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Where Did All the Wine Go?

Killer, Killer; See Something, Say Something; Weight Matters; Stage Management Excitement

Killer, Killer; See Something, Say Something; Weight Matters; Stage Management Excitement

Brief break in the wine stuff. Not that I’ve gotten that far just yet. Hey! It’s a new project! While I’ve taken a break from wine writing, I have not taken a break from wine. In fact I tried a new Pinot Grigio at the cast party for the show I was working on.

That’s where the break comes from, by the way. I was stage managing for Orlando’s Playwrights’ Round Table’s Goring One-Act Festival. Which was fun. Met some great people, had a bunch of laughs. Good times. But it doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing. Mostly you have time to go work and keep doing laundry so you don’t run out of stage blacks to wear. I don’t think I’ve worn that much black since that brief goth phase of mine back in early high school. And there was Halloween Horror Nights to go play at. Halloween. I admit it. I was a wee bit distracted.

But the festival is bittersweetly over. Back to a normal routine and my projects. There will be wine writing to come, promise. I did have someone recently ask me what wine I’d have for the Hogwarts Express. For those not in the Central Florida area or who do not keep up with Harry Potter stuff, Universal Orlando will be opening Diagon Alley next year and the Hogwarts Express will run between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Hence, the question of wine for the train.

All the walkers!

All the walkers!

But I digress. Actually admitting to digression brings me back to my point. I figured out two things recently: Where my writing voice comes from and why I have no problem writing in second person. My grandmother.

I’ve always loved stories, but I loved hers best. And she always told them to me and my brother—never read them, but just told them from memory. She’d tell them very conversationally, directly to me and my brother. It made for a very casual, telling-how-you-speak voice and it made us feel included in the story.  She was also infamous for “rabbit trails” or going off topic and digressing a lot. Apparently I inherited that too.

About a week ago I was talking with a friend at work and somehow the topic of my writing points of view came up. My undergraduate thesis contains stories written in a four points of view: first, second, third limited and third omniscient.  According to my thesis director, writers usually only stick with one or two POVs. They don’t usually bounce around. But not only did I write in them all, I successfully wrote in second person.

Fast forward six years to that aforementioned conversation. I realized that’s where I get it from. Being able to write in second person. Actually I’m kind of doing it now—I’m writing to you as if I were talking you. Like you’re not on the other side of some screen. That’s how I write best—telling and talking to you as if you were sitting in room with me like how my grandmother told stories to me. I can honestly say I got my voice from her. Well, the basis of it. Writing how I speak, writing to you. It was a really fantastic revelation for me. She died ten years ago and I miss her a lot. Now I have a means that brings her closer to me than I ever thought.

Blackberry wine; Frozen S'mores; Eiffel Sour; Dessert Trio

Blackberry wine; Frozen S’mores; Eiffel Sour; Dessert Trio

And I’ll continue to share like I’m talking directly to you. …Because I am. Next time I promise wine writing. There was that new Pinot Grigio. And then that blackberry wine—which is divine by the way. Great after a bad day at work. And the holidays are coming and that means cranberry wine! There will also be closing thoughts on this year’s Food and Wine Festival.

Also? You’ll be meeting Sam soon. Sam is only just beginning his exploration of wine, beer and more. He’s funny. I promise. So be on the lookout for videos as we work to cultivate Sam’s tastes.

Wine in General

I know. It’s a red, obviously not grigio. But I thought my lipstick looked awesome on the glass right then.

I hate reading about wine. I love wine. I love reading. You’d think I’d love reading about wine, right? Wrong!

Wine reviews are just so damn stuffy. The acridness of the soil of this region in that year for this type of grape. Who the hell knows what that means? To the layman, it likely doesn’t mean anything. They want to know what the wine tastes like–is it good, or is it bad? And will I like it?

And that’s what matters to most people–will I like it? Wine’s gotten quite popular. It’s nothing to walk into a chain grocery store and see an aisle devoted to wine. Okay, not entirely. They usually face off with their beer cousins–who are equally awesome in different ways. But because there are whole aisles for wine shows that people are enjoying their wine, they want it and they like it regardless of whose opinion is out there about wine.

Now wine didn’t always used to be this way. Go back a couple of decades–near as I can figure–and wine wasn’t what it is today. As a child I don’t remember an aisle devoted to wine. Cereal? Yes. Cans of stuff? Yes. Boxes and bags of frozen stuff? Yes. But near as I can remember wine and their beer cousins had to share shelf space. Or maybe that’s just how it was in Florida.

