Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm so thankful...

...for all of the love and support I have been surrounded by these past couple of weeks. It's been an emotional roller coaster ride for my family and I, but we're just taking it one day at a time.

This is a photo of my Mami and I on my birthday in October (my aunt, Gigi, and my awesome stepdad, Jorge, are also in the photo).

When I left my aunt Mae's house earlier this evening, Mami was resting peacefully. Her heart and lungs are weak, but no major change has occurred and she is still in the care of Hospice. Unfortunately, they made the decision today to stop providing 24-hour nurses, so we're trying to figure out how to best care for her. That is just their policies and procedures at work and it sucks. On Friday, a chaplain from Hospice was at my family's home asking if we had funeral arrangements made and today they declare her as "stable" since there has been no significant change. We're just taking it one day at a time. I cannot believe how strong and resilient she is! No matter what, we just don't want her to suffer... That is what's most important and I know that God is watching over her.

I really have the most beautiful Mami in the world! We tell each other "I love you" each day and last night she said "God Bless You" when I kissed her goodbye. And she's just so sweet and cuddly and she smells so good. It's heavenly. I cherish every moment I spend with her.

Thank you so, so much for your well wishes and prayers! It means more to me than you will ever know.

* * *

On a much lighter note, I have been thinking about scrappy stuff and seeing lots of eye candy out there lately...

I love my Cocoa Daisy Nov kit, filled with Karen Russell's favorite products. This will be a perfect fit for my Spain vacation album that I will soon begin working on... but first, I need to edit down my hundreds and hundreds of photographs! It really was an amazing and visually stunning destination. :-) While I was on the airplane, I managed to read the entire "Life Artist" book by Ali Edwards and all I can say is "WOW." Ali continues to blow me away with her passion and creative inspiration. If you don't have the book yet, what are you waiting for? This is a must-have!

As far as happy mail, I will soon be receiving my Dec Work in Progress kit. Trish has done a great job putting together an incredible array of Christmas goodies. I hope this will get me in the mood to create some Christmas projects!

Speaking of Christmas, my DH bought me tickets to go see The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular as a birthday gift back in October. I wasn't really in the mood to go last Saturday, but all that changed really quickly. We had such a blast. The show had an incredible cast, the props were gorgeous and festive, and the choreography was awesome. Very, very cool show!!!

Well, that's all for now... Sorry for the long post, but it's been a while... Happy holidays and please continue to pray for Mami...

Monday, November 12, 2007

I am so sad today...

The excitement from my wonderful vacation ended abruptly upon my arrival last night. I'm just glad I'm here with my family now.

I received a call from Jorge, my one-and-only amazingly loving stepdad, and he told me that Mami (my grandma who raised me) had a major stroke on Friday while she was in the shower. The doctors finally diagnosed her yesterday and they feel that there was a lot of damage done and that she doesn't have much time left now. I have been crying since last night and I needed to get it all out, but I don't have the strength to talk to anyone right now. I just figured that I would let my blog act as a diary of sorts so that I can share my feelings with my wonderful and supportive friends. I've known that this was coming, but that never seems to ease the pain. I just can't help but feel overwhelmingly distraught and alone.

Please keep Mami and my family in your prayers... Thank you!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hello from Barcelona!!!

OK, I'm baaaaack! Sorry, but our wonderful hotels along the way have not all provided us with free Internet access...

I'm loving that you have all left me comments. Thanks for staying in touch! :-)

Well, we started in Madrid, visited Avila and Segovia on a side trip, and headed to Cordoba on Halloween. Here, we stayed at Hotel Maimonides, located right across from the Mezquita. It was awesome because our window opened up right in front of this cathedral and former mosque. It was only about 15 feet across from us! This is me in front of the window.

The Mezquita was such an impressive visit and the structure was truly unique and beautiful.

We explored the streets in the surrounding neighborhood called the Juderia (Jewish quarter) and saw lots of nearby historic sites, including the Synagogue, Alcazar de Los Reyes Cristianos, Roman Bridge, and Calleja de las Flores, a little alleyway with flowers where you can see the Cathedral in the background. Then we were off to Seville...

Oh, Seville...I fell in love with Seville. This city is romantic and captivating and charming all at once. Our hotel, Las Casas de la Juderia, was an experience in and of itself! To get to our room, we had to walk through underground tunnels and narrow hallways and cross through what was once 14 houses making up 3 palaces. It sounds like a pain, but it was actually awesome! I've never seen anything like that. It was a beautiful hotel with inspiring courtyards and a gentleman playing piano in one of the homes every night. Seville was stunning. The buildings and the architecture were so picture-perfect. We visited the Real Alcazar, and I was in awe! It's a huge complex of palaces and gardens. The Cathedral in Seville is the thrid largest in the world, and we climbed 35 stories up to see the Giralda. (Yes, my torn tendon on my foot from last year's accident was acting up for a while after some of these adventures!) Then there's the Tablao Flamenco show we saw one night. Awesome. I can go on and on, but I won't. NOTE TO SELF: Return to Seville.

After Seville, we drove to Cadiz for a pit stop and continued on to Tarifa and Algeciras, where we actually saw Africa in the distance. Wow. Then we drove the Costa del Sol, stopping in Marbella (I missed Antonio Banderas cause he was no where in sight!) for lunch. We contiued through Malaga, Nerja and up to Granada by nighttime.

The next day was fully devoted to the Alhambra, Spain's most visited attraction, and its palaces and gardens. What a spectacular visit! From the top of the hill, you get a mesmerizing view of the city below and the surrounding areas. We even saw the Sierra Nevada peak from there. Granada had lots to see but we were only there for one full day.

This morning we got up very early and hopped on a plane to Barcelona, where we took a bus tour of the various areas and top attractions. So far, we've seen lots of unique structures designed by Gaudi and art and sculptures by Miro (Richard's favorite -- just kidding -- ask him about it if/when you see him; he apparently cannot appreciate minimalist art with four black dots on a white canvas. LOL!). There's lots to see in this city, but we have three days before we're back in Madrid on Saturday...

I love France and I love Italy, and I would love to return to both of those countries. Spain, however, has a unique culture that I can relate to and I have to say that it has truly captured my heart! This is one amazing trip.

Hugs to all! Gotta wake Richard up so we can go to dinner! LOL!