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

Another Year Over December 31, 2009

Filed under: Life,Personal,Photography — Lulu @ 3:48 pm

As 2010 approaches (somewhat rapidly, I might add; seriously, this year just flew by), I thought I would take a moment to recap some of my favorite moments from 2009.


Our weekend road trip to Estero Beach to see New Found Glory…

and a quick stop at Ft. Myers Beach the following morning.

Attending Daytona Supercross again.

Getting to meet Art Alexakis after his acoustic show at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Attending the first ever Jacksonville Supercross.

Seeing New Found Glory a second time at Revolution Live

Getting to see Gym Class Heroes (for free!) at the grand reopening of the Clevelander on South Beach. What an awesome show!

Our first trip to Jungle Island. It was so much fun, we bought annual passes.

My first ever scrap retreat to Sanibel with my scrappy girls.

Enjoying a gulf coast sunset.

Visiting Seattle earlier this month. This had been one of my “must see” places for years.

Eating breakfast at the Athenian Inn at the Pike Place Market.

Learning to play spoons with Fanless’ family. This game is nuts!

It’s been a memorable year. Can’t wait to see what 2010 has in store. Hope everyone has a very safe and Happy New Year.


Peace out, yo!


Oh Snap! I Totally forgot… December 30, 2009

Filed under: Miscellany,Personal,Photography,Technology — Lulu @ 12:50 pm

To share my most awesome Christmas gift from my most awesome boyfriend!


It’s a Dell Wasabi PZ310 Mobile Photo Printer!! (Squee!!!)


It is the coolest little thing. It’s about the size of an iPhone, and it prints out 2”x3” photos… as STICKERS! It’s totally wireless, so you don’t have to keep it plugged into your computer like with a regular printer. It connects to your computer via a tiny little Bluetooth (USB) adapter, or you can plug your camera directly into it with an adapter cable. The best part?? It’s completely inkless! The trick to printing is the paper. It’s kind of like the old Polaroids that developed on their own, but bumped up a notch. You don’t have to wait minutes for the images to develop; they come out of the printer already visible. Oh, and you can even print photos from your phone (well, I can’t; but Fanless has an iPhone, so he can).


According to the Dell website:


Print your memories as soon as they happen with PZ310 Ink-free Mobile Printer from Dell. This pocket-sized printer produces full-color photos wirelessly from your camera phone via bluetooth. You can utilize its wireless connectivity and print anywhere and everywhere easily. It uses ZINK Zero Ink Technology to provide a simple and ink-free user experience. Moreover, it delivers professional-quality documents with crisp text and sharp details at resolutions of up to 640×960 pixels. Designed for high printing volumes and great usage demands, it has a standard paper input capacity of 15 sheets. Additionally, this Mobile Printer can be effortless setup and installed via USB port.


I haven’t really used it too much (just haven’t really had much time to sit and play with it yet), but I’m excited to really start enjoying it. It’ll be great to have small, self-adhesive photos for my multi-photo layouts without having to worry about creating them in Photoshop.


Seriously… Best. Gift. EVER!!


(I love you, honey!!)


What’s In a name?

Filed under: Miscellany,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 1:57 am

I don’t know exactly what got me on this train of thought today, but I was thinking about how many people in my family have nicknames. And not just regular nicknames, that are short for something, like Mike or Joe or Jen. No, these nicknames are like baby’s first words. Which, I think, is probably where they originally derived.


For example, my sister Maria is “Tati” to me. From what I’ve been told, when I was little I couldn’t pronounce “Mari” (her nickname), so I changed it to Tati. Then everybody started calling her that. Along those lines, to my cousin’s kids, my niece is “Tata.” As far back as I can recall, my aunt has been called “Yaya” and her son, Jose, is “Pepi.” And his dad, Jose Sr., was “Pepin” or “Pepe.” My dad is “Mini” (mee-nie, i.e., the little one) to his entire family, and “Pa” to my niece. She also calls my mom “Lela” and her paternal grandmother “Lolo.” Her paternal grandfather? He’s “Po.” 


The funny thing about it, is that even though most of these names were started by kids in the family, eventually everyone picked up on them. There is not a single person in my family that does not call my parents Lela and Pa. Isn’t that odd?


Of course, I realized that it isn’t just my family. I believe every single Hispanic person I know has at least one Tito or Nana in their family. An ex-boyfriend of mine used to joke that if you drive down any street in Miami and yell “-ito!!” out the window, at least five people would turn around. I don’t think he was that far off the mark.


So what are the odd nicknames in your family, and how did they come about? I’d love to know we’re not the only weirdos out there. =)


Peace out, yo!


Desert and Farmland December 29, 2009

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

Just a few of my favorite photos from the drive from Othello to Seattle. (Mind you, these were taken from the back seat of a car going 65 mph, so Ansel Adams they are not. But I still love them.)


The Columbia River.

Basalt rock.

