Category Archives: People

Cape Town, So. Africa: A Day To Remember Pt. II


I love this photo, not that it is well shot, but the context. The poster in the back is rather inflammatory without seeing the whole thing. It’s a beer ad that says basically “I hate being white because people assume I’m a racist…” but goes on to point out that South Africans come in all shades and unity trumps ignorance. Add to the foreground this picture of us (5 Americans – 1 African American (me), 1 Bi raciacial (black & italian), 1 Mexican American, and 2 Caucasian American) and I guess this poster could really be almost anywhere in terms of the issues that most countries are dealing with around race. The beautiful thing is that across the table from us are 5 South Africans and I like the symbolism that the table represents, we’re all reaching out across a divide to understand each other better.

After church w/ the Archbishop and crew, I hightailed it back to the ship to change clothes and meet up with Samuel, Lydia, Ammy (ah-me) & Danny to take an independent Township tour. Samuel has friends of friends who hooked us up with Gerald, a local media personality and Gerald gave us a peek inside of his world. No tour buses, no staring at people from behind panes of glass, no group ogling of the locals, we were going to get into the township and look people in the eye, connect, communicate…or so I hoped.

I should have known the day would disintegrate into a comedy of errors when Gerald rolls up to pick up the 5 of us in a 2 door BMW convertible. We were all like “no way, we’re not going to ride through a township in a Beemer are we?” but we packed in like sardines and chipped in to gas up the car and off we went. The Townships are hard to describe. they are like large ghettos with shacks, few running water sources, high population density, lots of trash blowing about, anything that can be used in some way is put to work, people, materials, ideas. But that would only be 1/2 of the picture. Most of the people in the townships are educated, there are lots of entreprenuerial pursuits being undertaken and there are relative middle class folks as well, some sections are nicer than others in terms of building materials, relative amounts of land per house, etc. The townships are a direct result of the impacts and residue of Apartheid, the unequal distribution of land, the stolen resources…it all sounds too familiar.

Gerald first took us out to Khayelitsha township (Shameka, I liked your vote for Soweto, but we never made it out there!), the largest township in Cape Town with something like 1.4 million people living in a fairly small area. We were warned not to go to townships on our own and I’ll admit that I questioned the sanity of our decision to go even with a guide, but Gerald parked and ushered us into a shabeen (local bar) called Morgan’s Place, and my fears melted away. People were either super friendly to us or paid us no attention. For the rest of the day I would never sense animosity, malicious intent, or even an ounce of ill will toward us. On the contrary we were turning down beers from the locals, playing a game called “waterfall” that I won’t discuss right now (smile) and talking all over each other “what languages do you speak? were you born in cape town? where is your family? why do you want to come to America?” and answering their questions “yes America has similar race problems, but I can live, work and play anywhere I want, yes I like hip hop music, no I am not married and I don’t have kids”

We were having such a good time in the little tin bar, snapping pictures, writing down propper spellings of our names, getting e-mail addresses and learning how to say hi in 3 different African languages, that when Gerald said it was time to go, we protested noisily, but he assured us that more and better were waiting. He took us to his home which was very obviously upper middle class and we finally got to joke him about his modeling career (hair products, corn flakes, clothes) and got to see some of the ads he has been in. Even more heartwarming were the 2 teenagers that were at his house, under the watchful eye of a neighbor, doing their homework in a clean, quiet space. I loved it. We got to see his bachelor pad, pics of his family and hit the bathroom before we tucked ourselves into the BMW again. He dropped the top and the afternoon sun, coupled with the breeze, the music (kwaito), the vibe and the continual realization that “Hey Man, we’re in South Africa!” overwhelmed me with what I can only describe as joy. We were all feeling it as people waved to us, we waved back, the music blasting with table mountain and the blue sky as backdrops.

