Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Facebookism, Messengerism, Twitterism... my life in 140 characters or less

We're part of a society that communicates in a virtual manner.

I prepare dinner and let my husband know via Whats App what he'll be eating and at what time I'm planning to serve the food.
I get on my two-hour train ride to work and I complain about the weather on Facebook, bitching about my morning and the rain soaking the hem of my pants.
I go to my weekly contemplative prayer meetings with my friends, and I have to tweet about some witty comment that I heard or said during the reunion.

My life has become a series of short, but deep insights, translated on 140 or less on the cyber space that surrounds us.
As Descartes would have said: I "tweet/post/share" therefore I am.

I still have my blog where I can extend the line of thought on a particular matter and share more crap than usual (but within reason) of the events that surround my life.

I  don't know who reads me, what they think of me or the effect that my words have on them, but it's so good to get it out!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Manso "The Holligan"

We’ve a dog in Argentina; he’s called Manso, which in Spanish means tame.
This is an irony on itself because our dog is a Hooligan.
Our pets don’t behave like they KNOW; rather they behave the way they’ve LEARNED (not necessarily well) to behave.
Manso "the Holligan" learned to bark, be rude and incite fear on every visitors.
I stay at my home in Argentina at least two times a year.
This guy knows me and my husband, but every time we arrive at the door and press the ring bell, we have to be careful not to be eaten in pieces because he’s barking and chewing at the steel bars trying to get to us.
I’ve resourced to soothing voices, calling ahead so someone can wait for us at the door, but most times, Manso it’s the dictator at the door, barking away like a stressed/high dog.
He needs a daily Valium dose. That would be my prescription to make him normal.
In the mean time, I’m sure he’ll continue to be a thug.
A thug/hooligan/ruffian called “tame”. 
This is the weirdest paradox ever!

Family recipes... puff!

Women are very secretive, mainly about our period, our virginity and most important of all: family recipes.
At first, I started noticing that my cooking skills were going down the drain, but this only happened when I was trying some of my friends’ recipes.
If I was following up the steps from an online website or my mother-in-law’s recipes, I was sure to get the final result as similar as possible to the end product.
This started bugging me, because I attended dinners to some of my friend’s houses and the food was amazing (especially desserts), but when I tried the ‘so called’ family recipe in my kitchen, I was never able to replicate the dish as I had tested it during our get together.
Dripping Flans, weird looking corn puddings, dull dishes and a non-stop chain of failures.
And then, I finally got it! 
I was being completely cheated of the ‘secret ingredient’ of every recipe I was given. All the events were an ‘almost got it’ type of situation, but I never was able to ‘get it’ correctly.
So dear old friends: I’m onto you.
We talk about the weirdest things and share our most deep secrets when we’re together, but a simple family recipe can throw all that down the drain, all for the sake of continue being the one and only person on our circle that can cook that perfect dish without the overshadow of some of us stealing your thunder.
Well, two can play that game.
I’ll be sure to start switching ingredients on my recipes, or removing some key component so all you’ll get will be tasteless, shapeless, inedible dishes.
And when you come back to me and ask me: What happened? Why I didn’t do it as you?
I’ll tell you the true: because I wanted to be the only one to get it right.
Family recipe… puff.
I’m only giving ‘changed’ family recipe from now on.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The roundness of the wine, the square of its taste, the line of its smell

My husband and me had a business/pleasure dinner yesterday in a restaurant called Marea, just across the Central Park.
My husband has been teaching me to become a social drinker since we first started dating. 
I can now enjoy a glass of wine without tripping on my way to the bathroom… I used to have zero alcohol tolerance.
However, even though I can now attest to being a social drinker, I still lack the sophisticated palate to discern a bad grape juice from a refined wine.
We have an inside joke (that only I can do in public) when the Maitre d’ comes to our table for the first wine pouring. My husband had just ordered a Barolo wine, and when the waiter poured it for us, I imitated my big sister (who supposedly did a wine tasting course herself), by:
1.       Grabbing my wine glasses
2.       Swirl  the wine around the glass
3.       Put it against the light to see the thickness or darkness of the liquid
4.       Sip the liquid into my mouth and twirl it with my tongue to get the best flavors in.
And then, I start saying how 'round' it is, how the ‘squareness’ of the smells explode on my nose and my tongue can perceive the 'straight line' of its taste. 
How the taste of the wine it’s like a 'pentagon' (since it can’t possibly be just, simple, old wine) with a flowery scent.

