domingo, julio 31, 2005


sneak peek

my goal for this coming week: make the most organized, badass library in my wing. i'm color-coding books by language and genre (limiting it to science, math, and poetry) and will return to my very successful theme of the library as the acuario... because you can't talk when you're underwater, and you can't talk when you're in the acuario. i bought half a dozen huge stuffed sea animals at pier one last year. once everything's in place, i'll take another photo and post it so you can see how much ridiculous work i put into this kind of stuff.

miércoles, julio 27, 2005


ding dong, the witch is gone

the former 1st grade team leader who thought she was the boss of me is LEAVING LEAVING LEAVING. oh happy day!

i have decided to be industrious (why i chose to use that word, i have no idea) and instead of doing my word wall on butcher paper again, i have begun to cover my extensive chalkboard space with magnetic paint. this stuff is very tricky... you have to mix it very, very well to get all the ions... going, or whatever it is that ions need to get good and magnetic. then you have to put on a bazillion layers so that your magnets actually stick. my plan is to just use the entire can. the stuff's expensive... i used a 40% off coupon, but normally it runs $13 for less than a quart. and it's a rather boring gray color. so once i've done my bazillion layers of painting, i'll treat myself to a few extra layers of sour apple green paint just to kick it up a notch. hopefully i'll be in first-grade (and in the same room) long enough to validate all this work and preparation. wouldn't it be funny if next year i looped with my kids? i'm laughing already.

i'm thinking friday i'll take some pictures of my set-up to be posted online for A LIMITED TIME ONLY. just so you guys get a feel for how kooky i am (my library organizational system has undergone half a dozen changes in the last two weeks alone). i actually drew/mapped out my classroom last week and i'm kind of pissed that i didn't think to draw it to scale and now i'm suffering the consequences. i'm sure therapy exists for people like me =P

lunes, julio 25, 2005


the perfect summer afternoon

i was über-responsible this morning. woke up relatively early for my annual physical/pap smear, went to the municipal court to resolve my traffic ticket, then picked up my classroom keys and began the hella boring process of dusting off spiderwebs and setting up the room.

then my day got wonderful. a friend and i were supposed to go toobing, but as soon as i had changed into my suit and had begun to apply sunscreen, things fell through. so we had a gloriously yummy mexican lunch with shrimp dishes and drinks followed by movie watching followed by a long relaxing swim with two of my favorite friends =) (who happen to read this blog regularly). to top off the perfect summer afternoon, we went to a local joint for milkshakes and corndogs. halfway into my corndog, "the boys of summer" came on the radio. beautiful.

my friends rock. summer vacation rocks. la maestra está muy muy contenta.


the end is nigh

i've been spending increasingly less time on my computer while trying to take advantage of the last few precious weeks of summer. although i'll be going to school later today to get the keys for my classroom to slowly begin set-up, i need to definitely continue to socialize and spend quality time with friends and rearranging the house. i did some massive cleaning and laundry this weekend as well as began the much-put-off task of redoing my bedroom and living room (all the stuff's been purchased, it's just a matter of putting curtains/furniture/etc in their place and getting rid of all the extra crap).

on the schedule for this week:
  • get my annual physical exam. i think that includes a pap smear... good times.

  • get new glasses that will withstand student attacks, accidental or otherwise.

  • find good bilingual subs for the upcoming schoolyear. you know who you are... since i'm trying to be anonymous, you don't need to comment, just get signed up and lemme know your sub number so i can get you some jobs =)

  • organize my classroom library.

  • drink & dance

  • go toobing, crazy texas summer weather permitting.

