, I quickly found some news footage of the fire online. It was surreal to see flames lap at red banners and palm trees up for Palm Sunday services. I wanted to cry as I saw the external damage. My family’s home was destroyed.

My family has been active members of SJV for over 25 years. We were there every Sunday, bright and early for Spanish-language services. We made at least a few more trips during the week for CCD (religious education) classes, choir practices, weekday Masses we were assigned to serve as altar servers, event planning meetings, Bible study and more. For all us Mosqueda kids it was also where we made our First Holy Communion and were confirmed. I hoped to fulfill another sacrament there too, get married next year.

We celebrated festive occasions and sad ones there too. Lori and I both held our quinceañera Masses and receptions at SJV. It was host to the 50th wedding anniversary Masses for both Papá Chepe and Mamá Toni (1993) and Grandma and Grandpa (1994). It’s also where we held the wakes and funeral Masses for Grandma and Grandpa. And there are all the weddings. The last was Heather and Jorge’s in August.

The last Mass I attended at SJV was for the fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe in December. The church was packed, there was a lovely shrine set up for La Virgen. Lots of parishioners were dressed in Mexican garb. Aztec danzantes began the celebration with some dances. Afterward there was a big party in the O’Callaghan Center (SJV’s large multi-purpose room). I helped my mom sell drinks before getting some tacos.

That morning, I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while. People I grew up around and saw weekly hugged me as if it hadn’t been months since the last time I was there. For some it was years, but it didn’t feel that way. I still felt the same sense of community and love I grew up with.

SJV is more than just a beautiful church. It’s the community.

I know we’re hurting, but we’re strong. We have faith. And we’ll be okay.

Video after the jump.
Continue reading “Surviving the flames”

Offensive interference

Bryan Stow’s beating at the Dodgers’ home opener left me with a lot of angst and sadness. The whole thing kept me up one night and I started thinking of survey questions. I know my experience isn’t generalizable. After all, sick I call Dodger Stadium one of my happy places. Was I just wearing Dodger blue-colored glasses? Would others’ experiences be radically different?

I’m still unsure. I’m waiting for more response to the survey before I close it and begin analyzing.

In thinking about the atmosphere, I reflected on my own experiences. Dodger Stadium is one of my happy places, but I’m not always happy there. That’s inevitable as I’m going to see my team lose. However, my worst experience had nothing to do with the actual game. In fact, I needed Baseball Almanac to refresh my memory about the game details (SF v. LA, Giants won 1-0).

Rene, Chepe and adrian

In September ’08, I attended the last home game of the season with my brothers, Papá Chepe and six cousins. The cousin/grandpa outing was my cousin Ernie’s idea. He asked Chepe about the last game he attended and found out that it had been years, maybe decades, since he’d been to Chavez Ravine. We bought a dozen tickets in right field on field level. We chose those seats because they were close to the handicap parking and Chepe wouldn’t have to walk much or climb up/down too many stairs. We arranged ourselves in one row with Chepe in middle of his nietos.

The game was slow and scoreless until the 11th inning, but I still witnessed the kind of drama that gets my heart beating fast and makes my palms sweaty.

In the 4th inning a middle-aged Latino, I’ll call him el Veterano, in front of Rene turned around. Being a metiche (busybody) I leaned over across Adrian so I could hear what el Veterano was saying.

“For the past 45 minutes I’ve been sitting here listening to you talk shit in front of my wife and kids. I’m tired of it.”

I wasn’t surprised he was complaining. Earlier in the game, I shushed Adrian and Rene because of their language. I expected someone to turn around and ask, “can you guys watch your language?” They talked a lot too and only quieted down to drink their beers, munch on snacks, and eat Mexican candy.

I knew the guys were at fault, but I was on their side as soon as el Veterano began speaking and said “shit.” I didn’t like his tone nor hypocrisy. I figured he should use FCC approved or “pre-school toy” friendly words if he was going to complain about cursing.

Rene responded with a half apologetic, half surprised look. Adrian remained quiet. I leaned in closer.

El Veterano went on, “And it’s even worse that you sound like a nigger.”

I was shocked. Really? He used that word? In public? To complain about strangers’ language? And next to his wife, teenage son and pre-teen daughter?

I couldn’t help it. I jumped in.

“You’re offended by his language and then you go and use a racial slur?! I can’t believe you’re complaining about our language and saying you’re offended. You’re offending me with that word!”

My face reddened, my hands shook and my blood pressure shot up.

El Veterano shifted in his seat. His wife and kids, who had previously been listening, didn’t dare turn back to look at us.

“I… I’m sorry,” he said. He turned back to face the game and never turned around again.

The guys looked at me, still in shock over what had just happened. Beside me, Chepe sat oblivious as to what had just happened. Danny and Nancy leaned over to be filled in on the chisme. Adrian said, “I knew as soon as he said that you were going to jump in. I’m glad you did.”

Later in the game, Adrian (also a metiche) told me he’d read El Veterano’s pre-teen daughter text message to a friend. It read, “what are you doing, bitch?”

Survey: is Dodger Stadium safe?

view on Flickr”>Too many "thugs"?

I’ve been reading a lot about the beating of Bryan Stow after opening day at Dodger Stadium (March 31).

Stow, there a 42-year-old Santa Clara paramedic and father of two who traveled to Dodger Stadium on March 31 in Giants regalia. Walking through the parking lot after the game, gonorrhea Stow was accosted by two men, who taunted him, punched him and kicked him as he lay injured. [Source]

His injuries were serious enough to put him in a medically induced coma. He is still in critical condition.

Like many fans, I’m horrified, disgusted and deeply saddened that some pendejos would do this. I pray for Stow’s full recovery and hope such violence never occurs again at Dodger Stadium (or any other sporting event).

