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.

Sunday, October 28, 2007



At the yoga studio the instructor was commenting on how she can always tell the bad thoughts someone is thinking. 'They just look at you with this air of contempt.' Sometimes I just want to tell them- 'this isn't supposed to be easy.' Trust me I offered, the classes we suffer through most, in retrospect are the best. 'I just feel like saying get over it.' He was probably hung over I offered, that is the worst. Note to self- yoga teachers can read minds...

That is exactly why my friend and I had skipped yoga and went for a mini walk that included a stop at the Kezar Pub. It was sunny, it was happy hour, it was the world series? Yes, it was on, and I commented on how I did not like the contemporary uniforms of the Rockies. I don't know either team well, but would take the Red Sox based solely on their fashion sense. Seems they are killing the series anyway.

Easily ignoring the flat screens we got back to our cran and vodkas, and east coast plans. On her to do list was a facial, and she convinced me it would be fun. Appointment booked it was her gift to me because I had never been. Ninety-minutes, I had no idea they could work on your face for that amount of time, without minor surgery!

I didn't have plans to go out and that was good because although my skin did not look it, was really very sensitive. Sure enough by the time I had to go to my first wedding in the city, my face felt normal again. Slid into the vintage little black I.Magnin dress and pink with gold baubles, contemplated purses and overcoats. My friend had already arrived and was having a beer in the kitchen, we caught up as I did my makeup in the next room. That was the first time I noticed my skin, it had a particular color and texture of its own, that could only be described as new skin.

Traded the low heels for the higher ones and realized, beauty does feel good. Wonder if the esthetician was able to read my mind...

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Me Gustas Tu

This song has been on my mind the last few days...I couldn't figure out if the lyrics were Manu or Julietta Venegas.

Thank goodness that is resolved soo much to do before heading east next week!


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Social Studies

I don't like to wait. So I am usually not the first person anywhere...

To my surprise when we arrived with the birthday girl on time to our 8pm dinner reservations, the table was not ready. Fortunately my fellow doctoral student coordinated a round of French 75's and we toasted to girls night. Maybe it was 8:10 when I returned to ask how much longer? By then the Maitre Di came over to asked if we had ordered a small plate, "oh they are probably sending it to us since they are late with our table and it is my friends birthday." A great woman and funeral director said- I want to be you.

Table ready, as promised 1, 2, 3, complimentary hot orderves arrived. Dinner was your seasonal, sustainable, organic you name it goodness and the social worker ordered a big pork thing the whole table shared (oh, the solitary life of a vegetarian :). We took turns toasting to the good things in our life and our friend the sustainable MBA shared her up and coming business venture. The made to order molten chocolate cupcakes at the end of the night were delicious!
Discussing my dissertation with the seminar class, heard a mumble following my response to a question. I was amused by the discussion and the comment well, "I am being assertive, not defensive, there is a difference." Later in the discussion the same man commented on how I should be careful with my wording, "yes, I should just come out and say the educational practices are implicitly racist, you know it is a little difficult to have a discussion with you when your are so limited in your knowledge of both my conceptual framework and methodology." Interestingly enough he had nothing more to say. A colleague later called me passionate, "thank you."
Reprinted the last memory of the Latin American Social Club with drinks and funny sounding Spanish with the group of Uruguayan, Argentinean, Venezuelan, and Spanish natives. Crossed the street to the Make Out Room and danced to cumbias & dub with the international crew plus the Mexico City additions. Headed over to my first Balazo clandestino, where the international Latino set continued early into the morning. Manu Chau streaming through the speakers, fresh mojito in hand, and my querido boludo- perfect.

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Friday, October 19, 2007


While reading Foucault in the living room with CurrentTV and MTV Tr3s alternately serving as a background decided to try out the video feature on my new ipod.

I must admit, the grant gave me the nano video for educational purposes? First I transferred my existing music library and realized 8gigs is going to go pretty far, I fully intend to load it with my favorite music videos as well. So, far only got as far as finding this video by Calle 13 that really fits well with the week. At least if you have spent it discussing the virtues of; Coyotes, INS, and humanity. Now, I just have to figure out without investing too much time how to take it from YouTube to Apple.

