Tuesday, March 31, 2009
~~A side note here. I read in the paper on Sunday that the consideration of a bridge between Vieques and the mainland was put before some board with the attendees from Vieques voting all-but-one unamimously not to have such a bridge. One man in charge of something or other said he was surprised, that he thought the people of Vieques and Culebra would WANT a bridge. NO ONE WANTS A BRIDGE except those whose pockets might get lined by the funding. Plus, it would never get finished...but all of those points aside, we really don't want a bridge. And maybe someone not from an island wouldn't understand why we wouldn't like the ease of transporting ourselves and our goods more simply back and forth. Well, here's why. We live on islands for a reason. Young, old, inbetween. We like it this way, no matter how we grumble, we'd not change it. Period.~~
So. I was going over with Kim & Carlos and somehow Kevin, who was heading on a mini getaway mid-big-island ended up coming along instead of getting publicos to San Juan. Or maybe it started when I came over my hill at 5:30 a.m. and there was Pan in his van, with Kevin along, heading for the ferry just in time to give me a ride too. Perfect!!
Usually I take the three o'clock ferry back. This time we were going to take the 7 o'clock so it would be a very full day of shopping. Along with the excellent surprise of Carlos' choice for lunch, Il Nonno's in Isla Verde. Shrimp and sauces and tilapia oh my! Because Kim and I were a little wide-eyed at the prices - which are the same, lunch or dinner, good for dinner, high for lunch - we justified the well -worth-it splurge by calling it Dinner in the Daylight. Which of course called for wine, in this case a malbec we all really liked.
Kim and I split the shrimp in champagne sauce with spinach appetizer. Carlos got one for himself and Kevin had the prosciutto wrapped around arugula with honey and....and...goat cheese? Sound weird? Try it...then after wishing you could have a dinner plate more, tell me how weird it is! I forgot to take pics of the apps and that's too bad..but I did get photos of the entrees. Somehow the wine (and they have a great wine deal - up until 5 p.m. all bottles of wine are half price). So it ends up, if you don't buy a crazy expensive wine, to cost less than by the glass.
I ordered the tilapia in gorgonzola sauce and it ranks right up there with one of the best fish meals I've ever eaten. There was a choice of pasta or mashed potatoes as a side (a very blanco meal) and I got the pasta, which I didn't need but somehow managed to finish off. Along with bread for the sauces. And some more wine.
There was lobster ravioli and shrimp for Kim and gnocchi for Kevin, while Carlos had also ordered the tilapia. It would be fair to say only the remnants of our civilization that we carry with us kept us from licking clean the plates. It was a total splurge with complete sated (do these people look sated? yes they do) satisfaction. We'll give Carlos 25 points for the choice, on a scale of 20. Well done!
And then on to more shopping (way more shopping - we had to get help to get all the stuff on the ferry...yikes! and thanks, Lorraine! and whoever you were, 3 guys in Fajardo!), even though I think what we all wanted to do was curl up someplace and take a nap. But no, Home Depot and Super Wal-Mart awaited our ca-ching. How is it that Carlos asked "Does anyone want anything from Home Depot?" thinking no one would answer and I walked out with an electric chainsaw? But I'd rather go into a hardware store (if I can't go into one with wooden floors and bins of nails and seeds, Home Depot will have to do) any day than a mall, so it wasn't really that surprising. The weed trees in my yard are in serious trouble! I've always wanted my own chain saw and now I have one. Life is good. The CWIM thinks the box makes a good rainy day playhouse.
Coming home in the dark I forgot I'd left my mop hanging from the line (that runs the length of the porch) to dry. Arms full, the CWIM doing the where the hell were you I'm hungry dance, I hit the mop handle with the chain saw box and almost lost my head. First chain saw accident and it wasn't even turned on! But I'm ready to read the book and be the careful person I always am with new tools (yeah sure, I can't wait to plug that sucker in and go crazy with it).
It's a toss up which I'm happier about...the chain saw or the sea mossy green sheets. Nah, not really, the chainsaw, hands down But the sheets, which I'd forgotten all about, are really nice. Not that the ones I can get here made out of something like those paper towels that are cloth and paper aren't really pretty...but crackling during sleep time just isn't any more right than no sheets at all.
This morning dawned with misty rain. I opened the cart, got rained on twice, closed the cart, the sun came out. Feeling bad for the tourists, I kept the cart closed and came home. It shouldn't rain the rest of the day. No no, don't thank me...just buy me a drink next time you see me at Dinghy Dock.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
And now, for the main event! Because being too serious is bad for your everything...here is something else. I know we've all seen some of these, but 99% of this batch was new to me so I hope it's new to you as well! Enjoy!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
For a look at what has already gone on around parts of the world...
Friday, March 27, 2009
There isn't much to tempt your wallet on Culebra so when the veggie guy comes in with more and more wonderous things - this week he brought in a hydroponic mesclum mix (NOT mescaline, which a friend mis-heard me say while in line...) and a leaf lettuce that are from his farm. How could I not buy them?? And Elana is doing sprouts...gotta buy them. And leeks...must have! Tangerines, red potatoes, shallots, baby spinach, cauliflower, asparagus and so much more. And then I came back by in the afternoon and bought MORE!
You have to understand, I have a fridge the size of a college student. So basically, I had to start eating immediately. Which I did. Asparagus steamed...I didn't even douse them with butter before they became snack food. Grape tomatoes...inhaled while reading. Baby spinach went on a tomato (from MY garden) and red onion sandwich. And now I was sort of sickeningly full but not the full of ick, where grease is floating. Just...full of really good food. And enough room in the fridge now to tuck in all the goodies that I'll make into something yum as the week goes on.
So, where is What's in that Friday? Well, here! In both of those hugely indulgent shoppings I spent about 35 dollars. Adding what I have at home - rice, chicken, eggs, I won't need to shop again all week. If I had 3 more in the house? I'd make a bigger pot of rice or pasta. Maybe buy a little bit more chicken for a stir fry. I'd be set for the week, dinner wise. You figure it out this week! Tell me what you did.
* Landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and Sydney's Opera House will dim during Earth Hour.
Make your plans!!! A candle lit late dinner, games by lantern light...marshmallows and s'mores over a well-tended fire..You can watch the lights go out in cities around the world using the map to the left.
Here are some things that will go on around the US from a blog I found. Let it be a springboard for your own participation, or maybe one of these towns is your town!
I loved the video from Fiji last year where indigenous dances were held using torches (no, not flashlights, real on fire torches!)
Natural Nighttime Activities and Education
The Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix will host a stargazing event at the museum and handing out "star maps."
The Parks service in San Francisco will offer nature hikes.
The John Hancock Observatory in Chicago will host a viewing event, and offer energy-efficiency education.
Schools will hand out "I’m not afraid of the dark" stickers in Chicago and Atlanta
Unique Fun in the Dark
More than 160 downtown buildings in Chicago will participate — which means the biggest show will be the skyline itself.
The House of Yoga in Berkley, Mich. will hold a session in the dark.
Students at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago will play glow-in-the-dark Frisbee.
Students from several universities in Chicago (Roosevelt, Columbia, DePaul, and others) will host an acoustic concert and promise to deliver a ghost at University Center.
Canoe in Atlanta will turn off outside lights, filling its outdoor fountain with floating candles, and invite guests in for a private party in the wine room.
Chicago's greenest "Wicked" witch, Elphaba, will make a special appearance outside the Ford Center for the Performing Art's Oriental Theatre in Chicago, where she will "cast a magic spell" under the marquee to kick off Earth Hour.
Dinner and Romance
The Sheraton Hotel in Chicago will have a candle-light check-in and a "green cocktail party" featuring glow-in-the-dark ice cubes.
Cibo in Phoenix will host a romantic candlelight dinner with special desert options.
The Weather Mark tavern in Chicago plans a special Earth Hour dinner and party.
Chipotle Mexican Grill will also be turning off its outside lights at all 12 Atlanta-area locations, and encourage area customers to turn off their lights and eat out.
