HP, don’t read this.

On New Year’s Eve last year, I drove 4 good friends in my little blue Stratus out to a party in Palm Desert. Almost as soon as we got on the 60 east freeway, we began with the resolutions.

We did it a little different. Instead of making up our own resolutions, someone else in the car made one up. We didn’t hold back. I told Ome that she should resolve to actually listen to the advice her friends offered when she specifically asked for it. Ome told Gabby, that she should basically take “the stick out of her ass” and start having some more fun. Gabby told Isa, the roommate that she should stop fighting so much with her boyfriend at the time and actually try to make it work. Isa made up a resolution for Jon, her boyfriend, about being more appreciative of her. Jon made up my resolution.

Speaking for me, Jon said, “I resolve to date a guy who lives in LA.”

Perhaps I should call Jon and tell him that I met his resolution with plenty of time left in the year.

I’m sure Jon would be proud to know that when I call _____ (I need to come up with a good pseudonym), I don’t have to dial a long distance number. I can leave my apartment and be at his place in under 20 minutes if I’m lucky and there’s little to no traffic. The proximity is both weird and great. I see him daily and wonder how at one point not so long ago, I could handle being hundreds of miles away from the guy I was dating.

Things are cool with _____ and I’m happy. It’s nice to have someone who likes the same music, can talk baseball for hours, knows where to find the best tacos, and works in a nearby building.

This is all the chismosos y chismosas will get.


¡Qué pena!

Last night I threw up on someone. He was really understanding about the whole thing, but I still felt extremely embarrassed and rather bad about the mess I made. If we need to talk about what’s more gross, I think I’d beat out all of Oso’s tales of alcohol-induced vomiting… even the time he threw up on his friend sleeping in the bunk below him and definitely worse than blowing chunks on my car. The whole mess got me thinking about my most embarrassing moments and put me in a High Fidelity mood.

Top 5 most embarrassing moments:

Five: The Rose Bowl
On January 1, 1999 the UCLA Bruins played against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Rose Bowl. Back then, the UCLA football team was initially ranked number 1 in the nation and I was in the UCLA Band. It was the first year of the BCS system and we were undefeated all season until we played a late-season game against Miami. The game was supposed to be in September, but it was postponed because of a hurricane (Mitch? maybe). Anyway, the consolation prize was the Rose Bowl which meant staying in town and getting up hella early for the 5+ mile parade through Pasadena. After the parade, we’d still have to play at the Rose Bowl.

I began walking along the sideline like I’d done half a dozen times before for home games. I was supposed to be at the 20 yard line because that’s where my pod lined up for the pre-game show. Once in our spiral pods, we run out high-stepping down the field and spell out UCLA (we’d end up in cursive letters at the end of the show, visual, I was always in the link between the U and C).

The Wisconsin Badgers were warming up. Some random player went out for a pass and ran into the sideline where he slammed into me. He didn’t even apologize and just ran back out onto the field with the ball. I, on the other hand, was shaken up and then freaked out when I saw the condition of my beloved trombone. Someone who was nearby said I looked as if someone had hurt my baby. I cried… a lot. My trombone was all bent out of shape and I couldn’t play it because there was now a hole where two parts of the trombone linked up. Others tried to calm me down, and quick because I still needed to march in the pregame show. One of the trombone players who wasn’t quite good enough to be in the pregame show lent me his trombone for the day and I sucked up my sadness… at least until UCLA lost the game.

Four: Cindyitis strikes again
The summer before 9th grade, I took a trip with my parents and the high school band to Australia. We stayed in Sydney with families, but traveled to other parts of Southeast Australia for concerts or day trips. One evening, we had a barbeque at a small petting zoo. I volunteered during a sheep shearing demonstration. I went up to the stage with my brother, Danny. Although the stage was not too high, we still had to step on bales of hay to climb up. The bales were covered with coarse brown blankets so you couldn’t tell where one bale ended and the other began. Danny jumped off the stage and over the bales. I considered doing the same but then thought twice of it because I know I’m extremely clumsy and was likely to fall on my face. So, I stepped on a bale and began to do the exact same thing I was trying to avoid. I fell face forward and hit my knee in front of a bunch of people, including the guy I had a crush on at the time.

Three: Blowing chunks
Last night, after the Dodger vs. Diamondbacks game, I vomited up all of my chicken tacos, rice, beans and beer on the guy I’m seeing. No, I was not drunk. He was rather grossed out but pretty understanding for a guy who just had my dinner all over him.

Two: the Cheater
I got caught cheating on a test about the “discovery” of the Americas in 8th grade. Gasp! Yes, I was one of those kids who did anything to be the best in her class. Well, all the kids in the “honors” class (oh, the irony) were cheaters. Our tests in that class were oral. Mrs. Isaacson would ask each question once and if you missed it, you could ask her to repeat the question at the end of the test. This test was no different. The thing was, whenever someone asked for a repeated question, she’d only pay attention to that student. Kids on the other side of the room would begin whispering and sharing answers. That’s how Marc and I got caught.

