Archive for June, 2012

Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies and Amber Waves of Grain

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Before I left for Spain, I was speaking to a friend of mine and he said that his partner, who is not American, gets anxy after a while and starts talking trash about America. I said I know the lingo as I live with a European. It’s all America sucks, Americans do this, etc. My friend said, “Truth is I am an American but I like it here.” I said, I know and guess what, they do too. My European partner has been here for over 25 years, while his partner has been here over a decade. Obviously, if it was better there, they’d be there.


That said Europe has it all going on in terms of lifestyle – something every American could use a big dose of. While their bathrooms suck (unlike all the ubiquitous European spa bathroom you will see in a architectural magazines), their kitchens are tiny and there is no a/c on hot hot hot days – but all in all, they take time to go to the coast, to read, to go out for walks and to see friends, and they manage to negotiate all the electronic devices we have without being devoured by them.

So which is better? Why choose, why not enjoy the best of both?

How to be

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Decide how you want to live and who you want to be and start visualizing it.

That is on my friend’s refrigerator and it is as true as true can get. I wanted to be a person who goes to Europe for two months and who experiences life in many cultures and languages. Step one – start now.

Step two – enjoy it.

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Everyone back home keeps asking me if I shaved my head again and I have to say no – Scott at Jupiter Salon shaved it for me when it first started falling out in March but I haven’t touched it since. It has started to grow, fallen out again, grown again, fallen out again and so on. What’s interesting is strangers tend to view me as probably sick except here in Spain where a few Sengalese men were almost whispering in my bare ears – guapisima – and one woman stopped to ask me directions (do I look like a Spaniard?).

Even friends here did not bat an eye with my baldness or maybe they think since Tin has a close haircut, we both were making some summer fashion statement out of our baldness. Hard to say.

I started the trip with a wig on because I was worried about how cold the plane would be – but after the gripping feeling on my head became too much for me, I started wanting to take it off – only in the wee hours on the plane, I kept thinking about my fellow travelers and would they wake up, disoriented from the flight, look over at the formerly haired woman and think – OMG what happened to us? But after a while I talked myself into thinking about my own comfort and pulled the damn thing off.

It’s surprising to me how many people tell me about friends of theirs with alopecia because the story always goes like this – “she had this wonderfully thick, wavy hair before” – why is it all or nothing I wonder. Or is it?

I took a photo of myself yesterday afternoon because I wanted to see this time if my hair would actually be in a short hair cut like the second dermatologist predicted it would be by summer’s end.

Crimes of passion

Friday, June 29th, 2012

We arrived weary travelers and were taken in by our friend who so generously shared his apartment with us. He lives near Lavapies, an area known for immigrants but one that recently has seen a rise in Senegalese moving to the neighborhood. The Senegal men who gather in the square have taken a shine to Tin and he to them. Yesterday, one gave him way too much candy and later he moaned with a stomach ache.

When we first arrived at our friend’s apartment he wasn’t home and typical of these Spanish buildings you enter a dark foyer and walk down a corridor that has a temporary light. When it finally came on there was blood on the wall, blood on the stairs, and up the stairs and on the wall and I imagined all sorts of ways it had gotten there. Later, our friend said he hadn’t noticed. Only this morning when the neighbor knocked on the door (our friend is the president of the building) did he learn that a woman was stabbed in her apartment by her lover on the first floor and ran up the stairs in hopes of finding help – only this apartment building like many in Madrid is relatively unoccupied due to absentee landlords who are now on the coast. The victim remains in the hospital, prognosis unknown, and someone has been called to clean up the blood.

Well, you can travel far from home and still find a little bit of home wherever you are. It seems that the heat coupled with the ailing economy is enough to make lovers murderous no matter where you find yourself.

The same elements also lends itself to the Spanish culture of going out into the streets to talk, eat, drink and get some air. This phenomenon is rarely seen throughout the U.S. except perhaps New Orleans and major metropolitan cities, but it is what makes Spaniards Spaniards – to be out in the street till all hours.

We were not here 12 hours when Tin caught up with the Roma band that he had played with in the plaza last summer, only this time his moves had become more sophisticated and his ability to attract tips were amplified by his having grown even cuter. He drew a crowd and promised them all he would return tonight.