  • i met up with el viejito (the 34-yr-old) briefly on thursday night... he got my number and we ended up having some miscommunication later in the night so we didn't see each other again. he's been out of town but has text messaged me and shall be back late tonight. let's see if this goes anywhere. i'm not looking for love, but i do think this guy would be a helluva lot of fun and i sure could use that right now.

    jueves, julio 21, 2005


    la borracha

    i woke up super cruda this morning. last night was great, i danced, drank, and ran into a surprising number of friends and acquaintances. gory details will be disclosed on the personal blog.

    this morning i woke up at 6 am to vomit. i think i had 5 or 6 beers, but i guess because i'm petite and my body's aging rapidly i just can't hang anymore? it's pretty sad. i dragged myself out of bed and got ready for training but when my carpool buddies knocked on the door, i know i looked like hell. we stopped for tacos on the way, and my stupid hungover ass left the car keys in the ignition. five minutes later, after we were already seated, i freaked out when i didn't see my keys then thanked my lucky stars no one stole my car. i thanked my stars again a little while later when we got 6 breakfast tacos for $4. gotta love texas.

    training was mind-numbing since we were "instructed" on using the district's new soon-to-be-but-not-actually-adopted-just-yet ESL materials. after the morning's two-hour training, my friend and i decided that enough was enough... after lunch, we went school supply shopping and got our nails done. then we came back for cookies and the closing session, so as not to be completely irresponsible. to justify ourselves a little bit, you have to realize that the annoying anecdote lady from last week's reading training was in our classroom and brought samples of student work... not that there was any need or request for her to do so, she just likes to brag and bring up things that are completely irrelevant.

    so my nails are done, teacher-related stress has been lifted, and i'm gonna go see about a boy tonight... well, a man actually... you think 34 is too old for me? (i'm ten years younger)

    miércoles, julio 20, 2005


    estomagos de napo

    the fuckin' teachers ate all the breakfast tacos this morning. supposedly breakfast was to be served from 8:30-9. we got there at 8:45 and there was not even a tortilla crumb to be found. bitches.

    that put me in a foul mood for the rest of the day, and the only way i can possibly salvage this day is by going dancing and drinking immediately. ¡arriba y adelante!

    martes, julio 19, 2005


    cooking meme

    i've been tagged by the hatter and am waiting for my homemade planner pages to finish printing. so here we go...

    what is your first memory of cooking/baking on your own?
    my cousin chris and i used to make ice cream soup. put several scoops of ice cream in a bowl, add various candies and goopy things to taste, and stir until liquidy.

    who had the most influence on your cooking?
    grandma and my aunt. the best cooks in the family, and since they lived with us when i was a kid, i got to "help" them (poke my fingers in stuff and "test taste") while they worked their magic.

    do you have an old photo as evidence of an early exposure to the cooking world?
    nope. who takes pictures of stuff like that?

    Mageiricophobia - Do you suffer from any cooking phobia, or a dish that makes your palms sweat?
    i will go to great lengths to avoid gutting poultry. that shit is foul. grandma may have plucked her own chickens and my mom may have broken their necks, but those qualities didn't get passed on to me. sorry, grandma. sorry, mom. i'm a modern girl and that's what butchers and pre-packaged chickens are for.

    What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
    most used: toaster oven, standing mixer, mandolin. as a kid, i always thought the potato masher (a.k.a. bean masher =P) was the bomb. i'm quite disappointed by my garlic press. i bought it when i was young and impressionable but prefer either smashing cloves whole or roasting them until they're soft and buttery.

    Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
    i prefer a 3:1 mix of fat-free plain yogurt and ranch dressing to normal ranch dressing with my veggies. much more tangy. ummm, and i love me some tortilla-based tacos. no one else appreciates that stuff.

    What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
    1. steamed white rice
    2. aloo pouri
    3. chocolate tres leches

    Who are some chefs you would be most interested in spending a day with?
    am i allowed to be sexual? because if i am, jamie oliver, a.k.a. the naked chef, and tyler florence from tyler's ultimate. if not, ming tsai or graham kerr.

    Your favorite ice cream:
    pistachio & rocky road

    You will probably never eat:
    cauliflower is broccoli's bastard cousin... i hate it. sashimi. organs or anything that comes from the head of an animal. or bone marrow. or blood sausage. blech.

