Archive for the Musings Category

Celebrating the New Year with a look back

Posted in Musings on January 3, 2010 by xxxicana

Probably most people would agree that 2009 was a tough one . . . we’ve lost loved ones, experienced economic hard times, illness, stress, and worry.  In my little world, I lost Spot, Amby, and Henny and Penny — dearly loved pets that gave us much happiness.

But, 2009 did provide opportunities.  I reconnected with family and friends that I had been out of touch with for decades! I enjoyed many moments laughing with Onion Tears over silly silly things, my parents visited Lincoln, and Mister Man and I spent many pleasant times with our Soup Group friends.

Friendship is something I didn’t worry about much when I was younger.  I was too busy being married, raising my daughter, going to school.  We moved a lot and I didn’t invest too much in creating a social network of friends that I could count on (there’s more to this, but I’ll leave that part out for now).

Friendship in one’s middle-age (eek, don’t even like to say that) is great.  We’ve worked out who we are, we don’t have to “keep up with the Jones” (or the Khardasians), we generally like ourselves and are comfortable in our skins (ok, except for those extra pounds).  Maybe, also, since our children are all “growed up” [sic] we can take a little extra time to linger over dinner, drink a little more wine, and bask in the glow of good cheer.  I feel fortunate to have really great wonderful people in my life as friends — every one from Miss Misam, Keith our 75 year old neighbor, to Soup Club, work colleagues, and my BFFs Mary and Cynthia.  These are the people I see on a regular basis that make life more fun.

And I never thought that Facebook would make a difference.  I’ve been able to reconnect with lots of people and keep in touch — even the minutiae of life that is SO much more interesting than anything on the news!  I’ve laughed at photos from 25+ years ago, loved photos from weddings, recitals, birthday parties, and other celebrations I couldn’t attend.  Thank you face book friends and family!

But, mostly I’m grateful that 2009 was kindly on my family.  It’s hard to be away from my daughter and her partner, parents, my sister Shelly and her family.  We weren’t able to make it back to Califas for Christmas . . . but did enjoy lots of fun in New Mexico over the summer with Mom, Dad, Larisa, and Nathan.  I would live in a multi-generational household anytime (I used to say compound, but Larisa thought it sounded like a cult).  I feel fortunate that we all enjoy relative good health and good prospects. We are looking forward to many more good times together in the near future.

So, before this gets too sappy, I’ll sign off with a Happy New Year . . . may 2010 be even better!

Me and Mister Man

Lovely Ladies of Soup Club

Patti Hoage, Kim Joy, Joan Johnson, Carleen Sanchez, Betty Bloomquist

Soup Club -- not for weenies

Dave Elog, Joan Johnson, Ray & Betty Bloomquist, Tom Martin, Carleen Sanchez, Kim & Matt Joy, Patti & Ken Hoag, and Mogli

My Parental Units in Lincoln

Thanksgiving 2009

Duncan Martin, Tom Martin, Dr. Dawne Curry, Carleen, Darlene Sancehz, Willa and Dom Garay

BFF Mary

BFF Cynthia with "Amy"

Larisa & Nathan

Shopping at Day of the Dead Fest in Bernalillo, NM

Tom Performing at the Pinon Cafe in Placitas, NM



Henny & Penny

My baby Cleo

Balam & Cleo snuggled up

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Posted in Musings on November 21, 2009 by xxxicana

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving . . . the house is a mess . . . I have a ton of work work to do . . . and the parental units are coming into town on Tuesday . . . PANIC!!!!

Now, some believe that holidays are meant to bring family together for ritual sharing of torment, torture, recrimination, guilt, and disappointment.  NOT ON MY WATCH !!  Instead, we are going to enjoy love, life, drink, food, friends, and all the good things of family.  Nevertheless I am still in a panic wondering if I should iron the sheets for the guest room . . . ok, that is sick . . . but, just how much unclean can I get away with?  Do I make brownies (like my mother would for us) or just buy a bag of cookies?  Do my table linens match?  Can I vacuum the house with the shopvac? My God . . . how did I become so  . ..  so . . . Martha?

Random thoughts

Posted in Musings with tags , , , on November 9, 2009 by xxxicana

First, it was a beautiful weekend.  Mister Man performed at Pepe’s Bistro; I went along to have lunch.  Yum!  We walked out totally stuffed after Cuban Sandwich, Asparagus Quesadilla, Cucumber lemonade, and chocolate flan cake — wow, the cake was killer!

pepe(photo from Lincoln Journal Star)

Pepe prepares food that is so wonderfully flavorful, vegetarian, and prepared with locally grown produce.   We were served by the always lovely Justine.

