589: Choice

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I love you.

I do not want to continue seriously rethinking that statement.

I empathize with your frustration when I challenge your belief statements. Making personal attacks against me does, at least temporarily, achieve your objective: I lose interest in the intellectual debate and focus on the hurt instead, and you are no longer intellectually uncomfortable since I am no longer challenging you, and indeed, I usually withdraw to lick my wounds.

This is infantile behavior on your part, and it is beneath you. I would like to believe it is beneath you. It has happened often enough that I am seriously rethinking that statement, as well. I do not deserve personal attacks from you, I do not accept them from you, I will not continue to receive them from you. If you are incapable of indulging in intellectual debate without resorting to such remarks when the water begins to heat, that is your own personal failing, and not mine.

After reflection, your choices are two. You can stop engaging in intellectual debate with me, and enjoy the fact that I love you, with all that entails. Or you can choose door number two. When it comes to personal attacks, I do have, unfortunately, some small experience upon which to draw.

I do not need you. I love you, and that is another kettle of fish entirely. At the moment, these fish are smelling pretty rank. I am, as yet, unwilling to scuttle the kettle, but it is always an option. I am not threatening you, I am merely stating some facts for your consideration.

Your choice.

512: Top 10 Review of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

lord-of-the-flies

Top Ten Review of Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Number 10 – There are no women in this book

Number 9 – We learn you can start a fire with your spectacles. Yeah, we watched Survivor.

Number 8 – They are obsessed with pigs.

Number 7 – We learn that dancing will make you a savage – which explains why Baptists don’t allow it.

Number 6 – They set fire to the island….twice.

Number 5 – You can worship anything….literally anything.

Number 4 – A private place all to yourself is very, very valuable.

Number 3 – They are on an island, and nobody thinks to fish for food.

Number 2 – We learn that a diet of fruit will upset your stomach….duh.

And, finally number ONE: We are shown that boys are total animals, which girls already knew.

502A: I Refuse

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Just because

what we had (and it was good, too)

blew up

over your choices

I will not

hate you.

I refuse.

I won’t blame you  or me.

I am taking my lessons

and moving on

to bigger and better things.

I refuse to give up.

acceptance

Just because

there are billions (fish in the sea)

of people on this planet

I will, I have, I did

find more.

Praise God, there is more.

And I am taking it.

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413: Barbados

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I adore Barbados. It is the Caribbean island that is located furthest east – or the closest one to Africa and Europe, even though it is closer to South America than either one of those. Being so far east, most hurricanes give it a pass.

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As a result of location (and its geography and climate, which made it ideal for growing sugar cane and making RUM), it spent quite some time as a British colony before peacefully earning its sovereignty as a nation. It’s a pretty small nation.  You can drive from one side of the island to the other in about a half hour, even with traffic. It is a longer island than it is wide, though – going end-to-end, long wise, would take, oh, maybe an hour and a half, with traffic.

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The interesting part of the history of Barbados, to me as an American, is that our first president, George Washington, took his only international trip there. While he was there, he got ill with smallpox, an often deadly disease during his day. He survived, of course, and therefore had immunity from smallpox during the American Revolution, especially during the winter encampment at Valley Forge. This meant the American military leadership suffered no disruptions when smallpox broke out – GW was immune.

The fun part of Barbados is that, being British, they all drive on the other side of the road. Note that I did not say the WRONG side of the road, BUT – I did nearly meet my maker there when I looked in the incorrect direction to check for traffic before stepping off the curb, and a BUS whiffled by a few millimeters from my nose. I needed to change my pants, and I had campmeeting right there on the sidewalk. I might have even spoken in tongues.

