Friday, December 30, 2005
My Own Private Valley of the Dolls
They drummed you out of Hollywood, so you come crawling back to Broadway. But Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope. Now get out of my way, I've got a man waiting for me.- Helen Lawson, VOD
So after 4 days of infernal agony, I went back to the doctor and got some type of prednisone to get rid of the allergic reaction. Well, just my luck I had an allergic reaction to that! I thought I was going nuts (literally) and read the mile long list of possible side effects. About 3/4 down the page I see myself:
The psychiatric disturbances include depression, euphoria, insomnia, mood swings, personality changes, and even psychotic behavior.
I think I had all of those. Honestly, I was bonkers. I had to call Paco and have him come home from work to help me with Citlalli. I was all tweaked out! I make a crappy drug addict, something I am grateful for. My body just doesn't like them. Even Claritin makes me wanna barf. Fortunately we know a great acupuncturist who takes insurance and lives close by, so I went to her home office and that really helped balance my body out. I still had hives every now and then, but I got my sanity back!
But what you really want right now are more Valley of the Dolls quotes right?
Oh and the Holidays, Darling
What with my descent into the depths of druggery and all, my trip home for the holidays was postponed few days. I missed our big tamalada party on the 21st which was a shame as I am the Masa Queen. My sister had to take the post and it was challenging for her but she pulled through like a champ. Masa making is serious business. It involves no-fear lard handling, a bit of intuition, and good old culinary science.
I tasted the tamales a few days later and they were great. The day after Christmas I made tamales with her and they turned out awesome! I kept trying to invent new recipes to use up the mountains of ham that seemed to accumulate after Christmas but no one was excited about eating ham tamales. However my chile and cheese, walnut raisin tamales, and assorted sweets rocked. I also made cajeta that was to die for.
The rest of my time here has been pure indulgence, eating nonstop. NONSTOP! It's raining a lot so what else should we do with ourselves? :-)
Of course the absence of my dad is unbearable. I'm still not used to him not being here and keep expecting to hear his footsteps. But I feel his spirit all around us so it's not like he's completely gone. My family's M.O. is to keep busy, which helps us all get through. We're talking about him, sharing memories, and creating new traditions.
We head back after New Year's to get back to the grind. What a month it's been! Happy New Year to all and just say no to pharmaceuticals!
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Each year, the Chispa Coaching Circle has a gift exchange where we make something for everyone. Last year we made glass marble bling magnets which were amazing. Each person received 6 personalized magnets with images just for her.
This year, we are making Prayer Candles. Everyone made a cover to go over a 7 day holy candle (about the size of a tennis ball can), color copied it, then sent the copies to each one in the group. We will wrap the covers around candles and bask in the glow when we have our virtual meeting.
Mine was made with Loteria cards, and after I copied the pic I swizzled some red glitter along the meridians.
This is a cool gift for a group of friends to make. Use collage, cartoons from magazines, found items... whatever rocks you. Color copy them and send them to your friends, perhaps adding a little embellishment (like glitter, paint,)
Here is the basic rundown:
1. You will create a collage or picture on a surface measuring about 8 ½ x 6 ½ . Approx ½ inch of that will be a seam that you can apply glue to.
2. Traditionally, these candles have an image on the front and a prayer on the back. I love the way that people interpret the Holy Candle. Here are a few examples:
And let's not leave our Wiccan friends out this Yule
3. Make color copies and send one to each friend. I like to personally embellish each copy with glitter, a handwritten note, or some small 3-D object like a pebble or dried flower.
4. Your candle can be a wish, an intention, or your special touch.
5. Have a party together and enjoy the flames!
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The topic had to do with the pros and cons of being a working mom. As a working mom, I know firsthand how challenging it can be, but I came with a message of hope.
"There is no single solution for everyone, but the perfect solution is out there for you."
From my perspective, I've seen working moms wracked with guilt for not being home, but I've also met stay at home moms wracked with guilt for not being in the workforce. I joked with Antonio, the anchor on the show, that as moms (and Latinas) we're always going to feel guilty about something so just accept that and move on!
Long story short, here are my suggestions that I shared with the viewers:
1- You need to consider your child's well being and make sure she gets the best care possible. Is that from you or is that from a babysitter or is that with a licensed provider? Your instincts will tell you loud and clear when you find the right situation. Don't just settle. The intense development within the first 5 years needs to be nurtured and stimulated.
2- You need to consider YOUR needs. Yes, you! Put other people's expectations aside and take inventory of what you need to feel healthy in all aspects: body, mind, and spirit. If you aren't cut out to be a 24/7 mom, don't berate yourself. Maybe there is a part time situation that will work for you. You need to be honest with yourself and work towards the ideal situation.
3- What is best for your family? Can you financially afford the decision you've made? Life is expensive and unless you have a breadwinning partner in your life, staying at home is not an option for everyone. Talk to people, ask questions. See what other people have done in their situations.
Personal aside: There's nothing more damaging and divisive for us as women than getting judgmental and uppity regarding a woman's childrearing decisions. Just because something works well for you doesn't mean it will work the same way for others. So if your kids were fine in daycare, don't insist that everyone has to have their kids in daycare. Likewise, just because you can afford to be a stay at home mom doesn't mean that everyone is cut out for it. LIVE AND LET LIVE, OK?
Saturday, November 26, 2005
- We Put the Succ in Succulent
First of all, can I tell you that my turkey this year was a PERSONAL BEST! I don't mean to gloat or brag, but I did culinary victory laps around the casa. Brine, brine, brine people! Even my comadre Sarah Judson, potter turned painter, brined her bird this year to succulent results.
Succulent. Let's just leave it at that. (I'm running victory laps in place while you read this. Just can't stop. What a great turkey!)
Photo/Art Exhibit:Cuba Hoy!
Who: Raleigh and Helena of Kiss of Light Photography
Where: Martinez Frame & Design;
205 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92704
- Tel: 714-835-5288
When: Reception: Dec 3rd 6-10pm.
Exhibit up through January 3rd
Why: To be cultured and have fun: Also the rest of the galleries in the
Artist Village will be open for the monthly Artwalk.
It's a Mutual Love Fest for La Comadre y Crafty Chica!
Kathy Cano Murillo, my crafty chica creative goddess comadre, wrote some very nice unsolicited words about me. What a nice surprise! That embodies the type of person she is. Super positive, always encouraging.
For you sea-faring comadres out there, you need to get on board with Kathy's Crafty Chica Cruises next year. Can you imagine going on a Latina funky art cruise! Can't you just see this band of Fridas swimming up to the bar in DIY bikini tops that light up and tell your fortune all at the same time. I WANT TO BE THERE! I want to freak out the other passengers with some day of the dead jewelry, or redecorate the lido deck with sombrero mini lights.
OK, I'm being for real.
Cruises have childcare. In fact they have a total kid loving package. This is a brilliant idea Kathy and I'm hoping to be on board for at least one of these wild adventures. Got room for me and a vivacious 3 year old comadrita?
Keep going to Kathy's blog for more info (her blog which is as juicy as my award winning turkey! I'm still doing laps, btw)
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Well, it's 2 days before T-Day and I just got my shopping done, my menu is planned, and my 17 pound pavo sits in the fridge awaiting the brine spa treatment I have planned for it.
Couple of years ago my bro in law made a brined turkey which is basically a turkey that soaked in salt water overnight. Juicy, tasty, and seasoned to the bone, it is now my fave way of preparing el guajolote.
Click here for the recipe for best brined turkey. Trust me, it will rock your world.
