Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dirty Pretty Things

I absolutely love this:

The Saddest Truth
The saddest truth is realising you have fallen madly in love with what can never be.

Kayla texted me this weekend and thank goodness she did, because I immediately moved Michael Faudet's book from my Amazon "saved for later" list and right into the shopping cart then on its way to me! As soon as I opened it today, I was completely absorbed. It's so good.

(I am certain that no one aside from me is interested in reading my text message conversations with a 15 year old girl. However, no one forced you to read them, so I take no blame. But in looking back, I did overdo it a bit with all the exclamation marks. What can I say, Miss Kayla makes me so stinkin' happy that I can't help but go bananas with !s.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Summertime with the Colemans

Throughout the 1980s each Summer our friends, the Colemans, would drive from their home in Boston and then later from Ohio to our place in Jersey. It was always a blast for everyone - I got to hang out with Autumn, Dave with Sean and Heather, and Xavier with Molly. Although for the most part, all of us kids played together. Here are my favourite shots from the early years...

Monday, September 28, 2015

I Dreamed Last Night

Honestly, this may very well be the most beautiful song ever written. Dennis, who I used to work with in The Aisles, loaned me Justin Hayward and John Lodge's CD Blue Jays and specifically told me, "The song I Dreamed Last Night - you're gonna love it!" How right he was as it immediately became one of my all time favourite songs.

Oh, I dreamed last night
I was hearing, hearing your voice
And the things that you said
Well, they left me, left me no choice

And you told me we had the power
And you told me this was the hour
That you don't know how
If I could show you now

Well I dreamed last night
You were calling, calling my name
You were locked inside of you secrets
Calling my name

And you told me, lost, was the key
And you told me, how you long to be free
That you don't know how
Oh, let me show you now

Like a bird on a far distant mountain
Like a ship on an uncharted sea
You are lost in the arms, that have found you

Don't be afraid
Love's plans are made
Oh, don't be afraid

If there's a time and a place to begin love
It must be now

Let it go, set it free...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Tallness of a Redwood

The man in this photograph is dwarfed by the tall, majestic tree beside him. Muir Woods was so gorgeous and when I return to San Francisco, I am definitely going back for another look at those Redwoods.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tiny Bit of Perfection

Saw Mike Lunsford's Tiny Writing Cabin over on Tiny House Talk and am in love with it. Especially the deck, because it makes it more like a home. I've been mildly obsessed with the notion of having my own tiny house on wheels for the past year and a half, but sadly it's a tough dream to turn into reality, unless I wanna park it in my brother's backyard or move to Portland. Damn you, zoning laws, you ruin everything...

(Clearly if this was my tiny hose, the front door would be Irish green with a brass knob in the center, brass doorknocker, and brass kickboard across the base. I take my daydreams super serious and have even drawn up plans for the interior. The next time I see my cousin Steve, I'm gonna ask about plumbing and electric and all the inner workings. Dream on, kiddies!!)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Irish Photobomber

Natalia and I followed the Stag's Head mosaic's arrow down a dark alleyway and immediately took note of the photo opportunity before us. We stopped dead in our tracks and started snappity snap snapping away. A kind voice behind us notified us that we were in the way. We stepped aside and to cut any tension, since I can't stand people that just stop in the middle of the sidewalk or aisle and are oblivious to the fact that other people exist, I said, "God damn tourists...." The dapper Irish gent turned to look over his shoulder as he continued to walk away and laughed. He noticed that Natalia still had her phone out and leapt in the air to take up the whole frame. So cute.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


I know it must seem that I endlessly write about how wonderful and exceptional all of my nieces and nephews are, but truthfully, they are better than the best. Text messages will eventually need to be deleted, but this is one that I have to post because it made me so stinkin' happy. MJ was my first godchild and he and I were close when he was just a baby but as he got older, he was increasingly rude and often times mean to me. I can tolerate a lot, but meanness I cannot. So I kept my distance and it wasn't until a couple years ago that I gave him another shot and in that short time we have become super dooper pals. He's a really terrific guy and I'm so glad to have him in my life. (I do wish he would add a couple !s and maybe a smiley face in his texts, but oh well. He's a boy, so I guess he gets a pass...)


