Monday, November 29, 2004

just barely

i almost missed my return plane to SF, coming back from holidays with the family in TX.
i was harassing my mom at around 1 a.m. and she kept urging me to check my return info but i was pretty stinking sure that i was coming back on tuesday morning. we had all these great things planned for monday. she got a commendation from the city of dallas for her service to the city; we would head down to the original neimans for lunch in downtown and then pop over to the hotel adolphus to see one of my favorite tea sommeliers- good day right? and then we would be having dinner with my aunt and cousin, and even later we would drop by my Dad's for tea and coffee.

never happened. a big pipedream. i found out at 2 a.m. that i was supposed to return to SF monday morning--- in a mere 4 HOURS i had to be at the airport. so we both ended up sleeping 2.5, what with packing, washing clothes and late night chats, which are by far the best.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

The One Man Mariachi Band

We sought out some quality comida Mexicana tonight. A good rule of thumb somehow seems to lie in looking for places where the bulk of the capital doesn’t go into the decor or paint because often it’s an indicator that it’s going into the food.
The place, Los Amigos had bright peach painted walls and bright lights shining down from the ceiling. Some college friends, Neal and Jeff were coming to meet up with me and my Mom. Once they arrived we walked down into the back room, where an older gentleman and two of his children/grandchildren? were eating. He was dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans with a kind smile on his face.

We sat down to order began to talk and munch on corn chips dipped into hot salsa in between breaths. As we surveyed the menus to make our choices, we heard a thud from behind our table. The kindly older man had put a big speaker on a table in the corner. His jeans and t-shirt had been replaced by the full, silver studded uniform of a mariachi man, complete with wide-brimmed sombrero. Music started playing and I think at first we were of the same opinion that a little mood music would be nice and help paint broader strokes on the Mexican experience we were enjoying.

But then he started singing. Wow, did he sing. Somehow his ears were divorced from his vocal chords because what transpired was utter cacophony. The sweet older mariachi man was tone deaf.

Now when I get nervous, one of my most ridiculous responses is to laugh and at that moment, the sheer volume of the situation was getting the better of me. I knew if I didn’t take action, my funny bone would. So I excused myself. When I returned from the bathroom, the pitch had not changed nor had his passion with which he exercised his vocal abilities. At one point I looked over at Neal and he appeared to be choking on his napkin, while Jeff looked like he was coughing internally with a big smile on his face. My Mom was the luckiest one since her back faced this nice man and she had full reign to express her emotions as she saw fit. There was one moment when all of us were absolutely silent and stifled by the silenced laughing escaping out of us.

My Mom had told him she was from Monterrey, so he sang songs familiar to that region and would dedicate them after he would sing, to the lovely people who came all the way up from Monterrey, Mexico. After each song, he would also thank us for our support and listening to his beautiful songs. We were the only people in the entire restaurant.
We endured another 20-30 minutes of loud off-pitch melodies and with me trying to distract from the singing by yelling across the table about the virtues of comic books and the vices of New Orleans.

When he started singing "Cielito Lindo" I thought about my grandmother Tita and knew he couldn’t butcher this song that had been her favorite. So to keep me from laughing I started singing at full pitch at our table the chorus until he invited me to sing with him. The cook came out of the kitchen and watched us. Shortly thereafter we began to pay the check and he invited us to come back some other Saturday. Jeff invited him to church. We all left full of mirth and merrymaking.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Fisher-Price Thanksgiving

I sat next to a precocious seven year old girl named Sophia on the airplane home to Texas.
We spent the two and a half hours looking at my Vogue magazine and making deliberations about the fashions as if we were top executives choosing our Fall lines.
We drove straight to my step-sister’s house to spend Thanksgiving. Luby’s provided a tasty meal of moist turkey and stuffing. After the meal, my Dad’s wife Beatriz and her daughter Beti and I washed dishes and gabbed about her Mexican family and all the drama that could be ripe for a telenovella. EJ, Beti’s three year-old son wanted all of us to play instruments, so he walked up to each of us and assigned instruments for us to play. The way he communicated, it made all of us really aware of his tendency toward leading. My Dad at one point called him the "little dictator."
So picture this: me playing plastic maracas, EJ’s grandma playing a slapstick instrument, EJ on the plastic drum and my Dad playing piano. Such a lovely rendition of the Thanksgiving experience.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

meeting death at a traffic light

last night we were en route leaving a delightful housewarming where we had played lord of the rings trivial pursuit, jovially recounting different questions and moments of the game when we came to a red light and noticed a cluster of people hanging out in the chilly night air to the right of our vehicle. from the way this one woman was hunched into the body of another woman gripping her, we knew blood had been spilled. two groups of young guys were looking in the direction of this gas station on the corner. the yellow tape surrounding the outer periphery of the station kept the people out, but their postures were such that it was evident that no one wanted to get any closer. i kept looking at the hunched woman whose body was wracking in that way that indicates mortal release of the keenest kind- the kind where enveloped in tears are your lungs, your kidneys, the deepest parts of you, all wailing at full pitch.

a hush had fallen over our car. chopin still played in the background, dissonant notes wafting into the thick air. alan made a comment about how awkward it is to try to have a conversation when you see something as heavy as death at a traffic light. how it's as if people naturally have an urge to pay respect to the dead, briefly mourn with those who mourn through moments of silence. the image of the hunched woman remained in my head throughout the course of the rest of the night.

i wondered how it had happened. did someone go to work, to a job that paid the bills, but for which they felt nothing more than tolerance, only to find their last breath would be uttered and mingling with the tendrils of petroleum? was it someone playing the role of "hero" intending to stave off any sort of extreme outcome only to have themselves be sacrificed in the aftermath of what ended up being so much bigger than they could have imagined?

i drove home under the intense black sky, through the intersections with their too-bright traffic lights, wishing it could be fully dark for a little while. wishing i could send a hug to that woman that could bring her peace, listening to a song, ironically having to do with not being alone, with death. me wanting to live my life more fully because i can. because we have such a limited amount of time to which we may spend ourselves. and a requiem played in my head before i lay down to shut my eyes and shut out the world for eight hours until the sun rose again.

