Oh how the Writing has Fallen!

There is such a lack of interest in teachers TEACHING students how to WRITE... It shows... really, it does.
Today we had our second TOEFL writing class. My students were very excited because for the first time in over a month they had this sense of security that came from the idea that writing was the easiest task the TOEFL had to offer. Well, 10 minutes into the class, I could tell by the deer-in-headlight-look faces they were giving me that they had no clue whatsoever on what they had gotten themselves into.

FIRST TASK --- Topic Sentences.

They had to write a topic sentence about three general topics. (1) About their hometown. (2) About any place they would like to travel. (3) Anything they wanted.

We had already covered the part where it says that a topic sentence is the general idea of what your paragraph is going to be about. That it had to be clear and general, but not too general. I give them 10 minutes to finish the task. At the end of ten minutes, some had done the joyful sentence of:

"My city is big"

and, of course, who can deny those who...

"The city in Juarez is a city that is big, and pretty, and it has mountains, and rivers, and it rains a lot, and it has a lot of people.

After going around the tables with the "No", "Too general", "Too big," and "Are you kidding me? Seriously? Are you?!", I said, let's try again. This time, the topic was:

"A neighbor is someone who lives next door to you. What do you think are the qualities of a good neighbor?"

And this time, I said, you have ten minutes to do TWO topic sentences.

There was ye old classic:

"Neighbors are bad in my house"

and who can forget...

"I don't have neighbors, teacher."

And, of course, hats down to...

"My neibors taik drugs."

I look at them as they are looking back at me with almost-but-not-quite-tears of frustration running down their glossy, perky eyes. I reviewed the structure of the topic sentence once more. We did the exercise once more. I left them one more topic to see what they can come up with. Quite frankly, I'm expecting some sort of monster to come out of the page and bite me.


Let's look at cute onigiri now, shall we?


Revise your petition, please.... GAWD!

So today, I get an angry call from the lady at Chihuahua -- the book lady. She states that we owe her about 8 000 pesos in books. We make counts... no, we don't. We owe her about 2 000. Check your stats, lady! We're paying on Friday -- but com' on! From 8 000 pesos to 2 000 pesos there are a lot of zeros in between!!

On Friday we have the annual Student Day celebration at the URN. Hamburgers in the morning, tacos at night. Good thing that this time they did not ask the English class to participate in the ye old pie-sell off...

That reminds me... I need to ask my father for sugar.

.... long story.

The squirrel has told me he got a 485 in his TOEFL exam. He insists that he passed. He has told me this piece of info about... 10 or 30 times now... and each time, he asks if he has passed.

Mr Squirrel:

It has come to my attention that you have presented the TOEFL paper-based test to obtain your Doctoral Degree in Communications and somehow you have achieved (if that is the correct term for someone who claims to be an expert in the language) to get 485 points.

I wouldn't be bragging this if I were you. 485? I mean, really, this score is not even good if you're in the BA. For a PhD, you should be getting 580 or more.

So please, stop asking me if you have passed. Next time you do this, I will bite your squirrel nose off and spit it out as I say "NO!"

Yours truly (and with love)
The Panda.

I woke up this morning...

I've been sort of busy, with classes and with the MA and stuff... and I woke up this morning with the nagging feeling that something was not right. Of course, nothing to do with North Korea doing their nuclear things underground and getting us closer to the end as they see fit.

Yesterday, Indios won. They did. They beat the champion Pachuca, 3 - 2. Unfortunately, they needed to win by 3 goals ahead, so they didn't make it to the championship. But they didn't give up. They were the ultimate underdogs and they still managed to kick the champion's ass. That teaches a BIG lesson. That no matter how bad the odds are against you, you still have to fight for what you believe in. Other people might come and beat the crap out of you, but you know what? You have to get up and fight again. And yes, no one is saying that the fight is an easy one, nor that you won't get let down by people who you love and care, nor that you won't get back-stabbed and hurt. You will. But you have to rise from the ashes and move on. Don't dwell on the "what if..." or else you'll get trapped in the past.

I have lived a short life. Considering. I mean, I'm 31 years old. What kind of lessons can I give to people who are older, wiser, and more experienced that I am? Well,I have read most blog posts here -- and I can certainly relate to most of them. And I can tell you that yes, life DOES get better .... if you're strong enough to decide when the time comes to make the change you're afraid of.

