Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Truths For Mature Humans

I 'borrowed this from another website, because it was so hilarious, that I wanted to share it also. Hope you don't mind Wit.
Truths For Mature Humans
1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.
17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!
24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup", was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important. (Ladies.....Quit Laughing.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rivers, Riverbeds, Rain, Rainbows,Mountains, Hills, Veiws pt 1

December 18, 2010
5:45 AM

Thursday, I contacted Clives transport to reconfirm my 3 am pickup for my ride over to MoBay on Friday morning December 17,2010. The drop off is to the Knutsford Express Transit Yard/Bus Park. I am going to Kingston to spend time with Amy. I met Amy 3 years ago and lucky for me she has taken me under her wings, and has been educating me on the true culture of Jamaica. It is so refreshing hanging with a person who knows the runnings and is not a hung up on the bar hopping , sand gravity having, boring with not a clue tourists that have been coming for years, but only know where to purchase, the cheapest bokkle of Appleton, the coldest Red Stripe and where the men hang out, and which club has the crowd each night. Ladies you are almost 60, time to go somewhere and sit down and stop hanging out with the children.

Better yet take a tour or two, get out and learn a likke Jamaican culture, most foreign  women wonder why Jamaican women want nothing to do with them, they don't realise that the way you carry yourself  and how you flex is something that does not go unnoticed. Respect yourself, you may garner Respect. Walk around in a spaced out drugged out, drunken state , you get nothing. It's your vacation, and your business do it however you choose but remember all eyes are most times on you, observing, and sometimes judging. Most people in Jamaica have an old fashioned view of life, and a woman most definitely can not do as a man can here.

So after going to sleep early, around 9 pm Thursday and having a hard time getting to sleep, the phone rings, its Clives driver, calling to reconfirm the time for pickup, I thought it was for 3 am come to find it is for 2:30 am, big difference, since the alarm was set for 2 am. "Goodnight, Good Morning"( me)"who is this",( he)"can you say good night, good morning"? after realising this person was not going to speak his mind until I greeted him ( me) "good night, good morning", funny when LeeAnne used to say this I thought it sounded stupid, not a lot of them but a few older Jamaicans greet you this way. I wanted to throw the phone against the wall, this is one of those time when I wish for an old fashioned house phone, it sort of defeats the purpose to slam a cell down, since the person doesn't know you slammed it. He was calling to say he would be here at 2:30 am but would call before hand for directions to my Yard. I could have chewed a brick, but I finally drifted off, and 2 minutes later the alarm on my phone went off. I have a clock in the kitchen, no watches, and a cell phone that I use for the infrequent times I need to know what time it is.

We get up, T makes my cup of tea, I shower again, get dressed, finish packing and I'm ready, when the call comes, I hand over the phone so that T can give him directions to the Yard. He partially knew where he was coming because as we came out the door, he is zooming past the gate, a hey Yo, he backs up, I and my luggage are packed in, goodbyes, and see you on the other side and off we go. First thing I need money from the ATM, its decided we will stop in Lucea a small Town in Hanover Parish, which has a clock in the town square, that every Juta driver points out as the clock sent from Spain to the island of St. Lucia, but it mistakenly landed here and Jamaica sort of forgot to give it back. It is a very nice town square with a very nice clock. Funny we just discussed the fact that he worked near but never went into the town, I have been through the town but never stopped. So goes life in Jamaica, people live in a Town/Parish and never venture to other parts of the Island. So we head out coming down the beach road plenty of activity, lots of folks out, I'm thinking why are these people up and out so early, next it occurs to me, it is still Thursday Night/Friday morning, the people are still out partying. Jerk barrels,  drink and cigarette vendors and  vendors with anything else you might like. Tonight/this morning it is the Jungle, a place truly for the young uns, but I am sure there are bunches of senior citizens hanging out too. Looking, searching, longing for sweet trouble. A place that until I had to meet Carey (owner Negril Escapes) to pick up my Season Pass for the Winter Concert Series, I had vowed to never set foot in. Almost made it .

Driving down Beach road past Jamaican owned small, nice hotels, past foreign All inclusives, past the private/public beach, past Rhodes Hall Plantation, in Orange Bay, Past Green Island down the coast road to MoBay. I am sleepy but when in a car I hate to miss anything so I chatter away to the driver  (forgot his name) who turned out to be a nice fellow and not as old as his demanding voice from the night before sounded. We get to Mobay and there is still a lot of activity going on also. Watching young people as well as some older ones interact is funny at times, the mating calls, the hook ups, the techniques are interesting, a likkle something  for everyone, satisfied customers.

 Of course I'm hungry so I ask him to stop for Jerk chicken and Wata for the bus ride, because I know the Jerk Center in Ochi will not be open when we arrive. Good choice. We get over to the Dark, unlit, closed Knutsford Yard, and we look at each other and shrug, now I am thinking this man is not leaving me here and he is thinking what to do, so he decides that since he is in town  early he will go over to the airport and sign in, on the transfer driver's list, possibly to be the first in line which would be good ,because that sets his day for making some good money, alas, this office is closed too, so back to Knutsford, which by now is open, we unload me, I go in to purchase my ticket, go back out and speak to 2 guys sitting there who turn out to be my bus driver and his conductor. This is of course the first trip of the day, after embarking we are informed there will be a slight delay, so at 5:15 am we pull out. Knutsford express, is a wonderful  and inexpensive way to get from MoBay/Ochi to Kingston and back it goes through Fern Gully, to Walker Woods (home of the Walkers wood Jerk sauce factory) through Monegue, across FlatBridge, Spanish town, into Kingston. It was probably started with businessmen/women in mind but now every one rides and it is a very good deal.  Mobay/Kingston $25.00 US/2000JMD Ochi/Kingston $12.50 US/1000JMD.  From Negril with Clive $25.00 US/2000JMD. $100,00 plus tip round trip. This is a wonderful way to get to Kingstown and a very beautiful route, once daylight hits. Now there is a cheaper way, this is by local bus, but thats an experience I will discuss later.

Knutsford goes from Mobay to Kingston with one pit stop  in Ochi. This is at the Jerk Center, on DaCasto Drive. Pretty good Jerk Pork and Festivals.

Inside the Knutsford Express. It also has a restroom on board.

On the road to Kingston

A rainy day, but kind of cozy. This is not a bad way to travel to Kingston

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 1

I know I shouldn't love this Yard, in a neighborhood scheme, in Negril, Westmoreland Parish. Bike taxis roaring by, competing to see who can make the loudest roar, which means this may also be the one making the most money, because even though speed kills, it's also a means to an end (or ends/money), taxis coming round corners at an angle to avoid the huge potholes in the street and then roaring off, almost into the back of the bike taxi that has stopped to pick up my neighbor, dogs barking, more competition because not only do they compete amongst them selves, they seem to have a class issue, the ones inside the yard, vs the mongrels on the other side, this is another example of never being satisfied with what you are blessed with. The outsides want in, the insides want out. Life. The roosters in my neighborhood, flexing for the hens,hoping to get chosen as the one to strut around with that day, almost, like a courtship. Sometimes with a few likkle chicks running behind vying for attention. The church music,from some one's sound system, competing with the reggae music, coming from my home, and the two of them competing with the church nearby. The tree frogs competing with no one, in a chorus, that is magnified by their numbers.

