Sunday, March 26, 2006

What I did this week (in my spare 5 minutes)

I had a commission peice to do, and it had been a while since I've painted in watercolor, so I did some practice peices. Many years ago, I took a short course in oriental watercolor techniques, and I have to admit its my favorite style of painting, although I don't do it much. I go through these fits and streaks. Last week it was just watercolor for me. I'm a better student than I am a teacher though, I've tried teaching this technique, and words fail me. Here are the practice peices, Wild Bamboo and Dragonflies.

Here's the commission peice.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Audience Participation

You have to vote to see the results.

I was eating a bowl of shreaded wheat and saw what looked like little teensy tiny cockroaches floating in the milk, what do you think I did?
Picked them out and kept eating.
Closed my eyes and pretended that they weren't there.
Gagged, threw up and then threw the cereal away.
Gave the bowl to Bigness claiming that I wasn't hungry anymore and told him to eat it, after all we're in the 3rd world and shouldn't waste food.
Put it in the refrigerator to decide what to do later.
Convinced myself that it wasn't really cockroaches I was eating, just some exotic spice that was good for me.
Free polls from

Friday, March 24, 2006

Beach Walk

I took a walk last week (and haven't had the time to post the photos until now), searching for a background to incorporate into a wedding photo shoot. I like to shoot a special background for each couple to put their best portrait in a vignette.

I haven't worn shoes for 6 years now and offically have "Beach Feet." Beach feet are a definite seperation between the big toe and the second toe. Its also when your toes are more permanently spread apart from walking barefoot in the sand. I used to keep a pair of leather clogs under my bed for flying to and from the U.S., but they got moldy long ago. So I threw them away in a burst of garbage bag cleaning. (everything not useful gets thrown into a garbage bag and given away) My winter coat is stored in double hefty bags. Every so often in January we'll get a norther blow in and I'll have to dig my coat out and the 1 pair of socks I still own.

The four green glass bottles are all that remains of the party. I love the green gainey shadow on the sand.

I've titled this peice "A Conversation Between Four Chairs"

The breeze is ON and dry season is officially here. They call this time the Easter winds. This peice of driftwood looks like it was the bamboo mast from a sailboat. Its been in the water a long time before washing ashore.

Palm shadows play like fingers and caress the sand.

Picturesque, perfect, two little dories nestle together.

Cousin's little red boat looks pretty big here pulled up onto the beach.
You can see the palm tree whipping in the wind beside it.

"Ancient Palm Crown" This palm tree has been on Bigness's beachfront property since his grandfather's days. It survived Hurricane Hattie, which split the island of Caye Caulker in two. it survived the storm surge of Hurricane Mitch which covered this little island completely in water from east to west, it also survived Hurricane Keith in 2000 which tore Caye Caulker to shreds.

I settled for the sand and water theme again for the beach portrait that I shot the next day. I find that sometimes its better to shoot some of the photos the next day when the bride isn't so nervous.

I shot the sunset before the wedding because the ceremony was running late and we were running out of light. The actual double exposure was shot with very low light during the ceremony, no flash and then the two photos were put together using photoshop. This was an unusual wedding, the bride didn't even know she was getting married until the groom proposed to her IN THE CUSTOMS LINE when entering Belize, and gave her the ring right then and there. Then he said, how about if we get married tomorrow? Talk about whirlwind!

Back to my wedding plans... they are chugging along like a slow schoolbus.

Photo Friday - March 24 - Smooth

Brown eggs smooth and wet with dew water in the morning sun. Shot with a Canon EOS.
This is my second choice for smooth. Shot with an old Sony Mavica through a dusty mirror.

For more Photo Friday entries click HERE!

Illustration Friday - March 24 - Monster

This is a detail of a larger peice which had a center panel and 2 side panels. The original was painted on silk using gutta resist, dyes and wax resist.
For more entries to Illustration Friday click here!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


United Nations Baby (aka Dirt Gurl) has graduated from the cooler in the shower to the washing machine/garden hose on the verandah bathtub. She still won't take a shower. Pictured here is her babysitter scrubbing her (after a tough day of swimming and rolling in the dirt) like she's a pet pony.

United Nations Baby waits patiently for Maria the taco lady so she can break the world record for taco eating by a 3 year old. 8 tacos downed in a 1/2 hour.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Flippin the Bird

We're having car problems, so the Isuzu Rodeo is into the dealer for repairs, after Bigness's mechanic broke it worse than you can imagine so that it was spewing oil and great big clouds of smoke rolling out of the engine.
Bigness: "I'm not taking my car back to that M'foker again, this is the last time he foks up my vehicle" He said it wasn't dangerous, that we just needed to keep an eye on the oil and add whenever necessary.
... but this is from the man who pryed the valve cover off with a pinch bar... oh geez, I'm digressing again.

So I had Bigness drop me and United Nations Baby off at the house in the bush (on the mainland) where my studio is located, along with fresh food and purified water for a few days, before he took the car into the dealership. Now remember, its a small country, and we have only 1 Isuzu dealership for the entire country, so the wait can be long, even if business is slow. Bigness took the bus back (30 miles down the Western Highway) and then walked in from the junction, about a mile. He walks fast. I guess you can expect that from a man with a 36" inseam. Its a simple enough repair, if they had the parts, but alas, they don't and so they have to be ordered from Guatemala City (in a different country) and then one part comes from Miami - who even knows when that will be here. But we'll call you back and let you know, the parts manager says. And you know he never does call us back. Days pass, no call, so Bigness calls them, and then hands me the phone (thanks buddy). Nope, no parts, nope, no idea when they will be here, nope no idea about the cost, but oops, you can't come an get your car because the top part of the engine is off. So we're taking the bus now, which shouldn't be a big deal, the tourists do it all the time, except for the main bus company went bankrupt, into receivership and is now shut down, so there's no bus schedule or bus terminal, there are a couple of little bus companies that have started up you just have to sit on the side of the road and wait and wait and wait, all willy nilly. So that's what we did. It was time to come out of the bush and go back to work on Caye Caulker. So we hiked the mile from the house out to the junction, Bigness way ahead with his 36" inseam, me pulling United Nations Baby along, following the lady with the big basket balanced on top of her head, through the shortcut trail, then down the road out to the highway. She's the powder bun lady. Every morning she gets up at 5 a.m. and bakes her powder buns, which tasted like a light fluffy oatmeal cookie, but without the oatmeal, walks about 2 miles out to the junction and sells her powder bun on the bus all the way to Belize City. This must be a regular thing, because while we were waiting the hour for the bus to come cars and trucks were pulling over to buy her powder bun. Two dollah gets you four a dem.
UNBaby: Granma I want one of them.
Me: O.K. but just a nibble because they will make you thirsty. You can eat them when we get to the city and get some juice. (Bigness had convinced me that we didn't need to take along water because its just a short ride to the city)
UNBaby walks over to the powder bun lady holding her middle finger straight up in the air with the other fingers folded down she flips the lady the bird, right in her face she's shaking her little fist. I hear UNBaby say to the powder bun lady "Crampa's finger is like that because its broken."
PBLady: huh? what she say?
Me: oh she's just explaining about her grandpa's finger. (And indeed it is broken, from the age of 15 he's had a severed tendon in his middle finger on his left hand, the finger sticks up at a wierd angle)
Bigness: gial put your finger down!
UNBaby: I have to go potty.
Me: come quick, I'll hold you up but don't aim for my feet.
Bigness: the bus is coming.

So we abandon the idea of peeing in the bushes and get on the bus - its an old Bluebird schoolbus that's been repainted (sort of), the one that stops every 100 feet or so to let passengers off and take on new passenegers and get to Belize City an hour later, UNBaby sits on my lap with her legs crossed. Three people crammed into a seat meant for 2. She was quiet the whole trip concentrating on not peeing on my lap. And she succeded.

Powder Bun Recipe

4 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 stick butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 small can of evaporated milk
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and mix well. Melt butter and shortening together and set aside. In a dish, beat eggs and vanilla then add to dry ingredients along with melted butter and shortening. Add some evaporated milk and knead to a stiff dough. Roll into little balls and press on cookie sheets. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Second Reason Why You Should Sleep With Your Windows Shut at Night

Because when the police lady shoots a coiled island boa snake, 20 feet from your window, at 6:30 in the morning, closing the window will muffle the sound.


Me: what was that?
Bigness: what?
Me: what was that sound?
Bigness: what sound?

Blam... blam blam

Me: That sounds like gunshots (I go over to the window)
Bigness: gial get away from the window they are shooting people again!
Me: (incredulous) they arent shooting at me (I hope I'm right, I stand up on my tiptoes and look over the edge of the verandah)


(I move away from the edge and duck down a bit)
Bigness: Maybe its for Baron Bliss Day
Me: Did they do that last year? (I hope not because what goes up MUST come down)
Bigness: Me no noh Maybe they are cleaning their guns.
Me: by shosoting them?
Bigness: maybe something was stuck
Me: that's really dangerous
Bigness: for tru (he goes back to reading the newspaper and drinking his coffee)
But I'm not satisfied with those answers. I can't just go about my business as if...


I see the police woman and another male officer come strolling nonchallant around the corner of the building with a smoking gun (literally)
Big mystery now.

So Officer Annie Oakley came into the cafe for her coffee later that morning and I asked her what they were shooting at. (Now remember we are in the MIDDLE of a village) She said
it was an island boa constrictor. Legend has it that the snake was 9 feet long and had a bump in the middle the size of a small watermelon (probably a cat) and it was found coiled up in the middle of the street side police yard, just outside of our eye site range. Bigness has a theory that its the snake that the pastafarians had up in the ceiling of their kitchen.
The photo is not of the actual snake but one I found on the net.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dude, Yer Banana Hammock's Scarin Me

Caught on the Spycam (while minding my own business AGAIN) Sergio the feral wolly manmoth has a strange pointy thing situation going on the top of his head. The one on top of his shoulders. I thought we agreed NO BANANA HAMMOCKS on Front Street.

And now I can't get this song out of MY head. "Struttin his stuff on the street, yichy gitchy yi yi yi" (Lady Marmalae).

I swiped the illustration from my hero Natalie Dee.

I know you all have been missing me during this very busy time of the year, so I'll update you on the latest gawsup, but I have to do it quickly because United Nations Baby has to sit on her bed for a 1/2 hour this morning while G'ma (me) babysits because she heisted her 2nd floor window open (a window that I can hardly open) She stood in it and then threw her baribe doll and hit a tourist in the head with it. Sorry man. I'm secretly laughing behind my hand so don't tell anybody.

No, Bigness and I haven't done the deed yet, we're just too busy and found that I was missing things like, no nice dress to wear or shoes, and Bigness was missing his divorce papers. Details details, when you stop and think about it, yes I should wear something besides my bathing suit and a torn pair of capri pants and I need a new pair of shoes to cover these cold feet, and while I'm at please get a pedicure and get that cruffy hair trimmed. So I've been shopping online at and he's been going through filing cabinets and briefcases and it looks like I've found some shoes but he's going to have to go to his lawyer's office for a copy of what he needs. I'm going to make a T-shirt that says "NO WE DIDNT DO IT YET" It's gone from a simple ceremony in the car (with the windows rolled up and the AC on) to probably a shindig on the beach with a beer tent and karoke. See what happens when you give yourself time to think?