Categories
Uncategorized

Running on Inspiration

Happy Friday. This seat on the board of trustees that I’m running for is of course a non partisan one. I’m struck however with a few observations on that.

This season I’ve had the opportunity to see both people running for Congress in our district up close and personal. The differences between them couldn’t be more striking and I definitely felt way more of a kinship with one than the other.

One treated me with dignity and respect when I met them and asked what challenges I saw here in Plumas County. The other got my name wrong–called me Maria–and gave me the sense that I wasn’t worth their time and that they knew best. There’s that Pat . Pat . On the head. AGAIN. Made me feel like an assault victim at a congressional hearing.

I knew most definitely who I’d be voting for after my interactions with both of them.

I have strived from the beginning of the campaign to be like the former and not the latter. While I have opinions based on research and experience as to what I think the best choices for the community college district is– I recognize that you all live here and you also have ideas and needs regarding what you think is best.

I promise to listen and come about a consensus that works for all of us. I don’t like being pat on the head and being told that someone else knows what’s best for me and my family and I’m going to take a leap here and say you don’t like that either.

When you elect me to the board, you elect all of us. You put the community back in community college. You send a message to FRC that this seat will not be bought to do the bidding of the president without question. You send a message that you want the college to take the needs of students into consideration not just the select few. No Pat-Pat on the head. No one saying they know what’s best and that what we want isn’t realistic. You put us all back into the democratic process when you vote Garcia 4 FRC Board Trustee.

Categories
Uncategorized

Stop the FRC President Power Grab

  Feather River College has, like most community colleges, a very open approach to the public addressing its concerns to the Board of Trustees. A community college by definition should function to serve the needs of the community in which it resides.

  In accordance with Government Code Section 54954.3; 54957.5; Education Code 72121.5 the public may address the board one of two ways.

  One. At each regularly scheduled meeting, the public can submit a written request that summarizes the item and provides the name of the requestor and any affiliations to the board president and president. Though no actions can be taken by the board on an item submitted by the public in this late manner, discussion can take place and awareness of an issue can take place.

  Two. Members of the public can also place an item on the prepared agenda ahead of time at least five working days ahead of the meeting for both discussion and action.

  But Feather River College president, Dr. Kevin Trutna, is  seeking a rewriting of this very code to where all items submitted by the public must go strictly through him only and not to the board first at all. He alone would deem whether or not such items were worthy of discussion in a public forum. In a public document that our current board of Trustees has read, Trutna seeks to change the language to read that he alone will “judge whether the request is or is not a matter directly related to community college district business.”

  This sounds like a blatant disregard for the needs of the community. So often lately we’ve seen people in power decide that a matter is not worthy of discussion—even when it directly effects students—particularly when it effects students not in the same elite demographic of the president—or a board.

  Where is the democratic process here? Where are the checks and balances in governance in this nefarious request of the president of the college? Why would a public institution or the board that governs it, fall for a clear power grab like this one?

  I strongly urge my opponent in the Board of Trustees election, Guy McNett, to stand up for his constituents and vote no against such a power grab that seeks to destroy public input at our community college.

McNett claims he’s working in the best interests of students and Indian Valley–and the entire county. Let’s see him stand up for all of us and vote against Trutna’s desires to consolidate power and silence our community.

  The purpose of a governing board at a community college is not to rubber stamp what the superintendent or president decrees, but to make sure the best policy possible is moving forward for the good of all students, instructors, staff, and the community needs in a sustainable manner.

Please do your job, McNett, and vote no on the Trutna power grab.

–Margaret Garcia

@votegarcia4frcboardtrustee

“put community back in community college”

.

Categories
Uncategorized

Election Poem # 1

Vote 4 Garcia

She really knows her stuff

She taught all your kids

And she’s pretty tough—

She’s the Bernie to Your Hillary

She’s the Beto to your Cruz

If you don’t vote for her,

it’s you who’s gonna lose

Cuz she ain’t no rubber stamp

And she ain’t in no one’s camp

Except the students and the teachers

And the community and staff.