I Began my day looking at the beautiful sunset, gifted me by Sprat, my wallpaper. Awakened too late to see the sunrise, but God willing, tomorrow may come. Beauty is beauty, sun up or sun down, I made it to the next one, so, no matter. I also began my day with a cup of chocolate tea, in the old days I called this drink hot cocoa, but it's hard to argue with someone willing to make you a cup of whatever and bring it to you, to sit, sip and reflect pon my veranda, so, OK, it's tea, I also began my day, sharing a You Tube video of a Christmas Flash Mob video,that had been shared with me, of a single beautiful act of (as a friend called it) Humanity, thus setting the course for my day, it's been one of Happiness, and Tranquility. Even though my life may be about to change. Still talking, reflecting,debating the path, but when it's right , it will show itself.

My day began with a Sunset and a seemingly random (not) but heartwarming act of Humanity. Good is Good, no matter what the source nor reason.

My day will end with the sweet sounds, still for me; of the music for some, and pure torture for others. The sounds of the City.

It's been an Outstanding Day.

I'm Very Much Blessed.

Smoke, my adopted kitty, he came by one day for lunch and never eft.

My second house. In Broughton, Westmoreland, Jamaica

The veiw from my first apartment in Negril, Westmoreland Jamaica

Where I live now in. Negril

My neighborhood

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 2

You know how when you are in Jamaica and you will suddenly hear a beautiful song coming from someone who is singing as they go about the business of their job. Your housekeeper, the gardener, security,sometimes you don't understand the words but the spirit of the act is what makes your heart full. That same urge that makes them sing is the same urge, I have to share with others, the things I am learning, the things I see, and the awesome experiences, no matter how small they are that I am having.

I spoke to Markospoon today and he basically summed it up , "there are things I take time for in Jamaica, that I never give time for when at home," so true for me once upon a time. I believe this is the essence of why people pack up and move to other places, because in a new place even though it is You who went, the opportunity to learn new things about yourself and life are endless. That's what makes this time so special to me.

Not flexing, not boasty, just a sharing of a life experience. Like therapy for me.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 3

December 7, 2010
4:00 pm

This morning while getting my fresh veggies, I teased my neighbor about how good she looked Sunday night, she looked at me and said 'you saw me and didn't say nuttin?" as I told her I was in and out of the house and she was moving around busily at her shop. I asked her if she was going to a church program, but she say "nah sah, I went up to the party at the beach park' great fun, masses of people, good music, live and selectors. When I told her that we go every now and then she looked at me as though I had two heads, smiled at me and said "you neva know" so we made a date that soon we would check it out together.

She owns the shop across from me and it is a lively place at times and others quiet quiet. Some days its the hangout for the ladies, others, she has a son who attracts lots of ladies and his buddies dominate the place. They held a 2 week domino tournament a few months ago that lasted long thru the night, Slap down, jive talk, much laughter and good times.

Now if you think Jamaican women dress for church, you haven't seen nothing till you see them dress for these neighborhood street parties, where there are men there will be women and visa versa. Preening like peacocks strutting their stuff, seeing and being seen. As for as the music you go with the flow, you can't beat them so you either join them in person, or just enjoy the music from your home. Sometimes you rock to the beat as you fall asleep and then wake up to the quiet, and wonder how did I sleep through those sounds. Now if you can't take this because it happens all over the hills, this is not the place for you. Sound travels and sometimes we are grooving from as far as 2 or 3 blocks away.

One thing I love about Jamaican parties, there are people of all ages, from Grandma and Dad, to the wee new born, to the sexy young women and guys, all dressed in their finest, having good clean fun. That's what I like about my neighborhood, Families, friends, music, animals, all doing what it takes to survive, while finding comfort also in having a good time.

I guess the point I want to make is that Negril is more than the Beach. I was told that the people who work in Negril don't live in Negril, and the people who live in Negril don't work. So not true, so inaccurate, so Out of Order.

And tonight I will follow Dr. Sprat and nurse Tic Toc's orders, I am going to enjoy my Queen. Queen IFrica.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 4

After working for 40 years, taking the usual 2, 3, 4 week vacation, in the last 6 years of working it was 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, and in the early years of vacations and 2 off days there was not a lot of time for just marinating or stewing in my juices, I most days was too tired. There were fun time, no mistake, but when you can as I sated before plant the seeds and then literally daily watch your garden grow, there is no greater blessing, than right now, this day for me.

My cup runneth over.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 5

My likkle neighbor climbing the ackee tree in our yard made me notice, the ackee is back in full bloom, some look like they are ready to open. Free home grown ackee for breakfast, soon come! The peppers are doing nicely also.

Oh and fresh snapper caught this morning, rice and peas, and steamed veggies for a proper Sunday Jamaican dinner. It is so wonderful living this close to the sea. Fresh, Fresh, Fresh everyting.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 6

Now when a man even a likke man is willing to work for his supper/dinner, I am never one to stand in his way, I'm hanging clothes and hear "you ask her, no you ask her" I look around and realise I am the "her' "whatagwaan"? seems they want to climb to get the ackee that is of course too high to reach. I decide that using the sticks is better and they go to work, after about 45 minutes of a likkle knock down, a likkle climb their bounty is about 8 ripe ackee, I had to laugh watching them split this up for 2 households, more like a sip, not even a taste, but you would have thought they were warriors and hunters coming home from slaying the meal for the family dinner. Standing tall, big grins, very proud looks.

This was another reminder of the difference in the kids I meet here and my own when they were growing up, if it did not come out of a bag, from a store, they weren't interested. Another is watching them make up games to play with the most obscure objects, I watched a baby girl play for an hour with a string and a bottle cap, with the concentration of someone inventing something. I love it!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 7

Last year on Xmas Day I passed up dinner in Negril for the opportunity to go to GT Taylor's Xmas Extravaganza in Black River. We picked up food on the way, in Whitehouse, fish and bammy, and headed out for the show, road to the venue and purchased our tickets, actually we wanted to be sure we were in the right spot, we had decided to make this an overnight stay.

After getting the tickets we went to Parrotte which is about 10 minutes away to find a room for the night, Black River has hotels, but after staying at IverCauld Great House when my friend Libby Thompson managed it, I wanted something a likke more up to date. We found Idler Rest Hotel a nice clean spot with antique artifacts throughout the hotel. Nothing spectacular but it was on the beach and our room over looked it and the rooms were clean and the grounds were pretty nice. The show was outstanding.

