April, National Poetry Month #SOLTuesday

Today is SOL Tueday, and I am so happy I can share something!

At my school, I challenged all students and staff to do the activity Poets ask, EGMS Huskies respond. We draw two students and one staff each week. Students receive a poetry book or a novel in verse and a congratulation card and staff receive Spanish hand painted ceramic graciously donated by GringoCool.

Since I can’t compete I decided to write a poem to encourage students to return late books to the library. Bear with me. I have never been very good at writing poems.

Update: Today I read the poem through the Intercom, and it was quite an experience. I think if I weren’t a librarian, I would have loved to have a radio program.

What’s stopping you from coming to the library?

by Pia Alliende

What’s stopping you from coming to the library?
It’s a book owed at your former elementary?
Or a late returned fee
or a book covered with pee?

Do you have books under your bed
since the start of the pandemic?
Listen, we’re not going to be polemic
Just bring them in
to give another reader a chance
since it’s not a deadly sin.
Your librarian doesn’t bark,
scream or shush

If you find books from ANY type of library,
(and I mean ANY)
Just bring them in a hurry
no need to blush or get your eyes blurry.
You will get a rolly rancher
For every book that passes the scanner.

Librarians around the world will be rejoice
that you made a good choice
and their books can start to be read,
returned, read returned again and again.

Just say something if they are lost
or somebody had them tossed
We can work out the cost.

Your late fines have been deleted
but most important than that
is that at your library we are committed
Your voice matters and is essential
and at the library we will keep it
confidential

¿Qué te impide venir a la biblioteca?

por Pia Alliende

¿Qué te impide venir a la biblioteca?
¿Es un libro que debes en tu antigua primaria?
O una deuda que tienes por devolución tardía
o un libro cubierto de pis?

¿Tienes libros debajo de tu cama?
desde el inicio de la pandemia?
Escucha, no vamos a ser polémicos
Solo tráelos
para darle una oportunidad a otro lector o lectora
ya que no es un pecado mortal.
Tu bibliotecaria no ladra,
grita o te hace callar

Si encuentras libros de CUALQUIER tipo de biblioteca,
(y me refiero a CUALQUIERA)
Solo tráelos de prisa
no es necesario sonrojarse o desgarrar tu camisa.
Recibirás un rolly rancher
Por cada libro que pase el scanner
Los bibliotecarios y bibliotecarias de todo el mundo se regocijarán
Y tu buena elección honrarán
ya que sus libros volverán a leerse, devolver, leerse y devolver una y otra vez.

Solo di algo si están perdidos
o alguien los tiró con un berrido
Podemos aminorar el costo.

Se han eliminado tus multas tardías
pero más importante que eso
es que en tu biblioteca estamos contigo
Tu voz importa y es fundamental
y lo guardaremos
como algo confidencial

Prizes for the winners each week: A card and a book

Day 31: On a razor edge #sol2021 #solsc

I did it for the third time! This year I did it on a razor edge, though. But I am getting to the end of epic 2021 Slice of Life Story Challenge. It was hard. More difficult than the other two years. While going biking today after work, I reflected about the why it was more difficult. The answer will be probably the same one as many slicers.

My first year, I started the challenge in Spain. I was excited and nervous but I did a lot of things that March of 2019. Also, I was six hours ahead of EST, so I can write leisurely, without worrying of not meeting the deadline. In March 2019, I travelled (ugh, what’s that?) Yes, I took airplanes and visited the US and returned to Spain without a mask. I visited my daughter for her birthday and came to Oregon to explore work possibilities. Many people commented in my blog, especially my three welcome wagon volunteers. That was really sweet and amazing. The encouragement felt great and we establish genuine dialogs.

My second year, I was 8 months back in the US working in a new school, and on day 12 we went into lockdown. I had lots of time to write but probably not the peace of mind. Still Covid was new and we commiserated together our fears and writing about Covid was OK since it was the only thing around us. Comments were of support and hope.

My third year, now, found me working full in site from 6:30 am to 3 pm or later (let’s say it, later. Period) Now, I tried not to write too much about Covid, we are all tired of the abominable virus and all the protocols to avoid it. Still it permeated the atmosphere. Working glued to the computer and returning home to continue glued to it was not very appealing. If the weather was nice, it was much more attractive to go for a hike, a ride or just read a book or binge a Netflix Series (the last was Who killed Sarah? in three days).

