Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summertime and the Living is Easy Peasy

 I think the crazy part of July is over, when island life gets quieter, vacations for locals are fast approaching, and your regular bar stool is free. That's a good thing! Less trash, less calling on the infrastructure, less zoom zoom. We're really not a zoom zoom sort of place, but some visitors (and guagua drivers) forget that. Try not to, please.

Morning breaks wide open
Even the water is feeling tranquillo
An underwater garden - or - the prettiest tire I've ever seen
If you want another good waterside view, across the street from El Batey is pretty fine.
On into the quieter zone I go. Another beautiful day in Paradox.

Have a willing to wander Wednesday. Do something wonderful.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tiny Home Tuesday

Because I am a huge fan of tiny homes (and live in one), I've been inspired to devote one day a week to them here on the blog - one day is good, since I probably look at dozens in a week alone. Some will be from Culebra and some won't. If you have a tiny home you'd like to see on the blog from where ever you live (or if you live in one and want to share it, send it in, info and photos both. My editorial board and I will be really happy to check them out; CWIM loves photos).

And p.s. What constitutes a tiny home? I'm pretty generous in my own thoughts - small is good, it doesn't have to be wee to be considered tiny. McMansions don't quality, cottages, unless you are using Newport definitions, do. Bungalows, cabanas, cabins, cabooses, camps, carriage houses, boats, (houseboats included) of a certain size, shanties...they all work.

Today's tiny home will be from an email sent in (thanks, Mr. Plum!) about the Diogene, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, who is also the builder of The Shard, the largest skyscraper in Europe. 

 (photo credits: unknown)

At 65 square feet, I consider this more of a prototype of a tiny home than an actual
every day living microhome, not that boat interiors are much bigger, sometimes. What I like about this are so many little bits and pieces, oh so practical, to make living better. 

I'm not a fan of modern, clean lines. I like funk and clutter and nook and crannies and this place has none of that. What is does have is a water collection system, a compost toilet, a shower, a kitchen, The name Diogene, the Greek philosopher who chose to leave behind luxury and live in just regular poverty but living in a glass jar sort of poverty, isn't the best of names for conjuring up connotations, but then, he named his skyscraper the Shard, so make up your own conclusions. 

You can find out a lot more about this place here. It's pretty brilliant.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Anatomy of a Stormy Fare Well

Tropical Storm Dorian, never much of a threat to begin with, has finally left the building. It was one of those 'big enough to pay attention to, early enough in the season to feel fairly sure it wouldn't be a problem, but what about the maybe factor' weather systems.

As it turned out, we barely even got any rain from it. What we did get was a lot of drama. Most of the time, we like this kind of drama; it was a pretty good show!

The pet tarpon of Culebra

It's a bird, it's a plane. Yes.
And then the sun went to bed.

I'm sure the moon came out to play, but, by then, I was sleeping. All was calm, day was done, it was time to safely rest.

Have a merry Monday. Do something motional.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to the Beautiful

It's not easy to maintain a mood of rant when a) it's really hot and humid and anything requiring a massive amount of energy is just too draining and b) there is so much natural distraction around. I'm sure there's a c) in there someplace but why push it?

A living wall of flowers
With fish and fruit everywhere around us, hunger doesn't need to be an option. There are chickens and eggs too, for things most fowl.
The spider lilies are blooming madly, filling the air with their deep musky scent. Oil of spider lily should be on the shelves.  
Plantains are 'almost' ready. Unless you are making something with green plantains, then they are really almost ready.
Have a tensionless Thursday. Do something topsyturvy.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Watching My Head Explode

The world is full of good things. The world is full of good people. The world is full of beauty. Some days I have to almost severely remind myself of these three things or my head would simply explode. I haven't tested that theory to the limit, mainly because it would be messy, and while I'm not opposed to mess, avoiding cleaning up what is preventable is a subconscious theme running like a current in my life. If you've ever sailed across the Gulf Stream you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, then most likely you've used a washing machine. Sort of the same difference, without the soap.

Yesterday I came across two web pages that pretty much show both sides, both brains. One is pictorial, called 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity. One is a very long, but well worth reading,  article entitled The United States Is Awash in Public Stupidity, and Critical Thought Is Under Assault. They both made me cry, but for very different reasons. I hope you check them out.

In the meantime, there is harmonious therapy to be had: I watch my garden grow, doing the simple tasks that each plant requires. Plant, water, weed, grow, harvest. There is loose order, but order indeed, a patience required for when I don't feel patient. If the plant fails, I can usually figure out why. If the fruits are used by birds or iguanas, I understand that. Gardening is full of peaceful lessons, even if some of them frustrate; they make a sense in the world, a sense of continuity that I need.

