small town

Plumas Protests

In the late afternoon of June 5, nearly three hundred plus Plumas County residents slowly gathered at Dame Shirley Plaza in Quincy, CA for a local protest in support of Black Lives Matter.

  The protest was organized by local high school students and adult residents in solidarity with national protests.

  TyAnna Farmer, a senior at Plumas Charter School, and one of the organizers read a poem she wrote at the event called “White Washed.”


The line that stood out to me is “Surrounded in a sea of white, all that can be seen is my black. Seas of white, slowly rising.” That–as a Chicana with two brown kids has often been the experience of our family in Plumas County. I can only imagine what it is to be African American here. When we moved here in 2002, my husband at the time and I were pregnant with our son. I checked the census data then and there was something like only 200 “Hispanics” (our family doesn’t use that word) in the whole county of 20,000. I’ve heard things that would make your head spin. Even though I couldn’t make the protest, (my kid was graduating at the same time), I’m so glad 300 residents of the county did.

Yay! Plumas County Youth in Solidarity!

  “We are here today to peacefully protest the racial injustice and blatant racism throughout the nation,” began a speech by Tristan McMichael, a youth organizer and Quincy High School senior.

  He went on to discuss June being LGBTQ Pride month and how on May 27 just two days after Floyd’s murder at the hands of cops, an African American trans man named Tony McDade was also killed by police in that state—highlighting that being in both demographics statistically means a higher rate of police (and other) brutality.

  “It is not just Policing standards that need to change, we need to change American society itself. This is why we call social reform movements social reform movements,” said McMichael.

  Some residents have recently been galvanized by racist comments made by some community members in facebook groups, which furthered some residents into wanting to come out publicly in favor of Black Lives Matter to demonstrate to local people of color that white community members stand with them. There is now a group called Exposing Racism and Oppression in Plumas County on facebook, which hosted the flyer and information for the event. It’s been great to connect with people who are also seeing that some of the language and actions of our neighbors are abhorrent. (If you want to see some of Plumas County’s vitriolic ‘bless their hearts’ cases, check out “Plumas Concerned Citizens” on facebook or “Plumas Rants and Raves”–both groups are overflowing with All Lives Matter, Karen-esque talking points, get off my privileged white lawn comments–and every once in awhile something actually nice).”

  By all accounts of those who attended the event, it was a peaceful protest aimed at solidarity. Most people wore masks with respect to COVID19 CDC guidelines. Not all practiced social distancing of six feet apart (because 300 people in Dame Shirley Plaza–wow!).

On Fridays on that same corner the Plumas Democrats have staged protests for years that draws pretty much the same 10 people or less. This size crowd we rarely see. In fact the last time people came out like this was for Quincy’s first PRIDE event in September 2019.

  “This was such a powerful message for me personally growing up here, and thinking that many people here would not support people of minorities groups, and today that changed. So many people showed their faces and had so many kind messages and experiences to share,” said Farmer. “ Especially a big thank you to all of my teachers who came, you have no idea how much it meant to me to see you guys their supporting us,” she wrote on her fb page.

I’m sure the students were as excited as I was to hear and see so many of their teachers from the local high schools and Feather River College there too.

The African American population in Plumas County is 192 people according to census stats or just below one percent of the population. The county population is 20,000. This IS a big deal.

A similar event is being planned by Sierra county locals on June 13 in Loyalton in Sierra County. The old guard in Sierra County already assumes it must be “outside agitators” –mostly because that guard rarely bothers to get to know who lives here if they aren’t white or working for them.

It’s a wonderful and hopeful thing to see so many students and neighbors out marching for Black Lives Matter. The young people remind me of what I’ve thought as a mother these last 17 years: that this up and coming generation is quite amazing in their own way. When I think of what was taboo or impossible when I was a teen and how things are now I truly am amazed and grateful to live in such a time and place where the young are active.

(Photos submitted by TyAnna Farmer.)







latina literary mental health

Quarantine Poem


I watch the site


Cases: 64,675.           

Deaths: 910.

Bookmarked on my laptop.

My editor called:

First our hours were cut

Then final time cards due

Third for unemployment instructions.

It’s late afternoon. Refresh.

Cases: 65,564

Deaths: 929.

I try to do


To not waste a moment

Of this weird freedom

To be home

Without end.

I checked for symptoms.

It’s before bedtime. Refresh.

Cases: 68,568

Deaths: 1,035

I try to read

I try to write

I try to remember who

We were before this.

mental health small town

Dolly Deadly 1.5 –The Horror Within

Let me say two things up front. First horror didn’t used to be my go to favorite movie genre and secondly, my kids and I played bit parts in the original Dolly Deadly (my daughter plays the little kid bully).

And third? Director Heidi Moore is a relentless, persisting badass.

