Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rewriting Myth to Replace the Fractured Identity

The following excerpt is from a paper that was submitted for a MA of English Literature seminar in Spring 2006 at the University of Colorado by Amanda Perez (BA, MA, PhD). If you wish to use any portion of it as a source for your own exploration of Anzaldua's Borderlands: La Frontera and Cisneros' Never Marry a Mexican please feel free to contact me at amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com for a full manuscript.

The road to identity is not a smooth path for the Mexican American woman. The Mexican American woman is a woman of contradictions. There are so many identities that the Mexican American woman deals with, that often the effect is a feeling of fractured identity. One way to overcome the fractured identity is to "reclaim a ground for female historical presence" (Anzadula 6). Through a cultural historical reading of Anzaldua's Borderlands: La Frontera and Cisneros' Never Marry a Mexican we can see how a reinterpretation of myth and history can become the glue that holds the fractured identity together.
Whether intentional or not, it is hard not to place female Mexican American fictional characters into a mythical role. One of the most influential and often seen mythical women is La Malinche. La Malinche (1505-1529/1551)1 also known as Malintzin and Dona Marina was the Native American woman from the Mexican Gulf coast who was said to have played an important role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico. She was the first born child of the lord of Paynala. Her father died and her mother remarried and birthed a son. After the birth of her stepbrother Dona Marina became unwanted and was given/sold 2 to Mayan slave traders. Traded many times Dona Marina eventually was given to the Spanish who gifted her to Hernan Cortez. Cortez was taken with Dona Marina and decided that she must constantly be in his care. Malinche became Cortez’ translator, advisor and lover. She acted as a mediator between the Spanish and the natives, translating for both. In the tales of Malinche she is said to have bore Cortez a son and then she disappeared from the records. In modern day Mexico to be called “Malinchista” is to be called a traitor and a lover of foreigners.3
1 among many details of Malinche’s life the year of death is unknown and fiercely debated.
2 The records are not clear if Dona Marina was given away to slavery or if she was sold into slavery.
3 The history of La Malinche was taken from various sources all of which are listed in the works cited accompanying this essay.

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Project 365 2012

30 days of Project 365
Days 1-30 of Project 365


1. Marmot Running Tights 1/365, 2. Candied Ginger 2/365, 3. Goofy Dreams 3/365, 4. Goofy Looking in the Mirror 4/365, 5. Rules for Happiness 5/365, 6. Green Apples 6/365, 7. Toy Story Alien 7/365, 8. Dogs are our link to paradise 8/365, 9. Making a To Do List 9/365, 10. What you see... 10/365, 11. Do 11/365, 12. Love is in the Air 12/365, 13. Reading on the Kindle 13/365, 14. A Good Breakfast 14/365, 15. Flynn Rider and Rapunzel 15/365, 16. flickr.com/photos/98893531@N00/8097211578/, 17. Fort Picnic Table 17/365 and 1/52, 18. Sun Salutation C 18/365, 19. Waffle! 19/356, 20. Skull Candy 20/365, 21. Baked Yams 21/365, 22. Give him your heart... 22/365, 23. Day Off 23/365, 24. Teddy Bear 24/365, 25. 75 days left until Goofy! 25/365, 26. Hollywood Studios 2012- Mickey's Hat 26/365, 27. Fall Crafts 27/365, 28. Sophomore Year Felicity 28/365, 29. These Little Feet... 29/365, 30. Coffee 30/365

Friday, October 26, 2012

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain


My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kitchen Confidential is a book about "the dark recesses of the restaurant underbelly- a subculture whose centuries old militaristic hierarchy, and ethos of 'rum buggery and the lash' make for a mix of unwavering order and nerve shattering chaos." Indeed from sex in the kitchen to drugs this book is a metaphor and simile drown piece of chaos.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary UnderbellyI am not one to romance food, but occasionally I do like read about someone who does. Bourdain's book is well... sort of gross. Food sounds disgusting when paired with drugs, sex and other illicit behavior and a whole book of it is not that great to read. His dark humor and snarky commentary that many of us enjoy on his television show are there, there is just a lot more of it. I understand why people enjoy this book I am just not one of those people. I prefer my food and adventures much more boring than he likes his.




