Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Licking Chocolate and Lichtenstein

This weekend was the annual chocolate festival at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Coral Gables. When I think that we almost missed it ...well, I get a little emotional. Bim hasn't had a free Saturday for a while and we decided we'd better make use of our weekend since we have only 6 or 7 left here in Miami.

Bim found the event online. Probably googling "chocolate" and "pretty flowers." You know men.

It turned out to be a beautiful day and the gardens are one of our new favorite places in the world. Several large art pieces by Lichtenstein were installed on the grounds, too. A little surreal, but I guess that's the point.

Roy Lichtenstein vs. Nature

A little nut in a tree

Looking at the butterfly...

Ally looking dappled; me looking a little too happy?

My impression of the plant behind me.

We spent several hours wandering paths through the rain forest, the spiny gardens of Madagascar, the butterfly conservatory, and the big tent with all the chocolate. Nice jazz music was playing, peddlers were selling Italian ices and floppy hats, and Ally had acres and acres of green grass to frolick through.

So, thumbs up for the Fairchild. If you live nearby, go there.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Our Life Aquatic

This post is alternately titled: Let me tell you why Bim is such a smarty-pants. We got back last week from a visit to Atlanta, a city that I had been *falsely* led to believe is warm. Apparently during some seasons, it is. One cab driver told us it only snows in Atlanta a couple of days a year. I guess we just got lucky!

But that's not why Bim is a smarty. The reason we were in Atlanta is that he and his co-clerk were assisting his judge with a series of appelate cases that the judge agreed to sit for. So, Bim and his colleagues joined two 11th Circuit judges, and their clerks, for four days of hearings. Very interesting cases, most of them, but I won't elaborate here. I will only say that it was an honor for Bim to have this opportunity and he did a great job.

While in Atlanta we were put up in the Atlanta Ritz-Carlton (wa hoo) and Ally was showered with stuffed animals from the staff. Other highlights of the hotel for Ally were the super soft piles of pillows...

...the little bottles of shampoo, and the small rectangular space between the toilet bowl and the lid that turns out to be the perfect size for: my lip gloss, Ally's toy bird, a shampoo bottle and my watch. Thank goodness she didn't figure out how to flush.

At the end of the week we went to the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta, a wondrous underwater wonderland using more than 8 million gallons of fresh water. It is the world's largest aquarium and it did not disappoint us; in fact, we were totally delighted. Favorites were the Baluga whales, the hammerhead and whale sharks, and the jellyfish (except Ally wasn't crazy about the jellyfish).

We had some good southern food at a place called Aunt Pittypat's Porch and Ally and I ate grits for breakfast almost every morning; but my favorite food was at The Flying Biscuit. I think I can say it was the best breakfast I have ever had at a restaurant.

I can't end this report without a special shout-out to my girl, Ally. Our flight out of the city was delayed four hours. But at least we were in the plane on the tarmac all of that time! Oh, man. That could have been a real disaster, but Ally decided to use her powers for good instead of evil, and several of the passengers came up to me afterward to remark on what a good traveler she was. Whew.

Until next time, Hot-lanta.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

He's "All Right" Now

We had fun in Utah with the Richardson family and just before leaving decided to go sledding with Ally. She slept soundly through that, but the rest of us had fun nonetheless. I got to wear moon boots.
In fact, Bim had so much fun going over the jumps that he broke his left wrist. Then on his way to work he stubbed his left toe so hard that it probably broke too. It looked so painful. Then he got the flu (out here they call it the "cruise ship virus"). But at least he had tons of work to do! Poor Bim. He limps, but he doesn't complain.

Get well soon, all of you sickies out there.

Friday, January 11, 2008

My 23-lb. Bodyguard

When Ally's cousins and Bim were tickling me on the living room floor of his parents' house, I guess I sounded pretty distressed because she said "NO!" and ran over to pull them off of me. That's my girl! Seriously, she can be pretty intimidating--especially when she starts hitting her own face. No tickling.

Walking to church in the snow (stylishly sporting the baby, baby alpaca hat that Grandpa brought back from Chile).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January 1st Forever

Archaic Torso of Apollo

by Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.