Feliz Dia Internacional de La Mujer/Happy International Women’s Day

#52EssaysNextWave 7/52

For all women who came before me who worked it and made it happen and paved the way.

For my mother who taught us, by example, to work it with class. Margaret, most definitely, lives in us.

For my aunts, who have always worked it for so many of us as bonus mothers, for my cousins, who teach us about life in ways that mothers didn’t LOL!

For my godmothers who are the best mentors ever and whom I try to emulate as I mentor, take care of, and enjoy my godchildren nieces and nephews.

For my radio fam goddaughters who are trying to make their way in life and I hope that I never lead you wrong when you ask for advice.  And for my wild, fun, and creative chicas of my radio fam, only WE know and understand the crazyass lives we live every day for “la radio”.

For Gina, Mandy, and Tisa, my goddaughters, I want to do better by you and share in your lives. Goals.

For my Comadre and BFFs, for keeping it real with me and loving me at the same time.

For those of you who visit this page and read my blog regularly, bet you didn’t know how much you inspire me!

For my sisters-in-law, past and present, we are family always.

For the “Mamita Club” – my niece goddaughters, AliyahAngelAntoniaAmyAdrianaDianaLuciaNicoleOliviaSeciliaYasminYesenia, the loves and beauties of my life who will change the world and I pray that you always know your worth and that NinaC is here forever for you.

And of course, to my sisters – the ones who have my back 24/7 and who are the best friends anyone could ever ask for.

I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many great women!  Let’s keep working it always, lifting each other up and supporting each other’s activities, families, lives, and careers.  FELIZ DIA INTERNACIONAL DE LA MUJER… HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY


Making Salsa: How Brava is Too Brava?

#52EssaysNextWave  5/52

Have you ever eaten salsa that was too hot? too hot to enjoy the flavor hot? angry hot?   I’ve heard folks say, “I hope that it’s not too “brava/hot” because I was “brava” mad as hell when I made it!”

Making salsa when you’re angry is not the smartest thing to do.   Although now that I write it out, I can see how it does help get you out of a bad mood.  Some of us like to make salsa in the blender, easy enough.  However, anger and making salsa can almost render the blender useless…why?   It’s much more cathartic when you put that knife in your hand and chop things up or if you break out the molcajete, put the food in and smash it, literally, between a rock and a hard place as you prepare it.

Take onions.  Chopping up onions automatically make your eyes water.  Sometimes this watering of eyes works when you want to try to hide your tears, “freaking cebolla! it’s the onions making my eyes water, I’m not mad, I’m not crying, no…hmmmmm!

The feel of chopping tomatoes is so cool as you push it into a pile or into a bowl as you cut it up.  Chopping up that tomate may just help you get your anger out and then literally helps to cool it off that quick.

Chile – chopping up one, look how nice that looks, will it make the salsa hot enough? Let me try chopping up another chile and then, after the fourth or fifth one, it’s hard to tell if that little green pile of chile is too much or too little, so you just stop.   By the time you actually get to cutting up the chile, you’ve got to think about cutting out the seeds (or not).  Taking out the seeds takes a few minutes and that might be a good thing, because taking out the seeds takes a lot of the fire out of your salsa.

Cilantro – chopping up cilantro as small as possible is never a bad thing, especially as lots of people can only take cilantro in small doses.  Garlic – same thing.  Both possess pungent odors that can have you doing that “uff” thing wrinkling your nose because the smell hits your senses immediately.  Kinda like smelling salts LOL, intense smells can make you alert, and sober you up and out of your mood for a moment at least.

Then again, it’s been said that food made with love tastes amazing and satisfying.   I wonder how food made while angry must taste like.  With salsa, it’s hard to tell because it’s supposed to be spicy hot.    The only takeaway from this post is, if you’re angry and making salsa, to chop up the chile peppers last, and do not forget to take the seeds out, and, maybe,by that time, after that work, you won’t be mad anymore and the salsa will be nice and spicy, not angry hot.

