Friday, December 31, 2010

A year in images… an itinerant 2010.

2010 is almost over. The last day of the year is always full of memories, wishes, hopes, feelings, reminders; it has a mix of excitement for the things to come and melancholy for the things left behind. This year was intense and honestly, kind of short! There are not enough days in one year to accomplish everything, especially when each year we have a long list of “to do’s”, changes, adjustments, new requirements, old vices to shed, new vices to share, decisions to make, places to be, people to love.

January 2010 – Las Vegas, Baby!

What a way to start a year, in Vegas with my one and only, a sea of people, fireworks and a view to kill!!

Mid January 2010 - Argentina , mate and red wine.

On a business trip, enjoying great red wine, sharing good mate and its ceremony, leaving me shaking and eager for more!

February 2010 – Vancouver and the Olympics!

A cold scenery, my best friend and her family in a city ready to celebrate the glory of winter sports.

March 2010 – Hawaii, Venezuela…and his departure.

A month full of contrasts – the departure of my dear father in law, followed by back to back business trips to Hawaii (one day after we said good bye) and Venezuela. March was for sure a month that changed my life.

April 2010 - Brazil

April was my first trip to Brazil for the year and the beginning of an exhausting project that left me with an unidentified finger wound, 10 additional pounds and lots of Portuguese words in me!

May 2010 – Welcome to Miami and an interleague baseball game in Philly

Miami and its mojitos, Latin flavors, white sand and humidity followed by a weekend in Philly watching my beloved RedSox, an almost no-hitter by Dice-K and the streets of Philadelphia.

June 2010 – Brazil for the World Cup

Back to Brazil during the world cup, experiencing soccer the way Brazilians do…including the loss of the Brazilian national team against Holland.

July 2010 – in a New York state of mind

New York during restaurant week, drinks and music at Elaine’s, Sinatra’s musical “Come fly away”, Central Park walks and martinis to celebrate my husband's 40ed birthday – next day the world!

August 2010 – Panama City and Washington, D.C

A quick business trip to Panama followed by a weekend in Washington for a baseball outing - the Cardinals and Pujols completed the night!

September 2010 – Colombia and its flavors

A new project in Bogota full of challenges, Andres D.C with a magical ambience and the last stretch of the 2010 baseball regular season.

October 2010 – Colombia and the World Series

Second trip to Bogota in the middle of the Baseball World series, with the Giants and Edgar Renteria, “El Barranquillero”, winning and celebrating!!

November 2010 –Colombia and Venezuela

Back to back trips to Bogota and Caracas; no thanksgiving for me this year, but getting ready for an intense December!

December 2010 – Colombia and Christmas in Mexico

Final stretch of the Colombian project, a 20-year high school reunion full of surprises, friends and music, a 3-day Christmas celebration with tons of delicious multinational food, drinks, family, friends and karaoke!

2011 seems promising; it is always interesting to know that we can start all over again with new and improved energy and positive attitude. We have the challenge of balancing: the reasoning side makes us feel the need to have goals, timelines, schedules, specific tasks and improvements that we MUST accomplish; our sensible side makes us dream, hope, feel and enjoy each moment, even the ones spent planning the near future. A very good and wise friend of mine said:

“ I am seriously analyzing the convenience of adjusting my list of resolutions for new year; I am changing the title to “list of desires” and will flush every single thing representing a sacrifice. 2011: a year to pay homage to life. Enough said!”

And I am seriously joining her! 2011: a year to live fully, deeply, intensely…because 2012 may not be an option!

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A motherly state of mind...a Magpie Tale

What is the secret behind a maternal embrace…do you have to be a mother to know?

The warmness of this place, the feeling of safeness, it marks us forever.
A mother love is unconditional, is eternal and is grand…but do you have to be a mother to love like that? Does it come instinctively as an on/off switch you activate the moment of giving birth?

I see images of daily news with so called “mothers” neglecting their children, hurting them… using them…destroying them.

Looking back to my younger years, I was hugged, was loved…but also see me being alone…alone but safe. What a thin line there is between protecting with love and overprotecting with fear.

In my dreams I am a mom… in those dreams my children are perfect, smart, happy, healthy. Four girls and a boy – future leaders, ballerinas, baseball player. I feel them, smell them and something inside me grows like a hurricane so powerful that nothing could stop me. But they are not real; they are just in my head.

Do you have to be a mother to feel like one? Are there different levels of motherhood? Life has some mysterious ways of showing your path, of letting you know what your objective is.

