“Let’s start a business…we’ll call it sOLstarr*.”

The happenings

So, just some interesting interactions abroad:

Paris, Market
Sol and I are at the market, getting what else? . . . bread, wine and cheese of course. There’s a Parisian brotha working at the register. Once we start speaking English, a smile flashes across his face.

Parisian brotha: Oh, you’re American?

Sol & I: Yes. (we both nod and smile)

Parisian brotha: Obama! Yes WE can. (then laughs)

Sol & I: Yes, that’s right. (we both laugh)

Amsterdam, NL
We are at Sonny’s (my favorite patat frite and falafel joint thus far). We’ve already placed our orders and see the falafels are just about ready to be handed over and shortly thereafter devoured.

Before we proceed . . . it should be explained that the previous day Sonny’s chef was kind enough to show us how best to accept the falafel (therefore minimizing our chances of spilling). One hand palm face UP and the other hand palm DOWN on top.

Back to the story . . . falafel’s are just about ready and Sol has assumed the aforementioned position. Funny thing is, he ends up waiting a little, hands still fixed for the taking, out-stretched over the counter.

Dutch woman (with cartoon, blonde, pigtail braids) has the prepared falafel: You hungry, huh? (laughs)

Sol: Yeah (but he really was thinking . . . just give me the damn falafel, bitch!)

Amsterdam, NL
At another falafel joint (not as good as Sonny,’s but whatever). Sol is paying for our meal at the register.

A woman, head covered with a scarf enters the shop. She exchanges words with the shop owner (in Dutch) then gets change for her bills.

As she exits, she looks at me then says, “alayki s-salām.”

I smile. This is the first time someone has greeted me in Arabic.
Continue reading


April 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

On the GZA’s trail

Since today Sol really was off to the hospital, I ventured out on my own. Map in hand, I was on the GZA’s trail. Rumor has it the GZA a.k.a. The Genius a.k.a. Gary Grice of the Wu-Tang Clan a.k.a. Killa Bees will be performing in Amsterdam.

Success. There is truth to the rumor and the tickets are in my knapsack. I don’t want to get our hopes up, but there is a strong possibility the legendary Rakim will be in the building. Say whaaat?

All that ticket hunting worked up an appetite, and lucky for me I stumbled across some serious take-out stir fry. Share the menu? I shall . . . brown rice w/ shitake mushrooms, tofu, and broccoli (Sol’s favorite) in spicy coconut curry sauce. Oh yes.

The Wu-Tang Clan . . . stir fry. Coincidence? I think not, chew on that brain food. –Starr*

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Starr* | , , | Leave a comment

Paris is for us.

Paris has blown my mind. It is the only place in which I have spent time (or lived, U.S. included) where I felt completely comfortable looking the way I look.

I am a 30 year old Black woman and it’s crazy that I have yet to experience this freedom until now. We have ridden the metro, walked Paris’ cobblestone streets, enjoyed a 3-course dinner in a fine restaurant and it has been marvelous. No one has looked oddly at my freckles, stared rudely at my hair or thought twice about my husband being the tall, handsome Mexican man he is : )

Paris is for us.

In this moment I think of Josephine Baker, Aimé Césaire, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Paul Robeson, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Miles Davis, and Paulette Nardal. The feeling is mutual. –Starr*

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Say, Amsterdam, I like your style.

So . . . Sol’s first work day was “canceled.” Reason being? The weather was “too nice”. Seriously? Definitely! Looks like we brought the sunshine and blue sky with us from Paris. Our first couple of days in Amsterdam were lovely, we’re talkin’ high 70’s/low 80’s (which we were told by everyone is unseasonably warm).

Sol’s plan of action . . . soak up the sun while cooling off with adult beverages accompanied by newly found friends. Say, Amsterdam . . . I like your style.

