Tag Archives: music

Feel Good Friday Continues

24 Oct

I was in the car when it happened.

In fact I bet you’ve been in the car when this has happened.

You’re sitting there waiting for the light to change and then it hits you.

You hear it, you lean your head back, and close your eyes for moment. You feel a smile coming on and then you reach for the volume … and crank it up.

It’s your jam … the one that takes you way back to Aquanet Hairspray, Levi Jeans, L.A. Gears, and Trapper Keepers.



You haven’t heard it in years and you begin to do your best Night at the Roxbury dances moves while driving down the street. You’re having all these 1980s feel good flashbacks and you’re feeling good because you’re having a moment.  You’re enjoying the present. You’re letting go. You’re having a let-your-freak-flag-fly moment. And it’s so good that you begin to sing. You’ve only done karaoke twice in your life, but you feel like you can take the stage at this point.

And then as you turn around you notice the driver next to you is not only watching, but staring.

So what do you do?

Do you pause in mid-song and shift to slow-motion until there’s no motion? Do you stop abruptly and hang your head in shame? Or do you turn around and pretend like you didn’t see him?

What do you think I did?


You’re right.

I did.

I looked straight at him, continued singing, and continued dancing. In fact I even got a smile.

Yeah the feel-good-Friday celebration continued.







Stupid Ricky Martin

25 Sep

Livin’ La Vida Loca CD

I hadn’t given him any thought in years.


But a friend of mine recently lost her father, and after talking to her, trying to comfort her, I remembered my own loss, which happened a couple of years ago. And all the feelings came rolling in. That’s when Ricky Martin resurfaced.

Pinche Ricky Martin.

There’s a point in everyone’s life when you realize that your parent was trying to do something nice for you, trying to perform an act of kindness. There are times when you get it. You realize that it is happening and you appreciate it and hug it out. This was not one of those times.

This was the time when I was a jackass.

A jackass.

Luckily I corrected my mistake so that ugly window didn’t last long, but still … still I was a jackass for a couple of minutes and that wasn’t cool and for some reason that memory seems to stick with me whenever I see Mr. Livin’ La Vida Loca.

Everyone has an I-love-this-singer-so-much-that-I’m-going-to-marry-him phase. Yeah I was in college. I had dreams and I was going to be Mrs. Enrique Iglesias. He had just come out with his first CD and you know when people sing in Spanish the meaning seems to be even deeper. I had gone to three of his concerts that semester, listened to his CD over and over, and knew all the words to his songs. I was hooked.

He was my man.

So when I came home to celebrate my birthday that summer, I had a little shindig with my family and a couple of friends. My dad came home from work, exhausted, but still managed to smile, pat me on the head, and wish me a happy birthday. He set down his briefcase, opened it up and handed me a small gift.

It looked like a CD. I was excited. My dad smiled. Had to be his new CD. I unwrapped it and there he was staring at me …

Mr. Cup of Life

Ole, Ole, Ole.

Ricky Martin.


I was so not excited and had the “Oh…um….thanks” look on my face. And then my dad’s smile faded into confusion. “That’s your guy, right?”

And you know what I said? Do you know what I said? Instead of saying thank you, instead of smiling and giving him a hug and appreciating the effort you know what my ding-ding knucklehead brain said?

“Oh, Dad … this is not Enrique Iglesias.”

“It’s not?”

And as soon as I said it, I wanted to kick my own ass.

I visualized my dad at the Tower Records browsing through the Latin Heart Throb music section, probably being the only white-haired bald dude in his late fifties hanging out in that aisle. I pictured him confused and trying to decide which CD out of all of them was not on my shelf. All the hunks look the same.

I pictured him standing in line behind a couple of kids, who were probably looking at him strangely as he proudly held onto that Ricky Martin CD. I pictured the clerk giving my dad the one-eyebrow raise as he happily paid for my present. I pictured my dad patting himself on the back on a job well done.

These images flashed before my eyes.

“No dad it’s not. It’s Ricky Martin and it’s an awesome CD. Thanks dad! Thanks.”

I gave him a hug.

The CD still sits in my collection.  


Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey

11 Apr

You hear a song and you remember …

Journey back … way back.

Journey to the Virgil Junior High School Gym.

Journey back to dim lights and bad decorations.

Journey back to gravity-defying hair with the help of Aquanet Hairspray.

Journey back to wearing jelly shoes, Vans, or Reeboks.

Journey back to standing with your friends, hoping that the “Jake Ryan” in your life asks you to dance.

Journey back to Journey  singing Open Arms.

Journey back to seeing him dance with girls in short skirts and you wear jeans and t-shirts.

Journey back to Journey  singing Don’t Stop Believin’.

Journey back … way back.

