Friday, April 29, 2005

I wish...

I wish I could be a ballerina again...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Just be patient with me for a second...

OK, I rarely use this forum to rant about things, especially of a personal nature. But I cannot help myself today. As you all know, I dabble in the art of internet dating from time to time. I had taken a break from it over the last few months, but recently have been thinking about getting back into the ring.

Sure, I've heard horror stories. And while I have had a few unpleasant experiences myself, I can't say they outweigh my unpleasant dating experiences with guys I met offline. Dating, in general, can just be unpleasant no matter where you meet someone. So, off to the races we go.

I have tentatively posted a profile back pics, new text, new headers. I thought that might give me some good karma*.

One of my pet peeves is when someone tries to read too deeply into what you have revealed of yourself in your profile. Even worse is when they make absolutely inaccurate observations. Exhibit A:
So you sound like a lot of fun, and seem to have been involved in many adventures and fun events! You have a great smile, it seems to show that awkward, maybe sometimes lonely, but rebelious young woman inside. My guess, most who know you, don't relly know you! My question would be is that intentional on your part? or do they simply lack the ability to see who is really there?
Buddy- give me a fucking break. Do you really claim to see a lonely yet rebellious young woman inside my smile? Does he really expect me to respond by saying, "Oh Yes! You can SO like totally see inside my soul. People don't know the REAL me, but I like really want YOU to know me. I beg of you, save me from my lonely and awkward self" Please.

But what happened last night takes the cake. I read a post online. I liked it, it sounded sincere and honest to me**. So I sent a well crafted, witty yet not sarcastic, sincere response of an accurate length (not too wordy, not to brief). He responded immediately. Asked if I wouldn't mind a quick chat rather than exchanging a million emails. Sure, why not? I was feeling bold.*** We started that horribly awkward chat on the phone. Isn't it SO strange to talk to someone on the phone that you don't know at all? So this is how it went:

Jerkface: So, what inspired you to respond to my profile?
Me: Oh, I don't know. I haven't ever responded to one before****. I guess just whim and whimsy.
Jerkface: Anything else?
Me: Ummm. I liked how you describe yourself, that you have a sense of humor and are close to your family. You sounded sincere. I think I am the same way.
Jerkface: So, you are looking for someone to take care of you financially? I own a few real estate companies in the city.
Me: What? Well, no. I am pretty independent [he did say he was looking for an independent girl], I am financially stable on my own. I mean, I think generosity is a valuable character trait, but I like to be as giving and generous to the person I am with as they are with me. But I don't think I need a - (interrupted)
Jerkface: goodnight. *click*

What? Are you kidding me? He hung up on me! I sat there for a second with phone in hand just staring at it. Incredible! I was fired up and immediately called V. who only laughed at me and asked, "what do you expect?". So, this is what I should expect? Should I lower my expectations to the point where any man who exhibits any base act of kindness and manners is heralded as though he is the King of Redemption? I can't do that. I don't think I should either. I guess that means I have to live with the consequences of believing that most people have good intentions [gentleman from exhibit A is excluded]. Call me naive. Call me stupid. Call me unrealistic. But don't call me cynical, bitter, or resigned... Yet.

*actually, I thought that might attract people who have mistakenly looked me over in my previous attempts.
** a second reading in the light of day has revealed otherwise.
*** Or something.
**** True...for that particular site

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pic of the Day: Nuns on the Prowl

I took this shot while in Rome this past September. Wandering around the back streets somewhere between the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps I came across these two nuns window shopping. I think they were up to no good. They probably would have tried to knock down some convenience store if I hadn't been there ready with my camera.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I am in LOVE!

All right. It is time to announce to all the world, well at least the blogosphere, that I AM IN LOVE. Granted, my love appears to be unreciprocated. And He doesn't seem to know my name (yet). Oh, and He is indeed married and living somewhere not here, but I hear that He comes here every so often. Ashlee even saw Him once, at a Swedish Christmas Market of all places.

Yes, you guessed it: Will Ferrell. Not to say that he can quite compare with my long standing crushes on Ben Chaplin, John Cusak (who is starting to look a little leathery to my great disappointment) or Ralph Fiennes... but indeed my dear WF is the adored du jour.

I don't love all his movies, some are pretty stupid. But any movie is made a lot better for having him in it. If he hadn't been the lead in Anchorman, the movie would have been just completely unwatchable! And SNL just is not the same since he departed.

(who couldn't love this man??!)

