Lisba. Who would understand?

April 10, 2008



Today my dog died. She had just turned eleven. We got her when I was in my last year of high school but the past five years I’ve been living abroad. If there is one thing I have been missing these years it’s her.



She was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago. The disease was at a very advanced stage. Her regular vet did not get the right diagnosis. She’s been sick for the past year and the vet kept saying it was cystitis. I knew my dog was not feeling alright so I insisted that my parents take her to another vet. Finally they did that around Christmas time and the new vet said it was diabetes and that she had had it at least for the past eight months. She went on special food and got shots of insulin every morning. I thought that was the end of the problem. But for the past three months she kept getting sick: colds and other viruses. The vet said it was because her immune system was pretty damaged. Since then she kept going on and off spending her nights at the animal hospital.


A week ago she had to go to the hospital again. My parents went every afternoon to visit her. Can you imagine how she felt? She hated the vet. Even when she went to get a bath she would shake before going in and refused to enter. When we picked her up from the bath session she would look really upset at us for having let her go through that experience. So she must have felt like crap spending day and night over there. Apparently most dogs slept in cages so that they would not fight each other but my dog was so tame that they let her sleep free. There was this other dog who had just had a leg amputated due to a tumour and would also spend the night outside of the cages. The nurse told my mother that in the mornings she found the two of them, my dog and the one with the missing leg, sleeping side by side. As my mother was telling me this story a few days ago I suddenly imagined these scenes from movies about the Holocaust and the concentration camps came to my mind; especially ‘Life is beautiful’. I thought how even in the most sordid circumstances a faint ray of light can come inside our lives. I felt slightly relieved that she did not spend her last nights alive completely alone.


Today my mother called and said she had died. The vet had told them that she was getting very sick and the best thing was to put her to sleep instead of letting her agonize. (For people they use morphine until they die by themselves but that’s not the case with dogs). So my mother and father rushed to the animal hospital to be with her as she was dying. Apparently they waited until my brother was able to get there a bit later and when he got in the room, my dog, Lisba, moved her tail. Then they put this liquid into the saline solution she had been injected with these days which made her sleepy and then they put the liquid that made her die. As I was coming today out of the subway to meet some people for dinner I was wondering whether by some chance at that moment she thought of me.













What do you teach yourself?

March 2, 2008

In the last year I have taught myself how the best way to find something when I lose it is to forget about it and go on with my life. 

A few days ago I was trying to find the special glove that we have in the kitchen to handle hot saucepans while cooking and to take things out of the oven. I asked my roommate if she had put it somewhere but she did not know where it was. We looked in the logical places around the kitchen for some minutes until I told her to forget about it because it would end up appearing any time. 

Today I went grocery shopping. I discovered these frozen waffles that you heat in the oven and are ready in a few minutes. As I was buying them I remembered that I had lost the glove and I told myself: ‘I’m going to end up burning my hand’. But I thought I would figure something out. 

I got home and began to take my groceries out of the shopping bags and started putting them in their usual places: the salt on the kitchen counter, the oatmeal near the tea bags, the cottage cheese in the fridge. I took the frozen waffles and opened the door of the freezer; guess what was inside the freezer: yes, the glove. I could not help smiling. (We usually leave the glove on top of the freezer so it must have slipped inside when opening the door and we closed without realizing.) 

Two lessons to bear in mind. The first I already said. The second: when something scares you, do it, because it will bring with itself the way to make it safe.

Ready to fall?

February 25, 2008

I was watching an ice-skating competition for the first time in my life at a friend’s house. It was the lady senior 2008 US Nationals. Since then, I have been thinking about this one girl who fell in a jump at the very beginning of her performance. After the fall she kept going as if nothing had happened; her jumps were decided and steady and her face looked graceful and relaxed. I couldn’t figure out what she had in her mind but what she expressed was self-possession. Even when she finished and went back with her trainer she looked cool. She kept smiling.  

After each performance the jury gives the points for that particular contestant. Well, she got a high score and at the end of the competition she came up third. Overall, after adding those points to the ones she already had she became the new 2008 senior ladies champion of the U.S. (the second youngest US champion ever).  

I read some years ago that a study was once made about some athletes to see how they dealt with stress. The study showed that all the participants experienced similar levels of stress before the competition started. The ones who obtained the best results were those who were able to avoid paying too much attention to the stress they were experiencing and instead directed their concentration to the movements they were making. 

I guess sometimes we try to overcome stress by getting rid of it. Maybe, this increases our mental pressure. Maybe it is more about were you invest your energy, where you carry your attention.


Mirai Nagasu                      (photo by Leah Adams)

(I read on-line that in an interview after the contest she said: ‘The fall on the double axel was like a kick in the butt. After that, I was like, ‘Attack!’ )

What shall we do with sorrow?

January 24, 2008


I am reading Vincent Van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo.  He says that an idea has to become an action not a feeling.  He also uses this expression: ‘active melancholy’. 


Where am I in the idea of God?

January 14, 2008

I lived in Spain until I was twenty three. From four to eighteen I went to a nouns’ school. My parents did not put me in that school because it was Catholic since they are not at all religious but because it was near my house and was an exigent school. Nevertheless, the influence of the nouns and my own personality (I suppose) led me to believe in God and to be religious (to follow the rites and the Catholic principles). I did not believe in Catholicism blindly; I questioned it but nonetheless I followed it essentially. I questioned Catholicism but I did not question God. 

