Friday, March 31, 2006

the van died friend marc shows up with his van and it dies.

we drive to meet my friend dancho and to get the keys to the new we have keys. we just need to move a bed and a dryer and a room is almost empty. my roommate is gone again...

i'm almost done.

and my phone is still shocked from the spill it took in the gutter earlier...

the final pieces

god, so it's raining and i am doing the final packing and moving that i have been so anxious to do because my anxiety level is through the roof.

i started with the kitchen and that's over, and i got a load to storage. in the interim my phone fell into the stream of rain that was running down the street. crap. it's out of commission and i feel really, really anxious about this.

i am trying to remember the basics: breathe.

my friend marc is on his way with his van. i should just load the car, but here i am again, frozen.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

DCYF Youth Grantee Reception

This evening I attended a San Francisco reception for several organizations that received sizable grants from the city to continue their work.

I know most of their work well: HOMEY, the Center for Young Women's Development, Chinese Progressive Association/People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights, Samoan Community Development Corporation, Chinatown Community Development Center, California Youth Connection, and Communities in Harmony Advocatiing for Learning and Kids (CHALK).

The reception was not a boring, silent, awkward reception.

Held at the Conscious Youth Media Crew's offices on 10th and Mission Streets in San Francisco, it was a full on celebration including "hella food", dj, dancing, representation of skills, and comradery among organizations that are doing similar work, but who barely have the time to spend time with each other because of the work they are doing.

I was really caught up with two performances.

One of the youth emcees was a former student of mine: Gladys. She's amazing. Amazing graphic skills, but the knowledge that spills from her mouth is amazing. Absolutely amazing. She ripped the mic with spoken word.

And another gentleman danced his @$$ off with a dance crew made of youth from Oakland and the Bay View. I am sad to say I don't remember their name, but if you've seen RISE, man...seeing it live was just, well, sick. Just straight dope to see people move their bodies like that. One of the guys was sporting a sweatshirt from one of my former students who passed away last year. I went up to him at the end of the reception and he said she was his best friend, his first friend when he moved to California. Tay, thank you for inspiring this young man to dance. He honors your memory when he dances and he truly is your friend. When I spoke with him I became emotional.

I'm excited to learn more about organizing. The youth organizing movement is really strong in California. Whereas I spent most of my youth delving highly into academics, youth here have a voice and know how to SPEAK ON IT.

I can't wait to marry the brains with my personal conviction and voice. I'm about to experience a growth spurt, methinks.

How you doin'?

I stood at the 27 bus stop in downtown San Francisco, along Market near 4th Street last night about 7:45 pm.

I just lost my phone at a Youth Commission/DCYF meeting prioritizing youth issues and $33 million dollars worth of funding available to SF CBOs.

I was tired from having to walk so much with this shingles thing. 5 blocks tires me out now and that's rather limiting.

Some older German gentlemen tourists in suits were having a conversation and one of our youth aggressively and drunkenly swaggered after them yelling,
"Eh, yo! This is America! Speak American!"

He was a wigger, tall and lanky, cap cocked to the side, and spilling ignorance with every move he made and I soooooooo mentally apologized to my German brethren for his lack of couth. He needed some of the programs we had just discussed at this meeting. I know there is potential in there, but it wasn't exactly shining in that moment. He might grow up to be a nanotechnologist of some sort and repair nerve damage for Lou Gehrig's disease someday.

To my left I noticed the stench of alcohol. I stood my ground, enveloping myself in a bubble of protection because my left leg was in pain from standing and I knew the bus ride to my office would be longer than I wanted it to be. Just a few more minutes. I knew this because there was a crowd formed for the 27 Bryant bus headed west.

The alcohol stench told me, "You're a beautiful woman."

My peripheral vision told me, "Oh, Christ."

From my periphery I saw a light-skinned, mulatto brother with wavy blonde hair pulled back into a short pony tail and small, icy blue eyes. He was a big boy, sporting a full length puff coat. His snaky swagger and stench of alcohol reminded me of my Mission Street boyfriends. And now, apparently, I attract Market Street boyfriends.

I said, "Thank you."

He asked me my name and I icily replied, "Erika."

He asked me if he could contact me so we could have coffee or tea so he could get to know me better. I told him the likelihood was no.

He then asked me where I was from and I said my parents are from Puerto Rico and he managed to botch up some verb ("specificating") feigning interest in my heritage when I grilled him on some geography when he said he was into Puerto Rico and Costa Rica. He also dropped the b-bomb trying to gain my confidence. He used the term "baby".

That's when I got uppity.

I told him I wasn't looking for a boyfriend, and that he was too young for me. I told him I am an educator and don't have time to educate a partner in my life when it comes to verb tenses and mysogeny. He asked me why I didn't want to get to know him,or have time to educate him, because it might me worth my while and I just shyed away from calling him an ignorant f--- right as the bus pulled up.

As I hobbled to the bus, he told me, "Just know you ain't lookin' for no white boy."
And I was like, "Whatever, @$$ How about pulling up your pants somewhere else than in my space" in my head.

A friendly looking Indie boy who witnessed the whole thing told me in Latino-English that I should have said we were friends. I thanked him and told him I didn't want to drag anyone into it.

It was nice to know that I had a pierced, comic book, Indie boy caballero watching this whole thing go down.

Lesson learned? Pretend random guy is your friend when ignorant @$$ tries to talk to you and then gets all defensive when he's rejected the 3rd, 4th, and 5th time.

Words from Yogi Bhajan Calendar Today:

Between man and God, communication is a personal vendetta. It will be decided at the very moment. If you want to talk to God in public, the acceptable way is to speak through music.

(For the record, I don't quite get it, but I plan on continuing humming and whistling where I deem it appropriate.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Violin Scratchin'

Because of my homelessness and shingles, I haven't played my violin much, 'cept for in spurts here and there.

I am practicing a piece called "Hundreds" and "Thousands" and I am challenged by these things called "eighth notes". (The spelling even strikes me as strange.)

I am playing in 4/4 time, which means each quarter note gets a toe-tap to the measure (each section of the bar encased in a vertical line). Eighth notes are counted as the beat and the "and" afterwards, so in this measure of music you see here, I would play "F and G and A and B", all in succession. No stopping. The ties mean no stopping, and this measure of music would have me start with two fingers on the D string, then three and then an open A string and then 1 finger on the A string. All in 2-and time.

I seem to jump the gun when I put the metronome to 40 beats per minute, but can't seem to catch up when I put it to 50. And I want to play with feeling. Right now I feel I am playing mechanically, perhaps whimsically at times.

I fantasize about fiddling with some Ol' time band, and doing a salsa step with a charanga descarga, and finally playing the 'Powdered Milk Biscuit" theme song from A Prairie Home Companion down the aisle as my hubby and I walk back down the aisle after saying, "I do."

This will happen. My next lesson will be lesson number 4.

I cannot wait for my fingers to become nimble, create that tremolo sound and quickly switch from 3rd finger, 2nd string to first finger, 4th string and the open 3rd string as easily as I read.

For now I read

But the pause
is getting
a little quicker

It's definitely a literacy-building exercise.

Until tomorrow's fabulous rehearsal.

Buena cera.

DJ Project, Podcasting. Uthtv

Meet our media makers, they're 10 - 24.

Let's realize that our young colleagues have grown up in an age with all manner of media availble to them. Mobile phones, TiVo, Internet, Cable, Video Cameras, Digital Cameras, Video Games, and iPods are technologies that are familiar.

Musically, culturally, and politically they have never known a time without hip-hop or electronica.

Last night at the Zeum I attended a Net2squared event introducing podcasting and youth media.

Apple, The DJ Project, and Compumentor represented. HARD.

The presenters were mainly young and men of color.

The audience was probably mostly 30+, white, and male. A few digi-girls were present. And a lot of folks in youth work who wanted to get a gist of what these kids were doing so they could offer it.

Frankly, that's why I was there. I wanted to see how feasible it is to create a podcast for the young women I work with.

Seems pretty doable. Everything from Creative Commons to Flashkit seems to offer sound clips that you don't have to pay for. If you have a mic and something to say or sing, you have content.

We were introduced to some really simple podcasting tools:

  • Odeo allows one to actually RECORD and publish your podcast in the browser. Pretty sweet. It's cross platform compatible.
  • Ipodder is another one I came across.

The publishing of one's material seems SUPERaccessible, which is great. Directories of podcasts seem to be everywhere, just check out the Itunes store.

I will be taking a class this weekend.

New Moon/Solar Eclipse

They cheered in many parts of the world as the Moon intercepted the light of the Sun from view of the Earth. Eclipses are amazing phenomena.

And so we celebrate with a bit of Horoscope Lore for the day.

I particularly like mine:

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I think, centuries ago, people thought if they had two hands they could do anything. Now we tend to think only artists are creative. Only singers should sing. In truth, you feel great when you express your creativity. That's because you're a verb, not a noun.

Yogi Bhajan Everyday Today:

By listening you get 100% understanding. By listening you comfort another person. By listening you develop mutual understanding with another person. Listen and you will develop intuition.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Meet Mr. WRKI, John Abraham

When I was 16 I never posted a man-poster in my room, ever. I thought posters of Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, or the Coreys was stupid. Magazines on my wall? How was this imagery fulfilling? Idolatry, I say! Idolatry! And what an empty existance worshipping such poor imagery and writing that could be found in Tiger Beat and other such nonsense!

