Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.

Somebody Else's to them, whomever they may be.
How I feel after throwing a party...

Thanks for the visit!! :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sage Brush & Thistles

Who is this man that loves sage brush and thistles?

He's the same one who fills my tank with gas when it is running low.

Brings me a Scoobie Snack when I don't feel like pausing my show.

Loves me when I'm a mess.

Takes care of me when I'm sick, just out of surgery or a little under the weather.

Sage Brush may make other sneeze...and thistles may prickle...but I think I'll keep them in my garden just the same.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Belly Dancing and Fire Eating

As some of you may know, I'm cruising into the 6th year of my book club...The Late Night Bookies.

For our book club for February 2010, we read: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. Great author and one I have enjoyed in the past with her novel "The Namesake." This particular read was a hit with all of the book club members, and it seems like most of them were happy to recommend it. It is a series of short stories, which, this time around, was very appealing and made for a quick read.

With the theme being India, Kelly, the woman who chose this months selection, wanted to go out for Indian food. That being the case she chose the restaurant India Fusion. I love India, I love Indian food. I like traditional Indian decor and I was hoping to find a good atmosphere at this particular location. I had expectations and I was looking forward to the evening.

For the most part, my expectations were reasonably met. The food was good, if a little overpriced, middle of the road Indian fare, not the best I've had but definitely not the worst, and it is a place I would go to, relatively easily, again. Not a ringing endorsement, but not a bad one either.

BUT, the thing that made up for it all was the tattooed fire-eating belly dancer.

Yes. I did say the words "tattooed fire-eating belly dancer" all together--in a row--as a collective statement.


This chick was awesome. Awesome, because she perked the place up and gave it some flavor--livened up the dinner hour, added some spice to the uptight, white-bread customers hanging out there. She made her ankle tinkling rounds, weaving in and out of the guest-filled tables, most of whom I do not think appreciated her properly, and even paused at our table for a chat.

Through the course of our chat, we found out that she had relocated from California to Utah and that she had been a belly dancer for about 10 years or so, and even that she taught belly-dancing lessons. If I lived closer, I could see myself signing up for some of those. Add some spice and flavor to my own life. Maybe another time.

Anyway, she dressed and acted the part and reminded me of a time many years ago, when at the age of 15, I went on a business trip with my dad to Istanbul, Turkey and saw my first belly dancer.

1985: I'm the smiling girl in the middle

Now that was also an eye-opening fun time. My dad's local business compadres wanted to take us out for dinner and entertainment to the same place that my mom and dad had gone to when they traveled to Istanbul together earlier that same year. So, off we went to an underground, smokey, nightclub restaurant, replete with savory, amazing food, full of adults, cigarette smoke, music and belly dancers. She also wound around the tables, entertaining, tinkling and dancing, though she was not a fire-eater. The nightclub had a photographer, so there were some fun photos that came out of the event. In all--a great time for a 15-year old girl who was missing Brazil and was excited about the international adventure with her dad.

Ahhhh, Istanbul. It left an indelible impression. When we first arrived, we landed on the tarmac and they rolled up with a staircase so we could descend from the plane. It was night, and there were soldiers with machine guns posted all about. Shortly before our trip, Turkey had had another airport that had been attacked, and so everyone was on high alert.

Throughout the course of my trip, soldiers could be seen roaming the streets and guarding banks and hotels as well as any bridges or other main public locations. Most of them were young, and cute, and who could resist flirting? Certainly not me, and, much to my delight I turned several heads my way with coy smiles and big eyes. But I digress...

At a wharf in Istanbul by the open air market with the driver

I was fortunate enough to have the wife of a business associate and her chauffeur willing to show me the sights and to spend the days with me while my dad was at work. She and I had such fun times. She took me to all of these wonderful places. Mosques, museums, restaurants, the famous Bazaar, gardens and small towns and ruins. The scenes from my car windows fascinated me. I saw ancient buildings, minarets, men strolling arm in arm, women with children shopping with carts and bags, billboards in Turkish, placards and signs that very definitely indicated that I was not in the U.S. anymore, whatsoever. The traditions, foods, language and people were different and it rained most of the time that I was there. It was perfect. It was one of the greatest traveling experiences I've ever had.