I decided to dress up and channel my inner chola — big hair with lots o’spray, bandana, tons of makeup, and attitude to match.

Chola car

I’ve been in a XXXicana state of mind, probably due to Dia de los Muertos and puras ganas.

fridaI attended UNL’s Dia de los Muertos celebration dressed as Frida Muerta; I was treated like I was the incarnation!

Mister man wore his dancing skeletons tie he got in Albuquerque this summer; Orale, an Irish Vato!



Today I raked leaves — just really moved them around the yard.  I put a lot of leaves in the chicken yard.  The chickies just love the leaves.  I found a couple of fat worms which Henny and Penny quickly devoured.  It was very funny to watch them jump into the middle of the leaves and start scratching around.  Here’s some footage from Chickie Cam:

Balam is having identity problems . . some days he thinks he’s a chicken!  He loves to eat chicken feed and drink out of their water bottle.  Today he even got into the coop . . . I have bad news for him . . . he won’t be layin’ eggs anytime soon.

And no post would be complete without news of teeny tiny baby Cleo.  She had a vet visit this past week and only weighed 2.4 lbs.  The vet put her on medication for parasites [yuck] and she’s started to get a little tummy now that she’s absorbing more nutrition.

cleo on sofa

Otherwise, it’s been a busy time.  I spent last weekend in Bellingham, WA for a business meeting of the National Association for Ethnic Studies.  We are working hard to prepare for the conference in April.  Lots to do still.

Thanks for perpetuating the stereotypes!

Posted in Musings with tags , , on October 28, 2009 by xxxicana

liv tyler and Royston langdonSo, will Liv Tyler and Royston Langdon dress in black face for Halloween next year?

How lazy is this?

Posted in Musings on October 21, 2009 by xxxicana

on a segway_001

Hehee!  My avatar is spinnin’ around SL on a virtual Segway!

Last night I was visiting the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum in Second Life (  It’s an excellent presentation!  Thanks to Pablo Rangel for giving me the heads up.  The sim includes embedded videos (aka machinima) on Afro-Latino music, Dance & Masks in a Mexican community in the US, and other subjects, and an exhibit on the Olmec (see my previous post re the Olmec in the virtual Mexico sim).  Vistors to the museum can click on images, people, or places and be connected to the extensive collections held by the Smithsonian.  Heads up  . . . there will be a Dia de los Muertos celebration from Oct 29-Nov 2 in the museums placita.

If you’re wondering why I’ve been in SL so much, I ‘m down with the flu, hopefully not  H1N1     ^o^         plus, It’s research!!!!!


Archaeological tour of Mexico in one evening!

Posted in Musings with tags , , , on October 19, 2009 by xxxicana

It’s  fall break at UNL which gives me a little bit of extra time to focus on projects and have a little R & R.  So, I headed off to Mexico, courtesy of the Mexican Board of Tourism — all from the comfort of my living room.  Talk about being an armchair tourist!  Of course I didn’t ACTUALLY go to Mexico, I took a VIRTUAL trip via Second Life.  Here are photos from my trip:

Snapshot_001First, I did some upgrades to my avatar . . . new skin, different eyes, better piercings.  Vanity, thy name is avatar!  This photo was taken in the colonial section of virtual Mexico.

First stop: La Venta and the Olmec Archaeological Park

Snapshot olmec4_001

I have to say that the builders of this sim did a great job.  I think they must have used photographs of actual monuments which were then copied onto the simulated monuments.  The details are accurate and visually stunning. It is like being there — except no schlepping your luggage around or getting all sweaty in the coastal lowlands of the Veracruz area!

Snapshot olmec_001

Next stop:  Palenque


The above photo is of the Temple of the Inscriptions, famous for housing the tomb of the great Maya king, Pacal.  In the sim, one can climb up the temple and then down the shaft into the center of the pyramid to view Pacal’s tomb.  I’ve done this in real life and the payoff is outrageous!!  I’m very impressed with this sim . . . again, just enough detail to entice and give the feeling that one is looking at the “real” thing, but not too much detail to make the sim run too slow.


This is the palace at Palenque.  Nice addition of the fire for ambiance!

colonial church_001

Shot of a colonial church. The tourism board created a sim that features several archaeological sites, beaches, jungles, and colonial architecture.  It’s pretty amazing! There’s a musical soundtrack, ambient sound, and the discos have preset dance animators that allow your avatar to salsa like a local! Unfortunately, no one has yet found a way for you to enjoy a cerveza con un plato de enchiladas!


