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

Over the Top November 10, 2009

Filed under: Blogging,Miscellany,Personal,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 12:59 pm

Both Ady and Vane gave me this “Over the Top” blog award (thank you!) and along with it come these questions that I must answer in one word. So here goes:

 

Where is your cell phone? Nightstand
Your hair? Frizz!
Your mother? Nag (sorry, but it’s true.)
Your father? Panama
Your favorite food? Thai
Your dream last night? Forgotten
Your favorite drink? Dr. Pepper (yeah, there’s really no way to answer that in one word.)
Your dream/goal? Happy
What room are you in? Office
Your hobby? Scrapbooking
Your fear? Alone
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Washington
Where were you last night? Home
Something you aren’t? Patient
Muffins? Cupcakes
Wish list? Debtless (I don’t think that’s a word, but “debt free” is 2 words, so I had to improvise.)
Where did you grow up? Miami
Last thing you did? This
What are you wearing? Comfy
Your TV? Off
Your pets? None
Friends? Kindness
Your life? Routine
Your mood? Blah
Missing someone? Yes
Vehicle? Toyota
Something you’re not wearing? Socks
Your favorite store? Target
Your favorite color? Black
When was the last time you laughed? Primetime (I was watching “The Big Bang Theory”; it’s the only sitcom that actually makes me laugh out loud.)
Last time you cried? Weekend
Your best friend? California
One place that I go to over and over? Christian’s
Facebook? Yes
Favorite place to eat? Home

 

And now I’m supposed to pass the award along to other people whose blogs I love. Since Ady, Vane and Damaris were already nominated, I only have three people to nominate: Tere, Carrie, and Amanda. Enjoy being “over the top,” girls!

 

Movin’ On Up (Mooo-vin’ on up…) July 22, 2009

Filed under: Blogging,Miscellany,Personal — Lulu @ 10:26 am

Okay, so maybe not exactly up. More like laterally.

My new blog URL:  https://searchingfornormalcy.wordpress.com (Bookmark it! Now please! What are you waiting for? Go!!)

Why did I move from Blogger to WordPress. Well, apparently Blogger has decided to hold my blog hostage and won’t let me access any of the content on my dashboard. I can’t even get on to it in order to post an update and let everyone know what is going on. But Blogger’s help platform isn’t very helpful at all, so after a couple of hours of going around in circles and finding no solution, and no information at all on who to contact, I pretty much just gave up.

I’m kind of bummed that I lost all my earlier posts (I started my blog in August of 2006).  I was able to retrieve and republish some of my more recent posts on here (just July) because I’ve been using Windows Live Writer to publish my posts over the past few months, and I think I might be able to retrieve most 2009/2008/some 2007 posts via Google Reader. But everything from 2006 and most of 2007 is lost in the abyss. Oh well. It is what it is, right?

Anyway, I’ll try to repost some faves from the previous blog (photos, videos, scrap projects) as time allows.  Hopefully you will all find me via Google Search or something. Fingers crossed!

Peace out, yo!

UPDATE: So sometime this afternoon the lightbulb went on in my head and I remembered that I had added my own blog to my Google Reader subscriptions (so that I could view my posts in that format and make any edits needed) a while back. I checked and, sure enough, there were the majority of my blog posts. Eureka! It took a little over four hours, but I managed to scroll through and copy most of my previously published content (all the way back to October 2007) to THIS blog. I guess the good thing about this whole headache is that it gave me a chance to do some spring cleaning on my blog. There were a lot of videos and such that I had posted which are no longer available, in addition to a lot of throwaway posts (little random bits and pieces of nothing). So, anyway, I hope this is the end of this “dolor de culo” (pain in the ass) and that I can now move forward with my regular blogging. Hallelujah!

 

she said/she said: two’s company; three’s still company May 19, 2009

Filed under: Blogging,Life,Random Thoughts — Lulu @ 3:34 pm

This is the first of a new series of posts that Tere and I will be doing together. While we have a lot in common and do a lot of things together, we recently realized that we bring very different perspectives into our friendship and shared experiences. So we thought it’d be fun to take on specific topics together and write about them from our own points of view.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a place both familiar and foreign all at once. While the physical location was one I knew well, my place, my role in it was different now.

I was out with friends, at a nightclub/lounge on South Beach. That was not the different part. What was different was my being there with my boyfriend. MY boyfriend. This was new to me, unfamiliar, unknown, and probably several other “un-“ words that escape me right now. Being at a nightclub with a boy – and not just any boy; a boy of my very own – was something completely out of my realm of experience. No, my past experiences have always put me in the position of “the friend.” As in, “this is so-and-so, his girlfriend and her friend.” That is the role I know. The one with which I am familiar and comfortable.

