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 16: Minnie, not the mouse, but my mother in law #SOL2021 #SOLSC

Today is my mother’s in-law birthday. She would have turned 84 but last year in late August she decided to leave this world. I don’t blame her. After her 83rd birthday and in coincidence with the pandemic, her health started to deteriorate, to the point that she couldn’t live alone anymore. From that month until she died, she was always with one member of the family or friend in her house. She dreaded the idea of going to a nursing home, and Covid was not making things easier. She valued her independency, as much as she valued her children’s privacy. She never even toyed with the idea of living with one of her offspring. She enjoyed visiting them, but live with them was not her way of living.

I met my mother in law in the summer of 1991, when I visited my, at that point, boyfriend or date friend, now husband’s ranch in Montana. I remember that one of the things that struck me from the beginning was the complicity she has with her children. Very often they all gathered together and start talking ranch talk that I barely understood. One morning, four of her sons where talking to her in a very amicable circle. They were laughing, cracking jokes, while deciding what were the top chores of the day. As she did very often, she was wearing curl rollers on her hair, covered with a nice headscarf. She looked beautiful in her casual ways, and when she was ready to get out, always looked very elegant with matching earrings and necklaces that always had a story behind if you complimented them. You would think that she was the Queen of England.

If you payed close attention to her hands, though, you knew that she didn’t have a pampered life. Ranch life is non-stop. From early on as a married young woman, Minnie fed her family and the hired men, starting her days making a full big breakfast, then a main meal at noon and finally supper, including all the clean up that goes with it. As one of her nieces wrote for the funeral “having to launch into making roasts, pies, cakes and all the trimmings of a big noon meal almost as soon as breakfast was over came as quite a shock to me.”

I didn’t witness the early ranch life of graciously raising seven children with no TV or disposable diapers, but I saw her cooking and cleaning before going to work as a nurse at the local Hospital, job that she had ever since her husband died of cancer when she was 46. I witnessed in amazement her sons entering the house with muddy boots through the back entrance, and walking carelessly on top of the clean and recently placed floor rugs. And my mother in law not even flinching. I would have yelled at them, start crying, and complain like crazy. She just patiently put the rugs again in the washer, and return them clean to the floor, as the wheel of life.

Minnie visited us everywhere we were. In Chile, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, Spain. She was an easy keeper and quiet guest. Always admiring the novelties on her trips, and saying “very interesting” when she didn’t know exactly if she really like something or not. She was polite, generous, and a wonderful mom. I can say that because I know all her children. She raised them to be kind, positive, generous, hard workers with a great laugh and awesome sense of humor.

My husband called her religiously every week, even when we were in Spain. If he managed to loosen up Minnie’s tongue, eventually he would know all the whereabouts of all the family members. He really enjoyed those phone calls and I know my mother in law really appreciate them.

She was one of the few person who still was writing handwriting letters, and had a blind faith on the postal service. One time she sent me to Chile by mail a camera I forgot in a trip to the US. This was during the 1990s. I was amazed that the camera arrived. She always sent packages for the children for Valentine’s, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Christmas. She made the best cookies in the world and until today people are asking for her recipes.

I had the fortune of being with her for 20 days, a month before she died. Even in her worst moments and pain, she was gracious and grateful. She is always in our thoughts and hearts, and we certainly miss her. Now, our mailbox is full of junk mail or packages with books I have ordered. With Minnie gone, the handwriting letter custom has stopped.

Minnie and us during our wedding in Chile in 1993

Toy stories 1 to 6 #SOL Tuesday

I am moving back to the US after spending ten years of my life in Spain. Moving is good and painful, and the process of packing is exhausting but very healing.

Getting rid of things is a powerful tool. I kept reminding myself that I should let things go. We are ending up with almost 90 boxes of books, clothes and memorabilia I collect for the sake of collecting. I am a trained historian and the fact that information we will need in the future will be intangible makes me hard to let go easily maps, stubs of museums, movies,  plays, drama, metro, buses, or a pamphlet handed out on the street. Everything reminded me of something.

While packing, and putting things for a garage sale, I started a series of stories about the toys I found of my already in college children. These toys were the survivors. I posted the stories in Instagram but now that I am almost done packing, and the truck is coming on Thursday, I decided to gather them all in one long blog post, taking advantage of the quietness before the storm, and that today is SOL Tuesday.

#toystory1

Before starting our yard sale, I made sure to send photos to my kids with all the stuff that we were selling that were theirs. My daughter basically told us she was a hoarder and we could get rid of everything since she didn’t remember most of the stuff.

In any case, when I discovered Slinky and the marionette, I couldn’t put them in the pile of 1, 2 or 3 euros. They remind me so much of her. I can’t get rid of them. I will put them in a room in our home in Oregon to show every person who visit us who Matilde Is: the juggler, the globetrotter the doglovermati. Cómo te quiero, guati ❤️🐕🌎🤹‍♀️ #dollstory1

#toystory2

Demon Doll (Small)

This is another item that didn’t make it to the yard sale.  This is a REAL survivor.
Matilde received this doll as a present from her aunt Alejandra and uncle Matias when she was around two. It was hate at the first sight. Never care , never played with her. I remember my mom trying to teach her how to pretend that the doll was her baby and Matilde looking at her terrified waving her little right hand saying firmly, no,no,no,. and walking away. I remember my dad saying: “Toda la razón. ¡Esto es mucha responsabilidad!”. (She is completely right. Having a baby it’s too much responsibility!).

