not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh, Sweet Oeste.

Oct. 30th 2009 8:48 pm

No sleep but that’s okay. Ended up making friends with the two people sharing the row with me on the airplane and talked talked talked. It just amazes me at how small the world is. Anyways, I managed to get about 20 minutes of shut eye before the flight attendant announced that our 4 hour flight was now arriving in San Jose. Go figure. Breezed through immigration, grabbed my bags, and then through customs. My several heavy bags and I were on our way out of the airport, with some much-appreciate-assistance from my new friend Leo, and as soon as we cleared the mass of Tico’s yelling TAXI TAXI TAXI, I saw Mike’s white-surf mobile approaching! RIGHT on time!! He almost got us killed within minutes of entering the car, and after the huge mack truck missed us by the inch he just looked at me and said “ha, welcome back to costa rica”. Jesus mary and joesph. Took us a while to get back to town, but we pulled into Esterillos Oeste a little before 5. The waves were looking super fun and the beers were cold. I opted to take it easy and save the surf session for tomorrow. I had some chili @ Soda Mary, compliments of mr BRETT, had some beers with the esterillos crew @ the wonderful EL VAGO, was serenaded with a few songs by Channon and then headed back for some shut eye. I’m posted up at Adam’s place until Pat and I leave for Ecuador, and he will be storing my board and such for me while I’m gone. Hooray for all the good friends and family I have here in Oeste. As Brett said when I stepped into Soda Mary “Welcome Home”. It’s going to be a good winter.

October 31st 2009 9:41 am

HAPPY HALLOWEEN. It’s friggin hot out!! Woohooo, so glad that I am able to say that. Anyways…went to bed by 9pm last night . Woke up at 5:30 this morning to the sun shining bright, tried to sleep for about another hour – and then got up to have breakfast at the house with Maria, Adam and Pat. We made French toast with some bananas on top, scrambled eggs, and fresh pineapple. Down @ Soda Mary now hanging with Brett, blogging away and getting ready for my first surf this year!!!! Can’t wait. The water is beautiful and the waves are perfect, about chest high and clean. Pura Vida.

Friday, October 30, 2009

LIVE from Charlotte International Airport!

The journey begins…

Friday, October 30th, 2009 4:45am

Yesterday Shawn and I drove up to North Jersey in the Ford Fuckus…which is barely holding on. It rattled and shaked, but got us and my 9 foot-double-board-bag to Greek Delights all in one piece. We inhaled a basket of warm pita bread and hummus as we waited for Raksha, Kim and Gina. Shawn treated all of us ladies to a seriously delicious, seriously huge Greek feast and then stuffed-beyond-belief, we all cruised back to Raksha & Kim’s apartment. We unloaded my heavy bags, said goodbye to my man, and then us ladies opened a bottle of wine and started on the chitchat. We ranted and raved and laughed…it has been too long since I’ve hung out with my good north jersian-friends. Rocky and I were deep in conversation about Hinduism, praying, Yoga, chai tea, the Ramayan and more…so she hooked me up with some fabulous incense and an incense holder that her mom had brought back for her from India…MORE stuff to add to my luggage, but obviously something that I absolutely cannot be without! We finally laid down to sleep around 12 midnight, with my alarm set for 3am. I always share the bed with Raksha when I visit and when I went to hop into bed this time I literally slid right off…silk sheets! Holy mackeral – of the two hours I spent “sleeping”, I feel like 80% of that time was really spent on holding on for dear life, afraid I’d fall off the bed again! By 2am I knew that there was no sleep to be had. I was excited and anxious and sad and overwhelmed. Did I pack everything I needed? Did I pack stuff that I didn’t need? I hope that I set my alarm…Did I set my alarm…I better check! And it finally really hit me that I was going. It wasn’t until that moment at 2am that reality began to sink in and I felt a million emotions all at once. I missed my parents already, and Shawn and Maude and my home. I got sad for the reality that I would be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas and my birthday without them. Now, sitting at the airport, I’ve cut the cry-baby crap and I’m back on the adventure horse, but there’s still a twinge of sadness for months spent without my parents. But life goes on, and lucky me, or should I say lucky YOU, I’m traveling with my LAPTOP so I can start rambling on whenever the urge hits, and I won’t have to worry that my pen can’t keep up with my thoughts! Blog Blog Blog…here I come Costa Rica! Rambling and ready as ever.

