Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Book Meme

Olga tagged me with this meme last week.

1. One book that changed your life: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. i was 17 years old when a crush recommended this book to me. though i considered myself a voracious reader at that age, i had never read anything written by a mexican american. after this book, i started to seek out other chicano/a literature. also, as a nascent feminist, this book provided the basis for my first college term paper--elements of feminism in the house on mango street. ;)

2. One book that you've read more than once: Loving Pedro Infante by Denise Chavez. i LOVE this book. it makes me laugh and cry every time i read it, but i think that, more than anything, i love the feeling of redemption at the end of the novel.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: probably some poetry anthology.

4. One book that made you laugh: Drink Cultura by Tony Burciaga. i read this book bit by bit at the stanford bookstore when i was an undergrad. his writing is not only witty, but also culturally astute.

5. One book that made you cry: The Chin Kiss King by Ana Veciana Suarez. i read this book years ago and don't remember many of the details, just that it was about the relationships between mothers and daughters. i remember that i was sobbing as i turned the last pages.

6. One book you wish had been written: A Mexican American version of Interpreter of Maladies. does anyone know of a book that illustrates the various experiences of culture, class, and transnationalism of mexicans/chicanos in america?

7. One book you wish had never been written: Who Cut the Cheese?: A Cultural History of the Fart by Jim Dawson. i saw this on display by the registers at Half Price Books in texas. why???

8. One book you're currently reading: just finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith.

9. One book you've been meaning to read: mostly school books, Chicana Without Apology and Chicana Feminisms are next on the list (because I have to teach them this quarter!)

10. Six people to tag: Kelly, Vanessa, Joel, Lo, HP, and Cincy . i'd love to know what all of you are reading. :)


Monday, September 11, 2006


my parents celebrated their anniversary this past weekend.

the story is that my dad asked mom to marry him after one month. she apparently said no the first time he asked. but they were married almost exactly one year after they first met, thirty three years ago.

"how did you know, after one month, that you wanted to marry her?" i asked him recently.

"i don't remember!" he says. "i guess because she was nice to me."

that seemed simple enough.

later in the day, however, while he, my mom, and i were driving somewhere, he said to me, "i remember now. it's because your mom was a hottie!"

she turned to look at him innocently. "i was?" she asked.

it seems like a small miracle occurs when you meet someone and decide that you want to spend the rest of your life with that person. it seems like a bigger miracle when you actually make it through thirty three years together, having brought children into the world and watched them grow into adults, having witnessed births and deaths in your families, seeing career changes, living through sickness and health, and still enjoying your favorite restaurants, your quiet nights at home, the moments you still laugh at each other's cheesy jokes. it's thirty three years of life, entangled with love.

muchas felicidades a mis papás. que sigan disfrutando de la vida y del amor.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

"porque le gusta bailar cumbia..."

one of my dad's cousins celebrated his 70th birthday this weekend. to honor this milestone, his children organized a surprise birthday party last night. there were balloons and candy. catered mexican food and cake. amidst blue and gold balloons, a DJ that played rancheras.

after we had all wished the birthday boy well and eaten our fill, the DJ played a special song for my dad's cousin and his wife. after another ballad, the DJ transitioned into an upbeat cumbia.

now, i love to dance cumbia. LOVE. but had no partner. and besides, there was only one girl dancing with one of her uncles.

then he played a selena cumbia. more women got up to dance, and i thought, i can dance with them. one of my dad's cousins, who was sitting at my table, looked at me and said, "let's go!"

so we stepped and twirled under the low lights and amid the artificial smoke the DJ stand was producing.

back to back selena cumbias and there were all kinds of women on the dance floor, ranging in age from four years old to late fifties. all whooping and hollering and having a blast to bidi bidi bom bom.

the DJ switched to some 70s funk, and many of us sat down to rest and drink water. probably realizing that he gathered the best crowd on the dance floor with cumbias, he started spinning more.

there weren't many more of those moments, however, when there were all women dancing together. husbands asked their wives, nieces asked their uncles, sisters asked their brothers to dance. even my parents were out on the dance floor for a song or two.

all the coupling, of course, made me miss my boyfriend. but, bless his heart, he is still honing his dance skills. i really missed olga, my ex-roommate, who is my tried and true favorite cumbia dance partner.

so i sat through most of the remainder of the evening, tapping my fingers on the table to the cumbia rhythms and tucking my feet under my white plastic chair. i found myself admiring the couples on the dance floor, marveling at the grace that comes with dancing with the same dance partner for thirty years, and imagining that, in twenty more years, that could be me. maybe dancing more slowly, wearing not such high heels, but still enjoying el bailar cumbia.