domingo, 28 de diciembre de 2008


But again, not on purpose. I lack the time. We also lived the Christmas events and survived. JF and C have not seen beyond our back yard. Today is the first sunny day in 2 weeks that we experience, but this is a matter of fact statement, not a complaint. Illustrative images of the season:

miércoles, 10 de diciembre de 2008

Too much information is too much. Just a thematic cartoon.

Forgot about VELITAS day but looking forward to the next weekend. Friends are visiting, Cazuela mexicana (By Carolina) will be served, Christmas decorations can be displayed, the academic semester will end...

We are in the mood to celebrate.

lunes, 24 de noviembre de 2008

Pirates and snow

Can´t avoid thinking about Somalia. This country must, by popular request, turn its resources toward the fight against piracy. There is no point for them in even going assertive and expressing their interest in their own affairs is Saudi Arabia, the EU politicians and international trade agents who make their demands heard while squeezing the vitality of African countries in their fists. The world seems to be a very unfair place for the less favored. The worst they are doing, the more requirements they need to fulfill to fit the standard of civilized nation. Ecuatorian bananas are the very best in the world but in the EU there is a quota for canary plantains. Mali could develop a bit by processing its cotton or at least exporting it freely, but who would care about that country while it does not have the possibility to raise pirates and unsettle the peaceful highseas? Must be because they have no access to it. A landlocked state that is, like Bolivia. Shame on this world!

In the meantime Estonia looks fantastic (in the outside). It has been snowing for four consecutive days (and nights). Snow is fun for vacationing, but it requires plenty of shoveling. Driving is very difficult too.

Friday morning, preparing to go to work, and Saturday afternoon in the middle of the storm:

Driving in town on Sunday and back to home. These are the streets as they were then:

Under the snow and on top of it already on Monday:

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008


Comimos en Lucca y no mucho mas, el personaje principal, como en los ultimos 36+ meses fue Joonas. Para hoy: pie de manzana con el auspicio de Jaan y Emil.
La casa de Madrid esta por desempacarse.

La remodelacion no se nota todavia por el desorden que lo domina todo en nuestra vida. Todo un paraiso de actividad para cualquier persona que sufra de obsesiones compulsivas (no para Emil, como efectivamente se ilustra en la imagen, que tambien documenta el hecho de que cuando un hijo a los 12 anos calza 42 no hay medias que le lleven el ritmo, ni mama que lo note hasta que no se haga evidente en una foto):

miércoles, 12 de noviembre de 2008

This is what has kept us so very busy.

We downgraded from this:

To This:

But it is much more comfortable. These renovations have made us go from expectant to exhausted. Workers at home 12 hours per day for 2 full months are NOT recommended. The dust they produced will remain in the most unpredictible places for years to come.
Hoping to return to normal and boring routines, resuming our life and finding essential items misplaced during the works. For instance combs socks, jars, boots, swiming suits, towels, linens, hats, gloves, drawing paper, notebooks, scissors, pillows, paintings, and my graduate school diploma, among other "small" things...Where have all those items gone?

More captured images of our house before and after, later.

lunes, 29 de septiembre de 2008


Por lo que sea: reblancecimiento, madurez, nostalgias, reconsideracion de prioridades, o por el buen ejemplo de Juan Restrepo me encanta oir esto. Es como volver a comenzar desde los 5 o 6...4 o 5?

Categoria: Canciones de las que uno no se escapa, las que todos se saben sin tener idea por que...Musica de fondo existencial.

sábado, 13 de septiembre de 2008

Finally from Tallinn

With I.Connection and very little time, but back to semi-normal, almost settled. Soon "hands on" everything not related to survival!

