sábado, diciembre 31, 2005

Sayonara, 2005

Things we did in 2005:

Got two jobs
Resigned two jobs
Painted a pink dining room beige
Sold a house
Drove across country with two cats
Started two jobs
Taught eight courses
High Tea at the Fairmont
Painted a white bathroom lilac
Crocheted six ponchos and three shawls,
Knit four caps, and some scarves
Put together a composter

jueves, diciembre 29, 2005

teaching and technology...

I'm thinking maybe I should use Blackboard instead of Moodle this semester. The gradebook in Moodle--or lack thereof--drove me absolutely insane. It's challenging using a system the first time and with a class that you're teaching for the first time.

WebCT and D2L both had gradebooks you could set up ahead of time, where you could weight all items appropriately. Moodle doesn't appear to have a gradebook. When you set up assignments you can specify how many points each assignment is worth but I have yet to find the meta-level where you can deal with the grades, weight them, et cetera.

So at the beginning of the semester, I thought Moodle was perfect, because I was able to upload readings, organize the course either by topics or by weeks in the semester, look up individual students and see whether and how often they were visiting the class site. Grading was not something I worried about until midterms.

Now that I'm in the thick of grading, I actually gave up entirely on Moodle. I exported the data to Excel, downloaded a standard gradebook spreadsheet and tweaked it to fit my class. It's beautiful, it's easy, it's transparent. I still have to manually enter my grades into the university's system, but I'm not spending my time cursing software.

Although, they're currently installing the most recent update of Moodle in the schools system...maybe I should wait till it's operational to see what the gradebook looks like?

The thing is, L* has been mastering Blackboard in the Fall, and she never had any trouble with it. (apart from the standard mac browser problem, which I had with both D2L and Mozilla: For some reason, they want us to use MOZILLA as the web browser. I don't much like Mozilla, but I'm stuck with it. The education technology people are not particularly responsive on this issue: it's like telling them "I'm a vegetarian" and they say "okay, so just don't eat the meat.")

okay, i'm being geeky. i know i am...

miércoles, diciembre 28, 2005


Seven things I plan to do before I kick the can:
1. Buy a casita with L*
2. Cook something in a solar oven
3. Write a novel
4. Take in a kid
5. Read a book written by a former student
6. Speak Spanish well enough to assist una viejita
7. Teach a creative writing class

Seven things I can do:
1. Crochet
2. Knit
3. Bake Bread
4. Pigeon Pose
5. Racewalk
6. French braid my own hair
7. Finish a project

Seven things I can't do:
1. Color coordinate (without help)
2. Realistically assess how long a project will take
3. Keep my mouth shut
4. Shop without a list
5. Make everything alright
6. Move back to the midwest
7. Work a room

Seven things that attract me to another person:
1. Intelligence
2. Humor
3. Strength in own identity
4. Silliness
5. Ability to love another creature
6. Kindness
7. Knows how to lead

Seven things I say most often:
1. Good maluchi! (or, alternately, Poor Maluchi!)
2. I'm filled with love for you!
3. Lovely!
4. Sleepytime thoughts
5. Ouch!
6. I love Oakland
7. Pinches gabachos stole our land

Seven people to do this little blogger game:
1. Wily Filipino
2. La Brown Girl
3. Lorca Loca
4. Artichoke Heart
5. Hysterical Blackness (though i don't think she does these, plus she's at MLA)
6. La Bloguerrera
7. And La Poeta en San Francisco

martes, diciembre 27, 2005

Familia, Pope Rat, and Practical Saints

Don Fon likes to give me "assignments" when I talk to him: something for me to research and then get back to him. So my assignment from our X-mas day conversation was Los Santos Inocentes.

Look, it wasn't for nothing that I won more holy cards than any other kid at St. Gertrude's (1970-1978). I know the Santos Inocentes are the children killed by Herod to prevent the coming of the Christ child. But I think what Don Fon wants me to look up are traditional Latino celebrations of this day.

But instead, I am thinking about los Santos Inocentes in the age of Pope Rat, the "election" of a man who was instrumental in the coverup of child sexual abuse by the [one Holy and Apostolic] Catholic Church.

And all those "inspiring stories" we were told in Catholic school. You know, like of Saint Dominic Savio eating nuts in bed so he could leave the shells and suffer mortification of the flesh. What did stories like that do to the true Holy Innocents--the children molested by Catholic priests, the children who found a way to speak out, only for the multi-national corporation that is the church to play a shell game of their own to shuffle around the players.

(Sadly, New Mexico was ahead of the curve in the church-sexual-abuse scandals, because, as a largely Catholic region with a majority-minority population, it was a convenient place to send priests who were child molesters).

Inspired by Pat Mora's poetry, Aunt Carmen's Book of Practical Saints, I've been imagining my own queer book of practical saints. (I promised Xolo an entry on San Pancracio)

So, for el Día de los Santos Inocentes, I offer you Coyolxauhqui, who died in her attempt to stop the god of war from coming into her world.

Geez, what does a girl have to say to be a Sprightly Elfin Femme?

I actually got a tie-breaker question, where I had to choose between Betty Paige and knitting. (sigh) You can see which way I went.

You scored as The Granola Dyke. Your love for the environment and passion for your beliefs can be a bit overwhelming at times, but your friends and family know you mean well.

The Femme Fatale


The Granola Dyke


The Sprightly Elfin Femme


The Surprise! Dyke


The Student Dyke


The Stud


The Vaginal-Reference-Making Dyke


The Bohemian Dyke


The Magic Earring Ken Dyke


The Quasi-Gothic Femme


The Pretty-Boi Dyke


The Hipster Dyke


The Little-Boy Dyke


What Type of Lesbian Are You? (Inspired by Curve Mag.)
created with QuizFarm.com

Ooh, if I'd gone the other way on Bettie Paige, i would have been a Femme Fatale!

sábado, diciembre 24, 2005


KPFA really knows how to put you in a good mood when you're driving through heavy traffic. They played Cheech & Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady and Adam Sandler's The Hanukkah Song. I haven't been so amused since they played "Homeland, Homeland, Uberalis" for the 4th of July. (Can't find those lyrics online, so no link)

For those trekkie's out there:

You don't need "Deck The Halls" or "Jingle Bell Rock"
'Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (both Jewish!)

viernes, diciembre 23, 2005

Toys, Holidays, and White Supremacy...

On Sunday L* and I rushed off to a Target (store++), to get groovy girls for the four little sobrinitas. Alas, there appeared to have been a run on groovy-girls-de-color: There was one Bindi, with warm brown skin, dark brown hair with purple-red streaks in it, and all the rest were blonde. We decided to buy the one Bindi for the sobrinita who's far away and try again for the threesome.

I did look online, for groovy girls, but the shipping would've cost more than the dolls.

(See, the whole idea is that I crocheted ponchos for the sobrinitas, and I wanted to give each one a groovy girl with a matching crocheted poncho. It took me several failed ponchos, but I finally invented the right groovy-girl-poncho-pattern. And so I went looking for more dolls)

I tried the Toys R Us in Emeryville (practically Oakland), where I discovered they don't carry groovy girls. No biggie, right? there's got to be other dolls for people of color. Well, there may be, but they weren't there. Maybe 5% of their dolls were African American and all the rest were blonde haired, blue eyed....What's the deal? Is every Anglo child in this nation blonde-haired- blue-eyed? NO! So why this racial hegemony at the toy store? I look around at all the people of color around me who don't want to buy this peach-skinned flaxen haired plastic babies for their children to hug. I'm roaring inside. Oh, right. That's the point. We're supposed to see that the world is made for blonde barbies and blonde baby-dolls, and we're not in the picture. That's right. It's supposed to be an alienating experience.

There were quite a few African American baby dolls in the "Lots to Love Babies" line, which I guess were extra-plump? the baby dolls all had those little old man pechos.

(I was walking along muttering to myself "All I want is a doll that's not all about breeding or blondeness)

(There was one intriguing doll named Maya, who seems to be part of a Maya and Miguel team. She was the right size, but I can't get all three sisters the same doll. Plus her ponytail bobbles were supposed to light up, and only one of the three dolls in stock still worked)

(I'm also not counting all the Bratz dolls, because, while they come in multiethnic variety, the Toys R Us seemed to have blondes, blondes, and more blondes. Only a couple purple-haired Latinas and African Americans)

This evening I was at the Walgreen's at Foothills and Fruitvale Avenue. Now, their toy section is just a couple of half-aisles--less than the greeting card section**. But they had several "11.5 inch fashion dolls" of Jayna an alternative line, Integrity Toys. They also had something akin to a Cabbage Patch kid. Now it looked like their stock was about 50% white dolls and 50% brown dolls, but that a lot more of the brown dolls had been purchased. Maybe Toys R Us deals strictly with Mattel.

++I felt the need to clarify that we were running off to the store, because to say we ran off to a target makes us sound like professional assassins.

**Speaking of the greeting card section, they have a Mahogany line and a Latino line of greeting cards. I especially liked all the Virgen de Guadalupe christmas cards designed for Mamas and Abuelitas.

