second chances


Last night was the first night of the year I slept with my windows open. Having been fooled by rising temperatures weeks ago, I was reluctant to fall asleep without — at least — closing my bedroom window. However, at sunrise as I awoke to birds chirping and the buzzing sounds of city traffic, the chill was gone, and this time, I believe, it’s for good. Comforted by the breeze that hints at the arrival of spring; I bask in the glow of possibility and lightness.


When Spring arrives, I am reminded of second chances. It’s a time of re-visitation and renewal. Meditating on where I was mentally, emotionally, and physically the same time last year, I extend myself to those whom I love and make things right in an effort to move forward without the heaviness of regret. I suppose that is what Easter is all about … a re-birth of spirituality and faith.


Focusing on the past will only lead to a heavy heart. Fretting the future can lead to disappointment. The present is full of promise and light. There is enough going on in the world to cause heartache and suffering, it’s our responsibility to first, love ourselves, and secondly, to extend our love to the world in the form of words, art, hugs, food, compassion, a listening ear, a smile, or even a kiss. I mentioned in my new Happy year post that my #2 focus this year is:

Love, Partnership, and Relationship Building

This is a fun one! A natural communicator, I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people with positive energy and varied perspectives. I value all types of relationships, but I wrote this key focus with romantic love in mind.


This morning I read a note on someone’s Facebook page … I paraphrase:

Love is when two great people come together and produce something even greater — something that they could not accomplish without the energy, love, support, and greatness of the other.

This is exactly what I’m asking…to have a partner who appreciates my greatness, someone who is great in his own right, and a man who is eager to build something even greater, together, with me. In matters of the heart, I’ve had many chances and I am grateful for each and every love connection.


Here’s to LOVE! and Happy Springtime!

*Lala*


These photos were taken April 17, 2011 at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens by me 🙂 The cherry blossoms are not in full bloom just yet but you can check here for the status map.

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new HAPPY year

Give thanks for we have made it to another year! It amazes me how fortunate we are to be alive in this day and time. Boy, we have it ultra-easy compared to those who have lived before us.

I am extremely grateful for my good health, for clean water, for earth and sky, for my amazingly fit body, for my incredibly supportive and fun-loving family, for a strong heart, for a decent, safe, and comfy home, for experiencing love in many forms, for an abundance of food (a special shout out to Kale and Beets), for friends who inspire me, care for me, tolerate me, and teach me, for the many skills acquired over the past 15 years, for art and the artists, for creativity, for reiki, for vipassana, for yoga, awareness, for dopamine, for the ability to travel, and most of all, for peace of mind (stillness).

Each year gets better even when it feels like a tough one. Hindsight is a teacher and blessing. With each triumph, loss or mis-hap, I discover that the universe is on my side and everything that has happened to me has made me stronger, wiser and more capable.

For me, 2o11 will be primarily about 3 things:

1. My New Web Site and Book Project (W.D.I.E.T)
2. Love, Partnership, and Relationship Building
3. Awareness, Conservation, and Education

What about you?


I want to acknowledge the people who inspire me, encourage me and accept me. I love each and every one of you tremendously with a whole heart and positive spirit. Thank you for being a part of my life and for keeping our friendship or relationship alive and ticking!

You know who you are!

Lots of love and productivity in 2o11!

*Lala*

married to myself

A few days ago, while on my way to work, I heard a man’s voice say, “Good Morning! Good Morning!”. Turning my head slightly to catch a glimpse of the caller’s face, I managed a faint smile and returned the greeting. Before, the last syllable departed my lips, the man, who was creeping beside me in his silver Acura, hollers, “You married?” Considering that I was wearing a mini-dress, I was positive that this question sprang primarily from his loins. I picked up the pace, then lied and said, “Yes” and smiled really big to display my happiness with being a kept woman. I’m not married but I fibbed because at that moment, I felt much safer saying there was a man in my life — imaginary and all.

I shared this story with a buddy, he listened then promptly changed the subject by asking “Why do some women seem so desperate to find a man?” Then he said, “It’s a real turn-off.”

