viernes, abril 29, 2005

Fiber Technology

I'm the household Fiber Technologist. Any problems that arise and call for yarn, string, wire, fishing line, I'm your girl. Need that dental floss container rethreaded? that's me. new line for the weed wacker? me again.

(it's really just a big bobbin).

wind up a power cord for storage. I'll make it nice and tidy.

These latter are the ones that aren't obvious. The more obvious examples are: sew a button; tack up a hem (unless you want that nice tailored look, in which case you take it to the Vietnamese lady at the cleaners: she's the fiber engineer, while I'm a lowly tech), crochet a baby blanket, knit a scarf

i'm pretty good at knots, too.

lunes, abril 25, 2005

Goodbye pink!

Today L* is re-painting the dining room.

For the past couple of years, it's been the most beautiful Rosa Mexicana!
Our own little site of greater mexico here in the midwest.

but since we're putting the house on the market,
it's all about neutrals.

So today when I leave the house, I have to say goodbye to the pink dining room

A dicho to launch a thousand stories!

Cracked Chancla has the fiercest dicho I've ever heard,
courtesy of her mom

domingo, abril 24, 2005

Mosquito, p. 526

I remember reading a book about a woman that was the sorta woman I never would want to be. But I also likes reading them books about the sorta woman I would like to become or that I could imagine myself as being. I ain't read no book yet about the woman that I am.

You'd have to write your own book [he replies].

That ain't the woman I am. Least that ain't the one I am now. I likes to tell people stories but me I don't just like to tell anybody my tales. Seems like with writers just anybody can read your tales and make out of them what pleases them, and maybe what they interprets your tales as being might not please you at all.

Mosquito by Gayl Jones

I think it's most appropriate to say I fall in love with this novel, because I (figuratively, at least) fall into this novel and it kind of flows around me. She talks so much about books, the kind of book you can open at any place and start is of course, that kind of book.

It's also filled with confabulatory newsletters, plays,dreams, and true lies.

Last night i had a moment, like running deeper into scheherazade's maze: each story starts on a premise from the previous one, and as i rushed deeper and deeper into the stories within stories, i worried i would never find my way out.

it's a book where you think, i'm gonna fold down this page because it's so incredibly smart, and then eventually you have to stop folding down pages because more pages are folded than not folded.

and i was thinking, i'll put an excerpt on the blog, but i won't because i wouldn't know when to stop excerpting.

i love this book like i love Gardens in the Dunes. I want to claim it for Chicana literature, but not in a colonizing way. LIke maybe instead I should follow the Daughters of Nzingha (a [possibly] confabulatory group in the novel) and call it "literature of Turtle Island people and their mixed cousins"

okay, let me stop trying to be like the character Mosquito aka Nadine Jane Sojourner Johnson aka Journal aka nicodemous, and go back to reading about her

viernes, abril 22, 2005

Gayly's green boots!

Gayly walked to the bus stop with a box that I knew had to hold a pair of new boots. And indeed, it did!
They were a beautiful green. Pistachio, Gayly called it (though I still lean toward pear), and I had major femme envy.

jueves, abril 21, 2005

La Partera

During the student's exam (literally) I re-read La Partera: The Story of a Midwife, Fran Leeper Buss' oral history of Jesusita Aragon, the famous Las Vegas, New Mexico midwife. The book was first published in 1980, and a second edition was published in 2000.

I was excited to see that the transcripts from the oral history are part of the collection at the Schlesinger Library of American Women. I would love to go there some time and read over them.

This is really an amazing story. It's the kind of thing that I never knew about when I was a jr. high and high school student in West Las Vegas. I wish everyone would read this!

For some reason, I especially like the part at the end where Jesusita is a little tired and cranky and is complaining. (I expect the reason is that I associate a certain kind of plaintive lament with my grandmothers). Also, like my Grandma Lupe, Jesusita took in out-patients as boarders.

I wish the Nuevomejicano historians would engage with this book. For instance, there's a lot about how the area of Trujillo is arid and unliveable, but that's mostly because of how the state has allocated the water to big agriculture in the south, over the villages in the north.

I know I gave a copy of the book to Aunt Helen, but can't remember if I gave it to don Alfonso, too.

In telling her story, Jesusita Aragon really shows the harsh judgment many young women received from their families. I remember this from the Mexican side: not so much from the New Mexican side.

I'm hoping the students will relate to La Partera when we read it next week. A lot of things they describe in their family histories occur in this book (adoptions, for example, and being pressured to quit school and then valuing education for one's children).

miércoles, abril 20, 2005


A couple of students came up after the panel to ask what Hagiography meant.

It's all about power, right? I remember hearing a professor using that word--what don Alfonso would call a $20-word, and I thought, I'm going to use words like that. But honestly, when I was the student, I had an experience of alienation, and in proving myself as a professor, i used the tool of alienation on students.

So yes, Hagiography is a $20-word for "saint's life" or the writing or study of "saint's lives"

Must have been in my Chaucer class where I first heard that word.

I guess in my case, what i'm doing is Gaigiography :)

San Martin's "Little Stories"

Today, while my students in the Latina Lit writing class are preparing for their midterm exam, I've started reading Alex Garcia-Rivera's book, ST MARTIN DE PORRES: the "little stories" and the semiotics of culture.

I'm really enjoying it so far, as Garcia-Rivera lays out why "little stories" are important in the acclamation and understanding of the saint by the masses. He gave a really clear discussion of Gramsci's hegemony, and enough of a background on Virgilio Elizondo's work, that I'm encouraged to spend more time reading Elizondo.

At the panel last weekend at NACCS, we did a panel on Saints, Religion, and Chicanas/Latinas.
We had some changes to the schedule, and were missing one panelist and our respondent, but the panel was still successful.

Lisa, an MA student, presented on her study of a focus group Latinas in Washington state, their Catholic identity, and how that is affected by higher education.

Nicole G-H presented on Saint Maria Goretti, and the way her story is taken up by Denise Chavez in FACE OF AN ANGEL, to shed light on the story of the protagonist, Soveida Dosamantes. She made this great handout on Maria Goretti, which was just like the website on Patron saints. The reverse included halloween costume tips, for dressing your little saint.

I presented on hagiography in Ana Castillo's novel SO FAR FROM GOD. Other Chicana feminists have identified the figure of Caridad with St. Mary of Egypt (Rita Cano Alcala) and Saint Claire (Gail Perez). I was interested in the character La Loca Santa, and the way her story is emplotted along the vitae of Blessed Christina the Astonishing. Cristina is not the most canonical of saints :) in fact I don't believe she's been canonized. In ANGELA'S ASHES, Frank McCourt writes about reading Cristina's story in the public library. This account claimed Cristina pulled of her breasts and threw them like stones at her judges. As far out as McCourt's story seems, if you read Thomas De Cantimpre's life of Cristina, you'll see many fantastic "little stories'

Rita U. came up afterward and told me her own little story of Santa Rita. She comes from a long line of Ritas, so I'll have to get her to write this down.