Celebrating Salsa Made with Love: HB FamFriend Anita Campos

Anyone who really knows me KNOWS that I consider Salsa part of my 4 Major Food Groups — if I have no chips, no worries, saco una cuchara I’ll take out a spoon! I’ll eat any kind, green, red, hot, mild and even have a jar of what I call ‘desperation salsa’ in the fridge — store brand mild casi ketchup salsa for when I don’t have the ingredients in house to make anything fresh. I’ve been trying to figure out for years how to make a good salsa and I’m, slowly but surely, getting there. Except my salsa is too hot for the average palate — if the recipe says, put in a couple of chiles in and take the seeds out, I usually just throw in a bunch of chiles, seeds and all, and make adjustments accordingly. Just like that taste of fire I guess!

I have been told by my many friends who CAN cook that, often, the main ingredient to a savory dish is to make it with love. I can attest to the truth of that — when I cook for myself, the food never comes out as good as when I’m cooking for my familia! And it’s difficult to go wrong when someone makes salsa with love! Today I celebrate one of my fam friends who does JUST that for me. Happy Birthday ANITA CAMPOS! A couple of times of year, she sends homemade salsa to me via her daughter Rebecca! Quiero que sepas Anita that I usually eat it all in one day and, no, I share with no one!

I asked Rebecca to be my co-author for today’s blog entry:

MOM Anita Campos was born in Farmersville, CA to Ted and Nellie in their farmhouse. Anita has been an amazing mother to me and David and have provided us with life, traveling, and educational opportunities. Anita is a Community Activist from way back, from protesting at her local Safeway in Campbell, CA to boycott grapes to serving on the Comission of the Status of Women in Santa Clara County. Anita and her husband Daniel were also invited to a White House State Dinner in 1968 because of their community involvement.

To this day, Anita remains active in St. Lucy’s Parish Council in Campbell and was instrumental in getting a Spanish Mass for the community, she still works it every day for Peak Travel in Willow Glen. While she was widowed at 60, Anita picked up the pieces of her life and is the family matriarch and pillar of inspiration to lots of nieces and nephews. Now at 80, she still walks the dog every day and also joined a gym. Mom has always been a great supporter of the radio familia and understands the lunacy of it all! Thanks Rebecca for helping put today’s blog post together.

Have a great birthday Anita and I would say that it’s been a few months since I’ve received salsa from you … so get the jar to Rebecca, no chips required, just a limon and a cuchara!


One Month to the Finish Line!

Earlier tonight I had a piercing earache … made me angry because it took away from much-needed study time and I do a lot of my homework on headphones so ‘ouch’! … as you know, I’m in my last semester in the SFSU Spanish/English Interpretation Program and our interpreting assignments are like so insane in quantity and difficulty – for me at least. I am taking Simultaneous Interpretation – where you interpret as someone is speaking … I’ve also completed coursework in Sight Translation (where you have a few minutes to scan a document, usually legal, and you’ve got to translate/interpret it); and Consecutive Interpretation – where you interpret something directly after someone has spoken.

I can honestly say that neither of the classes were ever easy for me, I’m humbled every time but what saves me is my ‘aventada-ness’ – I’ll try anything even if I totally mess it up (which has happened) and I can only think that thinking on my feet will serve me well. Learning how to interpret from/into another language is not easy; people think (as I did) that ‘I’m bilingual, I can so do this’…NOT. It is like learning a whole other language, like learning how to play a very complex piece of music, like building something from nothing. MIS RESPETOS to those who are working as interpreters … interpreting in a court room can be compared to running an exhausting race — an exhausting mental race. I have lost count of the times that I’d be in class or come out of class with a headache LOL!

I’ve always been known for my work in radio and it will always be my industry … I just wanted to be able to do something completely out of my comfort zone, something that I thought I might not be able to do, something that could eventually make a difference for me and others. Also more important, I wanted to stick with a project and finish it.

So here I sit, excited that I have been able to get out of my comfort zone, working toward a new goal and STILL unsure if I will pass the class because you are only as good as your last interpretation (and my last one did not feel like I aced it), and know that, once I’m certified, I’ll be able to make a difference for that raza who deserves to understand what is happening to them, and I’ll have some satisfaction that I made it through this very intense program with my sense of humor well intact πŸ™‚ with new friends, and with a much expanded vocabulary in both English and Spanish, and, hopefully, I’ll be able to significantly increase my salary as well πŸ™‚

So I’m down to about 29 more days until I finish the program … countdown is on … but before I can even think about what life will be after I finish the program, I’ve got to start working on my homework NOW para no quedar en verguenza manana en clase so that I don’t completely embarass myself tomorrow in class!

El Mejor Grito Mexicano Revisited!

My little papito has, lately, been very into doing ‘gritos mexicanos’ and he doesn’t do a bad job of it … I’ve already told him that he has to paricipate in our annual New Year’s Eve Grito Contest … this godchild of mine has no fear and, like his nina, loves a microphone! Β So I’m reblogging this entry from a couple of years ago so that Papito’s Mom can show him how gritos are done πŸ™‚

I just KNOW that this little one is going to get it right! Β Then again, what else would Nina Carmen say about Papito?

