"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Zapatista New Year

Cuauhtemoc Mexica Dance Group

Le invita a celebrar
Año Nuevo 2008
El Parque de México
North Main & North Misión -Lincoln Heights

Diciembre 31, 2007 de 6:00 PM a Media-noche


Somos producto de 500 Años de luchas:
Primero contra la esclavitud.
En la guerra de Independencia contra España
encabezada por los Insurgentes, después
por evitar ser absorbidos por el expansionismo Norteamericano,
luego por promulgar nuestra Constitución y expulsar
al Imperio Francés de nuestro suelo,
después la dictadura porfirista nos negó
la aplicación justa de las Leyes de Reforma yel pueblo se rebelo
formando sus propios líderes, surgieron Villa y Zapata,
hombres pobres como nosotros a los que se nos ha negado
la preparación más elemental
para así poder utilizarnos como carne de canon
y saquear las riquezas de nuestra patria
sin importarles que estemos muriendo de hambre y enfermedades curables,
sin importarles que no tengamos nada, absolutamente nada
ni un techo digno, ni tierra, ni trabajo, ni salud, ni alimentación, ni educación,
sin tener derecho a elegir libre y democráticamente a nuestras autoridades.
Sin independencia de los extranjeros,
sin paz ni justicia para nosotros y nuestros hijos.
Pero nosotros decimos ¡BASTA!
Somos millones y llamamos a todos nuestros
hermanos a que se sumen a este llamado
como el único camino para no morir de hambre
ante la ambición insaciable de los que hoy
nos quitan todo, absolutamente todo!

Acompáñenos a celebrar el 13avo aniversario del levantamiento zapatista.
Porque un mundo donde muchos mundos existan
Danza Azteca, comida, Videos y más
Enero 1º Saludo al Nuevo amanecer 6:00 AM
Mas información al (213) 481 8265


Cuauhtemoc Mexica Dance Group
invites you to the
Zapatista New Year’s Celebration

El Parque de México
North Main & North Misión -Lincoln Heights
December 31st 6:00 Pm to Midnight

We are the product of 500 years of struggles:
First was the enslavement, then we fought against Spain in the
Independence War led by the “Insurgentes,”
afterward we fought against the North American’s expansionism
After that we fought to establish our own Constitution and kick outthe French Empire
from our territory. Then Porfirio Diaz denied the rightful application
of the “Reforma” Laws for us and the people rebel against it
creating our own leaders, therefore Villa and Zapata appeared.
They were simple people like us, without any education
for them to serve as cannon flesh just like us, to starve just like us,
dying of simple sicknesses, having nothing absolutely nothing.
No land, no home, no work, no dignity.
With no right to freely choose our own authorities.
Without independence of others.
Without any peace or justice
But today we say: ENOUGH!

We are millions and we call all ourbrothers to join us.

This is the only way to stop dying of starvation,
because those who have always taken everything from us will continue to do so
until they take absolutely all!

Aztec Dancing, potluck, videos and more!
Sunrise greetings at 6:00 AM
More info: (213) 481 8265
Join Us!!!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Poetry Friday

It's the last Poetry Friday of the year and I've found an amazing poem on the nature of belief on Writer’s Almanac today. It moved me so profoundly. It got me to thinking about belief, faith and all the things my grandparents taught me about living life well and being a good person.

It’s beautiful when poetry digs deep into your very soul and gets you to start looking deeper at the person you are and wonder if it’s enough, makes you want to do more, be more.

I’ve included the first few lines.

What My Father Believed by John Guzlowski, from Lightning And Ashes. © Steel Toe Books, 2007

He didn't know about the Rock of Ages
or bringing in the sheaves or Jacob's ladder
or gathering at the beautiful river
that flows beneath the throne of God.
He'd never heard of the Baltimore Catechism
either, and didn't know the purpose of life
was to love and honor and serve God.

Head on over to Writer’s Almanac for the rest.

The round-up is here.

Have a Happy New Year everyone and thank you for letting me part of this amazing Poetry Friday experience this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Poetry Friday - The RoundUp

Isn’t it fabulous that every week, close to 50 people stop whatever they’re doing in their so busy lives and think, consider, research, write, find and compile all these wonderful poems and stories?

I think it’s astounding and I think each of you amazing contributors are making the world a better place one poem at a time. I’m so thankful for you all. You’ve opened up the window on my world and made it a richer, more colorful tapestry. Here’s to you all and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with joy and hope.

