cafenowhere: frog, arms crossed, sitting on a rock (chillin)
May is always a hectic, though usually pleasant time for our family. Last week, we attended the Rainbow Graduation ceremony at the university where JJ works. We didn't know anyone graduating, but we went to be supportive and to show our kid some positive role models. Ash was suitably impressed and is now working with eir school's gay-straight student alliance to organize some special recognition for the queer 8th graders "graduating" this year. Ash also turned 13 last week, so we took em to dinner and gave gifts. Eir school had its last dance-party of the year on Friday, so e went to that. Then over the weekend, we had a party in the park so Ash could celebrate eir birthday with friends. Then there was niceness on Mother's Day, including Ash's gift to me: a white elephant sculpture about 7 inches high.

This gift was especially meaningful because, on Friday, I finally got back to work on the historical elephant prose-poem-whatever I've been blocked on for months. As of this morning, I've drafted two of four (possibly 5) sections. It feels more "itself" than any previous version, so I'm hopeful that this time I've got it right. I may be able to get a complete draft by end of week, barring any more allergy-induced headaches.

This afternoon I have a dermatology appointment. Because at some point previously I decided I would FIX ALL
 THE THINGS WRONG WITH ME.  I am no longer so enthusiastic, but I suppose it's for my own good.  



cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (sending love)
I'm breaking my routine and making this poem-a-day public because I think it might help people. Take and give comfort today, my friends.



A poem will save the world.
Maybe not this poem
maybe not today
but a poem will save the world.
Maybe it’s already been written
committed to heart and passed on
for generations
the poem that will save the world.
Or maybe the poet is still
staring at the words
wondering whether it’s enough.
Maybe the poem isn’t written yet.
Maybe the poet is stuck in traffic
or after-school detention
or a prison cell.
Maybe the poet isn’t born yet
or even conceived.
Maybe the poem that will save the world
will only be published in an email chain
that wraps around the world
in a relentless hug.
Maybe the poem
is set to music
or hidden in a painting
or captured in a photograph.
Maybe it’s a fanvid
or some form of future tech
I’ll never get to witness.
But it’s out there, I know.
Past present or future
perhaps some quantum state of all three
it exists and it will be free
and so will we
because a poem will save the world.


 --end--
cafenowhere: teacup brimming with mysterious violet liquid (psychedelic tea)
Poetry Notes for "Aboard the Transport Tesoro"

In November, my poem "Aboard the Transport Tesoro" appeared in Issue 7 of Uncanny Magazine. Now it's available to read for free online or listen to in a podcast.

The idea for the poem came to me on one of the many nights I lay awake in bed, in pain. I'd tried ignoring it, then meditating through it. I'd taken various medicines. I had my heating pad. I'd tried stretching out, scrunching up, lying on my back, belly, side. Nothing helped. To think of something other than hurting, I racked my brain trying to figure out what I could've done that day to trigger the pain. Nothing stood out. Eventually, I started to wonder what I had done, ever, in my life, to bring on this pain. Had emotion metastasized into physical ailment? Had I committed some sin or transgression? Was I being punished?

Pain makes me weird and illogical. (Or maybe that's my Catholic upbringing?)

These addled thoughts intersected with a conversation I'd seen on Twitter, about the difficulty of venerating elders (or ancestor worship) when your family is problematic. How do you overcome (or maybe just put aside) a history of conflict, or even abuse, for a continued relationship with the deceased? Can you ever trust them, let alone honor or respect them?

I wondered which of my ancestors might be inducing my suffering, and what they were trying to convey through the punishment. Only my grandmother seemed vindictive enough, but what had I done to piss her off this time? She held a grudge like a tick with lockjaw, so I supposed it could've been something I'd done in the past. But surely she knew my heart had changed over the years. I actually felt closer and more sympathetic to her than ever before. Maybe she was only acting out? Maybe she was hurting too?

And if I was so adrift, I wondered, how much more complicated could ancestor worship get in the future? With life-extending medicines and procedures, we might know our great-greats much more intimately, for better or worse. I imagined what it'd be like to have a wonderful, nurturing relationship with a great-great, and what I'd be willing to do for her when she finally passed.

