Repost: The Vietnam Wall that Heals at Fort Bliss National Cemetery

Hi everyone. This is an edited repost I did last April. I wanted to share it with you for Memorial Day. I’ll be back Tuesday and Wednesday with a recap of one of El Paso’s largest music festivals, Neon Desert. I’ll resume Romantic Tuesday next week. Take care, everyone. Let’s take some time to remember our fallen veterans, whether they died in combat or many years later.

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My uncle’s grave. My son took this photo

Some of my relatives who served in the United States military are buried at Fort Bliss National Cemetery. In the past, I’m pretty sure I’ve told you El Paso is a huge military city. Since my grandfather served in the U.S. Army, my grandparents will also be buried here. Although I didn’t go with my grandparents and son today, I’ve had my share of visits to this cemetery. I’ve also been to my share of funerals there. I’m really disappointed I didn’t go today because it was a special occasion for several El Pasoans, including my grandparents. Unfortunately, I missed the buses they took to get there.

The Wall that Heals Vietnam Veterans Memorial replica was on display from Thursday through today. More than 58,000 names of Vietnam Veterans who were killed are displayed on the wall. The replica wall travels around the country for those who are unable to visit the actual wall in Washington D.C. I’ve always enjoyed hearing my grandparents stories so of course I asked them about today’s experience. My grandfather was happy he was able to locate the name of his childhood friend, Captain Roberto ‘Chito’ Samaniego (he was able to find his name with some assistance).

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Captain Samaniego passed away on June 19, 1965 when the helicopter he was flying was shot down. He passed away at 29 years old. Him and my grandfather attended the same elementary and high school. My grandfather tells me about the times they played on the Jefferson High School varsity football team. He told me about the times they hung out in the neighborhood. Years after Captain Samaniego’s death, a residential street and Head Start campus were named in his honor here in El Paso.

Photo from El Paso Times 

Thoughts on Manchester Attack

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How is one supposed to put this tragedy into words? It was really hard for me to do it. The situation is still very surreal in my mind. It almost sounds like a nightmare I woke up from awhile back. At around 6 p.m. my time, my grandmother, 11-year-old son and myself were watching the nightly news on Monday evening. We were getting ready to have dinner. The news was about to finish when the newscaster interrupted. Twenty-two innocent lives were taken by a suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. An additional 119 were injured. To me, the saddest part of all is that some of the victims were innocent children who were attending a concert for the first time.  

My son’s an Ariana Grande fan. He had a lot of questions about what was going on. It was hard to explain the situation to him. He wanted to know why it was happening and how someone could even have a bomb. I did the best I could to explain the situation. I told him some people are really mean and don’t respect life or themselves. Although the incident happened thousands of miles away from me, it could’ve happened anywhere at anytime. Ariana Grande performed here last year and my son wanted to go. Journalists asked Manchester residents what they were going to do after the attack. Most said they’d carry on as if nothing happened.  As much as I sometimes want to live my life in fear, I can’t do it. Regardless of what happened, I’m going to enjoy myself at a music festival this weekend. Luckily, there will be plenty of security. Not all people are evil and mean spirited. In my experience, most are pretty nice. There are good and bad people from all walks of life out there. We can’t allow the mean ones to ruin our daily lives. Life is too short for that. May the victims and their families find peace. May the fallen rest in paradise. 

Photo from Pinterest

#RomanticTuesday 5-23-17

Hi everyone! I hope your week is off to a great start! Happy Romantic Tuesday! El Paso’s Neon Desert Music Festival is only four days away from today! This is one of the largest music festivals here. I wanted to share a song from one of the artists who will perform at the 15-block downtown festival. I decided to go with hip-hop and R&B singer Nelly. I listened to Nelly a lot, especially when I was in college. I was always listening to his music on the radio and at the clubs. His music was also played at lots of college parties.

Although “Just A Dream” came out years after my college years (it was released in 2010), the song eventually grew on me. At first, I didn’t like the song until I kept listening to it for months. The song is about Nelly having a dream about a woman he loves/loved. He regrets not making her his wife. He’s wondering if she’ll come back to him or not. According to Wikipedia, Nelly said, “I think that the way the whole song plays out, with the beat and the lyrics, I think it comes together in the sense of it’s almost a timeless song.” I agree with his statement. Although some say the song is about his relationship with Ashanti, he told “That Grape Juice”, “No it’s not about Ashanti. It’s just a song that I and my man [Rico] came up with. It’s a song that just relatable on all levels – rich, poor, black, white, child, adult – whatever level it is. If [thinking it’s about Ashanti] is what helps people to go out and support it then so be it (giggles).” “Just A Dream” peaked at number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts. The song sold over 4 million copies in the U.S. Have a great day, everyone and I’ll see you soon! 

