Juan Gabriel 1950-2016

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My godson MT3 calls me this afternoon with this news: “Nina, Juan Gabriel died. Just wanted you to know.” WWWOOOWWW.

One of the giants of Mexican and Latin music, gone.  He was at one of his homes in Santa Monica, CA and had a heart attack today 8/28/2016.  Juan Gabriel was currently on tour and had done his final concert at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA on Friday night.

Once I got home, I went straight to the TV hoping that I had not missed news coverage on the passing of this icon.  Fast forward, four hours later, and there is still coverage on Spanish TV about Juan Gabriel’s death.  What struck me was the astounding amount of songs that this man composed in his lifetime.  Every story would have Juanga’s music playing, “Amor Eterno”, “Yo No Naci Para Amar” “Abrazame Muy Fuerte” “No Tengo Dinero” “Querida” “Noa Noa” “No Me Vuelvo A Enamorar” “Hasta Que Te Conoci” and the list goes on and on and on.   My social media has blown up with every other post on Juanga’s passing.  So much of my radio and event fam has a story to tell about him.

Throughout my entire career in radio, I have been surrounded by Juan Gabriel music, all of his MANY hits I have played on the radio, to so many of his concerts, I have taken winners in to “Meet & Greets”, given out concert tickets, and I remember one time that we were taking winners to take pictures with Juan Gabriel, who, at the time, was not crazy about taking pictures.  So there I go making sure that my winners get their photo, and my crew and I each take a picture with him.  When we got the pictures back, we were told that they had been “damaged” during the processing and everyone’s pictures with Juanga came out fuzzy, grainy, and dark.   Sera cierto?  My picture is somewhere in my storage unit, so I have not included it in this entry.

Another time, I took winners to LA to see a concert at Universal Studios, it wasn’t Juan Gabriel :).  My BFF Maria GarciaRIP and her friend went with us.  As I was flying to SFO with winners and Maria was flying to Sac Airport, my flight left first.  Later that evening, I get a call from Maria saying that her flight had been delayed.  While they were waiting for their flight, they decided to go to one of the airport restaurants.  Once seated, to their absolute shock, guess who was at the next table?  None other than Juan Gabriel!  You better know Maria checked it all out and proceeds to tell me that Juanga had iced tea and a salad with Thousand Island dressing, and that he kept asking for more dressing LOL

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Juan Gabriel was one of Mama’s favorite artists EVER.  One of the joys of my life was to have been able to take her to see him in concert, she loved it.   I was very excited when Rocio Durcal (Mama’s #1 artist) and Juan Gabriel were on tour TOGETHER.   When they sang together, it was pure magic.  And, as Rocio became an international star by singing songs written by Juan Gabriel, including my mother’s favorite song, “Amor Eterno”, everytime I hear either of these two legends, my thoughts go first to Mama and how much she enjoyed their music.  Here they are “a duo” singing “Fue Un Placer Conocerte”, straight-up perfection.

Out of all of the many, many, many songs of Juan Gabriel, I have always been a fan of his straight-up, in your face, tomacabron songs OF COURSE accompanied by mariachi.  His phrasing, his fast-paced style of fitting so many words in one line so they sound like one lyric is second to none, I would sit in amazement wondering when this man took a breath.   Juanga felt every word and every note of the song, his interpretation was, many times, more than a performance, it was a tour de force.  Juan Gabriel was fun, flashy, emotional, divo, authentic, original, gifted, prolific, and would leave it all on the stage, every time.   Check out the video below and see for yourself!

My all-time favorite Juan Gabriel songs are “Se Me Olvido Otra Vez”, “Insensible”, “Te Voy A Olvidar” and “La Diferencia”… here is Rocio Durcal in what is my very favorite version of “La Diferencia”

I could go on and on and on.  Juan Gabriel was already beloved in life for the music that was the soundtrack to people’s lives.  His influence on future composers and musicians will be felt for many years to come.  No habra otro igual.  Que En Paz Descanse Juan Gabriel.

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Prince: Part of the Soundtrack of My Life

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As I heard the news of Prince Rogers Nelson’s death on 4/21/2016, I didn’t realize how much his music was a part of my life…

When I first heard “When Doves Cry”, it stopped me in my tracks. So different, so original, so creative. All of the songs on that album were really different, cool, authentic. It hit all of my roommates and I as well.

