Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fog Crawl

Perhaps 40 minutes ago there was a clear view outside the office window overlooking the tower and the Twin Peaks of San Francisco.

It is now veiled in a light grey fog that is quickly sailing closer to my window...near Florida and 16th.

Traffic is much lighter, which is excellent.

And I am interested in how V is for Vendetta will effect me. I've read and heard reviews. It's 2 for 1 night at the Parkway and Dancho and I are going to catch up with a flick.

During today I felt that veil that's been covering my brain for the last 4-5 days one of those breath films on your tongue. It began solid enough, but is finally yielding to some moisture that is breaking the bonds between the molecules and leaving no trace, save for the slight sting of mint on my tongue.

I drank a lot of aloe vera juice. And I saw a preview of Batman Begins on the recommendation of friend Dana. I enjoyed the preview and am wondering why this film fell of the radar for me when it came out. Was I tuned out? Summer movie media blitzes tend to exhaust me.

Work today consisted of moving our lone PC to a more open space, having a meeting with my supervisor and our organizational consultant about defining my role, implementing an organizational calendar so all eyes know what's going on with staff members, interviewing prospective summer participants, catching up with one of my former students who will be getting married in August, and reviewing a foundation grant that can assist us in upgrading our web stuff.

All in all I am satisfied with how my brain has functioned today. I also bought a lot of vitamin E from Rainbow Grocery to help me soften my scars and found out that My Citibank Thank You Points can be redeemed for student loan rebate checks AND a digital camera, if I so choose.

Sure, Citibank may not be the ethical Credit Union that I also bank with, nor the ING Direct online bank that makes me see small amounts of money accumulate (if all else fails, I have about $300 in CDs (ranging from $2 - 40 dollars) that I can tap into, but it has been my consistent banking home since 2001 and I am in the process of establishing CONSISTENCY because financial institutions like that.


I really have been pre-occupied with an excellent conversation I had with my father and how honest he was with me about his life and his relationship with his father, grandparents, growing up in Harlem, and why he pushed for his kids to grow up in the suburbs. I got to see how human he is and listen to his intentions for his family. I finally heard more detail about my grandfather, including the fact that he was a veteran of Pearl Harbor, and was aboard the Oklahoma (which now resides on the ocean floor). My grandfather survived the attack. My father remembers him as one of the only university-educated Puerto Rican men he ever met, as well as his love for the violin.

Maybe this veil recently has been one of wanting to connect with ancestry.

Quien sabe, verdad?

Oh, and I want to thank Michelle heartily for our email exchange about Long Du. I will do more research on it, because I want to hear what it sounds like.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

a walk about

friday i went to jalena's graduation.

in a young women's school of about 100 seniors, they were awarded 3.5 million dollars worth of scholarships.

not bad, class of '06. not bad at all.

after the graduation at st. mary's cathedral of the assumption, i was washed over with a sense of lonliness. the sun was setting and families were about congratulating their students.

i heard one father say to his daughter's boyfriend,

"so you the n----r? are you? are you the n----r?"

i was embarassed for the boy, the girl, and the father. the boy had come to support his girlfriend. he was wearing a baseball cap atop his dreads, a t-shirt, jeans, and a puff coat. he blushed. and the girl buried her face in her father's chest, dying from the embarassment of the question.

why is meeting parents such a harrowing event?

i drove to oakland, ate alone, and went home and sat among my boxes exploded in my house. i felt out of control and thought sleeping would remedy it.

i woke up saturday, late for my doctor's appointment.

and i walked in, apologized, and told her i would hold my tears at bay.

i sorta did.

i mentioned how i felt a failure because people who have it handled don't scrape pennies together.

adults have money for their homes and trips and clothes and finish their degrees.

she shooshed me gently. i told her about my concerns.

her suggestion is that i take one class this summer.

i went home to gather courage for a going-away party.

the courage never manifested. i arrived, i dropped off lemonade and i went to my car to nap. i slept and while i napped ...

i've had a lot of brain discussion this afternoon. my favourite ad to be a beleagured(sp?) conversation with G_d.

g-d sounded like a member of monty python's flying circle, ridiculously british and sensible.

i think i was asking if it mattered if i pray...

and the monty pythoned voiced g-d said, "of course it matters if you pray it matters if everyone prays. even agnostics, even athiests. every request we get up here -- including hopes, wishes, and dreams counts.

"we are always working for you guys and doing our best. sometimes it's hard. there are 6.5 billion of you.

