SEVEN via Ktrion

Seven things I plan to do before I kick the can:

1. Buy an I Book
2. Get a Ph.D.
3. Get an M.F.A. in Creative Writing
4. Write and successfully publish a book
5. Buy a casita
6. Visit every continent at least once
7. Not live pay check to pay check

Seven things I can do:

1. Make Thanksgiving dinner
2. Write a decent story
3. Bake
4. Create interesting lessons
5. Listen
6. Duplicate some of my mom’s recipes
7. Tune up a car

Seven things I can't do:

1. Run
2. Get out of a ticket
3. Avoid procrastinating
4. Drive in silence
5. Go to Grad school (at least right now)
6. Leave El Paso without crying
7. Avoid getting nervous when speaking in front of my peers

Seven things that attract me to another person:

1. Friendship
2. Humor
3. Lack of Machi-machismo
4. Intelligence
5. Someone who’s taller than me
6. A non-Republican
7. Someone who can be my partner

Seven things I say most often:

1. Eso me encanta
2. Eso no me encanta
3. Ah que la chingada
4. You are not a CHRISTIAN! (The word Christian is replaced with other words sometimes)
5. Bandit!
6. Quiet!
7. Stop running!

Seven people to do this little blogger game:
3. EMC
Despues les cuento como me fue en El Chuco. For now, I gotta get ready to go celebrate el año nuevo. I hope 2006 brings us all many great things. ¡Salud!


If anything,This Online Driver’s Ed Class Is Allowing Me to Use Driving As a Metaphor

Sometimes, people cut you off without knowing it. They do it because they’re in a hurry. Maybe they’re having an emergency and need to be somewhere. Perhaps their kid fell off a tree and shattered her radius or ulna. Sometimes, people cut you off because you’re getting on their nerves. You’re following the two second rule and they don’t realize that the car in front of you is going just as slow because they’re one of those people that don’t speed. Or maybe while you went over the last hill, they didn’t notice the sea of brake lights up ahead and think you’re being a jerk because they’re tailgating you. Other times, they’re just plain jerks. In any case, these are the kind of people you need to keep away from.


The First Time I was Charlie

You are Franklin!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to Ktrion for the link

It Feels Good to Type or I Don't Really Have a Title & This Entry is Very Random

Friday afternoon, I walked out of SJ Intermediate with a bag full of books, a box full of plants, and a heart full of joy.

I was surprised by the amount of gifts I received from my students. There was the used stuffed Dalmatian that appeared on my desk when I went to go talk to my mentor. It was later discovered who it was from when one of my early morning pupils found the notebook paper stuck to the dog’s side. Then there was the brown box of treasure that a student candidly delivered to me seconds before she had to be down the hall in her Social Studies hall. Actually, it was a box with Ferrero Rocher chocolates, but the way she presented it to me felt like she was giving me a tiny treasure. There was the Frosty cup filled with caramel Kisses and a tiny dog I shall name Herman. Also, there was the kid who delivered the perfect gift for a Language Arts teacher: a book. Then there was the kid in homeroom who presented me with my very own perfumed powder stick. She made me open it in front of her and wear some. Then of course, there were all the stockings the kids decorated for me in Math class. Finally, there was the candy cane a homemade card from the kid that always says, “This class is so boring.” I hope she knows that this totally goes against her, “I really hate your class” attitude and just proves my, “this is really hard and I really need your help” theory I have about her.

This upcoming Friday, I’m heading to El Chuco via I-10 West. I’ve charged up the Gameboy and have the Tetris ready for the long, long drive. I haven’t seen some of my family members in about a year. There’s so much family drama going on right now, but I need to see the kiddos and the mom. Besides, it’ll be interesting to see how the city has changed or stayed the same.


Yesterday, I visited a brand new Borders Bookstore. I never walk into those stores intending to buy anything, and I very rarely buy anything. Most of my books come from the Half Price bookstore because well, I’m on a budget. Anyway, I always scour the bookshelves in the young adult, fiction, biography/memoir, culture & gender studies, and magazine section. Yesterday while poking around in the gender studies section, I was appalled to find Desert Blood on the bookshelf that said “Lesbians.” Yes, the book does talk about a lesbian relationship and the author happens to be a lesbian herself, but so what? Why don’t they put the David Sedaris books on a “Gay” bookshelf? It’s not like that’s the first thing the Library of Congress categorized it as, it’s actually number six on the list. It’s just so interesting that that’s what these big chain bookstores decide to focus on. I took the book and placed it in the fiction section and told the lady that was working in the section about their mistake. I doubt it’ll be there the next time I go back.

In other news, I was ecstatic a couple months ago to see an Arte Público Press title on one of the tables at Barnes and Noble. Also, recently, I found out that the same book is actually in the Accelerated Reader program the kids use.

Finally, a couple days ago, I got the news that the anthology I was asked to submit to was accepted at my ex-employer. I’m guess that means that my stories were accepted by them because they were part of the initial manuscript. At least I think they were, it remains to be seen if my stories will remain in the manuscript.


How Dare You!

The day of my PDAS, I designed a lesson that would allow the kiddos to get their little paws on the keyboards. Since I only have three functioning student computers and four groups of kids, I figured it’d be okay to let one group use my computer. I tend to share a lot of my things with the kids, so really it’s no problem. I’m the kind of teacher that will let them rummage through my desk looking for a pencil.

Anyway, by the time the group of all boys got done with their research, the only computer left was mine. So I herded them over to my desk and told them to get to work.

Next to my computer, I have a picture of Dan the Man and I in a red dollar-find picture frame from Target. The handsome young man, as my sis called him when she visited my class, picked up the picture frame and said, “Ms. who is this?”

There was a lot of talking and somehow it came out that the guy in the picture was my fiancé. When he heard that he was appalled. He walked over to me with the picture and said, “Ms. is that true? Is he your fiancé?”

When I said yes, he said, “Why? I can’t believe you didn’t tell us!”

I smiled at him and told him to get back to work. Nearing the end of class, he came up to my desk and said, “Ms. Why didn’t you tell us? When is your marriage? Are you going to invite me?”

Rewind a day. During homeroom, I told the kids that I’d be gone fourth period and gave them that whole spiel about being on their best behavior for my sub and blah, blah, blah. One kid shouts out with a scowl on his face, “Why can’t you be here? Why don’t you take care of your stuff some other time?”

“I’m going over to neighbor teacher’s class.”

“Why can’t she take care of her own class and leave you alone?”

Their reactions make me laugh. You know, the kind of laugh that makes you throw back your head and show all those cavities to the world. It feels good to hear them say things like that. It also encourages me to try harder because they have expectations of me too.


Mi PDAS es mañana

For those of you who teach, you know what I’m talking about right? For those of you that don’t, it’s that observation for which your teacher told you she’d give you candy and name her first born after you if you were the most darling kid ever when the principal or assistant principal was in the room.

As I was in my room planning for tomorrow, I could hardly sit still. I want things to be perfect.

I’m not necessarily worried about my students. They’re actually the least of my worries. They know exactly how to behave. I’m just worried we won’t have time for all the activities we have planned. I’m doing it first period, so at least I’ll get it out of the way really early. I’m sure tomorrow morning, once that 8:15 am bell rings, I’ll be in do or die mode.


Two Day in the Making

It’s weird being off for an entire week. Friday when I left work, I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to enjoy my week off. Now that it’s Monday, I sort of wish I had something to do. Of course, I could grade papers or clean the apartment, but what fun is that?

Anyway, we didn’t end up getting Alex, the hairless feline. Instead, we got Bandit who looks a lot like the little cat from Pinocchio. We picked him up on Wednesday night and he didn’t allow us to pet him until Saturday night. It seems that he reverts every morning and only wants to be petted at night. At least we’ve made some progress.


That was written yesterday. I managed to do some cleaning yesterday, but the place still isn’t up to snuff according to me. I still haven’t graded papers. I tried to this morning, but then MTV has that damn Real World marathon. Plus, I have to fit in some Ellen time. I LOVE Ellen, so I can’t go the entire week without at least having watched her show once.

I’m sure I’ll get on the ball a little later. That’s how it happened yesterday. One thing I do not like is that I’ve been waking up later and later everyday. That’s not good because when it comes time to go back to work, waking up will be a pain in the butt. I have something to do tomorrow so I’ll attempt the waking up at 6:00 AM.

I’ve been aching to sit and write, but every time that I do, I don’t know what to write about. That’s why I haven’t updated in so long. I know the cure for it is to put away all the damn laundry, create a new play list, grab a nice pen, a notebook, open up a word document, and lay down on my bed and get to work. I’m tempted to load up the old MP3 player and head out to Barnes and Noble and take up some space.

Part of me feels that all these changes in my life have really affected me. I’ve gone through significant change and well, it takes a little time for me to deal and move on.

