Sunday, July 28, 2013

La Bruja

Several years ago, Kelly and I joined our best friends John and Sabine, and our friend Juan-Macias for a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca is situated in the very south of Mexico, closer to Guatemala than the U.S. It's known for Monte Alban, the 300-700 (CE) Mixtec temple site, extraordinary naturally-dyed textiles, Day of the Day celebrations, and alibrijes - brightly-painted intricate wood carvings.

We have a lot of great memories from the trip: cramming 5 adult Americans ~ with luggage ~ and a Mexican into his Volkswagen Bug; waking up well before the sun rose to march in a saint procession; sampling homemade chocolates from a retirement community's Day of the Dead shrine in a cemetery (it was nasty bad); and me famously mispronouncing "how much is it" and instead asking a vendor, "how's the cheese?" (Hey, she knew what I meant!)

And then there's La Bruja - the witch.

One afternoon we were in the artisan quarter doing some shopping. There was everything under the sun from inexpensive tschotskes to brilliant pieces valued in the thousands. I was in one small store while Kelly was in another. All of sudden, Sabine came walking briskly toward me with a look of  controlled horror on her face. She braced my shoulders, looked me squarely in the eyes and said, "Don't worry, I'll help you talk him out of buying it."

Oh no. What in the hell was Kelly buying??

We hurried into the store just as Kelly was walking out. Seeing nothing in his hands, Sabine looked at me, raising her eyebrows in "bullet dodged" triumph.  When I walked into the store my gaze fell upon a splendid, eye-catching alibrije. I pointed it out to Sabine and said, "I love that!" To which she rolled her eyes and muttered something about Kelly and me deserving each other. 

We've loved La Bruja ever since. And Sabine was right, we do deserve each other!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pie And Beer Day

Today, July 24th, is a major holiday in Utah - it commemorates the day the Mormon settlers arrived in Salt Lake Valley. It's called Pioneer Day, but saucier members of the community refer to it as Pie and Beer Day.

To me the observance has a very different meaning. It was on this day in the mid- 19-teens that my yia yia arrived in Salt Lake. After a long train trip from New York City, it must have been exciting and a little scary for a teenage Greek girl to arrive in her new home.

She was met, of course, by her brothers John and Nick.  And as they walked from the train station, she witnessed something spectacular: a huge parade. They stopped to watch, waving back at the people marching, and the bands passing by.
Yia yia asked her brothers what was going on, why there was a parade.

In what I learned from her many stories was pretty par for the course from her brothers, she was told the parade was in her honor; the town held a parade every time a new immigrant arrived.

Luckily, Yia yia always had pretty darn good BS-detection!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cousins, Cousins Everywhere

A couple of months ago, my niece Lyndsey called to say that she had scheduled the dates for her family to make their annual visit to Utah. Her husband Jerid's sister, her husband, and their two sons (along with Jerid's mom and dad) also joined in for the fun.

You never know how kids, who don't know each other very well - or at all - will fare. But from our trip to the Salt Lake Bees game, I'd say they get along fine.

Brody Anderson, Alexa Foster, Gus, Logan Anderson, Haili Foster

Peas in a pod...Brody Anderson with Niko

Alexa has always idolized Gus, I think it's richly deserved.

Hiking up to Timpanogos Cave
The girls are obviously cousins to both sets of boys - but the boys wanted to know how they  arerelated to each other. Of course, they're not. But it was decided they must be cousins too!