Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Marcus Aurelius

Xavier told me of a similar quote but here is the original. It's pretty damn fabulous, if you ask me.

Undertake each action as one aware he may next moment depart out of life. To depart from men, if there be really Gods, can have nothing terrible in it. The Gods will involve you in no evil. If there are no Gods, or, if they have no regard to human affairs, why should I desire to live in a world without Gods, and without providence? But Gods there are, undoubtedly, and they regard human affairs; and have put it wholly in our power, that we should not fall into what is truly evil. Were there any real evil in other things, they would have also put it in the power of man to have avoided them altogether. But how can that which makes not one a worse man, be said to make a man’s life worse? And it could neither be from any ignorance, or want of power, to prevent or rectify them, when it knew them, that the nature presiding in the whole has overlooked such things. We cannot ascribe such gross misconduct to it, either from want of power, or want of skill, as that good and evil should happen confusedly and promiscuously, both to good and bad men. Now, death and life, glory and reproach, pain and pleasure, riches and poverty, all these happen promiscuously to the good and bad. But as they are neither honourable nor shameful, they are therefore neither good nor evil.

Taken from The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (1742)

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Camino

My solo trip to Antwerp this month was to be the deciding factor for whether or not I could do the Camino de Santiago. (For those not in the know, that's a pilgrimage of sorts across Spain.) On day three in Antwerp, after I started getting sick and was met with cold and uncaring people everywhere I went, I let myself off the hook. I wouldn't walk the Camino. Then I got home and realised that I could do it. I could save up the money to go, I could take off 50 days from work and still come back to have a job, I could fly there by myself, I could find my way to the starting point, I could walk those 500 miles and reach the end. So what was my reason for not going? I couldn't think of one.

I'm planning on starting in the spring of 2016, which gives me plenty of time to lose some LBs, gain some muscle mass, break in some shoes and set up a game plan. I'm scared as hell to think that I'm gonna do this, but why not?

To help get me psyched for the trip, I ordered a bunch of books on The Camino to add to my little collection.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grounds with Kayla

Yesterday I picked up Miss Kay and off we went to Hamilton, New Jersey. She had never been to Grounds for Sculpture and like everyone that goes there, she instantly adored the place. It was hot as blazes, so next time we visit will be in late autumn. By the way, Kayla is doing super awesome in her freshman year and loves all of her teachers. I'm so stinkin' proud of that little lady.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Ghastlies

I love, love, love this design. Alexander Henry creates some extraordinarily fabulous fabrics but nothing comes close to The Ghastlies. The only flaw is that there's no corresponding storybook. I want to know more about Gunnar Grislie. Is he a groundskeeper? Just some creep that snoops around cemeteries? And what's with Garrick Ghastlie? He always wears a forlorn expression; he appears dejected and filled with ennui. I think perhaps it's because Gaspar Ghastlie is plotting Garrick's demise. I'm telling you, The Ghastlies needs to be made into a series of stories. It's like Downton Abbey meets Edward Gorey. Who wouldn't read that?!?!?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014


My friend, Lauryn, told me about this company, graze, that ships out yummy, wholesome and healthy treats right to your home. Anyone that knows me knows of my love of receiving mail, especially packages, so I signed up immediately. The snacks are wonderful and graze has a fabulous selection. I especially like that I could choose things that were not vegan friendly and immediately trash them. Also, their customer service is top notch. One of my boxes was well over a week late, so I sent them a little email to see if they could track it down. They responded right away, apologised, and said that my next box would be free of charge. Of course, the next day the box arrived. I notified them and asked them to charge me and they emailed me this:

Hooray! I'm glad to hear your box has arrived, thanks for letting us know.

It's lovely and honest of you to ask us to take the credit off your account, but to apologize for the delay and any inconvenience, we're very happy to let you keep it. The next box we send will still be free of charge. :)

I hope you enjoy it, and the treats we chose for your box! Please let me know if you have any questions.

All the best,

No pretenses or stuffiness in this email! Rachel is clearly a real, live and obviously awesome person, and this email made me love graze even more. So nice to have an interaction with someone that's real and not some robotic response. I'm tellin' ya, this company is exceptional.

To score your first and fifth boxes for freesies, go to graze, enter this code: LISAS739B then stakeout your mailbox for those tasty goodies to arrive!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

November 14th, hurry up...

These two kids need to be reunited. They haven't been together since February 18th and it'll be another 51 days until they see each other again. But they're hanging in there so far!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Coming Attractions

Dontchya just love when you go to the movie theatre and see trailers for upcoming films that actually get you excited for their release? Last week I went to a late showing of The Drop after I got done work and there were three previews that look really, really good.

The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch is based on real life enigmatic genius, Alan Turing. Don't be too impressed, I only learned about this man after mentioning the film to my Brit pal, Anne. She filled me in on the man behind the code cracking. I do so love a tortured character, and when they are one that actually walked the earth, I find I love them even more.