"when you do something good, you get a reward: a blessing, a bonus...SOMETHING. when we do something good, there's no vacation, no gold cup...NOTHING. none of that matters here. it's sometimes hard to remain motivated, because we're already in "a better place," so what better life do we have to look forward to?"

g-d sat behind a very office-like desk overrun with paper. it was a stark white office and he was a drone like his colleagues -- male and female, white button-down shirts, and thin black ties and old-fashioned white rotary phones.

everything was clean-room white.

i sat there with nothing to say, but i did feel a little bit of understanding.

when my prayers aren't "immediately answered" it's not due to some "black mark" on my record. there's a lot of requests, apparently, and they're understaffed in the great beyond.

i get that.

so i left the party that i never attended and went to practice my violin by the lake. i sat on a log and labored through notes i still don't read easily without marking a, b, and c next to them. i still can't recite an octave with the sharps in place, but i am getting more comfortable fingering the beatles' "in my life" and have it sound like the melody, albeit strained.

saturday night i spent alone again, overwhelmed by my mess, so i created piles and then i sorted some and was in bed by 9.

sunday morning i woke at 6 to a missed call by my mother.

i needed to do laundry and went back to ancestry...i filled my sink with detergent and hot water and loaded clothes in, scrubbed with my hands (covered in gloves) and then carted them in a bin to the tub where i rinsed them with cold water.

then i hung them up on hangers and used the fence, an end table, and the gutter to hang everything from undies to t-shirts, to dresses and socks.

the 8 am sun was lovely and my neighbors were getting ready for their daughter's first communion party.

balloons went up, as did tables and chairs, and my clothes continued to dry. i was listening to an npr program - to the best of our knowledge and it featured a show on chess and a show on youth media.

i was anxious because on thursday i made arrangements with shawna to come over and help me sort...and i didn't know what creature she may discover when she arrived.

i made headway by piling up empty boxes, cleaning the bathroom, and making manageable piles in the living room.

i listened to a classics show at 10 examining some works of beethoven hosted by a gentleman who knows his music history and delivers it rather entertainingly!

i checked my clothes, the thinner clothes definitely dry faster. jeans take FOREVER.

the morning turned into afternoon.

my father left a message wishing me a happy weekend.

i made tea and a mess in my kitchen.

shawna called and i answered and explained my anxiety.

she said she was glad that she was coming over then.

and i just hunkered down and tried to make piles more manageable.

i cleaned out the garbage and recyclables.

when she arrived with cookies and berries we made a plan.

we created a system to divvy my deluge of stuff and we went at it.

during her time with me we sent three bags of recycling to the bin and 2 bags of non-recyclables.

we created space in my living room overrun with boxes and the disembowelment of boxes.

as we worked and played music i noticed the neighbors party growing.

and mariachis played.

i was charmed by the live music outside of my home.

the neighbor's kids came in an asked if i was coming to join them.

i thought that was sweet.

shawna left at 5 and i continued to work til about 7, and then joined my neighbors.

i am subconscious about my spanish outside of my family. but i thanked them for inviting me and enjoyed an ensalada de nopales....YUM YUM as well as carnitas and grilled chicken and a vaso de agua de tamarindo.

i watched as the kids squealed "ring around the rosie" in the jumping gym and knocked it over almost twice.

they played with my croquet set and were violent with it.

but here they were. kids.

and my heart suspended its sadness a little.

it made me miss my family a lot.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Last Stand > Yeah. Go See It.

Dude. Saw it last night. Will see it again. It's a fun romp. Don't take it seriously (especially Halle's latest wig...eww), but there are some great geeky-funny moments and some hot scenes with Wolverine & Jean Grey. I'm also a HUGE fan of the latina villianess Callisto who takes Storm on.

Enjoy it, fellow geeks and Marvel nerds!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Do You Feel It?

The Joe Cuba Sextet single, "Do You Feel It?" just came on and it's such a sweet tribute to el barrio de Nueva York. He's a boogaloo artist and we love him for that latin bit o' soul del barrio. (Like Eddie Palmieri.) This track was released in my favourite year: 1972.

(Can you tell I'm feeling a little boricua pride as of late?)

Favourite song quote:

"Rice and beans. That's our soul food..."

Y es bien rico, hombres. Bien chevere.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Boricua Recognition in The Onion

I love this country and, in particular, this publication...

Boricua power!!!!! (Con humor!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006




re-enrolling in school to finish undergrad.

river guide.

east coast educated.

left-handed? not sure.

there's definitely a clarity there that i want to explore.

i find it wonderful when people are good communicators.

and i want to learn more.

because i want to be a good communicator. i want to be an excellent communicator.

something in the eyes.

something in the presence.

just completely calming.

completely assured me.

and i come with many questions, eager questions.

not to be selfish.

and i come with appreciation, many thank yous.

not to be ungrateful.

i blush through the conversation.

i am asked who i am.

and i have to stop and think.

my MO is to ask the questions, never having to examine myself.

to be put on the spot is off-putting and refreshing.

no time for performance.

no time for "the right answer".

the real answer, or at least the real answer for now.

and over the phone i imagine the clarity of those eyes.

and how i cannot possibly come up with a yarn.

else i'd be fooling myself.

and i definitely don't want to.

i find that i want to be me.

graduating seniors

some of my students are graduating in the next 3 weeks.

i always become emotional this time of year, but this year i feel the emotion especially because these are young women i have worked with over the last 4 years. these are, in fact, my first class of seniors that i have seen grown from freshmen to graduating seniors and beyond.

and i am getting really emotional about it.

i came in to my office last thursday and one of my students left her senior picture. she's radiating with a flower in her hair. all of the promise that we all have in that moment in front of the camera that summer before senior year madness begins.

i saw that expression and i melted.

she's graduating on friday. and she's amazing. and i love that another successful future leader has come through our walls.


12 Mile

12 miles of Interstate 80 can take up to 4 hours between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am during construction.

Some engineering genius decides to close all access points save for one to go on to the bridge.

Cars cue up, rev up, beep incessantly, and blare music.

Large lines of red, braking lights snake down stretches of street.

It's a nightmare.

I left the Sunset last night about midnight, a little cranky I missed my Monday night salsa session, but really honored to be hosted by Dancho to a lovely Mexican treat of a poblano-marinated chicken, arroz, and freshly toasted tortillas. This was the real deal. Y me encanto!

I forgot about the traffic, but when I got on Bryant and saw the line of cars on 10th I groaned knowingly.

I scooted around the surface streets to the back ways I knew. The traffic was a cranky, tangled mess of people who were attempting the same strategy, only louder.

The club was in full effect among the snake of snarling, revving engines. Interspersed with some hyphy hip-hop was some bubba classic rock and roll. It was all loud and annoyed the hell out of me.

Me? I was switching between the classical station and the BBC. They were reporting the independence referendum for Montenegro over and over. Interesting. I wish Puerto Rico would finally make the same decision.

I had a little over a quarter tank of gas in my tank. And I sure as hell was not going to run out of gas on the bridge sitting in ridiculous traffic on the way to Oakland.

So I found a safe spot to park with lights, leaned my seat back, turned off the car (save for the radio) and began twisting my hair. I got about halfway done when my exhaustion and frustration level got the best of me. I turned off the radio for fear of draining the battery and set my phone alarm for 1:30.

I never really slept. The noise level was enough to keep me from resting too much. I sleepily woke to a liberty-spiked couple walking hand-in-hand up the street. Tall, pale people in ripped up black gear and engaged in a positive conversation.

The line of cars was still down the block and I refused to move.

I reset the alarm for 2:30.

2:30 am came and I woke again. Still traffic. I was miffed, but could rest no more, so I sat up, brought out my rosewater to mist my hair and sectioned with my fingers, combed through section by section and continued twisting. (I noted to myself that I need a trim. My ends are all splitting.)

3 am came and the line was still ridiculous. My hair was severely tangled and I was not making quick progress with my twists.

I went back to "sleep". It had begun to rain at this point.

At 3:30 came silence. I sat up and saw that the cue of cars had disappeared!

I called 511 to confirm...and traffic had, in fact, dissipated.

I could possibly be home by 4 am!

Jane, my trusty steed, started with a purr and down and around I went to the open exit.

The bridge belonged to me and a few other stragglers crossing the bridge to the East Bay. I pulled up to my house at 3:50 and dispelled with putting Jane in the car park. I got out, and blearily walked up the steps and over to my mailbox.

I opened it to find a card from my friends Christine and Scott in Pennsylvania and found a birthing anouncement card of their dear Amelia. She's perfect.

I opened my front door, noticed my hunger and had a bowl of Amaranth flakes before lazily disrobing and putting on jammies. 4:30 this morning I finally lay my head to sleep.

Monday, May 22, 2006

PS to Wednesday Night

I was SO late to dinner with /saMEET/ on Thursday. I didn't want to come empty-handed, so I stopped by Rainbow Grocery for some organic chocolates, bottled water, and Mangosteen juice and a bouquet of dried lavendar (because it's a practical flower to give to men.)

/saMEET/ welcomed me into his home and there were some great posters of concerts in London on the wall as well as pictures from all over the world and some cool indie art. Definitely a bachelor pad, but it had cool accents.

So /saMEET/ made dinner on Thursday night and we tarried a bit listening to some awesome British rock bands including the Shins. He also loves maps, introduced me to the geography of Asia, his travels all over the world (London, Dubai, India, Australia, America...) his take on being a programmer, why he loves the desert, and why his accent is so "weird."

Dude was born in London (which explains the silky smooth British thing going on), but went to college in Texas (which explains the occasional twang that messes with my head, yet it's darling.)

We chatted on his couch and he nervously would look toward the kitchen and the get up to excuse himself to the kitchen.

He leaned in for a kiss and I nervously suggested that we at least eat first. I asked him what was wrong.

He was worried that the fish & chicken curry didn't quite turn out and I giggled and said there was a pizza joint downstairs that I just walked past in case he didn't feel it was up to snuff. In true gentleman form he brought me a sample of the meal and asked for my honest opinion.

My honest opinion?

Sure, the fish was just a little overdone, but I understood what he was trying to do with the seasoning. It was yummy.
The rice was perfect (STOVETOP made, by the way!) and the gravy for the chicken was just a tange sweet, but very yummy. I was happy overall and we ate and listened to more great tunes.

He had Kurt Elling! My ears perked up immediately as he looked for candles in his closet and revealed a little praying place with incense burners, images of gods I can't recall, and some other practical household items. Creating candlelight allowed for the stress of dinner to burn away and I went off into a buzz about jazz and how it's hard to find young people who are into jazz. He sang the words a little bit and I admit I was charmed.

I spoke about my river rafting and we talked about adrenaline rushes in general: motorcycles, mountain biking, sky diving, kite boarding...

On and on!

His experiences at UT, my being an Orangewoman...

I asked about family pictures, he showed me where his family was from on a map, and it was a lovely intellectual exchange.

Finally I asked the hardest question, the AGE question. I figured he was asked...and he said...

29? 29? As in just about 4 years younger? I can live with that! Yee-haw!

We asked about each other's schedules for the weekend: me? On river for the weekend. Him? Running Bay to Breakers with some friends.

We crashed at 3 am. I didn't feel up to driving.

At 6 am I woke up and splashed my face with water. He was impressed that I was awake and asked if I was safe to drive.

Yes. I also needed to change to speak on behalf of Digital Inclusion for the San Francisco TechConnect meeting at 2 pm at City Hall.

I was dragging, but fine on Friday.

Oh, yes, he did lean in for the kiss successfully during our later conversations.

11 Miles of Raging River

Sunday, May 20th was my six month anniversary of not being on a raft.

The morning began overcast at Camp Lotus. A few geese and ducks were roaming about the camp ground. The morning was moist from heavy dew or an early morning rainfall.

I woke in my tent, stretched, fixed my glasses, and took a walk by the water.

She was a swirling, green ribbon winding through the canyon and taking shoreline because she expanded beyond the banks.

The South Fork of the American is my home river. She is where I took my first rafting trip in September of 2002 and she is gorgeous.

We met up at 8:30 in the morning, a few of my Project GO family members, Friends of the River friends, and newcomers to the river. We arranged shuttle, cars, take-out, and readied our gear.

People arranged, we met up at Chili Bar and prepared boats. Pumping of tubes, putting on of wet suits and splash jackets this seems familiar, just from a long time ago.

Saturday night I drove up for the season opening party and reconnected with my river family. A nice bonfire, a walk about the camp in the dark and said hello to the river under moonlight. I reconnected with this part of me.

After the safety talk I knew that I was in for an amazing day. We launched and immediately ran into a kayaker who was in stage 1 of hypothermia. He was separated from his kayak and swirling in a large eddy. We three boats were to the rescue. Dana captured his kayak and another boat pulled him out of the water.

The churning of this water was impressive. Normally the river flows no larger and 3000 cpu, but she was up to 7500 at the beginning of this run and we estimated with the little waterfalls flowing into the river that some of our rapids were flowing at 8500.

I saw this at Fowler's Rock, normally a tricky rapid marked by a large boulder in the center of the river. The rock was almost covered in water. Insanity.

We glided over some rapids, but were pushed and pulled by huge boil lines between raging and less raging water.

I started boat right, behind the bow paddler and moved up to the bow and for a few minutes actually took the stick and guided us for a few miles.

That was crazy for me.

I wanted to get over the fear of flipping a boat, because that is an event every river guide has.

I struggled a little on the rudder, but guided us down and felt confident reading the water. It's amazing what glasses will do for you on the water.

The woman who introduced me to Project GO was on my boat: Sarah Schwartz-Kendall. She's encouraged me from the beginning, and I got her approval as I returned the guide stick to her.

I breathed a heavy sigh of relief as high waves lapped the side of the boat and I took my place at the bow to agressively pull those waves to me. I helped pull our blue SOTAR up and over waves that were HUGE in comparison to our kid trips over the summer.

Did I mention that it was raining?

A gorgeous, steady rain bathed us as we bounced and tossed along the water. Our way was populated with swallows that danced along the surface of the water and the river canyon was a gorgeous green. Ahead of us was an amazing mist that indicated the water was actually warmer than the outside air. That was a little hard to believe...but here I was at home with 11 other people, yelling in victory through intense water and wave trains and focused on the calls of our guides.

FORWARD! And I saw how our team effort evaded rocks and submerged trees and rocks.

I learn a little bit more about water when I am on her...every time a little bit of her secrets are revealed to me.

So now I am SORE and satisfied, pumped up with some arnica montana to relieve the soreness, but am SO excited about this rafting season and feeling more of my strength and letting go a LOT more of my fear.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Glitter Makeup = Erika + Self-Esteem

Yesterday morning I woke up a bit frustrated with my hair situation. I 'fro-ed it out to let the scalp breathe. Monday I put some gel in it to control the 'fro situation and the next day could not stand the crunch factor.

But, since I had another event with high powered people, I rewet and applied olive oil to give it conditioning without the crunch factor. It was extra virgin olive oil and in the end had a little bit of a smokey scent.

Yesterday I woke up knowing that I would be photographing the DVD premier for Streetside Stories and thought I would let myself be casual. I put on jeans, the Afro-puff Girls T-shirt, and brought the fro-puff into an up-do and then looked at the face.

Yesterday was a day for glitter. I was celebrating young people's accomplishments and I was going dancing with Emma later to whirl and bounce to Cheb i Sebbah's (hopefully) tasty tracks and so needed to be festive.

I don't know how to do makeup.

But I can glitter.

So I placed three dots on either side of my eyes leading to my temples.
I created a glitter soul patch with two side vertical lines on either side along my chin.

And I created a swirl flanked by two vertical lines of glitter on my forehead.

A little glitter/tribal.

And on my lips I tried the Passion lip gloss that I bought in February and lightened the colour because I was a little shy about putting the full purple effect on.

Just a little bit of festive.

I walked into a database meeting and the first comment in the room was, "Whoah, what happened to your head?"

I ignored that. It came from an adult.

My students thought it was festive.

And so did the Streetside Stories crew.

After my duties as photographer, I walked across the street to meet Dancho for dinner at Ti Couz. I made the executive decision because I was HUNGRY and he was on his way. I did get concensus from el Dancho and dinner was on.

We were seated in a room with two of the most shrill, loud women ever. It made ordering and conversation a little difficult.

I asked him about his day, the patients he's been working with, and how his schedule works. He's on call this weekend.

We discussed my schedule for the week and I we agreed on potentially a movie on Monday. I needed a break today and will be on a video shoot tomorrow night and then river opening party for the weekend.

Emma met us as Ti Couz and we chatted a bit and I noticed the sleepy veil coming over Dancho's eyes. Okay! Time for Buenas Noches and off to meet up with Houman for Underground SF/Cheb Time!

Quick peck goodnight and then we're off to Nob Hill and hang with the Houman. South Park is on. I request tea. We're laughing in the way that Houman, Emma, and I do and I am sure Houman's guest must have wondered who these twittering women were who just swooped into his house.

After a little tea and tv, we left Stephen Colbert for Underground SF, found decent parking, and entered upon Cheb actually spinning some decent grooves.

I walk in and am immediately greeted by Dave. He's tall, has wavy dark brown hair, and seems super-friendly...drink in hand.

Conversation starts pleasantly enough and then he starts petting my hair...(things are taking a dark turn)...and telling me how he's had black girlfriends before...and how he knows what we're all about...and I tell him that's unfortunate that he needs to put "us all" in a box, explained the blatina thing, and then looked to Emma and Houman for support.

"I am here to dance!"

And I slid to the dance floor. Some Arabic is on and I immediately find a spot among some swayers and some beautiful women samba-ing.

My first dance partner is a tall, svelte, blonde woman and we inspire one another, making circles with our arms and hands. Our feet glide along the floor and our hips are keeping time to the dumbek.

We continue our duo through the next tune...a Sub-Saharan track.

My next partner is a brunette gentleman in a button down shirt and slacks. A Romani-Gypsy tune comes on and he's an absolute gentleman leading me by my hands. It's a lovely dance.

Next bhangra comes on. By this time my feet are sticking to the floor and I kick up the soles of my feet to see that they are literally black and encrusted with crud.

My jeans are not breathing, and I need a break from bouncing up and down. I out of practice. My shoulders and feet are not in sync and I am parched.

I reconnect with Emma, Houman and Guest. They are still by the bar and poor Emma is being accosted now by Dave. I sip some water, check in and see how all are doing, and then a latin-samba-inspired number comes on. And I have to dance to that.

Here is where I meet /suMEET/ (sp?). I am about to alight up the stairs and he stops me, gently places his hand on my shoulder and asks if he can talk to me.

Random white girl is doing the bellydance trill and we both looked at each other like, "What the hell is she doing? You don't trill to samba!" We laugh about that and he asks me about my glitter. I tell him I don't know how to do makeup and this is my way of being festive. He tells me it's beautiful and there's a slight pause where I feel that I am being scanned for facial expression. He then asks me to dance.

And we dance.

And he is my partner for the rest of the evening. And we play well off each other, he leads me, he lets me walk away. (Sidebar: I hate it when a guy grabs me on the dance floor and tries to force me to move a certain way. /suMEET/ did not do this. We partnered well.) And song after song comes on. Some MC Solaar, some more Arabic, I go a little nuts to some sub-Saharan tune and pick up some women partners and we make a triad. A little desi number comes on that I remember from a PMP mix and the familiarity with the tune springs me into action. Up-down go the shoulders and I am listening and trying to move my feet which are stuck to ground because of all the crud on the floor.

/suMEET/ picks me up at one point during this song and I find my head to the floor and my legs up in the air. I feel like we're on Dancing with the Stars. It's silly and romantic and this seals our friendship.

We take a break and talk and he asks if he can see me again, if he can make me dinner and I am blushing from this attention.

The evening is ending. Dave and Emma are now on the dance floor and she's doing her best to be polite. We make eye contact and I need to rescue her.

Khaled's "Aicha" comes on and I grab her hand. This is our song. Houman & guest appear and I grab Houman's hand and say, "Just like Stern Grove last summer!"

Houman shifts his shoulders in that sexy dance way that he does and we 3 are enjoying the moment.

The evening ends and phone numbers are exchanged and I leave with my crew simply not believing that I just met someone on a night that I had a date.

Is that wrong?

On the way home I get a phone call from /suMEET/ asking if I am safe, which I think is sweet. I tell him I'm moments away from home and ask if it's okay to call back.

I get home and then we chat for about a half hour. I ask him what I should bring to dinner tonight. "Dessert" and then we talk about the books we have recently read. We wish each other "Good night." And it's 3:30 in the morning.

