Rainy Day…Music Day

 

#52SlicesOfChingonaLife

5/52 #52EssaysNextWave2019

It’s raining outside.

Rainy days and nights are perfect for listening to music.   In fact, this is what I’m doing as I wait out this California storm.  Looking out of the window, watching the cars go by, watching the colors and reflections of the stoplights, store lights, car lights, watching the raindrops on the window change colors as this all happens…all to the sounds of music that I love.

Took me back to when we had records and would make a conscious decision to listen to music.  All of us Torres5 had a record player in our rooms and a stack of records that always made it onto that turntable.  You would go thru the box of 45 records, mine were kept in a couple of shoeboxes; or go thru our vinyl albums, check out the covers to see if there was a song you wanted to hear, reject the records that you knew were going to scratch or skip LOL and, of course, someone would have to be “dj” and physically put the 45 or LP onto the turntable and get the needle into the correct groove/song that we all wanted to listen to.   And listen we would, for hours on end.

I don’t know that many people take that kind of time to enjoy music anymore, kind of makes me sad that our little ones may never know that kind of fun – the fun of reading album liner notes, looking at the face of an artist/singer as you listen to their music that you “know” s/he is singing just for you, laying on your bed daydreaming, sometimes looking out of the window, sometimes not, sometimes with the lights on, others with the lights off , letting the music take you away to another place, freeing you from life’s problems, helping you think about your next move, helping you recover from a broken heart.   Or falling asleep hearing that unmistakable click over and over telling you that the record/album has ended.

Radio, iTunes, mp3s, Pandora, Spotify can bring us all of the music we need and, I can get the same enjoyment blasting my music on the commute, a long drive, train rides and in my headphones but I do miss those days when we actually took time out of our day specifically to listen to music.   In my case, I loved to sing along (and still do) to great songs.  One of the reasons I’ve loved working in the radio industry is precisely because, in certain moments, concerts and station events specifically, you’re able to see the power of music and the joy listening to music brings to our listeners.  There’s no way that I’m the only one who loves music listening days (and nights).

In my family, we cannot listen to music at night, because we always want to hear the next song and we get no sleep LOL  And now I’ve decided that I am going to break out our vinyl and show our TorresBabies what it’s all about 🙂  I think that they will love it.

Here are some of the songs that we Torres5 listened to a LOT, so much so, that I associate the songs with said sibling and, believe me, there are thousands more songs in both English and Spanish, but I decided to go with the first song that popped into my head.

Here’s one that brother Mikey always loved and I wonder if he still sings it at his gigs today (probably):

Hollywood Swinging/Kool and the Gang

 

When I hear any Santana song, my thoughts automatically go to my brother Martin, who loves, “the number one Chicano in the world” as he puts it.

Incident At Neshabur/Santana

 

This album holds the record for never leaving the turntable for MONTHS and months.  We TorresSisters know every single song on all of the Heatwave albums because Kiki wouldn’t let us take the record off :).  But no one like sister Kiki to sing these songs and she would work the high notes too.

Mind Blowing Decisions/Heatwave

 

As Christy is the youngest, she had to listen to whatever we wanted and was, many times, the one who we assigned to be ‘dj’ to change the records LOL.   This is one of her absolute favorite songs and, by that time, it was likely on CD.

Kiss From A Rose/Seal

 

Most of the vinyl I bought back in the day was Tejano and the mighty Latin Breed was the first Tejano band I remember hearing.  I can safely say that I was one of the first of the Torres5 to really get into musica Tejana – now we love it and everyone always thinks we’re from there 🙂  Still love tejano music and the Latin Breed never gets old.