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Sweet Lil' Note

Here is another note from my grandfather that Nana saved. Clearly, my Grandad was a gem of a man.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Things That Made My Da Awesome

-Although born in 1942, raised conservatively, employed as an accountant, and having served as a Marine, my Da was terribly accepting of all walks of life and was never one to prejudge another person.

-My father was endlessly supportive when asked for help and never needed, nor requested, an explanation. This is an extraordinarily rare quality in anyone.

-Around the time that Karma Chameleon came out and was everywhere, when was that, '84ish?, anyway, I vividly remember seeing a clip of the video on TV one Saturday and asked my father, "Dad, is that a boy or a girl??" I mean, I knew his name was Boy George, but he had long hair and wore makeup. I needed clarity and my Da gave the best answer - "He's what is known as a transvestite. A transvestite is someone that dresses in the clothing of the opposite sex. In this case, that is a man dressed as a woman." I thought, "Oh, okay." and went about the rest of my day. The reason I still remember this so clearly is because when I look back on that moment, my father gave a no nonsense textbook answer. He did not say "he's a freak!" or anything other than a straight up answer to my question. Since he did not cloud his response with any hatred or disgust or negativity of any kind, I therefore just thought it was normal and that a transvestite was a new kind of person I learned about. This moment is the root of my open mind.

-He was not afraid to be silly and make an arse out of himself, especially if it made any of us kids or my mother smile. We only have to mention the strange little faerie dance he would do from time to time that was half pixie and half vaudeville, and each of my brothers and my Mum roll our eyes and grin.

-My father left behind a legacy of insane statements that continue to make us all laugh.

-He was capable of change. For example, at first he was very against the term "marriage" being used by gay couples. He absolutely believed it was everyone's God given right to marry as they saw fit, but thought the term Civil Union should be used. It took me about a year of reminding him that thinking like that is like saying, "We get that you're black, and we believe you deserve to be treated like everyone else, however, we'd all prefer that you sit in the back of the bus. No hard feelings, of course..." Finally though, he came around and realised that it truly isn't equal if you exclude an entire group of people from using a word like marriage.

-Gave unique and memorable pieces of advice. My personal favourite was on how to pick the right man: "If a man takes good care of his car he will take good care of you."

-Often times he was brutally honest, such as the time when all us kids were whining at the dinner table about eating our veggies. Once my mother got up from the table he leaned towards us and through gritted teeth he grunted, "I hate vegetables more than you do, but if I have to eat them, so do you!"

-He was passionate about wrongdoings and evil done unto helpless or innocent people, and was a man who loved justice being served. (Why he watched the evening news each night is beyond me, as it only enraged him.) I remember in the late 1970s or early 80s (definitely before 1982) when the news was on and some crazy man was being filmed and the reporters were, I now know, speaking of his parole hearing. I asked my father who was that guy and I suppose for a moment he forgot that I was a, at best, five year old child, because he kinda freaked out. The man was Charles Manson and all I can recall is my father telling me that Manson was a "Lunatic!!" who killed a poor girl (Sharon Tate) and cut out the fetus of her unborn child. I wasn't scared when he told me this, but I guess it left an impression because it was the first time I heard the word fetus and it was the first time I ever heard my mother yell at my father. She screamed at him from the kitchen, "DON'T TELL HER THAT!!!" Anyway, Dad had a tendency to overreact but this time it was kinda warranted because Manson is a despicable creature.

-And lastly, he gave us winning fashion advice: "Don't wear a brown suit. Makes ya look like a turd."

(photo by me!! April 7, 1985)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sweny's Chemist

Ten days ago I wandered around and around to the little side street behind Trinity College and finally discovered Sweny's, a delightful bookshop that won me over immediately. Especially in part to Jack, the ruggedly handsome gent behind the counter who was as charming as could possibly be.

