Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dunaway Gardens

Well, we’re back on planning and preparing wedding stuff.  Today we went to Dunaway Gardens and put a deposit for the wedding for Monday, November 21, 2011...

Matt and Pia

Friday, October 22, 2010

Papers, PMR, and Wedding

Hello everybody!

It's been a while since the last post and much has been going on since then, as many of you know.

One of the reasons I stopped posting was that I didn't want to vent out loud my unending frustration with all the paperwork that was -- and is -- being required by the Church even after the annulments were done at the end of last year.  That is probably all what I will say on the matter, at least for now.

About five months ago, Matt started experiencing severe pain in his arms and upper body.  To make a very, very long story short, after seeing about seven different doctors and specialists, he has been diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, PMR.  We spent all those months almost completely sleepless, for the most part, whether him pacing around the house with ice packs in his upper body, or me giving him massages to ease the pain and help him sleep 30 minutes here and there, all of this with him getting up at 6 pm and going to work in 100F.

He is currently under treatment and better than he has been for the last two years, and -- at his request -- we will leave it at that...

So this past weekend we went to see a place that had been recommended to us by two different people (thanks Amy!)  We loved it!!!  We have decided to have the wedding there, but it will be next year, 2011, on the same date.  The place is called Dunaway Gardens.  It is located in Newnan, about 30 minutes from the house.  You can check it out here: and on the video above. 

During the 20's, 30's, and 40's, it used to be a summerstock center of theater and music, so what could be more appropriate???The place is absolutely gorgeous and it just felt so right!  We both feel this was meant to be and we want to welcome all of our friends and family to share with us in the celebration.

Anyway, that's all for the time being folks.

Matt and Pia

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A New Week Again...

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Starting the week, getting things done, lessons and stuff...

Thought of the day:

“Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough. Good enough. Successful enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Socially responsible enough. When you have self-respect you have enough…
(Gail Sheehy, Writer and Lecturer)

Life searches for balance. Nature searches for balance. Knowing where that middle point is, a life long search.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Busy day, good practice day.

Thought of the day:
“There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives.”
(Hillary Clinton, First Lady 1993-2003, Former US Senator, and Secretary of State)

A right and a privilege that so many still don’t have around the world.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lessons and working on prep material for Zaphyra rehearsals.

Thought of the day:

“We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”
(Madeleine L’Engle, Writer)

How key, how incredibly true…

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Back in the Writing Trail

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Training, and one day to go…

On a separate note, I had a great vocal coaching today! Worked on Rusalka and Boheme. Vocally, seems that things are moving forward.

Thought of the day:

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons…but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”
(Gloria Steinem, Political Activist, Writer, and Editor)

The world could always use more sensitivity and nurturing, inherent female qualities but not exclusively. As women, we are always complaining about why men aren’t more caring, but, when we think about it, it really starts with how we teach our own to be.

Thanks Cathy…You taught my Matt well…I just hope I give back as much as I receive…

Friday, February 26, 2010

Well, we graduated! It has been an intense week, but certainly worth it. If only, we have certainly learned a lot!

Thought of the day:

“Life is an immense mural that requires each of us to pick up the brush and paint a bold stroke.”
(Holly Near, Singer, Writer, and Activist)

How much it takes to paint that first stroke and how rewarding it is when we can see our creation on the wall…

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh, just resting, much needed after such an intense week.

Thought of the day:

“We know it maters not what we have been, but this and always this: what we shall be.”
(Angeline Grimke Weld, Nineteenth-century Politician, Lawyer, Abolitionist, and Suffragist)

And how much freedom and self forgiveness it takes to remember and embrace this.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lessons, rehearsal with the girls and recording. A good day.

Thought of the day:

“When you play it too safe, you’re taking the biggest risk of your life. Time is the only wealth we’re given.”
(Barbara Sher, Writer, Entrepreneur, and Career Counselor)

If we could just have the energy and courage to live our lives with commitment and passion for all we do, so when we look backwards we think “wow,” when we look forward we think “here I come” and when we fall asleep every night we think “thanks.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


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Monday, February 22, 2010

Well, Matt and I started a week of intensive training (IMPACT). We have been talking for a while about the possibility of doing some foster parenting. There is something called Respite, where you host a kid or kids for a day or two or even just a couple of hours. We have been thinking we would like to do this for infants to preschoolers.

We went to an informative orientation and we decided to go ahead and attend the training and so we started tonight.

Thought of the day:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.”
(Amelia Earhart,the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean)

Wise words from a experienced doer. The first hump, even with something as simple as exercising, is many times the biggest to overcome. When we go ahead and take that first step, things start to unravel on their own.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Second day of training. Lots of information, very enlightening and very sad.

Thought of the day:

“One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts, once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness – simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and above all, a clear conscience. Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain.
(George Sand, Nineteenth-century Novelist and Feminist)

In simpler words, the path to happiness is built on awareness and knowledge of the self, don’t you think?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Training continues; four hours a night.

