Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrating Dia de Muertos en Seattle.

Every year, after celebrating Halloween, we set up our altars for Día de Muertos, and plan our visit to Seattle to celebrate with the community. 

Here are three places where you can enjoy food, music, art projects, while celebrating Día de Muertos. And best of all, these events are free. 


Dia de Muertos at the Seattle Center
Saturday November 1st, from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Sunday November 2nd, from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm




Día de Muertos in South Park:
Saturday November 1st, workshops from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Sunday November 2nd, food, altars, and Aztec Dance from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm



Día de Muertos at El Centro de la Raza.
Ofrenda Exhibit opening & celebration on Saturday November 1st from 5:00 pm to 9:00pm.
Dinner will be served at 5:30 pm


I hope you enjoy attending any of these events!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Thank You Technology, Thank You Seattle Police Officers.

When I first got my phone, my husband mentioned that it was probably a good idea to turn on the Find My Phone feature in it because, you just never know when one might need it.

But before I go into the details of why I am mentioning that app, let me share with you the amount of times that I have been robbed in my life: SEVEN.

I know very well that all material things can be replaced, that's something I learned the hard way. But, the feeling of insecurity that hits you because someone decided to cross that line to take something away from you, it's very hard to explain.

The first experienced that I had with a robbery was back in my hometown Veracruz. All I remember is that I was a little kid. I heard my mom saying that someone entered our home, and stole many things. My parents never really told me what was taken, all I know is that, when my mom came back from her school, she found the doors open, and the house was a mess. Thankfully none of us were at home, and therefore all of us were safe.

The second time was in Mexico City. Miguel (my husband) and I were walking down the street towards a store when three guys jumped on us. They grabbed Miguel, and they tried to stab him with a screw driver while I ran away as fast as I could trying to find help. Fortunately, I found two good police officers, and a neighbor, that came to help. We were lucky to get out of that one alive.

The third time was in the subway in Mexico City too. Three guys got in the subway car, and started asking everyone to take out their belongings. They were armed too, but since they had only about one or two minutes to commit the robbery, they didn't harm anyone, and no one wanted to be a hero either. 

The fourth one was a whole different thing. On that one we were "express kidnapped." It was almost midnight, and we were in a cab heading home after playing at a restaurant when two guys got into our cab at a red light. They drove us around the city for many hours... at gunpoint. They took everything we had on us. One of our keyboards, cash, our jackets, my keys, our IDs... That was one of the scariest days of my life, and I will never forget it. We tried to report it to the police with no luck. They ignored us, and that's probably why so many times it's hard for many people from Mexico to trust the police, or the system in general.

The fifth one was here in the U.S. in Lynnwood, WA. All they took was our car stereo. We called the police, and I was surprised to see that they actually came to our house to take our statements! The officer told us to not keep our hopes up, and to please never buy anything from a pawn shop because that's where thieves take their stolen goods. I still remember that part of our conversation very well. 

The sixth time happened in Redmond, WA. Miguel's car got stolen from a parking lot. We reported it to the police, and almost a month later we got it back. That's when I started feeling that I could actually trust the police. Like they were actually doing their job.

Now, the last one happened recently in Northgate. At the Jewel Box Café to be more exact. I was meeting with a friend for coffee, and we sat on the back. A young person came over to our table, a couple of times, to grab some napkins. And even though I found it a bit strange, I thought that maybe he was waiting to enter the bathroom and because he didn't want to lose his place in line, he was taking the napkins from our table. Unfortunately, the third time he approached the table was to grab my phone. The moment he took it, I stood up and yelled: "Hey! That's my phone! Give it back!"

I started walking fast behind him asking people around to please stop him because he had my phone. Everything was happening a little bit too fast for anyone to react. All of a sudden, I was outside the café, running after him, chasing him, and screaming: "Please, stop him! He has my phone! Someone, please help me! Stop him!"

While I was running, a black police car approached me and an officer asked: "Is that the guy?"

They started chasing him, and in a matter of seconds I heard more sirens, and about four young men were running after him too. I had to stop running because I twisted my ankle. A police officer stopped next to me to ask what else had this person taken. I explained that I had credit cards, my ID, my phone, and some other personal information because my Phone Case was my wallet too. One of the staff members from the café also came out to help. She mentioned to the police that they video recorded everything with their surveillance cameras, and that they could watch it if they needed it.  

After 5 or 10 minutes (although it felt a lot longer), another police officer came to ask what type of phone I had, and I told him I had an iPhone. He immediately took his phone out and asked if I had the "Find My Phone" feature on. I said: YES I DO! He then asked me to log-in into my account to see where my phone was, and there it was, my phone on his screen!

The police was not able to find the thief because he apparently was not acting alone, and his partner had probably picked him up.

