It’s Up to the Children … For REAL!

Happy Friday, All!

And uh … do you have enough wind left in your sail to give a T.G.I.F.!?  So … hit it when you’re ready!

Have you seen and heard enough from the current White House to agree that the United States of America is the biggest “reality tv government” in the world … and EVER.  “Starrriiinng Donald J. Trump!”  Oh my!  This man thinks this is a television show in which he can lie and twist the truth, select judges in the Supreme Court who twist the truth even more … shucks, even tell the Navy to cover up or put out of sight a war ship named after a real war hero, John McCain, who “killed his healthcare bill”!!  Now, we’ve been distracted with tariffs, which he also doesn’t understand, as “trade wars” escalate between the States and China as well as with Mexico!  All I hear his spokespersons say is, “He’s playing to his base!”  Well, what about the REST of the American people?!?  This character has put a “new” deadly spin on “playing politics”.  Screw you, people don’t want you to play “games” with their and their children’s and their grandchildren’s lives!  What is he … a dictator of sorts?!?

There is a young girl from I believe Sweden, not sure, who has “Asperger’s Disease” and speaks better than #45!  She makes more sense about climate change than some of the so-called Senators in Congress.  She has actually done some research and gotten audiences in front of some European leaders.  There is also a young boy in the States who has embraced the “Green” concept and has also begun to speak out for HIS generation of humans, explaining the catastrophic effects of global warming!  Does it look like “we” (our generation 50 somethings and up) have dropped the ball and have become so selfish that we don’t even care about our children … or our grandchildren?!?  Methinks so …

As I watched different segments of CNN which covered European elections as well as a plethora of “scrump stories” showing the leader having untruthful meltdown after meltdown, I was in horror.  Damn, at one point, I was looking at his face as he belted out an insult or two at Mr. Mueller and it looked like he was about to have a heart attack!  I’ll take that over impeachment … it takes way less time!  I felt like it was a movie of sorts … like an old “James Bond” flick where everybody is trying to outsmart their counterpart!  I have to laugh each time I see Scrump and Putin, Scrump physically the “larger” person being led by Putin, the ex-director of the Russian intelligence agency – the KGB.  Putin has a smirk on his face like “I got this dummy in the palm of my hand!”  It’s sad to see my grandson’s face …. in the palm of Putin’s hands!  That’s a truly negative image which I detest.  What about you!?!

So, I have been facilitating a group of young ladies at the “home school” setting in Cocles near Puerto Viejo as they learn more Spanish and prepare for the national exam to move to the next level.  The students I have – 4 in total – are at 7th and 8th grade level of studies.  I mean, facilitating them is not “rocket science”.  I know enough Spanish to read the instructions they have in their book and explain the assignment as it covers “parts of speech”, words of comparison and literary terms and concepts.  It is basically “the same” as English but in Spanish!!  Well, as of yet, I don’t have a teacher’s copy of the book like I had been use to in the States.  I prepare what I can for them during class as they EACH have their own book that their parents purchased.  I have another month that I have agreed to work with this group though I did NOT want to be a Spanish teacher!  So, as I have become accustomed to when the universe speaks, I listen and will probably “stop” this assignment and be available for “special events/topics” if they present themselves in the students’ “Civics” class which is taught by the school’s director.  I don’t want to get “bogged down” in other people’s stuff so, I will finish up in July when I plan to take a trip to my home state, New York, to visit my parents grave sites.

Enjoy your weekends, “stay awoke” and train your “young people”, wherever you connect with them, to take charge of their world NOW!

Peace and blessings,

John I. Cook, Director

“From Where I Sit . . .” Part II

Happy Friday, All!

And just in case you didn’t, “I got this for us!”  T.G.I.F.!

The end of another week has come and it was my mother’s birthday on Monday!  Creator … please keep her comforted in peace!  Usually, I have a very challenging time, as I once mentioned, because “Mother’s Day” and Mom’s birthday are in the same month and like 2 weeks apart!  I was pretty balanced this year in handling the ebb and lull of emotions as I remembered her and our tenderest “mother-son moments”.  There was no “pressure” from “life in the States” like cops and traffic, unhappy people and dishonest leaders to listen to and be around.  I was at peace with the universe … my favorite “place”!