CurrentTV had a great podcast by Blakkbox on Hezbollah and Mtv3 a great forum on immigration hosted by Ask a Mexican's Own Gustavo Arellano.

Calle 13 though, has a gift for taking the uncomfortable mainstream.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Southern Hospitality

I have learned that between federal and foundation funding, I will likely pursue mainly the foundation funding. They are more in-line with my own beliefs. Saw first hand proposals that had been funded. Discussed the Fulbright, The Ford, The Spencer, how once you get into one of the 'families,' the funding pretty much continues through your career.

One of my colleagues wrote me into the foundation proposal she completed. I decided finally that I was going to pursue non-residential post doctoral opportunities. Had a moment of doubt when I cam across a two year residential postdoc cross country but decided that is not really what I want to do next.

Shared my argument for using Michel Foucault as my dissertation framework. After two days of sharing my findings with my work-group they were satisfied with the confidence I had built in my argument.

Rode to the Professors home with another doctoral student that has relocated with her husband to Kansas. We talked about what we might want in a university. Her debate being at a tier 1 institution or not. I mentioned my preferences keep changing for pursuing public vs. private universities, but I think it has a lot to do with the student demographic at the college.

Inside the 'reception,' I quickly realized the vegetarian mind set was soo far from anyone's mind...Not that I have a problem with a liquid dinner. Quickly learned about the Green Hulk and Cupid Shuffle.

One part Hypnotique + One part Hennesey = Green Hulk, on the rocks and stir. Two Green Hulks later, on the dance floor learning the Cupid Shuffle, hearing about quirky engagements, and discussing Christian Louboutin heels with professors across the nation. Florida has been lovely.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spain via Florida

Another sunny Florida day, and feel like the Sangria was in true Spanish form last night. One of the things I remember fondly about going to Spain was finding an underground lounge- in the sweltering humid heat, the below ground venue was a cool refuge.

We decided since we had taken the panoramic train ride from Barcelona to Valencia we were going to order a pitcher of their namesake drink. So we ordered Agua de Valencia, which sounded really refreshing. It was really smooth, the combination of fresh orange juice with cava and vodka, was really easy to drink. After the first pitcher we ordered another.

This was me and my sisters first trip to Europe. On account of her college graduation we set our sights on Ibiza. My mother objected to us spending two weeks on the Balearic Island, to please her, we planned a stop on the mainland. Pushed through the jetlag, enjoyed the Barcelona nightlife, and Spanish culture, met cute Italian law students, on a quest to visit the Lladro Workshop we made our way to Valencia.

We didn't know if it was the heat or the sugar or the alcohol that had gotten to us, because suddenly the Agua de Valencia had us laughing and trying to figure out how we got to such a happy state. Regardless we wanted to recreate this back at home so we asked the server what the ratio of, cava, oj, and vodka were? It seems we had left out an ingredient- gin. Gin, we missed it, no wonder, se nos subio!

It might be the salsa music I have the pleasure of hearing everywhere here and the combination of Caribbean accents which are so distinct here, something makes me want to hop on a plane and head further east. Or it might be the warm sun and friendly disposition of everyone on this side of the country that reminds me of good times.

At the intimate dinner at the Spanish restaurant last night, the professors from across the nation informally gathered to talk about their grandchildren, their fight for full tenure, their creative projects, and travel, they offered me a balanced look of what my future had in store.

One of the things I know, once I complete my dissertation I will be able to take on some of the travel I enjoy without the guilt of deadlines. I think I have caught the travel bug, I had been cured for a good minute, but am glad it is back :)

The coffee is finally kicking in, thank goodness the south moves about as fast as molasses.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

La Florida

Warm and sunny in the mid 80's on this lovely and slightly jetlagged Florida day.

Learning many insights to attaining funding for projects that one day will be my own small contribution to the well being of others.

To build solutions with the community, to write the words that have been omitted. With a group of comitted and like minded scholars. One just found out he won a book award.

In my small group shared and learned our own experiences of writing our own stories, how we negotiate what we know and what we want others to understand. In the presence of two Dakota scholars understood that others understand the way I do: Solidarity feels good.