The Rise of La Chona

29 Feb

It happens, even if you don’t have rhythm. It happens.  There’s a song that does it for you. Not just humming or singing the lyrics. It’s starts there, but then your head begins nodding. You hear the opening run and your knees bend a little as your hips start swaying. All of a sudden you’re having a Winona-Ryder-Ethan-Hawke Reality Bites moment at the liquor store.

As I mentioned before I love all kinds of music, I got old school, funk, country, and the 80s submerged in my bones. But this does not have me bustin’ a move in random places.

This happens to me every time I hear La Chona. Now Tucanes de Tijuana don’t play typical Guat music at all. My people listen to cumbias … groups like Sonora Dinamita and Fito Olivares but we dance it all. In my family we got marimba, cumbia, merengue, and salsa. But Tucanes de Tijuana … not so much. I don’t know how it happened but it did.

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

The song first hit the air waves in 1994, but I didn’t hear it until a couple of years later at a Mexican wedding and I was hooked. That little tune jump starts my battery and I’m out of the chair. It’s funny … the song is about a woman who loves to dance and party. Her husband doesn’t know what to do with her. She’s a dancing machine … they call her La Chona.

I was reminded of my Chona Reality-Bites moment, as I was looking through  old college pictures for this week’s photo challenge. I came across a couple of photographs of our ten-year college reunion: A group of friends at the local college pub.

This is where it happened.

We stopped by the campus pub after the homecoming game to get a few drinks. It was crowded, full of typical rugby-shirt, flip-flop wearing white dudes, and giddy, as well as hot-looking, blond chicks. Then we arrived: Latin Invasion. We reminisced, laughed, drank  and ran into old friends. But as everyone else was getting more drinks, a few of us checked out the jukebox, which was filled with Rock, R&B, and some 80s.

And then I saw it.

I couldn’t believe Tucanes were in a place like this. So I dropped my money in the jukebox and made the selection. B-17. I went back to the crowd and waited. Thirty-minutes later I hear the accordion and drum beat. I smile, kick the stool out the way and begin bustin’ a move…Guat style.

There was no official dance floor, but I made one. My friends stared at me as I hopped, swiveled, and kicked my legs around, while swishing my hips. My friends smiled and laughed. Do you think they joined me in this display of La Chona enthusiasm?

Hell yes.

We took over the bar for the next three minutes and seventeen seconds. We were so amusing, that  a couple of flip-flop wearing dudes stopped their dart game and began swishing themselves. This was the rise of La Chona.

Any time I hear that song … I hit the dance floor, even if there is no dance floor.

How about you … do you have a song?


I Have The Music in Me … Sometimes a Little Bit Too Much

17 Feb

 A friend recently asked me why I didn’t use music when I worked out. She told me that studies say music was supposed to pump you up when you worked out. She’s the friend that constantly gives me information on what studies say, but never tells me where it was studied and who studied it. It sounds official I guess…studies say. I think I’m going to start using that just randomly … like studies say chocolate is good for weight loss. Stuff like that.

English: iPod line, September 2010

Image via Wikipedia


Anyhow I explained to her that there were two types of work-outs: the gym and the Great Outdoors. Since I am economically challenged at the moment, I exercise surrounded by mother nature. If I was at the gym I would probably use some sort of musical device MP3 player, iPod, Walkman maybe. If you can believe it, I still have one. But since I workout outdoors, it is a non issue.

She asks whether or not I get tired faster with no music, whether my energy level trickles down to low.

There are three reasons why I can’t work out with music. One: crazy slasher Jack-the-Ripper attackers. As I mentioned before I grew up in a tough inner-city neighborhood and whether you’re on the sidewalk or on the track you don’t want music blasting in your ears. I need to be aware of my surroundings and can’t have some pervert sneaking up on me. I’ve got to have all my senses on alert day or night. Especially if I decide to go hiking. Someone can come from behind and just throw me off the cliff and be off with my merengue playlist. Or if I do get attacked I might end up killing the dude with my Hapkido skills and then I get arrested. Not cool.

Second: I’m doing the Warrior Dash. There’s mud and murky waters involved. That music device will drown. And on top of that I’ll need to stay focused as all my energy will be directed to keeping my balance throughout many obstacles. I can’t concentrate while JJ Fad‘s Supersonic or Slick Rick‘s Children’s Story is blasting in my ear. I’m the kind of person who has to lower the volume on the radio when I’m parking into a tight spot. Concentration is essential, especially for this race.

Third: I’ve got the music in me…sometimes a little bit too much. It’s dangerous. One minute I’m sprinting down the field, the next I’m dancing like Bruno Mars at the Grammys. I got the old school in me. I got funk. I got merengue. I got cumbias … La Sonora Dinamita … watch out. I hear the trumpets, the tambores, the timbales, guacharaca, and then … that cow bell. It’s on. My New Balance shoes stop running and my hips start to swivel. I’m like a washing machine swishing myself down the track. There’s no running. The power of Capullo y Sorullo and Mi Cucu put an end to that. There’s arm pumping, hip swaying, fine footwork, the shoulder shimmy and sweet spin moves. I tried running two miles with music and instead I danced my way around 800 meters. It’s like I was  performing on Sabado Gigante.