So today, I decided to play a song for you. Most of you need it. I dedicate this song to all of you -- those who need the push in their lives to take the jump towards a better tomorrow, those who feel like they're being left behind... to all of you. Bright blessings and love. From a 31 year old angel with black wings... whose soulmate died in her arms as he lost his fight to cancer and then tried to take her life... and was pushed back to the fight of life by her guardian angel.

"Like there Ain't No Yesterday"

I've been living my life like a man in chains
Ever since she took her love away
But this is now and that was then
And baby all bad things gotta come to an end

So tonight I'm throwing caution into the wind
Getting down to the business of living again
Back in the saddle and I'm holding the reins
Gonna find someone and love her
Like there ain't no yesterday

Now, it's dark as a dungeon down where I've been
And there ain't no way I'm going back again
I've got my best foot forward on to greener grass
'cause there ain't no future living in the past

So tonight I'm throwing caution into the wind
Getting down to the business of living again
Back in the saddle and I'm holding the reins
Gonna find someone and love her
Like there ain't no yesterday

Out of the ashes, alive and free --
No longer a slave to a memory!!
Got the rest of my life right out in front of me!!

So tonight I'm throwing caution into the wind
Getting down to the business of living again
Back in the saddle and I'm holding the reins
Gonna find someone and love her
Like there ain't no yesterday

It's Midnight, Cinderella!

I know -- "Soccer sucks".

But let's put things in perspective here.

My hometown: Juarez City, Chihuahua. Whenever you hear about it on the news, it's because of the assassinations, the drug cartels, the violence, the military, people being kidnapped, women being raped and murdered... So, when a soccer team comes along and brings a Cinderella story -- you have to stop and think a little bit.

I don't like soccer. Really. But even I have to be moved about what the Indios have brought to this city. Hope. Yeah - as corny as it sounds. Juarez is a beautiful city... its people are by far some of the best heart warming people out there. Juarez deserved something to cheer about. And soccer, in Mexico, is one of the leading sports next to baseball. Juarez has a semi-profesional baseball team. But to have a professional soccer team in the Mexican Soccer league is HUGE.

This is Indios' first season in the Premiere Division of Mexican Soccer. A few weeks ago, they were in danger of being kicked off out of the Premier Division! If they lose one game, they were out of it. But they came from behind and won a game, tied two more, and then -- it was like a fairy tale. And against all odds, they have come this far to go to the semifinals -- they beat the big teams in the division. And I'm talking BIG teams, with BIG budgets and BIG scoring records. They kick them out of the playoffs. Today, Indios faced-off with the tournament's favorite, Pachuca.

Tuzos won 2-0

Now, Indios will go to Pachuca to try and stay alive. They need to win by a score of 3 - 0 in order to pass. If Pachuca gets a goal in, then Indios need to get one more in... it's madness. But Juarez, for the FIRST TIME in a LONG time is in the news. Not because of the violence, not because of the murders...

but because we have a Cinderella team... whom against all odds are playing in the semi finals of the Premiere Division of the Mexican Soccer.


New Class -- English IX

Well, between the storm and the drama, yesterday I started the English IX class. It's hard being the boss when all you want is for everyone to be at peace with each other. What I wouldn't give to be all good!

Phonoscope? -- Naaah! Let's call it The Panda's on a Diet Blog!!

I really didn't know what to call this entry but since I was listening to this song on my way to class, I figure, what the heck!

I am starting a diet today. Well, I actually started it yesterday. I weigh 138 kilos... 303 pounds!!! So, I stick to the kilos bwa hahaha!! Anyways -- I have to slim down to my ideal weigh that's 75 kilos in THEORY. I will be happy to weigh 90 kilos.... So, this week's goal? 3 lbs (that's about 1 kilo) but since I know my body well enough, I'm sure I'll drop about 5 or 6 lbs.. and then it's gonna start going slow again. I'll keep you updated on this on a weekly basis. How's that?

My diet -- detox diet for the first week. Veggies, fruits, no meats, no dairy, and lots of water. No bread, tortilla, sweets (bwaaaaa!!!) and no high-proteins. Cleaning body for 1 week. Then on the second week dr. is gonna introduce grains and fish.

So, cheering on! Oh yeah, I'm also taking vitamins and enzimes to help with digestion and metabolism. If I start to feel ill, they'll change my diet.

Need to SLIM JIM DOWN!!!

