Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Favorite Signs around Coconut Grove

Click on photos to enlarge them:

Magnetic sign on a car "Maroone is the master of the bait and switch"

"Slow for Turtles"

"No Basura..."


Handpainted 20MPH sign

"Champion Runner's Dashboard Shrine"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Note to Self (as if they all aren't):

On Wednesday, August 22 I will test out number 66 of my 101 in 1001 , the Juice Fast.
I'm scared because I'll forgo my ritual morning coffee, something I've done only a couple times before. A few times when I was homeless in Utrecht and for the 9 months of my pregnancy. Both vastly different times, I couldn't contain my misery. Of course, both situations were uncomfortable in their own right and perhaps I'm unsure what truly triggered my sickness...but I'm pretty convinced I was victim of withdraw.
I'm also partially nauseated by the memory of cucumber/fennel/ celery juice experienced just today. Whew, but I'm going for a full day of juice tomorrow, as a first step. I'll see if this is when I take it 3 days in a row.
Really, the rewards from juicing: are less encouraging.

There are certain side effects that you may encounter when you commence your juice fast... can include headaches, nausea and dizziness as the blood receives waste toxins from your cells. You may also experience bad breath and a ‘furry’ tongue as the body attempts to expel toxins through the throat and mouth.

Update on Wednesday at 6:43. Late for a dentist appointment, I jumped out of bed and headed out the door immediately to get my tooth drilled & filled. Drooling, I raced across town to my next appointment, no chance to feed my body. At 1pm, I FINALLY got a chance to eat....well, drink. Seemingly all at the same time, my body realized it was starving, there wasn't a drop of caffeine and the tooth numbing agent had worn off. Today sucks...but I guess a good time to fast since I can't chew anyhow. Still can't contain my misery (poor family).

Will you?

I wasn't the kind of little girl to dream of being swept off my feet with with an elaborate wedding proposal and I tend to distrust those who were. But I do appreciate people who think of happiness as a long term goal and take little steps each day to get there. When that chemistry is triggered within an artist, it's lovely for everyone to witness. So I don't really see this so much as an elaborate wedding proposal, rather Erato strikes again.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Outside the Government Center, where the library and art museum meet, people are tucked into crevices, hiding in the shade, all clinging to one form or another of games of chance. They all look like times are tough so they invest their negligible cash in scratch off tickets or lottery cards because something’s got to change.
It’s got to be hard to appreciate the luxury of literature and seemingly frivolousness art when you’re depending on luck to get you though. Art is so vain in that respect. It makes dull lives richer, but it also flaunts how it’s perceived as more important than the common man, and for that, it can be shameful.

Inside the art museum, the mood is just as sullen. The artists themselves, I’d hope, would cringe at the cold policing of the exhibit. I’m with a toddler, and for that, my bags are searched and kept behind the desk, I’m followed closely and repeatedly reminded that he can’t touch anything, though he’s come nowhere near to doing so. We are the only patrons, yet I’m told my empty stroller is blocking something in the wide-open room. We are shooshed and moved along, told that we cannot use the stairs because “the boy could fall down and we’d be liable.” It is uncomfortable and insulting, not to mention uninspiring. Artists these guards are not. The vulnerable transformed into bullies by just a teaspoon of authority.

Actually, it was inspiring. Thinking how there are so many planes to living, one on top of the other, coinciding and coexisting in the oddest of ways: simpletons protecting the profound, poverty and wealth inches from each other, science demonstrated by the make believe. In fact, Miami just might epitomize the phenomenon of multi-layered.

But, this city’s outlook has always made me angry. It has a rude and callous nature so that instead of a culturally rich society, all I see is a mosaic of leftovers: a population of people who’ve run away from their shitty little countries or run away from the authorities or run away from the accepted social mores. There isn’t the sense of hope like in other immigrant rich cities such as New York or San Francisco. There is a feeling of resentment, distrust and a need for either revenge or retribution. It’s as if people think someone owes them and they don’t care who has to pay, just as long as someone does.

Truth is, I’ve hated this place for as long as I can remember. Probably from the time my dad packed his things and moved here without us, without even telling us until it was done. I’ve always hated the fact that my dad fell in love with the kind of town where people depend on lotto scratch offs for their hope, then think it’s okay to throw their new failure on the ground. And for a long time, that ugly face overshadowed any other Miami might have.

