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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nader & Gonzalez

A dream team if I ever heard of one...
Ralph Nader chooses former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez as his running mate for this year's presidential election.
For more read The San Francisco Chronicle and a commentary by fellow blogger.


Monday, February 25, 2008


In just eighteen hours...

Reuniting with some friends from the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, made our way down to the Bill Graham Civic Center Auditorium. Every concert there I have had a great time, first Bob Dylan, then Manu Chao, this weekends Ragga Muffins Festival did not disappoint.

We didn't have tickets and were only showing up for the last three acts, to catch up with the out of towners. The box office still had tickets, but I told my friend lets check the list.

So I walked up to the guy behind the will call table and said hi, "do you have any tickets that maybe did not get used and you would like to give away?" smiled. He said he had one ticket was I there alone? "No, my friend is at the box office window, called to her and she waved (by the way she is rockin the luscious brown locks ;) but there is only a few acts left and we don't know if it is worth it to pay the full price?"

He said, he had one ticket, I waved my friend over, he pushed the ticket towards me on the table. "Thank you! Certain we squealed and would have hugged him if he wanted." Back at the box office we got the other ticket. My friend asked, how did you do that? "I just asked."

It took a minute but we found our party the first band we saw was Midnight from St. Croix, pretty mellow for my taste.

Anthony B. from Jamaica though, brought the energy of dancehall to the stage and it spread throughout the auditorium. Made friends with the group standing next to us. It seems the drinks just kept coming, beer, cran and vodka, sprite and vodka, it was warm and the air smelled sweet.

Between acts the guest djs spun some crowd favorites then I started to hear Yee-haw. I was really confused. Why are they saying yee-haw? My friend said the next act was known for saying it, Eeka-A-Mouse from Jamaica. Still confused by the yee-haw my other friend explained Eek-A-Mouse also says meow, get it like a cat? I tried not to stare blankly back at him and we laughed.

Handy cackberry searched out options for festival after parties, reggae gold at the End-up? Not scheduled this weekend, they had already been to Club Six, then we came up with the intimate Senegalese spot, Little Baobab.

I think we hailed a Taxi pretty quickly then made our way to the Paris-Dakar International night. Everyone had a great time in the shoe box sized venue, dancing and drinking to french hip hop, music from various parts of the African Continent, when I heard the familiar sounds of Orixa, streaming out of the speakers I finally understood every single word...Everyone was from somewhere, global and friendly as they danced in very cramped quarters.

Everyone likes to keep a good night going, so we weighed our options with the blended group that poured out of the Beauty Bar and Little Baobab on the corner of Mission and 19th. The events change depending on the weekend of the month so we stood outside at two am, discussing options for afterhours and undergrounds and after parties at the Phoenix Hotel...Yee-haw!

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Friday, February 22, 2008

St. Jude

Patron of hopeless causes...miracle granted.

Today my tios Johnny and Ralph became naturalized United States citizens. A story that began in 1957, when the practice at the border was to just rip the Mexican baby's papers into pieces because there father was a U.S. born Mexican and that was just the way they handled naturalization at the time.

So my mom and her eight siblings a combination of U.S. and Mexico born, travelled easily between the two countries in their childhood. At the time it was also common practice to lend or share names and social security numbers, this is one of the stories my parents shared with me when I was home last week.

Then slowly almost one by one since the amnesty of the 1980's their naturalization was questioned.

One by one or pairs like today they took up their cases.

Today was a long shot for various reasons. We all approached it differently, my grandma was going with them to the hearing, I lit my virgen of Guadalupe velita, and my mom said she prayed to the saint my prima had told her about, St. Jude.

1950-2008 the time it took my mothers family to complete the work my grandfather Jesus had started.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lip-gloss Confidential

Spent the week helping my dad care for my mamacita or at least entertaining her. We made good progress on the Caramelo novel we are reading by Sandra Cisneros, caught up with her favorite telenovela Pasion, and laughed at family stories that I couldn't believe I had not heard.

