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, January 29, 2008


I decided we should have a dirty kidney going away party. So we listened to mariachi at Las Hadas and counted our blessings...
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Friday, January 25, 2008

Inner Circle Friends

Over lunch in Hayes Valley I shared with my friend the fury I had felt the last 12 hours. Given the circumstances she said it was normal.

She is the kind of person I have chosen to surround myself with, a survivor. I expressed to her what I had learned from a chaplain a few years before.

When someone is ill or terminal lending your strength is most appreciated. If you come to the infirm seeking something from them then you are depleting their much needed strength. The point is to lend them strength, resolve your own emotionality so you are not making them responsible for making you feel better.

I learned that sometimes quiet presence and maintaining a sense of normalcy is enough. These are all answers I sought in the year my padrino was ill.

My friend said that was a healthy take. When she has been in my situation she said there are clearly two types of people. Those that step up genuinely and those that are seeking you to comfort them. She said of the second group it is your right not to console them or give them your strength that you are channeling towards helping your mom have healing thoughts.

It was raining and we walked over to get some tea, I realized I really did have a good support system in San Francisco.

And in Los Angeles there was the best friend from ninth grade that offered me support and perspective from being a married man in love. The lifetime neighbor that called to share my positive outlook, left her mobile number as she would be out of town for a few days, and anything we needed do not hesitate to ask. A group of men that would offer prayers and a sweat for my mom.

Later in the day another survivor friend called to see what my evening looked like. Still at the office I mentioned I had to use up some of my groceries since I would be leaving town soon. And there was a lovely bottle of tequila my good friend had given me for my birthday.

Over soy tacos, and quinoa we made fancy margarita's with agave nectar and grand marnier. Then after sharing what my week had been like my two friends insisted on reading my bad poetry. It is funny because they never knew me in the creative capacity of open mic. After my reading they agreed they never wanted me to write a poem about them :)


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I despise you
More each day
You are a self centered beast

You were shown mercy
Others reached out to you
Yet you remain despicably mute

Lo corriente se te pego
He led you to inertia
You are unrecognizable

If we were two perfect halves
Then you have rotted
And left your stench behind

You gave everything up
Neglected your dreams
Your degrees
Your dignity

Those that cared for and kept you
Traded all that was good
For something so worthless

So unremarkable
So unmotivated
So uneducated
A wild boar would be better

And now you cry
Two years later
Act like you need a map back

Forgot the womb that bore you
The umbilacle that sustained you
The hands that worked to nurture, clothe and feed you

If the body were a metaphor
you would be the needed nephrectomy



I have been the majority of this month in LA. My dad says I am a brujita, I call it intuition. Before I went to the specialist with my mom and dad, I started to talk to her about a good name for the future perfect grandchild I would one day give her.

She laughs when I tell her I will have one perfect brown daughter. She reminds me the green eyes and gueritos that run in her family, could emerge from me. So I said then I would adopt from the orphanage in Aguascalientes, they have brown orphans there right? She said yes, she thought so.

We were driving to lunch on Ventura Blvd. After visiting the specialist. I took up the topic again. We settled on Laura Amparo for a girl and Ricardo Jesus for a boy. Unless I had twins I would adopt a second child from the orphanage.

I asked her the night before how she felt. She felt good she wasn't in any physical discomfort. That morning on our way to see the urological oncologist I asked again how she felt. Still she felt good. I reminded her no matter what they said she felt good, we had to stay strong and take this on aggressively. Agreed.

The specialist explained the cell mass, renal cell carcinoma. On 3D ct scan I saw the dirty kidney. Unlike typical cases this tumor sat dead center. Occupying and growing into the interior of the kidney. For this reason it was not possible to extract the almost 5cm cell mass.

The laproscopy minimally invasive surgeon had an opening, the 31st of this month. We took the appointment.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Los Warriors

My mom and me drove along the 210 early this morning. On the open road I was pushing 90 and we were singing loudly to her Janice Joplin cd.

