A Hopeless Romantic …

Happy Friday, Mi Gente!!

Let me say that again in case you aren’t paying attention …  TGIF, Y’all!  BOOM! Shaka-laka- BOOM!  I know you heard that!!  Thanks for hanging with me!

A few blog posts ago, I addressed not stuffing your feelings.  While you may not be able to respond as you might like in a situation, there is/are feelings that may arise that should NOT be stuffed.  In my opinion, this “stuffing” can not only lead to mental discomfort, but the mental discomfort may manifest itself in physical ways … like cancer.  If someone treats me in a manner that causes me discomfort, I will express that.  If it is inappropriate to defend myself at that moment, I must find a way to “release that imprint” perhaps that was made on my spirit, if you will.  Sometimes, I must engage in what is spiritual warfare where I deny the “demons” occupation of my thoughts and consequently, my feelings.  I replace those thoughts and feelings with more positive thoughts and feelings.  Sometimes I do this by taking a trip, making a tasty meal, or working out!  I love to travel and this provides me with opportunities to generate new, more positive feelings to replace the negative ones.  It’s a lifestyle for me it seems.  I romanticize MY life so that I can be the best that I can be.  I live on a “positive vibration”.  If I encounter a situation or a person, I look for the best first.  If the situation or person “disappoints” me by not living up to the expectations or “props” I had given them, I may offer an opportunity or two more.  As the title of my second book suggests, “Three Strikes, You’rrre OUT!”.

I remember when I had finished college and landed my first full-time teaching job at White Plains High School.  I was proud and excited.  After a year or so of teaching, I wanted to get married and start a family to share my improved life.  I thought, “I should marry a sister (an African American woman) from some “projects” like mine and we can all seek “the American Dream” together !?”  Hmmmm ….  I didn’t think that one through too well!  I met a few “positive” sisters at college and grad school, but nothing nor anyone stood out for me.  So, I remained single until meeting this woman who was waiting at a bus stop and was on her way home from business school in White Plains to her home in New Rochelle where I lived.  Yet, I had no “personal” knowledge of her or her family … which is critically important.  I picked her up and dropped her off near her home.  We began to date.  The rest is a brief but long story …  It’s a story that I can’t stuff.  I must face the reality that my reasoning for choosing this woman to marry was indeed faulty …  My path forward MUST eliminate the toxicity that I’ve encountered.

So, right about now, I should be on a flight to Medellin, Colombia with a short layover in Cartagena.  This is a spontaneous trip that I felt I needed for a few days!  Why not treat me?!?  I love to travel, learn new things, have new experiences, and SMILE!!


John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thanks for reading!!

I Came Here to Heal

Happy Friday, Y’all! A special shout out to my friends in Ft. Lauderdale – Joel, Johnny Ace, Candy, CeCe, Seth, and the “Crew from Capone’s Night Club” and downtown FTL – in hopes that y’all literally “weathered the storm”! TGIF with me!  Done Deal!

Most of our lives were molded by our genetic makeup AND our particular environments and experiences.  Some of us had no choice in where we “landed”.  Others had plans in place already as well as the means to accomplish the goal of preparing their offspring to be ready to “run things”, you dig?!?  What about you?  Where were you supposed to wind up in “The American Experiment “?  You DO know that the country was an experiment at its inception with the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and later the Constitution.  Yes, all an experiment.  But who was this country built for?  Who was conducting “the experiment”?  Who was the land pilfered from through trickery, greed, and superior weaponry?  If you haven’t answered these questions for yourself, you just might be living a lie.  Yet, I do know folks who are content with living and spreading lies.  Well, I’ll be damned!!  Imagine what life must have been like for farm hands in the Dirty South like my Dad, an African American male born into a status that was “one step above” slavery, newly manumitted, if you will?!?  Yeah, I had it a bit easier because of a soldier like him and his Dad, Robert Cook.  My Mother, Marietta Dolores, was his guiding light.

When I started to travel in my early retirement, I didn’t want to live the capitalist lifestyle of “making more money until you die”!  That’s what life looked like for me in my retirement if I had stayed in the States as I would NEED to work for someone else at one full-time job …  Or, if I didn’t want to work in my retirement like many other people living the “American Dream”, I could be homeless since my pension which I earned from endless days and nights and hours upon hours of work still wouldn’t cover the “American Bills”!!  LoL!!  That’s not really funny. While I wasn’t sure of my health as I traveled abroad after a biopsy revealed that I had cancerous granules in my prostate, I promised myself, since the granules were benign and not malignant that I would try to “heal myself”.  Physically, I had osteoarthritis and this prostate condition to deal with.  Spiritually and emotionally, I needed to heal from events in my life that had hurt me and restricted me from finding and enjoying happiness and peace in my life.  After traveling through Western Europe and then coming to Costa Rica, I continued writing, meditating, and praying.

