School can Suck….

Posted by Spanglish Chick On March - 20 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

I just watched ‘Waiting for Superman’ a documentary with the mission on showing the public just how horrible our education system is and that it is our duty to ensure a great if not a decent education. But how do we do this??

One point that was made was bad schools are because of all the bad teachers. But what makes a bad teacher? I was a teacher for fifteen years and the first school I taught at was in Alvin, TX. I was not an awesome teacher but I had a mentor who took time to teach me things and a principal who cared for her teachers and students. But I transferred to Houston Independent School District…Milby High School…and there was a difference. Not a good one. I was 27 years old and still excited to be teaching and around me were ‘veteran’ teachers who seemed disgusted to be there. Disgusted with our students, our administration, just everything and I thought to myself ‘Why be here if you hate it so much? And what’s so horrible?’ As a naïve teacher of three years experience I began to loathe with them as many would even sit back at our school meetings with newspapers & magazines just ignoring the principal waiting for time to pass. Yet after fifteen years of experience in four different school systems…public and charter, I realize now that the ‘good’ teacher energy was sucked out. Incinerated by uncaring principals, vice principals, the misappropriation of school budget funds, being told that you couldn’t take your students on a field trip because they didn’t want the school’s reputation to be messed up if a problem were to occur, school board’s looking out for their own requests…. one school even let the teachers know they were hostile to a meeting set-up with the teachers’ union (this was cancelled). The stories go and on….So again I ask, ‘What makes a bad, uncaring teacher?’

Of course there are a few poor performing teachers….it’s natural and yet does the school system truly do anything to help them develop into good teachers? Believe me we are human beings with emotions and I can speak for myself when I say, ‘I gave up…not on my students but the system…tired of fighting to get the things that were needed to teach a good class. Raul Yzaguirre School for Success had me teaching from a book copyrighted in 1997 and yet the year was 2008. They would not listen to my requests giving me the excuse, ‘There is no money in the budget’. Really? For a textbook? Then where was that money? The health class had not received new textbooks since 1997 yet health is a science with new information being discovered everyday.  Then the Texas Education Agency eliminated the health program…well I shouldn’t say ‘eliminated’ however they simply said this class was no longer mandatory for a student to graduate in Texas and gave each school system the right to wipe out the class. And that is what my school system did. Many school systems in Texas still have Health necessary to graduate but for how long? But I digress…..I cant imagine all ‘bad’ teachers start off with that intention to become ‘inferior and indifferent’….I believe that it is an administration with no support and school politics that takes the life of that teacher who started with a vigor for education and concern for their students.

So now what? More people need to be aware of the problem and help take action.

Popularity: 30% [?]

Interested in modeling??

Posted by Spanglish Chick On September - 30 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

If you are new in the business or thinks your portfolio could use another look…then this is for you.

We are looking for 2-4 female models for a shoot to be set up within 3 wks.      

Project type- Print/Online

Location- Houston, Texas

Compensation: a copy for models’ portfolio

Model Requirements:

-You must be female

-Ages 18-30 only

-All races are welcome

-You must be 5’5 or taller in height

-We’re looking for both small and larger women, but we’re starting with sizes 4-16

- Models must be available for fittings with our fashion advisor/alternationist.

TO ENTER, the following items are required and sent to info@spanglishchick.com :

Name

Age

Phone number

Email

1 plain headshot & 1 full body photo(to be attached to email) or Portfolio links

Measurements(Height/Weight included)

Ethnicity(Race)

*if you have any social networking sites would like us to find you on, please feel free to include the links (FB/Twitter/LinkedIN/etc)

** If you have questions or  concerns and email me at admin@spanglishchick.com

The photo shoot will be held in Houston, TX and all models must have transportation to and from photo site.  The shoot is expected to last about 3 hours and all models are expected to show up on time.

Thanks & Best of Luck to all!

Popularity: 30% [?]

Are we dreamin’?

Posted by Spanglish Chick On September - 19 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Future Talent

As a teacher of 15 years there are  students who are working hard and not causing  problems….they were not given a choices…their parents were immigrants so they were brought here as babies….they grew up with amnesty on the table at one time but they didn’t understand and now as young adults with minimal help into getting into college here in Texas or out a state…they are working even harder to take class….and work for the money to help their family, provide rent and living expenses for themselves plus find a way to pay for tuition and books that they need every semester…and so what if they do get their Bachelor’s or Master’s then what go to Mexico??

Fermin Mendoza is a student in California and these were his thoughts…..

An Undocumented Stanford Admission

I remember waking up at Yale on my friend’s couch and thinking, “I am not supposed to be here.” It was the beginning of Bulldog Days, a time for admitted Yale undergraduates to visit the college, meet prospective classmates, and see whether the school was an appropriate personal fit. Though Yale admissions assigned me to sleep in the room of an undergraduate host I had never met, I called an alumnus from my high school enrolled in the college and stayed with her instead. As I lay on her couch and the morning sun filled the old dorm room, I felt like I had just woken up from one of those dreams you never want to leave, and suddenly I realized: I was actually living it. I had made it. I was admitted into one of the top schools in the country—the alma mater of several presidents around the world and the rest of its elite. Except, once I thought I would not even get into college.

I was born and raised less than two miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border in a tiny town with dirt roads. When I was four, my family migrated from Mexico to the United States in search of a better life. My dad had already started working in the fields of the U.S. and bringing money back every few weeks, but when my third sibling was born and it became even harder to put food on the table, my parents decided we would all chase the “American Dream.” Mom says she and dad never planned to permanently stay in the U.S. Still, within a few weeks of moving in with my uncle in Texas, I was going to kindergarten. The U.S. government gave my family permission to be in the country for only a few days, so very soon we became undocumented—“illegals”, as some citizens would call us.

My parents nearly worked themselves to death so that their kids could have a chance at graduating from college. Dad, who had been a bank teller and restaurant manager in his home country, took a job here in construction as a roofer, one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. Mom started taking care of other parents’ kids during the day, but eventually she found a job at a dry cleaners, probably one of the hottest jobs in the country with the right mix of heat from the Texas summer and the machines she used to iron designer clothes—clothes she dreamed of designing and making herself. We did not know if undocumented students could get scholarships to attend college, much less if we would be deported by then, but my family put our faith in excellent public K-12 education. When teachers did not live up to my mom’s expectations, she would make me demand more from them. After all, as my mom put it, my parents were financing my instructors with their property tax dollars.

Though I did not know this then, we had the Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe (1982) to thank for making our schools the safe zones we found them to be, as the decision guarantees undocumented children across the country a free public K-12 education. In middle school I was fortunate to enroll in one of the best public schools in the nation—a college preparatory middle and high school serving primarily low-income, first generation college-bound Latinos. With a mission of increasing the number of low-income students graduating from a four-year college, YES Prep Southeast does not confer your diploma unless you gain college admission. At age 17, I was the first in the charter school’s history to get the highest possible score on the AP English Language and Composition exam, I had attained the highest combined SAT score and one of the highest GPAs in school history, and I graduated as the valedictorian of my class.

I never attempted to hide my undocumented status from the universities I applied to. My mission at Yale Bulldog Days was not just to meet potential classmates and professors, but also to ask Yale for more financial aid based on my inability to work in the country. It was my honesty about my immigration status that partially helped me get full financial aid from Stanford. Technically, Stanford admitted me through its international student pool, where there is no access to U.S. government funds for financial aid, and only private university money subsidizes students with financial need. Stanford chose to fund my entire budget, eliminating my own contribution because it knew I could not legally work to generate income in the country.

As I walked through Yale’s ancient gothic buildings to the financial aid office during Bulldog Days, I remembered the viewbook I perused back home when I first considered applying to Yale as a high school senior. I had looked at the list of notable alumni and thought that if I could just get into Yale, I could prove to the United States that I belonged here and that I, too, could leave a mark on the world. I entered the financial aid office ready to make my case, with documents about my family’s income and a copy of Stanford’s financial aid package in hand. Almost instantly a young woman called me into her office. I sat across from her desk and laid out my evidence before her.

“What brings you to the financial aid office today?” she asked.

“I’ve been accepted to several schools and was hoping Yale could match some of their financial aid packages,” I answered. I handed her a copy of Stanford’s financial aid package. “As you can see, Stanford is not requiring an individual contribution.”

Looking over my documents, she explained, “What probably happened is that Stanford has some information about your family’s financial situation that we don’t.”

“I submitted the same information to both schools,” I insisted.

“Yale’s philosophy is that students benefit from contributing financially to their own education. As such, we cannot eliminate your student contribution,” she expanded.

“I am undocumented. I don’t have work authorization and thus there is no way I can make money to pay for my education,” I pleaded.

“Well, Yale still hopes that you would find a way to make money somehow over the summers, like mowing lawns,” she finished.

Noticing that she would not budge, I gave up. I decided I would consider making my case to Yale again some other time. “Thank you for your time,” I politely concluded as I stood up to leave the room.

