The Comadre Chronicles: This Reina Has Her Own Back! #52essays2017

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I was hanging out with my BFF Comadre last night and, like many of us girls do, we were looking at how the other women in the place were dressed and doing that side-glance thing to each other and saying things like ‘mmm hmmm’ or ‘I don’t know about that dress’, and things like that.   Now my Comadre and I have not ever been been 100% slim in all of the years we’ve known each other so we didn’t really have room to be talking about folks LOL.

Let’s take the story back a few years.  Back in the day, I was in my first semester of college and I wanted to do what I always do:  get involved in clubs and campus events.  When I met MariaLuisa, it was obvious that she was one of the most popular people on campus, she knew e v e r y o n e.  I felt really intimidated by her because, by all accounts, I was very much a square.  Carmen wore socks with skirts, braids in my hair, no makeup, and I knew almost nothing about life and I did not feel very popular.   Fast forward a few years, we ended up roommates when we went on to the University.   I was so glad that I had someone to hang out with as I started a new phase in my life.  While it was always easy for me to make friends, I was beyond amazed at how my Comadre really worked it with people, by the end of the week, this girl knew half the school and had invites to all kinds of events and parties.

I had never lived anywhere but on the Ranch and, once I stopped being all homesick and miedosa, I started to have a lot of fun and was waaay into clubs and events.  My Comadre was great at encouraging me to live my life and to remind me that “this ain’t the Rancho, girl” LOL.    Every morning, my Comadre would make me LOL when she would look in the mirror and say, “chingao, que buenota eres!” as she blew a kiss into the mirror.  It didn’t matter to her that she was not flaquita, girl embraced her curves.  This was the greatest affirmation ever and I began to understand how she was always so popular, why guys were always after her, why she was so much fun.  She loved herself, and not in that conceited way, she knew how to be there for herself.

As roommates do, we held many long talks about life and when my Comadre told me this story, I admired her all the more.

When my Comadre was in high school in Coachella, she was all into school events (surprise, surprise) and Student Goverment.  As she tells it, she was very into school spirit and had a ton of friends.   Around Homecoming time, the students were nominating girls for Homecoming Queen and my Comadre, as a member of Student Government, was assigned to go around to classes to pick up the completed nomination forms.  “As I went from class to class, picking up the slips, I would look down and see my name and I thought “no, someone is playing a joke on me.” Mary says she finally stopped looking at the notes and, after collecting them all, turned the votes in to be counted.

The most vote-getters would be announced at a Pep Rally with the entire school present.  There would be five finalists announced.  Mary was her spirit-crazy self, having a good time with her schoolmates.  “And then they called the final name, and it was ME.  I could not believe it!”  My Comadre remembers that, when her name was called, that there was a huuuuuuge cheer from the students, but she decided that she wasn’t going to think twice about it.

“I remember that my Mama made me a really nice green velvet dress and, the night of Homecoming,  I remember getting into the convertibles to drive into the stadium thinking that this was fun and that things would be back to normal soon.”   The time had come to make the announcement for Homecoming Queen and Mary remembers, “I kept hearing the other girls’ names being announced as runner-ups and thinking ‘no way I’ll win’” Finally, it was time to announce the Homecoming Queen and HER NAME was called!

How exciting!  As she got up into the convertible again to be driven around the stadium, my Comadre remembers waving to all of the groups of friends including the cholas LOL  this girl, crown and all, starts doing chola poses in front of these girls to their great delight.   How cool was that?   When the time came for pictures, the four statuesque runner-ups towered over Queen Mary and then they did something unforgettable:  they walked away from this queen, choosing not to stand with her, stunned that this short gordita could actually WIN as Homecoming Queen,