Friday, October 30th, 2009 8:38 AM – Charlotte International Airport

Yeppers…I’m on the internet, at the airport, and it’s not costing me $5 a minute! I was pretty bent after getting off my flight, finding out that there is a 3hour period between my connecting and the flight to Costa, and then spending $14 @ Starbucks on a water, an Odwalla juice, and a latte. But as I looked around I noticed everyone in the airport on laptops…and I noticed that they were on the INTERNET! It had to be too good to be true, but it’s not…Charlotte’s airport offers “complimentary” wireless. Not only that, but they also have rocking chairs! Hoooray hooooray hoooooray, what better way to kill three hours than on the internet, while rocking back and forth! The flight here was pretty rough and I didn’t get much shut eye. I think that I spent the whole flight here just being baffled at how rude and ignorant people are…and it made me wonder, does traveling bring these qualities out of people, or is this just the attitude of the general population? Anyways…fighting off my wicked ear infection {go figure!} with this $4 packet of Tylenol, and washing it down with my $5 latte…am I in Costa yet?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ecuador Itinerary.

No - I don't plan to stick to a stick itinerary...BUT I do believe that it is very important to have somewhat of a game-plan. Pat and I came up with what was important for us to see and experience in Ecuador and came up with this {flexible} "schedule of events":

Sun Nov 1: Arrive in Quito @ 1:45pm

Mon Nov 2: "Dia de los Difuntos"...festivities in Quito.

Tue Nov 3: AMAZON: Cuyabeno Jungle Lodge
Wed Nov 4:
AMAZON: Cuyabeno Jungle Lodge
Thr Nov 5: AMAZON: Cuyabeno Jungle Lodge
Fri Nov 6: AMAZON: Leave Cuyabeno in afternoon, arrive in Latacunga in evening.

Sat Nov 7: LATACUNGA: La Mama Negra Festival.

Sun Nov 8: TENA: white water rafting!!

Mon Nov 9:
Tena to BANOS...spend the day cruising around, soaking in outdoor thermal baths, and maybe hitting up one of their glorious and cheap SPAS.

Tue Nov 10:
BANOS: Horse riding in AM. Bike ride Banos to Puyo. Avenue of Volcanoes.

Wed Nov 11: Beach Town: Montanita.

Thr Nov 12: Beach Town: Salinas

Fri Nov 13: Beach town. Arrive in Guayaquil by nightfall.

Sat Nov 14: Leave from GUAYAQUIL in AM for Galapagos.
************Galapagos Galapagos Galapagos
Sat Nov 21: Arrive in Quito from Galapagos.
*Saturday is the best day for the market in OTAVALO. Take bus from Quito to Otavalo and spend day in the town. Also visit El Lechero, a "magical tree" thats 4km from the market.

Sun Nov 22: Return to Quito via bus in the AM in time to ride bikes {9am to 3pm} when the town streets are blocked off...maybe even hit up the cloud forests in Mindo.

Mon Nov 23: Last day in Ecuador: our flight departs Quito @ 2:30pm

Again, a very loose itinerary - but a fun one none-the-less. My bags are packed, I'm ready to go...15 hours til I'm at Newark Airport!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I told the doctor that I was going to Ecuador for 3.5 weeks. I left with three shots in my right arm, one in my left, and two prescriptions for 2 different types of malaria {one for ecuador, one for costa}. The right arm received typhoid fever, influenza, and yellow fever {yellow fever being the only one that is MANDATORY}. The left arm received hepatitis A. Well, a day later and 500$ short, I have sore arms and an empty wallet. I went to the pharmacy to pick up birth control, a general antibiotic, and my 2 types of oral malaria medicine...and also a razor and some deodorant. The woman said $800. I laughed. She surely was joking...$800 is more than enough for me to LIVE in costa rica for a whole month!! That's rent, food and fun - for ONE full month! Holy christ. Turns out that the pharmacist was NOT joking, my bill was literally $800. SO, I said fuck that. I've been in Costa Rica many times and never have I taken malaria medicine. Cutting that out cut my bill down to $500...still wayyyyyyy more than I wanted to spend but shit, what are you gonna do. Bah.

