Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One more to go...


The white elephant gift. Got a whole stocking full o stuff for $2.49, including the stocking. My favorite part, releasing a brown ceramic cat from the Salvation Army pound.


Everyone needs some puppet scripts to act out bible verses.


Holidays down here are fun. That's right fun. Never thought I'd say that.

Working in restaurants and non-corporate places you quickly find that they have good events where people laugh, enjoy food, wine and general randomness.

There is no shortage of that down here and owners generously shut down their operations to do it up and celebrate. I'm always surprised when tourists get peeved when things are shut down while town's staff is out cavorting. I think cause we know how to do it right.

Appreciation is all I'm feeling right now. The gatherings and festivities just seem to echo it in all kinds different ways.

I love that when I asked my boss if we could have a Santa Pinata, she decided to make one and sent a picture of her in mid-process.

I love that I have met people I can talk and laugh with that actually understand me and vice versa. I have sat and listened to some of the funniest, weirdest stories in the last year that I can't seem to get enough of.

I love that I can go to my new local yoga place and get to take a class from my old roommate. Where I now open my chakras, I used to drink rum and have great conversations with an artist who first introduced me to watercolors.

I love that I can be invited to go to two friends book openings and enjoy art basel goodness in one month with my super talented artist friends.

I love that my own art is opening up as I learn to open myself up to all the good stuff life has to offer.

Indeed, its been a very good year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Khristmas in the Keys


"Honey, Do you think we could swim to Stock Island? It looks simply magical..."


These inflatable things are all over town and they really creep me out mostly because all of the characters are deflated and dead on front lawns in the daytime. It looks like a giant cartoon crime scene every time I see them.

This is by far the best one I've seen.


Santa pooping in an outhouse.



There's one thing that's more funny than the Monroe county Sheriff car backed up to it. (That thing is going nowhere)

To the right of Santa is an inflatable Jesus manger scene. So basically, you've got Santa pooping right next to the birth of Jesus. Gotta love Khristmas in the Keys.

The epic battle rages on. Score one for Santa.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Darling Time : Art Basel



Art Basel with the Darlings. = Mucho fun + Lots o Art.

It was perfect timing to get out of town. My bike started making the worst squealing and creaking noises as I rode it around on my first day off. It sounded how I felt. My body was beat after a full week of work and wall of wind tours everyday. I needed some serious down time.

What to do??? Art Basel.

Driving has become sort of a strange thing to me now. I realized after getting a moving violation ticket, I haven't done it in a while. About 8 months to be exact. I'm not sure I really like it much anymore.

My coffee addiction finally got the best of me when I saw a Starbucks in Key Largo and made an illegal U-turn. If it helps my case any, I also had to pee. Figured I'd kill two birds with one stone but alas, the State Trooper was not amused. Especially when I told him about the pee.

Oh well, I think I got the best side of him that day as I'm pretty sure I passed him further down in Miami yelling at a fellow state trooper on the side of a highway. They were next to a bunch of ladies boots that looked like they fell off the back of a truck. I had to concentrate hard not to get distracted by all the suede boots strewn across the road.

Who knew driving took so much effort?

Jim and Tina were part of a group that graffitied an abandoned Subway tunnel for two days. It was a great show and this was one of my favorites from it. So crazy beautiful. I looked closer at it yesterday and I think she's got horseshoe crab legs!


Jim next to a giant cock.


I asked him to pose. He's good at it.


Teeny getting some props from the crowd.


When this dude showed up I tried to snap a quick pic but the flash went off.



I guess he noticed cause he came straight over and asked me if I got a good shot. I told him no and I needed a close-up. This is what I got. Creepy!


Old D-town friends checking out some crazy cool art at the Scope show.


Warehouse painting.


Jim and crew carrying supplies.


This building made me nauseous. But I love it.



All in all a great time.

Some random things seen in Miami in a day and a half:

Number One:
Seeing a car almost jump a curb after a collision and come super close to slamming into our outdoor dining patio while we were having lunch. A lady near the curb was talking on her cell and I thought it was going to kill her. She never flinched and she never once got off her cell.

Number Two:
Getting hit on by a guy in an SUV while waiting outside the motel for my friends before we all headed out. I blame my awesome Peruvian legwarmers.