De Que Te Quejas Mi Amor/Latin Breed

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In 2019 Hay Comida En Casa

#52SlicesOfChingonaLife  #52EssaysNextWave2019  4/52

 

When I first saw this ‘advice’ on my social media, I had to laugh because who hasn’t heard this in one language or another?  “We have food at home”, I know that I heard this many times come out of Mama’s mouth.  Then later, as I was going through my receipts and bills, I thought of this again and really thought about it:  a big chunk of my receipts, and I always have a mountain of receipts, were for a coffee here, un McDonalds alla, and on and on.  Not only did I need to rethink my food spending, I could probably save a good chunk of money and live a healthier life by taking advantage of the fact that “hay comida en casa“.

Something clicked in me in that instant, and I decided that, yes, I had complete control of everything that goes into my mouth.  I also cook for Dad a lot as well.   We could both benefit from eating healthier and, what if something happened to either of us?  Something that would make a doctor tell us “this is it, if you continue eating this or that, you will die”.   I had heard of a friend’s wife being told something similar, that she would have to change her eating habits that second or she would die.

I noticed that I had begun to eat emotionally.   I remember going home after an emotional day and chowing down.  I didn’t even enjoy it.  Then there was the day where I had gotten it into my head that I needed to have chocolate every day, bought a candy bar, which I didn’t really even want, and ate it, so unsatisfying.   And THEN, because truth does not lie, I saw a picture of myself and I look like I swallowed a giant ball, lonjas for days.

After seeing the picture, I realized that I hadn’t felt healthy for a couple of weeks.  That something had really been on my mind bothering me during this time, didn’t think “I should call someone and talk this out”, no, it was “I need to make some guacamole”.   I hadn’t been checking on myself lately.  Taking care of myself had become a battle with my sick ‘woe is me, no one checks on me either’ mind.   My lack of self-care was showing (literally) and, after I realized it, it was ‘ON’.  That day, I even wrote in my journal, “this is IT, there has to be another way”.  I started listing the things that I could do in that moment to save my life.

I had a list of about 5 or 6 things that would need to be handled immediately.  I decided that I needed to brown bag it with real food, not jusgueria junk food,  drink water, SLEEP more, rest when I needed to, think about the real food that I liked to eat so that I would have more of it at the house,  choose better foods for Dad as well.  I also felt that I had to be much smarter about my commute which was tearing my patience and rest to shreds.   If I could tackle these necessary things, I might feel better and have time to do more of what I really wanted to do.

The first night of “taking care of myself” saw immediate results, I slept better than ever, the aches and pains, both physical and emotional, suddenly felt more manageable.   Taking leftovers, oranges, apples, bananas, water, etc, to eat was actually really satisfying and, while I did ‘need’ a piece of chocolate that first week, it was nowhere near the desperation that I had felt the week before.   And surprise, how productive was I?  I got soooo much done that I amazed myself.

The takeaway from this post is that, if you don’t take care of yourself emotionally, it WILL catch up with you physically.  Look at your emotional health before spending money on that huge meal or shiny new toy — you’ll end up with a bigass lonja and a lot less money in your bank account.  I want more for myself in 2019 and, like all new endeavors, it will take time to get there.  I’m ready.

 

 

2018

First time since the end of AUGUST that I’ve blogged. Wow.

I had come to a point where I felt that I had nothing left to say. So much going on in the world like the children in cages, the election year, made me so overwhelmed that I just didn’t know where to start to write about anything. I made a decision to live life instead of reporting on my life for a while. Didn’t think that it would last for months.

I miss writing. I will challenge myself to write one article a week (at least) on anything. I spent so much time wondering what people would want to read/see/hear that, when it came time to write, I was already tired.

Taking breaks are important and, now that I look back, a lot has happened in 2018 in no particular order.

1. Decided to take a Interpreting class to keep myself sharp and focused as I try (again) to pass the State Interpreting Exam. Got an ‘A’ in my class and found that I was on top of this stuff, I really took it seriously this time around.

2. Got together with my friends for the first time in a YEAR. Fun to catch up and to relax away from my projects.

3.  Lost one of my really good friends a couple of weeks ago.  It’s sad because it’s one of the first of my college friends to leave this earth, couldn’t sleep for the first couple of days after I got the news.  It made me think about taking care of my business (one never knows).