As Sally Donnelly expressed it so eloquent in her blog post, we are all tired of our screen-time, our own bubble, and isolation. I caught myself whining a lot, especially about the EST deadline and lack of comments. It would be fun if next year we can be secret commentators. Each person get assigned randomly another slicer and they visit that blog author regularly and comment on their slice. They don’t know who is the secret commentator, they will know their name and might suspect especially if it’s the only person that comments but that way we all get to support another person every day. For me, the oral comments of my husband were super important to keep it up.

The slices that I thought harder, were the less visited, and the ones done in quickly with no substance, were more seen. I felt a little shy. Nonetheless, I am shameless. The perks of not been read widely hahaha. There were actual moments that I wished nobody read me. Still, I crave for comments but I didn’t want to plan my slices, or write them all at once and then put them in the calendar. For me, it was important that the exercise was done withing the boundaries of each day (Even though I felt 3 hours were stolen from me hahaha. I am very obsessive. Covid is enhancing my dark side).

This year I felt like one of those students that they see the incentive so far from their realm that they throw in the towel. I was on the verge but didn’t because I am stubborn and might enjoy living on a razor edge. Sometimes.

Riding my bike helps me find my balance

Day 30: Arf, arf, woof, woof, guau, guau #SOLSC #SOL2021

After yesterday’s hacked slice by Clyde, I have at home a very sad blind dachshund. Not even one person visited his post, zero comments or likes. Not even Steven, so nobody is even (probably understandable since Clyde left a mix review of him). Still, I thought that this is not fair.

For this reason the title of this slice is just Clyde whining, barking and crying in all the languages he knows. What upsets him the most is that Buck received raving comments on his slices.

Clyde is thinking, thinking, like Winnie the Pooh. He might hire somebody that can alter the algorithms of my blog. He thinks Poncho could be a great choice.

Poncho can charm y’all to go back one day and read slice #29.

Day 29: About time #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Today, I am hacking Pia’s computer. She hasn’t invite me to be a guest blogger but I think it’s about time that I write. She has been participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge since 2019, and she has NEVER written about me or given me the chance to show my storytelling skills in this platform. However, she has given Buck the opportunity, TWICE. There are only three days left of this year challenge. I have to say it again, it’s about time.

Let me introduce myself. I am Clyde. On April 2nd I will be turning 15 years old. I am originally from Oregon, but when I was 3 years old we moved to Spain, where I spent ten years. I got accustom to the leisurely pace of the Sevilla countryside, sunbathe almost 9 months per year, and take plenty of naps. Two years ago, my life changed again and I had to get adjusted back. Kind of a return home culture shock. I have to confess though, that I really do like the heating system here. Much better than in Spain where we were relegated to the kitchen which was very windy in the winter, since it didn’t have any insulation. I am not the young stud anymore. Or Queen, since Spaniards always thought that I was a girl, due to my petite size compared to my two buddies. I am a genuine miniature, they weren’t.

I used to be more athletic but lately my bones hurt a lot, and sounds more appealing to sleep the entire day than go outside. Don’t take me wrong. I would love to be able to go outside, but when Pia and Steve are not at home, I can’t. I am scared of the front stairs that are after passing the doggie door. It took me a while to get accustom to feel that heavy plastic rubbing on my neck, every time I cross it. I can only imagine the size of that door. Probably for mastodons.

Anyway, the stairs in question don’t meet the ADA requirements. If Steve weren’t such a good person, I would report him. I know I am not the only one that struggle with the stairs. Buck told me that Pia, when she leaves the house to go to work at 6 am, she goes very slow down the steps, not only because it’s really dark outside (unless it’s full moon) but because those stairs are steep. She is afraid that when she grows older, she will fall and break a hip, and probably Steve will get rid of her.

I am not saying this lightly. For last Steve’s birthday, we went for a 3 miles hike in the Cascades Mountains. It was a lot of uphill, and I did maybe half of it walking and the other half in a little bag they bought especially for me. The thing is that after all that effort, especially the one going up, and stumbles on rocks, and unexpected bushes, I got a kink in my neck. It was very painful. Every time Steve picked me up, I started crying in despair. I couldn’t help it. Buck and Poncho were not of any help either since every time I complained, they started to make a racket like if I were in real danger. Steve thought that my last days were coming, and when his children called for Pia’s birthday four days after his birthday, he told them that probably they were going to put me to sleep. I thank the Virgin Mary and all the angels that Pia was born that day since she set her foot very firm down, looked at Steve in the eyes and exclaimed: No! I refused to put Clyde to sleep on my birthday!

