Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Alice in Wonderland House

This is the Alice in Wonderland House. It's that part of the story where they say, "Get really, really, small". The ceilings are low and the house is all of 459 square feet, with three windows counting the front door. Perfect for us when we travel back to the US, and it was a welcome site by the time I arrived!

I stole an internet connection from one of my neighbors and proceeding to "bait" my daughter on instant messaging. Just checking to see if she was home.........

If you have any questions about how cold it was, check out the outline of the door wreath in ice on the storm door......

After eating airport food all day, I was starving, and checked in the freezer. I THINK this was Salsbury Steak and macaroni, but whatever it was, I'm pretty sure it expired somewhere around 2001. I had to scrape the ice off before I could microwave it. But, it was just what I needed.

This is the view looking out of the front door. Luckily, we had a giant attack Santa guarding the neighborhood. It was actually pretty gaudy when it was all lit up. But a good landmark for someone looking for the house.

Above and below - A couple of years ago when we went back for a visit, we got a surprise when the neighborhood cat showed up. When we are there, he is like clockwork. Ronnie comes by the house occasionally, and brings his lunch, and the cat always showed up to see what was in Ronnie's lunch bag. I have named this cat BOB since he has no tail. But the next door neighbor says his name is FOOFY. Can you believe that? I didn't have any cat food so Bob settled for some bologna and cheese, and ate every bit of it!

If you have no idea how cold it was that night I arrived, you can see that I have on two pairs of socks, and some giant boots. I had forgotten what a pain in the butt it is to lace up those boots, but I was sure happy to have them on!

Once I ascertained that my daughter was at her house, I went out to start the car. It groaned at first, not wanting to be bothered, but it started. I bundled myself up and headed to her house.

Not wanting her to know that I was even in town, I rang her bell then hid below the peephole...."Ho ho ho" I said. "Who is it?" "Ho ho ho" ... then I hear her in the background telling someone that she can't tell who it is and they won't answer...hehehe...

When I realized she was not going to open the door, I said, "Merry Christmas"....the next words out of her mouth as she flung open the door were, "Oh my God, that's my mom's voice!!!"

It was a great surprise and she hugged me like she would never let go. I went into my granddaughter's room where she was asleep, and kissed her on the cheek. "Merry Christmas" I said. Of course she didn't move. I tried again. Half unconscious, she raised her head, batted her eyes a few times and said, "Who are you?"....then she finally realized it was me.

It was a great night and one of the best Christmas presents I have ever gotten. There's more to come about my visit to the frozen tundra......

Monday, December 29, 2008

My Great Christmas Adventure Part Three

If you have not read the first two posts on this subject, please read them first!

On the plane to Charlotte, I slept like a rock. I had no idea how much time had passed but woke up only when the annoucnement came on to put your seat backs upright and your tables back up. I had never taken mine down, so no problem there. I needed to get to immigration and find my bags, clear customs and make it to my next gate.....I would be in Indianapolis by 6:00 pm. Except for one thing. Each time I spoke with Renita, she had not talked to Ronnie yet. I still didn't have a ride from the Indianapolis airport to the house. I didn't have any minutes on my US phone, and of course no where or time to buy them in Charlotte. Luckily, the Charlotte airport has free internet all over.

I was able to get online with her and let her know that I had made it to Charlotte, and find out that she had not been able to contact him yet. Hmmm that meant take a taxi from the Indianapolis airport to the Alice in Wonderland house. I ran outside in Charlotte to grab a quick cigarette, but turned around as soon as the door opened. The pilot had said that the temperature was 34 degrees. I think he was lying. It was frigid. I saw eskimos in the parking lot.

The trip from Charlotte to Indianapolis was a little over an hour and uneventful. I dozed off and on. This would be the first time I saw the new and improved Indianapolis airport. What a sight it was. It closely resembles something that the set directors of the Jetsons would have built during an acid trip. And it is HUGE! Many floors, many buildings, many terminals, and many of whatever else they have at airports, oh and not one sign. Nice. Did I mention that it was HUGE?

