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Handsome Hunk and I have a Sunday ritual during the winter. We head to the club in the morning for a workout (I take an hour spin class) and then we linger over breakfast in the café. It takes the edge off the cold, gray days and gives us a false sense of accomplishment for the weekend. We then plow through two Sunday newspapers and often make soup to last the week.

In addition to adding to the work-in-progress encaustic diptych above, I played with my new acrylic paints today. What surprises me, is that acrylics take longer to dry then I thought they would. I’m painting layers that I plan to sand through in different places, so making sure each layer dries before I paint another is important—I think. Right now it’s all about experimenting since I’m used to painting with oils.

Recently I stumbled across Katherine Cartwright’s blog dedicated to the “advancement of critical thinking in art.” In her most recent post, Paint for Yourself, she proclaims, “the point is that I need to paint for myself and the odds are that few people will feel the same way I do about my paintings. And, when you get right down to it, what’s the point of painting from someone else’s view anyway?” Amen.

Yesterday I spent ten minutes of every hour imagining I was paddling about in the beautiful turquoise water of the Caribbean:

And mentally replaying our walk through the botanic gardens on the island:

C’mon Mother Nature, you can do it. Let’s hear it for Spring!!

It’s been a week since our return from Cayman Island and the glow still lingers. It was a fantasy vacation in so many ways. Our perch was a top floor (3rd) condo on the beach: this meant we looked right into the palm fronds at the top of their trunks, voluptuous green against the aquamarine blues of the water. The weather was sensational; intermittent clouds were welcome protection from the laser rays of the sun.

I didn’t freak out when I was doing my final tests for my PADI dive certificate. That’s me in the pool photo above practicing. Taking off my mask and putting it back on and changing respirators 30 feet deep in the water is not my idea of fun. Chill, don’t panic I told myself. Altogether we did three dives throughout the week, down to 60 feet. Each dive site had it’s own personality. One called Tarpon Terrace was an undersea ledge teeming with shiny silver tarpons wherever you looked. I wanted to reach out and touch as we swam through them, but I was a bit afraid. They were quite big, maybe 3 feet long. On another dive we swam through canyons of rock and coral with the sun streaming through the water. It’s hard to decide where to look, there’s so much vying for your attention. It’s easy to miss the subtle things an experienced diver can see such as lobster eyes peering from the sand or an eel’s tail peeping out of a crevasse.

Handsome hunk outdid himself, I have to say. On different nights, he presented me with a little box to open. In my experience little boxes are always the best. A beautiful silver bracelet one night, an unusual silver necklace the next and a ring that is oxidized steel and gold with small diamonds—hard to explain without photos, but they were all originals and he was spot on with each.

My very favorite adventure was walking into the water whenever I felt like it and just floating, floating, floating. Indescribably delicious is how it made me feel. I can still conjure up the serenity and happiness.

When we returned from vacation, the condo owner emailed me to ask about our stay. I told him the only thing I would change is to move the bedroom from the back of the condo closer to the beach. I didn’t tell him that each night we hauled the mattress from the bedroom to the living room so we could fall asleep listening to the rhythm of the waves lapping at the shore.

My quest now to keep me in the spirit is to find a coffee cup the precise shade of the Caribbean ocean—it’s pretty close to the electric teal color in a peacock feather. I’ll know it when I see it.

Roller Derby was slightly different then I imagined. My only previous exposure was the 1972 movie, Kansas City Bomber, starring Raquel Welch.

Last night, the Windy City Rollers attracted their largest crowd ever, 3,977, to Saturday night’s season opening. It wasn’t quite the rough and tough, bitchy drama portrayed in the movie, but there was continuous action and ardent screeching fans.

Fun, campy half-time show.

Each 30-minute half consists of two minute jams. Skaters are jammers, pivots and blockers, and have campy names like Val Capone, Ruth Anasia and Red Zeppelin. It looked like great fun. I was itching to lace up a pair of skates and get into the action. My full name is Julia (thus Lia), so I was thinking maybe Julia Seizure.

Next week, we’re taking the adventure to the Cayman Islands. I have one toe dipped in the water already…actually in my fantasies I’m totally immersed. I checked the temperature there today, 84 degrees.

This isn't me. But next week at this time it will be. Can't you just feel the warm, soothing water?