is a vine which grows in tropical areas.  Known to Cubans as Picuala or Jasmin Manzano it is also known as the Rangoon Creeper.

It has the most beautiful flowers which turn from white in the morning to pink and finally red, or what I call magenta, as the sun comes up.  By evening, it remains this intense magenta.  The vine gives off this sweet intense scent of apples.  Although intense, the scent is pleasant.  If you are not careful, the vine will take over your entire yard, if you do not trim it weekly.  It is labor intensive, so get ready for a weekly workout, yet is worth the hard work for its reward is the multitude of colors, dark green leaves and its sweet aroma, which will be enjoyed as you sit in your garden.  It lasts all summer!


An Inspirational Writing Moment


Board of Architects (BOA) Meeting:

My morning begins today with a BOA meeting at the city.  Today it was moved from City Hall to the museum.  Seems as if everyone this morning has had their fix of caffeine, for they are all enthusiastic and loud.  Maybe it’s the ambiance of being at the museum this morning rather than at the City Hall building, which is very institutional, yet pretty, which has made everyone so happy.  Maybe it’s the vibration of merely being surrounded by art, knowledge and culture which has the BOA this morning acting in a vibrant mood.  The location of this museum, as should all museums, is very appropriate considering the book store is next door and the foreign film theater is across the street.

Well, it seems as if I will be here for quite some time this morning so I have to look for an ATM and get change for the parking meter.  Since my number is 86 and they are just starting, I have plenty of time for a walk.  My gosh!  A walk! Something I do not always have the time to exercise in my daily routine, of course I do not count all the times I am running to clients, engineers offices and job sites, which is almost everyday but, a stroll in total peace and tranquility, actually enjoying this walk is such a blessing.  So, on my walk back from the ATM, I pass a small tea cafe and decide to go in for a hot cup of tea.  I decide on ‘Chai Me Up’ with a bit of Almond Milk.  Black tea, chai spices, jasmine, rose and lavender petals.  How appropriate for my day today!  I enjoyed every sip!  So, I arrive back at the BOA meeting and spend several hours waiting to be called by the architectural jurors to critique my design, for my clients 2nd floor yoga studio addition, to her home.  I should mention that this home also had to go through historical review board since it is a historical home therefore, today the historical reviewer was also present but only so that they can state my case to the architectural board, which historical already approved.

So as I wait, I contemplate on what it was like as an architectural student and the nerve racking moments of presenting your design to a panel of jurors who would either tear you apart are give you some good criticism, which would surely make you a good architect, we all hoped.  I enjoyed those days of the students life for they were filled with moments of total creativity- all those late night hours of design passion!  On the other end of the spectrum is a reality check, for the business world is more of the daily programmed tedious work, client deadlines, meetings with engineers and contractors at job sites. It really is different than those days of design deadlines in college.  One is designing for fun, a fantasy since you really are not designing for a client but you are free to design what you wish within the design program so, the sky’s the limit. The other design is the responsibility of designing with the financial reality of someone else’s money.  Is there the financial means to build what they wish for and how limited is this reality?  So, the reality is to come back to the drawing board, to decipher through building codes and planning boards and try to make it all work so that you produce a design which is functional and that your client is happy with, which at the end, is the ultimate gratification. So, for the moment I sit here and I am using my time wisely, enjoying my hot cup of ‘Chai Me Up’ and write what is in my mind and how I feel at the moment.

I do not always have this productive 30 minutes or even 2 hours in any one day to actually read “Poets and Writers” magazine.  Nor do I have the time to be creative writing nor use my architectural creativity the way I wish because of the rush we all live in.  However, I can appreciate the moment and be thankful that I can reach over and get my pad and pen, yes- not a computer but paper and use this moment the universe has afforded me to be in the ‘Here and NOW’.