So, in conclusion we come back full circle to Miss Fire-Eating Belly Dancer with her tinkling and dancing.

I realized I need to get myself a skirt just like yours.
Hot pink ruffles and fish-netted coins, bells, beads and a full, flowy skirt.
I'm thinking it might be good for a night out...or if I'm feeling daring, maybe something new to wear to the little kids I teach focus for a few minutes before the vibrant, life electricity that they possess in spades, causes them to wiggle themselves right off of their chairs.

Thank you for entertaining us.
Thanks for being something different and interesting on a cold, winter evening.
Thanks for being something sparky and interesting to our day.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Feeling a Little Chilled and Under the Weather? Have Some Homemade Soup

So...I was hoping with the slight reprieve, from the grayness that has become this years winter, that perhaps the snow and sleet and icy wet had maybe left us, and that we were now on to a happy season of rain, and slowly unfolding greenery, and the onset of Spring.

I know, I was an early hope, perhaps not such a rational hope, but I think we all have those moments of slightly manic and giddy illusion. I also think that it was brought on due to my recent escape to Southern California, and that I was very definitely left hungering for better weather, blue skies and sunshine, even if there was still a bite in the air and some of the heaviest rains they've had in a long time. Instead of this pleasant fiction, I came home to snow, and have wished it gone ever since. At any rate, here we still are, still very much in winter with another snow storm expected tomorrow.

With this soppy and unwieldy weather that will not cease and desist, I have found myself feeling a little off kilter the past few days and thought maybe I was coming down with a little bit of a cold. And, after my escapades with government offices and their processes today, I needed something to warm and satisfy my innards again...because those dismal, gray and grungey offices sucked a little of the sunshine out of my soul today.

Anyway, my grandma makes an excellent Chicken and Rice Soup...she does hers from scratchy-scratch, but today I did the quickened, condensed, semi-homemade version, and that's what I'm sharing here. It is super easy and takes very little effort, especially if you have the main ingredients on hand.

Whether semi-homemade or from scratch, it's good for what ails you and I definitely recommend it.

Quick Chicken & Rice Soup

Bring 2 Qt. of Water to a boil, add in 2 Tbsp. of Better Than Bouillon--Chicken, stirring

Add 1/2 Tbsp. of Butter

Add in 1/2 Tbsp. Onion Powder, a smattering of Black Cracked Pepper, Parsley and a few Red Pepper Flakes. The red pepper flakes are not for burning but for a little bit of flavor, so don't overdo it.

Next add in 1 can of Chicken Chunks with the broth.
  • No--it's not gross, and it turns out really well. I checked the label, and there were no additives and preservatives for the brand I used, so I was pretty happy about that.
  • If you have some cooked leftover chicken, add that in as well (I did), or instead of the canned chicken, if you please.
  • I didn't have enough home cooked chicken, so that is where I supplemented the canned chicken, which also makes excellent chicken salad sandwiches, if you like that sort of thing.
  • Yes, you can also do raw chicken, but that's not what I did tonight.
Next add in 3 C. Cooked Rice.
  • I had leftover rice from the other night and this was a great way to use it up. It plumped back up really nicely. (If you don't have cooked rice, you can add in raw rice, but it will take longer to cook up, and you will want to make sure that you taste your seasonings for balance.)
  • **If you want to add in additional veggies, such as carrots, peas or whatever, now is the time. I did not tonight. I just wanted a simple and warming dish without too many complexities.
Simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring periodically.
  • Serve with crackers or French Bread or Rolls and butter.
  • You can also add in a nice green salad with homemade vinaigrette if you want a little more than just soup.
Great quickie dinner, or for a feeling-a-little-under-the-weather supper. We had not one tiny drop left over. It was a hit! Woo Hoo! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bag the Purple...I'm Goin' Platinum...

