Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I generally work with the 1st and 2nd graders at school, but thanks to the wonderful theatre club I get a good dose of prepubescent 5th and 6th graders for one hour a week.

Like many of my frivolous ideas, I sort of regret starting up the theatre club. In the first place, 30 kids signed up, which is far more than I bargained for. Thank God for two other assistants who so generously offered their help. Nonetheless, it's possibly the most stressful hour of my whole week, and I always leave with sore vocal chords. The kids struggle with a lot of the activities I prepare, and when they don't struggle, they are bored.

But, they still come back every week. We've got about an 80% return rate, and I have to admit that I'm amazed. Entertaining them for the brief hour we are together is like playing a monkey puppet tied to 5,000 strings.

So yea...this week I am putting aside the improvisation games (so difficult) and the reader's theatre (so boring), and picking up KARAOKE. I know karaoke isn't really theatre per say, but I don't care. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and we gotta get creative here.

Like I hinted at, I sort of dread the theatre club, I know, I know, I really am my own worst enemy. But hey, it has its rewarding moments. The fact that the kids come back every week makes me feel pretty good in and of itself, and the truth is that we share a lot of laughs sometimes, despite the fact that things rarely ever go as planned. However, all that aside, just now making a list of "appropriate" songs for tomorrow, I experienced my greatest pleasure born out of this whole situation: I finally watched Justin Bieber in action. This is what I just now saw, I have seen the light!:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

digital slavery

A little over a year ago, I wrote this in response to a Julio Cortázar essay about the little devils we call watches. I still hold my stance: my Skagen is tattered and worn and I love it just as much as I did when my sister gave it to me.

A friend suggested that Cortázar's literature be updated to the times. Who's a slave to watches these days? We've come a long way. My first thought was to write Cortázar requesting the change, but since he died some 25 years ago, I had to take the mission upon myself. Here you are:

Consider this: it is your twelfth birthday and your parents buy you your first cellphone. Yes, that's what we've come to. Twelve year olds running around with cellphones, their lives so incredibly jam-packed with activity that a landline is just not adequate.

When they present you with your first cellphone, it is not just a device for making phone calls that they are gifting you...your new companion, best friend, friend of all, blackberry, iphone 4 with a bejeweled plastic cover because nobody has a cellphone of such caliber without the candy...text messages, photos, music, internet, everything you ever needed in one little digital device...freedom, independence, popularity...

No no...when they present you with a cellphone they are actually giving you--they don't know it, and it' that your dumb worried parents don't know it--they are gifting you a new, vulnerable piece of yourself, of your soon-to-be slavehood, ahem, I mean adulthood, you are coming-of-age and this is how the 21st century deals with that.

They are gifting you a massive responsibility of taking care in your usage of minutes and messages and battery power, a fear of losing or breaking the thing, a paranoia caused by the feeling of being attainable at any moment of any hour of the day, a dependence that can sometimes lead to will truckle to your new friend for the rest of your existence on this earth because there is no going back...

You don't realize any of are incredibly excited because you are 12 years old and it's all you ever wanted in life, nothing could make you happier, not even a banana split on a Friday afternoon because you are an adult now not a kid and banana splits are so 11 years old, you just cringe at the embarrassment that would flourish inside you, to sit at the bar of Dairy Queen with your treat, because someone might call you on your cellphone and then what? You tell them you are eating a banana split at Dairy Queen with your mom? GOD.

They are not giving you a cellphone for your birthday, they are taking your digital virginity.


Friday, March 25, 2011

verde que te quiero verde

I heard this song on the radio yesterday, but missed who was singing it. I then proceeded to spend over an hour looking for it online, but this was the closest I found. It's a shorter version of the lengthy poem by Federico García Lorca, this video entitles it Verde que te quiero verde but it's really called Romance Sonámbulo from his book Romancero Gitano, a book composed of 18 poems about the gitano, or gypsy, lifestyle. In Lorca's poetry, the color green signifies death, and I read once that it is the most common color that appears in his work. In this poem, the protagonist is fatally injured, "sleep-walking" in a daze during his last few hours of life as he makes his way to find his young gypsy girlfriend. However, upon his arrival, it is she who he finds dead.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

just one thing

I promised I would stop complaining, I know it grows, but I just have to get this off my chest:
I want to kill the woman who did this to me.
I want her babies to be born bald and remain this way forever, and if by chance they escape this curse, I want them to suffer from a chronic case of head lice.
I want her fat pudgy fingers to slip into a an electric blender, and I want them to become a mangled bloodied mess of skin and bones, so that they may never hold a pair of scissors again.
I didn't realize that I could be so upset over hair. But godDAMNIT I want to kill the woman who did this to me. That's all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

sunday funday

I took this photo with my cellphone, sorry about that. But despite its poor quality, can you tell that it was 70 degrees and sunny in Madrid today?:

The hood is where it's at on Sundays, starting in the morning at the enormous flea market of Lavapies, el Rastro, and well-into the afternoon and evening at the hopping bars down the street in La Latina.

