Women’s March on Washington D.C. (Chicago Version)

Being part of this epic movement of women and people across the world marching to battle racism, hatred, sexism, misogyny and xenophobia, I felt energized. Like in the past, I’ve felt united with my people, however this massive event makes the other protests look small. I saw people of all ages walking, chanting, singing some Aretha Franklin songs and capturing the moment. Of course, though, the signs were the best. We saw Carrie Fisher make an appearance, men reminding everyone that they can be feminists, too and of course the epic Shepard Fairey posters that came in every size.

Thanks for taking a look. Leave a comment. Share your photos, too!

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Class is dismissed… Psyche!

I don’t normally go home on the weekdays, but since I had free time, I went to my parents’ house for dinner and some chatting.

My little cousin is a senior at St. Ignatius (my Alma mater) and is always doing homework after dinner at the dining room table. Last night, she had her head phones on and giggled a few times.

“What are you watching?” I asked her, because I’m always down for a laugh.

“My teacher made a YouTube video,” she said. At this point I’m thinking, ‘What? Is he drunk and dancing around or something? Did friends get him at a bar all over some girl?’

“What kind of vide0?” I asked.

“It’s the first time he ever made one and it’s for class. We ran out of time so he made this to teach us what we couldn’t go over in class,” she explained. And sure enough, there was his voice teaching his students about solving trigonometric equations.  Take a look.

There was a part two, but I’ll save you from the torture of having to remember what exactly Sin, CoSin, Tangent and all those other tidly-bits mean. I got a headache just listening to the first minute of the seven minute video. Not bad for a first time YouTube video maker, eh?

So this got me thinking. We have classes online that you can attend in your pajamas, right? And now, if teachers run out of time in class, they can easily just send their students a link to a video that furthers the classroom experience, explains how to solve equations thanks to Powerpoint through the wonders of technology and allows for students to take it as they please.

As I’m writing this, I’m still trying to figure out if I have a problem with it. Would you consider this situation like work? For example, people have complained previously that having their BlackBerry phones connected to their work email is, in fact, working when you’re not on the clock. Or that you cross boundaries with smartphones now, not ever fully being around your family when you need to be because you can always do some kind of work through your phone. The New York Times recently published an article about these boundaries and what smartphones have done to the American people. It basically merges both world to a point of no return.

But the question I’m posing is, does schooling fall into the same category? Anyone can be overworked and side affects are certainly seen in many different people who are always on the go. An overdose of stress can even lead to medical problems and health problems. Once my cousin hits college, there will hardly ever be a stopping point unless she plans it. Face it, when you’re sitting at home, doing nothing, you always have the thought in the back of your mind that you SHOULD be doing something. There is a go, go, go feel in the world. But little does everyone know that in order to keep sane, you need downtime. There’s no doubt about that.

Nonetheless, you have the upside to all of this as well. You’re learning what you need to know to pass the class and you can learn at your own leisure, right? I mean, she can pause the video, watch it all the way through and rewind if she needs to. The concept that learning can be done in different methods is important because as growing, conceptualizing human beings, we should always be learning and evolving. So, in a way, I don’t totally disagree with this form of classroom continuation.

Please share a story or example of classroom continuation if you have one! I want to know what else is going on out there! 🙂

Ron Santo, The Diabetic Hero

 

I never minded missing a Cubs game. It’s not because they typically lost, nor was it because baseball is boring, but I knew that I could always catch it on the radio. With Pat Hughes and Ron Santo, nothing was boring during a Cubs game, win or lose. With every grounder, run scored or swing and a miss, Santo’s emotions ran high and the man always wore his heart on his sleeve.

Just listening to him, you always felt his love for baseball. After 14 years with the Cubs between 1960 and 1973 out of a 15 year career, his heart could only settle in one place. I remember the first time I was introduced to Ron Santo. My mom said to me, finding the only connection she could at the moment, “He was like my Scottie Pippen.” One day before a Cubs game, we were sitting in the stands in the upper decks watching as ground crews were preparing the field and Cubs players were stretching. A man, with his jacket on his arm stood near the rail watching. My mom, sitting next to me, freaked out. “That’s Ron Santo!” she said. “Come with me to go get his autograph.” She was as giddy as a school girl. I didn’t want to go because at the time, I didn’t care to know him. She took my sister with her instead. I watched as my mom, red in the face, laughed and introduced my sister to him. She was on a high for the rest of the game.

