Wednesday, December 07, 2022

VAALA Presents: Yellow Submarine Rising Family Day


More information at



Come for Family Day during Yellow Submarine Rising: Currents within Asian American Art at OCCCA with LibroMobile + Saigon Art Academy


About this Event


A VAALA + LibroMobile + Saigon Art Academy Collaboration


Join us at the Orange Counter Center for Contemporary Art for a family-friendly event on Saturday, December 10, 1pm - 3pm that includes book readings, conversations with the children's book authors, and fun arts and crafts for all ages. This is an event organized in conjunction with the art exhibition Yellow Submarine Rising: Currents within Asian American Art (Saturday, December 3, 2022 to December 17, 2022).


Authors Muon Thi Van, Van Hoang and Rene Colato Lainez will share their inspirations and insights for this special genre of storytelling. While the author panel is geared for adults, younger audiences are invited to create arts and crafts with art instructors from the Saigon Art Academy.


All are welcome to arrive early at 12pm noon or to stay afterward until 5pm to enjoy the art exhibition Yellow Submarine Rises, in which select illustrations by Victo Ngai from Muong Thi Van's newest book Wishes are featured.


This event and the exhibition are free and open to the public. 

If you have any questions, please contact Christine Tran at

Arts & crafts activities are sponsored by Saigon Art Academy.

YELLOW SUBMARINE RISING: Currents within Asian American Art

Saturday, December 3, 2022 to December 17, 2022

Orange County Center for Contemporary Art

117 N Sycamore St, Santa Ana, CA 92701


The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA) and supported in part by the California Department of Social Service Stop The Hate - Transformative funding.


You can get Tickets for VAALA Presents: Yellow Submarine Rising Family Day by clicking the link below.



Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Pachanga For Christmases Past

Memory / The Gluten-free Chicano Cooks

Holiday Singsong in Plague-time: Memories of Christmases Past

Michael Sedano and The Gluten-free Chicano

In her time, my wife, Barbara, earned her reputation in our house as the Perle Mesta of  Pasadena. Barbara threw a party at the slightest hint of a big occasion. 

The Christmas caroling party was Barbara at her peak. After Thanksgiving people would begin asking about this year’s Christmas party. Barbara's party became the annual highlight of our friends’ holiday season such that her invitation list grew longer by the year.

It came to pass that 100 people thronged to CasaSedano. Just the best time of year for such a journey, people filled every room of this large house, smokers and hangers-on outside. 

The dining table sparkled with decorative platters and bowls, and never paper nor plastic, Lennox china. Weekends up the coast or out to Palm Springs required a stop at the factory seconds outlets at the discount mall. She never did find that china cornucopia. 

The final dish ready for the oven

I perfected my scalloped potatoes the first year. They’re incredibly simple and ravishingly attractive on a buffet table. The papas are more attractive in steaming scoops piling onto plates by chilled singers just returned from roaming the neighborhood singing their three-song repertoire and avoiding the cranky tipos who greeted us with boiling oil last year. The centerpiece of the desserts, of the entire buffet spread, was the Croquembouche. At first, she ordered a six-layer Croquembouche. The list lengthened and people brought more kids, and she ordered an 8-layer Croquembouche for a few years.

8-layer Croquembouche line Sarkis Bakery showcase

Before it all stopped, that last party Barbara dispatched me to Sarkis’ pastries where Barbara’s gigantic 12-layer Croquembouche towers above the 8- layer crème-puff trees awaiting someone else’s parties. 

Tradition teeters in the back of the van, susceptible to gravity, kinetics, potential energy, and dust. The croquembouche tree sits upon cardboard taped around the quivering confection. I drive slowly along Washington Boulevard easing my way around the corner, holding my breath ascending my sloping driveway. 

I carry my load safely inside where Barbara’s Croquembouche center-piece dazzles the eyes of guests seeing such a marvel for the first time, and delighting others who look forward to seeing what Barbara’s Croquembouche looks like this year.

