Archive for December, 2007

December 29, 2007


by la rebelde

My grampa has a few favorite stories he likes to tell about each of us. Stories he tells with a big smile that spreads his wisdom lines across his entire face. As he has grown older, the stories we hear each time we see him have become more elaborate. And my gramma always sits to the side, shaking her head with a smile, whispering to whoever sits next to her, that the story is, in fact, a tall tale. The whole process of his story-telling and my gramma’s reaction makes everyone giggle along with them.

For instance, when I was small, I liked to take pictures with his camera when we’d go fishing together. But for some reason, my finger always got in the way. He’d develop the photos for me and write “Isa special” on the back. Now, some 20 years later, he still says “she’s an expert in taking pictures of her thumbnail.”

But his favorite story, as of late, is about my skunk charming abilities, which he told for the hundredth time at breakfast this morning. According to him, when I was 11 years old, I went to the goose pen one night to collect the eggs and there was a skunk sitting on top of the nest. So I picked up the skunk with my bare hands, grabbed the eggs from underneath and set the skunk back down without getting sprayed. I wasn’t even scared. And I’ve been a friend to the skunks ever since.

This is not exactly how I remember the events of my encounter with that particular skunk. My grampa wasn’t there when it happened either. As I remember it, I went with my mom to feed and collect the duck eggs. I saw the skunk. Screamed high bloody hell. Dropped the flashlight I was carrying, and the water bucket. And we both ran back to the house as fast as our short stubby legs could take us. I didn’t get sprayed, but a teeny bit got on my feet. And sadly, I was wearing my favorite pair of acid-washed jeans that my gramma bought for me, and black gener-ass keds from payless that I had decorated with puffy paint, which we had to bury in the ground for over a month. For an adolescent girl who had to wear an ugly red and blue plaid skirt everyday and who only owned one pair of jeans, this was devastating.

I’m not sure whether my grampa actually believes that his version of the story is true. My grandparents are amazing storytellers and even if I remember the story differently, I’m convinced their stories hold truths. I wouldn’t call myself a “friend” of the skunks, but they do come up to me like cats, which is strange and interesting. However, I have never touched one and do not ever plan to do so.

this cute little skunk button can be purchased here.

December 18, 2007

grad school survival.

by la rebelde

hey everyone. check out the 14th Carnival of GRADual Progress. PsychGirl included links from a bunch of us grad students who’ve blogged about surviving the madness that is grad school, including me and my girl, Quiche!

December 11, 2007

mid-december snippets.

by la rebelde

Random reminiscences from the last few days.

  • Was driving on the 210 the other evening when a giant menorah atop a minivan going 70 mph passed me. 2 of the very bright candles were lit!
  • Had brunch with an LA historian whose book is important for my dissertation–his partner is a friend of a friend. He said that it’s probably not fungus that I’m allergic to in the archive, but dust, because if there was fungus, the whole archive would be quarantined. He knows of examples when this has happened. (I discussed my allergic reaction to los archivos in my last post.)
  • Used the weekend to clear the archive “dust” from my nasal passages. (and seriously, do we really know what the archive dust is composed of? Isn’t it possible that the “dust” has dead fungus in it? I’m no scientist, but its just a thought…)
  • Attended a local Latino holiday festival at the high school down the street. There were lots of children dancing. It made me think about how different my life might be had I gone to a high school of mostly Asian and Latino students (as opposed to the white one in WV).
  • Attempted unsuccessfully to open a bottle of wine with a screw-on top. It was on sale. And it still sits in the fridge unopened and unenjoyed.
  • Had dinner with a married friend and two of her couple-friends (that’s 5 people not including me: 2 married couples + 1 married friend whose husband is out of town). Both couples are expecting—one is about to pop at any moment. It was interesting conversation and kind of exciting—baby rooms, baby clothes, diaper bags, food cravings, sore legs and backs. If they weren’t such cool people, I might have vomited a little in the back of my mouth. I say this fully knowing that when my close friends or I become preggers, we’ll probably talk about it non-stop too. (And I would understand if the single-and-slightly-bitter person wanted to vomit a little in the back of her/his mouth then too.)
  • A big white Santa, wearing yellow shades, came into the room with the old stuff at the Spiffy-ton today, just as they rang the lunch bell (which means we have to turn in all the old stuff until they come back from lunch break). I got up to return my old-ass book, but Santa ran after me with a bag of Hershey kisses. It was weird, but I love Hershey kisses!
December 7, 2007

watchate with los archivos.