I thought I'd do a nonsense poem as a round-up, like I did last time I hosted, but your poems wanted their own way and it became a story of two friends who look to each other when illness strikes. It's still a little nonsensical thought.

This epistolary round-up is dedicated to a friend that is far away. I'm thinking of you and hope I can be as good a friend as Tom.

Holiday Round-up

Hey Charley, writes Tom
Did ya know that each night a child is born is a holy night,
Which fills the poet’s happy soul while
frogs dream the winter away?

Charley writes back that he's had the chest pains for weeks,
Why do we bother with the rest of the day?
Come out and greet with me
the moment the dark begins

Tom writes back to Charley.
The bird on the terrace has his own name in French, but I don't
know it
Gull and pull away from the dark man!
Eat pride with your doggerel and lace it with rum.

Communing with nature onthe night before Christmas, Charley's memories
of Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea.
The sea said, see i will comfort you.

His house is in the village though, a long walk from the sea.
He liked wolves and eagles and grizzly bears
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
a strange sight to the sunbathers who had never seen
the junipers shagged with ice.

Sleeping in snatches, Tom worries about his friend
He wakes, gets up and sits down
to write some cards…
thinking, I will turn it around.

Charley is thinking too.
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on
Searching through the darkness,
his thoughts sped through the snow, then under a river...

Tom wrote, fight the good fight!
One must have a mind of winter
Walking into the face of wind,
Praise be to the distant sister sun
All just to say, you are my friend.

Charley laughs, his first in weeks
at the line from Tom that says,
Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!

Tom thinks
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
I'd use them to
Take up the strain that wings it's way,
You have to hold him up.

The wind howls, hisses, and but stops to howl more loud
The longest night and the shortest day.
Tough Boy Sonatas, Charley thinks
The Christmas of my life.

Something I just noticed, said Tom
The tropical moon gave the city a glow,
Things grew brighter, more distinct, themselves.
Yes, your throat is froggy,
But it's better than it was.

Your friendship did it, said Charley
the swirling curves of spiraled space and time
with feasting and good cheer
and the Tamalitos de Cambray!

Poetry Friday Hosting - Rain, Alegria and Secession

Happy Solstice everyone!

Last time I hosted, I made a fun poem of all your links - am I up for the challenge again? We'll see...I will round it up in a separate post late tonight so be sure to check back for the round up.

Wow, it's only 7:30ish in the morning here and there are already 27 poems up! That's fantastic. I'm headed off to work, but will be trying to look through and read each of your poems throughout the day. Sounds like we have quite the diverse and interesting batch as usual! I'm so grateful to Poetry Friday. I'd never get a chance to find all these great poems, discover new poets and read original works without you all. I'm so looking forward to a new year of poetry with you all!

It's Solstice, the Lakota Nation has announced that they will secede from the U.S. and become their own country (!), I turned 46 and I just launched a cooking website. It's been a crazy, wild, wonderful December. What a way to end the year.

Happy Holidays everyone! Here's Mr. Linky and please do leave a comment.

My Poetry Friday offering is Claribel Alegria (her name just makes me smile), with an interesting little poem in Spanish called Tamalitos de Cambray. I'll do my best to translate it for you. I've also attached two Youtube videos, one in English, one in Spanish so you all can get to know the lovely Ms. Alegria a little better. I love when she talks about how how important reading is.


(5,000,000 de tamalitos)

A Eduardo y Helena que me
pidieron una receta salvadoreña.

Dos libras de masa de mestizo
media libra de lomo gachupín
cocido y bien picado
una cajita de pasas beata
dos cucharadas de leche de Malinche
una taza de agua bien rabiosa
un sofrito con cascos de conquistadores
tres cebollas jesuitas
una bolsita de oro multinacional
dos dientes de dragón
una zanahoria presidencial
dos cucharadas de alcahuetes
manteca de indios de Panchimalco
dos tomates ministeriales
media taza de azúcar televisora
dos gotas de lava de volcán
siete hojas de pito
(no seas mal pensado es somnífero)
lo pones todo a cocer
a fuego lento
por quinientos años
y verás qué sabor.