One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving is that I get to make my grandmother Mama Keke's dressing. I channel her when I make it and it has never let me (or anyone else) down. This also is great in a chicken or with a pork roast. It is sweet and savory and vegetarian friendly.
This dish always turns out better if you talk to the ingredients. You can tell them stories, family gossip, the plot line of your favorite telenovela, or some sports scores.
Mama Keke's Fruit Stuffing
For every 10 pounds or so of birdie you'll need:
Unseasoned bread cubes (I make my own or buy the bag)
1 green apple, chopped
handful of raisins
6-8 chopped Spanish olives
1 bell pepper
salt and pepper
Saute the onion and bell pepper in butter til tender but not overcooked. Remove from heat and add bread cubes, apple, banana, raisins, olives, salt and pepper to taste. Taste it and add more fruit or olives if you think it needs it.
**If you are cooking it inside the bird, rub the cavity of the bird with sage before you put the stuffing in.
*If you're cooking it in a casserole dish, moisten it up with some turkey stock. Don't overdo it or it will be soggy. Be sure to butter the dish and add lots of butter dollops to the top. When you cook stuffing in the pan you need to recreate greasy bird drippings, so don't skimp on the mantequilla.
Stuff into the bird and cook til done, or in the casserole cook at 350 til stock absorbs and fruits soften. Maybe 45 minutes?
I hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving. Whether you're with your family of origin or family of choice, I send you big abrazos and lots of gratitude.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Read more about Vine Deloria:
New York Times article
University of Colorado News Center
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Rock on Bono:
It all started with my first U2 concert in... 15 years? Dang. That's a long time. I was such a huge U2 fan in the 80's then I got really disappointed with their stint into superficiality around the early 90's. But last week I was reunited with the band I loved. My brother Mark and i attended together and he thinks that was our first arena concert since Thin Lizzy in 1981. Where did the years go? I am such a dork I even wrote a review on a fansite about the show. Here it is in case you must read it
Coaches A Go Go:
The purpose of my visit was to attend International Coach Federation Conference in San Jose and what a blast it was for me. Here I am with my podcasting partner Catherine Bruns. We really needed a photo taken of us and asked a total stranger if she'd oblige. She was writing in a notebook... I wonder if we intruded? After 5 or 6 takes ("Oooh, I hate that angle of my chin", "Our heads are too uneven") we released our photog prisoner back to her world of lobby journaling and went about our merry way.
I wore my big bad black boots that day and was about 8 feet taller than Catherine, so the part of this picture that you don't see are my knees crouching.
OK, if you're a coach, then this one ought to wow you. Here I am with C.J. Hayden, author of Get Clients Now! Now do you see what happens when I don't crouch whilst being photographed? I think the theme of this conference was "Damn, you're tall! I thought you'd be short!"
I don't have a photo of me with Suzanne Falter Barns, but I shout to the world that she's a tall chica too! We hung out in her booth and chewed the chit with Cami, author of the upcoming book Trolls and Bitches. (I gravitate towards the rebels)
I also need a photo of Denise and Patsi, the brains behind the coolest conference blog Blogsquad Live. I need to spend a whole post on them, they are so cool.
If you've been eavesdropping on my life for a while, you may recall that my niece Kati was featured on HGTV's Design on a Dime back a year or two. They took her messy teenage artist's bedroom and turned it into a super cool retro lounge. Kati P is all about old school tattoos, 40's pinup girls, Betty Page... you know, wholesome subject matter. She is beyond great as an artist and made this freeekin bejeeezus coolshizzel jacket for Citlalli's 3rd birthday. Can I turn 3 so I can get one too? I see a boutique on Melrose for rockstar children, don't you?
And speaking of birthday peeps, here is Citlalli celebrating her birthday. This kid had the time of her life with my side of the familia. I let people know that she is into all things purple, hello kitty, and big girl chones and she got all that and then some.
I want to add that my mom is AWESOME. She watched Citlalli each day while I went to the conference and they had so much fun together. Thanks mom! She's 73 going on 30.
that's my big trip away. It was tiring, but great. I didn't even go into that it was our first airplane trip. Long story short, Citlalli did great. She's used to 10 hour road trips from LA to SF. A 60 minute plane ride was a walk in the park. Yet another thing to add to my gratitude list.
OK, last words because I know that people hate to read anymore so I'll be brief. At the ICF conference, I attended sessions that focused on intangible topics like spirituality and the hero's journey. Very moving and I had some very cathartic moments. You may see a different side of me coming out in my writing soon because I'm about to come face to face with someone I've been trying to avoid for many years now: My Shadow Self. More on that to come.
until next time,
Friday, October 28, 2005
I was invited to appear again on Univision's early morning show, Primera Edicion. I love going on this show! Coco and Gabi (the cohosts) are so wonderful and they always greet me with big smiles and besitos on the cheek.
This time I spoke on time management, offering 5 simple that people can start using today. I even got a phone call from a woman who saw the show and poured her heart out to me. Ay pobrecita, but a visit to Staples should start her on the right path.
OK, so why the Ginger Rogers analogy?
Primera Edicion comes on at 5am. So not only do I have to get up crazy early (try 2:45 am), take a shower, do studio strength make up and hair, dress up, drive 45 minutes to L.A., but I have to do the show in Spanish!
I can barely speak English at 5am, let alone Spanish, but for whatever reason the adrenaline kicks in and away I go, rattling off like it's nobody's business. The segment is quick, I'm back on the road and this time made it back to my place by 6:15am.
Paco was still asleep, Citlalli was asleep, and I was the early morning glamour girl. The night before I couldn't sleep (more on that later), so I crawled back into bed until Citlalli woke me up close to 7. Then it was business as usual Wednesday, hitting a playdate with my Mama Tribe.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Sidebar: a rebozo is a traditional shawl, long and rectangular in shape. They can be used for a variety of purposes including baby carrying, keeping warm, lasssooing lovers, to name a few.
We were all invited to share a gift with everyone there and I simply read my verbal collage.
Now suddenly its a poem and people want to hear it again! Isn't that funny? I think so. I guess cuz I wasn't trying to write a poem.
So without any further ado, here is my verbal collage and you can try to imagine the beauty of our indigenous women. (Frida wasn't really there but doesn't she do rebozos well?)
Click the arrow to listen
Long black braids, Harley t-shirt
Short dark pigtails and rebozo
Rebozos de todos colores
Braids of every length
Flacas, delgadas, llenas,
Rebozo, beaded earrings, Vans
Ladies with perms
Colores, colores, y mas colores
May you wrap yourselves up in rebozos woven of strength and hope.
Aho, All my relations.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The 1st Annual Indigenous Women's Conference organized by Alianza Indigena took place Friday Oct 14 and Saturday Oct 15. It was filled with women of all tribal affiliations, from all four directions, and at least 7 languages.
When I say Indigenous Women, by the way, I refer to women descended from the original peoples of the Americas. Back in graduate school I was graded down on a paper for not being specific enough on that point but the prof had a bit of an agenda. I'll write about that some other time.
Lupe Lopez and her amazing cohorts en el movimiento indigena organized this conference to address the need among indigenous women to share cultural capital, such as our traditional medicines, rights, and ceremonies.
From Rocky Rodriguez, Friday night's fiery keynote speaker, to Saturday's panels of tradtional healers, it was powerful through and through. We heard the wisdoms from a Chumash healer, a Mexican sovadora (massage healer), and a Pai Pai midwife from Baja California. We met Yaqui, Raramuri, and Mixteco women involved in keeping their cultures alive through traditional arts and culture.
We stood and cheered them, cried at their stories, and related as only a strong circle of women could. EVERY single woman in attendance there was of indigenous roots, proudly showing her tribal affiliation on her nametag, even if her tribe is one that the US Govt doesn't recognize.
