Category Archives: Randomness

35 notes for my 35th birthday


Monday was my 35th birthday. To commemorate the start of another year of life, I’m giving 35 snippets on life, things I like, and whatever else is too short to really warrant a blog post.

The first card I received for my birthday was delivered last Wednesday. It was a butterfly painted in water colors by Papá Chepe. On the back he wrote “feliz cumpleaños” and signed his name. It was perfect. I might’ve cried. Following his stroke, he’s had to relearn to write with his left hand.

Sean got me a silly card about farting. Don’t worry, the romance is still there. We just share the same immature sense of humor.

Xavi’s card featured Thomas and Friends and had stickers. I let him keep the stickers.

For some reason he puts his stickers on his sock-covered feet. He’s silly like that.

Bubble time

Sean and Xavi gave me a comal. I forgot the old one on the stove back in LA. Sean said this one had the best reviews. All the other ones “got hot too fast” or “burned [owner’s] tortillas.” I’m baffled that a comal can get a bad review. These people have to be doing it wrong.

I used to be a big fan of taking the day off on my birthday and doing something like going to Disneyland. Not this year. It’s the second week of the semester and our office is still pretty busy with welcome events, orientations and the like. Plus, there’s no Disneyland nearby.

Family members in LA called to wish me a happy birthday. Again, Papá Chepe’s birthday greetings were most touching. He sang “Las Mañanitas” to me. It was beautiful. (The photo above is from the day we left LA.)

I’m a little bummed I wasn’t in LA for my birthday, but not upset to miss the triple-degree heat.

No one at work knew it was my birthday.

I ordered myself a necklace from MALA by Patty Rodriguez. It hasn’t arrived yet. I’m such a slacker on buying birthday gifts that even when I treat myself the gift is late.

Sean has started blogging again. He’s calling his posts about the stay-at-home-dad life S.A.H.D. State of Affairs. Don’t worry. He’s not really sad unless Xavi skips his nap.

We’ve started the process of trying to get Xavi in to speech therapy through early intervention. Since we’re in a new state, we basically have to start all over again. I have a lot of feelings about this, but the people we’re working with are quite kind.

I finally finished Late-Talking Children: A Symptom or a Stage? by Stephen M. Camarata. It’s a good guide for parents on how to navigate the system. It’s also simultaneously worrisome and reassuring. Of note: Camarata never mentions bilingualism. Thus supporting my doubt that bilingual kids are more likely to have speech delay as has been stated a few times when I’ve written about Xavi’s speech delay.

According to Goodreads I’m 4 books behind target to reach my goal (75). Boo. Must download more audiobooks. Or maybe I should count the books I read to Xavi. Note: I love that the librarians put together an easy list of books about trains for kids like Xavi who are obsessed.

I found out recently that LA Public Library cards can expire. That’s not cool. At least the university library has ebooks and audiobooks accessible through OverDrive. Yeah, plus one for being at an Ivy League institution!

I’ve had a few fish out of water moments. One: At a secondhand kids store I put down my name after purchasing a toddler bed and table for Xavi. I spelled out Mosqueda for the cashier. She tried to pronounce and I corrected her as I’ve done many, many times over my life. Her response to the correct pronunciation? “That’s beautiful.” Rather innocuous, but it was just so strange. I’ve never heard anyone describe my last name as beautiful.

Technically I have two last names, but the second is much easier to spell and for ease and not to confuse folks I keep it to Mosqueda. This way I can avoid folks thinking Mosqueda is my middle name and calling me Ms. Campbell. That sounds so weird!

Fish out of water moment two: The waitress at a Mexican restaurant in Ithaca was totally confused when Sean ordered mole. Yes, it was on the menu under the chicken dishes. Either she was new and didn’t know the menu very well or she thought it was pronounced like the animal.

The tortilla section at WalMart was full of Old El Paso taco shells, taco bowls and other products. There were NO corn tortillas. I nearly cried. I have a tortilla press and can get the masa to make my own, but I’m also kinda lazy.

I bought less than a pound of queso fresco for almost $7.50. It doesn’t even taste like queso fresco. Luckily, when my mom visited in late July she brought lots of supplies. I have some frozen queso fresco for emergencies.