An excerpt from my notes today...
'Sacred Breath, what you say comes back to you,' Long Feather


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jet Set Dreams

Today I found myself gazing longingly at the luxurious travel that arrived in my inbox. The Taj Lake Hotel, a palace definitely on my worth staying at list, alongside the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, and I never get enough of the Mediterranean Coast...

For now it is a month of funded national travel; Florida, Baltimore, Manhattan.

Hardly indulgent but not half bad as far as U.S. destinations go. Thanks to the think tanks travel agent that booked my flight, the Florida trip tomorrow is first class! Silly little things that reassure me no matter how much work I need to do and how little sleep I get before I board the plane- the ride over will be restful.

Yesterday, I was grumpy and tired, the weather was gloomy, and I felt like I had a lot to do. I wanted to be outside enjoying the city in my red pea coat. I prefaced every interaction by explaining I was feeling grumpy- 'this is you grumpy?' they laughed.

By the time I completed my lecture at the university my mood had completely changed. It made me stop and remember how fortunate I am to be in a field that is both enjoyable and stimulating.

Just unpacked my bags from LA and looked up the weather forecast for Florida through Sunday and it is Sunny and in the 80's!

Feeling blessed.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Nonstop Love

In LA...

Cobalt blue Corralejo bottle around the table with my best friend from ninth grade, my parents, and Abuelita. I giggled as they dispensed marriage advice. We toasted to our wonderful friend, that had grown to be the brother and son we never had.

Next day, made my way to Hollywood for an extra yummy lunch with a friend. Really I asked him, 'W' hotel and residencies breaking ground?

That night was dinner and umm kamakazies with my best friend from first grade and her husband. We caught up on what had happened the last two weeks since she had been up to the city to see me; friends, work, and family. Time always goes too quickly.

I slept in, woke up to Mexican breakfast and got ready for the wedding. Practiced my reading and after congratulating the newlyweds had a margarita with my family before we all headed to the reception. The twinkling strands of light outside the Chateu showcased the love and care that went into creating the celebration.

The afterparty was like a scene out of Entourage: The singles from the wedding made their way down Ventura Boulevard to live music, Patron Silver, and late night eats at Jerry's Deli. Officially my single friend count in LA is up to 3 :)

Abuelita and mom were hard at work making homemade chilaquiles when I woke up, and we planned out our day.

That night my friend and I headed to DEEP for Lil Louie Vega: Dope!

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

La Playa )'(

Going a mile a minute...When the double rainbow was sent to me, it took me back to my time on the Playa. Already looking forward to next year at Black Rock City.

Today I will ambitiously take on the following:
*Follow up on mundane paperwork
*Drop off dry cleaning for same day cleaning to be packed for LA
*Campus library to check out another Foucault and return books I am not using
*Read articles printed last night
*Shop? not sure I love the shoes, should check one more store. Love my new dress!
*Cobbler, I bet that is where my favorite suede boots are!
*Edit PowerPoint for Professor, headed to the conference we were both invited to
*Confirm drinks with fellow Chicana Dissertation Crazed friend!

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Monday, October 01, 2007


After days of searching through the 1200 plus page The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, found myself in love with the work of the late French philosopher Michel Foucault. I grew so enamoured of folding his work into my own that I would have gladly ignored the city...

That rarely happens. So instead I brought the reading with me to the cafes. Talked incessantly to my friends about him. One of them giggled about the pronunciation okay actually two did. But after drinks with a true French speaker we had a clear pronunciation of his name.

Reading the articles on him, I was finally able to narrow down the one book I do plan to purchase, The Archeology of Knowledge and the Discourse of Language.

I also came up with my proposal idea for funding when I meet with the Federal and Foundation fundees in Florida next week!

Doing all this work now so that I can head to LA and be fully present to participate in celebrating the nuptials of my best friend from ninth grade...

Aside from Foucault this weekend my friends indulged me with a trip to the Love Parade festivities in the Civic Center, Lil Baobab to drink hibiscus cocktails and dance, a long walk in the sun and some wine of course. Foucault, friends, and travel-I am such a lucky girl.

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