Now the scoop on where we’re settin’ up shop. We spent our first few days in a cozy studio apartment in de Pijp neighborhood, Amsterdam’s “Quartier Latin”. The area is plenty lively and is home to both an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse crowd. Around the corner is Amsterdam’s largest market, Albert Cuypmark. Named after a well-known landscape painter, this huge market offers a sundry of goods: produce, incense, jewelry, clothing, iPhone cases (Sol bought one here to replace his broken one), fresh flowers and oh so much more.

While a large grocery store is a short walk away, I opt to buy produce from the street market. Everything is fresh and the prices are on point:
3 mangoes- 1 Euro
6 mandarin oranges- .50cents
1 bunch of scallions- 1 Euro . . . and the list goes on.

Since our arrival in Europe (beginning in France) Sol and I have been utterly spoiled rotten with freshly baked bread each day. Here in Amsterdam our bakery of choice is Brood, conveniently located around the corner from our apartment. In the morning we watch them roll out the soft dough and get to baking. By the afternoon, a line has overflowed onto the straat (no, that’s not a typo, just tossing in little Dutchty Dutch for “street”). –Starr*

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Starr* | , | Leave a comment


Day 3 – Paris

Eiffel Tower – “check”

Royal Palace – “check”

Embarrassing moment #1 – “check”

Most embarrassing (and hilarious) moment thus far, here goes:

We are having espresso at an outdoor cafe and Sol is flipping through our French phrases book (which, I should mention, contains VERY important translations for common phrases such as “Stop thief!” and “Grab your wallet and go!”) .

Sol is practicing his favorite phrase and gets a little carried away . . . and exclaims “Pardon!” (in his best and coincidentally most exaggerated French accent). Right at that moment an older French man walking his dog passes by and bust out laughing in our direction.

At that moment I decide it’s best to put the book away and practice such phrases at home. –Starr*

April 3, 2011 Posted by | Starr* | | Leave a comment

Halloween 2008- scary like the econony!

This is our 2nd year in Fresno and Rob & Kira’s yearly Halloween party keeps getting better and better. Our hosts have been naughty little believers. Kira is now 8 months pregnant and from the look of it Rob is about 3 months.

So this year Starr and I decided to do the couples thing. Since our favorite quotes are “off the pigs” and “get your hand out of my pocket!”, we decided to use this as our inspiration. Oh.. no livestock were harmed at this party. Starr (aka member of the Black Panther Party) looked just like Angela Davis and I was Che Guevarra with a fat puro cigar.

Viva La Libertad people!

Starr spent the entire time in the backyard protesting the party for its portrayal of Black people. I organized a coup and spiked the punch bowl.

There was some discussion as to what the hell Alfredo was this year. Wonki thought he was a Sushi Chef who bought the wrong knife set. I also thought that but I figured this was incorrect since he really got mad when I asked him to make me some Tempura and a California Roll. So I hopped online and found out who he was. So… thanks to google, he is..

“The primary protagonist of Bleach (an anime show), orange-haired high school junior Ichigo Kurosaki is forced to become a substitute Soul Reaper after unintentionally absorbing most of Rukia’s powers(some powerful dude.. I guess). His cynical nature at first makes him ill-disposed towards the duty, but with the passage of time he comes to accept and welcome the strength his Soul Reaper powers give him, as it allows him to protect those close to him.”

And here is proof… spitting image if you ask me. Complete with a real, lethal 5-foot sword he bought off the internet at

Others were easier to figure out.

Sue and Arla are the Queen of Snow White. Arla is the initially gorgeous Queen and Sue is the Queen after she turns into poor woman petteling her apple to an unsuspecting Snow White. Starr was wondering why her name had to be Snow WHITE.

Ana came as the the King, Elvis Presley. The costume was complete with a hairy chest and all. I hope the hairy chest was intentional. It looked really real in this close up I took.

For those believers that Elvis is alive. There is still a reward for him. I think I found him.

Ngok and Hein came as 2 punk rockers. Hein was in character from the onset. Ngok got into it later and started a mosh pit in the living room then he extinguished a few cigarettes on his wrist to prove he was PUNK.

