Friday, December 23, 2011

Times Are Changing---continued

The tile of this entry refers to a line in Godfather II, Michael Corleone had spent time with his mother asking if one could lose his family. She says no because family will always be family. His response is that he notes that times are changing. In fact, life between the 40s and 60s did have many volatile changes. Many things about life, families, and politics underwent a great change. Like the Corlenoe's other families are not living in the places where they grew up and where they were comfortable. Families are splintered by location, time, and sometimes ill will toward one another in the original family group. Other changes have occurred in the way we use the money we earn. The enticement of advertisements have led many of us down a path to economic ruin.



As I mentioned above, money and the need to earn it has sabotaged the concept of united families. So we move from our origins. Many times this turns out to be a great thing. After all there is something in the human species that leads it to enjoy travel, meeting new people, and learning about new music, foods, and fashions.  Families will change because things and people are changing. The way of life in our country is changing, too. 

There is nothing inherently wrong with change. Change is in fact a part of life. The thing we must consider is how many of us have been manipulated not only by advertisements but the system that tells us to go to school and then get a good job. However, currently there are no jobs for many people. 


I've always thought that not all of us want to go to college. Many of us are meant to be artists, architects, or even long shore men/women. Worse, many of the jobs that the United States used to have available for new graduates are gone. The USAmerican corporations that have such great support from our government are shipping jobs to places where they do not have to provide a living wage to their workers. 


I'm not a well renowned economist, but it did not pass by me that jobs I held as a full time position frequently were split so two would work but get no benefits. Others I knew noticed it too. I then went for a higher degree but alas I chose the wrong path. I'm happy to have earned my degree but I went for it too late.  So here we are in a country that made things to a country that exports jobs overseas and ignores the needs of its citizenry to have jobs available once they finish school.


The worst part of the changes is that the government expect people with low incomes to spend money on things they do not need so they can meet the expectations of their children who are glued to the colorful and fun filled commercials aimed at children. Perhaps someone can think of a way to have the economy depend less on the amount of money its citizens spend. Perhaps we should have goods and services other people want. Sadly we are not making sufficient things here within the borders of the United States. Those jobs are in Mexico, China, Vietnam and other places outside our borders.



Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Brief Entry to Honor My Godfather/Uncle

December 3, 2011, I learned of the passing of my "Tio MUNDO" His name was Raimundo Arroyo, but our family called him "Mundo" which can be the Spanish word for world. He was a world unto himself and I'm grateful to have known him and that he shared himself with his family. To many of us,Tio Mundo was a beloved uncle because he was kind, generous, funny, witty, thoughtful, forgiving and always a gentle quietness seemed to envelop him as he journeyed throughout his life. He was a great cook, gardener--a true farmer's son. He brought life to the world he inhabited. He lived in Tennessee so it was only when I traveled to conferences that I saw him in the past few years. However, I have good memories of the young handsome soldier who played with me upon his return to civilian life post World War II.

I love and honor him because despite his seemingly quiet personality came with a very strong character--this is not to be mistaken for foolhardy stubbornness that afflict so many of us.

My uncle was a good son, a great brother, a good husband, and father. Like many men who lived and fought in World War II, he represented the best of what Tom Brokaw labeled "The Greatest Generation." So in addition to his place in our family,my Uncle Ray, has a place in USAmerican history that unfortunately will go untold beyond the confines of his closer family.

Que Jesus, Maria, y Jose te reciban en el cielo, my precios tio.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Ravages of Insomnia

I did not go to bed until about 3 am. this morning. Before I did go to bed I went to my bathroom sink and saw a very tired old woman. I'm not really an old woman but I sure looked it earlier today. I have been reading too many interesting books and doing a great job of avoiding writing, which is something I ought to be doing.

So to avoid looking like another skinned chicken with yellow skin, I'll get out and find some herbal knock out teas. To ward off another night of being up with the ravens and vampires that roam the night. I am having fun with the vampire imagery for I'm more likely to kill them off than they harm me. :)

Living alone is what does this to me--I no longer have a tight schedule to adhere to and no meals I "must" fix for my children.

I will endeavor for the next few hours to do my work and then leave my apartment in search of some fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wisdom from the Past and for the Future

When I was a young mother and I was rearing the three strong characters who are my children, I never realized that I was helping to push forth a lot of the wisdom of my family and Puerto Rican culture that in part nurtured me. I say in part, because unlike many of my cousins I was raised primarily in boarding schools. Still Puerto Rican culture stuck to me along with the religious who helped raise me. In all there is a hodgepodge of cultural and personal knowledge which influenced me and now my children.

What I can say now is that I lived my life in too much of a daze because like many women left to rear their children on their own, I had no clue as to what to do, when to do it, or even question whether or not I had the current views on child rearing available to me. As things stood, my children and I sort of survived the process. Two of the three are kind and understanding of the person I was and am. For this, I am grateful, for I can move on without the eternal mental double checking I had previously engaged in. What time wasting that rethinking everything from the past. Now I know--it's over. Let me move on.

I do want to find my middle child and give her two gifts. As a child she cut the hair off of her beloved Carol doll. In my younger days, I used nail polish remover to remove the "lipstick" of my baby doll. I guess my middlin child and I share a desire to perfect things we care about. This trait comes directly from my Mama.