Now I’m craving salsa…wait…I better check myself, what kind of mood am I in? LOL

And NOW Inner Chillona Shows Up? Getting Your Cry On


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Sitting here on a full train on my way home.   Not only are people sitting all around me, they’re standing as well getting ready to get off at their stop.  Everyone around me is pretty much doing what I am:  headphones on, either on social media, listening to music or watching video or You Tube, anything to de-stress.   I can sit here and practically stare everyone in their faces and they are all lost in their own world, their own thoughts.

So why am I sitting here tonight fighting all types of emotion:  laughter, tears, sadness, anger, melancholy?  A song has just come onto my shuffle which hits me big time.   The person singing those lyrics inside of my head, my headphones, without knowing it, is singing my life, is singing exactly what I would say to this person were he in front of my face.  From the back of my mind, the back shelf, the back of the room, with her crybaby self, Inner Chillona has arrived.

NOW she shows up?  I am sitting here, not knowing where to hide my face, my eyes, the tears welling up in my eyes, it’s getting too dark for sunglasses, my Kleenex is in my bag under my chair, chiiiiingado!   Can these people see and/or sense my life flashing before my eyes?  It almost feels like those dreams where you’re walking around naked, trying to hide, looking for anything to cover yourself.   Maybe the folks sitting and standing all around me can see me visibly react as each word stuns me into silence…with the truth.

Moco rag aka used kleenex

The song is in Spanish and me, well, being a translator 😊, offer my rough translation of a couple of verses of the song, ‘MEJOR QUE A TI ME VA”  — hope it doesn’t get lost in the translation.

…What did you THINK … would happen?

…That I’d be thrown down, crying in some corner on the ground?

…That I’d live as if my life has ended?

…Not the case…

…I survived…

…I confess, starting over wasn’t easy …

…Lots of people say it’s karma…

…I swear I never wished you harm…

…But this is what you get …

…I watch as you pay for it all…

…Things are better for me than they are for you…


I sit here wishing that I could have had my chance to say this once or twice RIGHT when I wanted to. To have my emotions in check enough to be elegant and say “I’m out”, instead of screaming out “f%$* you!” at the top of my lungs as I drove off beyond angry and disgusted in the rain.    Isn’t it how we all want things to end?   Closed, clean, tidy in a box.  How I wish, brincos diera.

Then I realize that tonight’s music shuffle is probably not a coincidence either.  Maybe hearing these songs after so much time after drama gives you the power to be able to say what you need to say, even if the person is not in front of you, maybe years later, better late than never, when you’re ready to accept things as they were, as they are.  When you are safe enough to let these emotions out FINALLY.   How many times did I hold in rage, tears, coraje, emotions just to keep the peace, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with all too-familiar dramatics and consequences?

Your Inner Chillona may choose the most awkward places for you to react in tears, but, in my case, it always feels like it’s the right time, that I need to get these emotions out.  We need these types of songs to get our cry on sometimes, and as my fam friend Jorge says, “to cry like a lil bitch”, to remind us how far we’ve come, to remind us what’s left in our journey from ‘chillona‘ to ‘chingona‘ AKA getting our head straight(er).

If all I must do now in order to get my power back is to reach into my bag for Kleenex to wipe my tears and mocos, then I must not be as jodida as I was way back when LOL.   I just wish that Inner Chillona and all of her emotional moments would hit when I was in the safety of my Jeep or in the bathroom where no one could see me in all my tearful glory.

So when the NEXT song on the shuffle comes on, I have to smile:  it’s a song about nothing being a coincidence, everything happens for a reason, love, success, people in (or out) of your life…all very positive and moving forward.

Standing side to side with your Inner Chillona, in your own truth is powerful (and healthy) whether you set it to music or not.



My Inner Chillona song for the evening is featured below, complete with lyrics.



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Yay! I made it thru the #52essays2017 Challenge  — writing one essay per week. For the most part, I kept up really well but you know how life is, it really gets in your way some times.  I gained more confidence as a writer and always look forward to the time when inspiration hits.  The best part about this challenge was that I finally see the value of FINISHING WHAT YOU START. I was able to do this time and time again throughout 2017 and it is one great feeling to commit to a project and finish it!

