A Rose In Bloom

Better than I could be. Not as good as I’d planned.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Lyrical Therapy

I love music. I appreciate all kinds of music: old standards, country, hip-hop, show tunes, you name it and I'll probably enjoy something about the genre (well, excpet maybe heavy metal, but that's neither her nor there). The thing about music for me though are the lyrics. I suppose that's why I prefer mellow, old lady music, because I can understand what they are saying. I want to listen to music that tells me a story or that speaks to some part of my soul and verbalizes all of the things that I can not say. Puts meaning to the things that I feel. Sings of love in a way that I have yet to experience. That is what good music is to me. So I guess what I appreciate even more than good music are good song writers and lyricists. And when you find someone who does both, who can write the words that move you and sing them in a way that gives them the purest of meanings, then you have a winner. I want to be able to sit back with a glass of wine and listen to music that reminds me of what it is to be alive, to experience it all and to remember what all of the struggle is really for.

I found a song a few days ago that made me stop and catch my breath. A song that I am sure was written for some lost lover. But that's the beauty of music. Everyone can take that lyric and find the meaning for you, for your life, for those that you love. When I hear this song I think of the men in my life-my father, my brother-who left long ago and who will never really understand the person that I have become, because of them and in spite of them. And I wish that I could take the woman that I am now and turn the clock back to how things were then and I could hold them and they could hold me and maybe we would all understand. I think they'd be surprised...

You’d Be Surprised,
Lyrics by Idina Menzel

You’d be surprised, at all that I’ve become
You’d be surprised, I changed while you’ve been gone
And I’ve learned so much more from you then I could ever say
If you were here, I think that you’d stay

You’d be surprised, how far these arms can reach
You’d be surprised, there’s a promise I can keep
Would you believe that I seldom fall to pieces anymore
If you were here, you’d like what you saw

You’d be surprised
If you were here we’d make up time
For all that’s disappeared
And I, I’d hold you like I never could

You’d be surprised, my life is often sweet
You’d be surprised, it’s you who brings me peace
And for some unearthly reason it takes losing you to see
If you were here, I’d know just what you need

You’d be surprised, I loved you all along
You’d be surprised, I now confess when I am wrong
And I see the world around me in a slightly softer shade
If you were here, you wouldn’t walk away

You’d be surprised
If you were here we’d make up time
For all that’s disappeared
And I, I’d hold you like I never could

You’d be surprised, if you were here we’d make it right
There’d be no tears and you’d confide in me
And I’d be there
I’d be there
I’d be there
I’ve changed, you’d be so......

Monday, January 24, 2005

Food News

I'm working on a new project at work and it's perfect for the foodie in me. The company I am working for is creating this food tour thing and I am in the early planning stages of finding out who represents all of the celebrity chefs and who do I send e-mails to and yada, yada, yada. So far I have talked with lots of assistants and publicists and so on. When in doubt of who to talk to for sure I send e-mails and usually get a response directing me to one of the chef's sidekicks. Well, today I got a phone call from a real live chef in response to an e-mail I sent last week. Michael Lomonaco, ex-head chef of Windows on the World in the World Trade Center and the guy behind the Epicurious shows on TV and just a real "known" person in the food world. And he called me, and we chatted, and he was nice, and I really just wanted to gush and ask him why he prefers braising as his favorite food prep technique. But I kept my cool and tried to sound proffesional and then did a little happy dance when I got the e-mail he sent me after our phone call that said it was "great talking to you." Being a food groupie is fun!

So I got this amazing cookbook from Babs for Christmas and am dying to try the recipe in it for Suffocated Chicken...and Coconut cake...and cornbread...you know, the good Southern stuff that sticks to your ribs. Hopefully I will make some time for a real dinner soon, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Plus, any excuse to use the new cookware (I actualy baked a double layer chocolate delight last weekend that turned out perfect--shout out to non-stick bakeware!)

Oh, and major love goes out to my new (kick ass) roomie who, during the house lock down of Blizzard 2005, whipped up a delicious pot of White Bean and Sausage Soup. My warm and full tummy thanks you!