I was watching SNL: Best of Will Ferrell this weekend and couldn't stop giggling. The dude who was peeping at me all weekend from the office across the street must of thought I had gone nuts. The sketch where he shows up to a work meeting wearing a USA half t-shirt and a stars and stripes thong is classic. It was one of those sketches where the other actors can't help but crack up as well-- which in my book makes it all the funnier watching them trying to keep a straight face. Sadly I couldn't find photographic evidence of this hilarity.

Following in the footsteps of comedic actors gone serious, Robin Williams and Jim Carey, Will is about to try his hand at a serious role* playing a wandering loner in Winter Passing (staring older hottie Ed Harris as well).

*That is if you don't consider his turn in the recent Woody Allen Flick Melinda and Melinda as a serious role

Friday, April 22, 2005

I am...

According to Google: "Terra Is"... *

Terra is the Latin name for the Earth
Terra is something of an institution in Napa Valley
Terra is a boy-meets-girl labor of love
Terra is finally seeing the light of day
Terra is a gem on many levels
Terra is dead
Terra is not dead
Terra is right too.
Terra is a great find
Terra is a love story
Terra is earthy in colour
Terra is a middle-aged Cuban immigrant
Terra is confused
Terra is a dismal date for Cadet Happy
Terra is unhappy on her sixteenth birthday
Terra is the ultimate defensive driver
Terra is a fine choice for climbers, skiers, and off-trail travelers
Terra is still a little bit of a bit of a puzzle
Terra is trying to get on with her life
Terra is sure to make one feel grounded
Terra is becoming the focus of the arsonist
Terra is a reminder of the human need for intimacy
Terra is pretty cheap
Terra is a must.
Terra is a unique individual
Terra is 2 years behind schedule
Terra is perfectly capable of being on her own
Terra is out of the question
Terra is going on a detoxification program
Terra is a backstabber
Terra is a whippersnapper
Terra is a very special friend and helper
Terra is a joke
Terra is living everyone's nightmare
Terra is #1 on German radio station
Terra is not alone

*Clearly a slow day for blogging. Apologies to all.

Oh Yeah....

I am SO Money.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Pic of the Day #1: BBQ Babes

I finally found the cord for my camera and was able to download some pics. Here are the shots from last Sunday's makeover and bbq festivities. Sorry, ladies, for the delay!

Pic of the Day #2: Why I Love to Bike to Work

The scene along the Esplanade was so beautiful yesterday evening as I was biking home that I had to stop and take a few photos. The trees newly in blossom in the golden light of the sunset was breathtaking. Some days, I really love the beauty of Boston. Click on the photo to see a larger image.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Peace Out

How many of you have heard of the Department of Peace?

A bill to create a U.S. Department of Peace (H.R. 1673) is gaining momentum in the House of Representatives. This bill establishes non-violence as an organizing principle of American society and would provide the U.S. President with an array of peace-building policy options for domestic and international use.

The Department would focus on non-military peaceful conflict resolutions, seek to prevent violence, and promote democratic principles to expand human rights.

Domestically, the Department would be responsible for developing policies which address issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, mistreatment of the elderly, and other issues of cultural violence.

Internationally, the Department would gather research, analyze foreign policy and make recommendations to the President on how to address the root causes of war, ideally so that intervention could take place before violence begins. The Department would also endeavor to improve national security, including the protection of human rights.

In summary, the Department would:
    • Address matters both domestic and international in scope;
    • Endeavor to promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights;
    • Strengthen non-military means of peacemaking;
    • Work to create peace, prevent violence, divert from armed conflict, use field-tested programs, and develop new structures in non-violent intervention, mediation, peaceful resolution;
    • Encourage the development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups, and nongovernmental organizations.

For much more information on what it would do, read the bill here.

Currently the bill needs a sponsor in the Senate, and Senator Barbara Boxer is reported to be interested. Senator Boxer's aides stressed the importance of hearing from citizens regarding how they feel about this legislation. They are urging you to call, email and fax Senator Boxer (as well as your own senators). Whether you are a resident of California or not, the Senator would like to hear from you. Contact details can be found on the website.

I don't know how successful this department could be, but I think it would be interesting to bring the conversation to the national forefront.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Pic of the day: Naked on Rollerskates

Ever wish you could find a poster of that kitchy vintage pulp paperback cover from that book hidden way back on your mom's shelf? Well, this is the place for you: The Pod Gallery.

In their own words:

PODpublishing is a New York City basedpublisher of fine art prints.We offer thousands of images for sale using our own web-basedPrint On Demand system,which we also make available to artists,galleries and institutions.

By chance have you been searching high and low for that 44 x 55'' Canvas Giclee Print of Reform School Girl by Felice Swados? Here you go!