But then on Monday, March 21 my perspective changed. The vernal equinox put me among the plebians.

(This is so 16-years-old.) I never, ever have been "star-struck," but, man, last Monday night I actually gasped when I saw this sensitive, Gandhi-following character take the screen. I swooned when he feigned playing the flute. It's the glasses, I tell you! He's John Abraham, half Iranian and half-Catholic (what the hell does that mean?) and all manner of beautiful as protagonist Narayan in Water. I think he looks way too "beautiful" and "cool" in other pics, which would take him off the wrki list, but I would so marry Narayan.

It's immature. It's so ridiculous to be at all moved by a two-dimensional figure. In all my 33 years I have never swooned like this. So there we have it. I guess I, too, am subject to human emotion. I guess that answers whether or not I have Vulcan in my blood....


Hey You

I walked (hobbled) by two syringes today walking into the office. Both still had needles attached.

And today I came in to the office, feeling sore and tired from this shingles virus. But then Pink Floyd came on.

Specifically Hey You and I thought about the line from Comfortably Numb regarding the "pin prick".

The narcotic of music takes the edge, the anxiety off the current situation at work and with my housing. And I can forget that there are two needles outside on the sidewalk on a rainy day that have probably nothing to do with someone's need for insulin and more likely have more to do with someone's need to insulate themselves from pain.

Thank you, Floyd.

From my Yogi tea tag today:
"Recognize that you are the truth."

Monday, March 27, 2006

3 limbs = 75% up and running, er, hobbling

The Fabulous Michelle, My Wifey


the last week has not been ideal. but we've come away with some epiphanies.

like: no matter how bad you think things are, there is always the chance they can slip into worse or get miraculously better.

i did, in fact, come down with shingles. searing pain down the left leg, a weird rash that follows the ganglia from the base of my spine down my left leg, and the inability to move without wanting a hacksaw to remove the limb that was causing me said pain.

today i am in my office. i am hobbling rather well and thanks to a miracle named "vicadin," i have slept peacefully for the last 3 nights.

i thought i would abandon the blog thing, because things, from erika's perspective, had gotten to the point where i hoped i would be involved in some freak accident and be in a coma for 3 months and wake up refreshed and with a new lease on life and all would be well.

the accident didn't happen. instead the last week featured:

  • i was introduced to the gorgeous, 1972, saggitarian, john abraham in water.
  • lots of rain and hail and tears
  • a lot of pain
  • lots of phone calls for potential places to live
  • lots of help support from friends, especially: fumi******, denise, solomon, ev, alfred, mary ann, houman, my mom, diane, marc, and my wifey michelle

    (fumi needs a whole blog dedicated to her because she's the friggin' bomb. in the last few days she's introduced me to vicadin, decent sleep, friends who helped me move last minute...good times, overall.)

  • lots of sleepovers (because my precarious housing situation is exhausting me)
  • an amazing performance by cesaria evora that got my in-pain, hobbling booty up to bob up and down (and that still was better than the staid-sitting-in-chair move that most of Zellerbach Hall was doing!)
  • getting a storage unit
  • flying my kite at the beach
  • MMMMM family style shanghai dinner with lion's heads and all kinds of yumminess that is not lent sanctioned and i enjoyed every bite
  • re-intro to the book: feeling good. (which won't guarantee that anxiety and depression will disappear, but it definitely is providing some decent tools. while i was holed up this weekend, i read a bit of it. me likeys. it feels non-judgemental of the whole mindset thing.
  • and an apartment that is not a rat infested, crystal meth den.

so there you have it. i am still tired and in pain and rashy from this shingles thing. sleep is, like, essential. and vicadin is nice for that. although i tried vicadin-free sleeping last night. it was okay, but it was not fully restful.

see the pictures of the most beautiful wife a heterosexual woman could ever have: michelle? i met my wifey michelle at burning man in 1999. she's a fellow sagg and part of the saggitarius 3 (myself, michelle, and huy), an amazing food magician, ridiculously intelligent, supportive, loving, sister, patient, creative, beautiful...i could go on and on. houman sent pictures out, so i think i will start lauding how awesome people are because i have a new lease on life, in addition with my new lease. beginning with my wifey, michelle, cause houman sent pictures. tee-hee.

i missed this ol' blog.

and now, a moment from yogi bhajan today:

The flow of life is continuous. Like a heart, it continues beating. And that continuity needs devotion to keep it going. When there is not devotion there is a tremendous amount of fluctuation.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


a searing pain began on sunday morning when i awoke.

i attributed it to period pain. i am a woman and this was an affirmation of this.
pain radiated from my pelvis and downward to the "palm" of my left foot.

am i having a 48-hour stroke?

and some weird rash appeared on my face and legs.

am i reliving the hell of poison oak?

no, according to the blue shield nurse, i am a good candidate for shingles, a neurological disorder that's been sneakily hiding in my neural network since i got chicken pox as a kid.

would any other hidden germies like to come out and play so we can get this latent disease thing over with?

Monday, March 20, 2006


water is a triumph

tonight there was plenty of rain and hail in san francisco.

denise called and invited me to a screening of deepa mehta's water. i tried to get in last night, so perhaps this was a sign that i was meant to see this film.

after some driving difficulty, i arrived at the theater and the screening began.

i was taken on a journey to 1930s india. an 8 year old widow is taken to an ashram after her hair is shorn, her wedding bracelets broken from her wrists, and she is dressed in a white robe.

her youth turns over the ashram, infuses it with her liveliness, questions of tradition, and through her relationships with her peer widows we see glimpses of these women's glory, the effect gandhi is beginning to have on the people, and human nature's nurturing and destructive side.

metha stood in front of the audience and entertained a few questions. she discredited the rumor that the film was banned in india. but she explained that after hindu fundamentalists destroyed the set in 2000 it took her 4 years to reach a place where she could continue the project, and it was completed in sri lanka.

she said she would never make a film called, "air".

water opens in the bay area in april.

a night in tunisia and the vernal equinox

after sitting in traffic for 90 minutes and making the rounds around the castro for a parking spot, i climbed up an incline at 18th and something, about two blocks south of castro. i ran to the castro theater where the line snaked down the street.

all to see water, deepa metha's latest completing her trilogy of fire and earth...
i have been waiting for this film for years. fire and earth both swept me away.

well, i wasn't smart enough to pay my $15 bucks in advance. i was hoping that i'd get into san francisco by 5 pm and buy a ticket, no problem.

the line inched forward and i was hopeful. there are 3,000 seats in the castro theater.
at 6:30 the festival organizers told us it was sold out. i was one of about 20 folks who weren't lucky enough to get in.

dang. i even asked the will call folks and they wouldn't release a ticket to me.

no hearing the director for me. no seeing the film.

i'll have to stop by one of the indian music/movie stores and see if it's available.

this freed my evening up to have dinner with mr. solomon. we pakwaned and i roped him into going to a jazz tribute to phil ellswood (?) that my violin instructor invited me to earlier in the afternoon.

we arrived and i didn't know it would be like a memoriam. the hall was full. lots of folks of varying ages listening to some greats on stage play in memoriam of this man.
i caught my teacher in the corner of the room and awaited her to take the stage.

we got birds eye view seats just stage right. above the piano, above the saxophonists, and above the drummer and trumpet and trombone.

good-bye pork pie hat.

a night in tunisia.

i may have missed my instructor, but a night in tunisia is the first jazz tune i came to know by name from its melody. in all of its inceptions i have loved this song.

and this combo played it spontaneously. they hadn't reheased it. the upright bass player began playing the running line and then the drummer joined in with his brushes and the horn section took turns soloing and coming together.

i was in bliss, kneeling on my chair, looking over the balcony, taken in by the finger techniques of the bass player and the saxophonists keying their horns. the flash of brass when the light struck my eyes.

all of these cats were my dad's age and i love love love love love love love
that music removes age from people.

men tottered on stage in their suits or slacks or jeans
peppered hair
no hair
wrinkles framing their eyes
glasses framing their eyes

one woman sax player frosted her hair, wore glasses

and they rocked
they rocked and everyone in the audience was taken in.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

generation debt: why now is a terrible time to be young

i'm twisting my hair and listening to upfront on kalw and an author is speaking about how 18-34 year olds are generally stuck behind a wall of debt in a world that offers more things to by and less options to support our progress and prosperity.

we have more student debt (mines at 34.250k).
we have more credit card debt. (i don't have any).
we have less job security.
we have less benefits.

and we have aspirations of prosperity.

crazy, that.

wow. someone's writing my anxiety. i feel affirmed. yay. =)

house hunt continues and thank you n. and youth speaks

gorgeous day.

early day.

my eyes are still tired from dancing last night, but my body is joyful for having pounded the floor with my feet and conjuring the spirit of joy and sweat with my arms. i stood at the edge of the dance floor, by the patio and so as i danced i was refreshed by a consistent breeze.

this morning i barely woke at 8 am for my shower to make my 9 am apartment appointment.
i wove through Oakland's geniusly labeled streets where numbered avenues and streets intersect.

my dyslexia transposed the address and once i figured it out, i was 12 minutes late for my appointment.

up and down a hill, i found the creme unit with the lemon tree out front. and i climbed a stair to find Mo and his son, y a HUGE dog in their flat. y le pregunto after seeing the cuban flag up, "Son cubanos?"