Students are blogging up a storm!

In my Queer of Color class, one of the requirements was that the students blog regularly. The last ten days have seen a mad flurry of writing over on the class blog. Check 'em out!

When things go serious

L* has checked in a couple of times from the southland. Things are serious and intense. The familia is holding together the best they can. It's hard for them not to do too much, I think.

It's too hard to blog at times like these. The inanities of everyday life are so overshadowed. All old behaviours and reactions are right here, right now. Gotta do what we gotta do.

jueves, diciembre 22, 2005


My beloved L* is on her way to LA today to deal with a family crisis. It's pretty complex sorting through histories and feelings and necessary actions and plans for the future. I light my candle and pray for the emotional and mental well-being of my L* and of her familia.

It's Here!

Book Cover for WITH HER MACHETE IN HER HAND by Catriona Rueda Esquibel

A big box of books arrived today from UT Press.


miércoles, diciembre 21, 2005


Hurray! I'm alive! I'm with my true love!

My fortieth birthday was a wonderful day! I now have a fabulous pink turkish bath robe from my sister, two great wardrobe-builder pieces from my mom (a black with red and white geo-design sleeveless top, and a beautiful black swirly skirt with a couture hemline). L* took me on a What-Not-To-Wear shopping spree. She played Fashion expert Clinton KellyClinton and I played dress up and we went through an amazing number of clothes.

I can't wait to show off my new outfits, and girls, my boots! We stayed at the Triton hotel off of Union Square in San Francisco, and were in the Woody Harrelson room, where i learned all about his environmental activism. We ate dinner at Ponzu which has most amazing dishes (the chile calimari! the tamarind prawns!), and we had a little tasting lesson in sake. This morning, more shopping. I am blessed with a loving partner and loving family. My dad, Don Fon sent me a really sweet message which I will post. (please note that I am not 50!)

martes, diciembre 20, 2005

From Don Fon

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 12:30 PM Pacific Time
40 years ago today was the first, or second, or third, most wonderful day of my life.

aunt tina and i were at kaiser permanente hospital in paramount, california. lunch hour had just past, but neither of us could eat at a time like this. we were waiting for my baby daughter to be born, (pre-arranged) by cesarean delivery.

i was fasinated that tina was the one waiting with me, at first, then i remembered that aunt tina is our,([Leora] and i) godmother, as a wedding madrina.

the next thing that i remembered is that [Leora] was very busy, and that is why tina and i were alone.

[ktrion] was late, (as usual), cause she was scheduled before noon, and boy were we concerned.

finally, welcome home ktrion!!!!!!!!!!!today, 50 years later, you are still my baby!!!!!!!!!!! welcome home!!!!!!!

with all my love, thank you [Leora],


don Fon

lunes, diciembre 19, 2005

Oh, fooey

You are Woodstock!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I was aiming for Lucy, which is what Lorna Dee is. It woulda been way easier for me to get Marcie.

DMV days

I have just discovered the secret to the DMV: knitting. If you've got plenty of knitting to do, then, rather than fuming over the wasted time, you can sit in chairs la-la-la working on a foofy hat.

Actually, I think the whole DMV situation has improved dramatically, since they got the whole chairs-and-numbers routine set up. I clearly remember standing in a line at the SF DMV, sweating and counting how many lines were open and how many people were ahead of me, and my head would just start to pound.

Most of the other people in chairs with me today seemed to be pretty mellow as well. Though none had the "I hope I finish this row before they call me" attitude of mine.

The lady who graded my test was in a really good mood, too. She complimented me on my Frida Kahlo earrings, and we talked about Frida. I almost failed my exam, because the alcohol-level law is .08, not .1

But now, I am once again a licensed California driver, and I even got my same driver's license number, since my old California ID only expired 2 years ago.

Even our car--la caja de amor-- is now registered. Well, interim-registered. Still need the smog check.

sábado, diciembre 17, 2005

But What About Mxi?

Whenever L* and I are carrying on a conversation which doesn't include her, our younger, plumper cat Mxi cries out "Mrrrunh!" which we interpret as "But what about Mxi?"

Older sister Nxi gets all the attention because she has us once again living "under the cat's paw," which is an archaic and more refined way of saying "pussy-whipped." Yes, Nxi and her litter woes once again have us trying to grasp the concept of serenity and trying to take it "one day at a time." Today is the day that Nxi gets her 7-day chip.


Positive Reinforcement

I walked again this morning, again, too late to join the Lake Merritt racewalkers. Accidentally-on-Purpose, since meeting new people is scary for me when I'm at my best, much less when I'm not made up and sleepy. And given that it takes me an hour and a half just to wake up, if I went for the make up it would add another hour to my start time. (L* doesn't call me "La Pokey" for nothing).

Perhaps next time I'll have a beer instead of a mixed drink the night before.

X-mas xnitting

I was designing my own deep rib skully hat last night, but decreased way too quickly for the crown and ended up with a very warm baby hat. Which is a good thing to produce. but not when you're trying to get out those presents for nephews teenage and pre-teen, and niece who is all-that foofy. (I have in mind for her this knit cap with an attached tiara).

i spent a fair amount of time last night whining about the fact that it was a baby cap. thought about it while falling asleep. Sure enough, in less than a minute I was able to cut the ombligo, unravel the crown and now it's ready for a second try.

Apologies to L* for the whining. She's my design consultant on what-not-to-knit.

Felicidades to La Doctora 8a!

Last night we went to El Rio in the City to celebrate the newly minted Ph.D. of La 8a! It was a cold night, but she was full of that warm and happy gleam that says "I am done" and "No one can take that away from me!" What a glorious space to be in! (It doesn't hurt that she's on her way to DF)

viernes, diciembre 16, 2005

Translations, Part I

After meeting the director and cinematographer for Pura Lengua describe their phone conversation with folks in Colombia, L* and I have decided we'll stop referring to our Pocha Spanish and start calling it Fucked Up Spanish

We all come from the la Diosa
and to her we regresar
Just like a drop of rain
flowing to the m-a-r

jueves, diciembre 15, 2005

Thanks, Lotería Chicana

Read this Open Letter to Gwen who ripped a Picture of La Virgen in half.

Still in Process...

L* and I have been talking more about the peregrinación. We both really liked it, but also would have liked it to be more visibly queer. even a little less orthodox.

In the Visibly Queer department, I think we needed the kinds of banners that you hold up on poles. You know, the kinds that say "Legion de Maria #347, Peñasco" or something like that. Maybe with a photoshopped image of La Virgen de Guadalupe wearing a PFLAG t-shirt that says "Yo [heart] mis hijas lesbianas." (Note: check with IM to see if her Mexicana digital divide workshop could play with this).

In the less orthodox, the Letanía should have included,

Nuestra Señora Tonantizín
Nuestra Señora Coyolxauhqui
Nuestra Señora Coatlicue
Nuestra Señora Yemayá

Madre de Ambiente
Madre de los Otros
Madre de los Vestidos
Madre de los Desmadres

Madre Cariñosa
Madre de Amor
Madre sin Prejuicios

Finally, I think that it would be good to have something at the end where our queer community raises its hands and gives the blessing to the gay priests, (there was a gay priest at the ceremony at the end). To acknowledge the pain and emotional violence they experience in their place of work and place of worship. To acknowledge their efforts to work against the messages of hate [that come from Pope Rat, etc.] I understand the impetus to have a gay priest officiating, and at the same time, I think what we who are reconstructing our spirituality envision a community-based (not hiearchically structured) model.

miércoles, diciembre 14, 2005

More on the Death Penalty in the US

Read about Ruben Cantú executed in Texas.

Thanks to La Bloguerrera for this one!

lunes, diciembre 12, 2005

Other songs we could have sung, but didn't...

Note to Ktrion and L*: Translate these into Spanish before our next queer peregrinación

We all come from the goddess
and to her we shall return
Just like a drop of rain
flowing to the ocean

Dear friends, Queer friends
You have given me such pleasure
Let me tell you how I feel:
I love you so!


Madre de la Jotería
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de los Maricones
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de las Marimachas
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre Soltera
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre Desgraciada
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre SinVergüenza
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de los Indígenas
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre del Condenado
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de un Prisioneros Politico
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de un criminal ejecutado
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre de la Comunidad
        Ampáranos, Señora

Madre deshogada
        Ampáranos, Señora

Refugiada Political
        Ampáranos, Señora

Mujer Marginalizada
        Ampáranos, Señora

Torre de la Esperanza
        Ampáranos, Señora

Rosa de Merced
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Neo-Colonización
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Injusticia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Violencia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Homofobia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Movimiento AngloAmericano Supremecia
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Asesinato ordenado por el Gobierno
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Femicidio de la Frontera
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Violencia en la Calle
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Violencia en la Casa
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la Guerra del Imperialismo
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra la impunidad de los Criminales de la Guerra
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Acuso Sexual
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra el Acuso del Género
        Ampáranos, Señora

Contra ellos que no nos quieren
        Ampáranos, Señora

En la oscuridad desesperada
        Sé nuestra guía

En la oscuridad intolorente
        Sé nuestra guía

En la oscuridad del odio
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de riesgo:
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de apertura:
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de la perseverancia:
        Sé nuestra guía

Modelo de la confianza
        Sé nuestra guía

Nuestra Señora de Altagracia
        Ruega por Nostoros

Nuestra Señora de Caridad del Cobre
        Ruega por Nostoros

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
        Ruega por Nostoros

[Liberal borrowing from La Letanía de Maria de Nazaret por Juan Wolbert, OSB, Pax Christi, USA. Reprinted on the website of the Misioneros de la Preciosa Sangre]

El Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe

Schwarzenegger denies clemency

Arnold is making a statement right now about how he has denied clemency to Stan "Tookie" Williams.