Don't know what disturbed me more...That I got a drive-by pick up at a motel (a.k.a he thought I was a hooker) or that the guy originally thought I was wearing two casts and decided to come over. Who picks up a girl that is semi-immobilized?

Or number three which is utterly disturbing... Picking up a hooker with two casts. Aye Carumba, Miami! Gracias por un tiempo loco!

Onward to the next crazy event - the Santiagos Bodega Christmas Party.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gobble Gobble



Happy Turkey Day!

(Whoops! Blocked out the other dude)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Manatee Toss

I think I rode a manatee today.

My first tour group this morning started to ask about the possibility of encountering alligators. Something that gets asked a lot.

I quickly waved them off saying everything would be ok, not to worry and then not a minute later it happened.

While looking back at the group to make sure they were ok, I suddenly ran aground in the flats. At least I thought it was ground. Until it started thrashing.

Water blew up all around me and I proceeded to get bucked like I was riding a bull in a kayak. Gripped the sides of the kayak in order to avoid being launched and let out a good ole healthy scream in the process.

The kayak finally settled into its original position, the culprit had disappeared and the natural response for a group of first time kayakers is of course: "WHAT WAS THAT?!?"

"I have no idea!" I responded in partial shock and then just started to bust up laughing at how ridiculous the whole thing was.

It took a few minutes for me to stop the laughing and compose myself enough to ask: "Well...Are you ready to head out?"





















Monday, November 21, 2011

Restaurant Life - Take Two.

Oh Green Parrot. Why does having one beer feel like you've drank a case the next morning? Add the Parrot to the energy/time vortex list growing on this island.

Its hard not to get a drink with the Boyz after work. Your choices for an after work aperitif are Don's, Bottle Cap or Green Parrot. Oh boy.

One beer you say. One soon leads to three especially after they both start sharing funny sex stories like a ping pong match with you sitting in between. Listening and laughing so hard I was crying in my beer. Is it possible to be amazed and horrified all at the same time? Yes.

As your co-worker on the left, keeps suggesting you should go out with the one on your right, you eventually have to share that you almost married a guy just like him. Surprise!

Hugs good-bye and leaving before it gets past 2am - good idea. Waking up with an energy hangover the next day that only a bike ride and a Sandy's sandwich can help cure. Oh Parrot P-rot, No more after work drinks for me for a while.

I will say, I am finding creative ways to integrate my restaurant outings though.

Like last night whenever the kitchen staff forgot to garnish something, I'd shake the plate and in a booming voice asked them to "make it rain, MAKE IT RAIN!". I'll keep that one. Thanks Bare Assets!





Sunday, November 20, 2011

Progress



Laughing while painting.
Always good.

You know what else makes me laugh?
Friending my Shaman on Facebook.

Got a Lama on speed dial too.
Gotta love spirituality in tech times.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

4 hours of paddling does the trick.



2 hour kayak tour +

2 hour paddleboard tour +

5 manatee patiently waiting for their turn to suck on a hose =

Sweet Sanity.


Thank you little baby Jesus for the water job cause it paddled out the crazy I saw last night. Such a weird evening fo' sure.

Now, to enjoy the much needed water buzz. Love how that works.




Tonight's thought is...



I wonder if waiting tables is anything like administering drugs in a psych ward?

When crazy comes out to play, it can be a bit jarring. And your job, if you choose to accept it, becomes to get them sedated as quickly as possible so they don't fling any poo your way.

There are two things that I find very grounding in this situation.

One: if you are this wound up on vacation - that's punishment enough.

Two: is having a strong feeling that the corporate structure as we know it in this country is quickly falling apart and they will soon get to feel what it's like to live in a service industry.

Since we don't produce much in this country anymore, I figure America is eventually gonna be one big friggin' Disneyland to foreigners.

Let me share a little secret...While crazy is coming out, most of the time I am picturing you miming "Would you like a cappuccino?" in Chinese.

For the most part, people are genuinely kind and good. Great people in fact that some days it can redeem your faith in humanity and you can feel the oneness. You get the sweet, syrupy over flowing just happy to be alive feeling. That's the good stuff.

And the others...well... it makes you wonder if people in this country aren't just losing their shit. It feels like a full moon... with a side of crack.

Leaving work tonight I get a friendly wave from the guy in Bahama Village I always pass on my way to work. He usually just smiles with a friendly wave and a big ole "HI!!" welcoming me into the neighborhood.

