WARNING: This post contains tropical scenes which may be damaging to your well being if you are in the Northern climates affected by the storm. Then again, these scenes may lift your spirits. You decide.
Two months have passed since my last blog post ... and a lot has been happening ...
Usually I set aside sometime to ponder a New Year — to reflect, project. Last year I rang in 2018 at a live Jimmy Buffett concert in Nashville — very far from my norm. This year I rang in 2019 downtown in Paradise South at 9pm. Yes, 9pm. You see "Paradise South" drops the ball at 9pm instead of midnight so everyone is sure to "make it." It was a rather large celebration for a small town and the ball is homemade and dropped via fishing pole by the mayor from a second story balcony. It is not my norm to celebrate in any sort of crowd but the rest of it is keeping in line with my lifestyle from homemade to the fishing pole, all quite unconventional yet attainable. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I'm developing a new norm? A crowd, loud?
The Ball Drop New Year's Eve
It is now January 15, and I am just beginning my reflecting and projecting upon 2018 and 2019 (and it will probably take me days to pull this post together). Whereas 2018 began as a party, 2019 began busy. I spent New Year's Day not recovering from an early 9pm night, but by matting and framing six new art works I painted throughout 2018 for an art show at the community art center. Artists know what work it is to mat and frame if art admirers may not. I am fortunate to have my own mat cutter that I acquired several years ago and that I finally dragged down to Paradise South where the main energy of all my painting is now my focus. In this bit of minimal reflection I realize that 2019 will be a year to carry on aka keep on keeping on what I started in 2018 — paint, plant, cook. The past couple years have been working up to this mantra and now that my life has finally clicked into place, I hope to really enjoy the process of painting, planting, and cooking.
I spent my wedding anniversary, the following day 01/02 (easy for the husband to remember), hanging my art show with the help of two terrific gals. The evening I spent with friends (one of whom helped me hang the show) at a local restaurant in great company. It was a fun, memorable anniversary if not our norm of a intimate dinner at a restaurant or at home cooking. I worked for the next three days at my favorite studio/store (loving my second career!) right up to the art show opening reception in which I appeared by walking across the street at the close of work into the reception. It was well received and I am very grateful for and thankful to those who came to support my artwork and myself — thank you! https://www.facebook.com/157460394588986/posts/779283939073292
The next morning began at 4am with a trip to the Gainesville airport only to arrive, on time, and wait to be checked in to, er bumped from our flight and placed on stand by for another flight to be missed again and to stand by to make a third flight to Atlanta. Then we arrived in Atlanta to the news that there weren't any more flights that day to our final destination, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We took the sky train to a nice hotel and made the best of it knowing we were guaranteed a flight the next morning to Puerto Vallarta.
On the wall in our hotel ...
I haven't been to Puerto Vallarta in a good while — maybe five years running now. My first few trips were due to my parents discovering and making PV their winter stomping ground. My parents are also the reason for this current trip. I want to spend precious time with them. We are all getting older. That evening upon arrival enveloped us from the balcony of our rented condo and we collectively sighed with deep contentment and realized what paradise Puerto Vallarta is cradled between the ocean and mountains. We breathed in rhythm to the sound of the surf and completely relaxed.
I will be here until the end of January (pinch me!) and so far it has been absolutely rejuvenating. Now, I can pause and reflect on the past year which has been life changing and gather my thoughts. Once again, I reflect on how selling our big house up North and becoming FL residents has allowed me to get on with life! Obstacles have been removed. It is somewhat of a shock that the very thing I thought so important to me — the house and Violet Fern garden — was the very thing that was in my way and weighing me down.
Previous visits to Puerto Vallarta inspired several paintings especially when I visited the botanical gardens.
Older paintings inspired by previous trips to Vallarta: Jardin Botanico Vallarta Study I & II, A Las Luz de las Velas
This painting, although recently painted just this past summer was also inspired by my previous trip to Jardin Botanico Vallarta years ago.
The Orchid House, a recent painting
This visit is no different! I see inspiration everywhere and I am excited to paint more botanicals. Because I packed so haphazardly I don't have any painting supplies or even a sketchbook — arrrgh! What I do have is the ever present phone to record pictures of what inspires me. I will be thrilled to get back to painting when we return to Paradise South and also curious to see what paintings develop five years later. Sort of like the aging trend on Facebook going on now, I will compare paintings then with the new paintings now. I also want to explore painting botanicals with acrylics as well as watercolor.
Inspiration is everywhere!
Oh yes, I would like this to be my new norm! Starting the year off with a pause and rejuvenating in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. I can project that this will be a year I am kinder to my body and will concentrate on better health and fitness like so many of us. I need to drop some weight — that's what is weighing me down now. Mornings I have been going down to the marina for gentle yoga 50+ classes with Michelle Williamson (she is awesome!), and I am becoming somewhat addicted! I am amazed how much mobility I have lost and hope to get back.
I also love the food here, of course, being the foodie that I am. I consume food but food also consumes me. I hope to turn my constant cravings to more whole plant-based foods and not addicting process foods. I love this area where we can walk to the marina and pick from the many restaurants. I am finding that there are many more vegetarian and vegan options than I remember. One of my favorite places for brunch after yoga class is The Yogi Bar. They also offer yoga classes but I haven't worked up to their level yet — maybe next year.
Unfortunately, I can't just eat out for every meal so I am also cooking: beans for less than a dollar, chopping fruit, homemade pico de galo, and guacamole all fresh. I purchase warm corn tortillas out of a cooler (!!!) at the commercial (grocery store) after a good 30 minute walk there. We cab it back and unload our groceries into available shopping carts at the condo and wheel it right into our kitchen! The tortilla chips are not coated in granular flavor enhancers that mess with your brain and taste buds. They are simply tortilla chips. I feel I am in detox and I'm feeling good! Tequila has been my beverage of choice. No wine, no gin martinis or tonics. Just lots and lots of tequila — straight, with club soda and lime, margaritas, palomas ... hmmm, maybe that's why I'm feeling so good!
Did you catch that I wrote "maybe next year?" We have already reserved our spot in beautiful Puerto Vallarta for next January 2020. You kinda have to if you want to stay near the marina. You can bet next year I will have painting supplies! If this is carrying on, well then let me carry on! I think 2019 will be another great year and I wish you the same.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.
All quoted verse is from the Bible I am currently studying: The New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition