Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Secondly, I have a fabulous (and ridiculously easy) recipe to share:
My Favorite Caramel Sauce
2/3 C heavy cream
1/2 C butter
1 C brown sugar
(only 3 ingredients - now that's my kind of recipe!)
*Heat cream in saucepan. Set aside
*Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
*Remove from heat and add cream
*Refrigerate. It also freezes well.
This delightful caramel sauce was a gift from my dear friend Marci when we were in Guatemala for Christmas two years ago. (Remember Marci and her caramel sauce, Angie?)
The kids and I love it most when used to make caramel popcorn (which is how we became addicted to it in Guatemala). We also love it for dipping apples and adding to hot apple cider. Enjoy!
Now, if I could just think of something to make for dinner...suggestions?
Monday, October 27, 2008
The couple from
Morgenstern was docked at the Tijax Jungle Lodge just a quick dinghy ride from Hollymar. I had never been on a sailboat before, and it was all new to me. There were tiny little toilets with pump action flushers, a swaying stove that burned alcohol (I later learned it’s called a gimbaled stove), cozy geometric shaped cabins, and lots of places to bump your head. That first night aboard Morgenstern Dave gave me the quick tour, and then I headed into the jungle for a hot “dock” shower. The shower house was just a short ways from the dock, up a little path, but it really was in the jungle. There were huge cracks under the stalls and the plywood door, separating me from whatever lurked in the darkness of the jungle, was “locked” with a flimsy hook and eye. I remember feeling very vulnerable as I quickly washed a day’s worth of travel from my hair. I was anxious to get back to Morgenstern and to Dave where I couldn’t help but feel completely safe.
I got back to the boat (unscathed) and saw that Dave had whipped up some quesadillas and set out a bowl of chips and salsa. I had missed dinner and I was starving! After dinner we cozied into the aft cabin and watched Ace
By the time I woke up the next morning he wasn’t onboard. I found him on the dock sanding a new cherry wood dinette table for Morgenstern. Oh my. Was he ever a vision. He had on a pair of cut-off jean shorts that looked like they had seen one too many days at sea, a bandana covering his hair (you know like they wear under a motorcycle helmet), and he was shirtless. Oh the glistening muscles. He saw me coming down the dock, and he turned off his sander. I could tell that he thought I was quite the vision myself. I had on a white tank top and my own cut-off jean shorts. (We loved our cut-offs in the 90’s didn’t we?) I had gone to bed the night before with wet hair and it was fabulously full of body. I felt pretty. It had been dark in the restaurant the night before and 12 volt lights on a sailboat aren’t much brighter. I think we were both pleasantly surprised by how attracted we were to each other. Of course, we didn’t discuss that until later…
To Be Continued...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
two days ago
Evie: Mommy? What will I be when I grow up?
Me: You can be ANYTHING you want!
Evie: Can I be a turtle?
Me: Mmmm, no.
Evie: Can I be a priness?
Me: Um...well...if you marry a prince...or if you work at Disneyland.
(I guess you can't really be anything you want when you grow up...)
tonight while she was coloring
Evie: Mommy, I drew Soli with brownish orange skin....Maybe when she grows up, she'll be orange!
She's such a funny, loving, sweet girl who reminds me of Eloise of the Plaza. She's scheming and naughty but kind and good hearted and has everyone wrapped around her little finger. She insists that she will not marry a man or have any boy children. When I ask why she doesn't want to get married she says:
"Because I don't want to kiss a MAN!"
And when I told her she doesn't really get to choose whether she has girl babies or boy babies she politely corrected me by saying, "If I adopt them all I do."
This outfit is an Evie Original - one of my favorites, actually. She dresses like this everyday. And I just love her unique sense of style - usually. One time when she came out of her room in an exceptionally exceptional outfit, I said gently, "Evie, that shirt and those pants don't really look cute together."
She looked at me with utter disbelief in her eyes. Her little chin started to quiver and she said, "Mommy, I look cute in everything I wear!"
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
The Day We Met - Part I
The Day We Met - Part II
The Day We Met - Part III
In case you haven't caught on yet, October is Love Story Month. Mary at Owlhaven hath put forth a challenge to write and share our love stories. I highly recommend participating. Quite fun to stroll down memory lane. I'm writing about the day that Dave and I met, from my perspective. Do start from the beginning. Links available above (in red).
