Monday, October 31, 2005

Rastaman Russell

Russell stopped by last night to have waaaa lee chat. He was telling me about how he eats grass and leaf and stick and tings. He told me that most fat girls with big belly comes from backway batty. I wonder what he meant.
I asked Bigness if Russell eats grass and leaf and stick an tings, he said yeeeessss mon, he see Russell graze like cow and enjoy it.
I'm still puzzling over what he meant by back way.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Price List for Answers

The tourists are coming, we're getting traveling refugees from all over Central America and the Yucatan because so far... we've been lucky with the weather. Its like a wave of foreigners hit the island yesterday. This year I've made up my new price list.
I get asked the same questions over and over.

Where are you from? $1

How long have you lived here? $2

Do you like living here? Dinner and drinks

Think anyone will be offended if I add this to the bottom of the menu right after the desserts?

The electrician was in the store working on the lights. His name is Birdegg or sometimes he's called Dirty Cash. His real name is Eggbert, I think. But you see where I'm going, things get reversed, like poles. He's getting better at his work though, this time we only have 1 mystery switch, 1 light dangling with no apparent way to turn it on and 1 zzzzzssssshhhhhttttt sounding light cracking and popping like a special effect in a horror movie.

I have Tiger Eyes. I found this quiz on Caroline's blog


Positive Traits:
Determined, Passionate, Loyal, Strong,
Negative Traits:
Aggressive, Ambitious, Domineering, Possessive,

Your eyes are the windows to your soul. What type of eyes do you have?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Halloween 2004

This is what happened to me last year when I lost count of my drinks at Popeye's Beach Halloween Party. The thought of going through this again is really repugnant. File this one in "Most Embarrassing Moments" I lernt my lesssson.

Illustration Friday - Broken - Oct. 28

Photo Friday - Oct. 28 - Delicate

Photo Friday submission for Oct. 28. This photo was shot in Southern Belize, west of Punta Gorda, near the Maya site Lubantum. We were at a butterfly farm where they breed blue morpho butterflies and others (can't remember the name of this one) for export to England. My friend's 4 year old daughter held perfecly still while butterflies landed on her and the red hibiscus. It was one of those magical experiences. Photographed with an old Olympus Comedia.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Bread Baking, Pasta Salad Making and Impossible Spinach Quiche Pie

A big thank you to Google, without it I would be lost. I can't believe I'm in the food business - again.
I grew up in the food business, when I was a child and young teen my parents had a catering company. Weekends were spent with my brothers (Einstein and Charles Manson) peeling 100 lbs. of potatoes and serving coffee to blue haired ladies at wedding showers. When I was a teenager my parents actually bought a turn of the century hotel and restored it into its original elegance and had a very nice family style restaurant and old fashioned hotel. I was mad though, because we had to move from Detroit to rural Grand Rapids, Michigan, away from the crime and smog and congestion. What I was really mad about was I had to move away from this boy...
Oldest daughter remembers grandma's Olde Kent Inn located in Kent City, Michigan - a business that they worked with my mother's parents. Grandpa was a Mr. Fixit and grandma made the peach and apple pies. Oldest daughter was about 7 when my parents sold the place in 1986, ready to "retire". My Dad went back to work in automotive and my Mom came to work for me in publishing - as my bookkeeper - which was no retirement at all. When I left home I swore I would never be in the food business, but here I am. Everything comes full circle. My mom is one of those recipe encyclopedias. She's the person I email when something's not turning out right or we can't get the ingredients here. When I lamented that Brodies in Belize City wasn't carrying the Java Ice syrup anymore for our cafe mocha drinks she said to me "Well, just make it... here's how: equal parts of espresso and sugar, for every ounce of syrup add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder" Easy. Well, easy for her because she's one of those food geniouses. I got the "Art" gene. Bigness got the "Boss" gene.