I’m one day away from the big day: putting on my first New Year’s Eve Gala. It’s been all about flying without a net. Scary. Yet invigorating.  As I sit here reviewing everything, I see that I’ve done pretty good in getting the major stuff paid for before the event starts.   Yes, I’m still in “light the candle” mode because I’d love to break even with the event, maybe make a lil extra.   We had a couple of WTF freak-out moments earlier today and there are a few things that I cannot have because we cannot afford them – yet.  All that’s left for me to do is to find my peace and visualize everyone coming in and having a spectacular evening.   Last year at this time, I couldn’t even THINK about doing something like this, I was completely down and out.  2017 taught me that things can and do change for the better … if you’re willing to clear your decks of negativity, pendejadas, and close-mindedness.

I still have a way to go health-wize but I did a number of fitness challenges one after the other and saw my health improve, my lonja go down a little, my clothes get baggy, and my attitude began to change and my confidence started to come back.

In events land, you have to be confident and move forward even when others say that “we’ve always done it this or that way”, “we can’t do that” or “how are you gonna make that happen?”   I’m living proof that having your sense of “aventada-ness” and a “mevalemadre attitude” front and center when you need them, that GodJesusVirgenOfG can help you go farther than you could ever imagine.  I needed good things to happen in 2017 and they finally did.

For part of 2017, I worked with special needs kids and lil pre-kinder bebitos and had the time of my life.  I left happy and TIRED every day.    I now know that God puts you where you need to be and, let me tell you, I gained more respect for teachers and parents.  There is a reason why I have no children of my own but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a NinaCarmen, AuntyCarmen, a mentor, or a friend. All they want is a little bit of your time and attention.

In no particular order, here is what I’d like to happen in 2018:

What I’m happiest about:  TorresBabies, Torres5, my life with Dad Mike Torres, my writing, my events, our monthly prayer nights.

What I need to work on:  Making time with friends, working out, owning my power, learning to say ‘no’, not going OFF, making peace with the past

What I’m hopeful for:  A better world, Immigration Reform, patience, justice, successful events, change in Washington

Sad that we lost:  family friends Bernardo Santillan, Neftali Orosco

Personal Goals I’d like to accomplish:  Pass State Exam, Bring my Personal debt down, help keep our family together.


Have a safe and Happy New Year!  More to come in 2018…





The Things We Treasure: Nacimientos at Christmastime

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I’m such a thing person sometimes, I have the hardest time throwing things out.  So to write about things I treasure should have been easy.  Not.

It’s Christmastime.  The time when gifts are exchanged, etc.  What did I ask for?  A giant sized bottle of Dawn for dishes and the giant PineSol LOL.  I’ve asked for these kinds of things for years as I’ve never been into the “gifts” part of things – ever.   Things I treasure most aren’t really things, they’re more like traditions, experiences, familia, friends.

All that, and the Ranch Nacimiento/Nativity, Mama’s smaller house nacimiento, working with our Ranch kids for the annual Christmas play, eating tamales and more.

The Ranch Nacimiento, especially, is priceless and unique.  There are people, animals, baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, little burros, people carrying wood and animals on their backs like they did back in the day.  And in this year’s pilgrimage on the Nacimiento, another King was seen walking to see baby Jesus…and there he was, Elvis!  My grandma Mama Lupita collected the majority of the pieces herself and brought them back from her many trips to Mexico — most times, she was travelling by bus and I’m still amazed at how many figurines she had amassed, and how many of them made the trips intact.

However, my absolute favorites are those pieces that Grandma would try to “fix” when they would break.  There was that one little lamb whose leg had broken off which was then “fixed” by putting on an Elmer’s glue orange cap in place of the leg LOL.  Here’s the one gentleman whose legs had broken off.  Grandma gave him a new lease on life by placing him into a NyQuil cap LOL so now he could at least stand up even if he couldn’t walk.