Having a child must not be an obsession. It is not an obligation. We have the choice…do we? Do we really decide when and where? What drives our state of mind to make us find the right moment? Parenthood is a huge commitment, not a trophy, not a must do. Am I going to be a mother one day? The concept comes and goes. It gets clear then it vanishes again. Is not a matter of wanting or choosing… for me is a matter of believing and trusting.

In my heart I am a mother… I am already one. I have five Goddaughters and one Godson…they are all perfect, smart, beautiful…future leaders? Baseball player? Ballerinas? It is all up to them. I know they are not mine… I know they can love me or not. I want to believe they feel the same way I do, that there is a bond somehow greater than simple blood; and who knows, maybe one day they will be sharing with their little brother and sisters, my future children, the same kind of love.

To my children...present and future.

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 45 - for other Magpie tales click  Magpie Tales

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For the first time...a Magpie Tale

It was a Christmas Season, a week ahead planned
A family getaway, a log cabin in Pine Top.

The place was quaint and cozy, pine trees and a frozen lake
And then one day after arrival, snow was falling
…for the first time.

A white morning awaited, the kids excited rushed out to play
It was fantastic to watch all the cousins
…including the one and only Verdell.

Verdell geared up with purple jacket and snow boots
… all four of them
Like a precious ballerina, skipping his way towards the lake.

Inside the cabin a non-stop fire, embracing us all
Don Luis telling his stories, Christmas related…scary as well
Wearing brown sleepers and drinking good coffee
…freshly brewed, no sugar, just plain.

It was a holiday to remember... a Christmas away;
The family together, with no rush or other commitment
Than enjoying the moment
…for the first time.

Don Luis is the glue that sticks us together
Our cornerstone, our guide, our center.
Year after year preparing his Cod fish and special tamales
Year after year sharing his peace and love
Teaching us lessons with a single saying

This year will be different
This year he is no longer here
A December that is starting to feel strange.
A Christmas without his physical presence
Without his hugs and “God Bless you”
…for the first time.
“Aquí vino...
y se fue
Vino, nos marco nuestra tarea
y se fue.
…Aquí vino
y se fue
Vino, lleno nuestra caja de caudales
con millones de siglos y de siglos.
nos dejó unas herramientas...
y se fue.” Leon Felipe

For you my love, for us. It hurts, it hurts a lot.

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 43 - for other Magpie tales click  Magpie tales

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life according to me, lesson 32

There are moments in life where you want to feel that your day was worth living... other times you want to share and be there...but sometimes you just want to have a nice glass of wine in the middle of the week and say: who cares!! Not only is necessary.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The other side of winning...a Magpie tale

How many times we obsess with the idea of being the best, of getting somewhere before anybody, to be first place of anything. Some humans are competitive by nature; other, feel the need to be recognized.

First Place. Gold Medal. Employee of the Year. World Champion. Titles and places rewarded by the ultimate glory, a prize, recognition and honor. Have we ever considered that in order to win somebody has to lose?

Before the miracle of 2004, when the RedSox came back from hell after being down 3 games to 0 against the Yankees, not just to catch up but to win the playoffs and then been the MLB World Champions, 86 years had passed. It was in 1918 when Boston was the crowned world champ for the last time. Between 1918 and 2004 great players joined in, some of them recognized as amazing sports legends, who started and ended their professional career believing in the RedSox, been a diehard BoSox. Ted Williams played 19 seasons, twice interrupted to be on duty as a pilot for the Marines, all 19 with the RedSox; Carl Yastrzemski lived his 23 years as a professional baseball player with the Sox. Jim Rice, another big one, dedicated his life from 1974 to 1989 to the same team. All of them have things in common: not just they were baseball phenomenon and hall of famers, but they are the perfect image of what it takes to belong to a team in heart and soul. They also share the fact of NEVER have won a World Series, holding the trophy, getting a ring. That’s what I call to have guts…to remain standing and supporting the same team, season after season, with the head up and the hope that next year would be the year. It never happened for them. From 2004 history changed for the RedSox; the team harvested triumphs over the foundation created by the tears and sweat of the loyal and consistent predecessors that never gave up despite the non-winning fact. That is baseball… that is the spirit of believing, that is the magic that keeps us fighting.

Every day we wake up knowing that every year, from April to October, there will be another season full of hope, with the possibility of reaching the goal; but, what is the real goal anyway? Winning? A ring? That is the ultimate prize, a free pass to be labeled as big ones; but at the end of the day, the greatest accomplishment was to feel, to live passionately what we enjoy the most. To suck in the energetic reminder that the end has not been written, we can change it, we can believe that it will happen and that during the process of discovering the future, we can totally live by the edge of our sits knowing that IT CAN BE DONE.

