Wednesday, November 22, 2006

just plain weird

i ate chinese food last night at one of those acceptable dives selling good greasy food. i settled in with my book and orange chicken, chopsticks poised perilously over the plate when i noticed a handsome guy walk over to the high top table next to mine. in his arms, he cradled three stuffed animals- a lion, a mouse and a bear. my initial thought was, "how sweet, he's carrying his child's toys." upon scanning the people milling about, no children were in sight. okay. his friend went to the bathroom after setting down the plate of food on the table. during the friend's absence, he sat the stuffed animals on the table, facing the drive-thru window immediately behind him. he folded napkins and placed them on each of the animals' laps. at this point i am suspicious, wondering where's the camera? when the friend returned, mr. handsome crazy headed to the bathroom, giving me a chance to ask the friend/accomplice,

"what's the deal with the animals."

"they're hungry."

as they, the humans began to eat, i attempted to dive back into my book, but on occasion would sneakily peek a look in the direction of high-top numero bizarro. mr. handsome crazy would lift a fork of food and offer it to one of the stuffed animals, holding it in front of its mouth for a few seconds before turning it towards his own open and ready mouth. every bite was offered to another animal. no one could say he's not fair. as i watched this, i stifled a laugh which came out more as a single cough. living here never allows for a dull moment.

Monday, November 20, 2006

a question that could very well stay rhetorical

does one become intolerant of something due to excess of said thing?

(aka "if i eat/drink soy a bunch, will i become intolerant of it?") this is what i was thinking about on my drive home tonight in the pitch black that is the 101 south in between marin city and the headlands at 6 p.m.

more importantly, if this is true, then is there a better case for all things in moderation?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

turning toward the white noise of today

i filled my day with errands: dropping off laundry, balancing my checkbook, getting my car's brakes checked out, having coffee at a neighborhood haunt. in the midst, of re-organizing my closet, it finally spoke to me loudly, in a way that i couldn't turn my back on it any longer.

a year ago my friend todd died. a year already.

sitting on my dresser is a dvd of his memorial service that his mom let me borrow a few weeks ago when we met at a dinner with friends. over that dinner she and her husband chronicled his slide into a mounting mental illness where in the end he wondered if God loved him. it's so hard for me to wrap my mind around that question- he who wrapped the people he encountered with God's love and grace, left little for himself. she told a story of him calling her out of the blue one day, near the day of his death, asking her if they could sing. she was taken aback, "now?" "now."

and they sung for a while. he would sing along and then stop, listening.

five of us, some of his san francisco friends raised $5,000 for suicide prevention and walked 20 miles in his honor and also out of solidarity for his parents earlier this year. i felt particularly grieved for them, as an only child, knowing their only child is now gone. and today, on this day that is actually the national memorial day for suicide, the day when todd took his own life a year ago, i finally popped in the dvd to watch his memorial service. and i wept for him, i weep for them.

when i awoke this morning, i stepped into the shower and prayed for todd's parents, rex and connie. just now, i prayed for them again, on the phone with another only child friend struggling with some heart problems. i pray for them as i drive in my car tonight and hope when you read this that you too would pray.

Friday, November 17, 2006

while i was out of town

my roommate lori's friend visited from hawaii. i had told her she could sleep in my room and in the end he did. she has told me before that he has the gift of prophecy, of being able to acutely see what's underneath the surface of things, both past, present and future. every evening he slept in my room he woke up from a night besieged with nightmares. he told my other roommate lisa about this and she asked him if he could pray against whatever was coming upon him while he slept. his response is one i disagree with and a bit chilling: "i can't pray or speak against what has been invited."

