Monday, December 5, 2011


The telephone call came Friday night, about the time when most of the seagulls in Oxnard had returned home to Anacapa Island. Our cats knew something was wrong. V had been expecting this call since he came to live in the United States. We packed our bag quickly.  The cats just stared at us. V, who rarely wears anything, but tennis shoes, told me, " I think I'll wear my brown shoes this time."  We spoke little on our three hour flight to Mexico City.  We sat with a handful of memories of her and let our airplane food go cold. Most of my memories of her are hand-me-downs from V's recollections. I replayed over and over the time she sat down with V to teach him how to write silla and mesa.  I thought of the photograph she gave me where she's standing so proud next to her little boy whom she had dressed like a German little boy from the mountains. V didn't have a smile for the camera. Last July, V asked her to dance danzón at La Ciudadela. He took her by the hand, and  even with her bad knee, they danced slowly to the nectar of music. 

Perhaps every son should dance with his mother at least once. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Bad Catholic girl

When I did my First Communion I got an attack of the giggles.
I was nervous. The priest gave me an evil look and didn't give me the body of Christ.

You and Whose army?
You and your cronies.
You forget so easily.
We ride tonight.
We ride tonight.
Ghost horses.
Ghost horses.
When I finally stopped laughing. He came back and gave the left overs of Christ.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I miss you, blog.

Facebook is a plastic keychain of a motel room. Sometimes it feels like a Charles Bukowski ham sandwich at a Greyhound station in Los Angeles back in 1987.  Vic tells me you get out what you put in.

I have a great deal to learn.

Monday, September 26, 2011



I arrived.

....and this was their reaction:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day Of School

1. A student had an epileptic seizure within the first three minutes of school.
2. A student burst into tears uncontrollably after seeing a seizure for the first time.
3. Eighteen students looked at me thinking: Can we trust you?
4. A student told me in a scared, quiet voice, My daddy died last year.
5. My principal told us she is going to change our mascot from Cougars to Cyber Cougars (we are a technology school...whatever that means). I googled Cyber Cougars and I got escort dating services, playboy clubs, porn...


5. My husband sent me this text message at lunch: Te amo harto, harto, hartisisisimo 

I know I sound corny and mushy, but I'm gonna be okay.


Monday, August 29, 2011


There's a place where I don't listen to punk rock or say the F word. I don't blog there. I don't text there. I get excited about fractions and solid figures at that place. I don't worry if I look dumb for singing about a baby beluga or apples and bananas.  I even smile when a little face recognizes a long vowel. Yeap, I like that place.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

For my homegirl in Calahorra 'cause she understands a girl's dark forest

and because she understands a sick motherfucker film when she sees one too.

She's a badass!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Teacher returns or as my English limited students say: ai' viene la teacher!!

(I made some corrections to this post many hours later)

1. I'm returning to school today----just to set up my classroom.  I didn't do shit much. I wasted most of the time talking to other teachers about CST scores and about our 10 week vacation.

2. Tomorrow I'll be at a teacher training. I'm still planning to attend. On a positive note, I'll see old friends and we'll talk about, yes, CST scores!  Ahem, at those trainings, I avoid sitting next to teachers that constantly brag about their progeny's successes.

3. On Friday I'll return to school----just to set up my classroom. A promise to self: avoid teacher friends and any discussion about  CST scores! 

4. Next Monday:  the school year starts, officially. Lots and lots of meetings on that day about, yes, our CST scores and about how we are going to improve them next year.

5. On Tuesday: more and more meetings about CST Scores . The principal would probably do some scolding for not meeting the API and AYP on the CST Scores. She'll remind us that fourth grade teachers are the best! (At this point in my career, the only thing worth giving a fuck is student learning and NOT about fourth grade teachers).

6. On Wednesday, gulp, students officially start school. The first day of school is bitter sweet. I'm happy to see fresh new second graders in my classroom, but I can't help missing my previous students.


 The CST scores are up on the internet.  I promise Homeland Security won't be after you if you see our scores. I am a public employee, therefore, my CST scores are available to the public (motherfucker!).  If you know the name of the county where I live and the name of the  school district where I work, plus! the name of my school (hint hint it starts with Mck) you'll see my grade level scores (second grade).  You won't see my personal scores, but you'll see my scores combined with the other second grade teachers' scores. No names are made public! (Thank you, Goddess of Standardized Assessements!)

Good luck finding me.

