Nebraska State Park Challenge- Indian Cave State Park

First off, I’m just going to say I have no idea how to write an entry with this block text thing. Primero, quiero decir que no tengo ni idea como escribir una entrada con este texto de bloque…

Last weekend, I debated whether I should buy an annual pass to the Nebraska State Parks for $61. I ended up doing it by challenging myself to visit a minimum of 5 and a goal of 10 before leaving the state in May. El fin de semana pasado, me pregunté si debería comprar un permiso anual a los parques estatales de Nebraska por $61. Al final, tenía la idea de hacerlo con un reto: Visitar un minimo con 5 y una meta de 10 antes de irme del estado en mayo.

My first one was Indian Cave State Park, located near Iowa and Missouri on the Missouri River and about an hour and a half near Lincoln. I went on Martin Luther King Jr Day, the last day before the semester began. El primer parque fue Indian Cave State Park (Cueva India), ubicado cerca a Iowa y Misuri por el río Misuri y sobre una hora y media de distancia de Lincoln. Fui en el día que honra a Martin Luther King Jr, el último día antes del inicio del semestre.

The drive was along State Route 2, one of Nebraska’s most important routes, to Nebraska City, then southeast on other state roads. The views south of Nebraska City were fantastic. There was still snow on the ground, which enhanced the scenery. Conduje por la Ruta Estatal 2, uno de las rutas más importantes de Nebraska, hasta la Ciudad Nebraska, y luego hacia el sureste por las carreteras estatales. Las vistas al sur de la Ciudad Nebraska eran fantásticas Todavía había nieve en el suelo, que hizo el paisaje aún más bonito.

The park was nearly deserted. I went without much thought or preparation, and I drove slowly through it. The hill seemed treacherous and it was nerve wracking driving down it and later driving back up it. I pulled into a parking lot near a bridge, next to the only other vehicle I had seen so far. They went one way, and I went another along what I thought was trail 10 but was actually trail 9. It ended up being a loop though so I wasn’t too lost. I also think I wanted to do trail 8, which was the one the other people did, but oh well. No había apenas nadie en el parque. Fui sin investigarlo ni preparar nada, y conduje muy lento por ello. La colina parecía peligrosa, y me puse nervioso conduciendola. Aparqué el coche en un parking a lado de un puente, a lado del único otro vehículo que había visto. Las personas del camión fueron hacía una dirección y yo hacía la otra. Pensaba que estaba tomando la Ruta #10 pero fue la Ruta #9. Al menos era una ruta circular y no me perdí mucho. Creo que la Ruta #8 es la que quería hacer, y es la ruta que las otras personas hicieron, pero bueno.

The views were beautiful, even more so in the snow. Trail 11, which goes down to the actual cave, is closed for repairs, as is the vehicle road to it. It should be reopen in time for Spring 2022. Las vistas eran preciosas, aún más en la nieve. La Ruta #11, que va al cueva, está en obras y está cerrada, y también la carretera. Debería reabrir al público para la temporada de la primavera de 2022.

The trail was about 4 kilometres. I recommend doing more research than I did for this one 🙂 La ruta fue unos 4 kilómetros. Recomiendo hacer más investigación que hice yo antes de ir 🙂

2022 retos y esperanzas

Much like 2020, 2021 had other plans that derailed my goals. I thought my mom would 1. live forever like we all do 2. had another good five years left. However, after gallstones sent her to the hospital in February, she kept getting weaker and weaker until eventually passing away from kidney failure. This meant I spent four months cleaning and preparing her house to sell (it sold very quickly) before having to relocate to start a Ph.D. I chose this program because I thought my mom might need assisted living, and it would be easier to move her close if I stayed in the US than accepting offers from programs in Canada and the UK. Cómo el 2020, 2021 tenía otros planes que han cambiado mis retos y esperanzas por el año. Pensaba que mi madre iba a 1. vivir para siempre, como todos creemos 2. tenía al menos cinco años más de vida. No obstante, después de una infección de vesícula biliar, tenía que ir al hospital donde cada día se encontraba más débil, y dos meses después falleció de problemas con los riñones. Tenía que pasar cuatro meses limpiando y preparando su casa para vender (al menos se vendió muy rápido) antes de trasladarme a Nebraska para empezar un docotorado. Elegí este programa porque pensaba que quizás mi madre tuviera a ir a una residencia para mayores y sería más fácil moverle a ella si estuviera en los EE.UU. Me aceptaron también en programas en Inglaterra y Cánada.

Biggest mistake of my life. Fue el error más grande de mi vida.

So 2022 will be a year of rerouting my life. As I recently turned 40, it’s a good time to do so. Entonces, 2022 va a ser un año de reconstrucción. Como cumplí 40 en diciembre, es una buena época para hacerlo.

