Sunday, April 29, 2007

Small blessings after the storm.

I'm starting to recover from a really rough weekend; it coupled a wonderful annual gig with terrible, almost unbearable old memories. I dreaded this weekend for weeks and was so anxious Friday afternoon I had to take a nap.

By late afternoon today the rough stuff was over; in celebration I spent a happy hour and a half at my favorite Mexican restaurant, eating a late lunch and reading on the patio.

The wind was blowing like crazy, napkins were flying everywhere, but I wasn't cold; I'd had the foresight to - well, not enough foresight to bring a jacket from home, but enough foresight to stop first at Ross's and buy a new sweater - on clearance for $5.46, and it even matched my skirt! I deemed it a harbinger of good fortune.

Soon I was the only patio customer. I felt hardy.

The book I was reading has been on my nightstand, mostly neglected, for about a year: La casa de los espíritus by Isabel Allende. I read it in English, and loved it, many years ago.

When I started it in Spanish last year, I read with the English-language paperback in one hand and Spanish in the other. I proudly realize my Spanish has improved enough that I can now read and enjoy it on its own. I just ignore the sporadic gusts of wonderfully obscure words, promising to look them up later... maybe a lot later...

Anyway, while I was eating and reading and grinning one of the waitresses came over and said, "you're really enjoying your book, aren't you?" So I showed her the book and she said she hadn't read it, another came over and said she'd loved it, and we talked about it a bit (in Spanish)! I used to be terrified and blush beet red when I tried to speak Spanish, and this time I didn't - another harbinger of good fortune.

I have a pink index card in my nightstand, given to me by a psychologist seven or eight years ago when I was trying to get through some awful times. It says:


I hope this mantra helps somebody else; it's helped me at least a little...

On a happier note, I write every morning out on my patio and the birds are putting on a magnificent spring show. Suddenly this year red finches have learned how to jam their nests onto the impossibly narrow ledges at the top of my siding, right under the eaves, and they've stuffed a ridiculous number of nests up there, and they're yakking and flapping all day. I don't have a Carolina Wren in my nail bucket this year, but the hummingbirds are back and at their nasty wars already (they surely expend more calories trying to defend the feeder from each other than they get from actually sipping), and the male bluebird is sitting on top of his house, usually a sign that eggs have hatched.



At 2:37 PM, Blogger Alma said...

Melinama, how wonderful it must be to sit outside and watch the pageant of birds. I must add hummingbird-friendly flowers to my garden this year!

I rarely read Spanish novels because, for a bookworm, my reading speed is painfully slow --Evelyn Woods course flunkee -- and Spanish slows me down even more. But I loved Portrait in Sephia so much that I read it in Spanish too. ...Alma, working through My Invented Country , hoping to be done by end of Summer...

At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very good to be able to read a book in the language it was written, it gives a richer understanding of the prose. I have not read La casa de los espíritus, but it sounds very good, I'll added to my must read list. Have you read Pedro Paramo? y El LLano en Llamas? I think these are also excellent books by Juan Rulfo. I wish I could also sit outside and just read, but with my two boys (11 and 13) and their never-ending array of activities I only have my breaks at work and my time before going to bed to read (I’m not complaining I know my time with my boys will end pretty soon and I’m enjoying every bit of it). Oh well time’s up got to go back to work

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Jean said...

Hi Melinama: I love reading Allende's books in Spanish. You don't get all the words but I find her work very easy to get the gist of. De Amor y sombra (Of Love and Shadows) also by Allende is great as are the other two books in the Casa trilogy: Retrato en Sepia and La hija de la Fortuna.

P.S. your red finches are called House Finches (carpodacus mexicanus)


At 8:38 AM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Melinama~~~ I love reading your refelctions. The weather is just starting to warm up here. I spend as much time as possible on the patio and in our backyard once the weather is nice. Hub and I eat all our meals on the deck or patio in the summer...heaven. I love Isabal Allende although I have only read her books in English. I have a copy of her book Paula that belonged to one of my daughters ,but I can't bring myself to read it. [It's about her daughter's illness and death.] She is a fascinating woman. I saw her on TV giving a speech a few years ago at a bookstore.She certainly has a magical style of writing that pulls you into her words. I'm happy for your lucky find ...the sweater. Yesterday, I made a lucky purchase of printed fabric totebags for myself and my daughters at Boscov's which left me feeling fortunate . I liked your 4 words of wisdom. I collect quotes. Here's one of my favorites : ''Have faith in the beauty of this day, and your place in it.''


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