Eco-tinis will be served at several upscale bars and restaurants in Phoenix, and servers will wear glow-in-the-dark necklaces.
Marlow's Tavern in Midtown Atlanta will host an In the Dark party, with drink specials, live music and candlelight.
Metrotainment Restaurants in Atlanta will be "shaking up awareness on climate change" with a special eco-tinis, candlelight dinners, and a specially baked "global cupcake" in honor of Earth Day.
Carrying On, Without the Lights
Julie Van Fleet's book club in Galesburg, Ill. will take place by candlelight.
Anta's Fitness and Self Defense, in Miami, will turn off the lights and train students by candlelight in the Shaolin Temple.
Joe’s on Juniper in Chicago will hosting an Earth Hour Trivia Night
The Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix will turn off non-essential lighting outside
Earth Hour Checklist
Top Ten Things to Do to Save Energy
Remember that saving energy is about more than just turning down the lights. Challenge yourself to do some or all of these energy saving things for Earth Hour - and every day - to save energy and help the planet.
#10 Fill Up Your Freezer
Did you know that an empty freezer uses up more energy than a full one?
If you have empty space in your freezer or deep-freeze, you can conserve energy - and reduce your electric bill - by freezing used pop bottles or milk jugs of water. Fill empty containers about 2/3rds full and place them in your freezer. The ice will help maintain the temperature inside the freezer, allowing it to use less energy.
#9 Invite Your Friends Over
You can help spread Earth Hour awareness by inviting your friends, family or neighbors to join you for Earth Hour activities. A few friendly faces can help make the time go faster, too!
Light Candles for Earth Hour
#8 Fix Drafts
Drafty doors and windows cause your heating and cooling bills to go up. Try to repair or cover any drafts around your home before Earth Hour. The money you save will help throughout the year as well!
You can also keep heating and cooling costs down with thermal window coverings. But if you're pinching pennies, simple dark curtains can keep a room warm in winter, and white curtains keep it cool in summer.
#7 Turn Down the Heat
If you're living in a cool climate and have the heat on in March, try turning your heat down slightly for Earth Hour.
To minimize the amount of energy that you use for heating, make sure that heating units are well ventilated and not obscured by furniture. There should be at least a few inches of space between heaters and other objects for them to work efficiently.
Close off any rooms that are not used regularly, and only heat rooms that you need to. If you keep your thermostats at a moderate temperature throughout the day, you will use less energy than you do by turning it up and down at different times.
#6 Unplug Appliances
At 8:25 on March 28th, it's time to start powering down for Earth Hour.
You can start by unplugging your small appliances such as the microwave and coffee maker. Hopefully, your toaster is already unplugged when not in use!
Unplug Your Toaster for Earth Hour!
#5 Unplug Chargers
For one hour, unplug your cell phone charger, battery re-charger and any other adaptors you have around your home. If you leave these items unplugged when not in use, you can save a few dollars in energy costs every month.
If you have a cordless phone you will need to leave it plugged in, unless you have a standard telephone in the house as well.
#4 Unplug Clocks and Electronics
It won't take long to reset your digital alarm clock after Earth Hour is finished. Unplug as many of the clocks around your home as possible. If you have a digital watch or wall clock, you can unplug them all!
Turn off and unplug your television and other devices like DVD players and video game consoles. If you have all of your electronics plugged into a power bar or surge bar, you can switch them all off at the end of the day, everyday. This can help you save money every month.
#3 Shut Off Your Computer
Power down all of the devices at your desk for one hour. You can simply switch off the power bar or surge bar.
If there are items plugged in with your computer that must stay on, such as a cordless phone, you can unplug items individually, or turn off the power manually. Most computers have a power switch at the back of the tower that shuts them down completely.
#2 Unplug Lamps and Nightlights
Just like other electrical items, lamps should be unplugged when not in use. Unplug all of the floor and desk lamps in your home for Earth Hour. Only plug them back in as you need to use them.