I haven't started using a watermark on my photos these days because they are such great photos, but because I hate the growing trend on the web of photos posted with no source, no credit. Pintrest, Tumbler, Facebook pages (where stealing the name of long respected web sites is apparently okay as well, to get attention to a Facebook page) and more, all photo sites where it is the rare person who even tries to credit a photo (this happens with writing as well, but photos are the topic for now), even when the information is readily mental shards that have me grinding my teeth, head gears caught in sticky cogs of why questions that resist answers, or when asked, are answered in casual 'it doesn't matter, why do you let these things bother you' fashion. Because it's the right thing to do? How simplistic.

Watermarking my one little drop in a big, big, big bucket strike back in a world where taking the easy, fast way, with lazy thinking and acting, seems to be totally acceptable. I know many people don't even realize they are doing something that only a few years ago was considered unacceptable. Legally unacceptable, by the way, if anyone wants to push it. A few have. While I'm fairly sure I'll never be in a 'famous photographer' position, I do sell my photographs and do expect to at least be given credit if they are used. Maybe a watermark will help. Maybe not; maybe it's just for me to do some small thing to ping a brain or two. Maybe courtesy (from little things, big things follow) will come back onto the world scene. Maybe not. I only know the world is a little better place when we put into action an apparently outdated concept - good manners. Rant Over.

Have a willingly well-grounded  Wednesday. But do something wide-winged. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So Green Stun My Eyes

With the on and off continuing rain it seems impossible that there could be more green here, yet it continues to deepen, spread, be riotous in as many shades as the sea is blue. One day I cut back a weedy tree, the next, it seems, I look and there are branches four feet long, leggy with reaching for the sun. Grass is thick where the ground was barren, as surprising as a desert forever and then an oasis.

How many shades of green? Countless.

Periwinkle blue stands out like a beacon, a half inch beacon, but bright enough

I tied this orchid to this tree trunk a few years ago. It had broken off from the mother plant and looked like it was going to die. It didn't.

Remember the desert out here? No more. For now.

A scolding from Mama

If I had brilliant video knowledge, I could, perhaps, capture the undulating light, reflecting back bay water all through the leaves of the mangroves and other plant life. You'll just have to use your imagination.

With water sources abundant, I don't see my hummer friends as often. This one came by a few times this morning and posed a little bit longer; a gift.
Summer is passing through quickly, the end of July racing toward us in heat slogging speed. The days get hotter (though not as hot as up in the states, many days) and we keep our eyes to the east. Weather patterns grow less reliable even while overall the seasons unroll more or less on time, even while exceeding their boundaries more often than not. Maybe it is easier for some of us to adapt, less acclimated to canned air, outside more often than not. Or maybe not, when some days it feels like the air is thicker than breath.

Have a temperately (un)taxing Tuesday. Do something therapeutic.

Monday, July 22, 2013

After Midnight, It's Monday

Sunday seemed to last about two days long for some reason. There was a lot of day in the day and long in the night. At last though, as ever, the moon and this part of the earth parted visual company, the sun arrived in a timely fashion to break day.

It's a good day to look to night, or at least moon rise, because tonight is known as the Full Buck Moon, as bucks begin to grow their new antlers, and also as the Thunder Moon, as storms light up the sky with lightning and fill the air with orchestral thunder. 

But before the moon rises, the sun goes down.

This isn't the full moon of thunder and newly antlered bucks. It's the almost by a smidge moon that goes uncelebrated officially, but one to take note of just because it is still grand and beautiful.

Moon with No Name

This beautiful old (or replicated old, I don't know) boat has been in front of the ferry dock a few days now. I'm very curious as to its story, but no one is stepping up to the information plate as yet.

I wanted to take a photo from a different angle on the ferry dock, but we're not allowed to access our own dock these days, with fencing worthy of a prison camp and a guard to enforce rules, for no reason I understand any more, now that the major terminal building is complete. So it goes.

Into the day to speed it along until Thunder Full Buck Moon rolls out!

Have a more moon Monday. Do something mindful.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Free Range Friday ~ Culebra

Since I've not been doing much cooking lately - how exciting to see my tuna and hard boiled egg salad (with onion and capers and celery and mayo, if you care)? - you'll just have to visually feast today. I had a wonderful recipe to share but as is on occasion the way of things technical, it poofed away, maybe never to return. Unless I get into spy mode before finishing this, and I might, but probably not.

Quiet drama at the dock.
Another beautiful frangipani color
This cactus has gotten so huge! But so has the plant in front of it, so to avoid creeping out the friend who lives here by stalking this plant right near his window, this is the part you get to see. You're welcome, Jeff.

Obviously I'm obsessed with this flowering vine/tree/plant in my yard. It so rarely blooms that I'm enjoying each and every one of them.

