Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Weather Report for Caye Caulker

Just taking a break from Theservingofthecoffee to let you enjoy what today is like here on Caye Caulker.

Santa came last night and brought UNBaby a unicorn head on a sitck so she can have her own pony to ride up and down the beach, new school shoes, a plastic golf set to whop all the boys over the head with, the game Candyland to practice counting, a baby carriage for all the nekkid babydolls (where do all the doll clothes go?). The package from Merica hasn't arrived yet, so there's more Christmas probably later this week.

It was a relatively quiet night last night. I only had to bawl at the police once last night, to SHUT UP WITH THE FIRE CRACKERS MON, people are trying to sleep (they took it well). The sarge is like the dad over there, and was off the island. So you know how boys like to play shoot-em-up cowboys, even big ones.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

One More Day 'til Christmas

I am the DJ today.
Today, I make all the music decisions.

I have decided that if I have to listen to another freakin Christmas carol, I'm going to poke my eyes out with an ice pick, and you KNOW how important eyes are to a painter, so with no more ado,
(drum roll please)
We're back to our old roations.
Cafe Del Mar
Gotan Project
St. Germain
etc. etc.

Supergirl: But it reminds people its Christmas and they might buy more gifts.
Me: I don't care.
Supergirl: You don't care about store sales?
Me: People vacation at Christmas because they don't want to DEAL with Christmas back home.
Supergirl: No they don't they come here to get away from the frozen north.
Me: well that too, but this is about as non-traditional Christmas as you can get without it being a muslim country.
Supergirl: I'm not changing the music.
Me: Do you want me to chase you with the scissors?

Its time for a nap.

While I'm sleeping holla back at me.
Why do you think people vacation at Christmas time. Do you think they expect a traditional American Christmas? Do you think that if we play Marvin Gaye they will forget about Christmas?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What's in Store for Christmas in Belize

Contrary to many local businesses in Belize and on Caye Caulker, we WILL be open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I'm not sure when we're opening presents yet, its kinda hectic Christmas morning because we're up early and getting ready to open the cafe at 7 a.m., Supergirl and I have already exchanged, each of our presents wrapped lavishly in the black plastic shopping bag it came in, but I'll get to that later.

We're playing the James Taylor Christmas CD, Jessica Simpson's Christmas, Smokey Robinson's Christmas and my favorite, the Jackson 5 Christmas, to remind ourselves that it is indeed Christmas time again. No snow here, not even any rain, the weather has cleared up and its balmy and warm with a gentle breeze. A couple of days ago people started putting up lights and decorations, its strange to see them. We put up UNBaby's decorations she made in Miss Sue's Preschool and they look just nice.

For UNBaby, this year Santa (Bigness) is bringing Uncle Ivan all the way from Canada coming via Miami. She's enraaaaaaaaaaaaptured and has been chattering away for the past few weeks about Ivan this and Ivan that. I have to admit that sometimes I use it as leverage. Santa's coming with Uncle Ivan, be a good girl and don't scream and hollar. Santa's coming with Uncle Ivan so pick up your clothes and toys off the floor. Santa's coming with Uncle Ivan so eat all your dinner, and so on, you get the picture. Bad grandparenting? Who cares, its working. Last year she and Supergirl had just arrived and all her gifts had been stolen along with their luggage (and the car) just prior to leaving for the airport, so it was a sparse Christmas. This year we have been pecking away at getting little things here and there for a while and puting them up. Actually, they are wrapped up already with paper and ribbons and distributed around the store as decorations and camoflauged to keep her from finding them. Bigness said he was going to get her a peice of PVC pipe, a length of rebar, a block of wood and an empty cardboard box to have since that's what she plays with anyways. Mom and Gma have other ideas, we think that she would like a new barbie, some slippers, some new school shoes to go with her uniform, a unicorn head on a stick to ride around on (instead of the peice of PVC pipe and rebar) and the Shoots & Ladders game and Candyland game we found at the Hofius Hardware store in Belize City.

Bigness and I don't really exchange, because Christmas is every day since we love each other so much (O.K. you can barf now) Supergirl and I don't really exchange either, so we put a $15 limit and our gifts tend to be jokey and unwrapped anyway. I got her a bath gel and spritzer set and her response was typical "Are you trying to tell me something?" Her gift to me was a giant $5 bottle of the generic version of "White Diamonds" called "Odelia" which is what all the whores on Caye Caulker wear. I asked her if she was trying to tell ME something. I decided to regift the cologne spray to Bigness, maybe he'll be able to regift it to someone who really needs it.

We have the turkey and ham, and someone besides me will be cooking them because I'm working from early to late that day. Other than a few mystery cans which may or may not be pumpkin pie, we're going to have pecan pie made with walnuts, so I guess that would make it walnut pie, and other seasonal goodies like Rum PoPo which is the Belizean version of Egg Nog and eating Black Cake.

Recipe for Rum PoPo
9 eggs
1 pint strong rum
1 oz cinnamon stick
5 large tins evaporated milk
1/4 lb raisins
4 nutmeg grated
3 tins sweetened condensed milk

Wash dem eggs!
Soak cinnamon stick and raisins in rum for 2 days.
Beat eggs well for 15-20 minutes removing the beater and rinsing in clean water several times to remove stringsand eye of the egg. (Yummy, doesn't that sound appetizing and make your stomach jump flip flops of joy?)
Add evaporated milk and beat again
Add condensed milk and check for sweetness. I don't know what you would do if it was too sweet, but if its not sweet enough, obviously add sugar.
Add grated nutmeg and the rum used for soaking the cinnamon and raisins, strain out the raisins and cinnamon sticks
Mix again and store in clean bottles in the refridge.