Teacher's Day!!!

Well, today in Mexico is Teacher's Day -- a day dedicated to celebrate all those who have given their lives on to the formation of other's minds, souls, spirits, paths, etc. So, today I had no classes.

But --- who was that teacher that inspired you, taught you, MEANT something in your life?

I've had hundreds... well, that's a little over dramatic. I've had quite a few. From Elementary school, Jr High, High School, and all the way through College, the good ones have provided that extra thing that made me be the person who I am right now. And it's in their shadow that I am now a teacher for younger generations of students. I want to think that I am one of those teachers who can be called upon later on and some student will say "Remember Miss Rain? Oh! She was the best teacher I've ever had..."

So, in honor of Miss Berta (5th grade), Miss Francisca (Workshop, Jr High), Mr. Zuniga (math, Jr High), Mr Alejandro (Communications, High School), Miss Elvia (Biology, High School), Miss Silvia (Math, High School), Mr. Carlos (Literature, High school), Mr. Estrada (Writing Workshop, High school), Mr. Cadena (Philosophy, high school), Dr. Perez Casio (Swine medicine, college UACJ), Dr. Trejo (Pathology, college UACJ -- RIP), Dr. Montoya (Dog and Cat Medicine, UACJ), Dr. Alonso (Clinical Lab, UACJ), Dr. Salais (Anatomy, UACJ), Jaime Balleres (Photography, UACJ)... ALL OF YOU --- THANK YOU!!!! ^_______________^


Treat the students the way you would want to be treated.

"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . . . . but the world maybe different because I was important in the life of a child." - Kathy Davis - thanks bev98

No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness, and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure- Emma Golmam

Don't set your wit against a child- Johnathan Swift

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand- Author unknown

A A gifted teacher is as rare as a gifted doctor, and makes far less money. - Author unknown

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. - Thomas Carruthers

A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron. - Horace Mann

Acquire new knowledge whilst thinking over the old, and you may become a teacher of others. - Confucius

Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson. - Vernon Law

He who dares to teach must never cease to learn. - Anonymous

I believe that every human soul is teaching something to someone nearly every minute here in mortality. - M. Russell Ballard

I believe that the testing of the student's achievements in order to see if he meets some criterion held by the teacher, is directly contrary to the implications of therapy for significant learning. - Carl Rogers

All learning begins with the simple phrase, "I don't know".

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. John Ruskin

"They may forget what you said, But they will never forget how you made them feel."

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless. ~ Mother Teresa

The work can wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work. ~ Patricia Clafford

Never have ideas about children, and never have ideas for them. -- George Orwell

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.--Alvin Toffler

'It must be remembered that the purpose of education is not to fill the minds of students with facts... it is to teach them to think, if that is possible, and always to think for themselves.' --- Robert Hutchins

"It is not so much what is poured into the student, but what is planted that really counts." - Unknown

"The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon." - Anonymous

"One father is worth 100 schoolmasters." - George Herbert

"By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn." - Latin Proverb

"If the student fails to learn, the teacher fails to teach." -

"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -

"To teach is to learn twice." - Joseph Joubert

Challenge of the day : Find something good in everyone. - Unknown

"Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right." - Henry Ford

"Teach a child how to think, not what to think." - Sidney Sugarman

"When a teacher calls a boy by his entire name, it means trouble." - Mark Twain

"Teacher : The child's third parent." - Hyman Berston

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." - William Ward

"I touch the future. I teach." - Christa McAuliffe.

"To teach is to touch lives forever." - Anonymous

"Good teacher is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater." - Gail Godwin

"Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best." - Bob Talbert

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework. ~Lily Tomlin as "Edith Ann"

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth." ~Dan Rather

In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day's work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years. ~Jacques Barzun

Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~Author Unknown

If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher's job. ~Donald D. Quinn

Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing. ~John F. Kennedy

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. ~Thomas Carruthers

Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater. ~Gail Godwin

A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. ~Horace Mann

Most teachers have little control over school policy or curriculum or choice of texts or special placement of students, but most have a great deal of autonomy inside the classroom. To a degree shared by only a few other occupations, such as police work, public education rests precariously on the skill and virtue of the people at the bottom of the institutional pyramid. ~Tracy Kidder

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~Henry Brooks Adams

A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others. ~Author Unknown

The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple. ~Amos Bronson Alcott

