Ever sit down to enjoy the next episode in a tv series only to find out the episode was a musical? Though many times I see these musical episodes as slightly annoying speed bumps on the path to an eagerly anticipated resolution, life is funny, and today those musical episodes resonated with my morning. I woke up in a musical where my life had its own soundtrack I did not quite control, but it all had a coherent theme: “El tiempo pasa”. Continue reading I woke up in a musical
Here is a snapshot of what I love and all those I love in my little peace of imperfect earthly heaven.
“The soccer ball was an éxito total!” Javier blurted out as soon as he was next in cue. I had not seen him since 8am, had not talked to him. He had just arrived home with the other half of the family, Olaia and Jim. As our kids come in they usually begin a frantic free for all telling me all sorts of stories about their day. They wait in cue. Waiting for the 3 seconds break that lets them know there is a lull in the conversation and permission to take over the floor and start their story. This does not always work seamlessly, there are times siblings cry out “I am not done yet! I was taking a breath or composing my thoughts!” But for the most part, it is the law of the land. Ruthless, straightforward, passionate and not for the faint of heart nor those who are entertained by platitudes, pleasantries and light chit chat. Continue reading 1, 2, 3, …
My neighbor informed us their grandmother had suffered a heart attack, I imagined their two young boys might need some looking after as the family gathered and tended to the difficult days ahead. I was moved by all the questions I imagined their youngest child might have and forth came bad poetry like a river bursting through a damn of “I know better” but nonetheless… the spirit moved me and I wrote it down.
I am painfully aware I am no Shakespeare, but it is fun to feels to be compelled to write and have funny rhymey verse spew forth. Ahhh bad poetry, gobs of emotion, they keep me human and keep me humble.
I feel like we live in wonderland. What is Wonderland like? In Wonderland, citizens pay for maintenance of a centuries old broken water system that is kept alive thanks to prayers to the rain god. A bid process for dredging a reservoir that serves half a million people is stopped because somebody in the government got offered “free dredging,” except that the dredging never begins. Next thing we know, the same government is paying 60,000 a month for seeding the clouds… and is surprised and disillusioned when it did not work.
Oh please, let there be a hurricane (a small one) we pray… but this time, its not for the day off, nor for the beer and dominoes with friends, nor for the street cook outs, its so we can fill up the reservoir to the brim and even open the doors and let some out, so we can have regular showers and wash our cars weekly without the stink eye of a neighbor or two.
My area of interest for this summer’s exploration brings together history, art, and science of oils and a lot of “sure we can do that”-wishful thinking and naive bravado. On my plan:
- Marblezing paper and boxes
- Making essential oils from things in our garden using a stovetop espresso as a steam distiller
- Explorations in oil painting
“Mami, realworld minecraft is way more difficult and tiring.”
All the boys enjoy playing with MInecraft, watching Minecraft videos, and building their future homes and worlds. As we cannot always hang out together, a little of alone playtime with video games is part of the Summer menu. The kids show us their creations and their favorite videos, but the best part of hanging out together is the sobremesa or tertulia discussion about what they are doing and “learning”.
My favorite learning moment was Jim’s outdoor activity for the kids: “let’s go build a wall”. From their Minecraft point of view it sounded FUN, it sounded do-able. I was excited to see THAT project. The instructions were simple.
- Weed garden
- Till and prepare the soil.
- Make a bed of gravel
- Move rocks from pile to a clean line on the terrain. Larger rocks on the bottom.
Two hours later we had a partial old-fahioned wall construction. The lesson of the day was the realization Javier had, which started this entry.
The next day, Javier started telling his father about his “great diamond axe” how it was the best because it was the strongest…. which became an invitation to discuss the actual properties of diamond, steel and other materials. They talked about hardness and strength and how they are not the same and why we do not make axes out of diamonds. Yes Minecraft is cool, Minecraft is fun , but Minecraft is far from a science textbook and realworld building.
We have been waking up and going to the Parque Lineal de Bayamón. Jim has found a good manageable out of the house routine that makes it easier for a family of six to go out and have some fun. Two young kid bikes go in the trunk of the van, one adult bike (used to be mine, now is Jaimito’s) on a bike rack. Jim brings his rollerblades and Olaia and I jog. We all roughly hang out.
Jim’s rollerblading is about the speed of Javier and Asier’s biking, Jaimito is on his own a bit, but waits for his Dad to practice doing dips on parallel bars. Olaia and I start together, we talk, we plan, we start and then she is pretty much on her own as I lag behind. We all head out 20 minutes and come back. Though we do different things, the sites are the same, and we all come back to chat, stretch, do some more exercises, drink water and exchange stories of our “work out session”. The time together outside is priceless.
This Summer we have decided to have a home based camp. Jim and I still have to work, but the work load lessens and we can make time to do other things as a family. Jim has been in charge of the the outdoor activities. I have taken it upon myself to do the art projects. Here are some highlights of things done and planned for the near future.
I love seeing what my kids create these days and just like as babies their love empowered me and gave me peice, these days their ideas, inspire me. Here is a poem written by Olaia O’Malley for a school project. The requirement was to write a poem about “being cool.”
I thought I was real cool.
But- I’m an alien race
living in outer space
just trying to make them not hate.
Just getting by, but –
not dark enough, not white enough.
Stuck in the middle.
stuck with a riddle.
Cool, but not cool enough.
I totally enjoy the rhythm and the message. She read it to me and I almost could here music in the backround. I wanted more, but it was short and sweet. She inspires me to write, to be more creative to… just do it!
Over the past year I have been visiting schools reading a story I wrote and illustrated for a beloved local brand to school children. My story, “El Tesoro Escondido,” (“The Hidden Treasure) is not a work of art, it more of a tool to have somebody else besides the teacher and librarian talk about writing. To my client and sponsor it is an excercise in engaging the community and becoming partners in education. For me yesterday, it was a path to living the story I tell. Continue reading Mi tesoro, Treasure lost and found