i love my life!

really 🙂 just needed to acknowledge this. happy weekend!


gratefully yours,

*Lala*

 

passing through

greetings!

have you ever questioned someone’s presence in your life? over night, you two become tight as skull caps then in a flash, the thrill is gone — analogous to the tornado this past Thursday evening. while in my office, i felt a slight rumble followed by a series of boisterous crashing noises. i had been listening to a streaming episode of This American Life and had mistaken the ruckus outside for a glitch in programming until i noticed the raindrops on the ceiling-to-floor window behind me.

seconds later, a friend called to see if i wanted to grab a tea and a chat before heading home to Brooklyn. after confessing that i had forgotten to carry my umbrella, i reluctantly agreed. she responded with, “i’ll call you back in ten minutes” then hung up abruptly. i walked cautiously towards the window to see what the commotion was all about … the sky was a heavy grey with hints of blue and orange at the fringes but the rain was falling gently. twelve minutes later, my friend called back to say she was standing outside and the rain had stopped; she would walk towards my building and wait for me outside.

i was completely unaware of what had occurred that night until i received a text from my mother Friday morning:

Morning, did you have any problems with the storm last night?

i was rushing out the door when I read those words and had decided to respond once i arrived at work. storm? last night? that’s why my internet wasn’t working. i wasn’t phased then but it all makes sense now. just as i stepped out the door, i could see that two trees had fallen across the street and there were branches and leaves strewn everywhere — sidewalk and road alike.

where was i when this 80 mile per hour storm happened? i barely had time to experience the tornado, i felt jipped (or cheated). i wanted to remember something from this unusual new york city event. although, to my surprise, this was our seventh tornado since 1985. are we in Kansas or New York fuckin’ City?

on july 25th of this year, the Bronx experienced a Ef1 tornado which gave birth to one hundred and ten mile per hour winds, and on august 8, 2007, Staten Island was visited by an EF2 category storm. the EF is an abbreviation for Enhanced Fujita, the scale that rates the strength of tornadoes in the U.S. based on how much damage they cause.

last night, a wonderful friend reminded me of how lucky i am to have experienced many great relationships, and how important it is for me to give those relationships my full attention instead of focusing on those who have come and gone. i equate the short-lived encounters to a whirling tornado; and liken long term friendships to a memorable and cozy snowstorm. both scenarios teach us about ourselves but it’s important not to get caught up in the fury of the tornado. the snowstorm is where it’s at.

i have been working extremely hard on my book project. it won’t be long until my new web site is launched! i hope you are enjoying the last days of summer as i am !

eat lots of greens to build immunity and go to bed earlier – resting is key!

hugs and smiles and love all around!

Fallen trees (courtesy of EF0 Tornado September 16, 2010)

*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.

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

quiet as kept

February 27, 2010 – 4:50am

End of Day of Silence.

Overall the day was totally relaxing and peaceful. There were only two times during the day did I wonder what was happening in the world. Is my family well? Were there any new natural disasters on earth? How is the media reporting Obama’s bi-partisan healthcare discussion? What happened on Oprah today? and there were many moments where songs entered my mind …

I spent most of the day just being still, reading a little, giving thanks, eating (of course), practicing yoga, and writing:

The feeling of isolation lurks but it is not an overwhelming one. The snow has finally ceased and now we are left with virgin snowy mounds accented by filthy slush as evidence of life in a big city. Outside my home has been anything but silent. There has been the continuous scraping and screeching, punctuated by honking horns and the cries of children having fun.

I stepped outside around two o’clock because I could see the sun peeking out and the random noise had seem to come to a full stop. I could no longer resist being with the fresh snow and touching the white clusters of wondrous coolness. I walked one block to the nearest playground and began to snap a few photos as proof that I had survived yet another New York snowstorm.

It’s been years since I made a snowman so I created Quirky, an androgynous miniature snow being. Do you like his belt?

Just as quickly as the sun had appeared twenty minutes earlier, it had vanished behind the clouds even quicker. Darkness and wetness descended upon our heads and I could see others picking up their pace, running for cover, just as I.

I am encouraged to do this more often, perhaps not for an entire day, but for a few hours as a way of focusing and being still.

Nearly six years ago, I attended a 10 day meditation retreat in Massachusetts called Vipassana. It was one of the best decisions I have made; I plan to participate again in the not-so-distant future. I highly recommend it for numerous reasons. For me, it was as if my internal hard drive was downloaded and cleared for new energy, thoughts and desires. This workshop is totally free and open to the public.

I hope that your day was as peaceful and pleasant as mine. Happy weekend!

Lala the Sunchaser

a walk in the park

as i become more and more accepting of my decision to leave new york in the very near future, i discover even more reasons as to why i should stay. there is something for everyone here. although new york may be affectionately known as the Big Apple, it is not the kind of apple one can eat alone, you need friends, parks, quiet places, and bacon. and in most cases, you are the one being eaten and — periodically — devoured. when i first moved here in 1999, i knew only two people — not including the man who made the journey with me. this man was my boyfriend at the time and we were not totally sure as to why we uprooted ourselves from our safe and pleasant existence but we were willing to take a chance.

First Time I Really Looked at this Fountain - Eastern Parkway, BK

First Time I Really Looked at this Fountain - Eastern Parkway, BK

days ago, I ventured to Prospect Park for a three and a half mile walk. on the way, i began thinking about my first year in new york and how difficult it seemed. it felt like i had jumped into a violent whirlpool, everything was spinning around me and noone made themselves available for questioning. i found one of my journal entries from that time period, dated September 5th, 1999. it reads:

We signed a lease for an apartment for which neither of us can afford, but we can’t stay in Harlem any longer. The apartment for $850 on Classon Avenue has been rented. I guess we were too slow in putting down a deposit so now we are forced to live in a one bedroom on Washington Avenue for $1,000. How crazy is that considering my last apartment was $700 where we had two floors, two bedrooms plus a washer and dryer. I don’t know what I am doing here…my thoughts are everywhere. I suppose I came here to spread my wings, to experience something new, and to find my True Self. I have some time to kill before dinner so I will check out Washington Square Park…

Eastern Parkway 2009

Eastern Parkway 2009

the most alluring characteristic of nyc is that you can re-invent yourself over and over. you can dress it up, change its name, divorce it and married it all over again. it is a forgiving city with a very short attention span. i suppose i have learned my way around while developing into who i have chosen to be: a photographer, a woman, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a friend, a producer, an aunty, a cook, a world traveler and let’s not forget, a lover. i am grateful to new york for giving me space to grow and for encouraging me to explore my Truest Self. like new york city, i am not perfect but i have learned to embrace the good and the naughty. i am assured by the fact that if i can make it here, everything else will, hopefully, be a walk in the park.

Ducks in Prospect Park August 2009

Ducks in Prospect Park August 2009

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY 2009

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY 2009

Ducks in Prospect Park - Vertical View 2009

Ducks in Prospect Park - Vertical View 2009

Happy Tree in Prospect Park August 2009

Happy Tree in Prospect Park August 2009

At the End of First Lap Around Prospect Park

At the End of First Lap Around Prospect Park