Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mistletoe For Christmas

It is Christmas season. I like to make something to share with those around me. The memory of mistletoe in a plastic baggy sold by Boy Scouts at a tree lot forever ago inspired this post.
I am a hiker of the canyons. Local mountains have oak and sycamore trees that are hosts for mistletoe. They appear low enough to pluck but- I know better.What appears within reach from a distance is going to be a project. In Wyoming we used to shoot them down with a 22 to stop the parasite from weighing down apple trees. Here in California, I don't think the rangers would let me go without some monetary fine for shooting in designated natural areas.
In my mind I am still sixteen. I decided to climb the sycamores and knock down mistletoe for my project. The first attempt failed. An owl watched me without laughing.
My second trip I was prepared. I brought my ten essentials and: climbing rappelling ropes, a scythe for cutting and a short pole. The trick was to appear as any normal hiker ( using the stick like a walking aid).
I got up the tree easily but dropped the cutting tool in the first attempt. Wish I brought extra paracord to tie to the moon shaped cutter and just toss it over a branch before I started my second ascent. The scythe would be hanging ready like a Christmas ornament if only I had more rope.
After successfully gathering the green boughs I quietly carried them to the back of my car. It began to rain. Rain in California is a blessing. I placed the branches and leaves on my front porch to enjoy the clean off from the mist that evening. To my surprise the next morning the mistletoe had begun to turn light brown. Within a day it turned charcoal.
There must be some secret emerald glycerin those Scouts used... I brought the branches into the garage and experimented with left over gold and silver metallic spray paint. I wasn't that pleased with the first results. 

 I had some plaster of Paris in the craft bins, some glitter, iridescent modge podge and old grocery bags for the next part of my "project." I believe mistletoe is poisonous or so the Nordic legend with the arrow goes, but that's another story... I covered my kitchen counters and saved a few trimmings to keep the mistletoe from sticking to the paper.

See how dark and brittle it became in two days--
Old paint brush, recycled plastic container and recycled plastic spoon and fork. Keep the spoon dry and use the fork for stirring in the plastic cup. I ended up using my hands. Using my fingers was better because I could judge the plaster to be more liquid than toothpaste and firmer than cream. I did not measure. This is fun not work.

Above is a photo (all pics from my iphone) of my snowy white and green mistletoe. When they dried they were less fragile. I saved even the brown paper- I will use it as wrapping paper. The stencils of the mistletoe on the brown paper were graceful. The shadows of the mistletoe on my printed papers (saved from when I printed two parts of the Bible for my son Carson's school project) might also make some pretty cards.
If you receive one of my funky crafts this Christmas you will know they are made with love and a process like no other. My Pinterest friends would be proud. When I get them into glass ornaments I will post some more images. 

I read this formula that if you sell something on Etsy that costs X 2 plus labor X 2 = wholesale value. I spent a little on gas driving there but all my materials are from recycled things or left overs. But my time well that's priceless times two
For more mistletoe stories, Nordic lore, Christmas meaning of mistletoe - The Farmer's Almanac is very helpful
see here

In case you need a home mortgage : baby needs new shoes for Christmas

Monday, November 25, 2013

Say Grace in The Moment

 The aroma of rosemary and turkey roasting filled the house. They celebrated Thanksgiving on the weekend to accommodate in-laws, outlaws and parenting schedules. Great Grandmother's quilts covered the tables. Over the chatter of voices, Kitty continued to listen for his car. Cocktail hour passed, and the hors d'oeuvres  disappeared. The ache in her knee wasn't barometric pressure, it was the answer to her prayer about facing reality. He wasn't going to walk through that door.
"Lets hold hands when we say grace." Kitty's eldest Marie put out her small hand.
"Thank you Lord for all our blessings..."
Kitty's blonde hair was scrambled into a knotted bun. She did this to keep it out of the way. After dinner was finished she loosened the rubber band over the sink. A single bubble from the Dawn dish soap floated into her tresses. She could see it in her reflection of the window over the sink.
Iridescent like the beginnings of a tear drop, the bubble remained and did not pop. Kitty made one more wish prayer that he might just show for desert.
When the apple and rhubarb pies were passed Kitty felt as if barbed wire encircled her rib cage. Then something opened her heart. A drift wood log jam down stream broke apart the worry and loss. Here at the table sat those who she adored, and those who loved her back.
"Thank you all for coming. Amen."