Suniel came as a Fresno Meth head complete with Meth mouth and his Fresno bulldogs hat. He kept trying to bum dollars off of everyone at the party. Lupina came as Jem? I had no idea what this was as with every other male at the party. All the ladies knew who she was. The girls were hanging with the meth head if you ask me. So.. apparently there was an 80’s cartoon show about a girl band. Sounds just fab U lous. I needed proof… I didn’t believe her until I found this. So here is Jem and the Holograms. ya!

The first years represented. Kirk came as the Vorizon guy. He walked around with his network clogging up the kitchen and the hallway. Wonki must have come as a technician of some sort…. I don’t know what that purple spot in his hair signifies. Maybe him and Ngok were trading hair secrets. Luke came as a cowboy and his girlfriend as a saloon girl. No… Wonki is not the saloon girl in this picture.

And finally… here are a few of us just hanging out in the kitchen.

November 2, 2008 Posted by | sOL, Starr* | 3 Comments

16 mile hike to Half Dome @ Yosemite Park in CA- 7/30/08

Right before our month long vacation ended, Wonki and I decided to tackle Half Dome in Yosemite Park in California. Little did we know… Half Dome is no joke. We didn’t realize it was 16 miles round trip and the last 1/2 mile was a killer. We thought we were well prepared but we didn’t bring enough food and only half as much as the water we needed. Needless to say we survived to post this pics. Enjoy our pain.

We are exhausted about halfway up the mountain.

The last leg of the trip. Up the 45 degree cables. Glad I brought some gloves.

We finally made it to the top. There is a slight haze on the horizon. During our trip there was a huge forest fire north of the park.

I was freaked out while I took this picture on the diving board. I’m not scared of heights but I was a little spooked being so close to the edge. My sense of self preservation kept me from fully extending my arms. Deep down I didn’t want to be that fool that died at half dome and had someone taking pics while he slid off the face of the rock. See that hole that I’m standing over. A few years ago 3 people died in that hole when lightning struck Half Dome. One person survived. Luckily, it was a nice clear day…no lightning anywhere.

We hung out for about an 1 1/2 hours then headed down slowly. 12 hours later we were back at the car. I didn’t walk right for another week.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | sOL | 1 Comment

Birthday Princess and Over the Hill

This last week was very special. Two of my fellow residents had their birthdays. Alfredo Urdaneta, our resident Princess, turned 27 and Brian Horan , our gracefully aging senior resident turned 40 or 50. Hard to tell at that age:). I couldn’t resist buying them hats, taking pictures, and posting them on my blog. Happy Birthday! Enjoy.




January 12, 2008 Posted by | sOL, Starr* | Leave a comment

Mylo aka Puss-n-boots- Starr’s Dream Come True

For the next 3 months or so we’ll be cat sitting Mylo. Starr has never been happier. Since she picked him up she insists on singing the following jingle about 40 times a day. “Mylo, Your my dream come true, I love you.” I’ve got used to her ignoring me. She opens her arms as soon as she comes through the front door pushes me aside and goes to find the kitty so she carry him around like a baby (motherly instincts kicking in?).

Isn’t Mylo a great looking cat. Big green bright eyes. Soft Garfield fur. Looks kinda like Puss n boots to me. You know that kitty in Shrek. Yes, he is a looker. This is him about 90% of the time.


Starr took this picture….It’s kinda wierd. He tends to point at me at times. And he only looks at me with his good eye. Kinda creepy.


But things change when he sits with Starr. Starr loves to serenade Mylo.


She tends to ignore me when she is holding the cat. She prefers to sing to him and get lost in his eyes.


Mylo at play with his mouse arch groomer. He doesn’t really walk through it…he just nibbles on the arch.


January 4, 2008 Posted by | sOL, Starr* | Leave a comment

Best Christmas Gift Ever- Pimp Cup

And the old E wasn’t half bad either. Thanks Steve for the Little Pimp starter kit.

This is me at Chad’s hookah party.



December 28, 2007 Posted by | sOL, Starr* | Leave a comment