New Mexico vs. Mexico, Stitching Patriarchy and Trump Or “Cada Cabeza Es Un Mundo“

November 12, 2019
Not long ago, I left a New Mexico Recipe food group that was suppose to focus on New Mexican recipes instead it focused on arguing as to what recipes were authentically New Mexican! And, not only that they constantly criticized that Californians did not know how to cook, that our dishes lacked flavor and essentially that California food did not measure up to New Mexican food! Well this was highly offensive to me, because I know how to cook and enjoy it.
I know enough about Mexican food and food history to realize that New Mexican cuisine is distinctive; specifically in the chilies they use and the ever so famous Hatch Chile, Indian fried bread, sopapillas, Green Chile stew (which is similar, but different to Chile verde) fried puffy tacos, and the stacked enchiladas with a fried egg on top.
But, I also know and saw more similarities than differences and many of the same foods I was raised on in California being called New Mexican!
Such as some of what I call “soul food;” these are by no means considered gourmet meals, on the contrary, soul food to me is more like poor people food, down home cooking, or food that is eaten on a daily basis. Dishes that feed large families with not a lot of money. Such as fried potatoes with hamburger meat or weinies, pozole, menudo, cocido, huevos rancheros, carnitas, chilaquiles, sopas, chorizo con huevo, beans, rice, tostadas, tacos, burritos, arroz con leche, etc.
Excuse me Gente, but most of these dishes originated in Mexico and we have copied or modified to meet our needs throughout the Southwest. With the exception of frito bowls, I’ll never figure that one out. Although, Mi Corazon says it’s good, maybe one day I’ll succumb.
I finally gave up trying to defend and educate and left the group. I wanted to see food, recipes and cooking not a bunch of angry people arguing defending their position.

Recently, I joined another group that shall remain nameless, and now I’m considering  leaving this group also! It focuses on hand stitching on fabric, a passion of mine. It is stitching for 15 to 30 minutes a day to relax without any plan.

The true beauty of the process is that there is no right or wrong way to do this. You do not worry about making ‘art’ while you are in this process. You allow your intuition to guide your design. Let your heart speak with needle and thread. It is not overthinking and it
does not have to become anything. I thought this was a liberating/no need to think exercise…not a “learn how to” system. I like that it takes us away from that idea of perfection and out of our comfort zones of things having to be completed. The beauty of mindful stitching is that we can just do what we feel like with no boundaries and allow our minds to relax and sometimes empty.
This group was to be about fun and relaxation
I think it either needs to be something that comes from within – no formal learning or it is something else -learning. I have trouble with it being both simultaneously.
I have thoroughly enjoyed viewing others art and being inspired by so many creative women.
Well this weekend a woman posted a “Eff the Patriarchy” ( fully written out) I have cleaned it up for my post, stitched on a piece of fabric. With sideways lines depicting a flag and stitches in red and blue with a white background.
This bothered me immensely, why? because this group offered and allowed some time away from the “madness of the world, ”
to see beauty; in flowers, landscapes and birds.
I didn’t have to deal with news, politics, sexual content, cussing or anything negative.
 I commented that I was offended by this, for the above reasons. I researched the rules and there really aren’t any. It states, if something causes you discord just keep scrolling.
While many women were in agreement with my sentiments. Many  women supported Ms.
Eff the Patriarchy, they felt that this was her vehicle of releasing anger or stress.
Ms. Eff the Patriarchy stated she had been upset after watching a Peruvian beauty pageant where the women addressed the number of women raped, abused and killed in their country!
One women even stated that after her divorce she was very angry and her therapist encouraged her to say the “eff” word to release her anger. Because for too long women have held their voices inside for fear of offending people.
Another women said that we should all be more tolerant and use stitching as a healing process.
Another woman stated we should act more like men and use violence.
Another woman supported it also by saying that stitching wasn’t just about stitching puppies and flowers, but that now it was about conveying a message and that “eff the Patriarchy” was using this as her way of expressing her emotions.
Another woman stated she was offended by flowers and puppies and we should focus on issues affecting women!
And, yet another young woman stated we were all screwed (she used the eff word) if we did not stick together as women!
This is crazy!
Now it’s become political, politics are never a relaxing topic, tell me how I can continue stitching?
Well that about did it for me. I think it may be time to leave this group! This truly saddens me as I enjoyed stitching flowers and landscapes.
I am NOT a follower, I never have been and never will be! I have a mind and I use it. All the time I’m thinking I’d like to stitch a machine gun! Ha ha! I am not promoting violence, but all this hypocrisy gets me boiling! Why did you go ruin such a beautiful thing.
I trip out with All of this, why? Because this group is mainly “white women” Americans, Australian and women from the Uk. And, perhaps have this “trying to rescue the world mentality.” Most from my age group, who have the luxury of sitting around and stitching on fabric. I realize many women do not have this “luxury,” I know Mi Mama never did. I have seen  few women of color in this group. And, not that that is really significant, but I have always felt that Anglo women think they are the saviors of the world, they want to rescue everyone, especially people from other countries. Now please do not misconstrue this, I think Americans have done great things in other countries to help the needy. I just can’t help but wonder if “Ms. Eff the Patriarchy” whose anger was triggered by Peruvian women, didn’t realize women are being raped, abused and killed HERE!
Everyone is trying so hard to be politically correct.
Then we have the peacemakers, can’t we all just get along mentality. Which is fine and my preferred mode of operandi.
But, I refuse to stand by….. a bomb has been set off, how do we deal with that? You cannot have stressless political conversation or thought, it’s an oxymoron.
On this same thread I  learned of Diana Weymar with her “Tiny Pricks Project” which is in exhibition at Lingua Franca in New York. To Channel Her Frustration She Started Embroidering Donald Trump’s Most

Outrageous Quotes. She Inspired an Army of Needleworkers

Now, they have also been immortalized in needlework by hundreds of artists. Diana Weymar’s “Tiny Pricks Project,” a community-based, constantly-growing Trump textile protest immortalizing the president’s words in stitching, is now on view in New York.
What is the purpose of Tiny Pricks Project? I’m sure it is money driven!
All of these above experiences only confirm why I dislike groups! I think I’ve come to the realization that the older I get the less BS I can take and perhaps I do not play well with others!
You see at my age I have the right to pick and choose with whom I choose to be, where and when I choose to be and what I choose to be involved in. At one time in my life I didn’t have that choice, but I do now, Thank you Jesus.
I agree everyone has a right to their own thinking and thoughts.
There is a popular idiom in Spanish that’s says, “cada cabeza es un mundo,” which means “every head is their own world!”
I feel I am a reasonable woman, I am not angry nor full of hate. My heart tells me I am not wrong and that this world is upside down right now! If I am, I invite you to please set me straight with facts.
I can think of many “constructive” ways to utilize our energy as women as humans, at convalescent homes, schools, soup kitchens, there are many organizations to volunteer our time and resources. Instead of focusing on stitching “Eff the Patriarchy” or Trump’s outrageous quotes!
Abrazos y Besos
Thank You, Father

Not For Me And My Home!

October 26, 2019
 

I get frustrated when I am stereotyped and someone assumes I celebrate Día de Los Muertos,” since all Mexicans celebrate Día de Los Muertos. Well let me school you. This is not so!

 
We never celebrated this growing up and once I became an adult and a Christian I knew these practices do not edify God and are forbidden by our God.

 

 
I recall during my first years of teaching I had a short lesson for my predominantly Mexican students; thinking it was tradition and fun to commemorate our ancestors. 
 
You’d like to think it’s just a fun way to honor your deceased family members, but it is not.
 
I, myself had been sucked in by the colorful bling, each color signifies something. 
The papel picado, calaveras, marigolds (cempasuchitl or Aztec marigold of the dead) and flowers. And there is also food appropriated for this day. Sweet, egg-rich “bread of the dead” (pan de muerto) is one of the constants of Dia de Los Muertos, although it varies regionally. In some places in Mexico, sugar skulls are treats for children during Dia de Los Muertos, sometimes with names written on them.
 
Simply put, as Christians, we are to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).

 

People will set-up these colorful enticing alters of their dearly beloved who have passed; using pictures, incense, candles, flowers, etc. and make offerings of their favorite things in life, such as beer, candy or cigarettes.
 
This unholy event is the false idea that by means of its rituals, they can commune with their dear departed relatives, who are thought to participate in these ceremonies. Only One is worthy and powerful enough to call the dead; He will call these to the resurrection of damnation (John 5: 28-29). 
 
Personally it’s another means of making money, commercialism at its most colorful “ethnic” best. Now don’t misunderstand me I think commercialism is great. It’s a new reason to party that’s colorful and a different aspect that sucks people in. Just like something as innocent as caricatures
or the Adam’s Family.
Recently, my sister, Cathy shared a story with me of an innocent family that went to see the re-make of the movie, The Adam’s Family. The one we grew up with that was funny, silly and had characters of Lurch and Morticia.
This new re-make has the voice of a demon. And the little boy appeared possessed and started climbing up the wall. Then they pulled out a ouija board. 
At this point the family decided to walk out of the movie theater. Thank God these parents are so aware and protect their family.
 
I Thank my Lord every day that Mi Mama taught us how to think, by constantly questioning everything. She had the common sense of 10 persons.
 
It is our responsibility to be vigilant, especially for parents. We must be fully aware of what we see, say, read, think, model and practice.
 
Thank You, Father
Abrazos y Besos

My View From The Bus

October 22,2019

 

Last evening as I was

washing my dinner

dishes, my mind

wondered.

