Searching for Normalcy

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

it’s been 12 weeks since… October 3, 2008

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 5:32 pm

It’s been almost three months. Actually, it’s been 87 days to be exact. That’s how long it’s been since my parents left to Panama. (I know; you’re thinking “Oh my God, not another ‘parents in Panama’ post!”) Yes. Another ‘Parents in Panama’ post. It’s my blog, so deal with it.

I thought it would be easier by now. I thought I wouldn’t miss them as much as I did that first week. I thought I would be really cool with it by now. That is so not the case. At all.

My mom had the internet set up at their farmhouse just as soon as she could. And that helped a little bit because then we could email each other frequently. I don’t have a landline so I could only call her from my cell. Calls to Panama from my cell are $2.24/minute. I didn’t know that until I received my first post-Panama statement. I almost fell out of my chair. I’m kind of a broke-ass, so that rate? Yeah, not so much.

Well, Mom just learned how to use Yahoo IM (thanks to my cousin). I use Yahoo IM every day for work. Because all the employees in my department work from home – and are located in different states – we use IM or email to communicate with each other. So now my mom IMs me every morning when she sees me online.

At first I thought it would be great. Cool even. I can communicate with my mom instantly, not have to email her then wait hours for a reply. But it’s not. It’s worse. As a matter of fact, it fucking sucks big ass donkey balls (I wonder how many Google porn searches that phrase will refer to me??)!!! Because every time Mom sends me an IM message it just reminds me –again – how far away my parents are.

It reminds me how I can’t just pick up the phone and ask “How do you say this in Spanish?”  Can’t just jump in my car and drive the 15 minutes to west Kendall to visit them. Can’t call my mom during “Oprah” to ask if she’s watching, or to ask her for advice when Fanless annoys me (believe it or not, it does happen). Can’t hang out with my dad in the living room watching really,really, bad Spanish-language variety shows on Telemundo, while my mom makes tortilla de platano  or garbanzos fritos in the kitchen. Can’t have surprise visits from them during the day to distract me from yet another mundane workday. Can’t listen to my dad tell funny stories at the kitchen table while my mom inserts sarcastic comments in the background (what – you think my sarcasm is self-honed? No way! I totally inherited that from my mom).

Fanless and I had lunch with my sister, her BF, my niece and her husband a few weeks ago. During the course of conversation we discussed holiday plans. My sister will be out of town for Thanksgiving. My niece will be at her in-laws’. Fanless and I don’t know what we’ll be doing yet. For Christmas Eve, we are going to my niece’s in-laws’, and to my niece’s for Christmas Day. All great plans, really. Genuinely sweet and family-oriented.

But mom and dad won’t be there. And I know me. I’m the “mushy” one, the sentimental one, the cryer. And I will probably cry (as I am right now). And feel shitty. And wish they were here.

Did I mention the big ass donkey balls? And how much this sucks them? Okay. Just wanted to make sure I got that point across.

Sorry for the melancholy. But that’s all I got right now.

Peace out, yo.’

* Title references to this Barenaked Ladies song:


New “old” photos in one click October 2, 2008

Filed under: Photography,Technology — Lulu @ 5:33 pm

I read about this really cool Japanese website on Elise Blaha’s blog. You can upload your pics and it converts them into “old” photos. Being a lover of black and white photos, I am so in love with this effect!

I used my absolute favorite picture of The Boy and me to test it out. I’ll also show you the comparison to Photoshop, because while I can get around Photoshop, I am by no means an expert. If you are unfamiliar with Photoshop tools and filters, the Bakumatsu site makes it really easy to enhance the visual interest of your photos in one click.

Here is the original image. The only thing I did to it was adjust the brightness in Photoshop (it was taken inside a dark bar, so the lighting – even with the flash – was pretty bad):


Here it is after I altered it in Photoshop. I used “grayscale” to remove the color, and “blur” to smooth out any blemishes and “unevenness.”


I like that it’s black and white, but I feel it’s a little “flat.” It almost looks like it was colored in with a black Sharpie. That’s okay, but I’d like to see something more interesting.

And now here it is after using the Bakumatsu tool:


I really love that it has that old grainy newspaper feel to it. I think the effect really lends interest and “texture” to the photo. I can’t wait to print this out and use it on a layout!

Anyway – Bakumatsu… check it out, play around, enjoy. It’s free!

Peace out!