My heart broke a little for my Comadre when she told me this.  But then I thought about how Mary has always been true to who she is:  she may have never been tall or thin but that never stopped her – ever.  My Comadre has always carried herself like a queen, a ‘reina‘, she has always been able to find that little piece of self-esteem when she’s needed it to keep moving forward, and girl talks to anyone, anywhere, anytime, she is the definite life of the party.  One of the things we both have fun with is when the beautiful model-type girls look at her, mouths open in wonder when the guys gravitate toward her- and this happens to this day.  While Mary was momentarily hurt that those Homecoming Court girls would not stand by her, she took what she learned from this experience and she always says that there’s room for women of any sizes a n y w h e r e, and that you should never let your size get in the way of anything you want to do in your life.   I’ve always loved being her friend and have always said that we all need a friend like my Comadre:  her sense of aventada-ness is second to none, her mevalemadre attitude is front and center, she is the most fun and authentic person I know who embraces her gordita-ness and doesn’t let the flaquitas get her down.  I still watch her and learn how to act from Queen MariaLuisaArceFelix!

At this writing, I’m still searching for a Homecoming Queen pic of MariaLuisa and will post as soon as I find one!

#52essays2017

 

 

Maria Antonieta Garcia: BFFSisterFamFriend! I Will Miss You.

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Said my final goodbyes to my friend Maria during these past couple of days.   It has been a sad time for me.   I have been blessed to have friendships that have lasted years and years.  Maria is the first of my group of BFFFamiliaByChoice friends to leave and, as I drove thru her town today, all I could do was cry for my friend.  The one thing that she had asked was that we remember her with a smile, but for that minute, I could not.

When I got to her reception, I was able to see so many friends that we had in common, so many people that I have met thru Maria, so there was so much to talk about as we remembered our friend and so many ways that we honored her:  one friend catered with Maria’s favorite foods, one friend described that everything she wore that day had been gifts to her from Maria – from her jewelry to her clothing;  sooo many teachers were present (as Maria was a teacher) and it was very cool to see/hear the impact she had on their lives.

I sat with friends who had me laughing (and crying) as we talked about adventure after adventure like:

  1.  When we used to go out to the clubs, guys used to come up and ask our guy friend’s permission to dance with us LOL and el muy cínico used to answer “dos dolares por favor” LOL
  2. How I publicly thanked Georgia, Maria’s friend, who used to let us ALL stay over at her house in SF after we’d close down the clubs.  I didn’t remember that it was a studio apartment until today.
  3.  The time my creative friend dressed up as “Miss Zanahoria/Miss Carrot” for a Halloween party and she made her kickass bouquet of carrots and made a CROWN out of baby carrots — sooo awesome and I remember telling her, “WHO could top that?”
  4. The many times we got kicked out of the Student Union and various other places on campus por desmadrozos.
  5. The time Carlos had the nerve to ask Maria why women got so irritable during that time of the month LOL  Girl broke it down for him about half of our insides coming out of this little hole, etc. in such graphic detail that I still laugh about it and get serious asco too.
  6. Then there was the  time that there was an enano/midget who was dancing right near Maria’s chest — Hilarious and we never let her live this down!
  7. The time we all went to the Mariner’s /A’s baseball game with Maria, and we sat on the Mariner’s side and kept cheering for the A’s and checking out the fine ball players.  Girl was a serious game-watcher and we really tried her patience that night LOL.

There are soooo many more that I will save for when I meet up with all of my friends when we hang out together in Maria’s honor.  In fact, we’ve already started planning our next get-together.  You know there be great food, algo para tomar, chisme, chisme, chisme, music, tears, and, of course, laughter.

One of Maria’s aunts saw me sitting there, laughing and crying, and she told me to keep doing that, to keep honoring her niece forever.  It will not be hard, Maria was one of my greatest friends.  Below please find my thoughts the actual day that my friend left us … Saturday, July 23rd at 1:30pm:

 

My BFF Maria Garcia left this world earlier this afternoon. I’m very sad that Maria has left us so soon, I’m very proud that my friend fought until the very end, I’m so grateful that she wanted to be my friend for all of these years, I’m blessed to have had Maria as a member of my BFFs, a sister that I chose for myself and my familia, and I’m very hopeful that Maria will be reunited with her beloved Mama and maybe she’ll see my Mama as well in her eternal home. Thank you Jesus Lord Virgen of G for allowing me to have such an awesome group of BFFs, we are missing one now but we will be able to remember and honor Maria always: fun-loving, hilarious-funny, could talk to anyone anywhere anytime, major baseball and sports fan, great dancer, loved fine dining, always had her makeup and nails on point, love it that we could share makeup always being the same color LOL, creative, great teacher, kind-hearted, giving, patient with me:  her non-sports loving, non-animal loving, non-adventureous foodie who always wanted tacos or papas instead of trying out new foods. I will miss you sooooo very much, I was always happy to be your friend, and will never forget you Maria Antonieta Garcia, love you sister.

