Archive for January, 2007

January 29, 2007

morning rituals.

by la rebelde

I woke up this morning at 6:30am, completely by accident. My eyes just popped right open and even though I tried to go back to sleep, I couldn’t. I just laid there, awake, thinking about all the morning rituals I’ve had in the past, but no longer do because I have no set schedule in my life right now. And how those schedules were locally specific and historically contextual. Or whatever.

When I was a toddler, I would get up and play while my mom did things around the house. I would watch the dust float in the slices of sunlight that shown through windows, squeezing through the slits between olive green curtains. My brother and I would play in the front yard, making tacos for our imaginary taco cart out of leaves, rose petals, pebbles and seeds from the four-o-clock bushes my mom planted. We would watch Sesame Street and Mr Roger’s before having ramen or cheese/grape/turkey toothpick kabobs outside. The days stretched ahead then. Time, itself, passed by at a different speed.

On Saturdays, when I lived in Brooklyn, ex-boyfriend would go down the street to get us coffee, hot bagels, scallion tofu spread that tasted like cream cheese. He would come back and read the New York Times in the bed, while we ate the bagels. I would listen to the traffic below our bedroom window and listen to NPR. I wasn’t a fan of crumbs in the bed, but it was nice. I very rarely miss him anymore, but I often miss his companionship. I’ve come to know the difference.

When I was still taking coursework in small-midwestern-college-town, I would rush out of bed to the coffee shop—E.R.C.—order an almond skim latte on $2 latte day and cram for seminar. Because I never read ahead like the other grad students in my cohort—especially not that first year in the program.

Then when I was studying for preliminary exams, my girl, M, would call me to make sure I was up and on my way to meet she and Kisha at said coffee shop to read. And I, of course, would get there at least an hour late, because I am not a morning person, even though I love the morning time. By the time I got there they had snagged the big table in the back with the outlets, each having plowed through an entire book by the time I rolled up, only to sit with them for 30 minutes or so before they rushed off to meetings or teaching or class. But those 30 minutes were so important. Because we kept each other on track. Because my girls were going through the same hell I was. A reminder that knowledge is collectively produced and that community is central to everything.

And now I have no regular morning ritual. I am very, very fortunate to be on fellowship, but the lack of a schedule is one of the pitfalls, especially for a procrastinator like me. I have to learn how to find community in different ways or to develop morning rituals for just me. I’ve heard the dissertation process can be extremely isolating, and I’ve been feeling the brunt of that lately. This morning I woke up two hours earlier than I meant to. I made tea and toasted a bagel and read the NY Times online. But perhaps this is the start of a new daily schedule for me. So I can make the most of the sunlight that cuts through the blinds and casts shadows through my aloe plant on my favorite green chair and the purple carpet of my apartment. And so I can write this dang dissertation.

January 25, 2007

beer and books.

by la rebelde

Pete n’ Lo have been talking about signs they have grown older and I’ve got a little story of my own to share.

This weekend, I called a friend to see if she was doing any studying and if she wanted to tea-shop study together. Her boyfriend (also a good friend of mine) was in town, which I had forgotten, and so she invited me to join them for ice cream. After gobbling down a lovely green tea ice cream hot fudge sundae, we were at a loss of what to do next, since they had several hours to kill while waiting for a car repair. So, since it was the night of the last game before the impending superbowl, we decided to go to Dave & Busters, where the game would be on big screen tv, we could have a beer, and get some reading in.

I know what you’re about to say next—you took your books to the bar?!?! Well, yes. Yes I did. And its not the first time I’ve done it. And don’t pretend you’ve never done it either. Beer and books are always a good time!

So we sat at the bar, with our books open, and the waitress came to ask for our order. She didn’t card me. BUT she carded my friend, who would turn 25 two days later. This is the first time that someone at the table at which I’m sitting has gotten carded and I have not! (That is, of course, when I’m not in small-midwestern-college-town, at the old stomping grounds where the waitress didn’t even have to ask what drink I wanted. She never carded me. And she always got my drink right. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name, ya know?)

I could chalk it up to the fact that in my quest to get some reading done, I had not blow-dried my hair or put on any makeup—my usual routine. Yes, I dared to do that as a single Chicana in LA! (It’s not just an LA thing…I rarely went au-natural in small-midwestern-college town.) I guess I really am starting to look my age. I have, afterall, been legally drinking since 1999. But then again, maybe it was the sight of the very large book on the table in front of me—one that screams older than 21.

January 25: Oh my gosh! I’ve actually been legally drinking since 1998. I can’t believe I put down the wrong year! Maybe it was wishful thinking… :)

January 20, 2007


by la rebelde
Logo There are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

According to this little database, there is no one in the United States with my name. I guess I don’t count as living in the United States. Or maybe I don’t exist at all…I’m just a figment of my own imagination! But there are, apparently almost 27,000 people with my same last name.

