Sunday, August 29, 2010

Flashback Sunday

Genre: Traveling/hotels

Hotels. Your home away from home. There are different kinds, purposes and classes available; affordable or over the top. From the business oriented to the family friendly, with pools and health clubs or, well, just barely a bed.

I travel frequently for my line of work, usually staying in a hotel for extended periods, so the chances to experience the good, the bad and the ugly are statistically higher than the regular traveler.

Following the path of reminiscence, here you have two posts I wrote while staying at hotels; eventhough my writting is usually inspired by traveling experiences, these  are about two real life events of "what happen in a hotel... stays in a hotel" (or so they thought):

A bad dream... wasn't it?   Santiago de Chile... long work day...midnight...

Welcome to Miami...Bienvenidos a Miami   Florida: sun, sand, sea, it's multicultural flavor...and the business traveler in a pickle

"If I ever woke up with a dead hooker in my hotel room, Matt would be the first person I'd call." Ben Affleck 



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Murphy the terrible

Top 40 before 40 – number 18: Train Murphy – he has to be an educated dog before I am in my 40’s

I was warned. I was interviewed. I was determined. I wanted an Irish terrier.

Daredevils they are called. I made my research beforehand, sturdy medium size dogs with a high spirit. That’s what I wanted, and the time was getting closer.

My 11 year old Schnauzer, Diva, was very sick and the vet told us she was ready to go. We wanted Diva to have the chance to meet Murphy (yes, we had the name way before we knew he was a done deal, as a tribute to his Irish origin and my favorite Irish punk band: The Dropkick Murphys) and needed to have Verdell’s new companion; Verdell is our baby, our 11 year old Lhasa Apso with the most amazing personality (and subject of his own amazing stories to come). We found the location: San Pedro, California was his birth place and he was ready to go.

We drove all the way up to Cali to pick him up; his home was gorgeous, a nice house on a hill, with a great lawn and his brothers – all four of them, all perfect - marked with multi-colored ribbons – Murphy was red. They all ran towards me, mom included, and jumped over me; I rolled on the grass with them, I didn’t care, on the contrary, I loved it.

We took him with us with the basic Irish terrier kit: holistic puppy food, ear glue and his comfort-security doll (a stuffed toy previously rubbed on his mom’s belly). He travelled on my lap, snuggling and yawning like little puppies do. I was delighted. His breath still smelled like milk and his brown eyes were full of life and curiosity.

After 8+ hours driving, we’ve got home and he started his first tour – smelling the patio, getting acquainted with the area, eating a little, drinking a little and stretching his little legs from the long trip. Then it was time for bed. We put him in his kennel with his doll and cozy blankets. 2 hours later, the first act began: Murphy was crying, he wanted out, only to show us his other side, his gremlin side; I couldn’t believe how a little tender puppy could have turned in to this possessed creature, barking and jumping and biting, oh yes, BITING everything, including our legs, ankles, pants, hands, hanging from our very flesh making demonesque noises but not letting go. I thought: what have we done?? This is not a dog, this is something else! What happened with cute little doggie? It turned out he was over energized from the long trip, he was stressed from the big change, and that was his way of channeling – bad energy flowing thru. That was the only day he behaved like that… he was saving the best for later.

Months passed by and he started to get sturdier, faster, his legs longer, his chest wider. His energy higher. His ideas brighter. He learned how to get on top of the BBQ bar, how to roll the garbage container and take the garbage bag out without opening the lid. He ate every single floor mat, regardless of the material, color or brand. He hunted doves and birds and ate them for snack. During winter time, we covered him with a pink (yes, pink) sweatshirt that used to be Diva’s. He didn’t like it and learned how to take it off and toss it by our front door, as a firm statement of his disappointment on our fashion choice.

Verdell and Murphy got along quite well… until it was time to eat: the fight for food is titanic. We learned to feed them separately and to always make sure there is no food involved when they are together; other than that, they play and cuddle like angels.

He started his group training and socialization sessions – amazingly, among other dogs, he was so calmed and noble, always following instructions, always rolling over letting other dogs smell his tummy and beyond. It was very weird for me – how come? If back home he is nothing but a confident dog. Group training was a good start, but he needed something else… more like a military school.

You may thing: what in the world is this person doing with a dog like that? I wondered myself the same thing when he learned his new trick: climbing on top of our car like a cat… scratching including. That was it… boot camp time.

We sent him to a 10-week personal training boarding school with our own private version of the dog whisperer; 10 weeks turned in to 16…but at the end, we’ve got the call: “Murphy passed the obedience test, he is ready. He wants to go home”. We spent one week with this amazing trainer for the transferring of command sessions and he explained it all: what we were doing wrong (like allowing the dog to set his rules and not the opposite and confusing love with weakness), he told us what an amazing dog he was, how smart and stubborn at the same time a terrier can be, how challenging it is to be consistent and determined when a cute dog gives you Shrek’s’ “Puss in boots” look to get away with things and the most important thing: that he was not punished by being educated, on the contrary, he was even happier now than he was before.

He is back home, now is time to put into practice in his own territory what he does so well outside. The first days were difficult, considering that Verdell was doing his best to make him fail – imagine Murphy laying down as a result of the “stay” command while Verdell is jumping over and running in front of him with his favorite toy – but he is over that too. The look in his eyes when he is walking by our side leash-free, looking up toward us with a happy and loving expression that almost says: Look at me! Look at me! I am a good dog! The feeling is outstanding.

He is still the same dog, he is our puppy, the youngster of the house and Verdell’s best friend. We still need to separate their food though…after all, nobody is perfect.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Life according to me, lesson 26

We waste a lot of time monitoring our ageing process: when we were kids, we wanted to grow up; once adults, we want to remain young. The truth is: age is overrated! live day by day without numbers, without tags...without remorse.