If you want a woman on the board

Whose experience strikes a chord

Who has the knowledge and skill to call the shots

Then Vote Garcia—

To hold them good ol boys accountable– a lot!

 (ouch really bad rhyme).

Vote  Garcia on Nov 6th (or sooner ! Mail in ballot!)

Categories
Uncategorized

Remembering the Why

 When you’ve taught at the same community college for 11 years you often wonder after your students graduate, did I make a difference?

I mean it’s one thing to meet the student learning outcomes, but it’s quite another to instill the idea of life long learning and it’s also difficult but so necessary at the community college level to explain to students—especially those moms who’ve been in the workforce awhile and are going to college for the first time in their 30s–that they can do it.

Such was the case of Dawn who I had as a student somewhere around 2011. We surprised each other the other day as I had to come in to the health department for a routine TB test for work and she was the one reading my test. She had her own office even.

Beaming with pride. Both of us.  

We both cried.

She made it to the other side. She was the first one in her family to go to school and she paved the way. Her three kids are now also in college.

There were hugs and tears all the way around. Yesterday as I was driving to the Bay Area I had one of those imposter syndrome moments of self-doubt.  There are people I respect and admire who have signs for my opponent in their front lawns. They are of course not clued in with the college and are casting their votes with the establishment regardless of my experience or credentials or the issues. They are voting out of pressure to conform.

Yesterday I drove to San Francisco International airport and back to pick up my mother as she returned home from a trip to Boston. Long drives give you too much time to think.

I took a deep breath on the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday. I had to ask myself again—why am I running? Last year when I thought about it I tried to find other people to run and everyone I encouraged turned around and told me I was the best person for the job. I should do it.

Dawn said my class in 2011 is what kept her going. My reading assignments and my encouragement. It sounded like she couldn’t let me down by not keeping to her goals. She kept them and more so.

This morning as we were all hugs and tears I realized that Dawn—and all the students like Dawn—are what keep me going.  I’m in this race because I want the best possible educational experience for students like Dawn and her family. I want them  to know that the homegrown Plumas County citizens who were told college wasn’t for them—have a right to it—and that they can achieve no matter what age they are and how much money they don’t have.

The opportunity for college should belong to all of us. The chance to run for office should also belong to all of us.

I chose the right slogan for the campaign. Putting the community back in community college.

Thanks for the reminder this morning, Dawn, that despite not being an elite member of the political good ol boys network of Plumas County? I belong too.

Categories
Uncategorized

#DearProfessorFord

I originally wrote this on my FB page but thought it was worth repeating and expanding here. 

Trigger Warning:

Here’s the thing. You don’t forget being attacked. You remember every last physical detail –not the date, not whose house. You remember the smell of his hair and his sweat. You remember it down to what his finger nails felt like on your skin. You remember the weight of the body you couldn’t lift off of yours. But at the same time that you have these memories, you want to live your life and not dwell in the freak zone of the memory that can kill your soul. When you one day have a relationship and someone says a word or holds your hand in a certain way your whole body remembers even if you are trying to forget. And you try not to tell people because you are trying to flee that space not live in it.

I remember the first time I saw my attacker’s profile come up on FB. I froze. I could hear my heart beat louder and louder. I looked at his page a moment. He’s not a ghost in my journal. He’s still alive. Average joe shmoo with joe shmoo job. old. balding. didn’t look like much happened in his life. Good I thought. I’ m glad your life wasn’t much. But if I’d have seen his profile and learned that this predator was about to sit on a court to sit in judgement about what I can and cannot do with my own body? I’d send a letter to Feinstein too.

#landstuhlBRD82 #stopkavanaugh #13yearsold #stillremember#DearProfessorFord

Categories
Uncategorized

The Choices We Make

Which part is choice? Which part is destiny? 

Which part is inevitable? 

What do we own? What do we deny?

The cock crows three times.

