Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last day of the decade, unless you're a maths freak!



 Always being in step with a different drummer, I was happy to proclaim that 2000 wasn't actually the *real* change year into the new millennium, but truthfully, if anyone asked me to explain it in detail I was busted as the utter fraud that I, math challenged, actually was. So now, ten years later, I can easily say, hello, welcome to the last day of the first decade of the new millennium and be contradicted without a raised eyebrow of care.

A Culebra New Year's Eve


Milestones of years roll faster and faster as we grow into a comfort zone of farther apart *firsts*. First a teen, then a driver, then a voter/drinker, then oh my it starts to look strange. Cultures that celebrate maturity are the antithesis of our own, dreading the first facial line, be it from smiling or no. The first grey hair, the first extra bit of flesh not perfectly taut no matter the fitness level. And while I can't say I've zen mastered easing into these years with no complaints (hey, it's my heritage to complain and I do it damn well), I have learned that there are only two things that can save us as we move deeper into the life road. Humor and grace - and those in no hard and fast order, but rather, dependent on the circumstances.

So for this new decade, I wish us all as much humor and grace as possible to take along with us. Sometimes we have to reach down deep into our pilgrim rucksack to find either or both, but it is well worth the pause and the reach. Grab on, it's miles to go before we sleep.





Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Get your Boogie ready for 2010

Was it really ten years ago I was on Jost Van Dyke, pretending to be a bartender for New Year's Eve, for that strange numbered year 2000? How amazing! You DO realize that New Year's Eve is tomorrow night, yes? And that it is also a Blue Moon? Danger! danger, Will Robinson! So to get warmed up and ready, I've got this video for you to practice with. If you are not too tired (just from watching it), get your dancing shoes off and your sky gazing eyes on, ready to see the Old Year's Night come and go to the New Year, 2010. (which is really odd to type, by the way, losing that zero) with a full moon overhead.

Who knew I was doing the Boogie Woogie all of these years while others thought
I was having spastic tics and calling it dancing? I'm SO proud of myself!


Now to the blue moon part (this is also called the Long Nights Moon for some First People). I've written about blue moons before here because they fascinate me and because the term is so unscientifically full of unspecified romance. Very moon like indeed! The second full moon of a month is called a blue moon. Of course, don't expect the moon to be blue - from the blog Astronomy Picture of the Day - "The term "Blue Moon" has recently been traced to an error in a magazine article in 1946. It is possible for the Moon to appear tinged by a blue hue, sometimes caused by fine dirt circulating in the Earth's atmosphere, possibly from a volcanic explosion." Which for us means, it's possible, so let's watch and see.



We'll not have JUST an Old Year's Night and a full/blue moon - which only happens every twenty years or so, there will also be a partial eclipse of the moon! However, unless you are reading from Europe, Asia or Africa (and I hope you are) it won't be visible in North or South America. I have no doubt there will be a few squinched eyes out there New Year's Day wondering if the whole earth eclipsed...have fun and be careful. I want everyone I like and love to greet 2010 with nothing worse than a hangover, please!

Speaking of hangovers, it's a good time to be thinking about your New Year Resolutions. Of course, we make these to break these. But I kept my big one from last year, which was quitting smoking. Yes, I miss it, so don't ask or tell me how great it is that I've quit. If I could figure out how to smoke and breathe too, I'd be smokin' away! And it's saved me a pile of money. This year will be just as classic a resolution for me, losing the weight I put on from not smoking. I'm off to a pretty good start already and my next ex-boyfriend goes by the name of Gym. Let's hope I can dump him on a too often basis before a whole year goes by!



 Or you can see the whole event as one of my favorite writers did:

"New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of 
no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat
for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions."  ~Mark Twain

Now....go practice your Boogie Woogie!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

They buried their hearts at Wounded Knee

Today is the day in 1890 (not so long ago, unless you are under the age of 30) that over 300 members of the Lakota tribe were butchered by federal troops at Wounded Knee.
Black Elk, a holy man of the Lakota (also known as the Sioux) tribe, said later, "I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth,—you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead."
I think it would not be really necessary to make any comparisons to life on Culebra, as anyone who has an interest here has hopefully read Target Culebra by Richard Copaken, or Don Monchin's book of the history of Culebra, to better understand the depths and duplicity of those, even to the present day, who attempt to steal Culebra for themselves and their own disrespectful greed. Those who were born here have lived this reality, especially the elders of the community. Are we headed for a time when there is no longer a center? When all the sacred trees will be dead? When our hearts' view of Culebra will be only a memory, as I'm sure it is for many of the elders here? I don't have answers, I only have the desire to stand in the breach and be open and thankful for living here on Culebra and willing to work for holding on and saving what's left.