In the middle of whispering “San Salvador” to Marc across the aisle, Isaacson turned to me and said, “what are you doing?”

I froze.

“What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?”

Someone behind me whispered, “say you needed an eraser.” It didn’t matter, I was already convinced that coming out of the situation unscathed was extremely unlikely. Apparently, though the cat did have our tongues neither of us could come up with a coherent sentence. Isaacson began to accuse us of cheating, as we remained silent. She picked up Marc’s test and then mine, glanced over each and then ripped them up.

“You’ll be getting a zero on this test. Wait outside while I finish up with this test, and then I’ll figure out what else to do with you two.”

Marc remained stoic as she continued with her tirade. I on the other hand have always been emotional, perhaps too emotional. I learned as a kid that sometimes tears would work as a guilt trip on my parents. Maybe I thought that tears would convince Isaacson to have pity on us. As I thought about all the consequences I began to cry. They weren’t little tears either, but big, noisy sobs complete with hiccups as I gasped for air. I looked around for someone with a tissue and a sympathetic classmate gave me one to blow my nose. Now, I was embarrassed for crying like a baby and scared because I had been caught cheating.

One: Dancing debacle
I used to dance with a Folklórico group. We performed at a church carnival at my home parish when I was about 12 or 13. The stage we were dancing on was really small and rickety. I was so fixated on the routine that I didn’t realize that I was getting too close to the edge. Suddenly, I found my self falling off the short stage and onto a bench adjacent to the stage. Now, if that sounds bad, it is, but it’s no the worst thing that happened. Three kids (4-6 years old) were seated on the bench. Poor kids broke my fall. It hurt. I was crying, the kids were crying and I had a severely bruised pre-teen ego.


Academic Identity

For anyone who has been a student, you know that there are a few things you almost always mention along with your name.

Hi, I’m Cindy. I’m a second year doctoral student in education.

Name, year, degree objective and field/discipline. Along with that, we often have to throw in our research interests and advisor.

The fall quarter has only just officially started and I know I’ve repeated the above sentence at least two dozen times to entering graduate students and other student leaders at today’s student governance conference. The GSA held an orientation for incoming graduate and professional student yesterdays. About 1,000 attended. Pretty good numbers for a school with 11,020 total grad/professional students (Fall 2004 enrollment).

Other students — undergrad or grad — usually ask the same questions after I tell them my department and degree objective. “So, what do you want to do when you’re done? How long will it take to finish?” Most know that once I finish this, I will probably be ready for an academic or administrative career.

When I tell someone that I’m a grad student in education the most frequently asked question is, “so, you’re going to be a teacher?” Well, no and yes. I am not earning a credential to teach in K-12 school, but I will be able to teach at the college or university level.

Whenever I answer this question, I feel like a snob.


Bartolo y Juana

Juana y Bartolo Mosqueda Granda and Grandpa

My cousin Bea sent me the photo on the left today. I found it striking how much it is similar to a much older photo of my grandparents as newlyweds. In one photo they’re dressed in casual clothes. I’m not too sure of the occasion and need to ask my dad a little more about it. Was it taken before Grandpa left to work in the US? Were they in Salamanca? How did they meet?

I can’t ask Grandpa or Grandma these questions. That isn’t right. I can go to Calvary Cemetery in East LA off of 3rd Street to the place where they are buried together. I’m afraid my questions will go unanswered.

I can ask those still living about the photos, my dad, mom, aunts and uncles here or in Mexico. They would have all said the same thing, Grandpa would have done anything for Grandma. I saw this myself. She was a finicky person, often in unpredictable moods, but Grandpa loved her unconditionally. When she got sick with diabetes complications, lost a lost of weight and was unable to use her legs, he carried her in and out of the van. And Grandpa was Grandma’s everything too. A few months before she passed away she sat at my cousin Martin’s wedding thinking that it was sad that Grandpa could not see one of his grandson’s get married.

Some of my questions can be answered in the photos themselves taken about 45 years years apart from each other. They seem so calm, collected and somewhat stoic in these phots. Grandma is looking off in the older one. I don’t know at what. Grandpa looks upset, but he often looked like that, often not smiling even when he was content. In the photo at my tía Nellie’s wedding in 1988 they’re in the same pose, still linked together many years later. I assume this photo was taken after the ceremony. I do remember that.

I was a flower girl in my tía Nellie’s wedding and distinctively recall wondering why Grandpa was wearing dark shades as he walked his daughter down the aisle and throughout the ceremony. I figured it out later when I saw him pull out his handerkchief and wipe away a tear. That was the only time I ever saw him shed a tear, but apparently it was something common for the weddings of his children.