A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism. ~Louis A. Berman

We expect teachers to handle teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, and the failings of the family. Then we expect them to educate our children. ~John Sculley

Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more. ~Bob Talbert

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. ~William Arthur Ward

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton

A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image. ~Author Unknown

What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. ~Karl Menninger

Teaching should be full of ideas instead of stuffed with facts. ~Author Unknown

A cross-eyed teacher can keep twice the number of children in order than any other, because the pupils do not know who she's looking at. ~Four Hundred Laughs: Or, Fun Without Vulgarity, compiled and edited by John R. Kemble, 1902

Teaching is leaving a vestige of one self in the development of another. And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures. ~Eugene P. Bertin

A teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, knowledge, and wisdom in the pupils. ~Ever Garrison

Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers. ~Author Unknown

Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them. ~Author Unknown

Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition. ~Jacques Barzun

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. ~Carl Jung

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. ~Kahlil Gibran

The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people to unusual effort. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people. ~K. Patricia Cross

When you teach your son, you teach your son's son. ~The Talmud

The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. ~Author Unknown

Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. ~Author Unknown

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. ~John Cotton Dana

There are three good reasons to be a teacher - June, July, and August. ~Author Unknown

A teacher should have maximal authority, and minimal power. ~Thomas Szaz

To teach is to learn twice. ~Joseph Joubert, Pensées, 1842

The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you just learned this morning. ~Author Unknown

Don't try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior. When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed. ~Marva Collins

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without his teacher. ~Elbert Hubbard

Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the "naturals," the ones who somehow know how to teach. ~Peter Drucker

Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at times they accomplish this impossible task. ~Haim G. Ginott

The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery. ~Mark Van Doren

The only reason I always try to meet and know the parents better is because it helps me to forgive their children. ~Louis Johannot

If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I'll promise not to believe everything he says happens at home. ~Anonymous Teacher

The Battle

I have to address a very important topic here. The Battle has begun.

There are two sides to every war. And there is always a winner and a loser. And this year, I want to be the winner. I _need_ to be the winner.

It's me against... the roaches.

Yes. Roaches. Big-ass almost 3 inches big roaches. The kind of roach that is so big that the pigment has diffused and now are all blond, not black (which is even more disgusting). The kind that can even FLY, like a bloody mutant being that has radioactive powers. Yeah, that kind of roach. They have decided to take over my backyard... and now, have moved their fronts over to my bedroom.

I can't sleep as I can imagine them flying over and scooping me out of bed (yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's true!). I have tried ye old cucumber method? You know, the one where you place cucumber peels over and apparently it is said that roaches hate it? Well, I dunno who told these MF's that cucumber is not a threat, but they have wiped their roachy ass with it. So now it's time to get out the big guns -- the droppings of poison. And I want to hear them scream (my sister was nice enough to point out that roaches don't have vocal chords --- I KNOW THAT... okay?! I did not have Biology 101 in college to NOT KNOW that --- LET ME LIVE MY FANTASY!!) and beg for mercy. I have found the hole in the wall in which they can get in (aside from the hole in the window, which was pretty big but I have fixed it... yes, with duck tape) and I plan to poison their ass through there. Then, I shall go to the nest... and poison their ass there too. This might mean that I have to get into full armor gear (plastic boots, plastic gloves, full-body overall, bee-like-hat... yeah) because the thought of just one of them little-tinny roach spits getting in contact with me just makes my hair fizz up.

Let it be this one my declaration of war towards these creatures from hell. Let not one be left alive after I am done! For no Panda shall sleep with a roach threatening to fall on their face in the middle of dream!! Not now, not ever!!!

PPS: I have gotten a cat... Mikuni took care of the roaches!! I am now a happy panda, roach-free

The Run of the Dorame


... (add title here)

I think I'm feeling a bit nostalgic today, but not in a bad way. I got to do some reflexion about my life and what have I done with it in the past thirty-something years that I have lived in this lifetime. And came to realize that for the time I have been wondering around the world, I have done quite a whole deal of things. True that, I might not have achieved the fast-track lane life that many have, but I still can say that even when I retell my story I always get this "wow!" look on people. What are some of the things I have done thus far?

1. I have loved and I have been loved. Oh yes. I have. I have loved like nothing in the world and I have been loved like I was the last person in the world. I know the feeling of perfection in love.

