Monthly Archives: December 2007

Vacation at the Dumps

Jane at the dumpYou remember my super-cool friend, Jane? She’s the 60-something lady from Berkeley who has been to Iraq twice in the past year to see how things are going there, who also made a stop in Africa to check out how AIDS workers are fighting to make a difference, and who is always fighting the power in the White House. She’s a busy woman.

Well Jane recently decided she could use a little vacation, so she grabbed a cheap flight to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico to visit friends for a couple of weeks. This is Jane though, so there was no tanning on the beach, sipping fruity drinks, or spending lavishly on fancy jewellry and clothes. There was pie though. It sounds like she ate lots of pie.

No no, our Jane, consciencious citizen that she is, spent her days meeting ex-pats, giving talks at local cafes about her time in Iraq, finding out how the locals there manage to get by on so little (They have a Wal-Mart, but we’re they really saving more and living better on the outskirts of the tourist industry?), and making me feel truly useless, sitting here at my desk like a good little corporate girl.

Before returngin home, Jane wanted to do one big, last research mission, so an American she met directed her to the city dump where people make their living scrounging through other people’s discarded crap. Jane met a group of people who started the group Children of the Dump ten years ago. They now provide food, daycare and education to kids who would have otherwise been sent to work in the dump by the age of five.

Jane says:
“We drove up the side of the approximately 2,000-foot-high mountain of garbage and on top were acres and acres of the detritus and waste and no-longer-wanted refuge of the tourists of Puerto Vallarta. And at the very top of the pile, a child, two women and a man stood sorting various plastic bottles into various piles. “May I take your photo?” I asked in my newly-acquired Spanish.

“Si, como no.”  Yes, of course.  The Mexicans of Puerto Vallarta are really nice. Even the dump workers are nice. If I had to do what they did all day, day in and day out, I’d be chewing nails. But they simply smiled. How courageous is that!

Then we went to the School of Champions — so-named because the students there weren’t too keen on going to a school called “Children of the Dump”. And if anyone reading this wants to volunteer at the school, that might be a possibility if you can pay your own way and want to teach in a school. Even being able to teach English would be a help. “But we don’t get all that many volunteers. Most volunteers want to save starving orphans. However, these kids aren’t starving.” And why aren’t they starving? Because the program feeds them!  Catch 22.”

Read about Jane’s adventures at, or learn more about the people she met at They’re always looking for volunteers, so what are you doing for Spring Break?

(Photo by Jane’s friend, Sara.)


Jason Mraz Made This Song Just for You (and His Granny)

From and YouTube:

Mraz at ChristmasJason took some time away from recording his studio album to put together a “little something special” group of gospel songs for the holidays for his Grandma Mraz. While recording for Nanny ‘Raz he took a moment to put this holiday greeting together for you, Happy Holidays 2007 from Jason!

Watch Jason Mraz’s Christmas song here.

No matter what kind of religious beliefs you identify with, you can’t not like the powerful sound of a gospel choir, and this group is amazing. Also, nobody rocks an old man sweater like our Mraz. Mmm, mmm, Christmas cozy.

My Mrazamonious Christmas Wish List

Mraz stickersHere it is, Christmas Eve day. Presents are wrapped and under the tree. My refrigerator is full of tasty treats. Wrappers and crumbs of other tasty treats are sprinkled around the house, evidence of a weekend of pre-holiday gluttony/festivities. And I’m at work. Yay.

It’s not so bad being at work. It feels like the last few days of finals in college when some people have already packed up and gone and it’s just the poor saps who have a test scheduled for the last possible time slot who are still hanging out in the lounge trying to study, or picking through the dining hall’s reduced offerings. The halls here are quiet. My inbox is full of “Out of office” messages from those who had better things to do today. The freeway was even empty, allowing me to get here in less than half my usual time.

Now that I have a few free moments to myself, I’m thinking about what I really want for Christmas. It’s a pretty short list. There’s nothing I really need as far as gadgets and gifts, but I do have a few wishes.

1. I would like decent weather when I visit my Boston friends next month. It doesn’t have to hit 70, I’m just hoping for something over 30. Dry would be nice too, but a little snow would be ok. Just not horrible rainstorms.

I just jinxed myself into being caught in horrible rainstorms, didn’t I?

2. I want a new Jason Mraz acousitc album – just Jason and a guitar doing something beautiful. When I said, “just Jason” did anyone else immediately picture “Just Jack!”?

3. I want my English boy to come and visit for at least two weeks next summer. We haven’t seen each other in three years, and a healthy friendship can only be sustained for so long over email.

4. I would like to spend at least two weeks out of the country. I think that’s necessary to maintain any kind of decent world perspective. Another hemisphere would be ideal.

5. I really want some cookies. But that’s like a Now thing, not a Wish for the Future thing. I’m going to go scavenge. You all get back to your wrapping and baking and merry making.

Happy Christmas,

Jason Mraz Eats Apples Whole! No Peeling!

Jason Mraz on YouTubeWhatcha think? Did that headline sound sufficiently crazed-fan? Did you get the feeling that I was about to breathlessly report all the fascinating details of Jason’s daily fruit and veg intake? That I would go on to reveal how often he eats fish or pork or Krispy Kremes? Right now I’m picturing the episode of “Monk” with Sarah Silverman. If you’re not, it’s ok. Just move on. Don’t try to keep up with my tangents.

I’d write more, but I suddenly have to leave the room. Watch Part 5 of the Crazy Man’s JuJu.

Jason Mraz outs his cat! (Hee. Tabloid-style writing is silly.)

Let Me Be Explicit

Selections for FriendsI was given access to iTunes at work yesterday (for “comparative analysis”, despite the fact that my job has nothing to do with any kind of music or download services) and so I hopped on to see what treats Jason Mraz had for us there. I downloaded Selections for Friends a second time (having abandonned my first copy in my last work computer), and was tickled to see that I had a choice between the Clean version and the Explicit one.

Do they really have to ask? Who wouldn’t want all the juicy bits?

Life is Wonderful,

Snuggle Me Delicious

snuggle me delicious shirt

Mraz said it. You’d look good wearing it.

If You Like Jason Mraz, You Have Good Taste

SplashdownNo, wait. I meant to say, “If you like Jason Mraz, you’ll love Splashdown.” I just got a little sidetracked. It happens to me a lot, especially when there’s a shiny tin of cookies on my desk. Mmm, shiny and tasty. Taste good. Good taste. You see how it happens?

Really though, if I can turn a few people on to one of my most favorite bands ever, then I’ve done my good, Mraztabatory deed for the day. (When I have to tell you that the band broke up a few years ago and is no longer making new music, you may be less thankful, but you really ought to learn to take what you can get.)

Visit Splashdown’s myspace page and listen to “Asia at Odd Hours”. It will make you happier than your credit cards ever have.