Why I haven’t given up blogging

Almost all of the runners

A few weeks ago I received an email from a longtime reader. She asked if I was done with blogging.

It was a fair question. I hadn’t updated in over six months. I had slowed down a lot in recent years but never just stopped for that long. Like La Profe Chicana, I had a few reasons for my hiatus. And like her, I’d married a blog reader (hi, Sean!) and now had two children.

Enter one of the reasons for the hiatus. Blogging is work, takes time, can be a technical headache (go away hackers!) and is much less easy to do one-handed while nursing a baby than scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I’ve also struggled with how to write about my new-ish identity as a mother while also respecting my children’s privacy.

Blogging didn’t always feel like such a chore. It was fun when I first started in the early-mid ’00s, before I ever even read the word (web)blog. I can relate to Xoloitzquintle who blogged a lot while also writing his dissertation. For me, blogging was a nice distraction from academics. I connected with amazing people and over the years have been lucky enough to meet many of them despite being scattered across the country and abroad in some cases. I’ve danced in Tijuana, run in Carlsbad and shopped at a cute store/coffee shop in Little Village.

I got a lot of validation from blogging and the communities I developed. I think I was good at it, and that mattered to a wannabe writer and someone trying to find a foothold in academe. The topics came easier and the technical stuff wasn’t a headache. People still read and commented and that was an incentive to keep posting. Other bloggers’ posts inspired new topics and so on. The community was still there but the blogs were largely inactive, rarely updated.

Now, the community is challenging me to get back to writing at least two times a week. The trial period is July. I’ve already faltered in the first week, but that’s okay. I can make it up.

Nos vemos en los comments.

Second two photos by Oso/David.

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Looking for my friends

A couple weeks ago I sat down and looked at our recent spending to figure out if we could afford to enroll Xavi in preschool part-time. We hadn’t intended to sign him up this soon, but the school is close by and had a last-minute opening. After doing the numbers a few things were clear.

  1. I’m spending a lot on new work clothes. My new department only allows casual clothes on Fridays.
  2. We’re not spending much on gifts anymore.

The latter was just one more reminder of all the birthday parties, showers and weddings we are missing. Put another way, we have no social life. 

Friday comes and Sean asks, “What’s going on this weekend?” I used to be able to rattle off a few different options. Even if there wasn’t a formal party coming up, just spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at my mom’s house felt like a family gathering thanks to Papá Chepe’a visitor. (A positive side effect of the stroke. It’s brought our family even closer together.)
Now I might say there’s some event I need to do for work but otherwise it’s do chores and hang out as a threesome.

If I was in LA today I’d be in the middle of getting ready to attend my fourth wedding of the summer — pretty average for us — and second of the month. Today, Elizabeth and César will get married. I’ve known Elizabeth since she was a toddler and her family moved to our block. They quickly became close friends. We even visited them in Jalpa, Zacatecas one December and went to Elizabeth’s quinceañera. By chance, I got to see the proposal too. César threw a decoy party complete with delicious tacos and a mariachi. I’m definitely sad to miss this wedding (plus her family throws awesome parties).

Last week I missed David (it feels weird not to call him Oso) and Iris’s wedding. I checked out the photos taken by other friends I met through blogging. I wish it could’ve been like the Carlsbad blogger reunion of early 2012, but alas it’s tough to travel with a toddler cross country. 

Earlier in the summer I missed Diana and Carlos’s wedding. I’ve known Diana since 2002 and would’ve loved to spend a weekend in Santa Barbara celebrating with them. Unfortunately, their wedding was on the weekend right before I started my new job and we had already moved. 

At least I didn’t miss my cousin Vanny’s wedding in early June. I was lucky my new job was okay with me starting later than their target or I might’ve missed Vanny and Junior’s nuptials.

Of course, I knew I’d be missing events when I decided to move. That was part of the deal since I don’t have an unlimited travel budget and vacation days. 

What I didn’t expect was how difficult it is to make friends and how lonely weekends feel just us three. I know I need to give it time. I’ve only been here about 11 weeks and have actually  met a number of kind and friendly people. We say “yes” to the things we are invited to like a picnic for Latinos in the area. We’ve even been to a birthday party. 

But still on weekends like this and last I wish I could teleport the three of us to LA for a good party or BBQ, delicious food and amazing people. 

lookingformyfriends

For now, you might just find me running around the Ithaca Commons skipping like Sid the Science Kid singing “I’m looking for my friends, I’m looking for you!” 

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Thirty-three

My birthday was pretty awesome.

Xavier was the first person to wake me up and wish me a happy birthday at 1 am. He gave me cuddles after his midnight snack. He did it again a few hours later, but didn’t sing “Las Mañanitas.” He left that up to Lori.

Pancakes at S&W

Sean and I went out for a first breakfast of pancakes at S & W Country Diner. Even at 8 am, the place was already busy. Xavi slept through the noise.

We relaxed at home for a little while before getting ready for a reunion lunch with college friends/former roommates. I met these women 15 years ago as freshmen and quickly became friends.

There have been many long MEChA meetings, late nights staying up writing papers, parties, happy hours, weddings, a few babies, and sadly some tears.

They treated me to lunch for my birthday and oohed over Xavi. I know babies are an attention getter, but didn’t expect so much attention from strangers.

Chilaquiles & black beans

I had my favorite Mexican/savory breakfast dish for lunch, chilaquiles.

I bumped in to my friend Diana and met her boyfriend as they were finishing up brunch at Homegirl Café. It was quite a nice surprise since she was only in LA for the long weekend.

I got birthday greetings from many friends and family members.

And then I relaxed at home with my favorite guys and tried to stay cool.

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In spirit

Back in New York in spirit

For the first year of our relationship, Sean was in NY and I was in LA. We made it work and traveled to see each other monthly. During that year, I got to know the city I’d visited for vacation or conferences a few times before. I also got to know Sean’s family and friends. Even though many of them only knew me from conversations with Sean or through Facebook, they became instant friends. I felt welcomed in to the group. We felt blessed and honored that so many family and friends made the trip out for the wedding.

For the past few days, we’ve been checking in with family and friends. Thankfully, everyone made it through hurricane Sandy unscathed. My in-laws’ home in Long Island is fine, but there was a mess in the yard. Too bad we can’t be there for the clean up.

We’re grateful for our loved ones’ safety and are keeping those who are still suffering in our thoughts.

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Forty hours in New Orleans

It's like Disneyland, but with a lot more alcohol.

I’ve been a little lax on blogging. I’ve been out and about doing some cool stuff like taking a super quick trip to New Orleans for a wedding. Sean’s former ZogSports (intramural football) teammates, Tony and Christina, got married on May 12th.

I arrived on Friday. Sean picked me up at the airport. He flew in the day before and had an extra day to party and reunite with his New York friends. We dropped my stuff off at the hotel, Maison Dupuy, and walked around the French Quarter for a little bit.

Beignets at Café du Monde

Café du Monde

We had café au lait and beignets at Café du Monde and stared out at the Mississippi for a moment. Later that evening, we met up with several others for a delicious dinner at Emeril’s Delmonico.

Afterward we went to a club to meet up with the groom and more friends. We didn’t hang out too long since I was tired, still recovering from my cold and not really up for enjoying the New Orleans nightlife.

Pouring outside our window

On Saturday we had brunch near the hotel and then shared some beers with friends in a pirate-themed bar. I felt like I was at Disneyland with the pirate and French Quarter thing going on. We didn’t do much that afternoon except get ready for the wedding since we weren’t too interested in walking around in a storm.

Mr. & Mrs. Buglione

Tony and Christina’s wedding was a lot of fun and worth the too-quick trip. They had a short ceremony at Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was the first time I attended a Catholic wedding that wasn’t a full Mass; they just did the liturgy (readings) and vows. The reception was held at Maison Dupuy. Since the courtyard was still wet from the rain on Friday and Saturday, the party was moved to two smaller ballrooms indoors.

Highlights from the wedding:

Tony sings a song he wrote for Christina

– Tony sang/played a surprise song he composed for Christina. It was really sweet. Tony’s mom asked Sean how he was going to top that.

– The excellent band of about a dozen musicians and singers. They played covers of current pop songs and old rock hits but it wasn’t cheesy at all. They were great and once I started dancing I couldn’t stop. I guess when you’re in New Orleans there’s no shortage of great live music.

– The food. They set up a buffet of hors d’oeuvres, gumbo, roast beef carving station, fruit and cheese. Judging by how I felt the next morning on the flight home, I liked the food and champagne a little too much.

Suit up My Wedding Date

– My handsome date.

Teal twins!

– Being teal twins with Jen (totally unplanned). I think the color suits us well.

Go Dodgers!

– Dancing and partying with the NY crew. I hope they bring the party to our wedding, but leave the Yankee fandom out of our decorations. Sean really liked the groom’s cake.

Second Line through the French Quarter

– The second line through the French Quarter at the end of the party. It’s been a dozen years since I’ve been in a parade with a brass band. Last time, Rose Parade 1999, was much different since I (a) didn’t need to play my trombone and (b) wasn’t in a band uniform. Instead I just marched/walked to the music and waved a white handkerchief as is customary. Since it was a Saturday night, there were lots of spectators cheering on the wedding party as we circled several blocks in the French Quarter.

Second Line through the French Quarter

When we arrived back at the hotel, we danced a little more. I’m really glad my purse was big enough to hold a pair of flip flops. I wouldn’t have made it back to the hotel in my heels.

Adios, NOLA

We only got a few hours of sleep before waking up at 5 am to make our 7 am flights. Ugh. The trip home was not fun.

All non-iPhone pictures borrowed from Sean since I forgot my camera.

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