I know there is good here; I’m not so naïve as to believe that any town is one-dimensional. And of course, my husband and all the richness of his life here are an obvious example of how it’s right. Each day, this city reveals a little bit more beauty to me, or at least it’s intricacies. One or two nicer faces appear, like the hotdog vendor who saw me spill my café con leche on myself and handed me a napkin, or the incredible view from each of the Metrorail and Metromover platforms. Cranes litter the skies and sirens are as common (and annoying) as house music, but tucked away in the crevices of the skyscapes are personalities, proof that dozens of realities are superimposed on top of each other: painstakingly intricate architecture holding it’s shadow over crumbling men, a glass brick wall making you believe for a moment that the filth behind it might be beautiful, a crowded train platform overlooking a steady stream of cars – each with one passenger, virtually self-contained environments gliding past us without knowing we’re here, not sweating or hearing all the conversations. And the clouds before a rainstorm move so quickly over the city. They change the light and the temperature and thus, the mood of the place in just seconds. It’s a delicacy savored only in the moments you are not miserably hot.

And moment like right now, where the cool breeze makes it all tolerable. Perhaps the heat is what blinds me to the other dimensions. Perhaps my hatred is just the dripping sweat in my eyes, distorting what I see, just seasonal. Maybe I stay because for half of the year it cools off, my eyes open up. I discover something new and settle into a normal routine for a little while before summer hits again. Or maybe I hate this city because I remember hating this city. As a teen, I did not know the people or the buildings or the smells or the food; I just knew that the place in my heart that held anger also stored the name Miami. With that as my canvas, I’ve painted the rest of my experience here. It’s amazing that I ended up here anyway. I guess I guided myself here to heal my relationship with my father. Imagine if I can repaint over such anger or reinterpret the ugliness I think I see and call it art. I need to figure out how to not hate Miami, because otherwise, I’m just one of those pods of isolation driving down I-95.

My thoughts one year ago

August 2006

I’m training for a marathon now. About 7 months ago, I started running with a group just to get back to feeling somewhat like myself. I didn’t want to feel so lethargic and devoid of inspiration any longer. So, I started going twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. I didn’t think that I’d continue to run once the 2 month program was over, but I found myself really enjoying the pattern I was in. I guess it felt alright, you know, physically, but I think I was more into the scheduling of it. Twice a week, I was supposed to be somewhere at a specific time.

I think I’m aiming for the full marathon in January because there is a deadline, something to work towards, plan for, be in charge of. Since leaving work, I’ve realized the ironic truth of how vital deadlines are to my health and creativity. Without them, I float in time, not doing a damn thing for hours and days and weeks and months. I sit and watch my boy sleep, slightly panicky about when he might wake up, paralyzed by not knowing what I should be doing.

I picture when I was at work, dreaming of having the free time to paint, sculpt, write, workout, hell, even to keep the place cleaner. With my coffee buzz in the morning, I’d come up with seemingly magnificent specific projects to work on “the next time I have time.” And here I was, with SO much time, doing nothing….but stressing out about not coming up with a thing to do. So, I started to run.

And it is something for me, not my boy. And I run so that there is some purpose to my life, other than being a mother, which people so repulsively throw in my face how it is a noble ‘purpose,’ but the truth is, it is not a comprehensive life plan. Yes, once one is a mother, she is always a mother, but not on a daily basis. There will come a day when I am not folding little tiny shirts and helping him onto the swings…and I don’t want to stand there by myself saying, ‘what was it that I used to consider myself before I pushed his stroller?’ ‘what else, other than his infectious giggle and emphatic grunting, made me happy?’ I am a woman, a girl AND a mother and I will not reduce myself to just one of those. Roar.

It’s ridiculous, really. The thought of getting up at 5 am to drive the 4 miles south so I can run in a loop past my house only to get back into my car to drive home. And I’m paying for it. But as my old boss used to say, people place more value on the events that they have paid for. It’s true. I drag my butt up in the morning because I’ve put my money down and opened my big mouth about my plan to every family member and friend I have. So, now it’s my responsibility to work on and for…and it makes me feel good. I’ve worked projects into the cracks of time between workouts, too. Political baby Tee’s, refurbishing a stool, oil painting, started a mom’s group, and I’m doing a little writing. It’s a far cry from being an artist, but at least I’m giving my boy the chance to describe me as something more than “she doesn’t work.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Two more bikers attacked for....not driving

Miami traffic is brutal, not just because it takes 45 minutes to drive 5 miles...not just because stop signs & traffic lights are considered optional...not just because using your turn signal makes people speed up...not just because it's practically legal to turn right from the left turn lane...but because the drivers are malicious, human hating animals who's first language is "GimmeGimme."
God help you if you try to ride a bike so there is one less car on the road. You just might be attacked for it.