    Your own signature dish...
    potato tacos w/my special salsa verde, vegetable eggrolls, whole wheat banana bread & a dearth of ice cream cakes


    throwing elbows

    teachers never cease to amaze me.

    we've always been told that, as bilingual teachers, there is no money. for us, for our kids, for our materials... you name it, there's no money for it. so imagine my (and the other attendees') surprise when we discovered that our three-day bilingual training includes breakfast and lunch all three days. we were impressed enough when we got free pens.

    after our afternoon lecture, we were told that there were free books awaiting us outside the auditorium. as i waited patiently in line to exit, i was shoved and cut in front of various times by teachers who were under the impression that these free books were extremely limited and had to be ripped off the table immediately. strike one.

    after several failed attempts to reach in front of me to get a damned book, i finally grabbed a copy and made my way to my friends who had watched the craziness ensue. we decided to stop by the cafeteria where they had free snacks. hell yeah. like good little schoolteachers, we leisurely worked our way toward the door until we found ourselves at the end of the snack line. and there we waited patiently, pleasantly surprised by even more free food.

    cafeterias often have two doors. the line formed through the right-hand door. through the left-hand door stomped dozens of rude, hungry teachers who probably thought those of us in line were waiting to be spoon-fed. they cut in front of us, grabbed several cookies, and sat down together to plot more ways to infuriate those of us who try to maintain certain levels of decency and respect. i was probably about 35-40 people into the line, which by this point was probably close to 120 people or so. by the time i got to the cookies, there were less than 10 left. all the other folks behind me got nothing. strike two.

    tomorrow, if the asshole teachers are back in full force, i'm gonna start sticking my leg out and tripping their greedy asses. this is fucking ridiculous.

    domingo, julio 17, 2005


    cómo se dice..




    clickity click. don't stop watching before you get to the tetris part.

    sábado, julio 16, 2005


    no mames

    you know how on msn messenger you can give yourself nicknames of an absurd length? i generally don't use msn, but all my peeps in mexico do, so when i go to my parents' house it automatically logs me in. the current nickname of my ex-novio:
    "no es ninguna aberracion sexual pero me gusta verte andar en cueros"

    CLASSY. do i know how to pick 'em or what?


    la fortuna

    art-wise: i've seen some grrreat stuff the last few days... woodcuts, paintings, stuff that blows my mind. i'd link but it would give away my location, so if you're interested, just email me at

    work-wise: next week, i've got math and bilingual training. the 4-day reading training i finished last week was painful, but luckily i spent most of it chatting (i know, how rude) so i was able to block out the anecdote-sharing idiots and know-it-alls. friday was a blissful day off, although i did talk to the 2nd grade teacher who will be having my old class about my discipline strategies and how excited i am about their writing potential.

    music-wise: i saw a funk band thurs and a conjunto legend fri. the former bored me and the latter rocked the house, and my kindly gentlemen friends taught me some moves. good times.

    otherwise: as i was bent over painting some canvases, my mother asked, "are those your real boobs?" "yup." "let me see." my family may be crazy, but we're all celebrating my breasts finally getting bigger. upon further inspection, she said "well, good for you!"

    jueves, julio 14, 2005


    no mommies way

    (the title of this post is a carlos mencia reference... think about it!)

    it's sad when you take time out of a training to have someone show the roomful of teachers the bags of goodies she purchased at the dollar store. but it's sadder still when she pulls out a set of alphabet sponges that she got for just ninety-nine cents and the whole room oohs and aahs.

    last night's mini-dinner party was a success. as i stood at the kitchen counter chopping and peeling, i realized how much i miss entertaining and having friends over... stuff i did all the time when i was in a relationship. the final menu was tacos de papa, frijoles negros, arroz, sauteed zucchini and mushrooms, and lemon mousse cheesecake. later i went to an art show of sorts... i saw some cool stuff, some weird stuff, and some stupid stuff. i ran into one of the few old artist friends i have.