Throwing un grito mexicano is one of the ultimate simple pleasures … costs nothing to do and is always a crowd pleaser! Even the ones who can’t make their grito happen can make a contest fun! People can yell con o sin licor, whether you speak Spanish or English, sin musica o no, inside or outdoors, in cantinas, yardas, garages, cars or at home. I have been here LAUGHING a solas putting this together and thinking about the many Grito Contests I have put together so I know a thing or two about who belts out a good grito and who doesn’t…I am still trying to learn how to do a good grito mexicano myself and am not there yet!

Gritos: Doesn’t any more Mexican than that! My next step is going to get people I actually know like you-all to get your grito on and up on my blog…. Let me know which grito takes everybody OUT…have fun!


Here’s #1: Gritando en la yarda

Here’s #2: Contest in a cantina

Contestant #3: In a casino with mariachi

Contestant #4: Gritos en el garaje

Contestant #5: Gritos at a hall/salon

Contestant #6: Bebito in Training

Contestant #7: Con trago en la mano

Contestant #8 Brazilenos doing gritos while driving

Contestant #9 Los 3 Compas

Contestant #10 Compa doing his grito in yet another bar

A Child’s Smile

We all have crazy, stressful days and the one thing that can instantly make things better for me is to appreciate the simple joy that children bring into the world. When they laugh, they laugh with their entire little bodies, when they cry, igual. My oficina is also next door to the HeadStart so when I open my windows, which I always do, I can hear the little ones running and playing or learning their numbers and colors — too cute as it is often ‘uno’, ‘dos’, ‘tres’…as our HeadStart bebitos are, for the most part, Latino.

I also LOVE to receive these types of fotos of my godchildren, like this one of our little Yasmin AKA Yazi! Children are the true joy of the Torres fam and while we may not shower them with gifts, we shower them with love! Yazi, being our littlest bebita, can usually be heard running, skipping, singing, and screaming through the house con todo y juguetes — THAT’S how children should be — carefree! When they get to be my age, then they can have stressful days! Thanks CC for sending joy my way today!

My 30-Day Music Challenge, Week 1

On Facebook, a bunch of us have decided to do a 30-Day Music Challenge … where you would have a list of 30 questions and, each day, you answer the question choose a song to go with it…you know I love music and it’s so much fun to actually think about why I like this song or that song…so I decided to put my choices on the blog…now you don’t have to agree with my choices πŸ™‚ and maybe you’ll decide to come up with your own choices … love musica! Here is Week 1 of the challenge:

YOUR FAVORITE SONG … I have sooo many favorite songs but ‘La Barca’ always seems to be right up there at the top! One of most beautiful trio songs ever and Luis Miguel nails this song every time!

YOUR LEAST FAVORITE SONG … “I Like It” Enrique Iglesias…while I have to give it to him that he has been having great success lately, pobrecito Enrique that song gets old after 5 minutes … my CC will tell you how I react every time I hear that song LOL!

A SONG THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY…”Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” Stevie Wonder … the first time I heard that Latino sound to the song I was hooked and it is impossible to be sad or angry when I hear that song!

A SONG THAT MAKES YOU SAD…”En Ausencia De Ti” Laura Pausini … a song about someone who is no longer around…there was a time when I couldn’t even listen to this song without going “aaaay” and cry my eyes out because a certain guy said ‘ya estuvo’ and moved on without me! Now I can listen to it and totally appreciate that it is one awesome song!

A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF SOMEONE “Za Za Za” a Samuelaguilar special if I ever heard one! Whenever I hear this song, I think of Samuel’s awesome ‘Concurso de Las Mascaras” — he has this amazing collection of masks and does a serious dance contest to ‘Za Za Za’ where people wear the masks …always hilarious and always a hit with crowds!

First Week Recap Report

As you may know, I am now completing my first week working in the always vibrant, always colorful, very Latino Fruitvale District of Oakland. Once I’m done with training, etc., this will be a fun gig for me. Just wanted to review my first week of funny incidents … first week of ‘tarrugadas, pendejadas, and Carmen Moments’ all in the spirit of keeping things lively … LOL!

Monday: I’m approached by three individuals who, at different times, ask if I am Asian and wow – they are amazed that I can speak Spanish!

Tuesday: I am again asked ‘what are you?’ by one of the new assistants here … she, too, thought that I was Asian. I’m thinking it’s time to learn a new language, don’t you?

Wednesday: Locked myself out of my own oficina.

Thursday: While checking out a job fair yesterday, noticed that my sweater was on inside out … I had a jacket so I don’t think anyone else noticed … either that, or they no longer check me out…LOL

Friday: As I was driving into the parking lot with my new remote to open the gate, I find a parking spot near the gate, turn into the gate and proceed to knock the gate off of its track. Walked into my oficina toda avergonzada LOL!

Some might take these as signs that I’m ‘salada’ or have bad luck or something πŸ™‚ I tend to see these types of things as proof that I’m as excited, engaged, and motivated as ever in the big picture of my life and that these kinds of things serve to make me smile when things go wild … I did smile and laugh about everything EXCEPT the car incident as it’s still too new … tomorrow, I’ll be able to laugh at my ‘tarrugada’ … that, and I will never attempt to park in THAT space again!!!