Archive for ‘seasons’

October 23, 2007

monday stream of consciousness.

by la rebelde
  • The fires in SoCal and México are crazy out of control. I feel for the people whose lives are deeply affected. I’m annoyed at the news coverage for focusing so much on the “expensive homes” (i.e. freakin’ gigantic-ass mansions) that are burning down, as if the impact on wealth (not people) is what makes the fires so devastating.
  • Profa asked for an updated prospectus and research plan. She’s totally kicking me in the nalgas with her Dansko clog. I need a kick in the nalgas. How did she know that? Is it because I haven’t emailed her in months?
  • Had trouble falling asleep last night. Woke early this morning to the sound of chain saws outside my bedroom window. They’re cutting the branches off the trees across the street. Soon they will do the ones in my complex. It’s fall in LA. That means palm tree carcasses everywhere.
  • October is almost over. How did that happen? And why the heck is it going to be in the 90s for the next few days?!
  • When my radio alarm went off, I thought, “gee wiz, NPR is suddenly way more radical today!” Turns out I accidentally tuned to Pacifica Radio last night after listening to Super Estrella 107.1. A nice surprise. I should do that more often.
  • Skipped going to the gym today…again. I keep using the temporary cancellation of spinning classes in my gym and the sheer number of güeros in the Pasadena location as excuses not to go. Thursday I will have no excuses. And as my good amiga says, we shouldn’t let our dissertations/unhappiness (or güeros for that matter) take their tolls on our bodies—not if we can help it.
  • p.m.s. sucks. so does the period. still glad it’s here though.
  • I decided that paying for the internet at coffeshops is buuuunk!! And I’d rather drive several miles further, than pay for it. Even though the crowd is mostly brown and it’s only 4 blocks from my apartment. That’s how bunk it is.

That’s all for now folks. Back to work…at a coffeeshop much further away.

September 1, 2007

hotter.

by la rebelde

I know I’ve complained about the heat before, but, dude…it’s HOT. It’s seriously fuckin’ hot. The kind of hot that clouds your thoughts, makes your brain mushy, so you can’t concentrate or focus. The kind that makes your bangs stick to your forehead and your sunglasses slide off your nose. The kind that makes you think you’d rather be stuck in traffic than in your apartment because your car has a working air conditioner. Yes, it is that hot.

This afternoon I packed up my paperwork and my ‘puter and took my ass over to the tea shop to grab a bite for lunch and finish up this article submission. (It’s due tomorrow, btw.) So I get seated, I spread the pages of my draft on the table, get my red pen out, order my iced lychee black tea and fried tofu and get to work. It’s always slow-going at first, since I’m not very good at eating and concentrating at the same time. (Sad but true.) Just when I finish eating, the manager comes up to my table and fiddles with the air conditioner control box located on the wall over my head. It was 85 degrees at that moment according to the box. And I was feeling GOOD–much cooler than in my apartment and not freezing cold (like how they like to keep the temp in tejas). Next thing I know, they open all the doors. The a.c. was off/broken. When it hit 93, I had to bounce.

I drove to Pasadena and window-shopped in Barnes and Nobles for the next 2 hours. It was heaven, but it didn’t help me get work done. I did buy a little card for my tío in nuevo york though.

There have been warnings about the possibility of a brown-out. So everyone has been urged to conserve. And I certainly have been–no forgetting to turn the fan off when I move to the next room. No standing with the fridge open for unnecessary time. No leaving lights on when I don’t need to. If there’s a brown-out, I’ll be really pissed that my fan doesn’t work because a whole buncha assholes (like those corporate lawyer fools in NYC) decided to keep their air-conditioning set at like 70. I really NEED my fan to work, for realz.

Or else I’ll have to make a spur-of the-moment trip to ‘burque–manito’s got a super energy-saving a.c. situation in his casita. When I get a job, I’m gonna get me one of those too!

July 29, 2007

hot.

by la rebelde

It’s hot outside. And even hotter in my apartment. I’m afraid it will get even hotter in the next few weeks. The dread of heat makes me think about sleeping, because heat makes me sleepy and because it’s hard to sleep when it’s too hot.

