Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunshine and Oceans


Sometimes I feel lost in a wide ocean. The world, vast and indifferent, spans out in front of me. Suddenly I don't know how deep the waters are, if I can put my feet on the bottom or if I'm floating in a place that could swallow my whole body.

What a terrifying feeling!

Daily Make Up

At the same time, being out in the ocean means I can set sail in any direction. The sun reaches out her fingertips to my back, warm and encouraging as much as she can be scorching. Possibilities infinite above and below me, with plush sand to return to.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Migration: Gender, Race, Risk

Despite efforts to organize and protect themselves, migrant workers face the threat of deportation at the behest of the companies that employ them. This threat destabilizes their relationships with one another as far as shared class interest and also leads to health risks due to stress and lack of time to prepare healthy food. Latin@ workers have been racialized, starting with the mestizo workers from the annexation of Mexico and on to the


The desire to support a nuclear family is the motivational narrative for migrant workers. Again, the young man is depicted in the field while the woman is the domestic worker – keeping house and caring for children at home. While the mother is  smiling and supportive of the man in a clean small apartment, the man is recognizes the struggle of his work as he labors in the field. La Stanta Cecilia doesn’t explicitly state his unhappiness or vulnerability to abuse. However, we can infer that his need to support a family limits his ability to unionize or risk deportation and unemployment.

Women are at additional risk of rape and sexual abuse from farmers and supervisors.

Our typical ideas of migrant workers' risk focus on able bodied young men due to their race and migrant status. The presentation of the nuclear family is used to engender support from the average person. The occasional coverage of the sexual exploitation and abuses that women face ties into the US focus on human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Our narrative presumes the natural ability of men to perform hard agricultural labor, racial stigma marginalizes these men’s access from the rugged American individualism that deserves governmental protection and support.

Consider the image of the cowboy. You probably imagine a young white man leaning against a fence, holding a cowboy hat over his eyes, in the middle of a field. Perhaps a horse or buffalo stands in the background, stark against a pale blue Kansas sky. Too specific? Anyway, you probably imagined a white man as the image of the rugged individual.
While most hacendados (ranch owners) were ethnically Spanish criollos,[22] many early vaqueros were Native Americans trained to work for the Spanish missions in caring for the mission herds. (via wikipedia Cowboys)

Of course the reality is that Americans learned how to herd cattle on the plains of central North America from mestizo cow hands - yes, Latin@-indigenous people taught us how to be cowboys.
[S]ignificant number of African-Americanfreedmen also were drawn to cowboy life, in part because there was not quite as much discrimination in the west as in other areas of American society at the time.[54] A significant number of Mexicans andAmerican Indians already living in the region also worked as cowboys. (via wikipedia Cowboys)

Racism against blacks has erased the labor of black cowboys. Blacks made up about 20% of the cowboy work force. Most importantly, many of them were veterans of the Civil War, patriots of freedom and the equality of man. Yet they show up in few of our modern imaginings of the Wild West. Surely, black cowboys embody the values of individual labor and valor against all odds, those of nature and those of man. But excluded from media portrayals of the nobleness of hard labor, black bodies are left with the indignities and hardships of labor.


Latin@ bodies and black bodies have both been coded as simultaneously lazy and more capable of labor. By naturalizing the strength born of hard labor under strenuous conditions, white bosses are able to justify those very difficult working conditions that produce strength and maintain high expectations of production. Overseers claim they must be invasive in the lives of Latin@ and black workers due to the stereotype of the worker's laziness or childlike incompetence. Companies take on the role of paternalistic guidance, the same role that slave owners took on. Racist stereotypes have historically and are currently used to extract the most labor possible from workers while preventing them the freedom to unionize or find better work.

So too do racial stereotypes allow commentators to detract from and devalue Latina women for a failure to perform feminine gender labor, such as child rearing and domestic labor. I read into these the presumption that Latina women are both more prone to providing this labor and less “real women” than white women –the perfect combination for economic exploitation. The final reading explains why and how Latina women are increasingly commoditized as providers of feminine (sex) and domestic labor (child care), either against their will or within the parameters of economic-coercion.

Already, we are familiar with the way black women were simultaneously described as inherently excessively promiscuous and naturally caring towards children. These two tropes were trotted out to alternatively support white men's ability to sexually abuse black slaves and white women's access to black women's physical and emotional labor in domestic child rearing.
And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Sojourner Truth, Ain't I a woman

Friday, March 20, 2015

Craft projects: On going


  • Framed photos of friends and family

  • Hang art work

  • DIY personalized planner

  • Water color painting

  • Up cycling plant containers

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Aria Progress

Having met my cat and seen how she has developed over the last two years, you might be wondering how I have changed over the years. I feel as though I'm reaching a marker in my life - Graduation is certainly a major life marker. Friends are traveling the country to visit grad schools. Some announced internships in California. A few got married. Discussion focuses on what we're going to do with the rest of our lives and where. It's such a time of change.