Next we headed to Nyanga township for the best braai (think bbq) I’ve ever had. I’m not kidding. Maphindi’s is a butchery/restaurant and all the meat is fresh and seasoned and grilled/cooked to perfection. I was a little skeptical when we first sat down at a stainless steel table with nothing but a stack of napkins and a loaf of white bread (what?!), but when the meat came out (and it was ALL meat, no veggies, no potatoes, nothing but meat), we were like a pack of wild hyenas who hadn’t eaten in weeks! The meat was cleaned from the bones by our teeth and hands, the loaf of bread was reduced to a demolished plastic bag and some random crumbs. Little did we know that Gerald had called the owner and he was making his way towards us. Khaya and his family own Maphindi’s and a couple of other local businesses. He was funny, handsome and gracious as he gave us a full tour of the facility, including the expansion they’ve almost completed, the banquet rooms and finally the rooftop where we could see the township, the airport tower and the power plant as well as kids playing soccer on the schoolyard. The whole neighborhood was buzzing with energy and activity, Maphindi’s doesn’t serve or allow alcohol on premises so that the restaurant can be family friendly and I found myself falling a little bit in lurve with the idea of marrying a South African entreprenuer with a family business…but alas, Khaya is happily married and I am happily unmarried, so we kissed on the cheeks, hugged a bit too long and said our goodbyes.

At this point it was about 3pm and I thought Gerald would probably be ready to get rid of us and take us back to the ship, but we drove around for a while looking at the townships, the cityscape, the types of businesses and services that were around. Finally we slowed a bit and turned a corner into what looked to be the biggest block party I’ve ever seen. Out of nowhere there were more than 4,000 people, cars, dogs, beer bottles, stereos and did I mention PEOPLE!

We parked the car, which was a miracle in itself, and grabbed stickers, pens and pencils to give to the kids, stuffed some rand (so. african money) into our pockets and locked everything in the trunk before joining in the revelry. We made our way to a cargo container which doubled as a “brew thru” — a place where you could purchase beverages, we picked up Savanna Cider and made our way into the thick of things where we danced for almost 4 hours non-stop. The music was AMAZING, Kwaito is so. african hip hop with jazz and house infused and reminds me of early hip hop (which i love) and international house music (which i like a lot). Gerald taught us a sexy trick where you open one beer bottle with another and we were all thinking about who we could impress with such useful knowledge!

We met up with Nanna (a doctor from Ghana) and his girlfriend Maria (from Namibia) and all 4000 pairs of eyes were on them almost all day as they were a stunning couple with a knack for dancing suggestively. Our group swelled to about 12, but we kept mixing and mingling with local 20 and 30 somethings, dancing with anyone who would subject themselves to our enthusiastic appreciation of the DJ.

We shared beer, wine and cider with other visitors from the UK, Germany and France, dodged the local boy’s (and girl’s) attempts at kisses, and went to the bathroom 3 at a time because, hey…that’s just what they do here. And I don’t mean 3 people you know at a time, I mean you go in and 2 other women would push in too. At 8pm the DJ shut down so he could take a nap before he had to spin at a club downtown that evening so the party was over whether we wanted it to be or not.

We got quiet and somber on the way back to the ship, coming off of a natural high, knowing that a day like this would happen only so many times even in the most blessed life, believing that there was some magic to the particular mix of people that shared the experience, and knowing that our time in Cape Town would dwindle fast. All of this served to make us teary-eyed. At the dock, we couldn’t let go of the day (or Gerald) and stood around for another 45 minutes re-hashing the day as if we hadn’t all been there together. Ammy and Lydia cried so much they got the hiccups. I just tried to soak it all up, breathe it all in, and thank God for the chance to see, touch, taste, smell and feel, to be overwhelmed with sensation, overtaken by joy and overcome with gratitude. It really was one of the top 5 best days of my life.


Cape Town, So. Africa: A Day To Remember Pt. I

I’m not falling in love with Cape Town anymore. I’m so far past that that its ridiculous, inarticulable. Today was one of the top five days of my life. Really. It totally reminded me of that one night in Guanajuato.