I can come up with a lot of geometrical shapes to meet the wine’s character… I’m just that good!!
If you’ve ever witnessed an 'expert' doing a wine tasting, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you’ve seen my sister, then you can picture how ridiculous it looks to me, since I've never done a wine tasting course . 
I'm merely a social drinker with no palate, but sans course and all, I manage to look as ridiculous as her... for free!

My pals: Djoki vs. Davy @ the US Open

This past weekend we had our first US Open experience.
After living in New York for the past three years, we finally decide to give this tennis event a chance, or at least, I decided, since my husband has always been wiling.
Arriving was easy, but the “VIP” parking was two kilometres away and we had to walk a lot to get to the stadium. By the time we arrived my feet were a sweaty mess and I was eager to be seated, even if it meant to endure five hours of non-stop tennis.
The crowd at the Open was a pastiche of people: different smells (mostly sweat), different nationalities (mostly Americans), different styles (mostly non-fashion) and different characters (mostly fans).
We went to see Djokovic vs. Davydenko, the number one player versus the thirty-nine ranked player in the world (not rocket science to figure out the winner of that one); but we first had to endure the Women’s single match. You don’t know the players (neither did I) so no need to summarize that one.
After the Women's match, came the match between David versus Goliath, and of course, Goliath beat the crap out of poor little Davy.
During the game, at the end of each set, the crowd would make games, coordinate waves; we even had a dirty dance session by a crazy guy who danced his belly off along a rap song while the complete stadium did a standing ovation for his performance. He slightly looked like Conan (not the barbarian, the red headed one) and the crowd loved every piece of it.
After my dear pal Djoki won the match against Davy, he even joined the fun and performed an awkward ‘serpent’ dance that confirmed to all of us that he just plays tennis. 
Doing everything else with his body will be borderline impossible since he has zero style.
Dear Djoki: keep up with racket swinging and leave dancing to the experts please.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All mighty Irene... say what?

This past weekend we had the visit from dear old Irene.
Nope, she’s not the neighbour, rather a mean, old, scary looking hurricane with a weak name that was threatening the East coast cities in the US with lots of water and high speed winds.
Every time we turned the TV prior to Irene’s forecasted arrival, we were welcomed with mind-boggling data about our death sentence; since no one could possibly survive a category 1 hurricane in New York city (can you read the irony between the lines?).
My husband, and several million of other people in the world, who are native of the Caribbean islands can testify the little commotion that a category 1 hurricane causes in Dominican Republic, where their standard hurricane visits are from above category 4.
I’m sure they would be playing domino in the backyard while Irene blows some refreshing wind on their faces and spits some rain on them.
North Americans are exaggerated in this matter and they cannot be realistic over national disasters.
Their DNA it’s messed up on all subject pertaining calamities.
A red light goes out on their heads once they hear: National + Disaster in the same sentence and automatically starts a chain reaction where news become sensational and seasoned for the avid disaster driven American.
Nonetheless, there’s always a good excuse to do nothing and enjoy the weekend watching TV (not the news channel) in a coma-like state.
I spent two days stomach-up on the sofa, reading a book (to my husband’s annoyment, since he says I have ‘selective hearing’ while I'm reading) and getting up only when I was hungry enough to justify the effort of cooking something.