Aside from doll issues, I find myself thinking that the future for our children is really up for grabs. The brand of capitalism I grew up with was kinder. Today everything is cut throat and bottom-line oriented. The idea that we are a country of citizens who should care about one another as brothers and sisters is an alien idea to too many. If we do not recover our sense of unity and stop fear mongering, our little bit of heaven which I call the USA will be destroyed.

I believe that the simplicity of living in my grandparents' time though without the comforts of running water, electricity, or gas forced people to work together and thus value what each person contributed to the enterprise of not only surviving but getting ahead. My grandparents built up their homes, farms, and contributed to their towns. In their time they were well loved and respected. I couldn't ask for more myself. So I keep their pictures on my night stand as silent reminders of where I come from and what is possible in my life even in this late stage of my life.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Insanity of Our Times

It seems Orwell's vision of a dystopia was right--up is down, good is evil men are not men but corporations are men. Poor people are poor because they're lazy; big corporations are needy, so the government must help them. Politicians hear things very well but pursue their cozy connections to large banks and corporate powers.

Hardly a day goes by when I see young people protest the imbalance that exists among the various sources of wealth. Unlike days in the past, humankind does not seem to be appreciated except those at the top who write laws for the Congress and continue with a drip down economic strategy.

I for one am tired along with others of the flim flam conducted by the Congress against the people whose country this is.

Now all the problems of the European Union is another excuse to make the markets go down, causing many who have retirement funds in their 401Ks to lose money. The worker bees are once again prevented from tasting the nectar collected for old age.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Channeling Mí Mamá

Time passes, children grow, and grandchildren come into one's life. I've often thought of myself as a hybridized Latina-American woman. So when I notice something new in my interactions with my family, I usually find it's due to the influence of one of my parents. I've calmed down a bit and I attribute that good change to my Father. I used to get upset easily and that was more like my Mother. Lately, I find myself wanting to care more for my Granddaughter, Amber. Times are so different for her and her education that I want to be sure she gets to finish and reap the rewards of having a quick inquisitive mind. Like many members of the family she has a very kind heart and is generous to a fault. However, Amber is a big girl and she's independent, so any good I might wish to do for her has to come in a way that she understands that it is my job as a grandmother to give her anything I can. This gesture on my part comes directly from my Mother, who loved unconditionally and generously. Some may wonder that I write about something so obvious--the inheritance of characteristics of one's parents. However, my relationships with each of my parents were not traditional. It's not that I was a poor misunderstood person. In some ways I was but not to the degree that led to my ever failing to love and respect my parents. It's that I live in an USAmerican world but my psyche drifts into Latina Americana frame of thinking and feeling. Every time it happens, I am pleasantly surprised. I seem to have balanced both ways of thinking and being. That is a joyful thing for me.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Day with My Granddaughter

Wonder and awe are two feelings I have for my Granddaughter, Amber. She is working 8 hours per day and attending ASU full time. The more she progresses in her life the better view I have of the great woman she will be because she's a great person now. We share a love of movies, and today I introduced her to a French Film. Venus Beauty Institute. Given the difference between American and French outlooks on man/woman relationships, she handled the movie well. Next films I want to share with her are other French films and a Chinese film I saw long so its title is not on my mind today. I"ll have to go through some files where I placed the lists. Happily for me, I'll get to see her again tomorrow and perhaps by then I can find something new to cook up for her. I'm thinking tonight, too, of the passing of an inventor who passed away from his condition--pancreatic cancer. I'm not a Mac user so I can't praise his major computer invention but I have appreciated films that owe him credit for rescuing the companies that made them. Also, many users of the little music player that keep youngsters appreciated the IPod. Being closer to the age most people contemplate their deaths, I feel sad for the Jobs family. The man was younger than I am at this time. When I go I want my Amber to remember her granny and enjoy all the movies and music that we've enjoyed together. Memories, after all, are what connect the dead to the living.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Remembrance

I've studied the works of many female authors who've written on the subject of the power of remembering. I am undergoing my own journey via the photos and stories I'm collecting and writing from my family's history. So I join with Morrison, Moraga, Silko, and many of my students and friends who've used memory to regain a sense of our strength through our spirituality. Now Cherrie Moraga has a new project about which she speaks briefly. It follows below.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

All We Need Is Love Part II

I shared my post with Lennon's quote with a friend on Friday night. She shared the video I'm embedding into this post. I suppose we all have to imagine what the film means for ourselves. However, I'd like to think of the spirituality working with magnetic forces and vibrations to help us see our common links to one another. I do not believe that the Apocalypse is upon us as many imagine it. I rather hope that love and oneness will work their way into the common human consciousness. Mom, I just noticed today is your birthday. On 9/10/2011 you would have been 97 had you stayed here.

The Quickening from keith wyatt on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

All We Need Is Love

I found this quote by John Lennon and thought how apt it is for the entire world on so many levels. We all are linked by our common humanity, so why not love and nurture one another instead of fearing what seems different and creating wars?

We have this one little planet which so far is the only one  in the universe to sustain human life forms. Why not love and nurture it instead of polluting it and creating more inventive ways of destroying our mother ship as we journey through the universe?

I want to be an optimist but I can't seem to be one today. Too many greedy people are hell bent on going for money and profits at the cost of our planet and our souls.