Though I was still in excruciating pain, the poem came together very quickly after that. I got out of bed and wrote it down. I don't know how long it was before the pain subsided enough that I could sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I moved a couple of lines and typed it up, and it was done.

I don't see anything romantic about pain or suffering. If it were up to me, I'd have slept pain-free and never written the poem. But I do feel a grudging awe for the alchemy of poetry, which can take something as stupid and pointless as my pain and transfigure a bit of it. From lead to gold seems too self-congratulatory. So...shit to Shinola, maybe.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (neon sign)
Bogi Takács ([livejournal.com profile] prezzey) recently featured my poem "Golden Age" in eir #diversepoems recommendations on Twitter. Knowing how much Bogi appreciates bonus notes, I thought now would be an excellent time to elaborate on my poem, which originally appeared in Devilfish Review.

A note about the venue: Okay, coolest name ever! And some kind of cephalopod on their banner? I was sold! But when I read the editors' profiles, I realized they too are from the Rio Grande Valley. That definitely influenced my decision to send them "Golden Age."

I titled this poem "Golden Age" because I thought a certain type of science fiction becomes really appealing when one is first coming to understand mortality, specifically the mortality of our older loved ones.

Diabetes runs in my family. The grandmother I grew up with had Type 2 and her brother had Type 1. He needed regular injections, and the needles frightened me. I don't actually remember him doing the blood test strips, but he'd already lost an eye from diabetes complications. His glass eye was another fright to me, especially when he didn't have it in the socket or he took it out to tease us kids. Not understanding the difference between the two diabetes and seeing the common problems they caused my grandmother and her brother, I had a constant background worry that my grandma would get "as bad" as him. (And, in fact, she did have a host of health problems, related and not to the diabetes.)

Bogi mentioned the code-switching in the poem, and honestly, I had to go back to see what I'd done. I knew I'd used Spanish, but I'd forgotten how I'd had the child and Abuela go back and forth from English to Spanish, the give and take that was necessary to have that conversation between a mostly English-speaking Latina child and her mostly Spanish-speaking grandmother. That bilingual waltz was so ingrained in my childhood--and continues to this day between me and my mother-in-law--that it naturally emerged in the poem.

I had a difficult relationship with my grandma. In my opinion, she was not a good mother and she was unfairly thrust into the role a second time when my parents separated and she became responsible for us kids most of the time. I've written unhappy, even angry things about Gram, so I was glad to write a small, intimate remembrance that condenses the tender moments we shared.
cafenowhere: teacup brimming with mysterious violet liquid (psychedelic tea)
The galaxy-print, glow-in-the-dark dress I bought to wear to my sister's wedding celebration arrived this afternoon. It is swoonworthy blue, with a good lining and a suprisingly nice belt. (I say surprisingly because a lot of these super-skinny belts are flimsy. This one is well constructed and covered in the same fabric as the dress.)

It is too big, but I suspected it would be. I got the only size that was left and figured I'd make it work. I'll take it in about an inch and a half on either side of the bust, and JJ has offered to hem it using the sewing machine. I'll also have to add a hole to the belt, so I can cinch it to fit, which might involve a tad of velcro to keep the belt "tongue" from wagging.

Normally I'd not be up for all the extra work, but it's a really nice dress. I wish I'd thought to buy a crinoline to go under it.

Vacation

Jul. 15th, 2014 05:24 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (scheming)
Revisions done for the day, I can now blog about my Minnesota vacation. I planned our trip around a trip to the International Wolf Center, for Tweetie, who loves all animals, but notably wolves.

Click Here for Highlights and Pics )
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (coffee wtf)
...I met on vacation.



Probably the highlight of our family vacation to the boundary waters of Minnesota was visiting a bear sanctuary, where we got to see more than 20 black bears. More details later.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (jack skellington)

Last night, over candlelit dinner, Tweetie suggested we end the evening with a Christmas movie. Since Fast and Furious 6 just became available for rent, we proposed that.

"How is that a Christmas movie?" she asked me.

"Because Vin Diesel and his body are a gift to all of humanity," I said.

She looked at me like I'd drunk more wine than she'd realized.

JJ said, "Because it has car chases and explosions and what could be more festive than that?"

Tweetie kindly said, "Well, because it's Christmas and it will make you two happy, we can watch it. But I may not pay much attention."

