Monday, December 31, 2007
in pink i enter
the new year. throwback 1970.
rock and roll and soul.
i dare you come in
2008. bring joy, great
things to come. maybe
even friends, goodness.
2008? an even
year. an extra day!
happy new year to
us. inhabitants of
the one planet earth.
celebrate. dance. kiss.
embrace the newness of it!
i will. i promise.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
hit my brain with the alarm.
Bhutto's death. My God.
So life is worthless.
That's my takeaway. She dies.
We all die. Don't we?
Last night I saw friends
and wanted to shrink, go away.
They feel foreign now.
I question value--
mine. What do I offer them?
ROI? None. Zilch.
Added value means gifts,
information, new insights.
I don't offer these.
My sadness is not
anyone's gift. And so I
don't know. I don't "add".
Bottom line, profits.
This is where I fall short, see?
I am judged useless.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
2. Visit my mother for mother's day after her house burned down
3. Attend my grand-aunt's 90th birthday party
4. Produce over 300 youth created films
5. Co-produce youth centered film awards
6. Train and run for a half-marathon
7. Train 12 teachers in digital storytelling
8. Join a board of directors
9. Go on a date in Manhattan that was initiated by a man
10. Lose 8 pounds and keep them off
11. Learn how to cut my own hair
12. Clean the kitchen and bathroom
13. Buy some of my own clothes
14. Attend 2 weddings
15. Get arrested
17. Read 5/13 Lemony Snicket books
18. Read 8 other books
19. Switch from chemical detergent to soap nuts
20. Drink more water
21. Find acupuncture and use it as part of my health regimen
22. Attend public performances of theater, music, and intellectual nature
23. Visit 4 other states
24. Buy a pair of pearl earrings
25. Find joy in food
26. Maintain a 2 blogs, yelp, flickr, myspace, facebook, orkut, friendster, and bebo pages.
27. Buy Amadeus, the movie
26. Pluck countless chin hairs
27. Take myself out dancing
28. Find out what a rubab is
29. Dare to wear a sari skirt
30. Change my status to "married" to reduce the amount of dating ads I receive
31. Write letters
32. Talk to each of my immediate family members at least monthly
33. Invite the orange and black kitty into my home
34. Eat Goose Web
35. Turn 35
The Babe. The Glorious One.
I am alone here.
Corpus Christi Church
rehearsed their Mary, Joseph,
angels and shepherds.
All 9 or younger
sweet, restless children. Holy?
Innocence is. Yes.
Theirs is a God of
Wonder. Of Good. Without Fail.
No judgement. Just Good.
What about when man
uses God's name for evil?
Forgive them, children.
Adults can twist good
for their use. They can twist God's
words, but not God's love.
I am alone, still.
Solace in some sunshine and
the Church's songs. Pretty.
This year is sad so
far. Thirty-fifth feels alone.
I ponder my gifts.
What do I offer?
Not money. Not anything.
So why call me friend?
Many have been kind.
I thank you. Perhaps moved by
charity? Me? Wretch!
In this sun I feel
warmth. The hymns of Christmas come
tonight during mass.
To my family:
Te quiero tanto. Son mi
To those who have been
friendly to me: thank you for
your kindness, your selves.
One day a woman
will come into your life and
repay all her debts.
She will not be me.
She will be different, a
new one. Happier.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I dreamt I birthed a pair of
yellow and white hose
Printed with sun signs
They were stuck so I had to
get a stick. P-p-p-op! Eww!
Out came the hose-- wet
and messy but it relieved
me. I was stressed out!
Pregnant with panty
hose? What does that mean? Future?
Mine? Not funny, dude!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
HOLY COW! It's been so
long. Remember health?
The weekend was good.
Kite Runner, Amadeus,
Feeling healthy, yes!
Need to dance! Sing! Celebrate!
Perhaps? New Years? Hrm.
Think about today.
Clean the house. Beautiful.
The gleam of sunset.
Enter 2008 and
Hail the joys to come!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I woke up with a raging headache...issues buzzing about my head...
My daily calendar reminded me to take a more positive outlook today.
I swallowed my vitamins and medicine and had tea and reminded myself of that.
The headache has been gnawing between my temples for the better part of the last week.
Congestion, I bet. In addition to just feeling overall pressure that something amazing is supposed to happen since it's been my birthday.
I am supposed to feel fearless, invincible.
But I don't. My superhero cape is balled up somewhere in the clutter of my apartment.
I put on some boots and earrings. I left my house with the intention of doing good today.
That amounted to spending some time with a student who just needed to be made aware of possibilities.
It also amounted to spending some time with some students to make them aware of their responsibilities and their power to handle them.
It also amounted to me becoming very aware of my right leg not feeling quite right. How did I injure it?
I called my aunt for some advice. She assured me that I am okay. People who wonder if they are okay invariably are.
And she shared with me some secrets...to look at myself in the mirror (even if I don't believe it) and tell myself good things...right now that looks like...
"I am beautiful...I am prosperous...I am happy...I can maintain friendships...I am worthy of a spouse...I can have a beautiful and neat home...I am healthy...I have discipline...I can manage my time well...."
Meanwhile the whole thing about buses blowing up in Algeria, more people being shot, and my registration stresses me out. It gnaws at my brain.
It's the holiday season. A season I once looked upon with awe. I loved the lights, the decorations, the connecting with friends and family, the food.
Now that I am separated from family and feel alienated from my friends...I don't know what to do with the holidays.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Fever, general lethargy, dealing with the police, dealing with lack of money....
I'm feeling really invalid.
I love what I do. I love the joy of seeing kids GET IT, that AHA moment is priceless.
I wish I could be part of a society that values the work of all of its workers....
Yesterday I spent in silence, cleaning my room, bathing, watching Babel, taking a walk, watching the sunset and wishing that I could be balanced, understand myself in the context of the world.
I want to understand I am NOT alone. I want to understand that I am expanding my knowledge constantly.
I must be here for a reason. I need to find that.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Here's the thing. As a moderate income earner I balance my bills...something I have to pay right now and other things I put off as long as I can...
And, well...apparently I put off registering my car a little too long. I've been sick all week and apparently my license is expired...I was going to take care of that tomorrow...
So I was arrested (fingerprints and pictures) and released this evening.
It was a little unnerving, but the policemen were cool. They didn't tow my car, at least.
Note to self: keep up with the registration kinda thing. And don't be arrested.
That's one to grow on.
Rock on. Puerto Ricans can play characters other than Mexicans, Johnny Cash was clearly neither.
Monday, December 3, 2007
If you have access to a flu shot, please take it. I got it last year and I had a decently clean bill of health.
I've been doing tea, soup, raw garlic, and all kinds of remedies up a storm.
To no avail.
And watching season 3 of 24 hasn't helped either. I don't want to think I have the incurable virus that will have me start bleeding from my nose and mouth spontaneously.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Convincing myself that 7 am was too early when I had nothing in particular to do this morning I rocked myself back to sleep by rubbing my feet together for another hour. A sliver of sunlight was reaching my curtain and I was bathed in a gentle orange light. My lids slightly opened, a smile was on my face and I remembered the message symbol on my phone, and so I listened.
It's contents were darling and my cheeks flushed with surprise and recognition.
I don't remember the last time I received a voice mail that was so unexpected and personal.
An amazing start to the day which ended up being a wonderful, relaxed Sunday that drifted into errands, activity, and ended with dancing.
The moon wanes.
Monday, October 22, 2007
This past Sunday was the Oakland Museum of California annual Dia de los Muertos celebration.
I almost missed it because i was in traffic coming back from San Francisco.
I caught the tale end, participated in the ceremony honoring the ones who have passed in the different directions - east, south, west, north. Each symbolizes the elders, the women, the youth, and the men. We shed marigold petals in each direction as we remember those who have left us.
I needed this ceremony. It has become an annual celebration for me to reflect those who have left me personally and as a way to honor loved ones of people I know.
The color mixed with the feelings of melancholy that erupt in me on a golden autumn afternoon make for a ceremony that closes the gap...we mourn, we celebrate, and we commune with others.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Lots to prepare before I go back into the classroom on Monday.
We reconfigured the new lab because it was stolen about a month ago.
