Category Archives: Events

Welcome 2014!

Summer 2011 123Summer 2011 123JanuarySummer 2011 123 is almost upon us and one less day of winter. Busy planning the next trip to paradise, I yearn for white sand this winter and a hut on the hill, an ocean view, fresh coconut juice and papaya, fish and rice, how nice!

We’re building a typhoon resistant pentagon shaped home this time out of concrete and steel, one that is hard to knock down and will stand for a century, or more… I expect my children’s children will be born in that house and we will build it to last!

I’ll hang my hammock and plant my garden, grow my roots and plan my day around the rising sun and tides, the fishing boats and afternoon showers. It will allow me to tune into my inner voice, my creative flow will manifest unfettered by the noise and jabber of so called civilization.

 

-5 Below and Nowhere to Go!

My daughter “Savannah” and I had the pleasure of trying the Minneapolis Light Rail yesterday as we traveled from the  Minneapolis International Airport to Big Lake Rail Station. The price to do so is sweet, only costing $3.00 total for both of us to ride to downtown Minneapolis and beyond, good for 2 1/2 hours!

We traveled to the end of the  ”Blue Line” to transfer at Target Station on another Westbound train. As we walked off the train I accidentally brushed against a young man who was peeking out of a small slit between his hat and scarf. He gave me a shove and  cursed me for touching him, I just said “Excuse me brother, but I have to get off here!” People get grumpy when it’s cold out.

The bitter cold hit us immediately in the shadows between sky scrapers as the wind howled through. Reality check.. I ask myself “Why am I sending 3 days in Minnesota during the coldest time of the year?” And “Now I remember why I moved away from here!”

We went to the transfer station and behold, the doors were all locked!  I had to use the restroom and there were none to be found, upon further inquiry was told the terminal opens at 2:30 pm and the closest restroom was back two stops from whence we came.

Back on the train, we wandered around downtown looking for a lunch spot and bathroom, finally finding a deli that was just about to close their doors. We got in just in time, ordered a couple Ruben’s and looked for a restroom. Found a women’s open on the 4th floor and the men’s was out of service. Had to just hold it and pray awhile…

We got back on the train to Target Terminal to catch our transfer, the door was open and felt so good to get out of the cold. We still had an hour to wait so I left Savannah to  watch our gear and jumped on the train back into town to find the elusive restroom.

I found a bar and felt like I was obligated to have a beer so I wouldn’t feel like a heel going in just to use the restroom.  The bartender said “Good timing, you get our 2 for one Happy Hour Special!” I thought to myself, “Great! Now I’ll just have to pee again in another half hour!” Had my two ice cold beers and back to the terminal to catch our train.

Finally,  we were able to board the train and wait a half hour before departure, thankfully in the toasty warmness of the purring train. They had a great set up, with tables in between the seats and free WiFi! I kicked back and dozed in the warm comfort.

It took another hour by train and they dropped us off at the end of the line Big Lake Station. The wind was noticeable, being around -5 degrees below at the time and probably -20 with the wind chill. I was raised in this kind of weather, but Savannah wasn’t prepared, having flown in to meet me from the warmth of San Diego. We stood out by the ticketing kiosk and called my oldest daughter “Jenny”  just to see if she was almost there…

She was a good hour away fighting traffic, much to our dismay as the 2 minutes we stood outside were scary enough to consider the fact we could be in stage 2 hypothermia soon.    I noticed a glass box down the way and it looked like some sort of warming house.

After going inside we noticed a small heat lamp about 8 feet up hanging from the ceiling and if you stretched your hand up high as it would go, you could feel a little heat.  At least we were out of the wind and still no restrooms to be found anywhere. I chose to use the parking lot.

We stood there and shivered and prayed and cursed, by and by Jenny showed up and we climbed into her warm pickup, safe at last! I would be very careful in weather like this, to have a safety kit in the trunk or vehicle. If you went off the road and nobody sees you, you are in deep freeze doo doo, because your keister will be an icicle within 40 minutes.

Such is the life and common day experiences of the hardy folk born and raised in Minnesnowta.  I saw many of them walking around in shorts at the airport. God only knows how we survived our youth and the many parties we had in conditions such as this, not to mention the driving home on ice part. Counting the days to retirement in the tropics!

Good times and Happy Holy Days to all!

 

 

Okay, Winter’s here already!

 

It’s about time to drag out the long johns and boots again, warm stocking cap and gloves.  After three beautiful sunny days in the 50′s and 60′s, it has turned to winter, literally overnight!

I didn’t quite get all my fall chores done, old man Winter caught me with my sandals on.  Anyway, it is what it is and I’ll just take it in stride this year and not complain about the cold too much.  With all the disasters, Typhoons and Tornadoes, do I really have any right to complain?

You are having 10 inches of snow in the West and North, and 1/2 inch of ice down south.  Here in Kansas City we’re getting a little rain and tomorrow down to 10 degrees, quite balmy really.

I’m gearing up for the season, new tires on the Blazer and organize my office for some serious online marketing time spent in the comfort of my cozy man loft!

Ti’s the Season to grow your business!

Winter’s here already!

Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, the great American holiday that allows us a day to be thankful for our many  blessings.  A day to get together with family and eat to our hearts content! Forget about our digestive system for a couple of days as we work through all the leftovers.

Thanksgiving means something more to me this year.  Sure, I’m thankful most every day.  I still have a job, and a roof over my head. I have food to eat and water to drink.  There’s a lot of things to be thankful for, especially my family.

I am blessed with my kids here in the states, and my grand kids. I am double blessed with my wife “Mercy” and our 2 kids on Camotes Island, Philippines, and my extended family there. Not to forget my siblings and their families. I’m thankful I have one huge wonderful family!

So, I’m extremely grateful every day, that my family is healthy and happy! I thank God for that!

A few weeks ago I was worried and frightened that I might lose my family in the Philippines, my wife and children, my extended family there,  as Typhoon Yolanda        (Haiyan) bore down on their country and tiny island. Fortunate for them the eye of the storm missed Camotes Island,  but not by much.

They suffered through a terrifying storm, one that tore most all of the trees down and ripped through houses, towns, and everything in its path. They tied down the roofs and huddled in what was determined to be the safest building.  The evacuation centers were not necessarily the best place to go and some of them were destroyed in the storm. Many people died in those shelters.

For me, the hardest thing was not having communication with my family during the storm.  I did get a call in just before the worst of it hit, and was relieved to hear all were okay there so far, and that trees were falling all around. It must have been terrifying for them, it was for me too in my worst case scenario imagination.

Communications went dark for a few days and all I knew was the unfolding tragedy I saw on the news.   I tried for days to get word, and finally did. My family survived the storm, unlike the thousands who didn’t.

A few years from now I will retire on Camotes Island. We are working towards building our ocean view retirement home. We had the first floor exterior walls up, but no bond beam or second floor supports. That wall came down in the storm. So did many of the houses in our small village and on the whole island.

The storm was 350 miles wide and affected nearly 1/3 of the 7,200 Philippine islands. Everything changed for the people of the Philippines over night. Gone are the comforts of home, the water and power supplies. It must be difficult to find the gratitude of surviving the storm, when everything you know is gone.

I’d like to ask the people who survived every calamity.  Sandy, Katrina, Andrew,  the many towns across the Midwest devastated by tornado’s and the great fires and floods in the Western states. The wrath of Nature can tear your world apart. The world as you know it!  Life goes on,  doesn’t it?

The Times, they Really are a Changing!

Just love!

We got back to the basics about the Holy-days this year. More quality time and effort was spent with family and friends than past years and the whole material aspect was put aside. The kids and grand-kids were more concerned about family time than on “What do I get?” Perhaps the harder times are bringing out the best in all of us?

One positive side to a weak economy is that I see more and more people are refusing to buy into the hype and go into debt over the Holy-days. My grand-daughter made me the most exquisite card and gift in school. I am delighted every time I see the snow man photo frame she made me, and the hand made cutout card she spent so much time on,  it means more to me than a new whatchamagigger ever did!