Last but not least, turn down all of the lights in your home. It's a little strange sitting around in the dark, but it's only for one hour. Just think of what it must have been like before the invention of the light bulb!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
(This is just a really beautiful boat slightly outside my bay)
A gasoline container was tucked under my other arm. A stack of papers was in my backpack, attesting to the fact that I could transfer my now fixed vehicle into my name. So off to gas station, where I got my 2 gallons. I dropped that off at a friend's shop and it was off to the PO to mail some hot sauce that I was sadly late in sending. Then to the collecteria to try to do car business...finding out there was yet one more thing I needed. Something to prove that my friend Nancy, no longer on this plane (but buzzing around on occasion, believe you me) left no debts to the world we live in around here. So if she did, what would they do? I shudder to think. So I have to bother her dear husband for information to satisfy the gestapo in Fajardo. Argh and sigh.
As I trudged down the road with my container of gasoline, a woman walking asked if I'd like a ride. She is a visitor here, didn't know me, but saw me carrying this load and offered a ride. She and her husband love Culebra...they were staying at some friends who own a home here. Driving in the rutted roads she went on about how she just was enjoying getting out and about as her grandchildren were coming in a day or so. What a joy. Thanks!
The car works. I don't have the marbetta yet but that doesn't keep me from gambling on taking little rides to Genesis just because I can. I got two bags of planting dirt and thought I'd go take a ride back in the Corenel horror show...but there are BIG BIG BIG concrete bumps and my little car would perhaps die again on them. I'll have to walk it sometime. There is a for sale sign under the big sign...Tropical Real Estate. People I know and like. But I don't like this.
What is hard about living on little islands is maybe what is hard about living in little towns and villages. You know everyone. There may be a few you seriously dislike, but not many. And there may be some you like that you dislike what they do. Therein lies a dilemma...or not. You can always still wave and smile. Unless it gets down to the dirty bottom line and then you have to say...the truth as you see it. Usually, life just goes on and eventually you wave and smile again...or you don't.
So it goes. I wish I was able to not care. I wish I could just enjoy the huge beauty here and my little life. But I'm not wired that way (trust me, I've tried NOT to be me - it's implosive). Maybe my children call it best..."Mom, youve gone too far!" They used to just say that. Now they add, in the afternoon of their adulthood as I move into my own early evening, "and we know that you've got to do it, it's who you are...and we love you anyway."
And therein lies the comfort. On a pretty quiet Thursday - which wasn't quiet outwardly at all.
To lighten up a lot! here are some pics from the regatta I saw...not the actual regatta though!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I've stolen this meal from my friend Mike, who made it for his daughter's birthday, because it's her favorite meal he makes. It's also the favorite of about 30 people I know but I was one of the lucky ones in a much smaller group for dinner that night. I'm so glad she was born so I could eat this again.
Shrimp, you say? Shrimp, MJ, is not inexpensive! And you're right, it's not. Unless you catch it yourself, which...no, we didn't catch this ourselves (but I used to, once upon a Florida Mather's Bridge time and if you can, you should). Back to money. Yes, a good sized shrimp in a good sized bag is a chunk of change. But used judiciously (and Mike never uses shrimp that way, thank god - though I do for myself - sort of), a nice sized bag of shrimp can go a long way. Plus, there are sales on shrimp all the time (I once lived in Kansas and there were sales on shrimp even there - close your agape mouth, yes, I lived in Kansas once - convincing me to never leave the shore too far away again). Plus, the rest of the meal is pennies! So, if you want a treat - and you should want one once in a while - life is too short to not have treats - this is your meal!
As far as I know, all Mike does is mince very finely a LOT of garlic in a LOT of butter (yes, life is also too short to not eat the real stuff). Saute your garlic until it is translucent. Somewhere in there, cook enough spaghetti (I like angel hair, the thinner the better) for however many you are cooking for. Salt & pepper to taste.
Garlic bread should be a nice long loaf sliced in half and slathered with more minced garlic that has been sauted in more butter. Put it under the broiler until the tops brown. It happens REALLY fast so keep an eye on it! Some people like to put cheese, usually a parmesan and maybe some fresh chopped parsley on their garlic bread. I'm into plain but I wouldn't turn down either or both of the above on garlic bread.
