Day 12. The serendipitous man #sol2020 challenge #solc

I arrived early to my storytelling presentation. One elderly man walked in and started to questioning the organizer about the starting time. He thought it was at 4:30 pm and not 5:30. After 5 minutes of back and forth, the presenter asked this man what program he was looking for. He said while looking at the food that the librarian was opening, the legal consultant. He paused for a moment and asked: Is the food for free?

– Of course, but after 5:30 pm.

The man dissapeared and 15 minutes later, 5:30 pm on the nose, he was there again. Filled his plate and sat down to eat. When I looked at him he felt uneasy. I tapped his shoulders and said Relax. Eat your food comfortably. I thought for sure he was going to leave after he ate. The program was meant to be bilingual but with a strong emphasis in Spanish. The story I was going to tell was in Spanish. Concerned I asked him if he knew Spanish. I didn’t want him to feel left out.

No, but I am thinking in learning it. ‐— he said.

When the program started, the man had finished his food and was still sitting on his chair with no intention of leaving. More than that, he stayed, participated on the exercises we did about telling a story, he told a brief one with and without words, he tried to read in Spanish, and listened actively to the story of Martina Martinez y el ratoncito Pérez.

When we were done, I thanked him for sticking around. He answered: For sure, see you in June!

June is when the next storytelling or Noche de Cuentos session is scheduled.

Day 11. Lifeless slice #SOL2020 challenge #SOLC

This is a lifeless slice. It’s almost 10 at night and I feel my body aching. I don’t have the energy to fire up my computer, so I’m lying in bed, fighting with the spell checker of my phone to get thru and write something.

I’m not allow to feel sick, to sneeze or have a runny nose without washing my hands for 20 seconds between sneezes. My knuckles are bleeding of so much hand sanitizer and my knees have broken skin for all the tables, chairs and shelves wiped.

Maybe I am delirious due to fever. Wait! I never get high temperatures.

Do I have to stay home if I have a mild sore throat? Are people going to love me less if I cough on my sleeve? Can I feel less guilty if I call in sick even though I know they won’t find a sub for me?

I think I am ready for spring break.

Day 6. Since last March…#SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualI “borrowed” this form from Rita DiCarne, who”borrowed” it from Elisabeth Ellington who “borrowed” it from Fran McVeigh who based hers on Erin Baker‘s post. Whew. I thought I was not going to find the end of the thread. As a librarian, I am very pleased that people were giving credits to who they borrowed the form from.

Here I am now, joining the thread

Since last March

Since last March I have biked more than 1,500 miles. Thank you Strava for the approximate data.

Since last March I have biked around the cities of Richmond, Portland, Amsterdam, Sevilla, and Santiago, and many odds towns in Spain, Oregon and Florida.

Since last March I have biked in the Andes mountains, the Smith Rock State Park and the Apopka Park in Florida.

Since last March I have biked to work, to drama practice, to my writing club, to my chiropractor, and to one of my book clubs.

SInce last March I have biked in 107ºF and 19ºF.

Since last March I got my first and probably last tattoo (unless my son wants one also) to celebrate my daughter’s graduation.

Since last March I have seen my children more often than in the last five years.

Since last March I packed my entire house of ten years in cardboard boxes, and hosted the fifth moving sale of my life.

Since last March I attended a wedding in Chile and no funerals.

Since last March I was with my children in the most beautiful snow storm ever.

Since last March I participated in a play, two library conferences, three writing workshops, and four different book clubs.

Since last March I sent my resume in Central Oregon like Harry Potter letters in the sky. I declined an offer and accepted another.

Since last March I said goodbyes to too many friends from Spain, and said hello to many more that I haven’t seen in ten years.

Since last March I was in airplanes for 24 hours and crossed the Atlantic ocean with my running buddy.

