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Christmas with Tween & Teen

I am missing Christmas.

The ones where they believed. The ones where they wrote letters to Santa and put out carrots for reindeer and wanted nothing but oodles of lego and craft kits and an American Girl doll.

I would actually buy an American Girl doll right now, expensive as it is, if it would wipe my daughters very tween wish list away.

This is our year of adjustment. The year when they do not believe in Santa but still put stockings out regardless. The year when they ask for cool clothes and cosmetics and music. The year when my son wants a cosplay onesie–so he and his girlfriend can be twins.

I’m having a hard time holding on to tree lighting traditions and sitting on Santa’s lap, and all the other benign merriment of Americana Christmas. They of the eye-rolling stage do not want to participate in much.

Have I lost something?

I count what I have left. They still like my baking. Still like my dinners. Hooray for small things.

They sweetly ask what I want for Christmas. I tell them I want them to clean their rooms and declutter the house.  No Really, Mom. What do you want for Christmas?

I try to think of something that would work for me. A bottle of scotch? A ticket to Hamilton? A potential administration not trying to actively bring about environmental apocalypse? My book finished?

Shit. I’m as impossible as they are.

 

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beauty and fashion

Waterwear Making Me Feel…almost atheletic

I’m in full Christmas mode.

It might seem a little out of season to be thinking of swimwear or yoga wear but I find that the fall season is probably when I tend to pretend to or intend to exercise the most (otherwise I’m sitting at my desk getting through kids’ Halloween candy).

The marketing of UCFIT Under Cover Waterwear is pretty simple really: workout clothes that can be fashionable when you haven’t quite made it out to exercise. So you can look like you are about to do it–even when you haven’t. Maybe it’s part of that notion that if you look the part you can be the part. I love the concept behind the line. Moms do often put themselves last–especially for exercise. Why not be ready for it any moment you can squeeze it in?

UCFit Under Cover WaterWear is also a new (ish) concept in swimwear–modest–swimwear. Showing less on the beach instead of more. When I was asked to check them out I was totally intrigued. Clearly not every woman (self included) wants to head out to the beach in a bikini. Half the time I head to the beach I wear old leggings, which make me feel more comfortable while I’m out there–and more protected from the sun. UCFits clothing are UPF 50+–meaning 98% of UV rays aren’t hitting my skin when I’m out. And that doesn’t matter if it’s at the beach or on the sidewalk.

I tried the black leggings with swim skirt in the photo. So far I’ve worn it three times this week. From far away you wouldn’t even know it was swimwear or active wear. It was super comfortable and paired nicely with a shirt and later with a sweater when I was too lazy to change to a whole new outfit when going out for dinner. I could have—since all of their line is meant to get wet as well—worn this to the beach as well and gone in the water. I’ll have to try out one of the tops to see how that works for me but the bottoms were quite nice. Fit without feeling like everything was sucked in without the ability to breathe. It’s probably one time that something designed for moms doesn’t feel like you’re wearing ‘mom’ clothes.

The thing is the psych out totally worked on me. While I was in my office typing away and usually feeling like my tush is spreading in the chair, I got up and got down and did my stretches. I did a few minutes on my stair stepper in the corner. Usually I am dependent on an exercise buddy to drag me out into the daylight. But there I was doing my own thing and feeling healthier. Also with the psych out? I couldn’t eat bad things for me in it. Okay, so I might just be super impressionable.

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Pin-Ups for Plumas Community Radio Calendar is Here!

img_9887It’s here!!!!!!!

Online purchases of the calendar can be made here for our fundraising calendar for KQNY.

So as some of you know, in my non-existent spare time I’ve been working on a book about body positivity and the rise of acceptance of Plus Size models and Burlesque Dancers called Throwing the Curve (BECAUSE WHY NOT? AND IT’S NOW THE MOST REFRESHING NON POLITICAL THING IN MY LIFE..oh wait…. the body IS political).

