Thursday, January 12, 2012

Serenity Disturbed

The local gas company is digging up the sides of our country road to do who knows what with a gas line. It's usually so quiet out here that people who visit always comment on how can we stand the silence.

The silence is a blessing I didn't fully appreciate until now. There are no birds singing or even flying around, no rabbits, no ground squirrels, no road runners. I think even the spiders and scorpions are hiding.

The incessant beeping of heavy machinery backing up has taken the place of the road runner who beeps as he peers into my studio. The workers have taken the place of the animals and their loud voices carry as they call out directions to each other. Tito and Lalo, our dogs, bark more often to protect us from the monsters they're sure will soon be upon us.

My tranquility is disrupted. I'm doing my best but it's hard when I'm not used to so much noise.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spine Spacer Surgery

What's that old adage? "When it doesn't rain, it pours." I had been suffering with sciatic pain since February and tried everything: pain meds, steroid shot in my spine, physical therapy, chiropractor, and nothing worked for very long. I finally found relief with having an X-stop spacer placed in my spine.

No more sciatic pain! I've got two more weeks to go before I can resume normal activity. One thing I didn't count on was that "minimally invasive surgery" is still surgery so afterward I had to deal with recovering from the anesthesia, incision pain and No BLT's—bending, lifting, and twisting. Like I could do BLT's! Four weeks out from the surgery, I am feeling so much better but I'm tempted to do BLT's and take up my normal activities.

My new website had to take the back burner because in the meantime, in spite of sciatic pain, I was committed to going to the Latino Writers Conference in Albuquerque, implementing our own Sowing the Seeds Conference, meeting a couple of grant deadlines, editing my writer's group anthology, and when I felt well enough to do anything, write poetry.

I'm hoping that now I can tackle the new website and other things that I've let lapse. I did get a blog going for my writer's group for our new anthology due out in October. The book is Our Spirit, Our Reality: celebrating our stories. I'm co-editor with my Comadre Rosi Andrade. Check out the blog at  We should have the book in hand by mid-October.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Internet for Artists Workshop

I was accepted for the Internet for Artists Workshop through Creative Capital and Tucson Pima Arts Council. It starts this evening and goes through all day Saturday and Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing how I can get combine all of my internet presence to market myself as a multi-disciplinary artist - clay sculpture, literary, and performance.

I've got this blog, a Facebook page, email, and a website. I want to be able to connect them all. I hope they also offer a way to be able to keep all of them up that doesn't take too much time. That is the problem I'm running into now.

My last posting was quite a while ago - May 2009. In the meantime, life got in the way of keeping up with my postings. In August of 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the same week that my father had a heart attack and went from assisted living to a nursing home. As his primary caregiver, I had to deal with his care problems as I went through surgery and radiation. He passed away in December. The following year was a blur as I grieved his loss, went through a mild depression as a result of the stress I went through.

The internet has been a source of comfort for me the past couple of years. I kept a daily journal on about my cancer and my caregiving experiences. Friends and family offered me support. Email kept me in touch, as did Facebook. I used a web conferencing service to co-edit my writer's group anthology and "meet" with my co-editor and the contributing writers.

I know the power of the internet and I want to be able to utilize it more efficiently for personal and business use. I have high hopes for this upcoming workshop!

Monday, May 25, 2009

National Latino Writers Conference

I attended the National Latino Writers Conference at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque last week. It was one of the best writers conferences I've been to (besides our own Mujeres Writing Conference in Tucson). It's a small conference, only 50 participants, but it allowed the participants to meet many other writers and to bond. The workshops were excellent, the food delicious, and the entertainment wonderful!

Monday, September 12, 2005


It seems to happen too often - my desk overflows with stuff and I bog down until I can clear it. This time it's been months accumulating because of health problems and I finally had to deal with it. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon tackling the project, filing, stacking, throwing away, and today I can actually use my desk!

I found things I hadn't been able to find in weeks and things that I can't figure out why I saved. Having a cleaner desk and computer work space makes for a clearer mind. Today I can work on my project without the nagging feeling that I have to clean up my work area.

Now I only need to work on the stacks!


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Georgia O'Keefe Workshop

Today my writer's group, Sowing the Seeds, met at one of our comadre's homes for a presentation on Georgia O'Keefe. Connie entitled the presentation, "Writing in the Shadow of Georgia O'Keefe." After the first part of the presentation which included a video Connie had made of O'Keefe's paintings and a brief biography of her life, Connie prompted us to write using a fresh cut flower or a dried flower. Connie's presentation of O'Keefe was so inspirational, we all wanted to keep writing. Poems, essays, and memoirs poured out of us. After our pot luck lunch on Connie's patio, we continued our discussion of O'Keefe's life as an artist.

It was a relaxing, rewarding day. I wrote two poems and enjoyed the company of my comadres. We meet once a month and all of us feel the same way. After a morning of sharing our writing and our lives and our food, we go away energized! O'Keefe once said that "having a friend takes time." Connie explained that what O'Keefe really meant by that was that friends took her time away from her work. I find the opposite to be true - my friends energize me for my work. I think it may have something to do with when I was growing up in Morenci. My tías (six of them) and my mother sat in my grandmother's kitchen to visit and platicar. I was allowed to sit in the corner, quietly drawing or writing. I didn't join in the conversation and I had the feeling that I wouldn't have been permitted anyway, but I took it all in. Years later, memories of Morenci came from having listened to their platicas. Stories for my books have come from those platicas. The other thing that came from those early years with my tías, my mother, and my grandmother, was the enjoyment of working with other women. My writer's group is all women and our discussions are always full and rich. My clay class has all women in it and we also discuss as we play in the clay. My friends and my comadres enrich my creativity!


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Welcome to my new home! I’ve moved the site to a new server, hence the “.net” instead of “.com”. The new server offers more opportunities for viewers to interact with me. Please leave comments after you view the site, either here or in the “Guestbook” found on the “Sitemap” for “In the Shadow of the Smokestack.”

Morencenios, please look at the Guestbook Archives for comments from other people who have viewed this site. You may recognize some of the names.

I’m busy working on the Tubac Project right now and invite you to take a look by clicking on “Tubac Schoolhouse” on my home page. When I finish this project, I’ll get back to finishing my new manuscript, Albóndiga Soup. The Tubac Project has taken me a long time to finish due to health problems, mine and my husband’s. Last year I had Valley Fever and it took me several months to get back to normal. Kurt is almost fully recovered from open heart surgery to replace two valves and repair his aorta. We spent a few weeks in California in May to have the surgery done at Stanford. While there, I was clawed by my son’s cat and wound up at Stanford Hospital also. It was an experience neither of us wants to relive!

Check here often for current updates to my journal.