So saturday was my Duty Dean day and things were so busy that I didn’t make it off the ship until dinner. It was a chilly, rainy and overcast day anyway, so if it had to be any one day that I was pressed into duty, that was a good one. Fortunately things were quiet in the evening and I was invited to put on my finest (slacks, summerweight polo sweater, cute loafers) and join about 12 others for dinner at the Archbishop and Mrs. Tutu’s house. Yeah, I can’t believe it either. We rode out to the suburbs and got to see the changing landscape from city to neighborhoods while the sun was setting, a quiet moment for me inside my head. I missed my parents terribly and wished they were with me.

Dinner was amazing. The vibe, the mix of people, the food, the laughter. To watch someone so revered in their natural, domestic life was touching. I am generally not nervous in environments where I have to be mindful of etiquette, etc, and I wasn’t this night either. Fortunately, I made an early faux pas (I sat on what I THOUGHT was a stool, but it turned out to be a small side table!) and I think this helped everyone relax a bit and just unwind.

The house was warm and it was like stepping into your grandparents living room, the food was colorful (lots of veggies), well seasoned (chicken and fish!) and the dessert was the design of the devil (custards, pies, cheesecake). But my favorite parts were the conversations. the Arch had invited several of his friends and staff and I got to hear funny stories about the Archbishop told by people who clearly love him as a person, beyond the celebrity. His personal assistant, one of his fellow Anglican priests, several of their friends, our cast of characters and really good wine. I told you it was ridiculous! Blessed is the only way to describe how I felt. And it gets better.

Sunday morning at breakfast, I ran into one of the Deans who asked me if I was going to Church, I said “sure, when are you leaving?”, he said “In 10 minutes” Well, when you’re invited to Church with the Archbishop, you find a way to gobble down your french toast, wash it down with juice and sprint to your room to change into a dress suit in under 10 minutes.

We drove out to Langa Township, the oldest township in Cape Town, and met up with the Archbishop at Saint Cypryanos church (sp?). The Archbishop wasn’t leading the service, he was there in his suit and collar handing out programs, dancing (he is ALWAYS dancing, seriously) and smiling. Now, I haven’t been to church since I started traveling about 14 months ago so I’m not going to pretend like I was doing something I always do. I settled in to my pew and just soaked up everything. The church is modest but beautiful, the word that came to mind was “craftmanship”. The wooden floors, the pews and the massive ceiling beams were undoubtedly hand cut, hand finished and hand placed. Amazing. The choir and pastor in their purple and white were stunning, and the music had all of us in our little group (about 12) literally crying, it was so beautiful, soulful and divine.

They sang in xhosa, one of the 11 official languages which is in and of itself beautiful (the word for hello is “Molo” which is incredibly fun to say). I obviously didn’t take any pictures, but I did grab some audio which I’ll figure out how to upload later. The sermon was also delivered in Xhosa, but it was easy to pick up the topic as the priest would literally drop a sentence of english in every 3-4 minutes so we knew that the “topic” for the sermon was basically community and how humanity is designed for companionship, that to be my best me, I must help you be your best you. That’s a philosophy that I can get down with any day of the week.

Stay Tuned for Pt. 2, the day got even better.

Puerto Rico: Guess Who Got a Tattoo?


I wish I could tell you that I slept in today, but I didn’t. Not a whole lot of time for that and who wants to sleep in when there’s a whole U.S. territory to see? Shayla, (another one of my staff colleagues) and I hit the streets of San Juan early. very early. So early that nothing was open except for the jewelry stores and the restaurants serving breakfast. She was on a mission to track down a tattoo parlor or two, and get some comparison prices for a small piece she wanted done. This would be her first tattoo and she was nervous. I don’t know her well, but she seems really similar to me in that she’s pretty conservative about that kind of thing. I like the idea of tattoos, on someone else, but have never seriously considered getting one myself. But I was curious and intrigued, so I went with her for moral support.

