Monday, November 26, 2007

Literary happenings

Saturday night I attended my first "literary" party/poetry and other readings event. My prof Suzanne is leaving in a few weeks to spend the holidays and January in Portland with her family. So, the party was to "festijar" the end of the year and I think her way of saying goodbye for a long while. It was a mixed and eclectic bunch - mostly americans but a fare number of argentines and a few brits as well. After an hour or so of socializing and sampling Suzanne's homemade pad thai, we settled in the living room like a good audience to listen and applaud each others creative endeavors. The argentina who hosted the party at her 21st floor apartment with an incredible view went first. She read something but I can't remember anything about it. I was mustering up the will to read next. With a glass of liquid Malbec courage in me, I raised my hand when they asked for volunteers. In the invitation, Suzanne asked us to bring something that expressed where we were creatively. I brought my whole notebook and decided in that moment to read a freewrite from that morning. Nothing special but somehow it fit.

He kissed me. Not the air. Not a cheek press with a lip smack to the wind - the Argentine greeting. No, not that. Definitely not that. I felt two soft puckered lips hit my right cheek. It was warm and intimate like we'd been friends for years. A greeting reserved for only the closest circle of people in his life. How did I get invited in to that place? He touched my shoulder fondly and asked how I was - if everything was ok for me. I said yes and looked him in the eye, unafraid of the exchange, a bit strange as it was. He asked if I was studying, glancing down at my Artists Way oversized book spread open on the table. I said "no, leyendo". I'm reading I said calmly with a smile. He walked out the back door where I saw him open a car door (assume it was his own) pull out a newspaper and bring it back in to one of his customers in the cafe. He'd lent his own morning paper. Yes, this is a place I will come back to. This is a place where I can write, stop for a pause, stare up at the mumbling crowd and out the window across noisy Libertador Avenue to the most lush and tree filled park in the city. One or two blocks from our apartment. Today I feel immensely lucky. luck begets luck. The kiss came from somewhere I'm sure. god moment perhaps. He looked at me like he really knew me. Yes, I've been here before, always outside with Utta but he's never acknowledged me. Before I was a nameless faceless order of cafe con leche or agua con gas. An occasional medialuna on a frivolous day. My visits don't warrant that kiss and yet. Maybe I called for it. I've embraced this city, the people, the culture, the language. Why be surprised that they return the sentiment in their own way. I'm finding my roots and making myself familiar. He told me I have the most beautiful blue eyes. Was he just hitting on me? No, too pedestrian. The kiss was something else entirely. It said welcome - you're loved, you belong here. I understand your order. I support your activity be it writing, reading or drinking green tea. There's no rush today it reassured. We're happy to have you and come again anytime. We're one you and I it said. I know you and you know me even if you don't realize it. Today I was kissed. Before I was hiding but today I was kissed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


A few weeks ago my writing prof talked to us about clutter. Physical, emotional, virtual - how it all takes up space that could be otherwise used for creating. How most of us spend our days with distraction, unintentionally filling the void until the filling up of it is the it we call living. Homework for that week and every week since has been to de-clutter as much and as often as possible. Moving to BA was a forced sort of physical decluttering. I gave away bags of clothes and shoes I knew I'd never need or wear again. I moved here with two large suitcases - no room for junk, momentos or saved things. Liberating yet some days even I tire of seeing myself in one of the 8 recycled t-shirts in the casual category of my new old wardrobe. But other types of clutter - yes, I had it and am getting rid of it. Clutter of time wasted. Internet clutter is a whole new miraculous medium to twitter the hours. I made a list of all websites now officially classified as "clutter" and off the bookmark tab. For good. - Daily Dish, updates every day at 3pm PDT - more fashion commentary but dives deep in britney/kfed - covers all big stories like TomKat wedding details - fashion police, a quick hit when you need it - shameful gossip with video - even more shameful. you might not want to tell anyone you surf this one

I include these links in case anyone out there is not trying to declutter their lives and is in fact looking to pass a few shameful hours gazing at the navels of britney, lindsey or other hollywood types fraught with drama...look no further.

