Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fotografia, Finally

I've been promising photos for quite some time. Still no proper ones of Casa Cali - still working on getting the house organized and decorated, although I'm sure a few "before" photos would be nice for the archives - but this will do for now. So far in our month and a half, we've been to a wedding, participated in a block party, gone wine tasting and had family visit from Brazil. Here's some of the evidence.

Friends, this is the view from our living room. I pinch myself with every fabulous sunset.

On my birthday, we got hit with the remnants of a typhoon here in the Bay Area. We discovered that our house is the lowest point on the street, and that all the runoff goes through our garden like a small stream when there is enough water. It reminds me of all those flash flood warnings in Albuquerque - one minute the yard was dry, the next there was a makeshift torrent cutting through the overgrown terraces and (thankfully) just to the side of my compost bin.

Rico's brother and his wife came to visit us from Rio. We enjoyed a perfect day wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma. Here we are ready to sample some sparkling wine.

The definite highlight of the day was touring the caves at the Del Dotto winery. We sampled various blends right from the barrel using a glass tool called a wine thief. The wines were stellar, definitely worth the price of the tour (which was small, just 8 people or so). If I had to make a recommendation to anyone wanting to do a wine tour, this would be it.

Wine? What wine?

Tasting at the Robledo family winery, founded by a Mexican man who came to the US and was an agricultural laborer earning less than 1 dollar per hour prior to opening a very successful wine business. Not your typical immigrant story for sure, but then again, what is a typical immigrant story?

San Francisco by night, near the Ferry Building. Love all the palm trees!

My best friend from high school got married and we attended the touching ceremony and great reception afterwards at the Presidio. I believe the last time I dressed up full-on was for the Marine Ball in Maputo...or perhaps the infamous Irish Ball when a gust of wind spilled Guinness down the front of my white dress?

Rico even wore his suit from our wedding. Men are definitely more lucky when it comes to formal wear - the formula is the same for most events, and they can re-use their suits for work. Us girls wear a cocktail dress once, then look at it longingly in the back of the closet, waiting for enough time to pass (or enough invitations from diverse social groups to come along) to be able to use it again.

Me with the lovely bride.

A couple weekends ago, our next-door neighbor organized a block party. It was such a trip! Apparently a couple of the people on our street have a 60's rock band that plays semi-professionally for events and such, so they provided some fun music for the afternoon. There was a potluck, dancing, kids drawing on the asphalt with chalk, and plenty of dogs. Everyone, it seems, has a dog. Except us. We're cat people. Dog friendly, but definitely cat people.

As a congratulatory gift after my successful portfolio review, my mom and I went shopping and I found this killer purple hat. I love it, and wish that I could wear it every single day. The wool keeps my head warm, and it is the best solution ever for awkward, growing-out-highlights hair.

More photos on the way soon. Tomorrow we are getting our next round of visitors - Rico's aunt and uncle from Rio - so I'm sure we'll have some fun touring around with them. Also, we're trying to get the house clean before their visit (they are actually staying here at Casa Cali), so perhaps it will be photo-ready as a result.


Marcia said...

LOVE the purple hat. I say just wear it whenever you want - it's funky enough to pull off with anything :)

nola said...

Hi Ali, what are your thoughts on the Brazilian student & the mini-dress?

It makes no sense to me. I know sooo little about Brazil, but the Brazilians I know talk about how important it is to be in really good shape because bodies are so exposed such as beach, carnival, etc. So wearing a mini dress sparks a riot? Is it because of the setting, even though students can see far much more other places in their world?

And is this a fair representation of Brazilian cultural norms, that women "ask for" rape? Or is this anomalous and just mob mentality?

Ali la Loca said...

~Nola - I find what happened horrifying, as do all of the Brazilians I know (Rico, family, friends). Yes, Brazil is definitely a country concerned with body image and health, in particular in Rio and the coastal cities.

However, there are a lot of paradoxes when it comes to showing one's body. In certain circumstances - i.e. the beach, carnaval, walking along the boardwalk - it is fine and even expected that people use tiny bikinis and other skimpy clothes. Yet, nobody does topless sunbathing! In fact, it causes a bit of a scandal every time a tourist gives it a try, as it's considered improper (even though wearing a miniscule bikini - arguably "sexier" than going topless - is not).

As for the incident at the university, it's definitely not "normal" for people to wear skimpy or short clothes to class. Likely the girl stood out, became the target of taunting, and then things spiraled out of control as a result of a mob mentality. The people I know in Brazil are horrified that 1) the incident happened at all, 2) she was blamed for it in any way (i.e. she "asked for it"), and 3) that she was expelled as a result (although now it seems her expulsion has been reversed).

I think there are ignorant men and women in most places that believe a woman "asks for it" if she wears provocative clothes or behaves in a certain manner. This misdirected thinking is unfortunate, and definitely not restricted to Brazil.

Ali la Loca said...

above: not restricted to, or representative of Brazil.

nola said...

So funny about the miniscule bikinis and yet not topless - seems like U.S. cultural norms and hypersexualization through hiding, as opposed to northern Europeans who just shed clothing so naturally.

Interesting. Thanks for your insights!