Saturday, July 31, 2010


I'm writing from the patio of our hotel in lovely Penticton. It's a windy night, and it just recently started lightning-ing (if that's how you'd put it?)

Lightning may not be what comes to mind when thinking of the Okanagan, and I'm not sure if just coincidence or not, that every time I'm here there's always a lightning storm.

A few summers ago, when my softball team was at provincials in Summerland, we were all swimming in Lake Okanagan when the lightning started. Us girls of course thought it was super exciting, and could have stayed out there all night if it weren't for our parents freaking out and calling us indoors.

The next time, I was with my hockey team in Kelowna; we were sitting outside chatting away when the lightning started. I'm not sure if lightning is just a common thing here, or if it's attract to me, maybe.

When I picture the typical lightning storm, I imagine heavy rain, roaring thunder, and then flashes of bright lightning. But tonight is a perfectly beautiful night, no rain or thunder. I've always thought they come hand in hand; but it's true what they say- you learn something new everyday.

Even after all the science classes where they've tried to teach us about lightning; I've never fully understood it. So here are some interesting things I found while reading up on lightning.
  • the average lightning stroke is 10 kilometers long
  • the temperature of lightning's stroke can reach 27 760 degrees Celsius. The surface of the sun is not even that hot! (about 6 093 degrees)
  • once the leading edge of a thunderstorm approaches to within 10 miles, you are at immediate risk due to the possibility of lightning strokes coming from overhanging anvil cloud. Because of this, many lightning deaths and injuries occur with clear skies directly overhead.

Unfortunately, lightning is not always this picture-perfect either.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Ingrid Michaelson: my newly-found favourite from New York.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Slumbers

Today, I woke up at twelve noon. I looked at the clock in shame; half my day is done and I have accomplished nothing. Don't get me wrong, I do love to sleep in and not have my sleep disrupted by a loud and obnoxious beeping noise, but it's a shame to think that I was just getting out of bed when my brother was walking in the door, coming back from a seven hour shift at work.

After this week, I won't be sleeping in that late. I have hockey camps, volunteering at children's camps and Catching the Spirit camps; so I'll have to get myself out of bed at a decent hour. So for this week, I'll enjoy it, and after all that's what the summer is for- rest and relaxation. I'm just not into the whole "sit around home all day" kind of thing. I prefer to have a plan for the day, get something accomplished. Even if it's something simple, and rather pointless.

Tonight, I'm heading off to the fireworks. The fireworks are always a great time. In a very distant way, they remind me of the Olympics. A huge mass of people arriving super early for an event, crowding onto the beach (or venue), and then when it's done, the mad rush of people trying to keep their crew together through the crowds. And not to mention all the rowdy's.

Monday, July 26, 2010

International Ubuntu Day


As of yesterday, I can proudly say that I attended the first ever International Ubuntu day between Catching the Spirit, here in Canada, and Calming the Children in
Maah Mahiu, Kenya.

Ubuntu: I am because we are.

Seven months ago, Ubuntu days started in Maah Mahiu, with only a few people in attendance. Once every month people get together to play soccer, and contribute to their community by helping out with environmental projects. Yesterday was the 7th Ubuntu day and first
International Ubuntu Day; they had 300 people in attendance! What made the 7th one International? Canada's Catching the Spirit and Kenya`s Calming the Children connected via Skype. The two youth programs had a conversation about environmental issues both countries are facing and why we feel it's important to help out. We talked about what we are doing to be eco-friendly and what others could do. The power of technology and being able to connect 80 Canadian youth, and 10 Kenyan youth is absolutely unreal. The internet connection wasn't the greatest so the video kept cutting out, but we were able to have an audio discussion. All the kids loved talking to the Kenyans, asking them questions like "What do you do to help your community?" and "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Many of the answers to that were "I want to travel to Canada to see Catching the Spirit and your beautiful country." What amazed me the most is the fact that these people have so little, and are still conscious of their environmental issues. Some of them have barely any education, and yet they still know the effects of their everyday choices on their environment. I was inspired by the charisma these youth showed, they spoke English very well, but were hard to understand behind their strong accents, and they didn't once get annoyed when we asked them to repeat what they just said for the fourth time. They were so happy to talk to us, and even when the connection kept cutting out, they kept calling back, more exciting than ever.

