Monday, December 7, 2020

Even if it cost you everything: Jeannie Gaffigan

 Depending on what you view for entertainment, you may or may not know who Jeannie Gaffigan is.  Hopefully, you know her husband, Jim Gaffigan.  Both are known as strong family values people and are openly Catholic.  So what does that have to do with anything?

Let me take you back a couple of years to a guy named Colin Kaepernick.  He was a pro-football player who refused to stand for the National Anthem.  He chose to kneel.  He was working to bringing attention and change to police interactions with the Black community.  He lost his job.  He lost his career.  He put it all on the line and it cost him.  Nike, the shoe company, then ran an ad campaign around not just Mr. Kaepernick but his sacrifice was the kickoff point.

Again, what the hell does that have to do with the Gaffigans?  Jim's career has been built on him being a good Christian dad.  Jeannie is an amazing writer and the brains behind his career moves.  They have granted lots of interviews and seek opportunities that are on-brand for them.  They don't go out and do un-Christian things.  They are so not-Hollywood.  It is more important to be true to themselves than to make money.  Like the Gaffigans are everything we want Hollywood Christians to be.  They appeal to Catholics.  They appeal to Christians.  They appeal to pro-family values folks.  In other words, their audience is a bunch of Trumpers, but not exclusively and in fairness, they haven't courted Trumpers, it just happens that those are the people who connect to them.

Oh hell, Martha, what is your point?  Well, a few months ago, they made the decision to come out in favor of Biden/Harris.  Jim released videos blasting Trump.  Jeannie tweeted Biblical and Catholic doctrine reasons for why as a Christian you can't vote for Trump.  Y'all, two people who didn't need to say a damn thing and who know that it could very well cost them everything spoke up because it was on their hearts.  They put their safety on the line.  They put their careers on the line.  

Keep in mind, they are not known for being political.  Their fan base could have turned on them completely.  They knew they could stay silent.  They could cast their vote privately and let people just assume who they would be voting for but no they stood up for what is right.  They got hate for it.  They lost some opportunities for it.  They never backed down.  Even today, they are getting threats and hate.  They are not backing down.

So what?  I was publically supporting Biden/Harris but I was very careful to not make any statements that labeled me a "Catholic for Biden" because I knew the hate that would come my way.  But when I saw the Gaffigans stand up, I did too.  I changed my Twitter profile to include that I am a #CatholicForBiden and man did the hate wave come my way.  I'm a nobody and I got hate.  I can't imagine what they got.

Why am I singling out Jeannie?  She is a mom.  She is a Catholic mom who is truly a role model for me.  I've been reading her tweets.  She is smart and funny.  She educates without insulting.  She quotes the Bible and Catholic doctrine not just responses with feeling.  She is amazing.  I hope to one day be able to put the perfect quote that shows caring and research.

Thankfully Biden won.  I'm more hopeful than I have been in the last four years.  I hope that more people stand up and keep Biden moving in the right direction.  The work is far from over.  As we keep moving forward, I just wanted to stop for a second and acknowledge Jeannie Gaffigan for being a role model.  She stood up when she didn't have to.  She risked everything for her beliefs.  In a world that praises making money and physical beauty above all, be Jeannie.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Switching focus for a better outcome: Pahla B's 31 Day Workout Challenge

So I'm switching my workout routine and goals. If you have been reading me for a while, then you know I'm a runner and have actually completed a marathon along with a few 25k trail races.  I have been working towards running my 1st Ultramarathon, a 50K trail race, which was scheduled for the end of September.  Well, my race was canceled and is now virtual.  What I love about trail running is the trail so running it virtually does not really float my boat.  I could actually go out to the trail, it is only 45 minutes from my house and run the race but I'm not feeling that either.

I am a very goal-oriented person.  I need to be working towards something and with my 50k postponed until at least 2021, I have decided to change my focus.  Ever since my marathon, I have been experiencing perimenopausal symptoms.  My OB/GYN said that the long-distance running makes the symptoms worse but naturally I ignored him and have been adding lots of distance.