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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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2016 Resolutions: Making Time for Friends. The Power of Amigos

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One of my 2016 New Year’s Resolutions has been to make time for my friends and to hang out with my friends a huevo LOL.   I’ve always known that I have been super-blessed to have these friends since my days at Sac State.  We have all kind of grown up together, some of us in the same major, some of us in clubs, some of us were roommates.  I will have to ask how it is that we met each other.  I swear that I don’t really remember the details of how I met all of these folks…this is how I know how important they are to me, it’s like we’ve known each other forever.

It never matters how long it has been since we have seen each other, or since we have last spoken to each other, the connection we have is a powerful one.

As I dragged myself out of bed this morning, I was barely feeling better from bronchitis, and I was already trying to figure out my excuse for not showing up LOL and then I thought, “these people have seen me at my best and, more important, at my worst”  so I pulled myself together and started for our designated meeting place.   I get to the place and some of them are already there doing what we all do best:  talking ish, smack, s%#@ as only we can do.

I was immediately comforted by this because I knew that I could be 100% myself, no taking care of anyone, no having to be anywhere I didn’t want to be, no pretense, no trying to impress anyone.  Is it the same for you when you get together with your BFFs?

Now the majority of my friends all became teachers and there are only very few of us who did not go that route.  I have the BEST time teasing these people mercilessly and was soooo happy that my only Communications major colega was present — if, for nothing else, to keep things lively and to talk about something else other than lesson plans (jus keedeen).

Lots of talking and laughing ensued for the next few hours and I remember that, while at Sac State, we were convinced that we could change the world!  Years and many reality checks later, we know that we may not be able to change the world but my friends are able to show me the power of friendship, unconditional love, support and yes, how much fun pendejadas can be!  My friends make me feel powerful enough to take on Monday at least!  I am positive that I will have something to laugh about until I see them again next time!

Make time to connect with your friends today…yeah yeah yeah life gets in the way but it’s always fun to reconnect and recharge!

 

The Comadre Chronicles: FunnyStupid Stuff

When driving with ANGIE one of my all-time best comadre-friends, we LAUGHED when she wondered why the windshield wipers weren’t really clearing the windows from the rain;  turned out that the windshield wipers still had the plastic covering on them … made me think about some of the very funnystupidstuff moments with my roommates and close comadre friends…

SCRUBBING THE STAIN OFF OF THE FLOOR

We were in our apartment in Sac and one of my roommates is scrubbing the kitchen floor…trying her hardest to scrub a stain off of the floor…turns out the stain was a SHADOW…do we still laugh about this one to this day?  Y si…

TELLING MY COMADRE THAT HER RIDE WAS HERE

Again at our apartment in Sac, and our MEChA Club had decided to hold a fundraiser where ‘Tacos de Cabeza’ would be sold … now Carmen was NOT going to go to the cabeza(brains) preparation as the thought made me sick — I was going to stay home and cook beans.   I’m in the kitchen and my Comadre is in the bedroom, I hear a sound that I thought was her ride, so I tell her that her ride is outside.  She’s all rushing around and putting her pants on and running at the same time…girl TRIPS right in front of the door.  I was torn between laughing at seeing her on the ground and trying to figure out how to tell her that, no, her ride had not come after all.

