Tuesday, March 31, 2009

summer prep: study & hunt

I am starting graduate school in five weeks. Instead of taking Shakespeare, I'm opting for Literary Pedagogy with a focus on teaching Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. The great part about the summer, for community college employees, is we have Fridays off and this time will of course mean, for me, study and hunt time.

However, the highlight of planning my summertime is getting back to selling at the flea market. Gera has already started and I can't wait to sell under the sun (under our tent no doubt).

The real secret is to get back out there to watch 'my stuff'. I mean, now, I price it all and he does his best to get the most for it, but in all honesty, I get an even better price for it. We gripe at each other because I treat my stuff like it's gold and my table always looks pretty, very feminine, like a space right out of an antique store, while his side is just...there. It's definitely a guy side: lawnmowers, tools, boots, weed eaters, basket ball hoops, more yard stuff, VHS movies, radios, wooden tables (we usually pick these up from the rich houses, their trash--our profit, especially after Gera sands and refinishes them), clay pots, and other non-cute items. I just look at him and "My stuff's hot!"

I mean look at these beauties...but he only thinks of my table as having it's place, but not redflag revenue important. I admit, he usually rakes in more dough than I do. We put it all together in the end though and I remind him that without my knick-knacks, our profit would fall ever short.

This past weekend, he did manage to sell one of my favorite pieces: a boxed 1980s Elvis Presley, unopened decanter with real liquor, seal unbroken. I told him, "Honey, DO NOT sell this for less than $50.00." He actually got $55 for it! He's learning, but I still need to manage and oversee the preciousness of my merchandise. A summer ain't a summer without the hustle of selling. I'm so ready!!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

mean people


Here's a piece of library entertainment for you. A patron, who published her 'phobic-woes' throughout the city, wrote this awfully mean letter in response to homeless people who frequent the library consistently.

Library Manager: Today I found several of these “fliers” posted on mailboxes, newsstands, etc., on Third Street – not on our building, but just to the east. The ever-so-eloquently-conveyed sentiments seem to be in line with those recently expressed by a concerned patron, J.S. This is just a suspicion; I have no proof. But for those of you who know her, please keep an eye on her and remain alert.

When will selfish people like this one realize the sun is for everyone, the sky belongs to all, the library is a public service facility opened to everyone---not just for snobs like this person. Luckily, we were informed to watch out for her to make sure *she* doesn't try something stupid. Can you believe it? Where do people get these kinds of nerves? I'm curious to learn how she would determine who's homeless and who's not. Ug! There's just so many things wrong with this request.

Friday, March 27, 2009

from jessi's album

When I look back at old pictures of myself with my siblings (only two sibs and me shown here), I think about my father, a man with three sets of children. He was able to see all grow into fine young people. How lucky he was...I was the only wedlock, proudly so. And his oldest...

people talking at Jessi's wedding

part of my Dad's rainbow crew

a little dance and mingle

Oh, but really I posted this to say, the best shoes sell in California!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

the sky thing again

This week the sky 'showed out'...opened up and poured and poured and poured. The rains, here, this time of year are so warm. I love the build up of the humidity and even though Texas is flat and one of the few biggest cow states, it feels pretty tropical during springtime.

Hopefully, after the flood of students and busy work week, I will be able to photograph and give yal a little part of Texas spring, my style.

In any event, I told Gera he's trying to qualify for a post on The Big Storm. The only thing is he didn't get in our van and chase the clouds or follow winds before the rains hit.

The black and white in these is too prominent, scary looking. Yet we were childish enough to stare for shapes. We found quite a few.

the complete mural

. . .

Of course murals in Texas would be incomplete, useless, without a longhorn work. I like this one because...in person...the longhorns really do appear to be running down a street, out of a wall.

Friday, March 20, 2009

parts of a mural

. . .

These pictures are from a restaurant Gera and I like to frequent. In English it's called Little Frogs. I took these just before Gera and I were headed back to the hospital to see Isra.

The greatest times about being home is re-visiting well-known areas. More interesting is looking at the spaces where I grew up, how they have evolved--. Many times Gera and I will be somewhere and someone from either of Latino origin or black origin, usually a girl/ or woman, young or mature, will ask me: "De dondo eres?" or "Where you from?"

Last night when Gera, his sister and I were shopping in Fiesta Food Store, a young black woman who checked us out---and who dropped our tostados twice--maybe it would have been a third time had I not said, "Girl! You break'in our tostados"---said (mind you, not asked): "You black--.--?--" I said "Yeah." She said, "You speak Spanish?" I said "Yeah." She said, "But you mixed? How you learn it?" I said, "In middle and high school." In the meantime, Gera's sister who neither speaks nor understands English was looking at Gera and me because you see, faces can be read---I love the beauty in countenance---faces. Even if a person never says a word, usually their faces will say the world. Will reveal their feelings at heart. Gera of course is bagging our mayo, lettuce, peppers, avocado, cilantro, onion, garlic, tuna, sweet bread and some other stuff we grabbed, and smiling. Again. Then she said, "But you mixed?" I said, "No. I'm black." She said, "Dang" then paid out change to Gera's sister who couldn't help but ask before we made it to our van. "Que digo?" What did she say...

