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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Love Happens

The Carnaval SF theme seemed infectious. Although overcast skies meant missing the parade, did make it out to the street fair. My favorite was the big hot vat of sizzling oil that was serving up crisp hot churros street side- just like Tijuana. My girlfriends were less enthusiastic about some of my traditions, like having to join the drum circle, but we walked out on a perfect note- Los Lonely Boys singing how far is heaven... Hip-Cha.


I can't imagine how we sounded on the bus. Buzzed on our way to a carnaval after party to get our samba fix. Arguing in rapid Spanish about, intelligence in relation to my appearance?

I looked up in the middle of it to make sure we hadn't missed our stop to the festivities. I noticed a couple staring right at me- guilty as I blurted, "endonde estamos," they blurted in English the street name. I asked how far till 6th street? Do the numbers go up or down? All things I knew when sober.

That settled I got back to my fiery display. Without skipping a beat I got up at our stop, without him. The Lesbian couple followed me with their eyes before they took pity on him, and told him that was his stop too. I flashed them a smile of thanks, and once we hit the street it was all good. Cha-Hip.


There was a little plank of wood we sat on to look at the ocean. The sun was out, the wind was sharp. My friend was feeling melancholy for a country deep in South America, and this was our intervention.

Heard stories of growing up seaside, jumping into the ocean in Sunday best. That's what happened when parent's sometimes trusted the children to go to church without them. Then there was the summer story, decided to live with friends, "was a hippy," until mom came and retrieved you back to home.

Taking in the sun, from the looks of Ocean Beach, no one really minded a little wind.

Across the street the Park Chalet was overflowing with people setting down their own blankets and setting up there own chairs to indulge in the lawn and microbrew on the last section of Golden Gate Park before you meet the ocean.

Beer in hand, we found a piece of lawn to set our selves down on. Sat there on my scarf a makeshift seat, the sun was perfect I could have sat there all afternoon.

Friday, May 25, 2007


"a very steep road or path"

At some point you reach the valley and it is just a stroll...

Started the week walking to the new Bi-Rite Creamery across from Dolores Park, we walked in the sun enjoying the day. Was told at the guitar center I could make any guy look like a rock star and had to laugh: They obviously have never lived in LA.

Celebrated a friends doctoral degree at a private reception, with her friends the local music greats sharing their beautiful music. Sipped champagne, wearing the crimson rebozo hand knit by my tia abuela, along with the perfect black dress my mom somehow magically always seems to find for me.

Visited with many friends families, over a mural walk, pulled pork (yes, I am a vegetarian they had a beautiful salad too!)and finally homemade pie and fresh tea. Did I mention that was all in one day?

Crashed a midweek bonfire, made dinner with good friends, and planned my trip home.

Ran into a former student walking home from dinner. The next day another in front of the Bi-Rite creamery once again, this time with my students. Invited them both to graduation.

Got called to join a grass roots alliance for psycho/educational reform. Met a few deadlines. Made it to volunteer.

Had a great tempeh lunch, and was presented with a ticket to the Manu Chao concert next week! I saw a hippy at the yoga studio, rare but real. Summer of Love was 40 years ago this summer, read all about it in the Chronicle.

My guess is I may just metamorphis into a Cha Cha+Hippie= HipCha :) Y vos que sos?

o minha maconha
minha torcida
minha querida
minha galera

o minha cachoeira
minha menina
minha flamenga
minha capoeira

o minha mi nina
minha querida
minha Valeria...

o minha maloca
minha larica
minha cachaça
minha cadeia

minha vagabunda
o minha vida
minha membembe
minha ladeira

o minha menina
minha querida
minha Valeria

o minha torcida
minha flamenga
minha cadeia

o minha maconha
minha torcida
minha querida
minha galera

minha vagabunda
minha mambembe
minha beleza
minha capoeira
o minha menina
minha querida
minha Valeria...
minha torcida
minha flamenga
minha cadeia
o minha maconha
minha torcida
minha querida
minha galera...

Minha Galera by Manu Chao

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The size of this city...

Chaperoned my 10th and final high school prom: Six in LA and Four in SF. Every year the experience has been different. This year was none the less sweeter. Sometimes, my girlfriends donated their formals and accessories for the girls that didn't have anything to wear. Sometimes, I donated things from my own closet, or took the girls shopping.

Somehow I remembered how to make fresh corsages and boutonnieres out of fresh flowers so the students wouldn't go without. This year I stood back taking in the room full of youth from four different schools, and countless neighborhoods. They were dancing and singing the night away, together.

