How Can I Help? Inner Chingona Has the Answer, I Just Know It.

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So much has happened in our country, from disasters natural to disasters straight-up unbelievable.  There is a definite ‘us versus them’ vibe, divisiveness, and negativity seem to be the order of the day.  I try to keep politics out of writing because I do not like to go on and on and on if I don’t feel completely informed.  I really do try to stay informed and I watch a lot of news and also get a lot of my news by listening to You Tube, yes, listening (as I drive) to msnbc, CNN, and other news outlets to see what this Administration comes up with next.   Every Friday night, it seems as if one bombshell or another is dropped.   I love Ana Navarro, she may be a Republican 🙂 but she is one Latina who is fearless and will call anyone out on their pendejadas – Republican, Democrat, and especially anything – policy, executive order, or otherwise, that comes out of Washington.  How I wish I could put it out there for the world as she does.

A lot of what comes out of this Administration is so offensive, it’s straight-up racist and it is so obvious that there is no love or support for my Latino community.  While I don’t expect red carpet service, I do expect fair treatment and it is disheartening to watch every single pillar of civil rights being torn down in front of my eyes, my community is demeaned, discounted, and defeated on a daily basis.  My Dad and I watch a lot of Univision news and, some days, it’s downright depressing:  deportations and discrimination are the order of the day and almost the entire newscast deals with this new, sick, normal. Spanish media HAS to talk about this, because it is rare to see these stories in mainstream media.  No matter how mentally exhausting the news is, I feel that we must not let this fatigue get us down, we must be informed, we must be ready to change the world.

I know that my anger hit the roof when all of the business with the Arpaio Pardon came out.  I’ve been screaming out this question:  WHAT will it take to get the Latino community galvanized, to stand up and fight all of these daily pendejadas?  It’s all around us, HOW can we just sit and take it?  I’m seriously pondering this question because I want to be part of the solution.  It just feels so overwhelming that I have no clue of where to start.   I’m going to start on the things that are important to me.

Culture, Familia, Musica, Art, Food – these have always been what has brought us together and invited others to learn about us.   I’ve always trusted “slice of life” things and values.  There has got be something in there that I can contribute to the world and learn how to change things…I need to keep looking for that little opening of the door, where I can do some good for others.  In order to accomplish this, I have to keep looking inward, keep living life, and looking to my InnerChingona for guidance.  How?  Quien sabe?  The one thing I don’t see in my future is running for office, I’ve always functioned best as an advocate for Latinos, promoting my culture, and things that may not seem heavy-duty to some activists, but that have always been important to me.  Somehow, someway, I will find a way.  Ya es hora.

 

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Day 11 of 15 Days of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Inspiracion/Inspiration #HHM15Foto

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A lot of what I do requires a huge amount of self-motivation and getting inspired really helps: studying, writing, planning events, planning family activities, cleaning LOL.

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To get the inspiration flowing, I find that MUSIC inspires me best. When I am going to write, don’t ask me why, but I always start with music by Marco Antonio Solis songs. After I get into the writing groove, I’ll change up the music but it’s like Marco Antonio Solis is like a cup of cafe in the morning.

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When I’m planning events, I find that listening to a mixture of fast Old School, Ranchera and Banda songs get me moving in the right direction. With each song, I visualize each part of the event from the set-up to the day of event and I visualize it all going well!

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When I am going to socialize with friends: Smooth R&B – LOL I remember when it was straight-up party music, you better know we must be getting mellower.

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When I’m cleaning or when I’m in the office, my Pandora shuffle has EVERYTHING. Anyone who has had to sit my me in an office will tell you that my Pandora shuffle is the most diverse ever!

In the Torres Fam, we love any/all kinds of music! ‪#‎HHM15Foto‬

 

>>>>>>See videos below!

 

Marco Antonio Solis & Joan Sebastian:  La Venia Bendita

 

Earth Wind & Fire:  Got to Get You Get You Into My Life

 

Jenni Rivera – Ya Lo Se

 

Musiq Soulchild – Yes

 

Ruben Blades – Pedro Navaja

 

Writing 101: 3 Important Songs Help Me Commit to a Writing Practice

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The basic unit of writing practice is the timed exercise.

– Natalie Goldberg

Today it’s all about learning how to commit to practicing writing on a daily basis. The goal for today is to write for 15 minutes without stopping as I answer the following question:

 

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

 

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Regular readers of Carmen’s Blog know that I love music! I have put the timer on for this 15-minute writing challenge and I’ll bet I have no problem to talk about music LOL. Should I talk about music in Spanish? music in English? songs that make me sad? happy? creative? motivated?  Music lovers KNOW that the hard part will be in choosing the songs, there are soooo many!

