Looking for my friends

A couple weeks ago I sat down and looked at our recent spending to figure out if we could afford to enroll Xavi in preschool part-time. We hadn’t intended to sign him up this soon, but the school is close by and had a last-minute opening. After doing the numbers a few things were clear.

  1. I’m spending a lot on new work clothes. My new department only allows casual clothes on Fridays.
  2. We’re not spending much on gifts anymore.

The latter was just one more reminder of all the birthday parties, showers and weddings we are missing. Put another way, we have no social life. 

Friday comes and Sean asks, “What’s going on this weekend?” I used to be able to rattle off a few different options. Even if there wasn’t a formal party coming up, just spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at my mom’s house felt like a family gathering thanks to Papá Chepe’a visitor. (A positive side effect of the stroke. It’s brought our family even closer together.)
Now I might say there’s some event I need to do for work but otherwise it’s do chores and hang out as a threesome.

If I was in LA today I’d be in the middle of getting ready to attend my fourth wedding of the summer — pretty average for us — and second of the month. Today, Elizabeth and César will get married. I’ve known Elizabeth since she was a toddler and her family moved to our block. They quickly became close friends. We even visited them in Jalpa, Zacatecas one December and went to Elizabeth’s quinceañera. By chance, I got to see the proposal too. César threw a decoy party complete with delicious tacos and a mariachi. I’m definitely sad to miss this wedding (plus her family throws awesome parties).

Last week I missed David (it feels weird not to call him Oso) and Iris’s wedding. I checked out the photos taken by other friends I met through blogging. I wish it could’ve been like the Carlsbad blogger reunion of early 2012, but alas it’s tough to travel with a toddler cross country. 

Earlier in the summer I missed Diana and Carlos’s wedding. I’ve known Diana since 2002 and would’ve loved to spend a weekend in Santa Barbara celebrating with them. Unfortunately, their wedding was on the weekend right before I started my new job and we had already moved. 

At least I didn’t miss my cousin Vanny’s wedding in early June. I was lucky my new job was okay with me starting later than their target or I might’ve missed Vanny and Junior’s nuptials.

Of course, I knew I’d be missing events when I decided to move. That was part of the deal since I don’t have an unlimited travel budget and vacation days. 

What I didn’t expect was how difficult it is to make friends and how lonely weekends feel just us three. I know I need to give it time. I’ve only been here about 11 weeks and have actually  met a number of kind and friendly people. We say “yes” to the things we are invited to like a picnic for Latinos in the area. We’ve even been to a birthday party. 

But still on weekends like this and last I wish I could teleport the three of us to LA for a good party or BBQ, delicious food and amazing people. 


For now, you might just find me running around the Ithaca Commons skipping like Sid the Science Kid singing “I’m looking for my friends, I’m looking for you!” 


My birthday was pretty awesome.


Xavier was the first person to wake me up and wish me a happy birthday at 1 am. He gave me cuddles after his midnight snack. He did it again a few hours later, but didn’t sing “Las Mañanitas.” He left that up to Lori.

Pancakes at S&W

Sean and I went out for a first breakfast of pancakes at S & W Country Diner. Even at 8 am, the place was already busy. Xavi slept through the noise.


We relaxed at home for a little while before getting ready for a reunion lunch with college friends/former roommates. I met these women 15 years ago as freshmen and quickly became friends.


There have been many long MEChA meetings, late nights staying up writing papers, parties, happy hours, weddings, a few babies, and sadly some tears.


They treated me to lunch for my birthday and oohed over Xavi. I know babies are an attention getter, but didn’t expect so much attention from strangers.

Chilaquiles & black beans

I had my favorite Mexican/savory breakfast dish for lunch, chilaquiles.

I bumped in to my friend Diana and met her boyfriend as they were finishing up brunch at Homegirl Café. It was quite a nice surprise since she was only in LA for the long weekend.

I got birthday greetings from many friends and family members.


And then I relaxed at home with my favorite guys and tried to stay cool.


In spirit

Back in New York in spirit

For the first year of our relationship, Sean was in NY and I was in LA. We made it work and traveled to see each other monthly. During that year, I got to know the city I’d visited for vacation or conferences a few times before. I also got to know Sean’s family and friends. Even though many of them only knew me from conversations with Sean or through Facebook, they became instant friends. I felt welcomed in to the group. We felt blessed and honored that so many family and friends made the trip out for the wedding.