As visitors arrive, eager smiles mirror years of unsupervised joy, small fingers taking plastic reindeer to inhabit treasure boxes, then spending the evening returning to the buffet table to pull endless profiteroles off the shrinking tree. 

The finished product.
The topping mixes ⅛ cup rice panko with ¼ cup grated cheddar, in a blender

That last party of Barbara’s, in a corner of the dining room, a PhD Grad Student licks her fingers after devouring the last crème puff she’ll share here, after a succession of parties she’s attended since she was a little girl. Her parents didn’t attend this year. She's invited on her own. 

The woman wraps a plastic reindeer in a napkin and takes it with her. I smile at her departure to another event, grateful she shares her time and love here at Barbara’s party. A fitting end to a tradition.

Barbara doesn’t have energy in 2017. She opens some computer files, prints some lists, but  something has dissolved and we abandoned the idea. The house remains silent that dark December month. Her friends know not to ask, we're in trouble and they recognize it. 

Five months after the party we never had, we are diagnosed with “dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.”

In the years since, I’ve been writing about Memory here at La Bloga-Tuesday. A lot of gente have been through cognitive diseases and impairments. Their words and support comfort me. I hear, too, that what I’ve shared in these columns comforts others experiencing their own pain. No, you are not alone in this freakish existence.

It’s a hard truth that others will have cognitive impairments strike their family. These La Bloga columns, they suggest what it’s going to be like, pero sabes que? It’s going to be worse because it happens to you in person.

One consejo I offer is decide not to suffer. Get yourself active, get help, get respite time for yourself, have parties, sing songs, eat Croquembouche and scalloped potatoes. 

Assembling the scalloped potatoes takes organization.
milk in the bottom of the caserole dish, then cheese, potatoes, cheese, potatoes

"Órale, these papas are firme."

"Glad you like them. Have some more."

"Man, I keep eating cream puffs."

I need not end 2022 in the dumps. To remedy the dumps, I decided to have a GOPlague-time Christmas Caroling Party in honor of Barbara’s tradition of major league joyousness. 

After a few moments fighting off regret at the old days, I put together a menu that I changed three times, eventually kept it simple: papas, apple salad, crisped potato skins, make your own ham sandwiches, and other stuff.

We ate, we drank, we sang, we got loud, we got louder, we had fabulous fun. A tiny gathering of people with vulnerabilities and vaccinations.

Instead of heading into the neighborhood to carol, we had a living room floricanto. Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin and I read a dialogue from Vibiana’s recent collection, Chicana On Fire. Margaret Garcia and Rhett Beavers read from Margaret Elysia Garcia’s, Burn Scars, a narrative poem from the Dixie fire, embodying the power seen in Margaret’s fire paintings. 

Then we sang. Vibi and I did a demi-duet of Cielito Lindo, then we segued into Rudolph and a whole book of kid's carols and songs. We ended with boisterous operatic Granada with lots of tremolo that had cars stopping in the street and dogs fleeing the din.

I didn’t order a Croquembouche, and I laugh maniacally at thoughts of making a croquembouche myself--I’m not that down in the dumps even to think of it. 

But hand me some papas and ahi vamos. This year I used gluten-free panko and gave the potatoes that cheesy crust that people rave over.

Layers of spuds and cheese are fork tender after absorbing the
milk that filled less than ⅓ of the vessel, ~2 cups whole milk

One more layer of potato slices then the crumb crust layer.

The Gluten-free Chicano's Scalloped Potatoes

9" x 13" dish, non-stick sprayed
six or more Russett potatoes, peeled & sliced
brick sharp cheddar cheese slices & grates
whole milk
fresh ground pepper
rice panko crumbs

Get oven up to 375º

Fill the casserole vessel with 2 cups or milk or ⅓ deep. 
Milk alone is fine, but you can use Half&Half or Crema Mexicana thinned with Milk, for a rich flavor. 
Using a cheese roux béchamel sauce like you do for macaroni, is overkill.

Add the first layer of cheese slices. 
Grated cheese works but it's a lot of work to grate.

Sprinkle generous pinch of coarsely ground black pepper and a smidgen of salt. Chile powder would be nice for some people.