Life according to me, lesson 25

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Olga and Verushka, legendary Russian dolls; they can dance, they can sing, they can fill a room with joy. They are happy all the time, they are beautiful and alive; so delicate yet so strong and as different as two little rain drops.

I discovered them together, more than twenty years ago. They were sitting on a piano, making jokes, blowing some smoke. The place was packed with curious people, we all wanted to see why, from all places in all Tombstone this was the one preferred by all.

We took pictures, they kept laughing… they made us feel vibrant and young. With our sarsaparilla sparkling making a toast to the Russian dolls.

Twenty plus years had passed since then, the Russian dolls became adults. Verushka moved up north where is cold, exchanged the feathers for a coat; she is a mother of three little miracles that make her day full and her nights sometimes long; always making sure everybody is ready, spreading hugs, kisses and love.

Olga grew older, she married her true love. She has no kids, but two loving dogs. Switched from the piano to other keyboard, constantly traveling observing the world. Her hair has grays disguised professionally, her eyes are starting to show some lines; she still loves music, to dance and sing, friends and good moments complete the scene.

I found their picture at the bottom of a miracle’s chest. I looked at them, still so young…made me remember, they are Russian dolls…just open the layers, pop-up the first and then some more, keep digging further until the final one, the center piece is the heart and soul…forever seventeen, forever young; layer after layer becoming a whole…to make them better but never old.

To my high school friend Veronica... to my high school self.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

"Beauty, like supreme dominion
  Is but supported by opinion" Benjamin Franklin
I want to thank Daily Spirit  for sharing her Beautiful Blogger award
with me today... her writing is inspirational, honest, deep and yet so easy to read!  But don't just trust me (especially after being called beautiful), check by yourselves! are some of my favorite posts from her blog:
Blog hopping
Remedies -the non -prescription kind
This is a great incentive and a major commitment for me to keep writing; if a single one of my posts has the power to motivate a reader to leave a comment, to feel the intention of the words, to laugh, then the purpose of sharing has been accomplished.
And please... don't hate me because I'm beautiful...hate me for believing it!     

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life according to me, lesson 25

One of the most frustrating things to do is fixing other people’s mistakes even though you did everything right to prevent it …learn to deal with human stupidity by assuming that common sense is in fact, not that common.

Life according to me, lesson 24

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flashback Sunday

Genre: Short Story/fantastic tale

I've got the idea of creating a sneeze page from the SITS girls site (follow the button on the left side bar, it is great!), and thought Sunday was a good day to feature some of my especial posts (past or new), grouped by genre.

After reading one of the latest post of one of my best friends,  a great writter with an amazing imagination and the ability to create a tale from an image, I would like to re-share with you some of my past posts honoring that style:

The legend of the girl and the whale

Dedicated to mi niece Mia and his first encounter with a sea creature...the moment was priceless.

Gus the whale

Eventhough is not a pure-short story, it was inspired by an image found in a bar in Vegas and the imagination of the bartender.

Y para mis lectores hispano-parlantes and the bilinguals:

el arbol

Written by my husband, inspired in our home in Mexico // Escrito por mi esposo, inspirado en nuestra casa en Mexico

Has estado alguna vez en un ejercicio de emergencia?

Written on a plain, on my way back from Oklahoma City, right after 9/11 //Escrito en un vuelo, regresando de la ciudad de Oklahoma, un poco después del 9/11.

I hope you liked the flashback experiment!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The feeling of absence

What is the deal with it? I thought we were living alone, separate from all the influence and bitching about all the stuff that made us feel attached to something. But no. the moment your influence is gone, the moment that person is no longer with us, you feel lost.

It is hard to continue when it strikes you. It is difficult to explain since sometimes it makes no sense at all. You feel right, you feel complete, but one single smell, the smallest sound, even a word or an inside joke, brings everything back; and then it kicks you: is no longer here.

He was not my dad. He was not even blood-related to me. But he treated me like he was. His words, his presence, even his worst moments formed me. I was part of his family since I was 17. I can remember his moves, his legendary phrases, his way of cooking and most of all, his principles and rules. It formed me to the bone.

I didn’t have a paternal figure in my life – my dad was gone (by choice) since I was 7 years old. I remembered him, somehow with love, somehow with idealistic thoughts. But the truth is: he left us. I struggled with abandonment issues and dealt with them as good as I could; it marked me (somehow for good). And then I met him. He was the most generous and righteous person I’ve ever met. Stubborn as he could be, but loyal to his moral and concept of life. He taught me the importance of listening to my conscience and to pick good over bad. He was noble, kind and real. He made me believe we could pursue our dreams and to have the courage to come back after a setback.

Now he is not here. I know he is in a better place. He left me with a piece of him, his son and the love of my life. His blood is my family, I am one of them. I made a commitment, long before our goodbyes: always to do what is best for the family, but not in a closed non -rational way, but using my brain and my own judgment to come up with the best middle term. I miss him, miss him a lot. He is forever in my heart; he is continuously in my thoughts. Every day I forget I’m not able to share my experiences, or the new flavors we discover in one of our trips, or the plans for next Christmas. There is no day I don’t feel like he will call home and ask “how your trip went? I am glad you came back with good”.

Sometimes, people don’t know what they have when taken for granted, when it was given to you by birth, as a non-negotiable right. He was my father by choice, by heart. He knew it; he made me feel like that. Even though I won’t be able to hug him or hear his sweet words and repeated old jokes, he is forever with us, he made himself transcendental, immortal, part of our lives… and I am lucky and grateful for that.