Saturday, September 30, 2006

Illustration Friday - September 29 - Quiet

So quiet the day was you could barely hear the breeze through the palm trees.
Hand colored photo of The Inn at Robert's Grove, Placencia, Belize was created by making a print on acid free linen cover stock and coloring it with oil pastel & prismacolor pencils.
Check out more Illustration Friday submissions.

Monday, September 25, 2006

And the Winners Are...

...for the Second Annual Caye Caulker Cool Art & Tastefest

Each winner was decided by popular vote. 132 ballots were cast in 3 categories. A big thank you to all the participants, tasters and prize contributions.

First Place – Caribbean Colors-Coco Loco Café – Curry Chicken Waldorf Salad on a Whole Wheat & Herb Bun.
Prize: One Night's Accommodation at Chaa Creek
Second Place – Barrier Reef Sports Bar – Vegetarian Sushi.
Prize: Round Trip Tropic Air Flight into International, Bottle of Tropical Spice Perfume from Belize Perfumes
Third Place – Lazy Iguana – Mexican Dutty Rice.
Prize: One Night's Accommodation at Crystal Paradise includes some tour activities

First Place – Caribbean Colors-Coco Loco Café – Kahlua Drenched Tiramisu.
Prize: One Night's Accommodation at Victoria House in San Pedro
Second Place – Ernie – Ernie’s Oat Energy Bar.
Prize: Round Trip Maya Island Air Flight into International, bottle of Tropical Spice Perfume from Belize Perfumes
Third Place – Syd’s Place – Bread Pudding.
Prize: One Day Car Rental from Crystal Auto Rental
Honorable Mention – Oat Chocolate Health Bars – Lazy Iguana Bed & Breakfast.
Prize: Round Trip Airfare to Municipal

First Place – Jennifer Sullivan (Teacher Jenn) – Homemade Ginger Ale.
Prize: One Night's Accommodations at DuPloy's and includes some tour activities, $50 Gift Certificate to Habaneros Restaurant, $50 Gift Certificate for Jewelry at Caribbean Colors Art Gallery
Second PlaceSeaside Cabanas – Mintini.
Prize: One Night's Accommodations at Crystal Paradise and includes some tour activities
Third Place – Barrier Reef Sports Bar – Mojito.
Prize: $50 Gift Certificate from Atlantic Bank, Bottle of Wine.

My acceptance speech:
Thank you thank you thank you to all the wonderful people of Caye Caulker that voted for me. I couldn't have done it without Bigness defrosting and cleaning the chicken, Supergirl making the mocha creme (of which she won't give me the recipe) and UNBaby for keeping her hands off the food at all times.

A quick flashback to Last Year, the night before the competition, after going to the Wine Tasting and smoking about 4 ciggys I was making the sauce for the Shrimp Salad Nicoise and Cous Cous Salad:
11:30 p.m.: I can't taste the garlic yet
11:35 p.m.: I can't taste the garlic yet
11:40 p.m.: I can't taste the garlic yet
The next morning...
I go out into the kitchen and open the refridgerator door...
Needless to say, last year's entry was heavy on the anti-vampire juice.

The next Tastefest is going to be in January and will be a Chili Cookoff, so get those crock pots warmed up!

Photo Friday - September 22 - Girl

Its a brave new world.
More Photo Friday submissions

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In Ter Es Ting

In the past month I've experienced this phenomenon 3 times. But before I tell you what it is, let me first say that we hoard U.S. dollars. The Belize dollar is not an openly traded currency, we are not a part of the IMF, it does not float, it is artificially pegged 2 to 1 to the U.S. dollar, and guess what its worthless beyond our borders, hence hoarding U.S. dollars that come into the store. Needless to say, we don't give out U.S. dollars as change usually, unless we are completely out of Belize dollars, or someone has a gun to my head. Well, 3 times this month when I've had to use U.S. cash, its been refused as change. Refused? Yes.

The exchange has gone like this: I hand the young yur-o-pean woman her change and she hands back the U.S. dollars with a sick-horrified look on her face and says, "Uuuuuggghhh! Don't you have something else?" with a shudder.
"Sure," I say, and hand her a cup full of Belizean shillings. "Money is Money."
The first time it happened, I just blew it off to hippy chic fickleness. The second time it happened, It piqued my interest, although I was NOT interested in asking WHY? Its obvious WHY. The third time it happened, I'm wondering is this a grass roots movement? The only other person that I know of in te world that doesn't want U.S. dollars, is Fidel Castro.

O.K. now talk amongst yourselves, I'm getting ready for the big Caye Caulker Cool Art & Tastefest this Saturday.

