“red tails”

I read an article found via a friend’s FB wall about the new film “Red Tails” which tells the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the group of pioneering black pilots who fought in the segregated US Air Force during World War II.   The film, as you can imagine, is an all-black cast and is directed by a black filmmaker, Anthony Hemingway.  The story is one that George Lucas has been working on with other folks for 20+ years and after producing it as a big-budget film, he says that Hollywood initially did not want to invest time/money into it because they didn’t think there was a big enough audience for the film.  He discusses this topic with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show in a short video at this link.

What does this say about the value we as a society put on the experiences and contributions of blacks in our history?  Although I wasn’t completely surprised to hear this, I am determined to show my support at the box office during opening weekend (Jan 20-22) to show Hollywood that a film with an all-black cast about black heroes is worth spending my money on.  If you’ve got time that weekend and the film interests you I hope you’ll do the same!

I found out after doing a little research on the film that there was an original film about this group of men that came out in 1995 starring Laurence Fishbourne called “The Tuskegee Airmen” and I’d like to check it out as well.

Next on the agenda for Hollywood: a big-budget movie with an all-female, all-black cast directed by a black female about women whose main focus in their lives does not revolve around men/children but instead on being happy and changing the world.  How ’bout it?


bookstores at night

Ever wonder what books are up to when the bookstores close up shop for the evening?

{Seen on One Must Shock the Bourgeois blog}

This video reminded me of a blogging bibliophile, Jaclyn of Covered in Flour blog.  She has inspired me to spend less time on the internet and more time lost in the pages of a good book.  Something I’m working on doing more of this year!

A few weeks before Christmas, Kevin and I strolled along College Avenue in Oakland doing some Christmas shopping and we went into four huge independent bookstores–all within a few blocks of each other!  I lovelovelove new/used bookstores and we are so blessed to live in a place that caters to these mom-and-pop shops.  The thought of moving back down to Long Beach (which we’re considering now that baby’s on the way, to be closer to family) with only a small handful of independent bookstores to name in the entire city of Long Beach makes me sad.  :(  Gotta take advantage of them while we’re here!


Sunday morning started off great.  I woke up and took Lola out for a long walk in the neighborhood and was feeling really good…so how is it that a complete stranger ended up ruining my day?

As Lola and I were just about back to our apartment, we approached a random, older man walking towards us.  He said hi, I said hi, and Lola growled at him.  I was about to apologize when the man said (to Lola), “You really should be careful who you growl at.”

I turned around and told him, “You need to relax, dude.” (Yes, I really called him a dude.)

As he continued walking away he said, just loud enough for me to hear, “I’ll f***ing kill him” (referring to Lola).

Being the kind of person that doesn’t back down or allow people to talk to me like that (and I also have a hard time letting things go), I turned around and asked him, “Excuse me?”  He ignored me and kept walking.

I then asked, louder, “What did you say to me?”  He then turned around and said, “Just drop it.”  So I yelled out, “Are you really going to tell me you’re going to kill my ‘f***ing dog’ in the middle of the street?!”  He yelled something out that I couldn’t understand and I told him I was calling the police.  As I got my phone out, I decided not to call (not sure what I’d say and how I’d tell them where to find him) and just took Lola home.

As soon as I walked in the door of our apartment, I was balling.  I went straight to the room and cried for a good 20 minutes or so.  That encounter shook me up so badly and it honestly changed the entire course of my day.  I’m a pretty emotional person anyways, but add on the pregnancy hormones and it feels like things affect me 1,000x more than they used to (and that’s saying a lot).  I was upset that some random person I didn’t even know could say something so hateful to me and my dog.  In a way I was afraid for my Lola’s safety, just thinking about an awful person like him getting a hold of her and hurting her like he threatened to.

Yes, it sucks that she growled at him.  But she didn’t lunge at him, she didn’t bark at him, and she didn’t bite him.  So how could he so easily say something as awful as that?  I have noticed Lola becoming a lot more protective of me and it just pissed me off that this man couldn’t see that this dog was protecting her pregnant owner from a strange man who, obviously, has an evil side to him.

Like I mentioned earlier, the rest of my day was affected by this incident.  I had a hard time getting over it and it just changed the tone of my entire weekend.  I’m feeling better now but I just felt like I had to write it down and get it off my chest.  Same thing made me feel better when I wrote about a few similar encounters with people last year.

I’m beginning to question why I attract such uncomfortable and sometimes downright scary interactions with random people.  What is it about me and my energy that attracts these people and these incidents to me?  I really gotta do some digging and figure out how to change this.