For many years, and on many occasions, I was always the single friend that hung out with the couple (or couples, as the case may be). I was actually okay with that. I never felt that I was the odd girl out. My friends never made me feel like the third wheel. I was always included, always a part of the group. I always got along with my girlfriends’ significant others, and I think part of the reason the guys liked me, aside from my unquestionable awesomeness (I’m so kidding!), is because I was always a “good girl.” I was the friend that would never be a bad influence on their girlfriends. On the occasions that the guy’s friends would come out with us, I was automatically “one of the guys.” I would find myself tossing back shots and checking out chicks right along with the boys. And they always appreciated my sixth sense when it came to pointing out the fake boobs (high and tight, guys; high and tight). But this one night, the recent one, was completely alien to me. This time, it was I that was a part of the couple. And it was my friend that joined us for the evening.

Tere and I had started out with a girls’ only Thai dinner at Red Koi (which was truly excellent, by the way) in the Gables. After dinner, we headed to South Beach and picked up Christian, my boyfriend (I’m sorry, did you get that? MY boyfriend. What??) before making our way to Buck 15, easily my favorite nightspot on the beach after Dewey’s. We were the first ones there – I know; how uncool – ensuring us face time with the bartender and our choice of VIP seating (at least until the real VIPs showed up later in the evening). We ordered our first round of drinks, and perched ourselves on one of the squishy couches in the corner, where we gabbed over the music until the vodka kicked in, and we had loosened up enough to dance (“we” being Tere and me; my boy don’t dance). While we were sitting there chatting, it dawned on me that we – Tere and I – had instinctively sat on either side of Christian. When we whipped out our cameras, I took just as many “couple-y” pictures of Tere and Christian as she did of us. I was unquestioningly sharing my boyfriend with my friend for the evening. Not intentionally, but – truth be told – for a while there I kind of forgot he was mine. It just felt to me like we were three friends hanging out, and not at all like “my boyfriend, my friend and me.” This was such a strange place for me to be that I suppose my brain reverted back to the familiar, the customary, the usual. My brain reverted to being the tagalong.

Later in the evening, a few of Tere’s friends joined us at Buck 15. While dancing with one of her friends, he asked me why my boy wasn’t dancing. It took me a second to make sense of his question because my first thought was “my boy? where? ohh… THAT boy!” Wow, hey. Yeah, how about that? I have a boy!

It also made me realize, at that moment, all the ways in which this evening was better, more enjoyable, than evenings past. I wasn’t at all concerned with whether or not anyone there had found me attractive, other than my boy. I didn’t care if any boys talked to me or flirted with me or tried to kiss me, because I had a boy to talk to and flirt with and kiss. I didn’t care if any boys wanted to dance with me or not, because I was having a great time dancing with my friends. And when we decided to call it a night and head out, I didn’t care if any boys asked me for my number or not because I was leaving with the most perfect boy: mine, the one I came with.

It was such a great night, for many reasons. But just being out on the town with my two loves – my dear, sweet (hot!) friend, and my dear, sweet (hot!) boyfriend – living this new experience, one that I can now add to my list of moments, that alone made it worthwhile in my book.

**********************************************************************************************

For Tere’s take on this topic, visit her blog here.

 

fab five! (No, not “Queer Eye”) February 3, 2009

Filed under: Blogging,Miscellany — Lulu @ 4:18 pm

[Blog_Award.jpg]

My wonderful friend, Ady, gave me this “Fabulous blog” award (thank you, Ady!!) and the rules say I’m supposed to award it to five other people, then list five of my addictions.

So here are my Fabulous Five:

  • Tere – Not only is she one of my best friends and one of the most wonderful people I know, she is also a fantastic writer. She is genuine and straightforward, and I love that about her.
  • Mim – Little Spoon is such a fun blog to read. Whether she’s sharing stories about her first year as a newlywed, or her love of all things theatrical, M. always maintains a wonderfully wry sense of humor in her writing.
  • Margarita – Another Cubanita and fellow Miamian, now living in New York. It’s not all “Sex & the City”-Manolo-wearing-Cosmo-sipping fabulosity like you see on TV. It’s so much better! And she’s so sarcastic, you can’t help but love her.
  • The Cotton Wife – I don’t know her personally, but I truly love this blog. She and her husband live on a working farm with their three (soon to be four!) daughters, and between her light-hearted writing and beautiful photos, you can totally imagine yourself out in the fields, harvesting soybeans, and hosting family cookouts.
  • Anilu – Not only is she amazingly talented and artistic, she’s also one of the coolest girls I know. I love to see her photos and scrap pages and jewelry designs… Total eye candy!

Honorable mentions– I know you’re only supposed to tag five blogs, but these are blogs that I love to read, that have already been tagged by others: Vane, Damaris, Margie, , Sasha, and of course,Ady!!

