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About Me

I have blogged for many years before landing at WordPress in 2007 and I haven’t ever written an About Me page. I find it difficult to write about myself. I’m not a “self promoter” so there’s that. I’ve struggled with what I want to say and I’ve come close to actually sitting down and doing it for several years but it hasn’t happened until now, 2016!

So who am I? I’m Corina. I was born on Christmas Day (in 1955) so my mom gave me a Christmassy middle name: Joy. I’m a lot of things which include: a mom; a nana; a forever learner and former teacher; a writer and reader; a helper, forever volunteering; a blogger; a Tarot lover and collector of Tarot decks; an optimist; a friend; a daughter; a sister; a mother-in-law; a thinker.

Those are a lot of words to describe me but I can’t help but feel that they don’t really give you a view of who I am. I guess for that, you’d have to read some of my blog posts. If you do, you might learn that I love to read Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. I love the Godfather trilogy. My all-time favorite book is To Kill A Mockingbird. I love Tex-Mex music, Latin jazz, and the Beatles! I love coffee and wine and more recently, I have enjoyed beer tastings and making my own flavored vodka!

You would also read about some health issues that I struggle with and you would read that I am fighting them as best I can. I’m not going to let anything get me down, if I can help it. I love to take hikes with my grandson. We go up in the forests around Portland, Oregon which is where we currently live. He’ll be 6 in 2016. It’s one way I have changed after a particularly difficult health challenge which had me in the operating room in April of 2015. Now I want to enjoy every moment possible and I often find myself overdoing…accepting too many things…because I don’t want to miss one single moment.

I guess I can add to this or you can come along and read my posts. Or better yet, both! I hope you’ll find somethings to think about and laugh about in the many posts here. You’ll probably find some things that might make you wipe away something moist, too. In any case, you will probably discover that I’m loyal. Stick with me and I’ll stick with you.

See ya in the blog world!

CJC1225

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1. My favorite number is 5 and any other number with 5 in it.
2. I am 5 feet tall. That’s it. Not 1/8th of an inch taller or shorter.
3. I love to dance but I haven’t danced in a long time…long, long time.
4. For about ten years, I was the one that cooked all the food for the Christmas party for the Stanford Chicano/Latino alumni association. We had anywhere from 100 to 150 people each year. That meant that I cooked for days. Mostly I made tamales (usually 3 different kinds), and chicken enchiladas. I sometimes also made menudo. If you don’t know what menudo is, you’re missing out.
5. If you haven’t guessed, I love to cook.
6. When I was in high school I worked in the attendance office after school every day. I operated the old fashioned PBX board (switch board) with over 150 lines going out and 8 incoming lines. I once accidentally disconnected the Principal when he was on an important call with the school district. He was not happy and made sure I knew it.
7. Although I was born and raised in San Jose, I lived in Glendale, California for 26 years before moving to Santa Rosa, California for 4 years.
8. I was trained as a rape crisis counselor when I lived in Santa Rosa.
9. I volunteered to answer the 24 hour rape crisis hotline. I worked the night shift (9 PM to 6 AM) for eight months before I had to quit (because I moved out of state).
10. While it was one of the most important volunteer positions I have ever held, it was also one of the most heartbreaking.

To read more about me:
10 Things About Me #1
Ten Things About Me #2

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1. My all time favorite movie is The Godfather. I love all three in the trilogy but if I had to pick just one, it would be the original one with Marlon Brando as Don Corleone. I’ve loved it since I was in tenth grade when it was released and one of my favorite teachers spent two class periods talking about it.
2. My all time favorite novel is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I saw the movie when it came out. I was about 6 years old and identified with Scout. Then later on, in middle school, I picked up the book and read it for the first of many times.
3. I was born on Christmas day.
4. My middle name is Joy (as in Joy To the World, says my mom).
5. I love to laugh but I don’t do it often enough. I’ll have to work on that.
6. I worked at Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California during the summer of 1976 which was our bicentennial year in the U.S.A. It was a very busy tourist season that year.
7. I met my (ex) husband as part of my work-study in college. He was president of one of the law student organizations and I was one of their part time secretaries.
8. My first job out of college was working for Prudential Insurance at their big historic building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. I was on a team that wrote the brochures describing the benefits (and restrictions) in each policy (known as the Benefits Description Unit).
9. I worked as a teacher aid in a first grade classroom in Santa Monica, California. It was a job that I fell into by accident when I called the school district to volunteer to help in a school and they put me to work as a paid employee!
10. One of the last jobs I had that I truly enjoyed was teaching English to adult non-English speakers in night school. They were there because they wanted to learn so it made it fun. I had some of my own daytime classroom students’ parents and grandparents in my night time class. I wish all students were as willing to learn as those adults were!

