Good news Tuesday…Yes! part 2 #sol Tuesday

On March 5th, I wrote a slice of life story about my son’s writing homework when he was in 1st grade. I don’t want to repeat myself but just add facts I didn’t  have when I wrote the story by memory in Spain. Also I want to bring justice to Vincent’s teacher. It’s so true that to raise a child it takes a village.

———————————————

I am in Oregon right now. Sitting on a terrace chair in front of my computer writing in the only house we can called ours. The view from the dining room is amazing and brings me back so many and intense stories. I grew up surrounded by mountains. I miss them when they are not close to me. I love this house, I love this area. We left it almost ten years ago and now we want to conquer it back. If only I can get a job…

When we left to Spain, we had two containers full of boxes and books. One contained boxes labeled To storage in the USA, the other To Spain. The former with all the things  we couldn’t bring across the ocean in the other container.

Last weekend, my son visited me from Montana. He was as in awe as I was. He was 11 when we left. Looking at the place and the area with adult eyes got him.  We decided to enter in the To storage in the USA container that sits in one corner of our property. Entering in it was like entering in a time capsule. By the way we stored things it looked like we had left in a hurry and started putting together in the same box whatever we had at hand. One of the things that we found was my son’s school planner of 2004, when he was in 1st grade. It was a really neat idea of having kids practice their handwriting at the same time of a way of communicating with parents. On the left side of the planner Vincent wrote everyday a sentence that summarized or highlighted something that the class did that day. We needed to initial it every time. My husband and I remember starting great conversations with our son thanks to just that sentence. It was such a handy way of knowing what happen in school instead of receiving a dull “good” as an answer when we asked how was school today?

On the right side of the planner, Vincent had to write the words of the week, and it was space for us to write a message to the teacher and communicate with her.

When we started looking at the planner, Vincent was first of all amazed of all the writing and communication that was on it. When he flipped the pages, and read messages that either me or his dad wrote

Vincent will ride the bus today… Vincent will leave early today because he has a doctor’s appointment…, Vincent will stay in the after school program today…Vincent misplaced his reading log and is very worried…

he asked me: Did the teacher has to do this, check and write back in all children’s planners every day?

Yes! I know. It’s a lot of work — I answered. But so worth it. At least in our case.

And here it was. The explanation of the Tuesday News writing assignment and how we solved with Vincent the fact he needed to write every Tuesday and Thursday.  I knew Ms. Coleman’s words were sacred for Vincent. Not so much mine.

Written in pencil:

9/27/04

Dear Ms. Coleman, We received the homework packet. What’s not clear to Vincent or myself is what does he has to do when says as an assignment “Good news writing…(Tue & Thurs). I would really appreciate it if you could clarify that to Vincent (and maybe myself?) 🙂 Thanks, Pia (Vincent’s mom)

And then in green marker

Sure. I told the kids on Monday that we would practice it on Tuesday. It should be clear to him now. It is basically a journal (about anything he wants to write about…soccer, his family, etc.. He could also write a story, or poems, or a play. On Friday he will choose one of his journal entries to share with the class. Hope this helps!

I knew that it was something that I needed to keep. I couldn’t throw away all the stories that Vincent’s first grade planner contained, and all the good and hard work that all of us did.

Ms. Coleman, wherever you are, thank you for your time, sense of humor, patience, and help in raising such an amazing human being as Vincent.

 

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Airports’ conversations #sol Tuesday

Richmond airport 9:30 am

—Hey Molly make sure they send me the right one.

—…

—You will see it on the email they sent this morning. I just forwarded it.

—…

—I sent my comments. Go to Concatenate America first dot com. Other than that, I think we’re in really good shape.

—…

—When do you think you will have the first draft to reveal?

—…

—If it’s not a big lift, Wednesday would be great.

—…

—Thank you all for your hard work. I’m going to drop off.

Business phone conversations at the airport are boring. Nothing juicy that I can hang from. Maybe the fact that Molly’s life is so messed up at this time that having the draft being”revealed” on Wednesday is a big lift.

Philly’s airport 11:35 am

I’m leaning forward to listening to conversations. It’s hard. Everybody is so quiet. I should change sits to get a better story. Too many lonely travelers glued to their silence phones. No spoken words besides the one from the airport speakers announcing flights departures, and mandatory reminders. Will I have time to post this on Tuesday? I’m one of those lonely travelers glued to the phone.

