Tuesday, April 27, 2010


you just feel irritated.

That's how I feel ... the slightest thing is irritating to me right at this moment.

I have no reason (ok, no good reason) to feel this way.

I am trying to channel compassion, optimism and joy, but really, all I want to do is cry.

Instead, I am working on my damn part year New Mexico taxes and counting down the minutes before I pop open the vinho verde that is chilling in my fridge right now.

I wish that I knew a better place to run for help than a bottle, but I already ran 3 miles this morning and took care of a lot of business... just more keeps getting piled on top.

Ok... done ranting now.

I know, I should be listening to Sade tell me that my tears won't leave a trace.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

When the Universe Bitch Slaps You ... LISTEN!

Yeah... yesterday, I read my cards and they, rightly, told me to calm down. They reminded me that I cannot, nor should I, control everything. I needed to breathe and be myself and let all the things that need to happen, happen.

I read those cards, and I swear, I was totally feeling it.

Wasn't I the one saying that I was rushing head long just out of sheer impatience?? Yes, I was that one. Yes, I already knew it. But I was still feeling impatient.

After a very productive afternoon of writing and reading, I wrote in my journal a little peticion al universo ... just want to see him. I might have something to do with having seen the bruja, his Friday coffee friend who gives me dirty looks when she catches me looking at him. Just what would she say is she saw him talking to me? Anyway, it was a simple request that I should not have made.

After a lovely dinner of hamburger, fruit salad and CHOCOLATE SHAKE (I really don't think that was on my diet, but I guess it evened out with the seven mile run), L and I decided to go for a drink. [Actually, I tidied the house for an hour and a half before we went for the drink. Damn, I earned that drink, ok, two drinks.]

We parked near the only bar that doesn't utterly disappoint here, and I saw a car just like his parked across the street. I said to L, it can't be. But then we got to the bar, and his name was on the board for a pool table. And, so it was... Wouldn't you know that the open pool table when they called his name was right in front of where we were sitting - innocently having our drink.

Yeah... and then he walked over with his DATE.

There is more, but it just makes me want to throw up or laugh maniacally when I think about it... so I will leave it there.

When the universe tells you to take a chill pill, do it. Because if you don't she will bitch slap the shit out of you.

Square one, for real.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


So...this is the post that was eaten by the internet when I tried to post it from the ITouch last week. I can't promise to be able to recreate the emotions that finally drove me to write it. It may come out more clinical that I had originally intended. End of warning note.

I have been meaning to write about filling out the census form for a while, but it just never happened. Then a few weeks ago, I went to a talk titled "critical issues roundtable" -- it really a presentation from someone working on their dissertation ... but it does bring up an issue that has either become central to one's work or that has been nagging at you. I found myself at the talk out of solidarity on the one hand, and because she mentioned a favorite book of mine in the description, Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead and Gardens in the Dune. Truthfully neither is my favorite of her work, but I love me some Leslie Marmon Silko.

In this case, it was an issue that was nagging at her ... how is it that Chicano (Latino, Hispano, whatever you are calling yourselves today) don't partner more, from an academic standpoint, with Native Americans. She called out Chicanos, in particular (it's ok, she's family), for creating a fantasy heritage rather than engaging with our not always happy "convivencia" with Native Americans. She mentioned quite a few conflicts between Mexicans and Native groups and said that we tend toward the ease of just "belonging" to the Aztec nation ... as though it were possible to magically trace all of our ancestry there. She didn't talk about all the issues of being more involved with the Spanish side of our history -- necessarily because the Spanish did all they could to erase our indigenous roots ... to dirty them and force us into solidarity for political and economic reasons with the rapist/conqueror. But, she could have...

These are just the issues I had been confronting at the beginning of the month as I stared down the census form. As a Chicana, I could choose from the "races" available: white, black, Native American, and various Asian nationalities. Let us set aside the idea that one gets to CHOOSE his/her race which exposes the extreme ridiculousness of the entire enterprise; how is it that we have two colors, then Native American and then Japanese, Chinese, etc... as RACES. I have never had to fill out a census before. I don't know where I was in 2000 that I didn't fill one out. In 1990 I was in college, so I have no idea if I am in a census count somewhere. I know that I have never had to distinguish my RACE from my ETHNICITY on a form like this before. There are lots of other issues with the form, but that was the principal thing that kept me from readily filling it out.

