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When Tara Met Blog
Friday, January 20, 2006
"I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend." -Red Shawshank Redemption For the last six year (shit has it been six years?) January's have been a difficult month for me. It brings memories and flashbacks of last holidays celebrated with my dad and then later his unexpected passing while I was home watching the Golden Globes hoping Friends would win and planning on seeing my dad the following day after school like always--neither happened. The night I found out that he died in his sleep drowning in his own fluid that was filling in his lungs, there was a terrible snow storm making the funeral a few days later even more miserable and difficult to accomplish. Four days afterwards I tried not holding my breath or scream as I passed his coffin, climbed the carpeted church steps and gave his eulogy at the high perched podium. Two weeks later, my mother took me to Cancun to help clear our heads and try to get us far away from where we were. It helped, her gesture and bonding even more so. Yesterday I went to a friend's father's wake, seeing her pain brought that week even more to mind. This Tuesday is the 6th anniversary since my dad's death (he'd only be 51) Tomorrow we leave for St. Kitts away from the cold, away from familiar surroundings. My mom and stepdad are going for 7 days but I'm only tagging along for four.

I think this should do the trick, don't you?

Be back Tuesday night.

Posted by Tara at 9:01 PM PST
Updated: Friday, January 27, 2006 10:37 AM PST
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The best laid plans, who should plan a date?
I have been polling a few of my girlfriends to ask how they feel about having to plan first dates instead of the guys doing it.

You know the situation, you get asked out on a date and are pretty excited about the possibilities, and then he turns to you and says, "so what do you want to do?"

Hint: Girls are more likely to go on a date when propositioned with an actual offer IE "Hey, I was wondering if you'd like to go to __ with me. (no, that fill in the blank did not mean 'bed' lol ;)

It was unanimous among those that I asked, it is definitely considered a turn off when women are forced to plan a first date, not that they would turn down the date because of this, but most felt that it's not considered as exciting or dazzling when you know each stop that you're going to make. Granted, it's nice not going somewhere that you don't want to and having control in that sense, but the surprise element is often considered a plus on dates as long as the surprise isn't that he's married or some shocker like that. I know I'd rather my date take some initiative and me be out of my element, like say at a tractor pull, then actually having to plan the date for him.

Several times I've picked the restaurant and bars because the guys I were seeing were not familiar with the city since they lived in NJ or CT and that's understandable, but those dates definitely weren't as fun when I was continually coming up with suggestions on where to go and what to do. One of my girlfriends suggested that it emasculates the guy in their eyes because it's like they have to lead them around on a leash by taking charge of the date like that.

Don't get me wrong, presenting your date with a list of options is not a bad move and neither is asking if there are any types of food they'd prefer, but other than that make some plans, show that you gave some thought into the date and had been thinking about it ahead of time. Work a little.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be spontaneity and that you have to plan everything, because yes, then that's no fun either.

Two really nice first dates that I had consisted on agreeing to go explore a certain place (zoo, park, fair) or area of the city and then deciding on a whim together where to eat and what to do. So although not everything was planned the guy at least decided on an activity and got the ball rolling and it's fun discovering likes and dislikes as you choose restaurants and explore new surroundings.

Link: The best blonde joke ever.

Posted by Tara at 6:52 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, January 22, 2006 12:27 PM PST
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Poem: Italian Princess
A couple years ago during my senior year of college, my friend Nicki (Whose now married and living in Cali) joined me for a weekend trip home, during which she met my friends and heard stories about me and my family. Being the passionate poet that she is, she wrote a poem about the weekend. I was very honored and deeply impressed at how she was able to recapture the feelings of the weekend and the essense of my family. It was also interesting seeing the same weekend from outside eyes. Nicki was also the first person to graduate from Wheaton College in Massachusetts with a poetry concentration, read the poem below and you'll see why. Oh and she got the title, "Italian Princess" from a gold charm that's in my jewlery box, one my aunt gave me when I was in middle school or maybe even younger.

Italian Princess
By N. E. Tasker
She introduced me to her father
and then she said a prayer…
She made movements with her hands
as I stood in silence,
hovering over him as he lay
below the Impatiens that stared up at me.
She was in New York to see her Nanny:
someone unrelated by blood,
but linked by affection.
I was in New York to see how the absence
of family is crowned by the abundance of friends.

In the distance, the cemetery foliage is dying…
I don’t know this man beneath my feet,
but I’ve seen his pictures, heard his stories.
I don’t ask questions or force her to remember,
but I do listen when her memory speaks.

Forty-eight hours later
in Connecticut by the ocean,
we drank Merlot with her mother.
My senses virgin to the
maroon flavor of Clos du Bois,
she had to teach me how to relish.
The first sip, a raw introduction;
the second, the aromatic Napa Valley,
dismissing the sour fermentation;
the next, a noisy slurp splashing the tongue
and cleansing the palate;
finally, the swish of mouthwash-redwine.
Hard to remember, now,
the swallow of this drink
because it so quickly distorted my thoughts.