The officers never, not even for a second left me alone. They kept asking if I was okay. If the person had pushed me, or hurt me. When three police cars arrived to the café, the officers that had stayed with me the whole time said that my phone was coming, and they introduced me to the female officer who had found it in the woods. I was so relieved, and happy that I had to ask her: Can I please give you a hug? Her face showed surprise and her response was "Oh my, yes, I suppose you can." And so I did.

As I mentioned before, I know that material things can be replaced, and that all I had to do was call my banks to cancel the credit cards, and go to the Licensing office to replace my ID, but that feeling of having someone violating your space is something that is very difficult to overcome. 

I am extremely grateful for the outcome of this situation. I learned that night that apparently the areas of Ballard, Northgate, and Lake City are becoming targets of thieves taking laptops, phones, tablets, just because we are a little too comfortable leaving them unattended. No, it's not fair that some persons are feeling the right to take away things that are not theirs, but the reality is that some will do, and we have to be a little more careful about it.

I also learned that protecting my phone with a passcode is the smart thing to do. Even when I get frustrated because I cannot access things in my phone as fast as I would like to, but at least my personal information is a bit safer. Also, turning on the "Find My Phone" feature made things a whole lot easier for the officers to find it. So there you have it, next time that you are at a coffee shop, and you have to leave your things unattended, even if it's just for a few seconds, think about it twice because the thieves, are not.

Unfortunately, I did not ask the officers for their names, but here they are.  



Friday, August 29, 2014

This Weekend in Seattle: Bumbershoot, Mexican Navy Tall Ship Cuauhtémoc, and More.

Labor Day weekend is here, and so are a lot of fun things to do in Seattle! 

One of the first things to come to mind is of course, Bumbershoot! Especially after reading how this year the festival is promising something different -"We're supposed to be exposing people to new ideas and things they wouldn't normally stumble upon," - said Stone during an interview with The Stranger. You can read the article here


The second item on my list to visit this weekend is "SPY: The Secret World of Espionage" at the Pacific Science Center. Its last day in Seattle will be on Monday, September 1st!


And last, but not least, I highly encourage you to visit the buque escuela "Cuauhtémoc" (Mexican Navy Tall Ship Cuauhtémoc) during its visit to Seattle this weekend. The Cuauhtémoc is a teaching vessel from the Mexican navy, and it will be docked at Pier 66 for the next four days. The vessel is open to the public from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm. 
Photo by Alan Berner - The Seattle Times








Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Gypsy Kings Are Coming to Woodinville!

If you love good wine, and enjoy fantastic music, then you should head to Woodinville this Saturday, August 23rd to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Grammy Award winning Gypsy Kings as part of the Chateau Ste. Michelle's Summer Concert Series!

The details:
Show starts at 7:00 pm. 
Doors open approximately 2 hours before schedule start.
General admission $42.00
Reserve Seating $72.00 


For more information click here. 





Friday, July 18, 2014

Local Model and Talent Agent Seeks REAL Grandparents and Grandkids For A Fashion Catalog!

How would you like to be a part of a fashion catalog? Or maybe your mom, and dad would like to do it? See below the details on how to do it!


A local model and talent agent is looking for REAL GRANDPARENTS AND GRANDKIDS (ages 4-6 years old, boy and/or girl) to be in a local clothing retailer catalog.

Ethnicities:  
- African America
- Asian
- HIspanic
- Native American

Deadline is 10pm, July 21.

If interested please email me at patty@pattysutopia.com to send you the agency's contact info.

Good luck! 


Friday, May 30, 2014

Tomorrow: ¡Fiesta en la Biblioteca de Seattle! / Party at the Seattle Public Library!

I think more, and more parents are realizing how important it is to raise bilingual kids in the U.S. I love that my dear friend and  Latina writer Maria de Lourdes Victoria, has been supporting the efforts of these parents for many years now, with her bilingual books for children. 

Tomorrow, she will be presenting her latest children's book: "They Came Home with a Bundle" at the Seattle Public Library, 4th floor, room 2, from 2:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.
But wait! To make it really fun for everyone, there will be cake, piñatas, and raffles... For FREE!  

Come on over to Seattle because this is an opportunity that you should not miss. You may also want to ask her to sign your book!





Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tomorrow: A New Generation of Mexican Folklore Dancers at Folklife.

One of the most important things for me as a person from Mexico living in the U.S., is to teach my granddaughter about our beautiful culture. Every time that we have the opportunity to expose her to it, we take it. I'm grateful to see members of the Mexican Dance Group Bailadores de Bronce help families with this process of teaching our kids to be proud of their Mexican heritage. 

Through dancing to Mexican music, they teach their kids, they importance of knowing where they came from, their roots. This is extremely interesting because is a about a second generation of dancers. 

