Tag Archives: hispana

Of Angels & Music

Art, photos and words by Estela Caballero ❤

Someone had stolen his gloves in the night. He considered himself lucky that was all they did. A sweet melody woke him.  The notes rising and falling like his heart used to when he still had one.  Long gone the days when celebrations like a birthday marked time. It was hard to say how long he had been living this way. He reached in his pocket feeling around. If it was heaven, he would expect that the spare gloves he kept in his pocket would be gone. After all they wouldn’t be necessary. Heaven or hell, neither would require gloves. They were there and even though the fingers of the gloves had been worn through many winters ago, it was better than nothing. The music played and he still had hope God had just forgot to remove the gloves.

He struggled to his feet and tried to find the angel that was playing the song of a life he no longer had any claim to.  The rise and fall of the notes from the violin reminded him of the days he and his beautiful young wife would save up to have dinner in the city.  How many times had they walked by this very spot?  Maybe it was best this way.  He was lost in plain sight.  Love and the pain of losing it was worse than being kicked or chased away from places, being ignored and even sleeping outside in the freezing rain.  He welcomed the numbness regardless of the source.  Brown glass bottle or below zero nights on the concrete– it no longer made a difference.  Only the end result mattered.

The old man was warm now and pulled his gloves out of his pocket.  Papery thin hands carefully paired them like his older brother had showed him long ago when he was a boy.  They often fought over who would ball the socks as they helped their mother fold laundry for the Ballinger’s.  They didn’t have toys and would toss the socks back and forth until they were reclaimed by his kind but tired mother.  None of them, not even his mother had ever owned anything as fine as the impossibly soft socks.  From father to infant, the Ballinger family feet were just as pampered as every other part of their life.  Had someone told the citizens of the small town they lived in that they would one day live in the old Balinger home, laughter would surely have followed.

The subway was a world of its own.  He noticed a particular boy and his mother.  They were in his home along with the other usual morning crowd rushing and waiting.  Well, they were in the closest thing he had to a home. The subway was a safer place than some of the shelters he would stay at once in a while when the cops did their sweeps. The boy looked to be about three years old and his mother held his hand tight as they walked by him. He lowered his eyes to show the mother he meant no harm to her or her child. She didn’t notice the gesture nor would she have understood it had she looked. We turn away from that which pains us. We turn away from that which causes fear.  When it is necessary to confront the uncomfortable, it’s easiest to chalk it up to the flawed person that surely brought the misery upon themselves.   Dismissed.   Everyone can continue about their day.

The boy pulled at his mother’s hand, his eyes fixed on the homeless man’s angel playing a beautiful stringed instrument that was a dark rich brown.

Movement like a river all day long. People entered and hopped off the subway cars coming and going just as they did every other day. Few noticed the man’s angel and the few that stopped were children who stayed as long as their parent’s allowed. The violin is unlike other instruments in the way it calls something inside most don’t know is there.  Dismissed. Best the call go unanswered.  To listen requires an attention long extinct among people blind to angels and deaf to their song.

Not too long ago, a famous violinist, Joshua Bell, played in the subway. It wasn’t as a panhandler before he reached fame and fortune.  He was already extremely well known.  He became invisible to people who proudly claim to love fine music– his fine music.  The cloak of the ordinary deafens so even heavenly sounds cannot reach the brain much less the heart.  This ailment pales in comparison to the mysterious loss poverty provokes–a temporary blindness among the masses.

It was a social experiment.  The question– Would anyone recognize the person playing violin in the subway? Would the award winning music draw a crowd?  He was scheduled to play several sold out shows over the next few days in New York.  Tickets at the events regularly went for $100 or more.  Josh Bell played in the subway for about 45 minutes and made $32.  Only a handful of people stopped to see him play.  One thought him an angel that might lead him to a wife and daughter long disappeared in the fire.

No one recognized him.  Josh Bell was in a subway playing a violin that was worth $3.5 million yet children– those still living in the freedom of enjoying something because of how it makes them feel and not what others think, were the ones who appreciated the sounds of the homeless man’s angel the most.

Casa de Luna by Estela
Casa de Luna by Estela Caballero

Oops, We Broke The Internet: Anjelina Jalomo

If you like a little country, you’ll love this.  Anjelina, the beautiful young lady singing Stay is an old friend.  I’ve been trying to talk her into sharing her talent with the world and she recently created a YouTube page.

I have found such amazing people in the WordPress family and blogging world.  Amigos and amigas, I am honored to introduce you to an overnight success a long time in the making.  Her story is exactly the kind that is so special because she’s just like you and me, an ordinary person doing extraordinary things.

As you can hear, she has powerful talent.  She doesn’t look like the typical musical siren that big record labels sign and that’s exactly why I knew my WordPress family was the perfect group to share her talent with.  You have all been so supportive and I see how everyone on WP especially encourages those brave newcomers taking the first scary steps on the path to their dreams.

