"Aunt Kathy"

While we were all there for a very, very shitty reason, it wasn't hard to find the positive. Her husband, Larry said some pretty moving things -- things that drove us all to tears, of course. But things we needed to really think about. Sitting under a pavilion at a park that overlooked the Smokies and Douglas Dam, were four generations of my mom's family.

"Ormond and Boys."

Again, I'm totally one of the dudes. (No, I didn't see and wieners.) But I did learn that some guys go commando under their swim trunks and some don't... apparently not going commando helps prevent chaffing. Nice little tidbit I wouldn't have been privy to if I somehow fell into the 'girl' category.

"RPT: Secret Places."

I'm not a globe trotter just yet -- some day, but not yet --But I have seen a fairly decent chunk of the country. And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the place this photo was taken is, and will always be, my favorite place in the world.

"Weight Maintenance."

This past weekend was bad though, I mean really bad. I spent all of Friday in the car, and dined on fast food for lunch and dinner (which makes me feel sick). Saturday was a bridal shower with the most delicious foods and cake, but before that I had Denny's for breakfast. And after, went to Red Lobster with my mom.

"See you soon."

I'm taking Nhyya and Detra out to a nice dinner tomorrow after I get out of work. And after that, I'm taking Nhyya to pick out her first baby doll. They're moving to California on Sunday and I'm emotionally overwhelmed by this. (I won't say distraught, because that would be dramatic, but I'm really, really, really, really upset.)

Cheers, Ryan!

It wasn't until I cornered Ryan, still virtual strangers, and asked what his "deal" was that I actually learned he wasn't really a student in the class. And Ryan earned the new nickname, "Phantom" for the simple fact that no one ever witnessed his presence, but there were always signs that he had recently been present.

Cinco De Mustache

Aye, Aye, Aye-Aye. Cinco De Mustache ...

Bums Talking Politics

Then, I shit you not, he stopped mid-sentence, looked at the Obama sticker on the side window of my car, and said "there's gonna be a revolution. They're going to kill Obama." And then frowned...

Something Ridiculous

These things -- the dogs and the truck startled me awake. Still laying down, my eyes flew open, my right arm uncrossed from my left, I grabbed my keys and phone, and jumped out of the car . . .

The Wanderlust

Thanks to Leslie, I'm itching for it. I keep looking at her pictures (she's spending time in Hawaii right now and living it up) and I'm thinking, holy crap I need to be some place other than Ocala right now.

8 People

...I resent the way life works. I hate that the most intriguing and beautiful and wise people of my life all passed away before I was old enough to appreciate them and value their wealth of knowledge, experience, and stories.

Problematic People

In my childhood there were people, famous and legendary people, I thought obtained experiences that I could never fathom knowing. But as I grew older, I learned my own father had more, and better, stories to tell than I could ever get from following the lives of the famous.


... I don't secretly long for the day that someone throws me a surprise party. [...] I wouldn't want it to be one of those awkward situations where people gradually leak niblets of information that eventually lead to me knowing in advance that when I arrive at my home, mysteriously, every single light in the house will be off.

Pensacola then Texas

I drank two delicious glasses of Pino Grigio with with my Chicken Brian, then continued the festivities at Loren and Ang's house with the ever so delicious sweet tea vodka Loren served up. Following dinner and post dinner drinks, Trevor, Nick, Patrick, and myself went back to Trevor & Nick's apartment and played Guitar Hero until our fingers fell off.

Friday, September 4, 2015

You have to look at the photo.

Posted by Alison Soracchi at 7:39 PM 0 comments

You have to look at the photo. As horrific and unfathomable as it is, you have to look at it. That is Aylan. He has a brother, Ghalib; a mother, Rehan; and a father, Abdullah. And Abdullah is the only one alive. And what's worse, he was holding his baby boys when they died, from drowning, while fleeing the home for refuge in Europe and eventually Canada. You have to look at the photo because this family and the thousands, millions actually, who have also fled and not found their way into our Newsfeed deserve to be heard, to be honored, and to be protected. These are him as just as we are, people who are willing to risk life and limb to get their babies to some place better, even if just a fraction better, and even if it involves great risk to get them there.

