Monday, December 9, 2013

What does it mean to call yourself a Chicana?

I am wrapping up my quarter teaching an Intro to Ethnic Studies course and the question of identity is a theme that I use to tie most of my weeks/ units for the class. What does it mean to call attention to your identity by race or ethnicity? Working at a small liberal arts college means that a great majority of my students cone from financially privileged backgrounds regardless of race and that quite the majority if them are white. Most of them are scared to talk about race. As many professors in my field know, race can almost become a "dirty" word for students. I find that many of them want to push against an attempt to define themselves by their racial or ethnic make up. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard "I am an athlete", "I am a student", "I am me." The desire to pull away and erase race becomes strong. 

I feel in this case it is my job to show my students that it's ok to define yourself by your ethnic-racial identity. And I feel I must challenge them on why they feel that it's a bad thing to do so. This particular generation of young people seem to want to push us into a post-racial era, but the reality is the more they push for post-racial the more racialized our society is becoming; we are becoming more racist by ignoring race. 

While apparently a bold statement I let my students know I define myself as a Chicana. I am clear that I am bi-racial, my nationality is American (from the US), but I am a Chicana. Proud of my Mexican American hybridization, proud of my personal and community history, proud of personal journey of political conciencia. I want or hope that my students understand that it is ok to take a stance on our identity. And while it does boil down to personal choices to say that we are athletes or daughters or students or teachers, there is nothing wrong with wanting to acknowledge our cultures/ culturas as well. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday musings on a Tuesday

So I was trying to get this post out yesterday and I didn't quite get there. Ooops.

*I watch way too much reality TV. It provides a certain escape from work I guess but it's also a sinfully guilty pleasure. Oh Bravo TV, you have sucked me into the abyss of the Real Housewives franchise.

*I am at point where I am searching for the perfect meal. Or in other words everything I've eaten lately has not left me that feeling of replete satisfaction. I am guessing it's because I've been craving soup. Must get some pho, stat!

*The weather in the Bay Area is finally cooling down (although we are supposed to be in the 70s over the weekend). I am excited to bust out the sweaters and it's an excuse to shop for some new boots. Normally I am not a big shopper but boots are exciting.

*I am trying to mentally prepare myself to go back to my dissertation over the Thanksgiving break and start giving some serious thoughts as to what I am going to do with the project.

*My other project, aka potty training my newly minted 3 year old, is finally reaching some solid progress. I think we are out of the business of pull-ups (finally).

Other than that, I find this time of year so fascinating because of all the holiday gimmicks that stores and brands create. I saw this today and couldn't help but wonder, is this a good or bad thing? I love pecan pie and I love Pringles, is this a match made in heaven or culinary nightmare? I didn't have the balls to buy them but I am so curious I may have to go back.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What's going on?

So I think I pick up on the blog ever so often when I am feeling like there is nothing else going on. I know I should be more committed because when I was blogging I enjoyed it so much, but like everything else in life I just get busy and something has to go to the back burner. Unfortunately it is this blog... More than a year and half out of my PhD and I am still pretty uncertain as to where this degree is supposed to lead. I just had my third baby, another beautiful boy, and then I started a year long adjunct position at my undergraduate alma mater.

I am loving being back in the classroom, but at the same time there is not enough caffeine to keep me functioning with a newborn (well almost 4 month old now), a Kindergartner, and a toddler. This was a psychotic decision on my part. But here is the kicker, as I am teaching (and loving it) I am feeling like I am just a placeholder. Someone who is taking up space for now, but there is no permanency to the position. We are reaching the end of the fall quarter and yet I am already having to think ahead because no job security means I don't know what the hell I will be doing.

 I am not sure how many folks are out there in the blog-o-sphere who are interested in the world of PhD but some days I really think why the hell did I spend almost a decade of my life studying, cramming, killing myself, traveling away from my young babies for research and conferences, and ultimately hiking up my anxiety to find myself feeling like I am still in the first square not able to move forward. There are dreams and goals that I have for my life, for my family, which I feel are not attainable at this point because I have no clue as to how my career is going.