Readers of James Joyce's novel Ulysses will know of Sweny's as the place where Leopold Bloom stopped and purchased some lovely lemon soap. Sweny's still makes and sells the soap and I had just enough Euros to snag me a copy of Ulysses and two bars all for me!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Best Offer

Still not sure how I feel about this film...the ending has left me with very mixed feelings. I think that had the main character been portrayed by anyone other than Geoffrey Rush that I might not have liked it as much. The Best Offer was beautifully shot and filmed quite romantically (in my opinion at least) with the score adding warmth to the coolness of each frame. The story was unique, strange, and oddly intriguing. The only thing I did not like at all was the one scene where a room full of people laugh ridiculously at Mr. Oldman. Adults usually do not uproariously and outwardly laugh at someone when they have made a mistake. That scene felt dreamlike and incongruous with the rest of the film. That aside, I think I rather liked it. Especially Geoffrey Rush as Virgil Oldman, a character that I immediately understood.

(photo kidnapped from circlecinema)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fave Travel Moments

- Landing in Colombia and leaving the plane à la the Beatles by walking down a mobile staircase and right onto the tarmac. Then being greeted outside near the taxis by Marina. We screamed (like Beatles fans, no less) and smacked into one another for a great big hug that brought on tears. Our screams also provided a nice little laugh to all the others waiting for their loved ones. After a smoke break and chit chat we drove to Marina's apartment and all I saw out the window were lush green mountains.
- Stepping outside the San Francisco airport and discovering a smoking section - in California! It was a beautiful start to my adventure in Cali with little brother Xavier.
- Being mistaken for an actual Londoner in the West Kensington tube. A fellow foreigner (not American) needed assistance in reaching the Hammersmith line and I was able to help. Hurrah! 

- Stepping off the train at Santa Lucia in Venice, walking out the door and discovering that we must be on a film set. It was completely unreal. Sitting on the steps and looking at the canal and hearing so many different languages was truly unbelievable. (By the way, if this moment was indeed from a film, it was clearly starring George Clooney.) 

- Seeing Captain EO in Disney - my first 3-D movie! It was 1986 and Michael Jackson was all the rage.
- Helping a German woman and her child, who spoke zero English, find the loo at the train station in Italy with Nicole. We were breaking down language barriers!

-Finding Vlaeykensgang all by myself when I was in Antwerp. It was this little winding alleyway that felt like a sanctuary; so quiet and peaceful. My fave place in the whole city.

-Seeing the Picasso in Daley Plaza that I first saw in The Blues Brothers when Amy and I were kids. We had wanted to visit Chicago for so many years and recreating our own little Blues Brothers tour was heaven.

-Picking up broken tiles on the beach in Positano with Nicole. Positano was a place I had dreamt of seeing and smelling and experiencing since I was seventeen. Stepping onto that beach was surreal and dreamlike. I cannot wait to return again.

-Meeting Natalia on the flight to Dublin and spending the entire next day with her - goofing off, acting like tourists, chatting like old friends, and laughing the whole time.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Disney 1986

My Aunt Bernadette went to Disney World when it first opened and loved it so much that she declared right then and there to take each and every one of her nieces and nephews to experience this wonderful place. And she did. Went bankrupt doing so, but she took all fifteen of us and paid for everything. She wisely waited until each were about ten or eleven years old; she rationalised that at that age, one was still young enough to enjoy everything and be mature enough to behave properly, do as they are told, and not whine while waiting in line for the rides.

On October 9th, 1986, my parents and brothers walked us to the gate at the airport and waved goodbye as we settled into our seats on the plane. This time Aunt Berne took me, my cousin Jenny, and Berne's sister, Gina, my godmother. It was seriously one of my fondest childhood memories. For once, Jenny and I were entirely spoiled. We could stay up as late as we wanted, eat fries with every meal, no veggies!, go on any ride we wanted as many times as we wanted with zero complaints from the grown ups, and if we liked something and Aunt Berne noticed that we did, she bought it for us.

After we returned home, a few months later, Aunt Berne presented us each with a photo album of our adventure. Sadly, over time, the pages all fell apart, so I am a-scannin' them to share and keep forever right here on this wee lil' blog. Here is day one at the park, October 10th.

(You know it's the 80s when you see two ten year olds asleep in bed with their Cabbage Patch Dolls.)