We spent the morning wandering around Old San Juan and the streets reminded me of San Miguel de Allende (Mexico) in some places with their narrow access and brightly painted buildings. It was a nice breezy morning and we just strolled which I love. We dipped into Cafe Mallorca, where they are known to have an amazing breakfast, but to conserve money, we ate breakfast on the ship (free!) and picked up some homemade macaroons to sample while we checked things out (worth the 30,000 calories!). We got bamboozled into checking out some jewelry and next thing I know, I had whipped out my credit card and so had she. I keep justifying these purchases as “gifts” but if yall don’t get any “gifts” when I get back, yall know the deal!

While waiting for the tattoo parlors to open we found a music store (Jah Rastafari) and I was all excited that I could pick up some Puertorequeno tunes, alas…they sold only Bob Marley and Marley-esque tuneage. BUT we did meet Rashonda who is an SAS alumni. She did the spring voyage last year and loved PR so much that after returning home and graduating, she packed up and moved down to PR last August! How cool is that? She was great and gave us a recommendation for lunch, but had no help for me regarding my music crisis. We found two tattoo parlors for Shayla and she got quotes from both of them. I liked the guys (pictured above), but wouldn’t trust them with putting ink on my body.

We decided to mull her options over lunch at Cafe Puerto Rico. I know, cheesey name, but the food was oh, so, good. After mulling the menu, and chatting up the cutie-pie bartender/owner and his brother while he made us some noon-time cocktails…I decided on arroz con camarones, plantanas (yellow rice with saute’d shrimp, plantains) and…red beans (good thing I have my own room, no?). They also made their own salsa picante (hot sauce) from scratch and it worth the sweat beading up on my forehead, they couldn’t give me the recipe though b/c they said their father made it, and they had no idea what was in it!

After lunch we stumbled across this little store (Hecho a Mano) where we spent a small fortune in jewelry and music, a lot of the students had found it too after word got out about the great prices and the place was packed but I picked up two CDs that I am totally in lurve with now and have on constant rotation (Shayla is rolling her eyes). Having made her decision (not the guys pictured above), I accompanied Shayla to the tattoo parlor of her choice and stood-by while she did all the paperwork and got all of the info and warnings.

It took about 20 minutes (17 of which I slept through) and I waited for her in the parlor lobby. The artwork came out beautifully. She hugged her tattoo artist as if she was glad to still be alive and we boogied out of there to a pharmacy so she could get the recommended ointment to take care of her new bodyart. We also stocked up on drinks and snacks, etc for the ship (we leave tomorrow!).

I also found these creepy things which are the worst souvenir idea I’ve ever seen! We spied some old dudes throwing down playing dominoes near the park and stopped to soak up their good time. The last stop of the day: booking our indie (independent) trip to El Yunque rainforest! A lot of people went yesterday with groups but we decided it would be more fun with less people so we cabbed (best cab ever) it over to the Ritz Carlton’s tour desk and hooked up a tour for the next morning. I’m still coming to grips with traveling in a group, but I realized I’d rather travel this way than not at all, so I’m keeping my attitude and perspective in check. All of which are easier to do because I genuinely lurve the majority of the people I’ve met.

Other highlights: Dusting off my rusty spanish and impressing others (and myself) with my ability to get around/get what I needed. I’m an international woman of mystery!

My latest post is up over at Gadling! Our talented team over there is growing. We’d love your comments!

Puerto Rico: Not A Foreign Country


these kids can DANCE, originally uploaded by funchilde.

Student #1: Man, I’m so excited to finally be going to a foreign country!
Student #2: Uh, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, its not foreign.
Student #1: You know what I mean!

The students in the photo are from Universidad Interamericana in Puerto Rico. The students in the conversation…yeah, those are MY kids….oh lawd what have I gotten myself into?

Again I couldn’t sleep as we sailed into Puerto Rico’s Harbor at Sunrise. I got pretty good shots of the city, the capital and the famous fort as we sailed in. I caught a cute shot of two of my favorite students. I am loving the  Nikon D50 for these shots, but can’t give up the Coolpix for the everyday roaming around photo ops.

