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.