Aqui Hay Gato Encerrado

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aaay! The Showers of Change

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This happened earlier tonight:

“The time has come to change Mama’s shower curtain. Tried to find something Daddy would like. As I was looking, I started telling the señoras working there what I was doing and, like true Latinas, they do that “aaay” thing, hug me and tell me their stories of throwing things out/saving things that their parents left behind and we were all almost crying. It did feel nice to be completely understood tonight.”

It’s a kinship borne of sadness, bittersweet memories, of feeling like there’s a hole in you – some days, it feels all-consuming, others it’s more of a dull ache.   And then when you finally are able to laugh, feel happier, able to move forward from your loss, you still miss them.    Once you lose a parent, you 100% understand what a person is going through when their mother or father passes.   No words are necessary.  And, yes, you really do feel that “aaay” in your heart when you know that someone has lost their parent!

It’s so hard for us to throw any of Mama’s things out sometimes.  I had to text the Torres5 to gently let them know that we would be changing the shower curtain, I feel like, if I don’t tell them or “ask” their permission to make changes, that Mama won’t be right with it either.  And knowing my mother, she would be all for my changing the shower curtain.   Her shower curtain had circles of green, blue, and lavender so I chose more “guy” colors – black and gray with his own circles.  Dad really liked it.   Even though I feel like “aaay”, it really is time and Dad has really been working on beautifying our bathroom lately so he’s excited to change-up the look of the place.

Dad is so funny.  Right away, he starts working on one of his “home-improvement” projects and typical me, “OMG Dad, que haces?”.  Turns out he’s making me a little shelf for me to put my “jabon” on, a soap dish, that no one else can use.   Big smiles that remind me how blessed I am to be able to enjoy the simplest things in my life with my father, that it’s sometimes OK to move forward and keep living life.

We all do change in different ways, at different levels, on different timelines.  Sometimes, those “aaay” moments are a good way to track your progress (or not), the “aaays” certainly keep you honest and, if you’re lucky, you are able to feel your feelings instead of backing them up, holding them all in.  What a relief to be able to feel sadness, joy, anger, uncertainty, pain, loss, blessings…isn’t it funny how a simple shower curtain or a soap dish can change your outlook on life?

To be able to share your “aaay” moments with people who understand is even better.  Thank God for those women in Walmart who “got it” and helped me see that, sometimes, change is a positive thing for me, for Dad, for my siblings, and for Mama.

 

Mike Torres, my father, working on my soap dish for my “jabon”… aaay!

Ya Mero! Almost to the Finish Line #52essays2017

 

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When I asked to be part of the #52essays2017, I thought, “oh it’s gonna be easy as I love to write”, and here I sit with 7 essays to go and, if I look at the calendar, I’m about 3 weeks behind, as we are to submit our entries on Sundays/Mondays of each week.  Some weeks, I’d have blog entries stockpiled because I’d be so inspired, others I’d be trying to find my voice, trying to find something legit to talk about, and then there are times like these, where I’m slammed with projects and trying to find the time to write.

This writing challenge has mirrored my life in a lot of ways. I’ve got goals that I made for myself at the beginning of 2017, some completed, others not. I’ve got a ton of projects for which it is “crunch time”. Lots of things that “need” to get done by December 31st.

I’ve never been a fan of December 31st. I tend to focus on what did not happen, what did not get done, what I was unable to do.  It takes me awhile to get into January 1st too as the upcoming 52 weeks always seem to overwhelm me, so new, so big, what do I hope to accomplish?

This year feels different.   Yes, I’ve got 7 more blog entries to do by December 31st.  Yes, I’ve got a busy month of events that end on December 31st.  Yes, the pressure is on big time to get stuff done.   The difference is that getting it all done somehow feels possible.  Possible because, once I started writing #52essays2017,  I was able to keep better track of my goals and the writing forced me to revisit them throughout the year.   I may have a lot of task-related goals that need to get done but, more important, I was able to work on life goals, things like putting family first, getting some of my demons out of my system, trying to work smarter, not harder.  And looove that I’m sitting in clothes that fit much better and in some cases, are too big.   Before I think I’m all that, my health goal, especially, will remain a priority for me.

I’ve taken my writing much more seriously this year,  I’ve started to own it that I’m a writer.  I’m more confident in my writing and can take it better when I get constructive criticism LOL.  I have my habits:  music opens up the creative side of my mind so 9 times out of 10, I’m listening to music – at present The Beatles blast through my headphones.  I work very well in warm places with good light, a roomy table, and the smell of cafecito so I can often be found at a Starbucks and especially love the ones where they know my name and know what I’m going to order.  I’m still trying to find the best way to write down/record/type out an idea so that I don’t forget it, I still haven’t figured it out!  I am learning how to find that balance of putting it all out there no filter versus keeping it a lil discreet so that I can protect the names of the innocent (or guilty), and to keep some things protected/close to my heart.  And then there are moments like these, when I get inspired when I should be sleeping and I “have” to write.   I’m finding my writing style, “Slice of Life”, it doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me…and I have found that so many folks relate to and have a good laugh -or cry- on some of the things I write about.

I’m very happy that I have been able to be part of #52essays2017 and will celebrate the day that I finish the challenge!  I’ve grown as a writer and as a person…looking forward to more of the same in the upcoming year.

One down, 6 more to go in 2017.  It’s all about accomplishing my goal of #52essays2017.

What? Que QUE? Car Clutter and Boundaries

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There is clutter all over the place in my world.   Dad is doing some major work in our bathroom and there’s stuff all over the place, the kitchen is still in Thanksgiving-clutter mode, one side of the living/dining room looks like Dad’s workshop has exploded, my “apartment” looks like an event mess – one box, or basket, or bag belongs to one event or another, and my Jeep also has my event stuff and junk all over the place. Es un desmadre.

This is not good.

I almost don’t know where to start clearing the clutter as it feels like it’s everywhere.  So I am going to start with the one place I spend the most time:  my Jeep.

Found some great information in the article, “What Does Your Clutter Say About You?” (TheDailyMail, 20Aug17):

YOUR CAR 

Emotional issue: No boundaries.

What this means: Letting clutter pile up in your car means that no space is left for yourself, however personal — you’re letting things and people encroach on every area of your life. Clutter in the car is often the first sign of feeling overwhelmed, because this should be your own space, not a dumping ground. Ask yourself: are you keeping your calendar full so you can tell yourself you’re too busy to make changes in your life?

OMG.  What? QueQUE? This is not for the faint of heart.  Who KNEW that a cluttered car showed a lack of boundaries, that I have no space or peace because I’m not living my life for me, I’m living it to please others, to put projects and people in front of my personal space and health?  Since August, it has been one project after another after another after another.   It certainly shows in my Jeep – cajas y papeleo por todos lados,  while I feel like tossing it all out, I know that I need to go through it to see what I need.  Things like receipts:  I just remembered that I’ve got my receipts all over the place in one bag or another, and I need these receipts for reimbursements, taxes, etc.  You’re better than this Carmen.

I had also been trying to live healthier and it had worked for a long time.  I’m so off of the wagon that I’ve actually had to go into “one day at a time” mode so that I would take better care of myself so that I do not completely erase all of the good that I did for myself.  Una soda tras otra best describes me this month, yes, I still drink a lot of water but I’m back to Cokes with ice big time thus the clutter of cups with straws all over the Jeep.  Setting boundaries will especially help me in the health area:  making time for exercise, saying “no” to soda, back to enjoying water and the total empowerment of taking care of myself, it’s like I got complacent, no denying that anymore.

I find that, increasingly, I need more and more time to think and strategize and organize my many projects…and THEN, when I have the time, I don’t know what I should think about first so I end up not thinking at all, and not having my necessary personal-strategy sessions…so then I struggle with solving problems, with doing extra work and backtracking because I didn’t think things out.  Making the necessary changes has not happened either.

