Baby Steps

We’ve decided to no longer buy bread from the store. No biscuits, no sandwich or french bread, no pizza dough. I, Carolyn, will be the sole bread winner. And it makes me naseous. But I’ve noticed that even though I have this desire to learn how to make ‘from-scratch’ food, when we’re in a time crunch, I immediately go to the store and replenish what we are out of. I have to learn how to plan and become disciplined. I can plan well, but the execution is lacking. Now that we’ve removed the grocery store option, I will either sink or swim in the flour industry. I’ll probably sink quite a few times before I swim, but I’m taking this seriously.

I bought a bread bin from the 1930s, which was a Maid-of-Honor gift. I know this because on the back, it states “Maid of Honor”. I thought that was a nice touch.

The bread came out alright. And I’m only using the word alright because I need to stay positive. I think it might be the type of flour I used, or maybe I didn’t knead it enough…I don’t know. But I wasn’t pleased. There will be a next time, that I know.

Modes of Transportation: Panga "Water Taxi"

To get from Big Corn Island to Little Corn Island, one must take a “water taxi”. They run two to three times a day depending on a) the weather or b) if anyone is still alive after the first ride across.

We shared a road taxi with our tanned friend from the flight and followed her down to the dock. Immediately we noticed that everyone had brought trashbags or special coverings for their luggage. Everyone, that is, except for us. R was smart enough to wear his trunks, but that was the extent of our savvyness. We didn’t know what we were getting into obviously.

We piled into the boat and just when I thought my birthing-hips couldn’t be smooshed any further, more people jumped in. I was stuck between a now well-known sleeping fog horn and a lady who hadn’t shaved her legs since 1989. I was kinda impressed. She hauled on a large plant and a pinata. I love how seconds prior, people were scrambling to cover up their belongings with trashbags and this lady plops down a paper pinata. I don’t think it made it. The plant did, though. It was in my face the whole ride.

While waiting to take off, it started to rain and the drivers gave us a tarp to pull over our heads. At this time, there was still room on the boat for more passengers (believe it or not), so we waited for more people to come. About ten minutes later, it had stopped raining, and we pulled the tarp off. While doing so, we noticed that about 10 more people had arrived on the dock. Some guy behind me yelled, “Surprise!” to the new group as if they didn’t know people were under the tarp. I was the only one who laughed out loud.

Once we got going, they pulled the tarp back over and R’s job was to hold it fastened down on the side. My job was to smell the lady’s flowers and take photos.

My other job was apparently to squeal everytime we went over a wave. This isn’t your mother’s boat ride, my friends. They are gunning this thing at max speed and with each wave, your body tilts backwards to face the sky, and then thump! You hit the sea again. And I don’t mean thump, I mean THUMP. On the ride back, we learned to sit on our lifejacket, instead of wear it. Much more comfortable.
At some point during the ride over, everyone collectively agreed to remove the tarp. We were getting wet anyway and no one could breathe. I was ready for a hot shower. Wait, we don’t have heated water where we’re going… stay tuned!
Up next: Getting lost on LCI — sometimes good, sometimes bad.

Modes of Transportation: Airplane

Traveling to Little Corn Island was a mixture of happy hour, humiliation, and harrowing weather. The night before we left, R had some unfinished business from work to do. I went to bed around 10ish and woke up at 7am to find him sitting in the exact same position as I left him. He didn’t sleep a wink. No one but me saw the impending disaster. You see, R doesn’t just sleep. He sleeps….loudly. And to fuel it with a 36-hour zero-sleepathon was going to be interesting.

R started to get a little loopy on our initial flight out. At one point I looked over at him and, to my horror, he had taken off a sock and was inspecting a toenail. I gasped and whispered forcibly at him to put his foot away (!). He just looked at me goofy and started laughing uncontrollably. I closed my eyes, imagined lying in a hammock, and meditated (“Ohmmmmm”)…. until I noticed his head bobbing and hoped the engines would start soon to overpower his snores. The guy in front of him was trying to sleep as well and eventually gave up. But only after he turned all the way around to get a good look at the loud specimen behind him. I smiled and he gave me a pitying look along with a thumbs up.

What was really interesting about this flight was how 1960s it felt. Literally seconds after the seatbelt sign went off, people got up and chit-chatted in the aisle. I counted 10 people standing up with cocktails, talking with their friends, hitting on the flight attendants (who flirted right back), laughing loudly, and occasionally whooping a holler about something. I waited for a disco ball to drop and then everyone breaking out to the Electric Slide. I’d never been on a flight like that.

