You Have My Attention

Here’s to my first date in Kona, Hawaii.

I attended a school called YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Kona, Hawaii.

I was 18.

Never really (we’ll get to this) kissed and very naive,

I go…my brother went to YWAM KONA!

I felt comfort with that 🙂

My first 3 months is me rooming with a Canadian, a gal with Connecticut, and a gal from Texas. We were all SO different…yet roommates so we all shared STUFF.

Conneticut was odd…I’ll say that. She’s a manga/comic type of gal. All good..

Canada…was normal but very preppy. She liked top 40 and was very sensitive,

Texas and I got along the most. Her name is Paige. She’s great. She had dreadlocks back then…and was trying hard to be celebate. She was smart, experienced, and I liked her compassion. Her and I clicked.

I’ll get to her and Abby Muys later.
This time is about a GUY. I don’t remember his name :/ SHAME! I think it was JOSH something?

I was in the beginner course, and he was in SBS – almost like the SENIOR class – these guys had done their DTS and stayed and extra year…like my brother, Carlitos.

Anyways, this guy, I’m pretty sure his name is Josh…did security at night! I would walk to Abby Muy’s dorm room at night and he stopped me once just to say “HEY!”…we clicked and that turned into…a date!

For real. He asked me out! He was ‘short’ according to Abby…but to me …who is only 5’2…he was FINE!

So we went on a date. It was walk down to the Kona beach area….he would then have me walk onto a boat and we told one another our fears.

I wasn’t scared…I told him…at that innocent time in my life,….my fear was never falling in love etc.

He listened….he prescribed the song to me by Copeland “you Have my Attention” it’s nothing special…but at 18 years old, in Kona, Hawaii…I thought it was EVERYTHING.

It was about God. GOD having my attention.

It was about a guy…

It meant a lot! A song can do that! I don’t know what song is popular now…but know that I understand how much a song, a beat, a guitar, a piano, MUSIC can mean…can impact…I get it  🙂 Please trust me on this. No matter how OLD I am… matter how out of touch I may seem…I pray you believe that I understand the pull of music.

We went on a date…on a boat…and he introduced me to some acoustic music/love. Forever I’ll appreciate that. When I remember that night I think of saltwater (the boat) and mint (ice cream)…and acoustic music (his playlist)…

I do.

It’s 1:37am on a Thursday morning…and I’m listening to music. Acoustic simple.

I get it. Please TRUST.



Senior Year Prom – Nic

By my Senior Year of high school, I felt secure in my place at FCS (Fresno Christian Highschool).

I was in leadership, on the basketball team, and tried to get along with EVERYONE.

That helped I suppose as I wanted everyone to feel accepted and understood – I was ‘cool’ with everyone…

That paid off…I won prom queen. I didn’t run…I was nominated! Weird right?!? With my friends, Danae and Hillary. I won…I guess only cause I got along with everyone and those who didn’t feel ‘accepted’ liked the fact that I was brown…and nominated? Sounds silly but I think that had something to do with it…Hillary and Danae are white ladies (if not obvious).

This is titled Senior Year Prom – NIC…so what’s the deal?

Well…by my senior year of highschool I grew close to my friend Nic Wesburg. He was chubbier…and funny, charming, and liked by everyone in school.

I liked him.

We grew close because we had a class together after lunch called “study hall”. NO ONE STUDIED haha.

It was in what we called our ‘library’…which was a trailer with books. Nic was also in this class and so were a few other friends of ours, all seniors. We enjoyed this period because it was 6th period…meaning it was right after lunch. Back then, seniors got the privilege of going OFF CAMPUS for lunch…just trust it was a big deal.

So, after lunch OFF Campus, the 6th period study hall crew (which included Nic and I) would head over to the library trailer…and hang out. We talked about everything including school…music, religion, relationships…etc.

Just a note, two couples from that class (Ashley and Nic Carrera, Lindsay and Ross Charest) are happily married now! in 2018.

Nevertheless, Nic Wesburg and I connected and we grew close. We just trusted one another as friends, nothing romantic to be honest. Just a solid friendship and respect.

One day I’m heading to “6th period study hall” and I have a letter handed to me…Nic W. is NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. Whatever….

I open the letter and find a RIDDLE. It’s a piece of paper with music notes and hints. Nic Wesburg is a master musician meaning he plays everything (e.g. guitar, piano, drums etc.) and yours truly plays NADA.

With the help of friends I decode the riddle and it says “Will you go to PROM with me?”…my heart was beating out of my chest! I was so SO happy! I get to go to PROM with one of my best friends at the time and someone I respected and possibly LIKED!


I said YES…and told my folks.