There are husbands pushing wives and children onto railways because it is a better option than going back to their home countries. There are thousands, absolute droves of people, fleeing from Budapest to Vienna... on foot. On foot. That is well over 200 kilometers. On foot, people.

These are people who seek refuge, who are trying to protect their families, and who will stop st nothing to gain any chance of safety.

Abdullah clutched his two boys in his arms after the boat - boat, hah, it was nothing more than a glorified pool float that you or I would paddle around on while sipping cola and working on our tans - capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. He paid a substantial financial fee, prepared his family and boarded an overloaded dinghy in the dark of night. They were given life preservers. FAKE life preservers. They were packed into a small boat and doomed to fail. They capsized when a wave hit them. He held tight to his boys and he dipped under, repeatedly battered by waves. He did everything to keep them afloat. And, when he could, he looked to Ghalib, his 5-year-old, still in his grasp, dead.

I tried to imagine how that must feel. How it must feel to hold the lifeless body of one son in one arm and in the other arm, cling to the younger, still living boy. What did it sound like? Was Aylan crying? How do you not just stop? How do you find strength to keep swimming and keep fighting to hold your other boy above water while you look into the lifeless eyes of your other son and let his body drift away from you into the dark sea? But as if that weren't horrific enough, just a short while later, he looked to Aylan, who had blood running out of his eyes and had also drowned while in his daddy's arms. How do you not just sink to the sea floor yourself at that point? How do you live through that? Oh, his wife?  She also drowned. Possibly just as I described - her heart grew so heavy with sorrow she slipped under from the weight of it. I know I would have.

I want you to just let this next part really sink in. Abdullah waited three more hours for the coast guard to find him. He drifted alone in the sea for three hours after his entire family - the people he was fleeing their home country to protect and to provide for - all parrished in the water around him.

For the rest of his life, his little boy's picture will be memorialized. It will be the photo credited with bringing the refugee crisis to the dinner tables of all Americans and citizens of the world. But for now, he is a daddy and his dead son is plastered horrendously on every news outlet, paper, and Internet feed you can think of - red shirt, blue shorts, velcro sneakers, face down and turned a little to the left, rump up, hands by his sides, in the surf of a Turkish beach. That. That is the final image of this sweet baby boy.

I started writing this while my baby, a 6.5 month old, lay next to me. And I wept. I'm still weeping. I know, as a parent, I would stop at nothing to ensure the safety of my child. And at the same time, I would never put them in harm's way if there was a better, safer option. That is parenting rule #1. Everyone knows that one. And so everyone should know, these mommies and daddies putting their entire families in dinghies and hoping they make it across a sea, they have no other option.

I keep going back to the photo of Aylan in the surf. I see him and want to scoop him up. I want to hold that baby so tightly and tell him, though I'm sure until his last breath he knew, how much his parents loved him, that they would sacrifice everything to try to bring him and his older brother to a safe place. My brain knows Aylan is dead in that photo. But my brain doesn't often see photos of dead babies on beaches (or anywhere else, actually), so I find it hard to process.

This has to stop. The numbers are staggering. Half the population of Syria has fled. Half. Pause on that for a moment. Half. The conditions the flee to are not good, but are not war-torn Syria either. They may sleep in tents, or even outside on the bsre ground, have little to offer their families, and struggle to find jobs or schooling, but they aren't dying in airstrikes anymore either. They aren't dying at the hands of ISIS. But many of them are still dying. So many of them. 

Look at the photo. Look at it until you know what he looks like, what he is wearing, what his dying thoughts might have been. Was he scared? Was he crying? Did he see his brother die? No one was there to comfort him. And all any of them wanted was to be safe. I wish, I wish so badly I could make Ghalib, Rehan, and Aylan safe. I wish I could have made a difference to them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Happy eight point five months pregnant, let's get our ska on!