People were nervous about ordering wine. I mean who would want to take a pretty lady out on a date and risk incurring the scornful look of a sommelier when you ordered a bottle that didn’t pair with your meal correctly? No one. Trés embarrassing. People became intimidated by wine, I think. It was an intellectual sort of thing. Booze for the smart folk.

But something happened in the last couple of decades. Wine loosened up. And people became less intimidated by it. They were going to drink wine, damn it! They decided they deserved the finer things in life. People just tried different vintages, labels, types, and more just to see what they liked. They’d sample house wines, go to wine fests, tool around Epcot during their International Food & Wine Festival–all the while trying different wines. Curiosity won out. It became about the people and what they liked. It didn’t matter if it was “the” wine that was meant to be paired with “the” dish. It was about what tasted good. It became less serious. And it wasn’t all about fine dining anymore. You can go to chain restaurants like Olive Garden and order what you will, and no one will raise an eyebrow.

Unfortunately wine writing hasn’t apparently caught up. I have no doubt there are wine-lovers out there–oenophiles if you want to be technical–that have lost the stuffy jargon. But it’s still mainstream, so to speak, to write about wine with a monocle on.

Pinot Grigio & a Peanut Butter Sandwich

There you have it. A peanut butter sandwich with what’s left of a glass of pinot grigio.

I thought about that tonight while I had half a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of wine. What wine would I pair with peanut butter?

Who in the hell asks that? In truth, I think you’re going to pair it with whatever wine you like, traditional pairing be damned…if one exists.

Which I’ll own up to–I have no idea if there’s a particular wine that should be paired with peanut butter. Somehow I doubt there’s a pairing designation out there that lists ‘PB on sourdough goes with X wine.’ Wine goes with what we want it to go with, what we like. Sure there are pairing menus out there and fine dining that’s based on pairings, and if I were travelling or having a high-end night out I’d very likely go with the pairing. But what I’m saying is that wine is no longer limited by traditional stuffy standards anymore. It’s okay to have fun with it, to go with what you like. And the writing and reading should be that way too.

…By the way, if you were curious, pinot grigio goes with a peanut butter sandwich quite nicely. The PB doesn’t conflict with the grigio and vice versa. And the crispness takes the edge off the peanut butter making me thirsty. Take a sip or two and it’s all good. I don’t feel the need to guzzle my wine to deal with the salty PB. Now a red–that would make me down my wine faster because reds tend to make me thirstier–thank you, tannins. Tannins are the texture in wines that make you thirsty, by the way–hence why it wouldn’t go well with a peanut butter sandwich. But that’s just me and my thoughts. You should try it for yourself. Go on, I dare you. Have fun with it.

Only a month to go.

Turning thirty is making me introspective. I don’t remember if I was like this when I turned twenty. I do know I was a completely different person on track for a completely different life ten years ago.  But then a lot of things have happened since then. To quote one of my favorite books, Queen of the Damned:

forward“I’m a little sadder for all of it, and a little meaner and a little more conscientious as well. I’m also infinitely more powerful, though the human in me is closer to the surface than ever—an anguished and hungry being who both loves and detests this invincible immortal shell in which I’m locked.”

Okay. I’m not a two hundred year old French vampire. But what this means to me is ‘I’ve been through some bad stuff that brought me really low. And I’ve come back from it. I’m a hell of a lot stronger than before, more able to handle what is thrown at me, but I feel so much more keenly and want fewer but more precise, seemingly unattainable things. Sometimes that’s fine and other times I hate it. I like who I am and what I’m capable of, but sometimes it makes me sad because it could be so lonely.’

Told you. Introspective.

While I don’t remember everything about turning twenty, I have some thoughts on turning thirty. For one thing, I’m not so much worried about it anymore. Twenty-nine was a horrible year for me. If I were wine, the 29 Gypsy would be approaching vinegar. I had the misfortune of seeing people I thought were friends turn into hypocritical, judgmental people. They were cut out of my life, but I’m sad for them. Those are their true colors, and those are some poor true colors to have. I’m sad for the kind of people they seem on track of becoming. There was the belittlement and marginalization at the end of a relationship. It’s sad to see something that had such potential de-evolve into an angry mess you have to crawl out of on your hands and knees. Figuratively speaking of course. And being used by someone who couldn’t face their own problems on their own two feet. And there was one final straw to break the camel’s back.