CNN last night had a poll: "Should Stan Williams live or die?"

Could anything better represent the callousness of the state-ordered killing?

I oppose the death penalty primarily because it has never been "fairly" applied, but is a lethal renactment of the race and class disparities in this country. It is wrong. It is horrible, and it continues the devaluation of life--particularly the lives of people of color.

By solely focusing on Williams, the Governor and others are ignoring the fact that the system under which Williams was convicted is so broken and flawed that it calls into question his conviction...

I read some of the letters for clemency that were sent to Arnold, saying things like "I'm not a pansy-ass liberal. I believe in the death penalty. But Williams should be granted clemency because..." Those letters made me really mad (on the one hand) and on the other hand I thought "maybe that's the way it needs to be put to Arnold."

The news media started circulating reports of "threats of gang violence if Williams is executed." I don't believe them. Or rather, I believe that these reports circulated to give Arnold an ultimatum which would push him to prove his machismo by ordering this state-murder.

Tonight we're going to a peregrinacion, a pilgrimage to La Virgen de Guadalupe, to protect LGBTQ communities against hate crimes.

Afterwards some folks plan to go to the vigil at San Quentin.

domingo, diciembre 11, 2005


I've just finished the first third of Alejandro Morales's The Rag Doll Plagues. Set in the Nueva España of the late eighteenth century, Morales's book brings back to me the pleasure of Graciela Limón's Erased Faces. Both novels deal with the repetition of events and people (I think) and with what we'll call "the supernatural." Rag Doll Plagues might also include alternative futures or time-travel (too soon to say).

Krafty Xicanas and their Kats

Sonrisa Moreno knit a scarf for her kitty, Kachito. I told L* about this, and she asked me to make one for Mxi. The exact same day she said this, I saw that Cracked Chancla has also crocheted a sweater for her gata, Mina! [Sorry, no picture there]. If it happens, you'll be the first to know.

A Fruitvale Day

After my walk yesterday, I came home and hung out with my cute and sleepy L*. I told Mxi about the cat sitting with a guy on a park bench. (note to self: most guys on park benches are not runners taking a break)

I headed back out to scope out some yarn stores, because L* admired an angora scarf in the second Stitch 'N Bitch book. Remember that I have tried and failed on my previous yarn expeditions. The first store, YARN, in Alameda was cool (pricey!), and full of ladies looking for this or that gift or taking lessons. I didn't like any of the colors of angora yarn they had (I'm worried about were they find those rose and navy bunnies!--not to mention the variegated). I noticed a definite preference for that "Irish" yarn that comes from Chile (ahem) in the stock, and none of what I consider the basics: Brown Sheep in zillions of colors.

So I decide to pass on a purchase and zoom all the way back up Fruitvale to Park to Montclair (and, by the way, realized that Yahoo directions to Montclair are totally whacked, since they have you go way (east? south?) and then go way (west? north?)

I felt like I was seeing all of Oakland's "little villages" which are o so much whiter and soccer-mommy than la Fruitvale.

This yarn shop, THE KNITTING BASKET, was the one that had the effrontery to be closed when i hiked up there on a monday. It was huge, and their yarns were sorted by color (not by fiber) which made it really pretty. Again, very pricey! Again, no brownsheep (they tried to sell me Manos de Uruguay instead, which at my old yarn stores was one of the priciest yarns in the shop). I bought only the angora for the scarf and the navy wool for the cable skully on my list. they bagged the two different colors of angora in two different bags so "the bunnies don't mate".

L* mentioned I was getting grouchy around noon, so after that I had a gatorade and some cacahuetes "japoneses" and felt more civil. I dropped her off at an Urban Teahouse, and went to Chelo's for a (long overdue) haircut. Again, in the hopes of banishing my blues (maybe if it weren't six months since my last haircut, I would feel more pretty)

My Spanish skills pretty much abandoned me at Chelo's iNternational Hair Salon, so I ended up getting just a wet cut (I had just taken a shower so my hair was clean and wet) rather than a champu, cut, and style. My participation in the conversation was pretty much "si," as the lady lamented the state of my ends, calculated the months since my last cut, pointed out the high percentage of new growth (all those trenzas must produce a high rate of breakage that I hadn't noticed) admired my natural hair color, and re-shaped me into clean, presentable lines.

Then off to the Cesar Chavez branch library, where after searching the fiction shelves unsuccessfully, I had to go ask the librarian where the Chicano literature was. THEN I found my copy of Alejandro Morales's THE RAG DOLL PLAGUES, and returned in triumph to the Urban Tea House, where L* had graded all of her exams and a chunk of the essays.

I had parked in front of Saint Elizabeth's, where, in celebration of La Virgen de Guadalupe, they had made a screen of fresh flowers for the front of the church, just like they do in Mexico. The Urban Tea House was also rich with images of La Virgen: paintings, prints, t-shirts (I should have asked where they got the t-shirts, 'cause they were really nice ones!)

After all that, we were lured to have dinner around Internacional, but made an unfortunate choice, as a muchacho who had had too much beer was making una escena, and wouldn't leave until the police came and cuffed him. (With handcuffs, I mean: I just realized that "to cuff" means both "to put on handcuffs" and to smack around. hmm)

Keep on walking!

Gotta walk again today!

Yesterday was cool. I didn't make it in time to meet up with no racewalkers (though by the time I was finishing up, the gay runners and walkers group was warming up). Since I ended up walking alone, I was wishing I had some tunes or a story.

There were kazillions of people walking and running. Lots of ladies: you know they're gonna be spending the rest of the day taking care of everyone else, so they're out early to take care of themselves.

I love Oakland!

I thought a lot about Bird Flu, since there were so many birds!

Aside--I always wonder why homeless people aren't roasting those big-ass geese on a spit, but then I saw a government-style sign:"All Birds are Protected By Law". And then I thought again about--was it Ruben Martinez?

What time is it downtown in L.A.
when the LAPD raids the sanctuary at La Placita?
And in the city that bans Santeria sacrifices,
a thousand Pollo Loco stands notwithstanding?
What time is it where little Saigon meets little Havana
meets little Tokyo meets little Armenia and we all meet
the sea speaking in tongues.
Ruben Martinez, El Otro Lado

I thought about the serial killers profile of "killing animals as a child," and children who grow up on farms where you have to kill the animal, and wondering why this carniverous country can be so hypocritical as to say "private companies may slaughter animals by thousands" and "private individuals who kill an animal are criminal"

Back to the birds: Canadian geese, two different kinds of cranes (one fluffy), mallard ducks, other ducks, gulls, white geese, and something that looked like a waterfowl with turkey ancestors. (it had all that lumpy red stuff on its face like a guajolote).

Do they have h5ni? they look pretty healthy to me. Though, either there are a lot of one-legged birds around here, or some unlikely characters like to stand on just one leg when they're hanging out.

Okay, so why am I up early again, if I'm not joining no group to walk? I liked the energy of the morning crowd. I think the parking will be tougher once the church hour approaches, and it made for a really nice day.

sábado, diciembre 10, 2005

Walk, Doña Ana, Walk!

I'm up early (for me) because I want to get some exercise at the lake this morning. Of course, one could just go walk at the lake any old hour of the day--why get up early on a Saturday? Well, there's racewalking at 8am. Either the sense of community or the sense of competition should be enough to keep me coming back.

After using my running gloves in the garden last weekend, I forgot to bring them in and wash them. Last night I dreamt I found my pair of white wool running gloves. (In real life, I have no white wool running gloves). This greatly relieved my anxiety.

(I also dreamt of a new Harry Potter movie which showed the homoerotics between Harry and Ron. I remember being surprised it hadn't caused more controversy.)

My running shoes are thickly crusted with dried mud, as a result of the same little bit of yardwork. There's a brand new pair of shoes sitting in a box in my study (right next to my chair, right this minute) trying to tempt me, but I have sworn to mail them back, because I would be ever so much happier with a 9.5, which will give my toes room for their inevitable swelling.

I'm swiping one of L*s hoodies for the morning. I traded mine to doña Leora after the Turkey Trot. Hers didn't fit her right and I was pretty sure it would fit L*, and mine had the embroidered logo from my previous employer. Of course, I have not yet replaced it. (sigh)

Perhaps this the appropriate time to remind myself that if I were in Ohio right now, it would be 22 degrees, but feel like 10, and that weather forecast for the week varies between cloudy and mostly cloudy, with a pretty good chance of snow every day.

