Friday, September 19, 2014

A quick trot into gentleness and gratitude

The other night I helped a friend of mine that I volunteer with by facilitating a space for her to hold an informational event for about 50 or so women. My friend entrusted others in her group to run the project as she had to attend an out of town thing for her work.

What struck me about this is the discordance between my experiences in working with her and what happened when I worked with the others.

My friend gets gratitude. She is a wonderful, bright, beautiful, sassy woman, but she gets gratitude.

I was strongly taken aback by how easy it was for the women whom had taken over for her to fail here. In my close proximity they chose to open complain about the location I had offered and complain about another one that I had helped them procure in the past.

They failed to acknowledge that I had given up an evening with my beloved family for them to be able to do this, they chose, instead, to focus on all the problems but not in the way that would be proactive,

I was incredibly insulted hurt.

I was afforded a chance to speak and I hope I gently addressed their behavior by saying that when no other option came through that I offered what I had.

One of women whom I heard complain (making the most gentle of comments, rather than rude and harsh)  sent me a note thanking me later that evening. The irony is that she was a guest speaker for the group that was hosting this event.

Anyway, gentleness.

Is this a lost art?

I think it might be. I went to look for an image to share and if you Google gentleness, you pretty much find pictures of little kids, animals (and fruit?)

But this is a good idea:

“I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways; do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play.”
~ Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

Friday, September 05, 2014

Burnt poetry

"All poets write bad poetry. Bad poets publish them, good poets burn them."
~ Umberto Eco

iMessage with my mother

Mom, I love this conversation so much, I had to share it with the world!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

It is always an overwhelming experience

My parents are the kind of people that have never turned away a chance at adventure... though perhaps in some way it finds them and they are really not given a true choice.

My semi-estranged father (and I say semi-estranged because I just have not figured him out yet and he is like a stranger to me) had arranged another bullfight for himself and his bullfight friends.

This is how I grew up, from when I was born until about 1979. Bullfights. Or something bullfight related. Every. damn. weekend. Especially so when we had the bullfight stock bull ranch.

At some point in those years, my mother stopped going to them and I can't imagine my dad taking kids with him... but I can't recall not going having that exposure (maybe it was when we would go to the ranch?).

So, it is hard to get past something that is so in your face, to me bullfighting just was.. I mean, didn't your dad love it too? Really, I just thought it was something all dad's liked. Though it was in that way that it was not a surprise that other dad's didn't, but I just figured they had a different all consuming passion.

So, we flash forward to my father getting back into it around 2000, I was just married and had actually not been aware that my half-sibling hadn't grown up the same way. My dad must have been miserable (though he was living in England). but somehow he starts up, and then gets divorced, moves in Spain and ends up in Northern California. Northern California has a huge Portuguese community and many of them have ranches where they raise bulls for their festivals (allowed per the California constitution) and so he starts and to me, it is like he never even stopped. As a matter of fact when he was talking and let us know that he had not bull-fought from 1980 to 2000, I was a little shocked.

In 1998, my dad gave me money for my birthday with the direct instruction to buy an abono for the Bullfight Festival in Ecuador. I did, with the caveat of buying better seats when his favorite bullfighter was there. That was in pre-blog era and I should write about that some day I suppose.

Anyway, I got to see him around 2006 when Squink was just over a year old and we go to a part to practice using the cape.

Then we get to late in 2008 when Squink is about 3, and I see him back in a ring again.

And then, in 2012, I get in to a ring.

So, now we are at 2014 and my (full) brother and I take our kids to see dad fight and to take them to a "professional" fight.

The fact is, this is never easy on me.  I have had to find a way to wrap my head around it. I have rituals that I have developed from my youth (I always look at the bulls eyes as it dies).

It is so hard to write about all the crazy emotions that are involved in an experience like this. I don't even know where to start when I bring those in to teh equation.

I suppose I should start by just telling folks who have the gumption to read something on this theme what it is that happened. Though I imagine it might become a multi-part series... which is a positive as it keeps me pretending to "write good".

Friday night - Schatzy and I get home from work, load up the car and in his ever so awesome self he begins the long haul road trip drive to San Diego where we are meeting my dad, my uncle, and my brother and his kids (who are also doing the commute from Phoenix). Most of the planning gets done on our drive out there, what time we need to get together, what time we want to leave, how to check in, that kind of stuff.

Saturday means a 11:00 am departure to head towards Tecate, Mexico.