Reponse? "No, boricua."

Dang. I love meeting my people randomly.

His son was pale and wide-eyed. His hair was straight, dirty blonde. So small, about 18 months and he tottered as he walked. Walking was a skill he recently mastered. His dad went to get something from the car and I extended my hand to his son. He grabbed my hand and we walked to the back to see...


The layout of this studio is perfect. Bathroom to the right -- with a clawfoot tub. To the left, a high ceilinged living room with an office inset, or where I saw my bedroom with a closet. The kitchen was a step upward with a gas stove and plenty of clean cabinet space.

And the sunlight was gorgeous.


I shook hands and PRAYED I get this place.

Then I headed to MaryAnn's for my appointment. After that I got a call from Neils. We're on for lunch and I am off to see more places.

Man, what $650 buys one in Oakland is completely dependent upon...well, it seems random. One block difference can mean a lovely little spot or a neglected spot. It can mean the difference between just a shower stall or just a tub. It can mean that the last tenants left cat litter in their haste to leave. And it can also mean that the linger of smoke rises from the carpet that needs to be replaced.

But that's in the fairly safe downtown neighborhood.

The apartment I loved is above the hood because it's at the top of a hill. The complex seems quiet, but I wonder what it's like at night, what sounds one hears. I'm curious.

The day was GLORIOUS.

Afterward back to Berkeley. I was to meet Mr. N at his house and then we would grab lunch from there. He bought us apples and we walked to a great bakery/deli on University. Excellent breads, LOVELY salad and sandwich choices. Yay. Dutch treat.

And we walked and chatted. He's philosophical and I wished I had my kite with me.

The afternoon lazily passed as we just talked and talked and talked.

We enjoyed a little Gewirtraminner. I enjoyed the view of the city from his rooftop.
Life, my friends, is good.

At 6 I bid him adieu, but not before learning he's training for the Ironman in September and is considering an internship in NYC for the summer. Neato.

The traffic sucked, but I imagined myself inside the SF opera house being in the slam. With that faith, I braved traffic. I found a parking spot by the public library, and I walked toward the theater.

Like an angel, a director from the Center for Young Women's Development was on the phone, talking about having an extra ticket.


I said hello and she offered it to me.


And I went upstairs and I found an aisle seat.


And I was filled with words from some of the Bay Area's most talented young people.

The material was smart and funny and jarring and amazing.

I arrived almost an hour late and I left after 11 pm.

I kissed hello to my Youth Speaks friends and I bought my AfroPuff Girls t-shirt.
Aya de Leon created them. Friggin' awesome.

And I was inspired to write and felt stunted to express myself.

I think that's due to the collective effect of lack of sleep.

Tonight I sleep. Tonight I commit to 8 hours sleep.

But I am satisfied.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

the apartment hunt, tori's st. patty's day dinner, and the cafe

apartment hunting is something i have never done in my 33 years on this planet. i have always lived under the auspices of other's living arrangements, save for my single with a bathroom in college.

i have to say that the process is time consuming, tiring, and interesting all at the same time. with all that technology offers, there is still no substitute for actually going around, casing potential spots, ringing the building managers, and then meeting them face to face.

building managers seem to be code for interesting character. there was the really sweet, british sounding woman who made an appointment with me but was never there. there was the disgruntled 30-something guy who didn't even show me the space. there was the yellow-toothed guy who grunted the available apartment numbers at me.

good times.

tomorrow morning the couple sounds interesting. sweet folks. 9 am.

after driving about east oakland, downtown oakland, and lake merritt region, i went to alameda, saw signs and called.

i spoke briefly with my father and then headed to the alameda beach.

my violin was in my car and i wanted to introduce her to the water.

my g string is just WAY the hell off. plucking it hurts my ears. i tried fine tuning the strings, but my intervals are off. *grumble*

so i practice reading and finger placements.

the sun was beginning its descent behind the hills on the peninsula.

i played a bit of the more challenging exercise sandy has given me. the note reading is becoming easier. my foot-tapping of the 8th notes is not accurate, but it's coming along.

what i enjoy is that i don't feel impatient with myself in this pursuit. i want to improve and i am satisfied with my progress thus far. i don't know if i can name any other part of my life where i allow myself any slack for not knowing. i'm rather impatient with myself.

after that i spoke briefly with michelle. she's having a potluck on sunday. i may stop by. i found out Deepa Mehta's Water is playing at the Castro theater. I have been waiting years for this film. At least since I saw Earth. I first became aware of her work in 97? 98? Fire enthralled me.

But anywho...I felt numb. No settlement on house and work feels strange and I am floating in this forward motion, but not feeling that I know to what end. I remember that Tori is having a St. Patty's Day party. Yeah. Let me call her...

I wanted to be with friends, but not really. I wanted to be a stranger in a familiar place.

So I called Tori, despite my phone having 1 bar of juice left. I got her address, asked what to bring, and voila! down the 880 I drove to cross the 84 to go to Palo Alto. Corned Beef and Cabbage and an intimate gathering of friends. I brough Irish Soda Bread. (is that redundant?)

While the Beef cooked in a large pot filled with carrots and potatoes, I gave hugs all around, met Tori's ADORABLE bear of a dog named Samson, and cradled a cup of tea for the evening.

When the food was served, a hush came over the room of about 8 of us. We were noshing and noshing hard. The beef was tender, the cabbage and carrots and potatoes were a lovely, steaming collage of vegetables without being overcooked. My tummy was SUPERhappy.

(tired...long story short)

- We jammed to some old school rap with Fat Boys and the track "Sally, That Girl"
- I began to drive home, but felt lonely for a dance club, and so I took myself to the Cafe for 40 minutes
- Danced, though confined by my cords
- Drove home.

Yay Friday. Now for sleep.

Friday, March 17, 2006

pre-st. paddy's stuff.

happy st. patty's day. erin go braugh. the patron saint of ireland who mythically drove out the snakes, and some say this is akin to him driving out the goddess-based religions of the region.

i dunno. i wasn't there.

yesterday was a whirlwind! i was up til 3 on wednesday, so i didn't get started until, like, 10 am. i did a stiff thursday set of yoga, and pondered what to wear.

i had audience at city hall to learn about discretionary funds from the city for violence prevention and with the craigslist foundation as part of a focus group surrounding their non-profit bootcamp held in the fall. i felt both of these were opportunities to interface with peers in the community.

i had a bummer of a staff meeting yesterday where i asked the question, "if a million dollars came in the door on march 29th, what would happen?" and i was met with the response that all the changes that have been made would remain. if finances is the main point and that would resolve our financial challenge, i don't quite understand that logic. i'm obviously not privvy to certain information so i am going to continue to:
  • concentrate on making web site material relevant,
  • uploading the work of my students from the past,
  • documenting practices, and
  • advocating for funding streams that have not been persued.

  • i was energized by the city hall audience with Supervisor Fiona Ma, however. again, met with peers in the social benefit work. apparently we were impressive because of our young women's presence.

    i guess i take for granted that our young women can speak for themselves. i suppose that's not the general experience of most people with teenaged women.

    after that meeting, i was psyched to make a connection with an internship organization that supplements stipiends for placement of youth in organization. woo! collaboration-o-rama! i'm looking forward to how that moves forward!

    after a brief touchback to the office i headed off the the craigslist thing in the rain.

    buckets, people. buckets.

    downtown was a snarl of trolley buses, commuters exiting the city, and cabs. while navigating for a decent parking spot (it was after 6 pm, after all!) i had an interesting conversation with my executive director. she wants to be cautious about how we position our organization in public. i agreed. there was a palpable tension that was never named. i pledged my commitment to resolving our organization's challenges by being present in the community and bringing knowledge about these resources back to the office. and i am not sure why that's being met with resistance. hrm.

    so off to the focus group and as i walk in i hear the voice of a colleague who is on the board of streetside stories. cool to hear his voice and to join a room full of folks who are my peers.
    we jammed, we gave opinions. we ate pizza. and i found the dialog stimulating, not the boring, "does the blue background or yellow background work for this logo?" a mini-networking session that allowed for frank discussion around our impressions of the craigslist foundation..

    after that i gave my colleague, jason, a ride home. he lives close to the office and i wanted to practice my violin. on my way to the office i got a call from lara who's boyfriend was playing at biscuit and blues. dude. i'm down. i've MISSED that girl!

    i said i needed to practice first, though.

    so i went to the office and i practiced a bit. the latest piece of music sandy gave me is super challenging and my ear is unhappy because my strings are out of tune. i am practicing the fingering of the pieces, but i would like to hear the melody, use that to help me measure my success.

    i find it strange to move between the f (first finger on e, the highest pitched string) to an octave lower, f, (second finger on d, the second lowest pitched string.). following the scale is fine, but i am stumbling with the abrupt transition. especially on the 8th notes. that's a quick change!

    so i shall ask sandy on monday her suggestions for that. the metronome is a help, but i know that i am still looking at notes and doing a mental count along the staff to figure out...oh...wait...1,2,3 lines equals b. like i am learning how to read.

    well, i am learning to read.