4.  My godson nephew was named Teacher of the Year for his region for his work with special needs kids, he’s blessed.

5.  Am loving watch my godson nephews come into their own music-wize from high school band for one to La45 for another

6.  My off the charts smart niece goddaughter is a top candidate for valedictorian, how cool would this be?

7.  Enjoyed meeting my baby godson nephew for the first time when he visited us from Texas.  I tell Dad that this was how HE must have looked at that age.

8.  Lost one of our cousins to a stroke a few weeks ago and remember how it felt the day that Mama had her stroke, while Mama was lucky and always able to speak, it was a struggle for her from that day forward.  I confess that it scares me that one of us will have a stroke and it’s time to make taking care of ourselves a priority.,

9.  Watching my sister make the decision to live healthier and to work out and watch her meals has been an inspiration to me.   I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for her.

10.  Dad still going strong at 83.   It’s easy to forget his age because he still drives, goes out to hear mariachis, and is fun-loving.

11.  Trying to be there for my lil niece goddaughters and to be a good example for them.  Taking them places and showing them different things is important.

12.  Made a couple of chisme road-trips to Phoenix and Denver – no sightseeing required, just wanted to visit with fam/friends, it was so fun.

13.  Got a killer bronchitis flu that knocked me out, hoping that never happens again.

14.  4 years and one month without Mama.   We never stop missing her and we keep moving forward together thank God.

15.  Ita is with us for the holidays, she’s looking great.   Had fun with my Tias at Ranch Christmas, thank God for them.

16.  RIP Aretha.

17.  Got off track with Mama’s traditions, I did pretty good for 4 years and now it’s time to get back to it and to leave the guilt behind.

18.  Committed myself to being very informed through the political madness in which we now live.   It’s one thing to get all mad and react nomas porque si, it’s quite another to get all mad and react with the facts in hand.   Always praying that this country finds its way back from the cruel, divisive, dark, angry, racist corner in which it now resides.

19.  Saw some concerts this year and it’s so much fun that I must do more of this in 2019.

20.  Went through a lot of personal cleansing of personal demons.  My life is no longer dependent on what certain people do, think, say, or want.   December 12th is an important date in this regard for me — when I got to December 12th and realized just how many years had passed since my personal desmadre, I decided that, yes, I had done a lot of work in facing that mess, dealing with PTSD, and, thank GodJesusVirgenOfG, I’ve really put the majority of this mess behind me.

2019 will be dedicated to closing the circle on some important personal goals.   Getting my personal business in order, bringing that debt down, striving to work drama and desmadre-free, finding the joy (again) in putting events on and smiling more.  I’m also committed to bringing this lonja down and live healthier, going to Mass, clearing my life of the clutter that I tend to collect,  working smarter, not harder, doing the right thing, spending time with familia and friends, to be PRESENT and not stressed about it.

The way I see it, I was stopped in my tracks for a few years, no more, it’s time to finish everything that I’ve started.  More chingona. Less pendeja.

Happy 2019 All.

 

Stunned Into Silence At the Carwash

#52EssaysNextWave 17/52

As I was taking my Jeep into the car wash earlier, and the water was shooting out onto the car, there was no signal for the radio (yes, I always listen to the radio), so I saw that I had a CD in the player. A saber which CD, it had been so long since I listened to the CD player.

It happened to be one of my homemade driving CDs – I usually make these for myself and my sisters. This happened to be one that we all loved. So, I’m sitting in the Jeep enjoying the music as the car was covered with soap bubbles and brushes went back and forth removing copious amounts of dirt and grime, the black Jeep looked gray from the dust and dirt I’m embarrassed to admit.

And then a song comes on and I was stunned into silence. It was a song that took me back to a final conversation after a breakup. OMG. The words were almost verbatim what I had told him! The song is called, “I Try” and, while she is not the original singer of this song (it is Angela Bofill),  the version that hit me straight in the face is sung by the great Maysa Leak of the band Incognito, a favorite vocalist of the Torres Sisters.