Women offered songs, traded, swapped cell phone numbers (hey, we're in the modern age too!) We talked about balancing the old ways with life in the modern world, how to stay strong, how to stand up for ourselves, how to work for peace and healing.
I was honored to be asked to faciliate the closing ceremony and we did a huge gratitude circle. It was beautiful.
Back when I posted about my Nahuatl language class, I encouraged people to seek out their own indigenous roots. We all can claim back to a tribe of some sort, people who had a close connection to Mother Earth. Maybe you don't know the name of it, maybe you need to go back centuries to find them, but they're there. And they have a message for you that as Rocky said, they dreamed for you to be here in this day and in this time to carry out a special job of healing the world.
Aho- All my relations.
Friday, October 07, 2005
These are going to be up on my website soon (maybe they already are by the time you read this) so people can see and hear the Comadre Coaching message to release your Inner Loca!
Get your Inner Loca some popcorn or chicharrones and rock out as I talk about the creative flow, the hidden secret of creativity, and stress reduction. (The stress reduction piece is in Spanish but it's really good. If you want a translation of my 5 points I'll be happy to send them to you.)
Note: These are Quicktime movie clips. If your computer doesn't have Quicktime, or the movie won't play, go here for a free download:
OK, back to my star moments...
1) From The Mix Nancy talking about the creative flow
DSL/Broadband Users click here
Dial Up Users Click Here
2) From Insight Nancy shares the hidden secret of creativity
DSL/Broadband Click Here
Dial Up Users Click Here
3) From Univision's Primera Edicion learn 5 tips for reducing stress in your vida loca (this is in Spanish)
Dial Up Users Click Here
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I took her off the beaten path for a whirlwind fun weekend.
The entire weekend was made possible because my sister Shelley had a business meeting in Orange County. She brought Bunny along, and the rest is history. Here are Bunny, Shelley, and Citlalli on a warm Indian Summer night at Balboa Pier in Newport Beach.
Bunny, Citlalli, and I at the pier. Bunny's oft repeated quote of the night "I feel like I'm in Hawaii! This is like a movie!"
Citlalli and I playing in the waves at Doheney Beach in Dana Point.
Mommy Nancy and Citlalli giving a big thumbs up for the pancake breakfast. Kid friendly restaurants rule!
Bunny and Citlalli catching the surf.
A highlight of the weekend was attending my comadre Helena Pasquarella's 40th Birthday party. Helena and her husband live in a cool artists pad in Old Towne Orange, CA. She had a live band, a henna artist, goody bags, great food... it was awesome. Bunny had the time of her life and when I wasn't looking she got her whole hands and fingers hennaed. Wow! I got a flower design on my upper left arm and I really like it... should I go for some permanent ink there? Very tempting.
We also got a "flip picture" done at the party, from Helena and hubby's company Get Flipped. If I can figure out a way to show it to you I wil, but check out their website so you can get an idea. See if this link works...
I love it when people come to visit and I feel like I was the one on vacation. I hope my sis has more meetings down here cuz I really want them to visit again!
Thursday, September 29, 2005
It was the 70's and it appears as if my enormous collar is going to consume me. Help, get the jaws of life!
The girl in that photo would be cringing to know her pic was published for the world to see, but the woman she grew into thinks it's cool. My how a few decades can build the confidence level!
Oh, and by the way it IS a decoupage by Auntie Tallo. There was no room for tole painted daisies but I think she got into that a few years later.
Speaking of cool, the latest issue of Carol Weeg's Finding Our Way just hit the newsstands and it is a history making edition! Carol invited her first ever guest writer (yours truly) to pen a few words on creativity. You can also meet a couple of Chispas Linda Bannan and Ruth Kunstadter and get inspired by their energy and creative spark.
Finding Our Way is a great publication for witty, active women over 40 who don't look, act, or think "middle aged". It's all how you feel inside as Carol reminds us. I suggest you check it out and get on her list. I look forward to each issue and can't wait til the next!
Monday, September 26, 2005
Monday, September 19, 2005
My comadre Catherine Bruns of Balanced Life Coaching invited me to do a podcast with her! So here is our first installment, Getting Unstuck. We chatted for about 15 minutes and some great insights were found.
Friday, September 16, 2005
We honored his memory by creating a funeral program worthy of his respect: we made a racing form.
Complete with horseracing logos and everything, it looked like the real deal. Except that the horses' names were sayings and events that tied into his life. Everyone said it was the perfect way to commemorate him.
My brother had this great idea to take this concept a step further.
"Wouldn't it be cool if Pop's ashes could be scattered from a racehorse crossing the finish line?"
We all agreed and suddenly realized that the idea wasn't too far fetched.
A neighbor of my parents trains racehorses. One evening, my brother approached the neighbor and asked him what he thought of the idea.
This neighbor adored my dad. They used to sit and chat for hours, smoking cigars and having a drink.
"I can't think of a better way to send off old Tom", he said, and with that the plan was set in motion.
Horse trainers know jockeys.
The neighbor managed to get one of the top jockeys to ride this horse around the track, Dad's ashes in tow, and just as he crossed the line flipped open a medicine container with some of the ashes. In fact, the jockey was moved beyond belief to perform such an honor.
I wasn't there to witness it, the whole thing was arranged too quickly for me to travel home to witness it. But my family was present, with cameras and I'm sure a hankie or two.
My dad loved the horses. He wasn't a racetrack bum or a high roller. "Don't bet too much, don't win too much, don't lose too much" was his saying. He loved the mathematical and strategic art of handicapping.
Now he's blowing in the wind out there, up close and personal with his favorite four legged creatures.
Go Dad Go!
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I can't say too many nice things about the emergency response as I see the death tolls mounting. I'm glued to the radio as I hear story after story of people left for days without food or water. I immediately emailed my Moms group and proposed a day of making disaster kits for ourselves in the event of a major earthquake or other calamity. Everyone agreed that we need to get our butts in gear before something big hits us too.
OK... I had to get that off my chest.
In the meantime, so many people have been sending me blurbs and shout outs for some pretty amazing things. So I want to share these resources with you.
SIDE COMMENT: The more I think about it, the more I see a need for our creative powers to come to the forefront.
Creativity as an emergency response tool.
Creativity as a disaster prevention strategy.
Creativity as a survival kit.
Everything listed here will touch you in some way or another. The more you develop your talents, the more helpful you'll be to the world. The ripple effect just might touch someone in some way that will change our world.
From my crafty idol, Kathy Cano Murillo:
"Crafty Chica's Art de la Soul: Glittery Ideas to Liven Up Your Life" is now up on
Amazon.com. I'm very excited for this one because it is my first major trade paperback,
published by Rayo Books of HarperCollins Publishers. I'm including a link (hint: pre-order,
- Also, if you want to be on a secret mailing list of sneak peeks for this book and other
Latino title from HC, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Crafty Chica" in
the subject line.
- You can also see my contributions in the new titles "Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul"
and "Michaels Book of Needlecrafts". Both on sale now!
From coach Joan Friedlander:
Take the Busyness out of Business Workbook
Take the Busyness out of Business Teleclass
Do you find yourself saying, "I do my best work under pressure"or "I'm busy, but it's a good busy...”?
Joan Friedlander, The Entrepreneur's Coach, has developed the ultimate program for people who want to get the most out of life. She will show you how to leverage your passion - the fuelthat lights your life - and determine how you can spend 70-80% of your time on the things you do best each and every day.