The cost of the room also included breakfast, sort of a get whatever they were serving which turned out to be callaloo, fried dumpling, breadfruit and fruit. I remember a time when I would have demanded food from the menu, but the charm of the entire 2 days was not lost on me, You're in Jamaica, away from your family on Christmas Day, your Xmas dinner was fish and bammie, your breakfast was simple country fare, and both meals were two of the best I had ever had, that is when I knew, that I had turned a corner, and I was getting my wish, the dream had come true, I could live here and no longer needed the bling bling trappings of years gone by. A quiet life, a simple life, a happy life.

I love it when my Jamaican friends and Family tell me that I have introduced them to something they have never done before, in thier own country. When I asked if he had ever been to Pelican Bar, the answer was no. I called my buddy Carey who works there, and told him to expect us, and to pick us up for the boat ride over to the bar. Imagine my friend's awe at seeing this bar, on the reef out in the ocean, he had been to Black River, and Treasure Beach but never even heard of the bar. He loved it. A gift for me(the show) a gift for him (the bar). We had dinner, lobster and fish, drinks, the boat ride over, the meal maybe a cost of $40.00 US or 3500 JMD.

The experience was priceless, considering that a few days before my Birthday I was considering flying home to spend it and Christmas with the family, a likkle guilt a likkle loneliness for my babies set in,felt like I hit a brick wall, but after finding out that 3 of us in the yaad are Sagittarius, I decided to woman up and stick it out. So glad I did. Luvin the simple life.

It has been a very good year.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Beach at Idlers Rest in Parottee

Idlers Rest Hotel Parrotte

The Gardens

Breakfast  simple but delicious

Veiw from room
Idler's Beach

Another Day in a Yaad in Negril pt 8

My Dad could not read, very well, but he decided that he should be the one who taught me to write and spell my name, I was five and about to enter Kindergarten, and he did not want me unable to hold my own in the classroom. She told me that he had her to teach him from sight and sound, how to write my name and my address, to some this may seem nothing, but for me, finding out this secret was the day that I fell in love with my Daddy and I never allowed a day to go by without letting him know how great he was.

My Dad was a simple man, and he would have fit right in, to this place. Some of the meals he cooked are no different than the ones I am learning to cook now, meals I never liked as a kid, but love now as an adult, so many of his ways are so similar to the ways of many of my neighbors and friends here. There are many times I wish I could show him how so many of the things he prepared us for are things that make me appreciate so much my life in this place. Years ago when he was diagnosed with a heavy illness, I was considering not taking my annual trip to Jamaica, his words to me were "Go, I will still be here when you come back child".

I will never forget that time, it was the early days of coming to Negril, Most times when I went on vacation I felt the need to wake up early and roam the country, from one end one day, to another direction next day. But this time we stayed at Sea Grapes Villas on the cliffs and Fun Holiday, I had booked both spots for the week in case I did not like one I had the other as a back up, well after checking into FH, we drove up to the cliffs to Sea Grape, it was during a time when the charters from STL came in late in the evening, after getting to that beautiful yard, and meeting the caretaker Juicy, and having the words" I am here for you, if you have need of anything, just ask" it was like a homecoming to a place that my parents would have both loved. My barometer for loving a place is if I can sleep there the first night without fear, it was just myself and my daughter on this trip, and I thought being on the cliffs at night might be a likke scary, but not after meeting Juicy and our security guy, Bentley, it was my first full night sleep after getting the news about my Dad. The time on the cliffs was one of meditating, praying, begging and pleading, crying and rest, acceptance and healing. It was also the time that I realised, you can come to Jamaica and just be. No Muss. I realised the healing effect this place had on me. It was also a turning point, to knowing where I wanted to spend the rest of my life in. We went back home and helped Daddy through his treatments all of us taking our times with him, for me the stories he told. the talks we had, sustain me sometimes even now. He encouraged me in most of my actions, always took my side in most things, was my best guy and my friend, he and my mother would have loved the decision I made. They taught and encouraged us to go for our dreams. I wear their names on my shoulder. And carry them in my Heart. Minnie Marie & James

BTW even after paying for Fun Holiday, we spent only one night there. When we finally went by to spend one night, as we walked in the young ladies in reception looked at us as though they were seeing ghosts, they told me the manager needed to speak with me, he came out and as though he were my father asked me where in heavens name had we been, he said they were about to phone the police, they feared that something had happened, it never occurred to me that my actions had worried them, I guess they felt responsible, which is also a reason, that for a few years I would stay a few days with them, and a few days on the cliffs. A random act of kindness and concern. The next morning after breakfast we decided to hang on the beach at FH, one of the boat guys asked if we would like to go out to the reef, my daughter was up for it, so we did, not sure why, but we all connected, a 45 minute boat ride turned into 2 hours, just reasoning, vibing, and watching the beauty of the day unfold. We had agreed on a price initially, but with the added time I knew I owed more, the captain looked at us both and said "no Mummy, it was our pleasure" I still gave him all the J's I had left in my pocket, another random act of kindness.

This trip was a time of sadness, that later turned into one of joy and healing, it was the first time I cried when it was time to leave. When our driver came to pick us up, the three new friends at SEa grapes all came out to tell us goodbye, I cried so profusely that Christine took me into her arms and let me weep, she said she understood what I was feeling and things would be alright, her prophecy turned out to be correct, my Dad healed and got a clean bill of health for a time.

I don't see this place as paradise through blind eyes, I see it as a Paradise, that has helped me to heal, and grow as a person.

I am Grateful, I am Blessed.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  Mark Twain

My Daddy James Bohlen

My MaMa  Minnie Marie Bohlen

Magnificence Defined

Please take a minute to view this wonderful peace sent to me by my buddy BJL

Thursday, December 16, 2010



One Love


2:00 am

Kymani Marley at Negril Escapes
One Love Concert Winter 2010 Series

I was here this Summer during the time that Kymani came to town for the One Love Summer Concert Series, I bought the Summer Pass, but for some reason, I did not feel to go to the show, not sure why. But tonite we decided to go to this one, especially after the beautiful pictures of the Kymani sighting that Spratt shared with us earlier today. Two beautiful souls crossing each other's paths making a connection, that later turned into a gift for so many. In one of the pix he seems to be posing, he has on shades and in the lens of one there is a cross in it from a nearby church, is that an omen of goodness or what?

We normally go plenty late because though some of my buddies are sometimes part of the opening acts, I am never sure who is coming to perform, so I sacrifice seeing the really talented guys because I can't always sit through the ruff around the edges guys, keep working at it my brothers, one day, you may become a star.

The first person I see as I come through the gates is Carey we speak, the man is such a beautiful spirit, always a magnificent smile and greeting, I love, love, love, the vision he had and has shared with us, from Taurus to Richie, to Luciano and so many more. Thank you Carey, and the entire Negril Escape team, and staff always a delight whether staying there, going for a meal, or attending one of the concerts under the stars, the vibe is perfection.

Next I come round the bend, there is Fire, and one of my buddies, who will soon be one of the opening acts, we hug, give a dap and a bless up.

