Sunday, September 18, 2005

Hey Sailor!

Lately I've been obsessed with sailors! I inherited a bunch of photos of sailors from the 40's that were in my great-aunt's scrapbook. I don't know who any of the men are, but most of them had a name next to the photo. They are small photos that look like they were taken in automatic photo booths. They were cut out crookedly and given as a memento of a soldier on leave. I love the antique metallic sheen on the surface of the photos. The scratches, fading and discoloration on the surface only seem to give them a richness and flavor of mystery. I imagine stories about each one and imagine what thier lives were like. Did they die in the war? Did they meet their true love in NY port? Maybe they had a family and a long, interesting life just as my great-uncle did. I'm not even sure if these were my Uncle's friends or friends of my Aunt. I'm guessing that they were taken near Brooklyn, since that's where my Aunt and Uncle lived.

The names give so much character to the photos and seem almost quaint today! Names like "Hartzel", "Baxter" and "Mac" make me feel like I'm living back in the swing era. I wonder if Leo was really as shy as he looks in the photo. Was Perry a lady's man? Did Ed give his sweetheart some candy and red roses before he boarded ship again?

What about Clude? His photo is so different from the others. It must have been taken in a studio; it is a pose full body shot with a painted background. He looks so wistful, I wonder what he was thinking about when the photo was taken.

I just finished putting them in a matchbox-style album and I feel happy knowing that they have a permanent home. It was so rewarding to work on something completely frivolous that just cried out for attention! For some reason I just *had* to do this project--those poor photos almost got thrown away by my mom's cousin, but I rescued them so they could be loved!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

An American Classic

Here's a musing about a car. I took this photo at my cousin's wedding last year. It was a rainy day and his '55 Chevy looked so good against the grey sky and raindrops! The text below is actually journaling I wrote for a scrapbook page about the car. I'm still not happy with the page, so I'll share the journaling and the photo!

Oh, what feelings our cars evoke! A vehicle like this deserves to be babied; polished and loved until it becomes a part of the family. Matt B's fully-restored beauty reminds me of the blue and white '55 Chevy Bel Air that mom had when I was a kid. It was an old "clunker", but I have so many fond memories of it. I remember the time we drove to San Francisco and points north—just me & my mom together with all her clothes on hangers strung across the back seat! I remember childhood nights; falling asleep on the way home and pretending to stay asleep so I would have to be carried inside.

I was still so young when someone stole that perfect car and I cried and cried when we had to get another one. I knew things would never be the same again; the new car was a practical Japanese economy-mobile. My whole life seemed to change in an instant and it wasn't for many years that I could again appreciate the love of automobiles that we Americans seem to share. [note: I think mom's old car gave me a love for classics and now I'm lucky enough to work in a place where I see beautiful American classics like the one in the photo every day.]

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Restaurant Humiliation

Well, another year of (almost) dodging the bullet! Joe's Crab Shack is an awesome place to take somebody for their birthday. As long as it's not your birthday! This is a fun, happening kind of place. Fun music, interesting decorations all over the walls and ceilings, a party atmosphere—you name it! Every so often the staff stops working and turns up some loud disco tunes and dance for everyone's entertainment. Every so often they announce another birthday sucker!

Yep. The birthday sucker. Some poor schmo who got suckered into the restaurant with the promise of great drinks and tasty crab legs. Someone whose friends or family want to have a good laugh at their expense! Someone...well, someone like me! Matt promised me if we went he wouldn't tell them it was my birthday. I really wanted those tasty crab legs! Oh, those crab legs are so gooooood! And there is the most wonderful view of the boats in Newport harbor. Gorgeous sunset view. And mmmmm...did I mention the tasty crab legs!? I trusted my darling husband to keep our dirty little secret!