It is important to keep focused on the objective, of course. But if while working on it we don’t enjoy the ups and downs by living each step towards it with full intensity, if we allow one single thought of mediocrity while trying, if we don’t recognize our vulnerability at the end to enjoy the glory or to cry for our failures, then the magic is gone. Is living by some book; living considering that we may not make it. Is living just to live; and in life, like in baseball, the game is not over until is over…and sometimes we win when we lose.

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 42 - for other Magpie tales click  Magpie tales

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Life according to me, lesson 31

Giving thanks shouldn’t be just an act for one day or a reaction to one action. It brings enrichment to our hearts, is a demonstration of loyalty and affection...being thankful is a way of living.

Life according to me, lesson 30

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time after time...a Magpie tale

 I couldn't help to think about time when looking at this image: a roman numeral, an aged bottle of wine, the clear marks of time on the walls, the blury edges of time... such an abstract, complex, intense, yet ephemeral and fragile concept...

time invested
time wasted
time expected
time needed for perfection
time stopping during moments of affliction
time flying when enjoying good times...
time magically expanding when we think there is no time!

This has been an incredible busy and intense week for me in many I decided to use a post written early this year, that I particulary love and that captures the essence of what this image represents for me.
_______~~ _______
Vancouver, B.C. Canada, February 6th 2010
Vancouver has always been a city with a lot of meaning for me. It was my first international travel destination, it is the city my best friend calls home and when she moved here, I came visit, sometimes just for a weekend, to be part of her setting up process; it was my honeymoon destination and a place where I feel welcome and safe.
This time I’m here on a business trip in a Vancouver almost ready to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. I’m staying with my friend as usual and going for work with her for ten days, weekend included. Ten days already planned based on a daily routine with a constant layout that can be summarized like this:

06:45 – wake up, brush teeth, wash face, take shower and get dressed
07:30 – finish hair and makeup – no time for mascara, take it with you
07:35 – making bed, drink my glass of water and grab cell phone and purse
07:40 – rush out to catch the bus; don’t forget the take out cup of coffee!
07:46 – taking bus to sky train station
08:05 – sky train to Burrard station; get the Metro or 24 daily papers
08:30 – get off the train, walk to the office; too crowded! Take the emergency stairs
09:00 – more coffee and oatmeal; back to desk
11:55 - lunch brake
13:05 – back from lunch
16:55 – taking off to catch sky train back
17:37 – get off on 22nd street station to catch the 410 bus
18:00 – home for dinner; eat, clean and get ready for the after work activity of the day.

And so it went, day after day; a detailed schedule, minute by minute. It was stressful for me, it was like having to make it happen or else… or so it felt. Until I realized the issue was not the plan or the activities or even commuting to work; it was the fact that I was aware of each single moment and how long every single activity took (or should I say how much time was assigned to perform each task). It was the same old things I usually do, only thoroughly documented.

I now know how long it takes to lather and repeat, or to floss and rinse, or the difference in time between a pony tale and hair half way up. I even confirmed that coffee gets cold in 37 minutes, that time goes by quickly if you are looking for 6 down based on the first letter of 6 across. That I can eat dinner in 23 minutes; that 15 minutes of reading mean 10 pages for an adult and 3 pages for a six year old; that a bridal shower can last less than an hour, cheese tray and wine drinking included.

I learned that life is full of wasted minutes we don’t really know where they were used or what for; that we are capable of managing even the smallest things if we really need or want to. It’s all about control and awareness, plans and timelines, with no room for the unplanned. It is a matter of perspective and choices. I realized that my lifestyle is different only because is mine, my own rules my own plan. The layout might not be the same but the content is.

Sometimes, I don’t want to know where time went; I like being open for the unexpected, but love the idea of making every moment count, without having to count every moment.

After having the chance of being part of the life of a Vancouverite, one thing is for sure: I admire and love my best friend even more.
This is a Magpie tale - Mag 41 - for other Magpie tales click  Magpie tales

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1 4 7

In the darkness of an early Monday morning, his presence I felt. He was getting ready for an anticipated and most feared procedure, based on several studies, hundreds of allergic episodes and three closed-relatives respiratory failure deaths. He was as ready as someone can be to check in to a hospital for a severe deviated septum surgery.