The weather was hot even at 7am, but the sun was bathing everything in a beautiful light, and the energy and excitement on board was electric. I couldn’t wait to trample my new friends as I headed down the gangway. The PILOT boat came out to get us, and guide us into the berth, but before we got cleared to leave the vessel we got a surprise: The Governor of Puerto Rico came by to give us a diplomatic briefing and warn us that Ricky Martin was in town and that unfortunately the concert tickets were sold out.

Getting the ship into harbor, and getting everyone cleared through immigration (yes, even in PR) and keeping the students relatively calm and orderly, requires everyone on staff to be involved to some degree to make the process as smooth and as fast as possible (disembarking almost 1000 people). So I have quickly learned there are no days “off” and no “sleeping in”, but everything is so new and exciting that no one really minds how hard we’re working from what I can tell. 

Once the ship was cleared I cleaned my office (I know what a dork), cleaned my room, and set out my laundry to be picked up. My toughest work days are coming up with the academic add/drop process for the students to finalize their courses, and I wanted this quiet time to get organized. I also wanted to give everyone a running start into San Juan, so that we wouldn’t be tripping all over each other while in port. Some people took off for the beach at Vieques, others for the Museo de nuestra raiz Africana (Museum of our African Roots) but I took off for the Zocalo in hommage to my time in Mexico. I just wanted some time out to myself and by myself to think and observe. After almost two weeks on board and surrounded by people I needed to recalibrate and this was just the spot (except for all the damn pigeons!).

After my navel-gazing down-time, I caught up with some other staff members and we flagged down a taxi and asked the driver to “take us where YOU would go eat if you weren’t working and were taking new friends out to show them San Juan” he obliged and took us to El Jibarito on Sol Street in old San Juan. The place was empty, but had a great vibe and the waitress teased us in spanish before admitting that she spoke flawless english. The three of us hung out in the back room drinking Medalla’s (Puerto Rican beer) in the filtered sunshine, and enjoying the quiet. Little did we know that 700 other people from our ship had the same idea and when we went pay the check and leave, the restaurant was packed with all of our compadres! I chowed down on red beans and yellow rice with grilled pork chops and plantains dipped in garlic butter (yum!).

I had to high tail it back to the ship to get ready for the evening’s activities! I was a trip leader and took 47 of our SAS students out to Universidad Interamericana for a night of cross-cultural fun. We ended up taking 2 buses to the university so about 100 of us in total. When we arrived the Puerto Rican students were outside, all dressed in maroon polo shirts with their school mascot (the tiger) and clapping and singing “ole’, ole’, ole’, ole’, ole'” with huge smiles on their faces. We spent the evening eating local food, hanging out and mostly DANCING SALSA (click to watch video two videos). We were hot, sweaty messes, dancing for 3 hours before we finally packed up our stuff and went home. Many of the students met up with their PR peers later that night in old San Juan and it was fun to watch the boundaries of culture, skin tone, and experience melt as young people pursued those universal unifiers…beer, romance, and dancing.

When we got back on the bus someone had hopped from the other bus onto ours and I was left without a seat as I gave mine up to the last student. One of my male students yelled “You can sit on my lap Dia!” I declined, citing the rumor factory that would have me “giving lapdances on buses” that would be circulating within the hour. The students thought this was hilarious and I told them I’d cut their throats in their sleep if I heard one rumor about me on board the ship. Don’t you wish I was looking after YOUR kids?


Family Expansion: Nicole & Curt

My baby brother got married today in Jamaica. I thought I’d be fine missing the wedding, with their blessing even, but all day I’ve worn my tears close to the surface. I wish I was there, with my parents, my nephew and of course the newlyweds. To dance, sing, and drink with my family sounds delicious even though I’m in my own kind of paradise here in Nassau, Bahamas (with…dancing, singing and drinking no less!).

A small gift from the gods though…I got to escort Archbishop Desmond Tutu to a meeting! So cool! He’s the cutest thing ever isn’t he? More news later.

