Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

oops.... never hit the publish button -- happy belated

I didn't get around to cards, and I started to reflect on the year... and it wasn't looking good. It has been a year full of new beginnings and sad endings. I am sure there are some silver linings I am overlooking right at this moment, but I need a little more time to process them.

I decided that the closest to holiday spirit I can get is to share this with you.
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
The Editor (Francis Pharcellus Church)

Location:S E St,Oxnard,United States

Monday, December 21, 2009


Two bureaucratic offices so far. Nothing accomplished. Two times in a superpacked parking lot someone who deserves TWO parking spaces.

social security replacement card ordered
emissions exemption certificate procured
car registered -- new plates, terrible new dl photo to replace the already terrible CA one
AAA membership (not renewed, so new) bought
ummm-- found the original social security card... just four days too late

post postscript:
NM license plate installed -- after CA registration is really expired...

Monday, November 30, 2009


There are some things that you think that you cannot say aloud -- or, rather, that you should not say aloud.

I was telling someone the other day that I have few filters -- but that isn't really true. I am perfectly capable of filtering when necessary. It's just that I disagree with the "necessaryness" of censoring so often.

My little sister's motto is KIR -- aka Keep It Real or Keepin' it Real... and she pays for it when she has to, but she does speak her mind and then move on.

I feel more and more pressed here in New Mexico to censor and it makes me itch all over... yes as in it gives me hives.

So, I decided maybe I should keep a little record of things that have crossed my mind that I wanted to say -- or put up as a facebook status -- and then thought "better" of it. Especially since it feels like I am the only one reading this, it should be safe...

I'll post it up on November 30 -- and it will be my final entry for NaBloPoMo...

Living in New Mexico seems to be an open invitation for any man to let his hair grow long ... is it a fashion statement, political statement or just laziness?

I am physically repulsed by the many, egregious advertisements advocating buying women's love with jewelry... yuck... I mean, I sort of get it... but it's disgusting. Not to say that no one should receive jewelry or wanted jewelry or anything of the sort. Just that I have a very bad association with the buying of love or forgiveness. I have always hated the idea of buying someone with an engagement ring ... but then my ex-husband did a really terrible thing and bought me jewelry -- not to try to buy my forgiveness, mind you, but to show my family what a great all around guy he was.

Sick, disgusting, yucky... but, by all means, buy someone some jewelry for Christmas, and make sure it is one of those terrible designs that demonstrate your staying power or love or marriage.

Yeah, and by the way...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sprinting to the Finish Line

So, I have been trying to get motivated to write two papers today -- unsuccessfully -- it's almost 7pm in California and I am still in my pjs.

So, instead, I am sharing some favorite photos...

And thinking about making nachos...
and maybe I will write some after that....
coffee shops are definitely better for motivation...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

S-bucks reflections

This is day two for me hanging out in the s-bucks btwn Oxnard and Pt Hueneme.

I have been trying to figure out if there is a similar or different cafe culture here in SoCal (as opposed to NoCal).

The staff - with the exception of one very industrious barista - is not pressed. They routinely all go in the backroom and chat. The lines get very long...partly due to slow to decide customers and partly because the staff is not in a hurry.

There feels like more people here to socialize than to study or work. Though there are clearly those here to work on their computers and reading. I have already noted quite a few regulars. Some of these don't even bother to buy anything.

The racial composition mirrors the community. Though the interesting behavior I noted was that frequently large groups come in and rearrange the seating to accomodate. Mostly upon leaving they dutifully put it all back.

There is quite a bit of outdoor furniture. And I wonder if it all comes in or just lives outside.

The funniest thing was the golf tee. This guy walked in yesterday to meet a friend. The friend had already bought the coffee but had started to talk to one of the regulars. Well the gut who came in dropped one page of newspaper and a golf tee on the table where the regular was sitting ... and where the regular returned.

He almost sat on the golf tee and then offered it back to the guy who had put it down. That guy promptly denied knowledge of it.

Eventually the all left and the golf tee remained on one of their two tables. Later another person sat at said table, found the tee and picked it up and walked it over to a railing and put it there - in case someone might come back looking for it.

I almost wished I could wait around to see what the staff dis with it at close.

Ok maybe you had to be there -trying to stay focused on work and clearly failing.

Friday, November 27, 2009


***oops hit the save instead of publish last night when I felt like this:
Eight hours of work on the computer, short nap and then four more hours of reading... all with a huge headache.

I have lots of observations from the S-bucks to share, but not tonight...after Betty, I'm done!


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Long day ... and barely getting to writing.

I had hoped to write a longer piece on Thanksgiving and Thankskilling and how different it is to live in a place where Thanksgiving means the celebration of a brutal war designed to take away someone's land rather than a time to give thanks for good friends and relations...

Not that it means that to all folks in Albuquerque -- but there is real history that cannot be avoided there.

In Southern California, I posed with a guy in a turkey suit at Whole Foods, took a walk on the beach and saw the sunset from the pier, saw dolphins in the ocean while cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway, got to hang out with my nephew and then the whole family... not to mention food and drink and an improvised balderdash since someone forgot the game...

And my cousin made it through the surgery which turned into quadruple bypass and is already trying to plot how to get back to work.

So much to be thankful for...
So much to be thoughtful about ...
So little time to do any of that ...

Good night, and I hope you had a great day with the people who make you laugh and cry

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Strength - part two

A while back I wrote about the strength I was needing ... My cousin was in the hospital and ultimately died - the whole scene made me twist and turn inside and being away from my family made it all the more difficult to reconcile all the moving parts in my head.