What I really loved about the original is that it took the bullying that so many of us face as children and it demonstrated what that bullying and psychological torture could do if pushed to the extreme. The horror focused on what it could truly turn you into. A young boy–Benji–has a fascination with dolls that once belonged to his dead mother–dolls that stand in as his only friends (the only things around him that don’t belittle or hurt him). He breaks with reality and exacts some sweet horrific revenge on those that made his life miserable. And I don’t know about anyone else, but I was cheering for Benji and his murderous rampage because of the horror other people made of his life. When the movie ends but you do kind of wonder how Benji gets to his adulthood and his new identity.

Heidi Moore’s Dolly Deadly 1.5 “What Ever Happened to Benji?” Answers that question in a brilliant little mini sequel that revisits the horror of loneliness and outcast nature of Benji and a new character Simon who is in dire need of friends who ‘get him’–even if he has to ‘make’ them himself. I don’t want to give anything else away here.

I’ve come to appreciate the fairytale color-filled nightmare of Moore’s mind at work. The landscapes always make me feel like I’m seeing a circus the day after the circus has left town.

Life in the Time of Corona Virus 19 means you won’t be seeing this new film at festivals this year but it’s making its world premiere on TROMA Now!

It also gets us ready for Kill Dolly Kill! –The much anticipated musical sequel to the first Dolly Deadly.

It’s a must see for Dolly Deadly fans and anyone who likes their horror a little more complicated, and complex than marauding zombies or random slashings. DD 1.5 delivers–also one of my personal heebeejeebee moments is watching other people eat disgusting things on film. Thanks to DD 1.5 I had a “lost my appetite” moment.

Also? You’re stuck at home while the big bad corona virus is out there. Why not watch a short film and/or rewatch the first film–both available on Troma Now! Check it out.

Also? My teen daughter who hates everything just watched it with me and liked it. Except now she’s afraid to go to sleep and be attacked by wrinkle cream…


Back in Orange County

Salmon and Beige

I used to make fun of people

who lived in Salmon and Beige stucco houses.

Now I live in one of them.

Inside is great and I am making it our own space. It has that want to be Spanish style the 60s loved.

I can transport and form our personalities into the house, on its very walls which are–

Decidedly neither salmon nor beige.

It’s not a particularly walkable city

Since it was purposefully built

In the era of the car and not the era of horse or foot.

Signs for businesses can be seen from

the street but not on foot right in front of the door.

Everything looks like a cheap storefront

With no personality.

Except that it’s expensive.

It gives my husband a quick commute to work.

There are no bookstores here.

No intellectualism.

No alms for the poor.

No sense of responsibility to fellow humans.

It gives me the opportunity to revisit my youth

And my expectations and my outlier deficits.

I wonder at the neighbors.

If there are any others that feel the way I do or is this air and dirt just someone’s investment. Is it the place their tax bracket is supposed to live.

I don’t know.

I don’t feel like I have arrived, because this isn’t my doing. And if I could have chosen any place to live money no object in southern California I don’t know that this would have been it.

I don’t belong with people who like to go shopping or who don’t have to budget out dental work for their kids. I feel guilty living in a neighborhood that has no liter on the ground—even though I despise liter and trash.

I just know I dream of painting the outside of the house something unacceptable and colorful.

Something outrageous.

Something alive.

The color of a soul.



I was humming this song earlier today without remembering what it actually was and what the lyrics were and then I remembered and laughed to myself and thought oh dear am I really that out there that I process emotions or non emotions through showtunes.

Yes. The answer is yes.

Sometime this last weekend my biological maternal grandmother died. I hadn’t seen her since my grandfather (her husband) died in 2011 or maybe I saw her in early 2012 when I came by to get a mandolin that belonged to my grandfather. For years I tolerated her so I could see my grandfather who was far too patient and forgiving of her but he was the kindest man I’d ever met and I loved him dearly.

She was a woman who was emotionally stunted early on–she was abusive by even 1950s standards to her two eldest children but mellowed out by the time the third one was born nearly a decade later. It is not my story to tell, so I don’t tell much of it. But anyone who has physical and emotional abuse in their bloodline knows that it doesn’t die out of the line quietly. We’ve all been marked by , as my mother refers to her, The Witch.

It’s times like this I have to stay off facebook. When I don’t want to see what my primos de la negacion are posting–attempting to make an ordinary tyrant out as if she was extraordinary, amazing and, yes, loving.

She never did anything to me, of course. But I couldn’t relate to her and her world view: myopic and self-centered and utterly stupid, really. I mean, she read The National Inquirer without irony. She had nothing to say of importance and made no difference in the world unless you count hurting children. I couldn’t forgive her for what she’d done to my mother either. I don’t talk to my aunt either for what she did to my cousin. I’m totally okay with cutting out people–almost too okay with it. But once I feel nothing. I can’t walk that back.