My coworker is giving a presentation on Saturday to report out on the grant my specific program is funded through and the progress of our program. The power point has evolved from still slides to some animations and graphics I was building. In troubleshooting the thing, I was sucked into the black hole of figuring out WHY the movies weren't playing in the darn thing. That had me working til a cool 2 am on Wednesday night (Thursday morning) and a parking ticket because street cleaning began at 12 midnight.
Thursday morning I got a late start and was feeling a little drag on my step, but managed to pull it together for a program meeting, preparing for our monthly Tell It Like It Is event. I had to go over my part of the presentation and then prepare for this morning's radio program.
And I got stuck in traffic, so I got to do an interview while waiting in a cue of cars to the toll plaza, past the metering lights, and across the bridge...all without any call drop incident (Thanks to all the powers that be). About 8 blocks from the office, it was over. Phew.
God, all I want to do is take an extended nap, but it's Friday, I need to finish a survey/evaluation based on our training and we have an intern coming in and we're excited about getting ready for Monday!
Feelin' a little productive...and imagine all this without any java addiction!
And Trolley Dances is happening this weekend as well as the Oakland Museum of California Day of the Dead Celebration.
Meanwhile...I'm upset about the whole S-CHIP thing, speechless about the noose epidemic seeming to grip the nation since the Jena 6 thing, disturbed about the Bhutto thing, disgusted by the Iraq war thing, incensed by the Armenian genocide thing and still feeling stung by the Yankees loss to the Indians. Can we get a less racist mascot, folks? I guess not if the nation's capital has a team named the Redskins...
Here's to the weekend...
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
America's infrastructure was built on a lot of free labor: slaves of the African diaspora, Native American diaspora, Latino, Arab, Middle Eastern, Asian, and South Asian diaspora have let the United States sit on the fruits of their labor interest-free.
Today is the first of many days to call attention to this irregularity of accounting. Reparations are a decent and immediate solution to this imbalance in balance sheets. Thanks to artist damali ayo for inspiring this international movement.
I did my part by standing in my shades and waving my sign.
So far I've made $0.00, but I gave $1.00.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
My tia abuela is amazing. She was born in 1917 near Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. She's the youngest of 10 children, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She's the last living sibling of my mother's father.
I never knew my grandfather, who my uncles told me was known as a tough in Puerto Rico. He was a boxer who loved his family, but apparently was no one to mess with. His name? Conrado Morales.
Conrado was known as "Doblefeo". If you know anything about latin nick-names they come from a place of truth and are given with affection. "Doblefeo" literally means "doubly-ugly", which probably means my grandfather had a mean mug on him. My uncles were calling me "doblebella". This nickname made me blush and begin a stream of humble denials.
This was the first time I heard people other than my mother speak of my grandfather. And it touched me to hear stories of this man who my uncles had great love for. He died at 45 years of age, but seemed to be loved and respected by his family.
Apparently he was rare among the family. Bilingual in a time where monolingualism was still prevalent on the island. Puerto Rico had been taken over by the United States from Spain less than 50 years before. My mother grew up with a dirt floor, had cows and chickens...and roads and electricity were making their way into the countryside of Puerto Rico.
My grandmother shared stories, poetry, and lead bombas and plenas all weekend. It's amazing to see the energy, the sensuality, and beauty of a woman who has lived on this planet so long, but there it was. To the sound of the hand drums - panderetas, she shimmied her shoulders and danced our bomba. And we family members joined her on the dance floor. Almost 150 people-- friends, family, 4 generations came to celebrate her life with music, food, and so much affection.
DJ, live band, and the impromptu music from my uncles' hand drumming, the rhythmic clapping of the crowd, and the dancing in circles, and in pairs felt more than a tribe or more than a celebration. We affirm life. We affirm that older age is not a time of loneliness, uselessness, and obselsence, as is often touted in this country.
We age, we dance, we share with our family.
THAT is what this past weekend showed me.
I was touched.
And I came back sad because it's hard to explain that to some of my friends who don't have these relationships with their families. I came back feeling like part of myself will always be absent without my family. It's profound to feel so significantly part of a whole that when you are apart from it part of you is missing.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Have you read about this case in West Virginia?
Here we have a family victimizing a woman. They felt it was their right because she was a "n----". What year is this?
I also was helping my nephew with his homework over my mobile phone and wifi last night. He had to do research on Pocahantas and I thought he asked a BRILLIANT question:
Why does she look so European if she was Native American?
The illustration was of a woman in Elizabethan gear, fancy neck thing and everything.
I told him he was brilliant to notice this and to ask why the English would have illustrated her that way. Then we got into how even today people are "white washed" to look like the dominant culture in this country.
Brown/yellow people are due to be the half in this country in less than 50 years. I wonder if the tables will be turned by then and everyone who has a little pallor will be illlustrated with some flavour to fit in the "norm"?
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Last night I slept like crap.
I binged on chocolate and soda at work and tempered it with salad at a Board meeting last night.
I was definitely buzzing. My glycemic index was off the charts.
Hee-hee. I sounded like a hyper kid, giggling and talking a mile a minute. In my mind I had a genius stream of ideas.
When I got home I had difficulty falling asleep and my consciousness came and went every 2 hours.
This morning when I woke up the the NPR coverage of the surge blatherings my head was pounding.
This was my sugar hangover.
Oh God. Then I heard El Cucuy do a numerology breakdown of the 9-11 coincidences and I thought about my cousin, the firefighter in the twin towers and I got introspective.
It was a day I really felt sad for the world.
Tomorrow Ramadan and Rosh Hoshanah begins. I don't believe in coincidence.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
In the meantime I've also been checking OLD email...and I found this awesomely angsty poem.
Ever just NOT recognize yourself from 5 years ago?
* * * * * * * * * * *
You Are My Valium
The world is crazy.
Am I the only sane one here?
All imposing on my Self, my Soul, my Sanity
The healing elements
lose their potency
All free me from the Insanity
But the Insanity closes in,
I turn to Knowledge and Entertainment
to bring my Self, my Soul, my Sanity
to its full strength
Knowledge is a dry companion. Its ego perpetuated by
quantity. He is an acquaintance.
Entertainment is a fairweather companion. Its presence
depends on the haute couture. She, too, a mere
I bring other Friends along.
Food and Drink. They add to the merriment.
Occupying my body.
Filling my mouth with Cleverness and Flavor.
Filling my mind with Lucidity.
They are fine combine with Knowledge and
Still. My mind is occupied only for awhile.
Their Charm wears off
and I find Myself weary
of their emptiness.
My Self, my Soul, my Sanity not pacified by them
My Self, my Soul, my Sanity
placid when I combine you with these things.
You are a mirror upon whom I reflect
these elements of my Life.
You calm me from the World's madness.
You are My Valium.
From April 16, 2002
Monday, August 20, 2007
I needed a change. My hair was getting long and so I was about to shave it again on Saturday. Of course then I thought...why not see what a mohawk is like? So I kept it.
Of course in the professional environment I have it modestly covered in a headwrap.
I do adore what I look like with my inner riotgrrl.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
I've been in Arizona for almost a week and thunderstorms and thunderheads have abound to protect me from the sun and to keep the temperature no warmer than 100 degrees.
I was expecting sweltering, crazy hot.
My lips are a little parched, but other than that I am keeping well-hydrated with bottled water provided for me at the various sessions I am attending this week at the KIPP School Summit.
I am continually impressed with education and the discussion around how it's practiced and its impact in the United States.
I am continually impressed that multicultural best practices continues to be a novel idea that needs to be instituted.
But I am also excited that tehre is no complacency.
Excellence is a must.
Ladies and gentlemen from traditionally oppressed populations,
our day has come! Damali Ayo has forwaded an invitation to all of us.
Read, forward, and see you on October 10!
(I've been waiting for mine for about 500 years...)
Monday, July 30, 2007
Apparently I did fairly well...out of 2767 I placed 860 in my division, which is not bad.
I just found my new favourite sport. After I recover from being so tired...I'll actually have something interesting to say!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
After a 13 hour and 5 minute journey last night I ate at a real NY diner and had a lovely plate of river trout served with rice and an Italian styled preparation of zucchini.