Next I see my girl L and the excitement is there , she has been back for a minute but me nah see her til now, that's fine because we grab and hug for dear life, such sweet bliss, as though we saw each other yesterday. I missed you and so glad to have you back, home. We talk for a while and she goes back to her party I settle in listening to the guy( did not catch his name) sing, soon a fashion show and next the set up for the son of Brethren Robert Nesta Marley, Kymani!!!!!!!!!!!

But next I am doing what I love standing on the outer looking to the inner, people watching, the clothes, the men, the men, the jewelry, the shoes, pretty soon a few more friends find me and more hugs and good feelings, good music under the stars and if I am not mistaken a 3 quarter moon, it was the perfect night and the perfect setting for the surprise that awaited me. I spot Rob, but since I was projecting today I thought I would not go up, but wait till next time to give a holler to he and Lisa.

On this board and others I frequent there are tons of people I find interesting, even the ones that I don't always agree with, but there are those who have a light that shines through to you and you make a somewhat connection. I am sitting in my spot, as I said observing people and I spot a woman with a pretty professional looking camera around her neck, I look over we smile in acknowledgement of each other, but I continue to stare discreetly thinking can this be her? Is this the one? While pondering this I look up and L is coming towards me, a woman is with her, they are both smiling as they come, but I know who it is not by instinct as I thought I would know , but the obvious, she is walking with L, and L knows how much I want to meet this woman!

I jump up delighted, its, SPRATT, I am finally meeting the woman who has given me many hours of eye candy, and the most amazing menus and recipes. I have finally met a STAR. Talented, beautiful, and a wonderful woman. We hug up, hold hands, hug some more. An honor, a treat and the most appropriate time to meet.Later her husband put it best, "we are here watching the son of Bob Marley perform." How so appropriate, two wondrous treats in one night. I am so happy that I decided to go. Funny we both agreed that we wanted to meet, but I knew that it would be tonight.

I also met another intriguing boardite and his wife, who is always entertaining and witty, he asked if I had my book 'Dear Dad where is the Family in our Family today' by Kymani with me, he said because I mentioned it on the board he had bought his with and planned to get it signed also, of course mi chickened out and left the book at home, came out the house with it and changed my mind and left it on the veranda. Not a missed opportunity just a wait til next time kind of thing.

Kymani, The Spratts, L Donna, Mr and Mrs F. Negril Escapes, the stars and a 3 quarter moon, a lovely night, a wonderful time.

Yes I am Blessed

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


7:30 AM

One last thing before I close out.

LOBSTER, BARRACUDA, SNAPPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wait did he say lobster! Catch him!! Yo how much for lobster, I heard a likkle fast patwa, a likkle kissteef, a likkle man you a teif, soon a bargain was struck and a huge lobster came into my kitchen, me" is that thing still alive, how do we know it's fresh, what should I do with it, are you going to cook it, how?" "no,it's fresh,put it in fridge, I will cook it after I get in from work" well alrighty then two treats in one day, lobster for dinner and later Gyptian at Negril Exscapes, this is going to be a nice day.

Lata, beep! beep!, the green grocer, Tuesdays and Friday, like clock work. I used to get my veggies and fruit from the ladies in the lane near Devon House Ice cream parlor, or Hilo, sometimes from the guys sitting on the lot near Corner Bar, on the beach at NBCC from Hyacinth, or go over to Sav to the market.Oh I used to buy fresh fish out of the cooler from the guys across from Corner Bar also. I met Mr. Neville while on my way home from Easy Rock months ago, bought veggies and asked if he could put me on his list of stops, sure, I got his number and the next Tuesday called to direct him to my yard, and now every Tuesday and Friday fresh, tasty, colorful vegetables and fruit. Callaloo, cabbage, onions, garlic, scallions,pumpkin, dasheen, tomato, cucumber, yam, well you get my drift, everything you need to make a proper Jamaican meal. Bought right to my gate.

So tonight, fried lobster with garlic smashed potatoes, and fresh steamed veggies, food that I did not have to leave my home to buy. Yesterday I hung out for a while at the beach, then to Fisherman's beach for two very tasty Parrot fish. I'm getting pretty good at cooking this Yard food. Rest up and lata Gyptian under the stars, on the cliffs with the sound of the waves crashing to the sound of his music. Life can't get any betta than that.

Just another day in Paradise. Lata

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


Smell the Hibiscus

The visit was educational, enlightening, fun, interesting, and somewhat horrifying. Board houses, out door kitchens, out door showers and not the romantic ones at Catcha and SeaGrape, but the real down south concrete building, with a door that sits to the side, when you went to take a shower, you lean the door across the opening, so it won't fall, put your towel/ sarong over the leaning door, wait I said shower, but what it really is, is a bucket bath. You know the big red baskets we do our hand laundry in, come in all colors actually, run your water from the faucet outside the lean to door, set it on the floor or a ledge and proceed to wash your heated body, of course in cold water. I don't know where my mind was, but I'm washing my locs and then my body, I turn around looked in the yard next door and there was a woman feeding her dogs, and hens, she looked over spoke and kept right on doing what she was doing looking down I realise that according to how tall you are all of your business could be on the street, half mine was out there, I hurried and finished with my back turned, wanting to apologize to the lady for the shock of such abundance. Did I say outhouse? When I spoke to a friend about it I told how, not so unpleasant it smelled, and she told me to find out what they use because the ones she has been around are horrible after a few days. Takes some getting used to, but adapt, assimilate, my new mantra, learn it, live it, love it.

Cooking on the cook Pot in the kitchen, which was a room in the concrete building on the other side of the 'shower' the best fried chicken, fried fish, rice. Doesn't matter where or how you cook as long as you can cook which is true for most of the people who have cooked for me, I'm getting pretty good at it myself, Jamaican cooking.

The yard it self is a work in progress, interesting to see something new each time, when I dreamed, something similar to this was what I saw, but with more flowers and food trees. But planting a garden, and trees is no big feat, and can be done. How pretty my Hibiscus will grow.

There was a nine night while we were there and we went to it, and on Sunday we went up to Salt River for the day, small but nice, more a local family spot old, young and in between. Young men and women courting, old men and women making out, no, but it was sweet, and babies and small children enjoying the day with their parents and friends.

On the way home from Clarendon there were just the two of us, I was taken the back route the one I should have taken days before, going toward Alligator Pond for dinner in Lil Ochi, past Milk River, Alligator hole, Guts River, to Alligator Pond, we got to Lil Ochi and picked our fish, got it weighed in, told them how we wanted it cooked, got drinks, and found a table, near the water, to people watch, gaze out into the sea, and just marinate while we waited for our food to be prepared, Lil Ochi is one of those places that's a good place for a meal while on that side when you have gone to Lover's Leap, Treasure Beach, or just a nice place for a long leisurely ride to see some of the country side.Locals and tourists equally combined having a delicious meal.

