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

Se Dice “Tec-no-lo-gia” June 24, 2009

Filed under: Miscellany,Technology — Lulu @ 9:54 pm

I read a great editorial in this month’s issue of WIRED, where Clive Thompson speculates on the potential for Cuba to become the next big tech resourcing center.

An excerpt:

“Like the ’80s Irish, Cubans are eerily well educated, particularly for such an impoverished people. Education is one thing Castro has done right: 99.8 percent of adults are literate, and nearly a third have graduated from high school, many with the sort of vocational training in mechanics and farming the US foolishly let slip a generation ago. Based on UN statistics, one out of five young adults in Cuba graduates college.”

I thought the piece was really fantastic, and I was very happy to find it online so I could share it with you. You can read it in its entirety here.


oh my… June 23, 2009

Filed under: Scrapbooking,Shopping — Lulu @ 7:43 pm

Dear Making Memories,

Why, why, WHY do you continuously tempt me with your beauteous goodies?? Are you not aware of the fact that I am a “SINK” (single income, no kids) and I’m trying very unsuccessfully to stay away from you because I am on a very tight budget?? I can not continue on this way.

First you came around with the sweet, candy colors and delicately feminine flowers of the Noteworthy Collection. Oh, you certainly caught my eye with that one. It wasn’t too long after that that I found myself surreptitiously fondling 5th Avenue paper packs and epoxy brads in the scrapbooking aisle at Target. When December rolled around, I knew there would be no “happy” in my holiday without Fa La La. But I swore the New Year would be different. I resolved to stay away from you. But then I found Passport, and all my resolutions went out the window. When Just Chillin’ came around I didn’t even bother to deny myself. This past month has been pure torture, trying to stay away from Great Escape. It has taken all of my inner strength and I think I’ve literally broken out in cold sweats over it. But I HAVE stayed away! I’ve been so good. I thought, finally, I’d kicked the habit.

But now, NOW, you come out with THIS??!! An entire line inspired by vintage prints and antique collectibles??


It’s as if you’ve been reading my very private thoughts and granting my deepest wishes! Oh, what a cruel temptress you are, Making Memories. But I can not – nay, WILL not – continue to spend my hard-earned money on your lovely papers and luscious embellishments.

I won’t. I refuse!

(*sigh*… Who am I kidding?)

I shall rendezvous with you at Michael’s soon, my dear, sweet lover. Until then, Je t’aime, MM.

Je t’aime


wish list June 22, 2009

Filed under: Miscellany — Lulu @ 3:22 pm

It’s that time of the year again. My birthday is less than a month away (24 days to be exact), and I’ve allowed myself to indulge in a little online window shopping/wish list making. A girl needs to indulge in a little daydreaming now and then, don’t you think??

I love accessories. Especially unique items like these Etsy finds:

Camera Pendant from Charm School Dropout
The Photographer
Daffodil Earrings from Stranded Treasures
Yellow Daffodil Flower Long Earrings Antiqued Bronze Nickel Free with matching beadcap So Elegant

Swallow earrings and necklace from Three Birds Designs
Swooping Sparrows with Golden Shade Swarovski Briolettes Earrings
Swooping Sparrows with Golden Swarovski Briolette Necklace

Love these pendants from Home Studio
HOMESTUDIO - - - - Scrabble Tile Pendant - VINTAGE HEART
HOMESTUDIO - - - - Scrabble Tile Pendant - TOY ROBOT (red)
And a little fashion: these girly-fied pink Chucks. I have them in gray and LOVE them.

And, finally, this awesome bag from Urban Outfitters. I love large satchel-style bags.



The Theme of the night = sweaty June 18, 2009

Filed under: Life,Miscellany,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 3:23 pm

We attended the Miami Herald Tweetup at the legendary Tobacco Road last night. This was a chance for old media and new media to converge and merge, mix and mingle, join together in holy… Oops, sorry.