Looking over my 2021 goals, I did manage to accomplish a few: I lost more than 15 pounds–and I probably should gain 5 or so back. I started The Wire, but I’m apparently the only person on the planet who couldn’t get into it. I did finish Friday Night Lights though. I also got to travel some and did some hiking, although not as much as I wanted to. My Apple Music/iTunes is pretty organized. Mirando mis retos para 2021, logré mucho más que pensaba. Perdí más de 7 kilos–y probablemente debería subir de 2 kilógramos. Empecé a ver The Wire, pero no me enganché para nada. ¿Soy el único? Vi toda la serie Friday Night Lights. También viajé un poco y hice algunas rutas de senderismo, aunque siempre quiero hacer más. Organicé la biblioteca de música.

Here are my goals for 2022, in no particular order/Mis retos para 2022, no hay orden:

  1. Repeat from 2020 and 2021: Figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Investigate transitioning to either translation or editing. Back to Spain? Teach high school Spanish? Somehow become a published writer? How can I get paid for writing, reading, travelling, hiking, and playing with dogs?Hacer una decisión sobre el resto de mi vida. Investigar como ser un traductor o un editor ¿Un regreso a España? ¿Ser profe de español en un instituto de secundaría? ¿Ser un escritor publicado? ¿Hay curro para escribir, leer, viajar, hacer senderismo y jugar con perros?Una repetitición de 2020 y 2021. 
  2. Repeat from 2021: With that end, I’m going to focus on writing as I await the grad school decisions and focus on my novels. I have three buzzing around in my head, and I need to resubmit my first one and edit the second and third. I also want to put together a Setmeravelles e-book of the Spanish provinces. At any rate, I won’t be around the blog much until I can travel again.  Por eso, voy a enfocar en mi escritura mientras espero los resultados de los programas de doctorado. Tengo tres ideas flotando en la cabeza, y debo intentar otra vez mandar mi primera novela a un editorial y editar la segunda y tercera. También me gustaría hacer un e-book de Setmeravelles sobre las provincias españolas. Por todo eso, no voy a escribir mucho aquí en el blog hasta que pueda viajar otra vez.
  3. Another repeat, although I did do Yoga maybe four times this year? Meditation is a complete loss. Continue work on a positive ascent out of the abysmal hole that depression and anxiety can take me. I started meditating in 2017, and I lost track of that in the summer. I plan to get back to it and try yoga for real. Otra repeticiión, aunque creo que hice yoga cuatro veces este año. Meditar es una gran perdida. Seguir en la ascensión positiva del agujero de depresión y ansiedad. Empecé a meditar en el verano de 2017, y durante el verano, lo dejé y nunca volví a hacerlo. También, voy a probar yoga de verdad.
  4. Continue exercising and incorporate yoga into it. To this end, I want to walk at least 7 km a day (10,000 steps according to my iPhone) and continue with my other weight and cardio. Doing it from home is a lot easier. Seguir haciendo ejercicio y incorporar yoga. También quiero caminar al menos 7 kilómetros al día (10.000 pasos según mi iPhone) y seguir con pesas y cardio.
  5. Learn to cook more things and start to meal plan and eat healthy. Another I say every year. También desde el año pasado. Aprender a cocinar y empezar a planificar las comidas  y comer sano. Otro que digo todos los años. 
  6. Finish all the books on my bookshelf. The Champaign-Urbana library system is fantastic, and I get caught up in finding new books there while the books I own sit there waiting to be read. Also, a new-to-me Dickens, Hardy, Shakespeare, and Unamuno. Terminar todos los libros que tengo. Hay un sistema genial de bibliotecas en Champaign-Urbana, y siempre encuentro algo nuevo para leer mientras las libros que ya me compré hace tiempo están allí sin leer. También, un nuevo libro para mi de Dickens, Hardy, Shakespeare y Unamuno.
  7. Along those lines, I want to read/re-read: The Giver series by Lois Lowry (only read the first one), the Sookie Stackhouse novels, The Cat Who…mysteries, and the Little House on the Prarie books. También quiero leer o volver a leer la serie de The Giver de Lois Lowry (solo me he leído el primero), los misterios de Sookie Stackhouse y The Cat Who…y los libros de La casa de la pradera.
  8. Try kayaking. On the list since 2015. Ummm. Might as well add rock climbing here too! Probar hacer piriguismo, en la lista desde 2015. Umm, bueno, voy a añadir escalar también. 
  9. This one may finally happen this year: ADOPT A GOLDEN RETRIEVER. Puede pasar este año: ADOPTAR A UN GOLDEN RETRIEVER.
  10. Journal daily. I recently started trying to write in my old Livejournal, as writing by hand cramps it quickly. Escribir en un diario cada día. He empezado escribir en mi Livejournal antiguo, porque me duele la mano escribir por mano.
  11. A new hike at least once a month. Covid dependent: By the end of the year, either return to Spain for the Camino Aragonés OR go to Machu Picchu. Una ruta nueva al menos una vez al mes. Depende del Covid: Antes del final del año, o volver a España para hacer el Camino Aragonés o ir a Machu Picchu.
  12. Find a decent therapist or life coach. Encontrar un buen psicologo o life coach.

2021. The Review

2021 was a shit year. 2021 fue un año de mierda.

What more can I say? ¿Qué más puedo decir?

