Sunday, January 18, 2015

Meeting with Myself (aka - That hooker may stab me yet)

I'll try and throw some random pics in this post to keep your interest...but in reality it's mostly words and thoughts and hooker that wanted to fight me - I'm sure you're thinking "a hooker fight would make for a good photo/video op"...and I'm sure you're right; however that wasn't top of mind at the moment.  For the protection of the innocent and out of lack of desire to call out the guilty I have changed many of the names (but not all) in this passage.  Over the past couple weeks I've really been looking at life, and the interrelationship of long term and short term "happiness".  What does it take to achieve them? Can you have both? Or will one destroy the other?

This isn't a 'hold my beer and watch' or 'so shit there I was' story...though I was holding a drink, and if I must be honest tasting Carla's Sweet Nipples.  Sorry Jake From Statefarm..but they are sweet.  Okay before you think I'm being a horrible ass; this is a drink that Jake invented moments earlier named after his girlfriends sweet nipples (I don't know that they are sweet, but I due trust Jake wouldn't lie about his girl's nipples).  I really like typing the word nipples.

Deliciousness interlude - went to Casa Picasso with Boola (aka - Eric) - Lobster Sliders and Filet...
Lobster Slider from Casa Picasso
Filet from Casa Picasso
Let me just say that the filet was amazing...mmmm.  The Lobster Sliders - out of this world.  In the words of Eric "holy shit....for the first time in months I forgot about In-N-Out." The bun is crisp, yet butter exists in massive amounts in there somewhere. This dish truly defeats at least two laws of physics...

Here's where the heavy starts.  Didn't realize it at the time - but 6 hours later, at 4am, with a lot of rum in my blood, and loads of water in my tummy, it landed.  Really it's still landing; or at least the rippling effects and implications of the life lesson.  The truth behind the night.  The introspective odyssey was beginning, and it all started with a guy named "Raven".

So I'm drinking a Carla's Sweet Nipples when Raven walks down the bar, passing plenty of vacant stools, opting to take his place beside me.  A true 'salty dog' sailor if I've ever met one.  Shoulder length gray hair, a beard far more full and masculine than I can grow...also grayed by the years. He had about 40 years on me; most spent sailing around the Mediterranean - a few pretty crazy adventures I enjoyed hearing about - with his most recent years being spent in the mountains of Mexico.  He had spent his life jumping from adventure to adventure; and had no doubt achieved short term happiness in bunches.  You could see it on his face as he talked.

Fun times interlude - Another fun experience with the Boola.
Sunset Sailing
Happy Birthday Sunset Sailing
 It was very nice cruising around and watching the sunset on Eric's birthday.  Good Times for sure.  If you haven't experienced a Sunset cruise with us...WTF?  Realy?!  Call me...maybe.  Is that still a thing?  Still don't understand it - getting old.

After a drink and some chat he disappeared down the street...only to return a few minutes later with two 'hourly friends'.  He took his seat at the other end of the bar; gave me a nod and wave, and bought his rented sense of happiness a couple drinks (dust starts settling in the mind).  Their to go cups full of booze came; and Raven paid for the drinks.  That's when the got interesting in two ways...

You'll hear about my hooker fight in the next interlude (interesting way #1); for now let's stay with the main feature - as I gave Raven that 'see you later' wave, and that's when I saw it in his eyes.  His face smiled; but the eyes were empty.  He was headed out with short term happiness, and the eyes showed his knowledge that it wasn't leading to long term happiness.

None of this really landed till hours later, but sure enough it was there...finally, and after weeks of 1/2 thoughts it was complete (though the ripples still flow through my consciousness).  My answer is that to be short sighted and seek happiness in the short term is not necessarily a bad thing - but you do have to be prepared to accept that an inevitable consequence can very well be the loss of long term happiness.