For the first time in ten years I went out after prom without my charges. Graduated from diners to a celebratory drink in the nearby Marina, with teachers I had both helped train and collaborated with. I must admit, I craved a milkshake.
My friend and her family drove in from LA, still asleep I offered to make breakfast. Relied on the salsa verde my mom had left me and the refrigerator full of groceries. Took out the chocomil for the kids, scrambled up the eggs, and refried the beans, heated the tortillas, made myself a cup of extra dark nescafe.

My friend generously downloaded her course syllabus to lighten my own work.
Turned down lunch offers, and gave up on going back to bed. Worked side by side with my friend. Took in the sun on the Haight and thought, some days can't get better. Yet they do.

By the afternoon my friends and I sat around the kitchen table. Drinking the tequila my papi had sent me and eating the salsa I had diced up as well as the botanas they had picked up. We played 21, sat on the stoop, I figured they would head out into the city, and I would stay home.
Maybe it was the blending of new friends, what seemed like an easy compromise. The night found us back in the Mission, out for late night Korean food, and finally back to the music. Nothing like being invited to the front of the line, walking into a stunning loft, and be handed drink tickets.
It was 5am Sunday: I think the phone and texts started humming at 9am...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Brainy Pop

The winner of America's Next Top Model contest, is the self proclaimed Cha Cha Diva from Chicago, Jaslene. I was rooting for her the whole season. The impromptu Wednesday night dinner parties around the show gave me the forum to say, the Latina has to win. It was cycle 8 and the previous 7 winners had been black or white, there was no way that trend could continue. I was right.
I have been working on university syllabi this week, since I was offered two adjunct university gigs for the Fall. It is not an exciting task rather tedious, so I find myself in the living room with MTV3 on for company. They had a guest VJ contest and the winner was a Venice High student.

She was curvy and confident on air. Warm and comfortable expressing her bicultural attitude toward music- her influences and tastes a combination of growing up in LA and travelling to Mexico. I thought damn, I was born 10 years to early:I would have loved to be a guest VJ for MTV3. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
I keep a copy of the Swell Girls Guide to the Good Life on my shelf. It has come in handy from LA to SF. I thought if the end of the year happy hour starts at 5pm, I can get there by 6pm to do the rounds before heading to my next destination at 7pm. The guide gives you pointers on how to pull off this social drive by, never fails. So, I pulled a variation of my favorite outfit on; stilettos, skinny jeans, cashmere sweater, leather bag and mini pea coat.

Far from punctual I arrived slightly after 6pm. Joined the queue to greet the guest of honor, shook hands with the professors and then excused myself. Thanked the organizers, chatted at the bar, and thanked them for the drink. Took my glass of wine back to the guest of honor, to visit then excuse myself before dinner.
Dropped off my car and arrived precisely as the bus was leaving. The next one arrived quickly and I was in the Mission. Headed to Casanova my friend unphased by the delay, then down the street for a bite to eat. The last stop was the Elbow Room. I started to feel the effects of a full day that started at 5:45am.

Before I left we had been invited to a brunch Sunday, a combination of Psych Phd's and creative types, should be interesting. I said goodnight and walked to the bus stop. The lcd display read 11:33, smiled as my ipod played Luna y Sol by Manu Chao and I hummed along...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mamis in the City

Sometimes you meet people and you feel like you could have known them your whole life. If I would have grown up in the bay area I have no doubt we would have been fast friends long ago.

Listening to our mother's speak, retelling stories of old San Francisco and Mexico, in a parallel continuum. I think our great great great grandparents somewhere in Mexico, must have crossed paths at sometime. It is so rare to have such familiarity with someone you met just a few years before.

I just take it all in, and smile. Another perfect day with the mamis.

I think the city appreciates them too:
The booth at the Cafe Majestic was ready when we arrived
We talked so much we didn't notice we were the last ones in the cafe
The sunny day encouraged us to make our way from Pac Heights to the Yerba Buena Gardens
We stopped into the historic St. Patricks Church
Made our way to the rooftop Samovar Tea Lounge
Listened, laughed, shared, and continued a new tradition...

Saturday, May 12, 2007


“The general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era.”

This Weeks Notable Mentions:

After ten years of working in a field with emotional and behavioral disorder clients, I finally was at the receiving end of some temper tantrum blows. The ten year old was visiting our program, and three quarters of the way through the day, got violent.

When I was called to help I imagined it was for someone I had a rapport with. These situations are talked down, soothed, needs heard and met. Rarely is a physical restraint the direction you want to go: This intervention was going there.