My mom died. Two really good online friends died. I lost two of my closest friends due to political issues and/or they couldn’t deal with my depression and anxiety from all the shit going on in my life. I stupidly accepted a Ph.D offer in a state I’m miserable living in that doesn’t even pay my monthly bills. Mi madre falleció. Dos buenas amigas de internet también fallecieron. Perdí dos de mis mejores amigos dado una ya es antivacuna y el otro no pudo aguantar mis problemas de salud mental. Hice un gran error por aceptar la oferta de doctorado en un estado donde estoy miserable y no llego a finales del mes.

Let’s just get to the good stuff.

Setmeravelles’ Brightside Awards for 2021:

Best Artist: The Killers
Entertainer of the Year: Cast of In the Heights.
Best Movie: In the Heights
Best Actor: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen
Best Actress: Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Best Supporting Actor: Gregory Diaz IV, In the Heights
Best Supporting Actress: Olga Merediz, In the Heights
Best Director: Pedro Almodóvar, La voz humana
Best TV Series, Drama: Cobra Kai

Best TV Series, Comedy: What We Do in the Shadows

Best Limited Series: It’s A Sin

Best Retro TV Series: Devious Maids/Friday Night Lights (tie)

Best Rewatch: Scrubs

Best Lead Actress, Comedy Series: Jean Smart (Deborah Vance), Hacks 

Best Lead Actor, Comedy Series: DeRon Horton (Lionel Higgins), Dear White People; Kayvan Novak (Nandor), What We Do in the Shadows (tie)

Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Laurie Metcalf (Jackie Harris), The Conners

Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series:  Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent), Ted Lasso 

Best Lead Actress, Drama Series: Jennifer Aniston (Alex Levy), The Morning Show

Best Lead Actor, Drama Series: William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence), Cobra Kai

Best Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Mädchen Amick (Betty Cooper), Riverdale; Georgina Amorós (Cayetana Grajera), Élite (Tie)

Best Supporting Actor, Drama Series:Brian Geraghty (Ronald Pergman), Big Sky

Best Actress, Limited Series: Sandra Oh, The Chair

Best Actor, Limited Series: Olly Alexander, It’s a Sin

Best Series Finale: Superstore

Worst Acting: Genie Francis (Laura Collins), General Hospital, Ingo Rademacher (Jasper Jacks), General Hospital (tie)

Worst Artist: Adele

Best Female Artist: Mariah Carey
Best Male Artist: Álvaro Soler

Best Discovered Artist: J.C. Stewart

Album of the Year: Pressure Machine, The Killers 

Song of the Year: 96,000 from In The Heights

Single of the Year: Dustland by The Killers f. Bruce Springsteen 

I always do these memes, since 2003 (and the awards started in 1997) to commemorate the end of the year. Siempre hago estes memes, desde 2003 (y los premios empezaron en 1997) para marcar el final del año. 

The first, the places I slept in 2021/ los sitios donde dormí en 2021: Champaign, Illinois; Mt. Washington, Kentucky; Lincoln, Nebraska; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Ellison Bay, Wisconsin; Galena, Illinois; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Lawrence, Kansas (I was supposed to have gone to Michigan this week, but no, omicron everywhere and snow cancelled that…)

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?:  Sell a house, spread ashes.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?: I watched Friday Night Lights if that counts for anything…

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?: I don’t think so.

4. Did anyone close to you die?: My mom. Plus online friends Esther and Margaret 😥

5. What countries did you visit?: Only US 😥 FU Covid.

6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021?: A golden retriever and no Covid worries.

7. What date from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?: April 7, the day my mom died.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?: Getting accepted to three Ph.D programs.

9. What was your biggest failure?: Chosing the wrong one and will be forced to leave next May leaving everything in my life a huge ???

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Depression and anxiety.

11. What was the best thing you bought?: I paid off my mom’s car so it’s mine.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My aunts for helping me. My boyfriend for always being there.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?: Donald Trump and his supporters. (keeping from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020. Scary!) Adding ALL REPUBLICANS for 2021. At this point, if you support him, you support bigotry and everything the US stands for. If you’re a conversative who is also appalled, though, I still respect you even if I disagree with you. I do not respect Trump and his minions. Keeping from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021. I will keep Pablo Casado, Albert Rivera, Mariano Rajoy, and all of VOX and their supporters.

14. Where did most of your money go?: Travel, café con leche, books (kept from 2015 and 2016) (and 2017) (and 2018) (and 2019, 2020…)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?: Travel that didn’t happen.

16. What song will always remind you of 2019?: 96,000 from In the Heights.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner
iii. richer or poorer? Richer because life insurnace…

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?: Writing, travelling.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Dealing with anxiety.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it with my boyfriend and hiking.

21. How will you be spending New Years? Eating grapes at 5 PM Central Standard Time, which is midnight in most of the Iberian peninsula.

22. Did you fall in love in 2021?: I continued to be in love.

24. What was your favorite TV program?: Cobra Kia. I also watched Devious Maids and Designing Women for the first time.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?: My best friend became an antivaxxer.

26. What was the best book you read?: The Meaning of Mariah Carey, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, Trespassing Across America and Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas, Sing You Home and Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult, A Time for Mercy by John Grisham, The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub, Los perros del paraíso by Abel Posse, Euskadi en Llamas by Ramón Belaustegigoitia, Seva de Luis López Nieves, La colmena de Camilo José Cela, Los girasoles ciegos by Alberto Méndez, El beso de la mujer araña de Manuel Puig, El color de verano de Reinaldo Arenas

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?: Umm, Lil Nas X? It was the worst year or music.

28. What did you want and get?: Coffee. A Democrat President.

29. What did you want and not get?: A golden retriever, stability.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?: In the Heights

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?: 40, travelled from Nebraska to Illinois.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?: No Covid.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?: Preppy-casual

34. What kept you sane?: My boyfriend, Netflix, travel, and Jordi (my iPod).

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?: David Villa…I really didn’t fancy anyone?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?: The lack of protocols over Covid and how one party politicized a virus.

37. Who did you miss?: My mom, Fallon Fey, my golden retriever, and Spain

38. Who was the best new person you met?: I guess some of the grad students are pretty cool.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019: Don’t apply to a Ph.D in a red state.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: “I missed a lot of life, but I’ll recover” Petals by Mariah Carey (1999).

The 40th season begins…

Interviewer: ¡Hola! It’s been a while, but we did want to congratulate you on your 40th season!

Setmeravelles: Thank you, gracias, gràcies, graças, eskerrik asko, obrigado.

Interviewer: I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep this short. Congrats again on making it to 40 seasons!

Setmeravelles: Thanks again.

Interviewer: Season 39 was incredibly rough with your mother passing and you mistakenly accepting a Ph.D offer from a place that has a good department that you like but is in the worst place you have ever lived.

Setmeravelles: Yeah, I’m trying to forget pretty much this whole entire year. Can I Eternal Sunshine it?

Interviewer: If only. Any plans for Season 40?

Setmeravelles: If Omicron and weather permit, I’ll be doing a Lake Michigan tour with my boyfriend the week after Christmas. If Covid permits, the Camino Aragonés in May. I’m not taking the risk of buying a plane ticket just yet. I had plane anxiety BEFORE covid so…just taking advantage of having a car.

Interviewer: I understand you took a few trips that you haven’t had time to write up yet.

Setmeravelles: Yes! I went to Sioux Falls in October with a pitstop in the Loess Hills for a hiking trip. It was a great weekend away. Over Thanksgiving I explored Lawrence, Kansas.

Interviewer: Sounds great! And you never did get around to posting Door County.

Setmeravelles: I know. I don’t have time for anything with the Ph.D, but holidays are here! 

Interviewer: Other than the MI trip, any other spoilers?

Setmeravelles: The writers are keeping spoilers locked up tight, but I am considering options.

Interviewer: Sounds very interesting. We won’t keep you longer, but happy 40th!

Setmeravelles: Gràcies. 

Summer 2021/Verano 2021

This summer has been an incredibly hard one, after the death of my mother in April. I have been back and forth between preparing her house in Kentucky for sale and my place in Illinois, along with preparing for a student move to Nebraska where I will begin a Ph.D in Spanish Literature in the autumn. Este verano ha sido bastante difícil, después de la muerte de mi madre en abril. He hecho muchos viajes entre Kentucky, donde he tenido que preparar su casa para vender, e Illinois, donde resido yo. Además, estoy preparando para otra mudanza a Nebraska, donde voy a empezar un doctorado en literatura española en el otoño.

I did manage a short hike at Fort Knox to some waterfalls in May. Alas, hiking has been on the backburner even if my Apple app informs me I’m averaging at least 7 km a day of walking this year. Hice una ruta cortita en Fort Knox para ver una cascada en mayo, pero no he tenido mucho tiempo para hacer senderismo últimamente. Sin embargo, el app de Apple me informa que camino una media de 7 kilómetros al día este año.

The house has found a buyer, and as long as the inspection goes okay, the closing is early August. I had a lot of stuff to sort through. Ya hay alguien interesado en comprar la casa, y si la inspección va bien, acabamos con la vente en agosto. Tenía muchas cosas para limpiar y ordenar.

In early June, my boyfriend and I went to Lincoln, Nebraska, my future home, to check things out. The campus has a lot of fun stuff, and there are some beautiful lakes in the area. We also visited the capitol building and the famed Sunken Gardens in between my meetings with professors and the search for an apartment. En los primeros de junio, mi chico y yo fuimos a Lincoln, Nebraska, donde voy a vivir, para conocer la ciudad. Hay muchas cosas interesante por la univiersidad, y también unos lagos bonitos por la zona. También fuimos al capitolio y los famosos Sunken Gardens cuando no estaba en reuniones con profesores y la búsqueda de alojamiento.

Neither of us are trustworthy of other people. Despite both of us being fully vaccinated, we’re still wearing our masks everywhere and doing take out at restaurants. With the rise of the Delta variant, it’s probably a good idea. Ninguno de nosotros confiamos mucho en la gente. Aunque los dos estamos vacunados, todavía llevamos la mascarilla a todos los sitios y siempre pedimos la comida para llevar en los restaurantes. Ahora con el aumento de la variante Delta, creo que es una buena idea.