As we discussed on the bus ride home, Africans always seem to be the most friendly and outgoing people, even with the little that they have. I think everyone could learn a little from this. I always love the warmth and passion that I heard when these Kenyans were talking about their Calming the Children program. Despite the vivid language barrier, they were still able to make us laugh and amaze us with their motivation and drive for a better planet.
These guys were so dedicated that being ten hours ahead, they stayed online with us until ten pm, and they still hadn't eaten dinner.

As I said earlier, Calming the Children was formed to bring people together to play soccer, and just to celebrate. It later turned into an environmental stewardship program, and just yesterday they added another aspect to the program. They opened an Arts, Culture and Peace Center for the youth that's free to attend, and a place to learn and meet amazing new people.

It almost brought me to tears when we asked if they had any final questions for our youth, and they replied "Yes, when will you be visiting Kenya?"

I love the passion, warmth and charisma these people showed. They were speaking a language that they are not so comfortable with in front of 80 people, and they constantly made us laugh. Overall, this was a wonderful experience for the youth in Kenya, and our youth here in Canada. It's not everyday that you get to connect with other youth across the world. There was lots of chatter, and curiosity about Kenya on that ride bus home.

Before the four CtS camps departed from BCIT, we planted an Ubuntu tree in our community garden. The spirits were high as we thought of our new friends while planting the fruit tree, and placing rocks painted by each camp around the tree. We hope to make International Ubuntu Day, and our discussions with Calming the Children a frequent occurrence!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Circle of Life

Hey, Uncle Scar, guess what?
I'm gonna be King of Pride Rock.
My dad just showed me the whole kingdom. And I'm gonna rule it all.

Probably my all time favourite Disney movie, and produced in my birth-year is the story of Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Scar, Zazu, Timon and Pumba. It's the story set in the beauty and diversity of Africa- it's the Lion King. I've seen the movie about a hundred times, but tonight was the first time that I've seen it live!

It was a recipe for success- my all-time favourite Disney movie, in the gorgeous Queen Elizabeth theatre, on an amazing night. And the recipe resulted in nothing short of spectacular. From the intricate costumes to the acting, the precision of every sound effect to the creativity of the staging; everything was phenomenal. I absolutely adore the Lion King music as well, and the cast did not disappoint, I thought the music was great too!

So, Disney's The Lion King is a must, must see- but hurry, while it's still in Vancouver!

You have forgotten who you are and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the circle of life.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


One of my mottos for this summer has been to try new things.

The other day I was in the market on Granville Island. Gorgeous looking fresh fruit fills the isles of this place. I was really craving some juicy fresh fruit; something new perhaps. I could choose from a passion fruit, a star fruit, some rambutan or some kumquat. But then I saw my favourite looking fruit, which I've never actually tried.
A dragonfruit; grown in Vietnam. It's bright pink and green outside, and white and black polka dotted inside makes it look almost too gorgeous to eat.

When I cut it open, my first thoughts were it would taste like a kiwi, but when I bit in, it had absolutely no taste. The texture felt like a kiwi, but it literally tasted like nothing. It's still my favourite looking fruit, but I wouldn't choose it for the flavour.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting off the Bottle

  • in 2007, 130 million PET plastic water bottles ended up in BC's landfill alone

  • up to 28% of the average PET plastic water bottle's volume is needed in crude oil to manufacture, fill and transport it

  • since 2002, the sales of PET water bottles in BC have gone up 247%

  • most of the water in bottled water comes from the exact same source as your free tap water comes from

  • manufacturing bottled water releases at least 2 toxic substances into our air

These are the facts still ringing through my head after spending the weekend with a bunch of excited kids about doing the water bottle project. With Catching the Spirit- the youth environment and sustainability camp I work with- we were doing Toxic Free Canada's "Getting off the Bottle" project as our stewardship project this weekend.

With our 15 youth, we went up to the Cleveland Dam and the Capilano Reservoir in hopes of educating people on the environmental impact of drinking bottled water, and hoping they'd pledge to reduce their consumption of bottled water. What better place to do this project than right beside the reservoir itself; which we get our tap water from- some of the cleanest in the world too!

