Saturday, February 2, 2013

Grandma Rangel's Acumen

February brings back other fabulous moments while staying with my Grandmother on those hot summers, clear springs and cool Christmas vacations from school in Imperial Valley.  One February when I was 12 years old I told my Grandmother that I was going to get a girlfriend for Valentines Day.  

After thinking about my comment for a moment she looked at me carefully and said,"Really, that is very interesting."  She motioned for me to sit at her little dining table, handed me a pencil and a blank piece of paper then said,"Here, write down everything that you want in this new girlfriend."  I sat down and wrote everything that I could think of.  She had to run as fast as me.  Climb trees all the way up with out getting scared.  Ride all sizes of bicycles.  I wanted her to be smart in school.  Never ditch classes to hang out with her friends.  No smoking, yuck.  I even wrote down that she needed to be clean.  I wished that she would smell nice.  Be friendly to all people.  Speak well of me and of all her friends.  Not  be mean or angry with a bad attitude.  Never cause problems at school or at home.  Finally that she be pretty with nice hair and eyes...and God knows how many other things went into that exhaustive list.  

This list took me all afternoon.  I would write and erase, then erase and write some more.  You see I wanted her to be perfect.  Eventually after what seemed like hours, I felt that I was completely done.  I sat there reviewing my list over and over because I knew my Grandmother very well.  I was fully aware that once the list was finished, there would be no more adding or taking from it.  She had brought me up to make a choice.  Live up to that choice because the choice was mine.  Once I had made the choice I had to defend my choice not in an argumentative way but in a logical way.  You see this choice was my word as a man and the only way to be a man was to live like one.  Therefore, I examined the list carefully and finally handed it to my Grandmother who by this time had started to cook dinner on her white porcelain gas stove.  She looked at me as I stood there smiling from ear to ear with the look of anticipation on my eager face.  Without even looking at it she handed it back to me and said,"When you become all of these things that you wrote on this list, that is when you will find her."  Not saying another word she turned around and went back to her cooking.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I saw perfectly what she meant from it.  It was at that moment when I began to see the true value of what a great companion was and is.  What it truly is to be in a relationship where everyone has great expectations of one another.  Whether it's in business, our family, or God we must be fully vested in each other and the only way to do that is first and foremost to be exactly what we want the other party to be.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Abuelita Acumen

My earliest memory of this Knowledge of Life by my Abuelita Amalia Leyva Rangel is not too far into the past and that is due to the fact that I just can't remember any further than 1965.  When I was around 10 years old and staying with her in Calexico, CA (yes, that is in the USA) I would work at her little 2 bedroom home mowing her lawn and tending to all her (orange, little peaches, blackberry, lemon, grapefruit, pomegranate, and date) fruit trees every weekend, as well as during my Spring, Summer, and Winter breaks from school.  The funny thing is that I never remember her being really young but, she was better and stronger than me with a shovel, a hoe, and pruning shears.  She could especially hold her own on a typical hot, humid, summer day in the Imperial Valley.  

Our regular workday would consist of her coming into my bedroom at 5 a.m. and whispering into my ear,"Mi hijo, es hora." (My son, it's time) that was it.  You only had 1 wake up call with my grandmother, no more.  She would let you sleep in if you wanted to, but as my cousin Charley found out she wouldn't pay you any money at the end of the day either.  She herself would rise at 4 a.m. make fresh corn tortillas, coffee, and a small portion of frijoles con huevo (scrambled eggs mixed with beans, ham, and spices).  This particular day it was unusually hot, it was so hot that by 8 a.m. it was already 100 degrees F.  I know this because outside of her house was a huge Coca Cola thermostat that hung over the kitchen window.  The only thing that kept me digging, pruning, cutting, watering, and mowing was I knew that today I was going to ask for more money than the customary $1 bill that I would receive for every day I worked.  The other thing that I knew was that we would stop at 10 a.m., eat lunch for 30 minutes and then continue until 3 p.m. after I gathered and dumped all the trash we had generated. 

After taking a shower, she would ask me to sit down at the kitchen table hand me paper and pencil and let me draw for about an hour.  She really enjoyed my drawings and I loved doing them for her.  Although, I know I drew hundreds of these drawings over the years I would only see the most recent ones for a period of about one week hanging on her Curio Cabinet which was covered literally by hundreds of photographs of all her relatives, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  When I would no longer see my drawings I assumed she would throw them away, forcing me to draw better ones for her every week.  