Even though I did not feel completely welcomed there, I was sad to leave Yale. Bulldog Days was my first comprehensive orientation to an elite university, and I quickly fell in love with the place. I had a plane to catch to the other side of the country, though. My destination: Stanford Admit Weekend.

At Stanford, I met up with mom and my high school college counselor. My high school was kind enough to cover my mom’s flight to Palo Alto for the weekend. My college counselor and I felt that mom would be more comfortable letting me leave Texas for four years if she actually visited the place I might potentially call home.

As I picked up my name tag from the Admit Weekend registration table at the Arrillaga Alumni Center, I met an old man who had high hopes for me.

“Have you decided whether you’re coming here next year?” he asked nicely.

“No. I’m considering other schools as well,” I shyly admitted.

“What decision is there to make?” he joked. “This is the best school in the country. Think about it: you can finish undergrad here and go to grad school. You’ll have a bachelor’s and a master’s from Stanford!” He smiled enthusiastically. It was a nice idea so I savored it for a bit.

Later that weekend I met with my Stanford admission officer, mom, and college counselor for breakfast at the “Desayuno Como Hecho En Casa” event sponsored by the Stanford Latino community. I admitted to my admission officer that I was still considering Yale.

“I go through all the trouble of getting you into Stanford and working around your undocumented status and still you’re undecided?” he joked.

The contrast between Yale’s hesitation to fully fund my education based on its strict philosophy of enforcing individual student contribution and Stanford’s complete support despite my undocumented status could not have been sharper than at that moment. On Stanford’s opening day, its first president declared the university to be “hallowed by no traditions” and “hampered by none.” He would be proud to know that Stanford continues to live up to its motto, “The wind of freedom blows.” It is that very spirit of freedom and questioning that ultimately led me to choose Stanford and enroll as a wide-eyed freshman ready to take on the world.

During the first few weeks of freshman year, I Googled a lot of terms that were unfamiliar to me as a first-generation college student, including “postdoc” and “GMAT.” I thought I might want to go to grad school in the future, and I wanted to aim high. I clicked through the Harvard Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business websites. “Above all, be authentic,” one of the many speakers during New Student Orientation urged the Stanford Class of 2011. I remembered this when I met with my assigned academic advisor one of the first times.

“How are your first few weeks at Stanford going?” she asked.

“Classes have been hard but I’m adjusting well,” I focused on academics. We spoke about my course schedule and talked about computer systems engineering, my intended major at the time. Then I said, “I have also been thinking about graduate school and wanted to talk to you about it. I’m curious about what the admission process is like for undocumented students.”

“Let’s look at some public schools in California,” she suggested.

I was not sure why she wanted to focus on public schools in California. I was not even from California. I grew frustrated and led the conversation in a different direction.

“I was actually thinking about Stanford,” I told her.

“We don’t accept undocumented students in the School of Engineering,” she told me. I grew even more frustrated.

“Why is that?” I asked skeptically.

She then continued to talk about forms I had never heard of in my life. She said that as an undocumented person, I would be unable to provide the required documentation for my grad school application.

“If I had listened to people who said I could not attend Stanford undergrad because of my immigration status, I would not be here right now,” I retorted.

“This is different,” she insisted. We finished talking about California public schools and wrapped up our meeting.

I left her office and walked into the Stanford Main Quad. Over and over again during Stanford New Student Orientation administrators assured freshmen that none of us had been mistakenly admitted. With those words, Stanford tried to assuage the worries of students who felt they were not cut out for its academic rigor. I was confident enough in my academic preparation from high school that I rarely questioned whether Stanford had incorrectly assessed my abilities

I could still hear the words of my academic advisor echoing through my head: “We don’t accept undocumented students in the School of Engineering.” As I walked under the blinding sun and sky-reaching palm trees emblematic of Stanford’s campus, I thought to myself, “Maybe my advisor was right. Maybe I can’t get into Stanford grad school.” I thought about the four college years ahead of me.

“Maybe,” I considered, “I really don’t belong here.”’

**That’s so sad …. I recently asked another college student, Johnatan Salazar ‘What do you think this government should do quicker when it comes to the Dream Act?’

His answer, ‘Honestly it’s just putting political crap aside and do what is right. The only reason why it didn’t pass in the last congress is because McCain had a filibuster in place that required sixty votes yet all we really needed were 51 votes and yet I believe we had 53 votes. Yet because of that dumb ass it wasn’t enough.’

Our talented young adults…..Give them hope.

You are never strong enough that you don’t need help. Cesar Chavez

Popularity: 32% [?]

What is Healthy??