I must have walked a mile just to get my luggage. After that, I managed to find the postage stamp sized signs that said "Taxi". Following these miniature signs took another half hour. Then I step out into 9 degree weather. That's right, farenheit. 9 degrees. I was wearing my warmest San Pedro sweatshirt and Crocs with socks. When I got out there, not a taxi in sight, just regular people dropping off other people. Not good. I strained my eyes for something that resembled a taxi. No luck. Again, dragging my luggage back inside and followed another set of miniscule signs saying "Ground Transportation" I figured maybe the rental car companies would know where the real taxi area was. Twenty minutes later and a walk outside that seemed like houres...did I mention it was NINE FREAKING DEGREES? After standing in line at the only rental car company open for ten minutes, the nice man behind the counter informed me that the taxi stand was (swooping arm movement), "way over there". Great. Luggage, I have determined has it's name from being lugged around. Again, to another building and outside again.

A short peek outside and I see a giant pole with a sign and a little light that says "Taxi". I am thrilled. The little sign says "if this light is not lit, push for taxi". I push the button with a finger that I am sure is frostbitten. It lights up, then goes out. I push it again. Immediatly a taxi pulls up. I ask the taxi driver if he knows where Garfield Park is. "No". Great. About the same time, another taxi pulls up. I yell at him, "Do you know where Garfield Park is". He yells back, "DID YOU PUSH THE BUTTON TWICE?" I yell back, "Do you know where Garfield Park is?" He yells back, "YOU'RE ONLY SUPPOSED TO PUSH THE BUTTON ONCE". I am not in a mood to have this conversation with someone that I know and like, much less this taxi driver. I ask the first guy if he knows where a nearby intersection is. He confirms. Fearing that my toes will fall off any minute, I jump in and take my chances.

He takes me to the house ($40 US later), and luckily there is a giant scary looking Santa in the yard next door so that he knows where to park. I get out with my LUGGAGE again and drag it up the sidewalk through a six inch carpet of leaves from the neighbors yard.

I made it.

Next, what happens when I get there?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Great Christmas Adventure Part Two

As I left you on my prior post, I was preparing to board my bus for Cancun...............

Down the ramp to where all the buses wait, and I checked my suitcase at the rear of the bus and found my seat, which wasn't hard to do since it was right behind the driver. I had two apples, a couple of granola bars, a motion sickness pill and half a valium. Considering I had just feasted on Tinkies and pretend Starbucks coffee, I was good to go and ready for a long night's sleep.

The seat next to me was empty for a long time, and just when I thought I would be able to stretch out a bit, here came two giants onto the bus. A hundred bucks says they are basketball players from somewhere. One sat by the window directly across from me, and the other, bigger one (of course) took the aisle seat next to me. So much for extra leg room. The two of them started talking in Spanish to the bus driver, and the next thing I knew the one next to me got out of the bus. I immediately move the armrest up and get ready to stretch out. The bus pulls out of the station. This isn't so bad after all. Before we get out of the bus compound, the bus stops and we pick the guy up again. Down with the armrest. I have no idea what the situation was, but he was definitely back in the seat.

I put my pillow to the window and dozed off into dreamland. The gentle rocking of the bus damned near puts you to sleep on its own. It's dark, there are no crying babies, there's no scenery to look at, and you know you have four hours until you hit the one stop, Playa del Carmen. Nighty night. I must have awakened when the bus turned off the main highway onto the side road. I now noticed that the huge basketball player sitting next to me had fallen asleep as well, but his mouth was wide open and his head was on my headrest!!! Best not to move until the bus stops and he wakes up.

When we stop at Playa del Carmen and Mr. Basketball awakens from his slumber, I jump out of the bus and run for the "banos gratis" and relieve myself of the two pretend coffee drinks I had in Chetumal. Time for a quick smoke. I am standing about twenty feet from the bus and the door closes.....I hear the familiar "swoosh" of the air brakes. HEY! HEY! WAIT! WAIT! I am pounding on the doors unti the driver lets me in. Whew, a near mishap.