Update: Bike Blog just did a story

“Profits were comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks,” one investigator told me.

We've been duped again. Okay, I don't like it, but I am not shocked when they find lead in nearly every item at the Dollar Store. Something's got to give when the price is so low. But, now we learn Olive Oil is routinely adulterated, even when it costs as much as $10 per ounce.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Tap Tap

He can't pass through the tunnel -
a boy is blocking him -
So he pulls out the only tool he's
developed to deal with the situation:
air guitar.
He taps his foot,
Strums his chest,
Sings "bom bom bom-bom-bom."
He tries again - the boy doesn't budge,
even pinches him.
He just backs away
without tears
And waits...
And taps his foot,
absent of anger.
He waits, my little budda, because
life is this very moment.
He doesn't yet anticipate
Or suffer with the sense of loss.
Right now,
there's a song that can be played.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

101 things to do in 1001 days

Stumbled upon this idea and it inspired me to do my own. I think she found it on Triplux. Anyhow, there are thousands of these lists. I suppose the first item of mine should be "Finish the list".

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

1. Start my own blog and learn the "code."
2. Sell a cake I make I don't think I can count my son's school bakesale - Sold Cookies in Dec 07, Sold an actual cake March 08; Got a REAL job as a Baker :)
3. Do a comedic spit take 8/27/07 at Wine Tasting Party - damn that's fun to do
4. Have a 2nd child
5. Speak Spanish well enough that someone thinks it's my first language
6. Make the inside of my car look new again 8/6/07, but I'm sure it will quickly undo itself
7. Visit a college friend scheduled for july 08
8. Run a half marathon in 2:11:00 -2:15, so close! Next one?
9. Grow something in my yard and eat it Been growing basil & rosemary, but I don't think I should count them
10. Make Dad happy and become a member of DAR done enough for my tastes
11. Find a doctor I'm comfortable enough that I'll actually see him/her when I'm sick
12. Preserve Dad's journal
13. Fix the dining room chairs and re-cover them
14. Write and print a children's book
15. Raft a class IV rapid again
16. Write 30 days in a row.
17. Host a dinner party where I actually cook everything
18. Finish an entire pack of Whitening strips
19. Go back to place I met my husband totally worth it
20. Visit (out of state) Mom 3 times per year. Oct 07, May 08
21. Take husband on picnic, with food he'd actually like
22. Do a 5K in less than 9 minutes per mile Tax Run 08 in 27:30 WHILE PUSHING 45 lb KID IN STROLLER ON A WINDY DAY!!!!!! HOORAH!
23. Get wedding album professionally printed
24. Finish a book that has nothing to do with parenting "C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race" by Geoff Williams (and I will never complain about a training run again)
25. Create slideshow/movie for Brother's weddingmay 08
26. Spend time alone with each of my 3 sister-in-lawsOct, Thanksgiving, x-mas -that's enough
27. Complete Stand up For Kids training and volunteer at least 5 times with youth.
28. Go 7 days without dessert. Made it 3 days....damn hard for a baker to do; On day 4, thanks to the Master Cleanse (June 11)
29. See a live taping of John Stewart's Daily Show
30. Take Mom on Vacation
31. Take Mom to bury her mother's ashes.
32. Teach son to throw a pot on a a potter's wheel Started Nov 07, 2 1/2 is a bit too young
33. Do to a dermatologist to check out "freckles"
34. Write my will. We're mostly done
35. Take the family camping where there aren't alligators or crocodiles
36. Learn the difference between wine grapes
37. Teach husband how to put the car seat in his car Totally and Utterly a losing battle
38. Make a hat
39. Get a bikini wax (yikes!) 5/12/08 not as bad as I feared
40. Figure out our health insurance (real) costs been trying, but it seems to keep changing
41. Sell something on Ebay June 1, 08!
42. Visit Eugene, Oregon with family
43. Throw a party for Mom
44. Beat husband at a game of Scrabble
45. Finish the NY Sunday Crossword without help 8/5/07All but a few spaces, that's as good as it's ever going to get!
46. Clean the blue room 9/15/07
47. Organize a midnight 10 miler while it wasn't 10 miles, I organized a 5 mile Hash Run and hope to continue it bi-monthly - 10 miles would be too unrealistic to gather enough folks for an informal race...and too long to be drinking beer at
48. Edit home videos Halfway done
49. Edit vacation video for dad
50. Carve "casa d" sign