I’ve been sitting here for a while listening to some tunes, playing collapse and thinking. I’m not exactly sure that I’m happy. I mean, my students bring me great joy. They’re awesome, but it’s such a pain in the ass to comply with all these state regulations. I’m fully capable of complying, but do they make me happy? Then there’s the other part of me that wants to go to grad school and have the kind of job that doesn’t force me to be at my workplace no later than 7:50 AM or 9:00 AM because I can stay later to make up the time or get the job done.

I guess the thing I miss the most are Chai Lattes from Diedrich’s and leaving the E. Cullen Performance hall just as the sun started to set during this time of year. The air was crisp and there was just enough light for sunglasses. I miss the ten minute drive to Montrose to poke around Cactus Music and Videos or the Half Price Bookstore.

But I really miss producing readable pieces, but I know the solution to that. So I’m off to clear the clothes off the floor, take the garbage out, and come up with a new play list that will hopefully help inspire me.


Buenas noticias

I know I haven’t written in a while. Things have been a little busy. Lesson plans were due, the upcoming field trip, and well, I’ve been having a lot of fun in the classroom.

Last week was a great week. Sometime during mid-week, my first period class’ enrollment dropped from 20 to 17. I was left with all the kids that want to be there. They are the ones that ask for time to read. The dynamics are awesome. The give me hope for the rest of the day.

Last week was also when we began teacher rotations. Basically, that means that I go teach someone else’s class for half of our block period. It was really cool. By next Thursday, I’ll have officially taught all the regular ed. sixth graders. After the first rotation, I returned to my first and second period class and the first thing out of my kids' mouths was, “How were they?”

“They were okay,” I replied, “I still like you guys better.”

It’s funny how they become so possessive. If you’re out for a day, when you come back, you’re always faced with, “Where were you Ms?”

Friday, after the final bell rang for the day, I had two of my morning kiddos stop by and say goodbye. I know I’m on some kind of high and I’ll probably come crashing down next week because the kids will be so excited about the field trip, but it’s still nice. I was talking to another new teacher the other day and she was telling me about how her kids put on cooking shows. They had to present them. During the presentations, one of them said her special guest was Bow-Wow. And the teacher was thinking, "What the heck? What are they gonna do for that?" So the kid presenting with the girl started rapping and another kept the beat by tapping his pencil on the desk. It’s moments like that that make it all worth it.

In other news, Tuesday night, I finally got the call I’d been waiting for. It was about 10:30 pm and I was passed out. Somewhere between my snoring and the television, I heard my phone ring. I managed to see "Jorge" flashing on the screen and push the talk button. On the other end of the line I heard a familiar voice saying, “Ya.”



“Ya. She had the baby?”

“Yeah, they took her out about half an hour ago.”

I don’t know what else I said, but I vividly remember my brother saying, “Esta bien greñuda y gordilla.”

I laid in bed for about five minutes wanting to get up and jump with joy. I wanted to run out of the house in my pj’s and drive straight to El Paso to see her. I really can’t wait to meet her. According to my mom, she smiles a lot. I guess we already have something in common because I’ll be doing that for her a lot too.

And so it seems that all the important phone calls come when I’m sleeping because today after my training, Dan the Man demanded I take my cranky ass to bed and take a nap. As I was dreaming about having a fit worthy of an Oscar in The Limited (why there? I have no idea), the vibration of my cell phone could be heard against my dresser. I let it ring because I was trying to wake up. It was my sister. When I called her back, she told me that there was a hairless cat at the Pet’s Mart near her house.

I’ve wanted a pet for a while, specifically a cat but well someone’s allergies are in the way. He’s mostly allergic to long hair cats, but still. Last week, I almost brought one home. She was cute as heck. So anyway, we’re going to check out the hairless cat today. He’s four years old. He’s had a rough life, but that hasn’t phased him one bit, he still loved being around people. In fact, he loves people so much that he hurts himself when he’s not around them.


Small Victories

Thursday morning, an excited M. ran up to me as soon as the bell had rung for the day to begin. “Ms! Ms! Here, it’s from S.” she said as she handed me a folded piece of notebook paper.

Since about the first couple weeks of school, S. and I have been writing notes to each other. I ask her about stuff we can’t really talk about in class like how she got the black eye and she’ll tell my why she was gone for three days consecutive days. “Are you gonna write her back? ‘Cause I can give it to her,” said M.

I was about to reply to M. but saw S. coming up the stairs. She was supposed to be going to ISC and but I guess she didn’t think M. would get the note to me. She told me she couldn’t do her test because the music they play in there wouldn’t allow her to concentrate and that she didn’t understand the vocabulary assignment. I told her I’d go out to see her during my conference time, but that she had to hurry up and get to ISC so she wouldn’t get in more trouble.

Later that day, as promised, I went to ISC and I explained her vocabulary assignment. Via e-mail, I got in touch with the ISC warden and asked her if it’d be possible to get her out of there during my conference periods to come work on the test in my class. She said it was fine with her, but I had to have permission from the AP. Around 5th period, I finally go the okay.

She came and worked in my class 6th period Thursday and 3rd period Friday. I told her I couldn’t pull her out Friday afternoon because I had a meeting that I couldn’t miss. She was halfway through the test, so I told her to just bubble in the answers and that we’d go with that. When she was getting ready to go back, I gave her a card, her report card and some other homeroom stuff. In the card, I told her I was very proud of her for asking for help instead of simply not doing the work.

That afternoon, I went to check my box before my meeting and I found her test packet. I quickly looked to see if she’d bubbled in her answers and I saw that she had bubbled in up to #42, the last question on the test. I looked through the test and saw she had finished it.

S. is one of those kids that can easily slip through the cracks. I know I haven’t let her in my class. I hope the others do the same for her. I don’t consider this a small victory, but in the context of the other 63 students I have, it is.


Día de los Muertos, not celebrated, but my deceased are not forgotten

I so wanted to do a lesson on el Día de los Muertos at la escuelita, but I didn’t because I thought about it too late and in any case, my kiddos are stuck taking the Pre-TAKS exam. I have two kids going on day three of this thing. It just about killed me today. I was dying to do the awesome La Llorona compare and contrast lesson I had planned. Also, my ATCP facilitator didn’t get to see much on my observation except me handing out piles of books to kids and keeping them quiet so that the others could finish their exams.

This is the second year I’ve done squat on el Día de los Muertos. Two years ago, the same year my jefito passed on, the Modern and Classical Languages Dept. at UH got together and set up this awesome altar for the dead. I was flying out to El Chuco for the Halloween festivities, but the day of, I was helping them set it up. The end product was awesome. I have dreams of doing that in my classroom. Next year I will, for sure.

I believe I’m on the verge of catching a cold. Or actually, I think I’m on the verge of a cold taking over. Oh whatever. My throat feels funny and my head hurts. I’ve started the Vitamin C and Zinc regime and I’m hoping it doesn’t really hit until the weekend. I hate, and I mean hate, being out of my class. My mentor tells me that a sign of a good teacher.

Not much else is going on. I went to the Randall’s near my house today and it was creepy. Apparently, their high prices have finally caught up to them, so they’re closing a bunch in the area and the one I went to is one of them. It was odd seeing shelves so empty. I did score groceries for 30% off.

Oh, you know that kid that got a ticket for disrupting my class? He’s moving schools. He’s been gone for the last two weeks and it’s been so . . . nice. And this other kid I have, his best friend, he threatened to slap a teacher. Everyone was coming up to me and asking if I was the one he threatened to slap. The funny thing is that this kid doesn’t have beef with me. Even though I’ve sent him to the office a couple times, we’re cool.

Finally, yesterday, Dr. Full of Herself gave me and my partner our grade on the presentation we had to do over a chapter in the text and here’s what she said, “Mmm, a perfect score. Good job. You know, I haven’t given a perfect score in so long that I had no idea what to comment on.”

Heh. I guess it’s good cuz we got all the points for that presentation. Anyway, I’ll write more later. Hopefully, tomorrow I get to do the La Llorona activity so I can tell you all about it. Ciao.


La Nostalgia

A couple years ago, on this day, I would have been in El Paso. It was a tradition to go all out for Halloween. When I still lived in El Paso, my brother and I would rush home on this day to finish the last minutes touches on the house. If I had a scanner, I’d share some pics with you all.

Halloween was when my brother and I bonded. He was the creative genius and I bought stuff and helped out with the building. When the actual day of Halloween rolled around, clad in black and eerie masks, we’d take our battle stations on the front lawn and scare every kid that dared to walk past the white wrought iron fence.

All this ended about a year ago when my brother became involved with the church and sold most of the Halloween stuff at a garage sale. It’s no longer a necessity for me to fly down to El Chuco and now all I have are the memories of Harrier St. Halloweens.



The Media is Stereotyping Texas

That was the topic of conversation in the teacher’s lounge after the first World Series game played in Houston. Actually, it was all over the radio too. It was mildly amused by the whole thing. The people who were complaining, at least around here, were the anglo-sangrones. Anyway, I was mildly amused because it was interesting seeing them on the other side of the table. I mostly listened to their conversations since I tend to be on the opposite of the issue on many things with my co-workers.

Second Walk-through

I never really went in to talk to my appraising AP about the first walk through. We mostly have very impromptu informal conversation which works for me. I hate the idea of having to go sit in someone’s office with a line of kids outside. Anyway, on Tuesday, she came to my first/second period block. I told some of the kids that we’d be having a visitor and they were perfect. I’m so glad I have them at that time during the day because they prepare me for the day. Although, I love all the kids the same, this particular bunch of kids is amazing. It’s awesome to actually be able to get through a lesson and do the activity I plan. And to top it off, they actually have fun doing it.

A Toaster, Diamond, and Ms. Baeza

Last Friday, I had the kids write a journal entry about those three things. They came up with some great things. Most of them were getting me engaged or having me find a diamond encrusted toaster or dropping the diamond into the toaster. There were two that used it as an opportunity to share some of their thoughts on me and the class. It was cool reading their entries. I’d share some, but I’m afraid of running into issues with the district.

TeXes Exam

I think I may have mentioned that back at the beginning of October, I was taking the test that lets the Bush(whacker) know that I know my stuff. Well yesterday, in between classes and reading “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” I went to the SBEC website to see if my results had been posted. When the window popped up, I read the results and sat there for a while not knowing what to do. Here is what it read:

Generalist 4-8

I couldn’t believe it. I talked to my mom last night and she said, “I already knew that. Last night you came to visit me, you had a paper with you and you kept saying, ‘Look Mom! Look! I passed!’”


I’m off today. We worked enough before school started so that most schools are having in-service days doing trainings and stuff. We’re not, thank God. I’m heading over to the SCMLA conference later. And tomorrow, well tomorrow is the big bash for my ex-supervisor’s big three-o. I have lesson plans to do, but I think I’m going to shower and explore a Friday outside of school.


Classroom Management

Am I the only one that thinks that Jet kinda sounds like Oasis?

It seems like we’re going to have another Astros Friday at school. I actually watched an entire game on television today. Mind you, I did begin to fall asleep during the 5th and 6th inning.

Friday afternoon at work was kinda shitty. My appraising AP did a walk through and my kids were behaving like shit. Usually, on Friday’s, they are to work on a journal entry for their “quickstart.” Well, I couldn’t get them to stop talking and work. It was horrible. She left me a note in my box to go talk to her this upcoming week. It wasn’t all bad, I mean, there were some positive things like how I ask higher thinking questions and how I went around commenting on everyone’s writing, but she was “very concerned” about all the talking.

I went down to see my friend Melinda before I left and told her all about it. She said, “Oh please! We’re all going to have all those problems. What do they expect, we’re new teachers.”

My classroom management is shit; I’ll be the first to admit it. My kids tell me I’m the nicest teacher they have. People say it comes with practice, and I’m sure it does, but it’s quite frustrating. I mean, there’s so many “experts” on the topic. Where exactly do you draw the line? And if the kids do this stuff already, they say there is no way in heck I can tighten up the reins now.

I knew my “niceness” would catch up with me somehow. It’s not even that I want to be friends with these kids, but I think I take way too much interest in them. I have kids coming for tutorials just because they want to hang out in my class. That’s pretty cool, but still, that’s not my goal. But you know, I can’t help but relate to them when the stuff that they write in their journals and papers is so touching. Their excitement and sadness is all there even if they use double negative, misspell words and theirs papers are full comma splices. Even my devil child has written about some very touching experiences.

The other day, the devil child got really angry with me because I wouldn’t let him sit on the back of the chair. He ended up walking out on me. When I was retelling my story to one of the veteran teachers, she was like, “You should have sent him to the office!” But there was so much hurt and pain in his little face. I thought he should have been going to the counselor not the AP. He obviously wasn’t okay. I mean, I know he’s very difficult, but I just feel so sorry for him. I know exactly where this path is going to take him. I know that he does things to get back at “the system” but the only thing that does is hurt him and push him even further down the wrong path.

Anyway, I guess I’ll see what happens. She did ask if I wanted to go observe other classes. I think I do need to do that. Maybe I’ll spend some conference periods next week observing some of the veterans.



Ah que la chingada!

El martes made two years since el jefito passed away. It’s crazy how fast time goes by. I had spent the day filling out progress reports and preparing my presentation for the evening that I completely forgot about my jefito until my sis called. The thing is that I think about him almost everyday. Sometimes I remember the good, others the bad, and sometimes I just remember he’s watching out for me all the time. It’s so weird how I have a totally different relationship with him now. Now, he’s the father figure I always wished he’d had been because now, I’m in control of how he’s remembered by the things I say & write.

Rocio Durcal

After reading Gustavo’s entry about Juan Ga, I was really hurting for some of his music. So I went to download some and I ran into the songs that Juanga and Rocio did together and well . . . it made me all nostalgic. See, my mom had this younger sister who was my madrina. Anyway, they were always together. They were like the best of friends. My mom would die her hair and later tell me how she had a cabeza de pollo. My madrina would encourage my mom to wear makeup, die her hair, and dress up while my mom was going through a tough time. My mom was my madrina’s confidant, she knew all about my madrina’s lovers and wild escapades, but one day it all ended. They got into some big fight over something stupid and quit talking. My madrina’s cherry-red Izuzu Trooper no longer picked us up for trips to the swap or to Charlie’s for the awesome comida corrida. A couple months later, her husband, wearing a shirt with foliage print and straw hat, walked up to my sister’s door and knocked. My sister didn’t want to see him, but she did. I stayed in my room. After his visit, my sister walked into my room and simply said, “La Bucha se mato.”

I felt like someone had punched me in the jelly belly. I didn’t know what to say or do. I just remember holding onto the dry green chest of drawers thinking, “this can’t be true.”

The next thing I remember is being with my mom and hearing her crying like those dramatic women on the novelas. In a lot of ways, my mom had been like her mother.

What does that have to do with Rocio Durcal and Juanga? Well, Rocio Durcal was my madrina’s favorite singer. Right around the time she passed away, el Juanga y la Rocio were once again doing their duos. Her favor song was “Amor eterno.” After she passed away, it was impossible for my mom to hear these songs without breaking down every time. She couldn’t live with the guilt of being angry with her sister. I think she’s over it now, but she’ll still let out an, “Aye, mi hermana,” once in a while.



I was feeling spontaneous Sunday, especially after I noticed that I’m booked the next two Saturdays which means it’ll be a month with one-day weekends. Preston, this guy that was at my Saturday training and is in Dr. Full of Herself’s class admitted, “ATCP will end your marriage.” I can totally see what he means. Substitute “marriage” with “life” and you pretty much have the topic of conversation amongst all the ATCPers.

We have no lives because we have no time. I’m sure the little time we do get, we run wild . . . like I did Saturday night. I had originally made some plans but they were cancelled. So I was sitting at this here computer typing up an entry for you all when Dan the Man walked into the room and I said, “Hey, you wanna go to the mall?”

“Uh, yeah.”

So we headed out to the mall. It was more of a walking excursion. I don’t normally like malls because they’re crowded and mostly overpriced, but I like walking around and seeing all the crap that I used to be marveled with like the fluorescent lights that make signs for Claire’s and Journey’s. I like walking through Foley’s and Dillard’s knowing that I chose not to buy stuff from there and I love going into Lane Bryant to drool over the jeans that aren’t really made to fit all plus-sized women. Oh yeah, I can’t forget to mention the latest infatuation: baby clothes. I can’t wait until my brother’s baby is born to go on a spending spree for his kid.

Anyway, after the mall, we were heading home when I said, “You know, we should go to Galveston, we’re only like 30 minutes away.”

After some discussion, we decided to head out to Galveston. It was about 9 P.M., and the night was perfect. We walked around on the beach for about an hour and then settled on one of the piers for about fifteen minutes. Only reason we left was because I was freezing my butt off.

It was nice to do something so spontaneous. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to act out on whim like that. In actuality, I don’t think I’ve done anything like that since I lived in El Paso. Since I moved to Houston, my life has been so consumed with “things to do.” It seems like I need to dedicate time to “the future” or “my plan.” When I do get time to do my own thing, I end up vegging out because my brain wants to become this idle mass.

I’ve been feeling really homesick lately. It’s been about eight months since I’ve been to El Chuco. I’ve only seen my mom and one of my nieces since. The others, I only hear glimpses of them on the phone. I can only imagine what the nephews look like now. I could substitute Richard and Kendra’s face on any one of my students. I can’t even begin to imagine how big Little Lyn is and it hurts to think that I won’t get to see my brother’s baby as a newborn.