I had just finished a
delicious Greek salad, I
had made. And, I thought
how did my palette
become so versatile and
well rounded. Especially
since I come from very
humble beginnings. And,
we ate pretty simple
dishes like rice, beans,
sopas, fried potatoes,
spaghetti, fish sticks,
tuna casserole, caldo de
res, birria, fried chicken,
meatloaf, tacos,
enchiladas, etc. You get
the picture.
I can taste any dish and
discern the spices and
herbs within a few
minutes, and sometimes
it may take a few
attempts, but I usually
learn how to make it.
Another skill I honed as a
child is that I can discern
what’s in the cupboard
and refrigerator and
invent a meal using
what’s at hand. And, it
will be delicious, maybe
simple, but delicious, of
course, depending on
what’s available.
I recall being very young,
and watching Mi Mama
cook I enjoyed hanging
out with her in the folds
of Mi Mama’s warmth
and our kitchen. By age
ten or earlier I was
cooking for my siblings.
I know this was birthed in
my passion for food as a
young girl which has only
evolved to now.
I also know I get easily
bored and I need a wide
variety of flavors. I love
exploring different
recipes, herbs, spices
and flavors.
I often wonder when
women say, “I don’t
know what to cook for
dinner, tonight?” My
problem is I usually have
ten different ideas I’d like
to prepare.
I recall at Humboldt
State being exposed to
fresh fish the likes of
halibut, crab and salmon.
I was wild about crab
dipped in butter with a
crusty baguette.
I don’t recall eating fresh
fish at home. My limited
patethic introduction to
fish was our typical fish
stick dinner on Fridays
with white rice, served
with canned corn or
coleslaw.
Another, profound
experience was while a
student, I was poor and
struggling. I would ride
the city bus from
downtown Sacramento
to Sacramento State to
attend classes.
At the end of my day, on
my route home we made
a drop-off stop directly
in front of a popular deli
named, Sam’s Hof Brau.
Unlike today’s names of
Namaste,  just doesn’t
fit.
Seated on the bus I had a
birds eyes view of people
eating these humungous
sandwiches with a pickle
in their basket
accompanied with a mug
of beer, as if a child
peering in through a
window at toys they
desire for Christmas.
I use to think one day
when I have enough
money I’m going to go in
there and order one of
those sandwiches, since
I had never had anything
like that. In time, the day
arrived and I was in line
and overwhelmed with
all the choices. I ordered
one of those mile high
sandwiches with thin
shaved meat on this
delicious roll with a
pickle in the basket, just
like I had seen from the
bus window. I selected
the perfect seat, directly
in front, in my attempt to
relive the experience I
had viewed from my bus
seat. So I could re-live
the full experience.
I proceeded to slather
my sandwich from a
small jar of mustard. I’m
not quite sure what
compelled me to do that.
I took my first bite and
my mouth was on fire,
my sandwich was
uneatable. I had ruined
my much awaited
sandwich. I’m sure there
was a lesson here.
 It was very hot mustard
similar to those that
belong in a Chinese
restaurant, not here.
I was underage so I did
not even have a beer to
help ease the pain. I
ended up tossing it and
walking out in complete
disappointment.
You can only imagine my
tristeza!
Eventually, I was able to
re-live many positive
experiences at Sam’s
Hof Brau and finally got
my sandwich that I had
intently been eyeballing
for awhile from the bus.
Shortly after I was
introduced to the Ruben
sandwich another
favorite when the rye
bread is right.
While at Sacramento
State; crepes, fondue
and sukiyaki were
popular and new found
introductions. I could
order a big bowl of
sukiyaki for $4. or $5.
And this restaurant was
just around the corner
from my I’m
embarrassed to admit
cucaracha infested
apartment. But, it was my
reality, it cost me $90. a
month and that’s what I
could afford.
Now I don’t want you to
get the idea that I was
eating gourmet meals
every evening. I was poor
and these were far and in
between visits to
restaurants in the five
years I was in
Sacramento. Most of my
meals consisted of eggs
and bologna sandwiches
and large group
barbecues where we all
pitched in since the
majority of us were
in the same boat; poor
and struggling.
On another occasion I
had a date who took me
to Zorba the Greek. I
ordered the lamb shish-
ka-bobs with rice pilaf
for the first time.
Fortunately, we did eat
lamb growing up, we
raised a few. But, had
never tasted these exotic
flavors.
I ate the most
scrumptious flavored
chunk of meat as the
flirtatious women
twisted, shimmied, and
circled around our table
dancing in their colorful
jingally costumes.
I was so taken by these
marinated flavors of
cumin, oregano, with
onion, bell pepper and
mushrooms. Grilled to
perfection.
I kindly asked the
waitress for the recipe.
She responded she
wasn’t sure. And, shortly
returned with the chef
himself, who
enthusiastically shared
his recipe with me. For
the next month that’s all I
wanted to eat. Obviously,
this was not within my
budget, but occasionally
made it with beef on a
small hibachi I had.
In time I perfected my
recipe.
While in Sacramento I
took many trips to
concerts in the Bay Area
with friends and had the
luxury of eating paella
for the first time, in the
Mission District. It cost
$7. for a huge plate and
enough for two people. I
had never eaten
anything so delicious in
my life.
My amigos knew I could
cook and occasionally
they would buy groceries
so I could cook tacos,
enchiladas, pozole,
menudo and I also
learned how to make
paella once I tasted it. Of
course this was a college
student version with
mainly shrimp, none the
less, very delicious. In
time I perfected my
recipe and introduced
my family to paella.
Shish-ka-bobs were
the dish that started my
life long quest of flavors
from diverse cultures in
1972/73. I have eaten
and experimented with
dishes from all of these
cultures: Chinese
Japanese, Korean,
Indian, Greek, Thai
Vietnamese, Portuguese,
Italian, French, Spanish,
Austrian, Swiss, German
and Mexican.
I love the delicacy and
fresh fish of Japanese
food. I recall going to a
Japanese restaurant
where we were seated in
a private room and sat on
the floor on cushions,
nearby where I lived in
downtown Sacramento.
This was a different
restaurant than the one
that specialized in
sukiyaki, but it was all in
the same hood around T
Street and 9th.
I love the herbs and
spiciness of Korean, Thai
and Vietnamese dishes. I
had a neighbor who
taught me a few Korean
dishes, she made a black
bean paste soup with
anchovies. It was hot
also.
I love stuffed grape
leaves, falafels and in
time was introduced to
baklava a delicious
sweet treat. We have
taken cooking classes in
Provence, Cabo San
Lucas and Algarve,
Portugal that were
phenomenal.
I love the cheeses, all the
pastries, wine and the
farmer’s markets of
France, Italy and Spain.
I have very fond
memories of a small
French bistro I would
frequent in Paso Robles,
Bistro Laurent.
There my memories
came to life of our time
spent in France. Where
food is not merely
viewed as food but, a
collective experience.
Of course I prefer going
with Mi Corazon, but
once in awhile after a
long day at the winery I
would dine solo in his
absence.
I love to learn how other
cultures cook fresh in
season food. Because in
the process of learning
and exploring food,
cooking it and eating it,
you learn and grow;
about culture and
people.
Where you allow the
seasons to determine
your menu. It is my
passion. It’s in my DNA.
It’s so me.
Abrazos y Besos
Thank You, Father

