Monday, November 30, 2009

¿Hablas español

I continue to take French, less formalized now that mon professeur has removed herself to the South of France, but still the four of us (Dan, Paulette, Janaki and I) soldier on and have a practice type class every Wednesday night. In my heart, though, I know I should be learning Spanish.

Living in Southern California, formerly known as Mexico, where every single person who helps me keep the dust bunnies at bay and the ‘garden’ growing, who bravely fells 100-foot gum trees and hacks out tinder-dried palm fronds before they become missiles in a fire, who tiles and wires and routers and fiddles with my home and grounds so that I don’t have to…doesn’t speak French and rarely English.

Last July our gardener, Santiago, hurt his knee. And so his wife Lydia and teenaged son Mayno (I think that’s how it’s spelled) came out each Monday to help him through his day. And because it was two of them working, we suggested they leave at noon instead of 3 PM. Santiago’s knee healed and Mayno eventually went back to school but Lydia continues to come. She’s strong and a good worker but we like having Santiago here for a full day instead of half, and also feel it’s wrong if they’re both working and we’re not paying for both their efforts. So Roger asked Santiago if he could just come on his own because of, you know, our guilt.

But I guess Roger didn’t explain it very well because Lydia came today and we didn’t know quite what to say, so Roger said something that was obviously lost in translation and then she went and sat in their truck. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh…so I took her a cup of coffee and smiled and said, using Google Translator…of course not really knowing if this was quite what I meant to say (I'm still not sure).

Lydia, nos encanta tener que venir a trabajar con Santiago, sólo que no tienen suficiente dinero para pagar más dinero por semana que las de Santiago que ya hacemos.”

Yeah, I probably said it that loudly, too. And she, thinking I spoke a kind of Spanish, started speaking to me from her heart. I made all the right faces, I guess, and said, “SI…SI…Entiendo (which I clearly did not)” and so now she will continue accompanying Santiago every Monday because she wants to and we’ll just have to get used to it, I guess.

But before I actually found her in their truck, I wandered around the garden snapping pictures of an almost December day in my back/front/side yards. I was trying to be all natural and didn’t want Lydia to think I was hunting for her.

It’s either Spanish lessons or carrying an iPhone around with Google Translate at the ready. Here's what I saw today.

Goldfinch taking advantage of the seeding Rosemary

They See Me

American Robin (to my European friends...I know, I know, it's a Thrush)

A Tangle of Rosemary

Salvia in Bloom

Working Man


Crap grass through Peppercorns

Two Trimmed Gum Trees next to a shaggier untrimmed one

Season's Over

He's still getting by with a little help from his friends

Afternoon Sun and Shadow on living room floor

My favorite book on color

Coffee Table by the end of the weekend

When it's this dry, I keep this book in plain sight