Saturday, May 31, 2008

Patrice made an appearance





Patrice is back in Florida for a short time. She's here to attend her son's wedding in Key West, and then to babysit for her grandson in Orlando, while the newlyweds honeymoon in Costa Rica.

The gracious Pat Benjamin had a simple but sophisticated luncheon the other day in her gorgeous Seminole Heights home so that a bunch of us could get to see Patrice all at once since her Tampa time is limited. It was wonderful to hear about Patrice's life in Macedonia, and also to hear from a bunch of women who have visited her there. She'll likely be extending her Peace Corps time there for a few months, perhaps through next Spring, so I can still dream about a visit.

The people, the house, the food, the art -- it's really refreshing to take a break like that in the middle of a work day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

5 movies; 1 book

We got a lot accomplished over this three day weekend.
Oh, I did some laundry and cooking and Mark did some work in the yard and the pool. We went into Dunedin for dinner and stopped by Starbucks more than once.
But mostly, we watched movies and we read.
I read Stephen White's new Alan Gregory mystery, Dead Time. I have given up on most of the mystery series I was once addicted to, but I can't let go of either of the Kellermans, nor of this series, which is very reminiscent of Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series. I couldn't tell you anything about the stories that are the focus of each book, but the ongoing stories of the friends and family surrounding Gregory are good ones, and I'm always glad to get back to these characters.
We watched three DVDs from the library.
Gray Matters was very light and silly, pretty much a waste of time except for the nice NY scenery.
Gone Baby Gone was very good, story and acting, and quite true to the book. I wonder if the rest of the series (I love the Angie and Patrick stories by Dennis Lehane) will turn up on film one of these days.
Elizabeth The Golden Age was another good Elizabeth story with Cate Blanchet, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush. I just love these fancy British historical stories, so full of melodrama and insanity.
We tried to watch Knocked Up on HBO. I don't quite get why anyone who's made it beyond middle school would watch this kind of thing, nor why A. O. Scott gave it a good review. We did not make it more than halfway through.
Best film of the weekend, no competition, was the new HBO movie, Recount. Superb acting and writing and quite a drama even though we know all this stuff. Still shocking, disturbing, amazing.
And here we go again....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pretty Runs Out

She's different in person.
Last night we listened to Pretty Runs Out, the new Amanda Shaw album we picked up at Tropical Heatwave last week. It's a lot of country pop and a little of her great fiddling.
In person she was wild, playing her fiddle with incredible energy and joy, flying around the stage. Backed up by the wonderful, middle-aged Cute Boys (did I mention Amanda is only 17?) the music was exhilerating, impossible to stay still while listening.
She sang a few songs, including the title song of the new album. But mostly she played.
The album is mostly Amanda singing. She has a good voice, it's just very much pop and a lot less interesting than her playing. Oh well, maybe we'll donate it to the end of the year record and book sale at WMNF.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We had a Heatwave!

Last weekend was Tropical Heatwave, WMNF's annual festival where you can hear dozens of bands and dance a lot.
My absolute favorite this year was Amanda Shaw and the Cute Boys -- here's a tiny taste.


video


We saw a bunch of other bands -- these guys are The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn and they normally play in the subway. They were fun but played too much of the music my grandmother used to sing for my taste.



And here's Graham Parker. He was great though I'm not a fan of the Cuban Club Cantina as a venue.



When we tired of the crowds we walked down to 7th Avenue in Ybor City and had some crepes for dessert.


A good night in Tampa.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bad Boy Dylan -- the first, and disgusting, reason


Last week, while we were out in the yard, I saw Dylan eat dog poop.

It was a pretty morning, warm and clear, and I was inhaling the sweet, humid air, watching dogs roam and sniff, not really thinking about the day, sipping my cooling coffee.

And then Dylan did the most disgusting thing a dog can do.

It wasn't his own, in fact I am pretty sure it was Sarah's, a dog who was visiting us while her parents were away, but that's not the point. He ATE poop. I saw the first gobble, screamed at him to stop, and he quickly grabbed another mouthful before I could reach him. Furious and disgusted, I grabbed him and took him inside, breathing shallowly, I covered his face with soap so he could spend all morning trying to lick it off. I couldn't bring myself to stick a finger in his mouth but I did stick a soapy rag in there. YUCK!

It took a few days for me to feel good about cuddling him, but I was beginning to melt.

Then, I read this. Dooce's dog does it too!

OK, I know dogs do this, I've had dogs do it before. (But not Dylan, at least not that I knew about.) What struck me about Dooce's post is how she completely nailed my feeling about it. I cannot bring myself to think of him in quite the same way. I certainly cannot bring myself to kiss him on the mouth (something I normally do daily, and I don't want to hear what you think about that).

I know in time this memory will receed (though writing about it is not the fastest way to make sure of that). And I love Dylan as much as ever, in spite of the poop, in spite of his bad doggy behavior this morning. And I hope/know that Coco will grow into a wonderful clean mouthed dog that Dooce can love as much as she loves Chuck, and as much as I love Daisy, Marley, and of course, Dylan.

Bad Boy Dylan -- the second reason


When we heard him barking we looked at each other in panic. We began walking fast, then sort of running, then really running. Each of us with a dog on a leash.

We left the house as usual in the dawn with three dogs, but Dylan, prissy boy that he can be, did not appreciate the light drizzle and refused to budge out of the driveway. Annoyed at his stubborness which he'd been exhibiting more and more lately, I just took off his leash. And left him standing at the front door, under cover, while Mark and I took our walk with Daisy and Marley. Dylan could wait all by himself till we got back.

We walked briskly since it was raining and the dogs needed to do their thing so we could get to work. Once Daisy and Marley took care of business we turned back, short for a walk but Dylan was outside on his own.