Posted by Spanglish Chick On August - 17 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

So the question is ‘What is Healthy?”  Being muscular, being skinny, or just being able to walk up the stairs without wanting to die. In health class, we learned about bulimia, anorexia, and how to calculate one’s body mass index and in the last decade or so we are seeing more and more obesity not only in adults but in our youth which are becoming prone to diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease….just to name a few. And what is the medical industry’s solution? “Well try to eat right, and exercise…but here’s a prescription for a pill…It will cure it.”

A lot of medical staff doesn’t mention that it may cure what you have but it can make you depressed, have  anxiety, or get seizures…..So curing one thing has a lot of side effects yet that is

What is a person to do? I was talking to a friend about this topic and he convinced me to watch a documentary, Food Matters. After watching it I was astonished…here I was trained in wellness/health and teaching classes of fitness & dance.  And I knew food gave us nutrients but Food Matters made some great points about the food, medical, dental, and pharmaceutical industries. And my first thought was, “I knew the U.S. was corrupt to some level….but this money hungry that they are will to hurt us. Really?”

And as I sat and ate my breakfast taco and OJ…there was 22 grams of sugar in 8oz….but the bottle of OJ has two servings which makes it 44 grams of sugar I could have just swallowed a can of soda having about 40 grams of sugar…proving OJ is just another sugary drink.

I begin to think of Dr. Max Gerson and his therapy that has proven time and time again that it can cure cancer along with a lot of different diseases and conditions.

Yet it does not seem to be accepted by American Medical Association. For instance, I have epilepsy and talked to my neurology program director about my eating habits and that I had planned to eat more organic.  She had no objections yet she said it would not make a huge difference.  I mentioned that I would not stop taking my medication without their consent. And her comment was, “Why would you stop taking your meds?” as she looked at me curiously.  I looked back her, “Uh isn’t that the objective for me –healthy and taking as little or no pills while controlling my seizures.”  I was not thrilled but she didn’t even know Dr. Max Gerson.  I recognized that our medical care is being trained on what makes the most money…I believe some doctors are money-hungry and some are just ignorant…how sad.

So what about our youth? I could relate to the Jaime Oliver Food Revolution….he reveals his mission and the audience gets to see just what food is being served to our future generations.  I will always blame the HISD schools for not learning just how good veggies are…with their cheap, canned squishy peas and slimy green beans.  As I grew into my 20’s I began to like broccoli & cheese. Hmmm…yet just how freshly made was that?  I ate well, then I didn’t…I’d lose weight, and then I’d gain it back.  While asking myself, ‘What would I do in life?’, it was easy to grab a pack of Ramen noodles, 39 cent Taco Bell bean burrito, or 2 pc fried chicken for 99 cents….and who could forget pizza delivery.  Then as my epilepsy started to get worse start to get worse…I tried to change my diet but I hated vegetables. Until I met up with some colleagues at a restaurant on Westheimer and ordered the grilled chicken, a plate that came with grilled vegetables. I don’t know what is was about the grilled asparagus, squash, and zucchini yet either the presentation or the great overall smell but suddenly I had the urge to eat my vegetables or at least taste them which led to the realization…OMG they tasted delicious…absolutely delicious….ahhhhh! What have I been missing out all these years…I guess it was time to get in touch with my green side.  And it was time to see what foods now are good for me, my weight, my epilepsy and just overall my wellness.

Then I heard about Chef Tarsha Gary, Crave Gourmet Bakery…..she was simply a chef with a purpose and she sounded amazing.  Then I had the privilege of meeting her at the Ecotone World, the St. Charles urban garden.

It was great…land being used as Mother Earth intended.  This community garden not far from downtown Houston with rows of vegetables and different herbs. It was a wonderful sight now, but when they started…well it was just an empty lot with a lot of junk, trash, and dead cars. After they emptied it and excavated the land.  But the work had just begun…building the beds with cinder blocks and that day they had the materials to build chicken coops. Yes, organic eggs are the list of fresh.  They have even more plans for the garden.

We sat and spoke under a huge, beautiful tree. Up and around on the fences were artworks created by the youth.  This lovely woman is known as a chef and urban farmer with a real compassion for the youth.  Her philosophy includes: transformation, beautification, education, and recycling.  She wanted to involve the community and especially the youth.  She has a healthy food education program in place, Community Kids Cook w/ Chef Tarsha, with its focus on offering classes and training for the youth about health and nutrition through cooking and cultivating.  This wonderful opportunity especially since our Texas Education Agency has no longer made health education, a mandatory course in order to graduate.  And the school systems have to decide whether or not to keep in the school’s curricula. It’s an easy save for the school budget…no matter the rising levels of obesity in our youth.  As the saying goes, “One can only go so far with fried chicken, pizza, and burgers with fries.”