On the way to Lincoln, we stopped at Hannibal, Missouri, which is a quaint town best known as the hometown of Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. We saw the haunted house and the lighthouse, along with a lot of places from the outside. We didn’t have a lot of time to explore. Por el camino a Lincoln, hicimos una parada en Hannibal, Misuri, un pueblo pintoresco conocido por ser el pueblo de Samuel Clemens, mejor conocido como Mark Twain. Vimos la casa encantada y el faro, y muchos sitios por afuera, como no disponíamos de mucho tiempo para explorar.

On the way back, we stopped at the famed Bridges of Madison County in Iowa and saw 4/6 bridges. Por la vuelta, hicimos una parada en los Puentes del Condado Madison en Iowa tan famosos. Vimos 4 de los 6 puentes.

Both stops broke up a long eight-hour road trip through lots of cornfields. Las paradas nos ayudó con el aburrimiento de un viaje largo de ocho horas por los campos de maíz.

In June, I also went up to my hometown in Ohio to give some of my mom’s stuff to friends, and I spread a few more of her ashes in Lake Erie. También en junio, fui a mi pueblo en Ohio para regalar algunas cosas de mi madre a amigos, y esparcí más cenizas por Lago Erie.

Next up is my actual holiday to Door County in Wisconsin. Próximamente es mis vacaciones verdaderas al Condado Door en Wisconsin.

At the moment, I don’t have space for photos en WordPress, but I am still uploading them on Instagram. If you aren’t following me already, it’s @setmeravelles. Actualmente, no tengo espacio para subir fotos en WordPress, pero sigo subiéndolas en Instagram. Si no me sigues allí, es @setmeravelles

Nos vemos pronto. El block editor de WordPress es una mierda y no sé hacer muchas cosas ahora 😦

Ashes.

My mom passed away April 7th. (Más abajo en español)

She went into the hospital on Feb. 7th with gallstones, and other than a week at my aunt’s, she never got to come home due to more and more complications related to her age (she was 76).

Yesterday three of her siblings and I drove up to Eastern Kentucky, where she grew up, to spread some of her ashes at her mom’s grave.

I picked my uncle up around 8:30 and we made arrived to her hometown around 1 after brief stops in Lexington and a gas station Arby’s for lunch. We parked at a nearby gas station and hiked up the hill to where my grandmother is buried.

Two dogs were in the cemetery to great us, and we believe that my mom and grandmother sent them to be with us at that moment. They seemed to appear out of nowhere, and disappeared after the ashes were spread.

My mom loved Pepsi, and she wanted us to have a Pepsi in her memory, so we did.

The weather was beautiful, and the mountain views were precious. Eastern Kentucky has tons of mountains I would love to hike, by the way.

After that, we went to the house my aunt grew up in, which burnt to the ground in the early 2000s. I hadn’t been that way since 1989 when I was 7 and my grandmother passed away from lung cancer. We tried to find her father’s grave, but we couldn’t.

It was a special day to honour my mom.

Mi madre falleció el 7 de abril.

El 7 de abril ingresó al hospital con cálculos biliares, y fuera de una semana en la casa de mi tía, nunca tenía la oportunidad volver a su casa porque tenía más y más complicaciones relacionadas con su edad (tenía 76).

Ayer, uno de sus hermanos y sus dos hermanas y yo fuimos a la parte este de Kentucky, donde creció, para esparcir las cenizas en la tumba de su madre.

Recogí a mi tío sobre las 8.30 y llegamos a su pueblo sobre la 1, después de hacer algunas paradas breves en Lexington y un Arby´s (restaurante estadounidense de comida rápida) para comer. Dejamos el coche en una gasolinera que estaba cerca y subimos la colina (ok el monte) donde está la tumba de mi abuela.

Había dos perros en el cementerio cuando llegamos, y creemos que mi madre y mi abuela nos los enviaron para estar con nosotros en este moment. Aparecieron de la nada y después de esparcir las cenizas desaparecieron.

A mi madre le encantaba Pepsi, y le brindimos con Pepsi como ella quería.

Hizo muy buen tiempo y las vistas de los montes eran preciosas. Hay muchos montes en esta parte de Kentucky que me encantaría subir, por cierto.

Luego, fuimos a la casa donde creció mi tía, que ya no está dado a un incendio al principio de los años 2000s. No había estado allí desde 1989 cuando tenía 7 y mi abuela falleció de cáncer de pulmón. Buscamos la tumba de su padre pero no pudimos encontrarla.

Fue un día especial en memoria de mi madre.

How 2021 is going…

I’ve been on a social media and blogging break for the most part this year. 2021 has been tough, but it also has brought some good news. He estado tomando un descanso de las redes sociales y los blogs. 2021 ha sido duro hasta ahora, pero también me ha traído notícias buenas.