When I first moved out, Mama had put a bunch of family “heirlooms” into my boxes and, one of the treasures was HER small plastic Nativity scene that I had seen for my entire life each Christmas.   My mother loved putting out her nativity scene (or having us put it up for her) every year and it’s the tradition that warms my heart,  knowing that I would see the same thing each year.  Very comforting to know that a few little beaten-up knickknacks can bring us to smiles (and tears)

Mama’s Nacimiento 2017

My most prized possessions are shared with others:  my entire Ranch family loves the Ranch Nacimiento and we love Mama’s Nacimiento at our house every year.  These traditions work it for us and I hope that I help keep these family customs alive.

Feliz Navidad All.   Below are pictures of just PART of the Ranch Nacimiento.  You’ll note that Mama sewed clothes for Mary and Joseph waaay back in the day.  This is one amazing display.

Scenes from the Ranch Nativity






Inner Chingona’s Heartbeat …”La Corazonada”



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For better or for worse, I’ve always had a very strong sixth sense.   My family noticed it before I did.  When I was really young,  I would go somewhere and if it didn’t feel safe or I felt scared, I would just cry.   As I got older, I would do one of two things:  I would feel the negative or scary vibe and say “no” and I wouldn’t go there or, more often than not, I’d ignore my sixth sense AKA Inner Chingona, thinking that it was nonsense, that I had no reason to feel fear or trepidation of people and situations.   9 times out of 10, I walked straight into a wall por SonsaTontaPendeja, what I got for not listening to the alarms going off in me.


As I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish at home, I had no concept of “la corazonada“.  A “corazonada” is a hunch, presentiment, foreboding, courage, an impulse of the heart to encounter dangers.  Imagine my relief when I heard a co-worker say, “ay, tuve una corazonada“, I knew that I wasn’t crazy, that I wasn’t the only one whose body felt what was going to happen before my mind could wrap its arms around it.  My family swears that I’m “corazonada-prone” because I was born prematurely and lived the first 3 months of my life with little/no physical contact, so I was forced to develop my other survival skills.


I can go into an event, any event, and usually know whether it will be successful or not.  The longest days have been the ones where I’ve known the event was a bomb yet had to stay there the entire time “just in case” things changed.  Like the time, we gave away tons of free tickets to a water park for Cinco de Mayo, and it R A I N E D or the time that I put on a beautiful event, did everything right, and the crowd did not show up.  Where do you hide?  You’ve got to put the brave face on and keep moving … and praying the clock goes faster!


There were a few times when I just knew that it was destined to be a bad night with a certain gentleman.   Every time that I would stay thinking that things would get better, I was always wrong and ended up with a migraine or worse, one time I threw up in a car while I was driving from the stress of a bad situation.   Each time, I would be kicking myself for walking right into these situations.  I’ve since learned that you can only see what you want to see, where you become more “educated” in life and see that there is more to the universe than the four walls you continue to bang your head against.   Once I’ve seen the proverbial light, it is almost impossible for me to take any steps back.  It’s like my “corazonada” practically pounds out of my chest to ensure that I don’t take a certain road, walk back into a situation or deal with certain individuals.


It’s all about embracing “la corazonada“.  It’s better than any thump on the head, slap in the face, flashing red light, danger alarm.  The trick is be still and listen, listen to your mind when it says, “I’m scared“, or “this doesn’t feel right“, listen to your body when you get that stomach ache, those “chorros“, that headache, those chills, and not just listen…move out of that place, away from that person, out of your own way.


The thing is, that, if you don’t learn how to listen for the negative things and deal with them, HOW will you ever be able to listen to your mind and body for the GOOD things when they happen…things like successful events, fun times, positive people, and good “corazonadas“?


It’s your choice.















Aqui Hay Gato Encerrado…hmmmmm!

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Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I am not an animal person.  Mucho menos, cats.  I’ve always been afraid of cats.   And now I actually help my nephew take care of his cats, every day, I shake my head in disbelief and swear that I’m going to call the pet adoption folks on them some days.

Lately, I’ve been saying the following dicho “hay gato encerrado”, a Spanish saying that literally means, “there’s a cat locked up” but figuratively it means “there’s something fishy”  “hmmm…that’s suspicious” or “I smell a rat”.    There are a couple of situations troubling me lately and, some days, I’m thinking way too much about how to handle them, do I change them, do I not, do I turn the other way, do I walk away? do I stick it out? what do I do? what? how?