He said: 
We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant.
You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard
or just think it's going to get on by itself.
You've got to keep watering it.
You've got to really look after it and nurture it.
~ John Lennon ~

 

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day

My son threw a kick-ass party yesterday. When did he learn to cook for so many and so well? I doubt my mother could have done better. And if the spirit of the people was any indication, I think his grandparents/my parents were present and enjoying the good vibes he wrought on Labor Day Sunday.

Food was great, the people better. This is one Labor Day weekend I'll remember joyfully.

Mil Gracias, Hijo.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Regulations, taxes aren't killing small business, owners say | McClatchy

Regulations, taxes aren't killing small business, owners say | McClatchy

For all the spin against regulations on business, banks, etc., it is good to know that there are some small businesses that find regulations helpful.Alas, they are too quiet in the quagmire of our public discourse. Scarcely will anyone note what these people point to as their truth.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Back to Post-Debt Ceiling Work

Entry title refers to  may    return to personal  writing that does not necessarily  discuss  the political   Jibber  -- Jabber  that passes for civic discourse.

I've begun to return to some work on family history, stories, and the fact of my tons of pictures is helping me remember in a kinder way. Not everything from the past is "glorious" nor is it  all  a "nightmare." Pictures reveal my beloved Aunts, Uncles, and even a young version of my Dad--Papi and Mom, Mami--when their lives were still in front of them. All my warm feelings return but my longing for those feelings tells me a lot of what I'd missed when I was younger.

I was born in the mid 40s and this means that my upbringing was influenced by a brand of Victorian precepts. Yet as a friend   told me not too long ago, I'm a  radical or  daring person. I don't consider  myself joyfully  engaged in adventures,but I  do take chances which sometimes lead to personal growth  in the  ways humans are to grow, even if  those people are older and physically shrinking  like me.   We   should  learn something each  day.  Old age would not  become a burden if we can keep our minds and spirits continually  learning new things and finding our spiritual center  so  we can enjoy being  alive.

My best quality is openness to new ideas and flexibility. Getting older requires that people be sufficiently flexible  to keep  on going  in a world of  constant Changes..

Of  course,  some changes  are not necessarily "new"   situations.  In the political swipes and  we have  prime examples  of this era's dysfunction. Long ago   while  in my 20s, we  had  issues  presidential   and  congressional  sniping  at  to   get some measure of leverage    on the White House or on  members of college.   



Let   us see what the  outcomes  of the coming   elections   hold for  us.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What If?

I realize the world cannot be changed easily and the past is over or done or unchangeable. However, there times when I wonder what if? Perhaps I think this way because I've lived through many events, personal, historical either specifically to the United States or to the larger world.

Some people seem to need to undergo the consequences of their life's experiences to develop character or appreciation for life or perhaps to become a stronger more focused person.

Likewise, events to happen within a nation that alters it for a long time. Sometimes, some events are so traumatic that they affect the future growth or development of a nation. I wonder what direction the trajectory of our national growth and history would have been IF JFK had NOT been assassinated. Would we have pulled out of Vietnam? Would we have decreased the development of militarism in our country? Would we have found things not associated with war as the focus of our investment in our country?

I ask myself these questions because all to often we do not appreciate the possibilities that one human life can do for the rest of us. One life can affect many for good and not war and fear mongering.

When I see all the wars our country has involved itself in, I shudder at the loss of lives, opportunities for peace, invention of things that are NOT lethal. All this and more can still happen but our thinking as a nation needs to change. People in this country cannot operate on fear of the "other" the "alien" etc. I do not refer to our border issues when I say this. I refer to the reasons used as an excuse to fight wars.

I thank the powers that exist for Obama and Hilary Clinton's efforts at a new kind of diplomacy. Now that things are moving along in the Libya situation, perhaps people can focus on a better life for the citizens of the USA.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Libya Freed?

I have been out exercising, watching movies or doing just about anything to avoid watching or listening to the news. These days the news depresses me as I realize there is very little I can do to impact the world for the better.  I just learned via Al Jezeera and the Huffington Post that Mr. Gaddafy's sons have surrendered to the rebel forces and that soon the terrorist from Tripoli will be gone.

Well that is one less war for our country to engage in. For this I am very happy. If more of us could find ways to create peace and love for our children and grandchildren's generations, I'll be a very happy woman.

Like all things in the media, I will take this news with a grain of salt until tomorrow or later just to be assured that the war in North Africa is over. Of course, then we must pay attention to the disruption between Egypt and Israel. People with long memories and unjust causes will always exist. So wars are always a potential threat to all of us.

May God bless the human race and grant us peace. It is not as if we are aliens to one another. The only differences are those of  language and culture. Other than that, we are all human.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Colin Firth

It is true that Colin Firth is a very handsome man. I first saw him in Valmont. Later I saw him in the Arts and Entertainment channel's production of Pride and Prejudice, subsequently he was in Bridget Jones parts 1 and 2. He was charming in The Importance of Being Earnest and Love Actually. He demonstrated his comedic talent as well as his singing in the movie based on Oscar Wilde's story. But his performance in  A Single Man topped the others I'd seen him in. I even prefer this film to The King's Speech, which also demonstrated Firth's acting skill. Perhaps it is the English reserve which bursts into something else in each character he's played lately that has made an impression.

As I age, I require good movies for when the print seems to small in the books I have yet to read.

Viewing A Single Man

Tonight I actually watched the entire movie, A Single Man.  I'm glad I spent time with it because it highlighted  truths about the human condition that I'd failed to notice in my first view of the film. I believe I failed to focus on these truths or true to me experiences the first time because as often is the case distractions entered my mind while viewing the film for the first time. I engaged with many other things to truly appreciate the themes of the movie.

Although the story is about a man who has lost his partner of 16 years, the grief, the sense of loneliness, the need of human contact are true of us all. I do not need to be a homosexual male to see the grief that overtakes a person at the loss of a truly loving partner. It is hard to suddenly realize that you must continue on your own. Interestingly, in his final day, George visits an old female friend, whom he's known for many years, is propositioned by a handsome Spaniard at a liquor store ---George was buying Tanqueray Gin for Charlotte--and later George spends a good night with one of his students talking about being born alone and dying alone and in fact spending the rest of our lives alone locked in our bodies. I would say locked in our minds. By the end of the film, George has his moment of revelation that fits with his student's statement about the importance of living in the moment and relishing the joy of life whenever it comes. Connections to other humans on a deep level wind up being the things that truly matter in a human life.

I liked the movie because it shows character development throughout it. As an avid reader and movie watcher of long standing I really enjoy those films where focus is on character first and plot second. I could envision this movie with a different ending. Why because the young student becomes a possible person with whom George could begin a new chapter in his life. Yet the end is perfect because what he had with Jim was perfect. Anything else would not be better it would be survival. And in my estimation survival can be a heavy thing in one's life.

I know this because in my life I have survived to find myself alone and very much involved with thinking. Like Charlotte in the film, I no longer have a regular job. I work on line and I miss the face to face interactions with my students. Unlike Charlotte, I don't think I have the energy to deal with teaching full time again.

I see it more profoundly now that connecting deeply with friends and sharing thoughts and times that are important to them as well as to me are those nuggets of time we treasure and in fact define part of our purposes in living.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Reminders from the Past

I've made a sad realization within the past few days. So much of my life has been spent on achieving something outside of myself that I neglected to love myself as I do others. A few days ago my youngest daughter, Elizabeth, found the picture on the right, which she photographed with her cell phone camera. That is the reason the picture is so unclear. The point of this entry is that I did not recognize the young mother. I never spent time looking at myself and caring for myself. This picture is a total repudiation of how I thought of myself. It also is a total vindication of my Mother's idea that women should try to leave the house looking a little "made up".

Thank God my hair was fixed in this picture or I doubt that my Mom, who took the picture would have let me get away with unkempt hair.

My daughters do a better job of "putting on their outside faces" and of keeping themselves at a healthy weight. Unfortunately, I have neglected myself. So now I must create more time to fix up when I leave the house.

I sure hate to say this but Mom was right. I should take care of how I look for myself's sake as well as for my children.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 31, 2011

How Does an Englishman Enter a Puerto Rican Family

Family gatherings are such fun. My cousin David Rosas officially tied the knot in the Bronx in front of friends and family. Unfortunately, I was not there. However, my son James and his youngest Jazzie were there as part of the wedding party--best man and flower girl respectively. James sent pictures of David and his beautiful bride, Mary Jane.

As often is the case in all families there is a rift between some of us and one of my offspring. If it were up to me alone, I'd say forgive and forget. I think James agrees with this, except he would want one condition which I cannot discuss in a public or semi-public forum. 

This family issue began over six years ago with an "untruthful" accusation. So this morning, I found the following quote from quotes of the day right on the front page of IGoogle.It deals with one core problem--lying to cover up one's own faults or lying to look better than one's other siblings. I am not sure how this family issue will play out. I'm getting older and I'd love to see an end to this issue. I'll have to think of how it would be possible to heal this small but important to me part of the family.

Winston ChurchillA lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Mr. Churchill always did have a way with words. The truth will come out but it's a bit like a tortoise which has yet to reach the goal line.
 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dissent in Our Politics

Okay this is not "new" but I'm so disheartened by the lack of civil civic discourse. Today, July 29, 2011, follows an all night session of the House of Representatives in the US. The outcome? A minority of new or freshmen members of the US House of Representatives did the equivalent of putting a gun to the collective head of the rest of the nation's citizenry to force passage of an amendment which may be a good thing but not at this time. The economy may tank and the yahoos want to stop government intervention to help the economy. They do not want to restrict banks and other financiers from creating bogus instruments they can sell to unsuspecting people.

These are the same people who value home, mother, apple pie, and heterosexual marriages--only. Those are the limits of their "Christian" values.

Dreaming of Daddy

Sylvia Plath may have had issues with her "Daddy" but I don't remember any with my Dad. The other day I found some pictures of him when he was so young and "cute" that I couldn't believe my eyes. Pictures are great but in someways I wish he were here for me to hug him and "force" him to talk more. Or were the women in the family the only ones who told their stories? Now I'll have to reconstruct my Dad's life by going over the pictures and my memories and reconstructing something I can leave for my children. They all loved him as much as my Mom, although Mom is all I heard about for a long time.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Regrets--a Gentle Remnder

Like many people, I've wasted a great deal of time ruminating over things I truly regret. So when I found the little quote by Katherine Mansfield I was quite happy for the gentle reminder.
Katherine MansfieldMake it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Frustrated Citizen


In a Huffington Post story, I caught a video where Mr. Obama calmly presents his desire to not merely pass an increase to the debt ceiling but to also make serious cut to some of the Democratic Party's "sacred cows." So far a small contingent of the Republican party has succeeded in stalling the process because they do not believe in tax increases at any time for any reason. The unwillingness to practice the art of political science befuddles those of us old enough to recall equally contentious times that did not lead to this particular state for our country.