When I was 8 years old, we moved from our small adobe (the real kind) home near Cinco Puntos into a brand-new double-wide home on wheels near the railroad tracks almost as far south on 2nd Street as the road goes in Alburquerque’s South Valley. It was so exciting because the trailer house came furnished, with furniture that matched the wallpaper and curtains that matched the carpets. My mom never cared whether anything matched—only if it was cheap–so this was a first. My parents had the trailer set on an empty lot, on a dead-end dirt road, surrounded by tumbleweeds and unfortunately, no trees. All of our neighbors lived in trailer houses too. For the first few weeks in our new place, we had no electricity or gas. Luckily, we had water. If you’ve ever lived in a trailer house, you’ll know that they don’t have very good insulation, that they trap heat inside like a big ole oven. And in the nuevo méxico sunshine, it couldn’t get any hotter. As kids, we didn’t seem to notice the heat too much. We were too busy playing outside, going to swimming lessons and doing other summertime things that need not be done in the house. It was only at night that I really remember the feeling of being too hot.

When we first moved in, we had to use flashlights at night. It forced us to go to bed earlier than usual. Even though desert nights were cool, there was not enough air circulation to bring in the outside air. Once the electricity was up and running, my brothers and I would take turns sleeping in front of the air conditioner on three dining chairs we’d pull together to stretch out on. My mom would often put a large box fan in between my brothers’ room and mine. She would shift it so that each of our rooms got the fan for a little bit–fifteen minutes toward their room, fifteen minutes toward mine. Sleeping in the heat was miserable. Three years later we moved across the Río Grande to Los Padillas. Our adobe house was surrounded by tall fruit trees and cottonwoods. We didn’t even need the fans after that. It was such a welcome relief.

There was only one other time I remember being that hot. It was the summer of 1999, between college and grad school. I stayed in an awful third-floor walk-up studio apartment in Brooklyn with my ex. I was trying to find temp work, but ended up spending most of the days in the apartment with the windows open, hoping it would cool down, the smell of pigeon crap wafting into the room from the fire escape. I never got a good night’s rest that summer because the heat made me toss and turn. That was the first summer in a long time that the electricity went out in NYC. Too many people were too hot and using up all the juice. For a week or so, I went to the law firm with my ex, spending the day in an empty office so that I could be in the air conditioning. The electricity only went out in the poor brown areas, like Washington Heights and Harlem. Of course, midtown and downtown, the financial districts, were fine. I remember being really pissed off that despite the requests of the city for folks to conserve energy, those corporate assholes kept the a.c. going full-blast. I was pissed too, because had my ex not been a law student intern, I would not have had a cool place to escape from the heat. I was pissed because there were sick people stuck in their apartments without elevator access, people who were scraping by and whose food spoiled, viejitos who were dying because the temperatures in their apartments were unhealthily high. And yet, the a.c. and every single light and computer, regardless of whether they were in use, was on in the law firm where I found refuge from the blazing heat.

It’s not even as hot in my LA apartment now as it was in the trailer or in that Brooklyn apartment. But it reminds me of how much worse it could be. Some day soon, I will have a job that will allow me to pay for an apartment with central air. Hopefully it will be in a place where sunshine abounds. I keep telling myself I’ve lived in hotter and worse conditions, in hopes that it will make me feel a little cooler. But it hasn’t worked. It does, however, remind me to conserve energy more.

June 30, 2007

summertime.

by la rebelde

It’s a hot day aquí en los angeles. I write this as I sit at my dining table in front of my fan. I don’t have a.c. but right about now I really wish I did. And I know it will get even hotter as the weeks go by. The best thing about summertime? Chillin’ with the homies. Sippin’ on cold drinks with old amig@s, with whom conversation starts here, right where we are, because we’ve already been through some shiznitz together. Getting to know new folks, some of whom might become old amig@s too after a while. Those kinds of things don’t happen often enough.

When I was in college, the first sign of summertime—the first afternoon over 60 degrees—was signaled by the naked hippies who would dance around in the grass where the student union met the library, doing “contact improv” dancing. We brown folks usually sat on the steps of the union, listened to music between classes, and chatted about whatever was going down at the moment. I used to think there was nothing better than that. But that was in the mid/late 90s when radio hip hop was still good…and having political conversations while chillin next to the boombox or the d.j. booth was my favorite pastime. It meant the summer was on its way and there would soon be relief from the building stresses of the school year. I was a different person then. But I would do that very same thing now, if given the opportunity. (I went to a small liberal arts school in the Great Lakes area with a very large population of funky hippies and a historical legacy of social & environmental justice. It was very cold and dark and high drama there most of the time. So we had a great appreciation for warm weather and sunshine and summer vacation.)

