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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Day in the Life...

6:45am Alarm off and out of bed to change and walk to the studio
7am Bikram- 90 minutes of hot and sweaty yoga
8:45 Shower, change, move car to week long parking
9:30 Walk to breakfast at the French Cafe with Friends
Continue on to Golden Gate Park
Use the Free passes to the de Young; Nan Kemper and two more exhibits explored and appreciated. Loved the semi-permanent exhibit on Teotihuacan codices.
Shop on the Haight for more playa gear
1:30pm Home and lunch
Watch Current for playa updates
Reply to emails
3:15pm Picked up for study group
6:30pm leave the dissertation group behind
Rest for a few
Return phone calls and texts
Review packing and supply lists: Continue to pack for the playa
Snack on yummy homemade banana bread made by dear friend and white wine
Tomorrow can't arrive soon enough
Two words about the phenomenal show put on by the three MC's and one DJ on Saturday night- vinyl baby...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

No Sleep till Brooklyn!

Or ummm in my case La Playa at Black Rock City, Nevada )'(

Ended the week with the good news of funding for an international conference in Chicago this Fall, volunteering, and a yummy Moroccan dinner with exceptional service. The week would not be complete without the good wine, with great friends, and stories that followed. Finalized the plans for the BM camp that adopted us and really can't wait to leave town!

At least the things I have to do until then are fun. Going to the Beastie Boys concert tonight at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. I actually have a t-shirt from a previous show that I might just take the scissors to and attempt to redesign. Although I do have to meet my friend via the BART hmm...

I think this creative streak has to do with packing and prepping for the playa- although I consider my strength in styling and less in creating, we'll see- it always seems to work out.

Everyone seems to be concerned with my well being while at BM (I am blessed) and thanks to their kindness have an abundance of the essentials; refreshing wipes, amber goggles, hip belt, headlamp, canteen, goods to share...and our camp comprised of an M.D. or two is amazing. Gifting rocks!

Should be working on my university stuff for Monday but instead running the laundry, packing for BM and Mtv3 has been on all morning. So it goes.

It is just Nevada but as exciting as both trips to Ibiza, Spain.

Love, love, lo

Friday, August 24, 2007

Back to School

Sort of...

Had a brief moment of vanity as I walked through the new university campus I am teaching a class on, sun was out, sunglasses on, just the right outfit for a short commute out of the city.

Then momentarily horrified I remembered I had trailing behind me a bag on wheels of sorts. A gift from a think tank event I had attended and perfect to stuff with the essentials; laptop, power-cord, agenda, clipboard, file folders, notepad, resource and textbooks. I decided to add my personal items and forgo the purse as well, sunglass case, wallet, lipgloss, water bottle, pen, pencil, highlighter, post its in various shapes, and binder clips...I know this because when I got home my roommates asked what was in the bag.

I stopped in the quad and called the one person I knew could coach me through this awkward moment- my best friend from 9th grade. Of course he couldn't find the time from his office job to take my call- that is besides the point. "I hope the students know I am faculty and not one of them! In my day I would not have been caught dead lugging this thing around."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Forbes on the City

I like and dislike the SFist. That said, thanks to them I ran into the Forbes story and my suspicions of SF being a singles fantasy island as I have said time and time again were confirmed.

Forbes reported SF is the #1 city for singles...

The ease of mobility these days means that the young, educated and unattached can live pretty much where they please. Our special report provides a dash of guidance for singles themselves, as well as to the cities and companies that want to lure them.
I love being young, educated and unattached. Who knows maybe I will elope next week while on the playa!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

City Girls

Officially four years in the city! Couldn't have planned a better celebration if I tried: Actually I didn't, just living my charmed life.

Headed down highway one for the weekend at the Costanoa eco resort. We set up our tents and I was proud to say it was my third time 'roughing it,' this summer. The tents in order, fortunately our neighbor lent us a hammer because the ocean wind against the Santa Cruz Mountains had us scrambling to get the stakes in the ground.

Then the feast of wine, cheese, fruit, olives and chocolate followed. We invited the nice couple over that had lent us their hammer and between the seven of us polished off bottle, after bottle, of very good and local wine.

The scientist and the PR woman gave the couple our cards so we could meet up at an Irish Pub when they come to the city. They reminded me of my parents, so happy and full of love, they were so fun to spend the evening with.

We missed our reservations but still made the last seating, for more wine and dessert. We toasted to the engagements we knew one of the girls had on the way, the end of another's festival season, the start of another's MBA, the second year of doctoral studies for another, and I was elated by a postcard I had received in the mail the day before- oh and the start of a new year in the city!