Just when I was beginning to feel that an even keel would be possible again, I got news that another cousin was very ill. As I write he is having triple bypass surgery. I am doing my best to only think good and postive and healthy thoughts. But the year he's had makes want to find out who's in charge and ask for an explanation.

Of course, coiling through all of this is the sense of loneliness that comes with not having a god to turn to. Pretty sure I wrote about this before. But it did come up again with no real resolution.

I was hoping for happier thoughts today. But I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I am ready for some days off - if only that were truly possible. Five more papers in the next two and a half weeks. I need more strength and less disillusionment.

One bright note: I just found out that my cousin gave life to four women ... Her heart, liver and kidneys are giving a second chance on life to some folks.

Blessings to all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

favorite things, sorta

Working on a list of things that I enjoy --

sopapillas with honey (had one for breakfast!)

sleeping in (that is past the five am alarm)

the kid with the boots and cowboy hat who lives around the corner

getting the baristas to mix two kinds of tea for me

having a balanced budget -- hey, I can hope!

getting something, even if it is not everything on my list done

This is a little therapy for was long and hard and not as productive as I would have liked, but in the end, ok... except for finding out that my cousin is in the hospital.

If you are out there, anyone, send him a good thought -- he will be having open heart surgery sometime very soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fakin It

A wise woman once told me, "Fake it until you make it" in response to my troubles -- can't even remember which the troubles were.

For a long time, I wasn't quite sure what that meant ... how could I fake it if I didn't even know how to? Then, I realized that was the point. It's like my favorite line from Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course): "I believe, I believe, it's stupid, but I believe." Sometimes you have to fake whatever you are trying to do -- as a way of trying it on or as a way of believing during a moment of weakness.

Well, mostly what I feel the need to fake is competence.

Right now I am trying to fake that I am a competent writer -- that is to say that when I have an assignment, that I can accomplish it regardless of the level of excitement or inspiration I have for said assignment.

It is not such an easy thing to do -- right now I am just trying to edit a paper I have already written -- and at that I am mostly just typing in the notes I have already written on to the paper. I was talking to a friend yesterday about the blockage -- the one that paralyzing me from doing anything at all -- not just writing.

I wish I had time to unravel all the emotional crap that is causing the blockage -- and I guess it is an acceptable use of the time I don't spend doing the actual work I am supposed to be doing, but I honestly don't have time -- or space, it would seem ... except here.

So, this is what I am pondering...

Since my cousin died, I have been really struggling with my place in the world. More truthfully, with my value, that is to say the value of my life in the world. Though I know and understand that all lives have value -- intrinsically, even those whose lives seem to be contributing the least or even depleting the world the most -- and despite that the world keeps turning and churning regardless of which life joins or departs the world. [weird sentence but the thoughts are tumbling out of me higgledy piggledy and I am going with it.] Still I spent too much time wondering, worrying, comparing. First I thought of all the things that we did differently -- I went to college, she got married and had a kid and got divorced and had two more kids.

Comparing is always a perilous endeavor -- and rarely ends well. First, I thought how much more I had accomplished with my life -- and then, I realized, to my chagrin, how much more she had accomplished just by having a family. I don't imagine that it is the only way to make an imprint on the world, but it is a most concrete way. Regardless of how her kids do in life, and I am hopeful that they will do well, they are alive. She will live on through them, one way or another. I, on the other hand, have only education and employment experience to list on my life resume. Neither of which, regardless of how prestigious it may be one day -- and that is not a given, will LIVE. Family, while always a goal, has, again, taken the back burner as I try to do this graduate school thing. (At which I am at present feeling utterly incompetent.)

Clearly there are people who would note my absence, if I were to die, from time to time -- like holidays or special days; but, the fact is, that her kids will need and miss her every day for the rest of their lives. I am not sure if that is a measure of success in life -- and I am not even sure I was measuring success, but it certainly connotes value.

The tangle doesn't seem to let up in any way -- the cords and coils continue to ravel around my throat.

Pity parties ensued ... both for my on behalf of my cousin. I know, pointless drain of emotional energy ... but it is was it is. Sometimes we just have to wallow. I would like to say that some good came out of it -- but, unfortunately, I can only identify some bad that came from it: now, I have another weapon in the self-hatred arsenal. Every time I don't do my work in a timely manner, I feel more than useless and certainly not worthy of the space I am taking up here on earth.

Thus, the feeling of incompetence... this has probably gone on long enough for today... hoping to have more cogent and interesting thoughts tomorrow.

More than 2/3 way through this btw...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I would like to understand why I can't force myself to do any of the piles of work that I have to do...

I can get a good two hours of work in or so before I just want to do ANYTHING else...

HELP...I have become completely unproductive and I can't figure out how to get my work done!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

under the wire ... top of the mind

My horoscope warned me today that I would want to get some things off my chest... so I tried to hold my tongue ... and thought that I was past the danger when I decided to return a call to my mother.

Ah... the complications of family. Tense and intense is the best I can do to describe it.

Tense and awkward are my least favorite situations -- I prefer to say how I feel and feel how I feel... I don't appreciate having to hold my tongue -- either the fact that I have to or the virtue in doing it.

That is the crux of the problem ... if I could feel the virtue of it, maybe I would be better at it. Maybe I would try is I guess what I am saying.

What is wrong with truthfulness?

I think that maybe I like it when I do and not so much when others do it... but when I think back on it... of course it smarts when people tell you a truth that you didn't want to hear -- but, at least, for me, if it is someone that I trust, I do hear it -- maybe not in the moment but it doesn't run past me. The truth they speak is captured in my mind and heart and I ruminate.

It is not to say that I can rise above all the time, but I can, over time, consider and make adjustments or at least accept ...

Not sure that this is where I was planning to go when I started this post, but it is where I ended up... so goodnight to any readers that might be out there...

