Saturday, August 09, 2008

An Abstract Collage


Not wanting to forget how to do a collage I thought I would do one. Here's today's result.
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Friday, August 08, 2008

Compare and Contrast


One is recent and the other is from last year. Do you think they were painted by the same artist?
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Coral Gables


Last week when I went to visit Juan in Miami, the traffic was a little frightening at first but afterwards everything worked out. Maria and I actually went to two malls, including the Dolphin and International Malls just off of Route 869, which is the same road to the Miami Airport. On our way there we saw the sign for Le Jeune exit which was the same road we needed to take to go to the Spanish Consulate there. So the next day we retraced our steps and found our way to the Consulate.

I was so pleasantly surprised to find that Coral Gables was a beautiful part of town. I had heard of Coral Gables but had no idea just how lovely it was. One major avenue is the Miracle Mile which is lined with palm trees and as it continues towards I-95 and out of Coral Gables it continues to be lined with old trees which make any neighborhood honored to have them. How fortunate to have had people plant them so long ago. Trees tend to live longer than humans and to have a full grown one offering us shade is such a privilege. Those same tree lined streets also offer the pedestrians lots of opportunities to go window shopping if nothing else. We also stepped into corner cafes and elegant buildings, so there is plenty to do. If want to buy a Guaybera, catch a play, drink rich coffee, go for a stroll, or buy European shoes, it is all there. There are also plenty of businesses to keep the area bustling. Very nice indeed.

Notice the name on the street sign, Miracle Mile and Ponce de Leon. Love it
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Monday, August 04, 2008

The Bucket List

What an interesting movie! Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson do a stupendous job portraying two men who have a limited time to live. Just like all of us. Their journey becomes a metaphor for us in how we should live our lives. It's beautiful. I saw it last night and again today. It made me laugh, cry, and reflect, too. Makes you want to mend fences wherever you can and to live a little, too. You know the Bible says," to have peace with all people as much as it is possible." Not easy, but possible. But like Morgan Freeman's character, Carter, says, "he has faith," and so do I.

Less than an hour after I wrote this blog, I read that Morgan Freeman had had an accident in Mississippi and that he is in serious condition. I hope he makes it and my prayers go out to him.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Don Samuel

This is how I really started my entry on Bucket List. What a good movie. I've always liked Jack Nicholson. The roles he has chosen exude manliness and for some reason he reminds me of my dad. A man's man. Dad had the same laugh, decidedness, and determination.

So yeah, Bucket List became a connection to my dad, one of the most intelligent, challenging, enigmatic persons in my life. Mom was a complicated open book and dad, a question mark. And I loved him. I loved him with all his failings, rusty nature, paint on his shoes, stained shirts and shorts for mowing the grass, and starched military uniforms for work, with sweat on his brow.

I have so many memories. I would cry when he would leave or get angry at him when I asked him a simple question and he would answer me in a foreign idiomatic phrase in my native tongue. I hadn't quite mastered my Spanish yet. Everything I remember about him is mostly intense. But with all the emotions, the questions, the incongruencies, I knew without a shadow of a doubt he loved me.

He showed me that love in ways that still surprise me. My first Easter dress that I can remember was in Norfolk Virginia. Maybe I can dig up a picture. Self conscious, lacking a full set of teeth, like many eight or nine year olds, that dress meant the world to me. You see Mom and Dad had a very rocky relationship, off and on all the time. Not more than six months earlier, we had been living in a project in Virginia Beach and he with his mother in Norfolk. For us it was the time of arroz con ketchup, rice with ketchup. If those were our meals, can you imagine our clothes? Mine at least were hand me downs. So to get a new dress, with matching hat and shiny shoes, was a big deal.

Later as I grew up, I wrote him letters while he was stationed in Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan. Letters he always answered. I can't remember what he said but because he loved me, I made a real effort to raise my grades. Later when he moved back with us he gave me rides to school while I was working on my BA and he on his Juris Doctor at the University of Puerto Rico where we graduated together. On those long rides to school full of back roads and side streets, while hanging his left arm out the window with a handkerchief drapped over his open hand he unrelentingly drilled me like a professional debater. I was trying to convert him to Christianity; (I know that sounds silly now) he was a Catholic and I a Jesus Freak. About twenty years later when he had his big encounter with Christ, I realized he had been a Christian for a long time, just a big messed up one. But God, allowed me to have those precious precious moments with him that I will never forget. Five minutes behind a veil to listen to him talk to God.

Those precious moments came about as a result of a shoot out. He had opened a check cashing business when one day when he was coming back from the bank two men assaulted him and my brother in law. My brother in law and the two assailants had bullet proof vests, but not my dad. A bullet caught him in his spine, and immediately left him an invalid. Papi, a man who had been a long distance runner and competed in the Masters was now fighting for his life. They told me I would not be allowed to see him, but I protested that my family had been allowed to see him and that I had been informed that the next nine hours were crucial. They called the supervisor, I explained and she ordered that I be dressed to go in. When I reached him he was very angry, stating "esta gente me esta tratando de matar," as if they were trying to kill him. I felt so helpless to ease his pain, I said, "Daddy, can I pray for you?" And he said, "No!, I have some needs here of this earth!" So I asked what I could do for him and he said, to move some things away from his arms, and I did. Since time was pressing on my five minute visit, I asked him again if I could pray. He said to go ahead. So I was praying a simply prayer, in fact I was about to wrap it up when he said, "No nena, siento una paz tan grande cuando estas rezando." So I asked him if he wanted to put all his cares at the feet of Jesus on the Cross and he shouted, "Yo quiero!" That was the moment. He began to pray fervantly and confess himself before God, both of us with streams of tears coming down our faces. I was asked to leave, my five minutes were up, but he was still talking to God when I left. He did not die that night, but about five months later after he reconciled with all of those who would accept him.

So yes, my Dad, was and is a pivotal person in my life. A man of depth. I am still unraveling the enigma but now with understanding.

Juan take a Look

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