Gera and I mildly laughed because this happens often when we're out, predominantly in Hispanic or African American environments. I've been a curiosity, seen as Puerto Rican, Dominican, even Brazilian (i'm always reminded of my mother when this happens-she, who let me be and who refused to set me on the porch, put me in sun to 'brownin' me). For the most, my culture knows who's who, but of late (the newagers) are really uncertain because there is such an 'of late' mix of races. Really, I don't have a right to say 'of late' because there are those who are really directly mixed and who come way before my time: Booker, Douglass, Berry, Obama, Keys. The funny thing about the two formers is I never saw them as mixed, only as black. Now when I look at their photos, specifically, I look for hints of white. I always see, however, in past and present how beautiful and strong willed they each were. Really amazing figures in our American history.

When I was growing up, there was never a doubt, and Zora wrote about it best: if there is ever a doubt, look at the hair (although I love now that in today's presence there's really not any distinction, any telling...and *it is* rather mainly fun for me, smilingly so, because *I am*--my color--is a product of African and white French history. But, my daughter's complexion told the real truth about my origins, my soul.

I must say Gera and I do have a good time with the inquiries, and I always take note...for possible poetry, writings, LMF entries. And I always hope that my culture's young people learn to learn other languages. There so much possibility and opened windows in doing so.

Other than living up to the theme in the name of the restaurant, I wonder why the artist chose to paint the people's faces green? Of all colors...why green?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan

. . .

April 2009

I cannot be any more fortunate than I already am to have not only a best friend who is the world to me, but a best friend who is a writer and with whom I had the pleasure to 'college with.' If you do one thing this spring/summer, it must be to read Water Ghosts. This book will set a third vision into your perspective about American history, love, loss, and that thing we now know of called 'living in the margins.' In a subtle yet powerful approach, Shawna has introduced a pure setting, and what I mean by 'pure' is the little California nook of a town called Locke--as a subject setting, it was practically a virgin one. Whereas it was difficult to imagine early 20th century Locke, what it must have been like, Water Ghosts creates a fine, crisp image. Along with a fluent imagination and a careful, sensitive look at Delta history, Shawna gives us a small, untouched place, rich with great story-telling. She unfolds Water Ghosts into a tiny little masterpiece that leaves one with a deep, curious nostalgia about 'a' future, in the end.

What is the story about? Penguin best announces and describes its new literary gem.

Penguin's synopsis of Water Ghosts

It gives me so much delight to be able to recommend this beautifully, brilliantly written contribution to America's canon. And I am so proud to see my friend grow as a writer--even more, I am elated to see her cling to her dream--the same one she often spoke of 'back when'...it's really happening, Ryan!

For upcoming readings and book tour announcements, The SF Chronicle gives a list. For a more personal look, you can get the scoop and details at Stone, Ink, Brush and Paper.

I hope all of my SF/Bay Area/Sacramento/Davis peops and my new blog friends, buy Water Ghosts AND attend one of the readings....the experience is yours to grab.

And by the way, I'm not just writing all this because she's my best-bud, the book is an excellent, entertaining, intelligent read! One of my favorite angles in the novel is, of course---the prostitution. I have always been fond of prostitution as a subject and the characters in the novel give a whole new meaning to what prostitution is about, how it happens and shows the impossibility to stereotype or categorize them for their professions. We all have a 'calling' and at times, we don't have a say in how we will earn our living. Finally, I will say my favorite character is bluish, aqua-ish, or a mix of these with a mix of smokey gray and with that, I can't say more---we can *all* agree that when people spoil it, you just want to kill them.

Happy trekking my girl--you know I'm proud of you...no words necessary...

Friday, March 13, 2009

replacement therapy--nah!


Okay the fact that I can't have a baby except through IVF, and we're too poor to afford it, is old news. And one might say that I'm looking for something to replace that void. None true.

Today brings the best news ever! I was accepted to graduate school at University of Texas, Arlington to the MA program for---OF COURSE---literature. I just received my official congrats letter today. Starting with two courses in Shakespeare this summer (early start)--and I'm already looking forward to what's next for Fall. My second best job in the world, the public library, may have to be the unfortunate sacrifice, but this is not yet certain.

I've been accepted before at University of South Carolina, (candidate for a fellowship even), but this brings a better thrill because it sort of begins what I've wanted to do for so long---get in the classroom, teaching credit courses. The timing is perfect.

