Monday, August 27, 2007

Anniversary month

August 8th was our 9th wedding anniversary. We unfortunately spent this day apart. Tom had to be in D.C. for work. I figured I make the best out of it and treat myself extra special that day. I started out the day having breakfast on my way to work in a cute little joint in Dinkytown called "Al's Breakfast". I probably would have never walked into this place, it is barely noticeable and it looks like a real greasy spoon but one day my dad and I got together to have lunch and he wanted breakfast. Al's only serves breakfast and what my dad wants, my dad usually gets, he's 77 years old, I figure he deserves it. To my surprise, Al's was more than a greasy spoon, their breakfasts were tasty and what I consider to be healthy. I had scrambled eggs with spinach and feta cheese and a side of whole wheat toast. I haven't gone there often but on my anniversary I thought it would be a nice treat.

Inside Al's is a row of stools, maybe fifteen of them. If there isn't a seat available, you wait against the wall behind the stools and try to be as skinny as possible. As soon as someone gets up, you let them squeeze out and dash for the stool.

I don't mind eating alone in fact I find it peaceful and inspirational. I like to take everything in, see what is going on and study people. Sometimes you even meet someone new. The man that I was sitting next to was having breakfast with his friend. We started up a conversation after the server saw us both talking on our cell phones and asked if we were talking to one another. I was being a moderator for my arguing children on MY phone. We started to talk about life, our children, our jobs. We could have chatted away most of the day. In the end, he told me to have a happy anniversary and bought my breakfast! I love those random acts of kindness.

Having breakfast at Al's with the kind stranger and his friend on my wedding anniversary.

Our celebration had to wait a couple weeks. We decided that we would officially celebrate the night of the Los Lobos concert. We had the tickets for months, they were playing at the Zoo.

It was perfect. Our very first date was at the Zoo, how much more romantic could that be?

Of course we had to have Mexican food prior to the show. Tom wanted to go somewhere close to the venue - not many Mexican food choices out in the burbs. It had to be the only Chevy's left in MN out by MOA. It had been quite some time since we had been out on a date.

Tom called this a "manage a trois".

This is my favorite entree when dining at a Mexican/American restaurant, cheese enchiladas with rice and beans. I ate the WHOLE thing!

After dinner we proceeded to the parking lot of the MN Zoo for a little tailgating. I can always count on my betrothed to surprise me with his graceful touches to add to a fun filled evening. He had just the right pre-concert music playing, The Paladins mixed in with a little KFAI reggae and St. Germaine. The cooler was fully stocked with my favorite brand of wine.

The moon was almost full and with a black reboza, I twirled in the moonlight.

The concert was AWESOME! Tom and I have been to see Los Lobos numerous times over the last twelve years - although the Zoo is not the best place to enjoy them full bodied. I had to move from my cramped seating arrangement about 4 songs into it because I was smack in the middle of a row of bleacher - sequestered people whom I was bound to elbow and knee as I danced to the beat of a cumbia. The dancers were down front on the stairs. I danced the night away and as per usual for Los Lobos, they let a few of the women up front hop up on the stage to strut their stuff. I had always wanted to do this in the past and what a better way to make this evening memorable, so I jumped to the stage and danced with the band ...

a photographer/blogger is always prepared for moments like these!

Me and Steve Berlin, Los Lobos keyboardist and saxophone player.

Me and Conrad Lozano, bass player for Los Lobos.

Ah, but the night didn't end there! After having seen these guys so many times and in so many places, I started to introduce myself to the road hands. I met Tony a few years back when they played at the Guthrie and had to say hi to him again. I told him to thank the band for letting me come up on stage and dance. He told me to go and tell them myself and proceeded to escort me to the after-show portable where the band hangs out. I quickly waved down Tom to get his ass by me before he was left behind.

I'd like to say that there is nothing cooler than "hangin' with the band". In good faith, I can't say this for Los Lobos. We've gotten to go backstage once before when they played at The Cabooze and it was the same, very anti-climatic. My guess is that is probably very draining being on the road, that you have hundreds of people, like myself, that you don't know, trying to get to know you - so you just smile, nod, don't give them any information and soon they go away. So, that was that.

The night didn't end on a bad note. From there we had been invited to a friend's birthday party that went into the wee hours of the morning. The boys spent the night at Grandma's house so we didn't have to hurry home AND we were allowed the luxury of sleeping in late the next morning. THIS is good because I don't do the 3 in the morning very well anymore and it usually takes me a week to recover.