“Mind if I share your table?” I asked as I approached the unoccupied end of his rather long table. He looked up from his book and motioned to a chair. We sat in relative darkness and silence for a few moments before he said, “So you’re trying to get to Casa
Yes, I explained, and I was having very little luck, although we both knew that he already knew that. But luckily, I told him, Holly had been kind enough to offer that I stay with her for the night. He nodded his approval.
Another moment of silence.
I asked where he was from.
“I’m from the central coast!” I reported, warming up to this fellow Californian. I had to find out more about him.
“Have you been in
“That explains the no shoes,” I stated triumphantly.
“Not much use for shoes on a sailboat,” he retorted. He was growing on me.
Just then, Holly came over, “Oh good. You met Dave,” she said to me. He and I exchanged a little look. Dave, I thought. I love that name. I reached my hand across the table, “I’m Heather.” I sat back and listened to Dave and Holly having a conversation about a couple they both knew, each of whom owned their own sailboat. Eventually, this couple got married, and the time came for them to move onto one or the other of their boats. In the end they decided that since she was the more qualified sailor they would move onto her boat, and she would be the captain. Dave heartily supported this arrangement and mentioned that he thought more women should captain their own boats. Now he was really growing on me. The bell on the screen door jingled as a couple walked into the restaurant, and Holly excused herself to greet them.
Dave and I glanced at each other, and, suddenly, the distance between us seemed excessive. I scooted down a couple of seats towards him. He smiled, seeming to appreciate the gesture. After another moment of silence he asked out of nowhere,
“Do you cut hair?”
For a second, I considered lying and saying that I did. I recognized the crossroads we were standing at. Either, I cut hair and a door would open leading to some future encounter with this handsome,
“I don’t,” I said. “I wish I did.”
I could almost hear the hinges creaking as the door started to shut.
But then he said, “That's OK. If you’ll cut my hair you can stay on my boat tonight, and I’ll take you to the orphanage in the morning.”
(Insert sound of door banging on the wall as it swings wide open.)
He explained to me that it really wasn’t safe to travel the river at night and that the Casa Guatemala was quite a ways down river. I studied his face for any signs of funny business. I saw nothing but sincerity, and I couldn’t help but trust him completely. He must have sensed my hesitation and said, “There’s an extra cabin on the boat. We just have to move some rigging out of it, and you can sleep there.” Now this was sounding fun. My own cabin? On a sailboat? With rigging? And a cute-as-can-be fellow American? I wondered if Holly would mind if I chose curtain number two.
I was considering my options when I noticed two figures moving in my direction. As my eyes focused in the darkness I recognized them to be the couple from Washington whom I had sat with on the bus ride from Morales. By heart sank just a little as I remembered my promise to share in the expense of a ride down river should they secure one.
“Hey! Thought that was you. We got a ride! And split three ways it’ll only be 30Q each.” They looked at me expectantly. Remember my offer to share in this expense was a solid, binding contract.
“Oh,” I tried to hide my disappointment. “Great.” I glanced at Dave who had leaned back in his chair and was pretending not to listen. He took a sip from his bottle.
“Wait a minute.” Holly walked up behind them, wiping her hands on a towel. In her restaurant everything was her business. “You guys are going to Mario’s. She’s going to the Casa Guatemala. Casa
“It’s not that far!” The drunken expatriate chimed in from his perch at the bar. Apparently, it was his business, too. “I been to the Casa Guatemala, and it’s just cross the river from Mario’s!”
“It’s not just across the river, Jerry!” Holly insisted, “It’s at least a 20 minute dinghy ride down river.”
“Nonsense!” He was starting to get a little steamed. “You could throw a rock to that orphanage from Mario’s!”
"We heard it wasn't that far. We thought the driver could drop us at Mario's and then take her to the orphanage." The couple from Washington had their sights on my 30Q, and they weren't going to let me off the hook that easily.
As the conversation continued, I became more and more embarrassed that such a hearty debate had ensued on my behalf. I could feel my cheeks turning a deep shade of crimson. Mercifully, with only candles lighting the little restaurant, I don't think anyone noticed. I was dumbfounded that these people, virtual strangers to me, all seemed to have such a vested interest in determining the outcome of my evening.