I guess the rum will kill off any stray salmonilla germs that might be floating around from the eggs, but we don't try and think about such things, tut tut.

Recipe for Belizean Christmas Black Cake
This recipe will make 2 9" layers and is a very dense and heavy cake that will last years and years and years.
2 lbs of flour (900g)
2 cups of stout beer
2 cups of strong rum
2 peices of cinnamon stick pound in a strong clean cloth
3 tsp. allspice
1 cup of flour for the fruits
1-1/2 lbs brown sugar
1 pt blackening for cake to get desired color
1 tsp baking powder
8-10 eggs
1 lb margarine
1/2 to 1 lb. each of raisins, prumes, dates, pecans, cherries and mixed fruit
1 nutmeg grated
1 cup syrup or brown sugar for stewing fruits.

Stew fruits the night before baking. Use 1/4-1/2 lb brown sugar for stewing fruits. (Let fruits simmer for 5-10 minutes) then let set and cool.

Next day, prepare cake tins. Grease with shortening and line with brown paper bag. (Set aside)

Cream margarine or butter with sugar.

Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well.

Add flour alternately with black coloring. Mix well each addition

Add stout beer. (about 3/4 of a pint). Mix well. (notice we only used 3/4 of a pint, the other 1/4 is for the cook to sip on to bring Christmas cheer)

Cover fruits with 1 cup flour. Add to mixture. Fold in fruits.

Bake for 2-3 hours in oven at 250-300 F/145 C , place cake pan in a pan of water. Cake is done when knife inserted into center of cake comes clean and dry.

You can make this cake at least a month in advance of Christmas and "Feed" it a little rum each day to make it real nice and toxic.

So what are you doing this year for Christmas?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mr. Badlucky

With my head wrapped in toilet paper to keep the hair dye from running down my face, I’m sitting here writing this post. I’m still having a little trouble with the correlation between what the box says in Spanish and the picture of the girl on the front cover. Either that or the box is lying to me again. You choose.

Today Mr. Badlucky visited us, three times.

We woke up to a newly rebuilt fence sneaked back up after midnight by Cousin Rage. Like a little rat in the night, to block beach access, its family feud time again. Bigness had just broken it down 2 days ago because it limited beach access, was an eyesore, and an illegal fence bordering the property and WORST OF ALL, on Queensland. And you KNOW how we love the Queen here. Back and forth, fences up and fences down. Bigness is much more patient than me, I would have had the chain saw warmed up by now (vroom vroom vroom). But with high season on, and working in the gallery and cafe like it’s a REAL job, I really don’t have time to study those people. Bighness is right though, his bad mind will catch him and if you give a person enough rope and they WILL hang themselves.

I say, the pendulum swings up and the pendulum swings down.

The second thing Mr. Badlucky did today was to kill the new well pump, and all the “plumbers” on Caye Caulker decided it was their day off. (read drunk/hungover) If necessity is the mother of invention, then Bigness and Supergirl were reinvented into plumbers today and figured out the problem and fixed it, once they believed in themselves and bought a new pipe wrench.

The third thing Mr. Badlucky did today was to create an unnatural waterfall after the well pump was fixed. I was in my office getting my email, with my feet tucked up under me, If they had been down I would have noticed the puddle of water sneaking under the door. We live on the second floor above the store, so you know what water likes to do… run down. I’m hearing the sound of a waterfall tinkling in my ears, I looooooooove the sound of water. Its so relaaaaaaaxing.. Ring ring the phone rings and breaks the spell. Its Supergirl “What the hell are you people doing up there (Is that any way to speak to your mother?) YOU’RE FLOODING OUT THE STORE!!!!

EEK! I say and slam down the phone (nicely of course) and realize now what the waterfall sound is, and see the water seeping under the door. I fling open the door to the verandah and our totally manual washing machine is spilling water everywhere because the hose has flipped out of it. The person holding the hose (Bigness) has disappeared to do something really important like make a hamburger or fry something and didn’t hear the waterfall noise over the sound of sizzle. On the upside, the floor is really clean now.

Mr. Badlucky likes to come in 3s, his work is finished here for a while. If you see him, tell him I said so.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Photo Friday - Dec 8 - Fresh

A bride's boquet with hibiscus, fragrent frangiopanni, bird of paradise and sweet plumeria on the edge of a Caye Caulker dock at a sunset beach wedding.

Check out more Photo Friday submissions.

Illustration Friday - Dec 8 - Mask

Hand-painted silk inspired by an antique Benin mask. I painted this several years ago for the fashion empress of Detroit, Sharrone Mitchell. This painting became the back of a man's coat.

A photo illustration using a clay mask by Belizean artist Felipe Zetina, a grass mat and habanero peppers and various photoshop filters.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Photo Friday - Dec 1 - Stillness

The breeze drops and the water turns glass flat, palm shadows freeze their movements on the sand. The sun is hot and singing on the top of my head.

Check this out for more Photo Friday submissions.