You can witness "Joyas Mestizas," a kids dancing group, share their dancing skills TOMORROW at the Exhibition Hall on 3rd Ave N and Mercer Street in Seattle, at 2:45PM, followed by Bailadores de Bronce at 3:30 PM.

"This is a very interesting opportunity to see a second generation of dancers sharing the stage at Folklife, within the same hour of the festival, with their mentors/parents. Interesting to see children following their parent’s footsteps, and sharing their heritage." - Said Dolores Perez Hooks, dancer with Bailadores de Bronce. 

I hope to see many of you there! 











Sunday, April 27, 2014

Renaming My Baby.

Well... Not exactly "A baby", but it certainly feels that way.

I started playing with Twitter on September 5th of 2009, and I almost immediately fell in love with it. After being on Twitter for not too long, I realized the importance of opening an account for my business, and so I did.


I had a very hard time coming up with a name that could fit in 14 characters; that's why I made the decision to cut the end of my company's name. Instead of "Entertainment," it was going to be "Ent." It was decided, the not so perfect name for my business' Twitter account ended up being: @UtopiaMediaEnt.

Now, that I think of it, it was a pretty silly decision, but I didn't know better back then. 

After fiver years, and with all the changes around social media, I came to realize that it was probably time to give this account a little make over. My thoughts were confirmed when my friend Jess Estrada, one of the biggest social media influencers in Seattle, also suggested me to change it. But, to take that step was, surprisingly, one of the hardest things I have done in my life. 

I have been interacting with so many friends for so long with this username, that this change made me feel a little... uneasy. Maybe I am overreacting a little but, seriously, the process of choosing the right name took me some time.

I still wanted to keep my company's name related to my username. Why? Because I have helped my community through my business a lot. My business has become part of my identity too, but I also thought that it had to reflect the fact that it is I, Patty, talking to my followers/tweeps/twitter friends.

So, one day I decided to ask my friends in Twitterland for their help, and I asked for their opinions on which username would fit better. These were some of the reactions:





Finally, after waiting a few days (almost two weeks), I decided to grow up, and take that final step. Now, let me introduce you to my new username on Twitter. I am now: @UtopiaPatty.








Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Night Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Spoke to My Granddaughter.


We arrived very early to the Town Hall in Seattle because we were told that traffic and security would be crazy. We weren't expecting any less with the visit of  Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to our Emerald City! So, we arrived at 5:50 PM, and we waited anxiously for the doors to be opened. 

When we were entering the building, security was checking our purses, bags, and they told us that we needed to keep our phones inside our bags because if we decided to use them to take pictures or video, they would be confiscated. 

While we were waiting for the event to start, my daughter explained to Lil' Andrea who Justice Sonia Sotomayor is, and they started reading her memoirs together. Lil' Andrea became very excited to know that she was going to be able to see, and listen to such a great leader!



The organizers then announced that, if we wanted to ask questions to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, we needed to write them down on the little cards they gave us, and we had to take them to the table that was on the front by the stage. I wrote my questions, and so did Miguel.  Then, I heard my daughter talking to Lil' Andrea about having to add her name, and her age to the card because, that's the polite thing to do when you are writing a question for someone like Justice Sotomayor. And so she did too. I grabbed all the cards, and took them to the front. I glanced over Andrea's card and saw that she was asking something related to parents, and work, but I didn't read all of it. 

The time to introduce Justice Sotomayor came, and when she came out to the stage, the audience gave her a standing ovation. The energy was amazing! 

Justice Sotomayor sat down on one of the chairs, and the interview, led by the extraordinary Eric Liu, commenced. During the evening, Justice Sotomayor shared her experiences about how she grew up depending on herself to make sure that she could survive. She shared as well that we all need people to help us, that nobody can do everything by themselves. 

She talked about not being afraid of saying "I don't know," which is something that many kids are usually terrified to say. But, how else are we supposed to learn new things if we don't accept that we don't know something? She mentioned that it's important to not compare ourselves to someone else. That we need to always compare ourselves to ourselves. We are always the best judges of our own persona. By doing the opposite, we are affecting ourselves in a negative way.

During all these comments, Lil' Andrea kept nodding, and shaking her head depending on the topic. She was very attentive, and curious about every single word that Justice Sotomayor was saying. There was a moment when Justice Sotomayor talked about her abuelita, and how she influenced her in her private life. At that moment, Andrea held my hand very hard and she gave me a long kiss. 

After an hour passed, the moment to read the questions from the audience began. There were questions about justice, about her career, about the obstacles that she had to overcome, and then, the very last question was the one Lil' Andrea wrote!

Mr. Eric Liu started reading the card that said: "My name is Andrea and I am 8 years old..."

Mr. Liu was then interrupted by Justice Sotomayor who immediately turned around and said: "Where is Andrea? Andrea, where are you? Come here!"