Have a tranquil Tuesday. Do something truthful.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Renewal!

Ah how good to wake up with a renewed mind and a pure heart! But it's early yet...

I was thinking about all the photos of the Christmas party and the March of the Muellecito and how I let them slip away from the blog. I did take the whole kit and kaboodle of them (well almost) and posted them on facebook, frankly because it is a very easy thing to do in one fell swoop. And I thought about how much to post here. Too much thinking.

Instead, a stroll through the garden was in order and there it hit me. Newness is spilling out all over the yard because of the out of nowhere 5 inches of Christmas rain we got. And I want that feeling. So it is onward we go, with just a brief glimpse back to the future...I would have posted a video down at Hector's but...it might be the slightest bit inflammatory. So instead, here are two photos from Christmas 2009 that wrap it up for me.



 

And then there was the March of the Muellecito. I listened to speeches and the passion of Culebra's heart, her people. History was re-told about growing up right on Flamenco beach before the Navy dislocated the population. The local police stood in a line, listening, while Victor Gonzalez's henchmen stood taking photos of us taking photos of them. The No Entre sign was displayed on an easel, as if we were at a museum. And we WERE at a living museum, but it isn't Victor's history, or his ancestors that are being disturbed.

Suddenly the talking stopped and we peacefully walked in to what Culebra already owns. There was no disorder. There was no disrespect. There were groans and shock at the destruction that has occurred under the direction of Victor Gonzalez. The local police respectfully stood by, as members of their family walked in and out, talking, singing, hearing story. It was a good day for Culebra. These three photos pretty well sum it up.

One of these people is not like the others~~~~~~~


May we all be as passionate and real at 87!


Coming home


Elders of the familia


and now, on to the new! With all that it promises. Living here makes me feel strong enough for all the good and all the work to make life good. Feliz Nuevo Ano!

 

Have a marvelous Monday. Do something magnificent!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2nd day

May I say I don't think I am the only one still recovering from Christmas? Thank you Kelli and Dale for showing me that there really is a very late night life on Culebra. I'd love to do that with you all again in a couple more years...I think I'll be ready by then. So even though I've had yesterday, which was open the cart, close the cart, go to the march at the muellecito (which was excellent and more about that later), go back to the cart, open the cart, close the cart, go home and then go work at Susie's...I think I was asleep while I did all of that. I might be asleep right now...but at least you know I didn't fall off the edge of the world. Someone else unnamed (but thanks, Eagle Eye Chuck for saving her butt!) almost did that!

 I want to be this kitty!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! and Free Range Friday

I'm listening to the St. Thomas radio station...'We eat and we drink and we limin', having Christmas in the old time way' is the song on now. Which sounds good to me!

Yesterday I did what I've not done in many, many years. No, not that. I made eggnog! Of course, I forgot to take photos, so I will just tell you the very simple way I did it.

MJ's (and a few million other people's) Eggnog

6 eggs
1 quart of milk
1 small container half and half (or use heavy cream, even better)
1 1/2 cups of rum (some use bourbon, I'm WAY too cheap to use bourbon that way!)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (the real vanilla please!)
1/2 cup sugar (honey would be fine, I wouldn't use as much though, maybe half)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (sure, ground is fine!)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (which I happened to have, if not, use ground cloves or just the nutmeg, no harm no foul)

With either a mixer or blender (I used the blender, in batches - because I FORGOT I have a beautiful mixer now!) blend the eggs, sugar and spices until the eggs get light colored and the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add the milk and half and half. Blend well. Add the rum (more or less to your taste). Chill and Bob's your uncle, you've got eggnog!

There are fancier ways where you separate the eggs and whip the egg whites into fluff, folding it into the mixture, and if I had a big dinner going on, I'd probably do that, but this eggnog was going into a big bottle and hitting the road so it would have been a bit of wasted effort. There are also egg nogs that are cooked to avoid freaking out people who are scared of raw eggs. In those, you do the mixing as above, but then take that mixture and put it in a pan and bring to 'just' a boil and then back to the mixing, then chill. Again, I'm of the school if it didn't knock off my family after all this time, no raw egg is going to get me now. Hush....I like my chosen ignorance!