What can I say?
National disasters make me lazy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Alex Berne got us in, Pink Jesus got us out

Living in New York has the ‘crazy’ perks that any other boring city cannot offer.
When I say ‘crazy’ perks, I mean those rare events that you get to enjoy on a random night with friends.
My husband and I were invited to a live music show from a Dominican friend. Please, bear in mind that we knew the music style and tunes level that our friend’s music offers, so we were happy to attend and enjoy guitar playing with solo singing: a Latino John Mayer style.
We arrived at Bar East a bit early and decided to go in and wait for Alex Berne’s show.
When going down the stairs (I forgot to mention that the bar was in a basement), we started to hear this noise: It cannot be described as music, rather a deafening sound that threaten to overwhelm you.
I grab a hold on the stair’s handrail so I wouldn’t fall on my ass, because I literally felt that I was pushed backwards by the music.
“Pink Jesus” was playing hard core, thunderous music; and we were caught up trying to decide if we should wait outside or lose our hearing abilities.
It was definitely one or the other; because there was no way that the noise they were making wouldn’t damage our eardrums completely.
“Pink Jesus” was definitely not performing church songs, or soft, slow tunes.
I turn and run for the door; I stumble a bit (as usual) since I was wearing high heels (I would’ve stumble anyhow), and got outside a bit short of breath and grabbing my ears.
My husband was right behind me, laughing like crazy. He couldn’t decide which was better: “Pink Jesus” singing heavy rock, or his wife, running for her ears’ life.
Sad to say that we had to wait at least thirty more minutes for Alex Berne’s show, but at least, we kept our distance from the Jesus guys and their NOT pink music.
The performance of our friend was totally worth it!

Ears safe 'n Sound


Monday, May 23, 2011

Plátano, Plátano!

One of the perks of having friends from all over the world is that when we get together there’s never a dull moment.
We try to keep our nights-out interesting by choosing restaurants from every possible place of the world.
So far we’ve tried Russian food, Lebanese, Argentinean, Italian and our most recent choice: a Dominican place recommended by my husband, so we could experience the culinary offers of his home country.
The restaurant was located on Downtown Manhattan, and we arrived at the place twenty minutes late after having hunted around for parking spots on the area: there were none.
On the other hand, it was out of the question to arrive on time, since Latinos are know for their unpunctuality, so we couldn’t brake the tradition and arrive on schedule: impossible!!
My husband was in charge of ordering for the whole group and his recommendations were diverse and abundant (Latin Americans don’t practice the word: moderation) and C.T.’s husband was asking questions left to right:
‘What’s this?’ ‘What’s in it?’, ‘is it spicy?’; he even asked if we could provide the recipe for some of  the Dominican dishes.
Needless to say he was appreciating the food and what the ‘Dominican style’ cooking had to offer.
C.T.’s husband is from Germany and since they only have ‘wurst’ and hot ‘bier’ there, tasting black beans and sweet plantains was a blast to his palate and his stomach.
The dish that most caught his attention was plantains. Dominicans eat it mature or green, fried or sautéed, pureed or sliced. Any way you want it, they serve it.
My husband, caught up on the emotion of having such an enthusiastic commensal, started saying the Spanish word for plantain out loud:
Plátano! (pride and joy on his voice)
And H.T. would repeat:
Plátano! (German smile on his face)
My dear hubby, enthusiastic as he is, tried to do a fist pump with him and offered H.T. his knuckles looking for the returning pump, but H.T. (caught up in the moment I’m sure) thought that my husband was offering him a ‘hand microphone’, so he put his face near my husband’s hand and said:
Plátano! Plátano! (Still showing the German smile on his face)
We couldn’t contain the giggles and hard on laughs for the next twenty minutes.
 We spent the rest of our dinnertime, doing several impersonifications of H.T.’s ‘plátano episode’ and trying to come up with other situations were the ‘hand microphone’ was used and one of us would shout:
Plátano!, and that would be enough to bring us back to grabbing our bellies and laughing to tears.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Soccer, my father and me