Use a bristle brush and scrub the potatoes clean. 
Rinse the papas and all utensils and cutting boards before using the surfaces to slice.

Slice the potatoes less than ¼" thick. 

Put them into the dish. Overlap the slices to avoid large gaps. Layer two or more thicknesses of papa then layer some cheese slices.

Repeat until you have no more potatoes. Add milk to less than half the volume of potato.

Take an ⅛ cup of the rice panko meal and ¼ cup of grated cheese. Blender or Cuisinarte them into a crumbly consistency. It should fluff up to a thick layer completely covering the top of the casserole dish, edge to edge.

Bake at 375º 40 minutes or until a fork / knife blade easily penetrates the center of the potatoes. 
Never serve under-done scalloped potatoes--people will talk about you. If 40 minutes isn't enough in your oven, add 20 more minutes (cover them with foil when you add heat) (if disaster strikes, use the micro to finish off underdone dishes).


Margaret Garcia Studios Hosts Vincent Van Gogh Play

Margaret Garcia's studio welcomes this production of Vincent, starring David-Edward Reyes.

The setting alone makes attendance must-see teatro. Garcia's studio is staged with a monumental mural the artist will be finishing during the run (not while the acting is on stage).

Monday, December 05, 2022

December 8, 2018, el 8 de diciembre de 2018 por Xánath Caraza

December 8, 2018, el 8 de diciembre de 2018 por Xánath Caraza


Jackeline’s Butterfly honors and commemorates the life of Jackeline Caal, the seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died while in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on December 8, 2018.


~Sandra Kingery


La Mariposa de Jackeline celebra y conmemora la vida de Jackeline Caal, la niña de siete años que murió cuando estaba bajo la custodia de US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) el 8 de diciembre de 2018.




Soñaste con campos abiertos

y el calor de un hogar

en las montañas de niebla.


Brazos tejidos te esperan

para envolverte de felicidad.


Vas llena de poesía, niña maya.

Tu huipil bordado de mariposas azules.

Tus manitas quietas cargadas de dorados recuerdos.

Tus ojitos cerrados todavía tienen frío.


Flor y canto eres, niña hermosa.


En estas páginas

una mariposa

con alas de seda

no deja de revolotear.




You dreamt of open fields

and the warmth of a home

in the mountains of fog.


Woven arms await

to envelop you in happiness.


You depart full of poetry, Mayan girl.

Your huipil embroidered with blue butterflies.

Your motionless hands loaded with golden memories.

Your closed eyes still cold.


You are flower and song, beautiful girl.


In these pages,

a butterfly

with silk wings

continues to flutter about.         



La mariposa de Jackeline/Jackeline’s Butterfly is a book-length poem. Caraza illuminates the tragedy of a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in custody of the United States border officials. The sequence of poems, a tour-de-force, follows Jackeline Caal on her fictionalized journey from the tropics to New Mexico. Caraza’s lush language describes interplay of sky, sun, seas, and earth, as the girl journeys through beauty. At death, the poet writes, “You depart full of poetry, Mayan girl./Your huipil embroidered with blue butterflies./Your motionless hands loaded with golden memories.” Her soul, freed like a butterfly, finds immortality in her store of memories. This book is essential reading. It celebrates how each individual carries within the fire of eternity.


~Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate, Red Mountain Press prize winner


La mariposa de Jackeline / Jackline’s Butterfly es un poema de la extensión de un libro. Caraza ilumina la tragedia de una niña guatemalteca de siete años en custodia de los oficiales fronterizos de los Estados Unidos.  La secuencia de los poemas, un tour-de-force, sigue a Jackeline Caal en un viaje ficcional desde los trópicos hasta Nuevo México.  El lenguaje exuberante de Caraza describe la interacción del cielo, el sol, los mares y la tierra, mientras la niña se desplaza entre la belleza.  Al morir, la poeta escribe, “Vas llena de poesía, niña maya / Tu huipil bordado de mariposas azules. / Tus manitas quietas cargadas de dorados recuerdos.” Su alma, liberada como una mariposa, encuentra inmortalidad en su baúl de recuerdos.  Este poemario es una lectura esencial. Celebra cómo cada individuo lleva consigo el fuego de la eternidad.