51. Finish before that 64 year old woman in the sprint Triathlon, the one whose killed me twice Key Biscayne Sprint Triathlon #3 August 26th, 2007....As I'm getting out of the water, I see her on the beach already, but I catch up. I leave on my bike and get close to the bridge, she blows me away, I start to lose hope. On the last mile of the run, I see her ahead...I muster every last speck of energy and pass her, coming in 3 minutes ahead. I shaved 3 minutes off my last races time. I (barely) beat the woman over twice my age, oh what a proud moment. I later find out she had a really bad day, 6 minutes slower than her usual. It took the gods slowing her down for me to beat her. I'll take it.
52 Make at least one homemade gift for those on my x-mas list between baking and ceramics, I've got this covered 2007
53. Make Mom's house suitable to bring family to stay everytime I go, it gets a little better
54. Host cooking party
55. Host charitable cooking session, preparing meals for others
56. Host wine tasting party 8/27/07
57. Deal with "the ring" situation, either come clean about it disappearing or find a brilliant replacement i still feel sick
58. Buy a nice piece of art for home violet alligator - no really, it's beautiful
59. Fix the rocking chair 2007
60. Potty train the boy before he turns 3 i think he did all the hard work, though
61. Bring my own bags to the grocery store for at least 15 times in a row, start over if I forget. try to make it a habit day 1: 8/15/07 - going really well Take 2: 8/21/07 September 07
62. Use my bike for transportation any distance under 2 miles, unless weather doesn't permit - until 1001 ends Doing so around 75% of time - times I don't include: the boy throws crazy tantrums getting on bike and "dear god, it's 105 degrees out"
63. Run 600 miles this year (starting 4/22/07 - 4/22/08) 8/15/07 200 miles, 10/10/07 310 miles, 12/16/07 460, 2/4/08 584, February 11th 2008 I reached 601 miles!!!!!!!!! Final Tally for year: 758.25!
64. Oil each of the 5 teak benches/chairs/table we have Jan 08
65. Steam clean the rugs once per year
66. Liquid fast for 3 days -Day 1 of Juice Fast: 8/22/07 36 hours...seemed like a lifetime - June 8, 08
67. Learn to play a song on the accordion I'm counting Happy Birthday
68. Write and record a song on guitar
69. Take son to Orlando we only went to Downtown Disney and it was ENOUGH for a 3 year old
70. Run 3 half marathons 11/25/07 Space Coast Half (2:31), 1/27/08 ING Miami (2:29), 2/17/08 (2:16)
71. Take a 3 day, kid-free vacation with husband
72. Take son to volunteer 3 times per year 12/16/07 Bread Delivery, Feb 08 cake delivery
73. Teach son to brush his teeth twice a day harder than first imagined - at the age of 3
74. Track my every cent for a month (keeping all receipts)
75. Have a decent family photo taken
76. Host a haunted house for Halloween
77. Girls weekend at Beach house again
78. Type up my prose
79. STOP buying bottled water (except in hurricane situations- and recycle those)doing great
80. Calculate how much each of the baked goods I make costs - begun, WOW Vanilla is expensive! Judging by prices, I think I'll stay in the cookie/bread business rather than cakes
81. Use only ONE glass per day at home 1 month in a row why is this so hard!?!?!
82. Make a windchime
83. Donate blood made attempt in Nov 07, but denied for having a cold
84. Sign up to be an organ donor - put in will
85. See the sunrise with husband
86. Learn to rollerblade
87. Reconnect with at least one person from each of my phases of life (highschool, college, camp/VA, street artist, ORC) (1/5) Catherine, Tom/Joel, J sent me update, Matt S, Mike! - hoorah facebook!
88. Finish tattoo on back you wus.
89. Use my juice machine everyday for 2 weeks
90. Take my son to play in real snow
91. Send something to Postsecret
92. Clean and return borrowed baby supplies to friend for her new baby (before August 28, 2007) 8/26/07 just barely
93. Organize the boy's closet - yikes 9/15/07
94. Sort through baby supplies, would I really use some of that stuff again?2007
95. Read something by DeLillo...finish it even
96. Have a campfire in backyard...even when we have power Jan 08
97. Get the Los Angeles City Limits sign from mom's garage - population 1 million
98. Recognize someone famous BEFORE the husband does12/07 Saw Cody Gifford - Kathy Lee's son, I recognized him in public because I used to work in the community where they live.
99. Redesign Pantry, making baking supplies for accessible and cleaner September 07
100. Learn to play and perform a song with husband falling slowly "Once"
101. Laugh so hard I pee myself. (hum, really?)

Perfect Cup of Coffee