Around 40 years ago after having a “honeymoon” baby with my ex-wife, my life was changed by a mother-in-law who had no respect for her “man” and told me that she would “take that (my daughter!) child away from me!”  I had never heard of such barbarism!  Yet, between her, my ex-wife who wasn’t sure of herself raising a child while trying to hurt me, and an extremely toxic environment in their homes, I had a constant struggle.  There were arguments and near physical fights over where our daughter would visit each weekend.  These women wanted to ruin my life, my family, and my happiness.  The envy and jealousy were clearly evident.  You bet it hurt while I continued to teach and coach at White Plains High School.  After her mother went to live with her grandmother, I tried to continue to stay in touch with my daughter.  These people made that really hard, too.  One afternoon, they “kidnapped” her in a car that I had to jump on top of as it sped away with my daughter inside.  The driver tried to shake me off of the top of the car in the parking lot of the City Park projects in New Rochelle, NY where her mother and stepfather lived.  It was non-stop drama EVERY weekend as these people would bully me for control of our daughter!!  Soon, things got worse and that family prevented me from seeing my daughter until we made an arrangement for visitation and child support.  That didn’t work either as I was still functioning, working, and living …  Once, my ex-wife’s lover surprise attacked me at her grandmother’s home in Norwalk, CT by running out of a bedroom when I had dropped off my daughter after she had spent a weekend with me in New York!  I was like “WTF”?!?  “I’m still here, Bitches!” THEY were still unhappy until my ex-wife ran away from New York to Virginia … with our daughter .. in an effort to keep her away from me!!  The drama was like a television series of the worst kind!!  And now, I’m trying to come to grips with the most recent drama where my daughter is not allowing my grandson to video chat with me.  She accused me of “being mean” to him while he was here because I yelled at him.  So, “she” wants me to believe that I spent a little less than $1,000.00 for my grandson’s passport and roundtrip tickets from Ft. Lauderdale to Costa Rica during his summer vacation … so I could be mean to him!! …  This is how “they” work … trying to make ME unhappy, crazy and using a child – my grandson – whom she wanted me to meet and get to know – to inflict the pain.  I need to stay away from this inhumane toxicity and embrace my retirement with open arms.  When my grandson was with me in Costa Rica, only ONE person EVER asked me how I was doing …  It was my grandson …  Fond memories, Caleb!!  I will continue to love and pray for him …

When “we” get hurt in our lives, we MUST heal ourselves or forever inflict selfish hurtful pain on those around us who try to love us.  This is the source of generational pathology passed on by unaware individuals who do not admit that they, too, have been hurt and abused.  Some people even think it’s heroic to deal with toxic others rather than embrace the truth that the other person is hurt and MUST heal, too.  How do we heal this hurt?  First, admit that one has been hurt.  Then, seek healing methods or professionals to counsel one back to reasonable mental health.  I like to travel, work out, listen to music and meditate.  Oh, I like to cook, too!  And I love to write …

So, when unnecessary drama appears in my life nowadays, I vacate the premises for my own self-preservation and happiness which only I am responsible for!!  You might not want to try this stuff at home or alone, but I am a soldier like my Dad was.  The only thing, I’m doing it alone …  No worries, I’m not complaining.  I’m proud of myself!  I might even treat myself to a trip to Medellin next weekend!!


John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thank you for reading!

When You Pretend to Have Mo’ Money …

Happy Friday, Yay!!  So, a cool “TGIF” might work, eh?!?  Vale!!

Do you know folks who want to keep up with the “latest” fads and fashions?  How about those who pretend (at least to “you”) that they are “rich”?!?  How ridiculous!!  And to measure a human life with a monetary amount … crude and rude!

Always something “new” to learn about us humans.  Greed is a demon as well.  Folks get carried away with that, too!  It can get so bad for some folks that they want to interact with “others” as if they are rich!!  What’s THAT all about?  Why does one need to feel “rich”?  That’s the allure of capitalism … everybody wants MORE!  Others “pretend” that they have more … in order to feed that demon!!  It seems to have infected many of our friends, family, and foes alike!!  So many lessons to learn for some of us!  I prefer to “pay attention” than to learn the hard way!!!  Did #45 really think that he would get away with “scheme after scheme on top of scheme”?!?  He did … and he still does!  I hope the legal system can check him, his family, and the cronies who employ that same ignominious technique!!  From where I sit, this “new way of thinking” … I use that term loosely here … simply allows “folks” to disagree with norms of behavior and even the law, sometimes … and make up a whole new narrative!!  This can become a problem for groups of people in a nation based on the concept of “laws”.  It can also be a problem for individuals who make up these groups of people, be it family or business.  For me, I try to live within my financial means and don’t need folks to think that I am “rich” financially!  I’m good!!  I prefer that people “think” that I am “broke” …  I’m full of surprises, too!  And of course, I sincerely thank several of you readers for your kindness, couches, and occasional help!!

