The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The End...of NaBloPoMo

Well...I did it! Some days better than others, but I completed NaBloPoMo - 30 days of Blogging. It had been a long time since I Blogged for 30 consecutive days.  It was hard. I didn't resort to memes, but I did use a writer's prompt once. 

I'm glad I did it, if nothing else to prove to myself that I could. I want to get back into writing more, but I guess I'm distracted. There are days when there's just nothing in my head that I feel merits writing.

I want to try and write more frequently here, but I won't make promises. I don't want this to be a chore, that would defeat the purpose of outside work writing.

If anyone is reading this, thank you...and if you've actually stuck with me the whole month a bigger thank you!



Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Is it wrong to want to live at Trader Joe's?

Have you ever been to Trader Joe's? OHMYGOD! It's magical.  *EVERYTHING* is good. And inexpensive. And...good. Sadly we don't have one in Miami, but there are several near the in-laws' house.

Two of the most popular items are seasonal and sell out quickly - but I got them! Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joes and the Dark Chocolate Coated Peppermint Cookie - amazing! Look at them!


And I also got the Peppermint Joe-Joe Ice Cream!

We got a bunch of other non-Joe-Joe related stuff...cheese, wines, soups, bread, sausage...YUMMY!

If you have one near you run don't walk!

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Monday, November 28, 2011


We went driving around sightseeing today. Look at all the cool stuff we saw all within an hour's drive from inlaws' house!

The picture above is just a pretty road. In this area you can drive for 15 minutes turn off a main road for about a mile and you get ruraler and ruraler as you go.

More prettiness...

Downtown New Hope, Pennsylvania...

While driving around New Hope I saw this sign

And of course I made David pull over...and bought one of each of the beef and game jerky! I haven't tried them yet...

Here's the Delaware River...

The Bridge over the river from New Hope into Lambertville, New Jersey

Lambertville prettiness...

We had a great time and a nice easy day...I love just driving around going up and down random streets. You never know what you'll find!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Tomato Pie

We had a good, relaxing day today. We went to the "new/old-fangled" mass. Today was the first day of the revised English mass. Ridiculous waste of time, money and effort as far as I'm concerned. Basically they changed words around to what is supposed to be a closer translation from Latin. So pretty much it's a translation of the prayers I learned in Spanish. Whatever.

We had lunch at a neighborhood Mexican restaurant and then came home and hung out. Some friends came over for the Eagles game - they lost - and we ordered a Tomato Pie which was AWESOME!

Later we started talking about old TV shows and wound up watching old episodes on YouTube of stuff like the Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (ohmygod), Wonder Woman, Shazam!, The Secrets of Isis (Oh might Isis, Isis, Isis!) and even Battle of the Network Stars. We laughed till we cried!

Do you remember any of those?

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vacation Styles

Some of you may know that Hubby and I met online back in 1995 before it was a "thing", we met in an AOL chat room. He lived in PA and I lived in Miami, so our entire "courtship" occurred by telephone back when there were way fewer cell phones and no free long distance plans - so you can imagine the cost!

Despite the soaring phone bills really all we had was talking, so for over 2 years we talked at least once, often twice a day. So, we had a lot of time to talk about all the stuff you *should* talk about before getting married - such as politics, views on child rearing, views on family, how we'd handle finances, etc. So much so that when we took our pre-wedding retreat (a Catholic thing) we had already talked about literally *every issue* they told us we should discuss before we got married.

You know one that the retreat people didn't mention and we didn't discuss? Vacation Styles. Do you view out of town vacations as an opportunity to relax, if visiting family just hanging out with them at home watching TV, sleeping in late every day, etc.? Or, do you view them as opportunities to go out with or without an agenda) and explore places you don't know or return to favorite places, do some sightseeing, just walk around and soak in the place?

Someone should have suggested that we discuss it. So I am hereby advising any and all people who are planning to get married to discuss it. It doesn't have to be a deal breaker if you have differing styles, but at least everyone will know how to set expectations. We've been married 14 years and I'm still struggling with it.