Nevertheless, for some mysterious reasons the baby made all the cuts of our moves: from Chile to Montana, to Maryland, to Virginia, to Oregon, to Spain. When Matilde was around 11, the baby starts having appearance in her life again by making it as primer figure in her videos (” Me the model” being the launching of her career as the mistreated baby of a model by all the rough housing of Vincent). Soon she became the star of every single performance created by Matilde. The doll has been into Sevilla’s street inside a suitcase dragged on a bike, throw through stairs, and who knows what else.

In this photo, the demon baby— as Mati and Vincent call her affectionately— is posing happily with Matilde’s recently washed original baptism outfit, tights and jumper. She is ready to cross again the Atlantic ocean, through the Panama Canal to her place in Oregon until Matilde rescues her.
Sorry Vincent, I can’t follow your WhatsApp’s commands: “Throw that evil baby away, ive always hated that possessed doll“. Matilde thinks that after all she might be her child. #dollstory2

PS: This story was so popular with my selected group of followers that my friend and leader of my Spanish Writing Workshop got inspired and wrote a short story in Spanish called “La muñeca” (The doll) using my daughter´s dislike for dolls  and my dad´s observation as starting and ending points respectively.

Mati y doll.jpeg

#toystory3 

Bolones (Small)

These marbles went into the garage sale. Nobody got them. I thought that if I were a kid I would love to have them. In any case, not too many kids came. I decided to rescue them and pack them away. Last week while packing and cleaning Vincent’s room, I found two piles of marbles inside a pair of soccer socks. In one sock were bolitas and in the other bolones. A little boy got the little marbles probably because they were more. But the one that were really “valuable” were the big bolones. They reflect a little bit of my son.

Vincent didn’t keep too many things in his room. His childhood’s toys were marked by waves of obsessions. At one, he only cared about one movie, the soporific “The Incredible Journey “, water in all places and forms, and all sort of balls. At two he was obsessed with little cars. I used to buy a set of four of them in Toys R Us, and bribed him every time he went to the bathroom. Soon enough I realized I would have tons of little cars spread all over the house, so I decided to recycle them. Since he lived in his own world, he never noticed that I was using the same cars over and over again.

At three he discovered trucks and tractors in Montana. He looked with big eyes the huge trucks toys that his cousins Ben and Simon had, but actually his biggest obsession was jumping on a real truck with his uncle Curt. Whenever he couldn’t take him, he run to me crying in a desolation that I couldn’t appease until Curt was back, and the hope of getting on the truck flourished again.

Then came rocks, knives and swords, the Rubik cube, the card tricks, rotten bones of animals kept in his pockets, rock music, and the marbles. The fact that he didn’t give them away made me think that probably he cared for them. He never answered my whatsapps asking what to do with them. By heart, he is a hoarder, like all of us. Maybe he didn’t have the guts to tell me to pack something so mundane.To me the bolones are part of my son, valuable to the core, with a brain full of thoughts and a heart full of feelings. The marbles need to be kept in socks, otherwise they get disperse. You treasure them. You can’t play meaningless with them.

#toysory4

Do not disturb (Small)

Packing a home of ten years to move back overseas (yes, we are going over seas) is not an ordinary matter. When I learned how much a moving company charged to pack all our stuff, I cried. I just have broken my pinky toe and was particularly sensitive. I looked at the amount of things that overflowed our home, and the two dogs and two cats that were watching me unsettled. A considerable amount of advise from family and friends begun to arrive via whatsapp, emails and social media. “Be simple,” “be happy”, “don´t take anything”, “follow Marie Kondo´s advise”. “With the money of the container buy everything new when you come back.”

With Steve we tried to assess the situation. We were going to pack the stuff ourselves and try to reduce what we bring back to the “simple life.” And then, then is when a new Pia, willing to deal with the mountains accumulated over the years, diligent like a faithful soldier and empowered by all the Kondo´s style advise, touched the knob of the door to open Vincent´s room, and saw the “Do not Disturb Sign”. We were in some store in the US, and I have told firmly to the children that they can choose ONE item. Vincent picked out this stuffed lion cub. I was surprise by his choice, and even told Steve about it. Vincent was probably 10 or 11. He was a strong boy. At two he could pack 2 kilos of avocados while helping at the parcela my parents had near Santiago. At ten he could knocked down kids, if he wanted but he never did. He has to be very mad, to use his strength. And he wanted this stuffed animal. I can see his eyes shining when he showed me his item, caressing it with his chubby cheeks and smiling. “He is so cute”. The sign was always with the “Come in” side on. Only when Matilde got him on his nerves he turned it to the do not disturb side.

How can I throw that little creature away? How can I think that leaving him in a garbage can will make me happier? I didn´t want to buy new stuff. I didn´t want to leave my mattress on a dump. I put the little cub in the washer, and now is inside a cardboard box anxiously waiting to be put on a door knob with the “Come in” side again. I’m removing dust and memories. It makes me happy.