    Thursday, March 16, 2006


    This is my inspiration for a new organization serving young women from
    middle school - onward. The acronym came to me last night as a working
    model and the ideas came to me on the drive home from the office after
    practicing my (very out of tune) violin for a bit. (I can't wait until she teaches me how to do it. Last time I tried myself I ended up breaking a string. Whoops!)

    I'd love feedback.



    (Originally Real Experiences Can Leave An Indelible Mark - from a
    survivor standpoint)

    The acronym is way not an organization name, but I like the idea of
    RECLAIMING. Things have been taken and repackaged from women
    throughout written history when men controlled the means of

    In the 21st century women not only are story makers, but also scribes,
    beginning to include their voice and SLOWLY beginning to DIRECTLY
    affect their destinies.

    Reclaim can be an organization that provides direct service to young
    women, and partner with organizations to support them from first
    contact with Reclaim onward.

    Programming will allow participants to find their voice, collaborate
    with other young women, develop leadership curriculum/media for
    distribution beyond the walls and geography of the agency, and sustain
    itself through partnerships and developing and successfully
    implementing distribution of the media created within the programs.

    Reclaim will develop leaders in its core programs that will support young women
    through SUSTAINED contact. Graduates from our core programs will allow
    young women to become ambassadors for the agency and, in turn, expand
    our reach beyond the walls of the agency into the community DIRECTLY
    effecting the community for the better.

    Reclaim will advocate for the evolution of the individual, the
    collective participant and staff body. Reclaim will not only develop
    programs for its participants, but will offer workshops to agencies
    and organizations sharing our model for success and to policy makers
    to inform them on sustainable and successful models of programming
    that supplements our resource-taxed schools and families.

    RECLAIM will model itself on the self-sufficiency of a community through:

    1) Education on Being an Affective Community Agency, Issues informing
    our programming, Media delivery of our message
    2) Community Awareness, Development, and Service
    3) Outreach and Fellowship with Community Serving Agencies
    4) Sustainble Business Model that promotes materials developed by/for
    the women we serve
    5) Develop and maintain successful partnerships with agencies for
    development of larger programs (conferences), and reach to local,
    national, and international governments' and agencies' resources for
    youth (specifically young women) development.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    And the Beat Goes On

    The Ohio Players is apparently akin to Juice Newton according to right now.


    And the Beat Goes On is one of those mellow funk songs that is on the lifetime playlist. I will know my husband because of his certain affinity to a certain critical mass of songs on my lifetime playlist.

    Here's an ensemble with a killer musicality and harmony. The men could right songs, sing 'em and play 'em. Check out the bass line dancing with that guitar...oh and the innuendo of the keys...layer that with the 70s jumpsuit and amazing afros topping and there you go...the best thing to come out of the Buckeye State...The Ohio Players....

    Oh wow! Now "Before I Let It Go" by Maze is on.
    Another smooth classic jam.

    Alright, this is how I want to remember my Ides of March 2006, my students thanking me for helping them with the EWOCC, enjoying dinner with a colleague, and following up on some work surround our campaign to 70s classic jams.

    I'll finish up with some violin practice, too.

    AUGH. I just have been subjected to Billy Ray Cyrus. Nonconsensual!!!!!!

    H Gang - Donald Fagen

    Smooth-voiced, fiction lyricist, and lead vocal for Steely Dan has released a solo single, H Gang. Mr. Donald Fagen is a jazzy-rock old soul and continues writing with an ear of smooth grooves paired with lyrics that illustrate human nature all too perfectly. He paints our flaws with his falsettos and harmonies.

    The lyrics begin with a story of a woman in the criminal justice system and meander into everyday goings-on in work-a-day life.

    Excellent joint from a grand-daddy of rock and roll's jazzier branch.


    Flipping through One Day My Soul Just Opened Up this morning, this quote caught my eye:

    "You are not being tested, you are being fortified!"


    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    full moon and zorastrian fire

    it was a wet tuesday.

    but the rain was sporadic.

    as if the gods and goddesses were fighting over the faucet it would downpour and then stop, allowing for the sky to return to its natural blue state and then moments later it would pour.

    different women coming into my office would either be drenched or chilled, depending on how fate rolled the dice.


    today's adventures consisted of doing more web work, research about the drupal/civic space technologies, and playing a scratchy violin.

    she is out of tune, but i also feel i am over-rosining the bow. my stroke seems off.

    but i did pizzicato practice and that sounded better. i experimented with short strokes along with some charanga just for kicks today. what i lost in being in tune, i gained with with playing loudly and in tempo.

    in my mind, i was on stage with a great salsa/son orquestra. que bien!

    leaving work i ran to catch a #9. buses are not plentiful in the rain. i ran and breathed in heavy, wet, cold air.
    spikes stuck into my lungs from the cold. it was FAR from comfortable. but i made the bus. and that's step one.

    i was about an hour late to meet the berkeley crew. we assembled at houman's initiative for the pre-no rooz log jumping.

    i've been looking forward to this for the past year. michelle, houman and i had a non-sleepover sleepover at this event.
    we discovered the "poochie" and marveled at the three little fires we lept over.

    three little fires to cleanse ones soul. to bring one strength.

    tonight was a full moon, and after the final bout of sheets pouring from the sky, the clear sky revealed a glowing, slightly blue pearl.

    it shone over a mass of people in celebration mode.

    and we stood among them, our makeshift family of friends, not having much to bind us in the way of genetics, but after all of us lept over the our pallor and getting our strength (i think that's the rough translation of the farsi) we group hugged. we chanted a premature "Happy New Year" but the laughter and the body warmth there was pure comradery. total goodness.

    and to celebrate, we nixed the Zachary's idea for the traditional post-Persian celebratory Vietnamese meal...I'll let Houman explain that one.

    dinner conversation went from Tom Tom to apples wrapped in foil.

    goodness! good times!

    welcome anita to the circle of friends! hope you didn't get home too late!

    a mi gente

    pues, in the beginning
    there was something
    and that became something more
    something different
    perhaps became a few things
    and a few things more
    and few things different

    and that process continued
    until it populated a certain amount of space
    and then something decided to take time

    and then something became someone
    and someone recorded it

    and it became Important

    pero, ahora things are different
    something more has become even more
    a few things have become
    MANY more things
    and there are MANY more takes on it

    and now there are LOTS of things that are Important
    depending on the someones you talk to
    and the time it takes to find out about those things

    sometimes it's hard to sort out what's Important

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    my purpose

    today began very badly.

    i woke up trembling, traumatized by nightmares and lack of sleep. last night was not the easiest of nights. i was brought back to a 9 year old girl trembling in a corner, reticent of june street in endicott. the first of my experiences with fear i've unlocked over the last couple of weeks.

    the sun was out, though.

    i showered and a spider came down out of nowhere.

    i hate mornings like that.

    spiders should come announced, at least give one 3 feet notice that they're around, not drop in while your back it turned to wash off the soap.

    i stumbled through some minor poses of yoga and geared up to sleep at fumi's, violin case included.

    i arrived, apologized to a colleague that i couldn't make our 10 am meeting because i was out of sorts and stared at my terminal screen as i tried to ingest emails. i responded to some steering committee stuff. i was thanked for remembering a birthday and was told that my hugs are something to look forward to.

    that was a warm fuzzy.

    my brain was still out of sorts. i was on edge, making tea. i had a moment with my ED to discuss Thursday's rather important meeting and included my thoughts about how such discussions should be conducted.

    then i made headway with the girlhealth website, sorting archived pages and beginning with the about the authors section.

    i'm sorting the topics into respective sections so dreamweaver doesn't bomb every time i make a change to a site template. the design is circa 1999. we know it needs an upgrade.

    i stepped into a coworkers classroom and reflected on why girlsource exists and why her specific program exists. that was a deep reflection and conversation.

    afterward i was accosted (and happily so) by two of my girls from the summer. i squealed with delight when i saw them and hugged them tightly. i ran to our former classroom and caught up with them. ray of sunshine.

    after that i showed up 45 minutes late to a fundraiser organizational meeting and injected the need to be part of the programming process if they wanted more connection with the young women. it's so interesting how power dynamics can come into play, however unintentionally. everyone's a little bit agist, i suppose.

    after that meeting, i went to my desk, exhausted. one of my board members noticed and so did my coworker. i relayed that i haven't really been sleeping comfortably. been on edge. felt unsafe.

    they offered their condolences.

    and i went to pluck my violin. i experimented bowing with my left hand and fingering with my right.

    awkward. totally awkward.

    i ignored the metronome, practicing fingering exercises for the a and d strings. i'm getting a little better with my pauses between notes, without marking up my music with cheats.

    pizzicato felt more fun than the bowing, itself. my strings are out of tune, so i am just practicing the finger placements.

    e string is high-pitched.

    i have been imagining playing along with every piece of music i hear. and thinking about how amazing it will be to jam to jazz and to hear her echo among the hills as i play some fabulous melodic euro-classical piece. i can't wait to experiment with more arabic and aggressive fiddling of blue grass.

    my violin, mi nina, mi bella, mi cancion.

    she is my voice where i feel i have none.

    yogi bhajan today

    the basis of all behavior is what you eat and how much you eat because food stimulates the glandular system and all the glands are controlled by the pituitary, the master gland.

    it's too early for these tomatoes. they are red, but bitter. the flesh doesn't burst in my mouth when my teeth strike them. no slippery seeds swim to the back to my throat.

    this morning on the bus were two women, spreading the f word around like grass seed on a northeastern lawn in the early spring. both had long hair. both had loud cackles as they moved toward the back of the bus. a cloud of smoke trailed behind them. evil cackles about that "b" echoed down the bus to me in dolby stereo.

    the morning is clear. rain will appear later.

    will i dance? or just crumple exhausted tonight?

    y a cual orisha debo rezar? cual es mi santo ahora en este momento?

