Friday, December 15, 2006


WOO-HOO! My third semester of my master's program is over. WOO-HOO! Only THREE more semesters to go! By this time next year, I’ll be graduating—si Dios quiere.

Words and tears cannot express how ecstatic I am that this semester is over. It was, by far, the most difficult, most challenging, most exhausting semester. So difficult that I had to take an incomplete in one of my courses. I was briefly hospitalized (more later) in early November & it set me back in both classes, but because one of the professors was a little more demanding that the other (and inflexible), I was forced to take an Incomplete in the other class, the one I really liked. It was a research class and I was looking forward to working on the research paper (even if it was supposed to be 30 pages).

The only good thing is that I get to fill out an evaluation on the class. He actually told us, "here's your chance to get back at me"(!). Don't tempt me, dude!

Since it's been a while since I've written, I'll provide an update...

On writing...
I was interviewed by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, a magazine which we (the cohort members) have been receiving lately. They asked me questions about my writing and how my Latino background and education has influenced my writing. I was also able to plug my books. The piece will be featured in the February issue.

I haven't received my grant money for the third novel yet (it was supposed to be sent in early November) -- so I haven't done much writing/editing. I know -- it's an excuse, but since I'm supposed to use the money towards the writing of the novel, I can't very well "work" on writing if I don't have the funds (for paper, cartridge, postage, etc.).

Copies of Boricua Morena are still steady. Just when sales seem to slow down, I get a request for a copy or two from people who come across my blog, or website (which incidentally is still up even though I had it suspended earlier this year), or through word-of-mouth.

I've been contemplating self-publishing another book, this one for children, sort of a coming-of-age memoir/reminiscent of The House on Mango Street. Working title: The Girl From Humboldt Park.

On Work...
Been contemplating making a move to another job. I still love my job; I just can't take this pay cut anymore, having just enough money to cover my bills, not being able to save money. I wasn't able to give my kids, mom or sisters anything for Christmas 'cause I was short on funds. I'm not depressed about it, but I'm not happy either.

On my Health...
I had a bacterial skin infection in early November & was hospitalized for 3 days. The docs are not sure where I got it from (I have a good suspicion), and since I wasn't responding to oral antibiotics, they decided I needed them intravenously. All in all, it was a good hospital stay, considering all the horror stories I’ve heard about infections. I had to have body wraps twice a day and the IV was only infused for one hour every eight. I received good care, especially from one terrific nurse; she was so good, I had to write a thank-you note. I had three meals a day brought to me & my family was worried and most of them came to see me.

On my mom and grandma…
My mom came to Chicago 3 weeks ago & she’s staying with me. She’s kind of driving me a little crazy ‘cause she’s constantly cleaning up, washing dishes as soon as they’re in the sink, sweeping, making my bed (something I’ve always found useless since I’m going to come home & get right back in it). She keeps moving my stuff and I’m the kind of person that needs things where I last left them otherwise, I can’t find them. Sometimes I can’t find them when I do leave in the same place.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad she’s here. She makes me tea every morning, prepares a sandwich for lunch & if I ate anything more than cereal for breakfast, she would make it for me. Since she’s a vegetarian, she only cooks root vegetables and fish; otherwise, she eats fruits & nuts. If she cooks chicken or other meats, she comments on how long it’s been since she’s eaten it and how she can’t stand the way it smells, so I don’t ask her to cook anything if I can help it. She also doesn’t eat rice – white rice, at least.

My grandma has been a little depressed, more homesick I guess because she’s ready to go back home. Over the weekend she got sick and she wouldn’t eat or come out of her bedroom. She wasn’t able to spend Christmas with the whole family so we missed her. Many times I find myself wishing I had a tape recorder so I could record her voice and my mom’s when they talk about the past. Like the time my cousin & I were asking my grandma the names of her parents, grandparents and brothers & sisters and their kids. It was amazing how my grandma was able to remember their names and my mother was not.

On the holidays…
Thanksgiving and Christmas went by much too fast. I got two Starbucks gift cards just when I decided I wasn’t going to be spending $4 for a grande soy latte anymore. I wasn’t able to buy anyone anything because basically I’m broke. I’m beginning to know what the phrase “starving artist” means. Even though my mom is here for Christmas & will be here for New Year’s (she’s going to make arroz con dulce and tembleque – two Puerto Rican desserts), it’s not the same as when she lived here. I understand what they mean when they say, “you can’t go home again.”



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