Please read my response (and theory) below:

If a girl is born into a decent family, she is never left alone. Any responsible caregiver knows this. For example, my younger brother could romp all over the neighborhood; however, I needed to be in close proximity at all times. “Where are you going?” “Who are you going with?” “How are you getting home?” The questions never ceased. The same little girls grow up to be teenagers and now their boyfriends walk them to the door, pick them up for the dance, insist on a phone call upon arrival home, etc. Then the same young teenager becomes a woman and moves away from home. At this time, she is faced with being alone in a vast world full of men who don’t seem to have her best interests at heart. But then she meets a man who reminds her of her father or uncle or first boyfriend and she thinks, “I gotta hold onto this one because when we walk down the street, men don’t bother me and so on …”

Often, men can be sharks and the one thing that seems to keep sharks away are other bigger sharks.

And let’s not forget about all of the films, soap operas, novels, and fairy tales that encourage or support this behavior.

Please do not misunderstand my theory, I am not a proponent of desperation in any form but it makes sense to me. Fortunately for me, I learned at a young age to enjoy my own company and if that wasn’t enough, I could always say, Hello!.

Currently, I am single. And, although I am content in either situation, I would admit that it’s great having a man around — whether for pure companionship, to zip up my dress, take out the trash, or with whom to converse and build.  On the other hand, I am noticing that when I am not in a relationship, I am far more productive hence the past two months’ activities:

September was a heavy “food” month, working on my book project, building a new web site, attending food-related events (Epicurious Entertains New York), and eating at new restaurants.

Plus, I received my Level I Reiki certification. A goal of mine since completing the Hatha Yoga certification course over eight years ago. Reiki is a Japanese energy healing form; this skill is a wonderful addition to my health & wellness toolbox.

October was a huge blur. In addition to working as a full time web producer, I was booked every weekend this month for a photography shoot. Also, a friend shared the news of the Levi’s and Leica Photo Workshop with me. This can be described in two words: super dopeness, and it’s open until December 18th.

And to top it off, last Wednesday I started a branding and marketing course at 3rd Ward.

I can only contribute the abundance of work and love to peace of mind and extreme focus.

Giving thanks for organic food, friendships, and learning. The photos are from yesterday’s excursion to the Big Bambú exhibit on the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Met. Artists: Doug & Mark Starn along with several rock climbers. Fantastic! with a capital F 🙂

I feel great and I wish the same for you and your loved ones!

Peace, smiles and happiness,

*Lala*

(have you eaten anything orange today?)

failure is everywhere

New Podcast

The book Mountains Beyond Mountains: The quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A man who would cure the world, tells the story of one doctor, Paul Farmer, M.D. who founded Partners in Health to address the lack of health care in poor communities throughout the world — his first facility was built in Haiti over twenty years ago. I am thoroughly enjoying this book. During a Q&A at a Dartmouth First Year Lecture, he said: I prefer to surround myself with people who are not afraid of failure, people who take risks. Failure is everywhere and is nothing to be afraid of. (i am paraphrasing).

This statement moved me and I wanted to share it with you along with this declaration I came across last week-ish on WordPress. To me, the only failure is not trying at all.

Failure Manifesto

Failure is your fault, no fault, default. Failure is mistakes, double-takes, roller skates. Failure is missing it, missing hits, missing shit. Failure is melting, yelping, coping. Failure is blurry, worry, Murray. Failure is weeded, needed, pleaded. Failure is soon, womb, swoon. Failure is here, near, fear. Failure is choosing, losing, musing. Failure is old, cold, on hold. Failure is halting, salting, waltzing. Failure is ouch, slouch, pouch. Failure is love, shove, sort of. Failure is new, boot, pig snoot. Failure is broken, spoken, woken. Failure is finding, binding, winding. Failure is burn, yearn, kern. Failure is dropped, chopped, topped. Failure is pure, sure, bonjour. Failure is hate, late, dinner plate. Failure is sudden, wooden, couldn’t. Failure is power, cower, shower. Failure is yours, soars, dinosaurs. Failure is human, Newman, rumen. Failure is glorious, tedious, part of us. Failure is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

The images are from the walls at Eyebeam Studios in NYC.
It’s watermelon season:)

*Lala*

yearning for learning

weeks ago, i read this article in the NY Times about something called The Big Shaggy … this paragraph particularly spoke to me:

Over the past century or so, people have built various systems to help them understand human behavior: economics, political science, game theory and evolutionary psychology. These systems are useful in many circumstances. But none completely explain behavior because deep down people have passions and drives that don’t lend themselves to systemic modeling. They have yearnings and fears that reside in an inner beast you could call The Big Shaggy.