Oh, and my students did very well on the CST. I'm so proud of them! For your information, I had a bunch of bright students, but with major behavior issues, fuck me! I was ready to quit back in May.  Also, I should mention that my students are limited in English and the CST is in, yes, English! Further, most of my students live under the poverty line and you how that is, poverty and education. I can cry you a river.  

(I haven't seen Waiting For Superman, but I was told about the scene at the beginning of this video clip. I don't support Charter Schools, but I DO support effective schools and effective teachers).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

His Bicycle Helmet

They had been waiting for the bus too long.
Too long to piss her off and too long for him to tap to his virtue,
We should ride our bikes, he told her.
It's too far, she said.
But what she meant to say was that she didn't have hope.

A five mile ride to the West would allow them to catch a train or a plane
To Shanghai.
To Paris.
To Buenos Aires.
They still had a million places to go.

They rushed West.
But he got lost on the way.
She looked for him.
Here, was the bed where he was born.
There, was the peluqueria where he got his first haircut.
Follow this road to his school pencil box.

Have you seen this man? became her mantra.
How could he vanish?
How could he leave her behind with the darkness of the familiar?
Her childhood home.
Her elementary school.
The rusty seesaw at the park.

She opened her messenger bag to touch his white bicycle helmet.
He had left it behind.

(a dream i had two days ago about V and i)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vinyl Angels Watching Over Me

I went to see my doctor on Friday. Since my doctor's office is located in Ventura, I didn't want to waste the opportunity to visit one of my favorite thrift stores in that city, The Coalition Thrift Store. This store raises money to support survivors of domestic and sexual assault.  It provides them with food and shelter. The store has scary looking posters of battered women throughout the store, but this depressing sight, and I say it with great shame,  didn't diminish my archaeological  curiosity to find artifacts that once belonged to a Jeff or a Debbie in suburbia.  That day, the angels of vinyl were watching over me because I found lots of great records.

I bought this Yes album because it stretches my attention span. It teaches me to sit and wait for bees to make honey. The songs have a faded fabric with little holes. These open spaces invite your index finger to go in and search for the warmth of words. With patience, you'll hear wind chime kisses and 4 pm guitars. I promise.

I bought this Van Morrison record because it brings back a memory I have of my mother and I at a laundromat. We are in Modesto, California.  She is folding shirts and I'm  bouncing a ball on the floor. Then, a shirtless long haired man walks in to wash his clothes. I stared at him long and hard,  making my mother feel uncomfortable. I stared at him because his body radiates a light I have never seen before, a light I want to follow and kiss and touch and leave my mother behind for the first time. 

I like this early Neil Young record.  He sings like a man with no self esteem. This is a man you want to take home and feed  homemade bread and raspberry jam. But, women be warned, his songs make you bleed and your wounds will dream a million hanker chiefs.

I also bought a Buffalo Springfield album. I couldn't say no to Neil Young's Mr. Soul. How could I say no to a clown who is sick and does a trick of disaster?

The other album I couldn't say no was to a Simon and Garfunkel record. I didn't discover Simon  and Garfunkel's music until the late 1980's. My younger sisters and I used to drive to Santa Barbara in the afternoons. We had little money for that expensive place, but we didn't care. A fog would  sometimes accumulate on the 101 freeway. I remember how our hearts sang America not giving a damn about the lack  of visibility on the road. We sang  I'm 18 and aching and I don't know why . My sisters and I are in our 40's now and we still don't know what Mrs. Wagner's pies taste like.


To a friend in Miño, Spain (yeah, you, Mr. B!) : You convinced me to allow comments again. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer of Failure

1. I'm a lover, not a baker. I failed as a baker last night as i made another attempt to bake zucchini bread . V liked my bread, but, you know,  he's sweet and very kind to my performance in the kitchen. I gave some bread to the seagulls this morning and they didn't like it. My heart broke into smithereens.

2. This was going to be my summer of sewing, but instead it's turning out to be my summer of viewing. I am addicted to the TV shows, The Wire and Mad Men. Don't get excited, I didn't buy a TV, I rent the DVDs from Netflix and I watch them on my laptop. Oh, dear lordy, I had forgotten the pleasure of sitting on my big, round ass for hours while watching  TV shows!

3. I'm supposed to train on my bicycle each morning. I'm supposed to ride my bike 8 to 10 miles a day so I could make the pilgrimage to San Francisco next summer with V. But, yeap, instead I spend mornings listening to my 99 cent vinyl records. I'm finally learning to appreciate real' early  Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. I love, love Joni's I had a king.

Here is a visual of my road to perdition:

                                        ( I dig those groovy album covers.)