Posted by Alison Soracchi at 6:45 AM 0 comments
What are we up to on a random Tuesday night, you ask? Oh, ya know, taking in a ska show. My amazing husband knows how I like to spend my free time... And his. Thank you, Jon-Michael. Hope you're okay with your son being a ska kid - right now he has no choice.

This is how we celebrate 8.5 months pregnant in our family.

Last week, at our 37 week check up with our midwife, Libby, we gained her blessing to attend a ska show in Orlando. We had done our homework though and presented a very well-thought-out case. We knew where the closest hospital was, we had my hospital bag packed and in tow, we had already agreed I would not be floor-level or engaged with the crowd, and I would do absolutely no jumping. That last commitment was the hardest, to be perfectly honest. How do I not jump to songs that practically beg it of you?!

So after work on Tuesday, JM and I headed down to House of Blues. After walking around the venue for just a couple of minutes, we were able to find a piece of vacant wall next to the sound booth and in direct, unblocked view of the stage. Seemed perfectly safe for me.
Jon-Michael and I - post Authority Zero, pre-Less Than Jake.
We got there just about 15 minutes before Authority Zero started. They started right on time - thank you, HOB. We are old, after all. We get tired easily and we do have to return to our regular lives tomorrow! I really must admit - Authority Zero was a not a band I was really excited to see. Everyone knows that song One More Minute, but what else to they really have? Well, a lot actually. They were incredibly entertaining and quite talented. Their lead singer, who was touted to me as being dreamy, was an absolute entertainer behind the microphone too. He can sing fast and clear - a feat many performers cannot accomplish. To jump to the end, I did get to meet Mr. Dreamboat and he was very humble. And also, he appeared to be about seven feet tall. It's not often I'm looking up at someone when I shake their hand.
All the balloons!
 Without any delay, Less Than Jake began their set. Again, thank you, HOB. We oldies like to stick to a schedule. Less Than Jake never disappoints - that goes without saying. But tonight seemed to be especially entertaining! They had the usually confetti cannons, the toilet paper blowers, and the t-shirt tosser. But they also had these big yellow balloons which appeared to have the same print on them as their banner hanging in the back. Sometime mid-set they tossed them out into the crowd. It's always fun to see people enjoying the interactive parts of an LTJ concert. It's something a bit more than what a typical show offers and truly gives an already friendly crowd - the type that wrap perfect strangers up in (albeit sweaty) hugs because they sudden realize they're both so, so, sooooo excited to hear this particular song! - a feeling of even more camaraderie. It makes me happy, even when I can't partake. It's truly something other live performers lack and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be part of that massive group euphoria this particular band ignites in their audience.
Here the crowd surfs the security guards to opposite sides of the stage.
 More than musicians though, these guys are entertainers. They crack jokes, tell stories, bust on each other, and involve the crowd in their antics during their sets. This time they invited a guy up who was wearing tacky tourist, beach-themed clothes and an odd, green hat with a feather in it. His name was Evan and they brought him up on stage to dance and get the crowd going. The crowd was already going, but this guy deserved to be part of their shtick after donning that outfit and venturing into the world - unafraid.

You know, even with the laundry list of funny antics they pulled last night, hands down the best one was the ordeal about the security guards. In House of Blues, Orlando, there is a dropped floor area. On either side of that area, there is a column with a small platform that a security guard can stand on to overlook the crowd. In between songs, Chris stopped to address the two guards and their lack of enforcement thus far. He said, "I'm from here, I know these two guys don't really do anything." And, instead of the usual ball-busting of his band mates, he started busting on the two young security guards. He then said, "let's see if we can do something Seattle could not. I want to see you crowd-surf this guy to that side and that guy to this side," pointing from the guy on the left to the right side and then from the guy on the right to the left side. "Do it, Orlando - if anyone can, it's you guys!" And, sure enough, with good sports as security guards, the crowd accomplished just that. The guards extended their arms and lay bellies first onto the crowd at the start of the song, then floated, in Superman pose all the way across the crowd, passing each other almost exactly midway before being safely delivered to their final destinations. WHAT A RIOT! I imagine that had to be a first!