It's been nearly three weeks since I've visited the clutter sites and I don't miss it nor do I miss the coked up feeling of typing in the url and scrolling down the page at yet another angle of someone's lack of underpants wearing evening on tinseltown. I've been forced to examine my own role in it all. What feelings, activities, people have I been avoiding immersed in this mindless clutter? Back in SF, Friday early evenings - exhausted and burnt out from the week of work and dizzying worry. I'd take myself directly to the Walgreens on Post across the street and pick up the latest US Weekly. Reading it on the bart ride home was strangely calming. It became a ritual distraction I'm not proud of but can admit to now that I no longer have access to it. That said, I've asked my friends who will be visiting in the months to come - pls don't bring me any clutter. I'm making room for other things now. TomKat and the OC will have to go on without me.

God Moments

I stepped into the cab three seconds from soaking. During class the weather had turned from cloudy to torrential. Rain pummeled the sidewalk and every moving thing searched frantically for shelter. Cabs were full and on an afternoon like this, impossible to get. I hurried down the one way street with my struggling umbrella hoping for a miracle or dumb luck. In front of a church, it pulled up and as a woman stepped out, I thanked god’s house and motioned to the driver that I wanted to get in.

At first I didn’t notice anything special about him. I was so relieved and spent from the rain to do anything but take a few deep inhales. Then I saw his froggy bulging eyes and wild white hair in the rearview mirror. “Cervino y Lafinur, “ I directed. He grunted and pulled into the heavily rain congested melee of colectivos and taxis. First he asked me where I was from. So obvious even from the way I pronounced the two street names that I wasn’t a local or even a South American. He wanted to know what I did “Que te dedicas?”. He was probing slowly, gathering information for his coming observations of me and of life. “I’m a writer,” I told him with a touch of phony confidence. (wait till I tell Suzanne, my prof, I thought all puffy chested). His eyes widened a bit more and his wrinkly long fingernailed hands gripped the steering wheel tighter.

“What KIND of writing do you do?”
“I write fantasy – about worlds that don’t really exist”. Kind of a shaky answer but what the hell – we’re all making it up as we go in some form or another. His forehead scrunched and eyes half closed asked me in long articulated breaths, “what do you think fantasy is?” Whoa – esoteric turn. Now this is getting interesting. The penetrating stare, witch fingernails and hunched shoulders exuded Harry Potter. I was 9 years old again. “Well, I stammered – fantasy is whatever your imagination can come up with, it could be anything?” I ended my response with a question and my voice went up an octave or two. He went in for the kill. “NO!”, he shook his right index finger at me. “Fantasy is the unique combination of real and imaginary. For example, the Centaur – half man half horse. Or the mermaid, half woman, half fish. People accept the fantasy because it comes along with something they can relate to.” (Shit, I knew that.) Back to the old dusty library of Monsignor Luvidicus Royale of Magical Realism and other voodoo topics. How did I end up in this cab?

He spoke like all Argentines – more with his hands than his voice but talked slowly articulating every word for dramatic effect. Pausing and asking if I understood him. He tells me he works in the world of “espectaculos” – eyes wide again bulging nearly out of their sockets. “You must write for the theater”, he tells me. It wasn’t a suggestion. “Tell the truth” he says. “Tell the truth about the problems of our time, of our people. We are the people. You are the people. Tell the truth in your writing! What else is there?” he demanded to know. I was entranced. Who speaks of the truth in a 10 minute cab ride? Who speaks of the truth anywhere? Is this my sign? It’s almost too obvious. So obvious, it could be mistaken for something else, less like the message it is. Is this as my friend Wendy calls it a “God moment”. We’ve all had them even if we don’t recognize or name them. They’re episodes with strangers (usually short so you could forget easily if you aren’t paying attention) that tell you, ask you, the most personal knowing things. Things that you can’t or don’t talk about with your intimates. Things you may think but don’t say. Things from your subconscious that only God would know to knudge you about, guide you, question you. God moments in cab rides. Tucked away as the title of something. How fantastically bizarre and yet disturbing in its closeness. “You will see a sign promoting a show called Poder de Affectacion – Ninos y Adolescentes de Artes”. He said it again, saying each world slowly looking me in the eye so that I would remember. “Go in and enjoy it. Then come see me about a job”. Pow.

