Archive | September, 2010

Beach babes

26 Sep

Today was my baby’s first time at Miami Beach!  As I’m sure you are all aware, Addam and I bike over almost every weekend, but as it’s a long ride we were always too scared to bring the puppy.  Fortunately, Addam just got a basket for the back of his bike, making it possible for us to bring her along.  The little cutie had a tendency to jump out of the back every time we would come to a stop, but for the most part we made the 5.5 miles without incident.

The fiance and I woke up late, watched a few episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond and were on our way.  We decided to go to North Beach today, so the ride was a lot shorter than usual.  (Which is good, because Yoga was panting it up by the time we reached the sand).

Before heading to the ocean, Addam had to stop and pick up a bunch of postcards for us to send out to everyone we’ve been missing in Chicago.  He plans to send one to Red Lobster, and I’m sure I’ll send one to PetSmart.  There was a $10 minimum, so if you want to hear from us, for any reason, just let us know and we’ll send you one.  Lord knows we have enough of them…

After getting the postcards we stopped for some McDonald’s  ice cream and headed to the ocean, which is exactly what Yoga had been waiting the entire day for.

She absolutely loved it!  I’ve never seen Yoga happier while at the beach.  Addam and I used to take her all the time when we lived in Chicago, and we’ve taken her to Virginia Beach two or three times, but there must be something about Miami.  I’ve never seen her have more fun running in the sand.  She was so cute, I had to take a video.  It’s a little long, but if you hang in there, I assure you it’s worth it.

After a good run, Addam and I forced Yoga to go out on the raft.  Both to cool off, and because we wanted to swim and couldn’t leave her standing on the beach while we did so.  She’d end up following us in anyway, so we knew that as much as she’d hate it, we just had to bring her in.  Once again, she was way too cute not to shoot video.  This one is a lot shorter, and she showcases her great swimming ability toward the end.

After a couple of hours of swimming, we all biked home, stopping at a Haitian grocery store on the way for some good eats to finish off the weekend.  Addam and I have spent the rest of the evening watching TV and playing Scarface on the Wii.  (Ok…Addam’s playing Scarface on the Wii…I’m uploading videos to YouTube for this post).

I’m really excited though.  Tonight is the premiere of this reality show, Sister Wives, which follows a family of polygamists.  Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love the show Big Love, which is a sitcom of the same subject.  I don’t know why, but it fascinates me.  Anything that makes me relatively uncomfortable does, I guess.   I think that is really why I became a journalist.  I’ve always been interested in different cultures and lifestyles, and I love stepping outside of myself and questioning everything I’ve grown to accept as true.

My next project, whenever I have the finances to actually dedicate myself to it, will be to put myself in a situation each week where I am the outsider.  I had to do this as part of class at James Madison University. Diversity and Muliculturalism.  Probably the most eye-opening class I took in undergraduate school.    As part of the class, each student had to attend two events in which they would be the minority.  Alone.  Rallies, religious ceremonies, strip clubs.  It was up to us.

I ended up going to a Russian church and drag show, both of which taught me a lot.  I won’t deny that I had more fun at the drag show, but I really stepped out of myself by going to the church.  Most of the people there did not speak English, and all had been attending for quite some time.  I did feel out of place being there alone, but, at the same time, very accepted and very welcome.

I want to do more things like this.  I want to challenge myself to go outside of my comfort zone each week and see what I can find out about other people and other lifestyles.  I don’t know when I’ll start this endeavor, but plan to hear about it in future weeks.  It’s something I’m pretty passionate about.

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.” — Isak Dinesen, composer.

Bikes, beaches, Biscayne

19 Sep

After a long work week it felt great to get back on the bike and back to the beaches.

As I said a couple of days ago, Addam was off this weekend so we decided to make a 13.5 mile bike ride down to Key Biscayne.  I slept in, so we got a late start, but as it was a very easy-going day I don’t think either one of us felt too rushed.