Also available in convenient notecard sizes! Choose from the Kinky Set, the Queer Set, the Hippie Set, the Drugs set, Cheescaket set 1, Cheescake set 2.

Now you know what to give your Mom for Mother's Day!

Monday, April 18, 2005


Yesterday Ashlee did a wonderful thing. She took me to the MAC comestics counter at Saks 5th Avenue in the Pru. Oh lovely day! We got makeovers-- Fun! Fun! Fun! First, Ashlee was inspired by a photo in the makeup book of Mary Kate Olsen:

She wanted coral lips and striking eyes. The makeup artist did an amazing job, especially with the lips. Ashlee thought it was a little more pink than coral, but she looked fabulous! Here was the color scheme (more or less) that the artist tried:

I didn't love the peachy eyeshadow at first, but when the finished product was done, Ashlee was (in the words of Paris Hilton) so hot.

Gretchen was my artiste` du jour, and although I had to lead her a bit by the hand, she eventually got what I was looking for. She did a magnificient creation with my eyes, using four shades of green.

Green, Green, Green- I love green! The unexpected color on my eyelids made me feel tres chic. The makeover was complete just in time for our afternoon bbq bonanza over at Ann & Dabney's.

It was a glorious afternoon, really warm and sunny. We sat outside, had some chilled wine, hot burgers, grilled asparagus, homemade potato-salad (with some secret ingredient that I never discovered), chips, salsa, avacados, and a Tarte that Carmen and her crew brought along.
Fiedler even tried to join in by attempting to steal some freshly bbq'd chicken. Who could blame him?

After the sun went down and it got a little chilly, the boys left and the girls stayed to play a round of Cranium. What fun! I don't know if I had ever played before. We were a little befuddled with some of the rules, which are not explained with exact clarity, but we managed regardless. The absolute highlight was watching Ann trying to get her team to guess the TV show, "Leave it to Beaver" ala` charades. I almost fell out of my chair.

Pictures from the weekend will have to be uploaded later, as I forgot the connecting cable for my camera.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Where It's At

So, where would you go if money and time posed no boundaries?

For me the answer is easy: the lush island of Mauritius, just east of Madagascar-- and not just because it has the all-time coolest name of an airport in the world: Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport (airport code: MRU)

From all that I have read, this is Island Paradise. But there is more than just crystal clear blue waters and white sandy beaches. Mauritian culture contains a harmonious mix of cultures: African, Indian, British, Dutch, French, Asian...just to name a few. The official languages are English and French, but you'd be readily able to practice your Creole or Hindi on the streets of Port Louis.

If, god forbid, you got bored of staring at perfect ocean waves all day long, all you have to do is travel a short distace to the Black River Gorges National Park, just 4 miles from Curepipe. The largest National Park on the island contains sacred lakes, large resevoirs, waterfalls, and the highest point on Mauritius: Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire.

As you would expect when visiting a place with such a melting pot of cultures, there's good eatin' in Mauritius. Sure, there's seafood. But a local menu is likely to also include curry, biryani, pork lo mein, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and a variety of rice dishes. Loney Planet describes a Creole dish called rougaille, which consists of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and any kind of meat or fish. How do I say YUMMY in Creole?

Cultural diversity doesn't just offer a smorgasbord of cuisines, but also a colorful array of holidays and festivals. I don't know about you, but I'd love to witness the Teemeedee festival where people walk on fire in honor of various Hindu gods.

Well, that's all the time I have today to talk to you of far away places. For kicks I looked up the flight prices (for those of you who don't know me, I manage a flights team for a large tour operator). A roundtrip ticket in July from Boston will cost nearly 3000 clams, so it's safe to say I won't be adding this lovely island to my travel calendar anytime soon... but a girl can dream.

Thanks to these websites for providing images and information:
Lonely Planet, Republic of Mauritius Web Portal, Trip Advisor,

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I don't get it... but someone give me a hug

1) I don't get what makes people confess their innermost thoughts in this online anonymous forum: Group Hug.

2) I don't get some of the things people are confessing to. Yes, of course I would expect the "I screwed my wife's sister" or "I have impure thoughts about my cousin" type posts, but some things really are quite bizarre:

Exhibit A- I used to think Kentucky was cool. Now I'm not so sure. (#127732750)

Exhibit B- my cat loves to sit on papers. newspapers, magazines. right now he is sitting on a term paper from some stupid class. i want to know what's so great about it... if i shove a wad of paper towels under my ass will i suddenly feel complete? (#593803184)

Exhibit C- I felt like crying at a Disney bird show. It was pretty emotional, especially when the endangered bald eagle came out. I'm a man. (#687766254)

Exhibit D- i told everyone that I voted, but i actually didn't (#334577036)

And apparently, for some reason I can't quite comprehend, lots of men like to pee in the sink (525704697 , 684071685 , 34670287, 267922058, 405670063, 25325637, 462825897, 571001439 , 706157405, 841438440 , 244068170...etc. etc. etc.)