Te Amo

October 20, 2019
I wish I could sing you a love song or write you a love poem…….here is my humble attempt to tell you Happy Anniversary Mi Corazon.

I don’t need silver nor gold…..on our 25 year anniversary. It will be 25 years ago today we met on October 22.

We married later, but I  felt married to you since I first saw you.

You have gifted me silver. Pure gold and fresh water pearls from China to laden my body.

You are my Grape Whisperer, my world traveler, my Renaissance Man, my Hunter/Provider, Mi Corazon, Mi Todo.
I Love you for so many’s reasons, but I know the best way I can be a better wife, is to work  and learn on developing a closer relationship with God.
Instead of focusing on perfection, I will constantly work to build up my relationship with you through the help of God. My relationship with Jesus Christ is incredibly important to me.
First John 4:19 says that we love because God loved us first. Love stimulates love.
 
Thank You, Father 
Abrazos y Besos
First picture of us in Jerusalem
Picture on right is one of my favorite pictures of Mi Corazón at Robert Redford’s
Sundance.

 

 

 

 

You Can’t Break A Woman Who Gets Her Strength From God

Posted October 16, 2019

This Chapter

Originally Written November 14. 2017

Chapter Uno

“California”

“The Letter” was not

addressed to you.

Why should you have

read it, you did not have

my permission!

I know what you will

respond; you read it

after Mi Papá died.

That’s fine. I will not

apologize for what I

said or believe. I spoke

my/our truth (I cannot/

should not speak  for

my siblings), but as the

eldest I helped care for

them and was very

aware of their issues

and struggles growing

up, as well as my own.

Not only aware, we lived

this experience! I felt and lived

their pain.

I am convicted and

dedicated to my words.

I scream for my sister,

Manuela and my

brothers, Esteban y

Miguel.

I speak for all children

abandoned, discarded!

We’ve been here before,

following generational

sins and cycles.

One article I read during

my research stated the

following, “the biggest 

factor is culture: in

some settings

the desertion of the

father comes to be seen

as relatively normal. “ I

was appalled and

angered to read

this, but unfortunately

“perhaps” true.

It goes without saying, I

believe that children    

who have both parents

have a head start on life

and have better

opportunities.

But, I also know there

are some deal breakers,

such as alcoholism,

womanizer and

domestic violence (of

which Mi Papá was

all of them)! I have

previously stated in our

particular case we

seemed to blossom

once he left.

Thank God for

Abuelitos and a

strong extended

family.

He actually was a

detriment to us.

There is no justification!

If you believe I am being

contradictory, I’m not,

Mi Papa y Mi Mamá

(who was 15 and gave

birth to me at 16)

should have been more

mature to consider our

feelings as children and

the impact his

departure would have

on us. You can’t just

bring a human life into

the world and abandon

it, without

consequences! No

puedes tener

y abandonar hijos

donde quera, sin

consecuencias.

Unfortunately, this

seems to be a sick

pervasive phenomenon

in my family! Which is

still being repeated

today, of men birthing

children outside of their

marriage!

I was about 18 or 19

and a student, at

Humboldt State. I

received a call from Mi

Papa which was a rarity.

He lived in Santa

Barbara at the

time and had been

arrested for driving

without a license, or drunk

driving, he was jailed and

detained for non-child

support.

He begged me to

come visit him. I did, he

wanted my help (of

course) to talk to my

Mama to take away

this jail order. I

explained to him

that this had

nothing to do with Mi

Mama’s doing.

On that visit, in a park

like setting jail, he

introduced me to a

woman named Marcie

who also had a son

from Mi Papá, he was

like 3 or 4.  So this son

must be about 51 years

old now.

Cycles are

generationally repeated

if issues are not dealt

with. Mi Mama was not

fully developed at 15

years old when she met

and shacked up with   

Mi Papá, she had not

been taught by her

parents how to select

good husband material.

This is one reason I am

so opposed to young

marriages.

And the cycle was

repeated with us.

We were not taught nor

had good male role

models to eventually

select good husbands.

We had to kiss some

frogs before we finally

got it right! But, Thank

you my Lord, we were

saved by God’s grace.


But…… ..since you did

read the letter, then you

deal with its content. 

Now, it is your problem.

When it was mailed, I

released it.