Fall Equinox with Wisdom Works
Summer is rapidly coming to a close. Fall is approaching. Would you like to join in celebrating this changing of the seasons in a conscious way with a great group of women?
Please feel free to tell any other woman you know who might be interested in this gathering in Southern California. In many ways, this has been a challenging summer and it looks like fall may be as well. Allow yourself to anchor and ground yourself as well as seek support from the amazing universal spirit of love, nature and other women. Set your intention for Fall firmly and with great awareness during this gathering.
For more info, contact Verna Fisher at 562 860-5804 or visit www.WisdomWorks.com
Coaching Retreats with Coach Helene
Whether you want to attend a retreat or lead a retreat, Coach Helene is the person to go to. Check out her programs here:
Judson's Plein Air Outfitters
If you're rugged and outdoorsy yet can't resist painting wildflowers and trees, then you need to check out Judson's Plein Air Outfitters. In fact, order their print catalog because it's great to read, even if you don't paint.
Indigenous Women's Conference
To be held October 14 and 15 in Anaheim, CA. For more info, go to www.AlianzaIndigena.org and click on events. Indigenous women of the north and south most welcome, even us Chicanas who were told we were Spanish for so much of our lives!
ABLA mas y mas!
How often do you walk into a major museum or gallery and see the work of Latina artists? Fridamania notwithstanding, it ain't often enough! Go visit ABLA and educate yourself, buy something... keep supporting the cause. This project is a labor of love from Maria Sanchez and I'm sure she'd appreciate your feedback and support.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
me pictures of her new baby. I am in love!
How can one tiny little perrita be so cute?
And of course her name is Bella, very fitting to Lorinda.
Just in case you think this is an 80 pound hound, down below is a pic of little Bella next to a person. She can fit into your hand.
I wonder if Lorinda is going to add a new pooch line to her already existing great products?
Perhaps a dog collar sachet?
Monday, August 15, 2005
"Lupe", I told her, "we need a Nahuatl class! I hear there's one in L.A, but I don't want to drive all that way."
Nahuatl (NAH-wot) is an indigenous language spoken by hundreds of thousands of people in Mexico. It is the language of the Aztecs and their surrounding peoples. It is the language that gave us the words we know today for chocolate, tomato, chile, and so much more. (My daughter's name, Citlalli, is Nahuatl for star).
Somewhere back in my lineage I have ancestors who spoke Nahuatl. Learning it is like having someone go in and tickle your DNA, a stirring of an ancestral memory that lies deep in your genetic code.
Lupe is a can-do person. She ran with the idea and here I am, learning Nahuatl every Tuesday evening. Class started a few weeks ago and it's magical. Imagine a room full of people, faces of indios, reconnecting with the language of our people. To learn that so many people still speak it is amazing and I sometimes want to break out in tears of gratitude while we're conjugating the verb "to be". (Doesn't take much to make me cry!)
Here is an audio message from me in Nahuatl. I'm still in the kindergarten stage!
Regardless of your roots, I encourage you to learn more about the languages in your lineage. It's empowering and fun to connect with that part of ourselves.
Here's an article that ran in the newspaper on our teacher, David Vázquez Hernández
Monday, August 8, 2005
David Vázquez Hernández
By DORIS BENAVIDES
The Orange County Register
Job title:Nahuatl teacher. Nahuatl is an indigenous language with roots in central Mexico
Company:Working on establishing a Nahuatl Acad emy in Santa Ana
Describe your job:I teach Nahuatl numeric and graphic script, reading of manuscripts (codices), Nahuatl traditions, religion, poetry and music.
Your background?I am a native of a small village of 900 inhabitants in Puebla, Mexico, where the language and traditions are taught by the elders (grandparents and parents). Before the '60s, Nahuatl was an oral language. Then we learned to write it, using pictographs. Most of the Nahuatl speakers are bilingual. We learn Spanish in school, though I did not attend until I was 13 years old. I have served as interpreter in state courts, and have taught Nahuatl at high schools, colleges and universities, including UCLA and UC Dominguez Hills.
Your typical day?I work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. as a maintenance employee at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Santa Ana. The rest of the day I paint my own art. On days when I teach, I dedicate a couple of evening hours to that class. For 37 years, I worked on creating a Nahuatl alphabet and dictionary using Roman characters. I finished it in May and took it back to Mexico, where I travel frequently for conferences about the Nahuatl culture in schools, universities and community centers.
Best thing about the job?The excitement I feel of sharing my culture with people from all walks of life. I enjoy teaching my own people, especially the young ones, how to love their own traditions and how to keep their roots alive.
Biggest challenge?To remain physically and mentally healthy.
How many hours a week do you work?40 hours at my paid job; 15 hours at home, and about two hours when I am teaching Nahuatl.
Advice for someone interested in a job like yours?First and foremost, if there is someone who knows how to read, write and speak Nahuatl, to apply themselves and start teaching it.
What motivates you to do your best?It is in my heart. It is part of my roots. I see myself as a rebirth of my ancestors.
- Doris Benavides/The Register
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
This picture is from a great website that tracked a hummingbird family. The link below will take you to the whole sequence. Just take a moment to do this. It's beautiful.
Thanks to my friend Erin for sending this to me!
Click here to see Hummingbird website.
Be sure to click "next page" so you can see them from eggs to free flyers.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I took this picture in my parent's house. Isn't your desktop filled with statues of Mary, old photos, trinkets, and troll dolls?
It was less than a week after my dad's funeral and I was working remotely from the parental pad. I dialed into the bridge line, started listening to the awesome Chispa group, and as I looked up at this vignette I started laughing so hard. Suzanne, Linda, Carol, or Ruth said I should take a picture of it so here it is!
The house I grew up in is a wonderful montage of religious iconography, folk art, and modern day mementos. That troll doll you see wears a Tshirt saying "Aged to Perfection". Since La Virgencita is no spring chicken, I thought they made a great accidental pairing.
Getting Back to Work
It's been hard getting totally back into work. If I allow my attitude to get the best of me, I could sit here and cry and moan. Last night I went to a Comadrazo at Ana Nogale's house and it was just the medicine I needed.
We sat outside and talked and I got to share about my dad's death. There is no agenda at a Comadrazo, it just is what it is. Sometimes the conversation is about business, other times it's more personal, sometimes it's all about what we're passionate about.
Lo and behold about half the people there had been involved with Comadre Coaching in one way or another. One woman I had coached gave a heartfelt testimonial about how our work together got her out of burnout and more focused. Then Rocio, a director of a women's shelter and community activist, shared how attending one workshop I gave a few months ago sparked her to start a non profit to benefit the children of Chiapas, Mexico.
Rocio gave me a 30 minute testimonial, weaving in how passionate she has always been about the children in Mexico and how this one afternoon in February gave her the intiative to make it happen. She has a fundraiser coming up in August so you'll all be sure to learn about that.
Then a new Comadre, Karen, told us about herself and recognized me from the Orange Coast magazine article a few months ago. "I knew it was you the minute you said you had a daughter named Citlalli. I mean how many women named Nancy with daughters named Citlalli can there be?"
After talking and eating (tamales, picadillo, chicken, salad, dessert), Ana gave me a beautiful flowering plant. We ended the evening by each asking for something. When I was talking earlier I said how I have learned how to ask for help, so Ana suggested we each ask for something.
"What do you need, Nancy", she asked in her gentle voice.
"I just need people to call me and say hi. That would make my day."
Everyone else got the chance to ask for whatever help and support they needed.
We ended the night like that. It's always a special time to get together con las comadres.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
When my Uncle Larry died, I remember my dad giving the eulogy and saying, "I wish I had a deck of cards and a racing form to lay on your coffin."