I am feeling good about being faithful to these daily posts ... 20 days down, 10 more to go...

Friday, November 20, 2009


Today I am trying to remind myself why I thought graduate school was a good idea ... and then act accordingly.

So, for you, some pictures that made me believe I could live in New Mexico ...

outside a restaurant in Mesilla


a small cemetery in Garfield
My grandmother's school -- perhaps the biggest motivator

Thursday, November 19, 2009

dark days and then light...

I read this article today and was deeply touched by it ... not just because it is about the death of a young woman who took her own life -- in the heart of the city.

If you can, read the story. It captures the story of the end of a life but also the story of a rebirth of a city; it tells how the media doesn't tell us about the people who take their own lives -- as if not talking about it will make it not so?

It tells the story of survival -- of the author and countless others, who wait for dawn through very dark days.

I am going to post what "her mom" posted on the blog where her neighbors speculated and commiserated with this young woman and her family. It is an important statement whether it comes from her mom or not.

I wish them all whatever peace they can find -- and to those living through dark days the strength to hold on. It was not so long ago that I was living very dark days. The difference is that I have not given in to the emotion that leads to suicide for many years. I knew that I would survive ... I knew it would be painful, but I was assured the lighter side. I wish there was a way to give everyone the faith in that light. Dawn comes, it really does.

Let me tell you about the young woman who jumped from the top of the Premiere Apartment Building on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 10th, because she deserves to have her true story told. My dear daughter, 10 days from her 23rd birthday, was an Ivy League student nearing completion who grew up in Pennsylvania and Georgia earning straight A's, serving as a student government officer, participating in varsity sports, and maintaining an active social life with a lively and diverse crowd of friends from around the world. In fact, she was world-traveled herself and fluent in Spanish. She was a brilliant writer, a creative visual artist, and she had an incredible sense of humor. She was known for her fashion-forward style, her vivacity, her stellar intellect, and her intellectual and spiritual curiosity and openness. This fact will surprise everyone: She was an incredibly happy person. Even at the time of her death, she was very happy and full of life. She was not pregnant, and even though there were some stresses in her life, she was managing them normally. From the consensus of the many family members and close friends - many of whom have psychology and medical degrees - who spoke with her within the last few weeks, some less than 24 hours before the tragic event, this wonderful young woman had just begun to suffer from a first-ever manic episode that had not been diagnosed and progressed very fast. When she jumped, we have surmised that she was not intending to take her own life but rather was caught in a moment - of very sudden onset - when she lost touch with everyday reality and expected to have a different outcome from her action. Indeed she had many unrealized plans and dreams - to join the Peace Corps, to become a writer, to travel to more countries, to spend more time with her extensive extended family, and to deepen her spiritual study. If there is one thing her short but full and meaningful life proves, it is that mental illness can creep up suddenly and prove to be devastating, almost from out of nowhere. If there's one more thing her life teaches us, it is to live with gusto and love everyone around you every day. All of us, family and friends, agree that she was one of the most loving and generous spirits we have ever known, and we only hope now, after grieving this unexpected and untimely loss, to increase the measure of our own quality of living to live up to what she would have wanted for us and for everyone. Thank you for your prayers and concern, and may you take the truth to help others.
You can find the blog post with comments here. You can find a follow up article about the community's reaction here.

I am loving the Los Angeles Times every day a little more -- they are full of much of the same stupid stories but then there are gems, particularly from this gentleman and the other columnists.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Strong Connections

This morning (not actually this morning because it was so long ago that I started this post I don't really know when it was), I was doing my rounds with my favorite blogs, and Andrea's post challenged me to do something about the ugly feelings I have been having lately. I have no intention of going into the ugly here (at least not right now). Instead, I am taking up the "writing a little ode to my friend." Enjoy... and I hope that you can take out some time to remember your friends and appreciate them today, too!

Maurice and I became friends when we were in a class together. Actually we became friends after he used some IAF face to face communication tactics on me. (I don't really know if he was trained as a community organizer or if that kind of relationship building is just part of his personality.)

After class one day he told me about a volunteer project he was working on and that I was just the kind of person that he needed. He said I think you will be interested. Of course, I was. It was an intense thing to have someone that I didn't really know very well to have seen me.

There is always the chance that it was just a line that he used to get volunteers. It was certainly an approach I adopted after I joined not just his project but his organization and had to do recruiting for my own project. When I said it, it was never a line. I learned to listen more carefully to people's stories thanks to Maurice. I saw beyond many artifices and worked with folks on that project that previously I would not have had coffee with.

But back to Maurice. We became soul friends. That's the kind that don't have to see each other all the time to feel connected. We NEVER small talked. When we sat down to tea or a drink it was always straight to the heart of whatever we were thinking or feeling or dealing with.

Sometimes there was not even a need for words.

Some drama ensued the semester that I was away. I never heard about it from him. Some one else I knew tried to bring me into it and I refused. What she was saying just did not reflect the person I knew and loved.

Graduation came and we went in different directions. I to work and he to graduate school. Life's paths were completely different for us at that moment and for many years to come.

I looked for him for a bit when I moved back to California but he had already moved out of state.

Facebook once again made magic when we found each other there and then again when he announced over it that he was in San Francisco.

It had been over fifteen years since we had seen each other. But our talk that morning was as if we had only parted for a day. We had so much to catch up on and so little time. True to form we went straight to the heart of what had been going on for us in the past fifteen years.

Stopping only to look at each other in amazement and squeeze each other's hand. Wow. It is so wonderful to see you!

Being seen by Maurice is one of the most fantastic, loving experiences I have ever had.

Close connections that don't require close tending are special gifts from the universe. I am endlessly thankful.