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Misplaced Magic: Rereading Macandal and Ti Noel

The following excerpt is from a paper that was submitted for a MA of English Literature seminar in Fall 2006 at the University of Colorado by Amanda Perez (BA, MA, PhD). If you wish to use any portion of it as a source for your own exploration of The Kingdom of This World by Alejo Carpentier please feel free to contact me at amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com for a full manuscript.

Magical Realism is said to be a technique in which the unique
voice of someone outside of the mainstream can be articulated. In order
for this articulation to take place the mind of the magical realist must
realize that subjecting history to magic is not automatic. The mind must
be "trained" to be aware of the magic within reality, and must be able to
take their "newfound knowledge as an enlargement of the already known
sensory environment."i One of the most debated items in the context of
magical realism is whether or not the magical is "real" or if the magic
exists only as a literary procedure to estrange the "unmagical reader"
from the voice that speaks in magical narratives.

Alejo Carpentier one of the main figures in the rise of magical
realism in Latin America describes the plight of the magical realist as
being able to keep in the forefront of the mind that "the sensation of the
marvelous presupposes faith. Those who do not believe in saints cannot
be cured by the miracles of saints" (Prologue 29). To Carpentier the
magical realist must have the faith in the magic, the predisposed training
to see the "marvels of reality" or else they are simply performing the
"slight of hand" tricks that surrealists perform in their texts, "The
marvelous, obtained through sleight-of-hand, through bringing together
objects ordinarily never found in the same place: the old, lying tale of
the fortuitous encounter of the umbrella and the sewing machine on an
operating table, which engendered ermine spoons, the snails in the rainy
taxi, the head of a lion on the pelvis of a widow in surrealist exhibitions"
(Prologue 28).

The question that will be explored by this essay will be if in fact
Carpentier believes in his magic in his 1949 novel The Kingdom of This
World (El Reino de este Mundo)ii or if he is merely a surrealist in the
guise of a magical realist. It is the ascertain of this reader that Carpentier
is a surrealist in the guise of a magical realist. The most glaring example
of Carpentier’s lack of “faith” in “the sensation of the marvelous” is his
third person narrator and the power that it holds over the magic in the
text. If Carpentier believed in his magic then Ti Noel would have had
more power over the knowledge of magic in the book (not just in the
end when it is questionable whether or not he is senile or more in tune
with his magical senses) and he would have been afforded more time to
speak. Since Ti Noel, whose life is supposed to encompass the entire
span of history that is being rewritten is not allowed to harness some of
the most magical narration, solely or without the help of the third person
narrator, whom is never identified, the effectiveness of the voice of the
“other” is lost in Carpentier’s retelling of the events that happened
during the 1700 and 1800’s on the island of Saint Domingue.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Project 365 Days 17- 23 2012

Project 365 Days 18 thru 23
Project 365 Days 17- 23 2012

1. Sun Salutation C 18/365, 2. Waffle! 19/356, 3. Skull Candy 20/365, 4. Baked Yams 21/365, 5. Give him your heart... 22/365, 6. Day Off 23/365


The Use of Mirrors in Dessa Rose

The following excerpt is from a paper that was submitted for a MA of English Literature seminar in Spring 2006 at the University of Colorado by Amanda Perez (BA, MA, PhD). If you wish to use any portion of it as a source for your own exploration of Dessa Rose by Sherley Anne Willams please feel free to contact me at amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com for a full manuscript.

The novel Dessa Rose is more then just a novel of the relationship
between women it is a novel of mirrors. According to Anzaldua a mirror
can have two functions; a doorway to the "other side" and the act of
seeing and being seen. If the mirror is used correctly then the gazer can
move beyond the subject, object relation with the mirror creating a
barrier between the two worlds and at the same time gain an awareness
or knowledge of the other side without having to live on the other side.
Both aspects of Anzaldua's mirror are prevalent in the relationship
between Dessa and Ruth, who are mirrors for each other.

