Ahora Si!

*The title of this post, "Ahora si." translates literally to "Now yes!" It's an idiom we Cubans like to use when something is REALLY happening. As in "this is really going down right now." It's also the title of a song sung by Andy Garcia and the Cineson All Stars, but that's not important right now.....or maybe it is?

At the beginning of this year, I declared that my goal for 2013 was to finally meet Andy Garcia. It's been a fantasy of mine to meet him and of course, impress him with my wit and versatility. I have a friend that says you just have to make declarations like that and "put it out there for the Universe." And so, I did. Here's what happened next...

May is my Birthday Month. That is, my birthday lands somewhere around the 3rd week of May, but I try to milk the celebration for as long as I can. And that's usually the entire month. (Don't judge me.)

My family is used to this and so when May rolls around they start thinking in terms of what-to-do-for-mom-for-her-birthday. Which is how I found myself dressed up with high heels and makeup at the Catalina Jazz Club in L.A. on Saturday, May 4th at a concert by Andy Garcia and the Cineson All Stars. This was my birthday gift from my daughter, Amy Kikita.

Amy marta

We had seen Andy before and loved his show so I knew what to expect and was looking forward to the evening. Talk about a versatile artist! See this post.

The Cineson All Stars are a collection of some of the finest Cuban musical artists ever assembled. Andy is the   quintessential Cuban music historian and between songs told of the origin of each of the compositions, including how that style of music came to be played in our native Cuba. It was educational and edifying and made the music just that much more vibrant.

Andy garcia and the cineson allstars

"Ahora si!" is also the title of a song composed by the legendary Cachao and dedicated to Andy Garcia in celebration of his youngest child, a son, Andres, after he already had 3 daughters. The lyric goes:

"Si! Si! Si! Ahora, si! Barón!" (Get it? The "Barón," or boy, after the first 3? It's kind of genius, really.) Please click on this link and listen to track #7 so you get a feel for the awesome Afro-Cuban-mamboness of it all. Better yet, go download the song and add it to your iTunes playlist. You're welcome.

Much to our everlasting delight, Andy Garcia and the Cineson All Stars played for over 3 hours that night without a break. Which meant that we were wiggling and dancing in our seats for some of the time, but finally we could not contain ourselves any longer and it was the "Ahora Si!" song that brought down the house.

Andy garcia on congas

An aside: there was a familiar-looking,skinny blonde who got up to dance right next to our table and ended up bumping butts with Amy. It turned out to be the actress, Sharon Stone getting her Cuban on. Of course, Amy is a much, much better dancer. She can't help it. It's in her blood.

We were there with a handful of good friends who appreciate this type of music and we all sang along, and danced all night and took crappy pictures with our smart phones and generally had a fantastic time. And we hung in there way past midnight until the last note had been played.

"Let's go meet him. Tonight's the night." That was my daughter. If you've been following this blog for the past 6 1/2 years, you know that I have an entire Blog Category dedicated to Andy Garcia (find it over in the right nav) and am a serious fan.

Ok. I was ready. Well, sort of....

If I was fantasizing about the conditions under which I would finally get to meet Andy Garcia, my hair and makeup would be flawless and I would NOT be breathless and sweaty. But then, when you put these things out to the Universe, you really don't have much control over how they will go down, do you?

Andy garcia and marta darby 1

Also, wit and versatility? Gone. Completely blown out by sweat, exhaustion and holy-cow-I'm-finally-meeting-Andy-Garcia-and-my-hair-is-sticking-out-Medusa-style. But I did get to meet and greet.

And that was enough.

Andy garcia and marta darby 2

And he agreed to a photo op. A blurry, badly lit, over-exposed photo of me and Andy Garcia. Which I have already blown up and framed and hung above my desk and will treasure forever. (Happy Birthday Month to Me!)

Next time I put something out for the Universe, I'm going to insist on better mega-pixels.

Ahora si!

Happy 40th Birthday, Versailles! (An homage and a giveaway.)

“I need a blurb from you about Versailles.”

This request came from my friend (the amazing Cuban chef and cookbook author) Ana Quincoces. She was working on a TOP SECRET project and thought I might have something to say about my favorite Cuban restaurant in Miami.

Me: “Tell me what you're doing, so I can put it in context.”

That's when she began to reveal that she was working on a.....(wait for it....) Versailles Cookbook! *insert heavenly choir here*

Me: “Seriously? What a cool project. I suppose I could give you a blurb. But if we're talking Versailles on Calle Ocho, I could do an entire homage without breaking a sweat, but that's not important right now.”


Versailles. It's usually the first place we visit when we arrive in Miami (Hello, Cuban food!) and the last place, too. (Pan con Bistec for the plane ride home.)

Versailles. The first item on our long list of Miami Rules.

Versailles. Of the iconic etched mirrors and the perfect cortadito.


Versailles. Always packed at any time of the night or day. Filled with the sounds of my people. Their loud and inimitable voices raised in conversation, argument, and laughter.

Versailles. The geographical epicenter of our exile.

Me: “I wrote a post about why I couldn't live in Miami and my lack of self-control when it comes to Cuban food in general and Versailles in particular.”

Me, quoting myself: “It's like the Cuban Mecca and I am a faithful pilgrim.”

The next thing I know, I'm being quoted in the Miami Herald in an article titled Versailles: 40 years serving food with a side of politics. (I know. Shut. UP.)

From the article:

“When no one knew who he was, Julio Iglesias used to come and sit here and eat,” Valls Sr. remembers.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is still a regular, and “although I’m a Republican,” Valls Sr. notes, President Clinton has been here three times. Famous chefs like the Food Network’s Bobby Flay make Versailles a mandatory pitstop on visits to Miami.

“It’s like the Cuban Mecca and I am a faithful pilgrim,” says Californian Marta Darby, who writes the blog “My Big, Fat, Cuban Family.”

(emphasis mine)

I'd like to just point out right now that they mention me in the same section as the other famous people who have eaten there, but that's not important right now. ;-)

Ana: “I think we got your blurb.”

Then she went on to tell me that she's still working on the Versailles book and that they're having a big party at the Calle Ocho restaurant this week to celebrate and that they're hoping that....(wait for it....) Andy Garcia will write the forward.

  • Thing 1) Out-of-my-skin excited to be included in this wonderful project.
  • Thing 2) Andy Garcia and I might be published in the same book. (One degree closer, people.)
  • Thing 3) Versailles is 40 years old.

I think we need to celebrate, don't you? I wish the Versailles book existed already and I had that to give away, but it has not been published yet, but I do have the next best thing:

An autographed copy of Ana's iconic Cuban Cookbook: Sabor! A Passion for Cuban Cuisine. (Thank, Ana!)


Sabor autograph

Of course, I'm especially proud of having My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Torrejas featured in this beautiful cookbook, but that's not important right now, either.


(Page 204 - 205, por si las moscas....)  =D

So, to enter this comment drawing, answer the following question:

  • When you celebrate a special occasion, what's on the menu?

Remember that if you want to enter the drawing for the cookbook, you must leave a comment on this post and I'll choose a winner on Sunday, July 17th, 2011 at 5 pm Pacific.

Happy Birthday, Versailles!

Con muchisimo cariño,


The Cocoon

Eric found the cocoon on May 27th.


We had never seen anything like it before. It looked to me like a jade earring with perfect gold flecks. It looked so, so surreal.

"What is that?" We quickly asked Señor Google better known around here as Cuco. =D

A Monarch. Shut. UP!

It took a few weeks for the thing to begin to turn transparent and show us what was inside.

Clear cocoon

The colors of the monarch butterfly became apparent to us then.

Every day we went out to catch another glimpse of the little miracle hanging from the arm of our patio chair.

On June 13th, the miracle finally happened and the beautiful butterfly slowly emerged.


Lucky for us, he spent hours struggling to get out and dry off and spread his wings. We were privileged to have front row seats (and digital film, of course) to this magical event.

Finally, he lifted off and headed for the flowers to sit and let the sun dry him so he could head off to the next adventure of his short life.


I decided to name him "Andy Garcia," because he was so beautiful. ;-)

Abre que voy!

I'm having one of those accidentally cool things happening that happens to me occasionally because I live in a fun bloggy world.

I am traveling to Miami for Blogalicious Weekend 2010. Celebrating Diversity in Social Media. (The words celebrating and social seem like they describe me perfectly. Am I right?)

My trip is being sponsored in full by the lovely folks at General Mills and Que Rica Vida. (This is the 2nd time they send me to Miami and I'm really loving them for it.Thanks GM & QRV!)

I have some fun stuff that I get to do and there will be conferency things and events and dinners and even a parranda. (<--Puerto Rican speak for party!)

But for now, just know that I'll be spending the weekend hanging with some of my favorite blog friends and hopefully making some new connections. And of course, there will be the mandatory pilgrimage with my Cuban peeps to The Palacio de Los Jugos in Little Havana.

I'm looking forward to the Parranda Party (also sponsored by Que Rica Vida <-- Do you see why I love these people?).


I get to wear my new parranda shoes (with a comfort sole in preparation for dancing all night).


I have great intentions of blogging from Miami. (I know about the road to hell being paved with those, but that's not important right now.)

Here's the recap of why I'm feeling sooo accidentally cool:

  • I get to go to one of my favorite cities.
  • I get to hang with some of my favorite people.
  • I get to eat Cuban food.
  • I get to wear my new parranda shoes. (<--I think everyone should start calling their party shoes parranda shoes from now on.)
  • I get to share it with you via my new iPad. (I know Shut up.)


Now, if I God would just answer my prayer and I could run into Andy Garcia somewhere on Calle Ocho, my life would be complete. *sigh*


(A big thank you to General Mills & Que Rica Vida for making me feel sooo accidentally cool.) =D

"Abre que voy. Cuida'o con los cayos!"


Ready to Roll

My 96 year old mom, Luza, has been glued to her tv watching the coverage of all the Cubans marching in solidarity with the Damas de Blanco. (See Amy's post below.)

I have so many posts that begin, "my mom will be with us this weekend...."

Well, this is one of those weekends.

In preparation, I called her the other day and she told me she has been watching the coverage of the march in Miami, and wearing white to show solidarity with the brave Cuban women who are marching to demand Human Rights in Cuba.

Look at this sea of people. My people. Here ends the myth that the Cubans on the island and the Cubans in the U.S. are a divided people.


I explained to her that there would be a march like that in L.A. on Sunday and that we wanted to go. She's 96 and has trouble walking very far because she loses her balance, so I assumed she would not be interested in going. I figured I would just send Amy Kikita to represent.

Luza: "Can you get me a wheelchair?"

At 96, she continues to amaze me.


WHAT: Cubans Hunger for Change

WHEN: Sunday, March 28,2010

WHERE: Echo Park, 1632 Bellevue Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90026

**Meet at Jose Marti statue in Echo Park. Please wear white & bring a flower.**

Here's Andy Garcia on tomorrow's march:

Speaking of Cuban Dissidents . . .

The following post was written by Kikita.

My whole life I've grown up hearing the songs about how beautiful Cuba is. I've seen the paintings. I know Cuba is beautiful. I've always known.

"Pearl of the Antilles"

"La Reina de la Mar Caribe"

"Cuba Linda de mi vida"

Despite constantly hearing it growing up, something happened when I was actually there, standing in front of things I'd seen and heard of my whole life.

I found myself constantly in awe. It really was beautiful. 

Looking out at the ocean . . .

Looking out at varadero  

or Havana . . .

El Capitolio and Havana  

or just pine trees . . .

Cuban pine trees  

or the Malecón . . .

First malecon moment   

or hills . . .


or El Cristo . . .

Kiki and El Cristo

or even a sunset . . .

Sunset in varadero  

I wanted to dance. I wanted to sing. I wanted to paint. I wanted to write.

I wanted to drink it in forever.

Every song about Cuba and it's beauty became instantly more meaninful to me once I had seen it with my own eyes.

Now as I listen to these songs that made me smile as I grew up, I want to cry. They are inspiring a fresh sense of loss. A new understanding of how painful this exile is. They are bittersweet. They celebrate the beauty of Cuba while mourning its loss.

And I now feel more fiercely than ever the desire to see freedom for my people.

Here at MBFCF we try to stay focused on family and Cuban-American life. We try not to get too political, but we definitely do not keep our positions and beliefs a secret. If you've been reading for any amount of time, then I'm sure you know where we stand. That being said, it would be impossible to keep politics completely separate from a Cuban-American family, because it was politics that originally ripped our families apart.