Well, I run/walked 330 miles (runs measured in Nike so even more than that hitting 10,000 steps regularly) since April 1st.  Basically running became my escape during the quarantine.  What I didn't realize until last week was how bad my perimenopause was getting.  I have been having lots of "heart flutters."  Now I'm not proud to admit this but I've been hiding it from my husband.  I don't want to go to the doctor to be told it's nothing.  I went the ER last summer thinking I was having a heart attack and my heart was in excellent shape.  Basically, I'm one of those lucky women with a hormone-induced irregular heartbeat.  It wasn't until someone in a forum posted about that being a thing that I was able to pinpoint the issues for myself.  Remember I have been ignoring my doctor's advice for almost a year.  

I'm all of 41 and I'm not a fan of the heart flutters, lack of sleep, micro-hot flashes, and the lack of weight loss.  Now before we move forward, my heart is strong and my blood pressure is great.  I did notice that my LDL cholesterol number was up and my HDL was down, which after a bit of research could be linked to my perimenopause, which the extra miles seem to be making worse.  

So where does that leave me?  I'm dropping back the miles.  I'm changing my focus.  Instead of working towards the 50k, I'm going to get strong.  No more excuses and I'm going to really diversify my workouts.  I'm starting with Pahla B's 31-day workout challenge.  I found her channel maybe 3 weeks ago on Youtube and really enjoy her approach to working out.  She has an e-book to go with the 31-day challenge and all of the videos are on Youtube.  I have the 1st one embedded in this post.  

One of the most interesting tidbits, I have found with Pahla B has been the idea of working out too much stressing your body and actually keeping you from losing weight.  Like the exact point, my doctor made last year.  The exact thing my body and labs keep pointing too: moderate working out is what I need.  As if to underscore the point, I ran a 5k in the high-noon Texas heat on Thursday and it wiped me out, like mild heat exhaustion wipe out.  I could not sleep.  My heart flutters were bad.  My stomach stayed in knots.  So Friday, I did some Pahla B active rest day yoga and then nothing this weekend.  Last night, Sunday was the best sleep I had had in a few days.  My body wanted rest instead of a 10k, which was on my plan.  So that's it.  I'm pulling back on miles and I'm going the Pahla B revolution for the next 31-days.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Schooling in the time of Covid

So in March, our lives basically imploded.  For many Texas children, they went home for Spring Break and then did not go back to school.  We are day 120-something of social distancing and quarantine.  I know for me it feels chaotic.  I imagine for the children watching all of us grown-ish folx, this is a very confusing time.   

Now, if you remember correctly, my doctoral dissertation was written on unschooling, and pretty close to 100% of my writing and research during my doctoral studies were focused on homeschooling.  To say that my views and recommendations have been in demand is an understatement.  Now, I haven't gotten any media attention, thankfully, but many friends and family members have been reaching out.  So I'm going to give my perspective on the current situation.  I'm going to avoid the politics of it; that may become a post over on Wetback American since I try to keep my politics over there.  

Things to keep in mind as you read:
1 - I was a public school educator for 9 years.
2 - I was a private school administrator for 3 years.
3 - My oldest child, Gymgirl, has been educated with a mixture of private school and homeschooling.
4 - I believe in the power of children and as such, I am a firm believer in unschooling.
5 - My own education has been a mixture of public and private schools at the k-12 level and in higher education.

Okay so you don't feel mislead or like I'm hiding anything.  I will also admit, I have a lot of issues with public schooling, namely, it is schooling and not education.  Again, I'm going to leave the politics at the door but if I'm not transparent then I feel like I'm trying to hide something or that I'm ashamed of something.

Now the meat of the issue:
Where should I put my children next year?  The only real answer is to do what is best for you and your family.  That is the beginning and the end of the conversation.  You can take what I say and other experts say into consideration but the decision is yours and yours alone.  

Things to consider:
1 - Can you keep your children at home, safely?
    Who can provide supervision?
    If my children are old enough to stay by themselves, who can be your backup if suddenly your children need help?  Last-minute illness?  No electricity?  Other safe spaces for them?

2 - What kind of learner is your child?
    Does your child need lots of structure?
    Do they go to bed late?  Are they early risers?
    Does your child have special learning needs?

3 - Does your child seek/need routine?
    This is especially important in light that school may close and open randomly throughout the semester.  