"So Shit There I Was" interlude - Raven had paid for his drinks.
Photo completely unrelated
to the story...just needed a picture.
He was leaving with his new friend "Lazy Lizard"; and being the nice gent he is put a pretty little tip out for my pal Bartender Mo - the hardest working bar tender in all of Belize.  He earns those tips...but apparently Lazy Lizard didn't think so - she reached over and stole my friends tip.  Before my brain even knew what my mouth was going to say, "You fucking bitch" went flying from my lips and smacked her right in the face from across the bar.  She of course hit DEFON 4, black out, I'm gonna kill a guy mode.  Screaming at me and about to flying through the air and rip my face off...but luckily for me her desire to make some money over ruled her desire to kill me.  Her friend carried her off into the night; still with my friends money in her pocket.  I'd like to think I could take an 80 pound hooker in a fight...but she looks like a crafty one.

I'm not about to pretend I have all the answers.  Though I now very much understand that happiness and "good" are intertwined on both a short and long term basis.  Making decisions to satisfy short term happiness must lead to a long term good as well.  I won't talk about the specifics of why I've been pondering this - but it very much comes down to decision making.  If you choose a short term happiness you better make sure it may not negate a potential long term happiness.  Not always easy to see, or understand...but you owe it to yourself to try.  Short and long term happiness are not mutually exclusive by any means; but we have a choice in short term happinesses.  I will do my best to choose the ones that lead down the path to long term happiness.  At times that may mean sacrificing a short term happiness so it doesn't interfere - I just pray to be wise enough to recognize those times.

I doubt I'm making much sense at this point - big finish time...

I suppose Raven was just a guy visiting Belize.  Though I feel like I sat beside myself.  I came in and showed me what would be if I stopped looking at the long term.  I don't want to be an old salty dog sailor with hourly friends.  I'm gonna choose to make decisions for a long term happiness.

Kinda hoping I live long enough to find said long term happiness...but that hooker may stab me yet!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Food Porn...Top 5 Life Dining Experience

My mother raised me to believe that if I had nothing good to say, then I should just say nothing. I recently dined at Casa Picasso here on Ambergris Caye...and this could be a very long blog!  If you figure I've generally eaten 3 meals a day for 35 years...then I've eaten roughly 38,325 meals.  This one is easily in my top .00013% (or top 5 for easier reference).  My friends Matt, Sara, and Karen were kind enough to invite me and even pay my tab - it was a most excellent surprise that Barb, Joe, Tacogirl (Laurie), and Paul were also able to join.

The menu, for me, was like what a nudie mag is to most men - I couldn't take my eyes off it.  My mouth watered from beginning to end.  I decided on the Chef's Tasting menu (a Thursday special); since it was also Chef Ben's Birthday and he was cooking a sampling of his personal favorites from could this possible be anything but excellent?! Didn't hurt that I was two Watermelon coolers (aka - the "Matt Hoys") in by the time the first course arrived.  I'm not usually a Vodka man, but you couldn't taste it at all - trust me, it was there...but you couldn't taste it behind the watermelon/ginger yumminess.
1st Course - Spicy Tuna Rolls

Course numero uno...not sure where it went?!  It was on the plate, then I blacked out...and it was gone.  I'm not huge on sushi, but I fancy the occasional roll; usually lean toward a Cali or Spider though.  This Tuna rivals even the best tuna that I've pulled out of the ocean and eaten right away.  The best part of this roll was a lack of rice. It had rice, but it wasn't 80% rice like so many other joints.  With the smaller amount of rice you could actually taste the tuna and veg...and savor the magical interaction of the soy and wasabi without having to fight through all that damn rice!  Best. Sushi. Ever.
2nd Course - Buffalo Fingers 
Up next - Buffalo Chicken Fingers..."move over buffalo wings" exactly!!!  I traded Matt a finger for some of his pancetta with bruschette (I'm sure I spelled neither of those correctly) - which was also was the taste of the cauliflower dish Sara let me try (it may have been my favorite of the night actually).  Anyway, back to my buffalo fingers.  I'm going to run out of ways to say that by the end of this entry.  Perfect amount of batter to chicken, spice of the sauce was a real nice follow up to the wasabi from the previous course.  I loved that the celery was cut very thin.  The blue cheese was there in a ramican...where it remained till the dish washer cleaned it cause NOTHING can make those fingers taste better; especially not molded cheese.
3rd Course - Bacon Jam, Mac & Cheese 

Next up...Bacon Jam, Mac, & Cheese.  I mean really - do I need to say anything else about this?  With 3 of us at the table getting the Tasting Menu everyone was able to sample this dish, that could have only been delivered straight from heaven on the wings of angels. In an effort to truly experience this dish the body literally shut down other senses; your eyes closed your hearing faded; you could no longer feel your fork on your fingers.  The world melted away...leaving your olfactory and taste buds completely alone with this dish, floating through an alternate plane of reality that I could have stayed in for an eternity.  But it ended...for now.

4th Course - Red Snapper Puttanesca
The next course was a snapper fish with some yummy stuff on top...I'm just not a big fish guy, or a big olive guy.  I was impressed with the flavor of the topping (even though I don't like Olives) so I'm sure if you like the fishes then you'd've loved this dish.  It was great - I'm just a meatitarian.
5th Course - Deep Dish Apple Pie 
Next up, and the course that brought this epic eating fiesta to its conclusion - Deep Dish Apply Pie...and yep, that's melted cheddar on top.  Apparently this is a 'northern states' and Canada thing, to put cheese on pie. Are they crazy? No, they are genius.  The most unfortunate thing at this point is that I'm out of wonderful things to say - its kinda like a rockus night of sex.  I'm thoroughly enjoying this course; but I'm mentally drained. It ravaged my taste buds in a most excellent way - but all I can do is enjoy...I've got nothing left to give...but that doesn't mean I enjoy it any less.

Chef Ben...I love you.  In a totally platonic, OMG where have you been all my life you food cooking super genius, type of way.  I've also just learned that apparently Casa Picasso will send and cover a cab to and from your place - wow.  So what are the excuses not to eat here - death...that is the only one. I was amazed at the reasonableness (pretty cheap for the quality but don't tell them!) of the food prices.  So much so that I'm pretty sure my brother and I are headed back tomorrow!

And now I have a huge remote for my aging eye balls.  Thanks gang!

Just so you know - I am wearing pants in this picture...just they're short pants.  I live in Belize! I don't even have long pants anymore.

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 - Bring it On!

Photo by Karen Brodie

What a year!  Was it a good year, or a bad year?  Or was it just a year?  Hmmm - there is certainly no simple answer to that; because it was all of those.  I mean heck, a year is 365 days so you're bound have a few wave crests and valleys right (no more roller coaster references...I'm sure most folks here haven't ever seen a roller coaster - I mean we barely have cars!).  To the few of you that will not realize I'm a whimsical SOB and just got thoroughly offended by my comment...sorry, not sorry (stolen phrase from Matt Hoy that has been thoroughly absorbed into my lexicon)!

Photo by Karen Brodie

Having a birthday only a few days away from the New Year is a great thing.  Not only do I get to start a new calendar year, but also my personal year begins anew.  Usually I do not reminisce or build resolutions or any of that bunk; while I remain without a resolution, this is a year to take stock, to look back a bit and think, to realize I should've eaten more Country Fried Steaks before moving to Belize, and finally to email Google and ask them why Chrome still doesn't think "should've" is a valid contraction...cause it is.

Photo by Karen Brodie
So why the long drawn out intro?  Most accurately because I do hope most of you are no longer reading.  I feel like my honestly hurts people, and on a very selfish level I feel the honestly below may hurt the way people think of me - but this blog is about my life, and it ain't all pretty. As the vast majority of you no doubt know, Tristan and I separated almost a year and half.  We completed the paper work in 2014.  What I don't feel people know is the truth behind the path.  Not that there is any big secret or event - just as life goes people jump on sides and make assumptions.  But I feel I have to say this (well write it, cause I don't talk words well). The majority of people rode the middle and never openly took a side, but there is still frustrations that exist.  It is what if is people.  When I review my mental 2014 and 2013 I see a lot of things I sucked at - still talking about the marriage.  I wasn't easy, I wasn't warm, I wasn't open, I wasn't a lot of things that I needed to be.