As the ruby liquid disappeared from
my glass, my mind drew crooked pictures
of family gatherings:
one-hundred plus people
imbibing on my new-found plum,
as they bring to life their past in pasta—
penne a la vodka and buttery cavatelli in
Settembre family red sauce—
each member glistening in yellow gold
as their voices chime high and their laughter
resonates in my ears.

It was then I saw
the shadow of an Italian Princess
and there I took a long drink
from her family tradition.
But it was in the constancy of shifting seasons
that death and absence silently drowned
in the ocean’s distant fury.

For more of Nicki's poems check out her poetry site I'm a fan of For What, Midnight Chant and Noon In New York City (I was there for that one too).

Posted by Tara at 6:54 AM PST
Updated: Friday, January 20, 2006 11:02 AM PST
Friday, January 13, 2006
Coffee, Chocolate and Wine--these are a few of my favorite things!
The newly opened Cocoa Bar (228 7th Avenue) in Brooklyn's Park Slope area is a triple threat, offering high end chocolates, wine and coffee for every kind of New York connoisseur in a cozy neighborhood cafe setting. It has the typical trendy artwork, from local area artists, hung on the latte colored walls and of course comfy sofas and the extras we've all come to expect like books, wi-fi and board games. Cocoa also offers specialty desserts like a dense individual truffle cake or a spongy and moist hazelnut rum cake ($6), which arrives on a ceramic plate with chocolate syrup dots spread in random formations or cinnamon dust shapes sprinkled around the generous chocolate slabs of cake. But what makes Cocoa Bar especially unique is that it's not just a coffee and dessert shop, but also a wine bar.

Daily recommended parings of a cocoa dessert and complementing international wines are available for $12. Their menu consists of over 10 pairings picked by the owner Liat Cohen, but her favorites are the Sparkling Shiraz paired with their "I like it spicy" chocolate bar as well as the Muscat paired with a caramel centered dark chocolate. She says, "The sparkling shiraz is fun, festive, chilled and unique. Most of all it has spice to it. Our 'I like it spicy' chocolate bar is also fun and unique in that it has peppers and cayenne using single origin Venezuelan cocoa beans. And, of course, it is spicy and paired together they bring out conversation, laughter and enjoyment, which is what we want people to experience while they're here."

Unfortunately wine can be very intimidating, and so can chocolate these days. Liat and her husband and business partner Yaniv, try to encourage people to try new wines and chocolates and boast monthly coffee “cuppings” and wine tasting sessions. Those used to having their coffee at scalding temperatures though might be disappointed by the bar’s foaming coffee brewed drinks, creamy white hot chocolate, creative flavored latte's and rich roasted espressos being served tepid. The bar has a counter top for takeout, and tables and a modern backyard garden where their personable staff will serve and offer suggestions.

Be Well
The other night when eating Mac and Cheese at Cafeteria (17th and 7th) with K, our pleasant waitress with a silk scarf tied around her head kept saying weird statements when she came to check in on us. Instead of asking how is everything? Or are you enjoying your meal, she asked, "Are you happy?" I joked to my friend that I should have said, well, lately I've been depressed and feeling kind of fat. If she only said "are you happy with your meal," then that requires a 'yes' or 'no' answer and then she could be on her way to the next table. "Are you happy?" though left me confused and wondering.

When we were leaving and waved goodbye to her she replied "Be well." I felt like I just left Ghandi's temple.

Posted by Tara at 6:37 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, January 15, 2006 12:33 PM PST
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Yes, I date!
Out of the blue, I was sent the following email from a blog reader:

"I seem to remember you posting about your dating life in the city, guys you'd meet around town and crushes u had, but lately I haven't seen that. What's up? Are you taken and boring now or do you not date now that you are a busy Wall street chick?"

Well Mr. Inquisitive, yes, I do date, as my post title declares, but no I'm not taken. Your recollection is right I did used to write more about the men I'd meet while out and about, not too often, but sometimes I'd share that information. I've stopped because I've found that anyone who knows my full name or has my business card can plug it into Google and then voila there's my blog and me talking about them. What a way to intimidate and scare someone off. It also gives them way too much of an edge knowing that I'm talking about them. Thus, I'd rather remain silent. Guys who are interested in me can already get a big insider's edge just by reading my blog as it is. Oh and by the way I make it a policy not to Google people, not that I'm judging I can so see the temptation, I just rather not know too much.

Over the summer I was "dating," which I know I know it's not supposed to be called that anymore, but call me old fashioned then. I actually usually say I'm "seeing" someone rather than dating, but I digress...I was seeing this dude and I had mentioned our meeting on my blog, that was it I had only referred to him as 'Subway Dude' and that we had an upcoming date, and even though he never read my blog he kept asking me questions about it as if afraid I'd spill every detail about him on it. I told him to actually read my blog sometime to see that's not what I do. I told him I had no intention of continuing to write about him and I haven't until now either, but he was definitely pretty spooked. He mentioned it on each of the few "dates" that we had. I think he had a girlfriend, thus the irrational fear she'd find out or something. Any other questions? Feel free to shoot them my way.

PS: You're so vain you probably think this blog post is about you, don't you? ;)

Link: 50 Things to do With Your iPod

Posted by Tara at 8:31 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2006 10:47 AM PST

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