Since last March my heart has been divided in three countries forever.

snowstorm
Snow storm at the Steelhead Falls of the Deschutes river  in Central Oregon

 

 

 

Day 4. My running buddy Buck #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualWhen I climbed in the car going back home from work I was exhausted. I don’t get too much time to sit down and relax when I am in school. I am tempted to run my Strava just to see how much I move between 7:30 am to whatever time I leave after 4:00 pm. My goal is trying to arrive home with light. Today it was 5 pm. I turned the engine and continued listening to Ghost by Jason Reynolds (and read awesomely by  Guy Lockhard). Have I told you that I love my public library?

By the time I arrived home, my body started to collapse.I thought I was not going to make it to the entryway. It was still light outside and it wasn’t cold. I should go for a run.I know it will pump me up, I thought.

As soon as I have my running shoes on, Buck, one of our wiener dogs, started to run back and forth,making so much noise that made Clyde, the other wiener dog, very excited, The problem is that Clyde can’t go for a run with me. He is 14 and blind. Still, he is an optimistic, and doesn’t like when he is left behind. Actually, it’s very sad to leave him whining. Sometimes I feel bad, and I get him to walk in circles, since is the only thing he can do. But if I want to get rid of weariness or stress, I can’t just walk in circles for 20 minutes (Clyde doesn’t like to walk on a leash so I let him lead the way).

I shushed Buck to quiet down and we sneaked outside. The air is cold and I need to put on the sweatshirt I was planning to wear on my shoulders. Slowly I start running. Slowly I start regaining energy. Slowly I am grateful I am running. Without Buck, my run wouldn’t be so interesting though. Buck is my hiking and running buddy. He has an endurance that not so many wiener dogs have. And he loves to climb. When we encounter difficult trails with big boulders, he looks at me like assessing the situation and then, like a ninja goat, he climbs by himself and is able to cross challenging obstacles for his tiny feet. Probably because Buck doesn’t like to be held, and would rather risk his back than let me carry him.

Buck is my running buddy.

Without him, run is kind of dull, and hiking more freighting. Buck keeps me company on my risky hikes and gives me assurance. Nonetheless, I know if I fall he is not going to look for help like those smart dogs in movies. Probably he would keep running and return home without me.

Still, he is my buddy.

The sun sets, and the road becomes dark and quiet. We can only hear our steps on the gravel, my breathing, and the hauling of dogs, wolves, bobcats, cougars and who knows what else. Buck was wise enough of running close. When we are 50 feet from home, he sprints and dashes inside through the doggie door, to get water and bark with the hope that my husband feeds him asap. What a life!

Buck at SteelheadFalls
Buck doesn’t like selfies

Day 3. Prompt 2. #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

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I touched the rifle with care, feeling every part of it with the tip of my fingers. It felt cold and enticing. All of a sudden, boom! The sound shook my bones. I had pulled the trigger .

Why was I there? Why was I dragged from my bed and put on a pickup for two hours? My dad thought it was going to be a good experience for me. We could have a bonding father/son moment despite the fact he knew I was born blind.


These are just the two paragraphs I managed to write in a Writers Write Workshop with Kim Fu at the Deschutes Public Library in October of last year. In this particular event, the author focused on character building and tips on how to create good, strong, full characters. She gave us several prompts. The one used in my pitiful two paragraphs was to think of a situation, and a person who was the least suited for it. The writing of the scene should explain why the person ended up in that situation. The workshop was only an hour and a half, and only ten minutes were given for this particular prompt. I felt pretty proud that I did come up with something anyway. Hearing the other wanna be writer’s stories left me thinking about small potatoes and massive oceans.

Day 2. Dear mamá…#SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

Dear mamá,

mother&IToday I received a book I requested from the public library that reminded me of you. It’s called What my mother and I don’t talk about: Fifteen writers break the silence . Because you died before I realized the things we never talked. The things I know now did hurt you but then I didn’t realize why.

I remember your obsession that I needed to do some sort of catharsis and reconcile myself with you. I didn’t quite understand why I had to restored our broken relationship since ours was not broken. I always found you a very good mom with a balance to give me freedom without leaving me unprotected. Why did I  have to make peace with you if we haven’t fought? You always feared you would die and I would not have have the chance to reconcile our differences or maybe forgive your mistakes.

