April Fools Day 2014

Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel, Haiti

I’m in Miami. I don’t even have to mention the state. Everybody knows where Miami is. I’m in north Miami, in fact, Dade county, where my daughter, husband, and 2 kids now live. They stayed with me a while in St. Augustine before they moved here in December. This part of Miami is Little Haiti. I think there may be another area that is officially called that, but this neighborhood is almost 100% Haitian. Elsa is the only white kid in her second grade class. They live off a very busy street, on a pretty, semi-circle, with a green, park-like area in the middle. It’s nice, even though we hear a lot of traffic, this is a nice neighborhood. We even played croquet the other day in the spacious grassy area.  Possibly my favorite feature of this part of town is the Haitian radio station that plays music most of the night…not daytime except Saturday. I LOVE Haitian music! It is predominantly meringue and impossible to sit- down -to. It’s great for when I am doing the dishes after dinner. (Their next place will have an electric dishwasher). Quite a few Latinos around too, of course. As I was walking down the big, busy street, I noticed that the music I hear blasting from guys’ cars is Latin, not the rap I hear in north Florida….just a cultural observation. I love Latin music too.

The kids are back in school after having last week off, which is why I came here on the 20th of March. They usually go to an afternoon recreational program while parents work, but this week I meet them there at 3:30 and we walk home. We did some fun stuff last week , like taking an airboat ride through the Everglades, which has been on my wishlist for years. The noisy boat glides over the sawgrass as if it were open water. We saw some baby alligators in a nest, but most adults stay hidden underwater. There were plenty to view in fenced ponds, however..and a zoo of snakes and other local animals.  On Wednesday we went to the “Largest Fair in Florida”…a county fair so huge we never even saw an exhibition hall, typical of other county fairs, or farm animals competing for ribbons. It had taken much longer to drive to the fair than it should have, thanks to the insane amount of traffic in this part of the world. It is the single worst thing about Miami. After having to park about a quarter mile away, we waited in line quite a while to get in. Marcos wore his Boy Scout uniform and got in free. Once we’d had our purses checked (yes, really) for food or drinks, we were admitted. An enormous vista of spectacular rides and endless food joints greeted us. We arrived in late afternoon, and within an hour, the waiting lines for the rides became super long. Elsa and  I waited for the little rollercoaster (not a baby one, but not one of those huge, permanent ones)for about an hour….. Crazy!  But we had fun anyway. We had some food that was good…like the chicken gyros, or whatever they’re called, from the Greek food booth. The whole deep-fried onion (from a different vendor) looked good, but was too spicy(who knew?) and Much Too Oily….I felt awful when I got up the next day. Next year, we decided, we will go in the morning, or whenever they open. I love the colored lights at night but the waiting lines are just too much.

Marcos is 10 and in Little League and needs a lot of practice throwing, catching, and hitting. He is a bit slow on the swing but he and  all his team members are new at it, and just learning the sport. Tonight is his Boy Scout meeting, which I have never been to since they moved here. He has moved up to what they call a Weebalow (no idea of spelling), and wears lots of badges of his accomplishments, helped along greatly by his mom.

A close friend of my daughter’s is coming Thursday evening from Jacksonville with her 3 daughters, ages 11, 7, and 2!  A Full House, indeed! I’ll be catching a ride home with them on Sunday. Then on to a full agenda once home, which includes finding someone to determine if my laptop is totally dead, or not. It was fried in a sudden spike of electricity just before I left home. The power went out for a split second, literally, followed by a rather loud BOOM down the street, like a transformer explosion….no thunder, or it would have been unplugged.    That was all it took to render my computer unresponsive. I’ll be visiting the library often until I get something….maybe an I Pad…..gotta save up.

April brings the beginning of the astrological new year and the sun moves into Aries, the sign of the Pioneer. Aries are great initiators but don’t often like to finish things, if they can avoid it. Ideally, they delegate the cleanup to someone else. So it is a time of new beginnings and new gardens. I am feeling very positive and excited about this season and plan to materialize several of my many wonderful painting ideas………….no fooling!

ps….I went to Haiti back in 1978 where I painted a bunch of watercolors which you can see on my website, StudioAzul, nextdoor neighbor to this blog, and while I was there, I also birthed a beautiful boy, Gabriel. His brother, Jacob, was with me and turned 2 while there. The local kids watched out for him closely and taught him to play soccer with a lime.

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