Blessed be!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I am looking at the google calendar and batting my eyelashes at Thursday -- you know why? Because I don't have ANYTHING scheduled for Thursday... I mean, NOTHING .... not a thing.

I am going to do all that I can to keep it that way -- that is not to say that I don't have a million things that NEED to be done on that day -- but they are not SCHEDULED.

I often think that if I just schedule myself to within an inch of my life that I will become magically productive.

FYI -- this has yet to happen.

I need something to discipline my routine -- I need to give myself time off without compromising all that needs to get done.

I am working on it, but I really don't have any leads.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I had every intention of writing only about the wonderful, happy events that the universe throws my way ... but so far, I have been having to fight all the negativity with as much compassion as I can muster.

Starting to feel depleted and it's only noon... I will check back in later and see if I can post some good things...

wish me luck!

Update -- good things:
Physical therapy
Free light bulbs
Homemade lunch
Chai tea
A huge swath of green fallen scrunchy leaves to walk through
And then another swath of red leaves!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

success, sort of...

So, my classmate, L, and I decided to venture out beyond the university bounds (hopefully) to a new bar. New to us, that is. It was harder to figure out where to go than I would have hoped... but we did a series of internet searches and came up with what seemed the most promising place. With the reviews read and outfits picked, we headed out, hoping not to run into anyone we knew.

Well, it turns out Albuquerque is either too small to not run into someone you know -- or we need to go much farther afield. As we headed to the bar, someone (Scottie) tapped L. on the shoulder and before you knew it we were in a group of five -- and I had run into three folks from the department (though not our subfield). Turns out this guy had met L. at the cafe where she is a barista. He had overheard a conversation she was having with Marcos, a regular, in Spanish. So, he didn't really know her just had sort of met her before.

He bought us a drink and was deep into telling us how great it is to make new friends when you've only been in town for ten days and don't know anyone -- when up walk three people who he was there to meet. Uh huh. I tabled my suspicions because they seemed like a harmless bunch.

Jesse, Michael and Andrea (I don't know them, so I don't need to hide their identities ... yet), are all residents at the university hospital. Don't know how Scottie (not sure how he spells his name, but I am going with this one) knows the docs but he was obviously there to see the woman - who was none too pleased to see him talking to two other women when she got there -- then, again, she did bring two chaperons. Ah... the joys of dating. For her, that is, not me.

In any case, we found a table and started talking and laughing and getting dripped on either by the water leaking through the sky lights (my guess) or the drip irrigation system for the plants (their explanation). Eventually we were at the pool tables and it was last call and L and I decided that no Saturday night would be complete without tequila shots.

Um... several hours and a few adventures later, I was getting L off the floor of the bathroom at the docs' apartment and taking her home... I was the least drunk so I drove L's car. It was an excellent night all in all -- I didn't really think I could stay out until 4am anymore.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

waiting for the snow

While I wait for the snow that's supposed to grace us... I am dreaming of the beach... come Thanksgiving, I will be making a little pilgrimage to the beach.

Friday, November 13, 2009

falling leaves

I have been blissfully walking through crunchy fallen leaves, taking in the beautiful colors of those leaves getting ready to fall, and even enjoying the crispness of the air.

Not surpring, you wonder, for the time of the year.

For me, it is. For so long, falling leaves have lived in my mind as the harbinger of bitter cold.

You could say I just don't know better since I am in a new state and really have no idea what the winter has in store for me.

Well, all that is true.

And there is snow forecast for this weekend. And we dis have our first snow, and not flurries, on October 29th.

It was beautiful though. And it melted in hours.

For now I am in enjoyment mode. Hope it lasts.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mirrors and Friends and Other Complications

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with my friends and found family in Oakland. I have been licking my wounds for the past month, so I needed some time in the understanding circle that helped me through my divorce and recreating and rehabilitating of my self afterwards.

I have been gifted by the universe by so many wonderful women as my friends. Some have endured through the turmoil and others passed through on their own journeys.

I am continually surprised by the mirrors our friends are... that is to say, that sometimes we see ourselves reflected in their reactions to us ... not always as we might expect, I would add. Actually, I have an odd relationship with mirrors. For one thing, I haven't owned a full length mirror in over 7 years. I have managed with just whatever was installed in the bathroom. Still am ... so, you could say I have a distorted view of myself from the mirror.

I am fairly sure that the distorted view is not just from the mirror ... I see or experience myself very differently than others do. I expect that my friends will understand more than I say and see more than I show. It is an unrealistic expectation even from your closest friends. However, after the shock of realizing that my actions or words or both have been misunderstood by someone I consider a close friend ... I realize what a gift that is.

It's a gift because when a friend makes an observation that's hard to take, we don't reject it out of hand. Because we have developed a relationship with that person, we are inclined to believe that the comment or observation or interpretation is deserved or at least well meaning. That forces me to consider it ... to ponder how she got there and to review my own actions and words and behavior in general.

The mirror image I got in Oakland was not flattering... they saw negativity, judgemental behavior and a desire to wallow rather than to fix.

Let's just say, it wasn't the kind of love I was expecting... and for half a minute, I was truly disappointed -- and then I stepped back and tried to see what they saw.

I saw it alright... I am allowing myself to feel and be however I need to be ... but it made me realize that I need to make sure I am taking care of my needs so that I don't end up expressing a person who I don't want to be or see myself being ...

I need more silver linings and more optimism even when I am feeling frustrated and disappointed and like I am not getting what I want and/or need... and the only way I know to do that is to be gentle with myself (first and foremost though this may sound counter intuitive) and then to not hold in the negative -- it comes out regardless of what you do, so you might as well find a way to get it out -- writing -- like this or taking a walk ... or putting the music in my ears even though I don't like to be so cut off from the world. I noticed that just having the music made me feel more grounded ... I could locate the song that expressed just the right self-indulgent emotion and play it over and over if I wanted to... a lot of that has led me back to salsa and more fun music.

