Thursday, May 31, 2007

Desire For the Other

Horacio is writing a paper using Lacan via Bruce Fink. In fact, he's looking up a quote for me as I type. Really we do have such a collaborative marriage (when we're not debating the finer points of theory).

"'Le desir de l'homme, c'est le desir de l' Autre,' Lacan reiterates again and again. Taking the second de as a subjective genitive for the moment, the following translations are possible here: 'Man's desire is the Other's desire,' 'Man's desire is the same as the Other's desire,' and 'Man desires what the Other desires,' all of which convey part of the meaning. For man not only desires what the Other desires, but he desires it in the other; in other words, his desire is structured exactly like the Other's. Man learns to desire as an other, as if he were some other person"(Bruce Fink, The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance, 54).

Despite an annoying tendency to use Man to represent human (H and I just had a heated debated over this), this is an interesting quote. And it perfectly describes what occurred this afternoon--an afternoon with the mommies. Today we had a homeschooling field trip. It was not only with my friends but with a group of women that particularly set me on edge about my life style. They've never said anything but I always imagined this sort of silent disapproval being directed at me. One of them inspires in me a horrible case of house envy. The other just has a husband who makes a lot of money so she pretty much gets to have and do what she wants. So I was not overly looking forward to an afternoon spent with them.

We drove out into the middle of nowhere to a really neat place called Black Swan Farm. The owners basically keep the farm afloat by offering really great educational tours (see Umberto's site for pictures and more details). The only downside is that it was hot...really hell hot. And it was a bad air quality day so just breathing was difficult. I had to keep moving to the shade because the girls were overheating, and Piper wanted to nurse. Of course all the scary mommies were there. I geared myself up and determined to not feel insecure about our lifestyle. I remembered all the kind of words shared on this site.

Some how the conversation turned to Florida. A woman mentioned loving it there. So I asked if she had been to Gainesville as we were thinking of applying to school there. Another woman told me her cousin went to school there, and loved it. But it was really hot...hotter than here (I'm thinking "NO!!!!!!"). Then they asked me where else I was applying. I mentioned Madison, WI, Chapel Hill, and Princeton. And then I said "If we don't get accepted we were thinking of putting everything in storage and trying to get jobs teaching English in Eastern Europe. " I was waiting for that moment of silent disapproval. Instead I get "You know I have some friends who are traveling all over Central America, and they just love it. I always feel envious when they tell me about their moves," "Wow, I just admire how much you guys live life, and how you just pick up and move," "Sometimes I feel like home ownership is a trap, and I think let's sell the house and move around." I was stunned. These women I have been envying, whom I thought thought we were freaks, actually desire what we have. I guess that in someways desire does work towards/in relation to the Other. Here we all are probably imagining that most people are happy, content with their lives only because we want those lives. Really they too have imaginings and yearnings towards difference.

I'm trying to work something out about desire. Horacio and I are at odds so I'll keep you all updated as we work this on through. I argue that this kind of thinking about desires is always about loss and want. What you desire you never really have. Really it creates a desire machine. Deleuze claims that capitalism has exploited this....

White Boards and Self-Promotion

Okay so I totally stole this link from Neil Gaiman's site. It's great what writers will do to sell their book. Seriously this rules, and it's hilarious.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


She knew that all she had to say was "No, you're right. This is crazy. It's silly. Let's be happy." If she said these things everything would be okay. But she couldn't. It would be a lie, and she did not want to lie. No, what she really wanted was to lie on the bed, and feel miserable. She mourned the loss of possility and he could not understand that mourning. He mourned the concrete while she mourned the phantsom of the future. And beneath her sadness, she knew that the only lie in his desired sentence was the happy part. He was right. It was crazy to mourn nothing....but still, all she desired was to lie here drowning in the sounds of something depressing like "Human Drama."

Later they went out. She was fine. Her anger, her mourning, gone.