So my post question, what's going on?, is both about an update and about figuring out what I have going on...maybe I can figure it out, soon?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I'm sitting here in my kitchen sipping on a cup of coffee and thinking about all the stuff I have to do rather than trying to actually do it. I finally finished, July 16th, 2012. I went all by myself down to my University and turned in my dissertation. It was the best feeling ever. And as I walked back to my car full of glee and triumph, I turned around and hurled my entire lunch that I just had with my dissertation chair in the woods. I had the stomach flu. Did I mention my husband was on a business trip not he East Coast and I was taking care of my two toddlers by myself? And thus was the end of a not so epic chapter of my life. But alas, a new one is beginning. What am I going to do next? I just got an offer to teach for a quarter at a prestigious University that is 2 hours away from home. For the first time I am sending my kids to day care. Yes, I am fully aware this is a luxury, oddly enough, that not many people get to have. Being a full time graduate student also lent me the opportunity to be a stay at home mom of sorts. I have enjoyed it, but now the kids are going to be not in my care (read: control) for 24 hours of the day. I am riddled with anxiety. This is actually making me more nervous than the job prospects. And finally, the thing I've been dreading for the last six months has finally come to fruition. I am finished with my degree with absolutely no idea of what I am supposed to be doing now. I cannot live on a adjunct salary forever. In my personal life I have plans, things that I need to do in order to move forward and become a grown up. And still I have to wait to see where the road map of life leads... And all of this not lost on the fact that as I sip my coffee and contemplate my first world problems, I am doing so on one of the most somber memorial days for the US. I cannot escape the historian in my brain.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stick a fork in me...I'm almost done!

So yes I continue to be absent from this blog, but for good reason. I am finishing my dissertation. I am literally a few weeks (if that) from filing. I am just putting the finishing touches, a fancy (ok not so fancy) graph or table here and there. I'm giving it one last good glance over to make sure it all works. I am so exhausted. For last 6 weeks I have been teaching, taking care of the wee ones (since we don't have childcare...yes you read that correctly), and working on the dissertation. Most nights I am lucky to get 4 hours of sleep; most days I am running on 4-5 triple shot americanos. It's not a life I would necessarily recommend but it is my life. Then....BAM! I get hit with the fact that mine is not the only life/schedule/position that matters. In a flash it seemed that despite moving full steam ahead I was being derailed. Ah, but resourceful negotiation has got me back on track. It's good that I learned how to change my own tire (it's a metaphorical tire, you get that bit?). Long story short, I am graduating then filing and I don't feel a bit of guilt about not finishing before graduation the way I thought I would. I am happily paying extra fees for my regalia. I am happily going to walk across the stage in a few weeks, and I will cheesily pose, in my cap and gown, with my familia and then subsequently place that picture on the mantel, when I get a mantel. Be back to update when it's all official!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

I know, I know. For all three of you out there reading this blog I have been a very bad blog mommy. It's just that sometimes with all the other work and life issues we have going on, it seems like blogging can become a chore. It's definitely something that one has to commit to on a consistent basis. Blah, blah, blah...

I'm actually wanting to chat about something else for the day. I have been away diligently working on my dissertation revisions and am basically at a point where I'm so close to the finish line I can smell the plastic tape stretched over the finish. And yet, I am paralyzed. I haven't worked on my dissertation for almost 3 weeks (maybe a little more than that really). Don't get me wrong, it isn't because I don't want to be finished but for me the new daunting issue is what happens next. I am in a position for the first time in almost a decade where I don't have a next step and to be honest I am shitting a brick. Applying for academic jobs or post docs is so stressful, it's almost like a whole separate dissertation in itself. And the thing is that if you get no "bites" from any of the applications you are set back an entire academic year and expected to scramble to find something. Or better yet, expected to piece together some semblance of a job opportunity.

Thinking about this makes me feel really stressed out, which in turn makes me feel really unmotivated to work. It's like a vicious cycle. I know that the first step is to just finish the degree, but I can't help but think about what happens after that. Not that I am completing the degree for this reason, but you work so hard to achieve such a major academic accomplishment, but I often wonder for what. I know that my children will be proud of me, in the future, for finishing a doctoral degree, but how will they feel if nothing came from it?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Neglect

Sheesh, I am on some major blog neglect. Well, it looks like I'm slated to (God-willing-fingers-and-toes-crossed) submit next quarter. I was supposed to finish this quarter but was gently told that I needed more research. So I'm working on it and not trying to sweat the small stuff. So, going with that theme, I'm going to do an old tag so that if anyone is interested you'll learn a little about me.

