Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fun and Frolic All Over Our Great Land

Before I even get into talking about all the groovy things that have happened this week I want to say thanks to the double N friends out there in bloglandia. You know who you are and you made me smile from ear to ear.


With that out of the way let us first discuss the awesome campaign that is spreading: We. We is an organization involved in the protection of our fine planet and advocates for change. I received an email from them a couple days ago but had never heard of the group before so, typical for me, started to do a little research on their website as well as Googling them to see what gives. Turns out, this is the campaign people! I am not always one for trends but this is not a passing fad, it is one We seriously need to address now so please check out their website, watch the video posted below, sign the petition today and then take action in your own home. Spread the word.

This past weekend Matt and I decided to take a nice walk around town to catch sight of the blooming flowers and trees as well as go and speak with the people who know things about fixing guitars. I bought an acoustic bass for him a few years ago after he spent an entire eighteen hour car ride telling me all about how he and his friend (who’s wedding we had just attended) used to play in his basement, how much fun they had and that he really missed doing it. Score for a Christmas present that year! That guitar sat dormant, longing to be played, ever since -- until about a month ago. When he took it out of the original shipping box he discovered the bridge & saddle had swelled away from the soundboard (probably due to shifting humidity levels in our random apartments) and a nice crack ran horizontal across it. Ouch. My advice? Buy a new guitar. He did not want to concede to the fact that it was toast so the second opinion was called in, thus our walk. Their advice? Buy a new guitar. The flowers on the way back did little to cheer him at first but by the time we got home he was talking about attaching a metal plate under the saddle and using this as a practice guitar. I say go for it; learn technique only on this one and buy a new guitar later to discover the fine art of tuning.

After writing about Bianchi’s on my last blog I was definitely inspired to tell the world about how awesome Revere Beach is so I put together a travel and leisure write up and submitted it to a website. Lo and behold I was informed yesterday that it was approved for publication and is now available to read online. A most exciting day indeed! The walk actually inspired me so much I think that will be the next T&L article submission to Ezine Articles.

Today I will end with a quote. This person is not a favorite of mine, in fact I never even heard of them until I searched for inspirational quotes. Regardless, take this and leave a positive mark on your world today.

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”
~ John Muir

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blast Me Past

On Earth Day this year I had every intention of posting a story regarding recycling that I wrote almost twenty years ago and discovered while going through old journals a few months ago. Instead, I spent more time walking to and from, ironically enough, the car dealer. My 30k service was due and the appointment just happened to fall on Earth Day which was cool because even though I could have called numerous family members to pick me up, walking seemed like the right way to get back home. Since quitting smoking I have been getting up earlier so I dropped the car at 7:30 and headed home. They called at noon to say it was done but Matt and I decided we both needed the exercise so we walked up together late afternoon before heading to the beach for dinner.

At Revere Beach there is really only one place to eat (in my mind, even though there are numerous choices) Bianchi’s Pizza. The pizza is so good that the only way to describe it is to say they must put crack in the sauce because we used to drive up there on weekends from Long Island specifically to get a pizza (Note: I know that is not very Earth friendly but luckily those days are over now, sorry planet!). I have been going there for many years and know the drill on a really warm night – call it in. It was in the high eighties so I knew there would be a line. Thinking twenty minutes would be sufficient, Matt called (because I was driving and we all know my rules of the road) and they told him it would be a forty minute wait. I am telling you, it is the best pizza in Boston. We got there faster than expected so we parked about five blocks away to enjoy the stroll up to the line about thirty deep. I will not go into the details of the endorphin rush that came while eating but suffice to say the entire roof of my mouth is peeling today from the inability to wait for it to cool off. Walking back to the car I noticed how different the beach is now.

Recently the entire area was revitalized to detract from the trashy element that had moved in and re-attract families to purchase condos in this “sketchy” waterfront local. The sidewalk had been widened replacing the angled parking that was responsible for many a blind spot fender bender. One of the best things they kept in the revitalization was the trash cans along the boulevard. Most people use them too which is great because they assist in eliminating trash from the street & sidewalk. Perhaps because it was Earth Day I suddenly noticed there are no recycling bins on Revere Beach and the trash cans were over stuffed with Poland Spring bottles. This made me think back to my little story about recycling as well as prompted us to take our extra paper plates, napkins & bottles back to the car with us to recycle at home. Here is my story unaltered from its inception; I am not sure of the actual date but I was not yet hand writing in all caps so it is around 1989.