I was well aware of the

consequences when I

mailed it to Mi Papá.

I knew that I was

forever severing a

relationship with Mi

Papá. And, I was

prepared for never

talking or seeing him

again.

All these unanswered

questions I view as

snails floating around in

my brain, I give to you.

You may wish to spend

your life full of anger

and causing “silent

passive division.”

Interesting how the

oppressed becomes the

oppressor.

I will not permit you, nor

give you the

satisfaction…..it really

doesn’t matter.

You see, you did not live

my life, it was not your

life. It was mine, my

siblings and Mi Mama’s

life. 

The Lord has helped me

find understanding,

forgiveness and peace.

Which is my wish for

you also.

Often we over look the

details, the itty bitty

beauty all around us

because we can not live

in the moment or we are

consumed with the

past. I don’t want to

lose the precious

moments of now to my

worries and live in a

haze.

After I returned from

Guadalajara with my

brother Steve (the year

fails me now). Mi Papá

wanted Steve and I to

help him return to the

United States to fight

for his Social Security

benefits.

Frankly, I was appalled

and pissed that he

would have the gall to

ask us to help him.

When I already felt we,

and by we I’m

specifically referring to

Mi Mama  had done so

much for him. My

mother who was born In

Chicago had “fixed his

papers” not anything I

take lightly. In addition

she loved him and gave

him her heart and soul

and he stomped on it, te

“vurlaste de ella!” To

enable him to work in

the USA. To give him an

opportunity at a new

life. To give his oldest

son Gregorio the

opportunity to be born

in the USA, what a

gift….. all due to

MI Mama. You should

be Thanking Her/Us for

what we did for you,

Gregorio! We gave you

the opportunity to live in

Missouri, this great

country. I could bet you

a million dollars you

couldn’t drag your

haughty (altanera,

arrogante, presumida)

esposa or children or

even yourself back to

Guadalajara to live,

could you? Eres un

malagradecido, como

mi Papá!

Nos debes dar Gracias,

por lo que izo Mi Mama

por ti, y por todo que

sufrimos nosotros aquí.

No debe uno ser tan

orgulloso y arrogante  y

debe uno ponerse de

rodillas y dar le Gracias

a Dios cada segundo de

cada día.  I have been

very civil and respectful

to the “Mexico family.”

And, they have also, but

I feel the underlying

unresolved tension.

December 21, 2018

Chapter Dos

Yo Fui Tu Primera-Y Fui Tu Consentida

Yo soy la primera nieta

en la familia de Mi Papá

y Mama.

Nosotros Fuimos tus

Primeros Hijos.

La neta, que en ves y

cuando me entra coraje

que nadien me/nos  

aviso que habías

muerto, no era su

decisión decidir!

Era nuestro derecho!

Acuérdense, todo se

paga en esta vida.

Por qué tanto miedo, o

rencór? Es todo un

juego de poder y lucha.

Y luego pienso….. Y

Que!

Pero, yo no deseo jugar.

I refuse to play games!

Yo que posible puedo

necesitar de ustedes?

Absolutamente, nada.

Mi Dios me lo a dado

todo y el me conseja y

me da  paz y

tranquilidad, yo ya me

avía despedido de ti,

Papá, la última vas que

te vi y escribí.

No hay necesidad de

despedir se dos

veses, verdad, Papá?

Chapter Tres

“Mexico”

Era un hombre muy

guapo, no muy alto. Era

Tapatío con ojos

bordados y patillas. My

father was on the

darker side with a

mustache.

“Tapatio” is used as an

adjective for anything

associated with

Guadalajara. It is

associated with the

town of Tepatilan,

Jalisco. A town in Los

Altos de Jalisco (The

Highlands of Jalisco)

which is a region not a

city.

Tapatios are typically

very light skin

and sometimes have

red hair or freckles.

Mi Abuelita was from

Los Altos de Jalisco.

She was very fair

skinned with natural

rosy  cheeks and very

natural beauty.

It is said that, las

mujeres más bellas del

mundo están en Los

Altos de Jalisco and in

her humble way took

pride in that claim.

Because Mi Abuelita,

had the money she

wore the pants.

The story goes that Mi

Abuelito, Francisco

(known as Pancho)

worked on Mi Abuelita’s

family ranch in Los

Altos. She had married

“the help.”

She had never

supported Mi Papa’s

decision to be in the

USA. She begged and

pestered him to return

to Guadalajara and he

did eventually. She told

Mi Papá she would help

him start his own

business, and she did.

The USA was never his

home and while here, he

would drink and beat Mi

Mama as if she

“represented all he

hated about the United

States” and to forget

where and why he was

here.

He was always trying to

find his way back to

Guadalajara.

And, in time he did and

started a “new family.”

When my brother, Mike

passed away in 1979.

Mi Papá who was in

Guadalajara did not

return to California for

his funeral. In the letter I

shared how crushed

and how I had relived

feelings of

abandonment.

How could you not

attend your own son’s

funeral? Unless

you were a cold

unfeeling human being.

My mother, Mis

Abuelitos and uncle’s

were our sole

supporters when he

abandoned us. Until Mi

Mama received

“welfare” for us. In the

letter I told him that the

United States

government  had

supported us when he

ran off to return to

Guadalajara, I told him

to forget about his

Social Security  benefits

and to consider it

payment for all the

years welfare had

supported us (when he

had abandoned us)!

