2009 Monthly Pages
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7582 NW 74th Avenue
MIAMI, FL 33166
(011 507) 6514 1650
Web sites we made:
Tammy & Gustavo's B&B
Jazz Plus Santa Barbara
TC's Altos Yoga site
Point Roberts' Garden Club
JANUARY 2009: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...”
(NOTE: Newcomers, who'd like to get an idea of what this site is all about, would be well-advised to click on "2005 Pages" and read that introduction. Enjoy!)
December brought terrible pain to Altos: one of our own died, accidentally.
Michel (pictured at right) was young by Altos standards, and very active in a Panamanian business he and a partner, Sylvain, started over a year ago—they sold and installed an artificial thatch-like roof material (Palmex Panamá). And, as new-construction demands made real Panamanian palm fronds harder and harder to come by, the business began to improve. In fact, Michel was working on what he hoped would be the last roof to install himself, but that's when he fell. And all our hearts fell with him, especially his partner's, Patricia.
I'll always remember Michel as having the hardest body of anyone I've ever known; hugging him was like hugging a tree. I know, because he squished several pairs of my glasses before I learned to remove them whenever I saw him coming. If you know me, you know I wear spectacles tethered 'round my neck, and I'll never forget Michel's laughter as I frantically tried to save them from his crushing embrace. ( Click here for an illustration.)
It's horrible to lose a loved one, but to lose one so unexpectedly just knocks the breath out of you. We've been trying to catch it ever since...
"Au revoir, mon ami."
In the face of such tragedy, the mundane seems ever so much more mundane. Yet, the living struggle on, and that's what we've been doing. So, here starts the mundane...
Under normal circumstances, it's getting to the point where the most disturbing words I hear anymore are when TC says, "I have an idea." Her latest brain storm? A New Year's Eve open house! I'll repeat that: A NEW YEAR'S EVE FRICKIN' OPEN HOUSE! As in everyone was invited, and everyone was expected to stay until midnight—and most of them did. But here's the capper: fireworks! I'll repeat that: FRICKIN' FIREWORKS! Oh, not your common, everyday-variety sparklers or even bottle-rockets, but a professional display!
¡"Allã la vida!" (Read: "Shoot me, shoot me now!")
Of course, as with all her ideas (you'd think I'd know by now), it was a super event. We spent two weeks preparing, and every second proved worth it. Close to one-hundred people attended, and a fireworks company from Panamá City put on one helluva show, waking the whole valley, and launching explosions into the night sky, the results of which were seen for miles around. When it was over, we were all in an altered state; being that close to blasts that large is experienced on a visceral level, a level that's hard to appreciate, until you've been within 70-feet of them, yourself.
My one job for the night, a request by way of her majesty, was to get the fireworks display on video. Well, being the professional photographer that I am, I totally botched it. The stuff I shot was crap, and even then I didn't get much—you know, shooting video is different than shooting stills: everything's moving! To cover my butt, I requested photos from anyone who took some, hoping someone might have shot video, too. Lo and behold, someone did, and their effort so outshone my own that I didn't even admit I tried...oops, I just admitted it, didn't I? "Damn!"
For you non-Altoids, a word of...what?...warning? Almost all the pictures—excluding the video!—are of the people who attended the event (us Altoids can use them to learn and remember names!). So, it's primarily for us, documentation to prove we were at the EVENT OF THE YEAR! Now, I myself don't say it was the party of the year; I just know what my friends have said...
(Click the picture to visit our New Year's Eve open house photo galleries, including a great video of the fireworks shot by Michael Haugerud. Accordingly, since there are photos from several people, you will first go to an index page of the individual galleries, but when you're done, you'll be dumped back here. "Enjoy!" )
Well, now that that's over with, there isn't much left. In fact, this month's Casa Ingaso gallery has only six images. Of course, after the onslaught of photos from those New Year's galleries, I'm thinking that's okay by you. So, without further ado, click the image to go to our last gallery!
One tidbit more: Due to trouble finding the right battery for our car here in Panamá, we never made it back to the vet's to get Tipper's sutures out. So, one fine Friday morning, we decided that we had better get them out ourselves—it was going on two-weeks! Therefore, while I held the little kitty, TC snipped and pulled twelve stitches out of Tipper's hide. Twelve, like in two more than ten. But, her wound healed wonderfully, and she's back to being her old, gentle self.
Wait, while I'm here, I'd like to share with you a tale our friend, Peter, told us, after he saw the picture of Tipper in our last update. Peter wrote to say that the scar reminded him of an old Humphrey Bogart movie, Dead End, with young actors known as the Dead End Kids, and later the Bowery Boys. In it, one of the boys ratted out a fellow delinquent. Well, when the gang found out who squealed on their friend, they accosted the rat and were going to cut his cheek, thus giving him, as one of the onlookers said, "Da mawhk o' da squealah." (That's Peter's best New York accent for: the mark of the sqealer.)
So, da mawhk o' da squealah became a catch phrase around the house, much to Tipper's chagrin.
And that's it! 2008 has left the building on a very high note, but only after leaving us with a very low one, too. I'm tempted to wax poetic here, but you know that's not me. Still, it's just such vicissitudes in life that leave us scratching our collective head: why is there so much pain mixed with so much joy? We like to think there's some reason, some meaning, but it's impossible to fathom. I don't know what to say, except embrace it all, the good, the bad and the ugly.
After all, one of my most favorite dudes said: "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
As for ugly, well, another of my favorite fellows said: "It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly." (Oscar Wilde)
“ˇVaya con Dios, Amigos!”
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