After the first big chase scene, Tweetie, who was curled up against me said, "I can't believe I'm actually watching this."

"It's good, right?" I said.

"Yeah," she said, sounding surprised.

About midway through the movie, I noticed her eyelids drooping and asked if she wanted to go to bed or stay up and watch the whole movie.

"Whole movie," she said, too tired for complete sentences.

And she did watch the whole thing.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (scheming)
Thursday night we had a parent-teacher conference. As expected, Tweetie is doing well in school. Last year we were told she could be hard on her science lab partners if they had a disagreement. Which is to say, when her (male) partner wanted to try something Tweetie knew wasn't going to work. I felt kinda bad for the boy, because no one likes to feel stupid or ignored. But I also suspected it wouldn't have even been a thing if the roles were reversed. Science doesn't seem to be as contentious for her this year, but social studies...

The kids were arranged in small groups and told to imagine themselves as pilgrims on the Mayflower. They were supposed to decide on a form of government for themselves, and they were given several options: monarchy, a council of five wise men, voting by all adults, voting by all adult men, voting by all pilgrims age 10 and up. Tweetie thought everyone over the age of 10 should get a say. All the other children in her group insisted on replicating the historical sequence of events and chose voting by the men. Tweetie tried to explain that life expectancies were different back then and 10 yr olds had a lot of responsibilities and so they should get to vote, too. (Interestingly, she doesn't seem to have made the feminist argument. If she could just get them to let in the kids, the sexism would be moot.) Her group said, NOPE NOPE NOPE. Apparently, "debate" got pretty heated and the teacher had to intervene to explain that everyone's opinion was valid but majority ruled. (The irony!)

The next stage of the lesson was for two small groups to meet and negotiate on a common form of government, and there Tweetie found some other students who thought her way and she felt better. Because, I suspect, regardless of what the larger group decided, she and those other renegades were going to break off and do their own thing.

Listening to the teacher's account, I tried not to smile too broadly. My little anarchist... Once at home, we did discuss temporary truces and other negotiation tactics, but I'm not concerned. My daughter is strong-willed and principled, traits that would be lauded and rewarded if she were male. She already knows how to go along to get along. Withstanding peer pressure (and scorn) will be a more valuable skill in the years to come.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (jack skellington)
I considered skipping the ofrenda for this year's Día de los Muertos. As busy as I've been, I just wasn't feeling it, the connection to Grampa, the memories, the desire to collect items that remind me of him. But I've decided to try. Maybe it's important to put myself in a position to remember. And because it's an effort this year, I've decided against using all the same items that I've used in years past, lest the ofrenda become a mindless ritual.

Ofrenda 1

Making a comeback are the lotería cards, the photo of Grampa that I love, and the glass calavera candle holder. New items include: a bottle of dry roasted peanuts, which was a favorite snack of Grampa's and the traditional birthday, Father's Day, every holiday gift from us kids to Grampa; a Hostess fruit pie, because he bought three for us kids every week on his grocery trip, long after we cared for the sugary treats; a glass bingo-printed tray, because Grampa played bingo so much that his car was littered with old, marked cards and dried-out or used-up bingo markers, and sometimes he won; and a couple of battery-op'd tea-light candles so I can have candles without worrying about the cats getting curious and burning the house down.

Some things I am still thinking about/looking for: a small plastic donkey; Marlboro cigarettes; a toy barber's pole; a piece of denim; Barbicide; cowboy boot salt & pepper shakers. Tweetie has also offered to make a collage, which Grampa and I would love.

Another thing I've been doing to feel festive is watching horror movies: The Lost Boys; Nightmare before Christmas; House; Scream; Scream 2; Scream 3. I'd never watched Scream 3 before last night, and was pleasantly surprised. It's a lot better than the second installment, though my favorite remains the original.

As a trilogy, Scream is an incredibly depressing story. Our Final Girl Sidney is continually victimized by the consequences of her mother's past. Her agency seems to be limited to the choice of whether to trust others or build her walls, with the correlative choice of whether to confront the horror or run from it. Which is so fundamental it's easy to depreciate. But looking again, we actually get a Final Trio, three survivors who make it from beginning to end of the trilogy, and they're a cobbled together family that replaces the illusory family Sidney started with. So that development is heartening. Also, the trilogy says some interesting things about race and feminism and male entitlement. And I love how Craven uses windows and doors throughout the movies, and Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand" in each soundtrack.