My Lola-bear

Week 18: Baby’s the length of a bell pepper!

I can’t believe it…we’ve made it to 4.5 months!!  So many people have told me that it goes by so fast but I have to admit, it’s been going by fairly slow so far.  I think all of the worrying the first 3-4 months really made things drag on a bit.  I’m kind of a worrywart all on my own but with a little peanut-sized baby in utero and so many unknowns for so long, it started to get the better of me at times.  Even though the first trimester has come and gone and there are far less chances of anything major happening to the baby, I’m sure I’ll never stop worrying about this kiddo (and all of our kiddos) no matter how old they get.

On a lighter note…we’ve had some fun developments this week.

On Wednesday, Kevin and I went to our prenatal appointment.  We’re always surprised with how quick they are (only about 15 minutes with the doctor, and about 5-10 minutes of getting my vitals read [blood pressure, weight, urine, etc.]) but the highlight of this visit was hearing a good 30 seconds or so of our baby’s heartbeat.  That little whoosh, whoosh, whoosh sound may be the sweetest sound we’ve ever heard.  :)

Kinda strange to have this magnet up on our fridge!  The doctor gave it to us and said that starting at week 20 we can call that line if any issues arise (as of now we can only call the nurse’s advice line).  It’s becoming more and more real as the weeks go by!

Another development is that, although I’m still not outwardly showing too much yet, I definitely feel bigger and I have a feeling this may be the last week of my “normal” jeans.  At work they were just too damn uncomfortable sitting down for hours on end so I think I may have to say goodbye for the next 6-10 months (fingers crossed).

But the BIGGEST development by far this week is that…

drum roll please

…I think I felt the baby move!!!!

On Thursday, I was sitting at my computer at work and I felt a bubbly-type of feeling in my stomach.  I didn’t think much of it until it kept happening.  I stopped what I was doing and just paid close attention to what was going on and I realized, although it kind of felt like a gassy feeling, it wasn’t anything I had ever experienced before.  A lot of online pregnancy forums say that many new moms mistake the first feelings for just having gas so I was kind of anticipating that already.  And the majority of websites say that most women feel the baby between 16-20 weeks so we’re just about in the right time for it to happen.  I immediately called Kevin and told him the news and he was so excited!  The next day I felt the same type of feeling around the same time so I’m pretty darn sure that’s what’s going on in there.  All I gotta say is, keep on kicking little girl!

Belly shots!

Thought I’d do a front view this week, you can start to see more of a ball shape forming on my stomach. And if you look closely you can see a faint brown line from below my belly button.  This happens to a lot of pregnant women caused by hormones and will probably disappear a few months after the baby’s born.  (And you did notice Lola in the photo again, right?)

Other pregnancy updates

  • Total weight gained: 0.5 pounds (even with all the feasting during the holidays!)
  • Food I’m craving this week: Falafels…I had them four times this week!  This and hummus has been the main thing that I continue to crave week after week.
  • Number of strollers we’ve inherited this week: Two!  A stroller with an infant car seat and two bases for our cars (from Kevin’s co-worker) and a jogging stroller so that I can get back into running (from my co-worker).  Jackpot!
  • Number of days until our next ultrasound (the big one!): Eight!  We are so so so excited about this ultrasound…that’s when we’ll get confirmation that she’s a she (fingers crossed!) and to top it off Kevin’s mom and sister Judith are driving up to be part of it as well!

You realize I was kidding about it being light reading, right?  :)  I saw this article posted via a friend’s Facebook wall and wanted to share it here for those of you that might also be interested in this topic.

I learned and discussed a lot about race in college and I distinctly remember one conversation when a white male student told me and the group we were with that a white person could not experience “reverse racism” and I was both intrigued and, at first, unbelieving.  This topic has come up in the five years (gasp!) since I’ve graduated college but reading this article and having it laid out so clearly was really helpful to me.

Here are a couple of quotes that really stuck with me if you don’t have the time/energy to read the article:

White people who complain about “Reverse Racism” are actually complaining about being denied their privileges, rather than being denied their rights….

If, in a rare instance, a black employer discriminates against a white job applicant, that’s not “reverse” anything — it’s simple discrimination.  It’s to be condemned on principle, but it’s not evidence of some systematic program by which whites are being deprived of their rights.

The author goes on to say that the arguments he laid out can also be applied to any other institutionalized structure of oppression like sexism, ableism, heterosexism, etc.

And in regards to white privilege, if you’re not familiar with the topic or with Tim Wise, who the author refers to, I would highly suggest you take a look at some of his writings.  I saw him speak during college and he truly is amazing.