In case you haven't guessed, I'm the second style described above. David...not so much. So what usually happens is as follows:

I want to go somewhere - anywhere really - and I tell him. He tells me he doesn't want to go. I try to convince him to go. He still doesn't want to go. I get all passive-aggressive. He gets pissed and says something like "FINE! We'll go, let's just go!", clearly not wanting to go. I get pissed and tell him to forget it, I don't want to go if he doesn't want to go because then it wouldn't be any fun.

WOO HOO Vacation fun!

Everything had been fine until now because with the holiday hoo-ha and his brother and family in from Texas it was reasonable to want to stay in. They flew back home today. So, we went through this exercise earlier tonight. We wound up going to dinner nearby *but* to a restaurant to which we'd never been...a compromise of sorts.

Tomorrow we're mostly staying in so he can watch football with hometown friends and I'm perfectly fine with that. It'll be fun.

Then there's Monday...(sigh)

What's your vacation style? Is it compatible with your SO's?

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Pandora Pandemonium - Black Friday Edition

Look at what a pretty day we had today! Sunny and low 60s - perfect day to not be in the mall going crazy. Instead SIL and I went to a nice shopping village called Peddler's Village, had a lovely lunch and walked around. It was great!

So...let's see what Pandora gives us as we recover from Thanksgiving overindulgence. It should have been a Lola Shuffle this week, but I think I left Lola in Miami!
  1. Waterloo - ABBA - them! And this is a great song as are the outfits in the video! C'mon, you want that blue gaucho outfit and white boots...don't lie.
  2. The Delivery Man - Elvis Costello - I'd never heard this song, but I love this guy's voice, he just oozes cool.
  3. You and I - Michael Bublé - Meh. I have Bublé issues. He obviously has a great voice, that not it. And I love his original songs, in other words not covers of other people's hits. I find he nakes the covers boring when compared to originals. Here's Stevie Wonder's original of this song - no comparison IMO.
  4. You've Lost That Loving Feeling - The Righteous Brothers - What needs to be said? A great classic song, and they sound great.
  5. Don't Tell Me - Avril Lavigne - I like this girl and this song has a necessary and surprising message, and is quite empowering for teen girls. YAY Avril!
  6. On the Floor - Jennifer Lopez featuring Pitbull - JLoooooo and Pitbulllllllllllllll! Wooooo! My home boyyyyy! I love this song...straight up dance music that's it and that's enough.
  7. Pride (In the Name of Love) - U2 - Another classic - vintage U2, all righteous and "anthemic" and awesome...
  8. Aurora Lucis, Hymn for Easter - Gregorian Chant - Wrong holiday but very very pretty.
  9. Going to the Fair - The Chieftains - I love Irish music, both traditional, like this one as well as classic rock and current stuff. These guys have been around frever and still manage to stay relevant and current. (I couldn't find a YouTube entry for this song.)
  10. Have You Ever Seen the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Another classic! How great is this song and how great are CCR?

Good job Pandora! I hope you all have a great weekend and finish those leftovers!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving for those who celebrate the holiday, and for those who don't, I hope you have many things for which to be thankful.

Thinking about that for which I'm thankful is a yearly exercise and an important one. It seems that the last few years have been the same, I'm thankful for the same things, and honestly, that's a good thing. That means my life is consistently blessed!

For what am I thankful? First and foremost, of course, my husband David. He's my heart, he believes in me, he inspires me, he props me up, he challenges me, he makes me laugh - all of equal importance - in short he loves me beautifully.

Then there are my friends. As I've said before I have several groups of friends corresponding to different aspects of my life - all are important, all are integral to my happiness. As an only child of a relatively small family, friends have always been important - but now they're more important than ever and I'm lucky to have a phenomenal group of people in my life.

My family. Now that both my parents are gone, most of my family are my in-laws. There's loads of them - and I just had Thanksgiving dinner with all of them! And there's also my aunt - my father's sister - and her husband and two kids who in turn are married and have two children each. Coincidentally, because life is like that, they live in New Jersey, about an hour away from my in-laws', so whenever we come for the holidays I see them. In fact we're having dinner with them on Monday.

My job. Yes, it's a painish and I complain, but I know I'm lucky to have a job and even more lucky that I enjoy it. It's a good company with great benefits. I'm definitely thankful for that. lease remind me about this in a week and a half when I have to go back to the office after being on vacation for two weeks.

My health. It's not perfect, there's a lot that can be better, but big picture - I'm so lucky!