To consider it a wash!

Frankly I was upset that

here he was fighting for

his money and what he

felt was due to him for

the years he worked

here in the USA. And, he

wanted to return to the

USA and fight for his

Social Security

benefits! But, yet he

couldn’t return for my

brother’s Mike funeral!

We had been on

welfare since he had

not supported us or

paid child support.

Following his same

narcissistic, “it’s

all about me” pattern.

I also stated that he

didn’t even know my

birthdate.

I know he didn’t like

what I had to say in the

letter, and I was fine

with that. And, I’m sure his wife,

Lupe, nor children liked what

I said either! But, that’s fine with me.

Mi Papá was what I call

a Romantic Criminal,

they steal your money,

your time and your

dignity (but only if we

allow them).

I never heard from him

again and he died. We

were never notified by

the family in

Guadalajara that he

had passed! And,

perhaps that was his

request! But, I do feel

it was their

responsibility, out of

respect to us to let us

know our Papá had

died. Obviously, they do

not respect or consider us.

That being said, out of human

dignity, they should have

informed us.

Many many years later,

I returned to visit my

Aunt and Uncle’s and I

learned from my

brother via text that I

was not welcomed, due

to “the letter!” Which

was upsetting to me,

since  I wasn’t going to

Guadalajara to visit

them, how

presumptuous of them!

I was going to

Guadalajara to visit my

Aunt and Uncles. 

Although, I did go and

say hello to Lupe (my stepmother),

It was tense.

Growing up, I was

taught to not cry or

show any weakness;

as I started writing

my thought was to

always write from

strength and not allow

anyone to think of you

as weak or vulnerable.

“Do not air your dirty

laundry!”

As my strands of hair

silver and as autumn

draws on, I begin to

think that anyone’s

strength is only what

unites her or him to

everyone else in shared

experience, and often

vulnerability.

Chapter Cuatro

“My Lord”

The last thing I would

hate to appear is a

victim. I am not. I have

worked hard to forgive,

purge and heal. And

Thanks to Our Lord I

have. Through my Lord I

have learned to live life

as a victor over my

circumstances—not a

victim of them.

Of course things will

still pop up

occasionally, some very

good memories of Mi

Papá. But, when I think

of him usually it has to

do with feelings of

abandonment. I’ve

always known that I

need to heal the little

girl so she may grow

into a healthy woman. If

not you love from your

broken places.

As I draw closer to the

Lord I understand  I

was forgiven and

should forgive Mi Papá.

It’s as if sedimentary

layers are being peeled

back.

What I didn’t know

growing up and have

since learned.

When we face a crisis,

that crisis becomes a

turning point. In every

crisis you will have a

breakthrough or

breakdown. The trouble

causes us to get bitter

or we trust God and get

better. I choose to

believe that God has

ordered my steps and

He’s going to work it for

my good. He’s working

it out. It will get better. I

am an overcomer!

I have always

questioned and

challenged hypocrisy

whether here, or

wherever!

None of us are without

guilt, for we have all

sinned and fallen short

of God’s glory. We’ve all

disobeyed God and hurt

other people. What,

then, can we do with

guilt? We can either

bear it ourselves, blame

someone else, or nail it

to the cross of Christ.

It is a walk we must all

go through

individually at our own

time, we all have our

cross to bear.

I am defined by my

victories, because I am

a child of God. I want to

be an Overcomer

conquering the greatest

obstacles in my life.

Chapter Cinco

“The Cycle Is Repeated”

I am baffled beyond

comprehension of

trying to make sense of

any of this….of my

father’s life and

death. Since, as of most

recent another similar    

issue arose within my

California Familia where

certain family members

are upset over a

misunderstanding of Mi

Mama’s funeral requests.

Seriously, before

jumping to conclusions,

talk it out. And while

we’re at it, let’s have

face to face

conversations. Anyone

can hide behind a

phone/text/email

passive/aggressive

rants, or while you’re

drunk and have liquid

courage! Or when you

know someone will be

calling you. So you have

your “speech” all

planned out!

Mi Mama era una mujer

muy sabia and she

raised no fools. Our

Lord has given us

clarity. My perceptive

intuition and God given

clarity tells me all this

pedo, es coraje y

caprichos de

mujeres (who have

never been respected)

by their husbands and

are “testing the waters”

and playing a power

game; because they

have never had a

voice!

You see these

characteristics

repeatedly repeated…..

where the wife of the

womanizing husband

sometimes becomes a

shopaholic (as her way

of control/retaliation).

But, an adult will look

you square in the eyes

and have a mature,

productive, and

healthy conversation.

The cycle continues by

man!

You know the way my

brain works I can’t

resist but wonder, Lord,

what is the connection

the correlation between

all this? That even in

death Mi Papá y

también Mi Mama have

left unresolved

questions and issues!

But, I do see the

difference also, Mi Papá

created all of his

unresolved questions

and issues where in Mi

Mama’s case “other

people” created the

problems and chismes!

Chapter Seis

The Pathology of Denial

and Avoidance 

I know this is true, but I

also know until we

search the heart, no

true healing,

restoration, or change

will ever occur. All

external “resolutions”

are mere ideas.

I know how this may

sound cliche, but I think

it’s accurate you can

not walk around the

pain, you must walk

through it!