Their set was a fantastic blend of old and fairly new. Although we noticed they didn't play anything from GNV FLA or In with the Out Crowd. I'm okay with that, for sure. I'm more of a Pezcore to Anthem fan anyway. I like the stuff that has come after that, but the albums in that range are my bread and butter, if you will.

I always love seeing the people who know the new songs and not the old and who know the old and not the new though - it amazes me how Less Than Jake continues to acquire new fans after twenty years of writing music and performing. They are true masters of their craft and I don't say that with much bias.
According to Reel Big Fish, Everything Sucks. But the show most certainly did not!
Speaking of masters of their craft, Reel Big Fish dominated the stage. When it comes to performers, RBF truly ranks among the best. Jon-Michael and I were discussing how, sometimes, ska and punk get tagged as easy music to play because the riffs are simple and the sounds can be repetitive. This is where RBF pulls away from the pack though. Aaron is a truly talented guitarist - and what's more? He entertains while he plays. His talent does not take away from what has come to be expected from a ska band - the dancing and the silliness. His playing adds to it. As a viewer, you end up mesmerized by the way he effortlessly plays while skanking from one end of the stage to the other at the same time! And he's not alone. The horn section does the same - they dance and play and dance some more with just as much enthusiasm as their founding member, Aaron. 

Seems like life is good for RBF - they've been performing a long time as well and don't seem to have lost any luster. The songs I remember hearing as a teenager (thank you to my brother, Jeff, for the music exposure) are just as thrilling, fun, and favored as they were then. I have to stop and remind myself that 15+ years have passed for me and for the musicians also. We're all aging. And then shock comes over me - when will it be the last time I see them live?

What a scary thought. I'm not ready for that. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pregnant and Pondering # 2: Experts are everywhere.

Posted by Alison Soracchi at 5:49 AM 1 comments
It's interesting how reading one article about the common struggles of sleeping while pregnant will reaffirm my sentiment of being incredibly fortunate these last eight and a half months. In the beginning everyone who heard me say I wasn't having any difficulties with nausea or sleep would tell me, 'just you wait...' At this point though, I'm practically across the finish line and haven't encountered one single, solitary time when I thought I'm not going to make it through the day without vomiting, or I've been laying in bed for three hours and still haven't slept; I might as well get up for the day ... at 2 AM. No, I'm truly fortunate. And you know, I hope that's a sign of a healthy, happy baby - and maybe, if it's not too much to ask, even one who will sleep through the night from the first night he's home. We'll see. I'm certainly not trying to press my luck.

One thing I am struggling with though is my inability to be fully in control of the situation. But that is a fundamental rule of life, right? The sense of ever being fully in control is really a delusion. No one ever truly has that. I know that, but even still find it hard to accept the many unknowns surrounding a pregnancy.

I'm not the person who will tell you how to have a successful pregnancy because I don't know, I also won't tell you that the way to be able to sleep through the night is this or that. I actually believe there is no magic formula. We just get what we get. I know two things and those are 1. that in all the 29 years I was alive and not pregnant, when it was time for me to sleep, I slept, and 2. everyone under the sun will tell you how you're doing pregnancy all wrong and how your expectations or experiences are not valid or realistic.

Seems like my being pregnant makes everyone an expert. That's pretty typical, I'm sure, but also fairly unpleasant. Because, you know, the ironic part is that, were it not for the abundantly flowing hormones in my body, I probably wouldn't care if people were trying to force opinions on me, but also, were it not for the abundantly flowing hormones in my body, those experts would have nothing to advise me on because I wouldn't be pregnant, would I?

oh, the miracle of life...

Can I just meet my son already?

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Great Debate: Cloth VS Disposable Diapers.

Posted by revolutionaire. at 1:28 PM 0 comments
At a point in life when I'm pregnant, looking to save every penny I can, and welcome the tips of anyone who has a knack for any kind of savings solutions, the great debate of cloth versus disposable diapers seems to surface more frequently than any other suggestion.