The tough part is that my mom has been in the hospital for a month, minus one week at my aunts between visits. It started with gallstones, then a parasite, and now kidney issues. Last week I had to make the trip believing she was on her last legs, but she is in the hospital recuperating very slowly. She is 76 though. La parte más dura de este año es que mi madre lleva un mes en el hospital, salvo una semana en la casa de mi tía entre visitas al hospital. Empezó con cálculos biliares, luego un parásito y ahora problemas con los riñones. La semana pasada tenía que hacer el viaje largo pensando en lo peor, pero ahora está en el hospital recuperando muy lentamente. Ya tiene 76 años. 

During all this, I was also waiting to hear back from grad schools for Spanish literature programs. In the end, I was accepted at Durham in the UK, McGill in Montreal and the Uni of Nebraska and am on the waiting list at Penn State. Durante todo eso, estaba esperando notícias de los programas de doctorado de literatura española. Al final, me han aceptado Durham en Inglaterra, McGill en Montreal y la Uni de Nebraska. Además, estoy en la lista de espera en Penn State. 

While I was nominated for a scholarship at Durham, moving to the UK is probably out of the question now with my mom in such precarious health. Montreal and Lincoln, NE are about equidistant from her (around a 13-hour drive). Montreal is farther from my boyfriend, however, and I’m also debating substitute teaching and working on my writing career so I don’t have to leave him and I would have more time to travel, hike and could adopt a golden ‘triever. Me han nominado para una beca en Durham, creo que ahora no es el momento para trasladarme al Reino Unido con la salud de mi madre tan irregular. Montreal y Lincoln, NE, están a unos 13 horas en coche de ella. Montreal está más lejos de mi chico, sin embargo, y por eso, también estoy pensando en ser profesor de sustitución y trabajar en mi carrera como escritor para no tener que irme lejos de él. También me daría más tiempo para dediciar a viajar, senderismo, y podría adoptar a un golden ‘triever. 

However, Montreal and McGill would be an amazing opportunity. That said, I feel somewhat more of a fit with the department at Nebraska, who seem like great scholars doing great things. So I’m pretty much torn. No obstante, Montreal y McGill sería una oportunidad genial. Pero creo que encajo mejor con el departamento de Nebraska. Los profesores allí parecen catedráticos increíbles haciendo cosas increíbles. 

I have a week to let McGill know. Solo tengo una semana para hacer la decisión sobre McGill.

2021 retos y esperanzas.

I believe I did achieve one goal from 2020: Make the year a memorable one. Creo que he logrado solo una meta de 2020: Hacer 2020 un año memorable. 

Just not in the way I intended. Pero no fue memorable como quería…

Some of my goals are for a life post vaccine, while others I can work on until then. Algunos de estos retos son para una vida después de la vacuna. Ya puedo trabajar en otros.

In no particular order…en no orden particular.

  1. Repeat from 2020. Figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Grad school? Back to Spain? Teach high school Spanish? Somehow become a published writer? How can I get paid for writing, reading, travelling, hiking, and playing with dogs?Hacer una decisión sobre el resto de mi vida. ¿Un programa de doctorado? ¿Un regreso a España? ¿Ser profe de español en un instituto de secundaría? ¿Ser un escritor publicado? ¿Hay curro para escribir, leer, viajar, hacer senderismo y jugar con perros?Una repetitición de 2020. 
  2. With that end, I’m going to focus on writing as I await the grad school decisions and focus on my novels. I have three buzzing around in my head, and I need to resubmit my first one and edit the second and third. I also want to put together a Setmeravelles e-book of the Spanish provinces. At any rate, I won’t be around the blog much until I can travel again. The Carlos Saura Project has been suspended (also because I’m unemployed and it saves $4 a month by not paying for Flixolé right now. Por eso, voy a enfocar en mi escritura mientras espero los resultados de los programas de doctorado. Tengo tres ideas flotando en la cabeza, y debo intentar otra vez mandar mi primera novela a un editorial y editar la segunda y tercera. También me gustaría hacer un e-book de Setmeravelles sobre las provincias españolas. Por todo eso, no voy a escribir mucho aquí en el blog hasta que pueda viajar otra vez. He suspendido el proyecto Carlos Saura (también porque estoy en el paro y ahorro $4 al mes por no pagar Flixolé). 
  3. Repeat from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 etc. Come out to my mom. It has to be done. I’m pretty okay with being gay. It’s more about the potential fallout as my mom is getting old and doesn’t have a very open attitude about gays.. Repito de 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015…etc. Salir del amario a mi madre. Tengo que hacerlo. Estoy bien con ser gay. Es más de los efectos colaterales como mi madre está haciéndose mayor y no tiene una mente abierto sobre los gays. 
  4. Another repeat, although I did do Yoga maybe four times this year? Meditation is a complete loss. Continue work on a positive ascent out of the abysmal hole that depression and anxiety can take me. I started meditating in 2017, and I lost track of that in the summer. I plan to get back to it and try yoga for real. Otra repeticiión, aunque creo que hice yoga cuatro veces este año. Meditar es una gran perdida. Seguir en la ascensión positiva del agujero de depresión y ansiedad. Empecé a meditar en el verano de 2017, y durante el verano, lo dejé y nunca volví a hacerlo. También, voy a probar yoga de verdad.
  5. Lose another 15 pounds (6 kilo). I lost 20 (9 kg) (and gained 3 back over Christmas. This means continue with the exercise regime I started being quarantined. And add a day of yoga into it too. Perder 6 kilos más. Perdí 20 este año (y engordé tres de ellos durante las Naviades). Significa seguir con el entrenemiento que empecé durante la cuarentena. 
  6. Also kept from last year. Learn to cook and start to meal plan and eat healthy. Another I say every year. También desde el año pasado. Aprender a cocinar y empezar a planificar las comidas  y comer sano. Otro que digo todos los años. 
  7. Finally watch The Wire and Friday Night Lights. Por fin, ver The Wire (Bajo escucha) Friday Night Lights.
  8. Finish all the books on my bookshelf. The Champaign-Urbana library system is fantastic, and I get caught up in finding new books there while the books I own sit there waiting to be read. Also, a new-to-me Dickens, Hardy, Shakespeare, and Unamuno. Terminar todos los libros que tengo. Hay un sistema genial de bibliotecas en Champaign-Urbana, y siempre encuentro algo nuevo para leer mientras las libros que ya me compré hace tiempo están allí sin leer. También, un nuevo libro para mi de Dickens, Hardy, Shakespeare y Unamuno.
  9. Try kayaking. On the list since 2015. Ummm. Might as well add rock climbing here too! Probar hacer piriguismo, en la lista desde 2015. Umm, bueno, voy a añadir escalar también. 
  10. ADOPT A GOLDEN RETRIEVER. ADOPTAR A UN GOLDEN RETRIEVER.
  11. Journal daily. I recently started trying to write in my old Livejournal, as writing by hand cramps it quickly. Escribir en un diario cada día. He empezado escribir en mi Livejournal antiguo, porque me duele la mano escribir por mano.
  12. Hopefully be able to return to travel and hiking. Con suerte, un regreso a viajar y senderismo.
  13. Organise my Apple Music collection. Organisar mi colección de Apple Music.