When people find out I’m from LA they’re really curious about why I’d move to Ithaca. I know the winter is going to be rough, but I came here for the same reason they did, to advance my education/career.

They ask a lot about how I like Ithaca. Although I’ve been here two months I haven’t had much of a chance to explore. Plus, I can’t really assess the town when a sizeable chunk of the population was gone for the summer. Xavi and Sean have explored lots of parks and kids activities.

I do say that I’m surprised by the noisiness in our neighborhood from traffic and the neighbors across the street. My neighbors in LA were pretty noisy but by the evening it quieted down. Here we still have large trucks or emergency vehicles drive by (we are at a major intersection).

We went to a park that was 20 minutes away this weekend. I told Sean, “Oh, it’s far,” after I had mapped it out. Ithaca is messing with my sense of what is close and what is far.

I miss our old churches, both St. John Vianney and St. Augustine. I miss the option of an afternoon mass, air conditioning (at least at SJV) and the music.

I miss my favorite cereal and yogurt from Trader Joe’s. The nearest location is in Syracuse (which I learned is pronounced like Sara-cuse not Si-ra-cuse). I stocked up on items when we were in Long Island over Xavi’s birthday weekend. My old co-workers also sent me a care package with TJ’s snacks. I miss them too.

I missed family and LA most on the day my mom flew back to LA. She visited for ten days in late July and early August. In between flights I texted her that she should get some reast. She said she couldn’t even sleep because she was so sad to leave Xavi. Ugh.

While my mom was here we took advantage of the free babysitting. We watched Inside Out. It was entertaining, but nowhere near my favorite Pixar movie. It did make me wonder about Xavi’s core memories that are shaping his identity.

Speaking of no longer having access to free babysitting, I was surprised to see Ithaca as one of the top 10 most expensive cities to raise a family in the US. The list came from a report by the Economic Policy Institute on What Families Need to Get By. Here I thought I was moving to an area with a lower cost of living, but not so if you factor in taxes and child care. I recommend doing the side-by-side comparisons.

Any disjointed post or photo dump should include recent favorites. I won’t include things I pay for because I’m not about endorsing stuff. First: Super Mamás Podcast – Bricia and Paulina Lopez, two sister and new moms living in LA. Bricia’s little boy is about 4 months old and Paulina has two girls (about 1 and 4, I think). The two sisters speak about striking a balance between using the knowledge they might have gained from their traditional Mexican families along with newer or modern parenting approaches. They have great guests who discuss mom issues I hear less about in other parenting podcasts such as what it’s like to be a teen mom, a singly mom or being a full-time working mom who also has side hustles as an entrepreneur. The podcast is pretty new and they’re only 9 episodes in. However, I’ve already come to look forward to their new episodes. Coincidentally, both sisters delivered their babies at the same hospital where I delivered Xavi. So when they recounted their birth stories I could imagine the same maternity ward. Even better, most of their guests are from LA and they have that LA Chicana/Latina accent I miss.

Another Round Podcast with Heben and Tracy – They just make Tuesdays better. I’ve “known” Tracy Clayton through and #thatsite for many years. I knew she was hilarious in written form, but her humor and stories are just as entertaining via podcast. Heben Nigatu is also a writer for BuzzFeed and together they make a great team. It probably helps that they have great guests such as Roxane Gay and Lianne La Havas. In the most recent episode they featured small children giving advice on how to be a big brother or sister. I might’ve cried thinking of (a) how awesome it is to have siblings and (b) how I want Xavi to have that experience.

Sherman Alexie’s Twitter feed is hilarious. I want to favorite every single tweet. He also started a podcast about a year ago with long-time friend and fellow writer, Jess Walter. On A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment they read works in progress, chat with other writers, answer listener questions about the process and discuss things such as the role of grief in their writing process.

OverDrive and public library memberships. OverDrive makes it easy to search for and download eBooks and audiobooks from various public library systems. I rarely buy books these days for myself (Xavi still gets new books) because I just don’t have much space. I borrow from OverDrive through the university and local library system.

Radio Ambulante is my favorite podcast in Spanish. Well, it’s the only podcast I listen to in Spanish. It’s hosted by writer Daniel Alarcón and features stores by journalist throughout the public radio world. I need more podcasts in Spanish, but for now Radio Ambulante will do.