2. I have lost love. And it hurt. And it still does sometimes. I have lost in the good way, I have lost in the bad way, and I have lost in the most hurtful way anyone can imagine. But in the end, I always go back to the fact that, while it lasted, it was love.

3. I have posed naked and have been sold in a galleria. I have done crazy monkey-like business with friends and had a blast doing it. One of many was the nude photograph session that later I got invited to the galleria opening for. One of the photos sold.

4. I have bought my own car. And it wasn't easy. I was nineteen when I got my first car -- and I was twenty-eight when I got my recent car. I have survived a collision that I still wonder how in the world did I manage to walk out of that one. Big ass angel that I have.

5. I have studied the major I wanted, I have worked in the field, and then decided it wasn't for me so I changed my role. I am happy.

6. I have been published even though I never asked to. Poetry and short stories that came out from my soul somehow made their way to magazines, books, and even walls, with my name on it. I never asked for that and I am thankful that it happened. But I need more out of that one.

I came to the conclusion that I have decided what is best for me, even if that means that it's not the best solution for others.Who is going to live my life? Me. No one else. I was born alone, gonna die alone. No one is going to die right along with me. So, might as well enjoy the ride with all the love in the world.

I understood that people are not always going to see things my way but that does not mean that they're wrong or that I'm wrong. It just means life has spice and we have to add the sugar to balance it out.

I have come to understand that even though she's married and I'm not, my sister is still the same free spirit she always was. And that I am sure that she had to be a pirate on her previous life and misses the sea as much as I miss St Petersburg. That it is good that we get together for coffee and talk about everything but the kids. That's my mom's job.

That is not my job to be my father's babysitter. If he wants to go to the doctor, fine. If not, that's okay too.

That no matter how hard you try, sometimes people will not allow you to teach them anything.

... and that cupid sometimes works for the devil. And that's good too.

So enjoy it. Live it. Get lost in it. Swallow it. Embrace it. And in the end, smile politely and keep walking.

I laid in bed that night and thought about the day
And how my life is like a roller coaster ride
The ups and downs and crazy turns along the way
It'll throw you off if you don't hold on tight
You can't really smile until you've shed some tears
I could die today or I might live on for years

Be Cool to the Pizza Dude and 8 More Rules to Live By

I loved this entry from "Inspiration Resource"... Enjoy it too...

Be Cool to the Pizza Dude and 8 More Rules to Live By
Tuesday April 28, 2009

Always go to the funeral is just one of many great rules to live by in NPR's Collection of "This I Believe" Essays. Here are some of my other favorites:

1. Be Cool to the Pizza Dude
papa johns.gif

Coolness to the pizza delivery dude is a practice in humility and forgiveness. I let him cut me off in traffic, let him safely hit the exit ramp from the left lane, let him forget to use his blinker without extending any of my digits out the window or toward my horn because there should be one moment in my harried life when a care may encroach or cut off or pass ad I let it go.

Sometimes when I have become so certain of my ownership of my lane, daring anyone to challenge me, the pizza dude speeds by in his rusted Chevette. His pizza light atop his car glowing like a beacon reminds me to check myself as I flow through the world. After all, the dude is delivering pizza to young and old, families and singletons, gays and straights, blacks, whites, and browns, rich and poor, and vegetarians and meat lovers alike. As he journeys, I give safe passage, practice restraint, show courtesy, and contain my anger.

--Sarah Adams, English professor at Olympic College in Washington

2. Give and You Shall Receive

Paralyzed and silent in her bed, my daughter Paula taught me a lesson that is now my mantra: You only have what you give. It's by spending yourself that you become rich. ...The pain of losing my child was a cleansing experience. I had to throw overboard all excess baggage and keep only what is essential. Because of Paula, I don't cling to anything anymore. Now I like to give much more than I receive. I am happier when I love than when I am loved. I adore my husband, my son, my grandchildren, my mother, my dog, and frankly I don't know if they even like me. But who cares? Loving them is my joy.

Give, give, give--what is the point of having experience, knowledge, or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world, and with the divine. In is in giving that I feel the spirit of my daughter inside me, like a soft presence.