We haven't determined /suMEET/'s age. We're thinking he might be younger because he offered to make me dinner.

But I have to admit it was just lovely to have such a dance partner who was into the dance and not just out to get gropes. It had an element of romance that was sweet.

We're up to 5 kisses for the year. One per month. *blush*

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Can I Write Anymore?

God, I feel like I am recovering from my project last month. I haven't been writing anything that's really moved me.


Yoga, breathing, working, being introspective, dancing, smooching, meeting the mayor...I guess it sucks a little out of you!

Here's to writing with a little bit of sabor in the near future!

Sports Bring Us Together

Two weeks ago on a Saturday I was cleaning my house, driving around running errands.
The buzz on NPR was about the Kentucky Derby and the different rituals surrounding the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown.

I caught a snippet of a story about $1,000 mint juleps that were served in benefit retired horses. The proceeds of these beverages served in gold plated cups and made with ingredients from around the world helped pay for the care of horses that had retired from racing. I was amazed, considering that moments before I had shared the street with a homeless gentleman pushing his shopping cart filled with bags of cans and glass.

I arrived home and was sorting through books and CDs. The neighbors upstairs (boricuas!) gathered with their friends to watch the de la Hoya fight.

I was thrown back into childhood.

I realized that my father and our family friends would gather to watching boxing matches. The audience was always filled with glamourous people. The boxers always had satin shorts, matching robes, and an entourage. Very strange.

The men in my life have never really been violent. I suppose that they got some of that out by watching boxing matches.

Bottles of beer. Bellowing laughter. Women cooking in the kitchen and shaking their heads while the men crowded the couch and leapt up, coaching, screaming at their adopted athlete,

Hit him! Hit him! Pero, cono, why won't he hit him, mang?

They took it personally that de la Hoya wasn't performing his personal best.

I chuckled as I remember my little self, braids cascading down the sides of my head with little bolito ponytail holders, wondering why my dad and our family friends drinking palitos of rum and coke, were so excited about men hitting each other.

We were in Endicott, NY. I was unaware of my father's work culture, or how he grew up in the streets of New York where the American kids would call him and the other Puerto Rican kids, "Mira-miras" because that's what Puerto Rican moms would call to get their childrens to come upstairs.

In the late 70s we were in the TV room with our cable that had HBO. All was right with the world...

Linked In....

Wow. Yesterday's Full Circle Fund meeting featured some tech pundits...the man who created Compumentor, the guy who created Linked In, and one of the initial investors in a little company called TiVo.


Being in the room with key players on the tech front is amazing.

I feel my brain expanding.

Next week I will learn a little bit about an organization called Emerge...mentors women to run for office...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Gavvy, my boyfriend (not really)

Here's where I was yesterday morning.

Monday, May 15, 2006

drinking buddies: off to meet emma and houman

...cause they're making shenanigans at some indian-celtic joint in north beach.

then i go dancing at 10.

why the hell am i tempted to call the belizean?

OH, because I look RIDICULOUSLY CUTE today, that's why!

White linen pants & shoes (c/o Frances and Maritza) and orange silk shirt (c/o Saran White).

Reneg on dinner with Dancho. He's Bowling with the Boys.

Feh. Oh well, I guess this means I head home to the East Bay before dancing, which isn't bad. A shower might be nice.

weekend: up, down, all around

Delta/+ on the weekend

1) Hey! Mitesh visits town!

2) Gorgeous weather in the Bay!

3) I get more house cleaning done!

4) Day of rejuvination, yoga, and meditation!

5) Successful movie poster design for friend!

6) Meet the love of my life: Amithi, who just learned how to read and read Hop on Pop to me. My heart MELTED.

7) Good session with Mary Ann.

8) Stretch 4 dollars to ALMOST last the weekend...ran out of gas on the freeway after seeing Karsh Kale with Mitesh in the car. We are almost hit twice because apparently on Saturday nights hazard lights are to be ignored.

8.5) Neighborhood kids help me move stuff in and I make impromptu p'nut butter & jam sandwiches. Mustafa, my sweetheart, breaks a Christmas ornament I got in 2002 on a roadtrip to LA. I talk to him about honesty and am bummed that the ornament is broken.

9) Hero Fumi bales us out by finding gas at 3:30 am and being a little stressed out, I forgot to thank her and spiral of guilt begins.

10) Smell trumpet flowers as I open the gate to my house/parking structure. They are amazing flowers.

11) Mother's Day: spent mostly in my bed, crying, depressed, wondering what the hell I am here for.

12) Practice violin, working on "In My Life" by the Beatles and it's weird to transpose music for piano for violin.

13) I call mom to tell her I love her. I leave a message.

14) I organize recently moved stuff in my house.

15) I 'fro out the hair and wash it. Mucho clumps of hair come out. I could make wigs for many children.

15) Emma calls and offers to pick me up since I ain't got no cash or gas. We walk around Lake Merrit, she treats me to Chinese and we see a GORGEOUS sunset in the sky. We talk the evening away. I feel better.

