Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en 2013!

First of all, because I know this is a burning question for all lovers of Hallowe'en, why is there an apostrophe in the word? Luckily for you, zombies gentle readers, I have the answer. Ok, I don't have the answer, but Mignon Fogarty, aka Grammar Girl, does. Thank you, Grammar Girl!

"One early spelling of "Halloween" was "all hallows' even," in which "even" meant "evening." The "all" and "s" got dropped, "hallows' " and "even" became a closed compound, and the apostrophe took the place of the "v," giving us "Hallowe'en"-just one of many transitional spellings along the way to "Halloween, which the English Oxford Dictionary shows as first appearing in 1786. Other spellings before 'Halloween' included 'Hallaw-e'en,' 'Alhollon Eue,' and 'Halhalon Evyn.'" 

Still one of my favorite pumpkin carvings ever! From the pumpkin carving contest 2011
Tonight you can make the rounds of a few places for parading your costumes; there are parties going on for just that at Dinghy Dock, El Batey, SandBar, or just hitting the main drag. No doubt the sidewalks in front of Blue at The Spot and Heather's Pizza will be crowded with creatures. Take a walk on the wild side!

Hallowe'en, however you spell it, is taken seriously here. I've heard some wild stories about some pretty crazy costumes before I got here, and while I've not seen any women in cellophane costumes since, there have been a lot of impressive get-ups, always a lot of laughter and a good time had by all.

Here are some photos of Hallowe'en's Past. Consider the costume gauntlet thrown.

We'll just have to wait and see what happens tonight! In the meantime, watch out for pirate zombie's, they really want to get into your head.

Have a taste your brains free Thursday. Do something terribly terrific!

which the Oxford English Dictionary shows as first appearing in 1786. Other spellings before "Halloween" included "Hallow-e'en," "Alhollon Eue," and "Halhalon evyn." - See more at:
One early spelling of "Halloween" was "all hallows' even," in which even meant "evening." The "all" and "s" got dropped, "hallows' " and "even" became a closed compound, and the apostrophe took the place of the "v," giving us "Hallowe'en"—just one of many transitional spellings along the way to "Halloween," which the Oxford English Dictionary shows as first appearing in 1786. Other spellings before "Halloween" included "Hallow-e'en," "Alhollon Eue," and "Halhalon evyn." - See more at:
One early spelling of "Halloween" was "all hallows' even," in which even meant "evening." The "all" and "s" got dropped, "hallows' " and "even" became a closed compound, and the apostrophe took the place of the "v," giving us "Hallowe'en"—just one of many transitional spellings along the way to "Halloween," which the Oxford English Dictionary shows as first appearing in 1786. Other spellings before "Halloween" included "Hallow-e'en," "Alhollon Eue," and "Halhalon evyn." - See more at:
Mignon Fogarty,
October 23, 2012
Mignon Fogarty,
October 23, 2012

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

There's Something Happening Here

Don't worry about the giraffe
In the cyber world, trends are like quicksilver, a flash, with us one minute and gone the next. They might be as silly as the giraffe on facebook currently wending its way through a cycle (latest response to a silly riddle leading to a lot of giraffe photos - don't ask - is a photo of a giraffe with a knife to its neck, which while it doesn't sound like it, is pretty funny), to Humans of New York, the photo / story project of a man who randomly decided to take photos of people in New York and tell their story.

Fast forward to yesterday. While in a van on his way to do an interview about HONY, he got into a conversation with the driver. The driver and his wife had adopted an Ethiopian girl and now had a brother for her, but not the money for all the processing fees They started a crowd funding project on indiegogo. The story caught the heart of our HONY guy and he told the story. The funding went crazy viral, catching the hearts of people around the world. Yesterday, I spent a little time refreshing the page every few minutes. I watched it leap by hundreds of dollars over a period of about ten minutes. When I last checked before sleep, it was about 65, 000. This morning, it's 75,000. The power of passion, caught in a cyber timeline, for the good of others.

Then there are the Beekman Boys. I'm not sure when I first became aware of the Beekman Boys but it was more than a few years ago. So long ago that it wasn't obvious they were gay back then. Ok, it was obvious to some people, but it wasn't a factor in their story. It was just two guys, one a doctor, one a Martha Stewart magazine guy who bought a farm in upstate New York. They were funny and truthful in their ignorance of much about farming, but they were doing it, one staying in NYC most of the time, working to pay the bills and one on the farm, a clean freak obsessive, who looked about as out of place in farm muck as a pig in a debutante's gown. I was hooked.

photo credit - Beekman 1802
Fast forward to now. They've had a television show, they have a line of products from the farm, they won the Amazing Race. They got married. They are still very funny.

They are also very invested in their small community of Sharon Springs, sharing the wealth their celebrity has brought them, and now, moving farther out into the larger community of the country, they have a project called Beekman 1802 Mortgage Lifter Heirloom Pasta Sauce. There ought to be an acronym for that. If you like Willie Nelson's Farm Aid (Willie's been trending for a long, long time now), you'll like this. The goal is to pay forward what has been given to them and to donate 25% of sales to helping other small farmers pay off their mortgages. For real.

I use these two examples out of more that could be told about because of a few things. The biggest one for me is that when a quicksilver trend goes against the constant flow of selfish garbage we are inundated with daily, against corruption in high places, against the current onslaught of It's All About Me, against cheap tricks in brittle cellophane wrappers, it moves me to a place I want to live in more.

There are so many of us carrying the weight of this world on ourselves like a coating of road dirt; barely knowing it is there anymore until we get caught in a rain shower, jump into the sea, have someone take a cool damp cloth and gently wipe us down and realize the sensation of clean lightness that has been possible the whole time. This isn't quicksilver, it's the real deal.

You don't have to have celebrity to help out another human being. Sure, it helps, but there are people out there doing it every single day, one on one, step by step. Few see them, few hear about them. They and we can't save the world, but we can shine a little light that can be a stretched out hand blinding brightness in the dark for someone else. Yes, it can.

So...that's what I had to say about that!

Have a (un)weighted with windy words Wednesday. Do something winged.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Culebra Tiny Home Tuesday

At the end of a dirt road in the northwest woods and mountains of North Carolina is a path. Down a slight hill, and a turn to the left brings you to a small clearing. Sitting like a small jewel is this cabin.

Inside is a bare canvas, one room, waiting for finishing. I've imagined it a few dozen times and talked to LC, the owner/builder  - he's The Man Who Can Do Anything - about heating and plumbing and all the ways it would take to make it home, starting with a covered porch on three sides (that's my imagining, having all my priorities in a wobbly row; LC is a lot more practical). Imagine a chimney, with fragrant smoke, with wood from fallen trees, wafting. Imagine a wrought iron bed with feather pillows, covered in locally made quilts (lots of them, it gets cold up there). A propane stove with soup cooking. A small wooden table, two chairs, mismatched plates and glasses on an open shelf, waiting to be placed. Deer in the yard, a cat in the bed. Maybe one day.

The edge of the front yard. On a clear day, mountain ranges stretch away into the sky. On a foggy, wet day, it is still beautiful, so quiet you can hear raindrops falling.
Have a top 'o the world Tuesday. Do something tiny.

p.s. If you want a good cabin story, go here. John McAbery, a part of the story, is the woodcarver I met at his beach home on the Lost Coast in California and wrote about in a post last year. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Sat Down Beside Her (Arachnophobes, Fair Warning)

There is nothing and everything to rediscover when you've been away from home for awhile. I could probably feed the cat and chickens blindfolded, even though I'm pretty clumsy.  I know where each root and too big to dig out rock is in the path, which tree to touch to get around the gazebo, about how many steps it takes to open the coop door from there. I could water the plants that need it most the same way, and would know I was getting it right by the whhhhrrrrr sound of hummingbird wings, bathing on just sprayed broad leaves like I am their personal spa attendant. Well, I am.

But there is something new everyday too. Sometimes it's big, like a herd of horses. Sometimes, it's small and fragile appearing, but there is little that is truly fragile around here. Temporary maybe, but not fragile. You can't survive and thrive here without some steel in your spine/wing/petal/web.

The sun was on the go-down when I walked out on the little dock to see what I could see. Eyes grabbed, eyes arrested, I sat awhile.

The last bit of sunlight left the web and dulled the moment into something much more easily missed. We all need a spotlight sometimes to see the miracles.

Have a minute miracle Monday. Do something mmwowmmwow.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Free Range Friday on Saturday

I've been wanting to post this for a couple of weeks now, but, sparing you boring details, I didn't. If the details are boring to me, you can be assured you'd be beyond the B word, trust me.

This is such a simple dish, which always appeals to me when the weather is hot and cooking, while always about taste for me, isn't always about long, involved recipes. I found this on facebook, which led me to this woman's site, SplenDishes by Shonali and asking her permission to use the recipe and a photo. She was kind enough to let me do that, and I'm thankful. Because, while I planned on making these, and did make these, I forgot to take photos. Oops!

Crash Hot Potatoes (in her post, Shonali wrote that the name of these had an Australian background; I got in touch with my friend in Australia who is up on all things food and she'd never heard the name, but I really like it anyway)

photo credit - Shonali

"Boil some baby potatoes (I used red) until fork tender. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet, set potatoes on sheet and using a potato masher, gently smash each potato down, rotating masher both ways (so it looks like a thick cookie). Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt/pepper and sprinkle cut fresh herbs and garlic over each. THEN top with some lovely grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes." Buen provecho!

I think it would also be good using blue cheese or a really sharp cheddar. And if you don't have a potato masher (one of those things I think everyone should have in their kitchen, the best ones are found at yard sales and have green or red wooden handles, just so you know), stick fork in it. Thanks, Shonali!

Some other food related bits I ran across this week:

I love hummus. Plain or flavored, with fresh pita chips, what's not to like? This is a variation I'd never heard of, much less thought about. Gotta give it a try! Pumpkin Hummus from Closet Cooking. After all, 'tis the season for things pumpkin, American or island style.

You never know what you'll see in the semi-wild world
For those creative food folk, this website , Urban Outdoor Skills, will probably have something to grab your attention and interest. No matter where you live, city, country, island or inland, there are plants growing wild that you can eat, if you know what you are looking for. If you don't, find an old person who knows. Just stop them - outside, in a store, on the street - and ask politely. I've never been turned down and it ends up being a lovely moment of learning.

Just in case what you run across are mushrooms, it's best to have a master mycologist with you (Mushroom expert joke ""Mycologists have more fungi"). But if you don't plan on eating them, here is a site to help identify that growth in your yard or perambling.

And finally, just to say how nice, after four months house/dog/cat sitting it is to be home. While I didn't do my usual yearly America tour, I did get to Michigan. I did experience Culebra town life. I did get my favorite views from on top of the hill. I got to hang out with 3 of my favorite dogs, got reminded how very different cats' personality can be and did some great traveling in the oh so very northern part of Michigan. I made new friends and got reacquainted with old ones (only in the world's time spectrum, old friends are etched in the heart timelessly). 

Home really is where the heart rests, but physical home is knowing how much coffee goes in your pot for a perfect cup, knowing which side of the bed to climb out of half asleep, where every fork and spice lives (and having the ones you want at hand, most of the time). 

It's your cat, happy you know just where the itch is that needs scratching. 

The toilet paper hanging over instead of under (the correct way, in case you've always wondered). Just the right sized pot or pan for eggs or popcorn. Your pillows being the right amount, the right hardness or softness (though I could have stolen a couple of pillows I used). The view you wake up to being as familiar and comfortable as the fit of your favorite shorts.  Home is home and it's good to be back.

Thanks to those of you who entrusted me with your homes, your best friends, and your vehicles. I value that, even when things got a little exciting/scary/frustrating, you knew I'd take care of things the best I could. Your home was mine for awhile and I know what that means.

Have a satisfied Saturday. Do something solace seeking.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Ferry is Sometimes Just a Ferry. Sometimes.

If it seems I've been spending an inordinate amount of time on the ferry and on the big island, seeming is believing. This is all pre-get my elbow taken care of once and for all so I can get back to baking bread mechanisms. If you live on an island, well, this island anyway, you don't head down the road to get x-rays, you get on a ferry. We should definitely have an x-ray machine here. We don't.

Fajardo - that blue icon on the far right is the ferry dock
Despite the upending of one's entire day to get a necessary thing done, if you look hard to see some light, sometimes you don't have to look hard at all, it just shines on. I almost, but not quite, put the sniffer dog not peeing copiously on my bag but rather on the pillar directly across from me in that category. Frankly, I'm wondering about those dogs...

Best light shining, so far? These two girls I ran into while trying to break my no smoking vow out of sheer '3 hours into the 5 hour wait to go home' boredom. No smokes to be had at the Delicias bar (the beginning of the end, just so you know, but I've thought that a few dozen times about this place) and the other bar up the street wasn't open. So after a couple hours of congratulating myself on the universe helping me resist the urge I decided the heck with the universe, I'm going to smoke if I have to walk back to the center of town. Which I knew I wouldn't do, so it was sort of a just waste time mission. Until I ran into the girls.

Two lovely young girls were heading toward me who looked like they were from the neighborhood. I asked them if they knew of anyplace to buy cigarettes. One girl said no, the other girl said yes and then tried to give me directions in Spanish. I understand a lot more Spanish than I speak, which means not a lot, but I get by. These directions though, I knew it wasn't happening. So with thanks, I started to move along. But no. The girl trying so hard with the directions turned her friend (who turned out to be her cousin - I do understand some things) around, indicating I should go with them. They took me a good 15 minutes out of their way and day, through a secret passageway (secret to me), around a few corners and into a bodega I would have guessed was just another house. A bodega where there were cigarettes and more friendly people. Actually, I was forced to buy the cigarettes then. I mean, after all of that, there was no way I could get out of it, was there now?

We then all headed back together, they to their original destination, me to the ferry terminal. They were amazing, really nice teen age girls going way out of their way to help an older woman who spoke crap Spanish looking for cigarettes? I thanked them profusely, I offered them a cool beverage. They declined. They smiled. They made my day.

Here are a few other sights that helped me pass time. I walked through town, because I'd not been there in a long time. There are a lot more closed businesses these days. It sort of reminded me of a mini-Detroit. The one place that was thriving though, was a business school! All around were young adults, milling back and forth from the building. Bewildering but great to see.

This is not the business school.

There is something creepy and sweet about this double wheel chair.

I'm glad I had drinks at this bar before it closed. I remember a very crazy lady in there once who went from amusing to a more than a little scary. And it wasn't me.

These old buildings are going the way of time and and demand, but this one looks like its getting fresh attention. Good luck!

Want to buy a pretty building?

From 1922?

Around the plaza. Speaking of plazas...

Beautiful plazas

when are we going to get ours back? When will that horrible fence come down? I miss the compass rose in the tile. I miss the character of what it was like when I first got here. Take down the fence. Take down the potato chip useless overhead covering. Finish the building on the side (the right way this time please) and give us back our plaza.

Some objects are still shiny in Fajardo

I'll keep taking photos of this until someone a) builds a house behind it or b) tears it down. In the meantime, it seems to be a place for lost soles.

Another favorite of mine. Pre-wrought iron home.

Right across the street is this HUGE yard that looks like it should be in a way different neighborhood, but I know this neighborhood used to be very different. I wish I'd seen it back then.

There is a long stretch of property that is a jungle now, across from what looks like a well guarded company. In the overgrowth is a line of royal palms and a few other plantings that once graced a home, though I don't see the remnants of any structure. My mind gets opened about Fajardo, its geography hasn't clicked much on my radar for more than occasional shopping, passing through to go somewhere else, or on my way out of there sort of place.  There are stories here, and the more time I have here, the more curious I'm becoming. Hopefully, that will pass, like time in a waiting room.

In the meantime, who made these fences?

Then the anticipation builds. The energy level in the terminal rises as does the noise level. Will we get the fast ferry versus the hour and a half if we're lucky ferry? Yes we did, twice now. Will the sniffer dog pee on my stuff? No, just slobbered on my stuff, disgusting. Will I have as much fun running into friends for a ferry time out of time time? Usually.

The fast ferry is a joy. Less than an hour back home, smooth ride, able to be outside, comfortable seats. I sleep, I dream, I'm home. Wow! 

Have a turnover Thursday. Do something teasingly.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tiny Homes Tuesday

Along the way of passing time while waiting for the ferry in Fajardo (Ferry in Fajardo, you songwriters may steal this), I wandered across some small homes along with some other sights, so today is a combo. Free today only, no fries included.

The forecast was stormy but all we got is wow! All you have to do is be at the ferry dock around 6:00 a.m. and the show is on. Great place for sunsets too.

And then, it got better with this brilliant double rainbow.

See you later, Culebra!

Rainbow cloud fire

Even I don't think this can be rehabbed but I'm very drawn to it anyway.
No rehab here, good eye resting though
Boom! Pretty wall art!
There are so many wrought iron designs I could make a book

Cute little house. It's for sale. The location might be a drawback...

But look at this great wrought iron!

Also not a tiny home

But here is a very cool truck! Put a camper on it and...ok, never mind. But some people do live quite comfortably, relatively speaking, in exactly that.

For years, I never knew this was here. The Fajardo malecon

Fishermen working on engines

 I just like this place

This looks like it could be on any beach road. The location could be awesome someday

For some, home is a resting place

Home for someonething, no doubt

At home at the ferry terminal

This has nothing to do with tiny homes. I just liked it.
The Rorschach Pigeon. I see a woman and man kissing in a heart on a mountain. After they've built their tiny home and moved in. Ready to live the rest of their lives. This is what happens in my brain after waiting 5 hours for the ferry.

My favorite small, not tiny, house of the week is this one, built by Tiny Texas Houses builder Brad Kittel, on whom I admit I have a massive, forever to be unrequited crush. I can live with that.

The Painted Lady
photo credit: Tiny Texas Houses
You can see more photos of this home (and others TTH has built by using the links) by going here. He also has a website about salvaging to build, called Pure Salvage Living that is worth checking out. All of his builds are from salvaged materials, incorporating his philosophy of recycle and recreate. He ALSO has free house plans, you'll have to do the looking yourself! I know you can.

Have a teeming with tinyness Tuesday. Do something transforming.