I'm hoping the exercise will pull me out of my pms/pre-birthday funk. I'm very good at feeling sorry for myself this week. (what have I got to complain about?) I'm turning the big 4-0, and consequently feel that I will never again be cute. Does this make sense? I was so excited when I was turning 30. of course, that was ten years ago.

viernes, diciembre 09, 2005

Note to the galley: Romulan ale no longer to be served at diplomatic functions.

In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Rosana DeSoto does a tremendous job in the small role of Azetbur, the Klingon Chancellor's Daughter (later Chancellor in her own right). I just love her: she brings Aztec Princess and Klingon together. (it's amazing she isn't killed at the end)


Ve do not impose democracy on

others. Ve do believe that every

planet has a sovereign claim to

human rights.



"Human rights". Even the name is

racist. The Federation is basically

a "Homo Sapiens" only club.....

[SPOCK reacts to this. CHANG is amused.]


Present company excepted, to be sure...

Mix it up at the Office Party

Is the "Holiday" Music starting to get to you?

Do you feel like it's "Merry Christians" and the rest of us can like it or lump it?

(Were you at the party the year they explained that they had looked for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa carols but couldn't find any?)

Then burn a subversive CD for the office party. Include something like Johnny Mathis' "In Winter it's a Marshmallow World," which is very gay, just like Johnny, and won't raise any suspicions. Melt some snow with Eartha Kitt's classic Santa Baby (which will make everyone feel smugly naughty). Bring the house down with Pansy Division's Homo Christmas, which has most explicit lyrics about what should be done under the tree.

jueves, diciembre 08, 2005

BART morning

This train car is full.
There are twelve women in purple jackets and red hats
Four at the end, four near the doors and four more behind me

I know the poem,

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

I don’t like what they’ve done to it
Anglo women in a particular uniform
of uniform bourgeoise eclecticism

they’re quite pleased with themselves.
they disembark at Powell street station,
perhaps to tea, or to brandy

CNN inanity

"A suicide bomber strikes again!"

Sci Fi geeks come out of the closet

All the sci-fi geeks in the college are coming out of the closet to me because of my new class. W-M tells me about a SP Somtow and whaling, and Japanese ancestry (oh my gosh, this is just like the Carp in Bless Me, Ultima! and, was it Alejandro Morales's The Rag Doll Plagues that posits that only chilangos will be able to survive the lethal pollution to come? She also shares insights on Aeon Flux. The historian of race and social movements tries to talk me into showing Blacula and Blade (we started out talking about Fledgling and the African vampire episode from the X-Files, season Three).

I'm taking zillions of notes and now trying to track down an episode of Deep Space 9 (time travel/science fiction writer) and Voyager (Chakotay's tattoo).

Love Letter to L*

When I am with you I am nothing I was before
I am everything I ever wished I could be and more
So it's not just for what you are yourself that I love you as I do
But for what I am when I am with you.

Y'all know how important Johnny Mathis has been to my racial and sexual identity.

miércoles, diciembre 07, 2005

Fruitvale Avenue

A dropsite
because you know someone else will find a use for it

  • a box of children’s toys
  • appliances that are cheaper to replace: a coffee pot, a television, a vacuum cleaner
  • a neatly folded stack of men’s clothes
    (do they no longer fit the man? does the man no longer fit the home?)
  • what does it mean, that dragged out sheet that looks like it’s just been stripped from a child’s bed?

how different this is from that new house in the new subdivision

  • titled “estates” because each house is as big as an apartment building
  • each back yard complete with playground, more spacious than the urban play parks
  • children’s toys left on the lawn, secure in the knowledge that they’ll be there when the next desire to play strikes

10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago, yesterday

10 years ago
San Francisco
on the verge of the big 3-0. best friend Joanie plans my first birthday party in decades. I tell the students in my sexualities class "Women are Dogs!" in a tone little more than a growl. It's my fourth year of the Ph.D. program. I've just finished my play. I'm flirting with L*, this little fella, though I think we're both too shy to pull it off.

5 years ago
Las Cruces, NM
Second year of my first job. Overwhelmed, I sit in the bathtub and fantasize about drowning. But I couldn't leave L* with the mortgage, stranded in the middle of nowhere. A surprising pleasure is racewalking. Finished my first race five months ago and now I've got the bug. Racing in the Reindeer Run 10k in Roswell. A runner in his sixties comes in right before me. Don Fon wants to know why the old man gets a medal and I get a medal even though other people finished a half hour ago. "There's age categories and race categories" I explain. "I understand," he replies. "Everyone's a winner." For my birthday, L* gets me a racewalking lesson in Alamogordo! L* is on the job market, with interviews scheduled for the next three months. She buys a down parka online. How will we live with this pressure and uncertainty.

1 year ago
Columbus, OH
I get an email from a certain CSU telling me my file is incomplete. I call and tell them the letters were sent a month ago. They track them down and suddenly I'm scheduling a flight and a job talk. I practice the job talk with L*. We're both on the market and going muy loca. It is another grey day, and I hum "California Dreaming" to keep my eyes on the prize. I skip the quarter's last meeting of the College diversity committee in celebration of the upcoming job talk. I promptly run into the Associate Dean (who's on the committee), whose friendliness is one of the few rays of light. I feel so busted. It begins to snow. How will we live with the pressure and uncertainty of the next four months?

Oakland, San Francisco, and Oakland again
There was frost on the grass this morning, and my eyes water from the cold. I meet with grad students, several of whom are so together, they bear no resemblance to Ktrion-as-grad-student. Others promise a full draft by next week and then duck away from me in the hall. this is more familiar. I dawdle at the office and L* calls expecting me to be on the BART. I run up the hill, miss one shuttle, pay for the bus, run up the escalator and ride off on the Fremont train just as the next shuttle pulls into the station. I make it home in record time, and L* and I are off to our CORE training. We are infuriated by the instructor when she says "It's against the law to bring animals into a shelter." when the big ones come, will some burly fellow claim that the law allows only heterosexual families? How do we engage in community preparedness and yet balance our DEEP suspicion of the "the law." The class teaches me that L*'s whacked out preparedness steps are, in fact, extremely well thought-out. I covet the crowbar for our kit. I wonder if I could keep boxed water in my desk at the office without drinking it in the day-to-day. The instructor tells us if we work in San Francisco and take public transportation, we'll be stuck in the city for at least 2 days after the Big One. So, what? We should buy a second car and I should pay thousands of dollars in fuel and tolls on the chance that I'll be able to drive home after the Big One?

lunes, diciembre 05, 2005

too much genealogy for today

It's time to take a break when the information becomes too contradictory, even for me.

Our family lore is that my grandmother Libradita's parents were Elfego and Juanita. Juanita died and Elfego married Escolastica and they had three daughters together.

The records I have from a fourth cousin, show that her grandmother's parents were Elfego and Escolastica, and they had something like ten children together, some of whom appear to have been born before my grandmother (that is, while Elfego was married to his "first" wife).

This would suggest that Elfego had two families simultaneously, and that when one wife died, he and the other wife raised all the minor children together.

However, Escolastica also appears to have had another husband, Luciano, and her sons with him seem to be about the same age as all the other kids.

So while I can accept two simultaneous families (even though this contradicts my family lore) it's harder for me to imagine these three leapfrogging simultaneous families.

you know what this means. i'm bound to find Libradita's kids marrying Luciano's kids in the next generation. it is new mexico, after all.

Genealogy Software

I am fascinated by genealogy software. That is to say, once you start using it, you realize the whole ideology behind it. Most genealogy software defines "a family" as one man, one woman, and their children. What's wrong with that?

My mom has two half sisters. According to the genealogy software, she and her sisters are not from the same family. It's very frustrating trying to chart family stuff when you can't get all the siblings on the same page.

Surprisingly, a lot of the programs seem to allow for same-sex partners. There's not necessarily any politcs behind this, since they also let you list pets and extra-terrestrials.

The one I use--Reunion 8--even allows you to list both birth parents and adoptive parents and to make one set "preferred." Very useful when charting those complex intra-family adoptions.

sábado, diciembre 03, 2005

Race and Science Fiction

Students will be signing up for classes next week. I really need to get some posters up for my class on Race, Gender, and Science Fiction. I'm still tweaking the syllabus. I ordered two Butler novels and I'm going to put together a reader.

I was tempted to use the first Dark Matter anthology, which is excellent, but I would still have to make a reader to include the Latina/o, Native American, and Asian American authors I want. Definitely want Guillermo Gomez-Peña in there. and Sherman Alexie.

Last night, L* and I watched John Sayle's 1984 film, Brother from Another Planet. It has aged much better than Lianna

L* thinks it's more speculative fiction than sci-fi. That's prob'ly true. A lot of what we'll be reading is not "hard science fiction," but speculative fiction, supernatural horror, magical realism, and folk tales. It's about redefining science fiction.

