Word Water Day in Baja

World Water Day, observed on March 22 was established to bring attention to the condition of the world’s water supply. The theme for 2014 is water and energy use, however, the biggest issue in my hometown in Baja, Mexico is water pollution, and so that’s what this post deals with. My partner Jim and I moved to Baja California, Mexico, in 1997 where we found bottled water a big deal because many people, immigrants and natives alike, even now feel the water supply is not up to standard. As an example: Once we were playing bridge at someone else’s house when I turned on the faucet for a glass of water. Even though the water is potable, the hostess was alarmed. She was sure I’d come down with a horrible illness. Since she was playing a hand at the time, I drank the tap water—with no bad results. The belief that the city water is polluted goes back to earlier times when it did cause intestinal problems. Yet I can attest to the fact that after visiting the area for about a […]
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AWESOME

March 10th is International Day of Awesomeness. On that day I’d like to honor my partner by telling him how awesome he is. Here’s what I’ll say: When we started to live together, I had a few books published and wanted to write full-time. You made a commitment. You’d pay all the expenses, and I could simply write. When my work started to sell, we’d share the bills. It’s incredible you had that much faith in my ability. And, you were willing to wait as long as it took. What makes it more remarkable is that you embraced my three young kids, who were living with me. One day I read that Peter, Paul and Mary were going to appear in San Diego. They’d been among my favorites for years, and so it was with regret I knew I couldn’t afford to attend this local concert. A few days later you asked if I was ready to go. “Where?” I asked. “You’ll know when we get there,” you said. Of course, it was the Peter, Paul and Mary concert. A minor gesture? Others might think […]
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Cooking Secrets

I’m usually the one who cooks dinner in our house, since my boyfriend gets home a lot later from work than I do.  ….And also because in his culture, women are the ones who cook. Although there is legal gender equality in France, traditions die hard.  Statistics show that, regardless of how many hours they work outside the home, French women are usually left with most of the chores; only 30% of French households report a fair division of labor. I don’t blame French men, so much as their culture, which is pretty old-fashioned when it comes to domestic life. Take my boyfriend, for example.  He actually likes to cook.  He’s got an innate talent for it, too, instinctively blending flavors to create delicious, complex sauces and seasonings that are an essential part of French cuisine.  But while I’ve always admired his culinary skills, it took a long time and a bit of a trick for his mother to acknowledge them. Whenever we’d visit her house in the French […]
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Hispanic Heritage: Rich and Intricate

I arrived on campus in the fall of 2004 and felt as if the path to my future lay before me.  The ivy-covered brick buildings and weathered clock tower seemed to have marked time for the generations that came before me and contained secrets yet to be discovered.  Like the other new freshman, moving into the dorms offered the promise of unlimited freedom.  I was now the master of my own fate and responsible only for my own decisions and little did I know that the experiences I would have would set me down a path to study Hispanic culture.. The entire campus buzzed during the first week of freshman orientation as we explored our new surroundings and found the buildings where we were to spend the next four years.  During this week, we also met with our advisors to determine our courses and ultimately our future careers.  My first meeting with Dr. Bricenos would forever change my educational and professional objectives.   As I entered his office, I observed paintings, […]
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Khun Yai, I Am a Lesbian

I came out to my parents at age seventeen. It took a few years of frustration and denial before they fully accepted the news. My being a lesbian eventually became a neutral fact, like how I won't eat papaya or that I must take medication. What’s important is that I know I am a daughter that they love and support. At age twenty-two, I visited Bangkok. On my last night I knew that I had to find the courage to tell my grandmother "Khun Yai" that I am a lesbian. I remembered being thrilled as a kid at the time spent with her talking and giggling after bedtime, and her weekly calls to the U.S. to comfort me after my mood disorder diagnosis. And the summers spent at her house, practicing my Thai and helping her survive the next nine months while I was in the States. Over the years her love for me had been tested. Sometimes she worried about me more than I ever worried about myself, but I was always grateful that she ultimately dealt with each challenge with grace and love. We had one […]
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Hispanic Heritage Month: Door to the American Dream

The National Council of La Raza President, Janet Murguia’s article on Hispanic Heritage Month for scholastic.com. Share these inspiring words with your children.  Enjoy! "Hispanic Heritage Month is a great time to promote civil rights and to appreciate the many Hispanic characteristics that have become an important part of the American culture, says Janet Murguia, President of the National Council of La Raza. "Hispanic Heritage Month is an important time for kids to understand that different cultures exist in America," she told Scholastic Kids Press Corps. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is the largest national Hispanic Civil Rights organization in the U.S. As the NCLR council's president, Murguia says Hispanic Heritage Month helps showcase Latino talents in many sectors: the arts, science, business, and entertainment. Murguia has a long history of work in the public sector. She served as deputy assistant to President Bill Clinton in the White House and is currently on […]
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A Note on Love

Have you ever heard of National Love Note Day? Well, now you have. The world definitely needs more love letters and what better time to implement this idea to the most beautiful soul I know…my partner, my love, Raven. I had written her a letter in honor of this holiday; it turned out pretty well, in my opinion, and thought I would share with you: My Dearest Raven, From your child-like wonder, to your sense of adventure, to the sound of your laughter, makes my life more enriched, and makes my heart sing. One of my most favorite, sentimental memories of time spent with you illustrates all of those attributes.  It was about two years ago, I told you that I had a surprise for you, so I packed our bags, and without question from you, off to Orlando we went. After checking in at our delightful hotel that greeted us with chocolate chip cookies, we put our belongings away, and went out for a bite to eat.  After dinner, we were driving through the downtown Disney area, and you looked […]
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Note Your Love

Have you ever heard of National Love Note Day? Well, now you have. The world definitely needs more love letters and what better time to implement this idea to the most beautiful soul I know…my partner, my love, Raven. I had written her a letter in honor of this holiday; it turned out pretty well, in my opinion, and thought I would share with you: My Dearest Raven, From your child-like wonder, to your sense of adventure, to the sound of your laughter, makes my life more enriched, and makes my heart sing. One of my most favorite memories of time spent with you illustrates all of those attributes. It was about two years ago, I told you that I had a surprise for you, so I packed our bags, and without question from you, off to Orlando we went. After checking in at our delightful hotel that greeted us with chocolate chip cookies, we put our belongings away, and went out for a bite to eat. After dinner, we were driving through the downtown Disney area, and you looked to your right […]
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My Husband Has Wings

I complained a great deal about it. In truth, I was incessant about it.  I could have been justifiably placed in that most horrible of spousal categories; “The Nag”. Obsessed with the appalling state of our dilapidated kitchen, I could talk about little else. It is embarrassing to admit that even my dreams were occupied by such banalities as visions of ceramic tiles, stainless steel and backsplashes!  My dear, overworked husband would sympathize, always patient with my repetitious tirade. Then, he would return to his work editing and writing, trying to meet deadlines and keep abreast of financial obligations. He would gently remind me that there was neither time nor resources for a kitchen facelift. I had an opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my sister, who generously paid my way to the magnificent Italian island of Capri, where the glorious beauty and ostentatious wealth of the surroundings only exacerbated my longing for domestic renewal. However, when I spoke with my […]
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