Fan Mail

10 10 2008

There’s nothing to make a gal feel great like a little adoration. Being the youngest in my family by many years, I am aunty to 11 children, most of whom, to varying degrees, consider me the fun young aunt, different and cooler than their parents and other aunts/uncles. Any I, of course revel in this fact.

This morning, to my great delight, I found this comment from one niece. Her sister, however, had other things to say. My oldest brother, Gregg, has three daughters. His youngest, Olivia, has always had an inexplicable and yet wholly welcome affinity for me. She tends to prefer me to just about everyone else in the vicinity, often including her own mother. Wherever I am, you don’t have to look far to find Olivia.

And, though incredibly diplomatic, my darling does not keep her love of Titi (as the kids call me) under wraps. When teased by my brother Scott, who insists (to the point of annoyance, as only Scott can do) that he is her favorite person, little Olivia stands firm. And when this past summer Scott got her to call him her favorite uncle (by letting her OD on frosting), the darling quickly turned to me and added, “He said uncle,” just to make sure there was no question of my having slipped from favor.

Why is all this important? Because my nieces have been looking at my blog. Several months back I wrote about Olivia’s older sisters in a post about passing on a love of travel, and in this one about baking. Olivia was not mentioned in these posts, in part because she was uncharacteristically not at my side during these interactions, and in part because I intended a separate post about her, which then never came about. It will now, however…

This morning I woke to the following email, titled “it’s your darling”:

I read your blog  you didint write about me . When are you going to do that? Why did you write about  all my sisters and not me? I’m your darling appendige . And your pretend godchild . Do you relly love me or not ? If you don’t write about  me I will like uncle scott more then you! I’m serius with you are you worred about that? now or never

From the word “appendage” (which I have used with and defined for her in the past) I’m guessing she may have had some help crafting this note. It’s entirely possible that Scott put her up to it. It’s also entirely possible that she is really that enraged. Whatever the case, it looks as though my next post will be that long belated story of Olivia’s tea party. And soon.

Me and my shadow.

Me and my shadow.





Flashbacks (or Something More)

15 04 2008

I think Argentina’s stalking me. Or haunting me. Or calling to me in some strange mental telepathy sort of way. Or perhaps I’m channeling Argentina and making it all up. Whatever the case, it’s been cropping up a lot.

It’s going to seem hokey, but while there I felt I had some sort of spirit/force/what-have-you watching out for me. I’m pretty sure it was Gaga, my maternal grandmother who passed away before I was born but who, I’ve always been told, had a strong adventurous spirit and was in all an amazing woman. I grew up jealous that my siblings have Gaga stories and I never got to know her. In my recent adventures, it only seemed right to speak to a strong female force in my life—who, incidentally, came to San Francisco from Hong Kong (by herself) at age 22, knowing no one (and my mom was worried about my move to NYC).

In my recent adventures, I got to know Gaga. Just when I was feeling exhausted or sick or lonely, I’d get pulled into a parade at Carnaval or stumble upon a beautiful Ash Wednesday ceremony. And it always seemed that I’d recently asked her for help. Call it what you will, I think my grandmother was looking out for me.

Then I came home, and during the job-hunting struggles of late I’ve had the distinct feeling that Gaga is giving me the silent treatment. Last week was especially rough (a separate post all to itself), and I went into the weekend feeling particularly frustrated and all around glum.

Then on Saturday I sat in Washington Square Park to enjoy beautiful weather and a band playing the greatest hits of Marvin Gaye. The man on the bench next to me was wearing a bracelet, a wooden saint bracelet that just about every male in Argentina sports. I happen to have one of these bracelets. It was given to me by Dario, who I met on a bus to Buenos Aires at the end of my trip. This experience warrants a separate post in itself, but for today’s purposes, it’s only necessary to say that in a particularly weak moment I called on Gaga and then met Dario (which happens, in addition to everything else, to be my nephew’s name). He gave me not only interesting conversation and perspective but a bracelet by which to remember him.

I wore the bracelet the rest of my trip and periodically put it on now that I’m home. It’s not fashionable, but it makes me happy. I wasn’t wearing it Saturday (I put it on when I got home), but the sight of another wearing it here in New York gave me that same sense of happiness, and a sense of peace that this is indeed a small world and a good one. I didn’t talk to said male because he seemed to have lost that Argentine friendliness, but I vowed to email Dario and tell him about it. (I have yet to do this, but I will. And then I’ll blog about it.)

Since then, Argentina’s been all over. This morning in DailyCandy there was a deal for a Pachamama massage at the Iguazu Day Spa, and while I didn’t make it to Iguazu I am definitely simpatica with Mother Earth (as the Pachamama is also known). I won’t be getting the Pachamama massage any time soon, but it seemed a weird coincidence since I keep hearing about things from Argentina.

Perhaps more bizarre was my experience yesterday. After an afternoon of struggling through the headache that is taxes (yes I’m one of those brilliant people who waited until the last possible minute) I heard a street band on my way to work. This is not uncommon (see above), and yet yesterday’s band was different: something about the horns and the rhythms was distinctive. Though I was surrounded by tall buildings and fast-walking people, for a second I turned the corner expecting a group of brightly colored diablos dancing around on a dusty street.

Perhaps it was my tax haze, but it seemed so real I was almost there, and I really did expect a parade. Is it all coincidence? Wishful thinking? Or am I simply going insane? Or could it be Gaga telling me to hang in there and remember my adventures (and her)? The jury is still out on all that. In the meantime, however, I will continue to wear Dario’s bracelet and to remember my parade.

And for fun, this video I took in Tilcara which captures my diablo abduction. You’ll see the girl next to me be pulled into the parade, then I laugh before my diablo grabs me and chaos ensues as I get pulled into the parade. It’s like the Blair Witch Project (except much less scary… and real).