I was told he was a biter and a hitter. For most of the intervention I was in the clear. Then sure enough, I got mine. A scratch on my leg, pulling on my black jersey dress, an open mouth hoping to land a bite...fortunately this windy day, I had my hair in a knot and low heels. The father could not arrive soon enough to pick up his son. Clearly stated, his son needs a higher level of care. There is a history that contributes to his behavior, and once the trauma of his past is reconciled he will be fine.

After work, my friend and I went to Zeitgeist to share a pitcher of Stella. It is his first year in the field and I said as my last year in the field, I couldn't believe a ten year old landed a punch! The sun came out and fortunately it was not too warm. The gravel courtyard, wooden picnic tables, and andy gumps on a hot day make for a terrible stench at this favorite beer garden.


My friend was in town to defend his dissertation. Although a year ahead of me, we were scheduled to graduate at the same time. The whole year he asked, pulled, and prompted me along. I had done everything a year ahead of schedule. When I got to the dissertation, I decided to pause.

He was going to cram for his defense: I laughed, does that ever work?

Instead the emerging cognitive psychologist and me walked along the semi busy street, had a drink, played video games, and pool. The next day went with out a hitch. He crossed the line and entered a different realm of academia. It was a moment and I was happy to share it.


You hear of phone calls that are momentous, and this week I had one. Seems a think tank, that I had met the first two years of my doctoral studies wanted to know how I was doing. What that translated to was very generous funding for my remaining days of dissertation writing...

Monday, May 07, 2007


The sun has been out since Friday and the city is alive...

Shared my new Warrior basketball facts at a party Friday night. Great small talk and nods of approval from the boyfriends all around. I was in over my head though, when a lawyer boyfriend tried to argue with his girlfriend the values of a show called sports center. I just smiled because I had no idea what he was talking about. Although he did explain to me how teams match up- and it has nothing to do with fashion :)

Wrapped up another wonderful year as a workshop facilitator with a bar-b-q in the shiny sun, from the lawn on top of the mountain we could see the city below and the blue water beyond.

Moving languidly went to a Senegalese restaurant and toasted cinco de mayo with a hibiscus margarita. Made our way to another house party to see the Golden boy get robbed! I actually only saw the last 3 rounds but enough to call my dad and leave him a message about how the split decision- went the wrong way.

Woke up to hike up to the top of Twin Peaks. Dropping by a friends for ice cold lemonade. From the deck you could see across the bay to Berkeley and Oakland.

Went to mass with a friend and we laughed at the sudden burst of Tommy Bahamas in the isles. Heard clearly and nodded in agreement to, "love one another."

Discussed religion, the warriors, and cancer at our neighborhood bar. The night was warm so we took advantage of the beautiful night at dub mission. Ran into familiar and new faces, everyone was buzzing about the sunshine and the warm night.

I came across the little golden flower on my hike and I thought it was beautiful, how it delicately broke through the tough terrain.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Shamelessly on the bandwagon as the Golden State Warriors advance to the next round, or ummm whatever they do in basketball.

All I know is that I joined my friend and her boyfriend at the Kezar Pub and waited for a coveted table. It was standing room only the HD tv's were crystal clear and I was caught up in the excitement before I knew it. The Heffenweizen by the pitcher probably didn't hurt either. Then we found our way up the hill back home chanting, lets go warriors/lets go.

Yesterday was game six and I was meeting my dear LA friend and her boyfriend for drinks. We chose the Marina and I scoped out a spot that still had seats and tv's with the game on. Once the game was over and the Golden Boys advanced to whatever they advanced too, we moved to the Matrix, to catch up over good conversation and martinis. When they are back in town in June we are going to spend some quality time in the Mission.

I have been blessed with amazing friends. They are always exposing me to new things, like my best guy friend from the 9th grade who blogged today about national Star Wars day. May the fourth be with you (get it?) anyway he explains it better than I understand it "May the 4th be With You!" on his Dark Monkey Chronicles.

Also this week a story that should be bigger than basketball, images from the LA Pro-Immigration walk made their way into the Chronicle via the AP. I took my reaction to an LA insider, his perspective and my response are both worth reading "A Minority Report or, I can't believe I am seeing it this way..." as blogged on Pachucoville.

I am finding uber-diversity very lonely, so I often find refuge in a great Chicana blogger

In honor of the month of the mami and because my gravatar was down I posted a picture of the most beautiful mami in the world- a warrior in her own right.

Happy Friday...