Searching for Normalcy

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

moody June 30, 2008

Filed under: Miscellany,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 6:23 pm

I’m in a really, REALLY bad mood today. I’m just annoyed at life and the world in general. But I don’t want to harsh your mellow, so I will try to focus on some good things to share.

1) New Laptop: Well, the most exciting thing I’ve got going on is my new laptop. Yay! Yes, I finally broke down and got one. It was a great deal at Best Buy. A Toshiba Satellite A205-S5825for $399. But they have a special offer that if you sign up for a free aircard (I picked the Verizon one) they take an additional $100 off. And if I cancel the aircard within 30 days there are no fees or penalties for it. So total it was $320 including tax! Can’t beat that!!
2) RAK: I won my very first scrappy RAK! Damaris (ScrapbookDUI) held a contest on her blog where she was giving away some scrap goodies and I won. Yay!! Thanx, D!!!
3) Birthday Dinner with the Girls: My scrappy girls are taking me to dinner for my birthday. We’re going to eat yummy Puerto Rican food at Old San Juan in Miami. I need some girl time, so I’m really looking forward to that. My girls rock!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you. I’m really trying to come up with more stuff to share but I’m drawing a blank. Hope your Monday is better than mine!

 

ADD June 26, 2008

Filed under: Miscellany,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 6:25 pm

I don’t really have much to share in the way of a story today, so I hope you’ll be happy with a little randomness.

  • The boy found a new apartment! Yay!! Basically his building was sold to a new management company that gave the residents 30 days notice to evacuate. The timing could not have been worse (for reasons you’ll have to read about on his blog), but luckily everything worked out and he will be moving into his new place this weekend. What sucks for him is having a girlfriend that thinks she’s Martha Stewart and insists on helping him organize everything.
  • I have been craving a chocolate eclair all day. I am nowhere near a bakery and have not had an eclair in about – oh – 3 years. So I have no idea why I’m all of a sudden wanting one but I am.
  • Hating my new haircut. I told the lady "angled bob with a little bit of layering at the end" (think Miranda in the new "SATC" movie but a little longer. What I got was "Victoria Beckham a la Liberty City crack whore." Serves me right for being a cheap ass and going to Hair Cuttery instead of my usual Peter of London. Oh well. Luckily it grows back.
  • I took 100+ pictures at my niece’s wedding. Only 35 were usable, i.e., not blurry, not dark, and no triple chin (no lie – there are pictures of me where I have more Chins than a Chinese phonebook!)
  • I have discovered that I am a genius with crazy glue! I cracked the leg off my favorite pair of Spy sunglasses (pilfered from the boy because he wasn’t sure if the lenses were dark enough) when I was in LA so I bought a tube of Crazy Glue gel when I got back home. They are perfect now.
  • The boss will be on vacation next week, then two weeks after that will be traveling for about a month for work. YAY!! It means more work for me, but little to no contact with her. Again – YAY!!!
  • My buddy, Rebecca, from Scrapblog, gifted me a bunch of BamPop goodies to scrap with. She is an avid scrapper and knows how much I love it, so she picked them up during a recent business trip. My favorite is the new "Juno"-esque papers. LOVE!
  • Speaking of scrappy deliciousness, I just ordered yet ANOTHER kit from ScrapbookDUI. Damaris puts together the most beautiful and concise kits. Everything just goes together perfectly and her embellies are awesome. I’ve never really found any scrap kits I totally love, but have become a huge lover of SDUI and Sweet Twee Labs (owned by Elke, whose kits are packed with funky, off-beat, vintage embellies. Her kits are perfect for when I’m feeling a little "artsy").
  • The boy and I attended an interesting presentation on Viral Marketing last night (I love "gettin’ my geek on"!) which was supposed to be followed by networking, pizza and beer. Unfortunately, he is fighting a cold (probably stress-induced) so we left immediately after and picked up burgers from Five Guys for dinner. Now the burgers are good – REALLY good – but OMFG, the french fries! Seriously – BEST. FRIES. EVER! I can feel my ass expanding as I type this.
  • Speaking of expanding ass, I really, REALLY need to start eating healthier. I used to eat pretty well before – lots of proteins, salads, veggies, drinking only Crystal Light (hate plain water) – but I’ve gotten lazy. Lately my idea of healthy eating is heating up a lean cuisine and chasing it down with a Cherry Coke Zero. Not so good. And I really need to start exercising. Wish me luck! Light a candle or something!
  • And to round off this rambling, senseless post, a list of movies I want to see this summer:Wall-E, Hancock, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Dark Knight, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
 

spoken word wednesday June 25, 2008

Filed under: Spoken Word Wednesday — Lulu @ 6:26 pm

Rafael Casal – "First Week of a Break-Up"

Wow… just wow!!