Forty minutes later we arrive at the Cancun bus station. It is 4:00 am. Not a lot going on at the Cancun bus station at that hour. I buy a $4.00 US bus ticket to the Cancun airport, because I just haven't had my fill of bus riding yet, and somehow it just doesnt seem right to get into a taxi at 4:00 am in a country where you can barely speak the language. The bus will take me directly to the Cancun airport. It departs at 4:31 am. Yes, that's correct. Where do they come up with these times? Not 4:30, not 4:25, but 4:31. Amazing. Once again, I check my suitcase in the back of the bus and settle into my seat. A little further back this time but I really don't care as it's only a 25 minute ride to the airport, and according to my calculations, that puts me at the Cancun airport at 4:56 am. I walk inside with my luggage and see about thirty empty ticket couners, all of which are Mexican airlines. Hmm.. I try to walk further down the hallway but am promptly told in Spanish that I am not allowed down there. At this point, all I can think to say to the man is USAir. He tells me I need to go to Terminal 3, and I am currently at Terminal 2. Great. I scour my brains for the appropriate way to ask in Spanish how in the hell do I get to Terminal 3, when suddenly, outside, I see a beacon! A tall pole that says, in English no less, "Shuttle to Terminal 3, Leaves every 20 minutes". Now based on the number of minutes I was in Terminal 2 looking for an airline that doesnt exist there, I had about five minutes to catch the shuttle over to the proper Terminal.

Another bus ride, but this one was more like a giant van. My nearly empty suitcase goes into the back and the six of us sleepily made our way inside to seats and were silent for the ten minute ride over to Terminal 3.

Inside Terminal 3 I saw familiar airline ticket counters with names I knew, American, Delta, NorthWest, and blanks. Yes, blanks. Apparently when the ticket counter employees come in to work, they turn on their little LED screens and then you know where to go. There was a long line at the American Airlines ticket counter, and no one else. Well, now it was time for me to sit down and try not to fall into a comatose slumber while I am waiting for the USAir employees to come to work.

Great plan with a major flaw. There are no seats. None. Anywhere. Hmm, this requires some more thought. I go outside with my luggage to smoke a cigarette. Still no USAir people. I am still booked on a 2:45 pm flight out of Cancun, and my goal is to get the nice people at USAir to let me book an earlier flight to cut down my waiting time inside the airport fronm five hours instead of eight and a half. Since passengers are supposed to arrive two hours ahead of departure time and the early flight leaves at 11:00, one would think that the USAir employees would be at their posts ready to check people in at 8:30. One would be incorrect.

Somewhere around 7:00 am a restaurant opens up. They serve breakfast and they have wireless internet. Another win win situation for me. Sine my Mexican phone card has now been used up and I have no way to communicate my whereabouts to the free world, I take the bait. It's a chair, a hard backed chair with a tiny cushion, but it's still a chair. I sit down and order a ham and cheese croissant and the password for the wireless internet. The croissant comes. It was 90% croissant, a piece of ham and a bit of eggs. I pull off the giant croissant and eat the ham and eggs. Fifteen minutes later, the password still doesnt work. I ate a few of the french fries. Why french fries? I have no idea. The internet password never did work so I gave up.

An hour or so later, after walking outside several times, and back in, and back out, I notice that the Haagen Das Ice Cream employees have come in. There are chairs there. Like prime pieces of real estate, I eye one longingly. Where were the Starbucks people? They should be here already! They sell coffee for crying out loud. They should be there already!!!!! I see that the employees at Haagen Das have taken a few of their chairs off the tables. I notice a woman leaning on her suitcase and dozing, so I proceeded to do the same. Not so fast little lady! After about fifteen minutes one of the employees comes and asks me if I have placed my order. Placed my order? Are you kidding me? For ice cream? It's 7:30 in the morning! After she busted both of us, she told us that these chairs were for paying customers only. CUSTOMERS ONLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? In case you havent noticed, there are no customers!!! There are only five or ten people all in the same boat we are in. Who was actually going to order ice cream at this ridiculous hour...and where the hell are the Starbucks people???? We finally relented and gave up our seats for the undoubted onslaught of potential ice cream eaters that were going to show up any minute.