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The dawn was rosy on the bayou this morning, and the temperatures are already peaking. Guess it’s time to leave New Orleans and head to the coast – well a far away coast, but a coast nonetheless. Tin’s hair was cropped short last night, and mine hasn’t grown since I shaved it back in March, and Tatjana got her summer beach cut – so it looks like we’ve lost a pound or two of hair. Our goal is one suitcase = two months. Is it possible? More will be revealed.

Summer reading, flip flops, bathing suits, hats and scarves – computer, iPad, iPhone, chords – which of these is not like the other? Que lastima – dinero no hay – so there will be some work while I begin my healing summer.

First stop Madrid and catching up with our friends there, and then to discover the world in reverse – starting with the old.

The LaLa, Bayou St. John, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Cádiz is considered to be the oldest Western city due to its strategic location on the coast dividing Europe and Africa. It has been occupied several times over its history and there is some evidence to suggest that Cadiz was a Fenecian settlement around 1000 B.C. and that it formed part of the Fenecian trade route to the Atlantic. Later on came the Greeks, the Cartagens and then the Romans. From the 8th century onwards it was taken over by the Moors. The in the 11th century Alfonso X took control of the province reconverting it to Christianity. In the 13th century Cadiz gained importance as the place where Christopher Columbus set sail from on his discovery voyage to America.

The freak flag flieth

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

I was coming out of Canseco’s the other day and in front of me was a woman a bit younger than me wearing a house dress – yes that’s right – and she was talking, I thought on the phone, but no she was just talking, loudly, to herself. And I couldn’t help myself, I just thought, FREAK, and then I had to evaluate the situation – here I was carrying 12 bottles of grapefruit Perrier, 10 packs of Xtra bubble gum, and am bald and “who you calling freak?”

There are no coincidences

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

I wrote the penultimate post about all the wonderful things that have happened in my life since my life became not so wonderful and it dawned on me, yet again, that there are no coincidences. I didn’t come to where I am by virtue of not being aware, or with eyes open, quite the contrary, in order to hear the message, you have to be prepared, and so it is that having gone through the realization that I’m not a super hero and I am human, it has helped me open my heart in a bigger way than it was before.

The other day I was at Clever watching Evan play music and a guy walks up and says he was just speaking about me, and then the person he was telling that to walks up and verifies and then I introduce him to the person I’m speaking to who had just been speaking about the place he used to work – no coincidences.

We were racking our brain trying to figure out what to do about the dogs while we are away for two months and I even asked friends whether they might be inclined because of Heidi who is human and cannot be apart from us and the house etc. A guy comes into our sphere who lives in North Carolina who happens to be Cuban, who happens to have been adopted, who happens to have a mother whose nickname was LaLa – this man is now in charge of the LaLa while we’re gone.

Would you feel in good hands? I do. We almost want him to move in on a permanent basis!


Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

My baby has a game face, but then again so do I.

Manna from heaven

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

So yes, it’s weird, but as soon as my income started receding, my riches started growing. Weird, huh? It started with a friend that I hardly see despite her living within blocks of my house – call it the way it is – she gave us a chest, which led to our European kitchen and made our transition so bearable. Then other friends began plowing me with books – my friend in Boston recommended Ram Dass, my friend in Spain gave me the Power of Now, my friend in New York, Man’s Search for Meaning and another gave me CDs of Abraham Hicks, with a point that was right on.

The woman who has been giving us massages for the past years – an incredible spirit – wanted to give me a gift of a massage so that I could head to Spain in the right mode. Yes, it was such a gift that after it was over today I was almost in tears.

She also gave us mustaches – which we needed of course – because if there is no humor in any of this than what is it all for? Tin had his hair cut even shorter and so we decided to try out those mustaches and see just what’s it all about. It’s about this – the universe provides, and my karma is good – I’m living it – the riches of a good life.

The moral of this story is this – when life gives you absurdity respond with mustaches:

You’re in good hands

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Thought for the day: What if everything worked out in the end, and there was nothing to worry about at all; what if everyone forgives you and you forgive yourself; what if you had a chance to revise and regroup and begin again; what if it was all going to be okay?

Da Capo
Take the used-up heart like a pebble
and throw it far out.

Soon there is nothing left.
Soon the last ripple exhausts itself
in the weeds.

Returning home, slice carrots, onions, celery.
Glaze them in oil before adding
the lentils, water, and herbs.

Then the roasted chestnuts, a little pepper, the salt.
Finish with goat cheese and parsley. Eat.

You may do this, I tell you, it is permitted.
Begin again the story of your life.

— Jane Hirshfield