Not everything is about you, Pia. Clyde is suffering. When I heard that, I realized that if I didn’t change my attitude, my destiny was doomed. So I decided to put my best puppy face, wag my tail happily, and emit some barks of joy. It did work. I was healed.

Pia said that I am like Lazarus. When I was 6 months old, a rattle snake bit me. I laid in bed for three days, without eating and only drinking water by a spoon. At the third day, I got up, and walked. With a limp in my rear end left leg that I still have, but walked. It was a miracle. After that, I acknowledge, I started to behave like a prima donna, a very optimistic prima donna, always happy, always wagging my tale, but always with thirst of attention. I have the middle child complex, I guess. Always seeking attention.

Today though, I am more like Bartimaeus from Jericho, since I can’t see a thing, and I can barely hear. For this reason, every time they put me outside, I bark my way in. It’s my system to scare all the rattle snakes in the summer, and the coyotes on the cold winter nights.

My smell and taste senses haven’t disappeared yet, and probably won’t disappear until I die. Food is my passion these days. I have to be very careful though. Buck, even though is respectful of my food and space, sometimes get carried away when I lose track of a morsel thrown while Steve cook. My strategy? Stay at Steve’s feet waiting for a mishap, or just compassion of my human buddy. After supper, he always picks me up, and put me between his legs while stretched in the sofa watching a Netflix series. He covers me with a warm poncho bought in La Ligua, falling asleep in unison. I really love Steve. Despite his extreme attitude towards my aging and the approximation of my end. I know he does it because he loves me, and he can’t stand seeing me suffering. As far as I know, I still have some time left. My renaissance was from prima donna to survivor. About time.

Day 28: Less is more, really? Well, sometimes

Less talk, more action
Less sugar, more sweetness
Less homework, more painting

Less barking, more listening

Less multitasking, more things done
Less toxic, more healing

Less macho attitude, more women safe
Less gun controls, more shootings

Less worksheets to fill, more free reading in class

Less glue, more nails
Less couching, more biking
Less biking, more depression
Less Spanish, more cries
Less poetry, more gray in the skies

Less libraries, more books on your lonely shelves
Less librarians, more fake news
Less driving, more hiking
Less drinking, more thinking
Less pot, more thoughts

Less plastic, more oceans 🌊

Less travel, more reading

Less salt, more GringoCool extra virgin olive oil 😜

Less dogs, more cats
Less cats, more mice
Less construction, more nature
Less wind, more warmth

Less coffee, more taste. Really? Not, really.

Day 27: Tricking the EST deadline #SOLSC #SOL2021

Dear reader:

My apologies if you see this very brief message but I just arrived from a bike ride and don’t have time to write something before 9pm. So, I will post it before the deadline and eventually I will write something from the comfort of my bed. I promise it will be before midnight.

I’m considering also, that this could be my slice. Nobody said length. For your enjoyment, I will put some photos of my bike ride

Good night 🌃!

Día/Day 26: Un globo desinflado #SOL2021 #SOLSC #MultiFri

Hoy no me apetece escribir ni siquiera en mi lengua materna. Hay veces que cosas que ocurren durante las primeras horas de la mañana te punzan tan fuerte, aunque sea una tontera, que te dejan como un globo desinflado todo el día. Quiero salir a andar en bici para sacarme la apretura del pecho y no sentir esa sensación que estoy en un cumpleaños equivocado o, que por apurar la fiesta, he sido yo la que he reventado todos los globos. O que nunca los hubo, o que no había ninguna intención de celebrarlo u olvidarlo. En fin, el caudal de mi mente está saturado, entaponado con gases tóxicos. No tengo otra manera de sacudirlos que respirar aire puro, aunque me muera de frío o me quede para siempre envuelta en una niebla.

Hoy es el cumpleaños de mi hija. Habría querido sentirme mejor. Quizás todas mis fuerzas se fueron cuando le escribí una carta a mano por espacio de tres horas, o la kriptonita me quitó las reservas que tenía. Mañana será otro día. Puede que las vacaciones sin un propósito no me hagan bien. Me recuerdan demasiado los primeros días de la pandemia.

Day 25: Gabby dog to the rescue #SOL2021 #SOLSC

I am been on a Zoom meeting with my Spanish Writing Workshop the entire morning, so little time for switching to English mode. I want to go outside before is too late.

Today, Gabby, from BaffleGab will rescue me, and tell me what to write. I need to justify the purchase of this game, I say.

Famous Line: All you have to do is…

5 words: Trick, famous, grumble, tail, wagon.

————————————————-

-All you have to do is agree and go.

And this is what I did, even though I knew it was going to be tricky. You never know what people are up to until you meet them, or even after, they remain a mystery.

I didn’t know that my sister was going to tail me when I turned my back in disbelief.

-What are you doing here? I demanded.

Nothing, she grumbled.

-Don’t you realize that I am almost going to be the most famous influencer in the entire world? You can’t copy me.

She shrugged and tossed my doll in the wagon and kept following my steps.

Image from Pixabay

Day 24: Cabisbunda y meditabaja, or just blue #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Today I woke up blue, or after writing an 11 pages handwritten letter to my daughter for her coming birthday made me blue. I wonder where such a cliché of time went to. I wonder if I have been taking advantage of my life thoroughly. Thinking of my daughter always makes me nostalgic. Probably the ineluctable pass of time. The second law of thermodynamic applied to the fullest. Nothing can return where it started.

In theory all is good; I am so proud of her and her accomplishments. I should be proud of being her mama, and I am, because of her, not me. I miss her at the same time I miss my mom. I think the hormones are doing part of the trick again.

Even though I told my daughter that the letter was just for her, I took photos of each page, just in case it’s lost in the mail. It felt too fragile to send it with the possibility of disappearing with one mishap of the postal service, when I spent the whole morning writing it.

And here I am toying with the idea to publish it in thumbnails. But I won’t, even when I can’t help to tell the world how much I love you, Matilde.

Day 23: Dialoguing with my phone #SOL2021 #SOLSC

I always wanted to write what my phone is ordering me to write. It turned out my phone is full of my own texting BS. A soup of words taken out of context.

I didn’t change any of the words given. Only put some punctuation and separated them in paragraphs to make it more palatable, or less painful to read. Here we go:

—The devil has been with me and I told him my number is the same as last year. The fact that I can see that could have been a little late but I’ll have to check that dad is going to ask him to do the best.

—Do we need anything else from the post office? You look at least a week or two of us and the arrival of the following statements is not working properly.

—Probably because you cook a steak on the grill and the mail with flags for the heads even if it’s not too much longer than expected.

—I have to go to Walmart for the last two weeks to get a new year on Earth. 

—Exercise triggered by the numbers on the right side of my face and the other one is the same as last time.

—I sweat so much for a wonderful birthday.

— Amy is the same as a gramma in Instagram or Facebook and the arrival of ppl in the middle of the night but now I’m sitting here waiting at least a week or more like a huracan.

—The last time you were born in the middle of the day off at the house refinanced my way home from work to get done with my friend Julieta who died of cancer.

—Did you get the picture?

—I’m glad you made me laugh from Yahoo email to the abyssopelagic zone.

—Myself and I told her please call the sheriff department and the other one, the boss of the following: it is not a characteristic of a groomed off the beaten track of my life is the best gadget and most beautiful part of the world while we wait for the results of the test.

—I can see your shadow when you get the chance to look at least a little reluctant to be there for a few minutes,  then we will go to the bank to get the picture of the bridge that goes to your buddies and then we can do anything for the last time.

—Just let us know what you mean about it because I wanted to ride with my Valentine.

—The same time as the other side of the road where you are at the beginning of my life is good too.

—For the last time I didn’t realize that you were born in the middle of my chest.

—Thanks again but I don’t know what you mean by the numbers for the last one with a deadline.

—Are you feeling lonely?

—And then you can see the best answer from the choices provided the same thing has been with me.

—I have heard from him since he was so tempted to stop by yesterday and got caught in my car where I was going to ask him to do it all over again for writing it up.

—And then you are awesome and red and white bird with black head of something that I could use it for a bit traumatic experience with the winter wind and fire

—The last two of them applied for the smiley faces of my favorites ppl in reddit.

—Do you have a preference for a walk with Buck?

—First session with the kids can find a safe place for the last time.

—I’m glad that I was just curious.

— If I wanted to go for the last one without somebody else from the store…

—And then I will be more efficient to be a better person.

The end

Thank you for your patience and have the stomach to keep reading it until the end! 😂

I wrote the dialogue from my phone in a WhatsApp message to myself. Proof that I didn’t make it up. My phone did 😉

I wrote the dialogue from my phone in a WhatsApp message to myself. Proof that I didn’t make it up. My phone did 😉

Day 22: But then I dare say soldiers… #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Last Friday, I bought a couple of board games at my favorite store, Goodwill, each for $5. They were new. I couldn’t believe it. I thought of my Latinx Club and my library, even though I got the suspicion that I would be the most excited person in playing with them. In the worst case scenario, I knew that at least one game if not successful with middle schoolers, I could use it as a lifesaver for a writer’s block during this slice of life story challenge.

