Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Tata, Ramon.

My grandfather is my favourite person.
He scoffs when I tell him this. "I'm your only Tata," he says, scowling. "I have to be your favourite." In the same breath, however, he'll also wail that I'm the only person that loves him and that at least I won't dance on his grave.

He often tells me stories of his uni experiences. "One of my friends got a chicken from his mother," goes one such story. "He forgot about it and left it under his bed in the package. We were hungry the next day, and even though that chicken smelt more terrible than your grandmother's feet, we ate it."
"Did you get sick?"
"Pah, no. We'd eaten worse."
Chile, he says, is a land where they protest for the sake of protest. "Natashitaitaita, if you go to Chile and don't protest, I will disown you."
"Did you protest?"
"Of course. I don't even know what for, but I did." One time, he says, he narrowly escaped arrest out of sheer laziness. "The university students were protesting... ah, I don't know, something. I got bored halfway through and went home. I didn't live too far away. The next thing I know, my friends have been arrested."

He knows, or at least knew, a fair variety of languages. Spanish, of course, was his first language, but he also knows snippets of French. He has learned Italian from watching operas. German, I don't know how he picked it up. In fact, no one really knows how he picked it up. My grandmother nearly died of shock when they were travelling Europe and suddenly Tata's having a nice old chat with some German folk. His English, for a non-native speaker, is better than mine. This could bother me, I suppose, but it more awes me and makes me want to learn more. My mother tells me I must get my taste for words and languages from him because I clearly didn't get it from anyone else in our family.
However, he knows these languages in a manito de gato way - he knows their shortcuts and goes about them the easiest way. He taught me to speak "like a true Chilean". Apparently doing so means chopping 's' out of all your words and chewing on the words before you let them loose with a blase roll of your tongue.

No matter where we go, he has a book. He's sort of forbidden from taking them shopping, but he has, on occasion, hidden them under his shirt until Nana has pushed her trolley into Woolworths. On Mondays when I lived at home, he used to pick me up from work because he was also picking up my cousins. I would have a book on my phone (he always sneered at that) and he would reach into the pocket behind the passenger's seat and pull out the latest JD Robb/Nora Roberts.
Nora Roberts is one of his favourite writers, and I like her too. However, she does romance and crime separately. Tata saw me reading one of her romance novels and beamed. "You like Nora Roberts?"
"Yeah," I said.
"Me too!"
Surprised, I closed the book. I'd read it before. "Have you read this one?"
I'm not sure what Tata thought Born in Fire was going to be about, but he snatched it up eagerly. "No! I've never heard of this one!"
"Borrow it then."
The next day he picked me up for work, and Born in Fire was resting on the dashboard. He levelled me with a glare the second I opened the door.
"Romance? You read romance?"
"... didn't you realise?"
"I read through the night, waiting for the murder! It never happened! They got married!"

The other day, Dad was over at Nana and Tata's fixing Skype. (My cousins are over in Argentina/Chile at the moment, and it seems Nana can't go 8 weeks without talking to them.) Dad texted me, knowing I'd be on my phone, and asked me to Skype-call Nana.
Dad's there discussing the program with me, and Nana's leaning far too close to the webcam for me to actually see her, when I hear a shout. "Ay? Is that my Natashitaitaita?"
Nana and Dad got pushed out of the way and Tata filled the screen, saying, "IT IS! Finally someone I want to see! Did I tell you it's boring without you here? I miss you!"

My Tata is a man of crazy.
But he is also a man of excellence.
And I miss him something chronic.

Obligatory procrastination post

If you're in Australia, it's Tuesday.
(My American readers, I have no idea what your crazy time zone is doing, but I'm sure it's going swimmingly and that the past hasn't changed much. The future is pretty darn swell.)
I digress; it is currently Tuesday, and I have a 3000 word draft due on Thursday.

My current total of words is sitting at, ahem, 0.

I mean, it's completely reasonable to procrastinate, right? Doesn't my best work come from procrastination? Well, I wouldn't know otherwise, it's sort of hard to remember back when I was studious, but I'm pulling fairly decent marks and such and - oh man I'm screwed.

Anyway, because I'm screwed, I figured I'd write you a post which will probably total 3000 words of drivel.

