Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After

Once upon a time I believed in complete happiness and happily ever after. Then I grew up. I learned that relationships take a lot, a lot of work and life is not always as simple as we think it will be.

Image: Snow White by Disney

I also learned that marriages sometimes happen because people were meant to be. I really feel that way about these two children who I call mine.

To say I'm a good mom would be a flat out lie. I consider myself a terrible mom. I know that as compared to a crack addict who neglects her children I am a stellar mom, but I'm not the mom I wish I was. I can never live up to my own expectations in that department. I struggle daily with my own impatience and my temper. I struggle with my tardiness and getting my kids to school on time.

I am not a stay at home mom or even a PTA mom. I'm the mom who forgets to read the flyers sent home or the spelling word schedule and who missed the note that says that the spelling test will be on Thursday because Friday is a holiday. Yeah teachers, I'm that mom you hate.

Yet, every day I get up and I try. I try to be the mom who gets her kids to school on time. I try to keep in regular contact with the teachers, although I'm yet to log on to that system that lets me view my kids' grades online. I try not to lose my temper with my son when he won't get dressed and he makes us fall behind. I try to remember to say positive things to my kids before they go off to school and I try to remember to look in their backpacks at night.

I'm reminded of this as my husband and I help my son work on his project on the owlfly. We want for him to have a great project that he's proud of in hopes that we can motivate him to do more on his own as he gets older. We want to show him that we care about him and his education.

Thank goodness our daughter is self-motivated, but even she needs reminders to work hard sometimes.

I have so many other things that I need to worry about with them too. Their education is just part of a lot more. I ask myself if I can be enough mama for them when it matters most. Most of all, I want for them to believe in complete happiness and happily ever after too.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wildly Improbable Goals and Helping Women

I am excited! I am setting wildy improbable goals for myself and I can't wait.  First of all I'm setting a definite goal (in writing) to finish editing my novel in the next few months.
Kindle by Amazon.com

This is it. I am self-publishing and then promoting the heck out of it. No more talking about it. Next time you hear me say anything about it will be because it's already published and ready to promote. And my wildly improbable goal is that I'm going to become a successful published novelist. That is on my vision board.

Next I'm looking at making some other big changes in the near future in the house department, but I'm not going to talk about that until I finalize some other details first. More to come on that subject.

I re-read this great article on Wildly Improbable Goals by Martha Beck on Oprah.com and I was reminded of some great points. It's not enough to hope that these WIGS find you. You also need to help them along by writing down what you want. There are some exercises you can do to help you find out what you really want.

While I make some life-changing moves in my life I also want to help someone else make a change in her own life. I'm considering donating to The Girl Effect and giving a loan to a woman trying to start her own business in the U.S. or Mexico through Kiva.

These are some of my plans for the remainder of 2011. It's hard to believe we are a quarter of the way done with the year. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

"So, when did you fall in love with Mexican music?"

My headline is a play on a line from the movie Brown Sugar. The main female character Sydney always starts her interviews with, "So, when did you fall in love with hip-hop?" The movie features several real-life hip hop stars telling their story and I thought that was a really good touch. But my question is about a different kind of music genre.

Jose Alfredo Jimenez, from Wikipedia

I want to ask a similar question. "So, when did you fall in love with Mexican music?" If you were born into a first generation Mexican family it was probably early on, as soon as you could talk and understand what you were hearing at family parties.

Now, notice something. I am not asking you when did you fall in love with Spanish music or any other specific Spanish music genre. I am referring specifically to Mexican music, the old classics, the mariachi music, the boracho music of our fathers. Well, not my father specifically, but our ancestors.

You see, when I was a little girl my father didn't seem to appreciate Mexican music. I knew that when our neighbors got to drinking  and listening to music they would be there late into the night singing. They seemed to be having a good time but my father's reaction made me think that it was wrong and indecent. He would walk around with a frown and would peek out the window at them, while all the while making comments. My father was very religious and very conservative and he didn't find any kind of drinking and singing late at night acceptable behavior. (Now I realize they were just having a great time.)

