Browse Category: General & Random Thoughts

General thoughts and randomness of the Sunny Global Diva…

This Man Patrick.

**Note** March 15, 2011: This is a post I had put out when I first started my blog in early 2010. I’ve decided to re-post it for its upcoming relevance. Have a pleasant 17th of March!

Every March 17th, masses of people celebrate “Saint Patrick’s Day.” It’s a day for wild boozin’, pub-hopping and partying in the streets. Oh, and the color green. But was the 17th always the Guinness-filled day that it is today? I enjoy holiday celebrations as much as the next person, but I’m  more intrigued by the meanings and history behind them.

This ‘Patrick’ whom we celebrate so raucously every mid-March was a man who knew a thing or two about suffering during the course of his lifetime. Though he was born to wealthy Roman citizens of Britain, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders. They brought him to Ireland and made him a slave at the age of sixteen. He became very introverted, generally retreating from people and spending most of his time herding animals. Christian since birth, he became extremely devout during this trying time in his life.

After six years as a slave, he escaped from his captors, managing not only to find passage back to Britain, but also to be reunited with his family. He claims to have had a dream that inspired him to return to Ireland to minister to the Irish people. He stayed in Britain to become ordained as a priest and eventually as a bishop, a path of religious training that took over fifteen years. He went back to Ireland and spent the rest of his years in poverty, preaching the Gospel, building Churches, converting many people to Christianity, and traveling extensively. On March 17 of the year 461 (the year is debated, but most scholars settle on 461 AD give or take a few), this determined man’s heart gave out on the Emerald Isle.

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Giant Snails for Lunch, Anyone?

An African Land Snail

Well, Florida’s always sending out its share of ultra-bizarre stories. So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that this week, a guy from Miami got in trouble for feeding raw snail goo to his followers. Yup, that’s right. The Miami Herald reports that allegedly this guy in Hialeah went on a trip and brought back some giant East African snails in his suitcase. Highly illegal? Check. These snails in particular, a member of the Achatina fulica species, are especially invasive—they’re known to ravage several hundred species of plants (including citrus), and they even like to munch on our plaster and stucco walls. Oh, and they reproduce like mad—roughly 200 eggs at a time, five or six times a year.

According to the Miami Herald story, this Miami guy is a sort of religious leader who says he practices a traditional African religion. He claims that in his religion it is customary to drink snail juice to cure ills. Unfortunately for him, in Hialeah drinking raw snail juice seems to be having the opposite effect—apparently his followers have been getting extremely sick, have been losing a ton of weight and have been noticing lumps on their stomachs. Grossness factor? 10 to the 10th power.

I’ll bet $100 that 99.9% of the people who got sick off this stuff would never order Escargot off a menu. But they were fine with hanging out in a man’s backyard in Hialeah and believing that drinking raw snail mucus would help them feel better. Raw. Snail. Mucus. Backyard in Hialeah.

All jokes aside, I’d like to wish the folks involved a speedy recovery. It can’t be fun dealing with mystery tummy ailments–lumps on the stomach, good God, what’s that about–so I hope their doctors figure out what’s wrong and get them better soon. And for any Floridians reading this, if you see giant African snails walking around, please call the Florida Department of Agriculture at 1-888-397-1517 and report it. The authorities don’t consider these snails a nuisance—they take their presence and any threat of infestation quite seriously. For more extensive and helpful information about the giant African snail in Florida, please check out this good article from the Orlando Sentinel.

On driving…


Car Wrecked

It’s not a figment of the imagination—drivers really have gotten worse over the years. Of course, the sheer number of drivers on the road these days has drastically increased over the last half-century, so bad vehicular behavior is bound to rear its ugly head quite often.

But while bad driving exists everywhere, it’s reached special heights in South Florida. Down here, the extent of personal interpretation of traffic law knows no bounds. And not only do we have our own badass American drivers, we also happily host badass drivers from all over the hemisphere who bring their own sense of surprise and adventure to I-95 and our local roads every day.

I decided to hammer out my own little list that can help you identify…

Ten Traffic Occurrences That Let You Know You’re on a South Florida Road:

1 – The driver in front of you sees that bright yellow ‘Yield’ sign, but to him, it’s just a way to bring in a nice sunny shade of yellow to an otherwise bland gray and black street, so he ignores it.

2 – The driver next to you is drifting into your lane. You take a look into the car to see who would dare do such a thing and realize that she’s drifting into your lane because she’s texting.

3 – You’re in the left lane and need to move over into the right lane. So you turn on your Right signal. As soon as you do this, the driver behind you at the 5:00 angle speeds up to make sure it’s impossible for you to move over.