Estela

The Enemy Within: Unfrenemy Yourself

By Estela Caballero

The Monster Mash

Frenemy is a word mash describing an all too common type of relationship.  People who pretend to be a friend but their words and actions are more like what you would expect from an enemy.  I’ve found that many frenemy types often take pride in their brutal honesty–  their favorite sayings are things like, “I tell it like it is” or “I’m just very honest– people have a hard time dealing with what they don’t want to hear.”  They can be logical and some are so good that they will have you convinced you should be thanking them for the compliments that feel a lot like a put down.  A toxic friendship isn’t a friendship at all–  it’s a bad relationship you need to drop like a moldy churro.

If you have frenemies, you need to take a hard look at yourself.  Your frenemy invisible electric fence might be down.  It’s almost impossible for a frenemy to infiltrate your social circle and get close to you if you have good self esteem and healthy boundaries.  You might let some small questionable comments slide when getting to know someone but a frenemy in search of a new person to leech themselves to is going to get the message quickly that you see through them.

Unfrenemy Yourself

Frenemies suck but there’s a different frenemy that’s trickier to ditch—  the one that lives inside some of us.  It’s human to want to be better and want to succeed.  That’s why it’s hard to spot self-sabotaging behavior in yourself.  Sometimes it’s easier to chalk up things to luck or fate.  If bad things happen, it was just meant to be.

“It’s too hard and if I fail, _______.”  We fill in the blank with the most apocalyptic things we can think of.  For example, lets say you want to go back to school and you work full time.  You’ve met with the registration and financial aid office at the college and you are all set to go for next semester–  you decide to start off slow with one class so it’s not too overwhelming. The first day of school approaches.  You start thinking about the homework and the time it will take away from your family. You start thinking about a couple you know who just got divorced and didn’t one of them go back to school last year and started cheating with someone they met there.  The books are more expensive than what you thought.  All this thinking is making you tired and you haven’t even started classes yet.  You’re losing sleep and now you are certain your work performance is going to suffer.  Nevermind you already talked it through with your family and supervisor and they are all supportive and you have saved up money to pay for three semesters of school plus books.  There’s too much risk. Something might go wrong.  You might make a mistake.  You might fail.

It’s a hard cycle to break.  Hard but not impossible.  Here’s a quick self check to see if you might need to unfrenemy yourself:

The tell-tale sign that you are sabotaging your self is when you grind to a halt when you’re trying to achieve your goals, for no rational reason. The skill, ability and desire are there: it’s just that something stops you moving forward.

Procrastination

  • Knowing you should be working on something, but putting it off again and again.
  • Starting projects, but never quite finishing them.
  • Feeling unmotivated or unable to proceed, even when there are lots of exciting opportunities.
  • Unfulfilled Dreams
  • Dreaming of doing something, but never doing anything about it.

Worry

  • Fretting over things that really shouldn’t matter.
  • Fearing that if you fail others will think less of you.
  • Doubting yourself and your abilities even though you “know” you are very capable.
  • Feeling stressed and anxious, and perhaps suffering from unexplained depression or panic attacks when trying to achieve something important to you.

Anger

  • Using aggressive rather assertive communication and not taking steps to change this.
  • Destroying relationships with others (family, friends, co-workers) with anger, resentment or jealously.
  • Feelings of Worthlessness
  • Exaggerating other people’s achievements, and diminishing your own
  • .Taking even unfair or misguided criticism to heart.
  • Letting others put you down.

Whatever your frenemy within is, you MUST overcome it if you are to make the most of your life. If you allow yourself to engage in negative self-talk, you destroy your self-confidence and self esteem. And with every failed attempt, you “prove” to yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t do the thing you want.

The Cycle & How To Break It

If you don’t lose the internal frenemy, you continue spiraling down, you become more and more frustrated, discouraged, and angry with yourself. These feelings trap you and keep you from doing whatever it is you need to do to break free.

Fortunately, you can escape self-sabotaging behavior and this starts with recognizing the negative messages you send to yourself.

Breaking the Cycle of Self-sabotage

1. Recognize Your Self-Sabotaging Behavior

In order to stop self-sabotage, you first need to recognize your own self-sabotaging behavior. Ask yourself:

  • What goals have you had for yourself for a long time and never been able to accomplish?
  • What do you consistently fail at, for no obvious reason?
  • Are there particular areas where you find yourself procrastinating or putting off making a decision?
  • Are you suffering from lack of motivation to do something that you should want to do?
  • Do you find yourself unreasonably angry or frustrated, and is this affecting your relationships?
  • Is there an area where other people (and in particular, your boss) consistently get frustrated with you? or
  • Is there something in your life that nags at you and causes you dissatisfaction because you know you could do it, or do it better?
  • Ask yourself questions like these, and tune in to the situations where you may be sabotaging yourself.

2. Monitor Your Negative Thinking

Think about what you say to yourself when you engage in this behavior. Write down all your negative thoughts, however silly or unrealistic they may seem.