Remembering that, I emailed my 5 siblings to begin work on designing a funeral program for Dad that would be like a racing form. It turned out great.
Each horse's name had a Dad connection: Flea Market Wedding (a brilliant publicity stunt he pulled back in 1981), Sykeston Boy (named after his hometown), and a few others. I believe we had 10 horses in the lineup.
Inside the program was a heartfelt letter from the family, milestones of his life, and the names of all his many businesses through the years, kids, grandkids, my mom, etc.
Making this was a healing, cathartic exercise that allowed us to laugh and remember the qualities of our dad that made him SO HIM.
THEN FATHER KILLJOY TRIED TO WRECK THE PARTY
The priest who said the funeral is new in town and barely knew my dad. Mind you, my dad was Mr. Active Parishioner at Our Lady of Grace, maybe more so in the past but a very prominent man in the local parish community. If it wasn't for him, our school wouldn't have had a basketball court, several groups, and TV for the nuns.
On the morning of the funeral, Fr. Newbie comes running out of the church towards my sister, Racing form/program in hand.
"You CAN'T give this out in church! This is NOT appropriate for church! This does NOT mention Jesus Christ and CANNOT be used".
"F*** you", she thinks to herself as she dials her cell phone to me.
"Nancy, I'm here with Father G and he feels that our program is inappropriate because it doesn't mention Jesus Christ."
Her voice was filled with sarcasm and anger. (the priest was standing right next to her)
"Oh, f*** him!", I shout. I could barely breathe, I was so livid. I felt like someone just slammed the doors in our faces. Don't even think of messing with my dad's memory, I kept thinking.
"Yeah, I know, I thought the same thing", she replied, with him still standing right there.
He didn't know my dad. He didn't know how much he contributed to this church, he didn't know jack! I've never told a clergy member to go eff himself, but I was very close to it.
My other sister got into the heat of it and we were like lock and load hillbilly sisters ready to even a score.
FORTUNATELY my brother showed up at the church with inserts for the programs that listed the readings, songs, etc (ie all the religious stuff) and the priest, realizing what an ass he had been, relented and allowed our program in.
If this priest were in charge of recruiting and retaining practicing Catholics, I think we'd have a whole lot of conversion OUT of the church by this point.
EVERYONE at the funeral LOVED the programs. My dad, rest his soul, loves it. I'm sure he would've told us that the priest was a dipshit, one of his affectionate terms for people who bugged him.
AND A DRY FUNERAL? YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING!
In all this regime changing at my parent's church, another baffling edict was cast down by the Diocese of Oakland. No more alcohol served at the Parish Hall.
"OK wait, there has got to be a loophole here", I protested.
Me, the non-drinker for the past 9 years.
"Sorry, orders from the Bishop."
Once again, bad management decisions in the Catholic Church.
My dad liked his libation. He bonded with people over drinks. The thought of his funeral being a dry event almost brought tears to my eyes. So instantly my sister and I had to make plans on spiking the punch. Dad would've been so proud!
She hid a bottle of Skyy vodka under the table and whoever needed that fortification had it. I'm not one to dictate how people should grieve.
A Great Sendoff
Despite all the drama and clandestine spiking of punch, my dad's funeral was AWESOME. The church was jam packed, we saw people we hadn't seen since we were little kids. People flew in from all over the country just for the day so they could be there.
My sister, my brothers, and I all gave touching and humorous eulogies.
(My dad knows I want to do more speaking gigs so ha ha ha dad).
In the end, it all came out beautifully. Father Newbie actually had a bit of an awakening after the funeral and softened up. My family came together yet again to put on a helluva party.
I'm feeling joyful when I think of my dad and can feel his presence all around us. He's up there in a good place dealing a game of Pinochle with his brothers, stinkin' up some angel's den with a Cuban cigar, and enjoying a cool beverage on the rocks.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
On July 8 my dad passed away.
I'm going to have to return to this topic and expand upon how we honored him, but I want to let people know that creativity still comes alive while grieving.
My dad was an avid sports fan and loved horse racing. So in honor of him, we designed the funeral program to look like a racing form. Each horse's name on the racing form was based on something that had to do with him. It was an inside joke that everyone present got.
I will get more out on this topic but right now I need rest. It's been nonstop since I got back to the Bay Area to help my family through all this.
My dad was a wonderful man and i miss him so much. He taught me everything I know about being independent and going after what I want. We used to butt heads a lot, but they say you always butt heads w/ those you resemble most. As we both got older, a friendship grew and mutual respect. He was one of my biggest supporters to the day he died.
Rest in peace dad. I love you.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
My comadre Kathy Cano Murillo just launched the latest manifestation of her nalga kickin' website, Crafty Chica
I love the fonts, the colors, all the great content that she's added! Kathy is one of my sheroes, always inspiring me with her wondrous creativity.
All that plus she's a total sweetie, and very humble.
Her links page continues to be my favorite anywhere with everything for the creative chica (or chico).
Another very cool place to visit: http://www.latinalista.blogspot.com/
LatinaLista blog is nonstop info on everything from immigration to the dismal world of ethnic representation on network TV. Maria Trevino, I don't know you but I love you!
Saturday, July 02, 2005
That's your affirmation for the day. Actually, you may want to insert "I want to lavish Nancy with gorgeous jewelry", because deep down inside that's what I want you to do.
This web site has great items from around the world by expert artesans. You can start there.
If I were to go to my local barrio jewelry, I would definitely NOT find what I'm looking for. I want the muy Mexicano jewelry, pre-tourist mega resort Mexico, pre-NAFTA.
Necklaces and bracelets and earrings that my inner Frida cries for. Ancient designs that look just as amazing today as they did 1000 years ago.
Nowadays, if you go to a Mexican jeweler, you're going to find rows and rows of big gold stuff. Like big gold AK-47s, and big gold hand guns, and big gold crosses... what I call misguided creativity.
I'll take the big, make it silver instead of gold and go for the old school designs. Big and bold. Aztec, Olmec, Toltec to bring out the real Mexicana in me.
Here is one of my favorite poems in the whole wide world to help complete the picture,
You Bring Out the Mexican In Me by Chicana poet laureate Sandra Cisneros.
You bring out the Mexican in me.
The hunkered thick dark spiral.
The core of a heart howl.
The bitter bile.
The tequila lágrimas on Saturday all
through the next weekend Sunday.
You are the one I'd let go the other loves for,
surrender my one-woman house.
Allow you red wine in bed,
even with my vintage lace linens.
You bring out the Dolores del Río in me.
The Mexican spitfire in me.
The raw navajas, glint and passion in me.
The raise Cain and dance with the rooster-footed devil in me.
The spangled sequin in me.
The eagle and serpent in me.
The mariachi trumpets of the blood in me.
The Aztec love of war in me.
The fierce obsidian of the tongue in me.
The berrinchuda, bien-cabrona, in me.
The Pandora's curiosity in me.
The pre-Columbian death and destruction in me.
The rainforest disaster, nuclear threat in me.
The fear of fascists in me.
Yes, you do. Yes, you do.
You bring out the colonizer in me.
The holocaust of desire in me.
The Mexico City '85 earthquake in me.
The Popocatepetl/Ixtaccíhuatl in me.
The tidal wave of recession in me.
The Agustín Lara hopeless romantic in me.
The barbacoa taquitos on Sunday in me.
The cover the mirrors with cloth in me.
Sweet twin. My wicked other,
I am the memory that circles your bed nights,
that tugs you taut as moon tugs ocean.
I claim you all mine,
arrogant as Manifest Destiny.