SO I come.
Fully vaccinated, and slightly broke...
and ready to have the best time of my life!

Friday, October 23, 2009


NO...I'm not going to Australia, I'm talking about the movie Australia starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. My dad loves this movie - and as with all movies that he loves, he has no problem watching them over, and over and over again. And you know what, despite it's pretty rotten reviews - I love it too. It has action, adventure, romance and Hugh Jackman... and I love the way that it was filmed. Well, we were watching it again yesterday and one of Drovers' {aka Jackman} quotes stuck out:

Most people like to own things, land, luggage... it makes them feel secure. But all that can be taken away and in the end, the only thing you really own is your story. I'm just trying to live a good one.

CHEERS to living a GOOD STORY!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cuyabeno River Lodge

The Cuyabeno River Lodge. Pat and I will be here for 4 days, 3 nights within the next two weeks! It's hard for me to wrap my head around...I'm leaving in one week! I've been trying to figure out what I'm packing, as well as trying to come up with some kind of loose "itinerary" with Pat as to what we want to do. We're both trying to just be free birds and not be a slave to a strict schedule, but it's definitely good to have some kind of route and game plan. We decided to each come up with our TOP 5: Places/Things that we MUST do while in Ecuador. We both are dead set on the Galapagos...we've already booked our boat, the Sulidae, to occupy our third and final week in Ecuador. We also are set on the Cuyabeno River Lodge, pictured above, to travel the amazing Amazon. Aside from that, these are Pat's top five:

1 - Otavalo {world famous market}

2 - From Latacunga - the Quilotoa Loop

3 - Banos - a horseback ride plus the bike ride from Banos to Puyo

4 - Tena - whitewater rafting

5 - The coast - Manta fish market and wooden boat yard all the way down to Salinas

I am 100% excited about Pat's top 5...I really can't wait to go to la Mama Negra festival in Latacunga!

The Exuberant Festival of La Mama

Festival of La Mama Negra, which takes place in the town of Latacunga in Ecuadorevent that embraces the widely divergent traditions and cultures of the local inhabitants’ origins – Spanish, Aymaran, Incan, Mayan and African. at the end of September and again during the week of 11 November, is a fascinating and colorful cultural

Latacunga was colonized for its rich mineral resources by the Spanish and the native inhabitants were “encouraged” to convert to Catholicism. This mass conversion was not entirely pure and indigenous elements were blended into the Catholic religion. The Spanish conquerors brought along with them slaves from Bolivia, Guatemala and Africa and these slaves added their own traditions and beliefs to the melting pot of religion in the area.

The origins of the festival of La Mama Negra are a little obscure, but the general consensus is that the festival was established when the Cotopaxi volcano erupted in 1742 and it seemed that Latacunga would be destroyed. The locals of the region petitioned the Virgin of Mercy, the patron of Cotopaxi, to spare Latacunga. When the town escaped the wrath of the volcano, an annual celebration was set in place in her honor. At around the time of this volcanic eruption, African slaves were brought into the area to work in the mines. These black slaves made a huge impression on the local inhabitants, who incorporated their arrival into the festival of La Mama Negra – the Black Mother.

The Festival of La Mama Negra includes a noisy, exuberant parade of characters such as the Moorish King, the Angel of the Stars and Los Huacos who represents the area’s pre-Colombian heritage. More recent additions to the festivities are the Camisonas – colorful transvestites. Dancers, musicians and marching bands all join in the parade, which culminates in the arrival, on horseback, of La Mama Negra - a representation of the Virgin combined with African deities. La Mama Negra, in an elaborate costume and bearing dolls to represent her children, happily sprays milk and water on the spectators, supposedly for their well-being. Candy and wine containers are also tossed into the crowds, keeping the party atmosphere going into the night.

If you have plans to travel to the beautiful country of Ecuador, try and incorporate a visit to the interesting town of Latacunga at the time of the festival of La Mama Negra. You will be in for an experience you are unlikely to forget.

