Tania Salahat Cardenas

Character Animator / Animation TD

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

For My Mom

My mother passed away at 3:30AM on Sunday, June 19th, 2011.   She had awoken the day before suddenly feeling ill, perhaps with a stomach virus of some sort.  Her symptoms escalated and finally she stopped fighting my father about going to the hospital.  We were told she had some kind of cardiac event, possibly a heart attack. They transferred her to a qualified hospital and ran some more tests.  The condition was serious and the damage extensive, but no one knew what had happened.

They ruled out a heart attack and it was clear that she had a pretty substantial infection of some kind.  The road ahead of us looked difficult and expansive, but the doctors would reconvene at 10AM (it now being nearly 2:30 in the morning) with more test results and a better idea of what was going on.  At 3:30AM an alarm sounded, and I rushed, terrified, down a hallway that seemed to go on and on forever.  Her room was at the very end, 317, with a blue light blinking above her door.  They called a code blue and the universe went dark.  I spent an eternity at the end of that hallway, waiting for everything to be okay.  Though I am here, I still feel like my heart is trapped at the end of the that hallway.

If you knew my mother, you know that she was larger than life. She was a hard worker, passionate about caring for the sick and helping those in need. She injected fun into everything she did. There wasn't anything I wouldn't have done just to make her smile, and no price too high to see that smile once more. Her happiness had the strength to overcome all sadness. She radiated hope. One day she was healthy and infused with a passion for life, and the next day she was gone, leaving the world dark and confusing.

It is as if she couldn't possibly be gone. The phone rings and my heart expects it to be her. Everywhere I go, I see her face.  She was in everything I said and did, from her mannerisms to her influences and inspiration.  She pushed me to be a better me, all the while loving me for my imperfections.  She encouraged me to take on tasks I never thought I could do, and then she beamed when I completed them.  She radiated support and love, without even having to try.

Being a mother is about being able to see outside yourself, and my mother was no exception.  She cared for all others before herself.  Her concerns were always the welfare of those around her, whether they were lifelong friends or recent acquaintances. It is my impression that my grandmother, who died at a young age, was very much the same kind of woman.  My mother took the best of her and left the worst of her experiences behind her.  She had every excuse to be a different kind of person, but every decision she made led her to the be the woman who touched the lives of so many people.  She was exceptional despite all the available excuses to be otherwise.  She refused to let the sum of her suffering be the whole of her heart.

I suppose many people have close relationships with their parents, and it would be arrogant for me to insinuate that my bond with my mother was anything special--but it was.  In highschool, when everyone was hiding things from their parents, I would spend hours laying on the bed in my mother's room.  We would talk about everything, from the silliest highschool dramas to the most serious conversations a teenager could have. I cherished these last night discussions even as a child.

Everyone said that as I grew older, we would grow apart.  We never did.  In college, I saw her almost every weekend.  Even after, I visited often, calling even more.  Anything worth talking about was discussed with my mom, and especially all the topics that were not.  I couldn't believe what happened on One Life to Live today.  Which color scheme works best for this crafting project?  I had pasta for dinner tonight.  What should I wear to this interview?  The dog is wearing the tutu you made her.  Do the sum of these symptoms equal a trip to the doctor? Nothing was too big or small, and so we would ramble on.

When the news finally sunk in, I didn't have to wonder if I had told her I loved her.  She knew it. There was no doubt of that.  And although I wished that I had called her Friday night, rather than just going to bed, I didn't hold on to that regret either.  There could be plenty of "I wish..." and "Why didn't I?" but really, there is just one big hole in my heart and that's all it comes down too.  My mother, friend, mentor, advisor, healthcare provider, business partner... my everything is gone.  And though I go on, day to day, I feel very much empty.   It is as if someone has possessed my body, and continues to run the show, while I am just glazed over and lost.

My heart is broken, and not just for my own loss.  It is broken to know that she had finally gotten her spirit and passion back from the death of her own adopted mother/aunt, when it was so swiftly stolen away.  My heart is broken to know that my father just lost his beloved wife of 33 years, mother of his two children.  It is broken because my brother just lost his own mother, who loved him so wholly and unconditionally.  My heart is broken to know that my mother, who loved children more than she loved anything, never knew the joy of having a grandchild.  And even though I am unsure that I want children, I was never unsure about the amazing grandmother she would have been.

Matter of fact, the only thing I really did know about the subject was how wonderful she would have been and how much happiness it would have brought her.  My heart is broken because my mother, who died at the age of 54, had an entire life of exciting possibilities ahead of her.  Possibilities that she talked about constantly, adventures that she was ecstatic to embark on, stolen potential.

This post should conclude with some inspirational words about how she is in a better place and everything is going to be alright.  But those words would be hollow and insincere at best.  I am not certain of much this evening, but these things I know for sure:

My mother was not done living.
My family has been robbed.

