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

Up all night* September 27, 2011

Filed under: Life,Music — Lulu @ 9:55 pm

As mentioned in my previous post, Fanless and I went to the Honda Civic Tour at the Cruzan Amphitheater in West Palm on Friday night. The bands this time around were Matt & Kim (yeah, I don’t know either), My Chemical Romance and Blink 182.


The last time we we were at Cruzan – also to see Blink 182, coincidentally – we got there a bit late and had to sit pretty far back on the lawn (which wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been about 800*F outside and were we not completely surrounded by 10,000 drunk and sweaty teenagers). This time I insisted we get there early so that we could get front row seating on the lawn. We also chose to sit in the family section so there would be less chance of drunken rowdiness. That all actually worked out pretty well, plus the night was cooler than usual, thanks to the thunder storms earlier in the day. Definitely a much better experience than the prior time we were there.


So I tried to get some pictures but they were barely salvageable. Here are the better ones from the night. And I’m using the term “better” loosely. VERY loosely.


Matt & Kim. I didn’t really care for them, but Fanless thought they were okay.


My Chemical Romance. I know exactly two songs from them. And one I only know from season 2 of “GLEE.”


I really liked this spider backdrop they had. It was some kind of mesh, so the clouds you see on it are the actual clouds in the sky. Pretty neat.


Blink 182. They had a lot of really cool digital backgrounds that would change for every song. I tried to get pictures of them but my camera kept trying to focus on the strobe or laser lights they used and the picture would blur out.


Travis Barker’s first drum solo.


I think maybe this was during the last song before the encore?


For the encore Travis Barker had a “floating” drum set. This would be “SUPER AWESOME!”… if Buddy Rich and Tommy Lee hadn’t already done it in the 60s and 80s, respectively. I still give him props for being a good drummer.



All in all it was a good show and only one obnoxious guy slightly pissed me off the entire night (no, not Fanless).


So that’s it for now. Peace out, yo!


* ”Up All Night” is the first single from Blink 182’s new album, ‘Neighborhoods.’


Best Surprise Ever! September 26, 2011

Filed under: Life,Personal — Lulu @ 2:07 am

So this was totally going to be a post about the Blink 182 concert Fanless and I went to on Friday night. But then this happened…



The story: My sister called me on Wednesday night to ask if I had weekend plans. I told her we were going to a concert on Friday night, but nothing else was going on. She then told me that my cousin, Tommy, was going to have the family over on Saturday afternoon to celebrate my aunt’s (my mom’s sister) 75th birthday. I told her we would try to make it if we weren’t too exhausted from Friday night. Then she said “Oh, Pepi and Julie (my cousin that lives in Tennessee – Tommy’s brother – and his wife, whom I adore) are flying in and they want to see you.”


On Saturday morning I told Fanless that I really didn’t want to go to the birthday party because I was so, SOOO tired from the night before. The concert had been held at the Cruzan Amphitheater, an hour away from us, so by the time we got out of there, got something to eat afterwards and got back home to SoBe, it was almost 3:00AM. I could barely open my eyes on Saturday.


But the more I thought about it, the more I was like “no, we have to go. I want to see my cousin (turns out he came alone because his wife had to work) and it’s my aunt’s 75th birthday. We have to go. No excuses.” So we got ready and headed out. When I got to the house and parked the car, I heard my cell phone ringing in my purse. I pulled it out and saw I had three missed calls from my sister. I turned to Fanless with an annoyed look and said “why is she calling me so much? I told her I’d come.” So I open the front door to the house and my sister is standing there and she’s like “HI!!!” and gives me a long hug. She was very happy. Like super-duper EXTRA happy. In my head I was like “WTH is wrong with her?” (She was acting weird, is what I’m saying.)


Anyway, next I say hello to my brother-in-law, then I see my aunt and I wish her a happy birthday and give her a hug, then said hi to Tommy’s wife, Marcy. Okay, so at that moment I’m talking to Marcy and I look over towards the hallway behind the dining room and I see my mom. Except in my head my mom is in Panama. So this entire thought process went through my head in about 2.2 seconds:

“Hey, that’s looks like my mom. But my mom is in Panama. So that’s not my mom. That’s my aunt. No, wait. My aunt is standing next to me. I just said hi to her. Oh hey, look. That’s my dad.  I guess my parents are here… Wait, what???… HOLY SHIT!!! MY PARENTS ARE HERE!!!!”

I know the video above is crappy (my cousin shot it on his phone and when he sent it to me it got compressed which downgraded the quality), but if you watch it again, you can see the exact moment that I did a double take and had the train of thought above. It’s pretty funny. And I got pretty emotional because even though my mom has come to visit a few times, I haven’t seen my dad since they moved in July of 2008. It was when I saw him that I really freaked out.