I want to rattle and rent you in two.
I want to defile you and raise hell.
I want to pull out the kitchen knives,
dull and sharp, and whisk the air with crosses.
Me sacas lo mexicana en mi,
like it or not, honey.
You bring out the Uled-Nayl in me.
The stand-back-white-bitch in me.
The switchblade in the boot in me.
The Acapulco cliff diver in me.
The Flecha Roja mountain disaster in me.
The dengue fever in me.
The ¡Alarma! murderess in me.
I could kill in the name of you and think
it worth it. Brandish a fork and terrorize rivals,
female and male, who loiter and look at you,
languid in your light. Oh,
I am evil. I am the filth goddess Tlazoltéotl.
I am the swallower of sins.
The delicious debauchery. You bring out
the primoridal exquisiteness in me.
The nasty obsession in me.
The corporal and venial sin in me.
The original transgression in me.
Red ocher. Yellow ocher. Indigo. Cochineal.
Piñón. Copal. Sweetgrass. Myrrh.
All you saints, blessed and terrible.
Virgen de Guadalupe, diosa Coatlicue,
I invoke you.
Quiero se tuya. Only yours. Only you.
Quiero amarte. Atarte. Amarrate.
Love the way a Mexican woman loves.
Let me show you. Love the only way I know how.
Buy Sandra's book here
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Women without toddlers can get so much more done than I can!
Example Numero Uno: ABLA Website is aLive!!!
My comadre, Maria Sanchez (of Sandia Fria fame) just launched a new website with Art By Latina Artists (ABLA). (She has a little one about to start kindergarten, so maybe I can be as productive as she in 2 years. )
ABLA is an awesome website, open like a freshly tilled field waiting for the new planting season. Maria is looking for poetas, artistas, blogistas y mas to fill her wonderful new site. Check it out en este momento. www.artbylatinaartists.com
Example Numero Dos: Coach Balance
Coach Catherine Bruns Teleclasses and Coaching Circles
Catherine and I are best coach buddies. She is great at what she does and I encourage women everywhere to get into the aloha spirit by checking out one of her classes or groups. She has a strong sense of intuition, is highly creative, and so calming!
I love her and know you will too. We're both coaches but never feel in competition with each other, knowing that there are enough clients out there to keep us both happy and fed.
Get more info at www.CoachBalance.com
Monday, June 20, 2005
Too much chocolate late at night?
Actually it's preschool. Yes, little Miss Citlalli is going to start preschool. The stress dreams belie my true feelings : no one can take care of her like her mama!
Everyone tells me that preschool is harder on the adults than it is for the kid, but what do THEY know? I mean c'mon.. who is everyone anyhow?
It's been coming and now it's going to happen. The situation with the babysitter coming into the house has been great, but a few things started happening that weren't good. First I found the babysitter yakking on the cell phone when she was supposed to be 110% focused on my child, so that ticked me off. Then I realized that Citlalli needed to be around more kids. Our playdates are great, but since she has no siblings her age, she really needs something more.
I went to several preschools, daycares, daycare/school combos but had a hard time picturing Citlalli there, thriving.
My ideal place accommodates my schedule, won't try to squeeze my utterly creative Indigo child into a box, and has a good balance of diversity. With a name like Citlalli, I don't want her to be somewhere where they think that's a weird name or that she's some "other".
I finally found a place that I feel comfortable putting her, a school that has lots of animals, a garden for the kids to work in, a science center, loving teachers, etc. But still that piece of me inside feels like they won't be perfect for her like I am . (don't you just love my super huge earth mama ego? talk about control issues!!)
We start in July. She's going to love it. Keep saying that. Maybe I need to work on affirmations for me: I'm going to love it!
I'm preparing for any and all situations, though. I'm altering my schedule so my work hours are shorter in July. I'll be at the ready for whatever.
I think I'm overplanning. Over worrying. Just got to get through the feelings we'll be OK.
This too shall pass... but it's hell in the hallways.
Friday, June 10, 2005
I must be in a "pay it forward" mode, because several trades over the past few months all resulted in me receiving some amazing services this week. It doesn't seem like a lot when you're adding appointments to your calendar, but this week was a doozy. I'm still a little light headed thinking of it all.
On Tuesday I had an astrology consultation about my business. I did some audio recording for an astologer and she in turn gave me a reading. I'm happy to say that Comadre Coaching was born under a very good sign and according to the stars has enormous growth potential. But before I start planning my life of luxury, I need to... CLEAN MY OFFICE. There is a non-descript pile of homeless items sitting in a corner, some papers that have minds of their own, and a desk that needs replacing which are potentially costing me clients and money. What motivation! So I immediately set out to deal with the problem and I'm committing 10 minutes a day to facing the paper demon (which isn't THAT bad but enough that I'm not satisfied with it.)
On Wednesday, I utilized the services of an image consultant who I did some work for. This one was hard because she put me face to face with some of my clothes and asked me pointed questions like, "Does this convey that you're credible and accomplished?"
"Well... I think so..."
My voice suddenly got very small.
She picked up all my favorites: my faded jeans, my jean jacket, my t-shirts, my long beaded earrings and shook her head disapprovingly.
I'm still sorting this one out in my head. I first had to come up with a list of adjectives that described myself and how I want to be perceived. Credible and accomplished were on the list. So really she was just mirroring what I'd already said, but damn it was hard. This morning I woke up with the brilliant idea to change my adjectives! Then I could keep my clothes, not face the fact that I like the same clothes as my teengage nieces and go on with my life.
Well, after the mental exhaustion of that, I still had one more trade to cash in on that very evening. But what a welcome remedy from the intense feedback I'd incurred with my other 2 trades.
That evening I attended my first class on energy healing. It was great. We did some meditation and visualization and focused on grounding ourselves.
"When you bump into things a lot, or cut yourself, or drop things, then that's a sign you're not grounded."
Did she know that I almost sliced my finger off with a knife earlier that day? I was feeling very ungrounded for sure, worrying so about my poor jean jacket and long earrings.
We spent a few hours doing great awareness exercises, and my favorite part of the evening was learning how to ground my car, my computer, and any other gizmos.
Thursday, I hosted a great teleforum with Anita Larson (The Web Muse) and before our call I grounded the phone, the recording equipment, myself, the house... pretty much anything in my path. Listening back on the call, it was incredible with THE BEST SOUND QUALITY YET!
So my business is destined to get bigger and better, my wardrobe will help convey groovy things about myself, I'm grounded and I have a new kickass audio product.
Not bad for a tough week!
American Idol Epilogue
Time has gone by and I never really wrapped up my whole spiel on American Idol.
I got hit by Bo Fever, that's for sure. I was just happy that a long haired rocker was going to turn pop music on its ear. But alas, Bo lost to Carrie, but was it a loss?
If Bo had won, he'd be in a horrible contract with some big company who would make him get all syrupy and yucky. That's perfect for Carrie because she's sweet and pure and I think a syrupy contract would work for her. So it all works out.
And I also think that Bo will be able to freely wear a pot leaf tshirt for a magazine cover! He's just the quintessential stoner that we all knew in high school.
Note: Just to let the world know, my mother is very disappointed that I condone Bo's pot smoking. As I wrote a few posts back, I myself do not partake but for some reason I like it that Bo does. I dunno know why, it's just nostalgia I think.
Monday, June 06, 2005
OK, maybe not ALL of the world but I'm having a great time creating the Comadre Coaching Teleforum Series.
I have attended teleforums for a few years now and some I loved, others I hated. The ones I loved provided great information, pointed me to resources, and left me with exciting questions to ask.
