Thirteen Years without my Mami: The Funniest Mexican I’ve Ever Known ❤️

Cuquita & yours truly in “Little Italy,” the two words I couldn’t pronounce without my mother cracking up at my “sophisticated, unintelligible gringo accent.”

Thirteen years ago today, my mother, my best friend –and the funniest Mexican I’ve ever met– quietly passed away in a small hospital room in Mexico City.

While her (sudden and premature) death was the worst thing me and my siblings have had to endure, she left us the one thing no one will ever take away from us: A sense of humor that –she assured us– was the only way to go through life, no matter how tough the shit got going.

Cuquita told the dorkiest jokes and made the funniest remarks about being divorced, poor, underemployed, uneducated, hungover, drunk, uninsured, etc. etc. (“I have saved enough money to last me until the day I die … as long as I die tomorrow,” she used to say often –while cracking up….or  “If I didn’t know this was a hangover… I’d rush to the nearest emergency room.” har har har.)

And then there’s my personal favorite. Once, during a heated discussion with us (her kids) giving her a hard time over something, she stops and yells at us: “DO YOU GUYS EVEN KNOW WHY I NEVER WENT TO HARVARD?” … Silence ensued, I mean, fuuuuuuck, we don’t know about that thing…  Why? my sister asks almost embarrassed for not knowing.

“Because I didn’t finish elementary school! JA JA JA,” goes my mother….

Ok, you get the picture. I don’t exaggerate when I say Cuquita contributed to at least half all the Spanish slang and idiomatic expressions I used in Think Dirty Spanish. She would often call in the middle of the night with the great news that she had found –yet– another expression she’d love to see in the book. “¡Mosquita muerta!.. a ver ¿cómo dicen eso los gringos?”

She hated Walt Disney, but she wore the sweatshirt all the same, because… America!

We traveled the world together.

We went to shady tango joints in Buenos Aires; gigantic farmer markets in Los Angeles and colorful tavernas in Valparaíso, Chile. Once, on a trip between Santiago and Buenos Aires, right in the middle of the Andes, our plane had an engine failure and for a few, terrifying moments, we thought we would die right there. But then, as I hyperventilated and yelled in panic for a Valium or something, my mother started laughing out loud at our poor Argentine pilot, who was so distressed, he couldn’t even speak properly. Favor de no formor, he asked us, instead of Favor de no fumar.

BUAHAHAHAHAHA, my mom and I had a fit of hysterical, uncontrollable laughter.

Damn you, Cuquita! ¡Qué divertido era viajar juntas!

My favorite were her months-long visits to New York, when we’d roam the city in search of “real genuine stuff” to cook authentic Mexican things, but more often than not ended up in some fancy steakhouse drinking wine, cubas libres and eating meat like there was no tomorrow. (Oh, and did I mention the marathonic poker sessions?)

Cuquita spoke NO ENGLISH whatsoever, but none of that mattered, because in Nueva York, everyone knew her and spoke Spanish to her. My friends, my colleagues, my neighbors, the super, the bodega guy… todos.

To this day, no matter if I’m in CDMX or not, I know Cuquita will always have an altar in her home for Día de Muertos featuring some of her favorites: chocolates, pan de muerto, cigarettes and cubas libres (with flat Coke, which she seemed to favor –for some reason.) ¡Gracias, Catus!

I’m not sure where she is right now. But if there’s anything going on UP THERE, in the so-called afterlife, I’m sure she’s serving the cubas libres, setting up the poker table, telling the jokes –and having a blast.

Te quiero, mami. ❤❤

The Not-so-Sucky Things that Happened in this Annus Horribilis

January 7, 2020: Capturas antes de la pandemia…

I was going through my photo album of 2020 and found the above pic among the first ones I took in 2020. It was taken on January 7 from my hotel room in Las Vegas during a business trip. It was an intense week of work, but also filled with good memories and fun times with my colleagues, including a spectacular party to wrap up yet another CES. One could say the New Year was looking… peachy.