This year I didn’t stop to appreciate the arrival of summer (although I did stop to appreciate the arrival of springtime shoes). Partly because I live in LA, where the transition from spring to summer is not a drastic one. I hadn’t thought about it until someone mentioned it recently, but the summertime is already half way over! Since I’ve been on my own schedule over the last year (due to fellowship funding) and away from the daily grind of academic environment, I paid little attention to the announcement of events that usually mark my time. Like grading midterm exams. Or registering for classes. Or looking forward to the end of the semester so I can go home…or at least celebrate at the bar without guilt before easing back into my work…whatever the case may be. The only marker I have right now, is looking forward to my next fellowship check, which is still a couple months away, but which will come as welcome relief to my rhetorical pocketbook.

The realization of summertime passing strikes a mild fear somewhere deep in my gut about the status of my pinche dissertation. Or maybe it’s more of an annoying impatience. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the two feelings. I am not nearly as far along in my archival research as I thought I would be by this point. Back when I wrote my prospectus, I imagined having most, if not all, of my archival research done by the end of the summer. But here I am, half way through the summer, only one archival collection significantly under my belt, and no end in sight. Not yet.

I remember telling someone a while back that I refuse to define my life by semesters. It was my attempt to resist making academics (my job) my life, rather than the people I care about. And here I am, thinking about the summertime, bracketing it by semesters, appreciating the visits of amig@s who have time to travel in the summer because they are also academics, and thinking about how I couldn’t afford an a.c. even if I really wanted one. I wonder if this profession will always have me struggling against squeezing “life” into semester boxes.

April 26, 2007

zapatos en la primavera.

by la rebelde

I lovelovelove springtime. In fact, it’s the only thing I really miss about small-midwestern-college-town. When you dwell in places where it is dark and damp for months and months…and months, you come to appreciate the significance of weather changes, especially when it changes for the better!

La primavera in Los Angeles is not as shabby as I would have thought, having lived in tejas, where there is no springtime to speak of really. There are lots of very fragrant flores, which is, after all, the most important part. But really, I just want to do some shoe shopping. Okay, so that’s not really weather-related, because I’m a shoe-addict in any weather. But the springtime has me thinking about cute and comfy warm-weather zapatos.

I’ve been on the lookout for canvas sneaker/ballet slippers for a few weeks now. Unfortunately, the ones I really like—the ones that would just “make” my wardrobe—are not made in my size! First rejected at Aldo, I set out to look for others. I found these beauties at Lacoste—they’re even cuter than the ones at Aldo. I like them in orange. Orange makes me happy. BUT the smallest size they come in, is a 6. (I wear a 5 or 5 ½, in case you were wondering. And for some reason, the shoe salesmen—usually men—always ask if I want to try on the size 6 “just in case.” Size 6 is too big. Duh.) It’s small feet discrimination, I tell you! I guess these zapatos are just not my future.

I probably wouldn’t have bought them anyhow. $79 is way too much to pay for glorified keds. And…you know…I’m not an academic baller. Not yet. The springtime shoe search continues! And maybe I should get back to work on the pinche dissertation instead of online shopping. Dang!

March 21, 2007

things that make you smile real big.

by la rebelde

Great day already today. And I want to share the goodness.

After staying up late last night working on the paper for an impending conference (and talking on the phone), I got up early and drove downtown for my weekly one-on-one Spanish lesson. As I through the mercadito de La Calle Olvera and over the bridge that crosses the 101, it started to hail and the temperature dropped suddenly. How’s that for the last day of winter? Brrrr! For sure, this day is not off to a good start, I thought as I ran across the street and ice pelted me from the heavens, and now I have to concentrate on speaking only Spanish for the next 90 minutes! Speaking Spanish has been difficult for me. Not because of outside pressure, but more because of my own anxieties about not being fluent in a language that I expect myself to be able to speak well, seeing as how I am nuevomexicana, and grew up in nuevo méxico around Spanish-speaking people and all. Well, I know most of my generation at home is in the same boat, but still. When I first sat down, my teacher asked me what I had done last week and I told her I’d been writing a paper presentation. And of course, she wanted to know what my paper was about, so then I had to explain it—analysis and all—in Spanish. Phew! But I felt good afterward, if only because I survived the explanation. Good thing I couldn’t hear myself from outside my own body…