We are born fanatics.
This, I learned while accompanying my father on a three-hour ride every Sunday for a soccer match.
I was seven years old and after such a long trip, I was bored out of my mind, but the excitement to see him play and score a goal was incredible.
Going with my father to his soccer matches was an adventure, we had fun and we played hard.
However, not all is enjoyable for us girls regarding the all-loving sport of our fathers.
The establishments where soccer was played (a long time ago) were created for men; decent bathrooms were rare commodities and  ‘bushes’ or ‘holes’ were our best friends.
We squatted around and did our business: that was the way for my child-self.
My sisters and I ate hot dogs with candy until we were bursting full, and then, we seated around the field (while holding our tummies) to admire the beauty of a game that, for us, was dangerous and enticing at the same level.
Amateurs’ games sometimes ended with 31 total scored goals (an outstanding number that we thought was the way - even Professional soccer - was played), and while sometimes our father was not part of the winning team, the emotion that filled the space around them, with victory cheers, hugs and back slaps made us happy nevertheless.
The winning team would take home a big golden cup, proof that even without formal training, they could be – for just a little while – the champions of their world.

My father was our childhood hero.
He was born a fan and has tried to teach us to be fans: loving the game, the emotions, the excitement, the scores and the team.
He might not have succeeded to make me a fanatic of his soccer team, but I’m a soccer follower, and even at 5,000 miles away from my home, when Argentina plays,

I still feel that I’m rooting for my father, who sometimes won, but others just played hard but lost.

My father who was born a fan, and will die one.

Note: this is my first article published at Revista 10 www.facebook.com/revista10

Bostera: female follower and fan of Boca Juniors soccer team

Most soccer fans are born to be followers of their father’s favorite team.
If you were born a girl, then your team of choice will be bestowed upon you, without conflict nor expected revelry.
You had the obligation to be a proud admirer of that unknown team that you neither learned to love nor impressed you with their winning strikes; rather by what your father thought was the best team that you could possibly be an aficionada of.
I was born a rebel and it was imparted, upon my birth, the admiration towards Independiente, an Argentinean team winner of seven Libertadores Cups, three of which, were consecutive victories. This achievement was enough for my father’s standards, but me, being an insurgent, decided that other options were better suited for my soccer criteria.
When I turned sixteen, at the prime of my rebellion, our father decided to take my family and I to Independiente’s soccer stadium for an out–of-season friendly match.
Our opponent was Boca Juniors, one of the most successful clubs in Argentina and in the world, having won 41 official titles at the national and international level.
Boca was playing with their substitute team so it was a safe bet for Independiente; hence, the interest of my father to make us witnesses of a predicted blood-bath for Boca, and finally convert us to his team.
Our seats were located just across Boca’s supporters and I was mesmerized by the enthusiasm of their songs and surprised that just in the middle of it all, there was an empty space, unoccupied and waiting to be claimed.
Independiente’s side was full, complete; however, Boca was waiting for their honor guest: La Doce, the team’s barra brava and most fervent supporter.
Minutes before the game, a commotion started across the field and I had premium seats for the development: La Doce begun to climb the stairs towards their seats, while singing and waving their team’s flag, declaring its rightful place on Independiente’s soccer stadium.
A proud and fearless supporter; tireless on the task to overwhelm their rivals with melodic weapons.
That night, Independiente lost 3-1 against Boca’s substitute team.
La Doce never stopped chanting and undulating their flag, even when Independiente scored his first (and only) goal.
La Doce vibrated harder and stronger than Independiente’s supporting public. I had goose bumps the whole duration of the game.
My twin sister and I became proud followers of Boca Juniors.
I don’t have a clue where they’re in the soccer charts, if they’re winning or loosing, which players its team has, if they changed the coach or attire, but of one thing I’m completely sure: La Doce is surely rocking the stands.