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 27. The traveling queen #sol19 #solsc


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, whispering into the screen, throw some magic powder, special spell, praying hard, sweating, jumping…

No sé qué 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 made 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 this 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 25. Proud mamá on the road again… #sol19 #solsc


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.

Matilde, you are my Star


Strong since day one

Mama’s pride

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


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!

Day 22. Good morning, I am Pia´s phone here writing #sol19 #solsc


March 22nd

María, our beautiful and young leader* at our Thursday’s Writing Workshop gave us a prompt for the coming week, and I thought I should try to write a slice of life from it. She talks about the importance of choosing the narrator of a story. It’s the first choice a writer needs to make when writing down the first sentence on the blank page. Who will tell the story? The point of view of the narrator will be our point of view as readers. It´s very different if I am the one that tells the story, as if it´s an omniscient narrator, or a secondary character. How many times we have seen the story of the three little pigs told from the point of view of the Wolf or one particular pig? Last week our prompt was to write about Little Red Riding Hood in a news form; it could be an interview, a chronicle, a letter to the editor, a critic´s view, etc. I wrote a letter to the editor written by the very own Little Red Riding Hood defending her women´s rights. But that´s another slice.

This week´s prompt is to write a story taking our cell phones as the narrator. Yes, our mobile phone will narrate the story of the protagonist. María challenges us by asking “Who does know us better than our phone? How many things do we have in our phones that we don´t share with anybody?”

*that’s the way Maria jokingly said we should always address her, and I am a very obedient student.

So, here is my slice of life told by my phone.

Good morning. I am a Moto 5g old generation. I landed in Pia´s hands two years ago when her brother saw how slow was her previous phone, while they were travelling together in Croatia. As soon as the trip was over, he got on Amazon, and shipped her moi. She was thrilled. She could store so many photos, and also get apps she couldn´t even imagine getting before. She loved me immediately.

I always sleep plugged in next to her night table, despite the horror stories about cell phones radiation, and disruptions in human quality of sleep. Sometimes she lays me down on the floor, on top of a book. Today, I woke her up with my alarm at 6:00 am. I don´t know why because she snoozes me until 6:45 am and sometimes even later. This time I can´t blame her. Last night she had put me to sleep at 1 am.

As soon as she opens her eyes she looks for her glasses and glances at me. If nothings is popping up on the screen, she just go to the bathroom and gets ready for the day. She knows that as soon as I get in her hands, it´s difficult to let me go. I am so attractive.

Last year, she turned all my apps notifications off since they were distracting her too much from real work and real life. At least this is what she tells herself. All but her children´s. She doesn´t like to miss anything about them. They have a busy life in college, and the time differences between Europe and the US don´t help much. Her children´s Whatsapp messages show on my screen silently even when either she or I or both are asleep. It´s pretty annoying but she loves it. Or does she need them?

Today I was proud I helped her American niece to get a hold of Pia via whatsapp, since she was a little confused about what train to take to return to Sevilla from Cádiz.

Later on the day she figured out her son is enjoying his Spring break skiing with his friends. His story on Instagram is amazing. I sent her a notification that Vincent uploaded a new story. What a beautiful day for skiing it was. She marveled at the short video and sent messages back and forth to her son. In the meantime, her daughter sent her text messages over Voxer which is really strange because nobody texts in Voxer. I know it is because she is in class, and can´t talk.

When Pia is in front of the computer working, she doesn´t use me too much. She keeps forgetting me in odd places, and her husband has to call me several times just to figure out I was left in the bathroom, the kitchen, underneath the clean laundry, or sometimes even in her own bra. The latter happen when she doesn´t have pockets or purse where she can carry me. Since last year though, when she gets out she always put me on a little sweaty fanny bag she carries everywhere. I am crammed in with a white Chinese battery, and her leather change purse also packed with IDs, coins, receipts, and 5 or 10 euro bills.

