Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa Claus goes door to door in pickup truck!

So we were hanging out at the crib the other night and heard the odd combination of a hurricane siren and super-loud Christmas music.  We popped outside to see what was the matter and what to our wondering eyes should appear but a pickup truck with Santa Claus nestled between two huge speakers! We followed them and watched as Santa handed out presents to ecstatic children at our neighbors' homes.  Egan was entranced.  Turns out you can pay $3 BZ to the local preschool and Santa Claus will bring your child a wrapped present (that you provide) to your child at home! So fun!

Check out this quick video of the action:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Groovy Clouds and Kids

Egan's new thing is "Play monster trucks, see boys!" which means he wants to go a couple doors down the block to Anchorage Resort where very sweet  five and seven year old brothers live on site.  Their parents are caretakers of the resort and live in a pair of really cool thatched roof houses:  one is a huge kitchen and the other is their living room and bedrooms.  The boys have a few toy monster trucks that they graciously allow Egan to play with.  We started bringing toys of Egan's for them to play with and it seems a fair trade.  They look forward to his visits and vice versa.  A few days ago, the clouds were especially cool and I took a bunch of pics while we were visiting the boys.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Botfly, Mama!

So word on the street (or rather, the Internets) is that botflies are relatively common in Belize.  From what I've gathered, the botfly deposits little eggies on a mosquito and then when the mosquito bites you the egg (or larvae at this point; not sure) jumps into the little hole in your skin.  Then it stays right there and grows.  So in a couple of weeks you feel something moving around in your still-itchy bite.....a big fat maggot living off of your bodily fluids.  The tell-tale sign is that there is a small hole in the bump so the cute li'l guy can breathe.  Adorable!

Last week, pretty much overnight, Jesse the Texas Black Dog developed a surprising lump on his snout.  It had a little hole in the middle.  I scoured the internet and became convinced he had a botfly.  Egan was very interested.  When he first saw a picture of a botfly larvae, he pointed to it and said:  "I eat that."  When we got to the videos of people pulling the maggots out of their bodies, he changed his mind.

Jesse with the not-a-botfly mark on his snout.
I took Jesse to the vet and it turned out it was just a nothing little bit of nothing.  But botflies have been on the brain I guess because a couple days ago, Egan pointed to a blemish on my face and with a big smile said:  "Botfly, Mama!".

For a graphic and amusing tale of a recent botfly removal, check out the "As the Coconuts Drop" blog that I have a link to on the left side of this page.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Me at work!

Remember awhile back I mentioned signing some mysterious papers?  Okay, maybe you don't but I promised to explain later, so here goes:  We are now partners in Caye Caulker Properties For Sale, a successful real estate business on the island.  The other day we rode out to the north island to take some property photos and scope out another upcoming listing.  Here are a couple choice photos:

Egan all decked out in his boating gear.

On our way back.  There's the north caye behind us.

This one is for Cara!  Here is the magic of the nursing necklace in action. awesome is that?!  Sure, as a Realtor in Austin, TX I sometimes brought the baby along when I took property pics or when I showed houses to super-cool clients (like Joy and Adam!), but did I get to do it on a boat?  Did I get to nurse while I drove?  Were shoes optional? 

Gratuitous Egan Cuteness Photo

Friday, November 26, 2010

Oh, the products from China (and other lands)

One thing we are struggling with is the lack of availability of safe and quality products, particularly those for children.  Most of these are from China but they are not the same Chinese products one finds in the States.  The ones we get here are guaranteed to fall apart or not work or be poisonous.  LITERALLY.  Here is the latest example:

Behold Egan's new FAVE toys!  He love, love, loves them.  Soon after we began playing with them, I noticed a noxious odor.  Serious off-gassing smell.  I picked up the product packaging and turned it over to see....