Also, I came across this desktop image in my food research. It is now the desktop image on my computer at work. I really do love food humor!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Blizzard of 2005

Well, I survived my first blizzard. After a wonderful dinner on Friday night down in Little Italy with Joi and Elly, the snow started in sometime late in the night. By the time I woke up on Saturday morning/afternoon, the snow was already a few inches deep. As the day wore on, the wind and the snow didn't stop which means I was on lock down in the house. I was in my pajamas all day Saturday, literally, a little blessing in disguise I suppose. When I woke up this morning the snow was about 15" deep outside of our door. Luckily, our building super had people out shoveling our steps and sidewalk. All day long I've been peaking out of the window watching people digging their cars out of snow banks as tall as me and being thankful for public transportation. My mom has called three times in the last two days making sure that I haven't fallen into a pile of snow and been frozen alive. Apparently everytime one of my relatives catches the weather on TV they call her and ask if I'm ok. I guess they just think that I am hanging around outside like a homeless person or something. It's pretty funny and I certainly appreciate the concern. I took some pictures and if I ever get them developed, I'll post a couple. Now we just wait for The Blizzard of 2005 to turn into the The Post-Blizzard Flood of 2005 when the stuff finally decides to melt...I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Retail Therapy

I was in need of some shopping! Seriously, in need. Of course now I have the inevitable post-shopper guilt that I always get no matter what. It isn't so much about "do I need these clothes?" as it is about "should I be spending money?" I have this odd little voice in the back of my head that battles between the money-is-meant-to-be-spent mindset and the don't-spend-in-case-of-emergency voice. I always like to have a "little" extra stowed away, you know, in case my brother loses his right thumb in a freak robot building accident and I have to fly home immediately to grab the thumb from the ice and re-attach it myself. My bank account has shrunk a little, what after theater tickets and dinner and shopping and bridemaid dress paying, and book buying--oh yeah, I bought school books--guilty, over-spending disaster avoided as I managed to accidently do something good!

Well, for those who care. I bought this jacket...but mine is even saucier because the stripes are pink!

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Which means it totally matches the shoes!

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

My mother called this morning, as she usually does. We always talk on Sunday mornings while I am still lounging in bed drooling over the Food Network cooking shows and she in inevitably making breakfast for my three year old niece who usually moves in to Grandma's on the weekends. Our talks are always long ramblings about nothing important, just catching up on what has happened since we last talked (usually Wednesday night, hump day equals mom day). Our conversations are allows slow and easy with huge bouts of laughter intermixed. We try and keep it pretty light, I divulge any good news and keep the negative aspects of life in New York to myself, she doesn't need to know anyway. She does the same, bad news is usually shared towards the end and we work through it. The one thing that is funny about my mom is the way in which she brings up touchy topics. We are both very good at playing the game, letting the moment unfold in time. She always tells me that she "had something to ask or tell me, but forgot." I always reply, "not to worry, you'll remember." And she always does. This morning's conversation unfolded like this:

Mom: Well, you know how Charlotte at work has gone back to school to get her Master's degree? Well, I can't remember what she is studying, but we were talking about what you study, and I told her Afro-American something-or-other. And, well she just was curious about it and had some questions. But then, well, she asked me what you guys (meaning my brothers and me) considered yourselves to be. You know, since you are studying Black people but you were raised by me (my mother is Hispanic) and she just wondered what you guys considered yourself. I mean, you were raised with me and our family and I know you are aware of that but she was just curious and, well, so was I.
Me: Well mom, it's simple, and not, all at the same time. I mean, I know who I am and what I feel and believe. I know that I am both, but the world sees me as one thing, as black , and the boys too. So I guess that's why I study it. Becuase it's all about illusion and false ideas and what people think just from what they see on tv or read or hear. I mean, the people who know me, know who I am and what I come from, but when people meet me for the first time or hear my name, they think I am Black. So outside of our family that's how I have to live my life.
Mom: That's true, maybe I should have named you Margarita!
Me: That's why it's so important for me to study black culture and media and struggle with understanding how people form their ideas. Because everyday I have to deal with people who's ideas are wrong, and I want to make it right. It's hard, but I've done it my whole life, educated people by being who I am. It's just now, I can talk about it in a way that still amazes me. That's why I want to educate people about difference and false ideas, it's who I am, who I'll always be.
Mom: That's going to be so helpful for you, when you speak to people in your job someday. You have your life to use, to help people understand, because it is so misunderstood and people don't get it. They don't understand that what they think may be wrong. And you can change that. I think that's great.

My mom never ceases to amaze me. She was so worried about me coming here and studying something that didn't seem tangible, something sort of out there. I think she ges it now, that this grad school thing isn't just about getting a better job. It's about getting a better me, a better understanding of who I am and how I have become that person. I think that me leaving and doing what I am now has helped us both, in ways I never even imagined it could.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I realize that I am behind as January is now half done with, but I just got copies of some of these pictures from New Year's Eve back and every time I look at them I can't help but think just how fucking awesome my friends are and how lucky I am that my girls have my back even though I am all the way up here. Much love ladies! (And welcome back Ash!)

my girls Posted by Hello

Those sweet Texas ladies!Posted by Hello

Martinis all around! Posted by Hello

And, in case you worried that Texas had softened me, be not afraid. I'm still Brooklyn Street!