    correction: i have a terrible memory. r did not suggest that i make my art more "white people-friendly", but rather that she thinks my art is "white people-friendly" and should appeal to everyone. my apologies!

    miércoles, julio 13, 2005


    just when i thought she couldn't get any worse

    la sabelotoda (the know-it-all) brought her portfolio today.

    one of the themes in today's workshop is word walls. anyone interested in sharing how you assemble yours and how you make it interactive?

    as i sit at these workshops planning for next year (already made the spelling lists for the first 10 weeks and have started weekly homework assignments), i'm trying to decide if i should have a separate word wall for english and another for spanish. last year i combined the two, distinguishing spanish with black ink and english with red. that way, in subjects like social studies where we learn vocab in both languages, the kids know how to identify which language each word is in.

    i'm a bit of a slave-driver when it comes to learning high-frequency words, so we have four days of spelling homework and spelling tests every friday. i'll start with spelling in september (school starts mid-august) with five words a week until we work up to ten words in the spring semester. in october we'll have five spanish words and one english word, nov. five spanish and two english, dec. six spanish and two english, and all spring, seven spanish and three english.

    mondays i present the new words on index cards. i show the students the first letter (and sometimes give clues) and they guess the word. i show them increasingly more letters, encouraging them to tell me what the subsequent letter would be if their guess was indeed correct. they use the words in sentences and we count/identify vowels and consonants, irregular sounds/spellings, etc. then the homework madness begins. monday night, they will play a making words game at home (but introduced in class) then put the words in alphabetical order. tuesday, they write each word five times. wednesday, they write a complete sentence with each word w/illustration. thursday, word search and study for friday's test. in the spring, everything gets more complicated, so they write each word 10 times on monday, write each word in a sentence on tuesday, write a story with at least 5 spelling words in it on wed., and have a word search on thurs.

    the only thing i'm lacking is a structured spelling review tues-thurs aside from reviewing the previous night's homework. we do drills with the words throughout the week, looking for rhyming words, patterns, etc., but nothing super formal. i need all the suggestions i can get.

    these are my plans. they are, of course, subject to change, so constructively criticize away!

    martes, julio 12, 2005



    bad things about today:
    1) the annoying girl across from me has the loudest voice ever. she opened her mouth and it was like a sonic boom, my body literally jolted in the chair out of surprise. the girl next to her is a sabelotoda who is driving me out of my mind. i am changing seats tomorrow, mark my words.
    2) i got a ticket for running a stop sign. or rather, not coming to a complete stop. yes, my bad, but fuuuuck, this stuff is so costly... defensive driving, here i come.

    good things about today:
    1) i ate a delicious gyro and snickerdoodle.
    2) i have a painting date tonight.
    3) i am going to make a lemon cheesecake for the mini-dinner party i'm having tomorrow.
    4) the teacher who is going to be joining first grade and will be my bilingual partner-in-crime sat behind me so we did a lot of brainstorming and sharing during the training's downtime.

    that pacheco book i read today mentions tortas de nata. anyone ever had enchiladas de nata? fucking DELICIOSAS. but i'm not so much a fan of pan de nata. tomorrow i'm trying out a recipe for tacos de papa... no, not breakfast tacos (although those are certainly the shit), these consist of a mashed potato-like mixture wrapped in a corn tortilla and then fried, served with a tangy salsa that has jalapeño, tomatillos y aguacate. i haven't made them in a year but i think they're simple enough that i can't screw it up too badly. now here's my question: what makes a good side dish for something like that?


    how to survive professional development

    a guide for gustavo & other new teachers

    1. do not show up early or on time. teachers are (ironically enough) notoriously late and will filter in an hour after the designated starting time. yes, it's rude to join the other jerks, but better that than wasting your time and watching people glide in with hot breakfast tacos. just let yourself sleep for an extra 15 minutes.

    2. sit with friends.