Those are the big ones, but I'm also thankful for countless moments of joy and blessings.

What about you? For what are you thankful?

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

There's Pie!

Look at what my sister-in-law Cristi made! The bottom left is Pear/Cranberry/Apple Crumble; the bottom right is Pumpkin Pecan; and the top two are Dixie Pie which consist of Walnuts, Chocolate Chips, Bourbon and Brown Sugar! She also made a pumpkin roll and is going to make a sweet potato pie per my request!

This is the sister-in-law that lives in Texas. She' David's brother's wife. In addition to wonderful pies, she's an all-around great cook. She was the "head chef" for the famous Christmas Goose dinner a couple of years ago.

We're going pretty standard traditional this year - regular roast turkey cooked with turnips and butternut squash, several stuffings/dressings, mashed potatoes, sweet potato mash with bacon (!), green bean casserole, creamed onions, Brussels sprouts (yay!) and the pies. You know me though, I could easily do with just the side dishes. The turkey can be the centerpiece, Ha!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rainy Days and Tuesdays...'s rainy and chilly and gloomy. Even though it rains a lot in Miami, it's usually a quick intense downpour, but before and after might not be super sunny all the time, but it's rarely dark and gloomy the whole day - that only happens a few times a year.

But the morning took a decided upturn when we went out for breakfast and I got my scrapple!

Scrapple is one of my favorite breakfast meats! You can have it savory, as is, or you can have it sweet which I did this morning by pouring syrup over it...yummy!

Tonight we're celebrating my niece's 6th birthday by going to a neighborhood Italian restaurant...and then we come back for cake - actually per the birthday girl's request, not cake, she wants cherry pie - and presents. And maybe later some board game playing.

For tomorrow, I'm lobbying for a visit to Wilmington and Dover, Delaware. David is less than enthusiastic but I've never been and wanna go! Wish me luck, I'll let you know how it goes.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

iPhone Blogging

See that's a lie. You, or maybe just me, can't Blog on the iPhone. I can type in the title...but then there's no way to get to the text body area. I tried to be good and Blog on the road during the last leg of the road trip. Epic Fail.

Anyway, we're here! We arrived to fog and rain but it's not too cold. It's supposed to rain a lot tomorrow but be dry and "allegedly" not too cold by Thanksgiving. We'll see.

When we got to my in-laws' house all four nieces were here and the nephew arrived shortly thereafter. YAY! All the Christmas gifts I ordered are here and ready to be wrapped. YAY! I already had my first Philly Cheese steak YAY!

And...I won $50 on a North Carolina scratch-off lotto ticket! WOO HOO!

Lets see what adventures await tomorrow!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Roanoke Rapids - Here We Come!

Saturday was a great driving day! We even got to Kingsland a but ahead of schedule.

The weather was great and there was no traffic. And the drive went quickly because David and I spent a lot of the time chatting about all sorts of things. You know how when you live together you find yourself more often than not talking about "logistics" and quotidian stuff? Well, yesterday we told stories about our teenage years, we talked about our proms, etc. It was really really nice!

Hopefully today's drive will be as nice or better!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aaaaaand...we're off!

OK, today we start the two day drive to Pennsylvania. Tonight we'll be stopping in Kingsland, Georgia.

Oh the road wonders that await...Waffle House coffee...Sonic Chocolate Coke..."road food"!

The Blogging may be sketchy, but I'll try my best!

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Pandora Pandemonium - The I'm About to Go on Vacation Edition