Paperwork was done. The kind receptionists made us sign all the documents and consents and gave us further instructions along with the “welcome” package: a plastic bag with a pair of sleepers, a pillow, small soap and shampoo, a box of tissues, one bottle of water and a universal TV remote…it felt so depressing to receive some sort of primary need items in a “gift” bag; I wonder how difficult could it be to arrange an “all-inclusive” room instead… a matter of taste, I guess.

It was 7: 30 AM sharp and he was ready to go – fully prepared in his butt-less gown and blue elastic hat. He was not scared, he was confident and we said good bye. The surgery was going to last approximately 4 hours; I let him go… he took half my heart and soul with him.

I had a lot of plans, very good mental plans to spend my waiting hours in a productive way; it was good at first: replied a few emails, held one conference call while drinking my first cup of coffee; all that took more or less 1 hour out of the 4. Family arrived to check on him, no news were good news we all concluded. It was in the loneliness of a cold room 147 where we waited… and waited for the next 3 hours. It was room 147 the place assigned by the hospital for his recovery. In my mind, I was going to use those long hours to write a magpie (I had lots of ideas for last week’s prompt: from a grandma tribute to an art dealer tale; a chocolate factory medallion to a time travel charm), to catch up with my reading, to find the cure for cancer. It is amazing how hard our mind plays us when we try to use it in a productive way. All of it good intentions, nothing really happened; I couldn’t concentrate, I had no head to think or to reason or to settle down. I was nervous in a non-obvious way. There’s no such a thing as a routine procedure when it comes to general anesthesia.

Finally, I heard his name thru the speakers – he was in the post-surgery recovery area. I flew there as fast as I could. His face was the face of a tender little boy; he was still coming out of the chemical-induced deep dream, his eyes were watery, his nose was covered with a bloody bandage and he was mumbling; I was relieved yet my heart was melting for seeing him like this… so vulnerable, scared, and almost helpless. He was back to me. I was there for him. I felt like crying. The surgery was a total success, said the doctor. Nothing went wrong, he fixed everything. After two hours of monitoring, we went together to room 147, our home for the next 24 hours.

No magpie, no reading (my apologies to all my dear fellow bloggers for being absent) or working on paperwork and emails for me these days. We are back home now, living day by day until his full recovery. It is a matter of patience and self-control. I admire him, even more. His face is swollen, his nostrils completely blocked with nasal packing, his eyes red and constantly tearing; I wish I could take his place this week, I know it is not physically possible. But I am going to be part of his process as much as he wants me to be. I am grateful with the wise doctors for doing a good job, for the opportunity given to fix and improve his daily living; I am as proud as I could be for his determination and self-control. But mostly, I am amazed with the fact that we take for granted small natural things like breathing… and how easily it could be damaged.

For my brave one... always with you... forever.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A silent cry for hope

1946 -Tree of hope- by Frida Kahlo
 Caracas, Venezuela November 9th, 2010

This week I am in Caracas again for work. It has been exactly one year since my last visit, and the feeling of uncertainty, insecurity and hopelessness is even greater. People's attitude is decaying; there's no spirit of service in hotels, airports, taxi drivers. They are just doing a job not trying to be better; as if there's nothing more.

The few priviledged ones willing to play the game a so call socialist government dictates are investing in huge hotels, luxury restaurants, fancy car dealerships (A Land Rover average price in Venezuela is 300K USD). A 28-story brand new hotel with state of the art furniture, fixtures, lamps, rectified marble floors and even a vertical garden on their walls... but inside, the common employee areas, such as the bathroom and lockers...perfectly extracted from a prison movie; not only ugly, but degrading. Is not doesn't feel right. Maybe is just me, but it feels... so... sad.

Allow me to re-share  a post written one year ago, also in Caracas...also frustrating. Same country, same feeling...changing slowly...probably for the worse.

Caracas, Venezuela November 4th, 2009
It was early when I arrived. The streets were packed with cars, bikes and people selling stuff, buying stuff, yelling stuff. I had just enough time to take a quick shower, grab a small coffee and head to work. While riding on the back of the car I started to look around, I tried to see beyond the obvious. And then it kicked me: to my left, a magnificent range of mountains covered with a dense and low fog... it was the sadest look of a city pretending everything is all right, trying to believe is going to be fine.
A tree was emerging on one side, covered with white birds. They didn't sing, nor did they move. They were just there looking to the other side of the road, towards a mountain hiding from reality behind the wet hug of a selective fog, that was just covering the beautiful side of the street. The rest, was cristal clear. Or at least it was to me. That's how it felt anyway. The silent cry of a country waiting for it's people to wake up from their collective numbness.