If I were to pick a few words to describe the people around me for my twenty-ninth year they would be cowardice, anger and fear with a coating of lacking the ability to be honest and talk straight.

And that is why I’m more than ready to leave twenty-nine behind. Along with everything about it that was negative and attempted to break me in some form or another.

It’s said that everyone has one year that just about wrecks them continually. And while the year my brother died was the year that shattered everything I thought I was going to do and be, that year was still a good year in that I was surrounded by the love of friends and my closer family members. That made that year positive. For me, twenty-nine is that one year that was one crash after another.

But I do have to give twenty-nine something. It’s shown me who the best people are in my life—the ones that are going to be there regardless of what happens. Those will be the people who are steadfast friends, the people who are there no matter what is going on in their own lives. They have the strength to be there for others despite the hardships in their own lives. These people know who they are to me. And they will be the ones to come with me into a new year—which will be amazing.

arrowI had a thought. To tie it all together. Yes, twenty-nine had a lot of sharp edges. And I’ve lost a lot this last year. But it can be likened to whittling. The carver has to take the sharp edge of a knife to the wood, cutting away all that’s unnecessary to the art he’s creating. It isn’t an easy process. It doesn’t always go smooth. But in the end, he has a piece of art that’s made of only what is essential to it. That is how twenty-nine was.

And now we see what thirty brings. Perhaps this one will finally be my year.

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We could also call this how I ended up with without clothes and cool bath water.

Photographers see light, color and composition. Spatial orientation. It’s just how we see the world. Kind of like looking through a camera all the time. It’s kind of neat way to see the world actually.

But like most things there are pros and cons. With almost always feeling like you’re looking through a camera, there are times when you see something and you need to take a picture of it. Nay you have to take that shot. It really does feel like a compulsion. You can’t walk away from that shot. It itches at your skin from the inside until you capture it. You have to stop what you were doing and get the picture as you see it.

This is how I ended up in my bathroom sans apparel and with cooling bath water.

Like usual, there are a lot of projects at work. It can be stressful. No, not can be. Is. The idea was to take a nice relaxing, candlelight bubble bath. …I’m a girl. This is what girls do. I highly recommend it–even to you guys. Don’t worry, I won’t tell that you’re relaxing with bubbles.

Anyway. I’d lit my candles and then lost my clothes. I turned the light off, turned around…and I saw it. Just one of those shots. I needed to take that picture. There was just something about it. The way the light hit the facet and marble. The coloration. The mood of it. …Yes, it needed to be taken. Had to be taken. I was compelled. I grabbed my phone and tried getting the angle so that the picture matched what I saw.

Naturally shooting in a bathroom isn’t as easy at it would seem. Trying to get the angle but keep the bead board out of the shot. I needed enough of the marble. Had to get all three candles. But needed the angle on the light play on the facet. …You get the idea. It was like there wasn’t anything but what I was seeing. Nothing else was registering to me. Intense focus.

But I got the shot. The compulsive fog lifted. And that was when I realized it was like fifteen minutes later, my bath water wasn’t hot anymore, and I didn’t have clothes. Looking from the outside at the situation, it amuses me. But that is the nature of being a photographer. There are some shots you can’t walk away from. They need to be taken. That’s just the nature of it.

Yes, you can laugh at this. It’s kind of funny.

Remembering to Smile

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This week has been one of reflection, I think anyway. Lately it seems things have been off in my own life. When one aspect sets itself right, another goes off-kilter. But all of that pales in comparison to the events this week in Boston. I was worried something had happened to my best friend in college, someone I used to stay up with until 2 in the morning debating philosophy, the human condition, and writing. She’s someone who is very different from me, but our souls have enough in common that she knew me best at that time in my life. And for a bit I was scared she was gone from this world.

Thankfully, she’s safe. She’ll make it through this I know, because if anyone knows how to survive it’s her. She’ll survive and continue to fill the people and the world around her with her words and light. And I’m so unbelievably thankful for that, especially when there are so many others who are hurting beyond words. I know what it’s like to hurt beyond words. And I know how frustrating it is to see others, especially those you care about, hurting and not being able to heal their hurt, to take it away and make them smile.