Oh no! One of the announcements  is that my flight is running late. I hope it doesn’t mess up my connection in L.A. Or is it groundhog day?

In front of me is a couple in their early seventies. She has short curly black gray hair. She is doing Sudokus while her husband is reading the newspaper. She wears glasses, so does he. Both are wearing grey jerseys and black pants. His hair is whiter. She is wearing black boots that go almost passed her knees. Her earrings are big round silver hula hoops and her neck is wrapped on a greyish white, black calypso scarf. In one of their unzipped bags I see two bananas floating among some paperwork. The woman started to talk to the neighboring couple. They are sharing horror stories about delayed airplanes. Very uplifting.

The waiting area is getting packed. Some excited faces are turning unhappy. It’s 12:01 and our airplane hasn’t showed up yet. Our scheduled  flight is at 12:35. Two old women are looking at their wrist watches while young people are frantically texting.

12:10 My plane arrived. It’s a question of unloading the passengers from Charlottesville and I will be on my way in an already worn out warm seat. I hope it’s not in the very middle. I hate to feel trapped unable to look through the window or go to the bathroom as I wish on my will.

I better “drop off.” I might have to run to my next flight and won’t arrive before midnight EST to my final destination to get this unconscious flow of thoughts published. (Excuse my 27 words last sentence. Everything looks tighter on a phone.)

Day 31. Saying goodbye is like dying a little #sol19

slice-of-life_individualMarch 31st

Partir, c’est mourir un peu,
Partir es morir un poco
Parting is dying a little

Edmond Haraucourt

Goodbye Virginia, welcome Oregon

Goodbye daughter, welcome son

Goodbye Winter, welcome Spring

Goodbye March, welcome April

Goodbye English, welcome Spanish

Goodbye parties, welcome solitude

Goodbye Richmond, welcome Redmond

Goodbye James river, welcome Deschutes

Goodbye weekend, welcome new working week

Goodbye full house, welcome empty home

Goodbye cold days, welcome warm and flowers

Goodbye warm days, welcome still cold and snow

Goodbye refrigerator full of food of different people’s taste, welcome abandoned refrigerator with nothing

Goodbye Mati’s thrifty red car, welcome gas eater white  pickup

Goodbye writer’s block, welcome inspiration

Goodbye faithful commentators, welcome random visitors

Goodbye welcome wagon volunteers, welcome me to the cart

Goodbye Slice of Life story challenge, welcome Classroom SOLSC

Goodbye Slice of Life story challenge, it has been a pleasure, welcome in search for a job challenge, it will be exciting

Parting is dying a little, arriving insufflates life.

I did it! Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Day 30. Tiredness is a good feeling #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 30th

Only 2 days…the Slice of Story challenge is winding down, many people are on Spring break trying to squeeze the last minutes of relaxation to the max, slices are shorter and comments on my own blog are skimpier. It seems that everybody is tired. Some teachers are also preparing for April’s classroom Slice of Story challenge. Wow. That’s really commendable.

I am not the exception. I am tired but in a good way. It’s like when I go for a long bike ride and all my muscles ache and I am worn out to the point that I can’t rest. Suddenly, the whole body gives up and collapsescollapses . But feels good.

Now it´s almost 1 am of March 30th. I will have a busy day. My daughter of 23 years old decided to celebrate her birthday as she was 5. We went biking together to the supermarket, bought candies for the piñata, hot-dogs, ice-cream, and some goodies. I am making a hand made piñata remembering the ones I made when she and her brother were little. I just made a cake that tomorrow I have to put layers of strawberry jam and dulce de leche that I still need to find somewhere. And the frosting, and finishing the piñata. Oh, and we are going to raft the James river in the morning. And is almost 1 am. And I am tired, but it´s a good tiredness, the kind that leaves you feeling good..

