February Project, Part 2 (sorta)

I stopped the daily photo project some time during February. There simply wasn’t much to photograph. I miss it now. The photo project was my daily diary of what I did, where I went, who I was with, what I saw, etc.

I intend to restart it in May. I do more exciting things in the spring and summer months than in the winter.

For now, I’ll just catch up on the last couple of months.

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You write so well… Remembering Janet Brown

Whenever I met with a new student, I would always show her around the office. That included introducing her to Janet Brown, the director of the Writing Success Program. Janet stood out in the Community Programs Office filled with college students, recent graduates and a few adult advisors past the age of 30. Even though she was older than most staff members, students could relate to her advice when it came to writing. As I introduced my student to Janet, I’d tell them they should stop by to see Janet to discuss papers for their classes.

While I no longer had classes, I did follow my own advice as I struggled with my personal statement for graduate school. I shared a draft with Janet. Her praise — “I’d admit you!” — and comments left an impression and relieved some of my stress. I wrote about it on my old blog:

December 2, 2003

In other news, I’m not feeling so stressed about graduate applications. I showed my personal statement to Janet, the woman who runs the writing program here. She only had me change one thing and loved it. “What was your major?”

“Sociology and Chicana/o Studies.”

“And you write so well in spite of it!”

She went on to explain that all the sociology majors she’d run across were horrible writers. I must be an exception. I let her know that any of the things I learned to strengthen my writing simply came through practice, reading a lot of fiction and non-fiction, and creative writing courses.

Compliments are nice.

Janet passed away Saturday April 25th. I learned of her passing via Twitter from Ralph who wrote: “I will miss you tremendously Janet Brown. I am truly a better person for having known you. Rest in peace.”

I learned more about her passing and recent illness from Tony Sandoval, the director of the Community Programs Office. He closed his email (below) asking “us [to] remember the jokes, laughs, advice, reptilian stories and most of all her boundless kindness and thoughtfulness.”

Even though I worked with Janet for two years and had more administrative experiences sharing the woes of being an overworked project director, the exchange above was the first thing I remembered.

I’m glad I got to work with her and thankful she gave me that much-needed boost of confidence. It may have been more than five years ago, but it’s never worn out.

Rest in peace, Janet.

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Question of the Week: Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez

I didn’t watch The Sandlot until one of my classmates in junior high spoke so highly about Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez (played by Mike Vitar). In the words of Yeah-Yeah, “she was swooning.”

Soon, I was swooning too.

I watched the movie over and over, learned all the lines and continued crushing on Benny. My crush eventually wore off as (a) Vitar stopped acting and (b) it became creepy to crush on a 14 year old.

My friends from Puro Pedo Magazine joked about this in one of the first issues of the magazine. You can read the article here.

La Pregunta:
Did you have a crush on Benny?


Chicana Falsa

“Oh, I’m not that kind of Chicano,” he said and shook his head when I mentioned something about a friend who is very into the indigenismo aspect of being a Chicano.

“I’m not like that either… but I think I’m becoming a parody of myself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Some days I think I look like a Chicana who is trying too hard. Just look at the stuff I carry around with me.”

I pointed to the everyday woven morral my mom bought for me from a Catholic charity selling items made by indigenous women in Guatemala or Mexico. I took out my wallet, which features a classic La Sirena lotería card. Next I showed him the Guatemalan change purse I used as a camera case. I didn’t even bother showing him my silver Aztec calendar pendant nor the beaded bracelets and earrings I bought in Morelia.

“But I don’t wear these clothes and bracelets or carry around this bag just so I can prove just how Chicana I am. I just carry it around because I like it.”