Monday, April 10, 2017

Lolita: a story about unconditional love and loss

I was given Lolita by a friend in 2010; I had just graduated from college and moved home to live with my parents. I was working as a teller, I felt like a failure. Lolita was a puppy, I was told she was the runt of the litter. Lolita became my furry best friend, she slept next to me, followed me everywhere I went and watched novelas with me. When I had a hard day at work or if I was sad because I felt stuck she was there to cheer me up. Lolita is my first pet as an adult and showed me the meaning of unconditional love. She quickly became a part of my family - my parents talked to her like a child, it was really quite endearing.

Eventually, I got a job near Oakland and finding an apartment that was pet friendly would be challenging so Lolita stayed behind to live with my parents; at this point she really became my mom's dog. Lolita followed her everywhere she went, sat next to her on the couch as she knit her servilletas, ran around the yard as my mom watered the plants, ran in the street and played with the neighborhood kids. Lolita soon only responded to commands in Spanish.

When my mom passed away Lolita came to live with me in Oakland - I started with Spanish commands and later moved back and forth between both Spanish and English; adjusting to apartment living was hard for her, but eventually she mastered it. Lolita made friends quickly and easily - I can say that she was the smartest chihuahua that I've ever met.

I have countless memories of Lolita - the most important happened a few days following my mom's passing. I remember during one of the nine days of mourning, we were all in the backyard of my aunt's house and Lolita ran into the yard in the middle of prayer. I panicked, I thought she was going to start barking but instead she sat in front of this giant photo of my mom, quietly - it was as if she knew what was going on and wanted to pay her respects.

Lolita died on my 29th birthday. She ran outside after Adrian when he went to get something from the car, she was near the curb and a car hit her. A car that was driving way too fast in a residential area. In our neighborhood that she knew very well. I am upset, heart broken and all around sad.

One of my aunts called me to check on me and asked me if I thought if it was an omen. For the last couple of days I've  been reading articles online, looking at costs on pet cloning (I'm crazy, and it is far too expensive :{ ), trying to figure out a way to cope - there are a few things that I intend to do to preserve her memory - writing this is one of them. I think and hope that will help. I don't  know if it as an omen - but I do think that it is another reminder as to how fragile life is. Yes, Lolita was a dog - but she was my dog, my mom's dog and Adrian's dog and she helped each of us feel a little happier.

I think writing this tiny bit about Lolita, the unconditional love she provided, and losing her is part of something greater - something I have been suppressing to write about that needs to be done and will be done - I've been taking my time.

When someone that is part of your life, your every day dies it is hard, different, weird and filled with a ton of feelings. My dad told me, "estas cosas pasan" - these things happen; and he is right, they do. Dealing with death is something that I never really thought about until someone I loved and is the reason why I exist died. I've had a hard time processing all those emotions; I don't think this is an omen - I think it is time to start writing a new chapter in my life.

Lolita was buried at Dos Amigos Vineyard in Livingston, CA - where I will always be able to visit her.


Here are some photos of Lolita.

Adrian, Lolita and myself at Lake Merrit having a picnic.

Adrian and Lolita at Half Orange drinking coffee. 

Lolita in a sweater my mom made her. 

Annayeli and Lolita playing outside of my parent's house. 

Lolita as a puppy. 

Lolita's first walk in Oakland. 

Lolita sunbathing.

Adrian painting a portrait of Lolita. 

Annayeli holding Lolita on my 29th birthday - my last photo of Lolita.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

29 things to do and other birthday thoughts

I feel like this birthday thing is constantly seeking up on me. Ugh 2 - 9, um 29! Twenty-nine. TWENTY-NINE!!! There goes my 20s, one more year. Am I getting old? or am I just getting started? The last 3 years have been rough; like really hard. Like I don't want to wake the fuck up in the morning hard. I'm not joking.

Nonetheless, these years, these 29 years have been important in my development in becoming the best fucking human that I could possibly be - why am I using sooo many bad words? oh well, anyway....

Like I was saying- I started making this list thing when I turned 22 - I think I skipped a couple of years because you know - LIFE.

Here is the first one I wrote:

It's funny looking back and watching the evolution of these things I wanted, from material to simple moments captured in photos. While I feel that eventually I was able to attain all these things 22 year old me wanted - there are many other things in the last few years that still remain on my list.

So for 29 year old Karen's sake here is my list for the next Karen year... if at all you want to help me accomplish this greatness I have set forth for myself - holla! In no specific order as always:

  1. Pursue a new and different career, be passionate about the work you put into the world
  2. Continue writing, regardless how hard it is to write about myself, my mom, and others in my life, telling and writing stories make me feel whole
  3. Santa Barbara trip, with Karla + Tania
  4. Save more money, continue saving more money --> Need to pay off those student loans! wooo (grown up Karen)
  5. Graduate School is waiting for you - Where is Professor CHICXICANA?
  6. More giving back to the community yo!
  7. Coordinate an art show with Adrian
  8. Start writing some poetry, it doesn't have to be complex or hella deep - it can be about pizza
  9. Spend more time talking to dad, record his voice - he doesn't leave voicemails; use your recorder
  10. Throw yourself a unicorn themed birthday extravaganza
  11. Can you go dancing more often? I am pretty sure you use to like that
  12. Spend time with Alexia and Annayeli, they are getting old - do some arts and crafts
  13. Take more photos
  14. Buy yourself a nice camera
  15. Can you stop buying shoes where do you put them all?
  16. Hangout with your sister more - take her on a trip to like Vegas or something
  17. Visit Hector
  18. Make Jaime talk more, maybe try to help him learn how to cook?
  19. Go for walks more often
  20. Be less in a hurry
  21. Can you please start sleeping before 1AM on weeknights, your body is starting to hate the 4 hours of sleep 
  22. Write your letters to mom, it will help Karen - remember she is always with you; you need to process your feelings
  23. Learn to have patience - life is hard, and no it is not going to get any easier, you just need to be better at life and managing how you process it
  24. Be nicer to Adrian - you are hella crazy sometimes - he is messy - just accept it
  25. Stop eating so much pizza (hahaha, jk) - but really...
  26. Paint your nails different colors
  27. Wash clothes more often, not like every three weeks, that pile is getting crazy
  28. Keep working towards your health goals
  29. Stop saying you are old, all the actual OLD people around you are starting to feel self-conscious 

Picture of me and my mom at my 2nd birthday party. Adrian thinks that this is when I decided to be a Chingona - based on how I am eyeing that knife....