2020: The Review

Do we really need a review of this year? ¿Necesitamos más recuerdos de este año?

I’ll have another entry about my 2021 goals, but they will all be with the expectation I get the vaccination by May. Ya escribiré otra entrada sobre los retos y metas para 2021, con la expectativa que tendré la vacuna en mayo.

Until then, here are my Best/Worst of Brightside Awards, along with the usual year-end memes. Hasta entonces, aquíi son mis Premios Brightside para lo mejor y peor del año, y también los memes que hago todos los años para terminar el año.

Best Artist:  Mariah Carey
Entertainer of the Year (tie/empate): Mariah Carey, Nicole Kidman
Best Film: ,I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Best Lead Actress: Cecilia Suárez, Alguien tiene que morir
Best Lead Actor: Ewan McGregor, Doctor Sleep
Best Supporting Actress (tie/empate):  Nicole Kidman, Bombshell: Carmen Maura, Alguien tiene que morir
Best Supporting Actor: Carlos Cuevas, Alguien tiene que morir
Best Director: Charlie Kaufman, I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Best Series (Drama): The Undoing
Best Series (Comedy or Musical): La casa de las flores
Best Lead Actress (Drama):  Nicole Kidman (Grace Fraser), The Undoing
Best Lead Actress (Comedy or Musical):Catherine O’Hara (Moira Rose), Schitt’s Creek
Best Lead Actor (Drama): Hugh Grant (Jonathan Fraser), The Undoing
Best Lead Actor (Comedy or Musical):  Dario Yazbek Bernal (Julian de la Mora), La casa de las flores
Best Supporting Actress (Drama) (tie/empate): Judith Light (Dede Standish), The Politician; Wunmi Mosaku (Ruby Baptiste), Lovecraft Country
Best Supporting Actress (Comedy or Musical):Lauren Graham (Joan), Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Best Supporting Actor (Drama): Nikolaj Groth (Jeppe Madsen), Rita
Best Supporting Actor (Comedy or Musical):; Alex Newell (Mo), Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Worst Acting (tie/empate): Maurice Bernard (Sonny Corinthos, General Hospital), Genie Francis (Lasha Webber, General Hospital)
Best Series Finale: Schitt’s Creek
Rewatch of the Year: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Retro Show of the Year: Parks and Recreation
Worst Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift
Song Most Ruined by Presence of Ariana Grande: (tie/empate) Oh Santa (with Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson); Rain On Me (with Lady Gaga)
Video of the Year: 911 by Lady Gaga
Album of the Year: Imploding the Mirage by The Killers
Song of the Year:Smiling by Alanis Morissette
Single of the Year: 911 by Lady Gaga
Discovered Artist:  Fly by Midnight
Group of the Year:  The Killers
Female Artist of the Year: Mariah Carey
Male Artist of the Year: Machine Gun Kelly

The first, the places I slept in 2020/ los sitios donde dormí en 2020: Urbana, Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, Louisville, Kentucky.

