In Category: ‘My Journal’

Summer Memories

August 17, 2008
I grew up in the ocean. The Atlantic, to be exact. And when I say “in,” I mean my caboose was actually in it over half of the time.

I remember many an afternoon spent lulled by the meandering waves, watching the most amazing sunsets, being kissed by the warm and gentle Caribbean breeze. I was just a tyke then, but the memories of those moments are forever frozen in my mind, as clear as the waters that I bathed in.
By birth, I am Ecuadorian…by heart and heritage 50% Venezuelan. The other 50% belongs to Chile…but that is for another story. As luck would have it, for the better part of my childhood I was reared in the most beautiful Venezuelan beach fronts.
Every chance my parents got, they would take us kids to the beach. There I would play in the surf, diving in and out of the waves. Before I knew it, a whole day would be gone, but those days you’d be hard pressed to find me out of the water before nightfall. Even as a child, I lived for that moment in which the sun parted ways with the earth, casting shadows and the most unbelievable colors over the water and my skin. There was no fear of sun burn as I always wore a perfect tan for protection. The sand was my welcomed companion as was the constant breath of salt in the spray and air.
Castles, holes to China, boogie boards, fishing, digging for hermit crabs, floating on the waves, there was an infinite number of ways to find amusement at the beach. Alone, or accompanied by friends and family, there was no wrong way for me to enjoy being by the water’s edge or inside the arms of my beloved ocean. Back then there were no fears of strangers, or getting lost. Every soul by the seashore had a happy and benevolent disposition. There was always some sort of music emanating from under the cover of the most luscious palms. People swayed in their hammocks, enjoying the lazy pace of the world, smiles a constant accessory on the myriad of faces.
The freshest seafood was just a catch away or sold for pennies by an assortment of locals that paraded the beach with bucket fulls of tasty treats. My favorite were the raw oysters with a tangy kick of lime juice, the acid perfectly cutting the edge of the salt on my lips left over from the waves. Those were the days of true freedom. In my innocence it did not cross my mind that they would end, but oddly enough, as is so rare the case, I took them in as thoroughly as anyone ever could. Perhaps in some unconscious way I knew that they were fleeting.
There’s still a little bit of a beach bum in me, and as often as I can, I find my way back to my old friend. But when I cannot physically make it to the shore, I thank Jack Johnson for taking me there in heart, as the unmistakable sounds of the sea are always present in his music. And while I will never be a kid again, I will always feel those moments as if I was, with innocence and purity, and the knowledge that they are indeed as swiftly passing as the ocean’s breeze.

(or woman)…then what’s the big stink about the potential first ladies?

Aren’t there more important things at hand???

I’m just saying…

13. Thirteen is my favorite number. I don’t have a “lucky” number, though. Hmm…

12. When I was 8 years old I ate PB sandwiches exclusively, three meals a day for six straight months. I’m still so sick of them I’ve probably only had 3 more in my life since then.

11. My favorite Menudo band member was Xavier Serbia. I swore to be Mrs. Serbia at the age of six.

10. I had MC Hammer pants in Junior High…and actually wore them.

9. I’m a total germaphobe when it comes to little sick kids…the sight of snotty noses sends me into a MONK-style panic.

8. Ahh, college. I once drank so much I could not stop talking with a British accent —- that bloody Captain Morgan!

7. My Junior year in H.S. I pretended not to understand Calculus so that I could get tutored by the boy I had a crush on…but he never caught on.

6. I color code my closet and organize my shirts by sleeve length.

5. At the age of 16 I wanted to be the next Jane Goodall. Me: a germaphobe. ??

4. I can NEVER watch a movie more than once with the exception of The Mummy or Goonies…”hey you guyyyysssss!”

3. I love to sing…mostly to myself.

2. Inexplicably, when I fluff the sheets, I get the same feeling of vertigo as when driving fast over a hill. True story.

1. My instant trigger for uncontrollable blubbering: seeing an old man crying. Gets me every time.

One of my resolutions for this year is to give more of my time and efforts for the benefit of someone else. The thought of helping others has always been appealing to me. I have been very blessed throughout my life and giving back is always at the forefront of what I do. It’s that “pay it forward” thing.

Something else I have been working on is better fitness. After finishing my first round of sessions with a personal trainer, I thought that joining a 5K would be a great way to keep myself motivated and add to my other resolution. Truthfully, I’m not that much of an athelete! I never thought that I would run a race. But that’s just what I did!