4. When I'm not watching TV shows or listening to James or Joni, I listen to NPR. I also watch cooking videos on youtube, I read blogs, I read short stories, hell,  I dance around in my living room to this song (another record from  my 99 cent vinyl collection). It is fun to pretend to be a beatnik from the early 1960's that pretends to be Zelda Fitzgerald in the 1920's. When V gets home from work, he likes to be my F. Scott.

Wait, I'm not done.....

Since this is the summer of failure, when I'm not being a lazy ass at home, I go to, yes, my favorite places in the world, thrift stores. This summer I'm determined to find the tackiest,  cheesiest and shittiest records of my childhood. So far, I've had two successes. I found, ta-da! Seasons In The Sun and I think I Love You.  Remember that good feeling you got as a child when you sang songs you didn't know were shitty? Do you also remember singing Goodbye Papa, please pray for me in the shower?

Here's The Partridge Family singing I Think I Love You. This is my little homage to David Cassidy, my first childhood crush.

Of course, my summer would not be such failure if I manage to find the Holy Grail of shitty music: The Night Chicago Died.


V tells me I'll  get additional accolades if I manage to find the Spanish version.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My $1.95 dream

Yesterday I fullfilled a dream. I bought a copy of Peter Frampton's Comes Alive! at the Boys and Girls Club thrift store. The record  was $1.95.

I've had that dream since my breasts were two pink strawberries and my lips were too big for my face. This dream of mine  goes back to those  days when my mother hung saints over my bed to protect me from evil and to keep me away from sin.  I have to admit, I begged my parents for the Peter Frampton Comes Alive! record many times. But my cries at Woolworth's and at JC Penney went unheard as they never bought me the album.  Their ears didn't hear  beyond Vicente Fernandez and their wallets were not able to reach past frijoles and lentejas.

Peter Frampton was as close  as I ever got to  having my very own Justin Bieber. I didn't workship Peter. My bedroom walls were not decorated with Frampton posters. I didn't dream of licking his salty white skin at night. I didn't throw my Scoobie Doo panties at him, either. I didn't even like most of the songs in the album. However, I did workship one song,  Do You Feel Like We Do. I spent a great deal of time listening to this song that lacks a question mark at the end. Don't expect poetry in this song. The lyrics were  not written with the hands of the moon. You won't be able to queeze any light out. The song was mostly written with a wad of Bazooka gum inside a mouth.

Well, woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand.
Whose wine? What wine? Where the hell did I dine?
Must have been a dream I don't believe where I've been.
Come on, let's do it again.

Later on in my life, I would discover that if I wanted to take the rock and roll hedonistic road, I would  prefer a morning with Jim Morrison and a beer in my hand, but, nonetheless, the question sang by Peter Frampton repeatedly,  Do You Feel Like We Do intrigued me. It fascinated my dizzy pre- adolescent brain.  I wanted to feel the answer. I wanted to drink from the answer.  I wanted to believe there was another world to feel other than my world at projects on 135 Eliza Court. I used to wait patiently for  KMET to play this song while listening to Fleetwood Mac and Ted Nugent dumb songs which was a small price to pay but I didn't care.  When the station finally played the song, I'd lay on my twin bed and allow the hands of rock and roll caress my brown legs. I let the music draw maps on my brain and dig deep into my heart. I used to close my eyes and beg the Virgen De Guadalupe for forgiveness for allowing this question to  reach under my skirt and blouse, kissing every dream it could find.

My father who worked 10 hours a day cutting celery under the California November rain.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

My mother who worked nights packing chiles in little boxes.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

My  homegirls at Haydock Junior High who longed for Colonia Chiques 13 tattoos on their arms.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

La Bright Eyes, pregant at 14.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

La Dimples, sent to juve at 13.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

Juanita's papá standing drunk on the corner of Cooper and  McKinley.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

Los illegals waiting for white men at 5 a.m. on Coloria Road to prostitute their hands and sweat.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

Mr. Franklin, my algebra teacher who calls us dumb, dirty no good Mexicans.
Do You Feel Like We Do?

Please, Virgen Santa, just this once,  I want to feel. I want to feel.

Part Two:

Part One:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From PBS: P.O.V

(I used to love watching P.O.V. on PBS when I had a TV)

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Argentina arrived this morning

It was difficult not to open the big package when it arrived. I had to wait for V. It was only fair as it was addressed to both of us. I kept the package away from my sight and far away since I know I lack self control.

Thank you, Mr. Crónicas!!!!