Barely nine months later, though, in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, I found myself unemployed; unable to visit my family in Mexico or my partner’s family in France and pretty much uncertain about what the future might bring.

In 2020 I attended not one, but two Zoom funerals of friends who lost their fight to Covid-19. I wasn’t able to be with a friend when she lost a close relative to a non-Covid related illness.

Oh, and I wasn’t even able to say good-bye to my colleagues of 7 years. My office stuff was boxed and shipped to my home via FedEx, but the one thing I needed to recover in one piece –a beautiful Made in Toluca Darth Vader statue– arrived in a million pieces. (I really loved him. Look how great he was!)

To put it bluntly, this year sucked. BIG TIME.

At the same time, while writing this I feel ashamed for even complaining. After all, I have my health and my family in Mexico is fine (a miracle, considering the mess the government has made in dealing with the pandemic.) I got a couple new gigs with people I truly admire and who –for some reason– really really want me to work with them. Yay!

So….in the spirit of the moment, and in an effort to not feel so depressed, I decided to write a sort of TOP TEN list of the “Not-So-Sucky” things that happen this year.

So, here goes.

Jan. 31: Friends’ Reunion in New York City

Miami, Cuba, México, DC meet in the heart of NYC

Feb. 15: A Beautiful Hike Upstate

Feb. 28: Family Reunion in Temixco

March 19: Made a Meme that Went Viral

April 2: Wine & Liquor Were Always at Hand

May 25: Finally Learned to Finger Pick

June 2: Left the City and Did Pierre’s Hair (oops!)

Yes, I fucked up the side burns but it was my first time!

July 7: Found the Perfect Place to Spend Summer

Aug. 10: Outdoor “Happy Houring” with Pierre

Sept. 15: Mexican Independence Day in NYC

Oct. 1: Bought a Car, Moved Upstate

Nov 3: Need I Say More?

Nov. 5: Perfected the Art of Baguette Making

Yes, I make those. All the time…

December…?

I decided to leave this month open for now. There are still a few days left in 2020 and we can only wish for the best. Or something not so bad.

In the meantime…

What were the most wonderful things that happened to you in this Annus horribilis?

Mi Casa es tu Casa


My grandmother used to say that la ociosidad es la madre de todos los vicios (Idleness is the mother of all vices.) While no one can ever dispute that, I would like to add a modern twist to her very wise insight: “Unemployment is the mother of all blogs.” (Of course, there’s also my friend Diego who says: “Idleness is the vice of all mothers,” but that’s a whole other story.)

Now that you’ve read this far, I might as well let you know who I am: I am a bilingual, not-yet-acculturated Mexican journalist and editor specialized in media, marketing and advertising. I’ve lived in a bunch of places, including Singapore, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Paris, Santiago de Chile and New York City.

In my most recent position, I was the founding editor of Marketing y Medios, an English-language trade publication devoted to explaining the Hispanic market to a non-Spanish speaking audience of executives and marketers. I left that company in December of 2006, following its sale to a new owner.

Prior to my wonderful two and a half years there, I was responsible for creating and launching the Spanish-language edition of The Wall Street Journal, as well as coordinating and editing their Spanish-language Web edition at americas.wjs.com. Before joining the Wall Street Journal, I had worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines in Mexico, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Los Angeles.

And last but not least, I’d like to add that before graduating with a BA in Journalism at the Escuela de Periodismo Carlos Septien Garcia, in Mexico City, I completed my high-school education at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore.

Throughout my career, I have developed extensive experience and industry contacts in journalism, marketing, and advertising. I am fluent in English, Spanish and French and have promised myself to take up Mandarin some time soon. You never know.

So bienvenido a mi blog. Welcome to my blog. Mi casa es tu casa or, as my friend Carlitos suggests I’d say, Mi Blog es tu Blog.