The game is called BaffleGabTM. A quick search in Google tells me that it’s not very well-known, ha! Many links direct me to eBay or reviews written in 2005. The domain bafflegab.com advertised on the box is for sale at $4,995 + 17,99/yr Still, I am stubborn and can’t be easily deter by the popularity (or not) of algorithms. I think it’s a fun game to stretch our imagination and expand our vocabulary.

The game comes with 300 cards of one word each. On one side of the card is written one of the words and when you turn the card over you can see the definition. The cards are a combination of nouns, adjectives and verbs. There is also a set of 50 cards with famous lines from classic authors of children’s literature such as Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum or Louisa May Alcott. The idea is to draw one famous line and five words cards. Each players has 1 minute to write a story without looking at the definitions of words. You have to start the story with the famous line.

I found it very cumbersome the way points are counted, and probably players will spend more time in checking all the points than actually playing the game. Since the character of BaffleGab is a dog called Gabby, supposedly players earn bone dollars for each word expressed correctly. Some words have more points than others. You get less points if you use the starter lien incorrectly, sentences have to be complete. Beyond that I get lost. Too much grammar and “teaching” rules involved. Too much bafflegabbing, actually.

I think it’s just fun to give students or myself the starting line and the 5 words, and challenge them to write a story. Then read the stories out loud and have fun listening to them. Points and dollars, wrong sentences, complete sentences, wrong words, just take away the joy of creation. I wouldn’t forbid students to look at the definition either. On the contrary, I would encourage them to read them, so they know how to use each word. I have to put in Google translator the starting line I got, since I didn’t understand it at the beginning, so what’s the point of rushing kids and tell them that they only have 1 minute and if they write things wrong they lose?

Probably for adults it might be fun to do it without looking at the definition and give a special prize to the person that comes up with more BS. I bet they will be plenty of them.

Anyway, I thought that as a writer’s block breaker is really nice. Here is my story. In orange is the starter line and in purple the 5 words drawn.

But then I dare say soldiers were like rhinoceros. They thought that they were thick-skinned creatures that bullets only make a scratch in their bodies. Even the most crafty one understood the gargantuan mistake that was to go to war. Still, they went, stayed for hours, days, weeks, and months on the front line, until their eyes became moldy, and couldn’t see the enemy was waving a white flag.

Here is the full quote of the starting line:

But then I dare say soldier – even brave ones- don’t really like going in to battles.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Princess.

Day 21: Getting up with the right foot #SOL2021 #SOLSC

In Spanish we don’t say getting up on the wrong side of the bed to express that we are having a bad day. We say getting up with the left foot. There are all sort of explanations of the origins of that saying, all of them related to the fact that the left was considered bad luck, and the right was always related to good. In English, even the word right itself, as opposite of left, is an homograph of the word right, doing what it’s morally correct or acceptable.

For sailors in the XIX century, it was considered bad luck to climb on a boat from the left side (babor/port). Left handed people, “zurdos” in Spanish, were considered antinatural, since the majority were right handed. Left in Latin is “sinister”, same meaning that has in English now. In the Catholic tradition, it is said that we will enter Paradise with the right foot, and Jesus is sitting on the right side of God. As Nazzir Haffar points out in the Quora forum when I was searching in the internet for an explanation of the origins of this saying, Menos mal que los tiempos han cambiado y, ahora, a la izquierda solo la derecha la demoniza.[Luckily, times have changed, and now only the right demonizes the left.]

Anyway, all this is a deviation of my original idea for this slice (and also my promise after Day 20, when I woke up with the left foot) which is writing about some of the things I appreciate of life, especially when I get up on the “right” side of the bed, or with my “right” foot.

The Ikea chair that is in one corner of our dining room where I sit on the mornings I don’t have to go to work (sometimes I have to rush, so Steve doesn’t take it before me). I can see the mountains from it, enjoy a cup of coffee, a book or musing over my own writing with my computer. Our almost 15 years old and blind dog Clyde sits next to our feet, on a mat made by one of the volunteers at the Humane Society. At mid morning the sun is in his shoulders and the other two dogs join him in.

My husband’s laugh, jokes, and stories of his childhood. His positive way of looking at things has saved my life.

Drinking a coffee with a bran muffin in the quietness of my favorite corner, or over a good conversation.

My thick, healthy looking, never dyed hair that just recently is starting to get some gray. I always say that Nature gives you what you can tolerate. I was not made for going to the beauty parlor, or to get my nails done.

People in the White House who might not coincide completely with my political views but that show compassion, and respect for who is suffering, and don’t mock or despise the poor, the disable or minorities.

Turning on the radio and don’t listening to news about the 45th president of the United States.

Receiving phone calls from my children.

My son’s accomplishments after so much struggles during high school. He is graduating this coming April and will start working as an Engineer in August.

My daughter’s friendship and care even when she is absent or silent. She is always with me.

Thinking about my children melts my heart, filled my body with warm sensations, and a huge sense of pride. They are not perfect but very close to perfection with all their strengths and weaknesses. And most importantly, they are buenas personas, good people.

Buck, my hiking buddy. He is a character and will always be my favorite, even when he sometimes doubts it and gets snappy with the other two dogs.

Poncho’s finicky ways of approaching life. He is our recently adopted Chihuahua. He was my mother-in laws’ dog. Nobody fought for keeping him, or wanted seriously to deal with him, so even if I were not that all convinced, we took him. He is quite a character. Not love at first sight but an evolving hate and love relationship that’s growing to be full love.

Clyde’s survivor skills. Despite his disabilities, this dog is full of life, stamina and positivism.

Goodwill. I love this store, probably the only store where I go shopping now. It’s my source of clothing, books, sheets, and appliances for the house. Nothing like the feeling of having rescued one or more things from a landfill ending and saving money in the process.

Listening to Violin or Cello classical Concertos or Bach’s well-tempered clavier, even when it makes me sad because I remember my mom dying of cancer.

The Largo movement of the Chamber Concerto in D major from Antonio Vivaldi. Every time I listen to it, it reminds me of a movie I went to see with my younger brother to the movie theatre. I still remember the pride I felt of going alone with no adult companion. It was a kids’ love story. Probably I was 11 or 12. I felt butterflies in my stomach. I remember it as a sweet awakening to the adult world, and realizing I was not a little child anymore.

Running water, a shelter, and heating system.

Spring for its burst of life, Summer for its warmth and laziness, Fall for its renewal and preparedness, Winter for all its forms of water.

My eyes, my hands and my legs that make me appreciate nature and bike.

My bike Dolores, companion of my sweet and awesome solo rides.

My family in Chile, and my husband’s siblings, especially his two sisters who are so generous, kind minded, strong and independent.

My friends dispersed all over the world.

The school I work at right now, its staff, its students and its principal. Everybody not just wear a shirt that says “Kindness is my superpower” but they live it, they show it, they spread it every single minute of their lives.

My Latinx students whose smiles I can see through their masks and sparkling eyes.

My public library, my books, any book capable to spark curiosity and be mirrors, windows and sliding glass doors to the world.

A Chai latte when I am feeling blue.

Going on journeys that make me encounter new people, different cultures and languages, different ways of being, that help me to be a better person.

Not any EVOO, but GringoCool extra Virgin Olive Oil. I know where it comes from and all the care and hard work that it was put on to bring it to my table.

My warm bed and soft pillows that almost always make me have a good night sleep and so not too often get up on the wrong side and make me limp the entire day. I appreciate those bad moments though, since they make me realized that I have more good than bad days.

I am ditching the Spanish saying. The left is the balance of the right, and both need to learn how to live with each other in harmony.

Day 20: I got up on the wrong side of my bed #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Do you pee with the toilet lid up? Could you, please, put it down after you are done? Here are the things I particularly don’t appreciate. No particular order. Just a stream of consciousness or stupefaction.

As you already figured out, the toilet lid up when I wake up at three o’clock in the morning and I need to go to the bathroom. Particularly dislike the touch feeling of the porcelain in my rear end on a cold winter night.

Cleaning my house, especially when it means using all my Saturday or Sunday, or both doing it, and it has been assigned to me as a default. Particularly, I can’t appreciate cleaning the stove or the already up toilet lid and its surroundings. I have to confess though, that when I am done, I feel very proud and good.

When I meet somebody and after I speak, they ask me Where is that beautiful accent of yours from? Really? Why not being straight forward? I know I have an accent, and I know is thick, and I know it’s not beautiful unless my husband or children said so. Only they can find it cute, weird, funny. You can ask only if you have a genuine interest in getting to know me or spend some time talking to me. If you are just curious because I don’t sound American, even when I am American, just bite your tongue, and move on with your own life.

