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...

My Photo
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, July 30, 2007


Ask, Believe, Receive...Green Man here we go! Dusty Love

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rise up this mornin...

Rise up this mornin,
Smiled with the risin sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin, this is my message to you-ou-ou:

Four days in the oldest state park in California, The Big Basin Redwoods: Not a bad way to end my ten year career...Now I will take the generous funding to complete my dissertation writing, do some teaching at the university and consulting. The community, the students, the teachers, the service providers, the guardians and parents will always remain a source of strength and inspiration.

Singin: dont worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. dont worry!
Singin: dont worry about a thing - I wont worry!
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Three Little Birds, Bob Marley

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sunny in the City!

The first month of summer in the city went by so fast! Here are some of my favorite things and people so far...

* My super roommates including the Remonica from up the street
* The backyard at Park Chalet
* Ocean Beach on a sunny day
* Herbivore in NOPA
* Samovar Tea Lounge at Yerba Buena Gardens
* Funky Door Bikram
* Golden Gate Park all the way to the Ocean
* Kale, grilled beats, and home baked pies
* The Stern Grove Summer Festival
* The Sun in July!
* Hope, Love, Serenity & Peace

The month ahead is even more promising; research, camping, roadtrips, my parents, my good friends, lots of reading & writing.


Friday, July 20, 2007


"Hope is more verb than noun- an action, not a stance. It is movement. It is jumping into the messiness of it all. It is listening, learning, trying, stumbling; it is false starts and contradictory evidence." Lappe & Lappe

I read this earlier in the week and it just lingered with me. Maybe the mantra to my very good week...moving with like minded researchers in a direction that suddenly became clear to me.
And in the kitchen, craving my mami's rice finally approximated it. I figured when she comes to visit I can really get the recipe down- for now this will do.

Monday, July 16, 2007

En Cuatro En Cuatro...

Lo que yo quiero es ponerte a ti...
En Cuatro, En cuatro, En cuatro
En cuatro balcones, que tengan flores de todos colores
Que te levantes por la mañana y que no tengas que hacer nada
Porque todo, todo lo vas a tener, dinero rubíes, diamantes también
Las prendas más finas, las perlas más caras, comida divina y ropa de
marca, serás la princesa que reina en mi vida, y no querrás separarte de mi ni un día, yo te lo aseguro, yo voy a darte un lindo futuro, para que me creas te voy a dejar esta canción que te va a enamorar, lo que yo te digo no es nada en vano, así que vente y no sueltes mi mano.
Lo que yo quiero es ponerte a ti...
En Cuatro, En cuatro, En cuatro En cuatro caminos que te lleven a un mismo destino
Que seas mi amante que seas mi esposa, te aseguro serás una rosa en mi
vida y no voy dejar que ni siquiera te puedan mirar,
yo siempre seré el guardián de tu lecho, te amaré como nunca lo he
hecho, pero, ojo ten mucho cuidado, y no quiero verte con otro al lado,
si te descubro en alguna movida, yo no lo pienso te quito la vida y te
mato y no me arrepiento, te diré, “mira como lo siento”,
buscarme mujer no sera complicado,
y mucho menos si tengo a mi lado a mis panas que son infalibles,
tu no los ves porque son invisibles
Mosca conmigo, ten mucho cuidado y así no te iras jamás de mi lado

Spent a perfect Sunday afternoon among the trees and music at the Stern Grove Festival. Thanks to my lovely friends at the Grove enjoyed the show with ten of my closest city friends at a coveted table. Gracias for the love with the preferred parking, table service with endless wine and beverages, and the nicest server (that has seen me at my best sangria inspired moments at our local haunt).

She upgraded me finally someone did, the princess title was getting old! Goddess, she said in her perfect accent and made sure the table was never dry. The friends arrived bearing a great selection of cheeses, bread, fruit and vegetables. We caught up, planning out the rest of summer.

A Spa Camping trip in the Santa Cruz Mountains- girls only. A carne asada when my papi's are in town, the boys should come because most of the girls are vegetarians. Burning man updates, dissertation updates, research, relationship, engagement updates, we accomplished all of this without an empty glass.