  1. Coat of Many Colors - Eva Cassidy - I had never heard this song, it's written by Dolly Parton and is lovely. Cassidy's voice is so amazing!
  2. Ten Years Gone - Led Zeppelin - Meh. Some of you may know I'm not a Led Zeppelin. I don't know this song, and don't particularly like it. YAY for Pandora's fast forward...
  3. After the Thrill is Gone - The Eagles - Fabulous! I love the Eagles and this song while not as popular as many of thier other songs is, imo, one of their best. The lyrics are staggering..."What can you do when your dreams come true and it's not quite like you planned? What have you done to be losing the one you held it so tight in your hand?..."
  4. This Land Is Your Land - Peter, Paul and Mary - I think this song should be the national anthem of the United States. It's more relevant and is easier to sing. And it's all kinds of awesome. Speaking of awesome - Peter, Paul and Mary - love them!
  5. The Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga - This is probably my favorite Lady Gaga song, and I like most of her songs. It's definitely a "dance alone in the living room"'s invigorating and happy! And the Clarence Clemons solo in the video - one of his last performances - way to stay current Clarence...such a loss. Good for Gaga to feature him in her video!
  6. Chasing Pavements - Adele - This girl is amazing! Her songs are so evocative...coupled with her voice they are raw emotion. This is one of feel her confusion and pain. And she's so young, I can't wait to see what she does next.
  7. Mucho Corazón - Beny Moré - Moré is my favorite Cuban singer hands down. This is just one of his many phenomenal boleros. And the orchestra...listen to those horns. This makes me want to dance.
  8. See You Soon - Coldplay - I don't know this song, but like all the Coldplay songs I've heard, I like it. I don't really know a lot of their stuff other than the "hits" - maybe I'll set up a Pandora Coldplay station. Plus I think Chris Martin's a cutie.
  9. Many the Miles - Sara Bareilles - Another song I don't know, Pandora's shuffling up lots of new music for me today. I like it, and I really like her voice. This song is kinda bluesy with gospel sounding back up vocals.
  10. Coyote - Joni Mitchell - Wow, I hadn't heard this song in years! It's supposed to be autobiographical where she tells about an affair she had with Sam Shepard. It's an odd song rhythmically and not especially sing-alongable, but with that voice this woman can do anything and it sounds fantastic. And how cool is this video from the movie "The Last Waltz"?

So there you have it boys and girls. Next Friday I will be in the Philadelphia 'burbs in a post-Thanksgiving stupor. Who knows what will happen!

Have a great weekend and try to start a little pandemonium of your own.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Hit the Wall #1 it is Day 17 of NaBloPoMo and I have hit the proverbial wall...I got nuthin'. But I knew this was going to happen and I prepared for it. A hundred years ago when I wanted to "improve my craft" (stop laughing at me!) I bought something called A Tool Kit for Writers. I am using it today. Here we go...

The the "innovative card designed to help me break through writer's block" (according to the back of the box) that I chose says "Write a Letter".

(blinks) I don't need to write a letter.

OK fine...this has been on my mind since Tuesday. I've Facebooked it (yes I made it a verb), I kvetched about it at work, I Plurked about it, so here we go.

Dear Domino's Pizza,

Let me start by commending you on your vastly improved pizza. The changes you've advertised are, in fact, awesome. Yay you!

Now to the point of this letter (other than the NaBloPoMo thing). I am going to explain to you why you shouldn't cut your thin crust pizza into teeny-tiny squares.

Basically, it's stupid. If I wanted hors d' ouevres I'd buy Totino's Pizza Rolls and shove a toothpick in 'em. I don't want cocktail food - I want dinner!

We ordered a thin crust Pacific Vegetable, which is delicious. But, the pieces were so damned tiny they couldn't even hold a black olive! I can't get yummy pizza goodness in a 1" x 1" square. I need a triangular slice the way God intended pizza to be eaten! That way the plethora of veggies can get all up in there.

Now, I'll happily eat a slice of Sicilian pizza cut into squares. Or the fantastic tomato pie we get in the Philly suburbs which is also cut in squares. *They're* cut in big pieces - at least 3" on each side - I can actually taste the pizza! But those ridiculous little tid-bits you inflict on us are useless. And messy. And!

If you must continue being wrong and cutting it into miniscule bites, then at least gives us the opportunity to tell you to cut them *correctly* when we order online. There's nowhere to write "special instructions". So here I sat sadly eating miniature pizza molecules.

Everything else is strive for perfection and do the right thing.

Hugs and Kisses,

There...I made it through Day 17.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bah! I have a cold!

Really? Seriously? Four days before I take off on a road trip to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving I get a cold? A road trip when you're feeling like crap sucks - and I love road trips!

Having a cold and staying home sick was so much better when we were kids! Of course at the time I felt awful but looking back now it was great!

I would get to sleep in and watch TV all day. Depending on the time frame there were the game shows - $25,000/$100,00 Pyramid, Let's Make a Deal, Match Game, Joker's Wild, Concentration, The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, Hollywood Squares and so many more.