AEROBICS Comadre-Style

We had all decided that we wanted to lose weight and decided to take an exercise class at Sac City College — part of the exercise included an aerobics session.  My Comadre is an awesome dancer and was in one of the front lines.  Nisie and I were toward the back.  Don’t remember if Nisie was having a hard time, but I was sweating, huffing and puffing in the back row.  Music is going and my Comadre is all into it…Nisie and I see that Comadre had a small hole in her pants, as the music gets faster and the workout more energetic, Nisie and I were=LOSING it laughing as we watched the hole in my Comadre’s pants get bigger and bigger.   Don’t remember if Mary got mad at us or not … all I remember was that I laughed and laughed.

THE LONG WAY HOME

Driving home from a night-out, my Comadre and I are driving home as the sun comes up … tired and sleepy from a night of partying, we start talking life as people tend to do while the ‘borrachera’ (drunkenness) wears off…we were on Highway 80 and didn’t even notice that we had missed our exit to Midtown Sac;  by the time we realized it, we were almost in Reno…or was it Tahoe?  LOL

The Comadre Chronicles II – First Weekend at 25th and C and “La Pipa”

The Comadre Chronicles – Our First Weekend at 25th & C and “La Pipa”

More about my experiences on my own for the first time at Sac State back in the day…always funny and always something to learn!  LOL

For about the first month or so, Nisie, Mary, and I would go home for the weekend.    The first time that we spent the weekend at the apartment at 25th and C, it was a really quiet night.  As it was late,  we settled in for the night.

First, we hear a noise…and then we hear this creaking sound…it was slow at first and then it was faster and louder.   I remember REALLY being freaked out but not wanting to show it in front of Nisie and Mary.  Especially, since I was constantly teased about being from the “rancho” and afraid of everything.   So here I am, trying not to show how nervous I am, and then Mary and Nisie start getting nervous.  You can just imagine, we worked each other up into hysterics thinking,”omg!  Someone is trying to break into our apartment!” “What should we do?  Should we stay here? Should we go?”

Instead of calling the police, oh waaait! As I recall, we did not yet have a phone, so las tres tontas decide to risk their lives, leave the apartment, get into Nisie’s car, and make the drive in search of a telephone.  Once we got to a phone, did we call the police?  No, we called Jorge and Mario, our friends who lived a few blocks away.

Here come Jorge and Mario ‘to the rescue’ to check out the apartment to make sure that some loco has not invaded our space.  But not before telling us, or as I recall, lecturing these 3 women to always be careful, not to be ”pendejas” and about always calling the POLICE first instead of them!

Turns out there was no random vato in our “spot”, it was the sound of the folks in the apartment next to us walking around!  I don’t know about the girls, but I felt like a complete idiot from the rancho!  I also felt extreme relief knowing that we were safe and that these guys were around!   We also received a gift from Mario that night, a small steel pipe for protection; this pipe also had a name, which is so non-PC (politically correct) that I cannot tell you what it is … and you know what?  That pipe has accompanied me on my many moves throughout the years and, thank God, I never had to use it.

Lesson learned?  Call the police first in case of any emergency, real or imagined.  Nothing wrong with keeping that “pipa” around just in case!

 

The Comadre Chronicles I – The Bra Story

The Comadre Chronicles I – ‘The Bra Story”

Everyone should have that one friend who is fearless, who has no shame, in the best sense of the word, who teaches you about life like no one else can…aaaand, who can have fun with you like no one else can!   I was super-blessed to have had two of them when I first moved out on my own.

Upon first glance, back in the day, my Comadre Mary, Denise AKA Nisie and I were the three people LESS likely to get along, much less be friends.    I don’t even remember how we decided to be roommates at Sac State back in the day, but it was apparent early on, that we were kindred spirits, so much more alike than I could have ever imagined!  The pic above features us 3 with my ‘brother’ Jorge taken at my sis’ wedding some years after we went our separate ways.  I always said that I wanted to put some of our experiences in writing … these experiences will, undoubtedly, include more of our friends, whether they choose to identify themselves, is all on them.

I always wished that I could have had a book to read that would teach me how to live on my own for the first time – especially as I was teased big time for being a tad square and from the rancho LOL!  I’m not talking about just any old book, but one that had that talked about these types of experiences that happen when you first move out …with that Latino flavor that I could so relate to … since I have yet to find that book, I’ll start putting our experiences in writing and see if any of ya’ll can relate…and, if you cannot, at least you can have a good laugh!