It was nice to see her regaining her strength as the week went on. The calls, cards, and visits from those that hold her dear lift her spirits greatly. Before my dad drove me to the flyaway yesterday, she was already up; heater on, canela boiling and french toast made when I rolled out of bed at 6am. It was cold outside and waking up to her warmth was perfect.

I am not very domestic but I tried. They thought some off my approaches silly but appreciated them nonetheless. One morning I drove to my favorite strip mall on Plummer, picked up fresh alternative bagels from Western Bagel and lox cream cheese for my dad, then perused the isles of Gelson's for some sugar free and organic goodness to bring home. Decided another day to redo her bedroom, picked up high thread count sheets, comforter set, some pretty bedroom rugs, rearranged the fresh flower arrangements and she loved it!


Back in the city had two meetings and a friends birthday dinner I coordinated at the month old foodie Haven EPIC Roasthouse. Crackberry in hand I had a successful and productive first day back.

I always thought the friends I made from grammar school, high school, college and sorority would last me a lifetime. If that were the case then I would be down two; the former friend that took it upon herself to speak with some sort of authority about my extended family, oh that was a bad move and as forgettable as her brother that took up with my sister. The second LA friend that has seem to become a distant memory was probably collateral damage from my disclosing her boyfriends indiscretions. Either way, I saw one in the distance after Sunday mass as my dad and I chatted outside with old parish friends and the other I heard is engaged.

At the end of the day, I am the friend I want to have. The women I have met in my adult life have morphed into my new peers. Funny, witty, attractive, kind, and somehow I think I got really lucky to meet them here in this new place, when I thought I had already made the friends I would grow old with.

I think we are as young as Sex in the City but definitely as mature as the Lipstick Jungle. Here you go boys, a look inside girls of last night one is happily cohabitating with her boyfriend, one is still with her boyfriend, one is dating only one person because that is what she has time for, and the other is definitely off the market for a minute :)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cupid Playlist

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Sunday, February 10, 2008


i woke up craving earth
tierra mas bien
not just dirt or dust
but rich soil

Mexico soil
that made perfect
rows of cakes
that we lined up to bake in the sun

i liked to play in the dirt
the dirt did not like me
instead i grew scaly itchy
patches of irritated skin

i was maybe five
but i remember
even then i craved earth
the cool soil moist between my fingers

in my dress i played in the yard
got stung by a rose bush once
grew new skin
when i gave up dirt games

today i crave it
miss it
must have dreamt
i was little again

then i knew only
the Rosarito sand
the Baja colonia dirt
the Aguascalientes, Calvillo, Malpaso soil

today i know Mexico as
pyramids and anicient ruins
white sands from Colima to Quintana Roo
dusty cobblestones of San Miguel de Allende...

i found as beautiful
Greek and Roman architecture
sand along the Mediterranean sea
sun baked cobblestones of Spain

have slept under venerable trees in Sant Cruz
mixed dirt with sweat in the Sierra Nevadas
danced in Black Rock city dust storms
slept on sand under the watchful eye of the moon

past, present mixed together
memories like elements
fire, wind, water, soil
today I woke up whole


Friday, February 08, 2008

Snow Lovely

When I first moved to San Francisco, I couldn't imagine why people wanted to spend the winter commuting up to Tahoe. Drive in traffic to the snow? This debate was at the center of many winter relationships, he loved the snow/snowboarding and his friends did too, so why was I so reluctant to leave the city?

I just couldn't get enough of San Francisco, I was in my own wonderland. Yet I have taken at least one trip a year to the snow since leaving LA. It is always fun once I am out here in the company of friends. Finally after a few years of dealing with the cold I made my way to the Sports Basement for a winter sample sale and scored on some really cute snow gear by Bonfire. Once warm, I could focus on enjoying the snow. I think having the right gear in the elements is essential to enjoyment.

One winter I signed up to take a snow boarding class at Northstar. I would have been just as happy sitting around the fire pit at Squa but my friends convinced me. So I convinced them a shot of tequila before would increase our courage. Totally suspended my vertigo temporarily. My snowboarding didn't really improve but we found the tequila and instructor from Chile really inspiring.