Lately, she has gotten into the habits of putting me an earphone cord to listen to audio books. Today she spent an unusual amount of time searching for books in the three different digital book apps that I have on myself. One from Spain, one from Chile and one from the US. That way she barely needs to buy books. Also, I know she is taking off soon to the US (I have her flight on her Google calendar app) and she is getting ready for having interesting reading material on the plane and her stay in Virginia and Oregon. The only problem is that in Overdrive some of the most recent books are all borrowed and the waiting list is amazing. There are 0 copies of 20 available of Educated by Tara Westover. She placed the hold two months ago and she still is number 318 on the audiobook and 219 on the ebook.

At 6:30 pm she takes off to her writing workshop. She wears a wrist watch that is 7 minutes ahead of time, so she thinks she won´t arrive late to meetings and such, but always catches her by surprise when she sees the real time on my beautiful screen portraying her two children smiling. It´s too bad I can´t take a selfie of myself to put in this slice. I have to ask my old fashioned Canon Camera friend to do it for me.

Anyway, she put me in her fanny bag and we take off biking really fast, because she is indeed late. She arrives at the workshop when everybody is sitting around the table. She brought some brownies. This is going to be her last meeting, at least for a while. She will be in the US for two months. She leaves me on her backpack, but 15 minutes before 8, she takes me out. She needs to leave half an hour earlier. Her husband is participating in a round table discussion about the Green New Deal at 8:30 pm in Sevilla and she doesn´t want to miss that.

Between readings, and when the participants get off topic, she touches me and starts Strava and Mapmyrun. She is biking to Sevilla, and enjoys tracking down her path. She also wants to make sure she knows where is the meeting and fires up Google Maps. I am just hoping I last the entire trip. My battery gets exhausted with all the apps she has open.

She reads in a hurry her Little Red Riding Hood letter to the editor, and gets up apologizing that she is late. It´s already 8:05 pm. Everybody gives her two kisses and a hug. She gets her reflective vest, puts the front and back lights on her bike, straps the fanny pack where I am almost suffocated, and darts out pedaling as fast as the dark and traffic let her while Maria´s question still resonates in her mind: Did you write this letter very fast? —Yeah, probably between slices.

Usually she fools around when she bikes, stops, and takes photos of random things, or put her earphones and listen to a book if it´s a boring ride. Not this time. We can´t arrive late. While she is double locking the bike to the pole, she looks at me. 8:30 sharp. She opens my camera and takes a selfie that she sends to her writing group while she types “I arrived”. I don´t know if she does it because she is bragging or because she knows her group cares about her safety. Probably both.

Lying in bed very late at night, she tries to put a story on Instagram about her husband talk, but I am working very sloppy and slow. I think I am getting old. I am afraid I will end up in the box of old gadgets.

Even though I know she would get very upset if I got lost, I still think she hides many things from me. I wish I knew her better.

My apologies for this very long slice of life. My phone didn´t want to shut up.
My phone (Small)
Here is just a photo of me.
I arrived (Small)
“I arrived!” she wrote on my whatsapp
Strava to Sevilla (Small)
Here is Pia´s bike ride to Sevilla.

Day 19. In between jails : a free association of words #sol19 #solsc


March 19th

Yesterday, I went to a meeting in Sevilla. On my way back I decided to check a spot I read it used to be a jail until the XIX century. Miguel de Cervantes was in prison there between September and December of 1597. And of course, Sevilla claims that his stay in there was the beginning of “El Quijote“. The jail was in the intersection of Sierpes (main pedestrian street downtown Sevilla) and a small street called Entre cárceles [In between jails]. I don’t know why that name struck me. I imagined myself walking along the busy street of XVI century Sevilla, and telling people I live between two jails: La Cárcel Real de Sevilla and La Real Audiencia. It was 7:30 pm when I was imagining this. The hustling and bustling of the city helped my day dreaming. Buildings are now just tourist shops selling us the past . There’s even a little monument that commemorate Cervantes’ stay at the Cárcel Real de Sevilla. Like he went to an Airbnb for a couple of nights. Ironically, now the building is a bank, the 21st century people’s jail.

By 1597, Cervantes was a tax collector and he gave us the honor of staying at this prison since one of his helpers committed a mistake, and appeared like Cervantes was keeping some of the money for himself. A little vendetta, perhaps?

Today I went biking to my chiropractor and on the way back I found a graffiti with the word “word“. It made me think of Cervantes again, and writers. It seems that in idle times is when you’re more productive. Or maybe when you’re in between jails?

On that same ride I listened to the short YA novel “Long way down” by Jason Reynolds. It was read by the author which made it more powerful. Listening to his comments at the end of the book made me think about injustice, and how many times the wrong people are in detention centers.

Our son started sending us messages complaining that he needed to pay 1,000 dollars in taxes on 237 dollars of taxable income. Something doesn’t square up. He worked the summer to pay for college. Maybe like Cervantes, his assistant, the who knows what software, is committing a mistake, we hope.

Finally, I was trapped in the car for 5 hours since we went to pick up our niece from Montana who is visiting for Spring break. Just like Jason Reynold’s story, —much more superficial though—, it was a long way down to go to Málaga and back to Sevilla.

Entre Carceles and Sierpes Streets
Cervantes’ monument on Entrecárceles street in front of the jail
Graffiti next to the Guadalquivir river
Now there’s a bar where the police guards stayed at the prison
The former Real Cárcel de Sevilla

Day 18. Please, don’t touch me with your feet. It gives me the creeps #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 18th:

—Please, no, not tonight.

— Go away! I want to sleep!

—How many times do I have to tell you that you are really annoying? Go away!

— Aaaaghhh!! Get out!

—Please, don’t touch me with your feet. It gives me the creeps

— I don’t understand you. It doesn’t matter how many times I push you out of my side, you keep insisting. I don’t know if you are masochistic or sadistic. Leave me alone! I am starting to have a headache. My body can’t stand your body on top of me.

—I can’t breath! Please, get out.

—Ok, that’s enough!



I roll over, hoping for not more disturbances. I was a little bit concerned because my last slap was kind of a briskly reaction.

—That’s it! I can stand your body, your feet, your breath but…

—No, no, no. Please tell me that this is not real…

—How can he sleep?

—Please, anything but kneading…I know its your way of showing me your love, but I dont’ need it now…especially when you extend your claws, and you are doing it on my face. I am not even a cat person!
— Prrrrrrrrr
— Ok. Fine. Whatever. Good night!

clone tag: 778682244124689259
Lola. Don’t fool yourself for her sweet appearance.

Day 17. Should I accept the challenge? #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 17th:

The mid March comment challenge is to write 75 comments on other people´s blogs. I wiped my eyes and enlarged the font of my screen. Did I read it correctly? Yep. SEVENTY FIVE. I did some quick calculations. If I spend 5 minutes in each blog it will take me 6.25 hours to comment on 75 blogs. A little more than 3 hours per day. Not that bad if I get up early and stick with the plan of  5 minutes per blog, especially if you think you can get a shot at winning such an awesome prize as $1,000 toward the tuition of a writing related workshop. I weight the pros and cons and decided that I have too much cleaning to do. Also, I know myself and my limitations. I know I wouldn´t spend three hours but probably it would take me five or six hours per day without counting writing my own daily slice. My house is too dirty to wait another week.

I understand that it is a big prize, and the challenge has to be difficult so not too many people compete and the chances of winning are higher. In my case, I know from the start I don’t have a chance. And the eventuality that my comments will be put in a blender to be raffled by a computer, makes me feel uneasy. I know there are fierce competitors in the field. And then, whenever I read a comment on my slice, I will think, oh, this person is doing the challenge, and really doesn’t care what I wrote. Sorry, I know I am being a jerk. I guess all these horrible thoughts were driving me to another spectrum of life.

I started thinking about what makes us to push things forward and when it’s too much, and we give up without even trying. This is so important with students. When to use a reward and how? Shouldn’t maybe teach them first to understand what type of competitors they are? Because the feeling of being always a loser is not nice.

When my daughter was 8 she joined the program Girls on the Run in her school. It taught girls to be confident while training for a 5 k race. My husband was going to be her running buddy, and I was determined to run with my 6 year old son. Sorry, I was not the one that was going to watch the race from the bleachers. The problem was that I was not convincing my son to run even though I knew 100% he could run 5 k. He was a little athletic machine, looking at me very unhappy. He didn’t want to run. I couldn’t understand why. Eventually he told me— because I won’t win.  I saw his face, and small body next to me. Then I looked at the thousands, and thousands of people that were passing us by, and I understood his point. It was pretty disheartening. 