This is a plaza a few blocks away from my house, nearly 1 a.m., most people have probably been out all day and these guys were particularly wasted. Drunk characters everywhere while I was out walkin' after midnight! Oh, and this plaza will be spotless by the time the sun rises. Can't help but roll my eyes at the fact that adults are responsible for the shameful mess.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

heaven on earth

I really like this--Crossing the River Styx-- by Joachim Patinir. I'm not sure why. It is housed here in Madrid at the Museo del Prado.

This is Charon, Hades' trusty ferryman. Talk about a creepy job, all day long rowing souls from here and now to there and later.

He didn't always have such a clean aspect...other artists (like Michelangelo) depicted him like this. I prefer the first, despite the fact that I am a bit bothered by the indifference of his facial expression. It's okay though, I sense what's going on in the stance, and I sense fear. Fear is an exciting emotion that we like to tickle ourselves with on occasion, or in this case, slowly descend ourselves into its shadowy aura.

This is my here and now and there and later. Okay, I don't have a boat or a mythical character to transport me from one place to the next. Nor is my there and later a fiery burning hell, although a purgatory is definitely in order if you ask me. Anyway, take what you will of it, I like to think heaven on earth is a definite possibility.

And for the record, from left to right: me, weirdly enough laughing while riding a horse, El Calefate, Argentina; a photo from a disposable camera (ahem, lacking a bit on the light), if I recall correctly, it was something like 7 a.m. in the midst of one bizarro night, walking to the Alhambra, Granada, Spain; can't quite see it here, but yes that's a double rainbow, I specifically remember thinking when I decided to take this picture, This is heaven, Block Island, Rhode Island.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

st. patty's day

Part of being an ex-pat is making even more of an effort to celebrate homeland traditions than when you are actually there. Your obnoxious enthusiasm doesn't harm anyone.

I don't care that St. Patrick's day isn't even from my country, we have always celebrated it with reckless abandon, and this is probably thanks to Hallmark. Love them.

So we are going to have a "pot-of-gold" potluck at school, and of course I signed up to make dessert. The sweet tooth aches with longing at any and all opportunities to spoil it.

Everyone has a Martha Stewart friend, and mine is Mel. You might remember her from a recent post...she's the one who dances sexy-style in heels. Anyway, she is constantly opening my eyes to all sorts of household tricks, one of them being the incredible website I was enlightened just this past Thanksgiving, and things haven't been the same since. This place is hostess heaven.

And now I would just like to share with the rest of my tiny world this fabulous St. Patty's day recipe set that they have put together to honor our glorified saint of beer. Or something.

Even if you aren't having a pot-of-gold potluck, using beer with your culinary endeavors is always fun and I'd actually recommend it any time of the year! I had a really hard time deciding, but I think I will make the Guinness Stout ice-cream. Good lord, I almost can't contain the excitement!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


The grass can't seem to get any greener on the other side.

When we are kids, we often times long to be adults, a funny thing since at the age of 10 we aren't quite sure what being an adult really entails. Then as adults, we yearn to be kids again, so much that we often perform all sorts of circus acts to satisfy the craving. I suppose that in this way, we can exhibit the same level of maturity that we had when our brains were actually still developing at the age of say, 13.

Anyway, for me as a child, it started with the typical dolls and tea parties and playing house, but lying around and daydreaming was the real pleasure portal.

I remember with sharp detail one fantasy I used to play out in my mind perhaps during brief pauses of my structured life or throughout the course of an endless summer day. The specifics really aren't necessary, but I will say that they may have been inspired by a song from the musical Annie. I always loved the way she imagined her perfect family..."maybe in a house, all hidden by a hill....she's sittin' playing piano, he's sittin' paying a bill". I wasn't an orphan, so really I just liked to imagine myself living this picturesque life. I used to think, Who knows, I might one day "sew a whole closet of clothes", as Annie so whimsically suggested.

The submergence into adulthood has been such a smooth transition for me, and how could it not be in a place like Vanderbilt? Please excuse my coarseness, but they wiped your ass for you if you let them, it was included in the hefty tuition or something. So many rich parents really want this for their children I guess.

Then came Spain, which has definitely had its stress-factors in ways that moving to a foreign country always does, but for the most part, it has surely been a pleasant experience considering I just came out of the "four best years of my life" as they say, and on top of that have had no real plan besides gettin' by.

But maybe it's this lack of plan that sort of weighs down on me after a while, and triggers a tour of selective memory...

Forget that time I had stuffed a doll stroller with my most valuable possessions and strapped my My Little Pony sleeping bag to my back...... there I was walking down the street attempting to run away because I just needed the independence, I was so tired of being a kid... all the while my mom trailing alongside in a red mini-van coaxing me to get in because otherwise we were really going to be late for parent-teacher conferences...the worst was that I was serious and didn't she realize? That was a bad day...

I just want to selectively remember things like the yellow swing in the backyard that I could see from the kitchen window if I stood on my tippy-toes, or lying on the carpeted hallway floor cuddling with the dog, or listening to Wilson Philips blasting on the living room stereo and spinning in circles until nearly falling over... in my selective memories, the future couldn't and didn't exist.