But then I also heard my parents talk about the great Mexican songwriters. Like the Tres Gallos Mexicanos, or 'Three Mexican Roosters' - Jorge Negrete, Javier Solis and Pedro Infante. They also told me about Jose Alfredo Jimenez, one of the greatest Mexican writers in history, and Agustin Lara. I learned that Mexico had some wonderful song writers and I loved to listen to my mother play Javier Solis songs. That's when I can say I first started to fall in love with Mexican music. The funny this is that I didn't make the connection from that music to the music that I heard our neighbors singing.

Fast forward twenty years to my marriage. My husband was raised completely different. For one, his parents are young enough to be my parents' children so they are more liberal, starting with their age.  (Baby Boomer mom) Of course my parents were much much older, but because of that my father was more conservative.

My husband's parents listen to and enjoy all the old Mexican classic music. We often listen to it when we get together at our house. It wasn't until then that I really started to listen to the words of these songs and that I realized how beautiful the lyrics are. True poetry.

Here are some of the words from "Ella" by Jose Alfredo Jimenez.

Me canse de rogarle me canse de decirle, (I got tired of begging her and telling her...)

que yo sin ella de pena muero, (that I would die of grief without her)

ya no quiso escucharme si sus labios se abrieron, (she didn't want to listen to me and when her lips opened)

fue pa' decirme ya no te quiero. (it was only to tell me, "I don't love you anymore)

And that's when I truly fell in love with Mexican music.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

I'm Finally Truly Using My Master's Degree

(Partly borrowed & edited from my Facebook Notes where I updated friends)

I’ve been thinking about work a lot lately and how life works out. Ten years ago I graduated from UH with a Master’s in Communication. I chose the thesis option and I wrote about gender differences among new employees and mentees in an organization. I wrote about their information seeking strategies, supportive communication, and information content. The exact title of my thesis is Gender Differences in Information Seeking Strategies, Supportive Communication and Information Content in Interns' Mentoring Relationships. (yeah, a long title!)

(Image borrowed from gohsep.la.gov)

In other words, when you enter a new organization you seek information from your co-workers and also from your manager. If you’re assigned a mentor you look to your mentor for information about the organization’s culture and acceptable behavior. I wrote about this process and I also took some classes regarding training.

I started back at the Chronicle 12 years ago, (after being gone 4 years) while I was still in graduate school, and I graduated in 2001. But instead of moving into a communication position within the Chronicle, or at another company, I stayed on in sales. I was in an exciting position at the time that I enjoyed and I just went from there.

What's interesting is that after all this time of being back in sales, and 10 years after getting my Master's, I finally get to work specifically in my area of interest. The reason I say truly using my degree and specifically is because I believe that I've been using my communication skills in my career all along, especially working in sales. Now my job is more specifically targeted at a new employee's entrance into the organization.

Six weeks ago I moved over to the training area. I'm working with all the new advertising employees as they come in and I set them up for their training classes. I'm teaching three of the classes for now, but I will probably be teaching four eventually. I'm writing the fourth one on our Hispanic products.

We also have some Hearst Fellows through the sales program at UH and I'll be working with them, going out on sales calls and coaching them. So far I love all six of the girls who are in the program. They are so young and optimistic and they have their whole future ahead of them.

This is such a great combination of my old job as UH ad manager, my ad sales experience at the Chronicle and my education. Working with the students and nurturing them was my favorite part about my job at UH and now I get to do the same thing here for way better pay.

Also, in addition to the training I get to keep one foot in sales by keeping some of the old ethnic ad agencies I’ve worked with for the past six years and some key accounts, so I don’t lose touch with my sales experience. I think it's important to stay in sales too to keep my own sales skills sharp.

So there you go. I’m really excited about my new position and I’m looking forward to working with the sales fellows and new advertising employees. I really feel like it was worth the wait and that this happened at the right time when it was supposed to.