My kids were just happy to see me, forgetting about the gifts. Since we’ve been scattered the past few years, its easy to see whats most important in their eyes and hearts. A day on the beach or on a frozen lake brings an incredible level of joy and happiness, more than a cruise trip to the Bahama’s and much more affordable too!

A simple celebration under the coconut palms is worth more to me than a trip to Disneyland, any day. There is food, fun, conversation and laughter, not to mention a gallon jug of home made buko wine passed around the circle. Someone brings a basket full of fresh papaya, mango’s or fried bananas and sweetbread, it doesn’t get any better!

It’s true, challenges and hard times tend to bring the best out in all of us. Maybe these troubled times are just the way God and the Universe have of rebooting humanity, when people can give more love than hate or fear, we’ll have the solutions we need to truly prosper! 2012 will test us, and bring out the best if we let it!

Happy New Year to All!

Blue Gold and Belief

The commodity of the future is something more precious than metals or oil. Without it, we would perish and many countries are facing that grim scenario.

We are blessed in the United States in that we hold the biggest natural supply of this life giving substance than any other country. We are truly living in a land of “Milk and Honey,” but the problem affects all who live in the United States on many levels. Towns and cities are drying up here too, as we speak!

Fresh water will dictate politics and the wars of the future. With climate change and the desertification of major population centers around the world, fresh water will be the only real commodity. Let’s face the truth, when a body lacks water it dies in a matter of hours. It’s quite the same when a region dries up, forests turn to deserts and blow away. Life becomes impossible. “Existence,” as we know it, is impossible in either scenario.

What will become of 2/3 of the worlds population that depends on this life source, and is losing their very life blood and existence? Time will tell the story, perhaps Jesus or Aliens will come down from the heavens to help us out.

Or, we may come together as one “humanity” and figure out solutions to the problems facing the world and it’s, inhabitants. We may advance in intelligence to the point of knowing that wars need to become obsolete and cooperation the new model, if we want to survive as a species.

Unbelievable, right? That belief is what keeps us from living in a prosperous heavenly world. Amazing things happen when a group of people come together and believe!

 

 

 

Faith vs Fear, Christmas season 2011

It’s hard to remain positive in these “End of Days” times.  According to the media, the whole world is hell bent and successful on bringing us all down. Just for a twisted kind of fun, I did my own experiment.

For starters, take a look at the headlines, I just picked the first 5 that pop up on Yahoo, MSN, or any major news provider. Here is my list from Yahoo as of right now, today December 8th. You can make your own evaluation at just about any time, any day, anywhere.

This is only an observation. What prompted me to write this post was an email I received from “Mind Movies,” a company that preaches the power of  making your own positive imaging slide show or video for personal growth and prosperity. This email was promoting an end of times as we know it video on the collapse of the world economy, and how to profit during the impending doom and unbelievable hard times to come.

For example at the top of the list is…

Alabama GOP leaders have second thoughts on immigration - Maybe they passed this state legislation a bit hastily, having harassed legal foreign workers to the point companies don’t want to do business here anymore.

Number 2 on the list is…

Senate rejects Democratic payroll tax cut proposal - Politics as usual.

 

Here’s amazing number 3…

EPA says fracking may have caused polluted groundwater  – Opp’s! Sorry we ruined your only source of water! We’ll do better next time!

Number 4 is a bit milder…

Rabbi to become Army chaplain, beard and all, court rules - This one is the result of centuries old religious practice of not trimming one’s beard. Tell that to Sergeant Slaughter will you?

Last on my list, but not least! Number 5…

D.C. gridlock could hurt economy in early 2012 - Ending the year on yet another political downbeat, problem is there is no place to hide on this sinking ship!

These examples don’t include the headline about the woman, buried alive by her fiance, who dig herself out of a cardboard coffin with her wedding ring and the Christmas photo taken  near the White House that landed a man in jail.  Not to mention the latest 2 victims of yet another Virginia Tech shooting.