Seven years ago, Mami, Adam, and I were planning to take a missions trip to Cuba with our local church. We were getting all of the paperwork ready to go when something happened to change Mami's mind. The (c)astro government was arresting political dissidents in a crackdown that would come to be known as "La Primavera Negra" (The Black Spring). The political unrest on the island worried Mami to the point that she changed her mind about going and we went to Miami instead. (Hey, I'm not going to complain, we had a fabulous time, but that's not important right now.)

During the crackdown, that began on March 18th and lasted two days, there were 75 dissidents (SEVENTY-FIVE!!) arrested. They ranged from journalists to librarians to human rights activists. Some have been paroled. Most remain in prison. Our good friend, Marc Masferrer, at Uncommon Sense has the whole story.

Tomorrow, seven years after we canceled our original trip to Cuba and now immediately following my return from the island, Mami and I will be attending a private screening of a documentary titled "Oscar's Cuba."


The music was done by Arturo Sandoval and the word on the street is that Andy Garcia will be doing the narration. =D

A brave film-maker by the name of Jordan Allot was in Cuba working on another project when he heard about Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet González. Jordan then took it upon himself to expose the truth about Dr. Biscet's reality. Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet González is a Cuban dissident who had served a 3 year prison sentence, was released, and was re-arrested about one month later during the Black Spring and then sentenced to 25 years.

His crime? Exposing the horrendous communist government practices of: slaughtering newborns and forcing abortions on women with problematic pregnancies.

To read a review of the film, you can click here.

If you'd like more information about the film itself, you can find it at www.oscarscuba.com.

Here in the U.S. we have the liberty to freely speak our minds. That is completely intolerable to the current Cuban government. And so they round up the free-thinkers. They imprison, beat and torture those who dare to disagree.

But there is movement in Cuba of political dissidents and it's growing each day. Those of us who are free and believe in human rights would do well to support those who are not free and whose basic human rights get routinely trampled on.

If you have an extra $10, please donate it to support this documentary. It's a small price to pay to further the cause of freedom and human rights.

If you do NOT have an extra $10, please, just get involved. Get the word out. Any way that you can.

There is a glimmer of hope. Let us feed the flame.

The Best of MBFCF in 2009

Everywhere you hear about and see the flashbacks, the nostalgia, the reminiscing about the past year.

Well, today I look back on this blogging year and some of my favorite posts. (Yes, I do have favorite posts and lots of others that make me wring my hands and wonder why I do this in the first place, but that's not important right now.)

Actually, it's tough for me to choose my favorites, because I write about the comings and goings and uber-geekiness and silliness of my family. For the most part, I usually write from my heart about whatever is on at that moment. And that continues to be the Reason I Blog.

But here are the Highlights of MBFCF for this past year. (As voted on by a panel of Myself. =D)


1. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Jamie oliver 

The time I was contacted by the producer for umm... Ramie Toliver. *sigh*

2. Pure Imagination


In which my son becomes the Greatest Candy Maker of All Time and leaves mom in a puddle of tears.

3. "Funny, but you don't look Cuban."

Fam hats 

Celebrating my mom's 95th birthday with party hats and great style.

4. Breakfast of Champions

Cafe con leche
Café con leche. That is all.

5. No 'Flux capacitor' needed

Time travel 

In which I run smack-dab into an icon from my past in the unlikeliest of places: Washington, D.C.

6. Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos or What Cuban Music Heaven Looks Like


The night we got to see Andy Garcia up-close and personal at the Conga Room.

7. Miles of Smiles


I just really like that picture and all the comments that you shared on that post.

8. Pastelito Delivery Service

Me, Desi Arnaz, Jr. and my Pastelitos de Guayaba in the same area code, at the same time. =D

9. How Many Cuban Girls Does it Take to Get ONE Photo?


I laugh out loud when I remember this moment. So glad I caught in on film and blogged about it.

10. Gonna buy five copies for my mother...

The day my coming-to-America story came out in the O.C. Register. (*she wrote, proudly*)

11. My Man, Ron

Reagan ranch

An unforgettable visit to the Reagan Ranch.

12. Measuring Life

Noche buena invitation 

Celebrating MBFCF in this year's Christmas video.