Claribel Alegria

Little Cambray Tamales

(makes 5,000,000 little tamales)
- for Eduardo and Helena who asked me
for a Salvadoran recipe

Two pounds of mestizo cornmeal
half a pound of loin of gachupin
cooked and finely chopped
a box of pious raisins
two tablespoons of Malinche's milk
one cup of enraged water
a fry of conquistador helmets
three Jesuit onions
a small bag of multinational gold
two dragon's teeth
one presidential carrot
two tablespoons of pimps
lard of Panchimalco Indians
two ministerial tomatoes
a half cup of television sugar
two drops of volcanic lava
seven leaves of pito*
(don't be dirty-minded, it's a soporific)
put everything to boil
over a slow fire
for five hundred years
and you'll see how tasty it is.

*pito means to whistle, it's also an sleep-inducing herb; but there's another translation. It's slang for penis (which is why she is saying don't be dirty minded).

So wow! The Lakota Nation and Russell Means are seriously doing this. Wow. I wonder how events are going to unfold. Any thoughts? When I hear the word secession, I think of Ashley Wilkes leaving Melanie and Scarlett at the barbeque. This is serious. Wow.

That's it! You're rounded up here.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Doña Lupe’s Kitchen

I've been a little busier than usual lately launching my own cooking website and trying my hand at writing recipes. It's hard because then I actually have to think through the process while I'm cooking. It's also a little weird trying to figure out measurements because I never measure. I'm finally getting it though and having a lot of fun in the process. Cooking is such a huge part of my life and my history - it ties to so much I do that I wanted to share it.

On the website you'll find recipes, family stories and history, traditions, experiments and much more. You'll meet my family and friends, attend a tamalada and go on quests for ingredients. We eventually are going to have video instructions, so stay tuned.

The first few recipes are up and more are coming.

The link is here. Welcome!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Poetry Friday - Dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe - Tonantzin

On December 12th, at 2a.m. I was out at Placita Olvera (Olvera Street) dancing barefoot on the cold ground along with many, many others to pay homage to the Virgen de Guadalupe. Before I left, I wrote up a post about her and how much she means to me, my family and to the Mexican people. See the December 11th post for more about La Virgen Morena.

There is poetry to her as well as songs written in her honor. I thought I'd include some here along with the words to Las Manañitas - the traditional birthday song that we sing to her on her feast day.

Las Mañanitas is a traditional Mexican song that is sung on birthdays and other important holidays. It is often sung as an early morning serenade to wake up a loved one. At birthday parties it is sung before the cake is cut.

Las Mañanitas Lyrics:

Estas son las mañanitas
que cantaba el rey David
a las muchachas bonitas
te las cantamos aquí

Si el sereno de la esquina
me quisiera hacer favor
de apagar su linternita
mientras que pasa mi amor

Despierta mi bien despierta
mira que ya amaneció
ya los pajarillos cantan
la luna ya se metió

Ahora sí señor sereno
le agradezco su favor
encienda su linternita
que ya ha pasado mi amor

Amapolita adorada
de los llanos de Tepic
si no estás enamorada
enamórate de mí

Despierta mi bien despierta
mira que ya amaneció
ya los pajarillos cantan
la luna ya se metió

Here's just about the whole of Mexico singing it to her in the Basilica

and check this out!

The round up is here at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks for hosting Tricia!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tlaxocamatl Tonantzin

In Mexico, I think nothing is more honored and adored than the Virgen de Guadalupe or, as I know her, Tonantzin. Her image is everywhere. Statues, candles, blankets, sarapes, scarves, murals, roadside shrines - her peaceful and radiant countenance blesses you. She lives in homes, tattoos, in the marketplace, in song, everywhere, she touches everything. Even one of the most popular singers in Mexico wrote a song for her! In fact, singers of all types - rock bands, mariachis, the
pop stars, the rancheros, EVERYONE loves the Virgencita Morena, the Goddess of the Americas.

She was the image on the banners and flags of Father Miguel Hidalgo and his followers in the fight for Mexican Independance. She is entrenched so deeply into our culture and ideology that she’s like an old and very beloved friend. We call her little mother. She’s our collective mother, the mother of a conquered but not defeated nation, the mother who fights for us, protects us and loves us no matter who or what we are and become. We live and breathe Guadalupe. In every family, someone, boy or girl is named Guadalupe and carries that name with pride.

The Catholic Church has it's story of the Virgen de Guadalupe and Juan Diego, we indigenous people have another. Somehow, like so much in Mexico the two things blended and we have Catholic dogma mixed with indigenous belief. Tonantzin wouldn't be erased and she lives stronger than ever in our hearts and minds.