My parents had no clue who Nic Wesburg was but eventually, they learned plenty and on the night of the prom, they met him as Nic Wesburg came to my house and his mom and dad along with my folks took photos of us on STAIRS. So PROM! LOL

I had an absolute BLAST at prom. The best out of ALL the dances I went to in high school…because I went with my best friend/crush.

We only slow danced a couple times but it was AWESOME and I remember smiling the whole time thinking this is really nice…

nothing sexual crossed my mind

nothing bad crossed my mind

it was an innocent time of “here I am with my best friend and…while I like him…I’m enjoying his protective hold as we dance…for this moment in time in our lives…he’s all about this…and so am I….innocent love”

It was love. Innocent love.

That night we went to his house…his folks were home and so were our friends 🙂 About 8 of us (all couples) were together and watched THE SHINING in his living room. By the way, I HATE scary movies…I can’t handle them..but I didn’t care. I was with Nic W. and all my friends from my Senior Year of highschool….it felt good, right, and lucky. I felt lucky.

That night ended with my folks calling on my cell phone (NOKIA lol) and me responding that EVERYONE (especially emphasizing the ladies) was watching a movie at nic’s…his folks were there too! My parents gave me like 30 minutes to get home lol! Nic understood and took me home in his Jeep…it was an oldschool Jeep…no windows…no hood…perfect for Fresno summer nights.


We got up, got in his car, drove to my house (about 15 minutes away) and held hands…listening to some white music? I didn’t know the band but it was probably some Eagles or U2. I loved it cause I felt something…I felt alive, safe, and LOVE.

I wasn’t IN LOVE with Nic W. ever…I just felt a LOVE, a PROTECTION, a RESPECT, that I know I value to this day on.


We hung out most of the summer, even probably alone in his room watching Mr. Holland’s Opus, and other classic movies I had no clue about…listening to music…talking about our futures (since it was SENIOR year) we were 17/18 years old! OMG

Nic W. didn’t remain my best friend. I left to YWAM in Kona, Hawaii. He stayed in Fresno, CA and moved on with his life too…

Nevertheless, the Memory I have of Nic Wesburg is one that is lovely, honorable, and precious to me.

He trusted me with precious information, that he told no one…and I the same.

That type of friendship is one I’m sure my children, my grandchildren, my niece/nephew…will cherish/feel/experience.

I can only hope they get that I understand. I know. I get it…trust me…I do.

Summer nights, trust, love, youth, excitment, fire of life/love/joy/friendship…burning inside.

I get it!

🙂 cherish it, experience it…

Know it may not last forever but that’s OK…THAT’S OK…I PROMISE!!!

I went on to Kona, Hawaii and Japan after this…lol. I met people who to this day have a huge impact on me…so do NOT feel like THIS IS IT. Don’t feel like IT”S ALL THIS!!!

It feels INTENSE. It feels ALIVE. It feels UNEXPLAINABLE.

So will other things…I promise.




Getting Asked

I’ll start with a memory from high school – freshman year – first NIGHT OF THE STARS.

Getting asked to ‘night of the stars’ is similar to getting asked out to prom, a dance etc. My school, Fresno Christian High School, didn’t host dances. We had an alternative to a dance which we called “Night of the Stars” and it was a time where each class (Freshman, Sophmore, Junior, Senior) made a movie and then played it at the event..the NIGHT OF THE STARS. Everyone then voted on all the movies for some awards. It was pretty fun.

Well, I grew up with strict parents. My mom (Persida Moran) and my dad (Carlos Moran SR.) were very strict..and while I hated it then (really hated it) I love it now…I promise 🙂

The fact that it wasn’t a dance where kids bumped and grinded on one another to some rap music was comforting to my folks.

Nevertheless, I remember sitting at the table at the Clovis, CA… Golden Corral (a buffet place) with just my mom and dad (cause my brother, Carlitos, was already out of the house at YWAM) informing and asking all at the same time that I was asked out by a boy to the Night of The Stars.

My dad’s reaction was stoic yet he eyed my mom with this odd look. My mom tried to reason …asking all the right questions such as “Who is he?”…”Have we seen him/met him before?”….”What happens?”…”We’ll be out of town though!?”…etc.

So…WHAT HAPPENED…how did Kevin ASK? I was asked out at school by this guy named Kevin. I was a freshman. It was my first year…and a NEW guy asked me to the Night of the Stars. I thought he was cute…more mysterious than anything cause he was quiet. He didn’t say much…but he was cute in a geeky way and he didn’t flaunt his need for approval. He was chill…not rebellious, rather obedient to rules…yet he was MYSTERIOUS. And at that age, at 14…that was something. Mysterious was cool.