    As per request

    I am publishing the following at the request of anonymous:

    you would be on much better
    legal ground to publish a formal apology. I think it should say something

    "I would like to formally apologize to those whose privacy I invaded through
    my writings in this blog."

    colbert is married.

    stephen colbert is married. he was interviewed on city arts and lectures in january and it broadcast today on kalw.

    i also saw streams of water pouring down oakland streets.

    i also heard my friend's voice sound cross and impatient as i freaked out about finding a home before possibly losing my job and figuring out my deposit.

    i saw men deluged, unprepared for the weather, clothes clinging to what must have become clammy skin later.

    i became lost along the slopes of the hills.

    i found peace in a tea house. not true peace. but i didn't feel i had to run there.
    my hands were washed by agua de florida. i shared a tea pot of chai.

    warmth slipped down my throat and to my hands as i cupped the cup.

    i felt alone, despite a fabulous conversation with a boricua finishing her masters in public administration.

    my friend played coltrane.

    he let me nap on his floor as he listened to the finale of the celtics game.

    i drove him to his evening practice.

    i drove myself mad in search of an evening activity.

    i bought a ticket to matchpoint.

    i sat in the laundromat across the way until the theater opened.

    i made friends with a little girl, speaking to her in english and spanish.
    she rolled her glitter lipstick across the folding tables of the laundromat.
    then she stood in front of me. i was putting appointments and deadlines in my calendar. i shook her hand and introduced myself as erika. her voice was low, but friendly. her smile betrayed her shyness.

    i addressed her in english and she asked me what i was doing. then we sang the ABC song together. then she drew me two cats, a dog, and a duck on the back of my music.
    i butchered a portrait of her in my journal.

    we spoke of aviones flown to mexico to see her family.

    i was so thankful that this little one made friends with me.

    i showed her my music, explained to her in english and spanish that the music alphabet is different and only has 7 letters. i pointed out the notes and lines of the staff and we read them togehter...a, a, d, d, g, g...

    her mother came over, was pleased. i introduced myself to her. her smile said she was pleased. she kissed me goodbye on the cheek. this is how we address elders as latinos. and i shook her mother's hand goodbye.

    i wanted to tell her how wonderful her daughter is. how smart.

    my tongue was locked in my mouth. my bilingualness was stuck.

    the rain stopped and i crossed the street to cue up for the film.

    Anxiety Attack

    My hands are literally shaking. I've had another anxious day.

    I've missed my yoga for days. I have been tiptoeing and tonight coming home I froze on the back porch when I heard the water running in the kitchen.

    Neurons form associations.

    Strong associations.

    And the trigger for these associations can be random.

    In the last two weeks I have been living with associations to some of the most negative parts of my life and making sure I would never have to confront it.

    Tonight that came to a head.

    Nervously fumbling my phone in my hand I slowly opened the lock and stood in the laundry room.

    I heard breathing. I stood, heart pounding in the corner of my laundry room.

    I spoke with my friend Meryl yesterday about this feeling of anxiety, this feeling in my stomach that will not be ignored.

    A voice spoke to me from behind the curtain asking me what was wrong. My mind flashed back to when I was 7 and then fast forwarded. The shed. The bike. The car. The room. The yacht. Each flash, each face brought on sheer terror.

    I asked to be left alone.

    I said I was scared. The voice stood its ground, demanded an explanation and I could offer none. I only asked to be left alone to return to my room.

    And so I sit here, with my thoughts, raging in my left lobe.

    Anxiety flooding my neural network.

    Being told of amendment rights and legal ramifications.

    But what of my right to feel safe? My right to be clear of these memories and associations? What of my right?

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Hot guy with glasses: Niels. Electrical Engineering Ph. D. Candidate

    Yeap. Yesterday was a day filled with ADVENTURE!

    The weather acted like a screen saver -- one moment the sun shone, then the pellets rained down on rooftops making it sound as if marbles were being spilled on them and then thick raindrops faded in and then cyling through like that throughout the evening.

    My boss just rang on the phone and I just ignored it. It's 10:30 on a Sunday morning. Doesn't she want to go to church or something? Anyway...

    I have Peter Gabriel's Passion on. The trumpets are helping protect me from demons.

    I had a great meeting with Mary Ann and I left our appointment and went straight to the Berkeley's Farmer's Market in search of Sofrito's Arroz y Habichuelas with organic greens. Ever since tehy opened the restaurant I have been missing them at the Farmer's Market, but I continued strolling. The smoothie place had slim pickin's because apparently they expected the rain to be pouring in the morning. Nope.

    Ah, but I spotted a pure white nectar in a bottle. My brain hoped it was coconut.

    I asked the smiling granola chick what it was, "pure, organic thai baby coconut."


    I purchased my beverage and strolled back to my car. I was lucky enough to find a meter spot without a head so I STAYED there, called my friend Meryl and saw how her job fair went. It sounded successful! We laughed about potential future plans and she told me we absolutely did not win the lottery from the numbers we played. I told her it was because we weren't meat packers.

    For an hour I hung in the car like most people might do in their bedroom or living room floor, just letting time and our thoughts flow. I sat in the sunshine. The warmth was on my face and she and I geeked out on NPR. Her theory is that Ira Glass is gay. I suggested he might be a yestrosexual. It doesn't matter, his gf (are they married yet?) is beautiful and I think among the luckiest women in the world. Next to Dr. Drew's wife and John Stewart's wife and Stephen Colbert's wife. We also are considering our next steps. Boston? San Francisco? We're flexible. Where is life taking us? I wonder...

    Our conversation ends and I am RAVENOUS.

    My mind was considering the stand at the farmer's market where the woman makes her rice flour crepes and fills them with southern Indian fabulousness. Aloo...dang, I am not remembering, nor doing it justice. She also has a mixed berry lassi on her menu.

    Hrm. But I had that last time I was at the market.

    The idea for a crepe directed me to the Banh Xeo (sp?) craving. I walked up past Shattuck to the Vietnamese place and shied away from requesting my moon crepe in Vietnamese. I remember when Huy's parents laughed at me when I made a linguistic gaff. There are some cultures where when you mess up it's a shame. We Latins thank you for trying, but I didn't want them to think I was butchering their language.

    Two women behind the counter were rolling imperial rolls. They faced one another, a bowl between them with filling and the table was layed out with the pastry sheets to fill. They spoke to one another and rolled them so deftly. It was beautiful.

    I sat at a table where I could watch as I waited for my food and got into a meditative state. Watching their fingers and remembering when I would do bead work, or now as I learn bow strokes on my violin. It's amazing to get into that beautiful, powerful zone.

    I enjoyed my Moon Crepe over the perusing the Onion. I was stifling my laughter with two stories, one of the Iraqi Gandhi who preached lesser violence and the other of candle vigil goers who were seeking a graceful out after 4+ hours of standing with votives without wanting to disrespect the families of the bereaved. Human nature is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. I think the editorial staff at the Onion does genius work.

    (I am noticing I am a little lazy with the links today. Lo siento.) birthday cakes for Sara and Chris for their respective bday parties that were my mission for the evening. Chris is hard to shop for, I figured vegan chocolate cake? Can't go wrong. Sara is a goddess and I thought a beautiful cake would be lovely. Edible gifts leave good memories and no packaging to damage the environment! I am going that route for the most part this year. LNT mentality I have.

    Then I escaped back into my room when I noticed the roomie was gone. Yay!

    I napped for about an hour and then went on Craigslist to look for housing situations. I am looking for a STUDIO. I can squeeze $650 a month.

    I made a few appointments for today, but I also saw a darling spot that was near the observatory up the hill. No exact address was given, but I Google mapped it and got to driving. Up past Hwy 13 and near Joaquin Miller park. Twists and turns...ah, seemed like paradise.

    But it ended up a goose chase. I started calling my peops with internet and got O on the phone. O? Can you help me find a spot? (Man, I am ALWAYS renting O for his Knight Rider skills. Thank you for indulging me, O.)

    We didn't find it. I was listening to KPOO out of San Francisco and they had a reggae show on. There was an amazing Dub piece with a speech of Coretta Scott King speaking about her journey as a Civil Rights Activist. She started as a music major in college. Crazy.

