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, November 28, 2007

Se Nos Fue...

Mio Tío-Abuelo Andrés Martinez

Y me voy, a Cancun, Quintana Roo esta noche a darle el pésame a mi Abuelita Amparo y regresar con ella para el entierro de su hermano.

La vida viene y va con tanta rapidez, solamente el amor puede marcar el tiempo.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Days to break a habit...3 days to go.

Sun is shining in our lovely city and it is all good. Made my way to Amoeba, after spending the morning working from home.

Picked out Amy Winehouse, Cafe Tacuba, Manu Chao, Alejandro Saenz...After the listening station settled on La Radiolina and the Back to Black double cd import.

At the checkout when they called next the clerk smiled and said right on to me. Took that as a sign of approval. Seems you can't go wrong with an Amy Winehouse or Manu Chao purchase these day...or I have very good taste in music today.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

72 City Hours

Second part of a previous night, toasted an attorney friends birthday at Casanova's in the Mission. Hailed a cab and made our way to the 24 hour Naan & Curry for great late night bites.

The holiday showcased a beautiful sunset that we watched from my friends family deck in the Berkeley Hills, the sun set and across the water we could see the city lights twinkling.

Started the weekend with a walk to the ocean and at 70 degrees and sunny it was unbelievable we were nearing the end of November. Perfect weather and afternoon at the Park Chalet.

Getting work done from home and when restless stepping out down the street with a friend to admire the local bartender...she admired I laughed at the age of the guy that struck up a conversation with me.

Friends Mom in town from Seattle, meant ladies who brunch back at the Cafe Majestic. Then braved the downtown crowds to grasp a glimpse of the tree in Union Square before settling in for an Irish coffee or two at the Gold Dust Lounge. She told us stories of living, teaching and falling in love in the sixties. Said we gave her hope, we listened admiringly, she noted she was out with the doctors. Three of us are heading toward that little thing called a dissertation. Her love story and raising eight children left me feeling like what ever I accomplish will never rival the beauty of her motherhood.

After a very good day, got some work done and later enjoyed my friends home cooked dinner and brownies. While it may have been a big movie weekend, no one I know saw one. We did however watch the famous Hipster Olympics...


Thursday, November 22, 2007

One-hundred and Two


My Bisabuelita Esperanza Carillo de Villareal lived to be 102. She told the family she was five years younger when she arrived to live with her daughter in Baja, California after moving from Merida years before. She had two sons Mario and Edelmiro, at 25 she had my Grandmother Julia.

My mom called before entering Mexico to tell me she would be heading straight to the mercado to see Rosie about the flower arrangements. One from each; the Salazar, Velasco Martinez, Zermeno and from her last surviving child Julia a floral casket cover. My Dad would be busy signing over the papers for the burial plot, his Grandmother was to be buried alongside her Grandson Jorge.

I would not hear from them until today, about how the rosary, velorio, misa, burial and comida went flawlessly.

My Dad told me about the changes in velorios, growing up the wake was an all night event. Today, they only go til 12am. That gave them time to rest and in the morning run around the Buena Vista with my Great Aunts Concepcion y Esperanza that would be hosting the after burial feast.

My Dad said, it was all very nice. He and his five brothers all present and greatful to the woman that had given birth to their mother Julia.

My Mother, was accompanied by her Mother and Great Aunt as well as her Sister Maria. After the mass and the burial they headed to my Mothers Great Aunts home in the Buena Vista for Chicharrones, Bistec Picado, rice, beans, salsa, tacos de panela, even though I am a vegetarian, as my dad went on to describe the feast lovingly prepared I got a little hungry. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine the scents wafting from the kitchen door into the dining room. The scents that first woke me as a child as my Bisabuelita Lolita prepared the morning meals.

To me there is nothing morbid about death: I was taught how to mourn. My parents never kept me from wakes, open caskets, burials, or the celebration of life that follows. I couldn't be physically there with them, but I was there in spirit.

In San Francisco my good friend Rebekka stopped by my office, looked into mass times, met me for soup, that I was craving. Monica called to tell me she was reachable to see how I was doing, she had kept me company the previous two nights.

I didn't listen to music the whole day, took a nap, went along my day quietly. After dinner, I realized in Mexico they would be celebrating her life now. So, we went for a drink.

