Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

The air is a chilly 39 degrees and snow blankets every grassland. It's a beautiful wintery, Christmas in Maryland. Inside the wood crackles under the flames and the living room glows from the tree lights in a heartily adorned Christmas tree.

My little girl, Ma Cherie is with me and we cozy up in front of the fireplace. Sipping eggnog, a knock at the door signals that guests have arrived.

It's a perfect Christmas with family, extended family and new friends. Tis the best way to spend Christmas.

Lolita and Ma Cherie


Then while on the computer, my sister asks me to lend her a hand with creating the printed menu. I find an elegant red poinsetta and green border, add the menu items and insert it into a large, gold picture frame. The presentation is now complete. Below are the menu items equal to that of any five star restaurant. My sister is quite the cook and hostess. Feeding thirteen people is no easy task. But for this Senior Project Manager, she has planned and orchestrated a seamless Christmas dinner.


THE MENU

Appetizers
Beef empanadas, shrimp cocktail and chips with spicy sausage dip

Starters
Caesar Salad

Entrees
Petit Filet Mignon (bacon wrap optional)
Broiled Maryland Crab Cakes

Sides
Creamed Spinach, Twice Baked Potato, Roasted Cauliflower, Vidalia Onion Casserole

Desserts
Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake
Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate Pecan Pie


Christmas tablesetting at my sister's home

We are truly grateful for the fabulous feast and the warmth of friends and family. Twas a Christmas to remember.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My First Flight Instruction


Do you remember operating your first "vehicle"-- a wagon, tricycle... I remember riding my first bicycle with training wheels, and without the training wheels!

Now at the fresh age of 40, it was time for my next first. My first time flying a small aircraft!

In this case I had help from co-pilot and instructor, Eusebio (from Miami Fly) , who did most of the work. The hour went by quickly and then you're back on the ground, to reality. But after a couple of weeks practicing and passing an FAA exam and earning my wings, I could fly a Cessna airplane if I chose to!

Below is my photo journal from the take off, to cruising the friendly skies above Key Biscayne, the port of Miami, Fisher Island, downtown skyline and the South Beach coastline glistening like a celebrity's smile of stark white enamel teeth.

Follow my story and see the video at the end.

Taking off at Tamiami Airport

Flying over the Turnpike in Kendall


Fisher Island and South Beach Marina



Where the ocean kisses the land, this is called the coastline or "love"






"Hmm, this is easier than I thought"



Heading back to the landing strip




VIDEO: Flying with my Pinkie
video

This is an experience I highly recommend! It's fun, memorable, and affordable.

To view my other videos, CLICK HERE.

Visit Miami Fly or call Eusebio Valdes!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Avant Gallery presents Marc Baptiste




Tonight was a special occasion for several reasons.

To begin it was my first outing of fresh air in two days from being bed ridden with illness. It was a break from work, from charity work of taking care of cats/kittens, an escape from the everyday.

Despite the abundance of wine and liquor spirits, I remained loyal to doctor's orders of straight water. Besides, tonight was about art and the people! And what a night it was!

Tonight, I did not want to miss the opportunity to attend the exhibition of famed photographer, Marc Baptiste at my favorite art gallery, Avant Gallery in the design district.

Known for his sexy, alluring photography, Baptiste's work has appeared in magazines such as Vanity Fair, Harpers Bazaare, Elle, and Cosmopolitan to name a few. His advertising clients include Nike, Reebox, and Paris Hilton Perfume.

The life-size photographs did not disappoint. Pictured above in the background is one of his works.

In the same photograph above, that's me with the illustrious interior designer Keith Powell. Keith's career began as a window-display designer and his first client was Ralph Lauren. From there his career catapulted and included the creme de la creme of clients including Gucci, Calvin Kelin, Versace and Tiffany and Company. His skills then naturally spilled over into interior design where he was hired by a West Palm beach socialite and professional polo player. The client list keeps growing.