When the music started we could not get enough of Los Amigos Invisibles, the anthem of our afternoon became en cuatro, and I laughed because at the end of the show the ones who understood finally shared the doble sentido with those who did not.

After Los Amigos Invisibles, Os Mutantes brought back the sixties psychadellic sounds of Brazil.

I smiled extra when they announced Brazil beat Argentina in the Copa de Oro: Afterall it was Argentina that knocked Mexico out of the running...I heart the hip young talent that brings us the SGF.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

LA in SF

Once a year for as long as I could remember my dad would take me to a Los Angeles Dodgers game.

My mom would sometimes go, but usually it was just my dad and his girls. It felt so far and like such an exciting occasion. Although I would never admit that, instead I acted like it was such a burden to go to the game. As far as I could tell I didn't even like baseball.

So, we would head out, always to a night game, after my dad got off of work usually. Sweaters in hand, my dad with his portable radio, to not miss a minute of the pre or post game show...I would always bring along the latest book I was reading or magazine I subscribed to.

I told my dad, you have nine innings. If the game goes into over time, I am reading- and true to the word, with a smile of satisfaction when the game went into overtime I started to read. This was a compromise because I used to try and just read through the game.

It was a tradition at least once a year, the baseball game with my dad, who always managed to acquire the best seats for us. I realized he used the power of his intention to arrive and get us good seats. Then we got to order from the vendors as they walked up and down the aisles. The rule was, we could order what we wanted when out, but no junk food in the home.

I liked to eat the its it oatmeal ice cream sandwiches, maybe at one time the Dodger Dogs, a cold coka-cola, and I might be making this part up but I have always been a fan of fresh hot pretzels with salt.

Since I moved to San Francisco we have not gone to a game. I told him a couple of years ago, for all the complaining I did, I really did miss going with him to the baseball game. I told him we should go to a Giants game together and he agreed.

We haven't gone yet, but after I got home yesterday from my first Giants game I told him all about it. I sent him pictures and texts from the game:For as long as I could remember, baseball games and my father went hand in hand.

My friend, on the occasion of her law firms company picnic invited me to the game. She said I had been talking about going to one since I arrived to the city. I took the train to her stadium front condo, the firm had paid for our tickets, in the gate we received free commemorative summer of love t-shirts. The catered picnic was all the free and yummy food and drink we could ask for. We headed to our seats and from there we could see clear out into the bay. The Target brand on the Sailboats circling beyond the stadium- a little bit ridiculous.

It was the Dodgers vs. Giants, and she asked me who I would cheer for. I said, I am just going to cheer the whole game, whenever something good happens for either team.

We spent most of the game catching up on her first three months of pregnancy, and my research, my dating, her experience at burning man and my impending one. It was her three year wedding anniversary and her husband had just returned from a business trip, they were celebrating with dinner and a movie. I told her I had seen both Nancy Drew and Transformers that week, she laughed because he wanted to see transformers. I told her it was great, a love story actually.

Eventually the game was 6 to 2 Dodgers!

We continued to talk about our families and the urban baby challenges, talked about her parents coming to visit from Peru and mine from LA. Decided to head out in the 7th inning to avoid the rush. We had last seen each other for her birthday dinner in February, but she said what I felt- the best of friends just pick up where they left off.

I couldn't wait to call my dad and tell him all about the stadium, how nice everyone was, what a little village it was inside how you never had to stay seated if you didn't want to. He said, he was following the game on the radio, couldn't believe I had stayed through the 12 overtime innings- "Papi, we left in the 7th the Dodger's were already up 6 to 2!"

He laughed, "aye Barbie, when we go we are staying for the whole game." He knew me well,"Okay dad there is a game the Sunday you are in town, but we should definitely go for a good lunch first, they just sell too much junk inside." He said, "nope we are eating lunch at the ball park, that is part of the experience." I couldn't argue with that...figured they must have some healthy organic outpost somewhere in the stadium- after all it was San Francisco.

My dad made me laugh with his last comment, he has such confidence in me, "See if you can hook up some love at the game." I told him, I didn't know anything or anyone affiliated with the Giants, but the box seats or field club might be nice to watch the game from, I would check Craigslist. It was nice I thought, this time I was going to take my dad on an outing to a baseball game, and I knew we would pick up right where we left off...