For the past few days, we’ve been checking in with family and friends. Thankfully, everyone made it through hurricane Sandy unscathed. My in-laws’ home in Long Island is fine, but there was a mess in the yard. Too bad we can’t be there for the clean up.

We’re grateful for our loved ones’ safety and are keeping those who are still suffering in our thoughts.

Forty hours in New Orleans

It's like Disneyland, but with a lot more alcohol.

I’ve been a little lax on blogging. I’ve been out and about doing some cool stuff like taking a super quick trip to New Orleans for a wedding. Sean’s former ZogSports (intramural football) teammates, Tony and Christina, got married on May 12th.

I arrived on Friday. Sean picked me up at the airport. He flew in the day before and had an extra day to party and reunite with his New York friends. We dropped my stuff off at the hotel, Maison Dupuy, and walked around the French Quarter for a little bit.

Beignets at Café du Monde

Café du Monde

We had café au lait and beignets at Café du Monde and stared out at the Mississippi for a moment. Later that evening, we met up with several others for a delicious dinner at Emeril’s Delmonico.

Afterward we went to a club to meet up with the groom and more friends. We didn’t hang out too long since I was tired, still recovering from my cold and not really up for enjoying the New Orleans nightlife.

Pouring outside our window

On Saturday we had brunch near the hotel and then shared some beers with friends in a pirate-themed bar. I felt like I was at Disneyland with the pirate and French Quarter thing going on. We didn’t do much that afternoon except get ready for the wedding since we weren’t too interested in walking around in a storm.

Mr. & Mrs. Buglione

Tony and Christina’s wedding was a lot of fun and worth the too-quick trip. They had a short ceremony at Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was the first time I attended a Catholic wedding that wasn’t a full Mass; they just did the liturgy (readings) and vows. The reception was held at Maison Dupuy. Since the courtyard was still wet from the rain on Friday and Saturday, the party was moved to two smaller ballrooms indoors.

Highlights from the wedding:

Tony sings a song he wrote for Christina

– Tony sang/played a surprise song he composed for Christina. It was really sweet. Tony’s mom asked Sean how he was going to top that.

– The excellent band of about a dozen musicians and singers. They played covers of current pop songs and old rock hits but it wasn’t cheesy at all. They were great and once I started dancing I couldn’t stop. I guess when you’re in New Orleans there’s no shortage of great live music.

– The food. They set up a buffet of hors d’oeuvres, gumbo, roast beef carving station, fruit and cheese. Judging by how I felt the next morning on the flight home, I liked the food and champagne a little too much.

Suit up My Wedding Date

– My handsome date.

Teal twins!

– Being teal twins with Jen (totally unplanned). I think the color suits us well.

Go Dodgers!

– Dancing and partying with the NY crew. I hope they bring the party to our wedding, but leave the Yankee fandom out of our decorations. Sean really liked the groom’s cake.

Second Line through the French Quarter

– The second line through the French Quarter at the end of the party. It’s been a dozen years since I’ve been in a parade with a brass band. Last time, Rose Parade 1999, was much different since I (a) didn’t need to play my trombone and (b) wasn’t in a band uniform. Instead I just marched/walked to the music and waved a white handkerchief as is customary. Since it was a Saturday night, there were lots of spectators cheering on the wedding party as we circled several blocks in the French Quarter.

Second Line through the French Quarter

When we arrived back at the hotel, we danced a little more. I’m really glad my purse was big enough to hold a pair of flip flops. I wouldn’t have made it back to the hotel in my heels.

Adios, NOLA

We only got a few hours of sleep before waking up at 5 am to make our 7 am flights. Ugh. The trip home was not fun.

All non-iPhone pictures borrowed from Sean since I forgot my camera.

Carlsbad goals and blogger reunion

T-shirt at the Carlsbad expo

Earlier in the month I said that my only goal for the Carlsbad Half Marathon was to negative split. It’s the first time in my rather short race history that I don’t want to PR. Even for the Long Beach Marathon when I was entering a bit injured, I wanted to best my previous time.

This time around, [I think] I’m okay with just negative splitting. A PR seems a little out of reach considering my recent mileage is rather low and I’m still not one hundred percent okay with the IT band issues. In addition, since I’ve decided to run LA, this should be more of a training run.

Anyway… I’m more or less scared I can’t get back to the speedy-for-me pace that felt so easy at the Holiday Half. 

