Monday, February 28, 2011

Some beautiful Culebra finds

Yesterday is a bit of a blur, maybe because an unnamed person woke me up last night, insisting I go and watch the Oscars...which I managed to do (despite the fact that I don't see many movies and don't know who most of the people are) until about midnight, when Ennui reared its glittering head and insisted just as strongly that I respond, with sleep. At home. Thank you. Thank all of you, including the dog. And the dog's mother and all dogs, in fact. Do you like my dress? I will gladly confess to enjoying the audience around me far more than the show...dancing prancing singing boa flaunting people do amuse. A lot.

Where was I? When crossing the bridge yesterday, I saw this sail boat. We get a lot of beautiful boats in here and this was one of them. At least, I think so. Eye of the beholder and all of that. Sort of like the Oscars...

Then I got a Moya fix, when Juanito, Randi and Moya stopped by for a visit. They are never here long enough, but at least I get cart corner moments. Love you all!

Two island brother men happy to see each other again 

A beautiful family - be still my heart!

Later in the day I was out walking (and no, I'm not going to say where. Not for anything. Not even for Oscar Meyer Weiners *urp*) and found these crystals. I have never found crystals before and it was a pretty wonderous moment for me. Crystals. Here. Beautiful!!!

All in all, an excellent Culebra day. Thank you to whoever is directing this show!

Have a MAHvalous Monday! Do something MAJOR!

p.s. This has nothing to do with Culebra, or maybe it has a whole LOT to do with Culebra but I liked it very much, and had to pass it along...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Timing really is everything

Remember those beautiful orchids from this morning? Good thing I took a photo of them as they were eaten while I was gone...wahhhhhhh! They usually last days and days but I forgot (translate hoped, like a fool, that the iguanas wouldn't find them). Well, there are two more buds...and I've moved the plant. We shall see what we shall see, shan't we?

But first, what we shall see is Lola and Lucy, enjoying their Treat of the Day Dos...tomorrow they will fly away and I am looking forward to seeing them again next year, same time, same place. Do svidaniya, dearhearts! And Molly and David? It was wonderful seeing you again! Culebra is a better place (and with continued working with Coralations, the children and Mary Ann will only grow more) because you all come here.

Onward!! These photos are from the artist formally and presently known as Ana Raquel Cortes and her showing at Paradise Gift Shop. Ann and company did a beautiful job setting up the space. There was a lot of nibble food and plenty of wine, with Raquel's grandson Mikey manning the wine table (how did he get old enough to do that?). Everything looked wonderful! Good job, y'all!

Only in the last few years has Raquel put paint to surface. Her imagination and presentation is so unique and vivid, I'm not surprised that it looked like half the show was sold when I left while the party was still growing in numbers and going strong. Which isn't usually my departure point, but I had a date with my pillow that had to be kept.

Helena, putting to use her knitting lessons from Betz.

Art appreciation. Yes, I know.

John, Lisa and Mom the Artist
Worth a closer look...this was one of my favorites, with sea glass that what this would be called? Whatever it is called, I liked them!

Mikey looking quite professional!

Ana Raquel Cortes - Artist in Paradise!

 If you are interested in more of Raquel's work, I've no doubt Ann at Paradise Gift Shop can steer you in the right direction.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday! If you haven't already, start now.

I'm late! I'm late! for a very important date!

All right, I live on Culebra; I'm not really late. But I am out of enough time to do the wonderful presentation of Raquel's art justice. So I'm going to give you yard art for now (a total surprise to find these, they were hiding in plain sight, oh joy!) and come back later on with Raquel's. It was a great turn out, paintings were admired and bought, lots of smiling faces. Cultural event #something or other. A success!

Ok, I lied. Here's one shot from last night. Congratulations, Raquel!

It's breezy,  very breezy, and cool, with bright blue skies. Just when I think we're out of winter, we get blessed again with this weather that I swear if I could wrap it up and bottle it would bring peace to the's too good to be fighting in. At least, that's what I think.

Friday, February 25, 2011

P.S.!!!!! Art Showing tonight at Paradise Gift Shop!

Looking for something different to do this evening? 
Come out to Paradise Gift Shop, across the street from the 'old' school, and enjoy the artwork of Ana Raquel Cortes (Lisa Olsen's Mom, Mikey and Helena's abuella). Her work is fantastic, the company will be fun and there will be refreshments too. 
What else do you want, an engraved invitation (as my Daddy used to say)?

Free Range

Because Lucy and Lola leave soon, I asked them if they had one last Treat of the Day request. After some debate Lola came up with a Lemon Glazed Oatmeal Muffin suggestion that sounded workable to me. So early this morning, all ingredients ready for the leap from bed to baking, I got started. And everything went fine. Until I remembered I forgot (hush, Aaron!) to take photos of the process. So...what you get is the recipe and a photo of the finished muffins...and maybe some L & L enjoyment tomorrow. Oops!