I have been reading George Schuyler's Black No More, which is excerpted in Dark Matter (I). The satire is so wicked sharp: it's like Twain in Letters from Earth. Don't know if I'll teach the whole book yet. I'm in the middle of reading about the Nordic Knights (yikes!) and an ex-Black man's involvement with them as a most promising graft.

I'm thinking of showing Man Facing Southeast (Argentina, 1987), but will have to figure out how that will work in the context of the class. (all the other fiction and film will be North American).

Teaching Inspirations

Just read Barbara Jane's blog account of the culminating experience in P/Filipino Literature. Wow! What an inspiration! What a challenge! I know I walked past that classroom every week, and the energy and enthusiasm was just amazing. It's what everyone wants her lit class to be like!

Really has me rethinking my lit classes, which are, perhaps, too centered on the novel. I tried to include a poem-of-the-day. But I didn't have it fully structured.

One thing I'll need to overcome is my resistance to printed readers. I guess in my head, I've really been wanting to do the whole "electronic reserve" thing, where the students can read the works online and print them out (or not) themselves, rather than paying a copy place to xerox the whole packet. And they don't spend a wad of money on a book that they can't sell back.

I guess there's no reason I couldn't still do that, and make the reader available for purchase.

Because with a reader, you can include a wealth of short fiction and poetry.

I do love novels. But I do have other options. I really gotta think about this.

jueves, diciembre 01, 2005


So, yesterday I found out I received the mini-grant I applied for, so I’ll be working on the anthology In the House of the Tortilla-Makers in 2006.

And you know I recently posted Nana Minnie’s tortilla recipe.

El Xolo commented that real tortillas are de maíz.

Which reminded me of a couple of passages from The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Urrea. The first passage occurs when the community discovers their patrón is moving to Sonora, and thus they must move with him.

Eggs and tortillas became a new astonishment. The Sinaloans had heard that Sonorans indulged in the unspeakable atrocity of eating flour tortillas. Flour! Any human being knew that tortillas were made of corn. So they regarded their pieces of tortillas with sorrow--serving as spoon and fork and napkin all at once, their humble little maíz tortillas, with their loose skins and their delicious burned spots, had revealed themselves at last to be family members more loyal than sisters or brothers. Long after a fight with a brother, even after a funeral for a sister, you could scoop us some fried beans with a tortilla de maíz. And when you didn’t have beans, a pinch of salt in a tortilla was a great meal. How could you eat salt in a wad of flour? Did not Padre Adriel say they were “the salt of the earth”? Nobody was sure what it meant, but it clearly related to the tortilla. (105)

The second passage occurs when they have arrived at the ranch in Cabora, Sonora, only to find it razed to the ground.

Huila [the medicine woman] had sent clay bowls full of beans and nopal cactus fried in eggs to the men at the ruined ranch house. Some of the locals had provided weird huge flour tortillas, and the men at the main house ruins suspiciously wrapped their beans in these wads of what seemed to them to be wet laundry. Segundo [the foreman] found the tortillas de harina squishy and deeply improper, though by his third bean and cactus burrito, he started to enjoy them. Their rich taint of lard felt good and greasy in his mouth.
Tomás [el patrón] chose to remain loyal to his little corn tortillas. There was only so much he was willing to concede to el norte. (163)

Now, I come from what Jose Antonio Burciaga describes as a mixed marriage: Califas and Nuevo Mexico. So my mom, whose mother is from Sonora, dislikes new mexican food: the rice is soupy and the tortillas are bready. She grew up with the large thin tortillas de harina of Sonora. The legend goes that a good woman of Sonora could roll her tortillas so thin that you could a) see the moon through them or b) read a book through them. New Mexican tortillas de harina, by contrast, are closer kin to pita bread.

Reading Sonrisa Morena had me looking for champurrado this morning!

What a goofball!

Remember that it’s my first semester on the job. So, I just missed a college faculty meeting and a holiday party. Not really my fault, since I am teaching today, and the college faculty was added as a memo to the email about the holiday party just last week. Oh well. I spent all day yesterday in meetings. Surely that should count for something.

I’m hoping that the state of my office is a indication that my office mate also forgot about these things. Slackers love company.

martes, noviembre 29, 2005

La Vida es Sueño, y los sueños, sueños son

I was a professor in my dream last night. I don't think that has ever happened before. I mean, I'm usually me, and sometimes I'm at the university, but still a lot of the time I realize in my dream that there's this Spanish class that I haven't attended all semester and I've just missed the final exam. Sometimes I dream there's a class that I'm supposed to be teaching that I haven't attended all semester. (In fact I have that one a lot).

So I wonder what it means that I'm (finally!) a professor in my dream?

I was walking along the campus (which had features from at least four different college campuses). A Latina student came up to me (she could have been a grad student) and asked me "Do you love this country?" My mind was whirring with how to answer that question when she went on, "Because I don't think I can love this country anymore." She was filled with despair, from Hurricane Katrina, to the pandemic, to the way in which "majority" America (as represented by the implied audience of CNN) constantly affirms that racism happens but that's just life.

--During el día del guajalote, I recounted to mi familia the story of my colleague being arrested for going to his own office at night--because he's black and therefore "looked suspicious." Toda la familia said how wrong it was, how he would have basis for a lawsuit, etc., but mi ma said well that happens. Yeah, when it's someone else's son it's happening to, it's easy to say that. But when it's your son or grandson, then you'll stand up and say ¡Ya Basta! (I'm all about Ella's Song right now)

Back to the dream:

I started talking to this student and telling her that we have to make community in the midst of this. Yes, we can start by stockpiling the canned goods and breath masks we need to survive this, but the next step after that is to say "How can I use this moment to make the world better?" How can I reach out to someone and say "How can I help?" How do we move beyond the four walls of our homes and our immediate families and start treating all of our vecinos as familia?

After that (still in the dream) I was walking toward the shuttle and another Latina student came up to me and was asking me about the campus shuttle and where it picked people up at and how much it cost and where she could get change. I ended up opening up my wallet but told her she had to wait until I'd made sure I had enough change for my own shuttle ride. It cost a dollar twenty-five, so I was counting out quarters. (In real life the shuttle is free, but last night I took the bus to Safeway because it was raining, and so I was counting out quarters.)

Then I sent her on her way, and went on to the Theatre building where I was 15 minutes late to class and the department chair saw me walking and told me my students were waiting for me in this hall where we're not allowed to teach (so to please take them somewhere else).

Raining in Oakland

That's the trouble with these people who move back to California. They give away their down coats and boots when they leave the midwest. They keep on acting like Califas means perpetual summertime. And then it's rainy november and they're still wearing summer shoes to work, and they have no winter coat.

Note to self: Today, take an umbrella.

Standing in the rain at the bus stop with no hat and no umbrella and no scarf and no gloves and only a cotton denim jacket left me performing "oh pobre mio" when in reality, WHAT WAS I THINKING?

lunes, noviembre 28, 2005


In one Thanksgiving Day conversation recounted earlier,

Don Fon and Nana Mini were talking about "the good food from the old days" like atole and something which sounds more like blue polenta. I'll have to check the name but it was noticeable how un-Spanish the name was. i.e. if not a true blue native word, it's a hispanicized native word. Nana Mini's mama or nana used to cook this and then prepare it with chile colorado. Don Fon definitely knew what this was, recognized the term and started using it, but it's not one I ever heard him use before.

The name of the dish is Chaquegüe. Found it discussed here. Google Text found it in four books, one of which, Mi Lengua: Spanish as a Heritage Language in the US identifies it among the "indigenísmos pueblo." Don Fon has Picurís ancestors and Nana Mini has Apache, but of course, we're all of us pretty mixed, despite those pervasive Fantasías Castellanos.

Viejitas que no hablan ingles

Two weeks ago I flew to LA, and last week I flew from New Mexico to California, and both times I've run into viejitas que no hablan ingles.

The first lady was prob'ly only in her fifties or sixties. She's Chinese and had

  • Lived in San Francisco for 3 years,
  • Arrived in San Francisco 3 days ago, or
  • Been to San Francisco 3 times

She was traveling with the limit of carry-on bags with two totes and a backpack, and the backpack was too heavy for her to lift up and put on her shoulders. At the Burbank airport, we disembarked right onto the tarmac. The lady was having trouble with her bags, which were too many and too heavy. So she held her tote bags in each and and tried to drag her backpack along the ground. What amazed me more than anything was that she was having obvious difficulty, but everyone just walked around her. (Is that what will happen after the apocalypse?). I was sure one of the strong young fellows on the flight would help her out, but when it became clear that no one would, I doubled back. After failing to communicate in English, I offered to help by putting her heavy backpack on top of my rolling suitcase. She was greatly relieved. I walked her over to the baggage claim and pulled her enormous rolling suitcase off the conveyer belt, and then attached her backpack to it with the belt. She explained that her husband would meet here there to pick her up, and so I finally went on my way. I continued to worry about her though. How would her husband find her?

This Saturday I returned from New Mexico by air from El Paso to Oakland via LAX. Some passengers were only going to LA, while others were going on to Oakland (like me) and/or Seattle.

The El Paso to LA flight was not that full--in fact, Thanksgiving Saturday is a good day to fly out of the El Paso airport. The lines at security were almost non existent, and the flights were not full.

So I got an aisle seat in the second row, with no one else sitting on my row.

or so i thought. Right before takeoff, the flight attendant helped an elderly lady on board and suggested the window seat in my row. I stood up to allow the lady in, and she spoke to me in Spanish and indicated that she would prefer the aisle seat. In my bad pocha Spanish, I clarified, you want this seat? She said yes, I said "Sí Señora" and scooted myself down to the window seat. She carried a purse, a totebag, and a crocheted black rebozo. I admired the rebozo, which looked new and was made of a very soft synthetic, probably in half-double crochet. I asked if she had made it but she replied que "me regalaron." She was at least seventy, and was from Durango and traveling to see her nieta, though I wasn't a hundred per cent sure whether her nieta lived in LA or in Tijuana. At times she seemed confused (about where the plane was going, about what documentation she would need to show and when), and again, I had a real strong sense that this was someone's abuelita travelling alone. My heart went out to her, and I was especially frustrated that my pocha Spanish was not fully up to the task of assisting her. She was anxious that she had lost a piece of paper that she had tucked into her passport, and which had the contact information for her relatives in LA. I helped her keep track of her passport and green card. When it was time for her to get off the plane in LA she was reluctant to leave without ever having found the paper she was looking for. None of the flight attendants were any better at Spanish than me (the Chicano who came onboard to help her to her wheelchair explained he could only speak German). I had to convince her to disembark and told the flight attendants to find someone to translate for her. I hope she made it safe and sound. According to her papers, she lived with family in Downey.

Queer familia

As I stood in line to board SW flight 1590 from El Paso to LAX to Oakland, I scoped out all the other folks there. I said to myself, how many other queer Latinos made this pilgrimage to visit familia and are now eagerly returning to their California lives?

Spotted at least one guapo who looked like Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause.

Foto de Sal Mineo el Guapito

I was thinking of my first play, and how I should have had folks meeting at the Southwest Airlines gates.

In Rocky Gamez's "The Gloria Stories," when the butch Gloria is working at the meat-packing plant, she's described as looking like Sal Mineo. When she becomes a door-to-door broom salesman, she has to change her look, so that the the housewives don't run away from her, so she's wearing slacks and a cardigan and and her hair is more fluffy, and Rocky tells her "but you don't look like Sal Mineo anymore. Now you look like Toña la Negra."
Foto de Tona la Negra

domingo, noviembre 27, 2005

Tortillas and Traditions

I worked a lot on the familia website while I was in NM. My sister Xriz requested that I put everybody on the system that notifies us when people's birthdays and anniversaries are coming up. So since we had so many people there (and email access to everyone else) we updated the the birthday and anniversary information. My cousin Cni already posted fotos from thanksgiving, and Xrix posted Nana Mini's fabulous foolproof tortilla recipe. It really works, as long as you don't try to halve it. You can keep the exta dough in your fridge and make the tortillas as you need them.

Note that these are New Mexican flour tortillas, which are smaller and thicker than Sonoran tortillas. If anyone has a foolproof recipe for Sonoran-style tortillas, I would love to have it!

Recipe passed down from Nana Mary to Nana Minnie, to my sister Xriz. Keep the traditiona alive and make tortillas with your familia. Great with green chile stew made from New Mexico green.

Title: Miss Minnie's Fabulous Tortillas

These are fool-proof, and they'll be better each time you make them. (Kids love helping!)

4 C. flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
6 Tablespoons Crisco
approx. 1 1/2 c. very HOT water

Sift together all dry ingredients
With a pastry cutter, cut in shortening
Add hot water gradually as you mix dough
Dough should be slightly sticky
After well mixed (1 minute or so) place dough in a baggie & seal. Let stand at least 20 minutes before rolling.

Make 15-20 little pillows of dough. Flour each one as you begin to roll it into a large flat pancake about 8 inches in diameter

Cook over a hot teflon griddle

Eat right away with REAL butter

(You can leave dough out at room temperature for 1-2 days and roll out tortillas as you need them.)

Number Of Servings:15-20 tortillas

Preparation Time:Mixing dough-approx 15 min, rolling & cooking time depends on experience level of the cook!

Home again!


It's such a joy to be home again con mi amorcito L*

The quality of light is so different between New Mexico and the Bay Area! It's amazing how they are so both so beautiful and so different.

my gatas have forgiven me for going away. Nxi finds me utterly irresistible when I'm knitting and crocheting.

sábado, noviembre 26, 2005

JMB's SF dream

Very strange science fiction dream that featured JMB and at some point within the dream I realized that she had written various parts of the dream. That is, someone made reference to some fanfic she'd written, and then I realized that the fanfic had been turned into a blockbuster film, and that we were all characters within same.

At one point in the dream it was Ferdinand and Isabel day, which we don't celebrate here [but which L* and I learned when we visited España.] The bracketed part is the logic of the dream--or the language of the night--but anyway, not real. all this had something to do with the fact that "columbus day" in the US is "el dia de la raza" in mexico.

in real life, don Fon and nana mini were talking about "the good food from the old days" like atole and something which sounds more like blue polenta: cachetaq? I'll have to check the name but it was noticeable how un-Spanish the name was. i.e. if not a true blue native word, it's a hispanicized native word. Nana Mini's mama or nana used to cook this and then prepare it with chile colorado. Don Fon definitely knew what this was, recognized the term and started using it, but it's not one I ever heard him use before.

viernes, noviembre 25, 2005

Day 3 in Cruces

It's not even eight o'clock yet, and we've already had a healthy walk. Me and Nana Leora and Nana Luxi went for a walk before seven--I wonder if I'll be waking up so early when I'm their age? I could barely put my pants on I was so sleepy, and they had to wait on my having my first cup of coffee.

I could fall right back asleep now, but instead I'm going to go pour my second cup of coffee and work on Maria's doll blanket.

One secret to success at family events: don't get caught without your crochet kit!

jueves, noviembre 24, 2005

Crochet update

All these sobrinit@s are keeping me very busy. Today I finished Xip's beanie and Mia's shawl and also a poncho for Mia, which a) she wanted to wear before it was even finished (though I made her wait till I'd sewn in all the loose ends) and b) she fell asleep wearing it.

I hid the remote control for my nephew's robot car. The damn thing was driving me crazy yesterday--they were playing with it in the living room despite the fact that the house is on a one-acre lot, and today I decided I didn't need anymore of that.

I felt a little old when I was crawling off to my nap and realized that all the kids had gone swimming with the cousins who were staying at a hotel. Later they were all jumping on the trampoline. yes, after this morning's 5k, the one that has me wiped out.

My hip bones were sore: I think it has been a long time since I've done full out race-walking form. Not that my form was great but as I mentioned, I was working really hard to catch that 63 year-old woman (who, it turns out, my sister knows). Me and her almost caught these runners who kept taking long walking breaks. (In fact the reason I was finally able to catch her was because I started looking beyond her and wondering if I could catch those runners).

Okay, I sound like I'm bragging. Remember that this means ALL the runners finished before I did. As did the little ol' man, walking in a sweater vest. BTW, I noticed that the runners who who won ribbons in the 50-59, 60-69, and 70+ age categories all had VERY fast times.

I should go to sleep, because the nanas might get up early and go walking, and I don't want to get left behind. I was awakend far too early this morning by the pitter-patter of my cuñado's feet.

Nana Mini cut her hair. Ay, que chula!

I've also been reminded how horrible the medical care is in this state. one relative had foot surgery a few months back and has been having pain in her foot. She went back to the doctor, who said that yes, the bones had been set improperly.So she has to have another surgery from the same podiatrist. that's gotta inspire confidence.

Mind you , this is a woman in the 70+ age category, and the reason she went back to the doctor was because her foot hurts whenever she wears her high heels, and she just can't give them up.

I skipped the makeup today. I don't know why. Maybe I felt like I would be trying unsuccesfully to look like the other members of my family, and I wanted to stand out, somehow. As with yesterday's look: makeup and a Che Guevara t-shirt.

Turkey Trot

OK, there is nothing like a brisk 5k race for an attitude adjustment.

I am once again at peace with the familia.

You know those road races where there are families with three generations participating and all the kids taking ribbons? This year I was in that family

I finished the walk in 43:35, which made me first in my age category and third overall (though I swear I saw the woman who took first in the walk running part of the course, and me and the lady who I was chasing most of the race exchanged significant looks) The man who took 2nd was in either the 60-69 category or the 70+, and he whupped me by a full ten minutes!! The lady whose dust I was eating finished first in her age category--60-69! I just managed to catch and pass her in the final k of the race. She thanked me at the end for improving her time.