So with all this stuff on my mind, I check into my hotel room, ready to get a good night’s sleep, as I had a very early meeting the following day.    I felt like a little kid, when they do that little laugh of happiness when they get into their pj’s.  I love pajamas!  I turned the TV on, no signal, it didn’t work.   Oh well, I started watching Netflix on my tablet and soon I was fast asleep.

A few hours later, I am dreaming and am hearing this weird sound, a sound so loud it wakes me up.  As I had fallen asleep with the light on, I look up and what do I see?  A big cat on the other side of the room and it’s meowing loud!  And. no. I. am. not. dreaming.  Where in the hell was this cat?  And how did I not see it?  And WHO would leave a cat in a room?  And what was up with the housekeeping people? I am vacillating between fear and asco and the cat runs under the bed, where he’d probably been the entire time…uuuuugh.

I immediately called the front desk and demanded that someone come for this cat and to get me into another room and who cares if it was 3am?

So weird that my mind had been thinking all week, “aqui hay gato encerrado” and then there REALLY was a trapped cat un gato encerrado.  I still shiver and get asco when I think about that night and thank you GodJesusVirgenOfG that the cat wasn’t on top of me or on the bed or anything!  Also I laugh when I think that maybe the cat started freaking out if/when he heard me snoring LOL.

In either case, it was like my thoughts actually came to life, and came to life in a scary way with that big and loud cat.   Let’s hope that these suspicious, rat-smelling situations settle down and get taken out of my way, just like hotel security took away that “gato encerrado“.


The Power of Mariachi Music

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The Torres household was not unlike other Latino households in that, we too, had to endure early Saturday mornings with the mariachi music going full blast.  But the difference in our house was that we might be hearing those rancheras on record, on the radio, in a JUKEBOX that was in our house for years, or with Mike Torres playing and singing live!  Our father is a lifetime mariachi and regularly rocks his charro suits.  This is my very favorite picture of his, happiest when singing with the mariachi.

So I’d be in that bed trying to will myself back to sleep, trying to close my eyes, trying not to think that, along with the music, that house cleaning wasn’t far behind.   Finally, I’d give in and wake up, laying there hearing the sounds of the house, the smell of breakfast cooking, knowing that in a few minutes, we’d get Mama’s call to get up and help do this or that and, through all of this, la musica ranchera a todo volumen en friega …music at full blast.

Back then, it was like “rolling the eyes” irritating on some days, at least those first few minutes of being up and about.   Maybe if it were another kind of music that I liked at the time, I might have had a better attitude.  Maybe not, I was and still am, to this day, a night person.   This familia of musicos are also night people so we all have to tread lightly every morning so that we don’t offend each other as we try to wake up.  And when we are all still living at home, we Torres5 used to regularly try to compete with Dad by turning the TV up, Dad singing/playing louder, TV up, music louder and on and on.  LOL

A little while ago, I was sitting here, all desvelada complete with that headache that you get from little or no sleep, and, just as I was thinking, “I’m gonna go home and take a nap“,  the music in my shuffle changes and I actually jumped as “El Son de La Negra” comes on trumpets blasting, all loud and proud.  I actually smiled as I felt this music wake up my soul with its invigorating and empowering energy, I was this close to saying ‘VivaMexico!’ but don’t know how my Starbucks table neighbors would deal with it LOL.

Gone are the days of “rolling of the eyes” when I hear musica de mariachi.  I have the gift of my father who, at 82 years old,  STILL plays the guitar DAILY, who still blasts his musica, who is a walking encyclopedia of Mexican music and who knows all of the fun chisme folkloric back stories of songs, musicians, mariachis.  You better know that we Torres5 know so many of these songs word for word.  And, every time I hear “El Son de La Negra“, I am ready to get my grito on and sing all of the words to these great great great songs, songs that I have heard forever in my house, songs of the motherland, songs that make me proud to be part of such a colorful, vibrant, always-at-full-blast culture.  These songs or powerful “sones” are guaranteed to give you the chills when you hear them, go anywhere in the world, watch (and hear) the reaction when this song comes on.  Gritos can be heard from every inch of the place almost as loud as the mariachi itself.  The pride and joy are in full effect — from the mariachis to the audience, these songs regularly bring any house down, anywhere, anytime.