With all due respect to the people of Venezuela...who have been expressing their pain in every word and attitude shared with this little you may regain hope.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The rebel yell..a magpie tale

“Close the doors, sirs! Ladies and gentleman, take your sits, place your bets… the fight is about to start”

Behind the scenes at the Palenque* house they could hear the show was about to start. The rooster’s handlers were all wearing their usual gear: cowboy boots, rough Lee jeans, thick leather belts with oversized silver and gold buckles usually engraved with their proud initials or horse motifs. Resistol hats in beige or elegant black, plaid shirts with pearly buttons and of course, knives in their strap-on cases hanging threatening from their belts.

The beer was flowing while the gamecocks were getting prepared. Tejano music with their typical accordion notes and a pitchy high male voice was flooding the scene. Sharp gaffs were taped to the fighter’s feet, feathers greased and tempers teased to enhance the chance for a good spectacle. These roosters are breed and trained as athletes – cruel caging techniques to build stronger necks and thighs, special diets to develop muscle and the angriest personalities. A life destined to entertain and die in the line of somebody else’s duty.

The first two contestants hit the pit, each one held by their masters… they are presented, provoked by their own mentors by pushing them against each other, tossing aggressive head moves while the feathers of their necks expand in a clear sign of readiness. “Cut them loose!!!” the announcer said and then the fight begins… and continues…and keeps going… bloody fight as if they know there’s money involved. Puncture wounds, bites, scratches, but mostly cuts…until one hits the deadly strike, usually slashing the neck. The fight ends; the winner takes it all… the defeated is dead. The aroused crowd screams bloody murder, the music gets louder and the enthusiastic announcer congratulates the champ.

The final match is ready. The ritual is the same, but one of the fighters is not. Perfect body, shiny black feathers, proud pose, evil eyes… he has a plan. Two contestants are approaching the ring, held as usual by the cocky rooster handlers. It is late, the environment is clouded by cigarette smoke, mumbling gamblers and money…lots of it. Nobody saw it coming. Right before Don Luis had the chance to release it, Evil eyes started the fight: fiery slashing against the handler’s face, ripping and cutting flesh, striking violently to the chest, neck, arms…it was some blood bath, but not the one expected. After finishing with the man, the decided fighter finished its job with the other gamecock, killing it instantly. Standing on top of its dead master, black feathers erected its neck, flapped its wings once more before emitting a loud chant of victory… “He had it coming”, somebody say; now you can open the doors.

*Palenque:   cockfighting ring or cockpit; also used as concert halls, usually held late at night after the fights.
Totally against animal cruelty; based on a popular mexican song:

"Y enmudeció el palenque cuando
un girazo en el redondel
Volando al ras del suelo sin darle tiempo
a don luís soltar
Se le estrello en el pecho
Se le estrello en la cara
Y de fieras cuchilladas la vida le arrebato
Y enmudeció el palenque
cuando el giro enloquecido
Remataba a macarena...
Poniéndose alegre a cantar"

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 39 - for other Magpie tales click  Magpie tales

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Life according to me, lesson 30

Don’t wait too long to wear that special outfit, drink the special wine or say that special thing you know, it won’t fit, somebody else would’ve drank it without you and your words won’t be heard.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Broken links.. a magpie tale

“Some things are meant to stay together because once broken, they cannot bond back again”. I remember this phrase like it was said yesterday. You told me that when we first met as part of a casual conversation that was flowing from baseball to music. It didn’t have much sense then but somehow it gave me the chills.

What happened next is now history: many days of love, joy, laughter, plans…tears, suffering, pain and more. You told me we were going to be together forever…you promised me that. And here I am now, burning inside, so mad, no, not mad… so furious with you and your broken promises; the first out of many other broken things you left me with.

Trust and loyalty … I trusted you, you asked me to! And I wanted to believe. What do I do with your word now that my words won’t reach you? Even if I yell, if I cry out loud, you can’t hear me. Broken trust my dear, is even worse than a broken heart. A heart that no longer beats but only shivers in a desperate attempt to feel alive, to feel something else besides the piercing pain of betrayal.

A pact…yes we had a pact: we would die together…now what? Here I am mourning you with nothing but the frustration and incapacity of not being able to fix the fact that we are no longer together. No matter how hard I try, you are not with me, not even to start a fight, one of those colossal fights driven by our passionate souls that always ended up with such a feeling of inner peace - the sweet sensation of surrendering to our demons and returning from the darkest place holding hands... carrying our hearts.