    I then was on my way...7 pm. Dang...stop by Chris' party first or head into the city?

    And I was feeling tired.

    I needed caffeine. CHOCOLATE! Bittersweet! Then I could get bday cards as well.

    I picked out the cards and walked next door in the hail to get my chocolate on.

    I entered and made eye contact briefly with a slightly swarthy (heh, who uses THAT word anymore?) gent with short, slightly hipster dark hair, black leather jacket, an interesting glass frog pendant, and glasses framing a lovely set of intelligent brown eyes in front of a laptop and notes about him. I noticed math notations on the paper. We exchanged a smile and I walked to the counter and had a debate with myself - spicy hot chocolate or white chocolate dream?

    After a few moments and finding out my barista was from Syracuse and chatting a little bit about that I decided spicy, because I needed to wake up. I also decided to park in this neighborhood in case I wanted to BART in. It was right by Chris' house. Erika was being strategic.

    Since I was in bday party mode, I updid my curly-fro and came up with a beaded, fringed scarf tied in such a way that it served as my blouse. It was gold. I wore a gold bra/bodysuite underneath. I wore a host of golden bracelets and my medallion. I wanted to be golden for these birthdays. I topped these with my black leather jacket because I KNEW I'd freeze otherwise. Atop this I brought my mother's hooded jacket because the weather was just crazy.

    I ordered my drink to go, but they served it in a cup to stay. No worries. The gent's table was empty and I "apologized" as I invaded his space and told him I would let him stay to his work and just write out birthday cards.

    We then started to chat. Niels said he was working on wireless technology and I said, "Cool." He also said it was cool stuff but that he said explaining it would be kind of boring. I said I was a geek, try me.

    So essentially he's working on a project to solve the wireless issue of not being able to penetrate walls.

    I followed the conversation. When he asked what I did I said I was director of technology for a non-profit in San Francisco trying to empower young women, especially surround the use of technology. And I told him most of my friends were engineers of some ilk. I told him I wasn't faking geekdom. He seemed pleased that I followed the science well.

    I thought he looked hawaiian, perhaps hapa, perhaps arabic, perhaps latino, perhaps south asian. Ethnically ambiguous. I love it.

    Lean face, beautiful smile.

    Man, and those glasses. I am a sucker for the glasses. I liken it to the Superman thing. I like them because I wear them. I like them because they can garner a little authority in my book.

    He commented me on my necklace (an Indian medallion I fell in love with at Rainbow grocery that I bought as a birthday present to myself). And I responded in kind to his pendant. I asked him if he made it, if it was made of glass, and he joked that it was supposedly handmade by an artist on Telegraph.

    We spoke about the weather. I picked up on his East Coast vibe. BAM! He was from Maryland, Silver Spring. (I guessed Bethesda. I knew he wasn't a B-more dude.) We spoke about this.

    I was supposed to be writing two birthday cards.

    He bikerides and went to Rice University undergrad. He teaches, but is doing research this semester.

    He asked me about my schooling. I told him Ad major at Syracuse and he said he was thoroughly enjoying a Social Psychology class this semester. Nice.

    And he recommended a book.

    And I wanted to write it down.
    And then the "We should exchange information and hang out or grab coffee."


    This man was BEAUTIFUL.

    I figure he's about 6-7 years my junior. A Beck tune that came on made me think that when he said it came out during his undergrad years and I had no recollection of the tune. It came of Beck's something Vultures album.

    Tee hee.

    I finished the cards. He started tapping on his keyboard. We worked in silence. I drew in my cards and wrote out my messages. I was inspired in Sara's card to draw a tree woman and in Chris' card an illustration of a striped snake coiled about a birthday cake and a little stick figure with a balloon saying, "Happy Birthday to me!" Kinda sinister in that Beetlejuice kinda way. But not harmful. A poke at the scary.

    So I break the silence and apologize that I need to go and he says he's also going into the city later. I said check with 511 before he goes so he can determine whether he'll BART or drive.

    And we make tentative plans for lunch after my doctor's appointment next week.

    Digits are exchanged. When I am typing his name into the phone I ask the origin of his last name. Norweigan.

    I didn't have time to ask the Nordic thing. But I made a note of it.

    That'll be next week's conversation.

    I left, stopped by Chris'. Houman, Michelle, Burt, and OF COURSE Mr. Chris were there. Quick hellos. Chatting about the evening's events and I apologized that I reversed my schedule. The city was going to be crazy, so I figured I'd say hello and Happy Birthday early.

    I also forgot Dieyana's book. Damn.

    Wifey looked hot and scheduled the ice cream cocktail hours. I was going to miss Horchata hour. DANG!

    I then sat in traffic for about an hour through rain, sleet, hail, pause, and then rain again.

    I was scrolling through the dial of amazing salsa and imagining ME playing the violin parts and NRG 92.7 just bouncing to clearly club pap.


    Ah, when was the last time I had one of these?

    Monday night dancing has GOT to happen, though. My body NEEDS it.

    Manana, a GOZAR!!!!!

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    i broke my blog

    dude, i have no idea what i did to my blog, but the right sidebar is just not displaying right.

    any suggestions bloggers?


    I have found another sublime dining experience in Downtown Oakland.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce a comfortable spot with all the bells and whistles (like Luka's) - B's Restaurant.

    499 Ninth Street.

    I was ravenous last night. I had spent my day holed up in my room, Saddam Hussein-stylie. I showered and then held it down in my room until 8 pm. I was HUNGRY and my roommate was playing some horror film really loudly, so I had to GO.

    My original hankering was for Golden Lotus. Vegetarian so I could clean my system. I walked in at 8:50 and the host apologized they were closing early.

    D'oh! No!

    Next was Luka's. Luka's ALWAYS satisfies me...I did a drive-by...and it was ridiculously packed. My stomach would devour itself by the time I got bread and water.

    Cafe Van Kleef?

    I walked up to the doorman and they were no longer serving food.

    It was 9:30 pm on a Friday in downtown Oakland and I wanted a place where I could sit with my thougths, perhaps read, write...a coffeehouse feel with a real meal...and I wandered around in a little part of town where I see outdoor cinema. 9th and Washington...the wives market it down there. And some small shops. Oakland is just beginning to develop it as a neighborhood, but there isn't the critical mass of residents there yet. A few Oakland staples like Le Cheval are down there. I passed by Jesso's Seafood, and I decided not so much, because it was bumpin', social.

    Kittycorner to Jesso's was a place with lage open windows, tea lights on every table, and a beautiful large painting with bold red strokes that struck me as the most intimate view of the inside of a flower...perhaps a zinnia.

    I was in my jeans, my purple plaid fleece and hair scarf and completely unintimidated. I love a beautiful meal.

    With my backpack and raingear jacket I crossed the street, noting Oakland's professionals beginning to populate the little clubby spots. A lot of different faces, but mainly brown faces dressed and pressed.


    I perused the menu from outside. The beet salad and variety of duck offerings and boar poasta struck me. The prices were reasonable and I deserved a treat. Erika wanted dinner, wine, dessert, and some quiet time.

    Nina Simone filled the joint. Beautiful rich, wood with lounge-style tables and chairs with flair and no pretention. Exposed brick wall and the kitchen is the mainstay of the restaurant. I walk in and see the oven where I will learn they bake my feta appetizer.

    My host welcomed me and allowed me to choose my table. I chose one by the window, and sat.

    My choices from the menu were boggling, but my host assisted me. I forewent the vegetables, save for the organic greens with truffle oil served on my boar. My feta appetizer was an amazing little skillet with grilled artisan bread toast, baked garlic, sweet onions, and tart green olives.

    The soup of the day was a warm, rich green nectar topped with handmade potato chips. Served in a stylish squarish white bowl. Amazing.

    (ack. more later. i have my doctor's appointment...) 8:59 am, Sat...

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    dude, someone called me "articulate" yesterday

    ah, the neverending story of the "well-spoken darkie."

    yeah, some people might say i have a chip on my shoulder about the race/inequity thing.

    it's not just a chip. i wear the full-on uniform.

    most of the time i make my observations over tea with friends or blog it to the whole world.

    i used to have an email blast called the "army of e" where i would spout my vitriol and heart to induce catharsis. whoever read it, read it. whoever deleted it, deleted it.

    but at least i got my ideas out there. off my chest and into the ether.

    that's healthier for me than keeping it inside.

    i digress.

    yesterday i got dressed up, all adult-like because i was leaving the womb of the sf bay area and participating in a conference in fairfield, ca.

    great conference, actually. a mini-discussion between grantees and a funder. we got to ask questions about WHAT THEY WANT TO SEE and I realized, "wow! i want to find an organization that has sound management structure. i want to be a funder, recognize social benefit organizations for their expertise in keeping ship-shape, delivering services to their participants, and feel good about how the money is being used."

    and i got to mingle with fellow attendees at the conference.

    there were 24 of us.
    21 of us were white.
    4 of us were below 40.
    16 of us were male.

    i chimed in during the conversation to express my experience in the classroom with best practices for my students and so forth...just speaking first person. i felt engagement with my fellow attendees. it was good.

    later on during snacks and greeting time one of the gentlemen took me aside. he had a kind face. could be an older brother to my dad in age and seemed to be super-knowledgable about the digital divide thing. and he looked down at me (he was taller) and had that palpable pause before he uttered the words with pleasant surprise, "you were so articulate in there!"

    my face held its meet and greet professionalism. i have a firm handshake. (and i hug, to boot!) and i smiled.

    pause. pause.

    it was just a moment, but i could hear him mentally calculating,
    "oh jeez, i didn't mean to say that. i know she's brown, but i meant to say that i really appreciated her thoughts, even though i think it's an anomaly that this woman standing in front of me with the twisted hair and brown skin, broad lips and wide nose would actually use the English language to convey an idea that had nothing to do with drama, corn bread, or hip hop. And I don't even think she gesticulated once while she conveyed her ideas. But she doesn't look like Tiger. I don't quite get her. Yet I find her refreshing and appealing, because she could be just like me, I mean, save for the genetic difference which magically causes me to assume that she's only capable of some stereotype I've ingested from the media and perhaps my peer group."