Anyways, he asked me in person..nothing fancy. I said “I have to ask my folks. I don’t know if you know but my dad is a preacher and he’s also Latin so he’s pretty strict.” I LITERALLY said something like that LOL. He understood and was understandably also nervous too. I told him I would let him know “tomorrow”. Meaning, I held onto this QUESTION all day and into the evening into dinner w/ my folks at the local GOLDEN CORRAL…I was trembling, trust.

My folks eventually said yes…my mom had to convince my dad AT GOLDEN CORRAL that Mari and Ernie (my uncle and aunt) would take care of everything and have a close eye on me. My parents traveled often for church stuff…so I stayed with my aunt and uncle who from this pt on will be “Mari and Ernie” OFTEN. Mari is like my second mom. Ernie is like my uncle who hated me but eventually grew to love me…I was pretty annoying as a kid.

I went to school the next day, saw Kevin in the hallway, and tapped his shoulder to say, “I asked my folks, and they said yes. I can’t drive to the Night of the Stars with you…but I can meet you there as your date!” He understood, we both smiled and that was that.

My best friend at that time in my life was another latina preacher’s daughter named Suyen Milian. That wasn’t her full name…her name was Deborah Milian but everyone knew her as Suyen. She and I were very close because we related on many levels (e.g. preacher’s kids, latina, thicker than most, strict folks, LATIN) in a very white high school.

I’m trying to remember who Suyen went with that year, and I can’t 😦 I think she went with a guy from her church that liked her. But I can’t fully remember… 😦 MEMORY

My aunt got a limo, a LIMO! She also did an amazing job with my hair, makeup, dress etc. Mari really went above and beyond and thinking of it now makes me appreciate her even more…she has a big big heart.

The limo picked me up and Suyen…and we were dropped off TOGETHER to the Night of the Stars 🙂 Kevin met me there…and to be honest, I was a jerk.

I don’t recommend it. I don’t know if it was nerves or what but the moment I saw him and walked in with him and sat at our tabel with him…I wasn’t very kind. I was a bitch.

I don’t recommend it AT ALL.

Be kind. Be nice.

I think I wasn’t tryint to “LEAD HIM ON” as they say…but today, at 30…I realize how silly/stupid that sounds. I should have been kinder.

I wasn’t MEAN, I mean we still took our photos, had a nice night. But I made it clear I didn’t “LIKE LIKE” him which back then meant, want to be his gal.

Either way…it’s a memory that stuck that I wanted to keep to remember when I have children, grandchildren, etc.

I didn’t kiss him.

Didn’t hold his hand.

BARELY hugged.

None of that happened…we sat next to one another at a dinner, took photos where his arm was around me and I had my hand on his I think…that’s really it!

This is my first time doing a memory, so it’s janky. but nevertheless…it’s here.

First ‘ nondance’ event for this Carina.

Also – this is BEFORE iphones.

Before Instagram.

Before any sort of SOCIAL media to post your photos.

This was when you took photos with a disposable camera or digital one…either way, you got your photos developed and then PRINTED.

Yes, printed for money at the local drug store (rite-aid, walgreens) or Costco and then put them in a photo album.

The sweetness of that is the effort, the PHYSICAL memory of the event, and….the PRESENT feeling. It wasn’t that you just arrive, take a photo and post for everyone not there, and then chill.

What was different? I can tell you this…you EXPERIENCE it first hand, no social, no communication outside of who is PHYSICALLY next to you or in the room with you…

I’m only 30 and I can say it was a different time.

It felt real.



I hope to have children one day.

I’m 30 years old now and wonder if I’m fortunate to have children, will I remember what it feels like to “insert life event/feeling/thing” and as different and forward as the world may be for them, will it relate?

Will I remember? How will my memory be?

Well, I’m not really sure. I hope that my memories will flood back like a field of butterflies but it’s a hope…

I want to have more than a hope, I want to have a collection of random memories/events small/big/significant and insignificant that I can share or reference when trying to understand, when trying to relate, when trying…

I’m sure seasons will change as they have since I was 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, and now 30. 30!! Freakin’ 30.

So, over the second glass of red wine and my husband in the bedroom catching up on SportsCenter…I will start. Start with whatever…and it all really will be RANDOM…no rhyme nor reason. But it’s a start, and I want to do this. Should my memory leave me one day…I want to do this.

So the memories can come flooding back like a field of butterflies…for you, my child, my grandchild, my love.

Life is short…a blink.

Here goes!

San Francisco

How little you know…I used to live in Oakland. Fruitvale District to be specific.

It was cool. I really liked it.