Sister Love

The Bike

We almost went out to buy another umbrella stroller. Then I realized that for Piper's birthday we had bought her a tricycle with a stroller handle. Duh. Of course it was in pieces in the box which is why I had "forgotten" about it. So today I dragged it all out for two reasons. First, I wanted to get the huge box of my bedroom, and second, I wanted to go for a walk with the kids in the evening.

So I opened it all up. The instructions were of course cryptic. I'm not a pictorial learner so the lack of words drove me insane. And add to this three utterly fascinated was nuts. Horacio and I started snapping at each other of course....this always happens we deal with putting things together. Oh, and the instructions put the bell on before the bike is completely finished. Yeah, the kids kept coming over and dinging the bell.

But the final result was pretty cool. And Piper loved it. She was annoying as hell trying to get everyone to push her around the house, and dinging that damn bell. Camille was a bit jealous but she's really ready for a two wheel bike. And Umberto was so thrilled by this contraception that he decided he wanted a bike for his birthday. I'm pretty excited as he's never been interested before. He's giddy about riding downtown with us as we walk the girls. Of course he'll have to practice more before he's there but it's great that he has a goal.

And we got our evening walk. It was a lot of fun. Umberto had a grand time pushing Piper. We walked to downtown Matthews to the library. We're going to try to do this every night.

Signs of the South

"A railroad is like a lie--you have to keep building to it to make it stand. A railroad is a ravenous destroyer of towns, unless those towns are put at te end of it and a sea beyond, so that you can't go further, and find another terminus. And it is shaky trusting them, even then, for there is no telling what may be done with trestle-work."Letter to the San Francisco Alta California, printed May 26, 1867.

"I complimented this police force in a letter some time ago, and felt like a guilty, degraded wretch when I was doing it, and now I am glad I got into the Station House, because it will teach me never to so far forget all moral principle as to compliment a police force again."-Letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 18, 1867. Letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 18, 1867; published June 23, 1867

A Southern Gentleman

"When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying now and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that never happened."- Mark Twain's Autobiography

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Perfect Homesick

H came home, happy, smelling of the sun, read my post, and played me the most perfect song.

Mundane Matters

Memorial Day weekend (how stupid a phrase is that?) is half way over. Only one more day to be the only people not doing anything. I slept very late this morning and a grumpy H just brought the kids to the pool. I am still finishing my morning coffee, and trying to gear myself up to eat breakfast (vanilla yogurt with Fiber One). There is a hornet trying to break through the window back to the outside. He must have flown in while the girls played on the patio earlier this morning.

I started cleaning yesterday. More like mucking out really. I do this about four times a year, and still have mounds of things to toss or give away. I suspect it is not much that we keep getting more things but that it's hard for us to let go of things so we have to do it slowly. Yesterday I put away about five loads of laundry that have been sitting on our bedroom floor. I did new laundry, and started the first of many loads of dishes in the dishwasher. I also took all my photos of albums and threw out the albums (we're switching to photo boxes). Of course I had to look at all the photos.

Looking back over photos is a surreal experience. I recognize my face but it is an awkward reunion. I am not longer that person. It is a bit like experiencing a little death. You look, and you know that this young girl with the shaved head no longer exists anywhere. She is gone forever. With her, I felt a flush of shame and embarrassment of what used to be. I did not wish her back to life. But the pictures of Mexico filled me with an intense longing. There was Umberto so little even at over a year. He was our only child, pampered and loved and adored. There was Mexico so beautiful and old. There were the coffee shops, the lovely parks, the friends we made. I wanted to go back to that life. I want to go back to Mexico.

And how true that you can never go back to the past. Even if we could move back to Mexico right now, we do not want to raise the children in the D. F. Nor would it be the same with three instead of one. We would not likely be able to recapture those relaxing moment in cafes with our three little monsters. But I looked over those pictures, and realized how much I love Mexico, and how much I feel as if it is my real home. I am homesick for a place that is really not mine to call home.

And who knows what else lays in store for me as I start the odious project of cleaning out our apartment. What other longings lay in wait for me?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Let's Get to Know Each Other...