Mark was nervous. I was confident. I was wrong.

So we heard the barking and my first thought was he's just standing in front of the door getting annoyed with us, but then I saw the jogger.


And I saw a small dog at her heels. And it looked like Dylan. That's when we started running.

Then the barking got louder and turned into a chorus. Someone else was walking her dogs, and like a good dog parent and a good neighbor, hers were both on leashes. But there was Dylan, leaving the heels of the jogger and running across the street to confront the leashed dogs. Fortunately the good dog parent waited with Dylan until we got there. I tried to think of an excuse but nothing came to me. Just said "sorry" and "thanks" and leashed the bad boy.


And thought about how easy it would have been to open the front door and let him go in, instead of trying to punish him by having him stand alone, outside, until we returned.


But I have been angry at Dylan, who I must say is the cutest, sweetest (usually), smartest dog. He's more like a baby to me than a dog. Now Daisy, there's a dog, a big dog. And Marley, he's small like Dylan, but he's all dog. Not Dylan. Dylan is much closer to human. Most of the time.

(Stay tuned for the first reason....)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gorgeous Bride, Groom with Style

East Side Bride, another wedding blog, has noticed my beautiful kids!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Great Mexican Wedding Adventure -- Part 6

It wasn't all about the wedding, by the way. We were also all on vacation.
The roof deck at Casa Calderoni was a great place to hang out and we ended most nights sitting up there and talking. We spent some daylight hours up there as well.
Here are Jan, Susan and Steve.And Sarah & Andy.
We also went for walks, exploring and shopping.
Our next door neighbor.There is a lot of construction going on in San Miguel de Allende, mostly building of new homes for wealthy retiring Americans. But SMA is still pretty low tech. Here are some construction burros who were right in front of Casa Calderoni when we walked out one morning.There were numerous hikes around the town, which is very hilly and offers amazing views to those willing to climb the cobblestone streets to the top. Above are Paul and Paul in the back, Jan, Grant and Steve in the middle, Eleanor and Susan in the front.
Below are Whitney & Jesse.Sarah is always ready for a pose.
Helen and Mark and I came across a parade when we were walking around town.There's Mark videotaping the parade and Helen peeking out behind him.
I wonder if we will ever see the video....Sunday night was the final night for a lot of people. We went back to Nirvana for dinner with Marjorie & Jerry, Heather & Steve.We found Eleanor, Helen, Jan, and Paul having dinner at Nirvana too, though they were sitting outside.Monday morning lots of people left but some of us had one more day.
Susan and I went to a nearby market.
There were crafts for the tourists...and produce for the locals.
Mark and I took a final walk around town our last full day in SMA.There are lovers all over the place. It's a very romantic place. Our final night.
A great dinner with all those who were still there.
That included Jesse & Whitney, photographers extraordinaire.

Mark & I spent our last night at Casa Encantada with Jesse & Thom.

Our bags packed, farewell to Casa Encantada and San Miguel de Allende.


A week we'll never forget.

We Have Cubans

Cuban Tree Frogs, that is.
They like hanging out on the light outside our bedroom door.
Yet another invasive species in our midst.
But cute.
And just because they are also so cute, here are my guys watching TV together.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

You Got a Problem With That?

Yet another in my list of reasons why I want to live in New York again.
Thanks to Thomoli.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It was a very good weekend

Pesto Festo is the big annual fundraiser for Sweetwater Organic Community Farm. Leigh and I (we now share a membership with Jen and Leigh, alternating weeks to pick up) went early to cook but found the cooking pretty much done when we got there. Here are some people finishing up the salad. The tables were ready and waiting.
And the people came and ate. There's Mark and Greg on the right, digesting.
The lines were long and the food was worth it. This year they made some vegan/wheat free pesto -- no cheese in the pesto and long skinny strands of zucchini instead of pasta. Everyone loved it!

There was great ice cream donated by The Old Meeting House for dessert, organic coffee donated by Whole Foods, a silent auction (someone won a trip with Mark on the sailboat he crews on Thursday nights) and live music by the Urban Gypsies.



The next day, Mother's Day, I awoke to a fabulous box of chocolates. I love when the box includes an identification guide.
Plus a gift card to the new chocolate place right near us.

Later we went to the Tampa Theatre to see a very moving film, The Visitor. Highly recommended. Thanks, Mom, for recommending it to us.

And finally, we totally stuffed ourselves at The Melting Pot. It's fun every five years or so.

Perfect Bound Again!

Today this wedding site featured Jesse & Thom's day after photos. They really look like they are in a magazine story!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Perfect Wedding on Perfect Bound

And the Great Mexican Wedding Adventure makes an appearance on one of the great wedding web sites!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Great Mexican Wedding Adventure -- Part 5

The women of the bridal party, family, and might-as-well-be-family started out Saturday morning at Casa Encantada getting manicures and pedicures, a gift from the bride.

Later we met up in the park with the guys and checked out the art scene.

Mark and I bought a print from the younger half of this father/son team of artists/expats. There are lots of artists and expats as well as the combo, like these guys, in San Miguel de Allende.

And then we all cleaned up and went back to Casa Encantada for a wedding!

After the ceremony we headed up to the roof to be serenaded by a mariachi band, to have fabulous things to drink and to eat, and to enjoy each other and the view.





Then it was back down to the ground, where everyone stopped by the tequila tasting table and then settled down onto the lounges for a delicious buffet dinner.

And some great dancing -- the first dance by Jesse & Thom -- and lots more.


Later we all made another trip to the roof, this time for hot chocolate, churros, and the nighttime view, lit up with fireworks!
Then it was time for the hot and funky Pilaseca!

We all danced for hours.
And of course there were those masks....