On the way home from running errands, I decided to grab a bowl of pho at a restaurant near my apartment. I’ve had a hankering for pho for several days now–make that weeks–since my favorite pho place has been closed for the last month or so. And when my radio alarm clock sounded this morning, they were talking about pho on NPR. Now I really had to get some. And since I haven’t had anyone to with, I finally went by myself, which is something I don’t do terribly often since I moved to LA. I just don’t see many women eating alone in restaurants, so I feel conspicuous. But to hell with that, because the pho was yuuuuumy! And I treated myself to my favorite almond milk grean tea (iced, no boba) to sip while writing my paper at home. Lucky me, there was a “rainy day discount”–25% off–at my tea spot.

And if I wasn’t already feeling pretty good, my homie DJ Fuzzylogic, IM’d me this link. So cute. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will!

The link DJ FuzzyL sent me is much better and doesn’t have the annoying news anchor personalities, so definitely watch this and not only the one in the youtube box above. Sorry my webskills are too limited to figure out how to put this better one in the video box thingy on the blog.
Okay, back to writing.

March 11, 2007

random weather-related complaining.

by la rebelde

Most people who know me, know that I can be obsessive about the weather. When I was a little girl, my mom used to let me check the weather forcast every morning by calling the local AM radio station. I still check weather forcasts regularly–on the internet, on t.v., and most often on my cell phone.

The weather has been ridiculously warm lately. Tomorrow is predicted to be 95 degrees in “the valleys.” Warm…no, wait, hot weather like this—that comes in February or March—always throws me off a bit. It makes me apprehensive about the impending summertime heat, especially now that I do not have a/c. It reminds me of how much I love the springtime, when it happens… In case anyone was wondering, this is not springtime.

With this too-warm weather, I’ve come down with a bizarre sickness. It may be allergies. It may have begun with allergies. Anyway, my sore throat and stuffy nose left me apartment-bound for the last few days. I have done no research. I have not started on the paper that I’m presenting at a conference in less than three weeks, and which I owe to my commentator in one. Instead, I have a new love-hate relationship with my couch. And I’ve become well-acquainted with new internet-available prime time t.v. shows–most recently, Friday Night Lights. (They’re new to me anyway. Well, semi-new now that I’ve watched every episode to date.) I’ve also realized that open windows in clustered apartments means you can hear everything in range. I can especially hear the conversations of the adolescent boys who like to hang out on my stoop, right outside my living room window. (At least their spot is not underneath my bedroom window.) Right now they are talking about the pros and cons of fighting someone at school. Not that I’m evesdropping, but there is a silent break in the online-t.v.-watching every time the show reloads. Who knew teenage boys had such deep conversations.

And of course, being sick always makes me miss my mom. Yea, it was that kind of day today. But I’m sure I’ll feel better tomorrow if I think positive thoughts!

February 16, 2007

v-day in the life of a single grad student.

by la rebelde

I’m not really a fan of v-day, especially not the last several years. I’m not saying I will always feel that way. I could be convinced that I’ve been overlooking something amazing about that day. But for the moment, I have to say, v-day experiences always seem to be a series of mishaps that leave me at the end of the day thinking, what the heck just happened?

My best memory of v-day is when, during my first year in grad school, ex-boyfriend sent me bell hooks’ All About Love because he said I was badass like bell. I don’t know about all that, but it was a sweet gesture and meant a lot to me at the time. That was in 2000—when the book just came out. (That’s how long I’ve been in grad school—sshhhh! Don’t say it outloud.) And I’m embarassed to say this, but I never read it. (Hey, I was in my first year of course work hell!)