The world, it seems, may have forgotten how to smile. It’s been such a sad, frightening and shocking week. The hurt, frustration, pain, and confusion build and circulate. And we forget to see the little things around us that can make us smile and give a brief respite from sadness. And eventually those little things, combined with time, heal us. But it starts with the little things. Little things like seeing a small flower and remembering there’s still beauty in the world. And that reminder and the small smile that comes with it bring hope.

boababI did it again. I spent another day in a theme park by myself.

This isn’t a bad thing. One of my roommates realized my last couple of trips had been by myself, and was surprised. But then really? Who goes to a theme park by themselves? Apparently I do.

It’s beginning to feel like my escape method. Things aren’t great and I feel like being on my own. So I’m going to go to a theme park and be surrounded by people. Makes perfect sense.

No really, it does. Yes, there are hundreds of people, but these people don’t really see me or notice me or even care that I’m there. It’s that whole lost in the crowd thing. There is something in that anonymity that makes me feel calm. And after the last couple of weeks I could use some calm.

hippoWhile things in the office have calmed down, things in my personal life have gone off-kilter. It’s like the two will never line up. There’s some things I’m afraid of right now. In fact, I’m afraid right now, sitting here, writing this. And usually any fear that hangs around turns into anxiety. And anxiety makes me want to run. Run away, get away, just go somewhere where the things that are making me afraid can’t reach me.

Last week, when driving to work, I almost took the exit for the interstate that would take me to the beach instead of to the office. All that anxiety was there. That hole in your chest feeling was there. I felt held back and afraid. …So my brilliant plan of escape was to go to the beach and go swimming. And if it meant swimming in my clothes so be it.

gorillaInstead I went to work. Held all the fear and anxiety in until Saturday. And when I woke up on Saturday I grabbed my camera and headed back to Animal Kingdom to visit the hippos. Okay, and the other animals.

giraffeBut it’s soothing. Spending a day barely talking and just taking pictures. I’ll upload some into Instagram and push them out to my other social media accounts. And for several hours that’s how I communicate–through pictures. And I love it! Last time I saw a gorilla so close to the glass I could look in his eyes. And while I felt it was extraordinary to see him that close, I could see sadness in his eyes. Disney doesn’t appear to skimp on their animal habitats but it’s still not freedom. I thought of the irony of my seeking freedom in a place full of un-free animals. Or maybe just the gorilla realized it. tigerI can’t say I’ve gotten up close with any hippos, rhinos or elephants. …Although there was a Masai Giraffe that walked right up to the truck to eat… And then there was the tiger just a foot away on the other side of the glass…

In the end I leave with another couple hundred pictures and a better sense of calm. And it helps. Until I figure out what is making me afraid and how to not fear it anymore. Although…I think I might have an idea…

Tree of Life--can you find the hippo?

Tree of Life–can you find the hippo?

Believe it or not, you can find peace in a theme park. I know. I was surprised too. And I was very in need of some peace.

Recently at work I received a promotion. Yay me! Very excited. Associate Editor Gypsy. …not that they’s actually call me that. But it’s a step up the ladder and in the direction I want to go. Writing and a bit of travelling it would seem.

So if I just got this promotion why on earth would I need some peace? Shouldn’t I be bouncing around, doing happy dances in my cube and in general celebrating? You’d think. And yes, I’ve done the happy dancing in my cube. Not that I’d ever let anyone see that. You’d think I wouldn’t need to get away and find some peace, that I’d be quite happy.

And I am. I’m very happy I got promoted. So are a lot of people. However, there are some individuals that aren’t. And they are passive aggressively making it known through rumors. I know, I know–I work in an office, and there’s no escape from the rumor mill. But these rumors! Phew! I knew some people didn’t like me, but I didn’t know it was that bad. And them not liking me doesn’t really bother me. I’m used to doing my own thing, and being my own person on my own. It was the extent of them. Add that to the stress in-residence and I’m hitting the overload point.

Last Friday I took a Mental Health Day. I love these days. They’re like sick days without the sick. And this particular Mental Health Day was the day I found peace in a theme park and, best of all, hippos.

…I know. That last sentence doesn’t really make sense.

I didn’t plan in advance what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to go away, go somewhere. But I wanted to play with my camera. And I had been craving some roller coaster time. And I wanted to see some animals. Animals have always somehow been a source of comfort and relaxment. Hmm…where to go, where to go?…

I know! Animal Kingdom! It’s kind of away. Sort of. I can take pictures. There’s a roller coast–a good one. And? Animals!