Apparently Matt forgot his promise about the secret birthday thing and the first thing he did was tell the waitress: "It's Lianna's Birthday" YIKES! Did he really just say that!? "Honey, you promised you wouldn't tell--oh, I don't want them to do that to me!" As we were discussing the matter over some delicious crab ball appetizers (ohmigoodness—try the crab ball appetizers—they are divine!) the first birthday sucker got her just deserts! They dressed her in a knight's outfit, complete with helmet, cape and a sword. She had to gallop a fake pony through the restaurant while the entire restaurant sang the birthday song!

Now, I'm a good sport who's willing to do silly things and be the butt of everyone's joke, but it's my birthday, for gosh-sake! I figure I need a little break on my birthday! I had already spent a good part of my day wearing a tiara and sparkly lei for the enjoyment of my co-workers! This was supposed to be a nice dinner with my husband. You remember— crab legs.

The next time the waitress stopped by, he told the waitress that I didn't really want to be in the spotlight. "Oh, no problem!" she said. Whew! Now I could relax and enjoy my main course! My husband was definitely a hero, now. Then he told me the reason he called off the public humiliation: He didn't have the camera with him! Oh, goodness—I am soooo glad he didn't bring the camera! While we enjoyed the crab (I got the Garlic King Crab Legs and he got the BBQ flavored ones) we watched several other birthday revelers. An 18-year old who got to wear a wig and ladies sweater had to tour the restaurant with a walker. A young girl dressed up like a superhero with a mask and had to skip her way around. Oh, I was positively giddy as I sang for each person to wish them a happy day!

Then came the pie. What delicious birthday meal is complete without a piece of Key Lime Pie. Mmmmm—pure heaven! I LOVE Key Lime Pie! So while I was innocently eating my pie, the servers came to give me my turn at the birthday festivities. GULP. (But you promised I was to have none of this!) Luckily, they took pity on this sour old lady and only sang for me! The whole restaurant sang for me. The staff sang the birthday song backwards, if you can believe it! (This is something you should definitely see at least once in your life.) So as I was feeling every eye upon me and almost regretting my love for crab, at least the servers made me laugh to ease the pain of being the birthday girl. And they didn't make me march around the restaurant dressed like Little Red Riding Hood or some such tom-foolery. And now I have another year to go before I have to dodge the bullet of restaurant humiliation again.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Well, I decided to start off my blog with an old story from our trip to Japan. We went for 2 weeks in March and stayed most of the time with Matt's cousin, J. in Osaka. I apologize if you've seen this one before--it's an oldie, but (I think) still a goodie!

The bathroom in J's apartment is the size of an airplane bathroom except it has a tiny bathtub attached. Honestly--when I got on the plane to go home there was actually more room to move around in the airplane bathroom! There's hardly any room to move around in the tiny apartment bathroom and it's even hard to sit down to go potty, it's so small--you have to sit kinda sideways because your knees will bump the door! Getting dressed in there is a special challenge. Japanese tubs are normal width, but only half the length of an American tub and they are as tall as your knees. Luckily for me J had a Western-style toilet and not a Japanese-style squatter!

I had all my clean clothes for the day on the floor while I was in the bath because there was just no other place to put them. All my dirty clothes were in the washer. When I got out of the bath, the drain flooded the whole bathroom with about 4" of water! It would've flooded into the apartment, but the way the bathroom is built, there's a 5" lip that you have to step over to get in the room so it held the water in. All the walls and floor of the bathroom are fiberglass like a bathtub, so it didn't ruin anything...

...Except for my clothes. I had placed them on my slippers on the floor before I got in the bath. Everything was sopping wet! With stinky bathwater all over them and black stuff and hair from the drain in everything! I had more clothes I could wear, but no underwear! Those were all in the washer. J. doesn't have a dryer--he just puts clothes on the balcony to dry. It was starting to rain. All my stuff was wet with no way to dry even though the weatherman said it would be sunny.

So the gallant guys decided to rescue me by **frying** my clean, wet underwear! Yup. They put them in a frying pan and dryed them over the stove! It actually worked pretty well, except they got scortched in a couple of places! One place burnt clear-through, so now I have burn marks and a hole in my underwear too! Ha ha--what an adventure!