After this great meal we proceeded on heading for home through Gutters to St Elisabeth, problem, it was dark by the time we made it over so we pulled into the family yard and were detained, till the next day. Another out side, everything, so the sister in law decided that I should come up and stay with her, or at the least come up for a hot shower, ok. I am a rather shy person and the idea of being on display for an entire family was uncomfortable, we pulled into her yard and at least 20 young people and kids were hanging out, all eyes on me, the entire family came into the bathroom with me for introductions, had to be shooed out, the best hot shower in my life, cold showers are ok but hot, much better.

It is amazing the things I have always taken for granted, hot bath, inside kitchen, etc, but there was no indication that it mattered to them one way or the other as long as it gets the job done. A family, hard working, decent, Law abiding, God loving people. I really am trying to learn to accept the simple things, not sweat the small things, and just enjoy it as I go, come what may. No rose colored glasses, just acceptance of a reality. I admonish myself that this is no game this is my reality, as most folks say, we can always go back to where we came, it is an option, but not for a long time. Not for me. This place can bring you back to a simple reality that makes you sit back and humble and mindful.

These people gave up their beds for me, shared food from the family pot with me, offered friendship and kinship and have never asked for anything, I look forward every time we've been back.

The jaded side of me says yeah right, are the friendships real, well you know what, does not matter, I am gaining so much, good and bad and if its good just for this season, I am still blessed.

Leaving the next morning after tea, we dropped off the ladies at Santa Cruz for the weekly shopping, they own a likkle shop, full of everything, scoops to nuts, every thing you might need. heading towards Negril through Font Hill, Whitehouse, for fish and bammy, to Bluefeilds Bay to the beach,to eat our meal and then play,(for me)and swim and rinse the fish smell from our hands, theres a stand a little past Belmont with fruit and live plants, never stopped before, decided to this time, I went past but made a U turn and went back, the joy of being your own driver, go back and see the things you missed. I picked four potted plants, brought peanuts, watermelon, and sour sop. If I must say so my plants on my veranda look mighty fine. on to Sav to pick up some items and then on to Negril.

I was feeling pretty good until we saw the dent on the front bumper, but long story short it only cost the price of the parts and labor. Parts 6000 JMD $71.00 US and labor $3000 JMD $35.00 US I had no part in the negotiations, but the owner insisted I go with him so that I would know what things cost and not feel cheated. $100.00 parts and labor to fix a bent fender. Yep I am Blessed.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


The 12 hour 4 hour Road trip:

So I asked a couple of my drivers the cost of a round trip to Clarendon, the price to me wasn't bad, but it was vetoed as too much for my travel companion, they figured we could take the route taxi route, me" how long will this trip take, how many routes will we have to take and I am not in the mood to be squished nor to squish. Lets rent a car, this way we can stay all weekend and have transpo to get around while there", he "it should take 4 to 5 hours, 3 different routes, you don't have to be squished you can buy the whole front seat at double the price. We just wait till one is empty and you get in. but the idea about staying the weekend sounds good, make the call". Now, the people I hang out with, do things the Jamaican way, no Hertz or Avis car rental, there is always a somebody with something to sell or rent.

My yardmate has a number for everyone in Negril that has a service, or something to sell, he is my go to guy, he gave me the number of his car guy a deal was made, it's on.

Friday evening they drop the car off, I take pictures of the car before I even touched it, inside and out. Turns out this was a good idea. Its an old Toyota, but in good shape, clean, and at that point dent free. Saturday morning we load up, get gas and we are on our way. my excitement I had phoned my girlfriend who was at work in Trelawny to find out if she wanted a ride home, her family is also from the area we were going. For those of you who have gone from Negril to Kingston, you know this was a bad mistake, I added extra hours to a trip, that is my first time driving in Jamaica and due to silliness on her, and my part for me it turned out to be a pretty stressful ride/drive.

We get there she has just finished cleaning and needs a minute to exhale, for me no problem, for him, first sign of a problem, he goes over to Leroy's on the beach for a drink, let the likkle women catch up. After sitting drinking cold drinks and talking for about an hour we don't notice the time until he comes back into the house gives me a look and starts taking her bags to the car. Now mind you I am a good driver, but I have never driven here and this is a whole nother set of driving rules.
1. drive close to the white line.

2. stay off the edge, because if something happens you have no place to go, but off the road and into a ditch!!!!!!!!!

3. drive as fast as you can while going around pot holes while you watch the pot holes and the on coming traffic that you are going into because you have to stay off the side of the road!!!!!!!!

4. NEVER EVER stay behind the car in front, you must go into on going traffic so that you can get in front of the guy, because the guy behind you wants your space. You must weave in and out of traffic, but stay off the side of the damn road!!!!!!!!!!!

5. if you are first one behind a truck you must go around it, because see that long line of cars behind you, they are pissed and they are armed, and they want your space so that they can get around the slow a-- truck!!!!!!!!!!

All these instructions just from Negril to Trelawny and to me this was the easiest route to drive. Now believe me when I say, I just assumed one of them at a point would take a turn behind the wheel as we merrily went home singing, driving, talking and eating our way to Clarendon. NO!! not to be all on me!!!!!!

I figured a pit stop for drinks and food in Ochii at the Jerk chicken rest stop, and I would be the copilot. We got our food, I am heading to the passenger seat, they both looked at me as though I had lost my mind. Not Fair, tough, drive. Originally they were going to take me on another route but because of the lateness of the hour and the unknown shape of the road that way, we took the longer way around and went through Ochi, Fern Gully, Walkerswood, Mongeau, beautiful towns, a beautiful route,Me,' we won't be going into any mountains will we cause I am afraid and nervous", she" no sister you are doing fine, you know I am loving riding with you, you are such a good driver", he" Yeah Baby just take your time but could you remember to stay the hell off the side of the road !!!!!!!!!!you're doing good."

The good thing is that I had rode this route many times before in cars sightseeing, and on the Knutsford going to Kingston, so even though this was a beautiful route and I would have enjoyed it, I could only look at the road and try to stay close to the white line,( when there was one) stay off the edge of whatever hill I was on, watch out for the pot holes, and never get stuck behind another car and definitely not a slow moving truck. Well at some point I found a truck got behind him and exhaled, I figured the only way to destress was to get behind someone going slower that me and keep pace. They glanced back after a point and there were at least 5 cars trailing behind me, with no way to go around. When we got off that hill, and the cars could pass, the looks we got, funny thing when they realised it was a woman driving seems like they all had a look that said "oh I should have know, a woman!"

By now it's getting dark we still have not made it to the Flat Bridge, they made this big deal out of it, as we got to it there was a traffic jam, they put a light on it and now traffic backs up everyday for miles. When I realised where we were I say oh this is the Female Bridge, now why they didn't think I would know about it is beyond me.

They both decided no to Spanish Town so the route we took was one that in the dark, neither was familiar with so suffice it to say we got lost, now her husband was calling every 15 minutes because knowing when we left ,he knew we should have been there. I was so glad when he ran out of minutes and I got a reprieve from getting 2nd hand info from him though her along with her instructions and the stay off the side of the road in the passenger seat driver. We lucked up and asked directions from a gentleman who after realising, female driver, took it upon himself to lead us back to the right turn off and then, admonishing us to never again ask just anyone for directions, he said you never know what might happen.