But the first film is still my favorite because it has Billy and Stu, and they were treated as free agents, acting out their own murderous impulses rather than being manipulated by adults. And they were pretty and stood really close to each other. ;D

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (domestic)
Friday night, JJ took Tweetie to the school carnival. This is a tradition of theirs, since I don't enjoy being around all those people and being "on." Later that night, J and I watched Life of Pi. It was okay. A bit too much spoonfeeding for this viewer.

On Saturday, I did some housecleaning and we took a bunch of stuff to the consignment shop and a charity shop. I am loving the less clutter-more space look of the house. Tweetie had a friend visit, and JJ was "on call" for them while I read in my room and then took a nap.

Later that night, we made a delicious white stew. It had baby potatoes, cauliflower, parsnips, leeks, carrots, and Quorn. I worked on my puzzle of Munch's The Scream while it simmered. Tweetie rediscovered the raccoon tale JJ made for one Halloween, and then she remembered her gray cat tail and put that on to sing and dance around the house. She ended up wearing the cat tail for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday night, I dreamt that [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume was telling me about job opportunities. JJ woke me up when he entered the bedroom and closed the door behind him. I looked at the clock and tried to understand what time it was, and who this person coming into my bedroom was. I realized it was JJ but I thought I'd only been napping and he'd come home unexpectedly during a workday. I asked him, "What are you doing here?" And he, to his credit, did not say, "I live here" or "This is my bed." He came to bed and re-oriented me, and then I laughed at myself for my earlier question, which still makes me laugh when I remember it now.

Sunday morning we took care of our recycling, and in the afternoon, we visited SarahP and picked two sacks of apples from her overflowing tree whose branches are breaking from their bounty. We also met her goats and admired Sarah's garden and the pond. Tweetie loved playing with the dogs, and Fin bolstered her arguments for why we should have a dog by sitting at her feet and being the sweetest boy despite the fact that he's big enough to eat her.

Sunday evening I worked in the yard, trimming back the rose bushes, cutting down the maples that are trying to grow in our front lawn and collecting sticks. Later, J and I made stuffed roasted eggplant and it was divine, especially with the garlic yogurt on the side. Sooo tender, and very filling. We'd make it again, though we'd probably continue to substitute a quinoa-rice medley as we did this time.

Tonight, we'll bake some of the Prineii apples.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (I need coffee)
When we moved into Limoncello, one of the first neighbors we met was Nan, a woman in her seventies who still lived on her own, mowed her own lawn, and played golf. She was kind to me and Tweetie, always stopping her yardwork to chat when we strolled by. Once we were making our way to the bus stop in the snow, and she gave us a ride downtown. Another time, she gently noted how many steps Tweetie had to take to keep up with my longer stride, and rather than piss me off, it reminded me to slow down, take a breath.

Nan put her house up for sale earlier this summer, and we were sad. We'd been seeing her less and less. But it wasn't until Monday night, when we returned from the school's ice cream social, that I realized she was gone. Her house must've sold while we were in Niagara, because the sign was gone from her yard and a different car sat in the garage, new people tended the bushes. I was aghast to have missed Nan's departure, to not have gotten a chance to say goodbye.

When we moved into this neighborhood, it was an "older" neighborhood. Adults with no children or grown children; only a few had grandchildren, and they rarely visited. Now the population is getting younger. We inherited a plastic slide from our next-door neighbors soon after we'd moved in. Their grandkids were too big for it and were getting up to hijinks using it and the pool, so they passed it on to Tweetie. A few weeks ago I decided Tweetie was too big for it now, so we washed it and put it on the curb. A couple of days later, we spotted it in a yard down the street. Hopefully it's making the toddler at that house very happy.

It's bittersweet, watching these changes unfold. Especially since, given the recent birth of my second niece, I've realized Tweetie will remain a singleton and this house is much too big to keep for long after she leaves.

Dreams changing, realities shifting.