My Birthday Card from Kristin by

So one of my best and dearest friends, Kristin, came to a dinner party for my 40th birthday a couple of nights ago...with the above birthday card in hand.

Now, Kristin knows that I've been in a bit of a muddle over this whole 40-year-old "thing"...or "funk" as I like to affectionately call it. She knows I'm super irked with my feelings on top of it all, but as irked as I may be, that they are my feelings and that I am going to swim around and get all pruney in least just a little bit.

ANYWAY...She gave me this card, with this glammed out old lady on the front. Inside it says "Attitude is Everything" and then her note..."This is you in another 40...You Glamourpuss!" Which promptly elicited laughter.

No doubt this is Beloved's secret fear that I will indeed age with "flair" replete with an overabundance of hair mousse and rhinestones...and his fear is relatively well founded in past experience and a few little facts that he is certain about me.

1. I love, what we call at home, "Club Girl" hair. The more product the better. The bigger the better. The more dramatic the better. It has been said in the past, and I quote reasonably accurately "You need to pull that hair down a little! You're going in to Corporate America not Saturday Night Clubbing!!" my indignant sputters that it is *not* club hair, etc.

2. I love jewelry. Cheap, Middle Road, Expensive--it does not matter--and I like to pile it on with happy abandon. Yes, I do like to make sure it goes with what I have on...but where a little goes well, more goes better. I have walked to the tinkling of my own jewelry, and it delights me.

3. I love clothes. I try not to leave my closet doors open--it's just distressing to anyone peeking in. Jackets, blouses, dresses, and purses and purses and purses, along with drawers of scarves and many beautiful pairs of shoes. in multiples of all of it. A total clothes horse. But I make no apologies...I am mostly a bargain shopper. Yes. Mostly...and--I might add--it's not like it's Chanel and Versace...I'm just saying.

4. I am the Accessory Queen. Why be plain?? I love colors and textures, so why not enjoy them in all of their glory. Hats, scarves, silk flowers for my hair, headbands, beads and baubles, cloaks, coats, shawls and throws. Not to mention rhinestone embedded sunglasses.

5. I listen to Funk and Electronica, and any dance-worthy music.

6. While I don't quite embrace the title, I have been called "The 80's Princess" by my siblings and spouse. I think it's meant to goad me a little and to give me a bad time, but I choose to take it as a compliment. The 80's were better. People wore makeup and fixed their hair, and didn't walk around looking like a train wreck all the time. To modernize the look: Hairspray is o.k. Blue eyeshadow, not so much.

7. I was an Art Major. Color. Drama. Opinions. Flair. To him, this justifies everything that is not conservative about me. For me, it just makes me laugh every time I hear "Well, you are an artist." So I laugh and kiss his face and say "And what would you do without me--without your artist??" to which he replies "I would be a lonely, single man. You are the best decision I ever made, and I was young and stupid when I made it." Which in turn warms me from the tip of my head to my toes and makes everything that might be wrong right again. you can see...his concern is not unfounded. It's a pretty for-sure deal that he's married to a girl who is going to end up as a glammed out old lady. Sorry, can't be helped.

And to Kristin--thanks for giving me a great laugh and putting some perspective on it--you're right--Attitude is Everything!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

3 a.m. Rocker Girl

Travis Barker

So, I’ve been watching Travis Barker drumming videos on YouTube for almost an hour now. Why, Tracy, why? Well, I’ll tell you why, because Travis Barker, of Blink 182 and +44 fame, is ROCKIN’ IT! Boyfriend is getting his illustrious and talented drumming groove ON. WOW.