To read Ten Things About Me #1, go here.

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My hair is very gray. I usually dye it about every three months. I do it myself, at home. I found a dye recently, well less than a year ago, that is much better than what I was using. It is a foam in product that is much easier to apply and to see where you have applied it to and where there is no product, which means that you don’t have those “untouched” spots that translate into dyed dark hair (deepest brown is my natural color) with a lot of gray peeking in here and there. At $10 an application, it is more than twice what I pay for the other stuff that leaves gray in but it is well worth it. Plus it leaves my hair conditioned and feeling great!

I haven’t dyed my hair since Thanksgiving. That means that it is almost completely gray all over, down to my shoulders where there is still some of the dark coloring left down to my mid-back. I toyed with the idea of letting it go completely gray but I’m not ready for that. My daughter agreed that it’s not time yet. You see, I’m 59 years old. With my gray hair I look like I am well into my 60’s. With it dyed, I look late 40’s. No brainer. I decided to dye it.

Today is my grandson’s last day of pre school. He begins kindergarten in September. There will be a little presentation of certificates and pictures. I decided that today I was taking myself back. It has been a really rough three months and I am ready to start being myself again. So I rummaged through the cupboards looking for the good dye package but didn’t find any. However, I did find the old stuff that doesn’t cover the gray well. It was after midnight so I decided I would use the yucky stuff just this one last time. Maybe I should have waited until this morning or gone out at midnight. When I washed it out and dried my hair, I could definitely see a lot of gray. It seems that I left a lot untouched just below both temples. Then I realized that I only got the surface so when it is moved slightly out of the way, all the gray is underneath!

Oh well! It will have to do. It will wash out in less than a month anyway and by then I will have gotten to the store for the better stuff. I think I’ll stock up on it.

Then came the clothes. At about 75 pounds lighter than I was in April, nothing fits. I have two pair of leggings that fit loose but well enough to wear. I also have two pair of jeans that fit kind of baggy but they don’t fall down! So that’s what I have been wearing around the house. To go out though, I had my daughter take me to the store where I found two pair of nicer pants, not leggings and not jeans, that sort of fit. They were on clearance and then half of the clearance so I paid about $16 for the two pair. I’m wearing the dark blue ones today. The tops are harder to find so I dug through boxes of clothes that never made it to the Goodwill donation center, clothes that were too small when I was so much bigger. I found a few that looked less larger than others and gave them a fresh washing. One in particular is kind of gathered with elastic at the sides, creating a waist. That one is not huge on me. It’s a size or two too big but it doesn’t look like I’m a two year old playing dress-up in my mommy’s clothes. So I’m set. I’m stepping out! It’s only to my grandson’s pre school graduation but it means a lot to me.

I’m taking myself back. I’m ready to. My mind is anyway. My body isn’t entirely ready and I will have to remember to not over do things but I’m not waiting. I’m coming out, not as the sickly shell of who I used to be, but as the person that is looking forward to so much more than doctor’s appointments and medicines and fear of the cancer recurring. I’m not thinking of that today. Today is about an ending and a beginning.

I’m ready.

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Once upon a time, I belonged to a website called Gather. One of the things I posted there was a list of 100 Things About Me, as it was a challenge. It was tough to come up with. Today, I’m posting 10 things about me, #1. I’ll do this from time to time. For those that have just begun to follow me, it will give you more info about me.

1. I was born and raised in San Jose, California.
2. I lived there until I graduated from high school then went up the road to college.
3. I received a full academic scholarship from Stanford University.
4. I graduated in 4 years plus 1 quarter, with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature.
5. I got married three months after college graduation.
6. I lived in Glendale, California from 1980 until 2004.
7. I have 3 grown children, Tony, Tina, and Susie.
8. My favorite color is yellow.
9. I’m an optimist.
10. I speak English and Spanish with fluidity and French and Italian with conversational ability.

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I don’t think I am prudish but some might see me as such. I don’t know, maybe it’s old age. But then again, I’m “one of those” that has never used certain four letter words in my entire life and don’t see myself ever using them. My parents always said that using “foul” language was a lack of education. They said only those who could not otherwise express themselves would use such language. And I’ve always been “the good girl”, the “obedient daughter”. It doesn’t necessarily bother me when I hear a “well placed” expletive because sometimes that’s the only way the strength of an emotion can be conveyed. For me though, it doesn’t feel right and so I choose not to use such language.

