Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Baby Cloey

This is a bittersweet post. I wish I didn't have to write it, but it is a story of healing and loss.

Two months ago my stepdaughter gave birth to Cloey Star. On the day she was born we received a call from the hospital. "It doesn't look good", my sister in law told me.

Cloey's heart had severe defects. Half of it was not working properly and it was immediately determined that she would need at least 4 surgeries in her first year of life. Each day was a struggle as her health went up and down. She was transferred between two intensive care units.

Tashina and Martin, Cloey's parents, spent every moment at her side. They lived on hospital cafeteria food, waited by her bedside, held her tiny hand as nurses tended to the many tubes attached to her.

But before I go on about this, I have to give some background information.

3 1/2 years ago, Tashina and Paco (her dad/my husband) had a falling out. Both stubborn as mules, neither budged to contact the other. It was heartbreaking but I promised him when we got married that I would never get between him and his kids. When I said that I meant I would never make him choose between me and them, but it took on a whole new meaning after their falling out. Keeping true to my promise, I didn't try to coax them into reconciliation or attempt to reunite them. It was hard. There were so many times when I just wanted to get them together and make them kiss and make up. But that would have been MY will, me forcing MY SOLUTION on them whether they were ready for that or not. That does not go with my personal philosophy so whenever I had the urge to meddle, I'd pull the focus somewhere else and get out of the way.

But Cloey's birth brought them together in a way more powerful than anyone else could ever have planned.

Our daugther was also born with a heart defect. Of all the people in Tashina's life, her dad was the ONLY one who had gone through a similar experience. As if they had just spoken the day before, Tashina and Paco spoke and laughed, cried, related.

He rushed to the hospital after Cloey's birth and spent time with them. He said special prayers over the baby and notified everyone in his circle of her precarious health.

Most importantly, he re-established a relationship with Tashina.

Cloey's health had been touch and go. She was not improving. She came down with a blood infection. Her intestines became blocked. Her breathing stopped and she had to be hooked up to a respirator.

On Saturday (3/26) I went to the hospital to see Cloey. We recieved a call saying that her situation was worsening and that the medical interventions were no longer helping. I knew that this visit would be my goodbye to her.

When I arrived the doctor was talking to Tashina and Martin. Cloey's struggle was mounting. Her blood pressure was plummeting. The machines were keeping her alive and it became apparent that she was trying to let go.

As I held Cloey's little hand, I could feel her trying to let go of this part of life. I felt a part of her spirit had already transitioned. I gave Tashina and Martin hugs and reassured them that every decision they've made so far have been based in love. That every moment spent at her side was beautiful and that they were great parents. They are.

Cloey made her final transition on Tuesday March 29, 2005.

People ask why would a loving God do something like this? Why must infants suffer, why did this happen to our family?

I don't have an answer.

But in looking at Cloey's short time, I saw her perform a miracle.

She reunited a father and his daughter.

She brought people together.

She touched our hearts as hers gave out.

Rest in peace, baby Cloey. Que duermas con los angelitos.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Latinas Don't PMS and Other Great Headlines

Funny Locas Take Over La Manzana Grande
My compadre George Torres of Sofrito For Your Soul just sent me some cool links for all you NYC locas. He's got a great interview with la bien funny Alba Sanchez as well as info to see Latinas Don't PMS.

Tego Just Says No to P. Diddy's Sweatshop Duds
Check this out from Marketing y Medios magazine:

Late last year, Puerto Rican reggaeton superstar Tego Calderón turned down an offer to appear in the spring collection ad campaign of Sean John Clothing, a men's wear line launched by hip-hop mogul Sean (P. Diddy) Combs.Not only was the offer objectionable ($2,000), but Calderón also accused Combs of having his garments made in Honduran sweatshops. "Me faltó el respeto (he disrespected me)," Calderón told reporters at the time.

Read the rest of the story here...

Cuerpo Magazine Hits the Newsstands!
If your local Barnes and Noble or Borders doesn't yet carry Cuerpo magazine, be sure to go to the magazine's website to check out the premiere issue. Better yet, subscribe and be a supporter.

Cuerpo is a very important new magazine, using a Latina flavor to reach readers of ALL cultures and ethnicities. Just as Oprah uses African American elements to reach a wider audience, Cuerpo's founder Lissette Calderon has found a way to bring Latina elements to unite women from all over. She celebrates her place on the cultural spectrum while making space for others to stand beside her. It's a wonderful example of connecting without losing who you are.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Fame is nice... fortune soon to follow?

My family and friends joke with me that I'm going to become too famous to associate with them. I reassure them that I'll take fortune over fame anytime, especially when I'm paying the household bills! (I'm sure that even millionaires fret over that one, too).

But you just can't have cool media spots without feeling like more good things are coming your way. Here are a couple of great connections made in recent weeks:

If you're in or around Orange County, CA, then check me out on The Mix, a fun local show highlighting women's interest stories. Think "The View, OC style". I had a great time chatting with Bridget Kelly and Leslie Leyton, the two talented hosts. Look for me on the episode "Life Coaches".