Day 29. Spanglish brain #sol19 #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualMarch 29th

I can’t believe there are only three days left for the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I might have a postpartum depression. In April I will continue the challenge in Spanish. I feel I have abandoned my native language during this month. I have written very sloppy stories for my writing workshop. It seems as my neurons can’t switch so fast. Sometimes it’ s hard in both languages. Random sloppiness, sloppy randomness, Spanglish brain. There are some Chilean words in Spanish that I can’t express in English and viceversa


 

Regalona. I will never find a word like this in any other  Spanish country or in the English language. It’s being spoiled, mimada, but in a positive way. It’s a person who loves to cuddle, to give and receive kisses, it’s being spoiled, and loved all at the same time.

Upset. The brevity  of this word compared with the intense feelings that express has always amazed me.

Gorgeous. I heard this word for the first time when I arrived in the US. I find it so cacophonous. I have mix-feeling when I use it. In fact, I don’t think I can use it. Only in writing.

Awesome. This word has been overused but I think is just because combines so many things at the same time that other words can’t convey.

Guatona. Literally this is having a big belly but in my family is an expression of deep affection that I can’t express in other ways. It’s a family secret code.

Chanchada. When you eat something really good but you know you are sinning. This happen a lot in my family.

Pan con palta. Wait. Bread with avocado, avocado toast. Nope. Nothing compares to a pan con palta. It evokes my childhood, my children’s childhood, the very essence of health, simplicity, and feeling lucky for being able to afford it.

Hot-dog. An American hot-dog is expensive, aseptic, dry and boring. A Chilean hot-dog or Completo is juicy, full of colors and very cheap. Maybe Cotsco hot–dogs are the exemption to the rule.

McCannudos. Our chat, our family last name can be awesome in Spanish.

Excruciating. It has some onomatopoeic sounds. It’s like the sound of being crucified.

Quinn or Queen? I never knew the difference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 28. The kitchen table #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 28th:

I sit down on one of the two wooden hard chairs probably that have been picked up at the lawn of somebody´s house. I find a corner where I can place my computer on the kitchen table. The table is filled with things that might tell you a little bit of the inhabitants of this house.

There is a hard plastic Halloween bowl with one orange, three bananas (that I bought), a belt, some garlic cloves and a cell phone cord. On top is a book of Villalobos Solo Guitar music. Behind the bowl, in one of the corners, is a huge plastic container with cheese balls. Next to it is an open box of Honey Graham crackers with one package inside. Then there are two plastic packages of chopped dates, and two of dry cherries and blueberries respectively.

A sort of Cuisinart blender lies next. In between is an iron dark blue basket with the remaining parts of the blender and its instructions. It looks that hasn´t been used too much. Five cans of Kroger´s kidney beans are balancing on one of the other corners like if they were part of a fair stand. A black nail polish is hidden between the blender and the bean cans. I paint my thumb nail with it.

An unopened package of 7 rolls of dog poop bags rests next to my computer. My daughter´s very dirty fanny bag with a roll of quarters is in front of the blender. Besides it´s a Cotsco Kirkland container with one fifth of whole fancy cashews. I grab a couple with some concern that they might not be my daughter´s but from one of her roommates. There is an almost gone toilet paper, a wrapped set of earplugs,  and a plugin for USB cables that looks dangerous. It´s been repaired with scotch tape.

An also almost gone roll of paper towels is stuck on a wooden stick holder. An unopened Tortuga Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee rum cake is inside a fancy box. I wonder when it´s the expiration date. I couldn´t find it. A bottle of prescribed antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections dated March 19th, 2019 rests casually next to the cashews. A blue long rectangular box with Japanese letters is under the cheese balls. I open it. A very nice and fancy Japanese knife is waiting to be used.

A set of computer speaker, six birthday glitter candles, a Delta napkin-spoon set (my contribution), a plastic round container half filled with change, and an unknown man´s ID card make up the rest of the table.

I am impressed of how many things can fit on a table.

Tell me what do you have on your kitchen table and I’ll tell you who you are.

kitchen1.jpg

Day 27. The traveling queen #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individual

March 27th

I smile to the woman who was at the counter. She looks at me cheerfully.

—May I help you?

I give her my passport.

—Any suitcase?

—Yes, one.

—Do you want it all the way to your final destination?

—Yes, I don’t want to see it again!…Well, what I meant to say is that I don’t want to see it in between. Only when I arrive in DC.