I'm so excited that I could BURST.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bag of Songs.

The other night Christian and I headed up to Philly to be a part of Bag of Songs 3rd Anniversary Show @ JD McGillicuddy's {on 7th, next to the Electric Factory}. There were three other bands on the bill and all in all it was a showcasing of some great musicians! The one band that I REALLY REALLY loved was NYC based TALL TALL TREES. If you have an opportunity to see these guys NOT miss it. The lead singer plays banjo...but banjo like you've never seen it before. He used a pedal, a bow {like violinist use}, and was just an animal. Also, he looked kinda like Sam Beam from Iron & Wine, so I automatically liked him. Ha. Next was the equally talented lead guitarist. Bah. Just shredding. The bass player was spot on and holding everything together so beautiful - and their drummer, *sigh*, their drummer was kick-ass. I've said many times before that a band is only as good as their drummer...they have such a presence and they 'pull' it all together. Just a rocking bluegrass-esque band. You can buy their cd here:, their facebook page is here:, their myspace page:

Tall Tall Trees: from left, guitarist, drummer, banjo/singerman {missing bassist}

Also, be sure to check out Bag of Songs music review site:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

...and more rain.

SO, woke up in NYC - kicked it in Emilia's apartment, then braved the freezing ass cold to eat some dumplings for breakfast. Actually, I ended up having the sesame pancake filled with julienned carrots, cucumber, and cilantro {this was a whopping $1.50} and then an order of fried pork buns {3 to an order, for $1}. So, after my $2.50 breakfast at Vanessa's Dumpings {118 Eldridge St} I walked a few blocks over to ORO Cafe where Em said that I could enjoy a great beverage and a mellow atmosphere. Well, my small latte was $3.50. HA. It was good, but I was a bit thrown off by it costing more than my large plate of {delicious} food @ Vanessa's. I could have gotten a cup of joe for $2, but regular old joe hasn't been cutting it for me lately...I've been lovin the lattes >> side note: dunkin donuts has some pretty kick-ass lattes...and most of the DD's in south jersey are having a special on them, $0.99 for a small latte! << Anyways, met up with Gina @ the American Folk Art Museum around lunchtime and then met up with my beautiful Norwegian, MAJA. Maja is twice my height, blonde and BEAUTIFUL. We met in Dominical, Costa Rica a few years ago and her, Mari {her stunning Norwegian friend whom I also became great friends with}and I lived together for about a month.
Crazy Bob, Maja, Mari and Me. Costa Rica 2007.

Maja is currently residing in NYC, interning in the fashion industry. She's been in town since September and will sticking around until mid-November, when she says she plans to visit me in COSTA RICA!! Woohooo. Love her, Love Costa. SO - her, Gina and I chatted away and sipped some Starbucks {I had a latte, surprise surprise...}. We said our farewells, G and I hopped the train back to Montclair, and then once in town we posted up at Rustica Trattoria for dinner. YUM. We both had pasta which was delightful and we split a bottle of wine that I had brought up from Natali - their BLUEBERRY wine: not too sweet...just right. I hugged Gina fifty times and told her that I loved her a hundred times, then I was on the road and back to South Jersey -- but NOT to my apartment. No, my apartment was underwater. Actually, today is Sunday - the 4th day that we've been out of our apartment and that it has been more of an aquarium than a home. I stopped by yesterday at low tide to gather the last of my things, and I was shocked to see that there was still an inch of water throughout the apartment, with mud on the floor and marsh grass floating around. What a shithole. I definitely won't be staying there again before I leave, and Shawn is currently trying to find somewhere to set up camp until he leaves for Florida in November. As of this moment Shawn, Maude and me are camping out at my parents house! Talk about a full house. Holy christ.

Did I mention that it's freezing out?

I think it's time to head south...only 1.5 more weeks until I'm outta here. Hasta Luego.

Friday, October 16, 2009

G'Damn Life is Good.

It all began at the vineyard.

