Sunday, February 24, 2013


In the winter doldrums?
Looking for a perfect get-away,
where staying indoors is as inviting as being outside?
Come enjoy a land known as the Bierzo, a natural landscape unlike any other with comfortable accommodations at the Country Inn, Hotel rural Lacelo that has eight rooms, including three suites with jacuzzis.
Few Spanish regions have the gastronomic and abundant diversity of the Bierzo. And local agricultural products abound such as the Spanish Reinata apple, cherries, specialty pears, peppers that are traditionally fried with olive oil,  garlic, chestnuts, not to mention the wine whose name is derived from this place of origin.

We were there in the late fall for an evening of English round table conversation to practice the language of Shakespeare and sample baked treats. It's a once a month occurrence. We were enchanted by the warm treatment by Ana, the owner and by such an unforgettable place.

¿Estás en el abatimiento del invierno?
¿Buscando una escapada perfecta,
donde quedarse en casa sea tan acogedor y tan agradable como estar al aire libre?

Disfruta en el Bierzo, de un entorno natural, inigualable con las mayores comodidades.
El Hotel Rural Lacelo dispone de ocho habitaciones, incluyendo tres suites con bañera hidromasaje. 
Pocas comarcas españolas presentan la diversidad y abundancia gastronómica del Bierzo. 
Donde reinan los productos hortofrutícolas: manzanas reinatas, cerezas, peras conferencia, pimientos asados y castañas, sin olvidarnos del vino con denominación de origen. 

Estuvimos ahí durante una noche al final del otoño para una tertulia, temática inglesa que tiene lugar mensualmente donde los participantes pueden degustar especialidades gastronómicas y practicar la lengua de Shakespeare. Quedamos encantados con el trato genial que recibimos de la dueña, Ana, y con el lugar, inolvidable. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bouquet and Bike

Flowers shouting love from the staircase in the morning sunshine brighter today than when Cupid delivered them.
On Thursday I also discovered a big box when I arrived home from work conspicuously marked with cycling terms and from the UK.  Inside, a red vintage-style city cruiser, basket included. What a lovely gesture.

Flores gritando el amor desde la escalera in el sol de mañana hoy, más resplandentes que cuando me las entregó Cúpido.
También descubrí una caja enorme el jueves cuando llegué del trabajo marcada claramente con términos ciclistas y del Reino Unido.  Adentro encontré una bici, un crucero para la ciudad, estilo vintage, con el cesto incluído. Qué gesto más hermoso.

Monday, February 18, 2013


As if it were prophetic, the snow and rain ceased, the sun came out to warm the streets and air and the weekend of Astorga's Carnaval arrived.
Como si fuera profético, la nieve y la lluvia cesó, salió el sol para calentar las calles y el aire y llegó el fin de semana del Carnaval de Astorga.

The streets were packed for Saturday's parade. Since Carnaval throughout the province and other parts of Spain is the tuesday before, throngs are able to attend our town's Piñata. They come to compete in the parade contest, to see family, find friends they haven't seen in a long time and mostly to join in the spirit of joyful community.
Las calles estaban repletas para el desfile del sábado. Como Carnaval en toda la provincia y en otras partes de España es el martes anterior, multitudes pueden asistir a Piñata (Carnaval) a nuestra ciudad. Vienen a competir en el concurso de desfile, a ver a la familia, encontrar amigos que no han visto en mucho tiempo, y sobre todo a disfrutar del espíritu alegre de la comunidad.

People of all ages were dancing, laughing and enjoying each others' company. Little children were dressed up in group theme, some so small they were pushed in decorated strollers. I saw grandmothers spryly pushing their tots wearing the same costume just a few sizes larger, their age not a factor. In fact it was quite surprising to note that at least half of these limber lively participants were age fifty or older, many well into their seventies or older. Studies have been made on the reasons for the longevity of the Leonese people, one by National Geographic just last year. Watching Carnaval I'm not surprised. Who has time to fade away in a residence for the elderly when there are so many dances to dance, friends to see and   life to live?
Personas de todas las edades bailaban, reían y disfrutaban de la compañía de los demás. Los niños pequeños estaban vestidos en el tema del grupo, algunos tan pequeños que eran empujados en cochecitos decorados. Vi abuelas empujando ágilmente sus nenes llevando el mismo traje sólo unas cuantas tallas más grande, su edad no era relevante.  De hecho, fue bastante sorprendente observar que al menos la mitad de estos ágiles participantes eran animados danzantes de cincuenta años o más, muchos hasta bien entrados en los setenta años o más. Se han hecho estudios sobre las razones de la longevidad de la población leonesa, uno por National Geographic sólo el año pasado. Mirando el Carnaval no estoy sorprendida. ¿Quién tiene tiempo para apagarse en una residencia para la tercera edad cuando hay tantas danzas para bailar, amigos para ver y vida para vivir?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Winter Verses meet Psalm 73

When you lose at King O’the Hill

The Party’s not at your house anymore.

You fight to remain. You defend your spot. 

But, you're beaten in defeat; it's all a question of Will.

Your Will.  My Will.  God's Will.

What you Will...

No, the party is certainly not at my house anymore. 

The king has his throne. 

Bloodied, I can't get off the ground. 

There is no picking myself up by my bootstraps this time, and the thought is that there is no recovery, no legacy to save, no victory to come...
It's just this. Over.

As for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the 

burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. 

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity;

the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

They scoff, ad speak with malice;

in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

Their mouths lay claim to heaven,

and their tongues take possession of the earth. 2-9

I reach out and only. feel. space. between my fingers, hands, arms. nothing,

where my children, family and home once were.

This longing for a different time, even if it was only in my mind,

doesn't stop.

Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.

They say, "How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge? 10-16

In vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children.

Another grey day, a pain without release

If wishes were horses, mine would be dappled

grey, unobtrusive, intangible fog

I’d silently slip there, away, none a’knowing

Colorless free, misty, formless and gone.

Quiet, quietly, quieter still,

sweet peace from the missing

grey unobtrusive, intangible fog.

Don’t you know that today’s pain

makes yesterday’s pretending look good,

a finger points where I once stood:

another place, a time

a once upon of belonging,

of me and mine.

Quiet, quietly, quieter still,

sweet peace from the missing

grey unobtrusive, intangible fog.

When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me 'till I entered the sanctuary of God; 

then I understood their final destiny.

Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. 

How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!

As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord,

you will despise them as fantasies. 16-20

I wish no harm. My heart weeps.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. 
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 

Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 21-26

Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; 

I will tell of all your deeds, Lord. 27-28

You know all of it, know our condition; mine, his, ours. 

You know the defeats and you know the victories to come. 

You remind me that the battle is not over, that the battle is Yours, 

that You are just and do things in your time. 

As for me, I'll love you 'till the end of time. 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Valentine

Chocolate sugar cookies, a new recipe with Cola Cao.
Galletas de azúcar de chocolate, una nueva receta con Cola Cao. 
Vintage valentine.
Una tarjeta antigua de amor, del Día de San Valentín. 
Just yesterday I remembered a "friend" who three years ago who was too frightened to write her story in English, or to name herself as she described her life.
Neither she nor her loved ones were spared a great family tragedy. However, now she has a new life; just one step at a time, some steps painful, others joyous in a new way she never experienced before.
Praises to God for the beauty of each day and the ability to love again.

Solo ayer me acordé de una "amiga" que hace tres años tenía demasiado miedo para publicar su historia en inglés, o nombrarse a sí misma mientras describía su vida.
Ni ella ni los que más quería pudieron evitar una gran tragedia familiar. Sin embargo, ahora tiene una nueva vida; simplemente un paso delante de otro, algunos penosos, otros gozosos in una nueva manera que no había experimentaba nunca.
Gloria a Dios por la belleza de cada día y la capacidad de amar de nuevo.
Love is when you look into someone's eyes and see their heart.
El amor es cuando miras a los ojos de alguien y ves su corazón.
Cooking together in the kitchen.
Cocinando juntos en la cocina.
A chocolate "palmera."
Una palmera de chocolate.