But I'm not the type to let it stress me out, I just get nostalgic, waste lots of time wallowing in this state, and then remember that a healthy dose of reality is really what it's all about, and also a positive outlook on things...

I will start to figure out my life for next year, and if not for next year then at least for the summer. Here's my logic: if I write it down, then it will happen. Until then, I will try to remember that adult life is kick-ass. Not a hard thing to remind myself of, just thinking of the little things like wise little Annie notes..

I'm an adult and I can spend all Sunday morning in bed if I want, and after I can go for creme filled napolitanas and read whatever I damn-well please, and it doesn't matter that my bed isn't made or even that the sheets are actually on the floor, because I'm an adult and this is how I choose to lead my life. Tomorrow's Monday but Mondays are cool in my book because they make Sundays possible. It's a pretty good feeling, right?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

salacious curiosity

Más, más, más, mucho más,
no te quedes donde estás
y a la luna llegarás.

Mira bien por dónde vas,
pero no mires jamás
ni a los lados ni hacia atrás,
Más, más y requetemas...

[Carmen Martín Gaite]

Monday, March 7, 2011


I've sort of been too busy lately, which is something I have no problem admitting my animosity towards. But how can I attribute this strange loss of 'ole ephemeral time? I need a culprit...

There are so many possibilities, but it's not a difficult task to narrow down just one... one so easy to incriminate...even though it gives me pain...could it really be... the gym?

Worst nightmare coming true! But all is fine because, besides "the grunter"*, there are NO 'roided out monsters running around like some sewer-dwelling ninja-turtle gym-rats. Nope, none of that at the one and only El Horno Centro de Ocio y Cultura, in a Mel*-spanglified-inspired translation, 'Da Oven. I love this place... the good teachers instructing cool classes... all the happy gay men (so many)...its homey feel... the list could go on but I will stop rambling. I mostly like it because it's a 2 minute walk away. Love the 'hood.

So anyway, weekend lover's getaway to Paris also robbed lots of house-cat time, but that's okay because, well, how could it not be? A weekend lover's getaway, how not? Jenna let me rub her feet at night! It was so romantic,

Really, even the feet rubbing was lovely, the whole weekend was just as lovely as any of you fools can imagine. The only tainted aspect was the miserable headache that split open my skull like a massive earthquake most of the day yesterday until I got home late-afternoon and bee-lined for the ibprofen stash. The throbbing pain came back just this evening when I attempted to look down as far as possible, a simple chin-to-chest movement that I hadn't dared explore since I did SOMETHING to my neck on Saturday night. I'd like to think it was lots of head-banging. Yea, the dj was THAT good at an awesome Brazilian bar we went to donned the silly but quite suitable name of Flavela Chic. I would like to pay it forward by recommending it to everyone and their mothers, thanks to a few for the original good recs :)

Abstaining from taking anything to relieve the slight discomfort pulsing in my screen not helping the situation, plus I'm feeling tired and rambling again. Check out other highlights from the weekend getaway, that they may speak for themselves*. Here is very selective selection of the SEVEN pictures I took during the 3 days, I totally suck:

You know if you won the lottery your lifestyle would change significantly, just to state the general obvious. But let's say you had to make a list of some top five simple luxuries you would allow yourself on a regular basis, because even if you're a down-to-earth millionaire you are still an all-of-the-sudden one, and treating yourself to things is only what God wants when he blesses you with such a thing as an unforeseen fortune. On my millionaire list is having afternoon tea, of course following all etiquette of the art, making special emphasis on heaping piles of macaroons. This picture is from the oldest importer of tea in France (founded in 1854), Mariage Freres in Le Marais, the old Jewish quarter. Its classic design, tedius attention to detail, and overall wonderful experience inspire a feeling similar to colonial heaven.

So many damn people in this damn picture, but at least Jenna made it in, which I just now realized. This is an exhibit going on right now at the centre Pompidou belonging to a man Jean-Michel Othoniel and you can only imagine what other fun things he did with similarly colorful glass balls. This makes me "picture myself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and a marmelade sky". Like I said, 'twas lovely.

How could a massive hang-over ruin this? The picture is terrible I know, but at least it serves as proof that a) there was abundant sunshine all weekend and b) I had brunch on Sunday. Beyond people in the US, the thing I miss the most is brunch. This is no Le Peep but it is definitely of competitive quality.

Why I had to rub Jenna's feet every night. Now that's dedication (and a great way to see a city, that is, if you're into running).

*"the grunter" is a man who I often frequent at the gym: either we have very similar daily schedules, or the more likely possibility that he is at the gym all.the.time.
*Mel is also an aficionado of the Oven, and I find it noteworthy that she goes to a class called "sexy style", and that during this class she wears heels. Why, God, why doesn't my schedule permit me such experiences?
*except for a few things which I will insert cause I'm in the mood to ramble

Thursday, March 3, 2011