Towards the back of the gallery was a modern Italian style bathroom including the bathtub pictured with nude model covered in boutique shopping bags.




Owner of the Avant Gallery, Dmitry Prut, is a master in throwing a party and putting on an exhibit! The event was well attended.





The night was a great success for Avant Gallery and owner Dmitry Prut. I am ecstatic to have been part of this exhibition which is part of the larger exhibition, "Pictures & Furniture". You know I've been eyeing this Louis XVI wood and acrylic chair since I first stepped foot into the gallery. It would be ideal for my bedroom.


Upon my return home, and gazing around my room as I prepared for bed, I dozed off with visions of art furniture dancing in my head. Tis the season!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vote for the Cat Network to Win $25,000

As many of you know I joined the Cat Network to help make a difference in my neighborhood by reducing cat population. It is a lot of work but very rewarding. The Cat Network provides low cost spaying/neutering and vaccinations. We pay out of our pockets but the reduced cost is still a savings and benefits the cats and the community!

Well now you can help by Voting for the Cat Network to win a $25,000 donation.

Click below to vote !


Monday, November 16, 2009

Meet Helio George de Tarzan!

Helio George de Tarzan
Named after Helio Castroneves, Curious George and Tarzan
AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION

He's as fast as the Indy Champion race car driver--Helio Castroneves--zooming from room to room. Can he ballroom dance like Helio? Well in time I'm sure he will!

He's as curious as George--poking, peaking into everything--closets, cabinets, and be sure to lower the toilet bowl lid! Ladies, Helio will train your man!

He's a climber and swinger like Tarzan of the jungle.

And he's a lover.

This little kitten will steal your heart with his animated gestures and mischevious face! Oh and he's still a lover and will curl up on your pillow next to you and outstretch his paw to caress your face! Why can't more men be like Helio--and have that balance between manliness and sensitive side?

Helio (pronounced El-ee-oo) is 5 months old, healthy, and received all vaccinations!!
Adoption fee is usual $65 from the Cat Network. Keep in mind, a visit alone to vet is average $50 plus bloodwork, fecal exam, deworming, and vaccination will run you $120 per kitten! That's why adopting from Cat Network is a win-win-win for the kitten, you and the community--one less kitten to grow up in the streets.

It would be ideal if he were adopted by parent(s) with another cat, kitten or dog so he has a playmate as he has a lot of energy! He's great with other cats and dogs and plays with my Maltese! If you would like to meet Helio, please email me or text at 305-218-9952. Christine Member of Cat Network







Helio listening to Dancing with the Stars "I've got more moves than all those celebrities"


Helio the Celebrity "No more pictures please"



"I just can't escape the paparazzi!"



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

DIVA Looking for New Digs--kitten for adoption





Despite her angelic looks and name (Abbey), this kitten is truly a DIVA!

Abbey was discovered late one night in someone's driveway--orphaned! No mommy, no siblings, all alone and scared someone or something might hurt her. Thankfully this person knew a volunteer from pet rescue agency who would foster this innocent soul who's had a rough start in life.

After litter training, and getting all her vaccinations (she tested negative for common feline diseases), Abbey is a healthy kitten and ready for adoption!

Her personality--inherent with any DIVA, Abbey is quite independent, feisty if you don't respect her, (what Diva isn't?) and loves to PLAY with her toys. Actually she'll entertain you! So if you're looking for a companion, and to do a little good will by saving one innocent creature from the streets, then please consider adopting Abbey! Currently she resides here in Miami.

So instead of getting a designer dog for hundreds or thousands of dollars, you can have a Diva for a mere adoption fee of $65. This includes medical records as proof of bloodwork, deworming, and vaccinations. (Most vets charge minimum $100 for all this).

Please contact Lisa by texting to 407-406-0676.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Himmarshee Bar & Grille, Fort Lauderdale

Last night the birthday celebration continued with dinner at the Himmarshee Bar & Grille. This downtown Miami girl headed to downtown Fort Lauderdale for a dinner "out on the town". It's not often that an entire meal from the appetizer to the main course makes an indelible impression.