Usually when I write, I sit on a yellow cushion on the floor with my laptop on a “child”-style table … red, short and close to the ground.  I place my legs underneath the table which is sitting either on the balcony or directly in front of the television table just next to my “relaxation bed” and write!  Got the picture?!  It’s very relaxing … and I can see all of the trees and birds that I want as well as lots of clouds and even rain on those rainy days!  It’s an awesome spot as I can sit with the “front” door open though it is in the back of the structure which juts out over the street.  Sometimes, the people in the street sound like they are in here with me!!  There’s never a dull moment … from where I sit!

I have been still pushing myself going to at least one yoga class per week.  On the off days, I still try to get in a few push ups as well as some stretching while laying on my sofa/bed.  The meditations at 6am coupled with a cup of curcuma tea, which I am drinking as I write right now, as well as a renewed ability to “pull out” of unnecessary wasteful “interactions”, help me stay focused.  The 4 hour Spanish class that I facilitate on Monday mornings will be in session until June … and then the students are off for the rest of the month.  My Saturday morning/lunch sessions with “Ivon” continue and she shows a greater interest in improving her English.  Shucks, sometimes I have thoughts of trying to get her in to a school or university in the States … “for a minute” …

As I watched CNN a bit yesterday and witnessed two “melt downs” of the current occupant of the White House and his incessant Twitter account rants, not to mention the rant in front of “the nation’s farmers”, I was happy not to be in the States!  All of his rants were about Nancy Pelosi and nothing … NOTHING said about “infrastructure” which this nation desperately needs to maintain and update!  The rants were so ridiculous that Speaker Pelosi asked for an intervention on “45” by his family and party members!  While the rest of the world’s leaders have elections and are seeking to improve … whatever that means nowadays … their national interests and conditions, I am somewhat awaiting the opportunity to transition from what we are “trying to save” to what is the natural course of events for humanity ….  Get prepared … spiritually!

As I continue to progress on the manuscript and the blog posts, I wish you each a wonderful Friday and a more wonder-filled weekend!  “Stay the course!” … from where I sit!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

It Ain’t All THAT, Now!

Happy Friday, Folks!  I just have to give it up for that “power greater than my(our)self(selves)”!  T.G.I.F. then!

Another week … and the little things, including my arthritis issues, are getting better and better!  Yet, I don’t even question where the “peace” comes from!!  Y’all  know how I roll … for ever grateful for everything and just trying to do the right thing … not everything, of course.  Yet, in my case, here as in other places I have been and visited in my life, I “stand out” for a number of reasons.  I could list them but I might be accused by some of being arrogant or “holier than thou”. 

Hey, I have a lot of talents … not all of them … I don’t know a damn “thang” about plants except for one that affects my life.  I have been blessed to have been “nosey” enough at a young age to want to know, and obviously first learn, Spanish so I could understand what all those Latinos in New York City were talking about.  I was maybe 12 in 7th grade.  Now, I am teaching (facilitating the learning of) Spanish to a small group of youngsters who speak the language and the slang “better” than I do.  Yet, there are some technical items that have been known to appear on the national exam administered for the passing of each “grade” to the next in a given subject area.  That’s my mission … and I have decided to accept it so far!!  Every other day, I get asked if I can “teach” someone English, as if learning the language is a magic trick!  Trust me, “teaching” or facilitating learning and learning something “new” ALL require focus, dedication and time!  And that’s just one of my “talents” that I have taken with me here to Puerto Viejo, Talamanca, Limon, Costa Rica!

Now, I am not so “big of a fish” other than anyone else here, perhaps.  Yet, I have had many more experiences than most people, especially locals, as well as many Americans from the USA.  I have a few degrees that lend some credibility to my expertise in areas like education and sociology, not to mention “history”.  Just from my experiences, I have a plethora of knowledge and have learned to socialize with just about anyone on the planet … that I can think of … with whom I might want to socialize.  I continue my practise of yoga which I have expanded to include meditation as well as the concept of quantum physics which has become more investigated since there have been connections made between healing and internal human physics.  I always practice peace, friendship, love, harmony, communication and community.  The simple fact that I receive a pension “helps” me stand out a bit more because I do not have to work.  While the Caribbean atmosphere permeates even the “work world”, the people here hustle all day everyday to get what they need from life, be it a “pipa” the common word for a coconut, from which juice (water) and meat can be extracted and consumed, or a wild plant for seasoning, even spinach.  I walk slow everywhere everyday, thanks to my Creator, and am never hurrying, if I can help it.  So, I stand out … kind of like a “big fish”, if you will!

It’s nothing special that anyone can do if they put their mind, body and soul to it.  I mean, shucks, I see people putting their “mind, body and soul” into lies and deception, even fake personalities.  One day, I saw a guy tell some friends of mine that he was “someone else” who I also know and am friends with!!  I was like, “Damn!  This brother is trying to claim to be someone else, just so he can get to talk to some girls!”  That’s something else I do well because most women are not “threatened” by a “gentleman” … that’d be me … “Gentleman John”, if you will!

Monday is my mother’s birthday.  The moon is approaching a unique “Flower Full Moon” on Sunday and I am feeling a whole lot of love from the universe in celebration of Marietta Dolores Cook’s birthday,  RIP!  She would be 102 if still breathing, and she passed away at 88.  She had a good life, and my third manuscript is dedicated to her memory …

Enjoy your weekends and the Flower Full Moon!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

“If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another!”

Happy Friday, All!

And it’s not as if you didn’t know “how I roll” … T.G.I.F.! … and then some!

Well, right out of the blocks, I wanted to re-emphasize what me and EE mean when we say, “Be The Best!”  While “life” should not be a competition thing, since we are all in it together, we should “compete” with OURSELVES!!  You know, like be better than you were yesterday.  It’s not so hard but it seems that “modern man” … yep I said it … emphasizes competition until it is destructive.  Consider simply trying to improve on “yourself” each day.  If you are a liar, tell less lies!!!  Crazy right?!  But we’ve got to start somewhere.  So don’t get it twisted, I emphasize “being the best that YOU can be”!

On the “personal” side, “things” … whatever that is nowadays … have calmed down.  I think that most of the folks that I have come into contact here have a better idea of who I “might” be … at least better than before.  While I have been use to being “the new kid on the block” many times in my life’s experiences, I haven’t often been considered “a big fish in a little pond”!  Yet, I know the concept as well as how it feels.  Some people like you … perhaps even respect you if you are a big fish in a little pond.  Still, there are others who may like you, but sure as hell don’t want you to know that!  It’s the competition thing … competition with another rather than with oneself!  And there are still others that I’ve noticed during these type of experiences who are so envious that they would do ANYTHING to discredit “the big fish” and try to make “it” miserable in the pond!!  “Hold everything!”  That won’t work with “me” because I “know myself” … I belong to no one … except the universe.

As I see it, the “damage control” and spiritual warfare tactics I employed were successful … so far!  Like I’ve always said, even when I traveled in Western Europe looking for a place to retire, “I didn’t come here for the drama!”  So, if that’s your “strategy”, count me out!  A few of the younger brothers who have seen me more than once commented something that caught my attention.  One tall brother with his girl, obviously both with a strong “grass roots” approach to life, called me “King”!  I had to look around a few times to see who he was talking to …  He was talking to me.  I wished them a good day, thanked them and continued on with my day.  Still, I was pretty impressed.  Yet, just yesterday, I saw the “guy” who had referred to me as “Big John” followed by a sarcastic laugh!  He said, “Hey Mr. King …”  Once again, I was astonished but flattered that this character had “changed his tune” … so far!  “One never knows … do one!”  And I am cool with that … it’s just that most “kings” have subjects … but I don’t!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want any “subjects” … just a few friends might be fine at this point in my journey!!

Last night, I chatted with my friends from “El Puente/The Bridge”.  Nancy has scheduled a morning session with “Ivon”, the Bri Bri teen who takes individual English language studies with me, on Saturday.  I will be there though the “regular soup kitchen” will be closed for the month of May.  I am excited and looking forward to seeing Ivon, Barry and Nancy.  I have also gotten an invite to teach Spanish on Mondays at the “home school” setting in nearby Cocles to the younger group of students.  I debuted on Monday of this week, it was tough, but I got them to write a few pieces – poems and a short story during class … in Spanish!  The text is tough but if I study enough, I should be able to pull this off, too.  As the “Casa Azul” takes shape with some new, local-style throw rugs, a mask on the wall in the sitting room and a turtle shaped “coconut” decorative chime, as well as a “wind chime” hanging from the ceiling in the living/bedroom, I am feeling so much at “home” that I can’t imagine leaving here ….  I said it!  Yet, sometime during the summer, around my birthday in July, I plan to take a trip to Westchester County, New York to visit my parents and my oldest sister, Barbara Anne’s, grave site in the Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, NY.  I ask the “universe” for permission and assistance in this endeavor, too!