No, really. This was an opportunity for local bloggers and Twitter(ers?) to meet up, chit-chat, trade business cards, schmooze…


I have to be honest; I I was not into going at all. I basically went to appease Tere and Christian, who were way more into it than I was. I was PMSing and feeling antisocial – well, more antisocial than usual – and after 20 minutes of sweating my ass off in 200% humidity on a crowded outdoor patio, I was pretty much over it. I made absolutely zero effort to meet a single person outside of the “usual suspects.”

I’m guessing the event was successful, based on the sheer number of people there. But other than that, I’m unable to really tell you anything more about it. I can, however, give the Miami Herald one tip for future event planning: if you insist on having an outdoor event, in Miami, that will surely attract a large number of attendees, for God’s sake, don’t have it in the middle of June! What are you? New here?? Sheesh!

Oh, but we did have dinner there and that was pretty good. And of course, I do have photos! Please to enjoy.

Me and Tere looking extra glossy (ie, sweaty).
my pocket size peanut! <3 her! by you.

Fanless and me. Notice how nice and dry he is? Lucky!
A little sweaty by you.

“View your photo on”  Just kidding! I love this pic of T. So cute!
She was here by you.

She’s his lobster. (What? You don’t watch “Friends”?) Hector enjoying his dinner special.
She's his lobster! by you.
Christian’s Death Burger. THIS made him sweat!
Tobacco Road Death Burger by you.

That’s it. Peace out, yo!


nana nina javon candado June 16, 2009

Filed under: Life,Miscellany,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 3:25 pm

I was reading this post on the Tiki Tiki Blog about Violeta’s grandmother’s sayings, and it got me thinking about all of the colorful – and sometimes downright strange – sayings, or “dichos,” that I grew up with. These are not unique to my family. Cubans have been passing down these colloquialisms for generations. The majority of them seem to involve food (“como un merengue en la puerta de una escuela a la hora de salir”) or farm animals (“parece una chiva de rifa”). I have no idea why.

What’s really interesting to me is how you hear the same sayings over and over throughout your life, and they become so ingrained in your vocabulary, that you can hear just a few words (“parece un merengue”) and still understand the full intent behind them. They literally become second nature. Honestly, if you really break them down and take them at face value, they make no sense. Yet, most Cubans instantly recognize what these sayings mean.

For example, every time I say to my mom “oye, Popa,” she immediately knows that means to put her purse down. Amongst my Cuban-American friends, we translate these sayings into English, and yet they still have the same meaning to us. I can’t tell you how many times my best friend and I have told each other that something snores mangoes (“le ronca un mango”) or that we just fell out of the tree (“me cai de la mata”).

Personally, I love my culture’s funny sayings. I love the way they roll off your tongue and any Cuban within earshot knows exactly what you mean, no explanation necessary. I love that they date all the way to back to our great – (and sometimes great-great-) grandparents, and yet they live on, generation after generation. I love that they never get old, no matter how old they get.

A few of my favorites (and explanations for the above):

  • * ”Nana nina javon candado” – This was a tagline from an old soap commercial in Cuba. It’s another way of saying “no way” when you absolutely refuse to do something.
  • “Como un merengue en la puerta de una escuela a la hora de salir” (Like a meringue in a school doorway at the end of the school day) – Indicates something very delicate or fragile.
  • “Parece una chiva de rifa” (She looks like a goat in a raffle drawing) – A woman wearing way too much flashy jewelry.
  • “Oye Popa, suerta la cartera” (Hey Popa, put your purse down) – It literally means “put your purse down, sit and relax”
  • “Le ronca un mango” (That snores mangoes) – That sucks!
  • “Me cai de la mata” (I fell out of the tree) – I just learned something new/figured it out.
  • “Es una postalita” (He’s a postcard) – Describes a very effeminate man, or a man that is really into his appearance. A pretty boy.
  • “Estoy mas arrancada que la manga de un chaleco” (I am even more ripped than the sleeves on a vest) – I’m flat broke.
  • “Que poco duro la pascua en Diciembre” (That December festival was very short-lived) – When something pleasant or good doesn’t last very long.
  • “La mujer de quien?” (Whose wife?) – When someone is referring to a female in conversation and you have no idea who they are talking about. When they explain who the person is, and you still don’t know them, you would follow that up with…
  • “Muy conocida en su casa” (She’s very famous in her own home) – No clue who that is.