But, my Lord tells

us in Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I

have for you,” declares

the LORD, “plans to

prosper you and not to

harm you, plans to give

you hope and a future.

We also learn that lying

sows destruction, but

the truth is liberating.

The Bible says, “He who

covers his sins will not

prosper, but whoever

confesses and forsakes

them will have

mercy” (Proverbs

28:13). Live under the

blood of Christ and

above the reproach of

the world. Your guilt is

no match for His grace.

Isaiah 43:18 “Forget

about what’s

happened; don’t keep

going over old history. It

is time to move forward.

 

Abrazos y Besos

Thank You, Father

I May Not Be Your Type of Mexican!

September 25. 2019
Many of you know my
story, since my life has
been an open book.
I was brought up very
“Mexican,” or so I
thought. But, I was also
infused with a strong
dose of Americanism.
Mi Abuelita, Elena a short
strong woman wanted us
to never forget we were
Americans, but of
Mexican ancestry. Mi
Abuelita, Elena spoke
and read perfect English.
Although she was born
in Chihuahua, she moved
to Chicago at a very
young age.
She wanted us to know
our language, our culture
and to never forget
where we came from.
We spoke both English
and Spanish at home.
We listened to Mexican
and English tv and
music.
Baptized and raised  a
Catholic, we did not eat
meat on Friday. Attended
Catechism, I did my First
Communion and
Confirmation. And my
family worshipped La
Virgin de Guadalupe. We
ate Mexican food, but we
also ate spaghetti, fried
chicken, sandwiches,
chow mein, lamb, etc.
I grew up in a
predominantly small
Mexican community of
about 2,000 persons.
All were agricultural
workers, like my family.
When I was 12 years old I
and all the other Mexican
kids from Huron were
bussed about 20 miles
away to attend Jr. High
and High School in
Coalinga.
I felt comfortable in
Coalinga since Mi
Abuelitos had lived at
Polvadero Ranch half
way between Huron and
Coalinga. They
eventually ended up
moving to Coalinga. And,
we would frequent it
often to shop and visit
Mis Abuelitos.
I had spent my jr. and
senior year finding my
identity.
When I left home I was all
gun-ho for improving the
livelihood of myself and
all Mexicans. I also now
identified myself as a
Chicana.
I was the first in my
family to attend a four
year college
(Sacramento State
College was original
name and later became
Sacramento State
UniverIty. Which
turned out to six years
since I attended
graduate school,
after I graduated.
I lived every second of
the day for improving
people’s right not only
Chicanos, but I also
fought for the rights of
the handicapped at
Sacramento State
College. I hung out with
the “heavies” or the
“Chingones, “ the RCAF.
The Royal Chicano Art
Front. They were the
“Chicano Movimiento” at
Sacramento State
College.
They had been
instrumental in I
transferring from
Humboldt State College
to Sacramento State
College in 1971/72.
And, they had taken me
under there wings. They
assisted me in
everything. They
introduced me to other
Chicanas to guide me
along the way.
I viewed them as really
cool souls trying to help
me learn the ropes.
In retrospect I was a
“solidier” in training for
them.
Without re-living my
itinerary in college.
Which I couldn’t possibly
do due to my age. I
marched with Cesar
Chavez and Delores
Huerta for farmworker’s
rights, I spoke at the
Capital for educational
funding for Chicanos
while Ronald Reagan
was in office, I fought for
Chicana’s right, I
boycotted Coors beer
and grapes at Safeway
every Saturday, I was
heavily involved in
M.E.CH.A, we screen-
printed posters and t-
shirts for all our
functions,  recruited
potential Chicanos to
continue there education
at Sac State, there were
many needs and causes
we fought for and of
course we always
partied, we were young
college students.
All of this, while I still
maintained my grades.
In retrospect, I have very
fond memories of my
college years. I met some
wonderful people and
feel I accomplished
some good.
I do not believe in free
education or anything
else for that matter!
With the exception of
veterans, the
handicapped and the
elderly, being helped.
We owe it to them, not to
illegal immigrants!
Many will criticize me
and say you got yours,
now you don’t want
others to have a free
education. This is not
true; I had loans, grants
and a few small
scholarships, I always
worked part-time while  I
attended college.
And, in order to receive
my loans and grants I
had to maintain my
grades. I was not just
handed free money!
I think “giving” people
only enables and
teaches them to be lazy
and continue in the
mentality of learned
helplessness. People
should not depend on
the government!
I believe Individuals
should be admitted to
schools and jobs based
on their ability.
But, I now also see the
problems and faults
of what we called
the Chicano Movement.
I questioned why my
Chicano male professors
who lectured on racism,
oppression, and
victimization were
married to Anglo women
as they drove off campus
in their nice cars to their
upscale suburban homes
far away from the barrios
they claimed to
represent. I also
experienced having
several close classmates
who became pregnant
by these same
professors. This was
deeply disturbing to me
since most of these
young girls were from
small towns in the San
Joaquin Valley (like
myself) they were naive
to the ways of men and
homesick! These men
were older and I felt they
took advantage of
their vulnerability.
At, times, I too felt very
naive and vulnerable in
certain situations, but
Thank God for Mi Mama
being such a wise
woman. She had laid
a strong foundation and
always gave me good
advice and guided me. If
it had not  been for my
Lord’s protection I would
have not “made it!”
Yes, I marched, was
involved in walk-outs,
organized, held the
picket sign, chanted
Viva La Raza, and
Chicano Power!
I sang De Colores and
thought I was a
revolutionary. I had
friends who invited me to
go to Cuba with the
Venceremos Brigade,
while we wore Che
Guevara (a Marxist
revolutionary)t-shirts!
But, deep down I
felt that as a Chicana I
didn’t have an equal
voice to my brother’s,
all the while the women
did the majority of the
work.
Sound familiar?
The best line ever was
from my amiga, Yvonne
F. who said to me one
day, “Raquel, what
Chicano Movement? The
only movement I know
about is the bowel
movement I have every
morning!”
Ha! Crass as it sounds.
No truer words could
have been spoken!
She was absolutely
beautiful and intelligent.
She went on to law
school and became a
lawyer.
On the occasion, I
became disillusioned.
All I needed to do was
take a trip home and I
was quickly brought
back to reality of
what awaited me if I did
not succeed in college!
 I saw my life as a
fieldworker or as a
single mom sitting in the
bar with un chingo de
kids (a whole lotta kids)
crying into my beer
about the one who got
away or what could have
been!
I understand people
wanting a better
life. But, I do not believe
in just opening our
borders for security
reasons! You can’t just
waltz in here and do
as you please. I believe in
legal immigration!
Excerpt from the
magazine, Mexifornia,
By: Victor Davis Hanson
Spring 2002
city-journal.org
Mexico’s policy for a
half-century has been
the deliberate and illegal
export of millions of its
poorest citizens to the
United States, which is
expected to educate,
employ, and protect
them in ways not
possible at home. Only
that way has the
chronically corrupt
Mexican government
avoided a revolution, as
its exploited underclass
from Oaxaca or the small
hamlets of the Sierra
Madre Mountains
headed north, rather
than marching en masse
on Mexico City.
I have “lived” the
immigration experience
all of my life.
Mi Papá was an illegal
and Mi Mama fixed his
papers. My father’s
father was involved in
the Bracero Program.
So I am well aware of the
issues.
I saw this in my own
town of Huron. Where
the majority of
fieldworkers I met were
from Oaxaca.
I have seen where
immigrants not only
want, but demand  free
education, welfare,
drivers licenses, health
care and the list goes on
and on, and  I am
appalled!
I became a Christian and
I no longer wanted
anything to do with the
Virgin de Guadalupe
(since I would be
worshipping idols.
Somewhere along my life
I did not want to be a
hyphenated Mexican-
American and decided I
was an American first
and foremost. I may not
be your type of Mexican!
Truthfully, at this age in
my life I do not aim to
please anyone, but my
Lord, and my husband. I
do not have a need to fit
into a particular
category, like when I was
19 years old.
I grew up and matured
and my thinking has
changed from some of
my beliefs of the past.
I see people who have
not grown, adults who
think they are still
teenagers.  They are
locked into the past and
have not grown or
developed. I see the
quasi wanna be
Pachuco. Or in their
minds think they are still
low-riding the boulevard
con su mota, cerveza y
playing Sad Girl.
Thank God He has
opened my eyes and
offered me clarity to see
the hypocrisies.
We all change, well at
least I hope we do.
In college I thought
Planned Parenthood was
an okay agency. Once I
became a Christian I
abhor it! And consider
abortion murder.
And, finally you may say I
sold out. I did not, I am
very comfortable in my
own skin. I know who I
am, what I believe, and
where I stand. I am
honored and grateful to
have been born an
American and I feel I live
in the best country
possible.
All of my  diverse and
rich experiences have
made me the strong
woman I am today
and I just want to Thank
my Lord.
Abrazos y Besos
Thank You, Father