La mariposa de Jackeline / Jackeline’s Butterfly (2022)

de Xánath Caraza

Traducido por Sandra Kingery, Aaron Willsea y Hanna Cherres

Imagen de portada por Mariana Ramírez Cano

Casa editorial: FlowerSong Press

ISBN: 978-1-953447-11-1

Friday, December 02, 2022

Excerpt: Angels in the Wind

On Saturday, December 3, at 10:00 AM at the Aurora History Museum, I will discuss my novel Angels in the Wind as part of the Museum's Winter Speaker Series.  The Museum publicity graphic is below.  Although the focus may be on Angels in the Wind, I intend to present a broader look at Chicano crime fiction -- more specifically, I'll dig a bit deeper into the literary concept of Chicano Noir.  I've made this presentation at various colleges and universities around the Southwest, but this will be the first time I've used this presentation in Denver.  

I've included in this post an excerpt from the book.


Author Manuel Ramos is a member of the Colorado Authors Hall of Fame. Angels in the Wind was a finalist for the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.

"More than just a detective novel, this book is a reflection on the changing landscape of the West and the redemptive power of family." David Heska Wanbli Weiden, author of Winter Counts.


I felt like I was sucked into a black bag as soon as I left the town limits and turned onto Deer Lick Way, the road to Essie’s house.  I concentrated on the stretch of road lit by my headlights, and I told myself that I was driving in the quiet and peaceful countryside, nothing to worry about. No rush hour madness, no out-of-control truckers, no drunk office workers speeding to the next happy hour.  I breathed in, deep and full.  There had been a time when I would have believed those thoughts and the ride wouldn’t have meant anything to me except as a way to get to where I would sleep, but that was before my dented head and warped imagination.  Now, I turned to the darkest alternative.

I followed Essie’s directions, and for a few miles my phone’s GPS worked.  But when I climbed a small hill and then sunk below the horizon, my phone went blank, and Essie’s words jumbled together in my memory.

“It’s not that hard,” I whispered in the narrow cab of my pickup.  “Focus, man.”  The truck’s smell – grease, sweat – reassured me.  The smooth-running Chevy six-banger gave me confidence.  I relaxed and remembered that Essie said to watch for a sign with an arrow pointing to Gilroy Road.

I picked up speed on the downslope of the hill.  The sky was dotted with stars never seen in the city.  Night draped over my faded pickup.  I cruised, faster than I should have.  Images of Wes Delgado and Rob Lopez mixed with the photographs of Mat that George had given me. I worried about Mat and couldn’t avoid the darkest thoughts about what had happened to him.

I almost drove past the sign that appeared suddenly in my headlights.  I slammed the brakes and the pickup fish-tailed on the gravel road.  I wrenched the oversized steering wheel and hoped I’d stay on the gravel.  I didn’t.  The truck swayed and rocked, and I ended up turned around in the shoulder’s soft dirt.  The sudden stop killed my engine.

My headlights flickered and I turned them off.  I could see only blackness.  I started to sweat.  I felt dizzy, and a hot flash confirmed I was in panic mode, although nothing serious had happened. I took in deeper breaths of air.  I pumped the gas pedal and turned the key.  I did that too many times and stopped only when I accepted that I’d flooded the engine.  “You dumb fucker,” I said to myself. 

I had to wait to try to start the truck again.  I leaned back against my ex’s old blanket.

Again, my thinking turned to Delgado and Lopez.  I didn’t like either one, but that wasn’t anything new for me.  I’d always been a skeptical guy, a Northside kid who didn’t trust anyone who wasn’t his sister.  It was a given that I wouldn’t feel comfortable around the police chief, and Wes Delgado … well he was just too weird.

I needed to make another run at him, loosen up all that he knew about where Mat Montoya might have gone and why he left.  I began to make a list of questions for Delgado.  

The movement to my right was small, nothing more than a smoky wisp rustling the sage.  But then it happened again. 

I turned on the headlights.  Off to the side, someone ducked to the ground.  Someone with long hair.

I jumped from the cab and landed on soft earth that gave way under my weight, causing me to roll on the ground, almost brushing up against a cactus.

“Jesus!” I shouted.

I struggled to my feet and ran to where I’d seen the longhaired person. At least, I thought I’d seen someone.  I stumbled again on rocks and loose dirt, fell to my knees, and cursed.  I waited and listened.  Nothing.  I stayed on my knees.  My eyes adjusted to the darkness and strange unearthly objects slowly morphed into boulders, bushes, and sandy mounds.

The only movement came from the slight breeze that caressed the scrub bushes.  The night turned a deep purple, the stars overhead exploded and soared, as though the sky moved, dragging me along, forcing me to stand up, and then to holler, with all the energy my depleted soul could muster.

“Mat!  Mat Montoya!  I’m your uncle, Gus.  Your family needs to see you.  Mat!  Talk to me.  Let me take you home.”

The moon answered with silence.  The stars ignored me. Whoever or whatever I’d seen was gone.



Manuel Ramos writes crime fiction. Read his latest story, Northside Nocturne, in Denver Noir, edited by Cynthia Swanson, published by Akashic Books.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Chicanonautica: Update from the Plain of Snakes

by Ernest Hogan

To most Americans--and a lot of Chicanos--Mexico is the Godzilla-esque mutant iguana living next door. I’ve been hearing people predict the end of the country for forty years. Still, it goes on . . .

“You must be careful, Don Pablo,” Rudi Roth said at the hotel. “Mexico is surrealistic.”

That’s from Paul Theroux’s On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey. I can’t resist a book with lines like that.

I once returned from Mexico, after being called a gringo by locals and tourists asked me for directions as if I was part of the landscape, and California looked like it was in black and white.  There is something ancient and surrealistic radiating from the center of the Earth into that soil. It disturbs a lot Americanos. It always changes my life. 

They do their best not to look at it directly, in fear of catching whatever horrible infection brought it into being. What is the nature of the infection? Who knows? This situation has only gotten worse in the age of Trump and the pandemic. 

Paul Theroux, bestselling author of novels and travelogues, has done us all a favor. An old gringo going on heroic road trip, alone, by car, crisscrossing the border, going down through northern regions, to Mexico City, Oaxaca, experiencing an earthquake and its aftermath, encountering crime, corruption, the muxes--the Third Sex--and the Zapatistas and Subcomandante Marcos.

. . . Marcos said to some tourists, “We apologize for the inconvenience, but this is revolution.”

Revolution now, revolution forever.

Yeah, I know some will object to an Anglo doing this job, but I’ve experienced how being a Chicano down there is problematic. And he’s a damn good writer, with a sharp eye, and sympathy. Americanos feel safe reading him. This book could help to break the crippling stereotypes that we are forced to live with.

These realities put most science fiction world building to shame.  

You want dystopia? This is real life. (Who created it? That’s an interesting story that we probably won’t see on American bestseller lists in the near future.)

Post-apocalyptic landscapes? Once again reality is more fantastic than imaginations brought up on corporate franchises. Societies undergoing transformation? These mutations have been going on for centuries.

“'Nothing is illegal here,' Francisco said with a crooked smile.”

How’s that for your anarchist utopia?

When I create my imaginary world, I try to make the reader feel the way wandering through Mexico makes me feel, in all its gritty glory.

Mexico is an exploding galaxy of new worlds and old. Theroux has provided us with a needed update. He puts it all into historic, political, and literary context–I’m going to have to go through it and take note of the books he mentions for my never-ending research.

And most important, he introduces us to an astonishing diversity of people, with fascinating lives, and things to say. Real human beings. Not stereotypes. Not monsters. Another step toward seeing things clearly . . . 

Ernest Hogan tries to see things clearly, but it keeps coming out stark, raving sci-fi.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Undercover Latina

By Aya de León  


Publisher: Candlewick 

Language: English

Hardcover: 320 pages

ISBN-10: 1536223743

ISBN-13: 978-1536223743


A Latina teen spy goes undercover as a white girl to stop a white supremacist terrorist plot in a fast-paced middle-grade debut from a seasoned author of contemporary crime fiction.


In her debut for younger readers, Aya de León pits a teen spy against the ominous workings of a white nationalist. Fourteen-year-old Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín hails from a family of spies working for the Factory, an international organization dedicated to protecting people of color. For her first solo mission, Andréa straightens her hair and goes undercover as Andrea Burke, a white girl, to befriend the estranged son of a dangerous white supremacist. In addition to her Factory training, the assignment calls for a deep dive into the son’s interests—comic books and gaming—all while taking care not to speak Spanish and blow her family’s cover. But it’s hard to hide who you really are, especially when you develop a crush on your target’s Latino best friend. Can Andréa keep her head, her geek cred, and her code-switching on track to trap a terrorist? Smart, entertaining, and politically astute, this is fast-paced upper-middle-grade fare from an established author of heist and espionage novels for adults.



Social criticism is woven into a fun read centered on kids of color; the narrative is accessible and engaging, never shying away from difficult conversations about race and privilege or the many forms White supremacy can take. . . . An engaging, insightful adventure with a heartfelt conclusion.

—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Readers will be intrigued and compelled to the very last page. . . Activist and author Aya De Leon, who typically writes for adults, has not shied away from taking on current and weighted issues while still delivering a novel for middle grade readers that is easy to read and which is sure to be a hit. . . . With strong male and female characters, suspense, and gaming, this novel is sure to appeal.

—School Library Connection (starred review)


Portraying Andréa as a spy skilled in espionage, quick problem-solving, and making visual connections, De León (A Spy in the Struggle, for adults) adeptly interrogates themes of ageism, colorism, institutional racism, and sexism, layering them with a thrilling tale of a teenage girl.

—Publishers Weekly


Aya de León is the Afro-Latina author of several suspense novels for adults, as well as The Mystery Woman in Room Three, an open-source online novel about two undocumented Dominican teens who uncover a kidnapping plot to stop the Green New Deal. She teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, and is active in movements for racial, gender, and climate justice. She lives in Northern California.


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Suerte Sirena. ¡Presente!

Michael Sedano

The Los Angeles Times book section surpised me joyously on November 27 as writer Christopher Soto introduces millions of people to our La Bloga colleague, tatiana de la tierra, qepd.

Soto is completely accurate in his call for more recognition of the work of our colleague. Today, La Bloga-Tuesday offers links and material Soto's research missed.

Here's a link to the article with hopes it's not behind a paywall. 

Soto offers a thoroughly interesting story about tierra's literary activism and supportiveness for other writers, her own creative work in writing, fashioning libros cartoneros, publishing. The Times and Soto missed tierra's conecta to La Bloga.

Ni modo. Here are two La Bloga columns, and a video link, remembering our colleague. The first, by this link (please click here),  comes from by Amelia ML Montes, collecting memories of our colleague upon her transition.

The second, reproduced in full, by Olga García Echeverría, relates the news that readers today enjoy free access into tatiana de la tierra's website and extensive materials for study and enjoyment.

Olga García Echeverría

Fotos: Rotmi Enciso

Shortly after tatiana de la tierra passed away in the summer of 2012, her website went down. My brother managed to temporarily put it back up. Later in the year, though, the link was dead again. For the past two years, the website has flickered in and out of existence. Mostly, its been dormant.

Not having full access to tatiana on the Web drove me mad, as I'm sure it did many people who love and miss her. tatiana had invested a great deal of time and effort in her original website. She had a particular aesthetic too--clean, simple, bonito. In the spirit of Literature for All, she had also carefully selected a wide range of previously published materials to share on the site. Anyone could visit and read "Mujeres con barbas," "Visions of Colombia," "Big Fat Pussy Girl," and so much more.

I don't know much about websites, so the job of resurrecting tatiana's electronic domain mainly fell on the shoulders of my brother, Mario Garcia, and my girlfriend, Maritza Alvarez. They both are pretty busy individuals, juggling work, deadlines, and just plain old life, but like me, they both loved tati, and she loved them.

On the surface, it may seem very simple. A website goes down? Put it back up. Ya estuvo. But it wasn't so easy. tatiana's website resurrection project was emotional at the core. Yes, we have always known how important it was to get the site back up and share it con todos, but the loss of tatiana in 2012 left us all a bit spellbound, mourning. Also, tatiana was ultra picky. Because we respected her and her work so much, we knew we needed to be realistic and take our time verus rushing to put something/anything up.

What we had when we embarked on the journey of reconstructing tatiana's site were files of the old website (almost all of them) and also the memory of what the site looked and felt liked. We also had everything she and her mother Fabiola had left us--boxes of papers, libros, fotos, muebles, piedras, lamps, Colombian casitas en el campo, ojos de Dios, bath salts, so, so, so many things. We were surrounded by tatiananess, especially at my brother's office where tatiana herself had, during her final weeks, designated box after box be sent to "La Oficina de Mario."

Since I had witnessed tatiana's initial website journey--she was meticulous and obsessed about cada detalle--I had a pretty good idea of what she wouldn't want and what was important to her. I knew that reconstructing her website would have to be done como ella lo hubiera querido, and because we did not want to run the risk of injecting too much of our own ideas and aesthetics into it, we made an agreement to make the site as close to the original as possible.

My job during the process was mainly to be a bossy overseer. I wasn't at my brother's office regularly. I just showed up every now and then and made comments or suggestions. Yes, I was super annoying. Imagine, "No, no, no, tatiana wouldn't like that. Asi no era el original. tatiana always had a site map. We have to add a site map. tatiana..." I got exasperated miradas and sighs from Maritza and Mario, who were putting in the real labor whenever they had the time, but mostly my tati-demands were met with patience and understanding.

I asked Maritza what working on the website was like for her, and here is what she shared. “Being a part of the collaborative process to relaunch tatiana's website was both an honor and a unique opportunity. It was also a memorable and special experience. I recall several times sitting in front of the computer for hours as I read through her writings and browsed through her photos. Often there were moments when I blurted out 'damn, she's bad-ass!' Then my eyes would swell up with tears because I was better able to understand why she was so terribly missed by so many. I also found myself laughing aloud because she had such an unapologetic rhythm and rhyme to her writings! All these things I had heard of from you, Olga, but revamping her website felt like I was personally discovering them for myself. And those were definitely special moments! I will always appreciate and cherish them. Who wouldn't?”

My brother had the following to say (I believe it's partly in tatiana-Mario code because they shared a special bond).

"mono cosmico azul, sirena, tomate, hermana shamana, puro fuego
blue cosmic monkey, mermaid, tomato, shamanic sister, pure fire

tatiana was a great friend and teacher, so I feel honored that she chose me to be one of her keepers...amongst the many boxes, writings, artwork, furniture, bed sheets, and such...tatiana lives among us, when we sit in her rocking chair at the office, stare at the Botero painting, read her poems, and especially when I have to carry her very heavy boxes (insert happy face)."

Bueno, this is our bloga for today and here is the website link again, in case you missed it.

Please visit it and share it! If you knew tatiana, you will surely be delighted to read or re-read some of her classics. If you didn't know tatiana and are wondering why I am always mentioning her in my blogs, check out her work and enjoy. All of the tabs on the site, the chosen literature, and the general organization of the materials are from tatiana's original webpage. The exception is the tab entitled Suerte Sirena, where we have added a picture of tatiana taken by Rotmi Enciso and Ina Riaskowa, a quote from me, and links to tributes to tatiana. There are still a couple of future tabs to be added, one that will feature links to tatiana's blogs here at La Bloga, and another one that will connect visitors to tatiana's archives at UCLA. But all of that is for Resurrection Part II.

Hasta next time, gracias and happy Sunday!

=== === ===

tatiana de la tierra performs (link, please click here) at the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto, University of Southern California