It’s all about going back to the beginning, starting over, thankful that I haven’t completely messed up but recognizing that I am in danger of reversing all of the good I had achieved for myself.

Maybe occupying your time in this way protects you from taking some risks. If you feel compelled to say yes to everyone who asks a favor, ask yourself why. Learning to sit with the discomfort that may come with disappointing people is crucial to your happiness.

This really makes me mad this minute.  I swore that I was going to have the “huevos” to take care of myself, to ditch the people-pleasing stuff, and to have the courage to put my needs up there along with everything else.   A perfect example was taking an important meeting last week when I was fighting the flu.  While I did well working at about 40% of my energy, can you imagine what I could have done had I been at 100%?

Taking stock will not be easy but it needs to be done, some projects and people will not make the cut and I will need to be ready to face it.   Looks like I still have some work to do.

What to do about it:

1.  Practice setting boundaries by saying ‘no’ in lower-risk relationships; a co-worker rather than a family member, or a stranger instead of your boss.

2.  Working on boundary clutter leads to cleaner relationships, less stress, and deeper connections with the people in your life.

Sometimes you need to get hit on the head by reality.  The clutter in my car brought an issue up to the surface that I had no real clue was going on…until it bit me on the @$$.   This week, day by day, I will work on cleaning the clutter in my Jeep while I work on making boundaries.  The time has come for me to serve order and let order serve me.   I like the fast pace of my life, and working smarter is the only way that I can survive and thrive.

Looking back, I have been struggling with this pit in my stomach for weeks now.  I’m quite relieved that THIS strategy thinking session came down the way it did.   I can change my life … one “no” at a time, and by throwing out the trash!

 

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!

 

The Importance of “Pegue”

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I always smile when I hear the term “tener pegue” – I always think of it as someone who works it, someone who is confident and walks thru life with a fun attitude and who is fearless.  I looked up “pegue” and liked this definition from a blog called MySpanishNotes:

Tener pegue” means   to have sex appeal, or charm if you like.  It means you’ve got a way with the opposite sex.

So if someone tells you “Tienes mucho pegue“, well, lift your head up high and smile, because they just gave you a very nice compliment.  Tienes (traes) mucho pegue  You got a lot of sex appeal.  I’ve yet to hear this phrase directed at me, but perhaps you all have better luck and more “pegue” than me.

My Comadre MariaLuisa and I have been friends for many years.  The word “pegue” is very much a part of her vocabulary.  And as you will see in the following examples, it is also a part of her life.  My Comadre is the most personable, hilarious, and natural life of the party.

My Comadre and I got together for lunch at the University Union a few weeks ago.  We’re sitting there eating and talking about life and, like many times at University, it is packed during the lunch hour and people will randomly ask to sit at your table if there is an extra chair.  On this day, it was a guy in his twenties.

Now my Comadre and I are way older than the students at the University but I hope we don’t look thaaaat old!  So when this guy who sat with us was laughing at all of the ish we were talking and he starts talking to us – wait, let me rephrase that, he starts talking to my Comadre, and not just talking with her, like flirting with her!  He gets up to leave and I look at my Comadre who, without skipping a beat, says, “I still got it Comadre, todavia tengo pegue!” 🙂  So true!  I remember seeing this when we were students, this woman would have every guy after her, wanting to hang out with her.  Many of the pretty girls regularly wondered how my Comadre did it.  Even her so-called friends. I also remember one of Comadre’s ‘friends’ telling her, “how do you do it? I mean, I can’t even get anyone to pay attention to me (‘because I’m thin and beautiful’ was what she did not say out loud)”.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago:   I met my Comadre who was at a birthday party in the park, I hadn’t seen her in a while; in fact, I haven’t seen a n y of my friends for a very long time.

My Comadre had invited me weeks ago, and I was tempted to NOT go because, lately, I tend to say “no” automatically. I sent her a text asking if she was still going to be in town, and she responds promptly, “come on down, they have a taquero” LOL — so if I didn’t go for her per se, I was going to go for the tacos! Once I arrived to the party, tacos or not, I was glad that I had shown up. As we walked to the tables, I ask my Comadre how she is, and she tells me “I’m already drinking” and I smile because the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I knew that we would have a fun time.