From my friend Jessica, a bit of fun:

Please copy, paste and fill this out in comments for getting-to-know-you good times! And then take it to your blog!

1. Your Middle Name:

2. Age:

3. Single or Taken:

4. Favorite Movie:

5. Favorite Song or Album:

6. Favorite Band/Artist:

7. Dirty or Clean:

8. Tattoos and/or Piercings:

9. Do we know each other outside of the cyber-world?

10. What's your philosophy on life?

11. Is the bottle half-full or half-empty?

12. Would you keep a secret from me if you thought it was in my best interest?

13. What is your favorite memory of us?

14. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

15. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you:

16. You can have three wishes (for yourself, so forget all the 'world peace etc' malarky) - what are they?

17. Can we get together and make a cake?

18. Which country is your spiritual home?

19. What is your big weakness?

20. Do you think I'm a good person?

21. What was your best/favorite subject at school?

22. Describe your accent:

23. If you could change anything about me, would you?

24. What do you wear to sleep?

25. Trousers or skirts?

26. Cigarettes or alcohol?

27. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together?

28. Will you repost this so i can fill it out for you?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Some Dog Piss Music

A song to accompany the last post.

Dog Piss, Or a Meditation on Territory

"Can this becoming, this emergence, be called Art? That would make the territory a result of art. The artist: the first person to set out a boundary stone, or to make a mark. Property, collective or individual, is derived from that even when it is in the service of war and oppression. Property is fundamentally artistic because art is fundamentally poster, placard. As Lorenz says. coral fish are posters. The expressive is primary in relation to the possessive; expressive qualities, or matters of expression, are necessarily appropriative and constitute a having more profound than being. Not in the sense that these qualities belong to a subject, but in the sense that they delineate a territory that will belong to a subject, but in the sense that they delineate a territory that will belong to the subject that carries or produces them."(Deleuze and Guattari, a thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia, 316).

For Deleuze this marking, this territorialization as art, finds ultimate expression in birds. Their songs, their nests, their movements, their turnings of leaves on the ground. But as I sat, this morning, drinking my coffee on the patio, I watched dogs. There are a phenomenal amount of dogs in the apartment complex in which I live. Every morning and every evening (when I drink red wine as opposed to coffee), dogs, dogs, and more dogs prance around the green pissing on everything. I never stopped to think about their markings as art. What a concept. How can piss be art? Well, you could stick a crucifix in a vial of it...but the act of pissing? The act of dog pissing? Art? It is easy to see in the songs of birds, their movements, their nests, an act of art. Dog piss is not so easy.

And yet I think "If we can see art in dog piss, we can see art in property." Property that ultimate value in Marx encounters in Deleuze something of a higher value. Art is primary not property. And how can this be for a Marxist like Deleuze? He does this by transforming art as first, beyond human, and second, as expression. Property is thus not what belongs to humans but rather it is what belongs to actions of various sorts. As an act, as a becoming, property becomes expression as opposed to that which gives expression. And really, if we can see the art in a dog pissing to mark his place, then art becomes something much different than the paintings at the museum. Just as property ceases to be a belonging. It is not the signature that makes a subject. A signature never denotes ownership. A signature merely holds a place. This is what Deleuze claims for art And a dog pissing is all about the constant becoming of territory.

When you live in a small place filled with dogs, you can see how territory is always about marking and remarking. There is no ownership; no alpha dog to assert his authority. The dogs do not mix enough to sort out this hierarchy (although such a show down might be interesting). Instead, the dogs continually piss all over other dogs' marks. They mark their territory only to have to remark later in the day. There is a virtual grid on the green in front of my patio. A grid of dog piss that makes that green belong to no one dog but to all the dogs. It is a grid also overlaid with the scent of cats, the markings they make of their fur against the small trees. The mockingbirds constantly patrol, alert to invaders, ready to defend their piece of property. And human children, my own included, run about this piece of land, terrorizing and territorializaingwith their laughs, toys and dances. It is the ultimate communal property, and it is created through multiple acts of expression....emergences of art.