16) I dress up this morning with lipstick and eyeshadow because I'm going to meet Gavin Newsom, and Maria Shriver at a TechConnect event at the Alice Griffith's Community Center. Surreal, but I help some women set up email accounts and do basic web surfing.

The white pants still look good. Yay.

17) Dancho just called and we are going to do dinner before I go dancing at Luka's tonight, because I need to get my salsa on. Yay.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My Friends FORCED Me to Have a Housewarming

Tuesday evening I am stressing because my river friends offered to warm my house.


I said a reluctant, "sure." And I looked in my humble abode. I needed to get my table and chairs from storage. I had no food in the house. Correction: I had carrots, purple cabbage, a couple of eggs, lemons from the front lawn tree...

I made a middle eastern style carrot/cabbage salad (beautiful color!) and fresh lemonade and had the reassurance that my guests were going to bring food pot luck style.

One by one my neighborhood kids escorted my guests to my door. Paul Simon's "Obvious Child" blared from my little radio and with candlelight the fellowship began.

Mezze came to my house: Christine brought sampler middle eastern plates, Sarah brought various beverages, Alan brought dessert, and Bonnie brought a vegetable curry.

We served food on my variety of plates, ate with the bamboo utensils and chop sticks, drank out of the mix-n-match of cups, and sat around my makeshift floor table, told stories, and laughed.

They filled my home with complements of how good the space felt and with warmth. I used my oven for the first time.

And I showed off my view of downtown Oakland from the lawn.

I was shy to show the insides of my house.

I am glad they pushed me to do it. After they left, I had their laughter as my lullaby. Our conversations fed my sleep to come.

River love. Much river love.

Of course, now I need to have a REAL housewarming and invite folks! Croquet on the lawn, anyone?

Don't Call Me Baby

Okay, so surprise date and smoochies on Sunday night...and I was thrown off a little bit when I heard, "Oh, Baby."

I had no idea people actually SAID that.

I took a straw poll of women in my life and they all had the same reaction, "Too much porn."

So, I have never seen a porn, but was introduced to what was called "soft-core" sometime late last year. I found no merit in it. The music was boring, the plot was ridiculous and predictable, and therefore terribly unsexy.

I do want to give MAJOR kudos to bilingual making out, however.



Thursday, May 4, 2006

Sleepless 48 hours

Man, I have to toot my own damn horn for a second.

I basically produced my first fundraiser today. I was in the office til 6:30 this morning putting on final touches to a video presentation created by my young women. I created a printed piece that came out on color. I set up the reception area to include multi-media presentation and material for our young women and I sat with the AV guy as I controlled the pace of the program and the volume of our DVD presentation. I sent out the communications what I said I would do was NOTED. YES, MY WORK WAS RECOGNIZED.

All day long I thought about one young woman who told me once that "I am GirlSource."

That brought a tear to my eye. The young women see me.

And I felt seen today (despite my being in the sound booth).


My young women SHONE today and I have been working my ass off for the last month for them. Maybe this fundraiser will lead to a raise for them or investment in developing programs.

I don't know. All I know is that at the end of the day, I got kudos after kudos from young women, from board, and supporters.
I wore my river princess crown during the presentation to remind myself I was in authority and I made connections with the AV guys and the food crew, so I got to eat lunch as well. It was awesome.

I am about to fall into a lovely and wonderfully deep sleep. Til 4:30 tomorrow morning when I pick up Saran. She and I are going to Davis for a Youth Development Conference.

Afterward? Heck, we might do Napa or Murder Burger (an ostrich burger might totally hit the spot!!!!!!!)

WOO HOO! ALL NIGHTERS ROCK! I AM WIRED, TIRED, and BUZZING from this grand effort!


Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

It is 11:55 pm and I am a one-woman Kinko's in my office.

Our major fundraiser is on Thursday and we've brought a lot of our communications in house this year. Within the past month I have done website updates, blog updates, powerpoint presentations, photo archiving, taught myself and others basics of video and audio editing, and created print materials on a rather aggressive deadline.

It's exciting to meet the challenge, but I know that I'm going to need a resty-rest after Thursday. I'm hoping to treat myself to A Prairie Home Companion, the closer to the San Francisco International Film Festival.

I have a thing for Garrison Keillor's storytelling. And fiddles. I'm nuts over the "Powdered Milk Biscuit" theme song.

Today I have been reminded of fears that I need to face, the first of which is getting my deposit back from my previous landlord and the second of which is that I need to let go of my need to play the violin perfectly. My perfectionist can undermine a lot of my efforts.

My teacher yesterday asked me to look at a scale while fingering the notes and bowing long. She asked me if I understood why notes were sharp on the staff and I stood at the music, feeling illiterate. But my 9 year old girl self wanted to have the right answer. She wanted to be right. She wanted her teacher's approval.

And my mind froze.

I drew a sour bow across the strings. My hands tensed and the B note she asked me to stretch my pinky finger to achieve seemed like an impossible yoga asana that can only be achieved via some fancy Photoshop techniques.

She noticed this and reminded me that I am learning and to relax.