Bonus point. When I answer politely that I am from Chile and people answer: Really? You don’t look Chilean! and I know that they can’t even place Chile on a map or later in the conversation when I tell them that my first language is Spanish, they say, ooh, I didn’t know that in Chile they spoke Spanish..

When I feel guilty because I haven’t done anything productive during the day. Or feeling guilty all the time with no real cause. Even feeling guilty of writing this slice.

When I discover Buck sitting on top of the sheets that I just took out of the dryer and I was going to fold after writing this slice.

The entire 2017-2021 presidency of the United States. Do I have to elaborate?

Picking up the poop of the living creature that is sleeping on top of my clean laundry, and his fellas from the same specie.

Having supper with the TV on, unless we are watching it purposely.

Arriving late to work or a meeting. On the same vein, having to clock in and clock out and lie about the amount of hours I work when I stay over time.

The state of the health system in the United States that have us all sick and broken.

Gun owners that don’t respect the rights of living and breathing differently, and are forgiven as having “a bad day.”

Making our queen size bed alone (ask my husband, I trained him good on sharing this pet peeve).

Ironing. Fortunately, I don’t iron, period. I don’t think we own an iron, or an ironing board. If we do, I don’t know where they are at.

Lost socks. Or losing things. Where do they go?

Losing money because I paid a bill late. I don’t have a credit card for that very reason.

My husband telling me that I need to get out, or that I should be more positive, or that I should do this and that. Basically telling ME what it’s good for me. He will read this, so probably I shouldn’t even write it because he will tell me that’s not true. hahaha.

Having migraines or the fear of having one or the fear of running out of the medicine that lesser their pain, or the fear of going to the doctor fearing the bill that will lay behind. I am not kidding. I am still paying in installments $1,000 for going to the doctor and asking a prescription for my migraines since I run out of the one I brought from Spain. And I do have a health insurance. I am not cussing because my parents told me that it was unpolite.

The color pink, or wearing red. I like it on other people though.

The flag as a human being or ownership of something that I am not.

The misuse, excess of video games, drugs, or alcohol. I guess I am a control freak and don’t appreciate when things manage my life.

Leaving the house with the feeling I left the stove or the coffee on, and when I return my house will be on fire. Leaving school with the feeling I left the laminator on and the next morning I will be found guilty of arson.

Looking myself in the bathroom mirror while brushing my teeth, and being unable to see my reflection since it’s covered all over with droplets of toothpaste.

Start watching a movie with expectation and realizing that we already watched it.

Picking the wrong checkout aisle at the supermarket when I am late. Opening the bag of oranges I bought in the supermarket and finding two or three of them soft.

Being ungrateful or feeling sad for no reason.

Too late realizing that I chose the wrong outfit for the day. A white blouse when I have to carry dusty books, or a raggedy T-shirt when it’s picture day. The horrendous amount of ugly photos they print of me and leave as a package in my mailbox after picture day.

Enduring the entire work day with pants that are too tight.

The regret that follows after eating an entire bag of nacho chips, or a whole batch of cookies.

Thinking about all my pet peeves. It makes me feel like I am a bad person. Tomorrow, hopefully I wake up on the right side of the bed. I will write about the things I appreciate of life. I promise.

Clean sheets and Buck

Día/Day 19: Hoy es un trozo de vida #SOL2021 #SOLSC #MultiFri

Hoy es #MultiFri y escribo en español.

Ayer batí mi record personal de invisibilidad en mis trozos de vida. ¡Cero comentarios! Este año me está pasando que los trozos de vida que pienso mejor, que corrijo, y que he meditado con claridad durante el día, son los que pasan más desapercibidos. Y otros, como éste, escritos con la velocidad del rayo, muy poco elaborados para que no me den las doce de la noche de la costa Este, son los que más tráfico tienen, y quizás por compasión, los que tienen más comentarios.

Tengo que come to terms con el hecho que no me deben importar los comentarios. Para mi el desafío implica que tengo que escribir ese mismo día, sino, no sería un trozo de vida diario, sino que una recolección de cuentos programados para lucirme durante el desafío de marzo. Me niego a la programación, y en negarme tengo que aceptar que nadie me lea. Como le dije a mi marido, a lo mejor cuando me muera, mis hijos me leerán. Tengo que ser equitativa eso sí, pues tengo un lector incondicional y es mi compañero de cuarentena, quien lee de manera religiosa todos mis relatos y después me los comenta, no en el blog, pero de viva voz, lo cual es muy alentador. Además le he encarecido que me diga cuando cometo errores garrafales en inglés, para corregirlos, aunque sea después que lo hayan leído unas cuantas personas. Por lo que además de ser mi lector infalible es mi editor.