3) Finally, I don't get why I can't seem to navigate away from this site. Apparently I am not alone, the site has been so popular they even published a book called Stoned, Naked, and Looking in My Neighbor's Window

It makes you wonder... who are these people? Do I know any of them?Ashlee, did you get new red book shelf? Danielle, are you meeting more French men on planes? Frankie, do you yearn to be gutsier in your driving?

OK. I've made my point. And I've officially spent way to long on this topic.

Pic of the day: Puppylicious

No, I don't have one, but I really really really want one. Sadly the landlord forbids any furry friends from sharing my living space.

I took this picture last summer while visiting my Mom down in Virginia. We went to take her dog, Deacon, to his groomer whose Standard Poodle, named Trouble, had just given birth to a litter of sweet cream colored pups.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The sun came in and all was well

This weekend was just marvelous! The sun was shining and it was actually warm! My skin was in shock to be outside and not burried underneath 15 layers of wool. I made the most of it: got my bike tuned up, rented a Zipcar and made a run to Target, and best of all went to a bbq at Anne and Dabney's where all we did was lounge in the sun, drink tasty beverages, and take turns playing the ukulele. Here's a shot of Ashlee and Anne singing with bliss.

But now it is back to work, and boy am I working! This week is kicking my ass and it is only Tuesday. Grr. But alas. Alas I can dream of sitting in the sun on a lovely South End patio with a cool bloody mary and a few lovely ladies...

Friday, April 08, 2005

Pic of the Day: Westerkerk

This weekend I am definitely going to get my bike tuned up. It's time to start riding to work again. I used to love zooming around the canals of Amsterdam on my little bike with back-pedal brakes, just the one gear, and a wicker basket to hold my parcels. That bike had personality, so much so she even had a name: Betty.

In Boston, biking is a whole different story. You need a lot more gear-- a helmet, multiple flashing lights and, a rear-view mirror, and if you are smart, a glow in the dark bright orange jumper (OK, that might be taking it a bit too far). Drivers here just aren't aware of bikers and I have heard one too many horror stories. Lucky for me, most of my work commute on the bike is on the quiet paths of the Esplanade, but those 4 or so blocks in traffic on Mass Ave are treacherous. Boston drivers are famous for their aggression and lack of care towards other vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, small pets and bikers. Last year a car barely bumped me at a stop-light, and the driver had the nerve to yell at me.

The City of Boston even published this little public service annoucement towards drivers:

Be Nice
City traffic can be slow and frustrating. Don't take anger out on others. Threatening other road users with your voice or your vehicle is impolite and illegal. Bicyclists have the same right to the road as you do.

So why risk life and limb 20 minutes each morning and evening? As I mentioned before, the T just sucks the humanity out of you, and biking seems to do the reverse. Or maybe I have become addicted to the adrenaline rush of dodging maniac drivers.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

May the Spud Be With You

I saw this on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night and thought it was just too good:

January 13, 2005 NEW for Spring 2005 – Playskool Mr. Potato Head Darth Tater!
PLAYSKOOL is proud to announce the launch of the new character, Darth Tater, just in time for the theatrical release of Revenge of the Sith. There's all kinds of mix 'n match, MR. POTATO HEAD fun with this wacky spud dressed as Darth Vader. The package comes with lots of silly parts, including lightsaber, cape, helmet, shoes, eyes, nose, teeth and more! Available Spring 2005.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I Nostri Radici

I love the American Story. How did we all get here? We are all sons and daugters of criminals, slaves, fortune seekers and dreamers. More specifically, over the past years I have fallen in with love my own ancestral story.

My great grandfather, Joseph (Giuseppe) Lamantia emigrated from Termini Imerese, Sicily, around the turn of the century looking for a better life. I believe he came with his father, Vincent, and was quite young. He was so traumatized by the journey by sea, he never sailed again, nor did he ever return to Italy. Can you imagine leaving the shores of your homeland never to return to all that you knew and loved?Somehow the pair made their way from the docks of New York to windy streets of Chicago. He made a living first by selling fruit door to door. After some time, he had a little shop. That shop eventually morphed into the largest distributor of produce in the Midwest: Lamantia Bros. The money made it possible to bring over his mother and other members of the Lamantia clan.