Within minutes, I was LAUGHING because this girl is straight-up hilarious.  And then it happens again:  all of the guys gravitate toward Comadre, and she’s joking with them all.  Like usual, I’m sitting right by her and watching all of this go down and seeing some of the women give those looks that we women tend to give when our men are flirting with someone else.  She says to me under her breath, “I still got that “pegue”

What does it feel like to have that kind of effect on people?  How do you know that you have it?  What do you have to do to get it, to have pegue?  According to my Comadre, it’s very easy.  Just be yourself, don’t try to be something you’re not.  It’s exhausting to try to be someone you’re not and, at our age, it’s simply not attractive to be all desesperada just to get a man to notice you.   This will allow you to be more confident because you’re not playing games, you’re owning the good and bad about yourself, you’re completely comfortable saying anything you want, you’re not trying too hard.

I also asked one of my guy friends about “pegue”.  He proceeds to tell me how it’s charm, it’s working it, it’s having that confidence to “say out loud what most people are thinking”, to know that you’ve “got it”, to know that you can get anything you want.   Another important thing was to be completely natural, to act like you’ve already got it instead of wondering how you are going to get it.

What I really liked was how he said that he would get in front of the mirror, with or without his daughters, and say ‘daaang we look good, don’t we?  Everyone is gonna check us out when we go out today”, how cool to instill that type of self-love into his daughters.  My comadre regularly tells herself in the mirror, “chingaaao, que buenota eres!” LOL  They speak to themselves as if they are the best thing ever and it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy, what they say they are, they are.

Both of these individuals definitely make an impact upon entering a room, they have that kind of confidence that one needs to get what they want:  a man, a woman, a meeting, a yes.  In short, they make “pegue” work for them, instead of the other way around.  I love that kind of confidence.   Can you imagine if there were a way to bottle that kind of  energy?  Can you imagine the possibilities your life could have if you lived knowing that you had that kind of “pegue”?  Limitless opportunities.  A fun social life.  Walking through life with confidence.  I want that kind of “pegue”.  

Work it for yourself with confidence, with pegue.  A good life goal, don’t you think?

No One Could Have Imagined …

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It seems as if the world is spinning so wildly that it’s about of fall off of its axis. So much natural disaster, so much negativity, so much political strife, so much racism. Makes you wonder what will be the final straw.

Twenty-four hours ago felt like the last straw for me.   When I first heard of the gunman mowing down people at a music festival in Las Vegas.  I was stunned to see the chaos, to hear bullet after bullet, to feel the panic in the air.  As I watched the news channels today, I was sick to hear that this man had arrived to Vegas with an arsenal of fire power designed to maim and kill innocent people. I’ve also watched the news pundits try to analyze the ‘why?’ someone would do this. I finally had to turn the TV off, it was so hard to watch it all.

A short while ago, I started thinking about it again. This time, I thought of all of my friends who work within my industry, those of us who plan events, those of us who get excited when we get to plan really big events, those of us who get the rush, not by watching the stage, but by watching people truly enjoy the experience that we have had a hand in creating.

When I am planning an event, I put myself into the shoes of the person who will come to my event. What will they wear? How excited will they be as they get ready for the dance/concert/event? Who will be coming with them? Their mother, who loves this or that artist, or will it be their significant other to take in the experience of seeing their idol live, or that little one who is beyond excited to see one of their favorite characters with parents spending the show with their eyes fixated on the joy in their child’s eyes.

I have worked in Country Radio and remember the day that my client told me about the very first Route 91 Festival, how the lineup was going to knock me out once released, how the listeners would be super hyped and that it would make history as one of the premier Country events. This was four years ago. Dicho y hecho, this is exactly what it turned out to be.