I cross my fingers that it didn’t weight more than 23 kilos. The scale shows 24.5. As I usually do when I am nervous, I start to talk non-stop just if my words could distract the flight attendant from looking at the scale.

—Celeste, that’s a pretty name. I am visiting my daughter in the US. I am very excited. Tomorrow is her birthday.

My husband, sensing this was going to be a long chat, decides to step aside and checks his emails on his phone.

— Here are your boarding cards, and the ticket for your luggage.

I glance my suitcase while she sticks the tag around the handle.

—Wait. It doesn’t say DCA on the tag. That’s my final destination, and I don’t see it on my suitcase.

—Oh. Ok. I will check again.

I watch painfully as the attendant punches the computer, and prints a new tag.

—Now. Here is your tag.

—But it’s only to Detroit.

—The thing is that the system is not letting me check your suitcase all the way to DCA. You might have to collect it in Detroit and check it in again.

—No, no, no. I am not. You should try to check it in all the way to DCA, please.

—I am new. This is my first day.

She whispers the last sentence as she is confiding me a great secret, and waves to her supervisor.

—Wow. Congratulation!

I smile genuinely happy that she has a new job but damning my bad luck. A sixty something man shows up on the counter and starts swearing in front of the computer, in a way that only Spaniards can swear that makes you smile.

Este vuelo de los cojones me tiene harto. Qué mañanita llevamos. Excuse my language, but we are having a hard time this morning.

—Don´t worry. Take your time. Breathe in, breathe out. As long as you can send my suitcase to my final destination, I am OK.

I give my best cheerful encouragement. The new girl observes from behind her boss´shoulders with a beatific smile.

—I am very lucky to have such an understanding supervisor— she confides me while understanding supervisor was having a personal war with the system. Pretty soon there are four people staring at the computer. Login out, login in, shaking it, unplugging it, whisper on the screen, throw some magic powder, special spell, praying hard, sweating, jumping…

No sé que coños pasa. Excuse me again. I will have to do it manually.

—Ok. Thanks…

I even surprised myself on how good I handle the stress. I wave to my husband giving him the thumbs up.

I rush into security after giving solid hug and kiss to my husband who waits for me to pass the gate. I am surprised. He is the type of guy that as soon as the good byes are given turns his back and return to his car.

I unload all my gadgets in three different trays. Only two of them made it. Where is my carry-on?

They opened it. Two of the heaviest Harry Potter books show up. They were the only books my daughter wanted me to bring her from all the things she has left behind in Spain. Then the security guard pulls out something that looks like a long blue snake.

—What is this?

—Oh, no! My bicycle lock!

—Señora, you can´t travel with this on the plane.

—Oh shit! I thought about it, but it was so heavy, I didn´t want to check it in my already heavy bag…

—Was anybody with you at the airport? We can give it to him. Otherwise, what you can do is go outside, tie the lock on a pole, and then when you come back, you can retrieve it.

—Really? Do you think I can do that? But where do I lock it? Maybe, juts let me call my husband and see if he is still here…
Steve? Are you still at the airport? Can you keep my lock?

I watch the guard giving my husband the chain. I move my lips to say thank you and blow him a kiss.

—Well, I really appreciate your understanding and the fact you gave me some options. Have a great day!

I enter in the waiting room at my gate searching for a sit. Not even five minutes later, I hear on the speaker that the weather in Amsterdam is really bad, and we won´t be able to take off until 2:20 pm. I looked at my watch. It´s 10:30 am. I check at my Amsterdam connection. I approach the counter.

—Excuse me, sir. I have a connection at 3:30 pm in Amsterdam. I will miss it!

—Yes, you will!

No more help whatsoever. I won´t arrive on time to my daughter´s birthday. I start crying and all my politeness is gone.

—————

Two days later…

—Thank you for calling Delta Airlines Baggage Claim Service. We are sorry you didn´t receive your luggage. Please say your claim code…

I hate this taped help. The machine doesn´t understand my accent. I need to get a real person.

—Hello. My name is Wilbur. What can I do for you today?

—Yes, could you please check if it´s any news about my suitcase? It never make it to the final destination last Monday.

—May I have your claim number?

—Yes, T as an David, C as in California, T as an dog, B as an Vincent, eight, four, three, one.

I am almost sure that these is how it sounds. I hate to spell in English.