Some of you also know I’ve been a DJ with http://www.KQNY919.org since 2011.  I have a show that airs once a week on Wednesdays 2-4 pm PST (you can stream it).

I combined those two passions this summer to create Pin-Ups for Plumas — a calendar fundraiser for the station.

It features 12 women from through out Plumas County from nearly every community. Youngest model is 18 and the oldest is 54.

They’re $20. If ya want one hit me up. They’ll be available at the annual holiday celebration in Quincy, CA SParKLEon the first Friday night in December when the radio station hosts an open house in front of the station on Main Street.

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Dispatch from the Deep North up at Hip Mama

Dispatch from the Deep North

I thank my editor at Hip Mama for encouraging this post.

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School Library Journal does a piece on us!

School Library Journal did a story on us that we think is much closer to the mark than most.

Jane Braxton Little of the Sacramento Bee did an up close and personal story of us (she lives in Greenville).

 

 

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Michelle Bernier for La Habra School District

 

14721452_1769914903270968_3631945887143844646_nMichelle Bernier for School Board

I haven’t written anything really political here I don’t think. I mean Throwing Chanclas is essentially about throwing a house shoe as a statement towards something that needs changing. It’s also about women taking charge of their everything: bodies , families, communities.

It is in this spirit that I tell you about my cousin Michelle Bernier who is running for school board in the North Orange County town of La Habra–I also ask anyone you know in the city of La Habra to vote for her.  She’s a woman unafraid of a challenge and a woman with a moral compass I’ve always admired.

Personally I love her Garcia streak—that DNA that isn’t afraid to call out elephants in rooms. She has an eye to fix things and to do what’s best.

Michelle  and her husband Jeff have two kids in La Habra school district and one graduate. She’s been an advocate for kids getting the services they need (IEPs) and she’s a major proponent of literacy (did you know that the former superintendent got RID OF ALL THE BOOKS IN THE LIBRARIES?! WTH?!). They are the very definition of involved parents. I love going to their house in La Habra and listening to what’s going on and what they wish could change for the better. Now Michelle has decided to take that challenge on.

Michelle is a busy no nonsense sort of woman. You know that old adage about if you want something done ask a busy person? She gets it done.

She also makes the most kick ass aprons around. I have a cool one being made as we speak! Michelle’s Aprons and Creations. I love my Frida one and now I’m getting a Popa and Itza one!

So forgive my campaigning. But North Orange County needs Michelle. If you know anyone who lives in La Habra–forward this.

Michelle Bernier for La Habra City School Board

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Library Project Ghazal

(forgive me in advance for butchering this form)

Library Project Ghazal

We need to tell you we’ve had a complaint about the library.

An anonymous caller says you’ve got feminism in your books.

 

Kids read books with feminism in them will ruin the morals of the valley.

Girls thinking too much of themselves because of what’s in the books.

 

The girl says, my mom won’t let me read anything in here. None of this is

appropriate reading material for our children. There are ideas in these books.

 

The boy says I don’t really read. Just not into it. Nobody’s story is ever

like mine. I haven’t read one of these things since the second grade. Books.

 

You can’t please hardly any of the people any of the time. It seems strange that

with the other media and short attention spans that we still think banning books.

 

Rural America needs words. Lots of words. Words that fight small despairs,

The late Friday night lights of doom. Diagnosis a life without books.

 

We built a library out of the kindness of strangers. Packages coming from around the world. As if the singular grand solution to all that is wrong could be books.

 

Care to add more lines for me?

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Just. One. Book. GRAND OPENING/OPEN HOUSE

Remember how the library used to look? I thought I’d make the feature image the original photo I took. It so does not look like this now. The sports trophies from 30 years ago are going some place else. There are new shelves salvaged from a closed school in the county. In one month, students have checked out over 300 books (keep in mind there are only 175 students).  Parents are checking out books. On Friday nights families are checking out DVDs (which given our cold weather is a GREAT thing). I introduced a kid to Tom Waits because of one of you and the opera AIDA because of someone else. YOU GUYS ROCK.