Last year, the grad student boy I was dating had a great idea for a v-day outing—grabbing some sandwiches from Jimmy John’s and going to the indoor botanical gardens (had to be indoor because it was freakin’ cold in small-midwestern-college-town) for a little picnic. But he had class during the garden’s visitor hours, so we postponed until later that week. Since he had no backup plan, I called him that night and invited him out for ice cream, which I thought was harmless since we had only been dating for about three weeks. We both had a crap-load of work to do and it would be a short-and-sweet get-together and I really liked him, so… We walked through the cold toward the ice cream parlor, a couple of Chican@s far away from home, shivering in the biting upper-Midwestern wind. He gave me a heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie with “Happy Valentines Day” written on it in red and white frosting. I could tell it was a last-minute gift he picked up in the student union on the way to meet me. Of course, I was all excited that I got a valentine gift at all. (I’m easily pleased.) We had barely sat down when he busted out with the relationship talk. I wasn’t really ready for the talk yet, but there it was. I thought it went okay in the moment. But in retrospect, it was the beginning of the end of that relationship. We never made it to the botanical gardens, even though we dated for over a month more. And to think, I just wanted to have ice cream on v-day with the very cute boy I was dating. Sheeesh!

So this year was spent busily, even stressfully, but there was nothing exciting about it. My girl, the super-historian grad student, is in town to do archival visits, so I went with her to UCLA to do some research. She likes the archives much more than I do, so I’m hoping her enthusiasm will rub off on me. I just want to tell the story, without braving the dust. But that’s another post altogether.

  • Got stuck in the entrance to the parking structure because I didn’t know you needed to buy a visitor pass first. Some jackass wouldn’t give me room to back out. What’s up with the drivers on the west side? They cut you off. They don’t let you merge or switch lanes. They’re generally rude. I think it must be a weird manifest destiny space entitlement issue and all that beachiness over there.
  • Found a great oral history collection that will surely take me weeks, possibly months, to get through. Ah, the bittersweet treasure hunt for archives to bring the story to life!
  • Sat in the sunshine, ate a salad, and read the dissertation that someone else wrote five years ago about the same people and time that I’m writing about. Luckily, it’s not the same dissertation. At least I’m pretty sure its not. Or else it won’t be. Had a little bit of an existential crisis about it the other day, when I found out about said-dissertation by accident.
  • On the ride home, I missed the freeway entrance and ended up in Santa Monica. Spent 2 ½ hours in the car trying to get back home. (It wasn’t terrible, but if I had to do that kind of commute everyday in rush-hour traffic, I’d want to scream…or kick someone’s car really hard!)
  • Got my car an oil change because I have driven more in the last few months in LA than I did the entire three years I lived in small-midwestern-college-town.
  • Came home and searched archives online, with little luck, because they’re never organized the way you think they will be.

So this year’s v-day was just another day in the life of a dissertator. At least the parking attendant guy at the campus smiled and wished me a happy v-day! Hope your v-day was better than mine. ;) And here’s to hoping that next year will be full of all that fun love stuff that people talk about.

December 22, 2006

desert snow.

by la rebelde

As I was preparing for my trip to small-midwestern-college-town, I realized that I was very anxious about the cold. Actually, I was more anxious about the shock of the cold, than the cold itself. But as I packed my suitcase, I was reminded about how much I love winter accessories. When I lived in Tejas, I hardly used them and had been so excited about the cooler weather in the upper Midwest that I went crazy buying funky hats and colorful scarves and fabulous coats. Last week in my LA apartment, I stuffed my cream colored down jacket into my duffle bag, along with my rosey scarf and JLo knit hat. Turns out, I brought the warmth from LA with me and was overheated every time I ventured outdoors. What a disappointment! Well, at least I looked cute, even if my attire was weather inappropriate.

Lucky me, the last few days in Burque have been mad snowy! Blizzards. Blizzards, I tell you! And I love it. There’s nothing like desert snow that reminds me of childhood. Even when I was a kid, I was into winter accessories. My grandmother in NYC used to send boxes of clothing for me. Stuff that she would make with the scraps from the sweatshop where she worked. The memory of those Chinese drawstring pants is what I recall the best. But there was a caramel brown wool coat that I loved and which I was only allowed to wear on the coldest of days or on special days—like for church. Hanging in my grandparents’ house is a foto of me in the coat standing in the snow next to a new-born spring calf at my grandparents meadow down the street from their house. Winter in Nuevo Mexico reminds me of ice fishing with my grandpa at Eagle Nest or standing on the bridge at the beginning of my grandparents’ driveway looking down at the icy cold water of Rio Lucero rushing underneath us. Now that I’m pushing 30, and live far away from mis abuelos, I cling to the small things of wintertime that remind me of them. Winter accessories are like snow gently piled on the blades of yucca next to illuminated farolitos…makes ya feel all warm inside!