4 - Are you a seeker of routine?
    I love routine.  I need to know basically what my day is going to look like, my meetings or if I am on-campus or off-campus.  Honestly, sick days ruin my whole week.  I need a routine.  Public and private schools are more than likely going to have to close and reopen a couple of times.  Do you have a plan?

5 - What is your backup school plan?
    Like I have mentioned above.  Public and private schools are going to have to respond and follow state and local guidelines.  If your area becomes a hotspot and you are an essential worker, what is your plan for your children?  If there is an exposure and schools close for a day, week, month, what will you do?

6 - Does your child have any special medical needs/conditions?
    If your child were to get Covid, is there any reason for you to think your child would be hit harder, ie is your child high-risk or medically fragile?

7 - Is there anyone in your household or back-up household, who is high-risk/medically fragile?
    Again, this isn't a disease that is generally fatal for healthy people so it is possible that your household can get Covid and everyone does just fine.  You need to consider things like an older parent in the house, someone with a chronic health condition, and not just in your household but in the household of whoever is your backup in case of a shutdown.
As you can see this is an ultra-personal choice and frankly it is nobody's business.  If you are sending your children to school here is advice:

A - Prepare them with positive viewpoints of the situation.  Your hatred of mask, Trump, Covid, none of that is the teacher or school's fault.  Your children will reflect your attitude so fix it now!

B - Be prepared for chaos, especially at first.  So talk to your kids.  This is a brand new situation to all of us.  Yes, the first day will be strange and difficult. Again, it is not the teacher or school's fault.  

C - Prepare your sometimes people die talk.  I am praying that you never need it but get it ready.  More than likely your child will know someone who has lost someone to COVID and they'll bring that talk home.  Be ready.  If the health officials are correct, we will lose teachers and students.  Be ready.  It is a tough topic.  As an administrator, sharing bad news was always hard, and watching the effects on the class, students and teachers, was heartbreaking.

D - Find out the district's plan for exposures.  This is the hardest one really because there are so many unknowns.

E - Support teachers and school staff.  This is hard on everyone.  As school personnel, we love our students.  We want to get back to normal.  There isn't a teacher around that want to infect a child with COVID.  We are also human and have to work with the system and the rules set forth.  

Finally, my recommendations:

If you need to keep your child at home, I suggest looking into online computer-based schooling.  In Texas, we have a few companies.  I highly recommend  I have known people who worked for them and have seen a few students transition to this program pretty well.  Teachers and administrators are certified so the curriculum mirrors that of the public schools.  Before you pick an online school, check out their requirements for their instructors.  Not everyone requires a teaching license or previous experience.  This is nice option since your child has to log-on to do their work so they can create a routine and have support from a real person.

Also, you don't have to pick an online school.  You can unschool.  You can buy a prepackage curriculum like Seton Home Study (Catholic) or Abeka Homeschool (Baptist) if you want something with worksheets and books but not on screen.

No tee, no shade, you have to do what is best for you and your family.  It takes a village to keep your kids at home and not everybody has a village full of retired teachers ready to teach the neighborhood kids.  If you need more information or want to just talk it out, email me (martha (at) wheatlessmama (dot) com).  We can set up a zoom meeting.  This is hard.  You are not alone.  It feels like a political statement no matter what you do but seriously, keep your politics out of it and focus on what works best for you and your kids!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

100 miles for Trans-gendered Rights

So today is July 8th and I have had a few days to think about my June miles.  Along with time to think, I have really been enjoying not forcing myself to get in a run daily.  I love rest days!

I currently have a student who is sharing her journey through the transiting process via her social media.  She has shared some hate that has blown her way.  At one point, she shared a tweet asking if her life mattered?  As a Black Trans-gendered Woman, her life is in so much danger.  I'll remind you that in 2019 - the Human Rights Campaign reported that of the 26 murders they reported, 90% of those were Black Trans-gendered Women.

I spent the month of June trying to educate myself and learn what I can do to make this world a safer place for all LGBTQIA folx but especially Black Trans-gendered Women.  Just like working on making myself less racists, I had to start with what do I know, what have I been taught, and forgive myself for falling short for so long.