Postal hearts. 
Corazones de postales.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Toto, You're in Spain Now.

De la cita celebre del Mago de Oz, Toto, creo que ya no estamos en Kansas.... 
Estás ahora en España
Chef Enrique's sliced tomato and sweet onion salad with shredded carrots and lightly dressed with mediterranean herbs and sea salt.
I laid out all of my vegetables, fruit, and fresh bread from the bakery and set the separation bar at the end of my items when the nice man, about my age behind me, began setting his items onto the conveyer belt next to mine. 
Since he had such limited space, one of his bags began to shift, and I thought it might topple off the side onto the floor. 
The obviously full bag must have been stacked, a little too precariously on top of another item. So, I instinctively reached out to steady it, when just fractions before grabbing the bag to save the moment, my hand froze in mid-air. The bag hadn’t shifted its weight due to positioning. 
It was moving! It was alive! 
And it was stuffed with medium-sized crabs, crabs who were to soon be boiled and eaten fresh! Oh shock! They frantically clacked their claws at the thin plastic while their antennae-like eyeballs darted around. Before I could recover, a yelp of shock escaped me. And, then I had to quickly apologize for my ignorance. Next, truly within seconds, I began laughing and couldn’t stop. There in the grocery line...I don’t really know what the long-line of others behind and next to me thought since I didn’t look around to find out, but it all suddenly became hilarious to me. Another memorable moment in a day in the life. Crab anyone?

Fresh farm greens, with cucumber, julienned carrots, tomato and celery with sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds on top drizzled with balsamic vinegar and light olive oil.
Yo había extendido todas mis verduras, fruta y pan fresco de la panadería, y establecido la barra de separación al final de mis artículos cuando un buen hombre, de mi edad detrás de mí, comenzó a poner sus artículos sobre la cinta transportadora.
Como tenía el espacio tan limitado junto a todas mis cosas, una de sus bolsas comenzó a desplazarse, y yo pensé que podría derribarse de un lado para el suelo.
Debió haber sido un poco demasiado apilada precariamente encima de otro elemento, por lo que instintivamente extendí la mano para estabilizarla cuando sólo fracciones antes de agarrar la bolsa mi mano se detuvo en el aire. La bolsa no había modificado su peso debido a la colocación. Se estaba moviendo! Estaba viva! Y llena de cangrejos de tamaño medio que debían pronto ser hervidos y comidos fresco! Oh sorpresa! Ellos frenéticamente resonaban sus pinzas en el plástico delgado, mientras que sus antenas semejantes a globos oculares se lanzaban a su alrededor. Antes de que pudiera recuperarme, un grito de sobresalto se me escapó y tuve que pedir disculpas rápidamente por mi ignorancia. Luego, en cuestión de segundos realmente me empecé a reír y no podía parar.
Allí, en la línea de comestibles... No noté lo que pensaban los demás en la larga línea detrás de mí y a mi lado ya que no me atreví a volver la mirada pero de repente toda la escena me pareció hilarante.
Otro momento memorable en un día en la vida. ¿Cangrejos?
Steamed cauliflower and zucchini squash toped with seed meleé replete with garlic salt and herbs of provence.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Las Cosas Pasadas

Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wasteland.

Isaías 43:18-19
No os acordéis de las cosas pasadas,
ni traigáis a memoria las cosas antiguas.
He aquí que yo hago algo nuevo;
pronto saldrá a luz; ¿no la conoceréis?
Otra vez abriré camino en el desierto, y ríos en la soledad.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

January Memories

Saying goodbye to January reminded me how it is the month for…
Despidiéndome de enero me recordó que es el mes de...

Epiphany and a visit from the Three Kings.
La Epifanía y la visita de los Reyes Magos.

Building sandcastles and playing volleyball in my hometown.
Huntington Beach, California.
Construir castillos de arena y jugar al voleibol en mi ciudad natal.
Huntington Beach, California.

New babies being born on farms like this one at a close friend’s house in the northern state of Oregon.
El nacimiento de nuevos bebés en granjas como ésta de una amiga cercana, en el norteño estado de Oregon.