Come in (Small)

#toystory5

Raggedy Ann (Small)

This doll was rescued from a box left by Matilde filled with stuffed animals and moths. Raggedy Ann didn’t get eaten, thankfully. She was made with love by Gramma Minnie and will make it back to the West coast of the US. When I took her clothes off to wash them, in her body was an embroidered heart that says “I love you”.
In honor of all grandmas and children inspired by Johnny Gruelle‘ s character.

#toystory6

Chilean Doll (Small)

This is another survivor of my daughter´s indifference, even though it made it to the box where the moths where happy. This doll was also given by my brother Matías and sister-in-law, Alejandra (Probably more by the latter than my brother 😜).
She is a genuine Chilean doll, dressed as a school girl with the uniform I wore 10 years of my life. When I undressed her to wash her clothes, I was amazed by the details. She has a perfect white blouse, and a dark blue sleeveless dress called “jumper”. To keep the uniform clean we wore a blue and white checkered apron. And in winter, a blue cardigan.
In the late 1960s during the presidency of Eduardo Frei Montalva, the mandatory universal uniform was established for private & public schools in Chile. It meant to save money to families and lessen the distinction between the have and have-not. I know it was a great help to my mom’s budget. She bought us very long jumpers and aprons, that while we were growing they got shorter and shorter. During my senior year, my apron only covered me up to my bellybutton. 🤣 (I did it a little bit to annoy the school administration but also because I thought it was pointless my parents bought me a new apron during my senior year.)
Even though I didn’t like the uniform, I enjoyed the fact that I could get it messy and I didn’t have to think what to wear during the school days. The mandatory rule ended in 1995, but many schools still use the uniform with some variations. Probably now they are more expensive than regular clothes but during my childhood, “street clothes” as we called the regular clothes, were expensive.
I will use this doll in my new school, to tell stories to children about Chile ❤️ (until Matilde reclaims her).

 

—To be continued. I have a couple of stories left before the container goes—

#SOL Tuesday

Good news Tuesday…Yes! part 2 #sol Tuesday

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

———————————————

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written in pencil:

9/27/04

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

And then in green marker

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

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

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

 

Day 16. Birthday Twins #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 16th:

One was born almost in Spring, the other at the doorways of Autumn.

One was the awaited first child, the other the second of eleven siblings.

Both married.

One has seven children, the other three.

One lost her husband when she was 46, the other husband is still alive.

One lives in the North, one used to live in the South (according to Mercator)

One worked as a nurse, the other one volunteered at hospitals.

One didn’t meet me until I was 30, but since then she has always sent me handwritten birthdays cards.

The other gave me birthday presents every year, always telling me that they were just una tonterita while I  thought that they were awesome. It made me feel bad since I seldom give her something for her birthday.

Both sweet, strong and weak, firm and insecure hard workers.

Submissive on the surface, ferocious as lioness on the core. Aren’t we all like that?

One was born on a Wednesday, the other one on a Friday.

One was born the year of the Tiger, the other of the Dragon

One was born in a year were February had 28 days, the other on a leap year

One is turning 81, the other would have been 91.

29,585 days old, the other 33,237.

Ten years apart, living in so different worlds but somewhat similar.

I couldn’t find anyone famous born March 16, 1938. The other one was born the same day as Wakanohana Kanji I, Japanese sumo wrestler, the 45th Yokozuna.

One is my husband’s mom, the other my father’s oldest sister.

Happy birthday to my mother-in-law on Earth and my godmother on Heaven!

Day 8. Today is not about resisting or celebrating… #SOL19 #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualMarch 8th:

Today is not about resisting or celebrating. It’s about achieving, and getting our words out, and never, ever give up.

Since we were little, they told us to keep our inside voices, to be “feminine”, and not to raise our voices too much. I think it´s time to change that. We can do it politely, with care but do it. Your voice counts, your voice is valuable. “Your silence gives consent.”

Today I am marching for all the women that came before me and all the ones that are going to walk after me. I want them all free, alive, treated with respect and equity.

I am marching for my mom. I wished I understood earlier that many of her flaws were a way of hiding some of my dad´s. I wish she were here today, and we could march and talk about what means to be a woman. It took me too long to accept that I was one.

I am marching for my aunts Blanca, Marisi, Tere, Anamara, Cecilia, Ángela, Chabela, Lucy, Mabel, Elenita, Beatriz, Carmen and Uchi.

I am marching for all my women cousins that are too many to mention or count. For sure I will forget one.

I am marching for mi abuelita Käty and mi abuela Matilde, and my own daughter (who has the same name as my mom´s mom) and all her women friends who are somehow also part of me.

I am marching for all my women friends around the world, especially the one that I left behind in Chile and the US, and the ones that keep me going here in Spain.

I am marching for all my nieces: Chelsea, Francisca, Jenna, Claudia, Shelby, Sofi, Morgan, Luzma, Madison, Maca, Aubri, Nena, Kathryn, Georgia and Milena.

I am marching for my sister Isa, and my sisters-in law Laura, Vivi, MaryAnn, Alejandra, Marji, Colleen, Mariana, Quinn, and Wendy.

I am marching for my mother-in-law who raised seven children (one of them very stubborn hahaha) on a ranch when things were not easy and she was widowed at 46.