Nisie was always a huge Rick James fan, and, once she heard Prince, it was over LOL I always remember Nis saying “Priiiiince!” every time she heard a Prince song on the radio, no matter where we were, or every time she played his music at our place, which was often. That’s how I learned every word to the almost every song, the ‘Purple Rain’ album was played that much.

“Purple Rain” is a song that is almost trance-like and like an anthem. I remember my Comadre and I were sitting at our place, as one of our parties was ending and most of the people had gone, it was madrugada like 4 or 5 in the morning, and as I was coming back into the house after saying goodbye to folks, “Purple Rain” is being played over and over and I find my Comadre sitting on one of the inside steps and she’s crying. As we sat there talking it out, I remember “Purple Rain” still being played over and over for what was probably hours or so.

“My Name Is Prince” and “Diamonds and Pearls” take me to my first years in radio. I’ve always had the luck to work in stations that have so many different type of music formats in the same place so it’s like your mind is blown because you hear so much more different music in one day than the average person. I’d go from one side of the building hearing Spanish blasting on one side and end up at the other hearing “Ma name is Prince …” Loved it.

Like many of my radio fam, we have the luck of going to many many concerts. And many of us remember many a day when you’d get an email or hear an announcement that there are extra tickets ‘up front’ — this usually meant that winners did not pick up their tickets and, so that they wouldn’t go to waste, the “first come, first served” announcement would come. Sometimes I’d make it, sometimes not. I was in Denver at the time, and the announcement came, this time for Prince tickets and this time I made it. Add to this, our station was a few blocks away from Fiddler’s Green, the venue I used to refer to as Denver’s version of the Bay’s Shoreline Amphitheater.

Colorado BFF Sandra and I walked to Fiddler’s and were pleasantly surprised to walk in to see/hear his opening act: Chaka Khan, yay! And then to watch this man in concert, I watched him play every instrument on stage, take no breaks, and was completely blown away by his talent, his originality, and inventive arrangements of so many songs, new and old. I have never seen anyone else work a show like Prince, ever. You just knew that you were in the midst of genius.

The few times that I saw Prince do interviews, I was struck by how funny, smart, and insightful he was.  I respected how true he was to himself always,  even when he stood alone, especially in the way he changed the music business by standing up for himself and his music.  Legend.

This weekend will be to appreciate the music Prince made, watch the almost non-stop media coverage, and send up a prayer for his safe passage as he begins the next journey. RIP Prince.

April Writing Challenge, Day 6: First 3 of Music Shuffle

April Writing Challenge, Day 6:

Put Your music player on shuffle and write about the first 3 songs that play…talk about those songs….

Song 1: Fue Un Placer Conocerte – Rocío Durcal
No brainer. Rocio Durcal is one the best singers of all time in my book. Since her passing a few years ago, I have yet to see a great female artist who worked it like Rocio. Born in Spain, she was like a Gidget type of artist, very poppy music and all that. It wasn’t until she recorded rancheras with el mariachi that she became internationally famous. I remember watching her on TV all of the time and I remember that she was Mama’s very favorite singer ever.
When I got into radio, Rocio’s music was one of the things that I could share with Mama. It’s funny, any one who knows me, knows that with all of the hook-ups that I had to concerts, etc., that my familia wasn’t really into that, so it was very rare to see my parents at any events where I was working. Except for Rocio: my mother was always ready to see Rocio in concert and I loved to be able to make this happen for her.
Somehow it always seemed to be me taking Mama to the casinos and you know how casinos are, in the middle of nowhere so it’s a guaranteed long drive. Some of my best memories were blasting Rocio Durcal in the car and watching Mama transform from tense and apurada to relaxed, happy, and she would sing LOUD too especially on the way to the casinos…on the way back, she would be lost in thought enjoying the music.  Mama had her favorite Rocio songs and so did I, but this song was one that we both LOVED…and would sing it a todo volumen, she did the high part, I did the low part LOL.  Here’s the super duo of Rocio Durcal and Juan Gabriel, “Fue Un Placer Conocerte”

 

Song 2:  Que Culpa Tengo, Little Joe y La Familia

omg!  This is one song that I regularly saaaaang in the Jeep at full blast!  It is one of the very first Tejano songs I heard in my life and it’s such a classic that always sounds good.  I must find a karaoke somewhere or have a few drinks and make my familia MTB back me up on this LOL.