"Everyone should recycle whatever they can because the world is in jeapordy. In this day and age the term “every man for himself” has never been more true. Recycling takes time out of our busy days. To get to recycling posts takes so much time, its easier to throw it out. Also to have a recycling truck pick up the trash, instead of dropping it off, takes $ out of the town’s people’s taxes. Finally no one likes to recycle because they are so sick of hearing that word or seeing the triangular symbol and decide not to.

The ammount of time it takes for a person to drive, or walk saving gas, to a post is not much. Most posts in the towns are w/in walking distance of each’s home. Is 10 minutes time too much to help save the very ground we walk on or water to drink? Prob. not. The trucks that come by take up even less time and the $ spent to rent the truck in my town is aproxametly ¢.06 per person in the town. Six cents is a small ammount out of a one month period. That only averages out to ¢.72 a year. That’s less than a cup of coffee costs, which most people get one of day to day. Being sick of the word recycle is natural since its used a lot. So why not use another word like reuse or return to something we’re able to use again. The other option of course is not to say it at all but just do it!

Recycling is an all around good idea. The trash prob. in this country is increasing rapidly and the only way to keep it down is to recycle or use products with biodegradable incasing. Why can’t we use the same paper cup when we have 2 or 3 things to drink in the hour? Using cloth shopping bags or paper at the supermarket is even a good way to keep it down and that’s not a very hard thing to request.

On the whole I can understand the opinions of people saying “Oh its only one gum wrapper.” However one gum wrapper for every person in this world would mean close to a billion gum wrappers. The bottom line is don’t litter and conserve where you can. Most especially however, take the 10 minutes to recycle what you can."

Al Gore, eat your heart out.

As a way to cap off my “day late” post about Earth Day I am going to respond to the tag that Chris placed on me. I wanted my other blog to breathe for a few days but I promised I would do this so here it is (sorry to say I am not perpetuating the tag, it dies here).


Five years ago I was
1. Almost 30
2. Doing home improvement
3. Just a little less awesome than I am now
4. In school
5. Still smoking

Five snacks I enjoy
1. Chips & dip
2. Saltines & butter
3. Bananas & peanut butter
4. Oreos & milk
5. Chocolate & chocolate

If I was a billionaire I would
1. Pay my bills on time (hopefully)
2. Travel a lot more (likely for my job)
3. Get an unlisted number
4. Mysteriously become more attractive to guys who picked on me in school
5. Try to be thankful for all that I have & give back as much as possible

Some Jobs I have had
1. Office Bitch
2. Faux Finisher
3. Plastics dealer
4. Actress (just once, that was enough for me)
5. Retail Whore

Different Places I have lived
1. MA
2. NH
3. NY
4. MA

Five Lies
1. I wanted to answer this question.
2. My trip to Chile was the most amazing experience of my life.
3. I am really a very quiet person.
4. Skiing is the best.
5. I didn’t inhale.

On a final note I will suggest we all make a conscious effort to pay attention to our big ball of green and blue everyday and not just on the day they tell us to. Recycle. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Buy cloth towels instead of paper. Open curtains for light and windows for airflow. Walk. Stop spending money on cheap crap that breaks after two uses creating a cycle to buy more cheap crap.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Looking Up

My fascination with the sky and everything about it began a very long time ago. If I really think back it probably began at birth; as a sun sign of Cancer I am ruled by the moon, but as a wanna-be beach bum I am driven by the sun so everything that cycles in between these two astrological wonders just fits into the puzzle perfectly. In our first apartment after my parents got divorced many sunny afternoons were spent lying in the backyard staring up at the clouds and sky. I would try to make sense of the shapes and visualize them as other objects like animals or faces. One of my very favorite faces in the sky is sometimes referred to as the Man in the Moon.

Perhaps it does not receive attention like the sun because it does not emit warmth or as much light, but this powerful force of nature is responsible for so many things, most notably the change in tides. Regardless of clouds blocking our view of her, the moon rises and sets everyday just like the sun. With a little help from the sun, the tides ebb and flow due to the shear pull of the moon. Last night when I snapped the photo above at Revere Beach, the moon was almost full, resulting in what is called a spring tide. This is when the tides are at their highest high and lowest low (during full & new moons only). As I was thinking about this today it made me laugh for two reasons. First, because the planet is essentially bi-polar, and second all the old folks who did not believe that the Earth was round were essentially correct.