All the friends and family started raising their hands saying "Here! Here!" Lil' Andrea was a little reluctant to walk to the front because of her shyness, and that's when I jumped up my seat, grabbed her by the hand, and said to her ear: "Come on nena (little girl), I will go with you, okay?"

We both walked to the front of the stage, and Justice Sotomayor asked her whether she wanted to go up the stage and sit next to her so she could see what it felt to be up there. Lil' Andrea shook her head so hard that the entire audience erupted in laughter. Justice Sotomayor then told Andrea: "I don't bite." 

But, Andrea was in awe, and so shy that nothing convinced her to move. Then, Mr. Liu continued the question: "If I was a Justice like you, I would make a law, parents don't need to work but work at home. If you were my age, what law would you choose and why?"

Justice Sotomayor's answer (what my daughter recalls): "Quality education for all children. Learning something is an adventure. The way our schools are funded, does not allow all the kids to have the same adventures. So if I could wave a magic wand, I would make sure that all kids have the same quality education." 

She continued talking to Lil' Andrea, and I wish I had been permitted to use my phone to record the message! But I wasn't. 

When Justice Sotomayor finished answering Andrea's question, the whole building started clapping so hard that made me cry. I was in shock too! Justice Sotomayor answered Lil' Andrea's question, and she kept looking directly to her. I still get goosebumps every time that I remember it!

Photo by George Artero
Photo by Eric Liu from the stage.
At the end, Justice Sotomayor asked the photographer to please take a picture of her with Andrea. By then Andrea was more relaxed and she of course accepted the honor of having her picture taken with this amazing Latina, and a fabulous leader in our country! Lil' Andrea then had the courage to ask Justice Sotomayor to please personalize her autograph, and she did that too. 

This is an experience that we all will remember forever!



Photo by Joe Garvin. 



Andrea's personalized autograph. 

The question that Lil' Andrea asked.

I cannot wait to read her book! 




Wednesday, February 19, 2014

NYPD, Lost In Translation.


It is not okay to assume that immigrants are going to learn the language of a country from day one of their arrival. It is not okay to assume either that even if they have lived in that country for many years, they are fluent in that language. It has been a long time battle that I have been having with many people, and friends too who still don't understand why interpreters and translators are needed in hospitals, courts, police departments, schools, etc.  


I was reading my Facebook feed last night when I noticed that a friend shared a post which headline read: "The NYPD Didn't Translate Murdered Mother's Spanish- Language Warning." Imagine my surprise and anger when I read it! I clicked on the link, and then I did some more research. It was true; a mother of two little girls had been murdered because the police failed to do their job. She reported to the police, twice,  that her husband had abused her physically, but because she made the reports in her native language and the police didn't do anything on time; she and her two girls lost their lives. How exactly is that okay?

I am a bilingual immigrant, fluent in Spanish, and English, and many times when I am under a lot of stress, I forget words in both languages! 

The article mentions that the NYPD is looking into using software to translate people's statements; do you have any idea of what a big mistake they would be making if they do that? If you don't, let me explain to you why it's a bad idea. 

Many people don't pay much attention to grammar, or spelling. Now imagine a person in distress; do you think they are paying attention to how well they are supposed to write? Do you think they are in the right state of mind to worry about punctuation, and spelling? Of course not! 

That's what's so worrying about this situation. Even if the police departments decide to use a translation software, it could not be able to correct the errors made by a person when writing their statements, and therefore, the translation would never be accurate, and it could lead to a misinterpretation of the facts.  


Yes, I am frustrated and outraged by situations like hers that happen too often, and it continues being ignored. My hope is that, if you didn't understand before the importance of having translators and interpreters for families, perhaps you are now open to at least have a conversation about it. 


Here are a few links to the article in case you want to read them:

From the Gawker.

From the New York Post. 



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Night Seattle Went "Crazy" After Winning The Super Bowl.

This post has been erased so many times that I lost count! I wanted to start with something like... "I have been a football fan since I was fifteen years old..." But then, I didn't like it. I also wrote, "I started driving in my neighborhood, looking for all the happy people and..." But it didn't work either. 

And it's just that the emotion that we went through this past Sunday is extremely hard to describe with words! So, I am just going to share it with pictures and videos, after all, the main character in this story is the 12 man. That means, YOU.

Enjoy!



Our first stop was at the Space Needle. It looks so majestic with the colors blue and green!


The 12th man flag! 



Other buildings had the 12th Man on the roof too! 


Everyone wanted to be part of this celebration.





I LOVED this flag! 



And I screamed....




And SCREAMED!



But the real fun was close to Pike Place Market.



I got many hugs! Everybody was hugging each other! 


SEE???? Well, this guy I actually know. This is my friend Jonathan. 


 Told ya I really liked this flag. 



And now, the video footage of that night.