Joseph married young to a woman also from Sicily, Rose Capodice; I think they were both in their mid to late teens at the time. Here is a picture of their wedding party. You can tell he must have been quite successful by then; the party is lavishly dressed for the time. And look at those flower bouquets! Smiling for photos must have been considered uncouth... I wonder of my great grandmother chastised her one smiling maid standing behind her when she saw the photos.

A close up of the bride and groom:

These do not look like happy people, now do they? And family legend has it that the marriage was not an easy nor loving one. Rose gave birth to two daughters; the younger, Anne, is my grandmother. Rose attempted to terminate her third pregnancy, out of spite for Joe, but accidentally killed herself in the process. Joseph remarried shortly after, and had four more children. The truth regarding the death of my great grandmother was kept in secret for many years. My mother didn't even know until she well into her teens that her Swedish grandmother, Verna Swansen, held no blood relation to her. She had thought until that point that she was a quarter Swedish! And even when she found out, the family story was that my great grandmother had died of a mysterious illness. It wasn't that long ago that the truth was revealed.It seems that everyone in the family (regardless if they were born or wed into family) worked for the business. August Arado was working for Lamantia Bros. when he met Anne Lamantia and later married her. Here he is in a photo, a young man working for his father in law:

I love this picture. Look at the cheeky smile of the girl standing behind him. I wonder who she is.

Sadly, Joseph and August both died around 1971, 3 years before I was born. My grandmother, only in her early 50s when her husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack, never remarried. She's still alive and still living in the same house she shared with Gus all those years. I regret never having met my grandfather. I think we could have had some really interesting conversations. I wonder what he would have though about my interest in all things Italy that started when I studied abroad in Naples as a teenager.

Just one more photo, since I can't resist. Here is a picture of my great uncle Tony holding my first cousin once removed, Joan Riordan, standing with my other great uncle, Joe Scalfini . This picture speaks volumes to me... don't they look like two sleek Mafiosi holding a little blonde angel? Tony in particular looks so dark and charming to me, although my Mom says Joe was the one considered better looking.

Speaking of the Mafia. I often wonder about the influence of the Mafia on my family. I have heard stories... that the Mafia contributed to their emigration from Sicily to the US; that Joseph would pile his whole family in the car in the middle of the night because he feared the Mafia was after him; that Lamantia bros. had employees dedicated to "Mafia Relations". I don't know what is fact or fiction, but it is true that my great grandfather's business was gaining momentum at the height of Al Capone's success in Chicago in the late 20s and 30s.

I look at these photos and wonder how I can be related to them... and it amazes me that I am not so far removed from their legacy. I try to find physical similarities in these photos...but just can't see it. My blonde hair and fair skin must be from my father's side of the family. But what I know for sure is: I definitely have that spirito Italiano.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Making Fiends

I found this website Making Fiends this weekend and can't get enough of it! The animator, Amy Winfrey (I suppose there is no connection to Oprah), is former South Park animator and apparently likes cheese and sometimes monkeys. Here are some of the cast of characters:

I've watched so many episodes that I cannot get the title song out of my head:

making fiends
making fiends
Vendetta's always making fiends

While Charlotte makes friends

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pic of the Day: Light streaming into St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

I took this picture on my 27th birthday. I've been to the Vatican a few times before and since and never found the light to be quite as striking as it was that one cold January day. Earlier today the Pope died. Although I didn't agree with a lot of his conservative politics, he seemed a gentle and intelligent man.

Friday, April 01, 2005

And so it goes...

At a company party last night I won two plane tickets to Central America. I may trade with a colleague who won tickets to Europe, since I am planning a trip to Amsterdam in July to see U2 and still haven't purchased my tickets. But it's a tough choice. Costa Rica might be fun too. I've never explored Central America, but it might be tricky to find someone who would want to go with me (any volunteers?).

I talked to my 4 year-old niece last night, Hallie, who lives in Seattle.

Hallie and I had a long conversation about Easter eggs, candy, school, and her thoughts on what her sister, due in May, should be named. Her first choice: Kiki-binki. Thankfully, my brother and sister-in-law are considering some other names. Here are some of the names they had me rate:

Kennedy, Morgan, Eleanor, Joy, Maron, Alexandra, Jaqueline, Lindsey, Annalise, Jolie, Jane, Delaney, Megan, Jillian, Lillian, Trillian (no!), Kamryn, Elizabeth, Annika, Caroline, Isabella, London (what?), Gabriella, Ava, Reese, Amelia, Mia, Meredith, Corinne, Brinn.. God, I never knew it was such a tough choice. My mom almost named me Wendy or Robin... it makes you think, what's in a name?