I suppose people forget that doing what is best for our country means being able to go against our "ideological" inclinations. I know I've learned a bit more about tolerance from this president. I hope that he does not develop ulcers working with people who do not think things through and are enslaved by their stubborn refusal to see reality. Or is it that they do not live in this universe? Whatever the issue, I pray for "cooler heads" to prevail.

video


http://www.5min.com/Video/Obama-Im-Willing-to-Compromise-517126793

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/16/obama-debt-ceiling-weekly-address_n_900716.html?

Latest Doings and Readings

I've not posted for a longtime because as usual I am reading on a varied number of topics, mostly spirituality, along with current events. In fact, it was the news that finally drove me back to my books on spirituality. I'll post a review of a  couple of them later in the month. Now all I can say is that if it were not for Lawrence O'Donnell I would be a wreck.

I hadn't intended to depend completely on Social Security ten or fifteen years ago. At that time, I had returned to school with high hopes of getting an education that would put me in a career where I could thrive and not merely survive. I should have learned that as soon as I entered the "academy" academia would change for workers in my field. Additionally, I did not know just how much an older mind could retain and how difficult it would be for me to overcome my personal "travails". Mom died months before I defended my dissertation; adult children kept me in the loop about their problems, and I had not yet learned how much support I needed. Mom and I were close despite vastly different points of view on how my life should be lived. I called her daily or she called me. The year prior to her death everyone in the family circled the wagons to keep her spirits up.

Nonetheless, I did not take a time out from school to attend to life. Stubbornly, I plunged ahead failing to note that I was changing and not necessarily for the better. The bottom line is that I did not get and keep wonderful positions that placed me on solid financial footing. No I wound up depending on Social Security. Recent events in policy and debt ceiling debates have a great number of people upset and concerned. So when I kept to my habits of news watching and reading news, I began to feel rattled and very insecure. It seems that the only newscaster who soothed me lately was Mr. O'Donnell because he painstakingly broke down the kabuki drama taking place in Washington D. C.

So today Saturday, I'll go back to the Art of Happiness  and other works featuring the Dalai Lama's teachings. I'll take the weekend and early week off from news, although I'd love to do it, I can't completely break my addiction to knowing.

Soon I'll share some of my learning because in the Buddhist teachings I see much of my early instructions from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.  Coming full circle is a good thing for truth then and truth now can keep me from fracturing my soul.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sundays Have Changed for Me

In my pre-western move to California from New York City and Westchester County, Sundays were filled with the traditional attendance in church followed by families gathering for a fairly filling meal. My Mother was a great cook. Her recipes have gone to the grave with her. With her passing, the traditional Sunday gatherings have gone by the way side too. It is not surprising that her absence changed the dynamics of our clan gatherings, for my children and I were trying to "make it" in America.  I’m certain that many people find their families scattered to the four corners of the world and like me find an inflexible schedule requiring weekday commuting and busy weekends to catch up on chores, children's games, and other activities. What’s missing today is the connection among the different generations and a tolerance and appreciation of what each generation has to offer everyone in the family.
I am a product of a very different kind of upbringing from my children and indeed from my cousins. First, I was an only child. My mother, I assume for the fact that I was sent to boarding schools when I was still at toddler, spoiled me later in life and would do everything for me. It could be she did not feel as connected to me since I learned to love the nuns who cared for me. Furthermore, I was bilingual when I started going to boarding schools. I began learning French in the first boarding school I attended in Tarrytown, New York. So on weekends, I mixed up my languages. It was an interesting linguistic stew which I can no longer produce as I did not master French when I moved back to the city for a short while.
For a short time I enjoyed not having to endure the pangs of separation each Sunday as I returned to the boarding school. I was able to go to both public schools and a Catholic School since religion was important to my mother. Her plans for keeping me with her during the week fell through and I was once again asked to go to a boarding school. This time I selected the school based on its name—Sacred Heart Villa. It was closer to the city—Dobbs Ferry, New York was predominately Italian and really a beautiful town. I was exposed to Italian as the sisters used it to converse among themselves. Of course, some words being similar to Spanish gave me clues of what was going on. My choice of schools led to some of my happier school moments, even if Sundays still led to feelings of abandonment or anxiety when I returned to the schools.  After I arrived at the school, the structure for the day and week ahead kept me too busy to cry at not being home with my parents.
Today’s Sundays are empty for me. I have no brothers or sisters so I have no nieces and nephews to love and spoil and my own children are less attached to me than I was to my parents. As an adult I spent Sundays with my Mother or Father. Now they are gone and my three are grown and busy. 
There is a cost, I think, to this lack of contact. For example, it is not easy to know people whom one does not see. Many members of the Rodríguez family are not speaking Spanish nor do they wish to learn it. I understand the reasons they may have, but I’m a bit more proud of Spanish –the language and the myriad of cultures where the language is spoken. Unfortunately, here in the US politics have created loss of pride at being bilingual or of having a residual accent when one speaks English.  