These were just some of the highlights of my year. I think that 2009 will go down in history as the year in which I Blogged Once Again. =D

Thank you all for allowing me to share the ups and downs of my big, fat, Cuban family with you. I look forward with great anticipation towards 2010 and all that it may bring.

Prospero Año Nuevo!

Magical Summer Moments

Sunday, September 6, 1970. My very first concert.

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Their opening act was Little Stevie Wonder who had just had a big hit with "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."

This was my very first concert. I found the ticket tucked away in my high school photo album. Thirty-nine years ago today.

Greek theater ticket005  

I remember being a little salty still from the beach (Playa del Rey) earlier in the day.

I remember it was a double-date. My date, Terry, who was sixteen at the time (I was fifteen) had only had his driver's license for two months and drove an ancient red station wagon. Seatbelts? What?? =D

SBHS prom 1971054  

We drove up through the Hollywood Hills. You have to drive through a neighborhood of palatial homes to get there. I remember being shocked and surprised by this as only a wide-eyed fifteen-year-old can be.

But, ah... once we got into the Greek and found our seats...

The music was classic Motown. The air smelled clean and fresh as only outdoor concerts can. There's that roar and rush as the performers take the stage.

The lights! The sounds! The oh-my-gosh-they're-RIGHT-THERE-onstage amazement! Our favorite songs being performed live. They have never sounded better.

It was a magical night for me and one of my very fondest memories. My first live show. Notice the ticket price - $5.00. Wow.

I love that I can pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with live shows. There was nothing like it. NOTHING. The music seriously came alive in a way that couldn't be captured over the radio or through vinyl.

It was live. And I was alive. And I was THERE.

That feeling has never left me. I have been to dozens of live shows since. And am never disappointed.

I recently took a Facebook quiz and was able to list over 50 acts that I had seen live, not counting stage, plays, and musicals.

The first two will always be Smokey and Stevie. It was one of those definining moments in my life. Who knew?

1. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. *
2. Stevie Wonder.
3. Chicago.
4. The Beach Boys. *
5. Glady Knight and the Pips.
6. The Temptations.
7. The Four Tops.
8. The Grateful Dead. *
9. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. *
10. The Moody Blues. *
11. Fleetwood Mac.
12. Rod Stewart.
13. Linda Rondstat.
14. Carole King.
15. James Taylor.
16. Barbra Streisand.
17. Tito Puente.
18. Oscar de Leon.
19. Celia Cruz. *
20. Willy Chirino. *
21. Marc Anthony.
22. The Tubes.
23. Elvis Costello.
24. KC & the Sunshine Band.
25. The Monkees.
26. Tower of Power.
27. Johnny and Edgar Winter.
28. Bruce Springstein. *
29. J. Geils Band. *
30. Peter Frampton.
31. Boz Scags.
32. Michael Jackson.
33. U2. *
34. Chayanne.
35. Alejandro Fernandez.
36. Jethro Tull.
37. Huey Lewis and the News.
38. The Doobie Brothers.
39. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. *
40. Van Morrison.
41 The Allman Bros.
42. The Rolling Stones.
44. Brian Wilson.
45. Paul McCartney.
46. Peter Gabriel.
47. Loggins & Messina. *
48. Julio Yglesias.
49. The Go-Go's.
50. Jimmy Buffett.
51. Andy Garcia.
52. Gloria Estefan. *
53. The Marshall Tucker Band.
54. Lynrd Skynrd.
55. Charlie Daniels Band.
56. The Who.
57. Stephen Stills.
58. Warren Zevon.
59. Junior Walker and the All-Stars.
60. The Rascals.

(NOTE: There are many more. I keep remembering a few more each day...)

Even now, the excitement and fun of a live concert or show still calls to me. Of all the fun things we do now, going to shows is still high up there on the list.


These are programs and tickets from just this summer.

Amy and I saw Dirty Dancing at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.

Dirty dancing poster 

We have season tickets to the Orange County Performing Arts Center. This was for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.


And of course, here we are in New York, on Broadway, waititng to see Wicked.

Wickedmay 2009 101

Las Vegas at the Wayne Brady Show.


Andy Garcia at the Conga Room.