I mentioned all that was missing for our road trip was cheeto's and coke. She laughed and said we would then arrive with orange fingers! So I suggested we could make that the airport trip treat. When I was growing up a road trip with her included, Janice, coke and cheeto's.

We took the Mountain exit and waved to my padrino as we passed him. Stopped for flowers and wrapping paper before picking up my madrina.

Back on the road we listened to Sinatra and noticed the formerly charred hillside was in full bloom. My madrina commented on how the naturaleza renewed itself.

We drove through the canyon and were greeted at the door. The view from my tios house was further than the eye could take in. My younger cousin showed me an old vhs he had of a christmas in the Buena Vista that took place before he was born.

I told him all about our bisabuelita and how anytime you woke up in her home the kitchen was alive and warm, full of food that she had started preparing for us while we were still sleeping.

The comida was finally ready and the handmade gorditas, nopales, cauliflower, beans, papitas, fruta, queso and tofu made for a loving feast. My tio brought out his books on Aguascalientes, then the tequila. I drank more coffee and read the latest Hola revista. They continued to tell jokes and laugh.

It was a Sunday like no other. We talked about the weeks ahead and counted on their strength. My dad said it best, we have had a beautiful life.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Getty Villa

Spent my day off with my parents. Started with breakfast on the patio of the historic Georgian hotel. I had been there the morning before and the art deco hotel on Ocean Avenue reminded me so much of Miami and South Beach.

We drove down the one and I mentioned I had never been to the Getty Villa. We decided to pull up to the Malibu driveway and although it was reservations only we were offered tickets on the spot.

Once inside we spent three hours enjoying the majestic grounds, on a perfectly sunny day. We reminisced about the ruins we saw first hand in Athens and Rome. Then sat out on the cafe deck amazed at the view still.

After I took this photo, I couldn't remember anything more beautiful than them.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Santa Monica

Lovely time beachside in a jewel of LA. Mixed academia, work, friends and family while enjoying sunny 75 and 85 degree days!

A few of the highlights:
Location, location, location, the hotel Carmel has it. Enjoyed walking to the ocean, dining, drinking, and pretty sunsets all without driving. Not to mention I spent it with some of my favorite people in LA!
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Thursday, January 10, 2008


My phone was buzzing and my mom was calling to tell me about the wedding we are invited to in Aguascalientes in February. She thought it would be difficult to attend now and in November for the 50th birthday we have already been invited to. I told her she and my dad should go! She thought I should go since some of my favorite primas would be attending. Agreed to talk about it when I am in town.

A lovely way to start my day. A call from mom and project Martinez Martinez in full effect. Aguascalientes has been on my mind for a while and now I have two invitations to visit.

In a fortunate coincidence I get to take a business trip to West LA. Really fun to go home and play traveler. Staying in Santa Monica and decided to spend the week between there and my parents. It made more sense than taking two full round trips since I have to be in town back to back...

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Heart my Geeks

My mom has been known to stop the watch on her wrist. When I used to wear a watch I tired of them losing track of time. I like to think we are composed of something smarter than time.

When I was home for the holidays I told my parents about my super crosscut almost industrial shredder not working. I used it for all my draft documents. One day it decided to only work in reverse. When set in forward motion it provided only a dull hum.

I was not sure what to do with the heavy duty shredder. Thought of calling some handy people I knew or taking it back to the store? Instead I decided to give it rest. When I returned from Los Angeles I called my parents to let them know I had fixed it.

First I ran the shredder in reverse mode then switched it forward and ever since my 15 month old shredder has worked perfectly!

Before leaving to LA my laptop also stopped running. The virus scan was 45 minutes into it with no virus in site when it stopped. I turned it on and it turned off.

So I figured I would just let it rest. Maybe this is all to AI but figured this might be just like a watch. Not the case and after a call assuring the extended warranty was still in effect I took it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

The 23rd of December and I had their undivided attention. Left my laptop in their trusty hands and made a call to cash in my mobile phone upgrade.Twenty minutes later I was wireless with a mobile PC.