Much like my anti-racist self-work, I started with Netflix.  I binged watched Pose.  I cheered for Blanca.  I danced with Damon.  I cried with Pray Tell.  I tried to understand what it is about being Gay and Black that is so wrong and what made being trans-gendered and Black so dangerous.  I still have so many questions.  I have next to no answers.  After watching, Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen, I felt privileged.  Not just in my cis-gendered, heterosexual female-ness but because I know and have known trans-gendered people.  

Disclosure opened my eye to the privilege of actually knowing someone who was trans.  If I remember correctly, 95% of Americans have never met a person who is trans-gendered.  My experience with trans-gendered people is as a teacher/librarian.  I have worked with students who eventually disclosed themselves as trans.  So my experience has been watching people bloom into adults who are happy in their own skin.  Who wouldn't want that for people?  Why would you want people to hurt and hide?

The "what" makes life as a Black Transgender Woman so dangerous still feels so nebulous.  As best as I can glean, the hate is rooted in power.  This group, Black-Trans-Women, has the least power so other people who feel less powerful exert their frustrations on them.  Will the police protect them?  If they don't have "family" who will fight for them?  Did you know that they can be denied health care by medical professionals if the "professional" feels it is against their religious beliefs to be trans!?  This group is completely on the fringe of society.  Alone, abused, powerless and the rest of us laugh when someone makes a "tranny" joke.  I want to punch myself for all of the times I said nothing.

Transgendered women are real women.  If you are a man who is attracted to a transwoman, you are not gay because that is a woman you are attracted too.  But also, there is nothing wrong with being gay so get over that!  We all need to work to make this world safer.  If we make it safer for Trans Women, then it is safer for all women.  I have two daughters and I want them to be safe but first, we have to make sure those with the least power are protected.  

This is the list of each person I honored on my June journey:
June 1 - Dana Martin
June 2 - Monika Diamond
June 3 - Tony McDade
June 4 - Nina Pop
June 5 - Jazzaline Ware
June 6 - Ashanti Carmon
June 7 - Claire Legato
June 8 - Muhlaysia Booker
June 9 - Michelle Tamika Washington
June 10 - Paris Cameron
June 11 - Chynal Lindsey
June 12 - Chanel Scurlock
June 13 - Dominique Remmie Fells and Riah Milton
June 14 - Zoe Spears
June 15 - Brooklyn Lindsey
June 16 - Dena Liberries Stuckey
June 17 - Tracy Single
June 18 - Bubba Walker
June 19 - Kiki Fantroy
June 20 - Pebbles Ledime Doe
June 21 - Bailey Reeves
June 22 - Jamagio Jamar Berryman
June 23 - Itali Marlowe
June 24 - Brianna BB Hill
June 25 - Yahira Nesby
June 26 - Mia Perry
June 27 - Layleen Polanco
June 28 - Kenna Mattel AKA Kelly Stough
June 29 - Tydida Nasbury
June 30 - To the unknown, unreported, misgendered Trans-gendered murder victims
Say their names.  Honor their memories with work.  Each person listed was a human being.  Straight people, we need to do more.

P.S. - I am working on being a better ally.  If I have misspoken, please help correct me.  Sometimes we have to say the wrong thing before we can get right.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

#PrideMonth Challenge - 1 mile everyday in memory of a murdered #transgender person

The month of June is usually "Pride" month; a month when the LGBTQIA community celebrates their history as a community and hosts events and parades to celebrate all things LGBTQIA.

This month I challenged myself to walk a minimum of 1 mile each day in memory of a murdered transgender person.  I have been using the work of the Human Rights Campaign.  They track the murders can publish a list as well as release a yearly report on the status of the transgender community.

While I knew people who are trans have a harder time in the general population than perhaps the rest of the LGBTQIA community, the numbers are staggering.  In 2019, there were 26 known murders of transgender people.  Of those 91% were Black women.  81% were under the age of 30.  Maybe less surprising, 65% were in the South.  

So what?  Why focus on transgender people?  Well simply, it matters.  Trans lives matter.  I have taught and worked with several people who transitioned or identify outside of cis-gendered norms.  Of those students, there isn't a single one that I believe is an extra or unworthy human life and therefore would be okay to murder.  If the Black Lives Matter has taught me anything, it is that silence equals implied consent.  I will not stay silent.  Transgender Lives Matter!

