Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So not amused

That's Tropical Storm Arlene cutting across Mexico.

Flying to Oaxaca from Mexico City through this at 3:30 in the afternoon Friday in a tiny plane. Scared of lightning. Scared of tiny planes. Mad scared of lightning when I'm in tiny planes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Now that's a fan!

Getty Images

Like the old adage says, we don't choose our teams, our teams choose us.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Copa Oro / Copa America

Okay, people, Saturday night is the final match for this year's Copa Oro, a CONCACAF tournament of North American/Central American/Caribbean teams that serves as a qualifier for a qualifier for World Cup 2014. The United States is meeting Mexico in Pasadena, so it should be a great match and is sold out. If you want to watch on tv with commentary in Spanish, watch on Univision; for commentary in English, watch on the Fox Soccer Channel. I prefer Univision because they don't mute the sound of the crowd, but if I want to understand everything, I watch FSC, so I'll probably be switching back and forth.

And in July -- when I and my colleagues will be in Oaxaca -- Mexico is playing in the Copa America, a national tournament for South American teams. (Mexico and Japan are the outside invitees.) I'm not sure what the roster is for the Mexican team as FIFA ruled that while their national team could not play in a tournament outside their confederation, they could send the members of their 2012 Olympic Football team. But it should be fun to watch the matches in a cafe of screaming fans in Oaxaca.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mexican soccer news

For those who want to follow the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol in English, there is a great blog by Americans who love Mexican soccer called FMF State of Mind. They seem to have all the latest news as well as lineups and post-match analysis.


Cellphone in Oaxaca

I received an email from Mexitel yesterday to let me know my cellphone was on its way, and here it is, one day later as promised. It came with a cute little carrying case that clips onto your belt (not!), a charger, the prepaid return box and a set of directions. I won't know if it actually works until I'm already in Mexico, but I'm feeling more and more confident that this was the best way to stay in touch with people at home as well as locally in Oaxaca.

The actual rental was $20 for two weeks, $20 for an additional two weeks, and $20 for shipping. I prepaid for $20 worth of time and got $10 in complimentary time, so all together, if I don't add any more time, I'll be paying around $80. Not the cheapest way to go, but the most convenient. And the best little add-on is that the phone works in airports in the US and Canada, so I won't have to take my personal cell and charger with me to call The Husband to come pick me up when I return to JFK.

Things are falling into place pretty smoothly so far. My migraine meds arrived today, my new glasses and sunglasses should be ready by this weekend, and the tailor should have the pants I need to wear taken in by Tuesday. Now I just need to finish up my projects in the letterpress studio, finalize the details of hiring a new colleague (you know I'm dancing a jig here!), attend the end-term party Friday to celebrate my old colleague's retirement, pay bills, get a few pesos, show The Husband how to run the appliances, suspend my gym and Netflix memberships, call my credit card company and, most importantly, celebrate our anniversary early at Capsouto Freres where we were married on July 13, 1990:

I know there will be one major thing that I'll forget until it's too late, but I'm not stressing about it too much. I can't wait to be on the move!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Boorish behavior

(royalty free clip art image)

I dreamed last night that I was sitting for a final exam and nervously awaiting the proctor's cue to turn my sheet over and begin. Imagine my delight when I read that the essay topic was on Fordian production and Neoliberal Economic Models. What luck! I'd just finished doing all the reading for my trip to Oaxaca and had brushed up on these very topics. With a flourish of my Waterman fountain pen, I wrote my name and began to outline my thoughts when the proctor said, "Time's up!" I protested and began to cry, but it was no use. I had to turn in a blank sheet of paper and failed the class.

Not that I'm anxious or anything. However, I will admit that I haven't done much heavy reading since I dropped out of grad school for the fifth, and probably final, time ten years ago. So Terence Turner's reference to "Foucauldian critiques of representation and subjectivity" -- not to mention his allusions to Durkheim and Hegel -- had me digging out my undergraduate sociology texts. (Okay, I admit it. I read passages aloud to my dinner guests last night and had them snorting food through their nostrils. I can be un poco cretino sometimes.) But, seriously, I'm enjoying the challenge of the reading and note-taking so much that I'm flirting with the idea of grad school -- yet again.

I'm still set on taking no hard copies of the articles and relying on my Kindle while I'm in Mexico. To that end, I've jotted a few notes in my journal that I hope will help me in class discussions so that I'm not frantically squinting at the teeny-weeny PDF texts every time I need to find some bit of info. Now I just have to decide what to do with all that extra room in my suitcase!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cineclub El Pochote redux

image via facebook.com

Thanks to the reader who pointed out that the Cineclub El Pochote has reopened after last winter's closing. It's not as conveniently located for the casual visitor as it was before now that it's housed at CaSa, but the facilities are probably spectacular. A little advance planning should make the half-hour cab ride doable. With any luck, I could combine a trip to see the papermaking cooperatives in action with a film outing. And if all else fails, I'll be visiting CaSa as part of the NEH group I'm collaborating with this summer.