***

Today is Tweetie's first day back at school. She's more than halfway through elementary now. O_O She still spends an impressive amount of time pretending to be a dog, cat, or wolf every day. Today I will spend time pretending to be an adult with a writing career.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)
The view as we walked toward Yavapai Point on the east end of the South Rim, where we'd watch the sunset.

grand canyon butte


A view from somewhere between the midpoint and west end of the South Rim.
grand canyon view from bright angel

Lookout Studio, near Bright Angel lodge. That's Tweetie looking down at Papa through her sunglasses.

bright angel bright sky

A contemplative squirrel near Hopi Point. He'd periodically look over his shoulder at us tourists in annoyance, then return to the view and heave a sigh of appreciation. The squirrels in the park are completely inured to tourists, so much so that there are signs everywhere warning us not to feed the squirrels, no matter how cute or begging, because they have fleas and will bite--and might have plague.

zen squirrel

Also at Hopi Point, my little critter looking terrified, though it's a stunt shot. She's not actually on the edge of the Rim, but on a tier above and closer in. It's no wonder though that the pose made her dizzy. I got vertigo at times, too. Just before we took this photo, Tweetie was talking to two scientists who were observing the condors. They let us look at a nesting spot through their snazzy telescopes. Later, on the shuttle ride back to the Village, we spotted a condor just sitting on a stump in a wooded area beside the road.
grand canyon pics


I think these are elk. They're browsing in front of one of the lodges. Later, as we ate dinner in the nearby Arizona Room, a much bigger elk ate on the restaurant's lawn. When tourists got too close, hoping to have their picture taken with him, he tossed his head--and his impressive antlers--at them to warn them off. According to our waitress, last month he knocked a tourist's camera out of hand and over the side of the canyon.

mule deer or elk
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (chevy)
We have returned from our first summer expedition!

We drove out to Arizona and saw the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, where Tweetie earned her first Junior Ranger badge.

Then we drove on to the Grand Canyon and spent three days/two nights in the park, which was SO worth it. We saw condors and mule deer while exploring the South Rim. We watched a sunset. At dinner one night, an elk sauntered up to the restaurant window and started munching on the lawn. Later, on our way to a night-time program in the amphitheater, we walked among a family of chirping mule deer, who crossed the village streets like it was no big whoop. It was hard to concentrate during the program because the star-viewing was aMAzing, but Tweetie learned enough to earn another Junior Ranger badge.

We ventured outside the park to go horseback riding--a longtime dream of Tweetie's--through a ponderosa and piñon forest. My horse was named Sam. I think it was short for "Sam'thing's always irking me."

On the drive back home, we stopped at Meteor Crater, aka Barringer's Crater. To my relief, Tweetie did not say, "Great, Mom, a hole in the ground." (It might've been understandable, after the scale of the Grand Canyon.) She was actually pretty psyched about the crater and told me repeatedly she was so glad we'd stopped there.

As a huge fan of the Pixar movie Cars, Tweetie squealed with glee whenever we ended up on old Route 66, so we enjoyed a few meals on the Mother Road. (Throughout our trip, urbanspoon.com was an immensely helpful touchstone.)

And then, nearing home, we made a special stop to see [livejournal.com profile] rose_lemberg and Mati! Having missed Rose so much at WisCon, I was thrilled to hang out with them, and they took us to a great place for dinner. Rose is looking great, y'all. And Mati is a gem.

On the last stretch of the drive home, we pondered questions like "Is infinity odd or even?" And we debated definitions of genre and described our dream genre-combos. JJ also helped me brainstorm for a poetry chapbook all about my personal pantheon of alterna-heroines. So far, I have one poem and six more heroines to profile.

Now that we've mostly caught up on our sleep, we are crossing things off our to-do lists. J is back at work, and I've sent out a couple of poems requested during WisCon. (Sadly, WisCon already feels a world away. I never even got a chance to blog about it! :P ) Tomorrow, we hit the library and stop by the school office to pick up Tweetie's yearbook.

We are off to a running start on our summer, that's for sure!
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (neon sign)
It is Spring Break at Limoncello. Even JJ took the week off. Last week we did a major cleaning, so all that's left are some odd jobs before we head to Wisconsin for adventures.

One of the odd jobs was buying new luggage for J and Tweetie. (My suitcase is in decent shape.) They found a deal at CostCo, getting a matching set of "Ricardo of Beverly Hills" hardcases with slick caster wheels. Tweetie has thus named her suitcase Ricardo and spent a LOT of time yesterday speaking in a loving robotic voice to Ricardo and her old suitcase, Space Giant. (Why was she speaking in a robotic voice? I don't know. But it was weirdly cute.) She also donned as a toga the foam sheeting that came in the cases, then had the suitcases wear it as well. And, she curled up to read in the big box that the luggage came in. So, good purchase!

We continue to watch Smallville as a family. We are in ssn 9 and I spend most of my viewing time rolling my eyes so hard it's a wonder they haven't rolled out of their sockets. The show is a debacle. Plot holes and fantasy elements that only a tween could accept, but with hokey sexual content that embarrasses us all. Alas, Tweetie is hooked. I enjoy Teen Wolf MUCH more, but it's scary for Tweetie, so we have to pace ourselves with that show.

I'll admit to one highlight of watching Smallville this week: after a magician cast a spell on Clark Kent to make him kiss and make out with her, Tweetie told me, "I know what that was. That was rape." I was astonished, but got it together enough to agree that yes, sexual activity without proper consent from the participants was rape. And I was proud that she knew that, even though she likes the show, even though it was a man who was the victim, even though the aggressor was a smiley female and the episode continued as if it had all been a game. Tweetie was not fooled.

We've been investigating the history of our town a bit. Using a Google program called Field Trip, J found mention of a devastating fire at a glove factory near the Iowa River back in 1911. We hadn't even known there was a glove factory. So we went to the site, which is rather glum looking now, being a run-down industrial area and now home to the sprawling recycling center. We agreed the site would've been a very convenient factory location, near the river, near the railroad tracks.

Also using Field Trip, J showed Tweetie a photo of a man fishing in the Iowa River right near a fish ladder. After explaining to her what a fish ladder was, I suggested it wasn't very sporting to fish there. I said, "It's like building a bridge over a highway so people can walk across, then shooting them." Tweetie's face went pale and tight. After a moment, she said, "Mom, sometimes you scare me."

A Blockbuster store was going out of business, so we went in to score some cheap DVDs. I got Pontypool, The Crazies, The River's Edge (all of which I've seen and enjoyed before), and a couple of things for Tweetie. I also saw about 500 copies of My One and Only, a 2009 Renee Zellweger movie I'd never even heard of. J suggested Blockbuster's inventory of that movie for the entire country had ended up in this store. It still seemed like way too many.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (domestic)
This morning I was clucking over JJ, who has somehow managed to not get sick despite my best efforts and those of several coworkers. I hugged him and pleaded that he drink some orange juice for the Vitamin C.

"I don't need orange juice," he said, smiling into my hair.

"Are you at least taking your vitamins?" I asked.

"Yes, I'm taking my vitamins, I don't stand at the crossroads, I'll be fine."

Which made me laugh and relax, thinking I've trained him well.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (lennon cat)
There's a crow conference being held down my street. Some crows are doing that clicking purr in their throat, sounding disdainful or disappointed. Maybe just tsking that the meeting is starting late. Other crows are cawing, as if to drive off curious onlookers. At least one has learned to honk. I like the crows, but I try not to stare. They are like the mafia of the avian world, and they have long memories.

I may have found a way to keep the kitchen table clean and uncluttered: Bribery. Tweetie loves to eat by candlelight, even if we have the overhead fixture on as well. So I've told her if she helps me keep the table clear, we can have candlelight more often. So far, so good.

I had been doing LetterMo, then I got really sick and gave up, but now that I'm mostly recovered, I've realized I'm not that far off track. Granted, I haven't gotten to the mailbox every day, but I've sent multiples at a time, so number-wise, I'm close. And I have received some really fabulous mail.