My host and I caught up on 2 months of distance and time.
I was happy and a bit tired after a hop from Oakland to Phoenix, then Phoenix to Washington, D.C., then to Albany, NY.
I landed about 10:30. I started at 9:25 am.
When we arrived at the hotel in Latham (I had no idea where that was either.) I excitedly looked in the trees to see if I could catch a glimpse of my childhood.
On the flight from Washington, D.C. to Albany I sat in the dreaded middle seat of the row, but was pleased to meet an Albany native and we shared stories. I told him I had been in California for 9 years, had moved for personal reasons and stayed for professional reasons. I told him I missed the fireflies (lightning bugs).
He assured me that the recent rains and humidity made sure they were in bloom this summer.
So after a late night dinner, after driving up to the parking lot, and walking to the room, I looked toward the trees.
In moments I saw the familiar green flash in the trees. A few twinkles that feels like a bit of the stars have come to Earth to join us. Just a few flashes, but I recognized them and I squealed.
My host chuckled at me and I explained it had been years since I had since a lightning bug.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I love this song. It's the first jazz piece I could pick up and name no matter the rendition.
This one featured Coltrane-esque saxophone trills.
Friday, July 13, 2007
As I enter I hear a grunting noise.
I quietly enter my stall and close the door to handle my business.
As I pluck the @$$ saver from it's dispenser to cover the seat I hear the woman next to me grunt and then apologetically explain,
Excuse me, I'm taking a Boo-Boo.
The voice sounded raspy and distracted by her current activity.
Before I began my business I simply replied as cheerfully and quizzically,
No need to apologize. We're all human.
and finished my nature call.
I quickly washed my hands and over the running water continued to hear the grunts and heavy breathing (that thankfully was not accompanied by any scent whatsoever).
I found her innocence puzzling.
The public restroom is not a place where I normally apologize for the goings on, or interact, actually. It's a place where I put up an invisible wall in addition to the one separating one stall from mine. You go in alone and leave alone, and maybe say hello to someone on the way out.
But not in the middle of a nature call.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Yesterday to celebrate Independence Day after puttering around the house, doing some Windsor Pilates, cooking for the week, and enjoying nestling in my bed reading Esmerelda Santiago's Almost a Woman, I took a ride into San Francisco with Joe who is recently back from Canada.
My goal was to run to the ocean. The weather was wonderful...breezy, warm. It made me confortable in my shorts (something I haven't been comfortable wearing before this running thing). The route was Golden Gate to Anza to Geary to the Ocean.
Late afternoon made the weather perfect and as I climbed up to Washington High School and then saw the Ocean before me as I came up and over the hill I was amazed.
Pound, pound. In the Fillmore district there were firecracker noises...gunshots? Upper Hayes Valley I ran through a block party that was thinning out, but kids were still bouncing in the jumpy-gym.
At 27th Avenue I encountered an incline that ratched my pace down to a walk. At 28th Avenue I began the run again.
The Cliff House glowed white and my eyes hurt to see the reflection of sun dazzle on the water. The sky was perfect blue. The breeze pressed against my face, but not against my progress.
I passed the Palace of Fine Arts and paralleled places I have driven to and bussed to, but have never ventured to walk to. It doesn't feel far anymore.
My feet pounded their percussion on the sidewalk. The iPod played music to lift my feet forward and kept a smile on my face. Toward the end of the run the familiar sweat and salt crust formed on my forehead and cheeks.
When I got to the sand I walked toward the water. The waves teased against the shore. I walked toward the ocean and let the water's tongue lick my shoes and wash up on my ankles.
I waded in the water, squatted down to touch the coolness, said a sacred "Thank you" and thought about this running journey I have taken up since January.
Running alone. My Independence.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
From the Best of Craigslist:
Date: 2007-05-28, 9:54AM EDT
Is some young homeboy punk the real problem? Where are the parents? I mean really? Whose raising these kids?
If my son came home talking about shoot em up and bitches and hoes, I'm not saying to my self "awwww, it's just a phase" I'm taking the little punk, I'm taking away his "gangsta" clothes and his gangster music and seein' how cool his homeboys figure he is without his bling.
That doesn't work...well then I'm moving, and I don't mean a 30 minute bus ride away so the homies can reunite, I'm talking AWAY. Far away.
"Oh, but my job/house/friends/etc"
F@ck it. This is your kid. This is your blood. Nothing is more important then teaching them now. When they're young.
I know. I was a punk. A pretty bad one too. Ya I got the beats for being bad. Got juvie for being bad. Got yelled at, thrown out whatever you can name. None of it helped because at the end of the day, no matter what the punishment, I was thrown back into the pack of wolves. And in that pack, the punishments just increased my rank. Made me "cooler".
If someone removed my dumb ass from the situation and actually took some time to teach me what being a man was all about, it might not have took me so long to figure it all out.
I know, I'm gonna get blasted. How dare I blame the parents, right? Well, who the hell else is supposed to be installing values, morals, self respect and honor in our kids?
I go to the playground everyday with my kid. Every kid there knows my name, and no, it's not because I'm so cool. It's because day in and day out, I'm the only parent there. Surrounded by kids as young as 7 who are absolutely starving for adult attention. Starving for someone to say this is right and this is wrong. This is how you throw a football, this is how you ride a bike,or no, you don't talk like that or hit girls or a million other things.
How can we expect our children to do well in life if we're passing the buck of raising them to tv trash, video games, overworked teachers with way to many kids and ofcourse our favorite...rap stars. (Ya I know, homeboys...save your rant about it being just music. Murder, rape, drugs, crime, violence etc is not "just music".)
So call me whatever you want, I'm the last guy to have love for the "gangsta's". But keep in mind, they were all born innocent. If a huge portion of the young population are turning bad it's not because there's something in the water. It's because we're failing, and it's up to us to stop it.
Put down the remote/keyboard/phone/whatever. Get off the couch or out of the office. Stop taking all that "time for yourself you so desperately need" and go outside and spend some time with your kids.
I know you're tired. Deal with it.
I know it's been a long day. Deal with it.
I know they want to be left alone. Make them deal with it.
The day you became a parent you stopped being number one. Your wants and desires are insignificant to the task at hand. You'll have time to deal with that in eighteen years when you've lived up to your responsibilities. The most important thing in your life is your child. So suck it up, stop all the bullsh*t excuses and get out there and be a parent.
Oh, and this is a rant...not an argument. I'm not going to be rebutting anyone who calls me an idiot or wants to fight just to fight. It is a rant. It is what I feel and believe in my heart, plain and simple.
Love your kids, the "bad" ones need it the most.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
While it has not been widely known, the first Puerto Rican migrants to the U.S. were deeply concerned with their depiction in the media. Through a wide network of civic, cultural and political organizations, these pioneros confronted discrimination. In 1940, Scribner's Commentator ran an article entitled "Welcome Paupers and Crime: Puerto Rico's Shocking Gift to the U.S.," which said,
"…all Puerto Ricans were totally lacking in moral values, which is why none of them seemed to mind wallowing in the most abject moral degradation."
While forty Puerto Rican organizations, including the Asociación de Escritores y Periodistas Puertoriqueño, organized against this article (Bernardo Vega, p. 203), seven years later the World Telegram ran a series of equally vitriolic articles. This too was met with a vociferous demonstration and picket line that stretched for several blocks (Bernardo Vega, p. 231).
~ excerpted from Puerto Rican Cinema in New York: from the margin to the center by Lillian Jiménez
Ha ha ha. Ha ha. Ha.
Hrm. Not funny.
I am doing a little web research about Puerto Rican cinema and I come across this article. I have also been reading a modern history of Latinos simply titled, Latinos.
After finishing the Kite Runner I ran to the next book to find a sense of self and of place and to have an "academic" perspective on Puerto Rico. Culture is very different when written in academic terms than when sat down to a meal, dancing to music, or addressing one's family. It's foreign and strange to read of one's culture as schizophrenic and impure.
Sera una borica? Is is a Puerto Rican who is writing this?
One must always read with a critical eye, clearly.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Hey, man! Do you like to listen to your favourite station on your mobile device or via that Internet thing?