Now, I don’t know about his lifestyle or what he’s all about, I don’t know what his philosophies or politics are, and I don’t care. I just know that he and his respective cronies have kept us rocking in our house for over a decade now. I love Blink 182 and I love +44. I love it in the car, in the kitchen, in the living room, in the headphones or in the car…wait I said “the car” already didn’t I? Well, I really LOVE it in the car…anyway, it doesn’t matter where-- it just matters how loud really.

And let’s be honest shall we? As a chick who’s been to multiple concerts and parties, and has definitely listened to her fair share of way-too-loud-your-mom’s-gonna-get-pissed music, the louder the better. The tinnitis isn’t too bad, really it’s not. Besides my school of thought for most things is “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” That includes ears.

So far I’ve listened to his versions of Busta Rhymes “Don’t Touch Me,” Flo Rida’s “Low” (which as some of you know is my very favorite “Naughty Girl” song, so adding some guitar and some pounding drums, pretty much sends me into auditory heaven), Slaughterhouse’s “The One,” and Soulja’s “Crank That”…multiple times.

I can’t get enough, it’s like I’m some kind of auditory junkie. GIVE ME MORE!! The sound mixed with the video of him pounding those drums like a maniac is almost primal and I feel like I should yank the cord for the headphones out, let it blow out-the speakers and dance around the room with rhythm and groove and hair flying in every direction and sweat pouring down my face as I shine in music joy.

My Drawing: Dancing Girl

But…there’s always a “but” isn’t there?…

But, given that it is almost 3:00 a.m. and I’m in a relatively conservative neighborhood full of mostly 30 to 40-somethings with little kidlets, the chances of that happening are close to nil. Not to mention that my raucous drumming delight would be competing with the massive Call of Duty II firefight going on, as we speak, on the other side of the room with the Xbox Live player, who shall remain nameless.

So, instead, for now…I remain…the 3 a.m. Rocker Girl with Headphones with my head bobbing, foot tapping and brain screaming “Hell Yeah, Baby! Hell--Yeah!”

Monday, February 15, 2010

Howling at the Moon...

Despair by Gustave Courbet

So here I am, a woman whose favorite novels through the years have remained, respectfully, Wuthering Heights and Crime and Punishment. Human angsty-ness and brooding atmospheres, guilt and hallucinations, darkness vs. light, damnation and redemption and tortured human existence on the moors…or St. Petersburg…as the case may be…the usual I’m-a-human-hear-me-roar bit.

Wuthering Heights by Jena DellaGrottaglia-Maldonado

I am also a girl who loves her monster movies. Not the slasher Texas Chainsaw Massacre stuff, but the Underworld, Van Helsing, Dracula, Frankenstein, Clash of the Titans kind of stuff. I love Buffy and Edward equally for different reasons. Angel still makes my heart race a little bit. I love the Dresden Files and Battlestar Gallactica--the old and the new, Star Trek, also the old and the new in all of its variations…and the list definitely goes on.

I grew up with a dad who LOVED all of the old monster and Sci-Fi matinee movies. Movies by the likes of Ray Harryhausen and Ed Wood. Movies like Sinbad the Sailor, Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, and Bela Lugosi-fare, as well as all of the 1950’s & 60’s Sci-Fi, “This Planet Earth,” “Creature From the Black Lagoon” kind of stuff. He was a lover of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Flash Gordon in all of its Queen soundtracked glory, Blade Runner and The Thing.

All of this means, I definitely have a penchant for the fantastical and mythical, as well as a hearty, long-standing love affair with the B movie. If there is some monster madness going on somewhere, I am all over that…except for zombies. I use caution with the zombies because they kinda freak me out…kind of a lot. I know they’re not real…I’m just sayin’…
I tell you this, not to humiliate myself in front of your good senses, but rather so you can imagine for yourselves, the thrill that went up my spine and the elation that I felt when I caught my first glimpse of the trailer for Wolfman. My husband, who was sitting next to me at the time, without a word from me or even a glance (because my eyes were pinned to the movie screen in front of me), turned and said to me as he patted my leg, no doubt with a knowing look, “I know. I know. We will see it as soon as it comes out.”

True to his word, he took me to see it this afternoon. And-- Wow, I loved it! I could have turned around and watched it a second time without hesitation (of course once I had filled up my popcorn bucket and drink before the second showing.) Alas, this was not to be, so here I sit at my computer at home, hoping to put my thoughts and feelings, once again, into intelligible words for the rest of you few who may be reading.

Just like anything, and especially with monster-type fare, no doubt there will be many who trivialize it or try to classify it as cliché, or trite, or whatever it is they want to say to denigrate the film to try to discredit it for being a fun, dark, brooding, at times, campy, ride. For myself, I would classify it as stellar classic gothic fare that addresses a number of very human emotions that have remained constant through the millenia…and I enjoyed every minute of this Saturday Monster Movie Special, beginning to end.

I would categorize this version of the story told in the same pleasant company of Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott, The Lady in White by Wilkie Collins and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. All prime pieces of Gothic literary delight that have stood the tests of time, though not always of the critic, and do remain, to date, long-standing favorites of many readers through the decades.

But let me forewarn you. If you take yourself and your movies seriously, and you’re some kind of an art critic when it comes to film, save your chatter about the perceived modern human condition for something else. This is not the place. This movie is a fun, fun, fun, blood and guts, gore, darkness, howling at the moon, fantastic over the top Creature Feature and I guarantee you it isn’t going to win any Oscars. It’s just not. It would never be allowed. It’s not how the Academy rolls.

Anthony Hopkins does do an excellent job as the estranged, odd, quirky father and Benicio del Toro is great as the dark, brooding, thoughtful son…but it’s still not a story about Darfur, or Global Warming, or Chernobyl, or Child Prostitution and Human Trafficking, it’s not about Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, or about Alternate Political Views and Lifestyles and How Misunderstood We All Are. We get that in our day-to-day concerns…this isn’t the venue for it.

This is about a man who turns into a wolfman, because he got bit by a wolfman, and his senses have been lost. He has a bloodlust, a berserk-ery that overcomes him when the moon is full, and he goes insane. Those who love him, think there is still humanity in him…if they could just get those teeth and claws to take a wee step back, maybe they could coax the man inside the monster out…but I think you know how that kind of story ends.

But I digress…

In this version of The Wolfman--there is everything in it to create a haunting story of unrequited love and tragic loss. There is the return of the prodigal son to the family estate. There is death alluded and mysterious, there is suspense, there is horror, there is suspended disbelief that a human being could commit such grievances against another. There is myth, legend, dripping claws and heaving bosoms all by the swell of the full moon eerily ensconced in fog.

It has the failing manor estate surrounded by lush greenery, the haunted forest, fallen chapels, secluded villages, a private estate mausoleum wherein lies an immortal statue in repose of the deceased mother, a haunting children’s nursery with estranged memories newly come to light, hallucinations, a late 1800’s ultra-creepy insane asylum, bands of gypsies with a dancing bear, and a Celtic circle of stones cloaked in foggy moonlight.

The movie is rife with emotion and humanity, both at it’s greatest and at its worst.

Danny Elfman, once again, delivers a soundtrack to exception. (As a side note, for those who may not know, he was the lead for the band Oingo Boingo. He has successfully gone from a young man’s career to an adults career as he has done successful soundtrack after successful soundtrack, of which this is yet one more.)

As far as the actual creature, there was a classic familiarity to the visage of the Wolfman. We’ve come a long, long way through the decades with our special effects, and this movie is no exception. My thought is that the look of this Wolfman is an homage to those Wolfmen gone before, which brings horrifying comfort to what you see up on the screen, if you will. You * know * this guy. And I have to say that I really liked that they didn’t make him some sleek CGI monster that is devoid of any humanity. It’s Wolf “man,” not wolf “thing” that turns back into a man later. Don’t get me wrong, he looks awesome, he just hasn’t had the human-y monster-ness digitized away.

In conclusion, the movie rocked. I loved it. I would definitely see it again. I came out of there with a grin on my face, glad that whomever had decided to make it, had followed through on the project. When it comes out on DVD, I will buy it. If there is a Director’s Cut, I will enjoy it.

In the end, my thought is that we can take a tip or two from the Wolfman. Not that we should set our worlds alight with blood and mayhem, but rather that there is really nothing wrong with a little howling at the moon to voice our despair, our loneliness, and our rage and confusion. It looks cathartic. In fact if more of us howled a little more often, maybe we’d be a little healthier in the long run.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Best Valentine...

Zion's National Park 1992

My husband has a knack for giving the best Valentine's ever.

He's creative about it, and somehow always matches the needs to the moment.

You never know what you're going to get or when. Some years, it's a single rose, others an inundation of them, some years perhaps a card or chocolates, dinner out, or movies, or other treats or gifts, once it was a blue Vermont Teddy Bear, sometimes it's just several hours of "face-time" being each others buddies as we get stuff done, and every once in a while jewelry is the flavor of the day. Regardless of what it is, it's always perfect for that year.

As a note, I don't always get cards with my gifts, but the one's I do get are always memorable. My very favorite card, hand's down, to date, is the one received on Valentine's Day in 2007.

I will share it with you today, in remembrance and in honor of the love affair and friendship he and I have had going for the past 18 years or so. It is as follows:

The Outside of the Card: "With you is my very favorite place to be"
The Inside: "Happy Valentine's Day with Love

His Additional Insert:


Happy Valentine's Day, Tracy!

Valentinius was an obscure saint from Ancient Rome. There is no written record of the events of his life or why he is a saint.

Pope Gelasius abolished Lupercalia--the Roman February fertility festival--in the fifth century and instead promoted St. Valentine's honor a saint no one knows anything about.

Geoffrey Chaucer, the randy wordsmith of the middle ages, chose St. Valentine's Day to brown-nose King Richard II of England, by sending a poem written to honor the King's engagement.

Esther Howland, in 1847, used Valentine's Day to generate business for her father's stationary store by sending mass-produced "Valentine's."

In the 1980's the diamond industry began an advertising campaign to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.

So, I just wanted to wish you a Happy "brown-nosing-fertile-greedy-capitalist-unknown-saint's day" and to tell you I miss you all the time and I love you.


For the past few years, I have kept this card somewhere accessible. Not tucked away in a book, or folder or scrapbook, but somewhere that I can pick it up every now and again and read it through. Without fail it always brings a smile to my face and some times, still, even a chuckle.

Hands down--he is my very favorite human ever and I am a lucky girl.

As to all of the rest of you Valentine's lovers out there...Happy "brown-nosing-fertile-greedy-capitalist-unknown-saint's day" and if you are one of those who hates Valentine's Day...well...Happy Lupercalia instead then!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

If There Were No Butchers, I'd Be a Vegetarian.

Thanksgiving 2005

SO...I'm looking through my Brazilian cookbook, Traditional Recipes of the Brazilian Kitchen (1976) aka Receitas Tradicionais da Cozinha Brasileira, this morning for a particular recipe that I need and I came across: Turkey cooked Brazilian Style (roughly translated).

I glance and do a double take. This is what it says (translated as closely as possible to the original):

When you buy the turkey, calculate 300 grams per person, if he is already dead and clean; this will correspond to half a kilo per person if the turkey is still alive. Give him a cup of cachaca (liquor made from sugar cane) half an hour before you kill him. When he is "Falling down drunk" cut off his head in a single chop and hang him upside down so the blood will run out. Next de-feather him, while he is still "hot", avoiding having to scald him. If you do it after, you will harm the flavor. De-feather, scorch the fuzz, clean and wash as you would usually do with a chicken (because I'm cooking chickens from scratch...not.). Leave him in vinha-d'alho (wine garlic marinade) (wine, onion, garlic, salt, parsley, green onion, black pepper and any herb of your taste such as: oregano, rosemary, basil, or other.)

As I read this excerpt, my mouth dropped open, and I laughed and then I translated it for my husband. He said "Not what you had in mind for dinner tonight, eh?"..."Uhhh, no."

Here is what I see:

1) "Dead and Clean" turkeys are always dead and clean...those of my predecessors...not so much. (I remember my great-aunt sitting on a tree stump in her back yard...with sugar cane fields and coffee fields around her before it turned to dense forest, plucking the chicken we were going to be having for dinner.)

2) The turkey is referred to as a "him" not an "it."

3) Get him drunk on sugar cane liquor before you lop his head off.

4) Pluck him while he's still hot so you don't sacrifice flavor.

5) Just do it like you did the chicken for last weeks dinner.

6) Bathe him in wine to make him real tasty.

I'm sure freshly slaughtered turkey is delicious, but there's a whole process before the cooking takes place that I'm going to be such a girl about. Meaning, "Ewwww" "No Way" "Not gonna happen" "My nails..." "Gotta wash my hair" "Go ahead and get that started, I'll be right back...I Promise!" and etc.

I mean, come on, killing my own food...please...that's not happening anytime soon, if ever. Lopping the head off of something, no. Hanging it upside down...blood everywhere, what a mess. Nope--no time for that today.

Thank you Mr. Butcher, for everything you do for me so that I can live a modern life with minimally dirty hands.

...But I will admit, getting a turkey drunk...that could just be plain old fashioned farm fun!

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Life Via iPhone

Photo of a Photo: Grace & Tracy 1993

So lately I've really been enjoying my iPhone. I take substandard pictures, often slightly blurry pictures, of everything...mostly because I can directly download them into my Facebook page and share it all with anyone who might be remotely interested or perhaps entirely bored with their own day.

Wall of Radishes: 2010: Food 4 Less: Because it looked beautiful

I download food I have cooked, food I'm about to eat, food that I can't believe that other people eat, views of mountains, oceans and freeways. I take pictures of things I find that I like in a store, flowers that I thought were pretty, and pictures of loved ones and friends that I am with. Due to a recent trip to the grandparents house, I have also started taking pictures of pictures and downloading those too...I'm sorry...I have no scanner, so this is what you get. I figure, you never know when there might be a fire or some kind of terrible disaster, and this way they are preserved forever on my Facebook page...or at least until some online tragedy occurs, which let's be honest, haunts all of us occasionally in the back of our minds.

AMAZING Yogurt we had on our roadtrip to California: I didn't want to forget what kind it was

When I got the iPhone, I thought "AWESOME!!! I have current technology!" Of course this feeling only lasts the millisecond it takes for something new to come out and rob you of this feeling, BUT I was IN the moment and loving it. I realized that I had been sooooo behind the times, but now, I was IT, I was hip and happening! Watch out!! Trendy Girl alert!!

Picture of a picture: my Aunt and Uncle in Brazil: from the 1940's

I was absorbed for the remainder of the afternoon, curled up on the couch and I input names, phone numbers and addresses...and then I found that I could surf the internet--Ahhhhh!!!!!... send email, watch YouTube, and *gasp* TAKE PHOTOS!!! It's true. I squealed like a 15 year old. Let the picture taking begin!!!! Don't have your camera with you?? NO PROBLEM! Let me help you out!

I have 917 photos on my iPhone.

Go ahead...take it took me a minute to absorb the mania I have been under as well.

I can now capture the moment to moment minutiae, and you know what...I love it. No matter how tiny the camera is, it's still not as small as the phone, and the phone is always with you...unless you're my sister...then it could be anywhere...but I digress.