At the same time, I am glad to realize that this blog has grown and developed with me. Sharing my process of learning and growing, I find myself proud of what I have written about for you. And for myself.


I'm utterly amazed by the research work that I've had an opportunity to do! Looking back at my first summer internship, I feel pride in what I've achieved. Slow hard work transformed into an impressive resume. Working at the Smithsonian and MFA - what an amazing learning experience! Researching Japanese prints and designing a protocol has totally opened my eyes to how conservators and archaeologists are able to reconstruct the thought process behind material choices. The hands-on experience gave me a taste for the bench work of conservation along with the intrigue and puzzle-solving of research. I feel more prepared to begin my career, excited and informed.


My academic work has continued to advance and improve. Lab work at MIT has been very different from my work experience. There's a lot more pressure as far as group work and time crunch. Certainly, our labs are designed to give us a small peek at many different techniques in order to choose the best tools to approach an problem. The stress preparing for presentations was almost unbearable. But somehow I survived. At the same time, I feel as though I can handle most things after experience the trauma of the DMSE lab classes. (I certainly don't wear pretty dresses to my lab classes at MIT!)


I paint and draw in my free time even with all the school work. Art has been a constant companion in my life. My family is amazed by how I have improved over time. I still feel dissatisfied with what I produce, but that desire to improve is the drive to keep practicing and creating better art work. Also, I'm learning to share my work, both as a point of pride and to gain constructive insight. I love how I now have set up a little craft area in my apartment and desk. I think that this set up encourages my creativity in all of my classes.


I still drink lots and lots of tea. I also have a mix of fake and real plants. The plants are much more limited, as far as species because Prilla will chomp on them. All of my hydrangeas, like the purple ones, are fake now! I love to nestle down on a couch with my books, close to the plants and cuddling with Prilla. Going on adventure in my mind while breathing in fresh plant-cleaned air just makes me feel so calm.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Kitty Lovin' Timeline


I used to have this little kid chair when I lived in a dorm. Prilla liked to sit in it right after I got her. It was the kitty throne and got covered in her white hair.


Prilla in my first apartment. She loved to sit at the windows in my room. She'd watch everyone walk by and judge my attempts at artwork. All while knocking things over that I put on the window ledges.


Here is the little window ledge we had set up in that same apartment. Those bushes had tons of birds that would hang out in them. The birds would peck and chirp and do little bird things. Prilla would sit on the window ledge and try to chirp at them. Yes, my cat tries to talk to birds. 


Here is Prilla in my current first-on-my-own apartment. This bed is her favorite place out of everywhere. She settled in the new apartment very quickly. As you can see, she loves to curl up in cute positions. I love to rub her belly much more than she loves to have her belly rubbed.

IMG_1354I totally love to take photos of her when she's sleeping. Especially her toe beans. Tumblr's reference of toe beans is my favoritest thing. Squish squish. IMG_1207Priscilla is almost always hanging out on the couch and fuzzy blanket. On the really energetic days she'll even move across the sofa to follow the sun. While napping. She again has clearly settled into her life with me in this apartment. She has even begun to exert her creativity to come up with new amazing ways to sit on the couch. I do not like some of these ideas, but I don't want to interfere with her hobby.


The fuzzy blanket is ready to catch her white belly fur when the top of the couch is fully covered. Props.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sol Lewitt and Listening


The sonic experience at MIT is one that students often choose to opt out of. GRTs readily provide free ear buds to ease the tension of noise control in dorms. Emails are sent warning students of how to best avoid the noise of constructing the new MIT.nano. Most students carry into the main campus space the sonic experience they wish to experience. Whether MIT predisposed Bose to the audio experience of headphones or the Bose discount decreased the financial barrier, the sonic experience of MIT has a component of individual fulfillment. Over the ear headphones abound, cloaking student’s experience of the infinite with a personal preference. In addition to skimming over the headphone style preferences of students, I often sport my own on the walks across campus. This practice cloaks the MIT campus in noise select to the individual; I wanted to push on the boundaries of this.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

boston marriage, passionate friend

I feel agreement with this very well written article by Thinking Asexual: I want to express my connection of the ideas of the asexual Boston marriage with that of the passionate friend.

I think that the passionate friend is a useful concept for describing a certain type of relationship. Contextualizing it with the potentially sexual relationships between women in a Boston marriage is, I hope, a helpful and constructive enterprise. At the very least the challenges to relating to either relationship are illustrative.
The premise that great sensual, physical intimacy can happen without sex or sexual attraction; the premise that the person you love most and with the greatest intensity of love is someone you do not want to fuck or need to fuck, someone you do not need to “date” or marry. (via thinking asexual)