Play on Playa! Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I have been on the edge of tears all day. It sucks, but isn't unusual. I am a crier by nature. I cry at Hallmark cards and tv commercials, at weddings and on holidays, at the National Anthem and Amazing Grace, at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Oprah. I tear up pretty much everyday over things so sugary that often times I even laugh at myself. But rarely do I have one of those good cleansing cries that always seems to sneak up on women when we least want them to appear. It's been building the last few days, I've had the semi-permanent lump in the back of my throat, threating to take hold. This morning, it almost caught me on the train. And then, it was way to close to bursting out as I sat on the phone with the T-Mobile tech people--my frustration over holding times adding fuel to the brewing fire. I know it's coming and I am so ready to give in, I always feel so much better afterwards, some primitive washing away of all things unkind. I just can't let it happen at work, that is the tough part. I figure I will schedule the good cleansing cry sometime tonight, after I leave the office. I wonder, how much happier would women be if we could schedule group cries to cleanse our souls in the comfort of other understaing, comforting, cleansing crying women? I guess that's what watching Steel Magnolias with your girlfriends is for, I always feel cleansed after that one. Perhaps I should buy that movie on the way home...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Life Line

I have three brothers.

The oldest has made choices in his life that keep him out of reach. I love him very much, and I think he knows. He is thirty-two.

The one just below him has turned into the kind of father we never had. He is loving and spoils his daughter rotten. And though she was unplanned, the baby is the light of all of our lives, as most children often are. He is a typical middle child who, I know, sometimes feels under appreciated and overlooked but really has a heart of gold and no longer shies away from my hugs. He is 26.

Then there is my little brother. He is now 22. He is becoming the kind of man I always knew that he would be. In my mind he is still this skinny little boy who didn't talk until he was three, not because there was anything developmentally wrong with him, but because his older, opinionated and overpowering sister talked and did everything for him. He is the brother who has never been afraid to give hugs and kisses. We shared a bed, even though we each had our own, until I was in the 5th grade. (We consequentlly also shared a case of pink eye around grade three!) We hid under beds from our grandparents together, we played and fought together, a team against the older two. My little brother and I talk on-line and on the phone frequently. He calls just to say "what's up" and then waits silently on the other end until I have sufficiently filled the phone lines with stories. Occasionally he remembers that conversations work best when both parties are involved and we have the best time laughing and talking together. (Last night was one of those nights) When I am home we shop together and see movies and have lunch, and now beers, at his place. He has had his moments, as young men often do, when they lose sight of what's right and fall victim to what is fun. He paid the consequences, he is better because of them. He loves his job and is as enthusiastic about learning new things as I am. I do not know all of his secrets, just as he does not know all of mine. But at this very moment, my little brother may just be the best person I know.

Being the only girl with three (very) different brothers is an amazing place. I am lucky indeed.

Monday, January 10, 2005

In the news:

I'm glad I got to see the show before all of this went down...best to Idina.

I was just having a conversation about the topic discussed in this article with a friend. It's a conspiracy of the worst kind!

I am really uspet by this...I really thought they were gonna make it! RIP...

Heathens, the lot of you!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

The women in the bridal department of Macy's Herald Square are all bitter old hags. They are useless and rude and just plain bitchy. There I feel better...

In other news, I eased my pain of the most horrific bridesmaid experience ever by purchasing these items in the 8" and 10" as well as a great set of bakeware that included a jelly roll pan, two 8" round cake pans, a medium loaf pan, and a six cup muffin pan from the same company. Don't worry, it was all on major sale and I totally deserve it! Now I'm off to make dinner...yay for new cookware.