We made our way back through the star filled night and even saw a couple shooting the middle of the night I couldn't tell if I had seen a monster outside the tent or if I was dreaming.

In the morning the tear in one of the tents and the hollowed out baguette confirmed the monster: A Raccoon. Umm rule number one, no food in your tent! Laughed about the night before over fruit and vitamin water then planned the day: Opted out of the hike for a nearby winery. One flight of tasting later we walked out admiring the case of wine our purchases filled. We thought we should do our part for the biodynamic winery :)

Back at Costanoa we lounged on the lawn and had a picnic. Some hit the hot tub, others had spa treatments, or very good lattes. It was a perfect getaway with the best of city friends.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Be Love

I passed on the bottomless mimosas Sunday, wanting to get more work done. Made it to 4pm Bikram and felt like a Sunday this simple was enough. Phone rang, friend came over, and we tried to make plans. Finally she said, "just get ready and we will walk to wherever we are supposed to be."

We ended up down the hill, and I ordered a margarita on the rocks, it was made well and with a smile from the bartender I had never seen there before. My friend insisted, "he used to be the doorman!" We asked if the 33 bus stopped out front and confirmed it did.

One, then two bus passed us by and we finally made it onto the third. I asked the bus driver if he stopped near where we were going and he said, "yes, I will call the stop for you honey."

The night was warm and by the time we walked into the Dub Mission it was glowing. We got our drinks and found an open table.

We ran into familiar faces and caught up. Made new friends, danced, and danced, and danced with our new friends.

The next day I learned that yoga later in the day, along with a few strong drinks from the very cute bartender, lots of dancing, and little sleep- makes for a less than productive Monday.

Skipped Monday yoga, then got to work on the next days lecture: Tuesday's presentation was flawless.

We toasted a job well done and then we tried to figure out when we first made our way to our favorite Sunday night spot. Just retelling all the stories was amusing enough. Realizing we were both a bit of club, rave, dj, international dance scene refugees, was a sign of growth.

Back at 9am Bikram this morning, I was lightheaded before the next savasana marking the end of the second to last series. Wimpy or not I decided I had to take a break from the 105 degree room.

Debated not going back in, but one pose later I returned. Through my head kept running the thoughts that I was sweating out the drinks from Sunday night, or that I should have had a little sugar before the class, even thought it would be my last class with the overly rigorous instructor.

Then something happened, at the end of class, after it was over I smiled. I was pleased. As I stepped into the sun filled day, I just loved this feeling of being.
(tres Paris, je t'aime )

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Açaí Fueled

My friend posted the super hero quiz on his blog and I was really pleased with my results! Suits my inner dork as the Remonica's have coined it perfectly. It is also fun because I was tied at 85% with Wonder Woman, come to think of it I don't actually know who Supergirl is, hmmm...

Anyway, I guess if I had to pick a super food it would be Açaí. The fruit of the Amazon that is created sustainably in the Rain Forest and fairly traded and imported by Sambazon among others.

I first tasted Açaí as a cool sorbet at the Sierra Nevada Music Festival, the next month I had it in a smoothie while passing through Saratoga on our way to Santa Cruz. Yesterday, I finally purchased my own supply at the worker owned food co-op Rainbow Grocery.

It was my first time at Rainbow and I told my friend as we strolled up and down all of the isles that I always thought it would be messy or dirty. I loved his reply, "Of course you did. If only the people in that movement were more attractive." I reminded him he had a girlfriend and told him the men shopping there didn't look so bad.

I do love my fuzzy friend we went on to brainstorm movie titles for his friend in LA, and we found all the ingredients for the Tempeh, Spinach, and Ricotta Parmesana I want to attempt today. As well as the Chocolate Caramel Chai tea bags I had not been able to find anywhere outside of Boulder Creek.

Off to make a yummy Açaí smoothie and tackle today's to do list...

Your Results: SUPERGIRL
Honest and a defender of the innocent

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Boys & The City

"She is very serious right now, about her writing and her new schedule," Remonica told her boyfriend. My very serious week in review...
Three months from the day we met, and at least three false starts at getting to know each other we shared a perfect space. A languid Sunday, catching up on his life as an artist and mine, as a writer. Just saying it made me smile.

The conversation was easy and funny. He seemed different to me, calm, settled, and I told him so. He had finally found his community of artist and was thriving. Somewhere between brunch and good by he asked if I might go see the Simpson movie with him sometime. Really? With me I wondered aloud, "don't you know anyone with a sense of humor?" Either way I said yes. He is my Jill Scott lyrics and a boy that inspires the paradoxical Latina tug of Love and Hate. On this day though, we just were- perfect.
The phone rang and the number of a boy I knew from my first days in the city danced in the cell phone screen.