Other fans have expressed outrage online or called in to talk radio shows. Many shared their own concerns about going to Dodger Stadium and some brought up the race element before sketches of the suspects were released. The suspects look like your average pelón gang-banger. The comments section of the LA Times were filled with racist and anti-immigrant remarks. I started reading “thug” as a code word for young Latino male. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised by the racism.

However, I am surprised by the number of levelheaded people I know who no longer go to games, worry for their safety and think the atmosphere is not family friendly. My personal experience is much different and I go to lots of games (even if I grumble about how much I hate contributing to the McCourts’ profits).

What do you think? I’ve written a survey about the atmosphere in the stadium, in the parking lot and the surrounding area. Fill it out and share it with others who go to lots of games or just a few every couple of seasons. I hope to share some of the responses next week.

Dodger Stadium atmosphere survey

Edit: The survey is now closed. You can chime in on the responses when I post about the survey results.

Disclaimer: I’m just a fan. I have no affiliation with the Dodger organization, LAPD or city hall. Thus, the survey is focused on experiences and opinions rather than suggestions for improvement.

CicLAvia (on foot)

generic on Flickr”>CicLAvia 2011

For the first time in a few weeks, troche my weekend running didn’t include a race (running or cheering). That didn’t stop me from making in to an event thanks to the second CicLAvia.

I headed out to Boyle Heights to run the route east to west. The not-a-race event is mainly marketed to cyclists. I don’t own a bike, public health but that didn’t matter to me. The 7+ mile route of LA streets were closed to automobile traffic and open to cyclists, skateboarders, kids on scooters, pedestrians and runners. I missed the first CicLAvia when I was in New York last October and didn’t want to miss another free opportunity to run car-less LA streets (free!).

I had a lazy morning and didn’t get out to Boyle Heights until 1:30. Sean dropped me off by the Shakey’s at Cesar Chavez and State. He was too bummed about his broken MacBook to join me on foot or his bike so he went home to troubleshoot. From Cesar Chavez and State, I ran South past White Memorial to 4th Street where I joined a swarm cyclists heading west on the 4th Street bridge (traffic was going in both directions).

Since I’d read El Chavo’s post on the first CicLAvia I knew I’d be way outnumbered by cyclists. And I was. I didn’t feel too safe in the street with cyclists weaving in and out (mainly the kids who weren’t really paying attention and don’t know how to drive), taking pictures and texting. Most were riding at a leisurely pace, but occasionally some guy would come speeding by. I stuck to the “gutter lane,” as El Chavo called it, or jumped up on to the sidewalk where I’m accustomed to running. The sidewalks through Little Tokyo and most the Historic Core of Downtown LA were too crowded, so I had to go on the street. I kept the sound on my iPod Shuffle low, but I probably would’ve been safer turning it off.

CicLAvia 2011

The streets weren’t completely shut down to automobile traffic. There were several points along the route where cyclists and pedestrians were required to stop at crossing points for cars. Traffic officers directed motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. It all went pretty smooth. I think we stopped at every intersection through downtown, which was a nice breather. It was a pretty warm day (high 60s and sunny) so the rest helped me get through my first long-ish run since the marathon. I didn’t stop at any of the rest stops at Hollenbeck Park, City Hall, MacArthur Park or the Bicycle District. I did stop for a few minutes when I ran in to Pachuco3000 (above) and bought some lemonade from some kids at a lemonade stand in East Hollywood at the end of the route (below). When I finished I called Sean and we arranged a pickup spot for me a few miles south in Koreatown.

CicLAvia 2011

Even if it was a little lonely for a runner, I’m glad I got out. I did 10 pretty flat miles through areas of LA I never run through and don’t visit often enough. I saw a friend, had some great lemonade and got a nice tan from my racerback tank and capri running pants. Fun times.

All photos by srd515 and used under Creative Commons license.

This day in Chicana herstory: Dolores Huerta (1930)

April 10, anesthetist 1930:
Dolores Huerta (nee Fernadez) was born in Dawson, cure New Mexico*

From a biography put together by the Girl Scouts:

Dolores Huerta is the President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, anaemia and the co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO (UFW). She is the mother of 11 children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Dolores has played a major role in the American civil rights movement.

Dolores Huerta was born on April 10, 1930 in the mining town of Dawson, in northern New Mexico, where her father, Juan Fernandez, was a miner, field worker, union activist and State Assemblyman. Her parents divorced when she was three years old. Her mother, Alicia Chavez, raised Dolores, along with her two brothers, and two sisters, in the San Joaquin valley farm worker community of Stockton, California. She was a businesswoman who owned a restaurant and a 70-room hotel. Dolores’ mother was a major influence in Dolores’ life. She taught Dolores to be generous and caring for others. She often put up farm workers and their families for free in her hotel. She was also a community activist, and supported Dolores and her Girl Scout troop. [Source]

Since college — when I first became aware of Dolores Huerta’s legacy of activism and leadership — I’ve seen her speak a few times at rallies or organized labor events. Those always left me inspired. However, it’s when I see her unexpectedly at an airport or restaurant that I’m left a little star struck. Can you blame me?

Her life’s accomplishments are impressive. As an octogenarian she’s still going strong and continues the work to improve women and poor peoples’ lives as the president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. For her 80th birthday party, her organization hosted a benefit concert for the foundation. She speaks out on sexism and homophobia, often ignored in the Latino activist community.

Dolores Huerta is an inspiration to women who want to be leaders and affect change in their local communities and beyond. She’s a mujer to be reckoned with. If you have any doubts, simply listen to the strength in her voice as she discusses her life’s work in an interview with Maria Hinojosa on Latino USA. (Make sure to scroll down… you’ll see someone familiar.)
Continue reading “This day in Chicana herstory: Dolores Huerta (1930)”