Life is good, even in this economy craze crisis! Life is still pretty damn good! And because I can't record my own happy dance, I posted the above-piece from blogger alovelything.

Congratulations to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

the french eye

Yet another beautiful French piece from the discarded book. I only had enough time to jot down the artist, Edouard Boubat. Not certain of the year or title. Could do some research, but I want to keep the post exactly how I found this, unplanned and in a hurry.

This piece speaks so much. I love the skin color against the white, soft dress, the soon to be sagging breasts and the near, almost shy nature of the mom to be. The hands, the slight pull to the roundness of her bump. The shadows tell a different story.

My soul turns when artists see and give back the beauty that we cannot, or that we find so common we merely pass by without the simplest of notice.

Still haven't convinced the library to let me have the book instead of throwing it away. I'm working on it though.

Monday, March 9, 2009

typos & grievances

. . .


Wikipedia says it best:

A typographical error (shortened as typo) is a mistake made during, originally, the manual type-setting (typography) of printed material, or more recently, the typing process. The term includes errors due to mechanical failure or slips of the hand or finger, but excludes errors of ignorance. Before the arrival of printing, the "copyist's mistake" was the equivalent for manuscripts. Most typos involve simple duplication, omission, transposition, or substitution of a small number of characters.

Though the term "typo" excludes errors of ignorance, it is common to find it used as a euphemism to describe instances of poor spelling, punctuation, or grammar, such as accidentally typing a homophone.

Okay, none of this is good news, remember, I teach at a community college--yikes!


fortunately (no disclaimer, really), my profession far extends my -of late- mishap to make lots and lots of typos in my emails and my blog comments. I typed an email to my step-mom the other day and part of it read: "Glad ---- and you and in touch" --- that was supposed to be *are* in touch----on wildeve's blog tried to clean it up and oh my god--it's really bad when everyone is trying to point it out by repeating the word more than many times in mouse's floral post tried to clean it up--i got it guys--repetition not necessary but i deserve it to an extent... another birthday wish to kimy...

and then...

there was one post i wrote something like "the latest word i screwed up was 'worse' when....jesus help....there was word right before that one i typed wrong.

I thought having a home computer, a little privacy, way more so than I get at the college or the library would help---hasn't! And to make matters worse, I skimmed through a blog book at the library, a book about blogging, that said something like if you make a lot of typos people won't love you anymore. Luckily, I love blogging for what it means: freedom, expression, showing a crumb of personal life to the world.

But I also like a typo from time to time, it shows my hectic (yes I meant to use that as a noun) and proves Oscar Wilde so wrong. He wrote..."a writer can survive anything but a typo." I beg to differ. A writer can survive anything but a pencil with a too-worn down eraser, a hacker, or even worse...a pen that skips ink.

What else?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

toni morrison


In November, it's my turn to facilitate a book club reading at the library. I'm starting off with Sula by Toni Morrison. Check out this clip...she is one of my favorite females, one of my few heroines...

not a black eye

Later, for a second lead, I might do Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee.

My last read, Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories by Lauren Groff was good. It's an interesting piece if you like variety. Each story offers a very distinctive plot--this has much to do with the time periods which are set in "way back" to modern time; beautifully written characters that live in their respective times appropriately so, very convincing. Subjects vary from one another in the most distant. I did tend to wander a bit while reading a couple of the stories, but I'm sure this all had to do with me and in no way reflects on the author's ability to hold her readers, solidly, from beginning to end. 3.5 suns recommend, bravo for the cover.

Friday, March 6, 2009

i know, it's not nice


It's so wrong of me to flaunt----mi guapo, my honey. But I couldn't resist snapping then posting Gera on a normal, general day. My empty margarita glass had a lot to do with it---I tend to take pictures of just about anything, anyone, wherever when I'm feeling a lotta happy.

When we need a little get-out, one of our favorite places is a little dock by the lake. I think I'm becoming more and more set in my ways. I'm so accustomed to 'just us'---like this night---we talked, laughed, ate and drank, talked some more...about everything. We're still in a great phase of our five year old relationship----he's so----a keeper!

The down of our evening out was this crowd of fish competing for a piece of bread. This scene reminded me just how tight things are financially.

But like the paired ducks, we try to swim around the crunch, the bads of the economy and hope for a better time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

a library: bit 3 brown rice

. . .

Sometimes, when you look at posts, you wonder: Did the blogger make that up, just to post? I think most often not. There's so much to capture that, for me, it's difficult to get it all---sometimes, you just have to let the odd things go because you're out of film, or the battery is low, or in my case, the Blackberry won't allow you to take more than three pictures: 'system is full.' Highly frustrating!

