Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Hello everyone!  I apologize profusely for how long the gap was between this and the last blog post.  But I did have good reason for it.  Truly.  I'll tell ya ALL ABOUT IT!

First of all, you should know that my parents have recently released a CD of songs by Francesco Paolo Tosti, an Italian dude from the late 19th century/early 20th century., with my dad singing the songs and my mom accompanying.  (The CD's name is "Romanze: Songs of Francesco Paolo Tosti" if ya wanna buy it...)
So they've been having these CD release parties, and we had a handful of them in Texas.  As i have stated, I am NOT a winter person.  I am a heliophile.  I love the heat and I was already sick of the winter in October.  So you can imagine- 80 degrees!  It was heaven for my mom and I, and I actually got to wear SHORTS one day!
We stayed with my grandfather in Austin, who was recently recovering from a health scare.  Fresh out of the hospital, he drove to the airport and picked us up!  My grandfather is a stocky, Hispanic guy that likes wearing loose button-ups from thrift stores.  He has expressive eyes that gleam like he just said something sarcastic, a dry sense of humor, and a horsey laugh, matching his love of betting on horses.  I love him so much.
Anyway, he took us out for some REAL tex-mex food after we got off the airport.  You may think, that as a vegan, it'd be hard for me to find things.  Not true.  I've found that in most cuisine that isn;t American, it's easy to tell which is animal product and which isn't.  I'm not a big fan of American cuisine anyway... I'd much rather have something that is traditionally vegan rather than an over-processed substitite for a hot dog or something.

Due to my recent discovery of Indian food, my threshold in spice tolerance has went up, so during my stay in Texas I've been having lots of tex-mex whose names I don't even remember.  I wish I spoke Spanish.  My grandpa speaks it fluently, but he never spoke it to my mom, so the chain was broken.
We also went thrift shopping.  The thrift stores in Austin are THE best!  For example... I found this gorgeous, floor-length, wine-red evening gown, that fit me perfectly... for TEN DOLLARS.

After Quintin and my dad came, the temperature dropped and our family quickly went into business mode.  Our first concert was done in honor of my dad graduating from Oklahoma State University.  He's so happy!  He got a ring and everything.  It was done in a very fancy indeed country club.  Quintin and I were starting to miss our friends, so we gave them a call before the concert started.  Apparently I was starting to sound southern, as I was using "y'all" in speech.

Okay, here I have to go off on a tangent.  If you translate "vous", "votramos", "voi" or "أنتُم" translates so awkwardly into English.  Here we get "y'all" or "you lot".  So I've decided to use "ye" in everyday speech.  I used in yesterday in a sentence, and it actually sounded good!  Using "ye" kind of makes me feel timeless and fairy-tale like... helps me get into character when I portray fantasy characters.  I dunno how I feel about using it to blog though... Who knows?  Maybe ye will see me use it one day.

Back to the concert, circa. 20 minutes before it started.
We snitched fruit and Quintin entertained my mom and I with Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions.
So then my dad sang a bunch of songs, a couple with Quintin and I.  There was one song called "God Bless the U.S.A." that I suppose it nice, but it's awfully patriotic.  (Is it bad that I consider myself so much a New Yorker that I don't see myself as American?  Or maybe it's a feminist thing... is there any matriarchic U.S. history?  I shall find out.  To the google!)
Quintin sang that with him, and the whole audience stood up and took off their cowboy hats or put their hands on their hearts.
Then we packed up and went to my mom's friend Liz's FARM to sleep!  I loved the horses, the wildflowers... and our hosts were so kind!  I had bought some tempeh at the nearest whole foods, and they actually wanted to try some, and they actually liked it!  These were hard-core meat eaters... heck, the farm was solely for raising beef.  The cows were there... and they had hamburgers for dinner.  I honestly found that quite disturbing, though I was glad the cows were happy and well cared for.
Everyone said, "Mmm, you can taste the love!"  I muttered under my breath, "Yeah, you still killed something,"  I didn't dare say anything directly... vegan or not, I was grateful that they didn't challenge my lifestyle... so I didn't challenge theirs.

I've noticed that there are two kinds of vegans.  There are those I like to call the "Buddhist vegans", who are kind of accepting of everyone and brings cookies to share with people and inspire people to practice veganism, rather than force them to.
Then there are the "Jehovah Witness vegans" who scream at carnivores,  and point fingers and throw red paint on people... generally the equivelant of my uncle in Texas lecturing me that it was sinful to read Harry Potter.
That night, we were kind of plunking around on Liz's piano, and everybody sang.  The next morning, Liz decided to teach me how to drive... on a tractor!  (Well, I CALL it a tractor, but it had a different name)
I had always been a bit nervous behind the wheel, to say the least.  The last time I tried, I was white-knuckled and intoning "crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap"
It seems that in Texas, the kids all learn to drive when they're 15.  And I... well, I'm from New York.  Do I SERIOUSLY need to learn?
In a short half-hour, I was quite confident in my driving abilities and remembered how to use the stick shift and everything!  Thank you, Liz!

We must have done the family concert a good three or four times during our trip to Texas... and once we were back in New York, we did it two more times.  One of those were in Leonia, and a good half dozen of Quintin and my friends came to see!  I was so touched that they came.
One of the songs I sang was from "Yeast Nation", and... they were doing the "choreography" to it in the seats, and I was trying so hard not to laugh...
I will be performing in a solo showcase cabaret type thing to raise money this year.  It'll be a mix of classical music and showtunes.  The why?  Well, I got accepted into a very esteemed classical voice and Italian language program in Florence, with a 2000 dollar scholarship!  Nonetheless, it's still quite a bit of moolah, so my family and I have been scrimping, saving, and scrounging as much as possible.  We're over halfway, though!  It's gonna be an awesome summer.