P.S. As I was searching for some sort of image to put at the bottom of this post I stumbled upon a great blog called Bicultural Mom (where the image above comes from) and I am so happy to have found it. She’s a white mom in a biracial relationship raising a Latina daughter and she talks openly about race, feminism and raising a family.  Right up my alley!

2011 was not too shabby…

  • I have successfully gone 9 months of being pescatarian (think vegetarian that still eats seafood). Although I have had a few meat cravings (heightened with the pregnancy too) I am extremely proud of myself for not giving in in the slightest.  My reasons for going veg are too strong and too deep to give in and go back to my old ways and I feel stronger and stronger every day in my decision.
  • Kevin graduated school and got a new job doing something that he is extremely proud of.  Nothing better than a husband who is happy and confident and content, am I right?
  • I continued running and completed both a 10k race and a 12k race in the Bay Area
  • We made the big move from beautiful (and freezing) San Francisco to beautiful (and sunny) Oakland and couldn’t be happier
  • The best news of the year: I’m pregnant and expecting a little girl in June!

2012 has got a lot to look forward to…

  • Most obviously the little lady we are anxious to meet in June
  • My hope is to become a full-fledged vegetarian this calendar year, giving up seafood once and for all
  • I will be student teaching (and working full-time) starting this month and will earn my California teaching credential just before Sirena is born…impeccable timing, right?  This will be both an exciting and a trying time I’m sure but my hope is to keep my stress levels as much under control as possible for Sirena’s sake (and mine too!)  Luckily I have a lot of support in this department so I’m hopeful.
  • A possible move back down south to be closer to family once the baby arrives–we’re guessing not until the very late part of the year (October/November) but it’s all dependent on our job situation so we shall see.

Sending best wishes to you all for a healthy and an exciting new year!


Week 17 (baby’s the size of an onion!)

The majority of week 17 was also spent in Long Beach surrounded by family and friends.  Most people were anxious to see some sort of belly on me and although a few people said that they could see some definite bumpage going on, I think it will be at least through January until an actual volleyball starts appearing.  :)

This little girl sure made out like a bandit this week for Christmas with lots of very generous family and friends obviously excited for her arrival.  Here’s the loot…

What do you think of our makeshift Christmas tree? I made it out of lights since we didn’t have the time to get a real tree this year (we’re going on year three of no Christmas tree…things will hopefully change in 2012 with little miss in the mix! ;) )

I love the bib my mom got (in the lower right corner), it says: “American, with Mexican parts” (I’m half Mexican)…love it!

This week my wonderful sister accompanied me on the ever-so-fun maternity clothes shopping trip.  I am not a big shopper so this task seemed very daunting to me–especially since I will be student teaching 5 days a week starting this month and I will need to dress professionally every single day (up until now I’ve gotten away with wearing jeans to work at least half of the week but not any longer!).  Luckily my sis had recently accompanied her friend on a similar trip and she learned to not buy so much maternity-specific clothing but instead to buy long tops and flowing tops so that I’ll be comfortable and so that I won’t have to spend a fortune on maternity clothes (since I’ve realized anything labeled as “maternity” is almost automatically more expensive than normal-fitting clothes).  I’m kind of excited to change up my style a bit–cute boots, leggings, and dresses instead of jeans, a boring top, and “dress” shoes (kinda sad that it took getting pregnant to give me a kick in the rear to dress better for work, huh? Haha!)

Belly shot!

Trying on one of my new dresses and Lola in the background (as always…I swear she’s a little ninja or something, always sneaking into my belly shot photos one way or another, haha!)

Other pregnancy updates

  • Total weight gained: I haven’t attempted the scale at all since before we left Oakland due to the overindulgence of the past week with the holidays. Until next week!
  • How I’m feeling: The exhaustion has returned it seems!  Just about everyday this past week I took an afternoon nap because I felt I couldn’t make it through the rest of the day without it.  Luckily we were on vacation so I had the opportunity to but next week when I’m back to work I won’t be able to so easily sneak away for a quick nap.  Hopefully my energy will return soon!
  • Days until our next prenatal visit: Three!  We’ve got our next appointment on Wednesday afternoon and will hopefully hear the heartbeat to make sure everything’s still a-okay in there.
  • What I’m most looking forward to this week (other than the prenatal visit): Cooking meals again! We’ve eaten out so much this past week in Long Beach and I cannot wait to get back in rhythm with my eating. And I’m sure Sirena’s looking forward to chowing down on healthier food as well. :)

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