Apparently there's action to change the revenue model for our online radio stations. Knowing they don't always have the pocketbooks that larger media outlets have that might mean they are squeezed out of the playing field.
Personally, I don't want my internet choices to be whittled down the way my FM radio has been over the last 15 years...where I feel sequestered to one part of the dial and about 4 stations (NPR, Classical, Jazz, Fun Dance Pop) because the rest of the dial has become so homogenized.
We, the 'Net generation, can vote with our (online) access! So save the Pandoras, Lastfms, erika.net's of the world.
Find out more! Make thine choice! Contact thine representatives!
Saturday, June 9, 2007
His sentiments mirror the depths of the caverns of my mind when people ask me why I don't just change jobs and make more money because social benefit work doesn't and may never pay. It has SUCH a condescending tone and it drives me INSANE.
I think to myself,
"Yeah. And any business with a bottom line that puts profit over people does. And there's a HELL of a lot of them.
There are SWATHS of sectors that didn't even START OUT making money to begin with that do that.
I'm glad you're traveling to (hip "ethnic" "out of the way" "servile and gracious population" destination) next week.
Maybe you'll donate some money at some benefit so long as it serves alcohol to offset your carbon emissions...or share with your pal at your next champagne club meeting about how Bono and Bob Geldof really made a moving speech about societies with privilidge CAUSING and ignoring the plight in Africa or bust some rhymes from that SICK hip hop album you adore by Taleb Kwali..."
It's not as easy as that for me.
Call me sensitive.
Here's the poem. Watch the video. Be inspired.
"I make a difference. How about you?"
~ SPEECH ~
What Teachers Make, or
Objection Overruled, or
If things don't work out, you can always go to law school
By Taylor Mali
He says the problem with teachers is, "What's a kid going to learn
from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"
He reminds the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about
Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his
and resist the urge to remind the other dinner guests
that it's also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we're eating, after all, and this is polite company.
"I mean, you¹re a teacher, Taylor," he says.
"Be honest. What do you make?"
And I wish he hadn't done that
(asked me to be honest)
because, you see, I have a policy
about honesty and ass-kicking:
if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor
and an A- feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won't I let you get a drink of water?
Because you're not thirsty, you're bored, that's why.
I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
I hope I haven't called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today.
Billy said, "Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don't you?"
And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.
I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write, write, write.
And then I make them read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math.
And hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you got this (brains)
then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this (the finger).
Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
I make a difference! What about you?
Thursday, June 7, 2007
It was a beautiful day in San Francisco.
I walked along the Embarcadero to meet my coworkers.
Enjoyed a celebratory year-end lunch with my coworkers.
Because I did manage a little faith from my anxiety.
I took a $1500 paycut to make this professional move.
That's the $1500 bucks I saved of vacation time from my previous employer.
And that melted away as soon as the stolen car drama started in September.
For the most part I have eaten. A little thinly lately, but I have eaten. It's why I didn't run last week. You can't train on just rice and beans. Running has meant I eat more often, which bumps up the cost of food. I have paid my rent. I have met my basic needs.
Today I am a little scared. I am not sure how I will get to work over the next week, but I am sure that it will happen. But I am not in the deep depression of despair.
I know that I will welcome my raise come review time in September. I know that my expenses will go down in the summer when I am not driving to four diffent schools and paying $4 a day to cross the bridge.
But today I have that "I am not so sure" feeling in my gut. Today I don't know what the next week will be like.
I know that I will eat. And I know G-d will take care of me.
Today I just have doubt.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Your guardians didn't give up on you. They encouraged you as you stumbled through your steps. It was probably documented.
I feel that working with my last set of students is like working with people I expect to know how to walk but they don't. And my job over the past two weeks has been to teach them how to walk first for the inevitable job of teaching them how to dance.
If they aren't even walking, how can I expect to teach them to dance?
EVERYONE can be taught. Every single person. The luxury of adult life is having an open class schedule. Life lessons are not necessarily from school bell to school bell. And you don't need one skill to build upon another. Sometimes you are your own teacher. Sometimes the world is your teacher. Rarely do you sit in rows and wait for the instruction to be given "Learn this now."
I am working with students who can barely write, let alone barely write a sentence. Getting them to put their heading on their work is a chore. Following instructions such as: "Sit down, don't touch your neighbor, make sure to have your pencil..." is a daily routine.
I feel like my soul is getting sucked out of me repeating these basic tasks.
These students are supposedly college-bound. But they are huffy, they give up so easily because something is "hard" and they act out.
Grant it, I don't know what they're coming to school with...emotionally, physically, spiritually.
I know it's hard to focus on history at the end of the day and schoolyear if things are not stable at home.
I am trying to remember this. I am trying to remember that it's not my job to teach them digital storytelling as it is my job to be a communicator and someone they can practice communication with.
So when I get the pouty 10 year old who is giving me the silent treatment or playing tag in a classroom of $50,000 worth of equipment (some of which they have already broken) or I have to ask repeatedly to whisper to your partner instead of calling across the room I need to have the humility to think that they are practicing these skills. They clearly don't have them yet which is why they can't sit still for 2 minutes or why they forget within 30 seconds of you teaching what they need to do.
If I had them for 2 hours we could iron out the rough spots and then move on to more sophisticated things such as independent work time and guidance.
But for the last week I've felt bogged down by disrespectful 5th graders who seem to not have self-control.
There are a few rays of sunshine who work independently and are patient.
And a good majority of them address me with a friendly "Hi, Miss Ishkabibble" outside of class and then come and hug me. I kiss them on the side of the face and hug them.
I do love them.
But I am not sure if I can parent one of them effectively if I am feeling demoralized after only 3 weeks with them at my "hard core" school.
How does that Serenity Prayer go again?
Monday, June 4, 2007
Checking out the BBC Sports page today I read an article for the 2012 London Olympics logo. I have to admit, I'm a little underwhelmed.
It's kinda avant garde 80s. I could see a Wham! style sweatshirt with this on it. But just like every other piece of Olympic tchotchke, is it meant to be immemorable?
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"La vida es una carnaval." - Celia Cruz
Last Monday I was given the news that family passed away. Louie Del Valle was my brother and sister's godfather and like a Tio to me. His wife passed away in October of 2005. Both were amazing individuals. They had a loving marriage that I some day dream of having...my soulmate who understands and supports me and shares music with me.
From the Del Valles I learned more of my heritage, danced Bomba.
The funeral was this weekend in Upstate New York. My brother and his wife drove up.
While I was in the Bay taking in the possibility of using GIS to enhance digital storytelling, they were celebrating Louie's life...dancing, eating, sharing stories.
I was celebrating in my own way...enjoying Carnaval in all of it's foggy glory in the Mission.
Alone I stood with other parade goers...wondering why the parade started an hour and a half late, but I found my nook and readied the digital camera I borrowed from the school and my laptop to take video.
A flurry of feathers and color and I danced in the street with my fellow latinos...from Brazil to Bolivia to Panama to Trinidad to Granada to Puerto Rico to Guatemala to Mexico...we are a huge wave in the United States. I'm freaked out by our pick and choose immigration laws...but I see the color and flavour we add to the world and I am proud.
So I danced in the streets with my parading companions...some on stilts, some on heels and whooped as my flag passed.
Si, la vida es una carnaval.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
"I don't get teacher food."
- Stated just now by Selasie in my current school when he asked what a tray of wrap sandwiches were. I told him. He looked at them incredulously and then spouted his wisdom. It totally made me crack up on this tense day!
Monday, May 14, 2007
Mami is off shopping for shoes and the day is glorious in the Bronx.
Yesterday was an amazing Mother's Day spent with my abuelita...from washing and drying her hair to dancing with her to traditional Puerto Rican music.
Titi Ana and Mami cooked a feast and we spent it eating and laughing.
My heart is FULL con familia.
Gracias a Dios. Ahora regreso a casa banada en sus almas.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Today's accomplishment was bypassing the Self magazine workout in the park to run my 10 miles.
I passed the Empire State Building, the Guggenheim, the Chrysler Building...all surrounding the Park as I undulated up and down hills gently.
My mind was a little blown. There were PEOPLE out there running...all kinds of people at all kinds of speeds and I have been running solo for the last few months.