Turning 35 years old means I’m now of advanced maternal age which could factor in when/if we try for another baby. I didn’t have a rough go of it the first time around at 32 years old, so I can only hope that a few years doesn’t make a big difference.

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?

Destiny's Child

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.


Grading 2014 me

In my 2014 goal post I wrote:

For 2014, I want to do more:

Running. I miss it. I have a jogging stroller and mainly open weekend mornings so I should be able to get out there. It should also help me lose a little bit of weight without being restrictive about my diet — which I’ll have to do eventually if I want to get back to pre-pregnancy weight.

Reading. Inspired by Punk Rock Mom, I’m taking up an A-Z challenge to read at least one book by an author from every letter of the alphabet.

Writing. Let’s see if I can knock out two blog posts a week about more than just baby/new mom life. I know that’s not interesting to some people. And I do have thoughts about culture, politics, education, etc.

I got one out of three done.

Second half of the year in books. I still have a week to go, but I really like the perfect 6x6 grid. #goodreads #books

Reading Grade: A+
I read 72 books and did two A-Z challenges, one by author and one by title.

Running Grade: C-
I ran more in 2014, but not enough to give myself credit for that one. However, I did work on my fitness and get back to regular exercise when I took a free class through work. BHIP was overall pretty awesome. I made significant gains and even though it wasn’t running focused, I was able to actually run a mile after thanks to all the strength training and cardio. I’m sad it’s over and the class is no longer free. (Review/reflections to come.)

Writing Grade: D
Maybe if I spent less time reading, I could’ve written more. I didn’t give myself an F because I wrote as much as I wanted to write. I’m not sure how to motivate myself to write more if I don’t feel like sharing my thoughts. For example, I have like 3-4 drafts about being a mom that are unfinished. I have my outlets and right now that’s okay for me.

The inevitable 2014 goal post


Happy new Year! Feliz año nuevo! (Don’t forget the tilde on the n!)

NYE 2013 was just as low-key as NYE 2012. Sean and I joined up with siblings, cousins and some friends for dinner and games at Adrian and Alexis’ new-ish apartment. Xavi crashed way before midnight.

For 2014, I want to do more:

Running. I miss it. I have a jogging stroller and mainly open weekend mornings so I should be able to get out there. It should also help me lose a little bit of weight without being restrictive about my diet — which I’ll have to do eventually if I want to get back to pre-pregnancy weight.

Reading. Inspired by Punk Rock Mom, I’m taking up an A-Z challenge to read at least one book by an author from every letter of the alphabet.

Writing. Let’s see if I can knock out two blog posts a week about more than just baby/new mom life. I know that’s not interesting to some people. And I do have thoughts about culture, politics, education, etc.

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!


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.


On lockdown

Years ago I signed up to get Google news alerts for any mention of my hometown. Most of the time the “news” is about sports or an announcement from a community center. Actual “real news” is rare, but when it happens it immediately makes me reach out to my family.

Yesterday “real news” popped up in my inbox.

Overheard statement leads to lockdown, search at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights

HACIENDA HEIGHTS – School police and sheriff’s deputies found nothing suspicious as they searched Los Altos High School Wednesday after a student reported overhearing other students possibly talking about a gun in a campus bathroom.

The incident began about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday at the school…

“A student who was in one of the restrooms overheard two other students that were in one of the bathroom stalls saying, ‘it’s loaded,'” the lieutenant said. The student did not report seeing a gun.

The student reported the incident to administrators, who then checked the bathroom but found no one inside, Sotelo said.

Sheriff’s deputies assisted officers from the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in locking down the school and looking for the student who made the alarming statement, as well as any weapon on campus, Sotelo said.

[Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune]

My first thought was “Oh, shit! That’s where my mom works.”

Naturally, I freaked out a little. I called my dad thinking mom might have checked in with him. He sounded too cheery and normal. I told him about the lockdown and he immediately hung up with me to get ahold of mom.

A few moments later dad got back to me. Thankfully, mom was okay as were her students. Almost as soon as I hung up with dad, mom called to check in.