Oh, well, that’s very true Vincent— I told him— but in life you will always have people ahead of you, and people behind. Your sister will be ahead of you today [my husband and I were hoping] because she has been training for four months. In this race you won’t be the first because it’s impossible and you haven’t even trained. You just need to look at how you are doing it. If you finish it, that’s considered a win.

And we ran, and we finished.

Probably, I should approach some challenges as lottery tickets, either enjoy buying the ticket and dream what would I do if I win, even if I know that I won’t, or put my pennies in a piggy bank and sign up for a workshop whenever my beautiful terracotta Dolores pig is full and I am ready to sacrifice her.

I am very competitive, but with myself. I love to compete in triathlons and I really don’t care if I am the last one. I just don’t like to quit. With the 75 comments challenge I know if I decide to take it, I wouldn´t quit. My house will stay dirty and I have guests coming next Tuesday. I hope they are not allergic to dust.

By the way Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

I don’t want a leprechaun to pinch me if my slice lacks green

Dolores (Small)
My beautiful Dolores
Fairfax Corner 5K May 21 2005 091 (Small)
Our third “Girls on the Run Race” in May 2005

Day 12. Points of view #SOL19 #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualMarch 12th:


I hate to ask you this Matilde, but where am I at?

I knew I wasn´t at home, not even in Spain, but I didn´t have the foggiest idea what have just happened.

We are in California, ma. At Rich and Karen´s place.

I tried to focus and recall my thoughts but I couldn´t. I felt helpless. Probably this is the feeling people get in the early stages of Alzheimer.

—Do I have health insurance?

Then I looked at my son who was glued to his phone.

My daughter’s:

OK mom, we are going to take an Uber home— I said after I followed all the protocol I learned from my first responder training.

Me cai? Me caí? Did I fall? She asked for the nth time. I couldn’t help laughing. She was so out of herself, or maybe too much of herself was condensed in a fraction of a minute.

No, no, no —she insisted. I think I can bike home and maybe then rest.

She tried to get up, but then dropped on the ground immediately and gave up. Ok, maybe we can take an Uber.

I asked my brother to get one on his phone. My credit card has been rejected in my account.

My son’s:

I took the wrong path to avoid the slant. My mom was just behind me. I hoped she saw it and didn´t fall. I knew it was just wishful thinking when I heard my sister yelling at me. Stop, Vincent. Mom fell. I turned back my bike and watched them talking while I frantically googled on my phone: “What to do when a person lost her memory.”

Mom! Are you teasing us? Matilde, this is bad, really bad. 

My husband’s:

Thwack!  That last drive was a beauty. He creamed it. Right in the middle of the fairway. He loved the sound of the clubhead and ball at the precise moment of impact.  It was a perfect blow.  It gave him extreme comfort to find the dead centre of the clubface, and then watch the ball fly and hear its sound cutting the air. The day was a little overcast but his body was warm. He looked at his watch. Almost 4 pm. Perfect. He will have time for a little nap before his wife and children arrive from their biking ride to China Camp Park.


Note: Nobody was seriously injured in this event and it was no need to go to the hospital or claim my health insurance. The following is the piece of advise my daughter gave me when I complained of pain for the remaining of our vacation:  You need to face it mom. These things happen when you mountain bike. You fall, it hurts, and then you recover. You are old and it might take a little bit longer to heal up but you are going to be fine. Stop being a drama queen.

No sympathy for the Queen of Hearts. I am so glad that now I can just chuckle when I remember my first mountain bike fall last January.

Day 11. My last drama practice ride #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 11th:

I have been doing theatre here in Spain for almost eight years. In different groups, with different people. Last October, eight of us decided to get independent, creating a formal amateur group we called Jujurujú Teatro. We rented a space and start practicing every Monday from 9 to 11 pm   (yes, Spanish hours are crazy!) I was the treasurer. One of our friends, Artur, was the director. He is Portugues. We always laugh with him about his Portoñol. He calls the sections of our practices “blocos”, in Spanish bloques, blocks. I don´t know why saying blocos amused us so much.

