Saturday, September 26, 2009

"They fear us because we are not afraid."

Honduran women stand up in resistance to military forces which oppress the people, abuse the women.

[Thanks to Frieda Werden for sharing this link via Facebook. Kudos to the women of FIRE--Feminist International Radio Endeavour!]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eulogy for Grace: an appreciation-in-progress

THANKS and MUCH APPRECIATION for all the generous expressions of love, sympathy, and kindness that have been extended to me via Facebook, Myspace, phone calls, email, and person-to-person moments. Without you, my beautiful tribe and family of friends, I would be nowhere and nothing...

Quite suddenly, I lost my young little Grace,
a cat who chose me about five years ago. It was
one unmemorable day that she showed up at my front door,
eager and trusting--
with one ear partly clipped to show that she'd been
a recipient of the "catch, neuter, release" program
of the neighborhood association. We took to one
another with the greatest of ease.

She grew to be very memorable.

She was smart and full of vitality, and today
she is gone. The vet said that she died of
an allergic reaction, which made her throat close
and she could not breathe.

I am devastated.

I truly valued this little animal friend who showed
such an affinity for my homebody writer lifestyle,
and didn't seem to like it when I had to leave for
appointments. Indeed, she had recently started brave
attempts at following me to the bus stop as I rushed to

I had just bought a collar/harness for her in hopes of
working with her comfort level to be able to someday
take long walks together. And take her to Spiral Diner
or another street cafe nearby.

A brilliant, fun cat, she took to tree- and roof-climbing
as well as sidewalk rolling with equal gusto. I admired
her keen insights and instincts; cats have these in general,
I know. But Grace was particularly dog-like, coming to
me when I called and even bringing her little puffball
toys to my feet--in exchange for Whisker Lickin treats.

I could go on, but you get the idea. She was very special
to me, and I am going to revere and miss her forever.

Sometimes Grace would squint her eyes as she lay in bed,
seemingly wanting to ask: "It's way past midnight and you're
still on that computer. Can't you at least dim the lights?"
One night, I got up from the desk and gently placed my
sunglasses over her eyes. She seemed to appreciate that.

Thanks for listening, dear friends and family.
Thoughts of our kinship are helping to keep me comforted.



Extra note:

As i recall, these are the pet names/nicknames i used for Grace in all the time we were together:

Grace - Kitty - Pookety - Ani (short for Animal) - Ahn-i-mahl - Kitty of the City (pronounced "kittay of the citay") -
Autonomy Cat - Pookety of the City -
and Sunshine Cat (when i would find her, mostly in the mornings, luxuriating in the patches of sunlight beaming through
the eastside windows onto the floor)

Monday, September 07, 2009

How i've labored since i was 15 years old

However you commemorate Labor Day, I hope that you consider the protesting, stalwart activists who made sure that legislative and institutional changes were made to ensure and protect laborers in this country--young and old, male and female, white and otherwise. Cheers for labor unionists, labor organizers, and we the workers ourselves. More protections and considerations need to be brought to eventuality in terms of our comrades and counterparts from and in other countries. And lastly, I would ask that we remember that when we purchase goods manufactured by the hands of exploited laborers we are supporting bad/unfair/often illegal labor practices. Let's do the better thing, as often as we can.

And now, a list. I thought it would be--here on Labor Day 2009--an interesting exercise to list all the jobs i could remember ever having worked. So here it is, from my fast-food inaugural work experience to my current job. For what it was worth...

Wendy's - Fort Worth - front counter, food prep, dining room cleaning, drive-up window

General Cinema - Seminary South Theater - Fort Worth - concessions, ticket sale, popcorn maker

Texas Grain & Feed Association - Fort Worth - general office assistant

Minyard's Grocery Store - Fort Worth - bakery clerk

Black-Eyed Pea Restaurant - Fort Worth - waitress/host

Goucher College - Towson, Maryland - Office of Public Relations - work-study position

Gander's Restaurant - downtown Baltimore - waitress

Southwestern Petroleum Co. - Fort Worth - clerk/typist, data entry

Union Equity Cooperative Grain Exchange - Fort Worth - general office assistant, data entry

Goucher College - Towson, Maryland - Office of Dance-Movement Therapy - work-study position

University of Texas-Austin - Journalism Department - phone survey - data collection

University of Texas-Austin - General Libraries - Administrative office - receptionist/office clerk

University of Texas-Austin - University Inter-scholastic League (UIL) - Administrative office - assistant to three directors

Tarrant County Mental Health Mental Retardation Services - mental health therapist tech and manager of three-quarter-way facility for chronically mentally ill adults