1. What curse word do you use the most?
These days the cursing is pared down because of the kiddos, but a good "dammit" always feels nice.

2. Do you own an iPod?

3. Who on your MySpace Top 8 do you talk to the most?
I don't have myspace anymore but I was ALL over it back in the day.

4. What time is your alarm clock set for?
Well my kids are up around 7:30 but my hubby usually gets them and I stay in bed another 20 minutes.

5. What color is your room?
White (we're renting)

6. Flip-flops or sneakers?
Flip flops

7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?
Be in it for sure.

8. What’s the last movie you watched?
The Social Network, now that it is finally on cable.

9. Do any of your friends have children?
A few of my close girlfriends have kids, none of my best friends have any. Then I have the few friends I made because I have kids.

10. Has anyone ever called you lazy?
Not to my face.

11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster?
Only when I'm sick because I want to rush through it in a comatose state.

12. What CD is currently in your CD player?
A mixtape (well is it still a mixtape if its a CD? Mix CD doesn't sound right to me)

13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?
Like my ice cream, I prefer strawberry.

14. Has anyone told you a secret this week?

15. Have you ever given someone a hickey?
No, and for the record I have personally always found them revolting.

16. Who was the last person to call you?
My mama.

17. Do you think people talk about you behind your back?
Of course. I'm fine with it and usually encourage people to tell me their issues with me, it almost never happens.

18. Did you watch cartoons as a child?
Yes and I watch them now with the kiddos.

19. How many siblings do you have?
My younger brother

20. Are you shy around the opposite sex?
I am shy period. Not good in the one on one situation, I get awkward, hailing back to my nerd days.

21. What movie do you know every line to?
Coming to America, White Chicks, Steel Magnolias (and I still cry), La Bamba

22. Do you own any band t-shirts?
Yes but I never wear them.

23. What is your favorite salad dressing?
I am a fan of most salad dressing but I enjoy plain ol' mayo.

24. Do you read for fun?
I love to read but barely have time to read for pleasure so I reserve it only for something spectacular.

25. Do you cry a lot?
Yes, I am big huge crybaby and proud!

26. Who was the last person to text message you? My hubby

27. Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?
Laptop. I like the portability.

28. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoo?
No, but you never know

29. What is the weather like?
Night time so it's nice and cool

30. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos?
A few tattoo's are cool but covered is a bit much for me.

31. Is sex before marriage wrong?
I think its' wise to test drive a car before purchase.

32. When was the last time you slept on the floor?
Nah, I don't do that.

33. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
I need 12 but usually survive on 6 so some days it ain't pretty.

34. Are you in love or lust?

35. Are your days full and fast-paced?
With two boys it depends on the day.

36. Do you pay attention to calories on the back of packages?
Sometimes but if I really want it I will eat it and I will not feel bad about it.

37. How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
I just turned 32 so 33.

38. Are you picky about spelling and grammar?
Not really unless it is horrible. A few errors are just human.

39. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
Great America?? Maybe not.

40. Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex?
I am a Guys Girl and a Ladies lady. So I am good all around.

41. Do you like cottage cheese?
Yes yes yes yes!!! YES!

42. Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back?
Tummy but since having been pregnant my side as well.

43. Have you ever bid for something on eBay?
Yes I have. I told my husband once "Look I won the bid" and he said "aren't you going to pay for that?" I said "yes" and he said "then how is that winning?" Sometimes he takes the fun out of things.

44. Do you enjoy giving hugs?
Yes =0)

45. What song did you last sing out loud?
Party by Beyonce

46. What is your favorite TV show?
Of all time: Golden Girls; currently: Boardwalk Empire

47. Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with?
I don't know, again, not good with the one on one thing. I think I'd rather have lunch with someone I love than someone I don't know.

48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
I think the last time was when I found out I was pregnant again. That was a while ago.

49. What one thing do you wish you had?
A job! Oh and a milkshake and a donut (simultaneously).

50. Favorite lyrics?
Too many to note here. But pretty much anything by Juanes or the Bee Gees or Elton John (yes I know it's all over the place).