So we stood. We stood at the little counter where people fill out their travel documents. We stood by a pole, taking turns holding on to it. At 8:45 am there were still no USAir employees present. The airport man did begin to move the posts to create the maze we would all have to walk through, so it did look promising. By now there several people there waiting to check in for the 11:00 am flight. I chatted with the woman who had been thrown out of Haagen Das with me. She actually lives in Belize but was headed home to Michigan for the holidays. We talked about how cold we both were just thinking about going north. I took my suitcase into the handicapped stall and changed into a pair of jeans and crocs with socks. I had a sweatshirt. I was good to go.

The airport man finally let us into the maze, even though at 9:15 there were still no employees there. ARENT WE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TWO HOURS BEFORE OUR FLIGHT??? Finally, one lonely man appearted behind the counter.

I was actually third in line so gigured my chances of geting waited on were pretty good. I was able to change my flight for a little over $50 US. Of course, I had to go stand in another line to pay. Luckily, one of the additional two employees to show up was the cashier.

Free of my luggage, I practically flew up the stairs to my gate. There were hundreds of chairs there, and I promptly put my ass in one of them. Then I remembered that I had to find out about my ride from the Indy airport, and to let Renita know that I had not been taken hostage by airport security. I ordered a Coke and an internet password at Margaritaville and tipped the guy $2 just for getting the password right.

A stop at the duty free shop for cigarettes and I was on my way.

My Great Christmas Adventure

or How I Traveled 1500 Miles in 27 Hours and Did Not Inflict Harm on Anyone

Due to the extent of the events that occurred during this trip, the blog will be in several parts. I would suggest beginning at the beginning and working your way through the days, but if you don't, you'll get the drift, I'm sure.

Renita gave me the best Christmas present ever. A ticket to fly to Indiana and spend Christmas with my daughter and granddaughter, and my Five Fabulous Friends since we were a little slow here at the B&B. So I looked at reservations, and I held flights, then I cancelled the hold, then I looked again. This went on for days. Between not wanting to leave her here alone, and worrying about how I would fare A) in the frigid temperatures, B) driving a car, and C) driving a car in freezing rain/sleet/snow. I finally found a decent airfare but would have to fly out of Cancun then return back to Belize City. This was about $400 cheaper than flying out of Belize City both ways. The flight leaving Cancun was at 2:45 pm. I held my breath, I changed my mind 47 times, then I pushed the "confirm" button and entered the credit card number. I was going.

Once I had made the decision to leave, I next had to book my transportation to Cancun. I booked my flight for Corozal for 7:00 am on the morning of my departure, which was Monday, the 22nd. I emailed Cecelia to have them pick me up and take me to Chetumal for my five hour bust trip to Cancun. Check. Made my 7:00 am flight San Pedro to Corozal. Check. Tried to open up the Mexico bus schedule all day online to no avail. Finally called Cecelia on Sunday, the 26th around 3:00 pm to ask if she could open the website. Told her my plan. and she uttered those four words you never want to here, "you'll never make it". Drat. We determined that I would have to take the last flight from San Pedro to Corozal that day, which left San Pedro in an hour and fifteen minutes. Double Drat. That meant in one hour and fifteen minutes, my butt needed to be on a Tropic Air flight from San Pedro to Corozal. I called Renita to let her know. I started throwing things in a suitcase. I am not sure what all I ended up throwing in there, but figured I would make do with what I had.

4:30 pm on Saturday. I am sitting at the San Pedro Tropic Air terminal wearing shorts and flip flops, wondering how I will survive in the northern tundra.

The sun sets on San Pedro

5:15 pm Saturday. Henry's driver is there to pick me up at the Corozal airstrip. He tells me that he has been instructed by Henry to take me by the house. We stop. I "Merry Christmas" the entire family. Joan tells me that what I need to do is to take the bus this evening and ride all night to Cancun to insure that I arrive in Cancun in time to make my 2:45 pm flight the following day. After mulling this over, I agree with her and determnie that I would be saving the cost of a hotel room in Chetumal, coupled with the fact that I may not be able to get on the 6:00 am bus the following day, which is what I need in order to make my flight from Cancun. Whew. Ok, so game plan change number 2 is in order. Instead of staying at a hotel in Chetumal, I will find a bus leaving tonight and sleep on the bus.

Inside the Chetumal bus station

For those of you who have never taken a bus in Mexico, here's your important information. Primera Clase (First Class) and another word, "Express". The first class busses in Mexico have large reclining seats, movies, and a bathroom on board. They are NOTHING like the Greyhound busses in the US, and are much more comfy. Express means that you will not stop at every single village in Mexico known to man since the beginning of time. It also meand that everyone will have a seat assignment. I recommend getting as close to the front as possible, where you have a good view of the monitor, but not so close as to see the oncoming traffic on the two lane road you will be traveling on. Best not to have a heart attack on the Mexican bus. On the First Class bus you will not stop to pick up drunken patrons from a bar heading to the next town or village to resume getting their tequila on.

Renita and I made the mistake of taking a "Segundo Clase" bus from Chetumal one time and it took us about 8 hours to travel what can be done in 5. Besides the seats being much smaller, the toilets generally do not work, there are no movies, and no one has an assigned seat. This is, for all purposes, the famed Mexico Chicken bus. Do not take this bus. For those arriving and departing at the thousands of locations you will no doubt stop, they will simply hold on the to rod which is supposed to be holding in your carry on luggate. This makes each and every person crotch level with your face. On a really crowded bus, this can be one of life's most unpleasant experiences. If they do not happen to find a rod to hold on to, they will hold one another up by the lips, which is what one drunken couple did while we were on the Chicken Bus. Oh, and the Mexican Police tend to stop the Chicken busses two or three times during your trip and get on and demand to see passp0rts. I never saw them take anyone off, but maybe it's something for them to do in the middle of the night. Alas, I digress.

I did finally make it to the Chetumal bus station, around 6:30 pm. I stood in a huge line to get my ticket. When I finally reached the counter at around 7:00 pm, I realized my Spanish was a little rusty and had forgotten that no one in Chetumal speaks English. I finally managed to convey that I wanted to go to Canmcun, primera clase, asap. The woman behind the counter laughed at me when I said, "Cancun First Class, Express, Vamanos." She showed me the schedule and the next available bus left at 10:30 pm. There were only three seats left on the bus, and I chose the one directly behind the driver. Now, only three and a half more hours to spend at the Chetumal bus station. Any of you who have been to the Chetumal bus station know that you could buy something from every single vendor in the place, throw out all the Spanish words you know, sit in every available seat, and be finished in fifteen minutes. Additionally, if you need to use the facilities, which, of course, I did, you will need to come up with 5 pesos. I had already left Belize and my cell phone no longer worked, so not only did I need to find 5 pesos for the bathroom, I needed 50 pesos to buy a Mexican phone card to let Renita know that I was not stranded on some Mexican highway, nor was I detained at the border for some reason.

The exchange rate of US dollars to Mexican Pesos was $10 US for $100 Pesos for a long time. Thus, for $20 Belize Dollars you could get $100 Pesos.. Someone decided at some point to change the exchange rate to $12 US or $6 Belize for $100 Pesos. This requires one to do math and in my case, the use of a calculator, which I did not have. So I slipped into one of the little vendors there in the bus station and bought a pretend "Starbucks" cold coffee from the cooler and a Mexican version of a Twinkie, aptly named "Tinkies". Interesting. That transaction left me with my $50 Pesos for my phone card and $5 Pesos for the bathroom.

If you have never been to the Chetumal bus station, you should know that this building has a large, garage door sized opening on the front. Which is actually not a door at all, meaning that it doesn't close. If it rains outside, it rains inside, if there are mosquitoes outside, they are inside. If it's hot outside, well, then I think you can imagine the roasting effect of the inside of this concrete building.

The banos are located up about 14 steps. Having a full sized suitcase along with a carry on requires some strength along with some ballet type moves in order to get up the steps, then into the actual "Damas" athroom. Oh and be sure to take some toilet paper off the giant roll when you walk in because there won't be any in your stall. Luckily, I had some napkins tucked into my shirt pocket from my Tinkie purchase.

People watching is pleasant there, but a firm grip of the Spanish language would definitely make it more so. Eavesdropping is out of the question. You can only imagine where all of these people are going with huge plastic bags, television sets, five or six children and twenty family members. I changed plastic chairs every time a bus came or went just to keep the circulation moving in my legs, and read my book.

Luckily fate would seat me next to a couple from Denmark, who, while sitting alone only spoke Dutch. However, when one Spanish announcement was made, they did ask me in English if this was the bus leaving for Cancun. After a quick look at my watch, I told them that it indeed was our bus.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Exciting Adventure to the Frozen Tundra

Stay tuned for the "mis" adventures from my trip

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Mary

Last night we said goodbye to our friend Mary M. She's been living at the BYC for the last four months with her twin boys, and was joined a week ago by her daughter Libby.

A rare treat for the mother of three, we took her out to dinner at the Sunset Grill last night, alone....without the kids...............

Mary is a true Southern Belle from Nawth Carolina, and is the epitome of the southern women written about in this book. Check out the chapter titles and you'll get a little taste of what Mary's all about!

She'll be back at the end of January......but we will miss her til then.

Mary had the Mango Tango Snapper, one of my favorites.....I had another favorite, the Almond Crusted Snapper, and Renita had the beef tenderloin, the remains of which will be a steak sandwich later today!

Our waiter actually got a pretty good shot of us!

The true dichotomy of San Pedro....New vs. Old... and right next to one another

Lots of kids feeding the tarpon. You can see them in the shadows

Watch your fingers!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Raffling Off Christmas

Before moving to Belize, I had never heard of a raffle except at a Catholic Festival, a charity event, or a kid's school. Things are different in Belize. Every holiday, and especially at Christmas, many of the grocery stores, the hardware stores, and even the gas station, cable television station, and Smart Phone Service store offer "raffles". Wikipedia defines a raffle as" a competition in which people buy numbered tickets. It is a popular game in numerous countries and is often held to raise funds for a specific charity, event or occasion." The pictures on today's blog won't be fancy, and you probably won't be able to see them very well unless you click on them and make them bigger, but the advertising is fast and furious for getting your raffle tickets....hurry, before the drawing!!!

Smart Phone got in on this year's raffle, but the drawing was December 12....may be time to take the ad out of the paper

San Pedro Hardware...they have a raffle too.....last year I ran down there with my tickets the day before the drawing, and they informed me that they decided to draw the numbers early......go figure!

Dalia's Store raffle......wonder why 5th place is a t-shirt and a ham....do you think the ham is wearing a t-shirt? Do you need to wear the t-shirt to cook the ham?

Castillo's Hardware....first prize is $10,000.00. A few years ago we went to the drawing when they were giving away a new golf cart. They have one of those giant chicken wire round baskets with a little flap on the front. The spun and spun the basket, but a problem occurred. On one exceptionally fast spin, the little flap flew open and the industrial fans inside the store spread the tickets inside all over the store. The drawing, televised and on the radio, was complete with Miss San Pedro, the Mayor and other dignitaries. While the staff crawled around on the floor trying to find all the tickets, children waiting outside where the refreshments were began stuffing meat pies into their pockets and backpacks. We didn't win the cart, by the way.

This is a combination raffle for the Caribena gas stations and Coral Cablevision. I always pay my cable bill in December for the entire year to insure I ge the most chances to win.

Harmouch's Hardware is giving away some good stuff too.....