David Copperfield at the Long Beach Arena.

Fam at david copperfield 

Dana Carvey at the Orleans in Vegas.

Dana carvey 

We collected our favorite friends to accompany us to see Fiddler on the Roof (which coincidentally happened to fall on Lucy's birthday, but that's not important right now.) Go figure!

Fiddler people

And of course, Disney's Electrical Parade.

Electrical parade 

We usually take the cheesy "I-was-there" photo. And even if it's blurry, we call it good. This was at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater where we saw the Pacific Symphony on their Rodgers and Hammerstein movie night.

Pacific symphony  

That's us in all our Uber-Geeky glory.

We have passed on the love of the theater and live entertainment to our kids. In fact, we've taken to scouring ticket sales at the beginning of the summer to find the best deals.  (I know. Uber-geeks.)

But I was reminded that this is a love that started thirty nine years ago (today) in what was for me, a magical moment in time. And even though the ticket prices are way higher than $5.00(!) live theater and concert-going is still very much a part of my life and of my family's life.

And I have the ticket stubs and cheesy pictures to prove it. =D

Do you have a favorite concert or show? Do you remember your first one? Tell me about it. I want to know.

Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos or What Cuban Music Heaven Looks Like

We live about an hour south of Los Angeles. (That's how you calculate distances here in Southern California; by how long it takes you in traffic to get from one place to another.)

This is a wonderful thing because that means that we can go see shows in L.A. but not have to live there. See what I mean? Win-win. ;-)

And when summer begins the first thing we do is look to see who is in concert, because if there's anything we love, it's summer concerts. (Okay, we love any kind of a live show anytime of the year, but that's not important right now.)

Imagine my surprise and delight when Amy invited me to go see Andy Garcia and the CineSon All-Stars at the Conga Room in L.A. (Okay, let's just have a moment of silence in reverence. Thank you.)

Andy Garcia.
Who has his own category on my blog because, well, he's Cuban and he's so cool. *Ay Dios mio!*

Here's Andy on cowbell.
Andy on cowbell
And yes, I took this picture.

Notice how it's close-up.

How there are no heads in front of him obscuring the shot.

How it looks like it was taken from (where we were sitting) FIVE. FEET. AWAY.

Amy invited me to go because:
1) She enjoyed his music so much the last time she saw him and
2) I'm kind of a big fan. (I know. Total understatement. Shut up.)

So we got to the Conga Room early thinking we'd have to line up and maybe push some people around to get a good seat. Okay, not really, well, I may or may not have done that, but that's not important right now, either. =D
Conga room

Anyway, relieved that we didn't have to manhandle anyone and because I lead a charmed life, we were able to get two seats IN THE FRONT ROW DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ANDY and where he would be bongo-ing and cowbell-ing and piano-ing for the next two and a half hours. (Shut up. I KNOW!)

Andy's footlocker

The show was fabulous. If you have not heard the CineSon All-Stars do yourself a favor and get their music or better yet, go see them live.

I was seriously in Cuban Music Heaven.
Apparently, so was Andy. *sigh*

Of course we danced! When a Cuban conga starts, who can stay in their seat? Seriously!
And being in the first row gave us lots of room. =D

"Abre que voy!"
Amy dancing

He played some of the hauntingly beautiful music from The Lost City.
Andy on piano

And of course, a tribute to the Master, Cachao.

Andy on bongos

We had the BEST time.

We sang-along. We laughed. We danced. We clapped. We started the conga. (=D) We cheered for a Free Cuba.

Much to my everlasting delight, he winked at us and smiled at us and at one point even stuck his tongue out at us. (I know. Shut up. I'm guessing it was a purely defensive move: "I should be nice to those two noisy Cuban women in the front row directly in front of me, lest they get a little crazy.") =D

But do you know what kept going through my mind during the entire show?

Besides, "More cowbell, por favor!"...


This Cuban man should sooo have a copy of my cookbook!  ;-)

A celebration of Cu...
By Marta M. Darby

I'm a fool. *sigh*

I know it's been a while since I've written anything, but I trust my first-born kept you entertained while I was gone. (thanks, Amy Kikita!)

I have so much to tell you that I don't know where to start....