Loss of point of view
Knowing more than one language allows a person to learn and use the myths of the culture which frequently form the short cuts among members of a group and the metaphors that help us shape the meanings we wish to convey. Many of the Latinas who write in English demonstrate much of what I’ve lived and studied. When used a “hybridized” language is both effective and creative. I hope to go back to writing about my creative “Latina Sisters” so I can contribute in some small measure to what has turned out to be a long tradition of submissive subversion a quality found in Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz, Rosario Ferre, Ana Lydia Vega, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Leslie Marmon Silko and countless others who stride two or more cultures and rhetorical approaches to writing and history making.

Future blog entries will explore some of my findings which I hope help others interested in code-switching, mixing, or as I say hybridizing. In point of fact, the use of cross cultural strategies in communication is important and should be maintained as peoples of the world continue to communicate. The alternative to having many cultural approaches would be to decrease the numbers of languages so that only English exists. However, the influences of other languages will continue to inform communications for cultural approaches are not so easily erased.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Is Here

My parents died long ago but on special days like Mother's Day and Father's Day, I get a bit reflective. I'm fortunate to see how it is that people live on in others. Each of my children carry forward many of the values, interests, and tendencies that each of my parents had. Of course, I get the credit or the blame too. I am happy that this is a seeming truth.

Later on today many children will honor their fathers with time, attention, and gifts. I wish I could do this too. My Dad was a quiet man. By this I mean, he never complained to me about his problems. I never knew he had any. In a way I would like to have this characteristic because whining never solves anything. He was impatient as a young man and I remember he had a fiery temper but he never harmed people.

One time when we were going on a family outing in our car--the rest of my extended family caravaned behind us. There was a terrible accident. My Dad pulled over and helped the man--a father and his children.  We detoured to get the man to a hospital. Later we went on our way for our outing.

I can't see a caravan of cars filled with loved ones anymore. The family is too splintered in various states of the United States. I do remember how proud I felt to have a man who acted and did the right thing as my Dad.

Ernesto Arroyo Rodriguez, te amo aunque no te puedo abrazar.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why Americans Have to Work Longer Hours and Borrow to the Hilt Just to Keep Afloat | Economy | AlterNet

Why Americans Have to Work Longer Hours and Borrow to the Hilt Just to Keep Afloat | Economy | AlterNet

As a woman who found herself dependent on Social Security, I am familiar with the thesis of the article to which I respond here.
Even at a professional level working conditions as well as payment for work completed have gone down. Interestingly, I do not see the end of these conditions--the decline of pay and working conditions seem to be in our future for a long time.

It is a good thing that I can maintain what is left of my sanity through prayer, meditations, and reading both on-line and books I own. I've not yet hit the library for use of their books. But that time is approaching quickly.

I pray that fewer people have to lose their livelihoods and attendant self-esteem that comes along with employment. As a good friend told me: "I work so I can have some fun from time to time." This friend is in her late 70s and still hard at work.

I hope I maintain the stamina she has. But such is life for many of us in the 21st century.

The "Fancy" in What We See as Ordinariness

Sometimes I feel that there is nothing special about my life because I am not traveling, curing the sick, or doing the great things I thought I would have completed by now. Well that's just me being unrealistic. We are all special. My "specialness" is more than my physical attributes. I'm exceptionally short but think I'm 5' 10". (I only think this usually when I do not wear my glasses and I'm puttering around the house). The floor looks so far away when my glasses are off my face.
However, I've been told I have other attributes that have little to nothing to do with my height--or lack thereof--or with my age, beauty etc. Honestly whatever bloom was part of me has long withered yet I along with most people entering the "sunset" of their lives have something from their essential self that is pleasant. At least I am hoping this is so.

I was raised to consider more than the outer and more obvious things about people.

Back to my lack of great height:
The only time I felt tall was when I visited my family in Puerto Rico, A cousin took me to the Mall of the Americas and everyone was as short or shorter than I except for my wonderful cousin who was 5' 6".

Perception means a lot and now I'm beginning anew to write about myself without the rose colored glasses, and with more kindness. I tend to beat myself up. I think recent readings are helping. I can see that short is not bad. That alone is not necessarily lonely and that I can write what I want in spurts until I get a lot more momentum going.


I'm working on a concept based on talking to those who are part of my life even if they are not alive. I thought that many cultures find ways to keep ancestors with them. I do as I imagine others might do. You think of something to you want to share with a Mother or Father so you say it aloud. I'm not expecting a quick response but as I miss them it soothes me to talk to my dead. I don't do it often but we all need to feel connected beyond today's electronic gadgetry and in fact I rather hope to reboot my memory in these personal practices.


Just today I wondered what my Father would think of my son, James, and his many travels around the country. I know too that my Mother would be pleased, but since my Dad was the quieter of the two, I wonder what he would make of this Grandchild of his who is doing so much work on behalf of family and fatherhood issues. In my conversations, I hear  a proud grandfather.


It turns out that my "ordinary life" has borne fancy fruits for others to enjoy and benefit from.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Time and Again

Graduation from high school seems as if it happened yesterday, but since I am not a person who keeps track of time. Like my Granddaughter, Amber, I'm a dreamer with my mind firmly focused on dreams for the future. I think I have a daughter like that too. High School was something I lived through but I have no close connections to anyone in my graduation class. I remember two people well Linda Koenig and Gary Rothbart but I was never in their group of friends. I remember a couple of Bobs and a Richard but do not ask any more than that from my memory. It looks like the planners of the event have out done themselves and I will be missing a lot of fun. However, who would I go with? I'm an only child whose husband is dead and whose children are busy with their lives. I can't date them?

