Saturday, July 08, 2017

Miranda's #GermanySweet16

The first time I went to Europe I was 17. Now that I think about it, that's pretty amazing that I was that young and that my parents let me go alone with my older sister. What's even more amazing is that one of my best friend's parents also let her go alone with just us and no family.

Me at age 17 in a German pub in Frankfurt.

This summer I will be in Germany for only the second time in my life. Exactly 30 years after my first time and what makes it so special is that I'm traveling with my 16 year old daughter. Hard to believe that it's been 30 years! I can't wait for her to have the same experience that I did when I traveled outside of North America for the first time.

Years after my first trip to Europe, and after I had gone back to visit Italy and Spain, I remember reading a wonderful passage in one of Maya Angelou's books about travel:
“It is necessary, especially for Americans, to see other lands and experience other cultures. The American, living in this vast country and able to traverse three thousand miles east to west using the same language, needs to hear languages as they collide in Europe, Africa, and Asia.”
When I read this I couldn't agree more. Visiting Europe for the first time was such an eye-opening experience about so many things. I realized how young our country is and how there is a big wide world out there to explore. My sister, friend Cynthia and I explored five countries in two weeks. We arrived in Germany and then traveled to France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland.  It was a whirlwind trip but the best part was that I found that I really loved Spain an Italy and I went back to both those countries later when I was older. 

When I went on that first trip we spent very little time in Germany and I think we were only in Frankfurt. I remember very little so it's going to be great to go back and visit other cities like Munich and Berlin. I'm really intrigued to visit the concentration camps near those two cities. It's exciting to plan our trip and our itinerary knowing that in just a couple of weeks we will be there. 

Miranda chose to go to Germany in lieu of a party and I'm glad she took us up on that offer. In society young girls have coming out parties at 16. Their family introduces them to society. This is like a "coming out" of sorts for Miranda too, but it so much more than that. Instead of introducing her to the world or society we will be introducing the world to her. 

I've created a blog called Miranda's Sweet Sixteen. I'm going to upload pictures from our trip there to record our adventures and to share. So visit us there in the next couple of weeks to hear about our travels. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

How Do You Create Your Own #WIN?

In my last blog I talked about creating my own #WIN in life. I was referring to this ven diagram that many people share on social media. How do you find what you love, what pays and what you're good at, all at the same time? Sometimes, if you're really lucky you do find it. I did once. I wonder if those people who do find it realize how fortunate they are. Do they appreciate it or do they find something else to complain about? It seems like it's human nature to do that because I did.

So what am I doing? I'm trying to find all 3 again, even if they are 3 different things. Or 2. I love social media and I love writing. I love communications. I can do that here, blogging, volunteering as the social media manager for my daughter's lacrosse team and other non-profits. I can partner with TreviƱo TodaMedia on their app GritoBlast that we're really trying to get off the ground. Those are things I'm both good at and that I love.

What I do for pay is sell advertising. I was very lucky for many years because I loved it, I was good at it and it paid me very well. Sometimes I don't have all 3 any more, it depends on the month and what I'm doing. I'm in sales so honestly, it also depends on how much money I'm making. Other days I feel super passionate about it because it's my career, not my job.

Then there's the writing, that I love, but I somehow never make room for it. I never give it a chance and I hate that. It makes me question my love for it. Do I really love it? If I love it so much why am I not doing it? I keep telling myself that I need to take a weekend retreat alone so I can kick start my writing and get going on my new novel. Excuses, excuses, I know. I don't need a retreat, I need to just do it. Nobody is holding me back except me. That's all...

So how do I create my own win? How do I find time in my life to do all the things that I love, that pay me well and that I'm good at? How can I do this while raising two kids and taking care of my dad? Those are the questions that only I can answer in order to create my own #WIN.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

My Inner Journey, new Goals, new Novel

Things don't always go like we wish they would. It's so easy to get caught up on the idea that a certain thing, job, house, relationship, is going to make everything different in your life and bring you happiness. But like the Rolling Stones say, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you'll get what you need."

