Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

Holiday mode

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The last day of school before winter break meant holiday parties in classrooms around the country, including those of Mateo and Olivia. I attended both.

Mateo was proud of his gingerbread house, made from graham crackers, candy canes, and chocolate, held together by cupcake frosting sprayed out of a can. Later, he constructed a reindeer ornament from popsicle sticks, and drew a  picture of a snowman wearing a colorful striped scarf.

After Mateo’s party was over, I made my way to Olivia’s school. In her classroom, each student had been asked to make a presentation on his or her ethnic heritage, followed by a potluck lunch comprising food from each child’s background. The meal demonstrated the great diversity of California’s population, with dishes from Ireland, Norway,  Mexico, Italy, Wales, Cuba, and Iran. Olivia spoke with confidence about being indigenous Maya and Guatemalan, and explained how tortillas are made. Her fellow students enjoyed seeing the Guatemalan flag and a picture of the country’s official bird, the beautiful and elusive quetzal, depicted in the flag’s central field as well as on the cover of Olivia’s Guatemala ABC’s book. Below, Olivia is holding her favorite hackysack ball, a common sight in Guatemala, shaped like a frog.

The next morning, we set off on a road trip to visit grandparents and family in San Diego. With pit stops and delays because of rain, the drive took nearly eleven hours. But with my sister Patrice along and Shakira’s music blasting from the CD player, nobody seemed to mind. We arrived in San Diego in holiday mode, ready to sleep late and slow down.


Picture yourself

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Years ago, before yoga was all the rage, dance studios in New York City and elsewhere offered classes in high-impact aerobics. This was in the 1980s, the decade I lived in New York, when people wore big sneakers and sweatbands and other now-unthinkably unfashionable garments in which to work out.

I had moved to New York to study dance, but after a few years of learning alongside professionally trained dancers who were Broadway and ballet-company-bound, I realized I would be better off laboring behind a desk as an assistant editor at a magazine. But I was still not the kind of person who liked to exercise at a gym, so I switched my routine from dance to aerobics. (more…)


The “2-to-1 Fade”

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Among its many claims to fame, San Diego is a military town, as I learned when I lived there in the 1990s. The Marines are at Camp Pendleton and the Top Gun pilots at Miramar. Coronado, where I rented an apartment, is home to the Navy SEALs. It’s almost impossible to go anywhere and not be aware of the military. Aircraft carriers dot the shoreline, fighter planes fly in formation overhead, and men and women in uniform perform drills on the beach.

Until I moved to San Diego, my primary experience of the military was through my uncle and his family. When I was a little girl, they visited us in New Jersey from their home in Ft. Hood, Texas, where they lived when they weren’t overseas. What I remember most from those visits was the haircuts of my four boy cousins, military-issued buzz cuts, less than an inch long. In San Diego, I saw those same cuts again, a symbol as ubiquitous as desert camouflage and combat boots.  (more…)