In Palm Springs with my new Blackberry in hand the Geek Squad called me. Hard drive would be replaced completely under warranty and did I want them to take any data off of it?

Screwdriver in hand in the sun, I tried to take my attention off the palmtrees remembered the order; backup desktop, word files, powerpoints then music library, please and thank you.

Went to pick up the dvd full of data and there it was all the work I had created over the last three years. Funny how things work, the grant allotted me both a desktop and laptop for the duration of my post. The blackberry enabled me to post the final grades for the university course I had taught from Big Bear! Somehow I was wired without a lapse.

Yesterday I got a call from a Geekette, the computer was back but needed some programs and the queue was backed up it would be longer than they thought. So I said possibly could you please ask if they could get it done before my business trip?

One day later my laptop is with me again and all I can say is that this winter, some Geeks saved my life ;)

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Punk Rock & Vodka

Muy nice, I know :)

Fuzzy friends star girlfriend had a 26th birthday bash and let me say it was the first time I realized absolutely no one I was with was from the city: Or umm California.

The band, artists, and smattering of fuzzy intellectuals celebrated in the Mission. Of course there were some friends of friends that had little in common with the rest. I had the distinct pleasure of conversing with one...

D- where do you live?
Upper Haight
D-We live in Nob Hill and Pac Heights!
I half smile, by choice?
D-It is really nice, how long have you lived in the city?
Four years, do you find the neighborhood you live in interesting?
D-I guess not really.
I fully smile, me neither.
D-How do you know the star?
Her boyfriend and you?
D-Oh we are friends of a friend.
D-So what do you do?
Nothing, I am writing my dissertation.
D-Wow! I work for Nintendo.
I laugh, really they are still around?
D-They are the #1 game company.
Sure they are.
D- Wii have you heard of wii?
Wii, you should have said so. Okay, my friend is waving me over think that means he is buying us drinks, see you later.

Birthday girl was drinking captain and coke and I decided to stick to Vodka. Fuzzy friend was running on makers neat. I noticed the drinks didn't seem very strong.

Made it back to see Mr. Nintendo waving his shirt in the air and dancing to punk rock standards. The hosts asked me who he was. A friend of a friend that was invited, we laughed.

I imagined if I was old enough to go out when the Ramones and the Sex Pistols, were around it would have been something like that night.

I got points for having seen the Ramones in concert, a cover of the Cure came on and I mentioned I had seen them too.

Night turned into day and the rain had stopped, fortunately it was grey out because my head was swimming in vodka...For a good girl living in Reseda, turned LA woman, San Francisco is a fitting third chapter...

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Amazing 2008

This is going to be a very good year...

If 2007 was about attaining clarity then I have learned the following lessons.

In Academia:
* You will not know how racism feels until you experience it.
* Research needs context because context matters.
* Even when you have done everything asked of you they will deem it not enough, until you argue back and call them racist. Then you will grow wise and realize the point is to get past the moment that they have suspended you in.

In Friendship:
* Some people mature and allow the nature of their friendships to change with them.
* Some friendships you will outgrow.
* Some friendships will end because only you hold their most intimate truths, and they are not ready to face them.

In love:
* I continue to be in awe and amazed by the ease and generosity with which my parents have shared 35 years of love.
* Sometimes the person you are with does not have your best interest at heart. So you have to leave them.
* Acting in a loving way towards others sometimes means you lose, because not everyone appreciates the truth.

In Familia:
* We can only reshape memories and experiences not erase them.
* Project Martinez, Martinez has restored my hope in keeping my great grandparents ways alive for another generation.
* If you cast yourself out it is your responsibility to find your way back. In the meantime we are living the language, the culture, the food, the love we inherited from the last five generations.

Looking forward to sharing another year with my amazing; colleagues, friends, queridos, y familia.