On June 21, I did my walk in memory of Baily Reeves, who was only 17 when she was murdered for being transgendered.  Her mother reached out to me the next day and thanked me for walking in her memory.  Honestly, I cried when I saw the message.  She took time out of her day to thank me.  Like my 5k walk is really as close to nothing as I can do and yet the small gesture seemingly meant a lot to her.  Her little girl was not completely forgotten.  

I have done 24 walks equaling 80 miles or so.  I have listed 25 names (I did 2 on one post) and there are still names to go.  I'm focused on all Black trans people murdered in 2020 and 2019.  The list is too long.  Our silence is way too loud.  

Monday, June 15, 2020

Do the work: Black Lives Matter

Normally I reserve posts about race to my Wetback American blog but today I need to address something with my fellow mommas.  In case you have been under a rock, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has again come to the forefront of American consciousness.  The exact why can be traced to recent murders of Black men by White men, both police and "regular" citizens.  So what does that have to do with Wheatless Mama and/or you?  Keep reading.

If you are a regular reader then you know that I, Martha, am married to a Black man, normally called DH.  We have 2 beautiful daughters, Gymgirl and BabyLala.  If it somehow escaped you, I am Mexican or Latina if you prefer, personally I prefer Mexican.  So I am coming to you from a place of motherhood, especially as the mother of biracial girls.  I am not here to hurt you.  I am here to hopefully remind you of the work we all have to do as mothers or inform you about the work if you were ignoring it.  I am going to be political and abrasive but you need to understand it comes from love.

It pains me that in the weeks since the protest began, we still have more Black men being murdered by police officers in what from footage show is excessive use of force and quick escalation.  It pains me because this is all on video and people are still denying we have any issues.  It pains me because I don't want to see that trauma porn and yet new footage is released daily so no matter which one of my social medias I use I am forced to confront the fact that my husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law, nephew, and all other Black men are in constant danger in a range that I couldn't imagine before.  Folx we have work to do!

The work is hard.  The work in many ways is nebulous and hard to pinpoint; this is the crux of the issue for many.  The work is overwhelming and no one wants to give you a list so you can check off your way to not being racist.  I can't give you a list either.  I would love to give you a list.  I want so badly to help you check your way to being a loyal anti-racist advocate; I want to make this easy on you but there is no easy way.  

As you work, you need to become familiar with the stages of grief.  You will be grieving.  What will you be grieving?  Honestly, 2 things: 1 - the death of your own innocence and 2 - the death of the America you thought you knew.  This is scary as fuck.  I know you don't want to die, not physically, not metaphorically, not in any way shape, or form.  I'm telling you this upfront because it feels awful.  It feels so bad that you want to stop doing the work.  You want to go back to your old ways but I've just shattered that space for you.  How can you go back when you know something new?  You can't.  Now you have to push through.  

Remember the stages of grief.  You will get sad.  You will cry.  You will wish you didn't know.  You will deny this is real.  You'll be pissed at me for asking you to open your eyes.  You'll be mad at your eyes for having been blind for so long.  You'll curse the day you started the work.  You'll swear to do better if you can just stop working and knowing.  Then you'll get active and become the advocate this world needs.

Okay so the work?  You have to admit you hold racist ideas.  You have benefited from racist policies. You have to understand that you are not a horrible person for any of it.  Easy?  Not even close.  Checklist?  It doesn't exist.  Can you do it?  I'm pleading with you to do it.  My family's lives depend on it.

I'm saying all of this as a woman who has so much work to do.  I have been married to DH for 18 years.  I have been with this man since 1996, almost 25 years.  I have birthed 2 Blaxican daughters.  I work at an HBCU.  I grew up in one of the Black areas of my city.  I have so much work to do.  I actively avoid it.  Ya'll I hate the work.  

If you are in your early 40s like me you have never seen this kind of awakening and so you have no roadmap.  I'm not excusing you, me, from doing the work.  I'm telling you I know you want a checklist or at least to be able to rely on your upbringing for how and it does not exist.  We grew up in a "melting pot" so we were raised "color-blind."  Most of the racism we grew up in was covert.  Now it is called microaggressions but when we were growing up, we called it becoming "Good Americans."  