We made our way to the Mission to Delerium to meet with Adam, Tia, Ammie, Vinnay, and then someone coordinated a toast, to my Great Grandmother to a life well lived. I sipped my tequila knowing all the way down in Mexico, mi familia would be doing the same...

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Monday, November 19, 2007


From the airport made my way to the Flamingo Hilton on the strip. Waiting on my parents to make it back from the Golden Nugget downtown, on the phone I said hello to Canvas their favorite Vegas bartender. Meanwhile I sat at the bar with Vi the bartender who knew me. My parents have been going to the same two Vegas spots for more than twenty years.

Finally my Mom, Dad, Abuelita, Madrina and Great Aunt made it back. I went to the cafe with my Great Aunt, then my Mom and Madrina showed up. My primos were already texting and trying to coordinate our evening out.

Made it up to my room at the very top floor overlooking the pool, it was good to be back in the Nevada desert. With no time to apply the fake eyelashes, I had bought with my friend when she was visiting San Francisco from LA. Still tried to channel my inner Amy Winehouse eye makeup. Cobalt blue and black dress and platform black patent leather heels and I was ready.

Headed to the Palms, to meet with my generation of family. Arizona, South Carolina, Texas, and California. None of us are very good at waiting in line, so, we crossed the velvet rope and emerged at the Ghost Bar. I love my family.

Later as we drank rounds, took family votes and danced, I said to them, "I love my life." "Love that we are family." They took it up, and toasted, "we love our life."

Before we knew it we had taken up a side lounge and they were turning up the music, the dj was hanging out with us, and time had no meaning. We agreed somewhere along 4am to have brunch with our parents the next day.

At 10:30 the next morning the brunch plans were set. I needed two aspirins and a coke, but made my way to the Paris for a family lunch.

This time my dad and primo arranged a private dining room and we walked right in. We told them all about the night before, yes, we had partied like rockstars and loved our life. Three hours later people had to leave to their respective states.

We had one more night, champagne brunch had definitely been a family highlight.

The next morning my Dad got a call. His grandmother had died peacefully in her sleep. I was sad, that I had lost my last Great-Grandmother. In my lifetime I was able to know three of my four Great-Grandparents. Now my Bisabuelita Dolores Martinez got to meet my Bisabuelita Esperanza Carrillo. We have family everywhere. Love.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Vegas Baby

It has been a long year for the Roques' and the Salazars'. For very different reasons, but love and beauty seem to flourish after-all.

All I have to say is that at the end of the day we are so blessed our parents became such good compadres and family.

All the years we spent driving back and forth to celebrate New Year's, Thanksgiving or Noche Buena, were captured on video, photographs, but more importantly imprinted in our memory.

Here we are the next generation emerging and as close as the bonds our parents showed us. In honor of my primas 3oth we are meeting in Vegas. From Arizona, Texas, San Diego, Los Angeles, South Carolina, we are bridging four generations.

Reconstructing our family tree, to be whole, with the memories of those who no longer travel with us. Sometimes, a person is bigger than their life and other times they are just not enough person to fill what they were born into.

Either way the family continues, and continues, and one day, when we are no longer here, these trips, and memories will continue to be passed down within this family...

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Headed North of the Panhandle for dinner with our friends Dad who is in from the East Coast. We dined for three hours starting with the very pretty cocktails, and with dinner moved on to a very good pinot. Fort Ross, if you ever come across a bottle and are in the mood for medium to full bodied wine. I tasted vanilla, but may be totally wrong.

It was such a nice time. My two friends and me have all spent time with each others parents on different occasions. One of them is having us over for Thanksgiving dinner in Berkeley. Since my parents will be in Southern California they gave me a very good bottle of tequila to show their thanks to my host family.

There is just something about adult friends that is really beautiful. I don't know how I got to be so blessed. As we sat and talked at dinner, I felt lucky that although we grew up in geographically different households we all had parents in longstanding and loving relationships.

We all relate to our parents and each others parents in a loving and caring way. I hope I am as cool and fun to be around when I am a parent:)

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Dub Mission

Back in the city and professionally I seemed to be on a streak.

I was appointed as the new Service Learning Grant Coordinator through summer. Looking forward to spending my entire budget on educator created community projects. The novel perks for me were the office, the travel I get to take to the field from Seattle to San Diego and my favorite cities in between to see the funding in action.

Midweek returned to my campus to give a professional development, and asked back for one more. Spent my Saturday, facilitating and supporting, realizing only continued thoughtful dialogue will make any change possible in our society.