Startled awake, I handed him the cab fare and asked his name. “Nestor Francisco – mother Spanish and father Italian”. We shook hands and I stepped out and away from the fantasy ride. Looked back twice, blinking in the rainy glare to make sure it wasn’t just my imagination.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Burn update

Usually Hugh chides me for running to the doctor at the first sign of illness or injury. This time he encouraged me to go and I'm glad I did. Yesterday I took a cab to Hospital Aleman where we're insured. I went to ER and then sent me immediately up to the Burn Unit (Quemado). It was strangely quiet up there, no visible reception desk and I poke around a bit looking for someone to help me when I passed a room with some poor burn victim wrapped up head to toe like a mummy. his loved ones were standing outside peering in the window with tears running down their faces. boy did i feel stupid to be there with my mate burn. the crying woman told me i needed to call the staff on the intercom and they would attend me. i did and next thing i know half of the wall near from entrance is sliding up like the window of a Burger King drive through. What happened she asks me in spanish. She tells me to hop on the guerney (attached to the sliding wall/window" which I do and she pulls me over to the other side. Don't step on the ground she warns. It took a few seconds to register what and why this was happening. burn victims are so sensitive to infection that they have to take extreme precautions with who and what they let in the unit. i was not supposed to let my dirty feet touch ground - just lay on the guerney and they would help me from there. after a few minutes the doctor came over with the nurse to take a look. they didn't quite understand how i burned myself on the back of my leg - a difficult and unusual place to reach with an accident. i started to feel queasy when i saw the syringe. oh god, i thought - this looks bad. "tengo miedo, tengo miedo" I squeeked. they tried to sooth me but i just gripped the sheet and braced for the worst. they told me the blister was dead skin and needed to be removed. they also had to get the liquid out of it (hence the syringe). so, first the needle, then even more painful was the Brillo like thing the doctor used to scrape every last remnant of burned skin from that part of my leg. Raw doesn't even begin to cover what if felt like after that. then they applied a few different cleansing salves and wrapped my leg in gauze. He took my hand to measure the area. Apparently I burned 1 percent of my body. Each hand size represents that percent of your body and that is how they calculate the severity of burns - this information must be reported to the insurers and various hospital agencies.

Today I went back for a follow up. They reapplied some kind of antibacterial salve and a new bandage. Tomorrow I go back one last time and after that they said I should be able to change the dressing on my own at home. I am not so good with hobbling around and disrupting my routine. Had to miss my running practice last night and couldn't walk Utta today. Could it be yet another "let go and let god" opportunity. i thought i'd had enough already but apparently not. the weather changed today with my mood. london like rain made the blooming lavendar tree outside our window look almost florescent.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ignorance personified

There are moments in ones life when something happens and one says to oneself - "self, what the f*** where you thinking". There are definitely times like that. Yesterday afternoon was one of those times.

Skype has literally transformed some of my relationships with friends and family back in the US. My friend Jen and I talk every week on the same day. If I look sad, she notices my expression and probes to find out whats bothering me. She tells me that for her, it doesn't seem real that I've moved so far away. We are sharing as much of our lives if not more than before. My sister and I also talk regularly. She turns the video cam in her Mac towards Dudley so I can say hello to him and watch him chew on a bone. I do the same as Utta is inevitaby by my side snoring, chewing or grunting. Rachel and I have been talking even more lately. She and Rey decided about a month ago to have a destination wedding next May here in Argentina. Woo HOO!!! It will be small - 30 people or so. Everyone will fly to Buenos Aires, hopefully spend some time here and the wedding will take place over a few days celebration at the La Candelaria estancia where I went for my birthday this year.

So, yesterday we were chatting along about the details of the big day (obviously I'm helping with a lot of the coordination and acting as go-between with the estancia people who don't really speak english).

Last week I purchased "Novias" - Argentina's two inch thick bridal magazine - to provide names of vendors for tuxedo rental, djs and the like. Rachel and I had a date to talk at 4pm my time - 11am her time. I was all prepped. Pillows propped up on the single bed in the back quiet bedroom (Hugh in the living room enjoying the output of the new NFL sunday package on directv), heated water for mate, Utta on the bed at my feed and dialed up SF.

We were chatting along as usual but this time, she dialed my mom in San Diego on her cell phone, put her on speaker phone and then laid the phone next to the Mac microphone so that the three of us could talk at once. We wished her a happy 60th.