And I was panicked.
It seemed to be out of my control at this point, but I no longer wanted to get to the orphanage. I wanted to stay with Dave and spend the night amongst his rigging. The orphanage could wait until the morning. But after the desperation I had displayed in needing a ride down river and the promise I had made to the
If it was determined that Jerry was right, and the orphanage was indeed close to Mario’s, I would be obligated to share a ride with the couple from
All eyes turned to him, including mine.
Until then, Dave had been perfectly quiet, sitting back in his chair, occasionally sipping his beer and waiting patiently as my fate was haphazardly passed around that restaurant like a bottle of Captain Morgan's. Yo Ho!
He leaned forward in his chair and placed his empty bottle on the table. He turned and looked at me. Our eyes met. I knew, in that moment, that he held the fate of my life in his hands. I got the sense that he knew it, too. And after what seemed like an eternity, he finally turned to Holly and said the sweetest words I have ever heard,
“It’s really…really far.”
And just like that my fate was sealed. Our fate was sealed.
The couple from
To Be Continued...
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Day We Met - Part II
For those of you newcomers: I'm joining a fellow blogger in posting my love story. If you haven't read Parts I and II you can click on the above words (Yes, the red ones. Those are direct links. Go ahead...click on them.) But, don't cheat. You really must read this story from the beginning.
It was a little after 4PM when we pulled away from Morales, leaving behind a cloud of dust and a half dozen slightly stunned Mayan vendors. The rest of the drive would take 2-2.5 hours. I glanced at my watch calculating. It would be 6 or 6:30 when we arrived. I knew from our last trip to Fronteras that the water taxis didn’t run after dark. Casa Guatemala is situated on the Rio Dulce, 30 minutes down river from Fronteras and is only accessible via water taxi. It would be tight, but where there is a will there is a way, I thought to myself.
The remainder of the trek was uneventful. I sat next to a young couple, travelers like myself, from Washington state. At one point they asked me if I had been to Fronteras, and if I knew of a good place to stay. Always eager to share helpful hints with fellow travelers, I told them that yes I had been there and the Posada Ricki was clean and cheap. They exchanged a concerned glance. That was the one place they had been warned not to stay. Didn’t I know it was a brothel? That was disappointing news, and it made me wonder exactly who Ricki was. They asked me if I had heard of Mario’s. I hadn’t stayed there, but I knew that is was a hotel on the banks of the Rio Dulce with a restaurant that was known for great burgers. They were uncertain of their plans, but I told them that if they ended up going to Mario’s, I’d be glad to share in the expense of a water taxi, since I was going downriver, too. (Sidenote – Travelers like to do this…band together to share in the expense of anything and everything from hiring a taxi, to sharing accommodations, to sharing a guide for a certain adventure. This is done for the common goal of saving a few bucks and often makes affordable certain activities and luxuries that would otherwise be out of budget. And when you’re on a budget of less than $10 a day, a few bucks is a big deal. So my offer to share a water taxi was a solid, binding contract.) Later, we got into a discussion about what we thought we might like to do with our lives. I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember that as our conversation was winding down they agreed that they could imagine me living on a farm with braids and lots of kids. I suspected they weren’t too far off the mark.
As we neared Fronteras and the Rio Dulce, the air became thick with smoke and the sky turned a sickening brownish mauve color. The gentleman in front of us explained that it was the burn season when the farmers cleared their land in preparation for planting. The smoke burned my lungs and eyes and blocked out the sun. I hoped that it wouldn’t be that thick at the orphanage.
