martes, febrero 27, 2007

Lent 2007

You know, it's Lent now.

One year, on Ash Wednesday, I asked L* to smudge ashes on my forehead.

I didn't do that this year--the ashes always make my forehead break out--but I did give up sugar and white flour. Mostly because my body has been in mad sugar spiral all semester. I'm currently pumping it full of yerbas and amino acids and live cultures. We'll see how it all turns out.

I am still sweetening my coffee, with a little stevia (sweet leaf). It's got a kind of cloying aftertaste, like real licorice, but I kind of like that. (I can sit there and suck on a licorice twig, so I admit to being a bit of an oddball).

L* and I are putting together our ideas for our presentation on Saturday (see below).

My mom was just in town last weekend for a visit. It was wonderful! L* and I are both wiped out from the museo, dining, cooking, driving, lakewalk, and just the 24-hour presence of a house guest, but it was a great visit. My Mom is just fabulous, and she was really easy to be with. I got her hooked on Octavia Butler's DAWN while she was here, and she left with the trilogy in her luggage.

Driving through Oakland recently, I caught a glimpse of God's Gym out of the corner of my eye. Clearly G@d thinks I should go for a lakewalk today.

Photograph of God's Gym, Oakland, California

In my lit class, we're reading Sherman Alexie. Y'all just know how I love Sherman Alexie! Two of my favorite stories in the whole world are "A Drug Called Tradition" and "Distances." I ended up reading aloud most of "A Drug Called Tradition" to my students in class yesterday. I seem to find something more each time I read it.

This is what struck me yesterday:

The boys sit by the fire and breathe, their visions arrive. They are all carried away to the past, to the moment before any of them took their first drink of alcohol.

Onco-Trans-Género: Breast Cancer, Non-conforming Gender, and the Medical/Industrial Complex

22nd Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference

Our Bodies, Our Souls: Sistahood, Health, and Healing
Saturday, March 3, 2007
MLK Building, UC Berkeley

Workshop Session 3: 2:00-3:00 pm

Presenters: L* and Ktrion

Location: Stephens Lounge

This workshop will use poetry, journal entries, and personal storytelling to discuss the basics of breast cancer and a critique of the gender norms embedded in breast cancer treatment. The workshop will be presented from the point of view of a gender-queer Latina cancer patient and her partner as they navigate the medical/ industrial complex.

sábado, febrero 24, 2007

martes, febrero 20, 2007

quilt day

Tomorrow is the day that my students turn in quilt blocks.

They have the option of writing a paper, of course, since that's what you're supposed to do in college classes. But I also give them the option of making a quilt block (or other fabric art) inspired by the readings, authors, topics, characters, and themes of the class.

I went digging through my digital files, 'cause I have some photographs from years back.

and I found my first quilt block (four blocks, actually).

I called it "Maria's got a chainsaw"

(L* was in DC that quarter, and so, as you see, I didn't have the benefit of her eye for color)

sábado, febrero 17, 2007

Gender Trouble

I got in gender trouble today
(can I get an "Amen" from all the Femme Girlfriends out there)

See, I was registering L* and I for a conference,
and I got to the part of the form to indicate gender.

(This itself is the result of a long struggle, so that when new folks join organization, they aren't confronted with the immediate male/female binary)

And the choices are
o-Other ____________

So after finding out what L* wanted put in her slot, I filled out my own and checked Other, and wrote in "Femme"

Some time later, L* contests, "I don't think you should get to put 'Other'"

It takes me some moments to actually understand what she's saying. Does "you" mean "one"? "people"? "I don't think people should get to put Other"? Or does "you" mean "you, Ktrion"? Indeed, it's the latter:

"I don't think you, Ktrion, femme, should be claiming transgendered space."

I hate being in gender trouble.

"I wasn't intending to appropriate transgendered space," I explain. "I was striving for a multiplicity of genders. In the vein of Anita Tijerina Revilla's research 1 on the Raza Womyn de UCLA" "In spirit of Solidarity" I add.

L* allows that this might be OK.

1See "Raza Womyn Re-Constructing Revolution," Ph.D. Dissertation, UCLA: 2004.

Hot flash

L* has been having hot flashes.
She's in chemo-pause, since
the chemo drugs brought her ovarian cycles to a screeching halt.
But sometimes she gets these hot flashes.

Time to bust out the chillow--
this chilly pillow with water in it to help her cool down
Right after we bought it, the weather turned cold
and the hot flashes went away
and the chillow spent the next three months under the bed.

The hot flashes are interrupting her sleep,
she wakes up and throws off all the covers
fanning herself.
(Much to the dismay of the the cold little ktrion, who wraps herself in blankets like an enchilada)

The other morning we were drinking our coffee in bed
and L* was hot flashing. She starts nudging the cats away from her
and flings back the blankets.

Ktrion says, "not for real, but in a story?
It would be funny if you--the character--
thought she was having hot flashes
and it really turned out that it was just the heat
of all the cats
snuggling up against her while she slept."

L* said:
"funny if you've never had a hot flash, maybe."

jueves, febrero 15, 2007

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

Since last we posted, many, many things have happened. We're not necessarily ready to go into all the details here and now, but we do want to assure our friends and fellows that we're still kicking.

L* is now teaching a unit on hate speech in her class.

I'm trying to write a poem a week. In two of my classes, I'm currently teaching Beloved and Dawn, and its all starting to blur together in my head. With science fiction, i try to push my students in the "what would you do in her situation" direction.

Oh, Monday, you know, is the day of Remembrance for the internment of Japanese Americans. I use a unit from an old multicultural lit anthology which tells the students to imagine that they're government has just ordered them and their families to report for immediate relocation. (That is--the book I use has some really good material--poetry, photographs, fiction, memoir, government documents--but also includes really stupid "discussion questions.")

I actually tried to use this as a writing prompt back in the day when I was teaching al lit course. Many of my students were young Anglo men. The asserted that they would resist, even unto death. That is, that they would go down fighting. (and take as many as they could with them)

A similar thing happened recently in class discussion of Dawn, where several female students said that if they found themselves in Lilith's situation (captured by aliens who have "saved" humanity only to hybridize it through gene mixing) "I guess I would kill myself" one student after another said. (Actually that happened a little bit last semester, too, when I was teaching Parable of the Sower. Students said that, when confronted with a "hopeless" situation, they would kill themselves. (rather than trying to make a way out of no way). I'm both disheartened and amused. Disheartened that the young people--our hope--are so afraid and hopeless they would rather die than change. Amused because it seems to show how young they are still.