Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Collage of Utuado


Utuado is so diverse and complex with the mixture of its Spanish heritage so evident in its architecture and then the American influence in business. To boot there is El sabor Puertorrique~no. It was fun but pardon my car pictures somewhat distorted by the downpour. Wavy columns are just a figment of your imagination.
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Just four Pictures

How can four pictures embody a town? They just can't, but when using Picasa you can only post four pictures at a time so I had to limit myself to four. What a struggle between beauty and character. The first thing you see as you are about to enter town is a sign that says, Oremos por Puerto Rico (Let us pray for Puerto Rico). It sets the tone for a people calling out to God for his deliverance of Puerto Rico with it grave problems of crime, drugs, murders, etc. Dios nos oiga. God hear us. Then in town there is the town hall or alcaldia, and two lovely churches, the Catholic one with the patron saint of Miguel Arcangel (Michael the Archangel) and then the evangelical church, Church of the Rock. Obviously two strong institutions serving the Lord in one town. How blessed they are. God bless Utuado. Later I will put up more pictures, but I didn't want to down play the spiritual side of this lovely typical town.
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The Road to Utuado

My sister, mom, and I decided to go to Arecibo today. Once, there we went to eat at the familiar restaurant which serves the most reasonable yet delicious seafood in town, Picholo's which is real close to the Arecibo Lighthouse. Anyway, after the great lunch we were headed back to San Juan via Naranjito, but being who we are, we changed our minds and instead decided to go to Utuado. What a great idea! We went up the mountains using State Road 10 which is a very comfortable and safe highway to the center of the island. The views were spectacular, as we crossed through El Bosque Rio Abajo with its lush vegetation on both sides and as the road sliced through karst mountains. Bello. We went through the lovely town of Utuado and then down to see El Lago Dos Bocas (Lake Two Mouths). Just gorgeous. It was so much worth the ride. It brings a smile to my face just to remember it. I took a movie of part of it and I will try to embed it on the website later.
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Flower of the Day

It's a hydrangea. And though we do have them here in Puerto Rico, I haven't seen any lately. I just felt like painting one and looked one up online. Carol Cooper told us to paint with exhuberant colors. It may not look that way in the picture but in reality there are some contrasts that just don't pick up with my camera for some reason. In fact I started noticing that lately that my paintings are a bit brighter than they show with my camera. I've refrained from using the flash on them because they pale and if I scan them the same thing seems to happen. So imagine them to be a shade deeper and richer than they show. Any suggestions?
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Friday, July 18, 2008


After enjoying the breeze at Boca de Cangrejos, My sister called to say she, her daughter, and husband wanted us to join them for lunch at Plaza Las Americas. So we did. We walked around I'd say a sixth of Plaza, seeing a health exhibition and stopping in at the different booths, eating comida criolla, and cooling off from the smothering heat outside. Anyway, on the second floor we could have gone to an Andy Warhol exhibit, but it was going to cost us and we just weren't in the mood. So we called it a day, but not without getting our pictures taken on a curious collage, painting, mosaic (whatever it was) on the floor of some arroz con habichuelas coloradas. Everybody stood on a different part of the plate making for a real neat picture I thought. Later they had me rub the tummy of a Buddha, you know I don't believe in that, but it made for a fun picture. So that's what we did today. Silver Hair included.
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A Funny Thing Happened on my Way to Old San Juan

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So here we were on our way to Old San Juan via the bank. I had to pay Cuchi for her caretaking duties and was going to pass by the mini bank. If you know La Avenida Isla Verde you have to head to Pine Grove and the Ritz Carlton in order to turn around and get on the other side of the street where the RG Bank is at. So that was what I was doing, when I said, "what the heck, a couple of minutes of a side trip up to Boca de Cangregos (literally means Mouth of Crabs)where we can see the ocean, aquamarine, etc, will not put us too out of our way." Then Cuchi said she would treat us to lunch, but mom and I had just had a late breakfast, but I knew she was hungry. So I said I knew a place with good food(Donde Olga) but I wanted to show her a real pretty spot she could later bring her husband and kids. So we went by The Reef, though we actually didn't stop there. Instead we stopped at the board walk; she bought her "pollo al pincho" (chicken sheskebob) and I pulled out my chairs from the trunk and we sat down to see the ocean. We never got to Donde Olga. We had pina coladas, Cuchi's treat, and I took plenty of pictures and we just enjoyed the cool breeze and the beautiful scenery for over an hour! Never making it to Old San Juan, caramba! Manana sera otro dia. (Tomorrow's another day.) Then Doris called. See next entry.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What I am working on