 

El Paso’s Neon Desert Music Festival Kicks Off Memorial Day Weekend

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Hi everyone and Happy Friday! I hope your week was great! Memorial Day weekend will be an exciting one here in the Sun City! I’ll be attending this year’s two-day Neon Desert Music Festival for the second year in a row. This year’s headlining acts include: Hardwell, Foster the People, J Balvin, Alesso and Logic.

Although I’m excited to see all of the opening acts, I’m especially looking forward to reggaeton singer J Balvin and pop band Foster the People. This will be the second time I see J Balvin in El Paso. Los Angeles based Foster the People is well-known for their hit song, “Pumped Up Kicks.” Aside from the opening acts, I’m also excited to see many of the other acts at the 15-block downtown festival. 

R&B and hip-hop singer Nelly is also at the top of my list. Several of his jams like “Hot in Herre” and “Air Force Ones” take me back to my clubbing days at New Mexico State in the early 2000’s. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you might remember me blogging about El Paso’s R&B singer Khalid. The 19-year-old is doing big things lately! He recently performed on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America. In case you missed the posts, you can check them out here and here. Rapper Migos will be a popular act at NDMF. He’s known for his hit single, “Bad and Boujee.” I didn’t really know what boujee meant until recently! I’m a little bit old school, what can I say? The Urban Dictionary says boujee refers to being high class or rich a.k.a. balling and/or possessing swag. It’s always good to learn new things!  

El Paso has a lot of great local talent in various music genres. Some of my favorites include: Frontera Bugalu, Stan Z, Ribo Flavin, Trost House and Frythm. The only band I’ve seen perform from this list so far is Ribo Flavin. The band puts on a great show! I was able to catch them at last year’s NDMF. Several international acts from Mexico will also hit the stage.

Festival organizers say more than 130,000 have attended the festival since 2011. About 32,000 attended in 2016. Some acts from previous years include: J. Cole, Kaskade, G-Eazy, Zedd, Wiz Khalifa, MGMT, Capital Cities, Moby, Deftones, Future, Daddy Yankee, Carnage, Ludacris, Cypress Hill and many others. The best thing about NDMF is that it always offers an eclectic choice of music from El Paso and around the world. There is something for everybody at this fun-filled festival. Tickets can still be purchased here. You can also follow NDMF on their social media sites via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I’ll be posting a review of the two-day festival later this month. Please feel free to keep up with me on social media via Twitter and/or Facebook for live video and updates on Saturday and Sunday, May 27 & 28. Besides the music, I can’t wait to have a refreshing cucumber lemonade with rolled tacos at San Jacinto Plaza. This might become a new tradition for me!

 

Rest in Peace Chris Cornell

Hi everyone. Today is a sad day for music fans. Lead singer of Soundgarden and Audioslave Chris Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room just hours after a show. According to Rolling Stone, Cornell was found on his hotel bathroom floor. Detroit Police are investigating his death and ruling it a possible suicide. Cornell was 52. He leaves behind a wife and three children. 

Soundgarden’s music takes me back to my teenage years. I grew up listening to hits like “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman” in the early 90’s. It was one of those CDs I had on repeat often. Both songs won Grammy Awards. The hits were on their 1994 break though album, Superunknown. The album was number one on the Billboard Top 200 in March 1994. Superunknown also went quintuple platinum status in the U.S. It’s listed as number 336 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A. He said, “Soundgarden is pumped and primed on Superunknown, and they deliver the goods.” He praised it as a “hard-rock milestone-a boiling vat of volcanic power, record-making smarts and ’90s anomie and anxiety that sets a new standard for anything called metal.” Rest in Peace Chris Cornell, you will be missed by many worldwide. 

#RomanticTuesday 5-16-17

Hi everyone and Happy Romantic Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a great start! I can’t believe how fast this month is moving! Today I’m taking you back to 1996 with Erykah Badu’s ballad “Next Lifetime.” I’m not sure if I like the lyrics as much as I like the beat in this one. “Next Lifetime” is about being in a relationship but being attracted to someone else. Badu respects her current relationship enough to walk away from her attraction and friend. I’ve always thought Badu’s sound is beautiful and unique. She mixes up various music genres to make her own sound.

The Dallas native was first discovered after performing Marvin Gaye’s song, “Your Precious Love” with R&B musician D’Angelo. She was eventually signed to a record deal with Universal. Aside from singing and DJing, Badu has also acted in movies like “Blues Brothers 2000”, “The Cider House Rules” and “Dave Chapelle’s Block Party.” According to Wikipedia, she continues to be an activist for the arts in Dallas. Her non-profit organization, Beautiful Love Incorporated Non Profit Development (B.L.I.N.D.) supports inner city youth in the arts. She’s also traveled to Africa to work with children who are afflicted with AIDS and poverty. I’m really proud of this fellow Texan! She’s one musician I wouldn’t mind seeing in concert and/or meeting. What do you think of this song? Do you have any favorite Erykah Badu songs? If so, please feel free to leave them in the comments. Have a great day, everyone and I’ll see you soon!         

Happy Day of Moms!

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Hi everyone! Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, grandma and all moms (fur moms, step moms, etc.) out there! Thank you to my mom and grandma for everything they’ve done for me and my loved ones. Their lists of good deeds are endless! I apologize I haven’t been around as much lately. Life’s been hectic and crazy for the past week! I’ve been working on some freelance writing projects. I’m also looking for a full-time job again. For those who aren’t in the U.S., today is Mother’s Day here. 

This Mother’s Day has a different meaning for me. I’m honestly not trying to be a Debbie downer. I didn’t even know whether I should blog about it or not. I sort of blogged about it in the past but I’d like to do it again for different reasons. Although I’m really grateful I’m already a mom, I’d like to become a mom again before it’s too late. My son already has siblings from his father and his wife. I would like for him to have one he’s in contact with often. I realize they’ll be a lot of years apart. I tried to have another baby sooner but unfortunately it didn’t happen. He’s been asking for a brother or sister for years now! I also want to help my boyfriend add another member to his family, especially on his father’s side. I went to my doctor on Friday and got my results. After my bloodwork, he said the only way I could have another baby is by taking fertility medication and going through In Vitro Fertilization.

Although I’ve been reading up on it a lot, the procedure is still new to me. The process involves a lot of steps. It’s already becoming an emotional roller coaster for us! In case you missed it, you can check out my blog post about Endometriosis here. I’m really glad I blogged about it because it helped inform others. One in eight couples struggle with infertility. My boyfriend and me decided to go through IVF as soon as possible. It’s going to cost a lot of money but we feel like it is well worth it. I might do a fundraiser or two in the near future. I will keep you updated on this and the procedure.

If you have Netflix and want to learn more details on what goes on in IVF, I recommend watching “Future Baby.” The documentary takes place in several parts of the world. It follows couples who undergo IVF, egg donation, surrogacy and other procedures. It’s really informative and I also learned some things I didn’t know before. Although IVF is intense, it gives me and so many others hope to become mothers for the first, second, third, etc. time. Millions of healthy babies come into the world because of this procedure. Here’s a few songs to celebrate Mother’s Day and life in general. Have a great day everyone and I’ll see you soon!  

I hadn’t heard this one in awhile, so why not?

A beautiful one I just discovered on YouTube.

One of my all-time favorite rappers and songs. The deep lyrics still take my breath away every time.

What’s Mother’s Day without mariachis??

Photo from Pexels

 

#RomanticTuesday 5-9-17

Hi everyone and Happy Romantic Tuesday! I hope your week is off to a great start! I’m a little bit under the weather but I’ll be OK 🙂 I’ve also been working on a couple of freelance projects. For today’s Romantic Tuesday post, I’m taking you back to 1990. I can’t believe I was 9 years old when “Sensitivity” was released. I’m still listening to it in 2017! It’s still being played on the old school radio station here pretty often! My blogging buddy, Tracy mentions singer Ralph Tresvant in his blog sometimes. Feel free to check out Tracy’s Tresvant and New Edition posts. Do you remember what you were doing in 1990? I was riding bikes with my friends and disliking 4th grade. Anyway…

Tresvant was the lead singer of the 80’s-90’s R&B/pop group, New Edition. In order to pursue a solo career, he left the band in 1990. His self-titled album includes “Sensitivity.” Tresvant’s solo album was a success. It was certified platinum and appeared at the top of the R&B music charts for two weeks. Wikipedia says “Sensitivity” was even featured on the video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004. I’m not much of a video gamer but…I actually enjoyed playing it,  especially the San Andreas version. I always liked the different types of music in the game. Have you heard this song before? What do you think of it? I enjoy Tresvant’s smooth and romantic voice. Have a great day, everyone and I’ll see you soon! 

What the Fu*k is going on in this World?

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Dark times unfortunately seem to be coming these days. I’m almost afraid to check my social media feeds and watch the daily world news on TV. I’m somewhat afraid to fly the so-called ‘friendly skies.’ They almost charge you an arm and a leg to fly on a crowded airplane! Do they think they can just get away with treating customers however they want? With the latest technology and social media, it’s highly unlikely it will remain unknown to the public for very long. Commercial airlines really seem to be going through a crisis lately. Customers are even lashing out at one another through verbal and physical conflicts on flights! A family was almost kicked off their flight because they refused to keep their 2-year-old in their lap. The flight attendants said they would go to jail and have their kids taken away from them if they didn’t abide by ‘their rules.’

If you’re a news junkie like myself, you probably know about the recent Trump Healthcare bill that passed the House on Thursday. Although it hasn’t passed the Senate yet, millions of Americans will be screwed in terms of healthcare coverage. They may no longer have it or get covered, especially for their pre-existing conditions! The Senate is also controlled by Republicans so I’m expecting for them to pass the bill. To put it mildly, I’m beyond livid and outraged over this proposed healthcare bill. Hopefully several, if not all of the Republicans will be voted out come 2018. I’ll be honest, U.S. healthcare isn’t that great as of right now. Obamacare wasn’t the best thing that was ever created but…Trump’s healthcare bill almost makes me want to feel ashamed of being a woman. Since I don’t have a job, I’m not even covered at this time. Since I’m unemployed, my son is getting Medicaid. This new healthcare bill is especially a threat for women. No, Trump not ALL of us want to milk the system for the rest of our lives! You probably don’t know what it’s like to lose a job, much less being a single mom. I’m not saying family hasn’t helped me take care of my son because they have. I’m not sure what I’d do without them helping me. According to the bill, being pregnant or having a caesarean section are considered pre-existing conditions. Seriously? What the fu*k is that? Why aren’t prostate cancer or erectile dysfunction disorder not included on your list of pre-existing conditions?  

According to Money Magazine and Time Inc., other pre-existing conditions include: AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, alcohol or drug abuse with recent treatment, Alzheimer’s/dementia, anorexia, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, bipolar disorder, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral palsy, cervical cancer, colon cancer, congestive heart failure, Crohn’s disease, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hysterectomy, kidney disease/renal failure, kidney stones, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lyme disease, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, obesity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, organ transplant, pacemaker, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson’s disease, rape, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sexual assault, “sexual deviation or disorder,” skin cancer, sleep apnea, stroke, ulcers and that’s not all. When is this lunatic going to be impeached? What is this world coming to? Our Forefathers are probably rolling over in their graves. This isn’t the America they envisioned and fought for. This is just a couple of many problems we currently face.

Photo from Pexels

#NoWall Between the Past and the Future

A big thank you goes out to Open Thought Vortex for allowing me to guest post and share a part of mine and my family’s story on Friday. Please feel free to leave comments over at OTV. Comments will be closed in my blog.

Open Thought Vortex

By Lisa Amaya

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One of my Grandpa Fernando’s proudest moments in life was joining the United States Army in 1954. He knew he wanted to join when he was still an ROTC student at Thomas Jefferson High School in central El Paso, Texas. El Paso is a border town 45 minutes away from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Eighty-two percent of El Paso’s population is Hispanic. I know my Grandpa is proud of his military service because he often tells me and my 11-year-old son Jacob his stories. Even though it’s always the same stories, we never get tired of hearing them.

Since my grandfather taught Jacob how to ride a bike and takes him around town on the city bus, my son looks up to him a lot. A few years ago, Grandpa fell off his bike while they were riding together. He hurt his foot and needed surgery. Despite this, he still goes out on his bike…

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