Friday, June 30, 2006

Viernes Cultural...

...means Cultural Friday. We had a great time with our friends tonight. Viernes Cultural is held 1 Friday night each month on 8th Street (aka Calle Ocho). Artists and artisans show off their stuff, and more expensive art galleries open their doors.

We started out the evening at Casa Panza, where we enjoyed Sangria and Tapas. Here's a photo I took (trying to take the kind of cool pictures my niece Natalie takes) of the Flamenco dancers.

Later on Jose, Laura and Teresa got into the action (Jose is the one in pink shirt.. Boricua with Gallego flare).

It's nice to see that you can still have a good time in Miami. By that I mean that regular people like us can have a good time. Culture and the arts are infiltrating the smut and shallowness, slowly overcoming the plasticity that started back in the 80's. It seems like Miami may be slowly forming it's own identity. I'm not sure anyone has figured out what that identity is, but I never believed that Miami Vice, South Beach, or Cubans formed that identity (well maybe Cubans...). It's good that Miami is growing up, however slow the process. I hope it continues.

Walking down 8th, we passed the place where
Tuti and Chu (my grandfathers)
would play dominoes from time to time back
in the 70's. I snapped this picture
of El Escudo Cubano painted on the wall there.
The place looks different than what I remember
seeing as a kid.

The best part of the evening though was hanging out with friends.

I have a busy day tomorrow; a date with Racky. We're going to watch Over The Hedge, go to McDonalds, and play games (table hockey at Flippers). She has it all planned out. Just Papi and Racky... I couldn't ask for a better weekend.

Monday, June 26, 2006


This is Zion. Zion is the son of Zeus and Danielle. Zion and his mom and dad came by for a visit, and we had a great time!

It's amazing how time passes. Zeus and I met when he was about 15 years old. Now, he's got his own rugrat. I've seen Zeus go through a lot of stuff over the years, so it's always good to see someone who's been through so much receive a blessing like this.

I haven't posted for a while, but hope to get into more of a routine.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Friday

To take us into the weekend, an inspirational quote from one of our holy church fathers:

"We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old." - Martin Luther

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3

I was reading some Manning today, and came across this verse. I find it funny how people get caught up in all the negative aspects of the American evangelical church, and lose sight of the soundness of the Word of God. I was thinking aobut how St. Paul wrote these words. Not Oprah, or Dr. Phil; St. Paul, former Christian killer, conservative Jew. A Roman citizen who lived over 2,000 years ago. A "Bible guy".

Times have changed, but we are not more enlightened now than we were in history.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Why I started this blog...

The months of April and May were extremely eventful. The kind of stuff that happened are those that wake you out of the doldrom of everyday life. The reason I started this blog was to capture the thoughts of the moment in journal form; to put into print all those things that one experiences and share them with others. So on June 5th, I started this blog when I read my Chilean cousin's blog, and said, 'That does it! From now on, I'm going to write down every experience I have that prompts me to introspective thought, or that challenges the way I think.

Well, since I started this blog, nothing's really happened (Sorry Patty that my life wasn't interesting enough this week to blog about!!!)

Anyway, here in a nutshell is what went on in April and May.

First, I went to see The Lost City the new film by Andy Garcia. The movie is set in Havana, Cuba at the birth of Fidel's revolution. I thought the film was awesome, because it was very honest and truthful in telling a story of a Cuban family and what that opportunistic self-serving prick did to destroy it, as he did to so many families. Basically the movie inspired me to remember the sacrifices that our family made to get out of that mad-house before the stuff really hit the fan. Since then the movie has sparked a lot of conversation among friends and family. Mr. Garcia made a film that managed to tick-off people on both sides, so I guess that means that there was a lot of truth in it.

Second, I got to communicate with a REAL-LIFE HOLLYWOOD ACTOR (yes Patty! This part's for you!)

Actually, I was able to get in touch with Mr. Victor Rivas, who played one of the characters in the film. Mr. Rivas has been in several films, and I always thought he looked Cuban. When I saw him in this film and read his bio, I found his website and wrote to him, just to let him know I appreciated the film (which was a labor of love considering how little money was spent on the film, which also starred Dustin Hoffman and Bill Murray, who don't come cheap I imagine). To my surprise, Mr. Rivas was a gentleman and wrote back, basically thanking me for my kind words and telling me that the movie was getting hammered by the critics, mostly for the portrayal of Che Guevara in the film (which in my opinion, Mr. Garcia held back. They made Che look like the murderer that he was, but again, brilliantly stayed away from making the movie too one-sided.) So that was cool to hear back from a Hollywood guy.

Then, probably the most emotional part of those 2 months occurred... Fefe, one of my aunts, passed away. Fefe (Josefa) was my grandmother's sister, and she was one of the sweetest, tender-hearted people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Fefe went to join her husband Milagros who had passed around 1 month prior. It was an amazing thing to be there at the funeral with my family, seeing old photos of Fefe and Milagros, and the rest of the extended family throughout the years. At the cemetery, one final service was held in the mausoleum, where many of our relatives are buried together. Being there and recalling the amazing lives of these people, including Joseito, Angie (who at her young age brought so much inspiration, despite her early death) Milagros, Orlando, now Fefe, and of course the matriarch, Abuela, was an experience that I won't soon forget. When the service was over and Fefe was laid to rest, we walked out. My mother approached me to introduce me to a cute little old lady, who was really happy to see me. I wasn't sure why she was so happy, until my mother later explained that the lady always remembers my date of birth, because that was the day that she got her first job here in the USA! I thought that was cool.

Later that day, the family (the ones who attended the funeral that day) got together for lunch at Versailles Cuban Restaurant. And I don't mean my parents, sisters, and my wife. I mean tia-abuelas, cousins, aunts, uncles... IT WAS AWESOME! Awesome, because we so rarely get to spend time with the family.

The following weekend, we went into Cuban-overdrive, when we attended Cuba Nostalgia, a yearly event that occurs the weekend of May 20th, with all things Cuba BC (or BP, before prick). We had a great time, experiencing the nostalgia of a place I've only known through what my parents and grand-parents have told me. We found some great art, music and literature. We also found out that there are many organizations out there, doing there best to not let any of us forget where we came from.

One weekend later, we went on a week-long vacation at Anna Maria Island (my favorite Florida beach location) with my parents and had a great time. Yeah, I had to do some work while I was there, but it was a nice change of pace from Miami. My dad took the picture you see above, of me and Racky Kayaking into the sunset. Soon after this picture was taken, I got to chase some dolphins on the kayak!

When I start the blog? Nothing. But, that's what happened pre-blog. Right now, I'm tired and need to go to bed.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Good morning

"The places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned". - Sarah Groves

Have a blessed day.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


So I finally started my blog... let's see where this goes. Big thanks to my Chilean prima for giving me the inspiration to get it going.