Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Palabras para Hoy - 27 de Marzo 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

Brilliant People Among Us: Dr. Frank Staggers, Jr.

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:

• Wakefulness
• 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

My Next Boyfriend Might Be in Chi-town

Thanks to Mike and craigslist for making this possible...

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. =)

Such smarties!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Someone called me ugly online...and Nancy is joining us...

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.

Palabras para Hoy - 20 de marzo

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
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

Obamarama 07

St. Pattys Day...gorgeous day... Frank Ogawa Plaza...Barack Obama

Snack Chip Spot

Friday, March 16, 2007

Priority Mail...but No Perfume

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

Run/Walk - 1 Hour+

I am RULER of Park Avenue!

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.

Chahar Shanbeh Souri @ The Persian Center in Berkeley

Ah, last night the streets were on fire...friends, music, bonfires...what more can a girl ask for?

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

Palabras para Hoy 13 de marzo

"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

Triquetra 1987

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...

D'oh! Syracuse Overlooked for March Madness!

What the hell? We had a decent record this year...

Orange, we have been robbed!

This Is a Poem for...

Okay, so my genius class is working on "This is a Poem for..." and they are performing these radical poems about historical figures...and they rock...

I'm on the rag and sustaining 20 minutes of running, dammit

My period is a week late and when she's late she kicks me in the abdomen like elephants stampeding. It sucks. It came on the dance floor while I was dancing to Yerba Buena's remix of La Candela (featuring Orishas). THE SONG IS ROCKS MY WORLD. My father had "La Candela" and I remember it at house parties growing up...GREAT classic salsa song.

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.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

8 March - International Women's Day

You are a woman.

Perhaps you came into the world as a woman.

Perhaps you sang your way from your mother.

Perhaps you cried your hunger until you were fed.

You did not hide your voice
or your needs
There is no shame in your needs.

Communicate clearly!
You are a woman!

You come from generations upon generations
of nurturing, creating, refinining, and sacrifice.

Because of you we have a measure of beauty.

Because of you we have an insistence for justice.

Because of you the world must take pause
and take note of all that is precious.

Thank you for your songs, your shouting, your silence, your strength, your traditions.

Thank you for your laughter, your meals, your dancing, and keeping the hearth.

Thank you for taking and upholding your birthright as a woman.

~ epm, "You are a woman" 08.mar.07

Yours in sisterhood,


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Ghost Rider...

Last King of Scotland was sold out, so I went to the Grand Lake Theater instead. Ghost Rider was playing.

I was the only one in the theater until the previews came on.

Then two more people joined in.

There's free wifi here, which is cool.

Much like Daredevil, this Marvel interpretation fell a little short, but was enjoyable. A little cliche and a little creepy with the whole selling soul to the devil business.
Nicholas Cage is fun, and it's wild to see the same chick from Hitch as the love interest in this film. She also plays a reporter again, but this reporter is not nearly as engaging. Her breasts feature prominently throughout the film.

The Dark Angels from the different elements of nature were a cool twist on the evil angel thing, too. I'll have the check the comic book for more comparisons.

The previews for Spiderman 3 look AWESOME and I cannot wait to swoon over Tobey Maguire again this summer.

He's just dreamy.

Brain Pain and the Last King of Scotland

Man, my head's been thumping all day.

I ran last night and ate a fulfilling dinner.

I even made eggs for breakfast this morning, but about 2 hours into a review meeting for my project my brain SCREAMED for sustenance.

What is UP with my head lately? Does training cause such an imbalance?

So I ravenously ate a vegan lunch with plenty of tofu and vegetables and got to work updating the computer lab at the school...and it's two hours later and my brain is once again humming for some sustenance. Just above and behind my ears. I have no idea what centers of the brain these are at the moment, because recall is a difficult skill to recall at this moment...
damn. Ouch.

The Parkway Theater is playing The Last King of Scotland tonight at 7 pm. Forrest Whitaker rocks the Casbah.

The performance is supposed to be outstanding and Idi Amin is one of those characters who was alive and well in my early years. I wasn't really aware of his role and impact on the world until much later.

Mmmm...couch, popcorn with Brewer's Yeast, and a hot tea.

Dude...Dig the Music

Colors Magazine has never steered me wrong. In addition to their bilingual content in a variety of English and... format, they have branched out into all manner of media...

Every issue has taken a magnifying glass to issues that may seem mundane until you peer them from outside the North American continent bubble.

Check out the sounds!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Palabras para Hoy 6 de Marzo, 2007

I always loved running... it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.
~Jesse Owens

I am no Jesse Owens...

So I changed out of my smart teaching clothes yesterday and put on some old sweats. I was going to do my running along the Alameda Beach. Endorphins, I have been told, keep the General Malaise at bay.

My thighs burn from Saturday's run and they had been burning since my Ash Wednesday run. The Arnica montana gel has been a temporary help. Last night's tiger balm switched my concern from the burning sensation to the cooling sensation that prevented me from sleeping for a good 40 minutes.

But I did it. I sustained 2 segments of 5 minute walk, 15 minute jog.

On flat land on a beach it was certainly easier than running eastward and up into the hills of Oakland. I counted my minutes with music. So much easier with music. My makeshift fanny pack consisted of a shirt tied about my waist and a little toiletry bag with a zipper that held my car keys and the iPod Mini (silver).

I started at the south end of Alameda Beach, just south of the bowling alley and made it just a touch past the northern part of the beach, before it heads into the park and back in 30 minutes. I walked as a cool down toward the end and walked into a neighborhood of homes that were well kept and filled with families I didn't know.

In less than 5 months I will run across the Golden Gate Bridge.

General Malaise be damned.

Monday, March 5, 2007

New Curtains, Brain Veil

Mami left a message for me this morning:

"Eriqua, do you remember the Tiffany eggs you gave me a long time ago?"

My mind was groggily blank. I had been straddling the line between asleep and awake since 4:30 this morning. Asleep won and I didn't run this morning.

A dull throb hung in my frontal lobe and rotated to the back of head. Yesterday I rummaged through my living room with my friend Ronnie who told me my clutter wasn't hopeless. I was at a place where I would have pulled my hair out if I had any to pull.

I put up scarves as curtains in my wealth/prosperity corner. And everything else seems like an explosion of papers, clothes, collected items, and music.

"Mami, I am sorry, I don't remember..."

"It's okay. I'm going through all of this before the insurance man comes and it brings me down, but I'll be okay."

"Ay, Dios" I think to myself. A long healing process is ahead. On top of my own healing from The General Malaise which has been in check for a little bit...but over the last two weeks I have fallen off the marathon training. I ran on Saturday. My legs still hurt. I am supposed to be able to jog for 15 minutes straight this week.
I am supposed to...is an enemy phrase.

Dios mio.

I listened to the news too much this weekend. 2 bombings in Afghanistan that killed civilians. More American troops and Iraqui civilians dead this weekend. A looming potential for the United States to invade Iran.

And I have a pet peeve for the use of the word "crusade" to mean something like "a cause with conviction." Crusades were unjust wars of Church greed, in my opinion. In the name of "God" we sent soldiers to protect the "Holy Land" against the Muslims. The Church sent children to these wars. I don't think the term "crusade" is heroic or Christian at all. We'd never allow the term "holocaust" to be used in the same way.

The greatest commandment is supposed to be "Love one another." Any kind of war seems to be completely antithetical to this simple three word statement.

Christ, and now David Gray's "Babylon" is on right now. Cue tears.