And then,

There's the stuff that you question: Why would someone have a tiny package of brown rice in the library on the reading tables? The only thing I could come up with is that it may have been one of the homeless coming in with a goody bad from the Mission. There was what looked like an empty fried food carton, but I didn't get close enough to see what other items were inside the bag. Only the brown rice was outside. But then, I thought, why would the Mission give out bags of brown rice when clearly, homeless usually don't have stoves or a place to...cook? And then, I dropped the Hamlet (ArtSparker knows what that means) because I couldn't make immediate sense of it (not to mention I was supposed to be collecting books for my needlecraft and learning English displays).

A library's ideal function is to be a little bit like a bouquiniste's stall, a place for trouvailles. --Umberto Eco

Alberto Manguel:

An encyclopedia can be, among many other things, a space-saving device, since a library endlessly divided into books requires an ever-expanding home that can take on nightmare dimensions. Legend has it that Sarah Winchester, widow of the famous gun-maker whose rifle 'won the West,' was told by a medium that as long as construction on her California house continued, the ghosts of the Indians killed by her husband's rifle would be kept at bay. The house grew and grew, like a thing in a dream, until its hundred and sixty rooms covered six acres of ground; this monster is still visible in the heart of Silicon Valley. Every library suffers from this urge to increase in order to pacify our literary ghosts, 'the ancient dead who rise from books to speak to us' (as Seneca described them in the first century a.d.), to branch out and bloat until, on some inconceivable last day, it will include every volume ever written on every subject imaginable.

In the end, Jorge Luis Borges once imagined the infinite library of all possible books, but later discovered that the world itself *is* the universal library.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

and then there's the Texas norm


I was so pissed and highly disturbed by the last cowboy post--the pork, Obama protesters--that I did my best to find something good and a little normal in the everyday Texas cowboy. These scenes, a lot different than the aqua-water colored beach with warm bright sands and beautiful, plunging fire-y sunsets, calmed me. This cowboy was literally riding over a busy highway bridge, not far from our house on his horse until cars needed to pass by....this is the good stuff, the native good stuff about Texas.

Monday, March 2, 2009

a library: bit 2 exhibits


Our library was featured yesterday on the front cover of the newspaper. Instead of praising it for its purpose, the article covered the demands by patrons, including free Internet use. The problem is budget cuts and a cutback in library hours. This is not just for our local area, but I'm guessing across the country. I remember working at the public library in the city where I went to college. They experienced budget cuts, hiring freezes and less hours--and this was in 2004. Now, it's catching up to Texas public libraries. We have literally had patrons yell at us for the cutback in library hours and the wait time to get on a computer. Fortunately, we recently added 20 more computers to help ease the demand and needs. Many who don't have computers or Internet access at home (Gera and I just got our first home computer last week--we have google in our house---finally---feels weird), need the library services to do their resumes and even apply for jobs online. Of course, we get the scum, the sticky looking people (females too), who abuse the Internet. I've only worked at two public libraries (my fun job), but I see that no matter the state, north or south, libraries attract the strangest individuals. You see some of every...body.

The beautiful turn, however, is in the luxury and reason behind a library, sheer learning. Free information. Other great passages from The Library at Night.

And the mental atmosphere we create in the act of reading, the imaginary space we construct when we lose ourselves in the pages of a book, is confirmed or refuted by the physical space of the library, and is affected by the distance of the shelves, the crowding or paucity of books, by qualities of scent and touch and by the varying degrees of light and shade. 'Every librarian is, to a certain point, an architect.'

The room in which writers (that subspecies of readers) surround themselves with the materials they need for their work acquire an animal quality, like that of a den or a nest, holding the shape of their bodies and offering a container to their thoughts. Here the writer can make his own bed among the books, be as monogamous or polygamous a reader as he wishes, choose an approved classic or an ignored newcomer, leave arguments unfinished, start on any page opened by chance, spend the night reading out loud so as to hear his own voice read back to him, in Virgil's famous words, under 'the friendly silence of the soundless moon.'
Boy, does this hit home...but only when I have the time to invest in my writing.

And not only this, but there are the unique exhibits that happen in a library. This week, my library put together a sweet exhibit of a local woman and the many hats she wore. I didn't have time this past Sunday to jot down her history, but I will try to add this into the post after tomorrow night at work.

A library is an ever-growing entity; it multiplies seemingly unaided, it reproduces itself by purchase, theft, borrowings, gifts, by suggesting gaps through association, by demanding completion of sorts. Whether in Alexandria, Baghdad or Rome, this expanding mass of words eventually requires systems of classification that allow it space to grow, movable fences that save it from being restricted by the limits of the alphabet or rendered useless by the sheer quantity of items it might hold under a categorical label.

And finally, I leave you with this wowing post by mousemedicine, kimy at the library. This post was so amazing all I could comment was whoa!