Tip:

  • The ideal time to do this is when you’re engaged in the behavior. As you do, monitor your “stream of consciousness” and write all the negative self-talk down.
  • If this isn’t realistic, use imagery to recreate the situation in your mind so that you can experience the automatic thoughts, or try to recall what you were thinking last time it occurred.

3. Challenge Your Self-Sabotaging Thinking

When you know what your negative self-talk is, or you find yourself behaving in some way that is preventing you from achieving what you need or want to do, ask yourself:

What deeper thoughts lie behind this self-sabotaging thinking?
Are these thoughts rational, and based on any clear facts?
Are past unsuccessful attempts unnecessarily preventing you from making a positive change?
4. Develop Self-Supporting Behaviors

Having identified and defeated the false rationale for your self-sabotaging behaviors, you are now free to start rebuilding your self-confidence . Ask yourself:

  • What can you say to myself that is positive or encouraging?
  • What options do you have? Is there more than one way to achieve your goal?
  • Can you build self-confidence by setting and achieving much smaller goals, on your way to achieving the big ones you’ve not achieved in the past?
  • Turn your assumptions around and put them in the correct perspective. Align them with positive beliefs about what you can accomplish. When your skills, beliefs and behaviors are aligned, then you have the right mental, emotional, and physical states to do whatever you set your mind to.

Then use your answers to come up with a message that inspires you to move in a positive direction, for example, “Even though I doubt that I can complete this project on time, I know I have the resources and skills I need to get me through. When I start taking tackling the project, I know I will release a lot of the stress and anxiety I have been carrying around while I’ve been procrastinating.”

Tip:

Take a look at other people around you who are doing what they set out to do and living the life they were meant to live. Do they actually have better skills than you? Have they been given opportunities that you haven’t?
Probably not, at least initially. What they have is a belief they can do whatever they want to do. They tell themselves they can accomplish their goals and dreams, and then they set in place a plan to achieve this.

For many years I was afraid to say I was a writer out loud.  I held off on describing myself as a photographer.  I was worried that if I called myself an artist, a photographer, a writer, that people would have the expectation that my work be spectacular.  I was afraid of the criticism and mistakes I might make.  Don’t make the same mistake–  I lost years to fear.  Whisper your dream softly for the last time tonight.  Tomorrow you will shout it from the rooftops.

Unfrenemy yourself.  Get comfortable in your own skin and remember, It’s Your Life.  Drive!

Estela

Perception by Estela Caballero

If perception is reality, here’s to making your own!  The two pictures below show a Dahlia, the same flower, just seconds apart.

Fresh Looks

Definition of perception (n)

per·cep·tion

[ pər sépshən ]

Perceiving: the process of using the senses to acquire information about the surrounding environment or situation

  1. result of perceiving: the result of the process of perception
  2. impression: an attitude or understanding based on what is observed or thought

I’m not that great of a photographer.  It’s the lessons and the insight gained that keep me interested.  I get lucky every once in a while and take a shot that amazes.  This one of the Dahlia flower above isn’t one of them.

I had been cutting off the flowers run over by the lawnmower wheels to give the buds some additional energy for the short lived blooms.

It was still a beautiful flower laying there on the gravel.  I picked it up and held it to the sky.  Take a step back.  Crouch down.  Hold something you’ve come to see one way in a different light or press it up against the sky.  We can all benefit from fresh perspective.

If perception is reality– make your own!

Estela

The New Oregon Trail by Estela Caballero

OMWow! Nerd stuff I love by Estela Caballero

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,500 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My favorite kind of salsa

IMG_0269

Hey, when I’m busy I buy the salsa already made from the store.  We have lots of Mexican stores close by that sell nothing less than authentic salsa made fresh throughout the day.

When I have time I like making salsa and my favorite is the kind that starts out with jalapenos slowly roasting on a comal or griddle.  The chiles in the picture above spent about 30 minutes on low heat on comal with a little olive oil and a few pieces of garlic.

After they get to this stage you put them in a bowl with either boiled tomatoes or tomatoes that you roast the same way on the comal and mash them up– no blender.  If you have a molcajete, one of those stone bowls with the stone squisher, it works great.  I don’t have one right now but a bowl and the bottom of a cup work fine as the squisher!  I’m low tech and my kitchen is notoriously gadget free.

Enjoy!

Fibonacci Return by Estela Caballero

Setting order

Telling time

Mathematical equation

Visual rhyme

Delicate spiral

Whirling deep depth

Shape, form and function

There’s really no death

The pleasure of being

Interrupted, we wept

In a dream

Said a whisper

In a dream

Do you know

It’s a dream

Said the whisper

You’re like the snow

Intricate points

Breath taking parts

Each on it’s own

Bright living art

Delightful designs

There was light

Before time

Will I know me tomorrow

How will you know

If I came back as a snowflake

Or in flowers I grow

I’m not a secret

Seek the pattern you know