Friday, January 07, 2005


The quest started the weekend after Thanksgiving when Rachel and I decided we really wanted to see this musical. We got up early, went to wait in line for $25 "lottery" tickets hoping to be one of the 26 lucky folks who got to sit front row for a quarter of the ticket price. We were not two of the lucky ones. I eased the pain of dissapointment by reading the book instead, loving every minute of it, relishing in the fantasy and realness, understanding what it means to be a different color. Since that Thanksgiving weekend I have tried five more times for lottery tickets standing in line with a couple hundred other poor people listening to stupid conversations and disgruntled mumbles when we weren't the lucky chosen few. I gave it one more shot last night determined to see the show before the Tony Award winning star runs away for greener pastures (pun completely intended!) on Sunday. I waited in line with no less than 500 people after work (around 5:30) and, as statistics will show you, did not get a seat. At that point I decided that this was my last shot and why not go all out. I decided then to stand in the cancellation ticket line (around 6:15) to try my luck there knowing fully that the ticket price I would have to pay was the real deal. I waited with about a dozen other people, struck up conversations with a pretty cool couple in front of me and watched as the clock ticked the minutes away until show time and as the ticket man s-l-o-w-l-y handed out tickets as they came in. As show time neared and the last minute warning bell buzzed in the theater, I was in line behind a single woman and the couple. The ticket man came to the window and had two seats. The single woman took one and then the couple, moved aside and let me by, I officially got the last ticket of the night to see the musical Wicked starring Idina Menzel in her thrid to last performance as Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West. At 7:55 I payed my $100 and took my seat, orchestra section, row G, seat 2, on the aisle. The show was amazing and the audience, more like ones at a rock concert than a broadway show, screamed and clapped and blew whistles and noise makers and gave all deserved props to Idina in all of her green glory, show-stopping standing ovations and all. I bought the cast recording and am officially flying on air. Persistence pays off...big time!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

I am trying to be social. Really. Trying. I have attempted to navigate the terrain in order to etch out some sort of social life for myself in New York City. I have been defeated. Well, not totally defeated but certainly battered and bruised...both litteraly and figuratively. All of the muscles in my body hurt. From the palms of my hands to the arches on my feet. Climbing subway stairs makes me want to scream and squatting down to the toilet seat leaves me close to holding the pee for eternity instead. I have bruises on my arms from wrist to elbow and all over my knees. All of this pain in the name of self improvement.

You see, I decided, now that I have some money, that I would join a volleyball league in New York. I figured that it would be a great way to meet new people while excercising and competing. I think I may be wrong on the first count. I showed up to the gym on the Upper West Side on Tuesday night, fresh from my rejuvinating visit home, ready to tackle the game. I knew that I would be rusty since I haven't touched a ball in a competitive manner since high school. But I knew that the game, much like riding a bicycle, would come back to me. Well, after a slow start, the game did come back. A bit rusty but not too bad. As I was playing, one of the league advisors pulled me aside and suggested I come back the next night for the advanced level and try to connect with a team there since they would be more of my competitive style. Well, I show up yesterday night and play some more, still rusty but slowly getting the sea legs back, ever hopeful that I was impressing the team captains. You see, what I have neglected to share with you thus far is the way in which teams are selected. Basically, you scrimmage a while and if people like you (your skills, your shoes, your hair, whatever) they will approach you and suggest that maybe you join up on a team. Simple plan, in theory. Not so simple in real life. What I ambasically trying to tell you people is that I have spent the last two nights feeling like the fat kid at recess who always gets picked last for kickball. No one, I mean no one, tapped me on the shoulder and said "hey, wanna be on our team" like the head league man suggested they would. Battered and bruised, indeed! At the end of the night, a few sad souls who had also been left untapped approached me and we started a team...four people strong....you need six to play the game! My social life, much like my volleyball skills, seemed to reach their peak at my high school sophomore class coronation!

As we stand today, I have payed $122 which may or may not be refunded, to play on a team which may or may not have enough people, because we may or may not be the uncool kids in the Big City Volleyball League. I am decidely uninspired!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Well, I'm back. Back from a self-imposed holiday blogging hiatus (not a sugar coma like some of you may have assumed) but from a holiday hangover slowly fading away and with new insights into my life. I am, with out a doubt, a Texan, more specifically, a Southern woman. While I was home I baked cookies and pies and fell easliy back into pronouncing "foil" like "foal" and listening to twangy country music and hanging out in beer halls (thanks for the dance Zach!) and eating BBQ (four times in nine days) and laughing with women friends around a kitchen table while the men belched in front of the TV. My heart is happy because, as I have always known, a good dose of home is sometimes all I need to get back on the horse and continue the journey. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, they are but empty promises one makes to oneself and that just spells disaster, but this year I am resolving, a resolution more for my soul than my thighs or my budget. I am resolving to go home more. No matter what. Flying home every six months is no way for this Southern woman to live. I desperately need that dose of fatteningly good foods and teary mama laughter and friendship hugs in a humid climate in order to face another day in New York, or wherever I may end up six months from now. This resolution I need, no broken promise allowed. (The only down side of this resolution is that I may have to stop buying $4 Dean and Deluca cupcakes to pay for it, but we'll cross that chocolatey bridge when we get to it!) Whatever the year brings, I'm posting this Texas-sized reminder, a promise to embrace my Southern roots and come home to them whenever possible...

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