Thursday, July 12, 2007



The birds are chirping, sun is shining, and I am ahead of time. The air feels balmy, 70 degrees already and it is only 7am. I feel like I am inside a Jill Scott song, that good.

Taking a different path to work, stop into Dolores Park Cafe for one latte with foam that looks like a soft billowy cloud. Arrive to the 7:30am meeting precisely at 7:28. Catch up with a co-worker at the door. Around the table the BYOC boasts, Starbuck's, Phil's and my Dolores Park fix.

The meeting continues, and I have moved on to my wheat bagel with cream cheese and tomato. I think about the last time I ate this, craving a tomato at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, unknowingly holding up the line so they could find and slice one roma tomato onto my bagel. My sense memory leads me away from the meeting, daydreaming about my near perfect summer so far.

It has been a long week, with difficult lessons on many fronts. No matter what, my friends echo, I did the right thing: Sometimes that is not easily understood, or remarkable to any one but those involved. Yet I see the value in confronting the uncomfortable, the difficult, the things that happen and sometimes we would rather not know.

Looking at the week I know, sometimes doing the right thing is the most difficult thing at all...but the flipside, let me say, to be able to move forward in the world, clear, and without fear, can not be put into words. Maybe that is why love, feels so good, and takes so much courage.

I think I found my summer anthem...

if i told you things i did before
told you how i used to be
would you go along with someone like me
if you knew my story word for word
handled all of my history
would you go along with someone like me

i did before and had my share
it didn't lead nowhere
i would go along with someone like you
it doesn't matter what you did
who you were hanging with
we could stick around and see this night through

and we don't care about the young folks
talkin' bout the young style
and we don't care about the old folks
talkin' 'bout the old style too
and we don't care about our own folks
talkin' 'bout our own stuff
all we care about is talking
talking only me and you

usually when things has gone this far
people tend to disappear
no one would surprise me unless you do

i can tell there's something goin' on
hours seem to disappear
everyone is leaving i'm still with you

it doesn't matter what we do
where we are going to
we can stick around and see this night through

and we don't care about the young folks
talkin' bout the young style
and we don't care about the old folks
talkin' 'bout the old style too
and we don't care about our own folks
talkin' 'bout our own stuff
all we care about is talking
talking only me and you

talking only me and you
talking only me and you
Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn & John ft. Victoria Bergsman

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


To my friend, thank you for all the comfort and care over tea and Nancy Drew...Here is a fitting morsel from Daily Candy.
TTFN your DCG!

Perk Up
bigger is better!

Fact: Your boobs were their perkiest during freshman year. They’ve since sagged at a rate of .25 cm per year. But who’s measuring? You can’t will the perk back, but you can have a sense of humor about it all.

Like the writers in The Bigger the Better, the Tighter the Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image, and Other Hazards of Being Female.

They’ve been implanted, reduced, Botoxed their armpits, and wondered about waxing “down there” before giving birth. One was even medically diagnosed with an unusually large posterior. Talk about tits and giggles.

And while knowing [insert celeb name here] had her chin done doesn’t boost your body image (really, isn’t that part of the job?), laughing with normal women who share your insane beauty obsessions can be a major lift.

No surgery required.

Book launch party and reading tonight, 7-9 p.m. Rockit Room, 406 Clement Street, at Fifth Avenue (415-387-6343 or Available online at

Friday, July 06, 2007

Intuition Baby

I woke up and completed the thoughts from my dream, it was 5am.

It was clear, an unavoidable conversation no matter how uncomfortable: As he tried to say the events from weeks before didn't matter I pressed on that in a very small and basic way they did. His disregard for the well-being of others...affected my karma also. We had a history of half-truths.

It was just after 7am and the verbal sparing ensued, via text and long distance calls. Sometimes we grow and change and others don't acknowledge it, maybe that is what had happened to me here:Clearly he didn't see me. At the end of the hour long exchange I said I had no intention of relieving him of his karma or her of her presumable intuition.
What goes around comes around baby: My intuition is sharper than ever.
Nine-am my favorite student showed up to summer school, he has 15 days left to complete the 11 days he needs to complete his credits and receive his high school diploma. We did not push him out of school when the going got extremely difficult for him. Instead we chose to support and accommodate him through this final phase. His graduation will be the perfect note to end my 10 year career on.
Noon: Driving home from work through the hills between the Mission and the Upper Haight; the music was on, windows down, sun shining, I was just giving thanks for the day.