We made it out of our apartment around 1 or 2 p.m. and enjoyed some deliciously fattening Taco Bell on the way downtown.  (Addam had his usual meat and cheese in a crunchy shell.  I had the crispy potato soft taco.  Yummm).  I would have felt guilty, expect given the epic bike ride we were about to take I knew I’d need all the extra carbs I could afford.  So — after a quick lunch, we were on our way to Key Biscayne.

We decided to take Brickell Avenue to the bridge we needed to cross instead of Miami, as my office was on the way, and Addam hadn’t seen it yet.  We didn’t go inside, mostly because I didn’t have a key and partly because there are all these warnings up about a new alarm system, and I didn’t know if I would set them off.  And trust me — “There are penalties for false alarms.”  About 30 signs around the office remind me about them everyday.

After crossing the bridge over to the Keys, Addam and I were both pretty worn out and in desperate need of a water break.  This photo doesn’t do it justice, but the bridge was very long and very tall.  I feel like a bit of a girl to admit it, but after I reached a certain point, I had to accept defeat and walk my bike up the hump.  I’ve been exercising a lot lately, but my legs just weren’t quite built up enough to make the huff.

The break gave Addam and I little time to sit back and enjoy the afternoon sun, so in the end I’d say it was worth the 20 minutes or so we spent there.  In order to get to Key Biscayne, you have to bike through Virginia Key.  It’s much smaller, but we did find a cute little beach on the way, which is where we relaxed for a bit.  If we would have had money there would have been plenty to do there, as vendors were renting out all sorts of sporting equipment.  Sign after sign guaranteed that anyone could “learn to water ski in an hour,” but we didn’t have the time to take them up on their offer.  Maybe next time.  “In another life, brotha.”

After a quick break we were on our way once again.  We biked another bridge and made it to Key Biscayne by mid-afternoon.  It was starting to look like it was about to rain, but luckily it held off for us.

The whole island is a series of private beaches and parks, so we took our time as we headed down to the gardens.  I felt like we were spending the day at a resort location.  And, ok, I guess we kind of were, but even though I’m a Miamian now, it’s still weird for me to step out of my front door and into paradise.  In between some tennis courts and a huge playground we found another stretch of beach to check out.

Even given the location, the spot was pretty secluded.  I spent about 10 minutes taking photos and playing in the sand, but Addam became more than occupied with this crab he saw scurrying through the water.  We were both still full on Taco Bell, but I would love to go back sometime for a picnic or camping.

We didn’t stay long before moving on.  I do have to note that as we left we saw some wild chickens running around that I made Addam get a couple of shots of.  (It’s kind of funny — during this bike ride we passed as many random, unidentifiable animals as anyone could possibly imagine, and yet, I’m wowed by the chicken).

As we headed down to the southern-most tip of the island we rode through a series of bike trails.  As cliché as it may sound, it was beautiful.  Addam and I would break right between the trees and lay out on the hot payment, listening to the insects buzz while we bathed in the afternoon heat.  We weren’t in a hurry, and we were taking time.  As Frank Turner says in The Ballad of Me and My Friends, “If you’re all about the destination, then take a f-cking flight.  We’re going nowhere slowly, and we’re seeing all the sights.”

But eventually, a couple of hours before the sun began to descend into the crystal waters of the Caribbean, we made it to our final destination — a secluded spot on Bill Baggs Beach.

After jumping from sand dune to sand dune we found an empty area to relax and have a drink by the water.  From where we sat we had a gorgeous view of a lighthouse, which I really don’t know the story behind but plan on looking up.  Sitting there I couldn’t help but think how perfect the location would be for a wedding — and definitely made a mental note to look into it further.

After a long swim, Addam and I headed home.  As we only had about half an hour of daylight left, we opted to take the bus back to the “mainland.”  Even riding, the trip took about an hour, and I was so exhausted that I’m pretty sure I fell asleep with my head in Addam’s lap.  When I got home I pretty much collapsed into my bed, which explains why this post is coming to you a day late.

I don’t get many opportunities to shut off my mind and enjoy moments as I experience them.  I become so caught up in my own life that I cannot always appreciate my time as I spend it.  I’m glad that, on this day, I could.  At no point did I stop to contemplate what came next.  I was where I was, and that was enough.

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” — Hans Christian Anderson, writer.