Monday, September 2, 2013


Kisses for Seamus Heaney  and
another Irishman I love.
After Sleeping on the stairs of Notre Dame- wake stiff hipped from love,
before huddling under the Tour Eiffel break baguettes in the morning light,
 allow the crumbs to scatter like dandelion kites spreading sparks.
Put raspberries on fingertips - point as if they were wands, command them.
Moments snap past –
are they shooting stars or air support from Camp Pendleton?
Sounds of kissing before battle or passing daily gesture should be the same.
But they are not-
I make a digital image of your lips pressing upon mine.
The French say when prone.
Holding the emotion in the circle of my palms.
I cuddle into your lean torso for safety. 
You’re a swan with a flickering of LED police lights.
Is that sand or bread crumbs in your bed?
A trick Aurora Borealis but just as magical.
Can we feed the birds the specs of joy?
Embrace me as if it is our last moment.


poem copyright Caroline Gerardo

Friday, June 21, 2013


Rand Green saw his farm go dry. His ancestors survived five generations of hardship, but nothing like the Great Drought. First, there was water rationing. Only those who maintain their rights to underground wells, lakes or river runoff could produce food or keep livestock. Collecting rainwater was outlawed.

By 2022, McNally’s MME Corporation successfully purchased most of the riparian rights in the American West. MME systematically re-routed all the river water with their new dam. Other dams stopped generating hydroelectric power because of the water shortages. The New Macon Dam owned by MME remains operational.

If Rand doesn’t stop McNally, the President of MME, he believes there will be famine and wildfires that release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Rand packs tools, rations, automatic weapons and his family into the Bobcat, leaving behind the red baby swing on the clothesline.

“We will avenge the displaced.”                                                                  

Rand is raises his lean arm to brush the dust out of his eldest son’s hair.

“Listen children,” Rand reads from Isaiah 24:4 - 6

The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
    The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
    Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.”

Excerpt from novel in progress ECO TERRORIST

copyright © Caroline Gerardo 2013


Friday, May 17, 2013

Banned Books Panel

Tomorrow I am speaking with a panel of authors about banned books.

Saturday May 18, 2013 at Los Angeles Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Avenue, Sylmar, CA. 91342.

Banned Books Panel

Luis Rodriquez (Panel Moderator)

Frank Mundo

Caroline Gerardo

Melindo Palacios

Rudy Acuna

·                        Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson

· The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic

· Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic

· Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000) by P. Freire

· United States Government: Democracy in Action (2007) by R. C. Remy

· Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. Rosales

· Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1990) by H. Zinn.

High School Course Texts and Reading Lists Table 20: American Government/Social Justice Education Project 1, 2 – Texts and Reading Lists

· Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson

· The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (1998) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic

· Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2001) by R. Delgado and J. Stefancic

· Pedagogy of the Oppressed (2000) by P. Freire

· United States Government: Democracy in Action (2007) by R. C. Remy

· Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. Rosales

· Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology (1990) by H. Zinn

Table 21: American History/Mexican American Perspectives, 1, 2 – Texts and Reading Lists

· Occupied America: A History of Chicanos (2004) by R. Acuña

· The Anaya Reader (1995) by R. Anaya

· The American Vision (2008) by J. Appleby et el.

· Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years (1998) by B. Bigelow and B. Peterson

· Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A. Burciaga

· Message to Aztlán: Selected Writings (1997) by R. Gonzales

· De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views Multi-Colored Century (1998) by E. S. Martínez

· 500 Años Del Pueblo Chicano/500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures (1990) by E. S. Martínez

· Codex Tamuanchan: On Becoming Human (1998) by R. Rodríguez

· The X in La Raza II (1996) by R. Rodríguez

· Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History (2006) by F. A. Rosales

· A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present (2003) by H. Zinn


Course: English/Latino Literature 7, 8

· Ten Little Indians (2004) by S. Alexie

· The Fire Next Time (1990) by J. Baldwin

· Loverboys (2008) by A. Castillo

· Women Hollering Creek (1992) by S. Cisneros

· Mexican White Boy (2008) by M. de la Pena

· Drown (1997) by J. Díaz

· Woodcuts of Women (2000) by D. Gilb

· At the Afro-Asian Conference in Algeria (1965) by E. Guevara

· Color Lines: “Does Anti-War Have to Be Anti-Racist Too?” (2003) by E. Martínez

· Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy (1998) by R. Montoya et al.