It seems every year I am getting to the snow more and more. My friend has a cozy cabin up here and the wireless makes it easy to work remotely. Sometimes I just stay in and work, the view is amazing. I did not grow up with snowsports but I am learning to appreciate the peaceful beauty and pace of mountain living.

This trip was just to slow down. Just what I needed, a cozy fire and hot tub in the snow. Made my way into town, thanks to the hospitality of a friendly local, and discovered some places I really enjoyed. I could see why this winter wonderland could be habit forming...

Pianeta Ristorante
Squeeze In


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Love and Thanks

I am truly humbled by the beauty of strangers, friends, and family that lent their strength and prayers for my pretty mami. She is home recovering now and the phone calls, visits, and good wishes continue. Her mom is there cooking up a storm, at 80 my abuelita has displayed a quiet faith and strength, she is inspiring. Her doting husband is still amazing and in love. My parents just celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.

The rosaries and misas that have been said in her name from Aguascalientes, through Mexico and baja are very appreciated. The powerful Christian prayer angeles, the pastors and ministers that lead their congregations in prayer, made a difference. The calls upon and alms offered in my mothers name for prayers in Malasia, from Buddhist priests, from the elders, and the stone people, gracias. For those that included her in their daily prayers and positive thoughts, thank you.

The last few weeks I felt fueled by a super human adreniline. I dreamt someone blew a great gust of air my way, I can only imagine it was my great-grandmothers Dolores and Esperanza, my great-tia Aurora, smiling down upon me. I needed all of that and more. When, I felt low friends and family lent strength to. Finaly the pace has slowed and although I feel a little tired very happy that my mom is home and resting. I am settling back to life in the city. In a few days heading to Tahoe to enjoy the beauty of nature and simple snow...I am in awe, inspired, and in love with the kindness of others.

Gracias a mi virgencita de Guadalupe por no desamparar me.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Pretty Mami

Since Monday when I arrived from San Francisco any time my mom was napping I stood over her and said pretty mami, time to wake up. She would laugh and I said that was how I was going to communicate with her from deep in her drug induced haze.

At 4am when I woke up to drive her and my dad to the surgery I left my pretty mami a message in eyeliner on the bathroom mirror. When I was growing up since she would leave to work while we were still sleeping she would leave us these same notes or even kisses.

On her way into surgery my abuelita, my dad, me, my madrina, two tios, tia and primito all cheered her on. She was strong and I reminded my pretty mami to stay away from the light. She said she would, in exchange for seeing my pretty face.

The wait seemed interminable. We had lunch on the hospital patio, told stories, jokes, talked to family, I knew she was in good hands, I just wanted to see her pretty face.

And finally after five hours of surgery the surgeon confirmed, everything had gone well. I asked if he had seen anything, and he said no, nothing abnormal. The tumor had remained encased inside the removed kidney. Tears of relief and joy followed, then a text and phone tree.

It was late, and although we had been told otherwise we were allowed to see her in the surgery recovery room. First my dad and abuelita went. Then the tio and madrina. I went in with my sister. We had been told not to wake her.

We approached her quietly. Just starred at her for what felt like all of our allotted five minutes. The nurse said we could talk to her, but I just smiled not believing him. Then another nurse approached us and said we could hug and kiss her. I leaned over her and whispered pretty mami.

Pretty mami turned her face towards me and said as she opened her eyes, "I don' feel so pretty." I laughed and said, but you are beautiful. I stepped back and said look mami there are two pretty faces, she said we were beautiful.

Then she asked, "where's Janice?" I laughed oh mom, you want us to sing some Janice Joplin? Which song? And from her drug induced haze she sang, "Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz," and I continued my friends all have Porches I must make amends...I told her to enjoy the drugs, Janice would and gave her a kiss on the forehead.

She could see the two of us and my dad standing in the near distance and she said my family is beautiful.