When Dessa first wakes at the Sutton plantation we are drawn to
her eyes; "The raftered ceiling had been whitewashed and recently, the
walls, too, and where the sunlight struck them, they gave off a sharp
light that hurt her eyes" (Williams 81). The concentration on the white
light that is hurting Dessa's eyes suggests the beginning of the passage of
Dessa's soul into the eventual acceptance of Ruth. Dessa's first look at
Ruth is marked by more then the observation that she is white, Dessa
notices Ruth's eyes which are described as "gray as glass." The gray
glass eyes are our first suggestion that white and black will absorb each
other into an understanding that only "the twins that stand for thesis and
antithesis" could understand (Anzaldua 64). [...]

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Transformations: A Close Reading of Quicksand by Nella Larsen

The following excerpt is from a paper that was submitted for a MA of English Literature seminar in Fall 2006 at the University of Colorado by Amanda Perez (BA, MA, PhD). If you wish to use any portion of it as a source for your own exploration of Quicksand by Nella Larsen please feel free to contact me at amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com for a full manuscript.

Throughout the novel Quicksand Helga Crane struggled with her
identity not knowing if she should live her life as a "white" woman or a
"black" woman. In her last transformation in the novel we see here
struggle to reenter a black world that can be associated with her
acceptance of her father. Chapter twenty of the novel can be considered
the beginning of Helga's move into her black self for the last time in the
novel.

From the first sentence of the chapter we can begin to get the
impression that there will be a change in Helga and the change will
involve the acceptance of her "black" self. The chapter begins in
darkness; "THE DAY WAS A RAINY ONE." The notation that it is still
day when Helga's last transformation begins would suggest that she is
currently more accepting of her "white" half but soon she is to be
baptized "black." As we move into the chapter further we see that Helga
is feeling isolated in her present state and is clearly in a transition state
searching for an identity to latch onto; “She felt alone, isolated from all
other human beings, separated even from her own anterior existence by
the disaster of yesterday.” The position Helga is in, in the
aforementioned quotation, is one of not only isolation from all other
human beings but also a position of isolation from the anterior self or the
“white” self. Helga seems to recognize that the self she was before this
very moment of transition was a disaster and she is already placing her
whiteness behind her along with the actual events that happened
between her and Dr. Anderson the day prior. The fact that Helga is
willing to separate herself shows that she is willing to attach to a new
identity and the darkness of the rain will indicate that she is moving
towards recognizing her black identity. [...]

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Breathe, Just Breathe


Yoga
Photo by TwiggyJane 
I did not realize how much learned from yoga until yesterday. Yes I obtained knowledge about many asanas and most of them I can do. However, knowledge of a proper way to do downward facing dog can only take you so far in life and it was only that knowledge that I was sure I picked up (and retained) from yoga until yesterday. I was talking on the phone to a friend who is going through some family issues that unfortunately sounded like they are about to become legal issues. She was angry and hurt and in desperate need of some sort of tool to help her make it through her ordeal. I did not know what to tell her about her family issues. All I could do was listen and tell her I was sorry and maybe it was for the best that she remove negative people from her life. I could tell by her tone when she said “thank you for the advice and sympathy” that she had of course heard it before and found it unhelpful. There was no action she could perform based on my words (well except remove the negative people, and that was a result of the ordeal already). I searched my mind for something, anything that I had read that was profound enough to give her hope that she could carry on in such troubled times but nothing was came to mind.

I felt awkward and useless. I could think of no better soothing words of advice, but then in my own insecurity it hit me… “Breathe, just breathe.” It is of course such a simple concept in our minds and many of us (well maybe not us yoga folks perhaps) will laugh it off, because of course we are breathing everyday of our lives. But how often do we forget to acknowledge it and appreciate it?  As soon as it floated into my mind I said it aloud to her. I told her to take five minutes alone in a dark room and breathe slowly and listen, feel and count her breaths until all she could think about was her breathing.

“Sure I will try that.” She said politely and I could hear the skepticism in her voice.

“Seriously,” I said. “In fact take a deep breath now with your eyes closed and focus on the way it feels.” Somewhat reluctantly she did it and on the exhale I could her some of her tension fade away.  I don’t know if she will sit with her breath as I suggested (most likely not) but it was an “a ha!” moment for me.