I am so ready to meet everyone on the trip and get started!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Random Bullets of Randomness

(1) I spent today watching the videos on the NEH Oaxaca web page and skimming through Chibnik's book on alebrijes. This was the perfect task since I'm on the tail end of a sinus infection that has had me woolly-headed for the last two weeks. The videos covered some of the same subjects I've blogged about -- Lila Downs, the Guelaguetza parades, Santo Domingo, alebrijes-- and introduced some new to me, especially the two by Luna Mar An on MAMAZ.

(2) I'm still all over the place with my lesson plan subjects and the areas I want to research personally. I've downloaded some info on the Common Core Standards that will be rolled out this fall and how they align with the standards that the American Association for School Librarians endorses and that I've been using in curriculum writing the last few years.

Fortunately, a lot of the NEH reading touches, either directly or tangentially, on the subject of tourism and its effects on the culture and life of Oaxaca, which is a thread I'd like to follow for my own gratification. And I should have a better idea of what path I want to take on my lesson plans once I finish the reading and organize my notes. All I know at the moment is that I want them to be multidiscipinary and include History, Art History, and Literature.

(3) I've gained so much weight in the year since I had surgery that I can't fit into any of my summer clothes, so I guess I'll be walking around Oaxaca in muu-muus or velvet track suits or something. I wish I could say this doesn't bother me, and I'm not losing sleep about it, but as the trip approaches, it's starting to irritate the hell out of me.

(4) Speaking of alebrijes, Mariela, our cleaning lady, has returned from a month-long trip to her home in Colombia. I mention it because she absolutely loathes our gato because it creeps her out. She doesn't even like to pick it up to dust, so I have to put it in a closet whenever she comes. She'd like to see us throw it out, and to that end, she brought us a wooden kitty from Cartagena to replace it.

(5) The Oaxaca teachers' strike seems to have ended last week. I expect Oaxaca will be relatively quiet politically this summer, at least on the surface.

(6) I was planning to spend a couple of our free weekends in Chiapas staying at a B&B run by a photographer who's a friend of a friend and visiting the papermaking workshop at Taller Lenateros and the research institute at Casa Na Bolom. But I've decided to avail myself of the Friday technology workshops and rest on the weekends. There are so many things in and around Oaxaca to keep me busy that this was a no brainer, and I still don't think all my engines are firing at top speed even though I feel a hundred times better than I did this time last year. So I'll have to plan a separate trip to Chiapas in the future.

(7) The Mexican national soccer team is playing in the semifinals of the Gold Cup at the Meadowlands of New Jersey Saturday, but I can't go -- wah, wah! Our plans for that night might be canceled, but I won't know until it's too late to score some tix.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

T minus 22 days

I'm already in pre-departure mode. Three weeks ahead may seem neurotic, but I've found that preparing gradually as things occur to me as well as taking care of things that I know may require some lead time works best for me.

One of the things I've checked into -- thank goodness -- is my prescription med status. Apparently my health plan has changed the way my migraine medication is parceled out which I only discovered when I called Medco to find out about a different medication. I don't know when they were planning to notify me, but if I had waited to call until I realized the meds were overdue, it would have been the end of June and that could have been a major screw up. Fortunately, my doctor just returned from a six-week trip to Europe, so he was able to write me a new prescription. So hooray for being over-prepared!

I have decided to forego inoculations for typhoid and malaria, and won't be taking out any kind of evacuation insurance. I know everyone has different comfort levels about travel to areas that are not as developed as they're used to, but I feel okay with this decision. I spent almost 3 weeks in Oaxaca last summer without even giving shots a thought, so I expect four weeks won't be that different.

What I am doing that might seem unnecessary is getting the house and basement hurricane-ready on the very off chance that we get a direct hit while I'm gone. I know The Husband would be totally flipped out if that happened and would be outta here so fast, the door wouldn't hit him in the ass.

Other than that, I've been busy working on non-NEH projects, so very little has been done on the language-learning front. I'm currently reading Chibnik's book on the wood-carving trade in Oaxaca, watching the online videos on chocolate-making and other subjects that are posted on the NEH Oaxaca site and trying to figure out what the adoption of the Common Core that has been sprung on us out of left field here in NYC might mean for the units I want to develop this summer.

And for relaxation, I'm watching the flowers bloom in my front yard:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A hiatus of sorts

Jacobo Angeles mixing natural colors using my hand as a palette and painting a fantasic creature, San Martin Tilcajete, July 2010

I won't be blogging regularly this month as June is crunch time for several mostly fun projects I need to wind up before I blow out of town. I'll check in once a week or so until July 1 when I hope I'll be able to post every day. I'll still be posting on my other blog for friends and family who like to keep up that way. Have a great June, ya'll!