by la rebelde

There are some hazards to working in los archivos for 4+ days per week. Ones I didn’t know about until now. I mean, there are the usual culprits. Smished ass and sore back because the chairs are uncomfortable. Carpal tunnel because you have to type everything when photocopies cost a ridiculous amount and they don’t allow cameras. Strained eyes from looking at bad 19th century handwriting, sometimes in dim lighting—especially when those dudes got happy with the inkwells. Sore knees because your feet usually don’t reach the ground.

Then, of course, when you’ve been holed up amongst the dead-come-back-to-life for hours on end, you can’t help but become a little more loca than you were last week. Especially if you read racist accounts written by white people for hours on end because that is the only way you can get at the “voices” of the brown people you really want to study.

Lucky for me, the Spiffy-ton has very nice desk chairs with lumbar support and the ability to adjust to my small stature. And the lighting is great (if you stay in the room with the old stuff and away from the retro dark room). And I live close enough to get home to my t.v. and couch within 15 minutes. Did I mention I have cable now?

But the newest hazard for me has been the literal allergic reaction I’ve had to the old stuff. They make me sneeze a lot and my nose run, which is so not cool when the silence in the room is deafening despite the 20 or so other researchers surrounding me. A few weeks ago a friend (a postwar historian, no less!!) suggested that I wear gloves to protect myself from “archive fungus.” Yea dude. Archive. Fungus. Then one day I saw a woman wearing a bandana over her face while looking at old stuff. And then today, someone else pointed out that there is a lot of mold. Okay, so maybe I’m not allergic to los archivos…I’m allergic to the archive fungus. Who knew historical research was a biological battle as well as an intellectual one! Whoever said that the documents are alive, was not kidding.

December 5, 2007

la super picosa.

by la rebelde

Because I’m bored–and tired from spending so much time looking at old stuff–I decided to take this little quiz just for fun before heading off to bed. (saw it on a few other blogas.) It says I’m hot, y’all! Now I can sleep well knowing that my life at los archivos could be crazy interesting at any minute because I have fruity goodness and flavor. Bring it on, Spiffy-ton!

Your Score: Habanero Pepper

You scored 75% intoxication, 100% hotness, 50% complexity, and 75% craziness!

You are Habanero!

You’re hot and very flavourful. Unlike most hot peppers, your fruity goodness really comes through. You’re great in unexpected situations, and quite vibrant, to boot. You’re fun, spontaneous, and have been known to cause intense giggle fits. Woot!

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test written by jodiesattva on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test
December 2, 2007

a deadline.

by la rebelde

I have a deadline for a chapter draft—mid February. This is very good, but very scary. I am still researching and I’m not sure when the researching will ever end! Perhaps I don’t need to be done with the researching to start the writing. But it makes me uncomfortable for some reason. Regardless, I definitely have a lot more to do before I can even write one chapter.

This deadline was given to me by my new dissertation-writing group, which I participated in for the first time yesterday. And unlike the other woman in the group, I didn’t hoot-and-holla and do a silly dance in the library when I got the deadline. I’m not saying this stuff doesn’t excite me, but I’m not that kind of academic. I’m just sayin.

But I need this no matter how scary it is. It will help me prepare for another dissertation-writing fellowship application, not to mention, my (apparently super ambitious-according to profa) writing schedule, which I need to keep so I can finish next year. And it will be good for me to have a growing academic community in l.a.—even if it did take me 2 ½ hours to commute there and back. Dude, it’s really only like 10 miles away. And I knew better than to take the freeway through downtown when the streets are clearly a better option. Damn that l.a. traffic!