And now, I’m crying as I read an old email my dad sent me after noticing a photo of his parents from their 50th wedding anniversary on the desktop at our home computer.

hi cindy. it was really cool to see grandpa and grandma on the screen as i was walking past the computer. i asked the chunks how it had gotten on there and they said you had done it. i’m not surprised that mama toni and papa chepe liked it and she is probably already thinking, what about us? thanks for taking the time to put mom and dad on the screen, it keeps their memory
fresh in our minds.

not a day goes by that i don’t think about them and what they went through, such as the day dad called your tio john and myself privately into their bedroom and asked us to support him on his and mom’s decision to put your tio rick by himself on title of their home even though they sensed that there might be some disagreements among our sisters. it was very hard for him to do this and i can remember just like it was yesterday how strong he tried to be with all his physical and emotional pain as his already weak voice cracked even more as he stated his request and begged us to respectfully take everyone’s opinion into consideration and agree to the one which made most sense when involving any of their posessions.

see dad knew in his heart that the time was getting closer for him to go to heaven and when he asked your tio john and i to sing at his bedside “pescador de hombres” at the hospital i knew that god was already speaking to him and he was answering “señor, me has mirado a los ojos, sonriendo has dicho mi nombre, en la arena he dejado mi barca, junto a ti… buscare otro mar”. this was the last song that he semi-conciously asked us to sing for him.

in looking at mom i remember those sunday evenings that i spent with here seeing how happy she was to see me no matter how her day was going always asking “¿cómo está luz, danny, cindy, lori, chonchís?” always showing concern especially for you since she knew that you were away at school. oh how grandma loved all her grand children, though she rarely showed it emotionally she was always so proud of everyone and would give anything to see her grandkids happy and successful, i guess that’s what grandmoms do huh?

one of the things that stands out the most about her is that when she was able to, she loved going shopping with grandpa and put stuff on layaway for whoever’s birthday or special occasion was coming up and the joy and satisfaction she received from giving. yes, i am thankful for the times i did’t feel like being there but still made the effort and to share in some of her moments
like taking her out to lunch or breakfast, just her and i. those were special moments, she was always so proud to introduce us to the waiters and waitresses “este es mijo or esta es mija” and she would always add something like “es el mayor y más guapo.” just kidding, but you could see the gleam in her eyes and felt how good she felt to be accompanied, it made her feel so special and she was.

well cindy you see, what you created brings back alot of memories tears as i write thinking of all the things we always want to do to make others happy and proud especially our loved ones and i guess it doesn’t take that much really, just a willingness to see the good in other’s intentions. i love you because you make us feel very special. thank you.

have a great day!

Grandpa passed away on December 28, 1996 after a short battle with renal cancer. Grandma died rather suddenly on January 12, 2000.


Autumnal thoughts

Meeting of the minds The weather is changing and contrary to what Will says, LA does not just have two seasons, Summer and Summer Lite. No, it gets relatively cold here. The afternoons end rather quickly and now I wear a sweater not just because I want to cover up a little, but because I kinda need it.

Autumn makes me happy. It’s always been a season I’ve liked. Perhaps it’s because it marks the start of a new school year and I’ve always been good at school. And while I’m no longer in band and don’t go to tons of football games, it makes me feel like being in the stands and playing “Sons of Westwood” and pop tunes adapted for a marching band. Yeah. Or it makes me anxious to watch late season division and wild card races in baseball. This season my beloved Dodgers will be one of those teams in a tight race, but it’s nice to reminisce on dramatic victories like the one I saw last year on TV.

I took a trip home on Sunday after a really long two-day meeting. I took the family some leftover boxed lunches from the meeting and then relaxed. It was a gorgeous day. I tried to go to church but the Mass was ending when I got there. No, I wasn’t just being really late, they changed the schedule for a special Mass in honor of the 40th anniversary of the parish. I didn’t know about the change ’til I got home. Later in the afternoon I wandered around the neighborhood where I grew up and took some pictures.

VR has a scar I wanted to pretend to be a kid again and play on the swings at my former elementary school, Glendelder, just because it was a really nice day out. However, for the first time all the gates were locked and I couldn’t get in without jumping the fence. I could have done that, but I’m clumsy and would have probably fallen on my ass. Instead of wandering around the playground and familiar corridors where I spent ages 5-12, I returned home to snap pictures of my mom painting and play with the puppy. Poor VR has a small scar above his right eye. My mom says he got it when he fell off her bed. I think he’s adapting our habits and frequent mishaps.

I like the change in weather, but having to go back to school doesn’t have me as excited as it did when I was still at Glenelder. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on campus about 4 times a week since school let out.