I have yet to upload the shots from my camera, but here are some from my phone.

Here is where we ended up on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

facebook memes replicated

Somehow, I see Facebook as more fleeting than a blog, that the Gran Guru of all things Technical (Google) will not remove this though the popularity of Facebook may wane... and there is something in this gratitude meme that I don't really want to lose~ so I post my responses here.

1) I am exceptionally grateful for a loving and supportive family. A mother that taught me about the importance of sacrifice through action, my aunt that taught me to see the world in so many colors, a grandmother that formed the basis for being curious about the world. A brother who has always rooted for the underdog. Nephews who delight me with the men they are becoming. A husband (Christoph) who's skill at navigating my lesser qualities humbles and strengthens me. Squink needs no explanation as to how profoundly he has filled my heart and delights me every day.

2) I am grateful for a legacy of ancestors that include women getting a college education when that was not the norm with areas of interest that included education, the arts, science and philosophy. I am grateful to the men who brought their skills and stood up for the underserved. I am grateful for a grandfather who was an amazing engineer and be it for better or worse; his work on the dams, roads, bridges, developments and mines of Arizona helped to make it a place I am deeply connected to. My other grandfather who taught me how to fish and shoot a rifle, identifying my dominant eye at a young age to help ensure an accuracy that I am proud of. I am grateful for the pioneers, the cowboys, and the cowgirls that helped formed the state I call home.

3) I am grateful that I was raised with a distinct worldview. That I was raised in countries that encouraged me to see the world as a magical place with castles and high snow-caped mountains surrounded by patchwork fields that gifted us with delightful nutritious food. I am grateful that my father was able to hand me the lands we lived in, that he taught me how to ride horses on those mountains and showed me that life is as brutal as it is delightful.

4) "The Facebook", as frustrating and annoying as it can be, I am eternally grateful that it brought back people into my life from far away lands that I did not think I could connect with; DoraliceAlexisJeffBethEricaIngrid (even if you were just a baby), Ladna, and Jonathon. I have so many great, wonderful memories of being a kid in Quito with all of you that there is a comfort in knowing that you are still out there and for that, I am grateful.

5) My dear wonderful cousin Aimee; it is a blend of things like her beauty, kindness and grace that gave me a gift that I didn't even know I wanted. She brought me so much through just loving me unconditionally that I can't even begin to thank her for the gift of her friendship that is bound within the blood ties we share. I am grateful for all the gifts she is to me.

6) I am grateful for friends that meet up and chat and support each other. Gentle moments after which I am always delighting in the glow of their kindness and generosity.

7) Extremely grateful that I have access to healthcare and that I am safe in the knowledge that when a day includes the word biopsy that I know that I can get the care that I want and need. I follow that with the gratitude that I have physicians and nurses that I deeply respect and can discuss all my options and possible scenarios. That this is something that many people do not have access to in the way that I do, is ever so humbling.

8) I am grateful that I know how to read and that I can read things both beautiful and moving, hard and direct, subtle and desperate. Through this ability I was able to read this article this morning ( ) and I was struck by how that article wrote about loneliness; I can't image what that was really like, something so dark that it removes you from a feeling of having a place wherever you are. and because reading that I was able to better understand how I am so very privileged to know that I am loved and not alone.

9) I am grateful that I can watch my son jump and play. There is a beauty in watching your children (and even pets) do those things that rings of a certain freedom that adulthood seems to reign in... though perhaps the thing gained through adulthood is that you get to watch it and be moved by it so deeply.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

THE divine guess

While I have many favorite words in Spanish (among them alcochofa and murcielago) , I find that there is one word that I struggle with consistently and how I struggle is in how to use the word adivinar in English. I catching my wanting to say "adevine" quite often (am I thinking in Spanish and translating into English?). 

For those who don't speak Spanish here is some help: 
Translations of "adivinar"

See that? There is a miracle embedded into this word! English hasn't really supported that inclusion in to words like guess (or conjecture, suppose, imagine, think...) or even the idea of conjecture into the word divine (as in miracle [in the verb sense].

I have wanted to say things like "I can't "adevine" that", thus imposing a sense of magical incredulity into guesses and conjectures. But it isn't a word and my using it would cause some confusion.

I miss the magic that is embedded into the romance languages, the kind that is largely absent from English.

I grew up with mountains like this. I think they inspired my wanting to incorporate magic into life.