Wednesday, March 31, 2010

El palacio del el jugos

So this week I became very bold. One of my coworkers and I have gone to a really cool Cuban place on Flagler a couple of times. It is called La palacio del el jugos (The palace of juices). The whole place is set up like a market. There are fruit and vegetable stalls and between them are food stalls. A huge amount of food cheap. And they make this drink out of pure sugar cane that is awesome! You literally watch them grind the sugar cane into juice and then drink it right there. It is a great place to eat but not somewhere you should go more than once a month if you don't want to gain 100 pounds or so.

The only issue? I have always gone there with a Cuban. No one working there speaks English. Or at least they will not admit they speak English. When you really get into Little Havana the people there often mess with you by speaking Spanish even when they know English. They especially like to do it to obvious Anglos like me. So for me to go to La Palacio meant I was going to need to test my Spanish skills. But I really, really wanted some food and juice last week so away I went.

As I walked in people sort of looked at me funny. Then the lady upfront turns around and says
"AquĆ­ viene un tipo blanco" to the folks behind here. "Here comes a white guy". I actually think she was trying to be helpful and see if there was an English speaker in the back of the room. However, I was ready! I boldly strolled up to the counter and declared "Yo necessito cinco tamales por favor y un guarapo tambien".The person then looked at me and said "Quince dolares". I paid my money, got my food and got out of there! A victory for the "blanco"!

Funny thing is that all this occurred in one of the largest cities in the United States. Welcome to Miami!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Break 2010

So today I was hanging around with this girl and guy I know and we decided to hit the beach in Ft Lauderdale for some spring break fun. There were tons of cool college kids everywhere and we partied until dark.

Everyone was there, even a blimp!

Well...that is what I would have written about 20 years ago! The real story is that A and the RP and I decided to hit the beach today. When The Matriarch (my mom and yes at 42 I still call her mom) was in town last week we talked a lot about going to the beach but sanity prevailed (it is spring break in South Florida) and we decided to have a nice day at the zoo instead. But I had promised A and RP I would take them this week no matter what.

When I say there were a ton of college kids, I mean a ton of people sitting in their cars making a 20 minute trip to the beach take an hour. What a mess! Traffic was backed up for miles with folks trying to get on the main strip for Ft. Lauderdale. I was trying to get to the local part of the beach but to get there I had to sit in traffic with a bunch of people with license plates from all over the country. Once I got to the beach where we usually hang out there were very few people (it is way away from the action by the hotels) but getting there was a chore.

Anyway, we had a perfect day. Set up the tent and spent three hours on the beach. We built sand castles, picked up shells and swam in the water. Actually we waded in the water, the ocean is still a bit cold. Lots of Notherners splashing around but us Floridians need warm water!

The Day Begins - 75 degrees and perfect weather

The Wife thinks she looks terrified. A was laughing in
this picture, not scared. But I guess I can see
what the Wife is saying....

The game was to run from our beach tent all
the way into the water and back again. They did
it about 10 times which may explain how tired
we all are!

Ahhh...nothing like a cool ocean breeze and
a daddy leg to sleep on at the end of the day.

We did actually stay almost until dark!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vivere senza rimpianti

Vivere Senza Rimpianti

So I have been thinking about this phrase ever since I saw it on the internets (As the Bloggess calls it). It means "To Live without regrets". I am not sure it is really possible to ever achieve this ideal but lately I have been trying to follow it in regards to my kids.

I am keenly aware of the sands of time slowing slipping away. In 3 years C1 is off to college, C2 is in high school and A hits the 7 year old range. In 4-5 years even RP will no longer want to hang out with me all the time. Right now it is a given that if I am going somewhere on the weekend then at least the two youngest children will be with me. But I know that will end. My time as the number one focus in my children's life is slowly ending. And I live each day trying to capture and enjoy as much of the time I have with them as possible.

I think I drive the Wife crazy because on the weekend I never stop. It is one adventure to another with my kids. She does not understand my need to frantically drink as much of the experience as I can. The need to make memories that I can hold to when the kids are older.

I do have a life outside of my kids. I work, I go to Mass, I spend time with the Wife. But for me right now in life this is the key focus when I am not trying to make money. Today I spent 5 hours at the zoo, next week I will go to the beach or the park or somewhere. Because I refuse to look back at the years I have now and think that I missed something. To regret even a moment of the time I had with my children. I refuse to live with regret.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Silly Made Up Song

So when my oldest child was only one, I made up a song to sing him to sleep. I have a horrible voice but none of my children seem to care. The Wife does care but it is not her I am singing to!

I had a starting and ending verse when I started 14 years ago and for each child I have added a new verse over the years. Each verse for each child is tied to a thing that child loved to do with me when they were young. Each verse captures a memory of my children. It goes like this:

Hey little boy
Will you play with me
He said "I'd love to dad
Just you and me"

For C1 I added
Hey little boy
Let's go to the park
We'll run and we'll play
we'll stay out past dark

For C2 I added
Hey little boy
Let's go to the pool
We'll splash and we'll swim
We'll look real cool

For A1 I added
Hey little boy
Let's go to the beach
We'll dig and we'll build
There's a lot I can teach

For RP I added
Hey little girl
Let's go to the zoo
We'll look at the animals
We'll act real cool

Hey Little Boy
Your Daddy loves you
He said "I know Dad
I love you too"

A silly song that I have now sung to four children. When I sing to the RP I have to change all the "little boys" in the song to "little girls" and all the "hes" to "shes". But the song still works and after 14 years it is still putting children to sleep.

(RP told me last night that "this is my favorite song daddy"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In which I try to go to the zoo but fail in a good way

So today RP, A and I decided to head for the zoo in Miami. For anyone who is visiting Miami the zoo is a good break from the endless beach and water. If you like zoos, and like walking a lot. The zoo is laid out in a 3 mile loop and you walk the whole thing. It has a monorail you can ride but if you do you miss all the animals. It does have Surrey Bikes for rent if you are willing to bike. My family signed up for a membership last year and I would say we have been about 7-8 times. So not every week but still fun enough to go back once a month or so.

Anyway, we were heading to the zoo when we saw the Railroad Museum (hard to miss since you have to drive by it to get into the zoo). And we saw a huge Thomas the Tank engine sign. So we never made it to the zoo.

If you are ever in Miami and your kids love trains, the Railroad Museum is a must. Forget the zoo. At the Railroad Museum there are all these old trains that you get to crawl around in. Based on how dirty you want to get, you can really crawl around some of them. The place is chock full of old, real trains from the last 50 years. It also has the world's largest (INHO) train playroom.

So instead of the zoo we went and saw Thomas. Of course that also involved ice cream (funny how many activities we do seem to involve ice cream at some point :-) ), and a bouncy house and a lot of other fun things to do. It was fun. Then we waited in line and saw Thomas.

We decided not to ride him though. You don't actually get to ride him, you ride in a coach pulled behind him. I can do that any week at the Railroad Museum. I don't need to do it with Thomas. So we passed on that but the rest was fun. I realize the kids will probably not remember Thomas but we will have pictures and I will always be able to show them that we met him in person!