40 Questions/40 preguntas

1. What did you do in 2020 that you’d never done before?: Quarantine for nine months.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?: LOL. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?: I don’t think so. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?: My uncle died from cancer in February.

5. What countries did you visit?: Only US 😥

6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?: A golden retriever, a functioning government and people who take a pandemic seriously. 

7. What date from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?: March 11, the day it all went to hell. May 16, the day I graduated.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?: I graduated with a MA from the University of Illinois. 

9. What was your biggest failure?: Ph.D rejections

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Depression and anxiety.

11. What was the best thing you bought?: Coffee was the only thing I bought. Unemployed and saving money. Oh, Hulu and Flixolé. I’m over Netflix. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? People who voted against Trump and people who wore a mask and stayed home, plus every teacher and first responder/nurse/medical doctor etc. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?: Anyone who DID NOT TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. Racists. Also: Donald Trump and his supporters. (keeping from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. Scary!)  At this point, if you support him, you support bigotry and everything the US stands for. If you’re a conversative who is also appalled, though, I still respect you even if I disagree with you. I do not respect Trump and his minions. Keeping from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019. I will keep Pablo Casado, Albert Rivera, Mariano Rajoy, and all of VOX and their supporters.

14. Where did most of your money go?: Coffee, streaming.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?: Trips that I had to cancel because Covid, and new albums from several of my fave artists. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2020?: 911 by Gaga, Gaslighter by The Chicks, Smiling by Alanis, Mariah’s MC30 collection. 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? 20 lbs thinner! 
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer. 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?: Writing, travelling.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Quarantining. 

20. How will you be spending Christmas?: I spent it with my mom.

21. How will you be spending New Years? Eating grapes at 5 PM Central Standard Time, which is midnight in most of the Iberian peninsula.

22. Did you fall in love in 2020?: I stayed in love. 

24. What was your favorite TV program?: Cobra Kai, La casa de las flores, Parks and Rec (I saw it for the first time), The Undoing, Lovecraft Country

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?: Reply hazy.

26. What was the best book you read?: Good question! I read so many that they’re all a haze right now.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?: Fly by Midnight.

28. What did you want and get?: Coffee.

29. What did you want and not get?: A golden retriever.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?: I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Eurovision, Diciesiete. 

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?: 39, got take out, saw Christmas lights. 

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?:  The impeachment of Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell for President Pelosi to happen, plus you know, all the hard work I put into grad school having a payoff (keeping from 2019), if people took Coviid seriously. 

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020: Instead of my usual preppy casual, sweats. Thanks, quarantine. 

34. What kept you sane?: My boyfriend, Hulu, books, puppies on Instagram. 

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?: David Villa. I didn’t really fancy any famous person. 

36. What political issue stirred you the most?: Anyone who has been offended by Donald Trump, please raise your hand. I see everyone raising their hands. Enough said. (Kept from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.)

37. Who did you miss?: Fallon Fey, my golden retriever, and Spain (kept from 2019)

38. Who was the best new person you met?: I met someone new?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2020: Academia is not a meritocracy (kept from 2019). Don’t beat yourself up for streaming and reading too many books when you’re unemployed during a quarantine. 

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: Turnin’ up emotional faders, keep repeating self-hating phrases, I have heard enough of these voices, almost like I have no choice, This is my biological stasis…wish I laughed and kept the good friendships watch life, here I go again..my biggest enemy is me, pop a 911. 911-Lady Gaga.

Días de Navidad.

In 2019, Netflix España released Días de Navidad, a three-part miniseries about a family during three different Christmas meals: adolescence, 20-somethings and middle aged. En 2019, Netflix España estrenó Días de Navidad, una miniserie con tres partes sobre una familia durante tres comidas navideñas distintas: durante la adolescencia, cuando eran veinteañeras, y durante la edad media. 

(I’m writing this a week or so after finishing it so now all the details are fuzzy. I apologise!) (Escribo esto unos dáis después de acabarla y ahora no recuerdo bien todas las detalles. ¡Pido perdón!)

Those accustomed to the Hallmark Christmas movies will be disappointed, as Christmas is merely a backdrop for the story (and I question why the meal was served during the day instead of the typical Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) dinner, but that’s besides the point). La película decepcionará a los que están acostumbrados a las películas navideñas de Hallmark, porque la Navidad solo es al fondo de la historia (y pregunto porque sirven la comida durante el día en lugar de la cena de Noche Buena típica, pero bueno…)

In the first episode, the family protects a stranger from the Guardía Civil police during the early years of Franco. The stranger becomes a part of the family as we see during the other two episodes. En el primer capítulo, la familia protege a una desconida de la Guardía Civil durante el principio de la dictadura de Franco. 

The third episode is a treat for Spanish cinema junkies because it features Victoria Abril, Ángela Molina, Verónica Forqué and Charo López. El tercer capítulo es muy especial para los frikis de cine español porque salen Victoria Abril, Ángela Molina, Verónica Forqué y Charo López. 

The miniseries is well worth a view and is available on Netflix. Vale la pena verla y está disponible en Netflix.