I woke up Wednesday morning and headed to the vineyard. The air was crisp and the sun was reluctant to shine, but there were still 10 pickers who rallied to do their part. We cut grapes for 3 hours, shot the shit, then headed in for a delicious lunch cooked by the Natali Vineyards owner, Ray. Grilled chicken breasts that were stuffed with fontina cheese, spinach and pine nuts - grilled vegetables, grilled potatoes, good bread, and LOTS of wine. We drank and drank and ate and ate and laughed and laughed. Chuck, one of the vineyard guys, busted out some of his homemade "Monkey Shine" which really put us all over the edge.

Chuck is pretty cool and always experimenting with wine. He tried to make a banana wine which kinda flubbed, so he saved it by adding a few bottles of the liqour 99 Bananas, and poof - MONKEY SHINE was born. Goes to easy and puts a big smile on your face.

Stabley dropped me off at home...I drank some coffee, packed my bags, and then I was in the car and off to North Jersey - my old stomping grounds. I met Gina at GREEK DELIGHTS {i mean, OBVIOUSLY, its always the first place I go to when I pull into town.} Paco hooked us up with a kickass greek salad, hummus, extra pitas, spanakopita, and Chicken & Lamb grilled shiskabobs with tzatziki on the side. All of this for $26! We ate and ate and drank the bottle of wine I 'earned' while picking earlier that day. Afterwards we headed back to Gina's house to get some shut eye. In the morning we woke up and Gina made me "ghost" pancakes...because she's just so damn cute like that!!! Her Mom packed me a brown lunch bag full of snacks, because she's just so damn cute like that, and we were off to Montclair. G had to go to work, and it was POURING rain and beginning to snow- so my plan to spend the day walking around NYC were kinda shot. Therefore I visited some old friends in town and spent the day just relaxing and catching up. Took the train in around dinner time and met Miss Emily Corkill @ Momofuku. There are 3 different Momofuku's in the city, and we went to the Noodle Bar. It's located on 171 First Ave between 10th and 11th. It had a good vibe, delicious food and yummy drinks. As for the bill, well - it was no Dollar Dumplings, but Emily and I left full and happy with a $70 tab. We started with Dark & Stormy Slushies which were just UH<>

Em and Me, sucking down Dark & Stormies.

Here's a bit bout Momofuku:

q: what does momofuku mean?
a: lucky peach

q: what kind of cuisine is it?
a: we try and serve delicious american food.

"ethnic crossovers also occur when distinct elements meet in a single recipe.
This country is, after all, a huge melting pot. why should its cooking not illustrate
the american transformation of diversity into unity?" - wolfgang puck.

q: how often does the menu change?
a: daily.

q: where do your ingredients come from?
a: we use local farms with sustainable practices for as much as possible.

q: are there desserts available?
a: yes, we have house made soft serve ice cream.

We left the warmth of the restaurant for the freezing, rainy cold streets of NYC. Stuffed, cold and having to pee-like-a-race-horse {I drank 50 glasses of water, trying to cool my mouth down after eating their DELICIOUS by oh-so-hot spicy noodles}, we opted to take a cab home. Hooray! We put on PJ's, cuddled up on the couch, drank sparkling Malbec, watched TV and Emmy painted my nails. Sleep.

This morning Emilila has left for work, she's a slave to the advertising industry, and I am sitting in her toasty apartment...blogging away and scheming my next move. Gina is headed into the city to meet me, and in the meantime I think I will head to Vanessas "Dollar" Dumplings and have some fried pork dumplings for breakfast....MmMmMm, breakfast of champions. G'damn, life is good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I've slowly begun to pack my bags for the next 6 months....setting aside the necessities and scheming to the best of my abilities, hopeful that I will have all that I need. Last night my mom gave me a little book, "I Believe In You", filled with tidbits of wisdom and inspiring quotes. The first one is oh-so-relevant:

"What do you pack to pursue a dream,
and what do you leave behind?"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Natali Vineyards

Let me tell you about Natali Vineyards: Basically you go to the vineyard {its right on 47 in Goshen, for you South Jersians}, they give you clippers and for 3 hours you cut grapes. It goes by pretty quickly and it's super fun...then they ring the "lunch" bell, you head in - and they serve you grilled chicken, grilled veggies {portabello mushrooms, onions, potatoes, zucchini, squash, eggplant, etc}, really good bread - and wine, of course! Also, you get "paid" with a bottle of wine - your choice. All in all its a fun way to spend a wednesday afternoon and you walk away with a great lunch and a nice bottle of wine.
This past Wednesday was my first time cutting at the vineyard, and it certainly won't be the last. We were assigned to the Trebbiano grapes. You cut the vine, pick off the 'bad' grapes, and then put the 'good' grapes into crates. At the end of the 3 hours, Sammy comes by and collects the grapes - which will be pressed the following day.