I approached the stop sign and as I thought about letting the officer go ahead- I didn't. The hills between the Mission and my neighborhood are dotted with four-way stop signs. As soon as I crossed the street I knew I had made an error.

Maybe I could redeem myself in a block and came to another four way stop with the police car behind me. Or maybe not?

Police lights on but no siren, I pull over on the tree and victorian lined street. For some whatever reason I turned the radio off and pulled my hair in a bun. Adjusted my dior sunglasses.

Officer approached, and I greeted him with a smile and a simple, "hi."
"Hello," he responds. I thought whatever it is I hope this officer Neitz is having a good day.

"Were you going to stop at either of the two stop sign?" he asked. "I did stop officer." He explained, "a complete stop, means you do not just role through."

"Oh but I did stop. I saw you you at the four way stop and since I had gotten their first realized it was my right of way. Then I saw you in the rear view mirror and stopped again. So I was really surprised when you pulled me over."

"You did not come to a complete stop at either stop sign," he took on a fatherly tone now. "I am not going to argue with you, but I know that I did, especially if you were watching!"

"You do not have to argue with me because I am right, you did not stop completely." I smiled, "I can't argue with you, but I stopped and that's all I know."

"You need to practice stopping," damn I thought, I have never gotten a moving violation. "Would you like me to practice here? There is a stop sign in front of us I can demonstrate here, or you could show me." I flustered him I think, "No, just practice your full stops."

Earnestly I said, "yes, I will, thank you, anything else?"

"Have a good day," he said and I said, "thank you, you too!"
Two-pm My friend came over and we talked about our day so far over tea. Her kids and my kids, her ex and my ex, then she said, "practice, you asked him if you should demonstrate how to come to a complete stop!" Yup, that's exactly what I did. "You must be cuter than me, because I got my ticket for the same thing." It has nothing to do with being cute, I assured her, I think I just made him laugh and fortunately today I was full of grace.

We made plans for the evening and I headed off to volunteer.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hopes Edge

Finally made it to the Booksmith on Haight for a book, I had been craving to read. Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe. Hopes Edge takes up the dialogue from Frances Moore Lappes' 1987 book, Diet for a Small Planet.

I first heard about Diet for a Small Planet on a school trip to Washington, DC. The vegetarians from Eugene, Oregon used it as a reference for a debate on world hunger. The debate was about policy and quickly shifted to food, armed with their paperback copy for reference they toppled all the arguments: I related to the way they framed their arguments. They argued for sustainability, and questioned hunger as anything but the lack of enough food production.

We never really kept in touch, save a handwritten letter or two, but the evenings spent debating U.S. policy on hunger never really left.

That summer on the weekly trip to the Northridge Library my mom insisted on, I came across a copy of the famed book. By the time I read it, I had already given up meat for lent, read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and practically failed AP Biology for refusing to dissect a cat (that part has less to do with Lappes' theory, but I think it is telling for me.) However, it was Lappe's theory that finally provided me with the sound argument I sought for becoming a vegetarian.

It will be 17 years this August since I decided to leave the lobster, the carnitas, and the chicken milanesa all behind. The only thing I occasionally crave is lobster, but that might just be for the garlic butter- I don't know though because I haven't gone back for any yet.

What I do know is that what Lappe wrote, I read and based a decision on 17 years before. Finally her insights are emerging and becoming almost pedestrian. What made sense so many years before- finally resounds to everyone else.

For every human being on the planet, the world produces two pounds of grain per day-roughly 3,000 calories, and that's without even counting all the beans, potatoes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables we eat, too. This is clearly enough for all of us to thrive; yet nearly one in six of us still goes hungry.

Worldwide, we're feeding more and more of this grain, now almost half, to livestock, but animals return to us in meat only a tiny fraction of the nutrients we feed them.