As a side note, I was on the radio this morning (about the Tastefest) and Supergirl said I didin't sond like too big of a hillbilly. I think that's great, being that I'm FROM THE NORTH and have been a DAMN YANKEE my whole life.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Recipe for Bamboo Chicken

Me: so how do you catch the Iguana?
Bushman: with yur hand you keychit. You got to be ready dough wid de machet in de rih han kaychim wid de lef han. You see mi machet? I shawp on de tip and on de bottom. Chop he hed offn wid the bottom ah de machet.
Me: Oooo Keeeyyy (he shows me his 30" machette is sharp at the tip and by the handle only)
Bushman: Den you stick de nife in he belly just like wan fish yew gut he and peel de skeen offa heen.
Me: Oooo Keeeyyy
Bushman: afta you skin he, mek I tell yu sonting, you mek suuur you gat wan greeeen guana, not like wat you hav pon de Caye, dems noh good eatin, wha big greeeen guana what we like.
Me: how do you take the skin off?
Busman: you do eet just like you do wan fish, just skin it. Den you gat to hang it by de tail from de tree to let all the slime come out.
Me: Slime?
Bushman: yes gial, you cyan eet de guana wid de slime.
Me: What does the slime look like?
Bushman: eet look like slime. Gial, yew see de slime yew noh wantta eet de guana, yew tew delikate like dem Merikan laydeez.
Me: What color is the slime?
Bushman: gial, slime IS slime me no noh wha kala is de slime.
Me: How long do you hang the iguana in the tree by its tail?
Bushman: kupla hours. Den you gat to lime it real good.
Me: how do you do that?
Bushman: You gat to squeeze de lime all over it and rub he wid de lime and let he soak for a coupla hours.
Me: O.K.
Bushman: den you ken bubbakew he.
Me: O.K. how do you cut the iguana up?
Bushman: whaaaaale, I brek he showda and chop off he feet and chop he on de elbow. Den I chop he belly in a couple peese, and chop he tayl.
Me: how do you barbeque him.
Bushman: Gial you just bubbakew he (I sense he's getting frustrated with having to explain everything to me.)
Me: what spices do you use when you barbeque?
Bushman: salt n peppa, gaaalik, tarrey yakki soy sawce, an peppa sawce.
Me: what does it taste like?
Bushman: chicken

Photo Friday - September 15 - Bright

Friday, September 08, 2006

Photo Friday - September 8 - Boy

Adam, son of MalibuMalMal (my youngest daughter). I shot this photo last year in June. Adam is the first boy grandchild in my family, so that makes him the Prince. He has the very chilled out personality of his father.

Me: hey Adam
Adam: mew
Me: its me, Grandmafromthejungle
Adam: mew mew
Me: awe coochi coochi coo
Adam: fffffffffffffppppppppbbbbbbbbbb mew mew mew
Me: What ya doin there?
Adam: grunt (you figure it out Grandma)
Me: Um... Mal? Mal?.... Mal?

Belize Turns 25

September is celebration month. Belize gained its independence 25 years ago from England, colonialism and driving on the left hand side of the road. The festivities last about 3 weeks, which means that if you're a foreigner and planned on working, well you can go right ahead and work work work, but Belzieans are going to celebrate, so get over it! And on Monday if everyone is still borracho, be nice.

This weekend's celebration is the Battle of St. George's Caye Day (September 10th) and the Alamina family reunion on Miss Ilna's beach. (Let's hope no one feeds me too much to drink or we'll have a repeat performance of Easter's faux pas).

A quick, bad-memory recap of historical events: On September 10, 1798, the English Baymen who were loggers, farmers and pirates, along with their slaves beat the crap out of the Spanish armada by tricking them to wreck on the submerged reef. The Baymen took their little boats out to attack the spanish in hand to hand combat and slaughtered the whole lot of them. Hurray for the Baymen! This is one of the reasons that Belize is officially English based and not spanish like the rest of Central America. Some Spanish galleons were sunk right off the eastern side of Caye Chapel about 1/2 mile from here. On Caye Caulker there will probably be a parade with every motorized vehicle lined up from here to there and will go around the island twice. Its very sweet, and everyone loves a parade. The school kids will probably march, the beer delivery tractor and wagon will be filed up with people, the village council dump truck will have a 5 foot high speakers on the back blasting out Belizean celebration music, everyone will have their golf carts decorated with red and blue and national flags.


For the "official" website click here

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Construction Zone

This morning, since we didn’t have any guests staying at Alamina Beach House, Bigness decided that 6 a.m. was quite late enough for me to sleep in and got busy with the sledge hammer and pinch bar, not on me, but on the verandah-soon-to-be office. The lumber had been delivered last night from Manuel’s barge, and that was the signal to start ripping the lattice down. Wow, the verandah feels so naked. But, I’m getting a proper office with windows that open and close. MY space, a place where I can close the door and no one is supposed to come marching in . . . not supposed to come marching in. . . Did I mention the door that closes?