Time stopped long time ago; I can’t think of anything but many different ways to make you suffer at least one tiny bit of what I’m feeling. If I could only reach you… if you could only hear me… if I could only trade places with you…if you could only see me once again…if life could be in our hands once again.

But death parted us. Loneliness is my companion, eternity my only plan and this cold grave the place you insist to call my new home. This is me, venting out in a futile attempt to ignore the fact that it was ME who left you alone, that I broke our pact… that I let you down.

And yet here you are, like every November, standing by this old tombstone, tidying things up with your sweet and sour new look, wearing all black. Your eye lines are thicker; your tears carved their way. I am so sorry to see you like this. Please dear, don’t comeback. Don’t join the crowd with their music and tacky flowers. Don’t waste your precious energy in fighting for a parking spot or the last buckets of dirty water for the plants. This tradition is way too painful for you and totally pointless for me… I am not here, this is not who I was. Whatever lies underneath this broken stone, is just a sad reminder that at the end we are nothing but dust and worms. What matters honey, what really matters, stayed inside you when I left – in your memories, in your heart, in the familiar smells that rush back our moments, our days, our time. Try to forgive me for breaking apart… for not proving your words… because we are still together, I am always by your side.

To our beloved ones who left us...because this is how I want to remember and would like to be remembered. November 2 - Dia de Muertos (day of the dead)

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 38 - for other Magpie tales click  Magpie tales

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You can run...but you can't hide

“You can run, but you can’t hide
Once you get in you can’t go back…

A secret passage took you right here
You came in freely, lured by the breeze
The sound of music, the smell of me
Your dreams of freedom, to escape from thee;

But there is no breeze, there is no shining sky
No grass that is greener, no better life
You were unhappy, selfish and mean
Nothing was good enough for the queen.

The trick was easy; I just followed your lead
Made myself available, you saw me in every scene
The perfect handsome stranger that night at the club
The extra drink, why not, if it is free

The feeling of greatness inhaling a line
Nothing could stop you, not even a clear sign
That you were indeed secretly, sealing my pact.

Yes, the cozy sofa seemed somehow so real
The dark shadow in it so eerie, yet friendly and sincere
All was part of your magic-pill field trip.

If you are reading this, stop wondering: it is rather clear
That your trip is over, that your end starts here.

Welcome to my world, make yourself at home;
Because now you are mine…and mine alone.”

Based on a prompt provided by Sioux's page for her September contest... no, it did not win  (Click here to check the winner ) yet I wanted to share it with it with you amid the spirit of Halloween.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reality bites… a magpie tale.

Why are you doing this to me? Who are you? Stop! I remember myself crying out loud while thinking this must be a dream. I don’t even know where I am or if I am really here. All I know is that I can’t see a thing, I feel numbed, yet forced to breathe.

I can half-see a big bed, feel the 300-thread Egyptian sheets, comforter, downer and pillows… lots of pillows. It seems like a 5-star hotel, one of those with an “at your service” button always available. I open my eyes and the room is dark, yet a tiny ray of light shows thru the heavy blackout drapes. Ok, I get it – I am in a hotel room, but where? What am I doing here?

My legs are heavy; the alarm clock is blinking with that green flashy light that makes my eyes feel tired. Why can’t I move? Is it night or day? I kept wondering while the remote control of a fancy flat screen TV rolls down my thigh. Then I dozed in again…but I can hear a constant bip… bip bip bip…. bip bip bip…. It has a pattern, I think to myself; but what is that? Water dripping then a loud noise, not far yet not close enough to identify the source. My ears are swollen, I can feel it; this noise must be unreal.

The more I fight it the less I can stand it. I am half sleep half awake yet so aware. No familiar voices, no familiar smells. I manage to turn around and my hair got over my face, but my hands are useless, I can’t brush it away. Then I see a red light blinking and I closed my eyes… fell asleep, but was I really awake?

First I’m cold, then hot… then shivering again. It is the constant changes what makes me wonder if it is true or fake, if I am here or there… but really, where am I?

Finally that sound, coming from my cell –the first sign that indeed, this is happening, that it is real. Is the alarm set to wake me up at 6 AM. I open my eyes, the sun is bright and shining; looked around, recognizing the field: room service menu tossed by the bed, fluffy sleepers, magazines…a glass desk and my laptop on it. My suitcase open, half empty half full with dirty clothes. A bathroom door, a safe box, two sad looking apples on a wooden plate; the voice mail red light blinking on the phone. Sitting on the bed, making sense of the whole scene; looking around, rubbing my eyes and stretching. On my way to taking my shower I stopped by the door, looked to my right and a fancy antique mirror greets me: it reflects the room, big bed with white sheets; it has a golden frame, clean surface, crystal clear... and then the bip…bip bip bip…. bip bip……bip distracts me again; is the ice making machine! I giggle a little – silly me. It was all a dream, a bad one, but nonetheless a dream. I turned around, grabbed a towel and closed the door. Hot water running, steam filling the room. I am happy and calmed that it is all under control. I’m singing in the shower, getting ready for work.