I nearly gasped for air when I heard #45 say at a recent rally with a Q-Anon pin on his lapel that ” … America is no longer respected as an important country anymore …”  And to recall ALL of the dramatic stories from when he said that Pres. Obama was not a US citizen (birther bs!) and was an illegitimate president to how his NYC apartment “grows” when necessary, especially when applying for loans with great rates.  So, this is how one of the USA’s most recent leaders behaves … corrupt and criminal!!  I hope, though it’s late, that folks don’t emulate this sack o’ s**t!  With all of his many pending legal cases, “we” should be able to sink his ship!!

Very few people know how to apologize for their mistakes.  Then there are these “full-blooded fools” who insist that “they” don’t make any mistakes.  My Dad didn’t like a liar AND he never apologized … for ANYTHING!  But that’s because he was always “doing the right thing” for his family … all four of us in the Winbrook Apartments.  For a while, he even served as an armed guard in the very same housing project that we lived in!!  Do you think #45 will apologize?!?  Don’t hold your breath on that one …  “LOCK HIM UP!”

Have a great day, and a wonderful weekend, and try not to “fake the funk”, you dig?!?  Be REAL!!! RESPECT!!


John I. Cook, Director

So, What’s Next?!? American Politics, Stupid Stunts, and Fundraising

Happy Friday, mi Gente!  Here’s to hoping that you’re having a great week!  So, TGIF with me, if you will!  “Pura Vida!”

Yesterday was  Costa Rican Independence Day!  Hip hip … Hooray!  The story is quite interesting as to how a young “drummer boy” in the army eventually led the rebellion to liberate his country.  His name is Juan Santamaria.  The airport in Alajuela is named after him!  There were some “desfiles” or processions in various areas but nothing so commemorative here in Puerto Viejo that I saw.

In my retirement, I have found that if I have a few projects going to keep me busy and move my current living situation forward, I feel very comfortable.  After all, isn’t that why I worked so hard all these years?  Of course, it is.  Yet, I had a project of procuring my residency legally here in Costa Rica.  A while back, I had abandoned the idea and just decided to travel out of the country every three months as required for tourists and non-residents.  Yet, after being “stuck” in the process which I undertook on my own without any official legal help, a friend aka guardian angel informed me of the process where I was stuck with my background check – getting an apostille (official government approval) on my FBI Report and having it translated.  It is my LAST STEP in completing my application.  So, I am grateful to another “angel” who informed me of a company in New York that can help with the apostille process.  And, still to yet another one (angel) who informed me in conversation that I had to have my background check translated AFTER I get it with the proper apostille.  I’ve got about 30-plus days to complete the process after being given an extension by Migracion.

Meanwhile, back in the States, the “stupid politician stunts” continue!  Who sends South American immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard by plane?!?  Florida governor … Mark Duh-satan!!  How much money did he get donated to his political campaign to be the next president …  only the stars know!!  Between him and #45 who has gotten millions of dollars in donations based on the big lie and his legal defense, I don’t know who is the bigger (?) showman!!  It seems as if I used to tell my American History students that America is a business …  Imagine being the vice president of a country and a couple of bus loads of immigrants are dropped off in front of your home?!?  Just another “stupid stunt”!  I’m sure that you’ve noticed by now but folks do a lot of nasty stupid sh@t for money!!  It’s kind of like “prostitution” if you will … political prostitution even!!  How low can they go?!?  Then you hear these morons blaming the vice president for the lack of cohesion in Congress that might lead to a viable solution to this long-time concern of illegal immigrants on the southern border of Texas!!   Some of these political clowns use anyone and everything in their pursuits of political office in the United States of America …  The quality of leadership in the American political system has sunken as low as #45 and the MAGA group can make it … or not?!?  What’s next?!?

Try not to “pimp” yourself … for a price!  Just be a good person and seek to help those in need rather than always looking for a payout just for being a decent human being!!  I wonder what would happen if “we” sought to replace the use of money with “good deeds” … PERIOD?!?  It might take some time but there would be a “higher level” of human understanding, methinks!  What thinketh you?!?

Enjoy your weekend and try not to get “stuck” with stupid stunts to make a point!


John I. Cook, Director

ps. Thanks for reading!!

Don’t Stuff Your Feelings . . .

I just want to say Happy Friday, Y’all!  Youse knows the drill … if you will… TGIF!!  Thank you ALL very kindly!!

First, may I wish the Queen, Elizabeth II, of England a well-deserved rest … 70 years … that’s a long time to be “Queen”!!  Secondly, I want to give the Bidens and Obamas “props” for bestowing some decency and dignity to this “American Experiment”.  Some folks never heard that term – the American Experiment – and others could care less!  Yet, it’s hard to be a citizen of a country whose history and laws are not important and that one does not know.  Sheeesh!!  Ignorance IS bliss!!  The “first” African American president and his First Lady finally got their portraits finished and placed alongside the other “First Families” in The White House!  While class, style, intelligence, and dignity cannot be bought … or sold, I would agree with President Biden’s assessment of former President Obama and his ability to possess and display those rare characteristics of today’s world leaders!!  ‘Nough said!!

Have you ever wanted to say something or express a feeling like hurt or pain and were NOT allowed to do so?  Pretty uncomfortable, right?!?  Holding stuff inside contaminates one’s innards unless one knows how to digest the discomfort and toxicity.  When I was just a kid trying to learn how to manage my “angst”, my Dad used to ALWAYS suggest:  “Get a hobby or something …”  After all we had a “Hobby Shop” just up Post Road near the Projects!!  What a great idea!!  I started with wooden airplanes, then kites!  Soon, I graduated to making those tiny shiny model cars that you had to glue together!!  Soon after, in 4th grade at Rochambeau Elementary school, I took up the trombone!!  I continued playing until my freshman year at Princeton when my hometown group “The Whole Damn Family” opened for “Earth, Wind, and Fire” at Princeton’s Annual Cabaret my first year.  To this day, I still LOVE music … almost any kind of music!

Nowadays, I meditate on and ponder stuff so it doesn’t get the best of me.  Over the years, when I felt sad or exceptionally happy, I wouldn’t hold back!  I had the same challenge with anger.  I had to hone in on the sources of my anger and handle it better.  I still remember my Dad – Isaac Henry Cook – and how he must’ve overcome some tremendous odds in order to arrive in Harlem, NY post-WW II with his beautiful bride as they successfully escaped the “Dirty South” with help from friends and family who worked as porters on the passenger trains linking New York with Florida.  I took that same “train trip” a few times with one of my older siblings while my Mom and Dad and the other two kids rode in Dad’s two-tone pink ’57 Cadillac all the way from White Plains, NY to Tampa, FL.  That was often my summer treat or Christmas present during my childhood, whether in the car with the family or on the train with either Edna or Barbara (RIP) one of my two sisters.  I think back to when I was struggling with some personal issues and both my Mom and Dad stood firm with me, exhibiting a rare brand of tough love.  I needed the discipline to harness and develop my many gifts.  I know my Dad suffered as he watched his “baby boy” struggle with those damn demons!!  I could often see the pain etched on his face as he remained diligent to provide the basics for our family while Mom cleaned houses … (How could I dare let them down!)  So, I straightened up … real straight … stiff sometimes!!  But I still “let my hair” down and loved to dance and sing, play sports, and cheer for my favorite sports teams, often with my Dad who loved the NY Yankees and then The Mets!  (We watched a lot of baseball games on tv together as we couldn’t afford tickets to the stadiums to see the games in person.)

So, don’t stuff those feelings!!  Let them flow … it helps keep your emotions balanced, fluid, and healthy.  Of course, if you want to lift weights or run track to relieve stress and tension, do so!  Just don’t hurt anybody!!  When I meditate, and something makes me sad, I may shed a tear or two …  If I’m happy and grateful, I repeat “Thank You!” to the universe making sure that my feelings of joy flow, too!  I think my Dad had stuffed so much inside that it was the cause of his bone marrow cancer.  It ultimately claimed his 80-year-old life as he could no longer stand the pain …

Have a great day, a wonderful weekend, and a non-stuffy life!!


John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading!

Just In Case You Care …

Yes, yes, Y’all!  I’m at it again!  It’s Friday, right?!?  I’m living and breathing so I’m grateful right off the “rip”!!  TGIF with me, then!!  Thank you all very kindly!

Well, I’m here to tell you that while some parts of my life have been “unfair”, I still managed to learn some invaluable lessons.  One is “humility”.  I know for most people, humility may exhibit weakness or connote an “inferior” position.  Yet, for me, humility is almost like an x-ray … you get to see a person’s true character when given the opportunity to be arrogant, callous, or even a bully!  Sometimes, I get to “see” that some people begin to look for ways to consider themselves “better” than me or anyone else.  Right away for me, this type of behavior connotes some aspect(s) of this person’s low self-esteem or desire (need) to be better than others.  These are people who are not well-rounded and seek to take the upper hand when given the opportunity rather than demonstrate that they can “lead by example” and collaborate with others.  I know it’s tough sometimes to be seen as a follower.  I’m very particular about who I choose to emulate or follow as well as why “that” entity may matter to me.  While my humility misleads some to think I am weak or “misguided”, I still choose to display my humility for those who understand and have experienced how that helps to identify a true confident “leader” who is seeking excellence and NOT the upper hand.

Those of the readers who have been with me and my work as Educational Excellence know my “no-nonsense” style and approach to writing and what I advocate as Educational Excellence.  Mantras like “Know Thyself!” and “be the best that YOU can be” are integral to understanding what I do with Educational Excellence.  I speak out on things that others may shy away from or be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about or admit.  I also don’t “need” another entity to endorse me.  I have a “grassroots” approach to social science and “education”.  The “world” or universe … is my laboratory and I am seeking to contribute my love of peace, harmony, and humankind through the gifts and talents that I have been able to identify for myself!  Is that a bad thing?!?

Of course, our world is in turmoil as we humans have turned Planet Earth into an amusement park where “your guess is as good as mine”.  I applaud the people in position(s) to challenge these self-proclaimed leaders and advocate the interests of the WHOLE PLANET!!  People like Merrick Garland and Volodymyr Zelenski (Navalny, too!) who challenge our “modern monsters” and autocrats are great people.  We can’t let these “misfits” lead us to self-destruction!!  To witness American citizens making excuses for a former president who told over 30,000 LIES during his administration and is now suggesting that the FBI is dishonest as they try to retrieve confidential and top secret documents from this moron’s “beach house” is hideous!  Some complete morons compare #45’s stealing of government and taxpayers’ property to returning a library book late!!  This fool better be prepared to pay a big fine with his big mouth full of big lies!!  What a disease, all of this lying crap.  It seems like too many people have lost the capacity to tell the truth, to be peaceful … to be civilized.  Well, I won’t be quiet about stuff that bothers me and many others.  I will expose what irks me even if it comes from my own behavior or that of those family members who also disappoint me with their corrosive behavior!  I’ve got nothing to hide and I hope those who challenge me and my logic are prepared for an experience because I don’t back down.  I know I step out and speak up on some controversial ideas and topics but I have thought through what I say and it comes from a very confident and decent person … ME!

While I must admit that we have some “chronic crazies” in our world, I still have faith in and believe that there are more humble, honest, and talented people who have the continuance of humanity on the Earth, our home, as an important goal!  And you?!?  You don’t have to do anything, but let me do my thing … it shouldn’t hurt too much!


John I. Cook, Director

TRUTH Be Told!!

Happy Friday, Y’all!  I’m coming from all different places today as I continue to spread some love and hone my craft!  So, TGIF with me if you will!  I am sure you can find at least ONE good reason to be grateful today!  Just Do It!

Welp, this is a tough topic for me because I see people who I considered close to me suffer from an inability to identify, accept, and finally embrace the truth.  They would rather “live a lie” while continuing to spread more since this has become part of their personal “narrative” style.  Now, as humble as my Dad was, he didn’t deal with any lies let alone liars.  I could see as the youngest of four children that truth and excellence meant a lot to him.  He had been deprived of opportunities like mine, so …  As I’ve often said, he was and will always be my FIRST and “bestest” hero … you dig?!

By now, I’m sure that the readers realize that writing is not only therapeutic for me, but I also seek to heighten the readers’ awareness of how many of my experiences may be similar to “your” experiences.  If not now, perhaps one may find some solace in these messages in the future.  I have my anti-racist passion as I don my social scientist status among other titles such as learning manager, teacher, coach, “father”, and now grandpa … believe it or not!  A recent “project” of mine in my retirement had become to re-establish a relationship with my daughter and only child, and perhaps get familiar with her son.  That was the main reason I sent his mother a couple of hundred dollars to cover the cost of a passport for him.  This was my birthday present to him for his sixth birthday which was last October 19th.  In the week that he was with me and in the midst of a “fact-finding” session, I learned that his mother NEVER told him that I had sent the money for HIS passport as a birthday present!!  Who does that?!?  Then, in the next breath, THIS person calls me a “deadbeat dad”!!  I’m like WTF?!?  Y’all remember this?!?  “That smarts!”  I have sent my grandson shorts and shirts from Barcelona and Costa Rica over the past three years!!  You see, for me, it was okay that we spent a week together … 24 hours of EACH day just me and him!!  But TRY to tell the TRUTH.  He was “having a blast”, to use his OWN mother’s first comments when I sent her the video of him in the pool here at Bambutel.  Now, I know what happened after that … enter her mom … the woman who changed “our” daughter’s last name from “Cook” to “Belton” which was her stepdad’s last name … RIP …  This was done after a trip that 8-year-old Ayanna had taken from New York (I paid for that, too!) to visit me and my Mom in Ft. Lauderdale after her mom and I had gone our separate ways. I had verbally reprimanded her for some uncool behavior in a friend’s restaurant and told her that “Cooks don’t act like this!”  After the trip and our daughter was back “home” I was informed of the name change done and paid for by her mother …  I was in shock!!  Not anymore!!  I have learned not to expect much in terms of civility from this “cast of characters”!

Now, we can take a macro-level view of this same toxic type of behavior in our society.   We have a “fake” former president who wants to keep confidential government documents in his personal collection for only God and the devil knows what!!  “We the people …” allow our leaders to coddle this criminal mofo!  If that were former Pres. Obama, the white supremacists and other “frightened” Americans would have had his head!!  I’m sure “they” tried multiple times.  So, “people”, MAGA-mites, and other misguided folks, are trying to IGNORE the fact that the National Archives, the rightful “owners” with “the people’s” constitutional agreement, don’t need to BEG a former president to give back the documents that he STOLE from the Federal Government!!  Who does THAT?!?  Can you say “TOXIC”?!?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  The National Archives has been “asking” #45 to return the documents one month BEFORE he left the White House!  He had packed and shipped these documents to chosen locations outside of the government facility!  So many “sheeple” follow this pret’ near mentally challenged alternate reality mofo even with FACTS and timelines that show his deliberate “obstruction of justice”.  He acts as if it is a freakin’ game!!  It’s a shame to see so-called adults play these childish games with other people’s lives … especially defenseless children.

On either level, though national leaders’ behavior may be a little more important than that of somebody’s misguided daughter, the balance of “yin and yang” is interrupted and the acceptance of negative, hurtful, and dishonest behavior is replacing the “value system” based on agreed upon “truths”.  The social contract even with all of its faults includes:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men (and women, modified) are created equal, that they are endowed by THEIR creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness …”.  No matter how we slice it, micro- or meso-level, we MUST abide by the same “truth” … or … live a LIE!  The choice is yours!


John I. Cook, Director

Thanks for reading! 😉

Trust The Process: Part 2

Good Day, probably the morning for most of y’all …  So, TGI Saturday with me?!?  Crazy, right?  Adjust and Trust!!  I know it’s Saturday and the e-mail message/blog post that I usually send on Friday didn’t get out.  But here it is!!  I was in a Denny’s all night in San Jose close to the airport where I flew in Thursday afternoon from Mexico City … from 5-6 pm Thursday until the Caribe Shuttle I had reserved for my return trip from the airport to Cocles was scheduled to depart at 5:30 am Friday!!  Magically … it all worked out!!  There are only two shuttles per day from the airport – 5:30 am and 2 pm.  Caleb and I took the trip when his mom came to San Jose to pick him up on the 4th of July.  The last bus that I could have caught left the nearby Marco Polo (MePe) Bus Terminal at 4 pm and the last time I tried that I got there late, missed the last bus at 4 pm and I ended up spending $175 for a taxi to take me from there in San Jose to Puerto Viejo!!  Live and learn, right?

It was a great week in Mexico City … ALL unplanned!  Let me begin with the fact that I had started planning the trip two months or more ago in an effort to get to see a dear friend before she left Oaxaca (6 hours from CDMX by bus).  I had wanted to rent a hotel there but decided it may be better to just stay in Mexico City for a week instead.  I had always wanted to visit places like Puerto Rico and Mexico since I was a child learning Spanish in public school.  So here was my chance.  When I realized that my friend in Oaxaca didn’t like me as much as I had liked her, I shifted gears and reserved a fancy hotel – Hotel Parque de Espana – in a luxury area where I planned to hang out and “lick my wounds” over the rough time that my daughter and her cohorts had given me regarding Caleb’s visit with me!  I found out some interesting facts during that “2-hour conference call” held by my daughter and her cohorts to convince Caleb to say that he wanted to leave me and Costa Rica and to see his “mommy”.  Now, Caleb is only 6 and was so excited to be able to locate Costa Rica on a globe with his “mommy” in preparation for the trip.  He just didn’t realize that it was three flights and a long shuttle ride to get to the place I am renting in Cocles.  In other words, he thought he would just act up enough so his “mommy” would come and get him, and maybe he would come back the next day if she let him …  He even told me, “Grandpa when I get mad, I always say I’m leaving …”  I understood what he meant but he didn’t know that his “mommy’s” plan was to win a bet with her mom his grandma who has been trying to destroy MY life since I kicked her to the curb when Ayanna was just a baby.  We had our ups and downs … but this shit got to be every day … 4 times a day.  I couldn’t take the lying and cheating and finally lost my patience one day … we had a fight that got physical … and she left our apartment with our daughter!  Her mother got involved and the toxicity began to flow from one generation to the next!  When Caleb was on that call, I overheard my ex-wife say unbeknownst to her that she “had won the bet and wanted her beer!”  I was like WTF??!!?  I didn’t want to get Caleb involved in this adult drama so when “they” bought our daughter’s airline tickets and return tickets for Caleb, I complied.  I could have been a nasty mofo several times but I am above that trifling shit!!  As one of my favorite childhood cartoon characters “Quick Draw McGraw” (a superhero fighting/talking horse!) used to say, “That smarts!!”

Once that episode of the drama ended, I changed my booking at Hotel Parque de Espana to a more center Mexico City location and see the town … as much of it as I could walking and taking tours.  I trusted the process … and it ALL worked out.  I got to stay in the Historic District.  I had no idea that the less expensive hotel was smack dab in the middle of that district!!  Do you see what I’m saying yet?!?  And it was at THAT hotel that I booked an all-day group tour to see the pyramids, have lunch, visit the Basilica de Guadalupe, and be driven back to the door of the hotel!  Now all of this came about on Monday, the day after which I had the opportunity to visit the location of the personal baths of “Aguas Medicinales del Penon” AND get an hour massage afterward!  Okay, now with me say “Trust the Process”!  I did!!  I love the process though it gets bumpy sometimes!  As Woody Allen once said, “Ride loosely in the saddle of life!”

My last two days there in Mexico City were incredible since I had learned my way around walking (I never took a city/public bus or subway/train while there!) and even frequented a few local stores, picked up a few gifts for myself and literally had a blast!!  I ate a few times at “Pirate Burger” which is way better than McDonald’s and/or Wendy’s and within walking distance of the hotel, as well as once at “Danubio”, where I had Lobster Thermador, a fancy restaurant in the same district !!  I know you see what I’m saying now about “trusting the process”.  Several times, including this morning, I felt the “love” of the universe holding me and directing my life … healing my wounds!

So yesterday, after picking up my electric scooter at the shop where the Caribe Shuttle was kind enough to drop me off (they usually take you to the door of your hotel/residence) I got unpacked, cleaned up a bit, shaved, and showered, went for a couple of slices of pizza and a ginger ale, got home … treated myself royally … and dozed off up until waking up to write THIS!

Have a great day and weekend!


John I. Cook, Director

When A Person SHOWS You Who They Are … Believe Them!!

Happy Friday from on “high”!  If y’all get this e-mail, I should be close to Mexico City!!  So, TGIF with me … I can’t hear you!?  Okay, that’s better, thanks!

Have you ever given someone too much credit?  I don’t mean financial or monetary credit!  I mean, perhaps one thought a potential friend was better than “they” turned out, unfortunately.  It happens to me more often than I’d like (though not too much nowadays!) and then I have to backtrack or “take back” some of my friendly thoughts and gestures toward this person(s).  That’s usually because I try to see the best in people first.  I am hoping that the person that I happen to find myself talking with is not trying to use me or set me up.  Some folks get a thrill when they tell you a lie and not only hope that you believe it but wait patiently for you to act on their LIE!  A strange kind of gratification, methinks!!

Yeah, I am taking a six-day siesta to Mexico City to take in as many sights as I can using a “Hop On, Hop Off!” bus that travels throughout the city showing venues that are tourist attractions.  I want some tasty Mexican food, too!  I have done some research on a location that has “aguas medicinales” like the water of the warm springs I experienced in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.  It’s more of a natural jacuzzi with mineral water … hopefully warm!  I’d like that!  I’m interested in seeing some pyramids since I heard that one if not the tallest pyramid is in Mexico … I don’t know where, but anyway …

I was going to just jump on the bus early enough to get to San Jose for my midday flight to Mexico City and postpone the blog post … but I can’t …  I said the same thing to myself when #45 was allowed to assume the office of the president.  After all of his braggadocio and lies, not to mention his pure ignorance about government and logic, some folks still thought that he would make a good president …  Then, of course with professional clowns like Jim Jordan who cheerlead this criminal on and criticize other people like Mr. Garland who actually knows what his job is and actually believes in a democratic government where the people vote for their representatives, it gets even more complicated.  Even Lovely Lindsey Graham chimed in to criticize Mr. Garland’s professionalism!!  Mr. Garland requested the search warrant because he had already tried everything else … and … of course … he KNOWS that #45 is the most dishonest person that he will probably ever meet!  Some complete fools actually want to start a “World War III” ( or Civil War II! ) over this garbage receptacle who managed to fool so many people with his con artist skills into believing the biggest LIAR ever!!  More than 30,000 lies were told by HIM during his presidency!!  It’s disappointing … but hopefully not surprising that he “took the 5th” during his deposition by the New York State agency investigating his over-valuing of his property when applying for yet another loan … more than 400 times!!!  Can we say “WTF” together yet?!?  Okay, I got this …. WTF!!??

When people SHOW you who they are … you’ve GOT to believe them.  While the feeling of realizing that you trusted someone and believed in them is extremely disheartening, remember that you NOW KNOW!!  Don’t be fooled by the same culprit over and over and over again!!  I’m happy about #45’s current situation because I can’t stand a liar.  The only people I can’t stand more are the people who believe and circulate the liar’s lies!!  Unless it’s a child, the person circulating and believing such lies are … sorry … less than complete idiots!!  I say that because they KNEW that the liar was lying!!  It hurts more when the people you trusted and tried to be close with chose to tell you a freaking lie!  To me, that’s some disrespectful crap … to stand in my face, using my time … to LIE!!!

I will take this little time as a vacation from my retirement residence that I am renting right now.  It’s good for me to “air my head out” sometimes when I’ve gone through some unanticipated drama!!  I owe it to MYSELF!  I remind me that my happiness is MY responsibility … not yours!!  So don’t worry!!  Still, I trust people … and people trust me.  I consider myself extremely trustworthy … that’s the way my Father wanted it and I carry that honesty with me today!!  Yet, I know how to put that sh@t in reverse and drop a “mofo” like a hot potato once I see that they like to lie!!  In short, I don’t care if I never see them again!!  

Be a good person … I know that there are a lot of us out there.  We have to hold each other accountable though and not let people in our circle(s) jerk everybody around with their lies … unless … you like that kind of thing!! NEVER settle for less than you deserve!

So wish me well in Mexico City as I do my “lone traveler” thing out here!!


John I. Cook, Director

Let Them Kick Rocks!!

Happy Friday, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahhh!!  I’m feeling rather chipper if you will!  So, shall we TGIF?!  Radical, Y’all!!  Thanks!

One of the primary lessons identified by Educational Excellence is to “Be the best that YOU can be!”  Does that make sense?  For me, this approach to life eliminates the necessity for a competition which can often get out of control.  Our (each of us) only competition should FIRST be “ourselves”.  Should one decide to choose a role model, be sure to carry the respect due to the person(s) you are choosing to emulate.  From time to time, I view things from a social scientist’s perspective.  Yet, I try to balance the conclusions from my observations without much of my personal bias that is based on my experiences.  So, I try to keep in mind that people may have a different, if not more difficult set of circumstances to deal with than I do!  In other words, I try to be kind even when defending “myself” and/or my behavior.  And … even when the “other” person is a tragedy in motion, it’s best for me to stay cool.  We never know what someone’s behavior (as crazy as it may be!) is being conceived or caused by … so I have learned to keep that in mind!

Of course on the flip side of being empathetic, one has to represent “truth” though it is constantly under attack nowadays!!  #TruthHaters SUCK! Yet, it is important for me to let “nature take its course”.  Some of us believe in karma, like me.  If anyone has “done you wrong” or maybe even stolen something from you, you don’t have to get in their face!  You may not be there when their “slap in the face” comes back to them but trust the process.  Stay your peaceful self and know that “they will get theirs” … if they haven’t already.  Don’t let “the monsters” steal YOUR peace …  It should be obvious that they have none … peace that is!  They may be jealous of your state of mind, and your life, and don’t want to see you happy!!  Can you say “toxic” with me?!?

There are times when I embrace the character of my Dad “Big Ike”.  He didn’t get all up in other people’s faces or business.  He stayed clear of the drama.  Big Ike didn’t have a college degree yet did his best to raise 4 children in the same household with the SAME wife … in The Projects!!  My, my, my how things have changed just in my lifetime.  Stay YOUR course or “stay in your lane”, as I sometimes like to suggest to people.  Remember, there IS a difference between leaders, like Bill Russell (RIP, Sir) and Michelle (and Barak) Obama, and regular followers.  Michelle depicts it best when she says, “When they go low, we go high!”

After having accomplished a few important things for me, I am nearly full focused on my health now. It is coming around as I continue to try more things like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds blended with flax seeds, and honey each morning with my curcuma/ginger tea!  I stick to my three-day-a-week workout routine at a local gym.  I’ve also started taking a supplement called “MSM” which is a natural plant-based supplement designed to treat osteoarthritis.  If I told you that I don’t have to walk with my cane anymore AND that I’m taking my happy a$$ to Mexico City next Friday, you might not believe me!  “I am responsible for my OWN happiness!”  I unapologetically choose ME!  How about you?

Thanks for reading and enjoy your day and weekend.


John I. Cook, Director

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