Friday, May 30, 2014

Ah, but we will miss the sound of the Caged Bird

Maya Angelou - The becoming
Maya Angelou: Poet Laureate, Pulitzer nominee, Tony Award winner, best selling author, poetess, winner of more than 50 honorary degrees, mother, sister, daughter, wife, National Medal of Arts winner, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, consummate and powerful woman.

And the world is a little less bright.

Maya Angelou - The blessing

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Quick Restaurant Review - Bone Garden Cantina

One of globe hopping pals, good ole Slim, is back in town and since she's only in town for another two weeks before she's off to South America, we decided before things get crazy with the holiday weekend to hookup, sit down eat and catch up. Its been so long since I've had a regular properly cultured dining partner it took me a minute to figure out which way to go. So remembering she's a pescatarian, I picked a Mexican spot that included veggie only and fish tacos, which is how we ended up at the Bone Garden Cantina.   

The BGC is off the beaten path to say the least. It's a little bar on the backside of a little office/loft type development on in an industrial access road in a developing part of town. I circled the parking lot twice looking for it, before finally getting out of the car and venturing on foot into the building the sign called the "Lumberyard." As we say in the country, if it had been a snake it would have bitten me.

The inside is pure kitsch. Think of those restaurants that try to create a homey atmosphere by putting
unrelated vintage stuff on the walls, but think if it all had a single theme and that theme was the
Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead. It's dancing skeletons, skulls, devils and a few other things that just washed over my eyes. Even weirder, the longer I sat in there the more the whole thing seemed to come together, as though the designer was counting on you having to immerse yourself to get the feel of it. I had a Mexican Coke and just soaked up the room for a while.
And this was just looking over my shoulder from the bar...
Slim finally arrived and we ordered, her getting the cheese quesadilla and a vegetarian taco called the Flor de Jamaica, that came with flowers. She explained that living in the Bahamas she'd actually played with fish so now she couldn't eat those either. I wished her well with that. I had the a Carne Adobo taco and a Chorizo quesadilla. Now, just so you don't get it confused, this is real Mexican food, not the Americanized versions they serve most places. If that's what you want, the menu gives directions to the nearest Taco Bell and wishes you well. This food is excellent. The sauce had a tang to it, with no sweetness, and neither the taco or the quesadilla looked like any other I'd eaten before in Atlanta. Slim who is originally from California and knows Mexican food from people who don't even speak English was so impressed that she had to get some to-go that could take home for her mother.
My Carne Adobo Taco
Now to catch up. I had only spoken to Slim by phone for the past few years as she'd dipped off to the Middle East to teach. Then last year she moved to the Bahamas where she was possibly looking at a position as a school principal, and where I was looking into vacationing because I wasn't planning on paying for a hotel or food. In any case she cut that short because she is leaving her husband, which was the topic for most of our meal. We briefly discussed some other things: future plans like maybe Peru or China for her, my job search, the book I'm working on, my film project, etc., but we kept coming back to how unhappy she was with her situation. And how long it had been that way. And how happy she was that she was ending it. So the meal had a theme so to speak.

The Bone Garden Cantina is a cool little spot, as we ended up just sitting there at the bar chatting long after the lunch crowd had cleared out. The waitstaff seems attentive without hovering, the food is all priced individually so you can experiment without breaking your wallet, and when you go ask the waitress if you can hang on to your menu because the back is just shy of hilarious. I'll be back, sipping on a Mexican coke and letting the vibe just get me.    

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Photography as a idea

Ramblings Post #262
One thing about life is that it does not wait for you. Despite your plans and preparations not quite coming together at the right moment, there is no slow motion, their is no pause, life does not delay for even a second. It comes. And so you deal with it. And sometimes in the aftermath you have to ease back into what you were doing from before. I just went to a funeral, man. I'm thinking I'll need another post before I start getting silly again.