So off I went. By myself. To a theme park. During Spring Break season.

hippo swimming close upAnd yes, I did find a sense of peace. In the nine hours I was there I spoke all of maybe two dozen words and took over 300 pictures. You know how monks can walk around with those little smiles on their faces and not speak? Totally get that now. The only time I spoke was when I needed to ask for something–chicken, water, a margarita…and to say ‘jambo’ to the safari driver.

My wanderings through the park took me to the hippo observation area. It’s a dark place with a glass wall that lets you see above and below the water of part of the hippo habitat. As luck would have it a hippo was swimming. It was swimming laps of all things. I always imagined hippos swimming aimlessly or with a direct purpose. Maybe there was some direct purpose for swimming laps. The walrus at SeaWorld swims laps all the time.

hippo swimming Truth be told, I’ve never thought much about hippos. Other than they’re a little on the funny side. I can totally see where the ‘water horse’ thing comes from. But something just hit me last Friday watching that hippo swim. It was all internal. And I just smiled inside and out while snapping away with my camera. I felt calm and at peace. And I was surrounded by the children of tourists going nuts over a moving hippo.

I have to say I’m quite attached to hippos now. Yes, they’re funny looking but it’s a funny looking that I can appreciate. Sure they might lumber about on land, but you put one of those massive animals in the water they actually become graceful. And despite their size and how the word ‘hippo’ is used to insult people, they always look like they’re smiling. Even when they’re sleeping. This makes me think of the monks who are always smiling even though they aren’t speaking. And it made me think of the little smile I had all day while wandering around Animal Kingdom. …Okay I smiled more when it started to rain and all the tourists ran away.hippo smiling close up

The truth is that hippos are generally peaceful critters. Which, I think, is why they smile. Peaceful until you get in their territory and then you better run. Because they will chase you down and try to stomp on you for getting in their space and messing with them. And they’ll do it with a smile on their face.

Why Do I Write? Or So They Ask.

Recently I was asked why I write. Or what the purpose was behind my writing. Or some variation of that question. The gist was the same or close enough, okay?

It was Friday morning. I was sitting in a windowless conference room across from a couple of people I’ve come to like in my office–both known to be neat people. All three of us were in this tiny, seven or eight foot by seven or eight foot, neutrally painted room. With the desk chairs I don’t like. And while I’m thinking of it–what is with windowless conference rooms? As if some meetings were unpleasant enough they have to take away the windows. In addition to being a word person, I’m a visual person. I need to see. I don’t like windowless rooms. Far too confining. Combine that with a rotten meeting and it’s just a recipe for a lack of creative thought.

Thankfully this particular meeting, when I was asked why I write or its purpose, was not unpleasant. In fact, it was in all actuality one of the best hours of my work week. Excellent conversation–even if I was under scrutiny. …No, really. I mean it. It was a great meeting, great conversation. …Even if there were no windows.

So. The matter at hand. Why do I write?

I’m a word person, as previously stated. But I’m a storyteller.

Having had a life thus far that has been rather…rootless…words, books, stories, they’ve been my companions more truly than most people. Not all people, just most. I write for more than one reason.

I write because I like stories. I’ve loved stories since I was little girl. There’s a certain magic in them. Everyone and every place has a story to tell in one form or another. It’s just a matter of uncovering and conveying them. We are our stories.

I write because it can help others. There exists the possibility to teach and learn through the stories of each other. What I have experienced you may not have, but you can learn from it. Directly or indirectly. Or maybe you have experienced what I have, but your take might differ from my own. So we share and we learn.

I write because it helps me. I have a side project I’ve been working on since the fall of 2007. I’m telling the tale of my brother’s death. How it changed my family. How it changed me.

From the moment I was asked why I write, or for what purpose that I do, and from the moment I allowed myself to tell these previous strangers about this side project of mine, it’s been on my mind. For the last two days my brother’s death has been on my mind.

It’s not often that I think of what happened. It’s been seven years. It’s not that I don’t think of him. I just don’t think of it everyday. But now I am. And I’m thinking of how his death has made me who I am. Today I walked down the road of What Might Have Been. In truth, if he hadn’t died, if that January accident had never occurred, I would likely be married with perhaps a child of my own.