But I was expecting this. I knew things would change, especially once I got out of college. I also know that from now on, things will only get more complicated. This year won’t be the first that I may not get to see my family for Christmas. But at least I can pacify the craving with some of that El Chuco goodness that Alicia Gaspar de Alba exudes in her writing.


You're just being facetious!

I had my wonderful class with Dr. Full of Herself tonight. It doesn’t help either that we’ve got a lot of those full of themselves students who feel to need to constantly “share.” We got so off topic today, I thought I was going to stick my pencil through my eyeball. Then she starts telling us that we need to bend over backwards for every kid, and while I agree with that, sometimes there are extreme cases. While I hate to say that, this little turkey of mine, he’s seriously trouble and he needs a little more structure in his life, especially at home. Anyway, we went up to her after class because it so happens that Open House is on the very night that we have class and she begins apologizing for her bitchyness because by then, she had not only found out that we are first year teachers but that this kid is also involved in criminal activity.

I guess what really bugged me was that she called me facetious when I said, “I’m just happy when he actually makes it to my class.” She has no idea what the situation is like and you can’t apply this generic technique to everything. That’s just my opinion. But then again, I’m a first year teacher, what do I know?

My name has appeared in another book. On Saturday, my sis gave me a second edition of Lowriding on the Streets of Gold in which my name appears on the CIP data page. This is the one with all that Library of Congress stuff at the beginning of the book. I feel so proud. Also, my name may appear in another book with two of my stories depending on the publishing house and editor that picks up this Memoir Anthology project. We’ll see how it goes.

You know what that damn hurricane Rita was good for? Ruining my momentum. It stinks now. I have no idea what I’m doing again and the kids were running rampant the first couple of days. Things are better, but damn it, I got behind on my preparing for the future plans. I was making copies and there was no rushing to the copy room every morning. I guess I’ll have to start using the copy aid more often now.

Anyway, I’m about closing my eyes as I type this. I guess I should use whatever energy I have left to iron my “old lady” clothes. Catch ya’ll later.


Back to Normalcy

It seems as though my life will return to normalcy soon. School starts up again tomorrow and according to the other teachers, the kids are going to act like it’s the first day of school. I went up to the school today to put stuff back where it belongs. I had to move everything out of harm’s way last Tuesday. It feels weird thinking about going back. I still can’t believe I’m the one the kids look to when the enter room 212. Heck, I can’t even believe I know enough to teach.

I think I’m just feeling this way because I take my TEXES exam Saturday. You know, it’s that test that pretty much lets the state know that you know your shit. It’s really freaking me out. I haven’t been able to make the study sessions, but according to some people I know, you’ll leave there feeling like you failed the exam no matter what.

After the rearranging adventure at school, I went to Hell-Mart to get some cash and a cake. (It’s my brother-in-law’s b-day today.) As I was walking out, this little girl sitting on the bench in front of McDonald’s begins to frantically wave. She gets up and walks toward me and it was only then that I realized it was one of my students. I asked her if she was ready to go back to school and she scrunched up her nose and shook her head no. It was then that I remembered that I really am a teacher. I imagine that after I left, she told her mom, “I just saw my teacher! She had a birthday cake.” Tomorrow, she will probably ask about the cake in front of everyone or she’ll say, “Huh Ms. Baeza, I saw you at Hell-Mart yesterday?”

I guess it will be nice to go back to work. Dan the Man is starting to get on my nerves. In my opinion, he spends way too much time playing video games and in his opinion I spend too much time watching the Food Network and TLC. During this last week, there have been at least three occasions in which I’ve wanted to tell him to just leave. Sunday, I broke down and told my mom about all the issues we were having. About how he wanted us to go spend the entire day at his friend’s house, yet he can’t bear a couple hours with my friends because he “won’t have anything to talk about.” I also told her about how he fails to introduce me to people and I end up doing it myself and won’t even bother to ask if I want to come along to see his niece and nephew.

So many people have told me that I can do much better. My mom said she was going to pray to my dad to get him away from me, but I’m not sure if that’s what I want. I know these things take a lot and I also know that once I am fed up, I’m going to have no qualms about telling him to get out, even if his family rocks. But for now, I’ll continue to have my “bitch fits” in hopes that he’ll grow up. Fret not my blogger friends, I am going to talk to him. But the rabia has to go down a little. I don’t say things right when I’m so upset.

Well, I guess I’m off to the car wash. Because I had no help taking the trash out yesterday, I managed to get melted ice cream all over Dori’s butt. It’s not a very good look for her.



It’s good to be home again. Everything was in tact when we walked into our apartment about an hour ago. We’ve set up the television and the computer, but now we have to empty out the fridge. The power went out for a while and they say it is best to throw it all out than get sick. Considering that a doctor’s bill would be more that $40 of groceries, I think I’m going to follow that snippet of advice.

The drive home took two hours longer than usual, but I’m not complaining. I got to listen to some good music. Dan the man slept most of the way since we don’t always agree on music. Since I’m the driver, I think I should be allowed to listen to whatever I want.

This little trip got us many goods for the apartment. The in-law’s bought us a microwave and a bad ass blender. The blender according to Dan the Man Sr. was for watching the kiddos on Friday. See, the in-laws had planned to take Dan the Man’s aunt to Medieval Times along with Bev, Dan the Man’s sister while Mush, the oldest sis, watched little Bev. Well, the aunt ended up with an extra ticket and Dan the Man & I didn’t think it was fair for just one of us to go and plus we had plans to go see Dan the Man’s friend. Then I suggested taking Mush along and I could watch the kiddos and everyone liked the idea. Dan the Man did cancel the plans with his friend and helped watch the kids. Anyway, Sunday, Dan Sr. caught me before I got out of the car at Kohl’s and said, “You’re gonna get something for babysitting.” When I started to say it was okay, he said, “Listen to me, you’re going to get something, and none of this clearance stuff. Get something for you or the house, but get something.”

Oh yeah, we also got some wine glasses and some “As seen on TV” plastic containers from his friend. The “Stuff for the Apartment” list is quickly dwindling.

Well, I’m going to go park my ass in front of the television and find out about slow downs on I-10 from San Antonio to give my sis an update whenever she gets home. Hope everyone is doing well.


Safe for now

Howdy ya'll. We made it to the in-law's at about 1 PM today. As I watched the 5 o'clock news with Lynda and Dan the Man, boy was I glad we left when we did. The traffic out of Houston is unreal. I talked to my sis about half an hour ago and she was barely leaving.

Watching the news, I can finally identify with the people who were affected by Katrina. As I sat in front of the television grading the work of my students, I said a prayer for each one. I hope Edgar gets back to Stinkydena and finds his home still standing. I hope Justin and his family made a last minute decision to actually leave and I hope Britanie didn't freak out too bad. I turned my bag inside out looking for the yellow sheet of paper that had the phone numbers for my collegues. I'm wondering if Linda is going to Brownsville and if Lalis might be headed to Valle Hermoso.

It all seems surreal. Dan the Man is worried about his car and the television and I'm thinking I should have taken down that picture of my dad in the hallway. I keep hoping Rita goes west just a little more. But I guess only time will tell. Until then, I'm on the edge of my seat hoping to get a call from my sister letting me know she's finally made it to El Chuco and seeing on the news that Ragging Rita has calmed down and will hit King Ranch. A girl can only hope.

I'm leaving

I had tried to post this yesterday and reply to some of the comments, but this thing wouldn't let me. Anyway, I'm securing the homefront and getting ready right now. We're headed up to Dallas until Rita unleashes it's vengance. Everyone is pretty much freaked out still because of Katrina so school let out and the city of Stinkydena told us to get the heck out. I'm not really in a danger area, but still, we're close enough.

I'll try to write some more when I get up to the in-law's.

Keep your chin up Cindylu! Don't forget to congratulate Cracked Chancla on her new business venture.


La Rita

Ya’ll in the event that Rita comes our way, as has been projected, the school district has canceled school for the rest of the week. Our little town has ordered an evacuation. So tomorrow morning Dan the Man and I are heading to Dallas to stay with his parents until Rita unleashes her vengeance.

I hope all my fellow coast Tejanos are okay. Ya’ll take care. I’ll try to update while I’m with the in-law’s.



When I left the school today, I was just . . . tired. My feet were killing me and all I wanted was for a Japanese woman to walk on my back. I was also starving; the Michelina’s lean lasagna lunches aren’t doing the trick for the hunger. I guess I should consider breakfast.

The day went well. The kiddos were okay. After lunch they started to get out of hand, I later found out that tomorrow is silent lunch. Silent lunch is exactly as it sounds. No one is allowed to talk. All the teachers are required to eat at the table on the stage in the cafeteria. Plus, we have to make sure the kids are sitting in their assigned seats. If you ask me, assigning seats and requiring them to sit at a table is way too much. I know why they do it, but still. I think that’s why they get so out of hand during and after lunch.