You can read entire David Brook’s article titled, History for Dollars, by clicking here.

the primary focus of this article specifically relates to the declining job market and a greater emphasis on humanities in the education system. however, i gathered much more especially after reading hundreds of comments.

the article itself is rather confusing if you ask me yet my understanding of The Big Shaggy is such: it’s the inexplicable pull towards one direction (good or not-so-great) versus another.

why have i chosen certain relationships over others? why am i living in an over-crowded and polluted city when i much prefer the ocean and natural environments? why can’t i be satisfied with working at the neighborhood grocery store? why have i moved to four different cities in my adult life? what inspires me to reach for the stars? why can i be so difficult at times?

could it be the inner beast in me?

where have you experienced your inner beast? in the kitchen? on the dance floor? in the boudoir? when you’re drunk? in the boardroom? on stage? Yes! to all of the above.

it’s been brought to my attention that the following 12 months are critical in terms of planning the next nine years of my life. if i am going to accomplish my goal to publish a book then i gotta dig deep and concentrate for long periods. in fact, i am working on taming my inner beast so that i can get some work done. now that i am 100 percent again, i must be careful not to repeat some un-healthy habits that ultimately bring gloom and doom. The Big Shaggy has worked for and against me over the years. being an artist, many days i’m in overdrive in relation to humanities. i could definitely use a lesson or two on practicality and mathematics.

this past weekend, i danced and raged all day and night because it was my birthday (yay)! it had been awhile since i had done it up in new york city 🙂 i had a super blast plus i have the blisters to prove it. speaking of blisters, starting next week, it’s all about bed rest and boot camp! that’s right, i have registered for a 4 week boot camp course. what better way to re-introduce discipline and focus into my life. i know, i must be crazy!

now, think about it. can you awaken your inner beast or is it time to tame that bad boy???

What have you observed about yourself lately?

How deep are you willing to go to uncover The Big Shaggy in you?

Are you living life to the fullest or holding yourself back?

What can you do to achieve your wildest dreams?

i believe if we focus on being our best self then the ugly beast will fade in the background. or is it all plain bullshit?

i am giving these questions a great deal of thought.

until we meet again, give thanks for every day we are here NOW cause life is precious and brief.

Happy Summer Solstice!!

*Lala*

Eat a plum or peach today. Yum!

p.s. the images are from an exhibition at The Invisible Dog gallery space in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; NY.

rebound

– as in bouncing back.

Many of our issues or insecurities stem from the mind. It is a wacky tool capable of either wreckin’ your world or elevating you to new and unchartered heights. I use my mind for good and make it a point to learn something new every single day. This way I don’t get caught up in the petty minutia of life in a city of excess and waste. Each year must bring about change and growth for me. Each day, my personal goal is to learn a little more today than I knew yesterday. A new word, a new artist, or even a new perspective. This past weekend was spent learning and exploring (and enjoying the outdoors).

art at Hostos Community College, Bronx NYC

I attended the Bronx Food Summit for which I had been registered since earlier this year. This would be my 4th food summit in less than one year. The last being the Malcolm X Grassroots Unity Brunch and the New York City Food & Climate Summit where I learned the basics of planting and maintaining herbs. The basil failed but I believe my sage will pull through.

This past Saturday morning, I woke much too early for what I had expected to be an hour long journey to the Bronx, Grand Concourse. To my surprise, it only took 40 minutes door-to-door. This was perfect plus I finally finished the book, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The summit included a speech from keynote speaker, Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, with introductions from Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer, and Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr.

Majora Carter, Environmental Justice Activist

During the morning session, I took a workshop from a Master Composter who taught us the basics of composting. At the end of class, he asked me if I wanted to adopt worms so that I could begin composting when I returned home. I hesitated since I knew that I wouldn’t be home for several hours, he assured me that they would live as long as I kept them away from the sun’s rays. At that moment, I knew I had never been a worm in a former life.

Composting taught by Jared Cole, Master Composter

After lunch, I attended a workshop titled, Homemade Fresh Mozzarella given by David Greco of Mike’s Deli on Arthur Avenue in Little Italy (Bronx). The cheese was incredible, so fresh and light. I had to stop myself from getting thirds seeing that my allergies flare up when I eat too many dairy products.

