Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nana's Basement

There was a parachute down there you know. I thought it was the real live remnants of a monster all throughout my childhood. Fast forward 20 years to my first glass (two plus a cosmo) of veuve cliquote (not that that’s a thing to be proud of) in a closed restaurant with wooden floors, metal hanging dividers and a light fixture shaped like a vagina with a water snake hanging out of it. Imagine me, bright red lipstick blaring, understated black heals that I teach in, just finishing up a day that started at 7:00 am and spanned through intercultural communication PhD freako teachers to myself being transformed and deciding to take on the identity of a freako teacher bluffing like I know a thing about conjunctions, brainstorming and cardiovascular disease. The culmination of this day was in said closed restaurant sipping champagne and asking to be shown the private wine cellar/ chef’s table room. As soon as the descent into the cellar began I recognized the wood paneling and that half moon turn to the right and could not help but to flash back to so many holi and random days spent around that pool table in the Chamblee basement of my nana and pa’s home. Pa that passed away not too long after letting me in on his watch-collecting secret that he kept in the nightstand by the bed that he died in. He let me pick which ever one I wanted except for a few that were going somewhere else. But that was not where I was tonight. Although I half expected to see his cluttered workroom, instead there was a delightful wine cellar filled with precious gems of bottles. I entertained ideas about bringing my love here and which friends could come with us, if any. I knew he would love it. The whole time though I was enveloped by the familiar dusky half-moldy smell of GA basement. I miss Pa. it sucks he had to go and I don’t think any $600 night in that wine cellar / imitation basement of my childhood will bring him back. However, it would be still be nice to taste some of that wine. I could dress up like I am actually a civilized person who knows how to swirl it around in the glass and stop before I am buzzed (yeah right). SO here’s to Pa (and nana) and here’s to my last semester before I become a real person that doesn’t feel guilty about every move I make that isn’t connected to study or work. And here’s to my mother and my sisters all of whom I love and adore with all of my heart. Thank goodness for no boys in the family, because saying the women of my family is so much easier than saying the men and women. Not to rule out my uncles who each own a little piece of my heart just for being them. Here’s to my grandma who would bask in the glory of a dusky wine cellar and portions that were overpriced and way undersized. Here’s to the wild sea bass, French champagne and two different desserts that I had for $7 at dinner tonight. I am emotionally raising that glass of champagne to the pretty boy bartender and his wide-eyed boyfriend who sweetly made it all possible and here’s to my friend who I have watched grow and change light years in the past two years. I know I may sound a little drunk and that I am virtually toasting all over the place. But tonight was one of those brilliant nights that everything just happened to work out and I just happened to be there.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Let's not burn her down again just yet

Cherries are ethereal. I am sure of this. If they don’t want to be cut into they have this way of jumping from your fingers, pit intact, spilling out their red cherry stain onto whatever they land on. I took it at a sign to never cut them again, never try to rip them open and tear them into a million little pieces. But it was worth it at the time, I made the most divine cherry, corn, mushroom, red onion and Italian parsley sauté last night. It was worth every bit of the near slicing of my finger tips.
The park that I live next to is beautiful. I took a stroll in the misty almost rain of dusk with a friend. We finished speaking of things that gave me goose bumps because of the affirmation of my own hunches. There will be more to come on this. The ability to go and walk in this park and come home and make dinner for my partner and stay up really late trying out new card games that neither one of us knew how to play and then surfing apartments in Paris even later into the night is so treasured by me. Even in my grim impatience and sometimes all encompassing bitter depression. Today…this morning I feel alive. It was either the inspiring evening or the fact that I just slept 11 HOURS!!!!!

Yesterday in class one of the students asked me if I like Atlanta. I had not been directly asked that in a while so I had to re-gather my position. I strangely felt like saying no. The suffocating heat of the summer was a major factor in my attitude. I saw flashes of the park, me riding my bike to school, some of the restaurants and bars we all frequent here. I thought about my family and friends that live five minutes away. I thought about my little car that is an absolute necessity because of the inadequate public transportation system here. I thought of all of the different neighborhoods I have lived in in the city, nearly about every part of the city there is to live in I have spent at least half a year in...I still feel like I liked it very much though. I ended up responding with my favorite way to answer that question, “I am glad I am from here, but that does not mean I want to live my life here”. The strange part is, I’m not even feeling that happiness to be from here lately. This all led me to believe that I need to get the hell out there, go out a little more, go to some art openings, mix mingle and celebrate this city while I am still it. Beautiful Atlanta, capital of the south. Big little city. Rent is still relatively cheap here, there are some really cool coffee and tea houses, there are parks galore , two major indoor farmer’s markets and various outdoor ones during the summer.
So, there those are a few things I love about Atlanta. This week I will be celebrating all of them…so I might be a little busy. I guess in the end, it’s not Atlanta, it’s me…

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Truth

Long flowing brown hair, big unsure, insecure eyes staring out at me, gently probing, she was somewhat begging for an explanation. How could I not say it is so, yes, it is I too? Yes you piss me off and this is why. It was quite the moral dilemma I was facing over lychee fruit and chilled water. How do you tell someone something like that? How do you just go ahead and say something so personal and critical of one’s personality to an individual who you only ever wanted to like and know better. I had a choice, tell her the truth, my part in the perceived hatred of her, or not…remain silent. I chose to speak, hey why not? Maybe we will both grow here, maybe not. I know after that talk I spent the better half of the evening crying, not necessarily connecting it to her. Now I do. Oh you, self proclaimed harmonious individual. I guess I am a little guilty in your guillotining as well, but this is why…you stepped the wrong glass slipper into the wrong pile of shit. Sorry.

