Howdy, everybody! Last week was perrrty busy and I get to speak at a retreat every night this week; so this blog will be short. Well, shorter than the usual novel I write for you all.
First, I make it a policy to alway always have a few binder clips of all sizes with me. Always. You’d be amazed at how many random things you can use them for. I initially became enamored with them a few years back when I was hanging Christmas lights on our house and garage in Duluth. The cheap plastic clips that came with lights only held the lights up long enough for me to get the cheap plastic replacement clip ready in my hand; so, in desperation, I went in the house and grabbed a container of teensy, silver binder clips and headed up to the roof. Those beautiful things lasted me for three years! So, you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon a brilliant new use for a large binder clip. You know ear buds, those little earphones that, no matter what you do to prevent it, come out of your pocket/backpack/purse in a tangled ball, looking like what the celts were going for with their infinity knots? Well, brace…………..your……………………..self……………………:
Yes. It works. It’s amazing. I’m brilliant (in the way I find stuff online that people have already made available and photoshop in my gorgeous thumbs) You can thank me in whatever way your culture repays genius.
About a month ago, I noticed that there was a lack of what we would call Sugar In The Raw at any of the stores. Usually, there small, zip-lock-type bags of that “brown sugar” everywhere on the island. Then, even at our IGA in town, there was no longer any white sugar, either. Then, disaster struck. Jacelyn approached the stand that she normally gets fresh juice from and saw this:
You know how I always say “…when you pray…”? Well, you should start NOW, because, apart from the statements of The Oracle and the sweltering heat, the juice is the number one enjoyment of the Dynamic Davidson Duo on Dominica. Thank God there wasn’t a paper shortage at the same time, or we’d have had no clue why the shack was closed.
While talking with some folks about the amount of beach on the island, I once made the offhand statement that practically the whole coast was on the ocean, which those who were present were quick to point out the utter stupidity of, which I who was present was quick to throw a shoe and walk away, sobbing. Well, however I should have said it, there are definite benefits to having the ocean so close, fresh seafood being on top of the list. Also, you probably know that every year on my birthday, the ONE place I want to go is Red Lobster. It’s like my Neverland (Peter Pan, not Michael Jackson), what with all the melted butter, constant birthdays, Coke refills, and quirky “I’m gonna act like your best friend” servers. Well, two weeks ago, my dream collided with this 100% coastal island. I was at home, just thinking of sacrificial and impacting things to do for each of our readers (your home-knit Rasta hat is in the mail), when there was a knock at the door and a local guy, named Randell, was standing there with 2 lbs of lobster and 2 lbs of small fish (red fish and the like)! For 30 ec ($11), it was ALL mine. Well, brace yourself and Fisherman’s Feast ………….your…………………………eyes:
The fish are already gutted and waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. After 3 days on the counter, I moved them to the patio (because of the counterspace) until I figure out how I wanna cook ’em. As for the lobsters, I knew to boil them. I got our cast iron pot filled and boiling, added some Old Bay seasonin’, dropped the 4 smallest in, and shrieked like an alien (because, being dead, they couldn’t do it, and I NEED that sense of realism). They tasted good.
One of the things I love about living in other cultures is seeing the different ways in which the cleaning staff do their work. Now, just calm down, before you judge me. I NEED to have a cleaning crew if I’m going to be out interviewing servants all the time. But seriously, most of the student housing in our area has weekly housekeeping included in the rent. In China, we had a housekeeper, but it truly was in order to help one more person have gainful employment; and, to be fair, their standards of “clean” were far different than ours, which meant I would usually re-do all the dishes after she left. (One time, I opened a hard-t0-reach cupboard and found all the dirty dishes from earlier in the day stashed up there) Anyway, back to Dominica. I’ve grown to love our cleaning ladies, Zephrina and Media. Usually, every time they come to our apartment, they sweep, and I cook them grilled cheese and make hot tea or coffee for them. Who’s serving who, I ask you? I can just see Zephrina getting home and her children asking her, “How was the chef today, mommy?” Then I see Zephrina saying, “It was good. The bread was stale. I’m thinking of pushing for an appetizer next week, too!” Back to the opening sentence of this paragraph, I have loved seeing the different ways of doing things since we’ve been here. For instance, my mum taught me to make a bed so it looked like this…
…because she happened to work at a hotel at the time. Jacelyn’s mom taught her to make a bed so it looked like this…
…because she loves herself some pillows! And, Zephrina and Media’s mums taught them to make a bed so it looks like this…
…because Dominica invented the world-famous game “Where’s the Topsheet”. Can you find it? Give you a hint, I call it “The Postage Stamp”. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is folded up into a teensy square at the foot of the bed, under the comforter. The first time they made our bed, I looked through the whole apartment to find that sheet! I thought I’d forgotten to put it on the bed or something. Nothing wrong with this method; it just adds a Scavenger Hunt aspect to going to sleep at night. I am also thinking of getting those two an origami DVD for Christmas, given their natural talent at folding things.
Lastly, I know I’ve mentioned my li’l sister, Smeaphie, a lot, but I had to include one more classic picture of her. Before leaving to come to Dom, Jacelyn got a perm, and Smeaphie and my niece, Brooklyn, decided to get one, too. I got to spend the three hours at the salon with her and, in a beautiful moment, I snapped this photo:
The combination of curlers, Ugz’s, and random antelope on her smock make for a self-narrating photograph, don’t you think? (The towel in her lap is for the bits of raw fish that she keeps in her pocket “for snacky timeseses”, as she calls it)
If you pray, when you pray, pray for us.
On to the next thing…