There is no pretending that everything is fine when it is not -- but taking that out on the people who love you most is just abusive behavior ... so, feeling, living, practicing compassion with myself and others and using the music to soothe the savage beast.

And...trying to remember my little universe prayer:

May I acknowledge abundance. (It's everywhere.)
May I embrace my gifts and talents.
May I allow love to flow to and from me.
May I feel strong and beautiful.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

out of steam

I was feeling pretty good about how easy it has been to post something up every day.... and today I hit the brick wall. It's like I imagine it would be if I ran full marathons instead of half marathons and I had just reached mile 20 -- with only 6 miles looming ahead, well, the little engine feels out of steam just as I am reaching the last hill.

Ah... ok, that was a little more dramatic than it needed to be. As I told a classmate today, "que exagerado!"

So, it's Wednesday -- a day I barely make it to and through each week -- need to work on getting things done earlier, I know, I know... and it's Veteran's Day.

I should be more inspired. But I am just exhausted.

I have been simmering on a few posts that are in my draft folder... I promise to get right back on them tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I am buried under tons of reading and papers that will not write themselves -- no matter how much I cajole them.

So, this is it for tonight... my list of to do's before my head can hit the pillow (note the hour)

Read and analyze and prepare a presentation for class tomorrow on this.

Proof read the exam I am supposed to give to students on Thursday and Friday; note I only had to write 15 prospective items for this test -- last time only two of mine made it in there.... and too many errors made it in as well -- so I am putting my serious proof reader hat on for this.

If I have time .... (HAHAHAHA)
find quotes for paper that is two weeks late
read for project one
read for project two
start cleaning -- in preparation for the furniture delivery on THURSDAY -- did I mention I finally bought furniture?! no more sitting on the floor or the beach chairs for me or guests!!

there is more but why pretend that I am going to get it all (I wrote ANY but erased it) done...

I am so tired already - just thinking about it.

Also wondering if my tummy ache is stressed induced...

Monday, November 09, 2009

teeny tiny victories

I was telling my co-hort mates about a gentleman I see almost everyday on my to classes. He stands outside the retirement home - across the street - so I don't know if he lives there or in the apartments across the street. In my mind, he doesn't live there -- but he has a crush on someone over in the retirement home, so he gets up early just to sit there and wait for her to come out of the building. You see where my mind always goes.

What I do know is that I usually see him with a cigarette and a cola ... I think to myself every time I see it: breakfast for champions!

Every morning when I see him, I say good morning to him - if I happen to have my earphones in, I turn down the sound to see if he will respond. Usually he ignores me ... sometimes he coughs in my direction, but he never responds.

A classmate asked, why do you keep saying good morning to him?

I keep asking because someday I may get a break through...

So, this morning, I got what might be considered a little teeny tiny breakthrough... I said, good morning, he nodded in my direction.

I will not be giving up... stay tuned.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Secret Snacking

The other day at the farm (where I have been going to work once a week for two and half hours so that I can get my organic boxes for HALF price -- workshare option), we got to talking about trips to the supermarket with the parent who would buy you secret food.

Invariably, the secret shopper was the dad. And my fellow farm-workers told about the sugary cereal and cookies that had to be eaten in the car on the way home from the grocery store -- so mom wouldn't see.

Yeah... I loved to go to the grocery store with my dad -- because he, too, loved to buy things that my mother would have vetoed. But, our secret food was crazy shit like dried shrimp.

And we would eat that dried shrimp like it was the sweetest, most taboo treat in the world.

SUPER YUM... I suspect mostly because it was a secret and we were doing something against the rules -- not sure how I would feel about it now.

We didn't eat it in the car, though, we walked right into the kitchen, dried shrimp bag in hand, and munch away on it in front of my mom. She just did her "that's gross" look and said something in Spanish and walked away.

Funny the things that come up in the fields while you are picking yummy broccoli greens...

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Been spending too much time trying to understand my classmates insistance on the possibility of neutrality.

So I was happy to read this in the text assigned for class:

"Knowing for me is not a neutral act, not only from the political point of view, but from the point of view of my body, my sensual body. It is full of feelings, of emotions, of tastes."
Paulo Freire
From We Make the Road by Walking
A book in dialogue with Myles Horton

There are many more nuggets in the book, but that one screamed at me

I hope my classmates were reading, too.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Morning star

Greeted or guided by the morning star, I wait for the sun and the train on the platform.

As the light spreads upward, layers of color, lighter and lighter, reach the morning star, drowning her light with the sun.

She fades into the background, ever watchful.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Hate Free Zone

There are times when I can thankful to not have cable. Today, when I heard about the shooting at fort hood. I know I would not have been able to resist the temptation to watch the endless, mindless coverage.

On a lighter note, during basketball season - so that I don't have to hear that anti laker haters go on and on.

Photos courtesy of my sister who attended playoffs two years in a row. She witnessed the opposite of hate in LA!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Soliciting for Peace ... At the library?

So I am sitting at a table at the library trying to get some reading done before class. I notice someone approaching from the corner of my eye.

It is a young Asian man with something in his hand. I have my earphones in, so hevstarts waving at me.

I don't know him.

He waves the small laminated card in front of me. It is a note asking for donations for something.

I smile and shake my head no. He walks away cheerfully. He's headed towards the next unsuspecting library patron.

I can't believe that I have just been solicited at the university library.