    3. if you have no friends and you find yourself sitting next to intolerably annoying teachers who like to ramble quietly to you about their children/students, smack their gum, painfully slowly yet loudly unwrap and eat butter candies, and/or talk to another teacher about their rich-ass school, move as soon as possible under the guise that you can't focus/see the powerpoint/stand another miserable second.

    4. bring a book, preferably something thin that can be easily hidden within the dearth of binders, handouts, packets and materials you will inevitably be given. professional development = ridiculous amounts of paper thrown at you. it's a horrendous waste and is awfully ironic since schools are so fucking stingy with individual teacher copy counts. tomorrow i will be bringing josé emilio pacheco's las batallas en el desierto (for pleasure) and federico garcía lorca's canciones, poemas y romances para niños (for school year planning).

    5. bring a drink/food that won't make much noise to unwrap and is good for snacking. better yet, bring something with a variety of flavors, like Skittles, so you can practice training your tastebuds to recognize distinct flavors on different parts of your tongue. makes the time fly by.

    6. look up and make eye contact periodically, but don't worry about listening attentively. every single professional development held by my district (not my school, those have a whole different set of rules) involves a powerpoint presentation. the presentation slides are always printed out and given to us so that we can refer to them while the presenter reads them aloud to us verbatim. you're a teacher, so you're a college graduate, so CLEARLY you can READ. unless you're doing an activity or role-playing, you're probably not missing anything that isn't written down already.

    7. do lesson plans.

    8. do all the little things you never have time for... draft your class newsletter, cut out laminated stuff, write your grandma a thoughtful card...

    9. doodle. this is what i usually end up doing... once people see me decorating a binder cover, they usually pass me a sheet of paper so i can do theirs, too. i'm earning quite a reputation in the bored teacher circuit.

    10. make sure you look over the materials you're given and separate the stuff you can actually use. for example, i'm doing a reading training right now and 70% of the materials are in english. nixed 'em. everything bilingual has a lovely sticky-note tab labeled with perfect block letters. color-coded, of course. because i had a lot of freakin time on my hands!

    lunes, julio 11, 2005


    back to the grind

    i had the first of several professional development sessions today, meaning summer is almost over for esta maestra. as always, today's workshop was filled with talkative teachers who couldn't help but share endless anecdotes, ask questions whose answers we had already discussed, and make stupid observations. we're all teachers, folks, no need to state the painfully obvious. i'm not there to hear a million life stories, i'm there to learn stuff to use in the classroom from the designated trainer. thanks.

    i'm watching the second half of oprah's interview with brooke shields. i think tom cruise is out of his damned mind. first of all, katie holmes annoys the crap out of me (and this i say while admitting i liked dawson's creek). secondly, i don't think men --aside from doctors and research scientists-- have any place telling women how to deal with postpartum depression. at least not in the way that cruise has done. i read an article about scientology and i think it's a bunch of hooey. so, in conclusion, i will not be seeing war of the worlds.

    sorry, feeling a little bitchy. rumor is we've hit the 3-digit mark today and i think the blistering heat is making me particularly cranky.

    shout outs to the teachers and civilians who made it out to the closing of the art show and to my little pachanga. good times. next time we party, no talk about blogs whatsoever! =P

    viernes, julio 08, 2005



    i suppose teachers have several "worst nightmares", but definitely high up on the list of anyone who still manages to go out and party is getting a DWI. supposedly in texas, a DWI conviction leads to the revoking of your teaching certificate. still can't find that in print anywhere though. anyways, just found out that this may be happening to a friend. fuckin a.

    jueves, julio 07, 2005


    pregunta más allá

    ¿Por qué pregunto dónde estás,
    si no estoy ciego.
    si tú no estás ausente?
    Si te veo
    ir y venir,
    a ti, a tu cuerpo alto
    que se termina en voz,
    como en humo la llama,
    en el aire, impalpable.

    Y te pregunto, sí,
    y te pregunto de qué eres,
    de quién;
    y abres los brazos
    y me enseñas
    la alta imagen de ti
    y me dices que mía.
    Y te pregunto, siempre.