 

when she came into the family… June 23, 2008

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 6:28 pm

(Me carrying my niece at her baptism)

January 6, 1979, some time after 8:00AM:
After having rushed to the hospital late last night, only to be sent home with a simple diagnosis of "Braxton Hicks," my sister was now at the hospital "for real." I was awakened by our elderly neighbor who informed me that my sister, her husband and my parents had left to the hospital around 5:00AM. They hadn’t wanted to wake me, as there would be no point in having a nine-year-old hanging around a hospital lobby, bored out of her mind (this was pre-Gameboy, people), for God knows how long it would take for my sister to deliver the baby. She informed that my aunt and uncle would be picking me up later to drive me to the hospital and wait.

I arrived at the hospital with my aunt and uncle later that morning, and found the lobby full of our family members. And we waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, at around 9:00PM (forgive me; I don’t remember the actual time), we were notified that "She" was here. A she! A little girl! My one and only niece; my very own real-life babydoll. The first grandchild in this fairly new, extended family (she was conceived just three months after the wedding). This tiny, little miracle was the sole reason my parents and I had packed up and come back to Miami after less than a year in Texas (we moved the day after my sister’s wedding; she stayed here with her husband and his family). There was no way we were not going to be here for her big debut!

I, along with about, oh, a dozen relatives packed into the hospital elevator and pressed the button that would take us up to the maternity ward. I couldn’t wait! I was so happy and so excited, so anxious to press my face against the glass and gaze adoringly at the gift that we, as a family, had been honored with. The elevator rose slowly, floor by floor, finally stopping at the right floor. We filed out, one at a time, and proceeded – en masse – to the nursery. Unfortuately, my illusion was shattered before I could even cross the threshold from waiting room into nursery hallway. I was stopped by a nurse and my parents were informed that "children under 14 are not allowed on the maternity floor." What? WHAT??! What did she mean? Is she saying what I think she’s saying? Am I not allowed to see the baby – MY baby girl?? Apparently, back in the day, children were thought to be riddled with infectious diseases the likes of which had not been seen since the Black Plague. Therefore, we were nothing but a death sentence waiting to be thrust upon the frail, tiny infants in the maternity ward. Did I mention the part where they were behind a wall of glass and concrete? Okay, just making sure.

I was quickly escorted back downstairs by one of the older cousins (HE was 14; HE was in the exclusive VIP club that was allowed to see the baby). I was an inconsolable ball of snot and tears by the time we made it back down to the first floor. I wanted to see my niece, damn it! After about 15 minutes of watching me blubber and pout, the cousin couldn’t take it anymore. He went off for about five monutes and when he came back he grabbed my hand, advised to follow him and not say a word. We snuck around the corner to a different bank of elevators. We got in and I kept my gaze down and to the side. As if not looking anyone in the eye would somehow make me appear older and make them completely oblivious to the fact that I was 4 feet tall and wearing Garanimals. As you can imagine, that plan was thwarted as soon as a resident stepped into the elevator with us. He looked over at us, then asked the cousin where we were headed. He panicked and blurted "the nursery"; the resident proceeded to inform us that we – no, scratch that; that I – was not allowed "in there" and made us head back down to the lobby. Once again, I was incosolable. It was as if this baby was somehow the mythical Lost Ark and I was Indiana Jones!

I went back to the lobby where I proceeded to sulk and pout for the next hour. What was wrong with these people? Did they not realize that this was MY niece? My one and only? Did they not know that I – a child that was (is) painfully shy and would rather have been struck down by lightning than speak in public, EVER! -had gotten up in front of an entire classroom and dedicated an entire "Show & Tell" presentation to the fact that I was going to be an "Aunt"?? An Aunt, people! This was no "hey. check out the new Barbie my mom got me at Kmart" dealio; this was a position, WITH a title!! I was so incredibly sad, I felt my world had ended. David Cassidy himself could have come and dedicated an entire album to me and BOTH Hardy Boys could have professed their undying love, and it would not have made a damn bit of difference.