So with the kids, we split into different groups; one was educating people, with the facts and stats above, one was collecting pledges, and one was collecting bottles out of garbage cans and off the ground.

It was so neat to see the kids teaching adults things they never knew about bottled water, and it's hard to tell, but a lot of them actually seemed convinced and into the cause. I loved how the longer this went on the kids were getting more and more passionate about the subject. By the end of the day, we had collected 85 pledges from people to stop using plastic water bottles.

Everyone was really proud and excited about our accomplishments; but that's not what was going through our minds all day. We talked to some people who were really rude about the whole thing "Well, bottled water tastes better and I'm going to keep drinking it" or people who just refused to talk to us at all. The very first group that I talked to couldn't speak a word of English, and the next weren't at all interested, which was a very unsuccessful start. We didn't give up though, and we ended up converting a lot of people.

I was quite surprised that most of the tourists we talked to seemed more into it than the locals. We talked to people from Utah, France, Calgary and Switzerland and they were all blown away by the facts, and shocked with the number of bottles we found in the garbage; and then here are the locals, who this is affecting most saying "Yes, I know bottled water is horrible" while holding a bottle of Dasani in their hands. The most common answer I think I received that day was "Please, I'm just taking my dog for a walk, I don't want to be interrupted. I wish I would have said, "Please, this is your planet we're saving."


An article in the Province today titled "If that bubble touches me..." caught my eye. It was basically describing the incident between a "bubble blower" at the G20 summit and an angry police officer. It told people to check out the video on Youtube, which has become very popular and has almost ten thousand views!

In my opinion, the police officer was totally out of line with his outrageous response. I can't see why blowing bubbles would be at the most of this officers worries when there are thousands of other violent protests going on. I guess I can't say this for sure, because the video doesn't give you the entire story, but to me it doesn't look like the bubble blower was purposely being disrespectful to the police, and she wasn't aiming for their faces or anything. If the officer asked her nicely to stop blowing bubbles, or asked her to move away that would be a different story, but a threat to arrest her seems a tad bit over the top.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A trip to the Dentist- and Tanzania

To me, a National Geographic is the magazines that we used to cut out of to make collages in elementary school because we couldn't find any better magazines to cut pictures from. Until today, I don't think I've ever actually read an article from a National Geographic. I was sitting in my dentist office waiting for my appointment and this article caught my eye. It was about the Hadza people, and ethnic tribe in central Tanzania. They have the most fascinating story, only 1000 people belong to their tribe and they are the last functioning hunter-gatherers in Africa. Today, only one quarter of their traditional hunting lands remain as farmers are slowly taking over the area. The Hadza people are not closely related to any other people, and their language which has clicks, is isolate and not related to any other language in the world. This African tribe is said to be most closely related to the Pygmies. They enjoy an incredible amount of leisure time. It is estimated that the Hadza hunt for food about four to six hours a day, and that is their only form of "work". Their diet, even today is more varied and stable than most of the rest of the world. Over all these thousands of centuries, they've left hardly even a footprint on earth. They have no history of famine, in fact there is evidence of people from nearby farms coming to live with the Hadza in a time of crop failure. The Hadza recognize no official leaders; no one has more wealth- or, rather, they all have no wealth. And in this culture, there are no social obligations; no anniversaries, no religious holidays, no birthdays. These people live a simple, pure life, and seem to enjoy every minute of it.

That seemed like the shortest wait in the dentist office I've ever had. It's amazing what an interesting article can do to your sense of time. Needless to say, a National Geographic is no longer just a magazine I cut pictures out of anymore.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Star- Struck

It's on during every single commercial break, so there's no way you haven't seen it, but just in case, here's the trailer for Charlie St. Cloud. Coming to theatre's July 30th.

It's not just because I love Zac Efron that I'm so excited for this movie, it's that they filmed scenes of it in my school, and they filmed scenes in my favourite place in the world: Deep Cove.

It was probably right around this time last year that myself anf just about every other teenage girl in the Cove would spend their days "Zac Hunting". I can remember sitting in my school parking lot for hours on end, along with about 300 other screaming girls, watching the movie being filmed. It's not even that I get all that star-struck, but when a star as big as Zac is in my hometown, you can't help but get excited.