Expansive farmlands and mountain ranges.

This is my favorite. I love old barns; I can’t really explain why.


Peace out, yo!


Washington 2009 – Family Christmas December 26, 2009

Filed under: Life,Personal,Photography,Travel — Lulu @ 1:41 am

(Warning – Photo-heavy post)


First, let me give you the background behind the Family Christmas tradition. Fanless’ family used to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. However, as the eight siblings (his mom, aunts and uncles) got older, started their own families and moved away, it became more difficult to get everyone together at Christmas, usually due to flight delays and such. Thus the Family Christmas tradition of getting the whole family together the second weekend in December was born. Personally, I love it and I’m glad I get to be part of it.


Of course, there was a lovely tree, with tons of presents jammed beneath.


And a little bit of pouting.


There was some web surfing.


And singing of Christmas carols.


Cute, teen cousins hanging out.


And sweet grandparents, enjoying time with the family they created.


And little ones sharing a rare moment of calm…


Before the opening of gifts commenced.



There were lots of toys.


And a flurry of gift wrap and bows.


And special moments for young and old alike.


Not to mention food… and bugs (relax; it’s not real. LONG story!)


And plenty of fun and games.



Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. Peace out, yo!


Washington 2009 – Shopping (Well, sort of) December 24, 2009

Filed under: Life,Personal,Photography,Travel — Lulu @ 5:02 pm

(WARNING – Photo-heavy post.)


One of the cool things about being out in the country (and trust me, southeastern Washington is about as rural and country as you can get) is the shopping. There are all these really neat, unique places that you absolutely would not find in an urban setting.


On the way to the Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, we stopped at Thorp’s Fruit Stand and Antique Mall. This place started out as a little roadside fruit stand, and his been owned and operated by the Rowley family since 1944. The first floor sells fruit and produce, along with locally produced items such as jellies and pickled foods, baking mixes and bath product. The second and third floor lofts feature an antique mall filled to the brim with goodies. This beautifully restored old wagon hangs from the ceiling.


These apple and apricot candies are locally produced by Liberty Orchards. So good!


Lavender bath goodies.


The first floor.


Some of the antiques on display on the second floor.



If it wasn’t for the fact that I didn’t think they would survive the 3,000-mile trip back to Florida, I would have loved to purchase some of these glass pieces.


We didn’t spend too much time in there, because it was FREEE-zing!! But we definitely want to go there again.


The following day, Fanless, his mom and I headed to Tri-Cities (Tri-Cities is the area encompassing Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, WA). On the way, we stopped at this place his Uncle Tim told us about called Country Mercantile. They feature a lot of locally produced foods and crafts. We picked up some fresh salsa and chips, and a couple bags of Chukar Cherries.




At the far end of the parking lot, they have a huge field with a carousel. I would have loved to take better/closer pics, but we were in a bit of a hurry.



After Country Mercantile, we went to a store in Pasco called Grigg’s. This place is nuts! It’s literally got a little of everything. We even saw camouflage pacifiers and sippy cups in the hunting section (yes, they have a hunting section)! How odd is it that they had these family favorite games in Spanish in Washington, but not in Miami?? I know, right?


And of course, there’s always something for the little hunters here.



After Grigg’s, we stopped at Uncle Tim’s house for a quick visit, then we headed out to Zip’s Drive-In for lunch, where we were joined by Fanless’ friend, Steve. (They’ve known each other since elementary school.) It was about 12 degrees out. Can you tell which one of them lives in Miami?



Okay, that’s it for now. Peace out, yo!!


Oh, and have a very Merry Christmas!! Much love, peace and joy to all.


Washington 2009: Day 2 – Let it Snow! December 21, 2009

Filed under: Life,Personal,Photography,Travel — Lulu @ 2:59 am

Warning – Photo-heavy post.


Unlike last year’s trip to Washington, we didn’t encounter any snow at all in either Seattle or Othello. The only actual snow we saw was while traveling through Snoqualmie Pass. We stopped at the Mountaineer Lodge Rest Stop (the same place we stopped at last year) on our way from Seattle to Othello, to stretch our legs and take some photos.


“It’s SNOOOW!!” (Yes, that is actually what I was saying in this pic. I was also trying not to slip and fall.”


Man, this is a beautiful state. Seriously.



Apparently, the snow had been piling up here for a couple of days.



Fanless’ cousin’s son. He is so cute! Last year he was a little shy around me, but this year we were buddies.


Making snowballs with mommy.







Me and Lisa (Fanless’ cousin-in-law).


We were waiting for this to slide off the roof, but it never happened.


“Cheesy pickles!”


Time for a family photo (Clockwise from top left: me, Fanless, Uncle Larry, Aunt Laurie, Cousin Scott, D., Cousin-in-law Lisa).


More gratuitous scenery shots.



The Frozen Lake (I don’t know if that’s the actual name, but that’s what we were calling it).


That’s it for tonight.


Peace out, yo!