Head over to the Literary Kitchen
Up at http://www.literarykitchen.net 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!
This poem of mine came out in HipMama Zine today! Such a cool way to start a new year with a poem published on the first day. Many thanks to Ariel Gore for that.
We’ll be making t-shirts of course but in the meantime, here’s the new logo for Pachuca Productions — the new Latina owned microtheatre started by Tina Terrazas and I in Plumas County. We move around the county producing original plays, variety shows, and provocative works by other women. Message us if you’d like to get a hold of one of our shirts (designed by Portland based artist Tess Emily Rodriguez).
Also we are looking for original works by women–especially Latina playwrights, for our company to perform.
I spent a week in Whittier–my hometown. That’s a good deal of time to revisit one’s ghosts. It was fraught with hanging out with my beloved grandmother who has taken to throwing out heirlooms and photographs. So it was great to take a little time out on Saturday and hang out with other bloggers at the Costero Bistro + Bar for a luncheon.
It’s a great thing to get together with fellow bloggers because blogging can be a bit of a lonely vacuum–which is the kind of thing we discussed. What’s been our highs and lows, etc.
I know what mine have been. My biggest high was the response to my Just. One. Book. post. My low was an old professor saying I’m too talented to be low-brow (I think he was referring to dark fiction/zines/and horror films). HA. It’s not always easy doing things your own way in your own time. I probably don’t publish as much as I should when I should, but I usually hope whatever it is I’ve got to say is worth saying. I spend time on my observations and my reviews. I know a blogger/writer who takes pride in making 10 pitches a day, pens innocuous prose (she gets paid though) and writes from the top of her head without research–or much dignity for that matter.
I’m old-fashioned sometimes. I prefer articles and journals with content over a few paragraphs and a photo. So it’s a hard business for me, but nevertheless I enjoy doing it when I do it.
So hanging with 7 fellow bloggers (bloggesses?) was absolutely fun and relaxing and a good balance to life in front of a screen. To top it off–the food was amazing. (I live in the mountains, you know where good food either happens at home or not at all).
I gave up bread and cheese for Lent because I have a serious addiction to both. So it was nothing but pleasure to eat so well without breaking the Lenten promises.
This was an LA Blogger Luncheon and man, there’s some smart women blogging from Los Angeles. I haven’t had lunch with two med students at once in a long time. Or hung out with a blogger from my home town. Or one who focuses on horses in Los Angeles. Or travel and food. Or natural hair and beauty and wigs. It made me think of what mine is focused on.
I’m focused on Throwing Chanclas just like all Latina moms. Bringing down what needs to be brought down. Relaxing after a hard day of mothering. Having a special appreciation for all things shoe and sandal related. And keeping myself up to my own standard.
So I thank my fellow LA Bloggers (even though I’m an LA Blogger in exile) for a lovely afternoon of lovely conversation that helped boost my moral in the solitary world of blogging. I thank Costero for a fabulous meal.
I thank my grandmother for not giving me too much fuss for stealing 500 some odd photos before she accidentally on purpose throws them away.
Friday night my kids and I made the three hour trek to Davis to hang with a good friend and her kids. These kids were in play groups together back in the day and even though Carol moved away to Davis, we still keep in touch and get them together. Another friend from my early Greenville days moved to Sacramento–about 3 miles from where the Women’s March was starting on Saturday morning.
So after a somewhat harrowing drive in California’s storm season, including snow and a downed tree and a three hour drive….
We got to Davis. The kids took off to their rooms to hang the way tweens/early teens do. I got busy assessing the hat situation. Carol bought a pussy purse! Which I now have because she’s a good friend and loves me for some inexplicable reason.
At first the kids weren’t overly enthusiastic. It’s been a hard election everywhere but as we are in that red pocket low on education corner of California where it’s both beautiful and lethal it’s been really hard. Especially on my kids and especially on my daughter. She goes to school each day dreading a couple of kids who taunt her Mexican heritage and for not being Christian. And believe me a non-Christian kid who was taught about the beauty and love of Jesus Christ does not get how Christians can be into Trump. I can’t explain it to her. I just say they probably aren’t aware of their own bible and tradition. ANYHOW. The march immediately made her feel less alone. Her two friends live in more progressive areas now so they weren’t as downtrodden but they were amazed and felt the power of the march.
My daughter and the other girls loved the creativeness and the brashness of the signs. They immediately took out their phones to record them.
ANd so we marched. We marched for REspect. Reproductive Rights. We marched for Trump’s victims of sexual assault. We marched for arts and humanities and education about to be cut. We marched for Education. We marched for rerorductive health. We walked to protest
Organizers said there were supposed to be about 8K people and it was more like 20K–now I’m hearing of totals more towards 30K. I’d believe it. We were packed like sardines but happy all the same.