We chose a play after lots of study and discussions. We took turns for leading practices since the director lived in Portugal, and came to Sevilla every other week. After each practice we shared a beer and tapas, and we laughed about our own miseries. We set the date of the premiere for May 17-18. I realized I was not going to make it. My daughter is graduating from college in the States.

It was unfair for the group that I keep having a main role, or even a small one, if I was not going to be able to practice on the most intense part of the rehearsals, let alone the first days we present the play. I am leaving in two weeks, and today was my last day. I decided to go on my bike, since my usual ride, a friend who lives in my town, was unable to go. I promised my husband I was going to return by train, the last one leaves at 10:54 pm. He couldn´t convince me I take the car. Parking downtown Sevilla is a nightmare.

I arrived when everybody was warming up. I unpacked, and tried to do my best to follow the instructions that Artur had sent me, and lead my last practice. We were working on discovering our character´s body, voice, and today was the turn of feelings and emotions. At the end of the bloco I asked everybody to form a circle and tell one feeling, with one movement that represent the emotional state of their character at that moment. The rest of us was going to repeat whatever they did. It was so nice to see their gestures and hear their feelings, all of them tied to excitement. The last part of practice  was reading the third act of the play. It was getting late for me to take the train. So I handed the money, gave a big hug to each of my compañeros, took my backpack, put my helmet, and closed quietly the door while they keep reading their lines.

Outside I unlocked my bike and pedaled to the station. If I had to say my feeling, probably I could not have find the right one. While my heart was filled with joy and thankfulness, a strange melancholy was invading my body while I was doing my last ride.




Day 9. A day of reflection… #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 9th:

Yesterday was one big chunk of a slice of life and I have the privileged to share it with thousands of people that went worldwide to the streets to support women. I got so much energy and excitement on the streets that I don´t know how to convey them in words. I feel that maybe pictures might transmit my feelings better. However, we produced so many photos with our phones that the saying One image is worth more than thousand words might not be true either. We have arrive to the point that we don’t have time to select the best of the crop.

Here are some of the emotions and feelings that started to appear in my body and mind before, during and after the march yesterday:

Anxious when I couldn’t find at home one of the three books I wanted to return to the library after the march. Only a librarian is kooky enough to wanting to do that at 11 pm.

Free when  I was biking down the hill and I got the air and sun on my skin.

Amazed to see so many people when I arrived at Seville.

Appalled to see on signs simulating tombstones the names of so many women who have died due to gender violence.

Humoured to have found my friend Jorge and his wife Ángeles and their friend Pilar at the march.

Sad that my husband didn’t want to come with me (I know I have to give him time).

Comforted by the energy around me.

Wondering what would happened if we didn’t have a camera on our phones.

Energized with the drummers and their drums

Optimistic to see so many young people of all walk of lives and genders embracing each other.

Smiling at the sign of Little Red Riding Hood.

Thankful to be in the middle of it.

Stunned that we still need to march.

Hungry after four hours of marching.

Prepared when I sat down in the middle of Plaza Nueva to eat two oranges and drink some tea I brought in my backpack.

Dismayed when I realized it was 11 pm. and I still needed to go to the public library to return the books.

Cracked up when I saw the sign The women strike back since in Spanish we seldom can’t mention a noun without an article.

Tempted of going home and forget about being responsible.

Determined not to get tempted.

Happy I got rid of the one day overdue books.

Sweaty biking uphill back home.

Uneasy with the quietness of the night.

Relieved of being able to listen to an audio book while biking home that distracted me of fears.

Marveled by the life of Sonia Sotomayor in her My beloved world that gave me strenght to keep pedaling.

Pleased to see the tree in Castilleja de Guzman that tells me that I am almost home.

Proud of been gifted with that day.

Combative with my husband for not have accompanied me.

Unfair for not wanting to listening.

Understanding when I hear his reasoning.

Unrepentant of all that happened.

Reconciled with my past, my present and my future.

Happy to go to bed.