I have a lawyer friend who says "Smart people don't make the same mistake 3 times" She also says "Libel is written, slander is spoken, but its only libel or slander - if its NOT true" So those of you waiting for stories about Dreadlock Pizza, keep the faith, they are coming. But back to the bread. First try: Bigness thought the bread was finished but it was in the final rise when he poked it (not so gently) with his (very clean) finger, and plop. The second try was better, but still I had 2 kilo brick, although it was a very tasty brick, bread shouldn't make you lose a capped tooth. So, I added more yeast and cut the whole wheat flour with some of our very dense white flour and... perfection. Wow, I really feel like supergirl now because I also fixed the espresso machine - sort of. Let's say, it functions. Back to the sandwich. One giant thick slice of whole wheat honey bread, smear it with cream cheese, layer sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, onion, green pepper, grated carrotts and topped with white cheddar. Broil and serve open face.

Recipe for Impossible Quiche Pie
1 onion, chopped
1 sweet green pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb of fresh spinach
2 tbl. real butter
1/2 cup of media crema or half and half
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
6 eggs
1 cup baking mix - like Bisquick or Jiffy
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese - or Dutch cheese like Gouda or Edam
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 12 baking pan.
Wash, chop and drain spinach, sautee it in real butter for about 2 minutes with the onion, garlic and sweet pepper, add a dash of salt. Sautee it just long enough to take the crunch out of the veggies. Do not use the liquid from the pan, just the sauateed veggies. Put spinach mixture in the bottom of the baking pan, top with cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese. In a blender mix the eggs, media crema or half and half, milk, salt pepper nutmeg and baking mix. Pour on top. Bake uncovered in the oven for about 30-35 minutes. You'll know its done when a knife inserted in comes out clean.
I added 1/2 tsp more of baking powder, since we are at sea level and the air is so thick, we need extra levening to avoid brick-like food, but for anywhere else in the world you probably wouldn't have to do that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Secrets of the Jaguar Woman

I'm not into words today, just pictures and captions.

This is a new release. The original art is created on hand-painted silk. I started by tye dying silk and hanging it out to dry, then I stretched the silk on a stretcher frame using a staplegun and the drew the mask using something called gutta. This style of silk painting originated in France and is called Serti technique which roughly translates to building fences around the areas you are defining.

Influences: stragely enough, this giant moth on my front door. The mask is roughly based on a famous Benin mask from Africa. Look how furry the moth is.

Its amazing how 1 day can make a difference. Remember the photos of the water whipping up onto our beach? Well, hurricane Wilma moved off and took the storm surge with her (and dumping 5 feet of rain on Cancun), leaving us with low low tides, so low you can see the seagrass flats right in front of our place. Bigness told me that when he was a young man, lobster was so plentiful that his father would send him out to the sea, and he would just lift up the edge of the seagrass and pull out lobster that his mother would grill up for dinner. Amazing.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm in hog heaven

MB was here and brought me stacks of New Yorkers and Vogue magazines. She had an exciting time with dodging hurricane Wilma

The store opened yesterday, we were sort of ready, lots of stuff to put away still, but its clean and mostly functioning. We needed to open anyway because people were beating the door down to get in. Well, not really, mostly they were asking in a polite way, when are you going to open? Awe shucks... they missed me. Well maybe they missed the coffee more than me, but I'll take the implied compliment anyway.

We're going to the city today to shop and restock the freezers and refridge and to buy bread machines. Bigness has decided that we need to sell deli sandwiches, salads and cow foot soup. I reminded him that I don't eat the foot, balls, eye or tongue of anything.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

De Rain She Come

Wilma has reared her ugly head in Belize. We're getting storm surge and rain. If you look at the satelite images, the little point coming off Mexico on the southeast side, we are about 10 miles below that. From the beach to our first street on the east side of the island it is flodded. We have about 3 feet of elevation, so a little bit of a wave goes a long way. I sandbagged the street entrance to the store, we're still cleaning and arranging things, and all I need now is a flood. Fortunately we're at one of the high points of the island. In the picture on the left you can see the reef, about 1/2 mile away, with wave action about 30 feet high behind it. Its spectacular. We usually see just a thin white line.