And it's probably the most polarizing recommendation I've heard yet. Every reaction from "oh god, no" to "best decision I ever made" has been uttered in front of me. Why such controversy? 

As it turns out, cloth diapering can be pretty gnarly business. It never occurred to me that I would have to take a crap-coated towel off my child's rump, dump it into the toilet, flush, then swish the turdy towel around in the clean toilet water, before coating it in baking soda and setting it in a bucket to wait for a washer's worth of them to pile up. That does sound kind of like, "oh god, no" to me.

That's just one perspective though. As one mom-friend was quick to point out, no matter how I approach the diapering process, I will, inevitably, get poop on my skin. She said it is going to happen and the sooner I accept that, the sooner I can make a choice whether to go cloth or not.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why did we buy this house?

Posted by revolutionaire. at 5:41 AM 0 comments
Well, I've really done it this time.

I'm three months from having our first baby, we're working on getting the nursery set up, JM is doing all the ladder work - taping off the ceiling and spackling any pin holes to prepare the walls for paint - it's going to be cornflower blue. We're having a boy. I'm behind him, spraying the last of the wallpaper with DIF remover (which, by the way, I later discovered contains a chemical known in the state of California to cause cancer... joy).

Something makes him curious and he chips away at a piece of loose ceiling spackling in the corner. Black mold. Fuck. "Just go ahead and get out of the room while I see just how bad this is..."

I'm waiting down the hall, in the kitchen and it just keeps getting worse. My tears start to well up. Just what am I supposed to do with this disaster? Every time we decide to dive into a home project we uncover some kind of puttied-over royal disaster the owner before us left behind - intentionally hidden in my opinion. Because why would any home owner trying to sell NOT intentionally hide any terminal damage?

This puts a screeching halt on our baby room revamp and, worst case scenario - a potential halt to our living in this house. My list of tasks for today has grown exponentially, my emotions are running insanely high and I'm indescribably angry. I can't decide where to start, so last night - after finishing all the laundry (which is a major feat of strength and endurance) and watching the Walking Dead, I start making a list. This list, so immeasurably overwhelming, compels me to stay awake and work toward accomplishing something. I know it's too late at night to get anything on the list finished, but I can certainly start something and I definitely can't sleep - so what's the harm? I ended up cleaning the master bath tub. It's all I could do. It's the only thing that sounded satisfying. So I did it.

I am just so incredibly disappointed in myself. I look around this house and I know I haven't taken the best care of it. Since buying it in 2012, my complacency has created an open door for pests, water damage, mold, financial burdens and so much more. What a lesson to learn! I am so upset with myself. So angry. I knew going into home-ownership that I would need to be committed, that I would need to dedicate time and attention to this place. I KNEW THAT. And yet, I didn't do it. Or, I didn't do it enough, rather. In many ways, I've tried - maybe. I feel like I have, but who knows. I put on a great facade. I make it look well kept. It's not. It's a polished shit hole. Truly. And we're stuck with it.

So where do we go from here, right? We call our insurance agent first and ask what our policy covers because the next step is to call a home inspector to investigate how bad the damage actually has gotten. And when that person does their assessment, I want to be prepared for what comes next, whether it be a $5000 bill for damage repair or a $500 deductible for our insurance - whatever. I need to be prepared.

I talked to my dad on the phone this morning. That always helps me feel better. He said something I already knew, but hearing it from him makes it seem more real - we just need to make a list of improvements or fixes we need to make and then each weekend, we need to work on fixing or improving something - anything. Because with a baby, it's only harder. Obviously. And without a plan, none of it will ever get done. And we need to do all the things on our list without hemorrhaging money from our pores. I guess it can be done ... I'm not really sure, honestly. I just keep going back to one specific question.

Why did we buy this house?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Make your own way

Posted by revolutionaire. at 4:41 PM 0 comments
I have this overwhelming desire to do better with my life, to find something more worth doing, to find a way to commingle my home happiness and my work happiness. 

Maybe everyone feels that from time to time. Maybe not.

