Saturday, November 30, 2013

I Did It! Last NaBloPoMo 2013 Post's November 30th, the last day of the November NaBloPoMo. I made it! 30 days of blogging.  So there's that.

I can't say I'm happy with the work as a whole. There are a coupe of good posts, but for the most part it was either weekly features, a meme or two, or just kvetching about not having anything to say.

But I did do it. Hopefully this will get me blogging at least more regularly. Maybe.

In any case, I don't know that anyone read any of this, but if you did - thanks!

Have a fabulous holiday season...maybe I'll see you here soon.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pandora Pandemonium - The Black Friday Edition

Did you go shopping? I did not - no way!

Let's see what pandemonium Pandora causes today.

The Monster by Eminem featuring Rihanna - I had heard of this song but don't remember actually hearing it. It's not awful, and apparently the usual Eminem darkness. I'll re-listen to it and pay attention to the lyrics.

Die Young by Kesha - I can't stand this girl, I find her tacky and crass, but I have to say, as wholly inappropriate as her songs are for a woman my age, they're a lot of fun. Just don't pay too much attention to the lyrics.

Summertime Sadness by Lana del Rey - I LOVE this song and it is everywhere! Del Rey's voice is gorgeous.

Set Fire to the Rain by Adele - Interesting this should shuffle up after Lana del Rey, who seems to be Adele's heir apparent. What do you say about this song? It's gorgeous and Adele is phenomenal, her voice soars in  this.

You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra - Wow! We start with Eminem being all dark and depressing, and we end with Frank Sinatra all happy and upbeat! This recording comes from his album named "Songs for Swingin' Lovers" - indeed! Different much? Haha! It's Frank, it's awesome...'nuf said!

We got an eclectic mix from Pandora today!

If you're in the US, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you have a safe and not too expensive weekend!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Thanksgiving 1996

So much has happened to people in this picture since it was taken.

The picture was taken at the Strang family home in Warminster, PA by my father-in-law Lonny, who passed away this past April. The handsome gentleman on the right, Grandpa Strang was my husband's paternal grandfather passed away, and the lady second on the left - Grandma Van - has also passed away. All left empty spaces in our lives.

At the time the picture was taken my sister-in-law Cathy, third on the left, was still in college - she has since become an RN, gotten married and had two boys. My brother-in-law Kevin, at the end on the left, was in his senior year in college and after graduation moved to Texas in 1997 to teach music at an elementary school where he wound up meeting his wife and they have two girls. That's David, now my husband, on the back right - we were newly engaged to be  married a year later and he, of course, moved to Miami. The third on the right is me - since then, I got married and eventually lost both of my parents.  Next to me is my brother-in-law Rich, at that point he too was engaged to be married the following June, he and his wife have two daughters as well.

David and I spent this Thanksgiving at Rich's house. This time there were six "new" beautiful young faces ranging in age from 2 to 13, and sadly there were empty spaces of those we've lost. I'm so thankful for all of them, new and old, here and gone.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Best Friend

That's my best friend Cris and me earlier this year taking a Pirate Duck Boat tour of Miami Beach, because that's the kind of thing we do. We also go to the opera, to shows, to concerts, for dim sum, we're in book club together, we try new foods because they're there, we go to the movies, we go on food tours, we buy wines and try them, we're co-captains of a fantasy football team, we host a Blog together. We do lots of stuff.

We're also there for each other for bad stuff. Other than listen to her when she needs to talk I don't know what or if I've done anything for her, but I do know what she's done for me. She sat with my dying father and Alzheimer-ridden mother while David and I made funeral arrangements for my dad a few hours before he died.  She helped us clean out my parents' apartment when my mother was no longer able to live by herself and had to be put in an assisted living facility. She helped me deal with David's hospitalization and watched me break down when in a delirium he didn't recognize me.

I've had only two best friends in my life. One when I was a child and we eventually drifted apart in our mid-teens. After her I've been blessed with lots of wonderful and important friends in different aspects of my life, but none of them were *best friends* - until I met Cris in 2000. She was a friend of several of my life-long friends through their kids' school, but somehow I had never met her. Until I did.  It took over 20 years for me to find another best friend, and when I did, the connection was immediate.

Soon we were - as we call it - sharing a brain. I'm not easy and often I don't perceive things or react to things or do things like most people. It's not because I'm special, it's really because I'm weird. And, as it turned out, so is Cris. More often than not, she and I will react or respond to something completely differently than everyone else. This happens a lot. One of us will say a couple of seemingly random, unconnected words and the other will know exactly what it means, while everyone looks at us completely clueless as to what's going on - it's as if we have a "twin language" like those you see on TV where only the two kids understand it.

It took me 20 years to find my best friend - and now she is moving to Baton Rouge because her husband's job was transferred there. I know she'll remain my best friend regardless of the distance - but she won't be here. Who will I go eat new foods with? Who will go to some weird tour or museum exhibit with me? Who will listen to me ramble when my brain is full and overwhelmed and weary?

What am I going to do when she's gone?

I don't know.

Monday, November 25, 2013

On the Road Again - Day One

So yeah - Day One = North-bound I-95 Florida. Exciting huh?
For the first night we stopped in Brunswick, Georgia. There's a monster storm heading towards the I-95 corridor tomorrow (Tuesday). We're going to hit the road earlier than usual - hopefully before 7 a.m. - if we have to drive in crappy weather at least it'll be in daylight. It's going to be wet and cold and yuck.
I'm not amused.  Bah!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Miami Book Fair International - Sunday

Well another Miami Book Fair International is over - and it was a great one this year, befitting its 30th Anniversary.

Today was a beautiful day for the fair, this was what it looked like from my Metro-mover ride this morning.

The first presentation I saw was Junot Diaz, he was as always a fantastic speaker.

Immediately following Diaz was the phenomenal Nikki Giovanni. She was so funny yet compelling - I'm so glad I got to see her.

And after Giovanni - another woman who is a legend in her own time, Amy Tan. She didn't even read from her latest book, she just told stories about her mother and grandmother in the way only Tan can.

After these three successes I figured I'd grab some "fair food" for lunch. I had one of those only in Miami meals - corn dogs and avocado salad bought at a Colombian Food kiosk. It was yummy!

Every year I accidentally come across a presentation I didn't know about that winds up being interesting. So today I planned to eat at one of the tables at the food court and then go home. There were no tables available, and I remembered the Spanish pavilion had lots of comfortable seating so I went there. It turns out that a few minutes after I arrived they had a scheduled presentation on African influences on Spanish (from Spain) music. It was awesome!

May MBFI continue thriving for another 30 years - and I plan to keep going to all of them!