    Pedro Salinas

    *i can't find an english translation online and i hate trying to translate poetry by myself, so here's a VERY ROUGH translation, off the cuff... any corrections/improvements are welcome!

    why do i ask where you are
    if i'm not blind?
    if you are not absent?
    if i see you
    come and go
    your tall body
    that ends in a voice
    like a flame in smoke
    in the air, impalpable.

    and i ask you, yes,
    and i ask you, what are you
    whose are you
    and you open your arms
    and you show me
    your tall image
    and you tell me you are mine
    and i ask you, always.

    thanks, Lorinda!


    word to the wise

    not all tacos are created equal. i generally keep things pretty simple and stick to (1) potato & egg (sometimes with cheese if i've got a little extra change in my pocket), (2) bean & cheese, (3) huevos a la mexicana (translation: egg w/jalapeños, onions and tomatoes... the colors of the mexican flag!), (4) chilaquiles or (5) migas tacos. i know, i know, some of you might think the latter two are tortilla overkills, but trust me: THERE IS NO SUCH THING. el chiste, amiguitos mios, es esto: hay tortillas de harina Y de maíz. las dos hacen una combinación INCREIBLE. les DIGO.

    damn, now i'm hungry.


    reading & rocking

    yesterday i was at two airports for about 6 hours total. i went a little crazy, this is true, but i also got a lot of reading done. on my way up north i read the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by mark haddon. apparently it's a best-seller and, as amazon describes it, a murder mystery of sorts told by an autistic boy. it was a quick read and makes for a very appropriate gift for my 14-yr old cousin. hopefully it will make up for the time i took her to see vanilla sky and ended up covering her ears and eyes half the movie. yesterday i ploughed through most of the dark bride by laura restrepo. i wish i had read it in spanish, but alas, i'm lazy and don't like to bring dictionaries when i travel. not too bad... i actually picked it up solely because both isabel allende and gabriel garcía márquez wrote reviews for it, but it's definitely not comparable to either of their work. it's a fictional account of a journalist's attempt to uncover the past of a famous colombian prostitute.

    now i'm back at my parents' house to see them off on their trip to france tomorrow... last night i made a list of art-related things that my mother must buy me. it's quite detailed and extensive. since my parents don't speak french it will be a wonder if i get anything at all. they're going to visit my aunt, who is a nun in lourdes and will be leaving france in the fall to return to a convent in rome.

    speaking of my family, i finally have pictures up! this is the little kiddo that wore me out for the last week:

    and this is my adorable godson:

    miércoles, julio 06, 2005


    as if you didn't know this already...

    i am an educational blog snob. i am quite happy with most of the links on my blogroll but may need to do a little summer cleaning for those of you who never update. consider yourselves warned.

    why do you think certain bloggers, like ms. frizzle and hipteacher, make everyone's bloglist? do you think it's sheer popularity, "interestingness" or "safeness", what? they're not particularly controversial or bitchy (and certainly don't curse as often as this marinera) and often have your standard inspiring teacher stories, but am i the only one who gets bored reading other people's lesson plans and long-winded self-critiques? i like hearing about the craziness (holla at hatter and mistah babylon) and the tears (nod to miss megan). although in all fairness, frizzle's blog is the first really good ed blog i ever read, so i have to give her props. and a link.

    but while i'm being catty... while i go to certain "experts" for my ed news (see the "todo sobre educacion" links to the left), i think certain topics don't even justify posting, such as edwonk's recent piece on dress codes that ends like so:

    My own personal thought is that if teachers wish to be treated as professionals, they should start by being dressed professionally. This means that both men and women should dress for the classroom, and not for an evening at the local dance club.