Monday, November 13, 2006

new york: a good conversation, a good meal

after the show today, i met up with a high school friend at django. earlier this year, i discovered this restaurant on accident during one of my long new york jaunts. my friend cheryl and i served on the leadership team of the french club in high school. i try to meet up with she and her boyfriend alberto once every time i am out here. she, like i, enjoy delicious eats. so i looked forward to her dissemination of the restaurant. we both ended up getting the tagine and glasses of chilean red vino.

she will turn 30 eleven days before me and related how she thought she was fine with it until it started galloping toward her at a frenetic pace. we swapped stories about our own personal manias that are accruing as 30 nears. it's funny that in a way they both have to do with children. namely, we both want them, just not yet. she at least is in a relationship that has the longevity of the past three years and legs into the future. i however do not have any candidates on the horizon and do not perceive myself as one of those shotgun family kind of people.

we left the restaurant, headed to grand central station for a scoop of gelato and so i could see her off at the station. i entered a contest at the gelateria of composing a sundae with the prize being a trip to italy. cheryl helped me name it after the hello kitty character we used to use as code when we passed notes in french class...

it's good to have old friends: both in the form of cheryl and in this beloved city.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

new york: a proliferation of activity

first day of the show and our ikea booth was a hit. someone complimented it saying it was inviting and showed off the teas well. lunch was a scoop of gelato from max and mina's- great guys with a yummy product, but alas for my thoughts of going sugar-free for november... everybody behaved and we found a cool cup jacket made out of cork.

at the end of the day, we set out for the hudson hotel to enjoy drinks with one of our distributors in new york, a family of italians. they always show us a great time and i was enthused by their passion and ambition of making a deeper mark in new york with our products. i had a drink called the "urban orchid" with white chocolate godiva, vanilla vodka, pureed raspberries, a dash of chambord and an orchid as a garnish. this hotel is an ian schrager property that's uber-hip. i found out that t.j. was bummed out by seeing yoda with a light saber, thinking yoda should be the pacifist among the characters and that he named his child "leto" after a character in "dune." michael vacationed with his wife in the caribbean on a cruise ship 3 weeks before the same cruise ship almost tipped over. dominic snapped 200 photos at the car show in vegas that he attended 2 weeks ago and is quite the vip. joey, the youngest of the brothers is going to propose to his girlfriend this december in a cool venetian link.

over cocktails, i sat and chatted with our new greek distributor ari. i forget sometimes that there are gentlemen of his age still around. when his girlfriend rose to go to the bathroom, he stood up as well. he enjoyed hearing about my adventures in greece, eyes lighting up in his warm athenian face.

we supped at a great italian restaurant and sat over a second round of espresso, late into the evening talking until my body insisted i take it home.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

new york: in the company of friends

i woke up this morning ready for what the day would bring. i worked on my computer for a few hours and then set out to meet some friends katy and i had made on our cruise to greece this past september. matt and irina live in a beautiful neighborhood close to central park. i arrived early and walked around the park, shooting images of golden leaves, watching children crunching them with their tiny feet, a man walking a purebred french bulldog huffing and puffing along, a son throwing a tennis ball to his mom, then to his dad. i smiled at the communal feeling emanating from this small borough of the city.

i received the grand tour of their house, complete with a backyard, attached to a communal backyard. their son dennis recounted how hung over he was and how that contributed to his growing hunger. we walked, the five of us 10 blocks to a quaint restaurant (see puertadelapanza for my thoughts on it). willy, their middle son rode on the broad, strong shoulders of matt as we walked. it was a perfect fall afternoon. i learned over lunch that in russia, they drink vodka straight and with a meal, never mixed (sober looks underlined this point from around the table). they commented that next time, when i have more time, they will take me to the russian nightclub and it will be quite an experience, which i can only imagine. we hugged and irina asked if i needed them to walk me to columbus, to which matt responded, "no she's fine. she'll get where she needs to go." i think he picked up on my inner new yorker verve while we were meandering the streets of greece.

rewind to this morning's work at the hotel: one of the boxes essential for my booth is missing. i had called the airline company four times already and their non-answer sent me over the edge this time. i called my boss and she got on it, like a hound dog sniffing out the prey. by the time lunch was finished, i had received a call from her with a budget from our travelers insurance and a list of locations to go get replacements for the booth items.