Then there were the soaps -
never mind most of the time I was too young to understand what was really going on. Again, depending on the year there was Love of Life (raise your hand if you remember that one!), Ryan's Hope, Dark Shadows, All My Children and General Hospital - this was before VCRs, so it was the only way to catch up on your "story" until Christmas and Summer vacations. Oh and remember the talk shows? The Merv Griffin Show and The Mike Douglas Show were my favorites!

My grandmother would make me comfort food...of course, depending on what was wrong with me the food varied. If it was my stomach she'd make chicken soup with angel hair pasta, potatoes, malanga, etc. It was very close to this recipe in fact.

But if it was a cold, well then she had to feed me so I could get my strength back to fight the cold - which meant - lots of food! There was still the chicken soup, or sometimes she would make "potaje" which is kind of a soupy stew made with vegetables and meat run through a blender. I might even get my ultimate comfort food fried eggs and white rice!

And later when they got home from work, my parents might bring me a comic book or some other inexpensive trinket to distract me. Sleep, TV, good food and a toy! Such a deal!

But guess what! I stayed home sick yesterday. I slept in, watched TV and Hubby warmed up some left over take out Wonton soup and made me fried eggs and white rice for lunch! I didn't get an Archies comic book, but that's OK!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coffee Night

image source

Last night was "Coffee Night". Once a month I get together with my "core friends" - these are women with whom I've been friends between 10 and 30 years. I've known most of them for at least half my life. I'm blessed to have several groups of wonderful friends from different areas of my life, but these "girls" are my foundation.

For the last 11 years we've been meeting once a month at a centrally located Starbucks to spend 3 hours or so talking and laughing - there's lots of laughing. When we started "coffee night" my friends all had kids in grade school - I'm the only one in the group that doesn't have children - now most are in college, in fact a couple are Seniors in college! We've endured cancer diagnoses and treatments, illness, the death of parents and grandparents, vacation adventures, turning 40!, husbands turning 50, marriages on the brink and back, near nervous breakdowns and everything in between.

Basically we've experienced life - and we experienced it together. We know as we get older we'll have new experiences, some harder than others, but by now we know we'll do it together - and that will make it easier, more fun, and hopefully will bring us lots more laughter.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review - "Just Kids" by Patti Smith

I loved Patti Smith's Just Kids. I love the story she tells, the way she tells it, the people she talks about and the places where she takes us.

The book is Smith's keeping a promise she made to her friend, lover, and muse - artist Robert Mapplethorpe - as he was dying of AIDS in 1989. It's the story of their 22 year friendship, love story and collaboration - a coming of age story set in New York's art and music world. New York City is as much a main character as are Patti and Robert. It's not a pretty New York City - lots of drugs and hustling - but a vibrant art and music scene.
And my elusive Shengri-La, the Chelsea Hotel is also a star in the book. They lived there for several years and it was crucial to their development as artists.

I was actually more familiar with Mapplethorpe's work than with Smith's until recently. I've always admired Mapplethorpe's work even as it disturbed me. Reading about how his art evolved as a mirror of his life was fantastic. The name-dropping in the book is fabulous - Smith and Mapplethorpe were in the thick of the Warhol and Chelsea Hotel scene. That's how Smith came to be in the same room as Kris Kristofferson singing "Me and Bobby McGee" to Janis Joplin for the first time - can you imagine!

Smith's writing is beautiful, her love for Mapplethorpe is felt on every page. What started as an accidental meeting, led to a friendship, a love affair and a symbiotic artistic relationship - they fed off each other's creativity. It's really amazing how they each helped the other develop their talent.

While I loved it, I recognize it's not for everyone, the sotry is hardly universal and if you aren't familiar with or curious about this time period, you won't get the same out of it that I did, you might be bored.

Click this link to see Smith's amazing impromptu, a capella performance of "Because the Night" at the 2010 Miami Book Fair.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Miami Book Fair International

It's Miami Book Fair time! It's my favorite event of the year...but I can't go this year. I always go to the weekend fair which is next weekend, but next Saturday we start our drive to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving.