While I was drawing she would either sit with me or as she cooked on a old white gas stove talk to me about different subjects in regards to her childhood or about our families history.  For example where my Great Grand Parents where born, worked, and suffered over the years.  While the food was cooking or boiling she would go into her bedroom and as she walked by me would lay a $1 bill next to me and return to her cooking.  This day I turned to her and I said,"Abuelita, do you know that in this day and age the minimum wage is now $2 an hour?" I continued,"...we started at 6 a.m. and worked until 3 p.m. so that is about 9 hours, that means that I should be getting about $18 today."  She looked at me quietly, smiled, stirred the food and after what seemed an hour to me said,"Tienes razon (You are correct)."  I was really happy to hear that and said,"Let us figure all of this out correctly, write this down as well as you can.  House Payment, $700; Electric and water, $100; Food, about $100;  TV and furniture payment, $100;  Phone, $30;  Cable, $25;..." and the list went on and on and on and on...when she was finally done she added it up and divided it by 30 days, then multiplied it by the days I stay there, then subtracted my pay at $2 an hour and said," Mi Hijo, it looks like you owe me..."  

I took my $1, made change, gave her the usual $0.10 cents for our Parish, $0.20 cents for my investments (which I had no idea what that was) and I could spend the last $0.70 cents on anything I wanted.  I never brought up the issue of money with her again...but, the next day she did bump me up another $1, and said,"El que no habla, Dios no lo oye (If you never speak up for yourself, God will never hear you)"...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The New World

Do we know what the ideal place for mankind really is?  Can we truly imagine a life where there is no poverty, no pain, nor death as we know it.  A real Utopia that has eluded us since the beginning of time, from the Creationists Garden of Eden to the Vikings Valhalla and El Dorado by the Conquistadors.  All these scenarios converge to a feeling of peace and tranquility.  A calmness in our spirit and soul that eludes us at times when we cannot understand or know the future for not only ourselves but of our children.  That area is our Spiritual self when we can truly trust our Creator for everything that we touch.  This area is truly our anchor to our Personal, and Professional lives.
When LIFE has the tendency to try and take over our personal lives due to some God forsaken disaster and that sense of loss that is so unbearable that we wander into the abyss and cannot eat or sleep.  When our Professional lives suffer the same consequence because we lost our jobs, didn't get paid or are just mentally exhausted by a profession that just seems to suck every last bit of energy from our inner self, we can always get back on the path of Spirituality.
We know that to be successful in our Financial life we must be educated in our field of interest, to absorb everything there is to know about this occupation, and take the tests from the experts in this field.  We acknowledge that in order to have and keep our Personal relationships we need to bequeath a part of ourselves into it, by contributing our time, our money and give into it as well or it becomes only one sided and that never serves any ones purpose.  If we know and affirm these perceptions why don't we get educated, do the "home" work and take the "tests" of a Spiritual life with the same appetite as if we where to win this game that does not go to the fastest but to the one that perseveres?
When we follow a path where the three roads are one and the same we begin to "train" ourselves so to speak to walk in a sort of Unity with our selves and the other participants in our Game of Life.  Therefore, when LIFE slaps us upside the head or on the cheek and we begin to drift away gradually, our Spiritual life is still rooted on our initial path and automatically draws us back to her.  Sort of like an Old Horse that already knows the way home, even when we are draped over the saddle hanging on for dear life.  I know I have been there, done that and have the T-shirt.
In conclusion, let us discover this view and aggressively develop our Spiritual Life just as we would our Financial Life and the relationships of our Personal Lives into a powerful synergy for ourselves, our co workers, and our friends and family.  Wouldn't that be a New World?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vestidos y alborotados

Me decia mi abuelita Amalia," Ahora si, que nos dejaron como la novia vestida y alborotada."  Esto me suena a lo que esta pasando en el Gobierno de Los Estados Unidos acerca de los Latinos.  Gracias a Dios que vivimos en un Gobierno Parcipativo.  Esto quiere decir que tenemos el derecho como ciudadanos de este gran pais para participar en nuestra representacion a niveles de ciudad, el condado, estatal, y federal.  Nuestro voto es el poder que nos dieron los Padres Fundadores para no estar bajo un gobierno monarquico.  Acuerdensen que tambien los Espanoles tenian un rey. 