Okay, so my husband Eric had to go to Las Vegas to work.  And because I can be opportunistic sometimes (=D) I invited myself along.  Since Adam didn't have to work, I invited him along to keep me company.

So, I mentioned this to my online/blog friend, Amy Arnaz, and she invited us to come visit her and Desi in Boulder City (not far from Vegas).  Yes, I realize the story is taking a kind of surreal turn here, but that's not important right now....

Which is how Adam and I found ourselves in Boulder City, Nevada at the Historic Boulder Theatre watching Miss Amy and her ballerinas rehearse for their upcoming performance of The Nutcracker. 

Boulder city ballet  

We were already delighted by the quaintness of the town and the theater, not to mention getting to watch a sneak peek of The Nutcracker Ballet, when we spot one of the tech guys adjusting the lights on-stage. 

"Adam, that's Desi!"

"No, Mom. That's a tech guy."

That was no ordinary tech guy.

I was right. It was my beloved Desi.  Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Amy brought him right over and introduced us. (be still my heart. *sigh*)

And okay, for like about 30 seconds I was a bit nervous, but then... we started talking....

Can I just tell you how funny, and smart and well-read this man is?  I kept forgetting he was the son of Lucy and Desi - okay, well, of course, I didn't forget forget.  It's just that I was so enjoying sharing stories with my new friend, Desi. 

Desi and me

We talked and talked and talked.  About how he and Amy met and how they ended up in Boulder City.  About how his parents met.  About life in their small town.

We talked about his paternal grandfather, whom I knew was kind of a legendary political figure in Cuba.  I remember my parents always telling the story that the elder Desiderio was the mayor of Santiago de Cuba, but that his intention was not to actually run for mayor, but he was so popular that he won as the write-in candidate. Isn't that awesome?

He told me about how his dad left Cuba and kind of accidentally ended up in show business.  I told him my own "how I left Cuba" story.  We talked about Cuba now and about going back there someday. He told me about the time he met Arturo Sandoval and yes, Andy Garcia!!!  (He brought it up. Surreal. Shut up. I know.)

Desi has a wonderful sense of humor and again, I almost forgot about who his parents were since we were talking about so many different subjects (okay, yes, I know they are probably the most famous TV icons EVER, but I got distracted, okay?) until....

He did a dead-on, wild-eyed impression of his dad with that distinctive accent.  Shut. Up.  It was crazy-awesome!

Just when I thought it just couldn't get any more surreal, his friend, Billy, stopped by.....

Mr. Billy Hinsche.  Of Dino, Desi and Billy fame, of course,  and who later played with the Beach Boys!! (who I went to see as often as they played in L.A. all through the 70's, but that's not important right now). 

Billy and me 

If I had taken the time to fantasize about how my encounter with Desi might have panned out, I don't think I would have been clever enough to add "and then Billy drops by for a visit."  Again, another treat!

Picture me as a young tween seeing these adorable faces of Dino, Desi, and Billy for the first time singing their hit, "I'm a Fool" (I actually even owned this record and wore down the grooves from being over-played - I was TEN, okay??):

Aren't they just FREAKING ADORABLE???  Do you see what I'm talking about here?

Okay. Sorry. I know I'm babbling a little.  I was just so surprised and delighted to meet these guys and to find they were so.... accessible and well....just plain nice.  I had a total personal-time-warp moment when I realized if called upon I could totally sing "I'm a Fool" from memory, but that's not important right now, either. 

They have since re-grouped (and un-grouped) as Ricci, Desi, and Billy.

After many hugs and kisses(!) and lovely parting gifts (an autographed live cd - YAY! and chocolate. =D) we had to say goodbye.

Parting gifts 

I was genuinely sad to go.  I felt like I was leaving old friends "de vida" - you know?

Thank you to the lovely Miss Amy, for the invitation.

Miss Amy and me 

And thanks to Desi and Billy for making my visit so wonderful and memorable.
You guys are awesome! 

I like to call this photo: Marta, Desi, and Billy.  That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? ;-)

Desi, Billy, and Marta 

I spent the rest of the afternoon replaying our visit and conversation (while Adam and I wandered about Las Vegas) and thinking once again that I really do lead a charmed life and then just look who I ran into at Madame Tussaud's:

Lucy & me 

That's right. Desi's mom.  ;-)