We had a great time, I met some amazing people, and got a nice mid-afternoon buzz on. So for anyone sitting around, get up off your ass and head to the vineyard!!! The grapes await you!

for more information:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The World At Large.

Last night I was really feeling the guitar. It's been a while since I was really in the mood to just play some music. SO, I started cruising the internet for tabs to some songs, and one that I came across was Modest Mouse's "The World At Large". I really enjoy playing songs in an acoustic nature that are really anything BUT that. Anyways, while I was working out The World At Large I actually read the lyrics. Modest Mouse is pretty epic at their songwriting, and every time that I listen to their songs there is always a line that jumps out at me -- something pretty profound. It's hard sometimes to catch ALL the lyrics though, and The World At Large is so wonderful that I wanted to share it with the rest of you. Personally, this song touched a spot within me -- change is just have to flow with it and float on.....

Ice-age heat wave, can't complain.
If the world's at large, why should I remain?
Walked away to another plan.
Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand.
I move on to another day, to a whole new town with a whole new way.
Went to the porch to have a thought.
Got to the door and again, I couldn't stop.
You don't know where and you don't know when.
But you still got your words and you got your friends.
Walk along to another day.
Work a little harder, work another way.

Well uh-uh baby I ain't got no plan.
We'll float on maybe would you understand?
Gonna float on maybe would you understand?
Well I'll float on maybe would you understand?

The days get shorter and the nights get cold.
I like the autumn but this place is getting old.
I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast.
It might not be a lot but I feel like I'm making the most.
The day's get longer and the nights smell green.
I guess it's not surprising but it's spring and I should leave.

I like songs about drifters - books about the same.
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane.
Walked on off to another spot.
I still haven't got anywhere that I want.
Did I want love? Did I need to know?
Why does it always feel like I'm caught in an undertow?

The moths beat themselves to death against the lights.
Adding their breeze to the summer nights.
Outside, water like air was great.
I didn't know what I had that day.
Walk a little farther to another plan.
You said that you did, but you didn't understand.

I know that starting over is not what life's all about.
But my thoughts were so loud, I couldn't hear my mouth.
My thoughts were so loud, I couldn't hear my mouth.
My thoughts were so loud.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Yesterday I had a hankering for some authentic LEMONADE. The craving always hits when the sun is shining bright and I'm feeling parched. Anyways, I was at the supermarket and picked up Newman's Own Old Fashioned Roadside Virgin Lemonade. Ingredients: Pure Filtered Water, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Lemon Pulp, Lemon Oil ... as it should be -- no "lemon flavor" or high fructose corn syrup. Not only was Newman's Lemonade a dollar cheaper than "Simply Lemonade" {which isn't simply lemonade...because it contained lemon flavor, coloring, and even more unnecessary stuff!} but with Newman's Own I know that I'm supporting a cause. Since 1982 over $270 million has been given to thousands of charities. But the cause that I love best is Newman's "Hole In The Wall" Camps For Children With Serious Illnesses, Laughter Is The Best Medicine. After Newman's passing I read a very touching article written by a woman who's son had attended one of these camps, and how it had affected her life and the happiness of her son. Here's a bit about the camp:

Our Mission

Hole in the Wall Camps is a nonprofit umbrella organization that serves a global family of camps for children with serious illnesses and life-threatening conditions as well as camps in formation. Since its founding in 1988, the family of Hole in the Wall Camps has provided more than 119,374 children with a camp experience, all free of charge.

The Association of The Hole in the Wall Camps is a not for profit umbrella organization set up to serve existing Hole in the Wall Camps as well as camps in formation. Our mission is to extend the magical Hole in the Wall Camp experience to as many children with serious illnesses and life-threatening conditions as possible.