My mate water was still cooling off and I'd left the thermos top off. The sacred rule of mate preparation is to heat the water to only 82 degrees - just before boiling. Any warmer and the water will burn the leaves and ruin the taste, not to mention scalding the crap out of your tongue. Normally, I stand over the teapot watching fastidiously so that I pull the water from the flame at just the right moment. Well, today I was rushing around before the call and forgot my water on the stove. When I finally ran over to turn it off it had already been boiling for a few minutes. Damn. no time to start over. So, I'll just put the water in the thermos with the lid off to let it cool back down to 82 degrees (a risky proposition but perpetrated by the mate novice from time to time).

I decided at some point in the conversation to show my sister the picture of Argentine weddings from the Novias Magazine - so she could see some of the styles of dresses and tuxedos - also to show Rey who was standing nearby. With the Mac balanced on my lap, Utta at my feet carving a bone, the Novias 10 pound magazine in my right hand....I quite stupidly chose that very moment to pick up the mate thermos filled to the top with scalding hot (boiling remember) water and attempt the multi-tasking feat of showing my sister the magazine photo while at the same time, preparing my first sip of mate from the hopefully cooled off water.

Well, as you may have surmised by now, all went horribly wrong. Computer starts to tilt and slide off my lap, magazine weighing heavily in my arm and absent mindedly as my body tilts to the right side, to save the computer and magazine from ultimate peril of landing softly on the bed, the open thermos in my left hand follows the sideways tilt of my torso and gushes out like the Iguazu Falls onto the bed beside me, soaking the bedspread and sheets and quickly finding its way underneath my right upper thigh. I was wearing a juicy couture knock off sweatsuit, but the water quickly penetrated the fabric to touch raw skin on my backside.

I tried in that moment of contact to do everything at once. Hop up from the bed to get away from the scalding water, detach myself from the computer (had earphones plugged in for better reception) without literally flinging it across the room, scream for help, and get Utta off the bed and away from the water. Hugh burst in to see what was happening. I ran out of the room wailing and immediately planted myself on the bidet - hoping the cool water might relieve the already burning sensation on my leg. Not nearly cold enough. next idea. Hugh jumped on the Skype call to get advice from Nurse Rachel. "Go immediately to the farmacia - she needs burn cream and keep it as cool as possible - use ice!". I was hoping around the house - by this time in my underwear, just howling. The dog poor thing was terribly confused and scared. Hugh brought me a towel full of ice cubes which felt immediately good on my skin. He rushed out to the pharmacy and I went back to my call with Rachel - talking and rubbing ice on the burn for the next 30 minutes. I knew it was going to be bad but I'd never quite burned myself like this before. A few hours later, it got worse and a huge horror film blister emerged. Today I'll visit the ER to make sure nothing gets infected. The spanish verb for burn is "quemar". Me queme. I burned myself. I am going to use that word a lot this week.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

An anniversary love letter...

Dear Hugh,

Seven years ago today I promised to be your lifelong companion. I knew it would be an adventure, our union, but never could I have imagined building entirely new lives together in South America.

From time to time you ask me "Why do you love me?" and I usually answer quickly and without a lot of thought. Loving you is so automatic now, so ingrained in who I am that I forget there was a time before you.

Why I love you comes to me in little reminders every day. The top of your lungs singing to your favorite songs on the radio, your unquenchable thirst for knowledge about our world and the events of the day, the playful interchanges in Spanish you share with Marta - our thrice weekly housemate and caretaker. Of course the daily play sessions you have with Utta, the hide under the sheet game you invented that drives her mad, helps remind me how important it is to frolic and how easy and natural it is for you to access that part of yourself.

Sometimes my love for your comes in the spectacular occasions where you always seem to shine. The bravery of taking Utta and driving alone across the country staying at motels and guarding our things. Then bringing her from Texas to Argentina, landing here alone and getting our new lives set up - the heroism of those incredible first weeks still takes my breath away. The 40th birthday rap you wrote and performed for your friend Jon's party is one of my favorite memories of recent years. The way you prepared for weeks, researching, writing, practicing and enjoying the idea of giving such a unique gift to someone you love, captured who you are to me. Flamboyantly generous, inventive, ridiculously silly and always at the perfect moments - larger than life pure fun.

I know you were surprised to hear me confess this year a desire, finally to start a family. The feeling surprised me too. Somehow the maternal urge got hidden away - seemingly inaccessible. But little by little, as my love for you and trust in us has grown these past seven - really nine years, that part in me is ready to come out. I know that if we do have children, you will be a tireless and fantastic parent. It's a side of you I've already seen in your care for Utta and another reason I feels so grateful and lucky to be married to you.

