Buen Camino Peregrino!

All good things come from above. James

Ana's Place for the Ordinary.

Ana's Place for the Ordinary.

Buen Camino Peregrino!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A special toast and a private joke...let it go.

"Although inspired in part by a true incident, the following story  does depict actual persons or events." 

For centuries, champagne has been the preferred choice for celebrating life’s finest moments. Madame de Pompadour ordered it by the gallon for her parties: 1800 bottles were consumed during one masked ball at the Hotel de Ville in 1739.

Benedictine monks around Carcassone started producing sparkling wine in the early 1500’s. From there the process for creating sparkling wine evolved for several centuries. Monk Dom Perignon, who was originally charged with finding a solution for troublesome bubbly wine that resulted in many exploded bottles each spring.

On this occasion of the end of the year, I absolutely have to raise a glass and toast to those condescending inglorious individuals who find it necessary to show their superior command of everything: e.g. bubbly pouring and picture hanging. After many a verbal flogging, I thought I should share these instructions so that others do not fall prey to the same kind of tyranny; a lesson in let it go.

First, dry the bottle and remove the foil from the wire cage, keeping cork pointed away from people, pets, food and valuable objects. Undo the wire cage encasing cork and hold the cork (a towel may be used here) with one hand, while slowly turning the bottle with the other until the cork begins to free up. The cork should not pop loudly, but sigh quietly—and happily.
To reduce the exposed surface area, sparkling wines are usually served in glasses with a narrow opening, such as flutes or tulips. These shapes help to conserve the bubbles. Although usually served alone when celebrating or toasting, sparkling wines combine well with different juices and flavors and are a key ingredient in many cocktails.
Wrap the neck of the bottle with a clean towel or napkin (not paper). Hold the base in one hand, with your thumb in the punt (the concave bottom) and fingers spread out along the barrel of the bottle. Use your other hand to support the neck.  Prime the glass by pouring a bit on the inside wall of the glass, wait for the mousse to temper and then pour more. Little bubbles should come to the surface. This indicates that there is nothing wrong with the wine and that the glass has no contaminates on it. It also prevents frothing over. Pour glasses to about two-thirds full. If pouring for several people, pour an inch or so into each glass, and then go around again.

Hanging pictures on walls:
I confess, it took me a few weeks to recover from the conversation that implied I did not know how to hang... I found the ability to let it go.

I will add that there is an exacting practice as to how to hang art on walls! Rule of thumb '5 feet 4 inches' to the middle of the painting which is equivalent to Ana (me) height....perfect.  I like that about me; perfect arm extension for hanging simple pieces.

On a final note, a toast to us! Let it go! 

Reveillon Joyeux - Welcome to 2016

As I trekked to work on the last day of 2015, I was startled when the driver in the car next to me honked and asked that I roll down my window. Instantly, I expected that I would be informed that I was dealing with a flat tire or a dangling car part from the rear. I rolled down the window with hesitation expecting the worst.

I thought, "good grief! " I looked over in order to find out what terrible problem I would face in the final hours of the last day of the year; the driver paused with a smile and said, "I just wanted to wish you a happy new year's eve day and God bless you."

I guess I was touched by an angel.  I am now passing this kind gesture to all of you!

Bonne soirée & Bonne nuit à tous et à toutes !
 "Bon Chemin et 
Buen Camino!

Friday, November 20, 2015

It's all about the cake!

On the occasion of my birth, my mother snipped and saved this little ditty of a newspaper clipping to mark the exceptional day in which I had gallantly arrived into this world. 
To date, I have googled extensively 'el Dia del Abuelo' as seen on the snip above only to find that perhaps it was not really the day commemorating 'abuelos' everywhere. It was my mom's way of  memorializing my first day ever in print.
On this day and every day I give thanks to my family and friends. A big shout out to my mother who has made the world a better place for everyone. I thank God for the many years that she continues to live every day. Its been a good ride. God bless everyone.
Fifty Five little candles, one little cake
One little birthday to celebrate.
On November 20th, 1960, oh my!
Ana arrived without wasting much time
They rushed so quickly, so quickly they flew,
grabbing a suitcase with little clothes brand new.
Now we look back with smiles, as the years have passed.
We celebrate again and say, how did the years go so fast! 
It's all about the cake(s)




My birthday on my cousin Pete and Terry's wedding in NY. 65'
Casa Panza My bday - cant remember year!



Happy Birthday to me and Happy Birthday Everybody!

Bonus pictures:

My lovely mother

America Juncadella Great  Grandmother
Paternal Grandparents with
my Tio Gustavo, Tia Fita , My Father and Tia Esther.
My Tia Fita 101  and still kicking

Monday, November 16, 2015

FPAC - A few words and a pictoral essay ...November 14, 2015.