4 – The driver across from you at the 4-way stop slows down and drives through the stop sign at 25-30 miles per hour because those red signs are actually just a formality letting drivers know that they ought to slow down.

5 – You’ve got a migraine, but the driver next to you wants to help you take your mind off it. So he turns the volume way up on his subwoofer. He figures the bass will rattle your car enough to soothingly vibrate your body. Screw the melody, the rest of the instrumentation, the lyrics and the voice—you only like that song cuz of the bass anyway.

6 – Watch the lady on your left at the next intersection; she’s worried about taking her turn too sharply, so before she turns left, she’s going to swing out to the right. Yes, right into your lane.

7 – You’re on a major road, and there’s a driver in front of you who’s going to be making a right turn. She’s going to decelerate to roughly, oh, zero miles per hour first, hence making a full stop on this busy street. If you pass her by on the left and turn towards her, you’ll see that she’s just one of our many 108-year-old Floridians who still manage to get their drivers licenses renewed every year!

8 – Move over to the right to avoid driving over that dead rooster in the middle of the road. This is very, very, very much a South Florida/Caribbean thing. Google, and you’ll understand.

9 – You’re trying to exit a parking lot, and there’s a beat-up two-door Honda Civic just next to you blocking your view. I know, I know—it’s totally annoying that you can’t see through the tinted-completely-black windows of that old car, but just think how exciting—it could be Johnny Depp or Lady Gaga right next to you! After all, only high profile celebrities tint their windows that dark!

10 – Yes, those two cars on the road in front of you are maneuvering rather erratically. Why, you ask? Butt out and give them their space—those drivers are old friends who haven’t seen each other in over a year, and they’re catching up on old times.

Got some more of your own to add to this list? Please feel free to comment below!

Concerning friendships…


Starting out on a little sidenote–there are some websites and blogs that I follow regularly—GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow’s site being one of them. gets an unfair share of harsh criticism in my opinion. Seriously, why all the hate? I enjoy the little entries on lifestyle, health and travel. It’s funny how so many people worship, *cough cough*, er, I mean “follow” celebrities and glorify their silly behavior, their alcohol-and-drug-infused crazy spells, and their extravagant spending. Then a celebrity decides to create a website with some pleasant articles that contain useful information like recipes, workout tips and advice, and this is the celebrity that gets bashed. Something’s wrong with this picture!

But I digress, lovely readers. I decided to bring up GOOP because I recently found what has become my favorite article ever about friendship. On Ms. Paltrow’s site, which also sends its articles in newsletter form to subscribers, there was a recent entry titled “Friendship Divorce.” The following question is at the top of the page:

“What do you do when you realize that although you may have years of history, and found real value in each other in times past, that you kind of don’t like a friend anymore? That, after time spent with this person, you feel drained, empty, belittled or insulted. My father always used to tell me that, ‘you can’t make new old friends.’ How do you distinguish if someone in your life makes you change for the better or if you are better off without them?”

What follows is an engaging series of enlightening responses from scholars, authors and psychologists sharing their thoughts on friendships and the way friendships change over time, how one can tell whether a friendship is worth saving, and how one goes about defining “true friends.”

I love love LOVE this article because it addresses one of the most relevant topics in our lives. This everyday miracle we call friendship—this strangely absurd art of coming into contact with one of the 7 billion people on the planet and sacredly keeping this contact over time and distance—often causes as much heartache and headache as it does joy.

I’ve always put a high value on amiability; I’ve spent a lifetime going out of my way to remain likable, even to people who didn’t like me. I used to put all kinds of effort into friendships long after they stopped being of any benefit, much less enjoyment.

A few years ago, a co-worker shared this quote with me: ‘People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.’ The quote didn’t mean as much to me then as it does now. I used to feel a tremendous sense of guilt and loss whenever a friendship fizzled out or died. Now I understand that it’s no biggie, that it’s only natural. All living, breathing things have a life cycle. I now think of friendship as its own living and breathing organism—one that needs nourishment at times, one that is capable of having a long and healthful lifespan, and sometimes one that can become quite disease-ridden.

I used to keep dying friendships on lifesupport at all costs for as long as I could. Nobody likes a funeral. But where’s the quality of life in that? What’s the purpose of the friendship at that point? Let it go with its dignity in tact. Its death doesn’t render its life meaningless. That friendship was a part of your life for a reason; he or she brought you joy at one point. Be confident that you took from each other whatever it is you were meant to take from each other, and move on.

So that said, I vow to be the best friend that I can be. I’ll still be nice and amiable because I don’t know how to be any other way with my friends. If I ever sense weird red flags about any of my friendships, I’ll study the relationship inside and out with a critical, but loving eye. And I mean that with all my heart.