I remember looking at this particular house when I was still looking to buy something, standing in the
middle of the living room already trying to figure out how much the frames would cost if I got them all from IKEA and if I should go with a single row or a double row. I had gotten a photo printer for free from the old gig, had a fairly decent digital camera, and was planning to have what amounted to a private permanent collection adorning my walls. Maybe even a couple of large prints near the corners to break it all up. Get me a comfy upholstered bench and put in the middle, and when you came in I would have turned on some smooth jazz, shown you into the "gallery" and talked about my "process."
This the actual room. I took this picture while house hunting. Small room in back is dining room. Some paint, baseboard work, tile work in bathroom, finishing the basement, curtains etc. Still, it was a damn fine house.
I did not buy that house, and honestly, I regret it. Not just because of the picture thing, but because the house I did buy I did not intend to live in this long. Note: Buy a house to live in, not to sell. But that's a whole other point. All these years later, through all those things that tend to change mens minds, like age and maturity, the idea of photography as a hobby still eats at me. When I use the online floor plan designers to build my future home, I always build out from a art or photo gallery. It also usually has a huge library and full working bar, but those are other issues. Well maybe not issues, let's call them peculiarities.   

I like photos, or rather images. I have art hanging on my walls direct from the artist. I dabble a bit in Photoshop, not on par with the masters but I can do the basics : clean up images, adjust the colors, etc. And although Sporty had a thing about no cameras until she left Georgia, I imagine a portrait of her (and a few other notable folks in my life ) that I would like to arrange and shoot. One of the stories I envisioned was her getting a private photo-shoot at the Palais Garnier. Is it wrong to want the kind of artistic portraits that seemed to be reserved for rockstars for the people I know?

I've got a lot of things I have to do to start "living the dream." But tucked back in there somewhere is a very nice camera, a lot of picture frames and images that will speak to me in later times.

Barkeep, I'll need a nice tall whiskey and soda. No, the house whiskey is fine.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Odd Quotes

Tequila with a slice of Lime
 “I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
~ Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Because she was, I am.

I could always see this barn from the window of the bedroom

Our deal since childhood was that she and I would dance at my wedding. Even after time and bad health put her in a wheelchair we still talked about it.

But I never found anyone worthy of presenting, and when I did I let her slip away.

She once told me that she hadn't been worried about death until she was eighty two. She said she'd spoken to a gypsy woman in her youth who assured her that she would make it at least that far.

But eighty two was a long time ago. A long time.

He favorite story about me, was how a small child, after she told me not get my clothes dirty that I went and did it anyway. Then realizing what I had done, I went and picked the switch for her "give me my beating" without asking, because I knew I had done wrong. I got a hug instead.

For last few years she told me that story every time I saw her. It made me smile.

She falls into that special category of people that I have actually known for my whole life. The very idea of her kept me straight at times, in that there are things I could have done that I knew I would not want to explain, or have anyone explain to her about me. She was for me a fixed point in the universe.

For the last fifteen years, every time the phone rang after ten at night, and I saw it was my parents calling, my stomach did little flip flops in dread. She's been doing poorly for a while so you tried to mentally prepare yourself. And still it wasn't enough.

The biscuits I bake are her recipe. One day I'll get the crust on her sweet potato pie right. Those remind me of a little white house with green trim, a pecan tree with thick climbing branches, the big bed with the metal frame and the bunk beds, a big pitcher of sweet tea, barns to search through, the shotguns behind the bedroom door, and night sky that looks like God picked out every star just to be seen from there. The whole place had a sense of peace, it seemed to calm the soul.

Last time I saw her, she looked so small, lying there asleep. My brother and I stood there, watching her for many minutes. Before I left, I kissed her on the forehead and whispered to her that I loved her. I hope she heard me.

My Grandmother has moved on to a better place.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Odd Quotes

"The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime."
~ Anonymous

It's the last part that most of us miss. EXCEPT as punishment for a crime.