Some might say that the Earth is round, but I would beg to differ. Changes in tide have absolutely nothing to do with water flowing in toward the shore or moving out away from it but actually occur when the moon pulls the water up toward itself or pushes away on the other side of the planet, like a magnet. When the moon pulls the tide is low, high tide is during the push, so technically the Earth would have a bulge causing it to retain an elliptical shape. Now scientists may dispute this fact stating that the radius of the Earth is determined by how the rays of the sun hit the Earth and where their shadows cast at various times of the day and year and since the rays are straight lines that determines the perfect circle…yada, yada, yada. In theory I agree with all of that to be true but as a gal who is guided emotionally and spiritually by water, most notably the ocean, I have to wonder if science is just too scientific and needs to spend a little more time feeling the rise and fall of their own emotions while looking out over a large part of what sits on top of our planet.

It makes me wonder what would happen if the sun and moon were no longer in alignment to each other, thrown off axis in a manner of speaking and our gravitational pull was compromised. Would the water on the Earth’s surface fling endlessly into space heading directly toward the moon on one side and the sun on the other? I would want to be at the edge of the ocean in that moment so I could watch as the water careened into the side of the moon and splashed off into outer space.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Magical Weekend of Love

What do you get when you combine 800 miles, new friends, diner food, a magician, a couple brothers, the original gangsta’, random musicians, a gnome and the cutest man you have ever seen in a hat with a pom-pom? Most would say it sounds like a circus act. Those people would definitely be onto something. Friday night we experienced what is known as the Music, Magic & Make Peace Tour in the fine town of Selinsgrove, PA and when it was over we all came out feeling the love.

Matt and I drove down to New Jersey early Friday morning to meet Trayce, her daughter Katy and boyfriend Mark (who did not join us for the festivities) so the four of us could make the three hour trek out to the middle of Pennsylvania to see Justin Kredible, the Makepeace Brothers, Bushwalla and Jason Mraz perform. After initial introductions we had our first diner meal and hit the road. Conversation on the way out did not stop for one second and we could all feel the anticipation building.

Once we arrived it seemed as if we might be in the wrong spot since there could not have been more than 100 people in line but sure enough there was a poster with Jason’s face hanging in the window. As the doors opened we could hear music playing and at first I thought it was piped in but to my surprise the Makepeace Brothers (Finian and Ciaran with a friend Conor on bass) were sitting right in the lobby jamming out for all of us. Their sound is unique and I definitely dug it. We got a double shot of these guys as they also played a few songs on the stage inside to open up the show.

Considering the lack of people in the line we expected a very small auditorium but it turned out to be quite large and had really cool acoustic panels on the ceiling. I took this shot before the show began and later Jason mentioned how it looked like that Lenny Kravitz video or a spaceship.

It is difficult to pinpoint who played when as the entire show morphed into an ensemble cast of characters but Justin Kredible gave us a magical introduction and interlude between each set, performing his tricks and slight of hand with a dry sense of humor and fantastic wit.

I had never seen Bushwalla (Billy Galewood) live, but stalked him on YouTube, so I really had absolutely no idea what to expect from his performance. He did not disappoint. I have been to a lot of shows and seen many various styles of acts before but there is nothing that comes close to the energy that he puts forth on stage. I was in awe of the clearly obvious love he has for performing. I felt a little bad though because after all “It’s hard to be a Gangsta with a basket on your bike.”

During each set a whole load of musicians came out to play. They almost looked like Jason and his band but if so then they must have been in disguise because I really thought that afro, mutton chops and moustache were real. They were hot and played great.

After a short break, the moment arrived as Justin pulled Jason out of, not a hat (that would be way too freaky) but a big tent. He was greeted with the cheering and clapping he deserved for wearing such a heavy weight hat when it was almost seventy degrees outside. They opened with Make It Mine, the lead off track, from his upcoming album (We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.), and combined with a few oldies (1000 Things surprised & delighted me!) he played many new tracks as well. On stage Jason was joined by Toca Rivera (hand drum), Ian Sheridan (bass), Eric Hinojosa (keys), Michael Brown (drums) and the Grooveline Horns (who brought the brass hard core). There was lots of banter back and forth between the guys (especially with Toca who laughed at Jason for forgetting his own lyrics) and a positive vibe swirling around the entire performance.

