Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Monday, February 26, 2007


I have always kept Lent. It was how I first justified being a vegetarian. I was born into the lifestyle, and as an adult something that I haven't moved away from.

It makes sense, the two months of celebration from Christmas to Fat Tuesday, falls perfectly in the history of Mardi Gras. When I received an email seeking solidarity through Lent, from my favorite Chicana author, I did feel somehow reaffirmed. Although I do not hide nor impose my religion, I very rarely share my experiences of it outside my family. If someone asks about my virgencita votives througout the house- I tell them.

My good friend with her first born admitted she always knew she would return to the church when she had a child. A very famous documentarian recently said the same in an interview- if she did not give her child faith, then he would have nothing to fight off the arguments of 'other' more extreme religions. She is Catholic and through her documentary got inside the Christian right. She did not want her child to be defenseless in their presence.

So that is what parents do, arm their children with a center and true north that only they can choose to continue. I decided to invite a friend to mass, not sure how cool that would seem, but better than going alone. She accepted, and we giggled a bit as the singing sort of bordered on a musical. When they spoke of love, as being all there is- we nodded in agreement. Then the Sade song came to mind, and I whispered it to my friend and we laughed again.

Words stood out to me in those 45 minutes: Love, social justice, alms giving, and I realized maybe for the first time, that some very revolutionary thoughts were professed here. Actually I had the same thought at my Padrino's funeral, as stern as the priest appeared, the message was beautifully clear.

Catholicism is a tradition in my family, like all good traditions not perfect but meaningful for those that hold them. Growing up If I was in Tijuana during lent my Tia Engracia would make the best little egg battered and deep fried tortas de nopal y camaron on Fridays. I remember we ate them topped with the fresh tomato cilantro salsa and the white butter and milk rice just perfectly adorned with julienned green chiles and carrots that only our Nina can make.

My memories and traditions always lead me, back to mi familia.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Our Favorite Mexican

I think the special is called Americas Mexican, on HBO...George Lopez is brilliant and live from Phoenix.

I was able to catch his live show at the Gibson amphitheater one new years eve and although he was crude- the relatability was real. A true story teller he effortlessly weaves critical commentary into his comedy that is unparalleled.

The man is saying something worth listening to. If he ran for office, I would vote him in. LMAO.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Oh Canada!

The sun was out, the air was crisp, people power walked on by, and couples took their time talking as they strolled. Not far from where I sat seagulls played in a puddle of left over rain water and in the the near distance I could see dogs running towards and away from the water as the waves crashed. Just another day in the cool sun reading the newspaper on the ocean boardwalk.
It was a good morning to be out in the open. The first time I visited the ocean in the cold, was at my friends insistence that it would lesson my homesickness and heartache. She was right. It was a cold January visit to the beach but that didn't seem to stop anyone else from visiting the shore. There is something about the water that makes everything and everyone seem closer.
Since then my good friend has eloped and moved to Portland to have her first child. I imagine when she returns in September we will bring him out to visit the water his mami loves so much.
Thinking back to when I would travel across an ocean my parents would pay a visit to the ocean also. I am a big fan of my parents and I like growing into understanding some of those things you do not understand until you experience. I think it is called wisdom. Today was full circle, the ocean, the cold, the sun, and the amusing headline about Canada turning people away at the border.
I coin it border karma: Suddenly U.S. citizens are being turned away at the border on their way to ski trips because of their record, and what the paper called minor infractions like DUI's or shoplifting. They attributed it to the homeland security act that has a data agreement between people entering and leaving the U.S. and Canada. All I could thing as people worth millions were turned away was- aha, your own beliefs are biting you in the arse. And suddenly you feel the oppression, and discomfort you impose on your neighbors to the south...que bueno.
Supposedly this is just the beginning---and it is expected that more nations will turn away unsuspecting U.S. citizens as they try to enter their countries. Seems you don't need a fence to keep people out after all, just a really good data sharing source.
p.s. i don't know how to fix the formatting on this post! sorry...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Only been to the big easy once but it was memorable. I think it is important to remember the great city that is rising from the loss. That does not exempt us from the atrocious handling in the wake of Katrina, just to say the city has an unbreakable spirit...

Although I will never admit how I came about my beads, I do remember fondly my visit being full of warm comforting hospitality. The day was supposed to be spent conferencing but I distinctly remember laying out on the rooftop pool, looking out onto the Mississippi as the barges slowly moved by, and I sipped slowly something refreshing.

Sure, the nights were full of live music, large hurricane tumblers and for some reason late night fried food- why not? I remember taking the St. Charles street car, all the way down to the turnaround. Getting off and buying little glass bottles because you could drink everywhere- it was a park along the way that caught our eye, where we drank by the water and recalled how as little girls our dad would take us to feed bread to the ducks in the pond. Just like the ones we saw before us, so many miles away. Some moments, you know, will never be as good again.