Chef Tarsha is apart of some really great events …such as hosting the 1st Bi-annual Seed Swap they had this past spring which invited the public to meet with the local farmers and other urban gardeners so they could swap and buy seeds, there was a lesson on harvesting and seed storage with an open house at the Ecotone World.  Still have questions? Then I suggest you head over on Wednesdays from 11am -2pm for the City Hall Farmers Market sponsored by Urban Harvest.  Chef Tarsha and her crew from CRAVE are there cooking while utilizing the produce harvested from the Ecotone World urban garden.  I went there to find the line a bit long but it was well worth the wait….the meal was freshly cooked with her fresh mint lime tea. Yummy…this is a meal you do not want to miss out on.

Ultimately these are projects that can bring Houston together as schools, families, and groups come together to get involved by participating and volunteering at this community garden.

Popularity: 40% [?]

Oye, dame tu oído….

Posted by Spanglish Chick On July - 18 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Just a note…..Senorita Cinema, an all Latina film fest set in Houston, Texas is doing a Call for Entries …..they are looking for volunteers also. So come out and lend a helping hand if you have the passion or the time….its really appreciated….

They are seeking films and videos by Latina Filmmakers and Video Artists. Any genre 15 minutes or less will be considered. This includes trailers and excerpts for larger works and music videos. Multiple entries (up to three) accepted. Deadline is August1, 2011.

It is a great way  show your work plus they are offering cash prizes…Ck it out @ www.senoritacinema.com.

This year’s Festival will be held August Saturday 27th at Talento Billingue de Houston @ 333 S. Jensen off Navigation in H-town. Come out and support and meet some great people.

Popularity: 45% [?]

Who’s the Man?

Posted by Spanglish Chick On February - 16 - 2011ADD COMMENTS

Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone.   So we wake up and we are running through life with tags like work…home…love…relax…family. We are in a new generation with young girls who tend to get pregnant as early as thirteen years old while other women are waiting until after college or after they have crawled up the business ladder to have children plus get married.

Heart

i heart Mr. Right

Times have change…in the past it was all practicing abstinence and everyone looking for Mr. Right. However it is no longer necessary to have a man in your life – for eternal love and happiness. But isn’t it nice to know you have someone that will stand behind you. Someone -with a good heart. The problem with that is how many shitheads must you go through before you realize the mistakes you are making…before you find that guy…that guy that can make you smile…that guy who you can trust…
So how can you tell he’s the one? My mother believes that the man you should fall for ..well…he will have a nice car and his own place. But those are only material things…so really is that all? Is that all I am looking for?
What about a hard worker or his education…his trustworthiness…how a man treats you? What about how you make each other feel? We are all born with good qualities and bad ones…we are trying to do what is right, right?

So why does it seem like a lot of us girls tend to fall for the bad boys.

I, myself, even fell for an ex-bank robber/drug dealer, Chris, which was not intended. I met him at recording studio and on our forth or fifth date he told me about his criminal record. But Chris was one smooth talker that had me hooked with the line ‘I am changing my life and I want you to be apart of that.’ I couldn’t turn away from him…I tend to have a generous heart and I wanted to be there for him and his kids. And even when I talked to my dad, his advice came down to ‘Mija, once a guy is incarcerated he can never really cut all ties with his prison crew. It’s your choice just please be careful.’ He is my dad I kept his words in my head and then a month later I saw what he meant. Chris’s prison crew were having issues…they had a meeting because two of the members were at harming each other…they were on parole. Yet since one of the guys had a family, they decided to screw up the single members life to get him thrown back in. There the gang would handle

who loves you?

the situation and pass out a beating they felt he deserved. So that made the gang in house could handle his punishment. Chris wasn’t happy with what they were planning to do however he explained he was connected with them forever and he couldn’t turn away from them. I realize saw the meaning of ’blood in blood out’. I only saw his weakness and lack of courage to achieve his life changes. He was going down a path and I would not be apart of that. My heart still hurt for him and his children but it would do no good he was listening. So I let him go.