I ran my first race on Saturday, May 3rd. What a thrilling thing it is to see that finish line and push with all your might to get across. I think the adrelanine was even radiating through my hair follicles!

I have to thank my friends and family for their support, not just in their words of encouragement, but also in their financial contributions for the cancer research that the run was supporting. My clients too, whether they knew or not ,were contributing to the cause as portions of Plum Tree’s profits were donated while I trained and up until the day of the race. THANK YOU to everyone involved! We raised $506!!

So how do you go from couch potato, or in my case, computer junkie to 5K runner? Lots and lots of sweat! It’s amazing to see how very quickly a body can adjust and shift to accomplish what you demand of it. I am living proof that ANYONE can do it!

Though it helps, you don’t need a trainer or fancy equipment. All you need is a good pair of shoes, lots of water, and a commitment to move your feet towards a better, more fit you…every day. Or almost every day.

The internet is FULL of resources, too. When I got stumped trying to understand what my body was plainly screaming at me, I found the answers online. How to run is not just about beating your feet against the pavement. There is a way to breath, a way to land, and a way to push off that will save you a great deal of aches and pains. There’s also a way to eat. Lots of things make up a succesful run, but they’re not rocket science. If you want it, you can do it!

So, this is me…5K runner…can’t wait to do the next one!

Final+Pic Running My First 5K

One of the greatest gifts in life is the gift of giving. As I ponder this, Dave Matthews’ lyrics resound in my head…”to change the world start with one step.”

In truth, that is all that it takes; one step, one effort, one resolve.

In the spirit of “paying it forward“, I’ve decided to join in the fight against cancer by running the Sprint for Life 5K and fundraising to benefit the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.


I have been so very fortunate this past year with everything that has unfolded in my life…work, family, friendships, health. I have so much to be thankful for. What better thanks is there than to give of myself and share the bounties I have been blessed with?

Starting today and until May 3rd, 2008, Plum Tree Studios will be donating 10% of net sales to The Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program.

I will be running in memory of lost loved ones, for the lives of those who have been and will be saved, and for the potential that we each have to leave a mark and make a difference, no matter how big or small.

The Old Plum Tree

January 18, 2008
I spent the summer of 1992 in Chile after my family relocated countries for the second time in less than 7 years. One fine day mom, dad, little bro and the family dog waved goodbye alongside me at what was to be our “new” old house.
As everyone knows, thirteen is nothing short of a funny age, plagued by raging hormones, awkwardness and plain old persnickety spunk. I went along cursing the day our house sold and lamenting all the friends I was leaving behind, specially after realizing that THE most important part of my student career (High school) would be spent in a foreign land.
Chile, being on the other side of the equator, offered an additional and particularly awful disadvantage: I would, on top of everything else, be robbed of the oncoming US summer having to wait another three excruciating months for summer to roll around in Chile. As if changing lives wasn’t enough, I now faced another round of cold weather and worst of all, another 3 months re-adjusting, AKA repeating the 8th grade (with a Chilean twist).
When summer finally came, and I had passed the 8th grade for the second time in my life, our family settled on a 100 acre ranch about 12 minutes from the city. Our house was a moderate walk from the river and we were surrounded by apple orchards, wheat fields and other fruit trees.
The old Plum Tree rooted itself behind our house, was great for climbing and was packed with summer fruit. It was a magical place to play and make up stories, sit and draw, or gather an afternoon snack. In fact, it was so plentiful that the ground was often covered with the fruit that had overburdened the tree with its ripened weight. Our family dog, Chipper, took full advantage of this by disappearing every afternoon for a couple of hours, gorging himself with plums (pits and all) and offering the only evidence of his adventures by consequently dragging his tummy back around the house, bursting at the seams.
It’s funny what one views as “the end of the world” during those formative adolescent years. Looking back, despite all of the hardship and readjustment, I have very fond memories of that experience. The old Plum Tree is where I picked up a camera for the very first time. Life was truly different, spent in the outskirts of the city on one of the most beautiful country sides in the world, as opposed to the vast concrete landscapes of major metropolitan life. The old Plum Tree will forever be a symbol of summer, life-long friendships, artful endeavors, childhood games and the joy of the great outdoors.
That, was the best summer of my life. And it’s how I came to realize, that life truly is what you make of it. In short, the old Plum Tree is where life becomes an art.