Still with me?  Okay how are you feeling?  You think I'm full of shit right?  You feel like I'm judging you or your parents or your mothering?  All valid feelings.  Hell, maybe I am doing all of those things.  I don't know.  I'm at a computer crying my eyes out while I write this hoping that maybe it will help one person actually wake up.

How does one start the work?  See this is why I can't give you a checklist.  We are all in different places.  Some of us have lots of Black friends and People of Color (POC) around us so for the most part we think we don't have work.  We have work.  Others live in such a mono-colored world that again, why even start the work?  

I'm going to tell you about my work.  It is less scary when you know someone who is working through something so here it goes.

This round, I began with "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  I cried my way through it.  I spoke to my husband about Ta-Nehisi's experience and how those related to his own.  My DH is also a Howard alum so I knew the landmarks and about the culture.  I didn't know about the brutality.  You know that's a lie.  I knew but I didn't want to know.  (This is some of the work.  I have to admit I want to be blind to the truth so I blind myself.)  I have been in several traffic stops with my husband.  I know what he has been trained to do.  I know that as a POC I have to act a certain way.  Anyway, I cried my way thought DH's affirming of the dangers Ta-Nehisi described.  Why did I cry?  Because a part of my innocence died.  I know my husband is in danger but somehow I had delusional ideas that he had just not experienced anything that bad.  Surely, everyone can see his wonderful spirit and that has protected him.  Bubble burst, it hasn't.  He has "protected" me and my innocence since day one.  I want to badly to believe that we are safer than others but it's just not true.  I was just being blind.

Once I had worked my way through that grief, I watch John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons and I entered a new phase of work.  I was almost completely ignorant of my own history.  My parents are from Mexico and I had bought the American dream without even thinking about the cost for my own people.  Then I read "1491" by Charles C. Mann.  More crying.  More loss of innocence.

Then I started "Stamped from the Beginning" by Ibram X. Kendi and I could take no more.  I was too raw.  I was too scared.  I decided that I knew enough and the things Kendi was saying wasn't of any benefit to me.  I work at an HBCU.  I'm married to a Black man.  I'm so woke.

I was so wrong.  What restarted my journey?  One of my former students contacted me asking for help.  She was trying to get her OB to listen to her.  She knew her life was in danger so she was calling for help from anyone that might do something.  Again, my sister-in-law almost died after giving birth.  My mother-in-law almost died after giving birth.  My husband's father's parents both lost their mothers shortly after giving birth.  Black women die in childbirth at rates that infuriate me.  Because I had lost a White friend in childbirth, my focus had always been on safer birth practice for everyone.  I had blinded myself to the reality that my daughters are more likely to die in childbirth than I was when I gave birth to them.  Ya'll in most families, each generation has a better chance of surviving childbirth but not mine!  My level of education.  The healthy lifestyle that we live and model.  Living in a 1st world country.  None of that adds protection for my daughters!  We went backward all because my girls are Black!  

Now there are more steps and turns in my journey but this post is long enough, right?  I know not all of you have father-in-laws who were in the Black Panthers or husbands who attended HBCUs or children who have to bat people's hands from their hair.  That does not mean you are excused from the work.  Hell even if you do have those things, you have work to do.

This is going to sound crude and harsh but someone who loves you has to say it so here goes, "Just because you fucked a Black guy/girl/person does not make you not racist!"  Trust me, you can have a KKK robe in your closet and fuck Black people.  Don't pull the "I love Black dick/pussy" card with me.  25 years I have been on the arm of a big Black man and I have work.  41 years I have been Mexican in a country that hates my kind and I have work.  Don't you dare tell me you are woke because you love the Blacks.  You are the worst kind of racist, the most dangerous kind, the person that says all the right things until it matters.  You are loud standing behind a Black person but around your White friends, you laugh at their jokes about POC or LGBTQIA or those that are differently-abled.  