Lynn's Memorial Website

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Great Jake (2001 - 2011)

A little less than 10 years ago, I convinced my parents to buy me a lizard as a belated Christmas gift. I had my eye on a Chinese Water Dragon. There were five in the cage, but I knew just the one I wanted the minute I saw him. Maybe he knew too, because he immediately leaped onto my shoulder.

I named him "Uncle Jake," because I was a silly college girl who thought that was just the greatest name. An instant bond was formed and I know that's hard for a lot of people to understand. But Jake liked to cuddle with stuffed animals, and he liked to sit on my lap while I did homework. He was a pet and he was a great one.

Gah, look how small baby Jake was.

Once Jake got bigger, my dad, The Engineer, built him a 6ft tree to live on. He had MBD and his bones were fragile, though they healed up very nicely. Jake's tree had a ramp, but he loved to jump off the top anyways.

Jake was quite famous in his time. He starred in a small (student) indie film where he played a giant lizard. He was featured in a calendar for his glorious FancyPants™. Jake has been painted and drawn by many talented artists. He was even a guest star in our winning Green Mountain Energy video.

I'm not sure what the point of this post was suppose to be, because even now, just nearing the end of it makes me sad. I guess it was just to say:

There was a Chinese Water Dragon named Uncle Jake. He was a great companion and a famous movie star. When he was excited, he could run on two legs. When he took baths, he swam like an alligator. He loved the ladies and anything shiny. His favorite past-time was sitting. He ate flowers, even if they were silk. He lived 10 wonderful years and he will be missed very much.

My life wont be the same without him.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Href says What?

When I was in high school I decided I wanted to be a programmer. I loved coding and thought I had found the holy grail of careers. In college, the creative part of my brain starting calling out for more attention. Finding myself unchallenged and bored in my programming classes, I took on an Advanced Game Programming class to see how I would like it. From there, I ended up in animation, motion graphics, and finally, producing my own projects.

My programming background has always helped me to excel at my job in one way or another. It allows me to quickly pick up new languages, software packages, problem solve, and create tools to aide in the creative process. I find it very satisfying to be able to switch back and forth between the technical and creative, and so I frequently do this in my personal projects as well.

One of my latest endeavors has been working in html, and that is the driving force behind this post. I just wanted to share the latest website that I have built. I do not have a history in html but I am constantly trying to learn new things in this ever expanding technological frontier. This site was built from scratch for the company my husband works for:

(click the image to visit the actual website)

I have not yet worked on their sister site, DMCA Floors, but it is definitely on the to-do list. Hit me with some feedback, if you are so inclined.

(Logo provided by Shell of As You Do.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Resume Writing Tips

by someone who just sorted through over 200 potential candidates

Resumes are all about qualifications and efficient use of space. Represent yourself as the professional person of skill that you are. If you don't have an extensive work history, then focus on the pertinent skill sets you have built outside of work. These do not include random hobbies. For example, if you are applying for a job as an Administrative Assistant, it is not important to highlight Jewelry Maker at the top of your resume.

If you don't have much to say, don't insult yourself and your potential employer by trying to fluff your experience up to more than what it is (there is something to be said for a clean-slate). This includes line-spacing. It didn't fool your history teacher and it isn't going to fool a potential employee. So, remember that triple spacing your resume to take it from 1 paragraph to 6 pages only does two things: it kills trees, which in turn, kills babies. And if you were a dead baby then you wouldn't need a job, now would you? Something to think about.

Similarly, repetition and over-elaboration is boring. No matter how amazing you were at your last job, keep it concise and to the point. For example: If you were a Pizza Creator at your last job, knowing that you can make both pepperoni and cheese pizza will not going to change the fact that Pizza-Making sucks. You know this, because you are looking for a new job. Don't get mad at me, you know it's true. Here is another example: "I scanned and copied documents using a computer." Using a computer, you say? The only way this sentence needs to end with a clarification is if you scanned and copied documents using black magic bestowed upon you by the great Llama Sorcerer himself.

Avoid vague statements and generalizing. It does not make you look smart. Case and point: "I am proficient at Microsoft Office and most other computer programs" is not confidence inspiring. Neither is the objective statement: "I am looking for a satisfying job in the field for which I am applying at a company where I want to work." If you can't think of something to say, then don't say anything.

The presentation of your resume is almost as important as what it says. If it is not readable, no one is going to care how talented you are. Format your resume to be read in 60 seconds or less. If it cannot be skimmed, it will probably get passed by. In the same regard, fonts are important in that they need to be completely unnoticed. If your font is size 36 and bright pink, they are going to assume that you are 5 years old and a violation of child labor laws to even interview.

Templates are not terrible. If you are not prepared or able to design your template to look professional and eye-catching, then check out a few templates and see if something fits your style. Your resume may end up looking similar to another candidate's, but at least your employer can tell that you cared enough to make your resume presentable. You must, however, examine the template thoroughly to see where you need to insert your information. No one is going to hire "Insert Your Name Here," and nothing says "lack of attention to detail" than missing information on your own resume.

Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are not optional. Keep your contact information up-to-date. If you can't take the time to proof read, why should they read it at all?

If you apply to a job via email and do not bother to write anything in the body, then there is no reason for your resume to stand out in the over 300 emails they will receive that day. However, applying for a job with a fancy signature that includes a quote or a smiley face is a great way to make your resume stand out... in the trash.

Bilingual means TWO languages. If you apply for a job in English and schedule and interview in English, chances are they are going to expect you to speak English. On the flip side, claiming that you are fluent in another language just because you took it in High School is a lie. The person reading your resume took a language class in High School too. Your chance of getting the job is as slim as them finding anything other than a bathroom, library, or discotheque in a foreign country. In other words, no bueno. (Hey look, I'm bilingual!)

An employer will not beg for your information. So, do not write in to say : "I am extremely experienced and have a resume that I know you would love! Let me know if you'd like me to send it over." Do not bother to ask if they are still hiring unless you are going to leave them with your information as a reason to consider you a potential candidate. Do NOT email them just to say that you are either to busy or incompetent to attach your resume. For example: "I am unable to upload a resume via iPad but I can fax it or apply in person. I have experience. Please let me know." is all kinds of stupid.

Finally, even the best of intentions will not get you a job. The most IMPORTANT aspect of getting your resume in front of a potential employer is remembering to ATTACH the document.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Suite Bedroom Set

(what a terrible pun.)

When Richard and I got married, we received a fabulous custom head/foot board from my Uncle as our wedding gift. It was beautiful! He did such a great job with head/foot board, it turned out exactly how we had envisioned.

We hoped that one day we could commission him to finish the rest of our bedroom suite, and I am thrilled to announce that day has arrived! We received the furniture a week ago and it is perfect! He did a fantastic job of matching the new furniture to the head/foot board that we already had, which is no small task! We got everything moved in with the help of our dear friend, Greg, and finished arranging and hanging everything this weekend.

Wide Shot 004

I feel like a serious adult now, having a complete bedroom suite and being able to store away all my clothes in drawers rather than assorted baskets all over the bedroom floor.

Dresser 002

The handles were selected by Richard and I, based on our memory of the color of our headboard. I'm pretty please to see that it turned out well!

Chest of Drawers

I may have furniture, but I am not ready to give up all my baskets just yet...

Wide Shot 003

So there you have it, a real bedroom with real furniture! It feels fantastic to continue working on "moving in" to the new house and getting everything situated.

If you are looking for your own gorgeous custom furniture, I highly recommend checking out Allen's Sawmill in Mineral Wells -- and as you can see from above, I'm not just saying that because he's my uncle. This fellow has some serious talent!

Monday, September 13, 2010

GME Contest Winner Announced

A few weeks ago I wrote in about a video contest that we had entered for the "I AM Green Mountain Energy" contest. You can read all about it here.

Well, today the winner was announced and I am so THRILLED to say... WE WON!

Our video placed 1st in the contest, which means we won a $500 bill credit and a $3000 home energy makeover. Richard and I are very excited! A great BIG thanks goes out to Jason, Brad, Ryan, and Richard! The video wouldn't have happened without you guys-- all your help and hard work is what made it a 1st place winner!

You can see all the winning videos, including ours, on their site here.

It may only say my name beneath the video there, but there is a fantastic team of incredibly talented people behind the scenes. They deserve some serious props. Thanks so much guys!

If you haven't already seen our entry, here it is once more for convenience:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Blast from the Past

Today, my goal is to get the house cleaned up a bit. Usually, I will either turn on some music or put a movie on in the background while I work. Before I started digging through DVDS, I checked out the TV schedule to see if there were any good movies to record. I came across a movie from 1986 with the description: "A man becomes a heroic cartoon rabbit." A man that turns INTO a cartoon rabbit? I'm thinking that this certainly sounds interesting... I must see what it's about.

As soon as the intro screen for the movie starts up, my jaw hits the floor. I had completely forgotten about this movie, but within a minute it all comes flooding back to me.

I must have watched this movie a million times as a kid, because I can hear myself reciting the lines despite my own disbelief. Isn't it funny how nostalgia can hit you from out of nowhere? I feel like a kid all over again, giggling at these ridiculous scenes!

On a side note, I am noticing that many of the 1980's movies I watched as child have a similar theme. A very young child (or rabbit, in this case) suddenly finds himself with an disproportionate set of responsibilities which demands that he/she leave their friends and family behind for the betterment of the world. Yikes! Seems a little heavy, looking back on it now, but I much prefer it to the death-by-sequel approach we seem to have now.

I'm curious, did anyone else watch this movie as a child? It seems the movies that I remember watching -- no one else has seen! Amoungst these are: Rikki Tikki Tavi, The Adventures of Unico, and the above mentioned movie.