Boys and Girls Club - Eastside branch, Fort Worth - Cultural Enrichment Director

Chinese restaurant - downtown Fort Worth

Warehouse - Boulder, Colorado - shipping/receiving assistant

Frying Pan - Basalt, Colorado - waitress (one day only)

Live-in nanny on Buttermilk Mountain - Aspen, Colorado - cooking, cleaning, childcare, food shopping

Poetry consultant (for musician Jimmy Ibbotsen) - Aspen, Colorado - one-shot thing

Tesuque Village Market - Tesuque, New Mexico - cashier/waitress

Tia's Tex-Mex restaurant - Fort Worth - waitress

Nokoa-The Observer - African-American Progressive weekly newspaper - Austin, TX - office assistant, reporter

Boys and Girls Club - Montopolis (adjacent to Austin) - summer instructor

University of Texas-Austin - Natural Fibers Research & Information Center - research assistant

Website development consultant - Fort Worth

Booker T. Sparks Performing Arts Program - Fort Worth - afterschool arts educator

University of North Texas Health Science Center - Lewis Medical Library - Fort Worth - library assistant

Latin Arts Association (Artes de la Rosa) - Fort Worth - afterschool arts educator

Veterans for Peace - 2005 National Convention - Irving, Texas - convention coordinator

Fort Worth Independent School District - substitute teacher - middle school and high school levels

(Plus various temp job assignments through temporary employment agencies
commissioned art assignments (performing, teaching, mentoring youth, and writing)
paid artist residencies in Nebraska, California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Texas.)

Volunteer positions - the following list is about 15% complete
(Women as volunteers contribute most of the world's unpaid labor, which is not considered as part of the gdp (gross domestic product).

St. Andrew's Catholic Church - Fort Worth - youth lector, liturgical performing artist/director
ACLU - Fort Worth - student intern
Texas Civil Liberties Project - Austin, TX - free legal clinic - administrative assistant
The Other Screen - founder/director and coordinator of this monthly independent film/video series in 1980s Fort Worth
Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (and organic farm) - Basalt, Colorado - intern
KO.OP (91.7 FM) Radio - Austin, TX - producer/programmer, outreach coordinator, and elected member of the Community Board

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My Life According to Martin Espada (a fun literary exercise or total waste of time, depending...)

My Life According to [fill in the name of a poet you like)

Thanks to Sesshu Foster for the following meme. And to Lorna Dee Cervantes whose inspired answers, using Pablo Neruda poem titles, totally made me want to try this. Spread it around!

Using only POEM titles from ONE POET, answer these questions. Pass it on to 12 (or a million) people you like. You can't use the poet I used. Do not repeat a title. Repost as "My Life According to (POET)."

[I decided on Martin Espada, who was my favorite poet in the late 1990s, because I own about 6 of his books--hence more poem titles from which to choose. Also, i liked so many titles that i listed more than one--at times. That's just me...]


Are you a male or female?

"The River Will Not Testify"
"Blackballed by the Rainbow Girls"
"Watch Me Swing"

Describe yourself:

"The Toolmaker Unemployed"
"Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper"

How do you feel?

"Job Search Got Us Down"

Describe where you currently live:

"Where the Disappeared Would Dance"
"From an Island You Cannot Name"

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

"Transient Hotel Sky at the Hour of Sleep"
"Latin Night at the Pawnshop"

Your favorite form of transportation:

"Sleeping on the Bus"

What's the weather like?

"Ashes and Donuts"
"Rain Delay: Toledo Mud Hens, July 8, 1994"

Favorite time of day:

"When Songs Become Water"
"Cada Puerco Tiene Su Sabado"

Your relationships:

"I Apologize for Giving You Poison Ivy (by Smacking You in the Eye with the Crayfish at the End of My Fishing Line)"

Your fear:

"The New Bathroom Policy at English High School"
"Tires Stacked in the Hallways of Civilization"
"The Chota and the Patron"
"Thieves of Light"

What is the best advice you have to give?

"Sing in the Voice of a God Even Atheists Can Hear"
"We Live by What We See at Night"

If you could change your name, you would change it to:

"Beloved Spic"
"Transient Hotel Werewolf"

My soul's present condition:

"Preciosa Like a Last Cup of Coffee"

Friday, September 04, 2009

A Woman's World - pictorial mosaic

[Thanks to Tamitha Curiel for suggesting this link. Enjoy!]

"A Woman's World" - Readers submitted photographs that illustrate the theme of women's empowerment.

In accordance with this theme, the NYT is also promoting an online competition that helps put a spotlight on projects and agencies/groups that empower women across the world. For more info, go here. Contest deadline is September 23rd, by the way.