When I was high school age I had to move several times so I never stayed with any one group. My best friend during high school years was Judith G. Herman and our school Walton High School in the Bronx was far from the Bruin Den in Long Beach California where I finished my high school days.

So I'll spare myself feelings of being an outsider by NOT going to the latest high school graduation reunion. I"ll not mention the number of years this year makes because like the dreamer that I am I don't feel that old. :-)

It may be that I'm being unreasonably sensitive for although many of my dreams came true, I've not "made it" in the ways that matter to most USAmericans.

So while my fellow graduates from Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach California are celebrating, I'll be writing out part of my "memoirs" for my family and for myself. I might, like other Latinas, include the feelings of balancing on the lines that define USAmerican and Latina cultures and hope that I find a revival of memories and joy from my past that I may have overlooked. I think I owe it to Ernesto Rodriguez and Escolastica Oquendo to finish this one project.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Time and Again

I'll be using the title of this entry to continue musings on earlier entries.This time I want to return to my musings on the fact that Bin Laden harmed people whose beliefs did not match his own thinking. But then I thought that we all have moments of clashing with folks whose beliefs differ from our own. I suppose in a certain way we are no different from the Bin Ladens of the world.

Currently I'm reading Obama's autobiographical book Dream of My Father. I've not finished it but have reached the section where he has grappled with his sense of being an outsider. He mentioned some of the books on post colonialism which I discovered long after he'd read them. However, I am older than the President. So the impact of studying post-colonialism and contemporary feminism "hurt" more than I imagine it would have had I learned these things at a younger age. Today there is no way of testing this idea. But like him I had to go through the anger that "consciousness raising" can lead to when we must deal with the facts of our lives within the USA.

The US is my country but being a woman in it hasn't been a cake walk. Study "awakened" me to many factors of the political and personal injustices that had occurred while I was in the sleep state of not understanding how systems work to control people. So I nodded my head in agreement with the angst the young Barack grappled with as he comes to a way to live in his own skin.

Living in one's own skin requires much self-knowledge as well as an understanding of the systems in which we live. When I read, Location of Culture I could almost see the margins or structures which many of us have to navigate and do so without that "otherness" that Homi Bhabha, Simone De Beauvoir, and others have theorized.   However, being comfortable in my skin has been a different and longer journey for me.

More to come later.

Monday, May 09, 2011

As Time Goes By

Yes that is the title of a song featured in Casablanca around two years before I was born. The idealism, latent and active of two of the main characters, were part of the love of country and doing the right thing which were taught to those of us growing of age in the 50s and 60s. As in many areas of my life, I half fit in baby boomer generation and half in the generation preceding it. Thus it is that I've lived to see a few truly great leaders of my country, the United States, do right by her. I so love all of those leaders who did the right thing at the right time to do justice for our country. On May 1, 2011, I once again found myself full of love for our country, the men aned women who serve in its services, the behind the scenes "government workers" who recently took a hit from those who do not believe that government is here for the purpose of working for all of us--rich, poor, short, tall, skinny, or fat. More importantly, Last week I rediscovered my weakened belief in Our President, Barrack Obama, and found I had ample reason to trust his judgment.

In one week he made so many public appearances with the knowledge that he'd ordered the capture of Osama Bin Laden so that Bin Laden could face justice.  Personally, I think Bin Laden did not pay sufficiently for his crimes on citizens of the United States and around the world.

Instead of doing good for his people this wealthy man, inflamed the passions of his followers so that they could do his bidding.  His beliefs fly in the face of real Islamic traditions and should not be resurfaced again.

Killing people who hold a belief system not to one's liking can only lead to pain and suffering of many.

While I do not cheer for the passing of Bin Laden, I am content that he no longer will create pain in the lives of many more people.


So like Sam and Rick in Casablanca I want a tune that reminds me of American ideals. We need to play such a tune over and over as our time on this earth goes by.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Donald Trump Has Revealed the Truth About the Republican Party


Most of the issues raised by Johann Hari have been noted by those of us who've been around for more than 30 years. Success measured by money in this or any country is a sign of its decline whether or not we can stop the rot is something for all of us to work on.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Earthquake Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdowns

As the people of Japan deal with the worst nuclear accident caused by the earthquake and tusnami of March 11, 2011, we deal with our own dramas or happy events as the case may be. I'm caring about the events in Japan, but am relishing my friends and work and still being useful to students.
My neighbors and friends have been keeping me busy too. For this I live in gratitude.

I hope that things in Libya settle down but the turmoil there seems non-ending as in other countries in the region who mimic Ghadaffi's brutal repression of his people. How fortunate am I that I do not live where the disagreements are lethal.

I've always liked the give and take of political discourse but not when it turns to death.. I am proud of Wisconsin citizens who are standing up for their rights.  More and more it seems that even in my ideal of America there are those who would continue to take from the poor to make the rich more rich.

My writing goes in many directions today as there seem to be greater and more frequent events to think about.


What Tilly told me not too long ago still holds up as a truth. We can only work on our corner of the world or our chosen area(s) of interest and specialization.