The ones I HATED were slick sales pitches, partial information to bait and hook me, and boring presenters.
In the fall of 2004, I hosted my first teleforum with comadre Kathy Cano Murillo of Crafty Chica. Listening back to it, I heard myself and liked the show! It moved smoothly, quickly, was engaging and full of great information. There were no hard sell pitches, no limited time pressure scams. Just info, with plenty of references for those who wanted to get in touch with either Kathy or myself.
For my next teleforum, I contacted someone to record it for me. He wanted $100 to record a conversation and burn it to CD.
$100? I could buy a recorder for that amount and do it myself!
So I bought myself a handy-dandy digital recorder and the rest is history.
It is SO pinche easy to do and if you are paying that kind of money, you're paying too much in my opinion. (Unless, of course, you're super rich and successful and can already afford a maid, and an assistant, and a personal groomer, etc)
Then I recently spoke about this with my first ever coach, Laura Young, and she invited me to guest speak to her coaching group on Monday June 13. Seems like I have devised a success formula that uses teleforums to build a platform for aspiring writers, coaches, and speakers.
I made up a tips sheet that covers things from marketing to equipment to quality.
I will be straight up with you: If you want to learn all about creating a successful teleforum series like I have, use it to leverage your name and visibility, and to create a cool little product for promotion or sale, then this call will give you a solid overview.
However, what I discovered in gathering the materials is that I would need at least 2 classes to teach the whole process. So a teleclass is born!
In July, I'll offer a 2 part teleclass so you too can be a part of world domination audio. If you're a coach, an independent professional, a writer, a speaker, or someone who would like a cool audio component to add to your toolkit, then you will love this.
I'll teach you how to create a succesful teleforum from soup to nuts. Marketing, selecting partners, recording, distributing, promoting.
As of this writing I don't have a sign up page, but if this sounds like fun, and you can see the ease at which this can boost your visibility, then simply fill out an info form on my contact page.
Let me know
1. if you'll be at the overview teleclass Monday June 13 at 12noon ET, 9am PT
2. If you're interested in the 2 part teleclass starting in July
CONTACT ME to set it up. I'll send you the call in info, etc after you drop me a line.
And then there's the podcast that is in the works...
Oh, this is so much fun!
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I'm not a lackey road warrior, I'm a seasoned professional. In 1999, I put about 50,000 miles on the Toyota Corolla wagon going here there and everywhere. The Western US felt our tire tracks from San Bernadino to Boise, Idaho.
The understanding, relaxed life coach who compassionately encourages women to reach for their dreams transforms into this tough as nails drill sargeant when behind the wheel of a car and faced with miles and miles of endless highways.
I'm driving my sister nuts.
To keep her to her word that she'd do all the driving in exchange for me helping move my niece back home, I parked myself in the passenger seat expecting her to perform as I would.
We're in the Sierra Nevada foothills trying to find Nevada City from Grass Valley on unnamed backroads.
"OK", my sister asks, "which way?
"What's your gut tell you?", I retort.
"Which way", she repeats with an annoyed tone.
"You're the driver, use your instinct. You need to hone your navigational skills. Now's a good time to start."
"Too old. Won't change", she threw back with attitude. All she needed was a Camel no filter dangling a 2 inch ash.
We approached a crossroads. She looked at me.
"Figure it out".
"F***", and she swirved left.
Next stop, Grass Valley.
OK, so we made a complete circle but she needed to learn!
To be a team member on the Loca Road Show, you must have the following skills
1. An internal compass and basic skills in figuring out north, south, east, and west
2. The ability to read a map and FOLD IT BACK properly
3. Anticipate the driver's needs and act accordingly
4. Gas money, and lots of it
5. And now, with our new sidekick, Team Loca members must have the ability to entertain and tolerate toddlers.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Now it's the end of her first year and we have to scoop her up for a summer back to her LA home.
Bright and early, that's my road trip preference. If only the world would cooperate w/ me, then everything would be hummin along but no... we must have obstacles.
Preface to this all: go with the flow. Release expectations. Savor the present moment.
Obstacle #1: Car not loaded the night before.
That was my ideal scenario. We had camping gear, toys, books, luggage... lots of stuff. Bringing a 2 year old on a 7 hour car trip requires muchas cosas but loading the night before didn't happen (oh husband, are you reading this?) so that was some extra time in the morning. Having a young one help you load a car adds another half hour to your already lagging schedule.
Obstacle #2: Lovely Child
Here mija, take some cheerios for the ride. No let mommy hand you the bag. NO sweetie, let mommy hand you the bag... Please dear, let go, mommy's got it. (child grabs bag by the bottom and yanks hard) Ay, Citlalli now there are cheerios all over the floor!
No mija, mommy can sweep them up all by herself. I know you want to help sweep with your toy broom, but it's getting late. Do you realize it's right before Memorial Day and I hate driving in holiday traffic so much I leave the THURSDAY before? (another 15 minutes go by)
Alright, let's go baby. What's that? You need your Pooh doll? OK, let's get Pooh. Now Piglet? OK, get Piglet. What other toys do you need? (My arms are full --- she insists I carry them).
Obstacle #3: Hurling Sister
I call my sister first thing in the morning to verify her state of readiness. She answers with this tiny voice, "hello?".
"What's wrong?" I ask her.
"I have a migraine. I feel awful."
"Have you taken anything?"
"I'm taking some Excedrin right now".
OK, luggage loaded, kid has cheerios and animals, car is gassed up, sister on meds. Let's get this show on the road, I say to myself.
I get to my sister's house in LA and when she opened the door I knew we were in trouble.
"Damn," I reacted, "you look like crap!" (sisters can say these things to one another)
"Oh, I feel awful. I think I should've eaten when I took that Excedrin".
I exhaled. People who don't eat when taking stomach churning headache cures REALLY bug me. I'm a planner, why didn't she take that into account?
"No problem, we'll be fine. Guess you won't be driving."
I should've noticed something was wrong as we drove. Usually extremely chatty, my sister was silent, head buried in hands.
As we headed up the grade towards the Grapevine, she took the LA times out of its plastic bag.
Why does she want to read the paper when she's nauseous?
And then she fired off: HURRRRRRRL!
"Oh boy", I say.
We pulled over to a carwash in Santa Clarita and dumped this bag of barf in a trash can.
"I always feel better after I barf". I always try to pull the positive out of bad situation.
"Yeah, I'm good now".
Up the Grapevine we go, barely making it to Gorman when we had to pull over again.
Side of the road, she let's it go for #2.
"Yeah, now I'm good".
"Well," I tell her "I know you're sick, but I'm really hungry. I want to stop and eat. You can have something bland or just enjoy not being in a moving vehicle for a while."
So we go to Panda Express right off the Grapevine and she got a Pepsi, thinking that would somehow help her nausea.
As we approached Buttonwillow, she let it go yet again. Big bag of Pepsi barf. My last bag.
We got gas and I asked the clerk for 3 or 4 extra bags. "Got a sick one in the car", I told the girl.
"Oh you poor thing", she said as she handed another bag just in case.
You reach a point in barfing where you know that you're better and I think that last one was it for her.
By the time we reached Santa Nella, my other sister called my cell to check our status.
I told her the barf stories and we all laughed. My sick passenger was able to laugh with us so that showed me she was better.
Meanwhile, Citlalli was a champ in the backseat. Having gone through a 48 hour stomach flu bug the previous weekend, she empathized deeply with the barfing. "Poor Suzy barfed!"
So here we are in the Bay Area. I can't come up here without getting super homesick. We're on our way to the Sierra Nevada foothills for some farm fun w/ my brother's friend and not really sure what we're gonna do the rest of the time. All my siblings are busy w/ Memorial Day weekend so we're playing it by ear.