One last quote from Paul Park's A Princess of Roumania. In this novel, one of the main characters has become a dog. The following is a bit of narrative written from her dog mind."As she left the clearing and moved away through the thin woods, she felt she was pushing through a net, each cord of which was the circle of urine marks that each dog had drawn around the fire. Her instinct was to stop often, restrained by the net, but she pushed through. On the far side she filled her lungs with cleaner air, which was nevertheless scented with a myriad of small traces of animals and men. They seemed to draw glowing lines in front of her on the snow"(242).

A Bit of Shamless Bragging

I passed my comps with an accumulative grade of high pass. Now on to rock my thesis.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Umberto actually dictated a journal to me! This is an exciting development as before, he really just played along with me. This time he was excited, and actually composed something interesting and lovely.

Translation: May14, 2007I had fun. Camille found a snake skin and it was cool. Daddy found a dead baby snake. We saw three turtles and we saw their faces poking out of the water.

He's become more interested in language in the last few weeks. And I'm trying to jump on that. In addition to getting him reading, I'm hoping to start both of us on learning Spanish.

In addition to word seeds, we also planted some plant seeds. Umberto choose the biggest seeds he could find: Monmouth Sunflowers and pumpkins. They sprouted in their Jiffy pots within a day, and quickly grew roots systems to the other Jiffy pots. We are now awaiting my friend's return from the beach so that we replant them in her garden. Next we have basil and cilantro which should be a bit more manageable. Umberto is now totally into plants. He fusses over the seedlings like they're babies. He also has a great knowledge of plants, and can rattle off lots of arcane facts. I see a greenhouse visit in our near future.


"We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups.
That's fine with us. Every morning
we glow and in the evening we glow again.

They say there's no future for us. They're right.
Which is fine with us."

Rumi "Who Says Words With My Mouth?"

My friend Kristin's comment reminded that I needed to pull out my Rumi. And when I did, look what I found. With a glass of red wine in hand, I smiled as I read this poem. How wonderful that we, at least, have cups even if we don't have a barrel, only a really big bottle. But what made me smile the most were the last two lines. Sometimes both Horacio and I worry that we're not doing what we should be doing. We should own a house, have nicer cars, staple careers, etc. And I know that many people look at our lives and do think that we are failures, or at least see us as a bit odd maybe even irresponsible. So when I read that line, it makes me pause a moment to look over our life. I read snuggled against Horacio, with Camille on the couch besides him, Piper snoozing on the carpet, Umberto in his room watching "Garfield." We were sipping red wine, reading bits of poetry to each other. It was one of those beautiful, quiet nights that just make me feel at peace. And I thought "We are fine. We are happy." On nights like these, it is fine that we have no future. The present is too beautiful to wish away.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Poem for Next Week

Next week

I am only

going to


soup, and


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

For Jessica

This post is for my friend Jessica but anyone who wants may read it.

I promised my throwing things story and it should make you feel much better about the mug. When I am pregnant, I am an unpleasant woman ( a mild understatement). Horacio and I got into a fight. I can't remember what about. Something totally ridiculous I'm sure. End result was that I started to sob, yelled, slammed the door shut, and when Horacio kept arguing with me, I hurled a lamp at the door. Amazingly the lamp didn't break but the bulb did. I cleaned it up, sobbing, while Umberto sat on the other side of the door crying as well. Later that month, he wrote a story in preschool. Luckily his teacher translated it wrong: "A lamp broke, and I cried." The story came illustrated. I was mortified when the teacher said "I'm not sure what he's talking about." I did not enlighten her.

And if that wasn't bad enough, we had a hole in the wall at our last apartment where I threw the cordless phone at the wall. I could go on but I'll cease to embarrass myself further.

