Monday, April 30, 2012

Stormy Weather....

Yes, it's that time of the year...or almost that time. It's been raining in Miami for the last three days!!! Can't see the small islands on the bay, the skyline of Miami Beach or, sometimes, the building next door. Uugghh!! It is so depressing....I do hope this is not a preview of things to come, hurricane season is a month away, remember?

It's been pouring for most of the day so far. The wind is whipping white caps on the water of Biscayne Bay. I mean, wind, as in strong enough to push my Adirondacks chairs around in my balcony, and those are not light pieces. My plants are getting a well deserved soak, but the wind is not really been nice for my orchids....really! Rain pelts the windows and the AC is only adding to the misery: why does it kick in? It is not very hot out there.....but then, this is Florida. Someone called this rain: liquid sunshine yesterday!!

Nothing and no one is moving out there, deserted streets here on our small island. Nobody pushing strollers in the park or sitting outside for lunch. I am sure it's not finished, since clouds keep rolling in from the sea. Looks sad...but it's good for the grass, the plants.  Housebound for the last few days with a major cold, this has done nothing to lift my spirits.....well, that is not true. It has showed me that I cannot be missing much. Only ducks and fish could be having fun these days!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

World Book Night, Shakespeare and Birthdays!

It was a glorious day on my birthday this year. Do not think I ever told you, but I share the famous bard's birthday: April 23rd!!! It is definitely a plus when talking about birthdays and don't want to talk about age......why do that when we can discuss Richard III or Romeo and Juliet or Midsummer's Night's Dream...right? It has served me well and I have bragged about this for years.

This year, there was another reason to brag....and I will brag about this for years as well. On Monday April 23rd, 2012  we celebrated WORLD BOOK NIGHT US. What is that some of you will ask? well, the States, the UK, Ireland and Germany were involved in a most wonderful event. Thousands upon thousands of volunteers (called givers) went out into their communities and gave away free books! Yes, books! In this age of smartphones, tablets, texting and twitter, people received actual, printed, hold them in your hands books.

It worked this way. Stated last year in the UK and Ireland, publishers and writers decided to go out into their communities and promote the art of reading by giving away free books. In this way, illiteracy was also targeted and many people just felt great about the exercise. It was such a success, that this year it was expanded to include the US and Germany, and some day, it will be worldwide!! Not bad.....

Through a friend that lives in the Netherlands, I heard about the event taking place in the States and that it would be on Shakespeare's...(and my)....birthday. Had to was a must! So I went online, researched and applied and was chosen!!! A list of books was sent to me and I chose The Kite Runner. With the war in Afghanistan raging, people should know more about the country.....

The week before the event I picked up my books at The Bookstore in the Grove. This is an independently owned bookstore that absolutely correspond to the idea of this event: the neighborhood working together to promote reading, a place for people to meet. I got to explain to a group of neighborhood writers what was the event about and why was it important. What an experience! 

On our birthday...Shakespeare will forgive me if I include him in this.....I went into my neighborhood: Brickell Key (Miami, FL). This small man-made island is located at the mouth of the Miami River and has residents from all over the world. It was a perfect place. Met parents out on a stroll with their children, young adults with their smartphones, older couples, a couple of non-English speakers, people coming in and out of the grocery store, the dry cleaning, the juice bar. Loved it!!

It absolutely makes my head spin to think that there were 25,000 of us, in 6,000 cities and towns across the country giving away half a million books! Next year, I will do it again...maybe expand my range. Would love to see if this can be organized in Curaçao or Panama. All possibilities. This will keep me busy for months!

Friday, April 6, 2012

De-Clutter Revised.......

Yes, back to my favorite theme. This week, as I unpack and found not enough space in our new apartment for all my stuff, one clear thought came into my mind. I will not buy anything new and I will accept NO MORE gifts of things I need to pack and unpack! I have enough tea-sets, mugs, cups and saucers, dishes....etc... to give away or make two families happy. I can give coffee mornings for 12 or more, serve dinner for 12, entertain my whole family without having to resort to paper plates (God forbid!!) and have people over for drinks and serve my munchies in the nicest dishes. Enough!

I know this is not really de-cluttering, but I will assume it is. If you get no more stuff, you don't need a bigger place, you don't fret about things getting lost or broken during your next move.......De-cluttering used to be an excuse to get more, accumulating more stuff. Until my last move, I was in the don't buy unless you are replacing, mode. Not anymore, now, I just don't want to replace! It's a decision that came very natural this it!

De-cluttering will mean, from now on, not getting anything I have to keep. I will buy only what can be used and dispose of after a period of time. I will get only what I can discard or give away, things like clothes, sheets and towels, books. Or things that get used up like make-up, perfume, toiletries. This is a real breakthrough!

There are things I will be carrying with me, I know. My photo albums, my picture frames, my paintings, my journals, things my children made for me through the years.....I am a mother, after all, and these are part of my life forever. Now, everything they left with me, to store or take care of, that needs to go. They are adults and have lives of their own. They should start getting their clutter in their homes! It's the way life works. This feel great!!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Move still going on!!!

Amazing...We moved stuff until Saturday afternoon. Boxes are still everywhere because the kitchen cabinets have NO doors.......AND the new stove is not here, the new microwave has not been installed. Lights that do not switch on, electric outlets that do not work and other small annoyances. In the meantime, life continues.....there is laundry to do and meals to cook. Really! I have to gather all my wits about me not to scream!!!

Of course the estate agent says all would have been done, if only we would have given them more time. We wanted the apartment by the last week of the month......the contractor was not able to finish everything. Since excuses were invented, nobody takes responsibility...frustrating! Such is life, I know. Miami has been more than annoying the years we have lived here. A lot of people that have no work ethics, a lot of mañanas, a lot of nonsense.

I expected this in other countries and have been pleasantly surprised. In the States I expected efficiency and I have been disappointed. What to do. Let's do the best we can and wait for things to get done......Will keep you posted.