I do so love me some Tommy Lee Jones. When I was in Antwerp earlier this month, I got a chance to stay up late and re-watch his directorial debut (feature film-wise, that is) The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. This film looks just as outstanding and I'm so looking forward to seeing Hilary Swank and Tommy Lee Jones act side by side.

Years ago (ohmigod, eleven years ago???) I saw Gael Garcia Bernal in Dot the I - I think it was Pax (Bishop's husband) who recommended the film to me - and Gael was so good. I kept an eye out for any of his upcoming films and have yet to be disappointed. Now, it goes without saying that Jon Stewart is the cat's meow, so the combination of these two gentleman can only result in cinematic perfection.

(credits: The Imitation Game c/o ramascreen - The Homesman c/o en.unifrance - Rosewater c/o huffingtonpost)
(ps - The Drop was pretty good. Tom Hardy was excellent as Bob and played him beautifully. I had read the short story, Animal Rescue, and totally fallen for the character of Bob, so Hardy definitely lived up to my expectations. I'm still trying to figure out why it was set in Brooklyn and not Boston...)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dylan & Coco

This is a page torn out from an issue of In Style magazine from, I believe, 2001. It featured photos of celebs taken by their children. This one is, of course, Dylan McDermott as photographed by his daughter, Coco, age five. Dylan said, "My favorite thing about Coco is her heart. Our favorite thing to do together is to go to the beach and rent a tandem bike. We eat french fries with ketchup and mustard, and we feed the birds." Coco said, "My favorite thing about my dad is that...he's my dad! He's the best dad in the world, and he makes me laugh."

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hello Holiday

I really dig this shop, especially the fact that they have a variety of sizes, even up to 4X. The Spiked Lemonade dress calls out to me like Catherine to Heathcliff on the moors...

(photo kidnapped from helloholiday)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Rockford Files

I've finally finished watching the entire series of this show and yep, it was as good as everyone said. I always knew of the show, but I was a kid when it aired and at the time I preferred The Brady Bunch over a grown up show like Rockford.

I absolutely adore the character of Jim Rockford. He's like Special Agent Dale Cooper - he's just perfect. Likeable, gallant, considerate, not violent until he's pushed, always looks dashing and handsome, quietly hilarious, and knows how to drive. I think what impressed me the most about this series is that Rockford is not constantly on the prowl. It's not a revolving door of women moving in and out of his trailer. The episodes are about the characters, their growth, and of course, the cases. He has love interests, but it's not a different lady each time. As a female, I really appreciate that.

Shows like Magnum, which I watched religiously as a kid, just didn't hold up well when I went back to them as an adult. Rockford is still good with solid scripts and damn fine acting. Seeing all those late 70s cars, appliances, and clothes filled me with a sense of nostalgia. It's wonderful. My favourite episodes are definitely Rosendahl and Gilda Stern are Dead and Black Mirror, and my favourite guest stars (and there were many) were Betty Bacall, Rita Moreno, and Bo Hopkins.

A few years back, Bishop and I were talking after the finale of Lost and what the actors might do next. Bish was a dedicated follower of Rockford when he was growing up and he had a great pitch for a reboot of the series. Bishop thought Josh Holloway should play Jim Rockford. After seeing the series, I agree, Holloway would have been perfection. With that gorgeous Georgia drawl, laid back demeanour, and beautiful smile, he'd make Jim Garner proud. I bet he'd look incredible behind the wheel of a '74 Firebird. Oh well...not meant to be.

(photo kidnapped from talesfromahungrylife)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Conquering the Canyon

Received word from my bestie last night that he lived out one of his dreams:

(I bought season one of Hotel and it's continuing my bizarre addiction with near-forgotten TV shows.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Oh, What a Night...

In 2007 one of my closest gal pals at the time, Jenny Penny, and her friend, Sarah, had a brilliant idea. They decided to throw a Prom Again, the theme being Underneath the Sea. They figured that many of us needed a do-over for Senior Prom. This would allow formerly closeted gays to now proudly attend with their mate on their arm, rather than the beard they took originally. It also gave dorks like me who were too much of an outcast to go to the prom, a second chance. Most importantly, it provided everyone a reason to dress to the hilt or play it camp. I went camp and picked up a god awful purple number from the thrift shop for $3.25. I had to stand sideways for every photo or else I'd look like an apartment complex. It was less than flattering, but it was fun and fabulous and I felt like Alexis Colby from Dynasty. I actually won Best Dressed, if you can believe that. Jenny managed to set up a sea themed shower curtain as a backdrop and hired a professional photographer so we could have real prom photos. It was a fantastic evening with tasty grub, booze, great conversation, sensational music, and lots of laughs. I'd love to do it all over again and I just might.

Here I am hamming it up for the camera with my pal, Terri, who looked ravishing in a flowing I Dream of Jeannie get up.

Terri, Jenny, and me with my lil brother, Xavier

Lovely Miss Anne picked up a-mid 90s black dress for six bucks and paired it with a black feather boa - she was all sass and lots of class!