When I had children and went to live overseas, I acquire a distance that allowed me to see you with a different lens. I began to see some of the mistakes that children see in their parents. Those flaws that started to exasperate me. When you visited us you always wanted to help me and I always said no. Even one time you recriminated me and asked Why do you never accept my help, why? I don’t remember what my answer was. In the end when you stayed at our house, you managed to find a way to help me by cleaning our closets, and putting away the children’s toys, but above all by playing endlessly with your grandchildren.

The first week of last February, I had the great opportunity to compete along with your granddaughter in a bicycle endurance race in Florida. I can’t tell you how much  I enjoyed it, both for the physical effort (350 miles in 4 days) and the beauty of the landscapes, as for what I learned about me, my daughter and you, and most importantly, our relationship. Mati was the same as me, and me as you. Every time I offered her help during the trip, she would answer me with a sharp no, and she would tell me, you worry about changing your clothes and eating. I didn’t really care that she told me that. She was absolutely right. I was unable to do much more after 80 miles biking through sandy roads, swamps and wooded trails and up and down endless paved slopes with the midday sun on our backs. But I did find the reason for my sharp refusal to your offers of help.

When we are young we move with agility, with haste and thousand things to do and ideas in our heads. We are on the run with the minutes counted to begin our next project. And if a mother interferes with them, the steps or multiple stages become endless. You have to have the patience that you acquire over the years to put up with someone else doing what we can do in two minutes. Matilde could set up the tent, boil water, change clothes, lay out our sleeping bags, prepare food in her gas stove and change clothes at the same time that I just took my socks off and hopefully I had put on dried sweatpants to sleep on. If she would have accepted my help we would have died of cold and probably she would have abandoned me in the middle of nowhere. It was in those moments that I realized why I didn’t accept your help. Because I could do things faster than you, and I didn’t have the patience to slow down.

Now that I understand you, I am sorry that I could never talk to you about it. I am glad though that thanks to you, I realize that my daughter doesn’t want to hurt me, that it is only part of life, growing up, being young and old. I was lucky enough to spend with her four intense days in which we talked about it and I told her about my discoveries.
Thanks to you mom, I can understand my daughter. You and me did a good job after all, so will do Matilde. That´s why I am writing it to you. If I didn´t, it wouldn’t exist.

Un beso y abrazo apretao, gallo pelao (as you told my children).

La quiero viejita. No se enoje que haya escrito esto en inglés, pero como todo en mi vida, estoy haciendo un reto, esta vez de escritura.

Su hija que la quiere mucho,

Pia

Bobe and nietos reading
My mom reading to my children when she visited us in Maryland.

 

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Day 1 #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualSince my dog Buck is still writing the draft of the second part of his tall tale (the fairy tale part), and I haven’t written anything anywhere since almost the SOL19 challenge, I think I need to be brave and do my best this year. Everything is different. I am not in Spain, I am working 40 hours in an elementary school with no time to breath, and when I am free and have some sunlight on my hands, I like to bike.

I will take the challenge because it will force me to be courageous and start again to do something that I love to do. I have wanted to write since I arrive in the US at the end of July last year but haven’t have the guts of shaking my fears. This challenge gives me hope and a sense of belonging.  A community of educators writing no matter what, makes me feel safe. I won’t have time to revise, review, rewrite and rethink my writing like last year. My post will be brief and the quality will be awful, I know. But still, I want to see if I have the stamina, especially being in PST. I feel they are stealing me 3 hours.

Without further ado, here we go!

PS: I warned you about the quality and brevity.

My fairy tale nightmare (Part 1. The nightmare) #SOL Tuesday

Inspired by writer, teacher and blogger, Fran Hailey, this piece is written by four legged guest blogger, Buck. Since I am again on a Tuesday #Sol at an airport, I am grateful that Buck stepped in. He got a little carried away, and his tale has to continue next week, otherwise it won’t make it on Tuesday and I won’t make my plane to Chile 😉

—————

Dear readers,

I am so happy to share my experiences of a globetrotter with the audience of my dear owner, even though, a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t think of her as she was too dear to me. Let you explain things as they should be. From the beginning.