Now that I look back, it's kind of funny how worked up we got over him, besides the hours on end we'd watch him film, and the late, late nights waiting for his picture and autograph, we were all just so into the whole "hunting" thing, that we'd chase after the car he was in, in hopes of getting another glance. Oh the things girls will do for a good-looking fellow- not to mention a famous one. And I'll never forget how disaponted we all were when Zac walked out of the house, Vanessa in hand.

So it is yet again another exciting time of year for our little community. I can't wait to sit in the theatre and say "I remember watching them film that scene!" I hope it won't be too hard to get a ticket to the premiere- YEAH RIGHT; I'm prepared to camp out overnight- it's not too often that Zac Efron films a movie in your school- pretty cool, I think.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Small Town with Big Memories

After softball tans, loss of voices, nose bleeds, scrapes and bruises, heat exhaustion and a bunch of new friends Team Avalanche is now the Provincial silver medalists- silver's prettier than gold anyways.

It all stared on Thursday morning with the drive up to Castlegar. There were nerves in my stomach and anxiety running through my bones. On Friday morning we started our games in good ole' Salmo, a town of just over a thousand people. We went 2-0 that day; but don't ask me who we played or what the scores were, that seems like ages ago, and all the games mush together in my memory. Saturday was an early morning, after the second game that day we were 4-0 and therefore finished first in the round robin.

This brings us to playoffs. Since finishing first we had a simple game against the eighth place Penticton team. Those girls were not the nicest girls out there, and neither were their parents; cheering when our players were injured and making rude and obnoxious slurs to our team and the umpires. We killed them and were proud of it too.

By Sunday we were 5-0 and were feeling pretty good going into round 2 of the playoffs. Game one of that day was against the Cloverdale Fury who we'd already played once, and beaten in extra innings. We knew we had our work cut out for ourselves, but we came out on the bottom. That moved us down to the bottom of the draw, and in order to make it to finals we would need to win 3 back to back games. Sure enough, through many scrapes and bruises, we were in the finals. Playing at 8am, 10, 12, 2 and then the finals at 4 we were slightly exhausted. The ambulance had already shown up at the field for a few cases of heat stroke, so we were sure that we were keeping hydrated and cool in the heat.

Of course the finals were against the Fleetwood Outlaws, our ultimate rivals. Two years ago in Summerland, this was the team we whipped in the finals; although last time they were the ones who had to play 5 back to back games and we only had to play three, this year it was the other way around. And of course this is the team that was staying in the same hotel as us and had been telling us to F*** off while we were in the pool and they were sitting in the hot tub with some random Castlegar boys with their arms around them and beers in their hands. Nice group of girls!

Needless to say, all the other teams had wished us good luck, and were cheering us on, warning us of the obnoxious cheers they do to try to mess with the pitcher. Apparently we weren't the only team that weren't so fond of them! As we were shaking hands with the team we had just knocked out they're all saying "Come on girls, you have to beat them."

And so begun the finals. We got up scoring 3 in the first inning, and holding them to none. From there on it remained close all game, they scored some to tie it up, then one to get the lead. By the seventh inning they were up by one, we had two outs and if we didn't score we were done. Our big hitter was up to bat, looking very nervous, but she did not fail. A massive triple put us in good shape, and on the next slap hit she was scored. TIE GAME. That was the end of seven, so in to the extra innings we go. I don't think anyone would have predicted we would have done that 6 times, but we did. A 13 inning game was what we played, making that 41 innings played in one day.

As my brother pointed out- it was like one of those sporty movies where the bad team is in black and all preppy looking, and the good team is in bright colours all innocent. As a town of 1000, I'd say about least a quarter of the town was out watching this game, and almost all were cheering for Team A. I'll never forget the old Salmo lady yelling "Salmo loves you Avalanche" and at the end of the game running out to high five us all yelling "Thanks for the memories Avalanche". It really was one of those picture perfect battles.

So the extra innings start, and not a lot of runs were being scored, maybe one here or there, but for the most part they were "3 up, 3 down" innings. Until one inning we had a huge rally of nice hits, and scored 5 runs! Considering how the last few innings we hadn't given up a run, I think we could all taste victory, but being away team they had last bats so we confidently took the field. Apparently we weren't the only ones who were hitting because before we knew it they had scored 4 and it was a one run game. We made a double play off a pop fly and a throw to first, but not before their runner on third made it home. Yet again, TIE GAME.