    you know what? i wear business casual (nice dress tops, knee-length skirts) AND flip flops (the thick-soled kind, not rubber). and i have a nose piercing. does that make me less of a professional? my shoewear does not have any correlation whatsoever with my teaching. i think i should be a role model for my kids but i don't think it makes sense for me to show up in hose and heels when some of my kids bring their school supplies in a grocery bag because they can't afford a backpack. i have a friend who teaches 2nd grade at my school whose arms are covered with tattoos... in FACT, his latest forearm piece was designed by yours truly. should he have to cover them up to be a better "professional"? as long as he doesn't have obscenities, nude women, etc., i don't see how this is a negative influence or model for his students. several of my students' parents have tattoos. are those inappropriate?

    i try not to talk about race a lot on this blog aside from things that directly relate to my students being 100% hispanic and 100% english language learners. but a lot of what edwonk suggests seems to ME to be coming from a very white, middle-class point of view, not to mention that it stinks of the dress norms from that same slice of society. i'm not saying that because some of my kids' parents dress like cholos y cholas that it's appropriate for me to come to school in selena wear (she's a role model, remember?), but i also think wearing your stereotypical rich white man uniform is not going to help my students and their parents look up to me more. but that's just this angry young brown girl talking... ("frijolero" begins in the background as la maestra fades out)

    *update: mommy prof likes gustavo's idea about uniforms and gives a parent thumbs-up to teachers dressing reasonably, not necessarily "professionally". yay mommy prof!

    lunes, julio 04, 2005


    where the fireflies dance

    today was interesting. we ate, met a crazy lady, sang karaoke, ate, my cousins helped me with the ins and outs of dance dance revolution, gossiped, ate, and had some sad talks.

    in 2002, my 3-yr-old cousin m died abroad while her family attended another cousin's wedding. visiting her mother(my aunt)'s house can be very difficult because it holds a lot of memories even though they moved a year and a half ago. little things, like my little cousin rocking out to karaoke, remind us -and particularly my aunt and uncle- of my lost cousin. certain songs we no longer sing because the associations are so strong... certain family stories cannot be told without tears flowing, and sometimes my aunt just goes silent or bursts into tears. it's hard. and what's even harder, as i just discussed with my older cousin with whom i'm staying, is that we're starting to forget. she told me she had forgotten m's birthday and was wondering why she couldn't get a hold of her mother. i admitted that i didn't even know the exact anniversary of her death because it coincided with the same timeframe of my mom's cancer diagnosis and i was an emotional mess back then. our memories are getting fuzzier as we've progressed through the healing process. what do you say? what do you do? i'm glad i can talk to my older cousins about it and know that i'm not the only one who is often at a loss.

    cutie pie pics will be posted thursday. tomorrow my godson's sister has swimming lessons!

    domingo, julio 03, 2005



    you'd never be able to tell that i work with kids on a daily basis from the way my primitos consistently wear me out. i got into philly friday... my cab driver from providence turned out to be from west philly and it was all i could do from saying "like will smith!" i promised my man i'd eat a hoagie for him, but so far i've been slacking. i did some much-needed bonding with my cousin chris, hanging out with his friends and finally getting a taste of philly's club/music scene. we went to a club that featured live rock bands on one side and an awesome hip-hop DJ on the other. my kind of spot! we had a blast and several drunken phone calls were made. yesterday was all about live 8, although i complained of being too old to go and stand there all day long to see bands that don't mean a lot to me... of course, i had no idea stevie wonder was going to be there, so that might have made me reconsider. what do you guys think of this whole "we don't want your money, we want your voice" thing? there's been a ton of commentary here about it, because with 10 million people attending, with just a $1 admission they could have made a significant contribution, no? call me cynical, but i think the vast majority of the world-wide concertgoers were interested in nothing more than great music for free, and more than likely will not be petitioning for the right reasons if at all. and again, i'm being cynical, but i don't know how effective a petition would be in the first place. this is a problem that has existed for hundreds of years... bob geldof is no visionary, and having a bunch of celebrities "get political" has never seemed to make much different. ok, end of rant!