Your kind letter and awesome gifts touched us both.  How did you know I love Steinbeck? (and stickers!!!! How did you know I place them on my laptop?)

The only jewelery I wear are dangling earrings and string bracelets. At this moment, I'm wearing a one-string bracelet that was given to me by a Buddhist monk. He told me it was my connection to humanity. It is old and raggedy. But now,  I will wear the bracelet you've sent me. It will be my new connection to you, Mr. D.

Thank you so much!!!

Grizzly hugs and artichokes!


Assange-Zizek on Democracy Now!

Watch live streaming video from democracynow at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I'm not going in search of Roberto Bolaño's Mexico.
I'm not going to chase jaraneros.
I'm going...I'm going hoping V finds freedom of speech.

Hasta la victoria!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In the pockets of dead Marines

a crumpled up napkin
a piece of paper
a spoon to eat with
some money
a sonogram picture of a fetus from a pregnant wife

(From NPR's Fresh Air that was aired on June 21, 2011.  Jess Goodell spoke about her eight month experience recovering and processing the remains of fallen troops.  She wrote a book with John Hearn, Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Little Hands

Le dí la mano a 21 estudiantes. Me despedí de ellos por última vez. Las lunas de sus manos sudaban. Algunas estaban sucias y pegosteosas. Otras  manitas solo tenían hambre y rios de soledad.  Le dí la mano por última vez a esos niños que dibujan cuartos con paredes naranja y gente de palitos morados. Se fueron esas manos que todavia dibujan  flores del tamaño de las personas..


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Something is Happening

Please hear me out, I'm gonna share with you some facts you didn't know about my husband:

1. His political Facebook page gets more than 4 million views a month. Yes,  4 million!!!

2. Don't google his name, you won't find him on Facebook. Is not about his name or ego, it's all about El Movimiento.

3. I have to say he is not the only one who works his ass off on this Facebook page, there are  other incredibly smart men that also contribute to the page, so please allow me a few seconds to tell how proud I am of  my husband and the men who spend hours and hours fighting against the corrupt Mexican government. 

I won't tell you his Facebook address. V. has made it clear he wants to keep his blog and his Facebook separately as much as possible.

Today I went with him to Los Angeles to a political rally. He was concerned I'd get bored, but I didn't. Are you kidding?!  I love political rally desmadre!!! Besides, the situation at my work is in the shits, I desperately needed some L.A.

But, wait! Why am I telling you this? Because he won't. Because he's too humble, too proud...too human.

Before the rally was over, the Mexican national anthem was played. I looked at him and told him: this is too nationalistic for me-even the U.S. national anthem is too much for me. He looked at me and told me, I agree. Let's go.

I don't know where his Facebook page is going to take him(us), but something is happening.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Teaching is a motherfucker

A parent came to my classroom this morning to tell me three of my  students sexually harassed her daughter  during recess. This is what my male students told the girl:

Your zipper is down. X's zipper is down too so he's gonna stick his dick up your ass until you scream ooooh aaaah ooooooooooooh!

Obviously, disciplinary action was taken against these boys. I'm still dumbfounded that these words came out of 8 year-olds.

Oh, dear God, I don't think I'm going to make it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

5 more days of school

(If you recall, I transferred to another school this school year. I work in the 'hood where I grew up).

1. I'm exhausted.

2. I still have one student that cannot read.

3. I feel like I'm angry all the time.

4. I see students eating Hot Cheetos for breakfast.

5. Parents are afraid to tell their 7 year-old kids "no."

6. A mother shows up to school with needle marks on her arm.

7. I feel disappointed.

8. Some parents know more about their cars than their child's academic performance.

9. C. told me several times during the school year that his mother didn't love him. I told him, Of course she loves you, C. When he earned an award for improvement in reading his mother didn't attend the awards assembly.

10. A first grader was spotted going around the 'hood and knocking at people's doors. He'd say: I'm hungry. Can you give me something to eat?

11. One of my students showed up to school with a black eye and a bruise on his face.  He claimed he fell at the park.

12. Some parents don't see their children due to their working schedule.

13. Teaching was a motherfucker this year.

14. Ms. A, my mom said she can't come to the conference because she's gonna watch the telenovela.

15. Me:  Señora,  le llamo porque su hija no pone atención a la lección. Se pierde en su mudo y a veces se ve preocupada.
Señora: Aaay, maestra... es que (starts crying) su papá  tiene dos meses en Tijuana y no ha podido pasar la frontera. Yo ya no se que hacer.