Did I tell you all I’m taking a graduate course? It’s part of this Alternative Certification thing. My class is on Tuesday nights. I hate the teacher. Part of it has to do with the fact that she uses tons of overheads and we have to copy everything down. She also allows way too many testimonials. And to top it off, “the Homie” is in the class. This guy loves to tell all these stories about himself and he’s pretty full of himself too. Plus, he asks some really lame questions. But well, from what I hear, that kind of student is in a lot of grad classes.

Anyway, I’m so looking forward to Friday. It’s not a half day and we’re not having a three day weekend, in fact, I have some training on Saturday, but still. I can’t wait. The thought of waking up at any hour I damn well please on Sunday really excites me.


Mr. Vayne

I had an entry that addressed all the issues I have been talking about lately, but then, I remembered and I googled this.

Mr. Vayne was one of my patients when I was a home health aide. He was just as his daughter describes him. Fortunately, I had to opportunity to see this house inside and out on several occasions.

He passed away about a week after I left El Paso. My mom was hesitant to tell me because she didn’t want me to worry. My mom was investigated because like most old people, he’d come about some bed sores and try as she may; she was not able to get rid of them. His daughter didn’t pursue the investigation. Like me, she knew his death was coming.

I didn’t cry when I found out that he had died. He wasn’t the same man I’d met years earlier. Age had eaten away at his brain. He no longer pestered me to read out loud in attempts to help me project my voice better. He quit giving me lessons about Shakespeare and pestering me about going out on the roof to clean the gutters.

Instead, he’d sleep in the room next to mine and claw at the walls and scream at the hallucinations he often saw. I rarely like to recall these events. Instead, I like to remember the lessons about what El Paso was like before he helped build the freeway and people’s comments about how excited he was for Tuesday and Thursday to come along because he’d get to spend time with me.

Sorry if this doesn’t make much sense. I’m just overwhelmed with emotion right now.

P.S. Things at la escuelita have been good. I’ll tell you all about it at another time. Thanks for all your comments.

P.S.S. I’d love for you to read my blog Belinda.

Oh yeah, I can’t wait for Cracked Chancla to reveal her big news! I’m still squeling!


And so time just goes by . . .

I still don't have internet at my casa. Actually, at this point, I don't even have electricity at my apartment. There was this huge screw up and we had our electricity cut off on Wednesday and we won't get it back until this coming Wednesday. That's one week I won't be able to spend in my dang apartment.
School is going. I had a very informal evaluation on Tuesday and my classroom management sucks ass. However, the evaluator did tell my AP that I'm a "very good teacher." She liked how I made up examples using the kids instead of taking the books. That's pretty much my teaching style thus far, make it up as I go along.
After a week of lecturing kids on learning to be respectful to each other and me, I had one class still acting up. I ended up telling them that I was so disappointed in them. I told them that I thought things would be different and that I could do fun things with them, but they can't handle that. I also told them that I was going to change things, I didn't know how, but things were going to change. Then I said, "We have two minutes left in class, I can't even begin to cover what I was going to teach you. So you know what? Please put your heads down for the rest of the period. When the bell rings, don't get up, I'll dismiss you when your minute is up."
After the day was over, I set up my desks in rows. Things will be changing on Monday but I don't know how yet. I have some hope that they're going to change. Even though I get upset with them, I continue to stress that I'm really there for them. I think they'll get it eventually.
I miss the blog world. I can't wait until Saturday. Hopefully, by then, I can read you all's journals on a regular basis and update more often. Anyway, I guess I better get moving. I gotta go check into a hotel and pick up some junk at my apartment. I'm sure I could stay at my sis's house, but I want the damn apartment people to pay for some of this time I can't be there, it's their damn fault in the first place.


More babbling

I may not be able to write an entry for a while seeing as how we start moving this weekend, and I haven’t even called about setting up some kind of internet at the new place. Also, I can’t get online at school. I mean, I can but everything has to be educational and stuff. Sometimes I can’t even get into the educational stuff.

Anyway, I have some stories for you all about the kiddos. I’ll start with the crappy one: I had to send a kid to the office today. He told a little girl in the class that she “needs to be on Slimfast.” I thought to myself, “That’s real nice asshole.”

I’ve get to see what the heck is going to happen to him. I’m wondering if he even went to the office. I tried to call my AP, but she didn’t seem to be in the office.

Now the good story, my first and second period class rocks man. We went to the library today and they were SO good. I told them to sit and read after they had checked out there book and I’d say all but like one or two sat there and read. When we got back up to class, they begged me to give them extra time to read and once again, they sat there and read. They were so happy to know that tomorrow they’re getting 45 minutes to read.

I finished my cohort training today. It’s sort of a good feeling, but I think I’m going to miss seeing them. I’ll at least get to see one person everyday because she’s a teacher at the school I teach at.

Not much else has really been going on. I started typing up an entry the other day about food, but I haven’t been able to finish it. It’s just so much easier to log in what I do day by day at the escuelita. I hardly ever type these days and I think I miss it because I’m typing so much faster than ever.

Anyway, even though I have some little shits in some classes, overall, I’m really glad I’m doing this. I’m glad that there are kids that like being in my class so much that they beg to stay another period. Of course, I can’t oblige, but it’s still cool. The best thing is that a lot of them have shared stuff with me about what’s going on in their lives outside of school. One kid told me about his dad being in the hospital and another told me how her mom almost had her arrested. So I feel like I’m there for some of these kids.



Howdy ya’ll.

I love that Molotov song that starts off like that. What is it called? Perro Negro Granjero. Speaking of music, on Thursday, I went to Hell Mart to buy some stuff for one of my kiddos who can’t afford supplies and I bought myself the lastest Intocable cd. It sure makes the ride to school a lot better.

School isn’t so bad anymore. I no longer get sick to my stomach on my way to school and I actually have somewhat of an appetite during lunch. Thanks to all of you for your advice and animo. At one of my trainings last week, this lady said that one of the teachers at her school said she almost quit seven times her first year; one day, she even took boxes to pack up all her stuff. That definitely makes me feel a million times better.

After what happened last Monday, I’m so glad I had a crappy first day of school. One of the little turds started acting up so bad that I had to call my assistant principal. A while later, a cop showed up at my classroom and the kid ended up getting a citation for disrupting class. I felt bad about it, but well, something had to be done. Besides, I had to do something for all the other kids in the class. The little turd was howling and kicking desks and some of the kiddos got really scared.

I’m doing well though. I turned in my first batch of lesson plans, I’ve got the kiddos working, not at the level I want them, but they’re working nonetheless. I come home very tired but not angry. Like Gustavo said, I can’t take this stuff personal. In fact, it makes me laugh sometimes that they act the way they do. I know they’re testing me. They tell me they hate reading and writing and think I’m going to take it personal. They attempt to ask all sorts of personal questions and to top it off, they think I’m going to stand there and argue with them about the consequences to their choices.

Although I spend a lot of time doing work, I’m not bitter. In fact, it sort of makes the time I do get to spend away from working that much more enjoyable. I especially like to see people who aren’t saying, “You think you have it bad…”

In other news, I’m moving this coming weekend. It’ll be nice to not live so damn far from work, especially with gas prices being what they are. Dori is pretty good about gas, but still. Well, I suppose I should get back to packing. I’m looking forward to the day when I can come around and blog every day. Hopefully, it’ll be soon!



The first day was not what I was expecting at all. The computer system was being switched this summer and like most software companies, they promised a lot of things and only gave them half of it. This caused tons of problems with schedules and stuff like that so the whole morning was spent in homeroom.

I have a homeroom class of about 20 kids. At first, they were okay. Then, because I let them sit where ever they liked, they started getting a little talkative. It would have all been okay if it hadn’t been for the terrible duo.

I have a pair of repeaters who are extremely proud of being in the sixth grade again. They love having the attention on them, so they started getting up and talking really loud and just disrupting everyone. It was only a matter of time before they had the class up in arms. Since they wouldn’t stop misbehaving, I separated them because it was a deal I’d made with them. This of course, made both of them really upset so they continued to misbehave, so at lunch, they weren’t able to sit together, and this was part of the deal too. My other classes showed up later and they were pretty good. To my dismay, homeroom came back for another 25 minutes at the end of the day. I ended up giving one kid detention which he didn’t show up to this morning.

By the end of the day, I was so fed up. I did what I wasn’t supposed to do; I let them get to me. It’s not that I didn’t know how to handle them, but I just can’t picture the rest of the year with them. I almost wanted to go downstairs and resign.

This morning, I didn’t want to go back. I had knots in my stomach all the way to school. I didn’t even enjoy my morning tunes. First period went well, I kept them busy and I am pretty content with the work they were doing. Then there was homeroom. It was utter chaos because there are so many things we have to pick up from them, so I had them fixing their paperwork before turning it in to me. Then they called for lunch. When they came back to class, one of the terrible duo kids was gone. Apparently, he did something to upset the principals so he got sent to ISC, which is that class where they keep them isolated and working all day long. I think that’s what he was looking for all along.

The other kid kept bugging the class, but now I had more time to go make him work. I kept going over to him and pushing him to work and giving him little pep talks about wanting him to get to 7th grade.

My 7th and 8th periods were okay. I have a couple of kids who could potentially be problematic but I’m separating them on Monday. They’ve been warned. In the meantime, I’m going to get some sleep. The thing about being a new teacher is that you sort of have to make up your own questions to the books, especially if you don’t want to bore them with the questions at the end of the story. I hope next week goes much better.



Tomorrow is the first day! I’m getting more nervous by the minute. I know it’ll be okay, but still. This is my first day as a teacher; I’m allowed to be nervous aren’t I?


Dante's Inferno

Well then, it’s been long enough, hasn’t it? I hope you’re all doing well.

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve met almost the entire faculty and staff at the school. I think I know about every single thing a kid can do before he/she has to go to the office and I heard all about the sixth grade headache. Apparently, this kid failed and will be in sixth grade again. If he’s in one of my classes, I’ll “have full administrative support.” I wonder if one of his consequences will be a couple of swats.

Last week on Saturday, I experienced some part of Dante’s Inferno. Why? Well, sit down, let me tell you. After cohort, I skedaddled on down to the school because the incoming sixth graders would be there for orientation. I was a couple hours late, but I figured it’d be cool to see some of the kiddos that would eventually end up in my classes. Afterwards, I thought I’d head down to the teacher’s store so that perhaps I could buy a couple of things for my room. I was thinking a cool border for the bulletin boards, maybe some educational type posters or something.

During cohort, I’d been told that there was a 20% off sale and since I’ve been pretty much low on funds, I thought “huh, perfect!” About 30 other teachers thought the same thing. However, one out of every four decided it’d be a great idea to take their kids or spouse.

This store is designed to look like one of those old time schoolhouses. There isn’t much space in there so that 30 people, plus employees and kids makes it a little difficult to walk around. Add to this equation the walls covered with poster sets, stamps, games and anything teacher-related you can think of and you’ve got yourself a pretty chaotic place. The cherry on this little baby is the kid songs being performed by peppy little kids most likely clad in overalls in all the colors of the rainbow while pulling off some creepy choreography that includes a convict in a pink rabbit suit. It only took three steps in before I became dizzy. I walked around the entire store four or five times, blinking about a million times hoping to gain some of my eyesight, but I found nothing that I could use. I vowed to never, ever go into that store again.

However, this morning, I found myself in there again. This time was much better. I found the “Six Traits of Writing” posters, black border, and a nippy new pencil. I was out of there in twenty minutes. Still, I don’t think I’ll be doing much shopping there. I’ve used many unconventional things to decorate my classroom. My sis and roomie took some young adult covers from the press and made this neat border along the front wall of my class. I took my hideous fake cat and rat and set them up on the filing cabinets and desk, respectively. I also inherited an awesome César Chávez Apple promo poster that’s up on one of the whiteboards. The only thing left to do is write lesson plans and set up my accelerated reader space. It’s exciting and nerve wrecking all at once.

Oh yeah, I’ve also been given partial 6th grade bulletin board duty. The other girl and I are pushing for a superhero theme that many people really like. I still haven’t decided what superhero I want to be. Wonder Woman and Flash from The Incredibles are already taken. Dan the Man says I should be the Hulk because I’m mean according to him.

I haven’t done much else. I come home and pass out almost everyday. It gets pretty taxing to sit and listen for seven hours and then move around books, desks, etc. for two or three hours and then drive for about 30 minutes. I can’t wait to move to that side of town. I won’t have to get up so early anymore.

I’ll let you all know how Thursday, the first day of school, goes.


Dos noticias un post

Dear All:

I have two things to share with you . . .

The first is that I am officially employed. I got the keys to my room today. I’m going to have the clothesline in my room. I can’t wait to go in there and move desks around and create my reading corner and library. I also can’t wait to move my big ass desk to a less obtrusive place and put up all the things I’ve scored as door prizes.

The other news is that there’s someone new in my life. Her name is
Dori. You can view her here if you click on “Polar White.” Never in my life have I ever had a new one. I owe it all to a certain older sibling out there who always saves my ass. I really hope I can do something great for her soon.

Well, that’s all for now. I miss writing in here! But alas, I have to get to bed. Early mornings aren’t my favorite thing in the world.


La Browngirl



Jeez Louise, long time huh? To say I’ve been busy is an understatement. The other day, I was at work and my eyes felt like raisins with all the fluorescent lights I’ve been exposed to lately.

I’ve been having cohort training at least twice a week, program training Friday and Saturday for the last week and this week, H.R. stuff like insurance benefit meeting and there’s an upcoming appointment to get my “paperwork” done, and I’m still working at the Press.

Don’t get me wrong, I like being busy. I just wanted to let you all know that I haven’t been slacking on this here blog “just cuz.”

I have been having fun. Last Wednesday at my friend MTV’s house eating and talking. She let me borrow her Believer magazine. I need to make some time to read it.

We’ve been getting tons of books at our training sessions. I also need to make time to read that. Plus, I need to write the letter to the kiddos’ parents, figure out which “getting to know you” activity I want to do, do my “getting to know you” activity so I can run it by someone before the first day, figure out how I want to decorate my classroom (any ideas?), and . . . I don’t remember the rest of the list.

I’m also looking for an apartment on that side of town. Most of them are not too nice, but I think I’ve found some that are affordable and meet my “no roach or mold” requirement. I might go look for a new car tomorrow. For the last year or so, I’ve been driving this beat up 92 Bonneville. The ac went out at the beginning of the summer and I’ve had to buy two tires for it. I’m riding on my spare, so I really have to buy a third tire for it. The alignment is way off, but well, food and rent take precedence over that. I don’t know how it’ll be able to handle the long drive for the next month or so and my sis is pretty worried about it. So she talked my brother-in-law into helping me out tomorrow. I have crap credit due to stupid choices when I was younger, but we’ll see what happens. Credit stuff makes me nervous.

Well, I better get my ass back to doing my homework for tomorrow. I really like the lady who’s in charge of me. (She’ll be visiting my class a couple times a year trying to figure out if I’m coming along as an educator.) Anyway, I’m almost certain she had a lot to do with me getting the position I was offered so I want to live up to her standards. People set high standards for me so easily, I hope I can do the same to my huercos.

How are you all doing?


Interviews by Gwen

If ya'll don't read Gwen, she recently had an entry in which she answered five questions and then you could request an interview. So here are my answers. I'm not great at interviews, but I guess I could come up with some questions if anyone is interested.

1. (This is something I've been wanting to ask you for a while, since I know you're a Latina who could easily be mistaken for a white person.) What's your most annoying experience with being mistaken for a white person? If you have one. If not, please excuse my bitterness and just tell me your fave color.

I've spent all day thinking of this. I knew there had to be one and I've finally got it! There was this one time I was at Helios throwing back a couple of 7 & 7's and I got to talking to the bartender. First, she asked me if the girl I was with was my partner. I said no, because well, she wasn't and isn't. I'm on the straight side, although for the gal in question 3, I would change that. Anyway, the conversation went on and I must have said something in Spanish or about my origins because the bartender said, “Oh my God! You're Lah-tin!” She spent the rest of the night asking if I knew how to make tamales among other Lah-tin dishes. There weren't many people in the bar, so I couldn't really run away from her. And on top of everything, she was the only bartender that night.

My favorite color is pink. ¡Tan grandota y tan niñita!

2. What's the worst thing about living in Houston, besides the heat?

It has to be the drivers. I've quit counting how many times I've been thisclose to having my brains turn into asphalt art.

3. Who, in your opinion, is the most beautiful woman on Earth?

Geez, this is hard because there are so many. But right now, I'd have to say Liza Snyder from Yes, Dear. I've told Dan the Man, if I can hook up with her, I'm dumping his ass.

4. Describe the crappiest restaurant you've ever been in.

The crappiest restaurant I've ever been in has to have been in Juárez. We went there during my grandmother's funeral service. At that time, I was going through my anorexia phase so I generally thought food was bad. However, this food was bad. I ordered a carne desebrada burrito. It had watery beans that made the meat look gooey and stringy. I had nightmares about the burrito coming to life and chasing after me.

5. For your birthday, you can have anything you want from the Galleria. (Ritzy mall here in Houston.) What will you probably pick? A diamond necklace? Designer bag? Piece of furniture?

Hah, the Galleria. I only go there to please out of towners. But if I could have my pick of the litter, I'd probably want a pair of Dickies from Torrid given that they fit and don't give me a jelly belly overhang. (Side note: Are they ever going to start making fashionable pants that aren't low rise? I'm sick of the belly issue and having to look at other chick's thongs.) If not, I'd totally go for a fancy diamond. If I wasn't too captivated by it, I'd sell it once I got out of there and buy myself a car with ac.


Madrugada Visitor

I couldn’t sleep on Friday morning. Aside from having to wake up earlier than usual to be on the other side of town for training, the rain kept pouring down. All I could think about was, “how bad is the flooding going to be?”

I got up ten minutes before the alarm went off and the first thing I did was reach for my glasses to come online to check the weather. Turns out, the television is much better for this. However, as I was reaching for my glasses, I noticed that I wasn’t tired or cranky even though I’d only slept a couple of hours. In fact, I was kind of happy.

My dad came to visit me during what seemed like my last leg of sleep. He came to ask me if I wanted to go on a trip with him, his brother, my uncle Sam, and uncle Sam’s family. In the dream, I wasn’t home and when I got home, I was a little sad that I had missed him. So I called him.

He proceeded with his invite and I had to turn him down because I had to attend training. I was feeling down that I couldn’t go with, but in a very understanding voice, he said, “its okay m’ija, I understand.”

“Thanks Dad. . . Dad?”

“Yeah, m’ija.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too m’ija.”

And that’s when I woke up. I swear all the “m’ijas” didn’t sound this cheesy.

I think what made me the happiest was that I was able to tell him “I love you.” I’m not a terribly affectionate person. In fact, I turn tomato-red when I have to be affectionate. The tone of his voice when he said it back was so genuine and heartfelt that it helped mend some of those lifelong wounds.

When I woke up, I thought, “I’m not gonna tell anyone about this dream because he came to see me.” But when I got in the shower, I started thinking that maybe I should tell people about my dream. I wanted to shout with glee. I wanted to tell the world. I thought I could tell my sister about seeing Dad and yet I haven’t. I haven’t told anyone.

Sometimes, people don’t like when you dream about the dead. Sometimes people will just say “huh. That’s weird.” Other times they will say, “Ave María Purisima, resale unos Padres Nuestros.” And sometimes, people will not say anything.

Now that I’ve written about it again (first time was in my personal journal), I’ll probably tell my mom since we always tell each other about our dreams. In the meantime, I still have a big smile on my face and curiosity about what kind of trip they were taking in an Amish-style carriage.


The End of an Era

Friday marks the end of an era at Arte Público Press. When I return to work on Monday, the office will be Linda-less.

Throughout my years at the Press, I learned so many things from Linda. She taught me how to do my job, be resourceful and that there’s always a shortcut. She taught me about Chicanismo and that I could have my own voice. She encouraged me to follow my dreams and pushed me along when I didn’t want to budge. If it hadn’t been for her, I probably wouldn’t have the teaching job.

After tomorrow, there will be no more “Ma’am” followed by a question or instructions and then a “Who were you talking to?” from Gabi.

Her stack of Chicano/Latino/Hispanic art books will be snuggling up next to their brothers and sisters on the bookshelves in the different UH libraries. The necessary ones will be on the top bookshelf of what used to be her desk.

The array of current titles, upcoming reprints and art sample files on the floor of her “office” will be in the large four drawer metal filing cabinet that provides a makeshift wall. Her desk will not be muddled with ongoing projects.

Her Santa Fe style sweater will be gone. There will be no, “Don’t go buy anything for lunch, my sister made (insert fancy dish here) and we had lots of leftovers.” Nor will there be a “You do know that’s my seat” when someone is sitting at the head of the table in the kitchen. Afternoons will be quiet, and there won’t be anyone to say, “Ma’am, do you want to go get some root beer so we can make some root beer floats?”

I will no longer wait around until 5 P.M. so that neither of us has to walk out alone.

But most importantly, there will be no one to ask, in the whiniest voice I can summon, “Linda, how do I . . .?”

I really don’t know what it will be like on Monday except maybe quiet.

What I do know, is that when I left the office today, there was a lot of sadness. Although I am extremely happy for her and wish her the best at her new job, I’m still sad, for the press and myself. And while these changes hurt, they’re also exciting. I can’t wait to hear about all those great things that I know are going to come her way.

Thanks for everything LMG.


Teaching and the Minute Men

Gee, how long has it been? A week?

I’ve been incredibly busy and training hasn’t even started yet. I now have a cohort. I always heard Cindylu use this word, but I never imagined I would be using it. My cohort starts training tomorrow. It’s only six days out of the month, so it’s not too bad. I don’t know how it will be next month since school will have started by then.

Work actually starts on the 1st of August. Although I only work seven hours a day, I have to be there by 8:00 A.M., I haven’t had to get that early since . . . my Wal-Mart days. Gah. And the commute for the first month or so will be very, very long, so I’ll have to get up earlier. But it’s worth it. This is the job I wanted.

Last week was pretty busy. On Thursday, I met with some of the other Language Arts teachers. It was fun. I’m not missing any opportunities to meet with my co-workers because I really want to get to know them and sort of get ideas for my curriculum and all that stuff. Tomorrow, I get to see my classroom and I’m going to see about taking the textbooks. I’ve got some idea of what to do, but I’ve still got a ton of questions. I guess it helps that I’m going to have two mentors.

Anyway, enough of the work stuff. The other day I was watching the evening news, and guess what? The minute men are coming to Houston. WTF? They’re going to be recording the day laborers that stand down the street from my apartment. On Saturday, as Dan the Man and I were driving down Westpark toward the bank, I said told him about the Minute Men.

“What? We should do something! We need to stand out there with signs!”


“Yes. And make flyers, in Spanish, so they know what’s going on.”

“Yeah. We could stand in front of them so that they’re filming us and not them.”

“Yeah. And we can call those Minute Men murders…Look at what you’ve done to me! I didn’t even care about these things.”

He’s come a long way. I need to do some research and see if any of the immigrant rights activists in the area are planning any protest of any kind. I’ve round up a handful of people. If you hear anything or want to join us, please let me know.


I got it!

Gracias a todos for your good wishes. As the title says, I got the job. I'm so excited, I can't wait!


Dear Diary/Blog

Hi everybody! I hope everyone is having/had a great holiday weekend. Mine was pretty good.

Friday was Dan the Man’s birthday, but he had to work so we didn’t really celebrate until Saturday. We went to the Galleria and watched people ice skate, walked the entire mall, and I stared and laughed at all the Quinceñeras with their crew walking around strutting their stuff.

After the Galleria, we went to Ross, Marshals, Borders and Lane Bryant because I needed an outfit, at least a nice jacket, for my interview this morning. I originally had my heart set on the fashions of Torrid. I imagined myself strutting around in some cute paint suit, turning heads and feeling as sexy as the girls on the Torrid website. But no such luck. In the end I did find a nice jacket at Lane Bryant. Anyway, enough of the trials and tribulations of a fat girl’s shopping adventure.

So yeah, I had an interview this morning for a sixth grade language arts and reading position. I was accepted into the alternative teacher’s certification program. They told me on Thursday but I’m trying not to talk about it too much because I don’t want to get my hopes up too much. But the interview this morning went well. About forty-five minutes after I left the school, the assistant principal called me and asked me if I was available for a second interview. It’s tomorrow and there will be four people there at one of the ladies’ homes. I hope I’m not as nervous as when I first arrived today. My hands were shaking a bit and the principal noticed. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m doing more research on pedagogy and the thematic approach and such. I’ll keep you all posted.

In other news, my sister arrived from El Chuco today. My mom moved out on her own this month and my sis went to help her with the transition. To say that she’s an angel is not only trite, but not enough to express how great it is that she was there for the move. I went over to see her because I had to drop off her keys and because she had some stuff for me like the flag that was drapped over my dad’s casket, a doll that my dad’s oldest sister made, a tape of me being hypnotized, and my journals from when I was a little kid. After some delicious bbqed hot dogs, I sat at the dinning room table and read them. Man, I was one crazy kid. Dan the Man is reading them as I type this and laughing.

Gee, this is starting to sound a lot like those journals. Hehehehe


Promesas y la Lila

I promise an update is coming soon. I may have some exciting news but I'm holding off until I get the final word, or part of the final word. In any case, here's something I've been working on.

