‘NYE in L-Town, 2018’

As I touched on in the last post, it’s been a challenging year, but it’s been a wonderful winter break and I’m hopeful for 2018.  I’ll put up some photos next time, but for now, let me wish you all a prosperous, healthy 2018!

 

 

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‘The Devil went Up to Georgia’

It’s now Dec 20th, 2017.  I’ve been home in Florida for just over a week.  Before I arrived here however, I made a four night stopover in Blue Ridge, GA for a bit of a reunion.  I’m not going to lie, given the amount of work I had for school, I probably should’n’t have gone.  That said, I’m THRILLED I was able to make it!

Going from the desert to the heavily wooded East is always a trip (no pun intended), and I fully anticipated the visual adjustment.  What I/we did NOT expect however was a snowstorm, but that’s exactly what we got!  It couldn’t have been more beautiful, truly.  Having to still do my final and grade papers for my job was a bit of a drag, but despite that, it was an increadibly special trip and I want to thank the entire crew, especially Renster who booked and paid for the place.  Thank you all for also providing me with some much needed laughs!  Here are (more than) a few photos from the trip…

‘The random summer collection’

Any moment now it will begin to pour again.  This pleases me.  For one, a good rain always seems to remind me of Florida, which in turn reminds me of my family and the other people I miss and care for there.  It also provides me an excuse to sit still and collect my thoughts, of which there are many.  Moment’s ago I put some rice on, snatched a beer from the fridge and got the tunes going.

*this is the one that’s playing as I type this.  Cherokee turned me on to it many moons ago.  I recommend putting it on in the background.  It’s a nice one!

While I wait for my rice to finish, I thought it would be a good opportunity to throw up a few more photos from my last couple of months here.

Hope you all had a nice weekend!

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‘Singing for the rain’

It’s been a (very) hot, quiet summer here in Tucson, AZ.  This is my second go around and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to avoid the peak of heat when you can.  Many a movie has been seen, gallons of iced coffees consumed and the A.C. has been working overtime in my Casita.  Fortunately, there’s been a little relief this past week in the form of rain.  Monsoon season is officially here, but thus far, it’s been a lot milder than I anticipated.

In exactly one month I will begin my schooling at the University of Arizona.  I’m anxious, but excited.  It really has been some time since I’ve studied on a college campus, and while there have been some significant (creepy?) cultural shifts regarding human interaction  (Tinder anyone!?), it’s the actual thought of being back in a classroom that I’m fixated on.  Again, I’m very excited about it though.  I’ve needed a kick in the bum for a long while and I already feel the tip of the boot, which is a good thing.

Here are a couple photos from this past week.  Hope you all are enjoying your summer!

 

‘My friend got hitched~in~San Francisco~’

A day or so after I pulled up to Tucson, AZ, I found myself sprinting off to Phoenix to board a plane.  I was tired, but also full of excitement for the week ahead.  This was a very big moment for ‘Primo,’ a.k.a. Matt Borden.  He and his fiancee May, whom I had not met yet, were tying the knot and, soon after, flying all the way to Jakarta for Primo’s new job.  Also, this was my first time back to the Bay since I left at beginning of 2016.  The area and people there hold many memories for me, both bitter and sweet, and I was curious to see how I would feel when I landed.  I won’t lie and say there weren’t some weird flashbacks had, but I will tell you that I’m absolutely thrilled I made the trip!  The wedding was lovely, the catching up with friends was grounding and I had more laughs in my week there than I’d had in the last….???

Here is some of the trip in photos, enjoy!

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‘On the road again…’

A few weeks old now, but I made my 5th cross-country road, this time from Florida to Arizona.  All in all, a really great time, highlighted by, as per usual, catching up with friends along the way.  Incidentally, a big thank you all for putting me up/putting up with me! :o)

Here are a few shots from the trip…

‘Chipmunk: Modern Warrior’

I’ve been sitting on this one for some time, but I was recently reminded of a friend of mine who has quietly been one of the more influential figures during some of my formative years. I first made Cherokee Kaine’s (a.k.a. Chipmunk) acquaintance on a shuttle-bus traveling from Osaka to island of Shikoku, Japan.  That I was even on the bus was due to me being roped into another one my buddy Greg’s schemes.  This particular one would find me as an extra in the Japanese movie…..playing a German prisoner of war.  It was pretty early in the morning when we left Osaka and the bus was very quiet, aside from Greg that is. As per usual, with me as his trusty sidekick, Greg began making small talk with a rather reserved looking gentleman seated behind me. Cherokee and I have been friends ever since.

The nickname Chipmunk was born when I was living with my friend Ackie.  Ackie had this beautiful, high-rise apartment in downtown Osaka and he was rarely home.  I used to joke that he was half vampire, half robot, because the man never seemed to sleep.  In his absence I took full advantage of the place, which often entailed dipping into his wine collection, making short work of his stockpile of ice cream sandwiches and cozying up to his piano by the window, where I would sit, try to play something relaxing and sip wine as I looked out over the city lights.  It remains a fond memory.

Anyway, the point was that Ackie had a lot of goodies most guys like me did not.  We rarely had real food in the house due to Ackie never being there and me being too lazy to cook, but one of the things Ackie always seemed to have on hand was one of those gigantic, Costco sized containers of mixed nuts.  Well, on one of Cherokee’s visits, we were sitting around playing video football on Ackie’s television and Cherokee says he’s hungry.  Soon thereafter he began helping himself to the nuts, and every time I glanced his way, he seemed to have another large handful of them in his cheeks.  Not long after that, the container was empty!  And that, folks, is where the nickname Chipmunk comes from.

Silliness aside, I have an incredible amount of respect for the man.  At first sight, you’d think Chipmunk was a bit of a barbarian (he’ll likely take this as a compliment).  He stands 6’4, has a number of tattoos and isn’t the most chatty person when you first meet him.  He is intensely loyal, intelligent and one of the more interesting friends I have.  He’s introduced me to things I would likely never have come across…things that have helped shape some of the philosophies I adhere to today.

Just the other day I sent my old friend an update, as we hadn’t spoken in a while, and he has always been one of my more spirited supporters.  Chipmunk is one of those friends that is unapologetically individualistic and honest with me, which I appreciate.  He is a firm believer that we should each follow our own path in life and not allow others to dictate our choices.  He has, and continues to do just that.

Currently living in Japan, where he has been for well over 10 years, he is now a husband and a loving father of two cute kids.  Due to logistics, we haven’t had a chance to hang out in a couple of years, but I hope he knows that while he continues to forge his own path in this life, he is simultaneously inspiring me to do the same with mine.  Chipmunk, this one is for you!

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