The tree (Small)
Pleased to see the tree in Castilleja de Guzman that tells me that I am almost home

Day 7. UK World Book Day celebration whatever that means! #SOL19 #SOLSC


March 7th:

Yesterday I received a whatsapp from my friend and colleague Marie asking me if I wanted to celebrate World Book Day today at the school where I used to be the head librarian. Since now I work at home, I always look for opportunities that force me to get out, and reply with an immediate yes! without thinking too much. Then I was, wait! World Book Day? Isn´t that in April? I got lost. What book celebration was today that I was not aware of? I remembered Read Across America, but that´s on March 2nd, and is American not worldwide.

Doing a little bit of research I realized that British people celebrate World Book Day not like everybody else in April by the first Thursday of March. April is already packed in the UK with Easter school holidays, and April 23rd was already taken by Saint George´s Day, the national saint of England.

Many of the teachers in the school are from the UK, so they decided to celebrate UK style World Book Day with the Spanish children. Always is a good occasion to get on a costume of your favorite book character and share your special book with friends and teachers. In England, The Guardian has a post today called Show us your World Book Day costumes where people could upload photos and tell a story about the process of deciding which character they were going to be and the making of their costumes. Here are some of the stories.

World Book Day (Small)

This is my story in bullet points:

  • I only had 24 hours to decide what to be and how to do it
  • I had a Cat and a hat outfit and would have been easy to just do that since I knew the drill of the make up. But, Dr. Seuss is under scrutiny in the US, and I didn´t want to represent values of racism whether they were known here or not.
  • I had a dress I bought in Istanbul last year that I wanted to use for storytelling I hadn´t being able to use it yet. I really wanted to use it.
  • I started googling “book characters with red and yellow costumes”
  • I saw medieval princesses, some sort of little red riding hoods…but nothing well known or that ringed my bell.
  • My dress was a regal dress…but I couldnt be a princess. I needed to be some sort of queen…Voilá! The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland!
  • When I started to look for images of the Queen I found many of the Disney´s version and the last one of Tim Burton´s movie.
  • I decided to have my own version, a mix of the original 154 years old Queen of Heart combined with the latest Burton´s version.
  • For the makeup I found a great and useful youtube video . The outcomes probably will be much better on a young and beautiful person than myself.
  • Using cheap makeup doesn´t enhance your pretty old features. The results were like a monster or an old granny that could scare children. I thought I was going to tell children I was the Grandmother of the Queen of Heart.

Queen of Heart (Small)

  • I found a template for a crown, and an old wig my daughter left when she moved back to the US. My husband lend me an old golf club and I cut out a flamingo to play croquet.
  • If nothing work, I was just going to yell Off with their heads! and everything was going to be solved.


  • My husband took a video of the Queen in action that by popular demand I have to post on my Instagram feeds. He also dropped the Queen off at the school.
  • Nobody wanted to give a kiss to the Queen of Hearts, not because they were going to messed up her makeup (How thoughtful she thought) but because they didn´t want to get the white thing on their own face.
  • We had a blast
At the school with teachers (Small)
The Queen of Hearts, the Cat in the Hat, Oliver Twist and the Tiger that came to Tea
Even the Principal humored us with Zorro.

Even the Principal humored us with Zorro.

Favorite book (Small)

The Queen of Heart with One of her Latest favorite books, “El Arenque Rojo” by Gonzalo Moure
The Rabbitt (Small)

The Queen of Heart found the rabbit

The Queen of Hearts and Oliver Twist
Queen of Heart and own book (Small).jpg

The Queen of Heart holding her own book
Qeen of heart and her grandchild2

When the Queen of Hearts realized she was actually the grandmother of the real Queen of Heart
  • I return home biking with all the Queen of Hearts belongings hanging on my back.
  • The end


Happy worldd book day (Small).jpg
Happy world Book Day, any date you celebrate it!

PS: Today´s slice was hard to write. It will be published 5 minutes before midnight my time.