Outside the bathroom door, my singing starts to fade. It gets hot, then cold, and then hot again…it is dark, time stops. Then it kicks me: if there was a mirror, why wasn’t my reflection there? Because there is no mirror on the wall… It has never been there.

Last thing I remember, I was

Running for the door

I had to find the passage back

To the place I was before

’relax,’ said the night man,

We are programmed to receive.

You can checkout any time you like,

But you can never leave…

Hotel California, Eagles.

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 37 - for other Magpie tales click  Magpie tales

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life according to me, lesson 29

Never underestimate the influence of negative vibes and bad attitude from other people. Treat them like you would treat the flu: stop it at the first symptom, enhance your immune system and if it gets you, let it flow...acting strong does not always help our vulnerable human heart.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A window of opportunity...a magpie tale

A window of opportunity, that’s all I want, that’s all I need
I am dedicated, I am inspired, but I am hidden in the dark
I don’t have influences, I don’t have power
I just have me, my will… my so-called talent.

Standing here, watching my dreams, sometimes so real
But nothing happens; I’m still invisible, still so deep
Climbing from there, then going back in…waiting so patiently
Day after day, try after try… still no light.

If I could only have one chance, one single day
To show who I am… to let myself shine
Yet I don’t give up; stubborn? Oh yes… that is who I am
As long as I’m alive, hope is by my side.

And then that long awaited day finally arrived
It is open for me; it is finally my time
The window is here… this might be my only chance
To wear my heart on my sleeve, to be myself, to be real.

Because it is honesty what makes me bright
And if I make it, must feel very proud
Because I did it, despite the fact
That my dark side was always there

Playing my conscience, sabotaging my trust
Clouding my judgment, making me feel bad
Wanting to take me back to the bottom
Where there is no escape, no reason to fly.

Until next day, where there is always a chance
To see things differently make it right.

To our own worst enemy…because we all have a dark side.

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 36 - for other Magpie tales click Magpie Tales

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've been WOWed!!!

Wednesday October 13th, 2010

Dearly beloved:

Today is my BON day... today, is my BON DAY....BON day I said!!! For those who are not familiar with the term (and don't really get why I am acting weird), BON stands for Blogger of Note and it is a GREAT honor granted by Sandy & Pam from Words of Wisdom (WOW for us friends). WOW is a place for bloggers who enjoy reading and writing great content to find each other. They do an amazing job finding and noting blogs which posts are thought-provoking and/or insightful. So you can imagine why I feel so excited, right? I have found many of the blogs I now follow and love thru WOW and I am really hoping for you, my readers, my friends, to keep encouraging my days of writing and sharing my thoughts by taking your time to read and being so generous with your amazing comments!

Please allow me to introduce myself  by sharing 20 random facts about the blogger behind Casta Zero:

 1. I married my high school sweet heart. We’ve been together for almost 20 years! He is the love of my life, my partner and as corny as it will sound, he completes me (he had me at hello….). He is also a contributor to this blog in Spanish; his tales are just a piece of art!  Click here for a taste of his talent: El arbol

2. I have 3 sisters - one blood sister, my sis in law and my best friend. I love them with all my heart.

3. I have 2 dogs - Verdell and the one and only Murphy McGuiness. I really love dogs and hope to have them for the rest of my life (I mean, not necessarily these particular dogs, I still don’t believe in canine immortality, ok?)

4. Baseball is my passion and I am a die hard red sox fan; I used to hate the NY Yankees but now I respect them; I hate the Rays with all my guts though.   Click here : For the love of the game

5. I love to dance - I always wanted to be a professional dancer, but didn't have long enough legs for it. I dance all the time anyway.

6. I am very musical - like to sing (not that I can sing, but like it nonetheless) and rock my butt off @ rockband!!

7. I like to write too - short stories, free form assays, notes and such. Maybe one day I'll publish something...or not. 

8. I always thought I was super flexible… and I am, but because I have joint hyper mobility – not too good when you pop your jaw and have wobbling ankles.

9. I travel all the time for my work; I have learned to enjoy it and cherish the opportunity to meet new people, new cultures and to appreciate my home and my people.  Click here: Flying high

10. Life has been good with me – I have been very lucky to have bad times to help me identify good times and enjoy them; I believe that God’s logic is not our logic and that everything happens for a reason, a very good reason.

12. I like to practice yoga and power walking. The Polar heart rate monitor is the sh..t!!

13. I have a thing with purses and shoes… how many pairs are enough? How many different shades of brown purses are too much? It is my guilty pleasure.

14. I love online shopping - see 13 above.

15. I like to watch TV shows on DVD – we own quite a collection and my favorite of all times is still FRIENDS. Chandler Bing is the best character ever! Could he be any funnier?

16. I can be very sarcastic and ironic… sometimes without even noticing. It is both a gift and a curse, when people don’t get you!

17. I am a control freak; like to have everything in the right order, in the correct place and at the right time. It is annoying even to me. I am working on it...any day now.

18. I love red wine, dark beer and vodka on the rocks with olives or a twist. I am not a good drinker though.

19. I like to believe there is Irish blood in my family; it has been a family legend since I remember; we honor that sentiment and celebrate St. Paddy’s day with pride, respect and lots of beer– Erin go bragh!!  Click here: Feeling Irish

20. I truly believe that every day is different and has a new opportunity for change– when something is not as good as you would like, there is always hope that the next day you may receive the phone call, the email, meet the right people and find the path to success.  Click here: Life according to me

Thanks a lot to Sandy & Pam for being so generous with me! Click here to join the conversation and to help me with the thank you notes to WOW for this special day.

“No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Author Unknown

Friday, October 8, 2010

Autumn and its colors... a magpie tale

Autumn and its colors
October and its teams
Just a few stay put at the ball park
The rest will be gone for the year.

A challenge that starts every April
In July an all- star fight for the lead
September and the last winds of summer
Bringing up hopes...closing the deal.

Three out of five then four out of seven
National and its pitching… American and its power
It is October’s classic, the hunt for pride and honor
Even though is just America, represented by them both
World Series it is called: one pennant, rings and joy.

But each team’s heart and soul it is nothing but a mix
Of a multicultural selection, the best of the best, the elite:
Dominican, Puerto Rican, American and beyond
Venezuelan, Japanese, Mexican, Cuban and more
All together as a whole… sharing a passion, living a dream
One of hard work, injuries and tears… and above all
For the love and loyalty to the great game of Baseball.

To my beloved RedSox, who didn't make it to the post season this year.

This is a Magpie tale - Mag 35 - for other Magpie tales click:  Magpie Tales 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What happened on October 6th?

JFK museum - South Boston, MA

6th October, 1961: President John F. Kennedy advises American families to build bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear war. Many Americans did prepare for nuclear war by buying up canned goods and building backyard bomb shelters. Also at the time many home builders offered a bomb shelter as part of new home packages.


Yankee Stadium hall of fame

6th October, 1926: Babe Ruth sets new record in World Series with three home runs and a 10-5 win over the Cardinals.

Lucy  =0 )

6th October, 1966: The hallucinogic drug LSD is declared illegal in the United States. LSD is a Schedule I drug making it illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, process or distribute LSD without a DEA license.

6th October, 2009: my first post was published in this blog!! I can't believe it has been one year already; I am very honored and touched by the comments and support received along this year; in 365 days I can proudly count 60 followers, 81 posts, several image changes (on my blog that is), but foremost, many many blog  friends I've found (and that have found me) via the blogger community.
In case you are wondering what did I post on my first day:
There is music everywhere
Chez Borges  - en español 
THANK YOU ALL!!!!     

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Never Again...Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Thanks to Life Lines Journaling for the great opportunity to participate in her Alphabet Poems to show in deep appreciation and respect to women around the world living a situation of violence, here is my humble way of encouragement to say: Never Again!!

No words there are to describe, to justify your act
Every time your frustration turns towards my weaken heart 
Vile and ruin your soul has became

Entitled you think you are, because I once loved you, because of our bond.

Right here and now, listen me clearly, listen me well:

Alive I am, strong I am…you don’t frighten me no more

God is by my side, I deserve better… I am better alone;

All I want is to recover my peace, my self-confidence…on my own

Involved in your twisted game I was for too long…one too many times I allowed it, but

No dear, not now, not later…not anymore.

MALO (bad, nasty) is a song with a powerful message, from a strong spanish singer - Bebe. Violence is universal, it has no nationality, language or social class.  Here is the video with English subtitles:

Click here for more:
Domestic Violence Awareness Month