You know that we come from a musical family so we had been around music for our entire lives and were heavily influenced by music from our musician father, and mother whose musical tastes ran the gamut from English to Spanish. So we know all about trios, Javier Solis, Miguel Aceves Mejia, Patsy Cline, Eydie Gorme, Nat King Cole, oldies and some straight-up cool jams like “Tighten Up” , “Groove Me” and “Crystal Blue Persuasion” which our Ita loved.   We Torres’ also spent a lot of time with our Grijalva cousins and they, as my brother Marty says, really blew our minds music wize. They loved and exposed us to soooo much music that we still love today.

Song 1: “Don’t You Worry About A Thing” Stevie Wonder

I’ll never forget the first time that I heard this song. We Torres’ were all lil ones then and just learning about what kind of music that WE liked. This was one of the first songs that I heard English words sung, some Spanish words spoken, “todo ‘ta bien chevere”, and this definite and unique Latino vibe. I had never heard the piano played in that riff/melody/progression before and it was soooo cool to instinctively relate to this style of music. It was the first time I heard anything that sounded like salsa in my life. Who knew that I’d grow into this major salsa fan? I wasn’t the only Torres either to love this song, ALL of my siblings love this song. It’s so fun to watch the different reactions from each of us: my brothers immediately start air playing their instruments of choice, keyboards and drums. My sisters get that pout going as they nod their head in time to the music.  I had to call sis LG, accomplished musician and salsa fan that she is, tells me that this very distinctive intro is call a “montuno” piano riff.  I remember this song being one of our Torres Fam Approved Songs then and now.

 

 

Song 2: “El Raton” Fania All Stars

This was probably the first salsa song that I heard and loved instantly. Of course, we heard this song through our Grijalva cousins and I went out and bought the Fania All Stars “Latin*Soul*Rock” Live album.   It was the first time that I had ever heard salsa giant Cheo Feliciano sing and loved that he put in some English into the song as I was still learning how to speak and understand Spanish.  Also, this was the first music in Spanish that I heard that wasn’t Mexican so their accents and phrasing sounded so different how I spoke.  Only years later, did I ‘get it’ that, in this song, that all of the super heavy weights, the creators of modern Salsa, legends were all playing together!   I would listen to the album for hours on end.   I was so young that, by the time I was of concert-going age, the Fania All Stars had pretty much broken up and a lot of these guys were on their own and became legendary salseros in their own right:  Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto, Celia Cruz, Cheo and of course, my favorite Ruben Blades.  I’ve seen many of these guys in concert but would have LOVED to see THIS particular show all all of them on stage together.  I’ve always been a fan of ‘salsa dura’, this type of salsa is so on the beat, solid, not too slow if you want to dance, with very tight musical arrangements.   I’m a huge fan of the vocalists especially and love to hear the inventive ways that they work it singing lead and with ‘coros’.  Fania All Stars’ music still stands up after all of this time and is also on the list of Torres Fam Approved Songs.

 

 

Song 3:  “The Golden Time of Day”  Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

Love love love this song!  I got to know Maze’s music years after it came out.  My siblings knew and loved all of their songs and sis Kiki, especially, loves her Frankie.  The one thing that I always got from this music was that it was ‘groovin’ music to chill out to while at home or in the yard, music to cruise to, music to party to.  Being an event planner, I had always envisioned a huge outdoor event where people were kicking back having a good time.  But, once I got into the words of the song, I really started to LOVE it.   I love this time of day, the sun really is golden, it starts cooling down if it’s been hot all day, the world starts winding down and relaxing.  So much of my life has revolved around events that end around this time of day, so I can usually be found driving home during the golden time of day.  I cannot tell you how many gorgeous sunsets I’ve been able to experience at the wheel of my Jeep – it’s the absolute perfect way for me to wind down!   I’ve been lucky enough to see him in concert and, there is nothing like being there to experience “The Golden Time of Day” LIVE…to see thousands of people groove and sing the song word for word is amazing, now I know that I am not the only one who loves this song!

 

Ok, so it’s been about 20 minutes since I started this post and my hands hurt LOL but in a good way…I love music and I love talking about music!  I’ve attached videos of my three song choices – hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

>>>WHAT THREE SONGS DO IT FOR YOU?????