To get just one calorie of food energy from a steak, we burn 54 irreplaceable fossil-fuel calories, so producing one pound of steak- providing less than 1,000 calories-uses up 45,000 fossil fuel calories.

To produce just one pound of beef takes thousands of gallons of water, as much as the average American uses for all purposes in several months-and this in a world in which two-thirds of all people are expected to face water shortages in less than a generation. Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe, 2003.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer in the City

Seven days of sun and I have enjoyed every one of them. Made my way through the city catching up with new and familiar friends, in new and familiar places...

The Vixens made it to Russian Hill, my first time in that part of town. A cozy restaurant the Tablespoon Bistro was easy on the eye, warm and inviting. The service was excellent and although my vegetarian options were limited- the people watching made up for it. Well actually I guess the wine, truffle oil on my salad, and yummy chocolate cake would be the other reasons to return. I can't blame French restaurants they just haven't come around to us herbivores quite yet.

After catching up on the girl talk, we headed further up Polk Street to Tonic. Umm, the gummy bears if your into shared bar food were cute: The old men trying to grab you by the waist- not so cute. The music was bad, the crowd was random, so we mosied our way out.

Back next door to where we had dinner, the Royal Oak reminded me of another Victorian favorite. Plush red velvet chairs and couches, gilded mirrors and Tiffany glass, the cocktail service was efficient and there was something just really comfortable about the place. We could actually hear our conversation. I liked the big round tables, bountiful green plants, and really strong vodka drinks.
My friend asked me to run an errand with her to the Mission Fire-station. Next thing we were drinking tea in the firehouse. Taking a tour of the engines and gear, everything was way too tall. Trying to stay away from where they were hamming poor little live crab for dinner and shelling shrimp too. They were really nice, but the National Geographic on the big-screen just had to be airing the live birth of a buffalo. At that point I just laughed and waived away my queasiness as we said goodbye.

On our way to the Marina, we stopped in the Civic Center for a drink with my friend and his girlfriend. None of us knew the neighborhood very well and the bar I agreed to go to was not the one I thought. Club 93 in the daylight was the sort of place I would not like to find after dark. My friend eyed the popcorn machine and I said, 'no- I will buy you chips next door. Although you have had malaria a few times so you can probably handle it.' Completely unrelated I know, but I just have never met someone that has had malaria- twice! So far she has had an Asian and African strand while travelling.

When my other friend arrived he served up the popcorn and we laughed. I asked for a bag of chips next door and he brought those over too. Besides the umm seedy location, the service was good and the bathroom amazingly clean. To say I would go back is an overstatement.

I thought we were heading to meet our other friend, but we had already missed dinner with them. So we stopped in Hayes Valley for Chicago pizza at Patxis. It was really crowded which could be a good sign unless you are suddenly starving. We opted for take out and waited at Place Pigalle. Evidently I was on my tour of places I had never been in the city. The sake, beer and wine list was vast and we shared my favorite Nigori and switched to beer when the food was ready. From the amount of people eating pizza, I think I do prefer to get my pizza to go and eat in the worn in space of Place Pigalle, it is far more social.

We made friends, headed off into the evening with our new guides to a few house parties. Hands down our favorite was the refurbished flat with two beers on tap, good tequila, turntables and plenty of vintage vinyl.
It took us a day but finally met our friend in the Marina for lunch. Parked at the end of the Fillmore Festival and took the 22 to Union. The new Osha Thai is as yummy as the Mission one. Only sleeker and bigger.

Back through the Filmore Jazz Festival, the streets were overflowing with people and music. We ducked into the Pride of the Mediterranean for Some Arabic tea and a hookah. The owner shared his special blend from his own hookah. We asked him what it was called and he said, "the playboy." We laughed, 'of course it is.' Sitting under the tented patio, as the music from the festival poured in was just the kind of Sunday I needed.

Our last stop at the end of the festival was at Rassales, and then, I saw it. The black and white dichotomy of the the upper Fillmore vs. the Historic Fillmore. I felt a bit of nostalgia, for the historic district that once existed as a whole. Heard about it from preservationist the first time I attended. Somewhere along the years, crack seeped in, homes were torn down and gentrification had divided the community.

I felt the open wound that remained still.