My experience in this school made me relate words like ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ to the nouns, and their grey suits, the crucifix in the classroom, the Wednesday mass at school and the Sunday mass in the church, Religion lessons, and the pictures and stories the nouns brought from their Missions in Africa, the Pope and the Vatican, the priests, first communions and baptisms.  

In that school I was taught that we have to try to do our best; we have to avoid lying and cheating, being lazy, and treating people differently according to their social background, and we also have to  do our best, always try to dedicate some time to help other people, and feel bad when we don’t follow these principles.  

At around eighteen I started to meet people who did not believe in God and who had stopped being Catholic. I realized nothing especially bad was happening to them; their lives had not collapsed. Gradually I stopped going to church, I stopped praying, and I stopped believing. I grew to be an existentialist, maybe? and also became very interested in Psychology.   

When I reflect on what ‘God’ and Catholicism meant to me I feel uneasy and I want to run as far away from it as I can. I guess I also felt uneasy at the time but I considered having uneasiness somewhere inside your consciousness was a good sign; a sign that every time you did not do your best (according to what I was taught) you were aware of it and you did not feel completely good about yourself; that uneasiness made you try to remedy it and that would make the world a better place. I felt life could not be lived without that sensation; that it was inherent to being alive.  

For more than four years I have been living in a city where people from all over the world coexist. I have met persons who follow different religions. I have discussed with them in many occasions what ‘God’ means. I tried to show them why I am agnostic and I questioned their beliefs and their religions to see if they could convince me of the opposite. 

I have realized that the word ‘God’ does not bring to me the same images it used to before I moved here. Actually, I am now thinking that the word God does not bring me images any more. It brings me an invisible abstraction, a pure idea with no shape. It brings me conversations about it with all those different people. 

I started to practice Yoga some months ago. According to what I have learned, to meditate is to go beyond the mind. They say it takes a lot of practice and that at the beginning it is very difficult to put away your thoughts. I am still trying. 

Today I was telling someone that living in this city has made me realized what my agnosticism means and in it ‘God’ would consist in the awareness, the consciousness, in every human being, that life can be very difficult and painful. 

Well, I have to admit that, at this point, in my idea of God, as in my Yoga practice, I am not able to go beyond the mind. I am still in the consciousness that life can be tough.


September 20, 2007

Magnífica intervención del juez de Granada Emilio Calatayud en unas jornadas educativas.

Van Gogh

September 18, 2007


Sueño causado por el vuelo de una abeja alrededor de una granada un segundo antes de despertar. Dalí

August 15, 2007


(click on the image)

Why is our way suddenly closed?

August 15, 2007

In the early summer I was studying for my Arabic exam during the weekends and in the afternoon I noticed that there was this kind of wasp coming inside my room for a number of days. It flew inside and up towards the ceiling landing on a kind of grey thing that was attached to a pipe. My mind was telling me that the grey little thing might be something not supposed to be there but I preferred to think it was just that the paint of the pipe was coming off.  

One evening I got scared from the wasp and closed the window. I was so frightened when I watched how that creature persistently tried to come inside the room but found its way blocked by the glass. I started to reconsider what the grey thing might be. 

I talked about this with some friends on a Saturday night and decided to buy strong insect repellent to kill the stubborn wasp by putting the liquid on the grey thing. I got to the pharmacy (at 3:00am) and spent some time looking at the different kinds of products. I realized the ‘grey thing’ was a wasp nest. My thoughts rushed inside my head like a rollercoaster: ‘A wasp nest inside my bedroom’; ‘I’ve been sleeping with that thing for a month’; ‘What am I going to do at 3:00am on a Saturday night?’; ‘Am I just exaggerating and I should just sleep there and wait until tomorrow to call the super?’  The instructions on the products were not helping my paranoia: ‘Kills the queen that starts the colony’ (so that weird kind of wasp was no less than ‘the Queen’); ‘Place traps in early Spring to catch the Queens and help prevent yellow jacket problems in the season. Use additional traps in the Summer and Fall to catch the workers’ (or was it just a worker?); ‘Kills larvae and pupae in nests’. 

I kept repeating to myself as I was walking back home: ‘A wasp nest inside a bedroom’….. 

The super removed the nest. I think there was nothing inside yet and the construction was just ‘in progress’.  

I thought about how this wasp had found an open entrance to a room for many days in a row. I leave my window open early in the morning when I leave for work and only close it late at night. I also thought about the insect’s reaction when it suddenly found that the way to its nest was closed. I imagined how it went back to the colony and somehow communicated to them that they had to start all over somewhere else or that this season they could count with one nest less.  

But mostly I thought about how the reason for the window being closed is logical for me and impossible for the wasp to comprehend. 

I thought that sometimes in our lives we suddenly find our way blocked and we are not able to understand why. Maybe the explanation is not reachable for us. Maybe we were building our life in a place that was not supposed to be.

El fotógrafo…..II

March 2, 2007

 ……………estaba intentando crear una página y no un post pero me he despistado y ha salido esto. Me he puesto a borrarlo y tampoco lo conseguía así que aquí dejo mi nuevo descubrimiento: El fotógrafo de Provincias, Roberto Marquino.