Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

photo: Greg Worden

Factoid from Care2: DID YOU KNOW?
Jack-o-lanterns trace back to an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack. Unable to enter Heaven because of his stingy ways and turned away by the Devil, Stingy Jack wandered the world, searching for a resting place. To light his way, Stingy Jack used a burning coal in a hollowed out turnip -- hence the name "jack-o-lantern." The first jack-o-lanterns, in fact, were carved out of turnips.

Being as we have neither pumpkins nor turnips here (and I do miss roasting the seeds of pumpkins, one of my favorite side bennies of Halloween), we have to make do with our imaginations. So as goblins and ghosts and Bernie Madoff's traipse through the night tricking and treating, light a candle in your jack-o-lantern and toss a thought down here where there is no "frost on the punkin" or anywhere else. I guess we'll just have to live with that...

Tonight Mamacita's will host their annual Halloween party, but I have no doubt there will be tricksters a plenty roaming the pueblo from the plaza to the bridge and all spots in between. Have a safe and fun Halloween. I plan to!



by: James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)

      HEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
      And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
      And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
      And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
      O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
      With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
      As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
      When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

      They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
      When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here--
      Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
      And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
      But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
      Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
      Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock--
      When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

      The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
      And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
      The stubble in the furries--kindo' lonesome-like, but still
      A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
      The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
      The hosses in theyr stalls below--the clover over-head!--
      O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
      When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

      Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
      Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
      And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
      With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
      I don't know how to tell it--but ef sich a thing could be
      As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me--
      I'd want to 'commodate 'em--all the whole-indurin' flock--
      When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chefs for Charity - Mark Your Calendars!

How the morning looks without my contacts...not bad

I'm so lucky to be able to take my dinghy to work, a slow ride along clear water, views up and down Ensenada Honda, sail boats hobby horsing on the ups and downs of wavelets. When I get to where I tie up, there is a yard with plethora of beautiful flowers to feast on before hitting the corner. I'd not seen these blooms before and there are dozens of them cascading down...I don't know what they are called for real - I call them champagne cups because at a wedding I went to they were used to serve works!

The sky yesterday was full of wisps and layers of clouds shaded from white to deep grey that held only a few drops of rain for us, even as thunder shook the walls...

The Main Event
We have a great upcoming dining opportunity that, if you are fortunate enough to live here or to be visiting, should be on your *must-do* list. Here is a preview of the flyers, from Carmen Rosa. Thanks Carmen!! Don't forget you can click on the image to enlarge it. For 20 bucks we'll be getting great food, a chance to be together socially (rather than just at the PO saying hello) and doing something good for Culebra's children and their families, all at the same time. In these financially tough times, it's a heck of an excellent deal (I have to say heck, those sisters are TOUGH!).!

(English translation below)
Asociación Educativa pro Desarrollo Humano de Culebra, Inc.

P.O. Box 477 Culebra, PR 00775

Tel (787) 742-0259

Non-profit organization since 1985

Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 7:30pm we will have the Chefs for Charity, to benefit the Asociación Educativa de Culebra. This association with more than 20 years of existence has as its objective improving the quality of life of the residents of Culebra.

The association has a Pre-school Center and Early Stimulation for children 2 to 6 years old. It does not receive legislative funds and depends on the big heart of the friends of Culebra to service the 15 little Culebrenses that participate at the center. The agency also offers community assistance to the community in general.

The activity will be at Bahía Marina Resort in Culebra at 7:30pm and for only $20.00 you can taste the special dishes of the participating restaurants and enjoy the music of the Tinglao group.

If you cannot attend, you can cooperate by buying a ticket and endorsing it so a resident can attend. Tickets are available at the Asociación, El Edén Restaurant or at Bahía Marina.

Come and join us! Hope to see you at Bahía Marina, Culebra at 7:30pm on November 7, 2009. The Culebrenses will appreciate it!

Mark your calendar!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A tropical Tuesday

Yes yes, I know it is Wednesday, but beside a nice rain in the wee hours, hanging out with the cat (who seems pleased that I'm back home where I am supposed to be to serve her every whim and desire - luckily, she doesn't have many - scratch me, feed me, ok, you're done) and playing in the gardens, not much has happened today yet.

Maybe it wasn't just a nice rain...

Hmm. Now that I think about it, not much happened yesterday either. But...I did get to go with some friends to a beautiful part of the island. I meant to take more photos but I was too busy gawking at the views to remember to pick up the camera.

After dropping off the housesitting car at the airport, I was walking back home when I saw this horse beside the sidewalk. I've seen it a few times but never this close up. It was busy eating when I got there so I called, "Hey horse! I want to take your picture, look at me!" I don't think this horse wants to be a movie star.

Today may be the day I learn to make Jaime's pique, which would be fun. And the coconut telegraph has Chris Goldmark, our world famous fly fisherman, coming in today for the season, so don't forget to book early and book often!