—Good news, mam. Your suitcase is in Detroit, and tomorrow it will be drop off at the address you provided when you submitted the claim.

—Thank you!!!

I was a little tired to wear my daughter´s underwear.

socks (Small)
When your luggage doesn’t make it, you develop a new style. The only thing I don´t like about my daughter clothes are her underwear. Too small for my taste. I like old granny undies.

Day 26. The days of your birthdays… #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 26th

Today is my daughter’s 23rd birthday and I am physically with her. I arrived yesterday at midnight. She picked me up, and said Aren’t you going to wish me happy birthday?

It has been a while since I don´t spend a birthday with her. The last time was when she turned 18th in high school and I went to her classroom during Physics class dressed up as the cat in the hat, and read Oh the places you will go, and the poem of Pablo Neruda Hoy que es el cumpleaños de mi hermana . My voice got broken with this poem, since our son was in the States, and I was missing him dearly.  While I was reading I glanced at her classmates, and saw a couple of girls drying her tears, and some of the boys looking at me in dismay. —Oh,oh— I thought Now I really messed things up.

But I have brought a cake, sodas and birthday hats. They were running around like kindergarten kids. Later my daughter told me that she felt a little bit embarrassed but her classmates could go through anything  for food and skipping Physics.

I don´t know exactly what are we going to do today. The year she left for college my celebrations of her birthday have been virtual.

When she turned 21, I made her a booklet that it did mortified her a little bit. I spent quite a few hours making a book for her in Story Jumper. I shared  the link in Facebook very excited. The link passed unnoticed that day and the followings. When you turn 21, the least you are worried about is your mom´s birthday wishes. I sensed that and the following Christmas I printed the book and mailed it to her place since we were going to spend winter holidays at her home. I had put too many hours on that book to get it passed ignored without glory or pity.

When the package arrived, she opened it nonchalantly without asking me, and decided to place the booklet on her chimney for all her friend to see how weird her mom was. When I arrived, she greeted me with a grin and told me What were you thinking ,ma? Who in the world would like to see a bloody baby (literally) on the cover of a book, let alone your boobs???

—Oh! Well, Merry Christmas, guati. That was your Christmas present—I answered.

In the cover of the book, I had put a a photo of  her arrival to this world, still tied to me by her umbilical cord. Inside the book was a photo of me breast feeding her. Ooops.

Despite everything, I love those photos. They remind me of motherhood in the early stages when everything is very physical and intense.

The days of your birthdays.png
My Story Jumper Story for Matilde´s 21st birthday

19 Happy 19th Birthday Matilde YouTube

When Matilde turned 19th, I made these ABCs on PowToon

 

 

Everything started when I made her a book called “The days of your birthdays” inspired by Cynthia Ryland’s Birthdays Presents (1991) when she turned 8.

My birthday’s stories are complete, now is her turn to continue them.

But that’s another slice.

 

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Day 25. Proud mamá on the road again… #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individual

March 25th

In an hour I am taking off to the States. I am so excited. I will be arriving for my daughter’s 23rd birthday. I haven’t celebrated a birthday with her since she turned 18 in 2014, when she graduated from high school in Spain. This year she will be graduating from VCU. I am so proud of her. Double mayor, Economics and Political Science, and a minor in Arabic. On top of that, and I think for this she should receive a huge certificate, she is graduating with no debt, and very little help from us. She worked relentless hours one year prior to college and during all her four college years. Some weeks she was working 30 hours besides her classes and study. There are no words that can reflect how proud I am of her.

MyStar
Matilde, you are my Star

Mati

Strong since day one

M&V
Mama’s pride

Day 24. I can accept the challenge but can’t compete #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individual

March 24th

Honestly, I can´t pick just one person to enter this weekend challenge. Remember my motto is why make things easier if you can make them much more complicated!

As a writer, who has encouraged me, moved me, inspired me, and lift me up?

I can´t compete. It is forbidden to mention ALL my patience and consistent visitors and commentators. I would be disqualified if I enter. I can’t just pick ONE. Genuinely, all of them have been sweet, funny, connected, and many times I have caught myself writing with them in synchronicity.