--Isabel Allende is the author of "The House of the Spirits" and "My Invented Country"

3. Be Capable of Change

I believe that man's noblest endowment is his capacity to change.... I believe in the potential of people. I cannot rest passively with those who give up in the name of "human nature." Human nature is only animal nature if it is obligated to remain static. Without growth, without metamorphosis, there is no godhead. If we believe that man can never achieve a society without wars, then we are condemned to wars forever. This is the easy way. But the laborious, loving way, the way of dignity and divinity, presupposes a belief in people and in their capacity to change, grow, communicate, and love.

--Leonard Bernstein is a composer, conductor, pianist, and educator.

4. Be Still and Listen

I believe I have to remove myself from the voices that barrage me in order to find my true compass. This includes a daily walk just to listen. The guiding light of my life is the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. In our hectic, noisy world, I have to slow down or withdraw in order to hear it. Prayer, I have discovered, is less about what I say and more about what I hear....

I believe in a daily walk to listen because that is when I am close to God, that is when I find my way. And I am most at peace when I tune out the voices of the world long enough to hear the still, small voice of God directing me. "Be still," Psalm 46 reminds me, "and know that I am God."

--Susan Cosio is a chaplain at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento, California

5. Be Present

I believe in the power of presence.

I was recently reminded of this belief when I and several other Red Cross volunteers met a group of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. We were there, as mental health professionals, to offer "psychological first aid." Despite all the training in how to "debrief," to educate about stress reactions, and to screen for those needing therapy, I was struck again by the simple healing power of presence. ...Presence is a noun, not a verb; it is a state of being, not doing. States of being are not highly valued in a culture that places a high priority on doing. Yet, true presence or "being with" another person carries with it a silent power--to bear witness to a passage, to help carry an emotional burden, or to begin a healing process. In it, there is an intimate connection with another that is perhaps too seldom felt in a society that strives for ever-faster "connectivity."

With therapy clients, I am still pulled by the need to do more than be, yet repeatedly struck by the healing power of connection created by being fully there in the quiet understanding of another. I believe in the power of presence, and is it not only something we give to others. It always changes me--and always for the better.

--Debbie Hall is a psychologist in the Pediatrics Department of San Diego's Naval Medical Center.

6. Pursue Truth

There is such a thing as truth, but we often have a vested interest in ignoring it or outright denying it. Also, it's not just thinking something that makes it true. Truth is not relative. It's not subjective. It may be elusive or hidden. People may wish to disregard it. But there is such thing as truth and the pursuit of truth: trying to figure out what has really happened, trying to figure out how things really are. ...

It's not that we find truth with a big "T." We investigate and sometimes we find things out and sometimes we don't. There's no way to know in advance. It's just that we have to proceed as though there are answers to questions. We must proceed as though, in principle, we can find things out--even if we can't. The alternative is unacceptable.

--Errol Morris is an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and the director of critically acclaimed television programs and commercials.

7. Live in the Middle

I believe in the 50-percent theory. Half the time things are better than normal; the other half, they are worse. I believe life is a pendulum swing. It takes time and experience to understand what normal is, and that gives me the perspective to deal with the surprises of the future. ... But there is a vast meadow of life in the middle, where the bad and the good flip-flop acrobatically. This is what convinces me to believe in the 50-percent theory.

--Steve Porter coaches, watches baseball, and works in community relations for the Missouri Department of Transporation

8. Get Angry

I believe that a little outrage can take you a long way. ... I am deeply familiar with that hollow place that outrage carves in your soul. I've fed off of it to sustain my work for many years. But it hasn't eaten me away completely, maybe because the hollow place gets filled with other, more powerful things like compassion, faith, family, music, the goodness of people around me. These things fill me up and tempter my outrage with a deep sense of gratitude that I have the privilege of doing my small part to make things better.

--Cecilia Munoz is vice president of the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza, and works on behalf of Hispanic-Americans.

9. Be Extraordinary

I believe it is possible for ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things. For me, the difference between "ordinary" and an "extraordinary" person is not the title that person might have, but what they do to make the world a better place for us all. ... And I believe that if enough ordinary people back up our desire for a better world with action, we can, in fact, accomplish absolutely extraordinary things.

--Jody Williams is the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

5 de Mayo -- Himno Nacional Mexicano

Mexicanos, al grito de guerra
El acero aprestad y el bridón,
y retiemble en sus centros la tierra.
Al sonoro rugir del cañón.

Ciña ¡oh patria! tus sienes de oliva
De la paz el arcángel divino,
Que en el cielo tu eterno destino
Por el dedo de Dios se escribió.