Xip finished in 23:54, to take second in his age category, immediately followed by Nix at 23: 5x. Nix dad had promised the boys cash bonuses if they finished under 24:00

Xriz and Cni both had great times right around 30:00, and Nix dad was in at 28:50. Nana Leora finished around 49:00 and Nana Luxi and Zria right around 54:00. Mia and i walked all three of them to the finish line.

Mi sobrina Mia was full of love for me after the race, holding my hands and hugging and kissing me. She's encimosa just like me.

Upon returning home I had a peanut butter bagel, and was first in the tub.

Now I'm sleepy, happy, and 'bout ready to catch up on the many crochet orders the kids have been placing with me. Xip's beanie and Mia's scarf. Finished Zria's scarf last night and she loves it. It goes perfect with her pink Uggs. I'll have to come up with something for Nix.

Just talked on the phone with Kiko, who is sounding manly as ever!

L* and her parents are prob'ly already on the road to Graton (Greighton?). L would've liked the race, I think. The organ mountains were beautiful, and it was sunny and bright.

Wish I could take home to her some of these beautiful cactus.

miércoles, noviembre 23, 2005

Cruces, baby!

Report #2 from Las Cruces, NM

Okay, I know that esa EP says turkey day is her favorite holiday, but it is soooooooooooooo not mine.

Thank goodness for the nieces and nephews who keep me focused on important things like crocheting. I was sitting down with a six year old and an eight year-old girl, and two 11-12 year-old boys, and there was total silence as they all concentrated on crochet. the oldest and youngest can produce a very regular chain using just their fingers (finger-crochet)--no hooks. the middle two do better with hooks.

now, i have gotten very little of my own crocheting done, but since that was only going to be a gift for one of the girls that's ok. (although it took me a minute to re-adjust my attitude).i've finished one little girl's scarf and am about halfway through a boy's beanie, which, alas will not be finished in time for tomorrow morning's race.

I so miss La L*. though glad to spare her.

I am surrounded by male in-laws who feel compelled to talk about sex with my female relatives. (go ahead, call me a prude. this is not my idea of adult conversation. Was it only a few days ago I was talking about novels and politics and queer theory?).

the three cruising comadres are here, otherwise known as the three nanas. Nana Leora drank too much wine. (I guess the "no tequila" rule is not foolproof) Nana Luxi helped with the kinder-crochet lessons and Nana Mini signed up for lessons her ownself. (she brought a merlot chenille yarn, a lesson book, and a set of hooks).

If I were with L*and her familia tomorrow I would be similarly engaged with the kids. However, I would be spared the adolescent humor from the grown men. (Ironically, me and the two boys retreated to another part of the house when the sex talk got to be too much. *their* humor was much more tolerable.)

you know what, though? I'm not at all stressed.

okay, to bed now. have a turkey trot in the a.m.

Nana Mini fed me some excellent chile colorado yesterday and fresh tortillas. so i can't complain about the food. tomorrow it will be all sides for vegetarian me.

The cruising comadres won't be visiting us in the Bay this year, as they are cruising to Europa. Don Fon, however, has expressed a desire to visit me and L* on our home turf.

Live Blogging from New Mexico

I'm feeling very much the lesbian sister today. Not only my brother-in-law, but also my cousin's husband. They're talking football and thongs. which is cool with gay men, but not with the mens-es-in-law. I'm having deja vu to the time I said to L*, "we're not man-hating lesbians," and she looked at me and said, "well, I'm not."

So far I have given my youngest nephew a short introduction to El Che.

I miss my L* and can't wait for my folks to arrive: DonFon and la Leora are due in sometime this afternoon.

On the crochet front, I've made some ground on Mia's poncho and hope I brought enough yarn for her second cousin Sria. Nana Mni brought her own yarn and hooks so I can teach her to crochet.

martes, noviembre 22, 2005


Now, LAX is a real airport--lots of dining options, shopping options--even in the Southwest Airlines terminal. I twice waited in line for the wrong flight--the flight ahead of mine was running very late so they were still boarding when we should have been boarding. So first I got in the A line till I heard them say "Albuquerque" then I left, went to the ladies, washed my hands, went to the food court, picked out a smoothie and a california veggie sandwich, went and got in the A line and was all the way ready to board, but my boarding pass wouldn't scan right and they actually had to tell me "you're on the next flight." The funny thing is that I wasn't even embarrassed. After that I went off and read leisurely. Saw someone in the foodcourt playing Snood! (some scary advanced level!)

Note to self: put Snood back on L*'s computer to fend off travel boredom.

my sourdough sandwich was yummy, but I still would've preferred a tofu burger from the Black Muslim bakery.

lunes, noviembre 21, 2005


Wow, who thought I'd turn 100 before I turned 40

So, this is post #100 for me. I won't write down a hundred things you don't know about me. At least not until I have 100 readers.

But I bet you don't know what I'd look like if I were an anime girl...
Here's how you look

If you were an Anime Girl what would you look like?
brought to you by Quizilla

The quiz itself was pretty lame, but of course we only do it for the pictures! only five questions! You can't possibly know enough about me to render me in the anime world without at least eight questions.

(Does anybody besides me go back and change a couple of answers to see if it would change the result?)

Well, there's no danger of me trading in my little lego avatar. Go make your own at The Mini Mizer . It's way too fun. The temptation to fotoshop it is still very great: I want a trenza instead of a ponytail.

Pura Lengua and QueerScapes

I got to meet the filmmakers Aurora Guerrero and Maritza Alvarez of Pura Lengua at the Queerscapes Conference. Thanks MaIM for the introduction! They rock.

I missed MaIM's presentation, because I'm a loser. (it was inthe morning and despite my best efforts, I'm not a morning person). However, I heard wonderful things about it from the other conference participants.

Jacqui Alexander gave a fabulous presentation. One of the things she talked about was Queer Tourism, and the need for the "native"to stay put and the tourist to travel. She also called out for queer folk to move beyond Consuming as the mode (consuming knowledge, consuming cultures). I especially liked the way she pointed out that violence under modernity is not necessarily better than violence under traditional societies (i.e. it's still violence to the people whose bodies are under attack) I took notes because I could see implications for my own work, and now I have to go back and read Jonathan Goldberg's "Sodomy in the New World: Anthropologies Old and New" from Fear of a Queer Planet.

David Eng was also great, in his discussion of Lawrence v. Texas (and the deeply problematic racial politics involved), critiquing the constant analogies drawn to Loving v. Virginia and Brown v. The Board of Education. In the final part of his presentation he moved into a discussion of Monique Truong's novel The Book of Salt (which is, on its own, utterly brilliant). Again, it seemed to hook back to the discussion in my Coloring Queer class, on Lionel Cantu's article "Queer Tourism." Also back to Alexander's comments about consuming and then, of course, my brain went riffing off to Reza Abdoh's The Law of Remains (which is a spooky direction to go off in).

The plenary on New Directions in Queer Latino/a Studies rocked! And I'm not just saying that 'cause of my friends and loved ones.


It's true. We are pussy-whipped. Our fourteen-year-old fluffy black kitty Nxi rules us with a velvet-covered iron paw.

She has rather rigid rules, and any time we transgress we are punished most severely.

Our transgressions have included

  • a robotic litter box (two different failures of two different models)
  • disposable litter boxes
  • litter made of orange peels
  • litter with high-tech crystals
  • plastic liners
  • hooded litter boxes

She gives us the execratory equivalent of a cuff to the ear, as if to say, You're not paying attention! Let's go back to square one

As you might guess from the list, we are rather slow to learn. Fortunately, Nxi has infinite patience and will do what it takes (wherever it needs to be done) to get us to focus on the centrality of the litter box to our relationship, indeed, to our lives and our home.

domingo, noviembre 20, 2005

Home Again

Is there any better feeling than a long soak in the tub and then putting on cozy pyjamas? No more travel clothes binding around my middle. A grapefruit and soda cocktail eases the bone deep dehydration produced by this trip. (Was it LA? the hotel's air system? the fact that my total liquid intake for the whole day was likely to be a beer or two?)

Fresh organic mushrooms await a gentle cleaning from my hands, and then L* will tease them into a rich risotto. That woman brings a whole new meaning to the term "comfort food."

The gatas are glad to have us back. They had a hard time of it (as did the linoleum and one shag rug) and we are committed to finding a good, bonded pet-sitter before our next trip.

Burbank Airport

What a sweet little airport this is!

We had a leisurely morning, brunching with RkyT at Chico’s this little hole in the wall in Highland Park.

Last night we went to club Ditch at Akbar. Too many of the kind of guys who brush you out of their way on the dancefloor. So of course I started boogeying throwing a lot of elbow.

The juventud from the conference were all there struttin’ their stuff. DbZ and StaC were there in high form. Once again Mz StaC puts the ultra in ultra-femme bringing style and grace.

L* ran into old friends from QN days. We also met the fabulous author of Amor Indio in Virgins, Guerrillas, y Locas. and several other of the nicer type of boy.

Today we just gloried in the sunshine of southern california, the casitas, the palm trees, the banana leaves.