No me quiero poner paranoica. Espero que no sea porque escribo bodrios que nadie me comenta o visita. Debo echarle la culpa a los algoritmos y a que la gente ya está cansada de mirar la pantalla de un computador. Yo lo estoy. A estas alturas del día, mis ojos no dan más, comienzo a ver doble, la picazón no me deja pensar más allá de unas cuántas letras, en fin. No muy alentador.

Durante la semana he estado recuperando todas las fichas de mi taller de escritura de mi amiga María de España. Hoy salí de vacaciones de primavera y tengo la ilusión de escribir con algunas de las propuestas que ella ha entregado al grupo, que lamentablemente desde que entré a trabajar en persona, no he podido participar, por el cambio de hora, y porque no me doy el tiempo de sentarme a escribir. Quiero, pero me da miedo, pues la mayoría de lo que se me pasa por la cabeza es impublicable.

Aquí van algunas de las propuestas:

El método Mansfield, no lo cuentes, muéstralo, evitar las descripciones lateras e ir al grano. Ser la Marie Kondo del relato.

El loro de Flaubert o cómo buscar inspiración

Gotraskhalana, del sánscrito, tropezar en el nombre. Enfocarnos en el detonante del relato.

La técnica de los vasos comunicantes y el efecto mariposa. Me enredaría un poco. Deberé investigar más para ver como se comunican el pasado con el presente.

Cuidando el contenido y la forma y evitar los adverbios. Esta ténica me ha ayudado mucho. María odia las palabras terminadas en mente que en elegante son los adverbios, que según ella, solo sirven para escribir cartas o solicitudes al ayuntamiento.

La cuarta pared. Hacer que el personaje le hable al lector.

El crepúsculo de los Dioses, escribir un relato donde el personaje principal sea un o una anciana. Esta ya lo estoy haciendo ahora, o bueno, una anciana en ciernes.

Y bueno, hasta aquí dejo las propuestas. Me ha puesto muy alta la vara mi amiga María. No en vano su grupo tiene casi diez años de vida, y todavía con por lo menos cinco o seis de sus integrantes originales. Escribir para ellos es ya un modo de vida que se me está haciendo muy difícil de alcanzar.

Lo seguiré intentando.

PD: Si quieres unirte a un taller de María, sigue su cuenta en Instagram La espuma de los jueves o el blog donde ofrece sus talleres de escritura creativa

Day 18: The message of my Yogi tea #SOL2021 #SOLSC

I love to read what my Yogi Tea gives me every morning when I prepare a thermos with tea to take to school. It’s not that I believe in all the messages that I get but are a way of thinking about my own behavior. I enjoy reading the Chinese cookies when we order Chinese food, or plug the computer generated I-Ching online when I need guidance to make a decision. I don’t search for the horoscope, but if I come across it, I just read it. Knowing that my husband and son have the same sign as me, and also several other people I know that are 180 degrees opposite to me, doesn’t matter. Messages are just fun to read, even if they are all completely made up.

Today, the note read: “Never regret your mistakes. Admire the courage it took to attempt the unknown“.

After reading it, I paused for a minute before taking off to work. took a sip of coffee and thought about how I related myself to this message. In an instant, it threw me back to around 2012, when I was in my third year working in Spain in a very traditional private school with one owner who happened to be the director, and, which educational values and beliefs were nor completely aligned with mine. We were in a head of departments meeting, and the Academic Director who was new and wanted to shake things up, announced that the school had been bought by a Chinese organization. When I heard the news, I said yes! in my head. Finally things might change. We might meet different people and cultures, and even, maybe, we will get to travel to China! I was thrilled.

With great relish, I paid attention to the other people in the room, I heard gasps in disbelief, words of complains and faces horrified by the news. Everybody started to talk at the same time. Everybody was loud. I was searching for more clues, and becoming emotional to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ok, Ok, Ok. said the Academic Director. Calm down. It’s not true. I told you this pretended news as an example, so you realized how difficult is when we have to do drastic changes.

Now, it was my turn to gasp. No changes. Everything will continue as usual. No trip to China. No meeting different people or learning about other cultures. When the meeting was over, I went to the bathroom and started to cry. Needless to say, the Director of Curriculum was fired right before the next Christmas. At that point, I was not crying, but buried in a big depression.