The entire set list included:
Make It Mine
Geek in the Pink
Dramatica Mujer (Not So Usual)
Dynamo of Volition
Beautiful Mess
If It Kills Me
Sleep All Day
The Remedy (the “everyone knows this one” song ended up breaking into Wonderwall)
1000 Things
Live High
Only Human
I'm Yours (The first single from the new album burning up airwaves near you)

He also came back with the entire band in an encore to perform No Stopping Us and Fall Through Glass. Those were amazing but then the band took off and Jason grabbed a guitar, walked out to the edge of the stage and acoustically performed You and I Both for all of our eagerly snapping cameras. I have never heard silence (perhaps better described as intent listening) like that which emanated from the crowd during the last bit of this song. His passion for performing certainly shined and I got the sense he could have played this one song quite literally forever if given the chance.

In the car on the road back to Jersey at midnight, the four of us were high on the love and the short conversation we had with Billy in the lobby after the show, not to mention the caffeine we all ingested at the diner down the street. Matt and Katy nodded off first and I tried my best to make it but about an hour out I fell into sleep as well. After all, it was 4:30 AM and that marked my twenty second hour of awaken-ness. Even the euphoria of having seen Jason does not allow this old body to make it twenty four hours anymore. Thanks to Trayce who is obviously nocturnal and a wonderful soul to have done all that driving!

After a full night’s sleep and another fun filled meal of diner pancakes and great conversation, Matt and I took off late afternoon on the final leg of the journey – heading home. The two of us will see Jason again when he comes to Worcester* and just maybe we will have the steam to wait like groupies after the show to meet him this time. No matter what happens in two weeks, the memories from this wonderful weekend will bring magical peace forever. To everyone who took part in the joy I am holding up your sign, you rock!

* Because I live in my own fantasy world where Jason actually reads my blog, I would like to point out the pronunciation so he is not embarrassed by the screaming Bostonians who will correct him if he does it wrong – it is Wuss-ter.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

‘Tis Better to Dance with an Overbite than Not Dance at All

The move is complete and somehow we managed to squeeze 2000 square feet worth of things into 580 square feet of apartment. Luckily, 1. Mom was willing to let us store some things until they are sold and 2. The Goodwill drop off location is only three blocks from our new apartment. As a comparison, the basement apartment of my cousin’s house where we lived on Long Island was roughly the same size as this (with literally only six inches of daylight ever making it into that place, creating a virtual dungeon) but even though this apartment could be considered small, I am in love with the daylight that shines through to make it feel so much bigger!

Living room

Office / creative exploration space

That is pretty much the entire apartment, hope you enjoyed the tour.

Unpacking all of our many boxes has meant discovering items I either forgot about (most of which went to Goodwill since obviously they were not enough in my consciousness to require a need to keep them) or remembered being packed away and was excited to “find” again. One of the excitement items was my sewing machine and all the many pieces of fabric that go with it. In our first week here I have already hemmed the office drapery, created the living room curtains from scratch, turned an old shower curtain into a curtain panel for the shower window and made a fabric skirt for the bathroom sink. Last night however was the most fun of all because I learned the proper way (by hand) to hem a skirt during the first sewing class (of many to come) with Auntie.

I acquired this skirt from the massive clothing collection my Grandma left behind after she passed away several years ago. She was even more vertically challenged than me at 4’-10” (I think. That may be generous.), so the skirt may have hit her leg just above the ankle but on me it fell at the how-to-look-as-short-as-possible spot of mid calf. It is a casual style in sunny yellow cotton that I knew would get a lot of wear this summer so I packed up the machine, some supplies and the skirt and headed over to Auntie’s. There would be no way to accurately describe the belly aching laughs we both had last night while I hemmed this skirt (my first hand sewn item ever) but milk almost shot out of Auntie’s nose when we decided that the hem would probably not be complete until she was dead and I would be sticking remnant scraps in her casket, wearing the skirt to the funeral. Perhaps double stuff mint Oreos at 8:30 PM is a trigger for hilarity. I am thinking of wearing it to the show this Friday if the weather cooperates, mostly because I promised Auntie that I will be wearing it every day for the rest of my life. Of course it is much more likely I will be in my plaid shorts.