Our family started watching Teen Wolf on Netflix. I think it's hilarious--really, the "dramatic" shots of Derek suddenly looming in the moonlight, then gone in the blink of an eye? It helps that he looks like every broody dude on the cover of a paranormal romance. And I LOVE Stiles. I just want to rub his fuzzy head and clap a hand over his motormouth. 
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (skull gloves)
...to the hassle of legal documents that I bitched about in a previous (locked) entry, is that this weekend my mother told me some of the immigration stories from her side of the family. It turns out, I had both a great-great grandfather (my grandfather's side) and a great-grandfather (on my grandmother's) who were Mexican citizens living in Texas who declined to apply for US citizenship. Their children became (or were born) US citizens, and stayed on in the area. This information helps fill out my family tree, which I may not pursue any further but which, as I am now learning, may be of use to Tweetie and her cousins. I'm excited to share all this with Tweetie, as it fits right in to her immigration focus in social studies.

Also, I discovered my brother has already been down this path, having had to correct his own paperwork. I wish he'd told me, as perhaps we could've consolidated some of the work back then. Alas. 
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (coffee wtf)

Tweetie is doing a unit on immigration in social studies. She asked if she had any immigrants in her family history. I reminded her that her paternal grandparents are immigrants from Mexico. Her classmates are a somewhat cosmopolitan bunch, so they've had conversations about how one child's siblings are a mix of immigrants and citizens, and about families with multiple immigrations over generations. This morning she and I wondered whether babies adopted from other countries can really be considered immigrants, if they can't remember anything about their birth country. When does national identity "sink in"?

We didn't have a unit on immigration when I was growing up in Texas. Not until, I'd guess, junior high, and even then it was an abstract kind of footnote about waves of immigrants to the United States in the past. I understand the many reasons the school curriculum ignored the elephant in the classroom. (1) When most students directly or indirectly had *lived* the immigrant experience, what more could a textbook tell them? (2) Schools didn't have the resources to deal with the emotional consequences of broaching the topic. (3) Such discussions would have violated the unofficial "don't ask, don't tell" policy that schools adopted regarding the immigration status of its students.

I wonder if the curriculum in Texas has changed with respect to immigration. I'm glad that Tweetie gets to have these conversations, but I'm also uncomfortably aware that she can only do so in a school environment because the Powers that Be have deemed it safe and right. Only after giving up proximity to the issue are we "allowed" to learn about it.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (hola)
Today I saw five bald eagles sitting together in a couple of trees on the Iowa River. That's the most I've ever seen at once, and I've never seen them "congregated" like that.

Today I wrote my first poem in my new monsoon journal. I filled up my previous journal just before Christmas (though I did have to cut out a bunch of blank pages so it would close (more or less)). I'd done some art journaling in the new book, but I was feeling twitchy about writing in it ("it's too beautiful for my stupid scribbles") until this morning, when I had most of a long poem for [livejournal.com profile] diatryma lready composed in my head. What the hell, I thought, and jumped right in.

I started watching American Horror Story n Netflix, and I like it. For one, any show that averages two double-homicides per episode is alright by me. Srsly, I think I've counted 8 instances of multiple murder and I just finished episode 3. I really love that the female lead, played by Connie Britton, is allowed to look more or less her age, and that the daughter, Violet, is both as merciless as only a teenager can be, but also vulnerable and honest. Although I have "issues" with the character of Addie and the Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? -ness of Jessica Lange, they're minor quibbles until I see how things unfold. I just now noticed, there are a lot of women on the show, which is refreshing. The only other show I watch with a comparable number of women characters is Once Upon a Time, which is on Netflix and family friendly, so we've been working through season 1.

Tweetie is on a media binge. She received a set of the Case Closed dvds from her dad for Christmas, and she regularly disappears for hours to watch the anime mysteries. She also received a digital camera from...someone...and has been shutterbugging around the house. We're both amused by her two-minute videos of the mundane, me because how much can you say about stray cat toys and our bulletin board; her because of the cognitive dissonance between her recorded voice and the voice she normally hears. Also, JJ updated her laptop (which used to be my laptop (Cherry Pie)), and now she is playing games with much less frustration.

I've been fiddling with my LJ theme, and am once again grateful for my hacker husband, who can carry out  orders like, "Get rid of all the friggin' pink!" I need to add a sticky note to the home page, but I'm terrible at writing bios and profiles, so it'll take me a while to figure out what to say. Suggestions (even silly ones) are welcome. :) I'd also like a more fitting mood theme, so if you have recommendations as to where to find good/weird ones, I'd love to see 'em.

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June 2017

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