A Good and Bad Week

This past week has been both good and bad.

The good part is that my grand-daughter, Anastasia, came to LA to visit us from Chicago. As many of you know, I have four grandchildren--two of them are already teenagers. One if them is Anastasia, an intelligent, beautiful, and strong 13-year-old young lady. It was so great to see her and to spend some time with her. We did the regular touristy things--my daughter Andrea and her daughter, Catalina, one of my other grand kids, and my son Luis took her to Hollywood, Olvera Street, downtown LA; my sons Ruben and Luis (and Katrina, Ruben's girlfriend) took Anastasia to Magic Mountain. She also visited with my family at my sister Ana's house, and with my mother, who's at a rest home for Alzheimer's patients. Anastasia is now with her grand-mother, my first wife Camila, who is taking her around her large East LA family, and to the beach and visits with family and friends in Long Beach, Orange County, and LA.

However, a few days before I picked up Anastasia from the airport, my back gave out on me. I've had recurring issues with several slipped discs over the years, stemming from the many years I worked in industry and construction during my late teens and twenties. The older I've gotten, the worse it has become. But I've been doing fine for several years until one day last week I couldn't get out of bed. As anyone who has gone through this knows, it's extremely painful. I was then forced to walk around in a cane. I went to a chiropractor, and then to a sobadora, which is a Mexican healer who uses massage. The last time my back gave out, a sobador in Pacoima put things back together, and it lasted for quite a while. I don't have insurance, so I have to find other more natural and less costly means to take care of my health.

Although I was hurting, I still had to go to meetings, type on my computer, and other work. I just had to take breaks and change positions from time to time. I even went to a fund raising house meeting for The Gathering, a social justice retreat group founded by Harry Belafonte. My friend Nane Alejandrez of Barrios Unidos invited me to this event, held at the home of one of Gregory Peck's daughters. Also present was Sharon Stone, Michael Farrell, Harry Belafonte's kids, Connie Rice of the Advancement Project, and others. Cane or no cane, I got around, talking to people and passing out postcards for Tia Chucha's benefit event at the Ford Amphitheater on July 29 (go to www.tiachucha.com for more information).

Today I'm feeling a lot better. I've been off my cane for a couple of days. I've had to let go my exercise regimen, which I hate to do since I got a good momentum going with this. But I'll get back on it--a lot more careful when I do, too.

Meanwhile I have a couple more days before Anastasia goes home. We'll miss her. She's a real special human being with so much energy and talent to contribute powerful and positive things to this world. Of course, I'm biased, but it's true.

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