Purple hair

In late May, I dyed my hair purple. I had waited for the unpigmented crown section to grow a bit on purpose. The purple caught on brightly and during four weeks I received plenty of compliments. From that looks really nice on you to you are so brave!, several women also asked me how I did it. Not a hair expert myself, I explained I took advantage of my “gray hair” (I’ve been told that it really is “unpigmented”) to avoid the bleaching part, not only because I had no experience with it but also because it is damaging to the hair.

And then, at a yearly professional meeting I attend nearly every year, a fellow attendee asked me if I used purple for Crohn’s disease support/visibility/solidarity. I told her that while I did not think of that, it was quite a coincidence that she would ask me about it. And we talked about those we know  and love who are IBD patients.


So, while I did it just for fun, to mix it up, to sport a late Spring look, I learned that one never knows what one seemingly minor detail–purple hair–can spark when it comes to random compliments and unexpected connections.

I’m back now to my medium chestnut brown (on the 6 range).

Happy Summer, everyone!

In Santo Domingo with Aries Point

Aries Point has brought me to the International Book Fair in the Dominican Republic and I am delighted to be back in Santo Domingo.

But first, the adventure to get here. I was supposed to arrive on Wednesday night, but due to a maintenance issue with the plane, my flight from Chicago to Mami got delayed and made me miss my connection. I was rebooked for a flight out of Miami the next morning. Unless that flight ended up being delayed, I should still arrive on time. 

So, after a long day on Wednesday, including an early morning bus ride from Milwaukee to O’Hare, 6.5 hours at O’Hare, American Airlines out me up at the Clarion Miami Airport hotel with a couple of meal vouchers. The next morning, I used the breakfast voucher at La Carreta for a couple of delicious Spinach empanadas befor my flight to Santo Domingo.

The flight was in time and landed right by 12:30pm–a memorable approach with the plane about to land while seeing the rich blue texture of the Caribbean right below us before touchdown.

Immigration and customs was rather expeditious and upon exiting, it was easy to spot the FIL-RD staff/aids with whom I would be getting a ride to the hotel.

I checked in by 2:30 pm, just in time to drop off my bags, freshen up, and walk down the street to the Feria. And yes, I made it to the initial Isla Negra event, which started at 3pm.

Later, I presented Aries Point, and a bit later, that same evening of September 29, 2016, I made the introductory remarks for Rebeca Castellanos’s poetry book, Los instruments del gozo.

Pretty cool for being so close to a new moon, right?

Those spaces “invaded” by music…

On my July reading queue is Toni Morrison’s Jazz, Haruki Murakami’s After Dark, and Denise Chávez’s The King and Queen of Comezón. I have made good progress on the first two and will be starting Comezón probably some time next weekend.

Morrison’s prose makes you feel the music and be right in the city as if the narrator is bringing you into the scene. Murakami’s novel is hard to put down. Not only the city at night reigns supreme, but certain difficult topics like human trafficking are dealt with in a masterful narration.

There’s music, there’s the city, there’s the being an actor/spectator amidst very intricate contradictions. Back to reading now. 🙂

Not so regular mail

Now that I am on a temporary “Facebook sabbatical” my incoming of regular, hand-written, addressed, stamped, and postmarked mail has increased. Of course, this also has to do with the fact that my mother passed away nearly a month ago, and my friends have been incredibly supportive sending messages of all kinds, i.e. e-mails, texts, calls.
I have also been buying blank cards to mail my friends and tell them thank you, as well as personalized messages, and maybe one or two anecdotes pertaining to that week’s happenings. It’s like having pen pals again!

As the summer season winds down, I’ll stash all these cards and letters in a special box. This regular mail is not so regular. 😉

Readings by the solstice

While summer officially began last Monday, June 20th, 2016, half of “summer” has gone by as July approaches. Within that time span, I presented my new novel in Spanish, Aries Point (Isla Negra Editores) at Librería La Tertulia in Old San Juan on May 28th. Also in that time span, I delved into an array of eclectic readings connected to some of my favorite subjects: Latina leadership, new beginnings, animal lives/rights, border issues, and classics of literature.  I now share the list of books with a bit of commentary.

To cap off the semester, I read Memoir of a Visionary: Antonia Pantoja (2002), which is a fantastic read about the courageous Boricua community leader and ASPIRA founder. Once grades were turned in, I read Tom Cox’s The Good, The Bad, and The Furry (2013), for lighter yet thoughtful reading, especially about a special cat named The Bear (@mysadcat on Twitter). Following the joy to read about animals and their unique quirks, I immersed myself in the recently released, Esther, The Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter (2016), while at the Cincinnati airport as well as in flight.

Next up was Claribel Prado’s Tru (2016), an engaging first person account about life before, mostly through, and especially after divorce, while flaunting the cultural/personal self that cannot be subdued. Accompanying this book, was my reading also of Adriana Candia’s Mujeres eternas (2016), a lively and keen collection of chronicles about not just life on the border between Mexico and the United States, but the lives of women in that conflicting as well as culturally-rich space. The sixth of the six “feature-length” readings from the last weeks is my re-reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby, after more than 20 years.
These are all highly recommended, and if I were to pick three to highlight, I’d choose: Memoir of a Visionary: Antonia Pantoja, Tru, and Esther, The Wonder Pig.

Happy summer and happy readings!