I didn’t know he was diabetic until after those foundational moments of learning about his superb baseball career and finding out that he hated the Mets after 1969 just as much as my mother did. I was watching a documentary about Santo and his life-long challenges of being diabetic. I found out that he was diagnosed at 18 a time where glucometers weren’t available in surplus like they are today and figuring out whether he should eat or not was solely based on how he felt. While playing baseball, his teammates didn’t know he was diabetic until three years after he started playing. When it came to the public, no one knew until years after his career.

I will never forget one story that he told. He was on deck and started to feel his blood sugar go down. Apparently it was dropping pretty quickly because he was seeing double. When he got up to bat, he said he saw three pitchers, stacked one on top of the other about to throw the ball. He didn’t know which one was real, so he decided to just aim for the middle one coming at him. When the pitch was released, Santo sailed it into the bleachers for a homerun. After running around the bases, he sat in the dugout and ate a candy bar.

After his baseball career, Santo raised millions of dollars for diabetes research. His incentive to fight the disease was to be a big league ball player, which he eventually did. When he was diagnosed, he had no idea what Diabetes was. In a Chicago Sun-Times interview, he said that he went to look it up at the library and it said that life expectancy was only 25 years, with the chance of multiple complications including kidney failure, hardening of the arteries and blindness. Although Santo did endure heart attacks, eye surgery and eventually leg amputations in 2001 and 2002, the fact that he got to play baseball, becoming one of the most memorable players is a feat in itself.

After I saw that documentary and did a bit of research, Ron Santo became somewhat of my diabetic hero. I wanted to get involved and take an active part in helping raise money, or something along those lines. Firstly, though, I wanted to start taking better care of myself because of everything he had said. Santo didn’t start taking insulin until two years after he was diagnosed. He didn’t have the every day medication or ability to monitor his blood sugar (a vital role in controlling diabetes). Regardless of what he actually died from, his diabetic complications and his survival through all of them is something to admire. He credits baseball for his longer life, saying that without being a Cubs announcer he may not have lived as long as he did. Because I do have all of these resources, I have to take advantage of them. That, and my education.

In any case, I admired the man Ron Santo was and the fact that he built bridges with fans, wore his heart for the Cubs on his sleeve and spoke out for a diabetic cure has made him one of Chicago’s most noted and loved public figures. If they induct him into the Hall of Fame, it won’t be worth as much as he made being a Cubbie. He really held the Cubs community together. Ron, you will be sorely missed.

Three cheers for Ron Santo!

Information was taken from CBSSports.com and The New York Times.

Sept. 30? Really? Damn…

Ok, so if you haven’t realized it yet, I haven’t written since Sept. 30. I know, I know, you’re in shock!

So, right now, I’m going to pretend to have a conversation with a shocked reader (because I have readers, even if they are only 10, I have them!) for this post and I look forward to hearing about how much you missed me. If you have not subscribed yet, please do.

In Green you will find my panicked reader:

“I’ve been dying to read your blog! Why haven’t you written since Sept. 30?!”

“Well, you see, ever since I was laid off and figuring out the rest of my life, I also decided to start a blog about something I’m very familiar with, which is diabetes.”

“Oh, NO! Is everything ok? What are you going to do about THIS blog that I love so much?!”

“Well, yes, firstly, everything is fine and I have recently started another full-time job; my second since I was laid off. I figured that since my boyfriend was encouraging me to do so, and I was at a pivotal moment in my diabetic live with getting an insulin pump, starting a diabetes blog would be a good idea. I have been trying to plump it up since I started it and also started a Twitter account for it (@kikisbetes). I have also taken on a part-time job and am volunteering as a Communications Director for an aldermanic campaign. So, I have a lot going on.”

“Oh, I understand. So does that mean only once a month posts on this blog?”

“Oh no! I can always write about my interesting experiences that I have in my multifaceted life! I have also promised myself that I would take more pictures.”

“I love your pictures! That’s great!”

“Yes, if there’s one thing I can’t stop doing, it’s writing and being creative to some extent.”

“Oh, that’s fantastic! I’m so happy to hear that you’re not going to forget about us! I look forward to reading  your next posts!”

And there you have it, folks. That’s what I’m doing with myself right now and I of course promise to continue writing.

Just a Funny Story I Thought I’d Share…

This is how much I hate administration at small clinics. The place I was going to when I didn’t have insurance was better than this place WITH insurance. Time to get a new doctor, but too bad I already chose the place.

So I haven’t seen an endocrinologist for a minute; basically, since I was booted off my mom’s insurance. I was seeing doctors and stuff but for my Type I Diabetes, I need a specialist. It’s different than Type II. If you want an explanation, let me know. I’m an expert because I have to be.

So I call for a referral from my doctor. They say, “We’ll call you when it’s ready!” OK, now keep in mind that they couldn’t even get prescriptions for me straight and I had to continue calling to make sure they’d give me enough testing strips to last me three months (I check myself seven times a day! Not three! They won’t last me!!).

