Monday, October 31, 2011

Waiting to Die... not really!!

I just finished 2 books that my sister recommended.  Well, I felt like I was in school again because I didn't really want to read them and did not like them very much.  I read them mostly because I wanted to have something to talk about with my sister besides talking about our mother.  I also read them because they are written by a Cuban who was about the same age as me when he left Cuba and the books are about his life in Cuba and adjusting to life in the USA.  I did not like how he wrote - too many flashbacks and flash forwards.  Also, it's all in his point of view.  I prefer books that are written with various points of view or in the narrator's point of view and with more dialogue.  He had a very hard time, and it was depressing.  Even at the end, he still writes about dying, so, I can't tell if it's a happy ending or not...

I related when he wrote bout his experience diving off a high diving board.  I remember my first time when I was 16 helping my sister who had just had a baby in Gainesville, Fla.  My brother-in-law was a student at the University and he let me use his ID to get into the pool.  The ids did not have pictures back then.  His name is Juan and the receptionist looked at me funny when I showed my id but I told him I was Cuban and he let me through.  I felt just like the author described when we looked down at the water that seemed to get farther away and when we hit the water - how it hurt!!

I thought that the second book- Waiting to Die in Miami- had to be better than the first but, not to me.  The author, Carlos Eire, had a really hard life in the USA and his parents in Cuba, not like my family.  My parents had a difficult time adjusting and were always expecting to return to Cuba any time like most Cubans.  We also moved up north when my dad got a job, and were away from other Cubans.  My memories of becoming Americanized are positive for the most part, or maybe I only remember the good times.  I liked being Cuban and in junior high and high school they wrote articles about me in the school newspaper.  I remember doing my reports on the Cuban Missile Crisis and my family having similar attitudes as the author about JFK. I did lose my Cuban identity when I married an American and I lost my accent.  I was happy and was conscious of regaining it when I started teaching Spanish and started to travel to Spanish speaking speaking countries.

I guess that the book made me think and compare his experiences with mine.  Though I did not enjoy reading the books, I learned from them.

In the last 3 pages he gets philosophical and makes me want to take notes.  I take notes when I want to argue a point and better understand it.  page 300 "I'm a success story, damn it..."  In the next paragraph he calls himself a "comemierda" translates it to "moron".  Actually he is at a good point in his life, a professor at Yale.  Then he goes into a final view of dying that has been the recurrent theme of the books.  Like he is enlightened and has the definition of it!  Sorry, I don't agree, but, you'll have to look it up if you want to know more, but, it's not worth it.  

Now I feel like I have written a book report and not worth an A.
Ani, let's talk about this! And any of you that have also read the book send me an email!  Write your comments.

My pinterest obsession

About a month after my retirement, Angie, my youngest told me about Pinterest and sent me an invite.  It has been 3 months and I am at 745 pins and following 296 fellow "pinteresters".  It is an inspiration every day.  When I used to teach, I would go to the yearly conferences for inspiration.  With Pinterest I am inspired every day.  Mostly I follow the recipes, and crafts.  But I hope to put to use my bathroom board when we finally start the bathroom remodel; am using the gardening board now that we are finishing the patio and back yard grass area.  I started a board on refinishing furniture  when I started working on my yard sale finds to redecorate the beach condo.  I took notes on 8 different posts to decide what I wanted to do with my pieces.  I did not take before and after pictures but I will explain what I used for each piece.
Mostly I have had so much fun with my grandchildren making some of the Halloween crafts.  I show them the pinterest picture and then we do our own thing.  Here is the link to the board on completed projects   In the next post I will have pictures of the kids making them.  I love it!!

We bought this at an antique store.  It's hanging where I can see it every day from the dining room.
Most of the pinterest members are young mothers, and as I looked at the fun activities for kids, I went to some wonderful blogs, mostly made by stay-at-home moms- like I was.  What wonderful blogs  I love how these mothers share and support each other with ideas and suggestions while sharing their life experiences.  I have done some of the activities with my grandchildren,  Here is Caroline playing with shaving cream

At first she didn't know what to do, but then she got all into it.  Then she started to put it on my legs.  I was sitting next to her.  At school the next day they told me that they had to take away the yogurt because she started to play with it...
Angie traded this table for another one that I redid.  I love how it turned out.  It was a bright green.  I sanded to the brown stain on the edges and rubbed wax from a candle on the edges to keep the brown.  I used a blue glaze from Hobby Lobby with some white and a grey that I mixed,  Then I spray painted it with a polycrilic combining various post ideas for what I wanted to experiment.  When we got to the condo, I was so upset that the color did not match the brand new bedspread.  It is still in the corner of the bedroom.  See the next picture.

Little green table

This is the second bedroom in the beach condo.  The little green table is on the left. 
The canoe is from an antique store.  The table used to be a dark stain.  We got it for $5 at a yard sale and Don took it all apart.  We stripped it, primed it and painted it white.  Don made me a new top for it.  It was supposed to be for my daughter but she decided on another one.  Otherwise I would have stained it.
Pinterest shows these from IKEA but we found this painted black at an antique store, I painted it white and grey and sanded the edges.  It is over the toy box that Don made the kids 30 years ago.  It will be refinished this year...
In Don's workshop.  Working on the dresser that we bought for $20 at a yard sale.  It was olive green.  I sanded, primed, and painted white.  The drawers I painted with ocean colors.  The top was not attached.

Yellow pop of color as on pinterest.  

When we got here, and the colors did not match the bedspread, I sanded and repainted the front of the drawers and the top white.  The peach goes with the bedspread.

I added twine and shells to the

 I hot glued the shells to twine.  Saw it on pinterest, but couldn't find my pin.
Bought it in an antique store, I rubbed my blue acrylic on it.  Instead of cups and plates, shells!

Andrew and I made a Christmas tree last year and decorated it with shells.  Can't wait for Christmas this year!!

Made a hat for Durham's newborn picture.