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Tuesday, August 31, 2010


So I turned 34 last Wednesday (or entered into my 34th year, depending on which friend you ask).  I have to admit there was actually a moment of panic for awhile there, when I realized I would be entering the beginning of my mid-30's, also known as the swift ascent to my 40's.  See, I tend to think of decades in thirds as opposed to the standard 50/50: 30-33 = early thirties; 34-36 = mid-thirties; 37-39 = late thirties.  I don't really know when I started to look at ages this way, but when you think about it for a bit, it kinda makes sense.

I don't know about other folks but I do feel a little different now that I've entered this age range or state of mind. Not physically or anything like that, although I do hate the fact that it's much harder to lose weight after the big 3-0.  But I feel a bit more... settled.  Grounded, despite the chaos that is my life.  I remember feeling this way when I turned 30, happy to finally enter the age that I'd felt mentally for most of my life (I was always a very mature child, which is probably why I'm such an immature adult at times).  My body had finally caught up with my mind and I felt much more comfortable with myself, empowered by the lessons I'd learned in my 20's, yet still fabulously youthful looking.

Just six days into my 34th year, I am experiencing that same sense of ease and calm.  A bit like the silence that surrounds everything immediately after a tempestuous storm.  I know things aren't perfect but I feel as if the puzzle pieces of my life are slowly making their descent so that they'll eventually fall slightly into place.  I appreciate the things that matter in life more with each passing year, particularly the joys of knowing my parents in a completely different way.  We're on more level ground now that I'm an adult, and to hear them asking me for my advice, my ideas, my comfort is just incredible to me.  I've also come to realize that there may actually be more good in people than I'd previously thought, provided one surrounds oneself with the right kind.  I may not have the raging social life I had in my 20's, but the quality of the friends and acquaintances I have is far superior to anything I've ever known.

And I finally feel as if I've stumbled upon a career that will work for me AND make me happy.  Though it sounds cocky, all my life I've been too good at too many things: writing, singing, cooking, counseling, basic medical skills & superior diagnostic abilities sans training.  It's made it quite difficult for me to choose what path to follow and that's been part of why my life has been such a tornado of emotions and conflicts.  But now... now that I've learned my writing - and cooking - can bring such joy, support and comfort to others, through a medium I would have never imagined using for such a thing, I know in my heart that this is what I was meant to do.

These are the lessons I've learned at 30, 31, 32 and 33.  And they are the building blocks to a more confident, settled me as I enter this new phase of life.  I know I have a lot of work to do: on myself, on my potential writing career, on my social life (I really need to quit isolating).  But I also know that this work does pay off, slowly but surely, and that's okay.  I have plenty of time to grow and learn and experience life.  And, good or bad, I can't wait to see what the future brings.

For now, I'll just enjoy the wonders of being smarter, more confident and far wiser despite the scars life's struggles have left.  They're like badges of honor: difficult and painful to earn, but treasured for their rewards of wisdom and patience.

 To being 34-midable*!

*If you're reading this aloud or imagining my voice as you read, just remember 34-midable should always be pronounced with a hearty French accent. :)
Friday, August 20, 2010

Michael "Papa" Been

I have several other posts waiting in the queue, but there are times when life - or death - takes over and makes other things far more important.  

If you know me personally and not just blog-wise, you know that I live and breathe two bands pretty much all day long: Interpol and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.  Their styles are quite different, especially when it comes to live performances, but both bands' music has touched something in me that few bands have been able to do.  In the case of BRMC, however, the experience involves much more than just the music.  As with Better Than Ezra, another one of my favorite bands to follow, I've fallen in love not just with the music, but with the whole band and crew.  Peter (singer/guitarist), Robert (singer/bassist), and Leah (drummer) are some of the most down-to-Earth, genuinely friendly rockstars you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.  They're  happy to spend real time with their fans before or after a show, and don't have the pretentious attitude that some musicians have.  The band's crew is just as awesome: tireless, hardworking and funny, and a couple of the guys have become good friends throughout the years.

But yesterday, the band - and the music world in general - lost the most important person in that crew - or the fourth member of the band, depending on who you asked.  Such was the important role he played in the band.  Michael Been, who some of you may remember as the front man for the 80's band, The Call, died of a heart attack yesterday in Belgium.  He was only 60.

Now, I'm not going to write about his amazing career or the specifics surrounding his untimely passing; you can find write-ups aplenty online right now.  I want to share what Michael - or "Papa", as a lot of us who devotedly follow BRMC call him - meant to me as a person, for he was truly a wonderful human being.