I love the song because it’s kinda in your face, basically it’s “you knew how I was when you met me, NOW it’s a problem?”  These are my favorite songs ever to sing because there is no way that you can halfass this type of song, you really have to feel it, to be one beat short of letting out a grito when you sing it.   I’ve listened to enough Little Joe songs in my life to think that HE has to like these types of songs, because he sings so many of them, and has sung himself into legend-status.

As I was listening to this song, I was scrolling Facebook and see that my immensely-talented godson nephew MT3 was playing with his boss, Little Joe, in front of the Alamo for FiestaSanAntonio a few hours ago.  It’s so cool to watch familia workin it with this Tejano legend.  If I know MT3, he probably still gets a little starstruck and I looove that he’s out there repping our family name with the big boys.

The minute I heard Tejano music, I related INSTANTLY.  Related to the fact that I just KNEW that these guys were from this side of the border, speaking English first, Spanglish second LOL, loving our roots and having mad respect for the motherland but doing things our own way.    To hear Little Joe’s grito and shouting stuff in English like, “put it on!” like he does at the beginning of the song blew my mind out back in the day.   Here is “Que Culpa Tengo” by Little Joe y La Familia…classic.

 

Song 3:  Workin’ on a Groovy Thing, Patti Drew

First time I heard this song, it was when we were little and it was part of our Ita’s awesome record collection.  She may be a quiet and reserved person, but this lady has always loved music and especially this type of music.    My Grijalva cousins also loved this song so I heard it a lot as we hung out with them a lot back in the day.

The second time I remember hearing this song, sis Kiki was looking all over the place for a copy of this song, yes, this was before ‘You Tube’ and online radio.

A couple of years ago, I came upon this song on You Tube and really really got into it.  It’s one of the ones that I TRY to sing in the Jeep.  Sounds easy, but it’s a very hard song to sing and the one person who can really sing it and who has the air to hit all of the notes is, you guessed it, Kiki.

It’s also a great ‘driving’ song.  I drive so much that I need good music to keep me going!  Here’s Patti Drew, ‘Workin On A Groovy Thing’

 

 

 

 

April Writing Challenge, Day 4: Ten Things About Me

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April Writing Challenge – Day 4
Ten Interesting Facts About Yourself

These are always fun…

In no particular order:

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1. My favorite color is GREEN. Always has been. I especially like how being around green in nature can soothe me in seconds, how wearing something green makes me feel cool, anything looks better in green.

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2. I am a preemie: I was 2 pounds and 5 ounces at birth 3 months before my due date. It’s also the reason I am named Carmen, no one was sure that I would make it or not so I was baptized and they looked at the Mexican calendar on July 16th – the day of Nuestra Sra. del Carmen thus my name. I was on my own for the first few months of my life in an incubator without a lot of physical contact and since then, I’ve always been very ticklish, I’ve never been very touchy-feely-huggy and I’ve always been able to sense when something is wrong or dangerous in places or people…

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3. I am a great cook with simple dishes, just ask my Dad. I am no gourmet cook but I can work it with carne/chile, beans, rice, simple salad, eggs, fideo, papas – the basics. All of the years that I lived by myself, I laughed because my cooking was just ok so I must have always liked cooking for others.

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4. I love my godchildren niece nephews like they were my own. Different ages, shapes, sizes, all shades of brown, some light, some dark, all beautiful. I really do try to be there for them, they’re all perfect said this Nina always.

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5. I have worked for 13 different radio stations throughout my career. Every station has been a big part of my life and so many stories come with each of them, I’ve been blessed to meet and work with sooo many great people, some legends, some legends in their own minds! One day, I’d like to get all of my crews in one place and take a picture – now THEY were the best and my favorites! I spent more time with my crews than my own fam and friends – there is nothing we have not seen and I know that anytime I get with my radio fam, it will be ON: chisme, laughing, crying, etc. Love my industry. Once in radio, always in radio.