My grandparents with my sister's little boy

So my conclusion... 1 iPhone + 1 Tracy = Happy Happy Joy Joy and Boatloads of moments previously un-caught on film.

Apparently everything you need, all right next to each other...Gin, Vodka and Baby Formula

Now...if I could just figure out how to download them from the phone to the computer...

Calvin "Boone"

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Homage to Daddy...Dad...Pai...Papai...Meu Querido Desaparecido...

Well...Today is February 7th and what a day it was 10 years ago. Full of weeping and tears--broken hearts and shattered lives. Regrets. Spoken and unspoken words and tendernesses. The slipping between this life and the next. It was a crushing day. A life altering day.

Today is the 10 year anniversary of my Father's unexpected, untimely and indelibly tragic death.

To any father's out there in the ether--you are valuable.
You are important.
The work you do, the lives you bless, the time you spend, the talks, the playing, the laughing, the disciplining...every special or mundane thing you are making something.
If you don't know what you've made, or if you're not sure if it is good, or as good as you would like it to be--look at it, study it--and go from there.
Children are forgiving and forgetting kinds of creatures, especially when you return with an increase of love.
You are their world if you choose to be it.
Take care.
Love those who love you.
Because when you are gone you will be missed and all that is left is the legacy and the memories that you chose to create.

In his's post goes with raised glass to him. I love you. I miss you. Here's to you--and to me--and to all of us left behind--until we meet again.

My mom and Dad on one of his business trips to Istanbul, Turkey in the 80's.
She loved traveling with him. They went around the world.
They were crazy in love with each other.

The Charlestown Seafood Festival in Rhode Island.
My Dad is doing the Chicken Dance with my little sister Grace.
She loved it, we loved it, he loved it.
We ate lobster, shrimp, mussels, hush puppies and all kinds of delightful things in the summer sun by the beach.

On the Harley Davidson Fat Boy, with three of my four brothers.
My dad loved this motorcycle.
All of my brothers love motorcycles.
Let's be honest...the WHOLE family loves motorcycles!

One of the first pictures of us together. 1970.
I don't remember this day...

Just me and my dad.
I loved doing stuff with my dad.
We went to the beach, played in the rain, and explored the world together.

One of my first Halloween's...Dad, Mom and I'm the scary Franken-Baby.
Our family has always been big on Halloween.
My dad loved doing spooky makeup, and crazy costumes.
We, still, raid the closets, drawers, attics and jewelry boxes to put together our costumes.

Rhode Island, out walking the forest by our home.
New England in the late Fall, is everything you always thought it might be.
Nothing compares.

I loved the swings. Payson, Utah.

Our family just before we left the U.S. to live for several years in Brazil.
We were so excited.
It was a HUGE adventure.
My sister is the bump in the middle.

During graduate school.
At the time I had a dog named Licorice.
Our house was pink.
I loved school.
This was a blue velvet dress. It was my favorite.

In Rhode Island after church one day.

In N. Eastern Ohio--sledding with my sister.
This is NOT the time she went over a wall and into a creek bumping her "sh-nock-a-nock" on the rocks.

The Sheriff and his Deputy...Dad and brother Dan. California.
I think they look pretty legit.

Christmas in Rhode Island in the home library.
These are not all of the books.

In Brazil with baby brother.

From trampoline to swimming pool...all at the same time.
Tidal wave making time.
The trampoline flew backwards and hit the wall.

Happy Faces. Happy Family.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Annabelle Lee

Miranda by J.W. Waterhouse

From the time I was a little girl, I loved this poem.

I remember it fondly as one of my father's favorites, and he delighted in teaching it to me. It is spooky and haunting and darkly romantic.

Through my exposure to this poem and several others, I had an intensive interest in Edgar Allan Poe during my high school and college years. I read a variety of his dark and brooding haunted works. And, while I enjoyed the other writings, Annabelle Lee remains my favorite.

Annabelle Lee: Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love -
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.