16. I'm drowning.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bicycling In The Afternoon

Forgive my bragging, but V is the best bicycling companion. He is patient with my speed. He gives me tips to improve my riding here and there. And he never ever leaves me behind in the dust.
(Pacific Ocean on the right and train tracks too. I like to wave to the train riders when they pass by)
Slowly, I will get better at this cycling gig and I'll be able to join my V on longer rides. Patagonia here we come!  Um...okay, just Ojai  for now.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Your revolution will not televised, hermano

(Somewhere in Spain. Thanks to acampadabcfoto for this photograph)

Goodbye, Gil

Monday, May 16, 2011

Zaragoza, Spain via France arrived this afternoon

Thank you, Mr. Fermín.

Your beautiful books and your kind words arrived in our mailbox this afternoon.

Gracias por llevarnos a donde sueñan las xerófilas.

Hugs, bread, and pensamientos...

L and V

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mexico city, 1973

1. The moon  followed me to Mexico City.
2. I drank coca-cola in a glass bottle.
3. My father took me to a record store.
4. I stood in the middle of the record store staring at a poster of Creedence Clear Water Revival and other rock and roll gods.
5. Rock music played loud.
6. My eight year old  body shivered.
7. I  had found my very own Villa de Guadalupe.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

I'm Shiva Your Destroyer

I'm having breakfast with my mother and sisters in about 7 hours. We are going to celebrate Mother's Day.

Several years ago, for a Christmas celebration, I stormed out of my parents' house and told everyone, especially my siblings to go fuck themselves. When I got home I couldn't stand the loneliness of my kitchen appliances.  I got in my car and drove back.

My mother gave free hugs on Christmas eve. It was the only hug I would get from her all year. I had to go back. 

(This film reminded me of somebody I know: me)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A day at USC (University of Southern California)

We went to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC last Saturday.
We wanted tickets to see a conversation between Patti Smith and Dave Eggers, but  it was sold out.
Instead, we got tickets to see Michael Pietsch talk about the David Foster Wallace's Pale King. In our brains the panel started at 5pm, but on paper it started at 4pm. We missed it. Oh, well.
Despite my liberal views and my anti private university views,  I've been a fan of SC since the early 1990's. My former boss was a physical therapist for the USC football/basketball teams in the 1970's. He got me hooked on SC with his football stories.
My boss used to take me to USC football games. We used to sit in the alumni section with the rich and beautiful. I think he wanted to impressed me with his wealth and status. It only made me sad, but it  helped me understand John Cheever stories a little better.

My boss wanted me to do a Master's in Physical Therapy at USC. One day I went to work and I told him: I'm quitting physical therapy. I'm going to be a teacher. We never saw each other again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Career Change

I'm having a  stressful week at work. My students are taking the state test.  I have worked hard throughout the school year, yet somehow I feel really discouraged and defeated.

 The accordion feels like me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Feria del libro

At Los Angeles Union Station on Friday: I stared at this mural while my husband called his bank to report a lost credit card. It is strange how we lose things on trains. It wasn't a great start for our adventure in Los Angeles.
Downtown Los Angeles. While waiting for Feria Del Libro En Español to start, we walked the streets of  L.A.
At Feria Del Libro: This man works for Real Academia. He gave an interesing speech about, yeah,  Spanish. At one point in the middle of his speech I turned to V. and told him: I want to listen to this man for a long time. He had a sugar cookie and tea way of speaking.  I started daydreaming about whispering in his ear: watchale! parkeando! troca! Okay, stop dreaming, this man actually told really good anecdotes about Spanish words. My favorite one was the origin of the word, California.   I'm not a storyteller, so google it. You will  find out why the Spanish named this state California.  Hint: It has nothing to do with fornication. Now, the man on the right took the conversation even further (sorry, I'm a lousy photographer). He talked about the Spanish we use when we text and the Spanish we speak in the United States. He is worried.  He wants to invent an app for our cel phones that will respond to any ill written text that says:  Aquí no se aceptan mensajes mal escritos. My husband and I have had a long discussion about the  Real Academia since Friday. He defends it with tooth and nail. I compare the Academia to the porn industry. Okay, bad and dumb comparison, but have you ever noticed how porn always leaves you with an empty feeling? That is, even though porn/language is exciting, it's repetitive and boring. I admit my vocabulary in Spanish and ahem, English is mediocre, but what if my Spanish were top notch, why should I settle for cutting and pasting words that already exist. We should  leave space for creating and inventing new words.
Paco Taibo II at Feria talking about his book, Pancho Villa. Mr. Taibo is my buddy! I normally don't like to speak to famous authors when I meet them ( I haven't met many).  I find it unnecessary to ask for  their autographs and to drool all over them (okay, I did ask Allen Ginsberg for his autograph back in the early 1990's--and for the record I did drool when he said: hey! haven't I seen you before?! How cool is that?!). Anyway, my husband talked to him. Mr. Taibo was really kind and humble!  He talked to us as if we were going to sit down and munch on tacos de tripa, drink atole, and talk Pancho Villa.
And he curses like a sailor just like me!!