In the 28 years the fair has been taking place, I've missed less than five of them. For the first 10-15 years I would take Friday off work to go all three days, usually doing all my book buying then, when there were less people. Saturday and Sunday are reserved for "author events". I've seen so many wonderful authors at the Book Fair, and I've also discovered genres and authors I wouldn't have known of had I not wandered into a random presentation.

I get the Fairgoers guide a few days before the fair and set up my schedule. There are always conflicts, where there are two or sometimes three events I want to attend taking place at the same time. Using a complex color coding system I identify priorities with "Must-sees" and backups highlighted in case one of the must-sees is cancelled. It's all very thought out, complicated and colorful!

It is definitely one of the shining stars in Miami's event-filled winters and one I won't miss unless I absolutely have to. So this year I'll be on the road while thousands enjoy the fair, but next year - I am so there!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm Practically Done!

Just a few days ago I was mildly freaking out about Christmas shopping. I'm better now. Why? Because I'm almost done! YAY! Between and I have about 95% of my Christmas shopping done.

I do feel a bit guilty about buying from big companies rather than smaller, independent stores - but since I have lots of gifts to buy and I have to send everything out of town, the free shipping and the lower prices were impossible to pass up.

I'm really happy with the presents I got, I think the kids will like them. (sigh) I have finally accepted that for the older's time to buy them gift cards. I know that's what they want - all pre-teens and teens want gift cards, but it seems so impersonal. I realize that as they start to get older that'll be the way to go. But I'm still getting them books and ornaments so they'll have something to unwrap!

Hopefully everything will be in PA by the time we get there next week, then I'll wrap the PA stuff and leave it there, and bring the Texas stuff back to send from here. When we get home I'll only have the gift exchange gift to buy - YAY!

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Return of The Lola Shuffle

Finally the weekend is here and Lola is ready to shuffle! Let's see in what kind of mood she is...

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles -Not a favorite. I mean it's the Beatles and it's nice enough but...meh.
  2. Apologize - Timbaland ft. One Republic - Ooooh I really like this's got an ethereal vibe about it - not Enya-ethereal, but more trippy ethereal. Great lyrics too!
  3. I Drove All Night - Cyndi Lauper - I LOVE this song! This version though - NOT Celine Dion's! Lauper's voice is fantastic in this song...
  4. Blessed - Martina McBride - This is a sweet song - puts things in perspective by reminding us how lucky we really are. I like all her songs, they're accessible, a slice of real life. She has a great voice and is so pretty!
  5. Wherever You Will Go - The Calling - I had forgotten about this song, when I saw it come up on the shuffle I had no idea what it was. But I remember now, it's great - one of those Snow Patrol/Owl City/Maroon 5/Train type songs - they're all fabulous songs but the bands are completely interchangeable.
  6. La Gloria Eres Tu - Olga Guillot - Guillot was one of the great Cuban torch singers - all her songs were so dramatic and so passionate and so so...much. She had a hell of a voice and could rock a ballad like nobody's business, this is one of her best songs.
  7. Get Up Stand Up - Bob Marley and The Wailers - What a great song for this year - the year of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement! "Get up stand up, stand up for your rights. Get up stand up, don't give up the fight". As relevant to day as it was in 1973.
  8. Burbujas de Amor - Juan Luis Guerra - This song is so impossibly romantic - the lyrics are sensual and the music is all about getting close to your partner and swaying. "
  9. Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi - JOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! This song is awesome - it instantly transports me to some of the best times of my life - I was 23 when this came out - good lord, this song is 25 years old this year!
  10. Weekend in New England - Barry Manilow - Awwwwww....this is another smile-inducer. It is so sappy romantic. It's also one of the songs Manilow bashers kinda sorta maybe likeish.
Lola did a great job! A little bit of everything...

Have a wonderful weekend...find a song that makes you smile and then sing it really really loud!

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Purse

Five years ago (how is that even possible?) I Blogged about a red purse I had bought and how out of character it was for me and how it was just sitting there...taunting me. I wondered if I would ever use it.

Five years later...I haven't.
Don't judge me people!!! Maybe when I turn 50 and I can wear it with a red hat.

In the mean time, I have a new purse. See it up there? It's a Dooney and Bourke...the one with the duck logo. The one that costs $387 at Macy's. It isn't tacky for me to say it because I didn't pay for it. I would have to die and be reborn for me to spend that amount of money on a purse. Even if I had that kind of disposable income, there are about 7, 329 things on which I would spend that amount of money before a purse.