To read my review, click here for My Fabulous Florida.

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's My Birthday!

Yes today I turned 41 years young. Last night I celebrated with close friends and family and new friends! It was also a dual housewarming soiree. Now my new condo is officially a "home".

Christine with all the guys.

Christine with all the ladies in my living room

Christine with her mother Elizabeth


Christine and Chris co-celebrating their birthdays



"I didn't hear the countdown!"





And Christine opens her eyes



Sparks fly





Cutting the birthday cake





Sandra, Christine and Adrienne on balcony (39 floors high)
Beautiful Miami City Lights as backdrop


Thanks to my friends and family for making my day special.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Review of Shanghai Girls


Shanghai Girls, written by Lisa See (author of Snowflower and Secret Fan) is another historical fiction about two young women. This time the women are sisters. In the settings, Lisa See once again cleverly focuses on historical issues as the oasis culture of Shanghai surrounded by Communist China, the invasion by the Japanese, and the agonizing discrimination in their new life in the New World of the United States.


THE STORYLINE

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. The main characters are "beautiful girls" in cosmopolitan Shanghai, models for anything from soap to cigarettes. There's is a care-free life for two working women aged 18 and 21, where work comes easy and free time is spent socializing with artists and friends. Their beautiful world capsizes with shell-shocked news that their father has gambled away their life savings and has sold his daughters into marriage to his debtor. Feigning reluctant acceptance, the girls elude their fate only to literally be shelled with bombs. The Japanese invaded China and didn't stop at the international boundary of Shanghai. Even after escaping near death, they embark on a ship en voyage to San Francisco, where they are to meet their arranged husbands.

The new world only brings new agony. Arriving at Angel Island (the equivalent to the processing center of Ellis Island), the girls are interrogated to verify their legitimacy of their marriages. The girls however, purposely lie to officials to stay on the island. Why would they prolong this imprisonment? Well, you'll have to read the book!

In Los Angeles they begin a fresh chapter, trying to find love with the strangers they have married, brushing against the seduction of Hollywood, and striving to embrace American life even as they fight against discrimination, brave Communist witch hunts, and find themselves hemmed in by Chinatown’s old ways and rules.


AUTHOR'S WRITING
From the point of view of the eldest daughter Pearl, we learn that this 21 year-old is rather naive compared to today's young woman in Westernized culture. The consistent use of the term "husband and wife thing" in referencing sexual intercourse, and "woman with three holes" in referencing a whore, immediately tells us Pearl is quite innocent and also allows us extraordinary insight into her indepth pain when she faces the Japanese soldiers in a hut after fleeing Shanghai.

Lisa See astutely blends actual historical events: their attempts at distinguishing themselves as non-Japanese during the war, their reactions from afar as the Red Army pushes across China and the ensuing McCarthy-era bids at labeling them Communists.

While the characters are fictional, their bond and typical petty jealousies as sisters and their outlook on life is real life content. Both girls considered themselves modern and "Westernized" while they lived in Shanghai and poked fun or ignored their mother's ancient traditions. Yet the eldest sister increasingly, as an immigrant in a foreign land and the profound longing of her native land, finds solace in those "silly ancient Chinese" traditions. Her mother-in-law instills “Chinese” into her “as surely as the flavor of ginger seeps into soup.”


MY OVERALL IMPRESSION
I really enjoyed this book. While I may sway preference toward Snowflower & the Secret Fan, it is in deference to an enlightening introduction to the culture and customs of ancient China.

Unable to recall the last book I read about sisterly love, Shanghai Girls was a solemn reminder not to take my family for granted and not to harbor unresolved differences or issues with my younger sister. The book also reminded me of the discrimination faced by immigants during McCarthyism and how the first generation of immigrants toiled for most of their life, in preparing a smoother road for their children.

I did enjoy this book and highly recommend it. ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Ernest Hemingway Writes New Chapter

He was alone, pensive in thought sitting alone in the drizzling rain in the middle of the street. Where am I? Where do I go? Where is my mommy? Such thoughts and struggles are food for an author to put ink to paper. But the life of little Hemingway took a sudden upturn. Someone picked him up and brought him to shelter. A warm home and fuzzy bed. No more wading in grayish water or serving as bait for mosquitoes.

Hemingway sits comfortably 39 floors in the air. He sits proudly. Not from his home towering over a city from which he was saved. He is told he is SPECIAL. Why?

Little Hemingway is a polydactyl. This means he has more than five fingers. Hemingway has 6 digits on his right paw and 7 digits on his left paw. He is EXTRA SPECIAL. The other foster kittens hiss at this new kid on the block. Despite his smaller stature, he’s confident with his new title. He blows them off ready to explore his new home. He is sweet, not a “scaredy” cat, independent and LOVES TO EAT.

Hemingway is 6-8 weeks old. He is deflead and dewormed, tested and vaccinated. However please know he tested positive for SLIGHT feline LEUKEMIA. Because he his young, it is possible he can overcome the leukemia. Chances are good but there are no guarantees. Hemingway should be retested at 6 months. Despite this disease he can still live a long, happy life. Remaining strictly indoors will prolong his life for many years.


Please consider adopting this special little guy. Adoption fee is $65. Please call me, Christine at 305-218-9952.

UPDATE: Hemingway was adopted on October 3, 2009.




This kitten is named after Ernest Hemingway who willed his house in Key West to his famous 6-toed cats or polydactyl.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sad News--One Kitten Injured, Other Killed


Gretel curious about the camera--her first photo
She's recovering from fractured hind leg


With great sadness and tears, I share with you the update on the six kittens from Midora's litter.

Again while I was walking my dog, I heard an excruciating wailing sound that definitely was an indication of an animal. In following the noise, I discovered one of Midora's kittens had strayed from the nest and had an injured hind leg. Apparently little Gretel had gotten caught on some machinery or belt-type equipment (according to the vet which was no surprise because her "home" or nest was a mini tractor). Her flesh and fur were ripped from the bone. But her pain came from falling down on her fractured leg everytime she tried to climb a cement wall to reach her mother. I was able to get to her and she is now healing nicely in my home and is in incredible spirits despite the gruesome sight of her leg. She hops around with her other supporting hind leg to move around.

Two other kittens, her brother and sister were also rescued. However, two more kittens still remained outside and the sixth one is missing. Yesterday one was killed by speeding vehicle. The anguish is almost unbearable. "Could I have done more?" It's so exhausting. Just today on my lunch hour I drove out to the site and searched in the drizzling rain, my four inch spiked heels and white silk pants. After squatting beside every vehicle and peering underneath (losing weight prevented me from ripping my pants) there was no sign of the last kitten. The mission continues...

So that leaves one lone kitten outside. It is very hard to capture kittens, unlike the older cats.

PLEASE CONSIDER HELPING TO CAPTURE THE OLDER CATS FOR SPAYING AND NEUTERING TO STOP THIS VICIOUS CYCLE! You can help by sponsoring a cat or helping to capture them. Thanks to the Cat Network, we'll teach you how.

Contact me, Christine at 305-218-9952

For Adoption: Hansel & Gretel


GRETEL (about 7 weeks old)

Little Gretel resting on scratching post/ball roller. Her injured hind leg is the one showing in the photo above. She has voracious appetite and is more chunky than her slender brother below. She is sweet and in great spirits.



HANS (about 7 weeks old)
Hans is a silver platinum, svelte kitten. He's a little taller than sister with an exotic look. Interesting, even though he was not injured he was initally more scared and shy and is now less scared of people.


Hansel & Gretel





Both are deflead, dewormed and will be tested and receive first round of immunization shots on Wednesday, September 9th. Please consider adopting this brother and sister pair.

Adoption fee: $80 for both (normally $65 each)

Contact Christine at 305-218-9952.