David Greco, the Godfather of parmigiana (Mike's Deli)

I L-O-V-E cheese !!! but it doesn’t necessarily love me 😦

The last part of the day ended with a “Celebrity Food Panel”. I can hardly believe I met Kurtis Blow, Melle Mel from the Furious 5, and Joe Conzo, Hip Hop Photographer all in one day. These are the founders of hip hop and break beats; although most teenagers now have no clue. It was good to see the old heads representing the Bronx and Hip Hop while sharing their food stories and tips on what they do to stay fit and healthy. I am sure that they experienced some major lows in their time but here they were, alive, well, and back in the mix. Remixing and rebounding.

Kurtis Blow, rapper, hip hop founder (these are the breaks)

Melle Mel of the Furious 5

Rosa Clemente, Journalist and VP Candidate (Green Party)

USDA representative and Joe Conzo, Photographer (Book: Born in the Bronx)

This post is way too long so I’ll say goodbye. The rest of the weekend included dancing to live Senegalese music plus an adventurous bike ride throughout East Flatbush in Brooklyn. Later this week, I will share some images from the Brooklyn Photo Salon which I also attended on Sunday. What a full weekend!

Giving thanks for rebounds and sunshine! and PLEASE subscribe to my blog and receive an email each time I post something new (1x weekly). Thank YOU!

This week try something YELLOW or ORANGE to glorify the sun’s energy. Peppers, carrots, mango, and citrus all come to mind:)

Love! Love! and more Love!

Bronx keeps it FRESH!

*Lala*

when it’s time to move on

One of many beautiful murals in Philadelphia

There is something empowering about knowing when to leave or let go. When I was much younger, there were moments when I would stay in a situation for fear of being different, alone, or because I was uncertain of what lay ahead. Like the time I made the decision to re-locate to New York…

Philadelphia Butcher

Nearly eleven years ago, life was ultra-easy for me. I loved my job, my friendships were strong and budding, I was learning a good deal about art, and I could bike to work every day without the fear of dying. However, I decided to move from Philadelphia to New York City in search of something more. “More what?” you ask. I don’t remember exactly but I knew that it was time for me to move on. My thought was that if crashed and burned, I could always return home. The truth is I have crashed and burned on a few occasions but I am still standing and better for it. Now, I rarely have time to visit my old home so I promised myself that when I had a few totally free days, I would buy a MEGABUS ticket and be on my way!

First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary

The Washing Well Laundry Boutique (how cute)

Mural of Frank Rizzo, former Mayor

So two weeks ago, I traveled to Philly to visit family and a few friends. While walking the streets of Center City, I was reminded of how peaceful Philadelphia can be in comparison to New York. It’s easy on the heart and eyes. Mellow. Manageable. Even fluffy. Quite opposite of New York. I remember when I first moved to Brooklyn in a small one bedroom apartment with my then boyfriend. Only two actual New York residents occupied my phonebook and one of them was my boyfriend. We were comfy and clear about life. Then a two-hour drive later, we found ourselves detached from what we knew and lost on I-95. I found the whole experience exhausting yet exhilarating. Navigating from the known to the unknown. It’s what I love most about traveling.

Italian Market in South Philly

Lorenzo's Pizzeria

I have longed to return home on a few occasions but what would that solve and who would I be today if I waved the white flag every time life didn’t go my way? I have also considered selling all of my possessions and joining a convent where the women refer to each other as Sister so-and-so … well, that’s not what I’m about right now.

Mural on South Street

Rasta and Reggae Shop on South Street

Bob and Barbara's Lounge - used to be a decent dive bar

The Queen of Soul and Jazz - South Street, Philadelphia

I am Harriet Tubman remember. There is still much for me to do in the secular world plus I have a hard time waking up really early in the morning.

This week’s post includes a few photos from my stay in Philadelphia. The city is known for its over 3,000 community-driven murals.

South Street Mural, Philadelphia

Thanks for reading the Adventures of Lala the Sunchaser. I know this post is not so adventurous but stay tuned, brighter days are on the horizon and Spring is here!

With love and gratitude always.

Message from the Lala Family 🙂

*Lala*

Odunde sign near 23rd and South Street

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