I am marching for all men who still think supporting women´s rights is against their masculinity and own rights. I hope they realize that We Should All Be Feminists.

I am marching for all the men who believe in us and march along with us.

I am marching in memory of my cousin Trini,  who was a strong, faithful, loyal, funny and resilient woman.  She was my best and closest friend in high school and college. We were so close that people thought that we were twins, and we were so proud of that. We fell in love with the same things, careers, and similar boys. We both were heart and hard headed women, and enjoy to laugh about ourselves. Trini raised six amazing human beings, and inspired thousands with the Montessori school Ciudadela in Santiago, Chile that she started in 1996, when she was pregnant of her fifth child, her daughter Ángela.

I am marching for her, and her daughters Mapi, Cata and Ángela that I bet they would have loved to march with Trini today. I am marching with Trini in my heart and in my skin because I am wearing a t-shirt that belonged to her. She was running too fast that left us all behind too soon.

Whom are you marching for?

#8M #IWD2019 #bewareoffastwomen #teextrañoprimadelalma

Trini and I
Trini and I, mellizas forever

beware-of-fast-women.jpg
I am marching today wearing a T-shirt that belonged to my cousin Trini. #bewareoffastwomen

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Mati and I
Because I miss my daughter today and always

IMG_7431 (Medium)
“Quien calla otorga” – “Your silence gives consent.”

Las cosas que perdemos

Hace cinco días he perdido mis gafas para nadar en alguna parte de mi pueblo. A las nueve de la mañana fui a nadar a la piscina del polideportivo. Había ido en bici, por lo que llevaba las gafas colgando de una mano. Al salir de la piscina me fui a tomar desayuno a un bar y se alargó tanto la conversación que tuve que irme directamente a una cita de rutina que tenía al doctor con el bañador mojado y las mismas gafas junto con la toalla colgando al cuello. Al volver a mi casa, me di cuenta que ya no las tenía. Me dio mucha pena, pues eran unas gafas que me había comprado en un outlet en EEUU por 12 dólares y que al fin me quedaban bien, es decir, que no tenía que parar en cada brasada porque me entraba agua a los ojos. Debo confesar que nunca había gastado tanto en unas gafas, pues mientras mis hijos y mi marido siempre se compraban lo mejorcito, yo me contentaba con las gafas que ellos desechaban y bueno, siempre resultaban un poco mierdecillas. Por lo mismo, me sentía orgullosa de finalmente haber dedicado parte del presupuesto familiar a la compra egoista de unas gafas para mi. Además tenían un plus, el diseño del marco tenía la bandera de EEUU, cosa que me hacía sentir parte del equipo de natación estadounidense de los juegos olímpicos y estar nadando a la altura de Michel Phelps. o Katie Ledecky .

LGSPLUSA-642_4
Ahora que veo en TYR Sports que el precio de esta joyita es casi de US$30, más rabia me da

Repasé todas mis vueltas en bicicleta desde las nueve de la mañana, pregunté en el bar donde desayuné, y en el ambulatorio y dejé encargado en la piscina a los monitores que si veían a un seudo Michel Phelps por las inmediaciones, lo interrogaran. En fin, en el bar me miraron con cara de que estaban escondiendo las gafas debajo del mesón, en el ambulatorio el doctor que me atendió me dijo que el ponía en venta todo lo que dejaban sus pacientes en su consulta y los monitores, cuando les dije cómo eran las gafas, me dijeron que si eran “chulas”, me olvidara de ellas.

Volví a la casa muy desalentada. Cuando estaba abriendo la puerta de entrada se me vino a la cabeza el pensamiento recurrente que tengo cada vez que pierdo algo, que es un vivo deseo que me gustaría que se me cumpliera cuando me muera. Una vez se lo comenté a mi familia y consideraron que yo le pedía muy poco a la muerte. Pero no sé por qué, a mi me gustaría, en el momento de mi muerte, que me pasaran una película no de mi vida, ni de lo que hice o dejé de hacer, sino más bien de dónde fueron a parar todas las cosas que se me han perdido o, para asumir mi responsabilidad, que he perdido y que recuerdo vívidamente su pérdida.

¿Dónde fueron a parar los múltiples aritos que he perdido y han hecho que en los últimos cinco años haya decidido ponerme aros diferentes en cada oreja y que la gente me mire  y me diga, perdona, se te ha perdido un aro? ¿O que la ayudante del laboratorio de ciencias del cole donde trabajaba, cuando le dije que me gustaba usar aritos diferentes, me dijera que era muy rara? Esta última observación francamente me hizo pensar en lo aburrida que debía ser la vida de esta persona, si me encontraba rara por esta nimiedad cuando en la calle circula gente con unos tatuajes enormes, aretes gigantes en los labios, la lengua, los pezones y la nariz y vestimenta muchísimo más estrafalaria que la mía.