This is for Mr. Blecua because I soak my tongue in the streets of California. 


I took the day off from work on Friday. Stress at work is high. I needed a mental break. My students will take the CST on Tuesday  (the CST is a test, a very important test, but I won't tell you what the initials stand for since I was asked to sign an affidavit saying I won't talk about it).

 My principal, who takes things a step further has "encouraged" teachers to avoid teaching Art, Music, Science, and Social Studies and to focus on test prep, test prep, and test prep. If we wanted to teach these subjects we had to justify its importance over the CST by writing a paper. So, for the last month, I've been obediently reviewing Math for two hours and Language Arts for four  hours. I've been obedient for several reasons, I'll just mention two: My students are limited in English. The CST is in English and they need all the practice they can get. Two, we actually have teachers at our school district that say: Those Mexican children bring our scores down. My students are Mexican and don't worry, I'm too tired and stressed to lash out my anger at those

You see, the game/threat is simple: If our school does not meet its academic score/goal on the CST, the state will take over. I asked my administrators many times to explain  "take over," but nobody really does and with my hyperactive imagination and pessimism, sometimes I think the worst:

These are not good days for education.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Santa Monica Mountains on a Sunday afternoon

When people used to ask the little girl where she came from, she just lifted her index finger and pointed to the blue sky. One day the sky was gray.

Her Spanish words were skinny and thristy (y tenian piojos) and her English only filled up a small  paper bag. How would she learn to  fill silence with color?

She told people she wanted to die at 86. Then, she went to a thrift store and got herself a green chair.

Tell me the story again, you know, the one about the the little roadrunner that stopped.

Wind and plants talking to each other. They left her out of the conversation.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

before i sleep

1.I don't have a middle name but i think it should be mediocrity.
2. My parents were going to named me Lucas instead of Laura.
3. I have 22 students. 14 claim their father beats up their mother.
4. I used to think I would end up in a mental institution. There's still time.
5. When I was in college I stole money once to buy food. I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken and bought myself a piece of chicken, mash potatoes and a buiscuit. Out of shame, I don't go to KFC anymore.
6. My last Christian prayer was in 1976. I prayed to Santa Maria one night to make me beautiful. I woke up the following day and I was still ugly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Goodbye, Honeysuckle

She didn't  fit in the terra cotta pot we bought for her years ago. Her roots were craving land. She was too big for our balcony. We gave her a trim. We took her out of her pot and placed her in a Trader Joe's bag. It hurt too much to place her in a trash can. We put a sign on the bag, took her outside, and hoped for the best.

Within a couple hours she was gone.

Goodbye, big girl. I hope you are happy in your new home. May you stretch your roots now.


Yesterday I bought a hippie shirt. I paid $1.99 at the thrift store  for white cotton and little blue flowers.
I brought it home in  plastic bag.

I looked at it this afternoon and shame filled my heart. At 45 I'm still searching for my lemon sun of 1973. 

My heart is a dumb bass drum.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


V and I drove for hours on a long highway  in Durango, Mexico. The far away sun was a polaroid. We stopped in an empty shopping center and walked around looking for store to buy water. We saw a garden in the middle of the center, but instead of plants it had lots of heart shaped stones. There was a child playing with the stones. She was arranging them, this way and that way.
Look, the mountains have snow, we have to go.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

For a girl in Calahorra

I got the bottle of mezcal ready. Play your soul, girl.

Day Two (Four days without students): Spring Fashion Preview!

1. Our dryer, Big Rhoda is alive and well, thanks to the brilliant mind and hands of my darling, amazing, dazzling, too damn cute, and sexy husband.  It is too bad he shaved his beard four days ago. I really like my husband shaggy and fuzzy.
2.  I don't know what it means, but after five years of marriage, I realized that on weekends I dress like my husband. Our weekend uniform is jeans and a t-shirt. It's comfortable, fast, and easy dressing with what this society considers to be men clothing. Oh, by the way, fuck society.
3. But lately, my legs and thighs have been craving skirts. Floral skirts. Tight skirts. Peasant skirts. Is it my biology saying "hello?"
4. I also have a craving for cute granny sweaters in all pastels colors.What the hell is going on?!
5. I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores. My husband does not like thrift stores. Actually, he doesn't like to buy clothes. Clothes do not interest him. Some of our  best figths have been about clothes.