And lastly –

  • “Me cayo como una patada en el higado” (That felt like a kick in the liver) – When you have to deal with something, or someone, that annoys the crap out of you.

You know, I have days when I really love being Cuban. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to fix something to eat “porque estoy partida de el hambre” and if you let me “me como un Chino si me lo pones alante.” **

** "estoy partida de el hambre" (“I am broken from the hunger”, ie, "I’m starving"), “me como uno Chino si me lo pones alante” ("I would eat a Chinese man if you put him in front of me", ie, "I could eat like a pig right now").

Please note" my Spanish spelling may not be correct, but I couldn’t spellcheck in Spanish.


mom’s visit: a photo essay June 15, 2009

Filed under: Life,Personal,Photography — Lulu @ 3:27 pm

My mom flew back home to Panama yesterday morning. She was here for exactly one month which was mostly spent visiting family and friends, going to all her doctor’s appointments and refilling all her prescriptions, spending time with my aunt (her sister), nagging me and my sister to death… some things never change, I guess. Anyway, just wanted to share a few pics from her visit.

With my cousin, Tom, the day after she arrived.

At the food court of Westland Mall with my aunt. We were waiting for the optical on the other side of the mall to finish mounting the lenses into my aunt’s new eyeglasses.

At my niece’s apartment on the beach. She was talking to my dad on the phone and Cookie (my grand-niece) wouldn’t leave her alone.
At my niece’s dad’s house with my little cousin.

My niece’s paternal grandparents, her dad, my mom, and my cousin.

My mom and aunt at the family barbecue on Saturday.

My niece and her dad, me, my sister, mom, Shawn (my cousin), Lola and Armando, Kristy (my cousin), Tom (my cousin, and Shawn and Kristy’s dad), and Adam (my niece’s half-brother). The rest of the family was inside the house watching baseball or something.

With my niece at the airport, waiting for her flight to board.

My sister called me yesterday afternoon to let me know that mom’s flight had arrived safely and she was now back home. Yay! I miss her already. Even the nagging.


Scrappiness June 9, 2009

Filed under: Scrapbooking — Lulu @ 3:28 pm

I don’t have much to talk about so I’ll just share some recent scrappiness.

Except for the gray cardstock, everything on this layout is from the Victoria line from Marcella by K. How cute is that birdcage with the butterfly??
mama mia

Two more layouts using the Lovely Day kit by Noel Mignon:
These are my friends, Nery and Oni. They are both comedians and have performed all over South Florida. These pics are from a show Oni did in 2007 where he opened for DL Hughley.

I also used the Lovely Day kit (seriously, this kit never runs out!! I still have stuff left over) to make this little mini-album for my mom to take back to Panama with her (I just used pictures from her visit). This was so easy to make. I literally used one sheet of 12×12 lightweight cardstock, cut and scored in a “zigzag” (I don’t really know how to explain it) to make the basic album. Then I just decorated and added photos.
See those ribbons?

I made little pockets by simply not adhering those two sides. I then created little tags that you pull out by the ribbon. This way I could add additional photos on both sides without having to add more pages.

This was a plain white notebook that I had decorated before but I wasn’t happy with it, so I took it apart and redid it using scraps I had stashed away. The flower was made with a flower punch from Whale of a Punch and pieces of scrap paper.

I’m really into using my scraps lately. I made these three cards last night with just a piece of kraft cardstock that I had incorrectly cut for a layout and a few odds and ends.

I love this cork flower. I used the same punch as above to punch out a thin sheet of cork paper and stuck a flower brad in the center. I love the result.

You can’t see it that well, but this one has some glittery embossing powder over the sentiment.

Alright, that’s all I have for now. Peace out, yo!