For posterity, I wanted to document some of the most memorable moments I experienced in 2009. There have been some amazingly wonderful times . . .
Last January, I was blessed to visit my good friends Leigh and Chris in Seattle. I stayed for a few days and brought along Oreo and Buttercup. I ate a HUGE burrito, hung out with a troll, visited Bainbridge Island, visited the grave of Bruce Lee and his son, had a lovely ferry ride, wandered aimlessly through a cubist library, and pretty much took photos of O and B all around the city. More than anything, I enjoyed spending time with Leigh, Chris, and their beautiful daughter Sophia! It was the best trip ever.
In February, my sister made a second attempt at teaching me how to knit. The first time it happened I got really frustrated and tossed it all aside. For whatever reason, something stuck this time around. My first project was a beautiful maroon and beige scarf that I still wear to this day. So far, I've knitted eight scarves, two hats, a bracelet, and half of a throw blanket ever since. It is such relaxing and rewarding way to pass the time. I'll be knitting more in the next year. Here is a photo of the first scarf I ever knitted:
Last February, I visited Atlanta with my friend Chris. We were mainly there to see an Antony and the Johnsons concert, but we decided to make a whole weekend out of it. Of course, I took Oreo and Buttercup along. We visited some fancy malls, and I ate this AMAZING butternut squash dish that I will never forget as long as I live. It was a really wonderful trip. My friend Chris was the best host ever! Here he is being slightly embarrassed having his picture taken with a miniature piano and a rowdy bench:
Simply put, it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. This was one band that did not need a bunch of crazy pyrotechnics and theatrics to put on a beautiful show. They were on tour to support the release of the new album "The Crying Light" and sang most of the songs from it. There was even a cover of Beyonce's hit song "Crazy In Love". I sat in the front row in direct sight of Antony playing the piano. It was so mesmerizing. After the show, my friend Chris and I got to meet Antony. He signed a copy of his CD for me, and I gave him a copy of my album "Seahorses". It was the best concert ever! For sure, I will see them perform again whenever I possibly can.
Last April, I did some fun shows in Charlotte, NC at Jackson's Java and Manifest Discs for National Record Store day. While there, I got to visit many old friends. My drummer and I stayed at a hotel in the middle of downtown. There was plenty to see and lots to do. Much fun was had by all.
There are people who remember the day Elvis died and others who remember when John Lennon was shot. I will always remember when Michael Jackson died. He was a living, breathing legend----a one-of-a-kind class act. Last June, I mourned his passing along with the world, and I am grateful now to have his music to help preserve his memory. He rests in peace and in our hearts, always.
I was fortunate to be a guest performer at the Persacon Anime Convention in Decatur, Alabama last July. It was a memorable trip. I made a lot of friends and played a TON of my songs for everyone. Alabama is a beautiful state! This trip opened my eyes to the culture of anime and the conventions that celebrate them. It was all incredibly fun and fascinating.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="That's me in the background stuffing my face!"]
I enjoyed Alabama so much that I went back a couple of weeks later and hung out in Huntsville for a day to visit a friend and clear my head a little bit. It was a much needed break from regular life.
In September, I did a show at Manifest Discs again and employed my Roland Synthesizer in the mix to add more texture to my music. It went extremely well. While there, my friend Chris treated me to the most amazing burger at a place called The Counter at Southpark Mall. OMG!! It was one of the best burgers I've ever had! SOOOO GOOOOD!!
Perhaps the most memorable event of 2009 was the birth of my nephew Francisco Kitiona Marcelo. Even though he only lived for two weeks, my whole family was blessed to have him in our lives for even that long. It was the greatest hardship when he died, and it was a testament to the strength of my family that we made it through it all okay. We had a beautiful memorial service and burial for him, and an entire community of people rallied around us in support. The blessings started from him and multiplied from there.
We will cherish him always . . .
In my family, it is an annual tradition to celebrate New Year's Eve with my Mom since it is also her birthday. This year we went to a fabulous Japanese restaurant in downtown Nashville called Kobe Steakhouse. We ate delicious food, got my Mom a little tipsy, and brought in the new year with a bang! It was a lot of fun.
Well, I ventured off to Atlanta last weekend to hang out with my friend Chris and see an Antony and the Johnsons show at the Variety Playhouse. First of all, O and B went along to have some adventures of their own, but things didn't quite work out the way they planned. See for yourself . . . Buttercup had a little too much to drink and spent a good bit of time puking out bits of BLT pizza in the hotel room. Needless to say, they were not able to go out much. The Oreo Gallery has just been updated with their Atlanta excursions, howsoever few there were. I wound up doing a good bit of window shopping and visited my first ever H &M store. My first and only H&M purchase was a few pairs of socks . . .
I'm developing an appreciation for striped and/or colored socks. Go figure. Here's a photo of Chris with O and B over brunch. Chris seemed slightly embarrassed to have a picture taken with a miniature piano. Too funny. I forget how unusual it all must seem. Buttercup got over her hangover by then.
Chris and I visited Lenox and Northlake Mall (or was it Phipps Plaza? I can't remember) as well as a couple of other shopping places. Parking in Atlanta is next to impossible, and so, we weren't able to do certain things like take O and B to the park or to downtown. I ate a couple of really delicious dishes for the first time. The first was a BLT pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, and it was UBER fantastic with lettuce and all. Whoda thunkit? I didn't think I'd eat a better dish in Atlanta until I tried a Zucca from Figo Pasta. OMG!! Zucca=Heaven. It's an Italian dish that I've never eaten before, and it was exquisite. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I can't really describe what it is, and so, I'll quote the menu verbatim . . . ahem . . . "Butternut squash and amaretto ravioli with mascarpone and Italian red chicory radicchio sauce" Did you get that? I couldn't tell you what in tarnation all that stuff is, but I can tell you to go to the Figo Pasta near you (if there is one). When you go, just order the Zucca. In any case, the next time I hit the ATL, I'm having another one of those!!! Lord Have Mercy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I visited India on a vacation, there was one monument I had to see before leaving. It was the Taj Mahal and I read a lot of about it while growing up in school. The monument was commissioned by Shah Jahan who was the erstwhile emperor of India. He built it as an act of love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died during child birth.
The Taj Mahal was designed by the architect Ustad Iza and took over twenty years to complete. The emperor even chopped off Iza’s thumbs so that he would never design a more beautiful building in his life time. The Taj Mahal is made up of white marble and is one of the modern wonders of the world. During my trip, I was stunned by the level of architecture and amount of details that has gone into making this monument. It was trip to cherish for life.