Cafe Hitch-hike


The beautiful things, just for today

My holiday gift to myself was seriously practical, but it still managed to elicit a sense of girlish glee in me. My new stove will have a nice glass top (meaning no more annoying, uneven wire elements). I added a microwave, but since I got the stimulus money sooner than I thought, I upgraded that initial purchase with a little convention oven in it.

The salesguy told me it's good if I need an extra place for cooking. The toaster oven (which I love) takes forever to broil things, but I've been wanting an oven not as big as what's in the stove. I'm pretty geeked over the upgrade, and actually plan to celebrate by making dinner for a guest.

I got a little greeting from Prof. Nic, a former admirer I dated from way back in Gulf Bluff. I knew he was traveling throughout the US in a conversion van with his new wife, but I had no idea he was retired (he wasn't that much older than me)! At least I hope he had a proper retirement; he was liked as much as he ruffled feathers where we worked. He and his wife are now somewhere in Baja California with their dogs. Nic sent me some new years well-wishes (the kind I'd rather get) and said he thought of me because he remembered I had Mexican heritage.

Nic was from Europe and we fancied each other almost instantly. We were also very familiar with each other's origins. When he separated from Wife #2, we very briefly dated and spent an interesting night in New Orleans for a concert. Years later when I was passing through on a visit, I cheated on Felipe with him (and F. totally knew yet didn't want to break up). But, I was so glad Nic and I were able to stay friends. We were able to maintain the admiration (and a bit of the initial attraction) without tearing boundaries or hurting feelings. Anyhow, Nic also promoted his travel blog. I promised him I'd give it a glance in my reply. Too bad we couldn't work, but I sure appreciate the reminders and tweaks I feel when he gets in touch.

I then saw his blog and instantly... hated admired him even more (hahaaha). I always loved his spirit, openness, and sense of adventure. I took his message and blog as a cosmic, not-subtle reminder for me to keep those things lit in myself. And as for Nic, he's one of the beautiful souls I've gotten to meet, and perhaps a reminder of the other beautiful ones that remain in corporeal form.

I finally answered a puzzling home decor issue about where to put my altar. I usually pray and do other spiritual practices in my living room, but I keep the objects I use out of plain sight and take them out when I use them. I've been looking for a space where I could keep them out all of the time. The office doesn't have much space, and since it doubles as a guest room, I'm not crazy about having such personal stuff in there.

After getting a little Buddha blessed (hahah), I got my answer. The altar will go in my bedroom where I'll switch around some wall hangings, and then put up a wall shelf to hold my prayer relics. The living room space feels a little too wide open, but the bedroom is cozy. I'll miss having the window next to me, but maybe I'll find something to give me that sense.

My, oh my, am I turning into the older Latinos I knew who had very ornate altars and ofrendas? Theirs had candles, rosaries, pictures of family, icons of the saints, and of course, the Virgin Mary in one of her forms. I even saw a few altars with kneeling stands! I have to laugh because yes, my altar has evolved into something like that (but no stand). Like the mayores (elderly), I'm praying for my loved ones and the world because... the prayers are needed. I don't necessarily pray to the Christian God, but the force behind all life. It's not out of fear or habit, it is deeply meaningful for me.

Sure, sure, I have feelings of dread, fright, and huge doubt about current events. I felt pretty crappy last week for some personal (as opposed to psychological) reasons, too. Maybe today was one day where I could touch the beautiful things that are in my life right now, and just sit fully with all of them, even if it's just for today.

downwind | upstream