Once we arrived in Managua, we had to wait until 6:30 the following morning to catch the flight to Big Corn Island. We were each weighed along with our baggage for the flight. And when I say we were weighed, I mean they made me stand on this oversized scale and called out my weight in front of EVERYONE. I got really defensive and yelled that “we’re at sea-level, so it sounds like I weigh more than I do!” Then I ran and cried in the corner.

We received our boarding passes which were literally huge boards that said ‘pass’ on them and walked out to our plane. I was relieved because the plane was not as small as I thought it would be. Wait, I was wrong. You see the one we’re walking towards in the photo below? Yeah, I thought that was our plane too. Nope.. we went right on by that one and headed for the plane with the pink tail. I shot a little prayer up to the Big Guy and forged ahead.

I have to admit, though, seeing our pilots working the gears as well as seeing their reactions during the flight helped out. I also found that focusing my anger on the girl in the front row’s tanned skin took my attention off the smallness of the plane. To give you scale, R and I were sitting in the back row when I took this photo.

Midway through our 90 min flight, we hit a storm. I couldn’t even see out the window, it was getting hammered by the rain. I started to get anxious until I saw one the co-pilot put his hands behind his head as if he were going to take a nap. R noticed that the other one was eating a sandwich. If they aren’t nervous, there’s no reason I should be.

At last the clouds cleared and I saw my first glimpse of Big Corn Island. Excitement replaced anxiety. We were almost there!
Up next — Modes of Transportation: Panga a.k.a. “Holy Sh*t! Hang on for your lives.”

Icing on the cake.

Poor little tree.
I had taken Monday off from work as I knew we would drive in late Sunday evening (we arrived home around mid-night). Well, Monday night an ice storm came through and do you know what that means? No work! R stayed home as well and I have a feeling tomorrow will be the same. I’ve spent all day watching shows that I missed last week and working on decorating the apartment. Christmas season was a blur and the home shows my inattentiveness.
*Update: We are losing power intermittently. I’m really missing our fireplace right about now.

2 b or not 2 b, th@ is the ?

**previously recorded post**
Honestly, would Shakespeare write like that? My friend K and I were talking the other night of our worries that people will no longer know how to have conversations with people because of Facebook. (Although I personally cannot stand talking on the phone, so in that instance, it would be just fine.) We also touched on text symbols as well. IHNTTWTOSIAGTUAAFTWS… which means “I have no time to write this out so I am going to use an acronym for the whole sentance.” 

I stopped at a store the other day and saw this sign. It’s everywhere!

Just curious

**pre-recorded post**

Don’t you think creatives do this on purpose? I noticed the positioning of the jack-in-the-box on this Santa soap dispenser. It’s blurry because it’s on a spring. I don’t think it was an accident.

Paper pool

**pre-recorded post**

Our furniture arrived a few days before NYE. We had hosted two garage sales at our home prior to moving. But from the looks of this picture, it didn’t help. Not only that, we did not expect the onslaught of packaging material in the boxes. Okay, don’t get me wrong. I felt like royalty not having to load and unload or things. But when we moved ourselves, we just threw things into boxes and hoped that if we hit a bump, it fell onto a pillow somewhere in the back. So as far as unpacking goes, we really only had the boxes to deal with. Not the packaging. We tried to make the best of it though and jumped in them like they were leaves. R tried to do the backstroke through them, but it didn’t work. I tried the breast stroke and it went okay. Needless to say, everything is now pretty much put away, we managed to take a couple trips to Salvation Army and our road to simplicity is getting nearer and nearer.


**pre-recorded post**

One of the first things I noticed in our new town was the hight percentage of taquerias. There were big ones, small ones, clean ones, dirty ones…all sorts. One of these nights, R and I will do a ‘taqueria crawl’ and try many in one night. I pass by one everyday on my way to work. At night, the lights are lit up which is an instant bonus with me.

This is part of our “downtown”. It’s one street of buildings badly in need of repair. And, of course, that’s why I like it.

And here it is. Taqueria. I don’t even know it’s real name. There are no seats inside. Just a little window and some chairs around the sidewalk. Homemade tortillas and simple flavoring of cilantro and lime. Very clean tasting.

R would have a heart attack if he got this plate. Onions are his nemesis and honestly, he probably wouldn’t eat this just because part of the onions touched the other ingredients. I try to modify recipes for him and so sitting down to something like this is heaven to me.

Nice outfit

Our neighbor (a guy our age) came by to drop off a movie he burned for us. Ryan answered the door and then after closing it, realized what he was wearing. A cow shirt coupled with snoopy pajama pants. A golf outing is in limbo because of this, he’s sure of it.