A salad with a light oil and vinegar dressing goes great with this. Tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever veggies you have on hand to put in there without making it too heavy. The scampi will be heavy enough!
While it might not seem so, this is a fairly fast meal to cook if you buy the shrimp deveined. Some buy shrimp cooked and that's okay but since it only takes about two minutes to cook a shrimp...if you can save some money buying them not cooked, go for it.
So, what do you need for Mike's Scampi if you don't have Mike?
One bag 25 count shrimp, cooked or uncooked, de-veined (if you don't know where the vein is, it's right down the middle of the shrimps back and taking it out is a pain in the butt - there is a cool little plastic gizmo that makes it easier...but easiest is let someone else do it before it gets to you). You can buy these shell on or shelled...again, a choice of convienance and money and what you've got*. Lots of shelled still leave the tail on, and that's what I usually buy unless I need to feed a LOT of people...then it's shell on and I do the work).
Enough minced garlic and butter for scampi and bread. At least two sticks unless you are cooking for one, then halve that.
At least one package of spaghetti
One loaf French bread
Salad fixin's (this delicious salad was made by Pam, and maybe had a Ceasar dressing, but I can't promise that...just that it was really good and had raw sunflower seeds in it - another treat)
Now, c'mon, fess up, That wasn't real expensive and it was real good, wasn't it? And if you are lucky enough to have leftovers, it reheats exceptionally well. Go figure.
And now you've got one delicious meal fit for a birthday queen - and anyone else who loves garlic and shrimp. Including you!
*This is a page that talks all about shrimp. The author emphatically *suggests* not using de-veined and peeled frozen shrimp because of the loss of flavor. Well, I agree. But in my opinion, if you can't get fresh shrimp and/or have never had fresh shrimp. a quality flash frozen product will still taste good to you. Sort of like never having had a straight out of the garden tomato...what you don't know is too bad, but such is life and I'll keep eating shrimp frozen until I can get fresh!
I know I said I'd go into the weekend but maybe that's enough for now. I think so. I'm hungry. Wonder what Mike is fixing tonight...
Monday, March 23, 2009
And if that doesn't work for you, try this...and try not to feel real bad...
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Here is a bit of the Regatta while you're waiting. Now, go do something outside!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Have I ever mentioned that native Culebrense (as defined from the rest of us who chose to live here) have supernatural powers? I mean, it's other worldly. Stuff that would just go poof to anyone else just...works for born here types. I guess that is why they don't care much about OSHA sorts of things...they assume the rest of us are the same. News flash!!! We're NOT. Here is the latest example.
My little car that broke in the sewer ditch has been sitting in my yard lo these seven or eight months. I cajoled it into a spot to rest, out of the way, until...well, something happened. I finally got a check from the construction company as mentioned before. Not enough to fix the car, but enough to fix my sense of justice. So a couple local folks decided they'd seen my car sit there long enough and said they were going to fix it. Ok. Today they showed up in my yard...with a canister of air (no compressor, it just...worked) they filled the one flat tire. I handed over the key and then realized they weren't planning on towing the car...one was going to drive the car and the other two would follow. I told the (they speak English as well as I speak Spanish...it was entertaining if nothing else) guy planning on driving the car..."You can't drive this car! It won't drive...it's really..." He nodded, yes yes, ok. Then he got in the car, turned it on and drove it away. The last I saw, it was going over the hill, the chase vehicle behind it... I stood in the yard, staring into the setting sun...laughing so hard I was crying. Maybe one day my car will come back. I have no idea where it is. Something happened. Indeed.
I did a lot of transplanting today. My brother sent me a bag of weird seeds and I planted them. Now they are growing and I have no idea what they are. Maybe something recognizable will show up on them one day. Thanks, bro!
I did recognize these orchids though. It's been awhile since the purple ones have bloomed and they are as lovely as ever. Something magical though understandable during yet another day in Paradox.