Oh crap!! I almost forgot I had to list my five addictions. This is pretty easy, actually…

  • My BF, Fanless – Okay, so this is not really so much an addiction as it is simply that he is my favorite person in the world, and I genuinely love just being with him. What?? Don’t you roll your eyes at me!!
  • Coffee – I must have coffee every weekday morning. Sometimes it’s regular American coffee with vanilla creamer, sometimes Cuban cafe con leche. But I must have it every day. Must!
  • Cherry Coke Zero – Almost as good as regular Cherry Coke, zero calories and no funky aftertaste.
  • Patterned paper – At first I was going to say scrapbooking. But the reality is that the reason I like scrapbooking is because I LOOOVE patterned paper. I don’t know what it is, but I genuinely obsess over it.
  • Tivo – Good Lord, do I love my Tivo! Right now I have 64 hours of stuff recorded that I need to watch at some point. But this is such a far cry from the days of VCR recording!

Alright, that’s it. Peace out, y

 

one small step for (cuban wo-)man… May 14, 2008

Filed under: Blogging — Lulu @ 6:37 pm

I love blog reading. I currently have 138 blog subscriptions on my Google Reader, and I like to think that I learn something from each and every one of them. Whether a new crafting technique, the name of a hot new designer, or the political story "of the now" (wink), blogs – for the most part – have proven to be pretty educational for me.

I was particularly grateful to find this post on Bilingual in the Boonies, about Yoani Sanchez, a Cuban blogger writing about life – REAL life – in Cuba. I had never heard of Yoani (however, my mom had; go figure!) but after coming across Carrie’s post I started reading her (Spanish-language) blog, Generación Y.*

Incredibly interesting and captivating. And much more raw and honest than the "everything’s great, please send medicine" emails my mom receives regularly from my cousin, Alex. And let’s be blunt — this is one brave, ballsy woman! Living in a country where political oppression and censorship is the norm, she’s openly writing about the real deal. And she does so without fear, without self-censorship, and without hesitation. In my book, THAT is bravery in its purest form.

Earlier this month, she was awarded a journalism award by the Spanish newspaper, El Pais. Unsurprisingly, the Cuban government (the same one that is claiming all this change and freedom and a "New World Order" – cough, cough) did not allow her to leave the island to receive said prize. Yeah, that’s a shocker.

To echo Carrie’s sentiments, I cheer for Yoani as well. I applaud her "chispa". And I, also, wish her safety.

* The blog’s name comes from the "Y Griega" thing experienced in Cuba over the last three decades. After the exile, women born in Cuba during the 70s and 80s, under Communist rule, with Russian educations and upbringings, were given what were thought of as "Russian-sounding" names that begin with "Y". Hence the abundance of 20- and 30-something Yaneisys, Yusimis, etc. I personally have known a Yaneisy, Yalornia, Yadelkis, Yaidet, Yanin, Yanette and two Yanelles. Hmm… if my parents hadn’t gotten out when they did would I be "Yalou"?? Something to ponder.

 

“dies croquetas, ocho pastelitos…” March 5, 2008

Filed under: Blogging,Food,Personal — Lulu @ 7:05 pm

On Saturday morning, MKH and I met up with Tere at Versailles Restaurant on Calle Ocho in Miami. For those not familiar with Versailles, it is considered the "Plymouth Rock" of the exile community in Miami. This is where political debates about the current state of "la isla" merge seamlessly with the lip-smacking yumminess of chickencroquetas and empanadas de carne.

The reason for our early morning tête-à-tête? The guys from Freshbooksextended an invitation to Tere to be a part of their Roadburn 2008 RV Tour. Saul and Eammon are one half of the four man Canadian crew traveling from FOWA in Miami, to SXSW in Austin. They decided they wanted to meet bloggers along the way and document the meetings on their site. Tere extended the invitation to MKH and myself, and we loved the idea.

We settled in at a long table in the back of the restaurant. The size of the table is relevant as it was quickly filled with baskets of tostada Cubana, pastelitos, croquetas, papas rellena, café con leche, and watermelon and sugarcane ("guarapo") juice. The look on the waiters face as he read the order back to us (in Spanish, no less) was priceless.

After a round of quick introductions, we settled into a conversation about the intricacies of Cuban cuisine, the state of current Cuban politics, and what it’s like to grow up as children of the exile. We also analyzed why Fidel Castro would find it necessary to have his name embroidered on his Adidas track suit. I reasoned that it could be the same idea behind microchipping your dog. You know – "If found, please return to…"

It was a great morning, with delicious food and lively conversation. And thank you, T., for inviting us to join you.

You can read more HERE and HERE.

(Photo courtesy of MKH.)