Every day I  would add another stone to the wall I built around my heart to keep me safe…

It didn’t work.

It was worth a try though, right?


I’m fortunate to remember that though I walk through the darkest valley I should fear no one.  I was never lonely, was just alone.

The bad days may come…

the lover may leave…

It’s OK 🙂



It was cold yet cozy. It was busy yet friendly.

It was foreign yet home. That’s how I remember Oslo.

I’ve also been to Stockholm. It was snowing, hard. Dom and I visited the old town to satisfy my desire of seeing an old pub and cobblestone streets. I loved it. Absolutely loved.

I ate ribs in Amsterdam and loved them. I’ve been running and I live for these moments when I’m in foreign places and see His face. It makes it all the more real.

Deeper than my circumstance, deeper than my loneliness…the truth is the same…you and I will not be here forever. He’s our truth.

That’s how I feel.

Love cold weather

People drink coffee and beer/wine.

I like that. I like that people warm up with their scarves and clothes + drink hot toddies and alcohol.

It makes me go back to something I believe. Something pure. Something honest. Something.

I’m heading to the cold in December. Heading towards Breckenridge.

What’d ya know?

It feels good. I like cold weather outside, cozy inside, warm drinks, and the mysteries of life.

We are all experts in our own minds. That’s funny.

Yet true.

As the day goes on, I remember You. You are the guiding light.


People care about trends. Trends are important. What makes your platform or service sticky? What keeps people using?

What I heard around here is that trends matter.

If I look at myself and my own behaviors, the trends don’t match any sort of consistency nor should they promise any sort of allegiance moving forward.

I may dig your product or platform for a bit but then I may not. The fact that gets thrown into a data table and analyzed is silly to me.

I’m in Customer Success. I often do the analyzing. There’s some stock in it and some BS.

That’s whats on my mind.

They did X and Y within XY timetable. They decided XY by tomorrow.

Yo, I get it. But honestly, no one likes feeling like a row in an excel sheet or data table.

The minute I know…I’m out.

ciao 🙂



Just a few minutes until midnight.

I’m interviewing for a new gig. Some companies require writing samples, ‘role play’ presentations, and multiple 3+ hour interview sessions.

I get it. You want to find the right fit. My interest in all the companies that require you to jump through these hoops goes down the longer the interview cycle is to the point where I pull out of the entire process.

It’s not the tasks. It’s the lack of trust. Once I sense the trust isn’t there, why proceed? It’s the competition that throws me out, not insecurity.

I understand the competition should bring out everyone’s ‘A’ game. I get that. I don’t think that’s how I’m wired though. According to my IMDB and other multiple assessment/personality quizzes online, I should work in a low paying/pressure role that I find ‘rich in fulfillment’. In other words, it says I’d be a great fit in a clergy, counselor, teacher, or as some freelancer artist.

A role where I help people. Sounds spot on and draining all at once.

I know I’m whining. I know. I knoooooow.

I’m also turning 30 really soon. In less than a month.

And I’m most proud of that which is not on my resume, degree plaque or posted on my bank account. I’m most proud of my relationship with my loving husband and our honesty with one another. I’m so grateful that I’m living life with someone who understands me or at least tries to. My desire to understand him and support him is just the same.

I suppose at this point I’ve been worrying that my time and goals are a bit unclear. I get upset when I feel fearful. I get upset when I feel as though someone or some company wants me to do everything possible to convince them I’m the right person.

It’s a risk for both of us. Hey, I’m loyal. I work my ass off. I’m trustworthy. I promise. And no amount of writing samples, role plays etc. will prove that – I promise. What will prove that is trust but that takes a risk, which I understand not everyone can, needs, nor will take.

That’s when I check out. My friend said I’m just burned out. I need a break. She might be right. It’s crazy what a few good nights sleep and showers can do.

But I’m thinking it’s possible that it could be more. I’ll be 30 in a few days. The past 10 years have gone by and the next 10, if the Lord wills, will allow me to make the changes I desire.

I get that takes means. I get there are bills. This internet isn’t free. This computer isn’t charged on free electricity. The water I shower with isn’t flowing for free. I get it. Which is why I’m continuing to interview and TRUST GOD that what’s right will fall into place. That may sound naive and stupid to some people but to me, it’s what makes sense.

It’s actually what’s worked up till now. When I FORCE something I know isn’t vibing, to prove to others that I’m ok, I’m skilled, I’m smart etc. I end up BURNED OUT. When I try to live for anything but HIM, but trusting in HIM…it all gets jaded.

no gracias. only thing I’d like to burn is the sweet potato fries my husband so lovingly still eats. He’s the bomb.