Our Philosophy

The family of Hole in the Wall Camps provides children from all 50 United States and 39 countries worldwide who on a daily basis face challenges associated with serious illnesses, a respite from their day to day lives and into a carefree, fun environment. Throughout their time at camp, the children are encouraged to challenge themselves through camp activities, skill building projects and teamwork exercises. All of the camp activities are designed to allow full participation by the children despite their medical conditions and abilities. This program encourages children to achieve things they never thought possible, and leave camp with a sense of accomplishment.

All of the camps are free of charge and are staffed by a 24-hour, highly-trained medical team, a dedicated program staff and enthusiastic volunteers from all over the world.

Our Hole in the Wall Camps

Paul Newman and friends founded the first Hole in the Wall Camp in 1988 to allow children who have been cheated out of their childhood because of illness to regain a sense of self, a joy in life. As the need for summer camps specific to children living with serious medical conditions increased, so did Hole in the Wall Camps (HITWC). Today, the family of Hole in the Wall Camps is reaching children all over the world, with the idea that laughter is the best medicine.

Aside from the summer camp season, HITWC offer year-round programs that go above and beyond the traditional sessions, which include:
  • Family & sibling camps that allow the entire family to find comfort and support in other families facing similar situations
  • Bereavement camps that help families cope with the loss of a child
  • Reunion camps that bring former campers and staff together
  • Specialty camps, such as Double H’s adaptive ski program that offers exciting opportunities for children to experience new adventures
  • Hospital Outreach Programs designed to restore joy and laughter in the lives of children who are too ill to leave the hospital and attend camp

Paul applied his greatest commitment and derived his deepest satisfaction from his quiet work in philanthropy. He used his influence, gave of his financial resources, and personally volunteered to advance humanitarian and social causes around the world. He accomplished this with an uncanny ability to break new ground. In 1982, he founded Newman’s Own Inc., which was one of the first food companies to use all natural products. Today, Newman’s Own, Inc. is a successful food business of which all net royalties and profits after taxes are donated to thousands of charities worldwide through Newman’s Own Foundation. As of August 2009, over $280 million has been awarded to grantee recipients in all 50 states and in 31 countries around the world.

While Paul Newman was a Hollywood star of extraordinary celebrity and a person recognized for exceptional commitment and leadership for philanthropy, he lived his life as an ordinary person, which he always considered himself. He was a man of abundant good humor, generosity, and humility.

SO, next time you are at the supermarket, maybe spend a few extra cents to buy a brand with integrity...a brand that actually gives back, and asks for nothing in return. A side tidbit of why I love John Newman is because he was married to his wife, Joanne Woodward, for 50 years. When asked how he managed such a long marriage in Hollywood he said "Why fool around with hamburger, when I have steak at home?". Classic.

Alas, you cannot make it to the store to buy Newman's Own is my favorite at home recipe for some "CLOUDY LEMONADE"

4 cups chilled club soda or carbonated water/ water
2 whole unwaxed lemons, cut into eighths
1/4 cup superfine sugar
Ice cubes

Put the water, lemons, and sugar into a blender in two batches, and blitz until the lemon is pureed
Sieve the lemonade into a pitcher, pressing down into the sieve, then pour into tumblers filled with ice

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Zen and Finches.

"Feel great,
act great,
and be great."
--Yogi Tea, Green Chai teabag

Whirlwind. I feel like this past fun-filled, action-packed week in California happened in the blink of an eye. Last night I arrived back in Philly around midnight, and I was up this morning and riding my bike down the street to yoga. Right back into my south jers routine. Over the next few days I will blog about Cali, and post some more photos, but today I'm leaving you with this one. I just made myself some Green Chai tea, Yogi Tea brand, which I love because the little tags always have some wisdom written on them. Todays said "Feel great, act great, and be great"...and I think that just about sums up my life, and especially my trip to California. Here are my two friends, Sarah and Christina, getting ready for my yoga class in Cali. We held our sess out on the patio and let the tiny chirping Finches be our background music. It was such a beautiful morning, which led into a wonderful day. Namaste was great.