So, Why Learn Spanish?

130. Poem Written in 1991

When the Soviet Union Was Disintegrating

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Photo by TJ Parker

The reason why I’m learning Spanish
by reading Neruda one word at a time
looking most of them up in the dictionary
and the reason why I’m reading
Dickinson one poem at a time
and still not understanding
or liking much, and the reason
why I keep thinking about
what might be a story
and the reason why I’m sitting
here writing this, is that I’m trying
to make this thing.
I am shy to name it.
My father didn’t like words like “soul.”
He shaved with Occam’s razor.
Why make up stuff
when there’s enough already?
But I do fiction. I make up.
There is never enough stuff.
So I guess I can call it what I want to.
Anyhow it isn’t made yet.
I am trying one way and another
all words — So it’s made out of words, is it?
No. I think the best ones
must be made out of brave and kind acts,
and belong to people who look after things
with all their heart,
and include the ocean at twilight.
That’s the highest quality
of this thing I am making:
kindness, courage, twilight, and the ocean.
That kind is pure silk.
Mine’s only rayon. Words won’t wash.
It won’t wear long.
But then I haven’t long to wear it.
At my age I should have made it
long ago, it should be me,
clapping and singing at every tatter,
like Willy said. But the “mortal dress,”
man, that’s me. That’s not clothes.
That is me tattered.
That is me mortal.
This thing I am making is my clothing soul.
I’d like it to be immortal armor,
sure, but I haven’t got the makings.
I just have scraps of rayon.
I know I’ll end up naked
in the ground or on the wind.
So, why learn Spanish?
Because of the beauty of the words of poets,
and if I don’t know Spanish
I can’t read them. Because praise
may be the thing I’m making.
And when I’m unmade
I’d like it to be what’s left,
a wisp of cheap cloth,
a color in the earth,
a whisper on the wind. 

Una palabra, un aliento.


So now I’ll turn right round
and unburden an embittered mind
that would rejoice to rejoice
in the second Revolution in Russia
but can’t, because it has got old
and wise and mean and womanly
and says: So. The men
having spent seventy years in the name of something
killing men, women, and children,
torturing, running slave camps,
telling lies and making profits,
have now decided
that that something wasn’t the right one,
so they’ll do something else the same way.

Seventy years for nothing.

And the dream that came before the betrayal,
the justice glimpsed before the murders,
the truth that shone before the lies,
all that is thrown away.
It didn’t matter anyway
because all that matters
is who has the sayso.

Once I sang freedom, freedom,
sweet as a mockingbird.
But I have learned Real Politics.
No freedom for our children
in the world of the sayso.
Only the listening.
The silence all around the sayso.
The never stopping listening.
So I will listen
to women and our children
and powerless men,
my people. And I will honor only
my people, the powerless.

–Ursula K. Le Guin


10 Word Review – Breaking Dawn Part 2

MV5BMTcyMzUyMzY1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDQ4ODk1OA@@._V1._SY317_ Finale. Action. Story. Best. Credits. Shield. Future. Heads. Satisfying. Yes.

Sandwiching… and Other Adventures

We seem to never have a dull moment.  Ever.  Always on the go, always “stuff” to do.  Always.  Always.  Always.

This weekend was no exception.  To sum up… We had furniture delivered Friday evening and then met friends for dinner at The Varsity (it was great to see you Jimmy! … and the rest of ya’all too, don’t want you to feel left out even though we see you all the time), we redecorated our bedroom around the new furniture, we rented and returned a U-haul to move some family furniture from our house to my nephew’s place, we met up with friends at a club and boogied our selves down to the ground at Barracuda followed by dessert and coffee at Hobos, we met my mom and new step sistas for a trip to Red Pig Tools (fun for the whole family if you love handcrafted garden tools) and then lunch at the Carver Cafe (pretty tasty… long wait, but great burgers when we finally got them… possibly it was so crowded because I just now found out, while looking for a link for the Cafe, that it was used for the cafe scenes in the movie Twilight…. who knew?  Not I.  If you’re interested you can find that info HERE), we loaded up a bunch o’ stuff in the truck and took it to the dump (including some hazardous materials in the way of old stain that they only take on the last Saturday of the month), we watched a bad, underscore bad, movie called Choke (don’t see it, whatever you do), and it’s now only three o’clock on Sunday.  We’ve decided to turn down an invitation to have dinner with friends at Joe’s Crab Shack.  It’s time for us to just relax at home.  Hang out.  Enjoy some quiet time.  Read.  Surf the net.  Blog.

The sandwiching part of the title of this little missive is about what you ask?  OK, so here it is.  It relates to a conversation Karen and I had last night on our way to the “Hot Flash Dance” where we boogied and hung with new and old friends.  Our conversation was this… though I guess I must first describe what we refer to as sandwiching.  Sandwiching is when three people dance together, with one person in the middle… sort of sandwiched in.  So here’s what we discussed, which I think is worth sharing if for no other reason than it made us both laugh hysterically.  We decided that when you’re young… a teen and in your 20’s, and even into the 30’s… when you sandwich it’s sexy.  Three people all sort of dancing together, being silly, being sexy… whatever… it’s kind of sexy.  Like a, let’s see if I can find a sandwich that sounds sexy… OK, here it is… kind of like a Grilled Taleggio and Tomato Sandwich.  Sounds sexy yes?  Kind of exotic, not completely sure what’s in there, mysterious… yet fresh and juicy with the tomato and all.  Sexy.  But when people get older… later 30’s and then 40’s and beyond… sandwiching isn’t as sexy.  And don’t get us wrong… there are still some sexy sandwichers out there.  But c’mon people… sandwiching after 40 is usually, in our analogy anyway, like a great bologna and cheddar sandwich.  Plain, comfortable, friendly… but not really sexy.  We, at this time in our lives, are like bologna.  And don’t go feelin’ all sad and bummed for us.  We’re not bummed, or sad.  We like being bologna.  We like sandwiching and laughing our butts off while we do it.  It’s hilarious.  No longer sexy… it’s just plain fun and silly.  There you have sandwiching 101, Karen and Tam style.  I love being us.


The Cart, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

IKEA parking lot, Portland, Oregon.

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SD750.


driving home, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Driving home in Oregon.

Taken with my phone camera.