So needless to say at the moment I need to stay focused. If it was a triathlon … maybe I’d consider music, but this Warrior Dash is serious. Sometimes I’ve just got too much rhythm.

Giddy up!

Whitney Houston and Marvin

12 Feb

Everyone has their favorite moments and most of them are attached to songs. You hear certain tunes and they’re like time machines, sending you back to Trapper Keepers, Maybelline blue eye-liner No. 5, and massive amounts of Aquanet hairspray…the one in the pink and silver can. So when I heard of Whitney Houston’s passing the first thing that came to mind other than complete shock and sadness was Marvin. 

How Will I Know

Image via Wikipedia

Just like any kid growing up, you have your elementary school crushes where you or they send you a note saying: Do you like me? Followed by two boxes and instructions: check yes or no. Marvin happened to be one of my early childhood crushes and many notes were passed. I was definitely checking that “yes” box.

The popular love song at the time happened to be Whitney’s “How Will I Know…” and I swore that was me. I still remember that video … the big bow in her hair, the  colorful background, and those crazy 80s back-up dancers. That song rocked when I was young, and I perfected those dance moves.

Apparently when I was caught singing it in the shower my cousins knew something was up and I was forced to spill the beans otherwise they’d say something to my parents and the ever so popular Chancla would definitely make a special appearance.

So I gave details. He was cute and he had a nice smile. I told them about hanging out during recess and how he wore mostly jeans to school. I think they were Sergio Valentes, maybe Levis. So Marvin was not Marvin anymore. He was “Ooooooooo…Marviooola.” And when Whitney’s song came out they sang on key. And the teasing was endless…that is until the next heart-throb came along…he was a different song…different can of hairspray.

But as I hear Whitney’s greatest hits on the radio and a montage of her life’s work. I think of Marvin and my crazy cousins.  All and all nothing came of that little romance. We went to the same junior high and high school and became hi-and-bye friends in the hallways during passing periods.

But now anytime I hear Whitney’s “How Will I Know…” I remember Trapper Keepers, Aquanet, Maybelline blue eyeliner No. 5 and Marvin. Normally I would wonder how he’s doing but the invention of Facebook informs me that he’s doing well and living out of state.


How Country Music Snuck Up on Me

17 Jan

Ever wake up wretched…thinking I need a damn miracle today? That’s how I used to feel every day while working as a substitute middle school teacher years ago. I know what you’re thinking…why didn’t you just slit your wrists? Yeah I know. But bills were bills and there were no writing gigs. So there I was classroom after classroom of pimples and raging hormones.

Feeling like jumping off a cliff everyday at three o’clock. Then while I was driving home, I turned the radio dial and found Allan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett  and thought damn…it is five o’clock somewhere. Giddy up!

 I don’t know how it happened but after that I’d become a country music fan. Growing up in the inner city you don’t really hear Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Allan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Reba, Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks or Alabama…it’s more Sonora Dynamita, Fito Olivares, El Buki, Bronco, and songs like “I’m Your Puppet,” “Supersonic,” or “Rapper’s Delight” that blasted the boombox. I wasn’t aware of something called country music until college, but I thought that belonged to the Texas Longhorns, hillbillies, or people living in Nashville. I didn’t want hear songs about dogs or tractors by someone with a twang…and now I wish I had a deep twang. Ohh Josh Turner. Ohh.

I probably could have used country music all my life, including, relationships. These chicks are badass and the guys aren’t bad to look at either. They got lungs and the twang. But what drew me in were the stories. They had their happy songs but the ones with guts hit the spot…talking about failure and surviving it. I thought damn! These are my people, even if they do drink whiskey. They might not use a lot humor in their songs, but they got a little sass and adventure, and that always makes me laugh.

I knew I was a fan when I started raising the volume and little by little the dial went up from a seven to a twenty. And there I was singing away at stop light, but I was still undercover as the windows were rolled up. Couldn’t be singing away by King Taco…that’s Banda Macho territory. I needed to be blasting “El Gato y el Raton,” or Enrique Iglesias.

But after a couple of years I heard the one…the one that made me roll down the windows. She was fairly new on the country scene but this song…made every chick carry a bat in the back of her car. They felt her pain. They knew what she was talking about because they thought if that ever happened to me I would do that too. Carrie Underwood…“Before He Cheats.” I rolled down that window, pumped up the volume, and turned up my best karaoke voice. The guy with the shades in the spruced up, cherry Impala just slightly lowered his glasses, snuck a peek and shook his head in laughter.

We’re chicks…we’re crazy like that.