Okay so ten things that make me happy:

1. The smell of Piper right out of the tub.
2. Camille's huge, crazy smile.
3. Umberto running around like a mad man with his light saber.
4. Horacio...most of the time.
5. Bic fine point pens preferably in black.
6. Rainy days with a good book.
7. the pool.
8. Outside cafes.
9. Strawberries.
10. My Cuisinart.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Camille is Four

Camille is four. No longer a baby, she became a child so quickly. Of all the children, she is the most like me. She's quirky, independent, and a bit bad tempered. She's also amazingly creative, and smart. She loves dinosaurs. She loves the human body. Mostly she loves her daddy but she'll grace the rest of us with a bit of love now and then.

Camille the dinosaur with the help of Piper's shoes.

Camille's Stats:

Favorite Toy(s): Her hundreds of plastic dinosaurs

Favorite Music:'s all too loud

Favorite Movie: Land Before Time (1-12).

Favorite Quote: "Be careful of my human body."

A Roomful of Children

"In bad weather, home was a bedlam. Children dashed in and out of the rain, to the puddles under the dismal yew-trees across the wet flagstones of the kitchen, whilst the cleaning-woman grumbled and scolded; children were swarming on the sofa, children were kicking the piano in the parlour, to make it sound like a bee-hive, children were rolling on the hearthrug, legs in air, pulling a book in two between them, children, fiendish, ubiquitous, were stealing upstairs to find out where our Ursula was, whispering at bedroom doors, hanging on the latch, calling mysteriously 'Ursula!' 'Ursula!' to the girl who had locked herself into read And it was hopeless. The locked door excited their sense of mystery, she had to open to dispel the lure. Then children hung on to her with round-eyed, excited questions"(The Rainbow, D. H. Lawrence, 247).

And so Lawrence describes my house! My house is always bedlam though, rain or no rain. The children do not have one room which is theirs. They mark their territory with toys. The tub toy storage thing is in the living room. My room boasts various plastic dinosaurs and Little People farm animals as well as numerous board books. The dining room holds not just the dining room table but all of Umberto's home school material (textbooks, craft supplies, crayons, etc). Sometimes I feel like poor Ursula--hiding out in the bathroom. Yes the bathroom. For some reason I can close the door on the bathroom without hysterical sobbing (which is what happens when I go into my bedroom). Yes, they knock and stick little fingers but at least they don't sound like they're dying.

Having two children was rough. I mean, I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. But it worked out after a few weeks. Granted, Camille was just a dream of a baby. Really sweet and mellow. Umberto was a big boy. I used to go the pool alone with them all the time! Things were in control We could take naps together. Things could be quiet. Then we just had to go with three. My dentist when I was pregnant told me "Man, three will kill you." And he was right. I was calling my mom in tears within a week. And now my house is just crazed. Loud, messy, and chaotic. I clean, and they literally follow around me sprinkling toys like seeds. Yes, three definitely sent us over the edge. Once they outnumber the adults, things go down fast. Of course we wouldn't return any of them but we would like a night out once in awhile....

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ginger Is Free

I am free! I took my last comp test Friday morning. All papers are handed it, grades received, and now the long blissful summer ahead of me. Okay so not really. I have a ton of reading to do for my thesis as I must start writing in the fall. But I have at least a couple of weeks in which to read what I choose. Plus I realized that even during the semester I have to make sure I'm reading something fiction just to keep me grounded. There is definitely something more concrete about fiction. Theory often works on such abstraction that it is easy to forget the world of flesh. So new commitment to myself: read at least one fiction book a month during the school year.

Why I get like that I don't know. I really love theory, and it's not as if good fiction doesn't involve huge amounts of brain power. But I really just feel so deprived if I can't read fiction. Okay so some of it in all honesty is that most theory is just deathly dull to read. I mean, it's interesting to think about but the actually reading can often be tedious. Fiction does seem to coat these same ideas in beauty...much easier to swallow. Of course this does not apply to all fiction...Tom Jones ,for example ,was NOT a pleasure to read.