Una de mis cuñadas muy queridas siempre me ha regalado aritos de gran artesanía y de lugares donde ella ha vivido. Uno de estos pares fueron unos aritos de la República Checa. Era julio del 2009 e íbamos a San Francisco al consulado español, para conseguir nuestras visas para mudarnos a España. A mi se me perdió uno de los aros checos en nuestro coche, un Nissan Pathfinder rojo, durante este trajecto. Sé que fue adentro del coche durante el viaje, quizás en una de las paradas a repostar o comprarnos un balde de coca-cola o café para seguir conduciendo. No hubo caso que revisáramos los asientos y el suelo mil y una vez; el aro nunca fue encontrado. En recuerdo de esta pérdida que me recordaba tanto a mi cuñada, nunca me saqué a su pareja de la oreja, hasta hace unos meses, en que no sé dónde ni cómo lo he perdido. Cuando mi cuñada supo que ya no tenía uno de los aros, me regaló otro par, también muy bonito, de una piedra y técnica peculiar de Georgia, el país donde estaba viviendo el 2011 y dónde habíamos ido a pasar la Navidad. Uno de esos aros lo perdí al año siguiente, en la habitación en la que alojábamos en la casa de mi otra cuñada cerca de Seattle. Recuerdo que también pusimos todo patas arriba, desarmamos la cama y buscamos en la alfombra sin éxito. Decidí decirle a mi cuñada que desistiera de regalarme aros, pues era un caso perdido.

Arito
Sacarse un selfie de un aro es muy difícil

El año pasado, otra de mis cuñadas que es profesora de arte y muy artista, al oir estas historias y saber que yo siempre llevaba aros desparejados, me regaló uno suelto hecho por ella y que nunca había tenido pareja, por lo que a las dos nos pareció la combinación perfecta. Ahora lo llevo puesto. Ya llevo un año sin sacármelo ni perderlo, pues ese es el truco y la condición: solo puedo usar aritos que no necesite cambiarme ni sacarme nunca, ni siquiera en la ducha, la piscina o en la práctica de algún deporte. Creo que solamente me he sacado los aros cuando he presentado una obra de teatro o me lo ha pedido mi propia instructora de teatro, o hace poco yo misma, cuando aprendía a hacer surf, pues después de haberme doblado el dedo meñique con la tabla, no me pareció muy alentador circular con un lóbulo sangrante.

 

 

Hace muchísimo tiempo, ya casi 25 años, cuando Steve y yo vivíamos recién casados en Arlington, Virginia, decidimos ofrecernos de voluntarios para ir en kayak por el río Potomac a limpiar parte de sus riberas. La verdad es que quedé tan impresionada de la cantidad de pelotas de tenis que encontramos que le dije a Steve que desde ese momento ya sabía adónde iban a parar todas las pelotas del mundo. Recuerdo que nos sacamos con el grupo una foto con una montaña de basura consistente en su mayoría en un montón de neumáticos, desechos varios y las mentadas pelotas de tenis. Veinte años después quise replicar esa iniciativa en el cole donde trabajaba, para que los estudiantes crearan consciencia de la cantidad de porquerías que producíamos, a través de una excursión a las playas de la costa de la luz en España, donde recogeríamos basura en las playas. Quedé impresionada de la poca aceptación que tuvo mi iniciativa entre alguno de los alumnos. Yo creía que todos iban a saltar de alegría al saber que estaban cooperando con un granito de arena casi literal a hacer de nuestro planeta y espacio un lugar menos sucio.

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Una foto muy similar a ésta nos sacamos en 1994, cuando fuimos a limpiar el río Potomac con Steve y nuestros vecinos de Arlington, Seth y Julie. ¿Qué será de ellos? Esta foto, sin embargo, es de una limpieza en kayak que organizó el Northern Virginia Conservation Trust en el arroyo de Hunting  en septiembre 2017

¿Y no les pasa, cuando recogen la ropa después de lavarla, y se dan cuenta que tienen millones de calcetines perdidos, solitarios incapaces de reunirse con su pareja, y ustedes son incapaces a resignarse a tirarlos a la basura? A mi me ocurre todo el tiempo. En alguna ocasión, ante la alternativa de contaminar aún más, se los di a mi hija para que los convirtiera en unos títeres muy tiernos.  Hay calcetines que guardo con la esperanza de encontrar su pareja veinte años después, cuando ya mis hijos se han ido de la casa y el calcetín no les cabría ni en el dedo gordo del pie. ¿Y no les gustaría saber dónde se han ido? A mi si, me encantaría que estuvieran incluídos en la película que me va a mostrar cuando me esté muriendo una directora como la Sofía Coppola, quien me explicará con imagenes contundentes el paradero de estos objetos pertinaces.

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Mis calcetines huachos

Como todas las películas buenas y marketeras tienen segundas partes, también me gustaría saber cómo han llegado a mi poder chalecos, camisetas, toallas y algunos adminículos de cocina que yo no recuerdo haber comprado o que me los hayan regalado.

Mi vida es una película constante. Creo que empezaré una serie y se la venderé a HBO.

PD: Steve quiere que añada dónde se van las tapas de las ruedas de nuestro auto, que según los amigos de Vincent, son de cani.

 

La Blanquita Edwards Pinto

Me ha dado por rebuscar archivos viejos, tratando de rescatar cartas y escritos que si no se perderán en el cementerio ciberespacial. Hoy encontré algo que escribí cuando se murió la  Blanca, una tía, hermana de mi mamá, que ejerció gran influencia en nuestras vidas de niños y no tan niños. Aquí está mi breve homenaje a la Blanca cuando supe que se había muerto en Santiago de Chile, mientras yo vivía en Annandale, Virginia, EEUU.