One step in this recipe is to soak the oatmeal in the buttermilk for an hour - by the time you’ve gathered and mixed everything else, had a cup of tea or coffee, it will be about the right amount of time, so don’t be put off by that part!. Using rolled oats, that’s valid. Quick oats, 20 minutes or so is fine.
This recipe is adapted from about 5 that I found, and it worked, so I’m calling it mine! Or Lola’s...

Lemon Glazed Oatmeal Muffins

Have all ingredients at room temperature)

1 cup rolled or quick-cooking oats (if you use quick cooking oats, less soaking time is needed)
1 cup buttermilk - no buttermilk? add 1 tbsp of      white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

1 large egg
1/2 tsp. allspice (can use cinammon, nutmeg, etc instead)         
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted (do not use oil)
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Glaze -
1/2 cup sugar (confectioners sugar is best, if you can get it)
4 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh if you have it* is best, of course)
zest from the lemon (see above)

*some might question why I always add the line ‘if you have it’ or ‘if you can get it’ - that is because we often don’t have ‘it’, like lemons...there were no lemons around when I went shopping for this,two days after there were lemons at all the markets. Now you know!


Soak oatmeal in buttermilk 1 hour
add egg and beat well.
Add sugar and mix.
Add cooled shortening.
Add flour sifted with salt, baking powder and soda.
Spoon (this is a thick mix) into greased or paper lined muffin pan.

Bake at 400 degrees 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Mix sugar and juice in a pan, until the sugar is no longer grainy,take off heat. Pour or spoon over muffins while they are still warm. Eat. Enjoy! Buen provecho!

Yesterday my day went to the dogs, in the very best way. One dog went to the States, two went to the vet.  I went to the stores. Oars are big, they stayed in the store for another day I wasn't steering giant dog carts around. But I was steering them wearing new shoes, hooray!  There is a lot of stuff out there and I managed to bring some of it home with me, but nothing fascinating enough to relate. Except that at Office Max, I saved about 10 bucks buying their brand of printer ink instead of Hewlitt Packard's brand. So check it out if you are in Office Max, maybe they have your brand too.

Since I couldn't get a signed release from the dogs, I didn't take their photos. But I didn't have to ask the sea or the sky or the mountains (or the whales I didn't see either. Rats!).

Maybe the most clear sky over El Yunque I've ever seen

I sort of fell into a doze or was on the phone coordinating with Terry and Teresa for meeting and picking up dogs and cages for the rest of the trip.

Just a note here. Again. I know they were both very thankful I made the trip. But that was a drop in the bucket of what the Animal Welfare of Culebra do, every single day. For instance, yesterday a dog that someone has been looking after got hit by a car. The person called Terry, who picked up the dog, took care of it (in between taking care of a bunch of the rest of her life things) and got it on the ferry to go to the vet in Fajardo this morning; another 5 a.m. start. 

So if you have some adaptability in your life and would like to be on call for the Animal Welfare folks, please give them a call and let them put your name on their roster of helpers. It wasn't a big deal; I got some shopping done, the ferry guys and fellow passengers were more than willing to help with moving the crates, and you'll be taking a tiny bit of the load off the shoulders of those who do so very much that no one ever sees. Here is all the information you need to help out!

Have a fabulous Friday! Do something friendly.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why there is no post today

I am really out of touch with time and dates this year. Partly because I spent so long in the states, partly because I sort of checked my brain at the gate when I got back. There seems to be not much of a respite of major events going on for such a laid back place and I'm not at my best with multitudinous situations calling for attention. As they seem to do these days. So...I'm stepping off the bus. For a day anyway.

This morning (it's really not this morning, it's tonight, but by the time you are sitting over your coffee/tea/yerba mate reading this, it will probably be today) I'm getting on the ferry to escort a few dogs over to the big island for AWC (Animal Welfare of Culebra). One to be adopted, moving on and away, two heading to the vet. I've never done this before, so it should be interesting. And while I wish I could say I'm one of those altruistic good people who would do all sorts of life stretching things for dogs and cats, I'm not. Really.

The real motivator is that I hate to go shopping on the big island. Ok, I hate to go shopping most anywhere, unless it's an awesome 1) flea market 2) thrift shop - NOT Goodwill, which has become a Wal-Mart weird thing, at least where I saw them) 3) amazing grocery stores, my own personal version of the ultimate boutique.. Have you ever noticed that Fajardo includes none of the above? But...I need oars. I need shorts. I need shoes. I need...well, that's about all I need but I can't get them here, or at least, what I want here. I could get all of them in the mail, but there is that touch factor that I admit I long for if I must purchase something.  Of course, I may not find that there either. But the chances are better. We are nothing but frustratedly patient around here.

So, thanks, AWC, for getting me off my butt and on to the ferry, to at least go look. And if I get to see a whale, I'll REALLY be singing praise.

No doubt, as I enter Want World, I'll find something else I think I 'need' or that I just plain want. Which is one reason, yet another reason, I love Culebra. There is little here shouting, BUY ME!!! Well, except at the bars and restaurants. And the hardware stores. And maybe a gift shop or five. But that's different. No, really, it is.

All of this to say, no blog post with 'what I saw in the world' photos today. Because I should have been out in the world taking photos, but instead I just went to the cart, where I got to see people who it seems, just got here! but are leaving tomorrow; how did that happen??? and then I came home. Well, almost...only on Culebra do you go in a store to buy something and the store owner fixes you lunch so you don't 'walk home hungry'. Or, run into the woman who borrowed your muffin tins, who finds you in a store, drives you to her house to pick up said tins and then drives you home Sure, see if that happens in your 'hood. I hope so!

How did I ever get so lucky? I'm so in love. With Culebra. Again. Even with the ferries screwed up and the gas line long and a few other less that ideal goings-on. Yes, yes, I know. But, as with a human lover, you take the good with the bad, when the good so very much outweighs the bad. Until that shifts, I'm gonna stick.

Yesterday's celebration of life for Kim was good. Very good.

Letting go doesn't mean giving up... it means moving on.
- Anonymous

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birds and Rum

Huh? Birds and RUM, you ask? Well, hey, eclecticism is my middle name (just so you know).

Yesterday I started out with bird hunting. No shooting involved except for some of the photographic sort. Turns out I've been blind most of my life as far as truly seeing what is around me. And I'm delighted to learn that because oh! the wonder! Amazing gazing, yes. Birds with black and white markings so soft looking it appears more fur than feathers. Birds with bright blue bills and deep rust wings. Birds with long stiletto like bills, stitching along the mud flats, finding who knows what (actually, somebody DOES know, but I can't say with accuracy exactly what). Birds that dive and dip and paddle like mad. Oh glory! Thanks, Bird guy1

Yes, I know. This isn't a bird.

These photos were the easy ones (note: this is sarcasm...hence the lack of good focus - photographing birds is something I love to do, but I have a LOT to learn about taking good photos in the field, so to speak). The hard ones? Didn't/couldn't get them except in my head, where they are sharp and bright and very much in focus. The more I look, the more I'll see and hopefully, the more I'll share. Schmazin'!

Later in the day, I went with Mary Ann of Coralations by her classroom at the new school. She's been mentioning this class to me for quite some time and there is some fascinating, exciting work/play going on there and in the field. These kids and scientists collaborating together will be what saves Culebra for the generations of locals and visitors to come, if political and personal financially motivated corruption can be kept farther at bay. No pun intended.

Finally, at the end of the day, I was reminded that I had made and laid plans to get together for dinner with two friends on island for a glorious three weeks while their friends shiveringly fight mounds of snow (they feel really bad about it too, I mean, really bad). So we did just that, up at Bahia Marina, where we sampled from fruits of the ocean and fields with seafood pasta and shrimp salad and a churrosco serving big enough for a small nation. Oh and fruits of the vine too. All delicious, and with wonderful company. Lucky me! Thanks, Aaron and Lynn...I'm so glad you are both in my world!

It wasn't really this dark but we were this happy!
photo credit: Anita
"Ahem...MJ...the rum?? What about the rum?" Well then! I got this in my email and while I am not a rum drinker (well unless it's that awesome sipping rum on the rare occasion), I seem to know a few folk who are and who might appreciate knowing about the Puerto Rico International Rum Festival - Taste of Rum 2011. Two full days of tastings, food and music (then you can get over to Culebra and mellow out on the beach...).

It happens March 19-20, so you've got plenty of time to figure out how to get there. Or you could just buy some good PR rum and wave a paper palm frond around your snowed in self, if need be. Yes, I know...there won't be snow in March, you say. I make PR plans!

Today from 3-5 friends of Kim will be gathered at Dinghy Dock to celebrate her life among us.  If you knew Kim but can't be here, we know you are here in spirit. She most likely knows that even better.

Have a thankful Tuesday. Do something toughly tender.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Atmospherics, Culebra style

I love those times when the atmosphere shrinks the world. I have no idea how it happens (and please, my science head friends and readers, don't bother explaining; I'm quite content to believe it is pure magic or PFM, as I say when the children are covering their ears). Yesterday morning was such a time. If I'd had the right view, I bet I could have seen cars on St. Thomas (one time, when this visual magic was in high gear, I could see cars on St. Thomas, from St. Croix, 40 water miles away! Really).

It was quite still, but also chilly (in our worldview, yes, it was chilly). The sun was there but so were clouds. There was that sort of crystalline quality to the air that...well, makes magic possible. And so it was. I'm not sure exactly how far Dakity* is from the edge of my yard, but I'd guess conservatively at least two miles. I'm not known for conservative guessing, but I am sure it's less than a zillion.

This boat is very close to shore here...those other boats are at Dakity!
I may be wrong, but I think that is Chris Goldmark and guests fishing the reef

Fairy Gold Water
Why is a LCT at the reef? I have no idea. Thanks for the confirmation, Francie!

Today, hopefully, I'm going bird watching to places I don't know about. And people say Culebra is small...nahhhhhhhhhh.

Have a meandering Monday! Do something miraculous.

*Dakity is the name of the reef area at the entrance to our big bay, called Ensenada Honda