Monday, July 14, 2014

Mary Magdalene Celebration - 7/19/14 in Albuquerque

I am elated to say that my magdalenic artistic partner, Tanya Torres, and I will be holding again this year our semi-annual Mary Magdalene celebration, this time in our adoptive Land of Enchantment, New Mexico.

We will be singing my 7 Songs of Praise for The Magdalene in community, promesa-style at 6pm. Come through if you can!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Danny Rivera poem for our band Ojos de Sofía


International music icon Danny Rivera has done us a great honor by writing a poem about our music, which he posted back in December on his Facebook page!

In the midst of all the excitement surrounding our December concert and workshops I forgot to re-post it. I'm elated to share it now:


Poema dedicado a Raquel Z. Rivera y a su grupo musical Ojos De Sofia...
por Danny Rivera
Cascada de lluvia salen de tu voz.
Senderos de rítmos, fraternando
las almas del caribe.
Fuego de pasión poético, ensalada de fruta sonora.
Cuerdas, tambores, cuatro, bachata, güiro y tambora.
Orgullo boricua, creando desde la diáspora,
el universo de amor, que no pueden construir
para los suyos los mercderes de las querras.
Canción que sabe a manpostial, Ojos brujos
que cantan a la luz, con voz de ninfa jíbara,
viajando por la vida del, “to be or not to be,”
el amor y la música son la respuesta.
Ojos de Sofia, cantándole a la vida para disipar
tinieblas...
Danny Rivera

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Chocolate Pudding and Vanilla Wafers at Early Head Start

Why is our toddler son being fed chocolate pudding and vanilla wafers (and other junk food) at Early Head Start? (Mind you, a federally-funded program that claims to serve nutritious foods.) 


Well according to the program dietitian I just spoke to, what may seem like unacceptable sugary foods to me are actually carefully vetted by the program. They might have sugar but they also have calories and vitamin-enriched flours that are beneficial to my child. What?!

I've talked to teachers, the company that provides the food, and now the dietitian, to no avail. Obviously the problem (and perhaps solution) is higher up. 

Aside from writing an open letter to Michelle Obama and trying to get it printed in the New York Times (that's my fantasy right now)... What's a concerned parent to do? I've heard about these struggles happening in schools, but now that we have our little one I'm SHOCKED that they're serving this junk to tiny kids, some of them not even a year old. 

Aren't we in the midst of a childhood obesity and diabetes epidemic? Wouldn't healthy eating in Early Head Start programs be a wonderful opportunity to serve and expose kids to better foods? Doesn't this seem like a tragically missed opportunity? 

There must be other parents and other folks concerned and working on this. Suggestions?


* Photo borrowed from theimaginationtree.com


Monday, May 05, 2014

In Praise of Our Midwives / Elogio a nuestras parteras

Happy International Day of the Midwife!

Here's an imaginary toast to the midwives that took care of our family throughout my pregnancy, our son's birth, and helped us out postpartum (and even to this day).

I truly can't imagine getting better care than the one we got from midwives Dusty Marie, Jen Robinson and midwife apprentice Valerie Davis. Here's to you on your day: Cheers! Salud!

And here's to hoping more and more women get the excellent maternity care we all deserve. Cheers! Salud!

And here's to hoping one more committed midwife is able to pull together the financial resources to get through her training and get her CPM license. I've put in my tiny grain of sand and I'm hoping others will too. (To find out how to contribute, go here.) Here's to you Ynanna Djehuty: Cheers! Salud!

Dusty Marie, RN, CPM, and Valerie Davis (midwife apprentice back
when she worked with us, perhaps CPM by now).
Photo courtesy of hummingbirdmidwifery.com
Jen Robinson, CNM. I love that our sweet and wise midwife also kicks butt as
"Midwife Crisis" in the roller derby scene! Photo by Stephanie Hoover.
Ynanna Djehuty, future CPM. Photo courtesy of
thesewatersrundeep.com

Friday, April 25, 2014

Madrigal

I can't even begin to describe how happy I am with this recording of classic bolero "Madrigal" by our group Ojos de Sofía's (and my sister!) Anabellie Rivera, accompanied by guitarists Yasser Tejeda and Bryan Vargas.



She draws from a well of inspiration and sentimiento that seems to be several lifetimes deep. Simply sublime.

And, yes, she'll be singing boleros again with us during our Raquel Z. Rivera & Ojos de Sofía Fall Tour. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tomé Hill, Viernes Santo

Notes from Planet New Mexico
Good Friday, 2014

None of the pictures that follow are mine. I was too busy being careful not to loose my footing while climbing uphill carrying my toddler son on a backpack.




It was gorgeous. Powerful. Awe-inspiring. A bit spooky. Intriguing. Exactly what I needed.

I was hoping we might run into folks singing alabados. And we did! A group of about fifteen was doing a bilingual version of the stations of the cross. The (probably) eldest man, playing a small two-headed hand drum, sang with deep emotion and a haunting voice. He did one verse of "Madre de Dolores" (my favorite alabado). And that was so much more than enough.



* More on today's pilgrimage, according to local station KRQE.

* * Other details, so I won't forget: The elder (probably the Hermano Mayor) sang in the old style of alabados, with the quick up-and-down on notes. (I need to find out what that voice technique is called.) He was the only one singing like that. Everyone else had beautiful voices, but did not sing in that style. There was a young man (probably in his twenties) playing the matraca right before each station of the cross.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Death is so easy to forget



Fidel just harvested the first asparagus of the season and made the most delicious fried eggs and sauteed asparagus. The only seasoning needed was a tiny bit of salt.

As we sat eating at our sunny table my mind wandered off thinking how well Fidel's asparagus might travel to my family in Puerto Rico. Would I send them by FedEx? I could send a little package to my sister, brothers, Titi Ñeca, my dad...

Wait. My dad passed away a year and a half ago.

Coming back from lala land was painful. Then I had to smile. He's not really gone, is he?

Death is so easy to forget. At least for a second.


* Image borrowed from Garden of Eaden.