Wherever our next adventures take us, I want you to know how deeply I love you, how happy I am just being with you and look forward to the lifetime of experiences we've yet to create.

Your Wife Ambi

Friday, November 9, 2007

Un piercing por favor

Last night I did the unthinkable. I let a stranger poke a dagger like instrument through my nose and insert a corkscrew object with a half moon at the end. I'm pierced. For years I fantasized about getting one. Every time I was in between stuffy suit wearing high paying corporate jobs I would have moments of gazing dreamily out the window - "should I get it now, just take it out for interviews and put it back in on the weekends?" Deep down I knew that wouldn't work. My alter ego wasn't ready to express itself - too hard to detach from the left brain stock wielding cube dweller.

My friend Gaby knew of a place off of Santa Fe y Rodriquez Pena in ritzy Recoleta and I trusted her. She has a cool silver star in her nose and a belly piercing from time spent in Italy. Her piercings don't prevent her from interviewing for corporate marketing jobs here or working at a call center but we are of course talking about a different culture, another world at times - the place where its totally acceptable for a man to grow his hair longish and mullety and go 3 or 4 days without shaving to work - that dirty, sexy bum look I used to see only in Calvin Klein ads.

We met at a place called Bond Street galleria. A small cluster of piercing and tatoo parlors, clothes stores that carried mostly black t-shirts and silver studded belts like what you'd find south of market on Folsom Street. It was filled with mostly teenagers peering through the windows and pouring over catalogs of tatoo designs. All the shops had clear windows and were well lit so I could actually see people in the process of getting inked, poked, pierced. Gag, gulp, nausea. Every shop posted photos of their best work - the soccer player with an intricate portrait of each of his two children blazoned on his chest - so lifelike. One man with a likeness of his double chinned jowly aging mum on his arm. Then there were the piercing displays of silver rods poked though various nether regions of the most intimate kind. ewwww.

We did one lap thru the galleria and settled on the busiest and most well known place near the entrance. We walked in and I said "hola, quiero un piercing en la nariz" and pointed to my nose. The man-boy standing at the counter smiled, nodded and hurried off to return with a tray of my options for the ring - mostly tiny silver balls and a few with cubic zirconia sparkle, all very discreet. Do you have a half-moon (media luna) I asked? In my mind I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. For many years during her late 30s and 40s my aunt Sea Jai sported 2 nose rings - one silver star and on the other side of her nose slightly higher up, a silver crescent moon. She wore it so well and I always admired her bravado and individual sense of style. At 55, I've no doubt she could still pull off that look if she wanted. So, I channeled Sea Jai and chose the moon.

He asked if I was ready and I nodded half convinced with a gesture towards Gaby. He said no - we don't allow friends in the room. Anxiety level kicked up a notch. Panicking inside I thought only of the worst - pain, botched work, miscommunication and being alone. I gulped and followed him down a windy set of stairs to their basement work room. It was very bright and thankfully sterile feeling. A man with his shirt off bent over a chair was getting a tatoo. I barely noticed him. Was fixated on the empty dentist like lounger chair I assumed would be my post. On the way down the stairs, the man-boy Chris made small talk. Turns out he's from Florida but his parents are Argentine so he's living with them for now in BA. His english was of course perfect and the american accent soothing. At least there will be no translation issues. Check that off the paranoid list of potential mishaps.

Once seated on the chair lounger, I asked him if he was going to use a pistol device to do the piercing - like they do with your ears in the mall back home. Even Gaby said that's how it was done with hers - one quick shot and the piercing is done along with insertion of the ring that pops in right after the blast of crisp clean air. "No, he shook his head. I'll use a needle." He then showed me the 3 centimeter long dagger like metal instrument - shaped somewhat like my eyebrow tweezers with a similar girth. Good god! I'm so not prepared for this - a dagger through my nose with no friend to hold my hand? I didn't want to ask any more questions for fear of the answer - especially the dreaded "are you going to numb it at least?" thought lingering in my mind now.