When planning an event, it’s customary to make Plan A, Plan B, Plan C to cover yourself from any type of situation: rain, snow. extreme heat/cold, wind, a competing event, when there’s a huge sporting event like futbol and you know that it will affect attendance. What sickens me is that HOW do you prepare for some desquisiado deranged person who is on a mission to destroy?  Just getting your hands around it requires much effort.  Events are not meant or made to harm or destroy.

It’s all about bringing fun to people’s’ lives, helping them to escape their reality, to bring people together, to make memories, to give them an unforgettable experience.  That’s why I do it.  That’s why I’ve done it for the majority of my life.   I just do not know how to factor in someone trying to reverse all of the positive energy that I put into planning an event, how do you stop a rain of bullets?  how do you stop a person from taking that very sick step into the dark side that will never end well?

That is the one question that I have no answer for.   All I know is that I will continue to plan events just as I always have…to bring people together through music, fun, and entertainment.  Not important to some, but super important to me.  Especially as I have seen with my own eyes how cool it is when people ‘get it’, when they are having the blast that I hoped that they would have when I put myself into their shoes.

Prayers to all those affected by this senseless tragedy.  Those who perished.  Those who were shot.  Those who planned this event.  All of their lives have been changed forever in one night.  All of our lives have been changed too.

Inner Chingona for the Block

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#52essays2017.    36/52

 

Social media and I have always gotten along.  I love keeping up with people and learning new things.  I’ve never been too “pesada” and gotten into any heavy-duty arguments or anything, I’ve always tried to keep things light.  Sure I love the chisme but I never straight-up wish harm on anyone.  So to see that I had been blocked by a certain person had me doing my ‘QueQUE?’ face?

Why do people block others from their social media pages?

Por pesados.    

Por latosos.

Por drama.

Just like in real life, the instinct is to back off from folks who are ‘pesados‘, that is, super negative, bad attitude-having folks who rub people the wrong way.  “Latosos” are the ones who exist to bug and frustrate you and the world, very stubborn.  “Drama” – putting ALL of their business out there.  I’m of the opinion that some things just do not belong in writing and that includes arguments and stuff like that.  Not attractive.

Add to this list, safety.  If someone doesn’t feel safe on social media, imaginate how s/he will be in person.  As regular readers of this blog know, I have dealt with cyber-bullying/stalking and telling me to “just ignore it” when seeing certain posts and reading sick, filthy, derogatory, demeaning, vulgar, angry, sadistic messages doesn’t work.  They are impossible to ignore and they DO have an effect on you.   And like I’ve also said before, knowing that someone is out there hassling friends, colleagues, and acquaintances is a mind-boggling, embarrassing, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide experience that can sometimes have an even worse effect on you, your peace, and your life.

So to see that I had been blocked by someone, someone I do not even know personally, someone who I’m a fan of, someone whom I’ve never spoken to or written to, really brought me down a few minutes ago.  My mind is going crazy thinking, “how did this happen?” “what exactly was said or sent to this person to make them press BlockCarmenTorres?”

And the minute I ask the question, I answer it as well.  There is only one person who can be pesado, latoso, drama-ridden, and unsafe enough for someone to block him.  Who knows what sets him off?  Who knows why he gives off such negative vibes? Who knows how to make it stop?  I surely do not know.  The saving grace:  the person who blocked me is not really an acquaintance or a friend, therefore we do not run in the same circles, and it is very unlikely that we would ever meet face-to-face.  That moment of “aaay here we go again” and the feeling of dread lasts only minutes now, thank GodJesusVirgenOfG.

Got me thinking that, maybe,  InnerChingona is dodging a bullet for me, a bullet filled with shame, embarrassment, despair, fear, and anger that threatens to throw me into emotional chaos.    That madness has no place in my life now which happens to be filled with positive people, projects, and prospects.  I’ve got to keep listening to InnerChingona so that I’m able to keep my hard-won peace and joy.

If Inner Chingona says “Keep on keeping on, Di No A Las Pendejadas”, then I better handle it, do my part, and listen!