DESDE LA DISTANCIA…

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Blanca Edwards Pinto – 1928

Hoy día cuando hablaba con mi hija Matilde de seis años contándole que la Blanca estaba muy enfermita y que a lo mejor se moría y la Bobe no podría venir a visitarnos, ella me preguntó ¿¡por qué!?
– Bueno, porque la Bobe se va a sentir con pena, y va a querer estar con el Tata, para consolarla — le contesté
– ¿Y quién me va a consolar a mi? me preguntó la Matilde.
Yo no sabía a ciencia cierta si el consuelo era por la Blanca o porque la Bobe no iba poder venir a vernos, por lo que le pregunté: ¿Consolarte de qué?
De que se muera la Blanca, porque a mi también me va a dar pena – me dijo y continuó: ¿Y la abuelita Kätty?
– No, la abuelita Kätty está bien.
– No, yo pregunto ¿era la abuelita Kätty amiga de la Blanca?
– Sí, le dije. ¿Por qué?
Porque a ella también la van a tener que consolar.

1993 La familia Alliende Edwards
La Blanca, la abuela Kätty, mis papás, hermanos y sobrinos en nuestro matrimonio

Y así es, si bien todos sabíamos que tarde o temprano la Blanca iba a morirse, igual da pena. Da pena porque se vienen encima todos los recuerdos, las alegrías y sufrimientos pasados junto a ella o que pasaron alrededor de ella. Haber deseado que llevara una calidad de vida mejor los últimos años, pero a fin de cuentas guardar lo mejor de ella.

BlancaCuando pienso en la Blanca pienso en su elegancia, en su sinceridad y tranquilidad, en su accesibilidad, humildad y también en que era una señora muy bonita. Esas son las impresiones que tuvo Steven al conocerla hace diez años. Y todo el mundo coincidía con ello. La reina de Inglaterra como le decía mi papá, una lady, que mientras todos devorábamos pescados y mariscos en un restaurant del Duao a las 3 de la tarde, ella tomaba té con tostadas y mermeladas. Que cuando vino a visitarnos a Washington se dedicó a hacer compras para todos los nietos y bisnietos, que cuando viajábamos en metro mientras yo ya estaba en la puerta para salir apurada, ella me miraba con una sonrisa plácida, dejaba desaprensiva la cartera en el asiento a merced de los ladrones mientras se ponía parsimoniosamente el chaleco, mientras yo le hacía señas frenética. Ella me miraba tranquila, y sin agitarse caminaba y justo cuando el metro paraba ella salía invicta por la puerta como una gran señora. Yo la seguía con la mirada, suspiraba y pensaba lo admirable que era esa calma. Recorrimos todos los malls de Washington, visitamos las antiguas calles y casa en la que ella había estado en el año 42, nos contó cuentos de su niñez y de Juan, nos invitó a almorzar a un restaurant a orillas del río Potomac para celebrar mi cumpleaños, fue la primera persona de la familia en conocer a Steven y hablarle en un inglés british impecable. La Blanca siempre fue una persona que rodeó mi vida y mi familia. Siempre era tema obligado en nuestras conversaciones. Si bien ella no era confrontacional, provocaba la confrontación.

Pero no solo me puedo quedar con la imagen de la Blanca de los últimos seis o siete años en que estuvo en cama, ni siquiera la que tengo de mi vida adulta. La Blanca era deportista, nadaba, jugaba golf, tenía una memoria de elefante, nos tejía maravilloso, y nos daba unos almuerzos con todo de primera. Jamón del mejor, una carne blandita con un olor rico, inolvidable, aceite de oliva…y cuando registrábamos sus closets, que mi mamá le decía almacén el Pollito y siempre encontrábamos algún cachureo o comprita olvidada de algún mall de la que podíamos echar mano. Cuando era chica e íbamos a visitarla a ella y Juan, yo me sentía su aliada, su compañera. Me gustaba su presencia, me daba paz y tranquilidad.

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La Blanca con la Isabelita (mi mamá)

Blanquita querida, Blancucha, Blanca, Blanquecina descansa en paz, que Dios te regalonee y cuide, igual como lo hicieron en la tierra tus hermanos, cuñados, y sobri-nietos y bisnietos.
Nosotros desde la distancia te mandamos un beso, y el deseo de que todos encuentren la tranquilidad y calma que tú tenías.
Steven, Pia, Matilde y Vincent
6 de marzo 2002

 

Los caballos de David Noalia, varias historias de amor

Siento que David es el Picasso/Leonardo del siglo XXI, por eso vi la necesidad de escribir esta historia. Para ver las obras de David en directo o más información, llamarlo al teléfono +34-608-415-393 o escribirle a davidnoalia@gmail.com

Slide1

Desde que conocimos a David Noalia en 2013, siempre habíamos hablado sobre la posibilidad de adquirir una de sus obras. Han pasado cuatro años y la fama de David va creciendo, su don innato consolidándose, adquiriendo una fuerza alucinante, que a mí, por lo menos, me parecía cada vez más lejano ver una de sus obras en nuestra casa.