He pulled on surgical gloves and wiped my nose off with something anteseptic smelling. Then he gave me calm instructions as he picked up the dagger "close your eyes and when I tell you, take a deep inhale". Ok, I thought - just conjure up my special place from yoga breathing, time to leave my body. Ooops, too late - daggers going in - owwwww, owwww, friggin owww. Breathe in he hushed and I sucked air as he plunged it harder and deeper into the flesh of my nose. I remembered he said it might "sting" - hah! yeah right. A sting is like when a mosquito bites your leg and one half second later you swat it away and its over. This was a long dull take your breath away ache. Time slowed down and I felt my eyes tear up uncontrollably. "Now I'm going to put the ring in and then we're done". This part was no less jarring as the piercing was shaped like a corkscrew so that it would stay in position without needing a backing like a normal earring. He twisted and turned and finally pulled out the dagger - done. He lowered me down to rest on my back like a patient in the hospital. He dabbed at my ose with q-tips and antiseptic. It was bleeding a bit. I asked for a tissue to wipe my tears. Then he sent me off with a small card of instructions in english of how to wash and care for my new wound the coming weeks.

When I reunited with Gaby upstairs our Halcones motto immediately came to mind. "Fue duro pero lo hice" I said with a forced smile (it was hard but I did it). She laughed and looked a bit concerned for me. My nose ached for the next few hours as the Ibuprophen kicked in. I tried to take a photo of it when I got home but its so tiny you can barely see it unless you look really close. better photo coming...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fun Running

Springtime is race season in BA. The mildest most pleasant time to run so there are races every weekend throughout October and November. Los Halcones try to run them together as often as possible. This past Saturday I ran an 8k with Gaby and Corinne ( a relatively newer Halcone from SF but living and studying here, getting ready to marry her Chilean boyfriend). Martin rode alongside us for half the race taking photos and shouting encouragements "Vamos chicas, muy buen, faltan poco (just a little bit to go!). Some runners carried their homeland flag - Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile. The top 3 male finishers were skinny minny like Martin and in their early 20s. The female finishers were all at least mid 30s (some looked early forties).

Yesterday was the BA Marathon. Our team captain Judith of Holland and Martin had always planned to run it together - her first and his umpteenth. Several weeks past they tried to conjole me into running the first half with them. More to aid Judith in pacing herself for the rest of the race as she has trouble with any pace but a near sprint. Much as I wanted to be a good teammate and help her out, the thought of keeping up with the two of them for another half marathon sounded like torture. I'd learned my lesson from the half marathon I did back in August. Although I'm enjoying running 4 or 5 times a week - the distance thing just isn't my gig anymore. 8 or 10ks are just fine by me. So, to their disappointment I passed but promised to come cheer them on. Laura and I met at 10:30 and found our way to the course. The BA Marathon is only 5 years old. I guess running as a sport is fairly new to the area so they've yet to really nail the course (this year was painfully far from the center of the city and impossible to find parking or buses for spectators) or publicize it in such a way that the community comes out to cheer on the athletes. I was shocked to be one of just a handful of cheerleaders along the race route. Laura commented that she thinks its more of a cultural thing. That Argentines don't cheer, support, inspire, motivate each other the way Americans do. Not in sport and not at work either. Interesting observation coming from a Portena. We stood at KM 39 for about 25 minutes before spotting Martin and Judith. She was walking with head down and a defeated expression. Martin looked irked and fed up. We screamed and cheered and ran out to greet them - running alongside them both for a few hundred yards to get her going again. I hadn't thought to wear my running clothes and shoes otherwise would have finished the final 3K with them. We waved them on and walked on along the route to the end. At the finish line there were more people but nothing like what I'd expected - maybe 200 people if that. The race ended at Parque de los Ninos - a scenic spot next to the river with lots of wide open green space and bbq pits. The grass was littered with the weary bodies of marathon finishers - stretching, drinking water, eating bananas or just plain collapsed in the sun. We found Judith and were introduced to her boyfriend 6.5 ft tall Floris (also from Holland). She eeked out our team motto "Fue duro pero lo hice - it was hard but I did it". She said she was feeling good and confident through KM 30. then at KM32 she hit "the wall". walked off and on till the end. We tried to ease her mind of it as much as possible - finishing at all is such an accomplishment and at least she ran in the final kilometer. But Martin was harder on her. He was so disappointed - his team captain, his star athlete, the fastest and most promising runner. He kept harping that if only she had continued on as she had done the first part of the race. He could not let it go. I helped them both stretch out their sore muscles and we all headed home. Next weekend is the biggest race of the year in BA. Its the Nike 10k - more than 25 thousand argentines participate. For some, its the only race of the year.