· Let Their Spirits Dance (2003) by S. Pope Duarte

· Two Badges: The Lives of Mona Ruiz (1997) by M. Ruiz

· The Tempest (1994) by W. Shakespeare

· A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (1993) by R. Takaki

· The Devil’s Highway (2004) by L. A. Urrea

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· Puro Teatro: A Latino Anthology (1999) by A. Sandoval-Sanchez & N. Saporta Sternbach

· Twelve Impossible Things before Breakfast: Stories (1997) by J. Yolen

· Voices of a People’s History of the United States (2004) by H. Zinn

Course: English/Latino Literature 5, 6

· Live from Death Row (1996) by J. Abu-Jamal

· The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven (1994) by S. Alexie

· Zorro (2005) by I. Allende

· Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1999) by G. Anzaldua

· A Place to Stand (2002), by J. S. Baca

· C-Train and Thirteen Mexicans (2002), by J. S. Baca

· Healing Earthquakes: Poems (2001) by J. S. Baca

· Immigrants in Our Own Land and Selected Early Poems (1990) by J. S. Baca

· Black Mesa Poems (1989) by J. S. Baca

· Martin & Mediations on the South Valley (1987) by J. S. Baca

· The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools (1995) by D.

· C. Berliner and B. J. Biddle

· Drink Cultura: Chicanismo (1992) by J. A Burciaga

· Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States (2005) by L.

· Carlson & O. Hijuielos

· Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing up Latino in the United States (1995) by L. Carlson &

· O. Hijuelos

· So Far From God (1993) by A. Castillo

· Address to the Commonwealth Club of California (1985) by C. E. Chávez

· Women Hollering Creek (1992) by S. Cisneros

· House on Mango Street (1991), by S. Cisneros

· Drown (1997) by J. Díaz

· Suffer Smoke (2001) by E. Diaz Bjorkquist

· Zapata’s Discipline: Essays (1998) by M. Espada

· Like Water for Chocolate (1995) by L. Esquievel

· When Living was a Labor Camp (2000) by D. García

· La Llorona: Our Lady of Deformities (2000), by R. Garcia

· Cantos Al Sexto Sol: An Anthology of Aztlanahuac Writing (2003) by C. García-Camarilo et al.

· The Magic of Blood (1994) by D. Gilb

· Message to Aztlan: Selected Writings (2001) by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales

· Saving Our Schools: The Case for Public Education, Saying No to “No Child Left Behind” (2004)

· by Goodman et al.

· Feminism is for Everybody (2000) by b hooks

· The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1999) by F. Jiménez

· Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (1991) by J. Kozol

· Zigzagger (2003) by M. Muñoz

· Infinite Divisions: An Anthology of Chicana Literature (1993) by T. D. Rebolledo & E. S. Rivero

· …y no se lo trago la tierra/And the Earth Did Not Devour Him (1995) by T. Rivera

· Always Running – La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A. (2005) by L. Rodriguez

· Justice: A Question of Race (1997) by R. Rodríguez

· The X in La Raza II (1996) by R. Rodríguez

· Crisis in American Institutions (2006) by S. H. Skolnick & E. Currie

· Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854-1941 (1986) by T. Sheridan

· Curandera (1993) by Carmen Tafolla

· Mexican American Literature (1990) by C. M. Tatum

· New Chicana/Chicano Writing (1993) by C. M. Tatum

· Civil Disobedience (1993) by H. D. Thoreau

· By the Lake of Sleeping Children (1996) by L. A. Urrea

· Nobody’s Son: Notes from an American Life (2002) by L. A. Urrea

· Zoot Suit and Other Plays (1992) by L. Valdez

· Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert (1995) by O. Zepeda

· Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

· Yo Soy Joaquin/I Am Joaquin by Rodolfo Gonzales

· Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

· The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea  

Tucson’s Mexican American Literature program was decided to be considered illegal by Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. According to a state law he banned racially divisive courses from being taught in public schools.

Huppenthal wrote the law while he was a state senator. Huppenthal warned he would cut millions of dollars from the district’s budget should it fail to modify or eliminate the program to comply with the law. The district chose elimination.

In addition to disbanding the program, The Tucson Unified School District removed hundreds of books that had been part of its curriculum. Books were boxed, sometimes in front of astonished students, classes were suspended and classrooms stripped of any information about the novels, poetry anthologies and textbooks. The books were discarded in dumpsters.

Among the banned books were Rethinking Columbus: the Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow, Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado, Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

A student, teachers and director of MAS have sued the state, challenging the law as a violation of their First Amendment rights.