I met Papa Been sometime in 2006 or 2007, during the height of my concert-going days (oh, how I miss those days... can't wait to bring those back again!).  Part of the fun of following BRMC is being able to chat with the guys after the show, which is usually the time when the crew is busy breaking down the band's equipment and loading it back up before heading out to the next stop on the tour.  Papa Been, who was the sound engineer for BRMC, was always out there too, helping out just as much as the next guy.  If he was taking a short break, he didn't mind if you approached him for a quick chat or a congrats on how good the show was, and it didn't matter if he'd never met you before - he always had a ready smile and "thank you" for you.  Once he'd gotten to know you a bit after seeing you at several shows, that smile also came along with a hearty handshake or a big hug.  And in the case of my BRMC friends and me, those giant hugs could also come with a big ol' kiss on the cheek, and a "How are you, sweetie?"

"Sweetie".  We were all his "sweeties", his "girls"....

You could talk to Papa Been about anything, and that made him a pretty popular attraction after the show.  From how the band sounded that night ("They're so fucking awesome... just amazing," or, "That place made them sound like shit... it's a crap venue...") to what he thought of other bands out there, to what you were doing with your own life, Papa Been was just that in my eyes: a dad.  Not just to Rob and the rest of the band & crew, but for all his "sweeties" and other fans.  He even looked like the perfect dad, with his snowy white hair and beard, and those twinkling eyes.  And let's not forget about that wicked sense of humor or his inability to mince words - 9 times out of 10 he would usually have me rolling with laughter, he was so friggin' hilarious!

I had - and will always have - a HUGE dad-crush on Papa Been for all of these reasons.  But especially because he really gave a damn about who he was talking to.  He might not have remembered your name and occupation right off the bat (unless you're my dear friend, Jodi), but he knew you were "doing something cool"  and was genuinely interested in what you had to say.  I remember the last time I saw him here in Sacramento this past February: it was the first time I'd seen the band in well over a year, so they weren't aware of PGEW and all its minor successes.  I told Papa Been about what I'd been doing and the plans I had to write a book based on the blog, and I will never forget the pride and encouragement in his voice when he told me, "Good for you, sweetie!  That is excellent!"

He didn't have to do that.  It's not like we were BFFs who texted everyday.  But that was what was so cool about Michael Been: he would make anyone feel like part of his extended band family with his warmth and openness.


I know it may be weird to those outside of this special BRMC family that I should care so much about someone who is seemingly unattached to the rest of my life.  But the reality is that he was a part of some special moments that I miss and cherish.  Music to me is like water, like the air that I must breathe everyday - I have to have it.  Live music is no exception.  Going to shows regularly was a sort of release and a recharge all at once, and Papa Been was part of some of the greatest times I've spent surrounded by incredible music and friends.  Someday when things are better for me, I will start going to shows again, and I will like it.  But it will be hard not to have Michael Been around to make every part of the show just that much better.

Rest in peace, Papa Been.  It hurts not to have you with us anymore, but your spirit will live on forever through your own music and your son's.  I'll miss you.
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Photo of the Week: Weatherbeaten Tree @ Carmel

I promise I'll stop posting about Carmel at some point! More than likely it'll be after my big ol' picture post of the whole weekend's adventures. For now, here's one of the great weatherbeaten trees that greets you right before you're hit with the majestic view of the mighty Pacific.  I LOVE the crazy pink ray of sunlight at the top...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

When Justin Bieber is a good thing...

(From a conversation with my 11 year-old step-sister a few days ago...)

Me: Hey kiddo, it's been a while since you've sent me some new pics of you... do you have anything new for me to check out?

Small Fry: Yeah, I do! I'll send you some today! I think you'll really like 'em.

Kimberly goes home, checks her email, finds new stuff from Small Fry. Open the first photo: innocent enough, just SF taking a MySpace-esque profile shot with her new hairdo. Head to the next photo, entitled (en espaƱol) "my boyfriend"......

Instant fury was mine!!!

Say what you will about Small Fry but I don't care who the kid is, I do NOT like the idea of an 11 year old girl having a boyfriend! It's just 74 trillion ways wrong! Immediately I bristled and was ready to let out all my unofficial big sister fury out on my dad, her mom, and the young boyfriend in question. NO ONE IS GOING TO DATE SMALL FRY WITHOUT LARGE FRY'S PERMISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then I opened the email attachment and saw that her boyfriend was none other than Justin Bieber.