    "what i meant to say is that i really understood what you were saying in there!"

    I thanked him, shook his hand firmly, that of his colleague's and moved on in the room.

    Now, I know I am a surpising personality. I giggle and squeal with enthusiasm. I break out in dance and song and characters randomly. Heck, I invade personal space with hugs unannounced, as well as have opinions on global, community, and personal matters. But let me say it again. And I am sure I'll say it again and again:

    Brown people, particularly those of the African diaspora, are people. And that being said, I'll make the generality that we can possess intelligence, innovation, decorum, appropriate boundaries, and positive leadership.

    Shocking, I know.

    I have never been involved in a gang, a baby daddy, worn an acrylic nail, ingested ANY illicit drug (nor had the curiousity to), have a gold name plate necklace, or sported any sort of expensive/fashionable footwear associated with basketball.

    I like music from a diverse diaspora, least of which is corporate hip hop or rap. I find the misogeny disconcerting and the booty lifestyle materialistic to the point of nausea. Give me some conscious lyrics and a good beat and we're more than friends.

    I know we need a constant reminder of this, because it's hard to combat all of the prevalent media. Sure, there is the occasional doctor or lawyer thrown in, but most media outlets laud the n---a image that is ridiculous buffonery. And if you think about it, most people of the African diaspora, be they latin, american, or directly connected with the African continent, are NOT images reflective of the phenomenon of the American urban ghetto.

    The Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria would never have thought to bring shiftless negroes to build an empire after sneezing the Tainos to genocide.

    This is my public service announcement for the day.

    Thanks so much!

    Premium blend! (como tu cafe!) afro-euro-american

    what the hail???

    um...there are thick rice sized pellets falling from the sky right now. i can collect snowcones outside if i wanted to. creepy. chilly. weather changes so quickly around here. what happened to that ozone layer thing they've been saying is disappearing?


    snippets of erika's thursday

    there were two deaf dudes standing at the busstop with me at 20th and Broadway in downtown Oakland this evening.

    hip-hop heads to the fullest and i was wondering if ebonics comes out in the inflection of your fingers as you gesture to your homeboys or homegirls.

    as these two young men spoke, i noticed the blurred pronunciation off the tongue that reminded me of so many sketches from comedy that lampooned the deaf kid.

    and here we had two deaf kids.

    actually, young men. and when i made eye contact with them their blurred speech went silent and they continued on in sign. hands moved furiously. i had no idea what they were saying, but i caught from the sly look beginning from my toes and moving upward that it had the be the same type of "holler" one gets from the more vocal dudes.

    wow. i was just ocularly felt up by some deaf dudes on broadway.


    a skunk!

    when i got off the bus this evening, i walked up the hill in my cute aldo open-toed shoes. my feet were uncomfortable. the cute little strap was choking the life from my toes and causing them to swell. t

    two more blocks, eriquita.

    i noticed a lumbering object on all fours crossing the street. I thought, "rat" as I came upon it. Until I was close and saw the fur was much more plentiful than on a rat and that it had the signature black and white marking.

    wow! a skunk!

    i've come across possum and raccoons and the occasional deer in my time in the bay, but this is my first striped skunk being i've come across.

    i wonder if she was an omen on the day?

    ever wince at the touch of your own hands on your skin while you change from clothes into pajamas on a cold evening?

    ever huddle around the space heater so close that your face feels like it's burning, but the side facing away feels like a layer of frost is forming, unless you rotate your body so it gets some radiant heat?

    this evening it's rather chilly in my baby puke yellow room that has become my prison for the last week.

    it's a chosen prison. i'm choosing to ostrich from the roommate because i want nothing to do with him, never to cross paths, never to talk...he is, for all intents and purposes, dead to me.

    it's not a mature move, but it's how i've coped with bad living situations since 2001.

    the bad news

    you can't hide 60% layoffs in a staff of 10 people. it's kinda impossible.

    today as i worked the employment booth at the young women's health conference in san francisco and moved to the east bay via BART...

    oh wait, not via BART because there was a "small fire" that disrupted tunnel service at the embarcadero...

    via bus...

    oh wait, not really via bus because muni was a mess with all of the spill-over from BART. and the bus decided it would stop at 4th street and let everyone off.

    i walked a block to mission street and it was pandemonium.

    beings who had never considered a bus before we now herded in with us bus riff-raff.
    i helped a few yuppies reorient themselves to where they had left their cars by directing them to the right transbay bus.

    poor ac transit liason.

    she was shepherding commuters. they were wide-eyed, lost, and in need of transport.

    we bus veterans simply cued up and got aboard once the door was open.

    these people were filled with questions that any schedule may have provided them with.

    but perhaps one forgets these things when one is out of one's element.

    aya de leon
    she's a black boricua voice for youth in the bay. love her. she rocked her afro-puff girls tshirt today on stage as she recited a poem going out to the large women in the house (HEEEEYYYYY!).

    she also TORE up a piece about how it's safe to dress like a teenaged hootchie at 38.
    i LOVED that piece.

    and she is a youthspeaks instructor. AND she knows my friend Kwesi. She plays cards with him.

    the world is small, mang. really, really small.


    there is something in me that plays with the divine.

    ever since i was a kid i would pay attention to intuition, try to move things telekenetically, and loved movies like escape from witch mountain and carrie.

    i loved going to church for the saint statues and holy grottos with candlelight dancing along the walls, illuminating these corners of the church with power and prayer.

    since college i have expanded the divine beyond the wafer of christ, the talmud, the qu'ran...the big three are cool, but i found, along with environmentalism, a concrete sense of wicca.

    being brown has it advantages when it comes to understanding ritual. at least 2/3 of my ancestral blood marked time and occasions with movement of the earth, planets, and stars. we pounded tools from nature and used them and heathen-knows-what-else to divinate and commemorate.

    i understand rituals. they are powerful for me, whether spontaneous or choreographed via spell books.

    i have never entered a coven, but i have done some candle magick. some might consider it meditation.

    i find that when things are hairy, magick can help me hone in on WHAT I WANT.
    that is no easy task and for me, amazing magick.

    i'm PISSED about injustice right now. i might take on the role of Kali tonight in my dreams and unleash on the objects of my wrath!

    Thursday, March 9, 2006

    centennial post

    why we fight is a sobering film that follows the history of the united states military industrial complex.

    as a country, we currently spend more on military spending than all the members of NATO combined, according to the film.

    3/4 of a trillion dollars is a lot of money to ensure security. the film states that the cost to put on the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers and pentagon was about $500,000.


    i sat enthralled in the same way i did during syriana. the interconnectedness of the corporate sector, government agencies, and military was not taught during my formal or informal education. american history seemed to fade out a little after the korean war during high school.

    and frankly during college i think i focused on niche historical elements of art and linguistics. if i didn't have to study war, i wasn't going to do it. war upset me.

    when the first iraqui war, desert storm was announced (1991) i was doing homework in my boyfriend's room at syracuse university. he was part of the sour sitrus society, our pep band and in the carrier dome supporting alonso mourning and company or something.

    it was then i began to become an npr junkie. and now i am trying to expand the breadth of my media because npr's been slipping on comprehensiveness for my taste. i look to niche newscasts from upfront and try to open my ears to kpfa before i start wincing from the chomskyian doom and gloom that can spew from it.

    i'm not well-schooled in history, but it seems to me that certain elements of the united states have practice corporate imperialism for quite a long time. the muscle of business has a strong say in the offices of our government officials.

    i'm confused. the human nature we're all subject to is so fragile that saying yes to the war business is easy because it provides jobs?

    my naive brain believes we have enough in the world to provide opportunities for all humanity to reach a balance between need and want.

    i'm not a communist. heck, i can't even claim being christian, though i was raised that way. there is a brilliant statement in the new testament that i gleaned from my catholic education that i try to live by, however: love one another.

    go ahead and sigh about the naivete of this sentence. it is proported to have been stated by a man in a dress who hung out with 12 dudes. but try living it for an hour. compassion can go a long way.

    and if it's lived on a local scale, and communities understand it and incorporate it, then it's nearly impossible to harm anyone either directly or indirectly.

    the ripples of destruction are profound. the number of people affected by disaster and disease from day to day is astounding if one can wrap one's head around it.

    i would like to advocate for the equally powerful ripples of creativity. music, education, collaboration, construction...all equally as powerful and can leave a legacy.

    i'm blathering. it's 12:30 am. the bbc gent just reported that.