Fue así como decidí llamarlo una semana antes de nuestro aniversario de matrimonio, ya que salió de nuevo en nuestra conversación la idea de que teníamos que visitarlo. Pero siempre, hablábamos en el aire, sin concretar.

Nuestro aniversario era la excusa perfecta, pues hacía tiempo que no sorprendía a Steve con algo, y casi nunca le he dado un regalo significativo, que justifique su precio y su materialidad.

Decidí escribirle a David y concertamos, después de unos cuantos WhatsApps, que lo iba a ir a visitar a su estudio el viernes al mediodía. A Steve le di la excusa que necesitaba el Berlingo que era más fácil de estacionar, para ir a la Biblioteca a dejar unos libros .
Slide2Al llegar al taller, situado en el centro peatonal de Bormujos, me encontré a un David sonriente que me recibió en la puerta. Al entrar me inundaron sus cuadros maravillosos, con su magia, su potencia, su energía impresionante. Vi con gusto como seguía explorando los cuadros en series de 4, 6 o 9 al más puro estilo Warhol. Esta vez, me llamó la atención un conjunto que había de cuatro caballos, con un color predominante cada uno: fucsia, azul, amarillo y naranja. Contemplé alucinada lo que veía.

Slide3Estaban la serie de retratos de hombres, uno de un jinete que se lo había visto online, y otro de un caballo colorinche que había sido el poster de una exposición que Steve y yo lo habíamos compartido en Instagram y Facebook; también estaba uno de sus últimos cuadros, el de su hija Noelia, lleno de transparencia y vapor, pintado con una delicadeza que transmitía el momento en el que fue engendrado, a la hora del

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desayuno, cuando los rayos del sol caían delicadamente en Noelia, quien jugaba con un vestido de Rossi, y David supo captar ese instante, primero con su móvil y luego en su pintura, lleno de texturas  visibles e invisibles.

Comencé a arrepentirme de haber ido sin Steve, pues ahora tenía que tomar la decisión sola, sin saber si lo que yo eligiera sería del gusto él.

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Comenzamos a hablar de lo humano y de lo divino, de su trayectoria desde la última vez que habíamos conversado y cómo sus experiencias me recordaban a los artistas italianos del siglo  XVI explotados por  Papas renacentistas. Me contó de su entrada a formar parte de la colección permanente del Hotel Alfonso XIII a través de un alumno que tuvo en la galería de Plaza de Armas, que es pianista del hotel. De los saltos  al vacío que ha tenido que dar nada más que aperado de una gran fortaleza y creencia en sus propios proyectos. Y cómo de pronto, los astros se están alineando y la gente, especialmente extranjera, ha comenzado a valorar su obra. De cómo sus cuadros están llegando a manos estadounidenses, japonesas, rusas, venezolanas e incluso a las propias manos de la nieta de Franco, Carmen Martínez-Bordiú.

slide5.jpgHablamos de sus precios y de su forma de cobrar. De los inicios de una página web para vender online DavidNoaliaGallery.com . De lo contento que está ahora que puede comprar materiales de buena calidad, buenos lienzos y pinturas. Que antes tenía que vender para comer, y que ahora se puede dar el lujo de vender en su medida, sin que se le suban los humos a la cabeza ni morirse de hambre. Cómo ha aprendido a conciliar la exploración y crecimiento de su arte, pintando temas que le gusta a la gente y que son vendibles, como lo son el caballo y el flamenco, temáticas que antes no había pensado en acercarse. Me mostró una obra en la que está trabajando, de una bailaora en tres movimientos, que se inspiró cuando miraba a una bailaora en un video en youtube. También me mostró otras dos obras de bailaoras flamencas que reflejan un movimiento, coloridos y energía únicos en David.

Hablamos de sus planes de comprarse una casa vieja, quizás no habitable para vivir, pero sí para tenerla de taller, donde pueda recibir a gente que quiera conocer su arte, y recibir the full Andalusian Art experience, en un pueblo del Aljarafe, en una “villa” española.

Hablamos de la idea de llevar a nuestros amigos gringos a su taller en enero, de sus rutinas de trabajo, de su agradecimiento por Rossi, su señora, que ha creído en él y lo ha apoyado en todo momento. En fin, hablamos de todo, hasta que tocamos el tema de qué quería llevarme.

David me preguntó, qué me apetecía. Yo le dije que todo me gustaba, y que obviamente había algunas obras que me alucinaban, pero que eran muy grandes y por supuesto, no teníamos ni el espacio físico ni el bolsillo para financiarlas, y la idea era tener una obra de él, para colgarla y verla todos los días de nuestra vidas.
Y él me dijo, muy delicadamente
—pero de lo que hay aquí ¿qué te gusta?

Slide6Y yo le dije inmediatamente, que me alucinaba el conjunto de caballos, y algunos de los retratos de hombres y el caballo colorinche del poster.

Él me miró sonriente y me dijo,
—¿qué tal si te llevas el de los caballos…?

Todavía que lo pienso, no me lo creo, pues nunca pensé que iba a volver a la casa con un tesoro tan grande, ni que David supiera tan claramente lo que mi corazón quería. Y me dijo que si andaba en coche me los podía llevar en ese instante. Me pidió disculpas porque no tenía ningún plástico ni nada para envolverlos y que le perdonara la cutrería. Y yo pensaba, nada, de nada, cubrir estas maravillas con plástico es una aberración. Me los llevo tal cual, dos en cada mano.

