Day 30. Spring break is over #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individual

Today, March 30th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

 

Technically, today I would have returned to school from Spring Break. Since I didn’t, I cataloged 32 books that I managed to sneak out of the library before all schools closed March 16th. My heart was telling me that we were going to be away for a long run. I am happy to have them ready. It gives me a sense of hope, and excitement to think of a future when my students can touch them, open them, and read them. In the meantime, I am toying the idea of making a series of videos to connect with students, and read them some of the books. I don’t know exactly what my principal is expecting from me, but surely enough, I do have plenty of ideas.

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Day 29. Slices of music #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individual

Today, March 29th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

 

Thank you to all my fellow writers for your best wishes and desires that my migraine disappears soon. Health and science are crucial to our well being, and the current events are a brutal testimony of that.

Music can’t cure Covid-19 but definitely can help us cope with quarantine. Today I saw in Instagram a 20 songs challenge, and I decided to take it. Basically, it asked you to answer 20 questions related to music . I was impressed of how each question put me in a path of remembering or making efforts to decide what to say. At the end, each question encapsulated a little story that I couldn’t convey in my Instagram’s stories.

Music itself has a story, and each piece hides behind a slice of our lives.

1. My favorite song. Heartbeats by Jose Gonzalez. Two years ago I discovered this artist, and I don’t know why I became obsess with his songs to the point that it was the artist I listened the most in Spotify in 2018.

2. A song I hate. I couldn’t find any song I really dislike to the point that I hate. The closest is #11 in this list but I actually like the song, I just dislike in what it became. Hate is a strong word and I can’t hate music.

3. A song that makes me sad. The Well-Tempered Clavier: Book 1, 1.Prelude in C Major, BWV 846 by J.S. Bach. Every time I hear this piece, I remember my mom and when she was fighting cancer. I wrote a slice about it last year.

4. A song that reminds me of someone. Buckin Up Song and Bed Intruder . These two songs are part of my kids’ childhood. When they came up, we were amazed at the creativity that people have. It was one of the first stages of something becoming viral. When I listen to them I can see my children laughing and enjoying the twist. Now these two songs are part of our family repertoire.

5. A song that makes me happy. Bicycle race by Queen. Anybody that knows me, knows that this song combines my love for biking and Queen.

6. A song that reminds me of a specific moment. Bachata rosa by Juan Luis Guerra. When I met my husband in New York, this song was en vogue. We went to the Madison Square Garden together to listen to Juan Luis Guerra. It was really fun. Everybody started to dance everywhere. We even thought of playing the song in our wedding but we couldn’t find anybody who knew or wanted to sing it. I gave Steve a cassette with all the songs and left it in his apartment. The story of what happen with that tape is another story.

7. A song that I know by heart. Alle Vogel sind shon da. I attended a school run by German nuns in Chile. We learned this song at an early age and we have to sing it every year. All my classmates, even the one that didn’t learn too much German know the song by heart.

8. A song that makes you dance. Madre tierra (Oye) by Chayanne. I didn’t know this song until I went to Spain, and I got introduced to a fun way of dancing it when the swimming pool on my town organized an Aquadance. It was hilarious. From that day on, every time I listen to the song, I stop everything and start dancing. Last September, I introduced the song, lyrics and dance movements to all my classes from 3rd to 5th grade as part of celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. It was the third or four weeks of school and the kids barely knew me. Probably they thought I was crazy.

9. A song that helps me sleep. Arroró mi niño by  Maria Lopez. I put this a little bit as a joke since I can’t sleep with music. I prefer to sleep with no sounds that distract my brain from resting. This song though is a song that my mom sang to me and I sang to my kids. While searching for it in YouTube. I learned it was featured in the soundtrack of a horror movie called The curse of La Llorona. It was not very successful as you can see in Rotten Tomatoes.

10. A song that I secretly love. Wake me up by Avicii. When Avicci took his life in 2018, I didn’t have the foggiest idea who he was, let alone knew his songs. I started to read about him, and watched a documentary about his rapid success and all the pressure he received. I usually don’t like the trendy music, but Wake me up touched me, and since then I secretly love it, especially knowing the tragedy behind his creator.

11. A song that I used to love and now I hate. Libre by Nino Bravo. This song was beautiful until the Pinochet regime in Chile took it as its unofficial anthem.

12. A song from my favorite album. Piano man by Billy Joel. I have many favorite albums but Billy Joel has a special place in my heart. I first heard Piano man in a party when I was in 8th grade and a boy invited me to dance when it was playing. Later,in 1979, when I went to Germany as an exchange student, I went to my fist pop concert in Hamburg, and it was of Billy Joel. It was an eye opener. I thought I was going to see just a guy with his piano and his harmonica. When I saw all the equipment and display, and performance that he put on, I started to understand what a real concert meant.

13. A song that I know how to play with an instrument. Los pollitos dicen. I can’t play any instrument. This is a very popular and simple Latinamerican children song that I can play barely with a flute.

14. A song that I sing in public. La Bamba by Rickie Valens. Curiously this song is universal and can be danced and sung by anybody. I sang it in an intercultural camp I attended in Thailand in 2015, where only I and a boy from Cataluña spoke Spanish. Everybody loved it. More recently I sang it in my first Karaoke appearance at the last Holiday party of my new school.

15. A song I like to listen to while driving Aria (Cantilena) of Bachianas brasileiras No.5f or Soprano and Cellos, W.389 by Heitor Villa-lobos sang by Kiri Te Kanawa. I find this Aria very inspiring. When I was in my thirties, I participated in Chile in a group that we called Cucópolis which was the fantasy city that appeared in the play The Birds by ancient Greek play writer. Aristophanes. We met to discuss things that we were passionate about. By turn we gave a lecture or explanation to the rest of the group of something that was prowling on our minds. My cousin Paula, the same of song #18 sang in a choir and was very gifted. She gave us a presentation of music and how the same piece could be interpreted very different depending of the singer or the director. One of the examples she gave was with this Aria and Kiri Te Kanawa. Since then, I love to listen to this piece, and if it’s in the car at its maximum volume, while driving in the countryside on a summer day with the windows open, the better.

16. A song from my childhood. Salta, salta pequeña langosta by Los Cinco Musicales and danced by Chilean Música libre show from the early seventies. When I was 11 or 12 this song became very famous by a TV show where a group of young people danced and dubbed the top hits. One of the girls in the group was Mera. She had very long hair and wore long socks just above the knees. It was the maximum. I just loved the show and waited anxiously every day to 6 pm to dance barefoot along with Mera.

17. A song that nobody expect I would like. Bailar by Deorro. My daughter introduced me to Deorro in January of 2018 when I needed to direct one of the act of a play by Spanish dramatist, Ramón María del Valle-Inclán. I wanted to give a modern twist to this beginning of the 20th century play. I wanted to set my scene in a Spanish discoteque, so I messaged my daughter and asked her what music could I play, and she sent me Deorro. I enjoyed so much directing the scene, and coming up with an original idea, that started to listen to Deorro more than I thought I would, until I found the perfect song for my scene, and I actually like it.

18. A song that I would like to be played in my wedding. It was already played in my weeding and it was Amazing Grace interpreted by my lovely cousin Paula Siles (in the link is a version by Ella Jenkins). She told me she wanted to sing in our wedding but she told us that she wanted to surprise us what she was going to sing. After our vows she start singing with her beautiful voice. It was magical. She also sang the Ave Maria by Schubert.

19. A song that I would like to be played in my funeral. El derecho de vicir en paz (The right to live in peace) by an ensemble of several Chilean musicians. It was inspired by Victor Jara’s original song that he composed in 1971 to protest against the Vietnam War and the US intervention. The song was widely sung during the 2019  Chilean protests that started in Oct 25, 2019. The lyrics are very powerful, and somehow are resonating all over the world. They should be sound loud and clear.

20. A song that I am currently listening. The Night we met by Lord Huron. This was the first song that Spotify started to play when I clicked on the playlist I follow, Bike Ride Tunes by Christina Waddle. I like to play this list when I work in my computer not when I bike ride. When I bike ride I like to listen to the wind, the birds, and my wheels crunching on the gravel.

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My 2018 Spotify

 

Day 27. Stages of grief #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individual

Today, March 27th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

 

Since my Coronavirus quarantine started 14 days ago, I have thought a lot about the five stages of grief by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. A friend of mine recommended me her memoir The Wheel of Life when my mom was dying of cancer in 2011. Since then, I always recommend it to people that are going through something similar. During the current crisis I feel that I am participating in a global grief: people are dying, and my own behavior can affect other people’s lives.