Alguien recuerda el nombre de la novela de esta cancion? O esta mas bien fue la cancion de cual novela?

lunes, 28 de julio de 2008


A legacy, a gift by Randy Pausch. Please visit, a site that enables children to learn basic computer sciences (programming) for free.
Because there are better sources than this of mine to learn about him, And an introductory article form the NYTimes with links on his story. A famous professor, an infamous cancer, and lessons to teach to our children, why not?

jueves, 24 de julio de 2008

Arte religioso y surrealismo en la pintura de Jeroen van Aken

Esta fue la contradicción que encontré en la obra de El Bosco. Lo golpea a uno por que es insuperable, sin ningún elemento de juicio anterior, expectativa o información me sorprendí con sus pinturas. Probablemente por esa contundencia es que ha fascinado a los mirones comunes y corrientes, visitantes de museos casi por obligación u oportunismo (como yo) tanto o mas que a expertos y estudiosos del arte. Al fín, después de mucho "amague" fui al Prado con Juulia Aliide.
En la colección permanente del museo hay una sala dedicada a la pintura flamenca primitiva entre las que se destaca principalmente este pintor. Vivió en el siglo XV, lo que lo ubica en una época de manifiesto rigor religioso y persecuciones ideológicas por parte de la iglesia católica. La muestra incluye sus dos pinturas mas famosas: El jardín de las delicias y la mesa de los 7 pecados capitales que impresiona y atrae igualmente. La temática manifiestamente mística contrasta con lo conceptual y reduccionista de los personajes e incluso el paisaje que fabrica. En técnica y estilo asociado a sus contemporáneos pero con la descriptiva figurativa del surrealismo mas estricto. ¿No se trataba tal vez, del Dalí de su época? Es la sensación con la que uno se queda.

Visiblemente atormentado por las lecciones morales pero tocado por la misma gracia creativa. Me quede completamente cautivada con la imagen del jardín de las delicias, en un formato muchísimo mayor al que me imaginaba. ¿Cómo fue que pudo "componer" con tanta libertad "impunemente"? La imagen corresponde al panel central de la obra que no refleja en nada el impacto del color y las dimensiones del original.

miércoles, 23 de julio de 2008

Diseño grafico/artes bien aplicadas

Desde Alemania: Olga Bielawska y Astrid Schildkopf, diseñan para el mundo kitsch, el globalizadisimo (desde siempre) y a la venta aquí donde sobra de todo, creatividad mas que nada. Para la muestra un botón. No-Zakka.

viernes, 18 de julio de 2008


NOWADAYS; Spring and Summer passtimes.

LONG GONE DAYS. My father and my son; Emil was 10 months old. Medellin, Colombia. Mother and son. I was twenty something, he was 1 month old. Tallinn, Estonia.

We will leave Madrid for good on the 31st of this month.

jueves, 10 de julio de 2008

Pais Vasco: Lekeitio y San Sebastian-Donostia

Fachada centenaria del pueblo pesquero, sin evidencia alguna de estructura adicional que la soporte. Y el mar MUYYYY al fondo de nuestra calle.

Una foto no documental de San Sebastian sin personalizar por que como se nota en las dos primeras imágenes, no colaboran con la cámara; más de lo mismo.

Algunos miembros de mi familia (EN LAFOTO DEL LADO DERECHO!)

HAY MAS!!!...

miércoles, 2 de julio de 2008

Flower arrangements that I cannot recreate at home

Once upon a time I had interest in rag dolls. I bought books, materials and had few nice ideas, no more! I grew out of it without even noticing...It must have been that the children at home were dolls enough. I still like them, and looking around in the search for the fantastic dollhouse museum in Basel (Where I plan to take Juulia next August) I found this unusual MAN. On flowers the following images:

The Hague, Bilbao and Lekeitio, respectively.

A good site that people like me would enjoy HERE
Remarkable things/places but not at all mainstream. Good for travellers.

sábado, 7 de junio de 2008


But horribly sleep-deprived. My mother is also visiting from today.
Writing soon to all the good people we met in Tallinn. I wish all that visit us would leave a coment but anyway, I see the counter and it also "counts"
Off to sleep...
No words, yes pictures:

viernes, 16 de mayo de 2008

Off to Tallinn in 9 hours.

We will be back with tons of pictures and stories in approximately 3 weeks.

De vuelta en 3 semanas con muchas fotos e historias buenas, espero.

Proportions are not very well stitched....I know, she knows, he knows, everybody knows because it has been commented in our other blog HERE

lunes, 12 de mayo de 2008

Relativism, more or less.