Before I ever got the form, I had already been admonished by fb friends that the proper way for Latinos to fill it out was to choose Native American and in the space for specifying tribe, to put DETRIBALIZED (hence the title of this post) if you could not precisely identify your lineage. Not only did this trouble me from the perspective that I don't necessarily conceive of myself this way, it also felt like grasping at a culture and identity that is "exotic," "in vogue," whatever you want to call it. It is like suddenly rooting for the winning team and turning your back on your home team. But what is my home team??

The fact is that races are a socially constructed label ... and that if it weren't for the fact that people come in different hues, we would not necessarily be labeling people this way. When I was doing the trail of Grandma a couple of years ago, one of the things that came up for me was that there is a good chance that my great-grandmother was a Native American ... albeit of the Mexican variety. It is something that I think my father has long suspected, but it is not always clear what his motivations for feeling that way were. If it were true, would I suddenly become Native American? More than anything else, I am an American ... a mutt, that is what we are. People who have come from disparate parts of the world to join together to make something new. I am not Mexican, when I have lived there, they have made sure to let me know that. Of course, the most cogent identity I can describe for myself is Chicana. But, how many people really know what that means when I say it? In fact, I double that it would mean the same for someone else who said it. Identity is personal, and the census is political.

On some level, for Native Americans, particularly those who were not raised on a reservation or with limited ties to their culture, they are Chicanos, too. That is in my way of being Chicana. So, what to do. I am not white, though my birth certificate certifies my inclusion in the Caucasian race, my younger brother and sister, born in the 1970s, are Hispanic. The one thing that I am not sure of is that I am not white. White carries with it, even for the poorest most backward white person, a privilege that I have never enjoyed. Every white person who has ever looked at me knows that I don't belong to their club. People of other hues might inquire "what are you?" as though I am some kind of zoo exhibit, but white people don't ask, they assume: NOT WHITE. After that for them, who cares what I might be. So, I could not choose white. I am not black either though I would honestly love to be part of that club. I am also not Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc. regardless of the shape of my eyes.

So, in the end, I did choose Native American, and for tribes, I put DETRIBALIZED and I checked, other race, and wrote in MESTIZA. More than anything else, I am a mixture of many people, cultures, at this moment, classes, and perspectives.

What are you?!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Full Disclosure

So, I have been holding back some on the details of the date. Truthfully, I have been processing a lot in the not online journal. There are layers to the truth, and I will try to get there. I was hoping for a better outcome; and I have been talking myself into seeing the silver lining. And, I have been hiding from the pain of disappointment. It seems counterproductive to acknowledge it, but since it won't go away, there is nothing else to do.

We had a great conversation that first day. I was so nervous, I was shaking...I had to sit on my hands for a while. But the conversation was so easy eventually I did calm down (or rather I gave myself a pencil to play with as I talked). There was only limited mention of personal info, and the conversation kept ranging over whatever came up next. I thought to look at the time and I was already late getting to my volunteer job. I jumped up and ran out...later I felt bad for having left like that and sent an email. That was the "real message in a bottle" I mentioned the other day because he just never responded to that.

I spent the next week processing all the emotions that came up for me just stepping out into the dating world. It was a roller coaster... one minute up, feeling proud I had taken the step, next minute down, feeling rejected. I had to admit that one big reason I wanted him to email or call (yes, I sent my number in the email ... talk about opening yourself to more rejection, not I have two modes of communication from which to be rejected) was because I don't want to have to date to find the right one. It is exhausting and frightening and I am not particularly fond of feeling vulnerable -- or any good at it either. I certainly didn't know enough about him after one hour of talking to know if he was the one. Oh and a big thanks to him for shaving the beard... since he looked more human (read: less hotter than hell).

The following Tuesday, one week later, I went back to the scene of the date to see how he would react to me since he hadn't responded to the email. I got there early, set myself up under the headphones to read and work on my fieldnotes. I finished one article and started another before he came in. When he saw me, after he had gotten his drink, he walked right over to my table and asked if he could join me. I said sure and he went to get his stuff. Another super long (over an hour) conversation started up ... again, easy talk ... starting with school and then politics and then it turned somewhat personal as he talked about his divorce (and marriage) and kids and being a parent. Here's where I get into trouble because the more I talk to him the more I think, wow, he could be the one. I don't know that I can be an accurate judge of his emotions at this point, but I didn't feel more than a friendly, I like talking to you, vibe from him. Again, we talked longer than I expected ... no more work for me. I finally asked him what time it was because he had on a watch. Before he looked at it he said, "It's late and you have to go ... and you didn't get any reading done." I think he said he enjoyed talking to me, I can't really remember ... my mind was racing with how could I get to my volunteer job on time.

Of course, he has not followed up with me ... and I don't expect he will other than to talk with me when he sees me at sbucks. I am going to be OK with that ... and try to full forward all my let's be friends, this is great, attitude. And try not to secretly lust after him since he is not interested in me. Again, this hurts... and it is back to the drawing board. Except that C. said this second meeting counts as my second date! So, now I have fulfilled the pact and whatever else comes in the next few weeks is just GRAVY!

Now I have given the internet the full story, warts and all... I wish it had a better ending, but this is the real world after all.

Feeling super homesick these days, maybe that's another thing the roller coaster provokes, but I will be heading home in two weeks to celebrate all these May people birthdays... it cannot come soon enough
Pops and his May birthday girls:

Pops and his May (and one June) birthday boys:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rambling now

I hesitate to write thru the itouch because I do not want to lose another post in the void...but this is what I have available right now.

This will be full of rambly disconnected feelings and observations anyway.

The clouds are beautiful today and I am reminded of my need to buy that camera.

I wondering how you bottle the effervescent emotions...it must be like trying to hold the helium balloon which tugs away. Perhaps one should just feel the emotions and let them bubble out. Something will surely come afterwards and fill up that space.

Truthfully that is what I fear: the what comes after. A friend was agreeing with me today that I worry about being disappointed before I take the time to enjoy the happy or joyful feelings.

Is that something I can change??

On a totally unrelated topic: I enjoy watching the pot smokers revel in "their" day. They seem so defiant and rebellious - to themselves. I wonder if they know how to have consciousness about true inequality.

Don't get me wrong, I think the drug laws in this country are counterproductive, draconian and useless at best. And fairly destructive to certain populations at their worst. However, it isn't the avowed pot smoker who gets the brunt of this. Just sayin. It's cute how counter culture they feel.

Yesterday I was walking between buildings when the wind came up and scattered all the white petals from some blooming tree. It was like being in a petal snowstorm.

Beautiful...allergies notwithstanding!

And Felix y Los Gatos at Zinc tonight. Yee haw!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Yesterday, I was working on a piece that I started last week, and then, the internet ate my post, I can't recreate it now, but I will try later.

These, I think, are the perils of using the iTouch app... it is not the first time I have lost an entire post.

On the other hand, let me say, that next to a work out buddy, the best thing ever is a date buddy.

C and I are on the quest to have two dates before May 15th ... which, is of course, less than a month away. I had my first date last week, you may recall. I promised follow up ... but there is nothing to report. I thought we hit it off, sent a follow up email which turned out to be the real message in a bottle. Oh, well... it is disappointing, I won't pretend; but I am trying to take from it the message that I CAN DO THIS!

C is going on her first (of these two) dates today ... at LUNCH.

So, I am no longer in the lead, and must get out there and find another date. Courage (en francais)... animo ... le pido al universo que siente mi peticion...

[photos from trip to PR Sept 2008

Saturday, April 17, 2010


It turns out that talking and thinking and even writing is not enough.

I am not sure if the issue is not being able to find a space that feels safe or if it is just the fear of being vulnerable.

Whatever the issue, I can't seem to get out all the things that are pressing to get out ... so I don't know how many nights in a row I wake up, too early, from a disturbing or just plain bad dream.

I thought the running was helping, but I just don't know how else to get to what is plaguing me.

And now the rain is foiling my plans for a six mile run this morning ... maybe it will stop in the next hour and let me out.

Friday, April 16, 2010


What happens when you are trying to stick to a 1250 calories a day and still have at least two glasses of wine?

You leave your credit card at the bar and don't realize it until you are at the next bar.

It does demonstrate some level of commitment though to both dieting and drinking!!


8 1/2 years ago, at a pivotal point in my life, I was offered a job ... in California. I had no illusions about the organization (which shall remain nameless, though it is referred to by three letters, so let's say SFH). When they had gifted me with the $1000 that kept me in college my sophomore year, I knew that their greatest revenue came from beer companies. It is not super important, just tells you something about their so-called do-gooderness: it was very corporate. [Corporate, such a strange word that conjures different images for different folks.] I mean it was not grassroots.