I breathed and almost chuckled at myself in the car after feeling a tear reach the corner of my eye. In my mind, in that instant when I couldn't perform, I felt like I had failed.

But I am taking these classes for myself. I want to learn how to create music.
How can that be a failure?

During this morning's conversation I raced into comparison mode, where I felt the woman on the other line is an illustration of strength and endurance. She knows how to speak up for herself and others. And my mind chastised me, questioned my authenticity, because I don't feel that I self-advocate well and therefore I should question how I advocate for others.

In the end the only advocate I have is myself, and while on the phone this morning with a friend I haven't spoken with in a long time, I began to cry.

Hey, man. I've been dealing with my stresses a little better.

Sure, I had shingles and couldn't walk for a few days. I've been making SOME semblance of decisions...deciding what's intolerable and what to do... I just felt during our conversation that I've been really hiking up my pants and digging deep into myself and working my ass off.

Our conversation left me feeling like I wasn't working hard enough. Like I don't value myself enough to just do what I consider so hard.

This mental demon is so funny.

And yet a week ago I thought I advocated pretty well for myself, setting boundaries and such.

So outside of my office there is a drag race happening in the back alley. Wheels are squeaking and even if I was done with my work, I don't know if I would walk outside right now.

The aggressive growl of an engine and the screeches of wheels suddenly jerked in a different direction doesn't seem like safe territory for a pedestrian.

My car is happily parked in the Best Buy parking lot a mere 100 yards away.

Dang. I have to get web access at home, because then I could do this layout and stuff at home.


I have a candle lit and am listening to Richard Souther's "The Music of Hildegard von Bingen". It came out on the heels of all that Gregorian Chant that was uber-cool in the mid-1990s. She was a composer in the 13th century and was reported to have visions all the time. Modern explanation might say she had severe migraines. But, some of her music is just awesome. If you can get past the perhaps over produced beats, the vocals on this album are amazing. I really dig "Vision (O Euchari In Leta Via)."

Stern Grove Kicks ASS in 2006!

Yes, this is me copying and pasting from the web site...

June 18
Spinning story out of song, innovative songstress Aimee Mann kicks off Stern Grove’s 69th season with her signature style of narrative music. Her Academy-Award nominated song “Save Me,” was one of eight written for the soundtrack to the ...
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June 25
Critically-acclaimed blues duo Amadou & Mariam have already taken Europe by storm and are now set to unleash their unique mélange of Malian music and blues rhythms at Stern Grove Festival. Their latest album Dimanche à Bamako has sold more than ...
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July 2
Experience the electrifying sound of the Rebirth Brass Band, renowned as one of the best contemporary New Orleans brass ensembles today. With appearances at virtually every major festival in the U.S. and Europe, the Rebirth Brass Band has revitalized the ...
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July 9
Under the leadership of Michael Tilson Thomas, the San Francisco Symphony is known the world over as one of the most dazzling and innovative orchestras in the world. For select pieces, the Symphony will be joined by the charismatic string trio Time For Three.
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July 16
Hawai’i comes to San Francisco when the Hawaiian vocal ensemble Mākaha Sons serenades Stern Grove with their incomparable harmonies.

San Francisco’s own Hālau ‘o Keikiali’i opens the afternoon ...
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July 23
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples fills Stern Grove with one of the most distinctive and treasured voices in contemporary music. Iconic since her days as a lead singer of The Staple Singers, Staples has never stopped bringing down houses and ear...
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July 30
San Francisco Opera brings mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe and tenor Lawrence Brownlee, two of opera’s brightest stars to Stern Grove. Blythe and Brownlee will perform some of opera’s greatest arias and ensembles, joined by the...
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August 6
Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra brings the best of salsa to the Grove. Assembled by the world famous pianist and arranger Oscar Hernández, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra makes a bold new case for pure salsa in an age of hybridized forms...
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August 13
Appearing for the first time on the newly-renovated Stern Grove stage, San Francisco Ballet makes its only Bay Area summer appearance with some of the company’s most luminous stars.
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August 20
Stern Grove Festival ends its 69th Season with the high-voltage star power of Ozomatli, the Los Angeles-based Afro-Latin-and-beyond group that won a 2005 Grammy for their album Street Signs.

The East Bay hip-hop collective Crown City Rockers...

Monday, May 1, 2006

Si, Se Puede!

Today I quietly protested with my brothers and sisters in the streets.

I am a daughter of immigrants, born in the Bronx.

I am in the process of being naturalized to California.

Millions marched in solidarity to give voice to the invisible workforce that makes my life possible. I don't sew my clothes or slaughter my meat. I do appreciate that I am one of many workers trying to make this planet run. My lot in life is to work with youth, half of whose families are working under the table to make a better life for their families in the United States.

I thank the countless people from countless nations that I encounter in my life that enrich me. Because of you I can't think of life without sipping avocado boba, or dipping my naan in bengan bharta. I cook all manner of rice. I dance from continent to continent from the confines of my tape, cd, and mp3 player.

Gracias a todos mis hermanos y hermanas. Gracias por su trabajo. Y un abrazo de tu hermanita en Oakland, California.

Si, se puede!