Conch Fritters from Billy Joe's, Freeport, Bah.

Day 109 on the Maersk Arkansas

Kentucky Derby 2009 ( Louisville, KY)

Well it’s that time again that we will come face to face with a new year. 2009 is a year that will forever stick out for me as I made major changes in my life and never looked back. I squeezed a lot from 2009 and as I look at pictures, the faces and places make me smile so I wanted to share them with you. Some took place before I started writing this blog but I was already finding myself again and getting back to “La Buena Vida”. Looking at these pictures also gets me excited about what is to come in 2010 (for myself and this blog) so please stick with me to find out what I have planned.

Ian, Marcus and I in the Keys during Memorial Day Weekend (Islamorada Key, FL)

I look back on something I wrote around New Years last year and wanted to post it here because it rings just as true for 2010 as it did in 2009. I think its funny that I named Iraq as one of the 1000 places that I would rather not be on New years and in 2010 here I am in Iraq realizing it could be worse.

My South Florida Fan Club at Coconut Grove Arts Festival. Accepting new members (Coconut Grove, FL)

 January 2009

“Well as I sit here in Mulgrave, Canada and realize my only prospect for a night out would be a walk up to the Mulgrave Fire House for the New Year’s bash they are having and are sure to tear the roof off. There are 100 places I would rather spend my new years. Then I got to thinking, there are over 1,000 places I would rather not be spending new years, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a whole bunch of other Stans to name a few. It may be boring and cold here but I have nothing to complain about this New Years Eve. I am in good health, safe and employed and know that although I can’t be with them, friends and family are well. Thoughts of good times past and ones to come replace the empty feeling of not being with those I wish I could be.

Chef Mike Baskind and I at the Rivershack Tavern. (Jefferson, LA)

 This New Years Eve, absent of all the extra hoopla will give me a chance to truly reflect on the past year. Things that went wrong, things that went right. What I felt I contributed and what more I think I could have done. Well I don’t really have list of resolutions but I do have a couple ideas I want to stick to and suggest to anyone reading this:

A waitress and I outside Joey K's (New Orleans, LA)

Drop the dead weight in 2009. If you have a people or individuals that kept you back from being who you wanted to be in 2008, get rid of them. Don’t allow those who don’t believe in you and your abilities to hold you back or tear you down. In 2009 find someone who supports you or rely on your own support. It’s not an easy process but you will be better in the long run. Please excuse the comparison if it offends anyone but I liken the process to getting rid of cancer. It’s something inside you taking up space and strangling your vital organs (hope). Getting rid of it is a painful, exhausting process and at times you may feel like living with it is less painful then trying to rid yourself of it. In reality you can never truly live your life with it and once you have survived you are stronger and more thoughtful for it.

The "Big Chief" of the Creole Wild West Mardi Gras Indians at Jazzfest 09' (New Orelans, LA)

Add something. In 2009 add something to your surroundings whether it is your, family, community, work place or complete strangers. Be thankful for what you have and try to give someone else something to be thankful for. Change someone’s life, mentor a child in danger of become a statistic. Help make any situation you step into better off then when you walked in, even if it’s just a small change. Make someone smile or give someone who needs a word of encouragement. Write a letter and let someone who has changed your life know that you appreciate them and what they have done. The ideas are endless and most don’t take a lot of time and effort.”

Mike Serio and I at Serio's Deli. (New Orleans, LA)

Valencia Luncheria (Norwalk, CT)

Well Happy New Year and thanks for reading my sentimental rant and I hope to eat, drink and play with you (not in that way you pervert) in 2010.

Bachelor Party (no, not mine) menu at Arnauds. (New Orleans, LA)

Me, Wooly E. Bully and the top of my nephew's head at the Durham Bulls Game (Durham, NC)


The ladies of Donnaventura and I (Charleston, SC)

Tea in Iraq (Umm Qasr, Iraq)

Hangin with the Iraqi crew (Umm Qasr, Iraq)


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6 Comments on “I ATE, DRANK AND WAS MERRY – THANKS 2009”

  1. Neisha
    January 2, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    loved it!!!! And I truly admire you for all the ways you have endured and enriched your life for 2009 and look forward to seeing how we both do the same in 2010. Drawing parralels of those things that can tear your life apart, being akin to cancer? Very clever and too true, it takes a lot of strength to live in pain and it’s well worth the purge.

    God bless you and keep you safe and can’t wait to see you in February..love you lots!!!

    • Toriano's "La Buena Vida"
      January 3, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

      thanks sis, means a lot coming from you. Feb is coming fast, put your liver on notice.

  2. January 6, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    I am happy I found this blog man, I needed to read something like this and make it happen. Thank you for the wise words of man.

    • Toriano's "La Buena Vida"
      January 7, 2010 at 12:50 am #

      Glad you stumbled in too, good to hear it gave you a boost. Whatever it is, make it happen.


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