Instead, I’m facing my thirtieth birthday from a different point of view. Not bad, just different. I’m single. I have a cat…which is living with my parents because I had to move rather suddenly and he couldn’t come with me. I’m living with two guys–who, for the record, are great roommates. On an up note, I have determined, with that inexplicable sense I have, that this will be the year in which my career truly begins…and I have to be ready for it and all it entails. My personal life…well, I’m sussing that out, but it’s looking up definitely. It’s true the people I associate with have changed…again, but I do feel sure of these people…these ninjas so to speak.

But that feeling of rootlessness remains. That same rootlessness I’ve had since my brother died. And maybe that’s why that side project started. A method of re-self-discovery. I began writing about how he died. A motorcycle accident born out of an 83-year-old woman from Michigan’s inability to stop before making a left-hand turn. Of how it took DeLand PD four and a half hours to notify my family. Of four and a half hours that scared my mother. Of how she saw the lights of the emergency vehicles at the site of his accident and how she couldn’t go to him. Of how I saw my father cry for the first and only time in my life. Of how my ex backed me into a corner and wouldn’t let me talk about what happened; and how I learned to fight for myself.

The subsequent fallout from all this was the $500 price tag put on my brother’s life–the fine Volusia county charged this woman from Michigan for violation of right-of-way. The juxtaposition that exists between me, my mother, and my father of distance and closeness. Having to get to know my parents all over again because they aren’t the people who raised me–people so determined to have a hand in my life and the direction it took. Them having to get to know me because I’m not same daughter they raised–a little girl who wouldn’t stand up for herself and who could be influenced by others too easily. …And to make sure you don’t forget you need to smile in life, of the three hams and other copious amounts of food given to my family that required the storage space in the homes of two other families in addition to the space for food storage my parents had…because everyone needs to smile.

The truth that I’ve come to know about myself is that I was raised to be independent, whether I knew it or not at the time. I suspect I was raised that way, but never really took to it until I felt alone. I know I’m not, but sometimes it seems that way. It’s probably why I’m writing this now–a means to explaining to my new friends why I am the way I am. …And to my Big Boss, who all six of us suspect of trying to keep tabs on what his new-ish social media team is doing.

I write this story because I know I’m not who I was seven years ago. I write because I know there are other people out there who lost a sibling. And some may very well be in my shoes: the one who’s still trying to adapt to being an only child–a successful one–and who feels they’re not managing it well. And speaking of which–what is success? I trained myself growing up to think of success in terms of career–which I think I’m doing pretty well at. Or is it more family oriented–the getting married and having kids part–because really? I have a  cat and I’m single. And at almost-30 I’m beginning to think my mother might just be wondering if I’ll only be thirty, single and the owner of a cat. She’ll love me, of that I have no doubt. But she knows I want more than that. And like any good mom, she wants me to be happy.

Truth? I’m not despairing for me. I like who I am–however flawed others might think I am. And there’s the story in the story. It’s okay to have such a huge, life-altering event happen to you. Success is still obtainable. Although I think I have a less-than-neat knack for pulling it off. Success still happens. Perhaps not in the way you might have thought. But it still is obtainable.

So. I write because there are an infinite number of reasons to. Because there are so many stories to tell. And stories within stories. Some have lessons and some are just for entertainment’s sake. I have both. And I will tell both. Chances are both will show up here. So maybe this post, at its core, is about letting out and letting go. Because really? Who else drives to Disney, turns around, drives back, orders Chinese food, comes home to her treehouse, watches the Walking Dead and writes some more? Someone who has stories to share with lessons and who entertains…or tries to.

Writers write because they know they’re not perfect and they’re willing to share stories. So. If I could go back to that meeting on Friday in that windowless conference room I would say to those two people not only do I write to entertain and with purpose, I also write for myself. Because the one thing about me that hasn’t changed in my almost-30 years is my need and love of stories–both to hear them and tell them.

…Okay really? Windowless conference rooms? Come on! They better hope I never reach the CEO’s office. Because if I do, there will be no more windowless conference rooms. Big stifling of creative, open thought.

We could also call this ‘How A Gypsy Spent Her Sunday.’ But really, I never thought I could find joy in renting a storage unit. Food trucks? Done that before and it’s always a blast. The storage unit, that was a surprise.