Perhaps in each doing their best we can still preserve the Earth and our individual countries.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From Yasmine Ryan and Al Jazeera in English

I'm finding  interesting news reports from Al Jazeera which our Main Stream Media does not cover in depth.

How can we be good citizens if all we get is cotton candy for news. How can we contribute to our national governance if we do not read and challenge our own biases in an effort to be better informed. I had coffee with a friend today and of course the conversation came around to current events in the Middle East. Being the opinionated person I am, I shared the fact here in the US our main sources of news carry points of view only from the US perspective. This is a problem for us as US citizens and as citizens of the world.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Man Made of Words and an Argument on thePower of Words

During the 2008 election, Sarah Palin became the darling of many conservative groups in our country. Like many public persons, she "shoots from the hip" in many of her public comments. So it comes as no surprise that in the aftermath of shootings in Tucson many pundits rushed to blame "vitriol" in our public discourse for the event in Tucson. I, too, think that the atmosphere of the hateful, ungracious, and thoughtless words hurling around our country had some effect on all of us.

It may be that the  person who shot Congresswoman Gifford did not follow Palin and her language of lock and load and reload. However, public figures must attend to the language they use. There are many cultures within the United States that believe language has a power to transform our realities and even the way we think.

Perhaps my study of the power  of language influence leads me to think of the ways other cultures think of language. My personal favorite ideas about the power of language to create realities comes from my early studies of Native American Indian studies. People who know me know that I took lessons from work by Kenneth Burke and work by N. Scott Momaday to launch my thinking of language as a force for creation. One of the many pieces of writing by N. Scott Momaday was a long essay which he had published in a book titled: The Remembered Earth: An Anthology of Contemporary Native American Literature. His essay has the same title as an earlier short story of a similar name. "The Man Made of Words."  The section I look to as an example of both native beliefs and a writer's attention to a muse teaches me that calling your muse brings the stories she has to share and allows the writer to use them as a way to reconstruct and see the history he seeks, His Muse or Grandmother is an elderly native woman whom he calls forth so as to hear the stories of his people. These people have passed on long ago and yet a Native Man seeking to learn his people's history is based on the power of calling forth Ko-Sahn who has been with the tribe from time immemorial,

Whether or not Momaday actually sees Ko-Sahn or experiences his history through calling out her name one can see how his calling for her helps him overcome the blank white page he stares at when his stories are still wanting to come forth and teach Momaday the history of his people and the power that language has in creating the realities we live in or with.

I've enclosed a url which will lead others of you to some of N. Scott Momaday's work. In any event, I still feel I can learn a great deal more from reviewing his work and the works of other members of Native American Tribes and My Latina Writers who also use words to better place their histories in the public sphere.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Rhetoric of Vitriol: Does It Really Lead to Murder

Like many USAmericans, I've listened to the commentary on the Assassination Attempt on Tucson's US Congresswoman Gifford.  Some of the speculation of the reasons for the event surrounded the uncivil civic discourse that the country has experienced for the past 24 months. Indeed we've seen hateful speech during the discussions about the health care bill, President Obama's legitimacy to the title of President, and outright pictorial depictions of our President as a monkey or worse. Images of long ago mimicry of Blacks by Whites in black face was seen for any with eyes to see.

No other president during my lifetime has had to endure such vilification of his person, his office, and his history.Stepping back on all of the events and harsh rhetoric made me feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland but instead of "wonder" it was more like a carny horror tunnel with odd personae jumping periodically to scare me and make me ask what others have asked in a different context: Where is My America? Where has she gone? Why can't people who do the best to serve the people in the various states and congessional districts have to reduce their efforts to inane ideological gestures that in fact do not address the concerns of our nation.

Okay the main question is : Where have all the grown ups gone?  We need to get back to doing what is good for our country and learn that compromise is NOT a bad thing.

So before going to bed I'll post this and pray that tomorrow's news will be better and that we take seriously -- all of us our responsibilities to participate in governing this country which is at the brink of financial disaster with banks not sharing money to small business who want to hire folks.

May the next few days bring on a better tomorrow for all of our families present and those coming in the future.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year Reflections

While the country ponders the next political moves its leadership will take, I'm considering a way to avoid putting off writing on a daily basis. I do not mean to write here each day but to write for my children and grandchildren.

The world has changed so much from the time when I was born. I'd like to explore that past and the people who populated my world as I grew.  I also want to consider the lives of my grand parents who lived on the island of Puerto Rico without any of the benefits of modernity like running water and electricity. Their way of life had a positive impact on me because I visited then often and grew to value them and the land they farmed.

I think how hardy they must have been without the things we take for granted. I also think of the isolation my poor grandmother must have endured during the years she spent away from her nearest neighbors and family. Even then --early to mid 20th Century--the distinctions between living en el pueblo y en la finca were pronounced. While I live quietly on my own--without daily interactions with those whom I love --I do have these electronic devices which keep me in touch with the outer world. Now I am finding a need to protect the inner world of a writer so that I can write more frequently and productively.

So now I am working my way back to my inner world so that I can produce something for the family and friends I care about.

I know change and death are inevitable. I do however feel saddened by the destruction of some very good ways of being that modernity in all of its forms--good, bad, and vague--cause us to make choices. Unfortunately the choices leads to the loss of something that was good.

Now back to a Billy Collins Poem