Who would have thought it possible?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

observing, recounting and complaining

I am wondering, to myself at this point, if I need to think seriously about how I tell things -- that is the observing and recounting part of the title.

This weekend, I spent two days in Oakland with my found family -- heaven... except one part... all they heard me say they heard as complaint.

I admit that much of the first night was complaint - however, I will give the disclaimer that if you ask someone how it is going, you ought to be prepared to LISTEN to the answer however it comes out.

Some of my friends think that the most important thing they can do is SOLVE IT. So, I maintain that they are listening for things to SOLVE rather than just listening. I can name that phenomenon because I am a FIXER as well. I often hear my friends with an ear to what needs to be fixed - and because I employ the role of fixer a fair amount, I often get information from said friends as problems to be fixed.

It's an issue when you can't tell the difference.

I am willing to take responsibility for the way in which information is delivered.

I can acknowledge that I have been in a pretty bad space emotionally for several weeks -- with the death of my cousin really only compounding some of the angst I was already feeling. So it is more than possible that all I said came out in RANT and/or complaint mode.

That said, I thought I had at least some friends who could hear rant and let it just be that -- not that it would then turn into "every time I hear Anna's voice it sounds like complaint."

I am a firm believer in being open minded (though I reserve the right to make judgements, I also reserve the right to change them with the wind) and to give all people, but especially those who I love and know well, the benefit of the doubt.

Feeling a little like I wasn't getting the benefit of the doubt from some folks... not comfortable.

But, since I can only control my reactions and actions, I am trying to resolve to measure my words and tone more -- with everyone. For my own good...and for the good of the universe.

However, I feel sad about not having a place or person to go to where I can get the benefit of the doubt... apparently there really isn't anyone who KNOWS me.

HMMMM.... that's a post for another day, though.

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaBloPoMo 2009

I am not sure that it is really realistic...but I am going to try.

Using the ITouch app is making it easier for me to write little posts, so I am going to keep my fingers crossed that I am inspired enough every day to post something.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Risk It!

Your professors are not your enemies. Really, honestly. This is not an adversarial relationship.

Of course, everyone can point to the one prof who didn't wish you well. Please believe me when I say that they are not waiting for the gotcha moment.

It is not in the nature of most teachers to wish their students anything but well. Or to compete with their students.

They live for the aha moment. Though they may relish the authority, generally, they prefer the moment when you display your vulnerability and allow them to help you. They love your earnest and even frustrated questions.

Basically anytime they can gauge your true engagement with the material, their fondest dreams have been realized.

So, risk it. Ask the question, regardless of how it comes out; probe the limits of your understanding; tell them your crazy theory.

Don't be afraid. Students are meant to be searching for meaning and answers and guidance and clarification.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The arrival

I wish there were am accurate way to capture the emotions of the arrival.

The joy and effervecense of the eyes meeting.

The pasionate embraces holding up traffic.

The expectant looks holding hope and anticipation and a little fear.

Despite the sheriff with the menacing citation book, long kisses and warm hugs or detailed reorganization of the trunk.

Word Postcard

Light fog hugs the mountain tops, and the big orange ball dips slowly behind the line.

The burnt orange with layers of yellow and blue/purple remind us that it is fall.


From the plane ABQ to OAK.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beauty glimpsed

Just some of what I have seen in the past few weeks.

A beautiful sunset from a plane or your front step.

The wind blowing you towards home.

Spending time with your grandparents even if you can only do that at a cemetery.

Eyes squinting in amusement - finding something you have said charming or endearing.

The knowing look - I know you - te conozco, not se lo que dices.

A goofy conversation to lift your thought from the grief, if only for a few minutes.

Dinner with your new friend.

Sharing of yourself with the one person who rubs you the wrong way. We cannot give up. We have to continue to strategize how we can make the breakthrough.

Believing in the goodness of people even when they are not at their best.

Red orange leaves recently fallen from an itchy tree.

The skyline that lives in your veins and calls out, " home."

Your five year old nephew playing along with the joke he didn't know you were going to say. Vivo!

"Frogs," exclaimed from the young upon finding polywogs and new frogs in the trough.

Chencha and Lencha trying to make it to freedom, aka the back forty, through the party.

The look of recognition on your new friends face that speaks of the closeness you've achieved.

The handshake instead of the hug that tells you that your concern was noted and appreciated. (on my part it was an implied hug!)

Having music touch your soul when you need most it. Thanks, Pink!!

Loving all your parts.

Regulars commuting on the metrolink ...

When times are challenging, it is more important than ever to see the beauty the universe presents us every day

Blessed be.

May I acknowledge abundance.
May I allow love to flow to and from me.
May I embrace my gifts and talents.
May I feel beautiful and strong.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prickly People

When it comes to kids, the more challenging they are, the more I like them. In fact, I can find a fair amount of surplus patience for them - usually - and I tend to understand their behavior - not condone - enough to feel for them the compassion that all beings deserve.

So why is it when I meet prickly adults every ounce of patience and compassion I own flies out the window?

I know I should feel their pain, anguish, frustration, etc, and want to give them a big hug.

Bit it's all I can do to keep myself from slapping then and yelling "get over it already!"

Ok I said it.

Clearly I am in need of more meditating and sending out a ton more metta.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SoCal v The World

It just hit me now that I pulled my headphones out - no one on the train was huddled under headphones. A few folks slept but only after conversing with their regular train mates.

Here in SoCal - natives or transplants who have gone native - like to chat or at least listen to people chat.

The old Bonaventure looks like a dwarf amongst all the buildings in downtown now. I remember driving to LA in Charlie just to ride in the outside elevators.

Cruising down the freeway against traffic in the carpool lane, opposing traffic has two carpool lanes! Way to own your traffic patterns!!