The other guest was image coach Kay Hunter. Wow! Imagine this: I'm showing up in my jean jacket and turtle earrings, feeling all loca and funky, and this gorgeous Sharon Stone type woman enters in a creamy suit with velvet and awesome jewelry. Yikes, I better go powder my nose so I don't feel so less than, I said to myself. But in viewing the show, we both look great, come across as experts in our fields, and my jean jacket looked great!

The interview came right as I was getting over laryingitis and this cruddy eye thing that Citlalli gave me, but my earthly vessel got me there without a voice crack or weeping ojito.

And if you just can't get enuf of The OC, wait til you see Citlalli and I in the May issue of Orange Coast Magazine. Orange Coast is one of those magazines that features top notch restaurant reviews (I seriously doubt they'll ever get around to reviewing my hangouts like El Camino Real or Taqueria de Anda), designer duds, etc.

They interviewed me as part of a people pictorial on moms in Orange County. I shared some major revelations that motherhood has brought me and then last week the photographer and art director came to my house to photograph myself and an extremely reluctant 2 year old who shall remain nameless.

OK, you already know her name. Dang, why can't this kid smile for a camera? I go and meet my hair stylist that morning at 8:45am (and she is not into these early morning appts, so thanks a million Kathy!), then I pick up Citlalli and take her to this kiddie beauty parlor where she proceeds to squirm and not allow the nice hair dresser lady to put cute little doodads in her hair.

We get home at 10:45am, I touch up my makeup, try to get Citlalli changed and boom, right on the nose the crew arrived at 11am. When they arrive, I have this feisty toddler (who is half nekkid, btw) trying to pull out her twirly hair rows and flowers. "I'll be right with you!"

We went outside to a grassy area and shot pics for about 20 minutes. The photographer ended up by telling me "I'm sure we have a good one in here."

That's what photographers say when they're trying to be nice! What he really wanted to say was "Lady, why can't your kid look at the camera and smile for once?" Her dad hates getting his picture taken , so maybe it's some Yaqui trait.

Well, I know that PhotoShop can do lots of helpful things like open eyes and morph good photos w/ bad, so I'm not worried. Can't wait to see the issue to find out if we're going to be postage stamp size blur or quarter page splendor.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Chispa Springing Forward

Today is the first day of Spring and I'm so glad! It's the time of year when locas get energized and emerge from their winter hibernation states. Of course a few of you have gotten a headstart and are already rolling out creative ideas galore. Most notably, the Wednesday pm Chispa group.

These women know not when to stop creating! Honestly, the momentum is unbelievable. Dana, our handbag designer, just emailed everyone a photo of a bag she made from vintage floral fabric and leather. It is amazing and as soon as she tells me "go", I'm promoting her like mad on this blog and all over my website. She's so gifted and also has an amazing knack for coming up with slogans. Our joke is that her website should be called "" (make sure you say "dot com" to enjoy the rhyme)

Then, there is Suzanne, creator of amazing pillowcase stories and dreamscapes. She's been talking about this idea for so long, but with the amazing strength of Chispa power behind her, she has managed to not only produce cool pillow cases w/ great stories, but has also done it on organic cotton and natural inks. She's gotten the best of both worlds and has learned that staying true to your dream is possible! Here is a link to her goods:

OK, then there is Linda, la Loca de San Diego. Linda is on a quest to free the Feisty Little Girl within. We all have one inside of us, and the sooner you get to know her the better. Linda is materializing this FLG into all sorts of things. My crystal ball sees retreats, a book, fun games and FLG accessories. Linda is also hooked up with Jill Badonsky's creativity coaching class so hooray for more creativity coaches in the world. That is one more ray of locura to make the world a safer, more loca place.

Then there are our Jersey girls, Ruth and Carol. Actually Dana is a Jersey girl too so we actually have a Jersey threesome.

Ruth has been a Chispa since May of 2004 and from the kernal of an idea, she now has a production company called Chispa Productions (coincidence with the name?), is writing a book called the Bilingual Soul and is a full fledged magazine writer featured in the premiere issue of Cuerpo. We jokingly call her the "underachiever". Ruth is also an enthusiastic supporter of Comadre Coaching, sending just about everyone she knows over to me to talk about creative dreams.

Last but not least we have Jersey Girl numero tres, Carol. Carol is the writer and editor of a publication for women 40+. Let me qualify this: FUN, COOL women over 40. The kind of women who approach life with gusto and confidence. Her last issue was on fitness and it was great, but the next issue is on S*E*X* so we're all hot and heavy to see that one. Carol's background is in health and wellness writing and she's written for some major publications and magazines. Her gift is bringing a holistic touch to topics that otherwise could be technical and clinical. To check it out, send Carol an email at and ask for newsletter info.

Does this fill you with the slight urge to turn an idea into something big? To begin making the steps to your cooler than cool, more loca than loca ideal life?

Drop me a line, I live for this stuff!