Looking back now I see how much of a transition that year was: From LA to SF, Relationship to Single, Sister to Only daughter. And yet, the beads have remained on the back of the door, before you even knew how much exploitation went into making them, you kept them because they are the only tangible remnants that are moving forward with you, from that time and place...
The unique local Mardi Gras organizations known as Krewes were fostered by these various strong cultures who tended to form mutual aid societies devoted to promote the general improvement in their member lives. While the first women carnival club event was staged in 1896 by the "Les Mysterieuses" ladies, all-women Mardi Gras parades are a rarity amongst the Krewes organized around traditional values of family, community and social status. The main event for krewes is their annual Ball which often stars members daughters as debutantes and the Queen and the older male members who help their King perform the ceremonies as Dukes. Traditional Mardi Gras Balls are strictly private containing long standing rituals whose mystery would be diluted by outsiders.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Some days you sleep till noon, your toes feel like they are going to fall off, and in your hair and high thread count sheets- a definite club funk. That particular mix of sweat, perfume, and smoke, reminding you of the club you were at the night before...

When you are shopping with your friend in Bloomingdale's for her perfect break up jeans and your dearest friend from LA calls that she is in town and will be out on the town, without question you know where you are going to be tonight.

It doesn't take much convincing, it is your favorite dj from NYC guaranteed to play the sounds that will take you back and forth between your present life and the one you have lived the last 12 years.

It has been the year of Lil Louie Vega, heard him at what feels like to big of a space now, Deep in Hollywood. Then at a tasty and intimate club Pink in the Mission, and last night at the End Up in SOMA.

A beautiful night of music shared between friends from LA and SF, memories of long weekends passed, never an empty drink, sharing a clove, sharing a dance, a quick hug as you recognise an acquaintance you have made over the years in your new city...the sun is out, the memories fresh the day hopeful and full of luv. The lush vocals and deep tribal beats will move you through the week.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


My friend says that, "with baking there's rules." This after realizing I couldn't make pancakes for breakfast because there was no krusteux mix, or bisquick, and the Betty Crocker cookbook asked for real buttermilk in their recipe (ick!).

So, I looked at the ripe banannas sitting in the fruitbowl and thought how hard can it be? So, I decided to make a banana bread except...I didn'thave enough flour, I don't know if the flour was self rising or not so I went ahead and added the baking powder anyway, and well, I couldn't find the pan my roomate usually uses. It is not really a special pan, just a boring glass and sort of rectangular pan.

Anyway, I decided to use a prettier, bundt pan with elaborate designs for my baking. It wasn't until I took it out of the oven and tried to turn it over onto a plate that I realized maybe, the elaborately designed bundt pan was not meant for banana walnut bread?

Fortunately, my friend suggested I let it cool and then managed to extract it from the pan. So here it is, my lovely bundt cake-- that looks a lot better than it taste. Hey, who knew you had to follow recipes...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Aye Amorcito...

Yesterday: Love and more love, from family, friends, y pretendientes near and far fueled the crusade against grumpy co-workers, an unexpected phone call from a friend that needed a dive bar intervention, a houseful for thai dinner, champagne, red wine and Bollywood films...Spontaneity the best gift of all.

Today: Still love, love, but NYC and LA feel really far away, and cravings for all things mexique arise, since it is not always possible to indulge, turn to music that satisfies in a similar way...

Don Jose Alfredo Jimenez- El Rey

Yo sé bien que estoy afuera
pero el dia en que yo me muera
sé que tendras que llorar

Llorar y llorar
llorar y llorar

Diras que no me quisiste
pero vas a estar muy triste
y asi te vas a quedar

Con dinero y sin dinero
hago siempre lo que quieroy mi palabra es la ley
no tengo trono ni reina
ni nadie que me comprenda
pero sigo siendo el rey

Una piedra del camino
me enseñó que mi destino
era rodar y rodar

Rodar y rodar
rodar y rodar

Después me dijo un arriero
que no hay que llegar primero
pero hay que saber llegar

Con dinero y sin dinero
hago siempre lo que quiero
y mi palabra es la ley
no tengo trono ni reina
ni nadie que me comprenda
pero sigo siendo el rey.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I try to assert being a city girl as often as possible. At least I think that is what I am trying to do when I plan to take public transportation. In from a full day of presentations, I was really looking forward to brewing a liquid lift in the form of Chiapas grown and fairly traded coffee my friend had brought back.

Even then, I was relieved that I was going to a Peruvian dinner party, so the time it started really meant nothing. It was rainy the train a block up would leave me directly in front of their home along the water, it would be an easy ride over. Still, when my friend said she was headed that way and graciously insisted she drop me off, it was then that I got my second wind. We caught up on the ride over then went our separate ways on a Saturday night.

I love my gente, no one even mentioned I was two hours late, because no one would be sitting down to eat for another two hours. The sense of time in America Latina is soo beautiful! Something their counterparts could learn a thing or two from. It was a familiar night full of friendship, y platica bien agusto, yummy pisco sours, and food.