We’ll see.


While I’m being a weenie about the race, I’ve been excited for this weekend. I signed up in November with some long time friends I met through blogging years ago. Back then we called our little blogging community Blogotitlán (or Blogtitlán). Although we weren’t all Latino and lived all over the country, we found that we had a lot in common and could relate to one another’s posts about everything from identity to our education. Through travel for school, I had the opportunity to meet people in NY, Chicago, Austin, and all over California. It’s been pretty cool. 

I don’t know who came up with running Carlsbad. I think it was David’s (Oso) idea. He tagged some others in our little community who were in to running. Soon enough four of us were registered for the full or half. Sean decided to run as did my sister. Elena’s friend also registered. We all made plans to come in from Chicago, Columbus, Mexico City, LA and Bakersfield and rented a house for the weekend. A few others in the area said they didn’t want to run, but would come out to cheer. César was down to run and train for a race, but couldn’t make it out to California.

Seven years ago when I first met and got to know Elena, David, Alfonso, Adriana and Gustavo via the interwebs, I thought one day we’d all hang out (with some others in the informal crew too!). We even tried to plan a reunion but it fell through because I’m flaky like that. I didn’t think the reunion would finally happen on a race weekend. 

Elena wrote a much better post on the reunion.

Robbie’s story: Tattoos and tots

I met Robbie through Adrian. For years, I called him “my brother’s friend” even though I considered him my friend as well. I like Robbie and get along with him well. The whole family (even extended) is cool with Robbie. He was the only non-cousin invited on the camping trip, excluding the plus-one significant others. Sadly, he backed out shortly before the trip and we wondered aloud how it would have been different with his presence. I felt really bad when I realized that I had never personally told Robbie I was engaged; he had to find out through Facebook. My tío Pancho is one of his biggest fans and regularly tells his daughters to invite Robbie to their parties. He brings the party.

I saw Robbie recently at Cain’s house for a little get together. There was beer, food, beer pong and wading in little Becka’s pool. And a story from Robbie.

As you can see, Robbie has a tattoo or two. They’re pretty neat and easy to notice. His toddler cousin saw Robbie’s tattoos and wanted one of his own. He asked his mom.

“Mom, can I get a tattoo?”

“Yes, but only after you get older and graduate from college. When you graduate from college, I’ll take you to get any tattoo you want.”

The toddler was satisfied with his mother’s answer.

Later, at a family gathering in East LA he noticed a heavily tattooed veterano (older, retired cholo).

The precocious toddler walked up to the man and asked innocently, “What college did you go to?”

We couldn’t stop laughing.

Thanks to Robbie for letting me post this.

Priced out

My plan was to win money or a car. If I won the car, I’d sell it. I’d use the cash for the wedding fund. Good plan, right? Sadly, it didn’t come to fruition.

I came home from The Price is Right seven hours later con un pedo en la mano[1]. Actually, I didn’t leave empty handed. I came home with a $25 gift certificate to Fantastic Sam’s and some stories about my day.

Needless to say, I was never called to “come on down!” to Contestants’ Row. All those people walked away with a decent door prize. Instead, I waited around for hours on uncomfortable benches, read more of Y: The Last Man and caught up with some grad school friends.

My friend Lucy asked me to fill a spot from someone who flaked from her 4-person reservation earlier in the week. I said sure. I like Lucy, she’s fun to hang out with and would make the day away from work worthwhile. I prepared the night before by briefly studying some prices in the Sunday newspaper mailers. That morning I got dressed in a UCLA t-shirt and hoodie since the show was for the back-to-school/colllege special.

Representing UCLA @ The Price Is Right

I didn’t have my heart set on being a contestant. If I was, I probably would have worn tiny shorts, a cutesy low-cute t-shirt, knee-high socks, big hair and gobs of makeup (think Hooters waitress). Or I could have relied on my personality and been more outgoing when it was time for the very brief group interview with the producers. By the time it was my group’s chance to chat with the producers, I’d already been waiting about 4 hours. I was tired, bored and couldn’t muster any excitement. I’m sure I sounded like the most boring education PhD student ever. I might have been better off I had said something like, “my dissertation is on the impact of watching The Price is Right on college students’ grades.” And then I’d say I’d found some positive correlations, especially for math grades and public speaking.