Don't get me wrong, the purse is *fabulous*, it's prettier "in person"...soft leather, a bunch of regular pockets and zippy pockets, a thingy to hold my keys so they don't disappear into the abyss that is this enormous purse. It's huge!

The reason I have this purse is because this year is my 15th work anniversary - YAY! For each milestone anniversary (5, 10, 15, etc.) we get a choice of gifts which increase in value as we get older. This time the selection was really good...there were flat screen TVs, jewelry, and even the really cool KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

I called Hubby to verify we didn't need the TV, but we came awfully close to getting the mixer. But I really needed a new "daily" or work purse. As I wrote in the red purse post, I really abuse my work purse but this bag has great reviews and you can tell it's well made and sturdy. I'm optimistic it will survive me for a couple of years at least!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random Happy Makers

What makes you happy? I don't mean the big important stuff, I mean little, random stuff.

These are some of the things that make me randomly, maybe even only momentarily, happy...but enough to make me at least smile:
  • Ladybugs
  • Thunder and lightning storms when I'm safe at home and don't have to go anywhere
  • A cold glass bottle of Coca Cola
  • Seeing Hubby smile when he doesn't know I'm looking - he may be watching something on TV, or looking at something on the computer, whatever...
  • Santa Claus at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • A run-away balloon floating along...extra happy if it's red
  • The sound of an ice cream truck
  • Pop Rocks
  • Dragonflies
  • Watching a little kid spinning around for no reason
  • Colored sprinkles
  • Spiderwebs
  • Rainbows (cliché I know)
  • Watching old Cuban men playing dominoes at Domino Park
  • My friend Cris' laugh
  • Fair/Carnival Food (corn dog, cotton candy, etc.)
  • Lying in a hammock
  • Batido de Trigo (wheat shake)
  • Craig Ferguson
  • Red doors
  • Sunflowers
How about you?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Did I ever tell you about my maternal grandmother? She lived with us and pretty much raised me while my parents worked. She was born in Spain and moved to Cuba in her 20s when she married my grandfather. Her name was Sofia, I called her "Abi" short for "Abuela".

The Jean Nate scent wafted in the air around her. As she walked into the room, taking her time, the first thing you’d notice was how tiny she was. Under 5 feet tall, she was uniformly petite, her face hands, and limbs were small and thin. Yet, her body was plump and round. Her thin, lined skin was alabaster hued with shades of pink on her cheeks, her bright honey-colored eyes belied her age - alert, aware and inquisitive. Her face was framed by her beautiful silver hair which she kept trimmed in a blunt, round style. Her voice was surprisingly strong and resonant. Everyone else remembers a definite Galician accent but I didn’t hear it I guess my ears were used to it.

She never had a formal job, but when she came from Cuba with my parents, she worked for a while. The first "job", before I was born, was hand-sewing hems for wedding dresses for a shop near their apartment in New York. Later, and I don't know the details of how she pulled this off, she went door to door in the apartment building in which they lived - for some reason there were several other Cuban families living there, and she sold guava bars and other tropical "treats". It was her way of helping the family get through those early exile years.

Abi offered me the most "uncomplicated" love I ever experienced. While I know, like her, my parents loved me unconditionally - her love for me wasn't fraught with the drama that comes with parental love. We never argued even though she was "old school" and she was strict - never letting me get away with spoiled or disrespectful behavior. But then she spoiled me in her way making me the center of her world, or at least making me feel as if I was.

I know no one will ever love me the way she did...I was blessed to have had her in my life until I was in my 20s. As important as my parents were to me, Abi was my foundation, my first teacher and instrumental in the person I became.

These many years later, I often miss her. Today is one of those days...

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Monday, November 7, 2011


Looking at old pictures and going through old papers can bring back all kinds of memories long dormant. People, places and feelings of which you hadn't thought in years suddenly they’re right there, front and center. The other day I came across a museum program from the late 80s…a lifetime, no at least two lifetimes ago.

Misty water colored memories indeed...

