Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Royal Wedding

Buckingham Palace gates
I am always troubled when local news channels feel it necessary to make a “Connecticut connection” to some faraway tragedy—be it a natural disaster or tragic plane crash—as if viewers will only respond with sympathy to a senseless tragedy if someone within a hundred mile radius of their home is among the dead. Yet I also understand personal relevance and experience and admit that my ears perk up and my eyes focus a bit more when a news story is being broadcast from, or a scene in a movie or television commercial is filmed in, a place I’ve been—especially a European one.

I have seen the Trevi fountain in Rome and have been up close and personal to the statue of David in the Accademia Gallery in Florence, and it forever changed how I see them on TV. It has been thrilling to see the news stories from London and be able to say (to myself, pretty much) I’ve been there! Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar square, Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, even Harrod’s, are all places I recognize because they are places I’ve been. Moreover, they are part of my personal experience now.

Big Ben and the London Eye
When Charles and Diana married, all the scenes were foreign to me. I was 16 and probably more interested in going shopping or cruising around in the kielbasa wagon with Jill, but I watched like the rest of the world, with the same tepid interest of someone who doesn’t watch baseball all season, but tunes in to the World Series.

This Friday will be different. I look forward to watching the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton with different eyes and different interest, with genuine excitement and a longing to be there--again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Love it, I Love it Not...Talking on Cell Phones

Agreed. Yes, absolutely, there is something wonderful about being in the grocery aisle and calling home (though not in my case) to say, I forgot, what do we need besides bread? Or being able to take a call by the pool instead of staying inside all day to wait for it and wasting a day of sun. A few minutes of cell chat here, a few minutes there, to enable multi-tasking is okay. I get it: we're all busy. But having every conversation with a friend who's driving or having a heart to heart to somone on blue tooth is about as appealing or appropriate as breaking up via text message.

There was a time--several years ago--it seemed all of my conversations with Deanna took place on her way home from work. And I was frustrated. Just as we got into conversation, she would be pulling in the driveway. We still have those phone calls, of course, but as a result we also have a regularly scheduled Sunday conversation when we can both talk from the comfort of our own homes. Jill often calls on the way home from work--around 9 o'clock my time--to check in, and to do so before I go to bed. If she were to wait until she got home, she'd find me sleeping. Sometimes she still does. But in addition to those 9 o'clock chats that are hit or miss, we also schedule times to talk at home (while sharing a long distance cocktail). More and more that's how Tam and I talk now too--by appointment.

Maybe that seems impersonal to you: scheduling phone calls. To me, it's carving out time to spend time with friends who live far away. No traffic lights, no horns blowing, no windshield wipers, no a*shole drivers to distract us. I like that better: talking old school with old school friends. Seems only appropriate.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

[Heart] Note...to my New Camera

Much like the can opener whose sentimental value made it hard to give up, my old camera long outlived its usefulness. Several months ago, I dropped it face down on it lens (while taking photos of one of my artfully prepared dinners truth be told) and it hasn't been the same since. There was pretty much only one focus on it, which was not within my control, but I kept using it. I would stick with it, dammit, as it had stuck by me on my trip to Europe and my first 250 blog posts. What beautiful images it captured for me! How could I abandon it?

I had already asked the Iceman (my brother-in-law, Jim, who is also a Canon employee) to send it for repair once, I probably shouldn't ask again--especially since at this point it is obsolete (as are the memory cards, which hold about 128 pictures) and outdated.

But it took such good pictures!

--But nobody else could use it but me. And I couldn't take all the shots I wanted.

But oh, that picture of the Duomo, taken from the rooftop restaurant of my hotel in Florence.

--But a new camera will cost less than cocktails with Amy at Burtons! And you have a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

And so, I gave in. I bought a new camera. Another Canon. And I [heart] it.

Friday, April 15, 2011

At Last!

Getting from the beginning of the new year until today without a February vacation to break up the monotony was a daunting task, a laborious chore, about as pleasant as packing up a pack rat’s apartment, one box at a time. But finally, today it is over. Waking up this morning felt like taping the last box closed; hitting the auto button my coffee maker after I poured myself a cup to shut off the automatic function felt like locking the door and walking away.

I wish I were destined with the boxes for an exotic place, but that is not the case. I’m leaving the boxes behind. Nine days that I don’t have to beat the sun up will be my reward for getting the job done. And while that’s not nearly as exciting as a San Diego vacation would be, I’ll take it.

April vacation at last!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bless Me!

Ever since seeing the movie Singles (1992), when Bridget Fonda is totally in love with Matt Dillon who's a self-absorbed jerk and tests him by sneezing to see if he responds with "bless you," which he doesn't (until the end of the movie, when he's changed, of course), I pay more attention to sneezing. Even in the supermarket, an aisle away, if I hear someone sneeze, I say 'bless you." As far as I'm concerned it's the right and polite thing to do. Most people, in my experience, behave similarly as I have also been on the receiving end of those well wishes in supermarket aisles.

In my classroom?

Not so much.

I can be in the front of the class, sneezing into my elbow in what appears to be allergic convulsion, and not one out of 14 students will say "bless you" to me, as was the case today. And I don't mean on the fifth sneeze because they were tired of saying it and the chorus of bless yous was getting old. Not once, on the first, or the second, or the third sneeze did anyone acknowledge that I was sneezing.

So add to my list of complaints about students and their lack of manners--like not holding the door or letting a teacher pass through a door first, not saying please and thank you, using tones of voice not suitable for peers to speak to adults and teachers--not saying "bless you."

Thank you. Excuse me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Photo Journal: Friday Morning Surrender

carbohdyrate satisfaction

saved for another time

Monday, April 4, 2011

Letting Go

By mid-week I was pretty sure that I would not be able to make sense of or find any meaning in having my wallet stolen. Was there a message in it somewhere?  Should I not have gone back to the market? Should I not have had so much cash on me? Maybe I shouldn't have changed purses before I went to Boston? Are my "big a*s bags" safer than smaller purses? Would they not have had as much luck reaching in one of my big a*s bags? Even worse, maybe my expectations of the weekend were too high? Maybe I shouldn't have gone to begin with? And then, oh my god, it was red, which is supposed to bring money!... like the crystals that were in the change pocket! I had gone through it a thousand times in my head and had come up without an answer.  So I stopped wondering.

By the end of the week, when I got together with an old friend (and had lots of laughs), I was also pretty sure that it was in my power to let it go, and that it was in my best interest to do so. In fact, I think Alicia was only the tenth person to say you can't let that change how you feel about Haymarket, or ruin your memories of the weekend.

It was time to take back my power.

And buy a new wallet.

And move on without superstitions about what color it should be and what kind of crystals to tuck in the change compartment.

So meet my new pink wallet. And a less encumbered me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Photo Journal: Hundred Dollar Dinner...

pork tenderloin with snow peas, mushrooms and ginger
...Well, not really, but I made it with produce I bought at Haymarket the day I was pickpocketed.
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