Best news of all: my car doesn't smell like barf. And you better believe that my sis is doing all the driving on our way back!
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Last night our Chispa coaching circle had a special guest. Carla Blazek of www.zenamoon.com joined us to share her path to success.
A few years back, Carla was working for Microsoft. As she described it, to work at MS you must be TYPE A to the max. Not knowing any other life, she endured meetings with difficult people and excruciating hours. For relaxation, she took a candle making class.
Suddenly Carla found that she loved to make candles. People loved what she made and a new business was born. Eventually, she made the leap to quit her well paying job and become an artesan fulltime. Carla is a very spiritual person and relied heavily on her intuition and trust in the Universe that all would work out.
A huge coup was getting her products in the hands of Oprah Winfrey. Who wouldn't want Oprah as a raving fan of your work? Turns out someone who knew someone who knew Oprah... well, long story short Carla made up special candle sets for Oprah's inner circle clique called The Spa Girls, and the rest is history. Her products were included in a goody bag for O's Your Best Life Yet tour and after that things exploded.
So do you think that it's a coincidence that someone who was chained by the shackles of corporate America handed it all over to faith, did what she loved, and now is enjoying crazy huge success?
Carla's business planning has a spiritual bent to it. She follows intuition. She acts on instincts. She listens to people.
It was amazing hearing her speak to a group of blossoming entrepreneurs who share many of her same values. Although her success can be measured in dollars and cents, more so it can be measured in that feeling she has when she speaks of her work.
This woman LOVES her life, LOVES what she does, and is out to put goodness in the world. She hangs onto every fan letter, every touching story and revisits those when feeling tempted by the Trickster's negative messages.
To hear her speak is a treat. She's animated, enthusiastic, and did I already say positive and inspiring a zillion times already? When Carla sneak-peeked us with dreams of doing retreats and other things down the road, we all could see that as clearly as we see her current line.
Go visit her website often. She changes it every week and you can see how much fun she's having with her work. Thank you Carla!
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
otherwise jump right in here...
Activists want to change the world for the better. My desire to make a living without losing my conscience turned me into an entrepreneur. As time goes on, I am forced to confront and do battle with the trickster inside of me who doesn't want this to work.
The fatal flaw of many activists is the inability to look within. Having a focus on the ills of the outside world, introspection often takes the back seat. Personal dysfunctions surface, disguised as anger at a system or institution. I've seen many people who toil to bring peace and justice to the world, yet their home lives are a wreck. It's not just activists that go through this, it happens with religious groups, cultural groups, anything that calls your attention and pulls your focus.
None of us are perfect.
Entrepreneurs are prone to workaholism, as I have seen firsthand. Being consumed by what you're passionate about is wonderful and debilitating at the same time.
So the entrepreneur and the activist are both prone to imbalance and that can be a lethal cocktail.
(What a great time for a Comadre Coaching commercial... )
I'm leaving it at that for today. If anyone reading this has any thougths to share, drop me a line and let's talk.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Part 1 shared a little with you about my dive into entrepreneurship and the discovery I made along the line that being an entrepreneur can have as much impact as clear, focused activism.
Getting to this point required a lot of soul searching and the shattering of some limiting beliefs.
Here is some of the baggage I carried around about business owners:
1. They're all greedy
2. They oppress workers.
3. All they want to do is turn a buck.
4. They're all conservative and close minded
5. They're seriously obsessed and don't have lives.
Where did I get most of this? I think part of it stemmed from issues I carry over from my youth.
I caricaturized certain traits as a business owner and slapped them on the faces of anyone who crossed my path.
Chamber of Commerce? Get outta my way.
Rotary? Yeah, right.
Oh, I had attitude all right.
My issues covered it all like a cozy blanket. I never had to think about the issue, I knew what I knew which is summarized above in points 1-5.
Then I had a child, saw that my job was not making me happy, and scurried to find something, anything that would help me survive.
Like become a business owner?????????
more to be revealed...
Friday, May 13, 2005
"Like hell if I'm gonna bust my butt day in and day out for a stinkin' watch", my dad said to himself and struck out on his own.
I've always been independent like my dad, but never had a clear vision of starting out on my own. He's a numbers person, I'm an idea person, and I'm chronically allergic to details. So I followed in my mom's footsteps and entered a helping profession, which I toiled at for 15 years.
I was a teacher. Not just any teacher, a Spanish bilingual teacher until they outlawed that then I was just an ESL teacher.
I loved it for a while then lost belief in the system. I saw how politicians felt the need to dictate classroom practices, how less teaching and more testing were destroying the intellects of so many, and felt helpless against the growing apathy in the student body.
From first grade to high school with some college lecturing and teacher training thrown in, I gave it my all. But when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant and told that I had to move classrooms from a ground floor room to a third floor building with no elevator, I knew that it was time to skidoo. How 'bout just a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t?
Taking away that safety net left me with something I'd always had. Ideas.
Big ideas, small ideas, ideas for you, ideas for me, ideas for the neighbor down the street. After all, I could coax poetry from kids on the edge. I could tap into the creative genius of youngsters who society was preparing to write off. I got teachers to refresh their curriculums and dare to challenge their students in culturally, intellectually, and socially affirming approaches.
So now, with that career behind me, I still had my ideas. But who's gonna pay the bills? My husband has his job, but I got used to a certain amount coming in each month and needed to find a solution.
It took me a bit of soul searching and education to connect that creative spark with the ability to make money. Having worked as a teacher for so long, I never had to ask anyone for money. There was no cash register at the back of the classroom, I just collected my check at the end of each month.
Some of my teacher friends were shocked and disappointed to see me leave the profession. They still have the understanding that I used to subscribe to, namely that if you're not feeling the pain of the world then you must not be making a difference. Like, how dare you go out on your own and create happiness when so many are suffering?
Exploring my own codependent behaviors helped me to make the choices I had to make to feel good about leaving teaching and OK with starting a business. I spent my first year of coaching just going around and around with this issue.
I still see myself as an agent of change and perhaps I can make even a greater impact with the work I do now. For starters, I am much happier in this work. I don't have to yell at anyone, write detentions, make out report cards, call parents, etc. That was the part of teaching I HATED. I hated having to be a cop and hated the system for putting 40 kids who were all in dire need of extra help into one classroom, expecting me to turn their lives around and bring them up to grade level by January.
So here I am now, seeing that I can put a LOT of good into the world with Comadre Coaching. People visit my website for creative ideas, to seek help for their businesses, to launch their careers or jumpstart a flailing one.
I thought I didn't know anything about business, but it turns out that I spent 15 years in sales, marketing, and R&D with my classroom teaching. How do you make homework appealing?
Put a snazzy spin on it.
How do you get kids to read a book?
Promote it in a way that reaches their needs, their experiences.
And now it's becoming more and more apparent that the entrepreneur is the partner to those who work to better the world. In a recent converation I had with publishing expert Marcela Landres, we both agreed that entrepreneurial people are the activists of today. We are creating our own solutions, empowering others through our work, and raising the level of consciousness and caring in the business community.
I am just hitting the surface on this topic, with more musings to come.
Quick American Idol blurb:
Now that it's down to the top 3, I'm losing interest. But I must say that Bo is a great example of a person with a strong mission. At his original audition, he said he wanted to infuse more rock and blues into the mainstream music and that's exactly what he's doing. When was the last time you heard some puro pinche blues on Top 40 radio? I hope that doesn't mean we'll get rocker boy bands, Backstreet boys with leather wristbands, but change is always fun!