Oil Spill in North Hollywood Beach

*Written from my iPhone. Please excuse format and/or spelling.

This morning we drove to North Hollywood Beach Park to get away from the South Beach crowd. We really enjoyed ourselves: Seanna loved the waves, the sun wasn’t burning our skin like the day before, it was exactly what we were looking for:

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The beach was clean–or so we thought… After swimming around and playing in the sand I took a closer look at dark spots in the sand and noticed that there were blobs of oil (petroleum). It was sticky and would not come off. I got some stuck on my elbow and feet.

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I inquired with the lifeguard and he told me that the night before, a tanker spilled oil right off the coast. I asked him if he knew if it was safe to be in the water and he responded, nonchalantly, that he didn’t think so. I looked at the kids playing on the beach and then back at him. He read my thoughts. He then proceeded to tell me that the EPA had just arrived and that “someone was going to pay for this”. That didn’t calm my anger. How could they allow anyone at the beach if they knew this could be hazardous, specially to children?!? This was a government tax-payer funded park; not some random beach. We had to pay an admission fee to get in. Someone should have had a sign saying that there was oil on the beach or better yet, close the beach!

Needless to say, we left. But by then we had been there for at least 5 hours, running, playing and bathing. This is so upsetting.

Here’s the link to the video I took. I couldn’t embed it from my iPhone.

Bahamas Shark Dive

This is Part II of Our 2 year Anniversary vacation to the Bahamas. Read Part I here

On our third dive, we had an awesome experience.  We went diving with sharks.  We witnessed a shark feeding and rubbed shoulder-to-fins with these amazing predators of the deep.  There were no cages, no chain suits, no escape plan, nope, there was some mad courage or just plain craziness, I don’t know which yet, but it was an experience of a lifetime.  I had been looking forward to another shark encounter since the first time I swam with sharks in Little Corn Island, Nicaragua for our honeymoon, but this time I wanted to be overwhelmed, surrounded by them. I wanted them swarming around me, not knowing from where they were going to come, not knowing if I was near a near-death-experience, I wanted the exhilarance and adrenaline high that comes from being so close to this machine-like, silent predator that was like a silver torpedo gracefully gliding through the deep, carefully watching us, studying us as if classifying us as prey or foe.

When the boat set the anchor down, Monica looked at me with fear deep inside her gentle soul.  She was here only because of me and for me.  She did not want to be here.  This was not her idea of fun.  She even had nightmares the night before!  Oh what people do for love… But here she was, scared — and she had not yet seen the sharks, she hadn’t yet seen the 8 foot silhouettes circling the deep blue shades beneath.  I could tell her by her anxious breathing that she was having second thoughts.  But there was no turning back now.  I had my gear on and was ready to jump ship.  It must have been her devotion, her self-imposed duty as my lover, my wife, my best friend, to come along with me, to jump into the abyss with me, and go through this “adventure” and not forsake the man with whom she had exchanged vows with 2 years ago — even though “with sharks or no sharks in the water” was never part of the vows.  (Besides, I also think she came to keep me “tamed” and stop me from doing anything stupid, like getting killed, and thus ensuring that she will have more offspring from this handsome man.)

But here we were.  We checked and double checked our gear, our air.  I put my mask on.  I took an anxious filled deep breath, closed my eyes, then leaped into the warm waters of the Caribbean.  It was an overcast day. As a result visibility was reduced by 50% of what it normally is.  And the water was darker.  I hit the water and immediately surfaced.  I looked for Monica.  She was still on the boat.  Looking at me.  My mask had come loose when it hit the water.  I was quickly trying to fix it.  I wanted to look down as soon as possible.  I needed to see what was beneath me.  I felt as if they were ready for me.  As if they were speeding with jaws open towards my legs.  I fixed my mask and turned my face under the surface.  I saw them. And I could feel my blood rush as reality struck like a hammer to a nail.  I cannot remember what was going through my mind.  I cannot recall the first minute or two after I started my descent, but I vaguely remember seeing them circle around a diver that had already made his way down.  It was an incredible site.  I kept getting lower.  And they kept getting bigger.  Then I looked for Monica, and there she was, rechecking her gauges, her equipment, mustering enough courage to let go of the rope and dive with these silent, almost mythical creatures.  Then she did… and below is our video…

***If you are viewing this from a mobile device/smartphone, click here for video***

Part III coming tomorrow…

Seanna is going places…

And so it begins…  Her trip into this world.. and eventually out of my arms… out of these arms that long to hold her and carry her for life…  My Seanna.. my sweet Seanna Sofia.. my love, you are growing up too fast.