She told me the students were getting antsy and uncomfortable not being able to get out to use the bathroom for a few hours. Their class was searched, but they didn’t really know what was going on. Later in the evening, I spoke to mom again. She was home after a longer than normal day thanks to the lockdown. Apparently, getting students picked up after a lockdown was a lengthy process as emergency contacts had to be verified.

I felt extremely grateful to hear that no one was hurt. More selfishly, I’m glad my mom was home last night and we could talk about mundane things like making tamales.

Sadly, I know there are lots of families who have been through something similar. Even worse, there are too many families who don’t know the feeling that everything is okay.

Assessing 2012


I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago and started thinking about the health and fitness goals I set for 2012. I didn’t even remember them, nor did I ever explicitly post them on the blog. They were part of the monthly goal posts I wrote early in the year. I found my goals in my notes and wrote self-assessments in brackets. I used the same format from the citizenship section of my elementary school report cards (outstanding, satisfactory, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory).

– 5 servings of fruits/vegetables per day [Needs improvement.]
– More water, limit Diet Coke habit [Needs improvement, satisfactory for the Diet Coke aspect.]
– Eat out <2 per week (ideally 0) [Satisfactory.]

– Strength 2xs a week [Outstanding for 2/3 of the year, unsatisfactory after August.]
– Yoga – use Groupon [Unsatisfactory.]
– Cross training 1 time per week [Satisfactory for 2/3 of the year.]
– Wear a bikini and be comfortable doing so [Unsatisfactory, not attempted.]

– PR in all race distances [Satisfactory; I only ran three official races and PR’ed in the marathon and the 18-mile distance.]
– Minimum of 4 runs per week [Satisfactory until April thanks to marathon training; outstanding during 5-week run streak]
– Reach weekly and monthly mileage records [Outstanding, I think. I know I did break my weekly mileage record, but am not 100% sure about the monthly record.]

Weight loss
– Get back to goal weight (ideal <130)
– Fit in to khaki pants and H&M dresses again
– Return to WW, follow plan
[Unsatisfactory on all of these. I’m at the highest weight I’ve been since ’09 and just removed the pants and dresses from my closet.]

Propose & collect data [Big fat unsatisfactory]

I didn’t do so great. Maybe a C grade? At least I know what I need to work on — along with other stuff.

target sucker

I did do better on other non health & fitness goals. I planned a wedding with Sean and our families without going crazy (or making them crazy). I also got my Target spending habit under control. I’d get an A- or satisfactory in those areas.

Twelve firsts for 2012

Chilling in 100+ degree weather

Got married to Sean surrounded by 250+ family members and close friends. I did wear shoes most of the time. [Posts]

The only runner that matters to me

Ran a sub-4 marathon… The rest of the year was unimpressive on running, but I did get in a 38-day run streak and started regularly strength training. [Post]

Aerial station at La Cienega/Jefferson

Rode the newly opened Expo Line from Culver City to downtown LA. It’s nice to have the option to take the train downtown to concerts, games, etc.

Backlight con Rosario

Finally got around to that Blogotitlán reunion with people I’ve “known” since 2004. I met Elena and Gustavo (plus wife and adorable daughter) and saw others I hadn’t seen in a while (David, HP, Nathan (and Rosario), and Adriana. Oh yeah, we ran the Carlsbad half marathon or marathon in the middle of it. [Post]


Let go of a longtime goal and finally did what I should’ve done years ago: quit grad school. [Post]


Visited Joshua Tree with Sean for our anniversary. [Post]

The family (sans tía Eva)

Celebrated Mamá Toni’s 90th birthday with the family. [Post]

Second Line through the French Quarter

Attended a wedding in New Orleans, complete with a second line through the French Quarter. Only regret is that my first trip to NOLA was less than 48 hours. [Post]

After the Simpsons table read

Attended a table-read for The Simpsons. [Post]

Actually got in to the track competition during the Olympics thanks to Leo Manzano. It also helps that Sean is Jamaican and insisted that we watch all the sprints where the Jamaican men and women dominated… which was a lot of races. [Post]

Diver waves to kids in the Pacific exhibit

Took on my first post-grad school full-time job… in the same office. The new job included getting paid to go to Disneyland and the Aquarium of the Pacific. [Post.


Spent Christmas with my in-laws in New York.