There are three kittens running around my yard. Anyone who wants them is welcome to them. Of course, you have to catch them first. Two are black and one is grey. Help yourselves, please. Pretty please.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All Culebra All This Post

A typical Culebra story. A man, wrapped in a towel, decides to go into the night, into his yard, to give water to free-roaming horses who have been hanging out there. As he bends to put the bucket on the ground, the young horse in front of him bites his head. Yes, his head. Did the horse think it was an apple? We'll never know. But we are guessing radio signals can be raised on the tower sized bump the horse left him with. No skin was broken. Just another moment in Paradox.

As I was walking back from the bank yesterday I focused in on the new wall paintings, that actually aren't all that new but I really looked at them. Now you can too. Thanks, Benjaman!

Mary is bringing her harp down this year! She sent this photo, adding that it was too cold for bare feet. Who needs bare feet when you have kitty shoes? Island people...gotta love 'em!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nobody here but us peli's

Monday Monday...etc. There really are some humans here who do my heart good as well, and more on the way. But for now, we have these pelicans, who I totally anthropomorphize and that's just how that is!

Where did those houses come from??

I'm SO not scared of you on your dinghy 5 feet away from me

Keeping my head above about you?

Digging in, beak deep

White water splash

Jajajajaja...did you see that??

Walking on water

My life in a seashell

I can fly I can fly I can fly!

and outta here...

My last night on the hill, and life begins a new roll of the seasons. Let's see where the dice fall.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

As Promised, a Culebra celebration of Don Monchin

A slow but good Sunday (there were people out! they were buying things! It's a good day and a very good feeling for me when my own work sells; two seed pod mobiles and some hot sauces, as well as a guy who came by and said the only thing he and his wife didn't like about being on Culebra was that they couldn't read my blog, so they got internet so they could). Plus, Jaime promising me another authentic pique recipe withOUT vinegar. I think we'll end up making it in the Happy Landing parking lot... I'm excited! Well, when moments like these happen, so what if it's hot? I'm breezin' high on good things like this! Thanks and gracias, y'all, for making my day, my week, my month. It's the moments that make the difference.

Posting this video took a while for no particular reason except that the beauty of the days has been taking over my senses and I felt like this should have a day of its own as a slide show. It is the evening of Don Monchin's book debut, as well as a celebration of the Navy being out of here.

(The day we stop the developers with evil island destroying schemes, along with the ones breaking the law, violating the land, all trying to prove they have bigger than Peter Peppers, maybe even the size of their greed and arrogance - yes, boys, you know who you are and so do we - I'll grab a sheet and do a slideshow of the joy in the plaza to celebrate)

In the meantime, this is to celebrate a real man and a real community who worked together to oust a death dealing violator disguised in the garb of the US Navy. Another one who promised to be here for the good of the Culebrense. Bless you, Don Monchin and all the rest who stood and fought and didn't give up and WON! May your tribe increase, as the battle(s) to save one small island from rapists never ends, it just changes faces and uniforms.

P.S. If you want to know the story, you can get Don Monchin's book La Victoria de Monchin (The Victory of Monchin) while you are here or just ask, we'll figure out how to get you a copy. It is in Spanish. If you don't read Spanish, the photos alone are worth it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Slow Saturday So Far

It's early yet but already the morning has that languid feel to might be sunny or it might rain, it isn't cool and it's not hot and there is only sort of a breeze. It's as if the day has the energy of a lizard on a rock in the desert, why move if you don't have to? I'll see what happens; it could be the beginning of a train wreck or a miracle.

These miracles are good enough for me, right now. One for drama, one for calm, one a reminder to keep on going and see what happens next. There seems to be a theme going on here. Works for me.

My days of dawns on the hill are waning and every one has been a gift to enjoy

I didn't even notice this ball of bougainvillea until I glanced up looking out my door
instead of straight ahead -funny how you can literally look completely through
amazing things that are right in front of you

And then there was this man, out early to fish...
but even the pelicans are being lazy around here...better luck somewhere else

Have an exquisite Saturday - you know you can!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Free Range Friday (Part ll, the Friday part!)

Oh, so it's come to this, a total cheat on the offering of Free Range Friday. All I can say in my defense is...I WANTED to make this but the day is not quite going as I planned and so I'm going to turn you over to the owner of the recipe, Rachael, whose blog La Fuji Mama has been
mentioned here before. She is guest blogging at Steamy Kitchen yet another food blog, with the recipe I am drooling over today, Gyoza, a Japanese style dumpling, the interpretation of what was originally a Chinese dish. While I wouldn't have been able to get the proper pastry I could have used the round wrappers that are sold here (frozen) for arepas - the flour ones, not the corn meal!

Before I get to the recipe though, I thought I'd share a few food related items that came to me today. One was this, a garden curiousity that has finally to speak.

