Saturday, May 30, 2009

PBoftheMonth June pick

I hope all had a chance to check out my last month's pick for my Prolific Blog of the Month Award: Ojalá, Selah, Lateda. She is one of those artists whose work--each piece--is so abundant in color...design...independence...and unique style that, as I wrote before...is her own DNA.

My pick for this month is simply dallasclayton.com. I chose this blog because of the style...illustrations--clean short substantive proses...Dallas packs in philosophy, truths, musings in these tiny little verses or poems or chapters...they are phenomenal to read. I like to think of them as being like a daydream...if we could see one...gives words to one.

I posts no work from his blogsite, but you must go take a visit...

Happy May ending, June beginning...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a few three

...among other greats, these writers changed my life forever...with a simple phrase or jot or ongoing sentence that lasts for pages and pages without pause:

William Faulkner
Edwidge Danticat
Gabriel García Márquez

Monday, May 25, 2009

work, sun, mi chistoso, no identity crisis by any stretch and a forthcoming mother's day

i wish i could post a picture of my shoulders and forehead...they're pretty burnt from last week's flea market 8.00 a to 6.00 p sell; we forgot our tent. i could have purchased a hat to cover myself, but i'm a little frugal these days...so i roughed it...

i'm just now on the healing end of a very very very very very bad sun burn: mainly forehead and nose. one of my co-workers (before i took a sick day or two afterwards and was...at this time...very red--indian red folks, seriously) said, "Forgive me for my ignorance, but I didn't know African-Americans could sun burn." Bless her heart (and i really didn't believe her disclaimer or her person to make it and anyone who is in the education industry should really know, by now 2009, Af-Am Hist--i mean really...light-skinned Af-Ams capable of sun burns is an old long drawn out overworked, boring overkill truth). i said (anyway) "when you're as light-skinned as an African-American as i am, you burn!" I said it as boiler plated, sapped out language.

on an honest note of curiosities...my hair a dead give-away...among other characteristics...against my skin can be quite confusing (i'm learning even for Hispanic culture ((who have legitimate reason to wonder)) who think i'm either puerto rican, brazilian, even i've been guessed at being dominican, and some other ians which I find a real, fresh opening)...I swore back in my dreadlock days, love but no regrets I'd never go straight again---ever---and embrace my nappiness an old post yikes!, but lately, the fight between my hair and the comb (the brush is more passive but can be likened to...the doctor in the movie Overboard...at times), makes me want to perm perm perm what i didn't do here. this is a little work with an a-natu'ral. but that's another story....anyway....tangents are what i teach my students not to do in their essays...luckily...i'm a good authority and rather safe here going away...against my own advice. anyway

the love of my life who, by now, in the years of our relationship knows what happens to my skin when I've been in the sun, uncovered for way too long (see again hours above)...it peels. well he decides (four days into my sun burn when my skin starts to peel and the discoloration is so obvious...a light beautiful brown peeling away to reveal a soft nutmeg-milky color) to laugh at my peeling skin and asks (on the cusp of a sun burn early morning wake up), looking not into my eyes, but directly (with those glistening green-gray eyes of his) at my forehead, in near perfect English, "Honey, you need tape?" and he smiles and touches my forehead...the image that came to my mind (too much cable t.v.) in this case was Nicole Kidman's Invasion--so not funny!

then a day to two later he grabbed my forehead closely and said, "Let me see this map"...in the latter, the only image that came to my mind (immediately) was "nikolai gorbatschov" remember him?

my skin is nearly healed and i'm almost back to normal...next Sunday, given no rain, we will not forget the tent nor will i forget my cachucha...my damn hat!

my daughter, so beautifully brown-brown, pine cone brown, never had to worry about this...it's a soul's deliverance how everything i don't have, she did....

i hope your weekend back to work, or not, or whatever your Tuesday is all about brings thoughtfulness...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

an angel for your upcoming June

...

well, guys...next month my daughter would have been 27 years old...part of the beauty in celebrating her life is having to juggle between my 14 years of experiencing her against my having to imagine what she would be like today...