Have a wonderful Friday and an awesome weekend, y’all!

Peace and Love,

John I. Cook, Director



“Johnny Ace”, Geckos and Bats!!

Happy Friday, All!

You may recall what it means for me … I hope Fridays mean a little something special for you, too!  So, T.G.I.F.!!

It’s the weekend and things seem to be coming together for me.  I have been able to add a few cushions to these hard wood benches in my place and am looking for a few simple wall pieces, but not paintings or pictures.  Something more natural like this “museum” of a house that I am renting!!  Even the kitchen cabinets as well as a cabinet in the bathroom, both made of wood, have carvings done simply but by hand.  Yesterday morning, I climbed a wall ladder to the “attic”, which is on the opposite side of the third floor of the second bedroom.  I swept it as it was full of “gecko” droppings and I was agile enough not to fall or trip while up there sweeping.  After putting the droppings in a trash bag, tying it up and tossing it down to the second floor, I also tossed the broom and trash receptor to the floor.  I “heard” that gecko droppings are toxic but I also learned that the geckos catch and eat insects, spiders, roaches and ants included.  Some of them watch me, taunt and play with me as they run across the balcony, escaping my reach!!  I welcome them as part of the ecosystem in “jungle life”!

Most of the readers know that I had traveled to Europe last year mostly in search of a place to retire that I can afford without working, and perhaps seek residency.  It was impossible, pretty much, as countries in the European Union don’t seem to respect nor want “Americans” in their countries.  The same goes for #45 in many places.  Shucks, at a hostel in Paris, I got told by a black guy from England that I was “running away”!!  I kept that conversation short and succinct and told the “brother” that he didn’t know me NOR what he was talking about!!  After I got a few phone calls to the room we shared with five other people, he agreed.  I had had a “double charge” from a hostel in Amsterdam and had to open a dispute with Bank of America while in Paris.  I also had to borrow about $100.00 and only one person was able to “come through” – “Johnny Ace” from Ft. Lauderdale!!  The thing is, he still helps me out with a loan from time to time.  Until now, I was paying taxes on my pension.  Now, I don’t have to file taxes as my only income is my pension.  I am extremely grateful for his help, over and over.  Thanks, “Ace”!  I couldn’t have made it without your help.

When one lives in an older house, it is possible to have bats around … maybe even in the “attic”.  We had bats in the Winbrook Projects where I grew up in White Plains and were accustomed to seeing them flying around the very large trees that doted (dotted … I like “doted”!) the property.  Here in Puerto Viejo, it seems that they are common.  The guy from France who oversaw the building of the upstairs bedroom in this house, including the wooden spiral stairwell up to the bedroom, told me that he suspected that there were bats in the roof of the house.  I hadn’t seen not even one … until two weeks ago when I had guests over for dinner.  While the guests were on the balcony, I was in the kitchen finishing up some spaghetti and I saw something moving near the kitchen ceiling in the corner.  It was a bat.  But, it was so cool!  I encouraged it to come down with my walking stick as I nudged it gently.  It went back into a little hole where it had been hiding.  Finally, I tapped it with the cane as it stuck its head out.  It flew across the kitchen and onto the kitchen window curtains.  I was cool, too.  I tapped it again and it seemed to faint and fall lifeless.  While it was in that state, I took a kerchief and draped it over its limp body, picked it up in my hand and tossed it out the second floor front door.  I saw it once since then, as it took flight from my bedroom wall, which is made of wood planks!

There is never a dull moment out here in Puerto Viejo, between the jungle life of all the animals, birds, trees and fish (did I forget the “howling monkeys”?).  I think I like it here.  I continue to make progress on the third manuscript.  It’s like a writer’s paradise out here!  Thank you “universe”!  I will make good on your blessings!

Enjoy your weekends, Folks!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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