Queerscapes: The Right Way to Do It

The next panel @ Queerscapes was by a group from my alma mater, the Research Cluster for the Study of Women of Color in Collaboration and Conflict. All three are Ph.D. students

They were very polished in their presentation and really engaged with the histories of Women of Color and Queer theory.

In fact, the space of the presentation--which had to be opened up to accommodate the many many audience members--felt amazing. The panel was moderated by filmmaker Osa Hidalgo de la Riva, and the audience included folks like Sylvia Morales, Aurora Guerrero , and Maritza Alvarez.

The three presenters continually gestured to the enormous contributions made by these women. You could tell that they had really engaged with the filmmakers about their work.

sábado, noviembre 19, 2005

What 80s Band are You?

You're very feminine, and you don't care who knows
it. You're not willing to let homophobes get
to you. You also like hats.

What band from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I tried to be a different band. I really did. But the quizilla kept asking these very distracting questions about makeup and hats. It was hard to stay focused.

Addendum: TOO FUNNY!. L* also came out as Boy George! Neither of us can understand how the preference for beating up preppies contributed to this final rating.

RkyT came out as Soft Cell! I saw that one coming!

Cones and Elton

Lina and Julien were in "THE CONE" for Gamma through Friday. That's 8 cones in 15 months, for those of you who keep track.

what the national hurricane center calls, variously, the "cone of error" or the "cone of uncertainty" but the rest of us refer to as the "cone of death"

Of course, this brought on another Elton John spell, rewriting the lyrics to "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me":

don't want another fragment of my roof
to wander freeeeeee...

Fortunately for Miami, though not for Centroamerica, Tormenta Gamma went elsewhere.

I really think that Lina and Julien should let Sir Elton in on the significance of his lyrics to queer hurricane survivors. Any queen who re-wrote Candle in the Wind for Princess Di will surely appreciate this. He could even perform the new versions for a hurricane relief album.

viernes, noviembre 18, 2005

Post deleted for excessive bitchiness

A grad student's presentation made me so angry I wrote a rather long blog entry about it.

I've since had to confront that

  • 1) I was angry at myself for not speaking up in the space of the conference
  • 2) whether or not I face up to it, there's a real power imbalance in me shredding a grad student in a semi-public manner
  • 3) if I have so much to say, perhaps I should say it directly to the person who might benefit from the lesson, and
  • 4) I'm still angry at myself for not speaking up in the space of the conference.

A night at the Too Hip Hotel

The Standard hotel in Los Angeles is all that!

L* had told me to come directly up to the room, because I would be overwhelmed by the lobby.

I truly felt out of my element, as I wheeled my suitcase-held-together-with-safety-pins and my free-briefcase-from-the-college past the crowd of hipsters lined up to get into the hotel’s nightclub.

The room itself is so modern! Very minimalist--the bed is on a low platform, no drawers of any kind in the room, a long wide desk taking up the windowed wall, a striped pattern on the curtain that carried over onto the wall and then dipped and went on to the next wall. Most startling: the shower is right next to the bed, with a clear glass plate window/wall in between. So as you shower, you are on display to the room.
Now, if you’ve just depilated and fake-baked, this could be a whole fantasy kind of thing, but when you’re feeling grubby and tired and all the rest, it’s rather overwhelming.

I flew to Burbank from Oakland. At the Burbank airport I picked up the rental car and drove All By Myself to downtown LA. I’m very proud. I drove on the 5 and on the Pasadena Freeway.

It was almost fun. I mean it was exhilarating, and I thought “this could get to be fun.” If only. If only the tension in my neck didn’t feel like it was about to snap my shoulder blades. Mind you, this was at ten-thirty at night, so nothing like real traffic.

L* read me her paper. Brilliant, really. A dig-deep and translate truth kind of piece. I can’t believe this is my partner: that I can be with someone who pulls these incredible emotions and experiences out of her psyche and then theorizes social change. And that this is the same person who plays showgirlswith the kitties Nxi and Mxi. I’m very lucky.

Together a new character: Desperanza

It’s supposed to be 81 degrees in LA today. Glory, Hallelujah!

jueves, noviembre 17, 2005

Reading ≠ Writing

Let's see my wordcount has stayed steady this week (i.e. Zero) while my reading has spiked sharply.

So…Octavia Butler's Adulthood Rites. One of the brilliant things about Dawn--for me, anyway, is how bleak and bitter Lilith is and/or must become. Dawn was written first, of course, and my sense is that it was written without depending on the structure of a Trilogy. There are clear shifts between Dawn and Adulthood Rites and those are important shifts.

Maybe because I'm re-reading Butler's books in a funny sequence (Parable I, Parable II, Dawn, Adulthood Rites, Imago---what next? Fledgling?Kindred? I'm starting to see something in her worldview that I had not noticed before. The model of humanity that she's creating has some commonalities with Frederick Jackson Turner's theory of the Frontier as necessarily shaping the US. (and with Manifest Destiny) Also--is this ironic for science fiction?--the idea that essence of humanity is to be found in the small, base community, and that what comes afterward is corruption.

I'm going to have to think about this some more.

But will I write?

lunes, noviembre 14, 2005

a most successful yarn expedition..and the ponchos therefrom

Now I know there are chingos of knitters and crocheters in the bay area, and we run the gamut from the hooty-hoos buying the most expensive designer yarns, to the craft store warehouse (Michaels, JoAnns), to the folks who buy the poly yarns at the drugstore. I am all three of those. So in Oakland, or rather Emeryville, Michaels is the place for yarn. JoAnns has some great colors in 100 percent cotton that I really like, but no yellow. Michaels is the kind of place where L* can pick out yarns for tasteful handmade gifts. (As opposed to the "what not to knit" special--you know, where the knitting ladies are all wearing these shapeless or boxy sweaters that are most unflattering but doubtless fun to knit)

Right now, I'm crocheting these lovely little girl's ponchos in a sunny yellow cotton (by special request by my favorite trio). I've been resisting those really cute ponchos that are made out of two rectangles sewn together. Or the ones where you make six little squares and then piece them together in a O, leaving an empty space for the head. I know why: I'd much rather knit or crochet than sew the pieces together. The piecing together stresses me way out. I'd rather just keep working around and around. so the ponchos I make are akin to a big granny square with a head-sized hole in the middle. The ones I'm making are one solid color: no stripes.

my cat Nxi is torturing me by strolling back and forth across my freshly mopped floor. She hates the way it feels and keeps giving me dirty looks. But does she turn back when I tell her "Keep off! It's wet!" No, of course not. Not until she's halfway across does she decide to turn back.

Reading the Future, looking at the present, and thinking about wine...

Next semester I'll be teaching my class on Race, Gender, and Science Fiction. I'm starting to imagine advertising flyers. Something like: What does Science Fiction have to do with People of Color? Maybe add in a couple of images of the Superdome, Chavez Ravine, and people walking up the 5 in the post-apocalypse. I've been re-reading the Octavia Butler novels I'll be teaching, and trying to break them into small chunks. It's a lower-division class, so it's not one of those novel-a-week kinda deals. I also read some great stories from the first Dark Matter anthology, including an excerpt from George Schuyler's Black No More. The more scholarship I read, the more excited I get about this project.

Today Venezuela and Mexico recalled their ambassadors. Vicente Fox and his "fighting words" pose is like really scary science fiction. (If VF doesn't want to be called Bush's puppy, then he should quit rolling over). Hugo Chavez is inspiring, but given our nation's history of regime change, I worry for him and the Venezuelan people.

Two fine Chicano wines we learned about this weekend: Mar y Sol and Robledo Family Vineyards Maybe I should take some to the familia thanksgiving dinner in New Mexico. (Especially since we've decided that tequila is not conducive to familial harmony.)

Listen to the NPR story

domingo, noviembre 13, 2005

quite a day today!

L* and I spent the day on the south coast at a big family fiesta. the sun was shining, a guitarist was playing and there was jamaica punch for all!

jueves, noviembre 10, 2005

NaNoWriMo Pace

The official pace for NaNoWriMo is 1667 words per day, to make 50,000 words at the end of 30 days. Well, it's day 10 and I'm averaging more like 347 words per day.

If I plug that into one of the nifty Pacer widgets, it will tell me how many thousands of words I need to write per day to get back on pace.

I'm reminding myself that this is actually a marathon, and guess what, I'm not Tegla Loroupe, a record-shattering marathon runner, who finishes in 2:20:45. I'm just myself, a walker who took eight hours to finish a marathon. I'm not in it for speed, I'm in it for endurance.

Sure, just like that marathon in San Diego, I'm sweating around mile two and really wishing I had trained better and more regularly, and that I hadn't only just recovered from bronchitis. I know that I will still have hours to walk when my girlfriend is hitting the showers to recover from her own race. I know that me and the middle-aged ladies around me will be hustling our bustles to make it to the halfway checkpoint before the cut-off time. (If you're not there by 4:00:00, they turn you back and don't let you finish the race)

So, this is my race, and this is how I'm running (walking) it. And that's fine. I'll still have my novel by the end.

In the meantime, I'd better go iron my shirt for my day job.