And, songs like these probably still drive people crazy on Saturday mornings because, yes, they are some of the best songs to clean house to.  Enjoy “El Son de La Negra”… listen, watch and tell me you don’t feel it!





Inner Chingona Visualization: My Event in One Minute, Fourteen Seconds

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We all have one.  Anyone who plans events as I do has at least one.  That one song that will help you visualize, conceptualize, and see your event happening before your eyes.  I have many songs to walk me through an event:  set-up, event happening, tear-down.   We event folk, those of us who really work it and want to make an event successful, ALWAYS do some type of imagining/thinking about/visualizing…I just happen to work it better to music.

Maybe it’s because I started doing events at such a young age, I was still in the 3rd grade, but, at that age, I was already visualizing what my friends would think about this or that, what would they think of me doing this kind of stuff, how could I put in something they liked, that would impress them, into an event or program.  I trip out on how important working a crowd was to me, even waaaay back in the day.

As the majority of the events that I did (and do) seem to take place outside, the movie taking place in my mind almost always takes place at an outdoor venue.   I tend to respond to Classic Chicano/Latin Rock (Malo, Santana, El Chicano, War, etc.) when I need a soundtrack for my future event.  Usually I’m in my Jeep driving when inspiration really hits and I start thinking about how an event will look, sound, smell, and feel…I imagine who will be attending my event and when they will get there, I imagine how the view will look from the stage, to the stage, everything.

While I have a bunch of songs to choose from when I’m in visualization mode, this song always seems to get me going big-time: The classic “Nena” by Malo.   Once I break it down, you may want to listen to the song as you read this (a second time) so that you may see what I see…


Beginning Percussion:  This song starts off with straight percussion and what I see in my mind is the very start of the day, we are just driving onto the site, sometimes we have to drive very slowly through the entire festival site to get to where we need to be, no one is there but the folks unloading their booths, setting up the stage, event barricades just going up, people drinking that first, and perhaps only, cup of cafe for the day.  We finally get to our spot, step out of the vehicles and check out the place…

First guitar riffs:  We are now unloading our vehicles, delivering tables and chairs to clients, helping them set up, getting banners up, setting up sound system, making sure that our tents are set up, getting the backstage and VIP areas set up, we are in serious work-it mode, we are movin’ fast, we are on a deadline…

First horn sounds:  Almost time for “Doors” (for the event to start).  Time to take stock of the entire set-up, are we missing anything, ice?  send someone for ice;  trash cans for the backstage area, send someone to get to the event organizers for what we need, quick check of all of our booths and stage, first entertainers ready to jump on stage,  are we all good to go?

Second horn sounds:  Doors open.  People starting to come into the festival.  Which way do they go?  left to the booths, right to the food booths, straight-ahead to my area, the stage area.   There’s usually a Ballet Folklorico starting things off on-stage, warming the crowd up, we have officially passed GO, the event is ON.  People selling their stuff, people at the door checking thru bags, purses before entry, lines starting to form at the food booths…

The first “Nena” sounds and the remainder of the song:  I envision people enjoying the music, kicking back in the grass and sunshine enjoying their food and hanging out with each other, walking around, the looks of surprise “heeeeey!” before the big hugs after seeing familia and old friends, many now with beer in hand, some dancing going on, lots of folks watching entertainment from the stage, thinking to myself, ‘how can they be out there in this sun?”,  bands coming into the stage area, bands getting off of the stage, us trying to make sure no one makes off with someone else’s equipment, our folks enjoying food in the VIP Area, all going smooth.

The final percussion:  We’re an hour away from the close of the event, people are starting to pack up and go home, final act is on stage, partyers still out en force, booths running out of food, last call for alcohol, we are starting to try to get a head start on getting all of our stuff together ready to pack into the vehicles, and kicking back at the backstage area of the event, happy that all has gone smooth, “man my feet hurt” and doing that loud sighing thing as we sit down, likely the first time we have sat that long all day.  Event day over.