Buen provecho! and have yourself a very Merry Christmas!!!

Last night a few friends got together and did a stoop to pub crawl...and luckily got home not long before 5 inches of rain slammed down onto Culebra by surprise! I'm posting these now because I know there will be a lot more photos as the day and night go on...

Some of the Stoop Crew saying 'Merry Christmas!!'

We lost Jack at the ice cream stand...

Hector and Perri make merry

Gretchen and Juan get down!

We ended up at Susie's, but the photos sort of...went downhill by that point and I stick to my premise, if I can't post anything nice (about my friends and myself!) I won't post anything at all!

Now, if I could just get me some guavaberry!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Victor Gonzalez, we can see (through) you

A funny thing happened on my way to town yesterday...oh, isn't that just like Culebra? This time the detour from the cart took me to the Muellecito with Laurie, Phil and her Mom to see what Victor had ordered done that was RE blocking the road that he was, by law, ordered to dismantle only the day before.

I'll give him points for clever, even if it won't prevail again the law ultimately. In fact, just the opposite as he is now playing the police, the mayor and other officials for fools, planting trees to block the road. Angry officials are really not your best bet, Senor Gonzalez, but too late now, you cheeky boy! And the posts were a bad idea...I imagine you simply couldn't resist raising the level of *things I snookered you for* ante. (Victor, you see, has a contract to plant indigenous trees, but I don't believe that was meant to be used for a fence...oh dear) And we know you don't think we're the brightest people, but wooden posts don't count as trees. Just joshin', weren't you? Shucks.

While we mulled about, I had a talk with Victor's head henchman. In another universe, I'll admit I'd probably like the guy. I half way liked him as it was. Married, four kids, a, according to him and I certainly believe him, very good paying job...and he's worked for Victor for 20 years. Since he looks pretty youthful now, I'm figuring Victor plucked him quite young, since this man calls him his second father. "Yes?" I asked him, "your first father must have been very bad?"

This man isn't a fool; he knows he is doing a very dirty job, but he is loyal and his wallet is loyal as well. It's, truthfully, pathetically sad. He seems pretty well practiced at putting up the 'this is my job' shield but for a few moments there..well, if you haven't guessed yet, I do a fairly good Pollyanna carrying Don Quixote's lance...with a couple of ninja stars up my sleeve.

video

Another gift of the season from Playa Flamenco


Hear the bells ringing? Oh, is that just me?


 
 
 

Life is short, enjoy the moments! Have a wonderous Wednesday! Do something wild.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A good day for PETA types to skip my blog


Today is the Winter Solstice, which got me up and awake with the excitement of an unwrappable morning under the trees, just waiting for me. Did it seem lighter a smidgen earlier? Where's my wassail?


The morning dawned gentle and still, the air cool enough for no fans, and tea welcome. Cwim jumped on the bed for her regular wake up taps and scratching, her little paws cold from the yard.

Can we say Halcyon?

From last year's lechon post, I will issue the same warning now. Don't say I didn't try!

WARNING!!! Graphic picture of a naked pig! Go no further if you are offended by photographs of naked pigs, or how your meat really looks before it gets to the table! OTHER WARNING!!!! If you are a member of PETA, run away now, and please keep your thoughts to yourself, as I'm a blatant carnivore and not ashamed.

Yesterday I got word that Rob from Dinghy Dock was cooking lachon, under the direction of Norman. I asked if I could take a peek. Watching the pig turn slowly on the spit set up all sorts of wonderful salivatory happenings in my mouth. For the sake of cleanliness, I didn't drool right then and there. I promise!


Unlike the gigantico porkers they cook at El Batey in their big pit, this was a little guy, meaning that it was a get there while it's hot because it will go fast during this season where pig is king.


So if lechon is your idea of a perfect part of the holiday season, there are at least two places to get some! I'm not sure how often they will be making it at Dinghy Dock; Rob said it could be a weekend event through the holidays, so ask if you're interested. The more interest, the more lechon. Easy peasy.

Early early this morning I could hear, far up the road, music and laughter and singing...I kept waiting for it to get closer, but the regular sounds of morning have taken over, cars and trucks and the engines of boats, roosters and banana quits and hummingbirds, interspersed with moments of absolute silence. Another day in Paradox.