After I adjusted to the running traffic, roller blading traffic, bicyclist, and the scent of horses from the horse-drawn carriages, I got into my groove.
I ratched my effort down because I wanted to reserve my energy to last the 10 miles. Today was hot and breezy in Central Park. This is only the second time I have run during the afternoon. (Yesterday was my first...in the Bronx.)
10 miles meant 3 miles longer than the longest run I've done -- uh, two weeks ago.
And the last run I did was last Wednesday for 3 miles and almost passed out. (I forgot to eat breakfast first.) So I really had to psyche myself back into feeling fine about a long run and knowing that I would do it...and what better place to do my longest run than the city of my birth?
Manhattan is rather manicured. Lots of boutique shoppes. Cartier, Gucci and other names other people seem to know are found on 5th Avenue.
I crossed Madison Avenue and breakfast on Lexington after about a mile walk where I took in the doormen, the ladies with their little dogs, and architecture and flats that were gorgeous, but seemingly abandoned. Gorgeous stone facades and details guarded by smartly uniformed men. I appreciated their friendly return of my good mornings.
I had a lovely breakfast at Mon Petit Bistro of a Salmon-Florentine omelet with lovely red potatoes and a mint tea. I sat and thought about how ridiculous and wonderful my evening's romance was and then I thought about what 10 miles meant.
10 miles is almost half the marathon.
10 miles is ridiculously longer than I thought I could run 3 months ago.
I did it. I did it running the lake and past Strawberry Fields. I did it passing the breakdancers down by the racing boats and the Jazz combo a little past the Guggenheim. I did it past the Carousel. I went once and a half around the Park. The PARK!
Different than any other run, I found that I needed to make pit stops to use the rest room and replenish my water. I don't have a hydration system, so I sipped from Central Park's water fountains. New York water isn't as wonderful as I remembered it to be, but it's still pretty darn good. Especially in comparison to the $4.00 price tag the bottled water cost at the hot dog venders. WHAT???
I detoured to 3 gorgeous metal bridges with wooden slats and under two seemingly ancient arches of beautiful stone work. I was bathed in flower petals as they fell on my face.
My knees ache and my face and arms were coated with a white powdery substance that I noticed was salt when I licked my lips.
The Karminsky Experience's "Exploration" played twice and inspired me to keep running. I kept a smile on my face as I ran through my mind and thought of the Race.
Post run snack? A Good Humor strawberry Scooter Crunch (a favourite from childhood), and a banana frozen fruit bar (I wanted the potassium). Yes, I read the labels as I snacked. Definitely not my first choice of nutrients, but my inner child was happy. Chilly ice cream on a summery afternoon in New York reminded me of when I was little and visiting my family here.
Now a nap before abuelita comes and family friends from...30+ years ago! Que RICO!
First destination: S.O.B.s (Sounds of Brazil), but the salsa band was done playing by the time we walked up to the club.
Titi had a plan B - Gonzalez y Gonzalez. No cover. The place was packed and the crowd was dancing merengue skirted by onlookers nursing drinks at the bar.
I was feeling passive.
Bobbing my knees and swaying my hips. The men were in their dress shirts and slacks and the women were in their sexy-licious.
I love being in a space with all Latinos. The standard of beauty has a broader scope. Hips are an asset, breasts are an asset, and every woman has self-esteem enough to wear tight clothes and is brough to the dance floor.
Tonight I had three dance partners. This is more than I have had in the last 5 months dancing at Luka's. I don't mind dancing alone, but I love it when a good salsa lead makes twirling and moving so easy. I danced salsa, merengue and bachata. I really missed bachata for its precision and simplicity and ultimately romantic lyrics.
Then the band came on. I found my mami and my titi talking at the bar and hung a bit with them. My wanderlust set in, though. I had the hankering for late night New York pizza.
And I left the club to follow along Broadway. 4 blocks away was a New York mainstay and I aimed to get my NY slice of pizza.
The weather was still balmy from this evening's earlier thunderstorms. A little sticky and warm and lightened by the breeze.
Along the way I actually received cat calls from construction workers and dudes in SUVs. I walked in my black boots, grey skirt and New York City Girl tank top from Wong's. I walked with purpose.
And I was stopped by Chris (real name: Q____) who told me in his smart shirt and slacks that he loved my hair.
He kissed my hand and asked me out to a drink. I told him I was on my way to grab a slice of pizza and he was welcome to come along.
I wasn't creeped out at all. It seemed perfectly normal that I would ask a New Yorker to accompany me for my pizza excursion.
He explained that he was a classical musician and kept commenting on my hair and I smiled and blushed in a girlie kind of way.
As we walked back to the club in the middle of a smaller street he gallantly drew me to him and kissed me gently on the lips.
I was taken aback, shy about it, and thought to myself that I didn't make it a full year without being kissed.
He clasped my hand as we continued to walk back to Gonzalez y Gonzalez where I knew my Titi and Mami would be worried about me. He told me about his music and I told him I was a teacher.
We leaned against the building as I finished my pizza and made small talk. My Titi and Mami came out and seemed relieved to find me. I introduced Qrisi to them. They went to get the car. I finished my pizza.
Q___ told me I needed to come to New York and stay a week. He cooks. He's a classical musician and has beautiful eyes.
How lovely. My first New York romance, however so brief.
Friday, May 11, 2007
The morning began with a gorgeous thunderstorm and that smell of rain has hung in the air. About halfway into my run as I ran from Grand Concourse to Mt. Eden little drops began to fall out of the sky as I passed by so many beautiful brown people of many ages.
Titi Ana says the Puerto Ricans are being run out of the Bronx. That makes me sad, but I couldn't help but be proud when I saw the flags...everywhere. In people's cars, in a garden outside of an apartment high-rise, fluttering and battered beneath the train tracks of the metro system, on t-shirts, in shop windows was the 5 stripes and stars of the Puerto Rican flag.
As I ran toward Mt. Eden and back toward Yankee Stadium people encouraged me as I ran. En acentos boricuas they wished me luck, congratulated me on my running, told me I looked good running, and even blessed me.
I've been off the lam from running for a little over a week. Tomorrow around Central Park I will do my longest run...10 miles.
Fat raindrops gently came down on my face and streamed down. I'm sure I was steaming a little bit as I ran. People got on and off the bus. Men worked on the new Yankee stadium construction site. Kids ran in front of their mamis. The ice cream man double parked in the street.
A lot of people double parked in the street.
The streets are narrow and the hydrants have a lot of history. The city smells SO good. A familiar smell of home and cooking. Out of the windows stream music...merengue, bachata, salsa, baladas.
The only thing separating the old men from the young men is the shape of their faces. The hats are all tipped to the side, the pants are sagging, and the kicks are the same...a few wrinkles separate the young bucks from the older men.
Que lindo, el Bronx hoy.
Searching Map for organic grocery did not return any results
Map centered on Bronx/Concourse Village, New York, NY
But there are cuchifrito shops that feature everything fried on a pig and jugo de ajonjoli, coco, mango...MMMMMMMM. Last night I had jugo de coco, un bacalaito (a little light on the bacalao unfortunately), and Titi had jugo de ajonjoli (sesame). YUM! (or perhaps as my people might spell it... Llam!)
Estoy en mi hogar, hombres!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I packed a mere 40 minutes before and I cutout the full shower and just focused on the face splash and teeth brushing so I could squeeze in my vitamins.
My 6 am flight to Houston from OAK would bring me a half-continent closer to my titi and my mom and my hometown.
I haven't seen my mom since her house burned down in February.
And these last two weeks after seeing friends from out of town I have been really missing my mother.
In speaking with Titi Ana last week to confirm flight information it finally became real that I would see Mami and bonus for this trip I would also see my Titi and my Abuelita in the same go. Double bonus? My cousin Mario is in NYC as well.
As I boarded my Continental flight I notice that they may have the most narrow seats in the air. Since Americans have increased in size as of late, it seems they have not followed the trend well and for the sake of sardining folks in to maximize their gas dollar, everyone gets to sit uncomfortably.
I made the best of my aisle seat: my right elbow hung off the arm rest and my seatmate to the front leaned the chair back so that when I used my laptop it practically sat atop my breasts. Needless to say, I was a bit squeezed.