Anyway, the actual taping was entertaining and went by rather quickly. The set looks just like it did from the Bob Barker days, but now with a much thinner Drew Carey at the helm. We sat in the second row way up front, stage right. The contestants who competed for the big prizes on stage sat in front of us filling out prize forms and commiserating about lost cars and money. When we weren’t taping and being instructed on what to do (cheer loud, look pumped) and what not to do (take forever to come on down or make a guess on a price), loud pop music played pumping up the crowd.

Aside from watching the chosen contestants compete, the best part was the off-camera time with Carey. He was pretty entertaining and talked to the mainly college student crowd about his not-so-great college career (he was dismissed twice from Kent State for academic reasons and never graduated). He even gave advice to those who seemed interested in entertainment. He seemed kind of humble about his career. Naturally, he had great rapport with new announcer George Gray. I’m not surprised that Carey was my favorite part of the day since I enjoyed his eponymous series and Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

The back to school episode, also the final episode of season 39 (!), will debut on August 19th.


[1] My mom uses this phrase all the time. It literally means “with a fart in hand” but just think of it as being empty handed. The origin of this phrase is actually a cute story from my mom’s childhood. I need to double check the details with her and will post it later.

Super 12 encounter

Cindy, Eligio & Irvin

During yesterday’s bus ride home, I was engrossed in a game of Ms. Pac-Man (because I’m a feminist and stuff) and a podcast when a young man took a seat in front of me. I looked up. He was looking at me like he knew me.

He smiled waiting for me to recognize him.

“Cindy? It’s Irvin.”

“Oh, I know… I recognize you.” He hadn’t changed much, he looked almost exactly as he did 9 years ago (he’s the one without the hat above).

I didn’t sound as enthusiastic as I should have. I was a bit confused and out of it. I really need a nap. I stopped my game and podcast and greeted him.

I met Irvin ten years ago at school and quickly became friends. Unfortunately, we lost touch over the years. I don’t remember the last time I saw him, but he asked if I was still dating a guy who lived in San Francisco. Um, no. That ended in 2002. I knew I’d seen him more recently maybe 4-5 years ago, but we just probably hadn’t talked about dating so he just remembered the SF guy.

“I saw you when you got on, but I didn’t know it was you at first. You look… uh, different.”

I knew what Irvin was trying to say. He was trying to say “wow, you lost a lot of weight” without seeming crass or rude. Totally understandable, it’s a sensitive subject for a lot of people and when people have noted it in the past it’s made me uncomfortable and even offended. Usually, people are complimentary and sincere.

Irvin was one of those, which is no surprise since he’s always been kind and friendly.

“You lost weight, right?”


We caught up about work, school, how I met my fiance and Irvin’s recent move back to the westside. I suggested we grab lunch while on campus.

“We should. I already added you on Facebook,” he replied, somewhat bashful.

“Really? On your phone?”

“Yeah. When I saw you I didn’t want to say hi without being sure. So I looked you up to see if I could find a more recent picture. I didn’t want to look crazy.”

I’m thankful for smart phones — despite refusing to get one — and that we could reconnect, albeit briefly.

I’ve had people doubt I’m the person I know or the one in the photo ID, but at least something good came out of this experience.

Better days and get aways

“Wow, you couldn’t have picked anyone further away,” Juan said.

“Yeah,” I replied.

My cousin is right. Sean is far away — 2,400 or 2,800 miles (depending on your mode of transportation).

We let seven weeks pass without seeing each other. That was tough, but unavoidable with a busy April schedule which included travel to Michigan and working a couple of weekends. Now that we can plan better, our visits will be much more frequent.

The trip was great, even when I mysteriously hurt my back in the middle of a play. I spent most of the next few days in bed with Sean at the ready to get me whatever I needed. He did a great job taking care of me. I’m lucky.

A few trip photos after the jump to prove I wasn’t bedridden the whole time.

Continue reading “Better days and get aways”

Valentine’s Day Cards by Rio (new for 2010)

Yes, it’s that time of the year again.

My friend, Rio writes:

What’s up to all my friends, lovers, and drunken makeout partners! El Rio’s Valentine’s Day Cards are back in the ring to take another swing for 2010! This is the 4th year of my cards and it’s turned into my longest running project. Enjoy!

As always, please post these cards on the pages of your friends, enemies, sexting partners, craigslist hookups, and friends with benefits. To see an archive of cards from years past CLICK HERE.