los petrificados

8 04 2009

dsc_0123Around the corner from our hotel in Madrid as we stumbled out on another adventure two shorts weeks ago, we were stopped short in our tracks by this amazing human statue.  I wished I could have been there to watch them set up as I can’t imagine how they have the thing put together.  There they were – still as stone…until someone would drop a coin in their coffer and the guy on the right would open his eyes and look right at you.  We stood there in the warm Sunday morning sun watching, amazed and like we’ve done from the beginning – Shop Girl was chosen to be the coin dropper.

“The Petrified Ones” – to petrify : to convert into stone or a stony substance; benumb or paralyze with astonishment, horror, or other strong emotion; to make rigid or inert; harden; deaden; to become petrified.  Theirs was just a great get-up, make-up and sitting really really still for long stretches at a time.  

Over the course of my life, I have been able to observe my creative cycles.  It used to terrify me when I couldn’t think a creative thought much less write something down. As Shop Girl started writing music – I watched the same process and found myself telling her to be patient – it would come back.  It always does.  I haven’t felt like writing.  I’ve been taking in other’s writing.

Being still is not dead time. It is not wasted or worthless. Think of all the observation that human statue was doing.  He was having as much fun as all the people watching him all day long.  

Part of this time away for me was binge reading.  Back on December 13, 2006, I heard a radio interview with an author on the Diane Rehm show that intrigued me. Thank God for the internet and archived shows – I did some investigation and found what I was looking for about a week before we left.  

A used book store around the corner had four of the Adriana Trigiani books I was looking for which I read while we were gone.  Last week I went to the library and found four more.  All those characters are dancing in my head.  I devoured every one of her books in month’s time.  Like a package of Oreos – if you eat the entire thing at one sitting – it’s over.  

It’s been a fun physical and mental vacation.  I’ve had my quiet escape.  In a few hours, the Dr. will board a plane for a 15 hour plus jaunt that will bring him back home.  You know what that means for me if I’ve spent the last two weeks reading while he was gone.  My suitcase is still beside my bed untouched where I dropped it the day we got home.  I have 24 hours to be anything BUT a human statue.  Now someone has to drop a coin in the box – ‘coz I gotta get a move on!

for the birds

31 03 2009

dsc_0001You can move from one world to the other in a matter of hours but it often takes longer for the soul to catch up.  I am still incapable of getting to that writing place in my head.  There is too much noise.  I must need to be really really bored to write anything at all.

I went to the funeral for a friend’s mom today.  I didn’t really know her personally but I know her son. My barely seven month old scar of Billy’s funeral was surprisingly tender. The tears flowed easily – the music was familiar.  While I sat there thinking about death, I knew friends were at a doctor’s office hearing the heartbeat of their first baby. Life doesn’t quit.  

I’m pretty much toast for the rest of the day. I wouldn’t mind being back in that park, sitting on that bench just watching the pigeons do their pigeon thing all afternoon long – just like I was doing a week and a day ago.  Another eight days and I’ll be in a different place emotionally…maybe better, maybe worse.  I won’t know till I get there.

I’m trying to remember how it felt watching the traffic zip by while I had nowhere better to be and no greater dilemma than deciding in which café to have our afternoon coffee.  That brain space was very much appreciated.  Right now, I will go downstairs to get my coffee but I might hurt my cat first.  She’s laying at my head and thinks it is bath time.  That incessant licking is going to get her locked in the basement. I’m not very zen right now.

quick turns

26 03 2009

dsc_0105My propensity for pre-dawn wanderings is irrespective of time zone.  Just 48 hours ago, I grabbed book 4 of 4 I had taken on the adventure and quietly found my way down to the lobby.  I love being the only one awake in my house and I love being in quiet hotel lobbies with the occasional third shift housekeeping staff to say “hello” to.

I finished the book in those early morning hours of our last day in Madrid. Good thing too.  Arriving back home in the Great North at midnight, you’d think we’d fall into bed and sleep for a day or so to catch up.  But still functioning in hotel mode, we had a quick turn.

A “quick turn” is when a hotel is at capacity and the same number of people checking out is the about the same number of rooms you need ready for check-in a few hours later.  Thus, the staff is stretched and stressed trying to work as fast and efficiently as possible to keep everyone happy.

That was our day yesterday.  I had about 5 hours to stretch out in MY bed – the one that is right on so many levels – before I was up doing two weeks worth of laundry that had to be put back in the Dr.’s suitcase within a few hours before his next departure.  A few appointments, a few trips to restock depleted travel sized toiletries – and by pre-dawn this morning we were back at the airport.

I will probably enjoy this vacation as much now that I am home as I did when I was there.  Pictures will be savored and shared.  I will now begin to engage my brain and get back spending my pre-dawn wanderings with you.  dsc_0082

too homesick to write

22 12 2008

It’s been a hard day – a hard month – a hard year.  But today in particular for no reason that I can put my fingers on – it’s a hard day.  The Dr. and I were talking about it and Christmas just isn’t our time of year anymore. Three years ago it was spent in the hospital with Best Boy, two years ago it was being shown the door from one job into the unknown. Things like that have a way of marking the Holidays for a good long time to follow.  

The foot of snow outside with more on the way isn’t helping matters much. Especially as we try to figure out our strategy of getting down to see the Mrs. for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  It feels like I’m playing pretend.

It probably doesn’t help much that we locked in some dates in March to go to a friend’s wedding in Spain.  Just knowing we are going has this effect on us.  I spent some time on YouTube listening to the Christmas carols called villancicos that sounded like the season to my ears.  And today was the biggest lottery day with El Gordo…I remember hearing that on the BBC during the middle of the night. 

I’m sure if I were back there I’d only be wishing I were here.  I am here – sort of.  I got lots of laundry done today and cleaned my oven yesterday.  The Dr. thought I was going to die because he said that would be something I’d do with that final burst of energy.  Ha!

Anyway, then I stumbled on this clip from last year’s Christmas lights in Madrid.  I know I won’t feel this bad every day – it’s just today.  So humor me some.  If you have never lived somewhere else it is hard to understand how halved your soul becomes.  

labor of love

6 12 2008


The excited Facebook status update of a friend in Madrid reminded me that this is a long holiday weekend there.  And the weekend that all the Christmas lights strung over the city streets will be in place.  Plaza Mayor will have all the puestos (little shack-like stands) overflowing with decorations.  This is the weekend to start decorating.  Do you know where your zambomba is?

Because we celebrate Three Kings Day (January 6th),  the tree stays up till then.  So today, inspite of the Alberta Clipper bearing down on us with wind chills around 13º (btw that is -10ºcelsius) with more lake effect snow in its choppers, I will go to the farmer’s market around the corner.  I will find a tree.  I will go to the basement and dig out the lights that probably don’t work.  

We were at some friends’ house the other night and their house is all sparkley and soft and it got the Dr. all wistful.  So in honor of Christmases more magical, I will decorate.   Things don’t feel right this year.  But maybe that is the point.  Twinkle lights might change the course of history.  With all the water to splash in and things to knock off the branches to play hockey with,  it will be a big treat for mouser.