Felt like painting today. So this is what I am working on. After I finished the five flowers, I thought they looked bored. How silly if you consider the beautiful world that surrounds them. Reminds me of my students, living in such a rich moment in their lives, and needing so much technology because if they don't have it they'll be bored. Silly, isn't it?

Then Palma Sola, is just that. One Palm.

Finally, it's that big palm tree with it fronds cast against the big blue sky. I love looking up and seeing the blue peak through the gaps in each frond, also as they crisscross over each other,always changing as the wind blows. I love how creative God is. Ever changing in his creation. His mercies are new each morning, every moment. I'm still working on the last one, but it is pretty advanced, so I thought I would share. So that's it.
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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Taking Care of an Elderly Parent 24/7

Not a good idea, especially if you want to maintain your sanity. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom tons, but this has been draining. Being able to write about it, is therapeutic. As an educator, I always look at things and ask myself, what have I learned? So here are some of the things that come to mind.

You need a boatload of patience, especially if you are caring for an Alzheimer's patient. Patient, are they named patient because they need to be or are they misnamed? I think the nurses or caretakers should be named patient, because they need to have it. Thank God I deal with students daily, and with the way kids are now a days, it seems I have a little bit of it, but it seems I need more.

Next you need to take a nap when you can. Especially here in the tropics. Naps refreshen you.

You need to have outside help during the week and I do for four hours daily. If you are doing this alone, you need more help.

You need to set some boundaries and try to keep them. My mistake is not having someone give me a break on Sundays. I wanted to go to church today, and wasn't able to make it happen. Thank God for worship online, but there is nothing like actually being there, really. Since I don't live here, full time, it's been a month of caring and I am worn out, mostly emotionally. That is why I am painting, and writing so much. A little later I plan to read. So take time for yourself regardless.

You have to be flexible... even about reality. Elderly people have feelings yet they make mistakes or have accidents and they do not want to lose their dignity. They sometimes don't want to admit the truth of what is happening to them or about an accident they had because they are losing control. Remember they have feelings. Today, I had to work through something incredibly difficult, which I thought when it happened, "this is minor", and then my mom made a mountain out of a mole hill. Oh my God. She was actually having a meltdown. I can't go into details, but it was one of the most trying moments yet. So yeah, be flexible.

Integrate fun into your schedule, including games, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, newspapers, riddles, songs, music, etc. It will make time go faster and it will be fun, and release stress, too.

Ask them about things in the past you might be interested in. Remember they will not be around forever.

So that is what I have learned so far and I am sure there is more to learn. I need to take a nap, so see ya.

Drive by Picture


I was going to title this Drive by Shooting, but thought that was a little controversial. Then I thought, Don't try this at Home, but then I realized this picture was taken when I was a passenger, not while I was driving (something I am ashamed to admit I have done many times). In this case I was a passenger with little time and a photographer making nervous mistakes. Almost losing the moment. The moment was at an intersection in Humacao, Puerto Rico where Walmart is at on one side and with el barrio Junquito on the other.

Junquito seems to be a community which has a lot of pride and faith. It was so refreshing to see the positive messages about its community, the island, and the world and its beauty, and about taking care of it inherently in painting the mural itself. The painting of Christ had a quote which in English means, "I am the light of the world, and he who follows me will never walk in darkness." If you click on the picture you will see it more clearly.

This eastern part of the island is just so beautiful, it just makes you want to buy a piece of land there. I guess that is why so many people have bought in that area. It's no coincidence. The ocean, the mountains, the greens, the blue sky, the beach, the palm trees. It all calls you to relax. I was so fortunate to be that side of the island.
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Maunabo Palms

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