Most of this all happens within the first minute and 14 seconds of the song.  This is all I need to see and hear.  I am no rocket scientist but, if I am unable to visualize any event within 1:14, then it will likely not be a successful one.  Once I’m able to see the event coming together in my mind, I’m able to see the big picture, start getting that energy rolling into the right direction so that I can work out the small details in between the lines.   This formula rarely fails me and my method has helped keep my madness in check, kept me focused, and kept me “on it”.

Find whatever you need to motivate you through an event or a project or a workout or any steps to a better you…if it’s music, you’ll  KNOW when you’ve found the right song or mix because work will not feel like work anymore, it will feel effortless, it will feel like this is that way things are meant to go, it will feel like they will be a success…all it takes is opening your mind, finding your sense of ‘aventada-ness’, and using your imagination.  Try it!



Embracing Death with Love FELIZ DIA DE LOS MUERTOS 2017


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Dia de Los Muertos is such a beautiful Mexican tradition that has done the one thing that no one had been able to do: take away my fear of death. My fears surrounding death were related to things that I could only imagine: suffering, pain, leaving suddenly, violence. My imagination ran wild, I would imagine zombies walking about, people moaning in pain, screams of fear. Maybe it was all of the Halloween monster-type stuff in the movies and TV. Lots of the Halloween stuff is based on that, el Dia de Los Muertos is not…el Dia de Los Muertos is a great time to remember those you love who are no longer with you and shows you how to honor your loved one by getting their favorite things together and making them an altar.

Mama’s altar is on display 24/7.  We change it up for the holidays and the sentiment is the same:  we honor Mama and our good memories of her.  It’s so comforting to see her near her favorite window in her house.   I soooo love this tradition and love to see how my friends celebrate this special time of the year.   The holiday offers the hope that our loved ones will come to be with us one more time, the altars, the candles, the flowers, their things, their favorite foods are meant to guide them back to us.  Folks decorate altars in their homes, in the cemetery, at festivals, at celebrations.

I thought you would like to see altars created by my friends…so unique, so cool, awesome:

Ninel & Karla & The Cortez Fam honor their Mama and their loved ones…

Gracie and the Solorio Family honor their recently departed mother…

BFF Trini and Daddy’s Girl Trini honors her father along with familia…

Part of the Mejia Family’s awesome setup – this altar is dedicated to mariachis

Anna’s tribute to her father and departed familia…

My lil cousin Jami and Michael’s very first altar honoring their grandparents and Mama and their familia… loooove it!

And, here are a few pictures from the Ranch Dia de Los Muertos celebration honoring Mama and all of our fam who has departed…


Rest In Peace:  Margaret Torres, Edmundo Torres, Adela Melena, Prudencio Melena, Baltazar Perez, Neftali Orozco, Willie Herrera I, Juan Lucio, Mama Lupita Lucio, Joe Hernandez, Freddy Hernandez, Alfonso Grijalva, Albina Grijalva, Louie Rodriguez, Eddie Rafanan, Jenny Rodriguez, Jennifer Rafanan, Elio Rafanan, Robert Grijalva, Vera Espinoza, Ralph Espinoza, Joey Espinoza, Jess Grijalva, Rosa Sylvia Grijalva, Martin Prieto, Mark Prieto, Connie Cruz, Beatrice Hernandez

RIP Friends:  David Navarro, Joe Nieves, Maria Antonieta Garcia, Rosa Salinas, Rene Garcia, Roberto Vallejo Pantoja, Gabriel Rangel, Jr. Rangel, Cora Rangel, Marina Beltran, John Beltran, Susan Casillas, George Casillas, Ernie Gonzalez, Rosie Gonzalez, Rosita Aragon, Guillermo Prince, Salvador Sierra, Bernardo Santillan, Jose Gutierrez, Neal Sanchez, Ms. Gwen … I know that I will need to edit this as I’ve likely forgotten to list someone.


Gone. But never forgotten.  Feliz Dia de Los Muertos.