i still haven't been able to get my California family to take then send me pictures of her gravesite...(but i've only asked once)... my family there is busy with their own lives...hopefully Gera and i can travel back by end of year or early next Spring...if not, i do understand, too well, that she's with me every day...gravesites are beautiful markers, but the spirit is even more a remarkable experience...

she's buried in a tiny little, pretty little, private little cemetery in Fair Oaks, California. if you're visiting Fair Oaks any time soon...and have a fondness for cemeteries, it's located down Winding Way at the corners of New York Avenue and Olive Street...

her epitaph reads: 'and heaven smiled again'

also:

for June...I'm thinking of my next Prolific Blog of the Month award pick...it's 'hard' :* to choose one, but thank goodness there are months to come....

hope your weekend is full of deluxe...we're hibernating (Gera is busy in his workshop and i'm lost in reading)....it's 80 degree weather and yet yet yet more warm rains...

and finally:

Happy Memorial Day to my two Dads who both served in the Vietnam War (the one living and the one deceased--you are both equally 'me')...and to *all* dads, brothers, sons, and women around the world who have served and who serve their countries...in honesty, i hope someday Memorial Day will cease to exist...wouldn't that be something?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

found it!


Quick post.

This is a picture of my rose moss I referred to earlier. There's a little begonia in there too (another great grand favoriate)--and there's some other flowers too. The flower box is one I still have, one Gera made in seconds for me...with water resistant wood. It's now full with purple heart (this flower is one you can't really kill either and it.too.comes back every year no matter what). I did manage to get my new rose moss in the ground. We'll see what happens...I also planted some leftover, dried serrano pepper seeds. I'm curious about these too, even more so because I've never grown them...and it's kinda the beginning of my beginning to be a veggie gardner...yeah, right! We'll see about this too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

oh dear!

My first graduate class is titled "Literary Pedagogy" -- teaching Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita...

I'm touched mostly by Nabokov's own words in this interview: "sob in the spine of the artist reader"..."negligible generalities"...and "i don't wish to touch hearts"...

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It's so obvious that interviews...onlookers who we like to appreciate our literature...to talk about our work...that we find pride in the examination and on-trial nature of our work...make us the most uncomfortable...because the work, mostly the artist, is put in the light...

I've read Lolita only once before...as a younger woman.

How lucky am I to be required to study it now....to read it again...

what happened to logic in 'all fairness'?


Gera and I went to Whole Foods yesterday because I wanted some fresh organic blueberries, a nice sized salmon fillet and tea tree oil for my hair. I bought three items for a total of $morethan30dollars. The blueberries I just couldn't see the reason, but you can best be sure we will savor every single berry. Usually I make a fruit salad, but not with these berries. We're going to eat them singly to get the full benefit of taste, dollar and all.

We weren't the only shoppers with just a few items. The price of organic products is sky high. My question is if the country promotes eating more healthy, why has organic products jumped so high in price? It keeps less fortunate people from eating better (hell, at times, I feel less fortunate in Whole Foods). How did eating organic become an expensive trend and why is it an expensive trend? Poor people need access to healthier eating and to be able to afford organic foods, but organic has become so specialized and even uppity. I just realized yesterday that only those who can afford to buy organic have the privilege to eat healthier.

Something is wrong: the prices of healthier foods have gone up and the price of fatty foods are cheaper. Wouldn't it make better sense to jack up the prices of fast foods--make the prices so high that this kind of eating would be challenging to the pocket book...lower healthy organic food prices so that people would have to buy better foods for cheaper? And anyway, isn't it cheaper to grow organic foods...what...with all the costs for pesticides?

But then, maybe it's a ploy to keep the medical industry booming...

We've got to either frequent the local farmer's markets from now on or I need to take a gardening class...even still, the blueberries were heaven and I don't think I'd be able to compete....

Monday, May 18, 2009

believe it!

...



Seriously, this was a reward notice that was posted in some parts of town. I don't which is worse...this or no handwashing...all for $10.00.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

rose moss

...