We left home that morning at 9 am, we pulled into Clarendon at about 9 pm. I hated them both and swore never to do it again. We have since gone back 2 times, taking the back road, and I am still not comfortable driving Jamaican roads. But you know I will keep at it. And I will try to stay off the side of the road!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW somewhere during this road trip there was a likkle damage done to the car. You guessed it, I went off the side of the road!.

Disclaimer: The rules above was my take and observation on my drive, not necessarily the rules of other sane drivers.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


Last year was many firsts, I saw every Reggae artist I've ever wanted to see:

Richie Spice 2 times
Tarrus and Jimmy Riley 3
Jah Cure 2 plus 1 time this year
Etana 2
Queen IFrika 2
Beenie Man 1
Damien and Stephen Marley 1
Marcia Griffiths 2
Shaggy 1
Sanchez 1

These were the main ones but the ones that top my list Beres Hammond 2

Luciano 3 plus 2 this year.

Last year before my six months was up I started looking for a different place, before I left I had some folks carrying me around, after I left they looked for me with instructions to call if they saw something that I might like, because I could fly back to check things out. Hey any excuse to come back home. I got a couple of calls, but it was not until a friend checked out the newly built places on Hylton Ave, got the number of the owners, and a few days later called to tell me that he had found my place. Long story short I came back and stayed with some folks I know, the same week that Luciano was coming to Negril Escapes, needless to say I went. The pre show was nice enough but I came for Luci so I came a likkle late. At a point I am coming out of the Ladies room not watching my step and practicaly knocked the star of the show onto the ground, lucky for me he righted us, I loudly said,'its you!!" and his words of course were "Jah Bless" I walked away unable to speak, ran into a friend and finally got the words out of my mouth, 'I almost knocked Luciano down", wait I just met Luciano".Damn and I didn't ask for a picture.

The next time I saw him was at Roots, I think, same place I saw Marcia Griffiths last year, just not sure. Any way the opening acts did there thing but people started stressing over the lateness of the hour because the cops were really enforcing the Noise Abatement Law, so we're thinking he's not going to get a chance to go on, or get in less than an hour of performance. The man came on, he gave us our money's worth and some change. When the show was over I'm looking around for my party, when Bobby Dread who was sitting next to me said he's backstage, I'm like I know where Luci is but where is my ride, turns out he was talking about my ride, he's walking towards me and a I'm asking if he was ready, no give me a sec there are some people I want you to mee, oh OK, five minutes later I'm getting restless, about this time Luciano and his entourage are coming towards us and I have brightened up, there path will lead him right pass me, as they pass I am freaking out, now my friend has moved a life away but observing everything, as Luciano came abreast of me my buddy steps in and says Brethren, this is the woman I wanted you to meet, she's a great fan. The big man leaned in said Obra, I like that name, dumbfounded I said and I love me some you. He gave me a fierce hug and a Bless up and proceeded on his way leaving a bunch of folks staring at me as if to say 'who the --is she'. a night to remember.

But the best post Xmas gift was meeting Beres Hammond New Years EVe, this alone made so many doubts worth it. I had to call everyone I know as I wished them a Happy New Year, the first thing out of my mouth was' guess who I just met', eat your heart out suckers, to this day, I still believe my son hung up on me,guess he didn't want to know about it. That was a funny conversation, oh well.

These two men,my favorite artists of all time. Two beautiful messengers, one about Love of a Man and Woman, one about Love of Brethren and Sistren. Same, Yes the Same.

That's what I love about seeing Artists here, up close and personal, under a star filled sky, a moonlit night, on a beach on sand, near water with waves crashing to shore adding another flavor to the music.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


Trelawney, is part of Cockpit Country, now I have stayed in Portland, Port Antonio to be exact, and loved it, so green, landscape lush and thick, but the beauty of Cockpit rivals it and is #3 on my list of magnificence and God loving beauty, #1 The Blue Mountains, #2 Portland, and of course the above Cockpit country.

To go to my friends home, you get off the highway coming from MoBay and travel inward, heading into the hills/mountains to a place that time forgot, and it seems most residents are fine with that. She had described her home as a gingerbread house, I will never forget my feelings, when coming around the bend and hearing a squeal come from a hill with one of the most charming sites I had ever seen, and there she sat with her husband on the veranda, waiting for my arrival.

As I said an invitation for a birthday party but an open invitation to stay as long as I wanted. We went to Martha Brae to river raft, to Duncan's Bay to Leroy's but mostly it was a time of getting to know my companions, sleeping in a likkle concrete room, where the sounds of life surrounding me was my music, 'our' friendly dog, who loved everyone and forgot that he was supposed to be a ferocious watch dog, tree frogs, the every now and then car passing. I spent a time of watching the grass grow, took delight in going to Falmouth to shop, learned to scale fish, because these are not the type of people to pay someone to do it. I sat every day on her veranda, fighting the mosquitoes, the lizards/geckos/ watching the children on their way to probably a swimming hole or I was told a lot of the locals swim in the Martha Brae. I watched and waited for the rain, and enjoyed every rainfall, her home is surrounded by a gully full of scary things (for me) and beauty, and food, oh the many food trees, and the many beautiful flowers and trees surrounding us. We were right at the foot of the mountains and since I had been told that people sometimes camp/hide out, knowing the story of the Maroons, I fantasized that possibly this had been one of the places they hid out, their safe haven. I pretended and made up stories of beautiful, runaway slaves finding a place to rest until time to go to the next stop of the Underground railroad. Of lovers using these woods and caves to escape the lashing if they were found out. I love sitting on mountains/hills, but being in the mountains, well maybe the hills, but sitting under the mountains is just as amazing. A spiritual as well as enlightening time for me. I put my books aside, rested, reasoned, ate, laughed and had a joyous time.

On the Saturday after I arrived me and another friend decided to take a walk to town,I am not much for walking but decided I will go as far as I can go, now for him this walk took only 30 minutes round trip, but with me walking and looking at every little thing that caught my fancy it probably took us 4 hours. Houses of every type modern brick, board houses, gingerbread houses, houses near the road and houses on hills and in gullies, really a place from story books. The houses and neightborhoods you pass on the way to other places, and never think to stop. As we got to the town center all eyes on us, 'Good morning, goodnight, hello, how you doing, whagwaan, from us as well as them, some stares with no greeting, didn't matter it was still a good vibe. I had been told about a house that was vacant, we inquired to the group at large and one sent a likkle boy for the owner, who came and took us on a tour, but alas, the one I would have taken was unavailable, rented a few days before, however there was a shared space still available, no thank you but thank you for your time. "So you are the folks from up the hill, when something else comes up I will come and the Ras lady know and she can contact you" small town good feelings and business dealings.