So I’m sitting in the car, completely into this song, eyes closed, nodding my head to every beat of the music, and thinking back to that final conversation…you know the one, where you have nothing else left to lose, where you throw it all out there, where you are at your most vulnerable and, dare I say it, your most straight-up honest. Nothing was said in attempts to get him back, I always sensed that there was no turning back thus it wasn’t as elegant as I would have liked at times. It was the moment to throw it all in his face, calmly. So, imagine when I heard Maysa Leak sing “my” words….

…I try to do the best I can for you, but it seems it’s not enough
…Can’t you see that you’re hurting me, and I want, I want this pain to stop
…You know that I tried to be with you
…You know that I wanted to see it through.
…You know that I needed to make you mine.
…It was only a matter of time.

Looking back, this was one of the best conversations ever. I may have been very hurt, but I saw this man for what he was and wanted no part of this drama anymore because, in my heart of hearts, I knew that he would not change and besides, there was already someone else in the picture to deal with his mess. Mujeriego. We all have had at least one.

Another song to add to the personal soundtrack of my life. When you think about it, we all have at least one song that can transport us to another time and place, good or bad. While I almost wished that I had this song around then to get me through this sad time, I loved the fact that I could now listen to the words of the song and still dedicate it to myself (and him) LOL It’s more bittersweet for me now than bitter. Love how music, in the end, always heals, always makes bad times more bearable, makes good times even more awesome.

By the time I left the car wash, my Jeep was sparkling-clean, and I felt as if my soul had also taken a refreshing shower as well, so I was all smiles as I went off to finish conquering the day.

 

Enjoy Maysa Leak’s version of “I Try”

 

A Joyous Moment

#52EssaysNextWave 15/52

Just looked on my drafts, unwritten posts, unfinished essays, and find that I have over FOUR HUNDRED of them.

Every one who writes has a perfect situation where inspiration and creativity flows like a cool breeze or a gentle stream.  No drama, no craziness, no rush, no interruptions.

Here is my Joyous Moment:  Right now, here I sit, alone, in the living room of the house, all windows and doors open at this hour, music blasting, with only the light of Mama’s table, the TV, my laptop and a little flashlight, and me writing.  I’ve been at it for a few hours now and haaaaaappppy!

Especially as event season is upon me, I tend to write a lot every day, but I write proposals, copy points, event timelines, etc.   My mind is beyond busy with constant ‘to-do’ lists, what needs to get done, what has been done.  Granted, this helps me immensely to keep things moving and in order, and while it is joyous when events go well, it does not give me enough of these kinds of joyous moments, where I am ‘me’, at peace with the world, recharging my batteries, doing things that I love to do.

It helps that the house is completely quiet this weekend, as Dad is out-of-town.  Usually all of the lights are on, he’s working on some project or another, his music or TV shows blasting, and it doesn’t feel like a girl’s house LOL.  This type of night reminds me of almost every night when I lived in my own place.  While I still come and go as I please, it’s different with roommates and you know how it is, it’s a little harder to find those “me time” moments.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s no where else I’d rather be, but sometimes, it’s the BEST to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

So tonight, I will sit back and enjoy this Joyous Moment, Me Time, Girl Time, blast MY favorite music, and write until I get sleepy…or write all night like I’ve been known to do.

I must make time for these Joyous Moments (and writing) more often.

 

Aretha

#52EssaysNextWave 14/52

Aretha Franklin passed away this past Thursday, August 16th. Her influence on the world of music was monumental, the first woman voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the first (and undisputed) Queen of Soul, the first women to successfully fuse gospel and soul, winner of so many accolades and awards, an activist, a musically integral part of the Women and Civil Rights Movements.  Her songs were full of pain, love, and hope.