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I think I have been through the five of them already.

 

 

 

 

Day 26. Between the lines #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individual

Today, March 26th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge. Today is also my daughter’s birthday. I remember with so much longing last year when I was with her, on her 23rd birthday. Love you so much hija!!!

 

Today I participated as a surprise guest in the 2nd Online Thursday of my Spanish friends’ Thursday’s Foam writing workshop meeting (via Whatsapp). Maria, the fantastic person who runs the workshops, receives all the stories ahead of time, and also an audio of each participants reading their story. By 6:30 pm Spanish time, the workshop starts via Whatsapp. Maria sends all the stories in an email and in alphabetical order we read and hear every story. At every time, we comment and Maria makes the most important points and analyses of the story just read/heard through an audio recorded in real time. I am so impressed of her quick grasps of each story, and how she can see (or not) immediately the elements of the homework she had given the group the last week. This time they needed to include 4 elements that drove the actions of the character: Lies-Motivation – Needs – Ghosts.

I spent almost 4 hours listening and reading ten amazing stories, and reading to witty and funny comments that were scrolling fast on my feed.

This morning, at 9 am, I was in the chopping block since I haven’t written in so long in Spanish. The workshop was about to start and my screen page was in blank.  Since my brain can’t write two pieces in one day, let along in different languages, I am going to put here what I wrote in Spanish, and give my best in translating it into English.

Entre líneas

9 am. ¡Mierda! ¡Solo tengo media hora para sacar algo de mi cabeza, escribirlo, grabarlo con mi sexi voz y enviársela a María por whatsapp! Ayer abrí los 1818 mensajes que tenía guardados del chat de la Espuma de los Jueves. Me he pasado siete meses buscando palabras en español. Mentiría si dijera que lo he intentado. La única vez que lo hice fue el  sábado 11 de enero cuando organicé el drive de los jueves. Mientras creaba la carpeta de cada uno de los participantes, y en ella sus relatos, me los fui imaginando en cuerpo presente, cada una de las voces que conocía y la de los nuevos, inventándomelas como si ya las conociera. Me daba tanta envidia que los jueves tuvieran nuevos amores. Ceci, Carmen, Pedro, Maite y que mi propia espuma ya no desbordara del tazón.  No ser parte de esas risas, y esos juegos. Que mi piel no sintiera el sol sevillano, ni que pudiera subir la cuesta de Guzmán con 40 grados de calor, o llegar a saludar a Chema y entrar a un aula blanca, austera, fría que solo los días jueves a las seis y media de la tarde se llenaba de ilusiones, donde éramos capaces de matar la soledad y enfrentar a nuestros propios fantasmas. Esa sola vez, miré con envidia los relatos que iba insertando en cada carpeta. Tan buenos, tan prolíficos, tan agobiantes. Cuando creé mi carpeta, me armé de valor y abrí un nuevo documento. Lo titulé Retomando la pluma. Permanecí diez minutos mirando la blancura de la pantalla. No tenía nada que transmitir. Me había convertido en un café expreso amargo.

Al mes siguiente, lo volví a abrir. Esta vez lo titulé Tinta invisible, y de mi teclado solo salió una frase. Si no vez nada, es porque se te han acabado los poderes de leerme entrelíneas.

9:24 am hora de Oregon del jueves 26 de marzo 2020. Cumpleaños de mi hija Matilde. 18:24 en la provincia de Sevilla.

Fe de erratas: Calculé mal la diferencia horaria entre España y Oregon. Me había adelantado una hora. Sin embargo, la presión me ha hecho romper el hielo y escribir. La espuma de los jueves es mi motivación y necesidad.