    Wednesday, March 8, 2006

    99 blogger posts - happy international women's day!

    yay! this is my 99th blogger post.

    wow. if you all think about it, we're all here because of one woman or another. and that's where i am going to start this morning.

    international women's day
    i want to honor you all for acknowledging women. i don't know why it's called international women's day, because women's day sounds more succinct and inclusive to me, but i'll take it.

    women. the curves. the attitude. the fashion. women.the contributions. the aunt. the confusion. the humor. the dedication. the love. women.the challenge. the innovation. the diplomat. the creativity. women.the fieryness. the resourcefulness. the caretaker. the earthshaker. the sister. women.the beauty. the girls. the intelligence. women.the dancer. the tears. women.the shrewd business mind. women.the chef. the storyteller. the mystic. women.the family bearer. the ditch digger. the strength. the river raft guide. women.the astronaut. the chemist. the mother. the justice maker. the world.women.

    i have access to some of the world's most incredible women. and lately it seems my circle has been rocked by some serious challenges. and yet we press forward. this is not to exclude our male allies, because MAN, i find that the dudes are pretty darn awesome in my circle. we have many with honorary ovaries. thanks for acknowledging your yin, gents. we love you for that.

    okay. i'm rushing now, since the roomie is gone and i need to shower and bus this morning.

    chaharshanbeh soori
    it's a week until no rooz celebrations get into high gear. last year we had an unofficial sleepover sleepover, gathered in berkeley, and walked into the midst of families, friends, music, food, and jumped us some logs.

    i am excited to gather up yet again and do my leaping. thanks, houman, for being our contact. i think you can invoice me for the rental.

    it's been over a week since i have physically seen my roommate, the anus card guy. someone called him anus man the other day and i started cracking up. ah, yes. the human spirit has so much to derive humor from.

    yeah, i've been busy. i've been to PA and back. i've housesat for the wifey. and i've made damn sure that i have things to do til later in the evening, in hopes he'll be in his office or bedroom.

    my friend meagan pointed out to me that this is not a healthy way to live.

    i know.

    but in the past 5 years of less-than-ideal living situations i've grown accustomed to being a shadow to work around other people if i don't feel comfortable. i've fallen asleep in the car outside of my houses waiting for roommates to go to sleep or to avoid my landlord's dogs.

    yeah, it's not cool.

    to answer everyone's question: yes, i am still looking for a place to GO TO, but since i am phone banking to make sure my job is still there to allow me to save another 3 months for a deposit on a place, i have to play this game. it's something i am talking to my therapist about, too.


    so if anyone knows of anything that's 500/month, that would be Suh-weet. i am trying to push it to $650/month so i can get a studio that's not in too ghetto or noisy of an area. i need a high tree/people ratio to be sane. and my sensitivity to noise is fairly high. (i know. i am asking this and yet my rent budget puts me in the category of "lucky to find housing not flea-infested" category in the the bay area.

    i'd like to keep my commute to 2 hours via bus one way (including waiting at the busstop times and walking between busstops when the bus just doesn't show up times). it's more harrowing at night coming back home than in the morning.

    keep me in the loop if you know of anything. i'm inspired to move in BY MYSELF so i don't have to deal with roomie issues and focus on myself for awhile, but if you know of cool peops who can risk being blogged if they don't put the bathmat on the floor before they shower, then let me know! =)

    respect the ovaries! that was your first home!

    wubble on, in an ishkabibbly way, my brothers and sisters!

    hope eternal and stuff

    wow! with almost 10 of us on the phones tonight making calls, we raised almost 26 thousand dollars for girlsource, bringing our total fundraising to almost 46 thousand dollars!


    so tonight i feel more hopeful because i am home in my bed a clear 4 hours before i was in bed yesterday.


    today was a good day after i got into the office.

    i spoke with my mom until 4 am my time to get fundraising ideas and collaboration ideas for our organization.

    then i crashed til about 9 am and was really groggy and slow showering and getting ready for work.

    i then stopped by the food mill, got me some bananas and juice and then headed into the office.

    man, my brain was foggy. my mental reaction time was not on point today. a snail's reaction time is better than my reaction time today. but i managed to make some modifications to the web site, strategize on it with a coworker and get psyched to call.

    about 1:30 today i wrote an email to my impact circle letting them know that i was going to be swooped up in a strategic process and would NOT be attending the meeting. we were about to decide the direction we want to go with this year's grantees. dang.

    but i think i picked my battle well.

    i had a brief amount of time where i played a little go tell aunt rody. it helped me destress.

    i stood before our office windows and watched my reflection. i stood in modified first position, aligning my posture. sandi focused on posture in our lesson on monday. alignment is key to letting everything flow naturally.

    i stood, noticed my more relaxed grasp of my bow. i also clasped the body of my instrument with my left hand, so i could play open stringed.

    the d and a strings were already out of tune.

    but i quickly fingered along the a and e strings.

    my nails grow quickly. i need to trim them again already and it's been about 2 weeks since i last cut them.

    back to the office space, adding more to the website and researching how other sites make their appeals and make their presence dynamic.

    (there's something outside of the window climbing outside of my room. it has no form from what i can see, but that's because my room is illuminated and outside is pitch black, so much so that the light of my room reflects back from the windows.

    i'm half-creeped by the sudden scraping against the exterior of the wall, but i also have my protective goddess necklace on my makeshift nightstand.)

    it's fun to be problem solving this way.

    i checked the code and was appalled that we had NO KEYWORDS. No meta tag information whatsoever.

    What the heck? This is a little bit how search engines find us, man. We need to embark on a web strategy.

    But that's after we move past crisis mode.

    Time for sleepies!

    Good night!

    Tuesday, March 7, 2006

    simple gifts

    goodness, the player says this is aaron copeland's piece. not sure if that's correct, but simple gifts is playing right now and i am responding to an email regarding setting theories of change for our next grant year cycle for the tech circle of the full circle fund.


    my walnut of a brain is stretched right now. it's 2 am and i am catching up on correspondence.

    but i remember the impact simple gifts had on me when we performed it with the pride of the orange at syracuse.

    we had it choreographed so that at the pinnacle of the piece the entire band did a push forward, high-stepping. it was spectacular and the piece resounded in the empty carrier dome, where we practiced most of the time.

    the timpani's boom resounded and we moved forward, bringing the promise that the simple gift offered.

    we were the chariot parting stormy clouds and breaking through, on rays of the new born sun.

    finally we in the color guard took off running with ribbons on long poles. they burst through the regiments and formed a rainbow through the band. quite lovely.

    it's quarter after 2 am. my shoulders are feeling that tense-tired.


    oh, and thank you megan, michelle, and o for listening to me earlier. i needed to vent. feeling better. danke schoen.

    well, if you feel whatcha do best...

    our spring fundraising campaign has started, y'all. so i created a blog for GirlSource, where i work with some of san francisco's youth who are amazing. we're looking for fundraising ideas. and i figure these women are my future colleagues, so why not work with them now? i'm kinda 'bout that empowerment thing. so why not enter the blogosphere?

    the girls just ROCKED a presentation at UC Berkeley on SF Girlz and the street violence present in their neighborhoods on saturday. in a multi-media presentation they expressed their concerns, opinions, and solutions, AS WELL as engaged the audience in a dialog about it. the classroom was TOTALLY packed. i was SUPERimpressed as the tech geek girl who worked the laptops, music cues, and projector.

    i'm also working on a women's history month fundraiser...i pulled this graphic together today.... i like the boldness of it, but i need to work with the copy on it and how it relates to the background image. not bad for 30 minutes, though.

    anywho...the weekend has been crazy...basically no sleep from friday to saturday. yesterday was a little less crazy...there was cat medicating to be done, apartment tidying for the michelle and the joe, gem in the ocean to attend with fumi and denise, and then i needed to unwind. i medicated krusty's cat ear and then i settled into the tub for a lush avocado/lemon grass bath bomb.
    wow! it turned the water totally green.

    i ran the water, through the croquet-sized ball in and watched, amazed, as it fizzed into nothingness!

    i then stepped into the water, half-listening to the best of our knowledge and simply enjoying the claw-footed basin that i sat in.

    but let me take it a step further.

    i arrived home from the play, aware the oscars were happening, but really pressed to finish my laundry. a lovely, pleasant rain was falling outside.

    and though i had a kitchen filled with bounty, i had no particular inspiration to cook.

    i did have the desire to go to the Golden Lotus and have their faux ginger fish fillet. they go so far as to give it seaweed skin. it's sublime. and with vegetarian rolls, brown rice and an avocado shake (vegan, mind you!), i knew i would be a happy woman with a happy tummy.

    rain could not shake my bliss.

    neither could other craziness.

    i rationed my dinner so i would have lunch today.

    and there i was, happy in my tub, leaning over the edge so i could enjoy my faux fish and contemplate the two cutest cats in the whold world: krusty and feisty.

    this was pure bliss.