This morning I picked up the referral and try to schedule something. Here is the email I sent my mother right after all of that.

:: So get this.

I go pick up the referral, right? And I see that my diagnosis is “hyperthyroid,” which is NOT the reason why I’m seeing an endocrinologist. That’s #1.

Then I call to schedule an appointment with the endo listed on the referral form and the lady tells me, “That doctor is a pediatrician.” #2

Then I say, I want to schedule an appointment with whatever endocrinologist is at 47 W. Polk, because I think I might have said the name wrong.
“We don’t have an endocrinologist at that location. The only one we have is (insert confusing sounding name here) and she’s located at the hospital.” #3

Ok, sure, I said. Schedule an appointment with her. I give her all the information and she says, “OK, Her next available day is Sept. 16 at 3:30.”

“Sept. 16 at 3:30???” And I thought, You have GOT to be kidding me! #4
“Yes.”
“Fine, I’ll take it.”

Viva Mexico::

How To: Keep your head up and don’t let favors and brown-nosing outweigh your merits

Ever have the luxury of being told on? You know, like that little snotty kid in second grade who would tell the teacher if you did something or if you didn’t do something?

“Teacher! Teacher! Christina said, ‘crap!'” and you sit there and go, “Um, wait, so? It’s not a swear word.” And the next thing you know, the kid is bringing the teacher an apple, a cupcake and a freakin’ new sweater saying, “Oh! Teacher! You’re the best teacher I’ve ever had!”

You think, well, of course they’re going to appease that little shit by giving in and making sure everything she says or points out is seen or heard. “Now, Christina. What did we say about using words like that?” It doesn’t matter that you have an A in all of your subjects and have never swore in your life, you’re still being reprimanded my this stupid snot! “But…! But…!”

“I don’t want to hear another word…” and you hang your head in shame. You didn’t get in trouble, but you might as well have for that humiliation.

Well, that annoying, snot-nosed, brown-noser never goes away. Just like high school drama never ceases to result in your adult life, no matter how much you attempt to avoid it. It’s kind of like the Swine Flu: if it wants you, it will find you and get you. But what can you do to keep all that crap  from getting to your head?

See, it’s at times like those where you’re caught up in the moment and you don’t know how to respond, let alone feel hurt because you’ve never had to suck up to anyone in your entire life to do a good job or to have anyone like and notice you. You’re not there to do that ass-kissing and your merit-based system has always worked in your head…. and sometimes real life.

At least, in a perfect world, that’s how it should be, right?

Then you have that slut that slept with your boss for a raise, the other ass-kisser that tells the higher-ups they look great in everything they wear and stares down at the other people in the room, although when they were just starting he/she was your best friend at the office (but now since you can’t elevate their status, you’re no good to them); and finally that person that’s so damn good at their job, they might as well have an IQ as bad as your credit score. But fear not, there is always the fact that you have a life, you don’t have to kiss ass and you’re good at what you do to keep your head up.

  • Don’t let it get to you. How? Well, just think, at least I know I can get somewhere on my own, without having to be a snot. You’re not the one having to keep up that saintly image of being perfect, chipper, cutsie or pretend that you love your boss for everything they do (and aren’t afraid to announce it to the world on any social network).
  • Listen to music at work if you can. They make headphones for a reason. If you can listen to music to drown out the sounds, do it. It will also relax the work flow.
  • Ignore it. Seriously. When s/he comes to talk to you, ask you for a favor, or whatever else s/he can possibly want, do it and get it over with. Stay professional, but don’t give in to the bullshit you know s/he’s either trying to feed you or trying to get you to be a part of. (Remember, that same little second grade girl would make you say mean things about someone and then go and tell them, pretending that they were being a spy for them. This one does the same thing. Look out!)
  • Focus on your work, your research or whatever projects you have going on. Stop eavesdropping. That’s something s/he does, not you.
  • Present your work with the utmost honor. If you have to present something, make it thorough and precise. The more work you do and do it well, the more the snot will be in your past and way behind you.
  • Don’t say it, show it. S/He may tell everyone how awesomely great s/he is, but the less you say and the more you do will over compensate for everything s/he says and the things s/he lacks on.
  • Don’t bitch with names. Ok, everyone knows that you have to get things off your chest, just don’t use any names because you never know who you’re talking to. I know you’re not going to keep your mouth shut and if it helps relieve any kind of stress that you’re under, it’s better to talk it out.
  • Talk to your boss about your position, seating area or the fact that some things make you uncomfortable. If it’s getting that out of hand, say something. Period.

Well, there you have it, kids. Stay out of the blame game and the high school drama. It’s not good for you or your soul. Remember, the only person you can control is yourself. So have at it. Control yourself and always try to be the best you possible.

Tales of the Matriarch

The Foundation with Santa. Some are hiding.

Life isn’t short, but it can damn well feel like it.

In 1952, the matriarch of the Perez family stepped foot in the United States of America with a determination that couldn’t keep her from doing what she was here to do. With that determination, she had a lot of baggage—pregnant with twins and two young boys. After landing at Midway Airport, in the early morning, she took a taxi cab to the address from where she was receiving less and less money every so often.

Back in the ‘50s when men would come up to the United States for work, they would naturally send money back to their wives and children. Regardless of where they were the men were still the source of income to the family. All over the country of Mexico you hear these stories: Men would send money home and when they got back they expected things to be better off. When situations weren’t better, men would get upset and storm off; others would drink away their money and still others had the audacity to beat their wives. And yet, there were still the others who stayed in their new country, building a new life without the thought of baggage. There were good men, too, who came back after making their money and finding new jobs in Mexico with no problem.

When the taxi cab arrived to their destination, the driver turned around and told her not to get out of the cab until he made sure they had found the right person. The driver walked up the stairs and knocked on the door asking for Jesus Perez. There he was. The driver explained that he had his wife and kids in the cab. Jesus said it wasn’t possible. Lo and behold, there came the little train of his tiny family (compared to what it became) marching into the house.

Because of that fateful decision to find out what exactly was going on in this new country to which she was losing her husband, I am here. My grandmother is one of the strongest women that I’ve ever known and because of that determination, she continued her life along with the other eight children she would have after those little boys.

The "Kids"

My uncle Jesse, uncle Jerry (the two little boys) still remember that day and can sit and explain it to you, step by step. From the letters that they received in Michoacán, Mexico from my grandfather, to the plane trip and all the places they lived after that, my uncle Jesse will tell you with sincere accuracy down to the years and months when everything happened. The surviving twin is now my tia Rosa, and after her came by tia Carmen. My mother came next, followed by my uncle Tony, my uncle Joey and the baby, my tia Marina. My grandmother gave birth to 10 children. She lost two in their infant years and my uncle Joey passed away in December 1995. She has seen more children go before her than any woman would want to see, but still life goes on and she is the epitome of that.

With eight kids growing up, you can just imagine all the stories my cousins and I hear. From kids being placed in different grammar schools to climbing on sand mounds to hearing about all the friends that everyone had while living on Harrison and Morgan to stories of Taylor Street, it’s a book in itself.

They tell stories about how they would stay up as late as they could just to wait for hot dogs or pizza on Friday nights after my grandmother got home from work. They talk about how they had to share beds, how many tempers emerged when someone lost a game, how brothers and sisters snitched on each other, and about how they built snow forts and tunnels during the exciting blizzards. I heard about how they all would go out and walk around the city alone at eight years old. How the girls had to take care of the younger kids, how the younger kids never had to do anything, how the boys would torture the girls, use the younger kids as punching bags and how the phone book deliveries really did take place. I heard about the different jobs that my grandparents had, the friends that they made with the other families around them who lived in the same communal building. I heard about who the boys liked and who the girls liked and about the trouble everyone would cause together or on their own.

I heard about the trips to Mexico, the mattress made of clothes, the melting ice cream in Texas and the snake holes in the ground. I heard about how my grandparents loved to dance about how it was hard with my grandfather being an alcoholic and how the kids were sent to drag him out of the bar and home to where he belonged to sleep it all off.

My grandfather passed away from alcoholism sometime in April of 1972. He was about 45 years old. My mother was 15 years old. My dad was already in the picture. My uncle Jesse was already married and moved out. And thus began the struggle of a single mother raising seven kids still in the house.

It was a challenge, but it worked out, amazingly. She worked hard, disciplined harder and saw all her kids grow up to have kids of their own. Now, the next generation has started and my cousins are having all of their babies.

Last Sunday, we had a bit of a scare. After my uncle Jesse, the oldest son, made a toast to my grandmother and her 87 years of life, my grandmother fainted without a pulse in her chair at the dinner table. We were in a restaurant, all 45 of us were there, and my uncle began performing CPR on her. She was revived and rushed to the hospital. After plenty of tests, we were told that one of her arteries had 99 percent blockage. She would have passed on had my uncle not have been there to perform CPR on her. After three days in the hospital, she now has a permanent pacemaker and is doing well.

This is only the beginning of my family history. I keep saying I’m going to write it down and I haven’t until now. This is just a start.