After puttering a bit on the laptop I opted for sleep. I pulled out my fuzzy, paisley, purple blanket and buckwheat pillow and nodded. Hours later my row mates tapped my shoulder to use the facilities and were 30 minutes from landing.
This time I was not privvy to the George Bush statue and alcove.
Clearly the creator is merciful.
I did have a friendly encounter awaiting lunch with a gentleman entrepreneur who spoke of losing millions on one business and working to recoup from another business he had started.
Our server was a dymamic young woman who had a friendly call as she served up slices and entertained us weary travelers. I appreciated that she was so upbeat. It softened my brow and I enjoyed my decent cheese pizza with fresh basil and tomato slices.
I also paid $2.09 cents for water. Yikes. Nestlecorp seems to have purchased every water source on the planet. And they are charging top dollar for it.
I continued walking to my gate and noticed on a departure screen that there was a NYC flight departing an hour earlier than my scheduled flight. Hrm...
"It doesn't hurt to ask," I thought.
I headed into to Customer Service, asked if there was room, and sure enough there was. EXCELLENT! An hour sooner meant I might be able to get a run in tonight.
The sun was bright in Houston. The planes gleamed. I was half-way to seeing my mami.
I arrived at my gate and power poached at an outlet beneath the TTY keyboard by a public telephone.
I heard some Spanish. An older Afro-Peruvian woman and a young Meztiza-Puerto Rican woman were discussing using the telephone. The Peruvian woman needed to call her family and the Puerto Rican woman offered it to her, no problem. The Peruvian woman blessed her for her generosity and the Puerto Rican woman graciously said "Of course."
I thought of how we make connections with language, we hispanohablantes. Somehow I don't always feel the same with my English-speaking fellow beings. I can hear a Spanish affect to an English pronunciation, switch to Spanish and suddenly a connection appears. It's awesome.
My new flight was delayed and would land only a half-hour before the original flight.
I sat and watched an older woman's belongings as she went to find some water.
Then we cattle were called after the Elite customers and customers needing extra assistance.
I smiled as I made my way to my window seat. I shared a row with an older couple dressed in smart spring clothes. Beautiful spring greens.
I brought out my blanket and pillow again and crossword puzzle book.
No real desire to solve puzzles I switched to Backgammon on the Mac and the Sun god kicked my butt from a lucky roll.
Then they announced the movie: Music and Lyrics or something featuring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.
Wow. Time to sleep, 2 hours later: Welcome to La Guardia Airport!
Monday, May 7, 2007
We had an amazing lunch at Tikka Masala and then headed off to admire CHOMP! - the Carnivorous Plant exhibit at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.
The sun was merciless.
We parked along Lincoln and walked among families, drum circles, and resident-free folks to find the conservatory, a beautiful glass structure that's been renovated to house an impressive collection of greenery, some of which is completely surprising to think of as members of the plant kingdom.
There are orchids that have fantastic shapes...seemingly out of science fiction, but here they are...among us, coloured to camouflage or to flounce their beauty.
Some of the trees are immense and it's amazing to align some basic foodstuffs with the plants from which they come.
I was most taken by the rice plant. Such a tiny and delicate plant that produces a few grains.
I eat a lot of rice.
And I realize I do none of the work to harvest this plant. It must be gently shaken of its fruit. The grains must be processed...some of it hulled, some of it left with the hull on. It must be sorted and weighed.
All to feed the majority of the world's people.
We never get to hang out in the same way because we're married or have children, or are scattered geographically.
And I also realize that I am resentful of such change.
I am so thankful to have these email relations with people that I have as of late because I sure as heck don't see people anymore.
I'm buried in work and running these days.
I didn't even get to see my boyfriend the webcrawler this weekend...cause I was just too tired.
I did get to see an amazing moon on Saturday night after social event no. 2.
Perhaps I was overwhelmed by trying to make two events in an evening.
I'm slowing down in my old age. I remember when hitting 5 spots in a day was nothing.
Now I'm slowing down and enjoy spending time by myself in my house and it almost seems like work to leave my little next.
What am I coming to?
Sunday, April 29, 2007
After running 4 miles in Portland this week I avoided my training. I've been working a lot and been sleeping a lot.
Today I decided to return to my training after laying in my bed with a terrible headache and seeing that my phone would not relieve me. No one was calling me. Today was an alone day, despite my calling a few folks.
At 6 pm I set out on my run with the sneakers Mitzi gave me a few years ago.
Today I ran my 5 mile route and headed up highway 13 to Thornhill and back.
My knees feel worked right now, but they kept me going. A new playlist on the iPod kept me pushing past the internal limitations.
Today was a lonely day where my run had me asking questions of my worth, ability, reason and the rhythm of running allows me to ask these questions while moving. Even if I don't answer these questions, my body is moving and I am not drowned by my questions.
When I returned home I examined the bottom of my shoes. The training book mentions wear and tear on shoes.
I was a nay-sayer because I have never worn athletic shoes through before, but I find that these shoes that Mitzi gave me are showing wear. The heels are thinning. The rubber padding is not as protective as it used to be.
I am learning that running is a discipline that requires one to use the right equipment. The right shoes are a necessity, not items of vanity.
I am 25% of the way to my marathon.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
“Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.”
Wow. So this weekend I took a much needed vacation up to Portland to be pampered by my friends Mike and Megan. Friday night I missed my flight by moments at the Oakland airport and was stressed out. I called exasperated and they reassured me I would be taken care of, to get on the plane.
I took their advice. I fell asleep on the flight and arrived at 8:30 (a mere half hour after my expected arrival) and was treated to a beautiful warm home with wine and homemake fondue about to be started.
The table was set.
Fondue was being made by our host with a family recipe that gave off such an inviting aroma of garlic, wine, cheese, and kirsch...
Much to my surprise fondue is not a sticky slog in which bread is dipped...it is a delicate flavour that coats and absorbs into the cavities of fine bread. Served with wine and an assortment of fine meats and a salad it was the warmth to relax to and have a pleasant family-style meal to.
Kudos, once again, to the warmth that is Mike's gift to his guests. Never a care or a need...simply relax, enjoy, and partake.
By the end of the weekend I had enjoyed bocci ball in the rain, danced among bellydancers, reminisced about the Muppet Movie, heard an otter grunt, marveled over moss and flowering trees, and marveled over waterfalls.
The weekend was nothing short of a miracle.
This image is from our hike around some falls in Portland.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I ran up and down the hill, both ways, in the wind at night, losing myself around Dimond Park and walked for 3 blocks while I got my bearings. (2.7 miles each way)
I've completed 20% of a marathon without dying.
July 29th, here I come!
Monday, April 16, 2007
My heart goes to the Virginia Tech campus, community and families. When I attended Syracuse we played Virginia Tech often.
Not sure what's going on today. When I read about the shootings on Virginia Tech's campus my heart sank. I know today's shooting were horrific. I know that people must feel fear and betrayal of safety on their campus today. There are families that live with the horror of gunshots in their neighborhoods daily without international attention. Perhaps this incident will make us mindful of all victims of gun violence.
I'm sitting with 6th graders and just thinking to myself...am I doing the most I can so none of my fellow human beings needs to brandish a gun to inflict harm on another human being?
Let love rule. Let peace dictate.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
On April 12 three news agencies joined to recollect his work: the BBC, Al-Jazeera, and Sky News.
His father read a simple and moving statement on behalf of his son for the captors to release him.
Free press is a right we have as human beings to know the world around us and the lives people across this planet experience. Journalists have been under attack over the last few years, not only in the Middle East.
Lend your support: Sign the Petition. Send your message of support.
May his captors have mercy and let him free.
Up to this point we were running to build up time stamina. This week we're hitting numbers...3 miles, 4 miles, 3 miles, and 5 miles.
Tomorrow I will do 5 miles and it will be the longest distance I have run.
Yesterday when I completed 4 miles I was glowing with the thought of having completed 1/6 of a marathon.
I hit the wall at about 2 miles but then I just kept on running...and my path took me from my home in the San Antonio district to Park Boulevard, south to Dimond Park and onto Fruitvale and Farmer Joe's close to MacArthur.