I got in my car and drove three thousand miles to the new job, new life, starting over. I was in that space where I needed to be totally consumed by work so that I wouldn't think about anything else. I wasn't ready to process the failure of the marriage, the messiness that even the cleanest divorce creates, or even the new life that was before me. And boy did SFH supply the hours of work... and travel to new cities, and pressure and the like.

However, it also supplied something far more important. I wonder now if it was kizmet or if terrible work situations bring out the camaraderie in people. I don't know. But some of the people I met at that job have become my greatest friends, people without which I could not go on. To be clear, there were also a lot of people there who I am glad to never see again. But in that same vein, there were some people there that supplied endless comic relief.

Maybe it was just the stage in life that I was in. Everything was intense, so the friendships forged in that kind of pressure are stronger. I don't know. It feels different, though, mostly because it is the level of feeling known by these folks that matters. I know that my time in college produced similar relationships, some of which lasted only through the pressure and others that have endured for nearly twenty years.

Today, as I struggled through another emotional jungle, an angel of a friend who I happened to meet at SFH, sent me an email that put me right back on the sunny side of the jungle. She knows me...and it matters when you need to pull someone quickly back from the dark side. You don't have to explain, not because it is the same shit different day, but because she knows you. English does not adequately supply words, but that's as close as we get.

So, today, I am grateful for those god awful years of working at SFH and all the heartache and frustration that I suffered through because there most certainly was a reason for me being there!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

super random

If I could, I would install little LED screens on certain people's forehead. Then I could see what they were thinking even they weren't telling. But like name tags, I would not use one myself.

Oh...and I would also like to know what the birds are talking about. Can anyone help with that??

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I did it!

I had a coffee date with the hot man from sbucks today...

No time for details right at this moment... but I can say, after I stopped shaking, it was a lot of fun ... and not as scary as I thought it would be.

I am not saying that I want to continue to do this...unless it gets easier, that is...

Though, I would like to see him again.

More later...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Blame it on the Wind

The original title of this post was going to be ... on being vulnerable (just in case you felt you needed to know the subtext right up front).
The short answer is I am not very good at it.

Case in point, I sent the message in the bottle and I was fine. When I got the encouraging emails, I was even better. As long as I thought that the object of the post would never read it, I had no anxiety. In point of fact, I had not actually put myself in a position of vulnerability.

Then I get the message, and I lose it. I cannot even begin to bring myself to recount the crazy, out of control thoughts that went through my head. I can barely bring myself to share the wild out of control physical reaction. It was as if I were 12 years old. And if you have been paying attention, you know how I feel about 12 year olds.

In fact, it had nothing to do with this particular situation. This was just the situation laid bare.I have been feeling vulnerable for quite a while. Let's be honest, if that is possible, moving thousands of miles away from the careful community I created in Oakland, starting a completely new situation - work/school/making a living, in a new place, and doing all of this alone all make me pretty vulnerable. Add in all the grad school bullshit, and I guess I am just a jumble of vulnerability.

So, long story short, I sent a terrible response message ... when he didn't respond, I thought to look at it, and I forwarded it to a friend who couldn't stop laughing ... if that gives you any idea of just how terrible the email was. Blogging aside, I tell you people, I was not built for electronic communication. I need to see people in order to react properly. Or maybe it would not have mattered.

Ah...so, for far too many hours, while I should have been writing a paper or doing reading, I was obsessing about just what a loser I am. I will not bore you with more of those details, but it was too many hours. And then I had the little baby breakdown. I realized that I need to do a much better job checking in with myself and supporting myself - not running myself down.

It is a process ... I am working through it.

And for those who care or are wondering ... C. helped me edit a draft explaining why I am not a crazy stalker ... which I sent late last night; and this morning the hot man wrote me back. By then, of course, I was no longer a crazy stress case. And ... one of these days I will meet him in person, and I will report back. ;)

About the title ... Monday we had crazy Albuquerque winds, warm weather and a little fire which made it feel like the east winds of my childhood; the wind continued on Tuesday but without the heat. I was sitting in the classroom on Monday watching the kids climb the walls when it dawned on me... I know this, it's the wind, it makes people crazy. Some people conjure the full moon when they think about people's emotions being affected, but for me it's the hot wind. So, yeah, blame my crazy reactions on the wind. I am better now and the winds have calmed, for now.

I don't have any pictures of wind, so this will have to do. These pics are from one of my drives between SoCal and NoCal.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


I have an underdeveloped appreciation for the finished product. This comes from so deep in my personality, I literally have to step back from my reactions to situations in order to see it clearly.

