Saturday, March 31, 2012


Olivia Salinas

Elia de Cortez. She was married to Santiago de Cortez and their daughter was Mariana de Cortez. Thats me. My mom always used to call me Emy, until the day her sweet voice faded to nothing. That was the day I wish she was there to call me Mariana.
Her symptoms began when I was only 3. Her hair was growing thinner, she wasn’t as active as she used to be, and she went to the doctor’s office every other week. I hadn’t known what was going on, of course, but I knew something was happening. Something unusual.
A year went by until her body finally gave up. She had been sleeping and just never woke up the next morning. I was the one who discovered her lifeless body. A 4-year old trying to wake up her mommy to come play with her. April 13, 2000 at 9:47 a.m. was the exact time and date she was gone. Forever.
My whole family knew her as the most caring person who ever lived. “Santa Elia” was her nickname because she was like a saint.
“Elia didn’t ever come across as self-centered”, they would say.
“Elia lit up the room as she walked in” was another, or sometimes, “Your mother never considered herself a priority. Others were her priority”. These were often the answers I received when I asked about her kindness. My mom died from Lukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow. After she left, it was... different. The only memory I really have of her is the way she held me when I was scared or sad. The safety and security she provided was like a mother bird wrapping her wings around her fragile egg. I felt untouchable.
My mother was tall and well-built. My dad claims she looked like a goddess. Now, with that description, I have imagined her in a white toga, long braided hair, and a golden leaf circlet. From pictures, though, she looks like a regular young woman. Though her beauty almost matched that of Athena, the noble war goddess. She had brown eyes with a grey ring circling her iris and feathered black hair. Pure beauty.
According to Madre-Christina, “ y tu madre mucho bien hi ja. Mucho determinacion. That necklace around your neck, mi ja, symbolizes the greatness tu madre passes on to you. You need to realize it,”. My necklace is a circle with Santa Maria on it. It’s a locket, but needs a key in order to open it. I don’t have the key, but now I’m dtermined to find it.
I’ve heard many stories from several family members. They are all about the best of times that my mother had in her short life. Nothing could have prepared me for the story from my Auntie Kellie, though. She’s not really my auntie, but she was a very close friend of my mothers’. Auntie Kellie told me the story of April 17, 1987. The day of the drive-by.
Mom was 17 years old and was a sophmore at Del Condor High School. She, Kellie, and her other best friend at the time, Maria, were walking home from a big track meet at school. The walk home was fairly long but there were a bunch of other students who walked along with them. The three girls were talking about how hot number 46 from the track team team was. Suddenly, a big black Camaro came rolling down the street. The resounding sound of gunshots rang through the air in an explosion of chaos. A torrent of people flooded to escape, clearing out with amazing speed. Shrieks of terror floated about in the ominous sky as bullets met flesh. Maria, Kellie, and Mom were running at this time and went to go hide in the bushes. Maria had been right behind them, but something caused her to freeze. A look of shock and pain covered her face before she fell face down onto the tattered grass. The Camaro was gone by this time and Elia and Kellie ran towards the barely breathing lump of clothing. Turning her over, they had discovered Maria had been shot in the stomach. Kellie ran for help while mom stayed with Maria as her last seconds of life were drifting away. When Maria’s pulse was gone, mom was sprawled on top of her sobbing. Her best friend had just died in her arms. Elia was engulfed with pain.
“Why not me! Why did it have to be Maria! Oh, God, please! Don’t let her go like this! Please! She deserves to live! MARIA!!! Noooooooo......”, were my tortured mothers’ words. Auntie Kellie described that night to be the night Elia was torn to pieces, mentally and emotionally.
“Elia wasn’t the same person after that, she became a totally different person”. I guess mom cherished life more than she had before. She spent the rest of her waking years trying to love to every extent. Nobody saw her as a free-spirited teen after that. She cared so much more for others than herself.
When mom was a little girl her dad left both her and her mother. They had problems within their marriage. More or so her mom had problems with her dad. Her dad was verbally abusive and made her mother feel like trash. Mom’s father wouldn’t take any consideration into what he said to Madre-Christina.
“He made both of our lives miserable. Elia, though, soldiered on through all of the hatred and misery. She took care of me after he left. Hi ja was the strongest, mi corazon. No matter what I asked her to do, her response would always be ‘Si mami, te amo!’”. Mom would always do what was asked of her without hesitation.
About a week or two ago, Papi gave me a box. The box was no bigger than the size of a ring box. He told me to put it to good use. I had no idea what was inside. I left it in my room until I got home that afternoon. The whole day, I thought about it. What could it be? Could it be mom’s engagement ring? Or maybe a special stone from her old house? These questions lingered in my head the whole six hours I was in school.
  Finally, I got home and bolted towards my room. As soon as I got to my room, I went to the little box and held it tenderly in my hands. I opened it and inside was a tiny key. I looked at it and thought ‘What the heck is this for?’ and then it hit me. My locket! I tore it from my neck and put the key inside the lock. It fit perfectly and opened smoothly. Inside were the words Invisible Power. What did that have to do with anything? Why would these words appear inside the locket? These questions were floating in my mind.
I went to Papi to ask if he knew what Invisible Power meant to mom. He said it was her life motto and also happened to the title of her diary. She wrote in it when she was pregnant with me. I asked if he knew where it would be. He said to look for it in his closet. this kind of scared me a little because his closet was a bit messy and I didn’t want to get lost in all of the clutter. I headed for his closet with hope and fear.
I opened the door and started searching. Through all of the searching, I felt like a racoon scavanging for food. I found a shoebox filled receipts, a box with sea shells, and a large container encasing bits and pieces of newspaper articles. All of this, but no diary. I looked up for inspiration and my eyes became set on a medium sized box on a shelf. How could I miss that? I reached up and grabbed it. With such care, I opened it up to reveal the richest of all treasures. The box contained my baby shoes,birth certificate, baby pictures, and a big scrapbook of Mom and Dad’s wedding. At the bottom of these objects, I found Invisible Power.
What did mom think of having a baby? She was ecstatic and so determined for her baby to have the best childhood. She anticipated all of the days I would take my first steps, say my first words, lose my first tooth, and get my first haircut. When it was almost the due date, mom started writing about how many things could go wrong. She sounded so scared and worried. The due date entry wasn’t just writing, it was a poem. It was a poem to me about how she would protect me and love me forever. It also said how she would die someday and not be able to take care of me anymore. She hoped it was when I was much older, but still told me just in case. Mom told me to be strong and carry on. Elia didn’t want me relying on other people to solve my problems. Mom wanted me growing up a strong-willed girl.
Ever since that day that I read her diary, I have felt a strong connection with her. She doesn’t feel gone anymore. Mom is still with me, but closer. Sercana, mucho sercana.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bit by a Scorpion

Not only was last week a rough week because the babies were sick with the flu, it was even worse because Cecilia ended up getting stung by a scorpion. Luckily, if that is any luck, the scorpions that roam around our house are of the "harmless" type according to the "stupid" nurse at the ER. Cecila was the first to get sick and also the first to get better. This all happened last Wednesday when it looked like a great day because everyone was feeling better, including me. I had stayed home from work on Tuesday to help melissa with the babies and ended up getting sick as well. So Wednesday looked like a great day to take them out shopping or just for s stroll at the park. They had just finihsed eating a snack and were having raspberries while we were trying to get shoes and everything else involved in gettiing them ready for an outing. (that in itself is a 15 minute charade) Cecilia was seating on the floor with her raspberry when all of a sudden we heard her scream and begin to cry. I was trying to figure out what happened when Melissa spotted it. Right by Cecilia's feet, tail still up in the air ready to strike again, a small light colored scorpion. I moved her away from it and handed her over to Melissa. I grabbed a basketball which was the nearest heavy thing around and smashed the scorpion with it. We've found them here and there around the house, mostly climbing along the walls or closer to the walls along the floor and when we see them, we kill them. Simple, this time curiousity got the better of Cecilia. So out we go to the ER with the other two babies in tow. Cecilia's reaction was not bad at all, she was whining and crying from time to time. Other times she was just her normal self; smiling and just chilling on the way to the hospital. As she cried, she held and stretched her arm which to me was an indication that the poison was making its way through her blood stream. By the time we got to the hospital it was full blown drama. Obviously she was in pain. It only took a few minutes to check in and get seen by the ER "nurse" who in his wide expertise deduced that Cecilia was crying out of anxiety at being at the hospital with strangers, not because of the pain. His comment was also that the scorpion sting (If not from a bark scorpion)it was more "like a bee sting" and that it would bother her for a few hours and maybe some tylenol would make her feel better. Boy was this guy so wrong! Cecilia twisted and screamed in pain. Nothing would make her happy. Eventually doctors called the poison control center who directed them to prescribe tylenol with codeine for the pain. As time went by she got calmer but with a few bouts of pain in between. By this time Melissa had stayed at hospital while I brought the other two home for their nap. It wasn't 'till Anthony got home that I was able to go back to hospital to get them. For the rest of the day Cecilia was not herself and even into the night she was restless but by the next morning she was back to the happy baby I knew. At least now we know what to do if it happens again. No rushing to the doctor to be diagnosed by a stupid nurse. put ice on the bite, give a nice dose of tylenol (with codeine) if available and lock yourself with them in a room to contain the crying and screaming. I sure hope it never happens again. Oh yeah! Looking for a great pest control person, know anyone?

Sunday, March 04, 2012


This will be the match up come November. The winner will be Obama unless the political machinery, set in place by Republicans many years ago, can manage to once again miscount and switch votes to favor Romney as it happened during Bush vs. Gore in 2000.
Wait a minute, can Republicans manage to thwart the people's choice even if there is a third party candidacy? Probably not if the candidate happens to be Newt Gingrich running as either a tea party candidate or independent. He is the one most likely to continue on his quest for the Presidency, no matter the cost. He will get enough Republicans from the far right that he will split the republican party into two. Remember Perot?
What might re-energizes the Republicans as a party would be a Romney/Santorum candidacy. That way they can have all of their followers in agreement against Obama, which is the main goal, remove Obama at all costs. Then again, picking a VP just to placate a segment of the party has not always worked (McCain-palin) and to an extent (Bush-Quayle).
Obama obviously has not been a Stellar president. He has been rather un-decisive and quick to cow tow to pressure from Republicans. His only saving grace is the disarray that the republicans find themselves in.
Once back in office for a second term he needs to be bold and relentless. He must go down in history not just as the first African American President but also as one who managed to bring back a new era of prosperity for a country full of self doubt and division.