 

 

Feliz Dia del Locutor and Love to my RadioFam

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I’ve been part of the radio industry, in some way, shape, or form, since I was in high school.  My mother was the one who encouraged me to sign up for Broadcasting in the 10th grade, telling me that I always used to say that I wanted to be on the radio.  I do not remember saying it, but I do remember wondering what it must be like to be able to say a few words and to have the whole world able to hear them.  Love that there is a day to celebrate folks in radio…today is Dia del Locutor aka Radio Announcer aka Radio DJ aka Radio On-Air Personality.

I remember hearing the dj’s on-air and wondering how they made it all happen:  how did they change the songs?  How did they know when/how to talk on the mic?  Were there that many people in the studio all of the time? (when commercials would come on).  Going into that first Broadcasting class, the only girl, was super exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.  The very first words I uttered into that microphone had me sounding scared LOL, I was shaking big time.  Shaking but determined to get over it and get on that air.   I learned everything by doing it, by not being afraid to try,  ‘a la brava’, there were no women mentors in school.  Even when I learned how to run a studio and I knew how things were done, I never lost that wonder when I’d listen to the radio.

Once I got my first radio job on-air, I was still nervous but knew that this was where I needed to be.  In those first couple of years I saw it all:  station being sold, people getting fired, finding people in various stages of drunkenness, with women, with men, high on drugs, passed out, doing ‘it’ on top of a conference room table, in a studio, in a station van.  I learned QUICK that this was one crazy world.  I also learned that this craziness was not going to scare me off:  I was ready to work, work and work to do the best job I could do.

This crazy world has always been one of the most comfortable places for me.  I never needed alcohol or drugs to keep up.  My challenge has always been workaholic related.  Fast-paced, energetic, crazy, straight-up drama some days, rarely calm.  It was the perfect environment for me to unleash my energy.   One cannot enter into this world without that ‘chispa’, that spark of energy that moves you forward when everyone else has gone home, when everyone else has said “f#$% it, I’m out”, when you need to finish that copy, that proposal, that commercial, that schedule, etc.  You must put in the time in order to survive much less succeed.  None of my colleagues at KNBS, my high school station, stayed with radio as long as I have – sad, because some of them were really good.

For many years, my place was in the studio on-air.  My dad is still waiting for me to go back on-air, that I could do it just as well as “la negrita esa” aka Oprah LOL.   I loved my time on-air, I was one of those who loved answering the phones and made many lasting friends.  Recording commercials was straight-up madness for me, I was and am a perfectionist and would do take after take after take in order to get it right.  But like anything in radio, if you’re heart isn’t into it 100%, you need to move on.  When the walls started to close in on me, I knew that I was ready to move on to Marketing/Promotions/Events…waaay fun!  No bigger high that seeing a packed venue, folks having fun at the events.  I’m the type of event nerd that doesn’t watch the artist on stage, I watch the audience and try to count how many show up LOL.

Sometimes you have an office, a cubicle, a little chair and a small table, a seat in the station van, somewhere in the middle of a ‘jaripeo’ to work from and, somehow, that’s all you need to get the job done.  I can work from anywhere but my favorite office was that corner oficina, two huge windows for walls.  I was able to make things happen in this corner, where I rarely needed to turn the lights on, where I could see what the weather looked like outside, where I could stare out at the trees as I worked out ideas for events.

While folks may say that radio is dying because of social media, ipods, streaming services…I do not agree.  People want to turn their device on and feel the thrill of someone being at home, to know that the lights are on, that someone is in the station. Especially if that someone will play a favorite song, send out a shout out, give you a prize.  This is what I hear from people all of the time, they always ask about this ‘locutor’ or that on-air personality, they always get excited when I tell them how they can win, they always love to talk about their favorite songs or artists. That has never changed.  I guess that it’s my job to remind folks how cool radio is…

To the many members of my radio familia, in both English and Spanish, who work it daily, maybe our stories are different, but I believe that we all have that spark, that ‘chispa’ to give to this world, to make things sound big, bad, colorful, wild, and fun.  We truly do have radio in our blood.    People always want to tell you how to do the job, but there are truly only a few who can do this kind of work and do it well.  It would take me forever to write out all of your names but I have had the privilege of working with so many great people and learning from them. It may be Dia del Locutor but it’s really for all of us who have worked On-air, Sales, Traffic, Production, Marketing, Promotions, and all of those GMs out there.   My RadioFam is one of a kind.  No hay como mi gente de la radio.  Feliz Dia del Locutor!