Pictures borrowed from the Internet

This is one of the many flowers I remember most outside my great grandmother's house. She planted it--oddly--in the cracks of a cement walk-way that leads to her front door. Every year this flower bloomed without her having to replant it. It just simply showed up in mid to late spring, creating a bouquet of color we'd have to step around or walk over. It mostly blooms in warm humid, tropical-like weather. It's pretty tenacious and comes in a beautiful variety of colors. My favorite is the coral and deep oranges. My gr. grand tended to favor the reds and purples--the latter was sometimes a rare. The leaves are succulent--probably why rose moss blooms best in a humid climate. My Auntie pinches the dry leaves and puts them back into the soil. This may be why it comes back each year. I'm not sure.

I've had it before and it did well, but I've switched pots and uprooted plants, replanted plants, we've since taken out a huge dead tree stump I planted flowers in, including the rose moss---so I've had to purchase it again (unlike Dear), but I can't plant today. It's raining, yet again against a warm climate.

This is what Wiki had to say
Another Wiki take on Rose Moss

Friday, May 15, 2009

finally!

...
The college Writing Center is like magic...quiet! It's so amazing to come into work and do other things besides tutor and read essays all day long...I love my job, but I indulge the "engaged to wait" time as well. Hopefully, after updating WC fliers, listings of summer hours and workshops, hiring another full-tutor for Fall, an new on-call for summer, I'll get a better head start on my own classwork. I still can't believe I'm starting graduate classes in 3 weeks. I'm so looking forward to it! But for now, the weekend, the quiet time belongs to me...only...I'm even finding a moment to blog this...

My TO DO list for the weekend?

Wash clothes
Wash our van
Cook...a little*
Visit Mom and Auntie
Plant lots of rose moss
Prepare items to sell at flea market/if it doesn't rain
Go garage sale/thrift store shopping
Drink Red wine*
Read
Read
Read
Blog a little
Give Gera a haircut
Watch "The Village" and "The Visitor" - recommended by co-worker
Read*
Read
Read
Blog a little
Have more Red Wine*
Order a Pizza
Nap
Repeat*

Happy Weekend to all...How will you spend it?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

lazy-good inspired

...
Inspired by all the amazing artists I have met blogging...I find myself drawn even closer to art--old and new--I found these pics I took of a book from my personal library. I gave it away as a gift last year. These were a few works of many that were so moving to me.
This one is my favorite. Reminds me of Bacchus. Could be.
Gera has family that look like this guy. So beautiful. The tone in skin and eyes, the frown...wow.
I should have copied the names and respective art titles; my 44 year old eyes strain to see the text. If you know the artists, titles...let us in on them.
Gera is working on something I don't have a clue what it will be, but I'm excited. Hopefully, he'll let me post it when it's completed.

Without artists, the universe would be a blank void....a spinning in nothing...

Monday, May 11, 2009

ignited

...


Two events: today and this weekend baffled the hell out of me, and ignited bad feelings

First

At the college where I've been employed for a good while, there's either been a change in mentality or a trend in stupidity. Twice last month, a decent stretch of days in between, I'd walk into the ladies' room and the water would be running in one of about five different sinks...the first time I thought oops, someone forgot to turn off the water. The second time, I thought oops a student was probably in a hurry for a test or a ride a home. Today, I walk into a stall and another (of about 8 or 10) was occupied. As I'm finishing a cup of coffee and a days' worth of bottled water...the one person in the occupied stall walks out. I hear the water turn on. I think oh good, this person is washing her hands...a relief from what I and a janitor witnessed a week ago...another story not worth telling...but EARL!

Then, I hear the hard-heeled shoes stamp out, but I also hear the water still running...my senses tell me 1. the person is gone and 2. she left the water running. By this time, I'm out of the stall and I see what I felt. I stand dismayed and mad and appalled and dumbfounded. I apologized to Earth and the State of California. I leave it running (which makes me even more indignant) and walk to the door to see who the ungrateful earth murderer is...I look left, there's a lady marching around the end of a hallway...I look right, there's a student purchasing a scan tron out of a vending machine. I decide to let it go, but I wanted to say "Hey, mamm...hey...you forgot the running water! You dizzy wench!"

If she doesn't want to touch the facet keys, just grab a paper towel and turn them off. Can you imagine if more than one person does this...water just running, wasting down the sink. I was so mad and then I remembered...that's that part of your Texas you loathe...remember?

Second

We live in a rural part of Fort Worth. This past weekend, we were preoccupied with our niece and nephew. In the quiet of the evening, we suddenly hear a male voice and loud cries from a horse, not neighing, but cries...I go out to the porch. I see a fat, sturdy drunk male on top of a horse, kicking deep into its sides yelling, "You do as I say...when I say...like I say...[kick, stab, kick, whip] you heh? Get yo ass over heh! [whip, kick, whip, kick, kick, kick] As I say...I'mo teach you...As I say!" It went on more than one can imagine...I was in disbelief...angry...I wanted to call someone...the police...is there such a thing as animal abuse police? Later, I told Gera, "That's the kind of motherfucker who beats the hell out of a woman." He looks at me and says, "You don't know that." I said, "My grandmother taught me how to recognize that kind."

I loved reading Lawrence's Women in Love during undergrad, but the horse whippings...I remember having to seek, deeply, with extra effort the art...there.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

vein, red thread, hot bath, reading, the goodness of life

...my life wouldn't be as much of an adventure as it has been, is, and will continue to be as long as I have breath-----if it weren't for my mother, Helen, for giving birth to me...for being who she is...for being my best, most accurate companion from beginning til today...

Couldn't help but post this classic pic again:
me&jenn 1984 sitting outside my great Auntie's house

I remember my daughter and I celebrated Mother's Day in June. Rarely did we celebrate on the traditional day in May. And even then, usually, we went to church.

But oddly, in June, is when my daughter would acknowledge me as a mother. She'd hand me a handmade Mother's Day card and say, "This is for you Mom. Happy Mother's Day!" and give me flowers of many colors (construction paper cutouts, later, jr. high, real flowers--all the same).

Why in June? (I wondered the first time too).

Her logic: "Because technically, you became a mother on my birthday."

The first time she did this, I wondered how in the world she came up with this idea...I never asked her...on purpose.

******

The babies are gone and we are cleaning, watching cable...in between...gera is preparing a nice late lunch...

Rubi was great...even better after pizza and the movie hotel for dogs, games for kids on the computer and two storybooks I read to her... Abis was a charm...he cried a little after his young father and grandpa (Gera's brother) dropped them off--yesterday. Gera's oldest brother was here. Abis had hiccups and that made him mad, but Alex (big uncle) said to put a tiny ball (wet with mouth) of red sewing thread at the center of his forehead and it will take the hiccups away. It worked. And I thought my culture was traditionally strange with all the midwives' tales...

Haven't seen Cierra yet, but hope to later. She's with mom and grandmom who just flew in from Maryland on Saturday.

*******
I will see my own mother and great Auntie before evening falls...they're just happy in general: lottery tickets to play, mundane of the day...easy
*******

The greatest Mother's Day gift besides spending time with my own mother will be...a good hot bath...the last few letters of my current Nabokov read...and picking some other books to post...this time from my personal library.

Life is an imaginable gift...it feels great when there are these moments you just want to burst into everlasting because the happiness is so great, in such variety, and feels so infinite....

I hope you are enjoying your Mother's Day and doing something out of the blue...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

giving them back

Mother's Day for me will be well spent. I will have Rubi and Abis for sure on Sunday, and will see Cierra for a tad. Unfortunately, these pics are all old--by just a few months in Abis and Cierra's case.

Rubi, the love of my life...I remember when she was fat-thighed almost toddling around in a fluffy pamper. I'd wake up with a crook in my neck from sleeping between her and Gera. God that was a crunch.

Rubi is now missing teeth, way different from this photo I took a while ago. She's taller and thin. She has words for her Uncle Gera all the time. She's learned to reason and negotiate. She uses our computer (pbskids.com and Nick), sometimes, way way past her bedtime. We pretty much give her whatever she wants as long as it's within our means. But Gera still loses to her when they bicker...she might become a lawyer...
***

This is my new baby, Abis who is so adorable and who is a good good good baby. Rarely cries as long as his panal is changed, has a full stomach, and is not sleepy. He rarely completes a good yawn, every now and then he squints, sticks out his tiny little tongue and gets it good.