This is one of the above plant's new legs.
The first person to guess what this is...just kidding.
I missed the circus this year, so I can't tell you about it. Ann's shop, Paradise Gifts, is closing; hurry up, items are almost literally flying out the door with the huge sale slash she has going on. Neil is tending bar at his beach kiosko on Monday's, Tuesday's and Thursday's if you want to stop by, have a drink and/or a meal and say hello! This next bit I'm putting in entire because I'll forget something, no doubt.

*Veterinarian Dr. Osmar Rivera, will be in Culebra Wednesday, July 31st thru Friday, 2 August to tend to your pet's needs: surgeries
(spay/neuter, etc), vaccines, skin checks, etc.
*Please call 787-409-6380.
*The doctor's mobile clinic will be parked next to the Culebra Community Library.
*Please remember to call to schedule an appointment ASAP because we
need to have information on your pet before the vet arrives; it'll help the clinic go more smoothly and he'll be able to see more animals. Thank you!

That about wraps it up for Free Range Friday. Which is sort of silly because it's barely begun. But I have to see a chick about a life. A real chick. An abandoned chick. That somehow made its way to my porch. With human help. Thanks. Ever. So. Much.

Have a find your fine fettle feeling Friday. Do something fearlessly.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Laundry in The View

No, not that The View. This view. The view I have while doing my laundry someplace different than my regular place I do laundry. Oh, the excitement of island life is so good. As is The View.

This boat was pretty far away but I could still almost feel being heeled over like that.
There were other things to look at on a slow, hot and lazy day (although I consider doing the laundry to be the antithesis of being lazy - not the ultimate antithesis, but enough to note I did something productive when I'd rather have been in front of a fan or in the water). A walk down by the canal was pretty pedestrian (yes, intended) until I saw this boat, these people and 4 dachshunds. 4! in their little life vests and very relaxed being aboard.

The different colored vests made me laugh. The whole thing made me laugh.
Genipas are ripe on the tree right now, but I've yet to get a good photo of them. They are usually in shadows and very much the same green as the surrounding leaves. It's on my project list. They are everywhere off the tree, for sale or to give away. Yesterday in Randaluz (the ferreteria) there was a big bag full for the sharing. A little boy and I filled paper bags that Marilu gave us. His face...he was so happy! If you're on island wanting genipas but you don't want to climb a tree, head over to Randaluz.

The bag didn't stay full for long
In the meantime, this palm tree is blooming riotously. With not one edible thing on it that I can see.

And here is the crazy flamboyant I was talking about yesterday. I've never seen another growing with such weed-like abandon.

Have a (go)wild Wednesday! Do something willy-nilly.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flora & Fauna and Look Up!

The other morning it seemed as if everywhere I glanced, something beautiful was in front of me. Well, it was.

There is this crazy flamboyant that, instead of the usual graceful crown arising from a sturdy trunk, grows manically wild, its branches up and down and laying on the ground like the experiment of a crazy Daliesque obsessed botanist on steroids. This is the first time I've seen it blooming grandly. 

The atmosphere continues to produce clouds of whimsical wonder.

Goosey gandering

Bright light, no city

Even the dill was turning water into diamonds

This peahen was out and about finding goodies in the grass

Yesterday at Dinghy Dock I mentioned how spectacular the clouds have been and a couple of people said they'd been sitting there watching the cloud banks form and melt and merge; they had been naming the clouds as they went by. We're an industrious bunch here. Yes we are.
We were also talking about good stories that seem to happen here in a rare but regular flow. Here is one. I needed some scissors yesterday. Well, I'd needed them for a few days but by yesterday, I REALLY needed them. Not hair scissors, not little scissors, but a large pair of sturdy scissors. I went to the school supply store but, I'm guessing, due to the holiday celebrating the birthday of Luis Munoz Rivera - which isn't really until tomorrow but we'd never let that interfere with making a 3 days weekend - it was closed. As was the bank. As was Cheli's.

So I hoped that Randaluz, the ferreteria that sells almost everything including alcohol, would be open and would have scissors. Yes, open. Nope, no scissors. But wait, wait, she gestured. After a brief phone call a pile was dug into and a package of 3 pairs of scissors emerged. Exactly the sort what I needed. She handed me a pair and I asked how much. She said, These are mine, it's nothing. I said, No really, I want to pay, si si si. She said, laughing, no no no. I recovered, remembered where I was and gratefully received the gift. On the way back to feeding my critters I thought, eggs! I bet she'll take eggs! Which she did, with surprised laughter.

It took longer to type this than for it to happen, but sharing it makes it even better, one of hundreds of moments that make Culebra the one I fell in love with when I first got here, a generosity of spirit, a kindness, that never fails to move me, to remind me that despite the things that drive me wild with frustration, the foundation of why I live here is rock solid. Pun intended.

Have a take time to tiptoe through the tropical Tuesday. Do something transcendental.