One of my newest fascinations are sacred hearts and milagros. From Casa Ramirez in the Heights.

When we don't get something that we think we really really want, we have to think, "Did I really need that thing OR can I create MY OWN ven diagram in life?" You know, what is your perfect spot? What you love, what pays well, what you're good at - these three things intersected create a #WIN.  Can we just do the things that make us happy to create that #WIN for ourselves? That is what I'm pondering on this weekend.

I've set new goals for myself and some things have already fallen into place. First of all. I love my industry and I love what we do. I know that. I love that every day people in our city pick up a newspaper or turns on their computer to read the words that my newspaper has written and that by selling the ads around those stories I too have had a part in that. If you don't believe that people still read the newspaper, know this, the Houston Chronicle and reach 1.8 million readers on ONE Sunday. Yes, I am a part of something huge and I get paid to do it. My goal is to make more money doing that this year. More money always adds to my happiness.

I feel like my whole life I keep doing things that take me astray from writing. I make myself go astray starting new projects and always being busy. I am going to start concentrating on writing again and I have an idea for a really great novel. I'm already writing the outline and the characterization charts. I can't share the topic yet but it's going to be a really good one and I'm very excited.

I also love social media and all of the marketing aspects behind it. It's changed the way we communicate and even the way we share news. I'm really excited to take over as the volunteer of the social media for my daughter's lacrosse team. It's going to be great experience and part of my continued self-education. This is something that just came up for me unexpectedly, but just at the right time.

Then there's my inner journey. I just heard that term again yesterday and I thought about what a perfect description that is for my spiritual journey. I'm at a crossroads in life. I don't believe in organized religion, but I do believe in spirituality. (I feel like this topic deserves its own post so I may do a longer one about this later.) I've recently become fascinated with sacred hearts, milagros, old churches and women saints.

I'm on an inner journey right now, combining all the things that I believe in. I have an ad in today's Belief section for an event next Saturday. It's hosted by an organization called Brigid's Place. It's a "service of music and mediation that celebrates the voices of the women who loved Jesus — Mary the Mother, the woman at the well, the woman who anointed Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene." It sounds so beautiful to me and I told the organizers that it reminds me of St. Fabiola and my intrigue with her and the Fabiola Project.  I'm really interested in women saints as people and what they did. I'm not necessarily interested in the Catholic religion because it's an organized religion. I'm more interested in the stories and the spiritual aspect of a lot of things.

So there you are. I am going to pursue things that I'm passionate about in life- making bonus, writing, running, social media, bringing order to my life/house and exploring my inner journey. I am going to create my own ven diagram.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

I'm Running Again, for the 100th Time

Okay, maybe not for the 100th time because as many of you know, I'm not really a runner. I'm a half walk, half run kinda person, but I still count that as running because if I run even in the tiniest amount it's running in my book.

This is me last summer. I ran in the Houston heat. So I know that if I can run in the summer I can run any time. Although I did try to run on a cold day one day this past winter and I thought I was going to freakin' die! My lungs hurt so bad! How do people run in the cold?? I think it's worse than running in a Houston summer.

Anyway, I've never been a runner. I've made some small attempts throughout my life but I never stuck to it as much as I did last summer. Fall just didn't work out well for me for one reason or another. This spring I have decided I am going to take advantage of it not being 100 degrees and the time change. I'm going to run as much as I can between now and summer. Then I will do it again in the summer. I have to because M has to run to keep up with lacrosse and I want to encourage her.

All this running better make a difference on my body too! I need to lose a good 20 pounds. More, but I'm being realistic and taking it 10 pounds at a time. So let's just say 10 pounds for now. So goal one is 10 lbs and to run them off. Plus all the other boring stuff you have to do too, like not eat or drink so much. Ugh! But necessary.

I'm over 45 now, pre-menopausal and my body wants to just hold on to this weight for some crazy reason. It's like it doesn't want to part with an old friend. Sorry body! You must say goodbye to my fat now. I know you've been together for a while but the fat has to go.