Tomorrow we are headed on vacation for the next week. I’ve pre-loaded some posts that I haven’t been able to get to yet. We’re excited to sink our toes into some Little Corn Island sand asap. However, we have been unable to reserve a hut because none of the phone numbers work. So, the sand just may be my bed too. Oh well!

Have a good one!

There he is…

…. the devil. Can’t you see it’s red eyes? But let me start from the beginning.

We slept in late on New Years Day. Some, ahem, later than others. One of them ventured out for a ten minute period around 10am and then dropped back into bed for another couple of hours. Meanwhile, the rest of us watched movies and ate bacon and muffins.

Around one o’clock, we finally convinced them that daylight was indeed not a bad thing and we all crept out under that bright gaseous orb.

We made a pit stop at McDonalds, loaded up with grease and sugar, and made our way to our destination: A drive-thru safari. Since two of our crew lost their legs dancing all night, this was a perfect way to enjoy the nice day and not over-exert ourselves.

It ended up being better than we thought it would be. It lasted about two hours and for the same price as a movie, we were able to get some air, some conversation, and some fleas. Two out of the three were really nice. It was the conversation that was lacking. It varied between screams, gasps, monotone responses, and burps.

I was the person screaming. And it was only when I met my friends, los diablos. These emus were everywhere. And they came out of no where too. One minute I’m enjoying a nice handful of fries…(which by the way, I had made the proclamation the night before that I would not eat in 2009. I lasted 12 hours)

...and the next minute, their beak is bumping the window next to me…. piercing me with their bright red eyes. They won’t leave you alone, either, until you throw holy water on it, or something like that. I don’t know, it was a blur.

We played chicken with bulls and became up close and personal with our mohawked zebra friend. A & R reached out to pet it when R lost his fingers.

B didn’t lose an appendage while petting the camel. But even if he did have a serious injury that day, I don’t think he would have made a noise. He probably would’ve used that as an excuse to take a nap.

A chased kangaroos and I let a baby monkey climb over me. This added two more years to my “wait to have kids” schedule.

On the way home, we stopped to pick up pizza and then watched movies in our makeshift theatre-seating living room. I think the rest of the crew was in small-screen shock, coming from homes that have triple the tv screen size. They were polite about it though and it ended up being really cozy. If R and I didn’t have to work that Friday, we would have forced them to stay longer, we had so much fun. Thanks for bringing in the new year with us!


Some friends came down to our new place and hung out with us on NYE. We had a fantastic time….

We laughed…

We danced…

We sang…

We got defensive…
(I thought this guy was referring to how much I reveal on my blog — yes, everything still revolves around me)

But who knew that New Years Day would be so interesting and frightening. I looked into the eyes of the devil that day, my friends, and survived. More to come.

Game Playin’ Family Pt 2

One of my favorite memories over the holidays was the Saturday after Christmas. I looked out the backyard window and saw ice on the trees. Yes, I thought, an excuse to stay in my pjs and not brush my hair.

My dad walks in the mornings with my mom’s brother & sister-in-law and this Saturday morning, they spontaneously came over for breakfast. I need to buy a lace tablecloth because it instantly dresses up a meal. We had egg casserole, bacon, rum cake pancakes, and fruit. Is there anything better??

I forgot to mention we had coffee too. LOTS of it. After our feast, we decided to play some dominoes and I caught a look in my uncle’s eyes that scared me. Uncle J + Coffee + Early morning walking = I now have three more eye wrinkles from laughing so much. We played 13 rounds of dominoes and that still didn’t stop us!

Soon after, we decided to have a Connect Four play-off. In the second round, my mom was seriously studying her next move while I was seriously trying to position my hair to cover up as much of my makeup-less face as possible.

My uncle J was not seriously doing anything. Notice the coffee cup.

I made it to the finals…and won. But that didn’t stop R for reminding me of my 2nd round loss to him (we had double eliminations, for your information). The result of that match reminded me of our rooftop chess session.. That’s okay, you can’t win all the battles.

Come see me at the Smithsonian!

R sent me an email a few days ago and the subject said “You wanna go to this?”. My eyes got huge b/c it’s normally me who researches places to death and then convinces him that we aren’t really living unless we go to them. So I opened it up and at first I was admittedly disappointed and then excited. I had set the bar high in my head: New York, Cancun, or maybe Austrailia? Nope, it was to a college a few towns away.

It’s a group touring the United States compiling a handwritten copy of the Bible. One person writes one verse each and then their name is indexed in the back. You have to write the same verse twice because one copy is being donated to the Smithsonian and the other will be used for resale purposes.