It’s no wonder people are fearful about the future, being brainwashed constantly with this kind of media negativity. What chance do we have as a world connected by technology and the media to live together in peace and prosperity? Not much, unless the news we are feed changes from junk food to something enlightening and positive!

How about posting some solutions to the endless problems of a fearful world?

What chance do we have as individuals to live with inner peace and prosperity? Is it just another day of hard times we have to look forward to, forever?

If we are to be vaccinated from negativity, just turn off the news and do something positive! World change begins with each one of us!

P.S. Tell a friend…

 

 

 

1985 A Year of Living Dangerously

If Singapore is the City of Lions, then Jakarta is more than just another Province. It is the Capital of Indonesia and has all the excitement and trappings of any Mega-city.

We flew into a whole new world, accented by the constant and immediate pungent odor of kretek or Clove-tobacco cigarettes. The call to prayer rings out like clockwork and a whole new buffet of the senses to sample. Traffic is to die for, literally! Our cabby almost ran over one fellow and his girlfriend on the way to our hotel, they got a little too close on their motorbike and he decided to give them a little bump, just to keep them honest!

Thank God, our time in Jakarta was limited. Before long, we hopped a train to Bandung.  Finally out of the city, we entered a land of beautiful terraced rice paddies broken up by beautiful green mountains. It was a ride to remember, my eyes were soaking it all in and the trip ended much too quickly.  Bandung is another city of millions and surrounded by volcano’s. We were taken to a beautiful house on an avenue lined with tall palm trees. It felt great to lag out there and get caught up to the local time.

I ventured out into the neighborhood and got a feel for the city, took some pictures at a Chinese Cemetery and tried not to get lost. The expense that went into the construction of these grave sites is something to marvel at, some worthy of a king! I captured it all on film, one day I’ll put it all together into a fantastic slide show.

Going out to eat was a trip in itself, seemed we lived on chicken satay with peanut sauce, many unfamiliar foods along with hot chili sauces and rice. Morning meals usually consisted of a heap of greasy fried rice and a couple cold sunny side up eggs staring back at me.  Nasi goreng as its affectionately called, we came to know it as nauseating goreng. I begged the driver to get me some papaya, mangos, anything but greasy rice!

Still on the move, we took jeeps down perilous wrong way yak paths to a mountain city called Garut.  We found a Shangri la hotel built over a hot spring. Since I love to soak this was a heavenly place, my room had its own deep tub and I could watch the goldfish swim by my front door. Like living in a dream almost!

So we finally made it to our destination, the town we would call home for the next two months. We relocated to an old Dutch style home, painted over the dirt, and settled in. Our bodies adjusted to all the changes just in time to go to work, the only casualty was when one of our mates got black tongue disease and had to have a 4 inch dirty needle shoved into his posterior. The things a person puts up with when his tongue turns black!

Surveying for Geothermal power sources on active volcano’s and caldera’s sounded exciting, trekking through small villages and cutting jungle paths with machetes. It was a adventuretographers dream come true! The people we hired on to work with us were great personalities, known by their first name only. They thought we were crazy white dudes, and they were right!

We learned some basic Bahasa Indonesia, slang words and phrases like “bagus” for thumbs up or good, and “tida bagus,” for the opposite. We learned to count quick and easily by playing cribbage and counting the numbers in Bahasa. This is a great way to learn how to say numbers in any language.

Work began by unpacking our gear, hiring a crew of locals and trekking 2 hours by foot to the job site, a mountainous steamy region of thick jungle, tropical rain forest, active caldera’s and steep, deep rivers that cut through it all. This job was not going to be a walk in the park!

 

Thanksgiving Day and Here come the Holy-Days!

It’s that time of year again, the Holy-Days!

Black Friday is here, except this year they renamed it “Blue Friday.” Why not call it what it is, “Black and Blue Friday?” People seriously getting beat up and pepper sprayed over saving a few bucks! Only in America!

Kicks off the holidays spending spree from now until Christmas, when most everyone goes into debt in the traditional buying frenzy. At least their putting dollars back into the economy!