Tonight I'm grateful I get the gift of seeing him on the flip side.

"Don't worry! No one's gonna hurt you here. That's what we're here for!" he says with his familiar smile and wave that I love to see. I quickly smile, wave back and say "THANKS!".

Grateful for the kindness and the happiness which overflows from deep in his core.

Not five minutes later, I encounter a whole different two-some. One that wants to pick a fight as I try to quickly go around them while not disturbing their walking path.

Keep on keeping on, I say. I choose to let crazy go and enjoy the syrupy people.

Ah, the holidays are upon us...I better get my meds tray ready.






Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11



I've been having some crazy-ass dreams. Many of which have been coming true faster than ever before.

I'm really looking forward to when Johnny Depp shows up in Key West.

Eleven is a number of mastery. Sometime last year I had this elevator dream where there was a choice of two buttons to push - 10 or 11.

I thought of pushing 10 but for some reason at the last minute I chose 11 and as soon as I did, the elevator shot up like a rocket. I flew up to the ceiling and as I looked down at all the people in the elevator, they started screaming at me to make it stop. To their credit, the floor was twisting and starting to drop out.

So I hit 10. The elevator slowed down and suddenly I was back in an office job, sitting in a cubicle at a building that was falling apart. Think of that scene in Inception where they are walking down the beach and the skyscrapers are literally crumbling into the ocean.

All I could think of is - "How in the hell did I end up back here?"

It didn't matter much, because it wasn't going to be around much longer as I sat watching the walls crumble down around me. I wasn't scared. I was relieved.

Pretty much spells out the differences between 2010 and 2011 for me. In particular, my attempts to do things in an old way that never really worked.

So today is a day that everyone down here is getting married. They think its lucky. But does it really matter what day you choose to get married on? The real luck is finding someone you actually want to be with and enjoy.

A lady last week at the restaurant had just gotten married and said she did so in the most beautiful red dress. As she showed me a picture she explained she's from India and over there you only where white to a funeral. Quite an interesting take on weddings in the U.S. huh?

It was lovely. Probably the most beautiful wedding dress I'd ever seen and it complimented her perfectly. She actually looked like her in it.

I'd totally get married in a red dress. But right now I'm happy the weather's turned cold and I get to wear my Peruvian baby alpaca legwarmers. Woot Woot!




Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Benefit








A couple round of benefit fundraisers to help support friends health. Something I love about this place is how people down here can have a good time, open their wallets to help their fellow Key Westers.

I wonder why we still don't have universal healthcare. If people knew how good it feels to come together as a community and support their peeps in their time of need, maybe it would finally pass.

What a random day. A much needed massage, benefit fundraiser, watching a cook-off complete with what looked like a poop pie, a couple glasses of wine and feeling like I left my body for a bit.

I haven't seen my friend in a while and his delicate state shocks me. I'm used to grabbing a bunch of him when coming in for a hug, but now I feel his bones. I know he's ok, when I hear his cackle and see that familiar smile but its still hard.

As I head out and say goodbye, I ask him if he needs anything. "I need more of you" he says. So I hold his hand, hug and kiss him and tell him I love him.

I ask him if he's going to get some help but know he's going to do what he wants. He's got that famous Taurean stubbornness that we both share.

We chat about astrology and I tell him that Jupiter is in our sign and doesn't he know that its our year this year? "This is our year!" I declare and get the hearty cackle I love in return.

I feel the emotion well up and know I need to leave before he can see the tears. I haven't felt this way since I saw my grandma right before she passed and it suddenly hits me like a brick. Trying to contain it is futile because once it starts, its hard to stop. I think I'm doing a good job until it eventually spills out onto the restaurant counter surprising the waitress who asks me with concern if I'd like something stronger than water.

I smile through the tears and tell her I bought one of her dresses recently and its very pretty. She tells me what she's wearing is the latest and greatest. I've been wanting to compliment her on her clothing line but didn't expect to this way.There's no point in hiding how I actually feel, I've never been able to when the emotion is that strong.

It settles down a bit. I feel it out and then just hope I have some more time to let my friend know how much I love him and how special he is.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Isn't a 'Hello Hug' enough?

You really don't expect a guy to reach out and yank the zipper on your shorts while you're buying body lotion.

A hello crotch grab is a little much when patronizing a local store, even for this week.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cruiser Research


Doing a little visual research before work and I always love seeing my favorite happy little bench.



Really glad to see this house is still being maintained in the same spirit of its original owner. Gotta love a little crazy!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Insanity / Sanity

Holy work exhaustion, Batman.

A couple of restaurant staff down and I become a full-time waitress for a stint. I remember how this went when I first got down here and it wasn't pretty. At least this time I know how to relieve it.

The job compilation I have set up is a delicate balance. Too much of one thing and the whole system can zap me. I consider it my work souffle and its quite a sight when it collapses.

I have been searching for my brain after the week's last restaurant shift on Wednesday. Its been a happy daze. You know you're too tired when the things you think in your head start bleeding through to your mouth and you just don't give a crap. It can be kinda freeing and definitely entertaining.

For example: This week a guy trying to be funny while asking for random things during my time waiting on him and his bachelor party gave me an open invite to enjoy my exhaustion. After finally claiming he was from the "Land of Oscar Meyer", I had no choice but to ask him if he had a little wiener. Something else discovered this week is you can say just about anything with a mischievous giggle and a smile.

Solutions come out of nowhere. Like wearing a wetsuit on my bike after 5 days straight of rain. I thought it a bold fashion statement and after thinking of chaffing, I instead I settled on bikini bottoms and boat shorts while riding to and from work in order to avoid having wet swamp ass. This is the only time I truly miss my car.

My brain turns off after three restaurant shifts in a row and it must of been how I ended up at Don's place with the staff. Twice.

If you do this kind of work full-time, kudos Sir, cause that's some hard livin'. You have to release it somewhere which I begin to realize as time quickly ticks away while having a beer or two at Don's. For some reason there is a time vortex there which is slightly freakish and absolutely frightening.

Just like Cinderella's pumpkin turning hour, the bewitching hour at Don's is 2am and it consists of service industry staff getting off work and ready to explode in all its glorious forms.

Yes, that man who served you snapper demurely earlier this evening has now morphed into a Mad Max thunderdome extra booming at the top of his lungs that he is the cornhole king. I hope you enjoyed your evening - his is just getting started.

Its always good to mix it up a bit and see how the other half lives but I believe I've had my fill of Don's for a while. This has now become my benchmark for knowing I've had one too many restaurant shifts. Getting dragged to Bare Assets and being asked to throw a wad of cash at a stripper is a further confirmation of that.

My restaurant peeps are some funny people and I love them to death. I haven't laughed as hard as I did at Don's in a while which was awesome and worth the exhaustion I now feel.

I have one more week of this schedule and boy howdy can I see the light at the end of the tunnel. A tunnel that includes Fantasy Fest so it should be an interesting ride. Mostly I want and need to get back to the creative projects I had to shelve for a little bit. It's all good I'm getting more ideas and losing more filters. All to benefit the true creative process which the regular jobs are a definitely a part of.

But alas, this craziness has got to change soon because when you respond laughing with "I feel dead inside" after a co-worker asks you how you are, that is probably not too healthy. At least that's what Oprah tells me.

As tired as I am, I pray for more water days. On Thursday, a nice couple from Brazil, a paddleboard tour and a change of scenery - I almost felt almost human again. The restaurant in all its wonderful forms is insanity and water is my sanity.

Good thing I live a block from the beach.








Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lock and Load

September was a busy one. How is it that 2011 is almost over???

Lots o stuff been going on. What you ask? Well....


20 year high school reunion with the Catholic high school girls.


There was wine.


Midwest meals. Soul food restaurant owned by an old back up singer for Ike and Tina Turner. Fried catfish and chicken anyone? It was gooooood.


A visit to the St Louis botanical gardens. This is the climatron and I used to want to live in it.


I realized after walking through it looks just like Key West.


The best part of the gardens is feeding the Koi fish in the Japanese garden. Man have they grown! They still stick their mouths open for you to feed them.

I love them!


These are the bastard ducks that reached into the fishes mouths to get the food. It felt like a carnival game to try to drop the food directly into the Koi mouths. I got a few direct hits.


Fun with acrylics and clothespins = mailbox clips.


The final schellacked frappuccino vase.




The pickle pen jar came out nicely. Inspired by Ecuadorian fish graffiti. I'm currently painting dirt. Yes dirt - you'll see.




I'm starting to see my obsession with all things fish.



The new round of printed cards just received yesterday. The upgrade in camera and computer are definitely working out! Will be good for the website stuff.

Saw a great couple exhibitions at the St. Louis art museum with Mom. One of Francisco Clemente and his woodcut prints. Lots of ideas going.

Now off to write a press release.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home



Has it already been a year? I've found so much comfort in my home, choosing to spend another year in it was a no-brainer.

Signed a new lease this week for my apartment and while doing so, I realized this will be the first time in six years I haven't moved. Six years... No running or scrambling to find a safe place to be.

Good place to live.

Great places to work - I feel like I have two families.

A place to be inspired and create art.

Its all led me here and today I'm so grateful for it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sanity only costs $3.98



Let me introduce you to my newfound best friend. Lavender, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways...

I started feeling really off the last few days. I chalked it up to exhaustion and maybe a bit too much end of the summer fun but it felt like more than that.

My ayahuasca sessions continue to unfold in real life as each month passes. I cannot believe its only been 3 months - it feels like a year.

Many of the lessons I learned in Peru, I learn here now and am continually grateful for. On one of those nights I spent talking to Mother Ayahuasca, I got a real gut check on things. Literally.

As we were chatting, I started to feel ill out of nowhere. This is not an uncommon thing for the experience as you usually have your own personal bucket "just in case" la purga hits. So while chatting to the soundtrack of painful groans in the room, I got the sudden urge to find my bucket and fast.

I went to grab it but was confused cause I didn't feel sick. While trying to figure that out, something came over me quickly and I decided it was time to wrap my hands around that beautiful yellow cracked gem.

As I was purging, I heard a voice clearly speak. "This is not yours."

"Oh my god, you're right. It's not." and with that realization, I stopped.

The painful feelings from somewhere in the room I took into my own body. Thus the feelings - the sickness were not my own. I never quite understood that feeling before but I sure as hell did now. Enlightenment found at the bottom of a bucket.

After hearing that voice, I kindly told her I was done and pushed the bucket away. And you know what? After realizing that, I never needed it again.

Fast forward to this week. I started feeling really uncomfortable. I'm generally a pretty happy person but some negative stuff started to engulf me and I suddenly felt swamped. The usual confusion started, but this time I knew what to do. I looked inward at what I was feeling and realized maybe it wasn't mine.

Two days of it seemed like enough torture and so I gathered all the tools that had been researched in the last week to combat it. One of which began with a special dish whipped up at the restaurant this week.

As our chef was preparing it, I looked on. A familiar scent drew my attention immediately and my gaze directed at the source. "Is that lavender?" I asked staring hungrily at the bowl of salt.

Oh yes, it was. And I had the strong urge to dive into that bowl.

Been reading a bit up on empaths after a conversation with a good friend who suggested I look into it. It's been interesting to read and there are a lot of forums on it. Many that help you to deal with "the gift". Two things that are on there? Salt and Lavender.

One thing I fallen in love with is epsom salt. It's become my cure all this year for aches and pains due to the physical work I do, but it's something more. I always feel so much calmer and sleep like a baby after an epsom salt bath. The easiest way for me to relax and get back to feeling like myself is a mere 15 minute soak.

Apparently lavender has the same effect. So in the past two days I've gone to Sugar Apple to get me some lavender soap and the home depot for some lavender plants. According to sources, it cleanses the negative energy you may inadvertantly pick up from others throughout the day. Think I'm crazy? Well, I'll tell you what, when I got that lavender soap home, I ripped open the top and once that smell it my nostrils, all swamping feeling stopped immediately. So onward and upward!

Today was a day for the depot. I picked up two lavender plants and then crossed the street to get two pots at Ross.

Funny I couldn't smell them when purchasing them at the depot, but the scent amplified upward as soon they were placed in the pots I was taking them home in. It was intoxicating happiness and a complete bargain for only $3.98.

It's so crazy. We as a society spend a ton of money on pills to make us better but really it's all in the plants. I can now add pharmacy and art supplies to purpose of my visits at the Depot.

Starting to realize that the more I know myself and what I need, the easier things are. It's a good place to be.

Oh Lavender, how I love thee.