R was nervous that he would have to copy one of the Ten Commandments and then would forget to write the word ”not” in it, causing someone to really believe murdering is acceptable.

We decided to meet each other up there and by the time we got close, it was already dark. Mapquest failed to mention that a key street was closed, yet there was no detour showing the alternate way to get to the college. Now guys, there’s a few times in my life when I get cranky… okay more than a few, but these are the most common: when I’m hungry, when I’m lost, and when my hair feels greasy. Well, tonight I was all three. Those, coupled with my road rage, causes me to become a seriously mouthy sailor. I know that’s redundant. I’m making a point. A sailor would think I was mouthy. And that it was nighttime didn’t help, because then I know people can’t see my lips moving and so I can be as loud and obnoxious as I want.

But here’s the ironic part… Read the verse I had to write (Matthew 15:11.) I’m just sayin…

A Wrinkle in Time

Some people divide their life up by the fashion they wore, their hairstyles, or even the boys and girls they liked. When I look back on my 28 years, it can be easily segmented out by books/genres I read. My nose has been in a book since ‘See Dick Run’ sentences finally lept from the pages. In my childhood home, we had a built-in bookcase in a narrow hallway. I loved the feeling of swinging the two doors wide open, pushing them against the wall so people could pass by and sitting cross-legged in front of a tower of written worlds. It was never organized, which lent itself to the feeling of discovery and triumph when a book popped from the back of the shelf. These escapes helped energize my childish curiosity and, later, helped ease my adolescent wounds. Both my adventure and safe haven.

In my parent’s house, there is a little nook in the living room with an antique table set next to my great-grandmother’s chair, re-upholstered by my grandma. On the opposite wall is a free-standing bookcase, filled with the same books of my childhood.

In my earliest reading days, I read fairy-tales of course. This naturally led into my first “novel” in third grade: Alice in Wonderland. I was so proud of myself and remember bragging to my sister that I had finished it. She didn’t believe me, which made me upset. Then came the Beverly Clearly stage, followed by Anne of Green Gables & the Indian in the Cupboard series. Then, in fifth grade my teacher decided she would read to us after lunch in an attempt to smooth the transition of our red & sweaty faces to a calmer classroom. She chose C.S. Lewis and by the end of the first day, I insisted that my mom buy me the Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe set. My high school days alternated between historical romance novels (if I couldn’t get kissed…I might as well read someone else getting it), Stephen King, and the classics (British mostly.)

This was my favorite fairy-tale book as a child. I was enthralled by the princesses’ perfect hair and how it always separated into three different strands. I looked at it with envy and resented my own.

To me, books are like smells & photos. They instantly bring me back to a specific time in my life. I remember characters like old friends I haven’t kept in very good contact with, but still can recall good memories. Or like places I’ve visited long ago and have a vague, almost blurry picture of in my head. I can’t separate my past from them, and can’t wait to introduce my own children to them.

Game-Playin’ Family Pt 1

My trip home over Christmas was three parts game playing to one part opening presents. Which, in my book, is just fine. The perfect present, to me, is doing things. I do appreciate everything given to me, though, and I think everything has already been used so far. Very thoughtful.

Our first night with the parents (you see, now we are guests and need a place to sleep instead of visiting for just the day and returning home the same night. I like this set-up much better, if you ask me.) involved a little debate, a little church, and a little Win, Lose, or Draw. The last of which is a given. I come from a long line of game players. My parents like a good poker game, my grandparents were card players as well. We even have evidence that my great-great-great grandfather liked them as well. He was a stowaway on a ship that came to America…and if that isn’t gambling, I don’t know what is. It’s in my blood. And I’ll shed it if I have to in order to win.

Look each other in the eye!
We clinked glasses filled with eggnog & whiskey and called for a good, clean night of playing. I think my dad was secretly trying to sabotage my much needed drawing skills, because after just a whiff of the drink I couldn’t see straight. He denies it, but don’t we all in times of battle?

Mom interpreted “clean fun” to mean not getting marker on the carpet.
My mother also tried to impair her competition’s judgement by having us use the biggest marker I’ve ever seen in my life. We did three rounds with it until one of us finally admitted to having the munchies due to the fumes.

We’re pretty serious throughout our games too. It’s not unusual to go to the dictionary during Scrabble, or to research rules on the internet while questioning someone’s move in other games. Finger-pointing and hands gently laid on people’s thighs are usually the first sign that a “we’re going to get to the bottom of this” flag has been thrown. I can’t remember what rule was broken in this round. R could have drawn into another square on the sheet of paper for all I know.

By the end of it, we were pretty exhausted. Or maybe we were faking it in order to cut our losses. Either which way, it was a good start to the week.