Somewhere right now my sister is blaming me for everything that ever went wrong in her life.

Somewhere my fiancee’s ex is spreading lies.

there are no angels; there are devils in many ways

Take it like a woman. A mother with an almost good as new heart.

Except for the cracks, where she oozes onto the floor.

Categories
latina literary

Nicked Named (a poem)

Two days in

And they give her

A nickname

Two syllables instead

Of three—

Her given name too full

Of beauty, of vowel, of nuance.

High school begins.

Fresh start.

The time we throw on new identities

The time we suppress the old.

I’m not allowed hugs

What makes me think I can have names?

Two syllables–

A name I didn’t chose for her

Something short, ugly

More American. Joking. Fun.

They don’t mean nothing by it.

Easy to remember:

Like knowing one’s place.

I have to be silent on this one.

It’s not my battle.

I spent a lot of time on that name,

Nine months as she turned

And kicked and got ready to be born.

I am reminded of crossings

When one of her grandfathers crossed over

having his Mayan name chopped in half

to make it easier on everyone

but the one erased.

Categories
Uncategorized

On Working

Normally, I err on the side of women. I vote on the side of the most down trodden. I believe the oppressed over the oppressors reflexively. I look around at friends who are passionate about a subject and often will–if it is their area of expertise and not mine, default to their judgement on an issue.

My own life has not been without its adversaries. I’ve had assailants. Wicked stepfathers. Oppressive male coworkers. I could easily slip into the prejudices of men are evil, most women are good.

But that isn’t always so.

I know women who are #metoo-ing that have nothing to #metoo about. That’s infuriating. Like please, save space for actual victims of harassment. If you’re not in this sisterhood, good for you. But for heaven’s sake don’t undermine the credibility of those that have.

Perhaps nothing infuriates me more than a woman who uses womanhood as some sort of crutch. An excuse not to work. An excuse not to contribute to society in a positive way somehow. Recently a woman of that description came up in conversation. She was said to have wanted “a traditional life of a wife.” What is that? I wondered. She didn’t want to work outside the home and wanted everything handed to her. She didn’t want to work inside the home either. Oh she wanted to be a *traditional* wife.

Did that ever exist? Economically working class white women and all women of color have pretty much *had* to work despite marital status. Where is this fantasy land of non work?

What is this idea of using the word “had”? What is that supposed to imply. To live on this planet and survive most people regardless of gender “have” to work–what that work is changes depending on our geography, skill level, etc. But also implied here is that there are yet still some women who have this idea that marriage or living with (usually) a man is a ticket to sit on the couch.

I read this god awful whiney piece in the Washington Post this morning: Minority White Workers are upset because they had no gumption for learning skills or higher education so they are working factory line work where those around them are largely immigrant labor. Aye dios mio.

There is always something one can do to be a productive member of society. My inmate students often talk about their time fighting fires as inmate firefighters as some of the proudest moments of their lives–when they did for others –regardless of how shitty the pay is.

Work at each of our own paces. Work the work that suits us best. Work the work we have the opportunity to do whether its for cash, on our selves, our families. Work to make our world a better place.

Some of my jobs involve no pay at all. Some pay well. I don’t know what it’s like not to want to engage enough to provide myself with a reason for living. I’m programmed to want to work and pay my own way.

A good friend of mine was involved once with a woman who moved in with him, quit her job, and announced her desire to be a housewife. No kids were involved. No volunteer work. No housecleaning. Nothing you could think of that might take up space in a day productively. She’s still upset that she got called on her mooching and now that she has to fend for herself it’s the fault of illegals. (Yeah, I don’t see the jump in logic either).

I remember when my ex-husband and I first moved to the mountains. I worked online, but he didn’t have work yet, but he volunteered in the thrift store while he was busy putting in applications. First off it meant he got to meet people up here and get to know the cast of characters. I try and tell my kids that going to school is fine but what’s that other piece going to be each semester? What will they volunteer for? What will be their job? How do we acquire empathy for others if we don’t leave the couch?