Más si osare un extraño enemigo
Profanar con su planta tu suelo,
Piensa ¡oh Patria querida! que el cielo
Un soldado en cada hijo te dio.


¡Guerra, guerra sin tregua al que intente
De la patria manchar los blasones!
¡Guerra, guerra! Los patrios pendones
En las olas de sangre empapad.

¡Guerra, guerra! En el monte, en el valle
Los cañones horrísonos truenen,
Y los ecos sonoros resuenen
Con las voces de ¡Unión! ¡Libertad!


Antes, patria, que inermes tus hijos
Bajo el yugo su cuello dobleguen,
Tus campiñas con sangre se rieguen,
Sobre sangre se estampe su pie.

Y tus templos, palacios y torres
Se derrumben con hórrido estruendo,
Y sus ruinas existan diciendo:
De mil héroes la patria aquí fue.


¡Patria! ¡Patria! Tus hijos te juran
Exhalar en tus aras su aliento,
Si el clarín con su bélico acento
nos convoca a lidiar con valor.

¡Para ti las guirnaldas de oliva!
¡Un recuerdo para ellos de gloria!
¡Un laurel para ti de victoria!
¡Un sepulcro para ellos de honor!

Mexicanos al grito de guerra
El acero aprestad y el bridón,
y retiemble en sus centros la tierra.
Al sonoro rugir del cañón.

5 de Mayo: Batalla de Puebla

El cinco de Mayo se celebra un acontecimiento muy importante para los mexicanos. Rememora cuando el Ejército de México pudo derrotar a los franceses, en la batalla que se llevó a cabo en Puebla de Zaragoza, en 1862.

El ejército francés contaba con 6000 hombres bien armados, al mando del General Laurencez.

Los mexicanos, pobremente equipados y sin gran entrenamiento, al mando del General Ignacio Zaragoza, se dispusieron a enfrentar a las fuerzas galas. Una división de 1200 hombres ocupó los cerros de San Loreto y Negrete. Otro grupo se encontraba en la Plaza de San José. Las fuerzas mexicanas sumaban en total 4000 hombres aproximadamente, entre los cuales se hallaban los indios Zacapoaxtla, quienes tuvieron un destacado desempeño en el combate.

Se celebra especialmente en Puebla, México; y en los estados del Sur de Estados Unidos, que en otros tiempos formaban parte de México, como California, Nuevo México y Texas.

Siendo Benito Juárez Presidente, y por propuesta de éste, el Congreso declaró, por Ley del 17 de julio de 1861, la cesación de pagos de la deuda internacional, por el término de dos años, debido a la bancarrota en que se hallaba el gobierno de México. Los principales acreedores eran Francia, Inglaterra y España. Estos países se reunieron en la Convención de Londres en octubre de 1861 y firmaron un acuerdo de intervención en México, en defensa de los intereses. Los españoles desembarcaron en Veracruz, al mando del General Prim, en diciembre de 1861, y en enero de 1962 lo hicieron los franceses e ingleses.

En febrero de 1862, en el poblado de Soledad se firmó un convenio preliminar en el que Inglaterra y España se retiraban de la alianza con Francia. El 9 de abril de 1862 se disolvió definitivamente la alianza tripartita de estas tres potencias europeas, para la intervención militar en México, que había mantenido bloqueado el Puerto de Veracruz.

Inglaterra y España acordaron la forma y las condiciones en que se realizarían los pagos, pasado ese plazo, después de numerosas negociaciones diplomáticas. Sólo quedaron en territorio mexicano las tropas francesas.

Francia, gobernada en ese tiempo por Napoleón III, decidió invadir México, deponer al Presidente Juárez, e instalar una Monarquía que respondiera a los intereses franceses, por lo que eligió para esto a Maximiliano de Habsburgo.

Los franceses, desde Veracruz, con sus fuerzas militares se dirigieron hacia el centro del país.

El primer enfrentamiento importante fue en Acultzingo, en la zona limítrofe entre Veracruz y Puebla.

El 5 de Mayo tuvo lugar la Batalla de Puebla, en la que las tropas francesas de intervención en México, fueron rechazadas por el ejército mexicano. Fue la primera vez en que un grupo en desventaja militar y numérica logró vencer a las tropas imperiales de Napoleón III.