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6. My favorite city is San Antonio. I remember the first time I went there; I did not want to come back LOL. As my familia was not one to go back/forth to Mexico like a lot of my familia and friends did, and we did not speak Spanish at home; going to San Antonio was great – I related and felt at home right away. San Antonio, after all, is, as one of my friends from Mexico tells me, “no es Mexicano, es Mexican-American”, and love how he says it with an accent ‘mes-i-can, am-errr-i-can’! You can feel the vibe of this city, very Latino, Mex Am, Chicano, everyone looks like you, everyone speaks English or Spanglish, and when I heard Tejano radio for the first time: where they speak in Spanglish – I was like ‘whaaaat?’ loved it. I’ve been there many times throughout the years, and it’s still the same feeling. Great place.

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7. When I went to meet the man who would be my boss at the Charter Way Denny’s, I sat with the wrong ‘white man’ LOL I still laugh when I think of the first time I met Mike Murphy. Who knew that he would be my first mentor and champion in radio. I learned so much from him about this industry and about how to conduct myself – no school could have done it better. I miss working with him every day.

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8. Once I owned that I loved to write, my writing got much better. I was very much of the school that to do things by yourself was not cool so, for many years, I did not do them.  Now it is different.  I can get lost in my writing and am trying to write stories that I have never seen or heard before, which sound like me, where I can speak like I always do: in English, Spanish, and Spanglish, which celebrate family, friendship, culture. Part of becoming a better writer is to get to know yourself, working on this every day!

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9. I am trying to pass the State Interpreter Exam for what feels like the millionth time. This past time, I was so close to passing that it really depressed me. But then again, I thought to myself, ‘you got this close/far on your own, by yourself, you can do it again’ When I think of all of the people I know who are working in the field without certification, I think, I should just do that and be done with it. But it is all about closing the circle and finishing what I started on that day that someone dared me to go to the orientation meeting at SFSU, saying that I’d probably not get in … not only did I get in, I was able to hang with my colegas, and I was not afraid to try it ever – even if I messed up. You better know I’ll pass the exam eventually.

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10. I know how to get to a Starbucks in almost every city in the Bay Area, Stockton, Modesto, and Sacramento areas and all ranchos in between. I work very well in these places, they are just loud enough for me to do my Interpreter Drill Exercises, and, once I put on my headphones, I am able to get into a good writing groove and work my ideas out. Sometimes the stars line up and I get a good table with good lighting and it’s not too low or too high or too wobbly and I can get so much done. I have about 10 regular places where they know me, know what I am going to order, and they are always very nice about letting me stay while they close up when I’m on a roll.

QueQUE? WHAT did he just say?

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When life happens to you, which way do you turn?  Do you embrace your Inner Chingona?  Or do you take a detour via Ms. Paz (Peace) and end up at your Inner CHILLONA?  Crying, frustrated, depressed.     I would love to say that we all follow our Inner Chingona all of the time and, sadly, this is not the case.

I love my BFFs.  It’s amazing how empowering it is to be with them, it’s like getting a reality check with love, there is nothing that they do not know, there is nothing that we hold back from each other.    You can only imagine what topics are covered when we are together…When I heard this story, I told her that I just HAD to write about it because, as I listened to the story, and stated my words almost verbatim, it became the title of today’s post,…here is the story, what would you have done?

For this story, I revive 2 of my former characters, Yolanda and Rafa…

 

Things were really going great with Rafa and Yolanda.   At first, their romance centered around Friday nights, where they would usually go out and do ‘couple’ things, away from their co-workers, friends, family.  Come Monday, all would revert back to professional lives:  Rafa as the boss, the Sales Manager of the stations, Yolanda as one of his top employees, cutting deals, bringing in money for the stations’ bottom lines.   Yolanda was relieved that things were going well since there was no way that she wanted anyone to think that the boss was 100% responsible for her success, this was a partnership and she was doing her share of the heavy-lifting.   The sides of the radio roads were littered with too many women who got involved with their boss and lost everything once the relationship went bad.

One Monday, things changed a little.   Rafa asks Yolanda, “I’ve got this family thing on Saturday, think you wanna go?”   “Sure”, she replies.  On the surface, Yolanda was cool but inside, she was a jumble of excitement and nerves.  Meeting family is major and Yolanda could barely concentrate on anything but ‘oh my God, he wants me to meet his familia, will they like me? will they hate me? could I meet him there in case things don’t go well and I’m trapped there? I really want this to go well!  I want them to like me, OMG…”

All week, Yolanda is taking all of her clothes out of the closet and trying them on.   The family thing didn’t sound too formal but Yolanda didn’t want to go all fachosa either.   Rafa keeps asking her if she’s nervous and, of course, she answers, “no, why would I be?” when she was mere steps from having an attack of ‘chorros‘ LOL   “Note:  Make sure you know where all of bathrooms are at all times on Saturday!”     Rafa didn’t seem nervous at all either, Yolanda thought, ‘this must be meant to be, it will all go great’.