That’s my rant today. Now I have to jump in the shower, haul kids to their respective activities and their work, and then get to my work as well.

Categories
Uncategorized

That Weekend In Indiana…

You’re looking at four photographs from the film Kill Dolly Kill by Director Heidi Moore (a musical sequel to her film Dolly Deadly, 2016) by Wretched Productions and HM&M Films and TROMA. Yes, back in May I got to live out my trashy campy John Waters-esque dreams of playing up the camp in faded 80s goth girl glory. My character? Rigamorta. BEST NAME FOR A CAMPY/HORROR MOVIE CHARACTER EVER. ALSO I GOT TO SING!

I’ve been a closet fan of TROMA films with a special fondness for Tromeo and Juliet. So I’m all bucket list happy for having done this in a trailer park outside Wininiac (SP?) Indiana.

One thing I learned on my first ever trip to Indiana was that there are people resisting TRUMP everywhere. I couldn’t find a single person in Indiana happy with Pence or Trump. It was refreshing and taught me not to immediately suspect and write off the midwest. I met so many cool people! I wanted to take them all back with me to California (or at least feed them California style). It was actually hard to leave at the end. We were such a little family of misfits and I’m hoping to do a film with them again sometime.

It will be out sometime in the fall. Stay tuned…

 

Categories
Uncategorized

On Mothering, On Lovering

ON MOTHERING

There are only two things you can do when someone misrepresents/defames you. You can either go inward and try and ignore it and hope one day that truth wins out and that all slanderers tongues go silent as if cursed and all listeners of such things become keenly aware that they’ve been had–or you confront the lies and misrepresentations of your character head on.

That’s where I’m at. I’m too scared to throw chanclas these days; I fear they will boomerang back and hit me in the face.

On the micro level, I’m one day away from my divorce being final. I will be unmarried and 49 with two children who I thought I was doing a great job raising because of course I would because I gave it my all and all would be perfect.

I’m just as clueless as the next parent.

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a science experiment. I fed my kid organic food I couldn’t afford and was overly involved in so many aspects of their lives and they are fairing no better or worse than the controlled experiment group that subsisted on kraft mac n cheese and the tv for a babysitter.

I raised them to think for themselves. I raised them to be aware of social conditioning, consumerism, and patriarchal expectations. So naturally my daughter hates feminism and my son’s bedroom looks like a Hot Topic tornado hit it.

I wonder sometimes if I took the job of mothering too seriously, too purposefully. The kids go to other people’s houses —houses without books, houses without political opinions, houses without the dire impending doom fight of me. They seek respite there. Banality. Less overt battles. A place they don’t have to think. I wonder about these other places too. Wonder if I was too much for them. Did I have kids too late in my 30s? Was it all too purposeful?

There is no winning here. It’s a matter of waiting and hoping that somewhere you instilled something that might trigger something called responsibility. Something called curiosity. Something called living. Something about giving back to the world around you.

I mother singularly now. Not a single parent–their father still very much here. Checking in with the other parent in the hopes that we will be on the same page every day. Most times we are. But there’s some fundamental differences in what we see as happiness and success. I want my kids thoughtful and engaged and self-sufficient. He wants the latter true, but measures the other part differently.

I see glimmers of hope. I have to hold on to that. I didn’t hold my end of the bargain. I didn’t stay with their dad till the end of the line. My fault. His fault. The fault of time and distance and the chasm between.

I have to remind myself not to look at my kids instagrams if I know what’s good for me.

ON WIFING

I was reading a vague booked reference to me and didn’t of course recognize the hated person as myself right away. Hussy. Psycho.  A woman who does not know me’s use of those words on me. Got me thinking of the nature of our own realities.

In 1996, on my honeymoon with my first husband in a hotel room we’d spent all night getting to in Bratislava, I knew my relationship had ended and that we’d be getting divorced. I knew it wouldn’t last. Traveling internationally with those ill-equipped to go with the flow brings on these denouement moments. I didn’t tell my first husband that it was over; I barely told myself. But that moment in Bratislava never left me and I always knew that was the beginning of the end.