A Medley of Cultures: Transculturalism in the music of Lila Downs
Globalization and transculturalism have become every day words in the vocabularies of people all over the world. It is said that inventions like the internet and agreements like North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have helped push along the concept of globalization, a global economy, and lead to transcultural societies, culture that crosses many borders. Japan has factories in border towns like Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The Mixteca community in New York City who travel to Mexico at least once a year for a religious festival are just a few examples of the medley that has become the world. The point that transculturalism has existed since the birth trade of trade is important, but it is not until now, that it is receiving attention not only from scholars but from popular culture as well.
An example of this is in Lila Downs’ 2001 album Border/La linea, in which she performs a song titled “Medley: Pastures of Plenty/This Land is Your Land/Land. ” This song is transcultural because it is a mixture of two Woody Guthrie songs interlaced with lyrics to Downs’ “Land.” Looking at the life of Woody Guthrie, we find that he was affected by “some of the most significant historic movements and events of the Twentieth-Century—the Great Depression, the Great Dust Storm, World War II, the social and the political upheavals resulting from Unionism, the Communist Party and the Cold War .” Looking at Downs’ history, we find that she has a Scottish-American father and a Mixtec-Indian mother. Her parents met when her father was in Oaxaca filming a documentary . Being the daughter of parents of different nationalities allowed Downs to live in both Mexico and the United States.
An interesting factor in “Medley” is the lyrics. In “Pastures of Plenty,” Guthrie talks about the migration that took place during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. “This Land is Your Land” satirical because the land is not “for you and me.” Both of these songs end with a reclaiming of the land:
Well, it’s always we ramble, that river and I,
All along your green valley I’ll work till I die,
My land I’ll defend with my life, if it be.
‘Cause my pastures of plenty must always be free. (Pastures of Plenty)

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back,
This land was made for you and me. (This Land is Your Land)

Interlaced with this claim for land and freedom is Downs’ “Land” which gives a voice to the indigenous groups subjugated to the genocide by the European settlers during colonization. Even though the indigenous groups are not around, according to Downs, they will continue to exist “Dust is to dust hail thee memory/even if they grin me, dust I will be—.” Downs is a Scottish-American/Mixtec-Indian woman singing in English, Spanish and Nahuatl and performing songs written by a mid-nineteenth century social activist exemplifying the transcultural world we are living in today.



I have a confession to make; I’m hooked on La Academia. I used to watch it when it first started. I remember watching the first episode when I first arrived in Houston. When I called my mom to ask if my brother, who had driven with me, had made it home ok, I asked her about this Academia that my brother-in-law was watching. She said, “oh si, La Academia. Acaba de empezar.”

I quickly grew to enjoy Yahir’s singing night after night. I was annoyed with Miriam’s love affair with la camarita and annoyed with Victor’s playboy attitude. After Yahir’s generation, I didn’t think I would watch it again. However, a couple of things happened that led to this addiction. First, Dan the Man moved in with me making the 9 P.M. phone calls obsolete. Then, when I would call my mom Sunday night, she would always ask, “¿Estas viendo La Academia?” Of course, I was not watching it because I was watching Extreme Home Makeover and Desperate Housewives. I would spend the entire day reading and doing homework so I could reward myself with two hours of television. A three hour concert was a bit too much for me at the time. The other thing that happened was that school ended, obviously, this would free up a lot of my time. The other thing that happened was the season finales of Makeover and Housewives.

Now, if you swing by my apartment on Sunday night, you will find me glued to a television, reading and cursing at Alan Tacher. You know that day I wrote that entry about not being able to write lately? Well, I wrote an entire entry in my paper journal about how much Alan Tacher gets on my nerves. I hate the way his fingers look all long and skinny when he hold the microphone. I hate the way he flirts with the girls and tries to get some cheap thrills, and I especially hate the way he drags on and on the announcement of who’s getting kicked off. I hate the latter so much in fact, that today, I threw my pen at the television.

Lolita Cortés and Arturo López Gavito, who by the way is a dead ringer for The Brain from Pinky and the Brain, are the most annoying and the most amusing at the same time. I enjoy how they get into a debate over what each crítico has to say about the almuno’s performance and yet they get on my nerves because sometimes they make a big deal over nothing.

Alumno Edgar gets on my nerves too, but tonight, he had me giggling like a little girl at the crazy things he was doing. I was even jamming along to his little rap. Lolita was right in saying that when he performs, he gets all the attention on him, the way it should be. But still, I’m pulling for my girl Yuridia. My mom says that she kind of looks like me. “Cuando tenias las piernas de escopeta. Como te enflacaste esa vez,” she says.

I like her because she’s cute and she’s got a great voice. I’d also like for Erasmo to win. I loved it when he sang that song, “Con tus perfumenes mujer, me vuelves loco… .” It reminded me of the night Gabi and I arrived in San Miguel. And of course, I loved it when he and the other guys sang Intocable’s “¿Y todo para que?”

Anyone interested in a La Academia viewing party next week for the grande finale?



I'm not sure what to make of this. It's something I turned in for my Pop Culture class last semester. It doesn't make any sense to me, but I thought I would share.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of quirky t-shirts. If you walk into your local Target, you will see a wall of t-shirts that read “Your village called, they lost their idiot” or “I can only make one person's day and today isn't your day/Tomorrow isn't looking too good either.” If you venture into a highly Latino populated area, like Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, you can find a booth that sells Latin influenced shirts like those of NACO Inc. These shirts take U.S. pop culture and mix it up with Latin flair. One example is the Naca/o shirt which takes the ever popular ACDC logo and replaces it with NACO. There is also the Mr. T t-shirt in which Mr. T is replaced by El Profesor Girafales from the notorious skit “Chavo del 8” from Chespirito, a 1970's Mexican program. There is also the blood red t-shirt with the mustard yellow heart and the letters CH in the center of the heart, which symbolizes El Chapulín Colorado, another Chespirito skit that mocks superheroes. Of course, these shirts mean nothing to those Americans who grew up watching Happy Days and the Brady Bunch. But to the Spanish speaking Generation Xers who watched Chespirito as kids these shirts mean more-they imply that Latino culture is becoming incorporated into U.S. society and that the entertainment they grew up can be pop culture.

The NACO Inc. t-shirt that reads “Estar Guars” is emblematic of transculturalism. Star Wars has long been a staple in U.S. pop culture. There are conventions dedicated to this film and almost everyone has seen at least one of these movies whether it was at the theater as a kid, on TNT, or one of the latest prequels. For NACO Inc. to produce such a shirt means that the U.S. is not the only country producing knock off pop culture from other countries in the form of mañanitas (shawls), peasant shirts, or Corona trucker caps. NACO Inc. is not the only company doing so. Walking the markets near the Zócalo in Mexico City, the streets are lined with tarps covered with t-shirts that play with U.S. pop culture.

These Latin influenced pop culture shirts can also be found at a store at the Edward's Marquee Theaters Plaza in Houston. There is a shop that offers not only these U.S. pop culture burlesque t-shirts but other items like the “Frijolero” t-shirt which was made popular by the Grammy nominated Molotov's single “Frijolero.” Wearing such a shirt is an incredibly political statement because of what the song says. It talks about the racial struggle that Latinos still encounter and recalls that “if not for Santa Ana…that where your feet are planted would be Mexico.” The production of this t-shirt and others is in a way assimilating to U.S. pop culture, but at the same time they celebrate and embrace a folklore that would otherwise be lost and replaced with an Aztec calendar ignoring a crucial chapter of history.

Blogger Dreams

I've been in pretty gloomy mood lately, but it seems that things are starting to get better. Last night, when I got home from my writer's group meeting, there was mail on the table. I noticed a post office slip for Daniel, some magazines, one from AAA and Legion and finally, there was a letter from Pasadena Independent School District addressed to me.

I had applied for their alternative teacher's certification program back in April but had not heard a word from them. This led me to the depressive mood, because I honestly did have my heart set on teaching for them. It's in an area that is very diverse and yet, I feel that I would be able to relate to the students. Plus, it doesn't give me the overwhelming feeling of doom that HISD gives me. Anyway, the letter asked me to take in a copy of my transcript, which states that I did in fact receive a B.A. degree. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that if I can't get a job teaching high school English I can at least do middle school.

On Wednesday night I had this really funky dream. Dan the Man, Gabi, Bo and I were at the crappy amusement park in El Paso. We were on some ride that swung back and forth like a pendulum. I remember that we were considering which section to get on so that we'd get the biggest thrill. I remember being on the ride and doing the pansy thing I always do, closing my eyes when we were to far off the ground and coming down. (I'm afraid of height, but I always make myself do these things for the thrills)

Anyway, as I was getting off the ride, my roommate drove up and rolled down the window. I was holding Dan the Man's hat and went over to see what she wanted.

“Someone's looking for you,” she said.

“For me?”

“Yeah, some girl named Gabriela. She said she needs to talk to you. I just saw her over on the other side, get on, I'll give you a ride so you don't miss her.”

I got on the car and she dropped me off on the other side of the amusement park. I remember leaving Dan the Man's baseball cap in her car and thinking he was going to be mad at me. Somehow, I knew what this Gabriela looked like because I spotted her right away. Actually, she kinda looked like Bella Chicana. Anyway, I went up to her and asked her if she was looking for me and she said, “Yeah.”

“Well, here I am.”

“I wanted to talk to you about your blog.”


“I don't like what you write. I don't think you should be talking…”

It all became a blur after thing, but I remember her telling me that she didn't like what I said about the Catholic Church or how I treated Dan the Man. I remember that I told her to mind her own damn business because this was MY blog and I could do as I damn well pleased with it.

It was all so weird because it felt so real. Its funny how our minds take all our concerns and make one big jumbled mess out of them when we fall asleep.