 

Learning Life Thru The Eyes of An 8-Year-Old

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I’ve been spending time with my lil 8-year old niece god-daughter lately.  I’m totally that “aunt” or in my family “nina”, as we are all godparents to our kids, most of them know us as “NinaCarmen”, etc..     You better know that I love all of my godchildren as if they were my own.

Don’t ask me why, but a child’s 8th year has always seemed very special to me.   I notice that these lil ones are starting to find out what they like, they start saying what they want to be when they grow up, they’re still not afraid or embarrassed to talk about what scares them, what they don’t like, things that bother them, what makes them happy.  For some, the major issues haven’t engulfed them completely:  drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs, negativity.

I feel a huge responsibility to be there for them a lot, to listen to them, to ask them questions, to try to show them that I’m there for them no matter what, to guide them a little, to show them new parts of the world, to have an influence on their young lives, to try to keep them safe and secure, so that when the major issues come along, they may be stronger than drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs, or negativity.

At some point in their lives, usually at 8 years old or so, I’ve brought in my godchildren into my business to show them how things work.  This month, we’ve been promoting an upcoming event:  I’ve been teaching her how to get up in front of people, pass out flyers for the event, we even put flyers on hundreds of car windows in 4 large parking lots and she did better than most adults I know.  I wasn’t sure how she’d like this kind of work but, as we kept on with it, I could see her really working it.

As we drove around in the car, my lil mamita started to ask question after question after question, “Nina Carmen, why…?”and we talked about everything –from why she liked her 2nd grade teacher better than her 3rd grade teacher, about books that she reads at school, random things she’s learning about science, and how she does not like learning fractions this year.  But what really got me was her desire to want to learn how to work it, to speak in front of people, and “how old were you Nina Carmen when you started doing this work?”  Her lil mouth flew open when I said “EIGHT years old”.

I remember how cool it was to be the one chosen to run events when I was that little, granted, I didn’t do that much but it was such a big responsibility to me and it made me feel very special.   I have never lost that feeling of how cool it is to be in charge and to run events.  To this day, it is a rush to see how my events turn out, especially when there’s a full house and when people are having a great time.  And, if any of the TorresBabies get behind a microphone, or start taking charge at an event, the smile is on my face for weeks.

On this day I was “training” this child to promote events.  We were going into businesses to ask them to place some our event flyers near their registers.   I was more nervous than my lil one was and, while she was apprehensive at first, I almost cried tears of pride when I heard this girl give what we in marketing call the “elevator speech”.  Mamita worked it, expressed herself well, was poised, purposeful, confident and she got people to place her flyers by the register :).   She even told me later that day, “Nina, I feel confident”.  I would give every cent and dollar I will ever have that this baby girl always feels confident and ready to work it.  My mamita can and WILL do better than I ever have.

I can go on and on about how I want to change the world.   Being here for all of my godchildren and helping them to feel confident will be the best that I can for them.  The TorresBabies will change part of the world I’m sure of this.  I am happy to step aside and watch them move forward and soar.

But first, I will enjoy watching them live life thru their 8-year-old eyes, learning, having fun, and doing what makes them happy.  Watching my lil one do what I did so many times as an 8-year-old, made me smile.  She was writing down songs that she liked as we heard them on the radio.   It’s amazing, that with so much technology to make our lives “easier”, isn’t it cool that children truly need none of that mess, all they need is a simple pencil and paper to write down the songs/and things that are important to them … and they need to be around people who love them, listen to them, support them.  Hope this never changes.