Now, for the return this old gray mare was not having at the walk back, so we sat on a stone bridge to wait for the next taxi, while sipping our cold drinks and hanging out, and watching the people on the way to the store and the way home from church, we greeted and were greeted by most. After a while this pretty likkle lady waltzed right up sat beside me and said hmm you're a big one, usually being called 'fatty', or 'fluffy' vexes me and I ignore the person, but not this time, she asked how was I enjoying my visit and how long I would be staying, because she planned to bring something up to the house later, how does she know where we are staying, small town, the drums beat. She bid us a fare the well and told me not to over do it, she told my friend to get me a ride back up the hill, because I might not make. She was right. The woman is 85 and her buddy is 92 and believe me they walked up and down that hill/mountain every day several times a day, amazing. BTW she bought up some chocolate leaves for tea for my friend, and gave me a few leave also, they made a tea with the leaves it was delicious.

Of my thrills in Jamaica, this was one of the best.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


2 pm.

Just got back from running errands, Easy Rock, Digi store, HiLo, the bank. After putting the groceries up, and then making a cup of cinnamon tea a new one I bought today, this tea thing is really catching on , this one has an interesting taste. Sitting on the veranda sipping and reading Waiting in Vain by Colin Chambers, I love his stuff, must order more. Amazon is in my favorites making it easy to find. Hopefully Millie can bring a few books with her. Anyway , suddenly I hear loud voices, and look up, a couple of guys are walking and yelling for the cars to pull over, suddenly a house on a truck is coming down my block, ran for the camera, dag they were fast, I got the back of the house/truck as it continues going down the street.

I remember a time when Sue documented the delivery of a board house to her yard, I was fascinated, and tuned in daily after work, to see the progress, now I see this is not an unusual endeavor, my yard mate tells me that is his plan one day to lease a piece of land and set one of those houses on it. They are kind of cute and seem to resemble the trailers my folks in West Virginia lived in, and once you were inside it didn't have the feel of a trailer, I guess the pre made board house is like that, hmmm worth checking out. Maybe tomorrow I will make some calls.

Get this today a house on wheels, yesterday a herd of goats, a couple of horses, chickens, dogs, birds, cats, all passing by my door, just another day in the hood.

I love being retired, not in a rush because I have time to just be. To just sit down and marinate if I want, go on an adventure, if I want, get on the bus and go over to Kingston or Ochi,or over to Trelawney and hang out with I. Sit for hours with Max and L at Easy Rock ,going next door getting dinner, and then sitting for hours just enjoying each other's vibe, not always talking, just being in each other's company and enjoying it, while we share and get to know each other. I miss L and B, and am looking forward to seeing them in a few months.

A nothing day, a full day, an O day its nice to plant the flowers, but even nicer to sit and actually watch them grow. Hey think about it today a house rode down my street.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


Last year one of my driver and I became very close, he in fact found the place I am living in now. In 2007 a group of my coworkers convinced me to share Jamaica with them. 12 women and 2 men. They came, they had a good time, some said goodbye never to come again, some came, fell in love with it, and the next year when I brought them back they bought family members and friends, they come back to Negril now on their own but are still not interested in going any place else, on this island. In this first group two of the women hooked up, my driver was one of the guys, later both couples got married. The older guy was a Ras and after being reintroduced last year by another friend I utilized his services.

He passed away in April, I came home for the nine night, turns out I went all the way to Trelawny but just helped his wife take her luggage over, but decided I could not do the nine night so I never had a chance to say respect. He was a very nice man and I know his pain is over.
May he Rest in Peace. In Jamaica, when a person dies, friends and Family get together in celebration of the persons's life, they build the casket, and dig the grave, on the ninth day after death is the burial day, a day full of celebration, almost a party atmoshpere, a night spent  drinking rum, a goat is slaughtered, for the meal of mannish wata and curry goat, many other dishes are served similar to the Repast that we do in the states.

At the place I stayed I met a woman who works there and we clicked and invited each other in to our space. I spent a wonderful two weeks at her place and reinforced this attraction I have for this place.
Cockpit Country, very nice, You have Martha Brea river rafting, one of the best markets on Wednesdays on the Island. You're close to MoBay and Ochi, a good go between. She had a birthday coming up and invited me to the party acutally invited me for the weekend, as I said it turned into 2 weeks of bliss, down home bliss. I felt more of a connection in my little 10 by 13 foot room at her place with no readio, no tv, because I forgot to bring the speakers or headphones to my IPod. Living with 2 Rastafari in the mountains with no transportation having not a clue of which way to walk if I wanted to. I really need to lose weight but not eating meat is not actually a way that I want to do. It was the best time.

You can not be in Trelawny on a Saturday and not go to Leroy's in Duncan's Bay, a place JaJewel introduced me to when I stayed at her place Jamaican Jewel in Duncan's Bay. Leroy's Saturday night Free for all is one of the best shows I've seen and each time is a treat, this particular night ran into Mrs and Mr.JaJewel, hadn't seen her for years she looks good. Had a great time, as always. The show is like an ope mike thing, and each time I've been the musicians have been pretty good. Your seats are the boats that probably bought the fish the guy is now cooking on the grill, that came in earlier. Jerk chicken, roasted fish, drinks, music, good vibe, wonderful company, life is good.

Later that night coming home we run into a roadblock!!!They were teasing me about the fact that we were in the area of Sherwood and Robinhood might jump out. We came around a bend, and there was a wall of rocks across the road, blocking cars. One of the guys got out to remove the rocks all of a sudden so man bom-----==and suc=======m========== what is going on????????? A guy comes out with a machete and said we had to go all the way back because some men from up the road(the way we were going) had robbed and beat him earlier, no we found out later he extortes money this way. They just got out moved the rocks and we proceeded on. After getting in we were sitting on the veranda when 2 cars head down the road and minutes later they came back up. the fool had redone the roadblock. This was the first time seeing this kind of craziness, they said he's harmless, but he's going to try to get over if he can. It was comical watching the three of them 2 male 1 female remove those rocks with him walking in circles and speaking in tongues, but I could not believe that after we left he rebuilt the darn thing.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


To day 11/10.10

6:46 pm

A movie named Daughters of the Dust came out years ago, and it was not a main stream movie, but it was a movie about a make believe island inhabited by the descendants of a slave owner and his mistress. Ibo Island, off the cost of South Carolina. The movie is based during the time when the inhabitants are packing lock, stock and barrel, leaving nothing behind but the homes they had grown up in. It showed the trails and tribulations of things that happened in the lifetime of them all. What was so beautiful was seeing a place filled with black people, of all complexions/hue but what touched me was that for this occasion, a last reunion, a last meal together, a celebration as a family, every garment they wore was white, imagine a sight such as this surrounded by the beautiful blues of the ocean and the many purples and blues of the sky. Seeing this movie was what made me long to one day live that simple, that untouched from stress,in a place where the water and the sounds surrounding you every night was your lullaby. A place with no obstruction so that you could sit on a hill looking out unable to tell where the sea begins and the sky ends. Watching the sun rise, the sun set, the flowers grow.

