Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ UK - The Forester

When my children were small, Transformer toys had just been invented by someone(s?) with a brilliantly open and creative mind. I remember sitting on the floor of a toy store at midnight, where there was a huge bin of them, twisting and turning them, fascinated by how they worked. I'm not sure how many Transformers came home with me for that Christmas, but it was a lot. I had to make sure there were plenty for me to play with without having to snatch them out of little hands. 

The build in 1996 at a trade show
I saw this home by Carpenter Oak, and while it's not built with the elaborateness of a Transformer toy, it does have that ability to fold and unfold, becoming two (actually three, keep looking) very different things. Not a bad feat for a home.

With a commitment to sustainable building, all the wood used by this UK based company comes from managed tree farms, mainly in France. They also plant 10 oak trees for every ONE used in their constructions. Their work is done all over the world and with this gem as an example, I can see the reason for their success.

All photos come from the Carpenter Oak website.

A small yet serviceable kitchen
Only steps away from bed to coffee
I'd love to see a better view of what is overhead - but a trip to the UK will have to wait.
Windows! Light! Wood stove! Plus, I really like the table, both heavy and light at the same time.
Time to go. Did you close the walls, darling?

Protection and porches too. That works.
This same idea is being done with containers as well, at less cost, no doubt, but for those with the means, this 12 x 24 home carries a solidness only timber framing provides. Maybe some of that is an intangible element that comes with a love of wood, making for a priceless component, at least for some of us.

Tiny update, just because. I don't remember where I picked up this pot rack but it has been waiting a very long time to be hung up. Too long for this side of the galley, it was cut down to exactly what was needed and will hold space taking bulky pots and skillets rather than snorkel gear, leaving shelf and cupboard space for other items. 

Eventually the ceiling will get a whitewash staining...I think.
Me: Why did you put the hooks in like that?
Elijah: Because they make little hearts.

Have a textured Tuesday. Do something touchable. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Insert Something Clever Here

For the weekend starting Semana Santa, it was a very tranquil time in town for a Saturday night. This was Culebra. This was joy.

Young musicians from UPR (University of Puerto Rico) entertained us with the gentle sounds of flutes and windwoods, making for a very peaceful street scene.  On a Saturday night. It was a beautiful thing. Thank you, music makers!

Back at Heather's, I was talking with my son when a woman came up to me, asking with great enthusiasm if I was Island Woman MJ. I hadn't heard that in quite awhile but admitted yes, that was me. She lives in cold country, loves Culebra and reads my blog. "You don't even know who I am, but I know a LOT about you!" Pointing to Elijah she said, "You're her son! You are working on the houseboat!" After a few more points of notice, I was glad to realize she wasn't a crazy stalker, but I did want to ask her to read my future fortune as she appears to know more about me than I know myself. She and her lovely daughters and their friends chatted with us for awhile before heading off on their way. So here's to you, Jennifer! You made my night (and week and month and year).

Down the street only a little way, the Krusty Krab was open to a full house. I didn't have the right lens on my camera to take in the fact that every seat was occupied and there were a lot of smiling faces. The menu looks really good; check it out!

Oops! Sorry I didn't notice your eyes were closed, Chef!
The water yesterday was so beautiful, with a sweet breeze and a lot of sun sparkles. I missed the super yacht Le Grand Bleu that was briefly in the harbor yesterday, only to be replaced by the cruise ship Sea Dream. Does it mean Culebra has truly been 'discovered' when a Russian businessman finds us (from WikipediaEugene Shvidler is chairman of Millhouse LLC, the investment and asset management company he shares with Abramovich and their partners. He also owns the Château Thénac vineyard in France, a $37 million home in Belgravia in London, a $14.5 million home in Aspen, and the yacht Le Grand Bleu)? Hmmmm. 

photo credit - Sue Klumb
I'd rather see this.

And this.

Have a mystic Monday. Do something meritable.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dabbling in Light ~ Earth Hour 2015

If you have been outside at night lately and are able to see the moon, it is just coming into its halfway-ness toward full. The stars are bright, the air is still cool. In other words, outside should be a fine place to spend an hour or more, especially tonight, which is Earth Hour night. 

I was going to share a link about 10 fun things to do during Earth Hour but truthfully, the list was nothing you'd not think of yourselves: a candle light dinner, a walk in the night, gathering with friends...and make up some yourselves, you clever lads and lassies! Instead, here is a very short video that gives the idea of what will be happening across the world starting in about 3 hours. You can track it live by clicking right here.

In our own corner of saving the world, HoundDog (Jane the Vet's dog who needed a new forever home after Jane left us) made it to his forever home safe and sound. I'll let David tell the story (I'll just insert some happy photos. Lucky dog!).

Good evening all!

Just wanted to let you all know Sir HoundDog is at his forever home, happy, healthy and well, very well. We had a little glitch in transportation, but he is now with us and settling in to his new life.  American Airlines didn't get him on his connecting flight with us in Miami. However, they took good care of him while he spent the night there and then flew him to Raleigh this morning. We picked him up and brought him home with us, stopping at Wendy's to get him a cheeseburger, no bread though, got to watch his trim figure.  
When we got home, we gave him a bath.  Debbie, being a hairdresser, shampooed him 4 times, then hair conditioner and a blow-dry.  He took it well. He has been exploring all the rooms and furniture in our house and doing the Three Little Bears routine.  I sat down in my recliner a while ago and he jumped in my lap and started licking my face, something he had never done while we were in Culebra. He has met some of the neighbors and has been very social and they already love him.   Our son, Derek, is in from Florida for the weekend. Derek went to our local butcher and got a bag of meat trimmings for HoundDog, so they are now good friends. HoundDog is happy, very happy, and so are we.  He is a wonderful dog and we will love and take good care of him. 
Here he is now, putting his head in my lap and looking at me with those pretty hound dog eyes.

So many people are involved in these life changing animal exchanges, it is plenty staggering, all done for love, usually unsung. Thanks to all of you...this time for allowing HoundDog to have a loving home once more. 

Yes, all of this ties in. Each little and big thing we do, picking up trash on the beach or on your walk through town, planting your own garden, buying products that are as friendly to the Earth as possible, using your hands instead of plugging in yet another machine, getting your animals spayed and neutered...it all matters. Turning out the lights for an hour is a symbol of the rest of the 365 days. Plus, the dark can be beautiful. Enjoy it!

Go do something good for the planet. Which means doing something good for yourself, your family and your Really Big Family. Go beyond the hour.

Have a fabulously facilitating Friday. Do something force full.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Free Range Friday

Not a duck
I was so excited when Norman told me there, hidden away in the freezer, was a duck with my name on it. DUCK! on Culebra. But something happened along the way that I don't think I've never had happen in my life. By the time I was done grilling it and finishing the roasted potatoes, I felt totally full and completely uninterested in eating the meal. Worse, my son felt the same way after eating a late, large lunch. So, with reluctance (me, not the duck), into the fridge it went. 

The next day, after a little nibbling, I turned the whole thing all over to Elijah to remake with his own imagination. The mashed potatoes turned into light and crisp potato pancakes, the duck turned into...I'm not really sure what it would be called. I think he took a page from the Stark back of the fridge cook book and whatever went into it, it was different and very, very delicious. Absolutely ducky. Plus, because I couldn't eat everything on the plate, it made a wonderful salad the next day. Duck on!

Last Sunday was a Susie day for myself, David and Debbie (the wonderful couple who took Hounddog!). We shared an entree of piñon (also known as pastelon) for an appetizer. Debbie and David shared the whole fish and I got the salmon roll. We didn't quite lick the plates but there were no scraps left. 

A happy David. 

Oops, I'd already snagged a bite

So pretty, so happy on the tongue
Whether it is one hawk or two providing entertainment, I'm mesmerized from the first screeching call to the last eye spy. Free rangers, that be they.

The duck carcass is in the freezer and I know there is a soup on the horizon. Sometimes meal plans are best to put in free range mode. After living on Culebra this long, I know that, really, all plans should be held that way, Quack.

Have a farthersighted Friday. Do something flexible. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Old Sights Different Heights

I know, I have to quit with these rhyming post titles.  

Yesterday was one of those days we so often have. Absolutely gorgeous sunshine, blue skies and billowing clouds and then, out of the literal blue, a slow rain, a white out that shouldn't have been a white out at all, with drops hardly making it to the ground before melting. Into...uh...steam or something. Then the sun came back and it was breezy and beautiful again, though the clouds lingered, that long grey tunnel of clouds from El Yunque to St. Thomas that I still have never photographed the way it looks over the miles. Yet.

One face of the towering clouds 

What my houseboat wants to be when it grows up (just to answer the often asked question of "Is that houseboat in the bay your houseboat?" No.

When I took this, I imagined it in black and white

But I think I like it better in color
Coming through the reef

A future captain watches

So long! Hope you enjoyed and were kind to Culebra.

Be careful out there, little red boat

Hello, Vieques!

A little shift in the wind changes everything
I never get tired of any of the water views in Culebra. As the landscape grows more homes, and ugly swaths of mud in the bay producing illegal roads, I can always know the sea and ocean and bays won't change...at least for now. Ok, no diatribes this morning. 

Have a taoist Thursday. Do nothing taboo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tiny Home Tuesday ~ The Unnamed Project

The houseboat project continues! I was looking for some old photos from when I first got the houseboat but only managed to wade through a few hundred old photos for now. Once upon a time it was very different and very put together, though I wasn't ever really happy with the set up. Now it is coming together in the way I imagined it years ago. Hooray!

The day of a lot of seagulls and the deposits they left behind quite a few years back
Those windows were old and corroded when I first got the houseboat. Now they are replaced with a bit smaller jalousie type of storm proof windows. Way mo' bettah!

The way it looked once upon a time

The old doors on the bow 
Those doors blew out in storms while I was in the states and the interior weather destruction started. That happened two years in a row. Poor boat. It will be an exciting day when the new ones are wide open!

Before the bench was removed and the galley cut in half
Dusty new floor replacing the buckled delaminated wood with solid marine ply, as well as along the bottom of the walls where the old windows had allowed a lot of water to cause rot up to about, well, as high as that blue goes.
The old steps were pretty, curved pieces but very narrow and also rotten. The new steps are sturdy, deep and are hinged for storage and access to the stern lazarette. 
The new galley configuration. 
This adds another 5 feet on the starboard side for a table and chairs or whatever ends up being there. The shelves on the floor will hang on the empty wall space there, a great solid wood side of the road find that will be sanded and painted and provide a lot more storage. On the counter end, a hanging locker is yet to be built with the beautiful old doors that were on the space wasting original locker.

Dinette table re-installed. There will be a box shelf at the end, creating more storage space as well as a spot for plants under the window. 

The old damaged flooring is being removed and the underlying fiberglass sanded. For now it will be painted until some new flooring is installed. Bamboo? Tile? Not decided yet. 
There is plenty left to do, though so much has been done. But poco a poco wins the race. Ask any turtle.

Big props to my son Elijah, who is making this all happen, at long last. There might be faster ways to get this done, but not any way with more love and care built in. That will last forever.

Have a teachable Tuesday. Do something transformably traditional.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Something New ~ Something Olablu

There is always something new opening each season on Culebra.  One I've been waiting for is Olablu (pronounced, easily enough, Olah blue), Alicia's offering of unique items next to the Tourism office by the plaza. Each piece is exclusive to her shop - and hopefully will stay that way! - either commissioned by local craftspersons or imported via Fair Trade contacts. Color and design pop, making for lots of visual eye candy and plenty of variety for gifting to others or to yourself. 

Okay, enough description, what you see is what you can get. If you are fast. I saw a brightly woven wine bottle carrier I wouldn't have minded buying and it sold right in front of me. The only one left. Wah. More soon, I hope.


It doesn't get more local than this!
The bags on the right can be used for tablet covers or clutches on a colorful night out. No one will pick up your tablet by mistake with one of these protecting it!

Ladderlike treasure hunting

Lots and lots of bright beauty (and some real practical tidbits too)
Remember the days of Fritz Perls and In and Out of the Garbage Can ? If you are younger you might think that refers to Oscar the Grouch. Nope. It was about a movement in psychotherapy, the Gestalt movement. The basic premise was "enhanced awareness of sensation, perception, bodily feelings, emotion, and behavior, in the present moment. Relationship is emphasized, along with contact between the self, its environment, and the other." The quote is taken from the above link because I couldn't have written it as well. 

The other sort of motto about a gestalt was that it is bigger than the sum of its parts. When I first looked at Olablu it was my first thought. Hey! Here is a gestalt of a store! (What can I say? A dozen lives ago I was pretty into the academics of psychotherapy. Some of it stuck.)

Scarves and tops and bags oh my!

This is a small close up sample of the locally made treasures in the above tray
All hand crafted, all fun! What's not to like?
These just made me grin thinking about wearing them.
I sense a sudden compulsion to shake it , baby.
And that is Olablu - which of course clicks in my mind into a song. And a good song for Olablu it is! Ok, so my interest in psychotherapy was, perhaps, not entirely academic.

Have a maverick Monday. Do something multicolorfully.