And then – a miracle happened! I don’t know what occured, or who spoke to whom, but there, like a vision, a Godsend, a guardian angel, was my dad. And he was telling me to hurry up and come with him. Quick, come, ("Apurate! Ven!"), they are going to let you see the baby for five minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever obeyed my dad so easily in my life! I ran to his side, grabbed his outstretched hand, and practically dragged him to the elevator. I was overjoyed, ecstatic, elated!

When the elevator doors opened on the maternity floor, I ran across the threshold and pushed my way through all the relatives in front of me. I navigated the sea of great-aunts and -uncles, grandparents and cousins. I saw my sister there, at the front of the crowd and hurried over to her, and threw my arms around her waist. "Where is she?! Which one?" I asked, almost breathlessly. She pointed out the bassinette that held our baby. I held my breath.

She was so tiny. And wrinkled. And red. She had the tiniest little nose, and perfect little cherry-red lips. Her head was covered with thick, jet-black hair. She really did look like a babydoll; a wriggling, breathing, suckling babydoll. She was perfect. She was beautiful. She was my baby.

June 21, 2008, some time after 1:00PM:
She has always been beautiful. But on this day, once again, she was perfect. She was stunning. She was radiant. She was my baby.

 

let the countdown begin! June 17, 2008

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 6:31 pm

Exactly one month from today (July 17th) will be my birthday.

Normally, I’m not a big birthday celebrater. It’s just never been a big deal to me. I mean, of course, as a child my mother would do the whole Cuban-style birthday shindig with the 200 aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, Dad’s friend from Havana that he knew when he was 18, the lady that sits two desks over from my mom that brings pastelitos for breakfast, the neighbor that got the hookup on the A/C unit "que era de Sears", "la prima de Purita, que te cambio elpamper cuando eras una vay-bee"… you get the picture.

"Cuban-style" is not just a phrase I throw out lightly. I swear, there really is a "Cuban-style" when it comes to kids’ birthday parties. Usually this means that there would be some kind of dead animal – usually a pig – being roasted in a caja china somewhere in the ground in the backyard, while a folding table full of old men played dominos and smoked cigars. There would also be a perfectly laid out spread of a ginormous, merengue-topped cake from Vicky Bakery, flanked on either side by a huge bowl of chicken salad decorated with green peas and pimento slices (if you get your name spelled out in pimento, look out; it means you’re the shiznit!), and a large tray stacked with either bocaditos, cangrejitos, or mini-croquetas. If you were particularly lucky, you would get all three, PLUS a bottle of Pepsi (pay-cee). And there would inevitably be many photos forcibly posed around said food table. You wouldn’t even bother trying to get out of it, because they were "para mandarle a los primos en Matanzas."

Normally, while there would be very loud salsa or merengue playing in the background, the kids would run around chasing each other – hopped up on merengue-induced acid trips – until one of the Tias would yell at us to stop running before we hurt ourselves. This would be about the time we would decide that a tickle fight would be a more entertaining option anyway, at which point our moms would make us stop ("Dejen de jugar a manos que van a salir peliados!").

Opening gifts was not only reserved for the birthdayee, as every single cousin would jump in and start ripping open gifts right along with you ("Transformers! Awesome!!"). You knew if a gift was wrapped in a particularly nice paper because that’s the one Mami would open ever so carefully, making sure not to rip the paper so she could reuse it "para el regalo de Cuquita."

Once almost all the food had been consumed and leftovers divided onto paper plates, wrapped in aluminum foil casings the likes of which NASA had never seen, and handed to all the Tias ("para el desayuno, chica"), the tables would be cleaned up, music would be turned off, and kids would be gathered (most of us would be amassed in the living room by this time, still tweaking as we came down from the sugar high) and distributed to their corresponding adults. Then came the long process of saying goodnight. Cheek kisses and hugs and promises to call the next morning ("llamame, no importa la hora!") would abound, reminders from Mami to say goodbye to Tio Pepin and Tia Macuca and Olgita and her kids, and finally the night would come to a close. And your cranky, exhausted self would whine and complain as your mother made you go brush your teeth and put on your Holly Hobby pajamas and go to bed. And no, you could not play with that brand-new Tuesday Taylor doll now. "Puedes jugar mañana! A dormir!!" And in less than five minutes, you would be knocked out cold.

Now THAT’s a Cuban-style birthday.

(Thank you, Mami! Martha Stewart ain’t got nothin’ on you!)

—————————————————————
And now, for the "2008 Birthday Wish List"
(Please note: cash and gift cards will be accepted in lieu of gifts. Just sayin’!)
1) This cute bag from Target:

2) These sandals from Old Navy (size 10. Yes, I have Gigantor foot. STFU.)

3) Tickets to see Cute Is What We Aim For, July 8th, Culture Room in Ft. Lauderdale. And Warped! Tour, July 12th, Bayfront Park in Miami.

4) Red Velvet cake from… anywhere, I really don’t care. As long as it’s Red Velvet.

 

this boy…

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 6:25 pm



Is so incredibly funny and makes me laugh all the time.
Shares a ton of inside jokes with me.
Gives the best hugs EVER!
Quotes random movie lines in everyday conversations.
Is totally "hardcore"… with everyone but me.
Is always trying to make sure I’m comfortable and happy.
Is super sarcastic. =)
Loves punk rock AND pop!
Is so much fun to be with, even if we’re at home just hanging out.
Is shy, but not really, but kind of, but isn’t…
Has really soft skin (which I am so jealous about).
Will watch every truly horrendous, cheesy, low budget scary movie there is, just because I want to.
Surprises me with new music almost every time I see him.
Appreciates me for who I am, quirks and all.
Doesn’t get annoyed when I take a million pictures.
Always gives me forehead kisses and lets me kiss him on the nose.
Indulges my obsession for Target.
Doesn’t mind going to dinner/lunch/birthday parties/weddings with my family.
Doesn’t make fun of me when I bust out the "Spanglish."
Has the most beautiful, warm, deep brown eyes I have ever seen.
Always smells delicious – like soap and warm, clean linens.
Is really smart, but admits when he doesn’t know something.
Loves motocross so much, and has taught me so much about it.
Gets super excited when his favorite rider wins.
Is really easy to talk to, and he really listens.
Gives honest, unbiased advice.
Always tells you the truth, even when it’s hard to hear.
Loves his family and really values his friends.
Calls me "goofy" (even though HE’S the goofy one!)
Is extremely loyal.
Understands my insecurities and allows me to express them.
Listens to all sides of the story.
Always asks me what he should wear.
Cries when "Goose" dies (but he’ll say he wasn’t crying, he just had something in both his eyes).
Missed me while I was gone.
Is super patient with me.
Gives the sweetest "good morning" kisses in the world.
Is my best friend.
Waited for me.
Loves me.
– AND –
Is totally going to roll his eyes when he reads this post. Then he’ll say "I’m just a dude." And that’s my favorite thing.

 

going back to cali… i don’t think so June 16, 2008

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 6:35 pm

I was gone all last week for a business trip in L.A. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. "Ooh, L.A.?! Sun, fun, celebrities!"

Yeah… not so much. Just to clarify exactly how UN-fun my trip was, allow me to share my agenda with you:

Day 1 – Leave Miami at 11:00AM EST. Arrive in L.A. 1:30PM PST. Go to office. Work until 6PM PST. Go to hotel and check in. Order thai food. Asleep by 9PM PST.

Day 2 – Meeting from 9AM – 330PM. Work in office until 6PM. Go to staff dinner. Go to hotel.

Day 3 – Meeting from 8AM – 530PM. Go to staff dinner. Go to hotel.

Day 4 – Meeting from 8AM – 1PM. Work in office until 6pm. Go to staff dinner. Go to hotel.

Day 5 – Check out of hotel at 5AM and go to LAX. Fly out at 7AM PST. Arrive in MIA at 3PM PST. Fight rush hour traffic from airport to house (1 hour). Finally… Home Sweet Home!!

Let me point out that I was in bed, knocked out before 10PM every night as my body never got off of Eastern Time.

Anyway, that’s about all there was to it. Nothing exciting, no celebrity sightings. Oh, but the weather was good. Low 60s as compared to Miami’s 90+ degrees with 1,000% humidity!