No trip to Mexico would be complete with out picking up souvenirs.  I got a free sombrero, but it didn’t fit!

poster for chichen itza_001

Alas, not all is perfect in the virtual world — but the imperfections reflect real world issues.  The above photo is of a voting booth (you vote which sim you like best).  The prize for voting is a “Beautiful Mayan Inspired Outfit.”  OMG, this is cultural appropriation at its worst!  But, just the kind of sexy, exoticized pastiche of stereotypes to appeal to tourists!

I’m teaching a course right now on the Ancient Maya . . . I’ll have to work these images into my next lecture!

Second Life is truly amazing and this simulation of Mexico presents tourist destinations in a way that entices while not fully satisfying.  I sat through a short tourist board video that showed Mexico and Mexicans — which was a cool way to insert the real into the virtual.  The overwhelming message of the video and the sim was “VISIT MEXICO.”  I’m curious as to the effectiveness of this sim as a promotional device.  SL boasts of +1 million visits per month.  When I log on there are usually 40 – 65 thousand people inworld — that’s a lot of people!  A great deal of time, energy, and expense went into the creation of this sim, but it probably costs less than running TV ads and has the added bonus of giving avatars the opportunity to “experience” Mexico.  Probably for some, this is as much experience as they will want to ever gain . . . but for others, it is an engaging way to test the waters.

From an educational perspective, I can see the utility of sims of this nature.  I can send students inworld to virtually experience walking up the steps of a massive pyramid.  I have in mind the development of a course doing virtual ethnography in SL . . . a great way to learn how to do anthropology without the trouble (and expense) of going into the “field.”

Anyone interested in reading about SL should check out Tom Boellstorff’s text “Coming of Age in Second Life.”  It is an excellent presentation of SL and the possibilities of doing anthropological research in the post-modern/post-human era.  I “met” Boellstorff in SL . . .  it’s kinda funny . . . he’s from Nebraska and teaches at UC Irvine while I’m from Orange County and teach in Nebraska!  Even the virtual world is full of coinkydinks.

So much for blogging today . . . the kitty wants some pate . . . do you think I spoil her?

Phew, what a day!

Posted in Musings, Urban Farming with tags , , , , on October 4, 2009 by xxxicana

Mister Man had a gig with the New Delta Boogie Boys at the 4th Annual Veg Fest held in the “Historic Havelock District”.


This event was organized by several organizations that we support . . . and they invited the NDBB to play.  It was a brisk afternoon, pleasant enough, but hard on the musicians (stiff fingers).  As always, Tom, Stan, Pablo, and Patrick served up some great  blues to entertain young and old alike.

Delta boogie BoysYou can keep track of upcoming gigs at

Veg Fest also hosted a salsa contest (the condiment, not the dance) with the stipulation that the ingredients had to be locally grown and include melon.  Luckily, our neighbor Keith had just given me a watermelon earlier in the week. So I diced, seeded, chopped, tasted, salted, sawed, scooped, and garnished a recipe I made up for the contest.  Here’s my entry:

Watermelon and Mint Chiffonade Salsa

salsaJudging was by Pepe Fiero (owner of Pepe’s Veggie Mex Bistro), Maggie (owner of Maggie’s Wraps), and Judy a la Carte  (radio host on KFOR).  It was a blind taste test . . . competition was a little lacking . . . only 3 entries until the final minute when two more showed up.

judgingJudging. . . . .


certifFirst Place!!  And there were prizes!

1st place

Woohoo!! A Rain Barrel!!

1st place 2the long view

At the end of Veg Fest a few of us headed over to

Bobs taverto enjoy a few brews with friends.

Dave and Joan were kind enough to schlep the barrel to our house since it wouldn’t fit in my car even if it hadn’t been filled with Mister Man’s guitars, gig bags, guitar stand, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Had beer & wine with Dave and Joan.  Ran out to DeLeone’s for quick Mexican food  . . . and then just enough time to powder my nose, touch up my lipstick and drive over to Q to join my BFFs for the Drag review.  We had a great time.  Girls looked great  . . . I was complemented by a couple of performers on my hair and boots !!!  YES!  What we all need sometimes – validation that our internal diva-ness is workin’ it!

A lot of fun packed into one day!  Phew.  I think I’ll take it easy today.


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