So, as the crowd begins to disappear and I continue to write, I come across an article by a San Francisco artist, Roman Muradov who said that, “He gets inspired by drawing and writing and that he values his passive moments much greater than his active moments.  Sometimes doing nothing at all, just walking around aimlessly is a form of art for him and that this is something Marcel Duchamp understood quite well.”  I must say I appreciate and understand these words of wisdom. The only times in my many years in this profession that I can honestly say I have been my most creative and have used my time wisely to gather my thoughts, have been when I have been in total silence where I listen to my inner wisdom.  The second, which is when I am designing, is at late evening hours listening to constant replays of Andreas Vollenweider recordings of inspirational non-lyrical music of violins, harps, flutes and the piano in high and low invigorating background tunes, while I felt I was an artist with my paint brush dreaming and I was really free flowingly sketching  with my pencil.  Truly inspirational!

So, 4 hours later I find myself next up to be critiqued, after one last jury presentation and I have allowed my bohemian side to dream a bit and enjoy this wait time which all-in-all has been a journey well received and one last thought comes to mind and reminds me that, to be creative we must also interact with other creative creatures in the universe, like all the others waiting there like me, like the knowledge of books, music, culture, places and vibrations of people around us which introduce us to our identity, our purpose of why I am sitting here waiting and how all of this around me is part of the process of whom I am, who all of us are.  For this blessed few hours to ground me once again in this peace so I can gather my thoughts and be myself gives me the confidence and reassurance that all will come out great when it’s my turn.  And, it did!

Now I have great news for my client.  Like I said, that’s the ultimate gratification!  A smile and a thank you!

Quote Credits:  Roman Muradov, artist in the San Francisco Bay area, quoted in “Poets and Writers” Magazine.

Bilateral Symmetry


Eiffel Tower from a different angle.

Bilateral symmetry is the balanced arrangement of equivalent elements on a common axis.



Covered Walkway – Nashville, Tennessee

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Rome                                                 Venice                                                      Pisa


Reflections is not only what we see on the outside, when we see our reflection in the water or in a mirror, but how we see ourselves on the inside.  When we look at ourselves, what do we portray to others?  Are we transparent?  Can others really see who we truly are, what we are about and what matters?  What do we want to reflect to the world?  Time distinguishes what we see on the outside yet, inner beauty is what glows brighter every time we light our lamp.  This is our spiritual reflection, our true beauty.  These children, in their youth, see their beautiful reflections in the water and are intrigued by their own image.  As Sri Ramakrishna once said, ” you will be like a lotus opening in the rays of the morning sun”. Meaning, that the lotus doesn’t ask, “where are the bees?” The bees are looking for the lotus.  Inwardly, we are all looking for this beauty.  For the love that grows with time.  The love we find in the second half of life.  This is the reflection I want to be seen and understood.

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IMG_3368An architectural note:  This plaza provides a sense of being.  A place where we can all have fun without a care in the world but just being children.  Architecture is not just about buildings but it is creating space and harmony.  Here the people become the structure that supports how this plaza shall be used.  We are the temple!

Christ the King

As 2014 comes to a close and we welcome a new year in the near horizon, I want to share with you a place that is dear and near to my heart.

As a child I was fortunate to travel quite a bit with my parents and my brother and so it seems the traveling became my passion as did the many places we visited and began to mark my love for architecture.  However, there is one place, my childhood school and the majestic cathedral we spent going to mass to every Sunday afternoon.  It was the folk mass I loved the most.  The choir and the organ pipes resonated and moved my soul, that it is no wonder this became part of my life journey.  Walking up the nave to the altar is such a sacred walk for me that when I recently visited my childhood home town, it brought back such great memories, not to mention that I visited with my dear childhood friend, which made it all the more memorable.

I can’t think of a more fitting way to close the year during such an important time as Christmas.  Celebrating the birth of Christ.  My personal sacred journey!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!


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Door to our Heart

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Choose a door.  Doesn’t matter which one.  Neither is right nor wrong.

Each is our individual journey to our own truth within.

The door we each unlock is our own spiritual path to which we came to learn and grow.

It is the door to our heart-the beauty within each of us.

The love we came to share.  Gods love!

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