Thought of the day:

“It’s important not to get yourself obsessed [with aging], because it’s a game you’re going to lose. When people get too obsessed we start to see these faces that don’t move and are so manipulated that there’s no life to them anymore. One of the most important things about anti-aging is really in your thinking. It’s what you believe.
(Demi Moore, Actor)

Given the source, a little surprising. That said, hope we all can grow with a young heart, into a wise mind and with a healthy body.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Weekend

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Well, all the girls did very well in the Chick Fil’A finals. They were certainly able to apply something they have heard me say many times, be ready for the unpredictable.

It turned out that the sound system had only two functions: on or off. So there was no setting levels, no gain control, no patching instruments, nothing. Basically, there were two mics. One was used for the singer and the other for the instrument if needed. Everybody adapted as needed and did extremely well. I was very proud of all!

Thought of the day:

“When you undervalue who you are, the world will undervalue what you do and vice versa."
(Suze Orman, Personal Finance Expert and Best-Selling Author)

How true! And many times, we are our worst enemy. Personally, I think neither overvalue or undervalue. The just measure, which is what nature is always trying to find. And that is an art.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Had a very nice rehearsal today. We’re getting some nice sounds and did some work on the solo pieces. Recorded Matt in the evening and now need to work on some editing.

Thought of the day:

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
(Helen Keller, Activist for the Deaf and Blind and Winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom)

I have tried to imagine, many times before, how it would have been to be a Helen Keller. For the life of me, I must admit my imagination is not able to go there.

When I was kid, some times I would walk around the house blind folded trying to figure out what it would be to move around being blind. Needless to say, I would start to bump around everything even though I knew where everything was. Little by little, I would, though, start to be able to move around somewhat, without running into every single piece of furniture.

I try to add to that the fact of total, absolute, involuntary silence. First, of course, I think of a world without music. All I can imagine is a deep bottomless hole, where one is alone, unable to communicate…

Then I think of the strength of the human spirit and the amazing things it is able to accomplish. We might not be able to see a light with our eyes, or hear a guiding sound with our ears, but we can figure out where the sun shines by feeling its warmth even though we might have never seen it…

And, if we have the courage to reach out, chances are someone will reach back…

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Am The Day

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I met with Claire to go over the music for the wedding. We listened to all the pieces, worked on the order and pretty much figured out the details. So, with exception of one piece, all the songs are in. One item down!

Thought of the day:

“If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.”
(Rachel Carson, Writer, Scientist, and Ecologist)

Beautifully put! It certainly makes you think of the importance of arts and music in particular, as they, for certain, cause the most impression on the senses. How significant is this part of education and how little attention compared to the other subjects it is given!

Very appropriate for the events of the day also. How much more memorable is a wedding ceremony with music, especially when it is telling a story…


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Had to run some errands, but spent most of the day working on transcribing one of the wedding songs that will also be part of Zaphyra’s upcoming engagements. It is called “I Am the Day” by the British boy vocal band Libera. Unfortunately, none of their songs have been published. If you haven’t heard them, you must! They are absolutely amazing. And the arrangements, many of which are done by the conductor, are gorgeous!

You can listen to some samples here: Check them out, you won’t regret it! The “I Am the Day” sample can be heard under the Free cd.

Thought of the day:

“I learn life from the poets.”
(Madame de Staël, Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century Writer)

I believe we all learn the most from that with which we identify the most, in addition to all the other sources from which we absorb knowledge.


I our relationship, Matt and I, I believe, grow and learn much from and with music and written word. And, at the wedding, we hope to share with those we love in this way.

Oh, something really nice happened when I was at Publix today. I had finished paying for my groceries and realized the cashier had not rung a Sprite Zero I still had in the cart. (This after trying to find my $5.00 coupon, which later I found at home.) So, the person coming up next told the cashier to have her put it on her ticket, which was already open. She would not accept the $2.00 I was trying to hand her and said somebody had done it for her some time ago.

Simple gestures that bright up the day! So, thank you Ms. Stranger. Being that this area is pretty small, I hope to run into you soon again. And I will look for my opportunity to “pay it forward.”

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spent the whole day running errands, having to drive all over town. Thankfully enough, of course, I had music with me in the car and learned two new pieces.

Brrr….I am pooped!

Thought of the day:

“There is vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.”
(Martha Graham, Dancer, Teacher, and Choreographer)

Wow! This is certainly something to remember every time we try to talk ourselves from doing, whatever it is we could, would or should be doing or when others tell us that we can’t or shouldn’t. Simply put, we are denying the universe of the unique gift that can only come from us.

When that vitality and life force is shared with one we love, I believe it is even stronger; because two together can be greater than two apart. And, when this works, it is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just The Thought of the Day

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thought of the day:

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
(Marie Curie, Scientist and the First Woman to Win a Nobel Prize)

I think, even in our personal relationships, many times we bother with what the other individual does or does not do. Personally, I think a better focus of energy is to be concerned with what we do or not do. It is certainly more productive and has the additional benefit of respecting the other individual’s space and allowing him or her to be.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

I woke up early and went to get some coffee. Matt was apparently still sleeping. When by the coffee maker, I hear the garage door open. It was Matt coming in with three beautiful heart shaped balloons and flowers! What a wonderful beginning to Valentine’s Day! Matt always knows how to make these days very special!

The girls came for rehearsal and we worked on the pieces for the upcoming concerts and the wedding. Later in the evening, we went to see Twilight’s Broadway by Candlelight.

What an amazing show and line up of talent! It was certainly the best Candlelight to date. Kudos Alison! It was a wonderful night!!!

Thought of the day:

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breath and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
(Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Nineteenth-century Poet)

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to tell each other all those things that our heart feels. To remind each other what we mean to one another and to celebrate being together. Days like this are always special and help us add flavor to a shared life. A moment, a word, a detail can go so far to letting the other person know how much they mean to us.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Today was home office day, taking care of bills, paperwork and stuff of the kind. While doing this all day, I had in the background the marathon of “Cake Boss” which I had never watched before.

Very entertaining but, most of all, I learned tons about fondant, modeling chocolate, structural support for wedding cakes and a whole bunch of other stuff. It will soon be time to do a little mock cake and see how the recipe we want works with a couple of ideas I have in mind.

Oh, Frizzi is still standing. Though he has endured a strong liquid diet and has lost some considerable weight since Saturday.

Thought of the day:

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word: always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
(Therese of Lisieux, Catholic Saint known as “The Little Flower of Jesus”)

What a wonderful thought and really so simple to achieve. Have you ever felt that nice sensation when a stranger smiles or says hello? I remember when I came to Atlanta the first time while I was still living in New York. People in the streets here in The Southern Crescent would smile and say hello.

Quite frankly, at first, I just looked and felt completely puzzled. Hey, in NYC you do not talk to people in the street. What are you nuts? Not that people are rude in New York. That was never my experience. It is just too risky.

Then, when I moved here, I got used to it and now I do it without even thinking. It is just part of Southern hospitality. But I still like how it feels when somebody smiles at me and says hello. I hope they feel the same when I am the one offering the greeting.
I personally believe that something as simple as a smile or a thank you can really add to a person’s day, especially if they are having a bad one. And what a better opportunity than smiling and saying thank you to the one we love. This is one of the things I love about Matt. He always says thank you. He’ll say thank you for cooking, or thank you for updating the website, or thank you for helping me with this, for doing that. And he says is from the heart.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow, Snow, Snow & EUREKA, I AM CAUGHT UP!!!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow day today! Started early afternoon and everything is already covered in white. For those who do not know, as they said in the news yesterday, “snow in Georgia is as frequent as, well, snow in Georgia.” And this is the second time this year. Love it!

Practiced and hour of piano and then worked on my rep for about an hour and a half, particularly on the second section of Rusalka’s Song to the Moon.

Then we started watching the Olympics. OK, don’t kill me. But, as good as the special effects were, Matt and I found it kinda bland… Everything took too long. Much great display but not much dramatic content or effective flow. The whole thing just dragged like a turtle with a broken leg, if you know what I mean.

I can hear myself when arguing with Matt during show season. The flow from one piece to the other is key. And the timing is crucial. If things don’t happen with a particular rhythm (and I don’t mean the music) the dramatic impact goes out the window.

And then there is the overall dramatic concept. How do you start, where do you want to go to, how are you going to get there and is your closing strong. Did I mention “flow” already???

The other thing is your rep. You can have an amazing performance but if the piece is kinda OK, well…It needs to give me goosebumps. That’s my thermometer.
Anyway, Artistic Director’s eye aside, the effects were incredible. I can imagine that Sarah is checking some ideas (some of which came from China, lets be truthful) for the European arm of the Symphony Tour, if it ever happens. Maybe she can fine tune the holographic projections and take them a step further. The Canadians certainly did to say the least!

And I have to say, K D Lang was awesome. I prefer a little different rendering of that song, but she sounded great! Her voice was just impeccable!

Now, may I say, this is just my opinion. How I see it. And I can certainly agree that I can disagree with a different perspective.

So, in the middle of this, a blackout. Bummer! Being that this is not uncommon in this area, we lit all our house candles. And if you’ve been here, you know we have plenty; as I said, not only for wonderful scenting purposes. (Have you tried Circle E candles, Crème Brulee? Makes your house smell like sweet heaven! Thanks Cathy!) Or as decorative accessories, but, as you see (or not,) for very practical ones.

I called Lisa to see if they had power and they did. Thanks for the overnight invite Lis! Too cold and dark to go anywhere…So we cuddled up and tried to stay warm until the lights finally came back on about and hour or a bit more later.

Thought of the day:

“Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too.
Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it.”
(Diane Sawyer, Journalist)

Well, talk about the Olympics…Don’t think I really need to get into it, do I?

Wedding thoughts…I guess different people or points of view are going to want to rule this one. More thoughts to process…

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The Chick Fil’A finals was postponed to next week. Responsible decision as the roads were still pretty icy and are supposed to get icier tonight.

So Matt and I went for a snow walk. Here are the pics:

Snow Day Pics

Thought of the day:

“Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel
that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief
that keeps you and your desk in midair.”
(Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize-winning Writer and Poet)

So, I guess, I must keep my castle in the air floating. Which sometimes can be difficult because of the bumpy clouds floating around. Maybe what I need to do is figure out how to melt them away….

Friday, February 12, 2010

Smiling by Choice

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not much today either. I worked out. It feels so good to be getting back into my training routine. I also thought a lot about the date of the wedding.

Thought of the day:

“Learn from the mistakes of others.
You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
(Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady 1933 – 1945 and Reform Leader)

Do I need to say that I totally love this quote? My students have heard me say something like this for ever; to observe and learn from others’ experiences. Life can be so much easier when we do.

I think that is partly why, when I am working on a concert, I listen to music, and listen, and listen, and listen, and listen. And now, with the wedding, I am watching anything and everything wedding on TV. I think it helps me process the do’s and don’ts, get ideas, and figure out what is right for us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I worked on some home flower arrangements today. Next step is to work on the flowers for the wedding and probably go and get some more.

Thought of the day:

“When I fight about what is going on in the neighborhood,
or when I fight about what is happening to other people’s children,
I’m doing that because I want to leave a community
and a world that is better than the one I found.”
(Marion Wright Edelman; Lawyer, Educator, and Activist)

When I do what I do in music, is because I believe – as corny as it may sound – in the power that it has. I believe that music reaches people far and beyond what words on their own can. It is a loyal friend who is by our side at the most important and memorable moments of our life. It will keep us company when we are down and help us get through those dark and cold nights. It will make special moments even more special and will put a smile in our hearts.

Music can reach out to everybody and can open doors that otherwise would remain closed. It teaches us about life and it keeps our children involved in something they can share and be proud of.

If we can leave a miniscule fraction behind of what the great ones did, then the world will be better and, maybe, someone will be happier if even for a few moments.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I met with Jeanne for lunch. As always, she helped me clear my mind and put things in perspective regarding the date and time of the wedding.

Thought of the day:

“We have no choice of what color we’re born
or who our parents are or whether we’re rich or poor.
What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we’re born.”
(Mildred D. Taylor, Author)

The truth is everyone has a story to tell. As children, we do not have much say in what happens in our lives. As adults, we do.

Many times I wondered what makes two individuals with the same background go in opposite directions. The bottom line, life is a choice. We have a choice; it might be a difficult one, but the choice is there. So, regardless of how things were or are, we can choose our direction. We can choose who we share with and we can choose how to live.

Matt and I found each other, chose each other and choose to live with a smile on our face and in our hearts. There is always a grumpy day, sometimes even gloomy, and sometimes very difficult. But we always come back to us and make each other smile and laugh and remind each other that we have a choice. Hey, at the end of the day, a smile is just a frown turned up side down; isn’t it? ;-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not Much, Just Thoughts

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

We went to Mass today and then stopped by Publix. Not much happening…

Thought of the day:

“A laugh at your own expense costs you nothing.”
(Mary H. Waldrip, Writer)

Having a sense of humor and flexibility about ourselves is mighty handy, I would say. It is certainly better than others having it at our expense and without our approval. And taking ourselves not too seriously all the time can certainly save us a lot of aggravation, don’t you think so?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I found a really good recipe for a low carb cheesecake; only 2 grams per serving and it tastes so good! What and aid for our diet! Let’s see how in shape we can get for the wedding. As it is, Little Matt already started and, per his posting in FB, already lost 10 pounds.

Thought of the day:

“Let me tonight look back across the span
‘Twixt dawn and dark, and to my conscience say –
Because of some good act to beast or man –
“The world is better that I live today.”
(Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Nineteenth-century Poet)

What could make a life more poetic than living up to this with just a simple act everyday? If we would just remember…

Monday, February 8, 2010

Today was just a slow day. Didn’t feel very good so I took it easy.

Thought of the day:

“Often the search proves more profitable than the goal.”
(E. I. Konigsburg, Author and Illustrator)

Well, we have heard or read this in many different ways and with many different words so many times. But it is true. Maybe that’s why so many have and continue to express this thought over and over again. I hope I can have it more present so I can have more awareness during the ride.

I promise to savor the path to November more, not letting the bumps in the road throw us of course, remembering, when all is said and done, it is just a representation of our life together. And there is so much more to come...which we hope we will continue to share with those we love.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Flowers and More Flowers

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I went to Stacey’s to see if they had anything I could use for the wedding. The stores are closing so I got the name and number of the owner to see if I we can negotiate a better pricing if we buy in quantity.

On a separate note, Nancy called me to tell me that Abby, Camille and Paige are finalists in the Chick Fil’A competition. So congrats girls! Look forward to the finals!

Thought of the day:

“Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren’t just waiting: women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and our granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters now the sky is the limit. Anything is possible for them.
(Nancy Pelosi, in her first speech to Congress
after her election as the first woman Speaker of the House)

I would like to add to this thought the following:

"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting,
poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."
(John Adams, Founding Father and Second President of the United States)

How often we take for granted that which we have been gifted by those who came before. I hope I always have present the sacrifices others made so that today I can sing and make music or sit and write or simply be, whatever I decide that is…

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It was lesson day. All the girls are sounding pretty good if I may say so. Gave some creative thought to the usage of the flowers for the wedding and have been reflecting more about the date.

Matt called the owner of Stacey’s and we are meeting with him in one of the stores on Friday.

Thought of the day:

“Happiness is like the penny candy of our youth:
We got a lot more for our money back when we had no money.
(Mignon McLaughlin, Writer)

I will interpret this as talking about simpler things. And, yes, as time goes by, I guess we all let ourselves want more and better. There is something, though, to be said for that which is earned with hard work and also for enjoying the simpler but really special moments in life. There is some stuff no money can buy…and when you are with the one you love, those are the most important treasures. They live forever and can make us smile with such warmth in the heart…Those are the moments that pull us through the darkness and make us realized the happiness we are gifted with every day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Matt and I went to Stacey’s. We got a decent deal and bought some beautiful flowers that we will be using for the wedding. Matt gifted them to me for Valentine’s which make them even more special. The creative juices are flowing…

We’ve gone back on a low crab diet. We started last Monday. So tonight, my dear grumpy Matt said:

“See that tear going down my face, is the last drop of sugar left in me.”

Yes, I love how me makes me laugh. We laugh SO MUCH together! The things that his mind comes up with you will never hear anywhere else!

Thought of the day:

“Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from.”
(Mae West, Actor and Writer)

What do you think?
I am not sure what to think about this. Maybe it refers to the intrinsic female archetype; where the strong confuse soft with weak.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Date, Time and Place (Brrrrrr......)

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

We had the first Zaphyra rehearsal of the year. I asked the girls to sing at the wedding and they, of course, said yes with a big smile. I then played the music for them and we went over some of the ideas. As you can imagine, the program is very eclectic.

Thought of the day:

“I wasn’t born to be a fighter. The causes I have fought for
have invariably been causes that should have been gained by a delicate suggestion.
Since they never were, I made myself into a fighter.
(Margaret Anderson, Editor and Writer)

I guess I could say this is about the strength of our convictions; about how much we believe in something and how far we are willing to go for it, even when it is out of our comfort level.

Maybe, this could be applied to the conflicts we are having with the dates, times and location for the wedding. We need to decide, based on the options we have been given (which are not many,) when it will be and if we are OK with it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Did some catching up of home office stuff. Also vocalized, worked on rep and worked on my piano. I experimented with a low carb fried eggplant recipe (well, really and adaptation of mine,) which we have determined is a keeper.

On a separate note, enjoy the following video which I got from Silvie. Pretty awesome.

Tic Tac Music Video
(Can't get it upload so I am sedding the link.)

Thought of the day:

“When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people, we can draw nearer to the earth,
we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us.
(Bell Hooks; Writer, Feminist, and Social Activist)

I think many, many, many times in life we are scared of something because it is alien to us. As humans, we fear the unknown. The catch is that fear can keep so much being unknown. I guess it takes courage to live, especially to live fully and to be open to that which is different. But, in doing so, we embrace all of creation.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Issues with the time and location for the wedding continue. Little by little what is important to us seems to be stripped by what we are being told cannot be done…

Thought of the day:

In my eyes, I’ve never failed
because I’ve never given anything less than my best.”
(Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gold Medalist in Gymnastics)

I have been lucky enough to have met a couple Olympians in my life. While studying at NYU, when I started training fencing again, my coach was an Olympic winner. While working at Panasonic, I met and worked with a soccer player who was also an Olympic winner.

I must say, they most certainly operate at a very high level. The discipline and commitment developed during their training most certainly stayed with them and was applied to other aspects of their life. It is just how they do things. It is second nature.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Eat Mor Chikin and Do Some Awesome Tralala's

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Had lessons today; first time after Christmas break. I cleaned whole house. By myself. And organized the laundry closet. Oh dear! Do I need to explain HOW TIRED I AM! Four bathrooms, master bed, office, studio, guest suite, dinning room, living room, kitchen, foyer, wood, marble, modling, videos, cds (many, many, many,) book shelves with many, many books and scores, and sheet music, files, cabinets, computers, music gear (pain in the hinny to clean,) piano, guitars.

Anyway, I am just tired and wanted to be fuzzy. So, I have been fuzzy and now I am done.  My hope is that all rooms and closets are fully organized and decorated for the wedding. I don’t know if that will be possible, but we will certainly try.

Also, today I cut Matt’s hair for the first time. He was courageous and I did a pretty good job if I must say so.

Thought of the day:

“Cary a vision of heaven in your hearts, and you shall make your home,
your school, your world correspond to that vision.”
(Hellen Keller, Activist for the Deaf and the Blind
And Winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom)

Pretty much everyone knows what visualization is. If we can imagine something, see it and make it so real that it goes with us wherever we go, and that something is something contagiously positive, what an impact could we have. Don’t you think?

Friday, January 29, 2010

I went to Camille’s house to check on her sound system for the upcoming competition at Chick Fil’A. What a beautiful and warm home the Edwards have!

In the evening, we met with Dan and Lisa at Georgia Shrimp for dinner. Caught up on some wedding details with Lisa while Dan and Matt where into some talking, looking at us “smurffing” (remember the Smurfs?) here and there.

Thought of the day:

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
(Corrie ten Boom, Activist and Writer, Instrumental to the
Success of the Dutch Underground during World War II)

I have learned, through out the years, that worrying really doesn’t do anything but consume us, make us miserable and paralyze us. Many times, things never get to the levels of disaster we, in our immense creativity, are able to imagine.

When I find myself in this place, I force myself to let go of those feelings and try to fill myself with hope. At the end of the day, I am certain that the Divinity that made me be will always be watching, even when I forget.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

We attended the Chick Fil’A Talent Competition this evening. There were some very good acts and some really bad ones too. But heck, it takes guts to stand in front of all those people, especially so up close, and do your thing.

Abby and Camille did very good, especially considering the glitches that happened, coincidentally to both, which by the way where caused by other people and had nothing to do with them really. Anyway, as so many times I have told them, “if a brick falls over your head, it has nothing to do with you. You don’t blink. Most of the people will never know.” The situations, one of which was actually an emergency, came and were gone and both ladies held their composure, providing a good performance for those present.

Kudos girls!

Thought of the day:

“To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.”
(Gail Sheehy, Writer and Lecturer)

OK, I couldn’t help but smile when I red this. Probably you did too. It is true that challenge makes us stronger and more skilled, but we all need a rest; some smooth sailing at some point when we can just enjoy the ride. Don’t you think?

These last years have been hard for so many people. Between the economy and the natural disasters many, many have been hit pretty hard all over the world. It’s been going on for what, three years now and it still has a while to go.

If you talk construction – and Atlanta is a construction, then airline and automotive industry city (need I say more?) – has about 2 to 3 years of foreclosed inventory on the ground. You’d have to be crazy or very rich to be building now. And, unless a bank isn’t holding a loan by the throat forcing the builder to build, no one is going to be putting anymore specs on the ground for a while. And no one is, not on this side of town.

Business reinvention is the name of the game, if you have the creativity and skill to do it and make it happen. Let’s hope the tied turns and builders can go back to doing what they do best, building beautiful houses for people to make into their homes.


PS It is also true that, when we have our attention focused on challenges of life, we tend not to have time for many personal crisis. So life can be a very cheap therapist, granted we have the right approach ;-) …

Friday, February 5, 2010

On Our Way Back

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Well, the time to leave came. We saw Gaby and Maddie and then Cathy and Dewey left for the farm before we left as Dewey didn’t have to go to the hospital ‘till noon.

We then drove to New Orleans, to the French Quarter. As many know, this area was not affected by the flood caused by Katrina. We parked and then started walking. It is certainly a charming area. We went to Café du Monde and had coffee and vignettes, which are a kind of French donuts. Man were they good.

Later in the day, we went for lunch and had true Po Boys. Wow! For those who don’t know, a Po Boy is a kinda hero sandwich of fried seafood. We had oysters and shrimp. They were so, so good!!! I don’t think I have ever had tastier seafood ever! We also ordered a muffeletta to go, which is an Italian cold cut sandwich with and olive salad kinda dressing.

We were there ‘till about 3 pm and then started on our way. Driving out of town, we went to the places where Matt had lived as well as some of his friends. The streets and highways have been rebuilt as well as some houses, but there is still so much work to be done. You can see a newly built house next to one that is barely holding up, many, many times over.

To my great surprise, we had to drive for about an hour and a half out of the city to finally hit an area that had NOT been affected by Katrina. In addition to the flooding affected areas, you could see, for miles and miles, land with broken down dead trees affected by the winds. How sad!

New Orleans Visit Album

Once again, and having done a little of work to help some of the victims that moved to Atlanta, I can’t help but to think of how lucky we are. In spite of the difficult financials times, we have never had to go through something like this. I can’t imagine what it might feel like to loose your home and all the special things that hold memories that we treasure.

Thought of the day:

“No matter how big or soft or warm your bed is,
you still have to get out of it.”
(Grace Slick, Singer and Songwriter)

OK, I guess you will not be surprised when I say the thoughts that come to mind when reading this are related to what New Orleans went through during Katrina. We spend so much energy building a comfortable and warm place to share with our loved ones, we don’t consider the possibility that a time might come when it might not be available. How do you prepare for something like that?

On a smaller scale, we still create places of warmth and comfort for ourselves. We all need them and we all need to feel warm and cozy and have a place of solace and where we can rest. Hopefully, that place allows us to replenish and get back out there full of energy and strength every day. Do you have a place like that?

Matt and I do, where, regardless of the location, as long as we are together, it follows and comes to life. And we hope all those we love also do…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I went to pick up Sapphie at Lito and Tere’s. Come to find out, while still in Hammond, she cried all night the first night. So Lito and Tere decided to let her out of the crate at night and allow her to sleep with them. Aren’t they angels or what! We are so thankful of how much they care about Sapphie and their being willing to take her when we go out of town. I really would not like to have to leave her in a kennel ever.

While I was there, the front door got open and Max ran away. Lito went after him and I followed with the leash. Long story made short, we basically walked the whole cart path circle, past K-Mart, back to the house. Max needs some major recall training Michael!

Basically, I started getting back into my daily routine. After more than a month, I worked out again today. It feels good!

Thought of the day:

“The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself,
 to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way.”
(Betty Friedan, Writer and Cofounder of the National Organization for Women)

OK, if you know me, you know how much writing fuel this can provide for me. So I will try to keep it short and sweet.

Be it through an artistic labor or not, the path to self-knowledge, I believe, will always be a creative and, if I must say so, courageous one. It is certainly one that requires vision and openness, guts to look inside and the discipline to make the necessary changes for growth.

This is one of the things that I love the most about Matt. He is willing to go through the process. So am I. And, together, we support and challenge each other to be better every day and to continuously search for the understanding of our own selves and each other, as – as we see it – this is a life long endeavor.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I am back working on my rep and practicing some piano. I also started answering all the back logged emails. It was simple day, catching up with daily life.

Thought of the day:

“To keep your character intact you cannot stoop to filthy acts.

It makes it easier to stoop the next time.”

(Katherine Hepburn, Academy Award-winning Actor)
This is certainly true. I would just add that the simplest things can trick us to feel that they are insignificant and do not count. But, the truth is, they do and have a cumulatively numbing effect, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Baby Fix...

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

We spent most of the day at Little Matt & Gaby’s, the boys watching games and the girls with the babies. Laura came with Caleb. He is just a total cutie! Later, both Matt’s went to look for Michael who was at home hammering the books and held him captive for a couple of hours. Saints are going to the Superbowl. Yes, I know who the Saints are; would you believe it!!!

Oh, we ate more yummy cake!!!

Thought of the day:

“I don’t know that there are any shortcuts to doing a good job.”
(Sandra Day O’Connor, US Supreme Court Justice, 1981 – 2005)

Oh, oh, oh…how true this is! Specially when creating something. You get that gut feeling, that “yes that’s it” when it comes and not a second before. Now, technical knowledge, preparation and discipline certainly aid in getting there and getting there easier and more frequently.

And, the truth is, no matter what you do, if you have pride in your work or your creation, you always strive to do ‘a good job!’

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Starting the Baby Fix!

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spent the day getting ready for our trip to Hammond and then lessons later in the day.

In the evening, we dropped Sapphie at Lito and Tere. She seems to be doing OK. We will check on her tomorrow.

We’re so excited to see everybody but, of course, to meet Maddie and Caleb!

Thought of the day:

“I am my own thing.”
(Penelope Cruz, the first Spanish actress
nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress)

I really like this one! “I am my own thing.” It is so difficult in life to get to this understanding. And, once we understand it, it is so difficult to get to the point of having this sense of self…We are all unique and this uniqueness, combined into a third unique entity, is what Matt and I want to express the day of our wedding.

Friday, January 22, 2010

So we are driving to Hammond to meet the babies, Maddie and Caleb, and for Matt to ask little Matt to be his Best Man. We still have about an hour to go.

A couple of hours ago, Lisa and I caught up by phone on where the plans for the wedding are. We spoke about 45 minutes and also discussed some Zaphyra and Voices things.

During our conversation, when talking about the possible time for the ceremony, Lisa made a good point about it being at 7:30 pm. I mean, I had thought it would be late, but quite frankly didn’t think about the time needed for photos. This would probably put us at the reception by 9:30 pm at best, which might be a bit too late.

I will email Joyce and Father Joe and see how comfortable Father Joe is with 4:00 pm instead on that late.

Thought of the day:

“The spiritual path is simply the journey of living our lives.
Everyone is on a spiritual path; most people just don’t know it.”
(Marianne Williamson, Spiritual Activist, Author, and Lecturer)

Simply and nicely put; quite frankly, I agree. Even if the journey were stagnant, the journey would still be and still have the potential of growth and learning.

Personally, I have always thought of life as a path of learning. And, even though we might not want to learn, the teaching is always there. All we have to do is open our minds, give our eyes a chance to see and our ears a chance to listen.

How much we get out of it depends on how much we put in it. And, who is to say, sometimes there is also learning in inaction. All paths are individual, but can be shared. Even though the lesson we might need to learn, chances are, would be different, the learning need not be communal.

And so, when two Souls decide to share their journey, the road can be softer and friendlier, with colors of brightness and warmth. At the end of the day, it is a choice, in spite of the circumstances, in the learning and the journey...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We arrived in Hammond about 6:00 pm CPT yesterday evening. It was so good to see everybody. Little Matt had been cooking a brisket all day and so we had dinner at his place, which is across Cathy’s house.
The babies are just SO ADORABLE!!!! Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some pics. As you will see, Maddie is also a red head...

Today we had breakfast at Cathy’s. Little Matt, Gaby and Maddie joined us as well as Dewey, who had spent the night at the farm. Man! I can’t imagine what it is to manage 800 acres with 400 heads of cattle, in addition to a medical practice!!! Bless Dewey’s and Cathy’s heart!

Anyway, we had a wonderful breakfast, with tons of really yummy bacon. Dewey has a special way of cooking that really works quite well and makes it nice and crispy with having to use half a dozen pans. You just put the whole pound in the pan and kinda let it curl and crip. Great idea!

Before breakfast, we went to pick up a King Cake that Cathy had ordered. Yuuum! I like this huge Danish stuffed with cheese and yam. I could have eaten that baby till I literally popped!

We then chatted in the living room for a while and then went back to Matt and Gaby’s where we spend the rest of the day. We got to meet Gaby’s family. It was Ashely’s (Gaby’s sister) birthday, so we celebrated with her and both Matts, Big and Little, spend the afternoon playing table tennis with her, while baby Maddie slept for four hours in my arms.

In there anything sweeter in life than the smell of a baby?...

Thought of the day:

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world: It’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.
(Mae Jemison, the first black woman to travel in space.)

All I want to comment about this is that sometimes that “anyone” is our own selves. I want to always remember that I have the right to my own wings, wherever it is that they fly…

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Keep It Simple

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Monday, January 18, 2010

I woke up with a light migraine today. I think I might be grinding my teeth at night again and I need to start using my mouth guard for a while.

I thought much about the quote of Saturday, January 16, which, as it works out, ties into the one from today.”

“I believe that we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up,
and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”
(Rosa Parks, Civil Rights Leader)

As you can see, this ties directly to doing what is needed to get the world we want. And I don’t think it has to be a grand act. It can be little simple things we take the time to do in our busy schedules. And, in doing them, we also teach our children.

For some reason, I have been thinking a lot about the environment and the kind of planet the next generations will inherit. We are starting to feel some of the consequences and nature is starting to protest.

These thoughts have been in my mind for a while and I have started to act more responsibly in this respect. Of course, we recycle, or rather the garbage company does. I have also started reusing zip lock bags as much as I can, including my freezer bags. When I go to the market, I still get plastic bags, but I used them to cover the garbage cans in the bathrooms and reuse all other paper and plastic bags that we bring in as much as possible.

I have also discovered those green bags which I must say preserve produce for, at least, double the time it usually lasts. I LOVE THEM! If you think of it, this not only saves you money as very little produce ends up going bad, if any, but relieves the stress of having to produce more to supply a higher demand. In addition, it saves gas as the trips to the store are less.

When we go out or at night, we make sure all lights are turned off except one or two that allow us to see. Doing this simple thing – BTW, I was raised in Peru where electricity is very expensive – we have been able to reduce the electrical bill for about 60%! If you live in this area, you know that the electrical bill can almost be a mini-mortgage.

I also make a point of cutting to little pieces the plastic ties that hold soda cans together. It is absolutely horrible to see how, when left in one piece, they can torture sea life to death!

So I realized that, without going anywhere and doing nothing really special I can contribute to change and, at the same time, save a nice chunk of change!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I was trying to connect my Treo to my computer at home. Got ActiveSync downloaded and started running the sync function. Guess what! After spending four months cleaning my contacts in Outlook, they got doubled, duplicating the info from the pda into Outlook. We’re talking 1,500 contacts up to 3,000. Uuhhhh! So, I will have to start my contact clean up from 0!

Grace sent more info re dresses; some more places in the area and designers. So, I will be looking into that.

Thought of the day:

“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.”
(Elsa Maxwell, Columnist, Songwriter, and Professional Hostess)

Having a sense of humor about ourselves is a healthy thing, I believe. Many times we take ourselves too seriously. I know I do. Learning to be more relaxed is, most certainly, something I can use and I have been working at doing…or, better, not working at, just being…

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Didn’t sleep well last night. During the day, I worked on setting up the network in the house and on networking iTunes. In the afternoon, I took Sapphie to meet Max. She will be staying with Lito and Tere during the weekend ‘cause we are going to Hammond to meet the babies. Max is Micheal’s (their son’s great dame.) Man is he a cutie! They did OK, though Sapphie was being a bit of a little spoiled bratt…You can tell she is an only child…

Thought of the day:

“I would be the most content
if my children grew up to be the kind of people
who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”
(Anna Quindlen, Author and Pulitzer Prize-Winning columnist)

I guess there is something to be said about simplicity. But, thinking more about it, this might be more about appreciating the simple things in life, rather than simplicity itself.

In this time of information overload, so much passes us by. Stopping once in a while to smell the roses can be very nurturing, healing, and one of those simple memorable pleasures of life.

Good reminder for the wedding…Keep it simple…