In a world where facts seem not to matter, it’s refreshing to hear kids talking smack that they don’t know a thing about and just going over and putting a book in front of them.  Yesterday , for example a junior high student was coming up with generalizations about African Americans in Los Angeles.  I was able to pull books out to show him some reading suggestions that might make him think differently. That’s what I was after and I thank you.

Here’s some photos from open house.

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Whew! It finally happened. Though we’ve been open to the kids since Sept. 6th we finally got around to having a celebration with our community volunteers. Thanks again to all of you who made it happened. We just finished another giant batch of thank yous so hopefully those will go out this week.

It’s not easy writing a book, doing that mom thing, working half-time at a newspaper , and freelancing AND oh yeah volunteering for the Library Project but it is so worth it.

We still have a bureaucratic dark lord threatening to not let kids have access to books (thankfully she lives 30 minutes away and makes Dolores Umbridge sound warm and fuzzy), but she doesn’t have any jurisdiction for one of the two schools so we are okay –yay!

It’s funny to watch bureaucracy try to keep ownership but because of you and national coverage they haven’t been able to do so.

But the fun stuff.

We had a party! We set up our first adult book clubs for the community, and we celebrated our volunteers.

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My volunteers! (That’s me in the red boots).

On top of that the sweet superintendent from the school district showed up with sandwiches and I steamed up a plate of tamales. It was fun.

 

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We are by no means done. But we have come so far! And that’s all because of you and what you did by sending us books, carpets, bean bag chairs, and kindles. THANK YOU! We also thank Plumas Charter School and Indian Valley Academy for being so supportive through out and all our volunteers from IVA and our community members.

Up next we’re hoping to start taking authors up on their suggestion to have them come speak.  Also I will be the poet doing Poetry Out Loud with the schools –so shout out to you all for giving us a top notch poetry section.

We will be starting our film series soon once a week with films for the kids to watch after school while awaiting rides from parents.

Words really cannot express. Thank you.

 

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Creature from the Black Lagoon

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When I first decided to go and do a second photo shoot ever with Marilee Caruso I wasn’t sure whether or not I was to be the Creature or the sexy/silly/scared kitschy model on the banks of the lagoon at night. Like most plus sized women my confidence fluctuates and there’s always a bit of angst.

I live in a mountain town where women have mastered the fine art of not giving a shit what they look like. That’s liberating of course but it’s also boring. An evening out to dinner and everyone’s wearing their either thriftstore or patagonia finest with nothing in between.

I miss the homeland at times–no matter how shallow and fake people make fun of Los Angeles for being. I miss it sometimes. Why is it….where is it written that you can’t wear make up and be a feminist at the same time?

In town I often stick out. I DO dress more than most folk. Some people look at me strangely. I try to explain. I was raised by plain clothes lesbians–one used to be a nun for godsakes–and I got to couple that with a military upbringing and Catholic school. It’s a formula. Forced severity in clothing choices means……….

well  I think often it means this…..

I’m working on a book about plus sized alternative modeling (so specific) and I’m a method writer……so um here it is….

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Vagabond, (to concentrate on pain)

Tales of a Sierra Madre

22311_10153239968474407_2041423899278877137_nI hadn’t planned on my sister.

The plan had been grandma

in the hospital

fallen again

tipsy at that intersection

of prescription and habit

I drove down

in case it was the end

she’s 96. It’s always in case of the end.

I drove down to give a few lectures

the first book ever had come out

I could say author instead of writer

I could say alive instead of dead.

I scheduled a new tattoo. A new goddess.

A friend designed. Celebrate the book.

Celebrate not giving up.

The only day I could schedule it

was the same day as leaving.

My sister was already in the car

Caged and wild and waiting to break.

She’d have time to grab food and take a walk.

She lit a joint on the street in front of a woman pushing a stroller.

I gave her money for food.

I went inside.

I…

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