I don't want your "I'm sorry."  I don't want your promises to do better.  I want you to do work.  If you can read Coates, Mann, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, and countless other accounts of the Black experience and still think I'm full of shit then okay.  I'll accept that I'm the ignorant one.  I'll accept that my girls are just like your girls.  My husband is just like yours.  My life has been full of privileges and I just need to shut the fuck up.  I promise to accept all of your criticism and add that to my work.  But first, do your work like your family's lives depend on it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

30 Days of Music Challenge

So about 40 days ago I noticed several of my facebook friends were playing a posting game: 30 Days of Music.  I thought the categories were quite interesting so I decided to play along.  We were all using the one below. 

30 Day song Challenge

If you Google 30-Day Song Challenge, you'll find a ton of templates.  Anyways, I wanted to share my list with you.

I have also created a Spotify list if you want listen instead of read:   Spotify List Here

Day 1: A song you like with a color in the title

 Raspberry Beret - Prince

Day 2:  A song you like with a number in the title

8675390 (Jenny) - Tommy Tutone

Day 3: A song that reminds you of summertime

Summer Girls - LFO
Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you’d rather forget
 Naughty Boy - Galaxy Express
Day 5: A song that needs to be played loudly
 Mr. Brightside - The Killers

Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance
Suavemente - Elvis Crespo
Day 7: A song to drive to
Get Out the Map - The Indigo Girls

Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol
Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind

Day 9: A song that makes you happy

Juggernaut - The Shiz
 Day 10: A song that makes you sad
Amor Eterno - Rocio Durcal

Day 11: A song you never get tired of
Read My Mind - The Killers

Day 12: A song from your pre-teen years
Pelo Suleto - Gloria Trevi

Day 13: A song you like from the 70s
Layla - Derek and The Dominoes

Day 14: A song you’d love to be played at your wedding
Esa Mujer - Pepe Aguilar

Day 15: A song you like that’s a cover by another artist
Fotos y Recuerdos - Selena

Day 16: A song that’s a classic favorite
God Only Knows - The Beach Boys

Day 17: A song you’d sing as a duet in karaoke
Got Your Money - Old Dirty Bastard

Day 18: A song from the year you were born
Reunited - Peaches and Herb

Day 19: A song that makes you think about life
O Let Your Light Shine Bright - The Lilie Lewis Project

Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you
Not Ready to Make Nice - The Dixie Chicks

Day 21: A song you like with a person’s name in the title
 Bernadette - The Four Tops

Day 22: A song that moves you forward
Juice - Lizzo

Day 23: A song you think everyone should listen to
Bones - The Killers

Day 24: A song by a band you wish was still together 
No Controles - Flans
Day 25: A song you like by a dead artist
Back To Black - Amy Winehouse

Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love
Hanging by a Moment - Lifehouse

Day 27: A song that breaks your heart
Prometi Olivarte - Pepe Aguilar

Day 28: A song by an artist whose voice you love
Crossfire - Brandon Flowers

Day 29: A song you remember from your childhood
Let's Hear It for the Boy - Deniece Williams

Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Quarantine Reflections

When we started this whole quarantine business back on March 16 or so, I had every intention of keeping a diary/blog a day thing and then reality set in pretty quick and here we are my first post since early February.  So what exactly happened to all of my plans?  Well honestly, I was going to write to celebrate my first half-marathon back on Feb 22nd and it was a whole different experience from my other races but here we are May 18th and no post on the half-marry.

I am one of those people that needs to feel inspired to write.  Even with a great topic, I need will, idea, time, and space to be in a magic blend to actually write anything so here we are May 18th, 2020 and I have the magical blend.  I've been working from home since March 20th.  I am not a stay at home mom.  I've been navigating the waters of working full-time from home while dealing with a 3-year-old that is thrilled I am home all the time so we can hang.  It has not been easy and yet I know I am in a privileged position.  I am working.  I still received a steady paycheck and have help from my parents and husband so that when I have meetings during the day/night whenever, I can find space to turn on Zoom and work.

Okay so I do want to mark what has happened.  I need to write down some reflections/diary entries so that much like my pregnancy with my oldest, I can go back and remember.  As a hard-core introvert, I have no actually struggled much with the being away from people but I am struggling with the being with people all the time.  I miss my commute.  I miss the time to think, to write, to reflect.  There are 6 of us here all the time.  It is hard to think.  So what have I been doing?  I've been running/walking/working out in my backyard.  I get up, dress out, and move.  I have basically cut a track in our backyard.  40 loops is a mile.  I'm working on cutting a slightly bigger loop.  Last week, I actually got a 10-mile run done, so like 400 or so loops!  Good thing I change direction every half mile or so.