Being that I was raised in a musical household, I remember hearing Aretha songs from waaay back and I was proud of myself when I learned how to spell R.E.S.P.E.C.T. But I didn’t really get into or appreciate her music until later, when I was heartbroken and trying to find music to match some of the moods that I was in. I remember hearing Bonnie Raitt saying that “I learned more about men from listening to Aretha Franklin than I could have ever learned from any man”.   So I went back and listened and many times, closed my eyes, and said a silent “yep”, because I could totally relate.

Needless to say, the Aretha songs that really got to me on those times when I couldn’t think of how to move forward from a heartbreak are the ones that remain my favorites.


How many times have we walked straight into a wall (sometimes time and time again) when we were all into some man?  Take “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You”,  I smile today on the birthday of a certain man for whom this song was tailor-made, and when I was convinced that everyone was wrong, and that we would be together forever.  Yeah, yeah, I told myself this many many many times and, at first, I’d listen to this song with straight-up defiance, and then I’d only listen to the title of the song, as if to will him to straighten up and respect our relationship.   As reality began to hit, I slowly realized that he would never change, ever.   For a time, that was enough.  But it took me listening to this song over and over and over, maaaany times, alone, not talking to Mama or sisters or friends or anyone, to get me to finally accept that this was over.

So many of Aretha songs STILL stop me in my tracks at certain times:  “Ain’t No Way“, “Daydreaming” , “Oh Me Oh My, I’m A Fool for You Baby”, “Baby I Love You“, “Chain Of Fools“, “Until You Come Back To Me” along with the super classics “Respect“, “Natural Woman“, “Think“, “Dr. Feelgood“, “Do Right Woman Do Right Man” and so many more.

One of the greatest to ever sing it like it is, Aretha’s classic music will live forever and likely serve as Life Education for so many of us who are unable, or too embarrassed, or too messed up in love, to put their feelings into words…that is, until they can get their power back and most important, get their R-E-S-P-E-C-T back.

RIP Aretha Franklin.

 

A Lil Bit of Cafe and Whole Lot of Jesus

#52EssaysNextWave #10/52

Saw this on a cup this morning — “All I Need Is A Little Bit of Coffee And A Whole Lot Of Jesus” and I’m totally relating about now!

Earlier this morning, my beloved Blackberry screen gave me the boot. I’m constantly teased about having a Blackberry…’do they still make Blackberry?’, ‘so do you like have a fax machine too?’. I don’t even trip when people tease me, I figure that, if I’m going to put money out for a smartphone, then it WILL be the kind of device I want. Blackberry girl por vida.  Some might say that I’m terca, and resistant to change  LOL.

I honestly do not remember the last time that I was without a phone. In radio, I always had use of phones provided by the company, for my past events, I’d activate a Metro batphone so that I wouldn’t mix my projects up. Not the case now and I’ll likely be without a phone for the next couple of days.

Me, who conducts the majority of my business on that Blackberry from my real oficina, my Jeep. I actually had to ‘serenarme/calm the eff down‘ when I realized that, in order for the insurance I pay on the thing to kick in, that it wouldn’t be right away.  I walked that parking lot starting to freak out  in the crazyass wind almost ready to throw down the cash LOL.  How am I going to live without my phone?

When I got back on the road and literally saw traffic in every direction of the freeway, I decided that I didn’t need to deal with that mess and got off of the roadway.  I also decided that I needed to see the ‘lado amable’ of the situation…getting myself out of the day-to-day grind and back into my positive frame of mind at my favorite happy place:  Writing. Listening to Music. Writing. Inhaling the smell of coffee. Writing. Calming down. Writing. Getting Inspired. Writing. Feeling grateful.  Writing.  Getting my prayer on.  Writing.  Realizing that not only Jesus, but God and the Virgen of G, have my back and that everything will be alright.

Disconnecting from the phone, Blackberry, email, social media is a good thing, a great thing.

That is, unless I go straight to the real ‘DT’s’. 

Or maybe I’ll get a good night’s sleep for once LOL

Si Se Puede Carmen!

And NOW Inner Chillona Shows Up? Getting Your Cry On

 

#52EssaysNextWave  3/52

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.

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!