Lanny Ball , Fran Hayle, Katie Diez, and Brian Rozinsky are my steady commentators. They visit my blog if not every single day, almost. They never fail to leave a comment for me to read which is very uplifting, especially when I start to know them better, and get curious of what will catch more their attention. Even though I know Brian, Fran, and Katie are part of the welcome wagon volunteers, and that maybe I was “assigned” to one or two of them to make sure my slices were not orphans of comments, I think that they genuinely are enjoying the torture of reading my very long sentences hahaha.

Lanny on the other side, as part of the creative Two Writing Teachers team can’t be even be mentioned in the challenge! He was forced to read me after my annoying appearance in his blog since the beginning of March. Since my last name starts with A, he was cursed to be my designated “counselor” in the event I have questions, and I did. Now, I almost think I know his habits, or at least I imagine them. I assume he gets up really early, probably around 5 or 5:30 am and writes his slice, Then he goes and comment on a couple of them and then starts the jog of his busy life.

This quote from his blog describes how I picture him (He said it, not me!)

I wonder if sometimes the lockers chuckle to themselves- “There he goes again, running late.”

Lanny Ball, SOLSC ’19 Day 21

Probably he doesn´t take a break until 10 pm when he may check or not some blogs. I imagine many times he just drops dead in bed.

Katie and Brian, on the other hand are more random in their publishing at least for me. I don’t know when they click the publish button, probably for two reasons: Brian has a blogspot so he doesn’t show up in my wordpress feeds. Katie’s blog took me until yesterday to find since every time I press on her gravatar, it says that she has deleted her blog. Yesterday, I took the time to dig deeper, and I found Katie’s Korner!

I don´t imagine their routines so well as Lanny’s but usually they comment in the evenings when I am getting ready to go to sleep or I am already sleeping. It’s gratifying to get up the next morning and read their uplifting and witty comments.

Brian’ s skiing slices made me jealous but mostly happy since he reminds me of my son and his love for snow.

I like this quote from one of his first slices in March 2019, where he describes to non-skiers what skiing is all about

“For non-skiers among you slicers and readers, imagine dancing lightly through soft, white space in a way that feels simultaneously slow and thrillingly fast.”

Brian SOLSC ’19 Day 3

Katie is really good at giving me comments of encouragement, and to keep writing. She always picks one or two lines she likes, and then develop her comment tied to them. I really appreciate that.

Even though Fran looks much younger than me, she has a son around the same age as mine, and I muse myself at the idea that 21 years ago we were wondering around the world pregnant at the same time. It makes us not just writers but motherhood buddies. I hope she wins something one time. She not only write beautifully but she endured the 75 comments challenge with grace and gratefulness.

Jennifer Floyd told me she was glad she discovered my blog just two days ago. It felt good as she enjoys the whole me writing and not just one random slice, even when she might not comment at all. I do that with many blogs. Sometimes I read so many entries, that I end breathless and wordless.

Diane and Lynne puzzles me because I never know who is writing the comment, Diane Esolen Dougherty or Lynne R. Dorfman? Still, I appreciate their bits of advise and nice comments. Their slice of today “Alfabetically speaking, you’re OK” left me thinking about the time I live in Chile under Pinochet and how so much hate and fear was in the atmosphere.

Terje at Just for a month is my ESL buddy, and have given me encouragement and understanding.

Like the humor and honesty with which you write. Wordjourneysite is a retired English teacher that writes endearing pieces on her blog. I enjoy her journey along with Lemon, her sweet granddaughter. I feel very honored when she stops by and drops me a comment.

There are so many other people that I haven’t mentioned that have commented on my blog. As the Two Writing Teachers rightly say, stories without readers are not stories. I really appreciate all comments because they become my story.

I arrive at your blog, looking forward to what I’ll find since it’s unpredictable. Brian left that comment one time, and I chuckled. It made me wonder if that made me choose as a husband a very patient individual, who I have to say, has been the number one cheerleader during this slice of life story challenge. He is my triage screener and confidence builder. When I feel insecure, uneasy or maybe that I might be out of whack, I show him my drafts before clicking the publish button. Probably, I should give him the full recognition and nominate him. It’s too bad he is not doing the challenge, because he has a blog, and is a good and clever writer.

Mati a tope (Small)
Thank you for all your comments!