I drive to Farmer Joe's. It's one exit down from my house.
I ran that myself yesterday.
Here's to the next 4 months of training. I AM training for the San Francisco Marathon. I'm 10 miles into now...
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
I am adjusting to new medication. It makes me sleepy. It takes away my mojo. I yawn a lot.
On Good Friday I came home after a long day, the sky was overcast with Bay Area Fog and I was alone. Friends and family were doing their own thing.
It was me and me.
I've been prone to napping a lot and opted for a change of pace. I set on NPR's Friday programming on KALW and drew the bath. I took out my Django Reinhart biography, put on a candle and some incense and floated in warm water until I fell asleep sometime later.
It was healing, wonderful and time passed...I was in there for hours before I toweled off, put on pjs and set to bed properly.
Friday, April 6, 2007
Yesterday morning I woke groggily to the sound of someone crying.
I was annoyed and was hoping that the baby upstairs didn't have something serious going on with him. He's generally a well-behaved kid.
I showered, got dressed for the day and left my house only to hear the crying more clearly. It came from next door and there he was, floppy ears and all and bleeting: a full-sized goat.
He's very cute. A mottled brown and white coat, pale green eyes with vertical slits.
And he bleets.
I bleeted back and welcomed him to the neighborhood.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
[S]leep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. ~Thomas Dekker
The last week and a half have disrupted my usual 6, 7, and 8 hour evening's sleep. Like clockwork I have been in bed by 10:30/11:00 pm and my eyes spring open about 2:30 am. I then try to read, turn on the BBC, toss, turn, drink water, relieve myself, and get to bed some 4 hours later.
The rest of my waking hours are then filled with extensive yawning, a gnawing sensation in my brain, and just a slight sense of not being 100%.
I just came back from a run. I had a 4 hour unintentional nap Monday evening. I woke up about 10 pm, groggy and sad to have missed such a lovely afternoon.
For an hour I lazed in my bed and then after a few moments of Love Line and a few phone calls returned (I missed 5 of them) I decided to run. It was 11:36 pm. If I am going to be awake, why not?
I put a jacket on over my pajamas and out the door I went.
The San Antonio district of Oakland is quite lovely in the evening. A few cats roam the streets as I get into the rhythm of step-step, step-step. I crossed the bridge, I went further up beyond numbered streets and onto streets with names like Ardley. Lovely homes with gardens that scent the evening air under the full moon.
During "Naked Eye" by Lucious Jackson and about 20 minutes out my iPod mini crapped out. I was about halfway out and I had no music. I was thrown off for a moment.
Could I finish my run without my rhythm?
On my return I had the step-step of my feet and my breath: in-in, out-out.
I made it back home. Cats crossed my path. Flowers filled my nostrils. A few cars sped on past my person.
I'm a little sleepy and hope to sustain sleep at least for a 5 hour stretch.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
“I made you a kite so you would have to look up.” - Anonymous
Today is National Kite Flying Day. It's blustery and chilly in the SF Bay Area. If March comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion and I am feeling the breath of the lion's roar...my neck is bundled more and my shorn head is sporting hats.
Kite flying is one of my most favourite activities to do in the entire world.
It sits in the back of my car so when I have the urge I take a short drive to Alameda Beach or a longer drive to Ocean Beach and set it aloft in the air. Against blue or black sky (I don't discriminate) I watch her rise with only the air's assistance and I marvel that this material stretched across a frame is floating. When the wind is hard enough the string sings with vibrations.
It's one of the most freeing things in the world.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I am having the priviledge of hearing Dr. Staggers speak again at a conference. His research in deep relaxation to support general health is pretty amazing.
He mentioned the four states of consciousness necessary for a health life:
• Dream (protein synthesis takes place, thinking processed)
• Deep Sleep (repair of body happens in this state of sleep)
• Awake Relaxation (most people are deficient of this)
He spoke today at the "Be Still" Conference sponsored by the Critical Mass Health Conductors and The Black Women's Media Project.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
My new students are updating School House rock to include scientific topics that are relevant to kids today!
I AM SO JUICED. Today their teacher showed them School House Rock science videos and they remarked how it was old because Pluto wasn't a planet any more. =)
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Boo to person who called me ugly on Youtube. I just put up an Obama video, that's all.
But in a note of cuteness...I visited the rest room on Sunday at Corpus Christi Church before running back home. A little girl, her mom, and her sister Nancy were handling their business in the stall next to me. The little girl asked her mother if Nancy had to use the potty, too. Her mother replied yes and also remarked that Nancy was going to learn how to use the potty this summer by herself.
"Really?" replied the girl, all excited. "This summer? TOMORROW?" implored the little girl.
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
And I'm feeling good
~ Nina Simone
My knees feel so much better than 24 hours or even 48 hours ago.
As I run, I get stronger. Period.
Sunday I ran out and in two weeks I could make it to the Mormon Temple.
That's amazing. Midway through the run I was close to Corpus Christi Curch so I stood in the back in the family area where pandemonium ensued with toddlers walking about or signaling back and forth and families looking excited or harried, depending on which parent was on duty.
I made it for the 1st, 2nd, and Gospel readings and then stretched again before heading back for home. Lovely church, diverse church. It's been awhile since I've encountered a black priest. The homes in the upper Park District are lovely.
Then Mitzi came over to help pimpear mi casa. By April 1st it will be presentable and I will have a gathering...brunch, lunch, something.
Today feels calmer than it has in awhile. Tomorrow I'll start getting some answers I need. Work is going well. I hear good things from my mom. And this morning's rain was a lovely reminder that global warming hasn't finished us yet. Someone's paying attention to the news. Americans are beginning to ask key questions of their leaders and are averaging 29 hours of television viewing a week. Whoah. (I'm about 29 hours behind the curb. Yikes.)
So as Nina Simone sang, I'm feeling good.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
So today I sent two packages to my mom via the United States Postal Service.
I spent the morning reminiscing and collecting little things to send and filled a MacBook box and an Adidas box of memories and gifts.
Because of my family and Bay Area friends and some sleuthing to my former schools I included the following to my mami:
1. 2 bottles of perfume given to me by Maritza & Frances
2. 2 DVDs of footage taken during her birthday this year
3. 1 CD of music inspired by her 60th birthday
4. Sage brush collected on a trip to Yosemite organized by Huy and Michelle two years ago
5. A ceramic cross glazed blue
6. Puerto Rican sesame seed candy
7. A box from Spain's Alhambra
8. Family & friend photos from my parents wedding - a few years ago - too many people to thank.
9. Candles, candle holder
10. Seashell from Agate Beach collected with Megan on New Years Day 2007
11. Seashells from Belize that Christine collected
12. 2 decorative scented sachet bags
13. 2 dark blue taper candles, 6 orchid tealight candles & glass candleholder
14. 1 Lenox Christmas 1st Noel decoration
15. A chocolate/pink silk pillow
16. An Indian style, multi-material pillow case
17. What else did I send?
All of these things I wrapped up in a MacBook box and then wrapped in the brown paper of recycled grocery bags and taped up.
When I stopped by the post office in downtown Oakland, I walked up the marble steps and my footsteps echoed down the hallway as I got on cue. Two inches of lucite separated me from the postal worker and a lucite dolly rotated my packages from my side of the wall to her side of the wall.
She asked me if there were any flammable liquids inside. My brain immediately thought of the perfume.
Apparently perfume cannot go express mail.
How do they send it then? There are tons of perfumeries in the United States. Don't tell me all of them ship via ground mail. That just can't be true. And in the case of crossing oceans, it is impossible.
But it is true. So mami's pillows will arrive in about 3 days. Her pictures and other things with the card to explain it all will arrive in 6 - 8 days.
Hrm. Good to know. Good to know.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Heh, tonight after my mind was blown away by the content and performances in The Last King of Scotland, Christine dropped me back off at home and I ran.
After seeing the sociopath dictator Amin cast his sunshine on some of his subjects and his shadow on others, I needed to clear my head.
Earlier in the run I chose some happy, Brazilian tracks to lighten my step. To my surprise I was crossing over 580 sooner than I had anticipated and with less gravity pulling my legs down.