My parents are going to be here for two whole months because my dad has to have cataract surgery, which he has been putting off since before they moved, and go through the recovery and follow-up and all that. My sister and her husband have a trip to Panama planned for November, so my parents will fly back with them at that time.


As I told Fanless as we were leaving Tommy’s house that night, “Wow, that was the best surprise ever! I don’t think anything could top that.” To which he replied, “Yeah, that was a pretty good one!”


And here are a few photos.


My dad and me.


L-R: Pepi, my aunt, Tommy, Marcy, Marcy’s parents and brother (my sister’s ex-husband).


Pepi and me. We’re each other’s favorite cousin.


My aunt and her boys.


My parents and my niece.



So that’s it for now. Peace out, yo!


A to Z September 22, 2011

Filed under: Miscellany — Lulu @ 3:12 pm

Because I really don’t feel like working right now but still have few minutes to kill before I can sign out for the day…


You get a new meme! (I know, but please, try to contain your excitement.)


A. Age: 42

B. Bed size: Queen.
C. Chore that you hate: Cleaning the bathroom.
D. Dogs: No pets currently, but we really want to get a puppy once we settle into our own place in WA. Fanless wants a St. Bernard; I want a Shiba Inu or American Eskimo. We’ll see what happens.
E. Essential start to your day: Coffee. Always coffee.
F. Favorite color: Black. I know, boring.
G. Gold or Silver: Preferably silver.
H. Height: 5’6", although for the majority of my life I could have sworn I was 5’7”.
I. Instruments you play: Ah, this is a good one. In high school I took a keyboard class as an elective. But I am completely tone-deaf. So the only things I actually learned to play were the “dun dun dun, dun dun dun…” from the theme song for “Halloween” and the intro to Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.”
J. Job title: Oh lord, it’s such a made-up title it’s not even funny: Content Quality Specialist. It does not describe what I actually do in any way, shape or form.
K. Kids: None.
L. Live: Miami, FL
M. Mother’s name: Der… it’s Mom! (Seriously, my mom’s name is rather unique and I’d rather not share that info here for privacy reasons.)
N. Nicknames: Lou, Lulu, Balou, Balulu, lady, devil woman
O. Overnight hospital stays: I’ve had three extended hospital stays, all for different surgeries.
P. Pet peeves: This is a very, VERY long list. At the top, though? Rude people, bad drivers (gee, you think those two stem from living in South Florida??), people who don’t know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, and people who spell ‘ridiculous’ with an E (rediculous).
Q. Quote from a movie: “Wayne! I think we’ve established that "Ca-caw, ca-caw" and "Tookie, tookie" don’t work” (from Evolution. I love that movie.)
R. Right or left handed: Right handed.
S. Siblings: Yes, one older sister.
U. Underwear: Yes.
V. Vegetable you hate: Cucumber. Blecccchhhh!
W. What makes you run late: Traffic. My hair.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: All kinds. Chest, abdomen, leg and foot (broke my foot in the 5th grade), ankle (another childhood injury; luckily it was just a sprain), MRI, mammogram, dental. I think that’s it.
Y. Yummy food that you make: I think I make a really killer lasagna.
Z. Zoo animal: Oh, I love penguins! And little monkeys, like squirrel monkeys.


Yee-Haw! September 21, 2011

Filed under: Life,Sports — Lulu @ 11:38 pm

I can’t believe I completely forgot to blog about our rodeo outing a couple weeks ago! Yes, people; I went to a rodeo. My first ever! Okay, well, it wasn’t a full-on rodeo. There was no roping or barrel racing or anything like that. This one was just Championship Bull Riding (you have to capitalize it, it’s that cool) at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds in Davie, FL.


Fanless, Eric and I met up with our friends, the Dean and the Chin families, and took some goofy pictures before the event.



It probably would have been way more exciting if we weren’t sitting so far from the chute the bulls come out of. It’s that red gated area aaaaallll the way over to the right side of the photo. Who knew going to the rodeo is like checking in for a flight? Apparently you need to get there a couple of hours early because the place was super-packed. On the plus side, because we were so far away we couldn’t smell any bull poop, so that was good.



This was the part with the singing of the National Anthem.



I don’t remember what this guy’s purpose was. I think he was supposed to rope the runaway bulls?



Like this guy. (That was a super zoomed in picture, hence the graininess. But check out the size of that bull!)



A really terrible picture of a very hot and sweaty trio (Eric, me and Fanless). Seriously, they need to invest in some giant ceiling fans in that place. Oh, and do not adjust the color balance on your monitor; I really AM that white.



Poor Charlie. After an hour she was rodeo’ed out, sweet little thing.



After the rodeo, Fanless and I took Eric to Joe’s Crab Shack. He’d never been and it’s one of our favorite places. Here he is getting ready to wash down his steampot with a gigantic mug of Blue Moon.