In the sixth extra inning we didn't score a run, so we planned on shutting them down in the field and going for yet another one. We found ourselves in trouble when they had a girl on third and hit a huge pop fly, it was caught by our amazing fielder, but just not quite in time for the girl on third to score that run.

We hollered and cheered and run up to the mound hugging each other like nothing else. Although we lost that game, we were not upset in the slightest. Like we were saying- after a thirteen inning game, and 41 innings in a single day, we were winners at heart. We knew that we took the prize for the more sportsmanlike of the two, and that is just as important as anything. I think we were probably cheering louder than them which made them so mad. They wanted us to cry and be upset and we didn't give them what they wanted. The Cloverdale team was out on the field hugging us, telling us that we deserved to win, and then exchanging names to add on facebook- if you can believe it. Fleetwood may have came out of this with a little bit of fake gold, but we get to come out with complete pride, and a bunch of new friends. We know that there's more to a sport than the score.

As the Outlaws would be cheering "We are slowly putting pressure on the pitcher and the catcher" gradually getting louder each time, and "Come on pitcher, what's the matter, can't you take a little chatter", we were nicely cheering for our own batters rather than bashing their pitchers.

I learned a lot about myself in this tournament. I know that I have a little bit of competitiveness in me, but I've realized that nothing is more important than being sportsmanlike. It's as simple as smiling, and saying "nice hit", or it can wishing a team good luck, but whatever you can do to get a team on your good side makes all the difference. Even after we'd beaten Cloverdale two times, they still were cheering for us, and at the end of it all we were side by side getting pictures with one-another. Like my wise father says "You're never going to remember who won that game, what you'll remember is the friends you make and the memories you have."

Indeed team Avalanche did create a lot of memories this trip.
  • The most often used words this weekend were yarp, narp, and decent.
  • We learned that we loved Salmo guys, and were really stoked when we figured out "Decent" was our ump, but he was really named "Damian", and as soon as we disagreed with a call he made, our opinions on his appearance drastically changed, and even his name was changed to "Indecent".
  • I saw a wild moose for the first time in my life, and I felt strangely more Canadian. I learned that those long legged spiders are called DADDY long legs, not DANDY long legs.
  • We learned you look very funny when you pitch in skirt, and that our pitcher is the fastest in the province clocking in at 83 kilometers per hour "It sounds a lot more impressive when it's in kilometers than it does when it's in miles".
  • Team Avalanche discovered a bargain shop, and thought that a 24 pack of freezies for 99 cents is a good deal. Needless to say we stocked up and they didn't help calm us down before bed.
  • Sleeping in a Spiderman or Harry Potter themed room may seem a little amateur, but team A pulled it off.
  • I learned how runaway lanes really work.
  • Our team managed to injure 2 umps bad enough to send them off by ambulance.
  • On a late night hunt for food, we were quite surprised than neither DQ, Safeway or Shell were open passed eleven. As we told the two young guys working in Shell when the doors were locked and they wouldn't let us in "Come on we're from Vancouver, everything's open 24/7, and if it isn't there's something right across the street that is."
  • It is highly addictive, and hard to quit using yarp and narp as substitutions for yes and no.
  • Girls who you hardly know going into a tournament can come out as your close friends.
  • Nose bleeds are caused by the dry, hot air of the Kootneys
  • Moosecalls sound very unfortunate when you lose your voice.

So this may seem fairly snobby, but my favourite quote of the tournament was given by our coach just minutes after the finals "Well you girls are going to wake up proud of your accomplishments this weekend, those girls are going to wake up knowing they still have to live in Surrey." NARPPPP!

I'd also like to shout out to my large and supportive fan section. I had a total of 13 relatives in Salmo to watch me play! Mainly coming from Alberta, they traveled a ways; my Grandma even got heat stroke one day and was back out in the heat again the next. All the support was much appreciated, I, without a doubt had the largest fan base, and I felt very loved.

Salmo, we love you. Avalanche, I love you. Fleetwood, we'll see you again soon.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Well summer weather has finally arrived and we've finally reached a temperature of 30 degrees. I can now officially say I have my first sun burn of the summer, and I have begun to loose track of my days of the week.