Between the lines

9 am. Shit! I only have half an hour to get something out of my head, write it down, record it with my sexy voice and send it to Maria via WhatsApp! Yesterday, I opened the 1818 messages I had saved from the Thursday’s Foam chat. I have spent seven months looking for words in Spanish. I would be lying if I said I tried. The only time I did it was on Saturday, January 11, when I organized the drive of the Thursdays’ Writing Workshop. While creating the folder of each of the participants, and placing in it their stories, I imagined them face to face, listening to each one of the voices I knew, and creating the one of the new participants as if I already knew them. I was so envious that on Thursdays they had new lovers. Ceci, Carmen, Pedro, Maite and that my own foam no longer overflowed from the bowl. Not being part of those laughs, and those playful days. That my skin did not feel the Sevillian sun, or that I could bike up the Guzmán slope with 40 degrees C of heat, or get to greet Chema and enter to the white, austere, cold classroom that only on Thursdays at six-thirty pm was filled with illusions, where we were able to kill loneliness and face our own ghosts.

That one time, I looked enviously at the stories I was inserting into each folder. So good, so prolific, so overwhelming. When I created my folder, I plucked up my courage and opened a new document. I titled it Taking Up the Pen again. I spent ten minutes looking at the whiteness of the screen. I had nothing to convey. It had turned me into a bitter espresso.

The following month, I reopened it. This time I titled it Invisible Ink, and only one sentence came out of my keyboard. If you don’t see anything, it’s because you have run out of powers to read me between the lines.

9:24 am Oregon time, on Thursday, March 26, 2020. My daughter Matilde’s birthday. 18:24 in the province of Seville.

Errata: I miscalculated the time difference between Spain and Oregon. I was an hour ahead of time. However, the pressure made me break the ice and write. The Foam on Thursdays is my motivation and need.

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Thursday’s Foam – My Spanish Writing Workshop Chat

 

Day 13. We all saw it coming…our school is closed #sol2020 challenge #solc

I went to school this morning knowing it was my last day for two weeks. Fortunately, it was a teacher’s prep day for conferences that were not going to happen. I clock in and clock out my most productive 8 hours ever. The school was quiet, I chatted briefly with some people, and two teachers gave me wipes for 30 chrome books I have in the library. I put my Random likes list from Spotify on the big speakers, and started obediently the orders of the email of the director of facilities with the subject, Please Prepare for Building Disinfection . I needed to be out of the school at 4 pm.

I went through my mental to do list, wrote and sent several pending emails to vendors, to follow up a complain about a wrong orders, to librarians at the public library, and responded to a similar amount. I distributed books pending to teachers, watered the plants, reshelved books, cleared surfaces, and did the most important thing of all: Cleaned the chromebooks that needed to be cleaned with or without Covid 19. They were literally gross.

I turned off the lights of the library at 4:20 pm and loaded my car with all the things I wanted to do during this quarantine: prepare a mock Battle of the Books for third graders, set up a computer for self-check out, cataloging pending books, putting covers to picture books (I just realized I forgot the covers), adapt for elementary students a great lesson by Miranda Doyle, on corona virus myths:”Stop the Spread of Coronavirus Rumors“, finally read the book Storytelling Strategies for reaching and teaching children with special needs edited by Sherry Norfolk and Lyn Ford, and of course write better slices of life for the March Challenge and go for multiple bike rides. Probably, I will return to school with one fifth of the things accomplished. I might sleep and procrastinate more than what I wanted. Still, I like to dream. This time I promise, I won’t feel guilty for not getting anything done. I will just try to take care of myself by reading, writing, and biking.

Note to myself: I need to make a notification in my calendar to clean the chromebooks more often and never, ever get them in white.

Day 10. Morsel of life #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

slice-of-life_individualToday I don’t have a real slice of life, just a morsel. The blues were gone. The afternoon was warm and bright. I walked in circles with my blind dog while the sun was  going down.I filmed him sniffing around, stumbling in every single rock, and putting his snout down deep in the dirt, like magnifying the lack of his other senses. I laughed watching him, following him, capturing his little ways of maintaining his optimism in life.

I prepared my storytelling for tomorrow at the Public Library. I will tell the story of Martina Martínez y el ratoncito Pérez, according to a version of Alma Flor Ada. I prepared two hats, one of beginnings, one of endings. I have my backpack ready with my sandals, and my storytelling outfit, a black cotton dress and black leggings.

I will go to bed, reread the story before closing my eyes. Tomorrow, on my way to work I will retell it to myself again, and again. At 4 pm I will drive to the public library in Bend, change into my black clothes and tell to myself. You got this, Pia.

Repeat on Thursday, in Redmond. I got this.

 

Clyde
Clyde. He is blind and deaf

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

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

Here I am now, joining the thread

Since last March

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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