Yesterday morning I was giving myself a hard time about my yoga practice (I really have become somewhat of a yoga slacker) but then that one phone call made me realize that I practice yoga every day. I realized that my knowledge of prana attached itself to my mind and heart without me really noticing. “Prana,” Deepak Chopra states, “is life force […] When prana is flowing freely through your body/mind, you will feel healthy and vibrant. When prana is blocked, fatigue and disease soon follow” (The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga 41-42).Any time I feel the need to steady myself I stop and observe my breath. Listening to and counting my breaths calms by body and then eventually my mind. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not, but it is always my unconscious go to solution when ever faced with problems. 

Since there is an intimate connection between your breath and your mind the practice of pranayama (mastering the life force) or in other words my simple advice to “breathe, just breathe” was the best nugget of wisdom I could possibly offer because as we all know when turbulence of our mind stills even just a little bit our path becomes clear.   

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fort Picnic Table 17/365 and 1/52

When Maverick was younger he used to bounce around and have me take his photo while he was running off somewhere or digging a hole... he loves digging holes. Now that he is older he prefers showing me all the shady, comfortable places to sleep. Just after I took this photo he gave me a low howl and a little growl as if to tell... "Okay you got your picture, now lets go back inside with the air conditioning."

Day 17/365 for Project 365

1/52 for 52 Weeks of Maverick

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Faster...Almost Vapor 16/365

“He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Yet another training day for my 2013 Goofy race and Half Challenge. Although I did not get the miles I wanted (yet) for today I did pick up my speed today. Not entirely sure what the time was, all I know is that I arrived home much sooner than anticipated with 7.5 miles under my belt. With the gray skies today I felt sort of like vapor.

Day 16/365 Project 365

My blog: Amanda's Weekly Zen

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Flynn Rider and Rapunzel 15/365

At Disney's Hollywood Studios there is a building called the Animation Building where you can learn about animation, take pictures with your favorite characters and learn how to draw. One of the animators who hangs out in Hollywood Studios drew these great sketches of two of my favorite Disney characters from the movie Tangled Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.

"You smell that? Take a deep breath through the nose. [Breathes through nose] Really let that seep in. What are you getting? Because to me, that's part man-smell, and the other part is really bad man-smell. I don't know why, but overall it just smells like the color brown. Your thoughts? " - Flynn Rider

Day 15/365 for Project 365

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Good Breakfast 14/365

Goofy know that there is nothing more important for a training morning than having a good breakfast after. He reminds me by offering me what he thinks would be a good breakfast. Okay Goofy I guess cold pizza is out then?

Day 14/365 Project 365

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reading on the Kindle 13/365

This morning I finished the book I was reading (I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella) so I started to go through my Kindle to see what I should read next. I could not decide so instead I opened up my Calibre account in which I have all my books numbered and tagged for ease and told my husband to pick a number between 1-1289 (the number of books I have for my Kindle and Nook). He choose 999 and the book just happened to be "The Wildwater Walking Club" by Claire Cook. So I am starting that one today. I sort of like this random book choosing. I think I will choose my next read the same way.

Day 13/365 for Project 365

Friday, October 12, 2012

Do 11/365

Do 11/365 by Amanda's Weekly Zen
Do 11/365, a photo by Amanda's Weekly Zen on Flickr.
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

― Miguel Ruiz

Day 11/365 Project 365

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What you see... 10/365

“ The question is not what you look at, but what you see. ” -Henry David Thoreau

I have worn glasses since I was 16 years old and in that time I have loved them and hated them and then eventually accepted them as part of my face. It was not until I bought contacts this year and saw my face without them that I really remembered they were there. When I first put the contacts in I looked in the mirror and said... "Is that what I really look like?"

I like the idea behind contacts but I can honestly say I like my face better with glasses. I can change glasses to match my mood and style and the only thing I can do with my face is change it's expression.

Day 10/365 Project 365

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Goofy Race and Half Challenge Training Week 16

Making a To Do List

With 91 days left until the 2013 Goofy Race and Half Challenge (my first!) I need to adjust my training plan and start increasing my weekly mileage. Goofy helped me out by making a "To Do List" for me this morning... he said my goal for today was to "be awesome".

Up at 6:30 and out the door for a 10 mile day... does that count as being awesome for the day?

Day 9/365 for Project 365

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Dogs are our link to paradise 8/365

Dogs are our link to paradise 8/365

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” -Milan Kundera

Day 8/365 for Project 365

Another shot of Maverick this evening can be found in the comments section on Flickr (click the photo to be taken there).

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Green Apples 6/365

Green Apples 6/365

These two apples look like they might just be right for apple bread. Tomorrow I think they will find that it was their destiny all along to be part of a delicious bread that shall be enjoyed with coffee.

A good recipe I like to use (and modify somewhat) is at All Recipes

Day 6/365 Project 365

Friendship and Fish

Friendship and Fish
Lake Hartwell @ South Carolina

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” -C.S. Lewis

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Rules for Happiness 5/365

Rules for Happiness 5/365

“Rules for Happiness:
something to do,
someone to love,
something to hope for.”
― Immanuel Kant

Day 5/365 for Project 365

Another Buddha can be found in the comments section on Flickr. If you click the photo you will be taken to my photostream in Flickr.

Idle Reading

Self Portrait

"Whose head by idle reading 
Was turned topsy tur-vy." - Don Quixote

Friday, October 05, 2012

Goofy Looking in the Mirror 4/365


As any runner knows stretching is important for a healthy injury free body. It is not always easy for me to get stretching in, mainly because I am so focused on achieving miles and often time forget that there are other things I can do when I train for a race. Today I am making sure that I do not forget to spend some time on the mat and my trusty Goofy will remind me that form is very important in yoga and running. Goofy checks out his in the mirror to make sure his Warrior II looks strong.

Day 4/365 for Project 365

(If you want to see another version of Goofy looking in the mirror please click on the photo above and scroll to the comments section)

Running

Running
Champion 5k @ Hollywood Studios
“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they'll go to any length to live longer. But don't think that's the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree” -Haruki Murakami

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Goofy Dreams 3/365

Goofy Dreams 4/365 by Amanda's Weekly Zen
Goofy Dreams 3/365, a photo by Amanda's Weekly Zen on Flickr.
I enjoyed runDisney events since 2010. I started off my doing the 2010 Disney Princess Half Marathon and gradually each year increased not only the amount of runDisney events that I have participated in but also the distance that I have run. 2011 was the first time I attempted a marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon and 2012 was the first year that I completed the Walt Disney World Marathon. With the marathon under my belt the next logical step in my mind was to participate in the 2013 Goofy Race and Half Challenge (Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday and the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday). All signed up and in training since June 2012 I am getting more excited and albeit nervous about the quickly approaching race (only 97 days left!).

Completion of the event is my only goal, time is only a consideration in that I want to make sure I keep a good enough pace not to be swept. With training miles increasing and the days flying by I will keep in mind these great words about running…

“I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.” -Dean Karnazes

If you are training for Goofy 2013 or any race… good luck and kept on smiling.

Project 365: 3/365

Awaiting Adventure

Awaiting Adventure
Yorktown Virginia 
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry.” -Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Candied Ginger 2/365

Candied Ginger 2/365

One of my favorite pieces of candy is candied ginger. I love the spicy sweetness of the candy. If it were the last piece of candy on Earth... I would be a happy girl. 

Voyage of Discovery

Voyage of Discovery
Smoky Mountain National Park 
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Marmot Running Tights

New running tights for the winter running season in Florida. I have wanted to have a new pair that I can train in for the 2013 Goofy Race and Half Challenge. I just got these in today and have not run in them yet but tried them on and they wear great. I look forward to getting some miles in these. They wear great! Love Backcountry for giving me a great product at a great price.

1/365 for Project 365.

My blog: Amanda's Weekly Zen

Inclement Weather

Inclement Weather in South Carolina
South Carolina

“The storm starts, when the drops start dropping
When the drops stop dropping then the storm starts stopping.” -Dr. Seuss

Monday, October 01, 2012

True Belongings

Buddha

"My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand." -Thich Nhat Hanh