Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Morning Special

And no, I'm not talking about the Treat of the Day, peanut butter, banana, chocolate chip bars. Sorry I don't have a scratch 'n sniff feature here...but it would be too cruel. Maybe several lifetimes from now you can order up from a sort of automat (look it up if you are too young to know what that word means) that would look something like a computer tower. Then no one would ever leave home.

What I did mean was just sharing a bit of my morning yard wander...but you might be focusing on the bars instead. If so, go bake something. I'll wait.

New Growth

Masts in Water Clouds

Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh brother! and What's In That...Friday

And I don't mean Jonny. After all of the trouble I've been having with the blog, I realized...oopsy, once again (you'd think after almost 20 years I'd know this stuff), I did it myself when working with privacy and security issues on Firefox after I got my computer back. But it took going into the deep wilderness of blogger help and asking the question precisely the right way with the tip of my tongue firmly between my front teeth and the sun exactly at the right degree to find this out...there was a whole list of good advice and the last one, almost a toss off, had the answer. Cheese and bread!!!!!

I wrote the above many hours ago, but will leave it in so you know things got figured out. I hope.
I went in to town late after getting a call that let me know the noise level was sane enough to bear. And it was...loud, but no jack hammering. Acceptable. However, when they started getting ready to go to get on the 1 p.m. ferry and thus good bye for the weekend, I couldn't help but do a little dance. One of the firemen took a hose and cleaned off some of the mud in the street in front of me, a kindness. I sat there, with basically the business of that part of the day done, just because it was so wonderful. Quiet...quiet. Sweet!

After I heard Sean (see Thanksgiving) was coming in on the 4:30 ferry I decided to wait around, not hard to do. So around 4:15 I headed to the dock, snapping pics of the ferry coming in...and waiting...and waiting...until the gate was closed. No Sean. By then I figured I might as well take advantage of the lovely cooling air and re-open the cart, which was worthwhile for an hour or so. Then the ferry that Sean and his friend Paul were REALLY on came in. I closed the cart, got my groceries out of Dinghy Dock's fridge and hit the sidewalk in time to say welcome home, meet Paul, take a few pics and head home (thanks, Sue!).

The ferry that Sean & Paul weren't on...but it was pretty!

Stand there, I'll get you with the Moon & Venus! (not)

Oh! there's the Moon & Venus...

Sue & Sean, street talkin'

I should be baking, but I think I'll try reading instead. More earplugs's apparently special church night - minus the Rolling Stones amp system. Thank you, god!

And now, for what's in that...well what IS in that? I don't know yet! I haven't gotten that far. So instead I'll give you my new favorite food happening. I get this in my email every day and tend to feel absolutely full after viewing. See if it works for you..FoodPornDaily. There are a couple of great food sites connected to that one that are also good reading. Not necessarily frugal gourmet, but unless you have forgotten so quickly, you don't have to have the expensive ingredients (you can substitute chicken for shrimp for example) if you keep playing with your food.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A long trip of a day

What a crazy mix of a day, with much of the first half brought to me via the internet. People from a Culebra forum, people from an international forum ( coming 'round to chat, ask questions, tell story. One guy came to stay awhile and ended up renting a place I happened to have a number for. Third time I've gotten a rental for that woman, I think it's time to ask for a commission.

In the midst of all of that, I re-made a windchime, sold a bunch of stuff, met other nice people and tried very hard to zone out the noise of the 1000 foot jackhammer. Rocky the environmental guy came by and we hugged when he told me it might last for two weeks instead of two days - I didn't cry or sniffle on his shirt, but I think I did bang my head on his chest once...or twice. "I could lie to you, MJ...but they thought they were going to be in dirt and's that hard rock." That hard rock is called blue bitch . This particular geological explanation is based on St. John but...same stuff, different island, if you're interested.

I finally couldn't take it anymore and packed it in to go have a cocktail at Dinghy Dock. Wah wah wah. My head hurt. It was time to go home, where the air is clean, the loudest noise is a time confused rooster or a pelican splash and the key word is tranquillo. My yard is an aspect of Culebra I couldn't do without.

Here is what I did instead of taking Excedrin. A shower first, to wash off the grit and grime. Ahhhhhhh. Clean! Ate the second half of my excellent but too much food at once Dinghy Dock lunch. Washed up the detrius from making ginger carrot muffins this morning. Wandered the yard and settled in the gazebo to read awhile. My headache was gone.