I was happily ever after on the lush sunny days of my Andalusian life when all of the sudden my life turned upside down. I was put in jail or that’s what I thought. My owner started to lured me with bits of food and a comfy red padded mat on what I learned later, it was my kennel. Looks like a jail to me anyway, despite the fact that it was taped colorfully and has my name on it. My owner had read a blog post about Luke, a famous wiener dog, that travels all over the world and how his owners prepare his own jail so he isn’t left behind.All those prearrangements didn’t make any sense to me until we arrived to the Barajas airport in Madrid. I produced more paper work than a human, even though, sadly, I learned later, I am easier to enter in the US than a human. Me and Pia held the check in line for like an hour. They peeked at me, shuffled the papers where it says I was in good health, checked the size of my kennel, making sure I can turn and roll and do all sort of tricks that I couldn’t even think of doing. It was hot, noisy and scary. After that, Pia has to carry me by hand with no wheels or a cart for almost a kilometer. We have to pass security twice. I really like that part because I was taken out and held by Pia and all the security people lost their mean look and started admiring my big smile. But my happiness lasted only for two seconds. After security checks I was returned rudely into my container and a huge guy carried me and put me on a truck. I peeked from the bars as Pia waved goodbye and filmed my departure to hell. I was the only living object on that truck. As a matter of fact, I was alone. The ride was not so bad. I got to see a little bit of the airport since the driver drove first to the wrong airplane or maybe he needed to go to the bathroom. The breeze felt good also. The smell and noise not that much. As we approached the airplane, the big guy tied my kennel with those sturdy plastic strips that you cannot open again. I was in dismay. What was happening? Where I was going? What was going to happen to me? Pia was not in sight, and I was at the mercy of these strong people who were accommodating me next to a bicycle, a couple of golf clubs and something that looked like a big instrument and a black trunk. They closed the door and I heard some motors starting. The rest felt like if I were a piece of dirt inside a vacuum cleaner. What an horrific sound, and all that movement. I was grateful that the plastic strips were securely attached to the bars. I tried to buried myself on my blanket to avoid reality. But it was a mixture of waves of heat and cold air that didn’t let me settle. The thirst was killing me. After two hours of pure hell, they opened the vacuum cleaner and I felt relief and joy. An unknown woman yelled something in a language I couldn’t understand. They gave me a little bit of water through the bars.

That’s it! I was under the spell of the witch of Hansel and Gretel. That’s the language they were speaking, after all. What didn’t make sense is that they didn’t give me anything to eat. Wasn’t the idea that the witch wanted to fatten Hansel and Gretel? Well, not me. I was doommed to live with two droplets of water for 24 hours.

They transferred me to a cart were they buried me with suitcases and boxes of all sizes and shapes. Mostly odd shapes and somehow heavier than me. I tried to smile but my face was confronted as if a door was slammed in front of it. Again I was put in a vacuum cleaner. This time a wider one and for more than 10 hours! At the end, I didn’t even remember that my name was Buck. They took my blanket and tied it to the outside handle. Probably they thought I could hang myself with it. They were not too far from reality . I lost the thrive, my life was miserable and my tummy was starting to grumble. (To be continued).When things were still somehow ok.Me, being placed among odd and non-living things

Toy stories 7 to the last #SOL Tuesday

While on the plane to Frankfurt I am tweaking my last Instagram toy stories. Hopefully I can publish this slice during SOL Tuesday before I board my plane to Oregon. This is it. Today I am starting a new chapter of my life. Excited to see how it will evolve.

#Toystory7

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Even though technically this is not a toy but a wedding present given to us almost 26 years ago by our dear family friend, Omar , this fish mobile is the winner of the wedding present—toy combo survivor category.

While I was cleaning all the big and little fish, I remembered all the stories behind the hanging, unhanging, packings and unpackings of this mobile. When we got it my husband looked at it and said: “I love these fish. There are so colorful. I can picture them in our future home. This mobile will follow us wherever we go.” Little he knew that literally these fish have crossed two big oceans and a sea a couple of times. Little Omar knew his present was going to be part of the fabric of our family. At each house we had the ceremony of unpacking the mobile, untangle and balance the pieces together. Then it was followed by a brief discussion lead by Steve with his hammer on hand of where we were going to hang it. Finally the place was sealed until the next move.
Our kids as babies enjoyed the movement of the mobile. When they were unsettled we walked next to the mobile and observed it together for a while. When the fish touched each other, the wood made a crisp sound. Almost always it did the trick of distracting the baby in our hands and switched their pain on an awe. Later, the discussion of where to hang the fish were made together as a family. Here in Spain, it took us a while to decide the perfect place, since the house was a little bit darker and with no open spaces like in the other houses. But the mobile found its place in a corner of the living room. It gathered for ten years a bunch of dust and spider webs for being up high and never touched but by the morning wind. Eventually I took it down this week, cleaned it real good, and placed carefully all its pieces wrapped on paper inside box number 78.
I wonder if this mobile made an impact on my children as it did, does on me. I wonder what part of it they remember or if they even know what I’m talking about.

#Toystory8

There are some things that you have to let go but take a photo of them to remind you of some moments of your children’s life. When Matilde was probably 14 or 15 she asked us to get her a mirror for her room. We told her she didn’t need one. She had the mirror of the bathroom next door. She insisted and we fought back. It was out of the question. One day Matilde arrived home with a beaten up mirror she found who knows where. She cleaned it and painted it, and asked her dad to secure it on one wall in her room. And Steve did. There, our daughter got her mirror.

The other day we were showing one of our handlebar bike basket that we used in the Camino de Santiago to one of Vincent’s friend. He said “look, there is something inside” I said “I bet this was Vincent’s basket.” When we saw what was inside I said: “THIS was Vincent’s basket for sure” while holding in my hands the almost fossilized piece of cow’s set of teeth.

#Toystory9

It seems that handarbeiten are not my forte. I started this embroidery when Matilde was born more than 23 years ago. I think I got into dinosaur one and left it probably because I couldn’t stay still. I continued with Vincent, 21 one years ago and got into dinosaur number two. Probably I didn’t finish the design because I was packing.
Anyway, another survivor. I feel very proud of it. It maintains its colors and the white hasn’t turned yellow. Needless to say that it was shipped to Oregon.

#Toystory10

This is it. Today I left behind the biggest toys of all, our home in la Matilla. Yesterday, I spent 12 hours cleaning its walls, doors, closets and floors. I enjoyed it. It was as if I was cleansing all the mistakes I committed here. It was also soothing. I could say goodbye to every single corner of it while I was caressing them with water, detergent and chlorine. While listening to the Beatles and the sound of the cloth splashing, I remember moments of happiness, of sadness, of amazement and sometimes of despair and frustration. We had a great time in this house with its ups and downs as life itself. We owned every moment and that’s what’s I call happiness.
This drawing was made by my dear cousin Maria Isidora who came with her husband Keno a couple of years ago and enjoyed the charm of our home and the great cooking of Steve. I don’t know what has the house but every person that stopped by got trapped by its enchantments. To me, my kids, the doggies, the cats, and Steve were the pillars of this charm. Without them, this house is just a dilapidated place.
Time to start finding the enchantments of another home. I’m getting ready my broom for the long ride.

#Lasttoystory

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I found this little figure of St. James in Vincent’s room. It made sense. Vincent’s middle name is James, in honor and memory of grandpa McCann. I didn’t have the fortune of meeting Jim but I have known him vicariously through the stories of his children, especially Steve and Laura, one of my sisters-in-law. Jim was a great man and I’m glad my son has his name.
Today Buck and I are embarking in our plane to Oregon. Last Thursday we sent all our belongings on a truck. Steve will join me later with Clyde and hopefully the cats, Lola and Ralph. We will definitely need the protection of St. James who protected us in El Camino de Santiago. Now he will be taking care of us in our new Camino. And the spirit of grandpa Jim will prevail in our home.

 

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.)