The picture on the right is the police yard, the waves roll up our nearly flat beach and get trapped in yards

Today was one of those doomed days, no matter what I did I was stepping in warm yellow dog poo, or falling off my bike as I rode the motocross course we used to call a beach. It makes for some really interesting beachcombing though. All the brown stuff on the road in the picture to the left is seaweed that has washed over the road.

The photo on the right is our entrance to the beach which has wave action rolling through it. I'm standing at my back door, and the water is coming right up to the steps. Normally the high tide is about 30 feet away.

The photos on the left is a water-side bar (Popeyes) and peir that's been broken up by the wave action.

I'm tired of Watching the Weather Channel. For kicks, I watch Spanish TV just to see if I can understand what they were saying and to learn new words. The Belizean Spanish that I have, sort of learned, is with a different accent and I noh understand she and she noh understand we da Mexico. God forbid, if I should have to speak to a Cuban doctor, in spanish, I would probably bleed to death first. Its like the time I went to the movies in Chetumal Mexico and thought I was going to see the new Russell Crowe movie about the boxer, but instead somehow saw The Coach with Samuel Jackson, but it took me about 10 minutes into the movie to realize I was in the wrong theatre (big DUUUUHHHH there). Actually I was in the right theatre, because when I checked my ticket I had actually BOUGHT the wrong ticket. It seems too much like work to learn Spanish, and you know how much I hate work. Bigness is getting tired of being my translator. I thought having a Spanish boyfriend would help me learn more, and faster. My brain gets tired always having to process and process and really really listen to the words to comprehend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

20 Random Things About Me

I'm going to ignore the storm, and it WILL go away. Its getting really dark out.
I was just tagged by Vitrolica so here goes:
1. I want to learn how to play the steel drums
2. My favorite color is turquoise
3. I don't like swimming in the ocean as much as I like looking at it.
4. I don't care if I ever drive a car again.
5. I have a fear of poverty.
6. I like to cook, but not to clean up. I am a terminal slob.
7. I have so many art supplies I could open up my own store.
8. I'm a morning person.
9. I don't like to work.
10. I'm addicted to reading, I usually have to read myself to sleep.
11. I hate margarine and refuse to eat it.
12. I also hate chemical sweetners and only use sugar... maybe that's why I'm fat. No, its the fat jeans, I mean gene. I have the opposite of anorexia, I look at myself and I think I'm thin.
13. I'll give money to children that are begging on the street, but not to adults.
14. I hate to shop, but love fabric stores, and of course art supply stores.
15 I pretend (to anyone I'm in a relationship with) I have to spend so much time on the internet, to market my business, but I'm really farting around most of the time, or in chat rooms.
16. When I stop liking someone, I never like them again. (I bear grudges)
17. Like Vit, I hate having long hair and I only have it because Bigness wants it.
18. Favorite fruit: strawberries - which we can't get here. 2nd favorites: mango, watermelon, grapes
19. I could live without meat, but its not possible here, there's not enough variety of fresh foods. I make oldest daughter take me to Outback Steakhouse whenever I visit. (Hypocrite)
20. I would never go back to the U.S. if my family would come and see me. I would shop on the internet and they could bring it in their suitcase. I would even pay for the plane tickets (hint hint)