In other news beyond books, I got drunk Friday night with the "Mommies." I got drunk on FIVE beers. Is that just sad or what? And I was also hung over for the whole day. Gross. I volunteered to be our driver on the next night out. But it was fun to go out all dressed up. I looked like a plus size model but hey I was dressed up. We even got checked out a bit, and our waiter at the Thomas Street Tavern flirted with us (likely for a tip but we all appreciated it).

Currently reading: On Beauty by Zaddie Smith, a trilogy by Paul Park, and hopefully soon Ian Rankin's newest book and Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things. Any recommendations are welcomed and encouraged!

Summer School

In yet another attempt to pull ourselves together, I declared that we were having summer school. Umberto, I am pleased to say, did not run away screaming in terror. We both agreed that learning to read was a priority this time around. He's read most of his Brand New Reader books but I'd like to see him able to decode and read new easy readers not just the one he's familiar with. He's actually been playing on (the girls love it too, and practice their letter sounds right along with him) so he's taking some action. A good sign I think as this is becoming more of something he wants as well.

Since he told us that he wants to be a scientist (I can see his Tio Ivan nodding in solemn approval), we are focusing quite heavily on science this summer. Officially, I'm creating a unit on plants. We have pumpkin and sunflower seeds we're going to start in Jiffy pots, and then move to my friend's garden. Umberto will keep a science journal to record the growth stages. I also hope to do some investigation in the woods identifying plants, etc. Horacio is going to handle insects (another request). Unofficially we have a bunch of books on the human body. This new interest can be classified as a family interest. Camille will stand in the position shown in the anatomy books, and say "Look at my human body!" And Piper now walks about telling everyone where her brain is. Very silly stuff. I am considering taking at least Umberto to see Body Worlds, the Gunther Von Hagens exhibit with real human bodies. I find it totally disturbing yet strangely compelling. Umberto is a bit freaked but said that as long as they didn't move, he'd go. I do think it would be an awesome chance to see this exhibit. It certainly won't be shown anywhere else in the South.

In addition to all the science, we'll be starting on Mexican and U. S. history. I'm not sure of the how and what but I'll write more as we develop the curriculum. Basically we need to get a schedule going so that we don't' let things fall apart when school restarts for Horacio and I.

Current Interests: The Clever Cat, Bobba Fett, Dinosaurs, puppies, The Human Body, swimming.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Piper

Happy birthday to you Piper Blue. Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book.

Well yes my baby is now two. She looks three but she's only two:) What a year it has been. She is so sweet, loving, and cuddly but also stubborn and demanding. A true Taurus, she really is like Horacio. It is so amazing to watch them grow into these personalities. You have this little mewing thing that you get to watch become a person. How neat is that? Pretty freakin' neat!

Quickly her "stats":
Favorite quote: "'Mille hit me!
Favorite food: broccoli and hot dogs
Favorite toy: her little dog figurine and what ever Camille is playing with
Favorite book: "Big Fat Hen"
Favorite kind of music: hardcore (she takes after her mama)

Why I married...

Horacio...I mean really how sexy can one man be? Jeez....


"What was memory after all, but the recording of a number of possibilities which had never been fulfilled?" D. H. Lawrence, The Rainbow, 91.

Ah...when you need real answers turn to literature. How beautiful is this quote? Sometimes, I forget why I studied literature initially, and then I read something like this. Of course it's a bittersweet moment....a loss so to speak. Literature has become a balm for me. I look forward at the end of the spring semester to reading literature throughout the summer. I feel safe wrapped in those kind of words. Of course it is an odd safety. Literature with its rich words, and jeweled stories does not keep one safe from hurt, loss, but it opens those doors in such a gorgeous way.

So I'm reading The Rainbow, and right after I wrote my post about gaps, I find this quote. How fateful? I love how all of Lawrence's novel are so present. There is an immediacy to the events and to the characters. Those who live in the embrace of the past are dead to life. In order to be alive, really alive, one must be constantly in the now. And this idea that memories are but the regrets of the past. Why live in such a dead place? Lawrence asks this is each novel. Passion, life, and love destroy us but they destroy us in ways that make us more alive.