Cervesiesta – noun

1. a midday or afternoon beer
2. day-time drinking to escape the hottest part of the day, napping afterward is optional
Word origin – Cerveza + Siesta. Coined in Miami Beach, 2015. By me.
Example of usage – It’s so hot, I’m dying out here. It’s time for cervesiesta. (It’s like “It’s five o’clock somewhere” with a Spanglish twist.)  OK, I’m probably not the first to mashup those two words, but I’m still enamored of the result.

I made a list of the most memorable things we saw during our stay. At the top of the list are my brother-in-law and his girlfriend, but I didn’t manage to get a picture of them. Likewise my friend Marilou.

In no particular order:

  • We took the city bus. On the first ride, an older guy with a swastika tattoo on his neck spent the whole ride rummaging through his backpack. There was a knife or some such sharp projectile sticking out of said backpack. I didn’t try to get a closer look.
  • On the second ride, another older guy with even more tattoos and really long hair said to the woman in front of him, “Tell that kid to give you his seat. He’s supposed to give his seat to seniors. If you don’t ask him, I will tell him he has to get up.” The kid got up immediately, and then the guy turned to me and asked if I wanted his seat. I declined.
  • All over Miami Beach, there are fishbowl-sized drinks, some with beers sticking out of them. Yet, surprisingly, we saw very few drunk people. That may not the case in high season.

    I’ll just have a beer, thanks.

  • The Art Deco Walking Tour was great. The buildings are beautiful, and the guide was super knowledgeable. I just wish it had started earlier, because I was melting by the end.

One of my fave art deco hotels

  • A guy on a bicycle was riding around, and on front edge of his bike basket was his pet lemur. The guy’s friend was riding with a giant python around his neck.
  • Jellyfish in Biscayne Bay. We motored out in my brother-in-law’s boat. He swore he always sees dolphins. Not a one. I almost jumped into the water anyway, but decided against it. Not 30 seconds later, we saw giant jellyfish off the side of the boat. Phew. With my luck, I’d have been attacked. It would have been ugly.
  • Iguanas, butterflies, and an alligator at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The garden is exquisite, completely worth the drive out and the cost of admission. It’s so beautiful, I could have spent days there. If I lived nearby, I’d be a member and take photography classes.
Miami Beach-2

Don’t know his name

Miami Beach-3

Morpho butterfly

Miami Beach-1

  • Storms! Living in California, I miss rain. I dream of rain. In Florida, we got a lot of it, plus thunderstorms. All the rain made it hard to take pictures, but when it wasn’t raining I got some cool stormy sky shots.
Miami Beach-4

One of my best shots was on my cell phone.

From Miami Beach, we traveled to Boston. Highlights from that trip in an upcoming post.

Updated 09/29/2015 – my friend Barb informed me that “cerveziesta” might be pronounced “cervethiesta” by Spaniards. That just won’t do. So the spelling has been changed to “cervesiesta.”


 As I pulled books off my shelf, Derek tried to guess what I was doing. He guessed wrong. I’m not going to read a chapter of each in a round-robin. (My head would explode, more than it already is from the lingering shingles pain.) Nor am I going to read them all and throw all but one away. Well, I might do that, but that’s not my intention.

This is my in progress and pending list. I’m currently reading and loving Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, even though as I read it I think, “Wait, that’s in my unpublished book!”

The Golem and the Jinni and Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up were lent to me by the same friend who lent me The Night Circus, which was one of my favorite books of 2014. I’ll at least try anything she recommends.

Motherless Daughters was given to me by another friend who’s a fellow member of the Suckiest Club on Earth. And because she has many caring, concerned friends, she ended up with multiple copies. It may make me cry, but I hope it will also give me insight into what my goddaughter is facing and how I can help, since she joined the Suckiest Club far, far too young.

Derek lent me The Circle, though he didn’t particularly recommend it. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m curious.

Beyond Boundaries is an anthology from The Redwood Writers’ Group, the group I recently joined to meet fellow writers closer to home.

I gave The Irregulars to my dad several Christmases ago. It languished in his to-read collection until I borrowed it, only to let it languish in mine. It tells the true tale of Roald Dahl’s work as a British spy in Washington during World War II. Last year, I decided I needed to expand my reading from pure fiction to include some historical fiction and biographies. I read Unbroken and loved it. I hope this is as good.

So there they are, the first of my books for 2015.

PS – It’s late and dark here. I balanced a light on my head as I took that picture. Trust me, it’s better than it would have been using flash.