My thighs are still ample and I feel them jiggling beneath me with a little extra ripple with each step, but my strength is increasing. I am not as winded as I have been earlier in the program.
I ran further up Park Avenue. The view of Oakland was amazing and I got closer to the Mormon temple. Not sure what that means.
On the way back I ran out further so I could listen to more music. As I crossed the small bridge over 580 I saw my shadow large against the freeway.
That felt powerful.
Today feels okay. My aunt, sister, and mami were together in mami's new apartment. I had an accupuncture appointment, and had the day off. Christine came over with dinner and the we filled our brains with The Last King of Scotland.
Malaise has gone underground again.
The weather was gorgeous, although the daylight savings thing kinda throws off the effect of fires in the streets.
The best song ever of the evening was an arabic version of The Ketchup Song I heard on my way back to my car.
Thanks, again, Houman for organizing and to Lenny for buying me a cider. Next round's on me.
Aide Shoma Mubarak! May the Springtime bring us
peace, joy, plenty, and other good things.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
"Hell hath no fury like my damn period." - EPM
Jesus. Being among newly pubescent women has put off my woman meter something fierce. I just switched to a new school and am working with 7th graders this time.
I was expecting the ball to drop somewhere around the end of February, but it did not.
Okay, I thought. We'll skip it this month. No big whoop.
WRONG. My breasts are sore as hell and I can't even sleep on my side because they were so tender and I craved empty-carbed crunchy things (read: rice crackers) like I was some kind of MSG addict for the last two weeks. Jogging is proving painful both above and below the waistline.
Finally on Sunday night when I was dancing I felt a little twinge of "HERE I AM! YOUR TITI FLOW!" and checked to confirm.
Oh yes, it had begun.
It's now day three and this thing has been kicking my ass. I have been in a perpetual state of pain for 3 days. Aspirin and warm baths provide minor relief. My appetite has been sporadic at best.
I want to do a live dissection and jar my uterus until it stops being unhappy.
Clearly there are 12 and 13 year olds who are more alpha to me. I don't like being at the pheromonic whim of pre-teens.
Monday, March 12, 2007
My first high school sent me my yearbook...as part of my pursuit to reclaim memories for mom. My first high school was Trinity High in Shiremanstown, PA. GO SHAMROCKS!
Mami moved into a new apartment on Saturday...this picture trips me out...in my portion of the alphabet we were a little diverse...but I have to say looking through the yearbook is a walk back into PNP world...and I was super unaware of it in 87...20 years definitely changes one's perspective...
Anyway, while dancing I got that "hmmm" feeling and after the song I checked it out. Yep, the bleeding had begun....great.
Anyway, time to go a little back in the day.
I bet you didn’t know I was an America fan.
Yesterday I drove to Arnold on the invitation of a river friend and with the support of Christine.
I had a day-long training at Mills College. My head was filled with Teaching-For-Understanding Model learning and application. I was hungry because the conference vittles were not sufficient enough to keep the glycemic index from going haywire and I was feeling very lonely.
I wanted to run away. So I called my friends knowing that in Arnold 4 couples + one other 3rd wheel awaited me. But it was a road trip. I needed to get away.
Under the gorgeous veil of sky with new stars popping in by the second, filling the sky with pin pricks of light, illuminating the shadows of the round hills as I drive into Gold Country and along Highway 4 and on to Arnold. The radio featured plenty of rock en espanol, classic rock, America, Christian stations and country stations. The miles were lonely.
I was sort of dreading the couples...
My friends here in the Bay are now officially mostly paired, married, or bred. ALL AMAZINGLY GOOD PEOPLE with really functional relationships. However, we singletons are dwindling and that critical mass of singletons dwindling means that hang out time has diminished, a lot.
I do have options. I could actually socialize more.
Like I did tonight.
After running this morning next to snow banks in a tank top under a gorgeous blue sky and in 70 degree weather (let’s be fair..20 min. jog, 5 min. walk, repeat) at 4000 feet, driving home, and then decompressing with Christine I almost went back home, but I felt a pull to Luka’s. It’s been months since I have been dancing.
I am NOT waking up at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow to run. I have been soloing my training lately, so why NOT dance? I miss music…I am going dancing.
And I did.
Erick was Djing and was kind enough to dance with me. He didn’t recognize me at first. He thought I was one of the black lesbians who came by a few weeks ago. I assured him no. I’m not too paranoid that I look like a black lesbian, but it does underline the fact that most folks associate hetero chickdom with some amount of crown hair (unless cancer is involved).
Salsa, samba, merengue, reggaeton. I danced. I am out of practice, but I danced. My barefoot meter is black enough. I think I supinate, too.
Jeans, velvet purple skirt-turned-bandeau shirt, brass cuff…I was somehow in uniform.
I ordered from the bar my brown rice tea and an orange cardamom crème brulee, because that looked amazing.
Luka’s did NOT disappoint, as per usual.
The crème brulee was serious. Crispy sugar layer perfectly carmelized so I could tap my spoon through it to reveal the soft underneath. I broke through with my spoon and brought it to my mouth. My nose detected the orange 2, 3 inches away. This aroma gave way to the sweet spiciness of the cardamom.
Not a combination I usually encounter, but ridiculously tasty.
I used this as a refresher between song sets. One loving spoonful at a time.
As I danced, I thought of the last times I had been dancing with friends. A few weeks back I met Solomon and his friends at Rocapulco for an evening of Salsa. Before then I went dancing with my mami for her 60th birthday. Before then I think I took myself out dancing sometime in November. Before that? Perhaps monthly to Luka’s, solo. I think Antonio came with me to Yoshi’s in December. And I think Stern Grove of last year was when a cohort of us were dancing in the same space.
When I shared my disgruntlement about this with Mike on the phone earlier he said maybe it’s time to find new friends.
I need to recommit myself to my solo dates. There was a time when I would take myself out dancing 2, 3 times a week where I could find it for cheap because I wanted to go dancing, regardless of people’s schedules. I never told anyone because I figured people were busy anyway and people are usually into doing something other than what I am into. It's just how it's worked.
Sometimes I would find dance kin and other times I did not. Once I found a smooch partner and that was fun. It even led to a date, which was delightfully surprising. I was treated to mom’s recipe of a curried fish and rice dish. Lots of punk, some Indian music. That was in...May? I think I got a parking ticket that night.
Dancing is one of the only things I am selfish with.
Between songs, in addition to the orange cardamom crème brulee I reflected upon what I would like the rest of 2007 to be like by drawing on a napkin. I drew the SF Marathon, me on a motorcycle, me with a neat room, travel to visit family, a passport, icons of a heart afire, body images, spiritual images…and I ran out of inspiration.
D. sat down next to me, was drawing from his cider and began chatting me up. D. wore a tie-dyed black and orange t-shirt, jeans, low top Chuck Taylors, and was really excited when Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” was remixed reggaeton style. He said the song came out when he was in second grade and I giggled. I told him it came out when I was a sophomore year in high school. He told me I looked much younger than my age. Turns out his math was a little off, he was probably in Middle School when it came out, but we commiserated on making the perfect tape off the radio, waiting for your favourite song, cutting out the commercials…crafting it.
Ah, the mix tape conversation. Loaded conversation. Keep it light, Eriqua. This perfectly nice stranger doesn’t need to know your baggage..and so I proceed to talk about the mix tape philosophy…how they are made and we exchange what goes into them and the embarrassment of the unrequited mix tape.
This is a good conversation.
He also proceeds to tell me he’s been going to City College for 10 years and is currently a computer science major.
A dilletante? I ask. No, he responds. No return quip. Hrm. The music is turning to reggae and I am looking for my shoes. Time for the feet to be put away. Time to go home.
I clear my plates and tea to the bar. I wait for the barkeep to tell her how awesome the crème brulee was. I’m at the end of the bar.
D. finds me to tell me he enjoyed speaking with me and I firmly shook hands with him. “Me too.” And I proceeded to tell him how cool Luka’s is. Everyone can hang out here. It’s a good place.
30-something D. Longish hair D. Some light coloured eye D.
I wasn’t looking for D. or anyone else tonight.
I was looking for America to sing, knowing that I am a sucker for their guitar-strumming, sentimental, and gentle lyrics.