i must have walked 20 miles today (well not really) but i did hustle around the city in my red crocs, zipping from pottery barn to gracious home to the javits to the fabric store to the flower store back to javits and then back to gracious home. the booth will look beautiful and i'm glad that this mishap turned into a blessing so quickly.

i stopped in to bouchon bakery at time warner for a chocolate bouchon- an incredible treat of rich dark chocolate goodness. afterwards, i sailed to the upper east side to meet a colleague for dinner at my favorite veggie restaurant. while i waited for her, dr. andrew weil was exiting the restaurant. we had a creatively energizing discussion and such a yummy meal... can there be better things in life?

Friday, November 10, 2006

new york: in the city of blinding lights

let's face it. i'm partial. this town has a heartbeat that reverberates throughout the night in the honks of taxis, which i'm finding very hard to summon, as if i have lost the gift. today we set out from staten island where i was staying, close to my colleague charlie, since i couldn't stay with he and his girlfriend jayne last night because of several cats.

we ordered breakfast bagels from a dive deli on the side of the road giving our money to employees whose accents were as thick as turkish coffee. we drove to the javits, which feels like a home away from home, and set up our "ikea booth." the setup went by in a jovial manner between charlie and i, which is always good. the booth looks pretty smashing if i do say so myself. for lunch, we supped on hotdogs and potato knishes, along with all the other union laborers for $3.25. in new york you can't beat a deal like that.

after we finished setting up the booth, i worked for a few hours on the computer. i set out later to see the broadway show "company," written by stephen sondheim- about five urban married couples and a bachelor who's trying to decide if marriage is the ticket for him. trying to get to the barrymore theater was a bit of a challenge. i couldn't flag down a cab, the usual rules did not apply- instead of lights on meaning free cab, it could mean anything. i was now running 15 minutes late to the theater and i was desperate. a guy rolled by on his bicycle rickshaw and he asked if i wanted a lift. we negotiated a price and i got on laughing, recalling the last time i had been in a rickshaw had been in india, now five years ago, with our trusty cyclist raju at the helm.

oscar, the cyclist, meandered into heavy new york traffic with such ease and finesse, though i still prayed we would not get hit. he's in high school and wants to go attend college at flushing so he can get his mechanical engineering degree in aviation. what a sweet kid... who told me i should stick around longer in the city, that i had a confidence about me that worked here. i told him it's because i'm latina, knowing he was from one of the islands himself (dominican republic). he speaks fluent spanish at his house with his parents.

as he sped down e. 49th, i kept giggling out loud, not believing i was in a rickshaw or how beautiful the city looked this evening, in the perfectly temperatured night air. after a slice of ny style pizza with some veggies on the side, i came back to the hotel to put in a few more hours of work, so i might be able to take a bit of time off tomorrow afternoon and catch the "americans in paris" exhibit at the met. museum. my bed awaits.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Las Vegas: family is where you find it

when i called my mom to inform her of my impending trip to vegas, she excitedly told me that some of my tia's and tio's from mexico would be here the same time as me. tia bertha called yesterday and we secured a dinner for this evening.

what was remarkable about the serendipity of this timing, is that i usually see them once a year at my tia berta's house (mom's sister) but since all my vacation time that i can use has been taken, i swore off going home for the holidays.

and so, i wouldn't get to see them this year, until God brought them to me, and me to them. it was perfect timing all the way around. we had a great dinner, full of laughter (tio jorge does tell a mean joke, though his friend enrique might have upstaged him once or twice). tio eliud recounted to me that he has been taking care of the ranch on saturdays and that their dog "oso" died with just "max" left. tia idalia sat to my left and we all told a few stories and i was asked out of the blue when i'm getting married. it's not just the greek culture people! :)

at the end of a full evening, feeling full of love around the table, tio eliud and tia bertha walked me to the door, seeing me out, sending me with the fullness of their love, as tio jorge and i said our goodbyes and he sauntered off with his friend enrique to the craps table. and the dices roll on.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Las Vegas: sin city, part one

this is a quickie post since i'm writing against a clock. the past few days have reminded me how surreal las vegas is to me. my dad digs this city, one of my closest friends and ex-roommates is from here and all i can say to that is, "how?" i'm sure it will be a benefit of getting older- mellowing out, but for now i remain sometimes absurdly opinionated.

