Saturday, December 30, 2006

11 Months Old! of Dec. 28. Suddenly it seems like we have a little boy on our hands!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Elf, Xmas 2006

Xmas 2004

In 2004 we moved to Virginia where I took a great job with the Alban Institute. Unfortunately, it was much harder for Wendy as a Canadian to get a work permit than we imagined and she ended up taking a job back in Canada filling in for somebody on maternity leave. For several months one of us would travel between Virginia and Toronto every other weekend so we could see each other. This picture is from Christmas Eve 2004, when I drove through a ferocious snowstorm just to be with the one I love. It was a terrible drive, but I made it!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Speak No Evil

Wayne Shorter on recording Speak No Evil: "I was thinking of misty landscapes with wildflowers and strange dimly seen shapes---the kinds of places where folklore and legends are born. And then I was thinking of things like witch burnings too."

About the song, "Dance Cadaverous": "I was thinking of some of these doctor pictures in which you see a classroom and they're getting ready to work on a cadaver."

About the song, "Infant Eyes": "I was thinking of my daughter."

Shorter on Speak No Evil: "Whatever change I have made so far is still there inside of me, churning around in a little circle."

Speak No Evil, recorded on Dec. 24, 1964, is a stunning jazz recording I received as a Christmas gift from Wendy.

Xmas 2002

No snow this year, and I'm having battery issues with my camera, so I thought I would post this picture from Christmas Day 2002. Wendy is just arriving at her parents' house in Hamilton, filled with holiday cheer! Ah, the memories.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him...

...especially when he is sleeping! I took this picture in the pitch dark with the flash. It shows something that we haven't seen much of in the past week....Baby Amado sleeping. I don't know if it's the excitement over Christmas or what, but he's been keeping us up a lot and we're really exhausted. Really exhausted.

I think the child is having a growth spurt or something....he's saying "Mum, Mum, Mumma" all the time and practicing a lot of other new sounds as well. He's nearly standing up by himself, though still with the danger of flipping over at any moment. He doesn't know what Christmas is, but I think he can sense the energy in the air. He's been especially wiley.

All to say....we're tired, he's tired, but nevertheless, we want to wish you a very Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Patato Chip

Almost from day one I've been calling our child "Patato," which of course rhymes with "Amado" and is also the name of one of the greatest Afro-Cuban conga players ever, Carlos "Patato" Valdes. When he was little he was about the size of a bag of potatoes as well. So, when the kid has this sweatshirt on, of course I can't help but call him "Patato Chip."

It all makes sense to me anyway.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rum Pa-Pa Pum

Oh yeah, the little drummer boy. I'm proud that Amado likes to play the drum so much, but I'm still terrified that he will fall over on his head when he props himself up like this. He's getting better at it (standing up) every day though. I predict he will be walking by his first birthday.

In other news, I'm trying to get my work done so that I can take a break for the holidays, you know, maybe start some Christmas shopping (gulp). It feels like so many important odds and ends have piled up here at the end of the work, at home, away from home. I feel a strong need to clear the air and start anew in 2007. I believe the week between Christmas and New Year's should be reserved for whatever is sacred in your life---love, art, joy, good food, movies, winter hikes, eggnog lattes, good books, worship and meditation, cleaning your closets, new music---but not work. There's the rest of the year for that.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Alma's Soulfood is one-year old today!

....oh, it's been one crazy year too.

Rachel Smith

Besides being a very good friend, an international expert on Greek mysticism, and a person of questionable judgment around trains; Rachel Smith is also an super incredible, beautiful musician. Her album The Clearing is one of the favourites around our house and we can hardly wait for the release of her next piece of work.

Echoing throughout Rachel's music is a light-in-the-midst-of-darkness spirit that fits right in with the Christmas season, though it's not Christmas music. You can check out a few of her ethereal earth sounds here.

Happy belated birthday Rachel! We're glad to see you're doing a show here in Toronto on Dec. 22. We would love to see you again. Perhaps we can make it.....?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Just Another Day in Winnipeg

I just returned from another meeting in Winnipeg. The wind chills weren't as brutal as I had hoped, but it was nice to see some real snow. At about -1C/30F, Winnipegians considered it a warm spell. I still have a crush on the city.

We had a brief glimpse of the Northern Lights as we left town on the plane...very ghostly.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


From "The Warrior Queen: Encounters with a Latin Lady," by Luisah Teish in Goddess of the Americas.