Peter Pepper Proudly Peeping

I only hope my brother is as proud of me as I am of these peppers, since he's the one who sent me the seeds. In other words, it's all his fault! They are cute little devils though, aren't they?

Also, the great news is, Holistica Aimee is OPEN!!! Here are some photos. I'll have the proud owners next time, they insist they cannot be photographed without both of them present and I've done a miss on one or the other both times, so one of these days, that magic will happen and I'll share it here - two exceptionally beautiful women inside and out. Congratulations, both of you! We're all really excited and ready to support this wonderful new addition to Culebra.

And now, on to the recipe. I'm going to put the ingredients here so you have a shopping list, along with the link to the actual web site, since it is full of how-to photos and other tips and bits of interest. I will make this or have to start a Japanese restaurant here, because the idea of steamed dumplings is now a craving! And no, I couldn't have gotten Napa cabbage either, but I'd have used regular cabbage without blinking an eye. Would the butcher at Milka's grind some pork for me? I bet he would! Ok, no miso either. I would have used the Bragg's Liquid Amino I got at the store for now. But Dian is working on getting miso; I can wait.

Gyoza Recipe (Japanese Pan Fried Dumplings)

4 cups, loosely packed, minced Napa cabbage (use the frilly leafy half of the cabbage)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
9 ounces ground pork
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (with a Microplane grater)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon green onion (green part only), minced
2 teaspoon aka miso paste (red/dark miso paste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
40 dumpling wrappers

For cooking the dumplings:
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup water

Dipping Sauce:
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
Several drops of chili oil or sesame oil (optional)

Thursday first, then Friday (like every week)

Yesterday was full of those funny little moments that keep life entertaining...well, my life anyway, which requires little to get full entertainment value out of a moment. The first three things I tried to get done didn't happen so I moved on to other people getting things done.

Tree trimming Culebra style - yes, that is a (very sharp) machete
and yes, he is standing in the bucket of a bulldozer

Our Thursday Librarian

Yes, you can now get any alcoholic drink you like at the beach -
here is Gretchen tending bar at Shadrach's kiosko

After a swim that left me feeling like I'd been to the scrubbed-and-rubbed spa, I ran into a couple of women I know at Shadrach's. Two new words got added to our all time favorite, 'stupicy', which took years to show up. Then suddenly two at once? Oh dear. But for your linguistic pleasure, here they are: 'survivaling', which speaks for itself, and 'volumptuous' which probably speaks too much for itself (the first person who can guess who was being described wins a prize). Enjoy and feel free to use these gems amongst your friends for moments of amusement.

Why am I not at the beach every day???

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get busy to relax

Ryan McGinley - Dakota Hair-2004
(I just like her, that's why she's here)

While I was busy sleeping, Michael Moore was busy making lists of things we can do to help change our world, our country and ourselves. It's too long to put here, but it is well worth a click to see what he has to say.

One section I will reprint though, because I think core to trying to have a life that is full of simple reality (why I live here instead of a lot of other places I could be) along with trying to have some value and worth in taking up space on the planet every day beside just making myself happy is a number of practical bits touched on here.

5. Take care of yourself and your family. Sorry to go all Oprah on you, but she's right: Find a place of peace in your life and make the choice to be around people who are not full of negativity and cynicism. Look for those who nurture and love. Turn off the TV and the Blackberry and go for a 30-minute walk every day. Eat fruits and vegetables and cut down on anything that has sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour or too much sodium (salt) in it (and, as Michael Pollan says, "Eat (real) food, not too much, mostly plants"). Get seven hours of sleep each night and take the time to read a book a month. I know this sounds like I've turned into your grandma, but, dammit, take a good hard look at Granny -- she's fit, she's rested and she knows the names of both of her U.S. Senators without having to Google them. We might do well to listen to her. If we don't put our own "oxygen mask" on first (as they say on the airplane), we will be of no use to the rest of the nation in enacting any of this action plan!

He doesn't say turn off the computer, maybe because you are reading this on a computer, but that is a good thing to do as well. What did we do with our time before we blogged, facebooked, web surfed, emailed? I'm not saying turn it off for good! Obviously I love my computer and the way it lets me stay in touch with the world at large and personal, but time outs are good. Try turning it off for a day - okay, how about half a day - to do something you used to do a lot more (besides sleep). Let me know how it goes.

In the meantime, yesterday was golden. Again.

I went to stand in the middle of the bridge to get some breeze
and saw this really well-formed water spout hovering over the bay.

In the afternoon, we got some light as butterfly wings rain for about an hour,
just enough to feel like I was in a mist room at a very trendy club. Oh, I was!

And then the sun came through, just at magic light time. Nice.

Have an excellent Thursday. Do something fine for yourself today by doing one good thing for someone else. And shhh, don't tell 'em, either!