Today my little lady, my little sweetheart, started to crawl.  And with this, she filled our hearts with aspirations for the places she will be going, of the heights she’ll climb, with us and on her own.  We are happy, elated actually and at the same time aware of that tiny seed of bittersweet sadness that was planted in our hearts and deep in the back of our minds…  Bittersweet because our little lady is growing up and there’s nothing we can do about it.  Soon she’ll be walking, riding her bicycle, going to school and then off to college and into the world… and then one day, one day I’ll be walking her down the aisle.  And perhaps during the reception I’ll be talking about how I remember when she had just started crawling..

Oh my love, my sweet daughter, I pray so much for you.  I pray that God grants us the wisdom to raise you in manner that is pleasing in His eyes.  That we may teach you strength of character.  That we may teach you strong moral values.  And that when tested, because it will come, that you remember us, that you remember that we love you and have the highest of hopes for you.  My sweet Seanna, in you lies the purpose of our lives, the love that we have poured out of us and into you so that you may have all that we didn’t, live as we wished we had, fly higher  and walk farther than we had dared imagine for ourselves.  And may your little feet walk the path of a woman that honors God.  That is my wish for you.   Oh my sweet child, may God give you grace in front of all, bless you abundantly and when the darkness comes in your path, may He light a lamp at your feet and guide you.  Remember that He is in control.  May you, my love child, may you always walk with Him regardless of where you travel…

***If you are viewing this from a phone, click here to view video***

PS –  I always thought that babies would take one little step one day and the another step the next, gradually being able to crawl.  Well, apparently that’s not the case.  Just yesterday I was trying to have her crawl and she wouldn’t.  Then she saw Victor, my little 11 month old nephew crawling and kaboom!  She started crawling a marathon today!

Seanna’s first trip to the Cherry Blossom’s in DC

This was first trip to DC, first Cherry Blossoms, first picnic and first time eating fruit. Yup, a full day of firsts for her. As you can see, we pretty much pack the entire kitchen and bedroom when we take her somewhere. And by “we”, I mean Monica.

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The Cherry Blossoms Picnic Crew:

A baby’s worst day ever!

Note: This story is based on a true story. If you love babies, have a weak stomach, are easily depressed by terrible news, or are a person that can’t handle a stories of babies having the worst day ever, we suggest that you click away from this site now. That being said, it must be also noted following story is based on a true story as written by Seanna Sofia Downs – aka “Little Mama” (named after her mom, “Hot Mama”).

Back then the world seemed so small, like a small box. Or as big as daddy’s bedroom and the living room where I would just sit and watch tv with him. That day, that unfortunate day, the worst day of my life, daddy was watching TV without me as mommy started putting layers and layers of clothing on me to the point that I could hardly move. We were going to the Doctor. Daddy stayed behind because he had hurt his leg and couldn’t walk. Daddy kissed me goodbye and then I was taken to the car. Once at the doctor’s office I was stripped off my clothes and stayed in cold room until the executioner came by with some sharp, thin sticks called needles. She stood in front of me and without warning, as I was charming my mommy with my usual “goo-goo and gaa-gaas”, she impaled both my legs with something called vaccines. I cried like I have never cried before. I felt like those needles had penetrated the bone and the pain was like nothing I had experienced in my whole life. I cried and cried. No one could comfort me. No kisses or hugs could take the chill and pain in my bones that the needles had left. It didn’t matter how much mommy rocked me, how much she told me it was going to be OK, how much she caressed me, it wasn’t ok, I still felt the pain, and tears ran down the cheeks that Daddy loved so much. Why did he not come with me and save me from this torture? How I missed and needed my daddy! 🙁
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