It’s my bit of insanity and I have to chuckle, anyway, I’m going to buy a comforter for $9.99 at K-Mart Friday morning, (between 5am and 9am only,) for the long, cold, winter mornings that are just around the bend. I may even get a cordless drill for half price off the “Special,” because I’ll have the 50% coupon off anything under $30.00, good only on Saturday.

I won’t be going into debt, if I do any Christmas shopping it will be after New Years when “the stuff” is dumped for pennies on the peso. Shhhhh!

What ever happened to the Christmas Holy-Day Season? I remember it well, spending Christmas week in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico, back in 1987.  It was the Christmas week of my life, non-stop partying in the streets, where total strangers would take you by the arm into their homes and stuff you full of Christmas Tamales, Tequila, and dancing the night away with a beautiful Senorita!

Non stop fireworks and regular parades of the Catholic faithful, marching through the streets with effigies and candles. The party and festivities didn’t end until January 1st and there was no noticeable emphasis on material things. The season was all about the Celebration of the Birth of Christ.  Santa Clause was a stranger, in fact I don’t think I saw him during the whole week, not even once! It was a long time ago…

I’d like to go back to Tapachula for Christmas and New Years Eve and see how things have changed over the years. I wonder if its still the same, or if it too has become a victim of the times. I’ll have to put that on my re-bucket list, been there, done that and have to do it again just to see if it was a dream or reality!

I have faith in the human heart and spirit, hanging on to that which has substance, in fact I crave it! Last Christmas was experienced eating fresh grilled fish, drinking Mango Shakes, and watching fire dancers on Alona Beach, Panglao, Philippines!

Hey, come to think of it, I didn’t see hide nor hair of Santa Claus there either, WOW! It was pure magic,  anyway what did you do for Christmas?

A better question is, “What would you like to be doing for Christmas?” All comments are welcome, as always!

Happy Holy-Days Friends!

 

 

 

 

Pause the World, Another day in Paradise!

Another day in Paradise

Three weeks in Paradise! The best medicine for what ails you, your stress levels melt away in the mid day sun, blood pressure drops and you smile a lot. I needed this trip!

New life, new beginnings. Start my day with a fresh green coconut (buko) and half a papaya, maybe a sweet banana or two. Bacon and eggs don’t even sound appetizing. The neighbor brings a pail of fresh fish by, caught the night before.  A pot of rice cooking on an open fire. Nothing weird in this cuisine, everything is organic, fresh, chemical free and delicious!

Sitting under a bamboo Palapa and reading a great book, the hours go by. Kids drop in to see what I’m doing. They work and play, laugh and love all day long. Families are tight in paradise, older kids helping the babies, cousins, sisters and brothers exist as one. Families are born, live and die together, generation after generation.

Life is hard here, no machines to wash your laundry, its done by hand, one piece at a time. Water is hauled in 5 gallon containers from the tap down the way. There’s food to gather, Cassava root to dig, peel, wash and shred. Piles of white powder to dry overnight and then sift again the next day. It makes a fine sweet cake when mixed with green buko jelly and baked in a pit of hot coals! Not an extra ounce of fat on anyone, even the seniors have six pack ab’s, lean and muscled, they can outwork any twenty year old from the good old U.S.A!

There’s nothing like hiking down to the beach during low tide and digging clams and conch shells! Food is everywhere in Paradise, paid for with sweat and toil. There’s value in everything, nothing is wasted or taken for granted. Life surrounds you and embraces you. Music plays, people sing and the day goes by.

Evenings are spent sitting together and telling stories, laughing about this or that. Someone brings you a glass of buko wine, tastes a bit vinegary but gives a warm happy feeling! The sun goes down, chickens fly up in the banana trees to sleep. Everything winds down, its 8pm and time for bed. Sleep and dreams come quickly under a ceiling fan on a warm tropical night.

The roosters start crowing about 4am and they don’t stop. It’s time to wake up and do it all over again, the music and singing begin and its a new day. Same as yesterday!