Slide4Y después de dos horas de alegre conversa salía del taller de David Noalia, noble artista, cargando mi gran tesoro. Caminando hacia el coche, la gente me miraba por la calle. El mozo del bar de la esquina ojeó los cuadros, no sé si pensando ah David vendió unos de sus cuadros, o mirando mi pinta, en buzo, pues había ido a andar en bicicleta en la mañana temprano, y no me había duchado, y con cuatro lienzos enmarcados caminando con una sonrisa y el pecho inflado, que creo no se podían camuflar. Y me sentí vulnerable con mi botín, pues sentía que cualquiera me podría asaltar y llevárselos o destrozarlos.

Al irme ,David me dijo:
Vosotros sois cuatro en tu familia, pues ahí tienes, uno para cada miembro de la familia.

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Y me dio una gran idea. Inmediatamente me empecé a imaginar los cuatro cuadros recorriendo mundos, uno en manos de Vincent con destino original Butte, Montana y el otro con Matilde, en Richmond, Virginia, mientras los dos restantes se quedarían juntos, en Valencina. Me empecé a imaginar los recorridos que podrían dar cada uno de ellos por separado y las aventuras y desventuras por las que podrían pasar. Pensé en su unicidad como obra de arte, como conjunto, y en su diversidad y diferencia como obras individuales, con su propia fuerza y colorido. Y sin embargo, unidos transmiten una magia, una alegría, un movimiento y una energía que por separado no tienen, pero cada uno en su individualidad tienen su belleza y magia propia. Y así pensé que es nuestra familia, fuerte, llena de energía, magia y alegría con integrantes que corren con su propia identidad y colores propios. Pensé que solo un artista como David podía representar con su arte lo que somos como familia y hemos formado como matrimonio. Y eso me parece maravilloso.

Imaginé los derroteros que podían recorrer cada uno de ellos, y que, en un futuro incierto, cuando todo esté reducido a megabytes, y números binarios, alguien encuentre uno y comience a hilar su historia y su relación con los otros tres, hasta que los reúna y vea reflejados en ellos, una historia de amor, o varias, la nuestra, la del artista, la de nuestros hijos y nietos. En fin, la historia de la vida, reflejada en Steve y en mí, en David y su arte, su compañera Rossi, sus hijos y quizás cuántos más tocados por su pincel.

Y es así como pensé cuál obra le pertenecía a cada quién:

January 1991 – Nov. 27th, 1993Steve – Blue

IMG_20171126_084228199.jpgWhen I first met Steve, I found him extremely attractive, and handsome. I fell in love with his laugh. He gave peace to my unquiet spirit. I think this horse in blue, represents those features in him. A gentle person, who instills balance, positive thoughts, firm values, endless humor, and a sense of moving forward with optimism in what is ahead of you.

January 1991 -November 27th, 1993- Pia – Fucsia

IMG_20171126_084112041.jpgWhen we met, Steve told me that I was bold. I didn´t know the meaning of that word. I remember I went home and looked it up in the dictionary. I was kind of shocked to think that I was considered bold, but I never forgot it. I think I am passionate, and with an endless energy for the unknown. Even though I don´t like red or pink in my clothes, I think this horse represent a little bit who I am, and who Steve saw when we first met.

March 26, 1996 – Matilde – Orange

IMG_20171126_084315455.jpgWhen Matilde was born, the midwife exclaimed: ¡Salió igual al papá! Es colorina!
When I saw this horse, I thought this is she. Orange. The perfect mix of blue and fucsia. Matilde inherited Steve´s perseverance, optimism, generosity, and confidence in the future. From me, the passion and relentless quest for the edge of things. She has the ability of being balanced and risk taker at the same time. She is a leader in search of answers, who is not afraid of the unknown, and will give herself completely for a cause.

October 24th, 1997 – Vincent – Yellow

IMG_20171126_084402507.jpgWhen Vincent was born, he was in permanent movement. Eventually he evolved to be our quiet American, raised to be resilient. When I look at this horse, I think of him. He is Matilde´s brother, thus the horse is more like hers than ours. Still, it´s a blend of Steve and me, of fucsia and blue, but in a subtle way. Yellow, with many blue strokes, and some little splashes of fucsia. He represents the calm after a storm, the gentleness of Steve´s manners, an extreme sensitive spirit that inherit from his mother, and the wisdom of his dad. He is the risk taker who will question everything, and will measure the consequences of his risks.

November 27th, 2017 – The McCann Alliende

IMG_20171126_084912934.jpgAnd here we are the four of us. Steve and I, who managed to raise some awesome kids, and have a wonderful family, thanks to what we brought from our own ancestors, cultures and backgrounds.

We are risk takers, we are in a permanent quest of trying to be better, to find the balance in our lives, in our relationships; we have the magic of firm and transparent strokes, and the energy of bold colors. We are in permanent movement, we are relentless and resilient. We are full of love.
We are the McCann Alliende.

Para ver las obras de David en directo o más información, llamarlo al teléfono +34-608-415-393 o escribirle a davidnoalia@gmail.com