The term culture encompasses a wide range of manifestations common to a group of people. Language is one of them. In some cases language is precisely the agglutinating element, the maker, the carrier or the comprised essence of a human conglomerate. As an example I can cite nations such as Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. However important we consider this element out of the many others to be (religion, beliefs, customs, traditions, uses, etc), it serves people to exercise their social being, and to communicate. If language and culture are known to be so inextricably linked, language development, communication techniques and cultural skills should be combined for an efficient cross cultural training, free of avoidable misunderstandings and disputes.
Edward T. Hall, anthropologist, developed the theory of Low vs. High Context Culture, based on the way in which we communicate. The notion that our cultural settings determine very differently the content of verbal and written communication and the interpretation given to what otherwise seem similar codes (words, symbols), is one argument of his contribution. He also considers the importance given to subsidiary concepts such as rank, appearance, origins, non-verbal cues, etc. In simple terms, he claimed that a "framework" determines how efficient the communication process might result. Generic standards are not applicable in what regards to communication. Conflict could be significantly reduced if we consider the cultural differences even in aspects as important as respecting agreements, telling the "truth," punctuality, creditworthiness, etc.

High-Context Cultures

The context is very important, it supports messages both sent and received. To understand one needs to be "initiated" because all kind of clues that are external, additional to what is said or written are as important. Many silent rules apply in these exchanges, other factors include age, the type of relationship that exists between the parties, gender, position, location of the exchange and courtesy signs employed, among others. Latin America, Japan, Thailand, Spain, Egypt, Kuwait and South Africa are good examples of this type.

Low-Context Cultures

The “context” in which something is said isn’t as important. The message is literal, so attending to written messages is enough to proceed. Information is compartmented. Considerations regarding time (efficiency) are strict so punctuality is more valued than rank, position or age. People are not "trained" to read between lines, they do not act creatively and therefore they do what they are told to do because that is what is expected and no more, but no less. Instructions are important, guidelines, lists, schedules, agendas, orderly planning. Formats are imposed over courtesy, formality therefore derives from rules not from tradition. What is said is usually what is meant. Germany, Scandinavian countries and to some extent The United States are instances of this type.

Most of the times people can behave one way or another depending also on many other circumstances but we TEND to act more like one of the types. Being aware of the differences is a good tool to prevent and manage disputes. If your employee is French, it seems better not to present a very detailed list of responsibilities because it might be misinterpreted as lack of trust in his/her abilities to "manage." Being resourceful is a quality that a high context culture should appreciate greatly. However, if you leave up to your Swedish employee to figure out anything without your request and instructions nothing will occur. Your unrealistic expectations will discourage both of you and the work will never get done. It makes no sense to demand an Argentinian to be on time for an appointment, but it makes even less sense to get irritated because of someone´s lateness in Morocco. A million things could have prevailed, and "understandably so" in the period of time between making the appointment and appearing in the designated location. This shows "flexibility" and the skill to accommodate to the arising circumstances, which in turn must be not only respected and understood but also valued.

I have mentioned very little of this subject but these posts should not exceed the million pages limit! It also seems weird to post without pictures like if I was giving some sort of speech so here it is my choice of the day. Because I am amazed at how much blooming is taking place around here. Madrid is full of roses of all colors and my garden (NOT REALLY MINE, certainly not under my care) too!
The house of my dreams, above: The Moomin house in Finland.

viernes, 9 de mayo de 2008

Delayed again

I am in a friendly relationship with my own flaws. I can´t post as much as I wish these weeks because life is busy before a journey across Europe. I can´t forget for a minute that I will be leaving Madrid in about 2 months time neither. We have a million things to do before we leave, precisely those things that we always delayed because we were in no rush such as going out and visiting the monuments.

In the past days we have entertained guests:

Joonas turned 3, and became a well behaved big boy out of the sudden:

And the Spring season has arrived:

martes, 6 de mayo de 2008

I shall no longer procastinate about these posts. Behavioral ecconomics and Cultural issues by Eduard Hall.

This really seems to be a very good option:

Procrastination. An article from Psychology today. Illustrative, so you can sympathize with me.

Behavioural economics is a discipline that tries to explain why people or groups take economic decisions and how. With a scientific approach and a persuasive rate of accuracy psychological elements of human behaviour can allow for the prediction of financial trends. Together with several other key elements the theories developed under this conceptual umbrella find applicability in several aspects of our practical life, allowing room to optimize the results of human activities. Efficiency is in lato sensu, all about economy. Its main difference with the standard economic science is the importance given to the rationality -or lack of it- of decision making processes. Intuitive and unconscious selections, that more often than not occur, cannot be evaluated without the interaction of cognitive psychology and sociology.
For example, when having choices to make, we often face dilemmas that marketing experts "rescue" us from: Do we buy the imported jar of French jam, covered with quality seals, organic, deliciously looking but pricey or the supermarket brand with extra sugar, massively produced, with artificial flavouring, on a lousy container and dead cheap? To solve them, we are offered more options, easy to conform with, comfortably: In between there will be a display of yet another 10 varieties of jam with different and even incomparable characteristics that are consciously set to show us what is the right choice to make. This is not excluding a persuasive arrangement that would convince anybody that the French jam is worth every penny and as a symbol of status, care for the environment and good taste we should acquire.
In other words, for added comfort, marketing strategies would spare us the hassle of a responsible selection of items by suggestively presenting us with their choice, in what usually, but not necessarily, seems to be a good compromise between the best and the not so good option. Tiresome thoughtful analysis is not conducted on daily basis and random choices are offered to us sparing us the hassle. For example, we would choose holiday packages, retirement plans, prepaid medical insurance policies, and mortgage arrangements on the basis of how well it is made easy to us, plus the added value of having plenty of choices to freely discern about. Even in a macroeconomic level, market forces might be influenced by the way in which cognitive psychology helps to assess conducts and trends providing good chances for experts to predict and produce desirable outcomes.
Spending money with credit card is actually more "expensive" but less regrettable than using cash. Even if in the long run the financial effects could be negative, the fact that guilt is delayed and the instant satisfaction still achieved is worth the trouble, that is for most people and better yet if given a number of ways to pay the debt back. Many other phenomena could be linked to concepts developed by this field of studies, procrastination being also one of the most popularly observed. Procrastinators are commonly unproductive, less efficient and often dissatisfied in their personal lives. They are also fully aware of it, which in turn deactivates their interest in pursuing responsible actions due to the increased self blame and loss of confidence that it implies and keeps generating.

Plainly put, B.E. rationalizes, among others, the human tendency to make stupid decisions at any price and act irrationally. Why we do not write to our friends more often? Why we do not start the diet before the beginning of next week? Why not to live a healthier lifestyle before it is too late? Why do we fail to complete plans that require perseverance and patience? Why so many work jobs that make them miserable? Why do we fall into commercial traps and purchase "bargains" that are unnecessary whereas we try to practice economy on what we really need (cheap is very costly!)? Etc..

However cogent these theories may seem I still remain doubtful about the existence of standards applied to human behavior: Could irrational behaviour really be predictable? Can Heuristics be equaled to irrationality?

So the post is not too long I will continue with CULTURAL CONTEXT matters tomorrow!

To read a bit more, find in the link an old article from The Washington Post on this.

A food blog with many good links and easy recipes by a Brazillian who lives in Buenos Aires HERE. Yes, unrelated, but useful!

domingo, 27 de abril de 2008

An even simpler one. Environmentaly friendly but not absurd advise.

50 ways

-Number 8 is arguable. The reasoning is VERY streched.
-Who is that person that nowadays is not applying common sense advice number 11?
-Recommendations 14 and 22 could be combined. Why a Mexican, for example, should be consuming water that has traveled all the way around the globe from Fiji with the expenses it implies?
-Dear J: I am sorry to expose you publicly but Number 16 has been worded for you, with affection...MariaC.
-38 and 47 if only if commercial practices would allow it. In Spain this is a very remote possibility as for today.

Just few changes in our habits could help. We are a family that proudly finds 31 out of these 50 ways to save the planet already part of our routines very long ago.