Eric’s very first steampot ever! He did not leave a single morsel behind.



And this was Fanless’. He got his usual, the Ragin’ Cajun.



I got the crab nachos. They were huge! I think I ate about 1/8 of that.



And that was our night! We had a great time and we’re actually planning to go back in November for the “real” rodeo.


That’s all for now. Peace out, yo!


Long Weekend Eats September 7, 2011

Filed under: Food — Lulu @ 8:45 pm

(My camera battery died so all pics were taken with a cellphone; hence, the low quality.)


The boy and I had a really mellow Labor Day weekend, mostly spent catching up on Season 5 of Dexter (since Season 6 is just around the corner). However, we did get to eat out at two places neither of us had been to previously and both ended up being really good.


On Sunday we had lunch at Otentic Fresh Food Café on Washington Avenue in South Beach. This place is literally around the corner from the boy’s place and I had purchased a Groupon for it almost a year ago. In fact, it was set to expire this coming weekend, so we finally got around to using it.


We didn’t really know what to expect from Otentic, and were thinking it might be too “frou-frou” of a place for us since all we really knew was that the cuisine is French, and we are definitely more burgers-and-Blue Moon type of folk than filet mignon and Pinot Noir. We were pleasantly surprised to find that this cute, little café was more like “French-lite,” very unassuming and casual in ambiance. It appeared to be entirely staffed by one waiter/bartender and one chef (I’d guess both are French, based on their conversations). Their menu consisted of sandwiches, crepes and a few other entrees and desserts.


Upon taking our order, our waiter brought over complimentary champagne (in the cutest little champagne flutes; they were like shot glasses with a stem) and baguette slices with sweet cream butter.


I had the bacon crepe, which contained a filling of sliced bacon, sautéed potatoes, brie and cream, and was complemented with a fresh, spring mix salad topped with tomato and corn, and lightly drizzled with vinaigrette. (Okay, confession time: I had never eaten a crepe in my entire life before this moment. I believe I have now found my new favorite food.) It was sooo delicious. The crepe was light and fluffy and literally melted in my mouth. The bacon and brie made it savory, while the potatoes and cream helped mellow out the stronger flavors and allowed everything to mesh together nicely.


The boy ordered the Farmer’s Steak with a side of ratatouille. This was also complemented with a small salad. His steak was thick and juicy and quite generous for the price. It was a little too pink in the middle for my taste, but he enjoyed it immensely. The blue cheese sauce was really good, too. The ratatouille had a tangy, tomato-ey base and definitely tasted fresh and homemade, like it was prepared by somebody’s mom.


Otentic was definitely a nice experience and I think we will be back. Even without a Groupon!


On Monday, we headed towards Aventura to run a few errands. On the way back to the beach we stopped at Roxy Burger, Wings & Beer on Biscayne Blvd and 126th Street. This place is kind of hard to describe. It kind of looks like the Hell’s Angels opened a sports bar and hired a rap group to install the sound system. It’s a little crazy.


The menu is basic bar food: hot dogs, wings, burgers and sides. The burgers are like something you’d find on an episode of “Man v. Food,” with names like Cha Cha Cha Chili Burger and Super Stack Heart Attack. I played it safe and went with the Just the Cattle burger (regular burger with bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato). It was accompanied by a Tornado. Or as our server described it, “potato chips on a stick.” (Wait, what?) It turned out to be one of those spiral cut potato thingies fried on a skewer.


It’s hard to tell from the picture above but my burger was really thick. Like, REEEALLY thick. I asked for it well done and, miraculously, not only was it cooked all the way through, but it was still juicy. I really liked that it was served on a ciabatta roll instead of a regular bun, as a bun would have fallen apart after one bite of this monster burger. (Okay, this next picture is kind of gross because I had already eaten half of the burger, but it will give you an idea of how thick it was.)


See? I told you. Monster burger. That half was my lunch the following day.


The boy ordered wings and a side of chili cheese fries. I think Roxy needs to reconsider their definition of “side.” The serving of chili cheese fries was ginormous! The good thing is they weren’t skimpy with the chili and cheese toppings. The fries had some kind of crispy coating on them (maybe a batter?) that prevented them from getting all soggy under the toppings. They were really good.


The only thing we didn’t like too much were the wings. The boy ordered them grilled (similar to Shuckers’ wings) and they were kind of overcooked and under-seasoned. They were really dry and bland, even by my standards and I don’t like anything spicy.


The only other negative – aside from the wings – was that the food took a little too long to come out. I could understand if the place had been busy, but at the time we ordered there were only two other occupied tables. Still, the burger and chili cheese fries were good enough to make that a minor point.


I think we’d definitely eat at Roxy again next time we’re in that area. But we’d try different wings. =)


That’s it for now. Peace out, yo!