Every year on her day, December 12th - thousands of people gather at her shrine on Tepeyac to give her honor, to pay homage, to dance prayers for her, to sing Las Manañitas to her and to show their devotion. Indigenous people from all over Mexico leave their villages and walk or crawl up to the sierra de Tepeyac in an ancient pilgrimage. The actual holy ground is a little hill behind the Basilica. This hill was sacred to Tonantzin and consecrated to Her by the indigenous people of Mexico long before the conquest. The pilgrimage was happening in pre-Columbian times as well.

As far back as I can remember my life was dominated by the Guadalupe. In the sala (living room) my grandmother Lupe’s house (her name was Maria Guadalupe) in the place of honor on the wall was a huge, framed print of the Virgen de Guadalupe standing on the hill of Tepeyac with Juan Diego kneeling at her feet, tilma open and filled with roses. It was a beautiful print with a soft washed from age look to it. You could clearly see the nopales (cacti) that were growing on the hillside. Every day my grandmother would put fresh flowers in front of that print. “Flores para la virgen”, she would tell me, “Flowers for the Virgen”. I learned to cut fresh roses and other flowers from the garden for vases throughout the house, keeping only the best and showiest to put in front of the print. Just like my grandmother, I’d say a little prayer to her as I left her her flowers. She was as real to me as my sisters were and I talked to her far more freely. La Lupita was my confidant, my protector, my dear little mother.

At church, my grandmother was a member of a society called Las Guadalupanas and they were devotees of her. Every morning, my grandmother Lupe would don her lacy mantilla and head off for mass where she’d pray to the Virgen de Guadalupe. See, she’s everywhere and in everything.

In Aztec culture, Guadalupe was Tonantzin, the mother of all, Mother Earth, The Goddess of Sustenance, Honored Grandmother, Snake, Aztec Goddess of the Earth. She brought the corn, Mother of the Corn. Even then She was All and Everything. She represented mothers, fertility, the moon, the sacred number 7. In fact, she was sometimes known as 7 Serpent. She was always there and she was always our little mother.

Corn is sacred to Tonantzin. The flowers we know as poinsettias were called Cuetlaxochitl were also very sacred to her and they grew on Tepeyac in wintertime as tall as ten feet high. Tunas (cactus fruit or prickly pear) are also especially sacred to Tonantzin growing as they do on the cacti that grows on her sacred and holy ground. Filled with seeds inside and a rich, juicy red fruit, the tunas represent both fertility and the womb, the blood of women and the sweetness of life. Tomatoes are another sacred fruit to Her. On my altar, I often put flor de noche Buena (another word for poinsettias meaning flower of the good night), tunas, chiles, cacao beans and tomatoes. The colors red, white and green, the colors of the Mexican flag are sacred to Her as well.

Early tomorrow morning, the morning of the 12th at 2a.m. at the Placita Olvera (Olvera Street) in Los Angeles, mariachis, devotees of the Virgen de Guadalupe, Aztec dancers, folklorico dancers, deer dancers, musicians, priests, nuns, and many more will start paying homage to Her. We will sing Las Mananitas, the traditional birthday song, we will pray and dance. Aztec dancers will dance at Catholic masses everywhere and they will do the prayer dance Tonantzin first. They will dance various variations of Tonantzin and give Her honor. In Mexico, on a much larger scale, celebrities, the elite, the politicians, Zapatistas, narcotrafficantes, men, women and children will all pay homage to our beloved Virgen de Guadalupe. We will give thanks to her for all we’ve received from her merciful hands, we will pray for the sick, the prisoners, the homeless, the helpless and we know that She is mercy, kindness, acceptance and love. She commands a tremendous devotion from the people that love her just by being Guadalupe. I believe she has given me much – my life, my children, my grandchildren, the food I eat. She is the goddess of the harvest, she represents the mother in me and in all women. She simply is and so I say Tlaxocamatl Tonantzin, thank you virgen de Guadalupe for all you have given. Tlaxocamatl Tonantzin. Ometeotl.

From the City of the Queen of the Angels, desde la ciudad de Nuestra Reina de los Angeles,

Atonatiuh Eloxochitl
Mar y Sol Datura Flower
otherwise know as
Gina MarySol Ruiz
Who is on her way to dance for the Virgen de Guadalupe and one for her Grandmother Lupe too.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Free Rice

How'd you like to increase your vocabulary, have fun doing it and by doing so be contributing to fighting world hunger?

Head on over to Free Rice and see how many bowls of rice you can donate. I managed to donate 2000 grains in about ten minutes. I'm addicted! They have great words like weald and taiga. Go! Visit! Donate rice!