Day 5. Good news Tuesday…Not! #SOL19 #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualMarch 5th:

When my son Vincent was in first grade and we were living in Annandale, Virginia, he received a weekly package of math, reading and writing homework. We really appreciate the fact that it was a weekly ordeal, since that way we could teach him to manage his own time, and take responsibility of his own work. Also, some days were so packed with after school activities that it would have been really difficult if he had to sit every single day to do homework. Reading was a daily routine in our home but math and writing drills, nope. With sports and other interests that my son has at that age, the package was at the bottom of the totem pole. Usually he ended up on Sunday night, tired and sweaty of a fun weekend of running around outside looking at the package with teary eyes, and whining that he didn’t want to do them. We always replied to him that it was his choice, and that it was OK  if he didn’t want to turn them in. Of course, he hated the prospect of arriving on Monday to school without homework.

Nonetheless, I tried to help him to work on his homework by chunks, avoiding as much as I could the Sunday meltdown. Math was one thing that he enjoyed and he finished that section fast and with joy. Another part of the package was called Good News Tuesday.  Vincent needed to write something that day. I knew it was a well-intentioned teacher trying to space out homework and make the writing shore of 1st graders exciting. So I decided to follow suit and encourage Vincent to write every Tuesday. It was a battle. We got to an agreement that he could go outside and play as soon as he finishes his writing assignment. He stayed in his bedroom forever. Once in a while I peeked and asked him how is writing piece was going. Of course the piece of paper was blank and he had found something much more interesting to do in his room than writing good news. I was suffering as much as he was. His writer´s block was serious. He usually looked at me and said desperate: I don’t know what to write! I  run through tons of ideas until I exhausted my owns. One day, I remember I told him in a very firm voice: Vincent, it doesn’t matter what you write, write about anything, a bug, a turtle, something that happen in school or the fly that’s on your window right now, look at it, just write about it. Your teacher just want you to write. She will be VERY happy to read anything that is written by you. He looked at me upset, and said: No, I can’t. Those are not good news!

No good news whatsoever. Homework was already bad news. You don’t have an idea how much I wished the teacher had called that piece, bad news you have to write every Tuesday, or Tuesday writing exercise, or anything that made more sense to a concrete and practical boy as Vincent was (and still is at 21).


Shine or storm, Vincent always preferred to be outside on a Tuesday afternoon

Vincent X 2003
Vincent in First Grade (or maybe kindergarten)

Day 4. Going down the hill…#SOL19 #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualMarch 4th:

This slice is not about getting older, or maybe it is, but how you do it on a bike.

The first day I went to my writing workshop, Maria, “the beautiful and young instructor” as she likes we call her, asked us to do an automatic writing exercise inspired on Natalie Wolver (sic). This is what I wrote in my notebook. Today I searched the internet to make sure I was referencing it correctly and realized that it was Natalie Goldberg and her famous book Writing down the bones, or perhaps another she wrote about writing.

The exercise consisted on writing without stopping for five minutes in a row. I obediently did it as a good newcomer to the group. And this is what it came to me, literally. I promise, I have not changed anything, not even a period or a comma, well at least in Spanish, because the English version is just a pitiful translation.

Shit! When she was going down the hill giving all in, since she wanted to break a record in Strava, her new application to measure the speed of her bike, it was a single second, yes, only one, in which she literally left her life and immediately  found herself looking at a truck that was coming at her. Now she really had screwed up. She did not remember anymore. She closed her eyes just as she saw the truck go over her head. Or at least that’s what she believed. And now she was lying, paralyzed, numbed by the events, in a bed that was not her, a black roof through which the beat of a fan could be heard, pained by time. In a corner, spider webs wove comfortably and the walls of the room fell apart. A man in his fifties was taking her pulse and a woman who had not waxed her mustache, was holding a mask. The truth is that she did not know if what she saw was true or she imagined it, because without glasses, that most likely were lying broken on the slope of Guzmán, she couldn´t see a thing. But she was sure her body was alive in a sore bed, she just did not know why.

Now that I visualize how much I wrote, I am not that impress. When I did it, I was very proud and I thought I wrote quite a bit in 5 minutes, but on this blog post, it looks meager.