Time for a second cocktail and camera session. This is what I saw, sitting on my little dock. Ok, I stood up a few times.

Rush hour

Happy hour! Free Apps!

Still hungry

No crackers
No problem
New kid in town, a beauty

Ah, this must be the bar they told me about

Ok, if you more. I love these things!

Gotta fly. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...and breath smells like sardines too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Random Musings

First, I want to let you all's not that I am not reading your comments and just not responding, I read every one, but seem to have lost the ability to write one myself that shows up. So first things first (when I noticed this and started going a little haywire). To Anon - I remember Emily and Sarah in hats...sweet, funny them! And yes, the world should stop for outrageous huge grief, a minute would do, an hour would be better and a day would almost work. But since it won't, we plant gardens and sit by the sea quietly, and I just want you to know I've spent a part of every day by the water, with Emily in my heart and mind and soul and you beside me. Anytime, by the way. The CWIM agrees.

About the cat boat and the captain - don't think Culebra is not as small as I/we portray her, ever. Someone, somewhere, knows exactly what you are doing (and with whom you are doing it...even if that's not true) at any given time. Frankly, I've had more fun by rumour than I've had in real life by a fairly good list amount. Which is fine with me; we need the amusement and I like finding out what I've done that I didn't know about. Gossip? Figure it will get back to the person being gossiped about in...roughly....37 minutes on the outside. True.

And now...lessons from the garden. I was going to get a ride home today and then realized I'd not been to the children's garden in about 4 days, which means it probably wasn't watered in 4 days. Correctomundo. But, because this particular garden is blessed by the gardening gods, all was almost well. A few snippets here and there, lots of water, wa la. Maybe an hour doing what daily visits would take a few minutes to do.

As I worked/played, weeding, trimming, supporting, I couldn't help but let my head go on wander zone - which working in gardens is excellent for - and it was analogies are us time. I was thinking about some of the lost young men in our community. One of them has somehow attached himself to me and I last saw him today, in a job position. He knew I didn't recognize him (hey, he had a mask on because of the dust...did anyone recognize Batman? And what WAS that anyway...only his EYES were covered and no one...ok, never mind), but then I did. I really will try to be succinct here. But the deal was this.

When we started the children's garden, Ruben, a sweet, humble god among helpers, made the raised beds at my direction, he having no idea what the hell I was asking for but doing it all so perfectly and competently. Jacinto brought in gift dirt. It was dumped into the beds by bulldozer, driven by yet another volunteer. Carmen Rosa was the orchestra leader, I was the designer and oh lucky, we got it made. Uh oh, succinctness is not happening. Ok, let me move this up to the present.

A friend of mine who has, for now, shifted from sailor to farmer gave me way too many wildly healthy and thriving tomato plants. I put some in my garden and some in the children's garden (I posted about this some months ago, instand garden for the Goya guy...probably didn't label it though). And is the point. I was watering and weeding and thinking of the grown children not up to much good here - because I found myself becoming impatient weeding...wanting to grab handfuls of errant grass and other undesireable green stuff and realizing that yeah, I could do that and in three days it would have new, even stronger shoots. The thing was to get one and then one and then one. Tedious. But effective. The ones I snatched, not getting the roots, will be back with vigor. The ones I took painstakingly one by one are gone. And plants, good plants giving good food that were being strangled by bad weeds, will flourish.

La la. This is what gardening does for me - and in a good way. A reader might think, what? She's rambling on inanely, what's the point here? It's tamping down the random bouncing thoughts that are in my head, slowly slowly until there is peace and reason again. Here's the translation of my lala. If you know one young person, just one, that you can influence by getting involved in their life? Get involved. Take them fishing or help them plant a tiny garden or take them to the library or a circus. Even if it's a cake walk, literally (I loved cake they still exist?t) or a star watch or making a grilled cheese doesn't matter. We know what matters.

Obviously, gardening for me is a solitary event - I think anyone near me might have to wear the aluminium foil hat to keep my thought waves at bay. But in the meantime...there are some beautiful tomatoes growing and peppers coming next. Plants don't care about the nature of the caretaker. How nice is that?

Lessons of the garden, fini.

But the day wasn't over. A friend who had a dinghy near me got a wonderful new engine and has moved the dinghy to a better spot. Boat talk got me revved, so I put my little engine on my own dinghy and puttered out and about this afternoon. I haven't really been able to use my own dock in awhile but I was jazzed and decided to re-take my politely but not acceptably stolen space. Back to boat? Yes.

Here I was/am, searching searching for a photograph I wanted to put in (one of Emily, her at the beach just looking like everyone feels, glorious) when the phone rings. It is my brother, at the cabin (called Somewhere - my houseboat is Somewhere Too - think Somewhere Over the Rainbow) in North Carolina, happy as a clam in...mud (this photo was taken at the end of last's 32 degrees there right now, I'm hoping he's got a jacket on). He and a friend up there got four corners on his A frame set in the ground today (I wondered what that yaHOO'ing on the wind was...). His joy, along with memories of the beauty of the mountains, and a lot of laughter, ended a pretty wonderful day on a very good note. Which makes it time to try to sleep...grinning and remembering that there is a world out there where you can carry 50 tulip bulbs in your luggage from south Florida in the afternoon and have them planted on a NC mountain by the next morning. Just wait 'til I bring the chickens....

A bit of morning

Another cliche of a beautiful morning...

Wednesday Peli

(the other nest fell/was knocked out of the tree - this morning, in exactly the same place, is a new one!)

Wednesday Banana Quit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Somethings Missed (and something missing)

Ships come in, ships go out. I hope this one coming in this afternoon wasn't from too far away...regardless, it was a beautiful sight from my yard.

Something weird is going on with blogger...suddenly everything is in spanish, I can't edit my posts the way I could, I can't comment on my posts, I can't see my adsense ads. So I have this horrifying feeling maybe I've loaded 85 comments because you can see them and I can't? Let me know. The bad thing had so much going for it...sheesh, google EARTH, I mean...WOW. However, they do seem to have a wee little problem about providing human being interaction when it comes to problems with their services. There is not a human to be found. It is like being in telephone hell, times 5 to the 10th power. I am clueless about math, but that would be a lot? I hope so, because that is how it feels.

(I just had to move my whole operation indoors from the gazebo; mozzies and dusk and my blood allure to the former made this become a moveable feast - phone, camera, book, catalog, drink, hair band, computer. Two trips, scratch scratch. If I left anything - too bad, let the cat bring it in)

Ok. So. Google, deal kindly with your slaves!!! Enough of that. But I'll toss this into the same paragraph of wahhh. Today I braved the 1000 foot jackhammer and its noise. My ears still hurt. What? Are you saying something? Sorry, I can't hear you. I have on offer some earplugs for tomorrow. Yes, thank you, Jesse. They are new right????

I love this photograph from yesterday that somehow slipped right by me. Whether you know him or not, if you've seen Chiquitine you know him and his rascally dogs. And his mother. And his sidewalk happening. Chiqui is slightly less tall than me, so that would be sort of a mis-use of the word tall, let's say he's slightly smaller in physical stature than myself. However. If you know him, you know he's about 8 feet tall. Easy peasy. So, being open in the afternoon yesterday and catching this shot of Chiqui right after he jumped out of a vehicle and was striding home, was a beautiful thing. I showed him the photo and he loved it too, stopping a few people on the bridge to show it to them as well. I'll be printing it out for him tomorrow.

Also, this is * Fat Tuesday. Regardless of your beliefs, Mardi Gras seems to bring out a little ya ya in everyone, preparing for the impending Lent on the morrow. Every religion seems to have some period of penance and this is one version, starting tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. So, if you've got something on your mind you should repent about, hey, stick some ashes on your forehead, do your mea culpa's and move along. This is one of your chances, go for it! In the meantime, have some fun tonight.

St. Croix has Mardi Croix, an event started by some friends of mine as sort of a joke that has now grown into a pretty huge, not to be missed (unless you live here) event there. But I had my fun last night, never remembering to time these moments - my calendar brain is Open Somedays Closed Others. So for now, I raise my glass, toss some old beads, I'm not doing that.
Happy Mardi Gras! And hopefully, if you go to that place, your Lent or your version of it will be a good thing in your life.

* Truthfully, I am both impressed and irritated by wikipedia for more reasons than need explanation here. But for fairly unslanted info on events concerning religious bits...or other emotionally/culturally laden factoids. it does a fairly good job on sites like mine for those interested in searching out historical background without a slant. I can only suggest it as one source - if interest is strong enough, it would well serve as a low end of the pool diving board for more.

Another Glorious Tuesday Morning

Lucky, lucky me...and that's all I have to say about that.


Jungle CWIM

Ms. Furry Jeans checking the groceries

Mornin', 'maters

Banana Quit

Monday, February 23, 2009

Manic Monday

After the big machines drove me off from the
cart, I came home and played in the gardens and baked, as the Treat of the Day from yesterday was FULL of ants. Oh dear. Fed the fish. So that is why god made ziploc baggies. Now I know.

I decided to come back in the late afternoon, after the sun wasn't blazing. I'd bought some battery operated LED lights for when it got dark, but found out they don't light up more than a 2 x 2 inch space around themselves. There was a guy trying to look at Chris's tied lures and it was easier to see by the setting sun. Bless him, he bought two. And a couple of people bought some other stuff, so I guess it's not a bad time to hang out at the cart.

CONTRARY to what my dearest friends thought, who showed up to collect on a bet that I'd not be there that late, well ha ha HA, yes I was! So we had a drink and in come some of the players from the controversial development out toward Zoni. There was a big meeting today, lawyers and players and money oh my! I went to the first one, but skipped this one because, frankly, I'm in enough of a edgy mood, I was afraid I might just do a verbal rat a tat tat, first because that's how I feel about it and second, it would have been lovely to vent on SOMEone just to get my ya ya's out. But karma is a funny thing...there we were at Dinghy Dock, minding our own business, when down the steps come guys in khaki pants and button down shirts, obviously *them* could I resist? I didn't.

Making sure they were the men in question, we somehow split off and compared notes afterward. The man I spoke to, who is part of the group of 10 owners (henceforth known as the Group of Ten) answered my question "What have you done for Culebra in the ten years you've owned property here?" with "I've paid taxes." I said, have you helped anyone? Been involved with the children? Anything? No.

They pointed out that they were giving 12 acres to Culebra and thought that would be a good thing. I said, few know that because you wouldn't allow English to be spoken (quibble quibble). I suggested they contact Jim Peterson of the Culebra Calendar and write a piece in English, explaining their side, so that those of us who get along just fine on Culebra with our broken poor Spanish might understand the more technical situation they are wanting to convey. The three men I spoke with said they would consider that. We'll see. My own take is rude to come into a place and refuse to speak in a way that all understand, regardless of the language. Communication is's not?

Yes, too much about that. Because after coming down the steps I looked at the far side of the bar and it was like the young men of America were lined up. These guys are college mates who have come to Culebra 3 times now for a reunion of sorts. They let me take their picture, probably so I would go away. And...I did!

Home to cook chicken and corn on the grill, with a phone call induced blazing inferno (an old boyfriend's birthday call a day late, but hey these things are important - he's still well worth a burned chicken thigh)!. The fire was big: corn cob husks blazing, chicken charring. But the outcome, under the charcoled exteriors, was still excellent chicken and corn. Go figure. It's that sort of night.

A good ending to a strange enough day. A voice just came out of the darkness a few minutes ago saying "MJ, is it too late to visit?" and I realized it was Celestial Chuck, coming by to show me the comet Lulin. Then Greg showed up, in from his sail, and we all binoculored. It was, even with Chuck's magnificant German binoculars that I once saw the rings of Saturn through, a fuzzy white blob. But since I won't be around in 4 million years - it was very cool to see even that. With my own eyes, not on television or the computer...I SAW Lulin.

So, once again on Culebra, the universe has conspired to ease my spirit with craziness and tranquility when I need that so much. Because really, to me anyway in my starry eyed life belief system...Culebra is not simply a place to buy or rent a house in a beautiful place. It is a total life experience that affects you every day in the most marvelous ways, if you let it. And maddening too, but that is family life.

Soothing my spirit. Tranquillo. Well, once the damn sewer is done.

Obsessed with 'maters

One of the good things about being single is finding yourself wide awake at 4 a.m. and being able to get up and start doing things without disturbing someone who most likely would enjoy sleeping a couple or few more hours (if I've mentioned this before, oops, but I do think about it often). So it was this morning. Of course, the CWIM is always ready for me to get out of bed as it signals meal time. Sometimes I insist on some personal ablutions first but keeping things simple often wins, which means feeding her and getting her face in a bowl, rather than butting my arms or feet.

And there they were on the counter, just as beautiful as yesterday, but a day older. What to do with tomatoes, especially when hunger won't hit for about 8 more hours? What's in the fridge? What's in the garden? Well, of course... tomato and feta salad! With snippets of garlic tops in place of scallions, a bit of finely chopped hot pepper, a few gloriously huge basil leaves, balsamic vinegar and olive oil (if you ever catch me typing EVOO - shoot me - but assume I mean extra virgin), salt and pepper. There could have been a cucumber added but I think I bought the worst cuke ever (1/2 a day and it went south, far far south, to the land of instant compost. Held very gingerly when tossed garden side - yick).

For some reason, Milka's gets feta in every once in awhile and it's cheap! One of life's mysteries. Usually I cut it into cubes and dump it in a jar of seasoned olive oil and vinegar, but I hadn't gotten around to that step yet. It doesn't matter because by the time I get around to eating this, at lunch or in the afternoon when I get home, it will be well marinated in the drizzle of vinegar and oil. Maybe I'll find a perfectly ripe avocado to add to it. Oh, it's good to have goals!

By the time I was done snipping and clipping and chopping and mixing, it was just breaking into pre-dawn, light enough to water the garden and to see if I could take some photos. I did and I could.

Basil looking fine

Mockingbird singing the day in

Bougainvillea bloom high in the genipa tree

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A home Sunday

Feeling a little buggy today, I stayed home. Not good to start talking to customers and burst into tears at the sight of a grinning, laughing, happy young woman in her 20's. So! I cooked (see earlier post). read and played in the gardens a LOT! I will tell you now, playing in the dirt beats smoking and/or drugs. Not that the thought of both weren't a temptation...but then I'd be digging around, or staking up some tomato laden vine and those urges would go away (the drug urge being gone over 30 years, but the memory lingers sometimes).

The CWIM was hesitate to say affectionate, but attentive might work. A dog would have been all over it and that would be, for me, incredibly annoying, so her offering a strong head butt on and off over the day was just about perfect.

Here are some first harvest tomatoes and peppers. I'm so excited about them and it seems others are as well. I'm hearing all sorts of stories about people growing vegetables. Diane, who started her lovely nursery a few months ago, keeps expanding her herb and veg section. I bought chives from her yesterday, along with fertilizer and bloom food...and a bag of special mango and avocado feed. I figure the trees will either drop dead in shock after 6 years of struggling along, or go crazy with life. I'm hoping for the...yeah, big surprise, never mind.

It's been windy and beautiful all day long, so except for a stretch of reading mid-day, I've been hopping in and out making a wreck inside and outside while making the garden bigger and happier...and it's been good.

I've been getting one wonderful newsletter for so many years, I forgot until today - inundating some friends and family with gardening type mail (I have to keep up a little bit with my brother, who seems to find the best of the best about everything I think is cool) - that maybe it would be great to share. Anything you want to know about hot peppers and tomatoes, this is your guy! So here it is. Pepper Joe is awesome! By the time you are done perusing one of his newsletter, you feel you have a new friend out there, glad to give of his time and knowledge to propagate more gardeners doing things right. How good is that?

Life is good, despite the reality of hateful things that go on in the world every day. Rather than crawl under the covers shuddering, take the stand of a one on one revolutionary. It's not ALL we can do, it's what we can do, and that is huge...if you think about it. Our job is to keep the balance tipped to the side of joy and peace and love and JUSTICE, corny as that may sound. And if one must hop up and down on the scales once in awhile to even out the madness...then that is what one must do.

Hopping a lot today.

In the last 24 hours (and a lot of my life) I've been heavily pondering justice, and today, looking at images depicting justice. Almost, but not always, a woman holds the scales of justice. There is a lot of historical information about this, mythology, religion, folk lore all combine to tell a common story. But I keep thinking...of course it's a woman. Not in some feminist sort of way, just that...woman are not men, we don't think like men, we don't respond like men - we are not men.

Woman are the balance of men, but even more, of life. It makes a lot of sense to me, knowing some amazingly strong and brilliant women, along with some fantastic men, just how that should work. One website had a lot of incredible images and explanations. I am not into tarot but I am into history. If you are as well, check this out.

Here are some images of Justice I found interesting. I was originally going to credit each one, but I skipped the modern images, I think, and decided to let the image tell the story, rather than ramble on about the history. See what you think. I believe this...we can't just stand around holding scales...we must get out there and tip the balance. And we're already on home plate...let's go!