Brown haze rising. Another glorious Indian summer day on LA. Perfect beach day! You couldn't have seasonal affect disorder here if you tried.

I like Albuquerque and is is beautiful in seven hundred ways bus there is nothing like home beauty. It feels different. I guess it's like looking at your own kid. Others might appreciate his or her beauty but you see more than just the outside. What you know in your heart - all the memories and stories certain sights provoke.

I can already see the tower and planes.

Union station - Los Angeles

Funny how all the stations were called union. My union station will always be LA.

It is so beautiful, I hardly mind spending a little time here.

They have the old ticketing side closed off now and many modern conveniences - ok some, and the formerly gorgeous seating is the worse for wear. But if you squint your eyes just right you can almost see her former glory.

The ghosts of all the people who have passed through or spent the night in these seats still rumble around as all the present day conmuters and leisure travelers hustle from one side of the station to the other.

Wish I had a camera with me. You will just have to imagine it or recall her beauty from your memory.

Next - bus to LAX. Probably won't be as picturesque as my train ride or this lovely station, but I am thoroughly enjoying the random snatches of conversation and I love LA, so as long as I am not driving, I can find some beauty on the freeways.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


You can forget how important human touch is to life.

I have been feeling so alone -- though not necessarily lonely in some traditional form -- just like a fish out of water. New place, with just budding new friendships, never good at leaning on people for support -- but with real life situations to deal with -- you the kind that require input even if it's just an ear or a shoulder.

If I am not sure how to ask my established friends for help -- I really don't know how to ask my new friends for support.

Ah... so, though it has been very difficult to navigate these treacherous emotions of loss and anger and frustration, it has been wonderful to be in close proximity to my family -- at gatherings where you can't count the number of hugs and kisses and good to see you's. And tears, but that's the price you pay.

I don't know how to bottle it -- because getting on the train to the bus to the plane to the bus that will take me back to my little apartment, I am stepping back into the void...luckily, only for a few days -- and then I get a few days with my other family in Oakland.

There are blessings... I guess we just have to know how to name and accept them.

May I allow love to flow to and from me.
May I acknowledge abundance.
May I embrace my gifts and talents.
May I feel beautiful and strong.

And remember this prayer when things get tough.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I have to write and send three sympathy cards today. Words seem distant with only the barest sense of comfort. I know words can be powerful. But they can't hold you. They can't give you your mother or daughter back.

Can they convey the true sympathy one feels to another?

How do I write something that doesn't sound trite and unconvincing?

I don't know what I have to offer. I know the pain I feel when I think of all the experiences she didn't get and that her children won't get. I know that my tia will never know the comforting her only daughter should have provided in the last hours.

I wonder how relief mixes with trepidation and anxiety and need.

There will now be a hole where there once was hope and disappointment and joy and sorrow ... because life is full of all these things and death robs us of all of them, too.

I wonder what my Tia will feel when she sees me. I am not the one but the closest to hers and so desperately different. She has always expressed her disappointment in hers by a outward disdain for me.

Now I am still here and hers is gone. Has my life been as full as hers? Does mine have the right to continue when hers does nor?

I am anxious to be near my family for the promise of human touch. I have been needing their hugs (I miss nothing more than my friends who hug just as a greeting) so much lately.

We are not an affectionate family. We are more on the stoic side (except when it comes to expressing anger), yet we are a deeply loving and fiercely loyal (well some of us) family.

I want to squeeze the mijo and feel the promise of his life ... that he can live it fully and with health and always knowing that we love and support him and want the best for him.

That should not be so hard for us to show - yet it is. Tough love has its limits as does being the toughy.

And here I go again crying in the library. Got to go home now so I can get sone work done.


Sunday, October 18, 2009


In my world if you cross the finish line - walking, running or crawling, you win!

Today, I thought I would be testing that theory. I started my training strong. I missed very few of my runs. Since I was starting in California but ending in New Mexico, I imposed a morning run only rule.

After getting to NM, I continued my runs fairly faithfully but then my it band decided to hate me.

One day after a long run, I think it was over eight miles, my knee started to hurt. Not a little. Then I could not climb the stairs without excruciating pain.

I rested. I massaged. Finally, I went to the dr. Unfortunately it took two weeks to get to the physical therapist and then another two weeks to get regular appointments. We made progress. I started running again the last week. The week before the race.

Still I had pain. And the physical therapists last words to me were: you realize that you are going to have to walk, right?

I was resigned to it. But I wanted to get at least half way before walking. I made it to the turn around with NO pain. So I pushed on. New goal: get to nine. When I was at ten I thought to myself, I am not in pain except when I walk with my water at the motivation center. So I decided to stop at each station and stretch and keep on running.

By the time I hit mile 12, the only pain I had was on the left side (not where I was injured before) and from the blisters beginning to form on my feet. I was too close to give up.

So I kept on running. Soon I was rounding the corner to the finish line. A little crest fallen because I thought I had missed my three hour time. Not so, I crossed and the clock read 2:54.

Injured I had maintained a 13:30 minute mile. Not my best time, but very good for someone who missed five weeks or so of training.

I am most impressed with my self talk today. When I was feeling like maybe I should walk, I reminded myself that I was not in pain and running strong and not tired. If I felt discouraged, I called on Jeannette (who lost her battle with leukemia last week) to power my body with all the strength her little body had been long denied - or I asked my cousins, Michelle and Sam, to give my all the good intentions they had before they died to live healthier.

Maybe it was all in my mind, but I straightened and lengthened and stepped up the pace.

And I finished!!

Blessed be!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sherman Alexie

If you get the chance to see this guy, run don't walk.