UN Baby: Grandma the jumbies farted and woke me up.

Me: oh really?

UnBaby: Did you know grandpa is breaking the house down? He say we gonna sleep on de beach (giggle)

Me: maybe you will, I’ll just stay in my bed. Who told you about the jumbies?

UNBaby: Granpa say de jumbie gonna bite me if I don’t go sleep.

Tonight while UnBaby was bathing in the washing machine (yes, she still won’t take a shower – and no bathtubs here on Caye Caulker) Bath time comes after dinner and before TV watching with me and gpa in the big big bed.

UnBaby: I think we should AAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL sleep in Gpa’s big bed. Me and mommy and you and grandpa, we don’t need AAAAALLLLLLLLL of these beds in AAAAALLLLLLLLL of these rooms, just one big bed in one room.

Me: oh really

UNBaby: yuuuueeeeesssss

Me: well that isn't gonna happen, but remember, don’t get out until all all the bubbles are gone.

UNBaby: (big sigh) one beeeeeg bed… grandma, de bubbles are almosss gaaan. Mash de button for de light.

I turn off the verandah light so she can climb out of the washing machine in semi privacy on the naked verandah and wrap up in a towel.

Me: finish bathe and get your jammies on.

UNBaby has started 4 year old preschool at Miss Sue's Preschool here on Caye Caulker with all her other 4 year old buddies. She's the tallest in her class - which she comes by naturally, Supergirl and I were always the tallest in our classes, albeit 20 something years apart. UNBaby also has the biggest feet. I have to admit, I don't know where those feet came from. If I didn't know better, I would swear she's an Alamina, but she's not.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Just Wasting Time

I thought this quiz was fun...
Who Should Paint You: Alfred Gockel

All American yet funky, you inspire an artist's imagination
And while not everyone will understand your portrait, you will!

Well who the heck is Alfred Gockel? That's what I wanted to know, so I google'd him

Alfred Gockel
Named as an Official Olympic Artist

Famed pop artist and action painter, Alfred Gockel, was recently commissioned by the United States Olympic team to create an official piece of artwork for the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy.

His art work is inspired by the greatness of winter Olympic sports including skiing, bobsledding, and hockey.
His use of amazing style, flair, and color help to depict his vision.

Alfred Gockel’s official Olympic piece will be available exclusively through Park West Gallery

(As a side note, the Park West Gallery is in Michigan and the former art director is a friend of mine)

And while we're on the subject, I've brought you another wacky quiz.

Lee Ann Vanderwalker's Aliases

Your movie star name: Doritos Cecil

Your fashion designer name is Lee Paris

Your socialite name is Leeannibug Cancun

Your fly girl / guy name is L Van

Your detective name is Jaguar Kent City

Your barfly name is Brownie Margarita

Your soap opera name is Ann Mac Arthur

Your rock star name is Snickers Car

Your Star Wars name is Leemis Vanran

Your punk rock band name is The Pensive Shell
The Amazing Meganame Generator


Your Candy Heart Says "Get Real"

You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.
You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)

Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic

What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays

Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get

Go Home Mother

Supergirl is SO EXCITED that Bigness and I are spending another 3 weeks here on Caye Caulker, until the Art & Tastefest is finished. I hope she doesn't try to poison me in my sleep.


Supergirl: If you put on another Sergio Mendez CD, I’ll kill the cruise director.

Me: Don’t forget to wash your hands first.


Tourist: Are you two sisters?

Me: (batting eyelashes and do the hair flip) Why, yessssss, of course.

Supergirl: (growl) You're getting decaf.



UN Baby standing at the top of the stairs to the beach using the red bike tire pump as a microphone stand singing to the Dixie Chicks with her fake hillbilly accent. She must be in a house cleaning mood because that’s the CD that Supergirl and I play when we’re getting Alamina Beach House ready for guests.


Freaky White Granny is BACK! Thank goodness she's torturing someone else this year. Hold onto your string bikini tops and mini skirts. Meanwhile at a local watering hole, Bartender Extraordinaire: (leans over and asks) Does Granny like a spanky?

Really Important Message:
To the momma cat that climbed in Supergirl’s bedroom window and had kittens behind her bed, and then ran away, your children are waiting for you in a box on the verandah.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hammock Time

Supergirl shot this photo a couple of months ago around Easter of United Nations Baby and her cousin Alexia playing on Grandpa Bigness's hammocks on the soon-to-become-office verandah.

Now for a big slug of encouragement for parents all over the world: SCHOOL'S STARTED! WOO HOO!

Friday, September 01, 2006