He is now almost 3 months old and he smacks his mouth and flails, trying to coo. He is so different than my girls and is secretly my favorite (in baby stage). He rarely wakes in the night; I have to wake him to change him and feed him a bottle. He's so easy. Gera kisses him all the time and I have to remind him of his prickliness. He is so good with the baby, but quickly hands him back to me when Abis gets fussy.
***

This is Cierra, my sister's 40th birthday present...she was a crier, oh god! in the beginning, but is now a calm happy little thing. She's going to be a beautiful model some day.

Cierra is now a 7 month old beauty. She recently fell off the bed while my sister was in the bathroom applying make-up. I assured her it's normal; it happens. She's sitting up and even bouncing around in a walker. A little fever as teeth are on their way. I only get to see her on Wednesdays, but I secretly spoil her. I never put her down and we play in her toy box til way way late. When mom comes home, Cierra is worn out!
***

And after keeping them all, especially the baby (who is so good, can't say it enough, so good), Gera and I look at each other moments after the front door closes, our niece and her boyfriend have driven away, and say...wow!...just think we were trying to procreate.... we love it, but we really love giving them all back to their parents and going back to our normal two-party personed household.

This all reminds me of when my Big used to say, "You'd better do it now or you're going to be too set in your ways..."--I'm so there.

HAPPY WEEKEND and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL... Cheers!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

letter from a seamstress II


One of my favorite things to do when I feel nostalgic for my past loved ones is look back...at more than just their photos. I love that my grandmother (Big) accomplished the dream of buying a home--on her own--job title: seamstress--a story I've told a trillion times, but keep telling and yet--she had little education. It shows in this beautiful letter written to my daughter when we were in California. Without us, she was never the same. But she sent a little money always so my daughter could buy a toy and a 'book'...I don't know why I find her use of "jirl" to mean "girl" so precious, an omnipotent endeavor.

I never knew her to write much, aside from paying bills and oh my! I never knew she would attempt to draw. But as indicated by the first lines, phrases...she loved my daughter so much, that just maybe it was a moment of feeling, emotion, impression, longing, connection...when she,too, was so severely nostalgic...

Mother's Day is around the corner...I feel so good, and BTW...there should be a Grandmother's Day too...someday I will tell her story...it's a doozer...thus, my new moniker

Saturday, May 2, 2009

honeysuckle, nopalis, kids

...

Today, it rained and rained and rained in our part of northern Texas. Before this, the sweet aroma of yellow and white honeysuckle swelled through humidity, the warm air. Wisteria has come and nearly gone, already? I've taught the kids down the street and my five year old niece, Rubi, how to separate a suckle to find the purest of sweet juice. It wasn't long though before they lost interest. Too much precision involved, and the tiny little pinhead dot of juice after they pulled out the stem wasn't worth their focus.

A miniature deep velvety red rose bush Gera and I uprooted from the side of our house and replanted one Mother's Day (in honor of his mother and my daughter) is blooming with madness. It's been in its new place for ... 3 of the 5 years we've lived in our home and is a beautiful reminder. When the rain stops, I hope to plant my great grandmother's favorite: rose moss. It's so low maintenance and so beautiful in the variety of colors.

So, we're simply enjoying the rains and staying in. I'm finishing up some great books, red wine, Gera made nopalis with vegetables and a little red meat.

We've watched several old movies in Spanish. I even napped for an hour...could have went for two, but my mother came by to pick up some items I bought for her to list on her ebay store. God knows she's where I get my "easy to please" gene. She brought me fresh, near red-orange sweet potatoes. She's such a beautiful presence to encounter at any time.

Tomorrow, we're supposed to have yet more rain and more tornado watches, floods, and all that...and this will be good. I'm staying in to babysit my ever-so cute little 2month old nephew, Abis and his sister, my love, Rubi. This Wednesday I'll have Cierra, my sister's 7 month old. Looking forward to it. No shortage of babies, and the funny thing is after spending a day or two with any of them, I'm pooped. I've come to the realization that I'm grandmother material. I'm getting a good fill with the nieces and new nephew.

Our weekend has been peaceful and dreamy, I hope yours is lively and well...you probably have lots of sun wherever you are...

Friday, May 1, 2009

past-time



A few ways I used to indulge in the benefits of being Californian.