On the (Loop) Road Again…

The car on the Loop

Hey friendly readers!

I’m still reeling from my incredibly fun weekend in the Everglades. Being from Miami, I grew up with a deep love for this unique delicate ecosystem. I’ve gone on wonderful camping trips and day trips in the Everglades. It’s a happy place for me, being that I’m generally obsessed with bodies of water and life within them; water and life–the Glades have got plenty of both.

This day trip into the ‘Glades started out as a mission to show my husband my favorite parts of this amazing place. We live in Broward County, and sometimes we like to hop in the car and cruise along I-75 North towards Naples, a stretch of highway also known as ‘Alligator Alley’. When you take this road north and west, you’ll find yourself eventually surrounded by wide open water with sawgrass. You’ll see some gators hanging out along the way too. Makes for a nice enough scenic drive.

I love the  Big Cypress National Preserve within the Everglades. So many mangroves are visible, so much wildlife, very diverse flora and fauna. So Sunday morning, my crew of 6—myself, the husband, the mother, the sisters, and the nephew—piled up in my car and off we went.

We took the Tamiami Trail directly west until South Miami suburb developments gave way to little gator-wrestling stops and small roadside food joints. It’s a different world out there. We headed to the Loop Road, a 27-mile scenic drive and managed to see plenty of good stuff out there, thanks to the sunny, cold dry weather (the best time for gator-watching in Florida).

Gator Head CloseUp
A cheeky gator flashes us some pearly whites along the road.

I love the Loop Road, but hadn’t been on it in a couple of years. Got there, and found out that a big portion of the Loop is in awful shape. In all fairness, I will admit that there was a “Local Traffic Only” sign partially blocking that portion of the Loop. I reasoned that I’m a local and drove right past it. What I got was a LONG uneven wet mess of giant potholes–much of the road is partially washed out. It’s still lovely to be surrounded on either side by all kinds of wetlands. I loved every minute of it. My fam loved the bumpiness (we’re used to bad roads in Haiti, so this brought back fond memories), especially my five-year-old nephew. It took hours to drive the road because of its condition; my back did not thank me the next day.

**After coming home, I looked up whether anything had been reported about the current state of the dirt/gravel portion of the Loop and came across this message on the government’s Big Cypress Preserve page:

the portion of Loop Road south of the Gator Hook Strand site and west of the Loop Road Education Center will be closed to vehicle traffic. This closure does not apply to landowners and their guests. The closure is warranted due to water over topping the roadbed creating the potential for unsafe driving conditions. This portion of the road is gravel, and the combination of water over the roadway, and vehicle traffic has washed away road materials, leaving deep pockets in some areas of the roadway. The paved portion of the road located west of the Preserve boundary and east of the Loop Road Education Center remains under a travelers advisory. If travel along the road is necessary, the use of a high clearance vehicle is strongly suggested.”

Oops. Well, luckily my car’s got good ground clearance; I will research beforehand next time.

We saw lots of beautiful bare trees, nice ponds and fields, pretty flowers, and a rustic human outpost or two.

Old Station Big Cypress Fields Black Bird

The pics in this post are some lovely pics that my wonderful husband snapped during our day of adventure. If you don’t spend time in the Everglades, I urge you to go. It’s a magical place, and works its way quickly into your heart. I will never miss the opportunity to remind myself and others how blessed we are to have this unique ecosystem here in our backyard. There’s no place like it in the world.

Pond with Trees

Gator in Water

A Sunny Good Morning!

Hello friends and readers, welcome to the Sunny Global Diva blog, a spot on the internet where I can combine a bunch of my favorite random topics.

Why blog? Just because I love to do it, and it’s a way to connect with loved ones, friends and people I don’t know. People fascinate me with their interests and choices. So I figure my interests and choices will be of interest to at least one other human being on this planet. Maybe even five or ten other human beings.

So I hope you enjoy and that you keep on reading! I’ll be writing about lots of different stuff that interests me, and that I think would be of interest to you. I gladly welcome comments below my posts, and please feel free to ask me questions at .

A Sunny Good Morning!

Hello friends and readers, welcome to the Sunny Global Diva blog, a spot on the internet where I can combine a bunch of my favorite random topics.

Why blog? Just because I love to do it, and it’s a way to connect with loved ones, friends and people I don’t know. People fascinate me with their interests and choices. So I figure my interests and choices will be of interest to at least one other human being on this planet. Maybe even five or ten other human beings.

So I hope you enjoy and that you keep on reading! I’ll be writing about lots of different stuff that interests me, and that I think would be of interest to you. I gladly welcome comments below my posts, and please feel free to ask me questions at .