Friday, November 19, 2004

meaning of life and how snow white plays a role

i know it's a burning question for any young woman out there- who am i? what am i supposed to do with my life? take the disney princess challenge and find out which princess you resemble and even perhaps your path of destiny!

BTW: I am most like Jasmine and have a "special fondness for tigers"... interesting implications romantically. hmm.

“You’re most like Jasmine! You’re an exotic beauty who enchants everyone you meet.You love going on wonderful adventures and have a special fondness for tigers.”

a thought for the weekend

from my good friend marcus aurelius:

"Even if you're going to live three thousand more years, or ten times that, remember: you cannot lose another life than the one you're living now, or live another one than the one you're losing."

a good reminder to get busy living, taking risks, and all the other things you and i've been putting off because of the "what if's." today is all we are guaranteed. so carpe diem already.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

good week

what a good week it has been thus far. i successfully mailed out 350 press packets to magazines as varied from Mother Jones to O Magazine, from the SF Chronicle to the Dallas Morning News.
what a labor of love that ended up being. i am today training my replacement as the assistant to our director of hospitality- a really swell person. next on the horizon: planning my birthday party! it should end up being the place to be, once i'm done with this conceptualization phase. i've also commenced a social experiment and am hoping it doesn't blow up in bad ways, but am eager to dive in and see what transpires. i've caught up with a friend from the gym and met a new one over tasty mexican food. all in all- a good week. minus my roommate mindy's boyfriend having left for africa and her being mopey. but tonight's viewing of the OC will make it all better (everyone needs their guilty pleasure)... hope your week is going just as swimmingly. drop me a line and tell me about it.

Monday, November 15, 2004

refining silver

my mom forwarded me this email last week. i thought it was very interesting and that y'all might enjoy it. cheers.

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver".

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The silversmith answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment.

Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it." If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

on being careful with God

i was talking with some friends last tuesday about the need to be careful what you pray for. that God might grant it in a way you could not anticipate or desire to bring the request to fulfillment.

i gave the example of my friend tim when i was growing up, who felt his story about following God wasn't hard core enough, so he prayed God would give him a more interesting story... and later he almost died of bone marrow cancer.

so i was thinking about how this correlates with the phrase "be careful what you wish for" and if we see God as being capricious. if we think when we ask for bread that He will give us stones. tricky stuff. because i could SAY that God is always looking out to see His will in me played out. i know God to be Father and that He gives His children good things. but sometimes to make them more fully developed and realized He allows those hard things to transpire, which can be very unsettling if it seems dark and you're looking for a light.

i first happened upon the chewing of this subject material when thinking about something i prayed for in high school. whereas now i have some perspective to see that it was a teenager's prayer, not a twentysomething's. and am somewhat horrified and hoping God will let it slide and not keep its answer from rearing its head. there are so many other things i am sure i have prayed that have been forgotten over time, but i can't worry about their culmination because then i might never talk to God if i was always freaked out about what might come about post-prayer, as i evolve and develop, and my needs and desires evolve and develop.

so i am trying to remember in these funky thoughts and times to live in the freedom that i do want His will played out in my life and know that He's so much more big picture than my forest-for-the-trees approach at life and praying. he can see how all this tapestry pans out into a glorious design instead of the tattered, fringed edges i am looking at.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

two words: betsy glasenaap

i think the whole point of going to my 5 year college reunion was to reunite with betsy.
well not really, but i feel like she and i were shadows throughout the day and a half SMU homecoming extravaganza. some key points about the weekend and visit:
  • if you are driving a luggage cart, don't ram it into a plane
  • they should have a flight for newborns and their virgin flights-- screaming babies = every nanny's joy
  • lack of sleep feels akin to being somewhat sloshed
  • whenever you leave a place it will change and usually in ways that could have impacted you- hello can we say new JOURNALISM DIVISION (we are no longer bastard children!)
  • SMU can win football games (second game won of the year)
  • football actually made sense to me for the first time
  • which then made the game fun
  • SMU is wooing the decisionmakers to give them the Bush library
  • purple makes a great coordinating color- it's the new grey in fact
  • chorizo tastes great in beans
  • buca di beppo makes a fabulous location to meet up with old friends- nothing like a lot of garlic to make everyone really friendly
  • "the incredibles" is such a fun romp
  • texas squirrels have such endearing qualities unlike SF rat-birds
  • my mom is a great woman and fabulous hostess
  • singing a cher song at karaoke does not automatically guarantee people will dance-
  • even if it is the remix version
  • reconnecting with people is super-fun
  • and can challenge the status-quo in my life and theirs
  • smoking in bars/clubs sucks and should be banned globally
  • sometimes the best time is spent in the company of people you cherish doing absolutely nothing
  • the actual five-year reunion reminded me that i am in touch with probably the great majority of people i want to have relationship with in my life-
  • though it's always fun to catch up
  • once an RA, a person is an RA for life
  • RA's have a particular temperament and such a sense of camaraderie when encountering others with that bent (to write people up)
  • young love is sometimes the truest love of all
  • i'm happy about my life path
  • i smiled when i saw the ocean from my window, even if only as a dark mass of water