He made his entrance into the museum with his usual flashy style. Ivan wouldn’t just walk into a room, he exploded into it. His long, dark hair, streaked with gray, flowed behind him, as if blown by a wind machine. The white outfit hung on is long, lean body, making him appear taller and thinner and brighter.

As he walked further into the room, his long arms would reach out to everyone, hugging, caressing, shaking hands. Everyone knew he had arrived, especially me. My eyes snapped to him the moment he appeared and I couldn’t stop looking at him after that. But, I didn’t move from my spot by the beautiful gray and taupe colored painting, I waited for him to come to me. And, of course, he did.

Our flirtation had begun in his studio a few weeks prior when I discovered the Bakery Center Art Complex. The Bakery Center housed new artists, providing them with inexpensive studio and display space. I visited every studio, reveling in so much beauty. I walked into Ivan’s studio and instantly fell in love…not with Ivan, but with his work. When I entered the small, cluttered area, it stood empty, except for the canvases. One in particular entranced me as I walked in. It was huge, taking up the entire wall it leaned against, with broad strokes of bright tropical colors depicting a woman overlooking the beach. I stood there, transfixed, gaping at the painting, when I heard a deep, resounding laugh. When I turned I saw a magnificent man, his bare chest tan, sinewy, covered with dark, curly hair and paint. “I love how you look at my work” he said, smilingly widely.

After talking about his work for a while we went to lunch at a nearby Haitian restaurant and talked for a long time, nothing too intense, just introductory banter. Although we exchanged numbers, I wrote it off as another one of those wonderful chance encounters you can enjoy when you’re single, but of little importance. So, his invitation that evening to an opening at a funky little gallery on the Beach caught me by surprise…but thrilled me nonetheless.

That night turned out to be the first of several gallery jaunts and avant-garde adventures, where Ivan exposed me to a side of Miami I didn’t know, but loved. Each time we got together I felt a buzz of excitement and attraction, and he seemed prone to touching me, holding my hand, leaning in to me. Yet, something kept nagging at me about him and that something kept me from taking the physical aspect of our relationship a step further. It was something indefinable, yet there. Maybe it was a cadence in his voice, or his approach to art and aesthetics in general. Or the fact that that he looked at many of the good looking men that crossed our path the same way he looked me.

Now, back at the Museum, as he walked towards me I felt that same attraction, and when he touched my back, the goose bumps erupted instantly. We spent the entire evening together surrounded by friends, admiring the beautiful art, and enjoying the opening party. Our bodies were touching, in some fashion, the entire time. Afterwards, as I got into his old, rusty little car he leaned over and kissed my neck, and I let him. During dinner we barely spoke, but it felt comfortable and intimate nonetheless. His deep, chocolate-brown eyes looking at me made me breathless, and it appeared that same look made our handsome, blond waiter nervous. Afterwards when I returned from the restroom, I saw Ivan gently brush the waiter’s pale face with his strong, dark hand as he smiled at him tenderly, tucking a folded piece of paper into his pocket as I approached. I surprised myself at not being surprised.

After dinner, rather than driving me home, Ivan drove towards the airport. As we drove along Perimeter Road I knew what he had in mind, and I wondered how I should handle it. It had been a while since I had made-out in a car parked on the road running alongside the Miami Airport runway, and I smiled in the darkness as he maneuvered the car so that it would face the runway.

I definitely couldn’t let things get too carried away with a man I suspected of being bisexual - it was dangerous both physically and emotionally. He turned off the motor and got out of the car, quickly coming around to my side and opening the door. I stepped out, still wondering how to handle this. I stepped into the back seat and leaned back closing my eyes as he slid into the seat next to me. I felt his arm pull me close to him as my breath got shallow, my heart beating quickly. I opened my eyes and looked into his beautiful smiling face, “Ivan”, I asked, “are you bisexual?”

He caressed my face and laughed a wonderful, throaty laugh, his eyes sparkling as he looked at me. Just then I made my decision, as I pulled his face towards mine. I really wanted to kiss him, that’s all…just kiss him. And that’s exactly what I did, as a plane roared into the darkness, causing the earth to shake…at least…I think it was the plane.

We saw each other for a while and then drifted away as so often happens. I don't know where he is, but I hope wherever he is, he's happy and being his fabulous self. And I hope if he remembers me, that the memory makes him smile that dazzling smile.

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