"Then it begins again and She is there. Ave Maria Morena, the Virgin of Guadalupe. I talk to the Lady on the candle. Who are you today, Ms. Lupe? Shall I choose a green one for Tonantzin, the sustaining power of the Earth? I pick up the green candle and remember the coronation of la Morena. She was declared the 'Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas.' I recognize in Her Ala, the Igbo Earth Goddess; Asase Yaa, the Great Mother of Ghana; and Nana, Mother of All the Gods in the Kingdom of Dahomey. I take a moment to thank Her for welcoming my ancestors to these shores. I thank Her for the knowledge of the herbs of this land which the Native Americans shared with my people. And even now as I stand in the grocery store, I acknowledge that this little girl from Louisiana has found a place in Oakland, California. I am snug and safe in Her belly."

On Dec. 12, 1531, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to an Aztec farmer in what is now Mexico City. She is both a cultural figure and a spiritual one, and is a presence in the lives of millions of Mexicans, Chicanos, Latin Americans, and others around the world. On this day, more than a million people make the pilgrimage to her temple in Mexico City. Perhaps one day I will too.

(Art from Serena Supplee, "Artist on the Colorado Plateau.")

Monday, December 11, 2006

Garvey Ave., South El Monte

My Mom grew up in South El Monte and I spent a good part of my childhood there as well.

You know, South El Monte has a certain something that many other towns don't. Not exactly sure what it is though.


We Should Talk About This Problem
There is a Beautiful Creature
Living in a hole you have dug.

So at night
I set fruit and grains
And little pots of wine and milk
Beside your soft earthen mounds,

And I often sing.

But still, my dear,
You do not come out.

I have fallen in love with Someone
Who hides inside you.

We should talk about this problem---

I will never leave you alone.

(Rendering from the book I Heard God Laughing, by Daniel Landinsky.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Frigid the way, have you folks been checking the temperature gauge over in the right-hand column?

Right now in Toronto:
12F / -4F with wind chill
-11C / -20C with wind chill

(I know the my Manitoban readers like Adam and Rev. Shawn wouldn't be too impressed, since it's colder than this in their parts all year around, or something like that. Boys, I'll be there next week and I'm looking for some of those icy polar temperatures.)

James Kim

This is a very sad story. I don't know if I feel it any more now because I am a new dad and know the feeling of wanting to do anything for my family. It's just sad.


Yesterday I was in Montreal for a meeting. I brought my camera but I never had a chance to take a picture. So I found this typical Montreal winter scene on the web to let you see what I saw....ok, there wasn't quite this much snow, but I'm here to testify that Montreal is a very COOL city indeed.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

First Snow

It's just a dusting, so it probably doesn't even count....but it's exciting nevertheless.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hi Mama!

Above: Amadisto greets his mom with a smile.

Sorry for the blog slow down this week. I continue to be busy with work stuff, including on the weekends. And if I'm not busy with work stuff, I'm busy with baby stuff. So there you go. I'm taking a bit of time off right around Christmas, which will be my first real vacation since May 2005 when I came back from the States. Mmmm, feels like I've been working since time began.

We kept the TV on most of yesterday watching the Liberal convention. It was dramatic for sure. In the end our man Gerald Kennedy played kingmaker by taking his delagates over to Stephane Dion's camp, which knocked Bob Rae out of the leadership race. Then Dion beat Michael Ignatieff, which was fine by us since we think he may be a closet neo-con. It's great to have an environmentalist leading the Liberals, especially since Kennedy is certain to play a big role in the cabniet if Dion makes it to prime minister.

Oh, Wendy just reminded me that our family is NDP*, not Liberal, so we wouldn't be voting for Dion anyway. Oh yeah, I forgot. (Not that I can vote anyway. I'm still not a citizen.)

It's cold here, but no snow. Too bad. We're still hoping it's going to be a white Christmas.

*Key for my American readers:
There are three main political parties in Canada (though the Greens are starting to come on strong in some parts, which would make four contending parties):

The current ruling party are the Converservatives, led by Stephen Harper. They aren't as conservative as the Republicans, though they are trying hard to be.

The Liberals were in power for years, but a series of scandals brought them down in the last federal election. The are centre-left, more liberal than the Democrats though not by much.

NDP stands for New Democratic Party. They are to the left of the Liberals. Some people call them socialists, some call them the extreme left, but I don't think they're all that radical really. But progressive for sure. There's nothing like them in the States except maybe somebody like Dennis Kucinich.