I also find these days that I am bothered by explicit sex scenes in books as I read. Not all sex scenes but there are those that just appear in a book for the sake of it, not because they belong. There are such scenes that go way too far in describing what is going on in a book that is otherwise not at all gratuitous. The scenes just don’t fit in with the storyline or the characters. Those bother me. And then there is also the fact that in books, as in movies, sometimes less is more. Sometimes an inference is much better than explicit details. I’m actually thinking there should be some kind of rating on books to let the reader know what they are getting themselves into. I’m not saying that such books should not be written, published, or read. I’m just saying that I would like to know if such scenes are in the book before I decide to spend money and time reading them. Maybe I would just rather use my own imagination in those scenes instead of having someone else tell me who did what to whom and how many times.

So maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s old age. Maybe it’s a sign that I don’t fit in with “modern” times. And yeah, maybe I’m just a prude!

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The D Word

I usually feel it coming on in time to do something to lessen it. In fact, I haven’t had it in a long, long time. A couple of years, at least. This time, I didn’t feel it coming so it caught me by surprise. An unpleasant surprise.

It’s the D word. The one so many hide from. The one so many misunderstand or better yet, don’t understand at all. The D word that takes over and renders us helpless.

When I first got it, I didn’t know anything about it. It took me months to realize what was happening and then another month or two to see a doctor about it and then, miraculously the tiny pills worked their magic almost overnight and I was so much better. That was years ago. A lifetime ago.

Then when I moved to dark, dreary, damp Oregon in 2008, it was so much worse during the wet, winter months. It was paralyzing. I remember that first year I was here. I had begun my new life positively. I would take myself to breakfast at the Denny’s down the road several times a week. It’s a cheap place to eat and with my AARP card, even cheaper. It got to the point where when I walked in the door, one of the waitresses would start singing the old song, Corina, Corina. (Yeah, that’s when you know you might be going there too often!) After breakfast, I would travel a circuit to visit several Goodwill stores before coming home. I didn’t have to buy anything and most of the time I didn’t, but it got me out of the house and actively doing something. I still got lost getting from one place to another but it was okay because I had all the time in the world and in getting lost, I often discovered interesting places and things.

When December rolled around, so did the snow. And I mean snow, snow, snow, and temperatures so cold that the snow didn’t melt. From Dec. 15 to Dec. 24 it snowed constantly. That was the beginning of the D word’s visit that year. After Christmas, it continued. It got to the point where I would get dressed to go out to eat and I would get to the front door, keys in hand, and not be able to turn the knob. I would stand there with my hand on the knob trying to turn it so I could leave but I couldn’t do it. Finally, feeling defeated, I would give up and turn away from the door. I would try again the next day with the same results. I couldn’t even lift the phone to call someone to distract myself. It went on for months and finally, at the end of March, on a day when my daughter came and picked me up and we drove to the casino on the coast, it looked like things were going to be better. On the way home from the casino came the call. The last of my three brothers had committed suicide. After the initial shock and the burst of energy to travel a thousand miles and the week I spent there with family, I came home and it hit again.

That’s why the D word scares me. Two of my brothers have committed suicide. After the second one died, I was given a box with his medications and his blood sugar monitor and test strips so I could use them. One of the medications was unknown to me and when I got back to Oregon, I looked it up online. The bottle was for anti depressants. The date on it was from the previous summer but the tablet count showed that he had not taken a single pill. Months without taking that medication. Would it have made a difference? Would he be here today?

I know I’ve had those thoughts before…the S word. I don’t think I would ever do it because I have seen what it does to the ones that are left behind. But I will have to admit that I have thought about it and come up with different ways to do it. Not recently. It has been years since the last time so in that way I am better.

This year the D word has taken over. I did finally do something to help myself. I ordered one of those full spectrum lights to battle SAD. It arrives tomorrow. I’m hoping it will help. I cannot be like this. I have to snap out of it. I don’t have anymore of my little magic pills, or as my daughter calls them, “happy pills”. I don’t have medical insurance and I don’t have a doctor or history with any doctore in this state. So no happy pills for me. I’ll have to rely on the “happy light” and some natural remedies and chocolate.

But I know that this too shall pass and I guess if I can remember that much, I’m not in as bad shape as I have been in previous years.

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