Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I went dancing last night...

On the wall of my basement workshop hangs a framed poster touting a performance headlined by Orquesta Aragon, a well known Cuban music group. My husband has had this poster for over 25 years as a reminder of an enjoyable concert he attended during his bachelor days. When he discovered that this group was brought into New York from Havana for a one-night-only performance, he was all over it. The ad for the performance said, "Bring your dancing shoes." With our marching orders firmly in hand, we headed into Manhattan for a 10 PM show.

The Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street provided a perfect venue with great sound, good lighting and plenty of room to dance comfortably. The crowd was an eclectic mix of Latin music enthusiasts that included a fair number of dance school students eager to practice their Latin social dancing skills to live music, as well as old school Cubans dressed in spats, fedoras and guayabera shirts. (What I thankfully didn't see were dance studio instructors showing off their best "Dancing with the Stars"  moves.) The music reminded me of the sounds I used to hear coming from our record player when I was a child.

What I noticed most was my husband who seemed to be totally relaxed and in his element. This is the man I remember from our courtship days, the man who enjoyed sharing a good time with his lady, certainly not the tired and dour individual who comes home from work and parks himself in front of the television and grunts occasionally by way of conversation. He kept me on the dance floor for the entire, albeit short, duration of the performance (only an hour and a half), brought drinks to the table in between songs and just enjoyed himself thoroughly. He even proposed a toast to the beginning of our anniversary celebration.

Our anniversary falls on Hallowe'en day, Oct. 31 and this year will mark our silver wedding anniversary. After so many years together, going through the ups and downs of life with the same person, it is easy to become jaded. Tonight I caught a fleeting glimpse of the man I married. If I can get him off the sofa and into the dance hall once in a while, maybe I can get to see that man more often. And maybe, just maybe, I can see myself sticking around for the next 25 years.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Monday, July 11, 2011

Too Much Time...

(Click on photo to view a larger image.)

I'm not even going to attempt to play catch up with the events of the last six months.There's far too much to remember so I'll start with the most recent events. Last Sunday, July 3, 2011, three of my father's siblings gathered at his house: his oldest sister, Iris and her daughter Joann, His brother Manuel and youngest sister Gladys and her husband Sammy. Of them, Iris was the one who drew my attention the most because I hadn't seen her in over 30 years. As a result none of my children ever met her and I didn't remember my cousin Joann at all. Manuel and Gladys have been to my father's several times in the past few years so I've been able to catch up with them. Since Gladys lives in Florida and Iris lives in Tennessee, it's not likely they will be able to get together very frequently in the future so I took this opportunity to gather some genealogical information for my family tree.

Out came the old photo albums, the reminiscences, the laughter and the inevitable difference of opinion as to how things really happened way back when. My son and nephews were pretty much out of the loop since the events being discussed occurred close to 50 years ago but I'm glad they were there to share the moment. I remembered to bring my camera and tripod and managed to snap this family portrait to commemorate the moment. I have no doubt that this will become one of those treasured images in the years to come.

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New York's Christmas Blizzard 2010

(Click on any photo for a larger image.)

On Sunday, December 26, 2010, a blizzard hit New York City and the surrounding areas with a fury, dumping up to two feet of snow in some areas and packing winds that were close to category 1 hurricane speeds. Snowdrifts of five to six feet were commonplace and the entire city was brought to a standstill. The city's response to the clean-up effort was dismal, leaving hundreds of streets unplowed for days, trapping thousands of people in their homes and leaving untold numbers of cars stranded on city streets. It was a major mess.

On my block there were two cars abandoned dead in the middle of the street. You can see them here in the top photo. My house also happens to be dead in the middle of the block. The area of cleared snow in the foreground is my driveway. Fortunately for me, although those two cars were left within inches of my driveway, they did not block it. Unfortunately for me, those two cars also meant that snowplows could not get through so my street remained unplowed for days until the owners extricated their vehicles. During that time an interesting thing happened two days after the storm hit. A Verizon truck driver, seeking to return to his home base which is located at the end of my block, chose to try squeezing his truck in between one abandoned car and a car parked on the opposite side of the street rather than going around the block. He was successful only in hitting the parked car and immediately getting stuck in the snow. After nearly two hours of trying to free his truck, he called for help and another Verizon truck showed up...which proceeded to immediately get stuck also. A third truck was called in. Yep, you guessed it. It also got stuck. The vehicle count is now two abandoned cars and three Verizon trucks stuck in the snow outside my front door. It took a fourth truck to finally bring this charade to an end more than four hours after the first truck was stuck. In the bottom photo you can see two trucks in the near and middle distance and the lights of the fourth truck arriving in the far distance to the left. The center photo shows the the first truck to the far right. It had been pulled away from the parked car at this point but was trapped behind the two other stuck trucks. Can't make this stuff up, folks. I lack sufficient imagination.

The storm also brought quite a bit of anxiety to my family when we found out that my mother had slipped on the front steps of her house and injured her ankle. The snow conditions prevented my folks from leaving to seek medical attention and prevented an ambulance from making it over to them. When all was said and done, it was eight days before my mother's ankle was examined and x-rayed. The verdict: the ankle is broken and has been set in a cast. Fortunately the break was not a bad one but any bone break for a septuagenarian is cause for concern. She'll be in a cast for about six weeks and has been given strict orders not to place any weight on the foot. The weather forecast promises more snow for this weekend. I've got fingers and toes crossed that we only get a light dusting this time. Another storm would....I don't even want to think about it.

You can see some more photos of the storm's aftermath in my Photobucket album:

Ballo ergo sum,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva