Sunday, January 31, 2010

Roast Pastor and Small Potatoes

My Sunday plans changed at the last minute today. I was to have met with some of my former dance troupe members for Mass and brunch. I was looking forward to attending the Spanish Mass with them and sharing a meal with a lot of " ¿Como se dice eso en Español....? (How do you say that in Spanish....) sprinkled on the side. Rosetta is a wonderful companion in that she only speaks when I summon her, but she always gets to pick the conversational topic.

Faced with going to the Spanish Mass alone without my friends, I caved in and chose another parish where I could literally blend in with the other pale faces. Path of least resistance, or so I thought.

The second reading was on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious or boastful - you know the verse. I love that reading - it was in our wedding. In fact, I'm reading Love Dare which examines that verse with a magnifying glass. If I'm not getting the most out of my love relationships, it's because I'm falling short in the love department. Sure, anybody can be kind and patient and unselfish when you're head-over-heels in young love, but add 25 years and some irritating habits. Not so easy anymore - this is work!

Something must have set the priest off earlier in the week, because his homily was peppered with things he was fed up with in his church family. He wasn't delivering fire and brimstone; he was poking sore spots with laser beam accuracy. He talked about people being habitually late (guilty), leaving early, talking in church (guilty), parish hopping (guilty), and roasting the pastor at Sunday dinner. I'm actually roasting a pork loin, but it's food for thought. I suppose we all think the pastor doesn't notice our sins, but I guess he does! Mia culpa, mia culpa, mia culpa.

When it comes down to it, all you need is love. Lots more love. Thank goodness Valentine's Day is around the corner. Cupid, shoot me!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hard Core Lesson Four

Rosetta and I have made progress in our relationship. If I spend some quality time with her every few days, she'll make sure I have a good time in Mexico and Spain. Guaranteed. (I'd have a good time anyway, but I'll have a BETTER time knowing what the heck I'm talking about!)

Spain you ask? A wonderful surprise trip with my husband at summer's end. Right when my year with Rosetta is completed. My reward at the onset of this project was rather vague, but now I have two destinations where the Spanish will come in handy. The latter one involves a cruise stopping in Barcelona, Spain as well as several cities in Italy. My last trip to Italy was on a bus tour with my mom for two weeks in 1996 and we hit all the highlights: Rome, Florence, Venice, Assisi, Pisa, and Tuscany. (Don't be duped by the "great beef in Tuscany" - our Indiana corn-fed beef is much better!) It was a trip of a lifetime - an art orgy. My eyes were filled with so much beauty per square foot that it filled me up. France is a food orgy - I'd go back there in a minute just to eat. Italy is much more romantic though - one fella I met said that Americans live to work; Italians live to love. Bonus - if you can speak decent Spanish, the Italians will understand you. I witnessed that as one of our younger Spanish bus-mates was yelling at some Italian thieves who made off with his wallet. I didn't say Italy was without it problems. I have no preconceptions about Spain except that it's supposed to be a new foodie capital on the cutting edge of gastronomy. That, and they don't necessarily speak the same Spanish that the Latin American speakers speak. Maybe the difference between British English and Louisiana English. We'll figure it out when we get there.

In Lesson Four of Unit Three, Rosetta displayed a delightful assortment of pictures of smelly huelen mal, dirty sucio, wet mojado, clean limpia and dry seco dogs perros, shirts camisas, socks calcetines, faces caras, teeth dientes, feet pieds and hands manos. We cleaned lava or brushed cepillo everything with soap jabon and towels toallas. When we were done, we laid our head on our pillow almohada and slept under our sheet sábana and blanket frazada - thank God. A very busy day.

Next Sunday, some of Our Lady of Guadalupe troupe members are getting together for Mass and breakfast. It's only been a month since the Feastday, but it seems longer somehow. Glenis said, "I miss you too much!" "Te extraño tanto!" The feeling is mutual.

Hasta luego

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

La vida es buena

Yes, life is good, now that I have a nifty little Spanish calendar of 365 phrases with phonetics. (Bonus - it was on sale after Christmas!) As you know, a phrase that rolls easily off your lips is far better than a labored literal translation which makes no sense at all to native speakers. Now I am equipped to razzle and dazzle, provided of course, the proper situation comes up to utter my new found phrase.

Todo el mundo dice lo mismo (Everybody says that).
Impecable (clean as a whistle). If you tried literally translating that, I'm sure it would sound stupid.
Sólo somos amigos (We're just friends). Hmmmm.
Viviendo la vida rica (Living the high life).
Que te vaya bien (Have a nice day).
Callado como un muerto (Quiet as a mouse). Literally quiet as a dead person.
Compórtate (Behave yourself).

Masa luego...

My other great find is the Spanish accent mark guide for English keyboards. Finally! I can use the correct punctuation. My mission is to go back to all prior entries and clean up my act. If I missed one, it's bonus points for you!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Third Time's a Charm

What is it, January, and I'm on my third headset from Rosetta?!! Part of me believes that my headset abuse is a secret message to quit learning Spanish. "Jane, all the cards are against you. You have so little time to practice. Your family thinks you're crazy. The headset malfunctions are a sign from God."