Here is the original Spanish version

Mierda. Cuando iba bajando la cuesta a todo dar, pues quería batir un record en Strava, su nueva aplicación para medir su velocidad en bici, fue un solo segundo, sí, solo uno, en en el que se le fue literalmente la vida y acto seguido se encontró mirando a un camión que se le venía encima. Ahora sí que la había cagado. Ya no recordaba más. Cerró los ojos justo cuando vió al camión pasar por encima de su cabeza. O por lo menos eso es lo que creyó. Y ahora se encontraba recostada, paralizada, entumecida por los acontecimientos, en una cama que no era la suya, un techo negro por el cual se escuchaba el batir de un ventilador adolorido por el tiempo. En una esquina telas de araña tejían su morada cómodamente y las paredes de la habitación se caían a pedazos. Un hombre de unos cincuenta años le tomaba el pulso y una mujer que no se había depilado el bigote, le sostenía una mascarilla. La verdad es que no sabía si lo que veía era cierto o se lo imaginaba, pues sin gafas, que lo más probable es que yacieran echa trizas en la cuesta de Guzmán, no veía lo que se llamaba un carajo. Pero estaba segura que su cuerpo estaba vivo en una cama adolorida, no sabía bien por qué.

Going downhill near the slope of Guzmán (photo taken from a car though)
Here is the origin of all

Day 1. February is over…Slice of Life Story Challenge 2019 is on! #SOL19

slice-of-life_individualMarch 1st:

Last year I signed up for the slice of life story challenge, and on day two I have to quit since my dad got really sick and I had to fly to Chile and stay with him. I didn’t have time or a state of mind to do the challenge, let alone to even connect to the internet.


My Thursday Creative Writing Workshop
My Thursday Creative Writing Workshop

Last October, I joined a face to face writing club in my little town here in Spain. We meet every Thursday. Maria, our mentor, gives us each week really serious and entertaining writing assignments that we have to bring back the following Thursday. Participants are very warm and talented writers from all ways of life, all from Spain. They know each other for more than eight years, but they welcomed me in a heart beat as “la chilena”. I love my workshop, and as Maria always says, Thursday is my favorite day of the week, since I get to attend it. We also have a whatsapp group where Maria makes sure to encourage us to write, to check her blog, and keep it up. In that chat we share also anything related with reading and writing and some nerdy jokes.  Once in a while, some of the participants arrive to the workshop with nothing written for that week, since they didn’t have time. I understand them, but I also know that writing, as anything else, requires discipline and practice. I set my mind to always make an effort to show up with something, even if it’s not that good. They have to endure listening to it, though.

Slide1Yesterday, been Thursday and the last day of February, we didn’t meet. On a day like this in 1980, the Andalusian electorate voted to make Andalusia an autonomous community of Spain, and from that year on, every February 28th, Andalusia celebrates its day, Día de Andalucía (“Andalusia Day”) and is a holiday.  I work at home and for a US market, so my morning was the same as usual. But it was sunny and warm outside. Around 5 pm. I decided to grab my bike and go for a ride around the countryside.  I didn’t see too many people, just a handful of goat keepers. When I was in the middle of nowhere and with an only general idea of where I was at, I found a wagon full of people. They were singing and drinking, and they thought that it was very funny that I passed them in my bike. When I see a slice of life of other people or interesting landscapes, I post them in my story on Instagram. Biking always helps me to get rid of bad vibes, to think, to get inspired, and when is a boring and not dangerous ride, to listen to an audiobook. By the way, yesterday I started listening to Sonia Sotomayor´s memoir My Beloved World, but that´s another story.

Somehow in January, I remember the Slice of Life Story Challenge and thought I should do it this year. I have two blogs, one in English, and one in Spanish. In the English one I haven’t published anything since August 2018! The Spanish one is not too much better, November 2018 is the last post, but in my defense, I have to say that I have 41 drafts waiting for me to press the publish button. I am not kidding when I say that writing is like getting naked little by little. Probably when I die, my children will find these treasured drafts and they will start eventually to understand their mother in a deeper level hahaha.

Writing in English is a challenge for me. I have to think twice, and it takes me much longer than to write in Spanish. My vocabulary is much more simplistic and dull, and I commit tons of mistakes. My daughter always laugh at my English, even though she likes it and think it’s cute, especially when I speak. Nonetheless,  I am up for the challenge, and I am happy that March is here!

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