Post small talk, the inevitable argument seemed to loom in the conversation. I told him, you must just call me when you want to argue? So, I am telling you now, I don't want to do it. He laughed, and I said, are all the other girls to dumb to disagree with you? "I do not talk to dumb people, that would make me dumb myself." I said we have something like that in Spanish- tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are.

I deleted your number. "That is good, I think that takes courage." Yes, the last time we met for drinks, I don't know why, but I did.

"I have deleted your number before, the first time we hung out." Hmm don't get me sarted, I laughed. "Then, it appeared back in my phone again." What he said next made me pause, "You have always treated me well, been kind, never done anything to harm me."

"I have thought of deleting your number but kept it, I don't know why, only Jah knows." I laughed this time and he joined me.

Thank you for calling, I am well and glad to hear you are well also. He went on, "it is okay if you deleted my number, I will just call once in a while to see that life is treating you well." Thank you I replied feeling like 10% of the time he shines through, to bad it was not more, "it is all love," okay maybe 15% of the time.
Post Bikram, and very diligently working at my desk I was invited to lunch. My friend and her colleagues had just attended a funeral. I made my way down to the Marina, thinking just one margarita and then, we would get to work on our university presentation for the following week.

Well, not quite the way it went at all. Should have known, but the three boys that provided the margaritas, took us to the cigar lounge, and made plans to go see Rage Against the Machine, the Giants, maybe even come along to burning man- were super cool.

Drinking scotch with a water and ice back along with a cigar or 3 was probably not the best idea. We had a great time none the less. Then, we broke off into who might go eat Italian food or Mexican- I went with La Barca, yummy tacos de papa.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Belmar y La Gallinita

I parked along Harrison and we walked over to 24th street. We had already been in that part of the Mission earlier in the week for some yummy lunch at Tortas los Picudos. On our way to the Mercado, my mom commented on how good it smelled, even I could recognize the carnitas wafting out the door.

We went to Chavita's Mercado for the fresh produce, queso fresco, and arrachera which I learned is skirt steak best for carne asada. My parents moved deftly through the store, "did you get the rabanos? the cebollitas?" I just held the basket and followed them around taking it all in.

I walked by the meat counter and smelled a distinctive vinegar smell, that took me back to my childhood summers in Mexico at the corner store where I would get an agua de limon and- "cueritos, they have pickled pig skin," I announced. I had been there several times before and never noticed, maybe because I am never at the meat counter. My dad laughed and said, "oh, do you want some?" Hmmm...I laughed, "only if they still have the pelitos on them," which is really gross but rare.

Earlier I had told my mom about the book I had been reading, and how the loss of taste and food is related to the loss of culture. So, even though I did not prepare meat dishes myself, I wanted to know the recipes, to hold on to the taste buds and pass along that tradition. Food is memory.

The first time my family wrote down a recipe it came from my Tia en Aguascalientes, someone finally got her to write down the recipe for her famous home ground mole. It arrived on a torn brown produce bag, written in her handwriting and read more like a story and less like a recipe: I could imagine her standing in the kitchen talking me through the process. The next recipe our family wrote down was for adobo, my mom made it for me on her previous visit and while my friends enjoyed theirs with chicken, we also made tofu with adobo for me.

My dad had joked before the shopping excursion, "mija, why don't we just treat your friends to dinner?" "Noooo...we can all go out to eat what we miss is home cooked food, honestly," I told him. The food in the city is really good actually great, in relation to value and quality, but nothing compares to my parents cooking.

On our way back to the car, my mom announced she was going to have a taco for lunch, we followed her in. I fell in love with the place the moment I walked in, from the front of the store I saw the most beautiful abuelita, reminded me of my great grandmother, moving busily around, her grey hair in a bun, the apron, skirt, it felt familiar. My mom noticed her right away also. They ordered and I wandered again past another meat counter and their I saw perfect nopal palms all ready to grill, the thin thorns and tough exterior already removed.

My mom and dad made conversation over lunch, with the young woman preparing their food. They are from Jalisco, my fathers hometown. The Uncle is the butcher, it is a family affair. In the four years I had been in the city I had never stopped in. The locals kept the place busy buying; fresh masa, fresh chicharones, carnitas by the pound, carne...Belmar y La Gallinita at 24th and Harrison, keeping our taste buds and traditions alive and well in the heart of the Mission.