 "When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are decaying, now, and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the things that happened."
Mark Twain.

Saturday, November 14, 2015, a night whereby things happened and won't be forgotten...

 Looking back to the incident of my birth (a Twain-ism at its' finest), I submit, the most important features in the fabric of my life were woven by faith, my family and the best of friends.

Sadly, there have been many unfused darts and missed eyelets in my particular tapestry that have caused me to behave more likened  to a sloppy quilt rather than a meticulous steady faithful pattern to those who have always stood by me - whether I knew it or not. 
Surprisingly, I was reeled in by a wonderful friend/sister in the guise of a convincing haberdasher that attached my loose tangled strings to the Fort Lauderdale  Portuguese American Club last Saturday night after what I feel now to have been too long of a time to be away.

In order to better capture this story, I will compress a few details that added to the spectral importance of the evening.

When I was twelve, my father died. It was early summer and our home became paralyzed with despair.  There remained, my maternal grandparents, my mother and I. There was no music, there were no happy faces, austere dreariness, constant prayer and loss was the blue plate special of the day for the longest time.

For years we fell prisoner to these impossible feelings.  To make matters worse, a short time later my grandparents passed and my mother and I moved along encapsulated by profound grief or better said in Portuguese, "muita saudades;" - missing our loved ones terribly.

But, all was not lost and life chipped away at the madness and we surrendered to gradual harmonious moments later succumbing to the absence of the longest night to the light of day. 

With that said, this brings me back to current day. In the last few years, we said goodbye to our remaining family elders, my two sisters in law widowed, recently two aunts that were more like mothers to me and some friends.

On October 28, 2015, a very dear friend, Joao Castro,  took his final journey home at the age of 61 leaving behind a beautiful family which are his pride and a fitting legacy to a good and kind hearted man.
"Castro," as he was affectionately referred to, was the intellectual architect and "ensaiador" or trainer of the Rancho Portugues in Fort Lauderdale; a skill he learned in his youth and enthusiastically carried with him always.
 A 'Rancho Portugues' is best defined as a folk dancing group sporting outfits that ethnically represent a region of Portugal.  The music that accompanies the dancers are also from the many confluences of Portugal. 



Typically, the dancing is also enhanced by a delta force of Portuguese cooks that bring traditional meals to the table. In all, the evening envelopes a piece of Portugal for one night by all accounts.


Moving on, in light of profound sadness, Castro's family proved to be a lot stronger than my mom and I ever were.  They chose to memorialize him by sharing his gift of folklore dance in the place he most enjoyed: FPAC.

Over the course of  many years, many of us frequented each others homes and the club enjoying each others company, Portuguese flavors and dancing; pretty much raising our kids and/or participating in one way or another in the "Rancho." 

As life and circumstance plays a role in most of our lives, some of us were unable to frequent the club as before. A good lot stayed and others became distant.  And, we were part of the latter.

As a result, the family decided the best way to celebrate his life was to reunite everyone that was  there in the beginning and throughout the life of the 'rancho' to participate in the capacity to which they were accustomed; be it to dance, sing, cook or be present in his honor.  As difficult a task as I deemed it must have been to coordinate, they made it happen. 

Folks came from all over resulting in a full house. There were tear-filled moments as videos and images taken over the years were shared on a giant screen. It was a beyond moving and a beautiful, bittersweet tribute.

Below I have amassed as many pictures as possible. I will continue to add to this page as I receive more images so please keep checking in...




A message from the Rancho:
Obrigado Sr. Castro por tudo o que nos ensinou; vamos sempre lembrar a você, especialmente nesses momentos que realizamos danças portuguesas no palco com nossos braços erguida para o céu e com um sorriso em nossos rostos. Nós sabemos que você está sorrindo do céu orgulhosamente para nós. Obrigado por ser uma inspiração para muitas gerações de famílias portuguêsas e  não portuguêsas que participaram ao longo dos anos; todos com orgulho de fazer parte do nosso rancho e com amor a tudo Lusitano.

Gone too soon. Today he is guided by his faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those to grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive, and an enduring image – the image of a man dancing in the steps of an‘esaiador’ of great caliber; his feet barely touched the ground as he grazed the floor; a black vest and a top hat tousled by the swift movements of the dance; smiling broadly as his eyes would meet the gaze of the family he worshipped and the friends that he held dear. May God Bless Joao and may he rest in eternal peace.

In Memory of  Joao De Deus De Castro Eirinha

September 26, 1954 - October 28, 2015