I spent the last 2 days at Capilano River with the amazing "Catching the Spirit" leadership team. This was our final training session before camps start next weekend. It was so great to make a bunch of new friends, and to spend some quality time in the great outdoors. We made a trip to the fish hatchery, we did the ritual early morning head-dunk in the frigid river, played all kinds of nature games, and we even did a little bit of planning and leadership stuff (you know that stuff we were supposed to be doing).

In one of our activities, we got talking about stress and sleep patterns, and how way back before lights were invented, people went to sleep right after sun set and awoke when the sun was rising- the natural human sleep cycle. But now with the technology we have today, people often aren't asleep until just before the sun rises, and aren't awake until the days' sun light is half gone.

Dave, our supervisor said something that I thought was brilliant. The same way that humans have evolved sleep patterns, they have also manipulated the way of life. Humans used to spend their entire days outside and enjoying nature; now the average kid probably spends more time on their Playstation or infront of the TV than they do outside. I guess all of us camp leaders love the outdoors and that's why we chose to volunteer our time for it, but there's something more to it. Dave said that he believes spending time in nature makes you more "human". Now that sounds kind of crazy, but he then added that the more time you spend connecting with nature, the more connected you are with yourself and your emotions and therefore other people too. He said how the more time you are outdoors the more you feel compassionate for people and the more you care for things in our world. I thought what he said was genius; I've never thought of it like that before, but if I think about how good I feel after I've spent lots of time outdoors, then it makes perfect sense.

Now it probably seems very contrary that I am typing all this out on my computer, but I do love my technology. I believe it is also an essential learning tool, and so much can be taken from it. So I guess what I'm getting at is I believe there is a need for a balance of both the natural world, and the new generation- technology world. And I hope to see people creating that balance, which right now has far too much of the new world in it.

My goal for the summer is to spend more time outside with nature, and less time infront of a luminescent screen. Hold me to it.

Tomorrow, it's off to Salmo for provincials!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day!

Well, I've been waiting for this day for quite a while, about March 21st to be exact, since the spirit we saw today left our city when the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games ended. And how amazing it was, to see everyone out in their red and white again. Sure, there may not have been quite as many bodies wandering the streets of Vancouver, but the Canadian spirit was definitely high, resembling slightly the spirit shown at the Games.

I read the other day that John Furlong has not had a single day off since the Winter Games ended. Crazy stuff! He's been busy in Sochi and London giving advice and helping the organizers to make their Games as successful as ours. And on top of that, I'm sure you know he's taken on a new job- Chair of the Own the Podium advisory board. I must say one of the things I miss the most is listening to the amazing speeches given by Johnny boy (even his French ones!) There are many jokes circulating Vancouver that people want John Furlong to run for Mayor in 2011. Or are they joking?

Just the other day, my "Official Commemorative Book of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games" came in the mail. Great timing; just in time to get my Canadian spirit up! And on the first page was a quote from my hero himself;

"The spirit and soul of all 33 million Canadians has been sewn into the fabric of these Winter Games. This journey has not been about the few but rather the many." -John Furlong

As you can imagine, Vancouver was the place to be this Canada Day. Besides the much anticipated re-lighting of the Cauldron, there were tons of big stars in town, and just tons of people out in general. There was Dal Richards, Carly Rae-Jepson, Hey Ocean!, the crew from So You Think You Can Dance, Sarah McLachlan and the much loved Canadian hero himself, Alexandre Bilodeau, to name a few.

I never did make it all the way downtown because for most of the day I was taking an emergency first aid course. I know, I know, out of every day they could have chosen it had to be this one. Eight hours seems like a long boring day, but I was pumped the whole day just because I knew that once I got out of that room, it was time to celebrate our beautiful country. So after I became certified in CPR and emergency first aid, I did go celebrate my wonderful country. I went to the waterfront to watch some fireworks. They were beautiful, like my country. There was a lot of people there to watch and a lot of O'Canada was being belted. I loved the feeling! The spirit was re-lived; that was the goal of the day. 1-0 Canada

Sitting on the beach watching the fireworks over the water reminded me that this is "The Best Place on Earth!"