Mad love to my brother and sister-in-law. I love you both.

Endings, Beginnings, Starts & Finishes, pt. i


Okay, the last version of this entry was throwing off my layout.
Kudos and “Well Done!” to Karen ( and Megan ( Two of the blogs that have added sunshine to my 2006. I am sad to see their blogs retire, but I know they are both working on other projects, so we’ll not be long without their talents. Karen’s photoblog is still as brilliant as ever, and Megan is doing a reading in NY, Jan 7, 2007. Check out their archives, you will wish you’d found them sooner.

I enjoyed the comments on the previous posting so I dragged them forward into one comment for this post.

Seafood! Wine! Danger! Romance!


[1] That handsome fellow is one of my best friends, S. I dragged him away from his high powered, high paying gig to my last cooking class of the summer (Light & Easy Summer Seafood). I think he had a good time judging by the smile on his face. What do you think? Chef Joe owns Sabot Culinary and he always has plenty of wine for us to “cleanse our palettes”, the knives are extra sharp and there’s always the chance of an industrial-sized grease fire! We made grilled red snapper, grilled steak fish, grilled jumbo shrimp, anchovie crostini, grilled veggies and a vodka crab martini (you scoop the crab meat onto these little crackers). Yum. Okay, so I lied about the romance.

[2] I’m on the move yall. I finished my big summer project at my alma mater, UVA (Go Hoos!) and packed up my gear after crashing with K & D (thanks yall!) and lounging in their supercool (literally and climatically) pad, eating up all their Rice Krispies and threatening to blog about whatever if they didn’t do my bidding. They proceeded to get me hooked on Grey’s Anatomy, Trefoil girl scout cookies and D’s cooking & wine (Italian Pasta? Yes Please! Best.Egg Sandwich.Ever.? Yes Please!)

[3] I’m in Philly for one of my NY based clients for a 3 day conference. I lurve this client because I really like all of my colleagues (plus they have beer in the NY office fridge…). After this I’m headed to New England for a really cool gig that I landed a couple of weeks ago. This is a 4-6 month project which means I will not be headed back out on the road for extended vagabonding until February (post baby brother’s wedding), but it will put a band-aid on the ailing bank account after a summer of revelry (and by revelry I mean: cooking classes, beer drinking, cooking classes, motorcycle courses, beer drinking, Broadway Show, Martini drinking, 3 trips to Atlanta, 1 pretty cool date, Lawn Golf with the Nephew, Labor Day with the ‘hood, 1 trip to NYC).

[4]  I’ve been working on lots of personal projects and trying to manage and land clients so I haven’t had a lot of pure “down” time. Despite the fact that I’m a homeless, jobless, vagabond I’ve stayed pretty busy this summer. A few things that I did make time for that I highly recommend:

(a) Sarah Jones on Broadway: Bridge & Tunnel. Stunning Social Commentary. Genius Character Actor. Best. T-shirt. Ever. I got to spend time with one of my best friends from College S and her husband. They took me to a great brazilian restaurant in midtown where you literally had to walk through the kitchen to get to the restroom. So close to the chef that you could (no lie) lean over and tell him you think that steak is medium-well already. The food was off the hook as we say in the urban vernacular.

(b) The Georgia Aquarium: Quite simply the most spectacular aquarium. I recommend experiencing it through the eyes of twin 4 year-olds. They also let you touch sting rays, baby sharks, starfish and other mysterious dwellers of the deep. I NEVER thought I’d find an aquarium I liked better than Baltimore or even Boston. But there’s clearly no contest.

(c) Cafe Intermezzo: Atlanta.Ambiance. This is where Stacey and I ALWAYS go when I’m in town. The last time I visited we got all uppity and decided to try The Tea Room and ended up in a farcical comedy of ridiculous proportions wherein all I can say is that if you are going to name your establishment the Tea Room, it might be wise to actually have um, TEA?! And the charming, but clearly unstable waitress – her credibility with the wild-eyed recommendations? not so much. Cafe Intermezzo, we will never foresake you again.