Another huge mistake with the last boyfriend, Tommy, an offshore oil rig worker. I felt as if he was keeping a wall between us
up. I needed an answer that he was hiding or just maybe in denial…yet months later we were back in each others arms. I suppose I was in denial wanting our relationship to restore itself with gifts, passion, and sweet words. Funny though he didn’t mention he was talking to his ex high school girlfriend from Alvin. Also that he took her on a road trip to see his boys in Iowa. It was ‘Facebook’
that helped me figure this all quickly. Yet months later as I wrote a sincere email saying I was happy for both of them moving in together he got us on IM for conversation letting me know that he missed me and our bedroom antics. I laughed, feeling a bit pretentious. I explained that where he was stuck he had to make some choices. I mean what did he really want? To reclaim a relationship yet how could he tell his girlfriend he still yearned for his ex-girlfriend and she had no idea that we were communicating with simple flirtations that were growing into a sexual desire. She worshiped Tommy…that was her man…he could or would do her no wrong. Yet there he was wanting to sex around so I played along- we were just on IM ..I was a bit wicked and teasing him was easy. The words and gestures were false because in reality I could never want him back. Him – trying to cheat on his ‘supposed love’ Ha! Why would I trust him? Part of my felt sorry for the blond chick because everyone saw the good in this miracle relationship yet no one had realized what Tommy was really up to – just another deception. I blocked all communication with him. I knew I am too good for this fraud.

Kiss me...

Kiss me..

Trust and strength are two qualities a real man needs…but are they out there?
Yes they are…just know what the challenge is. As a female you need not to fall in the same hole over and over. It becomes too much grief.
You will cry…you will be mad but learn the lesson….don’t keep falling in the same pothole…making the same mistake…you have to be stronger and believe out there is the right man. It is you who will choose whether you want to be with him or not.

Popularity: 53% [?]

Always in my Head….

Posted by Spanglish Chick On December - 6 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

So Thanksgiving has come and go now everyone is in shopping mode…and I really don’t where I stand. Obstacles keep turning up since my preteen years….something had to change. So that’s why I opted for the surgery – brain that is ….I mean I have had these seizures since I was fourteen when we first moved overseas. They started off as grand mal seizures and over the two decades it has settled to a complex partial seizure while taking away my auras. Many doctors have slightly different definition for ‘aura’ all I can say is that my aura was like a feeling …a feeling that warns me to sit or lay down before I start seizing. The aura was long enough that if I was driving I would have enough time to pull over and stop the car. It took me a year to get permission from the medical board to be able to receive my driver’s license.

My treatment was medicine, medicine, and of course more medicine. My first doctor was in Malaysia – he gave my first EEG which is a electroencephalography. It records the electrical activity of the brain.  However in Malaysia in the mid-80’s, they tend to put needles

EEG test

into my scalp which caused it bleed….and the pain was horrible. The first medication I was ever prescribed was Phenobarbital but it was never explained to me. My mentality was ‘feel bad then pop a pill’ right like a headache?   By the time I got back to the States for vacation my mom made an appointment with my favorite doctor, Dr. Azios.  So as she was checking me out I began to complain about my diagnosis, the side effects of this medication, and finally, my ‘Why did this have to happen to me?’ speech.   She looked down with a perplexed smile and in a caring yet harsh voice replied, ‘Why are you complaining? You have to take your medicine consistently in order for them to work and you are not.  So start…plus you are one of the lucky ones. Medicine can control this just think if you had cancer or something worse.’
I teared up she was right if I didn’t take this pill I could eventually hurt myself. And yes, I could have had something so much worse. From then on I tried to watch out for my health…yet I wasn’t exactly explained just how important certain things were and how they would effect my seizures. You know, consequences. Don’t just tell no you can’t do this…I want to know why not.
So throughout my years I learned what kind of impacts things would be: sleep deprivation, lack of nutrients, lack of water, generic medicines, alcohol intake in my life…we those helped cause my seizures.

So my all-night parties and trash can punch was not a good idea in High school, not eating whether it was by accident or not eating enough to please my college dance professors plus the all-nighters studying for finals, then everyone goes through stress but the my top two are: my divorce and a hostile work environment made me lose it.  I was just floating…not swimming but not drowning either…head just above water. That’s enough, right?  I had gone through many neurologists and many more tests.  All with basically the same diagnosis slightly modified here and there. As a pre-teen through my 20’s my mother or I ,while, trying to sort through the doctors’ verdicts kept asking, ‘ Is it epilepsy?’  With same reply over and over which was ‘No’.
So by the age of thirty I quit asking and kept surviving.  Until one day it wasn’t enough….it got worse as years went on until one day my driving privileges were suspended which didn’t matter to me because until I know these seizures are under control it would not be safe.  This has now been two years since I have driven…. Oh how I miss that feeling…
It wasn’t until I was told in front of an insurance investigator that I indeed had epilepsy while all this time I was always told it was some sort of seizure and now he explains it to me.  My insurance denied my claim because I ‘lied’ on the application.  I don’t lie about my condition…I mean if its not appropriate conversation I won’t talk about it but when asked directly I don’t lie about it either. All of my students knew and I taught them a bit of first aid in dance.