Lately I have realized many of my friends have made a living doing what they love. I know entrepreneurs, writers, photographers, artists, and humanitarians. And I know me. And what do we all have in common? The passion for what we love so greatly. So how is it then that I find myself parked in a mildly satisfying, depressingly paid corporate job when my friends have found the way to feed their passions and fund their lifestyles? 

What am I missing? Perhaps just the bravery to take he leap.

I have a passion for something. And that is art. No, I won't get more specific for you. I love art - all mediums. I am a photographer. I have been a painter. I am a paper craftsman, a writer, and a ceramics amateur. I am many things and love all things related to art. And in the small community I live in, I see a niche for someone like me. I see a need for the artists that live here, that visit here, that want to learn. 

So, now what? How do I start? 

First, I have made a list of friends I know who have made their own way in this world. And, friends, if you're reading this and you think i may be referring to you, I probably am. I may call, I may write. I need direction or ideas to get me started on this path. And once I am started, I'm sure it'll go very well. 

Here's what I envisioned: a cooperative art studio, gallery, and supply hub. A place where local artists could work and display their work and also a place where community members, visitors, and everyone in the world could visit, shop, and express themselves. I see this co-op claiming a majestic, historic home - something with appropriate, artistic character. I picture a lush front yard with a hammock and a front porch swing to set a very welcoming and serene tone. I see a great room designated as the gallery where we could show our latest works - with places to sit and observe the art, really soak it all in. And, if the artist so wished, offer them for sale. I envision a large, naturally well-lit room with hardwood floors for easy cleaning as a place for the artists to work on their projects. I see high, dusty tables for standing to sculpt clay, easels for the painters, and communal stools and tables for working on anything and everything. I envision another large room with more tables and stools. And in the closet, every kind of paper craft supply you could imagine. And another room for simply relaxing, for feeling the world around you. And another room with a small counter and register and a perfect little couch to sink into when it's quiet to read an inspiring book. I see a back room full of well-organized supplies and materials. All inventoried and priced to sell if someone happens to need something. I envisioned teachers doing classes here, artists doing craft workshops - all to inspire and invigorate the creative minds, while bringing in the revenue we would need to keep the roof over us, the lights on and the supply closets well-stocked. 

I imagine this place to be open to the public, of course, for art classes and clubs, hobbyists, and crafters. And ideally, these artists, these hobbyists would become involved in the co-op. They would come to us for space away from the distractions of home, of family, and of work. They would come to us for eir own workshop ideas and projects and is few person co-op would grow into a community staple. 

I believe in this Idea. I know it can work and that it is purely a matter of finding the right people to accomplish it together. I can make this happen. Now I am off to network a little before it's too late at night. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"You're looking slim!"

Posted by revolutionaire. at 7:28 PM 1 comments
We went to the gym yesterday. It was pretty excellent. After almost convincing myself not to go, JM finally got my head right and talked me into going with him. I hit he elliptical pretty hard did 100 crunches before calling it a day and heading home to clean house. But before I left, I got the gym compliment so far - "you're looking slim! Whatever you're doing, keep it up; it's working." 

Those two sentences, two sentences that took Ian just seconds to speak, will resonate with me until the next time someone says something equally as motivating. "You're looking slim!" When I don't feel like working out - "you're looking slim," when I'm tempted my treats brought into work by a client - "you're looking slim!"

So I keep going. And I will keep going because it makes me feel better, stronger, and more confident. And you know, it's not that I'm not confident - I do love myself. I just want to be in the physical shape I should be in for my age. I want to be healthy, active, and agile. I even want to inspire others. I want to be able to motivate other people to make positive changes in their lives too.

A new person has added me on SparkPeople! I'm thinking this is a wonderful opportunity for me to reignite my motivation for self-improvement and involvement on SP. I thoroughly enjoy the website, but I seldom ever go in it. Maybe having a new friend to motivate, share stories and feedback with, and learn from will help me stay focused and dedicated.

Here's to a wonderful 2014 for my personal fitness. 

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