    *update: megan is much more positive about live 8 than i am, so if my cynicism annoys you, read her blog instead. i have cousins that live in a shack in a third-world country and would starve if my family didn't send money home, so i'm of the mentality that money helps NOW, petitions help later... both are important, but only one will keep those who are currently starving from dying. and frankly, if the the G8 nations really gave a fuck about helping end poverty, they'd do something regardless of the effects of a series of concerts. although goddamn, i was glad to finally see the who live! pink floyd was my first rock concert so they don't make the top slot on my favorite acts list.

    my godson is PRECIOUS, que cacheton! his 4-yr-old sister is super cute too, and has been tiring me out with her "play with me" demands from the moment we wake up to the time her parents drag her to bed. the christening was this morning and afterwards the entire fam plus friends came over for a lunch... that turned into dinner... that turned into us shoving leftovers at them about an hour ago so they could leave and we could sleep.

    painfully funny moment: during one of the many times i was holding my godson, he woke up hungry. as he waited impatiently while his mother was warming his milk, he started making sucking noises... then started sucking his fist... then started grabbing my nipple. my aunts thought this was hysterical and announced over and over again, "There's no milk in there, baby!"

    as is tradition, all we've been doing is eating and gossiping. of course, as the sole teacher in the family and only person in their mid-twenties, it is also my job to supervise the barrage of children and babies, help with food preparation and serving, and tell everyone when i'm getting married. don't get me wrong, i'm not complaining.. this is simply the way it is. at least with my family.

    happy fourth! i will be making stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon as my texan contribution.

    viernes, julio 01, 2005


    saludos desde la ciudad de donas

    ***i don't understand why my pictures aren't showing up. just go to flickr, i guess.***

    for some strange reason, the part of the east coast i've been hanging out in has been nothing but humid and rainy. i thought it would be breezy and balmy. in reality, i've been sweating more here than in texas. at least down south we compensate for the bitter heat with air conditioning everywhere but in the streets.

    first stop on my weeklong tour: providence, rhode island. i reunited with a friend i've known since kindergarten and he gave me the grand 15-minute tour. turns out metropolis (of superman fame) had its skyline modeled after that of downtown providence. even stranger, about 10 yrs ago, the mayor decided to replicate san antonio, tx's riverwalk to rejuvenate downtown (along with an enormous 4-story mall). aside from the universities, those are the city's only claims to fame. oh, and there is a donut place on every corner. hence my charming title. i can't complain, though. there's an italian district with great food and everything's within walking distance.

    second stop: boston, massachusetts. we hopped on a bus midday and an hour later we were in beantown. since it was pay day, i got a few cheesy souvenirs, went crazy at the famous mike's pastry shop, and bought some children's books (you know i can't forget about my chamacos). we hit several tourist spots like the freedom trail, faneuil hall, boston common, quincy market, harvard square, and paul revere's house. we also ventured into the harvard bookstore, north end, and zoomed about via subway. didn't make it to fenway park or the prudential center, but ni modo. some silly pictures:

    the most impressive thing we saw, we happened upon by accident: the new england holocaust memorial. it's a simple yet strikingly somber series of glass towers that are inscribed with millions of identification numbers. each tower is labeled with the name of a concentration camp, and warm steam rises from grates inside each one. the glass doors are inscribed with quotes from survivors, which you read while standing in the uncomfortable steamy space. it's an awkward experience, reading and thinking about such horrible events in the middle of this quaint city as steam surrounds you within a small crystal space. at the end, as you walk over the last few steps, there is this quote by Pastor Martin Niemoeller, which i'm sure most of you already know:

    In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left to speak up.

    i'll leave it at that. time for bed, off to philly in a few hours! cuidense.


    for all the pinoys/pinays out there...

    i had no idea there was a filipino comedian on the circuit... his name's rex navarrete and he's HYSTERICAL... but i guess if you're not filipino nor know filipinos, you just won't get it. so if that's not going to do anything for you, pick up chapelle's show season 2. fantastic.

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