Things that I have been doing to procrastinate:

Trying on jeans that fit me when I was basically a twig.
It happened once, I was a twig. I lived where there were massive hills and lots of steps and I was poor so I rarely ate.
Result, 10 kg dropping off.
I put said 10kg on again when I moved down home (because at home, parents pay for food and you forget that this food is a regularly occurring thing so you eat ALL the food out of fear it's your last good meal ever and you'll be back to eating microwaved puff pastry), and have probably lost five kg if I examine photos. I am scared of scales, so I wouldn't actually know.
Anyway, I ran up and down the stairs in our house 20 times each way today. It was a feat of skill and excellence, and one that has my legs cramping just thinking about it. For some reason, I think I must have thought it meant that the last five kilos would simply admit defeat and storm out of the place.
I can fit into the jeans better than I did before, though my gosh, my black jeans that were too small for me when I bought them?
NEVER AGAIN. Far out, and I used to rue the CorsetJean then.
I have also discovered that I no longer like bootcut jeans, and am extremely grateful for my straights and vaguely skinny jeans for their ability to go well with heels.
I have also had a stern talking to my hips, and have politely asked them to start storing their excess baggage somewhere less noticeable, like my ears or perhaps on someone else's body.

Dancing around to The Jezabels
I say that as though I have many of their songs, but I really don't. I have Hurt Me and nothing more. Does my listening to Sigur Ros make me any less of a musical pariah? Apparently the abundance of Aqua and Simple Plan in my iTunes playlist is something I should be ashamed of.
So dancing around to the Jezabels is a lot of fun, until you dance past a mirror and realise you look like you're strangling a monkey. I apologise, airmonkeys, for continuing anyway. I also apologise for the rampant punching of your airhabitat, but the song demanded it.

Trying on all the shoes in your cupboard
I have some extremely high heels, and they are fantastic.
However, I think my wardrobe has changed slightly and the shoes no longer suit.
I would use this as an excuse to buy new clothes and/or shoes, but apparently I have bought enough dresses recently and I should probably take out shares in Bardot to make up for my spending (okay, I bought two dresses, but if I can make money on it I should do it).
If anyone has a saucy dress that could go with khaki heels, send it along to me. 10 and I get along.
Also, military boots of any variety are pretty much on fun-par with pirate boots. Get ye some of them boots.

Watching things with Nathan Fillion
So new episode of Castle came out yesterday/today/some day. I watched it today.
Simmy, one of my lovely pals, tells me that this is the last episode this season (if I was good at things I'd know this myself, but that's what friends are for - succeeding where I crawl under tables). This isn't so good, but it did prompt me to finally start watching Firefly. And what a good show Firefly is.
Aw, man, now I want to watch Doctor Horrible.

Downloading Doctor Horrible Soundtrack to accompany the blitherings
I can't really comment on this, because I've just started doing it. But I imagine it'll be legend- wait for it - DARY.
See what I did there?
... did I even do anything there besides make a really terrible NPH reference? No. I did not. Let's all pretend that totally made sense, mmkay?
Oh man, I just said mmkay. Twice.
But speaking of NPH references, this Avengers-slash-HIMYM post is just gold.

Glaring at every other book on your bookshelf
Well, why shouldn't I? They had the resolve to write 3000 words. Heck, they wrote more than that. Then they had the resolve to get the flipping thing published.
This is the point where I just fall flat on the floor, my legs mutiny after being forced up the stairs too many times, and the Alsatians come for me. Trina, Nick and Glen should expect this as a thing. I will be dead by morning (I think the Alsatians will find me quickly; no three-week wait here. I'm a despondent uni student going into a career where deadlines are a thing and procrastination is not. Oh gosh, I'm screwed.)

Try and find the Bridget Jones screenshot of the Alsatians
Just for reference, it doesn't exist.

Finally realise that downloading All The Movies doesn't make the essay appear.
Can I just go to sleep instead? It seems more logical.

Darn it, it's a story, not an essay. Your future career in words and non-procrastination (there's a word for that, isn't there? Gah!) is looking bleak.
I sincerely hope that any future employer sees this post and goes, "She's a funny one!" rather than phoning Richmond Clinic and asking could they please prep the straitjacket.

Resort to washing up.
When all else fails, there's always dishes to be washed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My heart

I've probably mentioned Neruda.
You know, once or twice.

Recently I've been losing myself in his poetry again. I am a sucker for love poetry, and his take all the cake and perhaps the entire bakery.
My heart dances when I read this. If a man was serious and told me this, I would quite possibly faint from sheer overload of awesome and happiness. Of course there comes that he better be saying even cooler things to God, but that goes without saying. Regardless, because it's 2:05 and a poem sort of seems like a good idea, this is Neruda's Sonnet XVI as translated by Stephen Tapscott.

I love the handful of earth you are.
Because of its meadows, vast as a planet,
I have no other star. You are my replica
of the multiplying universe.

Your wide eyes are the only light I know
from extinguished constellations;
your skin throbs like the streak
of a meteor through rain.

Your hips were that much of the moon for me;
your deep mouth and its delights, that much sun;
your heart, fiery with its long red rays,

was that much ardent light, like honey in the shade.
So I pass across your burning form, kissing
you -- compact and planetary, my dove, my globe.