Let's see how it goes this round and I will keep y'all updated on these 10 lbs and how many days I run. Today will make day six in a row!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Turning Forty-Seven

Once a year I try to write my birthday blog around or closer to my birthday. I'm a little late this month, but technically we are still in February, my favorite month of the year, so we're good.

Here I am on my birthday with my cupcakes and dancing to my song!

I spent my 47th birthday having breakfast with my dad and sister, getting a pedicure, and celebrating with my very best friends, my Tertulia Girls. They have been my best friends since I was 9, 11, 15 and for the past 16 years of  Tertulias with all of them. We had a great time eating and having margaritas at my cousin Sylvia's restaurant, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen.

After dinner a small group of us went to Edison's, a new bar in my neighborhood and I danced the night away. Edison and I share a birthday so it was very appropriate that they had a party and dancing that night.

I had so much fun and I didn't think about anything, how I looked, who was there, nothing. It was a very liberating feeling. Even when I slipped and fell I got right back up and kept on dancing. My friend Cami took a sympathy fall with me and when we got up she leaned in and said, "None of these twenty year old bitches could have fallen and gotten up like you did!"

She was so right and despite how much I had had to drink earlier at dinner, and being just high on life, I thought about where I was in that moment in my life and how different I was from those girls there that night. Many of them were out, maybe with their boyfriends, trying to impress them, or maybe they were single, looking for a boyfriend. Many of them could have been at that point in their life when they were trying to find a life partner, a father to their future children.

I am free because I'm past that part of my life. I'm a 47 year old woman who was already married and already had my children in life. Check, check. That isn't my goal in life and I'm free to just be me, have fun and not give a care about what others think of me. I wasn't out that night to impress any guy. I was there to have fun with my friends and with myself and I did.

The next morning my sister and I went to the Forest Park Cemetery on Lawndale in search of Mr. Martin's niche in the Abbey Mausoleum. Mr. Martin was all of my sisters' high school history teacher at San Jacinto High School, later renamed HTI (Houston Technical Institute). They loved him so much and he made such an impact on their lives. Mr. Martin went on to teach at Jones High School in the Vanguard program and he taught several of my friends too. He was an extraordinary human being. I only had a chance to meet him once very briefly when I was touring Jones when I was in 8th grade.

We followed Mr. Martin's directions to his niche just as he wrote them in his obituary that we found on If you have a chance read all the beautiful words that former students have left for him there. Included in one former students' comments is a transcript of what Mr. Martin wrote and posted here inside of his niche in the photo.  When we got to the mausoleum and read these words that he wrote before he passed away, it was as if he was still teaching from the beyond. My sister cried as she read his words of wisdom, his advice to all those who took the time to look for him. One last lesson.

I loved the whole piece, but I had two favorite parts. "Watch for the full moons, we are all of this Earth, love it and save it. Love thy neighbor every chance you get. Yes, dust to dust, and that's a wonderful thing! Expect no more. To thine own self be true, as much as your society will let you."

My second favorite was this, "Grow up, take full responsibility for your life, you are the product of all the decisions you have ever made. Tempus fugit, carpe diem! Abandon your myths and superstitions, embrace ethics, absolutes are for children. You have a mind, put your trust and faith there. Get rid of your selfishness and live free. Do the same to die free-----"

I felt that it was fitting that I was reading this the day after my 47th birthday. Mr. Martin's words reminded me of my former boss. He told me once, "You don't really grow up until both your parents pass away." I saw what he meant when my mom died. I felt like I grew up a little and I know that when my dad passes away I'll feel the same way. I am 47 years old now. I've become the care-giver to my father and my father has become the child. It's time for me to grow up more. I know I'm a grown-up and I care for my own children, but I feel like I'm still growing up in other areas.

I love Mr. Martins' advice to put your trust and faith in your own mind and to live free to die free. What an amazing man. What an amazing teacher. Although I've never been a formal teacher I've mentored many young people since I started my own professional life twenty-four years ago. I've been talking about that a lot this past week. I hope that one day a mentee remembers me in the same way. I hope that I touch as many lives as he did, starting with my own children's.