(d) Books: Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World. Both written by smart, funny women. The first a memoir of sorts, the second a journalist’s contribution to educating us clueless Americans about such baffling international issues such as: the reason behind the East Coast/West Coast Rap-esque battle between Israel and Palestine (my analogy, not hers), Why we give Egypt $2.2B/year to buy arms from the US, etc. but trust me, she’s funny. Don’t be skared/skairt/scared.

(e) Film: Little Miss Sunshine. Hands down the best film of the summer. Funny in a Tina Fey meets David Sedaris/Augusten Burroughs tragicomedy kind of way. You WILL laugh, You WILL cry. So just go ahead and fork over the $2,237 or whatever it costs to see a movie in your neck of the woods.

(f) Family. I enjoyed my parents and nephew so much this summer. I tried to spoil them all rotten. I hope I succeeded. I still have some loved ones I want to bear hug and spend some time (Hey Momma D! Sharon D! Anil, etc.) with but I guess this was a good start.

My Philosophy (or Why I Don’t B*tch)


This photo is a result of an internet app that lets you customize the things that are currently on your “poop list” as my Mom would say, as presented by everybody’s favorite political genius Stephen Colbert. So those things are the things that make me want to rant as of right now.

Karen over at Chookooloonks blogs about “Why I Don’t B*tch” and I have been thinking about this topic alot lately. The last several months as I moved into the reality of my dream, I received e-mail from people all over the world asking me how I did/do it, what’s my secret for living a seemingly perfect life, how do I stay so positive?, etc. I was at once flattered and alarmed. In general what you see on my blog is really how I am (all the commenters who know me in real life (irl) please feel free to confirm or contradict that), and I’ve said for years that I’m one of the happiest people that I know. And its true. Not because I have the magic bullet to a perfect life, but because a) I believe that a certain amount of your outlook is predetermined by genetics and my parents might not have passed on the “skinny” gene, but they sure did make up for it with the “optimist” gene. b) I believe even more of your outlook is pure decision. I am determined to be happy and live my life as fully as I can. c) I’ve been THROUGH some things (mother’s critical illness, divorce) and I realized that I will always be going through something(s) but as long as I’m alive and in control of my mind and body, history bodes well that I’m not the first person to experience X and that even if Y happens I’ll be okay.

Another reason I decided to join the 12 million + bloggers out here in the blogosphere is not because I felt like I had something to say that hasn’t been said before, but I hope that the WAY I say it brings a smile to your face, inspires you to pursue YOUR big dreams and gets me a couple of points with the Big Guy upstairs, so that when I slide into my grave: sideways, giggling and thoroughly exhausted from living a full life, I’ll have a shot at some wings, a halo and the chance to be a guardian angel for some poor sap who is breathing their first breath with a lifetime of joy and pain ahead of them.

I think this topic is especially appropriate in light of the 5th anniversary of 9/11. Anyone who knows me will tell you that since that day, my philosophy – which alternately drives people crazy and makes them smile at the same time is:

“If this is the worst thing that happens to me today/this month/this year (depending on the scale), then that’s alright with me!” Even in the hardest situations I find myself saying this with a smile on my face or at the least in my voice – and it changes EVERYTHING. But mostly it changes ME. So here is to you dear reader, for all that you are and all that you will be, I wish for you the sun, moon and stars on a platter, and the knowledge that if you’re going through Hell, the best thing to do is to just.keep.going.  Trouble don’t last always.

Peace Out: Crocodile Hunter

I don’t usually blog about “News” type stuff around here because, well, you can get it elsewhere and I’m narcissistic like that. But I was saddened by the passing of Steve Irwin best known as the Australian Personality and Wildlife Conservationist: The Crocodile Hunter. I was a fan for about 5 minutes in the late 90’s but I’ve always liked the guy’s zest for life. He’s the perfect example of sliding into your grave sideways and Going Big. Peace out Crocodile Hunter.