Near-death experiences aside (!!!), our trip was offered on http://www.travelzoo.com, a fantastic Website that scours thousands of tour companies looking for what they think are the best 20 deals for the week , and they send a Wednesday e-mail to subscribers (it is free) listing the great deals on trips world-wide. Our Barbados deal came with round-trip airfare from the USA, six nights at a beach-front resort that included a full breakfast every morning (YUMMY, too!), with pool, AC, and a kitchenette in the room, PLUS a 100 dollar gift card good nearly everywhere on the island (bought lots of gifts for friends and family) and a fifty-dollar voucher for a seafood meal at the weekly weekend grill-seafood-party place where everybody meets to have fun and pig out. All of this was less than 600 USD a person, and they STILL run deals like that on travelzoo years later. I adore travelzoo, too!

I had grilled fish at the weekend party place, and it was then (and even now) the best fish I have ever eaten. Bar none. And Barbados has something else to gush over…Mount Gay rum. WOW. WOW. WOW. They have been making rum on Barbados for several centuries, and it SHOWS.

I had a fabulous time there – even the fact that they bury their dead standing up (!!!!) did not freak me out too badly. There is an interesting Barbados burial site story in this group of top ten: http://listverse.com/2012/10/04/top-10-creepiest-graves/

I plan to return, if God lets me live long enough!!

For more background on GW in Barbados: http://www.coedu.usf.edu/culture/Story/Story_Barbados_Washington.htm

323: Maintenance man?

In the small residential compound where I rented a casita in VeraCruz, Panama Pacifico, Panama, we have a head groundskeeper cum security guard cum maintenance man, who handles the basic maintenance items. They call in a specialist for complicated stuff.

One fine evening, I was sitting in my living room, sewing. See, my little house (casita) is half of our duplex. The  maintenance man, Luis and his family of five children and his brother, live in the other half. I was quietly sewing when there was a tremendous BOOM. I thought the house had been shot – I not only HEARD the boom, I FELT it.

Mi casita

Mi casita

In moments of crisis, my husband immediately, with no hesitation, swings into action. I freeze and consider first. There are advantages and disadvantages to each reaction, depending on the particular circumstances.  I concluded fairly quickly that it was not a gunshot. When I went to the kitchen, I caught the overwhelming odor of chlorine bleach.

Our complex is ocean-side. The business that is between our complex and the road is a fish farm. I thought briefly that THEY had an explosion of cleaning equipment or supplies – and then I heard someone next door coughing from the fumes.

I went out and around to the front of the house, and asked, in Spanish, if everyone was OK. Apparently (I figured out later) Luis or another family member had poured chlorine bleach down a drain (stopped up or NOT) and it EXPLODED. Fortunately, none of the five family members was in the room when it did it, so no one was burned or harmed by the exploding bleach – just some coughing as they opened the doors and windows to let the powerful fumes escape.

Think I will handle my own repair jobs from now on, thank you very much……………

83: Buying groceries

Buying food for my five cats is expensive. Since I rescued three more kittens, we now have eight, and the food budget is strained to the absolute limit. Canned food, which baby cats prefer, is 18 dirham per can, and one can lasts one day. YIKES!! The adult cats eat dry kibble, which is less expensive, but our five adults are still our children, and they are miffed that the babies are getting what they consider ‘treats.’ So, I have been hard-pressed to present enough treats to keep the adults happy, while feeding the babies, too.

Thankfully, treats for the adults are not TOO hard to come by. They like the bones from the chicken and turkey, so we two people have had chicken or turkey nearly every day for weeks now, so that we have bones for the treats. I am beginning to crave beef, and am running out of chicken recipes, we have been eating it so much.

However, I found a great alternative. When we went to the live chicken guy for yet another chicken, I remembered to ask him for the day’s ration of chicken guts. Rinsed and cooked, the cats (adults AND babies) had a feast. And, I bought some of the little fish they sell at the fish man’s stall for twelve dirham a kilo. I consider these fish to be minnows – bait for catching bigger fish. They are really tiny, smaller than sardines, even. However, food for people aside, the cats adore them – at least the baby cats, which are the ones I am trying to feed for less money. The kilo of fish lasts TWO days – far less expensive than the canned food. The only problem is that when they come up under your chin asking for cuddles and scratchies, they reek of fish smell. I guess there had to be a disadvantage to this solution, huh?