As our bus pulled to a stop near the bottom of the Rio Dulce Bridge I assessed the daylight situation. It was just past sunset, but there was still light in the sky (although dim with all the smoke). There was still a little time. I hurried to the restaurant/bar called Hollymar that was situated on the banks of the Rio Dulce, where I remembered that I could arrange for a water taxi. I glanced across the street at the Posada Ricki with a slight frown. Outside the door to the restaurant I set down my pack and considered my appearance. I had a feeling I would need to use the power of feminine persuasion in order to secure a ride to the orphanage at this late hour. As a single white female, traveling in a Central American country, I had learned to dress down on “travel days”. It was safer and really more efficient not to stand out when using the public transportation system. The less cat calls and long stares I received the smoother my day would go. Subsequently, I wasn’t exactly dressed to impress. I had on a loose pair of khaki shorts, a loose fitting softball t-shirt, my hiking boots, and a sweatshirt with one crusty sleeve that seemed to hang longer than the other. My hair was in a saggy, dusty ponytail, and I was sweaty and smelly from a day of stressful travel. I wasn’t exactly the clandestine image of feminine beauty. I quickly retied my ponytail, shed my crusty sweatshirt and tucked in my t-shirt. That would have to do. Daylight was fading faster than I expected. Armed with as much feminine charm as I could muster I walked into that bar overflowing with confidence. I was determined to get to Casa Guatemala by bed time. I would not be spending another night at the Posada Ricki.
Even though the Hollymar restaurant and bar was nothing more than a 30' x 30' hut on stilts, with wood planked floors and no walls, it had a certain charm to it. Owned by an expatriate American woman named Holly, it attracted all types of interesting characters. It was not uncommon to find travelers, locals, and expatriate retirees, off their sailboats, sharing drinks and good times in this tiny little bar on the Rio Dulce. On the night that I strolled in, there was a typical mix of folks enjoying the casual atmosphere and good company. I looked around the room and considered my options. Holly, as usual, was at the bar dispensing drinks and lending a patient ear to a retired sailor who, it appeared to me, had had one too many. I assumed that one of the dinghies pulled up to the restaurant’s small dock was likely his, which made him a potential ride down the river. Seated next to him was a young Guatemalan fellow who I recognized to be a water taxi driver. Ellen and I had jokingly referred to him as Rico Suave, as it seemed that he thought quite highly of himself and had been rather flirty when we had met him before. On this night, I thought I might use that to my advantage. Seated near the water’s edge was a couple enjoying a quiet meal. They didn’t strike me as having much potential in aiding me on my downriver quest. Across the room, sitting alone at a rather large table, was a young American man with no shoes on. He was trying to read with a flash light perched in one hand and there were several empty beer bottles beside his empty plate. I didn’t know quite what to make of him. I could tell right away he wasn’t a traveler like me. He seemed too clean and the book he was reading was a hard back copy of Tom Clancy’s Debt of Honor. Travelers don’t read hard backs. We carry everything we own in our packs, and hard backs are way too heavy to make the cut. The no shoes thing was throwing me, too. Where could he have come from with no shoes? Either way I decided he was far too good looking to try and take advantage of. I did not count him as a potential ride down the river. So I fixed my sights on the two gentlemen at the bar with targets on their backs. I felt nearly certain that between the two of them I would be able to charm my way to a ride down the river.
I approached the bar and Holly recognized me right away. Ellen and I had befriended her on our previous trip to Fronteras, and I was thankful to have an immediate alliance with somebody. I explained to her my situation, that I was volunteering at the Casa Guatemala, and I was slightly desperate to get there as soon as possible. She immediately motioned to Rico Suave saying, “He can take you.” Wow! That was too easy! But my excitement was short lived as he explained to me in Spanish that his little boat was out of gas. Well, surely we could get some gas somewhere in town. I offered to pay for his gas if he would take me to the orphanage. His eyes lit up, and I could tell he wanted nothing more than to be my knight in shining armor. He heartily agreed, and we grabbed a gas can from his boat before heading next door to where the gas man lived. Rico knocked on the door and gave me a cheesy grin. He was probably no more than sixteen or seventeen, and he wore his black hair to his shoulders and neatly slicked behind his ears. We heard a baby crying inside and a second later a young woman answered the door. Rico held up the gas can, and she quickly shook her head, no. She explained that they were out of gas, and her husband was gone to Morales on business until the morning. No problem, I thought. Surely that’s not the only place in town to get gas. But as we headed back to Hollymar, Rico explained to me that there was no where else to get gas until the morning. I don’t know who was more disappointed. Having exhausted plan A, I quickly shifted my sights to my next victim. Surely, the retired expatriate with the dinghy couldn’t say no to a darling, stranded, fellow American.
It was quite dark by the time we reentered the restaurant, and I wondered why Holly hadn’t turned on the lights. Then I remembered that in this little town (like many others in Guatemala) electricity was made by a generator which was shut down every evening at 7PM. I wasted no time and sat down at the bar right beside my new target. Rico and I explained to Holly about the gas dilemma, and I quickly inquired about the two dinghies on the dock. She told me that one of them belonged to the gentleman seated next to me. I feigned surprise, and, batting my lashes, I turned to face him. I pleaded my case wondering if he might help a stranded lady with a ride down the river in his dinghy? He lifted his glass into the air and said rather loudly, “I can’t give ya a ride, but I can sure as hell buy ya a drink!” The syllables of his words smeared together, and the stench of his breath made me think I was probably better off. I politely refused his offer. I couldn’t believe that my best efforts of flirting and schmoozing had failed me. I had gotten myself out of many a predicament in Central America with that exact approach. I was rather shocked and starting to feel slightly sickened at the thought of spending another night at the Posada Ricki. Holly must have read my mind because she brought over a glass of water and told me not to worry. I was welcome to spend the night at her house that night, and then I could catch a taxi to the orphanage in the morning. What a relief! That sounded superb. I didn’t have to spend the night at the Posada, and I would still be able to save $6 on lodging. I thanked her profusely, and deciding that I had had enough of my drunken compadre, I picked up my glass and headed for the table of the shoeless American.
To be continued...
As always...please consider joining us in posting your own love story. Let me know if you do because I love, love, love to read a good love story.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So the kids and I hit the road yesterday morning and got home last night at midnight. The last couple of hours were tough, but Danielle Steele kept me company (love a good book on "tape").
The kids are glad to be home, and they're all playing a little "catch-up" with homework this afternoon.
I'm missing Dave a lot today, and I'm very ready to have my little family back together again.
We had a wonderful time with Daddy in Montana, and, as an added bonus, we were able to spend the last couple of nights camped out in the cabin. And even though it's still a bit of a construction zone, it was very cozy. We made a fire and some soup, tried out our new pebble floored master shower with rain head (FABULOUS!), tucked the kids into their nests, and watched the snow fall from our blow up air mattress. I'm pretty sure it doesn't get any better than that. You know?
Here are some pics from our time:
Sunday, October 12, 2008
errr...it's snowing...a lot.
um...the roads are icy...really icy...and slippery.
and...the snow plow doesn't come 'til Monday...or maybe Tuesday.
plus...and I'm sure you'll agree with this...there is certainly more involved in the education of children than sending them to school. Like what causes a snow drift, and at what temperature rain turns to snow, and seeing elk in the wild, and what black ice looks like, and the Legend of Jack Frost.
I will be sure to have them back in school just as soon as...the snow melts....or the plow comes through...or the cabin is finished...whichever comes first.
Very sincerely yours,
P.S. Feel free to call and discuss this matter further...with my husband.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I'm having trouble getting my computer on line, but when I do, I'll be posting pictures and Part III of The Day We Met.
Thanks for checking in.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Please sends thoughts for a safe trip.
I'm off to pack.
Oh, and shave my legs...
P.S. Dave will join us for the drive home on Sunday. The cabin should be buttoned up by then! Don't forget - it'll be available to rent starting summer 2009. I'll post pics when I'm up there.
Monday, October 06, 2008
We were about a block away when I saw a bus leaving the terminal. I looked at my watch. Eleven O’clock on the nose. Could that be my bus to Fronteras? For a second I thought to hail a cab and chase it down. But what if it wasn’t? I would feel like a fool chasing down and stopping the wrong bus. I decided to remain calm. Surely that wasn’t the bus I was supposed to be on. And even if it was, there was always another bus. Always.
When I got to the terminal the young girl at the ticket window informed me that the nonstop bus to Fronteras had just left, and, no, there wasn’t another one leaving today. There would be another one leaving tomorrow at 11AM she offered helpfully. Great, I thought. If I hadn’t spent 8 minutes on the sidewalk repairing my pack I would have made that bus. Again I thought to myself, "What bad luck." Seeing the disappointment or perhaps the hopelessness in my face, the girl looked back at her schedule. There would be a bus leaving at 1PM for Morales where I could transfer to Fronteras. It was a longer ride with more stops on an older bus, but I took it, gladly. I smiled gratefully as I handed over my 21 quetzales ($2.10) and received my receipt and a transfer ticket for the second leg.