Meeting the love of your life, like my Spanish husband and I did.
Conocer al amor de tu vida, como nos pasó a mi marido español y a mí.

Snowy days in the Province of León, Spain, making snowmen and having snowball fights.
Días de nieve en la provincia de León, España, hacer muñecos de nieve y tener peleas con bolas de nieve.

Working hard on new projects and studying in classrooms all over the world; IES Valle de Laciana High School, Villablino (León), Spain y Sacramento and El Camino High Schools, Sacramento.
Trabajar duro en nuevos proyectos y estudiar en las aulas de todo el mundo; la IES del Valle de Laciana, Villablino (León), Spain y las Escuelas Secundarias de Sacramento High School y El Camino High School, California.

Wearing scarves and warm clothes, drinking hot chocolate and dreaming of Spring.
Llevar bufandas y ropa de abrigo, beber chocolate caliente y soñar con la Primavera.
Favorite quote:
The one girl that I need♥ - *Love*  From son Ryan (18) to me - January 6th, 2012

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dawn Translation

Look into the sky. Little flakes of snow hurriedly swirl down to the ground to melt away into nothingness.  On a wet, dank cobbled street they are forgotten.
Mira al cielo. Pequeños copos de nieve se arremolinan apresuradamente hacia el suelo para desaparecer en la nada. En una calle mojada, húmeda, adoquinada, se olvidan.

This morning a sworn translator will take my life's accomplishments, in the professional sense, and translate them into documentation that hopefully can be understood in the fabric of Spanish life and have meaning in the way of my becoming a more significant part of society.
Esta mañana un traductor jurado tomará los logros de mi vida, en el sentido profesional, y los traducirá en la documentación que se espera pueda ser entendida en el entramado de la vida española y signifiquen el camino de mi conversión en una parte significativa más de la sociedad.

I pray and my mind says to trust our Lord, but my heart beats irregularly this morning. No caffeine needed to feel the adrenaline, pure stress rushing through my veins as I glance over every class, degree and credential splayed out on the table. Since last night I've dreaded thinking that whole periods of sweat and grind over the years might end up inconsequential, just unimportant details, stamps and seals on paper.
Yo rezo y mi mente me dice confíe en el Señor, pero mi corazón late de forma irregular esta mañana. Nada de cafeína ha sido necesaria para sentir el estrés, la adrenalina pura, corriendo por mis venas mientras miro sobre cada clase, título y credencial extendido sobre la mesa. Desde anoche he temido que los períodos enteros de sudor y molienda pueda ser que terminen como detalles sin importancia, estampillas y sellos en papel, sin consecuencias.

As natural as breathing, so many thrust forward toward something better, some in the coal-mining hills, some in the street, all around me.  They push for an education. They are driven, just as I was, just as my children are, just as are all the many sons and daughters of college-less fathers. Now I wonder, however, if that promising warm bread of academia and experience will fall off the table like so many crumbs to the floor?
Tan natural como respirar, así muchos presionan hacia delante, hacia algo mejor, algunos en las colinas de minería de carbón, algunos en la calle, muchos a mi alrededor. Empujan por una educación. Ellos se sienten impulsados, como yo, al igual que mis hijas e hijos, al igual que tantos hijos de padres no universitarios. Ahora me pregunto, sin embargo, ¿ese pan caliente prometedor del mundo académico y la experiencia se cae de la mesa, como tantas migas al suelo?

Or, perhaps a surprise, like a cinnamon sticky bun, awaits. Maybe balcony sunshine will illuminate this morning's grey dense fog and the snowy sky with light and hope changing feared disappointment into an open schoolroom door.  I pause. I yearn. A new school,  classrooms,  expectant young people... may it be so.
O, quizás espera una sorpresa como un bollo de canela. Quizás el sol del balcón iluminará esta niebla gris y densa y el cielo cubierto de la mañana con luz y esperanza cambiando la desilusión temida a una puerta de aula abierta.  Hago una pausa. Anhelo. Una nueva escuela, clases, jóvenes preparados para aprender... Que así sea.