I did not get the water, when I want this I have to book a room, but that fine, "you gots to do what you gots to do". But I got the sounds of my neighborhood, the tree frogs, the roosters who can't tell time and start crowing a 2 am til they wake up all other roosters in the hills and you have the alarm coming from all over the hills, the dogs barking, the goats on their way to work, and home again later in the day, you can set your watch by them.

Some days or evenings you can hear the horse trot as they come down you block with guests on their backs, and on the way back, looking just a likkle bit worn out. My neighbor's dog had a litter of eight and only 2 survived, ironically the one who was the leader and the most feisty of the group, and the smallest one in the liter. My Yardmate got one a sweet little girl that she name Missie, Mostly white with black spots, from day one she ran the yard, keeping us all on our toes. When I came in late at night she would come over to my veranda and get up on my sofa and reprimand me as though she was my mother, I got attached, I fell in love. She got sick and after coming from the vet two days later she passed away in my arms, I just could not stand the idea of her dying laying on our garage floor alone. This was my first experience with death up close, it was something I always feared, but after holding Missie as she went away, it made me appreciate this life even more.

I sound like such the cliche so often but some times the old is better than the new but for over 40 years of working a job, raising a family, being a daughter, a sister, a mother, a niece, I feel blessed,that I have been fortunate to honestly say I have it all, and if there is something that I don't have or no longer have, or something that I have never had, then God give it to someone else, because they need it more than me, I don't have to be greedy.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain



There is nothing like watching woman, but watching Jamaican Women on their way to church, that's where praises come in again. The beautiful garments, the pretty dresses, the heels, and (my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) stockings. But the hats, the hats, the hats, the Southern Belles, the women at the Kentucky Derby in long gone times, the African women in full garb, Jamaican women join this rank of women for out doing each other when it comes to that Sunday, hat. I feel that I am at a fashion show, so much beauty, so much flare, so much,wait!!!! this child must be on her way home from SCrubaDub, cause if she walks up in church dressed like that those sisters are going to whop her behind, wade her in the water and cleanse all her sins away. This day I truly became Grandmother because my this is the day I sounded like Mama and Grandma.

Ooooh baby you're too much for me. Women all sizes, some alone, some with children, mostly young children, not a lot of teen boys or girls. Girls no older that 12/14, There goes J she owns one of those like shops that carries scoops to nuts and back, that you see in the hills as you come over from MoBay, but it was nicer on the old road when you went up into the hills and were truly smack in the core of real Jamaican life, where the people who serve you during your time here live. The routes taxi guys red/white Juta/gypsy. The proper speaking guy/lady at the front desk of your hotel. If you bothered to get out and have a pepsi, ok a beer you would not believe that the sounds, the lyrical music coming from their mouth is an actual dialect. But now I know its a language that has been hard as ----for me to totally comprehend, but speaking it for me, is out of the question. And the funny thing for me has been learning that I,me??? have an accent. It was funny when the guys in New York informed me how country I was, when all this time, I thought I was pretty articulate.

Getting back to the ladies of my neighborhood it is a joy to behold. As the ladies passed before they would speak more so to my neighbor, until they released I was sitting there, with my sensitive self of course I thought I was being dismissed, but no, just an oversight. For some one who claims not to need, stuff matters to you a lot.I'm wrong a lot, but I am never incorrect. Yes contradictory but true.

I love that I have survived long enough that small things excite me, they make me happy, I take the time to watch a bird fly, the water as it comes to shore, Sunday on my veranda satisfies me, and just sitting at Negril Escapes and Roots Bamboo, at Rebel Salute, looking out to Sea, or up into the stars and moon as I listen to Luciano, Ritchie Spice, Tarrus Riley as they surround my heart with goodness.

Yep I'm blessed

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain



9 AM

Breakfast was done, it's so nice having a real, not necessarily authentic Jamaica meal at your own home especially one that you helped to prepare. But it is even nicer when it's prepared and then served to you. In your own space. Kitchen cleaned up, laundry done and hung. And yes by hand, my hand, now this is not one of my favorite things to do in fact I hate it, but sending sheets and towels to the laundry is bad enough I really can't imagine the cost to send everything out. Most chores are shared but laundry, Data woman ting!!!!!!!!!!!!!! floors, and veranda swept and given a wet lick with the mop.

Now it's time for some me time, but my me time, most times is just sitting back and watching the world go by. You learn more if you observe, as I've said some times DON'T TALK, JUST LISTEN you can learn as much as you need to learn, by listening to your housekeeper, your gardener,your waitress. Bad thing, the more I know the less I will ever know.

I had a situation years ago, which causes me every time I open my eyes to thank God for my eyes, not being able to hear, would be a scary ting, but being blind, not being able to see, the sea, the vision when the Blue Mountains and the sky above in all manner of shades of blues, pinks,purples, yellows, reds and the mist, or did God let the clouds come down to kiss the mountain and to help the day get started. Jah!!!!!!!!Rastafari!!!!!!!!!!! God Bless. Thank You Lord.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain


Sunday 8/29/10


I write this as I sit still on my veranda the rain that began a little after breakfast is still going on my young neighbor and I are the only ones out in our yard, she in her hammock, on likkle foot out swinging and singing a melody, softly in patwa, I catch some of the words, others I don't but it doesn't matter, her beautiful voice, and the rain lulls me into a serenity a peacefulness and fulfilment that I could only find here. I don't have to understand her totally because music is universal, and one of the things that I realise is that music is one of the things that drew me to this place. I tell people I came for the music, but stayed for my Life.

Acclimated, a word I use a lot since moving here, acclimated to the weather, to the heat, acclimated to the culture, acclimated to the stares I get at times as I come and go, and then pleased when they realise its just the Rasta Lady from down the street and they smile as I speak and I feel somewhat welcome into the fold.

I've learned that in order to maintain respect, you have to give it, so I have as always tried to walk in a way that does not breed contempt not animosity from my people, my yard mates, my neighbors, that's important to me, because I LIVE here and have no intention soon of leaving. I PRAY THAT I WILL BE SUCCESSFUL IN ASSIMILATING MY SELF IN TO THIS CULTURE.

The sweet voice, the rain fuse together and takes me back to the days up in the Cockpit, a day when we all sat on that veranda and shared stories of our lives,there was rain and soft music and soft/loud voices of friendship, love, liking, and admiration. Surrounded by the Cock Pit Mountains and the beauty of what I have named the one of the Gardens of Eden. So majestic, so fine, so tall, so beautiful. They say in Jamaica  there are over 100 species of plants,500 species of fern,79 species of birds,16 species of amphibian,22 species of reptile,300 caves, now imagine sitting with people you have come to love, sharing your thoughts and dreams, a game of dominoes, and even the bites of mosquitoes, in between the rain showers. It is a beautiful place, made even more beautiful because of the love coming from the people I was surrounded by.

Today is not much different, I find that here I don't always have to voice, nor hear approval, don't always have to be moving about, most times I am just me, into me and the people, things, places, I chose to include in my space.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain