Tag Archives: Texas

2011 in review

Hi, everyone! I’m still visiting my family in Mexico. Today is Día de Reyes, the last day of the holiday season here, which means I absolutely have to post my year-in-review post and stop listening to Christmas carols riiiiight now.


The year started with my cousin Carol's wedding!

I got to help teach kindergarteners about Martin Luther King, Jr. and social justice.

Devin and I dressed up as 'American Gothic' in sepia for a costume party.


My housemates and I took family pictures thanks to our fearless leader Hallie!

We've never been a Valentine's Day couple, but this year Devin surprised me with my favorite cake! Here we are making a toast: Dev is holding my little glass of soymilk, and I'm holding his giant bottle of local organic cow's milk. (We are a caricature. And how!)

I celebrated my birthday with brunch at The Nines.


March was a hard month because my grandmother passed away. I felt fortunate to be able to fly home and see my family, but it was hard.

When I was little my grandmother would take me to Mass and out for ice cream afterward. I told Devin about our tradition, and he took me to do just that in memory of my Abbita.

I had to spend Spring Break in the library working on my thesis.

...but I did get to go skiing on Mt. Hood!

I almost ruined Anda's surprise birthday party. Thank goodness I didn't! It was in our old dorm, and the pizza was delicious, and her sister baked a cake.


In April, I finished doing the fieldwork for my thesis. Doing fieldwork was fun and rewarding, but it meant I had to spend a lot of time waiting at bus stops in the rain (totally worth it).

When I wasn't doing fieldwork, I was in the library. Devin was a dear. He brought me like a million library dinners.

This is my favorite picture from April. Nate's glasses were foggy.


I finally finished my thesis!

My dream of sharing Portland with my mom (again) and my two aunts (for the first time) came true! Here are the mamis and me at my favorite coffee shop!

Dev & my mom got me a new computer for graduation!

Before we parted ways, Melissa & Anda & I gathered for one final brunch. It was yummy, but I am still baffled: why didn't we go to our usual spot?


At my first grown-up job in downtown Portland, I discovered the joys of the grown-up lunch break!

The best show I saw all summer was the Rock 'n Roll Camp For Girls Spring Showcase.

In Wisconsin I discovered a breathtakingly beautiful bakery. The walls were covered with vintage recipe cards!


July was a big month, so brace yourself for lots of pictures!

Fourth of July was so much fun! The weather finally turned summery, and I feel like I hung out with fifty-three friends the whole weekend! Also, my hair looks like Cocker Spaniel ears in this picture.

I got to live with my friend Nora all summer! Her birthday party was Kreayshawn-themed. This is one of my favorite pictures ever for the following reasons: a) Nora rules, b) it showcases our perfectly 90s kitchen, & c) you can see all our spices because the cabinet door fell off its hinges.

Dev & I had a going-away party where everything was local (we even made sure our guests were real-life, actual Portlanders!).

Devin & I gave each other watches to mark our engagement!

I had to say bye to Devin AND the kristy dreambike (they took a train to the East Coast).


Before I left Portland, I discovered what an artichoke in bloom looks like.

Then, I went to Texas to do fun Texas things, by which I mean I went to the mall with my mom. A lot.

I bid farewell to my summer hair at Shampoo before moving to New York.


This was our building in Park Slope. It was pretty, but Anda, Marika, & I had to share a one-bedroom with an enormous pitbull who only ate raw chicken.

When my mom made me evacuate New York for September 11th, I found a brunch place that matched my dress.

Seriously, it matched my dress perfectly!


I fell head-over-heels in love with my new Subway stop!

Grand Central & I started to feel like pals.

This was my favorite sign at Occupy Wall Street.


I spent most of the month taking care of my mom post-surgery. The best part of the day was sharing breakfast in her bed.

I also spent a lot of time with Laisha.

I was going to have to skip Thanksgiving, but thanks to the genius of Dev & the East Coast's adequate train infrastructure (rest of the States, get with it!), I flew to Baltimore & reached Philadelphia by train just in time for dinner with Devin's family. Here we are with Grandma Pat!


I marched for Voting Rights!

My first Christmastime in the cityyyyy! (You cannot imagine how many times I sang that one. Quietly. To myself. Alone. I'm not that annoying.)

Then, I spent Christmas with my whole family, where I had so much fun that I forgot to take pictures. This one of some wimyn, a girl, & THE baby in the family comes to us courtesy of my cousin.

2011, thank you for the lessons & good times. You are dismissed.


Seventeen, again

For the past two weeks, I have been in Texas helping my mom recover from knee surgery. She’s doing great (hooray!), so I have some free time to tell you about My Life.

I haven’t experienced a  Texas autumn since 2006, and I must declare for all the worldwide web to hear that it is utterly perfect! I was seventeen the last time I felt this room-temperature breeze and gazed at these clear blue skies, so obviously I didn’t appreciate it in the slightest. But now? Now I could write an ode or even a sonnet to this glorious weather if only I weren’t too lazy to look up what makes an ode an ode and a sonnet a sonnet. Rhyme? Meter? ABABABABORING. In lieu of that, here is a kind of weird picture I took of myself yesterday in my backyard.

Maybe instead of a poem, I’ll write a navel-gazing B-movie entitled Sleeveless in November.

Aside from loving the weather, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what it was like to be seventeen and how much I have grown up. Turns out, not that much!


  • In 2006, I loved food and thought cooking for people was such fun!
  •  In 2011, I feel the same way except now I use the Epicurious app (with its shopping list function that makes me giddy every time) instead of Post Punk Kitchen (I don’t think PPK has an app). Also, back then I used Sazón Goya with abandon. It was my secret ingredient! Now I know that it’s mostly MSG, so… (Sorry if I fed you anything back then. I promise I had no idea.)
  • In the fall of 2006 I read Nylon, and now I am reading the same issues of Nylon (October 2006 and November 2006) that I read back then because by some bizarre coincidence I found them in my room. Had not seen them since 2006 and they were just there. On my bookshelf. I mean, what are the chances? Would a cable news outlet be interested in covering this story, I wonder.
  • In 2006, I loved Sixties fashions.
  • In 2011, I love Sixties fashions. Only more. And the universe has rewarded this love with Pan Am and Mad Men episodes on my mother’s DVR.
  • In the fall of 2006, I was diligently working on my college applications.
  • In the fall of 2011, I should be diligently working on job applications.

See? Not so different.

Except now I consider my house to be less of a prison (ugh, curfews!)  and more a softly-lit suburban paradise.

And I can’t think of anything more fun than hanging out with my mom.

And I took inventory of my friends when reading my Senior Scrapbook (2006-2007) yesterday. Do you know how many of my closest friends from high school still live here? ZERO!

If you must know, the first two pages of my scrapbook were as follows:

1. A page dedicated to my favorite coffee shop (R.I.P.).

2. A page about this awful full-body allergic reaction I had. Complete with pictures of me in my disfigured state. (I don’t get it either…)

You should thank your lucky stars for the blurriness of the above picture.

The end.

Little miracles

Miracle the First: It’s really hot here, but it’s not too hot to walk places, and there is something so cool (pardon the pun) about being the only person not in a car for miiiiiiiiiiiiiles. I hold my head a little higher as I cross an four-lane street and walk the vast parking lot of my neighborhood grocery store, and would you believe the Texas sun is already giving my Oregon pallor a run for its money? The other day I went grocery shopping and emerged with a Texas watermelon (among other things) wondering how I would make the trek back home, when a womyn approached me and said, ‘Excuse me, I noticed you were wearing a dress.’

I nodded. Seeing that she was wearing a long skirt, I braced myself for a lecture on the evils of short dresses. Instead, she said, ‘I have this dress that’s too small for me, would you like it?’ and held out a pink dress with shoulder pads and a mandarin collar.

‘I-I-I can just have it?’

‘Sure!,’ she smiled and walked back to her car.

That dress doesn’t fit me (not even close), and it’s not at all my style; but it’s my magic dress.* Something about it made my load of food lighter and my walk in the outdoor sauna altogether pleasant. See, what I really loathe about the suburbs is how compartmentalized everything is. You go from your house to your car to school/work/the mall/your favorite mid-level restaurant (Pei Wei Asian Fusion or bust! And don’t even try telling me P.F. Chang’s is better)/Coldstone or Pinkberry and home again. I have a really hard time making friends here, and I think most of it has to do with my attitude. I just don’t expect any spontaneous interaction, but as the Parking Lot Dress Womyn so easily proved, that’s silly. And it brings me to my…

Miracle the Second: This story is about the powers of the most magic person I know. I call her my mother. My mom can make friends with anyone anywhere. She’s had so many friends that I have heard her tell long stories about really good friends she used to have, whose names she no longer remembers!

The other day I got to witness her friend-making powers in action. We were waiting for our table at Cheddar’s when my mom turned to the womyn sitting next to us and said, ‘I think I’ve seen you before,’ which I believed because this was one memorable-looking individual: orange-tan skin, platinum hair, super-round eyes, and the most pursed lips I have ever seen on a human being.  Absolutely purssssssssssssssssssed. This womyn (we’ll call her Cheddar in hommage to our meeting place) gave my mom a you-are-crazy-why-are-you-talking-to-me-stranger-danger-look. Unperturbed (or maybe oblivious), my mom went on to introduce herself and me.

Cheddar: (Sounding very unsure) I have a daughter, too.
Mom: How old is she?
Cheddar: Eight.
Mom: Eight?! How old are you?
Cheddar: Thirty-five.
Mom: You don’t look it! Do you think you’ll have more kids?
Cheddar: No.
Mom: Are you divorced?
Cheddar: Yes.
Mom: I got divorced when she was two, but I guess I was lucky because she (signals to me) never wanted siblings, even after I got remarried.
Cheddar:  (Sighs and stops pursing her lips quite so much) My daughter really wants a  little brother or sister.
Mom: (Encouragingly) Oh, I’m sure you could get remarried and have another. You’re still young.
Cheddar: (Sadly) I don’t know…Sometimes it feels like I’ll never meet anyone again.
Mom: I know what that’s like. Dating can be such a hassle! You’re busy with work, with your daughter, with your family and friends. The last thing you wanna do is put in all that effort just to go on a bad date.
Cheddar: (Smiling) Exactly!
Mom: You know, the best way to meet someone is through a mutual friend because they know you, they know him, they can tell if you’re compatible.
Cheddar: (Unsure) Well, I’ve told my friends…
Mom: Then, don’t worry! As long as you are open to meeting someone, you will. You don’t have to go looking. The other thing that’s important is not having impossible expectations. Make a list of the five things that are most important to you. That way you can meet someone human instead of waiting on Mr. Perfect.
Cheddar: (Cheered up, nodding) Yeah! I can do that.

And then our table was ready, so my mom and Cheddar said, ‘Bye, nice to meet you!’ and that was that. I’ve been witnessing interactions like this all my life, and I’m still awestruck. Have you ever met someone who can so easily connect with a stranger and get her/him to divulge deep insecurities or tell her/his life story on the spot? I totally want to be like my mom when I grow up.

*It remains ‘mine’ though I’ve already donated it to charity ’cause I’m all, ‘Minimalism-Minimalism-Rah-Rah-Rah!’ these days.