Pero, durante todos estos anos me he dado cuenta que la mayoria de los Latinos no votan. Si votan, la mayoria votan por los Democratas.  Yo siempre e votado Republicano.  Porque?  Porque tengo un problema que despues de 50 anos de estar votando por los Democratas los latinos estan en las mismas situaciones que estaban cuando sacaron la ley llamada Operacion Mojado (Operation Wetback 1954).  No crees que si hubieramos estado representados correctamente, no estuvieramos en esta misma situacion de retenes, y deportaciones inadvertidas.  Dicen las personas a que estoy enseniando clases de negocio "el Democrata es para el pobre, y el Repubicano es para el rico".  Dime cuantos de ustedes quieren o tienen el dinero disponible para pagar mas impuestos.  Lo que deben de decir es "el Democrata nos sube los impuestos, y los Republicanos nos los bajan." 

Lo mejor es que los Latinos voten por los Republicanos para ser parte del partido y asi los Republicanos no se atrevan a pasar leyes que afecten negativamente a los Latinos.  Te garantizo que si eso pasa los Democratas entonces sacaran las leyes de deportacion contra la raza.  No sacaron los Democratas el Dream Act hace poco sabiendo que los Republicanos no lo ivan a pasar?  Porque no lo sacaron cuando tenian la mayoria en el Senado y en la Casa de los Representantes? El plan de los Democratas no es ganar las elecciones es de hacer que las personas se enogen con los Republicanos y escojan el partido contrario. 

Hay que ser listos y no nomas votar por costumbre.  Nosotros los indigenas de este pais somos mas sabios que eso.  Estamos en una pocision que los dos partidos nos estan enamorando por nuestro voto.  Todos sabemos que los politicos son una bola de labiosos, pero en vez en cuando sale uno que deberas nos va respetar y querer como una pareja verdadera.  Hay que esperarnos y ver acual nos va dar la prioridad y poner en marcha los temas que nos prometieron en los primeros dos anos de ser eligido no cuando piensen que no va hacer reeligidos.

Lo diferente entre nosotros los Latinos y la novia alborotada es que nosotros tenemos dos pretendientes. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Famous last words

Never!  Is one of the most legendary of last words.  "I'll never get a blog" I enunciated to my public relations team.  "Why, should I even care about what other people think of me.  Any one who knows me, knows that I am a loving father, a full time student, a Palomar College Foundation Board of Director, who loves purist architecture, and God."  "No, they don't", they refuted. 

The internet has become the tool of choice when you want to know information about someone or what he/ she has done recently.  It is a mechanism for friends to tell each other to "google him" before going on a second date. For employers to find out what you did when you were supposedly sick.  In this ever decreasing world, due to an expanding technology, we must not only embrace it as a tool for our professional lives, but as a conduit for us to share our personal, and spiritual ones as well.  It sort of reminds me of the letter my Spiritual Father sends out to all of his friends at the beginning of every year, where he not only writes of all the accomplishments that his family and flock have achieved, but also of all the hurts and sorrows they have endured.  Here are mine.

In my personal life, I am presently homeschooling my kids.  Their mother remarried and moved to Corona and although she still works in San Marcos and brings the kids to school everyday, the school they where attending has suspended them for not living within their districts boundaries.  This is understandable, but what I don't understand is why they were escorted off their campuses, before letting us parents know beforehand.  Consequently, I am homeschooling my two boys until the end of this school year.

Three years ago my professional life took a forboding drop, I can sit here and try to convince the reader that we are going thru this recession unscathed, but the reality is that we have taken a massive flogging.  Real Estate Development as we used to know it will never be the same.  The present administration will make sure of that as they invent new ways to create new taxes to pay for these new regulations.  Even amongst all this turmoil, though I have been developing a 200,000 square foot Mixed Use condominium project in San Marcos.  I was aboundedly assertive to locate the capital, thru private investors, which I need to build out the project, but there is one conundrum.  I must first prequalify all the buyers before they release the funds.  My real estate team is actively undertaking this task. 

My spiritual life is what gives me balance, it is the context that gives me the determination to complete my personal and professional objectives.  A spiritual objective that I am pursuing this year is to begin a food ministry with the help of all my friends.  It is set up to not give cans of something that nobody eats (for ex. canned pork) but, a grocery bag with all the ingredients needed to cook an entire meal, including a menu.  We would not store the food, but instead we would pick it up from the donors and deliver it in the same day. 

In conclusion, I am attending college to acquire a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance, writing a Case Statement for Latino Students, while homeschooling my kids, and developing a Mixed Use Project, as I want to feed the community.  That in a nutshell is me and by the way, this is definitely true, I never want to have anything to do with politics.