In a not-so-distant post I mentioned moving recently. Part of that move was temporarily keeping some of my stuff in my new roommate’s garage. Two weeks after moving the time at come to find a storage unit for this stuff. This would be yet another step in moving forward. And today I moved into it. A little lakefront unit to house some stuff I don’t have a need for in my current living situation–except for my cheesecake pans! I’ll be back for those darlings. Oh, and my stackable cooling racks. And my favorite mixing bowl. And favorite spatula. But otherwise I needed a space for stuff.storage

Upon bringing the first load of boxes and a shower curtain rod I realized something. This? Right here? Was my space. My own little fifty square feet to do with (mostly) as I pleased. All mine. Never before did I have a space entirely my own. At my parents’ house I needed permission to some extent. With other places I live(d) I had needed to consider my roommates. But these fifty square feet were just mine. A feeling of simple joy washed over me. …I wanted to decorate the damn space.

No, really I did. For all of five minutes I was considering finding a comfy chair, small table and a lantern so I could escape from everything to this space that was all mine. However, after putting the first load of boxes in I quickly realized there would be no comfy chair and the only table going in this space would be my kitchen table–dismantled no less. But the ridiculous joy coming from knowing that this is my fifty square feet makes me happy, and that happiness definitely has a positive impact my outlook.

And what could make a gypsy even happier than moving her stuff around for the umpteenth time? Food sold from trucks, that’s what.

Crepe Company; Zesty Turkey crepe; menu boards for Mayan Grill; Crawfish Quesadilla

Crepe Company; Zesty Turkey crepe; menu boards for Mayan Grill; Crawfish Quesadilla (5 Gastronomy)

Upon coming home from moving stuff my roommate informed me there was going to be a food truck bazaar at a local mall. Neat. The novel idea of food sold from big boxes on wheels that travel from place to place just tickles. I love the idea. One shower later and we were on the road.

Now I’ve been to food truck bazaars in the past. In fact that’s how I found my favorite truck, The Crepe Company. But I had never seen so many trucks in one space. It warmed my cold little gypsy heart. And oh the glee! The Crepe Company was there!

Here’s what I like about food truck bazaars–the novelty I mentioned before aside. People are happy at these gatherings. They’re hanging out and eating good food. They’re even pretty okay waiting in lines–and the line at Melissa’s Chicken and Waffles truck was long, oh my word! But the gathering in the middle of this loop of trucks–people, kids, dogs–all having a grand time. …Except for that crying child. No idea what he was sad about. The Yum Yum Truck was there, nothing to be sad about. Oh and get this! There was a truck for dogs! The Gourmet Mutt Truck. How can you not like that?gourmet mutt truck How can you see that and not smile? It makes me wish I had a dog to bring to one of these shindigs.

Here’s what I’m taking away from this day. Simple joy from having a space of my own–even if it is only a storage unit, and a small one at that. Happiness at seeing a bunch of other people having a good time.

Oh, and a Zesty Turkey crepe from my beloved Crepe Company.

Changing My Name

I’ve never been fond of my name. Sorry, Mom, but I haven’t.

Shakespeare asks us via Juliet “What’s in a name?”  in the bleeding heart classic canon play ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ Juliet of course has no care for the name of Romeo and what it means. To her Romeo is Romeo regardless. But I do think she’s a bit blind. …No, actually I think she’s wrong.

As individuals we are who we are. But our names are our label. That’s how others refer to us–with our own individual label. … It’s also how our mothers let us know we’re in trouble. We are our names.

But something about my name has always bothered me. The sound of it. That and there’s really no real shortening it for a nickname. In fact the only way I knew I was in trouble as a child was my mother’s tone of voice. Without a shortened name versus my full name and without a middle name to throw in for extra ‘You’re in trouble, young lady’ emphasis, the only way I knew I had screwed up was how my mom said my name.

It turns out what bothers me about my name is purely the phonetical sound of it. I don’t like the sound of my own name. However, my name is French in origin and Americans have the damnedest time pronouncing it. The French pronunciation–love it! The American? Not so much. It seems over here that very, very few can wrap their tongues around the French pronunciation. And I’ve tried various nicknames over the years, but nothing sticks. Either I discover I like my chosen nickname less than I thought or I just don’t have the follow-thru to make sure a nickname sticks.

elleNot this time.

Due to some recent events in my life I’ve decided to stick with my favorite shortened form of my name yet: Elle. Pronounced ‘Ellie.’ I don’t want to hear my given name anymore.

I’m making and taking steps to take myself forward. And considering that our names are our labels, the word that is who we are, I don’t want to answer to something that reminds me of my past. This is moving forward. This is moving into my own future. And I will do it as Elle.

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