Now, I have never been a fan of this child performer; I don't know if I'm too old or if he's just too girly-looking for my own personal fan-girl tastes, but I usually find him and his music to be quite irritating. Until it comes to being unofficially betrothed to 11 year-old girls. At that point, I find Justin Bieber to be the most fantastic invention to have ever come out of YouTube and/or recording company PR firms, and I am more than happy to consider myself the older, more haggard and unappreciative sister-in-law of the cherub-faced pop star. He's safe, harmless, and Canadian, far away from the 11 year-old that is so desperately wanting to grow up and experience her first love while the rest of us are left to stand by and suffer as we watch. Much like my undying devotion to Joe McIntyre of New Kids on the Block when I was a wee tween, there is no possible way that any wrongdoing could come out of such a pure, innocent love.

Seriously though, this is precisely why I have cats. My overly protective mommy-instincts are far too well-honed for me to deal with any of the "real" trials and tribulations that face parents of human children past a certain age. At least my babies' crushes only go as far as choice backyard encounters during the full moon! I don't know what I'd do if I found out Hana had the hots for Sylvester the Cat........
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I want for my birthday...

I honestly don't know what's cuter: the crazy hopping around, or when they slip and slide all over the place!

giddy giddy giddy

Despite the fact that I'm hobbling around at a snail's pace these days, I've been pretty darned giddy. It's August - my favorite month of the year b/c it's my birth month - and it should be plenty fun & busy, provided I don't break, sprain, or otherwise maim other parts of my body.

Today's been particularly giddifying (in Kimberland, if it sounds like a word, it's a word). The ceviche recipe I worked on for the Sacramento Bee last week made the front page of the Food & Wine section today (and the front page, now that I look more closely); I just found out that I've scored a small voice-over part for a statewide video the folks at work are producing, AND the Spanish webmistress position for the agency; the swelling on my toe & foot has gone done enough for me to fit into my favorite flip flops again; and that ever-so-evil Prop 8 was finally deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Granted, I'm not gay so it's not like I will benefit from this, but many of my closest friends are and this is a big effing deal for those who are in super-committed relationships. About the only thing I can't tolerate is intolerance, so it's nice to see that there are those within the judicial system who still have some common sense and agree that civil rights and human rights are often one in the same. Denying anyone the liberty to love and commit to someone else is in violation of both of these rights, and this makes today's ruling a step in the right direction for California: a step forward towards progress, not a step backward like what the passing of that ridiculous proposition was in 2008.

*steps off soapbox*

My bouncygiddiness is also due to the fact that the date for the International Food Blogger Conference is swiftly approaching! In just a few short weeks, I'll be headed to Seattle for the very first time to attend this foodie-star-studded event. Featuring foodie notables like James Oseland, the editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine; Victoria Von Biel, executive editor of Bon Appetit; and Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame, we are in for quite a weekend of tips and advice from some of the best in the food publishing world. I was a little scared I wouldn't be able to go at first because I'd only been able to secure sponsorship for the conference itself from Red Lobster, and finances being what they are in my world, forking out a few hundred bucks for plane tickets just wasn't feasible. And the few flights I could afford had such terrible departure times that I would have missed what I consider one of the most important sessions of the conference: Pitch to Publish. Fortunately, another company stepped in and made my trip to Seattle possible so I wouldn't have to miss a thing.

I'm excited about the Pitch to Publish session because it could give me the tools I've so desperately searched for to finally make my book happen. Most of you know that I'm dying to write and publish a book based on PGEW, but as of yet I've been unsuccessful in finding the right way to get noticed by big publishing houses. Since one of the presenters for this workshop will be Molly Wizen of Orangette, my personal food blogging hero for starting off like I did and making it all the way to full-fledged author and writer for Bon Appetit, this is one session I cannot possibly miss! Not that it'll result in a book advance right off the bat, but I'm hoping to glean some good info and possibly make some connections that can help me get started. Who's to say I can't have my own Julie Powell moment someday, right?

Just thinking about that possibility makes me even giddier! I know it's a long shot, but other bloggers have been able to cross over into real authorhood. If they can do it, so can I!

And then I'll be giddy, giddy, giddy for life.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Front window fascination...

StuKitty checks out the mornin' happenin's on 26th street...

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Kimberly A. Morales
singer. writer. artist. champagne taste, 2 buck chuck budget. good cook. kooky. chocoholic. patron saint of cats. talker. listener. thinker. sometimes to a fault.
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