She’s dead and I feel nothing. I don’t even feel relief. And I have no patience for the fakery that comes with distant deaths and am grateful I live too far to even be asked if I can go to a funeral or memorial. I’m not good at fake emotion. And for a sometimes actress I suck at pretend in real life.

The nothingness strikes so strongly perhaps because I’ve had such great friendships with other women. My real (paternal) grandmother chief among them. In fact as I heard the other grandmother died all I could think of was my own grandmother Gloria and how she totally owned that role and I wake up every morning feeling that hole of sorrow now that she’s gone. She taught me you give something back. You help. You do something with your life. You try and make it better or else what’s the point in being here?

I’m too much of a depressive not to need a purpose. All I mourn of the other grandmother is a waste of life that never got lived. That never helped. That never owned her abuse of her children. That didn’t know how to do the basics of kind.

She was simple and stupid with a streak of evil that knew no bounds. And now my day continues watching a country where simple stupid men with a streak of evil know no bounds. And I am tasked by Grandma Gloria to try and make it better.

But for tonight I will just feel nothing.


Last Call for One Act Plays

Pachuca Productions is hosting a two-day one act play/monologue festival called Sierra Words. Submit small cast plays (no more than 4 characters and no more than 15-minutes long) to Particularly interested in plays by Californian Latinx, and women in general, and rural playwrights. We have room for two more plays–will it be yours? Deadline January 31, 2020.


Not Going for the Bait

I still subscribe to a service that sends me alerts to community college teaching jobs in California. I spent 17+ years teaching at the community college level and when you do that semi-professional world for that long (I say semi because I was an adjunct and people assume there’s something wrong with us even though only 85% of the teaching world is in that boat.

I don’t unsubscribe because…..I don’t know…maybe I never wanted to close the door? The thing is I’m a really good teacher. I enjoy it. My students now (I now teach arts classes in prisons) enjoy it too. I know my stuff and I’m a big believer in getting the student in the room who has imposter scholar syndrome to realize they belong there.

Part of me would LOVE to be teaching at a community college again. The other part has adjunct PTSD and I never want to get in that position again where I let people take advantage of me. Every once in awhile I throw my hat into the ring if it’s a school I have some respect for.

But mostly I’ve come to realize that I’m not who schools are looking for. I can’t be molded and I’m too old to care about fitting in or jumping through hoops.

It’s a weird feeling to know you are letting go of a career and a personality of yours and that you may never quite return to it.

But I was pretty damn good at it anyhow.

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Viva Pachuca

New Year’s Resolution. Make website for Pachuca. It’s getting there. Check it out!

latina literary travel

Places Like Home

Head over to the Literary Kitchen

Up at you’ll find the anthology that I and the other writerchicks I know have always wanted to see: places like home –an anthology of stories that saw their first sparkle of light in the writing prompts Ariel Gore gave us in her online writing courses we’ve taken over the years. Check it out. A chapter of the novel I’m working on is in here! Yay!

arts & crafts california latina travel

The Second @ the Hotel Mission de Oro

On New Year’s Day I got an email saying a poem I’d recently written would be up on HipMama Zine. Yay! I’ve been working on longer term projects all year so I’ve published a good deal less and nearly neglected my blog altogether. But The Husband follows my blog (has been since before he became The Husband) and suggested that I might consider going back to it more often and work on blog posts or poems I wasn’t going to put other places. Like a zine without the folding and the papercuts. So in that spirit, I give you my second day of 2020.

After a long day of driving I ended up here:

Often when I drive from LA back to Plumas County I can’t make it in one go anymore. So I wind up stopping in Santa Nella. I never thought to even look at Hotel Mission de Oro as I assumed I was priced out, but hello Expedia and the fact that motels around there have uncomfortable beds and a price range that’s really only a $25 difference, I gave it a try.


It’s like hotels are supposed to be run. Also I have a thing for lamps.

I am a complete sucker for the whole tile thing. What’s more with the new house which hasn’t had an upgrade ever I am checking out everyone’s bathrooms all the time. #middleagednewlywed

So yeah, I liked the room.

I traveled with teenagers. I repeat TEENAGERS and as the mother of them –I knew immediately I needed to do two things this morning before heading back on the road for 5 hours.

  1. Get myself ready for the day and
  2. Get them awake. Tell them to be ready to leave by 9 am and threaten to leave them there if they didn’t.
  3. 3. Take myself to breakfast ALONE.

That’s the brioche French toast & coffee at The Kitchen. Unlike the free breakfasts at nearby motels. This set me back a few dollars but it was quiet and peaceful and I could wait for food without listening to Fox News (no TV in this dining room).

I even got the chance to write:

It started my year off right , I think.

I will definitely be back. Because all of us agreed they were the best beds on the road.