Call it a perverse death wish, but I bought #3 headset which came in the mail today, plugged the damn thing in and voila! I am estudiando español again! Tonight's lesson was a review. I learned that leche (milk) can be fea (bad/sour) or rico (great). You just needed to look at their faces when they were bebiendo. If you didn't want to drink it, but just sniffed it, it could huelen mal (smell bad) or huelen bien (smell good). Actually the sniffing pictures were of un hombre smelling his calcetines. And if you've ever smelled ripe socks, you'd make an awful face too.

So many resolutions for the New Year.... Luckily, they're basically my ongoing resolutions - lose weight, get organized, exercise more, learn Spanish, travel, get a better paying job. Me merezco un aumento. (I deserve a raise.) Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful for my job, and know I'm darn lucky to have one in this economy. I love my office mates, my hours, the students I come in contact with, pero, I know I can do better considering I have a college degree and am not really using it. Okay, I'm not sure about using my Animal Science degree -I'm kind of over the animal fascination part of my life, but I know I'm destined for a more challenging job.

I say that and reflect what I did on my day off: worked out, juiced a bag of oranges, made peanut butter blossom cookies, sewed up my son's pants, practiced Spanish, and spent time with dear friends for dinner. It was a nearly perfect day with no "work" involved. If only I could get paid the Big Bucks for a day like that...

Hasta mañana

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spanish on the Road

A casual dinner with friends a couple Sundays ago led to an impromptu trip to Memphis to attend the Liberty Bowl. Just the girls.

My friend Brenda mentioned that her daughter was going to perform during pre-game and half-time with other Homecoming Queens across America. What?!! Whoever heard of that? I guess I'm not in the pageant or Bowl Game circuit; ask me how to change majors at Purdue or make buffalo chicken dip, but I'm clueless on how the pretty half lives. Well, I was clueless.

Her sister and brother-in-law were unable to accompany them at the last minute, and here were two prepaid ticket packages that were ripe for the picking. I had the time off, with nothing better to do than laundry and reorganizing my life, again, so my daughter and I rode shotgun to Memphis.

What could have been a lovely, balmy New Years weekend ended up being blustery and bone-chilling. For heavens sake, it was 23 degrees during the outside stadium night game that had previously been 70 degrees in years past! But queens persevere, no matter what the weather, and we did too. Even after reading ahead of what the program entailed, we were in for some surprises.

Enter stage right on the set of Miss Congeniality, complete with a Candice Bergen character. I couldn't remember her name from the movie, so we called her Murphy Brown. Murphy with a deep southern accent. "I'm so happy you all are here to celebrate the 51st Liberty Bowl, of which our Queens have played such a big and important part all these years. You have been selected from entries from Queens all over the United States, and believe me this truly an honor. This is not a scam." Just my cup of tea - a bit of adventure with a dose of healthy scepticism to spice it up.

During the reception on the first night, we got a good look at all the participants and their mothers. That alone was an eye opener to genetic transference. The cloning experiments have been successful... All but 14 states were represented. It was impressive, I have to admit. All the girls brought their tiaras with them, "Did you see the size of hers? It wraps around her head!" and were given their own sash with Indiana or California or Whatever on it. It was a bonding factor and a geographical guide to hairdos. Southern girls have the biggest hair, by far. We didn't even have a Bump-It.

The schedule would be filled with parades, a trip to the St. Jude Research Hospital, rehearsal at the stadium on the morning of the game, and of course the Liberty Bowl festivities. The rest of the time was ours which we spent mostly eating barbecue. Ever try barbecue nachos with jalapenos? Really good! We never ran into Elvis, but we did see Eddie Money and a real razorback pig. We mingled with tons of University of Arkansas and East Carolina fans on Beale Street. Beale Street was closed off to traffic and reminded me of New Orleans during Mardi Gras with the free-flowing booze and merry-making/vandalism. Kids could go into the bars, so my 16 year old got initiated into bar life (without the beer). Our favorite part was when all red attired Arkansas fans would spontaneously "Woooooooooooo Pig Souie! Woooooooooo Pig Souie! Woooooooooo Pig Souie! Razorbacks!" It actually scared me the first time I heard it. It sounded like a tornado was approaching, they were so loud.

After the rehearsal, the girls went into High Maintenance gear. Again, envision the plucking, waxing, hair curling, major makeup part of Miss Congeniality. Times 88 teenage girls, preparing to go on national television in below freezing temperatures with only a white gown and Under Armor under it. They were not allowed to wear the white gloves nor white coat they were required to buy while on the field. They looked beautiful, but this could easily be a class action pneumonia suit. The primping part was excessive, in my opinion, but who am I to judge? It was their one chance in a lifetime and they were gonna look good. My daughter is only a sophomore, and it'll be interesting what will happen if she's selected in a couple years. I'd have to eat all these words - with barbecue sauce.

And the Spanish on the road? Yes, sir, we habloed español from my nifty Mexican Spanish phrasebook both at the hotel and in the car. Probably made Brenda enferma. That was the deal - if I came on the trip, I had to practice my Spanish. Actually, the Australians that wrote this book added many important phrases that you might not normally find in a textbook which made it fun. Like, Se me está subiendo mucho (I'm feeling drunk), or Quiero lo mismo que ellos (I'll have what they're having). It got rather specific, in fact, and we feel quite prepared for any situation in Mexico. We laughed our way through the dictionary, and feel empowered to know the word for fart, pedo. Farts are funny, I don't care who you are.

Hasta luego. Tengo Sueno!