Sunday, May 25, 2008

Swimming in Pesticides

"Swimming In The Canal"

"Tomato Pickers"

The children of the PĂ©rez family and their pet chicken bathe daily in this irrigation canal next to where their father, Maxim, picks oranges. No signage is posted. When the parents were asked if they were concerned with the possibility of pesticides in the water, the children's mother, who works in a local packing plant, shrugged a simple, "No." Migrant workers have a 59 percent higher risk of contracting leukemia, and a 69 percent higher risk for stomach cancer than other Hispanics living in California - rates that have been directly attributed to their exposure to pesticides and other chemicals used in their work.

The photographs and text are by Rick Nahmias, from his book The Migrant Project: Contemporary California Farm Workers, published by the University of New Mexico Press. For a gallery of images and more information, see

This story was sent to me through one of the news groups that I subscribe to. It made me think back to when we were young and my brother, sister and I swam in the drainage ditch across from our house in Dinuba, a small farming community North of Bakersfield. It was only for three years but it makes me think. Something so small can make a difference in your life.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Feel Good...

I feel really good. I took today and tomorrow off of work and it had been a great day so far. Let me back up.

Last week was finals week. I gave a final presentation in my Performance Studies Class on Tuesday night and took a two-hour essay exam on Thursday night, late (It was bad but it is done, so thats okay - I passed the class). On Wednesday I gave both of my finals to my classes and was able to grade the exams, finalize their semester grades and post them to the school website. I then make a copy of the posted grades, my grade book and the final exam and turned them in to both the department office and my advisor. By Friday, all I had to do was work at my other job and get really for graduation.

You see, a lot of the other TAs I teach with are graduating this year. In fact, there are only three of us returned to teach, the other 9 will be new to the program. So I went to a department graduation party on Friday night at Skinny’s in NoHo and a friend’s party on Saturday night. Monday I went back to work but only for three days. Tuesday night I spent making graduation gifts for some of my fellow students (I’ll post pictures a little later on). Wednesday was the actual graduation. After work, one the returning TAs, Nicole, picked me up from work and we went and had an early dinner. It was nice, we talked about school, both as professors and students – we have not had the chance to talk this year and it was nice to feel like we were creating a bond. Then we went to school and joined the other TA, Christa in the department library and put the finishing touches on our gifts, gift wrapped them and signed all the cards. We put the gifts in the TA office at each person’s desk and waited for them all to arrive and graduate.

There was a lot of picture taking, lots of visiting and they all loved their gifts. We walked with the graduates to the lawn where graduate was taking place, waited until they started heading towards the stage and then headed back to the department office to hang out until graduation was over and we could have fun. the three of us played around on the computers and talked until graduation was over and we all headed home since all the graduates were doing things with their families.

Today, I slept in and have been straightening up at home. It is so nice to do everything at my own pace, no rushing out the door for something or having to make sure that I left enough time for me to do my homework. I finally get to do all the things I have been wanting to do but haven’t had time for. You know, really exciting things like filing my receipts, reorganizing my sock drawer, ,my t-shirt drawer, my PJ drawer…you get the picture. I’ve also been slowly dusting my room and taking breaks whenever I want to, to read my new book.

Every semester, as I get near the end, I go on to and order myself a mindless novel as a reward for finishing the semester and so that I can read a new book that has nothing to do with school, I usually order 1 or 2 and make sure that they will arrive after I have finished my last assignment. This semester has been so rough that I ordered 4 books. 1 arrived Tuesday and the other 3 arrived yesterday. So I have already finished one of the short story collections and have worked my way though about half of the other one.

Ah, this is the life…I have thrown out clothes that are long past their prime, pulled stuff from my closet to donate because it is in really good shape but I’ve worn it once or never (a lot of stuff still has tags on it) and set aside a couple tops that I think a friend of mine will like. I had a good lunch that I had the time to prepare for myself and have been sure to drink enough liquids as well.

A good, good day. And I feel very good. This is the life…

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I have lost the will to live. I have a final at 8 and no desire to study for it. I have 5 questions to answer and am still on number 1. Kill me now.

Friday, May 02, 2008


For claiming that I would be off the face of the earth for the month,I sure blogged a lot for the month of April. If I think back on it, I realize that I would post when I was taking a break from the ridiculous amount of work I had while at school.

Any who... Short post today. I published a line of a poem constructed from magnet poetry a while ago here. I have added some random lines since then but have been unable to complete the last line.

I don't claim to be a prolific poet like Christa, after all these are magnets that catch my fancy as I am staring at the metal filing cabinet that my desk faces at work. Here it is, leave your suggestions in the comment section to fill in the blank:

they wax and shine the red sky yet cannot take it with them,
raw power & beauty a thousand purple winters,
ask to use delicate fiddle behind the moment,
we think she could watch through diamond vision,
languid shadows scream of _________,

So just for fun....