By the way, before that whole drama scene unfolded at my kitchen table I spent hours talking to a friend in a parking lot. Sitting on the concrete part that encloses the buggies (shopping carts) I poured out my heart and listened to a friend pour out hers. How wonderful it was. I was aware of the brilliance at the time but feel even better about it today. Then I had a 20-dollar budget for a week’s worth of groceries and I came in at $19.02 for everything I wanted. That was thrifty shopping and I even managed to get the organic milk and Greek feta cheese!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Afternoon Musings

I pulled the kitchen table into the living room, I think I like it better. I had a dinner party type of thing the other night and boy did I ever end up screaming out Mexican folk songs at the top of my lungs and getting twirled around in the kitchen dancing to music turned up way to loud to be still be polite to my neighbors, but it was fun. I actually made my own pizza dough, can you imagine? And yesterday I paid the price for those seven bottles of champagne! I was toxic girl. Just sick…and had to go work and sell 2,500 dollars for the establishment in 4.5 hours…I am surprised I am still alive today! But I am and this Saturday afternoon finds me with a smile. Atlanta is rainy gray today, reminds me of Paris…for as much time as I spend surfing apartments for rent in Paris I must say that I really love my own apartment here. I just wish I had more money to enjoy the neighborhood! What I do have is a membership to the high, and I am going to troop on up there and see the current photography exhibit, right now…

I hope it rains and I get to use my umbrella! That would be so romantic.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Knoxville, Tennessee

No, that’s not where I’ve been. However, The Smokies have been on my horizon. I am still re-acclimating to my wonderful life here in the city that, by comparison, has all of the amenities and glam that a girl such as myself could ever need. That’s right folks I have been in Gatlinburg, TN. And oh what a place that is! We are talking blocks and blocks of trash filled, novelty tourist shops. The whole point of going to Gatlinburg seems to be to shop in those shops. But, I must admit I had fun anyways. I had my fun on the way there in all of the random small town stops we made at antique markets and roadside produce markets. If you could only see the bright yellow, green topped zucchini I bought. It is a real treat. I also had fun in the hotel room, at first thinking it to be the ultimate dread having to share a room with my father, his wife and my little sister. But it actually turned out to be…well, fun. Imagine that. I guess I really have grown up after all. And I believe I've grown outwards, I think I gained about five pounds, but whatayagonnado???
I feel the need to reiterate the southern cultural experience that I just went through. Let’s start with the dialects being spoken. It was so interesting and beautiful and boy was I glad that I knew how to do it too. I was in the in crowd cuz I knew how to speak that way too. But that was only through North Georgia. Next came Tennessee and that was a whole different shtick of an accent. I loved it though, it was kinda wide mouthed, scratchy voiced, a bit faster than Georgia talkin’. Think Dolly Pardon, and if you just can’t imagine that, then follow the link to listen to her voice.
So I assume you’re wondering about the title, Knoxville…well all I can say is that he finally did it, he finally admitted what I knew he knew all along and it sounded a little something like this…
“ life has been so limited…I’ve only ever been as far as Knoxville”. It was a shocking moment in the best kind of way. Of course I don’t think that about him…I know it’s not true, not equally true as the desperation with which he said it. But what was true is the essence. I wrote it down, in front of him. He let me, helped me actually. I forgot exactly how he said it and he helped me remember exactly what it was…with out asking a single question as to why I was doing that…I guess he knows, probably even wants me to write him down.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Saffron Quinoa

So this morning started off a little rocky for me. Hot streaming tears down my cheeks that felt as though they were the mere echoes of the last few days. Then I went to teach. I had one of those brilliant life moments this morning; such has always been my relationship with sadness…. Anyways as I was hysterically laughing and prompting and joking around with the students I had a realization…I am good at this. Not even because I want to be, but just because I am. It is natural for me. Teaching people, talking about language, and trying to show other adults how to learn my native language while drawing on my experience of trying to learn to forget to think in my language. I always go back to that, I want them to know that I am no sage; I can barely speak “standard English” whatever that is??!!! I definitely can’t write it! SO what the hell am I doing teaching English? I am relating and observing and adjusting my very flexible plans to suit their needs. Today’s class felt like a pinnacle of psychological and linguistic masturbation…meaning, I really enjoyed myself.
This was all followed by an afternoon ride to the DMV for a license renewal…hot hot hot!!!!! I need an air-conditioner to survive this Atlanta heat! That was, naturally, followed by a siesta, a bunch of note printing for my exam tomorrow, a wonderful French chard in a stem less wine glass ☺ and a steaming heap of saffron quinoa. Recipe upon request!