Worked through the reverse jet-lag, and just took time to sleep, and rest.

It was a great week.
Love is one thing, lifestyle is another. Sometimes, no amount of love can bridge that divide. At least not in the present. Too bad timing couldn't permit a languid lunch, a lighter Saturday, in the end I trust it all works out.

Hadn't been back since summer but on occasion of the long weekend made our way to our favorite Sunday night spot Dub Mission. It was late, it was cold and we decided our friends would just have to make their way upstairs to find us. Coat check, and drink, we just started to take it in.

It was packed, it smelled sweet, we felt the warmth. And shortly we were holding court among nationals that would rival the U.N. So the night was a mix of friends, and friends of friends, from Korea, Tunisia, France, Argentina, Palestine, Nigeria, y Brazil!

We danced, and danced, and when a dub of No One by Alicia Keys came on, you could feel the love in the room. "You can be sure, that it will only get better..."

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Sunday, November 11, 2007


He said...

She said...


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mi Amparo

Mi Abuelita
Nos unimos mas de cien familiares y amistades para brindarle sus ochenta: Cuatro generaciones, presente.

Nuestra querida Abuelita y su primera bisnieta, la preciosa infante Rosalinda.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Took the regional train from Baltimore, through Delaware, Philadelphia, New Jersey, to NYC. First breath out the door of Penn Station and I felt alive. Anticipating what the city had in store. Hailed a cab, checked in to our midtown hotel. Little black dress never fails, took a town-car through central park to Lincoln Center.

Inside the Metropolitan Opera House the plush red, gold and crystal was beautiful, and that was only the lobby. Our friend met us at the door tickets in hand. Like all good things family circle seats are passed down and there I was a California girl attending like a true New Yorker.

From our little balcony boxes we saw the beautiful love story of Aida unfold. My favorite part was when they brought out the horses, the brown ones were my favorite, the white ones were very nice too. Due to a misunderstanding we missed the first act, and we were told they had real live elephants onstage also. I loved the full orchestra, choreography, set design, it was like watching a musical, dance recital, theater, concert all in one! During the intermissions we sipped bubbly and viewed costumes of Pavarotti on display. While he was a very round man he was certainly not a very tall one.

I am not sure what part of town we sat down in for our 11:45pm dinner, but Blue Ribbon, which has expanded since I last went three years ago, was delicious. In the basement they housed an entire brick oven bread bakery. Over dinner we discussed travel, a wedding in Dubai, journeys through South America.

We continued to MAS a southern French lounge and restaurant. They handed me my after dinner drink in a crystal sifter with my espresso, frangelico and hand whipped cream. The after dinner conversation, centered on the slow food movement alive and well in NYC, as well as a discussion on viewing education through an economist lens. Likely because there were economists and scholars in the conversation.

Out the window I saw neat stacks of cardboard flattened and tied with string. Blue bags for recycling, and no bins. I learned that in NYC, the trash is privately contracted not city run. Around 3am, I saw the big apple recycling truck come by, and was giddy. (At MAS late night dining and alcohol are served til 4am.) It was a funny thing to focus on I suppose, but novel to me.

The next day, my good friend and L.A. transplant met me for brunch. We took the subway to Union Square walked through the farmers market to Craft Bar. Great company, good food and breaking news: Seems I may be attending her wedding in Vermont next Fall!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Locals Only

Baltimore has been surprisingly less drab than I expected. After a full day of conference activities finally changed into street clothes to explore the city. Unfortunately the inner harbor area looked like any other corporate mini-mall.

So, I just turned on the brick lined street and approached the couple walking towards us. 'Are you from here?' They replied positively and pointed us in two directions we might consider, Federal Hill or Little Italy.

Once in Little Italy we headed towards the restaurant they had suggested. Two other locals noticed us and asked if we had been to the area before. No, and they suggested Amicci's also, the bar has a nice atmosphere. We took our seat and had a great meal and bottle of Italian wine also.

Towards the end of our meal we noticed the patrons at the bar were smoking. Just because we could we had to bum a cigarette, menthol fortunately. The server told us that in Maryland they had been prohibiting smoking indoors one county at a time, and unfortunately, Baltimore was up in January.

Walking back towards our hotel, I commented that Baltimore was actually pretty. We agreed the brick sidewalks are beautiful but hardly stilleto friendly.

Off to NYC tomorrow!