2014 is gone, and I was relieved to see it go. While I may have said “good riddance,” I managed not to shout “get the F&!* out of here,” and I’m pretty proud of that self-restraint.

I don’t want to curse the new year already, but it’s got to be better. That said, I have to be part of making it better. I’ve done resolutions in the past — with positive results, even. But this year, I want something different, more action-oriented. Progress I can track, because even though I’m a word nerd, I love being able to calculate my progress as a percentage (and maybe even a fancy spreadsheet with graphs and pie charts).

My 2015-by-the-numbers plan is as follows:

  • 52 photos
  • 52 blog posts with said photos
  • 12 stories or articles
  • One novel

Of note, the numbers above are weekly or monthly  — not for procrastinating so that I have to write and photograph like a madwoman in December. They’re also minimum goals.

I also want to knit 6 chemo caps and read 30 books. This past year, I aimed for 12 caps and reached 6 and 36 books and reached 27. Maybe I should try books on tape again, so I can multitask knitting and reading.

What are your 2015 numbers?


2014 low-light: Rhymes with Pringles, but shingles ain’t fun. Trust me. Not what I wanted for Christmas.


2014 highlight: Catalina. This is one of my favorite photos, possibly ever. Ironic that it’s kind of moody and gloomy.



  1. Bubble tea: “Balls” is an expression to express disgust, not something you should eat.
  2. Princess cake: I like white cake, and I like marzipan, but putting them together does not make a to-die-for cake.
  3. The bacon craze: I love me some bacon, but not in my vodka, my chocolate chip cookies, and especially not in my soap!
  4. Claw-foot tubs: Designer magazines make them look amazingly gorgeous. They can be, if they are only tubs. When they’re converted into showers, they suck. At least ours does. The shower curtains attack and have to be held in place with magnets. Plus, there’s no good place to put your stuff.
  5. Houses with “character”: Ours is filled with charming items such as claw-foot tubs with attack curtains and creative wiring. At a recent party, a guest said to me, “You two are so brave to take on an old house like this.” I laughed and answered, “Oh, no. We’re renting.” Relief washed over her face.
  6. Salespeople who use abuse your name:”So, Mariana, what I can do for you?” “Well, Mariana, we have a sale going on today.” We are not buddies, and even my buddies don’t use my name to start every other sentence!
  7. Music everywhere you go: I have thoughts of my own, thank you very much. I don’t need your loud, crappy music worming its way into my brain. At a restaurant the other night, we were “entertained” by KTLS – all Tortured Love Songs, all the time! There’s nothing like being serenaded by Michael Bolton…to make you want to jam a chopstick into your ear.
  8. Fortune cookies: I don’t love the flavor, but that’s not even my issue. I want a fortune, not a platitude. In the good old days, you might read, “You will meet a handsome stranger and travel the world.” Today? “Answer only to yourself. You know the questions.”
  9. Game of Thrones, the HBO series: I haven’t read the books, but I tried to watch the series to keep the husband company. I barely made it through the opening credits before someone was beheaded. Mind you, I have a very low threshold for violence and gore in movies and television. So #9 could simply be “violence for entertainment.” I don’t want to spend my money on something that’s going to give me nightmares. That said, I got convinced to watch another couple episodes of Game of Thrones – during which I closed my eyes quite a few times, when I could see the violence coming. What I couldn’t anticipate? The beheading of a horse! Yes, they beheaded a horse. I jumped up, screaming, “I’m done. Out of here. Going upstairs!” I think I even put in earplugs.
  10. Stupid numbered lists.

A story I wrote was chosen for a new “flash fiction” website called Fewer Than 500.

Probably most of the readers are my friends I’ve pointed in that direction, but it’s still  exciting to me.  Now, I just need to keep writing!  And keep reading, because if the truth be told, I have my own list titled “Books I skipped in school” —  the point of departure for the story.  My list differs slightly from Ariana’s.

Here’s mine:

  1. The Pearl
  2. Tortilla Flat
  3. Grapes of Wrath (well, read it, but skipped whole chapters)
  4. The Scarlet Letter
  5. All Quiet on the Western Front
  6. Vanity Fair

I never skipped Moby Dick, but probably would have had it been assigned to me.  I got into Dickens when I was reading him in college, though my class never got to A Tale of Two Cities. I should give that a try.

If I start a personal classics revival, I’ll post my progress here.  If I do, I’d start with Steinbeck or Dickens.