Membrillos y Cajeta de Membrillo


September 13, 2019

I received an e-mail 

from Nativa, a 

beautiful line of Fair 

Trade clothes from 

Mexico. They are 

celebrating  September 

16,  and mention

nopales and quince in a 

fashion color context. 

I had not thought about 

quince (membrillo) for 

years. 

Mis Abuelitos had an 

árbol de membrillo in 

their backyard on Apple 

Street in Huron,

California. I recall the 

little blooms, their 

fuzzy skin and sweet 

scent of pineapple. 

As a child I didn’t 

understand them; it 

wasn’t a pear nor an 

apple. I didn’t like the 

astringent flavor

and I didn’t see any 

redeeming quality in 

them since I couldn’t 

eat them right off the 

tree, like other fruits. 

They were deceiving.

But, when Mi Abuelita,

Elena and Aunt Lupe 

made quince jelly. I’d go 

crazy for it. The jelly 

and paste were our 

candy and such a treat 

as children,  incredibly I 

still find that same joy 

as a grown woman. 

They would buy the 

quince paste at the 

Mexican markets in 

Fresno or they would 

bring back from Mexico 

on there occasional 

trips.

It is sweet and tart at 

the same time.  It

wasn’t  until much later 

I had it paired with 

Manchego cheese, a 

Spanish cheese made 

from unpasteurized 

sheep’s milk and one 

of my favorites. It is the 

perfect marriage of 

balance.

I recall in the wine 

industry, Manchego 

cheese and Cajeta de 

Membrillo were a 

common pairing at  Hug Cellars

and other wine events. 

Enjoy,

Thank You, Father

Abrazos y Besos