I picked a sunny seat in a window of the terminal to wait out my 2 hours. I noticed my Austrian friend boarding a bus to
We pulled out of the terminal at exactly 1PM (they were, apparently, very serious about punctuality at this station) and headed in the direction of Morales. We hadn’t left the city limits when we made our first of what would be many stops along the way. I started out with a seat to myself but the bus quickly filled, and I found myself next to a pretty girl of 16 or 17. She was a student at the University in
I reached into my pocket for my transfer ticket and leaned forward to show it to the fellow riding shotgun. In
So I tapped him on the shoulder and gave him my transfer slip. He looked at it and furrowed his brow slightly. That made me nervous. He held up one finger and said, “Momento”. He turned to consult with the driver who obviously did not like to be interrupted with such nonsense. They had a brief, curt conversation that I didn't quite catch, ending with the driver giving an irritated wave of his hand. What did it all mean? Obviously, something was amiss. The navigator leaned back in my direction and tried to explain that we might not be able to make it in time to catch my transfer. My stomach did a somersault, and I thought of Ellen back in
I looked up to see that we were coming into an odd clearing in the center of town where several other buses were parked at strange angles to the streets. There were Mayan vendors holding up their wares to the windows of the buses trying to entice the seated passengers. I noticed one of the buses starting to pull away and it looked like our driver was intent on getting his spot as we were approaching the back of the departing bus with alarming speed. Again a horn blared. This time I realized where the sound was coming from. Our driver laid into his horn spewing three long irritated blasts. By now the vendors, and anyone else in the nearby vicinity, were staring at us with considerable concern, and still we barreled towards the rear end of this bus. Our driver slowed a little, shouted something to our navigator, and motioned to him with that same irritated hand gesture. With my transfer ticket still in hand our brave navigator leapt from the moving bus and raced ahead toward the bus that was still trying to make a clean get away. Our driver gave two more lengthy blasts at the same time our navigator was shouting and banging with his hand along the length of the bus ahead of us. I watched in complete confusion as the bus stopped with a lurch and our navigator sprinted the rest of the distance to its now open doors. Panting, he climbed up the first step and leaned in towards the alarmed driver. I saw him hold up my ticket and point back to our bus as he explained himself. Suddenly, I realized what was going on. They had stopped that bus so that I could get on it. That was the bus to Fronteras. The raucous to which I had just bore witness had been for my sake. I was stunned. And rather embarrassed. Our navigator hurried back and ushered me off the bus. With swift precision he extracted my tattered pack from the underbelly of our bus and quickly headed across the clearing. I was amazed that he remembered which pack was mine and which bin it was in having packed it away three hours earlier. As we hurried toward the waiting bus I glanced back at our driver and said, “Gracias.” I’m sure he couldn’t hear me, but he nodded his head and gave a little wave. And, with that, I was on my way.
To be Continued....
Please consider joining us in posting your own love story. It's October after all - Love Story Month!
P.S. Jodi ~ When you read this (and I know you will) you should consider yourself "tagged". In other words, time to update your blog, Baby! We miss you! Now, I certainly do not expect you to fill us in on the going-ons of the whole year. Just start with today. (You can always fill in the gaps later). I would love, love, love to see some recent pics of the kiddos and to hear what's going on with you. Hugs, Heather
Saturday, October 04, 2008
P.S. What's better than a perfectly clean kitchen floor?
Answer: A perfectly clean kitchen floor with muddy footprints leading from the back door. Love it. Special shout out to Nie who reminds me always to see the beauty and innocence in my children (and their muddy footprints).
Friday, October 03, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Last week my dear friend and fellow blogger, Tina (Musings from a Mudpie Mom), asked me to post the story of how I met my husband. Then, Mary at Owlhaven, put out an offer on her blog to join in posting our love stories. It has been on my heart to post about the day Dave and I met, and so I thought I would post some of that story tonight. It is rather lengthy, but I like to think it's a pretty fun read. Enjoy.
To be Continued....
P.S. I would love for all of you to join us in posting your own love story. Let me know if you do so I can be sure to read yours.
After all...LOVE makes the world go 'round.