Something phenomenal also happened last Saturday afternoon; I finally became a non smoker. My torrid affair with the plant of death began so long ago that if those years of smoking were a person, she would be legal to drink by now. I had been trying to quit since about two weeks after I started smoking but convinced myself that I actually loved to smoke until about eight years ago. That is when I tried the patch; after watching my heart literally fling out the front of my chest and hit the wall opposite me about 400 times, I decided to rip that thing off and buy a pack. About a year later I tried what I called the “cold turkey with a straw” method. I carried around a straw that I cut to the exact size of a cigarette and every time I had a craving to smoke I pulled that out and inhaled air instead. I actually quit for about five weeks that way, which at the time I considered very impressive, but air just did not cut it and I went right back. Hearing that the gum was gross and not wanting to pop any pills, I skipped both of those methods. Then last week I was reading one of my favorite blogs and there it was. The Universe answered my pleas for a solution.

By now you all know I am a huge fan of Jason (no last name required at this point) and, like all people I respect and admire, I generally look into the suggestions they make for flicks to watch, music to purchase or books to read. I feel that the people who come in and out of anyone’s life are truly there for beneficial reasons and recommendations they make are probably well worth looking into. Would I consider Jason a friend? We have never met so no, not in the conventional sense of the word, but there are many like minded blog friends I have never met who have suggested various forms of media that I have loved so when I saw on his blog that he became a non smoker two years ago with a book he read I knew it was worth the $15 to give it a shot. I purchased the book The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr, read it in three days, and officially extinguished my last cigarette at 2:00 PM on April 5, 2008. No withdrawal symptoms, not feelings of anxiety or stress and honestly no pangs of regret or need for the substance. I am now free and feel fantastic! In an effort to pay it forward, I genuinely thank Jason for the thoughtful recommendation and pass on the love to all of you who might be struggling with this. Buy and read this book today.

Other awesome things that happened of late include:

~ Dog sitting for the easiest, sweetest, most kickin’ dog on the freaking planet.

~ Cas Haley released a new album. If you like reggae or are just looking for some stellar summer music I highly suggest checking him out. Great vibe all around. Living near Dallas is a plus; you can see him live (lucky).

~ Acquiring two faux jobs. One of which is not through anyone I already know (she found my website randomly woo hoo!) and will be installing one of my favorite finishes, the other through my Evil Step-Mom’s very close friend who is an Interior Designer.

~ Being able to spend time with friends that I rarely got to see while living far away.

~ Catching the first sights of spring in New England as flowers begin to bloom.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What If...

In the spirit of keeping this going (and also because I am such a sucker for these things. Seriously I am the dork who fills out all of those "Getting to know your friends" emails even though I am pretty sure I already know all my friends favorite ice cream flavor and do not really have that much extra time on my hands.) I will allow Bree to tag me!

Please note that Bree obviously rocks because I am going to answer it anyway even though this is not really in the vein of my usual blogarific insanity but I will do my best to tie it into randomness (like that will be a problem, really).

What Ifs:

What if I could meet someone in the art world to chat with?
What a truly difficult question! With so many amazing and diverse areas of the art world it seems virtually impossible to narrow it down to just one so I will not. I will however keep the categories low so this does not become a novel. Most of the artists I love are already dead, except musicians, so if they could come back to life for this chat it would be wonderful! Architecturally speaking it would have to be Gaudi, his work is just so funky and fluid. For painters Van Gogh all day long. Spending time in that museum in Amsterdam was one of the defining days of my life; I could have spent a month there getting lost in his living dreams. Dickinson or Frost for writers. I think we all know who I would pick for a musician and luckily for me he is still alive so perhaps this will actually take place after the show next week.

What if I could have one wish granted for the benefit of all mankind?
Ensure the survival of our planet for every future generation.

What if I could travel anywhere in the world?
I would want to see every single place in the entire world. No joke, every city in every country on every continent; I love to travel and explore.

What if I could live in a period other than the present, for 24 hours?
I have been looking at this question for a very long time trying to determine when it might be that I would have liked to live if not now but I can not think of a better time than the exact moment I am living in right now.

What if I could make over three areas of my body?
My lungs. My cavity filled teeth. My brain. Luckily I am working on all of these right now.

What if I could become an animal for 24 hours?
A bear. Specifically a grizzly. Bears freaking rock.

What if I could bring someone back to life for 24 hours?
I do not think I could do this. No matter how awesome it would be to see them for that time period it would be too difficult to lose them twice.

Now the part where I have to bring this onto three other unsuspecting bloggers. OK Judi, Charmaine & Julie it is go time gals! You're welcome ;~)

And now back to your regularly scheduled blogs...