It's now Monday and I could use a vacation from my anniversary outing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Take me WAY back!

I've been thinking a lot about things that have influenced my life - friends, books and music are the top three. My experience with each stirs feelings and like a recorder, plays back tapes when I encounter them. This video clip of Bobbie Gentry singing "Ode to Billy Jo", with it's creepy, mysterious sounding violins in the background brings back waves of childhood/adolescent memories and questions.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

' 70's TV junky!

I thought I was a lot older when I was watching these shows. Researching it, I found out that I was 7 - 11 years brain washing age. '70's TV was a daily part of my life. As I watched the old footage of these series, I remembered each scene vividly, like it was yesterday. You have to wonder how did these images, the portrayal of these "super women" influence my life, my choices, my psyche.

I forgot how Wonder Woman got her powers...this explains it all...During World War II, a pilot, Major Steve Trevor, bails out during an air battle over the Bermuda Triangle, home of Paradise Island. The island houses Amazons, beautiful, ageless women with great strength, agility, and intelligence. Amazon princess Diana rescues Trevor, and proposes a contest to return him to America, where she will remain to help the Allied forces. Her mother, the Amazon queen, is dead set against Diana being the one to go. So Diana enters the contest in disguise (a blond wig), and ties for first. The play-off is bullets and bracelets, where each of the two take turns shooting at the other, who must try to deflect the bullets. Diana successfully deflects all the shots at her, but her opponent deflects a few but is injured by one. So Diana wins, and then removes her wig and reveals her identity, and proclaims her loyalty and love to her people, her queen and mother. Her mother agrees to send her with her blessing.

The other show that I loved was the Bionic Woman which premiered in Jan. 1976 and ran until May 1978. The Bionic Woman was a spin off the Six Million Dollar Man which I also watched religiously. Jamie Sommers was a tennis professional who got seriously hurt in a sky diving accident. Oscar Goldman and Rudy Wells, who built Steve Austin rebuild Jamie to give her amplified hearing, a greatly strengthened right arm, and enhanced legs, enabling her to run faster than a speeding car.

Check out this scary episode clip!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Gathering of Neighbors

National Night Out was last night. Our block and surrounding blocks have active neighbors who enjoy a good party. We have put on a big shindig for 3-4 years now, complete with games, prizes, a pinata and lots of food!
Street decorations

Our homemade lion pinata

The three-legged race

This year there were 100 hot dogs and 37 burgers grilled and consumed. Our next-door neighbor John, so graciously grills annually without complaint. Word must have gotten around among anyone under 15 because I saw kids that I have NEVER seen before...I guess you just say the two magic words, "FREE FOOD" to bring people together.

Neighbors, like family, are people you don't chose but are in your life whether you like it or not. We live in a diverse urban neighborhood that has it's common city problems; poverty, crime, gangs and drugs. We are fortunate that some of the nicest city folk live on our block and want to work to protect peaceful city living. They donated their time, their meager resources and tons of energy to make National Night Out a fun, safe and attractive evening for all people from all walks of life. So, with that said, enjoy the photos from our successful event.

Station 6 paramedics visited and let us sit in the ambulance!

Lining up for the water balloon toss.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It's not easy being green...

...but it is fun just hanging out.

This little guy was on this bamboo fishing net that my mother-in-law had propped up by her front door. Kailash tried to hold him but he hopped off his hands and into the woods just after he smiled for the camera.

Bye-bye Kermie.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

At any moment...

Life happens. No one knows how much time we have. I truly believe that when your number is up, it is up. My belief helps me to try and live every day as if it were my last. I strive to do the things that are truly important...kiss my children everyday, read stories to them, have dates with my husband, listen to his dreams, call my mom and dad on the phone or stop by for no reason, stay in touch with my friends and try to treat complete strangers the way that I would like to be treated. At times, I fail and it is a struggle but I wake up to a new day with the opportunity to try again.
I never want to be too set in my ways to take a different route if needed. Children have forced me to take the odd path, see outside the box. If I come home with an idea about how the evening should go, I am usually challenged by each child's different agenda. The day could be going along quite smoothly when a bleeding child enters the door crying or I have to play referee between the oldest and the youngest. You just never know.
My family and the people that I know in Minneapolis/St. Paul were given one more day to live a life full of love and compassion for all people. I will embrace the opportunity, love myself and in turn love life.

“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”