“The Bra Story”

While we were attending Sac State, we lived in the Midtown area and our place at 300 – 25th Street, corner of 25th and C, became famous, or maybe infamous, for the parties that we used to have there.  Sac State peeps:  I’m sure you recognize this place!   I am still amazed at the amount of people we could fit in that apartment.   Mary, Nisie, and I would clear the place out of furniture and Nisie was always in charge of putting the music together – I remember she used to always ask me to borrow my stuff en espanol as she got stuff together.   Mary was usually the one to put the word out – si no me equivoco/if I’m not mistaken, girl even made flyers…she always got everyone to attend!

The three of us got to know LOTS of folks right away once we got to the University and, as I recall, this was one of the first parties that we held at our place.   A lot of our new friends showed up to the party and, while we didn’t see anything wild happening that first party, we did see quite a few people ‘hooking up’ that night and taking off.

As we were cleaning up after the party, we found this random bra in our bedroom.  Well, I assumed that it was Nisie’s so I toss it onto her bed, the next day, I find the bra on my bed, Nisie assuming that it was mine and on and on.  One day, I tell Nisie, “This is not MY bra”, to which Nisie responds, “well, it’s NOT mine!” and then we both respond in unison busting up laughing, “Well we know IT’S NOT MARY’S!!”   Why did we laugh?  Because my Comadre, God love her, probably wears the next few sizes away from a training bra and she would be the first one to tell you this along with a million other  hilarious things LOL.

We eventually did figure out who the bra belonged to, and this individual can identify herself by responding to this blog LOL.   What makes us laugh, to this day, is the sight of that “chichero”  Comadre-speak for bra – making the rounds from one bed to the next, each one of us thinking that it belonged to the other!

What did I learn from this?  That when one leaves clothes behind ‘en casa ajena’ somewhere other than home, that s/he should be prepared for it to be ‘on’ and to be teased mercilessly from that moment on!  Believe me, we STILL bring this story up and tease this girl TO THIS DAY…

What?! I’m a Panaderia? Crazy Things My Comadre Sez….

My Comadre — Maria  — and I have been friends for many years…she has her own personal take on life, often unique, always hilarious! Here Comadre is telling me about how I have to treat myself and my life as if it were a PANADERIA (Bakery)…that I have to know that there are different shapes, flavors, and sizes of pan (bread) which, as you will see, are compared to people LOL

One of the best-tasting pieces of pan are the ‘puerquitos’ pigs — which taste awesome but, like too much of a good thing,  are often not that good for you — and many men, not all, fall into this category … so, of course, she tells me that it’s important for me to watch out for the puerquitos/pigs and to try out other types of pan dulce from time to time…LOL

Las ‘conchas’ are the exact opposite of the puercos — the soft, puffy, delicate, conchas almost melt in your mouth, they are sweet but not too sweet, with the hard, crumbly topping and taste good, with or without cafe or leche but you better know that you will get crumbs all over yourself if you’re not careful. So conchas are like women since we can be awesome yet complicated and sometimes a mess…

I was also told that I would also find ‘bigotes’, ‘ojos de buey’, ‘patas de mula’, ‘elotes’, ‘polvorones’, ‘cocodrilos’, ‘pan de muerto’and more…all types of pan dulce which can form part of one’s world … that I shouldn’t be all attached to just the puerquitos, that maybe one of the aforementioned pieces of pan dulce could make my life rather interesting…first I need to know what this type of pan looks and tastes like before I decide that I’m a woman who loves her some ‘puercos’ only!

After hearing me go on and on one day about my romantic life (or lack of one)…here’s what my Comadre tells me: ‘What you need to do is close down that Panaderia for a few days girl…and don’t be giving up conchas for any puercos until you figure out if you wanna go there para que se les quite!’   Whaaaat?!? I will never be able to view pan dulce in quite the same manner ever again…leave it to my Comadre for breaking things down for me as she always does! LOL