It wasn’t that I didn’t try to keep us together for the next 3 years (our divorce was final in 2001 but I left to go to work in Japan in 2000 by myself–and the year before was spent on friend’s couches).  We did many things to get away from each other. He went to seminary to become a priest and all of a sudden god was with us and I felt like a third wheel. I went deep into graduate school thesis project and an ex-lover.

I’m sure he would tell it differently. Most times, I don’t think it appropriate to tell it at all.

Likewise my second husband–our divorce final tomorrow–I feel the same way about. We got together when I was already writing. I try to keep him out of things. I only answer questions when asked about it. Every once in awhile I have that snap moment where he’s pushed my buttons and I vent–but it’s rare. I try to put it down to a sentence now. We got together when both of us really wanted to have children. That coupled desire works for a good long stretch but doesn’t work when you don’t have anything else (duh). So at least we will always be a family. And we can move on–he back to his lone wolf & cub ways. Me to being an artist without having to be chastised for it. It would have been sixteen years next week. That’s some sort of California longevity miracle. But a failure none the less–we were planning to break up after the kids graduated. We fell four years short. But really I knew we were breaking up 10 years a go. I’m just a chickenshit for facing failure. I didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t keep it together, that the differences between us really are irreconcilable. I broke in mind in 2016. I broke in body in 2017. I break in paper now.

ON LOVERING

But then there’s also this question of happiness. While wandering around in the PTSD of relationship malaise whose details I will not go into because KIDS, I started questioning the perceptions we guide ourselves by. I started wondering like all mothers who are still women and humans whether self sacrifice is always necessary. Why do we do this thing of making other people happy and leaving nothing left for ourselves? What does that teach our children?

My grandmother turned 96 last year and I turned 48 and I thought for a moment–what if I have another 48 years? How should I live them? Should I dare to be happy in that time? Should I be okay with being who I am rather than who I’m expected to be? Do I dare steal away a moment for myself? Is it okay to email a man I interviewed back to tell him how speaking with him made me come alive?

Last September I started seeing a man–but more than that–my twin. Anything I say after that sentence will seem completely corny and insipid and groanfully geeky. I now understand what all the fuss about love is about. I get it now. When you meet the person who gets you, who you can have conversations with instead of staring at the wall or having them in your diary, it’s like nothing else. When no one is putting up with the other but instead fully and totally in love and embracing the other…that’s a whole different type of love. People call it true love. I’m not sure what to call it yet. It’s different. It’s inspiring. And at this middle age of 49 it came entirely unexpected.

My man has suffered more years of vacant love than I have.

My ex goes inward–says little about us to people save for a few of his buddies and family who of course are feeding at a feast of a one-sided story. My friends and family have my own brunch I’ve thrown.

His ex lashes outward–gives women a bad name. She is a reminder that you can never help someone who doesn’t want to get better. Someone who has no self realization.

He spent years trying to conform to an identity placed upon him rather than one that was actually his. How well I know that feature of dysfunctional relationship. When someone demands your inauthenticity and you oblige–and then they call you a liar–and you are–because it’s what the role demanded. Because you didn’t have the guts to move on properly. I know this territory well. I am that territory. Sometimes self imposed–which is far worse.

Where do we go from here?

I take stock in my mothering, lovering. There are so many transferable skills. So much goodness I wish for them all. Even the exes.  Is it enough to just be who you are as a mother? Is it enough to just want to be present? There? Experience the moment and be grateful, appreciative, savoring and to give it all back in return? I think so.

And I’m hoping this thing called mothering and this thing of lovering will give me the strength and fortitude to help sustain the country from its self-propelled apocalypses.

But for this morning. I’m just breathing. Thankful and okay with myself. Even if I’m categorized as some psycho hussy by his ex. Even if my mothering is somewhat avant garde. Even if not everyone understands that my reality and theirs is not the same.