And if you are ever shopping in the San Pedrano Grocery, they have a raffle every week, on Saturdays. They don't make a big fuss about it, nor do they tell you what the prize is, but hey, you might as well fill out a ticket! Super Buy has one at Christmas time, but they use the cheap rolls of red tickets.

This year's stash looks pretty promising!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

If it's Raining, it Must be the Christmas Pageant

True to form, last night around 6:30 it started spitting rain. With a tent up at the Island Academy, that could only mean one thing.....it was the night of the Christmas Pageant.

And, as usual, the staff did a remarkable job. The kids were adorable, their songs were precious, and I cried like a baby.....there's just something about those little tiny kids with their best little elf faces on, trying to remember their lines, and their movements.....

Jeannie, Mary and Libby waiting for the show to start

Santa's little elves all in a row......waiting their turn on stage

You can see the anticipation in their little faces.....

This little guy was kind of laid back.....an old pro, no doubt.

Mary's twins watched from the sidelines......

Renita put several of the clips together for a little video......

Now, when I see these little ones, I remember mine, dressed up in their little outfits, getting nervous about being up on stage, the way they walked....giggled.....
it all came flooding back.....and I had to sneak out on the beach and place a long distance phone call...woke my daughter up, made her cry, told her I loved her. Sometimes, that's just what you have to do.

My little ones! Above, my daughter, some 25+ years ago

My granddaughter, the REAL Cinderella.......

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

18 Degrees of Horticulture

I was a pretty avid gardner when I lived in the Midwest. Could grow just about anything and generally whatever I planted lived and flourished. One of my favorite plants were moonflowers. Cousins to Morning Glories, they are similar in that they are viny plants, but these have velvety leaves, and bloom only at night. The fill the air with a sweet, gardenia scent.

I brought some seeds down to Belize, and have planted them. They are difficult to start, as they automatically re-seed themselves. So when you plant the seeds, you have to lay them on top of the soil.

My best guess is that if you "sow" or lay about a hundred seeds, you will reap one plant by the time the birds and the wish willies have their bellies full. But I have one started out on the verandah, and it inspired me to check out some of the other things blooming in my garden.....................

My baby moonflower, struggling to survive.....

A full grown plant, with the huge flower open............

Wild and crazy pink and white bouganvilla on the corner of our yard.....

Pink Hibiscus..............

I've never known the actual name of this plant, but the locals call it "Rice and Beans". The red flowers are a great contrast to the little purple ones. This one grows like a weed and will vine over anything.....

Noticed that the tortoise and the hare have started another game of Tic Tac Toe

This is a fairly small Moonflower which I had back in the US.

Garden Fairy, resting on her laurels.......

Another plant for which I only know by "Live Forever" These plants reproduce themselves whenever their leaves touch the ground

A beautiful mauve climber....to which I do not know the real name......

The frog is catching the last few rays of sunshine under the coconut tree......

Above, a Castor Bean plant.....each of those little red balls is a seed......but the leaves turn red and yellow, sort of like a Maple.........

Coral colored Bouganvilla

My cotton plant is blooming again.....want to knit something?

Garden Fairy lounging instead of working in the garden..........

It wants to be a banana, and it wants to be a plantain, but alas, it is a strange hybrid mixture the locals call Blogo.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Birds and Chops

By now, most of you have read Tacogirl's blog and ChunkyRuth's blog about the lamb chop bar-b-que we had last Sunday. Dealing with Bad Santa took a while, so I'm just now putting up my post about the day.

This child was "chilling out" literally in the Sea while we were watching Chunky and Ruth cook!

Renita wore her special Christmas pin for the event

Shunning lamb chops, this bird waits for his lunch to swim by in the water in front of Chunky and Ruth's place.

You saw the pictures of everyone (except Chunky and Ruth of course) lounging on the chairs on the beach. This is the view from there! One of the days where the sea and the sky are nearly the same color.
Our hosts, working away on grilled pineapple

Video of hummingbird at their feeder.....

....and one more from Harry Taplin

Advent photo from Harry Taplin for December 16,2008
Blue, to Add Color to Your Winter
Chelmsford, MA 2008