Saturday morning comes and Yolanda is nervous but feeling confident on her choice of a skirt and sweater set that, ‘made me look cool, in, young, hot’…but not too hot because you know how Mexican familias are, they are not into showing too much, and the standard is set pretty high for women who are professional with careers, etc.   Yolanda is just finishing putting her makeup on when the doorbell rings…

Rafa’s first words to Yolanda when she opened the door were, “well, I was going to have you meet my mother but not if you’re dressed like that.”  QueQUEWhaaat?  Rafa had seen Yolanda dress this way a million times before and had no problem with it, she was in total shock and her excitement for the day had gone just as if someone let the air out of a balloon.   Now it was obvious that Rafa WAS nervous and, as it turns out, had some expectations for how the day would go…but did not tell Yolanda what these expectations were.

So what happened next?  Does Yolanda listen to her Inner Chingona, leave her outfit on, and risk that Rafa decides not to take her, or that if he takes her, not introduce her properly to his familia?  Does Ms. Paz pay a visit to the situation, and have Yolanda change her outfit to ‘keep the peace’ and leave the pathway open for Inner Chillona to bring tears, resentment, frustration to the mix?  I swear that I forgot to ask how the story really ended, how do I end this story?

#InnerChingona

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Radio Presets Move Inner Chingona Forward

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For well over a year, life happened to me so I had not really listened to a radio station aside from talk radio or Catholic radio…all the more amazing because, working in radio, we radio peeps tend to listen more than regular folks. Ask anyone in radio, every single radio space on the dial is usually completely preset and you better know that all we do is punch the preset buttons constantly. I always have to tell folks in the car what I’m doing, that it’s “work” or “research” or “monitoring” so that I don’t completely drive passengers insane with the constant changes of station.

Ask any radio person what they are listening for…every person listens for a different reason LOL. The Marketing and Sales side of me listens for the promotions – what are they giving away, how can people win, what concerts are they exclusive for, what are their upcoming big events, are my clients’ commercials running right? Are they running at the right time? Is there a competing client/business running right before or after? It’s madness for sure and attention to this madness will indicate whether all is well or whether I will be laying over a serious “lumbre” (fire) shortly!

So on this morning’s drive, I finally got tired of hearing talk radio or no radio at all and started listening to regular music radio in both English and Spanish. Out of pure instinct, I started punching the ‘preset’ buttons and, within minutes, all of my preferred stations are preset. As I continued driving, strangely, I started to relax and breathe easier if you can believe THAT! I felt as if a fog had been lifting over my body, I started to feel connected to the world and, dare I say it? Motivated. Motivated to do what? I do not know yet.

The way I see it, I’ve got a bunch of ‘presets’ to push, to find which station I stay with the longest without punching the next button, to figure out what it is that I want to do next. Will I be speaking or writing in English? Spanish? Spanglish? I’ll keep pressing until I find what it is that inspires and motivates me, this is the ONLY non-negotiable for my future: to support projects and people who inspire, empower, and motivate me.

It’s never too late to start over, to do precisely that thing that scares you, to do the right thing, to take care of yourself, to listen to YOUR Inner Chingona, to make your own set of preset buttons for your life! Work it today!

Day 10 of 15 Days Of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Aventuras/Adventures #HHM15Foto

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I know that the minute I post this entry, that I will have remembered many more adventures of my life!

This adventure happened when I was living in Denver,Colorado. I had never been around the snow in my life (and I loooooved it). This particular night, we noticed the snowstorm hit from a downtown remote and, after taking my crew home, I went back to the station in the Radio Romantica van. By then it’s really snowing and I’m wondering how bad it will be to get home. Like a sonsatontapendeja, I try and drive my car out of the parking lot and it was impossible so I turned back … yeah it was a BLIZZARD!

By the time I remembered that there was a Hilton across the parking lot, I had to WALK across that lot in snow that was almost to my waist. I ended up staying in that hotel for three days and there was no room service for one whole day because no one could get to work so I had my trusty box of Captain Crunch to hold me over.