State Controller Betty Yee lead us in an Oath on the state capitol steps to swear to protect and defend each other in these dark times. Warm and fuzzy day–even in the bitter cold weather.
It was a great day!
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.
It took me awhile to figure out just what throwing chanclas should be. At first I thought parenting parody but perhaps the joke would be far too on the inside. Also. There’s other places for that.
But then I thought I’m looking at things all wrong. I always responded to the chancla as a kid. That is um ducking and hoping the wrath of my mother went to my brother’s ass instead. But hey, I’m a parent. And I love my chanclas. I also love my peace and quiet when those little cochinos are in their rooms or outside. Hmmm…
So instead? I dedicate this site Throwing Chanclas to the moment after it’s thrown. No regret. Everyone out of the house and I can watch my endless Project Runway episodes in peace and if one of those horrible whiners make fashion week? Well I’ll throw a chancla at the screen (actually I won’t–I love that screen).
It’s that moment when they just ate all your food and it’s better than your mother-in-laws but those *&^%$ kids didn’t throw the trash or unload the dishwasher and no shame they didn’t even say thank you. So throw the shoe. Get them out of there. Clean up listening to whatever band you like and not what your daughter is forcing you to listen to.
In the peace of that moment is time for the mother of the house. It’s the time when I dress for me. It’s the time when I put on lipstick because I want it on. The husband comes home. Who is all this gussying up for? Me, damn it. It’s for me.
Because I might be 47? But I don’t want to look like I gave up, because I haven’t. And why should any of us? I mean we Gen Xers are squeezed out as it is.
So I re-dedicate Throwing Chanclas to all those moms who are still rocking their look and don’t care if they embarrass their kids by doing their own thing.
One of the best parts of getting older is recognizing what your boundaries are. Not that Latinas always recognize that very gringa word. But knowing what you should and can say yes to and what you can’t say yes to is such a big step in becoming the grand vieja you were meant to be.
Here’s a big boundary for me: watching other people’s children–or even more precisely–watching dominant culture raised children–because I don’t have time to deal with kids whose parents raised them to be entitled brats and since in a mixed room of goodly and badly behaved children you can’t pick and choose, I just flat out don’t watch other people’s children.
Which isn’t the same as saying I wont have my kids’ friends over because thankfully they know who to bring over and who not to (which really translates into they bring over quiet, respectful kids who I don’t need to entertain). Even if they aren’t quiet, they know to go outside.
My daughter is in a community theatre musical at the moment. Which is awesome. I love that she’s branching out; l love that she’s having new experiences. But there’s at least 10 children in this production and she’s the only one I’ve ever seen sit still for five seconds and listen to the director. The stage moms of these minions seem unbothered by their children’s boisterous behavior, and that’s fine for them. It appears that come showtime, those moms are taking shifts backstage and wanted to know what day I wanted a shift. I had to tell them. Sorry, I don’t watch other people’s children.
I’ve been around these rehearsals enough these last few months to know that most of those kids are unruly and need a chancla thrown at them. I can’t imagine any worse way to spend the evening than in a green room with the cast of Fame wannabes who don’t know how to shut the fuck up because no parent has ever told them to (I just dated myself). Watching dominant culture children brings out the worst in me. I want to tell them with TED talk powerpoints about poverty and hunger and flies on children’s faces how very entitled they are with their trivial issues.
I want to make them suffer and to be—well, less entitled dominant culture Americans. But that’s not socially acceptable. One of the mothers was pressing me and I finally just said, “Well, you see, I hate children.” “But you have children.” “Yes, but mine are well-behaved and don’t need a babysitter backstage. I’ve trained them.”
She looked horrified. And of course, that was judgmental on my part. It always comes as a big surprise to these mothers when normal people are like you know what? I don’t really like to hear kids screaming indoors and jumping off counter tops. They aren’t being creative like you think they are. They’re just being assholes. I’m sorry, I don’t care if little Ashley and Cody are the center of your universe. They just look like future oppressors to me. I saw them not wash their hands before delving into the snack food tray. You are raising them to be extras on a Disney channel sitcom pilot that never airs and I want no part of that.
So I compromise. I promise to bring homemade cookies and healthy snacks and leave them behind the Green Room so they can snack while they pretend to be Siamese children speaking uncomfortably broken English for the King and I. Oh colonialism, you never die, do you?
So no. This Latina mama wants no part of watching your children–especially for free. It’s not an even trade when yours are bouncing off walls and mine is sitting reading a book. But if you want to pay me to coach you on how to be a Latina mom with kick ass well-behaved and respectful and smart children, my rate starts at 50 an hour. You can give me a call.