El Presidente Benito Juárez insistía en su esfuerzo por derrotar a la monarquía. La política internacional también repercutió en México. Los Estados Unidos ya habían conseguido la paz interna, y apoyaban al gobierno de Juárez. Por su parte, Napoleón III debía atender a serias amenazas en Europa, por lo que requería de todas sus tropas.

Maximiliano, no pudiendo mantenerse como Emperador, abdicó con sus tropas ante el presidente Benito Juárez.

Se realizó un juicio en ausencia, llevado a cabo en el teatro municipal por un coronel y seis capitanes, sin derecho a apelaciones y sobre la base de un interrogatorio que en su mayor parte el Emperador se negó a contestar, se lo condenó a muerte. Murió fusilado en el Cerro de las Campanas de la ciudad de Querétaro, el 19 de junio de 1867. Sus restos fueron depositados al año siguiente en la Cripta Imperial de la Iglesia de los Capuchinos, en Viena.

Sunday at the Depot

Today I write this to you from the Office Depot somewhere in the city I live in. They have detected two cases of piggie flu (not at depot...) and yes, none of them have to do anything with this panda... so far.

But there is only so much coffee you can drink, really.

No bars, no pools, no kareoke, no movies, no bowling alley, no disco, no nothing that gives this city's proud name of CIUDAD DEL PECADO!!! I mean com on! I know, I know. "Go to church"... but there is so much church this panda can take. Really. I ain't that hard core into church going.

(and I can see a certain tenshi go "Whaaaaaaaaa??")

So, there is only so much coffee I can drink. Sure, I can call one of my cancos and ask them to go and do the boom boom shake shake the room with me --- but then again, even THAT goes old really fast for me. So, here are a few tips you need to do when and if you are stuck in the same lame-ass situation, like me:

1. PLEASE DO NOT CALL YOUR EXes... bad idea. Particularly when you're drunk with boredom and vodka.

2. DO NOT DRINK WINE IN SHOWER... trust me... just... trust me...

3. EVEN IF IT SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD IDEA... DON'T. We get our worse ideas around these times, particularly the ones that later in life we say, "what the heck was I thinking!?"

4. Have porn available... really? Even porn looses it's shinny cover after a while. You start looking at things with the eye of an evil Tarantino director cut...

5. Thinking of getting and STD to brag to friends seems like a good idea at the time... but then again, we return to No. 3...

Speaking of wich, I wanna see Tarantino's new movie. Is it any good? Is the Wolverine movie any good? I want to know your scoop.

With love and kissis


Gossip Panda

I'm so tired of beating myself up... wanna take a trip and MULTIPLY!!

When the world comes to an end, I'll be sure to remember your faces so I won't let you in...

I am tired. Sleepy tired. At first I thought I had the piggie thingie, but then I remembered that being that we live in a very dry place, so the possibilities are slim. It can't be (also) that there has been rumors going on about how this virus is nothing more than a pitiful attempt by the pharmaceutical companies to have more profits (if you can't have war, have a virus or so they say) this year, hence boosting the economy in some twisted fashion. It can't be also that the accountants at the URN messed up so bad that now I have to wait 'till God knows when to pay for the exams and that will not look good. So the only explanation I can find is that I am tired because I had a lousy night's sleep. And the reason for that is that my mother snores like a trucker.

Yes. I have to do something about her snoring. And killing her is not even on the table. So I have to do something or else I might just end-up locked in the loony bin for the rest of my life, blabbering about how there is a monster hidden in my mother's throat that is not letting me sleep.

Other than that --- Things have been pretty much normal.

... well.. maybe that meteor coming from the sky can be reason to detect that some thing's amiss here...

Obama's 100 days in office have been tainted with many misfortunes, don't you think? i mean, he's got economical crisis, health crisis, and a dog that poops on carpet. The other day, while looking at the similarities (cannot remember the talk show for the life of me -- I think it was Jay Leno), I found it funny/amusing the thing about Obama's dog Bo and Vincent... but for the life of me, I cannot remember the joke that made me laugh in the first place. I cannot remember --- AAAH! I remember now! It was at Jay Leno, yes. In the Tonight Show, Jay Leno compared Obama with Lost, the TV Show. And the joke was about the similarities between the two. And in the similarities, he said, "Lost has a dog named Vincent, and Obama has a dog named Bo... AND the REAL name of Bo Jackson is Vincent"... it made me laugh.

... such simpleton things make this panda laugh...

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