January 20, 2007

car cultura.

by la rebelde

There are several obvious signs that I am not from Los Angeles, but the most obvious is my car, which is

1) from Nuevo Mexico—I have plates that scream “the land of enchantment” and when I’ve used valet parking (which is not often because I’m a struggling student, but more often in LA because there’s so many damn cars!), the guys often look at the plate, shake their heads and say something like, “Ooooh! New Mexico!” as if it’s ridiculously far off and unknown territory akin to outer space. And then, of course, they give me the look over as if they’re recording to their memory what nuevomexicanas look like. Actually, it’s a look my ex-boyfriend’s best friend used to give when he was checking out some chick—the look at the ass, the shake of the head, the wacko comment “daaaaamn!”—except in this case, its my car that is being objectified. Or maybe it’s me. Or maybe it’s both.
I have to admit that I take some pride in my homeland (not gonna say “state” here since we all know those boundaries are constructs of the nation state). And I do love the bright yellow background with red numbers, and the little green yucca in the corner. I’ve also come to like that is explicitly says “New Mexico, USA”—a testament to all the dumb-asses (believe me, they’re out there) who don’t know that NM is an “incorporated” state, complete with politicians and constitutions and the other stuff that makes a state a state. But on the flip side, it’s also a reminder of the long struggle of Nuevo Mexico to achieve statehood—some 60 years! (can’t remember the exact number, though.) The U.S. Congress did not allow New Mexico to join the union until 1912, when the territory’s population could be considered “American” enough (read guero-enough). It also shows that we (actual nuevomexicanos, not the transplants) are still maintaining some kind of specific regional identity—and hopefully at times, it would be an oppositional one.

2) a Ford. My car is an enormous family-sized sedan and a Ford—my papá’s favorite kind of car (it used to be his). I’m a small-size person and the car is clearly not a good match. It was only a few weeks ago that I found out from my friends that other people can see the top of the hood of their cars! I had no idea! Anyway, no one drives American-made cars in Los Angeles. Perhaps because they kinda suck. But also, I’m thinking, because they’re not so cute. Those Toyotas and Hondas are super cute! My first purchase after I get a job? Definitely a cute Asian-brand car with good gas milage—one with adjustable pedals and seats, and one whose hood I can see a little bit of.

3) filthy as hell. Over the holidays I left my car in my assigned spot for a couple weeks. With all the windy days, there accrued a thick layer of dust and what can only be smog. I’ve never seen dirt STICK like that! In fact, my car has never been this dirty—and I didn’t wash it for 3 years while living in the upper-Midwest! Everyone has shiny clean cars here. So I spent a few days fretting over the embarrassment that I would surely undergo at the neighborhood car wash. It’s one of those places where you pay a pretty penny and they wash and hand dry and all that. When I finally got up the courage to take my dirty-ass car to the joint, there was a ridiculously long line, a million signs, and no clear direction on where to pull up or park. I was so confused that, instead, I drove four miles away to wash my car in the drive-through carwash at the gas station in Pasedena, only to wait in line for 28 minutes. My car still has a film of grime and I paid extra for “prime” washing! Los Angeles, I tell you!

So when I’m in my car, it is obvious that I am not an Angeleno. I still find it funny when friends off-handedly say “You still have New Mexico plates!” because until I’m done with this degree and get a couple real paychecks, this is the car that I’ll be sportin’. That’s quite a while off yet. And even though I’m not a fan of being in the car, I’m begrudgingly coming to terms with the L.A. car culture. It’s not as bad as I thought…once you get used to it. But if we hang out and you offer to be the driver, I won’t turn you down!

January 12, 2007

technical difficulties

by la rebelde

It has come to my attention that my blog is not allowing people to post comments. I emailed the blogger people, but the problem persists. I think I might have to switch my blog to another spot. Dang! What’s the point of having a blog, if others out there in the cyber world cannot comment?

January 10, 2007

tío made me laugh.

by la rebelde

First post of ’07. Back in Nuevo Mexico after only a short stay at my apartment in LA. My tío’s funeral is tomorrow. Of my tíos and tías with whom I spent a lot of time as a child, he is one of the first to pass away. It’s a sad time, but it still feels good to be home.

When I was a kid, papá would take us to my tía’s and tío’s house at least once a month—always after church on Sundays. I always liked going to their house because they had a water bed, cable and a v.c.r.—remember those ones from back in the day that used the little bitty tapes? Yea. They had one of those. And the only kid-friendly movies they had were Annie—who I thought was really annoying, even if I did like her shoes—and the Wizard of Oz. I always chose the Wizard of Oz. We watched it every visit, interrupting my tío’s football game or army movie. Tío would always joke over and over that he didn’t like the “munchkins” in the movie—that he didn’t like any “midgets.” Of course, since the kids at school liked to make fun of my very short stature by calling me a “midget,” I took this a bit personally. It kinda pissed the 11-year-old chingona in me off. But as I reached adolescence, tío’s cable television was a blessing—we watched MTV, especially that show with that annoying Kennedy woman, Yo! MTV Raps, and wouldn’t you know it, Madonna’s crazy “Like a Prayer” video that my Catholic school education frowned upon. Tío let me watch it. And I loved it.

Tío was anything but PC and he had sarcastic comments about everything. He was a military guy from Kentucky—one of the few gueros to marry into that generation of my family. And he constantly referred to himself as a “hillbilly.” My tía once told me that when they first got married, they’d gone with my great grandparents and other tías and tíos to a restaurant in Taos—one of the local joints, where you can’t help but run into familia and where everything you order comes smothered in red or green or both. Tío ordered along with everyone else and when the plates were served, he took a bite and started tearing up, the chile was too hot. Well, everyone had a good laugh at the gringo who couldn’t take the heat, and they all ate their meals. As my tío suffered through the meal, my tía finally tasted his dish only to realize that the cooks had made his chile super-extra hot—a practical joke. My tía did not think it was funny. I have to admit I kinda did, hearing about it decades later. But I can see how it might have been an embarrassing situation at the time.

In my adult years, I only got to visit him occasionally whenever I came home. He made no pretenses to be anything but himself. He always painted life as it was—no unnecessary rosy-ness, no “beating around the bush” as papá says. Tío made me laugh. And I will miss him.