Many of you blame Tristan for leaving; but do you blame me for not chasing?  Do you blame me being the one that mentally checked out before Tristan physically (as in left) checked out?  And if not...why not?  My best friend Mark got married while Tristan and I were beginning with these issues over two years back. During my best man speech I offered these words (or close to) - "a marriage is very much like that fabled field where you reap what you sew.  If you put crap in, you'll get crap out; however if you invest love, patience, compassion, and understanding then you will get all those back."  I did invest crap, and I knew it when I basically told Mark to do better than I did.   Not that the wife was perfect either...but still I feel I needed people to understand I have my fair share (probably more) of the culpability here.

Photo by Karen Brodie
Either way - the past is history, full of lessons to be learned, but with no events to regret. That's right, I'm very much one of those "regret nothing" people.   I don't think "what if" thoughts are helpful, and are in fact very harmful.  None of that matters!  You are where you are, and you have a choice - you can either grow or don't.  I will always choose to grow. Through the process of the separation/divorce and therapy involved therein - I did learn a great deal about me, what makes me tick, and where I find value, happiness, joy and those things to invest in.  Shortly thereafter I got an offer that would allow me to hit on those things - to get away from what was pulling me down and put myself on a path towards 'back to good' and have a good shot at 'great' at some point the future.  So yada yada BELIZE! I kinda think a lot of people here, have a story that has that chapter "Yada Yada BELIZE!"

Photo by Karen Brodie
Down here it seems no asks about the past, at least not the detailed version - and that fits me just fine cause I'm keener to deal in the present and look to the future.  I'm still learning the ins and outs of a charter company and a dive shop - but enjoying it for sure.  Haven't had a day off in over 3 months, and you know what...I really don't mind.  Though I could use a chiropractic adjustment.  The best part of San Pedro is it very much fits the life style I wanted.  I can live within a few blocks radius, I have the ocean, great friends, family, and just lacking cold and snow.  I've met some really great people in 2014 too.  Not that any of them can replace any of the great people I miss from the states. But it's not about replacing is it?  It's about community.
Photo by Karen Brodie

A life in a different country really helps you develop a sense of community, and a deeper appreciation for it.  When you can understand the struggle of people, and witness the joys found despite them - it helps you gain perspective.  I kinda feel like if we could take every youth from America and pack in 12 months of living in another country into their brain then the States would be a much better place!

I'm happily looking forward to 2015 and 36 (yeah, I'm that old). I look forward to expanding Ecologic, to developing relationships with new friends, a chance to visit old friends and feel those hugs once again, and whatever else may exist on the horizon!  I have no doubt that lessons learned will lead to brighter tomorrows.

I took about 100 photos at our roof top New Year's party, during our 45 minute firework display, and not a one was even 1/2 as good as the one's here - thank you Karen!  I look forward to chronicling more adventures; and I'll try and put more personal stuff in.  I got away from it a bit cause I think the process may have been painful for some - and that's not my goal.  Many of you have reached out to me about moving abroad, some for logistical support/knowledge, some for basic encouragements - I'm more than happy to answer you all and help you.  It's a great thing.

Oh yeah - when are some of you fools gonna come visit?!

Interesting Factoids:

  • Two of you will send me info on typos and grammar issues
  • More web crawlers with read this blog than actual people
  • All of you think 'cause' isn't appropriate as a shortened version of 'because' and I disagree with each and every one of you
  • One Travel Writer (that shall remain unnamed) will comment on another bloggers Facebook page about something I did to piss her off...but OMG a Travel Writer reads my blog!!!  *Girly scream*
  • 1 out of 10 people that say they'll visit actually will
  • I have far more chat windows open than can be healthy for proper conversing - and LARRY just joined in!!
  • I have a really long white hair and I have no idea where it came from...