03 July 2015


And, I have a new writing station at my friend Delia’s little cottage in Whittier. I’m here for my third time as I try to cultivate memoir writing space, picking up from where I left off last summer after VONA (Voices of Our Nation’s Art Foundation).  VONA is meeting again this summer in Miami, and I elected to stay in So Cal in prep for the baby’s arrival in September.  Indeed, I let go of going to Anzaldua (a conference I was to present at) as well as MALCS in order to focus.  It feels good overall, but I do really want to pick up again Becoming a Woman of Color: A Travel Memoir.

I’ve got a lot to pull from: my travels of the last 16 years or so (which I began to process and write on while at VONA), our life of a sailboat, and now, my maternity.  The issue at hand, as is the case normally, is believing that I have something to say, believing that my story matters, and letting this true voice and story of mine come out. I do have the good news that my first academic paper has been published by El Mundo Zurdo and Aunt Lute Press. So, there's that.

Still, the need for a writing place outside where I live, thus the need for space to reflect in gratitude, thus the need for some inspiration. 

Inspiration: it’s time to look again at those VONA notes. 
I have been writing poetry about becoming a mother as well as creating daily paintings on the subject too.  These are accomplishments as are my established routines of these past three weeks: prenatal yoga, morning walks with friends, gym squats and arm exercises, swimming laps and helping Oliver get used to the pool (hopefully), acupuncture and chiropractor visits, playing lullabies for the baby with my guitar and voice, healthy protein rich diet with prenatal vitamins, oiling my body, and a few larger works of art. 
Full Moon/Venus-Jupiter Thoughts from Chani

Nevertheless, I’m seeking that fire (in the belly?) that I must simply write about this or this…

Doctor, you tell me …
Midwife, you tell me…
Mother, you tell me...???

Growing up and motherhood…tackling inner demons of what this all means?  How living on a boat and not an apartment or home help.  Doing it uniquely…trying to not repeat the same mistakes of my parents, my mother…

Or, the silence of growing a baby…

08 June 2015

Summer 2015 and Catching Up with the Online World

This Summer:
This summer I find myself able to create the space to finally write, paint, play music, and maintain, to a certain degree, my website in progress and my blog long ignored. 

This academic year of teaching Gender and Ethnic Studies in L.A and living on a sailboat in Ventura has been quite full. What adds to this year's fullness is the arrival of a baby in my body!  Both a long time in my planning -- nearly 5 years -- as well as a wonderful surprise, this baby makes me deeply happy.  I've been diving into, as you can imagine, research on the subject of birthing babies, and now, I've firmly settled on my birth partners.  We've also had a few showers and will have more before the baby is due in September. 

Old Travelogues:
I have been writing snippets for the blog on my computer, but I haven't had wifi access on the boat. Thus, here are a few travelogue pieces from 2015:

4 June 15
I’ve survived the transition of Zack’s leaving for fishing.  I cried buckets the few days before we said goodbye, so much so, perhaps, that I wept a bit the way home from the airport, and then cried no more.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning all were spent in clearing the way for art and writing.  I literally cleaned my bedroom and what I am calling the creative room, and then I did so with my “home” work pile up.  Unemployment for part-time lecturer work, check. 200 bucks a week.  Billing verification for prenatal and birth care, check.  10% in network, 40% out.  Women baby showers for July planned, check.  Gym and yoga, check.  Oliver care, check.  Midwife and doula meetings, check.  And so much more really.

Now, this afternoon, thank goodness, I had the space to both write, paint, and play music.  I am grateful for the magic that I experienced in these creative activities. 

12 April 15
It’s been a moment since I last wrote, and it’s been too long since I have posted on the old blog.  I’ve been reluctant to change it up and develop the cristinagolondrina website even though it’s marketed in my bios for conferences and artshows.  I still can’t decide on how to begin.  And, then, of course, I imagine a link to boat thoughts and…most recent news…baby thoughts.   Just about right after that last blog post, on Jan 20 to be exact, I discovered I was with child, and since then, of course, life has really transformed.  That same day, Jan 20, I began the teaching for the Spring 2015 semester two classes on an intro to Women’s Studies, and combined baby and teaching has really quite consumed my energy.

When I speak about energy, I mean it.  From about Jan 20 til the beginning of April, I slept more than half of it in deep and rich dream filled naps and nights.  I also completed changed my diet and ate protein and smaller meals that I planned out; started up on pre-natals, folic acid, and DHA as well as iron, calcium, and chlorophyll; and, saw an acupuncturist and chiropractor and learned that I needed to stay warm (No cold beverages, always dry my hair) and eat papayas, kiwi, avocado, yams, and spinach.  I then read Ina May and Birthing from Within, and between doctor visits to Kaiser – that included an ultrasound (no twins), an image of an amoeba with legs, and a 180bpm heart beat – we also began the journey of deciding on genetic non-invasive blood testing.   We emerged an eternity later with a healthy prognosis and a midwife named Racha out of the LA Community Birth Center in midtown. 

Currently, we’ve got these things on the table:
-          We are pausing to transform some of the old gender/sex roles brainwashed into us since birth so that we can fully be present to our child (we know the sex from the blood tests) before we announce the sex to the world. 
-          We are looking for a home – a larger boat ideally.
-          We are getting a registry ready for our sisters, who are throwing us baby celebrations this month and next.  In this, we are learning about what we actually need. 

As the baby prep continues, I’ve also had the honor of presenting at a couple conferences, helping to plan women speakers on campus, and I’ve been painting again as well. 

18 jan 15
We made a grand dive out on Santa Cruz.  First, free diving in the kelp forests; I could see the light coming through the leaves, and I remembered diving in Hawaii.  

Then, scuba diving around the corner; I found an abalone shell, and I saw the great big orange fish – the Garibaldi.  And the seal that swam under us as we snorkeled we saw again I suppose when we were deeper scuba diving…at our eye level.

Afraid at first, but confident soon. Yes!

11 jan 15
Woke up to big leaks in the v-berth. Luckily, all were along side the starboard wall…so I wasn’t wet though the edges of my sleepside were.    I let the berth dry today, and Zack washed the sheets among other things because he woke up sick in the middle of the night.  Because of the rain we had a bunch of wet towels and such, so the laundry was needed.

I went out for a walk with Mr. O this morning and took a shower before getting ready for a day in the city with Reyna, Erynn, and Leti.   It was a day of finding a princess dress and speaking Spanish as well as finally finding a beautiful poncho I can wear for work.

Returning to the boat, it’s relatively dry, and we put on the heater (from the Goodwill and only 8 bucks).  Zack is still sick and I put on my lullaby playlist on Pandora.  The good neighbor Greenwells bought Z some tom yum gang and we share this.  I alslo open a bottle of the Toolin Around (Zack’s Aunt’s wine) I won for Christmas in the exchange.  I’m nearly ready for bed after pulling with coconut oil the bad things from my teeth, swishing with salt water and now brushing.  I’m a little concerened because I have’t started my moon.  Feeling the heaviness though.  Mostly concerned because of the wine I drank these last two weeks.  

10 January 15
It’s now been a little over 4 months since Z and I moved onto our Islander 30 mkii Sailboat. 
Today is a rainy day, and we’ve been working inside.  The work includes refinishing the wood, replacing the head (bathroom) sink hose, and installing a co/smoke detector in the v-berth (the second cabin and “master bedroom” of the boat). 

Oliver (my nearly 9 year old Cavalier) sleeps is the salon on my right as I type at our dining table that converts into a bed when we have company.

These last few weeks have been full of holiday celebrations as well as taking time to envision our future.  This week has been putting visions into action.  We ..

Got up for a moment to check on an old leak. We have tarps covering a vulnerable area on the starboard (right side) of the boat where the toe rail (made of teak and helpful for not falling when walking on the deck) has some holes we guess.  Unfortunately, the tarp isn’t covering a big spot where the chain plate (metal plates that are integral to the boat) comes through into the cabin.   These chain plates anchor the standing rigging that keeps the mast in place.  A leak is alarming but not that special when it comes to other boats in the harbor.

The Plan:
To finally develop "z website" and to write about:
My partner’s message to our child.
My tribute to my partner before Father’s Day.
The baby moving.

The leaving of our boat home…the future plan this year, and the next five years…