Walking across that parking lot that night and hearing that weird wind felt like I was at Little House on the Prairie LOL. This is a pic of my car TWO days after the blizzard, as you can see I was going nowhere!  I had never seen anything like this and I was really amazed with Mother Nature and laughing at the stupidity of trying to drive in this mess!

I remember that Quique, the News Director, and I  had to go up on the roof and take the snow off of the satellites as the blizzard had knocked us off air and we needed to get back up on the air.  I wish we would have taken a picture of THAT!  It was hilarious trying to sweep off the snow as it was still snowing! ‪#‎HHM15Foto‬

Inner Chingona: Thanks for 2013! On to 2014!

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While the first half of 2013 had me going thru the fire daily getting my personal and legal issues resolved.   The second half of the year, thankfully, was much more stable and peaceful.   

For the first time in many years, I have had to embrace major change, a fuerzas, in all areas of my life.   I feel like I live my life on a schedule for everything these days LOL, with things mapped out for the first time in a long time.   I completely depended upon schedules to keep me on track emotionally especially so that I could get thru some very dark days.  Living on a schedule has really helped me to be able to take care of the things that I need to like my job, my finances, and taking care of my folks, while at the same time, think about how I want to start over and live my life again.

After so many months of insomnia, stress, and drama;  I am so grateful for the very simple things in life:  getting a good night’s sleep, waking up knowing that I’m ok and that my loved ones are safe, grateful for my job where I’m learning and growing professionally every day.   While I can never forget, I remain convinced that the only way that I will move forward is to practice forgiveness and gratitude.   It may sound so cliché but when you go thru something traumatic, it is so comforting and energizing to hold on to the very simple and basic things to help you as you recreate your life.

Simply put…I am thankful for all that has happened to me.  I will accept and appreciate the fact that my life was blown up and shattered into millions of pieces and I will embrace the fact that I have been able to persevere and, dare I say it, THRIVE thru all of the madness.  I have learned that the only way to get thru anything and to put the pieces of my life back together is to walk thru it, eyes wide open.   I’m excited to live my life being honest with myself/others and to have my own back, that is, I will never, ever, ever hand myself, my self-worth or esteem over to any job, any project, or anyone else ever again así nomas.

Also beyond thankful that my parents and bonus parents are here with me after overcoming major health issues this year…love it that you are doing better every day Mama as well as our Ita!

 

Said goodbye to:  Four great women:  cousin Jennifer Rafanan Teal, bonus aunt Josefina “JoJo” Perez, event mentor Terry Alderete, fam friend Elvia Cortez

Said hello to:  our new bebito King Alexander

Celebrated:  Mama doing great!  Ita doing great!  Papito David’s 1st Communion,  Little Bea’s wedding, Summer fun with our Torres littles, Mikey III and Amy’s wedding, our Yazi’s first day of school, catching up with my Radio Fam this year at the KWIN/KWG/KCVR Reunions, putting on my first-ever solo event,  helping my CCgirl get college-bound, connecting with fam friends, my first year in Radio Sales

Looking forward to: 

  1. Staying  connected to my familia and to continue to be there for my ‘old school’
  2. Making my overall health a priority and to take this lonja down! LOL
  3. Learning more about my industry and learning how to grow my business.
  4. Studying and passing the State Bilingual Interpreter Exam…I was so close this time around!
  5. Remaining positive as I recreate a new life for myself
  6. Repeating my all-time fav quote as often as need be:  “Si me caigo por pendeja…me levanto por chingona!”

Looking forward to continued peace in my life and wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Great 2014!    Carmen:)

Inner Chingona and Owning It When You Are Right…or Wrong

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Crazy morning…got a call from a client saying that his ad schedule was wrong and that I was to credit him for commercials that ran without authorization.   I look at the order and, see that, in fact, he was correct.  I thought “chiiin…”, how am I gonna explain this one?” But then again, I started thinking, “how come I’ve never ran across this situation before?”   Meanwhile, I’m watching as a chingo of emails are coming in telling me what I need to credit, etc.  More stress.

I then broke out the entire file and the contract and, went thru it page by page, and what did I find?  That I had actually done everything RIGHT.  Thanking God that I didn’t respond to his email right away, I went and made copies and scanned them back to Mr. Cliente and yes!  His signatures of approval were on the pages!

His response to me, “you INDEED are right, my BAD!”  LOL.