I love process. I appreciate it, even when it is messy and seemingly unproductive. I learn so much from it.

I learn nothing from finished product. Maybe I need to practice seeing the lessons in the finished product.


My new journal -- the one where I am keeping my reflections on graduate school -- is titled Courage. Theoretically, having the courage to write every day. Yeah... since that doesn't happen here, you know it doesn't happen there either.

On the other hand, sometimes I can force myself to put down on paper the roller coaster that is my emotional state when it comes to this graduate school thing.

As I look back at it now, I think it is odd how often I have turned to that little brown book when things are going well.

Yesterday, I had a particularly good day (for the most part), and I immediately wanted to write it down. Perhaps because it is a roller coaster, and really wonderful can become disastrous so quickly. I will admit that it is my own volatility and not the world that causes such drastic ups and downs. I am working on it ... either on accepting that is who I am, or just to breathe more and more deeply.

In any case, yesterday, I went to observe in the classroom for the second time. It started out great ... because I dropped in on the business manager and had a nice chat about the school to get some back ground information. I popped over to the classroom and had a really nice conversation with the teacher who is allowing me to observe her class. C is also from southern California -- a topic we never got to during our last conversation. She is often all business; and I appreciate the emotional fortitude it takes to let someone in your class like this.

I was also falling asleep because the only decongestant I had in the house was benadryl and I couldn't make it without it ... let's see, I am fighting the allergies with THREE kinds of allergy meds right now. Um... allergies 102, Anna -32. Yeah, the wind might stop blowing for a few days and give me a little relief.

C set up the lesson for me, it was going to be "not as creative" as she likes to be, so she seemed disappointed not to give me a better show. The kids were responding to the wind ... I remarked to my colleague later that hot wind makes people antsy, especially kids. I know I have a reaction to it. They were super squirrely and emotionally needy. The ADD kid, G, very sweet, actually, was particularly out of control. Every three seconds there was another "Miss" statement -- wanting approval, absolution, care, concern, bucking up. C tried her best to get through each piece of the full plate she had set for their learning ... and G kept calling out ... randomly, not able to stop himself, even when you could tell that he would rather have been in better control. The other two were alternately intimidated and giggly. C changed strategies several times, recognizing their energy level, giving them movement and stress release. Going through really academic subjects pushes all their buttons.

I could feel her anxiety as well. Finally, she found an activity that got G to settle down and the other two did excellent work as well. It was just at this turning point that I had to leave ... but I walked out like I was on cloud nine. I can't really explain why it made me so giddily happy except to say that C is on her way to becoming a master teacher. She is a natural. She loves her kids; she really CARES about their learning; and she shows it by pushing them to do better LOVINGLY. It was so wonderful to see her moving through her tool box to figure out how to get through to these kids on such a hard day. [Did I mention they are also at the midpoint of two weeks of state testing. Talk about anxiety.]

I am trying to bottle that feeling ... or at least capture it so I can remember.

For a moment, I glimpsed the future... making my professional career by watching teachers and taking lessons from their style back to new teachers. Documenting their truly meaningful work that is too often disregarded alternately as overpaid babysitting or simply lacking in results. For a moment, all the crazy readings, and papers, and my challenging cohort and the wild dynamic with the professors were just blips on the road to what I WANT. They are just what I have to get through in order to do what I want to do.

And for a minute, it made me miss the classroom.

Then, the intended receiver answered the message in the bottle and shattered my momentary peace with chaotic emotions... that is another story, and I still have a paper to draft. So, next time... and maybe there will be more of a story then.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Secret spaces

This morning on my run I think I disrupted a secret rendezvous.

I was just trying to avoid hills so I decided to circle around a medical bldg parking lot area. I thought it would be joyfully vacant, empty, peaceful -- and it was until I rounded the corner and there was a police suv.

I couldn't see inside the tinted windows but the engine was on and I was fairly sure that someone was in there and had certainly noticed me.

As I left the area, I noted a truck approaching very slowly. Of course my cynical mind quickly deduced that he or she was holding back until I was gone.

You see, the truck had two choices to turn into the area with the police car - clearly marked as a dead end - or to turn and pass me.

Let's just say it never passed me.

So perhaps the friend in the police suv had called ahead to warn of the interloper.

When I circled back about ten minutes later neither were there.

I am sure it could have been harmless. However it was much more exciting to imagine it as illicit.