Seriously?!  Wash hands after handling this CHILD's TOY?!  Now I must make them disappear.   
The flip flops we bought him had a similar odor but no warning.  The fire truck fell apart into lovely little choky parts.  Our fan (made in Mexico?) worked for a month.  This is pretty much just how it goes.  The solution is to have our visiting friends bring us these things but that means waiting....and waiting.  We are getting good at patience.  Things move slowly here anyway, so this fits right in. 

But the toys labeled as poisonous are totally out of hand.  Right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This is a test...

Okay, y'all....I am convinced that the only people reading this blog are Tommy's mom (she leaves comments, so there is evidence) and our friend Sherry.  I haven't updated lately because I was starting to feel silly about it.  So....if anyone is out there, please leave a comment here to tell me you are there.  Or just email Tommy or me and let us know.  Otherwise, I'm probably going to lay it to rest.  I am thinking that if six people are reading it, then I will keep it up.  AND.....if you are just here because Tommy told you or posted on FB, then you don't count as part of the six.  I know who you are!  And I love you of course...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hurricane Richard is announcing his impending arrival!

Hello there loved ones!  We have battened hatches and are busy sitting on the couch simultaneously surfing the internet and catching up on LOST.  Egan and Jesse are napping.  The wind is blowing pretty hard (around 50mph) and the occasional gust sends rainwater under our doorway.  Not a lot, but enough to notice.  We went for a pre-hurricane stroll about an hour and a half ago and the following pictures were taken then.  Have some video on our Picasa Web Album if you are curious.

For about the last 24 hours, I have been obsessing on the internet.  Nope, not about hurricanes at all but about unschooling, natural parenting, animal rights, human rights, and on and on and on.  I added links here to some of the blogs I was reading  (left side of this page) blog always leads to another.  I think it all started because our friend Paul is coming to next month and he agreed to bring us some things.  I started adding books to my Amazon cart and of course I had to research which books I needed most right is out of control and I should probably stop soon.  More on that whole Unschooling thing and Belize next time...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Composting and Gardening Project

Kathy and David, a couple visiting from Ohio, started a composting and gardening project at the local high school, Ocean Academy.  Go Kathy!  Go David!  Not exactly sure how this came about, but Tommy volunteered to take over when they leave.  The teachers here are overwhelmed and there really wasn't anyone to keep it up and monitor it, so Tommy stepped in.  Go Tommy!  He is also looking at this as an opportunity to learn about composting, something we had been hoping to do on a grander scale than our previous backyard pilings (eaten by the land crabs every night).  The other day he took Egan with him to the school; here are a couple of pics...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I needed a haircut...

So I cut my hair.  All by myself with the assistance of The Internet.  Turns out that putting my super long hair in a ponytail at my forehead, then pulling the band out about 6 inches and hacking away ends up looking uncannily like my hair does after the $60 cuts I had regularly received.

I had less success with Egan's cut.  It ended up somewhat bowlish and haphazard and unfortunate.  But he can carry it off, so we aren't worried.  Anyhow, this is yet another example of how things are different here.  One finds that one can be so much more self-sufficient. 

Now for a random photo of Egan-ness, taken yesterday on our walk....with balloons!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More House: Before and After

Here is the bedroom BEFORE.  Note the interesting paint job and the linoleum floor over the gray painted wood flooring. 

Here is the bedroom AFTER.  This is the king-size bed that Tommy built with his OWN HANDS! A beautiful headboard was added a few days later.  See that groovy wood?  That is the Belizean hardwood with which much of the furniture and cabinetry is built in Belize.

This is our "front" door before we had the trim repainted "Teenage Pink"

I think the pink makes it much happier and tropical.  And now Tommy can sing that Little Pink Houses song with greater fervor, so right there you've got at least two big benefits to the addition of THE PINK.  We have a much larger porch on the back of the house with almost-sea views. We are still working on it, so I'll post before and after shots when we have a more complete After.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Living Room: Before and After

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Our House: Before and After

This is what our kitchen looked like when we first saw it in February 2010.  We asked the property manager/contractor if the owner would be willing to make some changes (and split the costs with us) and she agreed.  We drew him a picture of what we wanted, picked out paint colors, etc, and by mid-July (about 3 weeks after our return to the caye), our house looked very different!  Most of this was done by the contractor but Tommy added shelves throughout the house and we found furniture in various places. Belizeans aren't big on pantries or closets, so it is tough to find storage for anything, even things like dishes, dry goods, clothing...