Owning it, the good and bad, are lessons that I’m learning as I channel Inner Chingona and as I start to listen to that voice, that intuition … it’s all about taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and researching these types of things instead of reacting like you’re the one guilty of whatever you are being accused of!  Conversely, when I’ve been wrong, instead of the drama, I simply say “I’m sorry”.  Sure, I’m embarrassed but I’m finding out that owning up to things is actually very liberating and effective when in the workplace.   Not too long ago, I would have reacted screaming and shouting all full of drama…NOW I’m learning to be more proactive versus reactive.

OMG! aaand as I write this, another client whom I go rounds with has just accepted another proposal I sent out!   I now see the value of being prepared and putting my ideas together calmly versus all desesperada and rushed…love it!  Go Inner Chingona … keep working it!

Celebrating Celia Cruz’ 88th Year!

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Soooooooo cool to see CELIA CRUZ celebrated on the ‘google doodle’ in honor of what would have been her 88th birthday! No doubt, the most original salsera EVER.  Who else could pull off Celia’s style?  Wigs of every color, great clothes, spectacular stage presence, and that distinctive, strong voice!   Celia Cruz was completely authentic, diva in the best sense of the word, classic.  Loved it that she held her own among performers, young and old, white and black, men and women.

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I had the chance to see her perform many times and a couple of memories come to my mind:

1.  In the 90’s at a Radio convention in Los Angeles:  arriving by car to the hotel, as we are getting out of the car, we see Celia coming out of the hotel with husband Pedro…so there we go, todos starstruck, and she was the most gracious with us and I’ll always remember her saying, “bueno mija me voy porque me ‘ta e’perando en el cho en Paul Rodrigue”!  (I have to go because they are waiting for me at Paul Rodriguez’ show)  She was too cute!

2.  A few years ago backstage at the Cow Palace San Francisco:   I’m with sis LG and another friend and we are standing a little behind the stairs that we know Celia will climb to get onto stage.  A few minutes later, here comes Celia in this fabulous green outfit (you know I would notice this), everyone is trying to get her attention…in her rush to the stage,  Celia is shaking hands, etc,, and to Christy, she says, ‘ay gracias mija por venir’; and to my friend Celia says, ‘ gracias, señora por venir’.  I remember my friend was like, “why is she calling me señora, I’m not old!”  LOL

3.  Backstage at The Gift Center, San Francisco:  Again, I’m with sis LG and this time we are standing on one of the Gift Center levels backstage. We watch as Celia gets onto the stage with Pedro.  Celia didn’t travel with a band, so she would perform with a local salsa band.  So Celia is front and center;  Pedro is in the background directing the band.

We come from a musical familia, so when Celia sounded kind of off-key, both Christy and I look at each other, then look to the stage.  The band was NOT workin’ it and, from our vantage point, we could see Pedro furiously trying to get this band back in time and Celia looking back at Pedro totally frustrated and, dare I say it, completely pissed off.  All I had to do was look at LG, a musician, a percussionist no less, and the shaking of her head as she watched this was priceless.  But when the band messed up on “Bamboleo”, Christy’s like, “HOW could a band NOT be prepared to play THIS song?”  I kind of felt bad for the band for a minute, and then I thought, LG’s right:  the band needs to be on it’s ‘A’ game to play with the Queen of Salsa.

Below are a few of the notable tributes that I saw online today…Feliz Cumpleaños Celia!

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FROM FANIA RECORDS FB PAGE:  Majestuosa e inigualable la Reina de la Salsa #CeliaCruz! Hoy Celebramos 88 Años de aquel dia en el que la Guarachera nacio y con ella un nuevo significado a la palabara “AZUCAR”

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FROM CHRISTINA TORRES AKA LG’S FB PAGE:  Happy birthday to the late great Celia Cruz – Reina de la Salsa!!! She was a huge influence for me – so glad I had an opportunity to meet her. Gone but not forgotten.#celiacruz #reinadelasalsa #happybirthday

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“Quimbara” Celia Cruz & Patti Labelle   AWESOME rendition!

“Guantamera” Sound Check Celia & Fania All Stars in Africa — POWERFUL even in rehearsal

Celia Cruz & Oscar de Leon – one word: Badass!  They complement each other perfectly!

La Vida Es Un Carnaval … Instant Classic!