There has been a blessing in all of this.  I have been able to spend time with Baby Lala.  I have been working long and hard since before she was born.  I was still bleeding when I went back to work.  I've been career focused or focused on getting my dad through cancer treatment and often times both.  I was selfish and took up running in order to survive the stress.  That didn't leave much time for being the mommy of a baby/toddler/preschooler.  Now I'm with her 24/7.  It is hard to balance everything so honestly I don't.  I'm either in mom-mode or in work-mode.  I move unbalanced and someday unhinged between these two worlds.  I have loved watching Lala mature and grow.  She has been teaching herself to read.  She is so strong-willed and strong physically.  She is a force to be reckoned with.  In short she is amazing and everything I would like to think I could have been if I had been born 2nd instead of 1st.

And there is time with GymGirl.  She is so grown up.  She is all of 10 but is going on 20 entirely too fast.  She is an artist, digital.  She creates.  She still has a laugh that lights up my world.  When she and Lala get going, I swear it is what angels in heaven must sound like. 

Yes, I'm ready to be back in my office.  Yes, I miss the days of being a hard-driving focused and ambitious career woman.  But for right now, I'm reminding myself to take the time to enjoy the total lack of balance in my life.  My girls will never be this little again.  Time march forward so quickly.  Normally I would have heard about Lala's adventures in potty training instead of being hands-on.  I would only have a couple of hours each day with my girls instead of spending only a few hours a day on work (well 8 hours but in chunks so it doesn't feel as heavy). 

It is funny, right before covid turned everything upside down, my husband had made the move to full-time podcasting so after almost a year of not seeing each other, we were finally back together everyday.  It was awkward at first.  It was like starting over again, learning to share the space again.  Quarantine has actually allowed us the time and space to get intimate again, not physically [well also physically] but intellectually.  It has been nice.

What have I lost in this time?  Well I did have a fellow colleague pass away due to covid.  I have missed working with my students.  I cried on what would have been their graduation day.  I miss running with my badass run partner.  I miss going to coffee with the 2 people who bother to give me time. 

Will I be different after this?  I hope so.  Hopefully more aware and appreciative of those around me.  You even know when life is going to turn upside down so you better look around, take a deep breath, and understand this moment will never be here again.  I'm making these the best moments of my life.  I pray you are well.  Maybe magic will happen again soon and I'll write more about my adventures in developing my covid routine!  Maybe not?  We'll see.

Monday, February 3, 2020

100% Authentic - The ultimate mash-up #MariachiEntertainmentSystem

On Friday (1/31) one of my Facebook friends shared this video:

A cover of Take On Me done by Mariachi Entertainment System.  I played it for everyone.  I reposted it.  I tweeted about it.  I love it.

As I was singing at the top of my lungs along with Baby Lala and DH, I was thinking what exactly is it about this that I love so much? 

We are about 8 days out from the news of Kobe Bryant's death.  It felt sad.  While I was never a massive Kobe fan, I'm simply not a fan of the NBA, the news that one of his children passed with him hit me hard.  I could not help but to feel or image the pain of his widow.  Not only losing your husband but losing your child; how do you survive?   So sad; then Friday, this ray of happiness hit by FB feed. 

Still, that isn't the only thing about it that I love.  Yes you can see Mariachi Entertainment System (MES) is having fun and in general, the song is fun but it is the mash-up of cultures that warms my soul.  Growing up in a very Mexican house in the deep East Texas woods, I felt like I didn't belong to either side.  This song is the blending of my sides. 

MES didn't change it into something unrecognizable.  They just did it in their personal style.  So often people make covers that sound exactly like the original (so what's the point?) or they try to create a whole new beast unrecognizable to people who loved the original.  This is 100% authentic to everything. 

Being the mom to 2 Blaxican girls, we try to tell them to be authentic to themselves.  GymGirl and Baby Lala are both Black and Mexican not half of anything but 100% themselves and this song feels like the embodiment of that idea.  I can't make the world see the girls as whole in both Black and Mexican; the world sees them as half or will once the girls tell people they are both.