Dirty Laundry Display #1A:
On our return from Mexico last November, my husband wore a t-shirt with some communist propaganda printed on the front. Obviously, TSA questioned my husband's t-shirt at the airport. Oh, crap! I imagined the worst: V.  in Guantamo, waiting 20 years for a trial.  I felt really scared. So, when we got home I told him not to ever wear that damn communist t-shirt ever again.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Clue number #1:

You never ever tell my husband what to wear and what not to wear! (I know, I know, I should know better).

Ding! Ding! Ding! Clue number #2:

You never ever buy clothes for my husband. Okay, so I'm a slow learner because the following week after our trip, I went shopping for the most pro United States, the most patriotic,  the most conservative, the most Republican, the most "I want to kiss your ass, TSA" t-shirt I could find and bingo! I found it! It was only 99 cents!!! What a deal, man!


What followed at the  sweet home of V and L was a marital quarrel worthy of an HBO special.  Yes, V. refused to  wear the t-shirt.  V brought in politics, religion, history, Palestine and even Peje to his defense. I had nothing, except for a good dose of of "American Paranoia" and lots of  fear of Homeland Security, TSA, and Guantanamo. He smashed me with his well-construtive defense. Argh! Now, the poor t-shirt sits lonely in the closet.

(if you are interested in this FREE t-shirt or just want to be "COOL" with TSA, email me. I'll send it to you).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Four Days Without Students

Day One:

1. My dryer died Friday morning. Its name was LE8207W2, but it longed to be called Rhoda. Goodbye Rhoda, we will miss you.
2.  I had breakfast by myself. My husband had to work. I multi-tasked while I ate breakfast (Sorry, my Bhuddist friends). I ate eggs with veggies, pancake with blueberries, a ton of coffee, and orange juice. I ate while watching a ton of "how to fix your dryer" videos made by guys named Jim, Joe, Eddy on youtube. I always trust chubby guys named Eddy, especially if they have a nice smile and a round chunky belly.
3.  I somehow ended up watching a ton  more videos about brilliant mathematicians. Happinness is learning about Kurt Godel's mathematics and not having to take a test. And who needs drugs when you have Cantor's mathematics? What a high!
4. Of course, these youtube videos let me  to my old friend, Ted. Yes, Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. He's not really a friend, but Ted takes me back to the early 1990's when my little sisters and I competed for the unabomber look on Saturday mornings. I always won. Of course, it helped me to be a little weird and antisocial.
a) If I could time travel, I would want to spend one day with Van Gogh and  another day with Ted Kaczynski. We wouldn't say much. I'm not a  good talker. I want to be with them for the silence of their mouths. I think I would hear music in Van Gogh's every day objects, but not in Ted's. Ted's coffee was probably sad.
b)  I keep a picture of Van Gogh's little bedroom next to our bed because all the solitude of one day fits in his room. I don't keep a picture of Kaczynski's little cabin. My husband would find it weird and I would too. It would actually remind me that he  killed three human beings. Perhaps one day I'll buy a water color painting of Thoreau's cabin instead.
5. I went to a laundromat to dry all of our clothes by myself. My husband didn't go because he had been  working all day and well, he deserved to rest. Laundromats are lonely places, especially, on a Friday night. There were four of us doing our laundry. The three other customers were mexican like me. They were are single young guys from Mexico, illegals, probably. All had this "What the fuck am I doing in this country?!" look on their faces.  I felt sorry for them. I graded some papers because their sadness was contagious.

I like this song. It's a waiting song.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spain visited us this afternoon

I was watering my thirsty honeysuckle plant when the doorbell rang. Our cats ran under the bed at the sound of the bell. V opened the door. From the balcony, I could hear him talking to a woman, a religion sales person, perhaps. Poor lady, I thought, V will have no mercy on her. V hates it when people try to sell him religion. A minute later he walked in with this huge packet. Gifts from Spain: Beatles’ Rubber Soul (LP!), a little bit of East Berlin, a little bit of punk,  and vida.

Thank you, Noemi. I haven't been this high in such a long time. Thank you..