Our dining table and chairs came from some ex-pats on Ambergris Caye who had closed a restaurant to move on to bigger and better things in San Pedro. There are two more out on the porch....this pic was taken before a party when we had pushed the table to the wall.  Note our lovely blue painted floors.  Love them!

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Random Recipe

Whoa!  I just made the coolest, weirdest, yummiest watermelon salad.  I found the recipe when I was cruising around looking for a watermelon salsa recipe.  I had recently been in The Greenhouse, a wonderful natural-foods-ish/ specialty grocery store in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, and had noticed they carried fresh mint.  Since I had already purchased feta from there, I knew I had the ingredients to make this curious blend.  Anyhow, you must try this!  Sweet, salty, odd, wonderful.  I read all the reviews and made some changes, which I have already adjusted below.

Watermelon Summer Salad
recipe image
Rated: rating
Submitted By: Jessica Mayo
Photo By: Allrecipes
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Servings: 6
"Watermelon is tossed with onion, feta cheese and olives in this intriguing summer dish. Don't be scared by the ingredients, they work together to make a very tasty and refreshing salad. Go ahead and try it - be prepared for a pleasant surprise!"
3/4 cup halved, thinly sliced red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 quarts seeded, cubed watermelon
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olive halves
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. Place the onion slices in a small bowl with the lime juice. The acid of the lime will mellow the flavor of the raw onion. Let stand for 20 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the watermelon cubes, feta cheese, olives, onions with the lime juice, and mint. Drizzle olive oil over it all, and toss to blend. Dig in and be prepared for a pleasant surprise!
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2010 Printed from 10/5/2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A rare moment during the party in which Tommy and I are in the same space.

This morning the weather was uncharacteristically cool.  There were huge sparkly dragonflies flitting around the yard, their wings glittering in the sun.....very "Legend" (with Tom Cruise and Mia Sara in the forest meadow).  Or not.  But it was kind of dreamy.  Then this evening at dusk there were tons of them flying up high in the treetops.  I've never seen them this size before and definitely not so many at once.  Semi-swarms of insects have been the theme of the week though.  Several days ago we had a big freak out when hundreds of large flying ants were swarming into the house. They were easily smooshed and the swarming was over in a couple of hours.  Weird.  Then 2 days later some other flying insect, smaller and mosquito-like, swarmed around all of our lights.  These too offered no resistance to our eager smashing of their delicate little bodies.  And goopy.  Oh the smears on the ceiling!  Anyhow, I guess all this bug stuff is related to the weather.  And our drafty, rickety beloved abode.
Preparing for the party:  Random photo of Egan with coconuts and fly swatter. 

Browser/ Blogger issues and party time!

So apparently if you use Mozilla Firefox to view this blog, the text that is supposed to be beside each picture is unpleasantly lumped all together by the first picture. I just discovered this today. Ugh! So if you want to read this blog all pretty-like, then use Internet Explorer. I'm trying to figure out a way to remedy this.

We had Tommy's belated birthday party last night. It was supposed to be last Friday but the Tropical Storm That Wasn't made us postpone. We had a blast---every person we invited attended and everyone brought amazing food! What a novel idea: you invite someone to a party, they say they will come and they actually come. So cool.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

  Egan about 3 hours after Pica Pica incident.
  Tommy preparing the fire for the fish.
  Fish wrapped in banana leaves taken from the banana tree in our yard.
  Our super fancy grill. Also our paper-trash burner.
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