Have a momentous Monday. Don't do anything mundane. (And Karen, have a fabulous time in your merrie olde England - do some really Brit Christmasy thing for all of us and we'll be doing exactly as you expect here!)

Flaming with brandy...oh my!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sleepy Sunday before Winter Solstice

What winter brings to me

At almost 7 a.m. the sky is still dull with the sun not over my horizon yet. The dark comes early too, with 6:30 feeling like the middle of the night. I know in many parts of the world it's dark much earlier and light much later, but this is about all I want to have of darkness in my world. I've long wondered how people in the extreme fringes of the light/dark zones manage to get out of bed at all in the winter...it's really cold and really dark. I'd live in my bed. But maybe it only seems that way, maybe if I was born into it...blah blah...thank you DADDY for not doing that to me!

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice occurs on
December 21, 2009 at 12:47 PM EST and 17:47 UT (Universal Time).


For us, that means 1:47 p.m. as we are on Atlantic Standard Time. The east coast of America is an hour behind us (go figure). I for one am quite ready to see a return of the sun blaring in my window at 5:30 in the morning, which won't happen any time immediately, but at least I know it is on the way. But yes, I do love this coolness in the mornings and afternoons. I hear there are places where it is this temperature every day, all year long. So what do THEY whine about?

In the meantime, here is a photo of a ship that is in the harbour. It hails out of Maine and I'm in lust with it.


I took the boat picture on my way to *work*. Here is a mini clip of that ride...how good to start every day thinking Oh Wow.

video

Have a superb Sunday. Do something supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Uh oh...

Last night was the long awaited opening of Aqui me quedo, owned by Mike, operated by Hector and Perri (yes yes, I know, Perri, it's Hector's, ok). Now...the rough translation of Aqui me queda is something like 'Here I stay'. Fine. Of course, in true Culebra style it will be called...Hector's. Great new recreation in a tiny amount of space (this was formally the Mexican place, and before that Alicia and Feddy had it), Hector could consider putting designer on his resume. The back is opened up with a fabulous piece of furniture for lounging on as well as a back bar...which was covered with delicious nibbles. And that's where the uh oh comes in. I somehow forgot to take a photo of the (Free Range Friday) food! I went to do that, really, but there on the couch were these beautiful woman/girls/friends and I got distracted. Oops!

But believe me, the food was great! Chicken wings that weren't fried! edited to note: they were fried...man, flash frying I guess, there wasn't a greasy thing about them! Pot stickers, a dumpling with a thin wrapper, stuffed with...uh...something good! and numerous sauces from sweet to spicy for dipping. I will definitely do a repeat on the food for the blog, and get a look at the menu to share that as well. Somehow my mission oriented self got lost along the walk from Ann's stoop to Hector's...funny how that can happen.

My first drink from Hector at Aqui de quedo

Pam & Mike kickin' up the heels

The outdoor crew (Jack from the Back)

Hector & Perri prepare to pour the bubbly

Salud!

Once again Culebra gave us a night to be with friends, eat good food, have some drinks and congratulate another of our own for stepping out on the wire with a new business all of us can enjoy. To many more nights of good times, y'all. Nice job. Really nice job. And next time, I'll do the food first...

If you want to see a lot more photos of the evening, go here. I'm going to town to open my very festivally dressed up cart, thanks to Sue & Tuck.

p.s. Don't forget jazz at Susie's tonight...oh how our social calendar is filling up!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Free Range Friday...shhh, it's a secret!


I can't tell you what is on the menu for Free Range Friday as I've been sworn to secrecy until afterward, but I promise, I will share later on. In the meantime out of doors called to me so kindly this morning - the air is cool and soft, the sun up, the sky a slightly more than pale blue with a background of birds chitter chattering "Hello! Fabulous day, did you see that flower/pepper/herb/bug down there? Delicious!". Yes, there are clouds on the horizon, but we have to look beyond clouds...most of the time.


I answered the calling. I think I need one of those backpacks that you can sip water from, except I'd fill it with milky, sugared hot tea so I could take photos and sip tea at the same time.

This aloe blossom looks lit up from inside...maybe it is

Port and starboard habs

This big boy has chased the little guy/girl?
around the yard all morning

Bougie bloom

If all my dishes and glasses break, I still have these...

Aloe blossom close and personal

Stay tuned and have a fantastic Friday! Do something frivolous.