Monday, October 17, 2005

"The Renovation" and Mayan Jaguar Dancers

I've decided to type until my fingers turn blue because my computer is temporarily working, and if this storm comes, who knows how long it will be until I can communicate again.
I haven't told you anything about what I did while off the island. The first part of the trip was spent servicing my wholesale accounts traveling on the mainland to the west and south of Belize going to the different resorts that carry my prints in their giftshops. The second half was spent painting. Bigness did me the favor of leaving me alone for a few days at a time while he started "The Renovation"
I've decided to just try and describe "The Renovation" since its still on going (and I'm suffering from concurrent traumatic stress disorder right now), in a few short sentences, so here goes. Mistake #1 - they started it without me. Mistake # 2 they didn't move anything or put a drop cloth over anything BEFORE THEY RIPPED THE MOTHER-LOVING CEILNG OUT OF MY STORE, and 35 years worth of dirt and other STUFF RAINED DOWN on my merchandise, original paintings, silk scarves, cafe, dishes..... I have to stop now. O.K. one more thing, in describing this to my female friends, they have all said the same thing, almost using the exact same words. "Its a guy thing" I hope not, because I would hope that my Dad wouldn't be that stupid. I couldn't tell Bigness he was stupid, well for one, he's 16 years older than me, that's disrespctful, and second of all, he owns this property, not me. He inherited this lovely beachfront property from his father. I could only THINK (and now write) the words, YOU ARE SO STUPID YOU ARE SO STUPID YOU ARE SO STUPID, now clean that mess up.

So, I'll show you what I've been working on, while disaster struck behind my back. I did a series of photos which I'll post later, you can see some of the new ones on my flickr page, I did about 12 that I'll be publishing. Not bad for 2 days work. But what I was working on when I refused to come out of the bush, when you all were worried about me, that maybe hurricane Stan ate me or a jaguar came out from the bush and bit my hands off. Here it is. I'll share with you a little bit of the press release.

I lay at the end of a pier on Caye Caulker. The electricity was off again, which is not unusual. Just trying to catch a breeze. It was quiet, no pestering boom boxes or street lights. The island asleep. The sky was so big and round, sparkling in the blackness above me, I flew upwards into the night.

Before beginning this series I studied the beliefs of the ancient Mayas recorded in their art and architecture as if they were a part of a fascinating alternate reality that had little relevance in my personal life. I did what I was supposed to do, keep an objective distance. Like the majority of people raised in a first world country, I was secure in the superiority of my world view. Preparing this work has changed my attitude. I now come to this alien world with respect and awe, knowing that the world view created by the Maya was, and is, just as powerful, meaningful and viable as my own.
To make this collection I had to reach inside myself to find both the empathy for their way of being and a method to communicate this to others. Because their way is spiritual, I had to discover my real feelings about spirituality and faith in the shared wisdom that guides daily life and conduct. I had to accept the significance of its supernatural reality and learn to play by the rules of its own logic.
Maya reality places humans at the center of the cosmos and makes humanity responsible for creation as an ongoing and endless process. I have only opened a window of understanding into what they have created.
Recurrent themes of K’ul and skyband appear in most of the hand-painted silk images that Vanderwalker has illuminated. K’ul can mean God, but also the indestructible soul spirit that imbues all living things and sacred places. Human K’ul resides in the blood, so blood giving sacrifices were to offer soul force. The Maya placed K’ul in their buildings and objects during dedication rituals. The Skyband consists of a narrow band divided into segments by bars. Each segment contains a glyph for the sun, moon, stars, planet or other celestial object.

Photo Friday submission - Conspicuous - Oct. 15

Three little boys shimmied up the tree and gorged themselves on guava on their way home from school. At one point the boy on the right actually stood up hands free and walked another foot farther out. Being a mother myself, I felt anxious and nervous. I kept waiting for the crack-splat noise, which never came. This was shot late in the afternoon in Placencia, Belize. Notice the little boy on the path next to the palapa.

Big Storm Coming

So, if you don't hear from me for a while, you know I'll be safe and dry and on the mainland (with no internet)

MB is here. She got to see FWGs den of iniquity.

