Day 21. Miss Pigeon, the doctor #SOL2020 Challenge #SOLSC

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Today, March 21st, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

 

My dad, who had a great  imagination and a gift for storytelling created for each of his 5 children some imaginary character that he put in a magical world with our real traits and flaws. He could make up stories in a blink. When we were sick, when we were bored, when we were in the car, when we got hurt. When we were all together, like in the car, the stories were always about all of us. But if we were alone, he crafted a personalized story with our own character.

When I was a kid, I got tonsillitis frequently, and to get the penicillin fast in my system I needed to get a shot in my buttock. My mom was the one that gave us the shots, but she hated doing it, She always started to whine and complain of how horrible was to give a shot, while  holding the syringe and its needle up in front of our faces. And those needle were something.

I remember the first time I needed to get one of those shots, I freaked out. I  was crying, terrified; the more terrified, the tenser I  became; and the tenser I got, the harder my buttock became. Probably my mom and dad were very frustrated with the whole situation. I was lying sick in the bottom of a bunk bed. After several minutes of not getting anywhere and zero compromising from my part, my dad,  following a sign of desperation from my mom, climbed into the bunk bed, wiggled around to adjust his tall body on the side of the wall. He started to caress my hand, and ask me to breath like a little dog, and while I was breathing, he started to tell me a story about the little pigeon who loves to cuddle. His soft voice, his enticing story filled the room. Then, little by little, the heavy liquid entered in my system through a somehow calmed mother’s hand.

I don’t know if it was from that moment or it was already developed in my mind, but I wanted to be a doctor. Who doesn’t when you are six year old! My parents took my dream very serious, and eventually the little Pigeon character, had a profession. She was a doctor. The stories developed rapidly. Miss Pigeon committed lots of mishaps and funny mistakes as a doctor and we listen to her misadventures with delight. My character became to be la Doctora Pichona, -Miss Pigeon, the doctor.

The Christmas when I was six, I received as a present an entire doctor set. But it was not the cheap cookie cutter set that every kid probably was receiving that Christmas. It was the most complete doctor set I could imagine of. It was in a huge and personalized flowery box. Inside was a real doctor’s uniform that my mom adjusted from a white school apron that little kids wore in public schools. There were all sort of pills made of candies, placed in perfect little glass containers. It was real gauze, band aids, thermometer, tape, even a stethoscope, and a doctor mask.

Everybody was admiring my set. Aunts were congratulating my mom for her ingenuity and all the time and dedication she put into it, and she was explaining that my dad walked for hours downtown trying to find every single item. While chatting, little by little they helped me put on all my attire. The only thing missing was the mask and I would look almost like a real surgeon. I was starting to believe it, until I grabbed the mask and my aunts and uncles gathered around me cheering and saying. Yes, yes, the mask, she has to wear the mask!  I felt my mom’s hands tying the laces in the back of my head, and then dragging me to a mirror so I can see Miss Pigeon, the doctor for real.  As soon as I saw the white mask perfectly made by my mother, wrapped on my mouth, my body tensed, I gasped. An uncontrollable cry started to come out of my throat. The vision of me as a real doctor was frightening. I couldn’t breath, I didn’t like anything of it. And I could see the disappointment in my parents’s eyes. Miss Pigeon, the doctor didn’t want to be a doctor, didn’t like her best and only Christmas present.

Until now, I remember that terrifying feeling of my look. However,  I don’t know if I was crying more for the look, or for letting my parents down by not enjoying my present.


The last time I saw my father was two months before he died. I knew in all likelihood I was not going to see him alive again. I grabbed his hand, and told him for umpteenth time. Dad, I want you to know that I love you. I love you with all my heart. He looked at me with his big fragile eyes, and said with a sweet smile before falling asleep again. Lo sé mi pichona, lo sé. Yo también te quiero mucho. I know my Miss Pigeon, I know. I love you so much too.

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Pigeon by Cifruktus from Pixabay

 

Toy stories 7 to the last #SOL Tuesday

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

#Toystory7

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

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

#Toystory8

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

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

#Toystory9

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

#Toystory10

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

#Lasttoystory

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

 

Day 26. The days of your birthdays… #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 26th

Today is my daughter’s 23rd birthday and I am physically with her. I arrived yesterday at midnight. She picked me up, and said Aren’t you going to wish me happy birthday?

It has been a while since I don´t spend a birthday with her. The last time was when she turned 18th in high school and I went to her classroom during Physics class dressed up as the cat in the hat, and read Oh the places you will go, and the poem of Pablo Neruda Hoy que es el cumpleaños de mi hermana . My voice got broken with this poem, since our son was in the States, and I was missing him dearly.  While I was reading I glanced at her classmates, and saw a couple of girls drying her tears, and some of the boys looking at me in dismay. —Oh,oh— I thought Now I really messed things up.

But I have brought a cake, sodas and birthday hats. They were running around like kindergarten kids. Later my daughter told me that she felt a little bit embarrassed but her classmates could go through anything  for food and skipping Physics.

I don´t know exactly what are we going to do today. The year she left for college my celebrations of her birthday have been virtual.

When she turned 21, I made her a booklet that it did mortified her a little bit. I spent quite a few hours making a book for her in Story Jumper. I shared  the link in Facebook very excited. The link passed unnoticed that day and the followings. When you turn 21, the least you are worried about is your mom´s birthday wishes. I sensed that and the following Christmas I printed the book and mailed it to her place since we were going to spend winter holidays at her home. I had put too many hours on that book to get it passed ignored without glory or pity.

When the package arrived, she opened it nonchalantly without asking me, and decided to place the booklet on her chimney for all her friend to see how weird her mom was. When I arrived, she greeted me with a grin and told me What were you thinking ,ma? Who in the world would like to see a bloody baby (literally) on the cover of a book, let alone your boobs???

—Oh! Well, Merry Christmas, guati. That was your Christmas present—I answered.

In the cover of the book, I had put a a photo of  her arrival to this world, still tied to me by her umbilical cord. Inside the book was a photo of me breast feeding her. Ooops.

Despite everything, I love those photos. They remind me of motherhood in the early stages when everything is very physical and intense.

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My Story Jumper Story for Matilde´s 21st birthday

19 Happy 19th Birthday Matilde YouTube

When Matilde turned 19th, I made these ABCs on PowToon

 

 

Everything started when I made her a book called “The days of your birthdays” inspired by Cynthia Ryland’s Birthdays Presents (1991) when she turned 8.

My birthday’s stories are complete, now is her turn to continue them.

But that’s another slice.

 

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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 .

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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.

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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.