He is hilarious. I just spent the last nearly two hours laughing so hard my face hurts.

He writes well too.

I am sure he pissed peoplevoff, but I just think he's funny. And smart. And thoughtful. And observant.

He keynoted a conference for environmentally inclined people of color. A friend was in the audience and reported that no one there thought Alexie was funny. Rather they found him rude and racist.

I think this illustrates why it is so hard for environmentalists to get people on their side. But I digress.

I have seen Alexie now three times and read just about everything he has written.

I love this guy.

But if you don't appreciate irreverent, intelligent and occassionally crude humor.


I started and didn't finish the entry about courage. Seems like there might be some lacking...

In any case, today I was trying to motivate to leave the house because I wanted to write in my journal and then I realized I wanted to write because I wanted to cry ... Long story not short - this was the real reason for having to leave the house.

The thing is, I can only really cry in public. I would like to understand why I feel safe enough to fall apart in public but I cannot feel safe at home to cry.

It's a puzzle.

Feeling safe out in the open but not at home.

But then again having to talk myself out of the house.

This is full of contradiction. It's not messy so much as confused and hidden. It probably isn't complicated at all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Behind the Wall

It can get very lonely here behind the wall.

I have spent so much of my life in pursuit of self-sufficiency, I don't know if it possible to learn to need again.

That is to say to learn how to give in to the vulnerability of needing.

The tears and pain and anguish of loss and loneliness have been welling, but all I can feel is the tension of holding it all back. I know just how destructive that is. But what if I let go and then I can't get back my composure?

Ok, the real question is... What I let go and there is no one to catch me?

I desperately need a hug but I have convinced myself that I don't know anyone here well enough to ask them for what I need.

If I were home, would I be willing to need or would the need be less intense because we would all be grieving together.

When you lose someone, even when you haven't seen them in a long time, the need to have a connection is overwhelming.

I know my friends and family are sending me all the virtual hugs and love they can muster, but there are times when this virtual world is just not enough.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Good side of facebook

There are too many times that fb is nothing more than a huge time waste. Yesterday it proved it's usefulness and showed it's good side.

My cousin who lives on the east coast put up a quick post about how hard it is to be far from home when your mom is sick.

I cannot agree more on how hard it is to be far from home when there is a crisis. When I lived in NJ I felt cut off because frequently I was the last to know and not able to be a part of many wakes and funerals though if they told me in time at least I could call.

So when I saw the post I called my mom and asked her to call and find out what is going on!

She did and found out that my aunt was in the hospital --- something she wouldn't have known until it was too late to try to visit since we are not very good (on her side of the family) of keeping people in the loop.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Public Debates on Goodness

I walked into a computer lab this afternoon to print out my reading for class and inadvertently walked into what would become a heated debate. I wish I could remember the first snatch of the conversation I heard, but the gist was that it was important not to be too nice to people because they would always take advantage of you. Worse than that, taking help meant you were weak.

As I printed out packet after packet that I will never have enough time to read, I listened and participated in this fascinating conversation ... as we, eventually four strong, all made our cases for the goodness of people: that you could look for the good, or look for the bad and find either one... he rejected effort after effort, sometimes responded defensively as though by arguing for goodness we were somehow against HIM, but he did not leave.

Some plied him with compassion and understanding, others with calculated arguments (yes, modulated, theoretical, coherent arguments about love and the goodness of humanity), and he responded with his best negations of what we had to say --- but he also gave us glimpses of his soul.

What we saw was hurt and broken and very, very lonely.

We kept arguing for love, compassion, open-hearted-ness and goodness.

He kept insisting that EVIL lurks around every corner and it is just waiting to pounce on all of us -- and that the only thing that could make him feel secure is lots and lots of money.

I called him on his defensiveness and he acknowledge it as well as his sadness, but not his loneliness -- as though somehow his determination to be alone could blanket him from loneliness and pain. If you imagine that all you ever will be is hurt than you cannot be disappointed.

I could feel the whole in his heart -- and I told him that. Edwina kept offering him love, motherly love, that would envelope you and give you chicken soup and tuck you in -- so you could feel safe instead of wary.

He decided that we could part with an "agree to disagree" -- which we reluctantly accepted -- and he sheepishly took that big hug that Edwina had probably opened with over an hour before...

Thursday, October 01, 2009


wrote a long post from the health center and then the student union and now it's not here... :(

Monday, September 21, 2009


Financial aid battles... I thought I left them behind in undergrad.

Now I get to do that wonderful lay out your whole life for them to judge... It's going to be so much fun. I can feel it.

Putting on my armor, I will let you know how it goes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

procrastination ...

World Travel So Far

United States of America
South Georgia
Falkland Islands

French Guiana
United States of America
United States of America

United Arab Emirates
Saudia Arabia
Papua New Guinea


Sri Lanka

North Korea
South Korea

Bosonia & Herzegovina

United Kingdom

Czech Republic
The Netherlands
El Salvador
Costa Rica
Trinidad & Tobago
Puerto Rico

Dominican Republic
The Bahamas

Solomon Islands
New Caledonia
New Zealand

South Africa
Democratic Repbulic of Congo
Republic of Congo

Equatorial Guinea
Central African Republic

Burkina Fassu
Cote d'Ivoire
Sierra Leone
Guinea Bissau
The Gambia

Western Sahara

Map Legend: 5%, 14 of 263 Territories

lived here
airport only
vacationed here
studied here
plan to go here

ArgentinaCanadaFranceItalyMonacoMexicoPeruPortugalPuerto RicoSan MarinoSpainUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguay

These are the countries I have been...

You can make one of your own at

for some reason the map isn't showing and the USA map html code isn't coming up -- and, well, I need to get back to work!