As I geared up to take the train home, I got an absolute, "No, como, estas loca! Nosotros te damos un jale para alla," said the birthday girl host. On the trip over with her husband they made plans for us to go out, they had some people they wanted me to still meet: I had to say thank you, for them going out of their way and making this city feel so much like home.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bright & Shiny

Suddenly I do not mind the rain so much. Up early to review for the workshop I will be facilitating later today, the rain outside is my only company. It used to feel like such a huge inconvenience, now I appreciate how it makes the smell of earth rise. The water running down the hills and streets makes it all shiny and new- like. Besides, just when I think I am going to take my car to get washed, the rain starts and then I have one less thing to do.

Everything about this city is easy and managable. Seems my new yoga habit has a hefty monthly price tag- no problem, that is why they have a voulunteer program. I volunteer a few hours to the well being of the studio and in exchange- unlimmited yoga! The best part is I think this path leads to Burning Man this summer: The legendary arts and culture celebration that leaves the city looking like a ghost town.

The studio community reminds me of my days at an East Hollywood bookstore. The time at Espresso was as much a part of completing my masters degree, as the coursework. It was a fun outlet built around a creative and conscious community. It is not nostalgia that I feel but with the rain a sense of connectivity, how all paths seem to lead to our intentions.

The stark contrast is in Academia. Sitting accross from a beaurocrat, I look at the clock and mention I have to leave shortly to volunteer. "Oh, you have time to volunteer?" It is in exchange for yoga. "I thought you adjusted your lifestyle to write more," well I tell her with a straight face, my mother in Los Angeles told me I was getting fat, and maybe I should do something about it. I smiled and I nodded waiting for her response, which becuase I felt like she was meddling I knew would just result in her self consiousness.

Instead I heard, "Oh, well how much did you write this past semester," not as much as I would have liked. "Well maybe you should evaluate your time management," I had two deaths in the family. " I am sorry," it is okay, thank you.

It was not concern from a point of care, or from a resourceful mentor, just another person, that had to sign a paper, and felt my approach to the dissertation was not as expected...across campus I confided in a good colleague and he laughed, "I love that you were so blunt, I say that kind of shit all the time."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Just predicting mi Mexico will be kicking some US arse!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Starts with "S"

I am pretty good about not going out. At least if I say I am staying home to work, I do.

However, when your friend calls because she has been stood up! Well then, of course you agree to go over. She has already opened a bottle of wine and ordered Thai. By the second bottle of red wine you realize she has not been stood up at all. Rather, his French accent made the day to meet unclear on the long-winded voicemail, see you assure her, it was all a mistake. Alright time to go home.

Except, now you friend who is no longer feeling stood-up thinks it would be a great idea to meet up with your friends that are already out. So, you must admit, just in case you did pack your make up bag as you rushed out the door. First stop a Lounge where after red wine all you want is a Redbull...but you get the sneaky suspicion your drink includes vodka.

Since you are out your other girlfriend decides she has to go to Supper Club. Only because you are certain the bar will be closed by the time you get there you agree to go. You are not driving, and now you are amped out on Redbull. So there you are drinking water and eating popcorn with the owners.

You were going to stay home before your friend thought she got stood up, and now you have to laugh when your party announces a nearby loft party, of course. Oh my, trouble, like top shelf open bar trouble...and among the good music and distinguished people you are amazed at how sometimes things take off with out you.

Music ends, the fuzzy and non fuzzy alike gather around to go eat, seek out more music, and eventually you hope head home...It is now Saturday, you will stay home for sure, and Sunday is some silly Superbowl thing you agreed to meet up with friends around, of course it is never that simple :)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Top Shelf Girls

The week started strong with guest list love and new LA friends. I felt particularly shiny and cleansed following 5 days of Bikram, my adoration has much to do with the warm 105 degree temperature you practice in for 90 minutes...I will simulate warmth anyway I can. Much better than fake baking I think.

New fronts with familiar friends, co-presenting on a topic I really care about. Work aside an official girls night had 7 of us toasting to margaritas- by the pitcher. A walk over to a famous lounge previously owned by our mayor they say...There was dancing, bad pictures on camera phones and guys that approached us but didn't encroach on our girls night, where boyfriends were left behind for the night, the single girls have to follow the code too.

To my surprise I got a call the next day to confirm a dinner date. None of my friends could tell me exactly who I had agreed to go to dinner with. Nonetheless, it was one of those pleasant surprises that I had to admit to him was like a blind date. Alas he is not 'fuzzy,' either my male friend later determined but chivalry counts in my book. Besides, intelligence is sexy.

Back to work and the week was anything but typical...Wednesday had a weird energy about it that left everyone needing a drink. So, after dishing with co-workers at a neighborhood bar a friendly patron gave me a mini cactus they had just purchased, on a dare I drank non-top shelf beverages because they didn't think I would. Played a bad game of billiards, and ate late night Thai with good friends.

On the walk home, noticed the moon was almost full :)