I fixed the washing machine today. If you're going to pack up for an evacuation, you REALLY should be packing clean clothes. It wasn't hard to fix either. I took the back off the machine, said a bunch of swear words, took the drain hose off, and with a screw driver, dug the sticky goo out, and put the hose back on.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Blatent Advertisement for Apartment Rental

Cute, newly renovated, island style shabby chic (that's a code word for - nothing matches), AIR CONDITIONED, 1 bedroom, upper apartment located on Avenida Hicaco (Front Street) Caye Caulker, Belize
Hot & cold water, micro-mini-wave, coffee maker, cd player, cable TV, fully furnished, able to sleep 3 comfortably (day bed in livingroom), large rooms, private bath, full kitchen, with stove and small refridge. Rent it short or long term. Daily $50 U.S. plus hotel tax, 3 day minimum, or monthly $750 U.S. plus $500 security deposit (no hotel tax on monthly rental). Price includes water, electricity, and gas for cooking. Visa & Mastercard accepted with 5% service fee.
Any takers?

Don't you dig the posh plastic dining room chairs? Do you like how high all the pictures are hung? That's because a GIANT hung them at eye level. After that little job, I fired Bigness as the interior decorator.

Bigness LOVES formica. No Belizean natural hardwoods for us, no siree!

Ah, yes, the Kinky Sex Den of Iniquity, eerrrr I mean the Love Chamber complete with air conditioning, just in case you get too HHHOOOOTTTTT. Just remember the landlady lives next door... remember the movie Psycho????????????????? (evil cackle) Geeezzzz I must have inhaled too much bleach fumes today.

Illustration Friday - Cold

Cold Blue Eggs in the morning sun. I sorta cheated, this is a "photo llustration" it started off as a color photo of cold brown eggs in the morning light, I made it into a greyscale image, taking all the color out, then back into a rgb, where I tinted it with blue in the midtones and red in the shadows, then I applied some photoshop filters and voila.

The Story of Freaky White Granny

I have to type really fast because I'm supposed to be washing windows right now. Bigness has gone downstairs to continue working on "The Renovation" (another upcoming blog entry)

Freaky White Granny first came to Caye Caulker in May for her daughter's wedding. She's a retired kindergarden teacher from Brooklyn. I met the daughter (nice girl), but we don't serve booze or crack in the art gallery, so I never met the mother, on that trip. The Kids decide to move to Belize in August. Daughter got a job teaching at a private school in San Pedro, on the next island over. 3 days after they move here, FWG shows up - much to their chagrin - and disgust. They had moved here to get away from her. FWG's boyfriend, Big Head Charles, had found a really nice place to stay - ala - Lee and Bigness's place. I was iffy about Big Head Charles, Bigness said "Don't worry babes de old lady is renting it, not the bwai." Bigness is WAY too casual about rentals, but I think he's learned his lesson now. Anyways, back to the story. Right after she rents, Bigness goes to Cuba, and I won't bore you with rehashing the kinky sex stories and eviction, you'll just have to read back in August. One thing Bigness did though was, when she went to him to turn in the keys, he lectured her. He told her that she was an embarrassment and a burden to her daughter and why didn't she just go home becaue people didn't want her here and she was a joke to everyone.
After our eviction, she rents from my friend, and is evicted from there. We are living on a party island - so its got to be pretty bad before its over the top here. I guess she cracked out all her money and couldn't pay the rent. The Kids payed her rent and feed her for a couple of nights, then buy her a $500 one-way ticket back to Brooklyn. She was supposed to leave on Oct. 1, she disappears on Sept 30. Disappeared, but left all her stuff at my friend's apartment. So my friend packs her crap up and the calls The Kids to come and pick it up. They are mortally embarrassed. I guess this is something that FWG does - all the time. I wish I could be a big burden to my kids, but they wouldn't put up with it. I would be a bag lady because they would practice "Tough Love" on me. Daughter has a brother back in Brooklyn, who is getting a respite from FWG, while she chases mother around paradise. So FWG shows up on Oct. 2, totally wasting the $500 plane ticket that the Kids buy, and wants to know where her stuff is.
My friend tells her - Look, we are all adults here, why don't you start acting like one.
She's still here, the Kids have disowned her, and she's renting a ghetto apartment.
Well I have to go now and finish scraping the crap off the living/dining/kitchen. I'll post pics later.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Before and the After