Miss Marina kept things simple and girlish in a strappy black cotton dress with white cotton T underneath.
Always a fan of red nails, Marina went all out with red earrings and lipstick then added the classic red cup while cuttin' loose on the dance floor. I think this was to a Gwen Stefani tune...

Here's Terri and her hubby, Dave. Terri finally got to take the man of her dreams to the Prom.

And here are all the ladies, Marina, Star, Jenny, Lisa, Sarah (i think???), Randall, and Anne

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Remy Shand

One of my absolute favourite albums of all time. When I worked at the café, one of my customers, Jen, turned me on to Remy Shand and I was immediately hooked. She had seen him perform at the TLA on South Street (if memory serves) and said that he was a one man band, playing all the instruments and just wowing the audience. All these years later, this is still an album that continues to bring me solace, inspiration, and a warm sense of calm.

(photo kidnapped from designkultur)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Conchita Wurst

I cannot stop listening to Rise Like a Phoenix. I've had it on repeat for days and days. It sounds like a lost theme song to a never released Bond film. I await her upcoming album with bated breath!

(photo kidnapped from kleinezeitung)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bilingual Cutie

I got to spend all day yesterday with Marina and lil' Mateo. He was so much fun to be around and I still can't believe how fast he's growing up. Teo's English and Spanish are equally leaning toward perfection, however his Italian-American needs some work. But he's good with the hand gestures, and as we all know, half of speaking Italian is all in the hands.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

An Evening with David Lynch

About a month or so ago I got a text from my brother Wayne telling me that a certain favourite filmmaker of mine would be in Bryn Mawr. As luck would have it, Wayne lives but three blocks from the Bryn Mawr Film Institute and snagged us a couple seats for the event.

Last night I met Wayne ahead of time for a quick bite to eat. I arrived about 15 minutes late and found him sitting at the bar. "I'm sorry I'm late, but I have a really hilarious excuse. I was watching Dynasty and lost track of time." After a hearty laugh, Wayne said, "The only thing that could have made that funnier is if you'd said you were watching Hotel." (Mmmm....James Brolin. I need to add that series to my Netflix queue!)

After dinner we headed over to BMFI to wait in line for about thirty minutes (we were a little over an hour early) then immediately snagged two seats way in the back (I scored the aisle, of course.) Neither of us had any intention of asking questions and were more than happy to view the evening from afar. However, I must admit, it was thrilling when they announced the guest's name and asked him on to the stage and David Lynch, in white dress shirt buttoned all the way up, black trousers, shoes, and knee-length black suit jacket passed within arms reach of me. He looked fabulous.

The evening was very brief, only a little over an hour, and I was disappointed and slightly annoyed at the set up. They had David Lynch hold a mic the entire time. I'm sorry, but how hard is it to find a microphone stand? Oh, and on the table between the two of them were cheesy bottles of water. You can't freakin' get the guest of honour a glass?? Come on. And the interviewer was a hack. Sad to say, but for someone who had apparently met and supposedly interviewed David Lynch in the past, she was terrible. She seemed to race through her list of questions as though she had a late night dental appointment. "Time to wrap this up, Lynch, I got a teeth cleaning at 8:15 in Rosemont." Honestly, that's how she came across. And after he answered the questions, there was no flow or segue. She simply said, "Thank you" or "How true" and went right on to the next one on her paper. (James Lipton, you have spoiled us all. We now expect and frankly, demand, a very high standard of professionalism and warmth from interviewers and this gal did not deliver the Lipton quality we've come to admire.) Now, her questions weren't the best, but she did manage to get some wonderful answers out of the guest. Mr. Lynch was charming, intelligent, soft spoken, and insightful. I so wanted to have a smoke with him out back after the show and just have a real conversation. He seems completely genuine and likeable.

All in all, Wayne and I had a great time and it was lovely to see David Lynch in person and listen to him speak. Plus, on our way to the parky lot we saw a DeLorean. Anyone who grew up in America in the 1980s will immediately feel their stomach flip and their pulse race at the sight of a DeLorean. What a strange and dreamlike way to end the evening.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jersey Diners

Scrolling through old photos of my late nights at local diners and thought I'd post a few.

First up is my favourite diner pal, Kat. For a few years there, we hit the the local greasy spoon every week after work. I'd nearly forgotten how wonderful it was to stay up til the wee small hours while listening to Jimmy Buffet and smoking cigarette after cigarette. Not to mention eating pancakes with tons of butter and syrup or fries and mozzarella sticks. With a shake on the side, of course. All so unbelievable bad for your health, but great nonetheless.

This here is a fuzzy pic of Marina in July of 2005 enjoying some enchiladas at the Palace Diner.
(Clearly, I was feeling very Andy Warhol when I snapped this photo.)

Here I am with Michael in April of '06. We ran into a fellow diner buddy of Michael's and she took our picture. No one loves the diner experience more than Michael, and I am certain that no one misses the smoking section more than he does.

Andrew with cigarette in motion.
Laine and Anne calculating the tip at the end of a long night of laughter while April awaits their decision.