In the beginning of that school year I realized I needed to take care of my health and that doctor did a medicine adjustment.   I started to feel odd, gloomy, and went straight to him to explain how the meds were affecting me. He wanted me to give it another chance.  So I did and ended up in ICU at Memorial Herman with the most rude attending doctor in ER with no rapport. She made me feel like urban trash.  She had no right to judge me or anyone else for that matter.  Why did I just trust my doctor? It was time I made some big changes in my life.

A new neurologist was at the top of the list. Dr. Newmark and Stephanie D. listened to me and I felt comfortable in asking them questions plus they replied to things that other doctors didn’t find important or know the answer to.   I felt safe, like we were working on a plan….to get these seizures under control.  Seriously though I could accept having seizures for the rest of my life but with the ‘auras’.  Without the auras it was getting annoying to my principal at the school I worked at, and the Department of Transportation suspended my license officially after reviewing with my doctor…but I agreed I didn’t want any blood on my hands…the episodes were getting dangerous and slightly more frequent. I had one while paying for groceries with no warning, then another while walking across a parking lot – I snapped out of it right before I crossed traffic.  In my house I fell asleep on my couch and ended up in my bedroom asleep on the floor. Those are just a few examples…a few of my friends have mentioned that they do not like me living alone while my mother brings up the different scenarios “what if you didn’t wake out of it and got hit by a car?” or “what if you are eating lunch and ended up choking on food?” I don’t have an answer for all but I know I come from strong people (like my Tia Jeanie says) and I can’t hide from life simply waiting for the next episode to happen.
So this past summer of 2010 we began testing to see if I qualified for brain surgery. They found that the problem was in my left temporal…and with the surgery they should be able to operate and cut out the small portion of the brain that was shooting out the electric charges that was making me have seizures. Funny cause when I was about twenty years old I mentioned this exact idea to my neurologist back then…he simply looked at me like I had lost my mind and gave me the reasons why that was impossible. Yet suddenly two decades pass and it is no longer unattainable.
Now the question would be ‘Will it work?’
Finally by the end of August it was a go and the day came for them to make the incision on my skull and put in a monitoring grid connected to my brain.  The plan was to induce seizures and then brain map the data in order to pinpoint the exact spot to extract. Well I woke up hours later with a swollen head and with this pain which would have been much more agonizing had it not been for the morphine shots they gave me. It is a weird feeling knowing that your brain is somewhat open to the world.  However with visits from alumni students, friends, and family I didn’t have time to think negative and the Facebook messages from family and friends all over the world made me smile. Soon it was the end of the week and I had had four attacks in two days so with that data one of doctors began the brain mapping.  He was halfway through when family members started coming for visits.

Survival scar

The doctor and his team would evaluate the brain mapping that they had finished and would complete the rest later.

An hour or so had passed and he came in with the news… ‘It looks like we are not going to be able to go through with the rest of the surgery.  It will be too risky.  We are afraid if we do complete this procedure then you could lose your memory or speech.’  I made a joke but inside I was numb. Were they kidding?  All this preparation, opening my head and pain that it was causing for nothing.  This doctor let us know that it was not a total waste…they got some very important data and when the brain stimulators were approved by FDA in three or four years this would be an option again. I gave him a jackass look and said, ‘ You think I will let you cut my head open again?  What are you crazy?’  That would be it for me…words kept popping in my head like ‘pain’ and ‘finances’ …unless it would be some kind of laser surgery with minimal pain my answer will be ‘no thanks’.   I went in that afternoon and they stapled and stitched my skull back together.
There was so much pain yet I can smile through anything.  The problem was that was my energy and cardio was so deflated.  I still had muscular strength but the minute I got home I realized I would not pop up and be able to run around like myself.  When I walked to the restroom and back to bed I was already out of breath and tired. They had prescribed me a cocktail of meds yet the one for pain did nothing for me.  Ice packs pacified the throbbing pain of my head.  My friends and family came…from near and far…to check on me with groceries, calls, dinner, or just a visit. All of it was so appreciated. My problem was my vanity with half my head shaved off with a long scar…and I had no hairstyle.  Scarves did the trick but it wasn’t really my style.
The best night was the night my friend Juan Carlos came over and we talked, realizing that we were both hungry. We decided to go out for Star Pizza. It was the first real time I had gone away from my neighborhood. It was a beautiful night.  The lightning came down lighting up the sky and as we sat on the patio I realized my strength was coming back my head was no longer pounding.  Now if we could just find something that would end my seizures.  I can only smile and think ‘I am gonna try’ and enjoy every minute to life.

*Just a note…sorry this took so long…it was hard to write this…tears kept getting in the way.   But as the scar on my skull heals so will the one on  my  soul.

…. for more information go to www.epilepsy.com

Popularity: 100% [?]

What’s new with you?

Posted by tamara On September - 8 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

We at Spanglish Chick are in the midst of getting ourselves in order.

Eloisa had her surgery and is recovering well, minus the staples in her head that are beginning to piss her off (brain surgery will “literally” do that to you) .  My other gig has picked up so I’m on the road a lot. We hope that September, or Sextember as our friends at The Buzz put it, brings new stories and tidbits for us to share with you. Keep Eloisa in your thoughts … and enjoy the new football season (fantasy football, too) .  ;)

Popularity: 36% [?]

** UPDATE **

Posted by tamara On August - 9 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

We have been on a bit of hiatus for personal reasons. First off, everyone is ok; we’ve just been taking it slow. Our founder has been suffering from an ailment that has required rest and we have been sensitive to the issue. Due to this ailment she is having a critical and much needed surgery soon. Keep her in your prayers & thoughts. We will make updates on the website, twitter and FB when we can.

Thank you
tamara

Popularity: 39% [?]

PINTALE!!

Posted by Spanglish Chick On June - 23 - 2010ADD COMMENTS

I can picture her out on the streets…alone…with her paint. It’s better that way sometimes….no one to bother or distract. This native Eastsider has talent that just won’t quit as she mixes it up and freely speaks her mind. Her voluptuous, strong doll-like characters, Sand Chikz can be found anywhere this graffiti artist Sand One wants to paint. This nineteen year old hustler comes from the laid back barrios of  Los Angeles—east that is. And has had time to run through the streets of Miami and Puerto Rico – creating her unique masterpieces, but this is only the beginning.
What is your real name? Maria de la Concha Chaves
What is your hometown? East Los Angeles, California

Age? 19 [she stands to have many opportunities in front of her...how awesome]

Did you go through art training or are you self taught? Street taught

Where can the public purchase your merchandise/art? City West Boutique or the Garage
What was your inspiration to do what you do? The freedom of making anything…a piece of canvas, a wall or even a truck…anything can be a surface to paint on.
What is your favorite childhood memory? My mother adding chunks of mascara to her eyelashes and me telling her it looked like spider legs now I exaggerate my eyelashes and I paint huge overlapping lashes on my cartoons

How do you describe your artwork? Ghetto hardcore, Sand Chikz, ‘Anything you can do I can do better, or ‘It’s a man’s world and I’m in it!’
Can people find you on the net? Where? sandoner.com


Where do you see yourself going in the future with your artwork?
I hope I get financial stability but I m not sure what awaits…I’m not sure what I’m doing tomorrow.


How did you get the name “Sand”? I just liked it. It’s smooth…it’s me, now when you hear Sand, Sand is me.
Is it any different being a female artist verses a male artist? It is scarce… there are not many females. It is only a few.
What is your personal history? I was born in East Los Angeles…I love pupusas and I paint Sand Chikz all day. I don’t smoke, drink, or party… I just paint and I love Thai food! Pad that shrimp!! And I enjoy being a loaner.


What is your favorite type of music?
Jose Jose/ Emmanuel/Sublime /Ana Gabriel/Gangstarr/Biggie/Ghetto Boyz/Mos Def/the Grouch [can anyone really pick one?]
Any suggestions for future artists? Just paint but don’t call it abstract because you can’t paint…look at other art and follow the art you feel is right. Don’t listen to people, because at the beginning, they will always doubt of your success until proven wrong.

What are your favorite surfaces to paint on? Walls, trucks, smooth dumpsters, leather purses, U-hauls, metal abandoned buildings … [I think the list goes on]

What is your life motto? ‘Go big or go home’ along with ‘Get it while the game is big!’

Definitely check online www.sandoner.com though if you find yourself in East LA then take a look around the Sand Chikz can’t be missed.

Popularity: 92% [?]

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Spanglish Chick is the ideas, thoughts and point of view of a Latina living in Houston, TX ... I had a colorful upbringing and has a distinct perspective on life. Spanglish Chick is honest, fresh and savvy minus any artificial flavors and characters. On occassion, a witty and knowledgeable contributor will bestow us with their impression of the world. Somos Spanglish Chick. *besos

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