I'll get to the in between on the next blog entry.
The Before:
Just before we closed up I broke the espresso machine. The new espresso machine. The one we've only had since June... the expensive one... the one that I had to go to the U.S. to buy because no one will ship to Belize. I'm painting a picture here. I was just a leeeeeetle bit distracted by freaky white granny, crackheads, the police and the killer schedule. I also left Freaky White Grannys vacated apartment in the state of disarray and dirtiness that she left it in.
The After:
So we came back on the last boat on Tuesday evening, arriving on the island at about 6:30. In tow I had my big samsonite suitcase that you could put a small person in - filled with stinky dirty clothes, a big blue waterproof bin full of signed numbered matted prints that I worked on while on "vacation" the bin could hold a shetland pony. We also had 5 boxes of ceramic tile, 5 bags of thinset for grouting the tile. Oh, I forgot to mention the bin with my computer and monitor. Bigness had his little backpack - that's all. He keeps underwear at both houses and can get away with a couple pairs of shorts, because he goes shirtless most of the time, unless we are going to town. I'm not a clothes horse, but somebody's got to be responsible for the cream rinse and facial scrub.
So of course, the first thing I set up was my computer, which worked for about 5 minutes. Long enough to post to you all that I had arrived safe, then pfffft, the screen looked like it was melting, or some evil hacker had taken control of the screen. So I restarted and got 8 beeps. What the heck is 8 beeps? Well right after that the electricity went out, and contined to go off and on for the rest of the evening and most of the next day (Wednesday) So today I unplugged everything and plugged everything back in. I figured the way the side men slammed the bin around ad the slamming wave action worked something loose. I still don't know what 8 beeps means, but its not doing it anymore, so I fixed it, whatever it was.
I was woken up at 6 a.m. by the sound of a lawn mower. Lawn mower? Nobody I know has a lawn mower. People clear and clean with machette and weed whacker. I got up and went into the kitchen and looked (down) into the police yard and sure enough the police were mowing the sand lot. (sorry, no pictures this time.) I figure the Prime Minister must be coming.
They probably thought that I had gotten enough sleep and it was about daaaaayym time that I got up.
I know you are wondering what's happened to Freaky White Granny. So I won't disapoint you. She's still here on the island. She's renting an apartment from a friend of mine, who is a lot tougher than I am. She also doesn't live on the property that she manages. I have some jooooozy gossip about FWG (for later). I won't bore you with the nasty details about cleaning up other people's messes, like unclogging the shower drain from granny's bleached blond hair, or the strange grease stains on the wall at the head of the bed, or the... o.k. I'll stop there and leave your imagination to do the rest.
I'll leave you with this photo. I took this shot in Placencia. This little periwinkle was growing up from a crack in the sidewalk. It reminded me of the Courage card iun the Osho Zen tarot deck. So I've called this peice Courage.

I nabbed this (text) straight from the website.

The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potentiality to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because unknown is the path, nothing is guaranteed. Nothing can be guaranteed. Thousand and one are the hazards of the journey, many are the pitfalls - and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. But the seed tries, it makes an effort; it drops the hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. And the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very, very soft and dangers will be many. There was no danger for the seed, the seed could have survived for millennia, but for the sprout many are the dangers. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves. The same is the path for man. It is arduous. Much courage will be needed.
Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 4
This card shows a small wildflower that has met the challenge of the rocks and stones in its path to emerge into the light of day. Surrounded by an aura of bright golden light, it exposes the majesty of its tiny self. Unashamed, it is equal to the brightest sun. When we are faced with a very difficult situation we have a choice: we can either be resentful, and try to find somebody or something to blame for the hardships, or we can face the challenge and grow. The flower shows us the way, as its passion for life leads it out of the darkness and into the light. There is no point fighting against the challenges of life, or trying to avoid or deny them. They are there, and if the seed is to become the flower we must go through them. Be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be.