When my older sister was not playing the hell out of her James Taylor records, she would let me listen to her stereo. It was on that stereo that I listened for the first time to Michelle on the radio. I didn’t know who the Beatles were. I imagined an old man wearing a black vest and a white shirt singing this song. Only an old man would repeatedly say I love you, I love you, I love you. I didn’t have many possessions back then, except for a book with more than 400 pages I had found in the trash, a blue bra that waited patiently to fit my breast, a scar on my leg that wouldn’t heal, a library card, and this old man’s song that said, I need to I need to, I need to…..

(Dammit, Noemi, I even love the smell of the record)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Today we dance

Yeap, 5 years of marriage today......I'm sorry for getting mushy on has been a very romantic week for the two of us:

1. We watched a great film, Carlos(!). Okay, not a romantic film, but it was made for us. Hasta la victoria!!!!

2. Italian dinner. Ravioli. Yummy.

3. Last night somebody tagged the wall across from our house.  It said: WONT CARE. We wondered if it was political, social, or simply bad grammar.

4. I got a bad cold and my husband, like always, spoiled me.

5. So... we dance.

el y yo....5 años

Originally uploaded by Omiso
No somos ellos...



(perhaps in ten years we'll look like that)

(this photograph was taken by Omiso....thanks for sharing!)

and 5!

Originally uploaded by Aëla Labbé
The first time I saw my husband's face was in my head. I didn't meet him until 2001.

(not us in pic...but....this photo is from Aela Labbe...many thanks to Aela)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mothers, don't raise your daughters to be chicken shit

(Thanks to J.C. and Noemi for the video)

I'm a 45 year- old chicken shit next to this girl. I wish I had courage like her....chant like her....protest like in my neighborhood there are many houses for sale as the housing crisis worsens, nonetheless, the streets are quiet....our silence against corporate greed is shameful.....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

old lady with red sweater, dream # 1,347

She came early morning. I sat on the back seat of my little car. I made sure all the doors were locked. She stood outside wearing a granny hat and an old red sweater. What was she holding with both hands? A purse? A book? Gloves? The sun was cold. She looked at me for a long time.

What do you want?! Leave me alone!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

This is for Noemi, a girl in Spain

I heard a song on Noemi's blog. It was the first day of 2011.  I guess you can say it was my first song of the year. She removed the song from her blog due to some poetic justice, so I'm taking the liberty to post it here.  Sorry, Noemi, "justice" in my house is just like Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr. used to say:  "just us."

I don't know anything about La Mala's music. Actually, I don't know a damn thing about La Mala, but this song kicks ass (Sad reality: the fact that I keep saying  "kick ass" whenever I like a song, tells me I would never make it as  a music critic for Rolling Stone).

My husband tells me that Noemi and I "almost" have the same taste in music. By the songs she posts on her blog, I can tell she and I  are equal opportunity listeners. I believe we can lend our ears to any song we like and not give a rat's fuck whether it is good or awful.  I'm sure once stoned, we will even listen to a punk version of Copa Cabana. 

For the record, I don't know much about rap or hip hop or whatever music is being sold to the skinny jeans generation. So, if you're expecting a Rolling Stone-esque type of musical critique of Mala's song,  I'm going to disappoint you. Too bad. So sad.  My only claim of rap knowledge is that when I was 14 or 15 or 16 years old I heard this one day:

But for the record, at that age I was still in love with this:

Okay, back to La Mala. Like I said, I know nothing about her music.  She speaks rapid Spanish and I have to click replay over and over in order for my California Spanglish ears to grasp meaning.  This song caught my attention and added  fuel to my recent obsession of landscape.  You see, ever since we returned from our recent trip to Mexico city/Puebla/Veracruz, I've been thinking a great deal of landscape and deception and how sometimes my brain  fills in the spaces that are unknown to me  with pretty lies. The culprit of my recent thoughts  is this film, which my  husband and I watched when we were in Mexico:

Yes. The setting of the above film is Barcelona and not East Los Angeles.  I, ignorant of Barcelona,  had previously filled the unknown territory with this:

Perhaps now you can understand how my brain fills those unknown spaces.  But Mala sings conozco esta zona /esta mona no se anda por las rama.......sin embellecimiento en este carro sin asiento....

Years ago, while waiting for the bus to take me to the airport, I asked a homeless woman who sat on the bus bench but with no plans of going anywhere: Does Berkeley lose its charm after a while? She looked at the hills and said, yes. 

I want to be a mona. I want to learn to truly see landscape....even if I see la misma mierda.