walking back to my casino, i am accosted by strange men at least once, which as a female traveling alone is very disconcerting. as i weave my way through the throngs of people, i hear the now familiar thwack, coming from silent workers, standing on the curb, passing out photos of nude women. a colleague and i were discussing the proliferation of good chefs setting up shop here and i pose the adage with a new twist, "just because you have money does not mean you have a palate." i can only imagine how the pearls are tossed out and the swine greedily gather because it's the "hip" place to go, not because the rack of lamb is garnished with harissa and a carrot hummus.

the venetian has beautiful areas inside and i am amazed at the ability to copy the known and beloved pieces of architecture from europe. but this leads to my bigger dilemma- with las vegas and a fake champs elysee, no wonder so few americans feel the need to get a passport or travel and see the real thing.

so in closing, my beef with vegas is i want to see the real thing or do i? one random act of kindness in a swarm of greed and gluttony would be nice. i keep thinking i could smile at one of the silent workers, but they don't look back and my smile won't help them pay the bills.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Daddy: The Glamour Shot

Daddy: The Glamour Shot
Originally uploaded by indieaz.
Look at that face- watch out Robert de Niro!

Daddy: The Actor

Beseeching the gods as if stepping out of the pages of Homer's "Odyssey."

Daddy: The Matador

Daddy: The Matador
Originally uploaded by indieaz.
Can you hear it? Way in the distance, Bolero's "Ravel" is scenting the air. Pose Daddy, pose!

tanguera y tanguero

tanguera y tanguero
Originally uploaded by indieaz.
beatriz and daddy strike a tango pose. i like this one because of all the glee in her face and the incredulity in his.

the pink ladies

the pink ladies
Originally uploaded by indieaz.
we look like we could be the original pink ladies... last sunday, we drove to the palace of fine arts and took some glamour shots- all impromptu of course. wait until you see the ones of my dad above.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

my interaction with kafka

this evening at the homeless dinner, i met a guy, john. our conversation started abruptly. he loudly spoke across the table, "have you read kafka?" and i replied that i had, pointing him to the interesting tale of a hunger artist. he then proceeded to tell me about slamming his fist down on the counter at the main library today and bellowing, "do you have kafka?" he was very proud of this encounter, thought it to be quite funny.

john, aka guru, passed over his kafka book and had me read "the confidence tricksters" saying it had provided clarity, why hadn't he read it earlier in life? he described it as a "miniphany" a mini epiphany where something that has not been seen before has order and understanding. as he tore the jewels of pomegranate seeds from the pith of the fruit, we discussed the origin of the word "pom" (apple) "granate" (underneath) and how persephone had eaten pomegranates while in hades... not your everyday wednesday night conversation.

i then off the cuff asked his opinion on how to amicably dissolve a friendship which ensued into an interesting conversation. paul wandered over and mentioned "second helping" bible study would be starting in a few minutes. and guru started talking about growing up baptist but then tapping into his father's religious roots of judaica.

we then re-entered the friendship conversation, seguing into a discussion of the sect of judaism he was in. though he seemed quite intuitive and we had enjoyed good banter and conversation for a while, it took a bizarre and unexpected turn when i mentioned several jewish authors i have enjoyed over the years, namely chaim potok and yehuda amichai. a shadow fell over his face as he said, "it seems like you're name dropping instead of wanting to connect."

puzzled, i decided to concede since i didn't know where he was going with this. he rebutted by saying "i'm done." and that was it. his face, his posture had become closed. backing away from the table, i almost knocked right into the white column behind my chair. the experience was jarring. here i had been bringing up points of interest i thought we would share, which he perceived as evasive.

connect, disconnect.